Two groups of travellers with different backgrounds, but similar goals, arrived in the town of Red Larch shortly after breakfast. The mysterious wizardess and her companion, Servant of Mystery Tamael Talstag, entered town from the south, while the band of monastic brothers arrived from the north. Both headed to the center of town to get their bearings.
While the others observed the people and structures of the town, Gurdis gazed open-mouthed at the woman in ill-fitting leathers across the street. “Pretty Lady!” he exclaimed, like a child finding a copper piece. Crith and Quaf followed his gaze, but not his enthusiasm.
The woman noticed their gazes and brazenly strode over to them. “Hello, Handsome.” She smiled at Gurdis, who smiled gleefully back.
Introductions were made, and the monks explained that they were searching for a missing delegation from Mirabar. Tamael and Gora, as the woman had introduced herself, offered their assistance in hopes of achieving their own goals.
With little information to go on, the group started at the nearby Allfaiths Shrine, where they met a sweet acolyte of Sune named Lymmura, who was kind and likable, but not very informative. There they also met Imdar Relvaunder, a priest of Tumpus, and ally to the Order of the Gauntlet. He gave them an idea of some of the rumors in town, but nothing specific. He did, however, tell them that the delegation never arrived at Summit Hall, and was last seen in Beliard.
They then headed to Thelorn’s Safe Journey, a wainwright the monks had passed on their way into town, thinking that they may be able to find out more about the delegation. Thorsk and Asdan Thelorn, the proprietors, were friendly enough, but eager to get back to work. They didn’t have any additional information about the delegation, and the group was soon on their way again.
Figuring a social hub, such as one of the local taverns, might allow them to gather more information in less time, they allowed Quaf to convince them to enter the Helm at Highsun. This dimly lit, well-worn tavern was well populated with the local working class, unwinding after a hard day of work. The air was filled with stories, laughter, and friendly taunts.
Breaking from the group, Gora used her “charm” to interrogate the barkeep about a bandit named Quanderil. The barkeep, however, had more to say about his failed mercantile ventures in Waterdeep, and knew nobody by that name. Quaf took the opportunity of the mutually distracted pair to down the contents of the wizardess’ wine glass, and disappear back into the crowd.
Their investigation was interrupted when a loud argument broke out between a few human men and a larger, and more intoxicated, female half-orc. Crith, Tamael and Gurdis followed them outside and managed to diffuse the situation and question her about her travels and the delegation before she left. They learned only that she had brawled with some of the delegation guards near Beliard about a tenday and a half prior.
Asking around, they picked up several other rumors. Someone mentioned that a crate marked with a strange, triangular symbol resembling a mountain and containing a dozen beautiful dwarven books showed up in the cargo of a shady keelboat skipper. There was also a shepherd who had discovered four mysterious, fresh, shallow graves a few miles outside of town.
The party asked the shepherd about the whereabouts of the graves. He agreed to take them, but insisted they wait until morning. He mentioned that, not only was travel more dangerous these days – and more questionable travellers coming through town – but there were superstitious rumors, and even many the quarryworkers, who typically worked well into the night, refused to be out after dark.
The next morning, they gathered their things and headed out. It took a few hours to get there, but the shepherd led them to the graves, as promised. Beneath the simple rock cairns, on the barren hilltop, they discovered a male dwarf in artisan robes, a female human warrior in a red surcoat with a black axe – which someone identified as the uniform of the Mirabar army, a male human in white robes with black feathers on the shoulders, and another male human wearing strange armor apparently made of stone.
All seemed to have died from arrow wounds or crushing blows. When touched, the stony armor crumbled into sand, rendering it unusable.
While the rest searched, Quaf circled high above, keeping watch. While there, he spotted a prominent, pointed rock southwest of Red Larch, and a tower northwest of their current location, slightly out of the way of their travel between here and town. The tower was visible to those on the ground, and could be seen for most of the trip, but Quaf was able to discern that some of the large birds circling the tower seemed to have riders.
The shepherd explains that they are knights from Waterdeep who sometimes come to Feathergale Spire, riding flying monsters. But they keep to themselves. Intrigued nonetheless, they decide to investigate, since it’s not far out of the way.
Travelling northwest, they skirted the Sighing Valley with the help of their aerial scout, and approached the tower from the rim of the gorge. The wind blowing through the canyon sounded somewhere between a lover sighing, and a coyote howling. Eerie and foreboding, while at the same time piquing one’s curiosity.
A courteous young woman named Savra welcomed them at the tower’s gate, and invited them to meet with the Knight’s commander, Thurl Merosska. Thurl is a well-built man in his fifties wearing plate armor embossed with feathery patterns and a regal cloak with a feathered mantle.
He introduces himself as the lord commander of the Feathergale Society, and welcomes the newcomers to join their feast in celebration of the society’s tenth year. When asked about the bodies, his face darkens, and he warns them of a great evil lurking among the hills. Depraved cultists led by wretched monsters. He postpones further discussions until after they’ve feasted.
While the feast is prepared, the team explored the tower. Quaf’s pockets jingled more loudly the longer they searched. Besides the valuables and personal effects befitting of noblemen from Waterdeep, there was an intriguing letter found on what could only be Thurl’s desk. It read:
We are pleased to hear about the outcome of your altercation with the Black Earth cult, and we praise you for the capture of one of their prisoners. This noblewoman from Waterdeep has an interesting tale to tell, and we shall enjoy interrogating her further. Xeep a close watch on the Sacred Stone Monastery. I want to know what our enemy is planning next.
Your beloved queen,
During dinner, a sentry bursts in and announces that a manticore has been spotted. Thurl invites them to the hunt, removing a feather-patterned golden ring set with a garnet and offering it to whoever slays the creature. Eager for some action, the group agrees.
After a short chase through the mists that had settled in the valley, three groups of riders converge on the manticore and make short work of it. Thurl grants the reward, as promised, complementing the group’s abilities. He also asks if they might investigate the Sacred Stone Monastery for him. He suspects the monks are harboring evil.
On their way out, Savra pulls Gora aside and offers to meet with Thurl and request that he extend an invitation for her group to join the Society. She also confides that they have a secret mission to master the element of air and use it to annihilate Waterdeep’s enemies and restore her to her former glory.