Sunday, November 23, 2014

(Shadows of Waterdeep) The Package

From the desk of Maskar Wands

Seventh day Winter 1370

In the wake of the godsfall many religions underwent various periods of restructuring as many deities had their ethos changed, some names were new gods, while some gods no longer existed. Tymora was one of those divine powers changed by the evenst of the time of troubles. Championed by Heilean Eather, the Luck Rider gathered her god’s essence from across the north and ascended in Tymora’s name taking divine power away from Waukeen, the Merchant’s Friend in the process.

Torn apart from the inside Waukeen’s church, crumbled in the years that followed thereby allowing Tymora to assume the title as Lady of Fortunes and Wealth. Within six years the Cassalanter’s, who once revered Waukeen, fully rejected Merchant’s Friend in favor of Tymora. Houses like the Cragsmere’s, who already revered Tymora, rejoiced and set about building a stronger church. But it has not been easy because many individuals still blame the Cassalanter’s for the near ruin they caused twelve years ago.

What Smendric has come across however is a plot to further discredit the Cassalanter house; the encounter with the assault on Gloriana Cassalanter during the Parade of Maidens; and the murder of Lydda Artemel, who was also a cleric of Tymora.

It was all connected somehow.


“Smendric! Take the package and go! It will give you time.” Bryan told Smendric motioning as he did.

Behind Bryan Kormallis, silhouetted against the wintery grey sky, a drow elf stood speaking in a strange language Smendric did not understand. To Smendric it was the pall certain death by necromantic magic, but when the two locked eyes the drow seemed to smile, it was not the malevolent face Smendric imagined but stern but with a hint of recognition.

The drow mage gestured and released a wave of soundless magical energy toppling several wagons and carts along the street, Bryan was able to tumble away unharmed but many of the drow’s thugs were unavoidably upended. The advantage created an opening for Wykkar and Greywolf to enter the fray working as a team against the remaining thugs. 


The Jade Sea was just making berth when Bryan, Wykkar, Greywolf, and Smendric arrived to the Dock Ward. The night was cold each of them wearing matching black suits; the air whipped up from the harbor and up the streets carrying with it the smell of salt water. Bryan gave a signal to the Wykkar and Greywolf who split out checking the perimeter before taking possession of the package.

“What’s in the package?” Smendric asked once they were alone.

“Rule number one, I don’t ask what’s in the package.” Bryan said with a mischievous grin.

“Horse-shit,” Smendric replied whispering, sensing the exchange was at hand.

Keeping his wits about him Smendric put on Vicarzo’s magical spectacles; he could see Greywolf far ahead along their planned route but did not see Wykkar. At the Jade Sea three individuals were standing on the prow, one flashed a light twice.

“That’s it,” Bryan said. “Let us go and be quick.”

Making their way through the darkness the master and apprentice moved to the Jade Sea; the package was not a package at all but an old man, highborn by Smendric’s estimation. The gentleman was distinguished and well bred, he spoke intelligently and seemed naturally anxious.

“Well met, I am Caladorn Cassalanter.” The highborn man said.

Smendric was about to introduce himself, something he was always perfecting. “I….”

“No names.” Bryan interjected.

“Very well,” Caladorn said. “What is the plan?”


Shouts of outrage erupted from the prone thugs who were slow to get up. The plan was to secretly escort Caladorn to the Artemel villa in the Sea Ward, if things got rough then Smendric was along to read a teleport scroll. Smendric had the best change at successfully casting the scroll’s magic but even success comes with a risk of a wild magic surge. So the scroll of teleport was a last resort.

But now with an ambush crashing down around him, Smendric weighed his options. He could not use his magical boots, Caladorn was too heavy to carry; nor did Smendric want to use the scroll, he had other plans for that.

Swords and magic clashed behind Smendric as he considered. “We need to get off the street,” Smendric told Caladorn. With all other options seemingly gone Smendric suddenly remembered the tunnels and hoped the Iron Ring had forgotten them.


Bryan yielded to Smendric’s interrogation of Caladorn along their course; the boy’s incessant curiosity could not be helped it would seem.

“What makes you so special?” Smendric asked the old man, the ‘package.’

