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Author Topic: Misadventures of Wastrel. ( a forgotten realms tale )  (Read 583 times)

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Offline WayfarerTopic starter

Misadventures of Wastrel. ( a forgotten realms tale )
« on: March 28, 2014, 11:30:25 AM »
"Here's to the City of Splendors
Deep water where the edge of the sea
Meets rivers of gold; all the coins ever made
Flow past - gods, throw some to me! "
(A traditional toast, sung in the taverns of Waterdeep)

Stedd was born into the Waterdhavian noble house of Melshimber on the twentynineth day of Elaint in the year of moonfall ( DR 1344 ).

His Father, Lord Osvald Melshimber, was pleased to see that his young wife ( Hlanta ) had given him a second son. Lord Osvald's eldest son, Khallos, was somewhat sickly and the Lord wished to insure his house a strong hier.
Smiling to his young bride he turned to depart the room and swatted at what felt like a small insect bite just as the guild mage he had hired to cast the enchantment that would protect the newest Melshimber from all mundane missiles for the remainder of his days entered the chamber.
Such protective enchanments were laid and then made permanet as a matter of custom among the Waterdhavian nobility and Lord Osvald's son would need that and more if he were to become the courtly warrior that he had envisioned.

" when he is old enough to ride I shall send him to Helm's Hold for Education" Lord Osvald thought as he strode from the chamber and down the hall toward where his gilded coach waited to wisk him off to a meeting with the local vinters guild.
Suddenly... he felt very warm, almost hot as he walked the chilly corridor. His vision blurred and swam. Osvald was confused as to why he would feel so ill so suddenly when his legs buckled and his sight grew dim.
" I am going to die." he thought with a bit resignation as he lay upon the cold stone floor of the hall, unable to move. He could hear what sounded like the roar of the sea and knew it was naught but the blood coursing thru his veins.
He felt a tinge of regret that he would not see his new son take his first steps or grow into manhood before his life ebbed....
... and he died.

29 Elaint the year of the morningstar. (1350 DR )

Stedd had several "uncles" as a child. most came and went but one remained constant. Unlce Miklos Melshimber was different. Unlike all of the the other uncles that came and went on a regular basis, Uncle Miklos took a geniune interest in the six year old boy who was the son of his brother. All Stedd knew is that Uncle Miklos actually came to visit him instead of his mother. Stedd really liked the the old man with the silver hair at the temples and the way his gray eyes wrinkled around the edges when he laughed at something or other that he said or did.

Miklos had Brought a special gift with him for the young Stedd on the day that was both his day of birth as well as the sixth anniversery of the death of his father. It was a Ironwood toy sword craved by gnomish hands in the distant city of Glister and was the apex of the woodworkers craft. Miklos had been surprised at how intuitivly he lad had grasped and held the mock blade.

Stedd was so excited that he nearly forgot to breathe. The sword was almost like the ones carried by the housegaurds save this one was made of wood! something about the way it felt in his hands just was...right. Stedd felt almost as if the sword was just something that had always been apart of him, kinda like an arm or something. He summoned up a threesome of fearsome kolbolds in his mind's eye and began to hack them apart in an imaginary fray whilst his uncle looked on.

It was as if the boy already knew the rudiments of grip and stance whislt he did battle with the imaginary foes. The way he kept his elbow in and gracefully slid his feet impressed the old man greatly. Miklos made a mental note to discuss young Stedd's education with Hlanta.
Perhaps he could persuede her to let him take the boy with him when he went to Saerloon in order to inspect the family held vineyards that produced the famous glowfire vintages. Hlanta would likely be glad to be rid of the lad that she seldom saw.
After all, she was so very busy with feasts, revels, and the many suitors that pursued her amid her busy schedule of indulgance and excess that she seldom remembered that she had children, let alone two sons.

Yes, thought Miklos, Hlanta would most certainly allow the boy to accompany him on the trip to Sembia.
A journey that would take several seasons to complete.

The journey to Saerloon took almost a year and in that time Miklos marvelled at how very much like his father Stedd was. He so very closely resembled the younger brother that Miklos had played with as a child that more than once he caught himself calling the young lad "Oslvad" in place of "Stedd".

Stedd thought the journey to Saeloon a grand adventure. He marvelled at the sights and sounds of the foriegn and strange lands that they passed thru on the way to distant Sembia. He had learned to ride and loved the lessons at arms that he received from the house weapon master "Magebane" John, but most of all he loved the scholarly lessons he received from Uncle Miklos.
Uncle Miklos would tell him stories of Netheril and Illusk and other empires of old. Together, they would go over his letters and learn strange and new languages. More than anything else Stedd just enjoyed the time Miklos spent with him and him alone.
He sometimes missed Khallos, his older brother, and looked forward to the day when he would return home to Waterdeep to share the stories of his grand adventure with his older sibling.

the sixteenth of Ches in the year of the dragon ( 1352 DR )

It was a moonless night in early spring when Stedd and Miklos disembarked from the costal cog "Marsember Maiden" and set foot on the docks of Saerloon. Stedd could hear the brisk trade taking place in the Dolphin market even at this late hour. If there was one thing that unlce Miklos had hammered home in his lessons recently it was the love and loyalty Sembians placed on coin.

They moved thru the streets with but a small honor guard of loyal house Melshimber troops so as to not have to wait for the slow unloading of baggage from the hold of the ship. Miklos had told Stedd that this would not only avoid delay, but also avoid trouble, as the entire compliment of troops from house Melshimber seen moving about the city in mass would likely cause unwelcome attention.

It was just before dawn when Stedd saw the country estate that would become his home for the next decade. Although he did not know it at the time, this was the place that molding him the most into the man he would later become. "Mistfields" was an expansive estate with over three hundred acres of vineyards and another two hundred of woods. The manorhouse was old. not in the Waterdhavian sense of old, but it had a well aged and comfrtable lived in look about. Vines of ivy clung to its walls and the roof was tiled entirely in bold blue slate. There were several outbuildings, mostly of wood and thatch, and a expansive and well manicured garden with a maze of sculpted rose bushes. Stedd spent all of his free moments for the next several weeks exploring the place with it variety of hidden alcoves and nooks, while his uncle went about his audits and inspections of the Family hoilding.

Stedd saw Miklos less and less as summer rapidly approached. One day while he was brushing "socks", his Hawkwinter bred horse, a strange lady clad in soft brushed leathers and wearing a mottled green cloak approached him.

"Well met, young master" she said with a hint of something that the seven year old boy could not identify in her clear soprano voice. " I am Sabre, your uncle has retained me to continue your studies in his absence." Her green eyes twinkled as she spoke. " We will be continuing where he left off and adding a touch of field craft to your lessons." Stedd drew himself up to his full hight and squared his shoulders. " I do not take lessons from girls!" he said a with a bit more bluster than he had intended.
Sabre laughed. The sound was similar to that of a mountain brook and only served to fuel the boys anger further. " Is that so? " she asked coyly. " I am a ranger, boy, do you know what that is?" Her face grew hard and stern while she wait on his reply. Stedd remember the tales his uncle had told of rangers and harpers. The strange thing was, they were always men in the tales. It had never occured to the boy that a woman could become one as well as a man. In the tales rangers knew all of the hidden things of the wilds. They could move without trace nor sound and strike down monsters and be gone before any knew that they had even been there. Stedd wanted as much as anything to be like that. He forced his anger down deep inside the way "Magebane" had taught him to do when fencing the blade before speaking again. " I...I...I am sorry, Sabre. I was...I guess I was wrong. Please don't be mad at me. I want to learn."

8 Uktar the year of the serpant ( 1359 DR )

The next seven years went by swiftly. Stedd learned a good deal from the mentors that Uncle Miklos provided. He became adept at riding, swordplay, music ( the harpsicord ) , as well as fieldcraft. His mind was also honed and sharpened in mathematics, history, heraldry, languages ( elven, dwarven, nethernesse, orcish, and the silent tongue of the Drow. ), vinting, among a myriad of other topics. Always Stedd hungered for more knowledge untill his uncle was hard pressed to keep the young man in tutors.

