The Alexandrian

Posts tagged ‘campaign journals’

Ptolus - In the Shadow of the Spire

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SPIRE

SESSION 10A: THE LABYRINTHS OF GHUL

November 3rd, 2007
The 28th Day of Amseyl in the 790th Year of the Seyrunian Dynasty

The group briefly considered the possibility of returning to the city above to obtain healing services for the poison that was weakening Agnarr’s body. But Dominic testified that the poison would not prove mortal – that it had, in fact, already run the worst of its course – and the tempting enigma of whatever lay beyond the door of blue steel was too tantalizing to resist.

Tee pushed the door open, revealing a long hallway made from the same cream-colored stone. About sixty feet away her elven eyes could dimly make out that the hallway opened out into a larger chamber of some sort.

The sunrod in Agnarr’s hand was sputtering, so he threw it aside and cracked a new one. With his light behind her, Tee headed down the corridor. The shadows flicked and leaped around her as she made her way towards the larger chamber.

Emerging into it, she found the ceiling vaulting more than forty feet above her. In each corner of the room, upon ten-foot high daises, stood immense statues more than twenty-feet high. Each statue was identical, carved from a dark gray rock that stood in sharp contrast to the pale stone and depicting a broad-shouldered figure wearing a skull-faced mask who looked down upon the center of the chamber with his arms crossed proudly upon his chest.

Tee and Elestra both recognized the statues as depicting the legendary figure of Ghul the Skull-King.

THE GHULWAR

The Ghulwar was a legendary conflict which took place in the area around Ptolus sometime during the misty aeons of prehistory. It had long been discounted by serious historians and scholars as a mere fancy entertained only by the gullible and credulous. But recent discoveries in the subterranean labyrinths beneath the city would seem to lend credence to at least some of the ancient tales. The tales vary in their character, but the general outlines are such:

Ghul the Skull-KingGhul – the Skull-King, the Half God, the Sorcerer’s Get – built a great fortress called Goth Gugamel upon the Spire of Ptolus. He claimed to be descended from the Banelord (a still older, malevolent figure whose tale has been lost entirely to the modern world). Within his black fortress, Ghul worked dark arts upon the orcs, raising up a mighty army of them. This army poured forth from Goth Gugamel and laid waste to the all the lands from coast to mountain.

This was the First Campaign of the Ghulwar, and it only came to an end when an Army of Sorcerers stood up to Ghul and stopped his rapacious armies. His goals of conquest thwarted, Ghul then called forth the Utterdark – a magical darkness which blanketed all the lands which he had conquered. Thus began the Cold Quiet, during which Ghul labored within the halls of Goth Gugamel.

The Cold Quiet ended as the Second Campaign of the Ghulwar began: Ogres and trolls and creatures of even worse countenance had joined the army of the Skull-King. The tales of this Second Campaign are even wilder than the first: Armies of dragon-mounted elves. A conflagration which burnt all the lands beyond the Mountains of the West to ash. In the end, the Utterdark was banished and Ghul fled from the Forces of Light which had been arrayed against him. It is said that the Avatars themselves hunted down Ghul and slayed him.

After making sure that the chamber was safe, Tee waved the rest of the group forward. As the light drew closer she was able to look down the corridors leading away from the room. Down the far corridor she saw double-doors of gray stone, but looking down the other two corridors she found halls lined with niches in which stood life-size statues of orcish warriors.

The group ultimately decided to follow one of the statue-lined halls. Tee again took the lead, drifting on the edge of shadow with her keen elven eyes plumbing the shadowy course ahead of her.

She came to another large room – nearly the same size as the last. As she drew near to it, however, she found the air growing suddenly cold. Her breath steamed. She came to a stop and waited for the others to catch up to her.

Looking into the room, she could see that nearly the entire floor was covered with a raised bas relief of black stone that depicted a skull-like sigil:

Sigil of Ghul the Skull-King

(more…)

Ptolus - In the Shadow of the Spire

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SPIRE

SESSION 9C: JADE

October 21st, 2007
The 27th Day of Amseyl in the 790th Year of the Seyrunian Dynasty

RANTHIR REVEALS THE COMPASS

On the way back to the Ghostly Minstrel, Ranthir finally had a chance to discuss the appearance of the Iron Mage and the compass he had given to him. Ranthir had checked the compass at several intervals throughout the day, and found it pointing in different directions depending on when he looked at it. His first inclination had been to suspect that the compass was pointing towards some specific location… but this was quickly dashed when he realized it had been pointing north when he had been given the compass in Oldtown and, later, pointing south when he had been almost directly east in Midtown.

