Journal Day XX Year XXXX at Baldurs Gate (an excerpt from Mafuyu Sword Saint from her journey in the city of Baldurs Gate)
While continuing to explore Baldur’s Gate and planning our infiltration into the Iron Throne keep we encountered assassins again. Now you are wondering why I am writing about assassins again since they are now a somewhat regular occurrence for me but this time it was different. As we wandered the docks after a night long planning session with beer and hearty stew we ventured out to take in a breath of fresh air. As we enjoyed the night breeze, assassins appeared as and attacked us what was odd was they weren’t here for me but for Rassad.
Yes, an oddity, someone wanted to kill our monk companion and that was very strange. The battle was fierce as it was brief and we emerged victorious against them. On checking their bodies for clues we found some and proceeded to investigate who would do this. Did Rassad have a mysterious evilness about him, did a seduce a noble’s daughter or did he preach to the wrong people? Rassad himself did not really understand it himself but he knew that our foes where from the Dark Moon cult. Was it as simple as deity and school opposition that caused this assassination? Had we in some way ventured into their territory and trigged some kind of school conflict between the Sun Monks and the Dark Moon Monks? But their reaction for a simple conflict between opposing deities and schools seemed to be rather excessive – assassination was not something to be taken lightly even by a group of cultist.
Our investigation proved fruitful as we found a cultist, who had to be convinced to help us. Rassad using some mysterious monk technique convinced him quite quickly much to the disappointment of Dorn who wanted some blood to be split. We followed the cultist into the main Baldur’s Gate cultist temple and we were ambushed by the cultist monks but we were prepared – it wasn’t much of a shock for us – you can’t really trust a cultist that gives in so easily at the first sign of pressure. The battle was dangerous as the monks here were more skilled and had the numbers on us. I danced among them my sword flashing, parring and spinning through their defenses as my comrades battled their way through, Arcane powers flashed through the building as Neera and Imoen casted spells quickly ending many of the cultist that got too close to them; Dorn did want he did well and walked through the biggest concentration of them swinging his massive sword and smiling as he went; Viconia sighed and bashed away taking some of her anger out on them; and Rassad did want a skilled monk would do and smashed into them his fists and feet taking down any who would challenge him. The battle was bloody and we bandaged ourselves after it ended in our victory. We rested and began our investigation of the cultist head quarters here in Baldur’s Gate. It was a bloody business searching for clues among the dead and broken furniture after the fight but we needed to find answers for Rassad.
How could a cultist group set up in Baldur’s Gate without anyone being the wiser was a question that was bantered around as we searched for clues. But we already knew the answer sort of. If the city could by clueless about the nefariousness of the Iron Throne believing them to be a mere mercantile group it was not totally surprising how clueless they would be if a cultist group set up a branch temple here as well – its not like they were into human sacrifices after all.
Our search finally can to fruition as we found the clues to their main temple on this side of Faerun. Perhaps answers could be had there as to why Rassad was specifically targeted by the cultist. It had to be more than Rassad being a member from an opposing deity/school but then again maybe I was projecting too much of my own troubles on to something that was as simple as deity/school conflict.
We began our journey south to a snowy mountain temple range. The journey would take a while but since we had no real good plan of how to invade the Iron Throne and no pressing matters arose we decided to help out Rassad and investigate the Dark Moon cult and why they were doing this, it would prove another challenge for us and perhaps allow us to reevaluate our plans for when we had to face my bigger foe.