Finally the day came when Lord Miklos decided it was time to send young Stedd ( now 15 ) to study at the university in his native Waterdeep. All was made ready for the young lord to oversee ( while under the watchful eye of the House Melshimber weapon master "Magebane" John ) a House trade caravan of wines to the city of splendors.

Stedd was torn inside. He was leaving behind his beloved uncle and his new home "Mistfields". Yet, he was anxious to see the brother that was but a fuzzy memory held over from his early years. It was a bitter sweet moment for Stedd when he Mounted his aging horse "socks" and led the caravan from "mistfields". He knew that a chapter of his life was closing forever and was considerable anxious as to what the future would hold in store for him.

His held held high, he sat straight in the saddle and choked back the tears he felt welling inside of him as Unlce Miklos bid him a last farewell. "Sweet water and light laughter till next we meet, Stedd." said Miklos using the common tongue translation of the ancient elven traditional words of parting. "Till swords part, Unlce." answered Stedd trying to keep the emotion of speaking the warriors parting from making his changing voice crack.

Stedd wheeled socks around and signaled the caravan forward as he rode toward the gates of Mistfields. He did not know it at the time, but it would be the last time he would see his Uncle Miklos alive.

Greengrass the year of the maidens ( 1361 DR )

Stedd had looked forward to Greengrass all winter long. He had made fast friends among the other young noblemen attending the university. among them, Lords Helmfast and Tesper were his closest friends and also studied swordcraft at the Snookery with. From Garen Helmfast Stedd gained a love of of yachting and the sea. Toghether they would spend many a idle day racing the yachts of House Helmfast across the water of Waterdeep habor. From Gerath Tesper he found someone who pushed him in his study of swordcraft. Stedd and Gerath were constanly pushing each other in an ongoing contest to be the better with the blade and this friendly competition only served to improve thier skills faster than they would have otherwise. The thrresome od friends were seldom out of each others company and together became the scourge of the castle ward. Quickly making a reputatuon for themselves among those who frequented the sort of establishments that young people find appealing in that ward of the city.

Stedd's older brother Khallos was an upperclassman at the college and a tutor to the junior students. For reasons beyond his understanding, Stedd found his brother coldly distant during the early months of his return to Waterdeep. The young Melshimber found himself letting his scholarly studies slide in favor of more phyiscal pursuits. This only served to widen the rift between the two brothers. Stedd also found that members of the fairer sex were also taking up a bit more of his thoughts and time. Stedd liked many of the young noble ladies and to his surprise, they liked him. It was on one of these occasions that Stedd was changed forever.

Greengrass the year of the maidens ( 1361 DR )

Stedd, Garen, and Gerath laughed as they made thier way toward vigin's square. The snows had receded and the festival of Greengrass marked the resumption of trade into the city of splendors. They young men were anxious to witness the choosing of the mercenaries that would provide escort of the trade caravans by the famous Blazidon one eye. The boys had spent many nights developing various therories as to how the old warrior always seemed to select the right man for any given mercenary task and relished this chance to see him in action. That is when they spotted Belanna.

Belanna worked in the Jade Dancer ( a favorite haunt of Stedd and his fellow rakes ) clearing tables and performing other cleaning chores to earn a few extra coin to help support her family and was of the same age as the boys. A group of older boys from the university were gatherd about her in a small cirlce so she could not get away and she wept while they teased and jeered. The leader of the older students was Xavier Bladesemmer, the young scion of the noble house famous for its swordsmen and the mercenary companies they either funded or owned.

" ...perhaps I can hire her to give me a sponge bath. " Laughed Xavier as he groped his crotch. " She will do ANYTHING for coin....or so I hear."
The assembled boys laughed and pulled at Belanna's clothing as they pushed her around the circle. Belanna cried and tried vainly to protect her modesty from the groping hands of the boys. "Leave her be!" shouted Stedd as he and his friends approached. the boys stopped the harrasment of the young Belanna as they turned to regard the newcomers. "well look what we have here." sneered Xavier as he turned to regard Stedd and his companions with contempt. " A young Melshimber thinks he can give orders to a Bladesemmer, and he brought along a pair of lap dogs." Stedds friends instinctively reached for the blades that they bore in response to the insult when Stedd stepped forward to within swords length of Xavier. " If you have issue with her you have issue with me." said Stedd as he looked Xavier in the eye and fiegned a confidence that he did not feel. " What?!?" exclaimed Xavier " Does this wanton escort have you cuckolded? Is she that good in the bedchamber or is she just the best you can sample?" asked Xavier mockingly.

Stedd was astonished at what happened next. It was as if his body took over and he was just along for the ride. Stedd scissored in and launched a fist aimed at Xavier's chin at a slightly upward arch. Xavier had quick reflexes and had manage to take a half stride forward while pulling a punching dagger from a sheath on the back of his sword baldric. This Move brought Xavier in close but not close enough to negate most of the force of the blow as the young Bladesemmer had planned. Instead, the blow landed striaght on the young man's windpipe, crushing it almost instantly, and knocked him to the ground on his back.

Xavier kicked and worked his mouth as he struggled to draw breath. His eyes pleaded to the assembled boys for help while he clawed at his throat with his hands. Stedd watched with numb detatchment, unable to move or speak as he witnessed Xavier Bladesemmer turn blue and die.

Stedd had killed before. Goblins and even a feircsome orc or two on his travels from Saerloon to Waterdeep, but he had never killed a fellow human, and not one he knew. He loooked down at Xavier's corpse and thought of the hope and dreams the boy might have had that would now go unrealized when he felt something hard strike his chest then bounce away to clatter on the cobblestones at his feet. "You killed him! Murderer!" screamed one of the boys that had been with the young Bladesemmer as he drew another dagger from his belt to replace the one that had just struck Stedd in the chest with no effect due to his birth warding.

"The Watch! run!" someone shouted as all of the assembled boys began to scatter like mice before a hungry tom cat. "Stedd! come on, run!" someone else shouted, but the words would not register in Stedds mind untill it was too late. A heavy mailed hand came down to firmly grasp him on the shoulder and snap Stedd from his reverie.

"What have we here? looks like another alley brawl gone bad." said the Watch Civilar as he looked down upon the still blue body of Xavier Bladesemmer. " A noble lad too." the civilar tisked. "Son, I fear that you are in a spot of trouble." said the Civilar as Stedd was finally able to tear his eyes away from the corpse. Stedd spoke to the Civilar with an amazing amount of calm and detatchment. "You have no idea, goodman. You have no idea."

Stedd was relieved that he sentance light. He had been convicted of unlawful duelling (manslaughter) , a serious crime against the second plaint of the Watrdhavian code legal. A crime that could be punished severly by the hidden lords of the city. As it was, Stedd was exiled from Waterdeep for four years and forced to pay restition to cover the costs to house Bladesemmer for the raising of Xavier from the dead. Hlanta was publicly embarassed and privately furious about her son being branded a criminal exile. Arrangements were quickly made for Stedd to depart Waterdeep once again. He was saddened to be leaving the only friends he had ever known. The matron of house Melshimber thought that if her son must be exiled why not send him somewhere that he can be an asset to the family. Stedd was bound for Skullport. A city of rogues and cuthroats deep below Mount Waterdeep.

House Melshimber had a long history of trade with both the slavers in skullport and the drow that came up from the depths of the underdark to do trade with other races. It was the buying and selling of these rare vintages ( and often drugs and toxins ) that formed the foundation of the wealth of HOuse Melshimber. Stedd by this time knew quite well that his family was wealthy ( most waterdhavian noble families have a wealth that outstrips most nations of the realms. ) but was never clear as to how they could have so much from trading in wines and sagecraft alone. It was in skullport that he learned the truth. House Melshimber trafficked in slaves.

Stedd learned quickly the skills needed to survive the streets of skullport as he worked as the family trade ambassidor. He learned valuable skills as a negotiator and diplomat. He also learned the value of a well placed blade in the kidney of stubborn tradesman. He had carved out a place for himself far from the light of day as he filled himself with thoughts of amassing gold in order to surpress the thoughts of Uncle Miklos and Mistfields. Then "they" came.

