It was the day of the Swallowtail Festival, commemorating the building of the new cathedral in town, due to the previous one being destroyed by a mysterious fire. Some had lost their lives that day, including the high priest of the chapel, Father Ezakien Tobyn. His most accomplished student, Absalar Zantus, now taking his place. The town of Sandpoint was abuzz with mirth and excitement. The entire town, as well as our brave heroes, had gathered in hopeful anticipation of exciting games of skill, delicious food, and elaborate speeches from some of the town's most respected leaders.
Father Zantus was one of many speakers to kick off the occasion. Standing behind a podium in the town square, he thanked everyone for attending and declared the Swallowtail festival to be officially underway. The other speakers included the beloved Mayor Deverin who, you could tell, was having just as good a time as the rest of the attendees. She welcomed visitors and cracked some jokes about some of the other well-known people in town. Sheriff Belor Hemlock soberly reminded everyone to be safe, especially around the bonfire, and called for a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the fire. Cydrak Drokkus got the crowd riled up with his humor and stage presence.
Cal and Variel, the elven brothers, had been in Sandpoint for about a month, preparing the townsfolk to deal with a possible giant incursion. Medved, the giant naturist with a heart of gold, and his bear companion, had ventured into town to check out the festival and perhaps panhandle a few silver. Polk, a mysterious stranger, recently showed up in town and now lurked in the shadows, carefully observing the festivities, while another stranger, the gnome cleric, Zim, had traveled in to check out the area, paying his proper respects, and meeting as many people as he could.
The festival began as it always does with games that showcased the towns various strengths: a tug-of-war match, a weightlifting competition, sack races, and the like. Cal decided to participate in the balance beam competition against a couple of teenagers and managed to prevail. One of the boys actually provided a bit of competition before his friends interrupted things, while Clay, a portly young lad, sadly couldn't even make it onto the beam. Medved showcased his incredible strength at the weightlifting competition by outclassing everyone there, earning a blue ribbon for both himself and his companion.
After the games, came a great feast—a cooking competition—showcasing a few of the town's most renowned food aficionados. Ameiko won the competition, as she was expected to do, with a curry-spiced salmon dish which was highlighted nicely by her home-brewed mead. The food was so impressive, even Zimton (who fancies himself a good cook) was inclined to seek her out and inquire about her recipe. He discovered that she's the owner of the Rusty Dragon, a tavern in the southern district of town. She invited him to stop by later to talk further of cooking and recipes. Variel took it upon himself to sample all the various meads and brewed drinks that participants were providing. (he made sure to visit each table at least once).
Following the meal, Father Zantus told a parable about how Desna fell to earth and was nursed back to health by a blind child, who she then transformed into an immortal butterfly. Most residents of Sandpoint knew this story already, but it was a theology lesson for Zim. Zantus's acolytes removed the cover from the cart they had wheeled into the middle of the town square, and thousands of butterflies were released and filled the air, which was far less frightening than some of our heroes thought it would be at first hearing.
As dusk was approaching, Father Zantus took to the central podium again, this time to recite the Prayer of First Dreaming. After using a thunderstone to get everyone's attention, he began.. but that's when a woman screamed. Near our heroes, a dog that was sleeping under a wagon gave out a yelp, then collapsed in a gurgle as his throat had been cut ear to ear! There were screams, that accompanied the bestial cries of pain, as the town fell under attack by a horde of goblins. Emboldened by the chanting of a horrific choir these little demons scurried through the town assaulting innocents and feasting on the festival's remains.
The party faced off against a small group of goblins in incredible displays of athleticism, mysticism, faith and bravery; killing many goblins and saving many lives. The mysterious and quiet Polk showed his competence by sliding over a table and stabbing a goblin right in the chest. Calenor easily did a flip onto a table and brought down with him the full force of his elven curved blade, decapitating one of the fowl creatures. The powerful Variel was crippling his foes left and right, but still found time to stop and utilize his dark powers to start fires! Unfortunately, his brother, Calenor was in target area of this dark magic. Perhaps Variel had too much winterdrop mead for lunch. Medved and his brother Arthmael slashed and chomped at goblins with ease. The resourceful Zimton called upon the power of his god, Abadar, granting miraculous speed to himself and healing the wounds of his new allies.
After a short battle, it appeared that the devastation of the goblins reached beyond what was first realized. The town was in utter chaos. Nearby, a fuel wagon exploded, and a few little pyromaniac goblins were seen trying to wreak more havoc, this time accompanied by a warchanter… a goblin who sang and chanted, bringing with its awful voice both courage and fear. Our party went to work again, but this time, Cal was knocked unconscious and set ablaze by a coordinated goblin attack. As the party fought, the local priest came to their rescue, providing much needed healing and a bucket of water for Cal. Unfortunately, Father Zantus was also set ablaze but continued to fight through the flames. Eventually, the battle was over.
It seemed as if the chaos was seceding, but again, a shrill scream met the party's ears. and they rushed to assist. A man, whom the party later learned was Aldern Foxglove, had hidden himself behind a barrel, while his faithful hound was fighting off a mounted goblin. When the hound fell, other goblins nearby rushed close to celebrate. Through some careful tactical choices, and selfless dedication to helping others, the party was able to save Aldern.
By then, the battles around town had been decided. People were walking down the streets to return to their homes for the evening. Many stopped and thanked our heroes as they passed by, some of them remembering their faces from the festivities earlier that afternoon. Ameiko offered them free rooms for a week at her establishment, the Rusty Dragon. Aldern asked them to stop by there later (that's where he's staying) because he would like to talk with them more and give them a proper reward for saving his life.
All in all, it was a pretty eventful first day for these heroes. Sandpoint doesn't know how lucky it is.