Chapter 1- The City of Dolphins (1359DR, 23rd Marponeth - 2nd Uktar)
Our journey on The Sea Horse, particularly when compared to our voyage
on The Undying Gaze, was neither long nor pleasant. The latter was mainly
due to the ever-present pounding of drums, a reminder of the many slaves
in the rowing deck below working the oars to supplemented the sails.
Many of my companions spent their time below decks; the mighty drommond
in which we travelled was large enough for each of us to have a room of
Baldric used the time constructively, writing prayers of power on to
scrolls for later use. On the first day of the voyage he offered Primrose
the opportunity to undertake a ritual that would allow her to call upon
Tymora’s divine aid at the expense of temporarily diminishing his
own divine favour. While the ritual didn’t work it did serve to
remind me how much Primrose had come to mean to all of us since we met
her in Ashabenford Arms. It was now as impossible for me to imagine a
Company of the Silvercoin without strong-hearted Primrose as it was to
imagine one without Baldric or Bazil.
Faergil also spent a lot of his time in arcane scribblings but he also
found time to investigate the magical properties of the Wand of Frost,
the many potions he and Bazil had found on our adventures and the three
Blades of Demron. This latter was of more interest to me and the few times
I was below decks during the day were to learn of his findings.
The potions seemed a good haul, with impressive names like Elixir of
Health, Elixir of Youth and so on. Bazil seemed extremely pleased with
one potion but wouldn’t let on what it was. As to the swords their
powers were many and exotic. They were powerful tools of Good and no one
of evil heart could use them. The flaming aura’s of all three would
burn things that “were wrong”; undead, extra-planarr in origin
or evil through-and-through.
Faervian, The Mage’s Blade, seemed to have three additional powers.
One was called “Prismatic Pyre”; once a Ten Day the wielder
could command it to fly from his hand to land, point first, up to 50 feet
away. It would then emit flames from the hilt that would repel metal and
jinx with a spell of slow movement any one without the ability to cast
spells. A second ability was called “Armathar’s Armour Rest”.
This could be used once a day and allowed the wielder to literally step
out of any armour they wore, which would hang suspended in the air for
several minutes waiting for the wielder’s return, so they could
cast spells unrestricted. Finally a mage could temporarily store up to
three touch-ranged spells in the blade that could be unleashed with a
successful sword thrust.
Evaelathil, The Scout’s Blade, when held allowed the wielder to
manipulate near by flame and, if placed into a fire, would snuff it out
(no doubt the origin of the sword’s name “The Flame Bane”).
It possessed an ability called “Sense of Nature” that gave
the wielder the ability to detect the emotions of sentient beings and
some animals within some two hundred feet. It’s third ability was
one that we had all felt, anyone who could see the flaming blade perceived
the holder as a being of greatness. What we didn’t know until then
was this same effect influenced animals, making them docile towards the
Unfortunately many of the powers of Dragathil, The Lovers’ Blade,
defied Faergil. He could only determine one ability, called “Forgiving
Flames”. This complicated ability could be employed twice a day
but needed the wielder to score a good strike with the blade. If successful
it would unleash flame against the foe’s head and heart (“love
hurts” I guess) and then attempt to trap the target in a beguiling
illusion that they had been transported to a place of safety.
These efforts took a lot out of Faergil and he spent at least two days
of the voyage confined to his bed.
I spent more time on deck then most of my companions. Baldric had said
that the view of the sea, while initially majestic soon gets boring. I
cannot agree. The rolling waves are never the same from second to the
next. The sea has a strange effect on me; while I’m on land I feel
rooted, focused but on the waves a strange introspection soon fills my
thoughts, as if my spirit has slipped from my body to explore the depth
Since I was on deck more I suppose that I learnt more (or at least more
quickly) about life of The Sea Horse. The crew was worked hard and had
little time for talking but over the voyage I managed to snatch quick
conversations with the sailors here and there. The three pillars on which
the ship stood were the captain, the first-mate and the slave-master.
Captain Morgalshym was remote and uncommunicative. His Number One, by
comparison, had a lot to say, or rather shout. Her name was Namina and
she was the only woman in the crew. She was half-elven by birth with the
blood of a Sea Elf running through her veins. This gave her a very striking
appearance. Her skin was many shapes of blue, almost stripped, with white
blotches and her long hair was a very dark green, almost black. She seemed
to seethe with barely contained aggression that threatened to explode
at any moment. In a rare conversation with one of the crew he told me
that Namina had fought her way to her current position and had killed
the previous first mate. I considered trying to strike up conversation
with her but somehow it never seemed the right time.
The Sea Horse’s slave-master was called Gorvany. He was a huge
man whose physique suggested a prodigious strength. As his body was covered
in tattoos it was possible that he was an ex-slave himself. As he spent
most of his time amongst the oars I saw little of him but heard the crack
of his whip far too often.