The others had little insight to give on the compass itself, but Elestra and Tee were both aware of the Iron Mage. He was something of a legendary figure in Ptolus. He would appear at random – just as he had for Ranthir – give seemingly nonsensical instructions and then disappear again. The purpose behind some of these random actions would become clear days or weeks or even years later, but others were without any true explanation. What his true goals and aims were no one could say for certain, but those who helped him were usually rewarded.

ELESTRA AND THE DREAMING APOTHECARY, PART 3

That night, Elestra placed the purple token of the Dreaming Apothecary under her pillow.

In the middle of the night she was awakened to discover a woman with long blond hair floating in the middle of her room. She was sitting in the lotus position and surrounded by a softly glowing halo of light.

In the brief conversation that followed, the woman explained to Elestra that the Dreaming Apothecary could provide her with any magic item she might desire… for the right price. Elestra discussed the enchantment she wanted placed upon her sword, but it became clear that – at least for the moment – it was beyond Elestra’s ability to afford.

The woman smiled, and assured Elestra that – when she had the money – she had only to place the token beneath her pillow again and the Dreaming Apothecary would fulfill her needs. Then she slowly faded from sight, and Elestra found herself slipping back into a deep slumber…

RETURN TO GREYSON HOUSE

(08/28/790)

The next morning, with no pressing crises to distract them, the group resolved to return to the passageways beneath Greyson House.

It had been nearly a week since they were last at the house. The boards on the door had been replaced, but Agnarr simply ripped them loose again. Reaching the pit of chaos was a walk of nearly twenty minutes, and the subterranean passages seemed as empty and deserted as they had before.

Beyond the pit of chaos they moved carefully back into the complex of rooms in which they had been assaulted by the strange creatures they were now referring to as bloodwights.

Moving through the large entry chamber, they carefully moved into the warren of small rooms that they had been attempting to explore before being overcome. There didn’t appear to be any creatures left in the open, so Tee and Agnarr moved methodically from one door to the next, slamming them open and instantly attacking anything that lay within.

A handful of the desiccated corpses were quickly eradicated in this way, with Agnarr’s flaming greatsword reducing them to dust before they had a chance to shed their cocoons of dead skin.

With the complex of small rooms secured, the rest of the party kept watch in the outer chamber while Tee spent more than an hour scouring the area for anything of interest. She quickly discovered, mired in the dusty remnants of one of the rooms, a small hexagonal emblem of jade. A strange rune was carved into one side of the emblem, but none of them recognized it (at least, not immediately).

Tee also discovered a small cache hidden under a false flagstone. It contained a diamond ring, a few random coins, and a small portrait of a black-haired girl badly worn with age.

Once Tee was satisfied, the group moved across the outer chamber to the opposite door. After doing a cursory check for traps and other dangers, Tee prudently waited on the opposite side of the room while Agnarr opened the door and revealed a short hallway ending in another door.

Beyond this door lay a room filled with a massive contraption of brass, copper, and worm-eaten wood. Great hoops of metal were suspended about a central sphere, with various lumps, pulleys, cranks, and levers protruding here and there in an apparently chaotic and incomprehensible jumble.

(more…)

Ptolus - In the Shadow of the Spire

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SPIRE

SESSION 9B: IN THE HOUSE OF HELMUT

October 21st, 2007
The 27th Day of Amseyl in the 790th Year of the Seyrunian Dynasty

THE MYSTERIOUS HAMMERSONG VAULT

In the morning, with a 6,000 gp pay-off burning in their pockets, the group headed back to the Hammersong Vaults to put a lot of that money into their lockboxes.

Ranthir, however, had been struck by a thought: Since the Hammersong Vaults was essentially the only bank in town, it seemed there was a good chance that they might have stored something here between the time they came to Ptolus and the morning they woke up with amnesia.

After they had secured their gold, Tee approached one of the Hammersong dwarves on duty. “How would we find out if we had rented a space here?

