Having arrived in Sharn by way of Sarshan’s mystic portal, The Hand of The Silver Flame felt that it wouldn’t be wise to march back through it right away; Who knew what protections Sarshan might have put in place? While Sarshan was momentarily stuck in the Shadowfell, and they held four of the five stones that might one day form the key to his Citadel, the party felt this might be an opportunity to retrieve the mystical silver sword which they had learned was exhibiting unexpected magical attributes while in the care of their friends in Shavalant.
Before leaving town, the party ran into a group of thugs who were assaulting an unarmed man in the street. Being the friendly heroic types they are, the Hand drove off the criminals, who were clearly outmatched and fled into the alleys. The man they had rescued, Parmelk, was a follower of the Path of Light, and thanked them for the kind gesture.
The heroes had decided to take the lightning rail to Wroat, and from there, it would be relatively inexpensive to take an airship to Woodhelm, and from there, hoof it to Shavalant. As they boarded the lightning rail, they saw a familiar face: the monk Parmelk, which they had rescued that morning, was apparently on his way to Wroat as well. Greeting him, they engaged in a cordial discussion of their different religions as the train sped out of the station and onward towards their destination.
The trip was made less pleasant when a thief attempted to pickpocket one of the portal stones off of Jantry. Catching him red handed, the party realized that more cutthroats were at hand: outside a nearby window, a rope led up to the roof above, where a handful of enforcers stood waiting for their apprentice’s return.
The Hand rushed to action, and had a thrilling battle atop the speeding railcar, with the landscape whipping by. The brave Parmelk lept into the fray to assist his new friends but was surrounded, and quickly beaten into submission, only to be rejuvenated by the Light of the Flame: Again, he found himself in the Hand’s debt, and pledged himself to their service for a time.
Oh, and Oris got turned into a toad for a moment, and then got better.
After the last villain had been defeated, flung from the roof of the speeding train, the party returned to the train car and interrogated their captive. It was apparent that the bounty Sarshan had put on their heads was much larger, warranting attacks from a more dangerous type of criminal.
Upon reaching Woodhelm and meeting with Sertanian at the Hall of Valor, the party was informed that the sword had already been brought from Shavalant, and until a few weeks ago had been waiting for them there, when Alys had been dispatched to find them and give it to them. Unfortunately, the Council’s beautiful messenger had not been seen since, and her return was far overdue.
Dismayed, the party vowed to discover what had become of her, but at that moment, they were attacked by another assassination squad, including two powerful Warforged and a cunning halfling wizard that blasted their minds with dark spells while the Hall of Valor burned around them. Having dealt with the threat, but failing to save the Hall from burning to the ground, they found themselves spurned by the townsfolk of Woodhelm, and accosted by a shady elf named Thorn who warned them to stay clear of the Guild. Although he hailed from Valenar, same as she, Elani seemed to react rather caustically to him and treated him with unwarranted disrespect.
No longer wanted in the town where they first found fame, the heroes turned towards Ardev, following the leads they had and hoping to find Alys before it was too late.
It seemed that their reputation outside Woodhelm was safe. When they arrived in Ardev, Captain Aerun greeted them heartily, along with Elder Cadrick, who was glad to meet with them and listen to their stories of adventure. Apparently, Alys had been seen in town around ten days ago, and then disappeared. As they began piecing together clues, it appeared that she must’ve been kidnapped by the Lost Ones , the guild of thieves that operated out of (they assumed) Trade Town. Finally a lead led them back to the Happy Beggar, where Oris and their new friend Parmelk (who wouldn’t be recognized as a member of the Hand) went to set up a sting similar to one their ally Dox had tried a month before.
Operating on what they had discovered earlier, Parmelk informed a man by the name of Rolf that the Hand was back in town, and staying at a certain Inn. Meanwhile, Oris followed one of the other thieves, losing him somewhere in the Nine Bells district. After Rolf and a few of his companions left, heading straight for the inn to check if Parmelk’s information had been accurate, the Hand returned to the inn, pretended to head upstairs to sleep, and then immediately snuck out the back door, following Rolf back to Nine Bells, where he disappeared into a run-down temple.
The party waited outside until Rolf and a pile of thugs emerged, a group of assassins headed in direction of the inn. Once these enemies were out of range, the Hand of the Silver flame entered the old temple, which had been converted into a lair by the thieves guild. The ceiling was old and caved in, and rainwater pooled on the floor amid the debris. Alys was there, gagged and bound to a chain near the center of the room, looking to be in pretty bad shape, but alive.
A pair of bloodthirsty hounds howled, and more thieves emerged from the shadows. Their old nemesis Zaegun, who had twice escaped their grasp after failed assassination attempts, emerged from a room with another familiar face: Mara the River Fox, who they had captured and released when she promised she would cause no further trouble. Jantry and Breogan, who had both found themselves mixed up with Mara at one point or another, were betrayed and repulsed by the thought of her with Zaegun.
Mara pleaded with Jantry even as the battle began, but the paladin was merciless after seeing Alys held in such a state by the woman who had betrayed him twice before. The thieves struck from the shadows and tried to separate the members of the hand, while Zaegun used a horrific spell which flung deadly knives at the heroes and battled Jantry up close. Elani advanced on Mara, calling down the searing Light of the Silver Flame to purge her sins once and for all. “Perhaps in Death, you might find forgiveness!” cried the elf, knocking the girl to the floor with a bolt of divine light.
Meanwhile, Oris stepped in and out of the shadows, striking unwary foes with the cruelest precision. Breogan was holding the vicious dogs at bay, which were large enough to tackle even him. Once again Elani summoned a healing spirit in the form of the Silver Flame which sustained them all as the fight wore on.
Zaegun would not escape this time, as Oris finally dispatched him with a vengeful slice of his falchion. Mara was luckier, as Elani had deliberately spared her, so that she might find redemption without the influence of the Lost Ones (or Zaegun) in her life. The battle was won and Alys was rescued, and there on Zaegun’s nightstand lay the silver sword that they had come for. As Jantry cautiously approached it, it seemed to call to him, and when he picked it up, a voice rang loud and clear in his mind.
“At last, my son, I’ve found you,” the voice said.