When we last left the party…
They’d just defeated the alternate personality inside Raltar thanks in great help to Nicholas and Hawthuum. After the half-orc baited the Glyndark presence into his own mind, Raltar and Vallenese ran off to burn down Castle Glyndark in the hopes that it would stop the magic. That done, the two of them had returned to the Golden Bull Tavern and started a massive party while Hawthuum and Nicholas finished the fight. Nicholas, mentally exhausted, had proceeded to expel everything in his stomach and pass out.
The next morning saw Vallenese and Hawthuum wake up with pounding hangovers. Raltar, having been awake for a few hours already, had gotten past the worst of his. Nicholas had another brief sick episode before just passing out. The group let him sleep as they headed down to breakfast where Raltar and Vallenese confide in Hawthuum that they burnt down Castle Glyndark the night before.
Hawthuum nearly makes a scene and the two of them have to calm him down before anyone notices anything. That’s when they realize they haven’t seen Scooter all morning. Raltar mentally reigns in the pseudodragon, who returns swaying and bloated. The trip debate about the best person to train Scooter so that he stays out of trouble, and in the end responsibility lands on Hawthuum. For the moment though, they leave Scooter upstairs to sleep off his own hangover alongside Nicholas.
Breakfast over, Vallenese and Raltar head out to a park so that Raltar can show Vallenese a game he plays with his bow. Once they get there however, Raltar sees other groups picnicking and panics. Leaving Vallenese in the park, he rushes through the market and scrounges together enough to make a decent picnic for the two of them. After they eat Raltar begins showing Vallenese his game. It involves her throwing up tomatoes (or other produce) and him shooting them out of the air. Quickly a crowd gathers, and even some of the children start helping the tiefling to throw things for Raltar to shoot.
Meanwhile Hawthuum has set out on his own adventure and finds himself in a smithy run by a dwarf named Torbil. The two discuss upgrades that can be made to Hawthuum’s hammer and without much haggling the deal is done, though it will take at least a day or more to make the improvements. Leaving the smithy, Hawthuum spots the crowd that Raltar and Vallenese have managed to gather, despite their earlier discussion at breakfast that they should try to lay low for a few days. He heads over to start pushing to the front of the gathered patrons.
By now Raltar is starting to show signs of strain. Since he’s long run out of arrows, he has to constantly run around the park and retrieve ones he’s already used, all the while continuing to flip and roll and shoot the projectiles that Vallenese and the children are throwing for him. By the time Hawthuum gets to the front of the crowd the tiefling is starting to tell the kids to stop and the gathering begins to disperse after Raltar’s enthusiastic and skillful archery display.
Hawthuum grabs some of Raltar’s arrows on his way over to the exhausted elf and drops them nearby, letting the others know where he went. When Raltar asks if the smithy could upgrade his weapon, Hawthuum challenges that bows can’t get better because they’re just bows. Intent on showing Hawthuum just how wrong he is, Raltar leads the party back to the Golden Bull and they retrieve their horses, heading to the exit of the city so that Raltar can cut down a tree and show the dwarf about bows.
Unfortunately they never reach their destination because upon approaching the gate the trio is stopped by one of the Ecrin guard. Since the fire at Castle Glyndark, no one has been allowed to enter or exit the city. Unwittingly, the party reveals that they had knowledge of the event and didn’t report it, to which the guard escorts them in for questioning. Separated, the three are questioned by the captain of the guard.
Raltar and Vallenese manage to get away with half truths and clever wordplay, but Hawthuum breaks down under the half-elf’s direct questioning and turns in his friends. Released for his cooperation, Captain Graros corners Vallenese and Raltar with knowledge of their crime. In doing so Raltar turns over all his notes about the event and the journal that the party found in Castle Glyndark across from the room where they found Gixthur. Hearing that Azoth tasked Raltar with finding Firren Glyndark, Captain Graros offers him and Vallenese a deal: they can work for the Ecrin guard or the guard will turn them over to the council, who will likely execute them or worse.
Left with little choice, both the elf and the tiefling agree. Raltar is given a belt that contains a stone which will allow him to communicate with Captain Graros, along with altering the half-elven captain if Raltar removes the belt for an extended period of time. Once they sign both their confessions and their contracts, the pair is free to go. Only now do they realize that Hawthuum is nowhere to be see, and Captain Graros tells them that their dwarven friend was released for cooperating.
Hawthuum, assuming Raltar and Vallenese are going to be super mad at him for snitching on them, races back to the tavern and packs his bags. He grabs Scooter and starts to try and find a way out of the city when he remembers his hammer is still at the blacksmith. Doing his best to hide from his friends, the dwarf takes a room in another inn nearby the smithy and tries to lay low. Raltar and Vallenese, on the hunt for him, quickly find their way to the smithy where Jasmin, Torbil’s niece, greets them and lets them know that Hawthuum came through not long ago with his hammer.
Raltar stays with Torbil and works on making new arrows while Vallenese heads out to continue looking for Hawthuum. The dwarf, in a panic, starts running through the streets of Ecrin. Unfortunately for him, he’s nowhere near fast enough to escape the tiefling monk and she soon catches him. After talking him down, Vallenese agrees to let him come to Raltar in his own time and heads back to the smithy without him. Hawthuum, still unsure of himself, wanders until he finds a temple to a water-based deity. There, he learns the shocking truth about his god Talos: he is god of storms, but he is god of storms in the worst possible way, enjoying the destruction and oblivion the natural phenomena can cause. Shocked, Hawthuum prays for strength before returning to the smithy.
Vallenese returns to the blacksmith and lets Raltar know that she found Hawthuum and the dwarf will join them in his own time. Raltar, in turn, shows her his new arrows. Vallenese goes back to ask Torbil if she can help and Raltar asks Jasmine why she’s always got her head in a book. The young woman informs him that she plans to be a cleric, and he asks her about Talos. Through her study books, Raltar learns much the same thing that Hawthuum has and when the dwarf finally does arrive the two have a tense moment that is quickly broken when Raltar starts going on about the perfect balance in his new arrows.
The joy is short lived, however, as the two of them try to concoct a plan to get Hawthuum out of Talos’ sights. The dwarf and the tiefling head back to Hawthuum’s temporary room to gather his stuff and move it back to the Golden Bull, while Raltar finds the water temple Hawthuum did early and asks about changing deities. Discovering that it’s possible, he returns to the other two and together him and Hawthuum find a temple to Njord, where they speak to Brother Saggar about changing the source of the dwarf’s power.
Some intense questions and a near drowning later, Hawthuum emerges from the waters a new dwarf, with the mark of Talos literally burnt from his forehead by the holy water of Njord. Brother Saggar also informs Raltar that he should seek out a powerful wizard known as Ansraith who might be able to help him with that last spot of Glyndark magic on the back of his neck. Ansraith has apparently recently started a travel east, and if the party moves quickly enough they should be able to catch him.
Thanking Brother Saggar, Hawthuum and Raltar head back to the Tavern, the former literally dragging the latter since he’s so exhausted from the day’s developments. When they get there, they realize that Vallenese has started yet another party, but they quickly decline invitations in favor of changing out of their wet clothes and going straight to bed. Raltar collapses on top of Nicholas and alongside Scooter. Hawthuum joins the pile shortly after and with a few more hours of party under her belt Vallenese finishes up the cuddle pile on top of the half-orc.
Did Hawthuum successfully change his faith? Will Captain Graros keep his word and protect Vallenese and Raltar from the council? Can this mysterious wizard cure Raltar of his ailment? Find out next time on Dawn Of The Storm!