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The Westgate Campaign Chronicles - serial


When Rahnee arrived in the outskirts of Teziir, she found Aerikoth and Darrow in conversation. Dinendal was not there, the elf having previously re-entered to the city to see if he could track down Rahnee and Aerikoth. Rahnee reported that Queron was still furious and had refused to see her. She and her other two companions then spent some time discussing their situation.

Once Dinendal had returned, Rahnee asked him to share his ideas. He expounded on his theory that Janatha was likely on the run and avoiding Teziir, therefore suggesting that Aerikoth teleport to Westgate to speak to Jandrico while the others investigated the country lodge. The idea was to find Janatha and make amends with Queron. As Darrow had pointed out, however, they did not know where the lodge was. Aerikoth recalled that the only information they had was that it was a half-day's ride from Teziir and likely southerly. Rahnee took it upon herself to carefully scout the southern reaches of the area they were in, looking for some kind of trail or path. Finding nothing in the immediate area, the party continued their search and after some time found a trail leading towards the southwest. Believing that this was what they were looking for, they eagerly followed it.

After about ten hours of travel, they decamped in a wooded area and were attacked by a group of large worgs, who managed to seriously wound Dinendal before being defeated by the other adventurers and Aerikoth's summoned dire bear. Afterwards, Darrow handed the elf a healing potion while Rahnee bandaged his wounds. Aerikoth informed the others that he unfortunately did not have his magical shelter spell available. While they were contemplating their next steps, a rabid badger charged the group, but was quickly dispatched and thrown back over by the wolf bodies.

The companions all agreed that it appeared the trail they had found did not lead to Queron's lodge. Rahnee then recommended that they find a secure, defensible place to camp for the night while Aerikoth teleported to Westgate to talk to Jandrico. Darrow agreed, confirming with Aerikoth that they could all meet up in Reddansyr afterwards. At Rahnee's suggestion, they set the time of their rendevous there for dawn on the second following day. Aerikoth said that he could not leave the bear behind to guard them, since it was linked to him, so dismissed his summoned creature. While preparing to cast his teleport spell, the wizard paused and said that he could do something for them before departing, casting a stoneskin spell on Darrow before completing his other spell and disappearing.

According to plan, Aerikoth returned to Reddansyr the morning of Alturiak 23, teleporting to the village and walking into the Giant's Folly, where he sat down with Dinendal and Darrow while they breakfasted; Rahnee had not yet appeared. He informed his two companions that he had spoken with Jandrico Swift in Westgate. The innkeeper had not seen Janatha and was rather distressed by the news of her apparent kidnapping. Aerikoth had also managed to track down Khair, a Bedine mercenary with whom the group had done past business, at the Black Eye. He said he had provided Khair with what they knew about Janatha's disappearance, to see if the mercenary could come up with anything.

Dinendal observed that their trip to Reddansyr had been uneventful and mentioned that they had tried to find a local ranger. They had been informed by Ian Gryphonhawk that Belle, who had previously adventured with Aerikoth and Rahnee, was the only one in the area with such skills. She had not been seen in town for some time, however. Growing impatient, Dinendal went upstairs and woke up Rahnee. After she finished a quick breakfast, she spoke with Ian for a bit, then told the others that she thought she might know where to find Belle. She departed the inn, asking the others to leave word if they decided to head for Westgate in her absence. Her companions, however, decided to wait the rest of the morning before setting out.

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An Unintended Rescue

While Rahnee was still out and Aerikoth was studying his spellbook, Darrow and Dinendal decided to spend time exchanging jokes and drinks in the Giant's Folly common room. Their banter was interrupted, however, by a recently-arrived man named Dermot Kenner, whom Ian had pointed in their direction. Dermot introduced himself and told them that he had just arrived from Teziir, looking for Helm's Shadows; Dinendal acknowledged that Dermot was in the presence of half of the group. After initial introductions had been made, the three decided, with Ian's permission, to adjourn to the side room for a more private discussion.

There, Dermot explained that he had been given information in Teziir by “concerned parties” regarding Janatha's kidnapping, specifically that she had been taken by ship to Westgate. Dermot was questioned further by Dinendal and Darrow, who noted that they were seeking a local tracker to possibly help them with the search. When it was clear that nothing could be gained from further discussion, they headed back to the common room so that Dermot could satisfy his stomach's growling.