“You mean the lockboxes you just went to?”

“No, another space.”

“… wouldn’t you know if you had rented a space?”

“Humor me.”

“We have a log of all our vaults and lockboxes. If you showed proper identification, we could look through that and find out if you had any other accounts.”

All of them – even Tor, who was increasingly confused by all of this – presented their identification papers and waited while the logs were checked in a back room.

When the man came back out, he was holding a slip of paper and had a frown on his face. “We do, in fact, have a record of a vault rented in the names of Agnarr, Dominic, Elestra, Ranthir, and Tithenmamiwen. We do not have any record of another account held by Master Tor.”

“How would we get into that vault?” Tee asked.

“You don’t have a key?”

While the others were focused on all this talk of paperwork and accounts, Agnarr’s eyes were scanning the room. He noticed a dwarf standing by the door to the backroom, studying all of them while making arcane gestures with his hands. “Who’s that?” he demanded.

“Hey!” Tee shouted. “What are you doing?”

The dwarf just smiled at them, looked at the official who was helping them, shook his head, and then went through the door into the back room.

“What was that all about?”

“Just checking for your security,” the official explained.

In any case, without a key it turned out that they would all have to sign a document testifying their right to the vault. They would then have to wait at least 30 days and then submit to a magical verification of identity before they could gain access to the vault they had apparently rented. They agreed and began signing the necessary papers.

But when the illiterate Agnarr made his “X” upon the contract, the official’s exasperation returned. “Sign it properly!”

Agnarr put a second “X” on the paper.

The official showed them the slip of paper with their original signatures: Agnarr’s signature was written in beautifully scripted calligraphy. (Tee took the opportunity to note that they had apparently rented the vault on the 30th day of Du’elseyl, the day before they had rented their rooms at the Ghostly Minsterl.) “He can’t produce his proper signature?”

This made it necessary for Agnarr to undergo an immediate magical verification of identity, forcing them to pay an additional fee of 50 gold pieces.

Agnarr, accompanied by Tee, was taken to a back room. In a circle of magical light which compelled him to speak truthfully, he was asked several questions to verify his identification.

Finally satisfied (more or less), the Hammersong dwarf told them they could return in 30 days, at which time a duplicate key would be magically created and they would be allowed access to the vault.

(more…)

Ptolus - In the Shadow of the Spire

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SPIRE

SESSION 9A: GOLD

October 21st, 2007
The 26th Day of Amseyl in the 790th Year of the Seyrunian Dynasty

The group headed up-city into the Rivergate District. After leaving the Ghostly Minstrel they broke up into smaller, less noticeable groups. Dominic and Elestra arranged for a carriage to wait for them near the burrow adjacent to Linech’s.

The narrow alley beside the Yebures’ house was crowded that night: All six of them were needed for the plan to work.

Tee secured her grappling hook and rope to the lip of the chimney and rapidly ascended to the roof. She hid behind the chimney for at least a minute to make sure that her ascent had not been detected, and then climbed down towards the window.

As she approached it, her sharp elven ears clearly picked up the sounds of someone moving about inside the room… despite the fact that the light hadn’t been turned on.

Tee carefully approached the window and peered inside: There was a thin, emaciated woman searching the office. She was, in fact, poking around the bookshelves where Tee had hidden Zavere’s scrying cube.

Tee must have made some sort of noise, because the woman suddenly whipped around, “Who’s there?”

Tee jerked back, but the woman was coming towards the window to investigate what she had seen. But just as she was nearing the window, Tee heard the door of the office thrown open and a rough, burly voice growled, “What are you doing up here?”

The woman’s voice was filled with tightly-controlled fright: “Linech asked me to get something for him. I was just looking for it…”

“With the light out? Get over here, we’ll just go and see Linech about this.”

“Oh please, no… no…”

Tee could hear a brief struggle, and then the woman was pulled from the room and the door slammed shut behind her.

Tee waited a few moments and then peeked around the corner of the window to confirm that the office was truly empty. It was. She reached for her tools and quickly unlocked the window, sliding it open silently and slipping inside.

She quickly crossed to the door and locked it, listening to ensure that no one else was waiting outside the room. Then she secured a second rope to the golden statue for Agnarr and Tor to climb up.

