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Session 58 - The Key to the Continent

Written by KoshcheiBessmertnyi

General Summary

Flint Stonefoot, a halfling, and Syleth, a elf, are new arrivals on the continent of Gethen, and the town of Yartar. Stonefoot is a cartographer who is in negotiations with the Citadel - a military order with a financial empire - to map the internal part of the continent - a difficult proposition given the resumption of the war between colonists and natives earlier in the year. Syleth is a mystic disciple, trained in a monastery dedicated to the Raven Queen - a goddess who calls on her followers to learn the meaning of death. He has come to the new, dangerous land following this injunction.   While seeking employment, he meets an entrepreneur named Dargrim. Dargrim seems to be involved in a weapons-running operation to the Dire Turtle goblins, which he generally wants to keep secret from the authorities. While at Dargrim's, he meets Flint Stonefoot, who is also seeking to join the weapons-running expedition in order to gain the trust of the natives so that he can gain access to the inland areas. Syleth agrees to join also, because his quest can only succeed with the blessing of native forces, led, above all, by Humbaba - the Elder Brother of the Brotherhood of Baghtru - an elite fighting group of orcs that has gained hegemony over various native tribes.   Dargrim instructs the two newcomers to procure weapons and trade goods, and also to how to conduct themselves with the goblins after making the drop-off. Once the supplies are procured, the trio sets out at night, cross the coastal highway, and enter the Neverwinter Woods. There, by a stream, they make the drop-off, and wait for the natives to show up, even as Dargrim takes his leave. The goblins emerge, and inspect the goods. Flint and Syleth emerge, and Flint offers the leader a copper necklace, in exchange for taking them to a representative of the Brotherhood. The goblin leader, who speaks broken Common, agrees, and takes them to an elevated part of the forest, where the Brotherhood has an observation post. The goblins turn Syleth and Flint over to the orcs, who then march the two overland to the town of Claymore - a former colonial outpost that the Brotherhood captured over a month ago.   The town is dilapidated, the streets are dirty, and many orcs sleep in the streets after a night's celebration. Flint and Syleth arrive in the morning, while the Elder Brother is asleep. Nevertheless, the guards on the walls are vigilant, though the gate they watch over has been burned and shattered. The two of them are taken into the arsenal, where they are surprised to meet a human - Elias Amando. Amando is a member of the White Hand, and an advisor to the Elder Brother. Amando asks about their past, and the reason they're there. He seems interested in Flint's project, and also informs Syleth about the presence of orcish religious cults of Life and Death located in the Starmetal Hills, not too far away, which catches the monk's interest. He then invites them to take a brief rest at the arsenal, and promises that they will meet the Elder Brother after they awaken in the evening.   That evening, they are taken down into the arsenal hall where the huge orc Humbaba is presiding with his elven consort, Lainel Coronnim. They are surrounded by Humbaba's honor guard of uruks. Amando introduces the travelers, and translates for them. Humbaba apparently takes the halfling Flint to be Syleth's child servitor. Syleth recommends himself as a fighter of some prowess, and Humbaba calls on one member of his honor guard to test the newcomer in a bout of unarmed combat. The orc is enormous compared the Syleth, and gets a huge haymaker in against the elf. Yet Syleth manages to keep his feet, and dances around his opponent, wearing him down until he sends him down onto the floor. Humbaba is impressed, and says he is willing to hear the newcomers out. Flint presents the Elder Brother with a gold necklace, and says he would like his permission to map the continent. Syleth, for his part, asks for leave to visit and observe the rituals at the caverns of Life and Death, dedicated to the service of the deities Luthic and Yurtrus, respectively. Since he knows that the duo have delivered weapons, and perhaps expecting more deliveries to take place, the Elder Brother gives his blessing to the expedition, which will be headed by another member of his honor guard, Sharru. Impressed with Syleth's performance, he also allows his shaman, Enmul, to heal him from some of his injuries.   After the audience concludes, Amando takes the travelers aside. He tells Flint that he did not translate his statement about mapping the continent, as he feels the Elder Brother would surely have forbidden him to do so, and perhaps would have had him imprisoned or killed. However, he himself, in the name of the White Hand, will be willing to pay for a map himself, as long as the Elder Brother is not told of the effort. He and Flint agree on a payment of 5 gp per square league mapped. He also takes a little tame to inform Syleth about the activities of his organization, in a general sense.   After a feast thrown in their honor, Flint and Syleth rest, and the following evening, they set out westward with Sharru and six other orcs, following the course of the Neverwinter River.  

* * *

  After the feast thrown by Chief Chof in honor of Miletus and his companions, the elf awakens before his companions and the rest of the village, and wanders down to the riverbank. He wants to recover the ring dropped in the water by Enkidu, but has no obvious way of doing so, though he has an inkling that his new companion, Blossia, might. He sits and watches the river roll by, until Blossia emerges from Toothymaw, joins him by the water's edge. Miletus tells her he thinks the ring might be handy to have, and Blossia tells him she has an idea about where it might be. She transforms into a gilled creature, and dives down. In her mind's eye, she has visualized landmarks near where the ring lies, but after trawling the bottom of the river for nearly an hour, she comes up with nothing. She must come up for air before her dweomer ends, but she means to try again. Her second attempt proves more auspicious: she notices it lying under a riverweed, and scoops it up. When she emerges from the river, she hands the ring back to Miletus, having little use for it herself.   The two of them return to the village, where Miletus secrets himself with the ring, hoping to gain insight into its power, and to take psychic possession of it in order to manipulate it. Chof inform him that a party of orcs is due to arrive from Claymore on the morrow, and not wishing to cross paths with them, he takes up residence in a peripheral longhouse, where they are not likely to look. Blossia, on the other hand, spends the evening putting on a performance for the locals, involving dance, whip use and magical lights., and gaining a small following among the villagers, especially its young. Brandon mostly sulks by himself, wondering about whether he might have risen earlier so he could have gotten the ring back. He does spend time exploring the village and the edge of the wood to its east, and he discovers a large pit at the center which contains the village totem animal - a large owlbear. He spends the night nearby, once again, in his tent, which has long been acquiring a magical aura.   The following evening, the orcs arrive. Blossia creates a magical space in the longhouse she and Miletus are staying in so that he can hide from visitors he does not wish to meet. She herself, curious as always, goes out to greet them, and to her surprise, finds a halfling and an elf traveling with them. She introduces herself to Flint and Syleth, and accompanies them to the main longhouse, where Chof is throwing a feast in honor of the party from Claymore. They learn of her travails in the Underdark, while she learns of their journey to the Starmetal Hills. Brandon joins them as well, but soon becomes aware of the leader of the orc party watching him carefully. Deciding to avoid confrontation, he attempts to slip away, and leaves the village. Sharru has apparently taken note, and follows the half-elf out with his companions, some of them in various states of inebriation...

Report Date
15 Dec 2018

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