The Rise of the Maleficarum
I met a group of the recently arrived Purple Dragons in the Lonesome Tankard inn in Evenstar. We exchanged stories about the orcs we had slain in combat, and I was about to settle in for a night of drinking and storytelling when a distressed damsel burst into the common room. The woman, Solara, explained that her husband, a farmer named Tomas, had been missing for over a day. Comfortable though I was, the poor lass was so distraught that I was compelled to offer assistance. Fortunately, I was not the only one moved by the woman’s plight. A pair of elven swordsmen, Gildean and Kalin, also rendered their service, along with a man calling himself Cas and an eager young lad named Methias. The five of us headed towards the field in which Tomas had last been seen as a steady rain began to fall.
We came at last upon a bloody smear against a rock in the fields to the west of the farmlands. We followed a trail of blood leading away through the underbrush and found a man lying motionless outside the mouth of a cave. As I knelt to examine the injured man, I was set upon by a giant spider. Eldred Steelforged’s shield served me well, as the creature’s jaw lacked the strength to pierce the enchanted metal. Methias, the brave, foolish lad, rushed the creature, but lost his footing on the wet grass and went down. The spider bit into the poor boy’s flesh, and his screams of pain shivered my skin.
Now, I was able to see my new companions in action. Gildean, wielding his blade with incredible skill, attacked the creature’s flank. Kalin wielded two blades to great effect, but wore no armor. Perhaps there is more to him than meets the eye. Cas kept near the periphery of the battle, looking for an opening. Finding the spider’s hide resistant to my hammer, and seeing that my companions seemed to have things well in hand, I dragged poor Methias away from the fray. Examining his injury, I found that he’d been infected with some fast-acting poison, and my efforts to treat his wound were in vain.
As I was tending to Methias, my companions encountered a second spider, but the easily dispatched the pair of hideous creatures. With the battle won, we were free to examine the prone man we had first come upon. He matched the description we’d been given of Tomas, and he had died recently, although he was not killed by giant spiders. He’d been stabbed in the back, and his lung had been punctured. I prayed to the All-Father for the souls of Tomas and Methias. We wrapped them in blankets and brought them back to the town.
In the city, we were accosted by Gunthar, the leader of the Purple Dragons in Evenstar. In exchange for our service in discovering the fate of Tomas, and our promise to continue to aid the people of Evenstar, he granted us a royal decree allowing us to serve as an official adventuring company within the borders of Cormyr. He named us “The Lucky Few,” a name that seemed ill-advised to me in light of what happened to poor Methias. Gunthar asked us to investigate the disappearance of some dozen peasants over the last few months. Our investigation led us to a man named Kylar, at the Golden Unicorn tavern.
This Kylar character apparently fancied himself some kind of information broker, although his information seemed singularly unhelpful. He mentioned the Black Network and someone named Whisper, neither of which meant anything to me. Resolving to continue our investigation by daylight, my new companions and I retired for the night.