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The Tale of Thunder - Chapter Three (Uprising of the Shadows - Part One: Divine Calling)

Thunder Kayowen(Ryan Goodrich)
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Thunder looked to the horizon as the sun quickly descended. Daggerford was easily another twenty miles away; there was little chance of reaching it before nightfall. All around him for as far as he could see along the Trade Way was rolling hills of grass. It had been the same for the past few days.

Thunder could tell his companions were beginning to get restless for some action. It had been near a tenday since they had gotten sidetracked into the Trollbark Forest, tracking down a group of bandits who had raided a caravan they had passed.

Dengar shifted uncomfortable on his horse. Dwarves were never meant to ride horses. Dengar looked like he'd be more at home in a dungeon, axe swinging and blood flying. Dengar was short, yet stout. Three centuries of age seemed to have little effect on him or how well he fought. His long red beard had been drawn into three braids, braided in very intricate patterns, and was tucked in under his belt. His chain shirt was in good condition, slightly dirty and dented from battle though. Slung across his back was a large spiked axe which Dengar called "Goblincleaver."

Lavinia was beginning to play cat's cradle, a sure sign she was getting impatient. Lavinia was a halfling he had run into in a city called Elturel when she was trying to lift his purse and he caught her. Lavinia was an expert marksman with a crossbow and equally deadly with a dagger. Thunder had seen her pull two daggers from nowhere, but as far as he could tell, there were more hidden on her. Lavinia would have been considered beautiful with her long, curly dark brown hair, blue eyes, and full lips to Thunder, but she was a bit small for his tastes to say the least.

The only ones who didn't appeared to be impatient was the father-son team of Girishin and Kyrian. They were both fairly normal looking humans with the exception of this long black hair, dark complexions, and glinting eyes. They both wore dulled brown hide armor and could blend in with their surroundings when they wanted to. Both also carried deadly weapons which Thunder thought even more deadly than Dengar's axe at times.

Girishin carried an extremely heavy V-shaped sword, three feet in length. Both sides of the sword were equally sharp, and on the V-point of the sword a spike jutted out. Kyrian carried two long-hafted hand axes as well as a broadsword which was slung across his back.

Thunder had run into these tow a tenday after he had left Selgaunt. The two had been part of a nomad tribe and had been taken captive by orcs. The two had rarely spoken since, yet they were extremely adept fighters.

Reflecting back to leaving Selgaunt, Thunder remembered the reason why he'd left. He remembered every painful word the High Priests had said. The boy was not ready and could have been killed. He had been moved to Waterdeep and there he was to stay until further noticed or else he'd lose his paladin hood.

Thunder's hand strayed to a folded-up parchment in one of his saddlebags. Ethanial had stayed in Selgaunt to let Thunder know of anything that happened. Naught but three days ago he had received a pigeon with a letter saying Killian had left Selgaunt for Prespur.

'At least Killian can act on his own,' Thunder thought. 'Better that than him needing me to lead him by the hand.'

It was when Girishin brought his horse alongside Thunder and tapped him that Thunder realized how late it was. The sun had nearly entirely disappeared behind the hills. Thunder had not realized how long he'd sat in thought; it couldn't have been that long.

"The sun sets, paladin," Girishin said. "It would be wise to find camp."

It wasn't hard to find that suitable of a camping spot. All the surrounding hills looked the same. It was already dark when they finally had a campfire build and their bedrolls had been laid out. The night was fairly quiet with the exception of critters moving about in the brush here and there.

The next morning, camp was swiftly cleared and they resumed their travels. The sun quickly rose until it shone brightly overhead. Several hours of walking brought them to Daggerford.

Daggerford was a fairly large city, thousands of buildings lining the many streets. The streets were not very crowded because of the early hour, but there were many people. The strange thing Thunder noticed about the people was instead of a sword hanging at the men's sides, both men and women had a dagger sheathed in their belts. Thunder had heard about this before, but had never seen Daggerford to know if it had been true. Another thing Thunder had learned about Daggerford was the people here had nasty tempers as well as mean dispositions.

As they rode through the streets, Thunder leaned over towards Lavinia and spoke loud enough for her to hear. "Keep your fingers in here, rogue. We don't want to start a fight."

