Ashes of the Empire

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

View
Turin's Journal 1

March 13, 2170 AE: Today, after days of travel, we finally arrived in the city of Haven, located on the western shore of Lake Thallia. This was the place where I hoped to start my new life, with the help of my friend Karrauk. It was strange to be in a place where no-one knows of my abilities and I have a chance to live among other people. I had never visited a city away from The Ridian Sandsea and had never been around so many different races. I know that Half-Elves are not well loved outside of our own lands, but fortunately so far I haven’t had any trouble with the people in Haven.

One of our first priorities upon arriving was to try and find a source of income. After asking around Karrauk and I discovered that there is a notice board located in the center of town with jobs posted for individuals not associated with any of the Syndicates to find work. As we headed towards the town square I saw a very large, old military style fort towering over the center of Haven. It looked to be a few centuries old at the least and made for a very imposing first sight.

Unfortunately, as we reached the center of the harbor district we found nothing but a large post where the notice board should have been located. Judging from the splinters of wood on the ground someone had destroyed the board. There was an elf nearby wearing chain-mail, a sword, and a tabard with the symbol of a red shield on a black and white checkerboard pattern. I don’t have much experience with the Syndicates, but I did recognize the symbol of the Ruby Guard who work directly under the control of the king. He also seemed to be wearing a strange red ring on his right ring finger over his leather gloves.

The guard informed us that some vagrants have been vandalizing the notice board and that we would have better luck looking for work at a place called Trencher’s Rest. Karrauk questions him about the vandals, but the elf just says that after the board being repeatedly torn down they have just started redirecting people to Trencher’s Rest. His parting words were an insincere welcome to the city, along with a warning to stay out of trouble.

Following the guard’s directions we headed down the street towards the wharf district. Along the way I saw people at work, repairing nets and selling fresh fish. Eventually I saw a large wooden structure with an attached stable to the right, on the south side of the street. It was an older, but well-kept, three story building with a sign outside that says Trencher’s Rest with an image of a trenching tool. As we approached the entrance I noticed a small pile of junk outside the front door. It looked to be a collection of broken and rusty knives and slats of wood with red paint on them. There is smoke coming from the roof carrying the smells of food and tobacco.

Inside there was a large common room, on the left wall was a bar being tended by a middle-aged white scaled Veln wearing an apron, against the back wall there was a large dangerous looking Half-Orc and a wiry Elf throwing knives at a wooden target board, and at a circular table in the corner three Dwarves were smoking pipes and being rowdy. The Veln behind the bar shouted at Karrauk and I to stop and raise our right hands up. We complied and then after inspecting our hands he apologizes but told us in these times it is necessary.

Once we had permission to enter we walked up to the bar and asked why he would need to check our hands. He told us that he wanted to make sure we weren’t members of the Consortium because they aren’t welcome in his establishment, due to the fact that they have bought up most of the local traders and won’t sell certain items to him. The Veln refuses to buy from the Consortium until they stop their practice of price fixing. When we asked him how seeing our right hands would prove we weren’t Consortium he seems a bit surprised that we wouldn’t understand, but explained that when a person joins a Syndicate they are given a magic ring that can’t be removed and always shows on top of any gloves.

Members of the Consortium can be identified by an orange ring, and I think its likely the Ruby Guard have red rings based on what the elf guard was wearing. The Veln finally introduces himself as Brelnas Snowscale. When he asked why we were there we explained that we were looking for work and were directed to the Trencher’s Rest by a guard after we found the broken notice board. Brelnas told us that most “Indies” or independent adventurers usually ended up at his place, and that Syndicate jobs are normally handled at their respective headquarters or hall.

Brelnas mentioned that there were a couple of “Dogs” at the back, indicating the Half-Orc and the Elf. I noticed they were wearing green rings, which must be the color indicating a member of the Underdogs. He asks if we would like some ale and food, and I was looking forward to a hot meal. Brelnas offered a house ale or a dwarven ale that was brought in by the Dwarves in the corner in their latest shipment from Ormek. Karrauk and I both got a house ale, and he ordered a fresh fish dish while I ordered a larger standard meal.

While we drank our ales and waited for our food Brelnas told us there were a couple of jobs available. The first was related to some bodies that had gone missing from the crematorium and the second to a Veln staying upstairs who was looking for his lost sister. I’ve always believed it is better to help the living over the dead, (and Brelnas mentioned it would be a personal favor if we could help his guest due to his presence having brought about the Ruby Guard on a few occasions) so Karrauk and I agreed to take the second job.

