Loose Ends – Chapter Two

28th Day of the Deepwinter: (January):

The Thot Plickens…..and the Black Dragon remain hidden.

Location - Lizard Marshes
Location – Lizard Marshes

The return from the Lizard Marshes is a wretched exercise; buffeting, driving rain scours the cowled faces of our intrepid Heroes. This caused obscuring vision to no more than 100 yards and chilling gloved fingers to the bone. 

The unremitting, heaven borne torrent leaves even the garrulous picker of locks, reduced to uttering all but a melancholy whistle. There was barely a word is passed between our intrepid Heroes.

Steam rises from the backs of proud steeds and the trudging of hooves through slithering mud and endless puddles was the depressing melody that accompanied Frimly’s shrill dirge.

However, Thora’s mind was far, far away, untouched by the inclemency, but instead deeply troubled by events unfolding around them and the thought of a Black Dragon.  Her beard itched and she abstractedly twisted at her rust coloured plaits.

Clearly the anxiety of what was unravelling before them had finally began to take root in the normally barren imagination of our taciturn warrioress.

She silently cursed the enigmatic Commander Vimes for drawing them into his web.

Their status as gullible pawns in a bigger game had now finally dawned on her.

Even the perilous thrill of battle with the ‘Claw’ tattooed Lizard folk, had fast faded and left only a wasteland of riddles and conundrums that she was determined to shine the holy light of St Cuthbert upon.

Did they fight along side the Black Dragon?

Then, at last, the Dwarven Warrior was moved to speak to her fellow Heroes.

Thora: “Companions, we have some hard choices to make and more mysteries to unravel. What are ye thoughts?”

Galan is the first to respond.

Galan: “I believe our firmest lead is the weapon-ware that they found on the defeated Lizard Men, which would seem to lead us back to Daggerford and the Smiths Guild. Let’s see what we can unearth there.”

Thora: “‘But what of the Wyrms, or Black Dragons, that now roam the Marshes!?”

Mirafir Roven interjects, his velvety Wizard’s sleeves hanging lank and limp about his spindly Elven arms.

Mirafir: “I overheard some of the Lizards talking to their Shamans and know that they removed as many Weapons as they could from the dead Claw Clan; they attempted to somehow dispose of their bodies, so as not to allow the Wyrms to feed!’

Mirafir: “These Wyrms, or Black Dragons, seem to be manipulating tensions within the Marshes and we need to discover why – it is a matter of the utmost urgency!’

Monster - Black Dragon
Monster – Black Dragon

The Wizards’ shrill whine rising in pitch with each anxious syllable, until, Frimly mused, only the most sharp eared of Worgs could have picked out the final utterance.

Thora: “Indeed.”

Thora muttered recalling her recent conversation with Redeye.

Redeye: “At any time, one or more Black Dragons usually inhabit the Lizard Marsh. This could be one, a pair or a single female.”

Whispered Redeye, apparently not wanting his tribe to hear this information about the Black Dragon.

Redeye: “I know that an ancient Black Dragon has long since claimed the Lizard Marshes as her domain along with a handful of her offspring who are allowed to lurk and grow within the Marsh.

Most Black Dragons, once they reach adulthood would then leave to establish their own lair elsewhere or battle their parent or parents for suzerainty (a superior feudal lord to whom fealty is due: overlord) of the swamp.

However, this very Old Black Dragon is a long-slumbering Wyrm, who it appears, has allowed her offspring to wander unmolested through her domain until well into adolescence and perhaps beyond.”

Redeye then explains that she is believed to have made Tavaray her home.

Thora recalled that the City-state of Tavaray had lain at the mouth of the River Delimbiyr (The Shinning River) and was the origin of the majority of human settlements upon the Sword Coast, the Dessarin river valley, and the Delimbiyr River valley. Now the home of a mighty Black Dragon.