Shortly after midday, Rahnee returned to the inn, looking somewhat weary. She immediately asked for an ale and sat down with the others. Dermot was presented as someone who had some information about their current problem; Aerikoth arrived just as this was occurring and was similarly introduced. Aerikoth observed that Rahnee had not returned with Belle, their former ranger companion who was from the area. Rahnee indicated to the mage that Belle appeared to be out adventuring and seemed disinclined to comment further, placing her booted feet on the table as she consumed her drink.

Dermot then explained he had received information that Janatha, the kidnapped daughter of Council Member Queron Ulanthar, had been recently taken from Teziir to Westgate by ship. In response to Rahnee's query about how he found this out, Dermot admitted that it was second-hand information, but nevertheless was what Ulanthar's people had discovered. A friend had told him and also asked him to find Helm's Shadows to pass it on. Unfortunately, Dermot did not know the name of the ship.

After some talk, the group decided it was willing to trust Dermot and his information - at least provisionally. Aerikoth then inquired if Rahnee had been told by Dinendal and Darrow, in his absence, of his recent conversation with the Bedine mercenary Khair in Westgate. Rahnee said she had not and the wizard, after a sidelong glance at the elf and dwarf, proceeded to explain. Aerikoth had thought similarly, that Janatha most likely would be taken to Westgate, so during his last magical trip to the city had asked Khair to search out whatever information was available. The mercenary would be at the Black Eye tavern either that night or the following night, in order to share whatever he was able to uncover regarding Janatha.

Dermot volunteered his services, saying that he did not take his promises lightly and did not like the thought of the girl in danger. He said he could be of use as a tracker, if not as much of a warrior. Rahnee took his measure with some steel in her eyes, but her mood lightened some at the mention of Dermot's tracking skills, which also caused Darrow to grin at Rahnee; both of them recognized there was a need for that in the company. A poll of the members of Helm's Shadows resulted in the approval of Dermot's assistance. Aerikoth expressed his usual indifference to the actions of the others, although the wizard stated that he was intrigued at the thought of the Council Member's underlings going against his wishes in order to provide assistance to the group. (It seems that members of Queron's organization are more concerned with the return of their master's daughter, than in ostracizing the company for Aerikoth's actions. This shows that Queron has good people in his employ. --R)


As the company was already prepared, it took little time to say their farewells to Ian Gryphonhawk at the Giant’s Folly and strike out for Traders Road. As they passed the crossroads area, they noticed a group of wagons in the distance. Dinendal expressed his concern at possible bandit attacks and the group changed course to see about the caravan. Once at the crossroads, they were greeted by the head of the caravan, a man named Kleneman who worked for the Guldar Company out of Westgate. As he was on his way to Teziir, he inquired if there was any trading news from the city. In exchange for Rahnee informing him that Clan Ironhelm had agreed to resume trading with the city, Kleneman told her about increased shipping trade between Westgate and Starmantle, which he found curious since he did not have an explanation for it. (Rahnee was overly optimistic regarding Clan Ironhelm's ability to conduct any meaningful outside trade at this point, which I judge in keeping with her view of the world, although perhaps the intent was there. --R)

Taking their leave of the caravan, the adventurers headed east along Traders Road for Westgate, reaching the city's outskirts in the early morning. They headed for the Gatereach Inn, where Rahnee took the lead in introducing Dermot to a somewhat bleary-eyed Jandrico Swift. Despite the early hour, the innkeeper was able to provide them with two rooms. Aerikoth took his leave of the others, going to his own accommodations elsewhere for the remainder of the night.

Late in the morning of Alturiak 24, with Rahnee still resting from their travels and Aerikoth off elsewhere, Darrow, Dinendal and Dermot decided to reconnoiter Westgate taverns in search of information regarding the ship where Janatha was reportedly being held. By the evening, Darrow and Dermot had managed to find their way back to the Gatereach, although losing the elf somewhere along the way. As time was of the essence, the group decided to head for the Black Eye tavern, to see if Khair had come up with any useful information.

