It figures. I finally have a chance to relax – and I can't sleep.
Our return to Winterhaven was not what I expected, not only due to the early lack of response from the town, but mainly due to the deep roots of Sharran and Netherese influence that we have now hopefully purged from the town. Dark rituals in the graveyard (which we disrupted) and a pillar of the community borne up by the Dark Lady (now knocked down) have set everyone looking askance at each other. I believe that Winterhaven will stand strong – that trust will overcome this betrayal. The brutal display put on by Lord Padraig in the execution of Bairwin should prove a solid example of that strength. Bairwin's shop was cleansed of the taint of the Lady of Loss, and the priests of Chauntea have reconsecrated the graveyard. The Keegan's remains are now interred there, and Sir Braelyn gave his mentor a proper Kelemvorian cremation to ensure that his soul remains in Kelemvor's realm.
Our group holds at six, the loss of Kalar to goodwife Wrafton offset by the presence of the half-elf Doran, whom we rescued from the clutches of the shadow elf – a Shadar-kai – trying to bring Kalarel back (or some such). With the addition of Sir Braelyn and Doran (a bishop in my mind's game, a close-in complement to Elithia's ranged attacks), I have returned to the comforting heft of my halberd in combat. While I am truly honored to carry Aecris, it is not the most effective tool at my disposal. The battle with Bairwin and his followers was surely a message from the Lady Grandmaster, a sign to remember where I am most effective in battle – behind the lines where I can direct the tempo of my companions to best effect. I will continue to carry Aecris, mainly as a reminder of Sir Keegan, but I also have the feeling that the sword and I have business in the future.
In the midst of assisting the Purple Dragons with securing the Keep, I have managed to get some chess play in, both with Sir Garz and once again with Valthrun, who was taken back by the boldness of my play. How much I've learned! Tentative moves and forward thinking only carry so far on the field of battle. Understanding your pieces' moves and plying them to your advantage – whether reckless or tentative – are the keys to victory. Valthrun has been unprepared for my boldness, and I haven't lost to him yet – although he does promise that next time he won't hold back. Sir Garz is more challenging. Perhaps I've just become too accustomed to Valthrun's measured play and pace, but Sir Garz challenges me at every turn. I have not been able to best him, but have made a good accounting for myself (or so he says).
So, I find myself in the common room of Wrafton's Inn – the few Purple Dragons up and about provide enough light and noise for me to find comfort. The quiet rhythmic sounds of my childhood home no longer hold the same comfort for me as they once did, even with my father and mother safely there. My vistas have broadened so much, and with just days of adventuring under my belt! I now know for sure that the time has come for me to leave and find my place in the world. The Purple Dragon knights who returned with my father suggested that we obtain an adventuring charter to continue our service to Cormyr without being harried by every local authority. I believe that the group intends to stay together, but our road from here isn't clear – do we patrol greater Cormyr for threats, or see what good we can accomplish beyond her borders?
Quick-n-dirty notes from 1/16/09 session:
- Kalar lost to Wrafton's charms
- Undead in the graveyard – flying corpse!
- Shadar-kai conducting ritual – got away.
- Rescued sacrifice victim – Doran (half-elf rogue)
- Bairwin actually Netherese/Sharran infiltrator – executed by Padraig
- PDKs encouraged us to get adventuring charter