So that “free access” to the lockdown regions was not exactly as advertised. Less of a “have the run of this place and poke around until you find everything you want” and more of a “here’s an armed battalion of men who will take you to exactly two places and then boot you out on your ass.” Of course, the places they took Shao were the house of a mentally-deranged scholar who immediately identified these crazy silver shards as bits of some awesomely powerful githyanki sword, and then a library where said githyanki were merrily – well, they’re githyanki, so not merrily, let’s try – with barely restrained homicidal psychosis slaughtering the shit out of an entire cadre of librarians.
The needed lore (to find a long-dead warlock’s fortress/hideout) was held in the library vault, so Shao obviously needed to pass a written test – mostly short answer, a few multiple choice, one essay – to get his hands on the goods. Turns out the warlock’s one living descendant is a lass named Shandra that Shao had met once before, while saving a village from lizardmen on his way out of the swamp. So the gang trotted off to her farm just in time to see the githyanki burning it to the ground.
“No way!” said Shao, “That’s not the right way to burn down a farm – you do it like THIS!”
A fantasy world would be a terrible place for a normal person. But Stockholm Syndrome being what it is, the warlock’s last living descendant decided to come back to Neverwinter with Shao and see if she could help finding the lost Sanctum. After all, I’d saved her from the githyanki, right?
Bit premature, that.
Literally the very next night, githyanki storm Shao’s foster uncle’s inn and cart Shandra off somewhere. A rescue is immediately called for, and apparently Shao’s adventuring group (now consisting of Shao, another dwarf fighter, the rogue, an elf druid, a human sorceress, a human paladin, and a surprisingly irritating gnome bard) isn’t crowded enough. Therefore, the game’s currently biggest douche, a ranger named Bishop, was forced upon us as a “guide” or some shit by our beloved innkeeper.
Thanks a billion, foster uncle.
If this was a musical, the ranger’s intro number would have been titled “Everyone Is Weak And Useless (Let’s Just Kill Them All)” and as the Shadow Dragon Triad wandered into a tiny village named Ember (well, THAT’S not an ominous name) he would have finished off the scene by putting an acid-tipped crossbow bolt between the eyes of a puppy.
Shao did, however, rescue Shandra and kill the githyanki leader, learning some nifty stuff in the meantime. The githyanki were hunting down the shards to reforge the blade because it’s the only weapon that can kill the King of Shadows. This King of Shadows is apparently behind the zombie-raising Shadow Priests and their leader from Luskan, Black Garius. Garius wants to either free the King of Shadows or absorb all his power (bit fuzzy on that angle). Oh, and there’s been another one of the shards STUCK IN SHAO’S FUCKING CHEST CAVITY THIS WHOLE TIME.
Fortunately, our dwarf-led cutthroat band managed to hack the githyanki and their leader into tiny bits (yay!) and haul Shandra back to Neverwinter, where she decides to pick up a sword and join our crime-riddled escapades.
Cue a time-honored TV tradition. It goes like this:
SCENE WHO THE FUCK KNOWS - INN INT. EVENING
HEAVY BOOTSTEPS are heard outside as SHAO and his friends
finish discussing their latest plans. Suddenly, the door
SPLINTERS inward, and Neverwinter GUARDSMEN flood the
room, led by SIR NEVALLE (white human male, mid 30s, tight-ass).
Shao Xiawei, you're under arrest for
the genocidal slaughter and destruction
of the Luskan town of Ember and all
its citizens. You will come with us for
interrogation and trial if necessary.
I mean, whaaaaaaaaat?
Holy shit. Shao, who are all these angry,
confused people with you that happen
to be armed to the teeth?
Um, my friends?
Right, well, honestly, all of Neverwinter (me included)
thinks the Luskans are total a-holes, so whether or not you
murdered an entire village of "innocents" is somewhat
beside the point.
However, our classist society has nothing
in place to protect common citizens from
false accusations, extradition, and
execution by a neighboring city. So we'll
need a PLAN.
Right, well I -
Also, I'm either entirely unaware or have
completely forgotten that you are currently
a high-ranking member of the Neverwinter
Mafia, so instead of using that as a
relevant element in this, we're simply going to
make you a squire to one of the local knights!
Yeah, that means you won't be a commoner
anymore and the Luskans can't just
take you off the street! Genius, innit?
This place is so fucked up.