The next few days are spent training. Rastaputka spends a lot of her time with the fighters type to help Baelfyre and Grimshaw train faster, while Juniper is shown a small silent cave to practice her martial routines. Joren returns to his books, Amitreene to her spells’ studies and Chiwyll follow the martial training provided by Rastaputka, uttering every morning his graces to its return, and sharing more of his childhood in Neverwinter with his biological mother.
Throughout the next days, the spring weather is mostly rainy. During their stay at Rastaputka’s home, they find out that Rastaputka plays the harp, and has played some tones a few times, that ends up sounding not very uplifting.. she is prone to dark moods, and usually steps into action when she realizes it, either training, or running a patrol in the area outside the village for a few hours.
As they are sharing more details about their future plans around the dinners, Joren asks more questions to Rastaputka about what happened when she had the sword and she indicates
“We followed the sword which was indicating a direction when we focused, and ended up fighting Yuan Tis in the Underdark, one of them had the crown and stepped through a portal, closing it behind him, and the Sword did not indicate directions after that… "
Asked where the portal was, and if she could draw a map back to it, she says
“Unfortunately I can’t do that.. I know it was in a city named Pedestal in the Underdark, and we followed the direction the sword pointed to and had done so for many days after we had recovered it…. This was 120 years ago or so… We fought with Kuo Toas in the streets, and then the sword led us to to a spire, a kind of tower built within a giant stalagmite, where we faced many dangers, and the Yuan Tis… After we left as the portal had closed, we were attacked by vampires spawn, and had to retreat. We had found an ally down there, Kopachov, a dwarven merchant, as we saved him from some Duergars that wanted to steal his wares . I remember he had a Leomund’s Mansion, and eventually he led us back to the surface as we would have been completely lost without a guide, once the sword stopped giving us directions.. We walked may be 5 days before surfacing, and we ended up in the Lurkwood, and found our way the next day to a village called Rivermoot.. I could try to draw a map from Rivermoot to the entrance, if you want, but I would not know how to map the Underdark…”
The next day, Joren is studying a different book, even pursuing his study late in the night. This book seems different from the one he was reading the days before, as it is not damaged. He lights a candle to do his readings. Late in the night, a panicked Chloe scares everyone as she started yelling “Fire! Fire!…” and coughing after smelling smoke from her room. Joren had to explain that the dense smoke this candle can pour out has properties to protect his precious books but is not dangerous to the house, the candle is one of the minor magic the scribes of Candlekeep routinely use.
Asked about his book, Joren shares that his book is called the “Star’s Walker prophecies” and explains that like all prophecies they must be unlocked, like a puzzle.
“I’ll never understan’ ye bookish types. But ok, fer now
Is there anythin’ tha’ you wanna share wi’ us about wha’ happened in the tomb yesterday.
Ye did nae seem surprised to see the lights and the funnel. Had ye seen them afore?”
Then Joren says
“I did have a dream of the light, but was not expecting what happened d to happen. Khelb tomb called out to me…. Somehow, Iike the vision sent to Rastaputka, a warning of impeding doom which must be stopped. We have been chosen and brought together to stop whatever is coming.”
Then the discussion moves to the future plans of actions..
Days of training pass by one after the other, with no hitch. On the 4th of Tarsakh, Rastaputka went to the village to buy some stuff, and returns with a fairly good drawing of Joren on a piece of parchment, depicted in an aura of light funneled above his head, as if he was wearing a mystical crown. She mentions that, as expected, the tale in the village is all about what happened a workweek ago, and many believe Khelb has returned. More have asked her where he is… She said she did not know. She also visited the inn to refill her malt, and the innkeeper is really happy because all his rooms are booked from visitors from Silverymoon that seem to already have heard about the great news.
Grimshaw asks her
“Rastaputka, does Khelb or his chosen have a right to the sword?”
“I do not know… The spirit only talked to us once, and revealed the sword that was half-ensconced in a stone table, and Aerich was able to pull it out. The spirit demanded the retrieval of the stolen crown and staff on peril of disturbing the balance, and we realized a little bit later that if we focused, the sword would point a direction, so we just followed it…”
“So the blade was nae Khelb’s?”
