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"Something Wicked This Way Comes"





Week Nine

October 23rd, 1997
Avg. Rating: 4.6

Silvercarn, Aproth 27th, Year of the Shield

The party members remained in Laellyn for another week, continuing to both pursue their own interests, and to explore the city and its inhabitants. Erik, with the help of an older elf named Shothi, completed a full suit of armor from the 30-foot shark skin he kept as a trophy; he also made a macauitl, a wooden sword with shark teeth for the edges. Kelly spent the entire ten days, every day, speaking with and learning from a sea elf mage named Vaalytea, who encouraged Kelly to continue with her desire to learn more about magic. Vaalytea taught Kelly her first word of power, shreekatha, the word of fire. Juliet asked Vaalytea if she could identify the strange runes which ran the length of her new sword's blade- a few days later Vaalytea informed her that the language appeared to be Nithril, but deciphering what it said would take a lot of time and research. Einor simply rested, trying to fully recuperate from the many wounds he had received.

On the morning of Aproth 27th, Bulrishuya woke the party to tell them that, finally, all the repairs to the Lucky Lady had been completed; they would be able to set sail for Waterdeep in just a few hours. The party members gathered their gear (and Olaf's firewine), said goodbye to the elves they had come to know well (Balrishuya, Shrunthalli, Vaalytea, Shothi), and prepared to board the Lady. Vaalytea cast a spell to raise the newly repaired vessel from the sandy bottom to the surface of the water. With much of Laellyn there to see them off, the party boarded the ship. A whale was harnessed to the Lady's bow, and before they knew it they were heading home.

Goldcarn, Aproth 28th, Year of the Shield

In just over a day of travel the Lucky Lady was pulled into the harbor of Waterdeep. The party had been gone for a total of 14 days. But things didn't look quite right with the city: while still miles away they could see sporadic columns of smoke rising up, and then as they entered the harbor they could see evidence of recent combat (debris in the water, plus two half-sunken ships). Once the ship was properly berthed at the docks the party disembarked and began heading for the Stone Hearth, wagon of firewine in tow. No dockhand was to be found, not even the harbormaster to collect their berthing fee. Something was definitely wrong.

On the way to the Hearth they were surprised by a man running from a small cottage, clutching his bleeding throat; as he died at their feet they could see a woman standing in the doorway of the building he had run from, still madly waving a large carving knife in the air. The rest of the party moved on, while Talyth sneaked off and went to speak with the woman.

Just a few hundred yards from where they left Talyth the party saw a small squad of Shieldbreakers emerging from an alley. Once the mercenaries had left Juliet and Erik investigated, only to find that one of the City Guard had been crucified to a wall and left for dead. They tried to help him after cutting him down, but it was no use- the man died. They regrouped at the mouth of the alley just as Talyth hurried back, with a large blood stain on his shirt. "I don't believe it," he said. "The woman was mad- once I was inside to speak with her she attacked me...I...I had to kill her!" The party hurried to the Stone Hearth, but what they found was small comfort.

The building had been gutted- two of the walls had been smashed down, the roof was barely hanging on, and smoke still wafted from a half-dozen tiny fires. Einor ran inside, followed by Kelly and Erik. As bad as the outside had been, it was nothing compared to the horror inside.

Cynthea's severely beaten body was crucified to one of the walls, and Minya lay below her, lifeless eyes gazing skyward. Across the room, atop a pile of seven Shieldbreaker bodies, lay Olaf, still clutching his bloodied axe in defiance. But defiant or not he was dead; they were all dead.

Einor just stood there for many moments, unblinking, unflinching. He finally walked slowly to his father's corpse and grabbed the axe, the Bjornson axe. He ripped open his shirt and carved a deep channel across his chest, and as the blood flowed he pressed his hand into it and left a crimson handprint on his father's head. Without a word to anyone else he turned and walked out, tightly grasping his father's weapon, his father's gift. Vengeance would be his.

As all of this was happening, Juliet had remained outside with the wagon. There were no others nearby, except for a single hooded figure drinking in a doorway across the street. Juliet approached, and was surprised to find that it was Shreesha, reeking of alcohol. "Dead!" she said, matter-of-factly. "They're all dead. Again, I was no help at all...I wasn't even here..." And with that, despite Juliet's protests, she just walked away.

Juliet turned to see the bloodied Einor emerging from the remains of the Stone Hearth, with Kelly and Erik following behind, trying to stop him. Kelly pleaded with Einor not to throw his life away, to wait and fight another time, with a better chance to destroy them all. He paused briefly, like a confused animal, but then set his jaw. "I must". At the same time, across the street, three Shieldbreakers walked out of an alley and into Einor's path, as if Tymora herself had just set them down in the street.

Einor flew into a rage, and was upon them before they could even clear their weapons. Though they did wound him, they never stood a chance...Einor continued hacking at their bodies even long after they were dead. He even attacked Erik once, oblivious to whether he was friend or foe. And when he was done, when the blood of the three slain thugs all but covered him, he slowly walked back into the Hearth and locked himself in Olaf and Minya's room.

The party returned to the Stone Hearth too. They moved the firewine indoors and began trying to make sense of what had happened, of what was still happening, in Waterdeep. Talyth left, to talk to some others he knew in the city. Juliet and Erik cleaned up the tavern as best they could, and also moved the bodies into the cellar. Kelly left to go to the temple, to see if anyone there could tell her what had been happening in the city while she was away.

Before long, however, Kelly was attacked. Two men grabbed her and pulled her into an alley. They took what money she had, but they weren't satisfied- they wanted more than just money. In a panic Kelly drew her dagger and cut one of the men on the arm. As he released his grip on her she fled from the alley, almost knocking over a passerby, and ran the rest of the way to the temple, leaving the unheeded screaming behind.

When she arrived at the temple she found it locked up, like a fortress under siege. She was allowed in and spoke with Calishara, the priestess, but her ramblings didn't make a lot of sense. She was obviously very upset, talking about her mother, and Baldur's Gate, and being attacked, and being scared; Calishara tried to comfort her, to calm her. She sent Kelly home for some rest, along with two escorts to insure she arrived safely.

Suncarn, Aproth 29th, Year of the Shield

Around noon the next day, while Einor and Kelly still slept, Juliet and Erik went into the marketplace to buy some food. The market was still crowded, but the people were different, more desperate. It was reassuring to see a squad of four Watchmen in the market, but they quickly turned away when six Shieldbreakers strode through the crowds. Juliet and Erik then heard a small boy cry out, and turned to see a young child, perhaps 8 or 9 years old, clutching his hand in pain. He had been attempting to steal a loaf of bread, and the stall owner had hit him with a small throwing spike.

As the boy ran off, Erik and Juliet approached the stall owner. An altercation ensued, and Juliet's new shortsword was put to good use hitting the man in the hand. But his hand was completely severed, right through the bone. He began calling for help, a call the Shieldbreakers quickly responded to. The large man collapsed to the ground, crying in pain, and the six mercenaries ran to the stall. But Juliet would not (could not?) leave- with a single powerful stroke she sliced the man open like a fish, escaping through a puddle of his entrails just seconds ahead of the Shieldbreakers. They hastily returned to the Stone Hearth.

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I think a man's duty is to find out where the truth is, or if he cannot, at least to take the best possible human doctrine and the hardest to disprove, and to ride on this like a raft over the waters of life.