Elminster the Sage

The Company of the Silver Coin
Amber the Ranger

Book 3
Chapter 1 - Beldim's Day (1359DR, 18-19th Elient)

Someone shouting my name awoke me up. A man's voice. Brother Baldric's voice.
It had been close about dawn when we had finally retired to get some sleep, while I did not know it at the time that was four hours ago. Colatto had claimed Woren's room while the rest of us used the guestrooms.

Looking out into the corridor I say Baldric in conversation with two serving women, or rather with two of The Citadels slaves. Heading over to them I was informed by the women that Colatto had called for Baldric and myself, we were to meet him in his room at once. I asked if they knew what the matter was and the older of the two women (Alisa was her name) replied that she did not know for sure but Lord Colatto appeared to have been attacked. This was enough to send Baldric dashing to the stairs. I paused only long enough to ask the ladies to find Bazil and bring him too, if there was assassination in the air his skill and cunning might well be required.

Baldric and I found Colatto outside his bedchamber, sword in hand. There was blood on his hand and face and he showed the sighs of a creeping paralysis; his movements clumsy and speech slurred. Luckily for Colatto Baldric had enough favour with The Lady left to purge the poison from his veins. Quickly Colatto told us that he had been shocked out of sleep by a searing pain to find a serpent biting on his face. The snake had bit him again, this time on the hand, before he had grabbed his sword and struck it twice. Injured but alive the snake had slithered away and Colatto had lost sight of it. He had quickly left the room and, after sending Alisa and friend to get us, had been guarding the door till we arrived. As far a Colatto knew the snake was still inside. I asked him to describe the serpent; about four feet in length, olive green with blue stripes, and enquired of Alisa if she recognised the breed. She didn't.

Brother Baldric quickly volunteered me to go in and investigate; pointing out that my skill in such mater was superior to either his or Colatto's. With Colatto and Baldric covering the door I stepped in and assumed the form of a mongoose. Instantly sounds and smells that were undetectable to man or half-dragon assailed me. I could smell the passage of the serpent and knew at once from the taste it left in the air that it had been no snake. I tacked it from its arrival via the door (which meant it either had an accomplice or could change shape to operate the doorknob) to the bed where I found it's blood soaking into the sheets and carpet and then to the open window through which it had escaped. I briefly considered perusing it down the walls of The Citadel but decided that it wouldn't really achieve anything. Recalling the events of the night The Undying Gaze had spent near Hlondeth I could hazard a guess at the nature of the serpent. By the time I had satisfied there were no other surprises hiding in the room Bazil had arrived along with Alisa's fellow slave and a sleepy looking Faergil. News of what had happened caught Faergil's attention and he asked Alisa who was using the guest room next to Baldric's as, when he had been awoken by the slave looking for Bazil he had noticed a woman trying to sneak into the room. Alisa replied that it was in use by the Hlondeth ambassador, a woman called S'kris Extaminos who had spent quite some time in the company of Woren. It was decided that Faergil and Bazil would check on Woren's body. Colatto had ordered that it be kept under guard until he decided what to do with it, a task that Duke Folkwain had attended too, but now he wanted it destroyed at once. Baldric headed off to bed and I, after a brief half-hour of prayers, did like wise.

Folkwain had sent Woren's body to the dungeons and that is where Faergil and Bazil went to look for it. The dungeons were situated directly above Woren's lab and were equally as huge. There were close to a hundred men guarding the place with The Crushed Grape strongly represented. The guards seemed to be discussing the night's events and Bazil took a moment to eavesdrop before bringing his and Faergil's presence to the notice of the guards. Neither of my two companions were too surprised to discover that the cell into which Woren's corpse had been placed (and the guards were adamant that they had seen it thrown in) was now empty. The pair headed back up the stairs to inform Colatto. By then Elladyr had learnt on of the attack on Colatto and had arrived at the scene. When Faergil and Bazil arrived Elladyr was telling the new lord of Nimpeth about the festival of "The Rotting Dance" that would take place in a Ten Day. Despite its rather ominous name the festival was a combined celebration of both the grape harvest and the independance of the cities from the rule of Chondath end of The Rotting War some four hundred years ago.

