Night had fully engulfed the land when the Percin caravan hauled itself into the small roadside dell Rendrick had ear-marked for their first night’s camp. The ranger, Keira, and Tiberius led the way into the sheltered space, guarded on all sides by high outcroppings of stone and roofed by the canopies of great oaks that had taken root there. All three were exhausted, their fronts covered in mud, evidence of their recent labors of dislodging the latest wagon wheel.
It was the strange sounds that roused the man from his slumber. The snuffling of inquisitive noses as well as the soft crunching of careful footsteps in fresh fallen snow. Through small spaces in the walls of his cabin, the light of the full moon shone but every now and then one of these meager sources of light would go dark for but a moment as some hulking form passed.
Wet foliage slapping at her face, the young, half-elvan ranger dives through the underbrush near the western eaves of the Wood of Sharp Teeth. She is in her element, lithe and quick. She knows the terrain and how to maneuver in it. She does not get caught on stray branches, or tripped by fallen debris. Her woodland cloak whips behind her, shadowing her every move as if it has a mind of its own. Her tight leather armor hugs her closely, accentuating every dip and curve of her well formed fisique. Her name is Lystra Silverdragon and this is the start of her tale.
The rain came pelting down in angry sheets as the hooded figure approached what could only be described complete carnage. Several wagons sat positioned haphazardly along a small stretch of the east-west running road known as the Tradeway, their beasts of burden collapsed in the mud, their bodies pierced with arrows. The wagons themselves had fared little better but it was the caravaneers who had taken the brunt of the assault.
It did not take Jaryn long to cross the further distance between the site of the ambush and his destination, the city of Baldur’s Gate. It was a journey that would take most a near half days travel but astride Sundril it had taken him a mere few hours and by noon the high walls rose before him across a stretch of flat, muddy moorland.
Wheeling Sundril about in the keep’s courtyard, Jaryn tore out through the gates and down the high avenue. It was nearing dusk and he knew he had a hard nights ride ahead of him if he were to reach the Friendly Arm Inn, a waystation along the Coastway, a normal two days ride to the south, in time to hopefully intercept Lystra. If she were to perceive of trouble before he reached her, she may abandon his orders to make for the city and make her way to Beregost instead. It would also behoove him to get into contact with the High Druid Blacktree once more and, luckily, there was a way for him to do so much close at hand.
While the rest of the Sword Coast weathered the steady drizzle, a much harsher storm head had descended on the town of Beregost. Rain fell in driving sheets upon the slate roofs of the cluster of buildings that made up the town’s center, as well as those of thatch of the numerous farmsteads dotting the landscape around. The only souls who stood outdoors were those poor Flaming Fist guardsmen unlucky enough to pull guard duty. All of the townsfolk had retreated to the safety of their homes, or else to the welcoming warmth of the Burning Wizard Inn
Lystra awoke in the predawn hours to the ominous rumbling of thunder and the tapping of rain upon the window of her modest accommodations at the Friendly Arm Inn. Sitting up, she allowed the blanket to fall from her naked breasts, stretching her stiff muscles and cursing her body so unused to sleeping with a mattress beneath her.
Guiding their mounts at a plodding pace, Lystra and her companions traveled in silence northward along the Coastway. All three were sullen and miserable, the constant rain sapping them of any cheer or drive.
See her there, the Goblin Queen, See how she sits in the hollow of her tree, See how she calls upon magics of green, See how she waggles her fingers in greed, See how she pulls from forces unseen, See her there, the Goblin Queen.