Alturiak the 8th, The Year of the Gauntlet (02/08/1369 DR)
The party find themselves at home in their small cottage just outside the trading town of Tyrluk after a rather unremarkable day when roused by horn blasts entering town, signifying the approach of King Azoun IV Obarskyr and his entourage. Valaes Berylyn, Andolar’s father and the other boys pseudo adopted father is summoned as the king’s group passes through the city.
The boys had run on to investigate as well, and while trying to tail their father out of the main crowd of inquiring townspeople, Blu got caught up (drunkenly) on a fence while Alwyn ran interference with the crowd so they could all get away from the questions related to their father.
After finding out that the king requested Valaes to act as a personal scout for a hunting party chasing a mysterious golden beast nearby, the boys (Andolar, Alwyn and Blu) accompany Valaes out of town toward the keep upon High Horn mountain.
The group encounters a group of drunkards demanding to know the king’s business on the way out of town, defusing the situation before it escalates out of hand. Thanks in no small part to Blu’s use of magic to influence the emotions of the crowd.
Upon reaching the keep, the boys are faced with a number of mild slights by the men of the keep as soon as they are separated from Valaes (who is taken to plan the hunting expedition the next day). It is then that the boy’s realize that (with the exception of Alwyn) their demihuman nature may cause them to be looked down upon, especially amongst the Purple Dragon soldiers in the keep.
The boys are taken to the central bathhouse within the keep by Duke Bhereu Ammaeth’s squire, Yarod Tinsley, where they proceed to take out their frustrations verbally on the boy tasked with taking care of them. While the boy leaves them in the bath house, Alwyn proceeds to get a bit handsy, stealing bars of soap and any other useful items he can find. Meanwhile, Andolar managed to convince Blu to clean himself and bathe (a feat).
The night went on without much of a hitch, besides some continued harassment of the squire tasked with tending to them and Alwyn sneaking off to the kitchens to steal some food and an inscribed knife that belonged to the head chef.
Alturiak the 9th, The Year of the Gauntlet (02/09/1369 DR)
In the morning, the boys woke up in the keep and went about splitting up to go through their morning rituals in peace. Blu was the first to the mess hall and met with one of Cormyr’s famous War Wizards. The fortune he told was one of darkness and bad omens, but the woman was pleased with the service and vastly overpaid with a magical ring and kind words given to him in exchange.
After everyone assembled in the main courtyard with the hunting procession, the three were told to report in with a guard captain who was overseeing the manpower of the hunting party. The guard was irritable to begin with and even less pleased to be charged with “babysitting” demihumans and their little wretch of a friend. He promptly put them at the back of the caravan, along with a few squires to help with running items back and forth amongst the party.
As the party left, the King, Duke Bhereu Ammaeth, Lord Commander Thursk Dembarron, Lord Aunadar Bleth and Valaes made up the main hunting party, along with a few War Wizards and Purple Knight guards for the king’s protection. Behind them came the two caravans, containing all manner of weapons, food preserves and items in case the hunt took longer than expected.
The hunt wound it’s way through the mountains and came down through the foothills, making it’s way to the edge of the King’s Forest. It was here that the wagons could no longer proceed, as the trail led through a narrow copse that would not accept so large a wagon. The king’s hunting party went on, and the surly guard captain tasked the boys (along with a few squires) with the task of trailing them, returning to run items back and forth as necessary.
The group was on foot, and only caught up to the hunting party after shouts were heard. The five of them raced forward, hoping to catch the party and help in whatever way they could. They stopped at a bluff, overlooking more forest below, but they could hear the sound of battle below. As they went to go on, the two younger boys who came along stopped, terrified. No doubt in large part due to the constant teasing of Blu, Andolar and Alwyn on the way through the woods.
As the group approached, they heard the thunder of a large beast running toward them. They all ducked behind trees, unfortunately for Alwyn, he found himself knocked flat by a raging, gigantic golden bull as it leveled the tree he hid behind, tossing him aside in a heap. The beast continued for a few dozen yards, before disintegrating into golden powder, so fine most of it faded in the breeze. Andolar quickly healed Alwyn and Blu collected a few small vials of the golden dust, as much as he could find.
