Recap October 2, 2020

Everyone was summoned to meet Gideon Lightward, the High Rider of the Hellriders, at the tavern A Pair of Black Antlers, located in their holy city of Elturel. This tavern is the unofficial headquarters of the Order of the Gauntlet, a faction of holy warriors sworn to fight against the forces of evil. They would report to Reya Mantlemorn, a teenage Hellrider, but had proven herself a capable leader and they would all make their way to the tavern.

When the arrived, they realized that they had been summoned to a secret meeting with three powerful factions of the Sword Coast, the Hellriders, the Flaming Fist and the Order of the Gauntlet. The group is not sure why they have been asked to be there but so conversation in the room gave them more information. There was talk of Dragon Cultists close by. In fact, they had been seen with the holy kingdom itself.

Ontharr Frume, a paladin in the Order of the Gauntlet, pounds his fist against the table, calling the room to order. He begins to speak: “My friends, I am glad to see you gathered here today to discuss the re-appearance of the Cult of the Dragon. We have received troubling news that the cult has once again burned down the town of Greenest to the south. There are rumors now that the cult has become bold enough to even conduct rituals in the Elturgard Woods just due north of here.

“Together, we can deal a swift blow to the Cult of the Dragon by attacking their forces while they scheme in our local woods. I say we put aside our own squabbles and act. What say you?”

Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard, leader of the Flaming Fist, stood and said “I agree. We cannot let them gain any footing ever again along the Sword Coast. Baldur’s Gate has enough problems with other cults as it is. The Flaming Fist will assist in this endeavor. Gideon Lightward, speaks ” I too agree. This riffraff must be stopped now and their machinations nipped in the bud. Also, if we can gather any information on why they have come into this area once again, we can further stymie their plans.

Each of the factions go to different corners of the meeting room to discuss the details of what each faction would carry out. Gideon led Reya and the rest of the Hellriders to a corner of the room. Gideon asks that Reya Mantlemorn lead the raid against the Cult of the Dragon in the Elturgard Woods, Reya has been training as a Hellrider since she was twelve years old. Now, in her late teens, the Hellriders believe she is ready to lead a mission. Everyone at least knows of Reya and most of you have served with her on other missions. You know that this is the first mission she had lead by herself but you know that she is more than capable of handling some Dragon Cult members.

This is yours and Reya’s opportunity to prove that they are worthy of calling themselves Hellriders.

The groups come back together for a final drink before heading out. Gideon Lightward, Ontharr Frume and Duke Ulder Ravengard make a toast. Then, Gideon Lightward blesses each character before they leave. Gideon’s blessing grants each character advantage on saving throws for the next 24 hours. Reya provides each character with a riding horse and leads them to the Elturgard Woods to confront the Cult of the Dragon.

They mounted their horses and set out on Reya’s signal.

Travaran named his horse “Beans”

Jazulon named his horse “Mrs. Beans”

Tharja named her horse “Horse”

Just outside the city, the characters pass a majestic weeping willow tree atop a small hill with a serene view of Elturel. An elderly priest of Lathander officiates the wedding of a young couple (use commoner stat block). The young couple approaches the characters and asks them to witness their final wedding vow. In Elturel it is customary to invite strangers to witness a newly married couple’s commitment to their union.

Everyone agrees.

The couple walks back to the priest as everyone gathers in a semi-circle around them. The couple gently hold hands and look each other lovingly in the eyes as they begin to recite their final vow: “Before the Morninglord Lathander and those here today, I commit to you, now and always, until we return to his endless light.” The newly married couple thanks the characters and gives them each a flower. Reya gives the call to mount back up and they head on down the road. Sometime later they hear coming from just down the road, close to a crossroads:

I’ll be making fur coats out of you yet!”

They came around the bend and see

]a fiery young girl sitting atop a tree branch twelve feet off the ground. The young girl is wearing a colorful rainbow scarf that bristles in the wind as she throws rocks at three white wolves hungrily growling at her from the base of the tree. Nearby, a runty black wolf circles the tree.

