The Record of the North

CSI: Reyen

The party continued out of the woods of the Dryad, avoiding a town nearby and continuing an easier path to the north and west. Over a number of days, subsisting mostly on owlbear meat, the party reached at length Reyen. The weather, which had been unseasonably cold, grew warmer and more seasonable.

On the road outside the town, Captain Orable was stationed, blocking the road with cards and a number of men. He came out and had a brief conversation, telling Vikram that as far as he knows, his wife is nowhere to be found and his house was destroyed, and saying that he merely needed to have a long, apparently tense conversation with the group before letting them in. He was to prevent refugees and sellswords from entering the city.

In the city, somethings were the same, some different. A number of refugees, some recently arrived and others who have found hovels and temporary housing, were about. In the new city were many new buildings, wood still covered in sap, beside the burned structures. Despite the destruction, the city felt crowded, seeming surprising until the group realized they had wandered into what seems to be a festival. Through the festival wandered men that smelt of rum, looking to have fun or break an ankle.

Vikram, Kalyani and Raymond broke off for some of Vikram’s errands and to return the book, while Narayan and the Lizardfolk went toward the docks to seek out a ship going north.

At his own house, or perhaps a new house built where it was destroyed, Vikram found his wife, Carella. She seemed unhappy: “Decided it was time to come back, did you?” were her opening words. The three came in at Carella’s invitation, and there they found her and Vikram’s daughter, Rekha, or Mabile, who opened her conversation with Kalyani with: “Are you a bastard too?” Carella let Vikram to know that they were better off without him, and that she had found a local lord to take care of her and their daughter. She criticized him without rest, to which he merely replied that he was glad someone was looking after them, before saying that he needed to explain to Rekha about something. Furthermore, he said, he thought that Carella and Rekha would be safest coming with the group, but that if he had his way, he wouldn’t be going anywhere. Finally Vikram asked about his books and papers, which Carella declared she’d burned, before they left, only when Rekha had given Kalyani his ears back. Vikram left some hundreds of gold worth of money on the table and they headed out from the house.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group descended toward the docks. In the docks more buildings were standing, since the fire hadn’t reached there, but the buildings were rickety and unstable, and the place smelt awful of the stink of the smell. Twelve or so ships were to be found in port, of a number of sorts and sizes. Right on the water was an inn, taller than wide and leering dangerously outwards from its moorings, known as the Sea King, where Vikram had told the group to rendezvous. Inside the inn were a great variety of sailors of various races and nationalities, as well as a goblin in the corner and more Tieflings that might have been expected, some not sailors, by their looks. The innkeeper, Gui, informed them that the Arcenne has blockeaged the Riggish coast, and that nobody who does not pay a tithe can pass. He let them know, however, that a “half-mad Pried,” Andikona den Maura Wavecaptain, who runs the blockade and seems to be planning to take out some aggression against the Arcenne’s forces. Additionally, the slaver Goblin downstairs is known to pay the tithe and might be a passage north as well.

Gui also gave the following news:

Flight of the Arbellans: Armies of the Cantor had been doing well, pushing into the Arcenne’s territory, doing well against the scattered tribes under the Arcenne. When the news of Lycon’s destruction reachted the forces in the north, most of the Arbellans and all of the Lyconians left the fighting. Only Sir Isore of Lycon could rally some of his countrymen to continue the fighting, but it wasn’t enough when the Riggish armies redoubled their attacks and it was a slaughter. Gui expresses hope that the neutrality of Reyen, the city will be able to ride this war out.

Vikram, Raymond and Kalyani sent a message up to the archivist and then ascended to the old city, and to the badly burned archives. There they met with Jordis the blind, who paid them and demanded 150 gold per horse they’d borrowed. Vikram refused outright, and the conversation ended tensely.

Back at the inn, Kinaa and Hillalum conversed about the Dragon Gods, with Kinaa questioning Hillalum on the power of the Dragon Gods and the power of other Gods, and Hillalum questioning Kinaa’s faith.

The three went down to the docks, where Raymond noted signs on the placard outside the inn that suggested this was a Loyalist meeting place. Raymond displayed his holy symbol prominently as they entered, and they were shown up by the innkeeper, who spoke to Raymond in a gutteral language, the Duat Tongue. They discussed the place and stature of the Loyalists in Reyen, and Raymond asked after the Loyalists of Lycon, and specifically after Sir Baudouin, his liege, but Gui had not heard of his whereabouts.

The party debated whether they would continue together, with Vikram apparently not desiring to travel north to the Eyrie. Because Kalyani desired to continue farther north to the City of Red Glass, though, Vikram agreed to continue. Narayan declared that he would like to see the inside of the Eyrie, and would therefore come along. Hillalum then shared that an envoy from the City of Red Glass had come to the Eyrie soon before he left on this quest, and that they had been installed in apartments and in conversation with the High Priests.

A crew unafraid to speak to the Goblin slaver, Sebum gar’Tonaz, went down to the common room and inquired about his plans. After some negotiation by Raymond over price and some discussion between Kinaa and the slaver about his destination and plans, they settled on 65 gold for the group’s passage to Riggsland. The rest of the party, however, wanted to see about the Pried, and so they went out to look for her and ask her price and her plans. Vikram lead them through the disgusting streets of the shore district to a prison where they suspected the Halfling might be kept. They asked for Andikona den Maura Wavecaptain, the name of the Halfling captain. For a bribe the guard let the group in all together, and they went into the ill-constructed jail, which held mostly drunken human sailors.

The Wavecaptain already had a visitor, another female Pried, Onatia den Maura Wavecaller, her kinsman. The Wavecaptain explained that she had been framed for stealing the keys of the harbormaster, and that that was why she was in jail. She suggested that the Goblin had framed her, in service to the Arcenne, in order to prevent her from freeing her kinsmen from the Arcenne’s forces. The group offered to gather evidence that Andikona had not stolen the keys, and in return Andikona offered passage to Riggsland. She sent them off with Onatia to her ship to look for evidence, with warning that the Harbormaster had been drunk on duty, was looking for someone to blame, and might be hard to convince.

They went back to the docks and, with Raymond distracting an ogre servant of Sebun, Narayan and Onatia went aboard the Wavecaptain’s ship. Below, with Narayan ducking everywhere, he discovered signs that the lock of the location that had previously held the keys had been picked and that there were signs of someone climbing in. Needing an effective way to convince the harbormaster of the captain’s innocence, the party considered 1) Theft, 2) Blackmail, 3) Assault and 4) Telling the Truth.

