To Protect a Kingdom
Following their unheralded return from Myth Drannor, the Children of Destiny look forward to some much needed rest; fate, however, seems to have other ideas in mind. Upon entering the Shaded Dragon two figures are noticed startling the party for differing reasons. The first, and most conspicuous, is a human man standing behind the bar and grilling food for the patrons. The second is another human, this one dressed in the livery of a foreign noble house, livery that causes Magpie to pale and take leave of the tavern.
A series of calamitous events conspire to coerce a meeting between Mapie and this outlander. The stranger, whose livery is that of her noble house from far off Cormyr tells Hal—Magpie’s hidden name—that her father has requested that she turn home. He also warns that should the request be denied, other more questionable methods would be taken to return her to her ancestral warrens. Although the reason for the sudden, unexpected request is not given, the youngest daughter of the Crownsilver line has her suspicions. After all, she is about to come of age.
While Magpie is doing her best to avoid her familial duty, the others are approached by an agent of the Coronal, Kyriel Nelance. Coronal Miritar has sent Kyriel to be the liason between the Children of Destiny and herself, a job that Kyriel is none to happy with. The first “request” made of the newly minted adventuring clan is simple enough, in theory, ridding the lands surrounding the Passage of the Xivort threat. Claern is more than happy to begin this mission as quickly as possible, for he too has familial duty that he wishes to avoid—namely, asking his wife who the stranger in the bar happens to be.
On the second night of their new quest, providence sees fit to remind the heroes that vigilance is never wasted in the protection of your own, as Magpie is snatched away in the depths of the witching hour. The first anyone notices of this alteration to the group composition is in the morning, when the others attempts to rouse her reveal a mannequin in her stead. Claern is easily able to discern the direction that the captor(s) took, and against Kyriel’s protestations, the party is determined to track Magpie down; only the weak require anything other than a vague sense of direction and an unmitigated desire to reach a goal.
Meanwhile, Magpie has awoken to find herself in the company of a strange and enigmatic man, and his wolf. Stoic and curt, the man refuses to divulge any information, even his name, although Magpie has already guessed (she believes) the power behind this little kidnapping. That knowledge does little to help, however, is the mysterious stranger forces her to walk through the mountainous terrain, with nary a rest.
Far to the north, the search for Magpie has hit a dead end in the form of a xivort ambush. While not the easiest battle they’ve ever faced, the Children of Destiny manage a decent showing of themselves. Ardisia in particular rises above the mundane, leaping over a raging river to drive off the dart blowing attackers who thought themselves safely ensconced upon the far bank. It looks as if the search hunt will be able to resume in short order. That is until an owlbear arrives. Remembering the discretion is the better part of valor, the Destined choose, wisely, to abandon the battle, leaping into the torrential waters and being swept away to safety.
At almost the exact same moment, Magpie finds her situation going from bad to worse as a pair of firbolg ambush her and her captor. Although both man and wolf fight valiantly, displaying skill that is well beyond Magpie’s ken, they were no match for the team of giants. Ignoring the calls for retreat shouted by the man of mystery, Magpie decides that this is the opportune moment to make good her escape. Unfortunately for her, the firbolg have a similar idea, choosing to take the wee lass captive instead of killing her, perchance to sell her into slavery and make themselves a little coin.
Dripping profusely on the banks of the river, separated, lost and wet, the remaining three Children of Destiny—along with their handler—have a fortuitous encounter with a jovial eladrin who leads them to his village a short distance from their landing. At first the village seems normal enough, people moving to and fro, but before long things get strange, specifically upon entering the temple where the village elders meet. Scrawled upon the walls of this holy place are images that evoke a strong likeness to the three wayward travelers and their even more wayward companion. It seems that they aren’t the only ones who have noticed the resemblance either as the elders themselves begin to refer to the newcomers as the “Chosen”, speaking as if their arrival had been expected all along.
After several days travel, Magpie finds herself being traded to a pair—are they a pair?—of ettin, who argue amongst itself almost continually. No doubt, Magpie would find Feik and Scaegr amusing, if they weren’t discussing the manner in which they were going to eat her. Taking a chance that the two giant-kin weren’t very bright, she then tricks them into freeing her, although they realize quickly their mistake. Following a harrowing descent in a scree filled ravine, Magpie found herself out of the frying pan and in the fire, for waiting at the treeline was her former captor with an ultimatum; either she consent to follow his direction, or he would leave her for the ettin.
The rest of the party waits around the strange village while the elders use a divination ritual to determine the whereabouts of their misplaced counterpart, the results of which are surprising. As it turns out, Magpie can be found in Cormyr, or, rather, she will be found there shortly. With this knowledge and a crudely drawn map of the area to guide them, the Children of Destiny set forth to return home to Drullyndra. Kyriel offers to seek aid from the Coronal once Myth Drannor is reached, so that they can make Cormyr with all possible speed.