"What Ah wouldn' give fur a fight," Dengar replied, stroking the haft of his axe.

"We are not here to fight," Thunder said firmly. "I'd rather we left with as few enemies possible."

Dengar mumbled something under his breath in dwarvish. Thunder was glad though that he had never learned to speak dwarvish. Thunder was thankful that Dengar and Lavinia stayed close. At least he didn't need to worry about Girishin and Kyrian. The two remained close to Thunder's left side, navigating the streets in utter silence while Dengar muttered every now and again and Lavinia looked longingly at a fat purse she'd spot on a person. A small spark of hope went into Thunder when the north entrance came into view. Dengar and Lavinia were getting tense. They had already passed two fights in the streets, barely keeping Dengar and Lavinia out of it. Thunder wished silently that those two had some self-control. At least the father-son team of Girishin and Kyrian had enough of it.

Thunder was suddenly jerked from his thoughts when he noticed how empty the streets were. Looking back, he saw crowds of people, but it seemed to thin out the closer they got to the north gat.

"Spare a few coppers, good sir?" a voice rasped at Thunder's side.

Thunder looked over to see a shadow of a man. The man was pale and looked like he was just made up of bones with skin stretched over it. Rags covered the man's body and the beggar's hair was filthy and unkempt.

Thunder had never liked beggars, yet he smiled as he reached down for his money purse.

"Don't waste your money, paladin," Lavinia said, fingering the hilt to a dagger at her belt. "He's not part of the Guild."

"Guild?" Thunder frowned.

"The Beggar's Guild," Lavinia explained. "Every beggar in most cities must be part of the guild to beg."

Thunder looked down to see the beggar's reaction. The beggar was gone. In fact, so was his purse!

Thunder cursed as he quickly spun his mount, scanning their surroundings. He quickly spotted the beggar, swiftly sprinting down a street that branched off the one they were on. Dengar roared and kicked his mount, axe suddenly in his grip, Lavinia following closely. Thunder hid his face in his hands. The dwarf and halfling were both truly reckless warriors.

When he looked up, he noticed Girishin and Kyrian still at his side. At least they had sense enough not to run off. Thunder looked back to see the progress of his other two thickheaded companions. Dengar and Lavinia were both already trotting back towards then, Dengar laughing uproariously.

"Ah never did see a 'uman run so fast in me life," Dengar roared with laughter. "Ah wouldin' be surprised if'n 'e'd wet 'is pants when 'e saw us comin'. 'E just dropped the purse and ran like Grumbar 'imself were chasin' 'im!"

Thunder managed a smile when Lavinia tossed him his purse. He wouldn't be surprised if Lavinia had pocketed a gold piece or two on their way back to him.

Thunder was glad they were back in the clear when they left Daggerford. It was not easy to keep Dengar and Lavinia at bay for so long.


IT was when they reached Waterdeep that Thunder thought his self-control was nearly gone. Hopefully he'd be allowed some quiet meditation at the Waterdeep temple of Helm to gather his senses back. Thunder knew deep inside though, that he would be in Waterdeep for a long time.

When they reached t he Temple of Helm and were on foot again, Dengar clapped Thunder on his shoulder non-too gently. "Well, paladin," he said. "Tis time fer me to be partin' company with ye. Goblincleaver an' me need ter do some skullsplittin'. If'n you ever need a strong 'and or a sharp axe, jess look around the bars 'round 'ere an you'll most likely find me."

"You're staying here?" Thunder blinked.

"Aye," Dengar nodded. "Normally Ah woulda left as soon as we'd arrived, but methinks yer part of an adventure waitin' to 'appen. Ah'll be around."

Dengar grabbed his horse's reins and disappeared into the crowds in the streets, waving farewell.

"I guess I'd better be going too, Thunder," Lavinia said from atop her pony. Even on her mount she was still slightly shorter than him. "There's a lot of purses here in Waterdeep just waiting for me to take them. That, and I've got to get me a name in Waterdeep. Nothing better in a large city than a rep. If you ever need the services of a rogue and pickpocket, just send word into the streets and I'll be along." Lavinia suddenly reached out and grabbed Thunder's collar. With surprising strength, she pulled him towards her and planted a kiss full on his lips. She then pulled away from him and slightly and murmured: "Thanks for everything."