The girl sees the group of Hellriders on the road and yells “Help me with these wolves! Please?”

The group dismounts and rushes forward. They focus on the wolf that is attack the girl in the tree. The two other white wolves move to attack the closest members of the group. The black wolf stays out of the way and acts like it does not want to be part of the fight but wants to stay near its pack. Soon, the white wolves are defeated and the girl climbs down from the tree.

She tells them thanks and then introduces herself. “ I am Grace Lyn and I am from Elturel. I come out to these crossroads to ask travelers for coin so I can pay my way into the Academy in Elturel. If any of you could spare a coin, I would be most grateful.

Jason gave her 5gp

Nate gave her 1gp

Dalton gave her 1gp

Kareem gave her 5gp

Dylan gave her 2gp

Grace sheds a tear and says that’s more than she’s earned all year. She hands each character who gave her at least 1 gp a single piece of thread from her scarf. She said that if they return this thread to her after she becomes a famous scholar, she will give them free lessons of their choice.

She then gives a yip yell and a one eyed, one eared donkey rambles out of the shrubbery. That is my donkey, Lonkey. Lonkey the Donkey! She laughs and mounts up. She thanks them one more time and then rides down the south road.

Reya tells them that they did a good job. She then says we now turn to the north and soon we will be in the Elturgard Woods.

The Elturgard Woods encompass several square miles of terrain north of Elturel. The canopy of these woods is dense, and the entirety of the woods is dimly lit from the Companion above Elturgard.

Several members of the group recalled a tale of yore about an evil druid conclave that used these woods to conduct gruesome rituals of human sacrifice. Nym revealed that the forest is suitable terrain for owls, giant owls, and owlbears.

Reya says we must be careful as we proceed.

They travel a little while longer when Reya stops at a small natural path that leads deeper into the woods. It’s obvious this path was recently traveled; several branches are broken, and the grass leading into the woods is disturbed as if someone walked over it. Reya asks if any of the characters are proficient trackers. She recognizes that stealth and tracking prey are her weak suits but hopes to catch the Cult of the Dragon off guard, hence her reliance on the characters. After looking around they find five distinct humanoid footprints on the path. The footprints are several hours old and head deeper into the woods. Additionally they noticed a small hidden creek nearby. The noise from the rushing water could help them sneak their way forward. As they are investigating the creek, they spot three sets of humanoid footprints along the sides of the hidden creek. These footprints appear to be fresh, made within the last one to two hours.

They decided to follow the creek and to move as quiet as possible in case they do come across those who had made these footprints.

They walked about 15 minutes to travel on foot along the creek when they came to a ritual site. The shallow creek runs through this ancient druidic circle.

A female human fist of Bane is screaming praises to Bane, the god of tyranny, as she holds someone or something underwater in the creek. A second fist of Bane stood guard behind the first. They both do not notice the group coming from the south. They cannot see what is being held beneath the water but they know they need to stop the drowning. They also know that Bane is one of the gods known as the Dead Three, three of the most evil gods in the Realms. What were they doing here in the middle of the Elturgard Woods?

The group moved to attack. The Fists of Bane did not see them coming. The Fist of Bane in the creek fell first. It had been a person that she had been holding below the water. They were wearing black leathers and it looked like a black mask with 5 points on top of it. They other Fist of Bane attempted to go north but he was stopped quickly. The group did a quick sweep of the ritual area. There was one path to the north, another to the east and one last one to the west. As they were looking at the western path, they found another person in black leathers. These two were dragonclaws, members of the Cult of the Dragon. They did not find anything on the dragonclaws or the Fists of Bane so they continued to the north.

They entered a larger clearing. A large stone altar sits atop a small hill surrounded by 3-foot-deep water. The water is difficult terrain for creatures of small and medium size. There are two night blades of Bhaal in close to the altar. One interrogating dragonwing, another member of the Cult of the Dragon and the other standing guard.

The male human night blade of Bhaal is interrogating the dragonwing, asking for information on the Cult of the Dragon’s treasure hordes throughout the region. The dragonwing is begging for his life and shouting for help, causing so much noise that the night blades do not notice the group as they approach the water surrounding the altar.

