Sword Coast

A Pearl Comb
An evening with the priestess escalates

On a stygian, rainsoaked eve, amid the gloomy arboreal shadows of the Triboar Trail, a stout figure persevered. Wispy moonlight reflected deformed shapes against mail, auburn hair, and dusky skin. An owl screech sparked light in Naysus, alert hands readied his warhammer, and grey eyes followed the arcing path of black fowl against midnight blue. The only evidence of civilization glimmered through the twisting inky silhouettes.

A rumble of thunder harked the return of drizzling rain as Naysus entered the warmth of Stonehill Inn. Seeking warmth and minimal conversation, he pulled up a corner stool near the fireplace. He had not shaken the droplets out of his beard before a bouncing barmaid came to his table. She introduced herself as Elsa, and took his order, a small simple meal. At his request of mineral water, she amiably wondered why a dwarf would turn down ale, pushing him to admit his teetotalism. A passing moon elf called out her expectations as “racist”, before heading upstairs. Out of the corner of his eye, Naysus noticed two dark-cloaked figures at the door, one wood elf, the other undefined as her hood was drawn up. Elsa returned with his meal and continued with intrigued questions, interpreted by him as racial alcoholism jests. The crash of a spilt tankard paired itself with a woman’s shriek as the wood elf lurched over the bar clutching the bartender’s blouse. She fled in tears as the bar owner confronted the two suspicious women. Minutes later, this cloaked figure sauntered over to the dwarf’s table. She pulled down her hood, revealing curling brown locks and the alluring fey face of a woman, and introduced herself. Having spent decades of life in monastic abstinence, Naysus was unable to properly converse with the other sex, mainly with a lack of insight into her motives. Missing her attraction to him, the half-elf seductively glided upstairs to bed.

Finishing off the last scraps of a modest supper, Naysus headed outside for the local town’s shrine. At the north end of town there stands a monument of reconstructed stone from old Phandalin in it’s pre-invasion days. A plain house stood a few feet away, candlelight glowing through the glass. Naysus knocked on the door, and was met by a young elven woman. She introduced herself as Sister Garaele, a priestess of Tymora. Despite her apparent prejudice, Sister Garaele allowed the dwarf a bed out of principle.

Naysus awoke to the gasps and hushed tears of Sister Garaele, as she struggled with replacing the bandages around her wounded arm and abdomen. When confronted with his concern, she admitted her failed journey to Conyberry, in the attempts to speak with Agatha, the local banshee. She was sent by her superiors to find the name of the author of a particular spell book. She faced harrowing encounters, including a bandit raid that left her bloodied and weak. However, once at the lair, Agatha was nowhere to be found. Her efforts were fruitless in coaxing her into the material world. Naysus offered to complete the task for her, and she softened to him, explaining that she had never before met a dwarf that shared empathy so freely. Before leaving, she handed him a silver comb with inset pearl, alma-made, and proceeded to clarify its purpose. She believed if one was to appeal to Agatha’s vanity and flatter her with a gift, she may answer one question.

On his way to Stonehill Inn for breakfast, the dwarven priest bumped into the moon elf, at the lead of her posse. She, a halfling and a sun elf stood in the doorway. After a moment of silent gazing on the moon elf’s part, she started with embarrassment and coyly invited him to their journey. Naysus agreed with minor hesitation, and they headed northeast to the Tresendar Manor. Along the road, he noticed the half-elf and wood elf stalking their party.

Finally the seductress confronted the halfling, while the elf snuck over to the dark cloaked high elf in the attempt to snag her bracelet. She caught the would be thief out of the corner of her eye, and summoned a circling flame from her band’s jewel to light the briar patch behind her aflame. As she drew her knife, the mage blasted her with a wave of thunderous might, flinging her into the crackling brush. The sun elf headed over to loot her burning, incapacitated body, yet halted at the click of a bolt loaded and locked at his back. The halfling restrained her with netting, and he and the mage threatened to end her life if she did not comply with them.

Naysus watched from a short distance as the half-elf let go of her heavy crossbow and dropped to the ground. As the three, moon and sun elf and halfling, continued on towards the Tresendar Manor entrance, the dwarven priest lay his hands upon the singed elfin thief.

