One of Cassia's best friends, Gratia Vulso Vinmark, of House Jullio, is getting married to Jensil Vinmark of House Vinmark. Jensil’s Parents, Ranniviaand Finner Vinmarkare happy to be gaining a daughter in law from a noble family in the capital. While House Jullio is not a major family, it is still one of significance, and Gratia’s father, Liber sits in the Senate with Finner.
Liber and Luccia Vulso are not as sure about their daughter’s choice in mate. While she is marrying into a major household, it is the one most on the outside of normal Opparan norms. Liber dotes on his only daughter and wants her happiness more than anything. Luccia has enjoyed helping to plan the wedding but is worried about her daughter’s future with this family.
As Gratia’s closest friends are attending. Stephana Zespire, as the leader of the circle of friends it the Maid of Honor. Cassia Karthis is in the wedding party. Victor Rufinus is not in the wedding but is attending. All four will perform the night before the wedding and afterwards as “Fruit of the Vine”
The freed slave, Elsa Vike, who has been a part of the Vinmark household for a few years is present. While, Rannivia freed you her the hopes of increasing the Ulfen blood in her son’s bloodline, he instead fell for the very Talden Graita. Elsa remains a new addition to the family, and is now like a sister to Jensil.
Dame Martella Lotheed is has arranged for Mikhael Constantinus to attend. Luccia is on good terms with Mikhael’s mother, Lady |Meristiel Elluvidnir, ambassador from the elven lands of Kyonin, and as such, is there in his mother’s stead, as she is “unable to attend in person”. Elluvidnir has warned Lady Lotheed of suspected plot by Cult of Menxyr kidnapping young women. Their last victim was an Elf, who was, admittedly, in a bad part of town, but a citizen of Kyonin nonetheless. She gives her son a broach and says, “Be my eyes. Keep this where it can be seen, and it can see. If something beyond you and your companion happens, say my name three times. Do not be facing a wall when you do this.” Kavian Silanus has been living with his Uncle Pollinus, learning from the monk. Pollinus, retired after years of service knows his son of his younger sister wants to restore his family name after his father was framed by High Strategos, Maxillar Pythareus. He asks his friend, Lady Elluvidnir for help, knowing she owes him a favor from long ago, and elves do not forget. The Lady agrees and sends Kavian as a “bodyguard” for her son.
The night before the wedding, there is a party with light food and mingling. Here, Mikhael and Kavian do their jobs of monitoring the party. Elsa and Cassia mingle with the party members. In the process of the evening, they convince the senators to support Eutropia in the coming vote, get Luccia to agree her daughter has made a good choice, and secure a safehouse if they ever need it, from Rannivia Vinmark.
After the young Stavian upsets the bride, Mikhael gets him upset in turn, getting him to leave, while Kavian calms the groom. This sets up the secret cultist, Stavian to return later in the night, with a band of cultist. As the cultists come in through the windows, Mikhael says his mother’s name three times. As the room falls into chaos, the party and Kathan Zalar move to intercept the foes. Lady Meristiel Elluvidnir steps into the room in a cone of light emitted from Mikhael’s broach, along with two Elven warriors. The cultists are no match for Kavian, who begins to cut through them. Zalar fights a defensive action, taking hits, but blocking cultists. Mikhael, having summoned his eidolon, also fights. Elsa, living up to her northern heritage moves towards the biggest numbers while Cassia also moved into place. The Cultists are dangerous and the situation is dire.
Caius is being driven by the Cult of Menxyr, who have recruited him as a member of House Stavian. He is a former classmate of “Fruit of the Vine”, who had a deeper interest in Gratia, the bride, than any of the group has realized. His anger and hurt at being rejected has been fueled and fed by the leaders of the Cult to draw him in.
The Cult thrives on the abuse and murder of young women for the “Coffin Groom”. Having someone from House Stavian expands their local power. The cult targets second, third and lower sons, who stand to inherit little, and who often do not have the prestige of first born sons.
As the cultists move forward, Lady Elluvidnir casts Web, which catches all but one in the largest group, and unfortunately, includes Elsa. Kavian continues his fighting as does Mikhael. On the next round, as the cultist are held off, a mass suggestion from the Lady using her staff, stops most of the struggle of the webbed enemies. The elven warriors wade into the fight to protect the nobles present. Quickly there is only a line of cultists left, which Lady Elluvidnir eliminates with a lighting bolt. While one of the cultists dives for cover, it does not matter. All three char and die.
Arminius Seno Talbot, Earl of Whitecliffe of the House Talbot is holding a coming of age party for his son, Narsus. The Hunt will focus on Narsus and three of his close friends, all around the age of 18. It will happen at Whitecliffe, the Earl’s ancestral home in the country north of Oppera.
The Earl is a supporter of Princess Eutropia and is planning to vote for the change in Primogeniture. He has received anonymous threats to change his vote but has no idea from where. His former Stable Master recently retired after serving the family for 50 years. He does not yet have a replacement he can trust. He has asked Tremerus Mancinus to run he Hunt as part of the two-day celebration since he is in a family related to the Talbots from outside the Capital city.
Lady Lotheed is interested in making sure nothing untoward happens. After observing Iona des Vaux preaching at a local shrine, she has hired her to go to the Hunt and observe. Iona is under a specific mission to investigate the Huntsmen.
Corwyn Nethair is attending at the behest of his parents. They were invited to the celebration, but have other parties inside the city and have vollentold Corwen to attend in their stead as he is closer in age to Narsus anyway. His recent companion, Detash Rood, joins him. Both recently met researching a cult kidnapping women. The group is at an afternoon party before the hunt of the next day. Senator Talbot is happy and relaxed and finally considering engaging in romance again. Over the course of the gathering, socially, Iona and Tremerus guide the young Lady Cassennia Cera Kastner to approach Talbot, and dissuade Didia Petroni Varima, despite the actions of Detash, who fells aligning the gold-digging Didia is the right move for future gain. This action would intrigue to beautiful and scheming young lady.
More serious is the plot afoot against the hunt. Michael Stavin and Charx Velus arouse the suspicions of the group. When they both leave the party, Termerus and Corwen follow them to the stables. Termerus is close enough to overhear their plot. Based on his good relationship with the Majordomo, Pollus Salinus, Termerus is believed and the four focus on this plot. Watching the room and the outside, they are able to follow Stavin back to the stables and stop him from poisoning the horses. Captured, it becomes clear that Charx Velus and Michael Stavin were plotting to drug horses to cause an accident. All four of the youth horses were to be fed a drug mixture of a delay poison and hallucinogen. 4 hours later, during the Hunt, the mounts will become very difficult to control for 1d4 hours each.
This was to be used to send a message to the Earl on how he should vote.
Thanks to the work of the party, the Hunt went off without a hitch.
Every year, the empire of Taldor celebrates the Grand Day of Exaltation. On this prestigious day, the Grand Prince is empowered to elevate a commoner to the ranks of nobility. The event itself is the embodiment of formality, with the elevated commoner selected months or years in advance. What makes the day truly special is that the preceding week is a holiday throughout the empire. Nobles, senators, and hopeful petitioners fill the capital city of Oppara for galas, performances, and parades. This flood of visitors swells Oppara to almost double its size, and many view the lead-up to the Grand Day of Exaltation as harking back to the glory days of the empire. To the nobility, the week before the Grand Day of Exaltation is a time to conduct important business deals, issue noble proclamations, and hold private parties. With so many prominent politicians arriving from across the empire, the Taldan senate uses Exaltation Week to vote on matters of nationwide importance. Today, the young artist, young Kalbio of Breezy Creek is to be elevated.
This year’s Grand Day of Exaltation is poised to mark a historic shift in the governance of the empire. Princess Eutropia, daughter of Grand Prince Stavian III, has forged a powerful coalition of noble bastard children, reformers, and—perhaps, most importantly—senators to vote down the ancient law of primogeniture. The law states that royal power can pass only to a male heir—a succession that cannot be enacted due to Eutropia’s status as the current Grand Prince’s sole heir. Rumors have circulated about the princess’s quest to strike down primogeniture for years, and the nation remains divided on the vote, with several nobles viewing it as a shameless power grab by Princess Eutropia. Others see Eutropia as a stabilizing force that could unify the empire and usher in a new golden age for Taldor.
Princess Eutropia is the firstborn child of Grand Prince Stavian III. She stepped forth into the political arena only following the death of her younger brother 20 years ago. Prince Carrius II, like Eutropia, was beloved by the people of Taldor, and many hoped the boy would succeed his ineffective father and usher in an era of change. When the prince died in what was reported as a riding accident, Eutropia’s grief uncovered a deep well of empathy. More understanding of death and suffering, she became a crusader for the poor and for the basic rights of every Taldan citizen. As her work repeatedly ran up against the old-fashioned values of Taldor, Eutropia became a crusader for women’s rights as well.
Lady Martella Lotheed meets with the party in a local coffee house, several blocks from the senate, to discuss the Grand Exaltation and give the two groups a chance to meet each other. She works with the group to assign mission for them. She promises each agent a payment of 150 gp the next day for completion of their missions, in addition to the extraordinary access and prestige granted by attending one of Taldor’s most exclusive and high-profile political events. In addition to asking them to complete their respective missions, Martella encourages the PCs to use this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make connections, make an impression on prominent guests, and otherwise try to kick-start their own political careers. From her perspective, any growth in the PCs’ skills and reputation makes them more valuable agents in the future.
She gives each one a Senate badge, allowing entry into the gala, and acting as communication devices for her to send messages using her master badge. Once the wearer of the senate aide badge receives a message, she has 1 minute to send a telepathic reply of up to 25 words. Sending a reply requires a full-round action of concentration. The wearer of the master senator badge can send up to 10 telepathic messages per day, targeting either a specific badge or broadcasting to all badge wearers, and knows the approximate direction and distance to all wearers of senate aid badges attuned to the master badge.
The group gathers in the long line wating to get into the Arcade of Triumphs. Kathann Zalar approaches the party and asks them to come with her for inspection. Cassia, Elsa, Kavian and Mikihal remember her from the wedding and tell the rest of their new companions to follow. Zalar quickly glances over the group and provides them with tips on how to properly conceal the equipment, granting a +2 circumstance bonus on Sleight of Hand checks to hide such things for the remainder of the night. She then ushers them inside ahead of the line over some harsh looks.
The party splits up and roams the senate halls, in order to begin their missions and influence rooms. Almost immediately, Corwyn and Detesh charm the curator of the Arcade of Triumphs, seeing the items they are to steal in the tour, and learning about ancient artifacts. Corwyn is startled to see replicas of noble blades that are identical to the ones he was given by his parents. Could they be the real thing? The other party members begin influence of other rooms. They gather to listen to Eutropia’s speech. Elsa notices a man with a wafer headed to the bees that she knows will excite the bees and make them angry. She and Kavian intercept the man and while they cause a small scene, there is no disruption of the speech. Upon interrogation, the staffer can report only that one of the Taldan Phalanx guards approached him to place the wafer near the beehives, telling him the scent would keep the bees calm for the evening and prevent any incidents. The staffer can’t tell which guard gave him the order and seems entirely unnerved by the affair
The various party members carry out their assigned tasks over the course of the evening.
After another hour, Lady Lotheed uses the badges to check in and asks the group to join her in the gallery. She sends Kavian on page missions and asks the group to monitor Lady Malphene Trant. It is not long before the Lady corners Senator Dou, shoving him into the Beldam II Waiting Room. The group monitoring him leap into action and follow into the room. Lady Trant and her toadies are there to shake the Senator down. The party members who arrive have little trouble in quickly disarming slightly drunk Lady Trant and her sycophants without resorting to weapons (we did not play this out) The grateful Senator Dou eagerly thanks his rescuers, asking them to drop by his office in the morning for a reward.
Stavian arrives and disappears into a meeting with General Pythareus. Princess Eutropia recuses herself to partake in several meetings before her father’s expected speech. Supper is served. The group, their assignments completed, are able to relax and enjoy dinner and socialization with the great peoples of the Empire.
Finally the Senate Convenes and important votes are held. At last the vote on male primogeniture takes place:
“The political ruling body of Taldor spreads out twenty feet below the observation deck of the gallery. Dozens of senators and their immediate aides scurry below. The cacophony of voices is almost deafening, and it seems like the ceaseless chatter will continue endlessly. Suddenly, the magically amplified voice of the senate speaker interrupts the noise. “Thank you all. I would ask that our observers please be silent and seat themselves. We will now begin voting on addendum number twenty-two thousand eighty-seven: the repeal of the ancient law of primogeniture, the issuance of inheritance and aristocratic title solely through male heirs.”
Following this proclamation, the speaker begins calling on individual senators one at a time to support or oppose the repeal. Early declarations split evenly between the options, with many senators abstaining entirely, and only halfway through the process do votes begin to favor Princess Eutropia’s bid to end primogeniture. By the end of the tabulations, the repeal passes with roughly 60 percent of the senate’s backing. The speaker takes a moment to compose himself, seemingly shocked by the results, before continuing to formally announce the initial results in a distant monotone.
“And so, the final tally for addendum twenty-two thousand eighty-seven, the repeal of primogeniture, with thirty-six abstentions, the final tally stands at one hundred and seven for, seventy-nine against. The addendum passes. Among other business tonight, the senate recognizes Princess Eutropia Stavian I as the new heir to the Primogen Crown, and the first heir the empire has seen in twenty years”
Following this celebration, Lady Lotheed summons the group to recap. She congratulates the PCs on a job well done and promises additional rewards after the festivities. Before letting the PCs find their seats, Lady Lotheed hands them a letter, neatly folded and sealed with wax embossed with a simple heart. She explains that it is a message for Kalbio of Breezy Creek—the peasant about to be exalted—from his parents who couldn’t afford to travel into Oppara for the ceremony. She understands that the letter is “of a personal and emotional nature,” and so Kalbio’s parents asked that it not be delivered until after the big day
The group mill about and await the great speech. Grand Prince Stavian III ennobles Kalbio to great cheers. However, his speech begins to grow dark, and being scared for Kalbio, Kavian and Corwyn twist their way through the crowd while Stavian is still speaking, much to the consternation of nobles with more president. Lady Lotheed begins to use her badge to tell them to stop, when Stavian says
“But unlike you, Lord Kalbio, these Taldans—my children, truly—are not grateful. They scheme and plot, dream of hanging their dutiful father and placing a woman—a woman, sir!—on the Lion Throne! And they have seen fit this very day to induct you into their conspiratorial ranks. And that is why here, now, you, Lord Kalbio, will be the first among them to die.”And with that, the Emperor of Taldor takes out a jeweled dagger. Both Corwyn and Kavian leap forward, vaulting over the guards and stunned guests. Kavian was more accurate in his aim, and as he shoved Kalbio aside, he tackled Grand Prince Stavian III. Corwyn landed next to the two, prone. The Ulfen guards drew their swords and brought them down. They missed Kavian, for fear of hitting their liege. Tremerus, who also had moved forward, hit the entire area with a flare, blinding everyone in a flash, but it was too late for Corwyn. A great blow fell against his neck to decapitate him in one blow as the spell went off.
And Darkness. Darkness not just for Corwyn, but for the entire party. Corwyn was alive, and they were someplace else.
8/20/20 All characters found themselves in darkness. Corwyn rubbed his neck and felt the wound, but we delighted he was not dead. Soon they discovered they were with each other. Termerus was the fist to cast light and the group found themselves in what was clearly some sort of escape chamber. They moved around the series of bedrooms, finding various room that had not been used in ages. There was a clear magical portal in the floor of one room, but it was not clear how to activate it. Eventually, they found keys to a cabinet and found a power crystal to a viewer. Looking through into a room with a great Fresco, they saw random parts light up and were able to open a secret compartment with magical coins. These coins opened the passwall spell in the floor.
Venturing into the next area, they found a mauled body. While investigating the body for Lord Develin Manshum, several Walconfinds, undead of bodies locked up into walls to preserve secrets, attacked. Over the next three rounds, more of the undead emerged. Corwyn too the brunt of the hits. At one moment, the claws of the creatures rent his chest and things grew dark. Tremerus heroically lept to Corwyn's aid and healed him before Corwyn could even fall. For the second time in a few hours, Corwyn was pulled from death. Finally, they killed all 6 creatures that emerged and were then greeted by others also whisked away by the extinct family senate badges.
Lord Wilfen Botoles, Sir Gryphus Plastion, and Lady Gael Urbaen, members of the now dead lord Manshum. The halfling Imistos Gulbend a confused attendant dressed as serving staff. They also encounter Lady Malphene Trent yet again, though now much subdued. The party notes the halfling servant has magic items on his person.
After much chatter, the group finishes search all the rooms for people. Not yet sure what to do with the frightened nobles and halfling servant, the group moves out of the secure rooms. They note the door they open is secret from the other side. They enter the Museum of Conquests.
Pristine glass display cases stand along the walls and in the center of this immense rectangular display room. The area is more than sixty feet wide and forty feet long, with the outer walls covered in glass displays of armor, save near the two northern doors and along the southern wall. Four rusted and decayed suits of armor stand separate, protected in glass cases. Tarnished and discolored weaponry fills the cases in the center of the room. Circles of various sizes have been scratched into the glass and drawn on the walls with chalk and paint. There are some tantalizing items, radiating magic in this room, including One obvious case holds a finely crafted light crossbow whose brass fittings still glint like new. A simple brass plaque inside the case labels it “Dignity’s Barb.” Another case has less than pristine looking nine-ringed sword labeled “Ying Jie Blade”.
The Nobles and Imistos mill about on the other side of the door, starting to move forward. Kaivan touches the case with the Ying Jie Blade only to find the glass shatters. Suddenly, the four suits of armor burst from their cases. They are Phantom Armor, undead sprits of long dead Talden soldiers. They move to attack!
The suits of armor move first, attacking the players. Ancient, pitted armor creaks as old longswords. The group fought back, damaging two in short order. Detash, complaining that his teammates were not waiting for him to act, used his negative energy to take command of one of the suites. The other three continued to fight but were struck down by the party.
The party went through the treasures in the room: Among the display cases are a +1 handaxe +1 heavy steel shield +1 Longspear +1 Ring of Protection Another case contains the alchemical lab of famed natural philosopher Dumos Fatomax, including a portable alchemist’s labUE, three potions of cure light wounds, and a musty-tasting potion of bull’s strength.
Most importantly, the Talden Relics the Dignity’s Barb and Ying Jie Blade are present. Mikahel asks if the group should be looting this archive, with Kavian giving a stinging response based on the way Taldor has treated him. The rest of the party agrees that these artifacts are long forgotten and fair game.
After the fight, Iona was sent with the other nobles who were freaking out back to the waiting area for the moment. The goal was to get out. The halfing servant continues to follow them, insisting he wants to serve them for helping. The group is deeply suspicious, but cannot catch him in any lie. During their time they received messages from Lady Lotheed:
“Stavian’s forces retreating, military is divided. Maxillar Pythareus seen moving with impunity through Stavian’s assassins.”
“Out of the senate building. Guiding a dozen or so of the servants to a safe haven…”
Moving north, they encounter a room of was figures. This rectangular room appears to host a celebration frozen in time. Gaudy nobles crowd the corners of this room, all of which are dressed in ostentatious and pretentious fashions. Tremendous wigs soar toward the ceiling, each covered in thick layers of dust. A larger gaggle fills the center of the chamber, each aristocrat presenting a jovial or mocking leer as it stares out blankly. One of the figures is sprawled on the floor; overlapping circles cut into its waxen chest and face.
Searching the old figures, the party finds a wig which is a Hat of Disguise. Cassia notes that the hat has some sort of ooze in it that will need prestidigitation to remove. Detash can do that easily enough, but they will have to wait. They also find 900 gp worth of jewelry.
Continuing to search the rooms, the group found a room of old retired banners, again with odd circles drawn. Termerus notes this must be the work of a mathematical, though untrained mined. In another room the party discovers more relics forgotten to time, including a Silver Raven figurine and various Trophies weighing 10 pounds and worth 500 gp Entering a taxidermy room, the group sees great beasts of many types hanging and mounted griffon ferociously in the southeastern corner of this square room. Two wolves stand in similar poses in the northern corners, while an immense coiled serpent poises itself in the southwestern corner, ready to strike. A small elephant stands in the center of the room, its head drooping far too low, and the top of its neck torn open. Thick cords of rope hoist avian creatures of every size along the ceiling, with an impressive eagle taking up the most space.
After a few moments, the wolves animate. They rise on clicking mechanisms, their bodies straining to stand on two legs. During this movement, however, one of the wolves’ hind legs collapses, while the fur on the other wolf ’s back splits open, rendering them both inert. Following this horrific display, the griffon’s wings begin to beat, only for one wing to tear off entirely. Moments later, it rips off the front foot attaching it to its display and moves to attack any living creatures in the chamber, as a spark of insight pushes it to inflict pain on others.
The Griffon attacks and the party fights back. While it is large and has reach, the party is quickly able to flank it and defeat the malfunctioning mechanism. Searching the room of decaying creatures, they find two collars of the wolves that are +1 amulets of mighty fists and a magical belt of some sort on a monkey, apparently made of monkey’s fur. There is some discussion that Kavian should take the belt as it seems likely to operate on dexterity.
The group finds a long hallway and chooses to head east. Here they find the Historical Archives. Thick wooden bookshelves jut out from the eastern and western walls. Bundles of paper, scroll tubes, and thick tomes cram these shelves nearly to bursting. Layers of dust coat some areas of the chamber, but others remain suspiciously clean. Books and papers crowd one of the worktables in the corners, smeared with ink. Use of search and magic finds two scroll cases. Detesh and Iona open the cases and each contains a Guardian Scroll, placed by a senator in ages past, intended to attack a fellow, but they were misguided. Now the old trap springs on the players. Detesh’s head is promptly engulphed by the construct, though Mikhael avoids it. Tremerus strides to Detesh and rips it off his head. After a fight, including a disgusted Detesh using burning hands on his scroll, the trap is put to rest. The scroll cases were full. One with several scrolls and the other with pages of script.
scroll of dispel magic scroll of invisibility, scroll of mirror image,, scroll of mount, page of spell knowledge: Shield of Faith, page of spell knowledge: Rejuvenate Eidolon, Lesser
The group took stock of the situation. They contemplated resting, but decided to press on!
09/04/2020 Kavian goes to relieve Iona with the nobles, and Iona joins the part.
The group moves down through the archives to find moldering and crumbling books. The same entity who has been leaving circles everywhere has been here, with opened books to mathematics and geometry. Of note, is also the self-aggrandizing memoir of one Eros Glendower, a noble who lived 300 years ago and seems to have been obsessed with finding a way to live forever.
Moving into the Artifact Archives, the group encounters what Mikhael recognizes as Arbiters, Lawful Neutral Outsiders. One speaks, and introduces itself as Factor 12, and its companion is Factor 13. They are the archives curators. They sepll out the rules. Only one item may be withdrawn from the area (it used to be two, the construct grumbles, but it has decided to “crack down” after recent thefts by a large rat).
The items in question are:
.. * Bell of Returning Spirits recovered
Mikhael asked to check out the Key and Iona suggests he use the Vortias family name from their pins in the form to be filled out. The check out the key take some time look at the magical treasures they have found and decide who can use them. Cassia confront Imistos, suggesting he go back with the others. Imistos is quite clear he wants to stay with the party, claiming it is much safer here, especially based on what they can do!
The group decides to head back to the opposite side. As Corwyn runs ahead, he suddenly stops and starts to wander around the inside of a chalk circle. Tremerus, who is 20’ behind him halts the party and observes. Reaching out with his foot, he erases part of the Circle. Corwyn is startled at his orientation and to see the rest of the party so close. It is clear he was under some mind-effect type of disorientation.
Expecting another vault, they instead find an overrun garden, where the old plants have burst from their old confines and spread under the constant light of the continual light torches.
At the end is a chapel, clearly to Aroden, the dead god, as his winged eye symbol is clearly above the door. Inside they are confronted with Three rows of pews stand before a stone altar. A human statue stands atop the altar, its face and right arm broken off and shattered at the floor around it. Two smaller statues of women—each wielding a sword and shield—stand in raised alcoves in the southeast and southwest corners. Clearly, they are the heralds of Aroden, Arazni and Iomedae.
The statue lights up with a very poor illusion, demanding a tithe. When the party rebukes the false good, the voice threatens them and a glitterdust spell blinds Mikhael and Corwyn. Cassia spies a gremlin in the rafters and sends her dancing lights to it. Iona grabs an arm and throws it at the creature, while Cassia taunts it and demands return of what it has stolen. The gremlin beds for mercy, saying his name is Viecar, and he is the “High Priest” of this underworld. He tells them he will return what he stole, and drops several bags of gems and coins totaling around 700 gp in value. He also drops the other key to get out and throws two potions of bear’s endurance that Iona catches. He scampers back to his lair.
The group searches the old chapel, and finds a dusty, dirty mantel, with the symbol of Aeroden on each shoulder. It speaks to Iona who puts it on and can feel the wisdom of the ages settling into her. Mikhael is able to identify it as a relic worn by a great warrior priest. The Talden members of the party see Iona with more awe, not something that effects Elsa.
Mimips greets the PCs enthusiastically, first speaking gnome, then trying draconic when no one responds. Detesh pushed forward to translate for the Kobold. Mimips offers to sell to the group doing s his best to highlight his numerous wares. The kobold is eager to trade for unique surface items, and is especially interested in the Spyglass they offer. He knows he came in through the sink hole, that leads to a tertiary tunnel of the Underdark, and of the gremlin to the south, and the great rat who is the circle maker to the north.
The group buys much of what he has to sell and sells off several of the items they have acquired since finding themselves here. They push on, passing circles in blood on the wall. Corwyn studies them and is almost weakened by them. He yells for the rest to avert their eyes. They have the Undead pet along with them turn the keys to open the doors.
Finally, they enter into the center of the complex, a large circular lecture hall. Wide stairs descend into this tiered, circular chamber. Chairs stand in odd positions throughout the room, collected into circular patterns, even outside of the greater circular patterns of the hall itself. Circular gouges mar the surface of the wooden walls and floor here, some left to stand alone, while others are multiple circular scratches overlaying one another, joined by lines and scrawlings. The greatest concentration of circles gathers on the ceiling, some forty feet above, where multicolored circles inscribed with artistic fanaticism surround a five-foot-wide hole in the ceiling. The other door out is also locked with the same dual key lock.
The party is taunted by an invisible voice, claiming to be “Dagio The Great”. Dagio condemns the PCs for intruding in his kingdom and interrupting his important research into the “will of the circles.” He goes on to provide a long list of selfaggrandizing titles—Hierophant of the Arc, Archduke of Tangencies, the Beginning and the End, Lord of the Circles. The party taunts him back, declaring him a fraud and king of nothing. It is then that Dagio summons four rat swarms to attack the party, while the dire rat himself uses magic missile and acid arrow to attack the party from above.
The swarms move across the floor coming to the scattered party. One attacks the Phantom Armor, damaging but being unable to infect the undead. Lysanthir tears through one swarm after another, while Corwyn and Tremerus deal with the once closest to them. Cassia is just unable to even strike a single rat, and Elsa blesses and aid her companions. Frustruated with the lack of success of his swarms, Dagio comes down with his wand of shocking graps and does some significant damage. But, he is overwhelmed by the party and killed.
Corwyn searched his crèche in the ceiling and managed not to throw up at the strong smells. They find the stolen treasure of:
The group moved to the next set of doors needing the keys. As the group stands back the armor is damaged by a fan of blades in a trap. Moving forward they pass through a lounge and into a security room with four halfling servants. The party is not surprised to see Imistos move to near the halflings. No one buys the hafling’s story and it is clear a fight is about to ensue.
09/09/20 Imistos opens with a dash ahead, yelling “These are Lotheed’s lackies, get them” and throws a fistful of Dust of Disappearance upon himself. The halfling cultist killers win the initiative and go first, followed by their leader and then the party. The four descend on Corwyn and Lysanthir, striking many blows. While Lysanthir is able to shake off the poisoned blade, Corwyn succumbs to one of the blades and begins to lose his strength as his muscles are attacked. The attacks cut deep into Corwyn.
Imistos uses his invisibility to stab Iona, almost killing her in a single blow with the sneak attack, but she shakes off the poison on that blade. Then the rest of the party moves. Tremerus comes to defend Iona, and use his hunter scent ability to try to find the invisible foe. The other combatants begin moving to deal with the four visible killers. Imistos, knowing what Tremerus is able to do, retreats to circle his intended victim. At first, things look dark for the heroes, as Corwyn absorbs damage that Iona is no longer able to heal, due to her lack of spells. Both Elsa and Cassia are in similar states, with little magic left. Kavian and Tremerus work to aid Corwyn, and Imistos closes and takes Corwyn down, while Lysanthir falls. However, the damage being delt begins to turn the tide. Detesh uses his pearl of power to cast Burning Hands once again to hurt the invisible Imistos. Tremerus, able to smell him, also engages.
Finally, after Crowyn is revived, and the invisible leader can again be seen, the group kills the last of the Cultists. They find holy symbols to the evil demon Thamr Gixx on all of the bodies. They also discover proof that Lady Lotheed is being held in the Dignified Repository by the halfing entertainer, Wyssilka the Fantaboulous.
Corwyn goes to get the nobles and is able to genuinely effects Lady Trant to take up the responsibility for her family. The party staggers out into a Senate building to discover the grounds of a charnel house: the bodies of civilians, Lion Blades, military personnel, and even the Ulfen Guard still lie where they fell. A few combat-fatigued soldiers wander the halls taking records of the dead, posing no real danger to the group and their allies. The soldiers calmly direct them to leave the senate building, which is currently on lockdown due to the recent “political turmoil.”
Official reports remain unclear; some insist foreign assassins struck out at Taldor, while others claim the infamous Pathfinder Society attempted a coup, and still others claim the grand prince himself attempted to execute the entire senate. From what the party can gather further information of what happened from the soldiers or from passersby on the street, surviving senators have fled to their respective strongholds, while the Ulfen Guard has secured the imperial palace and refuses to admit anyone until the matter of succession is cleared. Both Grand Prince Stavian III and Princess Eutropia are missing in the aftermath of Stavian’s attempted slaughter. The city remains in a tenuous state of peace, but the issue of succession is already beginning the divide the aristocracy into a dozen different camps, each insisting its candidate alone has a right to the throne
The group attempts to head to Corwyn’s home, but it is blocked by a riot. Elsa leads them all to her adoptive family’s home. There, they are welcomed and treated, along side Finner Vinmark, who raged across the floor to protect his family. His wife Rannivia tends to the party, while Gratia informs Cassia that their friends Victor and Stephana are missing. Her parents are safe, but only just made it home. Mikael mourns his fallen comrade, drinking and staring out the window. A raven flies to him and gives him a message in elvish from his mother. He gives a return message he is safe “but lost a part of me”.
The next morning, Lady Morilla comes to the home and speaks to Corwyn. After some carful probing, Corwyn admits they know where Lady Lotheed is being held. Morilla offers the aid of the Pathfinder Society members still in the city. The group scouts the site across the city and plans their attack.
Wanting no more delay in rescue of their employer, the party uses Lady Morilla’s team to distract and defeat guards to the north of the Dignified Repository. Using their two scrolls of invisiblity, Tremerus and Corwyn attempted to pick the lock. After two fails, and the spell fading, Tremerus managed to force the door open, only alerting two of the people in the building. Corwyn and Tremerus hide among boxes while the two Cultist Initiates came to investigate.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party sneaks one by one up to the bushes near the building, including Silver. Poor Cassia stumbles, as the rest of the team leaves her behind with their various 20+ rolls. Two guards come to confront her. Spending a hero point, Cassia is barley able to bluff about looking to play at a party and told in no uncertain terms to get lost. She slinks away and waits for an opening.
Tremerus and Crowyn both sneak attack the cultists at the door. With a critical hit, Tremerus kills his opponent in one blow. Unfortunately, Corwyn’s take an additional attack and sounds the alarm. The rest of the party except Cassia starts in through the door, while Cassia races to join them, this time succeeding well.
Once the party is all in, the door is shut as the heroes engage the Cultists. At first, the local guards are no match for the party, who being to take them down. Kavian and Corwyn joined the Eildon in dispatching four, though a poison sword does its worst to Lythsnthir, and he begins to lose strength. Tremerus and Silver engaged two more cultists, to be assisted by Kavian when he was done.
Mikahel saw some movement and threw a grease spell, which diverted the new enemies. The party heard fiddle music, and looking to Cassia who was not playing, they grew concerned. The fetchling bard, dressed as a clown, named Mr. Smiles III encouraged his allies. With him, the wayang alchemist, the Fair Minded Efrani, threw a stink bomb into the group. Poor Cassia was rendered sick, and she was forced to retreat, though the effect also caught a cultist. The battle raised in pitch, as this time, Efrani threw another stink bomb, creating a small passage clear of effects. Smiles used mirror image to avoid being easily attacked. Dealing with the stink, Mikahel summoned an Earth Elemental, sending home his friend, and it lumbered along with the Degenerate Guardian, immune to the smell attacking cultists as they went. Kavain heroically closed to Smiles, but the bard took a step back and cast Hideous Laughter on Kavian, rendering him helpless.
Finally, the tide started to turn for the heroes. Cassia was able to overcome her illness. As the stink bomb cleared, the Efrani threw his own grease spell. The armor stumbled, but the earth elemental just tunneled to come out on top of the startled alchemist. Using Dignity’s Barb, Mikahel managed to strike through the illusion and hit the true Smiles. Both Efrani and Smiles were now vulnerable in the face of the concentrated group. Efrani tried a last ditch stink bomb, but it hurt him as much as anyone, and within a round, they were both down.
The group quickly searched the warehouse for clues, finding the stash Smiles had in the desk, and the loot on the bodies of the 12 Cultist Initiates present, all humans. The group found the stairs from the office descending into the dark. This must be the pathway to their employer.
Descending down, the stairs end in an old tunnel an excavated chamber links the warehouse above with the safe house below. The walls are embedded with several artifacts of a long-gone iteration of Oppara: bare scroll rods, broken pots, cobblestones, and various other bits of street garbage. The southwestern door is clearly a secret door of some sort that has been left open.
Moving into the safehouse, the party moved down a long hallway north, with the Armor opening the door. They found a room of four cultists of the Silent Blade. The cultists used the narrow hallway to their advantage, preventing the party from concentrating power, including the use of a smoke stick. The Amor was in front. Mikahel sent the earth elemental through the earth to attack the cultists, while Corwyn threw a dagger. Iona sent a spectral blade, and Detesh sent his raven with a shocking grasp spell. The first cultist had fallen and the armor moved up, but then, one of the cultists unleashed a negative energy burst. The Raven fell to 0 hit points, and the earth elemental was damaged.
Tremerus and Cassia guarded the doors while Kavian and Corwyn moved up. Detesh rescued his raven with mage hand, and Cassia stabilized the bird. As the cultists in the room fell Corwyn and Kavian moved into the hallway behind them, taking down the four others advancing. Kavian was significantly hurt, but healing was on the way. He avoided any position on the blades, but yet again Corwyn felt the effects of spider venom.
Two children came running up asking about their daddies. These were not children but fantionettes. The party was suspicious but could not be sure. Tremerus put them into a bedroom and told them to hide. The team then moved south to explore the rest of the building. As Elsa and Kavian watched the top hallway, the fantionettes emerged and attacked. Kavian stood his ground against one, while the other moved on Elsa. She fended it off with her spear, until the elemental and Tremerus moved to defend her. Both evil outsiders were swiftly defeated, and Kavian again needed healing. The group moves ahead to their foe. Corwyn missed the trip line which alerted Wyssilka the Fantabulous. She and her the three cultist in the room were able to raise their shield’s of faith. As the group poured into the room the fight was on.
Tremerus and Silver engaged the halfing and Silver was able to bite and trip her. Three Silent Cultist vaulted into action, one getting cut by Kavian on the way in. They viciously attacked him, but the party closed on the people holding their employer. Kavian was the center of “love” getting heals and buffs, while Silver kept tripping the assassin and mauling her. The cultists and their leader were soon dispatched.
With Wyssilka defeated and Martella Lotheed saved, the group is finally in a position to rest and take stock of the new political scene in Taldor. Martella offers to pay for accommodations at the Silent Horse—one of Oppara’s more lavish inns—for any member of the party without a respectable home in the city. It takes another 2 days to take a final accounting of the dead: a total of 78 senators slain, alongside 102 aides, defenders, family members, and staff, as well as Grand Prince Stavian III himself, in what many Taldans are already beginning to call the Exaltation Massacre. The attackers appear to have been an assortment of mercenaries and killers from Andoran, Cheliax, and Galt—though arguments rage over who brought these assassins into the heart of Taldor’s government. While the Lion Blades believe Stavian himself hired these agents, much of the Taldan citizenry is less convinced, given the emperor’s own death in the violence. Many suspect Princess Eutropia or High Strategos Pythareus. With the empire’s central government in shambles, local governments are doing the best they can to fill the void.
Eleven major claims have been made for the throne by various nobles claiming relations to the Stavian line. Two candidates in particular—Princess Eutropia and High Strategos Maxillar Pythareus—stand above the rest, and various nobles and polities have already begun arguing that their chosen scion is the true inheritor of the Primogen Crown.
After taking 3 days to rest, Martella comes to the Silent Horse to invite the party to a private meeting. A short carriage ride brings them to a tidy townhouse in the Aroden’s View district. Inside, a cozy fire and the scent of tea warm a small library. A friendly catch-dog trots over to investigate, wagging its tail, and returns satisfied to its owner’s side as she rises from the chair—Princess Eutropia. She addresses the team who saved her friend and invites them into her service. She symbolically knights them all, and hereafter refers to them as “Sir” or “Dame”. She does her best to answer any questions the group may have.
The party has a week to recovery, make purchases and otherwise settled their accounts and then can expect to be summoned again. Oppara itself never truly falls into chaos, despite the political violence and sudden lack of a strong government. Much of Taldor runs on routine, without the need for direct oversight, and while an eerie quiet falls over the city, the citizens maintain their daily lives with little disruption for now. Talk in the street focuses heavily on the Exaltation Massacre and the War for the Crown, with everything from accurate news to wild speculation making the rounds. For now, at least, all of Taldor seems to be holding its breath, waiting to see if civil war is inevitable.
Were you behind Martella’s activities at the Gala? “Martella has been assisting me for quite some time, and yes, she recruited your help to ensure the night ran smoothly. Thank you for your services.”
Why should we support you? “I’ve spent a lifetime studying Taldor and her people’s needs. All her people. And I know they need internal improvements, education, new opportunities. Not war and empty promises of long gone glories.”
What will you do with the crown/throne? “I hadn’t thought I’d be inheriting the throne for a decade or more, and I find myself embarrassingly unprepared. For now, I suppose my goals are to hold a wounded nation together and begin repairing centuries of neglect. My focus has been very narrow until now; I’ll need some time to make these decisions.”
Do you know who attacked the senate? “It seems my father reached out to his peers in other nations to recruit his… special forces. I understand the Lion Guards found evidence of Andoren, Chelish, and Galtan nationality among the dead; the old colonies where my father might still have loyal friends. Had. The Lion Blades heard rumors of father recruiting foreign agents and feared for my safety, but we vastly underestimated the numbers, or his true targets. This is why I clearly need new eyes in this endeavor.”
Did you kill your father? Eutropia is taken aback at such a crass question, but eventually manages to say, “Certainly not! Father and I may have grown apart since Carrius’s passing, but he remains my father, and the only true family I have left! Had left. He… My father may not have been what was best for Taldor, but he was my father, and for some of us, blood ties are still stronger than political ones.”
Where is Maxillar Pythareus now? “He’s retreated to the fortress city of Zimar, in the south, and has been refusing my requests for council. Rumors suggest he’s already begun gathering a network of supporters calling themselves the Imperialists.”
Where do we fit into all of this? “You would work as my loyal agents to secure resources and allies, ideally without raising too much of a fuss when it can be avoided. Martella will direct you toward more specific goals; I have a great deal of work to accomplish myself in the meantime.”
Why select us to help you? “I haven’t. I’m afraid you’re still unknown factors to me. But Martella seem impressed with your abilities and I respect her judgment. You’ve obviously left her with quite the positive opinion of your skills and character, and I hope you’ll honor me with the same impression.”
What do we gain by supporting you? “I would hope the value of an empress’s gratitude would be plainly obvious, but you will be paid, of course. I may be locked out of the treasury, but the Stavian family holdings are considerable. In the meantime, the opportunity for profits will abound: new allies and contacts, travel to the far-flung corners of the empire, favors from who knows how many nobles. The task before us is the sort that births legends, and legends, if nothing else, benefit from warm beds and full bellies.”
What happens now? “Now we rally our resources and allies. This is not a war we can win by swords; Pythareus commands the entirety of the Phalanx, and much of the rest of the military is fiercely loyal to him. This is a war we must win with words and guile and allies. We need the people of Taldor to unite behind a single monarch to dispel the military’s desire to settle this with force of arms. I don’t want the blood of common Taldans spilled to slake some petty squabble between nobles.”
What’s your dog’s name? “His name is Taldogis. Father hates it… Hated it.”
Relics of Taldor
The wielders of the relics discover they are less tarnished and more able than before. The triumph of rescuing the right hand of the Princesses has given them renewed energy to awaken their ancient power.
Now the character have a bigger challenge than they ever thought possible. Much of the ruler Eutropia will eventually become will be shaped by the actions she and her agents must take to assume the throne. How the characters act will chart the course of history.
Each member of the party takes their week to get ready, both preparing their local affairs and engaging in acts which support their various intrigues.
|Cassia||Spent time undermining Eliasis Starborn who hid under a table at the Gala Massacre||+1 Subterfuge|
|Tremerus||Gave a lecture on the hunt where he outlines the intrigue and dangers||+1 Sagacity|
|Iona||Filtered local rumors||+1 Sagacity|
|Corwyn||Arranged secret meetings with Dame Trant and others||+1 Charm|
|Detash||Changed his familiar from a raven to an undead, and discussed with his peers||+1 Genius|
|Elsa||Had a party to celebrate her adoption into the Vinmark Family, and used that to tell her story||+1 Sacrifice|
|Kavian||Told his tale to his uncle and family||+1 Heroism|
|Mikhael||Gave a Lecture on the Forgotten Wonders Under the Senate||+1 Genius|
Each member of the party takes their week to get ready.
After the party has a week to rest and attend to their own matters, Martella sends word to meet her at the Porthmos Club—an exclusive teahouse in Oppara’s Aroden’s View district. She instructs them to pack for a long trip through the country, and to bring at least one fine outfit, a suitable hunting outfit (Explorer’s), and at least one respectable mask or costume.
“I wish I could say this little gift didn’t come with strings attached, but these are tangled times. As you may have heard, the Ulfen Guard—the emperor’s personal bodyguards— have locked down the imperial palace, and they won’t allow access to anyone until Taldor has an official Grand Prince once again. Keeps unreasonable sorts from looting the palace, I suppose, but it has also sealed away Eutropia’s personal wealth. The Stavian family has another estate, though—the Palace of Birdsong—but the Stavians entrusted its care and maintenance to stewards two centuries ago. These stewards now refuse to leave and, I’m told, are courting Maxillar Pythareus’s favor. It doesn’t help matters that these squatters are my family, or that my half brother Bartelby has been squandering the estate’s fortunes.
“While we technically have the authority to demand the estate’s return, we lack the power. If we could weaken Bartelby’s power base and woo some of his subordinates to support us, we could reclaim the Palace of Birdsong. That’s where you and your lovely new homes come in.
“The Lady Allis Betony died nearly a decade ago, leaving no heirs. We purchased her estate at auction last week, and I have taken the liberty of drawing up a few documents listing Kavian and Elsa as Betony family scions. You’ll be arriving just in time to make your debut at the annual Tanager Jubilee. I have arranged for two carriages and horses to take you. The carriages and horses are yours to keep, as you can’t very well be seen walking to the jubilee; I’ll be riding on to Cassomir once we near the county border. Make friends, learn the lay of the land, and afterward do what you can to win the nobles’ and citizens’ loyalty. Undermine Bartelby, and wherever you can, try to improve peoples’ lives and engender loyalty. For any overt actions you take, you’ll likely want to hide your identity to keep Bartelby from cracking down on you.
“I feel I must stress the importance of your task. The princess has sold her townhouse to fund this plan, and at this point her resources are perilously thin. If we’re to stand any chance in this bid for the throne, we need a suitable base of operations and steady income.”
“I want you to go to the Jubilee, use your charms to ensure an easy fit into local society, and then use your skills and alliances to subtly change the county for the better. Only then, once you are sure to have won over the hearts of the locals, are you to take the Palace of Birdsong back from the Lotheed family on behalf of Princess Eutropia. With secure alliances, we can then openly show our true allegiances and invite the new neighbors you make to join us, using Meratt as a template for what positive changes may await Taldor under Princess Eutropia”
“Kavian and Elsa your new titles also makes you tribunes of the neighboring town of Stachys—essentially investing you with the power and responsibility to act as the community’s mayor and judge.“
Martella briefly details the Betony family history dating back to the Shining Crusade, and reminding the characters that they have rights as stewards to the Lotheeds, most notably the right to request audiences with Bartelby, but that their rule extends solely to their lands; openly taking any action outside their own demesne is dangerous and foolish unless done covertly. “You should not try to use magic to try to influence their new neighbors; the Lotheeds are a particularly magically aware family, even if that is a talent I like. They are likely to spot such tampering (even if it weren’t already considered grotesque)”
The ride to the county of Meratt takes 5 days. In that time you get the following answers, however, if you have more questions let me know:
What is the Palace of Birdsong? “It’s one of the Stavian estates, but the Stavians haven’t visited it in centuries. Fairly humble, as palaces go. A century ago, they appointed the Lotheeds as regents to oversee it and the county.”
What is the Tanager Jubilee? “It’s an annual sort of founders’ day celebration. Local tradition claims that when Count Markolian Stavian broke ground for the palace some eight centuries ago, a scarlet tanager landed on his shovel and sang his praises. It’s a day off for the lower classes, but the aristocracy celebrates with two days of feasting, games, dancing, tournaments, and a hunt. Making a good showing at the jubilee is an excellent way to win influence.”
What is the county of Meratt like? “I’ve not seen it in over a decade, but it’s quite the pastoral wonderland: olive orchards and vineyards, and hills and ample woods to hunt game. The largest town you’ll find is Lotheedar, near the Palace of Birdsong, but there’s a village the Betony estate is expected to oversee as well: Stachys. Overall, the county is perhaps not as well maintained as the locals would prefer, but Father was a competent administrator if nothing else.”
What is Bartelby/the Lotheed family like? “We’re an old-blood noble family, with genealogies tracing back to Azlanti settlers, and my siblings will rarely let you forget it. Bartelby himself is charming, graceful, intelligent, but arrogant and casually cruel. He excelled in his arcane studies as a child, and I have no doubt he’s only improved since then.”
They’re your family. Can’t you talk to them? Why aren’t you joining us? “I am… unwelcome among my family; the result of Father’s indiscretions with a Qadiran woman. More scandalously, I lack the family affinity for magic. After Father’s death, Bartelby explained in no uncertain terms what fates he would visit upon me if I ever returned to the estate. You are far safer without my presence.”
Will we know anyone there? “Baron Nicolaus Okerra’s lands stand at the edge of the county. I believe you met him during the senate festivities before the… unpleasantness. He’s generally a fair-minded and compassionate man and would be a good ally. Hopefully you made a good impression on him.”
Is there any news from the county of Meratt?/Do we have any potential allies? “My news is spotty, but I understand some shadowy figure calling themself ‘Night Swan’ has been stirring up trouble—robbery and vandalism, but also some violence against Lotheed soldiers. They could be a valuable ally if they have some feud with my brother.”
Is there anyone we should watch out for? “Besides my half brother? My sister Cateline is quite shrewd, if she still lives there, and cousin Titus is little more than a bully. Beyond the family, Sir Gul Gusairne is a suspicious sort—he was father’s seneschal and I imagine Bartelby has kept him on in some fashion or another. And I suppose Sepsimia’s mother, Dame Crabbe, is a touch overbearing.”
What do we do with your half brother? “I am not certain. There’s little love lost between Bartelby and myself, but he is still my brother. If you can talk sense into him—and I very much doubt you can—or capture him alive, please do so. But if it becomes a question of his life or your own, do not hesitate to protect yourselves.”
Where will Princess Eutropia be? “Princess Eutropia is currently making a show of rallying support in Golsifar. Given the city’s military leanings, it is almost certain to support Strategos Pythareus in his bid for the crown, but more importantly, it keeps curious eyes far from you.”
“As part of their rewards, you can take what portable valuables the Lotheeds have at the palace—coins, jewelry, magical trinkets, and so forth—but the furniture, libraries, portraits, and other family items should remain where they are (and relatively intact) for future generations.”
“I have been experimenting with a memory-erasing poison I call Styx oil, which should provide you a second chance to correct a social faux pas or escape notice. However, the drug is expensive and time-consuming to produce, and I can offer them only 3 doses for now.”
The paperwork Martella provides establishes Kavian and Elsa as the second cousins, once removed, of the late Lady Allis, Betony (implying their great-grandfather was grandfather to Allis ). The documents are excellent reproductions, requiring a successful DC 30 Linguistics check to identify as forgeries. Kavian and Elsa need not assume false names, given the distant relationship to “dear departed cousin Allis,” nor will they be expected to know many details of the family, and therefore they can slip readily into local society, something that will prove far easier for Elsa than the monastery raise Kavian.
The group travels with Martella Lotheed in two carriages towards Merret County.
Shortly after crossing into the county of Meratt, the group’s carriage is waylaid by desperate beggars and traders offering them a variety of wares and asking for spare coins. This makeshift roadblock and market are opportunists from the nearby Beggarwood, which the characters note provides an example of how dire things are becoming for the common folk of the county. The hodgepodge traders offer most common goods at a 10% increase over market value but will lower their prices to 10% below market value paid in common clothing, food, tools, and other daily necessities.
The group has immediate sympathy for the group and makes several purchases. Kavian introduces himself as the new Tribune and spreads 50 silver around the group. As the beggars cum traders see the group is friendly, they offer some “luxury” items, including a potion which Corwyn buys. Cassia startles the group, asking for carvings, and walks away having paid too much for several bits of whittled wood. The party has left a good impression on the denizens of Beggar Wood.
As the group approaches the palace in the morning, they meet with an astonishing array of guests, nearly 40 altogether, all being fussed over by an army of servants sporting bird masks. Bartelby has hired additional staff, and the normally quiet palace throngs with chatter and laughter. Numerous entertainers—ferret-jugglers, fire-breathers, stilt-walkers, and other amusements— keep guests occupied as they arrive. Upon seeing new guests, Count Bartelby Lotheed approaches the two carriage caravan and introduces himself warmly while a servant unloads the PCs’ baggage.
“Well met, newcomers. I am Count Bartelby Lotheed, steward of the county of Meratt, landgrave of the Hyden Marches, and tribune of Lotheedar. We understand you are the new heirs to the Betony lands. It is quite the honor to be our new neighbors, we’re sure.”
Elsa wows Count Lotheed with her presentation, very much making an impression as a lady of noble bearing. Count Lotheed immediately directs the baggage to the guest quarters of the Birdsong Palace instead of the cottages on the grounds because of this. Unfortunately, Kavian is not as impressive. Tremerus offeres an antique ring of over 300gp in value. Both Tremerus and Elsa were able to briefly engage the Count and Termerus managed to learn something about influencing him. He then turned to his duties and the group was pounced upon by Dame Crabbe.
The group settled into visiting and introduction to their guide, “Purple Finch” aka Alista Cragus, who tries to be both informative and funny. She outlines the events for the two days and gives the group any information they need.
As the group mingles, partaking of white wines, various cheeses, and pickled calves feet, Mikhael makes a beeline away from Dame Crabbe who is clearly looking for a husband for her daughter a helped himself to the wines.
Elsa quickly finds herself being greeted by Nicolaus Okerra, whom she get to know at the Exaltation Gala. She and Cassia start chatting up the Barron and are soon deep in conversation, making solid inroads into moving him from friendly to helpful in his attitude. The widower shows a bit of a flush conversing with two lovely women.
Tremerus wanders the grounds and meets the Arminius Seno Talbot, Earl of Whitecliffe and his date, the Lady Kastner. The Earl greets Tremerus and tells him that he will provide materials and support as he hears the Brentony Estate is fallen into disrepair. Tremerus thanks him, and moves to mingle with the other guests. He finds the Honorary Tribune,Onora Piscum and strikes up an easy conversation with her based on their mutual love of the outdoors and rural backgrounds. He is able to quickly get her to warm to him and they are deep in conversation when the Tourney begins.
Corwyn struck up a conversation with the regal and the older Adella Voinum He was able to size up her interest in history almost by accident, and began to engage her in a discussion, slowly working to impress her. Mikhael joined them after listening at a distance and was able to engage her with his own understanding and take on history. Iona also joins them to help the discussion.
All this time, Dame Crabbe held court, with Iona and Detash. Seeing the state of Sepsimia Crabbe, Detash wooed her mother with discussions of how he might help. Kavian, having already impressed Dame Crabbe upon introduction, decided to work hard to woo the daughter, with Detash playing wingman. Sepsenia seemes immune to Kavian’s charm, even if her mother is encouraged by the new local Tribune. Kavian manages to extract a token from the sickly young lady, her handkerchief as a token.
Three of the party decided to enter the competitions. Tremerus made a fine showing in the Joust, making it to the finals with four victories showing off his prowess handling his horse and lance. It was only in the final round that he lost to Barron Okerra. The Barron takes the hyacinth laurel and gives it to Elsa. In the Fencing competition, Corwyn makes suburb use of his foil, even though he struggled getting used to the weapon in his first round. He easily won his second two bouts but lost to the sneering Titus Lotheed-Casava. Swaggering over, he awards his laurel to the stunning redhead, Cassia.
However, the honor of the Bentony household would be enhanced greatly as one of its new Tribunes was able to shine. While Kavian was not the most polished, his years in a monastery training his body showed. Kavian was able to best his opponents swiftly, winning the Wrestling competition. He awarded his laurel to the trembling and sickly Sepsimia with a flourish, obtaining the first smile anyone had seen from her.
Away form the stands and the contests, the others are engaged in 5 rounds of the game Trucco. Mikhael, perhaps due to his wine consumption does not do well, even in his attempts to do poorly with a flourish. Iona and Detash presented formidable competition, but the master of the game, Dame Crabbe was able to win as usual.
Running 3 social rounds during the game of Trucco, the group works to advance their influence. They are quickly learning to read and monitor each other. Prior to dinner, Count Bartelby summons his guests back to the palace gardens for a short musical performance, accompanied by drinks and a short speech about the palace’s history and the meaning of the Tanager Jubilee. The harpers play at the bottom of the veranda stairs, while Count Bartelby traditionally delivers his speech from the top of the stairs—a tradition being exploited by a would-be assassin!
After the afternoon’s events the Count ascends the stairs a tripwire is in his path, leading to a concealed crossbow. Kavian notices and leaps to tackle Bartelby as the trap triggers and is struck by the poisoned bolt. The Count is shaken but very grateful, and immediately orders Kavian given an antitoxin and offers to pay for a Lessor Restoration spell, though Iona, now prepared with all the poison going around, casts it immediately. Count Bartelby insists only his own people investigate, but Senator Talbot suggest that Tremerus is able and the Count agrees to his involvement. The crossbow is rigged beneath a window ledge from the observatory and the only clue accompanying the crossbow is a single black feather.
The evening of the first night, the ballroom is laid out for feasting, the formal dining room being too small to accommodate 40 guests.
During seating, Titus Lotheed-Casava loudly chastises the PC’s jester, Purple Finch, for obviously not providing them a room with washing facilities or clean clothes. Corwyn loudly retorts ”I am surprised a Lotheed does not understand the uses of prestidigitation.”
