Leaving the Keep

2 Mirtul 1368

It is time. I go to see my father at the Central Keep. He carries little with him for the journey – just his quarterstaff and a pack with some food.

Aegon: Please father, tell me where we will be going

Gorion: Alas, I cannot, for I have not truly decided yet. All that is certain is that we will be far safer on the move. Perhaps the woods might offer some secluded security, or perhaps the city of Baldur’s Gate would offer cover amidst teeming throngs of people. I do not know where we shall end up, but I have a few friends here and there. Hmm, I will think on this.

Aegon: I am ready to go right now.

We pick up our things and make our way to the gate. As we walk he tells me our first destination

Gorion: Listen carefully! If we ever become separated, it is imperative that you make your way to the Friendly Arm Inn. There you will meet Khalid and Jaheira. They have long been my friends, and you can trust them.

Before we leave through the gate a Priest of Oghma heals us.

The bruise from Erik’s training arrow disappears. The gate opens. This is it. My first time outside the Keep. I hesitate at first, but father rushes out and tells me we must make haste. I take a breath and head out into the world.

We walk along the Lion’s Way until the sun sets. When we reach the Sword Coast mainland, father decides to stray from the path. I start to tire. I had a lot of training in the Keep, but it pales in comparison to walking for literal hours through the wilderness. Father notices that I’m slowing down.

Gorion: Let’s hurry child! The night can only get worse, so we must find shelter soon. Don’t worry, I will explain everything as soon as there is time.

We press on, passing by a several stones laid in a circular pattern. I think druids must have placed them here – they have a thing for stone circles. Father stops suddenly.

I ready my shield and warhammer as we are approached by a group of bandits accompanied by two ogres. They seem to be led by a man wearing some kind of heavy plate armour.

Gorion: You’re a fool if you believe I would trust your benevolence. Step aside and you and your lackeys will be unhurt.

Armoured Figure: I’m sorry that you feel that way, old man.

Looks like we fight! Father activates a lot of magical protections on himself as the ogres approach him.

The bandits start firing arrows at me. Father tells me to run as he launches a barrage of magic missiles at one of the ogres.

I do as he says, and Cat follows me. As I flee the archers continue to launch arrows at me.

It seems the female bandit is a spellcaster as well. She starts countering father’s magic as he takes down the ogres.

The archers lose interest in me at this point and turn to father as he retreats to cast more protection spells. Then he turns around and launches a fireball.

All but two of the assailants fall. The armoured figure and the spellcaster. I stop to watch. I’ve never seen my father in a real fight before.

Father launches a barrage of spells at the armoured figure as the spellcaster casts some protections on herself.

But then…

No. That didn’t happen. The armoured figure looks in my direction, his eyes glowing in the night. I turn to flee. If he can take down father I don’t stand a chance.

Did he see me? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I run and keep on running. Eventually, I collapse. I can’t go on anymore. As my eyes close I wonder if I’ll ever wake up again.

3 Mirtul 1368

The dawn is especially cruel this morning. The sun hurts my eyes as it rises over the horizon. I feel like I have slept yet I am still exhausted. Then reality hits me. Father is dead. I am alone. “Hand over your ward”, the armoured figure had said. He was after me, and father gave his life to protect me.

I sit up and look around. I think I am near the Lion’s Way road. If I’m right, Candlekeep is back to the west, but I daren’t go there. It would be the first place the armoured figure would look, and I encountered enough assassins yesterday. Father mentioned friends in the Friendly Arm Inn. That seems to be the best option, but I have no idea how to get there.

I sit there collecting myself for a while when I hear a familiar voice.

Aegon: How could you have known? Gorion did not even tell me.

Imoen: I… accidentally… read a letter on his desk the other day. Can’t remember exactly what it said, but he might still have… It might be on his… his body. Anyway, I’m not gonna let you wander out here all alone. Never let a friend down, no, sir! Stick with you until you say otherwise, I will!

Body. Yes. Maybe we should go back to it. If nothing else I need to bury him. At least I don’t have to do it alone now.

Imoen was always one to seek out adventure.

The current mod setup comes with some books that allow you to change an NPCs stats and kits. I changed Imoen to an Adventurer because I felt it fit her character. The find traps and open locks bonuses should make her more useful. She loses her backstab ability, but considering Imoen’s low strength that isn’t a great loss.

She also loved learning how to lay traps, that might be useful if we need to hunt for food.

She carries a short bow with her. She was always a pretty decent shot with it.

She only has 40 arrows with her, however.

She brought 3 potions of healing with her, as well as a potion of speed.

She also managed to smuggle out a wand of magic missiles.

We try to figure out our next step. Imoen suggests we find father’s… body. It’s risky – there may still be people looking for me. If they can take down my father, we won’t have much of a chance. But we have to try. I must bury my father.

