The Tiamat Saga

Cragmaw Castle Cleanup

The party’s latest adventures as told by Faffer to a gaggle of farmers and fur traders in the Phandalin Tavern:

“So there we was wit’ King Grol layin’ at our feet. The biggest bugger you ever seen, all bloody and chopped up like a spring sow. Hacked by axes, skewer’t wit’ swords – and the smell – that’s what ya don’t get used to fightin’ ‘side wizards. Always the smell o’ burnt fur and flesh hangin’ in the air.”

“So like I was sayin’ we rescued Hadrek’s cousin, who was also layin’ on the floor an’ not lookin’ too good hisself, but the dark elf, she got away. Ran like a deer into the woods. Some o’ the others, they think she is this ‘Black Spider.’ Me? I’m not convinced. I can’t say for sure one way or t’other though. Call it a gut feeling."

“Anyhow, we was tryin’ to catch our wind. Some o’ the guys are scroungin’ through the room, lookin’ fer booty an’ such when this gobber shows up an’ spots us. He beats it down the hall, flat feet a-flappin, but Tellaos and Varis run him down. I help drag the body away, ‘cept this time its froze solid like t’was inna meat locker. Wizard magic is scary stuff I tell ya.”

“Well all the rummagin’ turns up a bag o’ coins and some vials, and Gundren’s map to Wave Echo Cave. He’s pretty riled to have it back and wants to go there to check on his brothers as soon as we stock up on some supplies here. Varis wants to copy the map but Gundren was havin’ none o’ that. We finally think we’ve got a spot to catch our breath when we hear another gobber comin’ lookin’ fer t’other one we kilt. We take him down fast but not a’fore he let’s out a ruckus.”

“Tellaos was takin’ no chances an just kicks in the door to this big main hall. T’was like a beehive full o’ gobbers in there! Kerig an’ Tellaos wade into em an start hackin’ away. I don’t think Paraphan was too keen on this plan because he kept rollin’ his eyes at me – but he was singin’ a new song bout’ it by nightfall. The battle turned in our favor when Varis puts a spell on a bunch o’ the gobbers an’ they fall right over an start sleepin’ like piglets fat from the teat! Wizards.”

“But a few gobbers get out a back door and start runnin’ pell-mell through the castle screechin’ in gobbertalk – an’ that was the end of our skulkin’ about. Now the whole place comes down on us an’ there’s gobbers ‘n hobgobbers swarmin’ everywhere! We get all split up chasin’ em about. We hear Varis yellin’ fer help from somewhere and then Flint almost gets buried by the ceiling cavin’ in. The whole place fills up with dust and we are all runnin’ everywhere tryin’ to find the wizard.”

“Turns out some creepy tentacle thing found him first! I ain’t never seen nuthin’ like it a’fore. Body like a snake, face like a squid, huge snappin’ beak – Phan says it was a grick. I say it was a nightmare I never want to see the likes of again! Well its got Varis cornered when Kerig steps in an’ we all start hewin’ away at it. Varis freezes the thing an’ Tellaos jumps on it from behind an’ runs it through. Turns out this place is the temple I was tellin’ you ‘bout – the one Varis was lookin’ for. We was spent by now though, so we hightail it outta there to catch a breather in the forest.”

“When we come back in the place is quiet ‘cept for flies buzzin’ all over the dead gobbers. Varis heads straight back to the temple and we all follow. Now I’ve never been one to pray at the gods – they don’t seem to pay much mind to us regular folk – but even I could tell something was wrong with this place. Phan points out the statues: Tymora, Ohgma, Mystra are the ones I remember, but there were others. Varis says the place is all dirtied up by the gobbers and their god ‘Lubiyet. Flint, Phan, and Varis start ’digitatin stuff around and we all clean the place up while Varis lights incense an’ starts this chantin.’ Kinda spooky watchin’ him go into this trance – not a regular elf-trance like when they sleep – but somethin’ different. Even I felt … something … when sunlight come in the high window and lights up the altar. Gave me gooseflesh all over.”

“Well Varis snaps out of it and tells us all about this vision he had. He goes on and on about some device – a star-viewer – on some castle tower in a swamp, and a group of robed women all stabbin’ each other with knives. Phan keeps grilling him on it an’ He claims it was somethin’ that happened long ago. Maybe a bunch o’ wizard hogwash, but who am I to say?”

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Tellaos Tessel. Scion of Corlinn Hill’s esteemed House Tessel, sat with his feet up on a table, listening to the bumpkin chatter like a pigeon to the rest of its flock. A glass of the finest wine (fine for Phandalin, not so much for Waterdeep) was in his left hand. He sipped politely at his glass, periodically smiling to himself at the reactions of the simple folk to the hayseed’s story.

His mind drifted back to his childhood. He found himself standing on a cobblestone street, in the City of Splendors. Surrounded by young toughs (no doubt, some wanna-be Thieves’ Guild aspirants), he was vastly outnumbered. The crowd of bullies were pushing him repeatedly, and in different directions between them.