While Tor and Agnarr were climbing, Tee quickly checked on the scrying cube to make sure that the woman hadn’t discovered it or disturbed it. She hadn’t. But Tee decided to move it anyway: If people were going to be searching the office, she wanted the scrying cube to be more secure.

She focused her attention on the desk, thinking to find a drawer behind which she could hide it. What she found, instead, was a secret compartment at the back of one of the drawers. Sliding it open she found two things: First, an iron money coffer that was completely empty (obviously Linech’s funds were almost completely depleted at this point). Second, a letter written on elegant paper that had once been sealed with wax that was now broken.

The letter read:

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Ptolus - In the Shadow of the Spire

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SPIRE

SESSION 8B: A NEW COMPANION

October 7th, 2007
The 24th Day of Amseyl in the 790th Year of the Seyrunian Dynasty

MEETING TOR

The five of them moved into the common room of the Ghostly Minstrel. It was sparsely populated in that early hour of the morning, and Tellith pointed them towards a short, stocky man with light brown hair who was sitting at one of the tables and reading a slim book by the light pouring through the front windows.

When he saw them approaching, the man rose and they saw that he was ever-so-slightly bow-legged. “My name’s Tor.”

After a few moments of conversation, it quickly became apparent that Tor thought they were expecting his arrival. None of them had any memory of that, of course, but they managed to hide that fact from Tor.

It turned out that Tor was carrying a letter of introduction from a man named Ritharius. But, as was clear from the letter, Tor did not actually know Ritharius – had not, in fact, ever met the man.

The amnesiacs had hoped that, by careful questioning, they might find out why Tor had been sent for, and in that manner discover what their intentions had been during the time of their memory loss. But, unfortunately, Tor’s interests were maddeningly vague – he had been interested in pursuring the life of a wandering errant, hoping to accrue those deeds of valor which might allow him to become a knight.

The group told Tor a little of what they were currently planning – in very general terms – and he seemed more than happy to help them. A firm handshake from Agnarr seemed to seal the arrangement.

Agnarr, Dominic, Elestra, Ranthir, and Tee were still bedraggled from their morning excursions in the sea. And there was various business to attend to. So they agreed to go their separate ways for a bit, and then reconvene here in the common room in the early hours of the afternoon.

While the rest of the group headed upstairs to get cleaned up, Tor arranged a room for himself and lodging for his horse (paying for a week in advance). Then he headed across Delver’s Square and headed down into the Undermarket. There he sought out the Delver’s Guild facilities and arranged membership with the ebullient Gorti. With his papers and his lodgings in order, Tor spent some time wandering through Midtown. He was amazed by the size and wealth of this city, and his eyes were drawn constantly back to the wonder of the Spire.

After finding what high quality barding would cost for his horse, Blue, Tor returned to the Ghostly Minstrel’s common room and continued reading. Ranthir, who had spent this time studying his arcane lore, greeted him as he passed through on his way to the Delver’s Guild library, where he researched the Order of the Chalice. Although he found some generally unsatisfying tidbits of information about the Order, he found nothing to explain what connection – if any – had existed between the group, Sir Robilard, and the mysterious Ritharius.

Elestra, meanwhile, had gone on another walkabout. She was increasingly convinced that the Voice of this strange city was whispering in a place just beyond her hearing. And more and more it seemed to her not as if she was trying to hear the voice of a stranger, but that it was the voice of a long-lost friend.

In the end, Elestra did not hear the Voice as clearly as she might have hoped. But its whispers – half heard and barely understood – were beginning to guide her. In more practical terms, she discovered that the Commissar had placed a bounty upon the “tail of all Plague Rats, also known as Ratmen, Ratfolk, and Rats most Dire”. Notices were being posted throughout the city. Elestra grabbed one of them and brought it back to the Ghostly Minstrel.

The rest of the group, but particularly Agnarr, thought that the rat bounty sounded like a great opportunity to earn a little coin. They agreed that, in the morning, they should investigate the best ways of pursuing the matter.

