Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Knights Upon a Quest

“Gond protect us!” The gnome cleric exclaimed in words to his god. The three companions were rounding Tarnished Alley when they noticed a blue-skinned giant, pacing- like patrolling from Mirt’s Smuggler’s Dock to The Reach.

“It looks like Mirt finally took my advice and acquired protection, albeit to far mayhap because I was referring to a form of armor for the man.” Sai Torvil remarked with a hint of mischief in his demeanor. The trio had just left Castle Waterdeep after applying for and received of, quest from the Knights. Each of their spirits was high despite the early wintry day.

“Do they make armor in that size?” Asked Stribling, his gnomish features took on a thoughtful astonishment as he tried to imagine such ridiculousness.

“They make barding for horses, do they not? Bah!” Shagg said with a wink. “But for a smelly-ass giant? Bah! If Mirt wanted proper personal protection he should have inlisted me kin!” the dwarf- paladin said as jabbed a thumb at himself. They watched as the giant stopped to speak to a group of individuals- speaking with and not fighting. But before any of them could identify them, a cold blast of wind whipped up the snow and the people were gone, only the giant remained.

“I have a bad feeling about this…” Stribling said, holding his musket at the ready. The giant, unfettered by the harsh elements, continued his patrol.

“Come now Stribling we have to have words with our patron before we depart on our charter. He has been our benefactor since the beginning.” Torvil said and as he did, Torvil took stock of the giant. It was not what the giant had, because it was meagre as outfitting, but how careful he was when nearing Mirt’s Mansion; taking care to watch his steps along the way.

“Let us move while big-blue has his back to us.” Torvil said as he moved out from the alley towards Mirt’s Mansion. The giant seemed oblivious to their presence and continued toward the harbor.

The trio moved as a team; Torvil, with Durindana in his grasp at the lead; Shagg his armor shining with the hammer symbol of Gond, taking center; and Stribbling at the rear sweeping his musket right and left, covering their backs.

With Torvil’s attention split between the Mansion and the giant, Torvil did not see the uneven stone protruding from the road and tumbled hard on to the ground with an audible curse; Durindana inadvertently lost in the snow.

Torvil’s curse was cut short as he watched in disbelief as edges of the ground around him rose up; curling like an old map, then suddenly with no warning- enveloped Torvil in a vice grip. Gone are the pavers of the street, now there is only the constricting pain of an avalanche. Torvil could hear sounds outside of his stone prison, but could not gather enough air to make so much as a plea for help. Torvil became disoriented; darkness began to flood the edges of his vision as he slowly began to suffocate. Torvil’s eye opened into the astral, and what he saw changed him in a very fundamental way. Pain was all he felt for what seemed like a long time for Torvil, then as abruptly as it all began- it ended. Torvil’s stone prison opened like a petal and returned to its paver-like shape. His astral sight gone as well.

As his disorientation faded, Torvil began make out the shapes of his friends, the giant and another figure who, Torvil soon realized was talking.

“Apologises Sai Torvil, one cannot be too careful in these times of trouble.” Mirt 'The Moneylender' said as he helped Torvil to his feet. “My friends this is Goram, I have hired him to protect my interests.” Mirt motioned to the giant.

“Well met and may your days be long upon the earth.” The giant said in perfect common and reached out a hand. Torvil accepted it and returned introductions.

“These,” Mirt motioned to the uneven paver as well as to several others. “are trappers.”

“I know them.” Shagg interjected. “Magically manipulated ooze or slime; they have a natural camouflage and a ‘tooth’ that they use to trip a victim into his trap. Bah! I’m not impressed!”

“It was not intended for you. Come,” Mirt motioned for them to follow him to his Mansion. “I’m sure there is a reason for your visit. Let us seek shelter from the storm”

Torvil retrieved his sword and as Mirt lead them to his mansion Torvil reflected on what he had saw; a stairway spiraling out from a mountain covered in blood. The stairs made their trek along the outside of a tower-like structure, pausing at balconies at regular intervals. The spire seemed to disappear into the heavens. Like a dream, the image was quickly fading for Torvil, but one thing remained: a presence so powerful and omnipotent that could only be the overgod.

Mirt’s Mansion was like a fortress, nestled along the slope of Mount Waterdeep amid picturesque trees and bushes. Once inside the private parlor, Mirt called for his servant Salicia, a quiet albino woman who obviously possessed a sorcererous bloodline. “Salicia, arrange for three more at dinner tonight and have Goram bring in the Warchest.”

Shagg loved Mirt’s Warchest; it was usually the reason for their visits. Outside the parlor, Mirt’s dinner guests were arriving and being led into the main conversational. As Salicia exited the parlor, Shagg caught a quick image of a humanoid dinosaur creature, a saurial or some such. But it was too quick for him to make out any detail.

“No need for the Warchest today Mirt and apologizes we cannot stay for dinner,” Torvil said with obvious regret. Shagg elbowed his human companion. There’s always a need for Mirt’s warchest, Shagg thougt and he was hungry.

Torvil elaborated, “We have been awarded a quest by the Firelance Knights and only wish to say farewell; you have always been accommodating and honest with us and for that we thank you.”

Mirt’s expression was one of pride and astonishment. He produced a decanter to toast their success and then asked, “What will you be doing my friends? Ridding the undermountain of giant spiders?” he laughed at his own humor.

Torvil and Shagg both honked at the jest aimed at Stribbling who, everyone knew, avoided the undermountain at every opportunity.

“Instead,” Torvil said. “we are to be apart of Sai Piergieron’s response to the dragon-flight. The Knights believe that smuggling cursed items into the hoards of these dragons will weaken them and mayhap get them to turn on each other.” Torvil paused then added, “we are to venture into the High Forest and smuggle Bracers of Defencelessness into the hoard of Turqual the blue.

“Will such an effort work?” Asked Mirt.

“Who knows?” Stribbling said.

“But they do pay well.” Shagg added, as they both took each others hand in a warriors clasp; wide grins firmly etched on their faces.

As if on cue, Goram entered with the Warchest.

“Then you may find need of the Warchest after all.” Mirt smiled at this and took his warchest form Goram. “You may go Goram, see that tonight's guests do not run a foul with the trappers.”

Stribbling rolled his slate-grey eyes as he watched Shagg; the dwarf could hardly contain himself. Torvil approached as Mirt opened the Warchest and began to take out several items while also offering practical suggestions on the use of each one: a decanter of endless water “you don’t want to run out of potable water… no matter where you are”; pipes of sounding “create or alter nearly any sound, a handy distraction”; and the cloak of the bat “essential gear for almost every adventurer”.

Before making his entrance to dinner Mirt watched as Torvil, Shagg, and Stribbling headed east from his mansion to the High Road. Mirt thought back to earlier years when Torvil was just a squint, innocent and full of fire. Today Torvil embarks on his first quest with his friends and this brings Mirt to tears. “Fare well Sai Torvil. Fare well… my son.”