When they were a short distance away from the tavern, a boy ran up to Aerikoth and pointed out a dark alley corner, running away after his job was done. The four adventurers cautiously advanced to the mouth of the narrow alley entrance, where Khair was waiting for them. As Darrow kept a lookout, the mercenary wasted no time in informing them of what he had discovered: Janatha was being held on a ship called the Black Dragon, which was currently docked at the Shore and might be departing the city at dawn. For his work, Rahnee passed Khair a large pouch of gold. After thanking Rahnee for her generosity, the Bedine mercenary disappeared down the alley.

The four then made their way to the Shore, which was almost entirely deserted out-of-doors. The dark night allowed Dermot to make his way slowly and unseen towards the docks, where he confirmed the presence of two guards by a ship with a dragon-head prow. After some discussion, it was decided that Rahnee and Dermot would enter the ship first, to see if they could effect a rescue. If they were not out in ten minutes, or the others heard fighting, they were to assault the ship. Aerikoth cast a spell of invisibility on Dermot while Rahnee used her magical ring for the same effect. The two invisible companions then made their way carefully onto the ship, passing the two guards on the deck without being detected.

Only a short time later, however, Aerikoth and Darrow heard cries and the sounds of battle coming from the ship. The dwarf eagerly ran for the gangplank and quickly dispatched the one guard still topside. After struggling a bit with the hatch, Darrow lowered himself into the middle of a melee, with Aerikoth right behind. The dark confines of the ship's hold had allowed for an ambush of Rahnee and Dermot by several enemies, who however were soon dispatched by the battle-enraged dwarf and Aerikoth's spells.


Once Rahnee and Dermot’s wounds had been attended to, the companions noticed the sounds of banging coming from a crate in the back left of the hold. Examination of that and another nearby crate showed that they had airholes. Darrow meanwhile stripped some of their fallen opponents of their gear, which had Night Mask markings. After Dermot had failed to open the crate from which the noises were issuing, Darrow applied his strength and succeeded. As the crate lid was pulled off, the form of a bound and blindfolded girl could be seen inside.

Dermot and Darrow helped her out of the crate and removed her bonds as Rahnee rushed over, calling Janatha's name. The girl seemed to still be dazed, fighting to get some space and continuing to yell. After she settled down some, Rahnee calmly asked her if another woman was there. The girl looked around and uttered Janatha's name, saying she was gone. Rahnee explained that they were friends of hers. Aerikoth, who had seized some of their fallen opponents' weapons and inspected the other crate, calmly stated that since Janatha was not there, they should be leaving and should take the girl with them. Rahnee suggested heading for the house of Thessar the Warrior, at the top of the hill in the Shore district, as she did not believe the girl was in good enough shape to make it to the Hidden House with them. The others, eager to be away from the scene, agreed. The four adventurers and their new companion made their way to Thessar's home. The girl – who introduced herself as Shanni Krowe – still weaved a bit as she walked.

Once at Thessar’s house, Rahnee knocked on the door and identified herself, saying that she needed help. Thessar immediately let the group in, noticing Rahnee's wounds and then the fact that she had several companions with her. Darrow, in a surly mood, questioned who Thessar was and why they had come to his place, but the dwarf became friendlier after hearing that Thessar had once done a service for Clan Ironhelm. As various wounds were tended to, the four adventurers began to explain what had happened and why they were searching for Janatha to both Thessar and Shanni; the girl showed an eagerness to pay back her kidnappers for what they had done.

As the group recuperated, Thessar passed out ales to those who wanted refreshment, along with some spiced wine for Shanni. The girl, still a little unsteady, explained that she must have been given a sleeping draught while out with a male companion, as the next thing she remembered was waking up in the crate. While imprisoned, she was able to hear her captors speaking about "Astorians" and "slavery" which led her to believe that would be her fate. She said she knew little about her fellow captive Janatha, just that she had mentioned her father was named Queron and that she had previously been in Westgate with someone called Swift. In response to a question from Dermot, Shanni said that she had not been able to pick up much of anything from her captors' conversations about where they had taken Janatha, although the words "Vhammos" and "docks" had been mentioned by them.

