After defeating Cyanwrath and claiming the treasure in the trapped chest, the group finds three black dragon eggs secreted in the back of a very dark & wet cavern. They also find a roper who was fairly congenial since it apparently was recently fed. They quickly describe the location of the meat locker cave and it moves off in search of many meals.
The arcane members of the group agree the dragon eggs are likely only days away from hatching in these near perfect conditions but only Seef hesitates and ponders some possibilities before smashing them. The infant black dragons in turn each struggle for breath, cry and squirm like a human baby for a few minutes, then die. No one is surprised when Yumi gleefully starts preparing a cookfire.
It is an uneventful and familiar trip back to Greenest where they are welcomed as conquering heroes once again by Governor Nighthill and the other townsfolk they’ve come to know over the last few days. With their help they are able to locate the owners of the string of pearls and gold-and-sapphire ring they found in the treasure chest, and for returning them receive a finder’s fee of 300 gp. They keep the bag of gemstones. Nighthill is quick to tell them before Leosin Erlanthar left Greenest he purchased horses & riding gear for all of the characters except Yumi (who’d purchased his own in the last few days, those expenses were reimbursed instead).
Their travel by horseback to Elturel was expected to take about 6 days though after only a couple they were able to resupply in Berdusk, including purchasing some healing potions for each of them. About a day outside of Berdusk they were ambushed by three ogres that were interested in lunching on their horses. They threw several boulders and hit hard but were fairly quickly overwhelmed. The remainder of the trip went quickly and quietly.
It was before noon when they crested a hill and gazed upon Elturel for the first time. It is well described as an orderly city overlooking the River Chionthar filled with merchants, river traders and farmers’ markets. Its most distinguishing feature is a brilliant magical light that hovers above it, illuminating it day and night. This light is reportedly painful to undead and is certainly visible to every corner of Elturgard (of which Elturel is the capital), and did appear from afar to the party as a star or distant sun.
Upon reaching Elturel around noon about 8 days after Leosin left Greenest they were quick to discover no one in town knew of him. It was Katya who first thought to ask about Ontharr Frume and it was quite difficult to find anyone who didn’t know of him. Everyone pointed them towards his “headquarters” at a tavern called A Pair of Black Antlers. They were quickly recruited into the near constant challenges taking place between Frume’s company members and sometimes Elturel’s monk disciples. It doesn’t take them long to understand Frume is taking their measure so each of them in turn participate in a challenge of some kind. Most of them do well and overall the group impresses him. They spend the night in rooms set aside at the inn for them and the next day are summoned to meet with Frume & Leosin in a private study off the common room.
Frume is quick to praise their successes and laments the failures of the entire region related to the Cult of the Dragon. Immediately after he asks them flat out to join the fight against the Cult, stating “we need people like you, who know how and when to fight, and how and when to keep their heads down and observe. We can’t promise you anything except long days filled with danger and stress—but what could be better than that, eh?”
Leosin then speaks up and shares that he is a Harper and tells the party a bit about their organization and aims. Ontharr then describes his faction, the Order of the Gauntlet and discusses how their goals align against the Cult of the Dragon. A third faction is also mentioned, then Emerald Enclave. It is then they both ask the group if any of them want to join. Katya is quick to commit to the Order, and Seef & Callahorn are interested in becoming Harpers. Pleased with the group’s choices to consider joining their respective factions and to continue fighting the Cult, talk then moves about the best way to spoil their plans. Problem number one is, of course, not knowing exactly what they are. Leosin & Ontharr have already made use of the information the party discovered from Frulam Mondath’s desk notes and arranged for transportation the following morning on a boat down the River Chiontharr to Baldur’s Gate. They expect to beat the Cultists loot wagons since they moved much slower west to the Trade Way and then north to Baldur’s Gate.
Ontharr describes his contact, a human trader named Ackyn Selebon, who operates an equipage business in the Outer City north of the city wall in a district called Blackgate. There he sells all the material needed for long-distance freight hauling: wagons, rope, netting, grease, chains, wheels and so on. His shop also repairs wagons. He is not directly involved in the hiring of guards for caravans, but he knows people who are. With him to vouch for the party, they don’t expect to have any trouble getting hired on as guards for a northbound caravan, but he can’t give them work with any specific merchant.
The party finds lodging in Blackgate at his recommendation and figures they have anywhere from 10-15 days in Baldur’s Gate before the Cult wagons are likely to arrive. What’s the best way to spend that time?