Normally The tipsters and informants that Stedd had in place about Skullport would have warned him about unusual newcomers to the city. The problem was these newcomers did not appear unusual in the least. The Shadow Sashes had sent two veteran killers out of Calimnport to carry out the contract placed on Stedd by House Bladesemmer. One was a Halfdrow female. Totally unremarkable here inside skullport. The other was a human male of Chondathan descent that was disguised as her nearly naked slave. They were also wise enough to not wear the Sashes of rank that were the namesake and identifiers of the members of the guild.

Stedd Was leaving the ramshackle building that was made up of a variety of floatsom that had been skillfully cobbled together in an attempt to pass itself off as a tavern. His polished boots splashed thru the muck and filth that ran thru the alleys that the denizens of Skullport called streets and he was deep in thoughts about how best to approach a Nethalanther pirate captian about the purchase of his recently liberated cargo. That is when the duo struck at thier mark.

Stedd thought little of the sailor that ran towrd him down the filth choked street. The man was obviously fleeing someone or something from the way he kept glancing behind him as he ran. Early on, Stedd had learned to keep to his own affairs while inside Skullport. Those who pryed into the business of others did not live long.

Stedd was about to say something to the sailor to get the mans attention in order to avoid a collusion, when the man looked him in the eye and Stedd knew something was wrong. The sailor, already at a dead run, was moving too fast and was to close for Stedd to react. The man ducked his head and hit Stedd hard in the mid section with a shoulder while wrapping his arms about the Startled Noble. Stedd felt the air leave his lungs in a great "woosh" as he was lifted from his feet and driven back and then down to the ground.

The Sailor was a Shadow sash assassin and skilled in the art of killing with the bare hands. A skill learned from long, often painfull years of study among the monks of the order of the Dark Moon. As Stedd struggled to draw breath the killer moved swiftly to place himself at an even greater position of advantage over his prey.

20 Kythorn the year of the sword ( 1365 DR )

The Assassin drove Stedd to the ground on his back on the hard slime coverd stone of the street. Eve as they fell, the monk hit Stedd with a headbutt that snapped his right collarbone like a dry twig. The apin shot up thru Stedd's arm like a firebolt and he knew that if he did not get this man off of him quickly his life would soon be over. The half drow priestess of Shar watched the fight from the shadows nearby with grim satisfaction. This mark would prove easier they they had anticipated.

Thane had been calling on the adopted daughter of Mindogar, the Tanaruk dealer of exotic drugs and poisons, for almost two months now. She was a comely girl and Thane found that he enjoyed the excitement of visiting her inside her bedchamber in the home of her deadly stepfather. He was just starting such a tryst when burly Tanaruk arrived home a bit earlier than expected. Not wanted to die today, or the next for that matter, Thane grabbed his sword Baldric and lept from the second floor window with out so much as a second glance. He regreted leaving his boots behind. They had been made from the hide of a crag cat and had cost him more money than he normally made in a single season. Thane did not have long to mourn the loss of his boots before his fall ended. Instead of landing on the hard stone of the narrow street as he had expected, Thane came to rest on something fleshy that absorbed most of the energy of his second story leap.

The monk raised himself and drew back an arm for a palm strike that would crush Stedd's skull when Thane landed on him from above. The basket hilt of Thane's saber crunching down on the bone of the man's spine when Thane landed on him. The Monk in turn collapsed down on top of Stedd who both felt and heard his ribs crack under the combined wieght of the two men. Thane quickly stood "Thank you" he said as he rose to stand on his bare feet. "You broke my fall quite nicely."

The half Drow cursed and cast a spell that summoned an area of inky darkness to fall over the area. Stedd was not certain what happend next as he was unable to see in the magical darkness. He pushed the thrashing and screaming Monk off from on top of him and crawled in a random direction.The pain of his injuries made it difficult to breathe as he made his way thru the muck toward what he hoped would be safety. Sounds of battle rang out and Stedd could swear he heard the cursing of someone or something in a language that was a butchering of the orcish tongue.

Fumbling thru the darkness Stedd listened to what sounded like a growing battle as new combatants entered the fray he had just left. These newcomers spoke in undercommon that was heavily accented by dwarven. Stedd reached the edge of the Darkness spell and forced himself to stand and then to run.

It took Stedd nigh a tenday and plenty of coin paid out to discreet priests to recover from his wounds. During that time Stedd laid low inside on of the many bolt holes that he had prepared for just such an occasion. He also spent a good deal of coin to learn who had attacked him and why. Although only one of the two assassins had been caught and killed, his corpse had yielded up a great deal of information. The man who had been dressed as a sailior was from Calimnport and wore a grey sash under his sailors tunic.

This was all the information that Stedd needed to decide it was time for him to leave Skullport at once if not forever.

16 Alturiak the year of the shield (1367 DR)

Stedd was nearly out of money. He had quietly slipped aboard the ship of a less than honest Lantanesse merchant captain that he had dealt with in the past and sailed with aboard the vessel as far as Baldur's Gate. He quickly found that while he was aboard the close confines of a ship that it would prove very difficult for an assassin to catch him unawares. From Baldur's Gate he booked passage aboard a river barge that was bound up the river Chionthar to Iriaebor. He was not going to make good time, but this was not a race and he would avoid a good deal of notice by keeping belowdecks most of the trip. During his travels, Stedd often found himself idly fingering the Amulet given to him by his Uncle Miklos on his twelfth birthday. The amulet was enchanted to prevent scrying and other arcane means of detection or location. Stedd had longed to return to Mistfields and the Uncle that he loved but knew that would be among the first places the assassins that dogged him would look. After arriving in the city of the topless towers, Stedd purchased a swift palfrey and some supplies and took to the Trader's way heading east toward Westgate. He travelled the road alone and called upon the lesson's Sabre had taught him in woodcraft as a child. Using caution and speed he was able to avoid all folk that he might have otherwise encounterd along the long road.

In Teziir he bartered away the last of his gems to the first ship captain that was bound out of the small port town. All that remained of the small fortune he had carried with him when he had encountered the assassins in Skullport was a but a score of platinum coins and a handfull of gold from the sale of the palfrey that he had purchased in Iriaebor. Stedd had been wise enough not to return to his family owned villa in Skullport. He was certain that was likely why he was still alive. The gem had not been enough to take him as far east as he would have liked but it was farther than Stedd had ever been from Waterdeep in his life.

Stepping off the coaster and on to the docks at Raven's Bluff, Stedd knew that he would have to find a way to put a few more coins in his pocket if he were ever to outrun the assassins that would surely pursue him. He cast his gaze over the city before him. There was what made up a dock quarter nestled just outside of the outer walls of the city with a small market full of fishmongers and thier ilk in the square before the gates. Stedd drew his cloak up tight around him to ward off the chilly mists that seemed to cloak this city in the dead of winter. He had never felt so uncertain...or alone.

3 Tarsakh the year of the tankard ( 1370 DR )

Stedd was starting to like the city of ravens. He had joined the watch under the name "Stedd of Mistfields" and this had seen to his needs. Soon he found himself in the military of the city had been assigned to the watch due to his past experiance with that branch of the civic government. He had risen up thru the ranks and was now a sergeant earning a paltry 15 gold a month. He was assigned to the Scout rangers, a unit in the military that served as watchmen in the outlying areas under the city's control while performing scouting roles in times of war. He enjoyed his patrols out across the countryside and the company of his fellow soldiers.

It was on one of the rare occasions when Stedd was inside the city that he was approached with an offer that would not only change his life but alter the course of history in the realms. He was Playing at cards inside an establishment in the uptown district known as Volodar's Stardust and had been blessed by Tymora. Stedd had already sharped nigh a years worth of wages and was silently counting the coins in his head while waiting on the shuffle when an elderly man sat beside him and introduced himself as Lord Gaius Varro.

