Before continuing on to the city, the party are joined by Kierke’s travelling companion, Lucan, a bladesinger and one of the long-lived eladrin, searching out those responsible for looting the ancient eladrin home of Sharandar, set deep in the great Neverwinter Wood. A quest for justice and vengeance that Lucan was obviously set upon to achieve, born to achieve, in fact, no matter how long it would take, or how many sacrifices he would have to make, because his soul would not rest until he had personally meted out justice to the defilers.
On arrival at the city, escorted by the grateful General Sabine, the party is met at the imposing and ancient Hall of Justice by the city mayor, Soman Galt, who congratulates the heroes on the favour they have done for the city in eliminating members of the Dead Rat Gang. The old but powerful-looking dwarf is less keen on allowing them to keep the goods they had been guarding – although a mixture of well-reasoned argument, agreement to serve the city on the wall and outright brown-nosing at least guarantees the team a share of any proceeds of the sale.
Such unseemly haggling is soon put to an end, however, with the arrival of Dagult Neverember, Open Lord of Waterdeep and Lord Protector of Neverwinter, who immediately awards the goods to the heroes in recognition of their deeds, pays particular and courteous attention to Mani, and then proceeds to monologue with gusto about how they are exactly the sort of people the city needs as he sets about building a New Neverwinter, one that draws inspiration from the past to achieve great future prosperity.
The party learn from Neverember of the particular challenges the city faces: the wall that protects it from the chasm opened up by the cataclysm and from which sallies forth the occasional wave of mindless creatures bent on destruction; the orcs of the Many Arrows tribe that occupies one quarter of the city; the Dead Rat Gang who have exported their brand of Luskan throat cutting to the streets of the city; and the Blacklake district that is proving difficult to enthuse with the New Neverwinter project.
Somewhat overtaken by weariness, the party retire to the Moonstone Mask, as Neverember’s guests, to find the tavern full of Mintarn mercenaries, many of whom have already heard of the party’s martial prowess.
The half-elf landlady, Liset Cheldar makes quite an impression on several members of the party with her ale and pies. A somewhat less favourable impression is made by the halfling trader Cullen Skiprock, who the party suspect of outmanoeuvring them in negotiations for the purchase of the wagonload of old Neverwinter hardware.
Such disappointment at their mercantile naivety is short-lived, as the party’s attention is drawn to the Mintarn mercenaries who are now gathered at the window and looking down at the harbour, standing grim-faced as they study a newly-arrived Mintarn ship. The cargo the vessel is discharging promises some encouragement – more Mintarn men and cages of guard drakes – but such optimism is shattered by the sight of bodies of fallen comrades being loaded on the ship for the return journey to Mintarn and the somewhat particular and closely adhered-to burial rights. The tavern soon has the atmosphere of a teetotal wake.
That is until Talak picks up his lute, stands on a chair and launches into the performance of his life. Recalling ancient Mintarn dirges he has learned from Oghma knows where, Talak lifts the mood with a finely constructed set that moves the Mintarns from crying into their beer to dancing on the tables. The revelry seems set to continue far into the night as the Mintarn grief turns to riotous brotherhood when a peal of bells from the east sets them all reaching for their weapons and rushing out of the tavern. It appears our heroes are about to honour their promise to stand on the wall sooner than they expected.
Sent to a section of the wall at the moment of crisis the party see the fortification is close to breached. Bodies of its defenders litter the street, thrown from the wall by twisted humanoids and ogres who stand atop the rampart, bent on its destruction and that of the undefended city beyond, blue fiery ichor streaming from rents in their torsos.
The heroes throw themselves into the battle for the wall. The creatures keep coming, scrabbling up mounds of rubble and lacerating the party with savage blows. Danforth, close to death, is thrown from the wall, saving himself with a miraculous display of controlled falling with style; Malus’s spells and Mani’s bear spirit at least slow the advance of the monstrosities, Rok Alim alternates between fighting and retching as nausea overtakes him while Talak fires warning shots over an ogre’s head.
Great gouts of blue fire spurting from the monsters’ wounds threaten to overwhelm the heroes until in an act of reckless bravery, Lucan steps through the dimensions to stand toe to toe with the most dangerous brute of all, only to be consumed in a great billow of blue flame as his soul is snuffed out, without time for a dying word.
Spurred on by rage at the death of one who might in time have become the friend of all friends, Kierke lunges at the beast in a wrathful whirl of steel and eviscerates it with one savage blow.
As cheers from a grateful crowd echo along the wall, the heroes stand over the body of their fallen comrade, thinking of acts left undone, songs left unsung, stories unmade, all doing their best to remember his name.