Eleint 6, 1479, Year of the Ageless One
Damascus spun his staff over his head and brought it crashing down upon the knight’s head. The knight’s helmet did little to stave off the stunning effects of the cleric’s attack. Although injured, the man was still alive, therefore dangerous.
Anticipating an incoming attack from behind, Damascus spun upon his left heel and barely managed to block an attack that could have easily taken his head off. The new assailant resembled the one he just struck on the head. Plate armor protected the man from head to toe. He wielded a longsword in both hands while a sheathed dagger was clearly visible on his belt. Damascus also noticed an engraving upon the dagger’s pummel: an eye surrounded by three steel gauntlets radiating outwards to form a triangle—or triumvirate—of sorts.
Damascus heard another soldier making his way to join the fight, while three others were saddled on warhorses awaiting—Damascus was certain—their turn to end the warpriest’s life. And to make matters worse, he also saw a man approach on foot from the west—stopping a short distance behind a nearby mounted knight. The sounds of more people approaching from the east told Damascus that perhaps his day to stand in the presence of almighty Oghma, Lord of Knowledge, had finally arrived.
Brogan, flying high above the others on his magic carpet, was the first to spot the battle. He quickly relayed to the others what he saw as he took out his hand crossbow. Abyss drew out his weapon and spurred his horse forward. Lyrica, too, drew out her longsword and urged her obsidian horse forward to join in the battle. Brogan also told his fellow companions that the knights appeared to be members of the Eye of Justice, a heretical order of Torm worshippers who were all recently rooted out of Elturgard when it turned out that their leader, Samlawr, was a Curruption Devil. To the duergar and the others, it seemed that some of the evil organization’s members had since turned to banditry in order to survive.
From the north, Ronak heard the sounds of battle and decided to investigate. From a distance, he spotted a man clad in chainmail desperately trying to fend off three attackers—all dressed in plate armor and armed with longswords. He quickly made his way to help the man in chainmail, introducing himself as he struck one of the heavily armored assailants.
Ronak had traveled for miles from Waterdeep, the City of Splendors. Considered by many to be beyond his prime, Ronak became a Blackguard—a fallen paladin—after serving thirty-five years in Waterdeep’s infamous prison. Once a devout paladin of Amanautor, the Sun God, Ronak was imprisoned upon a nobleman’s request whom Ronak suspected of being evil. The nobleman’s powerful political clout, along with his religious ties to the Church of Amanautor in Waterdeep was more than enough to imprison the then young paladin for over three decades on false charges.
Meanwhile, from the west, Solil quietly made his way to a nearby boulder hoping the din of battle would mask his approach. Despite being a member of the Harpers, Solil considered himself a novice as an adventurer and didn’t want to risk himself. He recently left Baldur’s Gate after a clandestine meeting with a fellow Harper agent went awry. Upon arriving at the predetermined meeting point, Solil was shocked to discover the agent lying dead at an alley’s entrance. At that same moment, a figure stepped out of a nearby storefront and called aloud for a patrol of city guards who just happened to be nearby. The figure—whom Solil never got a good look at but did get a whiff of a strange scent of herbs from—quickly pointed to Solil accusing him of having murdered the dead agent on the ground. Solil even raised his hands in surrender and was more than willing to speak to the guards, but the blood stains on both of his hands quickly changed his mind. Unsure of how he got blood on his hands, Solil decided on the best course of action he could think of at the moment—he ran. Fortunately, Solil’s abilities as a changeling allowed him to alter his appearance and escape from Baldur’s Gate.
Brogan shot one of the knights fighting Damascus, killing him instantly. Abyss also killed another who tried to attack him from horseback. Lyrica, upon seeing a mounted knight try to flee, quickly spurred her horse to give chase.
As a knight rode past Solil, the changeling—who appeared to be in his natural appearance—quickly ran to a nearby horse whose owner had abandoned it to fight the man in chainmail. As he grabbed the horse’s reins, Solil saw a woman, sword in hand, ride past two knights who took the opportunity to attack her as she rode by them. Despite the deep cut on the woman’s leg and side, she kept on riding hoping to catch up to the fleeing knight. But as she rode past Solil, it became apparent that pursuit would be futile for the knight had gained too much ground and was already disappearing towards the west.
Lyrica gave up the chase. Instead, she turned her horse to face Solil who was holding the reins of a nearby horse. She pointed her enchanted longsword at the figure she suspected of being a bandit, despite being unarmored like the others. Lyrica quickly noticed that the figure was a changeling. “Who are you?” she asked, never lowering her blade.
“I am Solil, from Baldur’s Gate,” the changeling responded. “I’m a Harper!”
