Day 16 (early afternoon)
Cragmaw Castle (Dor Navra)
With the battle in the dining hall complete, Amon alotted a short rest. During this rest Vola removed Jack from the castle and was to stay with him out of harms way until he was fully recovered. With the short rest complete, it was time for us to search for Gundrin Rockseeker and with Vola gone for the day I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Justice is a thorn in the side of productivity, and Vola’s constant “reminders” are wearing me thin. Without the need to nurse Vola’s sensitivities, storming through Cragmaw Castle and laying waste to the opposition should be more constructive.
Amon’s call for a silent search and extraction operation worked well for what eventually ended up looking like a bugbear and goblin convetion at a resort. A couple series of bell ringing could be heard, but Amon believing they weren’t a call-to-arms felt it best to avoid moving in the direction of the tolling. After a short distance into our sweep, we came upon a door that Guntor overheard a couple bits of valueable information being discussed on the other side. The words “Prisoner” and “Black Spider”, although chililng were also a relief by ensuring us that the 6 days or so of travel in the almost constant rain was worth all the grief. With the fear of things getting too ugly too soon, Amon felt it best to avoid this room until we were able to locate Gundrin and he wondered if Gundrin would be found in a dungeon.
With Amon calling on Guntor to be the point man, we were fearlessly led door to door, passing through storage rooms, barracks and even a rat infested hallway. At each door Guntor would listen and Amon would direct our next move. We managed to avoid being spotted…at least until a most crucial point.
We came upon a solid, hardwood door strapped in iron, and although this door wasn’t much different than many others, this particular one was locked. Putting my thieves tools to work, the door opened up into a very large room in a tower. There were furs and carpets on the walls and floors, warrior/hunting trophies, a table and chairs; and what looked to be a very comfortable bed. In short it was a room fit for a king.
Upon entering the room we were greeted with an ever increasingly familiar growl and comming into our line of site was a creature with clear intentions. Fortunately our attacker was viewed as less of a threat than a nuisance. Miz’ry moves into the room and with an eldritch blast almost retires a wolf from guard duty. I followed up with an arrow in its hind quarter, but it was Charlatan who got the kill by cooking the wolf with magic.
Accompanying the wolf on the floor while its smell of burnt flesh and fur lingering in the air was a prisoner and this prisoner — a dwarf — looked to have been beaten multiple times. With Gundrin Rockseeker having finally been found after 13 days of captivity, it was now time to save a life rather than exstinguish one, but the squad had other priorities that Amon reminded us all of. This whole situation’s root cause was a map; a map that was believed to lead to incredible wealth.
As the other 4 searched for valuble items in the kings quarters, it was this scoundrel rogue who tended to the medical needs of an unconscious dwarf. I can’t say I’m surprised at seeing how potential wealth quickly changes the compassion humanoids feel for one another, but at least this halfling can pat himself on the back knowing he put compassion ahead of fortune. The other 4 should be ashamed of themeselves, but in their defense, without Vola there wasn’t much we could do for the poor fellow anyhow.
Leaving Gundrin be while we continued the search for the much needed map we moved towards another door. With a search for traps and none to be found the door to a bathing room was opened. Most notable was a big brass tub with a thick layer indicating that the king of this castle had no self dignity. In comparision, the 6 or so days in the rain were making this operation inside a rather enjoyable tour of the ruins of Dor Navra and had it not been for 2 approaching figures, it might have stayed that way.
Only a moment after entering the king’s bath did the king himself and a drow elf companion get our attention and from the very start we could see that we were in big trouble as a slender, young drow made use of her shortsword. She worked effortlessly and with such confidence that a any green warrior would have craped his armor. It was exciting to watch such a lovely, young creature be so brutally violent, but my lust quickly faded as as she sank her shortsword into Guntor.
With the bitches dagger now blood red, my focus on combat pushed aside my lust. I knew that if I wanted to live, trying to out weild her in swordsmanship was not a good bet. Leaving it up to the others to deal with the bugbear king, I made use of range by pulling the string on my shortbow. With two quick arrows in that bitch, I was starting to feel confident on the the outcome, but then the beauty finally started using her brains and made use of the walls for cover. This propelled me to move closer looking for line of sight and as I waited, I blended into my surrounding as best I could.
Amon produces an Eldritch Blast on the menacing bugbear that struck him in his throat. Having difficulty breathing the threat toppled over. With hell having already been broken loose with a powerful bugbear, dexterious drow and now 3 approaching gobblins, things continued to go amiss. Like the bugbear Amon just wasted, he succumbed to his injuries and fell on to his back as his life circled the drain.
The black skinned drow came with an arms reach of me. Wanting to stay hidden I punched at what I was hoping would be a kidney, but kidney or not, it worked about as well as landing a fist on a glass jaw because princess doubled over. With only 4 mercenaries still standing and both Mizry and Guntor severely injured, the situation against 3 goblins and a very bloody, but extremely capable Drow elf turned into a helter skelter type retreat as Guntor grabbed the dwarf over his commander Amon and headed towards a hole in the exterior wall of the adjacent room. Miz’ry scrambled for the same hole and in doing so turned a potential cat fight between the two pretty, evil, drow broads into a mere fantasy.
