awoke with a start. She had been dreaming of troubled times. Great wars were being fought across all of Faerun. The skies opened up and Gods once again walked the earth. By the thousands she saw people die. Cities were leveled, the land itself torn asunder. In her dream she saw beyond the carnage. She floated up high, above the men, above even the Gods. What she saw then terrified her. She beheld a dark figure, his hands spread out above the chaotic scene below. She knew then that this figure was the engineer of this conflict. A new dark God.
As Alicia lay in bed, trembling with the intensity of her vision, she became aware of a piece of parchment in her lap. When she looked upon it, suddenly her mind filled with words. “Bring forth the chosen ones. For they hold the destiny of Faerun in their hands. They alone, through their actions will decide the fate of our world.” Images then flooded her mind. She saw a wizard, lustful for power. A cleric, devoted to the chaotic arts. She beheld a great minotaur, deadly and proud. Next a gnomish bard, wily and sly. To her surprise she also saw a Vampire and Succubus, monsters for sure, but with souls. And last a monk, knowledgeable in the mystic fighting arts. She thought she could make out other faces in her mind, but they slipped away like water through her fingers.
The Princess summoned the adventurers, and, to her surprise, they all arrived quickly, as if guided by fate. She was tired, sick. She would die soon, she knew. This would be her final act in this world. She sent them with the map, and 1000 gold. What does she care for money now? As they left, a great weariness overtook her. Not one of the adventurers noticed her body fall to the floor. She slept. She dreamed. She did not wake.
The adventurers booked passage on the Black Swan. It was a well-used looking ship, with a capable crew. The ship’s captain, Anthony Blairr, seemed a trustworthy sort, and was already headed to Waterdeep, the closest port to the location marked on their map. They would set sail the next day.
Before they left, John, the minotaur, earned 53 gold by beating up some locals. Though a few bones were broken, and a few egos heavily bruised, no lives were lost.
On the second night, while on watch, Sharrissa was ambushed by a monstrous sea hag. With the help of her companions they were able to slay the witch, and proceed on their journey.
Three days later they were hailed by a passing ship. Not trusting them, they decided to flee. The enemy ship chased them through the day, nearly catching up countless times, only to be saved by the skilled helmsman. When night fell, they thought they were safe. The crew was wrong. It may never be know how the pirates caught up to them in the night, but around midnight, a boarding crew climbed aboard the Black Swan. The pirates were strong, but they were too few. After a long fight, the companions were able to defeat the boarding party, and finally escape the pirates.
As the sun rises on the sixth day of their journey, the party looks out on the water and sees a storm brewing. A portent of things to come?
As the fearless adventurers continued their voyage across the Sea of Swords, the ship’s lookout spotted a ship on the horizon. It became clear that this was no ordinary ship. Even though is had tattered sails, its countless oars allowed the ship to outpace the Black Swan. Soon the ship was alongside, and the crew could see many skeletons, ready to board. With a thunderous crash, the boarding planks connected the two ships, and the skeletons rushed aboard. A long fight ensued. The party fought valiantly, and due to their efforts, only [[:Ensign Ricky]] fell to the horde. Once the skeletons were defeated, the party faced off against their apparent leader, the Tiefling, Armand. Surely this was to be a ferocious battle. Armand approached the party with unnatural grace and prepared to open up with a flurry of intensely accurate attacks. At that moment, he abruptly fell asleep. Frobozz had used his arcane talents to defeat the Tiefling without a single blow.
After tying Armand up, the party noticed a pounding and scratching sound at the doors to the hold. A quick peek told them that many skeletons, presumably the rowers, were trying to reach the deck and kill the adventurers. Rather than suffer poor [[:Ensign Ricky]]’s fate, the companions took their hostage, and returned to the Black Swan.
Brother then set out to interrogate the hostage. After stabbing and healing him repeatedly, Armand finally broke down. He confessed to being just a servant of the true captain of the ship, [[:Lord Shadow]]. [[:Lord Shadow]] had somehow learned that the Black Swan was transporting the bearers of the Celestial Map, and he wanted it. He must have decided to regroup and try again, because the oars came back out of the ship and propelled it away. This is surely not the last time the party will run into [[:Lord Shadow]].