After seating the meat for the feast is first paraded live before the hungry guests by servants dressed as sheep, and Tremerus and Detash note Baroness Voinum’s well-disguised revulsion at the spectacle, which is automatically shared by Elsa and Iona, but the rest of the group makes a point of similar expressions of distaste.
The meal is excellent, with several course. Over dinner, the group continues to work the room and their fellow diners. The Baroness finally starts to soften with the wine she is consuming.
After the feast, servants clear away the tables and chairs and—to a fanfare of trumpets—six halflings dressed as Taldan heroes of lore enter, riding in gaudily painted miniature chariots each pulled by dogs. Servants rush to lay out a race course as the drivers perform japes and buffoonery for the wildly laughing aristocrats. The rules for the chariot race are very simple: the halflings race about the ballroom three times, dodging a series of obstacles on the way, while the guests look on and cheer their champions. To spice things up, each guest is given three silken sachets filled with brightly colored powder to hurl at racers in an attempt to blind them.
None of the party is particularly happy with this event, especially trying to blind the drivers in a room full of people. Cassia seems the most at ease with this treatment of the halflings, with her Katharis upbringing, and throws a sachet under a wheel to explode. Already interested in the red head, Titus began a conversation after this, allowing Corywn to able walk by and pluck the sachet’s out of Titus’s hands. Titus rolls a 2 to notice and is startled his hands are empty. His head whips around the room to see Corwyn walking away juggling his bags.
The evening concludes with dancing and several rounds of a card game known as last Azlant. None of the party particularly stands out in play. As the dancing begins and dizzying music commences, partners are selected. For the first dance, Kavian moves to coax Sepsimia to dance and she agrees, half-heartedly. Corwyn, playing wingman, dances with Dame Crabbe. Count Lotheed asks to dance with the lovely new Tribune of the Bentony Estate, Elsa, while the Barron Okarra dances with Cassia. Tremerus invites Onora Piscum, and Sir Gul asks Iona to dance. Detash broods in a corner.
Mikhael goes for Dame Carood. She is reluctant but does not have a good reason to insult the half-elf, who proceeds to fill her mind with various talks of magic (as he rolls a 27 to impress her, and she rolls a 1 to defend). This goes from the first, to the second, to the third dance. Titus attempts to intervene but is unsuccessful with the smitten Carood. After the first dance, Duchess Veleto Lotheed enters the ballroom to the surprise of the guests, and the seething anger of Count Lotheed. Detash immediately asks her to dance, and they spend the next two dances together, with the Duchess asking for all sorts of updates on the goings on in Oppera. The Count manages to shoo his Aunt away, saying that she is not well, leaving Detash to dance with Dame Crabbe later in the evening.
The highlight of the dancing comes from an unexpected corner. Titus attempts to show up Corwyn and Mikhael by asking Cassia to Dance. He has been relying on his natural athletics to dance well. Cassia agrees and the two begin dancing in an ever increasing and complex pace. Cassia (rolling a 29 on her perform) is clearly the expert, leading Titus through steps he does not expect with the grace of a master. Titus, for his part, keeps up (rolling a natural 20, with a 9 in acrobatics to match Cassia in score, if not in grace). As the two become more and more noticed, the musicians are caught up in dance and increase their pace. By the end, the entire room is in a circle watching to two dance a storm, until they finish in a flourish to applause. Both sweating and breathing hard, Cassia courtesies and thanks Titus for the dance in her most sincere voice. Titus thanks her with a bow through gritted teeth.
As the party winds down, guests retire to rooms or cottages. The party are shown to their rooms by Purple Finch. Dame Carood joins Mikhael for the evening. During the night, both Cassia and Tremerus have horrible nightmares of failure. Cassia dreams of a performance in Oppera that is a disaster where she cannot play. Tremerus dreams of a hunt gone wrong, where a child dies. Both wake up fatigued, an Iona uses her two prepared lessor restorations to prepare them for the day.
Breakfast is spitchcock served in the garden; a large bowl of water filled with live eels is set before each guest, along with a miniature harpoon for them to spear their choice of fish. Once an eel is harpooned, servants split its belly and grill it beside the table. The head is left intact, mouth still gaping when the meal is placed before the diners, ready to be eaten.
During breakfast, the assembled nobles brag of their hunting or tracking prowess, and money changes hands as they bet who among those assembled will be the first to bring in an eel.
The main event for the second day is a mock hunt: peasants are dressed as animals and released from the estate to hide within nearby territories to which they have been assigned, and then the assembled hunters are allowed to track their quarries and bring them back to the palace. The use of fake quarries helps prevent accidental injuries (at least to the nobles) that might otherwise mar the grand event.
Lots are drawn and the Bentony characters are assigned the Brashen Deeps about an hour from the palace on food or 45 minutes on horseback. t’s a hilly pine forest run through with rocky creeks and shallow caves, and covered in low-lying ferns, chicory, and wild asparagus—a challenging environment in which to ride, let alone hunt.
After hunt areas are assigned, Titus and his cronies gibe the PCs to “beware the vicious beast, I hope all 8 of you can manage” they must hunt. Carrod, looking fatigued herself for some reason, is less into it than she was the previous night. Mikhael retorts ”Yes, 8 of us may well trip over each other’s feet” derisively, earning a smile from his paramour.
After assignments, the quarry is brought out—four local “volunteers” who are gashed across the cheek to give the hounds their scent before being sent on their way. Bartelby promises the captives that if they can evade capture until nightfall, they will be absolved and granted a handsome reward of 50 gp. In actuality, the peasants have been pressured to take part after various minor crimes.
The players assigned quarry, Moffis, who is dressed as a wild ox. For the next hour or so, the hunters sit around drinking warmed brandy, eating, and talking, while their quarry is given “a sporting chance.” During this time, the players are assigned Purple Finch as a guide as well as a pair of Taldan bloodhounds. The bloodhounds whimper and quail in the face of the noble wolf, Silver.
The group has much discussion about if they want to all go on the Hunt, as the entire spectacle seems horrible to them. They discuss during their hour talking, but finally decide to head out as a group. After an hour or so ride, they are forced to dismount and enter into the brambles.
Some 30 minutes after the group enter this thicker undergrowth, they hear a deafening roar, followed immediately by a scream for help. Some 150 feet ahead, they can see a man dressed as an ox bleeding and desperately dodging the swipes of a massive manticore. It is poor Moffis, who is now a prey for real against the Iron Lash of Meratt. Iron Lash is a manticore of great size and uncommon brutality that has preyed upon the area every season for years before retreating to its mating grounds in the Verduran Forest. The characters charge into battle and confront the beast who takes a half-hearted swipe at Moffis, not seeing the real threat. Corwyn charges into battle to strike, followed by Termerus and Silver and Kavian. They immediately start their attacks. The Iron Lash attacked Corwyn with claws and bite, and took a slash at Moffis as he ran. Corwyn staggered under the blow losing blood, while Moffis slide to a stop, his back slashed open. Iona moves up and her brilliant energy heals Corwyn and restores the stunned Moffis. The attack continues, and as the party works to defeat the monster, it launches another attack at Kavian, brining him almost to the point of death. Iona worked to heal, and Elsa, alarmed, fired a sonic attack, stunning the monster, even though the edge of caught Silver, who shook off the effects. An earth elemental appeared at Mikhael’s behest and knocked the beast into unconscious. They party quickly killed it. While Tremerus skinned the beast and Detash collected it spikes, Iona and Corwyn talked to Moffis. Moffis, was a dairy farmer arrested and placed in the stocks for selling the count sour butter. He is a peasant of Baroness Voinum. The group decides he will go free, escorting him to a horse and sending him home on the animal worth more than Moffis (75 gold). He thanks them for saving him and offers free butter and cream when next they visit.
The group comes back, with Elsa and Cassia sharing a horse, and the manticore’s body under cover. They are the last to return to find that Titus won the hunt by capturing his own quarry and a neighbor’s as well, each hobbled by an arrow to the thigh. He receives a jade bear for his victory. At first Titus is derisive and basks in the attention, but Kavian, acting as Tribune, melodramatically uncovers the body of the Iron Lash, with several in the group making biting remarks, as well as suggesting the beast killed the missing light horse.
Kavian takes Baroness Voinum aside to tell her that Moffis was her citizen whom they rescued after healing, and she is immediately grateful.
The party learns that Bartelby knew of the problem but has heard little of the beast lately. He took the easy path and assumed it moved on; in reality, peasants have been sacrificing their sheep to keep the cruel beast sated after begging the count to do something about it for months with no response from the Count. The Baroness makes known her disapproval of the Count.
The evening’s repast is a heartier fare suitable for mighty hunters. As before, all food is paraded before the guests before preparation. A small orchestra plays during dinner, performing a variety of popular symphonies from great Taldan composers like Richilo Sampolo, Gwenavive of Mut, (“Overrated,” mutters Mikhael) and Nalapp
After dinner, guests are dismissed for an hour to retire to their rooms so they can rest and change. The remainder of the jubilee is a masquerade, consisting of dancing, drinking, shows, and the count’s favorite party game: coppers from heaven. Much of the entertainment is simple fare, consisting of talented local musicians hired to play background music. Count Lotheed opens the evening’s festivities with a fireworks display, created himself with a combination of the prestidigitation and pyrotechnics spells. A production of the popular Taldor by Right follows the opening ceremonies, a dramatic retelling of Taldor’s founding by the legendary First Emperor Taldaris, performed entirely by halflings. After a few drinks, Dame Crabbe works up the nerve to contribute a surprisingly graceful Qadiran khaleegi dance popular in her youth.
Cassia steps forward to perform, and delivers a stunning impromptu fiddle recital, based on the Qadrian music already played. This delights the gathered nobles how reward her with a rousing applause.
The group spends the evening using their sharpening social skills like they are organized for combat. Throughout the events, the group comes and goes with different guests, focused on the Baroness and Tribune Piscum. With precision, they are able to get both to look favorably upon the new Tribunes, which will be necessary to help the beleaguered people of Stachys.
During the evening, Mikhael continues his wooing of Dame Carood, much to the dismay of Titus. He does have some missteps, but recovers with a discussion on elven magic, that intrigues the fellow half-elf.
Midway through the evening, Count Lotheed announces that the ballroom has been invaded, and all guests must rush to its defense—the classic opening to a popular dance called the Dance of the Phalanx. Equal parts strategy game and formal waltz, the dance is performed on a gridded floor, and partners are allowed to select the next dance steps from a predefined list related to the music played. Each pair of dancers cannot move into a square occupied by other dancers, and the object of the game is to force every other pair of dancers off the grid, leaving your “phalanx” in control of the “battlefield.”
Thinking quickly, Corwyn swoops in to dance with Cassia, blocking Titus, who then turns to the Archbanker Lady Paril. Count Lotheed dances with a comely young courtier and the rest of the room pairs up for the dance. The characters end up as follows, making it through each round before being forced off the floor:
|Major Character||Partner||Round Eliminated|
Mikhael and Carood did not seem much into the dance, and slipped out the door after the first round, not to be seen again over the evening. Detash, using his wits and ruthless nature was more than willing to dance his fellow party members off the floor. Titus and the Lady Paril were equally formidable, but no one could hold a candle to Corywn and Cassia. In the last round, only those three couples remained. In two deft moves, the master couple managed to force Detash and dame Crabbe from the floor, while tricking Titus to lead Lady Paril into a close off spot. The couple then drove them from the floor in the last moves of the dance, leaving them alone, to dance one song together. As the winners of the dance they are awarded a pair of magnificent silver-and-rosewood masks depicting smiling faces (each worth 1,250 gp).
Bowing to the applause, Corwyn notes that their prey, Moffis, was not caught and should be owned commutation of his sentence and 50 gold. Bartleby was fast to offer the commutation but said ”As he is not here, there is no way to give him the gold.”. The Baroness however demanded the payment ”As he is my responsibility, I will make sure he receives his just reward”.
As the party wound down, Corwyn suggested to Iona to go heal the wounded “prey”, who were still locked up under guard. Iona marched, imperiously up to the guards announcing ”I am going to heal them.” and proceeded to do just that. After a long day and night, the group was happy to turn in.
Breakfast the next morning—soft-boiled eggs, toast, and white wine—is delivered the guests’ rooms. The servants ask Elsa where her servant, the half-elf is, and Elsa notes that Mikhael is probably fine. Meanwhile in Dame Carood’s room, servants scramble to add a breakfast for Mikhael. Carood admits she cannot get away to visit Mikhael, but hopes he will come to see her. Mikhael says he will stay in touch, touching the silver raven, and slips out during breakfast to rejoin his group. Count Lotheed personally sees the new Tribunes off, inviting them to return any time. He again thanks Kavian for taking the bolt meant for him. Kavain nods, but uses the opportunity to make a comment on the manticore which had been killing his people.
The remainder of the guests say their goodbyes politely, entreating the PCs to visit their estates in the future for more personal chats. The exception is Dame Crabbe, who insists the group visit her for tea 1 week hence and won’t take no for an answer. Kavian personally says goodbye to Sepsenia, who unfortunately seems back into her disinterested state.
The group leaves in their two carriages, headed down the 22 miles to the Betony Estate.
|Cassia||Charm +1 with arranging secret Meeting|
|Tremerus||Used Spies to look in on Titus +1 Subterfuge|
|Iona||Perform Charitable Acts +1 Sacrifice|
|Detash||Ask Around success: Leed on operation - Pump House|
|Mikhael||Genius +1, Lecture on Magic|
|Elsa||Throwing a Welcome part for the locals +1 Charm|
|Kavian||Heroism +1, Saved Lotheed|
11/12/20 The party arrives at their new home. The Betony Estate stands atop a low hill overlooking the nearby hamlet of Stachys. A cobblestone road that switchbacks down the hill connects the estate to the settlement. Atop this low hill stands a fine, if faded, estate. Brambles and thick undergrowth crowd the gardens, while ivy creeps up the three-story marble facade. The building’s windows are shuttered, and its main doorway barred and gripped by a great iron padlock. A tower—clearly far older than the main house—rises from the structure.
Locals have gathered to meet the new Tribunes and listen to their reading of their papers giving them right to occupy the house. The locals are distant and clearly not impressed. They are quick to gleefully inform the party that s everyone in the area knows that the restless spirit of Lady Allis Betony still haunts her former home. The locals are happy to tell anyone who will listen about the ghost, and the haunting is a favorite topic of discussion in the tavern. As a child, young Allis was never entirely reliable. While she was sweet, she often spoke to people who weren’t there, and this pattern continued as she aged. She never married, and in her last decade she became a recluse, living alone in the house. Locals still hear noises and see lights in the windows some nights, and the few people who tried to loot the house have been battered and beaten by unseen hands
Deciding that ghosts are present, Kavian suggest a formal entrance and both he and Elsa enter and read off their papers again, announcing they are coming home because of the death of their long lost relative. Kavian is quick to note that the structure seems to be well kept. Its chambers are all generally empty. The characters note they will be using bedrolls for a while. Fine features such as frescoes and statues in remarkably good shape adorn each room. Even after a decade sitting empty, the manor’s roof doesn’t leak, the interior paint hasn’t peeled, and even the remaining furniture is fairly dust-free thanks to being draped in canvas. A single table of roses continues to prosper in the conservatory. Kavian concludes that the house is clearly being maintained, though it is unclear by whom. Corywn is quick to point out the house does appear to have two or more mangy cats in residence.
The group breaks up to search the house and inspect it. Everyone is quick to notice rooms changing behind them. They never see things moving but do hear chairs and things moving. It is clear something is seeking to spook them. Elsa and Kavian stay in the main hall discussing what to do with these spirits, while the rest of the group goes top to bottom. As the sun is setting, Mikahel discovers a secret door under the tower in the basement. Cassia and Corwyn come down to investigate. Corwyn does not see any traps, but Cassia smiles and points out a magical charm trap to Crowyn, who sheepishly disarms it.
Elsa, with her history of growing up outside civilization comes to the realization that these acts seem like house fey. She suggests gifts or snacks. Kavian speaks to the fey out loud offering gifts, and finds all three cats in a perfect triangle around him, looking skeptical. Both Tribunes make a plea and the cats transform into three domovoi—Blunk, Nodd, and Wink who have dwelled in the building since the original watchtower was constructed over a thousand years ago. Allis befriended the notably reclusive, cantankerous creatures while just a child, and they remained her lifelong friends, insulating her from the worst influences of Taldan high society. After Allis passed and no one inherited the house, they felt it their duty to protect their departed friend’s home and even maintain it (as best they can with no raw materials). They dwell in the secret room under the tower, accessible by a hidden door in the cellar.
The three are happy to have a new family to work with, especially if left regular offerings like cream, porridge, or sweet rolls. They don’t gossip or interact with strangers at all, but they can help the PCs get the manor back in shape in a month, requiring only 500 gp worth of supplies. Without the domovoi, restoring the estate to its former glory requires 3 months and costs 1,000 gp.
The domovi also present their new friends with two items they report were ”Stolen from those horrible Lotheeds”. These are an fine crafted jeweled masquerade Mask and the magical garb Scipio's Coat. These are long lost Relics of Taldor.
The group then spends the night in bedrolls and engages the town the next day. Talking to the town they hear the following rumors:
“Apparently Baronet Vort’s gone native with a band of peasants southeast of Baron Telus’s land; even destroyed the Gold Canyon bridge to keep outsiders away. I hear a witch got into his brain and stirred things up a bit. Positively scandalous!”
“The Night Swan struck a trade convoy from Cassomir! They say he robs from the rich and gives to the poor, but that sounds more like Galtan propaganda than reality. Can you imagine anyone giving away money?”
“Dame Crabbe’s girl hasn’t been the same since her beloved Opilio passed last year. Poor girl just won’t let herself move on, and her overbearing mother isn’t helping.” “Baron Telus has stopped tending to his duties and lets his townsfolk loot as they please; it’s disgraceful! Count Lotheed should’ve stepped in to put a stop to this years ago, but I guess he doesn’t care so long as Telus’s little bandit army leaves his lands alone.”
“The riffraff out in the Beggarwood are getting pretty aggressive in accosting travelers. Last spring they carried off everything but the wheels in a visiting viscount’s caravan! Hopefully now that someone has claimed the Betony lands, they’ll do something about these parasites before we lose all our visitors.”
“You kids today are too young to remember, but the Night Swan is clearly the spirit of Lauchlein Lake! Count Lotheed stopped sacrificing virgins to appease it like his father did, and now it’s hunting in the county again.”
On Thursday, a messenger arrives to formally invite them to Tea with Dame Crabbe. Kavian, Detash, Cassia, and Iona accept. The rest of the group decides to go in disguise to the Beggarwood and check out what is going on there.
The night before leaving for the Crabbe Estate, Onora tells them to enjoy the Crabbe estate’s hedge maze, which a fun experience.
The group leaves before dawn and spends the morning in the village of Moost talking with the locals. The village of Moost grew up around the Crabbe estate, largely to serve the family’s needs and tend their extensive cranberry bogs, but it has matured considerably into a thriving little community only partially dependent on the noble family for support. Like Dame Crabbe, the town lives for gossip. The citizens’ favorite topic is the young Lady Crabbe, Sepsimia, and her potential romantic futures. With so much of the town’s fortune’s tied to the nobles, they are keen to see her marry soon and continue the line and avoid the atrophic fate Stachys suffered. Dame Crabbe is elated to host the players for tea and goes out of her way to make them feel at home, in particular sharing the various desserts, tinctures, and wines the family’s cranberry bogs produce. She shares local news and developments regarding her family in Cassomir and Yanmass and offers a variety of parlor games. Parthena goes above and beyond to welcome her visitors—especially interested in talking with Detash about helping restore Sepsimia from her gloom.
While she refused to discuss the matter at the Tanager Jubilee, Dame Crabbe is very worried about her withdrawn daughter. She reltates that Sepsimia’s suitor, Opilio, took his own life last year, and while the girl seemed to handle the shock well enough at first, the joy and passion eventually drained from the younger Crabbe and has yet to return. Instead, Sepsimia simply wanders the house, staring out windows and occasionally reading random books for hours on end. Once a promising painter, she no longer takes any interest in art or beauty, and if asked about any topic, she simply sighs and asks to be left alone.
While Sepsimia is polite enough to join her mother in entertaining guests, she remains withdrawn. However, when the discussion covers her late fiancé she shows some interest. During a tour of the house, the group mentions the hedge maze, which Dame Crabbe notes has fallen into a poor state after Opilio took his life there. When Sepsimia seems to respond, the Kavian presses her on the maze, which she seems both fascinated by and frightened of. From the description of the condition of the maze, and Sepsimia’s behavior, the necromancer in the party begins to suspect the bite of a lovelorn.
That evening, the group gathers in the dining room to discuss their concerns. They agree they need to check out the hedge maze but Kavian notes that going into an area with a possible undead is a task best left for morning. Cassia proposes they take shifts to watch Sepsimia, and the group agrees. Kavian takes first shift.
As Iona emerges from her room to relieve Kavian, they see Sepsimia leave her room. Iona sprints past Kavian following Sepsimia leaving Kavian to get Cassia and Detash. They head downstairs and hear Iona yell, ”She went into the maze!” as Iona dove in after her. Getting to the entrance of the Maze, Detash notes that the maze is clearly enchanted and sends his familiar aloft of help them navigate. The three enter to find Iona, already disoriented. Cassia performs to make the team more alert and they advance through the maze cautiously, its hedge walls enshrouded in mist and seeming to shift. The hedge maze behind the Crabbe estate was once a local wonder, but it has been left neglected for a year now—the gardeners never seem to have time for it. The center contains a picturesque gazebo, overgrown with roses, from when Dame Crabbe used to love entertaining. Today, however, the maze is riddled with brambles, weeds, and a cold mist that never seems to lift and anyone entering the maze must face animated vines and shifting illusions if they hope to reach the center.
Kavian takes the led at first, using his skill at survival to chart a path. Then, as a hedge moves to block them, he slipped past to find the real opening. Iona led the group past an illusion she was able to see through, and with her eye for detail, Cassia was able to note Sepsimia’s foot prints to cover another path. Finally, Detash used his spellcraft to read the threads of magic and find the final way into the center of the maze. Sepsimia has navigated it easily to find the picnic of rotting food and dead bodies. The group sees a ghastly parody of a romantic picnic, as the scuttling remnant of Opilio offers Sepsimia cold tea and moldering biscuits, surrounded by three of bodies of gardeners who tried to clean out the lovelorn’s gloomy lair.
Opilio sees the party emerge and suddenly casts animate dead and the three corpses tear open as skeletons arise from them. Iona spends a hero point to move before Kavian, and immediately moves forward to surge out holy energy, killing to of the skeletons and hurting the lovelorn. Kavian closes with the undead to attack. Detash attempts to command the remaining skeleton but is unable. Cassia closes to heal anyone needed. Kavian and Iona attack the creature, as Iona spends hero points to take extra actions to attack or heal. The undead focuses on the holy cleric, biting her, but Iona resists the non-damage parts of the bite. Detash uses his magic missiles and the group defeats the creature.
Among the treasure found, is a love potion, which Detash notes can cure Sepsimia. The group agrees that Kavian should give it to her, and once she drinks it, the color returns to her face and she comes too. After a brief explanation, they return to the Crabbe estate’s parlor and discuss what happened with Dame Crabbe and Sepsimia.
The young lady relates that While Opilio—a talented, confident student at the Moost conservatory—loved her deeply, she couldn’t stand the arrogant, spoiled young man. His love turned to loathing at the rejection, even as their parents kept pushing them together, and after several weeks, he attacked Sepsimia in the garden. Certain his reputation and future would be tarnished when Sepsimia reported the attack, Opilio took his own life, and the younger Crabbe never quite figured out how to reveal the boy’s crimes to his mourning parents. But, Opilio’s secrets weren’t the only thing to haunt Sepsimia. Detash surmises the young man’s seething, quiet hatred at his rejection tied his spirit to the living world, and his heart eventually animated into the lovelorn. Opilio returned to the garden where he attacked Sepsimia and slowly transformed the Crabbes’ hedge maze into a gloomy labyrinth to hide within. He then would call Sepsimia to him every night, drawing her into the garden and using his cursed bite to drain her passion for life, hoping to destroy her future just as he destroyed his own, and perhaps drive her to suicide as well, binding them together forever as hateful, undead abomination
Dame Crabbe is appalled to learn the whole story of what transpired right under her nose and is infinitely grateful to the party for saving her daughter. She very specifically stops offering her daughter’s hand in marriage in light of recent events.
The next morning, Sepsimia is a different person. She is engaged at breakfast and animated in her conversations. It is clear she remembers her time under the influence (other than the trips to the maze), and now shows some response to the interest Kavian has shown in her. She asks if the young Tribune if he will visit again. Kavian, in typical fashion, is somewhat tongue tied but manages to agree.
Upon leaving, Dame Crabbe offers to dispatch a small team of her gardeners, servants, and woodworkers to Stachys next week to help the group fix up their town, providing 5,000 gp worth of town improvements.
Corywn approaches Mikhael about monkey fur now growing around his waist. Mikhael is able to identify the belt Corwyn has been wearing is defective, and that its magic has started some sort of transformation. Corwyn plans to link up with Iona to see if she can help him with her divine magic.
The four head to Beggerwood on Thursday the 4th of Rova. Officially known as “Bugbear Wood” for the creatures that used to infest it, most locals refer to this old oak forest as “Beggarwood”, as it offers reasonable shelter and food for the poor, as well as easy access to the nearby Oppara highway so the desperate can ply trade goods to whoever passes by. Local nobility consider the forest and its occupants a blight, but not a big enough embarrassment to waste the resources trying to wipe it out (especially since the inhabitants are adept at hiding and have few permanent possessions or homes to destroy). Sir Gul Gusairne sends a few soldiers out to accost the roadside market the beggars establish from time to time, taking whatever goods or coin they like, but anything more thorough would require committed support from Barons Telus and Okerra, and neither cares to aid.
This community effectively operates as a village marketplace. They sell most common goods—but not luxury goods—at a 10% increase over market value, but lower their prices to 10% below market value if people can pay in common clothing, food, tools, and other daily necessities. Most of their supplies come from scavenged goods, trading directions and repairs to travelers, and retrieving cargo abandoned due to bad weather, breakdowns, or low profit margins. They rarely resort to open banditry, knowing that it draws the attention of the normally neutral Baron Okerra.
The group goes in disguise, with Elsa as ”Esme”and Corwyn as Lars. Corwyn uses the Hat of disguise to help Temerus conceal himself and rolls a natural 20 to disguise Mikhael. The four travel to Beggarwood to investigate, choosing to meet them at a roadside market set up, the beggars do on most days. After asking about, it becomes clear that the Beggarwood has about 25 permanent residents living in caves, tents, and tree houses mostly gathered around Bear Pond at its north end, with another 25 transients present at any given time. They move carts by hand to the main highway to set up their humble market. Most of these residents are commoners and experts who flee at the first sign of trouble.
The community’s leaders are the Four Hoods, exiles from Andoran who have banded together to live simply in the Taldan wilderness. Gurta Thresh was an apothecary in Triela whose secretive faith in Norgorber eventually came to light amid accusations of murder. She fled with her adopted sister, the troublemaking rouge, Ginnit, and as they crossed the border, they made fast friends with the sibling archers Malifort and Nani Truebow, border guards who had grown weary of their assignment. None of the Four intended to become leaders, but neither are they willing to let hungry refugees die on the road. When the characters encountered this group on the way into the county, they did not see interact with any of these four as they are standoffish and suspicious of well-dressed strangers, especially Gurta, watching traders from a distance rather than approaching. The Four Hoods are firmly anti-authoritarian and see not just Count Lotheed as an enemy, but any nobles at all.
The group trades good with the beggars for basic materials to refurbish their town, gaining 100 gold pieces of supplies and making some friends with the locals. They move north, and explore ambushing Sir Gul, who has not been by in some time. Tremerus notes his contacts may have some information, and using Mikhael’s raven, they send for it. The group finds a good place for an ambush and hopes to get Sir Gul. The raven returns with information that the next raid may be next week. They decide to move on to town of Pensaris.
The productive little village of Pensaris gets by mostly from processing goats, fishing the adjoining Lake Pensaris, and manufacturing salt from a mineral spring 3 miles southwest, ultimately providing salted fish and meat to the rest of the county and beyond for winter. Their relative wealth has allowed the community to develop a number of specialty artisans as well, especially shipwrights and woodcarvers to support the anglers. It is also the closest neighbor to Stachys and the Bentony estate, making Baron Okerra the easiest neighbor to visit and influence. Baron Nicolaus Okerra’s estate is a small but cozy citadel overlooking the village.
There, the group of four meets with locals and discuss local rumors and activity in the area. At 12 miles long and almost 2 miles wide, Lake Pensaris is the largest lake in the county; it’s also unusually deep for the area—almost 200 feet at the center. Bass, perch, and trout are all abundant, as well as catfish that have migrated to the lake. Steep stone walls make most of the lake’s eastern shore inaccessible. Like any lake of reasonable size, Lake Pensaris is home to countless “fish stories,” though the most frequent are tall tales of the General, a sizable catfish that locals claim has eluded them for a century; the occasional disappearance of local anglers is usually attributed to the General “conscripting” men. One popular myth even claims it scuttled a visiting duchess’s pleasure barge one summer 50 years back (alternative tales claim the fish was a drunkard, ambling up to steal the wine or was mesmerized by the young duchess’s beauty). Anyone who could actually bring this beast to shore would become a local legend.
Fishing the lake requires Baron Okerra’s permission, which Tremerus, as himself, heads up to get. Baron Okerra is generous with his permission to anyone not looking for industrial-scale fishing. He is less willing to give permission to trap or hunt the lake’s otters, which he has a secret fondness for. Tremerus engages in a Handle Animal check to begin tracking the creature down
Tracking the General requires a total of five successes using any combination of the following skills, though any given skill can be attempted only once each week: Handle Animal (DC 22), Knowledge (local; DC 17), Knowledge (nature; DC 15), Perception (DC 25), Profession (fisherman; DC 13), Survival (DC 20), or Swim (DC 20).
While Tremerus is seeking permission and looking for the General, the rest of the group continues to gather information.
A local myth claims a long-dead duke drowned his young wife in Lauchlein Lake after marrying her at the circle of stones. The maiden’s angry spirit returned a year later as a swan who could walk as a woman under the moonlight to take revenge on her husband. The duke kept her sated and bound by pouring 6 vials of holy water into the lake on the anniversary of her death each summer—a tradition that continued until Count Bartelby Lotheed took control of the county—and now the restless drowned maiden of Lauchlein has begun exacting her vengeance as the fearsome Night Swan. The group dismisses this as the explanation but decides to explore the lake to the north the next day. They take lodging in Pensaris for the night.
The next day, they head north to explore Lake Lauchlein. The Lake is shallow and choked with frogs and water plants, making it an ideal home to all sorts of aquatic birds. Of note, a mysterious stone circle stands by the water’s edge. Over the years, locals have alternately romanticized and feared the circle, using it for proposals and weddings as well as terrible rites. Nowadays, the lake is generally known to be haunted by an unquiet spirit many locals think is the Night Swan. The group notices that parts of the lake seem polluted. Tremerus is able to see the effects are coming from the north. A survival roll with a natural 20 lets him immediately track the effect to the “hook” at the north of the lake. They arrive in the afternoon to see an extra-large Ochre Jelly. It has been gorging itself on birds and fish while turning that portion of the once-resplendent waterway into a polluted mess. If not destroyed soon, it is likely to render the rest of the lake similarly barren in a year.
They move to attack the creature, quickly finding it is immune to anything but blunt damage. Corwyn moves in with dual hammers to engage, while Tremerus uses Haste. Elsa opts for magical cold to damage the beast, while the group’s summoner calls up a water elemental to attack the monster jelly in the water. The jelly continues to grab at Corwyn and finally grabs him with acid tentacles. Tremerus heals Corwyn while the elemental and Elsa kill the monster.
As the party rests and recovers, wondering how to preserve part of the acid covered corpse, they are approached by a swan maiden fey. ”I am Atratus. This lakeshore was once home to the Seelie Court Niada, long ago when the border of the Verduran Forest stood a hundred miles south of where it does now, before the coming of Taldor. I remained to keep this lake wild. I find the highway an affront, but I had an understanding with the Counts. Each year, on Midsummer’s Night, the Count would leave gifts for me, to help feed the wild lake. There are precious birds here I care for.”
“You killed the beast fouling the waterways, something I was unable to do. Count Lotheed not only refused to pay tribute, but summoned that foul thing into my lake. For resorting my lake, I can give you these gifts.”
Atratus, she rewards the heroes with a treasure she seized from poachers several years ago: a curious assortment of gears, mechanisms, oils, and tools. These supplies can be sold in Lotheedar for 1,000 gp or used for various town improvements, in which case they are worth 3,000 gp.
“I also found this old sword, perhaps part of an older group. I have no use for it, but I give it to you in thanks.”
The group then decides to return to Bentony and plan their ambush of Sir Gul.
|Iona||Used Community Organization to add 230 Gold|
|Mikhael||Tried to set up an assignation with Dame Carrod, but was not successful|
|Detash||Rolled a 20 looking for the Next Lead|
|Cassia||Failed at an attempt to infiltrate Birdsong}|
The original Stachys spur of the canal was constructed 1,200 years ago and outfitted with a groundwater pump to help transform the local marshes into useful farmland. The design helped maintain local fortunes for over a millennium. The original magically driven engine broke over a century ago, and the locals replaced it with a simpler mechanism pulled by oxen. Eventually the pump itself broke down, and by that time, the county lacked anyone with the know-how to repair it. Over the last 20 years, the marsh has returned, driving locals off their land and reclaiming a cemetery that had once occupied a nearby knoll. The people of Stachys know some monster claims their old pump house and prevents them from attempting even rudimentary repairs, but thanks to the ghouls’ reclusive nature, no one is exactly sure what
Marshland and shallow, stagnant ponds surround the pump house for 2 miles in every direction, ringed with festering carcasses of livestock that wandered off only to become stuck and drown. Locals have a few flat-bottomed, 10-foot-by-15-foot barges they use to travel or fish, but are unwilling to loan them to party as they are still suspicious of the newcomers. The party then goes by foot, reaching the pump house from Stachys by foot takes 7 hours, and the land is unsuitable for horses and other mounts. Along the way, Detash pauses to bring a dead cow back to life as a pack skeleton, much to the disgust of some of the party. He offers to have anyone use it as a pack animal as Detash is doing, but none take him up on it.
A sturdy stone building straddles the berm separating an algae-cloaked marsh from the stagnant canal waters. A long sluice looks as though it might have once accommodated a mill, while a stone walkway wraps around the southern portion of the building. Moss almost completely obscures the slate roof. The marsh waters surrounding the pump house’s southern half are only about 4 feet deep, with a strip of wetland (indicated on the map). The canal waters north of the berm are 10 feet deep. The pump house doors rotted away years ago
As the group moves up to the pumphouse, Iona in the lead, a otyugh erupts from the marsh and attacks her. Detash is the only on to see it coming, and as he yells a warning he orders his skeleton to attack. The party spreads out and quickly attacks the monster. Mikhael summons an Earth Elemental to help kill the monster. Despite it spew of filth, the characters are able to defeat it. Detash conducts an autopsy on the dead monster and finds two magic items in its stomach, eyes of deathwatch, and a hand of glory, both of which Detash is happy to take. Mikhael has the elemental explore the pump house, but it does not set off the tortured soul within.
Inside is the well room. This large room once contained supplies and machinery for repairing the pump and cleaning the well, but these have long since rotted into mulch. he pump mechanism has clearly been modified to accommodate a rope that once passed through a small slot carved into the wall; Mikhael is able to use his engineering expertise recognizes that the pump was modified to accommodate an animal-drawn power source
The small office to the north was once used by the local canal maintenance official, whose responsibilities included logging the passage of ships, performing minor maintenance, and requesting larger-scale repairs. It now serves as the den for the Queen Without a Face, and she has lined most of it with rotting vegetation and the waterlogged remnants of her coffin. Holy symbols of the long-dead goddess Arazni are painted on the walls. Cursed with ghoul fever in the Shining Crusades and succumbing to the disease before returning home, Marjorine Sandaris arose as a ravenous undead at her funeral and attempted to devour her family before a cousin and cleric of Aroden laid her to rest with a burst of divine light that burned the face from the dead woman’s skull. The cursed strain of ghoul fever that afflicted Lady Sandaris would not let her rest for long, however, and she rose again under the next new moon. Eventually her family bound her coffin with wards and blessings from several good-aligned gods to keep the war hero in a blessed oblivion. This peace lasted for a thousand years until flooding washed and rotted away those protections, and Marjorine, now calling herself the Queen Without a Face, rose again to prowl the moors.
Enough of her former faith remains that Marjorine chooses to live in exile rather than hunt the good people of Stachys, but she cannot control her ravenous hunger when flesh presents itself to her. She longs for true death, but so far the touch of the Whispering Tyrant has proven far stronger than the comforting pull of the River of Souls.
When Iona enters into the office, The Queen attacks her, catching her flatfooted but does not connect. The fight is on, and the others come to Iona’s defense. Mikhael summons a new elemental into the old office the Queen has been using as her lair. During the fight, both Iona and Cassia become infected with ghoul fever, and Cassia is paralyzed. The sounds of the fight cause 6 more ghouls to erupt from the water, but Detash takes out four with a blaze of burning hands, while the other two are easily dispatched. Detash notes that the poor Queen will rise again with the next moon unless cremated and laid to rest. Mikhael summons a fire elemental to burn the body. They take the ashes and the holy symbol to bury here in Stacheys. The well itself has fouled water, but magic at the bottom. Again, Mikhael summons a servant, this time an elemental of water, to explore bottom of the well. When Marjorine Sandaris first roused from her warded crypt, she carried her blessed spear, Godspike a +1 holy spear, with her for months even though its touch charred her flesh. In a fit of misery and pain, she finally cast the spear into the well here, where it remains to this day, 60 feet below the water’s surface and half-buried in muck. The Elemental also finds The Obsidian Aloof, an ancient relic of Taldor, from the days before Taldor, which Mikhael excitedly explains. It works best for balanced individuals, and Detash takes it for his own.
Amid the muck, the party also finds the gathered treasure of the otyugh: 17 pp, 33 gp, an engraved silver compact (worth 250 gp), a platinum-and-diamond necklace (worth 850 gp), a trident +1, a +1 arrow-catching buckler, a ring of jumping, two oils of obscure object, and a wand of protection from evil (10 charges).
As the party leaves the marsh, Detash decides to tarry, and the next day, raises four more skeletons, bringing his total cows to three and adding two skeletal horses.
|Tremerus||Secure Secrets on the County Nobles for +1 to Subterfuge|
|Kavian||Kavain hosts and engages in acrobatics competion +1 Heroism|
|Elsa||As Esme', she organizes a rally of the people in Beggarwood about a new regime. +1 Sacrafice|
|Corwyn||Working to build information network Charm +1|
Kavian takes Monday to conduct his acrobatics competition with several locals and even some nobility. Lady Lucretzia Marthane, Parthena and Sepsimia Crabbe all take an interest in the proceedings. Kavian is able to easily win the competition.
Corywn takes Iona aside to attempt to remove curse on the fur now growing on his body from his broken belt. She is unable to take apart the spell.
The group then heads out in one direction, only to stop and change into their alternate identities:
Their goal is to ambush Sir Gul Gusairne, the enforce of Lotheed. They pause at the Beggarwood market, and “Esme’” organizes a rally, encouraging the gather lost souls that there might be a better way to live, not just on the fringes if the land was available.
The group then moves north. Tremerus is more than able to fine a great spot for an ambush. Kavian, devises a murder trap for the coming party and directs Corwyn on how to build it. Corwyn rolls really well and the trees are readied to fall. Two days go by, but on Friday, Tremerus’s owl sees the approaching party and alerts the team to hide. As Sir Gul and his group ride into the trap, it is sprung, and the fight it on. In back, one man is struck by the tree and with insane horsemanship (nat 20) manages to get free. One man is left outside. Immediately, Elsa stuns most of the men and horses, while Tremerus dazzles them. Corwyn and Kavian move in. Elsa stuns again, keeping the man in back from acting, and taking out the one struck by the tree. Finally, as the blows fall from the party, the rest of the forces of Lotheed come too and fight back. Corwyn and Tremerus take the brunt of the attacks, with several ganging up on Tremerus. He fights defensively and using the power of his relic adsorbs the attention of the soldiers. Kavian deftly disarms Sir Gul of his weapon, and Corwyn saps him into unconsciousness. It is only moments and everyone in the trap is down or going down. Corwyn calls for their surrender, but the suddenly menacing Kavian makes a strong intimidate and gets those standing to give up. Kavian and Tremerus take off after the man in back who fled and catch him.
Now, the vigilantes strip the forces of their weapons and one boot each and tell them to walk home. The Humiliated Sir Gul promises this is not over.
The party shoos the horses away, so they will return to their stables, and they head back to Betony.
Of the 6 Soldiers each Has:
Masterwork halberd, Masterwork heavy crossbow, oil of magic weapon (2), potion of barkskin, potions of cure moderate wounds (2), antiplague, oil (3), Masterwork chain shirt, backpack, bullseye lantern, flint and steel, set of manacles, signal whistle, trail rations (10)
wand of cure light wounds (34 charges), antitoxins (2), +1 breastplate, +1 light crossbow with 25 bolts, Masterwork light mace, cloak of resistance +1, golden holy symbol of AbadarUE, Set of Masterwork manacles, seneschal’s badge, signet ring, 193 gp, trail rations (10)
|Persona Phase Actions|
|Tremerus||Helped with animal control at lake Lachien Sagacity +1|
|Kavian||Attempts to work as a blacksmith in Beggarwood to increase sacrifice, but failed|
|Elsa||Working to get ruling favaorable for Stachys from Count Lotheed using her connection to her adopted Father Sagacity +1|
|Corwyn||Throwing a small party during the upcoming festival and invites the Archbanker Charm +1|
|Iona||Gives a Sermon with wide area invite to increase Sagacity +1|
|Mikhael||Spends time working on the Pump and getting it running. Cassia helps|
|Detash||Secret Meeting with Didia Subterfuge +2|
|Cassia||Locate Sympathisers who want to help clear the area for settlers but fails|
The group finds wanted posters put up, which are in response to their attack. When Kavian goes to Beggarwood to assist them in blacksmithing, he finds the Four Hoods are quite upset and worried what will happen now. Rumors are that the Barron Okerra will now join Lotheed in taking a hand. Mikhael reports a letter from Dame Carrod which explains that Titus is being forced into action to Sir Gul in looking for the bandits. This is far beyond anything the Night Swan has done. Finally, Tremeus says he received a letter that on Thursday, Pollus Remus Salinus Majordomo for Senator Talbot, Earl of Whitetcliffe, will be delivering 3000 supplies worth 300 gold and suggests they meet him at the border.
Onora Piscum brings a criminals, Lucinia Mag to the Tribunes’ attention. She hold her in her “jail” which is in the back room of her pub. The Tribunes hold a trial for Lucinia on Monday
Prosecution Local drunk and troublemaker Lucinia Mag has been causing problems for years. Most recently she started a brawl in Piscum’s pub, punched the sheriff, and ran off with the night’s take—22 sp—and a bottle of oldlaw whiskey worth 20 gp. Sheriff Piscum found her passed out drunk in Jo Sini’s barn the next morning.
Defense Lucinia has little to say in her own defense, aside from her opinion on the PCs parentage.
Investigation The Tribunes call locals to testify, which reveals a long history of harassment, minor violence, and petty theft from Mag extending back to her childhood. She’s been run out of town twice in the last 10 years.
The group decides to spend a gold a week to hire a deputy for three weeks to guard Mag and watch her for government service, not allowing her any alcohol. Iona makes sure she does not pass the first day with her healing magic.
The party also reviews the use of money for the town. Thanks to Mikhael’s work, the costs of fully fixing the pump is reduced. Corwyn takes the lead. He notes the work on the estate is about complete. The group decides to build on Mikhael’s work and complete the Pumphouse fully including a magic pump again. They direct work to the Mill and repaving the village square to restore an outdoor market. Finally, they help the locals repair their farms. To celebrate the town coming back to like, they commission a statue in the new village square to commemorate the local history of Stacheys
Following on Detash’s lead from last week, the group takes the two-day journey to Jambis to call on Baron Tellus and discover what is going on in Jambis. Once a prosperous trading town, Jambis has been all but abandoned since Baron Telus’s curse claimed their leader and destroyed their economy. Some of the population traveled north to Moost or Voinum, while others resettled to the south to form New Towne. What remains now are leaning wooden buildings and bleached bones—some animal, some not—gathered in corners like autumn leaves.
Once a border fort, the Telus estate is a historical artifact unto itself, having stood almost as long as Taldor itself. Endless renovations have left the stonework underneath untouched, but over time the walls were covered in expensive paneling, gilding, and silk, rendering it an opulent home ideal for extravagant parties… at least, until Baron Araig Telus’s retreat into his isolation.
It takes two days to get to Jambis, and once through the ruined town, they will arrive at the Tellus estate in the evening. They dismount when they approach the town and slowing make their way through the main road, amid burned out buildings. Kavian moves forward and suddenly, a giant trapdoor spider emerges from its hole and spears Kavian with its fangs, dragging it down into its hole. The rest of the party stares, stunned. Shaking themselves into motion, they rush the lid. Tremerus yells to the team what is going on, and tries to open the lid, but he cannot. Mikhael summons an Earth elemental to go dig out Kavian, who has manages to wrest himself from the fangs, but is trapped in the hole. He is startled when the elemental grabs him and drags him away. He breaks free and finds he is trapped in dirt. Relaxing a moment, Kavian realizes what is going on (wisdom roll), and he lets Mikhael’s servant get him free. The elemental collapses the tunnel around the spider, keeping it busy. Mikhael then uses it reaming time to find and mark other locations of spiders. There are five more for six total. The group vows to clear the spiders and spends a half hour to clear. First they try to trigger and attack, but the spider returned before dying. They switch to using fire elementals to burn away the webbing of the tops and then attacking the exposed spider.
With all the spiders dead, and the party fully healed, they press forward, very cautiously. Cassia notices a large net of webbing covering the ground as they turn up towards the Telus estate. They light the webbing on fire, which attracts the attention of at least four giant black widow spiders. The party prepares for another arachnid fight!
12/17/20 The fight opens with Mikhael’s earth elemental attacking. Tremerus and Kavian rush forward to engaged the two spiders moving down. A third large spider and a swarm emerge as well, threatening them. Corwyn also moves up, but when the spiders lash out, he is poisoned, forcing him to stagger back.
With a grease spell, Mikhael cuts the spider swarm in half, but does not manage to inhibt the third spider. Tremerus and Kavin continued the fight with the two spiders, while the third goes after Iona. She summons a spiritual weapon to aid in her fight, but it misses repeatedly. With his earth elemental destroyed in an early attack, the evolved Lysanthir appears to support the cleric. Detash and Elsa throw spells, weaking the two spiders. Heavily hurt, Tremerus goes full defensive, while giving his relic’s bonus to Kavian. Kavian continues to attack.
Corywn is meanwhile recovering using an antivenom, and Cassia moves to heal. Lysanthir and Iona continued to attack their foe. Suddenly, another spider emerges from the nearby building and attacks Detash, poisoning him and almost killing him. Elsa and Detash move away from the spider, and Elsa casts another attack. Then another spider erupts below them, trapping the two casters between them.
A renewed Corwyn charges to the first two spiders assisting in their deaths. Cassia moves up to be ready to help heal Tremerus. Meanwhile, Iona and Lysanthir have ended their foe, and they rush to help protect the other casters. Detash goes full defensive, while Elsa uses her spear to attack the spider further from her. Their foes now down to two, the part converges to quickly take out the remaining beasts.
Resting to recover, Iona restores the con damage to Corwyn. With the aid of antitoxin from the rouge, Detash is able to shake off the remaining effects of the poison, but still remains somewhat weakened.
The group moves north up the hill, to find the Telus estate. They find a fortress of sturdy stone, crumbling white plaster, and ragged banners overlooks the valley and town below. The once-sturdy wooden doors now lie on the overgrown lawn, half-rotted, while a tree has collapsed into the eastern bastion, partially caving in the wall. Once a border fort, the Telus estate is a historical artifact unto itself, having stood almost as long as Taldor itself. Endless renovations have left the stonework underneath untouched, but over time the walls were covered in expensive paneling, gilding, and silk, rendering it an opulent home ideal for extravagant parties.
The party fears what they will find next, but vow to press on as the sun sets.
The Party scoped out the ruined estate. Kavian and Corwyn move forward towards the main entrance, both missing the pit trap at the front. It triggers, dropping Kavian 60’, while Corwyn jumps out of the way. The group lowers ropes to Kavian who climbs out and take several hits from a cure wand. The group decides that going in through the shattered wall may make some sense. They enter the kitchen and notice a rank smell or rotting flesh. When they open a door, they are swarmed by centipedes, attacking Kavian and Corwyn. After the party engages in frantic smashing, the swarm is dispersed.
Moving west, they open the door into a vast hall, with a clear web nest in the front, and webs on the ceiling. A voice calls to them from around the room, taunting them and asking who is here to face the Spider King. When enough of the party is in the room, a fireball races from the concealment of the web at the ceiling and catches half the party. Kavian is unable to avoid any damage and is almost killed outright. Corwyn, managing to dive away, moves towards the nest.
A fight ensues, with the Baron of Telus firing off his magic, including a spectral hand threatening a touch of idiocy to Detash! Finally, the web nest is lighted aflame and the Baron drops to the floor. Baron Araig Telus has spent almost a decade sealed within this room, escaping on occasion only to be tracked down by his former servants and sealed away once more. Once a decent—if out of touch—man, he now hungers constantly for flesh and finds human thoughts harder and harder to form. While he once felt guilt for the lives he took and the people he devoured, he now feels only hunger and a need to hunt and outwit his prey.
Already a powerful sorcerer, Araig has effectively been transformed into an ettercap by a hag ritual that functions as a major curse spell, requiring a break enchantment spell to overcome, something outside the party’s power, and not something they are inclined to help with in any respect.
Once down, Araig Telus is quickly dispatched by the group, though not after biting Corwyn, who fortunately still has antivenom in his blood. Resting and healing, the party searches the rest of the building to find Frater Mosel and four other former household staff who were now bandits. They explain what happened:
Three old women knocked on the estate’s grand doors one stormy night a decade ago and asked for shelter from the driving rain. Araig ordered them to find an inn before slamming the door, unaware that the trio was the Sisters of Indulgent Dreams—a coven of night hags in service to Duke Lotheed and the Immaculate Circle— on their way to the Palace of Birdsong. The coven burst through the doors and declared that Baron Telus should have a form to match his verminous, lowly soul before disappearing back into the night. Araig thought little of the incident, unaware that the old women were anything but what they appeared, but over the coming weeks he grew increasingly disturbed: hiding in corners, chewing at insects, and becoming obsessed with weaving. Those servants who could left, and those who could not did everything they could to appease their increasingly eccentric master. After a year, Araig’s skin began to slough off, revealing, bruised, stubbly flesh and claws beneath, beginning his transformation from handsome human baron into a prince of spiders
With the largely modular, independent nature of local rules and the death of Allis Betony—Araig’s only attending lord—no one in the county beyond his servants realize what Baron Telus has become. Even the citizens of Jambis know only that their lord became some sort of monster after crossing a witch—and having heard the tale second- or thirdhand, most of them believe it to be but an allegory describing a man losing his sanity. The remainder of Baron Telus’s servants have become bandits, robbing traffic on the nearby Cassomir and Ridonport highways to find enough gold and flesh to sate their lord’s dual hungers. Despite his transformation—or perhaps more so because of it—they remain loyal to the monstrous baron. They see themselves as the keepers of a terrible secret and throw captives to Araig with a mingled sense of dread and obligation.
The party takes them all into custody, searching them and their rooms. They will be taken before the Count.
8,052 cp, 1,514 sp, 17 pp 886 gp and a figurine of wondrous power (serpentine owl), a suit of +1 full plate, a scroll of restoration, a (slightly chewed) wand of color spray (42 charges), wand of spectral hand (25 charges) two amethysts (worth 50 gp each), a glass eye carved from moonstone (worth 65 gp), and a set of cold cutlery bearing stylized griffon talons (worth 500 gp as a set). minor crown of blasting a cloak of resistance +1, Telus signet ring
The group takes their four prisoners back to Stachys to be locked up pending being turned over to Count Lotheed. Sheriff Onora Piscum meets them and apologetically says that Duchess Veleto Lotheed showed up after they left and has taken over organizing the Festival in heir absence. She has done a good job and has also invited nobles to attend. Baron Nicolaus Okerra and Lady Sepsimia Crabbe are already arranged to stay at the House the Baron having escorted her to the event. His retainers are in the housing over the stables. Onora winces as she tells Detash that she sold them on the skeletons in the stables as a form of taxidermy, not undead to keep them happy.
The Duchess then invades their meeting to drop off her festavial_schedule.pdfagenda The market is expanded with several set up shops from outside the village as well as inside, the Duchess has already set up a sales tax to pay off the County taxes.
Iona decides to insert a prayer to open, angry with this woman who has decided to plan her festival, however the Duchess is delighted with the suggestion. Corwyn spends the day scouring the area for any traps. Elsa gets to work on an ice sculpture with a general bird theme. Kavian helps to prepare the square for the festival. Detash, selected to give the historical remarks, works on his pending speech. Corwyn finds a warning note from the Night Swan!
The other three spend the rest of the day and evening headed south and reach the caravan from Senator Talbot carrying 3000gp worth of goods south of the border shortly after dawn. Talbot’s Majordomo, Pollus Remus Salinus, heads up the caravan. Together they ride back to Merrat County, only to be meet at the boarder by Syras Cockleburr Esq. and Lotheed soldiers. They are searching caravans to inventory and charging a percentage for protection from the bandits. Cassia demurs and convinces the petty crony that they do not need an escort. They group still takes inventory under the watchful eye of the party. Tremerus uses his presence to stop any general theft by the soldiers. Cassia stops Syras at swordpoint as he tries to steal valuable masterwork tools. The toadie blanches and puts the item back, sending them along their way.
As they pass north, Gurta Thresh, one of the Four Hoods, approaches the group and asks if they can set up legitimate tents at the festival to sell their wares. Mikhael questions her and decides it will be OK, with Gurta’s promise that no theft will occur. She agrees and says they will go get to get set up.
The good arrive, but Salinus says he cannot do more than stay the night, and he and his crew leave first thing in the morning. The escort crew get an early night to sleep and be ready for the festival the next day.
Elsa gives a small speech and Kavian unveils the new statue to a local hero of the 3rd Army of Exploration, Dugas of Stachys. Detash gives a rousing history of the village Stachys and the County and talk about the important place the soon to be town has had in the past. After the speeches, there is morning beer along with extra-large eggs from the hatcheries of Birdsong (which the Baroness actually managed to steal) and fresh baked local bread. The group begins to mingle with the crowds as the merchants open their shops and the festival is truly underway.
There are mostly local commoners present, but some minor nobles in addition to Lady Crabbe and the Baron are in attendance. Notably, Titus Lotheed-Casava, already in the area with his new duties to hunt the Four Hoods, is there with both Syras Cockleburr and Carrod Hellebore.
After making discrete eye contact with Carrod, Mikhael goes around the local stalls and helps to uptalk the wares to the passing nobles much to the delight of the vendors. Kavian spends time following him around to learn more about the craft of manipulation of people. Kavian pauses to get refreshment when he is approached by a young lady named Felsha who demands that since the Tribune and his friends liked to help people, why were they doing nothing about New Towne? Kavian gaped and did not have a chance to get much out before Sepsimia comes to his rescue, placing her arm in his and telling the young lady that this was not the time and to see the Sheriff to make an appointment for tomorrow. Felsha stomps off, and Sepsimia stays with Kavian as he walks about, aiding him in his conversations with other nobility.
