Whispers from Thassilon

Welcome to Sandpoint
Toilday, 1 Rova 4707

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…

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Interlude: A Card on the Pavement
Toilday, 1 Rova 4707

As the temple square cleared, commoners screaming and running in all directions and leaving only the heroes of Sandpoint to battle the mysterious goblin horde, an old woman looked on. The advent of battle in the square seemed not to perturb her, and the soft jingling, not unlike that of a wind chime, of the intricate gold and turquoise earrings hanging from below the folds of her green and silver-embroidered head scarf, along with a gentle ripple in the long, tasseled tapestry of a cloak she had draped over herself as a breeze washed through the streets, were the only movements across the length of her body. The tanned, calloused skin that covered her body did little to mask her bone structure, but nevertheless she had a tough, weathered appearance reminiscent of a root freshly pulled from the ground.

With a halting motion of her wrist, she pulled a palm-sized card from a billowing sleeve, eyeing it for only a moment before tossing it to the wind with a shrug. It fluttered in the breeze for only a second before falling to the wet cobblestones. As its corners curled with dampness, the old woman hobbled away from the temple square.

After the battle, Tandava approached the spot where the old woman stood. Bending slowly to the ground, he retrieved the small card she left behind. His lips moved and a whisper escaped him.

“Carnival.”

Carnival

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Battle at the White Deer
Toilday, 1 Rova 4707

The lesser goblins had only a moment to react before the heroes were upon them. Nakata swelled with bravado as she charged ahead of her allies toward the goblin commando, who still stood distracted by his victory over the nobleman’s dog. Swinging her axe not at the goblin, but at his mount, she and Goma wisely disabled one of his biggest advantages early in the battle.

Meanwhile, two of the lesser goblins surged forward only to meet certain doom at the hands of Sha’nes with ranged support from Blaise and Portia. The third cleverly hung back, choosing to aid his captain in battle against Nakata. Though he soon fell to a stray arrow as well, he left enough of an opening for the commando to slash both Nakata and Goma with the jagged blade of his horsechopper, leaving Nakata on her last leg.

Tandava rushed from the back ranks to his daughter’s aid, however, and while the rest of the party’s weapons came to bear on the goblin commando, his anger manifested as dark energy surging from some nether realm and into his palm. Thrusting the energy at the goblin, lesions opened up across the small warrior’s body, from which blood weeped onto the street. It was not long after that the pitiable creature fell, horsechopper clattering against the cobblestones.

The nobleman soon regained his composure, ignoring the gruesome scene just long enough to introduce himself as Aldern Foxglove, a noble from Magnimar in town to visit his ancestral manor, and invite the party (with special attention paid to Sha’nes) on a boar hunting outing on the coming Starday. His offer met only ambivalent remarks at the time, so he told them to think it over and get back to him.

It was not long after Foxglove departed that Garridan Viskalai emerged from the White Deer Inn, and, seeing the savage warriors the party had overcome, immediately offered to put them up for a week and free meals for life, an offer all found agreeable, though only Sha’nes was in need of lodging.

Word spread quickly through Sandpoint of the heroes’ exploits. Even as they marched somberly to their respective residences, commoners blessed them and approached to shake their hands, and many more simply gave them appreciative looks of acknowledgement. Only a couple townsfolk died in the attack, and those injured were expected to make a full recovery, so all was once again well.

But what of the reasons behind the attack? Much was still unclear.

Goblins

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