Expedition To Castle Ravenloft - Forgotten Realms

Prologue - "We're on a mission from God"

Excerpts from the journal of Gevyen Tallmer of Tethyr in the Year of Wild Magic, 1372

13 Mirtul: Today shines brightly above any other day! My lord, master and deliverance, Lathander; has set me a shining path – one which I cannot divert from. It happened in the dusty halls of the library of Zazesspur this morning. I was reaching to access a scroll from the shelves, when, due to my increasing toll of years, tripped off the rickety ladder. Grasping for balance I tottered, and collapsed in a heap – as did the equally rickety bookcase. Sneezing in the dust, I readjusted my optics to find a ray of sunlight now set free by the bookcase’s movement. Tracing its bright line lead to a hither unknown parchment. Lathander, you marvel me with your presence! With trembling hands I uncovered a document that will make my life’s work complete. The crumbling parchment revealed to me new information regarding my beloved church and her relics. It detailed the existence of a small Lathanderan sect active in a remote region of Damara, largely isolated from the rest of Faerûn. This sect is served by a small priesthood and two slightly larger orders: the Ecaterine Monks, and the Knights of the Raven. The parchment described three holy shrines dedicated to our blessed Saints Markovia, Ecaterina & Bogdan; as well as two powerful artifacts! And I, a humble scribe in search of such holy relics! One is a holy symbol that shines like the sun, the other is said to be the first sun blade! I could not contain my delight – rushing straight to Abbot Hikar Bartaen and bowling him over as he met the Council of Lords of Zazesspur. He sees me as a bumbling old fool, and he may be right. But Lathander’s holy path shall not be darkened! Hikar brushed me aside and banished me to work in the herb garden as a rebuff to remember my piety and peace.

16 Mirtul: Morninglord be praised! He has seen fit to illuminate Hikar’s mind as he has mine. I was summoned to the abbot’s room to explain my discovery in a gentler fashion. Hikar’s eyes filled too with holy light as he gained knowledge of the boon to our church this discovery will bring. Again I was dismissed, but not without a promise of an expedition to seek the holy treasures.

5 Kythorn: A day of mixed blessings. I am to be sent to seek the treasures of my dreams and after years of dusty research! Hikar has assembled an expedition party of horses, wagon and two grooms (Seth and Pardrey) from our lay preaching group. Apparently I am to be assigned Seymour de Crecy as a guard, mentor and companion for the long road ahead. Do I suspect that Hikar wishes to rid his sainted halls of this pompous old windbag? Seymour shall be a trial, but Lathander’s will must hold sway. As of the journey, how are we to complete the many leagues to our goal? Hikar bade us patience, our path shall be found.

20 Flamerule: After long ten-days of planning, our path is set. Hikar has negotiated with clerics of Shaundakul to open a portal nearer our goal. We are to be transported to Sembia, to our sister church in Yhaunn – the Sunspire Cathedral.

25 Flamerule: I do not wish to speak fully of our path today. The portal from Zazesspur to Sembia was duly opened by Shaundakul’s will; allowing us to jump thousands of miles and dozens of countries. I shall not speak of the horror of the portal, lest my life’s journey is forfeited. Mercifully, Lathander’s light welcomed us into the bustling realm of Sembia. Yhaunn is a marvellous city, not unlike my home port of Zazesspur. The Sunspire Cathedral glows with Lathander’s majesty in the bright of the morning. I was honoured today to be appointed Ash Torden, a paladin of our order. He seems a thoroughly able young man – not afflicted with that stiff upper lip self-righteousness that weighs heavily on Seymour. Abbess Simla Tartufo of the Cathedral felt he was a worthy addition to our party, as seemingly we venture into more dangerous lands. Surely, Lathander will protect us from all harm.

28 Flamerule: We have gained passage on the Wavecrest, a trader plying her wares across the Sea of Fallen Stars. Today Ash proved his worth in successfully seeking a noted captain of these waters to sail eastward towards Damara. Captain Michely Albignoni assures me that his consignment of smoked sausage is the finest in Faerûn.

Midsummer’s Day: Morninglord Lathander, today you have blessed me with your glory! Never before have I witnessed your glorious dawn awakening life across the water. It was with humbled reverence that Seymour, Ash and I supplicated ourselves on the deck of the Wavecrest to bathe in your blessed rays. To your honour we dedicate this holy mission.

4 Eleasias: Fair winds have brought us very swiftly to the fine trading city of Lyrabar, the shining capital of Impiltur. As long as my life leads, I shall never seek sausage for my repast again. The stench of that foul foodstuff will haunt me to my grave. Where shall our path lead now?

6 Eleasias: May the Morninglord be praised, we have gained the right to accompany the Blue Hand Mercantile Company as far as Heliogabalus. It seems their Impilturan cotton is much sought by the Damarans of the north.

30 Eleasias: Heliogabalus, we rest in your sheltered walls in the arms of Ilmater. Praise be to Lathander for delivering us safely to this city. I shall not forget the kindness of the merchants who acceded to our request to join their caravan from Lyrabar.

4 Eleint: The journey tires me now, yet so close to my goal! Heliogabalus, the capital of Damara, has been a restful haven for the past few days, and we have been duly replenished in body and soul by the actions and deeds of our sister church of Ilmater. The Crying God is well venerated here, a forbidding land of cold steppes and poor pastures. My bones ache with the cold though; the fading of the year is fast upon us in these northern climes. May Lathander speed our path northward, to the foothills of the Galena Mountains.

12 Eleint: Today we leave the frontier town of Ironspur, and embark on our last leg of our long pilgrimage. We should reach the little known realm of Barovia within the next few days, Lathander willing. My blessed Morninglord, I can feel your guiding light illuminating our sacred path. Keep my bones from wearying as the year fades….

Gevyen Tallmer Scribe to the Dawnhall of the Morninglord, Zazesspur, Tethyr

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