Corwyn spends the morning finalizing his small party guests, including Archbanker Lady Paril, his true quarry. Detash asks to come along to that event. Tremerus focuses on Baron Okerra and others to discuss land and wildlife management that evening. Wanting to gather people to listen to an evening sermon, Iona approaches Lady Mona Sittas, a minor noble attending. A noble scion, Lady Sittas is the worse of the type, haughty and disdainful of the common peasants. Iona attempts to engage her but fails. She does invite the noble to her service later, and the woman weakly says she might. However, the pull of the Mantel of Aroden seems to have some effect. Iona then talks to Lucretzia Marthane, another idle noble like Titus, who seems more bored than anything. Not as haughty as Sittas, Lucretzia does at least feign some tired interest in the plight of the people, but doubts anyone or anything can really be done for them. She agrees to come to services if she is not too tired that evening.
Before the morning progress., Barron Okerra approaches Elsa and brings a bouquet of Desna’s Looking Glass to Elsa. He compliments her, and with uncharacteristic lack of confidence, ask permission to call on her in courtship. Adroit and able, Elsa agrees and the Barron bows and heads away, embarrassed by happy.
Cassia spends the morning joining in various singing and musical playing around the festival. She begins to introduce the tale of the defeat of monster that used to be Baron Telus, amazing the crowds at the accomplishments of the new nobles. As she dances, Titus approaches her intent on conquest, offering her a single rose. However, the lovely Cassia charms the noble fop with an outstanding roll, placing the rose at the end of her fiddle “So I can see it”, and Titus finds that he is the one at the end of an emotional string. The afternoon is centered on the Tournaments, all happening around the outskirts of the festival. Kavian enters Wrestling, while Tremerus enters Jousting. Cassia and Corwyn enter fencing. As he has already down twice before, Kavian easily bests all opponents and wins his competition. Tremerus manages to defeat Barron Okerra, the first time he has lost a jousting tourney is some time. The Baron is gracious in his loss, and congratulates the young man. In Fencing, Cassia and Corwyn win their first rounds, only to find they are randomly selected against each other in round 2!. Cassia managed to defeat Corwyn in the final moment and moves on to face Titus. While she opens well, Titus is able to catch up and defeat her to win the prize. However, he is unusually subdued in his victory, and offers the winning laurel to Cassia.
As day wears on, two brothers get into a fight over a calf they want to purchase. Iona and Kavain intervene and settle the dispute. This impresses the citizens seeing it.
In the evening, the nobles segregate into their various meetings. Mikhael escorts Carrod back to the mansion for a liaison. Corwyn is anxious to probe the Archbanker for any financial dealings that are sketchy for the Count. Detash also attends this party. While they meet, the Archbanker reports she has two missing acolytes, She dispatched Acolytes Mise and Maladus to investigate the silence in Jambis almost 2 weeks earlier and has heard nothing back, but she knows they took the southern highway to deliver several books to Stachys along the way. Asking about the acolytes in Stachys reveals only that they stopped overnight at Onora’s tavern, delivering their books and paying for two meals before traveling west toward the old bridge at Gold Canyon. Lady Paril promises to give Corywn information if they can be found.
Iona notes that Lady Sittas does attend her sermon, as do several commoners and nobles, and she preaches a good one.
Tremerus engaged the Baron and other nobles in ways to maintain and repair the wilderness areas, with an emphasis on keeping the Lake Lachien wild.
Meanwhile, while the two Tribunes mingle with the crowd (much to the delight of their townsfolk) Cassia leads the folk dancing, playing, singing, and joining in even the more ribald songs, to the delight of the people. It is a joyous fall evening, with the heat of the activity offsetting the cold. It is during this time that a burst of light and smoke appears on top of one of the buildings, and the Night Swan Appears!
She calls out the nobles and tells the people that this festival is a sham to keep them satisfied at being poor. Elsa and Kavian call back, challenging the vigilante, who can only respond with a gesture which causes the statue to explode. Cassia dodges the effect, but three citizens are caught in the blast. Cassia and Elsa rush to aid them with magic, while the Night Swan swirls her cloak and vanishes in a puff of smoke.
Elsa suggests the fireworks be canceled, but Kavian disagrees, saying in effect, that the show must go on. Cassia agrees. The fireworks is a great display. The party continues, and having left Carrod sleeping, Mikhael returns to the square to ask various questions of the vendors and commoners to get the real scoop. Iona decides to say up all night and watch the goings on.
Titus fishes for heading back with Cassia, who, with another amazing role, manages to leave him behind, but not upset. The Barron escorts Elsa back, as Kavian does the same with Sepsimia. The night passes, and the festival finally winds down.
|Persona Phase Actions|
|Kavian||Sets up his school for martial training and finds Sepsimia is a student Heroism +1|
|Elsa||Organizes a Rally “Day of Purpose” about helping the people in the countryside for Sacrifice +1|
|Corwyn||Increase Knowledge about the Night Swan using his Charm +1 Charm|
|Iona||Try to locate others to the Cause against Count Lotheed but fails Sagacity|
|Mikhael||Drafting a Declaration against the Night Swan Genius +1|
|Detash||Increase Knowledge about the Night Swan using his professional skills +1 Genius|
|Cassia||Secure Secrets using her disguise to plant information to support alibies for character vigilantes Subterfuge +1|
Detesh and Termerus both head into the County working to gather information, and Termerus to work on finding the General.
Corywn and Cassia head out to the Gold Canyon, which is a day’s journey away. Wanting to arrive in the morning, they camp a mile from the Canyon and arrive the next day shortly after sunrise. There is still a significant chill in the air as the fall weather continues to take hold of the land.
They approach the canyon and survey it. Gold Canyon not a natural canyon but rather the remains of a strip mine that followed a winding vein of gold and quartz for miles through rugged, rocky terrain some 4,000 years ago. For a few centuries after the veins played out, the canyon still served as a quarry, providing much of the granite used in local fortifications. All that remains today is a staircase-style ditch some 30 feet deep, 80 feet wide, and nearly 10 miles long. A stone bridge, left over from the quarry days, once crossed the canyon, providing the only easy travel between east and west portions of southern Meratt, but a small earthquake collapsed the long-neglected bridge decades ago, leaving only the watchtowers on either escarpment.
Locals can cross the canyon fairly easily on foot. Since steep stairs are carved into the rock next to the old bridge, all one has to do is descend; wade through the shallow, stagnant water in the canyon’s bottom; and climb the opposite side. The path is completely inaccessible to livestock and wagons, however, and this isolation has only contributed to nearby Stachys’s economic woes.
The Archbanker told Corwyn that because most of the gold mined here was used to mint Taldan coin, the site is a minor, unofficial pilgrimage destination for local worshipers of Abadar, who read their god’s approval in finding flakes or even nuggets of gold in the water.
They both see a dead body dressed in gold and silver robe lying facedown in the water and half-buried in the mud on the western shore. It seems clear that one of the acolytes is no longer alive. They tie up their horses and move cautiously down the carved stairs. Cassia notes some ripples in a deep part of the stagnant water. Both draw their weapons and ease forward. Corwyn leaps across the water, and it is then that a giant snake erupts from the water. The best that killed the acolyte is alive. Despite Cassia’s song of encouragement, the goldpebblesnake strikes first, attempting to tail slap Cassia and bite Corywn. It misses the lady, but strikes the lord, poisoning him with a slow acting venom, and then grabbing him it its coils. Cassia steps back to begin shooting with her bow. Corywn struggles to get free as the snake continues to bite at him. Cassia hurts it with arrows, and it moves to bite her, but she is able to shrug off the poison. However, now distracted by Cassia, Corwyn uses a freed arm to strike it in a vital place. The fight continues as the two hack at the snake. Bleeding, it drops Corwyn and tries to run, only to have Cassia pierce its heart, killing it.
Corwyn quaffs a potion and injects antitoxin while Cassia heals herself. Cassia explores the creatures underwater lair and discovers 58 gold pieces the serpent had collected. They hear faint yelling and find Festo Mise in the cave, shivering and oo weak from exposure and goldpebble snake venom to climb out of the canyon. Corwyn administers an antitoxin for him and they get him out of the cave and up to the horses. Corwyn and Cassia also wap the body of Dradi Maladus. She was carrying a +2 Rapier of Frost and a and scabbard that is a fine example of Taldanleatherwork set with a grinning wolf face worth 100 gp. Festo exhorts them to keep the items for saving him.
With the body on one horse and Festo on the other, Cassia and Corwyn are walking. After about three hours, Corwyn starts to feel ill and takes an antivenom. Unable to ride the 22 miles back, the two nobles know it will take a two full days to return so they stop after 13 miles to camp. During second watch, four galluvix, a puckish magical creature that resembles a cross between a fox and a flamboyant rooster. Cunning, stealthy, and a bit slothful, galluvixes see no reason to hunt wild game when they can simply infiltrate nearby chicken coops and eat their fill. These particular 4 are two mated pairs from the west near the farms of Stachys. They are curious about the nobles and the wounded and dead of the party and immediately start asking questions, sure of the their ability to get away if the humans pose a real threat.
As they talk, Corwyn wakes up to one staring him in the face, its head cocking back and forth like both a bird and canine. The four magical beasts are Foxclove (M) and Fernwing(F), and Swiftmello (M) and Meadowhopper (F). Cassia stands and plays music that echoes into the night to the delight of the galluvix. As the conversation goes on, the galluvix offer to bring two eggs of which will have the effect of lessor restoration for the two poisoned men in exchange for two weeks of getting chickens. Their love of gossip leads them to tell them that the Night Swan is looking to contact the four vigilantes who attack Sir Gul. Corwyn and Cassia quickly hit upon the idea to use them for information in exchange for food. They agree to meet at the outskirts of Boller’s farm in a few days time. Foxclove and Fernwing disappear and in an hour return with the eggs, one of which they use with Festo immediately.
The next evening, as twilight has settled, the trio arrive back in Stachys. They take Festo to their mannor and use the other egg for him. He is grateful and promises to help rebuild the temple (5000 gp worth of free labor).
The next day, a missive and a prisoner arrive form Count Lotheed. Portimer was caught by several guards poaching the count’s deer in the Abbeywood just north of the Stachys Spur, and after a severe beating has been returned to Stachys for trial. Local law demands execution for such a crime. Count Lotheed also commended the Tribunes on capture of the Telus bandits and instructs the party to conduct the trial on his behalf, partially frustrating Corwyn’s manipulations.
After meeting with Felsha, Kavian and Else decide to go to New Towne the next morning. This is of urgency to Iona as well, as she has taken an interest in the Telus Barony. Mikhael, wanting a break from drafting a Declaration and come excitement tags along as well. Corwyn and Cassia left to investigate the missing acolytes for the Archbanker. Felsha returned with the crew on a borrowed horse.
As this was another the long trip around to New Towne, just south of Jambis, they were noting they “have got to fix the bridge”, but that Corwyn and Cassia can get a good lay of the land on bridge repair. They made good time, reaching the Void Wood quickly. As they moved through a narrow path on the road, they were attacked by a psychepore as it flung its spores into Kavian and his horse. Kavian was able to shrug off the poison, but his horse was left confused with visions. Mikhael immediately summoned Lysanthir and Kavian vaulted from his disturbed horse to land next to the strange beast attacking it. Iona and Cassia moved forward to engage as well. Felsha wisely fled with her horse, knowing this was not something she could engage in. The monster lashed out at the only person standing next to it, Kavian, and dropped him to the ground. Cassia made it to him and dragged him back a step while healing him. Lysanthir now engaged and bite into the beast. Iona ran to them and let go a burst of healing energy. Kavian stepped to flank and slashed deeply into the monster. It again attacked, this time at the two enemies on it. Kavian and Lysanthir both staggered at the damage. Iona closed in and added her hammer to the fight. All three were hit by the creature’s final attack before Lysanthir critted and almost killed it, with Kavian finishing it off with a final slash.
The group gathered and Iona cast restorations and healing. They moved on their journey to arrive the next day in New Towne. There they met with s Baronet Caphridius Vort, formerly an assistant to Baron Telus and a man far more interested in acting and opera than frontier living. It is quite clear in meeting with him that he is miserable, but feels honor bound to work hard to lead his community, while quietly nursing a self-loathing for leading them to this miserable valley to begin with.
The group discusses with the that Jambis is now safe for return and offers 1000 gold worth of supplies to help them with the move. The citizens of New Towne are overjoyed and pledge their support to the new Tribunes.
When the Tribunes return, Corwyn and Cassia update them on the letter from the Count to conduct the trail themselves, and the arrival of the poacher to the now quite full back room of Onara’s bar. The group meets into the night, even though they are all tired. Corywn led the group through projects needing action, and the Tribunes decided on the spending upgrades. The group felt the trials could wait a couple of days, and decided to take the trek to Sotto immediately to investigate the wolf issue. The group leaves the next day, Corwyn having left Onara instructions, having become the Bentony Estates de facto Seneschal. The group rides out, sans Temerus, who instead headed out the day before to investigate the area the accused poacher was caught.
Taking two days, they camped on the road without incident arriving in Sotto mid-morning. The settlement is a couple dozen homes and barns built around a common well, with a dirt road winding south to Voinaris. Residents are stubbornly independent, paying their taxes but otherwise not having much to do with the rest of the county. From the outside, the hamlet of Sotto seems like a quaint little community on the woods’ edge, its residents surviving through a combination of farming, herding goats, and timber. The community has always fought against wolves from the Verduran Forest, and almost every family home features a few wolf trophies and every winter coat a wolf pelt.
Under this veneer, however, Sotto is a town under quiet siege. It was immediately apparent to the team that the goats were all super skittish, and the townsfolk were hiding something. Cassia was able to immediately put a young man at ease to find out what was going on. The stubborn villagers admit to their horrible plight.
Sotto’s tradition of wolf-hunting apparently offended Halmash, a worg who moved into the region last spring. Rather than feed on the arrogant villagers, it instead decided to teach them respect. The worg tore the heart from their greatest hunter and spent 3 days slowly devouring the woman’s flesh and bones by Sotto’s only well. Now, once a month, Halmash dispatches three of his wolves to retrieve one goat apiece as “payment” for the valuable lesson he taught them, and for every goat not offered up willingly, the wolves take a child instead. The next wolves are due tonight.
The situation was manageable at first, but Sotto’s herds are quickly being depleted. Regardless of this, locals refuse to ask for help—in part from stubbornness, but mostly out of fear that Halmash’s entire pack will retaliate. The elders all agree that if they are obedient, Halmash will simply move on once the goats are gone, though they aren’t sure how they’ll survive the winter without their herds.
Resolving to help the town, the team took advantage of the very strong winds from the east to mask their scents and ambush the wolves coming for the goat. They were able to easily engage the wolves, though both Iona and Corwyn took damage from the monsters. None of the wolves even had an opportunity to escape. Kavian was easily able to track the wolves back into the forest, through winding paths. As they approached one area, Cassia noted that the animals were quiet. Kavian noted increased prints, and both warned the party. When Kavian found the wolves, he was able to act! While his horse was spooked, Kavian was able to flip off from it and land, to attack a wolf. The fight was on. The fighting was fierce, with Lythsanthir tearing into wolves and worg alike. Kavian and Iona also engaged, while Mikahel and Cassia used crossbows. Elsa used her sonic blast to stun three, and was attacked and missed by the fourth. Detash engaged his undead steed, but was ambushed by four wolves. He used fear on one, but the other three pounced. As the Worg was rendered unconscious, most of the wolves fled, Corwyn moved to support Detash who has summoned his steed to act as a block. Within moments, all the wolves were dead or running. The party turned to the Worg.
Casting Zone of Truth Iona brought the Worg around and Kavian used intimidate to learn its secrets. The Worg, xxxxx, spoke of a undying mistress, Varnia, who was part of a “Circle” who had empowered the wolves and his bites. It was clear she was a lover as well as a leader. He could not say where she was, only that she would arrive when it suited her. The Worg died then, no longer willing to live. A search of the area reveled the treasure of the village’s great wolf hunter.
The team set up trays to drag the wolf bodies back to Sotto, where they were met with less sullen villagers. They gave the hunter’s things back to the village, who thanked them, and asked them to return in a month’s time. The group saddles up and returns home, again without incident. Detash notes that the only Varnia he knows that is at all noteworthy was a noblewoman from over 200 years ago. She died after being poisoned.
They arrive back at Bentony to deal with their trials, and to face Sir Gul, who has arrived to pay them a visit.
|Campaign Dates||Rova 30, 4719|
The group arrives in the morning, traveling through the village on their way to the estate. They note an old unused store house has changed significantly, with workers already busy on finishing chimneys. Windows have been cut into the sides. This was not expected and the group was puzzled. They made their way to Onora’s Tavern to get updated on events.
Onora was clearly relieved to see them. She opened that Sir Gul Gusairne has been here for two days wanting to question them and he has been in a room in the estate. His presence clearly has her agitated. She also almost begs the Tribunes to conduct the trial, as she needs her back room restored, instead of it being a jail. She notes Lucinia Mag has been a good warden, but her time of service is up at the start of next week. Finally, she notes to Kavian he needs to spend some days at his new fighting school and says that Sepsimia is staying at the manor at Onora’s insistence. When Cassia asked about the building, Onora says it is a surprise form Baron Okerra. He wanted there to be a good inn for people to stay at. He has named it Vike’s Rest, and the crew have even worked to give it a northern fell. It is three stories, with an outside kitchen. The bottom level is single rooms and office. The second level has four suites, more design for nobles, while the third floor is a penthouse designed for somebody like the Baron with several retainers.
The group leaves for the manner, saying they will meet Onora at the house that night for a proper meeting. When they arrive, it is clear someone came to tell Sir Gul they were in town, and he meets them outside with someone to stable their horses. Detash, of course, orders his undead steed to park itself.
Sil Gul grilled the party hard about why there were doing nothing against the bandit attacks. Kavian stumbled at first, increasing Gul’s suspicious, but Corwyn stepped in and was quite smoothed tongued in soothing the Count’s enforcer. Iona also raised his suspicions, but not enough for him to act against them. As Corwyn was escorting him out, Gurta Thresh, one of the four hoods, was approaching the manor. Corwyn adroitly engaged Sir Gul in a conversation about the unusual wolf bites, and how they might find out more. Sir Gul was distracted, and suggested Court Lotheed, or even the Duke himself might be consulted. Kavain did not want his trophy taken away so he demurred. Meanwhile, Mikhael slide out to intercept Gurta and sneak her in the back. She is there to ask for help against Sir Gul and his raids. Mikhael discuss with her and says they will talk to her more after the trial, opening the possibility of their charges working farms. The anti-authoritarian Gurta is not sure she and the other three “hoods” will want that, but it might free them of their charges.
During the Day Corwyn is given a notice from the Arch Banker, that needs Feston to open without erasing the contents. In it is a note of thanks and public records that Eutropia can use to show how that the Lotheeds have not been good stewards in a financial sense. None of this is proprietary, but it is gathered from known sources in a way that would only be easy for someone who had proprietary knowledge. She also included a Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds with a blessing form Abadar.
Tremerus reports that Portimer of Stachys appears to have hunted on the Count’s land. After investigating the area Portimer claims he was hunting in, The Hunter concluded there is no sign of Portimer hunting—nor even any signs of deer—south of the canal. Portimer clearly shot one of the count’s deer on the count’s land and indeed is guilty of poaching. Cassia and Mikhael both go into town to gather information on the accused, and Cassia finds that he is miller with no work and was trying to feed his wife and three children (12. 10, & 4). Using his established credit as supporter of the working man, Mikhael is able to gage the pulse of the village and returns with the news that a Portimer was justified and a conviction is going to go down very poorly with the subjects.
Cassia is approached by Felsha of Cassomir , who declares she will stand for the commoners, all four, as their representative. She is strident and notes that everyone, even the lowly deserve representation. Cassia assents and says she will tell the others.
That evening at a dinner meeting, Onara updates the group on the goings on in their absence. As they start their meeting, the Duchess Lotheed enters from upstairs to greet everyone and tell them she is excited for another festival. Detash escorts her back upstairs to a room, as the party wonders what to do about her. Corwyn notes to the group, while Onara is out of the room, that Sir Gul clearly knowns what the Duchess really is. The meeting continues:
The group engages in lively discussion about what they will be able to do about the issues facing the village. They spend a good deal of time on what to do with Portimer, knowing that they stand to upset either the Count or the Village. Kavian is adamant }} he is not going to have the man put to death, and Elsa agrees. They then wonder how to thread the needle. After much discussion, Iona notes that they plan to overthrow Lotheed and the group should “stand with the people”. Mikhael notes that the law is the law, and the man broke it. They decide to table any further discussion until after the trial.
After the meeting breaks, Kavian makes sure that Sepsimia is comfortable and well treated. Crowyn dresses as Lars and heads into town. Mikhael meets up with Carrod, and she explains that while Titus has his own room, she and Syrus are sharing, and it would be best if she found someplace else. She and Mikhael end up crashing a the Manor, he too tired for anything other than sleep.
Cassia heads to Onora’s tavern and sneaks up on Titus, throwing her arm over his shoulder. They flirt for a bit as Cassia pumps him for information. Titus is quick to be open that if the poacher is not executed, then the Count will be most unhappy. Cassia keeps him tied up most of the evening then heads home, thus saving several women the pleasure of his company. While they talk, Lars walks into the tavern, and performs various magic tricks and investigates the feel.
It is clear there are more out of town folks coming in, and the trial has increased that. The general feel is that the local thieves will be active the next couple of nights and Corwyn aims to be ready. He gets no specific names from his investigation but plans to watch things the next night.
|Game Dates||03/04/21, 03/10/21, 03/11/21|
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 01, 4719|
|Persona Phase Actions|
|Tremerus||Engages in Community Service in Stachys around the flooded area to help clean up the damaged areas Sagacity +1|
|Kavian||Kavain hosts and Tournament for his students in completion +1 Heroism|
|Elsa||Attempts to provide for the community to increase sacrifice but is unable to raise it|
|Corwyn||Working to Generate a Rally of Support by the Locals around the Trial +1 Heroism|
|Iona||Iona's group looks for supporters and she interviews and increases Sagacity +1|
|Mikhael||Assist with Bridge Construction using Engineering and Genius, which helps but does not end up increasing Genius|
|Detash||Performs Research Operation on the Law and gets a 12|
|Cassia||Organizes land claims and starting with the people who are displaced as well as with Beggarwood +1 to Charm|
The trial opens with Onora’s tavern configured with chairs instead of tables. The two tribunes take front and center. Cassia assumes the role of presentation of the evidence, while Felsha of Cassomir presents for the defense. Tremerus is called to testify that there all evidence pointed to the hunting taking place above the canal. Portimer himself agreed he lied, and that he was poaching. The case presented by Felsha, mostly aimed at the audience, was that the man was trying to feed his family since he had no work as a miller and poor land to farm. Elsa, Iona, and Corwyn did most of the questioning, while Kavian sat silent. Once the information was in, Kavian rose, and the room fell silent. He adjourned the court for discussion. Mikahel, knowing his feelings were not those of the Tribunes, choose to monitor the crowd. He could not get a feel for the nobles but was able to report it was clear the people of the village wanted Portimer to live, and they expected the Tribunes to “do the right by him”.
The players engaged in a significant, mature, philosophical discussion about what should happen. Kavian led the way with a proposal for a fine, that he himself would pay, less one copper, the value of the deer. Portimer would then be free. Iona argued for some sort of greater punishment, and Corwyn noted the fall out from all the positions. Kavian’s view stood, as Elsa agreed with him. They called the court back into session, and Kavian gave the verdict to a silent room. As he cited the fine, he drops coins from his own pouch onto the table before him. He closes with a statement that poaching is not to be allowed and further infractions will not be tolerated. He then dismisses the court to a stunned audience. Then cheers erupted form the commoners in the back of the room, while Portimer broke down in tears as his family rushed up. Felsha looks quite smug with her verdict.
The Baron’s advocate, Quintus, tells Corwyn the Baron will not be happy. Corwyn and Elsa decide on immediate trips to the Barron and the Count to try to settle the situation. Meanwhile, the group decides something must be done about the Duchess and the potential thievery in the night.
Game Date: 03/10/21
Lamashan 01 Kavian, Corwyn and Cassia all assume their alternate guises of Benedictus, Lars, and The Black Pearl. Leaving the estate, they talk about next steps, and decide to enter Onara’s tavern separately. As the Black Pearl, Cassia goes in disguise, using her ring, and while in the pub is not masked or in her vigilante costume. Both Lars and Benedictus blend into the crowd as is.
Benedictus moves to sit at the bar, complaining loudly of being out of money and looking for easy gains. He has managed to sit next to Paval, one of the rather shift looking locals. Benedictus is more engaging and talkative than the normally taciturn Kavian, and is soon in conversation about the unfairness of life and the hording of riches with Paval.
Lars enters to run is normal gambit of magic tricks, much to the delight of people in the tavern. He impresses Sims of Stachys, a large, if somewhat limited man almost immediately. While he works the room, he notices a man moving about with purpose, talking to different men around the tavern and decides to get a closer listen. Meanwhile, the Black Perl, in disguise, has entered into Onara’s and pops down at a table with playing cards, and asks for a game. The stakes are rounds of drinks, and one of the men the stranger talked too also sits down for a couple of hands. The Pearl loses the first hand and buys a round but wins the next. The games go back and forth, until the man who sat down gets up to leave shortly after one of the others did.
Lars is trying to overhear the conversations, but fails. However, Benedictus has managed to win the confidence of Paval, who introduces him to Cantu of Cassomir, his contact and the mysterious man Lars has been watching. As Benedictus, Kavain shows he cannot bluff at all, and it is this very utter failure which leads Cantu to trust him. He is invited to the rendezvous outside, behind the stables. Cantu, Paval, and the other men have all left. The three heroes meet outside at the square to plot their next moves. Lars hides upon the stable roof to wait. Benedictus will go to the meeting, and the Black Pearl will linger in the stables. The trap is set.
Cantu meets with the four locals and Benedictus, giving a speech about the rights of the oppressed. Once he has heard enough, Lars drops down with his saps out, stunning Cantu. Benedictus shouts they are being attacked and to get him, brining the Pearl running. In short order, everyone is subdued. Lars takes Cantu into the woods to interrogate him, while Benedictus and the Black Pearl leave the other four tied and suspended where they can be found in the morning as an example.
Taking Cantu into the woods, Lars roughs him up and finds out the truth. Cantu of Cassomir is an agent of The Night Swan, sent to get locals turned against the nobles. Lars comes across as fearsome, and tells the hapless agent to run away and not look back. The man flees into the darken countryside.
The three meet back up head home, wondering how the others did with the Duchess.
Game Date: 03/11/21
Lamashan 01, 4719
Mikhael, Detash and Iona decide to confront the Duchess about her true nature. They discover she is planning a party, which they find suspicious. After some time discussing what she might be, what sort of threat she may pose, and what her motives may be, they decide to enter the party and not confront her directly there, but ask around.
When they get to the site of the party, what they find is she has converted an unused barn into a makeshift dance hall. Temporary wooden slats cover the dirt floor, while makeshift tables have been put into place. Old stalls are now private coves with a curtain. There is even a place for food and a bar. It is all quite rustic and appeals to the “slumming” vibe that sometimes takes the aristocracy. Elsa is already there, with Sepsimia at her side, deep in conversation with Dame Caesia.
Duchess Leto greets them warmly, and apologizes from running off from Detash last time, saying she was just tired and worn out. She has someone bring them drinks and they move to circulate.
|In Attendance Are:|
|Lucretzia Marthane||Was at Jubilee, Festival, and sat in on Trials|
|Titus Lotheed-Casava||Known jerk|
|Syras Cockleburr||Known Jerk’s Crony|
|Carrod Hellebore||Former crony, now lover of Mikhael|
|Sepsimia Crabbe||Local and Attended Trials|
|Felsha of Cassomir||Advocate for the defense|
|Dame Michelle Caius||Merratt Nobility, Attended the Trials, Wife of Michael|
|Lord Michael Caius||Husband of Michelle|
|Lady Belle Venturi||Local Noble Scion, Attended the Trials|
|Sir Selwen Carrisu||Local returned from Military, Attended Trials|
|Dame Caesia Sarimarca||Advocate for Baroness Voinum|
|Sir Quintus Okerra||Advocate for Baron Okerra|
|Lord Gias Aminon||3rd Son of Oppera Nobility, out for adventure and headed to Void Wood|
|Grandmother||Came with Felsha and attended Trials in back|
|Baronet Candiru Cordona||Visitor to the County from Oppera – Trading|
|Lord Semvera Bellus||Trader from Cassomir , Husband of Caesera|
|Lady Caesera Bellus||Wife of Semvera|
|Mr Portimer Of Stachys||Tried for Poaching|
Three go to mingle with the party members, asking questions about the Duchess. Iona starts with Lady Mona Sittas and works the room. She meets with several nobles, all of whom find they are pulled to the Cleric with her ancient mantel. After managing to interrupt Sir Selwen and Lady Belle’s intimate conversation, Iona retreats to the bar for a drink. Leaving, she engages an old woman sitting at a table. She has a brief visit with the old woman, who says she was here with Felsha. She is friendly and thankful for the help of Iona and her friends in saving Jambis. It is like talking to one’s grandmother. Iona feels at ease emotionally while rationally wondering about who she was. Detash goes to talk to the group around Elsa, who throws him a dirty look because of the undead raven on his shoulder. Detash engages people with an odd story of a stolen painting he is trying to rocover and offers a reward. Lord Gias Aminon, here for adventure and headed to the Void Wood, sounds enthusiastic. Dame Caesia leaves early, stating to Elsa that she has paperwork for the Baroness. Detash openly wonders at her paperwork as the comley blond leaves the party. Contiuning to work the room, he eventually ends up at the table with Semvera and Caesera, who just were freed of Felsha’s speeches. Mikahel moves boldly to the group around Titus. Carrod seems him coming and moves to stand next to Mikahel, her arm in his. As Titus drinks heavily and the summoner just sips, Mikahel probes the annoying brat about details for the Duchess. As Titus leaves, Mikahel takes Carrod and pays some attention to other conversation, including Felsha going on about how the rights of the oppressed commoners need to be respected, sounding almost Galtish in her speech. After hearing all she can take, Carrod asks to speak to him in private and they take a side room. Sitting a room that used to be a stall, Carrod confesses she knows the group is aiming against Count Lotheed and that she does not want to be in the way. She asks to stay with Mikahel, to which he agrees.
All three heroes come away with the same information, that the Duchess is a recluse and is often not seen. When she does come out, it is clear she misses her husband, Duke Panivar Lotheed IV. Several people seem happy for her, that she seems to have found something to engage her time while he is away. None of them seem to know her true nature, not even Lord Titus. Meanwhile, while Carrod and her lover are still in private, Titus attempts to woo Sepsimia. Elsa sternly blocks him with a none to subtle comment about freezing certain parts of Titus and he retreats to down another drink. He then moves Felsha. As Iona returns from Grandmother, she sees Titus grab Felsha as she turns form him. In a moment, the party is shocked to see Titus on the ground, having been tripped by Felsha. Titus splutters and makes threats, but Elsa’s voice cuts through the room saying that he laid hands on her and he is no longer welcome. Felsha announces she is leaving, and goes with Grandmother. Elsa tells Iona to help escort Titus home, and she and Syrus do so, with Titus being dazed enough to keep calling Iona “Carrod”.
The band restarts and the party resumes after this excitement. Detash talks with the Duchess about normal affairs, but Detash is able to probe her on her feelings for her husband. Amazingly, Detash is able to figure out the truth: The Duchess was created as a companion for the Duke. The reason she has latched on to Detash is that he showed her some kindness and she is created to be a companion.
After a while, Iona returns to the party as Mikhael and Carrod emerge from their lovers meeting. Mikhael scans the room just in time for the next bit of excitement. Form the old hay storage on the second floor comes the voice of the Night Swan.
”You are to be commended for your verdict in the trial of Portimer! Justice has been served!”
Elsa’s reply is most sarcastic, ”Oh, we are so pleased to know that you approve,”
”I understand your tone, but it is true nonetheless. But! For all nobles who are parasites and predators, beware! Your day of justice is coming!”
With that the Night Swan jumps out the window to the amazement of the stunned room. Sensing the need to gain the upper hand, Elsa quipped:
”Why does everyone around here always use the windows?”
That event is enough to break the party up, and people leave in groups for safety. Carrod and Sepsimia relax in a side room, while Elsa organizes the workers away from the other three and their hostess. In a dual of words with double meaning, finally resulting in Detash being clumsy and being slapped. Elsa’s laugh is heard from across the room. The Duchess presents terms, noting she knows what the characters are up too, and that she could tell her nephew the Count. Knowing that would result in their arrest, the group is willing to talk to her and discuss a deal. Detash knows that killing her will start a clock until she can re-form in 2-4 days. Further, he feels she is quite dangerous as it is. The four reach an agreement, that Iona feels they can trust, that the Duchess will not give away their secrets, if, in exchange, they help to fund this dance hall and they let her have some fun. She suggests the players explore the ruins of Ralthorn Manor, because she is sure there is treasure buried under the rubble.
Everyone returns to Betony. The three spellcasters, now joined by the fourth, Carrod stay up the night looking at every painting they can find. Detash moves on after a long look, but Carrod notices something is up with it. It is a painting of the county, with stylized homes for each manor. The ones for Ralthorn Manor and Telus estate are blurry, like they were rubbed off. The group assumes that this is how she can move about the County so easily. Tired, they all go to bed, promising themselves to sleep immediately after tomorrow’s trial.
Game Date: 03/04/21
Lamashan 02, 4719
The next day, the trial of the men of Jambis is up. Tullus, Sestius, Cossus, all of Jambis, and Master Frater Mosle. Again, Felsha makes an impassioned defense against that the men were caught in a horrible situation and that they worked to protect the citizens of Jambis against their former master. Cassia is quite strident in her anger, aghast that any life is considered less than another, until Felsha objects and Elsa intervenes. Again, Kavain calls the proceedings closed and they move into deliberation. While the party is sympathetic to the problem them men were in, they cannot overlook the actions of these men.
Elsa addresses the room this time, expressing their understanding of the men’s actions but that the feeding live humans to their master was something that could not stand. All four are thereby sentenced to be hanged until dead. The nobles and room seem mixed on the outcome, but there is no sense of displeasure, only understanding that it was a horrible situation with a horrible outcome.
Game Date: 03/10/21
Lamashan 02, 4719 Mikhael, Detash, and Iona all head back to Betony for rest, since they were up until nearly dawn this morning looking for odd paintings. Tremerus heads back to the Lake to try to catch the General.
The old lady from the trial approaches Corwyn and askes to speak to him. She says everyone calls her “Grandmother”. She was sorry to miss the group who came to New Towne, and wanted to thank the kind people who helped her. She says she approached Corwyn specifically, because she knows a thing or two about magical effects, and she feels like he could use her help. Corwyn is unsure of what to make of the offer, but tells her when they get past today that maybe they can meet. The woman is quite pleasant and notes that she came with Felsha from Jambis. Not sure how to take the meeting with the lady calling herself “Grandmother”, Corwyn decides to invite Felsha to a business dinner to ask her some more questions. Corwyn comes away with Felsha’s sincerity. She is an adventure from Cassomir who was attacked by winter wolves. Grandmother nursed her back to health. She is not a Galtish as she may have seemed in trail, noting that was in fact her job, and maybe she would be better suited for Andoran. Dinner goes well and they end late, around 10 in the evening and Corwin turns in.
Having defeated the thieves’ plot, Kavian decides to spend the evening after the second trial being a strong presence as Kavian among the people. He does this into the evening, retiring shortly after midnight.
Cassia continued to prowl the streets in the guise of the Black Pearl. It was getting into the morning, and she heard a cry of alarm. She snuck to the ally, to see the Night Swan standing over a clearly tripped Lord Titus. The Night Swan did not notice the Pearl, who charged and struck the vigilante unawares. The Night Swan managed to recovery and tripped the Pearl. Standing over her, she demanded why anyone, especially another masked bandit would help someone like Titus. The Pearl growls and responds that all people deserve protection. With a laugh, the Night Swan steps away and swirls in her cap, vanishing in a puff of smoke. As Titus stands and stumbles out a thanks, the Black Pearl haughtily retreats into the darkness.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 03, 4719|
Waking early, The Tribunes, Corwyn, and Mikhael meet with Dame Caesia, Baroness Vonium’s representative to discuss her findings. Iona joins Onara, Felsha, Sepsimia, and Lady Lucretzia for a game of , Marches a game of random maps based on cards with tokens for armies and dice for random effects. Sepsimia is surprisingly good at it. Cassia is fast asleep after her late night as is Detash who does not like mornings in the first place. Tremeus is up at the lake, sure he has tracked down “The General” catfish, and is leading a local expedition to catch it.
At the meeting, Dame Caesia mildly scolds the group for not yet meeting with the Baroness and invites them to come meet with her. There is some mild banter and promise of a visit once they have settled things in the village. Elsa alludes to the scolding they received from Sir Gul recently, and the need to make peace with the Count. During the meeting, Blod, in the guise of a cat, jumps up on the table to get Kavian’s attention. Kavian follows the cat out suddenly, while Mikhael makes a bow and excuse and follows.
Blod leads them to two men approaching the manor, one holding the other, who is clearly injured. Kavian rushes them inside while Mikhael retrieves Iona. As Iona tends to the wounds of the man, she can do nothing for his missing left eye. The men tell their story. There was an Attack was by invisible flying creatures to farm southwest of town, towards the small wood. This is the farm of Agrippa and his extended family. His wife, Maria, younger son, Sempronius and daughter, Ovida, and wife’s mother, Evita, hid in a basement. Outside Agrippa, his adult son (Sextius), and his father in law Manlius fought the enemy. They described them as evil fey and said their arrows put them to sleep. The three adult males, thus incapacitated, all woke up missing their left eyes. They ran with their family to the nearby farm of Plancus, who is the other man with them.
Farmer Plancus, and his wife, Pansa, live closer to town. Plancus noted that lights went out near them, and fears that the creatures have followed to his farm. He already plans to send Pansa and the four daughters, Procula, Pulchra, Helva and Labeo, to family on the other side of Stachys, but for the moment, they are sheltering the other two injured men and Agrippa’s family. Kavian is insensed and goes to give his regrets to Dame Caesia and goes to leave. He and Iona immediately had to the Plancus farm to give aid.
With this information, Dame Caesia notes she will stay to see how things turn out. Corwyn asks for her discretion, but Onara notes that it is most likely widely known through the grapevine. Felsha, Dame Caesia and Lady Lucretzia head into town with Onara, while Sepsimia heads to Kavian’s school.
Cassia staggers downstairs as the house erupts into commotion, looking unkept but quite fetching. Sipping her tea she proposes to Corwyn they go talk to the galluvix, whom they have an appointment with today, anyway. Mikhael joins them and they head off, a groggy Detash in tow to speak to the magical beasts. Corwyn makes sure to bring freshly slain chickens as payment. The creatures say that sounds like Lamp Blighters, foul creatures who are like dark pixies who steal eyes for fun. They are clearly unhappy. Corwyn and Mikhael head to the farm, while Detash and Cassia say they will join the rest at the farm after dinner and head back for more sleep.
By the time night falls, the farm has been evacuated. The group spreads out after Cassia plays and dances a song of encouragement. They wait for the attack. Cassia hears the faint buzz of wings, like large wasps to the south and shouts out ”They are down there!”. The party readies with spells of defense, and then the attack comes. Firing arrows which unmasks them, the three Lamp Blighters all miss their targets with their arrows. They are hovering in the air, making them hard for the party to engage. Their natural immunity to weapons makes the attacks of the party difficult. An arrow in the next round does strike Corwyn and the magical effect blinds him and sends him fleeing in a panic. A magic missile attack fails due to the creature using shield. Mikhael struggles with his crossbow.
At this point, the Notorious Night Swan leaps from the shadows, her winged boots allowing her to close. She knocks one of the Fey to the ground, blinding it with poison. Kavian charges but misses the creature prone creature with a 1. Targeting her spell, Elsa stuns the two in the air and they drop their weapons. The Nightswan moves to engage one in hand to hand, while the other suffers the focus of the rest of the party, including having Iona dispel its shield. Meanwhile, Kavian hacks at the creature in front of him, the newly acquired frost effect doing most of the damage. Twice the monster reaches for Kavian’s eye, but the brawler is made of stern stuff and avoided the attack. As Kavian drops his, the rest of the group kills the other one in the air. The Nightswan sends her foe dropping, and she lands on a roof. Kavian thanks her for her help and invites her to visit the Manor in safety. Cassia has some sarcastic remarks. The Night Swan bows and says she will consider the offer. As she retreats into the darkness, Iona says ”Good bye, Felsha”.
The group gathers the bodies up. Detash is clear he wants them burned. They retrieve the three +1 short bows. The creatures also have among them:
|+1 short bow||3||2,180 each|
|Various Coins||Varies||1,124 gp|
|tiger eye turquoise||1||9gp|
|Potion, 1st level Enlarge Person||1||50gp|
|Ring of Arcane Signets, for House Montrus (can be reset with Dispel Magic)||1||,1000gp|
|Bag of Holding II||1||5,000gp|
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 4-5, 4719|
Everyone is up early to go on their assigned runs. Iona and Mikhael head to help with the construction on the Gold Canyon bridge. Tremerus is still working on his fishing expedition. Elsa and Corwyn are headed to talk with Baron Okerra, while Kavian, Cassia, and Detash are headed to speak with Count Lotheed. The goal is to help settled what the group knows will be their clear unhappiness with the actions of the party.
Grandmother is preparing to leave with Felsha. She approaches Corwyn and asks if he wants her help. He demurs for the moment, but says he will contact her. She tells him he is free to come to Jambis or to send a message and she will have Flesha bring her back to Stachys. Corwyn appreciates her flexibility.
Nicolaus Okerra is the baron of a stretch of villages in the eastern portion of the county of Meratt, and he is a local hero of the people. Popular as much for his good looks as for his fair policies, he has slain several terrible beasts and helped organize community improvement projects like irrigation, roadwork, and wells, often rolling up his sleeves and chipping in with the manual labor.
Nicolaus is a man of action; he cares little for fine words and prefers fine wines. He is still readjusting to civilian life, having retired from the Taldan Horse to assume control of his barony and raise his daughter, Selli, after Nirvenna died confronting a troll. Nicolaus still prefers riding, sparring, and physical labor to elaborate balls and fine dinners, but he is beginning to learn the quiet joys of good company and a well-placed joke—though his own sense of humor remains appropriately blunt for a man of the people. His dress is a simple tunic instead of the more common noble finery. Elsa and Corwyn arrive mid-day at the Baron’s manor. He is expecting them, of course, as both groups sent word they were coming for visits the day after the trial. They are greeted by the Baron and Sir Quintus who invite them to the mid-day meal. During lunch, the Baron grills the two over their seditious activities around the County, and their clear violation of the law in the trial. Elsa makes broad points, while Corwyn gets into fine detail. Most importantly, they reveal they are working for the Princess, who is the legal owner of Birdsong. At the end of lunch, Okerra says he will think on things and they would talk no more of it until morning. Elsa chooses to use his interest in her, and does “the chick thing” with a turn of her head and a piercing question as she leaves to clean up after lunch.
The Baron and Elsa spend the afternoon with him showing her around his estate. Corywn takes the fey shortbow they obtained from the Lamp Blighters yesterday and demonstrates it to Sir. Quintus. As the Baron and Elsa return from the grounds, they find Tremerus, Silver, and the Baron’s daughter, Selli, in the entrance hall.
Nicolaus’s greatest weakness and blind spot is his highspirited daughter, Selli. The child inherited her father’s zeal for adventure and grew up on tales of his heroism from Nicolaus himself as well as villagers and servants. She wants to be a great hero and warrior like her father, but at only 10 years old she still has a lot of learning to do before she can join the military.
After she is gone, the Baron confides in Elsa and Tremerus that before Nirvenna’s death, he assured his child she could join the military after coming of age, but having felt the pang of loss, he now regrets that promise and has been quietly trying to kindle an interest in academia in her heart before she dies on a battlefield far from home. He admits that few of her studies have taken root and Selli has become increasingly rebellious, often sneaking out of the estate into Pensaris or to explore the surrounding countryside. Her personal adventures occasionally end in disaster—most recently losing two fingers to a fox—but Selli has been telling anyone who will listen that the fox won the fingers off her in a crooked game of cards. Tremeus declines the offer to stay for dinner, and after Selli gives silver a big hug, they head out.
During this time, Corwyn and Sir Quintus have returned and he hears much of the conversation. Elsa promises to talk to Selli and suggests that perhaps a tutor would be of help. Corwyn supports this idea and the two offer to suggest one. The Baron is most delighted at this offer and hopes they can help.
Later, at dinner, it is clear Selli believes her story about the fox, even if her father does not, saying it is another, dramatic, larger-than-life tale his past seems to inspire in her. Elsa suggests a tutor to the delight of the girl, and she spends the evening grinning and chatting with the elegant woman with the exotic northern features.
The next morning, the Baron meets with the two, alone, and promises to support them “when the time comes.” They accept his support and invite him to come visit them soon. They head out, promising to help find a tutor for Selli. It is an easy ride back to return at mid-day at the estate.
Despite leaving earlier, as Birdsong is further away, Kavian, Cassia, and Detash arrive in late afternoon at Birdsong. Lady Marthane accompanies them, citing the dangers of the road. They are met by the Count and Sir Gul who are clearly none to pleased. The Count invites them into to grill them. Thanks to the open air setting, Titus and his remaining crony are lounging and can overhear. Lady Marthane decides to sit away from the leering Titus, but within earshot. The Count grills the group on all counts, including letting Portimer go and the song making him look bad that is filling the land. Kavian contemptuously slides the fine for the poaching across the table to the Count. As the Count declares that is not the penalty, Detash steps in and cites three different legal precedents in the past. Cassia appeals to the Count’s mercy, giving details about Portimer’s family. It is a tense situation, but between Cassia’s smooth speech, and Detash’s knowledge, the two settle the Count. As Kavian moves to interject, he finds both feet stomped by his companions, and he concentrates on looking stern. Dinner, with all the participants is a stilted affair. Any time the Count talks law, Detash is able to launch into a history of local events and rulings, which is more than anyone at the table can follow. Cassia is able to appear raptly attentive, even as she is laughing inside. Kavain assumes an air of disinterest, which is easy as it is how he is really feeling. At one point. Detash launches into the problems of his craft, in far more graphic detail than the dinner table supports, to the amusement of his companions. Lady Marthane swoons and heads to bed.
After dinner, Kavian calls it a night. Cassia and Detash wonder the house, casing the place. Cassia finds Caryatid Columns are in the central hallway, and there are two Living Topiaries outside, both sets of creatures acting as guards. She is able to also locate what is clearly some sort of vault near the kitchen. The house is well stocked with expensive items, including artifacts, paintings, and even a metamagic rod with the pool cues. Detash is able to locate the same sort of painting of Merret County as they found in Bentony in one of the entertainment rooms and makes note of it. He also notes that there number of guards seems less than before. Cassia stops a member of the staff and asks her subtle questions. As she is quite charming, the maid looks around and tells Cassia in a low voice that she thinks guards are leaving because of the actions of the Tribunes. Cassia rewards her with a few silver coins. The two retire to bed.
The next morning, all three report to each other having horrible nightmares, and they wake up not refreshed at all. Cassia notes this is the second time in three nights of staying at Birdsong this has happened, and she does not like staying in this house . Lady Marthane appears to have been unaffected and looks well rested and lovely as she heads into Lotheeder. The Count is not on hand to big them off, but delegates that task to Titus, who is still healing from his bruises. They mount up and head home. Harvest is coming. They arrive home in the evening, having moved slower due to being worn out. Shortly after, Iona and Mikhael return, also exhausted from their day’s labor. Tomorrow is Harvest.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 6-7, 4719|
|Cassia||Works to build information network +1 Subterfutge|
|Tremerus||Engages in Mentoring for the Baron's Daughter, Sagacity +1|
|Iona||Gives a Sermon with wide area invite to increase Sagacity +1|
|Corwyn||Built a fun contraption to entertain the people for Charm +1|
|Detash||Drafts new Legislation around Poaching Genuis +1|
|Mikhael||Assist with Bridge Construction using Engineering and +1 Genius|
|Elsa||Lecture on Spellcraft to increase Sagacity +1|
|Kavian||Donates 500 gold to set up a scholarship fund for his School +1 to Heroism|
The night of the 5th is filled with torrents of rain as a large cold front moves through the region. Those on the third floor or with outside bedrooms hear the rain pounding on Bentony estate. The group awakens to cooked breakfast and warm drinks on this cold, dark morning, as the new staff have settled in. It is clear harvest is not going to happen today. After breakfast the group gives orders to their various agents about activities for the week.
Tremerus is not with the group, as he is north with the Baron. Iona is called away because a local is having a difficult birth, and she charges into the rain to attend. The rest of the group discusses events in the county. Corwyn is concerned that something is going on in Birdsong, with several people having bad dreams when they were there. They decide to put that aside and focus on Ralthorn Manor. Since they are not going to harvest, the group saddles up in rain gear and trudges down the paths towards the Manor.
It is a dark day, and as they cross into the afternoon, the group is tired and wet. The path they are taking is muddy and sometimes hard to find. As the group heads down, they hear four voices calling to them, to come and rest and relax. Kavian, in front, turns to ask if anyone else heard that, only to see all his companions headed in four different directions, taking the advice of the mysterious voices. Acting quickly, Kavain races his horse towards Corwyn and tackles him from it. Corwyn contiunes his moves towards settling. Dragging the rouge along, Kavian throws a rock at Cassia, bringing her to her senses as four Leucrottas bound into view. As they attack, Kavian bounces Corwyn onto the ground, finally shaking him loose of the magical suggestion and moved to attack. The beasts attacked biting Kavian deeply. Corwyn ran and vanished, startling two of the monsters who ran in fright, but still leaving two others to savage them both.
Cassia stepped back to draw her sword and screamed in elvish for Mikhael to help. Hearing a woman yelling in elvish was like hearing from his mother, and he immediately came too and summoned his eidolon. Elsa and Detash continued their settling down as directed. Lysanthir, Cassia and Kavian engage the monster on Kavian, while Corwyn charged and faces the other. Both men are gravely hurt, forcing Corwyn to step back and drink a potion as the beast stalks him. With their beast dead, Kavian runs to Elsa and Mikhael runs to Detash. Detash seems unable to shake things off, but Elsa looks up at the bloody Kavian and promptly heals him. Cassia, Corwyn and Lysanthir finish of the other leucrota. The ones scared off do not return, though now the group knows at least two of the beasts are in the area.
The group heals up and continue on to the ruins of the manor. Scouting the outside, they find two areas blocked off from the inside used as shelters. Around to the north, they find another entrance that allows deeper penetration. There they find the remains of a fire pit using a hole in the ceiling as a makeshift chimney. Further in is blood on the floor, two bed rolls and packs, and a Rope of Climbing running up into the ceiling. Stunningly to the game master, the group ignores the rope and further explores the downstairs. The trigger a nest of dire rats who swarm the party but are easily defeated. They decide to save searching their filthy nest for later and decide to head downstairs to the basement.
On the stairs down, there is a skeleton sprawled. Detash is sure it has been here a long time. It does have some magical items, including studded leather armor, with faded painting of the symbol of High Strategos Pytharus personal guard. Detash takes a moment to animate the skeleton and command it. It stands, armored, with its magic daggers in hand. Further down the stairs they find spoiled food and ruined supplies over 20 years old. The wine cellar does have some barrels of spirits and wine, as well as some expensive bottles that Mikhael and Detash recognize. They open doors and enter into a hall. There is a chill in the air and suddenly a cry of “GET OUT!” rings through. Following his series of perfect Will saves, Kavian is unmoved and still joined by Mikhael. The others in the group however, run screaming in terror, Elsa limping behind the others.
Immediately, Mikhael beings to talk with the ghost, who shows herself as an old woman. Remembering his history, Mikhael assumes this is lady Berlan Ralthorn the matriarch of the family. He calls to her and asks what she wants, and she talks about keeping “Him” from getting “The Wheel”. After several attacks at Kavian, the two retreat to collect their friends, who have run outside. Once everyone is in and dry, Kavain ascends the rope of climbing and searches the crushed bedroom. Inside he finds the remains of Lady Ralthorn’s Journal, water damaged, but with some key entries. Amazingly, the Journal mentions Kavian’s father, still in the good graces of Pytharus at the time. It becomes clear that she wants to keep the Arminian Wheel out of the hands of Pytharus. Mikael recognizes this as a refence to the famous Admiral Arminus Pytharus and muses this might be a relic of Taldor. They regroup and Kavian marches along into the area with the ghost. He proclaims that he is Kavian Silanius, son of Protius Silanius, and he swore to keep the Wheel safe from the man who betrayed and murdered his father. She lets them pass but says she cannot help on the locks. It is a two-key system, and the keys are buried under stone. Corwyn studies the lock and gives Cassia a spare set of picks. Coaching her, the two unlock the doors together, avoiding the sonic trap, and are the first people in over two decades to enter into the Ralthron vaults. Mikhael warns the group to only let Kavian touch the Wheel. It is a full ship’s wheel. As he grabs it, he sees the future weather, that the rain will taper off the next day. As he takes the Wheel the ghost sighs and rests.
The group spends the night upstairs and heads home in the morning.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 8-10, 4719|
The group awakes to a glorious morning and after a hearty breakfast they go into the fields with the peasants. Cassia makes a fantastic pitch for the people to understand that the undead animals can help speed up the harvest and the people agree, though they keep a close eye on the elf mage, and ask the skeletons are used to haul materials more than things they will eat.
It is painfully clear to the common folk that the characters are not farmers. Kavian earns their respect with his knowledge of gardening from his time as a Monk. Cassia is also a hit with her group, as she learns their local songs and adds some bawdy verses, to the delight of the folk, even if it is clear the Noble Scion has no idea about farming. For three days, the group ends exhausted and satisfied. On day three, the majority of the harvest is done, and the grateful farmers tell the fatigued characters they have done enough.
The whole town relaxes in the town square in what amounts to a mini festival. Fresh food and animals have been provided from this year’s good harvest. Normally, this would be all that passed for a festival, but the whole town is excited, looking forward to the festival the Tribunes are paying for in two days. While the characters have been working on the farms, the Duchess has been planning what she says will be an even bigger celebration.
Late that afternoon, Giado Eta arrives with his wagon and guards. He is one of Count Lotheed’s licensed tax collectors, but the citizens of Stachys see Eta as little more than a privateer, buying a license in advance from Count Lotheed each year, then carrying off with whatever he likes from local farms. Giado rides the wagon along with one of his Superstitious Mercenaries, while two more of the shady looking men are in front and six bring up the rear. He dismounts the wagon and imperiously demands to see the Tribunes and Seneschal. A brief conversation reveals he wants to assess “The recent harvest and all the treasure recovered from the County of Merrat.”. The group muses about the law and Detash notes that assessments are not on a table but let up to the tax collector. He is invited to the Manor, and the tired group heads up the hill to their home, while the tax collector and his hired goons slowly bring the wagon up the hill.