Proclamation of Rat Bounty

LINECH’S OFFICE

(08/25/790)

In the morning, after breakfast, Dominic went to the Temple of Asche and spoke with Mand Scheben and Lord Zavere (by way of the purple stone). He reported on everything that had happened the day before. Zavere, in turn, told him that the man with the star-shaped tattoo was Malkeen Balacazar. (Dominic didn’t mention the deal Tee had made, since he didn’t know about it, but he did tell them that the watch was most likely in the hands of the Balacazars.)Dominic also talked to Mand and Zavere about Tor and the letter of introduction from Ritharius. To Lord Zavere’s questioning, he reported that none of them had any idea who Ritharius was or why he might be sending Tor to them.

Lord Zavere told Dominic that Ritharius was an “associate” of his. If Tor had come from Ritharius, then Tor could almost certainly be trusted.

Zavere also had another job for them: Linech Cran’s office was protected with anti-scrying spells. Zavere had created a small wooden cube – about the size of a child’s plaything – and imbued it with magicks that would help him to penetrate those defenses. He wanted them to sneak into Linech’s office and hide the cube.

Dominic felt this would be difficult – given the way they had parted company with Linech – but Zavere was offering them 1,200 gp for the job. Dominic said he would have to talk it over with the rest of the group, but agreed to take the scrying cube back with him.

Zavere and Mand paid him a further installment on the money they owed the group for their ongoing activities, and Dominic headed back to the Ghostly Minstrel.

Meanwhile, Tee, Tor, and Elestra were scouring the city to see if they could find a good place to follow-up on the activities of ratmen. They discovered that there had been several sighting of ratmen recently in the area around the Midden Heaps in the Guildsman District.

When everyone had returned to the Ghostly Minstrel, Tee and Elestra made excuses to separate themselves from Tor and met up with Dominic, Agnarr, and Ranthir. Dominic split the money and shared the information he’d gained from Mand and Zavere.

Both Elestra and Tee recognized the name of “Balacazar”: The Balacazar family was the oldest and most powerful criminal organization in Ptolus. Menon Balacazar was the aging head of the organization, but his son – Malkeen – was second in command and well-known for the star-burst tattoo over his right eye. (Menon also had two daughters, Fesamere and Maystra.) Everyone knew they were criminals, but they were “officially” a minor merchant house with a small estate in the Nobles’ Quarter.

The revelation that they had brushed up against the highest echelons of the Balacazar crime family – and that Malkeen might even know their real names – sobered the group immensely.

But there didn’t seem to be much they could actually do about it. What they did decide, after looking at their finances, was that they should take the job from Zavere. They’d also get Tor involved in the new job, but wouldn’t give him much in the way of details from the previous job (most notably, the Balacazar connection). They also decided to continue keeping their shared amnesia a secret from him.

Tor was more than happy to help, and the group split up for a few hours to gather information.

Tee and Elestra asked around town about Linech. They discovered that, shortly after their meeting with him the previous day, he had lowered the gate across the entrance to his burrow and shut himself inside. The word on the street was that he had done something to anger the Balacazars, and had now given up all hope. (“No wonder he was so angry about losing the watch,” Tee said.)

Tor, meanwhile, headed up into the Rivergate District to scout around and see if he could find an approach to Linech’s office. (Since Linech didn’t know him, the group figured he was the safest one to do the work.) What he discovered was that Linech’s burrow was right up against the western wall of the Rivergate District – beyond that wall there was nothing except a huge drop-off into the King’s River Gorge.

Fortunately, the building holding Linech’s office was on the other side of the burrow: The ten-foot wall on that side of the burrow was built up and overlooking another burrow directly to the east. The buildings in this other burrow were all independently owned, with the building directly below Linech’s office owned by the Yebures – a father who worked as an accountant and a mother who stayed at home with their young daughter.

Even better, the window in Linech’s office was east-facing – affording the half-orc a beautiful view all the way down the length of Ptolus, but also making it relatively easy for someone to climb up, enter through the window, and hide the scrying cube somewhere.

Dominic had spent some of this time replenishing their diminished supplies, particularly in the crucial area of healing magic.

Agnarr, meanwhile, had simply been wandering the city. He heard news that an explosion of some sort had happened in the North Market. He headed in that direction and discovered that it was, in fact, an “explosion of shadow” which had left a permanent inky darkness at the top of a tower. Several bodies had apparently been removed from the area of the darkness.

