The Freedom Riders
Lord Randal Morn has summoned you to a conclave of what remains of the Court of Daggerdale. The past two days have been relatively quiet but as refugees filter into the encampment around the River Gate. Hushed tales and murmurs tell of great atrocities within the city walls. But also great heroism. Word has spread of the exorcism of Lathander’s Light, the temple to the Morning Lord, and Lord Morns safety. It has struck a blow to your enemies and bolstered the hearts of those still within the embattled walls of Dagger Falls.
Your days have been spent tending to the fortification of the River Gate, gathering intelligence, and pushing back minor skirmishes near the Warehouse District. You have gathered your strength, but the looming Constable Tower hovers in the distance reminding that your work is not done…
One question gnaws at the back of your mind more than any other…Dreg, the Court Marshall and Warden of the Northspire Mercenaries. The story of his being separated from Lord Morn while defending the tower…does he still live? Is he still fighting within the black tower?
A horn breaks the silence. Turning, riders can be seen cresting the Teshyamar Trail holding high a familiar standard…
THE FREEDOM RIDERS HAVE ARRIVED!
Darkness. Blinking the blur from your eyes you feel the familiar sting of your wounds. You can still hear the screams of your comrades ringing in your ears. Gathering yourself you look around and see that you are alone. There is a soft light ahead and the flow of water down the passage leads the way. Stumbling from fatigue your mind wanders to that moment…separated from Dreg you had retreated into the cistern tunnels hoping to escape the onslaught of the drow. Near the end you were cut off from Dreg and a small contingent of Spire. You watched helplessly as they were carried away by a wave of enemies. Surrounded and fighting to the last man you turned to see Lord Morn unconscious at your feet. You would die for this man – you had sworn to Dreg that you would defend his life with your own. It seems you were about to hand it over. Peace suddenly fills your being. Living a life of rage this feeling is something you have never known but it is unmistakable. A warm light falls over you…
As you fall to the ground instead of the cold stone you expected you land softly. Perhaps your ancestors were correct – death is not to be feared. Looking up you see that you are in a magnificent glade. It is night and the light of a full moon illuminates it like day. Singing fills your ears in a language you do not understand. As you turn you see a tall dark elf dancing in the middle of the glade bathed in the light of the moon. She is beautiful beyond measure with flowing white hair as long as she is tall. Other elves dance with her. Her gaze suddenly meets your own and you are filled with a calm that surpasses all understanding. She gently smiles and gestures to the edge of the glade. A massive white stag emerges into the clearing and stands majestically. In your mind you hear, “Bring light into the darkness…”
Your next memory is that of waking with a start under the bodies of your comrades. Shoving the bodies aside you look about frantically turning over body after body seeing only death staring back at you. Blood stings and blurs your vision, but it is as you feared; Lord Morn gone.
There is no worse fate than to endure the shame of this failure. Death would be a mercy. These memories sting more than any wound you carry. Tears of rage begin to well up as you shake off the memory.
Stumbling out of the stinking sewer the light of day is blinding. It has been nearly 3 days since you have seen the sun. It is warm on your face and a gentle breeze blows through your hair. The sound of the Dagger Falls roars in the distance. Gripping your sword you turn toward the RIver Gate.
The crack of a stick breaks the silence and you see the sway of tall grass move oddly. Pulling your massive blade from your side and gripping tightly with both hands you ready yourself. Slowly a figure raises up with a bow trained upon you. He is unfamiliar to you and bares the look of a Border elf. On each side of him five others raise up with their bows drawn. A man with dark skin holding a dagger crouches near the elf. “Who are you and what is your business?” Looking about you recognize men of the Spire. Putting your blade to your side you salute, hand over your heart with a thud as your hand slaps your armor. Three ranking symbols are tattooed on the first knuckle of your hand. “Hail and well met.”
The elf seems unfazed and doubles down, raising his voice further, “State…your…business.” Perturbed you shoot back, “State yours, elf. I do not recognize you, but I know my brothers.” The elf looking about to the other men asks, “Do you know him?” Several of the men exchange knowing nervous glances, “Aye, he is one of ours. He is one of Lord Morn’s personal escorts.” They lower their bows and return the salute.