Brelnas told us that the Veln staying upstairs is named Davkul and that he had been staying at the Trencher’s Rest for the past month while he searched for his missing sister. They are both from New Adamant on the other side of Lake Thalia. Davkul mostly stays upstairs, but on a few of the occasions when he has been out he had returned roughed up. He keeps to himself, pays on time, and is quiet, but the Ruby Guard has been by to see him on a couple of occasions.

As our conversation with Brelnas was finishing our food arrived and we ordered more drinks (another house ale for me, while Karrauk decided to try out the dwarven ale). The food was delicious, especially after our long travel, and the ale was also some of the best I’ve ever had. We paid for our meals and got a common room for the night. As I was finishing the last of my food I felt a strong hand on my shoulder. I turned and saw that it was the Half-Orc Underdog.

He shook Karrauk’s hand and introduced himself as Goroth Greendog. He said it was good to see another Half-Orc and that you don’t see that many Liars’ Bloods around Haven. He asked what brought us here and we explained our search for work. Goroth told us he is a member of the Black Hackle squad of the Underdogs and that the Elf he was throwing knives with, Ailaren Theonaius, is their squad leader. Goroth had a humorous nature about him and referred to Brelnas as “Snowy” on several occasions, though he recommended we not use that name ourselves. We were invited to join Goroth and Ailaren in a game of throwing knives.

The three of us headed to the back of the room and Goroth introduced us to Ailaren. The board they were using was clearly handmade and not in very good condition (which explained all the broken knives and wood scraps outside the door). They explained that a bulls-eye was worth 3 points and each further ring out worth one less than the last, and that missing the board completely was a bad idea and something Brelnas was likely to get upset about. The game went well with me losing to Ailaren in a tie-breaker, though if Goroth hadn’t damaged the board on his third throw and lost all his points he would have been the victor.

After our game was concluded Ailaren informed us that the Underdogs were always looking for new recruits and that if we were interested he would put in a good word for us. He told us that the Underdogs are headquartered in Haven and often worked with the Ruby Guard to help maintain order. They also do a lot of other tasks that include guard work, treasure hunting, and mercenary jobs. The Underdogs like people with adventuring experience that are willing to travel. When Ailaren and Goroth aren’t at the Trencher’s Rest they go on all sorts of missions, including some from the other Syndicates. Overall the Underdogs aren’t as specialized as many of the other Syndicates and are more flexible in the work they do.

We decided it would be best if we spoke with Davkul before we settled into our room so Brelnas volunteered to introduce us. He told Goroth to mind the bar and took us upstairs to Davkul’s room. When we reached the room marked 2, Brelnas knocked on the door and told Davkul he had brought some people to help him. Davkul called for us to enter and then Brelnas made the introductions before heading back down to the bar. The room seemed to be a bit disheveled, with pieces of parchment scattered around, a bed that hadn’t been made, and a pile of first aid supplies in the corner. The window shutters were closed and a few candles has been lit for light. Davkul himself was a copper Veln wearing unwashed traveler’s clothing who looked like he hadn’t slept in awhile.

Davkul told us that he hadn’t seen his sister, a gold Veln named Janvyre Lairhorn, in months and that he had put up posters around Haven. So far he had gotten a few leads, but none of them had panned out or helped him find his sister. He feared that she had gotten into some real trouble, and the Ruby Guard seem interested in whatever she was doing. While Davkul is just a simple farmer, Janvyre has always been a devout follower of Braknal who aspires to be a warrior or maybe even a paladin one day.

Janvyre had recently become involved with a radical sect of Brak’nal called The Order of Truth that believes Syndicates should be eliminated. They believe that the Syndicates have perverted the power of Braknal by using Kyran’s armor to make the Syndicate rings and their binding pacts. The Order of Truth wants Kyran’s armor returned to the followers of Braknal. Davkul explained that the Syndicates view the order as a terrorist group, due to some of the actions they have taken against the Syndicates. Davkul had heard around town that the Ruby Guard had been spotted speaking with a gold Veln from out of town that might have been Janvyre, however the Ruby Guard won’t speak to him about it and they keep tearing down his posters.

