At the bequest of Lord Morn, Kotono and Darvin made their way to Fulgath’s Caravan Supplies just to the north of the Tesh Trail on the outskirts of town.
The impressive, thick stone barn-like building can be seen just north of the Tesh Trail. There is an impressive assortment of wagons, wheels, and barrels surrounding the property. A large wooden sign hangs from the front porch over two large double doors; in bright red lettering it reads Falgath’s Caravan Supplies.
As you enter the establishment there are rows, and rows of shelves filled with a wide assortment of goods; saddlery, wainwright, containers, tack, rations, tents, shovels, picks, climbing gear, boots, winter wear, torches…you name it.
Across the way a portly man with a smug demeanor eyes you as he looks up from a large ledger spread across an impressive oak desk. A monocle slips from his right eye and dangles to the side of his face. He squints slightly as he sizes you up. After an uncomfortable glance, he re-positions his monocle, and looks back down at his book unfazed by your presence. You could swear that you hear him quietly chuckling to himself.
Fulgath coldly received them with a condescending, “Yes?” After Kotono sternly stated their business and intentions, “We are here on behalf of Lord Randal Morn…” Fulgath became contentious. Eyeing the letter in Kotono’s hand he snapped, “What is that in your hand?” Kotono calmly presented him the sealed message bearing the official seal of Lord Morn. He angrily snatched the letter from Kotono’s outstretched hand with snap of his wrist. Sneering he scanned through Lord Morn’s message mumbling imperceptibly to himself. Looking up over his brow he flatly asked them, “What would you do if you were the only supplier at the trailhead of the most dangerous wasteland in all the Realms?” Kotona replied curtly, “Not charge exorbitant prices for travelers who are being sent to their doom!” Davin interjected making a plea toward reason, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears. Dismissively, Fulgath shot back, “Bah! I simply charge what people are willing to pay.” At that Fulgath asserted flatly, “Let Lord Morn know that I will change my prices…” After a long pause he continued, “…when I get around to it!” Fulgath stood up and rapped twice on his massive oak desk with a gnarled cane. A large, thuggish looking man appeared from the back doorway and walked to his side. Silently he crossed his arms and stared coldly at Darwin and Kotono. “I believe our business is finished here," Fulgath spit, “unless you would like to purchase something…,” he added sarcastically.
While walking through the Market, Darvin noticed an Eladrin woman picking up her stall that had been ransacked. Distraught over the state of her stall she sobbed, “Who would do such a thing? All I want to do is sell my goods like the other vendors…” She introduced herself as Dayekris. As Kotono questioned her it seemed she felt there is racism at play due to her Eladrin heritage. Two merchants whispering in hushed voices and watching with concern caught Kotono’s eye. As he approached them, Darvin turned his attention to helping the Dayekris recover her goods by magically mending what he could. The merchants, clearly nervous and anxious, proved tight-lipped and one even shot back at Kotono, “…I can’t get involved,” as they turned and shunned any further interaction. Disgusted, Kotono turned to the Market and shouted obstinately, “Is there anyone else who supposedly didn’t see anything?”
About that time, an elegantly dressed half-elf with a cool demeanor and piercing ice-blue eyes approached. With a forced smile she introduced herself, “I am Shevaril Starcloak.” She paused briefly, but continued confidently, “You must be Kotono?” With a slight bow and sincere nod, “Dreg has spoken highly of you.” She turned quickly to business, “I see you are looking into the ransacking of the merchant stalls?” Her eyebrows arched slightly, and her voice trailed upward to punctuate the question. She ever so slightly cocked her head expectantly. Shevaril suggested that Kotono speak with Brodwen Delgaard, the Waukeen priestess, in the employ of The Northspire Mercenaries. Kotono knew Brodwen from a recent crossing of the Anauroch some months ago and was a known adviser to Dreg on matters of commerce. As Kotono recalled, she had a pioneer spirit and enjoyed the adventure of the open road. She would often accompany trade caravans to assist in dealings with trade partners and was no slouch.