The elf introduces himself as Dor’hian Greenleaf an elf tenuously aligned with the Northspire Mercenaries for now. They lead you to the River Gate and take you immediately to the triage tent. Many men lay wounded and in various states of treatment. A man you do not recognize approaches and exchanges a few hushed words with Dor’hian. He introduces himself as Dervin a Morninglord. You can’t help but notice the soft glow eminating from a torque around his neck. Saying a prayer he lays his hands upon you and you feel warmth and a familiar light. The same light that fell over you as you fell. You hear those words again, “Bring light into the darkness.”
“Lord Morn is requesting your presence in his tent. He is calling a conclave of leaders.” Turning you see a familiar face. “Dervin, please come at once.” Standing, your massive frame rises above everyone in the tent. The knowledge that Lord Morn lives releaves a heavy burden. “Rhuic? You live!” The familiar face of Felgrin another of Lord Morn’s guard is refreshing. Felgrin rushes up and slaps you on the shoulder, “You look like shit.” With a smile he continues, “But you still live. Lord Morn will want to see you immediately.”
Upon entering a large tent you duck low to get inside. A large table is in the middle of the room. Standing around the table are Randal Morn and several members of the Court of Daggerdale and the Northspire Mercenaries; Shevaril Starcloak, Tunfer the Stout, Mestin “The Troll” Durmark, Dulwar the Leatherworker, Kessla, and Baretrek “The Bear” Brightblade, Dreg’s “Second”. Additionally, you spot Nathier Fleetfoot rolling his familiar coin over his fingers and the only Northspire Mercenary that can look you in the eye, your friend Tavion “The Bull”. To Tavion’s side you see your commanding officer, the sniveling Varic. Tavion nods with a knowing smile. Kotono Shin is also present along with a handful of others you do not recognize.
Shevaril stands and looks to the guards. They turn and leave the tent draping the folds over for privacy. “Lord Morn has called each of you here today…” Upon seeing you Lord Morn jumps to his feet and shouts, “Shevaril! A moment…” Rushing up to you he embraces you. “It is good to see you alive, my friend. Do you have word of Dreg?” As he pulls back still clasping your shoulders, the look in your eyes confirms Lord Morns fears. Looking away Lord Morn speaks almost to reassure himself “We must still maintain hope despite these odds. Please, Rhuic, tells us what you know.”
You do your best to retell the last moments of the frantic struggle in the tower as you retreated through the west wing and into the sewers below. As you recall the events of that evening there is one detail that sticks out – Dreg calling off the rear guard at the sealed entrance to the lower hold of the tower. As the words touch your lips you hold your tongue thinking now is not the time.
Shevaril briefs the group on the current state of affairs and invites Dulwar to brief the group on current intelligence:
- The Drow have overrun the Constable tower.
- The Temple Distict remains clear of enemies and is uncontested – it seems to still remain under a positive supernatural influence
- The Market District has been turned into a concentration camp comprised of slave pits.
- The Eldrath Valuthra from the Border Forest are holding the Forrest Gate.
- Everything inbetween is being contested by the Zhents as they continue to strike and engage at the River Gate.
- Dreg is still unaccounted for and his fate is unknown.
- Zhent reinforcements could come from Teshwave to the east at anytime.
- There are additional rumors that Zhents have reclaimed a portion of the ancient dwarf mine in Tethyamar to the west in the Desertsmouth Mountains.
The next two hours are filled with debate, shouting, fist pounding, and near brawls between differing opinions. In the end it is determined that there are several courses of action:
- Move the forward operating base to the Temple of Lathander’s Light
- Send an emissary to the Eldrath Valuthra who hold the Forest Gate requesting they leave under a white flag (Shevaril, Tavion)
- Create a diversion large enough to distract the Zhent forces and buy the strike team time (Freedom Riders)
- Send a small strike team into the Constable Tower through a secret cistern entrance to eliminate the evil from within and drive back the drow
Lord Morn stands and addresses the group. For several moments he looks around the room at each person, "I know that I can not ask you to do anything I would not do myself, but this land is as much yours as mine. We have survived the tyranny of Vampire Lords, Colderan Morn, Zhent occupation, Drow incurrsion, and now this diabolical plan to steal away our city and our land. This evil must be pushed back. All signs point to the Constable Tower as the source of their hidden agenda. Who will stand with me? Who will volunteer to strike the heart of this evil at it’s source?
We ended here and will pick up next time to see who will stand with Lord Morn!