The Journal of Micar’eyl Auvrymtor: Excursion to Dead God’s Hold
So the usual gang is playing some cards. In stories all mercenaries love gambling, but I can’t say that I love it. Perhaps my heart is not yet sufficiently mercenary. Such depressing thoughts come from dwelling to much on my lost house, I think. It is hard to live among these strange people speaking a language that is not my first, seeing nothing but people who do not look like me. Ugh. I mean, it’s not Iike Bregan D’aerthe is forcing me to be here. I volunteered because I thought I could handle it and prove my worth, but it is hard.
Anyway, Branwen brings up that subject she talked about before, smuggling a historian and their records out of the city before Dagult Neverember destroys them. She wants to take them to Helm’s Hold. I’m all, “So do it!” This isn’t exactly the most tightly guarded city in Faerûn, what with it being half in ruins and all. I fail to see why this has to become a huge project. Branwen doesn’t seem to have really investigated it yet. I gently suggest maybe she should start off by actually talking to this historian.
When we bring up
Dead God’s Hold Helm’s Hold (I think it’s funny), Marcus chimes in with some interesting information about the local politics. I knew it was where victims of the Spellplague go for treatment, but I didn’t know Dagult had stationed a garrison of Mintarn mercenaries there. Apparently he has enough men on site to take over the town any time he wants, but for now they are just there for assistance. Marcus says the town has a pretty independent spirit, so my read on the situation is that Nevemeber can take over at any time but that starts the clock on a rebellion to kick him out again. In other words, he can probably only hold the Hold for so long. So he’s waiting until the time when he actually needs to do so for some reason. That is pretty smart thinking.
After the game, I decide to report in to Caeradwyn Laelithar,, my contact with the Iliyanbruen. She’s staying at the House of a Thousand Faces over in Blacklake. The proprietor, Theryis, gives me a dirty look when I come in, but doesn’t actually throw me out. She’s a moon elf. There are a lot of elves in positions of authority in Neverwinter for what is supposedly a human city, I’ve noticed. I’m supposed to hate them, praise Lloth, but between me and my journal, my fellow drow have done far worse things to me than any surface elf ever has.
Speaking of, Caeradwyn is all like, “they told me to expect a drow.” I mock her for being Ms. Obvious, and then we finally get down to business. After I tell her what I learned about the magic items being bought up by the mysterious parties and linking them back to that tower, her whole attitude changes. Apparently she hadn’t been making much progress on her investigation. I have to draw the dotted line on the Netherese, though. She doesn’t make the shadow connection on her own; here people’s experience predates their sojourn in the Shadowfell. Anyway, she actually thanks me and I tell her that I might be willing to help when she investigates the tower further.
I know, why am I helping? Well apart from stopping the crazy eladrin from attacking, I like the idea of getting an “in” where no drow is otherwise welcome. Contact with these people is something to be cultivated carefully, but they have access to a lot of old magic and information that you can’t get anywhere else. If I’m the only drow they trust, then that means the path to them comes through me, and that could be very advantageous.
So when I come into work the next morning, Branwen is all excited. Apparently her historian — Venye Furivel — ducked out with the documents and is being pursued by the guards. Branwen is still on the whole ’Helm’s Hold’ plan and wants to help. She says she’ll take me to Neverwinter Woods if I do, so I’m in. Valtha is interested in the records there, and Marcus wants in too. Horst is not around — laying low after his confrontation with Rsolk, I presume.
Marcus wants to get a spellscarred person out of Helm’s Hold. We wonder why they need “getting out” and he declares something is fishy in this supposed sanctuary and the patients aren’t free to come and go. I ask Branwen if this is really where she wants to take her precious documents, and she is all “We’ll think about it after we find Venye!”
So we split up. I go poke around the docks and she doesn’t seem to have gotten on any boats, so no luck there. I do get a chance to ask about that Reginar Blackstrand guy, and everybody knows him. Apparently he’s one of the most notorious pirates on the Sword Coast. He’s human and bloodthirsty for one of them, generally considered to be a nasty piece of work. A dangerous prey.
Marcus has had better luck, though. He interviewed some of Venye’s co-workers and learned she’s hiding out in the old boathouse on Blacklake waiting for pick-up from the Sons of Alagondar, which I guess would be Branwen. So we go there. It’s pretty disgusting.
As we get to the boathouse, a bunch of muck monsters attack us. I don’t even know. While the others are keeping them busy, I sneak past a monster pounding on the door and get inside. Venye is cowering in the corner and yes, she’s another elf. So of course she’s all “eek, a drow,” but I convince her to come with me. We slip out under my piwafwi and get her and her books back to shore, then everybody skedaddles from the battle. I have gotten covered with a lot of disgusting swamp mud, but the others do not seem sympathetic.
Valtha leaves her skeleton behind, but apparently she’s taken to keeping some spare bones to animate him with so we don’t need any more heroic retrievals.
So we find out what all the fuss is about. Venye has the personal journal of Vers Never. This is the guy who supposedly sired some bastard offspring that puts Dagult in the line of succession for the throne of Neverwinter. Neverember would do anything to have it destroyed, because it apparently shows that Vers only preferred sexual contact with his own gender. In fact it specifically references the story of the bastard’s supposed conception, and it was some other adventurer using a hat of disguise to appear as Vers. Human sex stories can get a little creepy. The other documents are all supporting information helping to prove the diary is true.
A lot of Lloth’s high priestesses were pretty disgusted by men. They’d ‘do their duty’ for procreation, but that was it. Which isn’t to say they all liked females, either. I think once you’re that deep in Lloth’s rituals you’re taught to despise men as inferior, and— eh, I was never a priestess, so I shouldn’t try to speak for them.