It was decided that they would continue on to the dinner that evening at The Constable Tower Fest Hall at the request of Dreg himself. Perhaps they would see Brodwen tonight?
The Thing About Crossbows:
Kotono briefly stopped back in to see Lanrick whom he had left a crossbow for deeper examination. Lanrick seemed very excited as he explained the history of the crossbow. This particular crossbow was owned by an Eladrin Ambassador of the Court of Stars to the Border Forest from the Feywild who was famously killed and the crossbow stolen. Its given name is The Messenger: Hope of the Daywalker. The crossbow was a gift from the Eladrin noble, Faerinael. Lanrick explained that the crossbow was magically enhanced in several way: it is incredibly light and can reload itself allowing the user to move freely about the battlefield. It is also magically enhanced increasing both accuracy and penetrating damage. It’s rich blue-green patina has magically been formed into an elaborate tapestry of sylvan imagery and symbols; leaves, infinity knots, trees, etc. Lanrick also mentioned that the crossbow would be of great value to an eladrin.
After securing some more formal attire from the Market, Kotono and Darvin arrived promptly at dusk. Pleasant music and the smell of a banquet was in the air as they climbed the hill to the Constable Tower. As they entered through the tall double doors leading into the Fest Hall, minstrels could be heard playing festively. To the far end of the Fest Hall was a massive stone fireplace large enough for several men to stand in; it roared and crackled pleasantly. Immediately in front of the fire was a massive head table. Running perpendicular to the head table were three large tables filled with food and drink.
As they arrived they were immediately greeted by Dreg who was dressed in typical attire; cavalier hat, plumed shirt buttoned down to a “V”, with deep purple breeches tucked into knee high leather boots. He greeted them with a flourish announcing that Lord Morn would be in attendance. After debriefing their visit to Fulgath and the circumstances facing The Market, Dreg encouraged them to trust their gut and follow the leads. Dreg worked the room pointing out the most important people and making formal introductions. Of particular note, they spoke with the elegant Kessla, Constable of Dagger Falls and proprietor of Red Rock; Mestin “Troll” Durmark, the mannish ranger and Speaker of the Diaspora; and Tunfer the Stout, Conciliator of the Faiths and priest of Tyr. All seemed to have close personal ties with Lord Morn and played significant roles in liberating Dagger Falls. Dreg remarks that he will introduce Darvin and Kotono to Lord Morn once he arrives.
After a period they located Brodwen Delgaard. She was dressed in a flowing, gold gown that flamed to red toward the bottom. An elegant, but prominent holy symbol of Waukeen hung comfortably about her neck. Her hair was pulled back comfortably in a bun. She was quietly visiting with Shevaril whom you briefly spoke with at the market late that afternoon. After introducing yourself, you exchanged notes regarding the market stalls. Brodwen revealed what she believed to be an elaborate extortion ring that has been quietly gaining a foothold among the merchants. She conjectured that Dayekris had rebuffed their efforts and the vandalism is a not-so-subtle message to not only Dayekris but the Market as a whole. Brodwen also shared that her operatives had spied people moving in and out of the Teshford Arms late at night. With rumors of [[Olive’s]] complicitous history with the Zhentarim dating back to the occupation she suggested they pay her a visit.
Kotono also shared with Brodwen the defiant reception he received from Fulgrah and the “muscle” he flashed toward the end of their meeting. He shared that he believed in his gut there was a connection, but needed more evidence.
A trumpet blast rises above the chatter, hushing the crowd, “HEAR YE! LORD RANDALL MORN, COMMANDER OF THE FREEDOM RIDERS, VANQUISHER OF TYRANTS, LIBERATOR OF DAGGER FALLS, LEADER OF THE FREEMEN, LORD OF DAGGERDALE!” A tall, noble figure entered the room. A bearskin cloak hung heavily about his frame and added to his imposing presence. Dreg immediately moved to his side and could be seen visiting with Lord Morn. Both seemed very animated and gregarious in their exchange with back-slaps, arm clasps, and boisterous laughter being exchanged. Within a moment Dreg turned scanning the crowd. After making eye contact with Darvin he excitedly motioned for them to join him.