News of Woren's disappearance prompted Colatto to deal with the deposed mage's spell books. He and Faergil headed down to the lab where we had battled the Circle of Flame a few hours previously. There were seven books of note, one was a spell book of unusual size, there were also four were smaller "travelling" spell books, a book made of wood and lastly a book made of black hide. This book they suspected to be magically trapped so the pair left it were it lay. The wooden book and the travelling spell books went into Faergil's hole and the pair managed to get the large spell book up to The Citadel's throne room. From there Colatto sent out word that he wished to see all the household at noon and then spent the intervening hours leafing through the book, which proved to be a vast resource of spells. Faergil went back to bed.

It was very late morning when I awoke again. It was too late to perform my full devotions to Silvanus so instead I dressed and went to see the Hlondeth ambassador. I was confident that she had a hand in the attack on Colatto but at the same time didn't believe that the "assassination" attempt had been nothing more then a token act, an official act of disapproval at Woren's death. I was not surprised that she agreed to see me, she must have realised I was a friend of Colatto's and a potential source of information about the new ruler. I had been warned about S'kris Extaminos, she was a Yaun-Ti. She looked normal enough, with the olive skin common to a native of the region and, less common, striking blue eyes but she had a long, forked tongue that meant she spoke with a soft lisp. Looking at her in the door way to her room I wondered what other gifts her Yaun-Ti heritage gave her; could she take on the form of a snake and if so was it her in Colatto's room? Or did she have an accomplice hidden about somewhere, one far less human in appearance. She seemed equally intrigued by my non-human heritage. My meeting with this intelligent and charming woman was regrettably a brief one, she asked a few questions about Colatto and I parried them as best I could without appearing rude. I tried to ask about her city, having missed the opportunity to explore first hand, but she informed me she was too busy to talk about trivial things at that time. As I tuned to leave I described the serpent that had been seen in Colatto's chamber and asked if she knew what type it had been; I hoped she would understand the warning. We parted with the exchanging of gifts, I gave her the last of my healing herbs and she gave me a vial of what she claimed was an antidote to a number of poisons.

From there I headed to the throne room where Colatto had just finished an important meeting. He had met his household at noon wearing lordly attire and, most of all, The Crown of Fire. His first act was to claim the name of Colatto Carafar and the title of Lord of Nimpeth. His next act was to free all the slaves in The Citadel. He offered them the chance to continue performing their old jobs or heading off to find their own destinies but either way they were now Free. He also gave the ex-slaves a couple of pieces of gold each from the royal coffers (or rather from Bazil, who made sure to claim it back from the royal coffers) and the rest of the day off. Duke Folkwain, I am told, contested all this but Colatto was quick to put him in his place, particularly as it had been Folkwain's responsibility to guard the body of Woren.

His last act was to re-introduce Elladyr to the court. He made it quite clear that the former leader of the Circle of Flame had his complete trust and that anyone who spoke against the man spoke against Colatto.

The meeting over Colatto and his treasurer went of to talk. Baldric and Faergil were, as far as I knew, still in bed but Bazil and Primrose were about. Bazil headed off to try to sell the weapons he had taken from the wererats. Before he went I gave him the anti-venom I had been received earlier; I fully appraised him of it's origins but to my way of thinking venom or antidote Bazil could make some use of it.

Primrose and I decided to spend the afternoon walking around Nimpeth. For a while we talked about the departure of Amber. Primrose was hopeful that she would be waiting for us when we returned to Cormyr. I was unable to be as optimistic. This led the discussion around to the magic blades we sought. With Amber gone the only member of The Company known to use a longsword was Primrose; would she be prepared when the time was right to put aside The Tears of Tymora and use one of the Elven blades instead? As we walked, talked and eat watermelon we began to notice the unease that was passing through Nimpeth's citizens, fuelled by news of Woren's death there were rumours that the city was to be invaded by Chondath forces or worse. I took the opportunity to address the shoppers in the market place in an attempt to ease panic; the new ruler was a true son of Nimpeth and they would be safe under his rule, but clearly what was needed was an appearance by Colatto himself. Primrose and I headed back to The Citadel but on the way we came across a group of the City Watch beating one of The Citadel's former slaves while accusing him of being a thief (after all how else would a slave get two pieces of gold?). The pair of us intervened as best we could, correcting the watchmen's misconceptions. One of the guards let slip that there were quite a few slaves-come-thieves in the cells today. Something else of Lord Colatto to rectify.

By the time we got back to The Citadel both Baldric and Faergil had resurfaced. The later having countered the magical trap on the black book using his own wizardry and carefully added it to the other spell books in his hole.