As she had expected all along, Magpie is delivered to her familial residence within Suzail, where her waiting father informs her, in no uncertain terms, that she is to be married off to a prearranged noble. Despite her attempts, she is unable to obtain any further information regarding her soon to be husband. Imagining the worst—an aged, overweight noble in need of heirs, Hal decides to frequent a local tavern, perhaps to find ways of making her father angry.
Back in Drullyndra, the rest of the companions have discovered a disturbing turn of events. A citizen, Fenylis, has managed to convince a group of Cormyrian Purple Dragons to come to Dryllyndra in an effort to “guard” the Passage, claiming that if the crown won’t resolve the situation, then the local citizens must take matters into their own hands. Meanwhile, another citizen, Kendyl, has taken direct opposition to this plan, feeling that inviting a military force from another kingdom to guard the new and burgeoning trade route is utter foolishness.
At the tavern, Magpie encounters a strange man with an interesting perspective on life. More interestingly than his perspective, however, is his desire to aid her in escaping her father’s desires. Willing to take any chance necessary to avoid being married to a stodgy, old noble, Hal agrees to his terms, returning to her family’s estate and relieving her brother of some of his clothes lest she seem out of place dressed in a noble lady’s gown while cavorting through the wilds of the Forest Kingdom.
While investigating the unsettling circumstances behind a foreign military force occupying their home, the Children of Destiny decide it best to speak with the faction’s leader who, oddly enough, has taken up residence in the “abandoned” home of Magpie. There, Fenylis explains her thinking and encourages the group who discovered the Passage to aid her in convincing the local citizens that this is, in fact, for the good of all. Swayed by the arguments presented, Krisatra agrees to lend a hand.
Far more easily than expected, Artrel, the man from the tavern, is able to sneak Hal past the Dragons at Suzail’s gate. As they travel and converse, heading north toward Arabel and Cormanthor beyond, she gains an insight into this young man, and begins to suspect that there was no accident in their meeting. Even with her suspicions, however, she still finds herself intrigued by his arguments, particularly those concerning fate and her inability to change her destiny.
As a woman who dabbles in the bardic traditions, Krisatra tends toward the dramatic. Seeking to reach the largest possible audience, she assembles a crowd in the Verdant Glade, and makes an eloquent speech to the assembled masses. During her oration she speaks grandly of protecting Drullyndra and the forest of Cormanthor from unknown threats from the Feywild. She waxes poetically about the gracious aid being offered by the noble Purple Dragons of Cormyr. And she undermines the distress and disruption that such outside influence is likely to have on the patient citizens of the realm.
For Magpie, the ride northward has been an illuminating experience, but nothing quite so much as the end of the journey. A host of approaching Purple Dragon soldiers has the young woman’s nerves on edge as she and her companion enter into the great city of Arabel; after all, slipping past the last group of officers was likely a fluke, unlikely to be repeated. Magpie is surprised when the men address not her, but her companion. Her surprise is complete, however, with their form or address. Not the trader that he claims to be, Artrel turns out to be of the Obarskyr line, and more shockingly still, is Magpie’s intended.
Krisatra’s sermon has had the desired effect upon the assembled masses. The crowds begin showering the Children of Destiny with praise and chanting loudly in support of their new found defenders. Not everyone in Drullyndra, however, is thrilled about the heroes designs upon the city. A force of Myth Drannor wizards teleport to the outskirts of the city, the Coronal at their head. The leader’s initial demand is that Fenylis and his allies, including the Children of Destiny, be brought before her.
A change has come over Magpie over the last several days of travel northward from Suzail. Upon the revelation that Artrel is her betrothed, she finds herself accepting of this status instead of rejecting it out of hand. Time is short, for Artrel is needed in Suzail at once, yet he makes an interlude to allow brief planning with Magpie as to the details of their pending nuptials. When all is satisfactory, Magpie continues upon her return journey to Drullyndra, while Artrel heads south to Suzail. In two months time, the two are to be wed.
The meeting with the Coronal goes poorly, at least from the perspective of Krisatra and her accomplices. Ilsevele orders the group to be placed under arrest, although she graciously allows the Children of Destiny to “slip away” before they can be taken into custody. It is implied that this favor is to be returned through an unofficial investigation into those behind Fenylis, their newly gained status as outlaws allowing them access to Drullyndra’s rapidly developing seedy underbelly. The heroes manage to escape into the Feywild without any undue attention.
The journal of Ardisia Saebrar
Let’s Get Out of Here
The diary of Magpie
Do Birds Dream?