She then let go of his collar and disappeared into the streets. Thunder was too stunned to move for a few seconds. When he finally did move, he had reached the resolve that he would never understand women. Both Girishin and Kyrian still watched him with silent expressionless faces.

"Are you two planning on leaving as well?" Thunder asked.

"Two tendays ago," Girishin said in his solemn and unwavering voice. "My son and I were taken captive by orcs. You came and set us free. We owe you a debt that can and will be paid in due time." Girishin then pointed to an inn across the street. "My son and I will be there should you require us. Peace be with you, Paladin Thunder."

The two then left Thunder alone in front of the temple. Thunder stood there for a moment, watching the bustling crowds. He had suddenly realized how attached to those four people he had become over the last month. When he finally did move, he hoped secretly he'd be allowed to travel in their company again in the future.

Thunder first stopped in the stables and waved the stableboys off. His horse, Misty, didn't like strangers very much and was prone to attack someone if they touched her. Misty had once nearly killed a stableboy when he came to groom her. Misty may be a paladin's mount, but she was still a wild stallion at heart.

Thunder took off the saddle on Misty and put her in a horse stall. Throwing his saddlebags over his shoulder, Thunder headed into the temple. As he strode through the halls, servants spotted the symbol on his shoulder, as well as the unnaturally clean shine in his armor and bowed or curtsied as he passed. It had taken Thunder a long time to get used to all the bowing and curtsying that a paladin received when he first became a paladin.

Thunder stopped in front of a large door, two guards in chain armor carrying halberds standing at either side. Raising his fist, he pounded on the door and waited for the voice within to say he could enter before opening the door and stepped inside.

The room was small, a window to the streets below the only source of light in the room. Bookcases lined the walls, all full of books of different colors and sizes. In the center of the room was a small oak desk, its polished exterior shining in the light.

Sitting at the table was a man of few years who looked to only be forty years of age. The man's face was long and pale, yet his dark, glinting eyes spoke of hours of pouring over books. The man took off his spectacles when Thunder stopped before him.

"And you are?" the man asked, non-too politely.

"Thunder Kayowen, Paladin of Helm, High Priest Rial," Thunder replied, standing at attention.

"Your transfer paper?"

Rial took the transfer paper Thunder had. He was silent for a few moments while he scanned the parchment.

"Well, well, well," Rial's eyebrows rose as he put the paper down and looked at Thunder. "Disobeying a High Priest? Let us hope, young paladin, that does not happen again." Rial then cleared his throat. "Paladin Thunder Kayowen, Knight-Errant of Helm, God of Battle, I do hereby confine your post to within the city of Waterdeep. Until further notice, you are forbidden to leave the city without the permission of a High Priest. Disobedience to doing so will result in your being released as a paladin as well as a public flogging and branding. I know that's a bit harsh, but we must take action against disobedient followers. Do you understand?"


Thunder gripped Misty's reins tightly as he approached the Palace of Waterdeep. He had thought it strange when High Priest Rial had told him that his living quarters were in the Palace of Waterdeep. Lord Piergeiron, master of the palace, had apparently requested he be put in the palace. His reason had not been given, yet his request had been granted.

The Palace of Waterdeep was fairly large; yet not as large as some palaces Thunder had seen in his travels. A large fort wall surrounded the palace itself, Waterdeep soldiers patrolling along the walls as well as inside the walls. The palace was a good mile out from Waterdeep itself and sat on a lone hill overlooking Waterdeep.

The sun was half its height from the horizon once Thunder was finally in the palace, striding down its large corridors, saddlebags slung over his shoulder. He had received a message from a servant who had greeted him that Piergeiron awaited his arrival in Piergeiron's private dining hall and then gave him instructions as to how to get there. When he reached what he thought to be the door he was looking for, he knocked several times before entering.

The room was large, the paintings and trophies that covered the walls making the room seem smaller. A wooden table that seemed to gleam lay at its center, six chairs of exceptional quality surrounded the table. The tope of the table was covered in plates and glasses that spoke of riches as did the strange foods that sat on platters.