At last, the group headed over to find the harbormaster and told him about what they’d seen in the cabin. Vikram convinced him that it was probably a framing by the goblin, and the harbormaster agreed to look in the ship. Having seen the evidence of the break-in, the harbormaster agreed to let the Pried out of prison if they would convince her not to cause any trouble or make a stink. With this agreement made, the party seemed to have a way out of town that didn’t involve sailing with a known servant of the Arcenne, and contingent on fair winds, things were moving northward.

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Northmanu Hunters in Pursuit of the Egg

Leaving the butchered and skinned owlbear behind them, the party moved on through the woods. They lit no fires and covered their tracks as well as possible, attempting to evade their pursuers. At the top of a hill, they came upon an old fort, in which they found a camp. There was a fire pit tucked into the building that held a fire two days before, and bones left from a meal for six or so. It seemed their hunters had somehow got ahead of themselves, and the party could now come upon them on their own terms.

Observing from the broken walls of the fort and searching for tracks, the party estimated the lay of the land and the paths through it that their enemies might have taken. A few miles off there was a town, seemingly unoccupied, and figuring that their pursuers might not be able to pass up the opportunity for another sheltered fire, the party marched to the town.

Scouting ahead into the town, Kalyani discovered, in the ruins of a shrine that had been overgrown by a huge willow, a spirit of the forest in the form of a woman made of living wood. The dryad welcomed the party to her domain with bowls of clear water from the roots of the tree, and was met by mixed suspicion and enthusiasm. She thanked the group for not lighting fires in her woods, and offered them assistance in catching their pursuers. In exchange, she wished only a small favor: travel to the next town, and plant a seed there.

Further investigation revealed that the bones of the people of this ruined town were at the root of the willow, and the party became worried about the promise that Raymond had made for them. Nevertheless, they held their tongues and formed a plan. They asked to meet their enemies in a valley, with brambles to constrain their movement, and the dryad agreed. They marched through her wood toward the location she had selected as she guided them, her arms and face appearing in the trees to direct them, and the plants clearing a path in which they could walk.

At the valley, the party concealed themselves around the stream, hidden in the foliage by Narayan’s skill and the dryad’s assistance. When the Northmanu approached, Kinaa broke first, attacking their scout when he was just in the center of the hidden circle of heroes, and the scout fell in moments so quick that his companions had not yet reacted. A hard battle ensued, but was over soon, as the party killed most of the Northmanu and subdued one, a great big warrior who fought well to the end.

When the warrior came to, Amata questioned him about his mission. He said that they were after the egg, sent by the Arcena, and that they had pursued Hillalum and his companion south all the way from Riggsland before following the party here. It was generally acknowledged that this implied that the Arcena had some sort of spy operation which was able to find out of the mission for the egg while it was in its planning stages, or while it was being deployed.

When the Northmanu warrior begged for a better death than having his flesh included in a tree, Amata offered hanging. The man’s wish to die in battle, though, was close to fulfilled, when Raymond put a sword into his bound hands, to offer him suicide. They struggled with the sword, and as the Northmanu turned its point toward Raymond, Amata crushed his throat under her boot. Hillalum stumbled back toward the party from the hill where he had hidden with the egg, and the party contemplated their next move.

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The Fall of Lycon (part 1)
20th Metagaetnion (Tharsduy)

A few days journey brought the party to the outskirts of Lycon, a city nestled in rich farmland cleared from forests around the City Mother. Here, Yves Marshstrider took his leave of the party, to return to looking after his own interests. As the party turned to approach the city, they discovered that it was impressively fortified, but poorly defended. A huge (though not particularly tall) earthwork ringed the outlying farms around the city, while Lycon proper was sheltered by a stone wall at least 80 feet tall and thirty feet wide. The city grew out from an isle in the middle of the river that held an old Floran fortress, an eminently defensible position. But the earthworks were entirely unmanned, and the walls seemed to be watched only by sleepy old sentries who offered little challenge. The whole of the city had been denuded of its men of fighting age, as Lycon had answered the cal of Cantorhill, and sent their armies north. The City Guard that remained consisted of raw recruits and those too old to march off on another campaign.

Though the city seemed largely undefended and indefensible, the party took the time to establish themselves within the city, selling what was of value and resupplying themselves. They took rooms in the Bear and Goblin, and split off on their various errands. Hilallum and Amata took pains to ensure that the egg was safely watched at all times during this. Vikram, unworried for his own safety, went into the city by himself only to be accosted by two tiefling thugs who insisted that he accompany them immediately to see a Lord Gaer-Cennath. Vikram declined, only to be answered by a blade to the gut. Vikram escaped into a crowded thoroughfare with a display of his eldritch power, and the thugs seemed disinclined to pursue.

Vikram made his way back to the Bear and Goblin, and promptly collapsed into a bed. His restorative rest was momentarily disturbed by an old man who came to their rooms, asking after sellswords to look for his missing grandson. After a brief interview, Kinaa dismissed the old man, saying they had no time for such errands.

At dinnertime, when all had returned to the inn, Vikram was approached by another tiefling, another agent of the Lord Gaer-Cennath, though not one of the thugs from earlier. This agent made a much more diplomatic request for Vikram to attend to the Lord at the sign of the Hanged Prophet. Vikram was invited to bring along any company he liked. The dragonborn were unwilling to leave the egg unattended to accompany Vikram, but Kalyani and Narayan were curious enough to go along.

The sign of the Hanged Prophet turned out, unsurprisingly, to be a nest Loyalist tieflings, complete with chains adorning the walls. Lord Gaer-Cennath informed Vikram that the Oracle of Ripenso had prophesied that Vikram would be the one to discover a way to straighten the Ways Between the Worlds, to bring about another Conjunction. Moreover, the prophesy implied that he would do so soon. The Lord proceeded to demand of Vikram that he stay to receive the support and cooperation of the tieflings in his research. Vikram protested, saying his travels were helpful in his researches, but the Lord insisted, eventually making it clear that this offer was not, in fact, an offer. He threatened to destroy everybody that Vikram loved in an effort to leave him with fewer distractions. At this, an angered and frightened Vikram left the inn with his companions, leaving behind a Lord who seemed convinced that Vikram would reconsider.

Just outside the inn, Vikram told the Narayan and Kalyani that it seemed he had no choice but to accept the Lord’s “proposal” for his own safety and the safety of the group. Narayan startled and frightened Vikram further by wondering aloud whether the Lord’s threat extended to Vikram’s wife and child.