Seeing the potential for the squad to get split up in the ensuing chaos, it was agreed that all parties would meet at the wayshrine on the High Rd. in about two days time. Charlatan then made his move for the exit, but I still wasn’t ready to go. I wanted the map and had every intention of finding it before the squad wrote this mission of as a partial victory. With Amon certain to die on the floor of the castle in the middle of nowhere, only a full victory could help make Amon’s impending reality more bearable.
With the bugbear out of commission and princess close to death, I hoped to even the odds and pepper the bitch with more arrows. Due to failing to tag princess for the second time in a row and the proximity of her goblin support, I finally gave in to reality and looking back as I made my way towards the hole, I could see Amon Arkan’s fate as the bitch sunk a dagger in his eye.
Amon you poor bastard…Guntor left if up to a 40 lb halfing with considerably less than average strength to carry you to safety. You were shit out of luck at the wrong place and time. …See you in hell my friend.
Upon exiting Dor Navra, we were quickly able to regroup with Vola and Jack without any opposition. Due to all our injuries, we decided that recovery in Neverwinter was our best option. The liberation of Gundrin Rockseeker after 13 days of brutal captivity didn’t go over as well as one could have hoped; certainly not Amon Arkham anyhow, and with our squad commander dead and Gundrin’s map unfound, we’re at a low point, as we started to head west for the High Road as the cold, autumn rain continued to fall. More crushing to myself was that we didn’t find Glasstaff as I had expected, but with the map still in possession of the opposition, I hope to run across Iarno Albreck in the Phandelver mines.
The remainder of the Day 16 just seemed to fuse in with the following two days of westward movement across the Sword Coast. Although the rain had eventually ceased, dark clouds still hung over our heads but these particular clouds aren’t the kind that dispel so easily.
It was a long quiet march westward and I not being fond of military life felt it nice not to have to take orders anymore, but the following two days of silence were a constant reminder of our harsh reality: cutting losses can sever bonds. I couldn’t help but wonder what each one of us would have done if they were in Guntor’s position, and I’m sure glad it wasn’t me who had to make that tough decision. Amon…loyalty and friendship, or Gundrin and potential wealth? It’s a tough call as far as I’m concerned and I wonder if Guntor’s decision is going to have a recoil effect on the squad members trust in each other. The silence we experience now seems to indicate that I’m not the only one asking this question.
The somber feeling that has followed us weighed us down in such a way that our pace was slower on the return trek from Cragmaw Castle. The sun was now setting behind the wayshrine on the High Rd. and though the mood was solemn, the sunset we viewed was spectacular. I think the whole experience of the sun dipping into the Iron Sea as Vola and Guntor prayed at the shrine helped bring some closure to each of us.
We awoke at the wayshrine and quickly pack up for the short trip north to our destination. The smell of Neverwinter as foul as it is, is a bouquet of roses in comparison to the squalid goblin liar of Cragmaw Castle. Once through the gates, we beelined to the familiar Weeping Moth, but still not finished with Iarno Albreck, I was set on finding some Northern Sons to speak with since it’s known that they are looking for Iarno as well. I have high hopes in allying with them and discovering that the Sons often stay at the Crimson Blade. In hopes of making contact with the Sons, I got a room at the Blade.
The more I get to know Charlatan the more devious he seems. He’s always got something up his sleeve that’s both fun and rewarding. He was kind enough to invite me to experience an impromptu evening of scamming the biggest traders on the Sword Coast and with Charlatan as my guide, I knew it would be a lucrative evening. Charlatan even had a major effect on his once polished aide Peabody because he went from straight laced servant to deadbeat in just 5 short nights.
The three of use looked rather dapper as we made our way around the events, but as I watched the Moon spectacle, I felt very uncomfortable the whole time as my little halfling friend was making me feel quite inadequate. Although I did give the performance a standing ovation so to speak, it was the Chynovian acrobats that that got my applause.
As the evening rolled into early morning, Charlatan the social butterfly introduced me to an upcoming dwarven fighter known as The Hammer. He seems like a real cocky bastard for such an inexperienced fighter and his habit of always referring to himself in 3rd person removes much of any doubt about his cockyness. With his ego larger than his dwarven frame, I can’t say he won’t fit in with the rest of the squad, but Charlatan is going to have to work on getting a larger carriage if were going to fit The Hammer’s head in it.
Last night’s events were something else. Gotta hand it to Charlatan for knowing how to stir things up yet still keeping thihgs calm. My hat goes off to you.
It’s now mid morning and I predict this morning won’t be different than many others. We’ll argue about where to go only to find that our individual abilities to persuade aren’t as sharp as our swords. We’re going to need an executive decision again, but we have no executive with Amon roasting in eternal hell.
Just a morbidly interesting note here: Upon the sweep of the Redbrands hideout, Amon opted not to visit Gragmaw Castle believing that Gundren had probably been killed already. 10 days later, upon finding Gundrin alive, Amon is immediately killed by Gundren’s captors. Did Amon foresee his own destiny and try to avoid the unavoidable?
Day 20 – mid morning
City of Neverwinter
Weeping Moth Inn