While Giado is headed up, the group discusses a plan. Kavian, trying to be even-handed argues to hear what he wants and then decide. Kavian greets the guests and talks Giado to taking just one guard to meet with him to review the papers, and the rest are fed and entertained by Cassia in another room. Carrod and Sepsimia listen in from an adjacent room, while the rest of the group sits in with Giado. Both rooms have the Manor’s “cats” in corners, curious about these visitors who have caused so much pain for their former mistress. The Duchess, unwilling to face anyone linked to Count Lotheed retreats upstairs. Kavian has Onara bring the preliminary assessment of the harvest figures, and Giado pours over them for an hour. He then says they are in order and demands the rest of the books from Corwyn. Kavain steps in and tells Giado he wants to know what the taxes on the harvest will be, and Giado tells Kavian that he will make an assessment when he has access to all the information. There is a growing standoff with Kavian angrily refusing any further help and telling Giado he can leave. Giado launches to his feet and haughtily announces his right, and his hands glow with arcane energy. Kavian smiles inwardly while his face is a mask of anger. This is what he wanted, for the tax collectors to attack them. A bleary-eyed Mikhael is able to perceive that the glow is just prestidigitation, but the show is convincing to Iona who hits Giado with hold person. Giado is stuck fast, hands still energized. His guard cries for help and draws his sword, ready to advance. Corywn, in his most intimidating, tells everyone to “STOP” and the guard hesitates while his master is held. Kavian demands Iona release Giado, but she hesitates.
Meanwhile, the shout is heard across the house. The guards leap up, and Cassia tries to slow walk them to investigate, but they push past her. Mikhael slips out the door to the entrance hall to see the other guards headed their way. As tensions mount, Kavian repeats his order to Iona who frees Giado. His response is that the Tribunes will pay for this assault. Kavian tells him to leave, and they whole group is escorted out of the Manor. With a wagon they can cover 16 miles a day and Birdsong is 22 miles away. It will take them a day and a half to get back. Agents report they have moved up the road in the dying light 6 miles to camp for the evening. They will reach Birdsong by sundown tomorrow.
The group knows that this will show their outright rebellion against the Count. Their servants cannot help but overhear what is going on. They tell the Tribunes that they are heroes of the County and the people are with them, and that word of them driving off the hated Giado will be met with cheers and jeers. No one will stand against them overthrowing the Count, though there is no army to be had – no one wants to die if the group fails. The group muses on a way to quickly tell the other nobles they are about to launch an attack on Birdsong. Cassia, Mikhael, and Corwyn look at each other and think of the Duchess. They find her and ask her to help. She agrees on the condition that they secure her painting, as destroying that will kill her, and she is not sure she even has a soul. Kavian swears that they will secure it, and that night, while the group sleeps, she alerts the noble families. Before bed, Cassia puts her Noble Scion to use, and writes the proclamation on what they are doing and why. Specifically, that Grand Princess Eutropia Stavian is taking her rightful place in the County of Merrat. Carrod promises to take Sepsimia home, and the Duchess agrees to go with them. ”I am good with my sword, and I can be back here immediately after she is safely in her mother’s care.”
For the morning, Corwyn plans to pay for the proclamation to be copied and distributed. Riders will be sent to carry the message to key people within the county.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 11, 4719|
The crew awakes after a full night, while the sun is not yet over the horizon. They find the Duchess has also communicated to the people of the town, and there is a contingent of men with various farm tools and minor weapons assembling outside. Leading them is Portimer of Stachys. He offers to defend the Manor. The Duchess and Carrod leave with Sepsimia. The group mounts up and soon overtakes the tax collector they repudiated and charge around him. He remains defiant as they ride by. It is a fast ride to Birdsong, and the group dismounts in the drive to the place. 6 guards stand outside and the two chained living topiaries. Kavian demands to see the Count, and is told to wait outside while a guard goes to get instructions. Unwilling to wait, Kavian strides forcefully towards the guards who sense his intentions to breach the palace. One shouts a command word and the chains holding the topiaries back drop and the fight is on.
It is a short and brutal fight, with Detash’s opening fireball seriously hurting the living plants and soldiers. As the group moves in, the soldiers fall quickly as they are clearly reluctant to enter into Birdsong itself. Even Detash’s skeleton horse engages in the action. Using her stabilizeorison, Iona is able to make sure none of the guards die.
Once the way was clear, the party charges the front doors to confront the four magic caryatid columns which came to life to attack them. This was clearly why the soldiers would not enter. Faced with this foe, the party is hard pressed. Immune to magical attacks and dangerous to weapons which hit them, the group was unsure how to win. Mikhael comes to the rescue with a magical pit opened below three of them. Kavian grabbed the fourth and tossed it down the hole. The constructs temporarily delt with, the group moves towards the sleeping areas they knew, intent on going to the royal tower.
Here they run into into Titus and his remaining crony as well as several guards. The party was not much interested in any byplay, and immediately engaged in combat. Cassia takes the opportunity to go out back, avoiding the living topiaries there and coming around to enter the back towards the area with the painting.
As the fight progresses, the group is able to knock out Titus and most of the surrounding soldiers, just in time for Count Lotheed himself to show up at the far end of the hall. He opens with a fireball devastating the party and most likely killing he distant family member and soldiers, all of whom are down. In front of the Count are several soldiers who march forward to engage the party.
Meanwhile, Cassia stumbles into a trap and is struck by a bolt of lightning from cherubs in the ceiling. Taking more caution, she checks for traps on the door to the study and on the painting itself. Finding a poison trap, she disables it and secures the painting. While she has heard the roar of fireballs and fighting, Cassia assumes her friends can manage the fight and grabs the painting.
Back in the long hallway, Elsa unleashes a sonic attack. Detash launches his other prepared fireball in kind against the troops, and then readies to counterspell. Corwyn moves to engage, while Kavian and the skeleton warrior fight a remaining soldier. Mikhael calls Lysanthir to his side, seeing Kavian has matters well in hand, and sends the winged beast over the heads of the soldiers to fight the Count, who has thrown up Mirror Image. Mikhael deftly uses his detect thoughts to telepathically guide his Eildon to the right target, but both struggle to hit the other. Meanwhile, Elsa summons an archon, and Iona heals everyone. Now, the whole party in the fight is at full health. Kavian is about to kill the soldier next to him and the party is on the verge of cutting through the remaining soldiers to get to their prey.
Count Lotheed engages in a two handed attack, hurting Lysanthir and one casting a spell. Lysanthir is unable to disrupt the casting. The count yells, “Get our of my home!” and gestures down the hall. Detash yells “fireball” and ducks behind a wall. Flames explode in the hallway, instantly burning up fuel. Iona falls burned and dying. Mikhael, Elsa and Kavian manage to avoid the full impact, but Elsa’s archon is purged from this plane in a ball of fire. Corwyn would drop, but uses a hero point to reroll and avoids damage. Only the skeleton and Lysanthir are not affected.
Now the soldiers move Corwyn gets a stab at one, but he cannot stop them all. Lotheed calls for their surrender and gives the soldiers orders to kill the cleric if the group does no surrender. The party says nothing. Elsa goes to ask Kavian, but the wait is too long. The soldiers both stab Iona, bringing her to the verge of death. The other two pull their crossbows and fire at Elsa, one dropping her.
Corwyn leaps over Lotheed to block his way and demands his surrender. Lotheed, strikes back with full force, casting a vampiric touch. Corwyn is unable to strike the Count as he casts, and instead hits the last mirror image. Blood flows from Corywn’s wounds and life is sucked from him to Lotheed.
Kavian moves up to engage render aid to Elsa and Iona, heroically ignoring the danger of the soilders. Detash used Animate Dead to raise a skeleton and take command of it with his dark energies. The other skeleton kills the far solider and then will move with its new brother forward. Mikhael retreats after being attacked by the soldier, and the skeletons move in. Using his safe space, he forms another pit and separating Lotheed from the party and dropping one solider 30 feet. Detash uses his magic missiles to strike at the enemy. Meanwhile, Cassia has is trying to find a place to safely secure the painting, unaware of her comrades dire hour. She opens a door to what she thinks might be a bedroom and finds it is a nursery. A creature composed of a rat skull and rages leaps upon her calling her mommy and asking for her love. Cassia tries to play it a lullaby to fascinate it, but the undead thing is immune. It leaps upon her asking for her love, even as it tries to suck her very voice out of her. Cassia avoids significant damage and flees through the door, slamming it behind her. She goes to find another place to hide the painting.
Corwyn, Lysanthir and Lotheed continue their deadly dance. Corwyn and Lysanthir are able to heavily hurt the magus, but his rage turns on Corwyn, and using his wand ability, he strikes Corwyn for a near critical hit, and coupled with the shocking grasp Corwyn goes down, bloodied and burned. In a moment, Count Lotheed steps over the body and then vanishes using invisiblity. Lysanthir hears him headed up the stairs.
Cassia exits the building and returns the way she came. She is excited to have secured the painting and moves down the hallway, only to see Corwyn dying on the ground. Cassia rushes to him and plays a healing song, rousing him.
As the soldiers engaged with the party fall, the skeleton takes the wand from Iona’s no longer breathing body, and Detash and Mikhael attempt to use the wand to heal. The start with Iona who needs its most, hoping to restore. Kavian charges after the Count, leaping over the pit and Lysanthir follows on his heels.
Elsa rises and bends over Iona, her hands glowing with icy blue healing energy. Iona suddenly gasps as she inhales. She looks around at the worried faces of her companions. Moments before, Iona was face to face with Iomedae. The goddess told her faithful servant that her time was not done, and she was going back to her friends.
Upstairs, Kavian recognizes two clockwork automatons used for training. One is blocking these stairs, and Sir Gul is readied with a Crossbow. Lotheed is nowhere to be seen. Knowing he cannot take the construct, Kavian descends, leaving Lysanthir to cover the stairs. The enemies remain in their fortified spot, though Sir Gul takes some shots at the eidolon. Kavian joins the rest of the group as they huddle around Iona. The cleric grimly heals the party. The one solider not in the pit flees to a bedroom and they dispatch the other.
Corwyn and Kavian lead the way upstairs, while Cassia looks to find a bedroom to stash the painting safely. Only limited people can even see their foes. Detash sends forth his spectral hand and tells his skeletons to be ready. Corwyn engages the clockwork creature while also taking fire from Sir Gul and Lotheed. Corwyn and Kavian both use acrobatics to break past the constructs and attack them. The winged Lysanthir has no such issues and is able to fly out and engage. In moments, what was a horrible bottleneck is open as the first of the clockworks falls under physical and magical attacks. The skeleton races in and the fight moves forward. The inquisitor Sir Gul falls into the arcane spell of Mikhael again uses his pit spell. While Lotheed manages to avoid falling by leaping back, he is still clearly in danger. Human guards at the other stairs watch in horror as he fires of a fireball that hits the party and one of their own. The skeleton is destroyed, but everyone else survives. Cassia and Elsa move up. Lotheed is on the other side of the pit and planning to use invisibility. However, Cassia strikes him with hideous laughter. Fatigued by the fighting, the magus succumbs to the spell (with a natural 1) and cannot act. He is in horror as Corwyn and Kavian leap over the pit to flank him. Corwyn calls for the soldiers to surrender, and two flee while one moves to engage Kavian. Elsa also leaps over using her new boots to prepare to heal Corwyn, but Corwyn knocks the Count out. Seeing this the remaining soldiers run. Kavian deftly leaps down into the pit and dispatches Sir Gul but does not quite kill him. The leaders are quickly shackled and Lotheed is gagged as well.
Mikhael grabs a guard and demands information about the palace. Beyond the command words for the constructs, they guards do not know what is in the royal tower. The group assumes that must be where the circle is and maybe the charter is in the vault. They are on a clock, with maybe a week until word reaches the Duke and he returns.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 12, 4719|
After the fall of Lotheed, Detash races outside to recontrol the undead skeleton before it causes problems. With the defeat of their master, and the party healing them, the Lotheed soldiers are willing to take direction from the agents of Princes Eutropia. They take their captives to the guest cottages and place them under guard of the skeletons and soldiers. The heroes decide to rest outside the Palace, due to the past nightmares. Everyone is healed and rests.
The next morning, the final search of Birdsong Palace begins. They group goes immediately to secure the royal tower. Corwyn uses the ioun stone to be hidden to undead, with the hope to sneak up on the attic whisperer, but it is hiding. Iona calls to check under the bed, and Corwyn does and is attacked. The creature barely hurts the rogue, but it steal his voice for an hour. Sensing something is wrong, Kavian charges in followed by Iona. They easily deal with the poor creature, releasing its tortured spirit.
Upstairs, a quick search revels an arcane laboratory that has been used for foul experiments. As they search it, Ehlers, Duke Panivar’s most trusted servant, a despicable sahkil ichkolh materializes and attacks. This is the monster who has tormented the nightmares of people staying. Its knowledge means that Cassia, Detash, and Kavian struggle against it mind effects worse than the rest. The evil outsider begins a horrible dance with the party, striking Kavian blind with its power. Corwyn is quick to corner it, but it is still dangerous. It shakes off even Elsa’s mystic bolt tuned against evil outsiders. Before it can unleash a worse attack, Cassia strikes it with a spell and renders it ill. Unable to attack or cast any spell, Corwyn and the blind Kavian finish it off.
Searching the room, the group easily finds the secret door to the summoning circle. Detash uses the wand of lightning recovered from the trap Cassia sprung to scorch the silver circle. Other treasures are in the lab that the group takes and moves forward. Turning to the rest of the palace, the group goes to Lotheed’s study. There Elsa notes the Martella Lotheed was crudely painted over in the family portrait and starts to remove the paint. It is at this moment they have their only other encounter, Mercater Lotheed’s ghost. Mercater Lotheed, father of Bartelby and Martella, was the former Count Lotheed and steward of Meratt. While arrogant and greedy, he was also a dutiful aristocrat of Taldor and competent administrator who resented his family’s long history of abusing the county and their power. His many years spent correcting longstanding issues with county infrastructure. His wail causes everyone in the room but Kavian and Iona to flee. Kavain tries to talk to the ghost, but it only wails and hovers. Iona notes it looks like he is trying to turn a combination. Kavain stumbles to the corner where he floats and uncovers a safe by feel. The ghost goes silent and watches. Corwyn, having recovered from his fright, returns to open the safe and they find the a variety of birth certificates, death certificates, newspapers, royal announcements, and travel documents dating back 300 years. Mikhael checks the the birth certificates for men named Panivar Lotheed II–VI and ascertains they are forgeries, while the other papers all feature announcements and sketches related to six men bearing the same name and very similar description. It is clear to the party that Panivar Lotheed never died but has assumed the status of his descendants. With that realization, the ghost sighs and fades. The office also contains three perches for figurines of wonderous power two garnet gotwits and a gold eagle. One of the gotwits is missing, meaning the group did not have a week at all, but only a day to get the teleportation circle destroyed.
The county archive is guarded by a chair golem that the group can deactivate thanks to their capture of Lotheed. The shelves and files of the archive room contain a record of every major birth, death, contract, and financial transaction dating back centuries, with spillover shipped to Cassomir’s provincial library for long-term storage. Most importantly, the archives that are found in this room contain a copy of the original charter granting stewardship of the county of Meratt to the Lotheed family, which the group can provide to allow Princess Eutropia to reclaim the land without civil unrest.
Finally able to rest, Kavian sends runners to tell the County what happened and summon the local nobility to Birdsong. Detash sends his undead Raven to take the news to the Princess.
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 13-20, 4719|
|Cassia||Information Network with local Guards +1 Subterfuge|
|Tremerus||Teaches Baron's Daughter arts of stealth and shadow, using his team. Subterfuge +1|
|Iona||Locate Loyalists on way back to increase Sagacity +1|
|Corwyn||Engages in a Daring Traversal to announce the coming of the Princess Hero +1|
|Detash||Experimention on Zombies with voice and not Magic Genuis +1|
|Mikhael||Tinkering with his equipment Genius +1|
|Elsa||Help the people through the Tranisiton Sacrafice +1|
|Kavian||Contest for person to be his Right Hand Heroism +1|
On the 13th, the day after the securing of Birdsong, Corwyn awakes to discover he has grown a full prehinsle tail. It appears this time, instead of a fur ring around his waist, he now has a furred tail. While it is out, he has better balance, but while it is constrained, even a magical belt of dexterity will not help him. He keeps this to himself.
Corwyn, Iona and Kavian proceed back to Bentony. Iona is anxious to get the Harvest festival planned for the weekend, and Kavian wants to set up a competition to decide who is his right hand in Merret, knowing he will be leaving. Along the way Iona has her agents work on identification of the Loyalist faction Lotheedar. Corwyn makes a daring traversal to announce the coming of the Princess. That afternoon, the brothers Tabo and Tumnus Brothers show up with proposal to ally with Galluvixes. Corwyn talks to these allies and arranges for them to guard the various farms in exchange for payment in chickens. That same afternoon, the package arrives from the people of Sotto. It is a Worg Cloak, allowing the wearer to turn into a dire wolf once a day. Kavain is enthusiastic, and immediately revels in his new look. Felsha also shows up, saying she has gifts from the people of Jambis. It seems that they are now harvesting silk from the giant spiders. They have presented the heroes with Spider Silk Underclothes that will help protect them from poison.
At Birdsong, the missing Gotwit returns with begin letter from Lotheed-Casava asking about his son’s welfare. Detash suspects the spell secret page has been used but does not have the means to uncover the real message. Messengers from nobles start to arrive, with people saying they will arrive at the Palace on the 15th.
Over the night of the 13th, Iona and Kavian both have disturbing dreams. For Kavian, Sepsimia seductively came to him, in diaphanous clothing, talking to him about a chance for immortality. Somehow, Kavian knows that things are not right and resists the dream, awakening aroused but feeling intact. Iona dreams of being led out by a black fox outside. She is asked questions about what the group has been doing and why. She has the impression she was following the fox on all fours. Iona awakes in the garden, just before first light, her night clothes shredded.
At breakfast with Corwyn, both relate their dreams. Corwyn takes the gotwit and sends an immediate message to Cassia (not Elsa, interestingly) that Iona might have been compromised and their actions might be known to someone. Corwyn tries to sense magic, but of course, Iona shows her normal magical effects.
Later in the day, Grandmother arrives and Corwyn talks to her privately. Grandmother scolds Corwyn, even striking him with her cane, which Corwyn accepts. She tells him this curse is now beyond her and even beyond a remove curse as it is part of him. Cutting the tail off might cause it just to grow back, or worse, cripple Corwyn. She suggests a miracle from a priest or a wizard bending reality. Corwyn thanks her and rejoins his friends.
Kavian tells Corwyn he has been having and old would itch, but cannot remember when get got it. Corwyn drags Kavian to Grandmother with Iona tagging along. The wise old woman identifies it as a wolf bite, and says it must have been enhanced with magic, because the wound is still scarred despite healing magic being used on it. Corwyn pulls out a silver mace and touches it to Kavian to no effect. Corwyn does note the moon was full last night. After both people relate their dreams, Grandmother offers a cream to stop the itching, and with access to the kitchen, brew up sleeping draughts. She crafts enough for two weeks for both people, though only Iona uses hers.
Later in the week, Corwyn meets with the Four Hoods of Beggarwood and they agree to let the Tribunes present their cases to the Princess. Two deserted the army and one was implicated in support for a murderer. While just resettling is an option, they will abide by what the decision is. The remainder of Beggarwood residents are resettled in the reclaimed areas of Stachys that are not already surveyed for existing families in Cassia’s survey.
On the 14th, Detash’s raven returns with news that the Princess will arrive on the 20th. This news is sent to Bentony so the harvest festival can be moved up a day. Elsa and Cassia make preparations for the other nobility to arrive. Detash continues his fevered transcription of spells into his newly purchased spell books. Mikhael is working with his agents and his tool to increase their abilities. The 15th comes and so does the nobility. The first to arrive is the closest, Barron Okerra. Before he has cleared the steps he asks Elsa to see their legal documentation. Elsa attempts to put him off, but fails. Cassia is able to sweet talk him into the building. Mikhael, who is overseeing the deployment of the day’s wine for the arrival, pulls them both aside. He tells the women that sitting on the documents is not a good idea. If they are worried about them being stolen, he offers an Archon Hound to guard them. The summoner is persuasive, and they agree and set up a display. Elsa goes to the Barron to apologize and they create a viewing area in the library, the humanoid outsider with a greatsword standing by. Mikhael, goes back to supervising the wine and champagne.
The harvest festival goes off without a hitch with a massive celebration. It is clear the next day will be written off as well. Kavian holds his contest for a number two. There are several entries from the school he established, including a brilliant masked dualist who wins the day. To everyone’s shock, she revels herself to be Sepsimia. The grinning noble bowed before Kavain then popped up for a fast kiss, which the stunned Kavain had the presence of mind to extend. The people of Stachys laughed and cheered. After the festival, the three in Bentony depart for Birdsong and they prepare for the arrival of the Princess with a receiving line of the nobility.
Princes Eutropia arrives with Martella Lottheed and her entourage. After a day of meetings and getting settled in, Eutropia invites the heroes into her new sitting room for presentations. She thanks them for their service, in what is most likely the most important step towards her gaining her rightful place at as Grand Princess. She notes that the Tribunes may keep birdsong, and she give each of them 100 platinum pieces. She then has Martella help her with gifts for the group.
She first presents Elsa with a weapon from her native home. A +1 Long Spear of Spell Storing from Ulfen, complete with several runes, fashioned with a narwhal horn. Elsa tearfully accepts this gift, clutching it to her as a treasure.
She turns to Iona, and Martella unwraps and presents her with a +1 Impervious, Deific CallingLongsword with Iomede symbol in hilt. This magic sword will come at the name Iomede being spoken into Iona’s hands.
For Mikhael and Tremerus, she notes they took collars from the archive, and these were actually used in the Third Expedition. Martella produces two emerald plates that can be attached to those collars making them +1 Collars of Defending Mighty Fangs
To Kavian, she notes that she understands his quest to clear his family name, and offers him a Signet Ring of Protection +1 for his true family name.
Next the Princess grins and pulls a small pouch out from her pockets. She tosses it to Corwyn, saying she understands he is a secretive type. It is a small coin pouch, that is in fact a type I Folding Pouch of Concealment
Noting Detash’s haggard look from his study, she has Martella give him a Sustaining Scholar’s Ring to help him stay awake and study.
Finally, she notes that Cassia is quite the performer, and understands she was noted at her school. She has Martella present Cassia with a +1 Fiddle. Cassia, amazed, recognizes it from the study of one of her teachers and takes it with delight.
Before they leave, Corwyn makes a case for the Four Hoods and fails. Cassia adroitly steps in, however, and easily wins pardons for the four.
The group leaves and heads for Bentony, to rest and enjoy some time off before the next mission!
|Campaign Dates||Lamashan 21 – Neth 31 4719|
|Game Dates||06/03/21, 0610/21|
|Cassia||Works to undermine Nightswan +1 Subterfuge||Studies the signs and figures the group is headed next to Yanmass||Organize a Party of Abjurant Day Charm +1 Princess Attended||Meet with the Princess to help her draft rules for Merrat County to better protections for the commoners +1 Charm|
|Corwyn||Selling Items for 75% market Value||Commission a belt||Organized Protest Against Pytharius but it is rebuffed||As Lars Organized Protest Againt Pytharius +1 Heroism|
|Detash||Lecture Supporting Eutropia Genius +1||Lecture Noblity Fear of Gout and ways to manage it, but it does not go over as well as he would suspect||Investigation into Duke Lotheed VI Subterfuge +1||Lecture Raising the Dead to use as Guards Genius which results in his lecture being booed|
|Elsa||Performs community acts with the Baron's people Sacrifice +1||Organize A Rally Against Slavery Sacrifice +1||Oppera Operation to try to find out where her family was sold||Works to locate Anti slavery sympathizers, but is unable to build a coalition.|
|Iona||Half of unit in Oppera to Follow Felsha to see if she is Nightswan||Selling Items||Drive Legislation to help Eutropia to get access to more money Sagacity +1||Used Agents to Purchase Items|
|Kavian||Organized Protest Againt Pytharius Heroism +1||Organized Protest Againt Pytharius Heroism +1||Publicly Posts his thoughts on Noble-Commoner Relations +1 Sagacity||Lectures on his thoughts on Noble-Commoner Relations +1 Sagacity|
|Mikhael||Looks to build his information Network Genius +1||Tinkering with his equipment Genius +1||Lecture on Magic at Birdsong Palace Genus +1||Looks to build his information Network but fails|
|Tremerus||Attempts to Undermine Night Swan in Pensaris but Fails||Successfully Undermines Night Swan in Penseris Subterfuge +1||Attempts to Undermine Night Swan in Voinum but Fails||Successfully Undermines Night Swan in Voinum Subterfuge +1|
Martella Lotheed tells the group not to expect to be needed before the 16th of Neth (November) almost a full four weeks away. As some of the group leave for Bentony on the 21st of Lamashan (October), Corwyn announces his plans to return to Oppera. Iona and Detash plan to go with him. The three ride with Kavian and Tremerus back to Stachys, while Mikhael stays to give a full report to their spymaster. Elsa and Cassia opt to stay at the Capitol of Merret County and plan to ride out with Mikhael in a couple of days. The next day, Mikhael works with Carrod with securing his information network, while Cassia recruits Birdsong soldiers to spread a message against the Nightswan, making two of them into her local agents. Elsa prepares supplies to work with the people of Baron Okerra. The three then head out in the morning of the following day, the summoner heading back to Stachys, while the ladies travel to Pensaris.
The hunter returuns to his tutoring duties with the Baron’s daughter before Mikhael even gets back to Bentony. Tremerus also spends time deploying his agents over the next four weeks to stir up the populations of Pensaris and Voinum against the Night Swan.
Upon return to Bentony, Cassia organizes against the Night Swan, which if timely as the Night Swan leaves a message for outside of Birdsong on Saturday the 25th: ”THERE IS A NEW MISTRESS IN THE HOUSE? WILL SHE BE ANY BETTER THAN THE LAST? THE PEOPLE ARE WATCHING!”
Cassia also sends operatives to Oppera to check on rumors, and after a week’s work, they advise Cassia that their next most likely deployment is Yanmass.
The centerpiece of her work is a party to celebrate Abjurant Day (any excuse for a party), with its focus on shoring up mutual defenses and magic. The Princess attends and it is a smashing success. However, unknown to the party at the time, the Night Swan approaches Kavian and Sepsimia who are outside for a walk in the gardens at night.
After the party, Cassia meets with the Princess to help her draft rules for Merrat County to better protections for the commoners.
Elsa works with the community in Pensaris, acting the part of a noble neighbor. Over the course of the couple of days she is there, she lets the Baron down gently, that he is not what she is looking for, and she is not yet ready to settle into one place. This breaks off their courtship, but they remain friends. She spends the period of time organizing a rally against slavery, and dispatches agents to try to find out in Oppera where her family was sold.
Kavian works to hone his organization around his own heroic persona and along with Sepsimia, organizes back to back protests against Pytharius in Stachys and Lotheedar to much success. He is able to help cement the area to support the Princess. He then sets up a pamphlet on his thoughts on Commoner – Noble relations and publishes it. At the Abjurant day party The night of 11/8, Kavain grows tired of the social interaction and takes a breather along with Sepsimia behind the manor. While there they encounter the Night Swan. The two confront the Night Swan, and together blunt her Galtish zeal. The Night Swan agrees watch and not act against Kavian’s interests without warning. This appearance seems to rule our Felsha definitely as she was still in the party when this encounter happened. Kavian takes the time the next week to give a lecture on his topic of Commoner – Noble relations.
After his return to Birdsong, Mikhael again worked with his magical equipment to improve his understanding of arcane lore. He also worked with Cassia to prepare a lecture on magic on Abjurant day, before the party that night. His lecture ends up attended by not only local nobility, but politicians who have come because of the proximity to the Princess. He continues to work on his information network with Carrod.
The group who went to Oppera were also busy Corwyn and company head out to Oppera, arriving late on the 24th. They also order several agents to redeploy to Oppera. Corwyn leads the group across the three-day trip, and the party immediately gets to work.
Corwyn immediately empties most of the bag of holding and uses his agents to get 75% the market value for their unused magic items. He sets about looking for anyone who might be able to remove his curse but is unsuccessful. He still commissions a belt enchanted to hide is affliction. Corwyn also attempts to organize a protest against Pytharius and succeeds in his second week of trying.
The necromancer first spends his time checking on his business and then moves to giving two lectures. One on supporting the Princess which goes over well, but the other on Gout and ways to manage it not so much. As part of abjurant day, he has his two skeletons join a parade. He then directs his agents into an investigation of the activities of Duke Lotheed VI, whom the party now suspects is really Panivar Lotheed I. He next tries a lecture on using the undead as guards to save lives but gets booed.
Detash also uses the time to continue to copy spell books browed from Birdsong and upgrade and modify his equipment. Corwyn gives him a wand of scorching ray they had recovered for the magical wand wrist sheath obtained from Count Lotheed.
Before leaving Merrat County, Iona leaves orders for her agents to follow Felsha of Jambis, sure that she is the Night Swan. After two weeks of monitoring, it becomes clear she is not the notorious vigilante.
Upon reaching the Capitol, first and foremost on Iona’s agenda is a visit to her parents, especially her mother. Iona’s father is a stanch supporter of Maxillar Pythareus, and Iona has not yet told her parents who she is working for. Iona receives the normal lectures from her father, but Iona does get to have the time she wants with her mother. She is able to have a private heart to heart with her mother, acknowledging the truth of her employer. Iona’s Ulfen mother is more understanding of than her Talden father, and drawing on that, gives Iona her blessing, and notes that Iona seems “blessed by the nature spirits”, a comment Iona does not fully understand.
Iona also spends time selling some items and builds on her new contacts in the city to help draft legislation that if passed will help the Princess gain access to more resources. This public act does mean that Iona is further estranged from her father. Iona then works with her agents to purchase some magical gear for the future.
The group in Oppera head north back to Merrat County. On the first night of the three day trip, Corwyn is on watch and is startled to see Iona emerge from her tent, stripping off restrictive clothing. Corywn tries to restrain her but misses. Iona, turns to Corwyn, her eyes glowing red, and she snarls and lopes off into the woods as Detash comes out of his tent. Detash sends his undead Raven to follow while he puts on shoes and the two follow their companion. It is easy to see tracks under the light of the first full moon of the month. In that light, the tracks go from naked human to four large wolf paws. While the men can track, and the raven never loses sight, they are unable to keep up with the now four footed Iona. They find her, asleep, naked, with the blood of a rabbit on her hands and face. Iona awakes with vague dreams of what happened, and is startled to see the men looking down on her. They give her a hat of disguise to be decent and spend a third of a day getting back to their campsite with the help of the raven. Fortunately, two skeleton guards were more than enough to keep any passersby at bay.
The group sends off an immediate message back to Merrat for Kavian and works to get Iona back to her Order. Because of lost time getting to their horses, they spend one more night outside, with Iona in chains, but blessedly she does not transform. In Oppera, her Order can tell she is under an enchantment and maybe a curse, but it is unlike anything they have seen and not normal lycanthropy. However, Iona’s mother’s statement now makes sense as the Ulfen do not see lycanthropy as curse. Iona and the group head back to Stachys the next day.
Receiving the message, Kavian goes to the temple in Lotheedar to seek help. After two days, the Arch Banker is not sure she can help him, but is able to say he is under and enchantment which she tries to dispel. Kavain returns to Stachys to intercept Grandmother who is packing to return to Jamibs. She examines him in manor and tells him she thinks this enchantment is effecting him like an illness or disease. She is able to treat him with a foul draught that knocks him out for almost 24 hours and leaves him feeling ill. She says this should help his body fight off the effects.
The group who went to Oppera arrives late in the evening of the 15th, having used lessor restoration spells to keep them and their horses running. Iona headed to Jambis the next day, while the rest of the group headed up to meet with Martella. In a small home on the outskirts of Jambis, Iona was seen and treated by Grandmother, but she was concerned to much less effect. Grandmother gave Iona a magical rabbit’s foot which she said would vibrate and jump in the presence of enchantments or someone trying to use mind magic on Iona. The next day, after her long medicine induced sleep, Iona headed back to collapse in her bed at Bentony Manner to link up with her friends.
Bryan's Note: Thanks to a labor shortage from the WuFlu and unemployment paying people to stay home, the player for Tremrerus, a hard working manager was consumed by work and just unable to play for some time. Thus, his character remained behind in Pensaris with the Barron to help school and we hope, tame, his wild daughter. This is why he is not here. We all miss our buddy and hope he can rejoin us soon.
|Campaign Dates||Neth 16, 4719|
The group responds to the summons at Birdsong, absent Tremerus and Iona. he Palace of Birdsong is now bustling with activity as artisans work to restore its faded glory and visiting diplomats elbow one another in the halls. Martella Lotheed is waiting in her office, (the Bartelby’s old office) with a platter of honey cakes and a steaming teapot on her desk of which she invites the party to partake.
Martella immediately notices the absence of the two members and Corwyn speaks for them, explaining that Tremerus is working with the Baron and that Iona is being treated for a curse or enchantment, giving her details of the whole situation. Martella is concerned about possible information breaches, but is willing to let the party decide what is best.
Yanmass has been neutral up until now but commands considerable wealth and access to exclusive trade goods; its support would be invaluable. Both The Princess and Pythareus have bth sent delegations to win an alliance with the Mercantile Council that runs the city. She relates that her agent, Sir Meir Dratavis, has gone missing. More of a diplomat than a spy, he refused to go with any protection. His last correspondence mentioned troubling recent events: bandit raids, cult activity, missing soldiers. In theory, he was working alongside Pythareus’s representative, Earl Yander Merkondus, to resolve the problems, but Martella notes she suspects foul play. Her mission for the group is to find Meir, or else continue his work of convincing Yanmass to formally back Eutropia.
The group asks questions about what is going on which Martella answers as best as she is able. A whole regiment of the Taldan Horse has vanished—it normally works out of Yanmass to patrol the Whistling Plains and guard trade caravans. While Martella says the Mercantile Council blames bandits, she finds it unusual for an entire military force of two dozen or so soldiers to vanish without a trace. As far as the cult, very little is known except that its members seem friendly and it is popular with many locals. Meir claims the so-called Twilight Child has been healing the sick and injured with a touch, but ”That would hardly be the first self-proclaimed god I’ve seen claim the same.”
Martella finishes with giving them a scroll of sending to use if they get word from the Night Swan. She asks them to depart as quickly as possible, ). preferably the 17th, noting it will take the trip to Yanmass takes 9 days by carriage, 5 days by Horseback, followed by 5 days via river and canal (or an additional 8 days by carriage or 6 by horseback. However, Corwyn says he needs until the 18th to put affairs in order to which Martella assents. The group heads back to Stachys in the afternoon to prepare to leave.
|Campaign Dates||Neth 17 – Kuthona 2, 4719|
|Cassia||Party for Stachys in celebration of the commoners Charm +1|
|Corwyn||Organize a Rally to support the Princess +1 Heroism|
|Detash||Lecture on Use of Magic and this times succeds in Raising his Genius +1|
|Elsa||Organizes a Rally against Slavery to increase Charm +1|
|Iona||Community Service in Meratt to heal others +1 Sagacity|
|Kavian||Conduct a Charity Auction that does not increase his Sagacity. Second: Obtain 4 cure serious wounds Potions|
|Mikhael||Works to Build Information Network to increase Charm +1|
The group spends two days to get things in order and set their agents upon various missions. Kavian leaves Sepsimia in charge of his school and the estate. Carrod is coming with her lover, and Mikhael leaves only a token at court. Corwyn and Cassia both take some Galluvix with them to Yanmass. The agents are deployed as follows:
With these set, Corwyn visits Grandmother to confirm that his affliction would require powerful magic to fix at this time, as his very biology has changed. He also grows fatigued if he constricts his tail for more than 6 hours at a time.
With things in motion, the group mounts up their carriages. Cassia uses barding Detash brought back from Oppera to disguise his skeleton mount well. She can Corwyn talk Detash into putting his humanoid skeleton into a luggage crate. No one even notices the difference in the horse, and Cassia helps maintain its disguise all the way to Yanmass. The journey is long, since Yanmass is situated at the frontier. The journey takes 9 days by carriage, followed by 5 days via river and canal to dock in the city itself. Because of their delay leaving. They arrive in Yanmass on Kuthona 2nd, the first Tuesday of the month, and the day of Baron Mauston Kustios’s monthly meeting with the city’s ruling Mercantile Council. Normally, city business is private, but the agents have been granted admission to the Mercantile Council’s meetings per Lady Martella Lotheed’s request. The group has scarcely enough time to wash off the road dust and dress in their best clothing before reporting to Yanmass’s Commerce Hall. Dame Carrod takes charge of their local agents who traveled with them (as opposed of racing ahead) and works to get their things moved into lodging so the group can rush to the meeting, arriving with it already in progress.
The group is escorted by liveried soldiers to the opulent Commerce Hall, where they learn that the baron is too ill to attend today’s meeting and that the Mercantile Council is hosting another guest, Earl Yander Merkondus. The guards introduce the PCs to a liveried halfling official named Gregor Hamble to escort them into the audience chamber. Corwyn talked to Hamble in halfling, much to the delight of their escort. He is a gregarious and helpful sort and easily talks with the group on the way into the main chamber. Hamble notes that the 19-member Mercantile Council consists of five principals and 14 associates who represent the wealthy interests of Yanmass, and that one of the associate councilors—a banker named Rhundle Navin—is unexpectedly absent. Hamble admits Baron Kustios’s absence isn’t surprising, as the baron has been ill at home for many days, leaving the task of city governance entirely in the hands of the Mercantile Council. Hamble also mentions that Earl Merkondus is a wealthy aristocrat from southwestern Taldor is here on behalf of Pythareus and is already addressing the Council.
Once escorted inside, Earl Merkonus is just finishing his statements Lord Rudig Autun invites the characters to have a seat, and that they will have a chance to speak shortly. Corwyn manages to sit in the empty chair designated for the Baron. He fails to notice the strained looked of Cassia and the nobles in the room, and Rudig gently tells him of his error. A red faced Corwyn moves seats. Rudig opens with a statement and there is some brief discussion about the current situation in the city. There are unsavory dreams haunting the people of the city. The Taldan Horse cavalry regiment that protected our city has, in large part, vanished. This leads to the third issue, which is the rise of banditry on the eastern plains: Qadiran bandits, specifically, preying upon good Taldan and Keleshite trade. Other members of the group also not the Cult of the Twilight Child in the Encircling Bower. The halfling woman, , notes that she is sure the Earl’s team of troubleshooters, the Bravos, would be more than up to the task of dealing with the various issues. It is with the mention of the Earl and his team that Lord Rudig asks the players to speak.
Cassia, as a daughter of one of the great families of Taldor, rises and wows the group with her grace and charm, being firm that they are there without presuppositions and will treat everyone fairly in their investigations. Corwyn feels compelled to get up and again apologize for his earlier faux paus and affirm that the group is here on behalf of the Princess and Loyalist faction. He is less well received than was Cassia’s speech.
After the brief words, the meeting breaks for the character to talk to various members of the Council. Knowing they have limited time (around 30 minutes), the group makes sure to talk to the main council and then moves on to some others.
Detash meets with Lord Rudig and flatters his sense of dress. The Lord is the largest spice importer and one of its wealthiest citizens—hence his abundant jewelry. A vain and foppish man who believes himself an authority on culture and fashion, Councilor Autun makes no secret of his support for the Imperialist faction. He points out that the Loyalists have suffered more than Imperialists in recent events—he opines that the ill Baron Kustios has Loyalist leanings, the missing banker Rhundle Navin was an outspoken Loyalist, and even the Qadiran bandits have been targeting merchants with Loyalist leanings the most. He observes that the troubles in Yanmass started shortly after a terrific new restaurant called Savories opened, he observes that the troubles in Yanmass started shortly after a terrific new restaurant called Savories opened. Detash then moves on to talk with Lord Dominus Servo, the slaver, but is unable to impressed the cold, arrogant man.
Elsa her time totally with the Lady Hallianna,engaging her in local gossip and gothic romance novels. Elsa does a great job of playing along and in reward receives rumors about the city, and an invitation to borrow some gothic novels from her new friend.
“That Caradinna Farkin gets herself worked up, for sure. She’s always yammering about the ‘true powers in town’ and how sheets of lead protect you from mind-controlling magic. She’s locked herself in her house, I hear.”
”I saw a weirdo in the red bird mask? I have! Yesterday at sundown he was crouched at the top of a building over by that old theater, watching the street. Creepy fellow, but I guess if he was gonna do more that mope about, he’d have done it by now. I hope.”
“People wonder where the bandits might be hiding. I’d put my money on the ruins of Orvestikar Manor. It’s isolated, and hardly anyone goes out there.”
Iona and Mikhael meet with Lady Aumber Gewbell, who has her finger on the pulse of the common man in Yanmass more than anyone else on the Council. Mikhael is able to charm her with his similar attitude and Lady Aumber mentions rumors of a local conspiracy theorist, a woman named Caradinna Farkin, who has long been known to make erratic proclamations about the “secret masters” in town. Recently, Farkin had become increasingly strident and insistent, even accosting a few of the council members in the streets. However, Farkin hasn’t been seen in the last 2 days, and Councilor Gewbell wonders whether she didn’t stumble onto some genuine clues.
Iona moves to talk to Lord Julis Reburrus, newest member of the Council, with wealth built on moving various grains and controlled farmland. Lord Julis looks at his #2 status in grains and ranching as a challenge, and is seeking to get the farming zoning changed to limit grazing. He is on the fence about which faction to support, and this might be a key way to move someone towards the loyalist faction.
The master of various wines, whiskies and beers, Flavonius Sylvius is Mikhael’s next target. The gray haired man has a round face and body and jolly demeanor. The summoner easily gets into the confidence of the merchant, and finds out that he has some debt to the local crime guild and would appreciate help with that organization. He is leaning towards the Imperialist faction, as war is always good for alcohol trade.
Lady Carmellio Rauls, mover of Armor, weapons and equestrian gear is Cassia’s target. The Lady’s greatest concern is the recent disappearance of the Taldan Horse regiment and the rise of the Qadiran bandits, both due to the impact on her contracts and for the lack of protection for her caravans. After Cassia talks with her, she spends time suggesting good leads to hunt down the missing Taldan Horse regiment and find out more about the Qadiran bandits. Cassia then moves on to meet with Lord Caelus Simplex in the business of rare animals and animal products. The crafty businessman is already leaning towards the Princess and is seeking help with new sources of rare hides or skins.
Corwyn immediately moved to talk with the Chief Enumerator of the Temple of Abadar, Abrun Palliettor. Abrun takes Corwyn aside and speaks with him guardedly, explaining that the Cult of the Twilight Child seems benign, but he’s uncomfortable with the public perception that it’s an offshoot of the Church of Abadar—he doesn’t believe that to be the case and wonders whether the cult is hiding something sinister. He suggests that Corwyn meet him later at the church for further discussion. Corwyn then discretely moves away from the Chief Enumerator and talks with the seedy Lord Praedam Raptus, whose business is artifacts and plunder sold to rich collectors in Taldor and abroad. He is very much leaning towards the Imperialist, as war is good for his business. He is anxious to find help in retrieving a stolen shipment. Corwyn is able to disengage adroitly and talk with Lord Amulius Plotius the second largest dealer in spices on the Council. It is clear Amulius is a man of rules, and is unhappy with his daughter, Visellia’s, infatuation and possible marriage to a local non-noble, Vei Cilo and would be most happy if someone could help to stop that from happening. Kavian, feeling that his interactions are not the best, choose not to go to any of the big five of the council, and instead sought out the striking Zamilla Commia, the self-made number two merchant of clothing in Yanmass. She is ambitious and this has already attracted her to the Princess, but she is willing to do what it takes to get ahead without hurting others. Zamilla is anxious to obtain some sort of raw material edge in cloth or silk. Kavain then turns to the man closest to him the weathered Lord Marcus Materiatus, biggest lumber importer to the wood starved Yanmass. The man is clearly distracted, and Kavian is unable to get him to engage.
As the half hour wraps up, Lord Rudig asks the guests to depart so that the Council can complete its business for the day. The party departs and heads out to meet an agent waiting for them to tell them where they are going to be staying.
|Campaign Dates||Kuthona 3, 4719|
|Cassia||Hide Kavian's Operation for a Success|
|Corwyn||Sales and Buys Items in Oppera @ 80%|
|Detash||Give a lecture to Raise his Magic Genus +1|
|Elsa||Watches “Birdman” for a Success|
|Iona||Sends Agents to locate sympathisers but does not find enough|
|Kavian||1. Uses contacts in Merret County to put together Silk Trade. 2. Watch the Bravos Sucessful|
|Mikhael||Canny Investment (Genius, Sagacity, Persistent): Inserts agents in Yanmass’s black markets to help Flavius|
Dame Carrod tells them she has found two town homes, both in the Bountiful District. One is Farrok House near the canal, and the other is against the south wall, the Danum House. Both are for rent at present and would allow the party and some key agents to stay. There is no one large place to comfortably and, more importantly, respectably house the characters. The two are about a 10 min walk apart. The costs are covered from vouchers from Lady Lotheed, now that the Princess has access to resources of the Birdsong Palace. After brief discussion it is decided that the Iona, Cassia, Elsa and Kavian wills stay at Farrok, and the rest of the group, including Carrod, will stay at Danum.
The group spends the rest of the day (the 2nd) getting settled in their townhomes and decide to meet at the end of each day at Farrok.
After getting their various agents in motion in the morning, the group decides what they are headed out to do. The group sees that there are clearly many currents going on, and they still do not know the full extent of what is wanted by all the members of the council.
Detash immediately goes to start work on his lecture and getting permission to have it in the Wealwind pavilion so that all the people can enjoy it.
Mikhael wisely decides to continue to follow up with council members. He follows up with Numerius Eborius, Head of the Mages Guild.
Elsa also decides to follow up with Lady Hallianna Cobbin. She has a nice afternoon visit, and comes away having borrowed three gothic romance novels:
|The Broken House of Kriegmoor||Tale of a two feuding families trying to stop the fight with a wedding which turns into a killing spree|
|The Heart of the Water||The story of a family cursed with a dark relationship with sinister monster in the depths of a great mountain lake|
|Darkness Falls Upon the Land||Tale of a tragic love between a elf woman and human vampire|
Darkness is falling by the time she gets away from the chatty halfling, but not without hearing another rumor, “I saw a couple of shady figures lurking around the temple of Abadar. They scattered as soon as they saw I saw them, but they didn’t look up to any good.”, but by that time, Corywn already knew what that rumor was about.
Iona led the way to investigate Hedge Hill, and Kavian went with her. They spend the afternoon searching and move towards a path in the thicket. Neither of them sees the blunted log trap and both are knocked to the ground by logs falling from both sides. They are hurt, but it is clear the attack was not meant to cause death. Iona heals the two and they call out for the missing conspiracy theorist, but get no reply. They move about the woods and find no trace of anyone here, other than the set trap. As it is getting dark, the two head back to Farrok.
Corywn tries to see the Baron but is told the Baron is too ill. After two hours of waiting, he goes on to the Temple of Abadar to see Chief Enumerator Abrun Palliettor. Once in the Church, he begins to talk with Abrun about the Cult of the Twilight Child. Before the two can sit down, two bandits appear and attack Corwyn, cutting him down in a moment. The Chief Enumerator glows holy light and restores Corwyn to consciousness. Corwyn leaps up and avoids more damage and with the help Abrun, kills one bandit and helps subdue the other. It seems they were The rogue explains that they received their contract from a figure in one of their usual haunts (a seedy tavern called the Grand Uncle). Their employer was cloaked and hooded, but the rogues realized that he was an Aasimar, not a human. Further, they spotted their employer attempting to conceal a strange round cap with an attached veil. Corwyn is blessed by Abrun, and given permission to take their equipment. Cassia decides to check up on the Restaurant Lord Rudig mentioned, Savories . Savories is a new, upscale restaurant in Yanmass that has the local nobles buzzing and vying for seats. There are currently five patrons in Savories: an elderly married couple and a trio of wealthy human siblings There are also two cooks working in the kitchen to the west. The oily-haired but impeccably dressed Argentus serves as host and server in order to hobnob with the elite dining at his establishment. He is clearly unhappy to see Cassia enter and works to get her to eat and leave. Cassia can tell the other patrons are under some sort of charm spell. After taking her order for lamb, Cassia casts sense thoughts and confirms he is wanting her to leave, and even thinking of using charm or suggestion to get her to leave. Despite this knowledge, Cassia fails two saving throws to follow the suggestion she eat and leave. As soon as she leaves the establishment, she knows what was up.
The party regroups to tell their tales to each other at Farrok House over a late night herbal tea. They decide to send Cassia, Mikhael, Detash, and Iona back to Savories tomorrow. Kavain, Elsa, and Corwyn plan to go to the Grand Uncle Tavern to investigate, all in their alternate identities, Benedictus, Esme’, and Lars. After the meeting, the members staying at Danum House then depart and make their way back for the night.
|Campaign Dates||Kuthona 4, 4719|
Some of the group find themselves with time before their evening missions. While Detash is preparing for his speech, and Elsa is digging into her assigned book reading, five of the group decide they might follow up with other council members. Mikhael awakes with a headache and decides to spend the day sleeping to be ready for the night, so they are down to four. Cassia chooses to meet with the head of the Performers Guild, Lady Fulvia Rhesa. She decides to open with a song she wrote on the fly, to the delight of Lady Fulvia, though Cassia is fast to point out it is not her best work. The two talk and find they have much in common. The older woman is also a bard who was trained in Rhapsodic Collegein Oppara. What the noble performer seeks is to help the commoners see events in Wealwind Pavilion on Hedge Hill. She has been frustrated by the local nobles and would appreciate the help getting culture to the common man and women. Cassia readily agrees and tells her she will see what she can do.
Corwyn heads to see Lord Aulus Tellus, a banker and investment specialist. Impressing the banker with his own knowledge of accounting, Corwyn is well received and has a pleasant conversation. Lord Aulus says he would be most grateful if someone could convince his son, Spurius, to marry the daughter of Lord Amulius Plotius , Visellia. Corywn remembers Visellia is already in love with another man, and that Lord Amulius wants that marriage stopped. The fly in the ointment (other than typical noble parents ignoring the romantic wishes of their children, is that Spurius is not interested in women, but other men. Corwyn is graceful and works his exit, shaking his head at the manipulations of noble families, knowing the pressures from his own parents all too well.
Hoping to find out more about the restaurant trade, Iona heads to speak with Lady Marki Proxsima, the third largest inporter of spices on the council. Lady Marki is a young women working her way to bigger things. Taking advantage of the lawful nature of a Cleric of Iomedea, the spice merchant tells Iona that Amulius Plotius is connected with the local criminal element and it would greatly help her if that could be exposed. Iona says she can investigate it, as she does support the law, but can make no promises about her findings.
Kavian goes to meet with Primus Frumentum the number one importer of grains and food stuffs. Kavian warms the old man’s heart with stories of gardening in the monestary, something Primus has not done with his own hands in a long time. Kavian can tell he is a shrewd man, but not one without regrets. Over several drinks, Primus admits he has not been a good father, and need to know who to leave to run his business of his three daughters, Aurelia, Cecilia, and Tatiana. Kavain says he will see what he can do to help. The old man keeps Kavian quite late, but the young man is able to weather the food and wine, and rush out to he rendezvous, stopping to change into his alter ego along the way.
With their various visits over, the four members link up with the other three of their companions to engage in their in person investigation.
|Campaign Dates||Evening of Kuthona 4th, 4719|
Iona, Mikhael, Detash and Cassia return to Savories restaurant to investigate the owner, the oily-haired but impeccably dressed Argentus. The group meets at Danum House to plan. Cassia chooses to use her Envoy Ring to adopt the disguise of a alluring young lady, and disguises Detash as a haughty noble scion. She hangs on his arm, fawning over him, much to Detash’s delight. Iona and Mikhael choose to go as themselves, and enter first, concentrating on their detect magic spells already up. It is clear to Iona that Argentus wants them gone as soon as possible, though his easy manner seems totally normal to Mikhael. The two order and the owner heads to the kitchen.
The two party members scan the restaurant and Mikhael is sure that the ice statue is indeed a golem, as Cassia suspected. A group gets up to leave, and as the three pass the table, the magic rabbit’s foot Grandmother gave Iona begins to vibrate and jump, reveling an enchantment. A scan of their table and food reveal nothing. It is as this party leaves and Argentus is clearing the table that Detash arrives in disguise, fawned over by a striking blond Cassia. She is excited to be at this establishment, while Detash offers an air of noble detachment. They two are seated across from Iona and Mikhael, and the four exchange some quick signs in the group’s hand signal cant, getting the newcomers up to date.
When Argentus brings out the food, he subtly uses his wand of charm person on both Iona and Mikhael. Despite knowing it is coming, Mikhael is under the spell and digs in with relish. Iona easily resists the effects, and notices her rabbit’s foot vibrate again. When the proprietor leaves, fooled into thinking both are charmed, Iona quickly casts dispel magic on her dining companion, much to Mikhael’s surprise, at least until the charm person is removed and he realizes what happened. Darkly, Mikhael mutters about burning the place down. The other couple in the restaurant leaves, and now, though the owner does not realize it, he is left with only agents of Princess Eutropia.
Things begin to move as Argentus brings the meals to Detash and Cassia. Detash readies a dispel magic and when Argentus goes to charm Cassia, he casually waves his hand. Iona and Mikhael see the magic die, its very essence destroyed by the necromancer. Argentus is taken aback, but Detash merely asks for actual good food. Stumbling back to the kitchen, the owner returns with excellent steaks and apologies for another master of magical arts. Detash acts as if nothing is wrong and he understands. Argentus is clearly concerned about the envoys of the Princess, and his concerns are increased when he attends to their table and Mikhael engages him as a fellow practitioner of mystic arts. Argentus looks at the cleric of a lawful and vengeful goddess sitting at the table and panics. He steps back, encasing himself in mage armor. It looks as if a fight is about to happen. At this moment, dripping charm, Cassia slides out of her booth and asks Argentus where she can relieve herself. Startled, Argentus directs her to the nearby public facilities and as she departs, Mikhael uses his distraction to be supportive. Soon, Argentus is sitting at the table, head in hands, admitting that he does not have good cooks and is trying to make this work. He has a charm persons spell that leaves people with no memory of it working (3rd Level Version) and this has been working. With Iona agreeing she will support her friend, Arentus decides he trusts them. In exchange for letting him go, Argentus tells them he is a student of enchantment studied creatures that use enchantment effects, and he recognizes the plague of distressing dreams as the work of a type of outsider called a Pairaka Div.. Mikhael offers to help him find a good cook.
The four meet up outside and head to Farrok House. Leaving, Mikhael notes to his friends ”That was the best meal I have had in a while”.
Meeting in Farrok House, Corwyn and Elsa wonder where Kavian is. The other group had already headed to dinner, and the sun is already down. Kavian rushes in and says he was delayed by his meeting. The three get ready to head out. All three adopt their alternate identities, aided by their Rings of the Secret Hero. Corwyn is going as Lars, but will then disguise himself as Grevis, the dead assassin and partner of the now jailed Grimwold. Kavian adopts his guise of the mercenary monk for hire, Benedictus, and Elsa becomes, Esme’, the gypsy. All three plan to arrive in staggard intervals. Benedictus escorts Esme’ to near by and she waits in the shadows while he goes into the tavern known as the Grand Uncle.
Inside, the smoke from pipes and hookas. Benedictus frowns at the chaos. This is exactly a hive of scum and villainy that he needs to get hired, but he despises the disorder.
Sitting down at the free table near the entrance, Benedictus orders food and beer, tipping the server well. He waits and sees Lars enter in disguise as Grevis. Lars has done well, with a permanent cut on his throat making it look like he is having trouble taking to disguise his voice. The Bartender recognizes him and offers some limited conversation. As he eats, the formidable bouncer throws someone out for making a fuss about someone cheating at cards. Outside, Esme’ sees the man leave and attempts to engage him to read his palm. The man does not want it, noting he knows his luck sucks, and wanders into the night. Esme’ enters and all eyes turn to the exotic looking woman who saunters to the bar without a look anywhere. Offering to read the palm of the bartender for a draught of wine, he snorts and tells her she can pay like everyone else, and she is free to ply her trade here but must pay him 20% of what she makes, just like the other working girls.