“A Harper? Most likely just another bandit like the others.” Lyrica had heard of the Harpers but had never known any of its members to openly proclaim themselves to complete strangers. She suspected that if the changeling wasn’t a bandit then he was at the very least a fool.
“If you give me chance, I’ll explain myself.” the changeling said.
Lyrica kept the blade pointed at him. “You will indeed.”
Once the last of the knights of the Eye of Justice was killed, everyone nursed any wounds they received during the fight. Everyone then gathered together to introduce themselves.
Brogan, Abyss, and Lyrica explained that they were on their way to Baldur’s Gate having just left the nation of Elturgard. They added that the bandits were Eye of Justice members they recently forced out of Elturgard. Solil, who didn’t seem to be trying to hide his identity as a Harper agent described his narrow escape from Baldur’s Gate, while Ronak introduced himself as well.
Damascus said that he was a Battlepriest of Oghma and had traveled from Candlekeep. Damascus was headed north hoping to find information regarding Brother Anthony Damascus, a priest of Oghma who left Candlekeep to pursue life as an adventurer. Brother Anthony Damascus had been one of his order’s well-known priest and had lived at the time prior to the Spellplague—over a century before. Beyond several treatises Brother Anthony Damascus had written on the ecology of certain creatures on Faerûn, the order had lost all contact with the adventuring cleric. Damascus went on to explain that he was intrigued by the legendary cleric’s life and wanted to find out more about him, even taking on the cleric’s name as his own.
As luck would have it, Brogan knew a lot about Brother Anthony Damascus since the cleric had been one of the adventurers who had traveled far and wide with Zaachaeus in many of his jaunts across Toril long ago. Upon hearing this, Damascus couldn’t believe his luck and was more than eager to hear more—even if the one telling the tales was hiding behind a mask.
After searching the knights, the adventurers found some silver and copper coins inside the knights’ pouches. Although they didn’t find a lot of money or any magic item, they considered the six horses as treasure that could fetch them a nicely sum if they chose to sell them later.
Abyss and Brogan further explained that along with Lyrica, they were traveling to Baldur’s Gate. They then convinced Solil to help them in Baldur’s Gate since he was familiar with the coastal city. Damascus thanked Ronak and asked him to join the group as well.
The group, now a strong party of six, headed west towards Baldur’s Gate.
A short time later, the party arrived and hitched their mounts in front of the Wayfarer, a tavern just off the trail that wound its way towards Baldur’s Gate and the Sword Coast.
Upon entering the tavern, the group found the place occupied by several unsavory looking patrons. Three dragonborns sat at a nearby table, finishing their plates of food. They eyed the group suspiciously. One dragonborn even sniffed the air in disdain as the party walked past it.
From across the taproom, a gnome in hide armor sporting tattoos of wolverines down both arms was busy sharpening throwing axes with a whetstone, while a man in scale armor glanced at the direction of the group. Behind the tavern’s bar, a man in leather armor was busy cleaning wooden mugs.
“Well met,” the man behind the bar said. “and welcome to the, ah…Wayfarer.” The group immediately noticed the sheathed dagger strapped to the bartender’s arm.
Everyone entered and sat at a bench table in the middle of the taproom. They then ordered a round of drinks to quench their thirsts. As the bartender turned his back to fill mugs with drinks from the kegs behind the bar, some of the adventurers noticed a pair of daggers hidden behind his leather jerkin, just above his belt.
“So where you folks from?” the bartender asked as he placed each frothy mug on the bar.
“Oh, you know…here…there…and everywhere.” Abyss said as he got up to get the drinks.
“I think I’ve been there too,” the gnome with the wolverine tattoos added sarcastically. He, too, rose from his seat and made his way to bar, flipping the axes deftly in both hands.
Brogan, who was sitting near the door, walked over to the bar to get his own drink. As he walked past one of the dragonborns, he inhaled deeply imitating what one of them had done earlier. Brogan then went back to his table.
For several long, tense moments the party sat and drank their fill. Finally Abyss broke the tension when he said that the tavern and its occupants seemed like a perfect setup for a bandit’s hideout or an ambush. Brogan also added that he wouldn’t be surprised if there were others hiding in the tavern’s cellar.
Upon hearing this, one of the dragonborns stood up. His fists were clinched. His nostrils flared in anger. The party’s and the occupants’ eyes immediately locked in on each other. The tension mounted in the Wayfarer Tavern in anticipation of what everyone knew was about to happen.
Salil Bok, Ronak Tripp, Abyss, Brogan
Lyrica Osbourne, Damascus of Candlekeep