“Oy! Lookit the little Lordling, all alone in da street!” said the gap-toothed ruffian, who led the teenaged crowd.

“Oh, he’s a right-special one, ’Ee is!” said a ginger-haired tough, freckles decorating his face.

Young Tellaos was suddenly punched in the back of his head. Tears of pain and anger clouded his vision as he fell to the hard stone. He tried to stand back up, but the rain of punches and kicks were too much.

“Whot’s all this, then?” Yelled a gruff, adult voice.

The crowd of ruffians dispersed with great haste, as a pair of City Watchmen approached the downed boy.

“Awroight, ye young urchin, get on your…” The guardsman stopped in mid-sentence when he saw the (now dirty) finery and gleaming silver brooch that Tellaos wore.

“Oh, a thousand pardons, young Lord, I didn’t…”

Tellaos cut off the rest of the guard’s apology.

“I’m fine, guardsmen, just some foul currs.”

“All the same, Young Sir, ye gotta be careful in dis neighb’hood. Doze urchins has got the thumb on the younger ones, ’round here.”
The guard admonished.

Tellaos nodded curtly and walked into the family townhouse.

Cragmaw Castle Cleanup
 

The altar glowed softly and all eyes were on Varis as he had his vision, staring blankly into the light shining down on the altar. Everyone, that is except Flint. Nobody noticed his wince at the light, or maybe they did and they just thought it a reaction to the brightness after the dim light of the room. Nobody saw the slightest bit of shaking. Maybe it was relief that the fight was over or the exhaustion from exertion. But, maybe nobody noticed because he was just beneath notice.
Somebody noticed, however. Somebody or something completely unexpected. As Varis knelt transfixed in the splendor of the light, a strong but gentle voice entered Flint’s head. He had never experienced anything like it before and may never again. The voice was not scary, but the fact that it spoke inside his head scared the shit out of him. He was only a Halfling, doing what Halflings do … well, it is true that not too may cast spells, or adventure, or fight goblins and Drow … but this voice in his head gave him the willies!
It started out by thanking Flint for helping its … I guess the closest Flint could come in words was “children”. He thought to himself that he didn’t help anyone’s children and that in fact he was looking for Magda and the orphans. He heard a laugh in his head and the words said that he had indeed … and for just a moment the faces above the altar glowed slightly and faded.
CRAP! … Did he say that out loud??? Flint looked around and nobody seemed to be looking his way. Was he going crazy? The voice laughed louder and said that it could indeed speak to him and him to it and that it would like to help Flint in return for the help he had shown its “children”. “Let me know if you would or would not like my help to find your friends. If you decide yes, your life will be forever changed by my help. If you decide no, I will be gone and so will your memory of this moment.” Either way it asked him not to mention our “conversation”.
Magda had always told Flint, “Do not get involved in the matters of the gods”. He should have listened.
Nobody noticed the unusually quiet Halfling riding in the cart on the way back to Phandalin. Nobody noticed him talking to his mouse more than normal. Nobody saw the strange new twinkle in his eyes.
He whispered to his mouse, Steel, “Unpredictable are the ways of the Old Ones.”

Cragmaw Castle Cleanup
 

Paraphan enjoyed the attention that was being lavished on the Triboar Knights. As they approached he called out to children and passerbys:

“The Triboar Knights return victorious!”

“Cragmaw Castle has been found and cleared of its vile denizens.”

“For the glory of House Tessel and the continued security of Phandalin!”

“Order will be restored and soon the Wave Echo Cave will be found!”

“The continued Pact with the Rockseer Dwarven clan will bring prosperity back to Phandalin.”

“All hail the Triboar Knights!”

“Come hear about their heroic tales tonight, once more, at the Sleeping Giant Taproom!”

Spreading tales and rumors about the heroes all about town the bard seemed to know how to work up a crowd. That evening, ensuring everyone had at least started a drink or two the lights in the tap house blinked – announcing the show was about to start as the lanterns turned to illuminate the stage.

In a puff of smoke the bard magically appeared, lute in hand, and began to play:

We found out bout the castle
Came to it in the night
Gargoyles lookin’ down on us
It gave us such a fright
Sneakin’ round perimeter
We saw a little light
Pretending to be goblins
We came in out of sight

In Cragmaw Castle
In Cragmaw Castle

Kerig listened at the door
He didn’t hear a sound
Telleos bravely entered
Surprised at what he found
It was King Grol a bugbear
and his faithful hound
Meeting with an Evil Drow
with terror all around

In Cragmaw Castle
In Cragmaw Castle

Varis lighted up the room
with his magic power
Faffer helped his noble liege
making this his hour
Talon slashed at the beasts
causing them to cower
It was soon apparent
we had saved the tower

In Cragmaw Castle
In Cragmaw Castle

Saving Gundren, Hadrek’s Cousin
Found map of Echo Cave
Flint worried for the Orphans
Sent to the Wave as Slaves
Varis pressed to find Temple
Ohgma’s Shrine to save
Cleared the Castle of goblins
Triboar Knights most Brave!