The discussion was interrupted by the smell of burning and the sound of an army on the march, the signs of a rapid and largely unexpected approach of an army. The time the party had taken in Great Strimaya and their encounter with Sunhand had given the Sargothine Army enough time to reach Lycon just behind them. The fall of Lycon had begun.

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Dungeons and Dragons and Kidnapping

To Be Uploaded

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Framing the Fey

(NB I am missing some details. They have ellipses in their places. Please fill them in.)

With a vague plan to return the book, the party left Dab Khazat and traveled under heavy rain in the morning. They kept to the trees for dry terrain. At length them saw a dim outline of an old Floren statue, a monument for some ancient battle, depicting a legionaire with a hand raised, lights through the rain, near the statue. As they approached, they heard a man calling for help in Low Fleurisian and Farwah.

Amata called out to ask who it was, and the slender form of an Eladrin with a sputtering torch approached, then stopped when Amata asked him to stop. He had been attached by thieves, and his companion injured, he said.

When Narayan spoke, the Eladrin recognized him. It was Som Kar Sunhand, a counsellor from the City of Red Glass. His companion, a bodyguard, was well muscled, compact, with a touch of brown still in his eyes, and he stared glassily out. He was badly wounded, the gash greyish-green. Kinaa smelled and licked the wound, pronouncing it not infected but perhaps poisoned, before Narayan tended to it

There was a tensioned exchange amongst the party about helping the two before Narayan summoned a disk and build a stretcher. They put the bodyguard onto the disk and began marching toward the nearest town, taking a detour from their intended path at Ives’ guidance.

They came to a walled town, where they could see smoke rising from small houses and a larger building with a tower and a bell in the top. The bell clanged as the party marched up the muddy road toward the gate, and they could see someone beating it with a stick. Faces appeared over the pallisade wearing leather hoods, and the group could hear a cart being moved to seal the gate. The boy ringing the bell dropped behind the wall.

At length, a man with a rounded face appeared over the gate and threw back his hood. He had thick stubble, crooked yellow teeth and a missing eye. His name was Cordel the Weaver. He expressed distaste for Fay that take the young and Slavers that take all, but at Vikram and Amata’s insistance, he agreed not to let a man die in the marshes and took responsibility for the group nto himself.

They entered and made the Weaver’s acquaintance. The Eladrin travelers introduced themselves and asked after the town’s healer. They were told that the Father at the church is the closest they have to a healer, and they passed through the town, past a mill and over a stream, past clay houses with thatched rooves. The inhabitants of the town seemed ill kept, tired and sick, but not unusually so.

In the common of the town, there was a blacksmith’s forge where a thin, red-eyed man labors over an anvil and a gawky boy pulls at the bellows. To the left, there was a large wooden structure with a dirt floor and tables and chairs. It’s “The Pig’s Ear”, a drinking establishment. In front, a large, better made structure with double doors. Cordell pushes the doors inward and the group follows. A squint eyed man follows the group.

The center of the chapel houses a clay furnace that kept the inside warm. The floor was made of stone slabs with worn brown rugs that form a path around the outside of the room. Directly across the room were statues of Paella wearing a wedding dress and … wearing a tunic, their hands joined. They looked weathered, as though sometimes kept outside. There was no statue of Cyprossar, but an empty space where there should have been.

There they met a man in a greyish robe, long beard, kneeling before Paella. He got up, bowed to the statue and turned to the group. He had bright blue eyes and wrinkles from laughter. Vachel the Priest examined the wound and asked after its origin, then said he could heal it but that it would take time. The priest then prayed and said the wound would heal.

Amata had a brief spitting contest with a squint-eyed man before he stalked off in fear of her.

Most of the seating of the Pig’s Ear was outside, in what was by now mud. The door was open to let out thick wood smoke from inside. A thick limbed woman with a gap in her teeth and red hair stood in the door, wearing a skirt and an apron. She seemed afraid of the group, even as Collain attempted to smooth things over.

Inside the eatery it was crowded with tables, but few patrons. A man was doing figures in a ledger and a woman sat with a pipe. Collain, Kinaa and Amata had a drink, but Amata left when she discovered the drink was no good. Collain, Kinaa and Ives had a conversation in which Ives explained that he had heard about some war goings on from a villager to the north, and that … must never have gotten the message because they haven’t sent any soldiers.

Kinaa, Collain and Ives went back into the temple, where the two traveling Eladrin still were, with the tending priest, and Narayan and Vikram were there and speaking with Sunhand. Kinaa expressed his desire to speak with Sunhand; Kinaa asked whether Sunhand would die for his Nephew, as his Nephew seemed ready to die for him. Sunhand told him that his nephew swore to protect him, but Kinaa was unsatisfied with the answer. Sunhand told him that he would walk his path even if it were hard. Kinaa drew his sword and asked again, and the Priest angered at him, before Sunhand explained that his life is valuable and that he has been charged with responsibilities more valuable than his own or his nephews’ life.

Then Sunhand explained that he was exiled and fleeing from assassins sent by his lover, who didn’t want him to survive his exile due to personal and political conflict. His nephew woke, and the two Eladrin exchanged formal words in Farwah of greeting and happiness to still be together.

News from the town: The forces of the Arcena and the forces of the Cantor have met in Cantorhill, and reports are mixed in terms of what the Arcena’s army is composed of – undead? Shadows of fear? Pagans? Aintzelle got her nickname, Spread-Legs, from going out to find herbs and getting knocked up by a Tiefling. Her daughter, Elionor Mandrake, is the only Tiefling in town.

Sunhand and his Nephew discussed their plans to reach an unguarded seaport and then to sail for the rest of their journey to …

The group piled into the Weaver’s studio, where he had pushed all the looms up against one wall to make floor space for them. They had an angry conversation about friendship and what the group is and would become before going to sleep.

In the morning, it was discovered that Vachel the Priest has been killed; stabbed, with the bodyguard’s knife. The weaver came to his studio with a small mob, saying that if the party didn’t kill the priest, they should figure out who did and bring them in, otherwise the town will have to hang someone.

The group went out to the common in the mist to find the body of the Priest lying crumpled in the mud. Next to his right hand was a bucket, stuck in the mud; he seemed to be going toward the nearby well. There was a dagger lying in the mud nearby, stained in blood, of Eladrin make. It was the one hanging from Vidhan’s belt before.

Kinaa went into the temple to speak to the two Eladrin. According to Vidhan, the Priest took his dagger when he went out for water, and someone took it from his belt to kill him with it. They suggested that one of the townsfolk did it, taking this moment to frame the Fey and Eyrie-born for the murder.