As Shanni was talking, Darrow decided to take inventory of the equipment he had seized from their dead opponents. He dismissed most of it as flimsy and human-sized, but took a fancy to a helmet, even though it had a big dent in it that would take a while to fix. Rahnee then asked Thessar if they could stay the night. The warrior generously offered to put them up for as long as they desired, but thought it would be wiser for them to leave the area. Aerikoth and Darrow questioned Shanni further about “Vhammos” and she recalled having seen the name on some warehouses in the River Gate district. The wizard explained that it was one of the noble houses of Westgate and was rumored to have strong ties to the Night Masks. Shanni recalled that their manor was also in River Gate.

Rahnee inquired if Shanni had anyone or anywhere that she could go to for protection; the girl reluctantly admitted that she did not. Darrow offered up two ideas: first, to hide out at the Hidden House; second, to depart that evening for Teziir and have Shanni tell her tale to Queron Ulanthar. The dwarf observed that in either case, they would have to roust Dinendal from wherever he was nursing his ale hangover. It was decided that it would be best to head for the Hidden House. Thessar bid them a fond farewell, asking them to return to share stories when they could.


Rahnee went to check the Gatereach Inn for Dinendal's whereabouts, while the other four adventurers made their way through the dark streets of Westgate to the Temple District, where they entered the Hidden House. By chance, they encountered Dinendal inside, as he had thought the others would use it as a hideout if needed. Shanni, still wary, was introduced to the elf, who was solicitous of her condition. Rahnee arrived a short time after, ruefully commenting on the terrible condition of the place. The group made themselves as comfortable as they could and discussed their situation, pausing a couple of times to chase away or kill vermin. After it was decided that they would spend the night there and set up a watch, Aerikoth informed them that he would take leave of their current accommodations and would return in the morning.

The next day, Alturiak 25, Dinendal and Rahnee decided they needed to clear the Hidden House of vermin, if the place was to be at all habitable. Darrow, Dermot and Shanni left them to it and departed the building after they had made themselves presentable. The three made a side trip to pick up Shanni's stowed gear, which she had left with a man named Zacho at what she described as a bait and tackle shop. They then decided to return to the Gatereach and found Aerikoth there, calmly eating breakfast. While Goruna the gap-toothed serving woman made eyes at Dermot, the mage explained that the City Watch had arrived and was investigating the burning down of the Gatereach guest house, which had occurred earlier that month. Leaving the others to their meal, Aerikoth went upstairs to speak to Watch Commander Meynn and was joined shortly afterwards by Darrow after the dwarf had wolfed down his food.

As soon as the Watch had departed, Dermot and Shanni went upstairs to see how things had gone. Aerikoth stated that Commander Meynn had simply desired to obtain any information they had on the incident with the guest house, his presence having nothing to do with the events surrounding Janatha's disappearance. The wizard then queried Shanni extensively about the circumstances of her time in Westgate and her kidnapping. Shanni told him about working in Zacho's shop and described an encounter with a man called "Raphy" who met her in the Market district and then brought her to Big Edna's for a drink, which apparently had been drugged. (These kidnappers were using what must have been a tried and true method for them, for such things are not done just on the spur of the moment. Sadly, this implies that they had much success in the past, with victims who were not so fortunate as Shanni to be rescued. --C)

Later that morning, Rahnee and Dinendal returned to the Gatereach. Rahnee departed shortly afterwards, having been informed by Aerikoth that Watch Commander Meynn would like to speak with her about the investigation of the guest house's destruction, having missed her earlier. Darrow ordered another ale from Jandrico Swift while the group discussed their situation, and Shanni returned to Dinendal a cloak and crossbow that she had borrowed. After a few minutes, Aerikoth got a distant look in his eyes and excused himself, departing the inn without explanation and leaving the others to their own devices. (By now it appears that the wizard has trained his companions well to not expect any sort of discussion or explanation of his activities away from the group. --R)


Raiding and Departing

It was mid-afternoon on Alturiak 25 when the wizard returned to the Gatereach to collect Rahnee, Shanni and Darrow. The dwarf willingly left his ale at the prospect of some action, after Aerikoth explained that they needed to go to a place outside of River Gate, where Dermot was awaiting them. The four soon arrived in the vicinity of the Rising Raven and joined Dermot, who had been stealthily keeping an eye on one of the nearby buildings.