When there is blood in the streets
and people stand and gawk
the threat of foe greets
talons of the avenging hawk

from "The ballad of Raven's Bluff" (Anon)

(background information on the Knights of the Hawk)

In a world filled with foes, the Knighthood of the Hawk was founded to protect Raven's Bluff from those that wage open warfare and those who skulk in the shadows alike. Hawk Knights watch, wait, and-should they uncover some evil plot- strike with all of the ferocity of a bird of prey. When city officals need someone who is above suspicsion ( not a member of one of the local gangs or guilds ) to do surveillance work, act undercover, or scout enemy dispositions, they look to the Hawks. The enemies of Raven's Bluff don't play by the rules, and members of this Knighthood are expected to do whatever must be done to counter those threats. Hawk Knights are the city's shadow warriors, ready to blend in and walk unseen by the city's enemies until they are ready to pounce. This order is known to attract loners and those with the wits to hold thier tongues while listening and remembering what all others are saying. The best weapons of most Hawk Knights are thier wits. They pride themselves on trying to outwit or fool opponets, preferring to make such villains appear ridiculous and so destroy threats without creating another pile of corpses, However, if need be, the Hawks are expert slayers of the enemies of Raven's Bluff.

A Hawk does not brag nor boast. Hawk Knights learn to act in whatever guise is needed, from a humble beggar or town drunk to a menacing assassin available for some evil doer to hire. They go where they must and do what must be done to protect the security of Raven's Bluff. They are loyal to thier fellow Hawks and devoted to the ideals of the order. Loyal Hawks are often called upon to violate the city's laws in pursuit of its foes and Hawk's caught abusing his or her position for the sake of self enrichment are often dipatched at the hands of thier fellows for betraying the order. Sworn to protect the city and its inhabitants, they're prepared to go to ANY lengths to accomplish this oath.

"A known Hawk is a dead Hawk."
a common saying in the Shadystreets district of Raven's Bluff implying that death awaits those who would disrupt ( by snitching or other means ) gang activity.

1 Eleasis the year of the tankard (1370 DR)

Stedd had been been both afraid and delighted at what Lord Gaius Varro had to say. He had informed Stedd that the city knew who he was and of his past. Then the Lord offered Stedd the chance to squire with the Order of the Hawk. The city of Ravens would protect him if he would help protect the city in return. Stedd could not accept fast enough.

In Flamerule the armies of Myrkyssa Jelan had assualted the city by surprise in abattle that lasted for six days. Stedd's unit of scouts were overrun and wiped out in the second day of the fighting as they harrassed the ogres and giants that drug the massive siege engines toward the city. Stedd had survived only by being left for dead when an envenomed bolt from a drow crossbow took him in the thigh and put him in a deep sleep. The scouts had never seen the drow unit protecting the ogres until it was too late. Stedd awoke to find himself over a quarter mile behind the lines on the third day of the fighting. The humanoid army had crossed the fire river and were within sight of the city walls. So much battlemagic had been used in the heavy fighting that pockets of both wild and dead magic areas abounded. Stedd assumed that this was the reason the bolt had pierced his birthwards against such attacks. Moving slowly and with great caution he made his way back toward the city. On his way, he encountered a group of enemy mages arguing about the scope of the magically instability in the area. Seeing this as a rare chance to strike a blow of vengance for his fallen scout comerades, Stedd slew the group and returned the war dispatches that they carried back to the defenders of the city. After two more hard days of fighting the enemy was routed and driven from the field by a elder wyrm who had been convinced to change sides in conflict. Stedd found himself an officer in the Scouts and a full Knight of the Hawk.

The Agent of the Red wizards of Thay stepped out into the gowntown district alleyway from the backdoor to the Blackflame trading coster safehouse when a fist hammered into his stomache, knocking the wind from him and causing him to double over with the force of the blow. Before he could right himself, his cloak was siezed and pulled up over his head to blind him. A pair of Strong hands gripped him by the belt and neck and propelled him headlong into a wall. There was a flash of light inside of his head for a brief moment before he slipped into unconcisous slumber and fell to the ground in the alley.

Stedd had tracked this Agent for some four days now and was glad that he had finally been allowed to bring the suspected arsonist in for questioning. Two children had died in the blaze that also claimed the life of Borth Mrimmer, A Leader in the Cartmans guild. Placing a knee in the small of the Thayan's back, he began the task of placing a gag and shackles on the man when the door opened again.

He had not expected anyone to come out again and so soon. "This just is not my day." Stedd mused when he noticed who had just walked out into the alley. It was the Red Wizard known only as Pyre. A devout worshipper of Kossuth and famous for his love of fire based spells, this dangerous Mage also had diplomatic immunity as a member on record of the Local Thayan Embassy. Behind the red wizard was the suspected leader of his Thayan knights, a bald pated woman known as Ash.

Pyre's eyes narrowed as he looked over at stedd who was in the process of shackling the agent of the Red Wizard. "What do you think that you are doing with my servant?" asked the mage venomously.

Stedd swallowed back the cold fear that welled up inside of him as he looked Pyre over. Although he had suspected that the arson may have been the work of more than one foriegn agent, he had never considered that the crime could have been the handiwork of a cabal of Red Wizards. Stedd rose slowly being carefull to keep his hands well away from the obvious weapons he bore and tried his best to appear nonthreatening while inching his left hand toward the poisoned throwing spikes concealed inside of his jacket at the nape of his neck. "Your servant?" Stedd asked "I was bringing this man in for questioning in relation to a recent arson. ....I am......uh....most assuredly you had nothing to do with it."

Pyre narrowed his eyes and trembled a bit. For a heartspan Stedd was unsure as to weather the mage's trembling was brought about by fear or rage. The next few seconds removed all doubt. The staff that Pyre bore flashed briefly and then Stedd found himself surrounded by light and incredible heat. Even as he released the evenommed throwing spikes and witnessed two of them strike Pyre in the face, the air that Stedd breathed seared the tender flesh of his lungs while the flames scorched and blacked his skin. Stedd screamed and lost consiousness.

3 Eleasis the year of the tankard (1370 DR)

Stedd awoke lying in strange bed amidst unfamiliar surroundings. The chamber was small and spartan and stank with incense. He propped himself up on an elbow in order to better survey his surroundings. A single wooden chair, a table with washbasin, a footlocker of sorts and a wardrobe were the only furnishings save the bed he was lying upon. A quick peek under the blankets confirmed his suspicsions that he was indeed naked. It was at that instant two things occured at the same time. Stedd noticed that he no longer bore the enchanted signet ring of a lord of house Melshimber and the door to the chamber swung open.

A tall raven tressed young woman entered the chamber. She was nigh six and a half feet tall and appeared to be quite well porportioned. One would easily call her beautiful if not for the large tattoo that encompassed half of her face. A large blue open hand was inked upon her face with her eye centered upon the palm. It took Stedd a moment to realize it was a symbol of devotion to Torm the true, the god of duty. The field plate and mail that she wore was engraved with sigils and prayers to Torm as well. The way that she wore it was as if it were wrought of silk instead of heavy steel bespoke of years of training in the armor. The Last thing that Stedd's eyes took in was the helm that she bore tucked under her arm. It was a great helm of steel that had been skillfully covered with the preserved head of a great lioness with jaws open so that when worn one could look out thru the visor and between the great white fangs of lion. Such a helm was meant to demoralize and distract a foe, as well as to mark its owner as a member of elite order of Paladins based in the city of Tantras, The Lions of Torm.

"Ahhh...I see you have decided not to sleep your life away after all." she said in a sultry alto voice as she saw Stedd propped up on one elbow on the bed.
" I am Sword of Duty Lani Tormchilde of the Order of the Lion." she said matter of factly with just a tinge of warmth to her tone. Stedd rose from the bed and wrapped the blanket about his waist as he stood. " Well met and thank you, Sword of Duty Lani Tormchilde." he said as he stood and gave her a prefunctionary bow. " If you would be so kind as to return my clothing and my signet I will set about seeing to it that a suitable donation is made to the coffers of Torm in rememberance for this act of kindness and mercy."

"and you are?..." she asked letting the words trail off. Stedd blushed for a moment in embarassment at the oversight. He had hidden his true idenitity for so long now that it no longer required work of thought. "I am called Stedd of Mistfields, Captian of the the watch. The Reverand High Justice Lord Hykros Allumen, and most holy servant of Tyr can confirm my identity or the High Magistrate Tordon Sureblade." he replied.