Janvyre offered us 250 Silver Slips if we are able to locate his sister, his profits from this year’s harvest. He told us we could return anytime and to knock four times and state our names whenever we visit his room. After our conversation had finished Karrauk and I headed to our own room. It had two windows (a smaller one overlooking the street and a large one opening onto the roof), a dresser with some candles and a bell, a chest, and a hammock. The bell had a note stating that it should rung whenever meals are desired. We stored some of our traveling gear in the room and then headed back down into the common room.

We started our search for Janvyre by talking to Brelnas and finding out what he knew about the order. He told us he wasn’t very familiar with them and that they don’t have much of a presence in Haven. He told us that if we wanted to know more we could ask around farther down the docks in some of the sketchier areas where the Ruby Guard patrols less, or we could try the temple devoted to Braknal in the common district. We believed the temple to be a better place to start and got directions on how to find it. As we left the Trencher’s Rest Karrauk spotted a couple of Ruby Guard that seemed to be watching who was leaving the place, likely keeping an eye on Davkul.

As we followed the directions we eventually came up a large square building constructed of white stone with blue cloth tapestries on the walls outside. I’ve heard that Brak’nal is the primary religion of the Veln so it was no surprise to see how large the temple was. There were many people coming and going so Karrauk and I headed in. As we entered I noticed the smell of incense and that we were attracting a few strange looks, especially at our weapons. The inside of the temple had tall ceilings with skylights and at the front was a large shrine with braziers burning oil and a symbol of Brak’nal all located on a raised platform. There were many Veln Kneeling in front of the shrine and at the base of the steps there was a bronze statue of Kyran Steelscale.

There were many priests and priestesses wearing white hooded robes and carrying long slender staves with the symbol of Brak’nal at the top. At the front of the temple there was a brass Veln woman wearing a more intricate robe carrying a staff with a more ornate head reading a book to a few listeners. A blue Veln priest approached and greeted us asking if he could help us. We explained we were looking for a missing gold Veln woman who may have stopped by the temple in the last couple months. The priest agreed to ask around and see if any of the clergy remembered a woman matching that description.

Eventually the high priestess came to speak with us and introduced herself as Stohana. She remembered Janvyre visiting over a month ago and that she had seemed very confused. Janvyre had come from a temple in New Adamant and sought a place to stay, but seemed like she was in a rush. Janvyre had some sort of pressing duty that she needed to attend to, and she kept asking where she might find a stone door with a silver hand, but Stohana had never heard of such a thing. Stohana did explain to us that a silver hand was once used many centuries ago in the days of the empire as a symbol of Brak’nal, but it is no longer used in the modern day. It is possible that this stone door with a silver hand might belong to an ancient temple or tomb of Brak’nal. Stohana informed us that there is a historical society in Haven that might have more information, or that we could try the archive of Sahlah.

View
Turin's Journal 2

We decided it would be best to head to the historical society first, as it was likely the Sahlah Archive would charge for their information. High Priestess Stohana informed us that the historical society could be found in the fort located in the center of town, known as West Fort Lakewatch. As we approached the fort I could see it faced east, towards the lake, and that there was a raised portcullis at the gate. There were many Ruby Guard around the fortress watching the people coming and going. Through the entrance gate there was a long series of wide ancient stone stairs that wound around the hill up to the fort. There were Veln laborers gathering goods from their carts and carrying them up the steps. When we reached the top of the stairs I looked out to the east and saw a beautiful view of Lake Thallia and the eastern half of Haven.

The entrance to the actual fort was a large iron reinforced wooden door that was sunken into the walls. There were two members of the Ruby Guard waving laborers through. As we approached the Guardsmen stopped us and asked us what business we had at the fort. We informed them that we were seeking the historical society and, after taking down our names, one of them escorted us to our destination. On the way, he warned us that we were not to wander around the fort unsupervised as West Fort Lakewatch is still an active military base. The fort houses the courts and prison for Haven, as well as being a base of operations for the Ruby Guard.

The guard led us to a door located near one of the walls of the fort and informed us this was the location of the historical society. The door was beautifully crafted with an ornate bronze door knocker in the shape of a snarling lion. Above the knocker was a wood inlay of deep red wood in the shape of a large elaborate letter X. On the right side of the door was a beveled bronze panel with intricate scroll-work and a keyhole. Strangely, the door didn’t appear to have a doorknob so I used the knocker.

