“So, let me give you some information, Faith,” Cellimas was intent now. “You have been shipwrecked on Korthos Island. Do you know anything about it?”
“No, not really,” answered Faith. “Only that it’s supposed to be a warm and tropical vacation area in the Islands of Shargon’s Teeth and a hub for trading between Khorvaire and Xen'drik. And that the sahuagin, the fish people, live here.”
“Those are true facts,” Cellimas agreed. “But now Korthos Island has been besieged by a white dragon. It's not widely known as Korthos' leaders have worked hard to keep it quiet, fearing it would impact trade. The dragon is blamed for many shipwrecks, including yours. She seems to be working with the sahuagin, wrecking ships that they then plunder. And they aren’t as interested in goods carried by the ships as they are interested in the people on the ships.
You see, the sahuagin worship The Devourer. Are you familiar with The Devourer?”
Faith thought for a moment to her studies on the ship. “Isn’t he one of the Dark Six?”
“Indeed,” Cellimas nodded her approval. “And the sahuagin religion is based on worship of The Devourer. To advance in their religious society, a sahuagin must become a malenti, someone who eats his enemies. Once they have consumed their enemy, their very appearance changes.
They often kidnap humanoids and ‘convert’ them to their religion, convincing them to willingly give their lives to The Devourer. I have my suspicions about how willing these cultists are though… all indications are that the humanoid victims are being brainwashed into becoming cultists.
The sahuagin have lived in the islands of Shargon’s Teeth long before humans or elves settled here, possibly they have lived here since the time of the giants. No one really knows.
When humans settled here on Korthos Island, they made treaties with the sahuagin, offering them goods and services. The sahuagin leader at that time had more modern beliefs about their religion and did not believe in sacrifices or becoming malenti. He welcomed the increased trade. He even welcomed local humans into the religion, if they expressed an interest. But over the years, relations between humanoids and sahuagin have gone back and forth from peace and cooperation to all out war. Many times it has looked like either the sahuagin would wipe out the humanoids or vice versa. But during the Last War, trade here picked up considerably, leaving less time for the inhabitants to fight with each other.
With the end of the war, it seems tensions here have risen again. A more extremist sahuagin leader, Vekz Spluhr, has emerged who has reverted to the old ways of the sacrifices and the malenti. He overthrew the acting ancestral leader and led the local tribe back to the grisly Devourer practices. He started by consuming his predecessor.
Soon, his band had converted or kidnapped many of the villagers but he needed more victims. 'Converts' he calls them. His band started attacking passing ships to find the victims he needed to maintain his power over the tribe. We suspect he is building up his forces to widen his rule beyond the islands of Shargon’s Teeth to Stormreach and other parts of Xen’drik.
We believe he doesn’t want to entirely destroy Korthos Village as it supplies him with victims and a destination for ships. Situated halfway between the continents of Xen’drik and Khorvaire, Korthos Island is a very strategic spot.
The villagers have fought back, building a strong wall and gate and confining themselves to the village for safety… most of the survivors here are hoping to reclaim loved ones who might still be alive in the sahuagin keep.
Things seemed to have settled down and the human settlement was starting to gain an edge, blocking off the various ways the sahuagin were infiltrating the village. That’s when the dragon appeared.
No one is sure how the white dragon got here or who commands her, but it’s very clear she is working on behalf of the sahuagin. She flies off shore to fetch passing ships for the sahuagin like a trained falcon. It’s very unusual behavior for a dragon, who usually do not concern themselves with the doings of mortal beings and certainly consider sahuagin to be far beneath their notice. If Vekz Spluhr has gained the power to control a dragon, he has become very powerful indeed.
We were summoned to Korthos to help, but our contact here has gone missing like so many others. We (she nodded at Talbron) believe the dragon is being held against her will. (“Hey! I think it too, ya know,” inserted Jeets.) But as you can see, her weather control is not very strong. The closer one gets to her keep, the heavier the ice and snow are but we are on the far side of the island here. She is a young dragon and we suspect that the cold is not a conscious effort, but a side effect of her incarceration. ”
Faith looked around her to see grass still growing and flowers still blooming, even with the snow falling. Cellimas’s conclusions seemed logical to her. This was definitely an enchanted snow. She nodded.
“We have been called here to free the dragon. I think the prophecy has sent you here to help us.”
Faith looked a little startled. Free a dragon? She was a farm girl from Breland with no special skills. What could she do? A shiver ran through her and she drew the blanket on her shoulders a little tighter around her. But she wasn’t really cold. She was excited.
“I have no special skills,” she told Cellimas regretfully. She really wanted to help but didn’t see how she could do anything against a dragon.
“Not to worry,” spoke up Talbron. “Korthos Island isn't just a waypoint for travelling ships. Korthos Village houses a training base for adventurers. Specifically, Korthos offers training for new adventurers who have not yet determined their path. We would like for you to go there and become part of the program. We want you to put together a team from the other students to help us free the dragon.”
Faith was flabbergasted. Her life had taken some crazy turns lately, but she hadn’t forseen this at all. An adventurer? Really? She shivered again. So many things she had thought of doing to support herself... but they had all seemed mundane. Practical. Unexciting.
Suddenly, Jeets pointed up at the sky.
"Look, she's on the wing again!" he said in a hushed tone.
The entire party watched as the white dragon wheeled in a wide circle on outstretched wings, floating silently until with a loud crack and one beat of her mighty wings she disappeared over the mountaintop. Faith was utterly mesmerized. She wanted to see this creature more closely.
“Yes, I’ll do it! What do you need me to do?”
The rest of the party smiled and then huddled down to go over specifics.