Lars decides that the contact for Grevis is not coming and goes to leave. As he gets to the door, he is startled to see Grimwold walk in. Grimwold exclaims ”You are dead!” upon seeing the face of his friend. Lars reacts with a quick punch, but while startled, Grimwold does not enter into places like the Grand Uncle off guard. He deftly avoids the sucker punch from Lars, but does not strike back as Lars flees past him into the night. The bouncer comes to ask if Grimwold is OK and the man heads to the bar. He tells the bartender he saw Grevis cut up in a fight and that must have been an imposter.
Lars returns and asks to sit at Benedictus’s table and getting a non-comment, takes his seat. The monk pulls his drink closer to him. A patron asks Lars what his is doing, and Lars says he is late getting into the city and just wants a bite to eat and a place to stay.
At the bar, Esme’ talks to the hired blade and invites him to do a job of killing a man who jilted her at Danum House. Despite clearly not trusting her, Grimwold agrees to meet her here tomorrow night to accept the job. He finishes his drink and heads into the night.
Lars has just finished eating and leaves his money on the table to head out and tries to see which way Grimwold went. However, the rouge clearly moved into the shadows once he left the tavern. Lars heads out and finds a place to change back to Corwyn before getting back to the Danum House. Benedictus leaves and waits for Esme’ to follow. The two make their way back to Farrok House, where Cassia briefs them on their evening. At Danum House, Mikhael and Corwyn discuss the events of the night as well.
Everyone turns in to get some sleep, so they can work to uncover the other mysteries of the City of Yanmass.
|Campaign Dates||Night of Kuthona 4th, Kuthona 5th & 6th 4719|
Everyone turned in late, but a good night’s sleep was not in the cards for the group. Cassia found herself in her dreams walking in a meat locker, with bodies hanging in them. She found her three best friends among them, Stephana with a hook through her feet, Victor impaled in the chest, and Gratia through the eye. Looking at her friends, Cassia found herself overwhelmed with hunger, and by the time she awoke, she had dreamed of consuming her friends. She had to look at her hands to make sure they were not covered in blood, and her face in the mirror. Dark circles and a haunted look stared back at her. It was in the mirror she noticed her window was open over her bed. Mikhael also tossed in a nightmare. Here, he and Carrod were together intimately, but their kisses and actions became stronger and bites. As he dreamed, the sorcerer ate much of his lover. He awoke to Carrod shaking him looking worries. Immediately, Mikhael cursed, knowing that he had been attacked by the pairaka divs. It was at this point, he heard Detash knocking on the bedroom door.
Detash and Corwyn had a different experience. When the window to their room was pushed open by a grey cat, the on guard Mozbie, Detahs’s familiar, raised an alarm. Detash woke to see the cat, with its black eyes like marbles stare at him and leap away. Detash sent Mozbie to follow it, but the creature was able to elude him. Back in the room, the two found Carrod and Mikhael already awake. Corwyn went into the night with tracking powder but could not find their attacker. The four decided to confer with the others in the morning at Farrok House. Mikhael was sure he was not going back to sleep, and knew he would be exhausted the next day.
While Iona and Elsa appeared to spend the night in peace, they did awake to find the window to their room also ajar. If they were attacked, Iona surmised that it failed. Kavian, however, had a different experience. In his dream, an alluring Sepsimia approached him with open arms, which looked to be the start of a good dream. However, a raven haired women suddenly stood between them and said,
”No, this man is mine. You cannot have him”.
In response, Speseimia’s eyes grew black and glared at the other women and Kavian awoke. He immediately noticed his window was open, and investigated by first looking, then leaping outside. He was able to find no traces of anyone, and was forced to awaken a servant to get back into the residence.
At breakfast the next day, the group relates their experiences. Based on taking with Argenus, Mikhael is sure that these are the pairaka divs. He suggest they paint their rooms red, as they creatures will not enter a room like that, and has Carrod organize that for today. It is clear to the team that they need to find the lair of these creatures fast. Iona cures Cassia and Mikhael of their fatigue using her holy magic and the group divides into teams to head out.
Hitting the city for investigations, the party breaks up into three groups, Cassia and Corwyn, Iona, Detash and Elsa, and Mikhael and Kavian. Iona’s group calls on Lord Dominus Servo, the slave master in the city. He is arrogant and dismissive of the trio, saying he is sure the Bravos will help him. However, he is missing a shipment of some slaves who escapesd as they headed north, somewhere in Merrat County. Iona is polite, but Elsa storms out with Detash in tow. This is one mission the party does not want to help with. It is clear that Lord Dominus’s loyalty is already firmly on the side of the Imperialists.
Cassia and Corwyn have a great deal of luck finding out about nightmares visited upon the population. Cassia’s charm and candor help put people at ease, and as they talk, Corwyn carefully compiles the stories:
After a day of talking to the townsfolk, the two pay a call on Mr. Marcus Materiatus, a wood and lumber importer. He is a somber man, concerned about his missing son, Postumius, who was studying in Oppera and has gone missing. The two promise to do what they can to find him.
Kavain and Mikhael have the most excitement on their patrol. After being unable to find anyone talking about dreams, the two pause next to a public water fountain to discuss how to proceed. They are deep in conversation and fail to notice that four townsfolk, each armed with a makeshift weapon are approaching them. Looking up at the last moment, Mikhael sees the dark and haunted eyes of the four construction workers. It is clear to him they are under the effects a of charm spell. Kavian moves faster than any of them, and quickly disarms the two near him, a large 2 x4 and shovel flying through the air. Caleb casts defensively and slows the four targets. While one manages to brush Mikhael with his club, it is a glancing blow. Mikhael forms a pit, catching one of the attackers, but the other steps free. Kavian drops another into the pit, and the fall breaks the spell and he begs for mercy.
Stepping back, Mikhael asks ”Have you got this?”, to which the his friend replies ”Yep” and drops the other two into the pit. The four are subdued and the spell is brokenThe townspeople admit to having terrible nightmares and are convinced that killing any of the Princesses followers will put a stop to them. If pressed, the townspeople share that a “white ram” with black eyes convinced them of this, though they’re at a loss to explain why they believed the talking beast. Townspeople are effusively apologetic and helpful, but they can provide little information other than to describe the white ram and their nightmares in vivid detail Mikhael asks who they support, and each of these townspeople had been inclined to support the Loyalist faction, but they have been ignoring politics since the onset of their bad dreams. Their support has obviously increased. As Mikhael talks to the poor townsfolk, a man come strolling through the square towards the fountain. Kavian moves to talk to him. The man is dressed much as a ranger would be, and he introduces himself as Viaria Raveneyes, a member of the Bravos. After some not so subtle teasing, including referring to the player group as “The Princesses Lackeys” because they “don’t have a group name,” the two men part civilly, but clearly knowing there will be a more physical encounter when the time is right. Viaria leaves with a final jab, wondering how the monk would do wrestling Acyd.
Back at Farrok House, the agents at the house are supervising all sleeping areas being painted red as they group discussed at their morning meeting. While the smell will make it harder to sleep, they will stand secure that they won’t get attacked by the demons again. As the team gathers for an evening meal, they put their information together. It is clear that the outsiders are targeting this group specifically, which they take to be a good sign. They agree that the lair must be a slaughterhouse of some sort, and the group will scour the city for clues in the morning.
On the next day, Kuthona 6th, the group hits the city. It takes a full day of searching, and the sun is setting when they find themselves in front of Sanguine Brothers Fine Meats. Several years ago, two wealthy halfling brothers opened a slaughterhouse catering to Yanmass’s noble houses and elite restaurants. Although their sprawling operation was not much different from other large meat processing enterprises, the brothers purchased highergrade livestock and cultivated a peerless reputation for quality and cleanliness. They called their business Sanguine Brothers Fine Meats, and it became well known throughout Avin Prefecture. Smiling, stylized versions of their own faces adorned the front of their slaughterhouse, and their visages and glass-window eyes have become a landmark in the neighborhood.
Although the brothers ran their business well for years, they had no other business partners or close confidantes. When both brothers died in 4699 AR, the slaughterhouse closed. The jolly logo faded as years passed, and the Sanguine Brothers slaughterhouse became another relic of a more prosperous age.
The neighborhood around Sanguine Brothers primarily holds warehouses and tenements. The locals suspect that the once-abandoned facility is now occupied, as they hear occasional howls or cries from the building, but they are too fearful to investigate. Residents have also seen strange animals in the area, including large rams, dogs, and ravens with unusual black eyes.
This actual building is a large one made of brick and wood, both faded to the same drab shade of brown from years of neglect. The front of the building bears the words “SANGUINE BROTHERS FINE MEATS” in large, rust-red letters beneath the enormous painted faces of two halfling men with bushy sideburns. The eyes of the halflings are large, round windows, giving them vacant, surprised expressions. Three squat towers rise up from the rear of the building, and the building’s massive doors are chained shut. An aura of long neglect hangs over the slaughterhouse.
As they scope the abandoned building, discussing their next moves, Corwyn notices someone watching them and using is insane powers of stealth, appears in front of the man, startling him. Corywn tells the man to leave. He is quite arrogant in the face of the clearly more powerful rogue, but he does move along of his own accord without the need for Corwyn to frighten him. Returning to the group, Corwyn expresses he is afraid that since the Bravos know where they are, they will swoop in and fix this problem and get the credit. Ever logical, Mikhael wryly notes that then the problem will be solved. The group is worried who will get the credit, mindful of their mission decides that right now is the time to push on, while all the monsters are in their lair. Mikhael agrees with the majority and the group moves to enter.
|Campaign Dates||Kuthona 06 4719|
Feeling the need to get started, Detash sends his raven to scout the entrances. There are two sets of large doors that are chained shut, and a side door that is not. Corwyn goes to pick the lock and in the process just opens the door. Kavian goes in first, and finds it is an office. This large office has two short desks at the south end of the room and a series of cabinets against the east wall. Narrow wooden doors stand in the north and west walls. The desks and floor are strewn with discarded scraps of flesh and cracked bones, giving the room a ghastly smell.
The party starts to filter in as Kavian stumbles into the invisible Greater Barghest, Obdog, which attacks him. Immediately, the fight is on. The party struggles, but is able to drive Obdog way, forcing it to blink through the wall. After a quick check of the door, and finding it unlocked, the party moves into the larger warehouse.
This cavernous chamber has several doors leading out to the south, west, and east. Two of these are massive double doors with brackets so they can be barred. A catwalk high on the northern wall winds around three tall towers, but the stairs at either end of the catwalk are tumbled and mangled wrecks. There is no trace of the monster inside the large room. Much of the machinery that once spanned this slaughterhouse floor has been pushed together into a pile in the center of the room. This mechanical conglomeration of conveyor belts, tables, and articulated hooked arms all jumbled together rises up to the level of the catwalk. Kavian walks around, searching, with the magic users producing light. There is a pair of goats caught amid the machinery, bleating helplessly. Despite their caution, the group can only is sure they are just goats. Kavian walks around and it struck by a trap from the machinery. It lashes out with cutting saws and jagged hooks, striking him.
Corwyn, meanwhile, has used the rope of climbing to link to the catwalk. He goes over to use a long pole to disable the trap, though not after accidentally trigging it. Kavian pulls him to safety before he is struck. Once the trap is disabled, Kavian climbs the rope to look around. The group decides though to have him come down and look at the floor. It is then the rams reveal they are actually two of the demons. They open with charming Kavian and Corwyn and sweetly tell them to climb to the top the catwalk and sit down.
Things go from bad to worse. Cassia tries to use her song to counterspell the vocal commands of the siren like demons, but she rolls a “1” under the needed number and cannot. It is then that Obdog reappears, clearly healed, and attacks the bard. One of the blue skinned monsters summons wasp swarms that surround Cassia and others, rendering several nauseated and unable to do much more than move. Both Lysander and his master are stricken, as is Cassia. Elsa heals Cassia, avoiding the wasps but gaining the threat of the Obdog. At first Iona tries holy word which also damages his neutral companions. After that she does a mass heal and a cold fire shield, which does hurt some wasps but does not stop them. As Cassia staggers from the wasps, she moves to an area to recover from her nausea and try to play a counter song again. But the other demon summons three more swarms, and she is stung again and again. Mikhael tries to parlay with the monster leader, Sishkanset, who instead taunts him and wonders how Carrod will feel when he is dead. Iona uses a spiritual weapon to attack. Undaunted, the summoner asks for her name so he knows who to haunt, which she arrogantly shared with him. Detash uses a fireball to damage swarms and Obdog, taking care not to get anyone else. Corwyn and Kavian enjoy the show.
Finally, free of all swarms, Cassia opens up with her fiddle. She sings a defiant song, calling against the oppression of magic, and the two heavy hitters of the party come to their senses. Corwyn and Kavian leap into action going after Obdog. Iona closes with a devil, braving the damage of the trap the Sishkanset reactivated. With pressure mounting, the Obdog again blinks through a wall
The two demons start to retreat as the party closes on them and are free of their wasps. Sishkanset attacks Cassia with her diseased claws on a flyby. The other creature uses dimension door to get away. Lysanthir flies up to the wounded Sishkanset and swipes her with his claws, and the demon falls to the ground, her prime material plane form dying. She smiles at Mikhael and says ”I guess it shall be I who is haunted you,” and this form breathes its last.
The party looks for Obdog but cannot find him. Corwyn disables the trap again, and the wasps fade away as the magic summoning them fails. The team decides to check the lower floors before heading upstairs. They know the pairakas could either have fled altogether, or are still lurking nearby.
The party regroups and licks their wounds. Mikhael, Kavian and Cassia all argue for leaving now, and returning. Corwyn presses for them to move ahead, fearing if they leave, their enemies will get the advantage. He notes that if the other three refuse, they will all leave, but the dissenters are not willing to engage in an absolute veto.
The group decides not to check the towers but clear the floor below. Unnoticed, by the group, a black eyed bat settles into a corner watching them. Corwyn checks the door for traps, and finding none, has Kavian go through it. Corwyn has Mikhael and Lysanthir in back incase the bargast returns. Corwyn has Cassia move her dancing lights into the room. This is a meat locker. The walls of this room are painted a stark white, and a single massive meat hook dangles from the ceiling in the center of the room. Although the room is large, its thickly padded walls give it a close, claustrophobic feel. A heavy double door leads out of this room to the north. Four round, grimy windows pierce the south wall, twelve feet above the floor. Several humanoid corpses are piled on the floor beneath the windows. Kavain recognizes the room as the place of his dream with the raven haired woman and the black eyed Spesimia. The disturbance arouses two festering spirits born of The psychic torment of the victims here has coalesced into a festering spirit. They fly through Kavian and Corwyn, damaging their constitutions and sliming them, and then pass through the walls headed for the members of the party who had the nightmares, Mikhael and Cassia. Cassia’s magical sword flashes and heavily distrupts the ghost. Iona let’s forth holy light to further deal with the two undead creatures, and before they can attack again, they are defeated by the group. Detash moves in to prepare a corpse and raises and commands a skeleton.
Corywn moves to the next door. As Kavian goes in, he sees an empty rom with one man in it. The dust is thick in this room, other than the tracks made by the room’s recent occupant. Kavian gingerly approaches the man, apologetic for his distance saying that they have been tricked a lot lately. The man is quite sick. Cassia come in to see if he is magical or lying. She finds him looking familiar, like the missing banker Rhundle Navian, but younger. The man rouses himself and says he is Erdmond Navin, a junior banker charmed by the pairaka Soraya along with his father, Rhundle and brought to the pairaka’s Soraya’s chamber in the tower to the east. Soraya used Erdmond and his father as playthings for several depraved days. Erdmond shook off the charm and escaped a day ago, barely avoiding the notice of Sishkanset, the pairaka on the slaughterhouse but he says he broke his leg while climbing down from the catwalk. Erdmond made it into this room, but he is now afraid to leave and is suffering from diseases contracted from Soraya’s touch. Erdmond pleads for help from the group to both escape and rescue his father. He thinks there may be two enemies. Iona is able to offer him some healing but cannot cure his diseases without preparation.
Corwyn moves to get him out and takes his adamantine arrow to go at the hinges on the western doors. This takes several minutes, longer than the had hoped, but the doors fall forward outside into the night with the hinges and the bottom locking bolt destroyed. Cold night air of the typical of the 12th month of the year spills into the ware house as they carry Erdmond out. Iona asks where they will take him, and the party decides to put him bac in the room with the skeleton guarding the door. Moving to the third door downstairs, the smell of rotten meat is particularly strong outside the door to this room, even with the cracked rubber edging. Corwyn ignores the smell and checks and opens the door before Kavian. The suffocating smell pours out, nauseating and sickening Corwyn and Iona for a full minute and merely sickening Kavian who is strong against such things. Detash, also near the door, but used to the smells of rotting bodies has some sense of illness but is not nauseated. Unfortunately, thousands of hungry rot grubs have been feasting on corpses in this room. The three find themselves covered in the creatures as the pour out of the room in search of food. As the two closest, Corwyn and Kavian are immediately distracted and hurt by the creatures biting them and starting to burrow into their skin, draining them of vitality immediately. Detash is able to avoid being infected, though not bitten. He leaps out from the swarm and uses burning hands telling his teammates to stay put and take the hit, so that he can sear the rot rubs from their skin before it gets worse. After he does this, the two stricken combatants stagger free.
The next closest member is Cassia, who knows her piercing sword cannot damage the rot grubs says ”I cannot do anything to help here, so I am going to step clear”. As she does so, a telepathic voice tells her ”Yes, you cannot do anything here at all. You need to get out of your friends way and let them fight. That is what they are good at, not you. Sneak away.”. Cassia, now under at charm follows the direction and sneaks away towards the front office entrance. As Cassia departs, Corwyn notices, and wonders where she is going, but then their enemies reveal themselves as they float up into the air over their prey. The four remaining pairaka appear, transforming from the small animal forms they were in, with their leader Soraya in the middle. Each monster attempts to summon doru demons. Dorus are the divs that whisper in the night, the foul inspiration that drifts upon fetid winds, the messengers of pretender gods. Wild hair whips around a doru’s six twisting horns, while a flat nose, a fanged mouth, and red glowing eyes complete the terrifying image of this bodiless monstrosity. Dorus almost always fly, preferring to stay at heights that keep them at the eye level of those with whom they would have dealings.
Three of the pairaka are successful, and there are suddenly six of the strange servants of demons. Elsa responds with a ice burst, immediately hurting Soraya and one of her servants. As this happens, Iona and Corwyn are staggering under the catwalk against the wall, back to back with each other. Kavian punches the rot grubs as they move towards Detash and Elsa. Detash moves back to magic missile the swarm. Mikhael casts protection from evil upon himself in order to prevent the summoned evil outsiders from attacking him. This works, because when the Doru fly out, one buzzes him but cannot attack. The others that can reach close on Iona and Corwyn and begin their attacks. It is then that the three pairaka who had not summoned wasps already, smother large parts of the room in swarms, threatening all the casters with damage, poison, and distraction. Else steps from the swarm and summons her Ice Elemental, but things look dire.
Kavian, seeing that this is a slide into greater disaster moves up and shouts ”GET OUT, NOW! I WILL HOLD THEM AS BEST I CAN!”
Corwyn starts to protest, but Mikhael joins him and growls get out at he dismisses his eidolon and summons a fire elemental. Kavian shouts for Detash to have the skeleton grab Erdmond and get him out. This takes time where Kavian covers. The grubs move up onto Iona an Corwyn and are joined by the remaining doru. Mikhael tells his servant to ”Burn everything down here”. The light the fire elemental casts is fortunate, as Cassia’s dancing lights go out as she leaves the building, unnoticed. As the fires elemental goes to work, the rest of the group runs out, with the Ice Elemental offering cover. The recovering Corwyn manages to distract the doru around him and slip away out the door. Kavian calls for the doors to be shut, but they are off their hinges and useless on the ground. Kavain then takes the terrified Erdmond from the skeleton and orders Detash to leave it guarding their rear with he Ice elemental. The group then charges into the cold, winter’s night, not even sure where they will head. As the panic takes hold of their minds, their friend Cassia is forgotten.
Outside the building, Cassia shivers in the night, waiting for her friends to join her. Mozbie, left outside to watch the entrance sees her and inquires as to why she is out. He is confused when she tells him she is of no use and waiting outside. After a brief chat, three doru come out the door and chase Mozbie away. As he flees certain doom at the mouths of the demons, he sees two elderly women, clearly disguised demons, escort Cassia back inside. It takes him some time to lose the chasing doru, most likely because they grew bored of the chase. Mozbie then flies in search of his master to bring him the grim news.
Mozbie finds the group taking a rest after having run several blocks, jinking and dodging between streets. They are resting at a public fountain, in the light of nearby lanterns. After giving the grim news to his master, Corwyn stands ready to rally the party to go back. Mikhael cuts him down by yelling
”JUST STOP! We have to regroup and think.” A chastised Corywn sits back down, and the group wonders what to do in the face of this utter disaster.
|Campaign Dates||Evening of Kuthona 06th and Day of Kuthona 7th 4719|
The group is resting after getting water, deciding what to do next. Kavian feels the group needs to head to a secure location and be able to get help for the young Navin. Mikhael notes the Chief Enumerator owes them a favor and suggests that the Temple of Abadar would be safe. The group heads to the temple and is able to find sanctuary. Navin is taken to rest so he can be tended to with magic in the morning. The 6 party members grimly plan for the next morning. Not even midnight, and it already seems a week ago since they set out. They group plans for ways to deal with the swarms and the charms and what spells to prepare. Detash is willing to pay the church 100 gold to use their mirror to scry in the morning. He readies spider climb and fly to assist Corwyn and Kavian. Iona readies summon monster to bring forth Lantern Archons, and spear of purity if she needs to fight. But, Iona notes she can use her Mantel of Aroden to summon a sanctuary to inhibit attacks for anyone inside its area, and aid their will against charm.
Detash asks the priest about the location of any animal slaughter houses he might visit. It is clear, even to Kavian, Detash plans to raise bodies. He slaps him down and tells him this is not the time. Detash gets up and nods and makes his plans for the morning.
The Next morning, as the group is getting ready for the day, Cassia walks into the church with Rhundle Navin in tow. She is starting to show some signs of sickness. The Chief Enumerator cures and heals her, noting that this should help to settle accounts. Cassia rests and tells her tale.
I was met by two kindly old women, obviously the demons, who lead me back inside. I could smell burning. They offered me a refreshing drink, which I suspect was drugged, because the last thing I remember awake. I had bad dreams that all my friends, Fruit of the Vine, and all of you had abandoned me to an evil fate. They were plenty of bad visions, but I knew they were not true. I woke up tied to a bed with our missing banker and father, Rhundle, standing guard. The room had various old collectables in it. I did not really spend my focus on that. It was clear after a few minutes of conversation with Rhundle, the poor man was suppressed by charms. I used my Envoy Ring charm as a way to counter charm and was able to free him. He untied me and gave me back my rapier. After a brief conversation on trying to get out, we snuck downstairs. I disguised myself as Rhundle, in the hopes of creating confusion and went first, with him creeping behind me. No one was in the empty room downstairs, but my pack was thrown casually in the corner. I armed myself with my fiddle and we opened the door. No one seemed to be in the warehouse. The drop looked dangerous, but a quick song of featherfall took care of that. We raced out the west door and past the skeleton guard who I told not to attack my charge. I found a warehouse to hunker down in, and we stayed hidden until dawn, when we left. I grabbed someone and paid them to deliver a letter I wrote before bed to Dame Carrod to let her know I was safe. Then we headed here.
Mikhael groaned thinking how upset Carrod would be that they sent no messages last night. They gave Cassia time to rest, while Detash went out to run an errand to Hallianna Cobbin’s slaughter house, where he paid gold for bones. When the workers saw what he did with them, they slammed the doors shut. With a shrug, Detash marched the cattle skeletons through the early morning to Danum house to pick up his skeletal horse and human and then met up with the group. As this was going on, an agent came from Carrod to find the party in preparation. Mikhael relayed the plans for the party to the agent who returned to Danum house just as Detash was arriving. Finally, by midday the group was ready, and they set out to the warehouse district. Citizens of Yanmass looked on in amazement and horror. Cassia attempted a bluff about a parade, but Mikhael stopped her. He told the passing citizens they were going to deal with the monsters causing the nightmares in the city. This brought cheers from the crowds. At last, the humans leading the small heard of undead cattle reached Sanguine Brothers. The skeleton guard left outside was gone and the doors braced. True to form, the first creature into the room was an undead beast, who triggered a rug which released three swarms of wasps, harmless to the skeleton. Detash put spider climb on Corwyn. The group charged through, with Detash sending in his undead minions to stop the swarms until the dispersed. Iona and Cassia moved in, shielding the party with sanctuary and counter song. Detash moved in to put fly on Kavian as Corwyn mounted the walls to the catwalk. As Cassia’s dancing lights moved deeper into the room, it was clear the old trap was removed and the who floor was badly burned. Hovering in the air were the four parakias and the fight was on. The parakias opened with summoning their servant doru and then wasps, while the party moved forward. Not all the doru could penetrate the sanctuary, but the summoned lantern archons could come out. The party danced around the wasps and doru while the skeleton herd attacked both. Within moments, the lessor creatures were mostly cleared, and Kavian and Corwyn were going to town. Kavian flew between his foes, slicing them, while Corwyn hung from the ceiling, sometimes by his tail, using his daggers. Lysanthir ripped and bit the foes, and Mikhael managed a stunning critical hit with Dignity’s Barb. Elsa and Iona kept up summoning monsters, and Cassia’s song prevented charms from the parakias and doru from even being attempted. Working together, prepared, the group was able to defeat the four demons, sending them all back from whence they came. Kavian and Iona both will face illness by midday tomorrow, but Iona says she will heal them tomorrow morning.
After a through search of the building, there are no more foes to be had. Detash enlists Iona’s help in elimination of his undead army. The group emerges late in the day to curious onlookers and can announce the reign of nightmares is over.
|Campaign Dates||Kuthona 08-12 4719|
|Cassia||Hide Kavian's Operation for a Success|
|Corwyn||Find Lost Son in Oppera (Postumius)|
|Detash||Oppera Counter Operations|
|Elsa||Counter Operation in Merrett|
|Iona||Sermonize Farming change|
Find Rare Hides and Skins |
|Mikhael||Counter Operations in Yanmass|
|Embla||Tried to get the Latest Books from Oppera, Gather Information (Charm) but Disrupted by Detash’s agents|
|Gija||Raptus: Retrive Stolen Shipment, Smuggle (Subterfuge, Risky) which failed and resulted in lost agents (not to Mikhael)|
|Hammon||Counter Operations – Mikhael’s agents interference surpasses these operations and results in capture or some of Hammon’s agents|
|Hulga||Held a rally to support the Imperialist Faction, Increasing Sacrafice|
|Viaria||Montor of the Party, Mikhael’s and Cassia’s agents disrupted this|
Servo: Located Escaped Slaves Ask Around (Genius, Heroism)-Disrupted by Elsa’s agents|
|Cardello||Hosted a popular Lecture on Countering raids, increasing Genius|
The group takes time to strategize the best use of their agents. They know the Bravos will need to be countered and that they have sent their own agents to Oppera and Merret. Using their Talden Figurines of Wonders Power, the group sends out dispatches and arrays their agents in Yanmass to counter the Bravos and start work on aiding some of those on the Mercantile Council. In the last week, Kavian was able to set Zamillia Commia up with her desired access to a specialty silk, via a contract with Jambis. This will result in an additional flow of revenue for Stachys that will start to personally enrich Kavain in new year. Mikhael’s work with Falvonius Sylvius had helped him unwind his unfortunate contacts with the criminal loan sharks in Yanmass. While Sylvius still needs assistance setting his books up moving forward, he is now in a much better position. Of course, there may be some fall out directed at Mikhael from the darker side of the city, but as the merchant’s fortunes stabilize, Mikhael can also expect some return on his local investment.
For this week, Detash and Elsa set their away teamss to counter the operations of the Bravos in Oppera, and Merret County respectively, foiling the plans of that group. Corwyn’s agents are able to find the Postumius in a den of ill repute. In Yanmass.
Back in Yanmass, Mikhael runs counter operations, while Cassia again has her team run cover for Kavian’s agents spying on the Bravos. Kavian also sets his group to find rare hides for Lord Caelus Simplex. It appears there have been active dire tigers in the grasslands and Kavian’s group finds three pelts for Lord Simplex to obtain before they hit the market. Iona uses her team to help change the feelings in the city that legislation should be passed to change farming to limit unlimited grazing, which local farmers seem to be all for.
For themselves, the two days after their adventure with the divs, the group is honored by themembers of the Mercantile Council, who are quick to congratulate the group on their success. They do so in a public event in the square outside of Commerce Hall. Baron Kustios makes a short appearance at this event, marking his first public appearance in weeks. The elderly man seems haggard but regal and stays only long enough to personally thank the heroes and present each of them with a signet ring bearing his personal seal. No mere trinkets of favor, these rings are rings of protection +2. Rhundle Navin from the publicly thanks the group, with warm words for Cassia, for rescuing him in front of the entire Mercantile Council. In private after the ceremony, he mentions he will endeavor to ignite Loyalist sympathies on the Mercantile Council.
While Iona, Detash, and Elsa are engaged in the city, the other four members decide to return to Hedge Hill to see what was going on in that area. This time, they approach from the north, with a confident Corwyn in the lead to look for traps. Unfortunately, both Corwyn and Kavian are caught anyway, in another swinging log trap. Again, this trap is clearly not meant to kill everyone. The four move forward deeper into the woods, and Corwyn is easily able to see broken branches leading into a the thicket. his small clearing contains several dense thickets. Piles of leafy branches rest atop the thickets, making the dense undergrowth even more impenetrable.
With someone found, Cassia steps forth to start talking to whomever is in there. A lean, muscular women with a haunted look in her eyes, emerges under the influence of a blur spell. Cassia sits on a log and engages the wary woman and earns her trust. The woman is Lieutenant Gallindra Jonrek is a lean, a refugee from the missing Taldan Calvary. She’s seen good friends petrified and realized that her commander and comrades are engaging in treason. As the group talks to her, Gallindra reveals she can provide substantial information about the terrain outside of Yanmass. Additionally, she knows that her commanding officer, Jaliessa Staubel, is preparing some kind of treachery and is encamped at an abandoned caravanserai called Tallgrasses. She also says that Orvestikar Manor is not an abandoned ruin, but rather a trap Jaliessa is using to dispose of inconveniently loyal soldiers. Gallindra believes it is a spellcaster with magic powerful enough to turn people (and even her elephant mount) to stone.
The group offers her refuge in Farrok House and takes her back. They decide they want to go see who they can free at Orvestikar mannor, once their Staff of Freeing is fully charged, thinking reinforcements might be in order. That afternoon, when Mikhael meets with Carrod, she informs him the Bravos intend to ambush the group in the next couple of days. He begins to scheme a response. However, more pressing, is that it is now the 12th, the first night of the full moon for the month. Kavain and Iona need to be secured.
|Campaign Dates||Kuthona 12-15 4719|
The group is less concerned with their activities in the city with full moon at hand. Their agents are wrapping up their activities and reporting in. Knowing that the Bravos want to jump the group, they work to have cover. Mikhael is able to find cooking help for Argentus as he promised. He is not used to the notoriety of being a hero but is able to trade on it. One of his agents in disguise staggers forth to deliver him a message he is being watched and by who. He then staggers off again after a loud scene. Mikhael is impressed with the tradecraft.
That evening, the group decides to use the basement in the Danum House to secure the two they are worried about. Kavin is reluctant to be chained up, noting he has never changed, but he agrees, and is placed in the lower, servant’s kitchen. The team agents at Danum are all asked to spend the next three nights at Farrok. Iona agrees to a cot in the bathrooms, but absolutely refuses to be even manacled. The group decides to take shifts, with Mikhael in with Kavian, and Elsa watching Iona. As the moon rises outside, its magical effects can be felt. Kavian enters into a dream, where a raven haired woman, the same one he saw with the parakia attacked appears. She calls herself Hellena. In the conversation, Hellena praises Kavian’s will and congratulates him on controlling the curse. She reveals that she created it to have servants who could by her eyes and ears. Kavian, however, has been able to control the effects, and now he can choose to embrace them or let them fade. It is a special type of lycanthropy that does not corrupt the spirit of the person and one he can learn to control. It will also stop his ageing and allow him to recover from non-silver and non-magical damage quickly. She even says the same option can be given to Sepsimia. The choice is to be her agent and gain great power, or to return to normal. Kavian is tempted and says he needs to talk to his friends. He tells him he has two more nights to ask questions and must say yes by the end of the next full moon or the enchantment will fade. Kavian awakens to the sounds of shouting.
As the full moon rose, Iona arose with a howl and transformed into a half wolf-half human monster. She grabbed her hammer and moved to attack Elsa. The young oracle thought quickly and summoned her ice elemental. Upstairs, Cassia was the only one who heard the howl, and she raced through the rooms getting the others up. Corwyn was the fastest to get downstairs and was able to help Elsa, who had used her spear to try to fend off her friend while the ice elemental attacked. Corwyn slipped past Elsa who retreated out of the room. Apologizing to Iona, who did not seem to care much, he attacked. It was at this point Kavian was awake and asking to help. By the time Mikhael got him unchained, Cowyn and the ice elemental had subdued Iona. She lay there, wounds closing as she shifted back to human form. Elsa stabilized her and Iona awoke and healed herself even as the group wondered next steps. Everyone sat down at the table to talk.
Kavian related his dream and the advice of the group, except for Detash, was to reject the gift. They were able to note the state of Iona. That night, Iona agreed to be manacled. After she was asleep, Kavian chained her to the wall, then submitted to his chains as well. That night, Iona again changed, but could not get free. Kavain spoke to Hellena once more. Kavian demanded Iona be released from her curse and that he could know when he was being spied upon. Hellena was thoughtful and said she would consider it. The next day, the group is subdued. Michael and Detash did extensive study on lycanthropy, curses, and enchantments at the Mage’s Guild. With enchantment sight Detash could use his study knowledge to see the effects of the enchantment on both of their friends. Neither could understand why the rabbit’s foot Iona had would not detect the effects. Back at the house, they had Cassia charm Mikhael and the foot was more than able to detect it.
Most of the group organizes with agents and prepares for the week ahead. There is much to be done.
That evening the group of friends demand Iona be chained again. In his final dream of the three nights, Hellena agrees to his terms, and promises that a yes right now would result in freeing Iona and she would allow Kavain to know when she used him as her eyes and her ears. She told the young man that he would start to come into his power the next full moon, and she would start to teach him. As he awoke, Kavian herd her final statement, to go to his friend and calm her. Mikhael unbound Kavian and he went to Iona and commanded her to be still. The transformed woman stopes her struggle, laid down and slept.
It is now Monday morning the 15th of Kuthonia, and they day is bright and cold after a freezing night. A bundled courier brings a package to the Danum house for Kavian. When asked, he says it was on the dock from the last ship to be delivered today. Inside the wooden box are two vials, one red stoppered and one green stoppered. The red is for Iona while the green for Kavian. As soon as Kavian reads off the instructions, Iona takes her vial. She immediately feels different, and even has a craving for vegetables, suddenly noticing that she has been eating mostly meats for the past two months. For his part, Kavian takes his potion, and as it settles in, he as a feeling of presence in his mind. The presence almost transmits amusement as it fades away.
As the team considered it is time to get back to work, Corwyn notes that the staff of freeing now has 8 charges.
|Campaign Dates||Kuthona 15th-18th 4719|
|Cassia||Is Successful I getting open performances established, to the delight of Fluvia Rhesa|
|Corwyn||Tried and fails to convince Postumius to come home|
|Detash||Oppera Successfully helps Flavious with his books|
|Elsa||Counter Operation in Merrett but fails to stop the escaped slaves, now citizens of Stachys from being found.|
|Iona||Tries to expose the organized crime connections of Plotius but fails as the Bravos’ agents pull this off instead|
|Kavian||Watch the Bravos, which is successful, but his other attempts to hid his watching fails.|
|Mikhael||Runs stunningly successful Counter Operations in Yanmass|
|Embla||Agents headed back to Yanmass, other half Engaged in Counter Operations and were able to expose Kavin’s agents watching, but unable to interfere with Detash or Cassia|
|Gija||Seen by Mikhael’s agents monitoring the characters|
|Hammon||Plotius: Break up marriage of Daughter (Visellia) to Local Man (Vel Cilo), Bad Advice (GeniusRisky): Disrupted by Mikhael’s forces|
|Hulga||Agents acting in Counter Operations and disrupted Iona’s agents, but unable to interfere with Detash or Cassia|
|Viaria||Tellus: Convince Son (Spurius) to marry a woman (Visellia Plotius) He is Gay, Bad Advice (Sagacity, Risky): Disrupted by Mikhael’s forces|
|Taychar||Able to find Lost Son in Oppera (Postumius)|
|Servo||Located Escaped Slaves Ask Around (Genius, Heroism)|
|Cardello||Proxsima: Expose the Organized Crime connection with Spices #2, Rumormonger (Any Facet), - Success against Iona’s try.|
The day after Iona recovers from her Cure, the group is once again at Farrok House. They have turned their minds towards dealing with the missing calvary and the bandits. First up is the calvary. After some discussion, they decide to wait two more days to get more charges in the staff. Cassia says she wants to go perform on the streets, and Corwyn wants to see about purchase of some scrolls, but Mikhael puts his foot down, noting there are 7 members of the Bravos planning to ambush them, and even in small groups that is dangerous. He is adamant the mission is to deal with the missing calvary and banditry first. The group agrees, and they hunker down. Corwyn wonders how they get out undetected, and Kavian notes that is easy, they all have alternate identities. While they are waiting Detash is given a letter asking him to attend a meeting on the 20th with the mysterious, Hellena.
The group leaves the night of the 17th and travels a couple of miles in the darkness, led by the undead steed of Detash and Mozbie. They set up camp and take watches. On third watch, Cassia and Detash are up. They both hear flapping in the distance, and Mozbie, with his Darkvision says
”Boss! We have 3 incoming sphinxes!”.
Cassia rouses the party as the creatures enter to the edge of their light. Detash warns her these are the creatures are now clearly Hieracosphinxes with a scream attack and she plays a countersong that helps to drown out the attack when it comes. Even with this, the scream deafens Corywn and Mikhael who don’t cover their ears in time. Several of the horses run, but three stay, sticking with their war training, and facing away from the deafening screams. Detash opens with a fireball, striking all three creatures in the air, but having used his magic to enter the last charge on the staff yesterday, he does not have another prepared. The creatures manage to avoid most of the damage as they fly down. Detahs is able to strike the most hurt with a magic missiles as Kavian vaults up a boulder and leaps into the air to strike and severely hurt it. The other two land, going for the source of the fireball. The skeleton steed moves to interpose itself and absorbs one attack, the claws and bite of the sphinx scraping across its armor. The third monster, however, does significant damage to Detash, sending him reeling. Elsa moves up to heal him. Dazed, Mikahel summons his Eildon, and Lysanthir goes to engage the sphinx on Detash, rending it with two critical hits. As the skeletal steed strikes is foe, Corwyn charges it for significant damage. This prey has spines. Cassia attempts a spell to control one of the beasts, but it just fails. Still, sensing things turning, the hieracosphinx near Kavian flies into the darkness, while the other two are quickly dispatched.
The group goes ahead and prepares for the day and heads on to Orvestikar Manor. onstructed by a wealthy Taldan aristocrat who fell upon hard times in his dotage, Orvestikar Manor is situated at the edge of the Whistling Plains, 9 miles northeast of Yanmass. The manor was sold, but the buyer was killed in a duel and the property fell into legal limbo. It was untended for years and, after a series of particularly fierce winters, its roof and upper stories collapsed. The site has been abandoned for more than 200 years and serves only as a temporary camp for travelers or an occasional storehouse for smugglers. Orvestikar Manor has a reputation for ill luck among the people of Yanmass, who have shunned the site for generations.
This manor of stone and wood has collapsed into little more than rubble. The walls are mounds of stones fifteen feet high, while former towers are nothing more than slightly taller ruins. The only portion of the manor that appears intact—and the only readily identifiable passageway to its interior—is a wide gate on its southern side. Orvestikar Manor was originally constructed of stone and wood, but the manor is almost completely destroyed. The manor’s impressive entry alone remains intact. Although it’s not apparent from outside the manor, the northwest tower is not wholly collapsed, and stairs lead up to a small landing. The former walls are mere mounds of stone 15 feet high.
Detash sends Mozbie to fly over the ruins to check them out. The skeletal familiar makes for a strangely fitting site as it flies over the ruins. Leading up to the ruins is life sized statue of a rearing elephant complete with caparison and saddle, stands in the middle of an overgrown trail near the manor. The heraldry upon the elephant’s caparison is the current heraldry of the Taldan Horse, much more recent than the manor’s construction. It is clear to the group that the statue is a petrified elephant, Greyleg, once ridden by Lieutenant Gallindra Jonrek.
Within the tumbled walls of the manor, an open space measuring roughly fifty feet square lies choked with stone and timber debris. A mostly ruined roof still clings to the corners, providing a bit of shelter over a wooden staircase in the northwest corner. Among the debris, a dozen statues depict a gruesome tableau of staged death. In the center of the courtyard, two statues have fallen in a duel, amid a frozen circle of distraught onlookers dressed in improvised finery. On the staircase, statues fall over each other in apparent attitudes of grief. At the base of the staircase stand two statues in long, makeshift wedding coats. Most of the statues are half painted, with vivid red paint representing bloody wounds.
When Mozbie returns with his report, it is clear to Elsa that the statues in the tableau are the scene at the climax of Alison Kindler’s The Broken House of Kriegmoor in which a wedding meant to settle a feud instead becomes a tragic scene of death, as Else just finished this book. While some of the statues are clearly members of the Talden calvary, others are clearly vagabonds. The group approaches, and Cassia has her detect magic up. Corwyn climbs a wall to look inside, confirming the undead familiar’s report. Cassia notices a rubble trap set against the front doors, which Crowyn is able to disable. The group cautiously goes in, with Cassia and Mikhael staying outside the doors. As they look closer at the statues, it is clear one is Sir Meir Dratavis, the missing agent of the Princess. They hear a voice, and a young man, calling himself Aresphena comes down the stairs from the intact tower. He claims to be a traveler who found these ruins who hid when he saw Mozbie, which the group finds believable. They continue to search the building, while Aresphena answers questions. It is clear someone has been staying in the tower, and Aresphena says it was like that when he got here this morning after climbing over a wall. Listening to this, Cassia simply does not believe it. She charges into the ruins, her sword drawn. As soon as she sees Aresphena, she can see the magic of mage armor glistening around him.
”He is lying! He has Mage Armor” she shouts as she charges in. Aresphena is caught between the charging bard and Corwyn and Kavian up the stairs. He drops his disguise and is reveled to be a medusa. Clearly now a “she”, Aresphena attempts to petrify Kavian and Corwyn with her gaze. Both manage to just cover their eyes as Cassis runs up and stabs the monster deeply in her side. Iona dispels the mage armor and Kavian and Corwyn attack blinded. Corwyn manages to get down the stairs, and Kavian calls on his knowledge of blind fighting. While Corwyn misses once or twice, all of Kavian’s hits land. Detash uses magic missile again, while Mikhael summons and sends in an Earth elemental.
Cassia attempts to her ring to charm the monster, but Aresphena is able to resist it. However, she is unable to manage the assault upon her, and with the skill of the attackers on her, she is killed where she stands.
The group finishes the search of the place and her corpse, killing her familiar, a blind viper, and stripping her of her lesser extend metamagic rod, +1 composite longbow with 20 arrows, dagger, spell component pouch, and finely bound copy of The Broken House of Kriegmoor (worth 25 gp). The wooden staircase leads to a surviving section of the manor, protected by a fragment of the shattered roof. Here, where Aresphena slept, she stored a few pots of paint and some materials to make costumes (such as the wedding coats worn by the couple).
Now it is time to fully inspect the statues and see who they are able to save today, and who has to wait.
|Campaign Dates||Kuthona 19th-20th 4719|
The group is able to free Sir Meir Dratavis, the second in command of the Horse (after Lt. Gallindra Jonrek), Sgt. Achaius Eudomius, and the three other soldiers, Aufidius, Seia, and Placus. The remaining statues are two male and one female hunters, two female travelers of some sort, and two male vagabonds. The charges of their Staff of Freeing expended, the group decides to send Mozbie to bring Gallindra with additional horses and the group would wait here to charge the staff and free Greyleg when his rider was here. The Talden loyalist are willing to wait on the characters. All are anxious to take the fight to the traitors who are their former fiends.
The group goes back to the city and hatches a plan to trap the Bravos . Kavian and Elsa head out to meet with Lady Cobbin to give her the fine book they recovered. The goal is to draw out the Bravos and jump them. The rest are at a distance to help provide cover. Alarmingly, Mozbie disappears as part of the surveillance. In the ensuing fight, the heroes gain the upper hand, but Elsa lays hurt within reach of their leader. What is worse, the fight, which took longer to start than Detash had thought, is getting close to Detahs’s time to meet with Hellena’s representative. Feeling the fight is in hand, with Cassia near enough to Elsa to heal her, he departs the fight for his appointment. Seeing the fight is going poorly, the leader of the Bravos, Grammell Taychar offers to spare Elsa if the party lets them go. Kavian refuses and the fight continues with the mercenary striking at Elsa. Using hero points, Corwyn and Cassia leap into action, and Cassia takes the blow instead as she throws the unconscious Elsa out of harm’s way. The group manages to subdue the leader and capture two others, Embla Hightune and Cardello Sulsas . The group decides to take the three back to Danum house and not wait for the Firewatch and decide next steps there. As they search the nearby buildings, a crippled Mozbie cries for help, and they take the undead familiar.
|Campaign Dates||Kuthona 21st-23rd 4719|
While the group is healing and taking their captives to Danum House, Detash is at his meeting. The elven wizard goes to the Grand Uncle tavern and finds a seat near the door. After sitting for about an hour, a rough man of Kelish origin approaches him and says he needs a drink because he feels like he is at “Death’s Door”. Detash recognizes the code sign and offers to buy him a drink and to and sit down. Mostly the man complains about women and work as the necromancer listens quietly. During this, however, the contact slips him a small pouch. After another hour, and three large ales, the man thanks Detash for listening and shambles out of the building.
When he looks in the pouch, Detash finds it contains a piece of ear jewelry, clearly designed with an elf in mind. A fast spellcraft revels is has it as an aura moderate divination and evocation. Detash suspects it will operate much like Senate Aide Badges the team used at the Exaltation Gala, where Lady Lotheed had a Master Senator Badge that communicates with multiple badges. It also seems to the trained eyes of the wizard that it also allows some degree of scrying of surrounding talking by the wearer of the master item when this piece of jewelry is worn, though the wearer has knowledge with this “Eavesdropping” is going on. It might also allow increased hearing perception and maybe even clairaudience as per the spell.
Back at the house, the others met to discuss the events. Cassia strongly expressed her anger at Kavian for putting Elsa’s life on the life just to capture three people. Kavian was mostly unmoved and took the attitude of the military. Seeing the direction of the discussion, Corwyn moved it to the real problem: a lack of a true leader. Again, Kavian was not sure this was an issue, however, Iona and Mikhael strongly agreed. Elsa clearly uncomfortable, simply thanks Cassia and Corwyn for saving her. The discussion continued and at this point, Detash returned. As 6 heads turned to the door, Detash stopped dead in his tracks. Mikhael opened the accusations about what Detash was thinking running off, and the group was now united against Detash. Iona showed calm and suggested he come site down and state is his case at the table. Taking this lull, Corwyn redirected the group to the point of leadership. It was then settled for Cassia to be the leader, as she has a level head, and is the highest ranked Peer at the table. Detash expressed that he did not want a military structure, and Kavain made is sound probationary, but the agreement was struck: The group would all offer insights, but at the end, Cassia would make the call, and in the heat of moments, she would be the leader.
That out of the way, Detash explained his departure and the meeting, saying that with someone as clearly as powerful as this Hellena, they needed to engage. He told them the whole story and asked Iona to help him investigate this magic item in the morning to make sure it was what it appeared. The group was willing to relax and take his explanation, including the fact that when he left, the party did look to be winning handily and that Elsa seemed to have healers near her. Finally, the group turned to what to do with the prisoners.
They decide to take their stuff and sell it in Oppera. Corwyn departs to do that, along with some other things he plans to sell, putting them into his small Bag of Concealment in the Gold Eagle. and sending them to his agents. They then send for the Firewatch, thinking it will take around 45 min to get a response. It take three hours and the night it growing. Finally, Gregor Hamble arrives with two Council Guards. He leaves the guards outside and meets with the group. He is friendly and tells them that since no one died, and Earl Yandros has paid any damages, the three Bravos will be escorted back to the Inn where they are staying and placed under house arrest for a week. No mention is made by any of the professionals about losing their equipment – it is clear they are not going to complain. Gregor jokes with the party about how his investigation so far has led to two different stories from different people, but that each of the two story is almost identical in telling, almost as if there were two factions, each with its own version of events. He does note that he expects the Bravos under House arrest will have little ability to talk to their “witnesses”, meaning they will not be able to use their agents this week. The group gives their own agents assignments.
|Cassia||Finds out who Cecilia is the daughter Primus =can trust to run his business|
|Corwyn||Has agents sell Gear in Oppera, but only for about 40% of normal value|
|Detash||Is able to convince Postimus to return|
|Elsa||Coounter operations manage to capture 13 agents looking for slaves in Merrat County. She also supports a successful concert on Saturday the 27th|
|Iona||Iona advocats for Laws on Magical Legislation and the community is behind it|
|Kavian||His agents watch the Bravos and successfully hide those operations|
|Mikhael||Counter Operations in Yanmass very successful with the capture of 10 of Hammon's Agents|
The next day, the group begins to plan its approach to Tallgrasses. Mozbie is sent to recon as a raven. Cassia charms the Church to start recharging their staff at half cost. A message is sent to the Talden calvary to meet and plot the assault the next day. The party all sets their agents in motion, here and across Taldor. Cassia explores this history of Tallgrasses.
On Monday the 22nd, they meet up with Gallindra and her four companions to camp and plan the attack. Between Cassia and Mozbie’s overflight they find out that Tallgrasses is a large caravanserai about 15 miles west of Taldor on the Whistling Plains. Catering to Qadiran travelers coming from the east and merchants leaving Taldor from the south or west, Tallgrasses has always occupied a tense position between the two nations. The original owners of the caravanserai were the Douniette family, Taldan aristocrats able to trace their noble lineage back for several centuries. For decades, they operated Tallgrasses with keen diplomacy. In the end, though, the caravanserai was doomed not by politics or violence, but by weather: a particularly hot series of summers 20 years ago caused the caravanserai’s wells to dry up. The baron at that time seized the opportunity to drive out the “horselord sympathizers” by raising the price on exported water. The Douniettes had no choice but to close the caravanserai and move back to Yanmass. When the rains returned, the two primary legal claimants to Tallgrasses killed each other in a duel, leaving the caravanserai’s ownership unclear. The site has remained shuttered since then
Tallgrasses is a sprawling structure made of smooth gray stone. A strange mixture of Taldan and Qadiran styles, the building bears several arches, a large dome between two balconied upper levels, and an encircling covered porch. Several small, wiry horses are hitched to the porch posts. Inside the open courtyard are several larger horses behind a curtain, clearly Talden heavy horses. In the bulk of the courtyard is Grimtusk, the other elephant. Gallindra notes that he is most likely grown very grumpy away from Greyleg. Finally, Mozbie reports a patrol of 5 men and two dire lions guarding the approach.
The group decides to split, with a up front group and a stealthy group. Corwyn, Cassia, Gallindra, Detash (invisible), and Mikhael (invisible) will be stealth, and the rest, along with the other four loyal calvary soldiers coming along the path. The Ambushers will become the Ambushed!
Springing their trap, Sgt. Achaius Eudomius leads the way, riding Greyleg. Beside him are Kavian and Private Aufidius. Privates Seia and Placus take the flanks with Elsa and Iona in the center. Cassia deploys the stealth group and has them wait for the ambush to spring. They know their ambushers are hidden behind two large outcropping of rock. Everyone is on guard. As the riders pass a larger or the two outcroppings of rock, the two traitors and their dire lions spring to the top. The soldiers fire their bows at Sgt. Aufidius, but their arrows do not find purchase. However, the other three traitors, topping the other rock, all strike the sergeant, as he faces the enemies closer to him. The one steed with no rider flees in the face of the roaring dire lions, and Iona has to calm her own horse.
In the grasses, Mikahel summons his eidolon after casing hast on the crew. Gallindra stands and fires at one of the three archers as Lysanthir flies to attack. Corwyn charges up the rock to engage the middle shooter, while Cassia strikes the one highest on the rock with hideous laughter.
In the main ambush, things go poorly for the mounted force. The Dire lions attack before anyone can act, one biting and clawing at Placus dragging him from the saddle while the other grabs at Seia but cannot pull her down. The traitors all fire at Aufidius, and he is struck badly several times. However, the seasoned sergeant is Turning Greyleg on a lion goring in mightily. He then drinks his potion of healing, while Kavian attempts to leap into action. Unfamiliar with this particular horse, he stumbles and while he gets to the lion, he cannot attack.
Now the tide is turning. . Detash readies a spectral hand and Elsa drops a sleet storm up on the rock of the two traitors close by, blinding them and slowing their movement. Iona sends forth a wash of healing energy, awakening Placus, though the lion that took him down does not realize it. As the first lion is killed by Seia and her mount, but the second lion grabs her down, taking her to the very edge of death. Corwyn and Lythanthir take care of the three on the rock. Kavian Aufidius and his elephant and Iona all converge on the Lion. Elsa heals Seia as the lion is engaged.
Cassia, Corwyn, Detash, and Iona all go around the sleet storm to see if they can catch the traitors trying to sneak out, as it is clear they jumped back behind the rock. The lion tries to flee, but Kavian casually slices into it before it can even leap, severing its head from its body in a single blow. The other two traitors emerge, and the group runs them down. No quarter is sought, and none is offered to the men who know they are dead even if captured. One companion yet breaths, and so he does not escape the rope in combat. Iona expertly brings him around with her healing, not wanting to waste magic on someone so beneath contempt. She then turns him over to Kavian while she goes after the horse who ran.
The Tribune of Stachys is rough with his captive and able to scare him into revealing the dispostions and locations of what they face: 5 other Lieutenants, 8 soldiers, captains Jondus Staubel and Fathrie Staubel (married couple), and Jondus’ sister, Commander Jaliessa Staubel and her ram, Anua. In the mix, are the two desert drakes who are housed in the upper floor. The group decides to have one of the Calvary soldiers watch him, and the lieutenant assigns Seia. Cassia takes some time and uses her want to restore everyone to health. Once the group is ready, they head to a spot south of Tallgrasses and leave the trussed and gagged captive and mounts with Seia. Cassia assigns the Calvary to secure Grimtusk and the 7 Talden horses, as well as the 15 smaller Quadrian style horses on the porch. Cassia points is worried the drakes might see them from the upper balcony to the west, so she orders entry from the 3’ porch to the east. Member pick doors to infiltrate and sneak into position. Gallindra leads her team forward to take control of the mounts. Once in place, The team simultaneously enters through four doors on the east side. Cassia’s plan is for the group to concentrate if a room has enemies.
Corywn charges into a dining room, surprising three officers eating their afternoon meal and leaps at the first, stabbing him. In the room above him, Mikhael and his otherworldly companion enter into the kitchen, with 4 startled halfling servants. They are easily intimidated by Mikhael into being quiet as Lysanthir bursts through the south door into the dining room and straight into a sitting officer. Mikhael and Corwyn engage the other two, with crossbow and daggers respectively. It is not long before all three officers are dead where they sit, having been unable to even land a hit.
