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Hooks: Dead in Thay

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06 - TheYawningPortal_Symbol

 

 

 

This world is full of dangers and treasures, stories that are just waiting to be told and legends that want to be created. There are days where the Yawning Portal is home to all of these, and then there are days like this one.

Today, a bald and robed man entered the tavern just prior to lunch time. His face was a mass of scars and his mouth was little more than an angry slash across his face, but his coin was good enough. He threw back pint after pint, giving a toothless grin whenever someone asked him if he wanted food. He wasn’t rude, just off-putting in the same way that a shaved cat can be. He would occasionally commit strange, arcane sigils to some scraps of parchment that he kept in his boot cuff as the hours ticked by. Other patrons came and went, and this strange fellow barely seemed to take notice of them at all.

As the evening rolled on and the tavern filled up with its usual complement of rowdy do-gooders, occasional ne’er-do-wells, drunken louts and thrill-seeking young royals the tiefling finally gathered his wits about him. He clambered up on top of his table and produced a small hand-harp from some hidden vest pocket, coughed for attention, and sang an upbeat, energized tune in a voice that could only be described as angelic – if angels could be heard speaking as they rolled head-over-feet down a flight of stairs:

“Fire in the Bloodgate!
Fire in the Thaymount site
Fire in the Bloodgate!
Fire in the gates of Hell!

Don’t you want to know why we keep starting fires?
It’s his desire, It’s his desire, It’s his desire

Don’t you want to know why we keep starting fires?
It’s his desire, It’s his desire, It’s his desire

Danger! Danger! Lich knowledge!
When they touch, When they assist
Danger! Danger! Lich knowledge!
When they touch, when they assist
When we touch

Danger! Danger! Lich knowledge!
When they touch, When they assist
Danger! Danger! Lich knowledge!
When they touch, when they assist
When they touch, when they assist

Don’t you want to know why we keep starting fires?
It’s his desire, It’s his desire

Don’t you want to know why we keep starting fires?
It’s his desire, It’s his desire

Danger! Danger! Lich knowledge!
When we touch, When they assist
Danger! Danger! Lich knowledge!
When we touch, when they assist
When we touch

Danger! Danger! Lich knowledge!
When we touch, When they assist
Danger! Danger! Lich knowledge!
When we touch, when they assist
When we touch, when they assist

No more

Fire in the Bloodgate!
Fire in the Bloodgate!
Fire in the Thaymount site!
Fire in the Bloodgate!
Fire in the Bloodgate!
Fire in the gates of Hell!”

Upon completion of the tune, the bard averted his gaze and stared once more at the floor. He slowly clambered down from the tabletop and shuffled towards the bar. I didn’t quite know what to make of him, and judging by the stunned silence in the room neither did anyone else. After a few moments some scattered applause went up but by and large the patrons chuckled off the event and returned to their conversations.

The bard sidled up next to my stool and slid up to the bar. With little more than a grunt he ordered a mug from Durnan, and as he slurped it down I realized two things: first, that his lips were simply an angry slash made of scars; and second, that he was speaking to me between gurgled swallows.

“You wanna know how I got this face?” he spat it out. I was fairly certain that it didn’t matter how I responded because he was just going to tell me anyhow.

“Thayans. Thayan rebels, if you can believe that; there are Red Wizards that don’t think the other Red Wizards are Red Wizardly enough. I made the mistake of being in their presence out in Daggerdale – you know, on the River Tesh and west of the Moonsea, and they saw fit to use me for their own purposes. Did you know that some of them hate with such passion that it becomes like music? Like dance.

They have a keep – Bloodgate Keep – and plans to use their nexus of portals to assault Thay itself. Imagine that: Red Wizards seeking to unleash magical hell on other Red Wizards. This won’t end will, will it? But the nexus of portals… they said it was the lich’s will, that it was divine and blessed, that it was the smartest choice. They said a lot of things, like how this vault of theirs contains phylacteries – a dozen of ’em, maybe more. Even holds the most unholy of them all, and I think you know that I mean Szass Tam himself, dread lord of the Thaymount.

As you might imagine I didn’t wish to be there, so I made good my escape when they stopped paying attention to me. At least, I thought it was escape. Turns out that it was planned. A cruel trick, but from Red Wizards it is no surprise. Their leader, Syranna, made it clear that the verbal abuses I suffered for my ‘sins upon music itself’ would pale in comparison to what the lich himself has planned for Faerun.

I don’t know. I just want to play my harp.

Spot me a drink?”

I plunked down two gold pieces and nodded at Durnan. Daggerdale was a good journey from here, but the possibility of Thayan rebels – and a treasure trove of phylacteries! – was just too juicy to pass up.

I left immediately, but not before accepting that a journey to Daggerdale and potentially into Thay itself might well be the last journey I would ever undertake. Ah well, what good can I do from a bar stool?

 

 


Spoilers below!

 

Alan Patrick

Alan Patrick

Assistant Community Manager at D&D Adventurers League
Hailing from the wilds of central Michigan, Alan has provided a warm home to a wife and two cats over the years.Of course, they all have to fight with the ever-expanding collection of beholder-related paraphernalia - and the recent arrival of his son.
Alan Patrick

Latest posts by Alan Patrick (see all)

Author: Alan Patrick

Hailing from the wilds of central Michigan, Alan has provided a warm home to a wife and two cats over the years. Of course, they all have to fight with the ever-expanding collection of beholder-related paraphernalia - and the recent arrival of his son.

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