21st of Elient (Fall), 1491 DR
Aleyd Burral, an exiled Black Fist, sent his mercenaries to the mansion of Lady Astrid Saj to spy on a silent auction taking place at the merchant's residence. According to Aleyd's sources, during a tenday feast, several unknown participants are bidding gold on a relic put for sale by a dragon cultist. The mercenaries, posing as cooks, guards and menservants, found out that an Hillsfarian Guild Mage, a Talos Priest, and a Zhentarim Agent are participating, in addition to three merchants whose identities and affiliation are still unknown. A quick visit to the Zhent Ghettos prove to be dangerous as advertised, after the mercenaries were assailed by several thugs.
21st-22nd of Elient (Fall), 1491 DR
At the Leaning Boot (the zhent ghetto district), the mercenaries found another proof of the Zhentarim involvement in the bid. A quick visit to the Black Blade (docks district) exposed the bidder there as a member of the Malakar mercantile family, part of Mulmaster's ruling council (Blades). The day after, at the Saj estate, the mercenaries intercepted a note to the seller, a dragon cultist residing at the Bloody Boar Tavern located at the merchant district. The mercenaries managed to get hired by the cultist's companion to deliver a wagon full of food to the Knifepoint Gully, just outside the city. At the gully, the mercenaries delivered the wagon as instructed: at the entrance to an old dwarven mine. While investigating, the mercenaries encountered the guardian - a hulking hill giant.
22nd of Elient (Fall), 1491 DR
The mercenaries fought the giant until realizing he was too tough an opponent, retreating into the mine it was guarding, right after a wizard appeared - hurling spells at them - before vanishing into the mine. The mine turned out to be an abandoned dwarven mine, infested with kobolds and infected by a life-seeping mold of some sort. The mercenaries cleared the complex and subdued the wizard - who turned out to be the dragon cultist who auctioned the relic their employer was seeking. The relic turned out to be a scale of Tiamat herself, left behind after the goddess material body was destroyed forcing her back into the abyss. Delving deeper into the mine, the mercenaries encountered the ghost of one of the dwarves, guarding an old vault containing coins and ancient armor. The ghost, angered for the disturbance, shrieked and hurled itself at the mercenaries...
22nd-23rd of Elient (Fall), 1491
The mercenaries decided to head back to Mulmaster, return the artifact to Aleyd and head back to the mine to further explore it. Outside the mine, two Zhenatarim agents questioned the mercenaries about their dealings in the mine. Later on, on their way back to Mulmaster, the mercenaries encountered two children who seemed lost and out of placed. The children disappeared into the mists from which they came soon after. Aleyd thanked the mercenaries for the successful completion of the mission, and made sure the priest of bane who accompanied him got the remains of the cultist (for further interrogation). The mercenaries returned to the mine, only to discover that the Zhentarim made a contract with one of the Bronzehorn brothers to explore the mine. A truce was achieved at last, and the mercenaries, accompanied by one of the Zhents, opened the dwarven vaults of the Bronzehorn Mine.
23rd-24th of Elient (Fall), 1491
The mercenaries followed Sarcha, the Zhent agent, through the Bronzehorn vaults, only to find the vaults empty - the treasure have been transported by contract to the Highwing Warehouses in Mulmaster, some two decades ago. Sarcha activated a gas trap in the treasury, and fled with the ring the Zhents were after, leaving the mercenaries to fight the monstrous guardian of the vaults. The mercenaries fled the mines, finding Glorn dead along with one of his sons, and the other away. Reviving the old dwarf using a magical artifact they found on his possession, the mercenaries started after the fleeing Zhents, capturing and killing the two sisters and retrieving the ring. Back in Mulmaster, the mercenaries immersed themselves in local politics, exiling Lord Highwing and placing Glorn back in charge of the mines and the lost dwarven treasure. In return for the Black Church's intervention on their behalf, the mercenaries promised helping Bron Seldar and his men to explore the northern regions of the Earthspour Mountains, after the spirit of the dragon cultist revealed some troubling details about that region.