The Eladrin pointed out that there is no statue of Ciprosar in the temple, and wondered what that might say about the town or the Priest. The group wondered whether the killer might have disliked the Priest for religious reasons.

They went to Aintzelle at the Pig’s Ear to ask her who might not like the Priest. She told them that Edward and a few other people of the town (his followers) didn’t like Cyprossar’s image being in the temple since it was supposed to be out under the stars. Edward lives just outside the town to the North, in a hut.

Aintzelle said also that one person, Salaberge Miller had a child taken by Fey, or said that’s what happened. Eight years ago, that was. Given that the general sense was that Aintzelle was too spineless to lie, the group moved on to the Mill to speak with the Miller or his wife Salaberge. They walked down the hill and hopped the stream, then went in through the door onto the threshing floor. Grain was scattered about on the stone surface and in the center, there was a tree trunk turning slowly. A large man with a mustache was oiling a gear mechanism as they came in, and a conversation with him showed that he was eager to blame the Fey for the murder. He claimed that Edward’s problems with the priest were water under the bridge, but this seemed doubtful too. After asking the Miller to fetch his wife in a half hour or so, the party left to go speak with the smith.

Speaking with the smith revealed that he and his wife were fanatical about Cyprossar, and little more. After blaspheming vocally against the Smith’s chosen god, Amata declared them unhelpful and the group returned to the Miller’s.

Going back to the Miller’s, Amata went upstairs to speak with the wife but instead ended up speaking with the Tiefling servant Eleanor. The girl gave a seemingly improbable story about the night when her mistress’s child was taken by the Fey. Amata brought the girl downstairs so that the whole group could listen to her words and evaluate them, and it became apparent to Narayan that the girl was hiding something.

After some vicious intimidation by the group, the girl claimed first that she had killed the priest, but then spilled the whole, true story. She had lied to her mistress 8 years ago about the Fey taking the baby – in fact, the child had simply died, and she didn’t want responsibility for its death, so she lied, getting her uncle, a performing wizard, to make noise while she disposed of the body of the child. Last night, her mistress, angry at the Fey, went and found the Priest, who had died of his heart troubles, outside. The Miller’s wife took the blade and stabbed the priest several times to frame the Fey.

The group then went to the temple and examined the body. It became obvious that much less blood was spilled than if the wounds were inflicted when he had been alive, and it seemed to Narayan that no magic had been used to end his life. They went to the Reeve and had the Tiefling servant explain all that had happened. Satisfied with the explanation, the Reeve suggested that the party leave as soon as possible. As they all hurried to leave and were ready to party ways with the Eladrin outside the town, Sunhand revealed, startlingly, that it was he who had Sained Collain.

After a brief planning, they decided to travel Northeast, toward …

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Two Orc clans, both alike in Dignity
3rd Medegetneon

3rd Medegetneon, one week after leaving Ripenso, the party was pursuing Ashkenu into the Battle Washes, guided by Ives Marshstrider. They left the horses at Three Crossings before entering the jungly swamps, which were thick with low-hanging branches, vines, insects and reptiles and occasionally opened into broad empty savanna-like expanses of marsh. It was slow going under the hazy head of an early summer sun.

Ives led the way to passable ground. At the evening meal, he explained that not far south lay the last town on their way: Veron, a one-time fort. He advised the adventurers to stop in for supplies there, since food and drinkable water were hard to come by in that region. He also warned of the dangers of the swamp, chief among them the major clans of orcs whose territories shifted regularly.

Come sunset, they reached a low hill rising out of the flat wetlands. A town clung to the top – a crumbling bailey with a palisade around it. The rooflines of a few mud buildings were visible above. Collain and Narayan noticed a loose ring of fires around the hill-town with a few scattered humanoid forms. Ives hoped they were peat-cutters, but said it was unusual for the town to have such activity outside the gates. Perhaps, he speculated, they were orcs.

As they considered the situation, a party left the palisade and made for them. There were some 12 of them and they carried a red banner. As they passed a fire to our left, another squad with a yellow banner joined them and moved our way. They were clearly well-armed, but the party still couldn’t tell whether they were orcs or humans. Narayan and Vikram suspected the former, but whoever was approaching did not appear to be hostile yet. And besides, Ives doubted they could be outrun.

A fat and balding human accompanied the group of orcs from the city; both groups wore leather armor. The red group (from the city) wore cloaks over their black armor and had a 4-horned skull on their banner; the other group went uncloaked and had a 6-armed, wolf-headed figure on their banner. The adventurers arranged themselves in a rough semi-circle with the spellcasters toward the back and the scaly things in the front. As they watched, the orc groups met and spoke briefly in Ugrui. Keeping what appeared an uneasy peace, they approached. Their human companion was dressed in battered, once-fine attire. He spoke: “In the name of the Montagar clan, true rulers of Veron, I bid you welcome and ask that if you come in peace you enter within these walls to help the Montagar in their struggle against the wicked Kapul.” A yellow-banner orc immediately responded by informing us that if the party joined them against the Montagar, a rich reward awaited.

Kinaa asked politely about food and water. A Montagar orc offered to equip them well from the city and provide hospitality. The orcs had not seen the party’s quarry, having conquered Veron only a few days earlier. The Kapul sneered as they retreated back to their fires.

Romagog Mantagar, son of Grodoc, offered his welcome. His yellow, goat-like eyes, shining above his white tusks, considered the adventurers calmly. He seemed young. He introduced the party to Mergegoth, a small, sallow orc whose long tusks were tipped in black. Both carried axes and wore crimson cloaks over their armor. Romagog explained that Grodoc, his father, would decide whether the party was still considered to come in peace if they did not help against the Kapul.

He led them past the fires of the Kapul, through the gate in the wooden palisade into Veron. It was not thrilling. A crumbling stone bailey with a large windmill on top dominated the town center. The wattle and daub houses were ancient and skewed, with wooden stairs leading to the 2nd or 3rd floor entrances. The streets were a slurry of mud and sewage. A large building on the left displayed a sign of a bear holding a tankard, and an orc raised a toast from the stairs. Nearby a pen, once for livestock, held the human womenfolk of Veron. Beyond the bailey stood another pen full of children. Lamentations in Low Fleurisian floated by.

Romagog led the party into a large, drafty hall of the bailey—an old threshing room, as it turned out. The windmill creaked above: it had not been a true fort in some time. In the center, candles gleamed over a huge wooden table. A thin-faced, well-armed orc, apparently the chieftain, was listening to a lavishly-dressed orc in a hooded garment.

