2 Mirtul 1368
I have been meaning to summon a familiar for some time now. It feels right to do it now. One more thing to prepare for father’s journey.
A ginger cat appears before me. Strange, I always expected a familiar to appear more “magical”.
I pet the familiar.
The familiar half-closes its eyes with contentment, a pleased smile creeping across its face.
Cat: Yes, this is good. Food would also be nice.
Aegon: Come here. I want to pick you up and put you in my pack, where it’s a bit safer.
The familiar eyes my pack for a moment, and then reluctantly crawls inside.
Cat: Very well. It is better that you carry me. Do not bump me around so much this time, however.
This time? What does he mean by that?
Now that we have the familiar in our backpack we can see his stats.
He’s actually pretty powerful! 24 hit points, and a -4 AC. That magic resistance and stealth is going to make him a great scout as well. As an added bonus the familiar has increased Aegon’s hit points to 18.
I make sure he’s used to being in my pack, but I decide to let him walk around again. It’s safe here in the Keep and the exercise will be good for him.
I start wandering the grounds, keeping an eye out for Adam or Tethtoril. Instead I find a rather absent-minded visitor.
What is it with people losing books today? I suppose it’s no surprise with Phlydia. Last time she visited she managed to lose an entire four-volume set of books. We found it in the hay bales near the cows. Maybe she lost it in the same place?
On my way I walk past the Priest’s Quarters. I check inside in case Adam is there. I don’t find him, but it seems someone is looking for me.
Aegon: I am. What can I do for you?
Shank: Oh, our encounter shall be quite simple for you. Plainly put, I have made it my mission to end your life. Success will mean a little respect among my peers. So you see, you can do very little except die!
Before I can think he lunges at me with a dagger! I meet his blade with my war hammer.
My familiar leaps on him. His claws cut deep!
That was two critical hits in a row. This familiar is OP!
I stare at the corpse before me. “Found me first“, he said. What did he mean? First of what?
I take the would-be assassin’s dagger. It’s not a weapon I like to use but Winthrop may give me something for it.
I check the assassin’s chest. It is locked but I manage to force it open.
Inside I find another dagger and some leather armour.
Notice this has some damage resistance at the expense of reduced dexterity and slower casting speed. Aegon could wear this, but his mage spells would cast slower. I like the idea of armour coming with trade offs – it’ll make it more interesting figuring out the best equipment for each character.
I search the rest of the room. On the table I find 8 coins and a Scroll of Magic Missiles. I already know this spell, but it’s always nice to have an extra one available. In a crate at the back of the room. I find another war hammer.
I leave and am immediately noticed by Parda, one of the monks that helps maintain the Keep.
Aegon: Oh Parda! There was a man in there, he smelled like the stables, and he— and he tried to kill me, it was horrible…
Parda: Hurry, then, child. Equip yourself at the Inn and go join Gorion on the steps of the library… I had a sense something like this might happen.
Perhaps I should get to father as soon as possible. But I don’t want to leave my chores unfinished. I walk over to the cow pen where I find Candlekeeps cowherder.
So she did lose it in the same place. She must love reading here. Before I return it to her, I decide to take a rest and read the book myself.
History of Halruaa
Halruaa was settled centuries ago by wizards fleeing the Phaerimm in what was to become the Anouroch Desert. The first wizards came in unique flying ships invented by the Netheril, and found a beautiful and rich country settled only by shepherds and large herds of aurochs and wild rothe. It was here that the wizards decided to make a stand, should the Phaerimm follow. The Phaerimm never did, but Halruaa has had to defend itself from attacks by all of its neighbors since then.
Over the centuries Dambrath has attacked and raided Halruaa’s ports and borders multiple times. Once, led by a magic resistant barbarian, the Dambraii occupied all of the country south of Lake Halruaa. They were defeated in battle by the great archmage Myrcontil, who slew their barbarian leader. Forty-thousand Dambraii attacked, and were stopped by 500 Halruans. More than 200 Halruan wizards, including Myrcontil, died in the battle.
The last attack upon Halruaa was less than 100 years ago, through the Tetath Pass by the power hungry king of Lapaliiya. He had allied with bandits from the wastes,though this time the Halruans were able to field a larger force, including fighting men as well as wizards in their skyships. The attackers were easily routed.
Halruaa also suffered through a civil war about five hundred years ago, when a number of mages beginning in new experiments in magic, ones which even the Netheril didn’t approve of. The renegades were driven from the region, but went on to found the land of Thay, or so it is said in Halruaa.
Since then, Halruaa has been at peace (they have not declared wars) though it still suffers from Dambraii pirates, bandits of the wastes, savages from the Mhair Jungles, and any other pirate, raider, or hungry wizard who thinks that magic and wealth grow on trees in Halruaa.
