This is our last normal session for a few weeks, because Chad has a business trip out of country.
We head to Elturel by horse, where we should find Leosin. It takes us six days to reach the city.
The city overlooks the river Chionthar, and is bustling with merchants and farmer's markets.
Above the city floats an orb, like a unmoving moon. We hear that it's painful to the undead, and is visible from every corner of the region the city holds domain over.
Guards watch people in and out of town, but seem at ease.
We start looking to see if we can find Leosin.
We don't find Leosin, but we are directed towards his companion, Frume. We hear that he heads the local chapter of the "Order of the Gauntlet", and he enjoys a good scuffle and drink. The building shouldn't be hard to find. It's called the "Pair of Black Antlers" and has a pair of black antlers on the sign.
We find it. Cautiously. Everything must be cautiously.
The guild hall looks lively even from the outside. Behind is a brawling pit, and a jousting tilt, and there also seems to be an archery contest going on too at an archery range. Inside the building we can hear large amounts of laughter.
A boy takes our horses, and we enter the building. Inside we can see much lively carousing. We spot Leosin, off to a side, and he seems to be enjoying a bucket of mead, and is surrounded by several disciples.
We also see a dwarf that could surely only be Frume. Oh, apparently he's not a dwarf. Well, he looks like a dwarf in his picture. He's a dwarf now. He's got a great big brown colored beard, but the top of his head is bare of any hair, and he wears some heavy looking plat. His gauntlets have a faint glow to them, that makes them look like they could be magic.
Frume seems to be enjoying himself. He's arm wrestling a man, and in his other hand is a flagon of ale.
We talk to Leosin, who is glad to hear that we found some information out about the cultists. He tells us Frume will be directing the next phase of our opposition against the cultists. We should enjoy ourselves and make a good impression while we're here.
Shale arm wrestles some guys. She beats the first handily, but soon finds herself outclassed. Still, Frume seems impressed.
Alissa goes out back to the archery range, where he finds a harper elf named Tourus, with a dwarf. They soon have a friendly contest, and the elf wins handily. Alissa shows her own skill, and the dwarf does poorly, until he falls and knocks the elf's dagger, causing it to sling into the bullseye. The dwarf complains it was a month since he last did that.
I play some cards with Luke and two dwarves (Gronn and Gragg) and a halfling named Torm. It seems Torm plays a lot with the dwarves, and beats them soundly (although one of the dwarves does win one hand and has to do a little dance), and even shows great skill against Luke and I. Still, we get some lucky hands, and manage to make back our money.
Frume offers Shale a different contest. A drinking contest! They buy their shots of whiskey in sets of six. Shale holds her own for a while, but after the ninth drink, finally falls unconscious from the drink. Frume shrugs and finishes the rest of his drinks off, but then slumps into a stupor too.
Luke and I exchange glances, and finish off Shale's drinks, and after Alissa returns, we each have another two shots each.
Evening approaches, and we soon find out that our rooms for the night are being provided to us for free. Frume recovers from his drinking quickly, and approaches us, glad we know how to enjoy ourselves. He leaves and on the way out, his squire informs us that we should meet with Frume later in the evening.
We go into the room, and the square shuts the door after we enter, waiting outside.
Frume and Leosin seem to have much more serious looks on their faces. Frume speaks. "My friends, we have important business to discuss. You know about as much as we do, and we now know twice as much today as we did ten days ago."
Most of what we don't know, it turns out, is about the organizations Leosin and Frume belong to. They are part of a loose coalition, between the Order of the Gauntlet, the Harpers (which Leosin is a member of), and the Emerald Enclave. They're concerned about the cult, especially recent activities, and have come to agreement that the cult needs to be dealt with.
Leosin continues. The Harpers tend to be secretive, and are dedicated to equality and justice, to keep power out of the hands of those who don't deserve it. Members can take action as they deem fit to further the goals of the Harpers. Many harpers do not openly show the sign of their membership, which is a pin.
Frume tells us about the Order of the Gauntlet. His organization has much of the same goals, but is much more rigid and hierarchical. They're mostly composed of clerics and paladins, but will accept others as well. They tend to wear their holy symbols openly, as a measure of devotion to their cause. The sign of their membership is a medallion.
