Exiles of Damara

Chapter 5 - Construction Ahead

The duo follow the Cult north into further danger

Upon arriving at Waterdeep, Luca and Clara only have a brief moment’s respite. The cultists leave almost immediately, disappearing north into the city; Jamna gives the two a knowing glance before following. The friends say their goodbyes to the rest of the caravan, especially Selvek, and arrange to meet with their Harper contact later. They spend the day stocking up on supplies, with Clara upgrading her armor and Luca finally agreeing to give her elf friend the magical bow they found on their journey.

Heading north, they run into Jamna who explains what she’s found about the cult; they are gathering in a warehouse with other cult wagons. After a bumbling attempt at spying, Luca and Clara instead decide to visit with their contact. There they discover that Rezmir was spotted a tenday prior and left with a heavy contingent of mounted guards northward. Their contact explains how the northern road used to travel to Neverwinter before that city was nearly destroyed by a volcano. Now that Neverwinter has rebuilt, the road needs to be repaired so trade can continue. Caravans carrying construction supplies are heading to an outpost near the Mere of Dead Men and it appears the cultists are hiding their treasure among this group.

Once more (and reluctantly), Luca and Clara don their disguise and hire themselves out as guards. They discover Jamna among the other hired guards and exchange a few remarks (and jabs) before continuing on. The caravan journey is far quicker than before, only lasting about 10 days. Mostly, the duo experience goodwill from most (because of their good reputation from the previous caravan) but also dirty looks from the cult wagons (who still hold them responsible for their own misfortunes).

The caravan finds itself under attack by a band of orcs, joined by a lone ogre. Using his powers of the mind, Luca convinces the ogre that his “friends need a better vantage point” and that he should “pick orcs up and hold them in the air so they can see.” At first this turn of events is confusing, and somewhat amusing, until Clara kills the orc being held… and the ogre doesn’t drop him. When another orc drops from the elf’s arrows, the ogre picks that one up too and is soon standing there… holding two dead orcs so his “friends can see”. The caravan looks in horror, confusion, and pity as the ogre remains where he is, Luca assuring them he’ll come to his senses hours later.

Later there is an attack by savage lizardfolk, out to take whatever metal goods they can take from the other species. Luca conjures forth a sleet storm that keeps the lizardfolk off their feet and stumbling while Clara picks them off with her bow. When most are defeated and one tries to escape, Luca comes upon and speaks to it in its own tongue. Finding little threat, he decides to show mercy and lets the creature escape.

Finally within sight of the Mere of the Dead Men, the caravan isn’t quite to the outpost before they are attacked by giant frogs. Clara proves her worth as her twin blades cut through the gargantuan amphibians, even rescuing a slime-covered Luca who had been wrapped in frog tongues for much of the battle. Cleaning up, they find themselves at the outpost at the old Carnath Roadhouse.

Luca and Clara settle in for the evening, meeting the gruff superintendent and exploring their temporary living quarters. They observe the cultists pushing their gear into a secure room behind the dry storage warehouse. Jamna joins them in their observations as they look around. Unfortunately, Luca ends up in a conflict with one of the cultists… a member of the original caravan who still blames Luca for the death of his friend. Luca holds his tongue as best he can, even as the cultist lobs insult and slur against the androgynous character. When mud is slung (quite literally) as Luca turns his back, he’s had enough; a frost bolt flies into the cultist’s face and swords are drawn. Before blood can be shed, though, Luca makes a magical suggestion; while everyone observes, the cultist yells out an embarrassing tale about his relationship with a donkey before running off to sleep. Feeling vindicated, Luca grins and heads off to his own room.

Jamna greets the two and suggests they check out the locked room during the dead of night. They sneak over and, while Jamna works on the lock, Luca hears voices inside speaking Draconic. He whispers to the others that there were words like “hurry”, “bring”, and “castle” giving them pause. They decide to continue and just as they open the door they hear the sound of something close and dead silence. Investigating the room, they eventually find many of the crates missing and a trap door. Gear in hand, they decide to follow and eventually find themselves outside and at a trailhead leading into the mere.

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