The four adventurers looked at each other. Each of them felt the same thing – That they were an unlikely grouping. Altogether, they two shield dwarves, Bruldenthar from Mithril Hall and Rhundorth from here in Mirabar, along with the elven druid Teresiel and the human noblewoman from Waterdeep, Deseyna. There was no love lost among any of them, especially the two dwarves, but they were bound together by a higher calling – Duty. The journey ahead of them would be long and arduous, and they each knew some danger awaited them. Still, it was good for the alliance that they make this trip. The four of them stood on a small dias. To one side a priest continued chanting low, under his breath, and in the center stood a large glowing crystal that pulsed with the words of the priest.
They nodded solemnly to one another, the rite completed, and each exhaled a sigh of relief. The priest of Tymora stood before them and smiled. No bad omens would befall the trip. The crystal in the center of the group stood intact. The priest said loudly, so all assembled could hear, “It is done. This is a blessed occasion, and Tymora herself shines down upon this great delegation! We are all blessed by her grace, and great things shall lighten the coming days!” At this, the small crowd assembled behind the dais cheered.
Bruldenthar was the first to speak. “All right then,” he said, gruffly. He seemed to embrace the stereotypical dwarven features the shield dwarves were known for. “Let’s get to it then. No point in standing around. The sooner we get to Waterdeep, the sooner I can get back underground, as Moradin intended.”
Teresiel nodded. “There is still the matter of our… fifth companion, of course.” They each turned to look off to the side, where a large container stood. The rest of the crowd had given it a wide gap, as if they were concerned to get too near. “Have the preparations been made?”
It was Deseyna who answered. “Yes, a wagon is arriving soon.” Her voice was a melody, and it seemed even the brisk wind died down when she spoke, to listen. “Samular is prepared to receive him at Summit Hall. It will be an honor to see this.” The other three nodded to this, even the two dwarves. But they each caught the others eye, coughed and looked off in different directions.
At that point, a small wagon did approach, and a large handful of the onlookers, all wearing the same uniform and bearing the symbol of the Lord’s Alliance on their sleeve cautiously approached the large crate and began loading it onto the wagon. The four adventurers split off to say their goodbyes, check their own packs, or simply to speak to the remaining guards. Teresiel herself smiled as a light snow began to fall.
The final preparations took the better part of an hour, but at last, they were ready. The two dwarves would ride at the head of the wagon, while Teresiel and Deseyna would ride horseback beside them. The 20 other members of the delegations guard would march behind, with a small scouting party up front. They were prepared for any challenge. The entire delegation brimmed with confidence and determination. Finally, they set out on the journey south, eventually leaving the square clear, except for the priest who stood alone on the dais. He turned, and looked at the crystal, still pulsing feebly. The priest began to speak, his voice sharp and gravelly. “Gak sharkoth assumat Tharizdun,” He said. The crystal began to glow again, but this time, rather than the warm holy pulse of before, this was a more sinister red, like fire. “Shakeema akar assumat Tharizdun,” he said, louder. The crystal pulsed brighter and faster, and began to shake on the pedestal. “ASSUMAT THARIZDUN!” the priest cried out, and suddenly, the crystal exploded, leaving nothing on the pedestal. The priest stood looking down. Now bleeding from thousands of cuts where he was struck by the exploding crystal, but he seemed unconcerned. “It is done.” He said. “The delegation will never reach Waterdeep.”