Oh look, it’s a whole episode dedicated to Valour! Neat!
After Valour got too big for his chainmail britches and took a roll on the wild magic table, his wild magic table roll landed on “the next time you cast a spell, you instantly teleport to the nearest building.”
Well fancy that!
And Valour did cast a spell when he wrathful struck the frost giant up there with all his friends and whatnot, so that means Valour had to get teleported to the nearest building. The funny thing is, when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, the nearest building might be fifty miles south on the beachside, specifically Port Castigliar.
Valour sees the fight with the frost giant vanish away—the visage now replaced by a rolling beach. Instead of chopping up frost giants like a total badass, he's now standing inside of a battered, stone supply depot with his party nowhere to be found.
With his sword at the ready, Valour pokes around this strange beach, finding no other inhabitants. It's totally abandoned except for a very unsure half-elf. The only other structures are seven flimsy, grass huts and a large graveyard.
Valour realizes that he’s still on Chult based on the Chulty-looking plant life, but he’s got no clue where the hell he is because he didn't snatch a second map from Lady Akunai, and his survival skill is terrible. So he’s still lost as hell.
If he can’t find his way, then he’ll find his steed, so he casts find steed and summons up a warhorse named Quest. Somewhere in Tyr heaven, the celestial horse breeders are about to send Valour's account to a collections agency from renting and wrecking all these heaven horses.
He then goes over to the graveyard and sees that the burial plots are all empty and dug up. That’s some spooky zombie shit! But Valour likes spooky zombie shit.
It gets him feeling... goooooood.
Instead of poking around, Valour sets up camp in the supply depot so that he can restock his spell slots and hit points. He takes special care to cover up his tracks with some palm fronds in case a ne'er-do-well tries starting some shit while he's getting some shuteye.
The next day produces a strong rain, but with the sun rising over the horizon, Valour confirms that he’s on the eastern coast—perhaps not too far from the frost giant fight? He saddles up on Quest and decides to travel north along the beach to look for stuff he might recognize… like an obliterated frost giant ship out in the water? That would be a good sign.
After several hours of traveling, Valour loses his way a bit because paladin skills, and he can’t make much more progress, so he takes out a mess kit and digs a hovel out beneath a chunk of driftwood, piling dirt around him to keep the rainwater out. He tells Quest to cantor around the camp like a security horse, and as Valour starts to sleep, the smell of brimstone prods his nostrils… you know, like brimstone tends to do.
"Holy knight is here,” Quest warns Valour through telequestrian speech.
"Just one?" Valour responds.
"Just one. Lizard person,” Quest says.
Valour emerges from his hidey-hole and sees a humanoid-dinosaur character petting Quest’s nose. The character is decked out in leather armor, a bright shield, and one nasty-looking sword. Valour sniffs the air, smelling... woodsmoke?
"Hey excuse me!" Valour shouts to the stranger who is touching his horsey.
The dinosaur-person freaks out and puts his hand on the hilt of his sword. Then the dinosaur-person starts to smell like ham.
Valour has no clue what all these smells are about. Maybe he’s just having a stroke.
"Can you tell me where I am on this beach?" Valour says, then smells tar. At the same time he smells the tar, he can tell that the creature is happy after seeing the symbol of Tyr on his shield. Does the smell of tar coincide with this creature's mood?
Does this thing communicate through... stink?
"Do you know of Tyr?" Valour says.
The creature nods its head.
"Would you consider yourself an ally of Tyr?"
The creature nods its head and smiles.
"Excuse me but I've never met a creature like you before. What do you call yourself?" Valour says, being fairly honest and totally rational regarding his ignorance for lizard-people who smell like a d12 chart of aromatics.
Valour smells lemons in the air, and the creature carves its name in the beach with its finger: DRAGONBAIT.
"Dragonbait... that’s um, a fine name. My name is Valour!" He then explains to the person what happened to him leading up to this peculiar situation. "I was sent here. Spoke to Tyr. Cool dude. Met him. Pretty chill. NBD. He sent me here to fight a great evil in the jungles of Chult. I've been separated from my friends."
Dragonbait nods in understanding, then starts scribbling in the beach: DANGER—FROST GIANTS!
Valour then casually explains that he and his crew killed, like, eleven of the frost giant folks and annihilated their leader and sank their boat to the bottom of the Shining Sea like a bunch of punk bitches. You know. Just regular adventuring stuff.
Dragonbait grabs Valour and drags him into the jungle with excitement, all kinds of weird smells emanating from the walking potpourri dinosaur-dude. As he drags Valour into the tree line, Valour feels the temperature drop from a muggy 90 degrees to a comfortable 68 or so—which is bizarre for Chult! What’s especially bizarre is the array of ice spikes that Valour passes by, which are arranged like a fortress around a camp.
The camp is small, with a tarp roof covering two bedrolls. In one of the bedrolls is a middle-aged man reading a book by light of a lantern. The man perks up when he sees Dragonbait and Valour approach.
"Hey my name's Valour,” the paladin says.
"Any friend of Dragonbait is a friend of mine,” the stranger smiles, shaking Valour’s hand.
"What's your name?" Valour asks.
"My name is Artus Cimber."