"I'm sorry, Stedd. you clothing was burned so badly as to be unserviceable when you were found on our doorstep two nights past. We know naught of how you came to be there and were hoping that you could enlighten us when you awoke. Your effects are in yon footlocker. A signet was not among them. I will have some robes brought in for you. they are not much, but better than walking about unclad." although her tone was still flat her blue eyes sparkled with amusement at she spoke the last bit and Stedd wondered briefly about exactly how much of him she had already seen or tended while he slumbered.

"That would be very nice, again you have me in your debt." he said as he raised the lid to the footlocker and did a mental inventory of his belongings. "Tis a strange thing that you mentioned the Reverand High Justice." she said as she turned to exit the room. " He has ordered us to bring you before him the moment that you see, Captian Stedd of Mistfields, this is not the house of Torm. You are a guest of Silver Halls and the clergy of Tyr." Stedd winced inwardly. What he would give to have a good day every now and again.

4 Eleasis the year of the tankard (1370 DR)

Stedd had done some fast talking to satisfy the questions of the Reverand High Justice of Tyr. He was not sure if the man bought the story hook line and sinker but he had belived enough to allow Stedd to depart the halls of silver. Stedd knew that the best way to lie to a priest of Tyr was to tell the truth, just enough of the truth in order to get them to draw the wrong conclusions. Stedd was certain of one thing, his idenitity and and the knowledge that he was a knight of the order of the Hawk were safe....for now.

He had to rendezvous with his knight commander to give a report on what had occured as soon as possible. Checking his back trail casually, Stedd made his way out of the gown town district of Raven's Bluff and moved toward the swords point district. It was in the alleyways of swordspoint that Stedd noticed the Justicars of Tyr that were tailing him. They were good. The Jusitcars were using a five man rotating tail. That was why it had taken him so long to spot them and also why they would be difficult to shake off. His advantage was that some of sidestreets in swordspoint were almost void of traffic and they would likely send some men around to cover the exit ahead of him in the case he should make a break for it. Stedd sighed heavily. The safe thing to do would be break the line of sight of the Justicar who currently had the task of trailing him and hide until they gave up this little game. Unfortunately, Stedd did not have the time to do this. He uttered a quick prayer to Tymora to ask for a small bit of luck. He would need that and more if what he was about to attempt was going to work.

Stedd turned up Griffon trail and headed north toward the five way intersection known locally as "bloody boots", named for the bloody footprints left behind by the survivors of many of the midnight duels fought in the great park known as "fiddler's green" just beyond. Stedd knew that his approach to the expanse of the park would cause the justicars following him a slight case of anxeity and grinned. Just before he reached "the bloody boots" he turned abruptly to his left and into the alleyway that ran behind "Griffon Hall", the home of the order of the knights of the Griffon. Griffon hall was a tall stone fortress like building with a flat roof for landings and launchings of griffonback knights.

The upper reaches of the building were ardorned with very lifelike gargoyles of spreadwinged griffons spaced along the parapet. The alleyway was narrow here, only three feet wide, where "Griffon Hall" sat back to back with "Broadleaf Manor".

Hiking up his borrowed robes, Stedd took a few swift and silent strides down the alleyway and then started to climb. Stedd sprang off the wall of the "Griffon Hall" and propelled himself forward and up toward "Broadleaf Manor" then rebounded toward "Griffon Hall once again before repeating the process, each spring giving him more altitude on the walls. "Broadleaf Manor" was an older wooden manse and Stedd would wince whenever the occasional board would creak or groan against the stress of his springing. The last thing that he needed was for the justicars to notice him.

The first of the justicars rounded the corner and entered the alleyway just as reached the slate roof of "Broadleaf Manor". He dropped to his stomache and tried to control his breathing after the rigorous climb while he peered down over the edge of the eave at the man tailing him. The man looked about furtively and peered into the shadows of the alleyway in search of Stedd when his counterpart appeared in the alley from the opposite direction. The two justicars exchanged glances and the first man simply shrugged in silent reply. The second began casting some sort of a spell and Stedd instinctively placed a hand upon the enchanted amulet that Uncle Miklos had given him for his twelfth birthday. He uttered a silent prayer of thanks to Shar for preventing it from being lost to him like his family signet after the encounter with Pyre.

Stedd supressed a chuckle as the spellcasting justicar looked puzzled at the results of his casting. Gingerly easing himself out of view on the rooftop, Stedd stood and walked westward toward the side alley where "Broadleaf Manor" and "The Santcuary" sat side to back. The traffic on the streets below was beginning to pick up as the city stirred to life and Stedd wanted to be away and clear of the rooftop before he was noticed and someone summoned the watch.

"The Sanctuary" was a five story apartment building filled with posh suites that catered to the tastes of well-to-do elves and half-elves and was famous for its huge indoor atrium that housed a pool, mosses, ferns, shrubs, and even a few great duskwood trees. Stedd was slightly above the level of the third floor windows and peered across the alley at them when he noticed one was open to allow a fresh breeze of air inside the suite beyond.

"Thank you Tymora, forgive me for ever doubting you." Stedd whispered and took a two running strides before jumping into the void between the two buildings.

For a moment he thought that he was going to make it. Stedd's forward momentum carried him thru the air and toward the open window ten feet away. Then gravity reared its ugly head and things started to get bad. He struck the wall of "The Santuary" with a meaty smack that made him see stars for a moment. The years spent training at the sword were all that saved him from falling as he somehow managed to grab and hold on to the bottom sill of the window with his strong fingers and supple wrists.

"Did you hear that?" said one of the justicars searching around the corner of the alleyway. "Yeah," replied his comrade. "Let's check it out." Heaving for all he was worth, Stedd hoisted himself quickly and less than gracefully thru the open window and out of sight.

He was in an elegant room that , if the decor was any measure, belonged to a person of the female gender. Stedd rolled over on to his back and tried to rest for a moment while deciding what to do from here. He must have a bit more tired than he thought for soon he drifted to sleep.

"Captain Stedd, wake up!" said a male voice that was tinged with a faint elvish accent. "What are you doing here? and why are you dressed as a priest?" Stedd opened his eyes to see a familiar face that he could not quite put a name to. He had always hated that. It was never a good thing when someone could remember your name and face and you could not recollect thiers. Stedd resigned himself to doing what he usually did in such circumstances, he would play along and pretend to know the person and pray that they would say or do something that would help him to remember who they were.

Offline WayfarerTopic starter

Re: Misadventures of Wastrel. ( a forgotten realms tale )
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2014, 11:35:11 AM »
It is impossible for a woman to marry an officer and a gentleman without commiting bigamy."
~Stedd Melshimber
4 Eleasis the year of the tankard ( 1370 DR )

The elf had called him "Captain Stedd". That meant that the elf likely knew him from his appointment as a Captain in the Scout Rangers of the Raven's Bluff Militia. Like a thunderbolt the memory of this male elf who appeared no more than 20 years of human age flooded back to him. "Alan, I was waiting to speak with you in private. A clandestine meeting, if you will, thus my disguise." Stedd blatantly lied. He knew that that the elf would be skepitcal but if he could keep him off balance long enough he could avoid any questions that went into subjects better not discussed.

""Whatever for? Why here? I told no one of my intent to take Aduialmeleth to the Roost today." asked Alan of the Dale. Stedd surmised quickly that this "Aduialmeleth" must be the female whose apartment suite they were in. There was simply no other way to explain it. Stedd knew the sergeant from the scout rangers as a good scout and lethal shot with a bow. Alan could not afford such appointments on his current salary and a elven sweetheart would seem a likely answer. The "Roost" was a different subject alltogether. "the "Roost" was the headquarters, barracks, and social club for the Order of the Knights of the Golden Rooster. The Golden Rooosters were a group of self proclaimed knights that, as far as Stedd could see, were chiefly concerned with looking good and social climbing as opposed to any real martial pursuit. What Alan had to do with this bunch of poppinjays and greengrocers puzzled him at the moment.

