The Cult of the Crystal Spider
Wedding Daze - Epilogue
Reberkkah keeps thinking about her time in the Portal Keep, sneaking around, killing the bad guys, and saving the Princess. Well, more or less.
As summer draws to an end, she finds herself sneaking off in the middle of the night, trying to find new adventures. With her father taken ill and her mother off in her own world, sneaking out is easy enough. The town of Triboar is only a few hours walk from the Goodehair Keep, and Reberkkah spends her nights in town’s seediest tavern, the Talking Troll, where she scams men for gold, practices her cutpurse skills, and even learns a little magic. It’s a thrilling life that Reberkkah never dreamt accessible to her, a perfect antidote to the staid ennui of noble life. (Not that Reberkkah is about to renounce her wealth to live amongst the street urchin, of course.)
As the seasons pass, it begins to grow cold. Reberkkah has done enough traveling to know that the cold in the North is unlike the cold anywhere else in Faerûn. Well, anywhere but the Spine of the World, the large mountain range north of the Lurkwood that stretches across the top of Faerun from Icewind Dale in the west to the Ice Mountains in the east. But she’s never been there, only read about it in books: the massive, natural wall that separates the civilized world from that of the goblinoids and giants.
The cold has become such that Reberkkah has been toying with the idea of putting her nighttime adventures on hiatus until the end of winter. Then, one night in the Talking Troll, a man approaches her. He introduces himself as Jamond Soney, and says that he’s been watching Reberkkah. At first she thinks she might be in trouble, but he informs her that he is a member of the Shadowcloaks, Faerûn’s largest organization of thieves and spies. He’s impressed by how quickly Reberkkah has caught on and, while she’s still a long way to go, she has a lot of raw talent. With a little guidance, he tells her, she could be a great thief. Shadowcloak material, even.
Reberkkah spends the next several months as Jamond’s apprentice, learning many tricks of the trade. When she expresses her interest in the arcane arts, Jaymond introduces her to an elf by the name of Galasaer. For ten gold pieces a month, he will train Reberkkah in the ways of magic.
Galasaer does teach her several cantrips and minor spells, but it is not long before Reberkkah begins feeling like something isn’t quite right. Jamond’s lessons are regularly canceled, and oftentimes when they two do meet, he is drunk. Galasaer does not seem willing to teach anything but novice-level spells. When Reberkkah confronts him about this, he simply states that she is “not yet ready.” Growing suspicious of his skill level, Reberkkah asks him to show her something truly magnificent. Galasaer searches through his pockets, pulling out what appears to be a twig. As he speaks in a language Reberkkah doesn’t understand, a sort of blue light envelops his hand. He points to a potted plant on the far wall of his room, and a beam of crackling, blue energy lances out, striking the plant. Clay, soil, and vegetation explode in a shower of sparks. Reberkkah is indeed impressed by this evocation, but she’s unable to shake her growing suspicion of her new friends.
Finally, one night Jamond tells her that he spoke with his comrades in the Shadowcloaks, and that they will let Reberkkah audition for the guild. First, however, she must complete a perilous mission handed down from the Night Hood himself. Reberkkah asks if she can have time to think about it, but Jamond says that it’s now or never. This particular mission has to be done tonight. But don’t worry, he says, he and Galasaer will be with, in case Reberkkah needs any backup.
Reberkkah has an uneasy feeling, but recognizes that this may be an opportunity of a lifetime. Jamond tells her that she’ll be heading north to Longsaddle, where she will retrieve Cormanthyr’s Driftglobe, a wonderous, magical item held in the possession of the Harpell family. Reberkkah is to steal it for the Shadowcloaks, and if she does so successfully, she will be granted membership to the guild and training with the Night Hood himself.
“There is a wagon waiting out back,” Jamond says. “You’ll be disguised as a prisoner, so as not to raise any suspicion.” Before Reberkkah has time to question the soundness of this plan, Jamond is guiding her to the wagon. He motions for her to step in. She does so, and he follows. Galasaer is already waiting in the wagon, and he holds up a pair of manacles and motions for Reberkkah to hold out her arms. Nervously, she does so, and the elf restrains her about the wrists.
It is not long down the road before Jamond makes his move on Reberkkah. She manages to kick him, hard in the chest. “You stupid little twit! Whatcha do that for?” Galasaer chuckles to himself. Reberkkah tries to yell for help, or for the wagon driver to stop, and Galasaer slaps her.
“You dumb girl,” he says. “You really think the Shadowcloaks want the likes of you? We’re going to hold you ransom so that rich Lord father you’ve got can give us lots and lots of gold! Oh, you didn’t think we knew who you were? You thought that dye in your hair was enough to protect you? Don’t be daft, girl. It’s true, we didn’t know at first, but when you were able to keep paying me 10 gold a week to learn how to make sparks, we figured you got to have a kitty somewheres.”
Reberkkah struggles to escape, but Galasaer grabs her from behind. Jamond glares at Reberkkah. “You know,” he says, “I really did like you. You really do got promise.”
Serendipitously, it is at this moment that the hairpin Reberkkah palmed when the men told her that she’d be restrained makes its connection with the tumbler of the manacles’ locks. The manacles click open, and as if automatically, Reberkkah elbows Galasaer hard in the ribs. He lets her go, and she manages to smack Jamond hard in the face with the chains, drawing blood.
Reberkkah races to the back of the wagon, trying to ignore the cursing of the men behind her getting louder, drawing closer, hoping beyond hope that Galasaer doesn’t attempt to fry her like he did that houseplant. One of them grabs hold of Reberkkah’s ankle but she shakes him off, jumping from the back of the wagon.
She hits the ground hard, but doesn’t even feel the pain. She gets up as quickly as she can, running toward Triboar. She is out of breath before she realizes that the wagon never even stopped, and that no one bothered giving chase. Finally feeling the pain of her landing earlier—Reberkkah thinks she may have dislocated her shoulder—she hobbles into the Everwyvern House. Not even realizing it is almost dawn, she asks for a room.
She sleeps through the entire day, and instead of heading home, she heads back to the Talking Troll, half afraid of finding Jamond and Galasaer waiting for her there, half hoping that she does, ready to gut them for what they did.