IN THE SHADOW OF THE SPIRE
SESSION 1C: MEETING ELESTRA
March 10th, 2007
The 15th Day of Amseyl in the 790th Year of the Seyrunian Dynasty
INTERLUDE WITH ELESTRA
Elestra woke up early, the first sight to meet her bleary eyes an empty bottle of wine sitting next to a glass with perhaps two sips of dregs in it. “Did I have too much to drink last night?” she wondered vaguely. And then she wondered at the strangeness of such a thought. When had she ever known drink?
Sitting up, she discovered that she was in a room she didn’t know and (looking out the window) a city she had never been in. And yet there was something naggingly familiar in the sprawling mass of buildings.
Her viper slid out from beneath the bed and curled itself around her ankle.
Searching the room she found an elegant rapier that felt familiar in her hands. Next to it, hanging from a peg on the wall, was a suit of leather armor. She was struck by how much the well-worn leather armor – faded to a cracked and dusty gray – reminded her of that armor worn by the man she had watched die so many years ago.
She opened the chest in her room, and found a holy symbol laying on top of several stacks of clothing. The symbol – the silver snake of Vehthyl – was made from mithril.
She put the holy symbol around her neck and then inspected the outfits. At first they seemed too large to be hers, but then she realized that she was too large.
Going quickly over to the mirror she found that she was taller by almost four inches and looked older as well. Not much older, but at least a year. Maybe more.
With a growing sense of panic she continued her search of the room. She found, on a nearby table, several packets of papers. These appeared to be membership papers in an organization known as the Delver’s Guild. They were made out in five names: Her own, Agnarr, Tithenmamiwen, Dominic, and Ranthir.
She got dressed, gathered up her weapons, her armor, and the Delver’s Guild papers and left.
She discovered that she was in an inn named the Ghostly Minstrel. She left it quickly and emerged into a small square. As her feet struck the pavestones, she was immediately filled with a sense of the city – it felt like a familiar friend, and yet there was a strange sense of separation from it all.
She tried to open herself to the Breath of the Streets, letting the eddies and currents of the streets guide her where they would. She hoped that they would bring her understanding. Or that the Voice would speak to her. Or that the Spirit would manifest itself.
But none of these things happened, and eventually she turned her feet back towards the Ghostly Minstrel.
When she reached the inn she spoke to the woman at the front desk, Tellith. Tellith told her that her friends had been asking after her. Elestra had no idea who Tellith was talking about, but apparently Tellith was already familiar with her confusion – apparently her “friends” had the same problem.
Elestra brushed Tellith off and headed back upstairs… only to find that the door on her room had been broken in. She entered cautiously and began looking around, trying to figure out what had happened….
The group, their spirits increasingly dejected in their confusion, arrived back at the Ghostly Minstrel. As soon as they walked through the door, Tellith greeted them cheerfully: “Oh, Master Agnarr! Mistress Elestra just returned!”
Learning that Elestra had gone upstairs just a few minutes before, the group rushed upstairs. Agnarr burst into her room to find her looking under her bed. She turned angrily: “Who are you?”
Agnarr came up short. “I’m Agnarr.”
“Really? Are you the one who broke my door?”
“I didn’t… just break down your door.”
The rest of the group finally managed to catch up to Agnarr’s long strides and confused introductions began. It quickly became apparent that Elestra had no more memory of their missing time than they did, which pretty much crushed Agnarr’s hope for a quick answer.
Just then, Dominic stuck his head around the door and Elestra, taken aback, pointed emphatically at him: “I know him! Him I know!”
But Dominic had no idea what she was talking about: He claimed to have never met her before in his life.
There was some confused attempts to figure this out, but then Elestra hit them with another revelation: After learning all their names, she realized that they matched the names on the Delver’s Guild membership papers she had found earlier. She produced them and showed them around: The papers had been signed the previous day by someone named “Gorti Jurgen” in the capacity of the Guild.
Tee didn’t know much about the Delver’s Guild, but she told them that the group was relatively new – just three or four years old. Recently there’d been a kind of “gold rush” mentality around Ptolus, with wanderers and vagrants of all kinds going down into the caverns and dungeons beneath the city in search of lost treasure. A lot of people frowned down on them as a bunch of dirty boors who smelled like sewage… or, at least, they did that until one of them struck it rich.
“Is that who we are?” Elestra asked.
“Well, we apparently only joined yesterday,” Ranthir pointed out.
“Is that what we were going to do, then? Is that what we’re supposed to do?”
Agnarr shook his head. “I don’t like it. We have no memory of this. Maybe someone is trying to push us to do something. Convince us that we were going to do something that we wouldn’t have.”
As they were passing the papers around, Ranthir noticed another piece of paper stuck into his packet: This small scrip of paper confirmed an appointment for the 17th at the Delver’s Guild Library.
The revelation of these papers caused the fake identification papers Ranthir had found earlier to come up again. Elestra wanted to see the ones made out in her name, and Tee showed them to her. “Where did you find these?” she asked. Ranthir told her that he had found them in a secret compartment built into the underside of his bed. It turned out that Tee had also found several items hidden in her room, as had Elestra.
