It’s Dungeons and Dragons time! Here’s the latest installment of the epic journey of our heroines, Danaeryzard and Alaria! (If you’re new here, check out the entire saga in order by reading the chapters organized on the D&D tab of this site!)
“There are things that you two need to hear. Let’s set up camp,” Ezra said as they collected their horses waiting near the outside of the Red Dragon Monastery.
Finding a clearing, Hendricks assembled some firewood and Dany spat out a tiny flame to get a fire going and they all sat around it.
“Well, as you know, there is a war happening that is centered around the Sun Wizard,” Drex began to explain to Alaria and Danaeryzard. “The sun wizard… he isn’t just one person. Well, he is, but he’s part of something bigger. A war that’s been fought for generations. A war fought in the shadows. Fought with assassinations covered up as an accident disguised as sabotage. The war is fought like this because frankly, it’s been going on for so long, that each side’s network of spies and informants and moles run deep.
“What started the fighting is lost to history…but we know what it’s being fought over: immortality.”
Dany and Alaria looked at each other uneasily. They knew that the crystal structures at the library in Water’s Edge had been used to harness immense magical energy, and there was another such structure in the Orc homeland of Toril.
Drex continued to explain that there once were two kingdoms, the Sun Kingdom and the Moon Kingdom. They were side by side, both strong and advanced intellectually and they even shared a school of magic. There had always been a rivalry between the two sides, but for most of their history it was peaceful. However, for some unknown reason, an arms race escalated between the two factions, with both sides developing more advanced and dark magic to use, trying to out-do one another. This lead the Sun Kingdom’s most powerful wizard to study the most sought after magic in the realm: Immortality.
The Moon Kingdom discovered what the Sun Kingdom was attempting and were able to rush in and disrupt the ceremony before it was completed, but not before the Sun Wizard and his followers escaped. The Moon Kingdom faction did all they could to erase the immortality research that the Sun Kingdom had completed, including killing witnesses and burning books. Since then, it became a race to hide the knowledge from the public.
“The Midnight Ring was formed by the Moon Kingdom to continue the fight,” Drex said proudly. “We play just a small part in this war, as one of many different organizations trying to keep all of this knowledge hidden. Hendricks here works for us AND the royal family. Princess Pena knows what’s at stake.”
They all looked at Hendricks, who shrugged and pushed his hair behind his head, somewhat enjoying the attention.
“I’m sorry for all of the lies and deception,” he said to Dany and Alaria. “But we don’t know who to trust and who might be a spy. Princess Pena’s older brother, who was heir to the throne, was killed by Dragonborn wizards and she’s been very… weary of outsiders ever since.”
Not wanting the conversation to derail, Drex spoke up. “All of the missions you two have been working on – the diadem, the crystal lake, the building plans and etchings… all of this is connected to the Immortality Ceremony. And he’s winning the war. He’s close to collecting everything he needs to perform the ceremony. Which brings us to Birolesh…”
The Midnight Ring leader explained that she knows of their plans to meet with this ‘Uncle Biro’ and warned that he’s not who he says he is, and that he works for the Sun Wizard whether he knows it or not. Drex said that the Sun Wizard knows all about them, and they were in great danger. Biro is planning and heist and the duo could be killed.
“We don’t want you dead, especially not when we need your help!” Drex said. “We need you to agree to what he asks of you. We will be monitoring the whole time. But you have to find out what he’s stealing, and from whom. And we’ll reward you for your help, of course.”
Hendricks explained that they will intercept whatever the stolen item might be before it can get into the wrong hands, but Alaria was very reluctant. She knew full well what Biro was capable of doing.
“He must trust you in some way,” Hendricks said, trying to convince Alaria. “We’ll pay you 500G and give you more magical items. We’ll make it worth your while, and you were planning on meeting with him anyway. At least now you’ll have backup.”
Reluctantly, they agreed that they would do whatever Biro was going to ask of them. But Dany couldn’t help but wonder what they were getting themselves into.
“Excellent,” Drex said with a smile. “We have prepared lodging for you at the Rosebud Inn at Eklatar. Use the name ‘Marigold’ when you arrive, the Innkeeper will know what to do. We’ll be back at the Midnight Ring hideout to analyze this inscription that Hendricks just procured. But our spies will be all around, reporting back to us. If you leave now you can get to the city by sunrise.”
Dany and Alaria followed their instructions because they had a deadline – they were to meet with Biro at midnight on the first of the month, which was the next day. Riding through the night, they finally saw the smoke stacks of the factory buildings over the horizon as the sun began to rise in the morning. Alaria sensed a familiar smell of home as they approached the industrial city of Eklatar.
