Bryn woke with a start. He didn’t even remember falling asleep. He glanced around to get his bearings, and reached for his sword. He couldn’t find it. He saw Bacca nearby, as well as his new companions that they met just last night. The events of the night before came back to him quickly. Kasha began to stir.
“Everyone okay?” Bryn asked, somewhat still confused. Everyone jerked a bit. It even appeared that Clara was trancing deeper than most elves do.
Bacca rubbed his eyes. “What happened?” he asked, in a tired voice.
“We fell asleep,” Bryn replied, “but I don’t recall doing it.”
“Where is the old man?” Clara asked. Bryn looked towards the front of the cart.
“He’s gone!” Bryn exclaimed. “So is his horse.”Kasha looked up to the sky. “It’s mid-day.” She announced. Everyone looked surprised. “And it looks like we are in Eveningstar, or some other town.” she continued, waving a hand out the wagon. They were indeed in a town of some sort.
Bryn sighed. He wasn’t sure what happened, but he was ready to find out. Grabbing the pike that he had been using the night prior, he made to get out of the cart, but was stopped by Bacca.“Bryn, what do you know about Cormyrian law?” Bacca asked, with an eye on the pike. Bryn had to think, he had read a lot of books on Cormyr.
“Oh yeah!” Bryn said, a bit more sudden than he meant to. “Peace bonding weapons, and adventuring groups.” he finished somewhat in mid thought. “That is, we would need to register as an adventuring group or peace bond our, uh, pike here.” He finished somewhat lamely, lifting the pike. “I guess we will also have what’s left of our coin converted.”
“I still have Cormyrian coins.” Bacca said, jingling his coin pouch. “But yes, I would leave the pike behind for now.” Bryn left it in the wagon as the group got out.
They were standing on the edge of a town, Bryn took a moment to orient himself, he looked what he thought was north, and if he was right, they were on the east edge of town. While Bryn was orienting himself, Bacca found a person who was walking down the road in the town and approached. Bacca had a short conversation with the man, and walked back to the group.
“Well?” Clara asked.
“We are in Eveningstar.” Bacca said. “and” but Bacca never finished this sentence.
“Oh goodness!” Indukala exclaimed. “Look!” she pointed up at one of the nearby houses. Up on the roof of one of the houses was a cat, at least it looked like a cat, but it had large wings sprouting from it’s back.
“It’s a tressym,” Bryn explained, slightly in awe himself. “They are native only to the north forests of Cormyr.” Everyone was looking at him now for information, except Bacca. Bacca had grown up around here, and if Bryn had to guess, already had seen them. “Many wizards use them as familiars, and besides the wings, they act very much like the average cat, but they are also far smarter!” Bryn continued explaining to the rest of his group.
“I wonder if I can get him to come down here!” Indukala whispered to herself. “I love animals!”
Kasha spoke up “I’m sure we can coax it down, if Bryn is right, and they are just like other cats.”
Bacca broke the silence with a smile “Well, we can’t all spend all day trying to get flying cats off of roofs. Why don’t some of you stay here and Bryn and I will go make accommodations for us.” Bryn looked at Bacca disappointed, then gave the tressym a longing glance.
“I’m going to go find a sage, and see if I can learn anything about the surrounding area.” Clara said, and set off before Bryn could explain that he and likely Bacca already knew about the area.
“Oh well, it won’t hurt for someone else to know too.” Bryn said, shrugging.
Kasha and Indukala went off to find scraps of meat to try to coax the tressym down from it’s perch, Bacca and Bryn went off towards a building that Bacca explained was the Lonesome Tankard Inn. Bryn got excited. He had read about the Lonesome Tankard in one of his books.
Clara went Southwest along one path, looking for a place the looked like a library, Kasha and Indukala went west, looking for a butcher and Bacca and Bryn went towards the building that Bacca said was the Lonesome Tankard.
The bar was larger than most bars Bryn had been to, and less dusty. Despite Eveningstar being a small town, “less than 1000 people by last population census” noted Bryn to Bacca, the Lonesome Tankard had a reputation as one of the best bars in the land. Upon entry, any doubt of this fact was wiped from their mind. It was busy. There were many folks. So many that there were not enough chairs. Bryn saw all sorts of folk, though a few stood out in his mind. One was a man dressed all in black, carrying a short sword. He put Bryn immediately on the defensive, until he remembered that they were a few days ride from Harrowdale, and it was probably coincidence. Another was a buxom lass that looked like a bar maid. She had dark brown hair and was dashing between tables quickly, distributing drinks and taking orders like an expert. The last was a man in scale armor who was applying wax to a bow string. Bryn thought it was odd since his quiver didn’t appear to be peace-bonded.