They tell us that we may find need of their organizations resources, suggests joining. Even if we choose not to though, they'll still want our help with the cult.
We meet up. Shale seems fine with either group, but the rest of us are less keen on the Order of the Gauntlet.
The Harpers it is.
We meet with Leosin. We will pledge to maintain the balance.
He assures us the pins can't be fabricated, and gives us each of ours. I pin mine to the undershirt, where it can't normally be seen.
We have no rank, for now. He tells us he'll tell our next move in the morning.
After our morning meal, we rejoin Leosin and Frume in the room we had met with them the night before.
They're debating over a map, and Frume greets us warmly.
They've determined that the cult will be traveling in a caravan, from Bereghost up through Baldur's Gate. It is at Baldur's Gate we will infiltrate the cultists again, by hiring onto their caravan.
Timing is everything, so we must reach Baldur's Gate first, so a boat has been made ready for us. In that way, we will have three days to make ready. We are to contact Akrin Celebon, a man Frume knows. Akrin Celebon sells materials needed for longhauling, and the caravan will need to go to him for supplies. He isn't directly involved with the hiring of guards for caravans, but he knows who is. He'll vouch for us.
We're provided with clothes and supplies. We also work to change our look.
I cut my hair short, and Shale even goes so far to dye her hair black. Luke and Alissa are especially effective at change their look, using their magic and skill.
We board the "Dawnstar" (along with our horses and supplies), and Leosin gives us our pay for services already rendered, and wishes us luck. Follow them. Find out where their treasure is being taken. Use our own discretion.
The ship ride to Baldur's Gate passes without incident. On the third day, we arrive.
The city is on a bluff by the river, and is a major trade hub, with goods coming through the north and south by land, as well as by ship via sea and the river we are arriving by.
There is three distinct sections of the city, the much wealthier upper city, the lower city which surrounds the harbor, and the very poor (but clean) outer city.
We get our horses stabled (who are not allowed to be taken around the city proper), and we make our way towards the Black Gate (part of the outer city).
We find the wagon shop and trader. There are some teenagers working with ropes and nets, and in the corner a map at a tiny forge, who seems to be overseeing things.
Shale greets him, and says Frume sent us, and shows him her pin.
Akrin nods to us. Come into his office.
"So, you wish to be hired by the cultists." Frume hasn't told him much, but enough. He suggests that we get hired on by not the cultists, but merchants who are part of the same caravan. Much less dangerous. Anyway, it sounds like they're headed to Waterdeep.
We tell him the fake names we are using. Cantrick Sam. Imra. Eris.
We discuss what we plan on doing. Should we go with the cultists, or take the safer strategy as posing as guards for the merchants instead. Let's split the party! Luke and Alissa are good at disguising themselves and are very deceptive.
We stay at the shop. On the third day, true to Leosin and Frume's planning, Rezmir shows up at the shop with several body guards. Akrin meets with them and after much apparently discussion, comes to an agreement.
They purchased five wagons and will be loading supplies later today. He's also persuaded Rezmir to meet with Luke and Alissa, potentially as mercenary guards with the cultists.
Luke and Alissa impress Rezmir. Perhaps they wish they hadn't. Luke is assigned to guard a "merchant" called Miss Mondath. Alissa is assigned a rather large man in a cloak, who carries a very large and familiar sword on his back. A man who could be noone other than Cyanwrath.
Akrin has also procured jobs (as guards) with merchants for Shale and I. 8 gold a tenday plus food and expenses.
Shale is hired by a male human called Aldor Urnpoleshurst. He has a small guard, and he's a lawyer by trade. He's highly suspicious of everyone, because everyone is out to get him. Baldur's Gate isn't safe.
I'm hired by a gold dwarf marchant named Lai Angesstun. He's bringing cooking oil and perfume from Amn, and expects to make a large profit in Waterdeep. He can't stop complaining about money, although his complaints seem somewhat tempered by the profit he plans on making. He seems to try to be cheap in every way he can, and only begrudgingly pays my wage. In fact, there seems to be a penny missing.
So, we set out with the caravan.
It's starting to snow a bit heavily, so we end a little early.