After the few moments it took to regroup, the three of them decided to go forward. As soon as they entered the clearing, they saw Lord Aunadar Bleth hovering over King Azoun IV Obarskyr. As soon as Bleth noticed them, he promptly dropped the king and turned in their direction, weapons drawn.
Moments of unease for both sides passed before Lord Bleth began issuing commands. He instructed the boys to gather bodies and return to the keep. A quick explanation by Bleth told of a story where the massive golden beast quickly overtook the party and gassed the group with some cloud of foul paralytic that rendered everyone unconscious. Bleth claimed to have avoided the gassing by being too far behind the main group. He then grabbed the body of the King and Lord High Marshall Bhereu upon his horse and sped off through the forest, leavng the three boys to contend with the 5 bodies left laying in the mud.
Left with Lord Commander Thursk Dembarron, Valaes, the two red wizards and the Duke’s squire the boys manage to hoof out of the forest only to find everyone gone and the other boys, Lord Bleth and the caravan all missing, turned back to High Horn.
So the boys did the only thing they could and retraced their steps back up the mountain trail with their companion’s unconscious bodies over their shoulders in the middle of a lightning storm.
At one point, Allyn had thought that he saw shadowy figures slip out of a distant lightning strike, but he couldn’t be sure. He shared his thoughts with the group, and they all agreed to be vigilant in their continued journey to High Horn. This didn’t last long though, as a few hours later a lightning strike landed right in front of them, and indeed two shadowy figures slipped through.
A brief skirmish, in which the companions emerged victorious, if a little worse for the wear left them with one body, a goblinoid that’s skin was of the blackest black, the stuff of shadows. They committed to carrying that body too, for proof of a possible invasion in the Stormhorns.
When they finally arrived at the keep, they were greeted with chaos. The keep was in disarray with the fall of the King and his group. The bodies the boy’s brought with them were brought inside after a bit of irritated debate outside the hold over who would handle the bodies, and who was in charge of the keep. Valaes and the Duke’s squire were ushered into a non-emergency room with a medicus that was on night duty and not the sharpest at his craft.
Frustrated, the boys began demanding answers, only to be greeted with indifference to their plight or worse, ignored all together. Blu went to investigate the beast that had assaulted the group, finding only minor mention in some history book of a former assassination attempt on a former king 500 years ago using construct like creature called an Abraxus, a golden bull. No more could be found in the hold’s keep however, and Blu left with the book in hand.
The group was finally granted audience, but not by any official of the keep but by Lord Bleth. Lord Bleth answered their questions easily enough, but was very quick to arrange transportation for the group and their father to a nearby town were they could get better care for Valaes.
Alturiak the 10th, The Year of the Gauntlet (02/10/1369 DR)
At first light the group was granted a wagon and a horse to pull it, along with a guard who introduced himself as Desmond Prolus. They were charged with seeing their father Valaes and the Duke’s squire Yarod (whom they had previously established a relationship with the day before) to the town of Espar, where Lord Erik Hezom is said to be able to give better care, as the keep is preoccupied with the King and his closest government officials whom were also affected by the golden bull.
Initially there was a good bit of confusion as the group decided to change paths and pass through Tyrluk first, instead of going straight to Espar. Desmond was required to fill in Lord Bleth of the change before the group left the keep, but soon enough they found themselves on the road, out of the mountains and on the way home.
While on the way home the group came upon the boys childhood friend and neighbor, Galdoreth Faenblood. They explained the situation that had put them on the desperate race to save Valaes and he agreed to accompany them out of friendship and respect for their father. This turned out to be a good thing, as the group was attacked by a group of bandits. This turned out to be an odd turn of events in itself, as bandits were almost unheard of upon this road, with it’s constant traveling of Purple Dragon soldiers to and from the nearby tradestown of Tyrluk.
The group was well served by having Galdoreth accompany them, as he quickly called out the attack, saving the party from being surprised and immediately giving their group the advantage. The group fought in a disarrayed manner, however the trained hand of Desmond seemed to be perfectly able to cut through the ranks of the bandits with javelin, spear and blade while the rest of the group served to distract those they could get the attention of. As the bandits who survived fled however, they took a parting shot at the horse, killing it.
Blu proceeded to muscle the cart containing Valaes and Yarod the remainder of the way into town as the rest of the group kept lookout for the bandits. There was no other sign of them however, and they made it into town without further incident in the early evening. Going immediately to their home to get Yarod and Valaes more comfortable.
