15th of Ches, 1492: The Year of Three Ships Sailing

It has been seven months since my last journal entry. Our campaign against the azers and xorns has proven to be just as tedious as I had imagined it would be when we set out last summer. As an extra annoyance, we were forced to fetch our reward from caches hidden southwest of Phandalin. Altogether it was a worthwhile haul: two thousand goldsworth in reagent-grade crystal, twelve fine amethysts worth 100 gold each, a rose quartz geode worth 250 gold pieces, and a somewhat fragile Ioun stone, which now circles Jorad’s head as a protective charm.

As we returned this evening around sunset, we were startled to see smoke rising from the village, and a dark, winged shape circling in the sky above: Phandalin was apparently under dragon attack! Our fellowship followed fleet-footed Gunx into town, where we quickly encountered a fearful family fleeing from a band of brigands. The dragon’s destruction was evidently being abetted by human dragon-cultists and a cutthroat kobold cohort.

I watched as the cultists Held Tolarin fast with magic, and mercilessly cut down Linan Swift, a brave but inept local woman. Gunx leapt forth to protect her children and their lame father, Cuth Swift, quickly clobbering a couple of kobolds, while Jorad duelled spells with a cultist, felling his foe in a flash. Suddenly freed from his temporary trance, Tolarin just as rapidly fell back under another cultist’s magic sway, along with Gunx too: both brothers became fully frozen.

As I splashed a pair of kobolds with acid, Brick slew two with Hew. Terrified, the remaining kobolds fled into the darkness, leaving the human cultists behind. Jorad Shattered the concentration of one of the spellcasters, freeing Gunx from his stasis, and killed another with the same spell, while Tegan revived Linan. Brick knocked the last cultist unconscious, and I set to healing Cuth of his injuries, thanks be to Beshaba. Linan informed us that a large force of these raiders, with draconic air support, had just descended upon Phandalin today.

Suddenly, we were once again under attack: four more cultists, and a splint-armoured warrior, came at us from the north. Brick faced the fighter and put and end to him at once. Gunx, Tolarin, and I slew one cultist with our combined attacks. Jorad Eldritch Blasted another, but Tegan fell under paralytic enchantment. One cultist tried to flee, but I Commanded him to halt, in Beshaba’s name, and Gunx put him out of his misery. Jorad and Tolarin put down another, freeing Tegan, and the last fled for his life into the shadows.

Tegan and Jorad roughly interrogated our captive cultist, who confessed that they were members of the Cult of the Dragon, here to collect loot for their Dragon Queen. Jorad relieved the cultist of one of his onyx daggers, while Tegan relieved the man of his life. We told the Swifts to take shelter in a nearby house as our fellowship headed east along a section of the ruined Old Phandalin wall. A kobold spotted Gunx, but merely saluted, thanks to Beshaba, and we continued onward.

We came to the Alderleaf farm, where the house was abandoned, but in the field we found the farmer and her son, with two more halfling villagers. These hobbits warned us that the area around the manor was swarming with cultists and kobolds, and perhaps there’s a dragonborn among them as well. We decided to dress in the garb of the cultists, and approach the Doom Grotto, in order to enter the manor from below. With Gunx in the lead, we bluffed past the posted sentries, and made our way through the tunnel and into the manor.

Inside, we discovered two thirds of the citizenry had taken shelter here, and Brick spotted his trusty Sergeant Guth, and eight more of his men from the Phandalin Guard. Together, the guards and my fellow cunts mounted the manor’s roof turret to assess the battle. Immediately, we were blasted by the lightning breath of a blue dragon, dropping Tolarin, Sergeant Guth, and a guardsman. Gunx revived his brother with a potion, and the weakened halfling monk pulled himself and the unconscious sergeant back down the hatch to safety.

Coming around again, the dragon battered two more guards to their deaths as she flew by. Brick and Gunx readied their attacks for the next pass, while I Invoked Duplicity, making a distracting double image of myself. As Jorad and Tegan launched magical attacks, the dragon flew off in vexation. I sensed that the dragon was likely acting under coercion, and that she did not really want this fight. I healed the gravely wounded guardsman, and we took a short rest.

