Black Swords

The Black Swords the cult of Levistus, the Archduke of the 5th layer of Baetor, the Nine Hells. Kadroth and Hethyl Arkorran had been acting in leadership roles in Caer Dineval when the party first arrived. The wizard Avarice has ties to this group and had lodging in their keep.

§ Interactions
28 #TheCouncil Returning to Bryn Shander, our heroes headed to the town hall to contribute to the discussion on the duergar menace. In the lobby, they ran into Kadroth, the defacto leader of the Black Swords, who assuaged them that the hostilities of the freed prisoners at Caer Dineval were, well, a misunderstanding, and that perhaps they could work together to act against the duergar.
21 #BlackSwords Stopping in Bremen, Hazel delivered Huarwar Mulphoon's scrimshaw necklace to his mother, who was happy to hear he was alive, devils or not. She rewarded the party with the promised potions of healing.
20 #BlackSwords Five captives had been held in Caer Dineval's cisterns. These were Speaker Crannoc Siever's former scribe, butler, translator, dog keeper, and servant. Lanthis, the scribe, needed convincing that the speaker sold them out. Incredulous but resolute, they pleaded for the party to assist their escape, even if they lacked a clear destination.
20 #BlackSwords Avarice questioned the "do-gooder adventurers." The conjurer couldn't care less about the prisoners, but she did care if blood was about to spill. TheBlack Swords were useful assets, after all. Clutching her staff of frost, Avarice kept her distance as she weighed the next words carefully. She had notified her pet gargoyles atop the keep via a telepathic bond. They would keenly watch the party's next moves.
20 #battle #BlackSwords With the prisoners now in the north west tower, the party now realized their hospitable lodgings were under lock and key. Both doors were barred from the outside, and at least one was guarded. Azgul and Fern combined an unseen servant and mage hand to lift the bar and distract the guard, but the shadow servant fumbled with the wooden barricade, causing it to clatter to the ground. The party held their breath, and the Black Swords guard blew his horn. As the keep came alive well past midnight, the party held back the cultists while rappelling the servants over the castle wall. Fleeing into a blanketing blizzard under a hail of arrows, all but one made it out alive. Elprekt Norbrav, the half-elf butler and husband to Mylbara Norbrav, was pierced through the heart. Oona scooped up Mylbara, who stood in shock, while Tetro shouldered what remained of Elprekt as they fled.
20 #BlackSwords It was decided that the free folk may not be safe in Caer Dineval's small village. With some provisions, the party insisted they tough out the march to Easthaven. Using their sending stone, they notified Imdra Arlaggath about the situation at Caer and requested a crew to meet the refugees halfway. They then trudged through the night, making their way to Caer Konig by dawn.
19 #BlackSwords At The Uphill Climb, the tavernkeeper Roark reluctantly served the guests. The large tavern, a prominent structure in and of itself, was nearly devoid of patrons - just a dour old man and a quiet couple with a young child. When asking about lodging, Roark said he couldn't have room to spare. When asking about vitals, the innkeeper brought chowder but no ale; shipments of such goods had all but died this last month. The town's speaker, Crannoc Siever, had fallen "ill" and kept to himself in the Caer. Roark didn't want to talk about it. The quiet couple eventually slipped over a note before leaving in a hurry. The note stated that the speaker was not ill and that something odd was afoot in the Caer.
19 #BlackSwords #ADuergarPlot Thoob grimly greeted the party through a slit at the barricaded wooden gates of Caer Dineval. The speaker was ill he said. A bit of lackluster deception with Hazel posing as a doctor didn't move the black-hooded guard. What perked his interest was talk of the Duergar. "This would appease the master. I will come back to you." The party was left unattended for a while, during which Tetro boosted Crank up the eastern ramparts. Thoob did return and led the party though the barbican's gatehouse, past the raised courtyard, and into the great hall of the keep. Passing a tiefling servant girl, Mere, that Thoob hassled to clean up dishes, the party was led to a sumptuous sitting room to meet Kadroth.
