24 Flamerule, 1490 DR
“These acts of aggression shall not go unpunished. Therefore, Cormyr has declared war on this cowardly nation of Sembia, and on all who would assist them. May our sons and daughters of the Purple Dragons drive back these traitorous dogs who would kill our King and ravage our lands. May the gods of war smile on us, and long live the King!”
With these words, Cormyr is at war. As the square clears and the herald leaves, the onlooking Wardens of the Eclipse ponder their next move. The decide that their next course of action should be the reclamation of the Golden Ruins, for use as a stronghold.
Peraps the Runner informs them that they are invited to a War Council, and that Brother Aedan’s presence is requested before the Council of Sages to discuss his request for permission to preach. The party spends their time leading up to the War Council running errands. During highsunfeast at the Cormaeril compound, the Duskcloaks as Ta’Liza if she would consider accompanying them on their quest to the Ruins. She agrees, grateful for an excuse to leave the city.
At the War Council, the party learns of the Crown Prince’s plans for the counteroffensive. They offer guidance and insight before agreeing to accompany Irvel west towards Marsember. Following the meeting, Elara goes to recruit Mander the Animal Trainer, while the rest of the party goes to recruit Dolain. Mander agrees to come along for two Lions a day, while Dolain refuses to budge on his price of ten (citing his great risk, material costs, and his dislike for Ashtar). As the group negotiates, Ashtar leaves.
He changes appearance to look like Dolain and goes to leave the inn, but is accosted on his way out of the taproom by an armored woman with a nasty sword. She hauls him into a booth and demands to know what was said in the room. He tells her, maintaining his disguise, that the party wanted him to accompany them on a journey. She offers to pay him 200 gold pieces for the plans of the ‘old man.’
Meanwhile, Aedan attends the Council of Sages, where after a heated debate (and much protestation from the Doomguide Ondarn), the Crown gives him permission to preach his faith in the countrysides of Cormyr, though not in the Urban Centres. For that, Aedan must prove his faith’s loyalty and ability to the crown by accomplishing a great task. Ondarn names it: to find and return the Lost Swords of Cormyr.
The group reconvenes, and Ashtar comes clean about what happened in the taproom. The group is concerned by Tonden’s reaction, and press him until he reveals the woman to be a figure from his past who has been hunting him. She seems to have knowledge of a group of Earthsoul Genasi who want Tonden dead. They agree to have Ashtar maintain the disguise and feed her misinformation.
Ashtar meets with her again, and tells her they are heading to the far North. She is reassured, and tells him to pass on a message to Tonden: Lynn says go north, then go west to home. Gwarch needs him, the Stormhorns have been stirring, and if he didn’t return home the Earthsouls would find him… and she would help them do it. She says that she will be telling the Earthsouls that they are heading west to Marsember to throw them off their tail, then leaves in a rush for the gates.
Ashtar returns and the party decides that, due to the unforseen mixup, they will indeed head north, passing the way they came through Immersea. The woman, Lynn, is confirmed to be Tonden’s estranged daughter. The party eats supper, then agree to attend a Seance with Marion Cormaeril and her guest, Madame Risa.
As the seance commences, suddenly the party is frozen in place, and Madame Risa reveals herself to be Ashtar’s Mother. She is angry and disappointed in him for agreeing to help the Heretic, and warns him to have nothing more to do with him. After an ominous and strange conversation, she releases the party and vanishes through a fiery portal. Ashtar explains that he has great powers he believed to be inborn, but that apparently come from his Mother, who may be more than she appears.
The party, coping with all this information, retires to bed. Aedan informs his home at Penumbra of his success via a Sending, and the response tells him to receive aid at the Waterdeep Portal before first light. Elara arranges via a runner for Mander and Dolain to meet them at the Cormaeril Compound at Sunup. They all rest peacefully, in the softest beds they may have for several days.
In the morning, Aedan slips out and is met by a Harper Agent from Waterdeep, who gives him a wrapped package containing a cold-iron holy symbol in the form of a Hooded Lantern. The party is joined in front of the Cormaeril Compound, where the expedition members are all introduced to each other. Riding off to meet the Purple Dragons, the party joins the army in their trek North along Calantar’s Way.
Present: Aedan, Ashtar, Elara, Moira, Tonden.