Bacca approached the bar, Bryn following taking in all the people. He suddenly had the itch for a bar fight. He knew this wasn’t the time. Besides, he knew this bar from books. He didn’t want to look bad in front of Dunman Kiriag, the proprietor. At least, he was the proprietor in the book that he read. Bryn realized that Bacca was already at the bar, shook his head and followed.
“… waylaid by bandits, and escaped. Now we are looking for work so we can earn money for arms and armor for traveling.” Bacca was finished.
“What kind of work do you do?” the bartender grunted.
“Well, I’m a priest of Torm, if you need any prayers, I can also strong arm any manual labor task you may have, my friend here can, uh, Bryn?”
“I can do anything.” Bryn answered half paying attention. He was looking around for the bar maid.
“And my friend here can apparently do anything, I’m tempted to challenge that.” Bacca replied with sarcastic tone in his voice.
“This is good to note.” the bartender replied. “However, with a story like yours, I would recommend you hit up Tessar the Ma.., I mean Lady Tessaril Winter. She was an adventurer back in the day, and you have the look and story of one.”
“I, uh, suppose we could do that.” Bacca started. “I was thinking more along the lines of helping with farming or assisting in aiding the sick, but that works.” Bacca turned to Bryn. “Bryn?”
“Eh?” Bryn had found the bar maid.
“Shall we go?” Bacca asked.
“Oh, I guess.” Bryn relented, still gazing at the bar maid. “I wanted to talk with Dunman Kiriag while we were here…” Bryn trailed off.
“You know me?” the bar tender asked Bryn. Bryn looked at him, his dreamy look from looking at the bar maid gone.
“Oh! Yes sir.” Bryn started. "According to “Tavern’s in Cormyr”, a book I’ve read, you practically put Eveningstar on the map!" Bryn said, he could hear the excitement in his voice.
“Eh? Whatever. Flattery will get you no where.” Dunman said gruffly.
“Uh, okay.” Bryn said, somewhat dismayed. “Odd question, can I buy one of your taverns mugs?”
A few minutes later, Bacca and Bryn exited the bar. Bryn was explaining to Bacca why he liked having his own mug, and the short story about the mug he got in Neverwinter, that was left behind in the Freehold. As they walked, Bryn suddenly remembered something. “We should go get Indukala if we are going to visit Tessaril.” Bryn stated.
“Eh?” Bacca asked.
“The old man told us that she might help us with the ring.” Bryn stated. Bacca’s face lit up, and they whirled around to head in the direction where they saw the tressym.
They found Kasha and Indukala on the ground trying to coax the tressym down from the tree. Daegus was no where to be found. As Bryn got close, Kasha stood suddenly. “We almost go it, I think.” she smiled at Bryn, who returned the smile.
“Fun!” Bryn said, then turned to Indukala, and explained the situation. He finished with asking her if she wanted to come with him, or hand him the ring. Indukala agreed to come with them, and with a last longing gaze up at the tressym, she got up and followed them.
Bacca knocked on the door of the house they found to be the residence of Lady Tessaril Winter. A few moments later, an elderly man answered the door. “Can I help you?”
Bacca and Bryn explained what Dunman had told them at the bar. After hearing the story, the old man invited them in, and showed them to a waiting room. “You can wait for my Lady here. Please have a seat, and don’t touch anything.” Bryn raised his eye at him. "I’ve used the term “Make yourself comfortable” in the past when dealing with folks who fight for a living, and it made a mess. I find asking people not to touch anything saves my Lady a great deal of money." Bacca chuckled.
While they waited, Bryn questioned Kasha about Daegus. She had though he might be a burden in the town, so she had him out in the forests hunting. Bacca talked to Indukala about things that she likes to do for fun, and where she learned how to cast magic, referring to the spell that made him fall like a feather in the forest. Indukala was about to tell him, when the doors opened.
“Dunman told me I’d find you here!” A woman entered the room speaking in a commanding voice. She was about 6 feet tall, with long black hair and a curvy build. She wasted no time striding across the room, and sitting down in a chair at the head of the room. Suddenly, a crow flew into the room. At least, it looked like a crow. Bryn knew that crows are black, but this crow was a different shade of red. Bryn thought he had seen that color recently even. The crow flew around the room and cawed loudly twice, then flew out of it. Tessaril didn’t seem to be phased by this. "I didn’t hear the whole story, she continued, something about bandits and a ring.
Bacca and Bryn told the tale, taking it in turn to tell pieces, each adding in details as they went along. Periodically, Kasha would add in a bit. Indukala remained silent the whole time. As Bacca finished the details about the cart ride and waking up, Tessaril looked upon the group with an appriasing eye.
“Can I see the ring?” she asked. Indukala began to go forward. Suddenly, from a window pearched near the top of a room, a tressym flew in. She glided around the room, and finally landed on Tessaril’s shoulder. Indukala hesitated, but finally gave the ring to Tessaril. She watched the tressym with a longing expression on her face.