Redey goes on to tell how Tavaray was abandoned many years ago, as the surrounding marshland flooded after a sudden and seismic topographic event. The ruins of Tavaray now lie buried somewhere beneath the waters of the Lizard Marsh.

Thora: “This may be true enough, those Wyrms, or Black Dragon, will need to be challenged sooner or later…but…Galan is correct.”

Said Thora.

Thora: ”Those Weapons are our best lead. I appraised them and they are of a passable quality. I’m sure Derval will know who forged them.’

Thora: “Also, though Redeye has amassed a strong Clan, he still needs our help acquiring more Weapons and thus someone to petition the Smiths Guild, or the Guild Masters of Daggerford themselves.”

Thora: “We must help him to resist the plot to destabilise the Marshes for long enough that we may be in a position to battle the Wyrms! That time is nae yet.”

Thora growls to her companions

Frimly: “Yeah, OK, let’s have some fun in Daggerford.”

Sniffled Frimly rubbing his porky little belly in anticipation.

Sigune: “Jah, fun…..let’z haff fun with St Cuzzbert’s cudgel!!!”

Sigune booms into the saturated gloom of the Drawing Down.

Returning To Daggerford:

At last they reached the glowing lights of Daggerford. The party hurriedly made their way through the dismal shanty town that was growing apace beneath the walls of Daggerford. Recognised at the main gate the passed within without incident. The City Watch waving them through and on into the streets beyond, just as the town bells rang for midnight.

Mirafir still lived at home with his mother; much to Frimly’s amusement.  Elves, they really are the weirdest!

Frimly: “Maybe Kira Roven’s disappearance owed more to a spat about the cleaning rota than anything more sinister.”

He whispered to Galan.

It was to this familial haven that the party returned to debrief with the priest, Farther Tobias and his lackey, the acne ridden virgin Paladin; Sir Ly.

Farther Tobias: “We have a dream-catchers worth of webs to wade through.”

The Priest muttered, as he gazed distractedly at the festoons of macramé and holistic gew-gaws littering the Roven household.

29th Day of the Deepwinter: (January):

At first light Thora. Mirafir and Sigune head to Derval Brightspear’s workshop to identify the Claw Clan’s Lizard’s Weapons. Already set at their forge, two barrel-chested Dwarven apprentices greet Thora with awe, mumbling platitudes. She shushes them, and points them in the direction of the Weapons.

NPC - Drimbaal
NPC – Drimbaal

Drimbaal: “Aha…..aye, these are the work of that Half-Orc smith, Oleg.”

Sneers Drimbaal.

Drimbaal: “Passable for mass production efforts ah suppose, he tends to fill bulk orders for the Guild.’

The Heroes were lucky, or was it by serendipity, that Oleg’s workshop is sited next door to ‘Roven’s Return’.

Frimly and Galan are tasked with keeping tabs on Oleg and the workshop.

The Town’s clock chimes strike 8 o’clock when Galan spots a female dwarf who appears to be keeping tabs on them….the same dwarf that Frimly saw in the Lady luck Tavern.

Frimly: “Let’s tail the tail.”

Frimly’ Says to Galan.

Galan and Frimly head out of an upper floor window, intent on remaining unseen, and with Greenish using his hat of disguise (as a Dwarf!). They gain a rooftop vantage point, the Elf making the climb seem effortless courtesy of his shiny new ‘Gloves of Climbing and Swimming’ and unseen due to both their ‘Cloaks of Elvenkind’.

Frimly: “‘The little runt is taking notes, ain’t she!? Cheeky cow! I’m gonna intercept her….watch this.”

Smirks the Thief.

Frimly meanders off, apparently a drunken Dwarf making his way home. Until he ‘happens’ upon the Dwarfess.

Female Dwarf: “Hello there, Frimly. You’re up early.’

She chirps.

Frimly: “But how did you…..’

NPC - Sergeant Cheery Littlebottom
NPC – Sergeant Cheery Littlebottom

Frimly is, for once, gobsmacked.

Frimly: “Anyway, who the bloody hell are you and why are you nosing about in our business, eh!?”

