The work contained on the following pages is the property and copyright of Eric K. Rodriguez and is presented here with permission.
The Order of the Shining Sword
By Eric K. Rodriguez
The remains of Blackmoon Manor lie along the Trade Way about 20 miles north of th town of Triel situated at the base of the Trielta Hills. Blackmoon Manor has long been a stopping point for caravans and travelers alone the Trade Way. The remains of Blackmoon Manor are built into the side of a hill that dominates the Trade Way and have a clear view of the area for miles in all directions. The history behind Blackmoon Manor is sparse and unclear, however hat little is known tells a story of an evil cult of humans and humanoids that practiced black sorcery and human sacrifice to some long forgotten god, in order to increase their powers and satisfy their bloodlust. The story goes on to say that one night while the moon was full, a huge explosion and flash of light lit up the night sky and could be heard as far away as Berdusk. the story goes on to say that a passing group of travelers came upon the manor two day's later only to find ruins and rubble. One observer stated that "It was if the Manor never existed". So complete was the destruction that no one had, up till recently, tried to build any other structure on the site, declaring it cursed ground.
In 1365DR, The Year of the Sword, the warrior and adventurer Brosan Dragonheart, came upon a set of ruins north of the town of Triel at the base of the Trielta Hills. While just recently back from an excursion deep into the Fields of the Dead, he stopped at these strange ruins and set up camp to wait out the night. From his own testimony, told later to a wandering mage, he awoke in the middle of the night as if he were entranced somehow and had no control over himself whatsoever. He talked of walking, in what seemed like concentric circles for hours before he stopped, fell to his knee's, and started digging. He stated that it was if the ground just parted before his hands as he reached into the ground. What he pulled from the ground is what amazed him the most. Held before him was a broad sword of ancient make and design, shining a brilliant golden hue. Brosan Dragonheart proclaimed the sword "Vindicator" and from that day forward the sword has never left his side. Since that time, "Lord Dragonheart" has been gathering followers and hirelings to himself and begun the building of "Castle Paragon". the Lord of Castle paragon has had the uncanny luck in the skill and speed with which the foundation is being laid. In reality after the remains of Blackmoon manor were removed, it was found that it had rested on the remains of a much larger structure. In fact it is over four times larger and architects are placing the stones at over 700 years old, perhaps even older. The more perceptive individual might place the time at around the fall of the mighty Netheril Empire.
Lord Dragonheart has gathered together, as quickly as possible, a medium-sized group of hirelings for the specific purpose of building Castle Paragon. The fates must be smiling upon Lord Dragonheart because located in the Trielta Hills are friendly communities of Halflings and Gnomes. Two of these communities have already pledged their services to the Lord of Castle Paragon, but only because of some timely intervention and support from a passing adventurer. During the talks with the communities Lord Dragonheart was able to convince the two Gnomish communities of Peevsner and Kappelmine, of the value of an armed fortress in the area, to counteract the increasing number of humanoids and undead sightings in the area recently. It was also helpful that the passing adventure, a rock gnome calling himself "Goblin-slayer", intervened on Lord Dragonhearts behalf and explained to the two gnomish communities about the recent decline of gnomish clans all throughout the north. Seeing the wisdom in his advice, the two communities have pledged their services in a mutual aid pact that will benefit both parties. Some insightful priests of the gnomish deities have stated that the special interest that the gnomish pantheon has expressed in this "Goblin-slayer" may have something to do with his wisdom and influence. Whatever the case, the "Goblin-slayer" mysteriously vanished hours after the talks with Lord Dragonheart had been completed. Surprisingly not even one of the adult gnomes witnessed his departure. However a group of young gnomes who were playing near the shrine to the "Cloakshadow" swore they saw a gnomish adult walking north fitting the description of the "Goblin-slayer". What is most odd is that the children swear that the adult was talking to and even cursing the shadow that followed him. At first most of the adult gnomes attributed this to childrens wild imaginations, however when asked exactly what the "Goblin-slayer" said to the shadow, the children responded with a stream of swearing and curses that most adults have never even heard of. whoever or whatever this "Goblin-Slayer" was, his presence has only been interpreted as good because of the effects that have occurred because of him. Lord Dragonheart has stated that with the two gnomish communities already allied with him, it is only a matter of time before the other communities, including the Halflings, join the alliance.
Since Lord Dragonheart has only recently begun his building of Castle paragon, the number of followers and hirelings is reflected. The Order of the Shining Sword is broken down into three parts:
- "Shields" - This group is responsible for the protection and defense of Castle Paragon. The Shields are currently led by Thorgrim "Swiftaxe", a Dwarf who has been a friend of Lord Dragonheart for some time. Thorgrim leads a group of 20 1st level warriors, 4 2nd level warriors, and 1 3rd level warrior. Thorgrim is himself a 7th level warrior.
- "Swords" - This group is responsible for the patrols in the area and for dealing with bandits and humanoids. They also occasionally escort caravans along the "Trade Way". The Swords are currently led by Vasset Stoutarm, a human warrior who has traveled extensively throughout the Western Heartlands. Vasset leads a group of 20 1st level warriors, 10 2nd level warriors,and 5 3rd level warriors. Vasset is a 8th level warrior.
- "Helms" - This group is made up of the warriors who show promise and are further trained by Lord Dragonheart himself. Two are 4th level and one is 5th level. Lord Dragonheart is hoping that after his presence is more well known , more warriors will flock to his banner.
During recent excavations Lord Dragonheart has uncovered several strange and unique items. Knowing from past experience not to use something you do not understand, he summoned a long time friend, Ilbraxx The Arcane. A sage with good knowledge and some magical power, he came and set up his laboratory in the remains of one of the newly built towers. Since that time several amazing discoveries have come about. A large stash of armor and weapons was uncovered, at a critical time when they were needed, and a brilliantly colored banner which glows with magical power. Ilbraxx says they are of ancient make, and that the banner is something magical called "The Pennant of Arms". Lord Dragonheart has taken these strange, yet lucky happenings, as a sign that he is to succeed.
With the recent finding of arms and armor, the following troops are armed and outfitted accordingly:
- All Shields wear splint mail with shield(AC3) and use short sword, dagger and short bow.
- All Swords wear plate mail with shield(AC2) and use long sword, dagger, and horsemans lance.
- All Helms wear field plate with shield(AC1) and all are proficient with lance. However the weapons vary with each individual and can include, horsemans mace, lance, bastard sword, morning star, and flail.
Even though Lord Dragonheart is sincere in his attempt to create a more safer area he is still getting negative reactions from some of his neighbors. The current lord of Triel, Elbar "The Grainlord", is paranoid that Brosan Dragonheart is just a bandit lord in disguise and has plans on controlling the Trade Way exclusively. Lord Dhelt of Elturel does not share the Grainlords view, however and is most please to see a fair and just ruler, besides himself, in the area. Once Lord Dragonheart consolidates his control over the area it will free up more Hellriders to patrol other more important areas. It is said that even the Lords Alliance will contact him soon with offers of membership. There is even talk of the Gnomes and Halflings raising militias to help defend the area. Already a group of 10 halfling slingmen, and 10 Gnomish warriors have pledged their allegiance to Lord Dragonhearts Banner.
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