“Many years ago before you were born I turned my back on my family and set off with an adventuring company called the Blinkstone Companions. During such time my family brought disgrace upon itself and I never returned. I have since reconciled my differences with the leaders of my house, myself among them, I am here to certify titles for nineteen newly adopted Cassalanter family members.” Caladorn said proudly, the prodigal son returns.

“Adopted? Where did these nineteen come from?” Smendric asked. It was a question Bryan also wanted to know so he briefly brought their procession to a halt.

“Nineteen Artemel clerics and acolytes of Tymora” Caladorn said, and as he did men in hoods and 
knives emerged from the shadows.


Roguerun Alley runs up the interior of the westernmost city block on the north side of the Street of Glances. The alley ran north and split northwest and north east giving it a ‘Y’ formation. A famous inn, the House of the Flying Horse, once backed onto the alley. Before the godsfall the inn was used by smugglers as a clearinghouse for fencing stolen augmentation crystal and was ultimately destroyed during a dragon attack. A treasure of unclaimed smugglers loot is still said to lie hidden somewhere in tunnels under the alley under the ruined inn.

Smendric peered up Roguerun Alley, Caladorn in tow and saw that it was clear up to the ruins and the Y. Even the wind seemed to have forgotten about the alley because there was no discernable movement, as if time stood still. An explosion echoed a few blocks back reminding Smendric they were on the run. Focusing on his new spectacles Smendric could see Wykkar and Bryan chasing down one of the rival Iron Ring assassins who in-turn was pursuing them.

Caladorn could not see of course, but was nevertheless anxious to be on the move. Smendric quickly led them up the alley to the ruined inn, where he thought the hidden entrance to the smuggler tunnels was located. But the entrance was not immediately obvious.

A shadow fell across the alley way diming lanterns as well as the natural moonlight. Smendric looked up the northeast alley divide and saw the Grim Bishop grinning maniacally at the boy spell-caster and their target Caladorn.

“Morrandar,” Caladorn said with recognition. “the Grim Bishop.”

Smendric looked behind them and saw the evangelist, otherwise known as Randal Flagg, blocking their retreat. Beyond Flagg to the south the sounds of battle were beginning to recede. The battle is going the wrong way, Smendric thought, Bryan and the others were being diverted.


“Caladorn Cassalanter.” Flagg said apocalyptically. “I thought you were a coward being gone from your family and homeland for so long. Some thought you were dead, many for wished it.”

Morrandar soundlessly channeled a wave of negative energy, accentuating his compatriots commentary, draining both Smendric and Caladorn. The continuous impact waves sent Smendric to the ground but Caladorn stood strong.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you Flagg.” Caladorn said defiantly standing defensively over Smendric.

“And I’m sorry you had to come all this way to die.” Flag said.

From the ground Smendric saw the half-elf Greywolf come into view on the western roof-top, a bow in his hand. Greywolf pulled and knocked the arrow aiming at the Grim Bishop, then from behind Greywolf came the drow elf against the darkened sky.

Before Smendric could warn Greywolf, Morrandar let out a scream and closed the distance on Caladorn, around the evangelist magical iron gauntlets whirled and fisted about creating both a shield and a weapon. An arrow from the rooftop made a trail of blood across Flagg’s chest.

Flagg also charged, but not at Caladorn, at Smendric. Skeletons grew up instantly around Smendric clawing and ripping at him trapping him on the ground making his temper rise.

From behind Randal Flagg, Bryan Kormallis and Wykkar came around the alley entrance; each man was obviously badly injured from their earlier melee with the Iron Ring thugs. They came at Flagg, weapons bloodied weapons drawn.

A burst of violet radiance shot forth from the drow, who was now suddenly standing defensively over Smendric, scattering the skeletons in all directions. Smendric looked up into the drow’s lavender eyes as he silently held out his hand to help Smendric on his feet.

Morrandar continued to offer resistance and got the upper hand on Caladorn, but with the inclusion of the drow in the fray they were slowly gaining the upper hand.

Greywolf continued to fire deadly arrows down on the Grim Lord’s followers.

Morrandar looked at the drow incredulously. “You betrayer!” he said. “I will kill you for this…”

“Not unless I kill him first!” Cauldyth said now making a personal appearance for his deity. From the Inn’s hidden entrance stepped Cauldyth, his stout shape materialized like death itself. If you wanted something done right, he lamented, you had to do it yourself.

