The Lost Crown of Neverwinter
The Lost Crown of Neverwinter
Ammon Hornraven grew up hearing stories about his grandmother Neeshka, his namesake Ammon Jerro, and their adventures with Bran Farlong, the legendary Knight-Captain of Crossroad Keep. Those stories inspired him to seek the life of an adventurer, and that path ultimately led him to Waterdeep at the beginning of Tarsakh in the Year of the Ageless One (447 NR, 1479 DR). He met a woman named Seldra who offered him a job escorting a shipment to Neverwinter. The journey itself passed uneventfully, but when they arrived at the docks of Neverwinter, they were immediately attacked by undead creatures.
They took off with the heavy chest Seldra wanted to protect, but Ammon stayed on their trail. They led him to Neverdeath, the city’s cemetery. There, they had delivered the chest to a Thayan necromancer. The chest was open, and its contents — a heavy, beautiful crown — was in the necromancer’s hands, as he prepared to cast some magical spell on it. Ammon fought through the growing mass of undead to reach the necromancer. He slew the Thayan and recovered the crown.
He returned to Seldra, asking if this was what he thought — the lost crown of Neverwinter, the fabled, magical crown once worn by Lord Nasher Alagondar. Seldra said that it was, but with Dagult Neverember in control of both Waterdeep and Neverwinter she had to act discreetly. Neverember wanted to control both cities, Seldra said, but she had found the last heir of Nasher Alagondar, and with this crown, he could challenge Neverember for control of the city. Persuaded of her cause, Ammon entrusted her with the crown.
Much about the incident still troubled Ammon, though. What was a Thayan doing in Neverwinter, on the other side of Faerûn? What had he intended to do with the crown? How did he know it would arrive on that ship? A tenday later, though, he was at a market in the Protector’s Enclave when it came under attack from plaguechanged monsters. Ammon and a few other brave souls rushed to save the civilians and fight back the monsters. They were soon joined by a knight in full armor, wearing the crown upon his head — the Lost Heir that Seldra had promised. As they began to fight the monsters back, a plaguechanged white dragon descended upon the market. As Ammon fought the dragon, the Lost Heir worked his magic to turn the beast to stone. Ammon tried to speak to the Lost Heir, but he quickly vanished, as a crowd gathered abuzz with excitement.
Through the next tenday, rumors spread through the city like wildfire, pushing the city towards a confrontation between New Neverwinter and the city’s natives, the Sons of Alagondar chief among them. General Sabine herself sought out Ammon for an audience with Lord Neverember. The Lord Protector proved a generous and gracious host, but Ammon immediately recognized that he was eager to learn more about the Lost Heir. Neverember suspected a charlatan trying to seize power in order to do harm to the people of Neverwinter. If the Lost Heir is legitimate, Neverember asked, why has he not come forward to declare himself in a public setting, or presented himself to the current lawful authorities? Why has he not reached out to deal more directly with him, the Lord Protector, who has done nothing but work tirelessly to rebuild the city? He asked Ammon to find the Lost Heir, so that the two could meet and come to a peaceful resolution for the benefit of the whole city, before the situation escalated into civil war. And he offered to pay him handsomely to do so.
Neverember sent Ammon to the Wall, hoping that it might draw out an appearance from the Lost Heir, who seemed so eager to fight off the monsters at the city’s gates. There, Ammon was on hand when a group of bandits tried to storm the Wall and throw open its gates, exposing the city to all the monsters lurking in the Chasm. Ammon led the volunteers on the Wall in a skirmish to drive them off. As the fight ended, he encountered Seldra again, patrolling the Wall and called over by the commotion. She admitted to him that she was acting as Neverember’s agent, but was doing so to infiltrate New Neverwinter to protect the Heir from within. She suspected that the bandits could be tied to the Dead Rats, a Luskan gang that had recently started expanding into Neverwinter. She directed Ammon to the House of a Thousand Faces in the Blacklake District to learn more.
In Blacklake, Ammon met the contact between the Sons of Alagondar and the Dead Rats. He had no idea why the Dead Rats would stage an attack like that, but he pointed Ammon to their hideout. After a night of desperate fighting in the sewers of Blacklake where the Dead Rats made their lair, Ammon met the leader of the Sons of Alagondar. Neither seemed to know anything about the attack on the Wall, but Arlon admitted that he’d become concerned about the Heir. He seemed to grow ever more erratic, and his methods have become more and more violent. He hoped that Ammon could talk some sense into him. When Ammon agreed, Arlon arranged a secret meeting between him and the Heir.
When the Lost Heir arrived at the appointed time, he accused Ammon and the Sons of Alagondar of betraying him. Removing his gauntlets to reveal a burning spellscar, the Heir commanded plaguechanged monsters to swarm upon them. Fighting past his minions to pursue him, Ammon saw the Heir’s spellscar warp people and animals he passed, who immediately turned on him. At the Wall, the gates have been thrown open, allowing more plaguechanged monsters to flow into the city. In that moment, Ammon realized that the bandits at the Wall had not been sent by the Heir himself.
Ammon followed the Heir to the very same market in the Protector’s Enclave where he’d previously joined him in battle against the plaguechanged white dragon. The Heir had removed his helmet and gauntlets, revealing herself to be a half-elf woman. As Ammon stepped closer, he recognized her as Seldra, the woman who had hired him in Waterdeep to protect the crown she now wore, as she worked her magic to bring the dragon back to life. Ammon defeated her in battle, but too late. The dragon broke off its stony shell and roared back to life. In a momentous battle, Ammon succeeded in slaying the beast.
Seldra confessed that she had paid a wizard in Waterdeep to create a false crown so that she could pose as the Lost Heir to rally the people of Neverwiner against Lord Neverember. Ammon put the pieces together then, too late. The wizard in Waterdeep that Seldra hired had been in contact with the Thayan, and passed along the information about when the ship would arrive. Ammon had been too late then, too. The necromancer had actually succeeded in his goal: to place an enchantment on the crown that would slowly drive anyone who wore it mad. Ammon could see that clearly as Seldra quickly regained her senses with the crown removed from her.
General Sabine and her guards quickly closed in on the market. They seized Seldra, saying that she would be taken to Helm’s Hold, as per Lord Neverember’s order that any afflicted with the Spellplague should be sent there for treatment. Ammon was hailed as a hero by the gathering crowd, but quietly slipped away.