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In the Year of the Banner, 1368 DR, two Red Brigade scouts reported a dead-magic zone in Brynwood Forest in the Vast. Captain Cedric Ravajar kept the find a secret and the two scouts disappeared shortly afterwards. Late that year, Cedric announced his retirement and disbanded the Red Brigade. The group split up and most went their separate ways.
A trusted few, however, departed with Cedric and secretly returned to the dead-magic zone, where they reformed into the Vipers, a bandit group. They built their base, the Vipers' Nest, within the dead-magic zone, and began raiding merchant caravans going through the Glorming Pass by the close of the year. By the beginning of the Year of the Gauntlet, 1369 DR, they'd made a fearful reputation for themselves, for their ruthlessness, organization, and efficiency. There were frequent attempts by rangers, bounty hunters, constables, and other groups to locate their hideout but all failed, largely due to the dead-magic environment and the Vipers concealing their tracks.
Around Kythorn of 1369 DR, the Vipers attacked a convoy and massacred its guardians, then looted its wealth. This happened to include the torque of faith, a holy item of Tymora secretly being transported to The Lady's Favor temple in Sevenecho. The Tymorans were outraged and Randolph dul Umast hired the ranger Dura Gerathu to locate the Vipers' Nest.
Calispar Delgorth, a priest of Talona and member of the Vipers, discovered that plant-based toxins grown within the dead-magic zone were unaffected by magic. He used the find to develop poisons immune to magic. On the 28th Eleasis in the Year of the Gauntlet, 1369 DR, Autton Shadowshroud of the Shadowkind assassins visited the Vipers' Nest with Calispar to oversee testing and development of such a poison, which Calispar had promised to give them.
The visit enabled Dura Gerathu to track the pair and finally discover and study the Nest. The ranger was, however, spotted and recognized by Cedric. Cedric sent Calispar and some Vipers to attack and kill Dura at his cabin before he could report his find. The Vipers later went to Misty Vale to kill The Green Lady, whom Dura had told about his find, but they were driven off by her magic.
The Vipers numbered some 25 members. As they were mostly former mercenary soldiers, the Vipers were well-organized and operated along military lines. The senior members were: Cedric Ravajar, the leader of the band; Soren Whitespear; Calispar Delgorth, a priest of Talona; the four group leaders; and four dwarven engineers. All were former members of the Red Brigade. These senior members were responsible for decision making and planning attacks.
The group leaders served as Cedric's lieutenants. They oversaw the lesser troops and acted as point commanders. They were responsible for maintaining defenses and the orderliness and readiness of the troops. The group leaders obeyed Cedric's commands without question. Meanwhile, the four dwarven engineers designed and built the Vipers' Nest, and were firmly loyal to Cedric.
Beneath them were the regular members who made up most of the force. A few of the tougher ones came from the Red Brigade like the senior members, but most were former men-at-arms secretly recruited to become bandits by Cedric and Soren. When not fighting as skirmishers in raids, they guarded the base, helped in its construction, and carried out other duties.
Lastly was Drakar, the cook and also a former Red Brigade member.