“Morrandar, Flagg, kill Caladorn already.” Cauldyth said, “I will kill Shar Auvryndar myself.”

*******

Shar helped Smendric on his feet; behind them Flagg battled Bryan one on one, and Wykkar and Caladorn flanked Morrandar but he held his own, and Greywolf was doing his best to make precision arrow shots.

Smendric looked to the drow confused understanding, he was not here to attack but to aid, the drow was Bryan’s spy and accomplice. Smendric let loose his most powerful spell; a red ray of dazzling energy struck Cauldyth between his eyes. The Iron Ring leader blinked his eyes attempting to correct his vision. To the left, Shar put up a wall of stone setting up Smendric for his next move.

In the distance of combat Smendric heard the gurgled screams of Wykkar as well as Caladorn Cassalanter’s battle cry, the old paladin was on the momentum; Greywolf, on the roof, was running short on arrows.

Smendic looked at the drow, Shar smiled and gave Smendric a ‘he’s all yours’ motion. Smendric smiled wryly and recalled his alchemy class and the day Teena Tarm saw the drow and the new ability he learned.

Smendric heard Cauldyth’s chanting from behind Shar’s wall of stone. The boy-alchemist reached into his gag jacket and started mixing urgents and volatile alchemical components, once completed Smendric wound up and threw the alchemical bomb not at Cauldyth but at the unstable ruins of the inn behind him. The explosion, made worse with the debris of the ruin, caused an avalanche of splintered wood and sharp stone burying the Iron Ring leader between Shar’s stone wall and the debris.

*******

In the end it was not as simple as Cauldyth would have it. The Shadow Thieves Bryan Kormallis and Risen Cult of Bane: Cauldyth. Wykkar, unfortunately fell to Flagg. Greywolf, killed the Grim Bishop and Randal Flagg the leaders of the Iron Ring in Waterdeep; while Smendric Wands and Shar Auvryndar together defeated (another) one of the

The next morning Smendric sat uneasily in the large padded chair; he did not know the last time he was called into his father’s office but it was usually never good. Smendric still had not rested since the events last night, being too excited for one and second his scrapes and wounds prevented him from being comfortable for too long.

Before long Maskar Wands entered his office with all the formality of a court room, he sat and considered his son for what seemed to Smendric, a long time.

“There is so much you know Smendric and yet there is so much you do not know.” His father stated. 

“Knowledge can be deadly and can lead to ruin. This is the dilemma I have lived with ever since you entered our lives, your mother and I.”

Smendric could not have been more unsettled, his father never spoke to him like this. The thought frightened him a little.

“In the wake of the godsfall,” Maskar began, reading from his texts, “many religions underwent various periods of restructuring as many deities had their ethos changed, some names were new gods, while some gods no longer existed.”

Now Smendric’s fright turned into excitement, the subject of the godsfall was largely avoided in the house and was never anything his father would mention on his own.

“I want to explain what’s been going on,” he produced a series of messages and scrolls. Some, Smendric recognized with Bryan’s script.

“With the adoption of new Tymoran clergy into the Cassalater household, both the Cassalanter’s and the Cragsmere’s have enough combined influence in the financial district to bleed out the Umbrusk house, the only other moneylender family in Waterdeep. Caladorn was a paladin of Tymora, his return legitimizes the Cassalanter family once and for all.”

“At the expense of an innocent.” A voice said from behind Smendric, it was Shar. He was of course referring to Lydda Artemel.

“Smendric, I believe you have met Shar at the Specularum.” Maskar said, obviously mistaken, returning to his stately demeanor. “He is writing a book about the Time of Toubles and… may have some answers for you.” Maskar said looking gravely at his adopted son. “Remember Smendric knowledge can lead to ruin.” 




1 comment:

James Caruso said...

"shadows" of waterdeep refer to Shadow Thieves.

The veiled society was the Iron Ring

Mykka was Robs sword of the dales loremaster character.

Bindon salt is Smendrics cousin, it was Shar that facilitated the exchange students while researching the 'godsfall' and retrieved Avildar.

Avildar was characterized in a way to be possible new origin for Smendric's dragon aversions.

Story started like harry potter but turned into the transporter by its end. :) lol