Sergent Cherry Littlebottom: “Me? Oh, my name is Cherry Littlebottom and I’m a Sergent of the Daggerford Watch. We like to keep a close watch on newcomers….you just never know what they might get up to!”

She responds, watching Frimly rather too intently for his liking.

Then from behind a nearby building out steps the huge and lumbering figure of the clay golem last seen with Commander Vimes in the Lady Luck Tavern.

Frimly: “By the blooming’ saints underpants, what’s going on!?”

Frimly utters, gazing up with unrestrained awe at the enormous construct.

NPC - Constable Dorfl
NPC – Constable Dorfl

The Golem’s brains however, are no match his brawn and he reveals something of Commander Vimes strategy. Which would appear to be at the behest of Lady Bronwyn?

Constable Dorfl: “Hello little man, we are here to look after you, make sure no one breaks you.”

Sergent Cherry Littlebottom: “Thank you Constable that will be all.”

Constable Dorfl: “Commander Vimes says the nice lady in the castle has asked for it, most important.”

Sergent Cherry Littlebottom: “Thank you Constable, I can take it from here.”

Constable Dorfl: “Too important to her to be broken, so don’t takes your eyes off them said Commander Vimes.

Less I want to end up as a plant pot.

Sergent Cherry Littlebottom: “Constable Dorfl guard the rear, that’s an order.”

The Heroes see that Constable Dorfl does as he is ordered and Sergent Cherry Littlebottom turns her attention to our Heroes once again.

Galan: “So just who do you think will come looking for us here then?”

Galan asks Sergent Littlebottom. But she offers no response.

The Others Vist NPC – Sherlen Spearslayer:

Elsewhere, Thora, Sigune and Mirafir pay an unofficial visit to Commander Sherlen Spearslayer; now promoted to overall command of the Daggerford Militia.

NPC - Sherlen Spearslayer
NPC – Sherlen Spearslayer

Sherlen Spearslayer: “Ah, you must have read my mind, Dwarf maiden!”

Declared Sherlen, genuine affection writ in her eyes for her bristly protégé.

Sherlen Spearslayer: “Your return here is most timely. We have granted you the rank of Lance-Corporal in the City Guard as reward for your loyal service. It will offer you some easier access to Daggerford’s resources. Congratulations.’

Thora: “Thank you Ma’am. But it is questions we have and answers we need, before we can lay claim to any glory!”

Thora’s responds, tersely.  

Sherlen Spearslayer: “Of course lieutenant, ask away.”

Thora: ”So, who sent us on the original mission to Cromm’s Hold?”

Sherlen Spearslayer: “On the day of the raid on Cromm’s holding, Captain Arayndar Delimbiyr was with me and the Captain suggested you for the mission as I had kept on about how well you all performed in training.”

The Commander of the Daggerford Militia recalls.

Sherlen Spearslayer: “Why do you ask?”

Mirafir: “Well, it was Vimes, who’s been questioning our version of events….and it’s got us to thinking that there’s a few rotten eggs around and about.”

Mirafir interjects.

NPC - Captain Arayndar Delimbiyr
NPC – Captain Arayndar Delimbiyr

Sherlen Spearslayer: “I’m certain Captain Arayndar Delimbiyr, is beyond reproach! 

Commander Sherlen says of the Half-Elf Captain in the Daggerford Militia.”

Sherlen Spearslayer: “He fought bravely in the Dragonspear Campaign and now serves as my aide-de-camp. He is member of Daggerford’s most prominent non-noble family, and I believe Mirafir knows his first cousin Elyshyar Delimbiyr, proprietor of the River Shining Tavern (#43).”

Mirafir: “Yes, that is true’

Says Mirafir.

Mirafir: “When not on duty on the town’s walls, Captain Arayndar Delimbiyr can usually be found at the River Shining Tavern (#43), drinking Zzar (a fortified sherry wine popular in Waterdeep that has an orange colour and an almondy scent and flavour).