Aerikoth explained that Jamal had informed him that a group of Astorians had come to Westgate and were staying in one of the Rising Raven's outbuildings. Dinendal, meanwhile, had apparently gone off to check the Vhammos docks for any signs of Janatha's presence. Dermot pointed out the one building where he had heard occupants inside, also observing that there was a small army of Vhammos guards off to the east.

Rahnee carefully reconnoitered the building, noting an old, decrepit second-floor hoist on the back of it, which however did not seem to offer a means of ingress. Various options were discussed by the group, including having Aerikoth use a dimension door spell to enter the building, setting fire to the place, or attempting to climb up the backside. In the end, a quick assault through the door was selected, Aerikoth being able to unlock it with a magical chime in his possession.

The five ordered themselves for battle, Rahnee placing herself and Darrow in front and indicating that Aerikoth should use his protective stoneskin spell on Dermot. Shanni moved to the rear of the formation, sheathing her sword and pulling out a bow. Once they were all ready, Aerikoth used his magic on the door and the others went through it rapidly and silently.

Inside, they immediately faced off against an equal number of Astorians. Rahnee was wounded multiple times and Shanni caught a blow as the battle seesawed back and forth across the confined space. After a few minutes of hard fighting, however, the companions prevailed, with Aerikoth's magic assisting the axes, swords, and bows of the others.

A quick search of the area showed that Janatha was not there. While Rahnee examined a locked chest, Dermot indicated to the others that he had found a note on one of the bodies. It read: "Move the girl to the warehouse in Starmantle, for usual disposition. The special package should be delivered to the lair, posthaste" and was signed by "N". As Darrow cursed their luck, Shanni went over to the chest and was able to pick the lock, revealing some gold coins and gems, but nothing more of interest. She handed over the items to Rahnee and after some further looting of their downed foes, the group exited the building.

Moving a short distance away, they had just stopped to confer amongst themselves when a Vhammos guard coming out of the Rising Raven spotted them and asked them what they were doing. Dermot asked in return if there was a problem and the guard backed off, looking at them over his shoulder as he walked away. After putting some additional distance between themselves and the Rising Raven, the group again examined the note Dermot had found. Aerikoth recognized the seal on it as being that of the Astorians, a spiral shape resembling the letter A. The wizard also noted that the "N" might signify Nemar, about whom they had heard in Teziir.

Their blood still up from the fight, the companions huddled to share what information they had and to speculate on what had happened to Janatha. Dermot mentioned that no ships had been found near Vhammos castle during an exploration of the area, only a suspicious-looking sewer entrance. Opinion was split among the party on whether "the girl" in the note meant Janatha or perhaps Shanni. Darrow observed that since the ship they had hit had been heading to Starmantle, it would make sense if Shanni were "the girl" and Janatha the "special package" referred to. Regarding the lair mentioned in the note, none had any idea where or what that might be.


After the group safely made their way back to the Gatereach, with Aerikoth splitting off on the way, Rahnee decided she should go see if Dinendal needed some assistance (or could be found at all). This left Darrow, Dermot and Shanni together in an upstairs room at the inn, with drinks generously provide by Jandrico Swift, racking their brains about the situation. A while later, the three came down and Darrow told Jandrico that they were headed off on an excursion and would likely end up at the Black Eye.

That evening, the three adventurers returned to the Gatereach to find Aerikoth quietly having dinner in the back room. Darrow unceremoniously plunked himself down and announced that they had found the Vhammos docks after entering the sewers by the castle. Dermot commented, however, that the way was not direct and required "a long bloody walk" through the sewer. Darrow also mentioned that they had found some interesting side passages, including one that terminated in a chamber that had bone bats similar to the ones previously encountered in the lich's Deep Delve lair. A runed door was also in the chamber, but Shanni noted that it did not appear to have been used in a while. Darrow said it wouldn't have been a good idea to poke around there any further.

