Date: Mirtul 11th, 1491 DR
The track continued beside a large gash in the earth, which one of the cultists said was called The Sighing Valley due to sound of the wind moving through some strange rock formations. It turned out to be a large canyon rather than a valley, with a small river flowing through the bottom of it. True to its name when the wind blew through the rock spires it made a sighing noise, and sometimes howling when the wind blew hard. Gareth told the party that gnolls laired in the valley, and sometimes hunted outside of it but only attacked when they had numerical advantage. There was no way into Feathergale Spire from the canyon floor. A manticore also hunted in the area, but there was no sign of it. The trail split, with one trail going into the Sighing Valley, and the other ran but ran adjacent on the cliffs of the canyon. They were taking the clifftop route so, Gareth said, danger from creatures here was minimal most of the time.
They approached Feathergale Spire, which rose from a pillar of rock high into the air past the top of the canyon, the tallest point for miles. Built from white limestone and embellished in marble, the spire resembled a gleaming sword that pierces the sky. The gatehouse and drawbridge were the only apparent point of entry. Tall, wide windows encompassed the bottom level of the tower, and a circle of open salls ringed the tower’s foundation where it met the rock spire the tower was built on. Above each stall a sculpture of a hippogriff was depicted leaping from the tower’s base. Around the tower, two figures riding giant vultures circled around, apparently doing some kind of patrol.
A gap of twenty feet separated the ledge where the trail ended from the closed drawbridge on Feathergale Spire. The space between the cliff’s edge and the gatehouse dropped several hundred feet to the bottom of the canyon. The party could see some kind of large bird, a giant vulture perhaps, eating something on the ground and some smaller birds circling it. There were some rough buildings here near the edge of the trail – Esplen realised they were likely to be storage sheds and stables for the oxen and other beasts. Near the ledge, a brass bell hung from a wooden post.
“Jerks,” growled Gareth. “They could see us coming. They could have dropped the drawbridge earlier and not made us wait.” He rang the bell vigorously, while the other cultists started unloading the carts. More cultists came from the storage sheds to assist. A small window near the Feathergale Spire gate opened, and a female face appeared. She shouted a welcome and to wait a moment. The drawbridge started to lower.
When it was all the way down, the gate opened, and Gareth escorted the party across, along with some cultists carrying stores. In the white stone hallway the young woman who opened the gate approached.
“Hurricane Gareth,” she said to Gareth with deference. “Welcome back, and I see you brought guests. I’m guessing these are not initiates?”
“Lady Savra,” said Gareth, “I want you to meet these adventurers from Waterdeep who killed the evil cultist priest who was corrupting the Town Elders there. They asked to accompany us back to Feathergale Spire. I expect the Commander will want to meet them.”
Seeing the enquiring looks, Gareth said “Hurricane is a title in our order. There are various titles for various functions or ranks. I must leave you now and see the stores are properly distributed.”
“Gentlefolk,” said Savra, as Gareth departed back out of the gate. “I am Savra Belabranta, Knight of the Feathergale Society.”
[work in progress]