" I have been re-assigned to A.S.P. and require your help." Again Stedd lied. He had been offered a transfer to the "Advanced Special Patrol" and told he could could pick his own team as a good cover for the work he did for the "Hawks". People did not ask many questions of A.S.P. officers as a rule of thumb. Stedd had declined the offer as he prefered to work alone and the cover job was actually a real posting with real responsibilties. Stedd had a pretty fully plate without the added burden this would place upon him. He prayed inwardly that Alan would not demand some proof of his membership to A.S.P.

A young woman entered the chamber. She was a bit thin ( Stedd prefered women that had a few curves to them ) for Stedd's tastes but then most elven women were. "I heard voices. are you talking to yourself agai....." her voice trailed off when she saw that she was indeed not alone with Alan in the chamber.

Stedd stood up and did his best to smile and bow before adressing her in his best elven. " A pleasure to meet you, Aduialmelet. Alan here has told me so much about you." If you will excuse us for a moment, Alan was about to help me find some suitable attire to change into." Alan seemed to hesitate for a moment and that was all of the opening Stedd needed to steer his old squadmate toward what he hoped was the door out.

The clothes were tight across the chest and...well, everywhere. Still they were better than the robes. Stedd made his way to the clothiers in order to purchase some more fitting and less confining garments before he would rush to meet up with Alan and Aduialmeleth at the Roost. It had taken some smooth and fast talking on the part of the two men to allay the lady's suspicions but at least Alan was too busy trying to cover up what had occured to ask too much more about it.

The Roost was an interesting place. If the knights of the Golden Rooster spent as much time at arms practice as they did preening before mirrors, Raven's Bluff would be quite formidable indeed. Stedd wished that he had allowed the tailor a bit more time to fit him properly but atleast he was dressed for the occasion. he would meet with Alan and Aduialmeleth, tour the Roost, then slip away to meet his handler with the knights of the Hawk and make his report. what could go wrong? surely he had used up his allotment of bad luck for the day.

"A leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don't want to do, and like it."
-Miklos Melshimber

4 Eleasis the year of the tankard ( 1370 DR )

The Roost was a most interesting place. Stedd had not seen a larger grouping of garishly dressed individuals outside of his native Waterdeep. After a brief reminder that they had unfinished business to Alan, Stedd parted company with the elven couple. HE began to make his way toward the the compound gate when a knight wearing a gilt suit of field plate armor bowled into him from the left. " You aught ta try to stay ta stay out ta da way of yer betters!" said the knight in a deep bass voice that was heavily accented with orcish. Stedd looked at the towering oaf with astonishment. Here was a veritable mountian of muscle. The Half Orc was nigh seven feet in height and had skin the color of cinder ash. His armor looked as if it bore enough golden embossing and scrollwork to feed a family of halflings for a decade or two and the thick spiked chain the knight bore as a weapon was gilt as well.

"When my better appears, I will." replied Stedd. "Untill that time, try to avoid stumbling into me you churlish buffoon!" Stedd could not belive he had just said that! He wished that he could grab the words and stuff them back into his mouth as he watched the half-orc knight grow a deeper shade of grey. People nearby paused and looked on as the exchanged continued.

"You are challenged, little man! meet me at fiddlers green when da moon is high." the half-orc near shouted. Stedd new that since the half-orc had challenged he could choose the weapons. " I would invite to a battle of wits but it would be unchivalrous to exploit an unarmed opponet." Stedd said. This brought a chuckle or catcall or two from the gathering crowd. "Starwheel pistols. have your second bring them. If either of you even have the courage to show." Stedd finished. Stedd knew that few had the funds to aquire the expensive smokepowder weapons and fewer still knew how to load and use them. He was gambling that this half-orc was to dim of wit to have a well rounded martial education. The Half-orc gurgled and shook. several of his fellow knights stepped between the two men at that point to stop what would have surely become a barehanded brawl.

"You are quite the wit, sir." said a golden haired and handsome man who had appeared at Stedd's elbow. "If you have none. I would like to be your second. You see, Nagog and I bear each other little love and I would love to play a hand in his humbling." The man said with a smile. He wore white stylish clothing that was made of Shou silks and trimmed with white dragon leather. The man wore more jewelry than a Turmish whore and topped of the whole outfit with an ivory cane that was capped with a Rooster made of gold. "I am Sir Astiger of the Golden Rooster and whom do I have the pleasure of meeting?" asked the man.

Stedd smiled and offered the man his hand. He liked this fellow in spite of himself. "Stedd of Mistfields." he replied.

" Hold no fear in your heart for an armored adversary. Armor is the hallmark of a man who is too unskilled to properly defend himself. He shames himself and his craft by the wearing of it."
-Sword master Myrmyth Splendon to students of the Snookery in Waterdeep.

"Bucketheads are greengrocers who half learned the blade."
-Stedd Melshimber

4 Eleasis the year of the tankard ( 1370 DR )

Stedd had enjoyed an excellent meal at the Stardust in the Tentowers district with Sir Astiger as the man had persisted in his invitation despite Stedd's orginal declination.It was most odd that the man just so happend to be bound for the same place that Stedd was to meet with his handler from the Knoghts of the Hawk. During the meal Stedd had found Sir Astiger a most unusual and likeable sort of person. He claimed to be a devotee of Azuth and eshewed all armor and weapons save the sword and his fists. Sir Astiger talked of how study and building the mind were the true hallmark of a knight. Stedd shared several of the man's opinions and was intrigued by the ones he did not share.

Stedd had then slipped in to one of the private gaming tables and made his report. He was glad to hear that his decision, to join the ranks of A.S.P. and form a team of agents drawn from the ranks of the watch, was so well recieved. The news of Pyres involvement in the arson and subsquent escape was not well recieved. Stedd's handler informed him that Ash ( Pyre's bodyguard and also a Thayan Knight ) had been observed travelling south with a large grouping of red skinned orcs of a type never seen before in the region. Stedd was to work with A.S.P. while trying to ucover solid evidence of wrongdoing that would permit Raven's Bluff to expell the duplicitous Thayan ambassidorial staff without provoking a confrontation with Thay.

Stedd's thoughts were on this new task as he made his way back toward "bloody boots" and "fiddler's green" where he would face Sir Nagog of the Golden Roosters in a duel. The jusitcars would have heard of the pending duel by now and be lying in wait for him. It made no differance now that Stedd had made his report but he still was adverse to having his every move followed. A small knot of people had gathered in the park to await the start of duel and Selune was near her zenith. It was almost time face death.

Face Death. Stedd's mind went back to the events that led upto the encounter with Pyre in the alleyway. How had he come to be at the steps of the temple? why had Pyre not killed him? Why was his signet taken but not items of more obvious monetary value? Stedd had a bad feeling that he was about to be framed for something very, very bad. By the time he arrived at the appointed place among the small throng at fiddler's green he was in a foul mood.

Sir Nagog in his gilt armor stepped forth from the crowd with a half drow woman at his side. The time had come.

"Under the sky there is no uglier spectacle than two men with clenched teeth and hell fire eyes, hacking one another's flesh; converting precious living bodies, and priceless souls, into nameless masses of putrescence useful for only turnip-manure and necromancy."
-Miklos Melshimber

"There is nothing certain about combat except that one side won't win."
-Stedd Melshimber

Midnight 4 Eleasis the year of the tankard ( 1370 DR )

" The fool showed up. " said Nagog to the half drow female in undercommon; A language that few surface dwellers understood but Stedd knew well from his time in Skullport. The half drowess smirked and held forth a case made of Turmish mohogany. Sir Astiger stepped forth from the throng and took the case from her and opened it. He glanced at the pair of matched starwheel pistols that lay on the velet lining briefly before closing the case and handing it to a man dressed in the robes of acolyte of Helm. Stedd assumed the young priest was acting as judge even though such duels were against the spirit of the law the ancient laws had never technically been repealed. An event such as a duel had a strict set of rules that had to be adhered to or the both parties could be charged with numerous crimes. Stedd reflected briefly on his encounter with Xavier Bladesemmer in the Vigin's square of Waterdeep nine long years ago and was determined not to dishonor himself like that again.