Iona and Kavian find themselves in barracks, each with three resting soldiers. For Iona, they are lounging and have weapons at the ready, but Kavian’s group are clearly hung over and sleeping it off. Kavian is able to pad over and despite his armor, deftly execute the sleeping traitor. Cassia follows in, and the ice of her rapier freezes the blood in the traitor’s aorta as his eyes fly open and die. Kavian easily dispatched the third man before he can stand up and heads for the south door. Cassia moves into the hallway.
Meanwhile, Iona attacks the first man she encounters, using her holy spear on the these vile and evil traitors. She also make sure she is leaving room for Elsa to use her long spear, who helps to stab the first person. Detash fires off magic missiles into the room and then moves to join Cassia in watching for any more movement. Iona strids across the body of her first foe to engage another with Elsa’s help. Quickly, only one person is left, trapped between Iona and the north door. It is this door that Kavian pushes open and deftly cuts the man down. In less than a minute, 6 soldiers and three officers are dead. Cassia sends the halfling servants to stay with the rest of the Talden Calvary, who are sneaking the charges out of the courtyard.
While Mikael and Lythanthir stayed downstairs to secure their rear, Kavian, Iona, and Corwyn went upstairs to check our the area. In their first roomSeveral overstuffed chairs and small tables have been pushed up against the eastern wall of this room, leaving a wide space covered with a thin layer of soil and weeds. A double door opens to a balcony to the west. Two chandeliers dangle from the ceiling, broken. Kavian and Iona enter the room and as Kavian steps on the dirt unnaturally deep cracks appear in the soil and masses of colorful scuttling insects spill forth from the First World. Four large swarms slither out and attack the town in the room, who immediately began striking at the mass of otherworldly bugs. Corwyn races to get Detash, who arrives and launches a fireball into the room, eliminating most of the bugs. As soon as the swarms are delt with, Kavian finds a bug shaped token that has popped out of the dirt.
Cassia arrives, disturbed something as loud as a fireball has been used and she asks the others to wait as she creeps down the hallway. She can hear and argument between a man and women on one side, and a strange, raspy voice on the other. They are loud and it is clear that they are so involved that even the explosion was ignored. Cassia motions for the rest of the group to move up and Kavian bursts into the room charging the fey grassling. The man and woman are clearly Jondus Staubel and Fathrie Staubel, husband and wife officers of the traitors. Corwyn, Iona and Cassia file in and fall on the others. In short order, the grassling is dead and the two humans are incapacitated. After Iona stabilizes them the group heals up and leaves them stripped, bound, and gagged to clean up later.
The eastern upstairs cleared, the party heads down to find Mikhael having helped himself to the kitchen, and both he and Lysanthir are eating. He notes the next room over, between the two halves of the building, is a large and empty dining room. Moving through it, they find a hallway with two sets of stairs up. Cassia says to clear the ground floor first, and leave the upstairs with the drakes for last. In a nearby room they find two halfling servants sleeping off a night of drinking and leave them to be. At the armory, Corwyn notes the door has been picked with what appears to be stiff grass. Inside they find two more of the fey grasslings poking around in the armory, giving in to their destructive urges by cutting bow strings and snapping arrows. Knowing they are not supposed to be in there, they immediately attack, assuming they are in dire trouble. They are both cut down before they can even think about fleeing.
Finding the rest of the first floor empty of any additional traitors or their allies, the group moves upstairs. Kavian bursts into the Commander’s room, and finds that Commander Jaliessa Staubel and her pet ram Anua waiting for them, along with two more of the traitorous officers. Kavian charges the officer closet to the door, while Iona follows. Corwyn sneaks in under a guise of invisiblity to flank the Commander. However the Commander is focused on Iona and sends her ram to charge. While Kavian is dealign with an officer, Iona is reels under the attacks and faces death. She does not heal herself, however, and attacks the Commander. Fortunately, both the Commander and her pet fail to strike effectively at the cleric, but Iona sags under the attacks. Corwyn’s attack on the Commander is not enough for her to stop trying to kill the group’s healer. Detash fires a magic missile through the door to help Kavian finish his foe. Elsa, seeing the danger of Iona, uses the reach magic rod to heal Iona. Cassia forces the other officer into hideous laughter and he cannot fight. Kavian uses this opportunity to kill the ram, and soon only the Commander is up and fighting to the death. She does not get her wish, however, as she is brought into unconsciousness. She is also bound and the group moves on the Drakes.
Much of the eastern wall of this large room is gone, with only a low railing to prevent anyone from falling into the courtyard below. The west side of the room contains bedding made of dead grass and torn tablecloths. The room has a sharp reptilian reek. Kavain tries to sneak into the room but wakes the two sleeping Drakes. While Corwyn uses invisibility to sneak in, Kavian readies to attack. Unfortunately, Corwyn does not know the drakes can sense movement on the ground and the closest lashes out with its claws and bite, deeply hurting Corywn, while the other fires its breath, leaving a cloud of electrically charged sand. Most of the party are caught in the effect. Detash and Mikhael race down the near by stairs. Iona and Kavian stagger back, but Cassia runs into the room at full speed and speaks to the drakes. Telling them there is no reason for them to remain, as their old master is dead, the charming bard convinces the drakes that staying and fighting will only result in their deaths. They agree to leave and gather a few small treasures and depart. The party spends the day securing Tallgrasses and conferring with their Calvary allies who are more than happy to keep watch on the unit members who betrayed them.
The next morning, the heroes head back to Yanmass, leaving their allies in control of the caravanserai, knowing that if they all return, Earl Yander Merkondus will know something is up. After settling their local affairs during the day, they meet again in Farrok House that evening to plan the next steps, but someone is missing.
|Campaign Dates||Kuthona 24- 27 4719|
Ed. Note: Sadly, life again has intervened and another player found she could not continue play in this particular game. Good times were had and wish her well.
The group gathers and it is clear that Elsa is no longer with them. Her agents and staff are gone. Iona notes she has taken her things from her room. The staff point to a letter she left on the table. This is Elsa's good bye.
The rest of the dinner is a somber and quiet affair, as the celebration at their victory is muted by the departure of a friend. The trails of the past four months have already seemed like a lifetime together. Corwyn breaks the silence of the thoughts with a toast and promise if she needs help they will be there. As the food is cleared away, Corwyn brings out his list of loot and the group decides on who will get what moving forward from Tallgrasses, and what will be sent to Oppera to be sold. The group then turns to plans for the next day.
The consensus is that they want to call a meeting of the Mercantile Council to present “An Update on the Investigations”. They will make no mention of the findings against the Earl. Corwyn and Detash will head to the Gilded Baldachin Inn where Earl Merkondus is residing to make sure he attends the Council meeting and does not run. Cassia sends word that night the Baron to call the Council into session. The Corwyn, Mikhael, and Detash depart to the Danum house, leaving Iona, Cassia, and Kavian with a house that feels much more empty than usual.
The next day is the 25th day of Kuthona. The morning breaks cold and clear. Word arrives that the Council will meet in the afternoon. Kavian stands with the guards at the doors instead of taking a seat. Cassia opens and introduces Mikhael who presents documents to Baron Kustios. As Mikhael speaks, he does not notice the Earl getting ready to jump up, but Kavian and Iona do. Kavian leaps through the air to grab the Earl as he stands and grabs the corner of his cape. The slippery man managed to avoid Kavian’s grasp but as he turns, Iona grins and casts hold person freezing the startled man in place. Kavian starts to tell Iona that he did not think such a move was necessary, but now aware of what is going on, Mikhael shouts that the Earl is wearing a cape allowing dimensional movement, which Kaivan then spins off the man. The guards close in and take him into custody.
The Baron orders Cassia to head to the Gilded Baldachin and search his quarters. He gives them a hastily written and seal writ and the group races across the city to serve it. Cassia is easily able to get the security to stand aside. In the Inn they take the Bravos into custody, who come willingly. They find several letters between the Earl and Maxillar Pythareus. Although these letters aren’t enough to formally accuse Maxillar Pythareus of backing Yander’s villainy in Yanmass, they make it clear that Pythareus was at least aware of, and perhaps even complicit in, the earl’s schemes.
Everyone is marched back and the rest of the afternoon is spent in questioning, use of zone of truth to get to the bottom of things. The Earl is placed in a holding cell in the basement awaiting a trial. The Bravos are banished from the City. Having presented sworn testimony from the surviving Talden Calvery Traitors, freely given, the Baron is willing to consider something other than execution, but will wait for a trial.
The Mercantile Council congratulates the group on their success, but in private; the council wants to keep the connection between the Taldan Horse regiment and the “Qadiran” bandits under wraps, so as to not undermine the people’s faith in the Taldan military. They are truly thankful, however, and reward group privately, giving them several gifts Publicly, the Mercantile Council announces that the organized bandit attacks are at an end, thanks to the PCs’ skill and bravery, and reduces import and export taxes for a 60-day period to help stimulate trade in Yanmass and reverse the current economic downturn, and there will be a holiday the next day, Friday the 26th.
|1||2 Sapphires for Collar of Mighty Fangs and Claws||Primus Frumentum|
|2||Boots of Striding and Springing combined with Feather Step||Marcus Materiatus|
|3||Treasurer’s Seal||Chief Enumerator|
|4||Stone of Good Luck||Rudig Autun|
|6||Blessed Book||Numerius Eborius|
Award Tallgrasses to Cassia as the highest ranking noble of the party, to have it refurbished and operational to help make trade work again. Cassia immediately turns to Rhundle Navin and his son, the two they saved from the demons, and sees if they are interested in helping to set this up. She also offers to the loyal cavalry opportunities to be part of the project.
With the plots of the Earl settled, the group turns it thoughts to managing the Cult of the Twilight Child. The Cult of the Twilight Child is a resurrection cult gathered around a teenager the leaders claim to be a long-dead Prince of Taldor, whose nobility and compassion for the Taldan people allowed him to resurrect himself during Taldor’s greatest hour of need. The prince’s “miraculous” ability to cure the sick and predict good fortune is taken as proof of his near-divinity, but the remaining tenets of the cult are specious, loosely defined, and largely circular, with many aspects demanding “faith” on the part of members to answer complicated questions. Anyone familiar with the worship of Aroden can identify many chants, symbols, and parables lifted from his faith. With the anxiety around Taldor’s political upheaval and potential civil war, many in Yanmass are eager to feel any sense of stability, and the cult provides exactly that with no apparent cost.
Members of the Cult of the Twilight Child are open, honest, ordinary people. Although most members live near the theater, people from all over Yanmass have joined. Citizen cult members can relate any or openness and honesty is even unnerving to the group as cults are usually more secretive. Services are held at dusk every day; well-behaved visitors are always welcome. The cult’s headquarters is the former theater called the Encircling Bower, and members eagerly provides directions to the theater. This once-grand place has become badly run down but is being gradually renovated by the cult. During ceremonies, congregants sit in the theater seats while the leaders administer the ceremonies from the stage. The high-ranking cult members all wear distinctive clothing: a sky-blue skullcap with a veil, and a tunic with a pattern of overlapping circles. Weapons and heavy armor are not allowed. Most of the higher-ranking members are aasimars, and so locals assume they’re trustworthy. The most anticipated part of each service is the appearance of the Twilight Child, the risen Prince, who speaks prophetic statements and performs miracles during the service. He literally rises up from a hole in the center of the stage during the service. The ceremonies stress community, togetherness, and reliance on nobility. Many tenets of the church of Abadar are used within the cult teachings, so most cult members assume the cult is an offshoot of, or perhaps even sanctioned by, the church of Abadar. It seems as if the cult is entirely positive and benign, although some members have seen a strange figure watching them from rooftops or dark alleys as they come or go from the theater: a bald human man in gray and red robes wearing a red leather bird mask. All the cult members that have seen this man find him ominous and suspicious, but he’s never spoken with anyone.
The group decides to attend a service in their alternate identities. They know they cannot bring their weapons, and Corwyn helps to hide daggers on anyone, while his Daggers of the Lion and Kavian’s Ying Jie Blade can be magically hidden as part of their powers. A stout brick archway leads to a short passage into the theater ten feet wide. Stone ornaments on the brick are carved to look like leaves and branches, but an overgrown snarl of ivy makes the passage into a genuine leafy arbor. Two watchful dwarven sentries stand inside this passage while the doors are unlocked, close enough to touch visitors as they’re coming and going. These monks are unarmored and dress in sky-blue skullcaps, veils, and long tunics with an overlapping circles motif. They are curt but polite, waving attendees into the Encircling Bower before meetings and ushering attendees out afterward. The group wanders around, talking some with the attendees. About 10 minutes before dusk, An aasimar high cultist dressed in the standard cult outfit of a sky-blue skullcap, veil, and long tunic with a pattern of overlapping circles, quiets the guests and asks them to take their seats. Cassia and Mikhael sit together while the others scatter about. The High Cultists briefly acknowledges any attendees she doesn’t recognize, pointing them out publicly and welcoming them to the Cult of the Twilight Child with a wide smile. The cult sentries lock the entrances and take their positions near the stage at this time.
At dusk, the leader, Vaddrigan Pol and three more high cultists come on stage. All are identically dressed and lead a simple chant in Celestial as they walk in circles around the stage. The chant is repetitive and easy to follow even for those who do not speak Celestial. Those who know the language understand it expresses a plea for focus and reverence for the eternity of the circle. Cult members in the audience chant along, and some ring bells or chimes they have brought with them. This goes on for around 10 minutes at which point nozzles around the stage spray a golden mist that slowly covers the stage and the audience. While it appears to be a simple stage effect, the mist contains a very mild drug that causes slight euphoria. This immediately effects Corwyn and Detash who develop an increasing sense of happiness and engagement in the process. Kavian and Iona are suspicious of the mist but are not affected all evening. As the night goes on, this mist mildly effects Cassia and Mikhael who end up with a buzz of feeling good, but are not so impaired they do not understand there is something odd.
In a few more minutes, Vaddrigan steps back behind the stage and then returns to ask questions of the party. Mikhael is able to see that the leader of the Cult is hsing hypnotic stare on the people he talks too, which includes Kavian who does not seem to be affected. With each person, Vaddrigan then gives a short homily about the value of the cult as a community or a similar theme. Cult members in the audience seem to hang on Vaddrigan’s words, but his message is never political or controversial. It dawns on Cassia that the circles on the robes remind her of circles left the strange human sized rat the defeated in the hidden chambers under the Senate.
After 15 minutes of this, Vaddrigan steps back and the Twilight Child levitates up through the stage and he appears to hover just over the stage. Cassia and Iona immediately identify this as a trick with a mirror based on their previous training. The Prince is a hollow-eyed young man dressed in golden robes with circle motifs. Cassia, Iona, and Detash are stunned to recognize the Twilight Child as Prince Carrius, the dead younger brother of Princess Eutropia. He is the lost heir that started the need for Eutropia to change the law!
After the prince rises, Vaddrigan points to members in the audience. Prince Carrius identifies their “secret worries” or “inner thoughts” and provides assurances that their desires will be met soon. example, Vaddrigan says things like: “Risen Prince, here is a man, a baker, whose neighbors owe him debts,” which the Princes responds, “That which is owed to you shall be repaid, and shall multiply, as your dough rises beyond the pan.”. The leading statements, though cleverly performed, are a common trick among grifters and false mediums; and Cassia comments to Mikhael she had classes teaching her to do this in Bard Schoo. Several people come up who are sickened, and Vaddrigan asks for the individual to come up on the stage. Vaddrigan holds the target’s shoulders while Prince Carrius’s image makes dramatic but meaningless gestures over the target. The people are cured, but Iona is sure that Vaddrigan is doing the restoration. As this is going on the shadowed balcony a shadowy being appears, noted by Kavian and Corywn. They cannot get up to him surmise it might be the Bird-Man vigilante.
Forty minutes after dusk, the mirror is lowered and the prince “descends.” The High Cultists close the trap door. Vaddrigan asks the audience for those who have previously received the prince’s assurances to stand and testify to the prince’s power. And four previous attendees rise to attest to an improvement in their station, and they ascribe this to the miraculously risen prince.
In another 10 minutes or so The High Cultists lead the attendees in a few hymns, mostly borrowed from the church of Abadar. Vaddrigan leaves the stage between the hymns to great applause. The service ends, the guards unlock the exists, and the cult members are invited to leave and go forth to spread the word of the cult. The high cultists retire backstage. Many cultists leave offerings of fine food, money, or other items on the stage as they leave. Clearly still affected by the euphoric effect of the golden mist, the attendees chat good-naturedly as they exit. The cult sentries give the assembly another 10 minutes and then usher out any lingering members and lock up the theater until the following evening.
Leaving the theater, Detash is wanting to give them money. Corwyn is most impressed. The rest drag the two back to dinner at Farrok House, where over the meal the effects of the golden mist wear off. The team engages in a lively debate about what they might be able to do. Iona managed to get some of the mist in a small vial and wants to see if they can get it analyzed. Corwyn and Kavian want to patrol to try to meet the odd vigilante in red.
The Chief Enumerator is more than happy to discuss his concerns. He notes that the Cult of the Twilight Child is popular, they have benign teachings and that they cannot just raid it. The group will need to get more information. No warrant to hit the Bower will be forthcoming.
Mikhael takes the mist sample to Numerius Eborius, head of the Mages Guild, and he agrees to look into it and maybe come up with an antidote or immunity. Mikhael and Iona also talk to Argentus, but he has no ideas about anyone that he knew with anything like the golden mist. He can report the new chief is doing well for him and business is picking up.
Corwyn managed to find the Red Bird and talk to him. Despite being in disguise, the vigilante seems to know who he is. The man is clearly dismissive of the work they have already done, and is focused on the “abomination” at the center of the cult. He seems to know it is supposedly Prince Carrius. He tells Corwyn the trapdoor is locked and trapped, so to be careful. When pressed about why he has not done more, Red Bird notes that he is only one, and they are 6. He departs talking about stopping a crime against Phrasma.
The group has a lot to think about before their next steps.
|Campaign Date||Kuthona 28 4719|
Using spells and stealth, Corwyn, Detash, Cassia, and Mikhael use the next night’s performance to gain entrance into the Encircling Bower. Iona and Kavain remain outside as the doors close, but the others manage to secrete themselves on the balcony. Three balconies protrude over the auditorium seats twenty feet below, each connected by a narrow walkway and accessed by two sets of stairs against the south wall. The balconies are in terrible shape, with gaps in the rotted floors and seats falling apart or already in pieces.
They watch the performance again, this time immune to the golden gas with the antidote given them by the mages guild. This time they are approached by the Vigilante, Xan who is lurking on the balcony as well. he approaches them, hands visible, to have a short, whispered conversation. Xan goads the group to focus on getting backstage, because there’s an “abomination” at the core of the cult. He points out the backstage access and the trap door in the stage but admits that he believes the trap door to be both trapped and heavily guarded, so the backstage area is the best option for infiltration He isn’t interested in joining forces with the group and waves away any such suggestions. He vanishes with greater teleport and leaves the group more disgruntled that anything. After the ceremony is over, the group waits two hours and then starts to move.
They sneak behind the stage and explore. his backstage hall is ten feet wide and seventy feet long. Faded background screens and tattered curtains hang from rusted hooks and pulleys anchored into the brick walls. The hall is dizzyingly high, with catwalks and support beams twenty feet above the floor and another set fifteen feet higher, all barely visible in the darkness above. Several wooden doors lead off to the north and east, each with a small plaque so tarnished that any writing once there is entirely illegible. Four gaps in the south wall are shrouded with a curtain of tattered green velvet that extends from the support beams to brush the floor. To the west, a set of stone stairs winds downward, turning at a brick wall. Near the top of the stairs, a wide doorway has been completely sealed over with blank stone.
They first find the stairs leading down and several dressing rooms. The second one is occupied by a strange being that Mikhael recognizes as a denizen of Leng. It offers the party a giant ruby worth over 15,000 gold to leave as he has business with Vaddrigan Pol. The group will not and the creature attacks, sitting up and launching a web through the doorway trapping everyone but the nimble Corwyn. However, Corwyn can only stand face to face with the monster from the outer planes. The group struggles, but Cassia uses her Envoy Ring to charm monster and places the denizen under her magic. She has it sit back down and the web expires. Shaken, they shut the door and use arcane lock to seal it. While the effect will last over a week if not broken, the group now feels they are on a clock. They check another room and it has four Hidden Cultists, asleep.
Downstairs, they are alarmed to find a large Clay Golem running back and forth through the L shaped basement. Corwyn is able to hear some chatter going on in another room, that he thinks is a dice game going on. The group knows they cannot manage these beings and is unsure of what might even be out there. They retreat upstairs and Corwyn picks the locks and opens the doors to let Iona and Kavian in.
Now all together, Corwyn checks the other room upstairs and finds the four monk sentries asleep. The group debates their next steps. Kavain notes that his patron is watching them. Kavian advocates for using their status to demand access to the “Prince” either at a showing or waking someone up right now. They also discuss a repeat of sneaking in on the traitors. Finally, they decide to start with the monks and Kavian and Corwyn sneak in and sap one each. Iona holds the other door shut by the handle, while Kavian and Corwyn easily deal with the remaining two monks, rendering them unconscious.
Strengthened by Mikahel’s magic, Iona only feels the door pull once at the outside, then nothing. Mikahel moves up and overhears a lightening bolt being cast and yells a warning in time for Iona to dive out of the way and not be hit as the bolt of magical electricity destroys the door. Kavian runs in to attack the cultist who fired the spell, and is also given bulls strength by the party’s summoner. The cultist is severely damages, but the other three all strike Kavian with hideous loathing and even Kavian’s will is overwhelmed. He grows sick as he is desperate to get away from his target and flee the room. Iona, seeing this happen, frees her friend with a dispel magic. Cassia disables one with cacophonous call and Mikhael casts black tentacles and captures the cultists. The Nimble Corwyn dances between the dark form and goes to them off. While they use their mystic powers to strike Corwyn with rays of searing light, they cannot stand against the party. they are all defeated.
The party binds the monks and as a group moves down stairs without searching the rooms. Corwyn asks Detash if he has a silence spell ready, but he does not. Mikhael offers to open a pit at the far end of the hall while Corwyn and Kavian can go into the room with the dice players. The group likes the plan and they engage. The massive monster tumbles into the pit with a loud crash as Corwyn flings open the door to the west room. Kavian leaps in, and land between the dice players, a High Cultist and four wear rats. Kavian cuts the wear rats to shreds as Corwyn and Iona deal with the High Cultists. This is all over in half a minute. Iona looks through seeing a a baby-faced young woman barely out of her teens who calls for help, saying her name is Cassandra. They party tells her to hang tight, because the pit spell is going to expire. They race to the hallway.
Cassia, Detash, and Mikhael have been keeping watch on the hallway. Mikhael notices a door open, people look out, and slam shut. Mikhael has just enough time to wave to whom ever it is. Unknown to the party, it is Huddrigga, the dwarven Alchemist who created the hallucinogenic gas. She has also created Dreamrender, a loyal follower. Seeing that the area is under attack, she throws two levers to raise the platform that keeps the Black Pudding contained and opened the door to the hallway. She retreated into her bedroom to wait, with Dreamrender. When the fight goes against the defenders, she has Dreamrender dimension door them away.
Not knowing the Black Pudding is coming, the group is focused on the golem and the doors in the hallway. Kavian and Corwyn engage the creature as Cassia uses her music to boost them all. Lysanthir makes his appearance and is boosted by Mikhael. Lysanthir is now large and dangerous. As the members move to fight the golem, the black pudding emerges out of the door at the end of the hall. It cannot get to the flying Lythanthir and ignores the golem made from clay. If flows around construct and attacks Corwyn with an acid tentacle. Detash, finally having something to fight, strikes it with a scorching ray. While one hits, the other misses. Where the fire strikes it, there is a bubble and a summoning magical effect. A mouse appears and then falls into the pudding. Mikhael is able to see that something is very odd about this black pudding.
The fight with both beasts continues. Corwyn is struck by the golem as flees the pudding. Iona strikes the pudding with searing light as the golem engages the flying Lysanthir. Upon impact, the pudding again shimmers with magical energy and a random ray emerges, striking the largest thing near it, the golem. Not expecting magic to effect the construct, the party is amazed as its form turns to a patchwork of flesh. Mikahel suddenly notes the pudding is acting like a rod of wonder. Unknown to the party, Huddrigga had been throwing old alchemical experiments down to it. Now when struck by magic, the pudding gives of a random effect.
Kavain slices at the pudding, ignoring the strangled cry of Mikhael, worried it will just separate. The slices of the blade do nothing, but the fire effects all do it damage and trigger four more events. A slow ray strikes Kavian, who is protected by Cassia’s previous boost. The lights dim as darkness fills an area 30’ in diameter in the hallway. Everyone with in 30’ suddenly can detect thoughts of each other in a cacophony of noise for a few moments. Most bizarrely, everywhere in a 160 square area suddenly has growing grass in it.
Cassia, the only one outside the 30’ radius, sees the lights dim and counters with her dancing lights but she is confused by the looks on her friends faces as they struggle to hear all the thoughts. Mikhael alone is able to sort through them and hears the thoughts of two High Cultists and Vaddrigan Pol in the room to the north. They are watching the fight and planning to sneak out using invisibility potions after the golem and pudding have passed, using the connection to the sewers where the pudding was kept.
Switching places with his pet, Mikhael falls to the ground at the other side of the hallway. The golem is now facing Kavian and the two start a fierce battle. Detash again strikes with scorching ray and both rays hit. As the pudding is burned, more effect happen. This time faerie fire enveloped the pudding, fully dispelling the darkness in the area. For the other, a gust of wind emerged, focused directly on Corwyn, stopping him in his tracks for a round. Mikhael signals to the party in their special hand cant that the bad guys will come to where he is invisible. He summons Lyshanthir to his side and cover the floor with water.
Iona tries to heal Kavian, who is being battered by the golem, even as the strikes it again and again with his flashing blade. However, the nature of the cursed wounds is that Iona cannot overcome their effect with her healing magic. Kavain’s own lycanthropic enchantment is healing him slowly, but he is hurting. Now the constuct is Clay, Cassia is able to hurt it with a shot from her bow.
In another exchange of blows, the golem is almost down, but Kavain is reduced to 5 hit points. Detash finishes off the magical black pudding with magic missile setting of two final effects. Darkness again returns around it, but only for a moment as it dies. More bizarrely, its final gasp is a summoning again, though this time not a mouse, but an elephant that appears, wedged into the hallway. The enraged summoned beast gores the golem, the only thing it can see ending it.
Corwyn races to Mikhael to give him a see invisibility scroll, which Mikhael casts on his pet. Mounting the Eildon to be ready, the door explodes open and Lysanthir can see Pol and his two cultist followers making a dash under the elephant. Lysanthir attacks and rend the first high cultist apart as Mikhael demands they yield. They are captured, bound, and in Pol’s case, blindfolded. The group now searches for the Prince. Corwyn and Cassia find him and talk to him, while Iona and Kavian go to talk to the young lady.
When she finds out they are working for Eutropia, Cassandra Florint, a member of the Lion’s Blades. While passing through Yanmass on another mission and sought some preliminary information about them to report back to her superiors in the Kitharodian Academy in Oppara. Florint was captured and imprisoned here two weeks ago. During her incarceration, Florint had fashioned crude lockpicks from splinters in the straw; she could have opened the lock on the cell but could not get past the various guards. She kept the padlock shut and locked for waiting for a better opportunity to escape.
The Prince is another story. He isn’t sure how he came to be in Yanmass or how he met Vaddrigan in the first place, or even whether his name is actually Carrius. His memories are thoroughly muddled, and he remembers only the last few days with any precision. He recalls someone telling him that he is Prince Carrius of Taldor, son of Grand Prince Stavian III and younger brother to Princess Eutropia, but for now the only other things he remembers are momentary glimpses—a warm afternoon playing with his father and older sister in a well-appointed garden, his first riding lesson on a dappled white mare, a funeral for an important woman before he was old enough to understand its significance—but much beyond that is too hazy. He doesn’t recall the specific circumstances of his death.
When they mention that they are working for Carrius’s sister, Princess Eutropia, his face brightens and a few tears fall from his eyes, but he doesn’t understand why. Cassandra asks him about his death
When Cassandra explains that he was killed when being thrown from a horse, he vaguely comments “no, I—there was a horse, but… maybe? I remember a shout.”
It is clear he is being quite honest about everything he says. When asked about the circumstances of his resurrection, he asserts, “I just followed the circle back around to the beginning,” but he can provide no further details.
For now, the group still has to search the building and deal with the demon still upstairs. Cassandra is sure that the Princess will want to have her brother back, and it does seem that this is her brother.
The group scours the Bower and finds disturbing documents. In the planning room, a table contains several hastily burned notes that it will takes some Mikhael some time to sort out, but are most revealing. The notes outline the services, including the mechanism by which Vaddrigan displayed Prince Carrius during services via the mirror while keeping him safely beneath the stage in this room. The notes assume that Prince Carrius is, in fact, the risen prince of Taldor, although they don’t indicate how the prince was raised or how he came under Vaddrigan’s control. They make it clear that the Cult of the Twilight Child is Vaddrigan’s brainchild, and that its aim is to create a popular cult of personality around Prince Carrius—initially in Yanmass but eventually throughout Taldor. The ultimate endgame of this strange goal isn’t explained in these notes.
In Vaddrigan Pol’s personal study, they find two books on his desk. The first is a handwritten book of notes entitled “Diverting the River of Souls” which includes a mix of theological musings on the nature of life as well as arcane scribbles related to the overlap between resurrection magic and summoning spells. While the book does not name its author, it includes a short passage about “fishing out some shred of her soul from the Beyond and in so doing, animating the most resplendent likeness of her youthful days—all at once wondrous and terrible.” This book has real revelations in it, and the group is unwilling to show it to anyone.
The second book continues some of the first book’s arcane notations in a Pol’s handwriting, surmising that someone “already blooded by the Beyond” could usurp mortal worship and channel it into himself. Diagrams later in the book mirror those painted on the stage above, and similar to those by the immortal rat under the Senate.
The group again calls on the Temple of Abadar in the middle of the night and share what they have learned and get aid in overcoming the curses of the golem for Corwyn, but it appears, not for Kavian.
|Campaign Date||Kuthona 29, 4719|
At the executive session, the council is stunned to hear the tales of the party. They agree it is best to get the Prince back to his Sister, if he is indeed the Prince or not. They thank the party for all they have done, and the City of Yanmass will be celebrating the new year in two days with a sense of renewed hope, and firmly in the camp of Princes Eutropia.
Pol and the other cultists will be kept at the Council chambers, pending some sort of trial. The traitor soldiers will be sentenced to hard labor, and Yander Merkandos will remain a “guest” until his likely master, Pythareus is delt with.
The group starts things in motion and sets their local affairs in order. Cassia leaves agents to support her new holding of Tallgrasses, and Mikhael will leave some support for Argentus and the local guild. Carrod oversees the transfer of their goods and horses to the barges, and the group decides to leave on the 31st, out the southern gate, and rendezvous with the barge past the city, to avoid any attention. However, the stalker awaits.
|Campaign Date||Kuthona 31, 4719|
At the city gate, Xan is revealed as a Vanth Psychopomp, a servant of the goddess Pharasma. He demands they turn the Prince over to him, saying that Carrius was not resurrected but ripped from the afterlife. The party refuses and Xan vanishes into invisibility. Detash says he will fight fire with fire and promptly vanishes himself. Mikhael summons his pet and casts haste on the party. Cassia quickly transformers her likeness into the Prince and dances between them like the classic shell game. The group cannot see Xan, but Iona is shrewdly prepared. Tired of invisible foes, she charges towards the Prince and Cassia and uses purge invisibility (with apologies to Detash). Xan is reveled 50’ up, hovering over where Iona was. Lysthanthir engages Xan mid-air.
Corwyn draws his bow from his bag and strings it. Kavain waits for an opening when the outsider will land. Detash tries his fiery rays but cannot defeat Xan’s spell resistance. Iona feels the otherworldly scythe of Xan and is hurt, but she bravely responds with holy surge of force through her spear, depending on her friends to help kill the creature. Kavain steps up and lands a blow as Cassia takes the prince backwards. Corwyn then, in a stunning series of attacks with one hand, manages to kill Xan, who evaporates leaving only his red mask, which Lysthanthir crushes beneath his feet.
The group sighs and heads out.
|Campaign Dates||Kuthona 31, 4719 - Abadius 12, 4720|
The group takes barges and carriages back towards Merret County. As they mount their carriages, word reaches them that Pol was found dead in his cell, apparently from power word kill. Clearly, there are bigger things afoot.
As they near the end of their journey, the full moon rises, and Kavian is addressed by Hellena. She tells him that “The Circle” is behind this and they like to interfere with Taldor. She warns him that dangerous powers are at work. She does not say more because she does not want him to end up “dead with a word”. She also tells him he will be experiencing “training” on his new form over the next three nights, and true to her word, Kavian wakes up each morning exhausted.
At Birdsong, the Prince is reunited with his sister amid tears of joy. The party settles in for some recovery and preparation
|Campaign Dates||Abadius 12- 15 4720|
Arriving at Bentony late morning, the group is happy to be home. Sepsimia has helped to rearrange bedrooms with Elsa and Tremerus no longer with the group, with Kavian now on the second floor. The group spends the day getting settled back in, fully unpacked and used to home. Kavian takes Sepsimia out for a walk on the grounds to explain his curse and what it means. She is understanding but not sure at the moment she wants to share it. Kavian does tell he he wants to become betrothed. The ladies and Corwyn notice the change in both of them when they return from the walk.
After a great night’s sleep and local breakfast, the group meets with Sepsimia and Onra to get caught up. Sepsimia leads the meeting in which she gives a rundown of what has been going on in the growing town and the estate itself
Iona gives 1,000 gold for the start of the jail. During the meeting, the Trompe l'Oeil Duchess Lotheed appears to welcome the group home. Upon her departure, Sepsimia notes that the construct seems to be growing now she is not locked into her old role. She is seeing herself more as a construct and less as a copy. She has proved quite useful in communications with others via the paintings. However, she still used bedrooms and goes through the motions of being human, as is her nature.
The group is further interrupted by a summons for Mikhael and Carrod to come meet his mother, The Lady Meristiel Elluvidnir. She appears to have teleported into the foyer. She whisks away the two for something important. Mikhael leaves the message “When she says ‘come’ you don’t ask, you just go”.
The rest of the day, Corwyn works on the books while Kavian visits his school, avoiding the bookkeeping for now. Iona seeks information on the crime going on in the town and she finds out that rumors of slavers now abound. Feelings on the Night Swan have softened, as she brought the escapees to justice. Cassia just enjoys the town and spends time with the local folk, even dancing some with them. Detash is busy studying spells in books borrowed from Birdsong Palace.
Around three in the morning, Cassia an Corwyn both hear rats in their rooms. Cassia grabs her sword with the intent to pierce it and strikes. She is surprised when she connects but her blade only does a glancing blow and minor damage. For his part, Corwyn sends an energy shard from one of his Lion Daggers. He misses the small target. Both, however, note the target is a dire rat, magically shrunk. What is going on is reveled as both rats grow suddenly and become half man/half rat, wererats. Each wererat is wearing mail armor with a red mask with ratine and insectoid features. The assassins carry sawtooth sabers, that Corwyn can tell are each coated with poison. They both sound the alarm with great cries, waking the rest of the party and a fight is on. Each person is glad they are dressed in their spider silk undergarments for warmth and protection.
Cassia is struck and immediately effected by the hallucinations of the poison. She struggles through the confusion to fight back. Staggering next to her foe, they trade blows, her magical rapier able to damage the monster. Somehow, even as the poison causes her to become more clumsy, she stands and fights, but she is taking more damage than she is dealing, unable to hit more than once. After a staggering dance, it looks like one more attack will end her.
Corwyn leaps into action against his attacker, and finds to his dismay, that the wererat can keep his vital areas just away from Corywn’s blades as long as his back is against the wall. Unable to use his precise strikes against this creature, Corwyn finds he is trading blows. When struck, he easily avoids the effects of the poison, thanks to twisting away from most of the attack. Using his tricks, such as shadow image, the attacks cannot manage to land many blows, as Corwyn cuts and pokes at his foe. As he fights he hears the sounds of combat from the Dutchess’ room. Finally, Corwyn retreats and tries to intimidate the assassin into retreat and fails, but in moving backwards, Corwyn gets the wererat off the wall. With a feral voice he says “This ends now!” and slays his attacker. Corwyn bolts from his room to see if others need aid.
On the same floor, Detash hears Corwyn’s warning and awakes to see the wererat stalk towards him. Mozbie gets into its face and the first attack slams into the bed next to the mage, a clean miss that also wipes away the poison. He uses Magic Missile and Scorching Ray while avoiding most of the blows, though taking some damage. While his first set of rays does not do much damage, at point blank range, all three hit the second time, frying the wererat. Expressionless, Detash coldly raises the dead creature as a skeleton and he heads out, running into Corwyn. They hear fighting in Iona’s room.
Iona was roused with Corywn’s call and immediately stands up and summons her Sword of Iomedea to her. Charging it with her holy power for force, she begins to fight the monster. As it hits her, Iona is more than able to shake off the effects of the poison, but the blade cuts deep. As she trades blows, Iona pauses to heal herself and then strikes again. The cleric and assassin dance with each other until Iona is finally able to defeat him.
On the second floor, Kavian awakes to see the leader coming for him. The most powerful of the assassins choose the Tribune as his target. Kavian leaps up and punches the leader, staggering him back. While the assassin lands one blow, Kavian shrugs it off and beats the wererat to death is a flurry of attacks. He grabs his darkwood shield and sword and races to Sepsimia’s room. There he is horrified to see one of the wererats standing, having given Sepsimia a near mortal wound by biting her. Kavian runs up to the monster and cuts him down in a flurry of strikes. Leaning over his love, Kavian stabilizes her and then goes to get help or be help, whichever comes first. He charged up the stairs towards the second floor to find Corwyn and Detash headed to Iona’s room. Kavian asked Iona to come help his soon to be fiancée.
Cassia, on the verge of death, is startled when she hears a lullby of the three domovi. Blunk, Wink, and Nood who have come to her room after summoning the Duchess for help. As they weave magic over the room, Cassia enjoys the music, but the wererat is sedated, allowing the Duchess to burst in attack him. Veleto is worse for ware, with clear signs of damage from her battle with the assassin that thought it could murder her. Cassia staggers back and goes to grab her fiddle. The domovi use their telekinesis to throw much of the objects in the room at the rat. Confused when she gets her fiddle, Cassia then staggers forward to attack the wererat. The shredding blade cuts deep into Veleto, but his is finally brought down by a bed to the head. The Duchess puts Cassia to bed and the domovi get her to sleep.
As Cassia drifts off, Duchess Veleto meets the others in the hallway. They gather and Iona starts heals. Iona is able to cure Sepsimia of filth fever, but cannot cure her of the lycanthropy. Corwyn goes immediately to Gerta Thresh to see if she has wolfsbane, but she has none. Kavian stays with his love, and the rest of the party goes to sleep to ready for the next day.
|Campaign Dates||Abadius 15-18 4720|
Kavian and Corwyn get no sleep in the evening, with Kavian standing a literal watch, and Corwyn spending some time in contemplation. The servants start their predawn work to prepare breakfast for the household. As the smells of a near complete breakfast waft through the first floor, the bell at the front door rings and Kavian leaps to answer it, making it before the house staff. He is startled to see Grandmother outside and she is asking to see Lord Corwyn. The young Tribune asks her to have a seat and goes to find Corwyn and says she needs to meet with him. Corwyn tells her they were attacked the night before and takes her to Sepsimia.
The old woman is able to remove the high dose of poison in her system but her use of Wolf’sbane does not cure her. She offers to help her slow the effect like she did for Iona and Kavian. She goes to work while Kavian gets food to take to Sepsimia. Corwyn goes to check on Cassia who is groggy but able to come downstairs for breakfast.
The day passes while Grandmother works. Detash uses his mending to repair the Duchess as healing magic does not work on a construct. She is greatful, and “now that I am presentable” offers to use the paintings to go to and ask for additional guards from the Princess, to which Kavian agrees. By that afternoon she has returned and the Princess will send some of the Lothedar city guards.
About dinner time, Mikhael and Carrod return, looking much the worse for wear. They are talking about whatever strange experiences they had working for the Lady Meristiel Elluvidni AKA “mother” to Mikhael. The stagger to the dinner table and get the horrifying update on the last night’s activities. Both drink heavily and Carrod slumps onto Mikhael’s shoulder. The servants get the two tucked in for a sound night’s sleep.
Grandmother turns up shortly before the two leave and tiredly says she is ready. Corwyn takes her up to Sepsimia and they administer the draught. She immediately passes out and enters into a healing slumber. After a few hours, Grandmother announces they now have until the next full moon, some weeks away. Grandmother asks to spend the night and Corwyn gets her a room ready. Kavain sleeps outside Sepsimia’s room, and asks a female servant to spend the night in her room.
Before the sun is up the next morning, Sepsimia relates her terror at losing Kavian. Under the effects of the assassin’s toxins, she was sure that he was dead and that she had failed him be being weak. She asks Kavian to share the curse with her, so that they can continue to be together. Both dress and go to breakfast. Sepsimia also says that the group should make a tour at least of the three big nobles in the County, Baron Okerra, Baroness Voinum, and her mother, Dame Crabbe. Cassia strongly agrees, and they decide to do a circuit, starting with Dame Crabbe. It is then that Kavian revels the plans to some sense of dismay of the rest of the group.
Grandmother arrives to eat, putting an end to that discussion. She sits Carrod’s seat, as she stayed in bed while the more duty bound Mikhael came downstairs. The old woman enjoys breakfast and then asks to speak with Corywn. In private, she tells him that she thinks she can allow some other magical belts that effect the body to work on him by stabilizing the effect, however, she thinks it will make the effect permanent. She also suggests his tail might support a magic ring, which Corywn scoffs at, forgetting how knowledgeable Grandmother is. He turns her down for now, but says he will think on it. Grandmother also expresses concern at his constant use of first world potions in the from of the galluvix that Corwyn appears to shrug off. Grandmother thanks and says she needs to get back to the two young men in Stachys waiting for her to escort her back to Jambis.
While this is going on, Detash uses his magical ear jewelry to enact the sending with Hellena. As she clearly has been monitoring Kavian, he receives a message as soon as he puts them on:
”Tell Kavian to wait for a potion to arrive. Then he is to transform into a wolf and bite Sepsimia with intent to curse her. He will know when it happens. All of my intelligent servants can control the curse. Then she is to drink the potion. This will set thing in motion for the first full moon. “.
Detash passes this along to Kavian and Sepsimia who say they will wait.
Iona heads out to the town to help attend to their needs, with magic, words, and ministrations. It is clear to her that the faith of Iomedae is gaining ground, and she wonders is a small chapel or shine might be in order.
In the afternoon a royal courier brings a staff of healing from the Princess, with a letter simply stating “You have the eternal gratitude of a sister. Thank you.”.
They also notice that a package for Kavian arrived which holds the potion from Hellena. Kavain takes his love out for a walk and transforms and bites deeply into her leg, avoiding her major artery, but his bite is still strong a vicious. The maiden is able to drink the potion before she swoons. Kavian binds up the wound and brings her back for a still somewhat skeptical Iona to heal her. The new curse is set to wipe out the old. Kavain puts her to bed, and again engages in a vigil.
Early in the morning, the party travels towards Crabbe Estate, with the intention to stop on Jambis along they way. Thanks to the Duchess, Dame Crabbe will be expecting them on the 18th. Mikhael gets up before dawn to investigate the operations of the pumphouse and is most pleased. He talks with Iona about opening the canals back up for work as a way to improve the County. Along the road, he inspects the work on the bridge with satisfaction. They pass trading traffic along the way who are happy to see the Tribune and his friends who threw off the yolk of the Count and helped Merret prosper.
Getting to the outskirts of Jambis, the party notes fields with webs and lights. Clearly the locals are harvesting spider silk from the cat sized spiders using light and heat to lure insects, even in these cold months. Cassia notes she can see why some of the Jambians decided to join the Beggerwood resettlement in Stachys. They receive a warm welcome in Jambis and are put up in the local inn. Mikhael manages to round up and play with one of the large wolf spiders in the inn that is acting much like a cat to keep vermin down.
Finally arriving mid afternoon at the Crabbe Estate, they witness a reunion between the Crabbes. Dame Crabbe herself resumes her flirting with Detash and walks arm and arm into them home, demanding he regale her with their exploits in Yanmass. Over wine before dinner, Kavian formally asks the Lady for her daughter’s hand in marriage, to Parthena Crabbe’s great joy. She had stopped pushing after the incident with the undead monster, but is delighted as this young man, and also treasures it is clear her daughter loves him, not always how it is for nobility.
That night, dinner is lively, with great food and spirits served. Parthena insists on a celebration announcement at her estate and immediately begins the work of setting it up.
|Campaign Dates||Abadius 19-21|
After a dinner, Detash asks Dame Parthena for a tour and history of the Crabbe family. The two stroll off together, laughing and enjoying each other’s company, which ends up extending for the rest of the evening, until Detash comes down to breakfast. Dame Crabbe takes hers in bed.
Cassia calls it an early night and Kavain agrees with that plan. They retire early to get a jump on the next day. Corwyn quietly wanders off, leaving Mikhael and Carrod savoring their brandy. Mikhael takes her for a walk in the hedge maze and has a long talk with her about how things are, how their lives are and the future. Carrod is quite clear that she is more settled than she has ever been, even with the unsettling things they seem to run into. The next morning, as Kavain is headed down, a servant comes to him to say that Corwyn had not answered to wake up. Kavian runs into Mikhael along the way and the two go to Corwyn’s room and also get no answer. They go in and, Corwyn is nowhere to be found but the window is open. It is obvious to Kavian the outside trellis has been climbed. Mikhael and Kavian head to the roof through the attack and the find their friend on the roof, a bottle of booze in each hand and one held in the tail bemoaning his situation in a drunken stupor. They both talk to him, and it is clear to Kavian his own impending nuptials have made things worse for Corwyn. They work to talk him to come inside as Corwyn shows significant belliergence about his situation, even accusingly asking Kavian for help from Hellena as his tail almost pokes Kavian in the face like a finger. Finally, Corwyn tosses the bottle in his tail away with a final swig and goes to climb back to his room, but the Trellis breaks. Kavian leaps to help him, but it is not necessary as Corwyn grabs onto pole with his tail and swings in. Both land in the room, and Corywn goes to undress, taking off his Hat of Disguise reveling he hasn't shaved in several days and is probably wearing the same clothes for the last few days also despite the travels they've been on. Kavian puts him to bed and heads out.
Stung my Corywn’s accusation that his friends have not done enough to help, Mikhael summons a Bralani Azata that startlingly is female. He questions her about his friend’s curse and possible fixes, which she says would be a miracle or wish. She gives him a “name” and promises to ask around. Disappointed there was no fight, she asks Mikhael to summon her again when there is a “real fight” to be had and she will see if she has a better answer.”
Meanwhile, Iona has headed out to minister to the town of Moist. There she helps heal a foolish young Noble Scion of wounds from an “hold my beer” moment the evening before. Detash and Mikhael meet and discuss ordering a Lyre of Building to aid in construction of canals and they meet with townsfolk to discuss. After assuring them that they won’t be using an army of undead, the citizens are behind the project. That evening, Corywn comes down for a subdued dinner with everyone. After the dinner, Dame Crabbe take the young lord for a walk, and offers him advice, while noting unasked for advice can be ”worth no more than paper in the fire.”. She encourages him to understand that value is not superficial, a lesson she only recently learned herself, in seeing how wonder Kavian is for her daughter. Corwyn is clearly moved and thanks the older woman. A while later, Cassia comes to Corwyn and shared with him how much she cares for him and how important he is to the party. Not to mention what a great dancer he is. Corwyn is careful not to respond in any way other than collegial in the face of the stunning redhead.
The next day, the group bid farewell to the Crabbe estate and headed towards Voinaris. They are at the edge of the Void Wood when Kavian notices four spots of disturbed earth ahead. He halts the group and circles around to approach one. As he does, four undead stag beetle exoskeletons erupt from the ground. Kavian leaps down and slashes at the one closest to him. Corwyn flips off his horse and charges one. Iona rides in and positive energy flows out to damage the corrupt creatures. The undead then fight back, knocking Iona’s horse unconscious. Four more beetles emerge and move down to fight. Cassia rides around to flank Corwyn’s opponent, as Carrod and Detash send fireballs out to cook the new arrivals and two of the original. Between spell, holy energy, and magic fire, the monsters are eliminated, though not without Cassia receiving a hard bite. Iona quickly heals the horses and Cassia, while Kavian and Detash look at the land. It seems these beetles moved in from the Void wood, perhaps and old menace disturbed. The group remounts and heads onto the town.
|Campaign Dates||Abadius 21-22, 4720|
The group passes the village of Sotto and stop for a couple hour visit. Sotto is now a changed place, the people living without constant fear and dread. They take note of Kavian’s wearing of their gift with great pride and small children run up to touch it.
They continue on to Vonaris, arriving after a full day of riding, fighting, and visiting. Baroness Vonium welcomes them in a somber mood. She immediately tells them that she has lost a party of a dozen who were working to clear parts of the Void Wood. Only one made it back, Goldenix the Gnome. She says he returned with tales of a fearsome mobile tree killing his companions. The Baroness formally asks Kavian and Tribune if he and his friends could investigate the darkness in the Void Wood
The party decides to interview the survivor. Goldennix is a golden haired young male Gnome mage who was along more in training. He is quit inappropriate with Iona and Cassia, flirting with them and coming on to them both. He says he was along to learn and to see if they might find an old artifact supposedly lost in the woods. His story relates finding the hidious evil tree and the party being attacked. It was only Goldennix’s use of Expeditious Retreat and small size let him escape through the dense underbrush. He still lost two toes to frost bite and has come down with a bad cough after three days alone in the woods. He is able to provide the party with a rough map of where the tree was based on the journey out of his party. The path they took was on foot due to constant brush, and they used old game trails and some bush whacking.
The group heads out the next day to a camp area at the edge of the Void Wood. Vonium men watch their horses as they enter the dense forest, starting on the same path taken by the ill-fated expedition. Once on the trail they find some tracks that seem to cross back over it of four humans. Following these, they find an area with several holes like the skeleton beetles they fought two days ago left. There are the remains of three humans in the Vonium colors, ripped apart. There is also signs of the large undead beetles chasing one more set of footprints. This all leads north in the direction the party was ambushed.
At the rough center of the area is a partially washed away hill that has exposed an ancient stone cairn. At its center is an indentation, like it was cut for a keystone, but what was there is missing. Iona casts detect magic and reveals there is a permanent magic mouth upon the foundation. When Cassia investigates the hole at the top, the magic mouth yells out in Sylvian “Arise and kill the desecrators.”
On the other side, broken in two, is a black stone that has faint necromancy. Detash can tell it was used to command and control undead. Without it working, he surmises that the undead beetles just wandered away. Investigation of the site also reveals a human skeleton, clearly undead, that is buried under the landslide. It is semi responsive but cannot move. Detash uncovers it and tries to command it. It magically speaks and says it cannot leave and it must return the capstone statue, as it otherwise stand silently.
The group follows the trail of one human and the beetles and find his body torn apart a short distance away. Nearby is a bizarre purple-stained ivory statuette of a three headed unicorn, placed on an obsidian keystone. The item itself is worth 12,000 gp as an artifact of unknown type. It radiates an enchantment and divination. Detesh picks up the statue to examine it and a violet haze appears before his eyes. He has visions of the First World, and the effect dazes him slightly. (-2 Int and -2 Wis). The group discusses what to do with the item; return it or keep it. Detash asks to keep it to study for at least a day. Cassia agrees and they head back to pick up the main trail deeper into the forest to find the evil tree.
Pushing into the Wood, the group follows the game trail into a dense brush.
|Campaign Dates||Abadius 22-23, 4720|
Kavian leads the way and using his skills of survival is easily able to identify a Gallows Tree that has placed itself in a thick along a game trail. The group edges closer, making sure to be away from the long reach of its branches. Corwyn opens with alchemical fire against the trunk but notes the flames do not seem to have much of an effect. He turns to mention this, but suddenly the tree surges forward 20 feet!
The monstrous plant strikes and grabs Iona, Corwyn and Cassia, lifting them into the air. As this happens, the brush erupts with forms. The group is sickened to see that the tree has filled the corpses of seven fallen soldiers with a horrible sap, and they are now attacked to it by sickly green vines. These Gallows Zombies start to attack. The ones near Kavain, Mikhael, Sepsemia, and Carrod emit a foul breath that Mikhael managed to inhale. He immediately feels sluggish and slow. The other three begin to fight, striking the shambling forms. Carrod goes for the vine connecting them back to the tree, resulting in a deep cut and spurt of foul smelling sap. Mikhael casts defensivly and uses haste to counteract the effects and speed up the party. Corwyn tries to get free, while Iona heals the group near her, and Cassia starts hacking at the limbs that hold her.
Detash, at a distance, which normally is a good place for the mage, finds that he is menaced by two of the zombies. He steps back and sends a fireball into the area next to the tree, vaporizing the nourishing vine and two of the zombies. While the tree is resistant to fire, this still hurt it. More importantly, the remaining two zombies on the ladies no long could heal every moment. Then the zombies on Detash attacked him, forcing him to run like the wind away from the fight.
Mikhael summons the Bralani Azata Valeriana for the fight as promised. She is quite delighted to be present against a Gallow Tree, noting it has been some times since she has seen one of these and starts to attack the zombies. The ladies deal with their attackers as Kavian cuts apart one and then charges he Evil Tree. As Kavian charges, the tree branch slams into him lifting him hi. Kavian strikes the branch, deeply wounding it. Iona summons her greyflame sword but cannot get purchase on the Tree. Corwyn strikes deeply with his Lion’s Blades.
As Detash unleashes a scorching ray against the zombies, Kavin’s Ying Jie sword slices over and over, cutting him free from the monstrous branch. The wounded tree slams Corwyn into the ground while dropping the two women in its grasp. It 4 remaining free limbs all pummel Kavian, who manages to squirm out of the way of the grasp of the first three but is caught by the fourth. As the warrior-monk is hauled into the air, Iona heals him with a cure spell and then steps clear to heal the party. Cassia drops to engage the remaining Zombie that is unhurt.
The Gallows Tree is in trouble. Corwyn and Kavian both free themselves as Valeriana transforms into a wind form and attacks with her slams. The tree tries to stop her but cannot. It releases a great cloud of pollen across the whole area, rendering everyone but Cassia, Iona, Detash and the summoned Valeriana passive. They are unable to still see the tree as a threat. It moves away at speed. Valeriana strikes it with a lightning bolt, staggering the tree. As it sways, insensate, Detash launches scorching ray into it, penetrating its fire resistance. Iona tells Cassia to stay back and drops holy fire from the sky with a flame strike engulfing the foul beast in divine justice. The tree burns and dies.
Valeriana helps snap Mikhael from his stupor and thanks him for the fight. She says to summon her in a weeks’s time and she will do her best to help his friend have cure for his tail. Cassia works with Iona to help awaken the rest of the party from their pollen induced states.
It is too late in the day to return to their camp, so the party retreates from the fire to set up a camp under Kavian’s guidance. Iona and Detash work in the burning of the bodies. In the morning, Mikhael and Detash exam the first world artifact. With an outstanding roll, they can figure out it is designed to see across dimensions. Since it is from the First World, it sees there when uncontrolled. They group debates what to do with it, and they decide both not to place it in a bag of holding and to encase it in stone under the foundations of their manor. Detash goes to deal with the remaining guardian skeleton and decides simply to get it back burning in its hole.
