After meeting up with Leosin in the less-than-reputable Black Antlers Inn, the paranoid elf insisted that Koby and Mitsuo wait at the bar, not yet willing to trust the former cultist or the mysterious man from the east just yet. Per Leosin’s instructions, the group discretely followed him into a private room in the back, but not before Hogar had a chance to grab a mug of the bar’s signature grog, which admittedly oozed out of the tap more than it flowed.
Ren arrived only minutes later, having been somewhat pre-occupied during the last hour with a certain captain of the guard. She saw Mitsuo at the bar, and approached him to ask where the other were. The slightly gray-skinned man simply grunted and nodded in the direction of the back hallway. Ren was quickly able to determine which room her friends were in thanks to the unmistakable booming laugh of Taurgosz Tenhammer. ‘So much for secrecy’, thought the elf, before knocking on the door.
Ren entered the sparsely furnished room to find the rest of her companions along with Leosin, Taurgosz, and an unfamiliar dwarf in a set of plate armor with the sigil of Helm on his breastplate. Taurgosz was inflicting one of his spine-cracking bear hugs on Kilran, who was sputtering curses from somewhere deep within the large man’s ale-soaked beard. In the back of the room stood an unfamiliar dwarf in a set of plate armor, poring over a mess of papers and muttering under his breath.
“Please, my inhumanly large friend, put down the bard so we can get down to business,” asked Leosin, clearly eager to get out of the grimy bar as quickly as possible.
“I’d like to introduce you all to my friend and companion, Onthar Frume. Never has there been a more trustwor-”, Leosin began, before being quickly cut off.
“I can introduce meself, Leosin. Aye, name’s Onthar, and I’m a paladin of Helm. I’m also a Vindicator of the Order of the Gauntlet, and Leosin here tells me you all know a thing or two about the Cult of the Dragon.”
Leosin and Onthar went on to explain that they had been attempting to track the movements of the cult since they abandoned their camp, along with the entire hoard they had collected. It appeared they had split up in order to avoid detection and to better conceal the treasure. Taurgosz had managed to catch up to one of these wagons, along with an elite squad of his Blacktalons. They slaughtered the cultists, but unfortunately found that the wagon was carrying only food and basic provisions.
“Is this the part where you tell us what happened to that eye of yours?” asked Kilran, indicating the eyepatch Taurgosz now wore over his right eye.
“I’m getting to that part you impatient bastard. Now where was I…right, one of the cultist wenches was kind enough to share this letter with me…after I smashed her skull in of course,” boomed Taurgosz, grinning as he pulling a crumpled and blood-spattered scroll from his belt and unrolling it.
“Now where’s my monocle…” Taurgosz fumbled in his pocket before pulling out what appeared to be a monocle, though on closer examination it was clearly just the glasses he had previously worn, broken in half, with a bit of twine tied around the frame. No one chose to point this out. He then began reading out loud the contents of the letter:
Dragonwing Lemura Ironcloak,
I fear our operation may have been compromised with the escape of the monk, Leosin. He knows something. Thus we must modify our original plan. Our collected hoard will be split among a number of caravans each sent on a different route to the city of Baldur’s Gate. Once there, sell your wagons and supplies, secure your part of the hoard, and seek our agent, Aravax Foxtraveler, who will give you further information.
And Lemura, be on your guard. Our scouts report that that mongrel Taurgosz and his thugs continue to pursue us. If they catch up, you will kill them, or die trying. Tiamat cares not which, so long as you delay them.
The Queen of Dragons Will Rise Again.
“Well that dragonwank Lemura didn’t delay us long enough. And later that day we caught up to another wagon. Turns out it was a trap. That bitch Rezmir was hiding in the wagon with that great damned sword of hers, and she nearly cleaved my head in two with the first swing,” he stopped, lifting up the eyepatch to reveal the empty socket within, the wound still healing.
“I got in few glancing blows after that, but the slippery lizard was too quick for my hammer. I hate to admit it, but she was the better fighter, and she had a dozen cultists backing her up. I’m a crazy bastard, but even I know when I’ve been out-played. We managed to escape, but just barely. And worse than losing my eye…I lost four of my best Blacktalons as they covered our retreat. She cut through them like butter. I can still hear their screams…”
Work in progress