Kinaa spoke: “You are Grodoc?”

The orc raised a hand and his interlocutor fell silent. He greeted the guests and introduced the shaman. Grodoc apologized for the state of his hall—until recently, he explained, his people had been nomads.

Two thin orcs, male and female, entered. Their skin was lined and their hair white and wiry. They had been slaves until recently—but there would be new slaves now. They carried platters of marshpig with a side of tubers. Grodoc ate first; Romagog and Mergegoth settled by the doors.

Grodoc told the adventurers that he had seen how the humans lived in the north. His clan’s numbers had been declining, down to a mere 50 raiders. The old lifestyle—nomadic hunting and raiding—was inadequate now. A human town presented a great opportunity for improvement. The humans would be freed from confinement once they learned to obey the orcs’ laws. However, the Kapul’s summer hunting grounds lay nearby. They had come to raid the Montagar, and were now camped out waiting. The newcomers, well-armed mercenaries, represented another opportunity. Grodoc had a business proposition: help with a plan to destroy the Kapul. In exchange, all the supplies they wanted.

The Montagar and the Kapul had been warring for generations. The Kapul had always been the more numerous clan, but not, Grodoc insisted, the mightier. However, in Grodoc’s youth, a disease struck his clan. Without the help of their god they were vulnerable to the Kapul, who decreased the Montagar’s numbers and augmented their own until they dominated the choice hunting and raiding grounds. He believed he could make Veron an unassailable settlement even against the Kapul. A raid against the Kapul would throw the enemy into disarray. Their chieftain, shaman, and fiercest warriors were all encamped outside the city, but the bulk of the clan remained scattered to the south. The adventurers agreed to think on it overnight.

Two orcs led the Eladrin, Dragonborn, Haraldr and Collaín to the Bear & Tankard, unceremoniously evicting the orcish occupants. The adventurers entered the taproom to find a cask of dripping ale from the bar. A staircase at the back leds up to the 3rd floor, a single large room of meager pallets. It was smelly. Options: fight the Kapul beside the Montagar, flee, try to engineer a battle without getting involved, seek peaceful resolution? If they could escape they would still be in considerable danger from both sides, and the two orc clans seemed well-matched.

As they talked, footsteps echoed on the stairway to the door. Collaín investigated stealthily. Romagog Montagar, followed by the shaman Crogguk, entered. Romagog greeted the half-elf. He and Crogguk wish to speak with the adventurers away from Grodoc. The plan, he explained, was not quite as he had described it to his father the chief.

Crogguk elaborated: “Our god Mornath Gac has revealed … a way to be. If I defeat the shaman and his apprentices in battle, ours will be shown to be the true faith.”

Romagog also wishes to seize a mate from the Kapul (for orcs it was customary to steal maidens, like his admired Julac, in raids). Meanwhile the adventuring party was to assist the shaman by killing the other shaman’s apprentices. Two clans with the same god would not fight, so if Crogguk turned the Kapul to the worship of Mornath Gac, the dispute would be settled.

Again, the party considered their options. Perhaps if they defeated both gods by killing both shamans it would solve matters? Maybe even turn them to the worship of Paela? Perhaps they could defeat the orcs with the help of the prisoned townspeople. Perhaps the raid plan would work. They decided to find out where the men were, and Collaín set off to investigate the women’s pen. However, he slipped on the stairs, and had to invite the guards, who noticed him, in for a beer. The rest of the party joined him for an interspecies drinking party.

One of the two guards spoke Low Fleurisian. He said that they successfully took the city by “killing,” under the auspices of mighty Mornath Gac who slays by night. Crogguk and the chieftain raided the city in a pincer movement by night, surprising the townspeople in their beds. On Grodoc’s insistence, as few as possible were killed. The guard thought the city odd-smelling but looks forward to his 5 human slaves.

The guards drink steadily of both beer and a foul liquor that smells like marsh gas. After a while, Kinaa cautiously walked out. The orc guards did not notice. He walked casually up the road towards the bailey, heard guards, and ambled past the inn in the other direction, wandering aimlessly through the town. He stumbled across the village’s men, tied in a swine-pen. He returns to the inn, where the orcs were drowsily working on their third bottle of swamp liquor. He and Amata found Ives upstairs, praying and none too pleased by the idea of going along with the orcs’ plans. Kinaa reports his find: about 50 men, most young, old, ill or injured. The guards drank themselves into a stupor and were removed by their annoyed fellows.

The guide wanted the adventurers to help the humans. If the shaman’s plan worked and the clans merged, the humans would be enslaved. They leaned towards the idea of following the shaman’s plan and then killing the remaining shaman in the name of Paela the Dusk Lady, whom most of the humans worshipped. Finally, they slept uneasily on the matter.

A heavy knock awoke them. Romagog was outside, sporting a fresh wound. He had been to see his chosen mate Julac, but Mergegoth paid a high price. The party announced their assent to both Grodoc’s and to the shaman’s plan, and set off: early morning, Romagog said, was the best time for raiding.

First, the party went to see the chief in the bailey first. Kinaa proposed that he fight at their side, if he wished us to make this raid. He agreed and followed them to the gate, as did Romagog and his warriors. As far as the adventurers could tell, the plan was to kill the apprentices, let the shamans fight, kill the remaining shaman, and then kill one of the chiefs.

The combined forces of the orcs, Eladrin, Dragonborn and sundry crept down the hill from the city gates with the Montagar forces, which were arrayed in no particular order. Romagog said that the shaman’s tent was to the left, while the chieftain’s tent and Julac are to the right.

The adventurers followed Crogguk to the left, creeping through the tall grass toward a dying campfire. An orc with a lined, pockmarked face squats over a fire with three fellows. All wore leather armor but only the old orc’s is hooded like Crogguk’s; all carried axes. Two other orcs, with axes, stood nearby. Finally, a massive orc with white tattoos on his face was sharpening his axe in the distance: a Dead One. Collaín popped up out of the grass, flung a knife into an orc berserker’s eye, and dropped back down. The orc roared in pain and he and his fellows turned. Narayan murmured some words in the first tongue and the fire seethed up around the orcs. The Dragonborn breathed ice and lightning at the enemies, damaging them severely. Vikram zapped them too with his new Rod of Corruption. Scary . In the midst of the chaos, Crogguk charged forward against his enemy, the shaman Mugang. He shouted an invocation in Urgui and the ground shook. Mugang staggered and shouted back, brandishing his axe. As the party rushed the berserkers, Crogguk made and invocation to his god and the earth rolls. A lengthy battle took place. Late in the combat, three more orcs approached from behind (four of the original eight remained), but were quickly zapped. Both shamans were killed. The Dead One just WOULD NOT DIE. Finally and eventually, the bold adventurers destroyed it.