25th-26th of Elient (Fall), 1491
The mercenaries arrived at Orsanau, a small village on the way east to the Earthspour Mountains, on their way to Fort Windkeep. This miserable village seems to be on the brink of collapse, with the burgomaster seemingly more occupied with taxes (in the form of food) than in the well-being of his people. The mercenaries brought a package from Alleyd to an elven scholar named Lephir who is leaving a secluded life in the village. The scholar is researching giant-lore, and is very interested in the package - which contains a ceremonial dagger made by giants. The mercenaries then investigated rumors of a 'monster' eating the livestock of the villagers, and reached to the conclusion that some evil is lurking within the burgomaster's mansion. After ambushing the 'monster', the mercenaries discovered a scheme to blame the village's idiot in the killings. Pursuing the mansion's manservant through an underground passage, the mercenaries find themselves face to face with an evil creature, subduing people by food that create a compulsion to eat, and eat, and eat....
26th-28th of Elient (Fall), 1491
The mercenaries liberated Orsanau of the monster wearing the burgomaster's flesh - a hag from a distant land called Barovia. A Vistani brought her into this land (unknowingly, or so he claims), and got a job as Lord Kull's tax collector in the region. He offered to escort the mercenaries to the fort. The mercenaries arrived at the miserable fort and met the lord's sons - two 'lordlings' aching to flee from the fort and find some adventure. Bane's followers - a mercenary group known as the Black Hand was also present. The Black Hand and the mercenaries agreed on their separate paths to Hollow Stream Grove. A merchant arrived at the fort, peddling spices. During the night, the Black Hand was found dragging the merchant through the mud - they exposed him as a Drow and were about to execute him, proclaiming him a spy. The mercenaries swayed their hand for a while, and interrogated the drow, who told them many dark elves are fleeing to the surface due to something awakening in the Underdark....
29th of Elient till 1 of Marpenoth (Fall), 1491
The mercenaries left and headed to the mountains, agreeing to meet the Banites at Hollow Stream Grove. With Adrik leading the way, the group had another creepy encounter with creatures from Barovia - namely a sick child named Jesrin, and a knight looking for a lost child named Arabel. The group managed to find its way back into the realms, and located two of the waypoints Adrik has known to exist on their route east. One waypoint - a goblin lair - was abandoned, but some goblin rune written in blood and viscous was smeared on the entrance. Arriving at Nightstone Keep, the mercenaries found it oddly empty and in ruin - with giant stones that looked as if dropped from the sky scattered around - but the keen eyes of Grum and Ayoka noticed goblins on the broken walls. Apparently giants attacked the keep and pulled something out of the yard in front of the main keep. Deciding to investigate, the mercenaries encountered a Zhent strike team belonging to the Seven Snakes - on a mission to clear the goblin pests and take over the bombarded fort. After a short fight with the Zhents, the party retreated (with Adrik returning to the keep and slaying the Zhent's wizard, thus learning of the Zhents plans for the keep). Following the town's people tracks to a cave complex north of the keep, the mercenaries encountered the goblin tribe that left its previous home. The goblins charged after Morgran killed one of their scouts, while their chief started performing a strange ritual in front of a basalt statue in the form of a black dragon (with Adrik spying on the ritual). Not long after, a massive wind blew over the mercenaries and the goblins as both groups were locked in a fierce battle. The dragon - black scales glistening in the morning sun - descended upon them all....
1st of Marpenoth till 3rd of Marpenoth (Fall), 1491
The dragon mistook the mercenaries as spies for the Maimed Virulence. When Morgran corrected him, and the dragon told them to run back to Mulmaster and report that the Grave Wyrm is now in charge of the eastern regions of the Moonsea. One of the goblins surrounding the mercenaries approached Morgran and gave him a map and a name: Emkaak. In the goblin caverns, the mercenaries freed the imprisoned Nightstone townsfolk. They spoke of a cloud castle with a giant laughing at a tiny ring who came and plucked the Nightstone from its ancient resting place after demolishing the town. The Nightstone was a black obilisk with a faint magical aura around which the town was built. The townfolk headed off to Elmwood, led by Grim Ur'Grey - a dwarven merchant (the brother of Morak, whose helmet Morgran took from Nightstone). Grim asked the mercenaries to contact a wizard named Hulvaarn in Mulmaster and tell him of Nightstone's fall. One of the prisoners asked Ayuka to relay the same information to someone called Destiny in Waterdeep. The mercenaries decided to follow Morgran map and found themselves after two days of travel in a swampy valley to the east. Spotting two lizardfolk accompanied by an old hag, the mercenaries asked them about Emkaak and were taken to the lizardfolk's cavern, where Emkaak, the Great Builder, is found. Only if the mercenaries would brave the traps of the Great Builder they will meet him. Defeating a couple of clockwork lizardfolk, the mercenaries delved deeper into the cavern and triggered a sliding tunnel trap, that threw Jolly (and Adrik, who tried to grab the gnome), into a pit filled with strange, phosphorescent fungi....
