They would be known one day as heroes, this motley assortment of nobodies from the hills surrounding Parnast. And their paths were clearly destined to cross.
Opagopolis was raised by wolves in the nearby Weathercote forests. It was there that she first met Calum, the Tethryin sage. She saved him from her pack, only to lighten his purse and send him on his way. He settled down briefly in Parnast, where he met the half-elf bard Pwomp, who is something of a local… oddity?… celebrity? Pwomp, being well connected as he is, put him in contact with Rin Ko, a renowned bounty hunter who agreed to help track the halfling down and recover his stolen items. And so it was that both Rin Ko and Callum were in the Wethercote forests hunting for a little halfling girl when fire descended.
Unbeknownst to just about everyone, a warband of fire giants had descended upon the valleys surrounding Parnast. They seemed to be searching for something, and as they searched they burned the forests to ash. The retired paladin, Garrus, rode out to face them alone, but despite great effort he was slaughtered and left for dead in the roads. The goliath clan from the foothills also mounted a defense of the forests, but many were killed. It was one of these goliaths, Totham, who found the dying paladin and carried him to safety.
When Rin Ko and Callum found Opagopolis, the forest was already ablaze. Rather than settle their dispute, Opagopolis led them through the forest back to safety. And there, in the light of the flickering flames from the burning forest, they gathered as a group for the first time.
Chapter 1: The Well of Dragons
It was only a short time later when they had their first lead on the giant who had nearly cost them their lives. Patrols were regularly sent out from Parnast to the Well of Dragons, across the Anauroch desert to check on cult activity in the area. One such patrol had returned with rumors of a giant in the area. And so it was that the group was sent to the Well to investigate.
It was a long, but otherwise uneventful, trek through the Anauroch desert and from there they received passage on a caravan through Evereska.
At the Well, they found that the Cult of Tiamat was indeed reforming, with several acolytes making their way to the caldera of the dormant volcano to pay their respects to the dragon queen. But at the top of the mountain the party watched as the cultists were rebuffed by a quite jovial and civilized frost giant. They conversed with the giant, who introduced himself as Harshnag.
Harshnag had once served in the infamous Grey Hands, the loose cannon adventurers that served as something of an unofficial weapon of last resort for the city of Waterdeep. Harshnag gave them a brief overview of the Ordening, and how the hierarchy of giants had been disrupted when the giants failed to intervene against the dragons of the cult of Tiamat. (Note: For more about the rise of Tiamat, please see Volumes II-IV, found in the Great Library). All order had collapsed, he said, when Hekaton, king of the storm giants went missing. He passed on the rumors he was aware of regarding giants in the Dessarin Valley, northeast of Waterdeep.
As the party of fledgling adventurers discussed the matter with the frost giant, the cultists decided it would be a good time to make a cautious retreat. But the adventurers noticed them edging away, and slaughtered the lot of them, save for one: a young acolyte named Ravos. Ravos told them that the cult was in disarray. Most of their priests were dead, only scattered groups remained without leadership, and the red dragon Klauth (more commonly known as “Old Snarl”) was regathering the remnants of the cult in the Klauthen Vale to the far north. For his part, Ravos seemed misguided and repentant, electing to join the group as they returned to Parnast.
And so they set off, back to Parnast with news of both the dragon cults and the giant attacks.
LEVEL UP: Level 2
Chapter 2: The Long Road Home
The journey home from the Well of Dragons would take the heroes first to Darkhold for supplies, and then on to the road through the Anauroch Desert. As they approached the desert’s edge they received a mysterious message, delivered in the form of a flying origami bird. It advised them to seek a merchant by the name of Azam. The Calimshani was seeking guards to escort a caravan carrying a statue bound for the shrine in Parnast, to replace the one destroyed by the Cult of Tiamat. They agreed, and set out the next morning. As the caravan travelled they were attacked by goblins, who grew increasingly brazen as they made their way deeper into the desert. They also met a small band of Zhentarim who were traveling east across the desert. They camped together for the evening, trading rumors of what they had encountered on the Black Road, and the adventurers were warned about hobgoblin toll collectors standing watch at the canyon that leads out of the desert. They convinced the Zhentarim to send two of their men to accompany them back to the wall to eliminate the hobgoblin extortion.
Just a day’s journey from the deserts edge, they noticed a sudden roiling storm cloud breaking over the horizon. As it drew nearer it became obvious the enormous cloud was home of a cloud castle, flying low over the desert. The intense winds threatened to wreak havoc on the caravan, the camels, and the caravan drivers, but they sprung to action and managed to protect the whole of the caravan. They pushed on towards their home, in hopes of arriving not long after the cloud giant’s castle.
They were stopped at the canyon by the hobgoblins stationed at a sturdy gatehouse. Before long, they realized that the massive guard detachment was a ruse, and that many of the hobgoblins had been killed by the dust storm that caught them unawares in the canyon. With only a handful of the hobgoblins remaining, they were able to overpower them and retake the gatehouse, which they turned over to Kaniin, the Zhentarim priest of Waukeen.
Pushing forward without resting, they arrived back in Parnast shortly thereafter, only to find the village perfectly safe. It seemed the castle had passed gently overhead, seemingly looking for something (or someone). The townsfolk were enthusiastic about having the shrine back in proper repair, and Raggnar Redtooth, the owner of the Golden Flagon Tavern, asked them to stop by the tavern the following evening after they’d had some time to rest.