St. Calmers, Jazulon, Nym and Tharja moved into the area and attacked the night blades. The night blades were one step behind and never were able to get any kind of momentum in the fight. When there was one night wing left, several skeletons came into the first ritual area to attack Jockrates, Reya and Travaran. Jockrates rushed forward to attack the skeletons. Behind the skeletons they saw two necromites of Myrkul. They had now seen representatives from each of the Dead Three gods. The necromites used their Claws of the Grave to do devastating necrotic damage so that the skeletons were able to take down Jockrates. Tharja, Nym and St. Calmers took out one of the necromites. Nym and St Calmers stayed in the large area while Tharja went to see where the necromite and skeletons bad com from. He came into another clearing with a druidic altar that is surrounded by three dilapidated and worn stone figures. 4 more skeletons animated and moved towards her. Tharja cast Burning Hands taking out 2 of them and then ran back towards her companions.

Travaran casts spells to help Reya get through the skeletons and necromite to get them closer to Jockrates’ body. The necromite fell first and the skeletons followed. By that time, Jockrates had come to. They gave him some healing and then went to investigate the entire druid ritual site.

They went to the altar with the dragonwing laying on it. They found that he had been paralyzed with a dagger put into his spine by one of the night blades. He begged for his life. He swore he was done with the Dragon Cult. They did not believe him. He said there is a letter in my pouch. They opened the pouch and found a letter from a ranking member of the Dragon Cult named Rezmir. The letter read:

“Head to the bathhouse in Baldur’s Gate and retrieve our Queen’ s stolen treasure. The bathhouse is located in the northern portion of the Lower City. It has a walled garden and frolicking nymphs carved into its front gates. I’ll be looking for you in Baldur’ s Gate when I arrive. Bring the treasure to me then or Ultiss will come for you. Wyrmspeaker Rezmir”

They asked who was Rezmir? Who was Ultiss? The former cultist said that they were his immediate leaders. If they knew that he was quitting the cult, they would kill him. And it would not be that difficult in the state he currently is in. Reya steps forward and says “I believe him. There has been enough killing today. We will patch him up enough so we can carry him back to Elturel so our clerics can give him healing.

Searching the area they found the following:

The dragonclaw wears a silver ring with the insignia of Tiamat on their right hand. The ring is worth 15 gp.

Five miniature painted statues, depicting a red, black, white, green, and blue dragon, for shipment to Baldur’s Gate. Each statue weighs 5 lb. and is worth 25 gp.

The necromites of Myrkul each carry a bone of animation

Bone of Animation Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement) This item appears to be a regular human upper arm bone. While holding the bone you can use an action to speak the command word and turn the bone into a skeleton. The skeleton reverts to bone form after 1 hour or when it drops to 0 hit points. The skeleton is friendly to you and your companions for the duration. Roll initiative for the skeleton, which has its own turns. It obeys any verbal commands that you issue to it (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to the skeleton, it defends itself from hostile creatures but otherwise takes no actions. Once the bone is used, it can’t be used again until the next dawn.

2 suits of chain mail

2 shields

2 maces

2 daggers

2 skull flails

A letter from Rezmir rolled up in his cloak Each night blade carries a potion of healing and a rose of Bhaal

Rose of Bhaal Wondrous item, uncommon This rose is infused with divination magic, emitting a reddish-orange glow whenever Bhaalspawn are within 10 feet of it.

They made one more search of the area and then Reya gave the order to mount up and head back to Elturel.

When the characters are ten miles away from Elturel, they first heard the cries of horrified citizens and children. as the material plane splits open, revealing the fiery depths of Hell. The Companion and Elturel are ripped into this hellish void, as massive flaming chains latch onto the city and drag it into Avernus, the first level of Hell. The inferno is blinding and accompanied by a deafening blast that stifles the pleading screams of those trapped in Elturel. A scorched rainbow scarf flutters helplessly in the wind as darkness falls upon the land.

In an instant, Elturel is no more.

Elturel has fallen.