After everyone had their fill of dinner, with Goruna making eyes at Dermot as she delivered the food, the companions turned to discussing the significance of what they had found in the raid on the Astorians' hideout in Westgate. The cryptic note was re-examined, with Shanni expressing her uncertainty over the references made in it. At one point, Jandrico Swift stopped by to see if they had any further news; in response to a question from Darrow, he informed them that the harbor master could be found in the Westlight Harbor district.

As their debate resumed, Aerikoth asserted his view that Shanni must be the "girl" referred to in the note, given that Janatha would have been unlikely to be considered for the "usual disposition" of the gang, although Shanni was not fully convinced. (It appears that Shanni took offense at not being considered for "special" treatment by the kidnap gang. One would think that the daughter of one of Teziir's wealthiest men would be a more likely candidate, however. --R) All agreed, however, that they had no idea of where the "lair" mentioned in the note could be located. Aerikoth said that he would attempt to send word to Jamal, who he thought might know something about it.

Jandrico, obviously concerned about Janatha's fate, returned after a time and quietly asked if he could be of help. Dermot gestured at the Astorians' note, which was lying on the bar. The innkeeper quickly digested its contents, expressing his surprise at the mention of Starmantle. Jandrico observed that there had been rumors lately of Starmantle-bound ships with mysterious cargo, commenting that Shanni might have been such, had she not been rescued. He also retrieved and passed to Shanni a folded advertisement for an inn in the city, which he said might be of use if they were headed there. The four agreed that the next day they should plan to see the harbor master and investigate going by ship to Starmantle.

Rahnee at this point returned to the Gatereach, her search for Dinendal having proved fruitless. Dermot was somewhat disturbed by the elf's absence, although Rahnee thought he had perhaps gone to the market to pick up supplies for the Hidden House. Before the group could say much more on the subject, Rahnee perked up at the sound of a man's voice in the common room, shortly after which a blue-robed and extravagantly mustachioed man walked into view. She greeted him happily as "Maddie!" and immediately gave him a fierce hug.

Madrigal Roaringhorn engaged his sister in some witty banter and, after acknowledging Aerikoth and Darrow, was introduced by Rahnee to Dermot and Shanni. Once the pleasantries were over, Madrigal pulled Rahnee aside for a private conversation as the others looked on and wondered what this could portend; the Waterdeep-based wizard would not be in Westgate if it were not important. The two spoke in low tones for a while, then Madrigal walked back to the group, excusing himself until the following morning.

Rahnee explained to the others that she had been summoned home by her "Lord Brothers" on urgent family business, although she was still unsure exactly what was the matter and how long she would be away. Darrow said that while he did not like it, he respected the fact that Clan came first, adding that he would offer to join her if their own business was not so urgent. Aerikoth, citing a previous conversation with Rahnee about family obligations, also expressed his understanding of her need to depart. Rahnee promised to follow them as soon as she could, handing some gemstones to Aerikoth and asking the wizard to find Janatha and bring her home. She then retired upstairs to a private room furnished by Jandrico, in order to prepare for her morning departure.


Early the next day, Alturiak 26, the adventurers gathered once again at the Gatereach, Darrow being the first up and discovering Dinendal had returned. Once Dermot and Shanni had also come down and Aerikoth appeared, Jandrico noted that Rahnee had already left. (Saying formal goodbyes sometimes is both difficult and unnecessary, especially if there is nothing that has been left unsaid among companions. And perhaps Rahnee does not intend for this to be her final exit. --R) Dinendal said that he had hoped to see her before her sojourn, as well as his own. Aerikoth explained to him that the local Astorians had been dealt with permanently and that according to his information they should head to the Watch Docks in order to inquire after a ship bound for Starmantle. The wizard observed that it did not appear that the elf would be joining them, however, if he had heard correctly.

Dinendal appeared even more animated and talkative than usual, his mind clearly flying ahead to wherever he was thinking about. He pulled out several scrolls and pressed them on Shanni, saying that she should use them to keep the others alive amidst the confusion of battle. He then gifted Dermot with a bundle of arrows and some fine ale obtained from dwarven halls, asking him to use his wisdom for the group. For Darrow, he had a bottle of his favorite stout and a healing potion, which the dwarf accepted while asking somewhat confusedly where Dinendal would be going. To Aerikoth the elven bard then passed a parchment full of notations in the margins.