Filthy stuff if you ask me! He likes to imbibe and seems to have a limitless bar tab. luckily he can sleep it off at the family estate – Delimbiyr Manse (#35).”

Thora: “So, no unusual orders relating to missions or other such activities?”

Thora presses.

Sherlen Spearslayer: “No, I don’t believe so, we’re currently tasked with guarding Daggerford, the caravan area and the surrounds….though the influx of refugees is stretching us to the limit; so nothing unusual.”

Says Sherlen.

Sigune: “What about Dygath Hornspar, Baron Cromm’s Huntmaster?”

Sherlen Spearslayer: “I know of him, but you wouldn’t call him memorable.”

The Commander answers.

Sherlen Spearslayer: “Of middling height, plain face with a rakish goatee, grey-streaked black hair, pulled back in a braid.

He’s lean and muscular and looks like he can handle himself. But so he should, considering he was responsible for any dangerous predators that came too close to Redhand Keep.”

Sherlen Spearslayer: “I understand, from all accounts, he acquired his taste for hunting during the Dragonspear War. He returned as a decorated war veteran whose courage and martial skill were unquestioned and his service considered valuable to any noble.”

Thora: “Dygath disappeared for several days after the attack on Cromm’s Hold.”

Explains Thora.

Thora: “Then he appears, suddenly working for Baron Agwain Delantar, who then attempts to kidnap our Lady Bronwyn!”

Thora: “It is beyond suspicious, for a man of his skills to get lost for two days and we will seek to ascertain his motives.”

Sherlen Spearslayer: “Indeed, Thora. I have been suspicious of the kidnap for many months now. The murder of the two guards, supposedly killed by Baron Agwain’s men, never did add up.”

Confides Sherlen.

Sherlen Spearslayer: “Nobles are generally honourable and killing allies is, I believe, not in his nature.’

Thora then explains the illicit supply of weapons to enemy Lizard Men in the marshes and that Oleg was the fabricator.

Sherlen Spearslayer: “Well, you may want to keep an eye on him, but he keeps himself to himself and has merely benefitted from the extra work that has arisen.”

States Commander Sherlen.

Sherlen Spearslayer: “As for Vimes, he may not be 100% honest but he is the most Lawful man I have ever met.”

Returning To Mirafir’s House:

The trio return to Maison Roven and a decision is made to break into Oleg’s home.

Frimly and Galan have already broken into the adjacent workshop but find nothing suspicious, other than crates of weapons and an inventory.

Mirafir, Galan and Frimly wait for Oleg to enter his workshop and head off to the Half-Orcs dwelling a few streets away. Mirafir turns invisible and flies above as Frimly attempts and fails to break into the property. The house being well protected with a new, well-made Dwarven lock. Mirafir eventually casts his spell ‘Knock’ while rolling his eyes out loud at the Thief’s fumbling’s. Frimly is uneasy as the time it took to attempt to pick the lock may have led to his activates looking very suspicious to passers-by.

It appears the door has been extra bolted for some reason….why? Within, Galan finds a loose floor board and uncovers a strong-box with more excellent Dwarven workmanship and locks. Frimly opens it with ease to reveal a contract to supply weapons to be shipped South tomorrow morning, on behalf The Duchy. The document appears to be bona fide, though the signature is unclear. There are also a significant number of Electrum pieces.

Back at the ranch thoughts now turn to Commander Vimes’ insinuations about the Caravan Duty that they were sent on and that led to the gift of the map of Illefarn given to them by Meldar Farwander and his Daughter Delora Sharpeye.

Frimly: “I’ve heard through the grapevine that Finn…you remember, he was one of the herders’?

The others, aside from Sigune, who manages to muster a desolately blank look, ascent to Frimly’s question.

Frimly: “Well, he’s been banged up for a murder that happened at the Lady Luck Tavern, a few days ago while we were out in the High Forest training. He don’t strike me as the type, to be fair.”

