Icewind Dale: Session 2

The next day, we left Bryn Shander over the snow covered path to Targos. In fact everything was covered in snow as far as the eye could see. The bright reflection of the morning light caused Earling to squint, he put his head down and pulled his fur lined cloak tighter around his body to conserve heat in this frigid wasteland.

The short days coupled with the bone chilling cold seemed to be taking a toll on residents here, both physically and mentally. The folks we met along the way seemed dispirited and desperate for the seasons to return.

As we trudged toward the town, cold wind biting exposed skin and snow crunching under foot, we heard the bark of a dog over the whistle of the wind. A wolf-sized sled dog with light gray fur ran toward us, dragging a broken leather harness behind it.

As Erling was reaching for some food in his pack, the dog, which had clearly broken free of its sled and seemed friendly, tackled him, whimpering, and began licking his face. Then, it tried to lead us to the gates.

Erling reached for some food in his pack and yelled, "Here boy, here boy! You lost?"

The dog, which had clearly broken free of its sled, and seemed friendly, tackled him, whimpering, and began licking his face and ate the snack. They played in the snow for a few moments like two friends reunited. "That's a good boy," Erling exclaimed as he rubbed the dogs belly. When all this was done the dog kept motioning for us to follow it. "You want us to follow you boy?" an inquisitive Erling asked the dog. It seemed to want to lead us to the gates. Since we were heading to the town we let the dog lead us to the town gates where we sought admittance to Targos.

The guards opened the gates for us and told us that if we wanted to enter, we would have to register for the lottery, which just happened to be that night, as it was the night of the new moon.

With a whisper, Erling suggested we might be able to bribe the guards. For a little coin, I was able to convince one of them to let us in without registering us.

The gates groaned and complained against the cold as the guards opened them. Our newfound friend paced nervously at the gates as they opened and hurriedly led us directly to a modest house, just a few blocks away from the gatehouse.

The dog dashed up the front steps of the home and started a high pitched bark and scratched at the door. A handsome man in his thirties opened the door, and the dog raced inside. A smile quickly faded as he glanced at us, realizing the implication of our visit, but he kept his composure and urged us to come inside, where he introduced himself as Keegan Velryn, and offered us each a cup of warm cider.

Keegan explained that the dog, named Boy, belongs to his husband, Garret Velryn, a wilderness guide who led a small expedition up Kelvin's Cairn. Seeing the dog without its master, Keegan feared for Garret's life.

"I was born in Ten-Towns," a troubled Keegan explained, "but my husband came from a wealthy family in Neverwinter. Garret didn't care for city life. When I met him, he was working as a guide. He loves the outdoors, and he lives to climb mountains.

"A few days ago, Garret was hired by some adventurers to lead them up the slopes of Kelvin's Cairn. Garret's plan was to take the adventurers to Caer-Konig, the town at the foot of Kelvin's Cairn. After they acquired some climbing gear from the outfitter there, he was to lead them up the mountain. Garret took six dogs and a sled with him. Boy, here, was Garret's favorite. Raised him from a pup. Boy would never leave Garret's side unless something terrible had happened."

Keegan explained that he hadn't met the adventurers who hired Garret, so he didn't know how many there were. He asked us to head toward Kelvin's Cairn, find Garret, and see him safely back to Targos. "It's a lot to ask, but could I persuade you to go up there and find Garret and his companions? I don't have money, but the proprietor of the Luskan Arms is a friend of mine. I could get you some free rooms at the inn. I'm also a scrimshander by trade and can give you some of my artwork. It's not worth much, I confess."

We agreed to leave first thing in the morning, after taking Keegan up on his offer for free rooms at the Luskan Arms. He suggested we take Boy with us, so he could show us the way to the last place he saw Garret.

