Firehammer Hold – Chapter Three

11th Day of the Claw of winter (February) 1256 DR:

Daggerford Origin Stories – Chapter One

The Roven House (#72) (09:00 pm):

In Daggerford and within the home of the Wizard Kira Roven, the familiar call can be heard.

Kira Roven: “Mira? Time to come in – it’s bath time! Don’t make me come out and find you! Mirafir! Oh where in Zagyg’s name are you?”

Oblivious to his mother’s increasingly exasperated shouting, the young wizard is totally absorbed in what he is doing and ignored Kira Roven. Sword Coast fire ants, a vicious breed of insect that can spray a deadly burning acid on their opponents have surrounded a colourful beetle that is attempting to break out of the ring of acid-spitting imperialists.

Young Mirafir: “A sprinkling of powdered granite, bound by soft clay and the magic words, spoken in rhyme shall protect her!”

His eyes glow as he mutters some archaic words, like the whisper of the wind, gesturing asymmetrically with his hands. The beetle briefly glows, and begins to break through the ring of ants, which back away from the scrabbling creature. But the glow fades the flow of acid increases and the beetle’s valiant escape attempt is halted. The elf watches in disbelief as it is methodically dismembered. “

Young Mirafir: “Granite… Clay… The sulphur! A curse upon me! How could I forget the sulphur?”

Tying the thread to his beginner’s spell component bag purchased with more than three months’ pocket money, a monumental exercise in self-control by a 22-year-old Elf child, from Delfen Yellowknife’s ‘Personal Store’ of magical and mystical paraphernalia.

Noticing that the shrill shouting of his mother has fallen silent, he decides it is time to head home, but doesn’t even make it as far as raising from his knees as a nimble hand clasps his left pointed ear in a vice-like grip and twists it unnaturally.

Kira Roven: “I warned you! How many times do I have to tell you? You are grounded, my boy! And you can forget the alchemy set I promised you for your birthday!”

As the bitterly protesting child is dragged home, a small gathering of crows – who may or may not have been observing this scene of child/parent confrontation – swoop in to consume some of the swarming ants; shouting gleefully as they neck the nutritious source of protein.

NPC - Kira Roven
NPC – Kira Roven

11th Day of the Claw of winter (February) 1363 DR: DAY SEVEN

Daggerford – Roven Home (08:00 am)

A delicate blanket of snow covers those quiet moments of early morning Daggerford, the few flakes still falling punctuated by columns of chimney smoke rising into the air. As the dawn continues to brighten, the whitened streets begin to vanish as another weary day of work leaves its muddy tracks in the narrow streets and alleyways.

A decision must be made. Selecting from a list of potential leads, clues and trails, the decision is taken that Thora, Frimley, Sigune and Mirafir Roven shall travel to the Northern edge of the Forlorn Hills and investigate Firehammer Hold, recently wrested from the Dwarves and placed under the control of a race of evil Underdark dwarves known as Duergar and possibly with the assistance of the Red Wizards of Thay.

Delfen “Yellowknife“ Ondabarl is given the task of identifying the potential attributes of the Warhammer recently found in the Vampire lair by Sir Ly and Vicross.

Mirafir: “We can cut our journey in half, and help to conceal our movements by using my mighty ‘Mirror of Mental Prowess’ to open a portal to Secomber, several days up the Delimbiyr River.”

Thora: “Aye laddie, let us visit my cousins, they might be able to help us and will not betray us tae the enemy!”

Mirafir series on the Dwarves in Secomber and sends Thora first through the portal, created by the ‘Mirror of Mental Prowess’, onto meet the Secomber Dwarf Gamgee, family member of Dervin “Stonecaver” Ironaxe. Mirafir Roven and Sigune follow, as more Dwarves arrive for breakfast. As finally Frimley steps through, several of the Dwarves put their hands cautiously to their purses. Mirafir Roven discretely closes the portal.

Gamgee: “Who you be chasing today?”

Asks Gamgee the Dwarf head Miner.

Gamgee: “No one usually comes around here, unless it be to bother moi sheep!”

Thora: “Dinnae worry, we’ll soon be on our way, cousin. But before we do, we need some speedy horses!”

Gamgee: “I’ll wager it’s a pony you’ll be after, Mistress Thora. We Dwarves never were much good on the back of an ‘orse! I’m sure we’ll find something suitable for you all, but it moight take some time. So, while we’re waiting, why don’t you and your friends join us for a spot o’ breakfast? We get precious little news out ‘ere: what’s been ‘appenin’ in Daggerford?”

Breakfast turns into Elevenses, Elevenses into Lunch, Lunch into Tea, and Tea takes that familiar turn into Beer…

Thora: “How’s the Baron? Still an arrogant self-righteous royal prick?”

Gamgee: “That not be true, he may act the royal prick but he don’t moind droppin’ by fer a few jars if you catch moi meaning. I guess he’s alright fer one o’ the tall ones. Specially since that funny business with the kidnappin!”

Thora: “Och, ah’m glad to hear tha’. Any other news from along the river?”

Gamgee: “Didn’t you see Julkoun? Completely done over! ‘ardly anyone left there anymore and the river trade ‘as practically dried up – but not our beer or grog, thank goodness! ‘ere’s another one to your good ‘ealth moi friends! But don’t worry your heads about keeping pace with me, there isn’t yet Man, Elf or Dwarf that can!”

