With Frulam Mondath in tow, the Spices embarked on a brief cruise down the Chionthar River to the city of Elterel to meet the Harper agent, Leosin Erlanthar at the Green Dragon Inn. Approaching the city they couldn’t help but notice the shining orb floating above the central citadel, the Companion. This orb of divine radiance shines over the City of Elterel at all times and is said to protect the entire realm of Eltergard from creatures intolerant of sunlight (Drow, Vampires, Zombies etc.). After delivering Frulam into custody of the city guard they set out into the city to find the Green Dragon Inn. They found the Inn easily enough and were greeted by their old friend Leosin. Before they got a chance to catch up though, Leosin introduced them to his associate, Ontharr Frume, a paladin of Torm and the leader of the Order of Gauntlet. Ontharr challenged the Spices to a number of good-spirited drinking games and tests of strength during their evening in the Green Dragon. Jarrus got his ass kicked in arm wrestling and Cain shamed the fellow paladin in the art of the guzzle. Eventually, Ontharr was impressed by the Spices and at last saw the spark of debauchery – er- heroism that Leosin had extolled. As the hour grew late Ontharr invited them all to a secret meeting in one of the Inn’s back rooms.
With the curtains drawn tight and the door secured, Ontharr and Leosin debriefed the Spices on the situation with the Cult of the Dragon as far as they knew it. The sacking of Greenest by the cult was by no means an isolated incident. The larcenous fiends had been looting small villages up and down the sword coast and east as far as the inland sea. Strangely, up to now the cultist had been extremely successful at making their stolen treasure disappear. With great effort the Harpers had discovered that the cult was moving the treasure in disguised crates west, to the harbor city of Baldur’s Gate. The cult intends to ship it north to Neverwinter by sea as part of a merchant flotilla in ten days time. Leosin and Ontharr asked the Spices to travel down river with great haste to the city of Baldur’s Gate and meet with a representative of the Zhentarim, a gnomish woman by the name of Jamna Gleamsilver. The Zhentarim (or Black network as many know them) have a professional interest in the thievery of the cult, and have accepted the Harper’s request for assistance in this matter. Before parting ways, Leosin (Harpers) and Ontharr (Order of the Gauntlet) offered them all membership into either of their factions, with access to the faction’s resources going forward and on their mission. Jarrus Stormrider and Cain Sundersword joined the Order of the Gauntlet, and Rowen Evenwood and Ossendar Osterius joined the Harpers. Huzzah!
A few uneventful days on the river later and the Spices arrived at the foggy Gray Harbor of Baldur’s Gate. They took in the sights of the glorious city briefly and tried to lay low, then made their way to the Low Lantern, a beached 3-mast sailing vessel converted into the seediest of seedy taverns. Hours went by and they were beginning to get nervous that their contact wasn’t going to show. Then, while waiting for an order of mutton and a round of mead, Ossendar heard the faint sound of breathing from close at hand and then noticed a pair of large eyes peering up at him from under their table. They had found their contact.
Jamna made quite the impressive entrance. The spunky gnome immediately slid into their midst and claimed to save them from an assassin’s barb. They had been ‘sloppy’ up to this point and attracted far too much attention during their stay in Baldur’s Gate so far… according to her. She offered them three options for joining the flotilla bound for Neverwinter. First, they could join the crew as deckhands and be invisible, unarmed and undetected by the cultists. Second, they could book passage for a handsome price of 100 gp per person and try their luck at disguising themselves from the cult’s agents on board. Third, they could bribe the guard’s guild and attempt to join the voyage as the ship’s guard. Unpredictably, the Spices decided that that best course would be to split up, with Ossendar joining the deckhands as a crows nest squab, Chef and Cain signed on as guards and Rowan and her manservant Jarrus signed on as passengers. They each donned their disguises hoped for the best.
Sadly, the open seas are no place for a panther of the likes of the mighty Pan-thor. With a heavy heart, Jarrus Stormrider released the faithful cat from his side and they parted ways…possibly forever. In typical cat fashion, Pan-thor coudn’t care less. It would take much time and training for Jarrus to hone his skills in combat to make up for his beast companions absence, but luckily Chef had nothing but time and cooking to keep him occupied on the voyage so the two got to work.
The captain of their vessel, The Crying Daughter, and commander of the flotilla was a water genasi by the name of Barnabus Foamrider. He and his sea-elf first mate, Sal-Ritha Keelwright ran a tight ship, and the small fleet of 5 sailing ships made its way north at a moderate clip. The voyage was uneventful for the first couple weeks…
One day, a passing pod of dolphins and whales caused some commotion when a particularly large whale breached nearby, splashing the deck and knocking some crates loose..and open! Some unseemly deckhands quickly secured the cargo before anyone (anyone except the keen-eyed elf in the crow’s nest that is) could get a look at what was in the crates. From his perch high above the deck, Ossendar got a fleeting glimpse of something shiny before the deckhands packed away the goods. A few nights later a murder was discovered! One of the ship guards, a swarthy fellow that shunned the Spices for some reason, was found dead on the deck one night amidst some crates. Cain noticed some small boot-prints leading from the scene, but eventually lost the trail below decks.
A few days later, The Lonely Son, was attacked by a group of bloodthirsty Sahuagin. Rising from the depths without warning, the vile sea demons attacked from the backs of fearsome hunter sharks and wreaked quite a bit of havoc and misery aboard the Son before the Spices could make their way over to fight them. The Sahuagin priestess and her giant octopus mount made short work of some of the Son’s guards, but were no match for the Spices!
After a rousing victory party, Captain Foamrider decided it would be prudent to seek repairs to the Lonely Son in the nearby free port of Mintarn. The island city was known as a safe, albeit fairly lawless harbor for those seeking refuge in the Sea of Swords. On their way there, they encountered a group of merfolk merchants. The merchants sold the Spices some water-breathing potions, conversed with the crew for a time and then were on their way. Chef decided to join the merfolk and rode astride their sea turtle beast of burden away into the sunset to everyone’s great sadness. It seems as though not even the trackless paths of the sea could tame the wild wanderings of the Dragonborn hero-chef.