The Shards of Hope

Finding the ingredients.
The First Lords collect the ingredients for Lady Ayal's cure.
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Prologue.
The heroes are recruited to save the life of Lady Ayal Threathpar.

20th of Nigthal, Winter Solstice.

1370 Dale Reckoning, The Year of the Tankard.

The fire snarked and spat and the innkeeper snored. Five strangers sat scattered around the First Lord’s Inn common room cradling warm drinks. Outside winter refused to release its grip on Roben’s Nest and the surrounding countryside. The wind howled and tossed fat snowflakes in dizzying eddies untroubled by the stranger approaching the inn.

Lord Yurel Cloakshadow opened the door to the First Lord’s Inn quickly and hurried inside. He dusted the snow off his cloak and walked to the bar. Seeing the barkeep fast asleep he turned to face the common room, and the five strangers. A man, dressed in travel stained white wool and a surcoat with the broken hands of Ilmater on a white field, sat near the fire. On the table over sat a dwarf, evidently a new arrival, still wet from the melting snow. A halfling, dressed in thick blue robes sat next to him scratching at a tattoo on his forehead. In the corner sat an elf, his black hair peeking out from under his woodsman’s cloak, his hands resting on the hilts of two ornate longswords. The fifth was a gnome. He sat on a stool at the bar, sipping on a steaming drink and eyeing Lord Cloakshadow.

“I am Lord Yurel Cloakshadow, travelled from Threathpar, a barony not a tenday’s ride from here. I am looking for daring adventurers, for a dark cloud has gathered over Castle Whiteoak. Lady Ayal, the baron’s new wife, has fallen ill. I need someone to hazard the wild and bring back ingredients for her cure. Will you lend your talents to the task?” He asked of the room.

One by one the strangers agreed. The first to speak was the gnome, a smile creeping across his face as he realized that coins would follow the task. The second to speak was the Ilmaterian, his voice strong as he asked for Ilmater’s blessing. Then the elf, his voice low but resonated across the room as he pledged his strength to the task. Finally the dwarf spoke. He asked if the task would be equal to the adventures of the Harpers, as noble as the orders of the Triad and as daring as the legends of the drow ranger, Drizzt Do’Urden. Before Lord Cloakshadow had a chance to answer, the dwarf already answered his own question and pledged his, and his halfling friend’s support.

With all of the strangers agreed on helping the Lady of Threathpar, Lord Cloakshadow continued, “You should rest, gather your strength and resources. This will not be an easy task I fear. My Lady is very ill, and Master Oprent deems it necessary to brew a complex potion. One that requires four key ingredients.” Lord Cloakshadow said to the adventurers. They had gathered around the Inn’s hearth, and Lord Cloakshadow stood next to the mantle, one hand on his fine longsword, the other holding a piece of parchment.

“According to Master Oprent these ingredients are vital if the potion is to work. You will need to find the blood from a troll, the heart of a dragon, the claw of a werebeast and what is known as the Elfdrop. The last is a jewel of some sort. Master Oprent mentioned that some of the merchant families in Baldur’s Gate keep Elfdrops in their family tombs.” The fire snarked and spat. Lord Cloakshadow’s audience listened attentively while he told them of Lady Ayal, her betrothal to Baron Meler Threathpar and how the marriage had affirmed the friendship between the Threathpar Barony and the Corim Barony.

“She is loved by many, from Corim and Threathpar alike.” Lord Cloakshadow said and smiled. “Dark is our heart, weighed down by tidings from my lord’s spies that the Lady’s illness is the work of dissenters, craven folk who would see the peace between the baronies shattered.” He sat down then, and shared a drink with the First Lords to Lady Ayal’s health.

When he rose again it was nearing midnight. The First Lords had their task and knew where to look. Outside the wind had died down to a dull whine. Lord Cloakshadow re-fastened his cloak and pulled a furred hood over his head. “I wish you luck and hope that you return soon. Pray that Tymora smiles upon you.” With that he turned and disappeared into the night.

At last the five strangers, unexpectedly united were alone in the blazing common room. In turn they introduced themselves; Larso Toadwell, master of the unexpected and arcane. Nathon Argyle, proud Paladin of Ilmater. Aelthar Kennerlylth, ranger and swordsman, in search of an heirloom. Sparky Everfire, a mysterious sorcerer whose past remained a secret for now. The last was Ergotkir Stonequill, who introduced himself as a scribe and faithful follower of Dugmaren Brightmantle.

And so began the adventuring career of The First Lords, named after the inn where they first met. Little did they know how their adventures together would shape their destinies.

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