I take a look at the map father gave to me.

If I’m right, the stone circles are to the north. That’s where we will find father. The three of us make our way and we get there without incident.

The body that lays there somehow doesn’t look like father, though I know it is him. I wander over to search his pack. The scroll Imoen mentioned is here.

What we have long feared. Those in thy care. The other side. Did father always know this day would come? What is the other side? Are they the ones sending assassins? I tuck the scroll into my book bag. Imoen approaches father as I do so.

Aegon: Yes. He died saving me from some… thing.

Imoen: Don’tcha even know what attacked you? Whatever it was, looks like it was vicious.

Aegon: It was too dark to see much, but it was humanoid, although I couldn’t see a face. His eyes glowed, though… like hell’s fire! And he would have gone straight for me if Gorion, gods rest his soul, had not barred his way!

Imoen: I see. Hmm… so he wasn’t after Gorion, but you.

I don’t like this, Aegon, don’t like this at all.

Aegon: I don’t either, but I have to find out what’s going on, and why I was attacked I don’t want to drag you into this, though, Imoen.

Imoen: Leave? And if I did, who would keep ya entertained? Who would keep your spirits lifted in the darkest hour? And who would keep up the practical jokes?

Leave! Hah! You’ll have ta force me ta leave ya now!

Whether it’s her yearning for adventure, or she actually just cares about me, she’s not going to abandon me. I worry she may get hurt, but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

I check father’s… body. He was wearing some mage robes and a girdle, as well as wielding a dagger. There are some coins in his purse as well.

I can’t tell what kind of mage robes these are.

And I know the belt has some special properties as well, but I don’t know what they are. I take them off him. It’s grim, but we are alone out here, and I feel we need as much equipment as we can get. After I finish Imoen checks up on me again.

Aegon: I’ve been better. Do *you* have something on your mind?

Imoen: Not really. Was just wonderin’ how you were feeling. Seeing if you were okay and all. You don’t talk much lately… all quiet and stuff.

Aegon: Gorion is dead, mysterious assassins are after me, and I can’t even imagine how to survive another day. It all happened so suddenly!

Imoen: I’d hate to see this eat away at ya. We’ll get him, ya know. That guy, whoever he was, who killed your dad. We’ll find out who he is, and pay him back good!

And don’t even think of ditching me, either. I know what I’m doing, and I’m in this as much as you. I liked Gorion, and you’re my best friend.

I’m your best friend too, whether you know it or not. You can count on me, and don’t you forget it!

Aegon: What brings this on, Imoen? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you act this way!

Imoen: I’m just mad, that’s all… mad, sad, and a little worried, I guess. I’ll get over it. Heh. I was trying to make you feel better, and now I’m all worked up.

Come on, let’s go find an evil dragon’s lair or something to loot. Um, on second thought, a hobgoblin cave is more your speed. Or maybe an xvart village? Hmmm. I’ll have to think about this one…

I almost feel like I am handling my own father’s death better than her. I feel strangely calm. Maybe it’s because I’m focusing on trying to survive another day right now. I’ll have time to mourn later. For now all I can do is dig. Imoen helps as we make a grave for my father.

The scorched bodies of the ogres and mercenaries are still here. One of the ogres was wielding a morning star. A small weapon for a large creature.

The other mercenaries were armed with a short bow and a long sword, which isn’t the same quality as Hull’s. Imoen takes the leather armour one of them is wearing for herself.

She also picks up a long sword. She says she prefers shorter blades, but this one will do for now. We don’t bury the bodies. They deserve to be fed to the wild for what they have done.

Imoen and I talk about our next steps. Father kept us away from the path to avoid detection, but it didn’t seem to help at all. We also don’t know how to get to the Friendly Arm Inn – the friends father mentioned should be there. It may not be the safest option, but we decide to return to the path to get our bearings.

Candlekeep is to the west, so we follow the path east. It’s not long before we meet another traveller.

Imoen: Heya, I’m Imoen, and that’s my friend Aegon. We just got out of Candlekeep, and are startin’ our on a grand adventure, avenging that great mage and all… uhm, Aegon, why are ya standing with your mouth shut as a clam when the tide is out? Ya know more than I ’bout that fightin’ thing, anyway. So go tell ’bout it! That’s what adventurers do! Famous ones, anyway. Or how would they ever get into bards’ songs?

Imoen chatty as always. I decide to change the course of the conversation.

Aegon: Could you help me? My foster father and I were attacked last eve, and now I’m not sure where to go.