Galdoreth, Blu and Alwyn went into town, leaving Desmond and Andolar to guard the house, Yarod and Valaes. In town the group looked to procure provisions and a new horse. Blu and Galdoreth went to the Constal, Rictr Crownsilver to see about getting the needed items from the military, as they didn’t have the money to procure them on their own. As they were rousing the Constal and going about the business officially, Alwyn decided to return to his recent employer at the stables to see about calling in a favor. Unfortunately his butterfingers got the best of him and he was thrown out and summarily fired.
Alwyn met up with the others (along with the Constal) in the streets just outside the stables, with the stablemaster still yelling out at Alwyn. The group agreed for Alwyn to wait in the nearby tavern as they handled the business of getting the cart and horse. Upon entering the bar, Alwyn overheard word of some suspicious men buying casks of dwarven fire ale, but was quickly distracted as he set his sites on a pair of ribald dwarves at the bar, battle hardened but with undeniably valuable trinkets on their persons. Unfortunately his continued bad luck got the best of him and he was caught red handed.
A quick argument turned violent when Alwyn ran away, sprinting out of the tavern and down the road. A half dozen steps and Alwyn’s world was turned upside down as a hammer found it’s home nestled between his shoulder blades, careening Alwyn’s barely conscious body to the ground. A crowd gathered as the dwarves proceeded to start stripping down Alwyn in the streets, robbing him of all his belongings. In a last ditch effort to fight back, Alwyn turned to fire a mysterious wand he never remembered obtaining of his own accord. Unfortunately nothing happened, and the retaliation by the dwarf was a swift dagger to the stomach, leaving Alwyn’s world a blanket of darkness.
About this time Blu and Galdoreth returned, shocked as they watched the dwarves strip down their companion in the road and rob him amongst a crowd of shocked and upset townspeople. Blu and Galdoreth then played into the crowd, rousing them against the dwarves and causing the dwarves to flee town. They then recovered their companion in the new wagon and thought to head home immediately to have Andolar heal their friend.
At home however, the bandit gang that had attacked them on the road seemed to have followed them into town. There was question to the validity of the group being a bandit gang in the first place, but after a continued attack this brazen it was all but assured this group had an agenda, and the general consensus among the friends was that it had something to do with Lord Bleth.
Andolar and Desmond were brought into battle by the sounds of crashing barrels and a whoosh of flames. The “bandits” had set the house ablaze, and as the two ran out to find the source of the fire they were engaged in battle. The battle raged only a short while, but just long enough for the house to truly catch blaze before the lone surviving bandit retreated into the forest, leaving Desmond and Andolar near death themselves.
In ruins, the group came together again as Valaes’ house burned to the ground. They regrouped as best they could and decided to leave that night, making their way out of town before the guard was summoned to the burning home. The group got a small amount of satisfaction on the road as they passed by a camp made off the side of the road belonging to the two dwarves who assaulted Alwyn. Just as they passed by, the wand Alwyn had failed to use properly detonated, causing an explosion behind the group for the dwarves to deal with. Needless to say, the group did not turn around to aid them.
Alturiak the 11th, The Year of the Gauntlet (02/11/1369 DR)
Into the afternoon the group traveled, barely on their feet as they came upon Espar. They made their way to the small temple of Helm first, getting the aid of Lord Erik Hezom. The group was given lodging and healing as Yarod and Valaes were seen to by Lord Hezom himself to diagnose their strange paralysis.
The group was seen to by Lord Hezom’s assistant Gzelder Yespar. He arranged lodging at the inn and saw to a hot meal while answering questions for the group before they all went to sleep for the remainder of the day and into the night. Andolar stayed in the temple of Helm, sleeping on a cot nearby his father and trying to help Lord Hezom in any way he could with his father.
Alturiak the 12th, The Year of the Gauntlet (02/12/1369 DR)
As dawn rose over Espar, the group found themselves gathered by Gzelder Yespar and Lord Erik Hezom. The group was told that the condition of young Yarod and Valaes was critically threatened, and that no manner of healing known to Lord Hezom would be able to cure them of their condition. In addition to this, both of them were getting weaker as the strange illness progressed further. Lord Hezom did have a potential solution though, that the group may be able to find a hermit gnome named (first name) Goldweaver deep within the Stormhorn mountains. The gnome is known to horde all kinds of special spells that are unknown to most, and that if anyone would know of a cure, it would be him. Warnings were given, as the gnome is known to be uncooperative and prefer his solitary lifestyle away from society.
