Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity

Truth or Consequences, Part 4

Sunday, Ready’reat 23, 552 CY (50 AN)

After overseeing the freeing of the slaves and the Thousand Eyes’ packing operation, Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, Peren, and Torinn retire to Mordenkainen’s magnificent mansion to plan and prepare for the following days’ journeys. The general plan seems to be to escort the freed slaves to Dawnslight, then teleport to the northeast corner of the Sorrowfell Plains to find Clan Deadmoon. After that, it’s an excursion into the Underdark to find Caveghost Clan.

The following morning, Moonday, Ready’reat 24, the surviving remnants of the Thousand Eyes tribe head south, while the Shields of the Sorrowfell round up the 300 or so freed slaves and begin the long march northeast to Dawnslight. As some of the captured slaves were formerly guards, the Shields set about organizing those members to keep watch on the others. Peren scouts ahead, Bezaldooz and Bosabrieln lead the column of refugees, and Torinn walks in the middle.

Travel is uneventful for the first hour or so. Scouting ahead, Peren notes a woodsman — a burly man with long, brown hair and a greataxe — foraging. He doesn’t notice Peren, but does hear the approach of the refugee train. At first, he seems prepared to hide, but quickly surmises that it is likely nonthreatening, so he waits an observes. As the train starts to pass, Bosabrieln gives greeting, and the man introduces himself as Grimi Bjornson. Apparently, Grimi is a backwoodsman who lives out here, keeping an eye on the orcs in the ruins of Solaeque. Bosabrieln delivers the good news, along with the fact that they’re taking these refugees to Dawnslight. Grimi doesn’t know much else; he receives few visitors in these parts, although he has some limited contact with the elves of Nainimdul, who seem to have a grudging respect for him. (He is apparently familiar with the Shields and their exploits, however.) He offers to accompany them through the woods for a while, which Bosabrieln accepts, using the opportunity to flirt with him as they walk. After a couple of hours, he parts company, wanting to return to his home.

A couple of hours later, Peren spots a strange, somewhat feral man with tattered clothes and a spear. The man seems unnerved at the approach of so large a group, and so runs off into the woods to hide. Peren uses his sending stone to warn Bosabrieln that trouble may be approaching, and he follows the man. Once he is certain the man is giving the group a wide berth, he rejoins the refugee train and informs Bezaldooz and Bosabrieln that the potential threat has passed.

A couple of hours later, in the late afternoon, the group prepares to camp. Bosabrieln invokes Mordenkainen’s magnificent mansion, and everyone piles inside to sleep. It’s cramped, but preferable to sleeping outdoors, especially given that most of the rescued slaves lack bedrolls or cold weather gear for the chilly Ready’reat nights.

In the middle of the night, Bosabrieln awakens to return to the Sorrowfell Plains so that he can deliver a dream to Captain Evell Bole. Peren and Torinn stand watch. When Bosabrieln emerges into her dreams, he finds himself in a grand chamber, ostensibly Scandshar’s Parliament House by the look of it. Parliament is not in session, but there are a handful of representatives sitting at a couple of tables being pushed together. A pale, dark haired woman stands at the head of the table, toasting the proceedings. In the middle of the table is Captain Bole, nude and bloodied. The assembled party is tearing into her with knives and their bare hands, ripping away bloody chunks of her flesh.

Bosabrieln quickly changes the scene to a pleasant sitting room. It takes her a moment to adjust, and even then, she does not immediately recognize Bosabrieln, having never actually met him before. Proper introductions are made, and after Bole sufficiently expresses her annoyance at this fiasco, Bosabrieln takes the opportunity to describe what happened. She thinks for a while, then decides to reveal that she had her doubts about the official narrative. After the Shields left, the Peacocks collapsed the entire wing of the gladiator pits that the Shields damaged, and killed every guard Torinn knocked out. (She had her suspicions; she saw the bodies, and forensically, the slain guards had clearly been in fistfights, without the defensive wounds the subsequent stab wounds would suggest.) She again notes that she wants out from under the Peacocks’ influence, but cannot leave because she knows they will put someone far more monstrous in charge. She doesn’t know how long before they subvert her mind or make her disappear, or any of the monstrous things the Peacocks do. Bosabrieln says he will try his best to try to dismantle the operation, and will maintain contact as long as he can. He asks if any of the guards under her command were punished due to their actions in the early morning on Ready’reat 19, but she explains that she was very careful to hide the involvement of any loyal guards.

