Elminster the Sage

The Company of the Silver Coin
Amber the Ranger

Book 1
Chapter 3 - The Thunderpeaks, Primrose, and the Crystal Dragon (1359DR, 11-20th Flamerule)

I arrived back from The Abbey of the Golden Sheath in the mid-afternoon and found my companions staying at the Ashabenford Arms, a large and pleasant Inn where every guest had their own, personal attendant. With me I brought some useful information; The Twisted Tower mentioned in the drow's letter could be found in Shadowdale. Apparently it was the residence of the local Lord but had been originally built by the dark elves. The seed that I carried was known to the Harvest-Master as a "Seed of She Who Shapes All", in the litany of Chauntea's faithful it's purpose was to bring renewed growth to an area over-run by corruption. With the purging of the circle of The Battledale Seven the venerable Whiteshield could think of only one place where such a power would be needed, The Darkwatch. I had heard of the place, a forest so unbalanced by corruption that the plants were twisted and the animals mad.

We spent the rest of that summer's day enjoying the simple pleasures of the town. Baldric and Colatto relaxed in The Velvet Veil. Faergil expanded his wine cellar with a few choice local brews from Arlho's Fine Flasks. Amber visited a local farrier and purchased pannions so she could ride Fleetfoot bare-back. She and I acquired new clothes from the half-elven merchant Jawain. Bazil made a new friend (and the rest of us a new travelling companion) in the form of a halfling warrior called Primrose Goodmead. Primrose was the first halfling I had ever seen wielding a long-sword, in much the way a human would swing a two-handed blade. She professed to be a follower of Tymora, the sword "Tymora's Blade" had been a gift from a Luck-Bringer. Amber was a little suspicious of the halfling but the magical prism that The Sage had given to me showed her as no more or less then what she appeared. That night I witnessed events in the stars that filled my heart with dread. A shooting star crossed the heavens from east to west and with it's passing turned four stars crimson. These stars, aligned with Corellon's Tear, formed a bloody gasp across the face of the heavens.

We left the next morning, travelling west towards the mountains. The village was cloaked in the soft, white mist that gave this dale its name. We made good progress and the day passed without incident or danger. That evening I took the opportunity to speak with Moneetha. I had noticed that she had become withdrawn and brooding since the battle with the Cult of the Dragon and wanted to see if I could help her. Unfortunately she seemed unwilling to talk about herself and we spent most of the time discussing my character flaws instead. A little after dawn we encountered a detachment of The Riders of Mistledale, riding back the way had come. They warned us that there were Displacer Beasts to the west, which echoed something Primrose had told us, and that we would pass the haunted Barrowfields during the day. We reached the Barrowfields a little before noon, the tombs that gave them their name stretched out in the fields like Titans who had slept so long that grass had grown across them. By dusk we had left them behind but I was concerned enough to call upon the divining powers of Silvanus to see if it would be safe to make camp where we were. The omens were good and Amber went hunting fresh meat to satisfy Bazil, she allowed me to help her.

On our third day on the round we reached the point where we had decided to strike off to the south. The Thunder Peaks loomed large in our vision and would be at our right for many days to come. On our left and an average of four miles away would be the eves of the ancient Cormanthor Forest. I could feel it call out to me and it was only my sense of loyalty to my fellows which stopped me continuing the journey amongst its branches.

On the second day of our journey south the weather broke and a summer storm rolled down off the Thunder Peaks. The majesty of the storm lifted my heart, lightning split the sky and thunder rocked the earth. Far to the west we could make out the figures of Stone Giants indulging in a stone hurling fight, the crash of their boulders adding to the sounds of the storm. Not all my companions shared my enthusiasm; Primrose in particular was vocal in her discontent. As dusk overtook us a new sound could be heard, a series of roars as load and primal as the thunder but closer and filled with pain. We went to investigate and found a shocking scene. A dozen brutish Hill Giants had captured a small (in dragon terms), wingless dragon of a strange whitish colour in three massive nets. While its companions were securing the nets with huge pegs one of the giants was bludgeoning the captive with a club made from most of a tree-trunk. My companions leapt into the fray with barely a second thought, hacking, bashing and slashing with their usual skill and daring. The giants clearly hated, perhaps feared, The Art and both Colatto and Faergil came under heavy attack. I felt no particular desire to kill these giants despite their actions and concentrated my efforts on freeing the dragon. The battle had already turned decisively in our favour by the time the dragon was loose and she quickly ended it. She thanked us, introducing herself as Yiarni, a Crystal Dragon, indeed in the rays of a mystical light conjured during the battle, her scales seemed to come alive and reflect a dazzling, crystalline light. She seemed vain but good-natured and quickly departed.

From our elevated position we could see off to our left, amongst the trees, the glittering waters of Lake Sember. Faergil told us how the elves had once had a retreat, Semberhome, by the banks of the lake, a place hidden from the sight of man but now deserted since the Retreat of many of the elves to Evermeet.

After four more days of travelling south we forded the Semberflow which followed down from the mighty Bloodhorn mountain. Shortly after the ford we began to find traces of the human settlement in what is called SessrendaleThe Lost Dale. Foundations of buildings, roads and fields fallen into disrepair and the shell of a keep and watch-tower on raised ground. We also saw columns of smoke up ahead. As we drew nearer to the source of the smoke Amber decided to scout them out. She returned with grave news; there was a large war-band of orcs camped in remains of a village half a mile ahead. We found cover in a small copse of trees while Bazil went for a closer look...

Chapter 5...

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