The Party Members once again weighed their options regarding where it is they ought to go. Eventually, the party decided that Hillsfar is in fact the best place to go, despite the fact that Evangelyne formally protested that location and advised that it’s a bad idea for the party. The week-long gladiatorial contest starting in approximately two days’ time proved too tempting to pass up for many members of the group, and the prospect of high stakes gambling made Gruuntham Bronzerunner even more eager to go there.
The party hatched a plan to travel to Hillsfar and enter the arena games with Dastan acting as their human captor and sponsor for the games. Since Hillsfar is extremely xenophobic against all non-humans who are not slaves to humans in the city or otherwise in some state of servitude, Dastan seemed the most logical choice to act as the sponsor for the group. Dastan would not compete in the games, but instead he would keep tabs on the crowd and dignitaries to gather additional helpful information while the rest of the party actually competes.
The group chose to travel over approximately two days by Phantom Steed across open water on the Moonsea in order to likely avoid detection via overland travel. Within the first hours of departing the Glacier of the White Worm, the group passed Mulmaster in the distance only to discover that The Weave’s Avenger, a great Tarrasque of Legend, was utterly destroying Mulmaster as the party was passing by. The beast had destroyed any functional naval forces that Mulmaster had available, then moved into the city proper to begin demolishing structures and devouring inhabitants at an insatiable pace. Rather than linger around to view what could only be the ultimate annihilation of the city, the party hastened their pace to move well beyond the visage of the great creature.
By the time the Phantom Steed spell began to fade, the Party chose to set up camp and rest along the central, southern coast of the Moonsea not far outside the small hamlet of Elventree. There, they just so happened to encounter a rider on horseback who was none other than Orzo, a member of the Silver Ravens who had briefly joined the party previously in Tethyamar when Shane “Bane” Justus was still recruiting individuals to assist in his cause. Orzo revealed he was surprised to meet the party so soon, since he was originally told they would rendezvous at the western gate in Hillsfar. The party realized that Orzo had mistaken them for the ‘original’ party members and did not recognize them as the clones created by Ghaunadhar. Understanding this, the party then made haste to move Orzo on his way and convince him to leave their company and move on to Hillsfar to register the group for the games and hob-nob with nobility. In order to attempt to maintain anonymity, Darian Skullbasher used his mask of lies to alter his appearance as a human named Bartholomew, Mathias Thunderheart introduced himself as a warforged named Saihtam (Mathias spelled backwards), and Mystra introduced herself simply as “Midnight.” Orzo eventually agreed to rendezvous with them as originally planned instead of remaining with them, but not before he revealed the following bits of information:
- The original party is in fact planning on competing in the arena;
- The original Evangelyne will be resurrected after completion of the games;
- The games are a seven day, double elimination tournament, where 16 teams will participate in a combination of battles against monsters and eventually other teams; and
- Orzo has had no face-to-face communication with the original group since his initial brief tenure as one of their members back in Tethyamar.
It then became clear that the party’s original plan to have Dastan lead them into town would be far more dangerous than anticipated, so another plan must be developed. The party became even more married to the idea of going to Hillfar, since many members now desire to confront their original counterparts in a battle royale in the arena. While camping in the Cormanthor forest that night, the party was attacked by a gang of Athachs who thought Mathias could be valuable as some kind of shiny treasure. Because Darian had been using his Wand of Major Image to disguise the location of the entire party with the exception of Mathias, the party was able to continually attack the group of intruders undetected for two rounds gaining a large advantage and ultimately resulting in the destruction of the Athach raiders with only a few members of the party taking any substantial damage.
Afterwards, the party rested for the remainder of the evening, anxious to complete their travels to Hillsfar…