With the sound of battle raging around them and Montagar warriors pouring out of the city, they took a brief rest.

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The Dagger Delivered - The Prophecy Revealed - The Chase Continues South toward the Marshes

The party rested at the top of the Tower of Sorrows for a “night” despite their obliviousness to the position of the sun. The rest was welcome after the struggle with the undead but they slept and meditated uneasily in the dim, thick air of the undercity. A brief discussion suggested that they prefered to emerge from the unknown door in the House of Might rather than definitely springing out from a floor board of the Palace. They moved quietly and carefully, keeping their distance from the huge, skeletal cyclops that stood motionless in the garden. They crunched over the fallen skeletons of Eladrin soldiers and through the gates of the House of Might.

Past the empty barracks’ beds, up the spiral staircases to the modern iron hatch in the ceiling of the tower. Kinaa, Amata, Vikram and Collain gathered under the hatch and shoved. With a sudden, sickening creak the hatch exploded open. As the party climbed through the door, they emerged into a dusty, spicy air that filled a small, dark hallway. By the light of Narayan’s witchlight the bodies in the alcoves of the hallway appeared pale and green. It was from them that the spices emanated, and tar too.

Suddenly the door at the far end of the corridor burst open and a woman bearing a holy symbol emerged, backlit by torchlight, to drive them away in the name of Cyprissar. When it became apparent that the intruders were quite alive, the Priestess changed her attitude. Seeing that some Eyrie-born were among the group, she offered an exception to the rules against the presence of the uninitiated in the bowels of the temple. In exchange, she demanded that the Dragonborn swear on their Dragon Gods to locate her brother, Yustan Vinter, who was taken as a slave several years ago, and to convey to her whether he be dead or alive, and the price of his freedom. The party waited in a small hidden closet for a long time as the Priestess explains away the incident to the temple guards, then they were led into the open air in initiate’s robes.

It is night outside, and the party wandered for several hours looking for a familiar street. The air was thin, at least compared to the undercity’s musk, though new smells of dung and human waste confronted them here. At last they found their way to The Cast Helm, pounded on the door for entry, and stumbled into their rooms to collapse, soiling the clean linens.

After a breakfast of grittlecakes, the party divided the coins they had found and ran their errands. A debate took place in which the option of counterfeiting the dagger by replacing it with another was weighed and rejected. They were concerned that handing the dagger over to Jacquard’s client might bring more trouble but could not conclude a better plan, and knew well that they hadn’t the gold to make up for it. Each party member took up the dagger with varying reactions to the sudden sense of their blood relatives’ pumping blood by their ears. Collain lamented the fact that the dagger might be the only way to track down the family that had abandoned him.

Desirous of speaking to the Loyalist Tieflings of the city, the party went down to the Slough to find Liaz and ask her for assistance. Although she had been bruised in her last investigations of the Tieflings, a little extra coin from Kinaa made her eager to take the group to Lord Droette, who had apparently expressed interest in meeting them. Liaz led them through the city and into the marble quarter, explaining that Droette is a friend of King Galaferey, who tolerates Droette’s religious eccentricities, and that Droette lives in “one of the finest palaces in the marble quarter.” Tree shaded avenues and guards bearing the black bear and amaranth of the city accentuate the luxury of the marble district, and Droette’s villa palace lived up to the claim. Communication through the guards and a representative soon leads the party through the gardens and into the northern dining room of the house.

The room is cool, shadowed, with a long table lit from above by the sun in high windows. At the one set place was Lord Droette, a Tiefling in his early 40s with entirely black eyes and long canines. A conversation ensued in which Vikram and Droette discuss Vikram’s astronomical researches, and Droette noted that there are “cells” within his religion that sometimes burst out into violence. One of these, he said, must have been responsible for the violence in Reyen, oppressed as they were by the purity laws. When he said that he was unsure who the party was following, all who heard him thought him to tell the truth. The group then revealed Ashkenu’s name to him, and he seemed not to show recognition, but suggested that he didn’t think his compatriots would be involved with someone from Sargothine. The end of the discussion covered information dealers in the city, and seemed to suggest that Droette was aware that the party had been in contact with Jacquard.

Back at the Cast Helm, the party spoke with Liaz, who noted that a number of men at arms and knights had left the city while the party was underground. The soldiers had gone to assist the Cantor in war. The Drunkard then arrived, to arrange a meeting at sunset at the Tower of Parting. The party scouted the place in the afternoon, a lovely spot with cliffs on three sides, a lovely waterfall and a nice view. Having checked out the location, they returned to the inn and Collain took one last use of the dagger before they headed out to deliver it to its new owner.

As the sun set, Jacquard arrived with an Elven swordsman and an Eladrin woman in a black cloak. The cloak was over military garb. Brief talk about the loveliness of the view and the awfulness of the undercity moved quickly into business. Amata and Jacquard sparred verbally over the hatred between Blasphemers and Dragon worshipers, with Jacquard saying that he finds the rivalry unimportant and useless, dangerous to the Dragonborn because it takes their attention away from real threats. Vikram questioned the woman threateningly about what her use of the dagger would be but receives only a promise that her business was personal and would not threaten the party. When Vikram handed her the dagger she seemed to look west, as though the dagger forced her mind in that direction.

At Amata’s demand, Jacquard began to speak of what he knew. He delivered a Low Fleuresian translation of the prophecy and explained what he had heard from an innkeeper in the south pit. Apparently some Sargothines with tattoos of black eagles (the symbol of the emperor’s bodyguards) had rented a room in his inn for several weeks, leaving on 17 Heckatombian, about a week prior. They were accompanied by an older man, presumably Ashkenu, and a youth, Celid son of Cignar, the best guide for the marhes of the battlewashes. Jacquard predicted that given the prophecy of slepeing legions mentioned in the translation, Ashkenu was probably heading for an old Sargothine Fort named Dab Khazat, eight weeks southeast of Lycon that possesses an extensive mausoleum.

Jacquard also let the party to know that the Emperor of Sargoth is dead and that the Ebon Council has met to select a new emperor, and that the Eagle Scepter mentioned in the prophecy is the personal sigil of the Emperor of Sargoth. Kinaa then asked the Blasphemer about guides in the marshes, and Jacquard named Ives Marshstrider as one of the best.

