2 Kythorn 1481
The Year of the Grinning Halfling
I overheard some people talking about a job at the Flagon. Which isn’t really anything new. It seems as though every tavern I play in has some band of young adventurers planning to go out on some quest. This one was particularly interesting however in that the job involves rooting out a red dragon that is supposedly lurking in the ruins of Highcliff. The one who introduced himself as Hory said he doesn’t believe it really is a dragon. We bet 10 lords on it.
I’m not comfortable with the idea of another red dragon so close to Neverwinter. And if Hory’s right, and it’s not a red dragon, well that’s worth knowing too. The 1,000 lord reward that’s being offered doesn’t hurt either. So I introduced myself to the group and offered my services in their quest. We agreed to meet up back at the Flagon in the morning.
So I suppose now I’m an adventurer now.
I met up with the others, and we set out for Highcliff. Along the way, I catch myself sizing up my new companions, trying to determine how much of a threat they would pose. How I would deal with each of them if I needed to. Amafrey is a powerful caster, but relies heavily on preparation over improvisation. Asterion seems to rely much on his superior strength—slow him and strike from a distance. Basajaun has some nature magic but is still attuning his skills to the lands of Faerûn—may be more susceptible to trickery? Hory seems particularly agile—keep him in sight, don’t let him get the jump on me.
And I don’t know why I did that. It scares me a bit, that my natural inclinations are those of a predator. With luck, we’ll soon all be good friends, and none of this will matter anyway.
It took most of the day to arrive at Highcliff. We decided to scout the ruins before making camp. Amafrey cast a ritual to detect magic in the area. Ritual magic seems to tedious, I’m almost not sure why anyone would bother with it. After what seems like an eternity of waiting, she finishes the spell. Apparently, there is a great deal of shadow magic within the ruins. Have the Netherese been here?
We entered the ruins and explored the first few rooms. Encountered some kobolds who claimed to be serving Klauth. If Old Snarl is interested in this place, maybe there really is a dragon here. Or maybe it’s just kobolds not being very bright. Hard to tell really. There were also some shadow creatures that attacked us, confirming Amafrey’s warning about shadow magic.
After these encounters, we decided to make camp and get some rest before proceeding deeper into the ruins.
We headed back into the ruins. After clearing out the remaining shadows, it was as though a fog was lifted, and we found a stairway leading down into some tunnels under the keep. Asterion said they were likely carved by lizardfolk. The tunnels branch out in all different directions, forming a confounding maze. Fortunately, Asterion has a knack for mazes and was able to lead us through. Thank Bahamut for that. I hate mazes.
At the end we found a chamber with roasting mutton and a stage to one side. We were surprised to be welcomed by the very dragon we were looking for—not red, but copper. I collected my 10 lords from Hory.
Kyprios is a lively fellow to say the least. A bit of showman, but I respect that. He seems honorable enough. I feel like we can trust him. It seems that he too has been working against Klauth, who apparently believes he is destined to destroy the Abolethic Sovereignty. We agreed to do some work for Kyprios as an adventuring party.
Our first job for our new patron was to help him close the shadow crossing in the ruins. Kyprios performed the ritual from the Material side, while we crossed over to the Shadowfell to seal it from that side. Amafrey performed the ritual while the rest of us provided assistance and tried to fend off the shadow creatures that kept attacking. We had to work quickly, as the shadows just kept coming at us in ever greater numbers. We were surrounded, and a humanoid shadow creature the size of house began lumbering towards us. I tried to slow it down, but my ray of frost didn’t even phase it. Thankfully, Amafrey completed the ritual just in the nick of time, and Kyprios pulled us back to the Material just before the shadow crossing closed for good.
Before heading back to Neverwinter, we decided to clear out the rest of the keep. There was another group of kobolds holed up in one of the rooms upstairs. Basajaun was able to take down most of them. We took the survivor, a kobold named Krin, prisoner. He is now serving Kyprios instead of Klauth, so that seems like as good an outcome as we could hope for.
Then there was still the matter of collecting the reward. Kyprios gave us a letter of his “surrender” to deliver to one of Klauth’s servants, a man named Brandis Vrye. He even sent along some Netherese artifacts as a gift. He said that Klauth is seeking adventurers to send on an expedition to Returned Abeir, and that we should use this as an opportunity to get close. I worry about getting too close to Klauth. Does he know who I am? What’s to keep him from killing me for the secrets that Silverwing’s journal contains? Though it pains me to part with the only piece of my family that my parents left, I decided to leave the journal with Kyprios for safekeeping. I only pray that my trust in him is not misplaced.
In the meantime, it turns out that Hory’s name is actually Thawcus, and that he is spy working for some heretical movement that worships both Selûne and Shar. He says his organization was destroyed, and that there was a traitor among them. I think I saw this in a play once. Very cloak and dagger. That he would willingly worship a goddess as cruel as Shar gives me pause. Though he’s seemed a faithful enough companion so far. But then, as Basajaun pointed out to me, it’s useless arguing religion with a true believer. I tell him I’m just going to continue calling him Hory, and he seems to prefer it that way in any case.
Amafrey found in her spellbook a card from the fabled Deck of Many Things—the Vizier. She seems reluctant about pursuing it, but an artifact of such power would be a very valuable thing to possess.
And Basajaun seems concerned about some evil presence in Blacklake. He said the animals there refer to it as an “infestation.”
And all this on our first tenday as an adventuring company. It looks like we have our work cut out for us.