19 #BlackSwords #ADuergarPlot Kadroth was a middle-aged tiefling man in well-kept garb. He assuaged the party that he was the right hand of Speaker Crannoc Siever, that the poor speaker had kept to his bedchambers due to a malaise of the mind. Insight proved that he was indeed acting as the right hand to an extent, but that his "care" for the speaker was a equivocal at best. Nevertheless the party heard him out, as his men had indeed tracked the Duergar menace and located an outpost. Kadroth, clutching his black sword chardalyn pendant and extolling the virtue of stopping the duergar threat, was happy to arrange an alliance. He boasted that he had a wizard named Avarice under his command - though the insightful could tell he feared the conjurer - and that he would gladly assist the party if Sunblight Fortress's whereabouts were uncovered. When pressed about the "faith" of these apparent cultists, Kadroth praised the Archdevil Levistus, Lord of Stygia, the 5th level of the Nine Hells. Levistus spoke to him, he claimed. Levistus, patron of the desperate and forgotten, had brought salvation to most members in his fold. Kadroth was merely his envoy. The cult was named after their lord: the cult of the Black Swords.
19 #BlackSwords Crank, meanwhile, had snooped through a guard tower. Overhearing some dialogue, he heard that the Black Swords cultists had performed burial rites for a tiefling named Faith. One cultist wondered if she was related to that albino witch Avarice, to which another replied that Faith was much sweeter than the frightful wizard. As a guard came upstairs, Crank surprised him. A bit of smooth talking had the cultist lead Crank to the main hall, where others had since gathered as a meal was soon to be served by the caer's incumbent chef, Karou Chorizo.
19 #BlackSwords Kadroth had gleefully urged the party to speak with their soothsayer, the old and heartlessHethyl Arkorran. Hethyl knew each party member by name. She had dreaded this day, as she knew it would be her last. She was to die, and her soul was bound for the Nine Hells. She did so only after prophesying carnage at Ten Towns at the hands of the Duergar and the party's role in mitigating it. "Try, try, try... amidst countless screams." With a deep-set hatred for Duergar, she envisioned Sunblight Fortress nestled in the mountains: one entrance by ground, yet exhausts open to the sky as well. The fortress hosted a forge powered by a red dragon's still-beating heart, and a great weapon was being forged from black ice for Xardorok Sunblight's paranoid campaign to raze and conquer Icewind Dale. Hethyl's near-blind eyes grew dim after the conversation. Her heart stopped, and she fell dead.
19 #BlackSwords Thoob was elated that Hethyl died. Master Kadroth was jealous of her status in the cult, and Thoob hastily left to tell the master the good news. The party took a chance to deliberate. They needed to find the true Speaker, and they debated how far they could trust the hospitality of the Black Swords. Asking the servant girl Mere, she led them to the speaker's room, and immediately they were told off by a Black Swords guard. With dinner calling, they needed to hatch a plan.
19 #BlackSwords As Oona and Crank entertained the excitable dullard Thoob over one of Chef Karou Chorizo's 50 trout recipes, Fern and Azgul would make use of spare robes and disguises. Fern would pose as Mere and bring the speaker his dinner. Hazel preoccupied Mere in the kitchen, persuading her to leave the cult if she could find a place to go. Tetro was eyeing the chef's delectable knucklehead trout preparation. With a harsh yell from Thoob for Mere to bring the speaker his trout, the two Meres were about to collide. Some clever talk from Hazel stalled the inevitable. Fern, as Mere, took a plate of fish from the cook. Tetro took the real Mere's fish off her hands, offering to deliver it himself. He, of course, just ate it.
19 #BlackSwords Speaker Crannoc Siever had a luxurious room. It was downright kingly. He, on the other hand, was not. With Fern as Mere and Azgul as a new cultist, the two spoke with Crannoc about the Black Swords' takeover of the keep two months back. Crannoc seemingly sold out his men, hoping to profit from giving the position over to Kadroth, but the bargain bit him in the ass. He was now living in a gilded cage, signing his name off on Ten Towns documents as Kadroth managed the day-to-day affairs. He beseeched the new cultist, Azgul, to rebel and let him take control. He also kept asking Mere for fish sauce.