"... I've been looking for you," Valour says. "My friends and I were sent into the jungle to rid it of great evil. We found help through one of the Merchant Princes of Port Nyanzaru. He introduced us to the Harpers who stated that the frost giants were looking for the Ring of Winter, which you have."
Cimber pulls back the glove on his hand and reveals that he, indeed, is wearing the frosty-gold Ring of Winter, which emanates power unfelt by anything Valour has ever felt in his life of feeling things.
"Does the name Xandala ring a bell?" Valour then says.
"Should it?" Cimber says.
Oooooh now it's getting good!
Valour explains, "When we were in Port Nyanzaru, we met a woman named Xandala who claimed to be your daughter. She is a sorceress. She was dishonest. We called her out on her lies, and she fled into the jungle. She probably means you harm as well."
Cimber nods somberly, "It's no surprise that's happening. It seems more people learn about my roaming the jungles with a powerful artifact with every week. Soon all kinds of factions will be looking for me. Dragonbait and I were on our way to torch the frost giant boat to keep them away—you know, strike them first.”
"Oh, we already did that,” Valour says.
"Yes, I found them and broke their ship with my sword. I also have a magic item!" Valour shows off Shatterspike with a few swings.
Dragonbait then unsheathes his sword, which is a totally much more badass Holy Avenger… you know, a +3 magic longsword that deals an extra 2d6 radiant damage to undead or fiends, as well as granting advantage on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects for all allies within 10 feet of the wielder? Yeah it’s pretty neat and way cooler than Shatterspike.
Valour now has no qualms looting Dragonbait’s corpse should something terrible happen to him.
The two continue to speak into the night, with Valour regaling Artus Cimber with tales of his adventures abroad that led him to Chult. Artus Cimber then tells Valour about his story…
Decades ago, Artus Cimber found the Ring of Winter within the jungles of Chult, and the ring granted him an immortal life. He then fell in love with Alisanda Rayburton the barae—a protector paladin of the holy city, Mezro. She was one of seven barae appointed to protect the city by Pretzelcoatl himself.
Artus Cimber married Alisanda and defended Mezro from the undead hordes led by Ras Nsi, the Twice-Abandoned Knight and traitor barae. Since then, Mezro disappeared from the Material Plane into a protective other-realm, safe in its heavenly paradise, refusing to return to the Material Plane until Chult was purified.
Cimber has been searching for a way back into Mezro for decades, eager to reunite with his lost love. Before he changed his focus to disrupting the newly-arrived frost giants, he had been searching the Chultan jungle for Saja N’baza, the ancient oracle of Orolunga, but after meeting Valour…
Maybe stopping this Death Curse is the purification Cimber needs to let Mezro reenter the world?
"Where would your friends be?" Artus Cimber asks Valour, realizing they need to reunite to continue their quest.
Valour says they can meet back up in Port Nyanzaru, but then questions Cimber about the dangers of using such a powerful artifact. “Don’t think that having an object of great power makes you invincible.”
Cimber approves of the paladin’s pragmatism, but then warns Valour that he can’t let the Harpers know he’s back in Port Nyanzaru or they’ll get ahold of the Ring of Winter, which Cimber thinks is best kept out of the hands of a committee-like group with an agenda.
“Don’t worry,” Valour reassures him. “I know a great place to hang out that nobody goes to. It’s a bar. The Merchant Princes won’t even set foot there."
Somewhere miles off, Dur-Dur-Dur probably cries a bit.
"Let's set out tomorrow." Valour says, and the trio gets ready for bed. “But we need a way to let my friends know where I am in case they’re still killing frost giant. I’ll leave a note! And I’ll sign it ‘Valour and Dur-Dur.’”
What an ass!
The next day, they navigate up the beach. Cimber points out a pack of small velociraptors waiting behind a rock, and he annihilates them all by conjuring a sleet storm that freezes them in place. He then points out a tri-flower frond, which is a three-blossomed plant that lures people in to their deaths.
Valour takes note to let 🌱 know that tri-flower fronds are full of lies, so don't believe them.
A few days pass with nothing insane happening. Cimber is able to keep Valour from overheating in his armor by using the Ring of Winter to keep the temperature around 70 degrees, and Valour’s stash of bug spray comes in handy when he uses it to bypass a massive nest of centipedes. At one point, they encounter an ankylosaurus munching on some plants, so they decide to leave it alone—no use angering an animal just minding its business.
Things take a turn for the worst when they crest a hill and OH MY GOD NINE GHOULS AND A GHAST START STORMING ACROSS THE JUNGLES HEADING STRAIGHT FOR THEM—
Cimber casts Otilluke’s Freezing Sphere using the Ring of Winter and annihilates a massive number of them by filling the jungle with a frostbite explosion of icicle shards that leave only a handful of ghouls left, which Dragonbait and Valour cut down. Cimber finishes the last one with an eye-stab from Bookmark, his blue-jeweled magic dagger.
He's kind of OP.
After a few days more of traveling, they arrive back in Port Nyanzaru—perfectly safe. But Valour is surprised at what he sees...
Docked at the Tiryki Anchorage port is the dragon turtle with the town built upon its back. The dragon turtle has people flocking to it, like a small island of merchants recently attached to Port Nyanzaru, and there are more boats docked in the harbor than ever before.
So what happened to Aremag, then?