After Amata had finished staring down Jacquard and demanding that he swear upon something he cared about (Paela and Cyprossar, he chose) that he had told the party all that would be of use to them, the party left first at the information dealer’s request. Desiring to know more about the woman’s intention for the dagger, the party waited at the bottom of the steps leading to the tower. When an hour later the three descended, Jacquard was disappointed but resigned to see the group there. Amata let him to know that he had nothing to fear, and Vikram interrogated the woman, learning that she sought her daughter who she had Sained some time ago. Before the party left, Amata demanded her name, and she said it was Ishwara Glowworm, and that her daughter was named Gaia.

Errands the next day, selling antiques and dividing coin, and then a trip into the Slough to find Ives Marshstrider, a hokey fellow with a rural drawl and a spear for stabbing stuff. The party decided to pay him an additional thirty gold pieces for his services in battle, and an hour later they had retrieved their horses and were riding south with Ives and his mule, making quick time toward the marshes.

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Under Ripenso
21-23 Hekatombion, 2242

Peering out into the darkness of Vimanas, Narayan searched through his memory of the city to try to get his bearings. Eventually, he recognized the Tower of Speaking, actually three towers built into each other. The party decided to descend from their current perch and attempt to make their way toward it. This was easier said than done. The delvers had climbed down onto the balcony of a tall building, which was still sound, but the floor of the room that opened onto the balcony had rotted through, leaving it a sparse collection of sound supports. Kinaa attempted to navigate a way across it, only to crash through to the floor below almost immediately. Fortunately, the lower level was sound. Luckier yet, Kinaa’s fall had cleared enough space for people to make a safer transition, with help from above and below.

Here they discovered a surprisingly fresh Pried corpse. The halfling could not have been dead for more than a matter of days, a sharp contrast with the ancient, mildewed, and rotting city around them. The group speculated that the Rivermen may use the shaft above to dispose of bodies, or that the Pried had found his way here by other means. But the huge gash that had eviscerated him had clearly come from a sword or other blade. It evidenced that the ruins were not completely abandoned or completely safe.

They made their way to the lower parts of the tower with no further incident. There they faced an interesting choice. They could climb down to the level of the street and attempt to make their way through the piles and drifts of silt and brackish water (and likely quicksand), or they could attempt to clamber over the roofs and through the windows of buldings just above the level of the silt, braving the dangers of unsound buildings and the physically taxing feats of climbing and jumping that this would require. Ultimately, it was decided to take the latter course, and the group made slow progress, with Narayan in the lead.

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Through the Rivermen's Guild
21 Hekatombion, 2242

After leaving the Silent Dog, the party immediately headed for the Rivermen’s Guildhall, situated at the border of Weapontake. It became obvious that the exotic, travelworn party was too visible in this more upscale neighborhood, so the group retired to a nearby inn, the Cast Helm, while the less obvious Collain made a more thorough reconnaissance. The Rivermen’s compound was imposing, protected by a high wall and red-liveried guards carrying ceremonial swords. Though the travelers could likely overpower what protection there was, it seemed a stealthier approach was called for. It would not be wise to anger an entire city while trying to attend to the more pressing matter of pursuing Ashkenu.

Collain stayed long enough to observe the changing of the guard at the end of the day, noticing that the ceremonial guards were replaced with plainer men in plainer gear, and that a few dogs were let loose to wander the area between the walls and the guildhall itself. The group favored a quiet way to enter the guildhall that would not leave it immediately obvious that an intrusion had been made into the guildhall. It was decided that the guards would be plied with wine and the dogs with meat, in order to gain access to the guildhall somewhat quietly. Vikram made the attempt to encourage the guards to drink by the simple expedient of pretending to be very drunk, very generous, and very lonely. The deception was enhanced by the fact that he was, in fact, a little drunk. It didn’t take much cajoling to convince the guards to share some of the fortified wine he had with him, and soon the guards were quite merry, and then quite asleep. Collain picked the lock to the smaller sally-port set into the compound’s gate, and the group proceeded into the court of the Rivermen.

Collain pacified the hound that came baying around with some bits of sausage, and the group proceeded to one of the doors to the guildhall, which Collain promptly unlocked. The hound attempted to follow the group into the guildhall, hoping for more meat, and was rewarded with the opportunity to chase more bits of sausage scattered into the courtyard while the party proceeded unmolested.

Inside, the guildhall seemed to consist of a large meeting hall with wings extending off to either side, presumably with smaller rooms for conducting less public business. The meeting room was decorated with tapestries depicting more or less stylized images of the rivermen and their work with the great locks.

Behind one of these tapestries, a hidden door was discovered, leading to a stairway that led, enticingly, downward. At the bottom of this stairwell, the group found the door to a large round chamber. Kinaa entered first, to explore, and quickly discovered that the chamber was trapped. Dozens of tiny poisoned needles flew out from niches set into the walls, bombarding those who had (foolishly) entered the chamber. Throwing themselved to the floor, the party avoided further barrages while Collain disabled the trap. A closer examination of the chamber revealed that the Rivermen’s Guild was paying host to a cult of Vaena, the Floran goddess of travel and merchants. Having revealed their presence by setting off the traps, Collain decided it’d do no harm to steal some of the cult’s more valuable religious paraphernalia.

Meanwhile, much of the group had gathered around a trapdoor leading into a shaft that presumably, led down into the undercity, if Jacquard had provided good information. The group spent a long time discussing how to sound the depth and travel safely down it, and on the wisdom of attempting to leave the way open for them to return by this path. Kinaa, impatient with this, simply began to climb down the wide, slippery shaft without the assistance of rope or light. He reached the bottom safely, a fair distance, at least several dozens of feet below the cult’s chamber, and lit torch to see that he was standing near the top of a vast cavern. The structure he was standing on was a tower that was embedded partly in the wall and ceiling of the cavern.

The faint light of the torch revealed little about the chamber, but for the vast size of it. But the vague shadowy ruins of towers and buildings spread below him on the silt-lined floor of the cavern revealed to him that this was indeed the city they’d been looking for. So, Kinaa signalled to the party above by waving his torch, and the rest of the party followed more carefully. Thus they arrived in the ancient city of Vimanas.

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The City of One Thousand Things

Traveling onward along the Arborway from the abandoned village and its dead spinnermen, the intrepid party found Asha missing one morning. They spent some time searching the surrounding marshes but found no sign of the Eladrin. The bogs in turn proved too much for Amaya’s constitution, and she became miserably ill.