Not wanting to be immediately recognized, Alaria covered her head with her hood and lead Dany through the streets to where the Rosebud Inn was located. It was on the coastal side of town, with a large dock harboring many boats further down the road.
When they walked in and mentioned ‘Marigold’ to the Rosebud Innkeeper Kara, she was suddenly skittish and overly polite. She offered anything that she could to make them happy. Kara arranged to care for their horses and showed them to a large two room suite for their lodgings.
As they settled in, Dany asked Alaria, “So, what else do I need to know about your Uncle Biro?”
“Well, you already know that he killed my parents. What more is there to know?” Alaria replied, but Dany could sense that she was hiding something, so she pressed her partner for more information. “All right… listen, when we first met… the reason I was there was because Uncle Biro had sent me to kill you. There was a lot of money on your head. But when I met you, I refused to do it. I went with you, and in doing so I renounced my dealings with him. But I knew eventually I would have to face him again…”
“Thank you for telling me the truth,” Dany said. She had always trusted Alaria, and now she knew why their connection had been so strong. Dany wondered who put this bounty on her head, and why. Could it be her own family?
After a short rest, the partners went around town to do some shopping and prepare for the meeting with Biro later that night. Alaria took Dany to the nearby armor dealer, who had a workshop near the docks. After reviewing several attractive options, Alaria decided to buy an intimidating spike-covered armor set that made her look even more devilish. Dany felt that her own dragon scale skin was stronger than the options available at the workshop, and opted to save her gold. But at the weapons dealer next door, Dany was very interested to hear about a special offer that was announced for all weapons, if they paid an extra fee.
Since Alaria had just bought new armor, she chose a basic rapier to expand her arsenal. But Dany decided to purchase a new quarterstaff with a necromantic healing ability. The blacksmith Peter said it would take a day for him to fuse the magical ability to the weapon, and they should return tomorrow to pick it up.
By the afternoon, the partners were tired from their travels and took a nap at the Inn. They rose again in the evening, and headed over to the docks to a small tavern called the Fish Trap where Alaria thought she might find an old friend.
At the bar was a half-orc who introduced himself as Gimgrod before doing a double-take and noticing that he was talking to a familiar Tiefling.
“Is that you, Alaria??” he asked in disbelief. He brought them some fish stew and they asked Gimgrod for any intel about what Biro might be up to. But Gimgrod only knew that Biro had been very active on the docks lately. He didn’t seem to have any information on what he was dealing with at Crispin Docks, or with whom.
As midnight approached, they thanked Gimgrod for his help and made their way to the slip where Biro was supposedly waiting for them. It was foggy and silent at the docks, aside from the sound of the crashing waves. Dany and Alaria saw a few figures talking together at the far end of the dock. Alaria’s stomach was in knots; she recognized the short round dwarf’s silhouette from afar. It was Birolesh.
At that moment, the figures turned to look at them. The shorter one laughed. “I told you she’d show! You’re looking healthy, aren’t you?”
“What do you want, Biro?” Alaria demanded, not wanting to waste time.
“This is how you treat me, after all this time?” Biro taunted. “I don’t like how you disappeared on me and left that contract unfulfilled, Alaria. That’s not how you were raised. But listen – I need your skills for a quick little heist. I need a knife. The one that’s in the basement of the Church of the Serpent. Bring it to me at this dock in three days.”
“And why should I do that? If we cooperate, will you forget about the bounty on Danaeryzard?” Alaria asked.
Biro rolled his eyes but agreed. However, he wouldn’t tell Dany who was paying and asking for her head on a spike. He mostly ignored Dany’s presence entirely.
“Alaria, you should know that Father Sirzer is still working there,” Biro began to laugh. “Maybe you can catch up on old times before you rob the old man blind!”
Alaria was disgusted with Biro, but since they had promised the Midnight Ring to cooperate with him, she reluctantly agreed to accept the mission. She knew the Church of the Serpent very well. It was where she spent a lot of time after her parents died, and she never thought she would have to steal from such a place. But they had no choice.
If Birolesh was as dangerous as Drex claimed, then they didn’t want to get on his bad side. He needed them alive, for the time being anyway. They just had to figure out how to stay alive once the Midnight Ring intercepts the mission…
And so ends the latest installment of our DnD adventures! Thanks for reading! I hope you like this ongoing storyline lol! If you play Dungeons and Dragons too, let’s hear about your character in the comments! 🙂