I also learnt that the crew, while not particularly enamoured with any
of The Company, was more nervous of me. Possibly this was because I was
a priest of Silvanus but more likely because of my unusual appearance.
It was the ninth day of our journey across The Wizard’s Reach when
land came into view. For once most of us were in deck and we gazed out
at what we took at the time to be Thay. A haze of smoke obscured the land.
As our vessel drew closer we could see many, many pillars of smoke caused
it, it seemed that Thay was aflame. A quick enquiry of a nearby sailor
informed me that we had been wrong on at least one point, it wasn’t
Thay but a land called “The North Coast”. The sailor seemed
to take the spectacle completely in his stride.
It was also on that day that Bazil asked me a very difficult, very painful
question. He had finally spoken to Primrose about their unborn child and
whether she knew if it had survived the wererat’s vicious attack.
She had told him that she didn’t know but suspected the worst. Was
there any way, he asked me, that by the power of Silvanus I could determine
the answer? I could think of no miracle at my disposal that would answer
the question and my own knowledge of midwifery didn’t extend much
beyond livestock. I suggested that they speak to Baldric, he was a trained
healer as well as a priest but Bazil didn’t want to subject Primrose
to any additional emotional trauma.
By the tenth day it was clear that our passage was almost at an end.
Land seemed to be getting closer and closer by the second. A pod of dolphins
had adopted The Sea Horse and were dancing along in its wake, a sight
that brought the only smiles I saw to the faces of the crew.
We reached Dethuntle by early afternoon. From the deck of The Sea horse
we could see a busy and thriving dock (I counted at least thirty ships)
beyond which was an impressive looking city perhaps a little reminiscent
of Selgaunt in Sembia. On a knoll overlooking the city we could see a
domed palace and beside the knoll we could see five dark towers clumped
close together. We also saw dolphins. At the ends of the harbour walls
were large, finely carved statues of leaping dolphins. On the palace gates
we could just make out a symbol of crossed dolphins, the same symbol that
appeared on every flag we could see.
The harbour was too shallow for The Sea Horse so we left the ship as
we had arrived, by rowboat. I’m sure many of my companions were
glad to be away from it.
We decided that our first order of business was to find an inn and get
a meal. Then we would acquire horses and, on the morrow, head north to
Aglarond. The kingdom of the Witch-Queen was said to be a wild place with
few large settlements except for the capital. However there was no guarantee
we would find The Simbul there, her never-ending battle with The Red Wizards
meant she moved in secrecy. Her skill at shape changing was known even
in Cormyr, it was said that she could become anyone or anything in order
to trick The Red Wizards.
I asked one of the sailors who had rowed us ashore if he could recommend
a good inn. As we were not seafaring folk, he said, we should try “The
Wave Crest” near the north gate. We set off in that direction. As
we moved through the busy city streets we became aware of a dangerous
undercurrent amongst the cities inhabitance. There was a paranoia that
was almost palatable. Everyone was armed and kept a weary eye on their
surroundings, assessing their fellows as the prey looks out for a predator
and the hunter looks at it’s victim. Initially I thought it was
because of their proximity to the infamous Red Wizards but Baldric shared
with us that he had heard that Dethuntle had a powerful and active thieves
guild. As we moved through the city we passed the five, black towers.
They were all part of the same building that, architecturally, was nothing
like the rest of the city. There was no sign of stonework; rather it seemed
to be formed from single mass of black stone. Also there wasn’t
a single dolphin to be seen.
We found the north-gate easily enough and within line of sight we could
see the sign of The Wave Crest, majestic waves from which leapt a couple
of dolphins. The sign hung above an archway and, venturing through we
found ourselves in a high walled courtyard from which there were several
exits. One led to the stables and another, the one we took, opened into
the taproom. The taproom was large and well populated with patrons. The
air of suspicion that hung over the city was thinner here but hadn’t
dispersed all together.
Moving to the bar we ordered food, drink and rooms for the night. We
had barely finished when we became aware of two people heading over to
us. One was an attractive young woman with blond hair and green eyes.
Her features suggested an elven heritage. She was dressed in greens and
browns, with a grey cloak not unlike those that most of The Company wore
(though it didn’t have the lion-shaped clasp) and a sword hung at
The other was a man in his mid to late thirties. He was a little over
six-foot tall with a warriors build and weathered skin. His hair and moustache
were dark but beginning to turn grey. Even if he hadn’t have made
himself known to us we would have soon noticed him as he wore a set of
field-plate armour. The armour was of excellent quality and upon his chest,
inlayed in silver was engraved a dragon. He carried his helm in one hand,
wore a bastard sword at his hip and wore an expensive cloak.