3rd of Marpenoth (Fall), 1491
The mercenaries completed Emkak's trapped dungeon (not without Adrik's catching a nasty fungi infection that is about to kill him), and entered the inner sanctum of the complex. Inside they met the Grave Wyrm once again, deep in conversation with a Gilded-Eye merchant from Hillsfar. The Grave Wyrm told the mercenaries to head to Emkaak's chamber, and warned them not to set foot on Peggy's chambers (the hag the mercenaries encountered before). Just before the dragon left, a Zhentarim agent materialized, whispered something on the dragon's ear, and vanished. Emkaak turned out to be a magical creature known as a Korred - a being able to fabricate items from its magical hair. Using a pair of scissors he stole from a fire giant named Karrak Azgal, the creature is preparing a ritual chamber that will be used to turn the Grave Wyrm into a Dracolich. Emkaak told the mercenaries that the hag is preparing a special brew that the dragon will consume before its death, and that he requires the mercenaries to head to Karrak's underground city to forge the blade that will kill the dragon. The mercenaries were given a flying ship (the Gauntlet), armed to the teeth and able to 'surf' the lava streams underground straight up to Karrak's domain under the Earthspur Mountains. While milking the Korred for information, the mercenaries learned that Karrak is a slaver, and dwarves make the most of his slaves due to their innate skills. Emkaak has escaped the giant's chains, and is trying to avoid it - but only Karrak has the magical forge (powered by streams of lava) that can forge the magical blade that will pierce the dragon's hide...
4th - 10th of Marpenoth (Fall), 1491
Adrik decided to search for Peggy Pigtooth and convince her to cure his fatal disease. A series of unfortunate events ended with the dwarf eaten by a Black Pudding in a trapped pit. The mercenaries, honouring the reckless dwarf's tomb, carved his name above the pit. Back at the Gauntlet, the mercenaries set sail up the lava stream. An encounter with a Quo-Toa sorcerer named Sloopidoop convinced them to head to the Darklake - a vast underground lake connecting many of the Underdark regions - to avoid traveling Drow infested lava-tubes. Another encounter with two grey dwarves slavers sent the mercenaries to Gracklstugh - the grey dwarves forge city. Morgran bought the slave out of the dwarves hands - an elf named Immoral Nailo. At Gracklstugh, the mercenaries where ambushed by Drow who released a stone giant from his chains to create a distraction, and attacked the mercenaries. Defeating them, the mercenaries were asked to give a report to the Stone Guard, an elite grey dwarf police force overmatching the city. Themberchaum - the fat, red dragon who keeps the forges aflame and the grey dwarves 'diety' - was very interested in the mercenaries, and sent a grey dwarf to tail them as they make their way to the Stone Temple.
11th of Marpenoth (Fall), 1491
The mercenaries were interrogated by Erdde Blackskull, captain of the Stone Guard. The imposing duergar enlisted them to search for a spy from Ironslag, a derro named Droki. The mercenaries agreed, but were warned by Garrtogar, a Keeper of the Flame duergar cleric, that Erdde's mission is a false-quest and that he can arrange a meeting with Themberchaum if they helped him locate the Grey Ghosts thieves' guild and retrieve an item they stole from his temple. Descending into the tunnels below the city and entering derro territory suffused with Wild Magic, the mercenaries found Droki, who, after consuming a Pygmywort mushroom (reduced size for 1 hour), traveled through a crack in the stone deeper into the ground. The mercenaries followed - contracting the Cackling Fever on the way and encountering strange Underdark creatures - and managed to capture Droki after disrupting a demonic ritual that animated a statue of the Demogorgon - the demon lord.
