Rise of Tiamat - Intro

Skarsgard

Explorer
Ashur turns at the arrival of the newcomer. 'Another one,' he thinks to himself.

"Well met, I am Ashur," he turns to look at Ana. "Well, this is looking less and less like a coincidence, don't you think?"

"I guess the construct didn't have a message for you after all."
he shrugs. "Well, are either of you bound in the direction of Waterdeep? I have business there and would welcome the company."
 

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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
As the holy man and the somewhat-less-holy spellsword approach within a mile or so of the city, they notice that the air smells worrisomely of ash and smoke. They are relived when they finally spy the walls, but somewhat less so when they see the closed iron gates on a settlement which usually has nonstop trading caravans passing through in both ways, with spear-carrying guards walking the battlements only 15 or 20 yards apart, and a distinct haze of pollution in the air overhead which the summer breezes have yet to dissipate. Clearly, something unpleasant has happened here, or perhaps it's still happening....

Robyn looks about, takes a deep sniff of the air and coughs as the excess smoke tickles his lungs. "It looks like we've come at an unopportune time, Dumos. I wonder what is amiss," he says, keeping the tone of his voice light so as not to raise the specter of excess fear and concern. "I had been hoping to obtain a comfortable bed at the end of our day with a good meal and beer. Now I worry that those comforts will need to be deferred. Let's hasten to the gates and learn what there is to learn."

Robyn picks up the pace on the road, striding straight for the town gate. As he does so, he scans about for any further sign of what the trouble could be or any other travelers who may have preceded him and Dumos and arrived at the town earlier.
 

Envisioner

Explorer
OOC: Seems to be working today, at least for this thread, though I'm not sure about the Rogue's Gallery. That one's not a big deal anyway.

I'll wait for Mips to post before advancing the Westwater story.


Ashur, Analiese and Bannor, as they await the inevitable arrival of someone whose name starts with C, begin heading in the general direction of Waterdeep, which is going to be a fairly lengthy but not unachievable walk from this region. Emerging from the forest, you manage to find your way to a dirt pathway across the surrounding meadows; The Long Road which carries trade to Waterdeep from the far north is some distance ahead, and once you reach such a thoroughfare, you can likely hook up with a caravan and rent some horses or something, but for now you're still on a barely-paved wagon track that connects the local villages and towns...not purely rustic, but definitely pastoral.

You pass occasional sites of minor interest, which might have once gotten your attention - a tree with a face carved into it, a roadside shrine to Shaundakul, a surviving post from some otherwise-rotten farm fence, or a set of colorful ribbons tied around a large rock - but in all cases you are able to quickly assess what you're looking at, find that it has no particular pertinence, and move along. The pattern is broken, however, when you come upon a wooden sign nailed into position beside the road.

BEWARE THE DEADLY

________________________

HELD CAPTIVE HERE


The blank in the above message once held a single word, carved into the plank with a larger and probably fancier typeface than the words around it, but has also been almost entirely obliterated, as if someone hacked into the sign with a flaming sword or the like. The blackened gashes form a crude shape, with the illegible remnants of the original word making it difficult to identify the shape which the vandal was trying to gouge into the wood. You think it's probably meant to be the head of a beast of some sort, something long and low and covered with spikes. Next to the rough graffiti, however, is a far clearer sign also burned onto the lumber's surface...a symbol of five wavy lines, like double-recuved "S"es, all coming together into a single central point with a circle drawn around it. It's crystal-clear, as if a specially-forged metal brand was used to create this sigil.

Everyone give me an Intelligence roll. Characters who have certain things on their character sheet automatically succeed on this roll, but I don't want to say what things those are, so post a roll regardless, and then I'll announce who knows the answer and what that answer is.
 


Envisioner

Explorer
Ashur doesn't need to roll, by the way. Bannor does, and Annaliese did. Her roll is probably sufficient, but I'll wait until Low Key checks in before I give it away.
 



Envisioner

Explorer
Annaliese has heard rumors of a group that has been engaging in vicious attacks on some of the larger towns throughout the region, and they're rumored to use a sign akin to this; they're supposed to mostly appear in black armor, though sometimes they're robed in black or purple like sorcerers, and "a five pointed wavy star", which fits this description, is often burned, either with fire or acid, into surfaces near where they've attacked.

Ashur, meanwhile, speaks Draconic, and he recognizes this asterisk-like symbol as the ghvarach, a mark of emphasis used in the language (loosely similar to an exclamation point IRL, with it placed both before and after the word as in Spanish, though not inverted in this case). A word flanked by ghvarachi is spoken with the first and last syllables stressed, whereas Draconic words tend to only emphasize the first syllable. Thus, you might say "wer MALsvir TURalisj DARastrix", meaning "the big evil dragon"; if you instead say "wer MALsvir TURaLISJ DARastrix", you're saying it's a REALLY BIG evil dragon, while "wer MALsVIR TURalisj DARastrix" means it's a REALLY EVIL big dragon.

Looking closer at the sign, it looks like the vandal tried to carve the ghvarachi both before and after the symbol they were carving, which you now realize is probably meant to be a dragon's head and a bit of the neck. The one beforehand was ruined in the process of trying to cut/burn the wood on that end of the sign, and the "artist" tried to work the damaged area into the dragon head in order to make it more head and less neck, but only succeeded in making the glyph as a whole less recognizable. Regardless, by cross-referencing the fact that this "new army in black" uses the symbol and that the symbol is a Draconic punctuation mark, you're left with little doubt that this group must be responsible for the vandalism. And, while the dirt road is pretty dry and windswept and doesn't hold tracks very well, looking about at the ground now, you do realize that there are some rather old but still barely-visible footprints, suggestive of either tough all-terrain boots or spiked metal sabatons, both of which these raiders are said to wear.
 

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