Only after he had finished with his words and gifts did Dinendal explain that he had been called to Cormyr. The elf said that he would be traveling there as a favor to Jamal and Jokull, saying that the Purple Knight had apparently found something of interest; Jamal had then called upon Dinendal for his unique skills - whatever they were - to help the man. Aerikoth said that he had presumed as much, when Dinendal had first mentioned journeying.

As the group finished their breakfast, Dinendal mentioned that he would at least be able to accompany them to the Watch Docks. The five were able to locate the building without much difficulty and inquired about passage to Starmantle from the clerk on duty. After checking his files for the docks schedule, he said that there should be a ship departing from the Urdo docks in Market district at Highsun that day. The group then made their way directly to the docks, where they were informed that Captain Halfoy and his ship, called the Sea Sprite, would be departing in several hours, with passengers asked to arrive at the docks at eleven bells in order to be ferried out to the vessel. (It seems that Dinendal slipped away at this point, having already said his lengthy farewells. I must say that the elven bard/cleric came across in these chronicles as rather flighty, although a true companion. --C)

For the rest of the morning, Darrow, Dermot and Shanni spent their time wandering amongst the vast shelves of Shalush Myrkeer's shop. Unsure of what exactly to get for the sea voyage, Darrow settled on a spare suit of studded leather armor, not wanting to have to rely on wearing his heavy plate aboard ship. The three were disappointed to find out that potions could only be had in the temples, as they had been hoping to find all they needed in the shop. With time pressing, they decided to head straight for the docks.

At the Urdo dock, the guards on duty pointed them towards the sailor Neddy, who was in charge of the pinnace that would take them out to the ship. He informed the adventurers that price for them would be ten gold, if they vowed to defend the ship against any corsairs. Darrow gladly paid his money, excited at the prospect of fighting pirates, while Dermot and Shanni more reluctantly passed the sailor their fares.

After about a half-hour, the pinnace arrived at the side of the Sea Sprite and the three were helped on board. Captain Halfoy greeted them briefly, mentioning that the mage Aerikoth was already in his cabin and studying, not wishing to be disturbed. While shouting instructions to the crew, the captain also explained the rules of the ship to his new passengers, which were essentially to stay out of the way and obey the captain. As the ship got underway, the adventurers talked eagerly of their upcoming voyage of discovery.


By late afternoon that day, stormy weather appeared and the captain asked Darrow, Dermot and Shanni to go below decks while it lasted. The three compared notes on how they could pass the time, while the ship appeared to lose momentum and they could hear the captain cursing on the main deck. Aerikoth emerged from his cabin and after briefly checking the weather on deck, returned below decks. A few words of greeting were exchanged, then the wizard went back in his cabin to continue reading.

As the storm grew stronger, evidenced by the sounds of thunder and some water seepage from above into the cabin deck, the three in the common area heard some faint retching noises and some thumping. Deciding that if it was the wizard that he should not be bothered, they instead went out on deck to see what was happening. The storm had not relented and the captain, evidently not in a good mood, ordered them back to the cabins.

Once more below decks, the three - now wetter for their trouble - eventually decided to investigate the faint retching and thumping noises they kept hearing. In the corner cabin, apparently used for storage, they discovered the sounds were coming from inside a large cabinet. As it was jammed shut, various unsuccessful attempts were made at opening it, which attracted Aerikoth's attention. By this point, it was evident that someone was inside, cowering fearfully before Darrow and Dermot's efforts to break apart the cabinet, which Shanni observed had been barred from within.

After some additional efforts by the group, the person announced that he was coming out. Following about a minute of work, a man emerged, partially covered in vomit and wearing clothes little better than rags. Quickly moving to sit on the floor, the man commented that the group was persistent, as Dermot asked him if he were all right. Somewhat wide-eyed after noticing Aerikoth's staff, he asked who they were. Dermot told him that they were passengers and asked him in turn who he was.

The man introduced himself as Errend and complained about his bad luck. He had not expected that sailors would find him, but was betrayed by the sickening motion of the ship and the unexpected presence of passengers belowdecks. Errend then asked if they were going to turn him in, Darrow replying that it depended on why he had stowed away. Errend stood dramatically for a moment, declaring that the tale would chill their bones, but then thought better of it, carefully sinking to the floor again before relating his story.