The man addressed himself to Bazil and enquired if he was in the presence
of “Sword Captain Bazildon”, the man’s accent was Cormyain.
When Bazil replied that he was the warrior introduced himself as Lionar
Baynar Truesilver. The name of Truesilver was instantly recognisable to
us Cormyians, it was one of the most noble families in the country with
the closest of links to the royal family. Baldric seemed particularly
impressed by the man’s noble name. Bazil, I suspect, was perhaps
a little put out by the fact that, as a Lionar, Baynar outranked him.
Baynar informed us that he had been sent by The Simbul to escort us to
see her and introduced the lady with him as Rubyn Thalassa, a ranger in
the service of The Witch-Queen. Bazil asked for proof he was who he claimed
to be at which point Baynar produced his signet ring, the mark of an officer
in the Purple Dragons.
At Baldric’s suggestion Bazil quickly arranged a private room where
we could all eat and hear what the new arrivals had to say. The room was
an airy one with statutes and paintings of seascapes and, of course, dolphins.
As we ate Baynar explained how he came to be here. A few months ago a
notorious agent of The Red Wizards called Zulkor had been captured following
the theft of treaties on the Dalelands from the royal library in Suzail.
At the same time The Thayvians had managed to open a portal to the Infernal
planes in Yuirwood and the Fiends that had emerged were threatening Cormyr.
King Azoun had sent Baynar to Aglarond to entreat the aid of The Simbul
in finding and closing the gate, which apparently she had done. Then she
had sent the knight, with Rubyn, to find us. Unsurprisingly she seemed
to know when we would arrive in Delthuntle. Since this was only an extension
of our own plans we agreed. Rubyn would secure horses for us and we would
leave the next day.
Baynar brought us more grave news from The Heartlands, the Dalelands
were overrun with Fiends and Highmoon had fallen into darkness. Rubyn
was able to enlighten us on a point too; The Red Wizards had caused the
smoke we saw the day before. Unable to conquer the North Coast they had
decided that if they couldn’t have it no one would and opening several
large rifts to the elemental plane of fire with the intention of destroying
the region. As ever The Simbul was there to thwart their plans by sealing
Over the meal Baldric asked what temples and shrines there were in the
city. Rubyn informed us that there were shrines to, amounts others Tymora
and Chauntea as well as The Towers of Mystery. She said the last as if
it was self-explanatory but it meant nothing to me. Faergil and Colatto,
however, recognised it at once, The Halls was possibly the greatest temple
to Azuth, patron god of Wizards, in The Realms and an almost unparalleled
depository of magical lore. It was clear where we would be spending the
rest of the day.
Up close the Towers of Mystery were just as impressive as when we had
seen them from afar. The five towers surrounded a large hall with a low
dome and all of it was made of this smooth, continuos black stone. Over
the door was the symbol of Azuth, a flaming pointing hand. We headed in
and soon found ourselves in a great hall beneath the dome. At the far
end was the alter to Azuth at which kneeling figures preyed, their soft
chanting seemed to permeate the entire hall but never became intrusive.
The walls of the hall were lined with books and the faithful sat at nearby
desks reading and, in some cases, scribing. Numerous glowing motes of
light that hung in the air provided light and, guided by some arcane intelligence,
glided to where they were needed. At one point I saw an acolyte draw a
book from a shelf to read and unerringly one of the globes of light positioned
itself so illuminate the text. What really got my attention, however,
was the ceiling. The inside of the dome was, to my untrained eye at least,
a perfect rendition of the night sky with all the stars distinct and the
consolations outlined. Baldric pointed out the three red stars that were
the harbinger of our current woes and Faergil confirmed that the stars
were accurately positioned in the heavens. I learnt during my visit that
the stars were the creation of the head of the temple, an arch-mage, and
perfectly tracked the movement of their real counterparts.
At the sight of all the books, no doubt stuffed with arcane lore, I imagine
all the company had the same thought. Could there be anything about The
Legacy of Shrinshee among them? We caught the attention of one of the
silver and grey robed acolytes and began to ask a few questions. To Bazil’s
disappointment they didn’t sell healing potions but, for a small
donation, they would give him a holy-symbol. Colatto and Faergil were
informed that the temple didn’t sell spells but would exchange them
with a mage who brought a new one to their attention. Similarly we would
only be allowed access to the library if we brought some new piece of
arcane lore with us.
As you might imagine there were very few spells that The Halls of Mystery
didn’t already have but Faergil managed to find one in his spell
books, a spell called “Death Mask”, and he was led to a private
area to make the exchange. However we could not think of a single shred
of arcane lore with which to gain entry to the library.
Baldric and Primrose decided it was time to visit the shrine to Tymora
and Bazil elected to go too. Remembering our conversation of the day before
I suggested that Bazil might also want to pop into the shrine to Chauntea
too. Rubyn headed off to find us some horses.