Two people sat at opposing ends of the table. One was a fair-faced man, slick black hair combed back. His eyebrows seemed permanently furrowed, making him look like he was mad. He wore a fancy green tunic with yellow patterns streaking across it. The other person was a woman of extreme beauty. Her curly golden hair went down slightly past her shoulders, ribbon ends dangling from the depths of her hair. She wore an extremely tight dress that seemed painted to her body, yet sparkled with tiny crystals on it. The two turned to look at him when he entered the dining room.

"My Lord Piergeiron wished to see me?"

"Ahh, yes!" Piergeiron rose from his seat. "Paladin Thunder! I had wondered if you would arrive in time for dinner. Forgive me, but where are my manners? Sir Thunder, this is Lady Balanteris of Amn. Lady Balanteris is wife to Baron Davron Balanteris. Lady Balanteris, this is Thunder Kayowen, the paladin of Helm I've told you about."

Lady Balanteris rose from her seat and curtsied. "Pleased to make your acquaintance, good sir paladin."

"Please sit," Piergeiron waved his hand at a vacant seat. "You must be hungry after your long travels."

"Tank you Lord Piergeiron," Thunder said. "But I must regretfully decline. The hours grows late and I must rest."

"Very well," Piergeiron didn't sound very pleased. "I shall have one of my servants escort you to your chambers and I shall see you at breakfast on the morrow."

"Thank you, Lord Piergeiron," Thunder bowed slightly.

When Thunder left, he knew for some reason Piergeiron looked familiar. He wasn't sure how, but he did.


Thunder shifted uncomfortably in his chain shirt as he entered into the prayer chambers. He had never liked wearing chain which was one reason he always wore plate armor. Unfortunately, he had been relieved of his plate armor by Rial because plate armor was for paladins of battle. Since Thunder was confined to Waterdeep, there was next to no chance of him seeing battle ever again.

It had been four days since he had reached Waterdeep. Life had been a dramatic change as soon as he got there. He now had a bed to sleep in, plenty of food to eat, and even a place for him to practice with his sword. Life on the road had made him forget what it was like to be on a bed or eat fresh food.

Thunder kneeled before a statue of the symbol of Helm. Thunder had made the decision he'd pray to Helm each day so that eventually he would be forgiven for disobeying several High Priests.

A voice suddenly seemed to echo inside his head. It startled him so much he let out a yelp and fell back onto his back.

"Galen Mathias, son of Arten, son of Malysteir," the voice sounded like a man's voice. "There is no reason to see forgiveness. What was done was as the gods bid it done."

Thunder gasped when a man suddenly appeared in front of him. The man was enormous; easily twice the size of Thunder. Most of his face was hidden by long, shaggy hair as well as an enormous beard.

The man stepped up to Thunder and held out his hand. Thunder warily took it and got to his feet with the help of the man.

"Do you know who I am, Galen?" the man asked.

"Only one person could know my real name," Thunder breathed. "Helm?"

The man nodded. Thunder gasped and looked around. There were other people praying and didn't seem to noticed anything was happening. "I've warded us against eavesdropping," the man said. "What I have to say to you cannot reach the ears of any others. I have a quest that must be done which only you can be trusted with. The entire future of Faerun depends on this quest."

"Tell me," Thunder said. "Whatever it is I shall do. I live to serve the God of Battle."

"Don't overdo it with the groveling," Helm said, smiling widely. "I never was one to put up with much groveling."

"What is it you wish me to do?" Thunder asked politely. "If I may ask?"

"Oh, yes," Helm grinned. "You could say each of the gods has chosen his or her champions on Toril to aid in the bringing about of the Prophecies."

"And you would have me as your champion?" Thunder was startled.

"Who better than someone the Forger of Souls knows and seeks advice from?" Helm nodded. "I have many reasons, Galen, but I must tell you of your quest. Much of Toril's future depends on your accomplishing this."


The Tale of Thunder: Chapter 3 - Uprising of the Shadows - Part 1 Divine Calling © Thunder Kayowen(Ryan Goodrich)

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