Chapter 1 - Beldim's Day (1359DR, 18-19th Elient)
Someone shouting my name awoke me up. A man's voice. Brother Baldric's
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
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
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...