The group then returns to the Baroness with the news. The Void Wood has one less evil creature within it. They have a quite meal and head out with the Baroness’s thanks. She promises to secure a loan for the new jail as her way of offering thanks. They spend the day and stay the day and night in Vonaris
|Campaign Dates||Abadius 24-25, 4720|
Kavin needs to get a ring and make a formal proposal before the party. Lotheedar is best place to shop in the county. and it is on the way around back towards visiting the Baron. The group sets out for this, the largest settlement in the county. In the morning of the 24th. The group is aware that their reception might be mixed, since their actions have reduced the special status that Lotheedar enjoyed under the evil Count and is equally evil seneschal.
They arrive and book their horses at the stables and grab lunch at the Galloping Griffon tavern on the edge of town. Kavian gives Sepsimia the choice to come or be surprised. As she looks Kavain up and down, Cassia takes him and promises to get something that she will love. While Cassia takes Kavian off to find rings, Detash and Mikhael go magic item shopping. Iona decides to head to consult with the Archbanker Lady Paril and plans to spend the next night with her at the Temple of Abadar. Corwyn decides to do some walking around the town in disguise to get a feel for the real temperature of the locals. The remaining ladies, Sepsimia and and Carrod spend the afternoon in their own shopping.
Detash and Mikhael find the local magic shop is flushed with possible items to sell. (Roll of 100 for availability) and Mikhael is happy to find a ring of protection and cloak of resistance for Carrod. Detash, mindful of mis teleports, decides for a ring of featherfall. They are chatting with the owner, who is quite grateful for the changes in the County, particularly the new trade brought on with the spider silk trade with Yanmass. Indeed, the very items that Mikhael bought came through the trade in Yanmass and have distinctly Kellish styles. It is at this time, Kavian and Cassia come in, rings in hand for the enchantment Kavian seeks.
The owner is quite happy to have the Tribune himself come in, and is more than grateful to get the rings enchanted. The wedding rings will be Communique Rings, while the engagement ring will magically double as a ring of protectionwhen paired with the wedding band. He can have the rings ready on 29th.
While Corwyn is moving around as “Lars”, it is clear that many of the citizens of Lotheedar are not all happy with their no longer highest status as citizens with the deposal of Count Lotheed so there is some fertile ground for a local troublemaker. This public undermining come in the form of a charming man, Sir August Cameron, who is promoting Pythareus. “Lars” manages to get close to the man to hear his conversations directly. It seems he is setting up a rally for tomorrow afternoon, to “state his case” but it is clear that it is to attack the Princess.
As the group meets up back at the Galloping Griffon, they discuss what Corwyn has heard. They agree to go to the rally the next day. After some discussion, Cassia decides to stay in town and the local inn, blandly named the “Merret County Inn”. They decide on watch schedule, just in case. Cassia tarries behind until darkfall, drinking and playing and being the general life of the tavern.
On her walk back, she sees a shape drop from a rooftop. It is the Night Swan. She bows and tells Cassia that if she and her friends were planning to go to the rally, they best be in disguise as they will not be allowed entrance otherwise. She compliments Cassia on the group’s work in the county and admits that maybe all nobles are not bad. With that, she departs into the night. Cassia relates this to the group, and they plan accordingly. Over the night, all the watchers think they see other watching them from the street.
The next morning, word of their arrival has clearly spread Dame Michelle Caius, whom they first met at the trials in Stachys, invites them to attend a reception in their home that afternoon. Wanting to sneak into the rally, the party is torn. Sepsimia and Iona agree to attend for the group, while the rest can go undercover in alternate identities. That being decided, at various times, disguised party members make their way to the rally.
While the rally is attended mostly by common folk, Mikhael and Corwyn note some nobles in the back, including Luzretiza Marthane, and Caesia Sarimarca. After a small time with ale and beer being served, Sir Augustus takes to the stage, protected by four local Lotheed soldiers. He starts to attack the Princess, but mostly directs his energy against the Tribune Kavian and his “cronies”. The nobles in the back don’t seem to respond, but there are mummers of agreement through the crowd. The party strikes back. Cassia’s dulcet voice sweetly sings its questions. Corwyn slips in his shot. Kavian’s gruff question lands like a heavy shot. Clearly rocked back. Sir Augustus stumbles a bit, but before he can react a smoke bomb lands in front of him briefly filling the area.
As the smoke clears, along each wall are three people, each dressed as the Tribune and his cohorts! Kavian leaps upon the table and his glammered sword leaps appears in his hand. His voice thunders as he declares the intruders to be imposters. Cassia stands and turns, her golden fiddle in her hand as she directs a tune at Sir Augustus. Mikhael nods to Carrod at the three of the left of the hall “Kavian”, “Corwyn”, and “Cassia”. In moments the two casters have immobilized the two groups, Carrod with a web and Mikhael with black tendrils. The nobles in the back flee the room in haste.
Corywn attempts to intimidate Sir Augusts with some effect, disrupting his attempt to cast a demoralize on the group. The fake “Detash” frees a hand from the tentacles and uses a wand to send a fireball into the crowd, but the real Detash easily dispels it. Kavin charges forward and attacks the startled Sir Augusts who staggers back and casts mirror image that shifts around and makes it look like 5 of him. The fake “Cassia” manages to put several attendees to sleep with a deep slumber spell.
It is at this point, Cassia’s magical spell kicks off, and the batterer rabble rouser finds himself denouncing the Tribune and his cohorts as no match for his imposters. As he says it, he is aghast at his forced confession. He does not have much time to worry, because Kavian continues to strike at his foe, correctly figuring out how he is and avoiding the mirror images. Detash blocks the bad guy on the right with an ice wall after his counter part throws another fireball. Mikhail mounts his summoned Eidolon and tears into his counter part who has freed himself from the tendrals. Lysanthir tears the imposter apart, reveling a human who was wearing a hat of disguise.
Seeing that the tide is turning, the “Iona” crushes a gem and vanishes in a dimension door effect. Kavain again manages to strike his opponent with devastating effect. As Sir Augusts looks to flee, Mikhael fires off two bolts, both connecting critically, one in the eye and one in the heart of their foe, who collapses, dead at the Tribune’s feet, reveling his true nature as a Rakshasa. It is moments later when Corwyn finishes off the “Detash” and the “Cassia” and “Corwyn” also crush crystals to leave. The still trapped “Kavian” finds himself face to face with the man he pretends to be, as the warrior monk vaults through the air to land untouched by the web. The imposter surrenders and spills all he knows.
The group is from Zimar, hired and equipped by Sir Augustus, but swears he did not know it was an evil outsider. The Night Swan enters from the rear with the fake “Iona” in tow, noting this person appeared outside the hall. With two people to interrogate it is clear the group is getting the truth. Corwyn puts out a call to watch the roads, but the fact the remaining members have disguise will make them hard to find.
The character assassination of the Tribune and his friends has failed, and in fact, had the opposite effect. The support of the Tribune has increased in the town.
|Campaign Dates||Abadius 26- 31 4720|
|01/25/20||Information Networks in Zimar - Charm +1||Information Networks in Zimar - Charm +1||Genius to Drive Legislation to control the Canal, Finds a Magic Item||Community Service in Meratt to heal others +1 Sacrafice, Filter out Rumors||Escorts and Guards for Proposal and Party, Covert and Overt||Helped to build canal and made significant progress with the people, Counter Operations in Zimar|
|02/01/20||Secure Secrets to get information about the Viscount Subterfuge but fails||Organizing a Rally to increase Charm, but fails||Robe Of Bone found||Filter Rumors in Oppera, Charitable Acts - Sacrafice +1||Counter Operations in Merret (Ongoing)||Works on the canal systems Sacrafice +1|
The next week passes with speed. Kavian redeploys his agents to provide covert and overt protection of his proposal and the betrothal party set up by his future mother in law. After a visit with Baron Okerra and a pleasant catch up with Tremerus, the group heads back to Bentony Manor. On the 29th, the rings are delivered and Kavian formally proposes to Sepsimia at her home, with as much resplendence as he can muster. The two swear a formal betrothal to each other, though they cannot set the date as is normal due to Kavian’s duties to the Grand Princess. They do set a party for the 31st on the last day of the month and week to be hosted by Dame Crabbe.
On the same day of receiving the rings, Mikhael summons the Bralani Azata Valeriana. She returns as promised with a possible cure for Corwyn’s tail. She has a silvered scroll with many arcane writings. She says because of the natural chaotic nature of monkeys, that Corwyn will have to change his thinking to a more lawful bent for this to work, or he needs to be in a lawful realm. The chaotic Valeriana thinks this would be a tragedy but understands Corwyn’s wishes. Corwyn muses about Iona using plane shift. Iona is appalled, noting that jumping between planes without knowledge or training is exceedingly dangerous. During that same day, Kavain also receives a letter from Lord Kalbio, with the clear assistance of Elsa. He asks for the help of the party to ask the Princess for lands to go with his title and help getting established. The party agrees to talk to the Princess after the Betrothal party.
The party at the Crabbe estate brings the nobility in force in a way not seen since the Tanager Jubilee. The Grand Princess Attends as well. It is a festive event, with the formal oaths to marry announced. Dame Crabbe says moving words to open the party:
Grand Princess. People of Merret County. Friends. I welcome you all to join in celebration of the betrothal of my daughter, Sepsimia to the Tribune Lord Kavian. As many of you know, my precious daughter was sick for a time. What you don’t know is she was under a cruel spell by an evil undead. This was an undead destroyed by Lord Kavian and his companions. He saved my daughter. He became a hero to me that night. The Tribune and his companions have changed our county for the better. After last week, no one can deny they are on the side of us. I am so excited to see my family joined to his. Join me in celebration tonight of this pending union.
The evening is full of eating, drinking, and dancing. Detash is especially of interest, with his exotic elf nature and he manages to dance with many of the ladies present. Mikhael works the room, continuing to take both the temperature and the support the cause. The other members dance and mingle. When the call for the Phalanx dance goes out, Cassia grabs Corwyn and takes him to the dance floor. As the songs progress, Iona and her partner, Quintus Okerra and Mikhail and Carrod are quickly eliminated. The floor is quickly left with Detash and the Duchess, Cassia and Corywn, and the betrothed couple. Detash and his partner are forced off the floor, leaving it a close contest between the four remaining friends. Eventually, Cassia and Corwyn dance off the floor, leaving the couple for the party the winners. Kavian is suspicious of his friends letting him win, but the crowd loves the outcome.
As the party winds down, Detash wanders off with a lovely lady on each arm, daughters of tradesmen, while Mikhael gets off stage and settles in for some drinks. The rest of the group retire to a full night’s sleep. This is good, for the next morning, the Grand Princess, who returned home early the night before, summons the group to Birdsong for a briefing.
In late morning, the party meets Eutropia in her study. Princess Eutropia’s mutt, Taldogis, bounds forward in greeting, wielding a deafening bark and nearly lethal wagging tail. The princess gently shoos him away before inviting them into her office. She gives them thanks again for their work in Merret County and the return of her brother to her. The group talks about the unusual circumstances and all agree that there is something more afoot than the schemes of Maxillar Pythareus. She says that Martella Lotheed is away in Qadria trying to prevent a war, as it seems Pythareus has been faking “retaliatory” attacks against that nation. Eurropia notes that the last war with Qadria took half a century, cost millions of lives, and ultimately half of the empire. As her most loyal and effective agents, she is sending them to confront Pythareus in his home base, the city of Zimar.
She says that the good news is that “We are no long alone” in wanting to prevent this. Up until now, the Lion Blades have been reluctant to take a side in the succession debate, but with Pythareus risking the nation’s safety, they have reached out to the Princess for assistance. It seems all their resources in Zimar have suddenly gone dark, and they need new eyes in the city.
She directs the group to proceed to the Kitharodian Academy in Oppara to meet a woman named Kathann Zalar. The group remembers her from the attack of the cultists at the Vinmark Wedding, and the one who got them into the Exaltation Gala months ago. Zalar will provide the group with additional information, training, and resources for this joint venture. Zalar also asked that the party return an ocarina constructed by a master artisan of the Kitharodian Academy that has been housed here at Birdsone for the last few centuries, as a sign of good faith.
Princess Eutropia has little additional information as to the Lion Blades’ actual needs or plans. While the organization has remained stubbornly neutral in the conflict so far, she hopes they can at least work together to prevent a war. The ocarina itself is remarkable in that it is expertly crafted from porcelain and inlaid with silver details, but it’s small and has no magical properties. The remainder of the Blades’ letter requests only that the PCs remain discreet in their association, and meet Kathann in the Academy’s gardens, on a bench under the administrator’s offices at sunset.
The trip to Oppara proves a quiet week’s travel. The group’s carriage passes the site of a recent battle between Loyalist and Imperialist forces that took place in southern Tandak while they were in Yanmass. By this point the bodies have been cleared from the impromptu battlefield, but the freshly turned soil of recent graves remains visible from the road, and the faint stink of death lingers.
|Campaign Dates||Calistril 02-16 4720|
The Week is spent in training with the Lions Blades and this includes honing persona networks.
|02/08/20||+1 to Subterfuge||+1 Charm||+1 to Subterfuge||+1 to Sacrifice||Kavian||+1 to Sacrifice|
Arriving in Oppera in the afternoon of the 8th of Calistril, the group splits up:
Each member of the group decides to use their hat of disguise to be discreet as was requested. The party enters the gardens of the Kitharodian Academy at different times to await their contact. Having been told to be discreet, all are in various disguises. Three guards approach Cassia, dressed as a disinterested noble. The one marked as a sergeant begins to harass Cassia with questions like “who are you?” “Why are you on academy grounds?” and talking about a break in. Cassia flatly refuses to engage and walks away, successfully acting the very soul of an injured noble. With the rest of the party standing by, the three guards are reveled to be their point of contact, Kathan Zalar, and to Cassia’s amazement, her old friends, Stephana Zespire and Victor Rufus. Cassia’s relief at seeing her friends alive is tempered with her true anger at the needless test.
Zalar takes the party on a tour of the Kitharodian Academy, which Cassia was already predisposed against as it is the rival school to her own Rhapsodic College in the Westport District. Now the true nature of the Lion Blades recruiting is known to her, Cassia can understand why her school produces better bards. During the tour, the three members of the Fruit of the Vine catch up on where they have been. Stephana relates that she and Victor were caught up in the fighting on the day of the massacre and saved by Zalar. They have been in intensive training since then. She is a bit embarrassed to relate that she can Victor are now a couple, but Cassia extends nothing but warm wishes for the couple.
As the tour ends, Cassia is alarmed that her friend tells her to “watch the tea”. Cassia uses the teams hand gestures to warn the rest, and while they are all vigilant, only Corwyn notices their tea being drugged with a potion of truth. He calls that out and Cassia has had enough. She stands, angrily denouncing the events, saying that no explanation can be enough for this treatment. Cassia storms out, and Iona hurries to catch the angry Bard. The men remain and listen to Zalar more politely but coldly. Zalar explains that their agents in Zimar have all fallen silent save one loan wolf and he has gone to ground. The Lions Blades are unsure who to trust and she wants to make sure the party are in the right place. Mikhael, son of a spymaster notes his understanding about these things, however, he also notes that at this point, questioning the loyalty of any of this group is an insult. The men leave the meeting and meet up with the women. Corwyn invites them all to an evening at his townhome to relax and calm themselves. He notes,
“They need us more than we need them. They will come to us.”
Indeed, after a relaxing meal, Cassia’s old friends arrive and apologize for the actions of Zalar. Stephana says that someone else will be their contact. Zimar is a locked down city, with papers needed to enter and move about. The Lions Blades are totally blind to what is going on now. The group can use the help of the Lions Blades to enter. The group agrees and they head back to the Acadamy the next day to begin their training. Their new contact is none other than Cassandra Florint, whom the rescued. She greets them warmly, like old friends, and apologizes again for the efforts brining them. As a first hand witness of the party’s actions in Yanmass, she knows their character. The agents of the Princess train along side Stephana and Victor as they learn critical skills to sneak into the city of Zimar.
|Campaign Dates||Calistril 17- 23 4720|
After a week of training, the group meets with Stephana, Victor, and Cassandra for their briefing:
“I’m sorry that the questions with at first has soured the relationship between you and Lion Blades. I am also sorry that the secession crisis has kept us from supporting the Princess. Ultimately our loyalty must always be to the nation and the Taldan people. To take sides in a political conflict is to dilute the Lion Blades’ power and purpose. But now it seems that political conflict is spilling over into national security. Your direct boss, Lady Lotheed brought us the documents you recovered in Zimar, and they corroborate similar reports we’ve gathered from Sardis Township, Pol, and Demgazi. Maxillar Pythareus is rattling his saber for war, and he appears to be spilling Taldan blood to get it.
“For a time we shared the same uneasy peace with Maxillar Pythareus’s Imperialist faction that we share with Eutropia’s Loyalists. But all at once, as we began to receive reports of these ‘Qadiran’ attacks, our agents in Zimar were set upon and eliminated in a single, coordinated attack. I barely made it out of the city alive, and I appear to be the only one. Now I’m too well known in the area to keep a low profile. You’ll be the ones to continue the investigation in Zimar on behalf of the Lion Blades.
“This is not an easy task laid out before you. Many believe Pythareus is the Grand Prince of Taldor, and he is defended accordingly, not to mention that you will be attempting to prove him guilty of high crimes. Furthermore, he is obviously operating his own intelligence network, one run by Milon Jeroth, a former associate of the Lion Blades and one of the most ruthless and underhanded operatives I have ever encountered. We believe one of our agents, Gannaius, may have escaped the purge, and locating him will be your to priority for now. We can provide you with false identities, and I can accompany you as far south as Panemona to act as an advisor, but you will be alone in the lion’s den. I cannot enter the city to protect you without alerting Pythareus’s diviner and bringing far more pain down upon you”.
The three continue to answer questions and brief the group about where they are headed and what they are getting into. Cassandra is rather acerbic about Gannius.
“He’s a paranoid but very talented Lion Blade who prefers to work alone. Our divinations haven’t confirmed his death yet, so we’re hoping he survived. One of his favorite drops is a warehouse for Sunrise Spice Importers in the Adobe District, so we’ll have you start your search there.”
Victor gives a stern warning about Pythaereus’s spymaster, Milon Jeroth:
” “Sir Jeroth has never formally been a member of the Lion Blades, but he and his family have worked with us on and off for decades, infiltrating Qadira throughout the Grand Campaign. He’s a master of disguise, an adept sorcerer, and an expert barehanded combatant who studied with the monks at the Monastery of Seven Forms, not to mention a stone cold killer. He’s difficult to find or track, so if you have even the slightest chance, hit him fast and hard.”
After the briefing, the group is equipped and otherwise gets ready for their depature the next day. Zimar lies about 210 miles southeast of Oppara. The fastest way to get there is to travel 90 miles up the River Porthmos to the newly revitalized city of Elsekulp, then follow old trade roads across a vast expanse of grassland and scrubland to the isolated artisan town of Ortalaca, and finally press south 50 miles on the main highway or 75 miles on the winding back roads to reach Zimar.
During the reconstruction era that followed the war with Qadira, a paved road called the Zimar Highway was built between Ortalaca and Zimar, but Cassandra suggests that the group use an older trade route once employed by local woodcutters, farmers, and artisans. The old trade route sees little use nowadays—not only has it fallen into disrepair due to centuries of disuse, but the many abandoned villages along the road have a reputation of being haunted. Thanks to the lack of patrols along the old trade route, more dangerous residents have claimed stretches of road. However, the group is quite unlikely to encounter anyone along it. In all, the trip should take 7 days of travel to get to Panemona, 15 miles outside of Zimar, where they will meet their contact, Cyricus. Stephana and Victor will accompany the party along the way.
The trip is mostly forgettable. After the barge trip, they take set up camp and take normal nightly watches. On the fourth day of the trip the group witnesses an odd event. A pack of six lionesses attack and kill a large male lion. They know it is a strange event and hurry past. After a week, they arrive in in the hamlet of Panemona. The tiny farming hamlet of Panemona lies 15 miles northeast of Zimar and produces a great deal of the grain and herbs the city uses. It’s important enough to have a large inn but otherwise far enough out of the way to be easily forgotten, making it a favorite watering hole for spies and criminals. Windmill Inn stands at the crossroads of four roads, easily spotted thanks to its red tile roof and small windmill, which operates a pump to supply water to the guests and stables. In addition to two dozen cozy rooms, it offers stables and a large tavern for locals and visitors alike. A sign over the entrance reads, “Windmill Inn,” and the four signs on a nearby signpost read, “Zimar 15 miles,” “Landarr 9 miles,” “Zimar Highway,” and “Old Trade Road.
Stephana says, ”This is the place. Cyricus will be here in a few hours. We need to push on to rendezvous with a contact east of town, but one of us should be back here in a few days. You should move on first thing in the morning. Remember, this isn’t about any political agenda; it’s about the security of Taldor. We need evidence of Maxillar Pythareus’s wrongdoing. Gannaius at Sunrise Spice should be able to get you started.”
Before she leaves, Stephana gives the them a wand of sending and instructs them to not hesitate in contacting her should they need advice or discover anything important.
The group enters in various disguises after putting their horses into the stables and renting rooms. By the time they have all entered and settled about 90 minutes have passed. It is then their contact arrives. Cyricus arrives and takes a seat in a worn old booth in the back of the tavern. The stubbly, nervous half elf has been moving goods and people through Zimar illegally since the Grand Campaign, when he worked as a file clerk in the city’s trade office, and he’s familiar with the ins and outs of the city’s bureaucracy. Mikhael goes over to him to start a conversation, slipping in the code phrases. The half elf trader starts talking softly.
“You’re the ones? All right. I’m Cyricus. I just got here from Zimar, and it’s a bad scene. Guards checking your papers at the gates, more carefully than before. And there are lots of patrols in the city—sometimes they stop you for no reason and ask questions. Lots of people I know have been arrested for having a fake set of documents, which means I had dig up some genuine identification papers for you. These are the closest I could find to the descriptions Zalar sent. Have a look and see if there are any that are close enough. You’ll just have to be creative with your disguises.”
He shows Mikhael an ID, “Here, have a look: silk thread and silver embedded in the cloth stock. Very elaborate calligraphy script. An official stamp from Demgazi. Hard to make a good counterfeit. Six months ago, a clumsy counterfeit wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow, but since all this squabbling started, every guard thinks they’re going to be the one to catch one of Eutropia’s assassins, and they’re looking closer than ever.”
The team’s forger is impressed with the energy placed into these passports. The two start to talk about where they can hook up, when four Zimar Sentinels enter into the tavern and begins demanding traveling papers from the patrons. The half elf immediately panics, whispering, “They’re here for me! You have to help me hide! If they catch me, they’ll torture the truth out of me!”
As the men move through, Corwyn tries to stand up and make a scene, resulting him being told to sit down and shut up, they would get to him. When the Inn Owner and village elder, Papa Rasso comes around the bar to complain, the guards lay hands on him and move him back. This draws the two guards off the door. Iona prepares a touch spell, and Cassia also hops up to begin engagement. The poor Rasso is taken into the back and a beating starts. Corwyn goes to the back while Cassia is taunting the two remaining guards. Carrod goes out the door to confirm it is just these 4 guards. As the guards turn back to Cassia, Iona steps up and uses plane shift to send one guard to another plane of existence. It is at this point the party becomes
At this point, the various members of the party pile on and in the scuffle, one of the remaining guards dies and the other two are heavily wounded. Corwyn slams down 50 gold to get the patrons to forget this happened. He asks them to leave, but Carrod points out that they are staying at the only Inn. The patrons and owner are more than happy to ignore what happened as none of them are native.
In the back room with the two unconscious guards, the group agonizes over what to do. Cassia, Corywn, and Iona are for keeping them alive. Kavian reserves comment and looks thoughtful. After much back and forth between the three, Mikhael calls a halt to the discussion. He says the group will take them into the woods and he will summon a bear to kill them and savage the bodies. The son of a spymaster knows there is no way to keep them captive or let them go (the player earning a hero point). Detash strongly agrees. They enact the plan and by the time they have returned, the owner lets them use the private room for dinner and tells them their stay is for free. Corwyn wonders at the dropped gold, but the Papa Rasso let the patrons take it all.
Over dinner, away from the other guests, Mikhael warns the group that they are not here to stop every evil that they encounter.
”We will see things we cannot stand. People being hauled away for nothing. Subjects turning on each other on just a suspicion. Beatings and abuse by the authorities is likely to be common. This is not Merrat County where we are charged with keeping justice. We are going in as infiltrators and enemy agents. We will have to make hard decisions and kill people for the good of the nation. The loss of a patrol is going to put the whole town on edge. Anyone from the outside is going to suspect automatically. We have to be on guard.”
The good members are the party agree with mournful hearts. They turn in so they can travel to Zimar the next day and tackle this difficult mission in earnest.
|Campaign Dates||Calistril 24-25 4720|
Waking early the next day, the group slips out of the Windmill Inn and heads for the city. They change into their disguises along the way, each using his or her Ring of the Secret Hero, including Carrod who received on at the Academy. They easily cover the 15 miles and reach the city gates in the morning.
|Cassia||Argentea||Female||Half-Elf||Kyonin||Traveling singer from Oppara|
|Carrod||Basilia Aconian||Female||Human||Taldan||Middle-aged Baroness from Oppara|
|Corywn||Cadonia||Female||Human||Taldan||Merchant from Demgazi|
|Mikhael||Karl Langbaen||Male||Human||Garundi||Old Farmer from Landarr|
|Iona||Marozia||Female||Human||Vudrani||Healer from Elbistan|
|Kavian||Zadim al‑Hadir||Male||Human||Keleshite||Blacksmith from Zimar|
|Detash||Fireani Moessar||Male||Elf||Kyonin||Arcanist from Kyonin|
The massive wall surrounding Zimar has two large gates. The outer gate at each gatehouse is a large wooden double door that can be barred from the inside. At each end of the gateway is a strong iron portcullis which can be raised using a winch inside the gatehouse. The portcullis can be dropped as a move action by releasing a lever at the base of the winch. During the day, the doors are left open; they’re closed at sunset until the morning.
There are many murder holes in the ceiling, allowing guards inside the gatehouse to fire on attackers. Both gates are closed from sunset to sunrise, and only military units can pass during that time. At night, continual flame spells illuminate the parapets atop the walls.
The group enters separately, with Cassia escorting Carrod as her servant, minstrel, and apparently business manager. After entering the city, Carrod is stopped as Sentinel runs after them, flagging them down and insisting,
“You’ve neglected to pay your storage fees, and you’ll need to pay a fine and move your wagon elsewhere!”
The fine ends up being 150 gp, and the wagon turns out as a well built but otherwise unremarkable cart with a canvas covering strapped over it. It contains a large tent, a crate of rations, a barrel of water, and two locked chests which Corwyn easily opens.
One chest holds several changes of clothing and grooming supplies, and two holy wraps. The other contains 10 bolts of silk (10 gp each), a platinum ibex with ruby chip eyes (1800 gp), three potions of gaseous form, an amulet of natural armor +2, a Lawful Good candle of invocation, a +2 holy rapier wrapped in a scorched bolt of silk, a bracelet of friends with 2 charms remaining, and a standard strand of prayer beads.
As this is going on, Mikhael is approached by Issac Prodromus to be told they have found a house, Meregrass Manor, in the Scrolls Distrct, that should be able to house them. He gives Mikhael his writtenreport. The Manor is owned by the family of Mettius Vagnius Gaurus, a dilettante wizard who was also into big game hunting. This home has been unoccupied since he went missing and presumed dead from a big game hunt in Garund, 20 months ago. With the loss of his heir (Vagnus Secoundus Gaurus )during the Exaltation Massacre, the family’s fortunes have plummeted. They were looking to get rid of the house and Issac Prodromus has picked it up as a reasonable abode for a Merchant Duchess to use while here then “flip” and sell. The only issue is that Gaurus, as a mage, seems to have left traps, so they will have to clear it. It is supposed to be haunted. Cost of the mansion is 25,000 GP to buy. Carrod and Cassia make their way to the agent selling the mansion. Cassia acts as agent for the “Baroness”, and argues them down 20,000gp which she pays from her personal funds.
The group proceeds to the manor, with Kavian entering rooms after Corwyn checks the doors for traps. The big game hunter’s home has mounted heads of monsters adorning the walls. The place clearly has not been occupied for some time, and their are cobwebs and some decay starting in the carpets. As the start to sweep, Cassia moves across the foyer ahead of any of them, triggering a wind blade trap, where the air cuts into them. By happenstance, Corwyn, at the back of the group, is able to deactivate the trap. Mikhael and Detash move in with detect magic up, and as the group moves upstairs, the find and avoid other magical traps. It seems that the mansion is not haunted, but trapped. In the basement, Corwyn finds a 100 foot deep pit protecting the study of the missing mage, which includes spell books for higher level spells and a Manual of a Clay Golem. To the south, they find a secret door leading to a well and a door leading into the Undercity. Keeping that door firmly locked, the group finishes the exploration of the mansion. The pit itself has a spot with no spikes, and Corwyn repels down to investigate, finding another secret door to a hidden room with chests full of treasure. Inside on a statue of a wizard is a ring of telekinesis clearly designed to elevate the treasure chests to the top of the pit. Inside the chests are 60,000gp worth various coins and germs in the various 200 lbs crates.
Cassia instructs their agents to obtain some new rugs for the manor, and some provisions, and the group spends the rest of the day getting Meregrass Manor in shape for its new residents.
Note: Agents are involved with setting up the house and taking care of tasks within their various locations so there are no specific phases the week of the 22nd.
|Campaign Dates||Calistril 25- 28 4720|
The group and their agents set about the task of getting Meregrass Manor fit for the “Baroness”. Cassia orders that everyone go out in pairs or trios. Cassia leads trips to the market, with Mikhael and Kavian to get the needed items. “Argentea” is fast known as a ruthless bargainer not to be trifled with. As “Zadim al‑Hadir” and “Karl Langbaen”, Kavian and Michael are able to find out some local rumors:
Detash and Corwyn spend time exploring the manor’s access to the Undercity. Detash initially puts up a stone wall to keep it secure. Detash’s knowledge of underground lairs allows him to create a good series of maps of parts of the Undercity in the Scrolls district. They note several palaces they can exit and enter without being seen, allowing them easy access in and out.
While they are doing this, Kavian says he wants to visit the house his father. Protius Silanius used before he was falsely accused and murdered by Pythareus. After some searching, they find a burnt down home, clearly left along for some years. Kavian is sure this is the place. The two knock on some doors and find a servant willing to talk about the history of the home. They find out it burnt down the night that Silanius was executed, killing the servant who was in there. As they questions continue, the servant of the home begins to become suspicious. In trying to allay suspicions, Kavain (rolling a 1 on the Bluff check) manages to revel that the executed Silanius was his father. This results in a door slammed in his face. Despite Mikhael suggesting they leave, Kavian insists on returning to the burnt out home to search it. Mikhael sees a runner leave the home as they walk away, and he knows the guard will be coming.
Both men search the ruins, with Mikhael keeping an eye on the street through the remaining stone walls. Kavian finds a blocked hole to a room below and moves a fallen timber. This causes a ghost to appear and wail ”GET OUT”. The voice strikes something deep within Kavian, the voice reminding him of being in trouble as a child. His anxiousness over what he might find left by his father and this deep seated memory causes Kavian to panic in the face of the undead cry. The man runs from the ruins into the street, right into the path of two Zimar Sentinels. Seeing them, the panicked Kavian turns into a wolf as he flees into the streets.
Mikhael, more used the bizarre, keeps his head and hides from the Sentinels as he sees Kavain convert to a wolf and run. He approaches the ghost and convinces it he means no harm. A brief discussion and the ghost revels his name as “Maximus” and that “The High General” must not get it. It seems like the ghost is guarding something. After he is sure the guards have left, Mikhael sneaks out and heads home.
Meanwhile, Kavain comes to himself after less than a moment, but knows he needs to get away. He easily loses the guards and turns human again. He sneaks back to the home, but now it has guards at it. Reluctantly, Kavian heads home.
Iona and Carrod are out, having the “Baroness” make an appearance. Both of them hear rumors of Devil worshiping werewolves converting citizens into werewolves. They bring these rumors back to the manor this evening.
Detash and Cassia also spend some time in the city that day, finding out more rumors:
As everyone reunites and shares stories, it is clear that they need to return to see what is going on at the burned down home. Corwyn suggests they wait a while until things drop down, but one of Cassia’s agents arrives with a note that am exorcism is planned for the “Traitor’s home”. They know they need to move tonight.
Detash says that if Kavian approaches as himself, he may be able to pass the ghost. If not, Detash is sure he can handel it. As they plan there is a knock at the door. Cassia answers and is told there are agents about and they should lock themselves in tonight and not be out on the streets. Cassia thanks them and locks up as loudly as she can. Returning to the group, she suggests they adopt new disguises for this trip.
Detash is able to find a route to near the burned down house, and the group manages to sneak into the old Slinius home. There, Kavain removes his Ring of the Secret Hero and stands as himself. Maximus weeps with Kavain’s presence, and Kavian goes into the hold to find a chest. Detash uses his new ring to bring it out and finds a journal inside. Maxims cries joy that “Now you have it!” and fades. Iona gives a prayer to Phrasma for a safe passage of this tortured soul and is able to feel a lifting of pain at this site. The group high tails it out and heads back to the Manor to read the two documents. Jorunal entries of Protius Silinius, and Letter from Umayyad bin Qasim.
With these documents, Kavian has part of what he needs to clear his father. They whet his appetite for getting into his father’s killers home. While he is eager to go, Mikhael suggests that Kavian adopt an new disguise. Cassia suggests he pick the Talden Knight, Zenobius Baccar. That settled, the group goes to bed to prepare for the next day.
Detash, Iona, Corwyn and Mikhael go to check out Sunrise Spice Importers the safe house Stephana mentioned. Corywn is easily able to pick the lock and the team rapidly goes inside, with Mozbie outside on watch.
The large interior is left mostly empty in the off season, with only a few barrels of ancient peppercorns and allspice berries lying under a layer of dust in one corner and a stack of large supply crates in another, as well as a disused office filled with mundane ledgers and a calendar marking the owners’ return from their trading expedition in 4 months. A search of the supply crates reveals that a few of the crates each contain a bedroll, rations, water, maps, and a few changes of clothes rather than goods. These are simple hiding places for compromised agents, where they can lie low or wait until dark before fleeing the city. Because there has been little political trouble in Zimar until lately, only one has ever been used, and that one disheveled unit has obviously not been used for at least several days. A small, wax sealed cask next to the supply crates contains dried dates, beef jerky, and other food items. In a pouch inside the crate are a potion of vanish and three potions of misdirection.
While the group is finishing up, Mozbie pecks on a window to get his master’s attention. Detash goes out and notes a letter on the floor. Mozbie says he saw someone shove it under the door. The note is brief and says:
If you and S are friends, meet me at her favorite place in two hours. —G.”
Iona surmises that this is from Gannaius and that “S” means “Stephana”. The four get the whole team together and using the wand of sending confirm that the Honey Kunefe was a coffee shop that Stephana would use to meet with other Lion’s Blades. The group hustles to the location to see about a meeting.
This small coffeehouse and sweet shop is completely ordinary; nothing distinguishes it from the many similar shops in every neighborhood across the city. It is precisely this anonymity that has made it popular with several Lion Blades, and Gannaius and Kathann have both used it for occasional meetings. The interior is small but cozy and warm. When they enter, there is a single man at the bar preparing a large pot of coffee while pursuing and making notes in a portfolio. He nervously asks if they were followed, then closes his portfolio, invites them to sit, and pours coffee for everyone, himself included, taking a long and full sip. As the party nerviously sits down, Kavain’s enhanced sense of smell picks up a strange odor from the drink an he makes a comment that he is not thirsty while using the hand signs to warn his friends.
Never ones to play games, Cassia begins the lead the party out the door. Gannaius asks them to stay, but when it is clear they won’t he drops the act and summons a chain of perdition and draws his flaming sword. The party starts to move, and as “Gannaius” casts mirror image Cassia unleashes a blade song at him, but the foe resist it. The chain tries to entangle Cassia but fails. Corwyn attempts and attack but hits a mirror image. Mikhael casts haste to sped up his friends. Kavian transforms into hybrid form. With a howl, he uses his wolf sense of smell to pounce and pin the man under him. The startled Gannaius revels his true form at this point, that of a rakshasa!
Detash casts invisibility and stands by the door, ready for anyone to come in, if this is set up. Iona uses divine favor. Seeing that the foe is a rakshasa, Corwyn asks to borrow Cassia’s new holy sword, because Detash and Mikhael noted this piercing weapons with its aura a good would bypass the magical defenses of the outsider. She moves around the chain of perdition easily with her hasted movement and hands her sword to the rogue, who stabs the helpless creature. The rakshasa formerly pretending to be Gannaius tries to use suggestion on Kavian to let him up, but Kavian, just, manages to resist the effect. Instead he bites his foe twice, but his fangs cannot get enough purchase to do damage against the magic. The two trade bites, not really hurting each other. Mikhael fires into the monster with his crossbow and while the bolts land, they do not do it damage. Iona dispels the cain and strides forward with her holy spear ready. Corwyn again strikes the pinned foe, seriously hurting the creature, seriously damaging it. It screams in pain, trying to get away. Iona drives her spear deep into its heart, challenging holy energy down it. Holy light pours fourth from cracks in the body and the monster dies.
Searching the body, they find a letter in his pocket as well as his magical equipment and some gold. Kavian becomes aware that he is being watched by his patron. Detsash suggests that when Kavian transforms, there might be a signal to Hellena.
The portfolio Milon had been updating contains his notes about the current operations in the War for the Crown, including the identities of several moles within Eutropia’s supporters, with significant notes on her most trusted agents who secured Merret County for her. This includes notes about sending agents to discredit them, but nothing about the wererat assassins.
However, the portfolio focuses most heavily on Milon’s resources within Zimar and how to find them, including his rakshasa agents in Waterhill Manor, the Sisters of Indulgent Dreams in the Sweet Dreams Tea Shop and the Seven Forms of Sin and their undercity monastery. In addition, there is a note that one of the Sisters scryed Kavain briefly within the city. Detash opines this was when he removed his ring to talk to the ghost of his father’s servant. The group feels this gives them a priority target.
The portfolio also contains a wealth of operational passwords and code names, enough to grant anyone who studies the paperwork for at least 2 hours an advantage on bluffing to convince other agents of Milon that he or she is part of his organization
The group finds both owners—a halfling couple—lying dead in the kitchen, hastily concealed beneath old flour sacks. Now it is time to figure next steps.
|Campaign Dates||Calistril 29 – Pharast 01 4720|
|02/29/20||Attempt to use Subterfuge Arrange a secret meeting that fails; Use Charm to watch the town Guard||Uses Charm for “They’re with me”, +1 Subterfuge Sabotage Opponent||+1 Subterfuge with quelling rumors of the son of a traitor||Rumormonger to reinforce disguises||Perform Charitable Acts +1 to Sacrifice||Locate Sympathizers +1 Sagacity||Safe Haven (32)||Bad Advice to create forgery to send to the tea shop and manner that all is well, Grow information network to raise +1 Charm|
Now settled into the city, the group sends word to their various agents on missions across the empire. Of course, the use the wand of sending to give the Princess the names of moles within her organization.
Researching the letter and portfolio, the team works on their next steps. Based on his conversations in the streets, Mikhael recognizes the “King of Filth” as the title of a powerful otyugh rumored to live beneath Zimar, who sells secrets and lost treasures. Cassia already knows the location of the Sweet Dreams Tea Shop and Waterhill Manor mentioned in both Milon’s letter and portfolio. Iona recognizes the Seven Forms of Sin as a rumored offshoot of the Monastery of Seven Forms dedicated to perfecting its initiates’ physical form through indulgence. This sect is rumored to operate as an assassins’ guild in Zimar.
They spend the day collecting some information on the shop. The group knows that the Sisters of Indulgent Dreams use a tea shop as a front for their illicit activities. The Sweet Dreams Tea Shop began long ago as a brewery. Today, the Shop sell charms, tea, herbs, and other things that people buy in hopes of being able to sleep better. The shop once belonged to Eudocia of Zeno, but recently ownership was taken up by her niece, Estella. Cassia, Iona, and Corwyn go in their disguises to shop to tea. They arrive in the evening, close to closing time, along streets that are less active. Entering, they are the only customers in the shop. They are met by Estella, the shopkeeper.
Estella engages with Corwyn immediately, while the other two browse. It is clear to Cassia that the shopkeeper has noticed something about the three and is not to be trusted. She tries to give a foot rub to Corwyn who insists on paying for it. After that transaction, Iona purchase some tea and herbs. Cassia is sure this woman is hiding something, and she uses the team’s hand signals for the other two to take her, while she summons the rest of the party who is outside in the streets.
After Cassia heads out, while Iona is making a purchase, the wary shopkeeper moves back. Iona tries to cast a hold person but the target seems to ignore it completely. Corwyn gets up to attack her, but Estella barks a curse at him in infernal, and Corwyn is disoriented and stops in his tracks. Iona tries a silence spell to stop any more magic, but their enemy vanishes. To Iona’s trained eyes, she has moved into an ethereal state. It is at this point the rest of the group arrives at the entrance. All four notice a large raven sitting on the corner of the building watching them. Mikhael and Detash know a familiar when they see one and both fire. Mikhael hits with two bolts from his crossbow, while Detash strikes with magic missile. The bird is clearly very wounded and flies off, with Mozbie in pursuit. The group charge into the tea shop to see Corwyn staggering and Iona shouts that “She has gone ethereal”. Corwyn pulls a scroll from his bag and heads to Kavian, and through shear luck is able to cast it on him. Now Kavain can see invisible, but the foe is not in the room.
Mikhael pushes the party to sweep the building quickly. Kavain, Iona and Mikhael move up the back hall, only to encounter a magical trap that tries to turn them into mice. The magic fails, but now they depend on the hobbled Corwyn to disarm it. He succeeds even if the moment later he stands stupidly. He is only able to stay focused half the time, though he is not aware of it.
The warehouse is a mess. Shelves line the walls in the large, dusty space. The long ago brewery had its fermentation tanks standing here, but Eudocia had no need for the large vats and sold them off, instead renting out the space as storage to different parties across the city. However, it has mostly become a smoke choked stable. Soot coats every surface and stains the clothes and hair of anyone who enters, and they estimate it would take 6 hours to search, which is time they don’t feel they have.
The apartment has four mangy stay cats that hiss and yowl at the intruders but otherwise keep their distance. A fine trick to the magical trap. A quick search of the room reveals an orb of heaven and a broom of flying. As important for their security, the room also ahs 6 magical crystal spheres, the size of tangerines. They grab these magic items and take them.
Also on the bookshelf here are meticulous ledgers maintained by the Sisters of Indulgent Dreams on behalf of Milon Jeroth. The rakshasa still uses the night hags and their magic to deliver instructions and payments to Maxillar Pythareus’s various false flag operations attacking Taldan targets and framing Qadira. The ledgers on their own aren’t enough to damn Pythareus—given their dubious origin—but provide another strong piece of evidence of his wrongdoings.
The bedroom reeks of decay and incense. In the far corner from the door lies a humanoid figure wrapped in sheets—the desiccated body of the former owner Eudocia, dried by the desert heat. A desk near the door includes writing implements and stationary, as well as a massive tome bound in leather the group snatches to take back.
Iona slings a (sometimes) protesting Corwyn over her back and the group moves out the back door to head to the passages under the city. Kavain, every vigilant, saw the hag astride a nightmare, both ethereal. Making it clear he sees them, the two fly off into the night, escorted by three ravens, one hurt. Mozbie links up with the party and the group sneaks down into the sewers. Once there, Mikhael and Detash worry about locate object being cast by the hags and they cast off the items they bought. The group then hustles back to their home.
The group decides to spend the night in the house after a discussion of teleporting to Bentony or Oppera. Corwyn staggers to Iona and pulls the Staff of Freedom from her bag and Iona sheepishly removes the curse on Corwyn. The night passes without incident.
In the light of day, they investigate their finds. The spheres are Individual Scrying Balls one for each of the members. These scrying balls are small smooth pieces of crystal that act like a much like a basic crystal ball, but each is attuned to a single person. Each scrying ball must be crafted with a bit of a body part. The Spell also includes the force of a small air elemental. This creates the ability for the ball to monitor for the individual to enter its area and it will then change color as an alert. It seems clear the wererats in their home did more than just attack them. The group is glad to have these in their possession.
Cassia casts comprehend languages and read the Tome they found. The tome is written in a curious combination of Abyssal and Infernal, and illustrated with terrifyingly vivid drawings of both great heroics and atrocities. Cassia recognizes that the book contains extensive research on Taldor’s history and a collection of stories—both true and larger than life legends—surrounding various former kings. The book’s curious style seems intended to serve as a focus for some kind of summoning ritual, though no magic remains in it now. The Grand Princes Mentioned are: Beldam I, Cyricas, Daronlyr XII, Gennaris III, Stavian I, Taldaris himself (founding Prince).
|Campaign Dates||Pharast 01-02 4720|
With the review of the strange tomb and spheres complete, Cassia goes out to find out about their next target the Waterhill Manor. Detash sends Mozbie to reconnoiter. They find that Milon Jeroth maintains several homes and apartments, including his official residence—a townhouse in the Scrolls District, but their target in an old manor in the Golden District called Waterhill Manor. The luxurious, hillside manor appears to serves as a hostel and safe house for loyal rakshasa spies. The House is rumored to have an undercity entrance. From the outside it is clear that most of the manor has 9‑foot ceilings. The exterior doors are of strong wood with superior Waterhill’s greatest feature, however, is its privacy‑enhancing windows. It is clear to the master mage that the windows are as hard as iron and enchanted to make the interior always appear empty.
The group debates about how to tackle the manor. The decide on finding their way through the Undercity. Descending into the Undercity from their domicile’s basement connection, the group leaves at dawn. Detash easily finds their way (nat 20). At about 2 pm, as the team walks along a narrow ledge next to running water, Detash is sure under the house is close. At a T intersection, Kavain notices two doors to the north. He calls Corwyn up who checks the doors for traps. They are clear but locked with a very sophisticated mechanism. A glance at Kavian is all that takes for him to use the adamantine effect on his sword and carve through the lock into the tomb. Cassia pushes her dancing lights into the room and Kavain goes through, while Mikhael summons Lysanthir, and Iona places bull strength on the party.
Kavain enters the room. As he peers inside, he sees 27 human‑sized niches running the perimeter of this dark, sandstone chamber in 13 stacked pairs. Between them are defaced carvings of the sun and a winged, feminine form. 7 forms lay with armor and weapons. 19 forms wrapped in muslin cloth sit quietly, largely faded and covered in dust, but one is wrapped in colorful fabric and less dusty than the others. A broad, rough tunnel exits to the east and a double door seals the passage to the west. It is immediately clear that this is a defiled crypt for followers of Sarenrae. As he enters the room, the armored bodies stir. With Kavian’s warning, the team readies for an attack. Mikhael casts haste on the party, and then the nimble Cassia darts forward, making sure to be clear of the doors so Lysanthir will later be able to get through. As Iona casts divine favor on herself, Cassia unleashes a discordant blast at two of the undead, shoving them back, and causing them the reel with the harsh noise.
Corwyn races in to strike one of the fallen not yet standing, but then as the rest rise, one curses Iona and another drops the room into blackness of deeper darkness not even Mozbie’s darkvision can penetrate. Kavian steps to the creche where he heard the figure rise. Focusing in mind, Kavian lays into the undead with several sure strikes, despite not being able to see it. Detash moves into the room through darkness and reaches out his necromantic will with command undead and takes control of the two fallen who cast spells.
Mikhael, unable to see in, casts barkskin on Lythanshir who waits for an opportunity. Iona Casts improved channel energy effect, doing damage to the ones standing, and killing the one Kavian had attacked. Kavain asks Corwyn if he is OK and the rogue responds “I am for now” as he manages to hit his target in the darkness. The remaining three uncontrolled head out to attack Kavain and Iona but fail in their swings, even with the two flatfooted. Kavain lances into the one moved to him and misses more this time, but still hurts it.
The other fallen now move at Detah’s command and drop the Deeper Darkness and the other attacks the fallen on Kavian, further hurting it. Cassia finishes off the one next to Kavian with a holy flash of light from her new sword. Detash launches magic missiles down at the one near Corwyn and Iona.
Having waited until he could enter the room, and also see, Lysanthir now flies into the room pounces on the furthest near Iona, taking it apart . Seeing the remaining villain standing within reach of his bite, the long necked eidolon reaches out and snaps the remaining undead in two as it reels from Detash’s magic.
They move through the rooms quickly, with Lysanthir fitting thanks to the proportion warping of his saddle. There is a door that opens into a magically heated and illuminated lush area. A tropical jungle fills this large room, complete with thick plants, loamy soil, and a large pool. The stone walls are painted to appear as more jungle. Strange, white pebbles are scattered across the soil.
Detash sends the fallen into the room to investigate. The water erupts and one of the is attacked by a giant anaconda. The snake gabs the startled undead and crushes it in one attack. Both Kavain and Lythathir charge in and crit storm the snake to death in a moment. Further investigation of the room shows that There are continual flame spells in the ceiling and plates enchanted with heat metal beneath the soil to maintain the warm temperatures. The pond is only 5 feet deep. The white pebbles on the ground are crushed shards of bone, though their current state makes it almost impossible to identify their origin.
There is an easy to see door that is not so secret from this side. After a carful exploration, they find it enters into a basement pantry that leads upstairs into kitchen. They again ignore searching the room and head up, the fallen leading the way. Alone among the group, Corwyn is silent, as Cassia manages to stumble coming up the stairs. The fallen just cannot be quiet. Corwyn tells his loud companions to wait in the kitchen and he checks the three doors. One goes outside, one to an unoccupied dining room, and one a hallway. He slips back in and the group starts to plan their next steps.
After much discussion, The group decides to move out into the hall, with the Fallen in front, followed by Kavain and Corwyn. Unbeknownst to the group, they gig was already up. The clanking of the fallen alerted the head of this den of rakshasas, who used both clairvoyance and clairaudience to spy on the kitchen. While the group was in disguise, there were 6, along with an obviously necromancy controlled fallen from downstairs, and a dragon creature. Further, the group used their own names in talking to each other. Oaca knew that Eutropia’s finest agents were at hand. He sent one of the Mari upstairs to retrieve Chandar and Joneius and bring them downstairs. All turned invisible and waited. Also cued are four Elemntal Fiends, one of each type, secured in continual flame fixtures by Milon when he took over the home.
The party moves down the hallway, and the fallen heads up the stairs into the dining room. Kavian starts to follow when Joneius appears casting a lighting bolt down the hallway, catching the party, except for Iona and Kavian. Chandar, also appears, and using suggestion sends Kavian into the dining room to secure it. The party staggers, but the surprise it not over! A singing voice rhymes out spell. Oaca comes into view as he wraps Corwyn in a jester’s jaunt, teleporting outside the window. He also issues a command word, and the elemental fiends burst forth from their fixtures, earth, air, fire and water. As the party is rocked back on its feet, Cassia thinks quickly and cast good hope upon everyone but Corwyn. Though she did not know it at the time, this fast thinking would later spell the difference between blows landing and missing as well as allow her friends to avoid worse effects from poison and spells, greatly turning the odds in their favor.
As Detash yells for the fallen to come to the mail hall, Mikhael uses Evolution Surge to empower Lysanthir who charges forward, growing to full size, blocking the hallway and attacking the nearest elemental fiend, seriously damaging it. Corwyn, thinking to get at the boss, uses one of their captured dimension door crystals to teleport inside next to Oaca. This is something that Oaca was prepared for. Suddenly, the two Marai appear, one raising her six serpent arms and firing a bolt of energy each. Corwyn staggers and is knocked down under the effects. Both close and the other Marai bites with her mouth and all six arms. The sneering monster that is Oaca claws and bites Corwyn, tearing out his throat. It is clear to Mikhael and Cassia that their friend has just been killed!
With Corywn lying dead, Mikael yells at Detash for a fireball now! The roar of fire detonates amid most of the villains, burning them, but they are far from down for the count. Chandar and the fiends move in to attack, and the fallen and Lysanthir do battle with them. Seeing that she is facing evil outsiders, Iona let’s loose with the power of her goddess and a holy smite. This does not hurt her good friends at all!
Cassia uses her magic to call Kavain, breaking him out of his stupor with the news his friend was dead, and he comes running back to the fight in time to see black tentacles engulf their enemies. Kavian joins the fight against the fiends, and he and Lysanthir get the upper hand. While the other Mari attacks Lysanthir with the force bolts, the Eildon shrugs off the effects, his hide being too strong, but does stagger and fall under the effects as the fiends destroy the fallen.
Needing to press the advantage, Kavian deftly avoids the grasping tentacles to finish off a fiend as the fallen undead is destroyed. The trapped evil outsiders are not damaged by the black forms, their skin being too tough, but Iona rains down divine fire of a flame strike, hurting several badly, and even blinding some for a moment. Mikhael uses dimension door to send Iona across the hall way to conform the Mari and Oaca and one of the Mari fires her bolts into Iona, who while damaged, ignores most of the effects. A quick stab with her holy spear kills one as Detash slams magic missiles into another.
Meanwhile, Lysanthir and Kavian carve through the combatants as Mikhael drops the black tentacles. It is over in moments as sword and claw and tooth and tail end the remaining fighters. There is a sudden silence as the group looks at the mangled corpse of their friend. Detash uses his magic to restore the corpse to health and puts it under a gentle repose. Iona offers to pray to raise Corywn here, but the party demurs, and they do not have the needed pure diamonds to cast the spell. Cassia moves away from the body, hiding her face, and says she will search for traps as the move through the building.
They immediately find Gannius, prisoner in bad shape. He is clearly suspicious of them. In no mood to argue, Kavian harshly interrogates the man, and it is clear he sold out the Lion Blades, but was then betrayed by Milon. The group scours the house and finds several magic items and treasure.
Back in the basement, one body is different than the others. It is clearly more recent. She has old papers with her name, Tae Amalon. Cassia is able to recognize her nama scholar and tutor born in 4,659 ar. It is clear to Detash that the body died around 30 years ago, rather than centuries earlier like the others. He notes a knife wound in her back, with the tip of the blade still lodged in her ribs. The blade tip seems to be from a dagger of excellent quality, with a distinctive curve, though identifying it is impossible without tracking down the rest of the dagger. As he disturbs the dagger, there is almost a haunt attached to the body, but not quite. They take the body with them as they leave. Iona uses her free spell slot for speak with dead to talk with Tae Amalon.
Tae’s spirit is confused. She can talk about dying, bleeding out after being stabbed, while looking into the eyes of a teenaged boy. Cassia says this may well be the General as a youth. The dates are right. Detash says that if they had the whole dagger, Tae Amalon’s sprit could be made whole and they could get the full story as well as freeing her soul to leave.
They prep Corywn and Cassia stays with the body, sending her people out to get the spell components for tomorrow. Night falls on the manner, as each member of the group enters into their own thoughts and maybe prayers.
Corywn remembers the attacks as he lays comfortable under warm blankets. He can tell he is in a night gown. He hears singing which at first he thinks must mean his friends saved him, but then it is bad, so it is clear they did not. He finds he is in a dug out shelter, wind and rain above him, as he lays on a bed carved into the clay. An old woman putters about making a stew. He gets up at her suggestion and they talk at length. Corwyn is not sure what all they talk about, but it covers the support of his friends, and talks about the price he might pay. As the storm abates, he hears Iona calling to him. The women, now young, with eyes shining like stars, tells Corwyn to go, and that she does not want to lose him as a follower. Corwyn walks into the night, a night with more stars than he has ever seen, so many stars that the light is as day. He follows the sound of his friend’s voice.
|Campaign Dates||Pharast 03 -08 4720|
The morning of the 3rd dawns with Mikhael hastily leaving his room, Carrod in tow. He has received a message from his mother that his father is in trouble and needs help. He grabs Kavian, who has just finished his morning meditation and the three teleport away to Oppera.
