As this tale begins, we find a team of Balasar’s Avengers, led by Althea, infiltrating the Loudwater thieves’ guild and wiping the floor with their leader, the Lady of Shadows. The Lady, actually a dark creeper named Dara, fell easily to the powerful Avengers, and once she surrendered, Althea began questioning her.
During the interrogation, Althea and the group learned the following:
- Shinlea, Althea’s mentor, was working with the thieves’ guild to make some money. One day, she showed up in Loudwater with a letter from Kossas Tirith, the leader of the Black Road Bandits. This letter was an order for fulfillment of an order that was diverted by the river serpent Lynnedslag. Kossas demanded that the order be filled.
- The Loudwater thieves had been moving slaves from the outlying villages up the river to Llorkh. Shinlea told Dara that she had to head back to Llorkh anyway, and that she could escort the slaves back upriver for some gold.
- The slaves were children that were being drugged and shipped in barrels marked “fish jerky”.
Later that night, the group went to the docks and found the labeled barrels, then the group told the captain of the transport ship, a man Blaze had met before named Mac Desari, that they were here to escort the merchandise up to Llorkh. Mac eyed them suspiciously, but bade them welcome onboard his ship, the Lyla Desari. J’tal decided against riding the ship, and instead swam with her magic carp in the freezing cold river behind the ship.
In Llorkh, the group met up with the men of the Gray Vale Pirates, who were working the docks. While Althea and Blaze were questioning the pirates and their captain, Kerrot, Urgarr and the new Drow paladin of Corellon in officer training headed to the town’s only functioning tavern, the Defiled Maiden. Althea and Blaze soon followed in a cart with the barrels that was prepared by the pirates. They stopped by the Maiden and picked up their companions, then headed north, towards the Black Road Bandits’ territory.
While traveling through the ruined streets of Llorkh, the group was waylaid by a hooded man, who demanded the group’s money and goods. J’tal quickly spoke up and said that she had no money, to which the hooded man demanded all of the barrels on the cart, and their equipment. Of course, they refused, and Urgarr eagerly prepared a spell in anticipation of battle. Suddenly, a crossbow bolt blossomed from his chest, causing him to stagger and quickly scan for his assailant, who turned out to be a kobold on the other side of a sinkhole.
The man pulled his hood down, revealing writhing snakes where his hair should have been, and a mottled, scaly face. He then charged Althea and the rest of the group, unleashing his gaze. Unfortunately for him, only Blaze’s mount, Fury, was affected by it. The rest of the group surrounded him and hacked at him with their blades, but he continued to stand undaunted.
We will pick up this battle next week. Also, I will post the results of the group’s exodus from Castle Crag in the forum post from last week, and wrap up Althea’s attempted rescue of Thargor there as well.