Having conducted your initial business in Yartar, you assembled at The Dusty Barrel. The tavern was filled with numerous well-armed warriors, presumably tournament combatants, some drinking with revelry, some deep in conversation over a meal, some sitting quietly by themselves. Standing in the centre of the room was a large figure, covered completely by a huge black cloak. Once Barberch entered, the figure strode over and addressed the dwarf in deep, halting Common. In was revealed that under the cloak was a muscular lizardman named Strongarm, who had tracked your party down in order to offer his service in repayment for the defeat of the tyrant Redeye.
Welcoming Strongarm into your group, you were confronted by another blast from the past. Apparently, the Band of the Wolf, last seen in Waterdeep, are also staying at the tavern. Their leader Ky greeted you warmly, but the Band’s newest member was not so pleased to see you. You recognised the man as Garrett, the thief you met in the unnamed tomb in the Misty Forest months ago. Still bitter about your rough treatment of him, it looked like another argument was going to flare up, until Ky gestured the rogue into silence. As Garrett retreated back into the rear of tavern, a very young and excitable girl with a sword ran in. Her polite but slightly breathless introduction revealed her to be, Amelia Ashcroft, daughter of Lord Ashcroft, who had hired Ky to give the young lady swordsmanship lessons. Soon after, tensions in the tavern were raised as a brawl broke out between the Band’s Red-Of-Hand and a violent stranger known as The Shark. Upon victory of the former, Ky invited you all to join the Band for dinner, offering to pay to apologise for his teammate’s “indiscretion”. Barberch and Mo opted to take up this deal.
Over dinner, both groups shared stories and anecdotes, but both you and several members of the Band were reluctant to get too friendly. Instead, Ky and Slan did much of talking, speaking at length of their personal philosophies and motivations. Despite this, Ky referred to you as “old acquaintances” to the barmaid.
Rather than joining the meal, Quarion asked the bartender after Verol, a descendant of a legendary dwarven hero, was pointed towards an armoured dwarf sitting at table nearby. Verol initially regarded Quarion with suspicion and refused to converse with anyone not taking part in the tournament. Eventually however, and with the help of the other man at the table, an injured fighter called Essen, Quarion was able to get Verol to agree to meet with him in the tavern after the tournament.
Also during the dinner, Muk explored the tavern’s other rear room, where some gamblers were plying their trade. One is particular, a strange half-elf named D’Arby, invited the halfling to join him in wager. After Muk chose to bet on a game of skill, D’Arby invented a game in which coins were added to a cup of wine, with the loser causing a spill. Try as he might, Muk could not win the challenge, and stomped off in anger, slightly poorer.
At the end of the meal, Slan impatiently led Mo off towards the Dance Hall, with the rest of you turning in for the night at the tavern. Barberch instructed Strongarm to camp outside the town limits until needed.
The next morning, the tournament finally began in front of a cheering crowd, with Quarion watching from the stands. In the very first match, Muk surprised everyone (aside from your party) by easily defeating a swordsman named Slayer. Mo also triumphed, knocking out Verol. Unfortunately, Barberch was unable to do the same, losing out to Band of the Wolf member Fury’s raw power and determination. The other victors of the first round were a mage named Jerra, two swordsmen named Hagnall and Harold, a swordswoman named Lorelei, and Red-Of-Hand. In the second round, Muk closely bested Jerra and moves on to the semi-finals, where he will face the winner of Fury vs Hagnall. Meanwhile, Red-Of-Hand will square off against Harold, and Mo will encounter Lorelei.
The end of the tournament is in sight, and only time will tell who the 10,000 gp will go to.