A voice called for us to come in and the door opened soundlessly on its own. The room was deeper than it was wide, with a door on the left side that seemed to lead out to a balcony based on the breeze coming in, and two closed doors on the right wall. On the floor was a strange violet rug that seemed to have a moving shimmer running across it. Looming in the center of the room was a huge stuffed head of a roaring white dragon. On the walls were many maps locked behind glass panes depicting landmasses I couldn’t recognize, as well as other cabinets and shelves that housed strange artifacts that seemed to come from many different cultures and times. There were books of all shapes and sizes scattered throughout the room and shelves, and a floating feather duster that was cleaning the room on its own.

In the back of the room under an open window were a Veln and a Gnome looking over a map, and a Dwarf facing us that seemed to have just gotten up from the table. He was a bit portly with an extremely intricate beard, and was wearing a pith helmet, a monocle, and was resting his gloved hand on the jeweled hilt of a rapier. His clothing appeared to be standard adventuring gear, but was made from a much higher quality of materials than I have ever seen.

The Dwarf welcomed us and shook our hands as he introduced himself as Kaldergan. We explained to him that we were seeking a missing Veln who was the sister of an acquaintance of ours and the information we had received from High Priestess Stohana. Kaldergan asked if we had ever heard of THOTS, or The Honorable Order of Treasure Seekers, which was the name of the organization we had entered. When we informed him that we were unfamiliar with THOTS he told us they were an organization of treasure hunters with chapters in various cities. They believe in sharing their experiences and discoveries, as opposed to the Sahlah Archive who tend to lock things away and charge the other Syndicates for access to their information.

Kaldergan motioned for us to follow him into the first door on the right so that we could speak further about the stone door with the silver hand. The room had a reserved appearance, with a pair of giant overstuffed chairs facing a large fireplace. There was a thick red rug on the floor, the walls were covered in intricate landscape paintings and a map of Morset. In the center of the room was a large rectangular wooden table. The strangest site was a huge sleeping Mastiff made out of steel plates, with steam coming out of its nostrils. As we entered Kaldergan snapped his fingers and a fire roared to life that didn’t create any smoke.

Once the door was closed Kaldergan turned and berated us for getting involved with the Order of Truth, and that it was dangerous to talk about such things in the open. He calmed down a bit after I told him we had only spoken about the matter with him and High Priestess Stohana. Kaldergan explained that the Order of Truth, which is more common near Adamant, likely only exists because they can’t remember what life was like before the creation of the Syndicates. While many Dwarves are against their existence, Kaldergan believes that things are better off with the Syndicates running things.

Kaldergan has had experience exploring old tombs and ruins and is familiar with the symbol of the silver hand. He told us that it was only ever used by a single sect of Brak’nal. If a tomb exists with such a symbol in Haven it is likely going to be located either in the ancient catacombs located directly beneath the fort that have been sealed for decades, or it could be a tomb that existed before the fall, when Haven was just an imperial fort. Kaldergan believed he had some old maps of the area that could be of use and left the room to retrieve them.

While Kaldergan is gone I took the opportunity to examine the many magical objects in the room. The most obvious and powerful sources were the mastiff and the fireplace, but almost every object in the room contained some traces of magic. Karrauk and I were both interested in the mastiff and while he studied it up close I was able to determine that he seemed to be crafted out of some kind of divine magic. Karrauk also took the time to make some updates to his map of Morset using the one hanging on the wall as a guide.

When Kaldergan returned he was carrying a key that he simply touched to the wood of one of the cabinets and its door swung open, revealing that it contained many brass tubes, which I could detect were magical in nature. He pulled out one of the tubes and brought it over to the table, revealing that it contained an old parchment containing an early map of Haven. Kaldergan told us the tubes helped to preserve the parchment and that without its help this map would likely be nothing but dust. The map showed that there were burial grounds on the south side of the hills, to shield then from Errodrel in the north. After the destruction of Adamantia refugees began building Haven, likely directly over these burial grounds. Kaldergan thinks our best bet will be to search the area under the southern part of Haven, which is unfortunately a rougher part of town.

Kaldergan thinks that in addition to the tomb we are searching for there are likely many tombs of Bahamut as well, as worship of him was more common at that time. He did a little research on the sect using the silver hand emblem and found that it had also been known as the Order of Truth but that it had fallen apart hundreds of years ago. It is unlikely that the current organization using the name is related, but perhaps they drew inspiration from the original order. Kaldergan’s research showed that the original Order of Truth seemed to be unremarkable at the time and existed long before the foundation of the Syndicates.