This constant raiding has made the Halruans very defensive, warlike and traditional. The people say that since wizards have always led them, wizards always will.
A land of wizards. I could fit in well there. I go back to where I saw Phlydia. She’s still looking for her book in the same place.
Phlydia: Hmmm! There’s a bit of paper stuck in the spine of this book. I just noticed it when I pulled out some straw… Is this yours, Aegon? Oh, I see. It’s addressed to Tama Venustas. Let me just pull it gently out and… Ooooops!! It tore. Oh my. This looks like the handwriting of Camryn the Scribe. Oh dear. It’s a love-letter. Let me just fold it back together… Ummm, Aegon, I just saw Camryn by the Library stairs. Would you mind…
Aegon: It’s a love-letter?
Aegon: I can’t imagine that hermit ever coming out of his cave long enough to love anyone!
Phlydia: Oh, Camryn was in love once. Even a hermit has a heart. Gorion and I use to joke about Camryn being a bit of a cold fish because we never imagined that he would ever find anyone to his liking… When he met Tamah and chose to bond with her, we were very surprised. They were very different personalities. And yet… yet… they were so much in love. You should ask Camryn about it… It’s such a sad story.
This is another addition from the Romantic Encounters mod by Gibberlings Three. This one written by tibicina.
The gem she gave me is a Lynx Eye Gem. We’ll see how much Winthrop will give me for it. I take a look at the letter.
I take a look at the letter.
It seems it is a letter to a lost love. Camryn must have a sad tale to tell. I head back to Dreppin to see what he needs.
The chores never stop in this place. I need to find a book, a scroll, and now a potion and a sword. I find Adam sitting under a tree near the hay bales. Hopefully he has the book.
Aegon: Hey Adam. I’ve been looking for you. You know, at Winthrop’s there’s a pretty angry dwarf who…
Adam: A dwarf? And what does that have to… oh.
Damn it, Aegon! Now I remember why I have this great tome with me.
He’s going to tear my head off, huh?
Aegon: Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it. Just give me the book and I’ll make sure that he gets it.
Adam: You would do that? Man, that takes a load off my mind. You’re a real friend.
The tome is heavy and written in dwarven runes. I can’t make heads or tails of it.
I decide it’s best return this to the dwarf right away. It should improve the atmosphere at the Inn.
Back at Winthrop’s I find the dwarf is still working on tomorrow’s hangover.
Aegon: Yes, here is the book
Braegar: Ah, finally! I owe you my thanks, by Moradin’s hammer!
You’re not too wrong after all. Braegar is the name, and yours?
Aegon: I’m Aegon. So the world is right again, huh?
Braegar: You can bet the pants off your expensive innkeeper on that, Aegon, my boy.
How about joining me for a mug?
Aegon: Of course. At your expense?
Braegar: On my… Ha! Listen to the pointy-ears! Asks if he can booze on the expense of a dwarf. Now then, sir elf, I hope you can stomach a good mug!
Hey, barkeeper! Bring two!
Winthrop: One for you, master Braegar. But don’t you think Aegon would be better served with a milk?
Braegar: Bah! If Braegar of clan Bardormar pays for drinks, then Braegar of clan Bardormar chooses what is brought to the table! A beer for the boy, and quick!
Winthrop: I’ll go along with that. But if you drink him under the table, you will ensure that he is ready to leave when Gorion will!
Braegar: Well then, cheers!
Aegon: Cheers, and thanks for the beer. But I have to take my leave, my foster father has asked for me.
Braegar: Then you should not let him wait, boy. I tell you, you can learn a lot from the old.
If you ever come to Beregost, then visit me at the Thunder Hammer Smithy. I would appreciate it.
Oh yes, this is for you and your efforts.
May Berronar be with you.
Braegar hands me ten coins before heading to his room. This angry dwarf didn’t actually turn out to be so bad for a dwarf, even if he has a temper.
I like that in this modded version there are a lot of people you meet in Candlekeep that you will meet later as you explore the world. If I remember right the vanilla game only had Imoen and Firebead, so it gives more opportunities for the story to connect back to Candlekeep in the future.
Alec must be at the Temple of Oghma by now so I walk over to pay him a visit. I find him just outside the shrine.
Alec: Wait… you look distraught. What’s wrong?
Aegon: You won’t believe me, but I’ve just been attacked by an assassin! Here, at Candlekeep!
Alec: That’s… nearly impossible. Assassins in Candlekeep? And somebody wants you dead?
You’ve got to get out of here, Aegon. They must know where your room is, and when you’re in bed, asleep… it’s too dangerous.
You know the guards won’t protect you, and I’m not allowed near your room after that embarrassing incident with a barrel of codfish.
