Session 9 – The New Guy

Two days after the slaad attack and assassination attempt, the caravan is startled by the approach of a half orc paladin astride a mighty charger.  Mordred, his name, a paladin in service to the Church of Torm, his profession.  He immediately approaches Aramis, the party’s cleric and fellow servant of Torm, and inquires about riding with the caravan to Candlekeep where he is slated to meet friends in pursuit of a second caravan the cult is using the move The Great Hoard northwards. He proved to have been sent by Ontharr Frume, a member of the Order of the Gauntlet and an ally of Leosin the Monk.  

Jeb, the wagon train master, is a skeptic until Mordred offers a sword to replace those lost in recent adventures and notes that he will pay his own way.  At the sound of a free hired guard, Jeb changes his tune and welcomes the big ugly brute.
Gilgamesh and Mordred, the new guy.

The last of the perytons proved to be the toughest, only dying at the thunderous hand of the party mage, Gilgamesh, who cast a booming shatter spell.  The spell blasted the peryton into a cloud of feathers and gore, but also badly damaged the cultists cart it happened to be sitting on at the time.  The rear half of the wagon broke apart, spilling gold and loot along the road.

Aftermath of the peryton attack

While doing this and travelling ever deeper into the forest, your group was set upon by horribly mutated goblins and a great ogre abomination.  It was during this attack that Capt. Alphonse and his men broke a oath of their own by turning on the group and launching an attack against them.  But as it turned out, it was the Captain and his men that paid the deadly final price, being wiped out to a man!
And with that, the party stumbled out of the forest mists to crest a small hill overlooking a beautiful high mountain valley with a crystal blue glacial lake at one end and a most impressive Malvern Manor at it’s shore.  From a distance, the house appeared…hazy.  And not in a good way.
A deeper investigation would have to wait for the next session…

In an effort to distance himself from the party members who have repeatedly blown their cover, Yolo takes a morning to make nice with Captain Alphonse, the leader of the cult on this road trip, at the next day’s breakfast.  “Yo man, why those guys on the spice truck got it in for you?  All those stories, all the bad blood.  Don’t you worry, bro. Things get tight, I got your back.”  He’s kind of a laid-back surf elf.  You know the type.  Alphonse wasn’t sure what to make of it, but given that his 24 man team is down to 16, he didn’t dare make yet more enemies on this trip.  Yolo was left with the distinct impression that Alphonse didn’t want any help, but accepted he might need it.

Later that day, Perytons attacked the caravan.  Peryton’s for those of you that missed that episode of National Geographic: Faerun, are half-stags and half birds of prey given to ripping out and eating the still beating hearts of their victims.  The foul birds swooped down from the sky, and lit into the caravan with a vengeance.  Aramis nuked one with holy fire, and Karren let fly the Dragonspear, felling another.  Meanwhile, Grim shanked a cultist in the confusion and successfully blamed a peryton for the death.  Yolo tried to assist by “accidentally” hitting a pair of cultists with friendly fire, to no avail.  

As the cultists scrambled to collect the gold and valuables, Karren made move to retrieve the Dragonspear, only to find it in the hands of Alphonse, the leader of the cult on this trek.  Yolo quickly negotiated a truce between the spice merchants (Karren, Aramis, and Gilgamesh), and the cult leader.  Karren gets the spear, and no more funny business until the gates of Waterdeep.  Down five more cultists following the attack, and with the loss of a wagon, the cult consolidated down to four wagons.

The next day, the wagon train halted for a moment at an odd sight.  A man buried up to his neck on the roadside – the standard punishment for oathbreakers in these parts.  The cleric and paladins refused to leave a man in this state and their trust paid off.  The poor soul proved to be Carlin Amenfall, Karren’s contact with the Harpers.  In front of the crowd, Carlin claimed to have broken off an engagement rather than marry into a family of brigands.  Later, in private, he confessed to have been travelling with a loot caravan three days ahead of us, but there the cult found him out and left him neck deep in roadway.  He had left word.with the sleeping dragon innkeeper that he knows where a powerful artifact is, some sort of summoning stones, but the arrival of the slaads prevented the message from being delivered.

Two days later… Dragonspear Castle.  The first truly safe haven in weeks.

There, everyone was introduced to the garrison commander, the garrulous and slightly boastful Captain William Von Der Fule!  As the caravan at large settled in for a couple days of guarded rest, Capt. VonDerFule hired the party, as well as Capt. Alphonse and a few cultists , to travel a few hours into the nearby forbidding Great Northern Forrest to locate two of his lost patrols and check upon two wizardly brother allies, Mordecai and Lucius Malvern.  The two had recently gone missing.