“He gave it to us… for some reasons, the pillagers had not taken it, I do not know why… His spirit came out of his statue, I recall.
but the sword was in the stone table, and the three statues where around it…”
“So it may be right tha’ Khelb intends fer us to have tha’ blade now?
If tha’ were Khelb in the tomb, assumin’”
“What do you mean? You saw his statue, right?”
“Aye, but I’m nae so sure as Joren who was talkin’ and makin’ wi’ the lightshow.
call me “untrustin’” of the unseen"
“well, I remember what I saw that day… The spirit looked just like him and came out of his statue, and told us to take the sword and to retrieve the staff and the crown, after the pillagers had disappeared… I remember also there was a coin with a serpent eye that burned the hand of our dwarf that went to pick it up, greedy bastard …”
“Tha’ is nae even close ta what I was seein’”
“Bael knows the story well, I told him many times..”
Wha’ I’m gettin’ at is that mayhap, if we wait a few more days, fer the legend ta grow
for more folks in Silverymoon ta hear
if Joren were ta suddenly arrive in Silverymoon
and request the return o’ the sword as the chosen o’ Khelb
an’ with the backin’ of some o’ the folks
do ye think we might have a chance o’ gettin’ the blade?”
Rastaputka appears confused at the suggestion, and Grimshaw continues
“Sorry m’lady, mayhap I’m misunderstandin’ the situation”
“may be, but we should not try to get the sword back, I think”, responds Rastaputka
Then Joren intervenes
“I am not the person who would be wielding a sword by any means…. My guess is the sword would choose Chill or Beal seeing as it was given to Rastaputka at one point”
“Aye. perhaps the time is nae right ta get the blade”
“Oh, it was not given to me”, Rastaputka points out, “I went to got it back from some stinkin’ Duergars that had killed Aramilla.”
“ye know the situation better than me, m’lady”
“I mean, after the spirit, we recovered the sword twice by ourselves, once from a group of drows that traded it back with us, and then from the duergars stronghold…
but we should not try to get the sword back anymore now… I always told bael to stop thinking about that sword, he is just going to get into troubles…”
Amitreene chuckles and says
“But knowing Bael he will do anything to get it back”
Rastaputka agrees “yeah, knowing him, I think he tried already and that got him in troubles with the Captain of the Silver Knights that came looking for him last month…”
“Capitan? Hmm. What did you tell him?”
“Oh, I told him I did not know where he was, and had left here for a few years… the truth then.”
Baelfyre catches up to the conversation
“wait.. Mom, you just said that we shouldn’t go for the sword. I thought we had to get all 3 items in order to conquer the skeleton guy "
“Bael, dear, I always told you that trying to recover the sword was a bad idea, but you never listen…”
Baelfyre grumbles, looking confused, and the conversation ends up in conjunctures about what to do about the artifacts of the tomb.
A few days later, both Joren, Chiwyll and then Amitreene one day later finish their class training, and decide to continue a few days more to benefit from a full tenday of continuous training.
The next morning, Amitreene has changed her fine clothing she has been wearing so far for a leather armor and more common wool clothes. She still has a whip at her belt, wield her quarterstaff at all times, and keep her long bow, and quiver by the side of the house.
She started to show Satine how to use a long bow, and some noticed that the tips of her arrows are all silver coated, while Rastaputka also started to show Satine how to wield a rapier.
The group starts to get a good sense of Rastaputka’s routine, she is hunting and foraging a bit, bringing mushrooms that she cook in a very simple way, fried with some kind of spicing. She cut the meat in the wild, and bring back pieces little by little. She has meat that she smokes, in the smoker. She has a cold cellar at the back of the house, where she keeps her ale fresh, as well as other food she brings back from the general store. She has a few chicken so there are eggs and bacon from the wild boars she hunt from time to time.
As the group starts to ponder their next destination, Amitreene asks for a few extra days for her to master the spells found in Cuslan’s spellbook, now that she has access to more powerful spells. It is the morning of the 9th day of Tarsakh, and its is a rainy day with a light wind. Amitreene stays inside, both spell books open and copying and learning spells from Cuslan, while Joren retires to continue his studies.
