Tuesday Evenings on the Sword Coast

Nandar Keep and the Seven Snakes

After clearing the goblins from the town, the group decided to visit Nandar Keep and see if it was also infested by goblins or if anyone had survived. If nothing else, they could see a cart atop the smashed bridge to the keep that they figured they could use a wheel from to fix the one in town to haul away any loot they found.

guard.jpgKanut of the Whalebones cleared the 15’ gap in the broken bridge with plenty of room to spare, and built a quick rope bridge for the rest of the crew to cross safely. In the keep, they found that Lady Nandar had been crushed by one of the stones, but four of her guards survived. The guards (Sydiri, Torem, Alara, and Kaelen) had no leader, as the captain of the guard also perished in the cloud giant attack, and had been debating what to do about their current situation.

Countess Kessa found this to be a problem she was used to, and quickly put the guards to work in the kitchen, as a good meal and a rest seemed to be in order.

The group’s rest was interrupted by the arrival of a group of unsavory-looking characters on horseback. They rode into the village square and called out for Kella Darkhope. Kella came down out of the inn to meet with the leader, then pointed toward the keep.

The half-elf leader of the band, Xolkin Alassandar, approached the bridge to parlay with our heroes. Finding himself at an advantage, he declared to the group that he and his group, the Seven Snakes, were taking Nightstone as an outpost. Kessa objected that just because the current lady was dead did not mean the town was unclaimed, and that Baronne Shaille Alton’s claim of lordship over the whole area still stands. This argument did not strike Xolkin’s sword arm as particularly convincing. Figuring he had the heroes cornered in the keep, he offered them safe passage through the village should they decide to leave, but the town would be an outpost for the Black Network.

After posting a pair of guards at the low end of the bridge, Xolkin, Kella, and the remaining bandits took up in the smashed inn. Ptahmin strode down to the end of the bridge to talk to the two guards posted there. He found the bandits had dragged some crates out to make a makeshift table and stools, and were starting up a dice game. The bandits had been ordered not to start anything, so they allowed Ptahmin and Kanut to join them.

As it turned out, neither of the bandits had any real skill at gambling— but neither did Ptahmin nor Kanut, so while gold pieces moved around the table, the game was pretty anticlimactic in its result. That was fine by Gilraen, who used the distraction of the gambling to go sneak over the parapet to the stables. There she began a collection of equestrian tack, taking every bit, bridle, and reins out of the stables and bringing them back to the keep.

The decision was made to strike before dawn. The stealthiest of the group would set up to ambush the two guards, and Ptahmin would go out to talk with them. On his signal, Kanut and Gilraen would join him in quietly silencing the guards. Somewhat amazingly, this went exactly to plan.

The next plan was an assault on the inn. Ptahmin would lead the keep’s guards in the front door, while everyone else went around to the back of the in where a cloud giant boulder had demolished the kitchen wall. They noticed one of the rooms upstairs had a candle lit, indicating someone was likely awake, but continued with the plan.

xolkin.pngThe four remaining bandits were in the common room downstairs, but Kella and Xolkin were nowhere to be seen. As they dispatched the bandits, the other two came downstairs. Kella fell quickly, but Xolkin had been awake, so he was better prepared for this fight— he was wearing his armor, and drank a Potion of Invulnerability before he went downstairs to join the fray. He quickly knocked Hedge unconscious, but it wasn’t long before he found himself surrounded. Kessa asked for his surrender, but once Kella Darkhope fell, he wanted nothing but revenge.

Xolkin knocked out Gilraen and two of the guards before he was finally defeated. Hedge and Ptahmin healed everyone as best as they could, but everyone was pretty beat up.

A quick search of Xolkin’s room at the inn found his flying snake, which the team quickly killed. They also found a message that Xolkin was about to send out: “Objective Secured.”

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On the Road to Nightstone

On the Trade Way between Waterdeep and Daggerford, there sits a crossroads inn where the road forks off to Nightstone. Our heroes had traveled from all around the Sword Coast with varying reasons to reach Nightstone, and took off as a group to make the last day’s journey.

As they walked through the hills toward town, they began to hear a bell ringing erratically. Coming down out of the foothills, they could see no activity in the town, and could see that the bridge between the town and Nandar Keep had been destroyed. There were many footprints headed north out of town as they approached the drawbridge, but curiosity piqued, they decided head into town.

There were a pair of wargs in the town square, which they dispatched fairly easily by taking up refuge in the guard towers near the drawbridge and assaulting the wargs from the tops of the towers.

They found many boulders strewn about the town square and could see many buildings smashed around them. In the middle of the town square was a divot, as if a memorial or something had been removed.

They then went to the temple to investigate the bell’s incessant, but extremely cacophonous ringing.

Vark.jpgIn the temple, they found Breedo and Vark, a pair of goblins, gleefully taking turns swinging from the bell rope. Breedo didn’t survive the interruption of his fun, but the group kept Vark alive.

Ptahmin attempted to interrogate Vark by getting philosophical, by noting how he and the goblin were of a kind, both outcasts in a world of civilized beings. Vark, unfortunately, was not the sharpest tool in the shed, and his eyes glazed over, almost mesmerized by Ptahmin’s intelligent discourse… or at least the two out of every three words he understood of it.

Ptahmin asked about the stone, working on the theory that the Nightstone was what had been removed from the town square. Vark knows about stones. Grey ones, brown ones, green ones covered in moss…

Hedge laughed, and switched to the goblin’s own language, asking about the large black stone in the center of town. He asked perhaps if the goblin chief knew anything about it.

Vark was happier to converse (alas, poorly) in his native language, but knew nothing of a black stone. Unfortunately, bringing up the poor fellow’s chief reminded him of what fate awaits him if he’s found cavorting with the enemy, and this slowed his response until he was reminded what fate befell his friend, Breedo.

It was about this point that Hedge had a brainstorm: Perhaps the rocks weren’t thrown by trebuchets, but maybe by giants? The rocks were about the right size… but then he realized that while he didn’t see tracks made by siege engines on his approach to town, he also didn’t see the footprints of giants.

sktkella.jpgGilraen and Kanut grew tired of interrogating goblins, and at this point they thought the best plan was to explore the inn and the trading post in search of ale. In the Inn, they found a goblin looting the larder, who attempted to get away but was too weighed down by her sack full of frying pans and pantry staples to get far. Upstairs, as they split up to check the four rooms, Kessa found a woman huddled behind the bed in what’s left of her room. Kella Darkhope explained that she had been in town when the town was attacked, and she hid here while the rest of the townspeople ran.

Our heroes were pretty sure she was hiding something, but couldn’t discern what. Further interrogation told them how the town was attacked— cloud giants blew in on a flying citadel and they took the Nightstone from the center of town. The heroes offered to remove the offending goblins from the town, and ensured Kella was armed before she returned to hiding.

Tressym_FRCS2e.gifAs the group explored the town, they found a farmhouse where the farmer had been impaled under a rock, and Gilraen recognized the name on the farmhouse. She had a package from Hal Southwell to deliver to his sister, Semile, who was likely to be found under that boulder.

Exploring the trading post yielded only small amounts of ale but some useful equipment. Slowly, our heroes cleaned out the goblin scourge from the town. The only other creature they found in the town was a terrified tressym that bolted its home to perch atop a windmill. We broke for the evening with Hedge trying to coax the tressym down from its perch, having cleared the goblin scourge from the town.

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