Agnarr wanted to know who the tower belonged to. His first tactic, upon spotting a plaque on the side of the building with some writing on it, was to walk up and try to rip the plaque from the wall. (He figured he could take it back with him and have Ranthir read it to him.) The city watch on duty stopped him from doing that, but simultaneously let slip that the tower belonged to someone named Nycedon. That satisfied him and he headed back to the Ghostly Minstrel.

Upon reconvening, the group decided it would be best to wait until evening – the office was more likely to be empty and they were less likely to be noticed.

So, after dinner, they split into small groups and made their way up towards the burrow next to Linech’s.

Ptolus - Linech Cran's Burrow

Once there, Tee went down the narrow alley between the Yebures’ and the house next door. From there she climbed quietly onto the Yebures’ roof. She had some difficulty climbing the next section of wall up to Linech’s window – falling and cracking her head once – but she eventually secured a grappling hook in the chimney on Linech’s roof, climbed the rope, and then rappelled over to Linech’s window.

The lock on Linech’s window yielded to her thieves’ tools easily enough and she slipped inside, falling to the floor next to the life-size gold statue they had noticed the last time they were in the office.

In looking for a place to hide the scrying cube, Tee’s eyes were naturally drawn to the bookshelves along the room’s north wall. Clearing some of the books away she reached back to place the scrying cube behind them… only to find a crumpled up sheet of paper lying there. She pulled this out, glanced at it, and then stuffed it into her bag. Placing the scrying cube and then carefully replacing the books she had moved, she went back to the window, shut it behind her, and climbed down.

Tee gave the signal that the others, scattered around the lower burrow, could disperse. It had all gone as smoothly as anyone could hope.

On the way back to the Ghostly Minstrel, Dominic stopped by the Temple of Asche to report their success. He was paid the remainder of the monies due them, and was told that Zavere would be in touch with them in the morning.

When Dominic joined the others at the Ghostly Minstrel, arriving only a few minutes after they did, he quickly split the money. Agnarr immediately handed 100 gp of his payment to Tee. “You did most of the work on this venture. You deserve most of the payment.”

Tee thanked him, and then pulled out the crumpled note she had recovered from Linech’s office and showed it to them:

Toridan—

Ruror says you’re still making deals with that old fool Demassac. You need to stop this. I’ve told you before. We can’t trust Demassac. No one can, but us most of all. He’s in close with the Balacazars and we’re none too popular with them at the moment. He’ll stab you in the back in a moment. Or stuff you into one his god-forsaken machines. Keep clear of him.

Big Bro

They didn’t know what it meant, but they resolved to look into it the next day. Then they went down to the common room. Tee was careful to make a big spectacle of herself (she wanted a firm alibi) – buying several rounds for the entire common room and letting Agnarr get completely drunk on her tab.

TEE ON THE TOWN

(08/26/790)

The next morning, Tee woke up early and left the Ghostly Minstrel before the dawn’s light had even begun to halo the Spire.Her first stop was the Temple of Asche. A priest ushered her up to Mand Scheben’s office. The priest looked up as she came in: “Tee! I was just writing you a letter!” He crumpled the paper and shoved it to one side.

Tee asked if the scrying cube was working well. It was. In fact, Mand said they had been scrying through it intermittently even before it had been placed. (Tee reflected that she was glad she had taken cares not to take the cube anywhere particularly private.) They had anticipated leaving the cube in place for some time before taking any action on the information it obtained, but it turned out that immediate action was demanded.

The life-size statue of gold in Linech’s office was, in fact, a friend of Lord Zavere’s: A man by the name of Lord Abbercombe. Lord Abbercombe had, apparently, been turned into a golden golem many years ago. A few months back, however, Abbercombe had simply disappeared. How he had ended up in Linech’s office – and how he had come to apparently be paralyzed – were mysteries. But it was very important that they rescue him. And this had to happen quickly, before Linech decided to melt him down for cash or the Balacazars raided Linech’s burrow, killed the half-orc, and took Abbercombe somewhere that would be even more difficult to extricate him from.

Tee is hesitant to take the job. It would, after all, be much more difficult than simply hiding the scrying box.

“Lord Zavere understands that,” Mand said. “Which is why he’s willing to pay each of you 1,000 gp for completing the job.”

Tee agreed to talk it over with the rest of the group.