The Revenant, or rather Mourenes, had arrived to offer his serves as both Colatto's Chancellor and head of his secret service. Primrose and I informed Colatto of his subject's concerns and Mourenes agreed that it would be best if Colatto went out to meet his people.

As soon as we could make ourselves ready we went out on horseback; Lord Colatto Carafar, The Company of the Silvercoin, Duke Folkwain, Admiral Taramont, Chancellor Mourenes and Elladyr; proceeded and followed by a contingent of The Company of the Crushed Grape. Elladyr received a stiff reaction from the people of Nimpeth when he was recognised but Colatto rose to the occasion well. Resplendent in The Flaming Crown and white cloak he moved among the people, reassuring them and listening to both their complaints and encouragements. The issue of slavery once again cropped up when one of the crowd, a man called Beldim, asked how The Citadel would get by without slaves. Colatto decided to give the citizen's a first hand demonstration of life without slaves by declaring a new holiday "Beldim's Day" on which no slave would work! Somehow I think Beldim wished he had kept his mouth shut.

At twilight we returned to The Citadel. While Baldric organised some of the soldiers to light the fires I threw together a supper and The Company of the Silver Coin, and Mourenes, met to discuss the future. Thanks to the map we had found the day before we had a fair idea of where we were heading and how to get there but how to travel and how soon. On the latter count Brother Baldric counselled that we leave as soon as was practical but Colatto wanted to make sure that Nimpeth was stable before he left and wanted to stay till after The Rotting Dance. The atmosphere grew tense and we put aside discussion of our timetable for the time being to consider our route. The river marked as "The Chondath Stream" on the elven map corresponded with the River Arran on modern maps and our first thoughts were to charter a boat to travel along the coast and then up river all the way to it's source.

It was here that Mourenes gave us a lesson in the political structure of the region. The lands to the east of the River Arran were controlled by the remnants of the once mighty kingdom of Chondath, a vast empire that had once stretched across the Sea of Fallen Stars to Sembia. To the west of the river were lands that had won their freedom while Chondath had suffered The Rotting War. These included Nimpeth and the large kingdom of Sespech ruled by a warrior king called Thuragar Foesmasher. Chondath was eager to regain its lost lands and the River Arran was the frontline between the it and Sespech making it dangerous to navigate. Because he believed that Woren had been in league with Chondath, Mourenes informed us, Foesmasher had no love for Nimpeth. On the other hand he was eager to gain allies against Chondath to the extent that he had sanctioned the marriage eof his daughter to a member of the ruling Extaminos family of Hlondeth. This gave me an idea which I shared with my companions once Colatto and his Chancellor finished discussing sending troops west to the city of Lachom which was under attack from giants (perhaps, Mourenes suggested, Duke Folkwain could led the detachment). I suggested that Colatto could pay a state visit on Foesmasher to negotiate alliances and the like with Sespech. From there those of us who wished to continue on to Chondal Wood could travel across the plains to the south and east of the river until we crossed at a city at the very edge of Sespech territory only a short way (comparably) from the edge of wood. The others seemed to like the plan. Mourenes pointed out that the enterprise set its own timetable as Foesmasher would be celebrating The Rotting Dance with his troops at the front line so it would be pointless for us to set out until he begun journey back to his capital.

The company of the Silver Coin would have a Ten Day to rest, recover and plan for the long journey across a war-torn land that lay ahead

Chapter 2...

DM's Notes

I used the following references:
Villion Reach (Politics of the region etc.)
Castle Guide (For general stuff on Castles etc.)

I had a really hard time with this one, the first week of Realms is always the most difficult and I dread it everytime.
I knew that I had to deal with the initial issues with ruleship of a city, but wanted to move the game onwards. Suffice to say that I spent most of the evening dealing with Colatto's new rule, which of course meant that Roy received most of my time.

Sorry to evenyone else for that. I am hoping to move the game forward next time.

Most of the evening was off the cuff stuff really, with a few notes. I reviewed information on the region's politics so that everyone was aware of the dangers in the Reach.

I also wanted to make it clear to Colatto that with power comes responsibility and that every decsision he made would have consequences, its not easy ruling a city.

I think that Thorn is really regreting a mistake he made which led to the High Priest of Tempus (who is CE by the way) knowing about the Swords of Demron. Only time will tell...

Return to The Journey...