Once Bosabrieln returns to his senses, he gathers Bezaldooz, Peren, and Torinn to describe what was discussed. He then considers that he should probably also contact Count Brissot, so he undergoes the procedure again to send a dream to the Count. Bosabrieln again explains their side of things, and Count Brissot is actually surprised to learn that any part of it is their fault. (He assumed something went in an unexpected fashion, and the Peacocks manufactured the entire story.) He notes that the Peacocks, and factions in the Scandshar Parliament, will use this to pass draconian measures they have already been considering: enhanced security for the slave trade, greater military budgeting, and a crackdown on independent adventuring companies using tariffs and mandatory membership in adventuring guilds. All these innovations are no doubt weeks away, but discussion has already begun. Count Brissot is relatively powerless to try to help salvage the Shields’ tarnished reputation, as he can’t be seen openly supporting them. However, he will do what he can.

Bosabrieln again informs the others of what he has learned upon his return before the Shields retire to sleep for the evening.

On the morning of Godsday, Ready’reat 25, the group leaves Mordenkainen’s magnificent mansion, returning to the road. The day is uneventful. They repeat the process on Waterday, Ready’reat 26, and the day is largely uneventful; they pass a circle of standing stones around midday, but with a job to complete, they ignore the standing stones and continue the march, making camp in Mordenkainen’s magnificent mansion that night.

The refugee train arrives in Dawnslight just after midday on Earthday, Ready’reat 27. Guards are quickly dispatched to fetch Shaward Torranol and Leogold Spiritforged, and the village bands together to try to find some modicum of shelter for the refugees for the night. Once the situation is settled, the Shields meet with Shaward and Leogold to determine the best course of action. Bosabrieln gives Shaward 1,000gp to help cover expenses in relocating the refugees, and the general plan seems to be to gather reinforcements so they can be escorted to Kiris Dahn, currently in the process of being rebuilt by the Tain Merchant Co. Hopefully they can be repopulated there, or slowly make their way back to their homes. Shaward is also certain to mention that he heard about their troubles in Scandshar, and shows them the wanted posters he received. The pictures are somewhat accurate, although the descriptions of their equipment is probably the more damning part. The Shields are certain to take two of each poster for their own amusement. Shaward invites them to stay, but Bosabrieln notes it would be unwise, given that they are currently wanted men in Scandshar.

That night, Bosabrieln gathers everyone in the village to tell the tale of their triumph against the giants. It is a magnificent show. Afterward, a young woman emerges from the crowd, approaching Bosabrieln — he recognizes her as Sally, the young milkmaid whom he bedded six months ago. (He also recalls that “Sally” is merely the name he gave her, never actually having bothered to learn her real name.)

Coincidentally, she appears to be about six months pregnant.

Much to the amusement of Bezaldooz, Peren, and Torinn, Bosabrieln then has to explain his absence while her very angry father is staring daggers at him. He eventually walks her back to her house and gets her to bed, saying he has more business to attend. She asks him to return when he’s finished and wake her if she’s asleep, and he agrees.

Bosabrieln then finds her father, and notes that he is in no way qualified to take care of this child. The father sternly agrees. Bosabrieln then gives him 1,000gp to see to the child’s care.

Bosabrieln rejoins the rest of the Shields, and after they sufficiently grill him about his meeting with Sally and what to do with her — they suggest that perhaps she ought to accompany them, much to Bosabrieln’s chagrin — they retire for the night.

Bosabrieln awakens early in the morning to deliver a letter explaining that he cannot remain as a fugitive, and he still has duties to perform. When he tries to surreptitiously deliver it on her windowsill, however, she is awake and spots him, forcing him to explain his continued absence in person. She seems to accept his excuse, no doubt more due to his eloquence than any legitimacy, and says she hopes to see him again soon. Bosabrieln then slinks off.

Before they leave, Torinn approaches her window and gives her a turquoise figurine of a wolf, one of the figurines retrieved from Jarl Hargaad’s tomb. He says it’s for the baby, which Sally thinks is very sweet.

Once the Shields reconvene at the edge of town, the plan seems to be to travel to Beeheath. From there, they hope to get a detailed description of a settlement or landmark in the northern Bloodstone Crags in the hopes of traveling by teleport and then hunting down Clan Deadmoon. Bezaldooz intones the syllables to teleport, and the Shields find themselves on a road. Based upon the position of the peak of Mt. Vogelberg to the northwest, they must be slightly off-target, perhaps six or so miles away from the town of Beeheath. With that, they begin their journey northwest.