Lord Morn graciously complimented both Kotono and Darvin on their success in securing the Khopesh Ale and extended his heartfelt condolences at the loss of Bert. Lord Morn took a special interest in Darvin’s devotion to Lethander and found his arrival no coincidence. He told them that he would be willing to pay no less than 20,000 gold pieces, land and title to have the temple reclaimed from the shadow that covers it. He suggested that they visit with Dulwar at his shop when they have a chance.
Lord Morn, Dreg and Kotono addressed the gathering and memorialized Bert.
The festivities continued into the early hours of the morning. Kotono eventually had to pry Darvin off of a serving wench and drag him back to his bunk no worse for the wear.
The next morning Kotono and Darvin set out to meet the half-ogre, Dynter, at the Red Rock as agreed.
As you approach the Red Rock Tavern you can see the unique rock that you’ve heard locals speak of giving off a soft amber glow. It stands alone in it’s architecture as compared to the rest of Dagger Falls as it’s rocks are roughhewn and laid in large swathes giving it a natural, almost druidic feel. A soft melody and laughter floats listlessly to your ears as you make your way closer.
Inside the tavern the taproom of the Red Rock is illuminated by magical globes of light rather than candles. The strange smell of fresh elderberries and a hearty stew fill the air. A central, four sided bar stands in the middle of the room with an impressive display of ale casks lining the backside of the bar with many bottles hanging from the ceiling directly above the bar. A door to the kitchen can be seen to the far back of the room. Booths line the walls to the right and left. Locals are scattered about enjoying a beverage and soft conversation.
As you make your way to the bar a half-elf of stunning beauty approaches. She is dressed in a full emerald gown bedecked with the revelry of her wood elf heritage. She smiles gently at you and opens her arms wide, “Welcome to the Red Rock Tavern. I am Kessla your host. How may I serve you?”
After exchanging pleasantries with Kessla, she directed them to a booth in the back where Dynter was seated. As they approached the booth, Dynter eyed them uncomfortably and shifted nervously in his seat. The sight of his massive half-ogre frame crammed in the booth struck them as a bit surreal. He almost looks like an adult in a school house. He explained that he was unable to speak openly at the Broken Dagger because he knew he was being watched closely. He explains that some months ago he was approached by a group called the Umbra Lupus and offered “protection” for a cut of his profits. Over the months things have grown increasingly tense and he recently stopped making payments which he believes led to the missing caravan shipment. He suggested looking at the abandoned warehouses as a possible hideout for the group.
Honoring the Fallen
At midday, as was customary for the dead, a procession through the main thoroughfare of Dagger Falls was made. Bert’s body was prepared according to custom; wrapped in white linen with his sword, armor and other personal effects adorning his body. Bert’s body was placed on large funeral pyre that was then carried aloft through the street by the appointed pallbearers. This was all done in complete silence as Tunfer the Stout led the procession with lit braziers of incense. A light drizzle fell and rolls of thunder could be heard in the distance adding to the somber tone.
The townsfolk of Dagger Falls closed all businesses and lined the street to pay their respect. Kotono and Darvin were dressed in the ceremonial armor of the The Spire and walked solemnly in procession. They were instructed to stay on guard throughout the precession by Dreg for fear of retaliation by the Umbra Lupus. Several shady characters suspiciously darkened the windows of some buildings they passed along the way, but nothing came of the figures.
They processed through the River Gate and past Fulgath’s and Old Dulwar’s shops on the outskirts of town to the cemetery. Once at the gravesite, Tunfer shared a short eulogy highlighting Bert’s service and heroism in the line of duty. A final farewell was sung:
May the celestial choirs come to greet you
May they speed you to paradise
May the Morning Lord enfold you in mercy
May you find eternal rest
May you dwell in the Courts of our God
For all eternity, forevermore
As the body was being covered the procession began to disperse with small groups beginning to congregate about the cemetery.