In Cragmaw Castle
In Cragmaw Castle

Cragmaw Castle Cleanup
 

Varis was very happy to hear another tale that their new companion composed. It seemed that Oghma was smiling on his friends that night as everyone was in good company and merry.

Hearing the story Faffer told was quite amusing to Varis – never did he dream that one day he would be adventuring with company as loyal and brave as the Triboar Knights.

He could recall the sounds of battle as if they were still in the Castle. Tellaos and his magic sword, Talon, definitely were becoming a force to be reckoned with. Kerig and his armory of weapons could only be stopped by his own doing it seems – those axes are certainly powerful. Faffer is excellent at enabling our Fighters to press more attacks, a true commander in the rough, if you will. Our jailbreak Flint seems to have his heart in a noble pursuit – the orphans are truly lucky to have a powerful sorcerer. And of course, Paraphan. He will certainly become our main pillar of support for everything we do.

Yes these adventurers will make a formidable force, thought Varis.

Then he started to reflect on his vision from Oghma. That tower that slept through the seasons. What could have caused those women to start murdering each other? Did they see something or learn something? We have to know.

With a smile, Varis gets up and speaks to the heroes. “Friends, thank you again for helping to restore the faith of almighty Oghma. I am truly in your debt for the service you all provided.” With a quick whip of his fingers, Varis cast prestidigitation and the hero’s table instantly becomes clean.

“My visions suggest that there will be some conflict if we adventure to the Tower. Something we may not have faced in any previous combat. But fear not, Oghma has shown this to us as a blessing. He knows that if we set our will upon this Tower it will be ours.” Casting mage hand, Varis lifts his drink in the air with out his hands and snaps his fingers. The mug becomes very chilled and frosty.

“Enjoy friends. We have much to prepare for in the coming future. Orphans need saving and black spiders need to be dealt with!

Cheers to the Triboar Knights!”

Cragmaw Castle Cleanup
 

Everyone is pumped up after listening to the parody of a parody done to perfection by the bard. INSPIRATION FOR ALL

Townmaster Harbin comes over to chat, seemingly well on his way to drunkeness. “Thanks you Triboar Knights, once agin you ere da saviorssss of our town!” He motions for the barwench to bring you a round of drinks. “Hey I think it would be a great show for you to get out your swordsss out and act out some of the sceness that the bard sings.”

He cheers you all and moves on to the next table greeting everyone.

Cragmaw Castle Cleanup
 

Tellaos snaps out his reverie upon hearing the Townmaster’s idea. He glared at the drunken sott and spoke.

“I’m no bard, Sir. You’d do well to remember it,” he said, slamming the wine glass on the inn’s floor. "I am a noble of House Tessel, not a jester for the court! Perhaps, given your likely limited experience of etiquette, I will forgive your transgression.

Tellaos eyed the slovenly burgomeister, awaiting redress.

Cragmaw Castle Cleanup
 

Kerig roared as he recounted his embellished tales of battle to his cousins and a small gathering of wide-eyed townsfolk.

“…axes as big as a man!”
“…clove him from shoulder to scrotum…”
“And then I dove twenty yards from the top of a cliff…”

He paused for the bard’s song, cheering loudly and pounding his mug on the table in appreciation.

He paused again for the wizard’s toast, having gained a measure of respect for the frail, feminine creature’s powers, and drained his mug as is only fitting.

And he paused for a third time at the not-so-noble nobleman’s reaction to the townsmaster’s alcohol-fuelled request and sniggered thinking that, in a twist of irony, the lord might give the townsmaster the display he’d asked for. Though he noticed Hadrek frown at the same.

Kerig rolled his shoulders and loosened his axes in their harnesses in anticipation, but made no other move than to keep one eye on Tellaos. This kind of thing wasn’t uncommon in the ranks of the Mintarn mercenaries, or the dwarves for that matter. He’d seen the human in battle, so he hoped he wouldn’t have to try to ‘calm’ the man down. Besides… he was starting to like these Triboar Knights – even the grumpy noble.

Cragmaw Castle Cleanup
 

The town master cowers at the nobles rebuff. “I’m soo soo sorry sire, I didn’t mean to emply that you are some kinda clown that wass here fer our muse meant. Please sept my pologiessss”

Cragmaw Castle Cleanup
 

Gundren speaks to the Knights. “Thank ye’all for savin’ me hide from that foul beast King Grol and that wretched drow priestess. I do be fearin’ what became o’ me brothers Nundro and Tharden though. They only had enough provisions to last maybe a week at their campsite, and its been closer to 2 weeks now since I left them. Anyway, I am anxious to get to them so I propose we set out at daybreak on the morrow so that we can find them as soon as possible."

Cragmaw Castle Cleanup
Voralak

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