As is usual for the first day of autumn, the population of the town of Sandpoint has gathered for a day of celebration in honor of the goddess Desna for the traditional Swallowtail Festival. This year was different, however. Five years ago, Sandpoint’s local church burned to the ground, and now, after the long process of communally raising funds, its new temple was ready to be consecrated and opened to the public.
In addition to the regulars and Sandpoint locals, five notable attendees were present.
Tandava, a half-elf cleric of Pharasma and resident of Sandpoint for the past 17 years, made a special point of attending this year’s Swallowtail Festival to witness the consecration of the new temple. He once served as the interim head priest of Sandpoint for several years between the unfortunate death of Ezakien Tobyn and Father Zantus’s arrival, and thus had a certain interest in seeing this next era in Sandpoint’s history.
Blaise Blackwool, a shamed halfling goblin hunter, moved to Sandpoint just a few days ago and got a job working for Ameiko Kaijitsu at the Rusty Dragon Inn and Tavern to handle the extra workload leading up to the festival. On the day of the festival, she was hard at work setting up the Rusty Dragon food stand.
Portia, a halfling student of alchemy recent involved in a minor scandal that left her expelled from the Academy of Magic in Magnimar, travelled with a caravan of pilgrims heading to Sandpoint, where she heard a local alchemist could continue teaching her. After getting a room at the Rusty Dragon and settling in overnight, she woke up early and headed to the temple to get a feel for her new home.
Sha’nes, a disciplined half-elf martial artist, traveled to Sandpoint with the same caravan as Portia, though under much more shadowy circumstances. Having eschewed even the most innocent conversation on the trip to Sandpoint, there are many rumors spreading about her origins, the most popular of which posits that she is somehow related to Sabyl Sorn, a notable human monk in Sandpoint.
Nakata, the adopted half-orc child of Tandava, one-time resident of Sandpoint, and somewhat of a local legend after she took to a life in the wild hinterlands, came to the festival after hearing from Shalelu Andosana, a ranger in the area, that the new temple was being consecrated at the festival. Knowing that Tandava would be there, she ventured forward from the wilderness on the day of the festival to reunite with her father. Goma, her animal companion, hid in an alley adjacent the square.
The festival began in extravagant fashion, with opening speeches from Kendra Deverin, Sheriff Hemlock, and Cyrdak Drokkus, the release of the swallowtail butterflies, and the feast, hosted by Ameiko of the Rusty Dragon, Jargie Quinn of the Hagfish, and Garridan Viskalai of the White Deer. During the feast, Tandava spied a long, gray braid hanging from a woman’s head, and his heart skipped a beat. Thinking he’d recognized the long-lost Nakata, he shoved his way through the crowd only to find the stoic Sha’nes. After a hasty introduction, Tandava again went on his way.
After giving the common folk of Sandpoint about on hour to fill their bellies and socialize, Father Zantus took the podium, throwing a thunder stone against a nearby wall to get everyone’s attention. Only a split second afterward, a series of screams arose from the crowd as a goblin nearly decapitated a dog and darted between their legs. The crowd scattered, leaving only the adventurers as three more goblins leapt from nearby alleys to attack. It was then that Tandava and Nakata laid eyes on each other for the first time in 7 years, but the goblins demanded their attention.
In the following battle, Portia scorched the facade of the nearby jeweler’s shop with one of her alchemical bombs, searing one goblin and nearly knocking another unconscious. But the goblins, acting with unusual bravado, surged forward, dealing a telling blow to Tandava before being pushed back by Sha’nes and Blaise, and another fell to Goma’s claws.
After halting the goblin advance into the temple square, the adventurers took stock of the situation. From seemingly nowhere, goblins ran amok. Down High Street, a goblin chased down a young human boy, hurling a lit torch at him only to have it hit his ally, and the two goblins danced madly in the street, attempting to stifle the flame, as the boy escaped. A few yards down Junker’s Way, a goblin crouched atop a small cottage, leering at a cowering woman, leaping down at her only to miss and land on its neck.
It was then too that Father Zantus timidly emerged from the temple and offered what healing magic he could to the wounded adventurers, and implored them to continue aiding the town guard in defending Sandpoint from this surprise attack. Tandava spoke for all present when he agreed.
Hardly a second after Father Zantus retreated back into the temple before a band of four more goblins rushed up High Street into the square, oblivious to the adventurers’ presence. Blaise getting off a few lethal shots before the goblin warchanter whipped the bow from her hands, but Goma and Sha’nes held the remaining goblins back until Portia got a lucky shot off against one of the small creatures, which proved to be the turning point of the battle. The warchanter, left to stand alone, fell quickly.
Taking only a moment to recover from this battle, the adventurers, nay, heroes quickly responded to a cry for help from up Church Street, hustling north to find a handsome human nobleman cowering behind a crate in front of the White Deer and commanding his hunting dog to fight a particularly fearsome-looking goblin riding an equally fearsome goblin dog. Just as the heroes approached, this goblin brought down its horsechopper down on the dog, dealing the killing blow. Three more goblins emerged from an alley on the opposite side of the street, cheering at this small victory. Our heroes sized up their enemy, drew their weapons, and prepared to defend this helpless noble…