12th - 14th of Marpenoth (Fall), 1491
The mercenaries unveiled a scheme to unleash chaos in Gracklstugh by corrupting the stone giant keepers of the city with a Demogorgon demonic curse. In addition, the mercenaries discovered the Keeper's of the Flame scheme of replacing their 'divine' dragon once it reaches maturity and becomes difficult to control. After taking the dragon egg and all of Droki's belongings, the mercenaries left Gracklstugh to Mantol-Derith (an Underdark trade center) were Sirak Mazelore can be found. According to Droki, Sirak is the only one able to decipher the Maze Engine constructed by King Karak to defend Ironslag. On they way, the kobolds running the ship complained about it being "possessed", claiming ghosts are walking in the kitchen, but the mercenaries found nothing. Later on during the journey, the mercenaries ship was attacked by a Balor and a host of undead bound on finding the Faraz-Urbluu - a small black gem that is the prison of a powerful demonic entity.
14th - 16th of Marpenoth (Fall), 1491
The mercenaries repelled the undead attack and convinced the Balor (a powerful demon named Abzal) to negotiate. It turned out that Abzal wants the stone for "leverage" to increase his status among the demons. In return for the stone, Abzal gave the mercenaries 5 rings of protection from fire and a portal to the plane of fire, where the Brass City is located. He also named Ayuka "Krimgol", giving him authority over trade-routes from and to the City of Brass in the name of the demon. The mercenaries continued to Mantol-Derith, and learned that the Zhentarim (led by Gazherim DuLuc) and the Xolarrin Draw (allied with Ironslag and led by Sirak Mazelore) are at each other's throats. A mad deep-gnome named Peebles knows a way to get into the Drow enclave (he learned that from a Drow spy belonging to House Faen-Tlabbar), claiming that they hide a Beholder inside. In addition, the mercenaries learned that Nagata Chan, the owner of the Black Sappire public bath is searching for adventurers to help him in some endeavor, and that a surface dwarf named Hammerbone is trying to rescue a Dryad trapped inside a dying tree in a nearby cave. The mercenaries joined Peebles and sneaked into the dungeons below the Drow enclave, finding themselves face-to-face with the Beholder, while the clear 'click' of a crossbow was heard behind them....
16th - 17th of Marpenoth (Fall), 1491
The mercenaries fought Lorthuun - the Drow's beholder - and killed it. During the battle, Peebles and the female Drow assassin perished. Searching the beholder's lair, the mercenaries found maps that might lead to Gauntlegrym (the lost dwarven kingdom of the north), and evidence that a wizard named Sheldar the Eye Monger is still lurking around. Returning in time to the Drow / Zhentarim meeting, it was evident that the Drow were ready for a battle. A word from Immarel triggered their attack, but they relied on Lorthuun - when they realized the beholder was killed by the mercenaries, Sirak was willing to talk. Ayuka, Kortalak, Sirak and Ghazarim closed a deal to divide trade more evenly - and Sirak agreed to lead them to King Karak. They all agreed to meet a day after to start the journey, and Sirak and his wizard, Henommet, were seem leaving together, communicating in the Drow's unique sign language. The mercenarie decided to further explore the beholder lair, and located a shrine to Vecna deep within it. After defeating 3 Umber-Hulks that emerged after sensing the mercenaries steps, the mercenaries started exploring the shrine itself...
17th - 21th of Marpenoth (Fall), 1491
The mercenaries witnessed Kortalak approach Vecna's shrine and for a moment, the runes on the altar flickered. Kortalak seemed to have gained new powers. Returning to Mantol-Derith, the mercenaries prepared for the journey through the Labyrinth. Sirak warned them of the Maze Engine and its reality altering capabilities, while Honemmeth tried to recruit Kortalak and have the duergar help him activate the Maze Engine and alter reality to gain a flicker of divine power to be used as the individual sees fit. Honemmeth was obviously trying to challenge Lolth, but Kortalak (due to his recent encounter in the shrine) needed to make a hard choice. As the mercenaries approach the Maze Engine they passed a room filled with petrified angles. Ayuka managed to awaken one of them and gained the option to learn one truth. Ayuka used it to learn how to control the Maze Engine, but the knowledge dump overloaded his brain and sent him into a coma, from which he will recover only after 30 hours. At the Maze Engine (without Ayuka to instruct the mercenaries at the correct procedures) the mercenaries fought Honemmeth who tried to use the strange behavior of reality near the Maze Engine to take control of it. The mercenaries managed to kill the drow wizard and foil his plan - with Kortalak finally shutting down the machine with the help of Jolly and Immarel. With the Maze Engine behind them, Karak's Fort - Ironslag - is just around the corner....