"I will oversee the loading of the pistols by the seconds before weapons are choosen. Both principals will then seperate from me exactly ten strides apiece, then turn and fire on my mark. The man who strikes his mark first shall be deemed the victor, unless he perishes as a result of his adversaries return shot." the young priest said while holding open an old and dog-eared tome. "If both men miss thier marks we will re-load and continue until such a time as one party either yields, or is victorious."

Stedd scaned the crowd and was not surprised to see the justicars of Tyr among those assembled. He knew then with a certainty that any deviation of the legal protocols would go poorly for him. "I don't know how to tell you this, Stedd." said Sir Astiger as he appeared at Stedd's elbow. " but one of the pistols bears the aura of alteration magic. It is the one on the left. I can not tell you more than that without causing a stir. Both pistols bear the seal of Gond and that of Lantan. Proceed or declare the weapons unfit, the choice is yours." Stedd wondered briefly how the knight had seen the "aura of alteration magic" but knew better than to question him on the topic right now. "Proceed" Stedd said as he narrowed his gaze upon Sir Nagog and the half drowess who stood whispering with one another a few short strides away.

"It is time for the choosing" said the priest. "Sir Nagog. Since your party provided the weapons it falls to Captain Stedd to choose." The priest turned to Stedd and held out the case. The time to decide was here. should he take the weapon with the enchantment or not?

Stedd reached out and lifted the pistol on the right from the case. For good or ill this would be the weapon he would use this eventide. He knew that the justicars were watching the proceedings with scrutiny and were he to win with a enchanted weapon they would surely cry foul. Stedd watched as the grinning Sir Nagog took up the remaining starwheel and grinned widely enough for all to see his yellowed lower tusks. The sight did little to make Stedd feel better about his choice. He did his best not to allow his doubts to show as the priest adressed them both again.

" Do you, Sir Nagog, wish to withdraw your challenge?" asked the priest. Sir Nagog hawked and spat in reply. " Are you willing to yield and admit that you have wronged Sir Nagog?" The priest asked Stedd. "I am not, nor ever shall I utter such a falsehood" answered Stedd. The crowd made a lane in the press of people gathered upon the sward of green as the combatants paced of the required distance from the judge.

"On my mark...." said the preist as a hush fell over the crowd. Stedd though for a moment he heard a watchwhistle sound In the distance but the noise was drowned out by the next word of the priest.


Offline WayfarerTopic starter

Re: Misadventures of Wastrel. ( a forgotten realms tale )
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2014, 11:36:31 AM »
In one sense the charge that I did not fight fair is true. I fought for success and not for display. There is no man in the army who has less of the spirit of knight-errantry in him, who who takes a more practical view of combat than I do."
-Stedd Melshimber to Field Marshall Lord Blacktree during courts-martial proceedings. Stedd was aquitted shortly following this statement.

Midnight 4 Eleasis the year of the tankard ( 1370 DR )

Stedd turned about so that his shoulders were squared to Sir Nagog as he had been instructed at the Snookery. "Although turning to face your opponet side-long will present a smaller mark for your adversary, It will more than double your odds of being fatally struck if hit by the fire of your opponet." The voice of Swordmaster Splendon echoed in Stedd's memory as he he planted his feet and raised the starwheel.

Stedd normally eschewed smokepowder weapons. They were loud noisesome and expensive things, and their rarity and the amount of time needed to become proficient with them made them impractical for miltary use. Several Nations, including Waterdeep, had either outlawed or restricted the sale of smokepowder in response to frantic urgings by mages everywhere. A mage spent years of study and aquired a measure of discipline before ever learning to cast the smallest of destructive spells. Smokepowder put such power in the hands of any fool with a bent for destruction. One handkeg of smokepowder when put to the torch could equal the best fireball an archmagi could conjure.

Stedd raised his arm and looked down the barrel of the pistol toward Sir Nagog. Sir Nagog would not prove a hard target. It would be like trying miss hitting a barn door. The half-orc was simply immense and size would be a disadvantage in this contest. Stedd noticed a flash from the weapon of his adversary and squeezed the trigger of his pistol in reply.

The clockwork wheel on the right hand side of the pistol began to spin. This caused the the five strikers contained in the wheel to cause sparks that went into the pan located inside the housing of the wheel. Stedd heard this hiss of smokepowder being ignited a split second before his vision was obscured by a cloud of acrid smoke follwed by the thunderous boom of the weapon's discharge.

He was struck at almost that precise moment squarely on his chest. The force of the impact knocked him backward two and a half paces to avoid falling. His ears rang from the rapport of the shot but he he could see the face of Sir Astiger was slackjawed with astonishment as the smoke began to disapate. Following the man's gaze down to his chest, Stedd could see the hole in newly purchased silk shirt where he had been struck by Sir Nagog's bullet. The hole was directly over his heart and the skin seen thru the hole was not only intact but unblemished. Stedd inwardly thanked his father for having the foresight to bestow him with such a marvelous gift on the day of his birth. He looked to Sir Nagog.

Sir Nagog knelt upon the sward and clutched his manhood between hands stained with the crimson of his blood. "" said the stricken knight before falling face first upon the loam. The crowd surged forward as someone cried out "The Nightwatch comes!"

Chaos ensued.

Offline WayfarerTopic starter

Re: Misadventures of Wastrel. ( a forgotten realms tale )
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2014, 11:42:00 AM »
23 Marpenoth the year of the tankard ( 1370 DR )

" A force raised without proper regard to the choice and caliber of its recruits was never yet made good by length of time nor training. "
-Baron Bloodstone of Damarra

Stedd had assembled what he thought was a good team for any assignment A.S.P. might throw his way. He had choosen Sir Astiger of the Order of the Golden Rooster for his panache and keen intellect. The knight would be his leuitenant and his education on things arcane would prove handy. The two men had become fast friends in the days following the duel with Sir Nagog ( who was declare victor and eventually healed from his wound. ) at Fiddler's Green.

He had also choosen Alan the Marksman to be a member of his team. They would needs someone who possesed superb tracking and woodcraft skills. The fact that Alan was also a Archer whose reputation for extrodinary accuracy was fast becoming legend among the military circles of the city would not hurt Stedd'd cause either.

Alan had suggested an associate of his be brought into the team. A somewhat arrogant gold elf who went by the name "Marilynn". Marilynn was newly arrived to the city and claimed to hail from Everska, an elven strong hold far to the west. One thing about the golden elf was certain, he was a sorcerer who could hurl battle magics with ease while using a blade to good effect at the same time.

The last member of the team was a bit more difficult to aquire. Stedd had been forced to use his contacts with the Knights of the Hawk in order to have her "assigned" to his team by the high magistrate. Lani Tormchilde of The Lions of Torm was both a fearsome warrior and would lend an air of authority to the team if such intimidation was needed.

They had spent the last month and a half training together. Doing mock battles and learning how to work together as a team. Finally they had reached the point where in most situations each member of the team knew how the others would act. Finally they were ready for thier first assignment.

The orders that came down instructed the team to deploy to the Shadystreets neighborhood of Raven's Bluff. There had been a recent surge in gang activity there. While this was nothing new to Shadystreets it did bear looking into. The city was usually content to let the gangs kill each other off in peace as long as the violence stayed in that nieghborhood. This was different. Two local gangs had already been wiped out and a third had been displaced to the dock quarter. Gang violence in the dock quarter was not to be tolerated as it would be bad for trade. When things were bad for trade the entire city felt the pinch. So it seemed that Stedd and his team would be investigating who or what had driven the street gang that called itself "The Dirty Turtles" out of Shadystreets. Stedd knew that this was not going to be easy as the Watch could not operate in the Shadystreets neighborhood without a fully company of army light infantry for support. To do otherwise was to invite slaughter from the elements of the underworld that claimed the neighborhood as thier turf.

26 Marpenoth the year of the tankard ( 1370 DR )

The Half Drowess sat in her chamber deep under the city of Procampur and read the letter before her. The fact that the missive came from an agent of the local Thayan enclave did little to ease her anxiety. Sephia was guildmistress of the largest and most powerfull group of thieves and killers for leagues in any direction but that seemed to provide her with little comfort. The Red Wizards new more about her and her "Sharwomen" than she was comfortable with. In all of the years she had spent in service to Shar she had only failed to accomplish one task; The assassination of a young Waterdhavian noble named Stedd Melshimber.