The group was preparing to leave and with Gzelder’s aid were given access to weapons, armor, spells and magical items to prepare themselves with before their journey. Upon regathering outside the temple of Helm, Lord Hezom produced an adventuring charter delivered via a courier from Lord Bleth. The charter was presented to the group, and despite not trusting Lord Bleth, the group decided to sign the charter to ensure the legality of their journey through the mountains.
Just as the group said their goodbyes with Lord Hezom and Gzelder, Dhurst notices a boy approaching from the road. The boy was in a bad way, looking like he had been dragged through the nine hells and back. Immediately Alwyn ran to his aid, helping him the rest of the way into the town where Lord Hezom and Andolar. The boy then recounted his story, that of his father defending him against the hoard of shadow goblins and about how he encountered a woman with a dragon silhouette against the lightning that his father had him flee from as he kept it’s attention. Needing to head back into the mountains to find his father and information about the creatures that had appeared within the mountains he immediately offered to join their charter as well and found himself joining the others in their trek back into the mountains.
With the new name of their adventuring party, the Waylayers, the group followed the new member named Dhurst Cypher along the path he took. One that would eventually lead to the gnome’s place of hiding. The surviving bandit was spotted following the group with a fake traders cart and a dummy passenger as they entered into the foothills and mountains. The group attempted to lay an ambush for him, but it appeared as though the man did not seem interested in another skirmish so soon.
The group gave up on the bandit, having more pressing concerns to deal with as they entered into the mountains. The day was wearing on as they climbed, eventually encountering a group of the dark shadowy goblin creatures. They engaged them, attacking the group of goblins and pushing them back. At the apex of the battle, the narrow bridge over a deep ravine gouged into the stone by one of the lightning strikes gave way. The bridge collapsed, sending many goblins and Desmond down into the pit while Alwyn was narrowly saved by Dhurst catching him by the hair as he fell. The goblins fled the scene, leaving the group to lament over their lost comrade. Blue recovered Desmond’s body, in the process noticing a viscous black gel coating the inside of the pit near the bottom.
Having no time to waste, the group regathers and sets off, Blu carrying the body of Desmond in order to ensure a proper burial in some place not tainted by these black creatures. The group continued to travel into the night, coming upon a small campsite containing an orc and a half orc whom had a camp fire lit. The group approached and engaged the two in combat, attacking quickly and hoping to overcome the two. As the battle raged, both sides seemed in dire straights but began to talk as they fought. Eventually the battle stopped and the party learned from the orcs that the shadow creatures had appeared suddenly and attacked the orc tribe that these two were a part of and proceeded to absorb them into their own ranks, and kill those who resisted. The two had barely escaped and were now attempting to flee the hordes. The two parties spent the remainder of the night in a restless sleep, watching out for each other and the goblin horde.
Alturiak the 13th, The Year of the Gauntlet (02/13/1369 DR)
p. The morning found the group somewhat rested, but the sound of more goblins approaching sent the orcs off into the mountains. The group fought off the newcomers easily enough however and continued down the pathway needed to reach the gnome. They then found themselves in a large open area, the one where Dhurst’s father had stayed to distract the dragon-woman. They inspected the area, giving up Dhurst’s father for dead after another skirmish with the goblins in the area. However Dhurst was determined to learn everything he could and the party continued pushing forward into the mountains.
The group passed many signs of the gnome’s home as they followed the path, including signs warning to avoid the area. Then they started finding the crazed, dead and deranged goblins littering the pathway. Finally, they made their way to a large clearing, littered with goblins both tainted with the black shadowy substance and without. A large barn and fence on one side of the clearing, complete with cows in a snowy meadow on one side and a large, impressive manor along the other side. The manor being impressive anyhow, until someone realizes that it is a facade. A large wooden frontage painted to look like a large mansion, but being nothing more than some thin wood with a small cave entrance as the main doors.
After attempting to pass a message along to a goblin dressed as a butler and getting no response, the majority of the group entered into the cave, leaving Blu and Alwyn outside to see if there was anything more to be learned outside.