The Fellowship of the Forge had only just departed Kwayothé’s mansion just after midnight when 2 loud horn blasts were heard once and then again repeating. The streets of Port Nyanzaru are always busy, no matter the time and soon the horn blasts were accompanied with shouts of “UNDEAD ATTACK! UNDEAD AT MALAR’S THROAT!”. Even the dinosaurs in the pens of Tiryki Anchorage could be heard honking their own warnings in the distance. Without delay Cole, Grom, Nundro and Valdimir followed the crowds to the city gates near the Market Ward. Outside the walls of the city is Malar’s Throat, a slum district built into the sides of a steep valley. Beyond the city gates was a scene of chaos. Residents of Malar’s Throat were pouring in through the city gates as mercenaries scrambled to protect the entrance. In the distance, behind the scared citizens, skeletons were seen advancing down the valley hacking at anything that moved with rusted short swords or readying ancient looking short bows. Close to the gates the Fellowship spotted the guide they had hired for their expedition, Musharib, who happened to be a resident of Malar’s Throat. He had adorned himself with armour made of dinosaur bones and was wielding a hefty looking maul as he stepped up beside Nundro casting a mystic hunter’s mark in the air.
Our heroes leapt to the defence of the downtrodden denizens. Nundro, eager to battle the foul undead, rushed forward as far as he could. His holy symbol was already glowing with radiant energy. Grom rushed forward gripping a borrowed hand axe and his dagger, Valdimir kept pace but was just out of range with his eldritch blast. Cole stepped forward more cautiously and aimed a fire bolt at one of a group of zombies seen higher up on the bluffs. His aim was true but the scorched zombie kept on attacking anything in its path that was breathing. Some of the citizens chose to leap from the walkways spanning the valley rather than face such terrible foes. As well as the skeletons and zombies, another fell horror was spotted – a ghoul! This sinister creature appeared to leading the attack, the skeletons reacting to it’s screams and cries. Nundro advanced and channelled holy energy from Marthammor Duin into a burst of radiance. The 4 nearest skeletons were reduced to piles of ash, but the ghoul appeared to not be affected and turned it’s baleful eyes to the dwarf cleric. With a screech it attacked, it’s filthy claws digging into Nundro’s side. With a grunt Nundro went down paralysed at which point the ghoul opened it’s rotten mouth wide and took a nasty bite from the prone dwarf. Grom was chasing skeletons as Valdimir blasted them to pieces. Grom was not normally a fan of magic but during this battle he began to see it’s usefulness as enemies exploded around him. The ghoul went down to a combination of magic energy spewed forth from Cole and Valdimir, but Nundro remained paralysed. Cole checked he was breathing and carried on hunting undead.
By this point the city gates had closed and a priest had emerged from the temple of Tymora, the only structure in Malar’s Throat which would offer any protection from the raiding monstrosities. “Everyone, into the temple!” the bald-headed priest shouted. People who were heading for the gate turned tail and instead headed for the sanctuary of the temple. Just as well, because the zombies up top had run out of prey to chase and so started pouring down the steep slopes to the bottom of the valley, getting scraped and bludgeoned on the way down but seemingly not feeling it. Grom rushed in and started to beat down on the zombies, however their undead fortitude meant that a blow which would normally fell an opponent seemed to just anger the zombie! Grom was somewhat relieved when a blast from Vald exploded the head of a particularly persistent zombie, although he was showered with rotten gore! Nundro awakened, but the battle was near enough done, with Cole and Musharib taking out the last remaining undead. A cheer went up around the ramparts and a few guards even shouted for the Fellowship of the Forge, the cities newest heroes of the hour!