Sgt. Guth estimated there were about a hundred raiders in the attacking force, made up of a mix of kobolds, cultists, drakes, dragon-men, and someone who looks very much like Gunx. Suddenly, one of the guards shouted in alarm, warning that raiders were trying to set fire to the mill on the other side of town. We left the manor to head to the mill, and tried to bluff past a group of raiders outside the door, but an ill-tempered slap by Gunx set off a wild melee. In the end, our foes lay charred and slain in the blood-wet mud. Tegan healed us all of our minor injuries, and we continued across Phandalin.

We encountered four more toothless local serfs, whom we instructed to head for shelter in the manor. We made our stealthy way through Edermath’s accursed orchard, until we ran into another group of raiders: an armoured warrior, four more cultists, and two drakes. The warrior shot Jorad with his crossbow, and Jorad retaliated with a Hellish Rebuke. The cultists cast Hold spells on the rest of the cunts, catching Brick and Tolarin in their magic snare. Tegan Shattered three of the cultists, and Brick shook off their magic, but Tolarin remained held fast. I hit one drake with a Poison Spray, while Gunx smashed another.

From the shadows, four more kobolds came whirling slings, pelting Jorad with stones. Gunx faced off against the warrior, while Brick charged in and hacked down a cultist. My Poison Spray was proving ineffective against the human foes, so I maneuvered into position and pulled out my Lightning Bolt scroll. As Brick chopped down another cultist, I blasted one to smithereens, and severely scorched another. Tolarin shook off his stasis, while Gunx knocked the warrior on his ass, and Jorad continued to get stoned. Barely standing, Glasstaff Luvien killed two kobolds with Eldritch Blasts. The last cultist dared to Command me to flee but when I laughed in his face, he turned tail and fled! I slaughtered the coward with pleasure, as Gunx stomped the warrior’s life out, and Tolarin obliterated the last living kobold, enraged that he had missed so much of the fight.

We continued to the mill. Gunx went across the bridge. Kobolds spotted him, and fled instantly, abandoning the small fires they had begun to set at the base of the mill. We all followed Gunx over the bridge, on high alert, wary of attack. Gunx, in the lead, was just missed by a hail of incoming sling stones as the expected ambush came, in the form of six kobolds. Gunx and Tolarin focused on putting out the fires. Brick launched a javelin at the kobolds with expert aim, and Jorad and Tegan both used their spells to great effect, killing all the attackers.

We put out the remaining fires, but could not help but notice how half-assed this whole arson attempt appears. With Tegan at my side, I burst the door open, ready for anything, but the room appeared quiet, empty… and highly suspicious. As Brick wondered aloud, “What are these kobolds about?” I pulled out another scroll, and cast an Augury. Indeed, the omens plainly pointed to woe: there was a hidden danger here. Fearless, the monks entered first, and flushed out five fighters, and five fanatics, lying in wait on the loft level. Gunx leapt up to the loft, and blasted the foes with lightning breath, to give them a firsthand taste of the draconic power they so admire. Brick hauled himself up on the other side of the room, and hacked down a cultist. Tegan, from the doorway, Shattered a quarter of the catwalk, killing a number of villains in a masterpiece of violence. Tolarin and Brick skillfully executed the remaining raiders.

Upon reflection, it began to seem as if this whole encounter was intended to divert Phandalin’s defending forces, including us, into fighting pointless skirmishes. We decided that, after a short rest, we should head to the town square, to see what was happening there. We found a crowd of raiders gathered outside the accursed new Tymoran temple, airing some arguably legitimate grievances against the Tymoran clergy whom they had trapped inside and were planning to murder. Jorad quickly slaughtered a small group of kobolds and cultists by the back door, and together Jorad, Tegan, and I killed fifteen more kobolds.

Gunx and Tolarin, reconnoitering in stealth, reported that an even larger mob was at the front of the temple, so Brick snuck to the back of the building, and hailed Sister Garaele inside. As I distracted the mob out front with subterfuge and spellcraft, the other cunts ushered the refugees out of the temple and back to the manor. Then I turned invisible, and joined my fellow cunts back home.

Blessed Beshaba, please allow us a moment of rest tonight, so that we may replenish our energies, klaatu barada nikto amen.

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