Thora: “By my beard, Gamgee, you’ll be awaking tomorrow to a very sore heed, looking up at the underside o’ this table! Thaere’s none that can keep pace a’drinking with me! Ah’ll nay lie to yeh, wee laddie, you’re biting off way more than yeh can chew! Yeh ken? You’re doomed, ah tell yeh! Doomed!”

And, as was foretold, Gamgee awakes to excruciating pain, as if Thora’s great Axe has sliced his head vertically into two halves, poured burning oil into each half and then hammered out the flames on an anvil. When at last he is able to squint through one of his eyes, the daylight pouring in through the window causes him to divulge the contents of his stomach across his beard and into his Chainmail Armour. Whereupon, a fireside saying somehow finds its way into his tortured mind:

Gamgee: “Drink Thou not with Dwarven Mistress. What awaits Thee? Mortal pain and eternal distress!”

NPC - Gamgee Dwarf Miner
NPC – Gamgee Dwarf Miner

2nd Day of the Claw of Sunsets (March) 1363 DR:

Roven Leaving Secomber: (07:30 am):

As the 4 Adventurers ride Northwards from Secomber, a few gentle flakes of snow begin to fall.

Frimley: “Perhaps we should get off the road to avoid leaving any obvious tracks? We will be slower, but perhaps safer?”

As the party continues northwards towards Uluvin, a small town on the eastern edge of the Forlorn Hills, the snowfall subsides with temperatures raising enough to begin a thaw. There is no reason to visit Uluvin; so after a good day’s ride, the party decides to find a quiet spot to camp for the night.

Mirafir: “Here, behind these rocks, sheltered by the trees is an ideal spot to rest before the final stage of our journey! I feel my luck is in and nothing will bother us here, out of the way of everything and so far from the road! There don’t appear to be any tracks – not even woodland creatures! I will take the first watch.”

Thora: “Good work, lad, this looks as good a spot as any. You first, then Feldschlachter, Greenish and I’ll take the last watch. Let’s get some sleep!”

Mirafir, now using his signature spell ‘Fly’, takes a position vertically above the party to get a good view of any woodland creatures or sudden weather changes which might disturb the peaceful sleep of his friends. Other than a soft southerly wind, bearing a hint of spring, there is nothing to disturb the dreams or nightmares of those on the ground.

The Wizard’s thoughts turn to his nemesis Kelthas the Dread, and he pictures the necromancer desperately ‘Scrying’ through the ether in a vain attempt to find him again. He remembers his imprisonment in Runedardath and the attempts made by the Evil Cultist to convert him to the cause of undeath and the subjugation of the Sword Coast by the forces of darkness.

In that very moment, he feels a disturbance in the southerly wind, and hears a sudden *click* above the nearby trees: all too late to react as his skin is pierced by several spine-like darts, inflicting a series of surgical near-fatal injuries.

Mirafir: “Awake! AWAKE! Manticore!”

But there is not just one of these horrific beasts: A second appears on the edges of the adventurers’ Infravision, its bizarre, wizened old man’s head, lion’s body, leathery wings and spined tail taking all by surprise as a shower of quills spray into Thora’s pony, killing the poor beast instantly.

Panicking, Roven unleashes a ‘Lightning Bolt’ which severely injures the Manticore that initially attacked him. In the flash of light, Thora closes in on their opponents and begins to do what she does best of all. In the same moment, Sigune manages to unleash 2 ‘Magic Arrows’ towards a flying Manticore, both striking their mark.

The Manticores have clearly planned this ambush by attacking from different angles and targeting not just the Adventurers but also their steeds. Sigune switches to her ‘Magic Longsword’ and strides into the fray, striking a Manticore causing blood and fur to fly, Thora also rips into her opponent, which unleashes a piercing, gurgling scream, before collapsing to the ground lifeless. Unleashing a second ‘Lightning bolt’, Mirafir Roven drops another Manticore from the sky in a smouldering, smoking heap. The third attacker breaks off from attacking the horses and flies away badly injured, in search of a place to quietly nurse its injuries…

Monster - Manticore
Monster – Manticore

The Elven Wizard requires some urgent medical attention of his own. The spines launched at him from the Manticore must first be carefully removed, before Sigune is able to place her ‘Divinely Healing Hands’ on him, a warming glow radiating from her into the early hours as night begins its slow transformation into day.

3rd Day of the Claw of Sunsets (March) 1363 DR:

Roven Leaving Uluvin: (07:30 am):

With no time to reflect on what could, or should, have been, Mirafir Roven decides that caution is the better part of valour. Despite the cost to his powers, he ensures that he will not be vulnerable to such attacks again, and fearing that this may have been an organised or pre-planned ambush, casts some spells to guarantee the non-detectability of the party.

Before leaving to proceed on their worthy quest, Thora recalls a Dwarven Song to the memory of Fire Hammer Hold, which she renders into the common tongue:

Alas, the Watchers of the North,
Their numbers few, even less thenceforth
But hearts with strength and flaxen beards,
Ancient relics, some souvenirs,
The future always seeming vague,
A rumour spread, about a plague:
To keep the curious and wicked away,
Ne’er to search by night or day,
Lest their lives be worthy tax,
To pay the Goddess, Hela Brightaxe.”

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