After waking from a restful night in the tranquil confines of Kaya’s House of Repose, the Fellowship were told that someone was there to see them. In the saloon lounge the heroes found an imposing figure waiting for them. Sweating in a chain shirt, a tall half-orc women dressed in clerical robes with a white gauntlet emblazoned on the front was introduced as Undril Silvertusk, Cleric of Torm. Her mission was to present herself and a packet of despatches to Commander Breakbone of Camp Vengeance, an outpost for the Order of the Gauntlet in the jungles of Chult. She went on to ask for advice, showing a complete lack of knowledge of the place she had been sent to. She had a assumed that “one could simply hire a horse and ride for Camp Vengeance.”. Valdimir was initially suspicious and consulted with Grom and Cole whilst Nundro offered platitudes and kind words. It was decided that she would give the Fellowship certain leverage when dealing with this Commander Breakbone and would therefore be a useful addition to the expedition. Outside Kaya’s was a less than useful addition to their expedition, an impatient looking Xandala with Summerwise the pseudodragon perched on her shoulder. She was assured that she was still a part of their plans and then Cole asked her if she would wait inside for them to return from an important appointment.
The appointment in question was at the villa of Merchant Prince, Wakanga O’tamu, friend of Syndra Silvane and the master of magic and lore in Port Nyanzaru. He welcomed the visitors and invited them inside, offering the use of his extensive library “The finest in all of Port Nyanzaru!” as well as the sale of potions and scrolls. Enchanted weapons were normally dealt with by Akena-afa but Wakanga offered to enchant 2 shields for the heroes. Cole spent some time researching in the library and Wakanga brought out a battered and water damaged journal. He explained that it had belonged to a wizard and had been found in the jungle 15 years ago. The journal describes several places in Chult, but not well enough to place them on a map. However, the truly exciting parts described the wizards companion, a shield guardian! The journal shows detailed drawings of the control amulet needed to operate the dormant automaton. If both were to be found, Wakanga would offer as reward a spell book with 15 spells in.
Whilst walking back from Wakanga’s Valdimir received a warning from the spirit of Gul’Khan “Looooook oooout!” hissed the spirit trapped in the blade Widowmaker. Despite the warning, Vald was not able to dodge out of the way of a barrel dropped from the roof of a building. Shadows did spot the hooded figure on the roof but was not able to follow him. At the same time as this was happening, a separate hooded figure was spotted attempting to rummage through Cole’s backpack, where he stores his maps and cartography supplies. The would-be assailant was blasted back by a gust of wind magically created by the wizard and backup arrived in the form of 2 Zhentarim thugs. The hooded thief and one of the thugs were killed in quick succession and the last thug was knocked out and taken away from the scene by Grom and Vald. Soon after the affray 2 city guards appeared and demanded to be told what had occurred. There was no need to lie and Cole simply said what had happened, how the brave heroes, who had risked their lives to save the city not merely hours ago, were accosted on the streets by Zhentarim thugs trying to rob them of their precious personal belongings. The city guards shrugged and carried off the bodies.
Meanwhile Grom and Valdimir were waking up the thug who had been KO’d and getting around to the business of getting some answers. “Ebo set it all up, I had no idea who hired us! It was just a job.” he protested. Drawing Widowmaker with a slice of shadows in the air *SHIIIIIIING!* Valdimir asked the question again. All the time in his head, the pleading moan of Gul’Khan “Dooooo iiiiit! Kiiiilllll hiiiimmmm!”. The thug must have sensed the murderous intent in his eye because he cracked and spilled the beans. It was Jobal who had ordered the attack, intending to steal the Fellowship’s precious map of Chult. The heroes knew they were dealing with a powerful individual in the Merchant Prince Jobal but also felt that this attack on them should not go unpunished. They resolved to take the thug to Wakanga and tell him what had occurred. Wakanga was shocked and apologetic. He said that his allies on the council, Akena-afa and Zhanthi, hated the Zhentarim presence and their monopoly on mercenaries in Port Nyanzaru. It was a deal Jobal had set up and he had profited greatly from it. This sounded like it was all getting a bit political!
The best course of action was decided on. Leave for the jungle first thing in the morning! Nothing like getting out of town to lessen the heat, but what would be awaiting them when they returned. If they returned…