Rastaputka goes out, and come back two hours later. She brings you 30 trail ration packaged food, and news from the town. The tales about the return of Khelb are spreading, and the innkeeper has made a deal with a neighbor to double the number of available rooms from 3 to 6. They are all still all filled, and more people come from Silverymoon to listen to the tale, some staying a few days others just doing the day trip. The guide and 3 of the 4 villagers all have dressed up with white robes, and have started selling the drawings of Joren, and it seems they recovered the flowers Joren has left at the feet of the statue of Khelb, dried them, and use them as artifacts. The young guide woman is making speeches at the entrance of the mausoleum, re-telling to all what it is she has seen, and the village has had to double the staff every day now at the mausoleum as there is a stream of visitors coming to visit the tomb.
“Many asked me again where Joren went, which I responded again I did not know. For the first time, some strangers tried to follow me, but I lost them through the caves before coming back…
There are a few visitors that are establishing a small camp outside of the palisades. They were trying to come up and do that in the cemetery, but the mayor did not let them. I have also heard tales that the Lord’s Alliance is raising a host to fight dragons in the West.. it seems like Candlekeep has been taken over by them, and the Lord’s Alliance has asked every city to send troops. Many believe that is where Khelb went.”
At the end of the day, Joren misses the diner, still plunged in his studies, while the others discuss the news and then go to bed.
The next day, as the group discuss their plans gathered around the breakfast table, Baelfyre says to everyone
" Last night.. while I was trancing.. I had a vision.. it was glorious… You were all there… battle worn, yet proud. Fire dance on Amitreene ‘s fingers, sweat glistened on Juniper ’s toned belly and the blood of her enemies dripped from her clenched Fists, Chiwyll Montjoye glowed with holy light, Joren Binder was satisfied with the accomplishment that empowered us with more strength to head toward his goal, Grimshaw had a fun menacing grin as he fancied the mask he was going to make from our fallen foe… we were all in a circle around a dead black dragon, the stone tooth stood in the background…
So.. yeah.. I’m going to Newfort.. as a first step toward helping Khelb.. I mean.. Joren.."
Amitreene questions Baelfyre trance vision, then mentions that she needs two more days to copy all the spells from Cuslan’s book in her spell book.
Baelfyre, seeing that his “vision” does not seem to convince anyone, discuss with Grimshaw about going hunting in the mountains, over the cliffs, as Baelfyre knows a passage from the cavern up to the mountains beyond the corrie.
Everyone discuss again the news brought back from Rastaputka the day before when Jorem, who has taken a break from his studies, hears the news from Candlekeep and says
“What? Candlekeep has been taken over by dragons?!…
I must travel south to assist and get help in defending the library there. Chosen of Khelb… Silly fantasies… Now who is with me to assist Candlekeep?” and he begins to gather his things and packing.
" Joren, there is no library anymore. I forgot to tell about it. People were talking about it. The library was burnt. I’m sorry…"
“FORGOT TO TELL ME!!”
“I’m sorry. I got back to the inn and we were all getting ready to leave.. and then we separated to draw the Zhentarims away… Yes. My fault. I should have been more attentive.”
“WAIT, HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN THIS??!!” Joren looks at her, furious…
“Umm.. since the last day we were in Everlund. After saving girls. We had so many things going on, that I forgot to share the rumors…”
“WHAT THE FUCK!” yells Joren storming out of the house. “STAY AWAY FROM ME!” As he exits the house, the grounds tremors from a minor earthquake for a minute.
The horses in the clearing bolts out, running away from Joren and the tremors. A few run in circle until calmed down after being farther away… Others bloody themselves, unsuccessfully trying to force their way through the thorny thickets surrounding the clearing.
Grimshaw follows Joren saying
“Ami, ye did nothin’ wrong. Lads’ a wee bit god-touched at the moment, I’m thinkin’”
Then Baelfyre goes outside and yells after Joren
“I don’t care how pissed you are, if you yell at any of the ladies in our company again, I will draw steel.. and I’m completely serious!”