Thora: “I dinnae think we have much time. Mirafir and Tobias will gan with me to the gaol. Sigune, Galan and Frimly, head to the Lady Luck Tavern and see what you can uncover.”

Says Thora.

Finn In The City Watch Jail:

The streets of Daggerford glisten in the mizzling rain. Even the slurry of human and animal effluent seems to gleam. The priest takes this as a good sign, smearing himself liberally with this offering from the big C!

Above the entrance to the gaol sit two Lonine statues that peer down upon all who enter, and whose eyes, Mirafir could swear, are looking at them as they enter the stone portal.

NPC - Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson
NPC – Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson

Within they are greeted by the imposing figure of Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson; a giant of a man; incredibly well muscled in resplendent in armour that is polished to a mirrored finish.

To Thora’s amazement, Captain Carrot speaks perfect Dwarfish, be it with a northern lilt.

Captain Carrot: “Aye, I was raised by yer kinsman oop North, from when I was a wee baern.’

Thora: “We wish to speak to one of your prisoners, Finn the herder. We understand he is being held here on charges of murder.”

Thora states to Captain Carrot.

The Captain eyes the three of them and notes Thora’s newly acquired rank.

Captain Carrot: “Indeed he is, lance-corporal, He’s being held here for his own safety.”

Captain Carrot adds, somewhat cryptically.

There are 2 City Watch members sitting behind a desk. One appears to be a sergeant and the other a corporal. Both not the best of the best.

NPC - Sergeant Fred Colon
NPC – Sergeant Fred Colon

The scruffily turned out underling, takes them through to the cells.

NPC - Corporal Nobby Nobbs
NPC – Corporal Nobby Nobbs

Corporal Nobby Nobbs: “My name’s Corporal Nobby Nobbs, and if you require anything else….please feel free to ask…”

The grimy adjutant offers, extending a cupped hand synonymous to anyone with an ounce of wit, as a palm waiting for coin.

Caught between the righteous indignance and glowering crossfire of Farther Tobias and Thora, Corporal Nobby Nobbs scurries away, sensing this may not be his time to shine.

Corporal Nobby Nobbs: “Maybe catch you later on then lads, stay lucky.”

Finn is grateful to talk to the adventurers and his distress is evident.

Finn: “I’ve been fitted up, honestly I have, I didn’t touch the bloke, I swear I got pushed onto him…and then…then the bloke fell over….dead. I was only having a few beers and now I’m in here and I could get hung….they’ve got it all wrong.”

Poor Finn bleats to Thora.

Finn: “That Corporal Nobby Nobbs, he went and took the statements and that but he’s got it all arse-about-face.

Finn complains to all that were listening.

Thora: “Alreet young man, calm yeself, we’ll get on tae the nitty-gritty, but firstly tell us what yez remembas of that herding we done together all them moons agae.

Finn: “Well….from what I can recall….that Meldar “Far-wander” Lythnaer and that daughter of his, Delora Sharpeye, headed off southwards to Baldur’s Gate as soon as they could.

A bit strange really cos they take the first offer they got and, despite everything, they give us all a bonus, too. They definitely never made no money out of it!’

Finn: ‘Ere….  an I reckons that that ‘orrible Jocko ‘the Wily’ and his band of scumbags were the same lot that attacked our caravan before it reached the Way Inn; before you joined us. They killed all the guards, but for some reason they spared Meldar, Delora, Me, Ian and little Dooley.

I just don’t geddit, the more I think about it the less sense it makes! It’s like there was some weird plan. Then I end up getting fitted up too! I need some of that Frimly’s luck don’t I!?”

Mirafir ponders that distant chain of events and plots the timeline aloud.

Mirafir: “Weren’t we given the Map of Illefarn after those brigands attacked us? We’d left Bowshot I seem to recall. Then we were attacked by that band of Orcs and Goblins with emblem less black shields – which makes me, think they were mercenaries or at least trying to conceal their true allegiances.