19 #BlackSwords The party was comfortable enough to take the Black Swords up on an offer of lodging. It was past midnight when they heard a hatch bang shut. Investigating, they worked their way down into the caer's cistern, which was partially torch lit. A small rowboat helped navigate. They first found a room of wrapped corpses: Hethyl, Faith, and several other Black Swords cultists who had suffered battle wounds.
19 #BlackSwords Down a hallway, they came upon a shrine to Levistus, a frozen mannequin in a column of ice wrapped in chain. Behind it was brown mold, a volatile substance keeping it cold. Avarice was in a room to the side of the shrine. She rebuffed Crank and told him to get out, telling them that Kadroth wouldn't like them snooping around. She seemed almost amused and irreverent of Kadroth himself, though.
19 #BlackSwords Unsealing a marble slab that opened to the rear area of the cistern, Oona and Fern rowed down, seeing a final room. Meanwhile, Azgul caught a glimpse of metal in the water. His unseen servant pulled up a chain of bloated, but otherwise preserved corpses - the former guardsmen of Caer Dineval. As Oona entered the back room, which reeked of filth, a man jumped on her back attempting to grapple her. She tossed him off like a sack of potatoes and then looked at her surroundings. Five of the Caer's former servants were imprisoned here. She swore to free them and brought news to the party - loudly. The wizard Avarice surely overhead them.
12 #WhaleHunters #DarkDuchess The party banters with a group of thuggish seamen at the Black-Bearded Brother, the lot of whom are already soused before midday. They're conspiring to head north to the Sea of Moving Ice to capitalize on the whaling colonies' incompetence over hunting a particularly large whale. They also talked about the wreckage of the Dark Duchess, a Luskan merchant vessel.
12 #BlackSwords Wrapping up their lodging at the local inn, Buried Treasures, they took note of the distraught and nervous innkeeper, Cora Mulphoon. Cora beseeches the adventurers to bring news of her missing son, Huarwar Mulphoon. Huarwar went missing during a blizzard while searching for the town's doddering elderly speaker, Dorbulgruf. Huarwar returned days later, but was cold and distant. Cora found what looked like a shard of black ice in his room. Huarwar snatched it back and threatened her to never touch it again. The next day two tieflings with black amulets came to town and offered Huarwar sanctuary at their castle. He left with them two months ago.
11 #TheRimeoftheFrostmaiden Opting to shelter for the night in the Black Cabin, the party feasted moose meat and drank Macreadus's wine. The surrounding mile had turned green and warm form the Summer Star, though a chill still blew in on the wind and snowflakes intermittently fell. Nearing midnight, Azgul perceived voices on the wind, like the sound of frost. Tetro saw no aurora in the sky and took note of a bird of prey passing the moon.
11 #TheRimeoftheFrostmaiden The bird was no storm eagle. It was a legendary Roc, and it landed on the roof of the Black Cabin and began preening its wingspan of at least a hundred feet with its raptor beak. Soon a voice prompted the party to exit, and after an attempt to stealth away, they soon met with Auril the Frostmaiden. She appeared as a 7 foot tall humanoid with the head of a snowy owl, black talons, cloven hooves, and great curved goat horns protruding from her head. Her cloak and cowl appeared as part wolf fur and part pristine snow. The party later heard legends that this appearance has led to her being called the Cold Crone.
11 #battle After fleeing Auril at the Black Cabin, the party fought against a full strength Coldlight Walker and an initially camouflaged Ice Mephit.
11 #TheRimeoftheFrostmaiden #LakeMonster Re-cooperating in Lonelywood from the events at the Black Cabin, the party took stock that they lost their sled dogs and that the Summer Star was damaged, though perhaps not irredeemably. They decided to quest to Bremen to take care of the supposed lake monster in Maer Dualdon for now.
