Waterdeep, City of Splendours.
The city’s citizens had been worried by the appearance of a flying castle in the sky nearby, but the castle had moved off northwards, ignoring the city. The five travellers who came into the city’s gates, accompanying a wagon full of goods, were unaware of the panic their transport had sent the city into, but were glad to be getting back to civilisation after so long. Their new ally, the cloud giant Blagothkus, had promised to raise his people against the Cult of the Dragon and, for now, they needed a rest. The guards at the gate were curious as to the contents of the sacks, but the travellers had used the proper passcodes and were allowed in unsearched. You do not interfere with agents of the Lords’ Alliance, certainly not if you want to keep your job!
As the travellers made their way through Waterdeep’s streets, discussing where they wanted to go, everyone in the city became aware of a low throbbing sound, just on the edge of what they could hear. The city went silent for a few moments, before the normal sounds of life resumed. The travellers looked at each other and subtly changed their course. Soon they reached their new destination, the mansion of Lord Neverember, the Open Lord of Waterdeep.
None of the travellers had met him before, but he was the one to whom they now turned. His steward met them in the foyer: three members of the Lords Alliance, one member of the Order of the Gauntlet, and one of the Zhentarim. An ill-matched group, but one that had seen many dangers. Soon enough, Lord Neverember hurried to meet the travellers. Soon enough they’d described their recent journeys: from the ill-fated town of Greenest to the sky-castle of Blagothkus, and Lord Neverember was not pleased by the news. His steward ushered out the travellers, allowing the Open Lord to consider what he had just learnt.
The travellers found themselves at the Raging Lion, on the recommendation of Lord Neverember’s steward. Soon after, they received a message from Leosin Erlanther, a half-elven monk they’d met and rescued during the Burning of Greenest. He asked to meet them at the House of Good Spirits, which they did. The half-elf was very glad to see the travellers well, and was very interested in their adventures. His main news was that a member of the Harpers, Remi Haventree, was gathering together a council to deal with the threat of the Cult; in the next few days the secret council would meet, and the council wanted the travellers to be in attendance.
The council had only a few people in attendance, primarily representatives of the various factions working against the cult. Lord Neverember was the representative of the Lords’ Alliance, and he was most receptive to the travellers, although Remi Haventree was also well-disposed to the group, as was Onthar Frume of the Order of the Gauntlet, who had worked with the travellers before.
In the council, the travellers learnt that the strange sound they’d almost heard a few days ago was due to the sounding of the Draakhorn, an ancient artefact that could be used to send messages to all dragonkind. The Draakhorn was still sounding, although most could not hear it. The information about the Draakhorn had come from Dala Silmerhelve, a Waterdhavian noble. What the sounding of the Draakhorn meant, no-one knew, and it was last known of somewhere on the Sea of Moving Ice.
The other news was that one of the leaders of the Cult of the Dragon had lost his Mask of the Dragon, one of the artefacts that Tiamat had granted the Cult to aid their plans of freeing her from the Nine Hells. The council were also considering sending representatives to seek it. The travellers were asked their opinion of these matters, and – although there were some that wanted to go after the Mask of the Dragon, most were in favour of find the Draakhorn.
Their research found that the last to know of the Draakhorn was a member of the Arcane Brotherhood, who disappeared on a journey to find it. All reports led to it being last seen on an iceberg fortress, reputedly the home of a great ice wyrm. The travellers, adventurers once more, found a ship that was willing to take them north and headed out in search of the horn.
It was a cold, miserable voyage. A couple of encounters with Ice Hunters, a nomadic people who live in the frozen north, left the party little wiser; the Ice Hunters were antagonistic and unfriendly, and couldn’t care less about the party’s mission. A nightly encounter with four scrags went badly for the party, although they were victorious in the end. It was with a great sense of relief that the adventurers finally, after over a tenday of searching, caught sight of Oyaviggaton, the great lair of Arauthator.
The crew of their vessel stayed behind to guard it as the group discovered a great ice shelf covered with bones: whale bones, seal bones and human bones, all bearing the mark of some gigantic predator. A narrow staircase to the plateau above was traversed, and the group finally came to the last redoubt of civilisation – an Ice Hunter village.
Again, the Ice Hunters were uncooperative, but the persistence of the adventurers finally paid off: the Ice Hunter leader offered a deal. If one of the adventurers could defeat the Ice Hunter champion in a duel, the Ice Hunters would allow them to stay the night and would answer their questions.
The battle was hard, and it really looked like the adventurers would lose it, but in the end they were victorious. They were given shelter, although poor, and offered food – slightly spoilt fish, the way the Ice Hunters preferred it. Unfortunately, it was poisoned, the Ice Hunters remaining duplicitous. Two of the adventurers fell unconscious after eating the food, and the rest were faced with the tribe creeping closer to them…