Tessaril eyed the ring for a moment. “This will need more time.” She said slowly, examining the ring closely. “You said you guys want to work for arms and equipment?” she stood suddenly, the ring clenched in her hand.“Aye” Bryn and Bacca said at the same time.
Tessaril scratched the head of the tressym that was perched on her shoulders. “My familiar recently had a litter of kittens. One was batting around my teleport sphere the other day and accidently got transported to the Halls of Eveningstar. I need time to analyze this ring. If you go to the halls and recover my youngling, then I’ll pay for your arms and armor, AND I will get you an adventuring pass for Cormyr.”
Bryn sensed that this was more about the ring, and less about her kit, but didn’t say anything. Bacca looked at Bryn as if asking for his approval. Bryn nodded.
“You said you need time to analyze the ring, I assume that us heading out will give you time?” Bacca asked.
“Aye.” Tessaril responded shortly.
Bacca looked down at Indukala “Well, it’s your ring.”
Indukala responded “Of course, I want to know what is going on too!”“Excellent. I have one more task then. I have invited the son of one of my families out to prove himself to me. Take him with you on this task, and report how he fairs back to me. He will not be a burden.” Lady Tesseril explained. “Look for Max Verandier in the Lonesome tankard.”
A short time later, Bacca and Bryn were walking towards the Lonesome Tankard, this time rearmed and armored. Bryn had been lucky and found a chain shirt that was only slightly too short for him and it only took the blacksmith about an hour to lengthen his armor, and fit Baccas. Bryn took advantage of Tessaril’s generosity and replaced his two handed sword and his backup long sword. Bryn was also lucky that the blacksmith had 3 chackram laying around on an unfinished order that wasn’t supposed to be picked up for over a month. He let Bryn take them. Inside the Lonesome tankard, they asked Dunman about Max. The man who was waxing his bow string ended up being Maximilian, and he accepted their word as truth without much explanation. And quickly got his things to join Bacca and Bryn to the registrar.
Bryn walked up the registrar and explained the situtation. The man, known as Auldo Morim, was expecting them. He finished the paperwork, and handed it to Bryn to fill out the name of the adventuring troop. Bryn looked at the paper for a second. “I think you made a mistake.” Bryn said. “This say’s it’s Mirtul 3rd, but it’s Mirtul 1st.”
“Boy, you must have hit your head. Greengrass was 4 days ago, making today the 3rd.” Auldo responded, tapping the section of the form to fill out the name. Bacca walked up to Bryn with Max, looked down at the paper.
“Greyson Vindicators?” Bacca questioned. Bryn smiled at him and wrote it down. Indukala would probably like it, and the Greyson’s did fight bravely, and their deaths did cause this whole trip to happen in the first place.
Bacca, Bryn and Max found Indukala, Kasha and Clara a few minutes later, and set out north. Bryn felt much better about traveling now that he was armed. Bacca and Bryn discussed the loss of two days heavily. They ended up deciding that the old man was far more than an old man, and that they would need to ask him the next time they saw him.Suddenly, hooves were heard in the far back. Bryn and Bacca turned quickly, drawing weapons without hesitating. Max soon followed. Indukala, Kasha and Clara hid quickly in the bushes, drawing weapons and getting ready. A was heading towards them on the road. He was riding one horse, and leading 5 other horses, and a pony. He started waving at the figures of Bacca, Bryn and Max as he headed up towards the road. Max narrowed his eyes at the man, and let out a noise that sounded like a swear word.
“Oi! You lot. There should be six of you according to the lady.” the man said, then he noticed Max. “Oh, er, no hard feelings sir. I talk to Sarah about you.”
Max waved his hand dismissively and said “No hard feelings, I’ll learn from that mistake. I guess I should thank you for the lesson Mr.Breckenridge.”
“Er, Right” Mr.Breckenridge said. “Anyways, the Lady sent these horses for your group to use. You should cut down your journey to a few hours with the use of horses.” The rest of the group came out of hiding, stowing weapons and looking happy about the new rides.Max got additional directions from Mr.Breckenridge and they all set off. Max leading the way towards the Halls.
After another 2 hours ride or so, they arrived at the location. There was a two openings, but one looked like it wasn’t supposed to be an opening into the location.
Bryn hopped off his horse and began to hitch it up. Others followed in suite. Bryn looked down the dark hall that was supposed to be an entrance, and started to rummage around his sack for a torch. Suddenly, Bacca, Kasha, Indukala and Clara all uttered spells of Light, and caused the various objects to light up with a magical light. Bacca was now holding a sword that was bright with magical light. Indukala and Clara was each holding a glowing stone, and Kasha a scimitar. Bryn stopped shuffling in his backpack, and smiled at them.
“I guess it’s time.” Bryn said, turning to face the entrance. He glanced back at the party “Stick together, we don’t know what’s in here.” With a smile, he walked into the darkness.