The Luskan Arms was an old house. The proprietor, Owenn Tarsenel, a sad and quiet, balding man, said it was the oldest in Ten-Towns, established back when Bryn Shander was still just "the camp on the hill" and Luskan was a thriving city. Many of the traders who came to Targos in those days hailed from Luskan, so the Luskan Arms was built to look like an inn that might be found in the City of Sails. Much of the decor looked like it must be nearly two hundred years old. The inn had sturdy walls but rotten floorboards, and drafts came up into the common room from the cellar. Despite the rats, I told him I really like the place's charm and nostalgia.

"What a dump," Erling mumbled under his breath, "This place is worse than the last. At least there is a fire and some warm food."

While we ate a quick meal, we asked Owenn about the ice-dagger killings. He revealed that the local shipbuilder victim was named Tavis, and worked at the Jonset Fishing Company.

On the way to the Jonset Fishing Company, as we walked along the boardwalks, we noticed that the water in the harbor was completely frozen, and many of Targos's boats were trapped in the ice. We even saw some fishers dragging their smaller vessels across the ice to get to the unfrozen lake beyond the harbor walls.

When we spoke to the workers at the Jonset Fishing Company, they didn't seem to know much about his murder, but we found out where Travis lived.

We went to Travis' home to pay our respects. While we were there, offering our condolences to Travis' parents, Erling poked around upstairs, but he didn't find anything interesting. However, Erling was suspicious that the twelve gold coins they had stashed in a strongbox indicated that they had some means to pay Travis' way out of the lottery. Sounds like a foolish idea to me. Erling must be grasping at straws.

When we were done, we headed back to the town square to witness the lottery first hand. Erling went on his own to surveil the scene from a distance. The town speaker, Naerth Maxildanarr finally arrived, accompanied by his Captain of the Guard, a tiefling named Skath, and a host of guards and lackeys. Stepping onto a stage, already set with a manacled post, he produced a large sack from which the name would be drawn.

The calling of the name from a sack was followed by a wail, as an old lady was prodded from the crowd and up onto the stage where she was stripped bare and manacled to the post, where she was to be left to die by the elements.

We were all surprised by the sudden alarm raised from the gates, as the guards ordered everyone to withdraw to the docks unless they were able to help defend the town from an invasion. Someone screamed "goblins" as they ran toward the docks.

As the guards scrambled, we tried to capitalize on the pandemonium. Bran went for the sack, which had been dropped next to the stage in the panic. Brutus climbed onto the stage, and grabbed at the manacles, when someone yelled for help from a nearby window that we were interfering with the sacrifice. Eliciting Brutus to give him a lift, Erling picked the locks on the woman's manacles, and we told her to run.

Before she was gone, I rushed everyone to the gates, where we joined the guards there to defend the walls.

As soon as we arrived a goblin magically appeared within the walls and threw a fireball at the gates, incinerating the guards on the wall and opening a breach. As we confronted the shaman, two goblins rode through breach on worgs.
Working together, we defeated the goblin invasion. Bran used thunderwave on one of the worg riders. Brutus took out the other. I maintained my distance, picking them apart with firebolts. Making his way to the wall, Brutus held the breach singlehandedly while the rest of us took out the goblins trying to fight their way in, taking out the archers first, and then the rest.

Almost as soon as the threat was eliminated, we were confronted by some guards asking us about freeing the sacrifice. I deftly explained that when we heard there was a goblin invasion, we were afraid the town might be overrun and that if the goblins killed the sacrifice, then The Frostmaiden would not have been appeased, so we told the lady to hide in her home.

Seeing as how we had just played an instrumental part in defending the town, in full view of the surviving and grateful guards, they bought our story and we were hailed "heroes of Targos."

As the commotion died down, we headed back towards the Luskan Arms, after burying the sack of chits in the ice nearby.

When we arrived, we found Speaker Naerth having a drink. I tried to make conversation with him, but I wasn't able to learn anything valuable. He claimed to be merely following the orders of the council, and powerless to change anything.

Meanwhile, Erling was completely despondent. For someone who had been reluctant to interfere with local laws and customs the previous day, he was adamant that something must be done about the sacrifice. I tried to explain that anything we did would just result in another sacrifice, at a minimum.

We agreed that we would have to head out early the next morning, before Naerth tried to locate his sack.

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