Murder in Baldur's Gate
Seeking vengeance uncovers foreboding secrets

Amid the crowded noise of the Elfsong Tavern, two figures sat shrouded by tapestries in a corner booth. Shahnameh hunched over the table, softly communicating her plot to a fidgeting wood elf, Kh’ana. She was absentmindedly digging one of her daggers point-down into the worn table. She heard, but only partially listened to Shahnameh’s story, of a princeling, who had recently developed a track record for killing courtesans. The last victim, a close friend of Shahnameh, had mentioned a whispered conversation she had heard in bed, while he stood outside. Through the dimly lit crack in the door, she heard his name mentioned in the same sentence as " Zhentarim ". Two days later her found was found in the Baldur’s Gate sewer system. Pointed ears discussed how best to infiltrate the baron’s estate. Shahnameh proposed to hire herself as courtesan at his third bachelor party, and seduce him in his private quarters for information. Simultaneously, Kh’ana would dismantle the defenses in his study and seek documents mentioning Zhentarim. After a short pause, and a hidden smirk, Kh’ana agreed to sell out her services for any treasure found in the noble’s estate.

Five evenings on, one and a half elves sat at the boisterous table of a noble’s bachelor party, as red-faced men groped passing servant girls and guffawed bits of steak and pastry. Finally, Shahnameh gave her wink to the groom, and he promptly led her upstairs, sweating from his curling blonde hair. The princeling’s minstrel nervously left their bedroom. Finally alone, the half-elf seductress began pouring drinks, and downing hers out the window behind her as he inebriated himself. Suspicious but woozy, the noble averted her inquiries on Zhentarim. Misinterpreting her questions of power to refer to his physical prowess instead of his political influence, he stood up unsteadily and proceeded to give a show of his fencing technique. However, his coordination was poisoned by evermead, causing him to loose balance and fling his blade through his thigh. As he collapsed in pain, Shahnameh grabbed his crimson collar and demanded knowledge on his connection with the Zhentarim. Delirious from booze and agony, the noble proceeded to mention his purpose in a larger plot. He was just one of the many political figures that the Zhentarim influences to gain a foothold in Baldur’s Gate. They seek to ultimately conquer the city, yet only the Lords’ Alliance stands in their way. Sildar, previously stationed in Baldur’s Gate, was seen as the largest threat to their plot.

The impatient Kh’ana headed upstairs and peeked into the bedroom just as the seductress withdrew the stuck rapier and promptly flung it through his throat. As he gurgled on the floor, vibrant fresh blood blurred the gap between his crimson silk bachelor’s shirt and ruddy alcoholic complexion. Both women understood that after such a killing, there were only moments left before all hell broke loose. Kh’ana slunk down the hallway, while Shahnameh followed, just as the minstrel appeared at the top of the stairs, halting her in her tracks. They stood mere feet away, he clutching his lute and gasping, she holding her bayonetted heavy crossbow in bloodied hands. After an extended harrowing pause, the crossbow broke the silence with a crack, flinging a bold into his stomach and propelling the bard down the stairwell. Thudding ended with the “twang!” of a shattered lute, as his body landed at the food of the previously riotous men and wenches. Shahnameh sprinted into the noble’s study, flung open his desk drawers and skimmed through files. She soon found the word Zhentarim printed on parchment, pocketed it and followed Kh’ana’s supposed path upstairs. Kh’ana, however, had taken the time to collect a carved dragon Content Not Found: doorknob, hall painting and lockbox, opened the window and climbed up the piping to the next window. There she observed an armored guard stationed in large room, just as the half-elf assassin burst through the double doors behind him. He began to turn towards her, but noticed Kh’ana’s entrance through the window. Shahnameh scaled the wall, crossed her legs around a rafter, loaded her crossbow, and launched a bolt into his spine. He collapsed immediately, stunned, as Kh’ana thrust her dagger into his shoulder. He reached for his sword, but she sliced into his collar bone with a second flourish. As his breathing flickered and stuttered, Shahnameh launched her rope over the side of the opened window. She called the pickpocketing Kh’ana over just as guards burst down the door, and both assassins scaled down the stone masonry wall.

Shahnameh raced across the rooftops as Kh’ana sprinted below, towards the east gate. She noticed it partially open, blocked by a hay cart drawn by a single horse. A short portly man was scraping with a tool against the wall, his back to her as she climbed into the hay. Shahnah dropped into the hay cart with such a force to startle the horse and send it charging. Kh’ana took the reigns as the poor portly man called after them.