Aegon: I know. Gorion and I are leaving as soon as possible.
Alec: Good to hear. And bad to hear, too, because I’ll really miss your company. You know that, right?
Anyway… it’s your last day here, and I know we haven’t talked much recently.
Aegon: It’s understandable. You’ve been distraught by your uncle’s death.
Alec: You know how I was when I learnt my uncle Will was shot near Beregost. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t talk to anyone… just sat and stared into space.
It’s been some time, but the pain’s still going strong. Uncle Will’s been my entire family since my parents died.
And he was… so good at what he did. Dedicated, calm, honorable. Though priests aren’t supposed to be defined by honor, that’s the prerogative of knights…
I just feel alone without him. It’s hard. Thank you for being there for me. All these years… you and me are almost like family, too, now.
Aegon: Your uncle would be proud of you. You’re honorable and kind, too. And dedicated.
Alec: That’s a very nice thing to say. Something a real friend would say to brighten the mood.
We are friends aren’t we? Good friends. Ever since you arrived with Gorion, and I was just a little boy, dusting Oghma’s shrine and running after my uncle whenever he was called to the keep.
Aegon: We are, Alec.
Alec: You know, I’ve always been so excited about discovering an old legend, or an ancient tome, but I never realized that these tomes and scrolls are written about people. And now I’m standing next to you, and I realize you’re starting you’re own book.
It’s amazing isn’t it? Beginning a legend?
Aegon: Hey, I’m not a legend, yet!
Alec: You’re an adventurer now. And every adventurer is a legend in their own right. Even if they only saved one family and helped one person. Found and old ring and returned it to the owner, killed a pack of wild gibberlings, disarmed an evil assassin…
And I have a feeling you’ll do all that and more.
I miss the old times a little. When we were eleven or twelve, and the stars seemed impossibly far away, we’d sneak out to the hay stables with jugs of cold milk.
We’d just lie there, watch the keep in the moonlight and exchange tales. Or spend hours in silence and never get bored. Do you remember?
Aegon: Of course I do. Why?
Alec: It’s going to be dark soon, but even if not – why don’t we meet at the western stables near the guard barracks? I know it’s time for you to go, but we could just spend one last evening together…
Aegon: And remember the old times?
Alec: You got it.
I’ll see you at the stables after dark. Or even before dark, really. Just come, before the adventure takes you away.
With that he leaves. His words leave me wondering – is this journal really the start of my book? My legend, even? The legend of Aegon the Great Errand-boy! Completer of Chores! Slayer of Rats! Disarmer of Evil Assassins…
It’s still on my mind. Why did that man try to kill me? And why doesn’t his death bother me more? It was a lot easier to take a life than I thought…
I shake off these thoughts and look around. There is a gnome here I don’t know – another visitor to the Keep. Perhaps she has some chores for me. It turns out she recognises me. Or at least, my father.
Back to Winthrop’s again? Well I guess I’m not in that much of a rush…
This is Recorder by Skitia, another joinable NPC we will encounter again later in the game.
I find Sir Mark in his room at the Inn.
We walk back to the shrine together and meet with Recorder.
She gives me a Potion of Knowledge.
We can use this when we have a bunch of unidentified items to go on an identification spree.
I talk to the Priest at the shrine.
I sell the equipment I don’t need and the gem Phlydia gave me for 12 coins. The Priest is selling some potions and scrolls that I don’t need right now.
I see that Sister Sapientia is at the shrine right now so I approach her.
Aegon: So I believe, though I know not where.
Sister Sapientia: I have old ears but I hear much. With all the troubles, the regular mail service has been terribly disrupted. I know you and Gorion will be travelling far. Could I ask you to take a letter for me? If your steps take you past the Song of the Morning Temple east of Beregost, I would have you deliver it to Dawn Prieast Blaise who resides there, in the Vestibule.
Aegon: I will do my best!
Sister Sapientia: I think I will take the chance that you will pass there. And, child, something tells me that what you have set out to do, you *will* do.
I can give only my thanks. My order discourages the accumulation of wealth (we spend it all on books, instead). But my thanks are sincere.
Aegon: Very well. Give me the letter.
Sister Sapientia: Thank you, Aegon! Here it is, all wrapped up in oilskin against the weather. Remember to look after your feet as you walk, it is hard to get new one. And have you seen young Imoen? We are due for another lesson in (sigh) penmanship…
Another love letter! Perhaps my legend shall be as as the Mailman of Love! The letter says the Temple is east of Beregost. If we do end up there I can visit Braegar as well.
Yet another Romantic Encounter. This one written by Thimblerig.
I keep moving. Aegon the Great Errand-boy, Completer of Chores, Slayer of Evil Assassins, and Mailman of Love has a lot to do before he leaves the Keep.