Still, the group was able to reach the gates of Ripenso without further incident. The guards at the gate were perhaps effective at regulating traffic flow into the city, but they proved largely unhelpful when questioned about the possible arrival of Ashkenu. When Vikram cajoled, threatened, and offered to bribe them (after their prompting) they were willing to arrange any meetings the group thought would be helpful. Their attitude towards and knowledge of strange tieflings (“Stick ‘em. The less they bleed, the older they are.”) demonstrated how unlikely they were to have kept track of the movements of a single man.

Fortunately, at that moment a young girl—tiefling, to judge by the smell of ozone and brimstone about her—emerged from the Slough, the tent city around Ripenso, and offered her services as a guide about the city. Liaz initially demanded a silver to show them the City of One Thousand Wonders, but Vikram saw through her greed and talked her down to a more reasonably five copper, two of which were paid in advance. She was able to point out the various areas of the city, from the Copper Market to the posh Barrows. More importantly, she was familiar with the shadow city of Ripenso’s underworld, the most likely place to find knowledge of Ashkenu’s travels or any attempt to sell the book he stole.

The man to see would be Black Jaquard, but of course luminaries of the shadow city would not be so easy to meet. Liaz led the party to the disreputable Giant and Lion tavern, where they found one of Jaquard’s lieutenants, the aptly-named Balendin the Fat. The big man demanded 20 silver blooms for arranging a meeting, but again Vikram’s experience proved invaluable. He shamed Balendin into lowering the price to a mere 7 blooms and threatened harsh repercussions if the money should simply vanish. The deal complete and a meeting arranged for the following day, the group followed Liaz to the Rogue and Jackal Inn, apparently one of the better establishments in the City of One Thousand Inns.

On the way to the Rogue and Jackal Inn, Liaz’s continued her stream of description of the city and shared dire rumors of the Arcénne’s return and resumption of the Wailing Throne. The arcane former ruler of the Northmanu once led them in a war against the Floran Empire with aid from the dark powers of the Duat. Defeated, he has become something of a bogeyman in Arbellor. If his return is true, it could spell the final death knell of the remnants of Floresan (along with perhaps much of the civilized population of the north).

The inn dispelled any dire thoughts. The halfling proprietress, Katarin den Nolwen, made the party welcome with offers of food and beds and, critically, baths. She explained business was slow with war and other threats, and was not terribly surprised to hear of the spinnermen that the group had slain. Most of the party took the opportunity to bathe in shifts, with only Narayan eschewing the warm water for his own arcane cleaning. The rest of the group took the chance to soak and talk amonst themselves—particularly Vikram, who stayed in the tub for hours.

Before bed, the party dined and learned from the serving girl Verinne that the odd old man Obert who left during their meal was often given charity by Katarin. Liaz also delivered the news that their meeting with Jaquard would take place at the Silent Dog the following day and that a white tankard would be the signal. The group retired for the evening, with young Collaín managing to entice the other serving girl, Saissa, into his bed.

Narayan was awakened in the night by a scream downstairs followed by ominous silence. He hastily awakened the rest of the party and the crept to the top of the stairs, where they could hear voices speaking Telwani and feel an unnatural chill in the air. Sure enough, when they charged down they found five rime-covered Senion figures with tattered clothes and tattered flesh. Behind them stood a black shimmering shape whose only distinct features were its winding graveclothes and black claws. There had been no warning that Ripenso was the City of One Thousand Horrors (or at least six)!

The band leapt into combat against the creatures, which Narayan identified as shades raised from the Duat. Kinaa charged against the things but found them much less solid than they appeared—though their blades were solid enough. Haraldr stood guard against the stairs and Narayan launched blasts of fire against the shades, setting the inn ablaze. Collaín rushed up the stairs to warn the sleeping Saissa, but two of the Senion things rose through through the ceiling and into the second floor, cutting the half-elf off from his companions. Vikram went back up the stairs and the two battles, above and below, proceeded.

Haraldr kept the Eladrin mage behind him safe but took many wounds doing so. Kinaa, meanwhile, managed to slice her way through the lesser shades to the other creature and, with effort, dispatch it. Without their leader the shades proved less certain, and they eventually succumbed to the spells and swords of the group. At the end of the battle the shades had faded back into the dark realm from which they had been called and the bloodied group found the rest of the inn’s staff dead of cold and claws. Narayan, the only one to escape the battle unscathed, used his arts to quench the fires raging through the inn and the group variously returned to sleep or awaited Liaz.

When the tiefling arrived, Vikram grabbed her and threatened her, but it quickly became obvious that she had no ties to the attack, to Ashkenu, or to the dangerous tiefling elements. The group offered her more payment in silver to handle the watch and the rest of the fallout from the damaged and depopulated inn. The party then set out with her for the Silent Dog, where they immediately received the signal white mug and ascended to the second floor.

After surrendering their weapons to guards, the group met Nemed, a mute Senion, and Black Jaquard himself, a dragonborn who quickly voiced his Blasphemer sentiments. After discussion of Ashkenu, the book, and the search, Jaquard revealed that he had once been a slave in Sargoth and knew Ashkenu there. The elusive tiefling, a priest of the Ebon Flame, was something of a fringe element, either heretic or saint depending on who voiced the opinion. He sought the Blind Whisperer, a poem or prophecy, and perhaps the book was linked to it.

Jaquard offered his help in pursuing Ashkenu for a price well beyond the willingness of the party to pay, but then agreed to a trade of sorts. The city of Ripenso, as the Eladrin knew, was built atop the sunken remains of the ancient Eladrin city of Vimanas. Its prince, Mihira Everbright, supported the Incarnate King Esfandera, but was murdered by his brother Candrodaya Halfface during one of the cyclops’ assaults on the city. Legend holds that Mihira was flung from the Tower of Sorrows where he died, but a “fey gentleman” of Jaquard’s acquaintance believes that Mihira remained where he died. The dragonborn offered his aid in exchange for the retrieval of the dagger the slew the long-dead ruler.

The party agreed, and Jaquard offered the information that the basement of the Riveren’s Guild offers access to the ruins and, most importantly, a (relatively) clear path to the Tower of Sorrows beneath the current king’s palace. This will, of course, require some means of access to the mystic fraternity’s guildhouse, but such things can be arranged—subtly or by force. Afterwards the party can contact Jaquard through Obert, who is, as it turns out, less “touched” than Varinne and Katarin believed.

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