Days past along the High Road, yet the women avoided large towns or cities, settling on small farms to steal basic necessities from. They briefly spent a half-day in Waterdeep trading supplies before heading further north. Over a week later, they began to approach Neverwinter. Instead, they decided to steer north-east up the Triboar Trail. Their horse, bred for short distances, collapsed from exhaustion. Kh’ana headed off to the nearest farm to steal a horse while Shahnameh fed the injured horse and attempted to revive it. She was able to get it shakily to its feet, however it was in no shape to travel. Just as Kh’ana came back leading a muscular mount, the half-elf set the weak horse to rest in the farmer’s barn. They were off again, heading further up the Triboar Trail.

On a drizzling evening, the cloaked women arrived in Phandalin. They entered the Stonehill Inn and took up space at the bar. After a few drinks, Kh’ana loosely offered to sell her painting to the owner’s wife, Trilena. She said she could not afford such a work but mentioned a well off ex-adventurer who lives nearby, and said Elsa knows him. Before Shahnameh could inquire any further, Kh’ana lurched forwards to drunkenly pickpocket Trilena, instead roughly tugging at her blouse. A ruckus insued, causing Toblen Stonehill to enter as his wife fled in tears. He firmly stated that they wouldn’t tolerate any more , and if they were Redbrands they should leave immediately. Shahnameh hushed her ally-by-circumstance and explained they did not mean to cause trouble, soothing Toblen’s nerves somewhat. He called Elsa over to help Kh’ana upstairs to her room while explaining that this town was peaceful before the Redbrands moved in, and now they live in fear. Thel Drendar, a local woodcarver, stood up to the Redbrands a ten-day ago when they came by his shop and leered at his wife. The ruffians murdered him. Several townsfolk saw it happen. The Redbrands grabbed his body, and now his wife, daughter, and sone have gone missing too.

A few moments later, Shahnameh noticed Elsa speaking to a handsome, clean-cut dwarf in the corner. She sauntered over to him, driving the barmaid away. After flirting with him, she headed upstairs to her room to deal with her vomiting roommate.

In the morning, Shahnameh and Kh’ana headed downstairs for breakfast. She the bartender away from a black-garmented moon elf to request a hangover cure for the wood elf. Moments later Toblen returned with a beverage consisting of egg yolks, juice and spices. As Kh’ana sobered up, Shahnameh overheard the moon elf speaking to her crowd about Sildar Hallwinter. She confronted them about him, receiving a cursory and unsatisfactory answer. As the small band consisting of the moon elf, a halfling, sun elf and the clean-cut dwarf left, the two women followed close behind.

They were lead to the ruins of an estate, where the halfling had halted and was speaking to the others. Shahnameh took the initiative to warn the halfling about Sildar, which became misinterpreted as a threat. Simultaneously, Kh’ana attempted to swipe the moon elf’s bracelet, but she took notice and fired a ball of flame inches into a briar patch behind her. She then blasted her back with a blast of thunderous sound, into the flaming bush, where she lay incapacitated. The sun elf headed over to loot her body, prompting Shahnameh to aim her crossbow at his back. The halfling threw rope netting, restraining her. The moon elf lit her hands aflame, and threatened to kill her if she did not drop her giant crossbow. She protested that the sun elf was in the wrong, but it was no use and she complied. The three left her as she lay prone in the net and headed off towards to the ruined estate. Shahnameh cut herself from the net as the dwarf stayed behind to tend to Kh’ana. The three were left behind.

Along the Road to Phandalin

Along the Triboar Trail, three unwitting travelers came across the aftermath of a raided caravan. Suddenly, arrows were sent flying from the brush, towards the trespassers. Tharivol noticed from the black feathers that these were Cragmaw archers. Lyle called for a hold, and offered to settle the matter at a game of dice. Caelynn attempted to distract the head goblin as Lyle’s fixed game pieces landed fives. Leaving with their lives, the three set camp. Tharivol recounted his noticing an empty map case, and realizing the deeper mystery at hand, they all decided to sneak back.

Tharivol awakened the goblins at the snap of a poorly procured arrow and a skirmish began. Fighting off scavenging goblins, they captured the straggler and brutally interrogated him for information of their hideout. Tharivol detested Caelynn’s treatment of the goblin, how they cut off his hand and eventually discarded his corpse in a pit trap. Lyle procured a simple game piece from one of the corpses. Once at the maw of the cave, Lyle swiftly slit the throats of two oblivious guards.

