A Terrible Twist of the Truth

For Da, in case I die.

Thorden “Bones” Blackbanner always had a keen nose for finding a path. But it didn’t keep him out of harm’s way; despite his uncanny fleetness of foot (for a dwarf), he suffered numerous broken bones in a mine collapse as a youngster, and since then he can crack just about every bone in his body — hence the nickname. The injury ruined his future as a miner of Mirabar, but no love was lost. He hadn’t wanted to follow in his Da’s hobnailed footsteps anyway. As much as he loved the shiny metal buried in the rock, he never had the patience to get it out. Instead, he took to the surrounding caverns and countryside working as a tracker to help dwarven patrols keep tabs on the local monstrous raiders. And raid they did. During one battle, his Da was maimed by an especially cantankerous hill giant named Gremsch. Da’s pick arm was crippled in the skirmish. After the attack, Bones set out south to follow the trail of Gremsch and the orcs. He found the remains of the destroyed orc band, but Gremsch was nowhere to be found. He followed the track south to Waterdeep, where the trail went cold.

His tale:

“I can’t make heads nor tails of this place. Folks call it a city of splendor, but I only see a stench-ridden sea of sun lovers. I been here going on a week or so, and I paid this here man boy to jot this down best he could while I tell it, case I can’t remember or I’m kilt by Gremsch. If that’s so, I don’t deserve to be called a Blackbanner. But I won’t, cause I’d hear em coming, he’s so big and all.

I met some of me own kin on the first night in, so Marthammor Duin is still with me. One of em is the son of an old battlerager of the North, close to me clan. If he fights as viciously as he sings, he’ll make his Da proud. And I’d wager he can fight, cause there’s a shield with his name on it in a bar. Rurnolor’s his name, and I’ve been helping him craft a new suit of rager armor in exchange for room and board. He seems a real nice folk for a rager.

There’s another dwarf here too, a stinky boozer with a lazy eye and a belly as bulging as his namesake. Kettle Ironthorn seems to spend more time sawing stone under a potted bar room plant than sober and on his feet. But he keeps a good company of beer and bacon, which I like, and a quick wit hides behind his dim eye.

There’s a halfling with em all too, a sketchy one for sure. He lifted me four stinky copper before he even said boo. Gave it back though, so that’s something.

And there’s an elf. I like his hair. I even got me some.

I also got me a tour of this lumptown from the wee one. He claims it’s run by three dragons in the big castle on the bluff. I wouldn’t live nowhere ruled by them snakes.

Apparently nobles make quite a stink round here, and when something happens to em everybody gets breeches in their britches. A clan called the Growlens … naw, I don’t know how to spell it, what do I look like, a dern magi? Quit writing this part down ya dirty dolt … anyway, these Groulens are making some mighty fine blades all of a sudden, using some new mystery metal. It’s dull and unbending and seemingly worth more than a king’s jeweled codpiece. Another clan called the Amcathras are blowing top at the Grollens for horning in on their business, and we heard from some fancy pants at the Dripping Dagger that they’d pay pretty for word on how to shut em down. Rumor has it that the Groulens are operating outside the guild, a big salty no-no in this here lumptown. We saw one of them mystery blades too, at the hip of a surly merc man. We talked it over and decided to look into it. We thought maybe some kin was taken as slaves. But it don’t look it no more.

We walked the docks looking for signs of that mystery metal. It was harder than we thought and the lumps didn’t want us around. A group of em almost got skewered by the rager. I was hoping to see some man meat fly, but he let em go. He must be saving it up for a real big blow. Tommy — that’s the wee one — made mad with the harbor master and promised to burn his house down. He did, too. Then the harbor master said he’d tell me what we wanted to know if I’d rough up Tommy — he didn’t know we were in kahoots — but Tommy didn’t wanna be roughed up. The slippery skink slinked off before we could nab him. So we tried the next best thing — grabbin one of Tommy’s kin. It was a good plan, and would have worked out fine, but we got drunk and the whole frigging host of halfies had a party on me face. In the morning, we went back to the dock to claim our prize, figuring we’d come up with something. The harbormaster had a whole force of guards on hand, and they were all mighty pleased that we knew Tommy Two-fingers and where he lived. I was worried at first about telling em, but Tommy said to trust him, so I did. I figured he’s so small he could right about hide in any old hole. So bringing the whole of the guard down on Halfling’s Alley must be part of his plan.

I really should say more about the elf, cause he’s getting way weirder. He’s half man too, which makes it even worse. Who in the Nine Hells would combine these? Anyway, he says he walked through a mirror and wound up a thousand miles away from home and 700 years in the future. At first I thought him crazy, and now I know him to be crazy, but there may be some truth in what he says. I feel bad that he lost his wife and kin. Perhaps there’s something we can do.

Right, I’m stopping now, cause I’m out a coin and this dirty bugger is charging by the page. I sure hope Gremsch turns up, cause I’m broke."

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