Then there was that accursed ‘Undead Dagger’….was that their real intention or were we being pushed towards Illefarn?

Thora: “Runedardath!”

The warrior corrects the Wizard, tetchily.

She continues to question the prisoner about events at the Lady Luck Tavern.

Finn: “Listen, I didn’t even know the fella, Garth Rower, I certainly never kilt ‘im! I mean why would I fer Cuffberts sake!”

Father Tobias flinches at this irreverent reference to the mighty lord.

Finn: “All I remember is being shoved in the back and I ended up, face to face, bumping the fella, next thing he’s dead on the floor in a pool of blood. The other next thing the whole place is in uproar!

Finn: “Some tall bloke’s pointing at me, telling like I dunnit. Everyone is olding me down. But I never ‘ad nuffink on me that coulda kilt a man.

The City watch arrives and starts up to questioning folk, but they never found the tool that dunnit. I told that Vimes, so he locks me up…telt me it was for me own good….”

Some few minutes later, at Captain Ironfoundersson’s desk, the Watch report is read out and states.

Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson: “Finn was seen to be pushed by a tall man in a Cloak into Garth Row and was subsequently subdued by the patrons of the Lady Luck Tavern.

Corporal Nobbs, was first on the scene and took witness statements including one from a ‘tall man in a dark cloak.’ However, no name or further details were included.”

Farther Tobias: “So Captain. It appears that there is only the flimsiest evidence contained here and absolutely no chance of a conviction based on this woeful document. I rather think that you need to be having a short word with that Corporal Nobs of yours!’

Father Tobias declares in his most authoritative voice.

Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson: “Indeed, holy father. However, Commander Vimes will not release him without someone guaranteeing the prisoner protection and taking him in a southerly direction….within 24 hours….is that understood?.”

Thora: “Och, we’ll tek care o’ that…jes set the young laddie free and let Vimes ken tha he’s with us.”

Thora say to Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson, in her most charming voice.

Back At The Lady Luck Tavern:

The Lady Luck Tavern
The Lady Luck Tavern

Meanwhile, over at the Lady Luck Tavern, Galan, Sigune and Frimly try to unravel the goings on at the Tavern on the night in question and the Black Dragon wing that got damaged, with Frimly insisting that interrogation works best in tandem with Ale.

All about them the walls of the tavern are hung with weapons, armour, banners, spitted beast heads, and similar trophies of battle brought in by various patrons. The most striking of these is the huge, mummified wing of a Black Dragon slain in a volcano. Frimly, a regular at the Lady Luck Tavern knew the story of this fearsome trophy intimately and had even written a lyrical ode about it….thankfully, to be sung another day.

It is plain to see that the volcano’s intense heat had baked and dried the outstretched Black Dragon wing. Apparently when an adventurer, the lone survivor of the party that slew it, dared to return to the lair nine years later, he recovered not only the Black Dragon’s treasure hoard, but also the wing. It now hangs over the taproom like a soft black Dragon canopy, suspended from the ceiling on eight chains.

Owenden ‘Orcslayer’ Moon, retired Cleric of Tymora and currently respected proprietor of the Lady Luck Tavern, admits to not having witnessed the actual assault, but interestingly and at odd with the official repor.

He did however, see an unknown shortish, cloaked woman fleeing the premises after the kerfuffle.

Owenden ‘Orcslayer’ Moon: “It wasn’t until later on that I noticed the damage to that.”

The tavern owner says, pointing up at the suspended, desiccated appendage.

Owenden ‘Orcslayer’ Moon: “Somehow it was damaged in the brawl and so I had it taken away to be repaired by the Sorceller’s Encapsulate (No: 86).

But when it was returned it was missing several of the Claws! Look!’

The Thief and the Ranger turn to each other, eyebrows raised in unison.

Galan: “Let’s find out if Mirafir knows what Black Dragon claws can be used for, shall we”

Monster - Black Dragon Claw
Monster – Black Dragon Claw

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