Tee suggested that they get out of the public hallway if they were going to talk about this stuff. They agreed, and headed to Agnarr’s room – which turned out to be much larger than everyone else’s. Elestra didn’t think it was fair that he had somehow ended up with the largest and most luxurious room during their period of lost memory, particularly since he had just ruined the door to her own room. In the end, Agnarr agreed to let Elestra have his room and he would take hers.
Ranthir now mentioned that he had also found a strange box in the secret compartment in his room. He produced it: The box was perhaps eight inches to the side, apparently made entirely of obsidian. It glistened with a slightly iridescent sheen. Tee inspected it, and saw that there was a faint – almost imperceptible – seam which ran around the box’s perimeter. And a matching keyhole almost too small to see.
What else had they found? “Have any of you heard of Shilukar?” Ranthir asked, then produced a wanted poster he had found in his room.
Tee wondered what else they might have missed, and volunteered to do a thorough search of everyone’s room, to see if anything else was hidden there. Everyone was okay with that, and Tee went to work. Agnarr tried to help for a bit, but it quickly became obvious that he wasn’t being of much use (“Have you tried looking on top of the table? Are there any clothes in the wardrobe?”).
Elestra had a conversation with Dominic as Tee searched his room, and the whole story of where Elestra had met Dominic came out: She had met him in Sabehl, a city in Seyrun that lay at the mouth of the Northern Pass. He had claimed to be following a “beacon” from a small purplish stone. She had accompanied him into the Northern Pass. In the pass they discovered a gate made all of shadow, they had stepped through and found themselves in a gold room with an ebony door.
Everyone else filled Elestra in on their own variations of that now familiar tale. They also broke the news to her that she had lost over a year of her life.
Tee started turning up some interesting items: There was a masterwork greatsword hidden under Agnarr’s bed. In Dominic’s room she found a masterwork mace and, hidden inside a secret compartment of the wardrobe, an elegant set of snow silk holy vestments. (The vestments seemed perfectly fitted to Dominic and denoted his status, although the mark of an itinerant priest had been added to them. Elestra commented that they suited him well, and that he had looked pretty shabby the last time she’d seen him. Dominic quickly put them on.)
At this point, the group was somewhat stymied: They knew they wanted to be in the common room this evening and see if they could meet with Sheva Callister and Jevicca Nor, but that was still hours away.
It was agreed that they shouldn’t carry the fake identification papers around with them. Tee agreed to hide them and headed for her room and tried to close the door behind her, but Agnarr barged in after her. Since all their names were on the papers, Agnarr felt that they should all know where they were hidden. Tee hesitated, but eventually acquiesced. She placed the papers in a secret compartment in the bottom of a chest in her room.
Each of them kept a set of papers identifying them as belonging to the deot of the local Trade Circle, the identification Tee felt was least likely to draw attention to them. They also each kept their Delver’s Guild membership papers, since those were presumably legitimate. [Esoteric GM Note: The Delver’s Guild, although referred to as a guild, does not have deot rights in Arathia. It can be thought of as more of an “association”. It has no deots, and its members can freely belong to other deots.]
Ranthir still needed a spellbook (they still had no idea what had happened to his and he was feeling vulnerable and useless without it). Tee thought that, if she got some thieves’ tools, she might be able to open the obsidian box. Agnarr, for his part, decided to go looking for a dog and Elestra went with him.
Tee, Ranthir, and Dominic headed across Delver’s Square to Ebbert’s Outfitters. There they met with Ebbert, an ebullient dwarf, and purchased a set of “delicate tools” for Tee’s use. Ebbert also tried to sell them a collapsible 10’ pole, which intrigued Ranthir, although he couldn’t afford it. Ebbert also tried to interest them in a rat harness (“My own invention!”), although they couldn’t quite see the use of it… so Ebbert launched into a lengthy (and graphic) explanation of using rats as trap-detectors.
“What if it’s a weight sensitive trap, wouldn’t the rat be too small?”
“Well, see, what you want is a dire rat. The harness adjusts, you see? Nice and heavy. Watch your fingers, though, ‘cause they’ll bite ‘em right off.”
At Myraeth’s Oddities, they finally found spellbooks. Ranthir desperately wanted some of the expensive and rare tomes of truly powerful spells that Myraeth had to offer, but had to settle for a book of minor spells (with room to grow) after searching through several similar volumes. (“We get a lot of these minor cantrips and the like turned in all the time,” Myraeth told them.)
Elestra and Agnarr, on their way to go looking for a stray dog, stopped in at St. Gustav’s Chapel. There they spoke with Brother Fabitor, the priest who ran the chapel. It turned out that St. Gustav’s was an auxiliary of the Outer Cathedral of Athor here in Ptolus. Fabitor ran the place basically by himself and invited them both back for services (held every evening at 6 o’clock). Fabitor was also able to describe Sheva Callister (who was apparently one of the founding members of the Delver’s Guild) and Jevicca Nor (a beautiful red-head with a left arm made out of red glass).