Detash and Iona find Cassia asleep next to Corwyn’s body. Iona takes the materials supplied by Cassia and begins several minutes of prayer for her fallen friend. Iomede answers the call, and Corwyn awakens. Iona works to help partially restore Corwyn after his journey back to life. They take him upstairs for breakfast and an update. They also discuss what to do with Detash offers to take Gannaius. Thanks to Kavains forceful interviewing, and eventually Cassia using detect thoughts it became clear that the Lion Blade is utterly paranoid. It is thanks to this paranoia and insecurity that Gannaius was the cause of the recent purge, not a victim of it. In his fevered mind, Gannaius convinced himself that his lack of progress in the recent upheaval had negated his value to the Lion Blades and that they would soon eliminate him. He apparently planned to sell a few secrets to Milon Jeroth in exchange for enough coin to flee the city and start over in Absalom. However, Milon was not a man, of course, but a scheming rakshasa, who took rather than bargain. The former spymaster kidnapped and tortured Gannaius to learn everything about Lion Blade operations in the city. Detash offers that he be kept safe with Dida in Oppera, as the group does not fully trust the Lion Blades. The other three agree, and he spends the morning taking their captive and returning.
Since their “talk” with Tae Amalon showed her soul was fractured, the group knowns they need to find the rest of the blade to get the full story. Corwyn remembers Milon’s journal and notes it reported that the “King of Filth” had it and suggest they start there. Iona leaves the other three to act, as she has lined up several subtle acts of service to perform in the city to try to sway hearts and minds. Cassia, Detash, and Corwyn head out to gather information.
Detash does not have a chance to ask much about the “King of Filth” as he is witness to a Pro Eutropia rally at the Rainbow Bazaar. It is totally peaceful, but it garners both local citizens and the city guard’s wrath. It is broken up by force, and its three organizers are arrested. As a witness, Detash is forced to show is ID papers as Fireani Moessar, and he is able to avoid any more trouble. Asking around, he finds out the names of the three, Aran, Cadon, and Zora, all of whom will be taken to the Pillar of Abadar instead of the city’s jail as they are political prisoners. Cassia and Corywn have different luck.
One of Zimar’s strangest information brokers is the otyugh Gulreesh, an atypically intelligent member of his race who spends his days shifting through the odds and ends people above throw away to learn of the city’s secrets. The self proclaimed “King of Filth” trades his secrets for information, treasure, and services, and over the last century has grown into a fairly benign crime lord. Cassia and Corwyn are able to gather information on this strange crime lord, with Cassia discovering his true nature. Both find that the way to meet with him is down a flight stairs to an ancient cistern. Detash is unable to figure out a direct root under the city, so the group elects to use the stairs.
The Stairs descend into shallow, stagnated water in this massive underground reservoir, some eighty feet across, whose arched brick ceiling is supported by rows of wide but badly eroded columns. The air is thick with the smell of sewage and the sounds of running, dripping, and splashing water. Detash notes he has prestidigitation prepped.
According to local information Detesh has gleaned, the cistern was built centuries ago under the Scrolls District to store water for bathing, consumption, and firefighting, receiving water from a branch of the Jalrune Aqueduct. An earthquake in 2920 AR nearly cut off the supply of water from the aqueduct, though smaller amounts of water still seep into the cistern. Centuries of neglect has turned the water filthy. Most of the chamber waters are 10 feet deep, but a 10 foot by 10 foot ledge sits just a foot below the water by the entry.
As the group approaches, Gulreesh emerges from the pool and asks them to come closer. The three wade onto the 10’ ledge, uncomfortably in reach of the giant otyugh. He asks the party “Do you know who I am?” and Cassia is able to answer with flattery and that he is the King of Filth. The king demands they prostrate themselves before him, which they do, with both Corywn and Detash accidently getting a mouthful of the foul water. Detash signs to Corwyn they will need a remove disease spell to be safe from illness.
Cassia engages the monster in dialog, asking for information about the missing dagger. Inhaling deeply, then exhaling heavily, the giant otyugh says,
“Many kinds of things end up in my Undercity, and it is true Gulreesh has found something that would harm General Pythareus. But Gulreesh is king here! Gulreesh does not care what happens to the little general from the wasteland above!” After a pause, he continues.
“Many souls seem interested in my little trinket, offering glory and gold. What do you offer Gulreesh for his favor?” Cassia is clever and proposes not to buy the item, but to offer repair of the columns supporting the cistern, and perhaps a guardian. Corwyn remembers the manual of a clay golem they obtained and suggests that. Gulreesh agrees to these terms and the group departs. Cassia spends the money and returns with rather unhappy workers, while Detash goes to investigate the manual. He is delighted to find that this book was crafted with additional time and elements. All that is needed is a statue, and he can craft the guardian in a 10th of the normal time needed, a little over 4 days. This would mean getting it completed by the 8th. Of course, that evening, the two men ask Iona to cure them of any possible disease they encountered.
The group decides what their agents are doing this week and sets them into motion. They also pass messages from Kavian and Mikhael to their groups. Cassia’s team notes that no one has entered the Sweet Dreams Tea Shop and there seems to be no activity at all. It looks for all intents that the hags have fled the shop for good.
Cassia spends the days overseeing the workers, spending some time singing to keep them mollified and entertained as they work. The generous gold helps as well. On the 8th, the work is complete, with the columns not only shorn up, but carved to reflect Gulreesh’s “glory”. Detash presents the Golem and the command words to the King of Filth who chortles with delight. True to his word, he presents the dagger to Cassia.
Back at their manor, Detash mends the dagger to make it hole. It is a +1 Human Bane dagger. With it intact, memories of Tae Amalon, and the lingering magic in the blade briefly animates her spirit even without speak with dead. She is able to tell her tale:
in life, Amalon was a noted scholar and tutor often hired by noble families of Zimar to ready their children for entrance exams for officer’s school. Most relevantly, she helped tutor a teenage Maxillar Pythareus in history and philosophy, and brought several concerns about the boy’s moral compass to his father after the lad assaulted a female peer. More concerned about Maxillar’s future and the family reputation than the woman’s safety, the elder Pythareus first ordered silence from the tutor, and when that failed, he attempted to bribe her. When she still refused, he plunged a dagger into her back in a fit of rage. The spirit knows that Maxillar helped his father bury the body in the undercity and threw the now broken dagger into the sewer.
Cassia’s research in the city has reveled that Amalon’s husband died of a heart attack 5 years ago, but their children still live: both Aramatus and Quinn live in the city and work as tutors in the Scrolls District, and know only that their mother disappeared when they were young. They do recall that the elder Duke Pythareus was very concerned, as she was his son’s “favorite tutor”; he contributed many guards to help search the city, but they never found any trace of her.
In addition to recounting her life and death Amalon also knows of the secret entrance into the King’s Pillar from her time there. She lays out a secret passage where they can swim from the moat through the passage to the stronghold’s courtyard though the exit is in plain sight. The fortress is protected against teleportation and scrying thanks to a series of wards placed on the surrounding wall and the keep itself, though specially enchanted glyph necklaces allow specific individuals to ignore the dimensional lock effect for themselves (though not for any additional creatures or passengers).
The outer walls are enchanted with an invisibility alarmspell, and while they are not powerful enough to dispel invisibility spells or effects, it immediately alerts guards to invisible intruders within 20 feet of the walls. Guards respond by releasing smoke into the air and pouring oil down the walls to locate trespassers, something she saw in the past used to dangerous effect.
The group uses the wand of sending to make a report to Stephana who agrees this is damming evidence, and better testimony than night hags, though not as good as a living person. She says she herself would move, but the Lion Blades are still not ready to take sides. The group agrees it is time to gather when the others return, and take on the Seven Forms of Sin Monastery un the Undercity.
|Campaign Dates||Pharast 09- 10 4720|
Mikhael, Kavian, and Carrod return from their adventure in the morning and are updated. The group decides to go into the city to find out information on the Seven forms of Sin Monastery. They determine that is under the Scrolls district, and Detash has an idea of where to go. The group decides to fully restore Corwyn the next morning and then head out in search of the item. That night Kavian helps to train Sepsimia through the dream connection with Helena on the night of the full moon.
The next morning, with Corwyn fully restored after his death and resurrection, they group sets out into the Undercity. After a hour, the passage they are following is blocked by a complete cave in. They move to the East and encounter old rooms from some long forgotten building. Cautious investigation shows these rooms are being used. As they investigate, a half man, half rat emerges to the north. It is totally surprised at the party, and Kavian and Corwyn race up to kill it before it can make an alarm. The whole party recognizes it as the same sort of wererat assassin that invaded their home and attacked them.
More cautious searching leads to a larger encounter, which the party easily walks through in seconds. It is clear to them they have discovered a lair of the cult of the Serra Rubrum when they kill a Cleric/Chymist, one of the leaders of this foul cult of assassins. Kavain transforms to his hybrid form and leads the group on a march through the complex, killing a total of 18 assassins and 4 of their unholy chymists. It takes the rest of the day to clean up and go through the warrens.
While they find a good deal of magical potions and poisons, they also find the records kept by this cult. This includes other pieces of hair of the party for use in scrying. Most fascinating are the records showing Milon Jeroth’s original payment and subterfuge to get the cult into the city, many years ago, (though without the former spymater’s portfolio, these papers would not prove it on their own). The group also finds the clear orders not only to kill them, but to take out some other citizens locally. It is clear that the Serra Rubrum have coordinated with the Monastery, including someone called “the sister elf”.
Detash gathers the bodies and prepares six, casting his dark magic and raises the hybrids into skeletons, each armed with its former weapons and armor. With Kavian staying up all night, and these monsters standing guard, the party finds places to rest within the warren, with the plan to head into the Monetary next. It is time for the assassins to die.
|Campaign Dates||Pharast 20 4720|
After a quick consultation, the group heads north through the Undercity to find the Sins of the Seven Forms Monastery. It is not long before they find what Detash believes is the entrance. Pushing the skeletons ahead of the group, they trigger a trap of blades. This runs for a half minute, attacking three of the skeletons in front. After it is over, Corwyn is able to see the trap would need to be reset to work again, but he notes that was enough noise to alert others.
The party explores a northern passage that leads to A huge pool of burbling, semisolid sludge fills most of the collapsed basement, fed by water trickling in from broken pipes. A mildew‑coated chest sits in the northeast corner. As Kavian and the skeletons move north, a slime naga emerges from the pool and addressed them. Kavain, in wolf form, growls for permission to pass through. The naga notes there is no place to pass too, and the party slowly leaves the naga’s lair, not getting close to the edge of her pool. Detash tasks two skeletons to remain behind, blocking the narrow passage to the cesspool in case they are followed.
The next passage north leads up to an ancient cistern. Sturdy pillars support the arched ceiling twenty feet above the mirror‑blue waters of this quiet cistern. Doors exit to the north and east, while a gaping hole in the southern wall slopes down to the reeking sewer tunnels beyond. The skeletons do not notice, but Corwyn sees two bug men clinging to the ceiling. They are entothropes, were-insects. In moments, two more fly up and all spit poison at the three skeletons and Corwyn. The nimble rouge avoids the attack, while the undead care not about poison.
With the creatures in the air, Corwyn pulls out a broom of flying to ready for Kavian who leaps upon it. Iona moves in and uses searing light against all four evil creatures. Cassia begins a mournful performance putting the attackers back on there heels. As Corwyn uses a wand of acid arrow, Kavain flies up to attack one, while Lysanthir engages, his silvered claws and bite bypassing the entothropes natural defenses. The monsters remaining gang up on Iona, as a holy caster. Cassia moves to help defend her as they both attack with their holy weapons, burning the evil creatures. The bugs cannot gain any purchase as they attack back. Lysanthir ends the fight, tearing apart the remaining bugs with his silvery claws, the halves their bodies dropping to the floor and returning to human form. Clearly, these were afflicted creatures.
A quick search of the area reveals what treasure these being had. A journal reveals Three years ago, a band of hopeful Seven Forms of Sin devotees crossed the Qadiran desert, only to lose half their numbers to an attack by giant assassin bugs—deadly, blood drinking desert predators. Those who survived found themselves infected with entothropy, changing uncontrollably into predatory, insectoid monsters under the new moon. They sought aid from head of the monastery, but she instead encouraged the afflicted thieves to embrace this “gift” and use the predatory instincts and abhorrent appetites they’d gained to grow closer to their perfect selves. The four remaining hunters served the Seven Forms of Sin as scouts, guards, and assassins for hire, and preferred to dwell here next to the calm waters rather than with the fellow members of the monastery.
Corwyn cautiously moves up through the door to the old cistern, with a near pleading comment for Iona to stay back. He hears two people engaged in passionate sex, and peaking around a corner, Corwyn spies them in a monk’s cell, wildly engaged. To the East are four monks engaged in morning training. Corwyn heads back to the group and outlines the plan. He will move to kill the two in the cell, while Kavian and Iona will run out and lead the way to kill the other four. Cassia wonders if they should just kill these people without giving them a chance to surrender. Iona leads the rest of the party in reminding her that this Monastery is a bed of sin for assassins being directed by an evil outsider. This includes orders from the Monastery sending the Sebrum against the party. Cassia agrees and the plan moves forward. The yells start when Corwyn kills the woman engaged with a single blow, causing her naked partner to rear back. Cassia moves to assist Corwyn, while Kavian and Iona charge forward against the monks. Kavian runs into the room and is surrounded. He laughs out loud, joking he now has them where he wants them as he stabs one.
While Corwyn dispatches the naked monk, the other four attack Kavian with flurries of blows intended to stun him, but Kavian avoids all but the most minor of hits. Iona calls down a holy smite and the flash of unearthly white light blinds the monks around Kavian. The rest of the group surges forward, and Iona calls out that more figures are running down form the East. Detash moves his undead into a blocking position. Riding his friend, Mikhael moves against the Monks, and Lysanthir tears one apart, again favoring his claws today.
Corywn and Cassia move north to check out the other cells and rooms, and seeing them clear, move to the north of the training room just in time to see Kavian, Iona and Lysanthir devastate the monks in the room despite their best efforts to fight back. Below, two more monks and an woman elf hit the skeletons blocking the hall. Initially, the woman kicks one of the skeletons back after dealing it significant damage, and one monk hurts the other. However, Lysanthir and Mikhael fly to the other side and attack. In moments, thanks to combined fire, a monk lays dead at Lysanthir’sfeat and the elf, Qan Dismaal, is gravely hurt. Cassia uses this moment to cast a slow on the two standing. Qan Dismaal managed to avoid the effects, and she runs away, nimbly ducking under the flying Lysanthir and heading around a wall. The slowed monk turns to Kavian who cuts him to pieces, that fall through space still under the effect of the slow.
The party charges after the fleeing leader, and Mikhael sees her go through a secret door into a hallway. There is some confusion where she went with the whole party, but the chase is on. Down the hallway, carved from the stone, they reach a dead in stone wall. Corwyn races up to it and begins to search for a secret door, but Iona is impatient and stone shapes a hole, that leads back into the slime naga’s lair. The naga is nowhere to be seen, but a stinking cloud rolls into the area and the opening of the tunnel. Corwyn and Iona jump back before they can be affected. Neither Iona nor Mikhael are able to dispel the cloud.
Detash grabs Cassia and three other skeletons and teleports to where he left the other guards, in a perfect landing. There, one skeleton lays destroyed, but the other appears to have perfectly cut the fleeing Qan Dismaal (critical hit – ed), and she lays in the water, unconscious and dying. Detash sends the skeletons up head of him, while Cassia grabs the leader and stabilizes and binds her. Kavain tries to run in, but as a hybrid, the smell of the cloud overwhelms him and he staggers back retching. Corwyn forces a antitoxin down his throat, a brave thing to do with a large wolf jaw and teeth in the way, and Kavian shakes off the effects.
Mikhael infuses Lysanthir with the power to not breath and sends him in to fight. It is at this point the naga unleashes the black pudding to attack the party. He does some damage to the pudding at first, but wants to get at the real enemy and flies over it. Mikhael reminds the part that sharp weapons will only create smaller puddings. Kavain holds his breath and charges in to beat and kick the pudding. Corwyn tries a wand of acid on the slime naga, not realizing a creature such as this is resistant to any acide damage.
The naga sees Lysanthir and hits him with a spit of slime. His wings bound, the dragon like Eildon falls to the edge of the pool. As his skeletons reach the edge of the pool of slime, Detash calls out “sorry” to Mikhael and sends a fireball into the room, catching the pudding, the naga, one of his skeletons, and the entangled Lysanthir. The arcane fire destroys the pudding and hurts the naga, but frees Lysanthir. Before he can attack, the naga bites him, poisoning him, but yet again for the day, Lysanthir rips the naga apart with his claws.
Suddenly, things are quiet. Iona moves to tend to Lysanthir. All the members of the Monastery of the Seven Sins are dead, save their captive leader. Corwyn organizes a complete search of the facility, with Lysanthir searching the slime pool as he does not need to breath at the moment. While there are different treasures, a pewter brazier on the desk holds a half burned order from Maxillar Pythareus. This is a vital piece of evidence for his illegal agenda: orders to execute Princess Eutropia and frame the PCs. What remains reads as follows:
Mikhael is sure this will be enough to get the Lion Blades off the edge and to order the arrest of the General. Now the group will contact Stephana and move forward.
|Campaign Dates||Pharast 11- 17 4720|
With Qan Dismaal captive and the rest of the monastery denizens dead, the group used their wand of sending to contact Stephana and update her on the events. After 8 exchanges, Stephana asks the group to meet her in two days at the Watermill Inn. She asks their prisoner be taken to Oppera to be turned into the Lion Blades there. After preparing the remaining bodies, Detash and orders his followers to stand guard. He then takes Dismaal to Didia in Oppera to hand off to the blades. While he is there, he obtains a permanency scroll to link himself and Mozbie with a telepathic bond.
The rest of the group spends the day stripping the Monastery and heads home. The next day, they return to the Sweet Dreams Tea shop to find anything there of value. Detash returns and heads back to his minions, disposing of the lessor skeletons and raising skeletal champions of more power. Leads them to the basement of their home through the undercity.
Saturday, they head out to meet Stephana and Victor at the Watermill Inn. The group are in their assumed Zimar identities. Corwyn reminds the group to use their assumed names the whole time. Corwyn approaches first, while the rest of the group heads to different tables. After contact, Corwyn calls Cassia over and they talk. Stephana is ready, and after reviewing the documents that the group has brought, she gives Cassia a warrantfor the arrest of High Strategos Maxillar Pythareus, as his actions—ordering unlawful attacks on, Taldan settlements, murdering Taldan citizens, threatening rivals, and trying to drag Taldor into a war—constitute treason They are authorized to kill him if the situation demands it.
They talk about the defense of the fortress, but Stephana knows little and with a small smile notes that is the job of the group, as authorized Lion Blades. They agree and head out after Corwyn pays for their breakfast. In the woods, the reassembled group teleports home and sets up reconnaissance.
The group finds that the Pillar of Abadar has strong winds overhead that make flight hard. They already know they cannot teleport in. Their fact finding gives them a rough idea of the lower levels and where stairs are at least. They find that there is rather vicious blood algae in the moat, and that if it is stirred up, it will be clear from the ramparts. After a long evening of debate before, during, and after dinner, the team finally pins down a plan:
They will use their agents to prepare the way and organize two pro Eutropia protests, one led by Cassia and one lead by Mikhael. The goal will be arrest. Their gear will be on Lysanthir or in Corwyn’s micro bag of holding hidden in his boot heel. This will get them, plus Detash and Carrod into the keep. Mozbie will be outside with the group. Detash will us the cover of night to position his skeletons in the river to march on the hidden entrance, with Mozbie to guide them after he tells the rest of the party it is time for their part. Iona, Kavian, and Sepsimia will take the cue and march up to the front gate as themselves to present the official warrant as the skeletons are stirring up the blood algae. From the inside, the former captives will begin their counter play.
The plans go off without a hitch. At the afternoon break for lunch, Cassia and Detash stage a rally and start to make a significant splash. They achivie their desire to get arrested and taken into the Azlanti tower in the stronghold. They are chained to the wall to be in the company of the three they protestors, Aran, Cadon, and Zora. That evening, Mikhael and Carrod stage their protest. As they are hauled away, Corwyn gets himself arrested for supporting them. They too join their comrades in the tower.
Once it is clear that the guards have left outside the tower, Corwyn easily escapes his shackles and begins to pick the locks of the others. Cassia insists on freeing herself with her hidden pin. They are soon all free, and while Mikhael takes his time summoning Lysthanthir, Corywn opens his boot and takes out his mini bag to get his equipment. The three other captives look on with awe as the team removes their disguises begins to suit up.
Detash orders Mozbie to start the clock, and Corwyn unlocks the doors to be ready to leave. Mozbie tells Iona, Kavian and Sepsimia to advance while he goes to bring the skeletal champions forward from their staging area underwater. As they stir up the blood algae and distract the guards on the bastion, Iona and company ride to the gates, their own identities shown. Iona casts clarion call upon herself and Kavian, and boldly reads the warrant. Kavian proclaims that he is the son of the murdered General Silanus and begins the push forward. The Zimar Sentinels are unsure what to do and Lieutenant Kane Phyros joins the Sentinels in questioning what is going on.
Upstairs, the others hear the proclamations and break out. They immediately find a room of Zimar Sentinels, off duty for the day. After a brief skirmish and minor spells, Cassia uses mass suggestion to tell them to stay put lest they be killed by Lysanthir. The room grows quiet and they stay put, neutralized. They charge down the stairs into Sergeant Valania Goen and four more Zimar Sentinels heading to the courtyard. Bluffing, Mikhael tells them “Do your duty” and they continue forward as the rest of the group enters the courtyard behind them.
Now the three at the gate begin to fight, as the Sentinels are not moving. Kavian pushes one ahead and moves forward intent on serving the warrant on his father’s killer. Goen moves up, and Cassia starts a dirge of doom to discourage the nearby participants. Phyros defends his people, but he is clearly unsure of what to do. While two of the Sentinels fall unconscious, the High Strategos himself feather falls to the courtyard ground as the High Enumerator, Palo Iovinus, charges out with his radical Vault and Chain Templars. The seer, Dame Avenna and her escort the wizard Deverous Sallus, appear behind Pythareus. Alarmingly to the defenders, this was when the skeletal champions were emerging from the tunnel down to the river.
The guards at the gate stand down as Kavian relates the charges to Pythareus. Laughing, the High Strategoes challenges Kavian to a dual. The young lord has learned, however, and Kavian flings that challenge back in Pythareus’s face: ”I fight with my friends. You fight with yours.”
With that, Kavian Silanus charges the man who murdered his father. As they fought, Mikhael brought forth black tentacles to stop the High Enumerator and his team. Palvo himself was not caught, but his team were. The seer and wizard ignored the attack, safe in an globe of invulnerability.
Fireballs are traded between groups, seriously hurting Sepsimia. The fire does not effect the seer and her consort, but Lysanthir and the skeletons do. The wizard does try to disintegrate the beast attacking his lover, but Mikahel is able to wrench his friend back from oblivion. Thinking discretion is the better part of valor, and seeing that her employer is already losing allies, the two vanish with a dimension door to somewhere else.
With skeletons now engaged in the whole fight, Pythareus is flanked, and Iovinus is harried. Corwyn tries to get them to flee with his eerie disappearance which does effect some of the Sentinels and the Templars (though they are only shocked, they cannot run). It is then that Iona casts a blade barrier that catches the general and several of the trapped Templars (as well as few skeletons). The High Enumerator and his Templars fall.
As this has all been going on, Kavian and his foe have been fighting. Kavian disarms him, sending his axe flying. Pythareus refuses to yield and goes for a dagger. Kavain cuts the general down with a final thrust. As he pulls his sword from the dying man, Kavain announces this is what happens to traitors. As the body lays there, Kavian takes the dagger that killed Tae Alamon and stabs the warrant into his body.
A silence settles over the courtyard for a moment, broken only by Cassia’s playing a tune to heal the party. Then Iona jumps as a spectral hand brushes her and attempts to plane shift her to Axis. She fades to almost nothing, but at the last moment, in a heroic effort of will, holds herself in the Prime Material plane. Corwyn fires his acid blast wand into the hand, destroying it. Mikhael looks for the source of the hand, but finds nothing. It seems the wizard had one last shot at the party, but he and Dame Avenna have let the Pillar.
Lieutenant Phyros orders Sergeant Goen to stand down as the standing Sentinels stabilize their wounded. Cassia’s playing gives aid and succor to them all. Iona also aids with a healing light. They all know there may be more fighting at hand.
The group pauses as Cassia and Iona heal them. Phyros and Sergeant Goen tend to their wounded. As they breath, both Captain of the Guard, Patrika Urbaand Warden of the Pillar, Sir Thrain Gavainburst into the Courtyard. Iona moves with a copy of the warrant to explain themselves to the stunned leaders. Lt. Phyros moves to explain. As this happens, the Castellan of Abadar’s Piller, Baron Astor Roderus,charges into the room flanked by four Zimar Sentinels. All are enlarged by magic and quite terrifying. Kavian orders them to stand down, but the right hand of Maxillar Pythareus is not going to be so easily dissuaded. They move to attack and Kavain runs up to intercept, his sword not yet cleaned. His friends are behind him, and as he moved forward Detash and Iona both release fiery attacks with a fireball and flame strike. As this happens, Mikhael casts slow to inhibit the group. Two of the Sentinels drop, and the Castellan staggers. Corwyn hits the leader with an acid bolt and notes the adamantine armor the man is wearing. The Baron strikes a blow at Kavian as he moves up, but the brawler does not care. Kavain, his sword transformed into an adamantine blade, cuts down Baron Astor, eliminating the last supporter of the traitor. The two remaining Sentinels surrender and stabilize their fallen companions.
The fighting over, Corwin suggests they bring everyone into the main courtyard until things are sorted. Cassia uses the wand of sending to report and ask for Lion Blades to enter the city and establish order. As this is happening, one of Detah’s skeletons reports someone is still prisoner. Iona and Corwyn go to investigate and find Rafien, a member of the Vault and Chain Templars, is imprisoned in the oubliette. It seems he did not agree with the direction and was locked up. It is clear he is telling the truth. He mentions a special prisoner in the upper tower he knows nothing about.
Meanwhile, Cassia finds a mysterious note left behind. It is addressed to Kavain and taunts the party. Clearly, the night hags are part of something bigger than supporting Pythareus.
Once the lower residents are found, Kavian, Corwyn, Iona and Mikhael head up to explore and clear out the rest of the stronghold. They head up to the special prisoner quarters and hear a man demanding more wine. Mikhael flashes an evil smile, and uses his hat of disguise to assume the look of a servant and enters the room, shutting the door behind him. He is startled to come face to face with the former emperor of Taldor, Grand Prince Stavian III! It appears that he survived the Exaltation Massacre despite his grievous injuries. He spent weeks hovering at death’s door, due to his injuries and withdrawal from several long‑standing addictions. By the time he awoke, the war over succession had already begun, and Pythareus found himself unable to reveal the Grand Prince’s good fortune or presence to anyone. The injuries and withdrawal have only exacerbated Stavian’s paranoia and fits of rage, and, he has become very unstable, finding solace only in wine—the lone vice Pythareus allows the sad, deposed monarch.
Stavian spends several moments berating Mikhael, demanding he clean up his room and bring him more wine. Mikhael produces some of the fine wine he looted and calms the raging former leader of Taldor. Climbing into bed, Stavian asks about his children his children. Exiting, the bemused Mikhael tells his companions who he found. They quickly decide that they can use the two passage glyphs from the Baron and Pythareus to have Detash teleport Stavian back to Merret County to put under the security of the Princess. For now, he can stay where he is. They search the rest of the Pillar and secure facility. There, they discover the last plot of the High Strategos:
A small, iron case contains a dozen parchments with various legal documents, letters, and historical records containing perhaps the most dangerous weapon in Maxillar’s arsenal. One of Maxillar Pythareus’s personal duties—unknown even to Milon Jeroth—has been the suppression of unsavory rumors regarding Stavian III and the imperial family. For a time, his work involved quieting talk about Stavian III’s various dalliances and outbursts, as well as the occasional assassination order. The most distressing details of the Stavian line, however, came to light only 7 years ago, when a team of adventurers located and plundered the Adella Necropolis. The burial complex, concealed in the Headwater Gap of the World’s Edge Mountains, held the worldly remains and records of the now extinct Adella noble family, who dominated Taldan politics for centuries until their internal squabbles lead to bitter civil war and violence. The bloodshed they engendered, and their wanton indulgence alienated even their fellow Taldan nobles. Rumors persist of corruption, graft, murder, and devil worship. Grand Prince Beldam II declared the family be stricken of their noble titles and erased from the nation’s history, and by the dawn of the 46th century, those few Adellas who had not killed each other off were hunted down by rival nobles and put to the sword.
Lucretia Adella gave birth to the last Adella in 4497 AR—the illegitimate son of nobleman and soon to be Grand Prince Micheaux I. Micheaux I reluctantly adopted the boy in secret and named him Stavian, and in the process initiated the modern Stavian line, including Grand Prince Stavian III and Princess Eutropia. What this revelation means for the legitimacy of the current imperial line is vague at best—Micheaux was the adopted heir to Beldam II, rather than a blood heir, and while his illegitimate child still technically carries the mantle of rulership, the taint of Adella blood remains strong in the public zeitgeist. With most official records of them gone, the Adellas have become urban legends and cautionary tales, despised, and not understood. While this revelation doesn’t prove Stavian III or Eutropia unfit to rule by default—to say nothing of Stavian’s adopted heir, Pythareus—it throws enormous suspicion and scandal on a family already under massive scrutiny.
Maxillar Pythareus dispatched assassins to eliminate the adventurers as soon as he caught rumor of their discovery, but the very fact that rumors reached his ear meant some of the information they uncovered had been disseminated. For the 7 years since, the high strategos has dispatched only his most trusted personal aides to execute anyone carrying documents these adventurers uncovered. All too aware of Stavian’s fickle nature, Pythareus kept the documentation as leverage rather than destroy them, even disseminating a few pieces to loyal informants as a fail safe. Should he die, the Stavian reputation dies with him!
With his training, Mikhael confirms that Stavian I is indeed the son of Lucretia Adella and also notes that these papers are more recent copies, suggesting that the originals may yet exist somewhere else. What this means for the Princess is unknown, but it is clear it will sow chaos.
Stephana comes into the city with the Lion Blades and helps to establish order. With Pythareus dead, and his acts known, there is no longer support for him. The group helps to stabilize the situation. Detash takes Stavian back to his daughter and then he returns for he and Mikhael to teleport goods, horses, and his undead followers back to Bentoy Estate. After a week, they are ready and meet with Eutropia.
Her reunion is bittersweet. Stavian III curses Eutropia and her mother for bearing her; while the princess is happy to see her father alive, she is deeply wounded after years of neglect and his failed assassination attempt. She feels she is too close to the matter, and Eutropia asks the group what to do with her aging, unstable father. The three most likely options are to execute him, exile him from Taldor, or imprison him for the remainder of his life. They decide to imprison him in a villa in on the land of Baron Nicolaus Okerra.
With this settled, Dame Martella Lotheed tells the party the Princess is not sure of the next move. Even as the group was cleaning up and leaving, Zimar, they began hearing gossip that a hundred new claimants to the throne have emerged, that the princess is not of royal birth, and that Stavian III was only ever a pretender to the throne, invalidating both his daughter’s and his adopted son’s claims on the crown, though no one seems to have details just yet. How knows how bad the damage will be.
However, for the moment, the group of friends has a far happier time to plan. Now free to call himself by his real name, Kavian Silanus can marry the Lady Sepsinia Crabbe. They grateful Princess offers Birdsong Manor for a reception after Lady Paril, now a High Enumerator of Abadar, will officiate at the Temple in Lotheedar.
End of Book 4!
|Campaign Dates||Pharast 11- Denus 02 4720|
The Transfers back take several days of teleportation by Mikhael and Detash. Sometimes this includes ferry of party members back and forth. On the 21st of Pharast (March), Mikhael and Detash find a note left from a trip to Bentoy estates. It is from Iona. She is called by her goddess to go west for her next mission. The party is faced with another departure of on of their members. From the original 8, they are down to 5.
Over the week of moving back and forth, Lady Lotheed interacts with each of the group. This is a clearly a rolling debriefing, even though it is casual. The members with Sense Motive can tell this is all on the up and up. Her questions do include each other’s teammates and how they are doing and functioning. Of course, no one discusses their friend’s moon powers or other core secrets. This also is how Eutropia understood their feelings about the final disposition for Stavian III.
After a week of transfers, they are summoned to Birdsong Palace to for dinner with Princess Eutopia. During dinner they get to talk with Prince Carrius. He is clearly doing better but still confused.
“I remember you, don’t I? You’re my sister’s friends?”
“No! No, I do remember you! You were the ones who saved me in Yanmass! I’m so sorry for the trouble I must’ve caused you! I’m not sure we’ve formally met. I am Prince Carrius II, second born of Stavian III. Brother to the Grand Princess Eutropia… Heh. That’s a bit awkward to say, isn’t it? I’m still used to just thinking of her as Eutie, my annoying elder sister. But yes. Thank you for rescuing me.”
“Considering I’ve been dead for twenty years, I am doing quite good. There are still a lot of gaps in my memory, but I’m feeling stronger every day. I remember being dead like… like the feeling of a cool breeze on a hot day, sitting in the sun, with the smell of leaves in the air. But coming back… I don’t really recall any of it.’’
“As far as dying, I remember arguing with dad in the stables. I can’t remember why. And then I remember falling, and then there was a sound like a branch breaking, but it sounded so far away. That’s all.”
It is funny, I didn’t really want the crown even before I died, and Dad and I used to argue about it a lot. But I think Eutropia’s made good and grown up a lot since we were kids. I guess a lot changed while I was gone. She said losing me made her grow up a lot; she didn’t want other people to hurt like that when they didn’t need to.”
After a good evening, she has the team come to her study, along with Countess Lotheed.
Thank you for service and the return of my father. I am saddened at his state. I had hoped one day we might reconcile. Even the return of his son does not seem to be something to change him, even though Cassius’s death after our mother’s seems to have broken him.
You have defeated the High Strategos and Maxillar Pythareus should no longer be a threat. Alas, as you know, he was no fool. As you found out, within the past decade he uncovered evidence that the entire Stavian line, while formally adopted, was born illegitimately, beginning with Stavian I two-hundred years ago. While this is bad, it was not enough to create the chaos is has. The fact our line seems descended from the long-lost Adella family, utterly reviled for their indulgence, treachery, and violence has cast things into doubt. Pythareus’s closest agents held this damning information in reserve, and now that their leader is undone, they have verified and published the documents. This discredits my entire family and delegitimizes my claim based on my parentage in the eyes of many. Now more contenders than ever are circling like vultures.
I am not yet sure what we shall do. I am in consult with allies, on the next moves, including, I might add your father, Sir Mikhael. That is the work of tomorrow. For today, I need to properly thank you all. Countess Lotheed has already debriefed you as you returned. I asked her to do this to find out what might be good rewards for each of you. I understand that each of you will be shortly flush with gold. These gifts are more tailored. One is very special that I will save for last.
Bow of Wands, Wrist Sheath of the Fencer
Dame Cassia, I offer your two items that I think will help. The first is a second magical Bow for your fiddle, and since I am offering you a second bow, here is a magical wrist strap that I think you will find handy.
1 Emerald for Collar of Mighty Fangs and Claws, 2 Sapphires for Collar of Mighty Fangs and Claws, Quill of Artful Exaggerations
Sir Mikhael, I have had my agents look for more of the old style gems that support your companion’s collar. I have produced enough here that it will complete your set. I also understand you are the group creator of documents. I think you will find this special Quill useful.
Glove of the Spectral Hand
Sir Detash, I am told you often look to cast some spells at range. I think you will find this glove to your liking. I am hoping, in fact, it is not made out of what it appears to be, and don’t tell me otherwise.
Mask of the Moon
Sir Corwyn, I understand you have longed to see in the dark. I present to you the Mask of the Moon. You will find it suffices quite well for that.
Protius Silanus’s Boots
Sir Kavian. I am happy that you have cleared the name of your father and avenged his murder. I am pleased to present to you something special. When you father was murdered, the items he possessed were not given to his family, but stolen by soldiers siding with the General. I fear most are lost forever, but I have managed to secure these.
Now then, friends, if I may call you that. I have much to worry about next steps. You, however, have the joy of a wedding to plan. I offer Birdsong Manor for your celebration after your marriage in the Church in Lothadar. Take a well earned rest. I promise you, my most effective agents, the next phase will relay on you.
With that, the party spends a good night at the Palace and then returns home for preparations. Corwyn heads out on his flying broom the next day to visit Grandmother. Kavian is caught up in wedding preparations over the next month, while Mikhael and Detash move people back and forth to Opperra for shopping, as the group is flushed with gold as Eutropia noted.
Corwyn flies to Jambis to meet with Grandmother. He asks her directly if she is Varinia Hellena Drusus. Grandmother appears startled Corwyn has hear of this figure and notes she lives centuries ago. She does say she uses some of the art developed by this long ago user of life magic. Corwyn wonders if Hellena could help him, considering how powers. Grandmother suggested that entering into a deal with Hellena would not be something she advised. Corwyn notes she never formally answers the question and moves on.
His second question is if his tail, if she makes it inherent to him, will it be passed on to his children. Grandmother admits she does not know, and will need a sample of ”you seed” to be sure. Corwyn is honest that he is interested in a woman. The wise old woman does not name Cassia, but she knows what is going on. She advises Corwyn to talk with Cassia first, before he knows the answer. She suspects that Cassia will not be worried about it. Corwyn thinks for a day, and returns with his sample for Grandmother and goes ahead and accepts the formula that will make his tail permanent. Regardless of what others will say, he is moving forward.
In a quite moment, Corwyn meets with Cassia and asks to court her. Cassia is both elated and filled with compassion. She tells Corwyn that they are fighting for reform for all people. A tail is one more thing, and if it effects their children (should things progress as she clearly hopes they will), then that will manage it. The two agree to formally court. Their decision is immediately apparent to their companions.
Preparation for the wedding amounts, and Kavian finds he is out 20,000 gold for the ceremony. Cassia agrees to perform at the reception at Birdsong, but for the wedding itself, she will be the Maid of Honor. Detash and Mikhael find themselves bringing key members of the Yanmass council and other’s they met to the wedding as guests of the groom. In addition to being the Best Man, Corwyn agrees to having his own grifting parents to attend. Kavain offers to pay for their room and all the goods in it so if they steal anything, it is covered. Detash escorts Damn Crabbe to the wedding at Sepsimia’s request, with her perhaps not quite knowing the full extent of Detash’s past dalliances with her mother. Of course, the Duchess helps as much as she can, flitting from painting to painting to bring communications.
Taking time with Detash, she asks him if he can help her ever be more than a construct. She knows the real person she is based on is someone she can never be, but she yearns to be more. Detash promises he will do what he can, and that it will be meaningful and not haphazard. He wonders about the treaties they have found on souls. Perhaps that might helps someday, but he keeps that information to himself.
Kavain invites his mother not only to attend the wedding, but to live with him in Betony Manor, finally returning to noble lifestyle. Her brother also attends, sniffing at the trapping of nobility in his protégé but understanding. On Gozran the 21st, three days before the wedding, there is a stag party arranged for Kavian by Detash. While Cassia arranges for a gathering with the bride, Tremerus, Detash, Corwyn and Mikhael set up an actual stag hunt for Kavain, to hunt and kill the stag, which he does. Kavain uses this opportunity to hone his wolf skills and kills it that way, giving a new meaning to stag party. A more formal fox hunt is set up for the the day before the wedding by Tremerus. However, between that is a grand dinner for family and closest guests, including Elsa, at Birdsong. Then finally, the big day dawns.
The wedding goes well on Saturday the 24th of Gozran. The former Archbanker now Chief Enumerator, Paril, officiates. After a joy filled ceremony, all retire to the reception at Birdsong Palace. As the guest arrive, they are treated to a stone statue of the couple, created by Detash using stone shape (with help of a sculptor). Using his understanding of anatomy, this is fantastic likeness of the married couple. After the wedding he teleports it into place at Bentony Manor.
During the night, the Dance of the Phalanx is called out by the Duchess, to defend the couple against invaders. As they groom and bride watch from the main table, the rest of the couples fight on the dance floor. Corwyn and Cassia are more impressive than they have ever been, yet is it effortless. They two are enraptured with each other as they clear the floor. By the time they have realized they are done, they are dancing in the middle of the floor, only looking at each other. They become aware of the applause in the room.
Detash is always scheming and has Didia working the wedding in the hopes of developing new contacts. She is successful with Baronet Duranis Cicato. Cicato is a dogged proponent for revitalizing Taldor’s military, which he sees as languishing despite its ample funding. He specifically champions updating a military that he fears lags behind the innovations of other nations. While these beliefs were somewhat shared with Maxillar Pythareus, the two often disagreed about the best way to implement military reform. Cicato has shown willingness to accept Eutropia as his future empress even before the death of the High Strategos. Detash arranged to have him invited to the wedding for political purposes. Earning an alliance with the Baronet will open acces to the land trade routes along the Inner Sea.
Two surprise guests that no one invited, but no one is willing to tell they cannot attend, are the Baron Issac Constantianus Tzimiskes of Oppara, Mikhael’s father and his mother the Elf Noble Lady Meristiel Elluvidnir. It appears that this is far enough away from Oppara to allow them to attend. At the Reception Lady Elluvidnir approaches her fellow elf, Detash to offer him access to her library for spell research. While Detash wants to leave right then, Mikhael refuses and puts that off until later. Mikhael, meanwhile, has been outside entertaining children with his summons. His father approaches him to ask for help with his sister.
Mikhael, political infighting is at an all time high throughout the country, in particular the capital. Political battle lines are redrawn daily and immense pressure is put for everyone from high to low birth to choose sides. The various Oppara Academies, Universities and Grand Guild Halls are no exception to this. Instructors and teachers have taken it upon themselves to educate the young into correct thinking and correct loyalty but with divided loyalties all that serves is to encourage division and distrust against your neighbors. I can tell you things are tense. Loyalties are shaken. Many are no longer sure of their pathway. I know this has solidified my support for the Princess. People like my wife and your older sister are no longer sure who to support. I can only say that it is against this backdrop that push back has started occurring.
Small groups of students at first stopped listening to the speeches and only mouthed platitudes and cheers. At first things appeared to be whimsical, performance art pieces. Then started little acts of defiance, turning their backs in rallies or posting anti-government screeds alongside regular faction propaganda. This increased to destruction of signs, painting over slogans and soon led to minor magic effects being used to spread attention. Since the political factions were too fractured and focused on the true “power players” this left a space for this nascent faction to organize. Crackdowns started once the group started causing elaborate, public spectacles that authorities couldn’t ignore.
Anonymous packages of fecal matter sent to government officials. All the pennants over the forts temporarily adding slogans asking why young soldiers have to go die over plots of old men. Eerie songs coming out of the sewers in the banking/religious district criticizing usury in all forms. The final straw was a massive public illusory image in the main square. A realistic image of Princess Eutropia stood at a podium giving a speech while all around her, caricature images of real political/religious/business leaders stood around her-many appeared ghoul or lich-like, reaching toward her with bloody claws and mouths while others had exaggerated genitalia and leered at her suggestively as they engaged in lewd acts.
I am afraid, crackdowns started right afterwards. At first authorities believed that the youth was being directed by foreign actors, in fact this is now the official stance. Behind the scenes, frustrated authorities soon discovered how decentralized the group turned out to be. No one appeared to be giving orders, only small groups encouraging other groups into action-frequently trying to outdo each other. Always black clad and black masked-picking up one group only led to one or two other members. Catching two teenage fourth-born minor nobles in the act would only be connected with a banker’s second born who could only lead to a squire-in-training who talked a lot with a bardic school student. They could only confirm a few things-the uniform, the upturned right fist salute, and that they all seem to follow the same creed- “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”
There is talk that soon there will be nighttime marches around the capital and in other cities with threats of seemingly justified vandalism and looting. Unfortunately, it is clear to me your sister, Lucia, is involved. I have spoken to my wife and she agrees with me that your sister needs to be removed from the capital and separated from her friends before she gets into real trouble. We would appreciate it, if you would return home to bring her here.
Taken aback, Mikhael agrees and decides he might start his more heavy drinking sooner than normal.
(Ed Note: mostly written talk by Mikhael’s player).
As the evening draws to a close, Countess Lotheed announces she has secured a mage to take the couple home for their wedding night, while the other denizens of Bentony manor will stay here at Birdsong to allow the couple the night alone.
Mikhael retrieves his sister and begins to help her understand the larger picture of being an adult. She is going to be a handful. Cassia and Corwyn help get Kavian’s mother settled in the Manor. Detash spends his time in study of new spells. The newlyweds are not much to be seen.
After this week, the group of heroes, now only five, are summoned to Birdsong. There they meet their spymaster, Countess Martella Lotheed. When the group meets with he, she guides them not to her office, but one of the servants’ quarters, where a maid diligently polishes candelabra. As Martella closes the door, the maid nods and pulls off her bonnet, transforming her dingy uniform into an elegant but functional dress and her weathered scowl into the visage of delicate features and careful makeup. This the group recongnizes at Lady Gloriana Morilla. While most of the group remembers she is high in the Pathfinder Society, Mikhael knows from his sources, she is also the head of the Sovereign Court, a network of agents endeavoring to replace regressive and destructive nobles with a new generation of constructive and responsible aristocracy. She opens with a brief review of the chaos and claimants for the crown and then begins a briefing. It is clear that while Martella my like her ally, she rolls her eyes that Lady Morilla’s love of the dramatic.
“We need a decisive sign. Taldor takes its name from its founding emperor, Taldaris. His name’s still uttered from the fields to the palaces, and although historical records of his policies are vague, that doesn’t stop senators from claiming to act on his vision. In Taldor’s past, the Grand Prince could call upon Taldaris’s spirit for guidance, and it was said that Taldaris’s legendary Mantle of Kings would glow when donned by the empire’s rightful ruler. The First Emperor‘s blessing was practically sacred, and it would be equally decisive today.”
“Unfortunately,” Martella chimes in, “it’s not as simple as it sounds.”
“Indeed. The dubious Grand Prince Uirtamon II worried his rivals would use the mantle against him, so he had it reinterred in Taldaris’s tomb, which he then ordered buried and its location scrubbed from public records. Thankfully, my Pathfinder Society agents are excellent archivists.”
”Together we have pieced together the approximate location of the Tomb of the First Emperor, as well as the rudiments of the ritual to call upon Taldaris’s spirit to empower the Mantle of Kings. What we need now are capable operatives able to survey the area, locate the tomb, find the Mantle of Kings within, and contact the spirit of Taldaris to ask that he bless the garment. If the mantle reappears and glows on her shoulders, it stands to prevent considerable bloodshed. Even if it does not select her, it will allow us a nonviolent means to identifying a worthy heir without the need for drawn blades.
Lady Morilla provides the group with a leather portfolio, which contains written reports from 11 different Pathfinder scholars. These trace the tomb’s location to a roughly 25-square-mile area in Kazuhn with additional notes that the tomb’s superstructure stood about 20 feet high (and so would form a small hill) and had an entrance facing north. The Pathfinders have pieced together significant parts of the ritual and secured a collection of aromatic oils, candles, and incense. However, the ritual is difficult to decipher because it uses extinct forms of measurement, cites ritual practices from millennia ago, references parts of the Tomb with unknown dimensions, and in some places is just incomplete with the Pathfinders’ annotated best guesses.
Cassia asks how secure this information is and is anyone else looking for it. She also notes with delight that Kazuhn is the home of Breezy Creek, where Baron Kalbio, whom they saved, is not installed. She and Elsa both have agents protecting him. They have an ally in the area. She encourages the group to seek more clues to the ritual within the tomb when they find it.
She does point out that the Tomb is a special place and should not be looted, though if there is something they need for the ritual, it makes sense to use it. “You may take and use any magical items that could be of use in the coming days and do so with respect. Leave any purely decorative items and currency.”
With the briefing complete, the party heads home to prepare and Lady Gloriana secures passage back to the capital before anyone there even knew she was gone.
|Campaign Dates||Denus 02 - Densu 17 4720|
The group discusses how to approach this task. Clearly, they cannot let anyone know they are searching for the Mantal. Since they will be searching the region of Kazuhn, they have an option. The hamlet of Breezy Creek is within Kazuhn, and their friend Kalbio, now Baron of Breezy Creek, is recently installed there. In fact, both Cassia and Elsa have deployed a few agents to the area to support the new Baron.
Honor of Stachys has been with Cassia since her first performance ridiculing Count Lotheed. Thinking she would be good for a region best by nobles and helping a new noble work in, Cassia sent the able woman as the leader of her agents. Honor has worked with Kalbio from his first moments, helping him to start to build his own network. Leading Elsa’s agents is Asny Skjoldaughter. Asny is a former agent for Martella Lotheed, who joined with Elsa afer her first actions in Oppera after the Exaltation Massacre. Asny herself is also a freed Ulfen slave, and is totally loyal to Elsa, however she is under the direction of Honor on this mission. In fact, the two have recently sent a Honor's Reportto Cassia about the situation in the Barony of Breezy Creek and Kazuhn itself.
Detash, Mikhael, and Carrod all teleport agents, 20 total, to Oppara to take the three day journey to Breezy Creek as advanced units. The rest of the agents of the group will come along in the role of noble servants. Kavian spends as much time as he can with his new bride, and Corwyn coordinates the finances for the estate while getting his own agents prepared.
In the morning, it is clear that Kavain did not sleep much, not to anyone’s surprise. He moves from his room to the carriage he is sharing with Corwyn and promptly sacks out. Corwyn himself is completely tied up with last moment details of finances and sales for Bentony. Over the past 6 weeks, neither the Tribune nor his new bride have done anything in the way of books. This leaves it up to Mikhael, Detash, and Carrod to organize the morning with the agents. The three will be riding in the head Carriage along with Mikhael’s sister, Lucia. They notice that Cassia is late getting up after a very late night. Before they can even ask about it, a servant says that Lady Lucretzia Marthane has arrived with her staff and baggage. Cassia tells the others that she agreed to letting Lucretzia come with them and why. The Lady joins Cassia in her carriage and the two spend much of the first day asleep.
Leaving the county, Mikael and Detash notice three of the local guards are former bandits from Beggerwood. They wave and get cheers from the locals. While the rest of Taldor might not know what to make of these agents of Eutropia, they are sure heroes in Merrat.
The trip to Oparra takes a week. The roads are safe enough to have stop overs at watchtowers and towns along the way, with only some of the agents camping. No one really relaxes, but there is a since of a pleasant journey through lands now full of spring. There is some sense of hope and newness in the air.
Towards the end of the week, Lucia and Lucretzia hit is off and have struck up a friendship. The young noble seems more engaged with others, an less distant and not caring. Lucia, for her part, loves the stories and books that Lucretzia knows so well. The group arrives on the 11th, and decides to spend three days in the capital and leave on the 15th.
Lucia offers to show Lucretzia around the city, and they spend the majority of each day in the think of it. Mikhael attempts to send agents to follow them, but the two have no issue evading them. Mikhael looks for dead drop information, and finds a message from his mother that she is afraid assassins might threaten the Princess. Mikhael passes that along and heads to the family home. Fortunately, for his peace of mind, his family has retreated to the countryside home, and he is able to stay there without any hassles. The other ladies decide to stay there with him. To be safe, Mikhael has his agents secure a Scroll of Resurrection just in case his sister dies.
Corwyn checks in on his parents with a briefness that is designed to insult and settles into his town home to organize his forces. He makes a few purchases and prepares for the rest of the journey. Corwyn does take the time to get Mikhael aside and tell him “Lady Lucretzia may be the Night Swan. We need to be careful.” His Warning given and his agents prepared, Corwyn takes some rare time to enjoy some of the pastimes in his home city. He attempts to get Kavain involved, but the newlywed is mostly withdrawn and missing his bride, so he hangs at Corwyn’s home.
Detash meets with his partner and Didia. His partner is grumpy because Didia is no longer flirting with him as much. Little does Igorr Torsim realize that he is effectively one of Detah’s agents. The necromancer is able to calm his human friend and Didia promises to work with him. She also reports that her relationship with Baronet Duranis Cicato is progressing, and that she may be able to get good trade lines to the south.
Cassia immediately heads to her family’s home and receives a warmer welcome than she expected. Her mother is very happy to see her, and her father, shocked at the revelations about the High Strategoes, is no longer supporting an Imperialist cause. He is not yet ready to support the Princess, but he mends fences with his daughter. She stays for lunch, but then as planned, goes to stay with Elsa and Gratia with the Vinmarks.
The night before they leave, Lucia and Lucretzia are up very late and get back laughing and giggling, and more than a little unkept. The next morning it is obvious why. As the party gathers to leave near the gate, word is racing of a giant image put up making Barron Zellvyngian appear to be a lover of children. Two women were chased through the streets but eluded capture. Mikhael is further dismayed when Lucia decides to ride the next three days with Lucretzia and Cassia. He starts drinking early. Though Carrod rebukes him, when Mikhael explains his concerns about those two together, his lover joins him.
The three day journey is mostly uneventful. With a trip along one of the few strong canals, it is fast. As the group journeys through the countryside on the 17th, they are accosted by bandits outside of Breezy Creek. Detash has trouble with laughing at the thought, and Mikhael and Cassia get outside their carriages. They are faced with what is obviously farmers on hard times threatening the group. Cassia plays a soothing tune while Mikhael faces
them down. By the time his is done, the farmers, who are all in debit to Viscount Yemis Avenlar, have given up. They are willing to accept the promise of the group who saved “Our Baron”. By the time they leave, agents of the group had surrounded the caravan and they both make sure the farmers are safely home and escort the rest into town. They have arranged for lodging in various homes in the community. The agents take care of the carriages, horses and baggage and Honor meets the group to take them to meet the Baron. His is using the town hall as his place of residence, as there is no manor in the hamlet.
Baron Kalbio Breezy Creek is excited to see his friends. He rushes to embrace Kavian and the two immediately interact like the commoners they were raised as. Kalbio warmly shakes Corwyns hand, having not seen him since he helped save his life. With the young Baron is Asny Skjoldaughter, and his Armswoman, Zenia of Piltshaven. She suggests they move inside for a more private meeting as there are locals looking to see the heroes who saved “Our Baron” and helped set him up.
Inside, they meet to of Kalbio’s agents, Nobbly-Kobb, his gnome accountant, and Captain |Kaius Meritious, his chief of staff. They join the meeting while Zenia, Asny, and Honor wait along the wall. The meeting is over a local dinner, more peasant food that than one would normally see for a Baron. The discussion is much based on Honor’s report and the current situation. Vicount Avenlar is the issue. If he can be deterred and if the Baron could gain income, things could be pushed forward. The heroes use their hand cant to hold off on telling him their real mission. Kalbio invites Corwyn and Kavian to stay with him at the town hall, while the rest of the group are taken to where they are staying.
Detash finds himself with a couple who were excited to host an elf, but are not totally sure with the man who arrives, especially after he compliments the wife on her bone structure. Cassia, Lucia, and Lucretzia stay in a larger home in the hamlet, run by the local backer. Mikhael’s agent, a little smugly, leads him and Carrod to the local distiller. Mikhael notes that he is not going to get a lot of sleep. Carrod, head of the agents, pulls Mikhael to the bedroom while giving the agent a look of death. The poor man caught between his ultimate employer and his boss.