Kolssed: The carnage to the north must be the aftermath of your little skirmish then. I am most assuredly sorry about your predicament, though there be little I can do for you. I’ve nothing of serviceable value to impart, except common sense and a few directions. A ways east of here, you should find a crossroads. North of there is the Friendly Arm Inn, and south is the town of Beregost. Both can offer shelter, though the rates at the Friendly Arm are likely better. It is a friendlier atmosphere for the young adventurer as well. Staying close to the roads will make your journey safer, but that will depend on where you are heading as well. I cannot accompany you, though there were a pair of travellers not far up on the road. They might offer assistance, but I would be wary of the cost. I didn’t like the look of them myself.

Aegon: I thank you for your time. Good luck in your travels.

Kolssed: Fare thee well, as they say.

He is humble, but he has given us exactly what we need: the way to the Friendly Arm Inn. We continue along the path. Perhaps we can catch up to these travellers he mentioned.

After some time time we catch up to a halfling and a robed human. The halfling doesn’t have much to say to us.

The human is more talkative, however.

Montaron: Aye Xzar, looks to have been roughed up quite well.

Xzar: Indeed, I can offer you healing potions, if you wish, as a token of goodwill.

Imoen: Psst, Aegon, the mage speaks like he’s layin’ honey on bread, but I dunno… I don’t like his eyes a single bit!

I appreciate her concern, but so far the people who are after me have attacked me on site.

Aegon: I’d be grateful for any assistance.

Xzar: Nothing to fear from these simple potions, and I’ll not even hold you in debt, though your conscience knows otherwise.

He gives me a potion.

Montaron: Just like all good people.

Xzar: Perhaps as payment you would go with us to Nashkel. It is a troubled area and we mean to investigate some disturbing rumours surrounding the local mines. Some acquantainces are very concerned about the iron shortage. Specifically, where to lay blame in the matter. You would be useful, though I’ll not hold you to it. We are to meet the mayor of the town, a man named Berrun Ghastkill, I believe.

Montaron: Your conscience be your guide.

Aegon: I would join with you, but I must meet someone first. Perhaps you will go with me?

Xzar: We’ve precious little time, but it’s best to travel accompanied.

Imoen: I don’t like the looks of these two jokers, Aegon. Nope. I don’t. Not at all.

Lets get to the Friendly Arm Inn soon, huh? I’d like to have some people I can trust travelling with us.

Montaron: Aye, we’ll go wit’ ye. Ye owe us fer our time though.

We have two new travelling companions. The halfling, Montaron, does seem untrustworthy at first glance.

He tells me he is good at killing people, with knowledge of poisons.

He has two types of poison. One is slow acting.

The other is quicker to hurt, but less deadly.

He can also set snares like Imoen.

He carries with him a potion of healing and a potion of speed. He wears studded leather armour, the same kind worn by the rat assassin back in Candlekeep. He also carries short sword on his belt. It has a shorter blade than most swords, but can be quicker on the attack.

Xzar immediately gives off the vibe of a man who isn’t all there.

He tells me he specialises in necromancy.

He is armed with nothing except for his dagger. Among his spells he knows one that can cause an enemy to flee in terror.

He also offers to teach me Larloch’s Minor Drain if I teach him how to cast Magic Missiles.

He also tells me he can innately cast Chill Touch, a spell that cause pain by freezing the flesh.

It’s not a spell that a follower of Corellon Larethian should learn.

We carry on along the path to the east. As we walk, Imoen is her usual talkative self.

Aegon: It is interesting, to say the least. Not quite what I had in mind either, but it’s not like I have a choice.

Imoen: That’s ‘we’ remember? And yeah, ‘spose we don’t have much choice at that. Still, we can do a lot of good, I think.

Wonder if they’ll make a tale of our adventures? Just think, one day folks will be in the common room of some inn, maybe even the Candlekeep Inn, and ask a bard to tell ’em a tale of ‘Imoen the Quick and her trusty side-kick, Aegon!’

Aegon: ‘Side-kick…!?’

Imoen: Oh, okay. We’ll be partners, I ‘spose. What ya think? ‘Imoen the Quick’ sounds good to you? Quick with the blade and wit! All the best heroes and heroines have handles. Hmmm, maybe ‘Imoen the Terrible’? Nah, too dark. ‘Imoen the Bold’? ‘Imoen the Sly’? ‘Imoen the Magnificent’? Hey that sounds pretty good!

Aegon: Um, how about ‘Imoen the…’?

Imoen: Shush you! I’m thinking! Where was I? I still kinda like ‘Imoen the Quick’. Wonder if it’s taken already…?

And so the Legend of Aegon the Errand Boy and Imoen the Quick begins. It has been a dark day and an even darker night. But, even if I don’t quite trust our companions, we are not dead, and we are not alone. We will get to the Friendly Arm Inn and find father’s friends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.