We traveled south and east venturing among small hamlets and towns gathering information and preparing for the inevitable confrontation with a group of dark monks. I was excited by the possibility of facing them. It would be a battle for the ages, fist versus sword – who would emerge victorious from this encounter. I practiced daily going through my movements, my sword danced in my hand and the eagerness of wanting to test out my skills against the masters of the Dark Moon monks fueled my steps as we traveled. Would my sword be able to overcome their mastery of the fist was my last and first though each day. I practiced going through movements and sparring imaginary foes as I danced among them my sword whirling a thing of beauty and death, parring fist and kicks while swiftly and efficiently ending the confrontation. As we traveled south, I helped prepare my companions for the eventual battle. Neera smiled simply taking a quick lesson with her dagger and staff – I gave pointers to how to use them and she nodded and practiced a few times before returning to her study. Imoen was a bit better since she enjoyed sparring to some degree but like Neera she was focused on her studies and the two had their heads close together making gestures and speaking the elderitch language. I watched them and sighed at their closeness, Imoen had changed on this adventure. She had found the thing that was missing – magic – and had also found a companion who could understand her. I sighed a little jealous of their closeness and the gulf that seemed to open up between Imoen and me. I remembered all those times in Candlekeep as we ran and hid among the bookshelves and in the forest and all the adventures we had imagined that would happen as we adventured in Fearun. Reality proved to be a harsher than out childhood quests but it still had a small thrill for me and I could see that Imoen still enjoyed adventuring even if she sent a bit more times with her books than with me. I looked at them as they studied together and I sighed wistfully. I was well read and always a good student but the arcane arts where never meant for me – my mastery of the sword had always been my focus and goal – to be the greatest sword master there ever was or will be. Perhaps it was this focus that had created a small split between Imoen and me, as I studied and practiced with the sword she was left along in the greatest library in the world and she studied – perhaps part of the fault for the gulf between us lay with my own single mindedness. I sighed again, when this ended – and I mean when we finished everything and revenged Gorion’s death perhaps we could go back to how it was between us but I knew deep inside that this journey to find Gorion’s murderer and why they wanted me would forever change us but hopefully not too much.
We continued south getting closer to our destination, the weather got colder but the icy snow covered mountains were a sight to behold. They sparkled in the morning sunlight like diamonds in a faraway dream beckoning all those brave enough to conquer their heights or enjoy their cold beauty from a distance if you were too scared to brave to scale their walls. I continued to practice but Rassad would always refuse to spar with me. He would teach the group some of the possible movements a monk would attack with and show possible counters with them but he refused to spar against me. For me it was a bit frustrating as I wanted to test my sword against his fist. Neera and Imoen mostly did not want to spar with me as did Viconia preferring to either study or do nothing at all. Dorn enjoyed the sparring but sadly a unarmored dark knight who could not use his divine powers was no match for me but he didn’t seem to mind all the small nicks he received from being a little too eager in sparring. Although frustrated with Rassad for his unwillingness to spar with me, I continued to practice my sword movements as we continued up the mountain passes. The thrill of being able to test my sword against their fist was something that filled with an eagerness for battle that I didn’t know I had. The battle would be soon and I would soon test my sword against a monk’s legendary fists.
The Dark Moon temple was placed among one of the beautiful mountain ranges. The snow glittered like jewels in the sun and you could see the whole of the world from atop its mountain peak. We ventured to its base and spoke to the hunters and random villagers that happen to be working in the area. They mostly said that the monks stayed to themselves and only came down to trade and preach once in a while. They were open about their temple and while they discouraged the curious from getting close they accepted new applicants into their ranks. We ascended into their mountain temple and reached the plateau where the temple would be housed. The paths through the snow were well worn and showed no sign of secrecy that one expected from a cultist group. We followed the path, the cold mountain air while refreshing sent a chill down our spines or maybe it was the fact that we had finally arrived at our destination and a battle loomed before us. We followed the snow laden path, the snow and ice crunching beneath our boots when we encountered a group in the distance. The wind was against us so we could not make out what was being said, but from the way they were dressed we knew that we had finally found the monks.
