The Serpents of Abbathor

Aegon and his friends continue their search for those responsible for the Nashkel Mine Conspiracy. Their search has taken them to Beregost, where they tracked down Tranzig. He was only a messenger for the Tazok, the man behind the conspiracy, so the Troupe must continue their search.

28 Kythorn 1368

While we wait in Feldepost’s for night to fall, I talk to Tamah who came here after we saved her from Mutamin’s basilisks.

I’d love to talk more, but I’m just not good company right now.

I need to stay here awhile and decide what to do. If you find any other letters, you can bring them here for me. Or… Do you think I should make a decision now?

Aegon: Let me see if I can find more letters.

Tamah: Very well. I’ll just stay here. Thank you for your kindness, Aegon.

I wouldn’t be the Deliverer of Letters if I missed one, would I? Who knows how many books are out there with more letters?

Rose is bored and suggests a we do something a little more interesting while we wait. There are still a couple of homes we can “investigate” in this town. The home in the central part of town is still locked tight, so we go back to the home where we were attacked by a family. The ooze manages to break the lock on the chest this time.

Inside we find some coins, a short sword, and a small shield.

Mur’Neth has the same success at Greycart’s home next door.

Inside we find only some coins and a suit of leather armour.

We still have time to kill before nightfall, so Xan suggests a topic of conversation to pass the time.

Aegon: Have you come to a conclusion?

Xan: Not a definite one, no. But I would like to mull it over with you.

If all we do is strive towards carving a place in history, then all we do is useless. Everything fades: books, money, heroic deeds. Children? They die, and often leave no offspring of their own.

But we cannot all be a… waste of space, can we? Oh, we are, but it is too much of a horrible thought. There must be something we leave behind. Something immaterial. A small piece of our hearts.

Or, rather, we leave nothing here – any imprint on reality, however bright, fades with time – but we always *are* something, somewhere. Ourselves.

But what is the point of an immortal soul in Arvandor or in Carth?

He sighs.

Xan: I truly do not understand.

Aegon: Perhaps you have to die to understand.

Xan: A chilling thought. Well, then the moment is not far away.

Life is the point of living. A symbol of living.

Life and love… I’ll have to think on this.

Is that the only way to truth? Is death the only way to find the answers? Perhaps killing is a mercy for those who are lost…

After our pondering, we return to the stone pillar in the centre of town. We see a heavily armed dwarf that seems to be looking around for someone. Rose approaches him.

Rose: What is this?

Tarash: Just answer.

Rose: ‘Xcuse me.

Tarash: Hmph.

She didn’t have much luck. I take a look at the letter we found with Mulahey again. I know what to do now. I approach the dwarf this time.

Aegon: And all jewels to the Serpent.

Tarash: Excellent. Has Mulahey decided?

Aegon: Mulahey wishes for an alliance.

Tarash: Most excellent. Tell your master that he will soon hear from us. The Serpents of Abbathor stick by their word!

Aegon: We will tell him.

Tarash: And also tell him to keep an eye on the trade routes. The crossroad north of here might see some action soon!

With that, the dwarf walks away. That doesn’t give us much to go on. The only crossroad to the north is on the Coast Way. Perhaps we should take our time to search the area.

29 Kythorn 1368

We follow the Coast Way toward the Friendly Arm, seeking the crossroad. to the west it will lead to the Lion’s Way, back to home. Where I can never return.

As we get close we notice two armed travellers approach the milestone.

Bashrik: There is something wrong.

Mirjala: What?

Bashrik: I do not know… hold yourself ready.

Bashrik casts a True Seeing spell, revealing a group of bandits hiding the woods around him.

We hear arrows flying as we rush toward the scene. Before we can get close, we face an ambush of our own.

Rose kills one of them, and I prepare to put the rest to Sleep.

The spell knocks some of them down. Those that are still alive, anyway.

The bandits fall, and we rush to the crossroads.

We’re too late. We see two dead bodies, and a glowing gnome pursued by gibberlings.

Finch kills one of the gibberlings, but the gnome reveals herself to be yet another assassin sent for me.

Aegon: Why ask your foes to lay down and die? I see you come bearing arms surely you don’t expect myself to just lay down and die? What about the struggle of life and death? If I am to die I would first like to know who put a price on my head.

Melia Quicknight: Why this line of work gets tiresome, tracking and hunting for days on end; I just want to get paid. Eh a girl has to do what a girl has got to do. I ain’t telling nobody who pays me mate, lest me head roll off. Every time the same question! Stubborn ilk you all are.

Aegon: I will not give my life to you willingly, especially to fatten someone else’s coin purse. Get a real job, you hack scum-brained bandit.

Melia Quicknight: So rude! I’ll swing me flails extra hard to crack your think skull open; beat some manners into ya I will!

We’re rude? She’s the one killing people for money!

Cat moves to take care of the gibberlings. I hurl a Battering Ram at the assassin. Finch rushes in to heal Drake, who engages the assassin in close with his Rift Hammer.

The assassin is knocked unconscious by the Battering Ram, as the gibberlings rush our position.