The travelers entered, following a musky scent that would lead them to two starved wolves. As they charged, Tharivol calmed the beasts and offered them rations from his pack. Satiated, the wolves allowed the three passage. Looking upwards, Caelynn noticed a natural chute ambling upwards. She assisted Lyle in constructing a pulley system with their dungeoneering tools, while Tharivol relied solely on his strength. Just as Lyle was unhooking his harness, a goblin leapt out of the dimness. A large shape arose, revealing the full stature of Klarg, the half-crazed bugbear leader. After a harrowing battle, Tharivol let fly the arrow to slay the beast. He kept the oversized jawbone to remind him of that encounter. Klarg kept his ill-gotten spoils close by, and among the supply boxes Caelynn noticed the blue lion of the Lionshield Coster, a trading post in Phandalin. In Klarg’s chest the recovered a small jade frog with gold eyes inset.

After a short recovery, the travelers curiously explored other passageways. They came across some goblins standing guard by a dam trap, and Lyle shoved one into the water. After a quick skirmish, he broke the barrier, sending the halfling and goblin tumbling down the torrent. Caelynn and Tharivol chased an escaping goblin across the arcing wooden bridge, and landed right into the den. After slaying his unwashed foe in the flood, Lyle ran to accompany his new companions. One hit sent the halfling down, and as he lay recovering, a goblin dangled the body of an aged, damaged man over the rocky ledge, threatening to let him fall unless a truce was decided. As Lyle recovered, another goblin cut him down, sending the elves into a rage. They fired spells and arrows at the charging goblins, piling up corpses where they once stood. The weakened man dropped from the goblin leader’s grasp, yet Tharivol dove and caught him in arms. One last goblin begged for his life, and Caelynn showed mercy, letting the creature flee the cave.

Once revived, the older man revealed himself as Sildar Hallwinter. He explained how Klarg had sent goblins to run him and his dwarven companions off the trail, after capturing them, they dragged them back to their hideout. He overheard from the goblins that a dwarf had been moved to Klarg’s lair, and begged the three rescuers to lead him there. However, upon searching behind crates and boxes they found not Gundren, but Tharden, his brother. Ungagged, the dwarf explained how he heard Klarg planning to send Gundren to Cragmaw Castle. Sildar offered to pay the travelers 60 gold pieces to accompany him and his weakened companion, Tharden, to Phandalin.

Once in Phandalin, Sildar asked the adventurers if they had come across a map in the wreckage of their carriage and they noted the empty leather case. Sildar Hallwinter noticeably lost interest with the adventurers and mentioned his need to meet with Iarno Albrek, a wizard in Phandalin who lost contact with his Alliance. They all proceeded to the Townmaster’s Hall, where he could pay his loan to the travelers. Caelynn exchanged some currency as well. She decided to finally reveal herself to Sildar, an old family friend, who questioned her motives for fleeing the family. He agreed that she was not fit for an arranged marriage, and would not rat her out to her father, yet believed she needed to take it upon herself to return to the Thalias’s, as “a soft word is stronger than a stone fist in these situations”.

Out of good faith and gratitude, Sildar invited the three for drinks at the Stone Hill Inn. Caelynn took this as an advantage to order them all sparkling evermead, on Hallwinter’s tab, of course. Sildar encouraged the three to try zzar, forgetting that elves generally detest the fortified wine, which sent Caelynn and Tharivol retching. Only Lyle found a taste for it, and spent the next moments discussing the qualities of brewery in the northern Sword Coast. Hallwinter recognized his tavern as Thistlebrew’s, in the trade district in Waterdeep. Reaching a certain kinship that only drinking fellows can have so early on, he shook the halfling’s arm, and as he pulled him close, whispered, “I trust you to tell you more. Find lodging for the night and meet me here tomorrow at dawn”.

Welcome to Sword Coast!
A tutorial for you, the adventurer

Hello, adventurer. Here your travels shall be catalogued and archived.

Once our journey begins, this page will fill up with journal entries and the Encyclopedia of Faerûn will expand, including new towns, new folk met, wonders and lore.

In waiting, study the illusory pages of this tome.


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