|The Mermaid Sword|
The legend varies from one family to the next with the common theme being: a mermaid’s revenge against a womanizing noble. Another example of the ship's past was her involvement in the Wave Wizardess incident. During the Year of the Harp- Year’s End celebration, one of the most puzzling and still unexplained attacks along the Sword Coast occurred. In the waters outside Balder’s Gate, aggressive Northlanders sailed in, systematically decimating unarmed vessels at sea; folk who were there to watch the evening celebration. One ship, the Wave Wizardess mysteriously exploded during the raid; raining fire, causing the ocean to combust during the sea-attack, both defeating the Northlander surprise attack as well as causing an equal amount of collateral damage. The Mermaid Sword however, not only survived the attack but is credited with rescuing a Waterdeep noble by the name of Raine Wands.
Cold ocean water sprayed on the prow of the Mermaid Sword, her graceful figure designed to court the ocean waves not butcher the waters with bludgeoning, ponderous hulls. Sails that embraced the wind with longing affection like a two lovers after a lengthy absence. It was an encouraging sign, it meant progress.
Ord Gauntather stood brazen and attentive on the prow striking a contrasting figure next to the elegant bowspirit of the Mermaid Sword; ocean water heavy in his mouth, he ran an admiring hand down the polished wooden rail then spat at the figure head. Ord again scanned the horizon before meandering to the opposite side repeating the his perusal of the waters hoping not to find what he was looking for.
The journey to Waterdeep was becoming even more taxing, than he could have imagined. Numerous run-ins with giant sharks; to unseasonably cold and stormy conditions and now the danger of icebergs—nevertheless, Ord was being called to Waterdeep. It was urgent and undeniable. He and the Risen Cult were down to seven now. “They who cross the Dark One meet his Doom earlier and more harshly,” Ord thought; one of the tenants he believed. He mentally credited them each:
Yontryl Amatar, a breathtakingly beautiful Fairborn maiden. A child from the streets, she has served Ord as her religious minister for many years now. She had a survivor’s prowess that he liked and admired.
Vlakkados the Hooded Menace, was a contrast in appearance and profession. A gentle soft-spoken man, he is very tall he often leads people to assume he is a beggar or a cleric of another god. More importantly he is a prodigy when it comes to torture and interrogation.
Tyrostarr the Dark Imperceptor and alchemist of the Risen Cult; Ord recruited him after learning how he was able to assassinate his former master by using a sister-in-law caught in Tyrostarr's web of lies—she died of ‘natural’ causes before she was connected to the crime.
Cauldyth is a fairly short, rotund, cleric who has a flawless recollection for names and individuals. He delights in acting and often portrays himself as a moneylender named Oswald. To his day Ord has yet to see any of his spells surge with wild-magic.
Thabbys the ‘divine’ necromancer—she, like the others share a prejudice against wizards and mages, as opposed to priests and clerics in the service of the Dark One. She is attended by a yellow parrot skeleton, her messenger and many other functions.
Finally there is… Announcing himself from below deck Halamather, the only remaining original member from Ord’s adventuring days, ascended the short staircase to the prow where the High Hand watched for icy hazards.
“We should see the lights of Waterdeep tonight old friend.” Halamather said optimistically, he knew Ord felt urgency to this trip north; it was why they appropriated the Mermaid Sword.
“Good, Thabbys efforts of intercepting ravens heralding our brazen theft to Waterdeep authorities have met with success. The most challenging task will be…” Ord let his sentence trail off as he once again scanned the horizon, looking for the soft glow of urban settlement.
“Is the cargo secure?” Ord asked in a way that made Halamather think of navy captains and containers of supplies of which they had little.
“Yes, but it is as you say. The most challenging task will be getting it into Waterdeep,” continuing the thought, ‘to say nothing of the intrigue we will find’ Halamather mused.
A chilling irritated bird-cry preceded Thabbys arrival to the impromptu palaver, “I have prepared the message as you requested, it awaits your order.”
“Outstanding sister, soon we will all be in the company of the next Tyrant.” Ord’s voice was growing inside him; he knew this sensation well—it was when the Dark Lord channeled his distain inciting an episode of uncontrolled sermons and recitations in tongues. Soon everyone could hear Ord speak:
“To serve is to do one’s utmost to bring strife, domination, and hatred upon the civilized races of the Realm. Under clear duress, for tyranny is the dominate aspect; discord to stability under the church’s iron rule.” And as Ord Gauntather- Druid-Bane, Most Holy Hand, and Dread Scourge finished his sermon tiny hints of light appeared to the east separating sky from sea. It was soon accompanied by occasional phantom sounds of the city waving its warm glow in the distance.
Ord brought his lips close to the yellow-bones of the patriot, “To Giller’s Apothecary oh messenger of bones; we answer the Dark One’s call.” He said still feeling the power of his god, it was good to be home.