As Joren stubbornly continues to head out of the clearing, Grimshaw turns around and yells, “Keep outta sight, lad, lest ye get mugged by a mad horde o’ worshippers”"
Joren hesitates, and stops, sighing, then goes instead to the secluded cavern Juniper used for her training to pray.
Grimshaw returns to the house
“Joren is goin’ ta pray fer a bit an’ collect hisself. He apologizes fer any distress he might o’ caused. Said he’d be back in an hour or so. I reminded him ta’ keep outta sight. Lad’s takin’ the news terrible hard.
Ami, I know tha’ he were a bit “brusque” wi’ ye. But please dinnae burn him to a cinder when he comes back.
And Bael, put away tha’ new “toy”
It is still early morning… with a sullen mood over the house, Baelfyre and Grimshaw return to their preparation for the hunt, Amitreene to her spell copying. Rastaputka mentions that the hunters should take some furs, as the rain from last days was probably snow up there, pointing at the top of the corrie’s cliff 500 or 600’ above..
The two hunters leave, and use the caves and tunnels paths to get up on the plateau, to hunt in the mountain. The temperature up there is down to the low 30s and light snow is falling down. During the day, they are attacked by a Peryton, swooping silently on Baelfyre, and seriously wounding him. After a short but intense fight, the Peryton is dispatched mostly by Grimshaw’s, and Baelfyre is wounded. The two hunters take a short rest, and fail to find any further worthy quarry, then decide to return with the body of the strange bird, but no meat, before nightfall.
In the meantime, at the house, Juniper starts learning rudiment of elvish, while Chiwyll pursued his training with Rastaputka and Joren went back to study his books.
When the hunter returns with the dead birds, Rastaputka examines the wounds of Baelfyre, and the bird, whose antlers are all bloodied too..
“I guess it did gore Bael with it too.. Nasty birds, Perytons… If they kill you they rip out your heart and feed on them. This is part of the reproductive process, and they always fight to the death, especially for flesh of human or elves… We have had a few of them swooping over the foothills from time to time…”. Rastaputka looks at Grimshaw appreciatively, and at his blade in its scabbard.. “Nice blade you have there, Grimshaw… You probably saved my son’s life with it… These creatures are know for not taking much damage from regular weapons…”
Grimshaw replies “Thanks fer the ‘trainin’ I used several o’ the things ye showed me in the past ten-day. It’d have been a much closer thing had ye not”
Then Amitreene steps in “Okay, about this..creature…I know that some of their feathers, talons and antlers can be a good find and probably can be sold to a shop dealing with magical components…”
Hearing this, Grimshaw goes for the head, and cuts it off the body, while Rastaputka separates the talons and the feathers from the remains, which she disposes of.
Grimshaw finds an old rusty cauldron in Rastaputka’s basement, and set it up outside, build a fire, and boil water and undergo the grizzly process of removing all the flesh out of the Peryton’s severed head.
As the night falls, discussions are held to decide of the next course of actions. Grimshaw sums up the options
“As I seem ta’ recall it, we could go follow tha’ map that Barrus left us to Stone Tooth
or go ta Silverymoon ta try to get the sword
or follow th’ stuff tha’ Rastaputka drew fer us that may lead ta’ the Underdark
or go ta Candlekeep and see wha’ dragons are still there and wha’ has been done wi’ the place
or sneak back inta Everlund and deal wi’ Bolen an’ his troops
I think we should go follow Barrus
it seems a clear path an’ may get you some insight on yer vision”
Amitreene wants to go West to the shop from Cuslan’s contract, Juniper mentions heading West as she needs to go to Luskan, Joren sides with Grimshaw and would prefer to follow Barrus, Chiwyll remains silent while Baelfyre says
“Going to Stone Tooth might also lead to discovery of new writings on the walls of tombs… if our suspicions are correct about what Cuslan was doing there.
We are assuming Barrus went that way.. Unless we discover other information about him along the way, I suggest we head to Newfort, where the map he gave us begins..”
In the end, the group settles for going to the Stone Tooth, before everyone goes to bed for the night, planning an early start before dawn.