So after we look at the journal, I ask Branwen if we should kill Venye and dump her in the swamp. It doesn’t seem like there is any complexity to the documents that requires a historian. They’re even written in Illuskan. This does not go over well, and Branwen gets mad when I press the point and tells me that she wants to help Venye, not just use her, and she wants to help people, not murder them. Or some words to that effect.
I apologize, and I really do feel bad. I forgot that life can be softer on the surface, and that is how the people that live here like it. I am sure that Branwen thinks me totally heartless. She doesn’t understand how dangerous helping people can be in the Realms Below. Make too many people part of “your group” to be protected, and everyone will die from being spread too thin. Too few, and you’ll die from insufficient allies. That last is actually a lesson that I have learned from Bregan D’aerthe, that one should be flexible about taking in useful people.
So anyway, not murdering Venye is one thing but there is no reason to drag her to Helm’s Hold. Marcus smuggles her onto the Serene Aasimar with Faelar Eveningfall, bound for Baldur’s Gate. We will deal with the documents.
While he is out doing that, I talk with Valtha about next steps searching for Gauntlgrym and confess my own interest. We are talking about possibly investigating the Abolethic Sovereignty through the orcs, and I bring up the half-elf/half-orc I met and express my disgust. Valtha rebukes me and tells me that you should love your children no matter what, and that a half-dwarf/half-orc would not be turned away. She tells me that family is important.
When I tell her that I don’t have a family anymore, she tells me I should create a new one and gives as examples how her own clan has had to change its name and form over the years in response to the death of her god. I don’t know, it’s all a little glib. Some seem to think of Bergan D’aerthe as a brotherhood, but we are all too wary to consider it a house, much less a family. What exactly does she think I should do? Even though I turn to another topic, I must confess that her words bothered me more than I like.
The next day we head out to Helm’s Hold, estiamted to be about a day’s travel. Along way we find a small abandoned shrine to Chantea. Marcus tries to do something with it, but doesn’t help it very much. I wonder why we are wasting our time. Shrines are built, shrines fall into decay as people who used them move on. I consider desecrating it in the name of Lloth, but I don’t recall her having any particular feud with Chantea. Praise Lloth!
We arrive at Helm’s Hold around sunset. Our story is that Valtha is the client come to consult the library. Marcus and I are mercenaries to guard her, Branwen is a local guide. By the way, Branwen turns out to not be as awesome in the woods as I had hoped. It’s fun being the arrogant drow mercenary again.
Helm’s Hold looks to be in the middle of a huge construction boom, but everything is half-finished. We talk to the gate guards, and they have apparently been paid to direct travelers to the Old Dirty Dwarf, which local custom demands always be addressed by its full name. There’s an old inn called the Dragon’s Gauntlet where the local government meets now, and the Hungry Flame, where the spellscarred hang out. The guards warn us about that place, as well as a neighborhood called Scar Alley.
We go to the Old Dirty Dwarf. A human named Juetta Bealcrest is the proprietor. We get two rooms. There are some shady-looking characters in the corner that seem to be watching everyone, which is unnerving.
We talk with Jueta about what’s going on in the town. She confirms Marcus’s tips about the Mintarn mercenaries, but she also tells us that the local spellscarred having been organized into something called the Heirs of Azure. She tells us about someone named Pieron Astorio, the commander-accordant (my, what a fancy-pants title) of the Order of Blue Fire in town. When we bring up that people in Neverwinter are still getting changed into plaguechanged monsters, she suggests talking to him.
Apparently when the guards used the term “purebloods” before, that referred to people without spellscars. It’s an impolite term as it implies that those with spellscars have filthy, polluted blood that is horribly mutated by strange mystical forces. It’s like they always say, accuracy is no defense to impoliteness.
“”/characters/rohini" class=“wiki-content-link”>The Prophet" of the Oghmanytes claims to have cured spellscarred patients, but no one has met a single one post-cure. Sounds like some sort of con game to me. Still, I suppose you never know with clerical magic.
Finally, the big thing bugging the town is apparently that a lot of people are getting killed, in particularly brutal fashion. I suggest to the gang that we go out and poke around at night since we have so much better night vision than humans. If we find the monster, we could score big points with the locals, maybe convince them to invest in some Bregan D’aerthe mercenaries full time.
Brawnen sends her cat to scout, and we find three hooded figures around a bloody mess of a still-living person. They are werewolves. We kill two and the third flees, but I get bitten in the process. I don’t want to be a werewolf, thanks! I carve out the heart of the one that bit me and eat it. It’s incredibly disgusting, but it’ll help drive off the curse. I mean, it’s totally gross. Now everyone is going to think drow eat raw humanoid hearts all the time. I toss a healing spell on the victim, and she manages to pull through. Her name is Cefrey Fletcher.
We head to the temple, where Marcus fortunately knows the person on night shift, a woman named Seipora Gend. Marcus says she is a friend of his family who used to serve at the House of Knowledge in Neverwinter when it was a proper temple. Seipora comes back accompanied by Rohini, a really pretty woman who is easy to talk to. She is the the Oghmanyte prophet, the one who led them to Helm’s Hold in the first place. True to her name, she does have a habit of breaking into mad-sounding ramblings in the middle of otherwise rational conversations. I try to politely ignore it. She takes me away do do some silver infusions so I don’t pick up the lycanthropic curse.
Later I find out Valtha did a ritual on one of the dead werewolves. She discovers they were working for the Netherese to sow chaos for a coming invasion. There were ten, so now eight are left alive. The names are not Netherese, though; they’re the Grey Wolf Tribe of the Uthgardt. Is there anywhere the Netherese aren’t mucking around?!
|Branwen Farlong||The True Heir of Nasher Alagondar|
|Marcus Greycloak||Journey to Helm’s Hold|