He thinks that the best place for us to start looking around south Haven would be at an inn called Fort’s Shadow. It is a rundown place, but there should be a Veln there named Blacktooth who can help us find a way into the sewers. Kaldergan informed us that Blacktooth may be disagreeable and uncouth, but if we tell him Kaldergan sent us and he is to help us find a way underground he should cooperate.

Karrauk asked about the nature of the mastiff and Kaldergan decided to tell us the story of how he came to be. The mastiff was build by one of the greatest Dwarven smiths, Dolon Deepforge. Dolon had a mastiff known as Bellows he cared for deeply who would keep him company as he worked the forges. When Bellows died Dolon fell into a deep depression and found he could not continue his work. One day he locked himself away and no-one saw him for months. When Dolon finally reemerged the new Bellows was there, and nobody knew how he was able to accomplish such a feat. Kaldergan was a good friend of Dolon’s, and when Dolon finally passed away he left Bellows for Kaldergan to care for.

As I stepped forward to examine the mastiff more closely he suddenly opened his eyes and began to growl at my satchel. It seemed he had smelled Fenrich, but Kaldergan told me not to worry as Bellows wasn’t violent. He also told me he knew Fenrich was a familiar and that I was a “Hex Worker”. I was surprised not only that he knew about my nature, but that he seemed to have no fear or disdain of my powers. I am not used to people accepting my abilities and don’t really know what to think of his attitude.

Kaldergan warned us that there may be dangerous people hiding in the sewers of South Haven. While most people won’t mess with a tough looking Half-Orc, there may be pickpockets. He gave each of us a Cure Disease potion, warning that there are likely rats in the sewers. For many years before Haven was founded it was a simple military outpost watching the western part of Lake Thallia. At the time it was a small village known as Soldier’s Wharf and was a gathering place for off duty troops. When The Fall happened and Adamantia fell many Veln refugees came to Haven and New Adamant. Haven just sort of formed around the people seeking the protection of the fort. Initially it was just a tent town, but eventually as more people arrived a formal city began to form.

There is also a chance that we could find an entrance to the Haven underground near where the sewers exit into Lake Thallia or the Melikahn River. However, while this approach would allow us to avoid south Haven, it would require we travel underground much longer. Kaldergan doesn’t believe there are any major artifacts to be found in the tombs under Haven or THOTS would already be aware of them, but he would appreciate any information we do find.

Before we left, Kaldergan informed us that THOTS is actually quite large and that this was just one lodge, though one of the more illustrious ones. They aren’t a syndicate, more a collection of talented ne’er-do-wells who use their talents to seek treasure and adventure. They were sharing tales of the Veln in the other rooms’ most recent adventures when we arrived. Unlike in The Sahlah Archive where the higher the rank a person the more knowledge they have access to, members of THOTS freely share knowledge. Kaldergan believes that the next most qualified group are the Underdogs who don’t have the same style or sense of adventure, but are effective and have many members.

Kaldergan also commented that THOTS has more pull in the Dwarven lands away from the operations of the Syndicates. His position is a strange one for a dwarf as he is currently in a self-imposed exile. He claims no Dwarven clan as his own and instead considers THOTS to be his clan. Exile is generally considered a punishment in Dwarven society, reserved for criminals or political rivals.

With all of this information we finally bid Kaldergan farewell and headed out of the fort and back to the Trencher’s Rest as it was getting late in the day. When we arrived Ailaren and Goroth were there having a drink. Brelnas waved us over as we entered and Goroth welcomed us back. Karrauk commented that it seemed like the two of them were always at the Trencher’s Rest and Goroth agreed that when they weren’t out working for the Underdogs they could usually be found there.

Ailaren reminded Goroth that they had something for us. Goroth slapped his head and said he had forgotten. They had recently had some new members join their squad, and as a result they had an extra Cinder Rod. Since Ailaren believes that every adventuring group should have one, he decided to give us their spare. The Cinder Rod is a jet black cylinder about eight inches long and half an inch thick, stylized with faint shapes of flames on the side. It is used to perform the Ritual of Ash by placing a hot burning magical ember on a corpse to slowly burn the entire body to ash in about an hour. We thanked them for their gift and Ailaren told us that he believes it is through the Ritual of Ash that our society is upheld.

We ordered some meals and Karrauk bought a round of ale for the Dogs. Goroth toasted the Trencher’s Rest and took a huge swig, Karrauk matched him but I decided to stick to my own pace. While we ate our meals we spent the time catching Ailaren and Goroth up on our activities of the day.