Left pretty much to my own devices I explored the hall some more. In
secluded alcoves there were lectures and debates about The Art being carried
out. I listened to one for a few minutes, long enough to realise that
it was all completely beyond me. Forgetting the lectures I let my eyes
be drawn upwards and I lost myself in the stars. I was still stargazing
when Faergil came up to me with news. Through the use of magic the acolyte
had copied Death Mask into one of the temples spell books. Then via the
same method a new spell was copied back the other way, Faergil now had
a copy of “Leomund’s Secure Shelter”, a spell the comfort
loving mage had been after since our journey through Thunder Pass. He
had also taken the opportunity to talk with the acolyte about the “trapped”
spell-book gained from Lord Worren’s collection. The Acolyte had
called for an expert, a magess called Fairdeena, who had identified the
work as an infamous magical tome called “The Scalamagdrion”.
The book took its name from a powerful, magic hating creature trapped
in some far off plane. There was a picture of The Scalamagrion in the
spellbook and, if someone were to speak the word below the picture, the
book would become a portal through which the creature might snatch the
mage or, worse still, enter this world. Sensing their interest Faergil
struck a deal with the acolytes. He would let them have the book if they
copied across the spells to a travelling spell book for him and let him
have access to the library. Faergil now intended to spend the rest of
the day and all that night at The Halls of Mystery researching The Legacy
and would meet us tomorrow morning.
Baynar and I headed back to The Wave Crest and the others soon reappeared.
Bazil, Baldric and Primrose had visited the shrines; the shrine to Chauntea
in particular seemed a little neglected. Rubyn reported that she had acquired
riding horses, a pack animal and the appropriate saddles, etc. It would,
she said, take about six days to get to our destination. I was quite looking
forward to meeting one of the most famous people in the Realms and had
many questions for Rubyn. I asked how it was that one sorceress could
hold back the entire nation of Thay. Rubyn attributed it to not simply
The Simbul’s legendary magical powers (the true depth of which she
kept hidden from everyone, even her famous sisters) but also the fact
that she “outsmarted them, every single time”. She also acknowledged
that Aglarond’s rough terrain made the movement of armies difficult
and that the country had powerful allies, particularly a neighbouring
kingdom ruled by witches (Rubyn couldn’t answer my question as the
what separated a witch from a sorcerer). Baldric was a little taken aback
by how open the ranger was but I found her excellent company. It struck
me that, though unlikely, given her shape-changing powers it was not impossible
that we were in the company of the Witch-Queen herself! The conversation
soon turned to past exploits. Bazil asked Baynar what role he had played
during The Wolf-Lord War and we discussed The Vast Swamp and Ravenloft.
After a while we left our private room and joined the patrons in the taproom.
With the setting of the sun the level of suspicion amongst the regulars
seemed to rise.
It was quite late, many of the regulars had left and we were thinking
of retiring to our rooms, when someone entered The Wave Crest. It was
a human, rather nondescript except that he was no taller then a dwarf
and yet something about him set my nerves tingling. My suspicions seemed
justified when, after buying a drink, he headed straight up to Bazil and
asked for a private word. Bazil replied that he had no secrets from his
friends but when the stranger insisted the pair went off to a quiet table.
Though I couldn’t hear what they said it certainly appeared that
the stranger had a preposition. Initially Bazil seemed to turn the man
down but as he walk away the suddenly halfling called him back. The stranger
resumed his seat and the pair began to talk in earnest in what can only
be described as a conspiratorial manner.
I used the following references:
Spellbound - Information on Thay and Aglarond
Dreams of the Red Wizards - More information on Thay and Aglarond
The Fall of Myth Drannor - The Baneblades of Demron
The Seven Sisters - Information on The Simbul
Pages from the Mages - The Scalamagdrion
Like every game of Realms, it got off to a slow start. I do try to
speed things up, but it never happens.
I had planned to run a Sahaugin encounter on board the ship, but
wanted to introduce John's character (who has just joined us - HELLO!)
as quickly as possible, so dropped it at the last moment. We had taken
more than enough time sorting things out before play, and dealing with
Identify on the Swords.
The reference to Thay opening gates to the Elemental Plane of Fire is
an adventure hook in the old 'Dreams of the Red Wizards' supplement. I
used it for a bit of local colour.
There is hardly anything official about Delthuntle, however I found this
site, which I used for inspiration, adding a few details as I went
Most of the evening was winged, including the entire encounter at
the Towers of Mystery, I made it up as I went along I do think the starry
ceiling and the floating motes of lights worked quite well.
Ian really got his cake and ate it with the Spellbook. He managed to get
the spells, avoid the trap, AND research at the Towers! Well played.
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