Errend related that he had been working as a caravan guard until the winter hit and trade dried up between Westgate and Teziir, due to the cold and banditry, along with reports of weird creatures being spotted near the road. He then tried to find a livelihood in Westgate, which was difficult, so he ended up living at the Shore ("not a nice place" in his words.) Down on his luck, he heard about a job that would be easy money, no questions asked, where he just had to show up at a particular place at night. Errend said that things got fuzzy from this point, but he thought that he put up a fight before everything went dark. Meanwhile, as Shanni was listening to Errend's description of what happened, her face began to assume a haunted expression.

Errend said that afterwards he woke up in some place that had to have been a temple, although he had never seen it before. He saw that he was not the only one there, as a couple of others were trussed up next to him. While he was lying there, one of the other captives was dragged off. After about a minute, Errend described hearing a wet scream, then nothing more. He was then put in a dark room with the remaining prisoner. After having gone to sleep and then waking up again, Errend described feeling like he had been drugged. After he regained his wits, he could see that it was night out and he was back in the same alley he had started from. He then decided he had better get out of Westgate while he still could. Not being rich, he stowed away on the ship, describing how it hadn't been too hard to get past the guards, hiding among some barrels. Then he found some tools and barred himself in the cabinet, figuring that no one could get it open and he could sneak away whenever was best, once they reached port.


In response to questions from Shanni and Darrow, the stowaway Errend said that he could not remember anything further to identify the temple he had been taken to in Westgate, it having been too dark. Dejectedly, he explained that he had been hoping to make his way to the Order of Kainen in Starmantle, in the hopes that they would take him in. He described the Order as a noble brotherhood of warriors and expressed hope that he could become a squire or the like. Dermot probed his memory further, asking if he could remember any smells from the temple. Screwing his face up in thought, Errend was able to recall a kind of sweet and cloying smell in the temple, with a bit of a metallic tang in the air as well.

At this point Darrow declared that he did not see any reason to turn Errend in to the ship's captain, although he could not speak for the others. Dermot appeared to be thinking it over, while Shanni stated she saw no reason to either. Aerikoth, having remained silent until this point, noted his indifference but asked a question of Errend, inquiring who had told him to meet at the spot where he was abducted. Errend said the person had not used his real name, as he was simply called Dagger, but he was understood to work for the Night Masks.

Errend could shed no further light on the circumstances of his release after being kidnapped, although he said the fact that he came out of the experience with no money or other possessions on him proved it had not simply been a dream. (So says many a drunk waking up in an alley the next morning, although Errend's tale appears to be too detailed to be simply the ramblings of a poor sot. --R) He was eager to not be turned over to the ship's captain and said all he wanted was to get to the Order of Kainen in Starmantle; should the party help him, perhaps one day he could do them a favor in return. In response to a question from Shanni, Errend admitted that he knew nothing of Starmantle, other than that the Order was supposed to be located in the western sector of the city.

After a bit of discussion, Darrow decided to go ahead and offer to pay the captain for Errend's passage, although he warned the stowaway not to take him for a sucker and ask for any handouts in the future. Errend rushed to praise Darrow's generosity and promised never to ask for anything again, also saying that he would be in the dwarf's debt. Aerikoth then advised Errend to clean himself up as the others went to speak to the captain. (Darrow's kind-heartedness is gratifying to see. The dwarf has a gruff exterior, but he clearly has a soft spot for the underdogs in life. Perhaps he identifies with them, in some way. --C)

As the group stepped out on deck, Captain Halfoy greeted them cheerily, observing that the bad weather had passed and they should be arriving in Starmantle in an hour. Halfoy's cheer quickly evaporated when Darrow informed him of the "extra passenger" and at first the ship captain vowed that Errend would walk the plank. Halfoy’s anger turned to surprise and then pleasure, however, when Darrow counted out the gold for Errend’s passage. He informed the group that the ship would arrive at the Northern Docks district of Starmantle and that they should make whatever plans necessary before landfall.

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