In the aftermath of the battle, the companions found in themselves unknown power. They had risen to the challenge of a difficult foe. Their spirits were lifted and they felt as if they could take on the whole empire themselves. They weren’t sure what empire that was, but that didn’t bother them. Waterdeep was now closer than ever. And with it, hopefully, some answers.
The Black Swan, aboard it, the companions, crew, and their hostage, sailed into the sunset. Another day was over, a new one on its way. What lay just beyond the horizon? They would find out soon enough!
Archives of the great scribe:
I, [[:Archibald Velore]], master scribe of Waterdeep, have been tasked with chronicling the deeds of those who have shaped this world. In my earlier volumes, I told the early adventures of the most famous (or infamous) adventuring group: The Unnamed. I have collected notes from various sources: the group’s own scribe, Frobozz, as well as assorted reports from those that came in contact with the adventurers. Their story continues here.
“As the sun rose on the final day of their sea voyage, thick black smoke covered the horizon. Waterdeep was on fire. The southern docks lay in smoldering ruins. The adventurers could see the burned out husks of ships who were unfortunate enough to be docked too close to the fires.
When they sailed in to the northern docks, the party saw chaos in the streets. The town guards were trying desperately to maintain order while the townspeople ran in panic. Some ran towards the fire, searching for loved ones, or trying to salvage property, while others ran away in fear of the flames. Fire crews could be seen bravely forming water lines, seemingly to no avail.
The ship docked, and the party disembarked. Frobozz grabbed a passerby and asked him what happened. “The city is on fire!” The adventurers split up to search for clues. Sharrissa heads for her local temple where she is told that a great fireball fell from the sky and incinerated the port quarter. Ariana made her way to an inn located near the northern docks where she secures a free room through generous amount of flirting. Frobozz made his way through the crowds to investigate. His investigation is fruitless, so he goes to a library and spends the night reading. John finds a nice inn, has dinner and goes to sleep.
During the night, the town guard is sent to apprehend the companions and bring them in for questioning. While Sharrissa, Frobozz, and John go quietly, Ariana uses her powers to charm the guards and makes an escape across the rooftops. She later finds a seargent, seduces him, and spends the night in his room.
The rest of the adventurers are put in a jail cell for a while before being brought before the Magistrate for questioning. The Magistrate eventually determines that the party has nothing to do with the attack on the city, and decides to get some use out of them. He sends them on a quest to find a special gem located deep in a tomb at the center of the City of the Dead. The group leaves the guard station and meets back up with Ariana outside. They make their way to the City of the Dead.
On the way to the City of the Dead, the group is ambushed in an alley. Great black tentacles spring up from the ground and entangle all but Ariana, who flies up above them and spots a wizard hidden behind a fence. A difficult battle ensues. Magic Missiles are thrown back and forth, and a sleep spell fizzles. Just when it seems that all is lost, Brother suddenly arrives! Together they finally defeat the wizard. Ariana takes his robes, and his rings are divided up amongst the party.
At the gates of the cemetery, Ariana is able to convince Sergeant Bart to accompany them into the City of the Dead. Once inside they see that the cemetery is a great area filled with concentric circles of paths that run in between large mausoleums and sarcophagi, all leading to the dead center of the city, and their destination beneath the crypt that lies there. On the way they are ambushed by an intrepid thief, Steven, who dares the evils that haunt the cemetery, for the guard rarely steps foot there. The companions capture him, and use him as a guide to the cemetery.
As they make their way deeper into the City of the Dead, a dense fog surrounds them. Sounds of scraping and dragging come from all sides. They can hear the pained moans of the dead, though they can see nothing. They come across a well dressed man at a tomb. He introduces himself as the Baron Von Hauptman, who has come to pay his respects to his ancestors. They leave him be as the group continues towards the center of the city.
The adventurers soon find themselves at the entrance to the crypt at the center of the City of the Dead. They enter the crypt and make their way deep underground. As they open the first of many doors, a pair of dogs who have been guarding a sarcophagus long after their deaths attack. The party defeats the dogs and head deeper into the crypt.”
Alas, that is all that I have found of Frobozz’s journal. We know that the Unnamed had many more adventures, but I cannot find record of them. I will continue my search for fragments of the journal, perhaps I may even track down this Steven, or Von Hauptman himself. When I do, I shall continue this chronicle that we may someday understand better the lives and choices of those that shaped this world.