Rising into Elturel always took Kial’s breath away. The brilliant light that shone above the city like an earthbound star was one of the wonders of the Realms, and the promise of safety from dark forces that it offered was one that was in far too short supply.
“I’m going to head to Ontharr’s place,” Leosin told his small cadre of students. It was a miracle of course that it wasn’t smaller. That they’d all survived the attack on Greenest seemed like the sort of gift the gods would not be giving them again any time soon. “You all can take some free time for a couple days. Just check in with me each morning in case we need to move out again in the hurry.”
Leosin had ridden hard to make it to Elturel as fast as possible. With a Dragon Cult army on gathered in the greenlands there was no end of trouble that was going to rise up to follow them. Worse, given the success of the attack, there seemed to be a real chance that they might lose Greenest in the end anyways unless steps were taken to shore it up.
That, however, was a problem for other people, ones with more experience and more authority than Kial had. Kial’s only worry for the rest of the night was to find a tavern, a companion, and a bed, preferably, though not necessarily, in that order.
The first two taverns he tried in the Docks district turned out to be less inviting than he’d taken them for from the outside. His fellow students hadn’t minded that. The prospect of a getting into a bar brawl was one students throughout history had relished and Kial’s fellows weren’t notably different.
Kial, enjoying having his bones intact and his gold pouch unpilfered, left the rest to their devices and ventured to the High District, where his purse would certainly be lightened, probably as much as his companions would be, but he’d have a belly of fine drink to show for it rather than a blackened eye.
A few hours later, Kial was deep in his cups, silently bemoaning that while he had a tavern and a bed for the evening, he still lacked of a companion, when the conversation of the men in the booth behind him caught his attention.
The booth’s were high enough that they hadn’t been able to see him when they came in, and he’d been silent enough that it was unlikely they knew his was there.
“Hail the Great One,” the first man said to the other.
“All Glory to the Great One”, the other responded.
Kial froze, recognizing the greeting phrase of the Dragon Cult. He was not prepared to deal with Dragon Cultists. He would probably never be prepared to deal with them. Ultimately though, he was the only one present who could, and he was capable of doing the one thing that might make a difference; being quiet and listening.
“Do you have the totals yet?” the first asked.
“Only the preliminaries,” the second answered. “It looks like the haul was substantial though.”
“Yes! Does that mean we can move forward with the rest of the plan then?” the first asked.
“No. Not yet,” the second answered. “We have to collect the haul at the hoard, and this is only a small part of what we need for the Great One.”
“Damn, I’m tired of waiting. I want fire and blood now!”
“Patience is a virtue,” the second said. “And virtue is for fools.”
“What? Yeah mean we don’t have to wait?”
“The hoard must grow,” the second said. “We all know that. But that doesn’t mean we cannot give blood and fire to the Great One. We must worship properly though, or the Great One’s wrath will land on us for the insult for failing.”
“Can we worship here though?” the first asked. “There are so many Paladins around. How would we get away with one murder much less five?”
“It will be easier if there are five less Paladins won’t it?” the second asked.
The first gave an evil chuckle at that and Kial heard them both get up to leave before even placing the order for their meal.
Ontharr Frume’s place wasn’t hard to find. The tavern ‘A Pair of Black Antlers’ was well known as the Order of the Gauntlet’s local headquarters. Fortunately it actually sported a pair of black antlers over the door so that even in the torch light, Kial was able to skid through the correct door in his haste to find his mentor.
“What’s wrong,” Leosin said, a smile vanishing off his face the moment he saw Kial’s panicked expression.
“The Cult is here!” Kial said, before launching into an explanation of the murder plot he’d overheard and how he’d overhead it.
Hours later, Leosin was pacing in the Order’s “tactical room”, while Kial sat quietly on a seat in the corner, feeling like history was playing out before him and hoping that history wouldn’t decide to roll over him like it had rolled over Greenest.
“I really hope my Amber gets here soon,” he said.
“That’s your big sister?” Kial asked.
“Yes, though not by blood,” Leosin said.
“How can she help?” Kial asked.
“She went to investigate what the cult’s army was doing,” Leosin said. “We need to know where they’ve moved onto and, more importantly I think, where all of their stolen loot has been taken.”
“Is the money that important?” Kial asked.
“It’s important to Greenest,” Leonsin said. “And more than that, I’m beginning to suspect that it may decide the future of the whole Sword Coast as well.”