Once we had finished out meals there was still time left in the day and I felt the need to do some alchemical work. I wanted to keep my skills honed and hoped that I might be able to create something that could be of use in the sewers. I asked Brelnas if there were any places in Haven where I might be able to purchase the supplies I needed. He told me there was a place in the wharf district called Madame Wyrmeyes Alchemy and Herbs where I should be able to buy what I needed. We headed down the main street and near a large shipyard there was a swampy area with a hut with a sign outside.

As we entered I could smell the familiar scents of alchemical ingredients. There was an older black Veln woman who greeted us and asked what we needed. When I explained the material I required she was glad to meet a fellow alchemist, as many who visit her shop are simply looking for finished products. She told me her family had been running the shop for generations and that she had grown up doing alchemy. I bought the materials for an acid flask and a noxious aromatic. I bid Madame Wyrmeye farewell and informed her I was likely to stop by again for more materials while I was in Haven. We headed back to our room at the Trencher’s Rest and I spent the rest of the night working on my noxious aromatic.


March 14, 2170 AE: The next day we headed down to get breakfast, and we decided to go ahead and pay Brelnas to keep the room for another night and for a full day of meals. Breakfast included ham, biscuits and gravy, and tea. We decided to head to the Fort’s Shadow in order to look for Blacktooth, or at least determine where the Fort’s Shadow was located. I put my coin purse in Fenrich’s satchel for safekeeping since Kaldergan warned us about pickpockets. As we headed into south Haven things seemed pretty quiet since it was still early in the day, the street merchants were still setting up their carts. There seemed to be few Ruby Guard in this part of the city, but there did seem to be some Underdogs backing them up.

As we were walking I heard a main calling out for the “Sand Elf” to come and look at something. I’ve certainly been called worse things in my life so I paid little heed to the slight insult and decided to see what had this merchant so excited. The merchant was a brass Veln named Leokas who told me that you don’t see many Half-Elves in Haven and that he had something I would like. He turned and retrieved a box sealed with papers that appeared to be unopened. Leokas told me that it was a genuine Consortium Preservation Box that keeps the contents from aging a day from the point the container was sealed, and that this particular box was filled with Khagat and Scala Eel from the Sandsea.

I examined the magic on the box to verify what he said and it did appear to have chrono magic that could slow aging. He wanted three Silver Slips for the box, and while I hadn’t been away from the Sandsea for long I wouldn’t mind a taste from home. Since the box looked likely to contain what would be around two or three Quarter Slips worth of goods back home I decided that two Silver Slips would be a fair price. I haggled with the merchant and was able to get it for my desired price. After our transaction was complete Leokas bid us to return at any time for other foreign goods.

We eventually reached the Fort’s Shadow Inn and Tavern and found it to be a beat-up place with a black sign in the shape of a fort. On the inside it looks rundown and mostly empty, with a red Veln man with a club on his waist, wearing an apron, hammering a chair back together. He welcomed us to the Shadow and asked what he could do for us. Karrauk told him we were looking for a Veln named Blacktooth, and the owner told us he wouldn’t be there until later in the evening. He said we should come back around three if we want to talk to him.

We headed back to the Trencher’s Rest to wait and I took the time to finish crafting my noxious aromatic. We decided to have lunch, which included a fish sandwich and stew, before heading back to the Shadow. When we arrived back at the Fort’s Shadow we found it to be a much different place than before. The place was filled with a raucous group, with many inebriated people singing in the common room. We entered in time to see a chair thrown against the wall and splinter over a gold Veln. We spoke to the owner who told us that the Veln covered in chair splinters was the man we were looking for. We approached Blacktooth and quickly discovered how he earned his name, he was disheveled and his teeth were all black and rotting.

Karrauk told Blacktooth that we had been sent by Kaldergan and that he was to help us find a way into the sewers or else he would have to deal with Kaldergan himself. Blacktooth growled in displeasure, but agreed to help us in exchange for a Silver Slip. Karrauk reluctantly handed over the Slip and Blacktooth led us outside. He trudged along at an unsteady gait and led us to a narrow unkempt alleyway. Suddenly, two men stepped out and blocked the path, but Blacktooth told them we were with him and that he would have Grappler’s money later. One of the men said that we couldn’t pass until he had paid the 3 Slips he owed.