10 #TheGoldenDawn The party mulled over their leads at the Lucky Liar. From atop Kelvin's Cairn, they had seen a burst of golden, warm light coming from the forests of Lonelywood. Nobody seemed to live out there. Perilou knew of a gnome named Copper who lived in the temple at Bryn Shander, though, and this Copper spoke of a former friend, a sage of sorts, who took to hermitage in the outskirts of Lonelywood. One ole crone hinted that the sage may live in a Black Cabin, a haunted place overlooking the forests.
10 #TheGoldenDawn Overhearing the conversation, ever-knowing tavernkeep of the Lucky Liar, Danae Xotal, said she knew of the sage who lived out there... and hinted that the old fool was probably dead out there anyway. The sage had used Arcane Brotherhood networks to get a #SpecialDelivery several weeks ago. Intimidated by Azgul, Danae relented and gave the party guidance to follow the ridge around Maer Dualdon to its western reaches, where the Black Cabin loomed over the forest.
10 #TheGoldenDawn The Black Cabin was a dilapidated, abandoned structure on 20 foot stilts, creaking and groaning in the wind. A soft, thick snow had blanketed the area, removing all sight of tracks, but some lush vegetation and greenery appeared to be present in a close radius to the cabin. Tetro and Fern assessed the integrity of the building, finding some weak stairs and flooring, so Fern shattered a window and Hazel led the way, light-footed, to secure a rope and passage to the interior for Crank. In the meantime, Oona and Tetro looked through what seemed to be a workshop with smith and tinkerer's tools. Oona entered the main area by hacking through a wall.
10 #TheGoldenDawn In the Black Cabin's main room all the furniture was blackened with ash. There were broken wine bottles, a charred book, a burnt skeleton of a human male, and a six inch diameter device: two concentric rings with a black stone inside. While Azgul used magic to look over some of the ancient Giant runes, Tetro picked up the device. He gazed into it as it illuminated. Looking steadfastly into the light, a radiant burst enveloped the party. All that left of poor Tetro afterwards was turtle dust.
10 #TheGoldenDawn The party, stunned by Tetro's demise, resolved to uncover the mysteries of the Black Cabin. Oona swept some turtle ash into a leather pouch as a remembrance. The party discovered blueprints of what is called a Summer Star, a reproduction of an ancient Netherese device to control the weather. The blueprints and runic scrawlings seemed to be the work of a madman obsessed with the Summer Star. They found a scroll sent to the sage by Copper. The scroll confirmed the man to be Macreadus, detailing his maddening obsession as well as Copper's opinion that the device required three of something for stability, not two.
10 #TheGoldenDawn As the party pieced together clues in the Black Cabin, strange occurrences occurred. Loud knocks, three in a row, would bang as characters interacted with the items of the house. Rugs and curtains would shift, tools would fall off tables, and Copper's letter, in the hands of Crank began to tug him in different directions, like a dowsing rod. A bottle of wine Fern found was nearly tugged from her grasp. Oona was fed up with this nonsense and smashed her axe into the cabin in a rage. Eventually, the party uncovered that they needed to forge a third ring, etch it with the appropriate runes, and reconstruct the Summer Star. With Crank smelting a new ring and Fern forging the runes under Azgul's guidance, they pieced it together.
10 #TheGoldenDawn Hazel picked up the Summer Star and attuned to the orb, as the same radiance began to fill the room. Some party members ran for cover. But the light's warmth healed their wounds, a vision of gold filled their hearts, and they felt an extra-planar voice admit, "Well Done." Tetro stood blinking and alive in the middle of the Black Cabin, and for a brief moment, the spirit of Macreadus could be seen laughing in celebration of the Summer Star's successful construction. The party received a Blessing of the Morninglord, 10 temporary hit points at dawn from Lathander. Outside, for a clear mile by sight, the winter had vanished and the hills had a verdant green, yet a chill wind seemed to follow the warm breezes. On the wind, sibilant whispers were heard, like the crackle of frost.
02 #FrostedMugs Blackiron Blades. They had no medium armor, but could make you some if you help their supply chain along. They were expecting iron ingots, but the dwarves were ambushed. The dwarves are lodging at The Northlook.