Xan puts several of the gibberlings to Sleep.

The assassin is hurt badly as she tries to get back up.

I launch some Magic Missiles at her.

Mur’Neth gets the kill shot.

We have no trouble finishing off the sleeping gibberlings. Drake searches the assassin’s belongings. She has a couple of healing potions, a couple of flails, chainmail armour, a magical ring, and, of course, a note.

200 gold this time. I take a look at the ring. It looks like a Ring of Accurate Striking, but I can’t be sure.

We search the bodies of the men killed by the bandits. Their weapons and armour are broken, except for an enchanted hammer I can’t identify. One of the men, Bashrik as it turns out, was carrying a journal.

The Temple of Helm. I think there is one in Baldur’s Gate? Perhaps we could find this Wostok there and let them know what has transpired here, and pass the journal on to him. The Undercellar the journal speaks of, where Draglon is based, is also beneath Baldur’s Gate.

We will have to wait, however: the city Baldur’s Gate which remains closed due to the bandit raids.

This hunt has taught me more about how to survive out here in the wild.

We go back and loot the corpses of the bandits that attacked us, making sure to scalp them for Officer Vai’s bounty.

We are close to the Friendly Arm Inn, so we go there to take some rest before our hunt for the bandit camp. Xan continues his musings on the point (or pointlessness) of life.

Aegon: Not doomed, and not the only thing, but I agree.

Xan: For a long while, I thought that love was only a symbol. Worse, a disaster. But it is so much more, isn’t it?

He sighs.

Xan: Which doesn’t make it any less disastrous.

Now that I think of it, the theme of love goes throughout the entire history of my people, enveloping it with frightening symbolism: love being a draught of life, absence of love signifying death.

By the way, are you satisfied with your love life?

Aegon: Ahem. Are you implying something?

Xan: Just asking. But it was inappropriate of me, my apologies.

Do you think it is true? That “I love you” means “You will live forever; you will never die”?

Aegon: Do you?

He sighs again.

Xan: Yes…

We continue into the inn and approach Bentley to negotiate a room.

Drake: That the way you treat all of your returning customers?

Bentley Mirrorshade: Hmph.

Drake: Is it because I’m Amnian? I must say, Bentley, I thought one as worldly as you would see past such prejudices.

Bentley Mirrorshade: Don’t put words in my mouth, boy. Amnian or no, it makes no difference in my establishment, but you… by Garl, if there were three of you I’d be out of business by the week’s end. And your behaviour… intimidates some of my other guests.

Drake: Well, then perhaps you’ll be pleased to hear that I won’t be here to stay. At least… not for a while. Attend to Aegon’s needs. And bring me a tankard of your best ale while you’re at it.

Bentley sighs.

Bentley Mirrorshade: Yes, yes, I know.

None too many travellers have been through lately, what with the supposed troubles down south. So what can I do for ya?

Drake retreats to a table in the corner while we pay for a luxury room for the day. After the mines and the bandits, we need to relax before we head out into the wilderness again.

The next morning I use my magic to identify Bashrik’s Hammer. This feels better than the Hammer of Corrosion in my hands, so I replace the old hammer with the new.

Xan identifies the Ring of Accurate Striking. It’s useful only to a melee fighter, so I give it to Drake. He will be leading us into the wilderness, so he will be readying his Rift Hammer often.

We take the time to explore the fort again. I remember there was a dwarf, Brokk, who was affected by the trouble in the mines. When we arrive he seems to recognise our troupe.

Brokk: It warms me old dwarven heart ta hear the mine be running again. Now maybe I can finally start me forge back up. But, until them pesky bandits be dealt with, I can still nae get sum good ore in.

Rose: Fear not, I will deal with those bandits.

Brokk: Heh, rushing headlong into danger, aye? I like yer attitude, m’ girl. Ye be reminding me of meself when I were younger.

Here, let old Brokk give ye a hand. Take these with ye, they will keep ye safe. Now, go give them bandits what they deserve!

Come see me if ye be needing any weapons or armour. I’ll give y’all a good deal!

He gives her a pair of bracers. They are Vambraces of Evil’s Warding, giving protection from evil. Rose is already wearing protective bracers, so she gives them to Drake.

Rose takes a look through his weapons and finds a helmet that should protect her from bandit ambushes.

We set off to leave, to seek out the bandits. We know they are either around Peldvale or Larswood. According to our map, Peldvale is closer to the Friendly Arm, so that becomes our next destination.

30 Kythorn 1368

During the journey to Peldvale, we realise that Drake is more likely to walk through a hail of arrows. So Rose and Drake swap their helmets for now.

On arriving in the woods, it isn’t long before we encounter bandits. Hobgoblins this time.

We do what we do best. These bandits aren’t a match for us.

We loot the bodies as usual, finding only trinkets.

We are at least 16 hours away from the main roads and there are bandits wandering around. It’s a good sign we are in the right place. The bandit camp must be around here somewhere.

We continue into the forest. We have been ambushed by the bandits too many times now. It’s time for us to ambush them.

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