Her next stop was Doraedian’s. As she entered the office, Leytha Doraedian looked up: “Tee! I was just writing you a letter!” He crumpled the paper and shoved it to the side.

Doraedian had been writing to Tee to inform her that her training would begin the next day.

Tee was excited, but quickly turned her attention back to the reason she had come: She reported to Doraedian the visions (had they been flashbacks?) she, Ranthir, Dominic, Agnarr, and Elestra had experienced when they had been knocked unconscious (while carefully not going into detail on how that had happened). Doraedian couldn’t give her much help in understanding them, but “any insight, no matter how small might be the one to unravel these riddles”.

Tee returned to the Ghostly Minstrel.

WAITING FOR THE NIGHT TO COME

When the rest of the party came down to breakfast on the morning of the 26th of Amseyl, Tee was waiting for them. She quickly discussed the details of the job Mand Scheben had offered them.

They also discussed their other options: Ranthir was interested in following up on the “shadowy explosion” that Agnarr had told him about. Various errands still needed attending. And many of them showed an interest in returning to the dusty complex of tunnels beneath Greyson House – this time better prepared and better armed. And there was the rat bounty to consider.

They finally decided that, as difficult as getting the statue out of Linech’s office might be, the price was right. It was definitely better coin than they could gain from pursuing the rat bounty and surer coin than what might be found beneath Greyson House.

After putting a plan in place, they decided that evening was the earliest they could hope to get back into Linech’s office. They could only hope that Linech wouldn’t do something desperate today. (If he did, though, they took some comfort in the fact that Zavere would immediately know of it through the scrying cube and could take more decisive action.)

With an empty day ahead of them, Tee and Dominic decided to check up on Phon (who they hadn’t seen for several days now). They stopped by Saches and picked up the shirts that Tee had ordered, but Marta told them that, although Phon wasn’t scheduled to come into work that day, she’d seen her the day before and she seemed fine (although very pregnant!). They headed up to Phon’s house, but there was no answer to their knock.

Agnarr, meanwhile, was yet again looking for a dog to rescue from the streets and train into a loyal companion. While wandering the streets of the Warrens, he actually came across such a stray… but made the mistake of offering it iron rations. The dog, repulsed, growled at him and ran away. Agnarr slumped down on the curb for a long while.

Ranthir spent the day studying another spell from Collus’ spellbook, then – perhaps feeling the close quarters of his room – decided to head over to the library and research the tower where the explosion of darkness had happened. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be any meaningful records of Nycedon or his tower. He resolved to check the City Library at his earliest opportunity.

Tor, meanwhile, was already at the City Library. He had finished the book he had been reading, and was eager to find more – always working to improve his literacy.

Of all of them, it was perhaps Elestra alone who was working towards their larger goals. She was following the Breath of the Streets, pursuing the whisper of Demassac Tovarian. And then, for the first time, she heard the Voice of the Wall in Ptolus. It guided her back to Nul’s, the hole-in-the-wall tavern in the Warrens where she and Dominic had gone.

From there the patterns of the Breath were clear, and by noon she had followed it from the Warrens into the Guildsman’s District and back again. She discovered that Demassac Tovarian owned a house in the Warrens, out of which he publicly ran a shabby antiques and curio business.

But, in reality, Demassac ran a trade in used magical items, selling directly to criminals and their ilk – which, based on Linech’s letter, she assumed meant the Balacazars. But lately there were reports that Tovarian was beginning to supply the Pale Dogs gang with high quality magic items, making that group more dangerous than it had been previously.

She also discovered a whisper of a whisper… and it said that Demassac Tovarian had connections to a major underworld figure known as the Surgeon in the Shadows.

It took her another three hours, but Elestra finally managed to eke out a few details on the Surgeon: His real name was Kinion Luth, and – for a price – he would alter his customers in horrid ways while granting them fantastic abilities. But whenever she asked for more than that, mouths shut and whispers stopped.

Elestra returned to the Ghostly Minstrel in the late afternoon. There she met up with the rest of the group. They exchanged notes and headed to the Hammersong Vaults in Oldtown. Each of them rented a separate lockbox and placed many of their valuables in them.

Then, with dusk falling, they set out to rescue a golden statue…

Ptolus - Lord Abbercombe

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