Sephia remembered the encounter in Skullport like it was yesterday. Things had been going so well untill that man had jumped out of the window and the whole endeavor had devolved into a street riot. By the time the dust had settled the nobleman had slipped away. That the Red Wizards should send her information that claimed that he was hiding inside Raven's Bluff was unsettling in many ways. How could they have known of her unfullfilled contract so many years ago? How did they find him when she could not? How could they find her? The field report that she had recieved a month ago from her cover agent inside Raven's Bluff made more sense now in light of this letter from the Thayans. Natashia was among her best deep cover operatives and had imbedded herself inside the Order of the Golden Rooster as a Squire to Sir Nagog. The man who had fought the duel with the half-orc knight could only be Stedd Melshimber. The report from Natashia did not mention him by name but instead refered to "An Army Captain of Sembian Origin." She had payed little attention to that section of the report and the description of the Captain named in the report at the time but it all made sense in retrospect.

Her Sharwomen were currently engaged in a takeover of orginized crime inside Raven's Bluff and were establishing a base of operations in the shadystreets neighborhood. Soon, if all went as planned, they would move beneath the city and into the ruins of Saerbreen. The artifact would soon belong to her. Sephia smiled.

Stedd Melshimber would be her first test subject once the artifact was hers.

13 Uktar the year of the tankard (1370 DR )

Stedd sat inside the Shadystreets tavern and eyed the group of women who were engaged in wagering on the Rat-Kill. A unsavory passtime that was popular among the sailors and desperately poor in which a dog was loosed inside of a pit full of wharf rats for a predetirmined amount of time and wagers were placed on how many rats the dog could kill the time expired. Stedd had assumed the guise of sailor who had missed the departure of his ship. His sailor persona was bolstered by the knowledge he had gained racing yachts with his school friends in Waterdeep and had allowed him to allay the suspicisions of the locals. He had called himself "Sharkey" and had made the Tavern known as the "Salty Dog" his home while he gathered information and pretended to look for work.

It had not been hard to find the "Dirty Turtles" and Sharkey had been quickly assimilated into the street gang that was looking to bolster its ranks with fresh recruits. He had been forced to conduct a mugging or two in order to gain thier trust but had been certain to pass this information on to A.S.P. via dead letter drops so that the victims could be compensated for what he had done to them. Stedd scratched at the lice that infested his clothing. The fleas and lice had been the worst part of this assignment so far. Stedd could not understand how people tolerated them.

The women, Sharkey (Stedd) had been told, were members of the new orginzation that had moved into shadystreets and taken over there. In just a few short weeks they had either killed, assimilated or driven out all competition from rival gangs. These women all had one thing in common that truely disturbed Stedd. Each wore openly a Holy symbol of Shar.

Sharkey cast his gaze about the room and looked for his fellow Dirty Turtles. All seven were in position about the gaming pit and , like Sharkey, awaiting the signal to strike. Tonight would mark the begining of the Dirty Turtles bid to reclaim what they deemed was thier turf. Sharkey placed his hand inside of his worn woolen shirt and rested it on the Turtle shell there. The Turtle shell was filled with a noxious mixture of peper, puffer fish toxin, salt and other nasty things that had been sealed with wax and designed to be thrown as a grenade styled weapon. It was this inventive grenade that gave the gang it name "Dirty Turtles". The uncontrolable nausea and vomiting that resulted from inhaling the cloud left in the wake of a shatter turtle is what caused them to be considered a "dirty" trick by those who been unfortunate enough to subjected to it.

Somewhere outside on a nearby rooftop Alan and Marilyn waited under the cover of an invisibilty spell in the event that things went badly. The dirty turtles were unaware that the two A.S.P. members would be siding with them in the upcoming turf war if such assistance could be rendered undetected. Stedd hoped they were ready as he spied the signal to attack.
One of the dirty turtles who was playing the dagger toss suddenly wheeled and threw his blade staight at one of the three Sharwomen watching the rat kill.
Sharkey and they other dirty turtles threw thier namesakes into the crowd near the women in unison and a cloud of noxious dust envelped the area. Sharkey drew a long punching dagger from the back of his belt and moved toward the edge of the cloud. One of the women from the rival gang stepped out gasping for air and choking. Sharkey moved in quickly and dropped to one knee as he lunged toward her and plunged his blade into the major artery on the inside of her upper thigh. Twisting the broad blade inside of her flesh he spun around her and, using a reverse sweep kick, knocked her legs out from under her so that she fell backward the the wooden floor. He turned and thingyed his weapon arm back to deliver a quick coup de gras to his victim when the entire room was cast into inky blackness.

Patrons screamed and swore as they fought each other and the darkness in order to escape the taproom of the salty dog. Sharkey ( Stedd ) was bumped hard on his side as he thrust down with the punching dagger. He cusred under his breath as the blade met only wood and he rolled with the blow of the patron that had bumbled into him. Not being able to see inside the crowded taproom put an end to Sharkey's desire to continue the fight. Realizing quickly that the throng fighting at the front door would prove difficult to get thru, Sharkey decided to simply wait out the confusion. He crawled his way toward a wall and stood up. Reaching over his head Sharkey felt about for one of the rafters. His hands found what his sightless eyes could not after only a brief search. Sharkey readied himself to spring and haul himself up when he was struck dead in the chest with a chakram. The thrown weapon normally would have bounced harmlessly off of his flesh due to his birthward but this missile bore an enchantment. The chakram sliced thru his clothing and into his flesh and Sharkey felt the familiar woozy sensation of drow sleep toxin doing its work inside of his body.

Sharkey grew worried fast. If he had been singled out of the crowded taproom in the darkness with a missile attack it could mean only one thing. The person who threw the Chakram had sight that could pierce the magical darkness. Blinded by the darkness and unable to determine the location of his assailant in the crowd, Sharkey tried to force his drowsy mind to come up with something that would even the odds fast.

He conjured up a vision of the taproom as it had been before the choas inside his minds eye. Sharkey turned and drove headlong toward what he hoped was the window overlooking the water. He heard more than felt the glass break and then he was falling. He seemed he fell a long time. Sharkey was unconsious before his fall was complete.

14 Uktar the year of the tankard (1370 DR)

Stedd awoke in a small dingy with the sun in his eyes. His back hurt and he had several small cuts on his hands and face where the glass had cut him from his dive thru the window. He tried to sit upright and felt a sharp sting across his chest where the chakram had struck him. "At least I'm alive." he half said half moaned. This was going to be difficult to explain to the knights of the Hawk. He wondered how many had died in that ill fated ambush. He closed his eyes and lay there a moment as he gathered his resolve to move.

The Red Wizard known as Pyre banished the image of the young Melshimber lord from the crystal ball. The signet ring that he had taken from him in the alley had proved a valuable find. It not only identified the lord for who he truely was but also enabled him to piece the wards surrounding the man and scry upon him at will. Pyre grinned evilly. He would pit the Hawks against the Sharwomen in a fatal struggle. Hopefully a struggle that destroyed both of his enemies. While they fought, He and his agents would be free to recouver the artifact unhindered and unfettered by compitition.

Pyre did not fear either adversary. He was a priest of Kossuth and a Arch Magi Evoker. His favortie spells were those that brought a slow agonizing death by fire to his victims. Such was the punishiment for displeasing the strong. The weakness of others was not his concern. The pain they felt was the reward they would reap for crossing someone as powerfull as he.

He half hoped that the young Melshimber would survive the coming ordeal. Having a Waterdhavian noble about to extort could prove usfull in the future. A future in which Pyre would break Zass Tam's hold on Thay forever. A future where the strong ruled Thaymont and the weak either served or died.

Offline Baneare

Re: Misadventures of Wastrel. ( a forgotten realms tale )
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2014, 03:08:09 PM »
Nice work so far! Your character definitely has his work cut out for him, and his seeming advantages are slowly being stripped away...keep it up!