COLD PART OF TOWN
Under the flag of the Lionshield Coster Merchant Company, a caravan of wagons travel northeast out of Waterdeep upon the High Road. The journey is not without danger, as the presence of bandits and highwaymen are an ever increasing concern. To protect the cargo intended for the Coster’s outposts in Phandalin and Cold Harbour, adventurers were taken on as additional security for the wagon train. Each had their own motivation for doing so, but as the caravan made its way across the Vispanian countryside, they began to bond with one another, as tends to happen when peril becomes ones daily routine.
The half-elf, Elrian Omaleth and the Aasimar, Nammósi Havela, knew each other from the streets of Waterdeep, having been part of the Hellblazers’ network of alley urchins. The half-orc, Kari Strom, was hungry for adventure, having spent his youth at sea sailing the Vispanian and Crescentian Coasts. The shadowy high elf, Peron Dalanthan, given his perchance for roguishness, was equally intent on a life on the road. The Tabaxi merchant, Nodnal Cymric, hoped to gather songs for his growing repertoire, and to peddle his wares — books of poetry, song lyrics, myths and legends, and the like — on the frontier. The lone veteran, and human, of the group, Raben Crawfjord, was a holy man from the north country who had long been employed by Lionshield as a healer and guide.
While not tasked on the journey with actual conflict, the adventurers’ mere presence, and the glint of their steel, was enough to send more than one bandit party scampering for the safety of the nearby hills. They considered themselves lucky as they pulled into Phandalin on a chilled Autumn night, with thoughts of an early winter on everyone’s mind as they listened to the crush of hoarfrosted snow beneath the weight of their wagons’ wheels.
Lanterns lit the way into the village as they pulled up before the Lionshields Coster of Phandalin, governed by Linene Graywind.
“Look lively, lads,” Raben called out. “We’ll be wanting to make a good impression with the maven of the trading post. I’ll see to the unloading while the lot of you play nice with the mistress. Come along ya, lubbers,” he barked to the wagon crew, “have at ya, then. Frigga’ll have your hides if we’re not unloaded before the witching hour.”
With that business well in hand, the adventurers dismounted and made their way toward the entrance to the Lionshield Coster. The streets were silent, save for raucous revelry resounding from the nearby Stonehill Inn… though all of that would soon change.
Within the Coster, the adventurers discovered Linene Graywind being shaken down by men, they would learn, in service to the Miners Exchange, a mining guild who had taken over the duty of “protection” of Phandalin and the surrounding territory.
The adventurers paid her “dues” and the men left through the rear entrance while Graywind repaid her saviors’ kindness, with interest, from a hidden strongbox in the Coster’s fireplace. As she explained the intricacies of Phandalin politics, cries from outside roused the adventurers. They raced outside to witness one of their traveling companions, Mulva Monroka. along with her horse and carriage, be devoured by a monstrous white dragon, then fly off toward the ruins of an ancient manor.
Linene Graywind explained that the dragon had recently moved into the Sword Mountains, driving out orcs, goblins, and other beasts, including a manticore, making life in the region far more dangerous. That’s when the mining guild began demanding money for protection as they fended off attacks from the roving bands of monstrosities driven out of their mountain homes to harry the frontiersmen of Phandalin.
She offered to put up their wagoneers, while they sought rooms in the nearby Stonehill Inn. There, they took in the patronage as the staff served them Blood Ale and venison stew. Except for Nod who asked for a saucer of milk and fish. After the meal, the Tabaxi joined Peron and El in meeting with three well-dressed patrons whom they had overhead discussing the dragon attacks. Nammosi recognized one of them, Xandibar LeFrain, as the current master of the Zhentarim, one of the more prominent organized crime syndicates in Waterdeep.
Xandibar explained he was in Phandalin checking on his interests in the Miners Exchange. He and his associates had hired a band of mercenaries to kill the dragon, paying them 100g up front, but they had been hold up in the ruins of Herron House ever since. Xandibar offered to pay the adventurers 1000g for killing the dragon, but first, to prove their worth, they must retrieve the 100g they had paid to the Herrons.
Meanwhile, Nammosi, Kari, and Raben were approached by Rhaina Sinclair. She and her step-father, Alford Mann, were members of the Tavastari tribe of Stahlkrahe to the north. Mann was dying and wanted one last adventure before death took him and he was hellbent on slaying this dragon. She begged that should they take up the challenge that they allow her and her father to join them in the hunt. They agreed to consider it. As Rhaina left the table, informing them that they would be camped at the base of Herron House Hill, she left behind a a compass engraved with a white dragon on its ivory base. They would later learn it was magical and suspected based on its movements, that it directed them toward the dragon’s whereabouts.
Meeting together in El‘s room, the adventurers decided to allow the woman and her step-father to join them, and that their best course of action was to, at the very least, investigate the Herrons. Under cover of darkness, the adventurers and their new companions stealthily crept up on the ruins of Herron House, spying two sentries before a door at the fore, and two more further back, guarding the rift in the side of the manor.
El used magic to lull the guards to sleep, and while Nod perched himself up on the manor as a lookout, Kari and Peron carried the sleeping guards under a nearby tree. Nammosi performed a ruse, convincing the wakened guards that a band of attackers had infiltrated the manor and that they were found sleeping at their post. The guards readily gave up the strength of the force inside, naming their leader and the Herron‘s spellcaster. Satisfied, Nammosi sent them away into the village with coin and the promise that the adventurers would set things right.
— end session —