We reached the sizable town of Nattenberg and I was relieved to be out of the wilderness and back among civilized people. The town was a smart place of tall townhouses, impressive guild halls and narrow winding streets. One area was particularly easy to get lost in and was appropriately named The Warren. We restocked on supplies and Torek purchased a magical war hammer, inscribed with the symbol of Moradin, one of the signs of Torek’s prophecy, which will apparently guide him to religious fulfilment. In my opinion he needs to dedicate himself to Tiros and stop worrying about his issues of faith. One of the highlights of Nattenberg was feasting at the Hogs Hall, a fine eatery with large portions of good food and excellent ale. While in town Darryl revealed to us that he has inclinations of becoming a bard. I hope he has some talent for it as I don’t want to be listening to a dirge everywhere we go. I think it is just a phase he is going through.
During our stay Darryl picked up some side work regarding a local bard, whose life was in danger, a victim of Nattenberg’s political wranglings. We ended up going to a local theatre which the bard was staring in so we could watch out for a would be assassin. It was a risqué production, mocking our good lady queen, although I must admit they portrayed her very well. The bard was awful and nearly ruined the entire production with his forgotten words and broken lute strings. And then it happened, poisoned bolts were fired from the gallery and he would have been mortally wounded if not for our presence. While I tended to his wounds Darryl and Ferula gave chase to the assassin, eventually confronting him down a side alley. The assassin proved to be more than a match for a Darryl and he fled once Ferula arrived on the scene. We told the bard to get out of town and make himself scarce. He left Nattenberg that night.
Once we had recuperated we moved onto Urlanburg, another sizable town with a less gritty edge than Nattenberg, but considerably more conservative. The town, like most places, had its problems, ones that would have provided an interesting adventure or two had we had the time. Instead we left next morning.
I would like to say the rest of the journey to Vandastar was uneventful but it wasn’t. Wherever we went we came across the presence of some kind of powerful creature that rotted the vegetation wherever it walked, stalking the land cloaked and shadowed. A man, similarly cloaked, tracked it, as though hunting it. The creature attacked a some farmers travelling to market, killing them all – this was the first time we encountered it.
We passed the famous Gilder Stone not too far south of Urlanburg. Legend says that the pommel of the sword of the great King Prayseth is buried beneath it. Whoever can move this great rock can claim the pommel, remake the sword and become king of Hothior, bringing the nation into a new golden age. Noblemen were desperately trying to move it, the pathetic power hungry fools. Darryl got Torek to have a go and unsurprisingly he failed to budge it. We also crossed the famous Kodrakuz Bridge, a feat of dwarven engineering, gifted to the Hothiorian people. It is certainly an impressive sight.
We eventually got back to Vandastar and it was the end of our long quest. We delivered the prophecy, which was a disappointment to drunk cleric that had originally given us the quest. The Fallen Star was supposed to be a sign of good times to come but we could only give bad tidings – “a time of darkness is at hand and we all must prepare for it”. If the cleric passed on the prophecy to the people is a different matter entirely.
We all sought training while in Vandastar, re-honing our skills as we seek to further in our professions. Experience is all well and good but you need to take that knowledge and develop it. Winter descended while we were here, the weather dramatically changing bringing with it snow and cold winds from the north. It was certainly a shock to Darryl who is used to warmer climes.
While in Vandastar Torek decided to compete the tournaments that take place in the arenas beneath the Monastery of the Wolf. It was a good test for him and he did well, winning his bouts. Maybe at last we really are turning into a group of heroes.
It is time for us to return east, back to Saltmarsh, which lies many miles off…