We stayed back hidden from their view by a snow drift. I was eager to battle and unsheathed by sword, eagerness shone in my eyes – finally a chance to really test myself against those that mastered unarmed battle. Here, today I would prove to them and myself just how far I had mastered my sword and legends would being about me. I ventured forward before my comrades could move eager to begin the battle against them – I had thrown caution to the wind as my eagerness for battle hurried my step and steeled my muscles ready for a battle. As I moved forward, the monks finally noticed us and said something that was lost in the wind. It didn’t matter to me anymore, I knew foes when I saw them and prepared to leap forward to test my sword, when Neera suddenly stepped forward her arm stretched sideways to stop me from advancing further. I looked at her puzzled and a little angry at this, why had she stopped from test my sword with their blood. My eyes were puzzled and hard as I looked at her but she didn’t seem to notice. She raised her hands and began gesturing while the elderitch language whispered out of her and although I didn’t know what she said I recognized the gestures and sounds and ducked quickly. A swoosh and a brilliant fiery ball of energy leaped from Neera’s hands rushing forward towards the monks that had gathered. A huge explosion echoed through the mountain ending the calming silence that seemed to pervade the mountain range. I looked up at Neera startled, astonished and a little pissed off as she had taken my foe, my prey. She looked at me, and smiled, laughter and lightness in her eyes and said, “I was cold.” She held my eyes as she said this and smiled her smile. I stood astonished and then laughed incredulously at what she had said. Using a fireball to get warm was as crazy as it came. My laughter echoed in the mountain pass as had the explosion a few moments ago. I laughed aloud the first real laugh in a few weeks until tears ran my face and I doubled over laughing at the absurdity of using a fireball to get warm. The tension that had been building in me suddenly vanished as did the blood lust I had been feeling. With these few simple words, Neera had released all the tension I had been feeling, the blood lust was gone the eagerness for battle was gone. I took a deep breath and centered myself again, once more feeling like myself that I had not felt since we began Rassad journey or maybe even before that as we were pondering the raid on the Iron Throne. I smiled my quirky smile and laughed again. Dorn looked at me as if I had gone crazy but that didn’t matter, Rassad stood patient and waiting, and Imoen had a smile in her eyes as she realized what had happened to me. I was myself once again – the blood of Bhaal sank back into the depths of my mind for a while again and I was focused once again. I sheathed my sword, the tension, eagerness and wanting of blood that I had been taken me over for a week now was gone and I was myself again. I would aid and defend Rassad on this journey of his and hopefully find the answers he sought but it was his journey and I was just coming along to lend a hand. I gestured forward to Rassad, it was his journey to make and we would follow his lead for this adventure.
The journey was one full of surprises and heart ache for Rassad. He had found the brother he had he mourned once again alive and whole but he had changed. It was he who had placed the assassins on his brother path. They spoke and we knew there was tension between the brothers, one brother too eager to be the best, another brother who was innately more skilled willing aiding in his brothers desire to be the best. Sibling conflict – one brother too accommodating and another that was jealous of his brother’s amazing prowess and skill. In the end, we battled once again for even though we wanted this to end without blood the Dark Moon monks had no such compulsion about spilling all our blood. I battled against their fist and even stood for a moment before Rassad’s brother as he battled the other monks, but as he ended those fights I stood back and let him confront his brother in the hopes that it would end differently. Sadly that day we buried Rassad’s brother among the mountain peak he called home and perhaps among its beauty he would find some peace finally. Rassad himself shed a few tears as we buried his brother, but he vowed he would find the person who had changed his brother and bring an accounting with this individual one day. He stood once more, the tears dried upon his face as he faced the grave of his brother who once again was lost to him, but there was also a calmness about him and a purpose to his gaze. One day he would face the person who had changed his brother but for now we had bigger issues to deal with like the Iron Throne and what was happening in Baldur’s Gate. Personal issues could be dealt with later he said and he would welcome some aid if needed but that would be another adventure for another time as other foes waited for us and other mysteries had yet to be solved. We left the mountain peaks, our hearts a little bit heavier at the loss of Rassad’s brother but we knew in our hearts that other mysteries still lay before us and a reckoning with these mysterious foes had to happen.
We descended from the snow peaks looking back once more at its beauty and wondered if the peace of the mountain was something that could happen for us as we continued with our quest.
Perhaps one day, we though as we headed back to Baldur’s Gate to face a foe that still remained hidden in the shadows.