Blacktooth demanded that we pay the slips before we could continue and Karrauk tried to argue him down to two slips, with the third being paid with the Slip Blacktooth had received earlier. When Blacktooth refused, Karrauk eventually relented and paid the man what was owed. The figures stepped aside and allowed us to pass into an area containing cobblestone steps which led down into the underground. There was a grate bent away that was clearly intended to keep people out of the sewers. Blacktooth told us to tell Kaldergan that he had been good before slinking away, likely to spend his money on alcohol back at the Shadow.

We headed down the steps into the sewers and entered a dimly lit area where refuse had built up. I was immediately aware of a terrible stench in the area that seemed to be an intersection of a few different waterways. To the south there was an area that led deeper into the sewers that was grated off except for a prison style door on one side. The door was being guarded by four cloaked figures who warned us to head north if we knew what was good for us.

View
Turin's Journal 3

In addition to the blocked path to the south, there were tunnels leading to the north and the east. The water was flowing in from the north and then heading down to the south and east, with the eastern tunnel likely emptying out into Lake Thallia. Karrauk believed that the tomb we sought would be found to the northwest of us, closer to the location of the fort. He decided to scout out the eastern tunnel first to make sure there weren’t any possible dangers that could come at us from behind. The tunnel had a few drains emptying out from the walls but otherwise seemed to contain little of interest.

We headed down the northern passage a short distance when I began to hear the sounds of something moving around in the darkness. I stopped Karrauk and indicated to him that there was something up ahead. He crept down the tunnel and discovered two large mangy sewer rats about the size of small dogs digging in the refuse around a bend in the tunnel. Karrauk drew his bow and then signaled to me that there were two threats ahead and I should approach quietly. I drew my crossbow and did my best to approach silently, but the rats heard me coming. As we engaged the two rats we were surprised to find a third one coming in from a different passage.

We each fired a shot at the rats before having to fall back and draw our melee weapons, a scimitar for Karrauk and a club for me. I attempted to throw my noxious aromatic at one of the rats in hopes of slowing it down, but all I managed to do was splash Karrauk. The third rat swam through the sewage in order to get to Karrauk, but fortunately he was able to stab the first rat causing it to flee back down the tunnel to the west. Not long after, I was able to club the rat attacking me driving it down the east tunnel. Karrauk fought to keep the third one off of him but unlike the others it was foaming at the mouth and seemed unwilling to back down, even after I had shot it twice. Eventually Karrauk slashed it and it tried to flee but as wounded as it was he was able to quickly catch it and finish it off.

After recovering from the fight Karrauk decided to scout down the eastern tunnel. A short distance down the tunnel it turned to the north and Karrauk could see there were a few burning humanoid-sized rat skulls attached to the tops of wooden poles. Behind them was a wooden arch with slats of wood forming a fence. When he described what he had seen to me Karrauk also mentioned that he has heard of a race of ratmen, which might explain where the skulls came from.

We decided to try the western passage and a short distance down it we saw a collapsed tunnel leading to the south where one of the rats was licking its wounds. Farther down Karrauk spotted some webbing with small insects on it. He tossed a stone at it, which was unable to go all the way through, and shortly thereafter the webs began to move and we heard a rustling sound. A large swarm of spiders emerged from the webs and began to move towards Karrauk.

Karrauk began to withdraw from the webs and I fired a bolt at the spiders with little effect. They began to build webbing over the water to reach Karrauk, despite his efforts to damage the webs with his scimitar. The spiders soon swarmed over him and started biting. I used Burning Hands to try and drive the spiders off and while the flames seemed effective at killing them, it wasn’t enough to deter them. Karrauk was able to escape from the swarm and pulled out his Any-Tool. The spiders began to swarm me and bite as I moved farther away from the webs and attempted to use Spark to light their webs on fire. Karrauk changed his Any-Tool into a shovel and moved farther down the passage away from the spiders in order to retrieve the rat corpse to try and distract the spiders.

When we got far enough from the webs the spiders began to withdraw, so I moved forward again and used Spark to light some of the webs they were heading towards on fire. This drove the spiders back at me, where they began biting once again. I retreated again and used Create Water to douse the swarm and temporarily disperse it. Karrauk reached the rat corpse and picked it up with his shovel, and began heading back towards the swarm. I hit the spiders with water again, but it wasn’t enough to keep them spread out. The spiders swarmed over Karrauk biting him, so he dropped the corpse and moved to a safe distance. The spiders were momentarily interested in the rat corpse, but quickly headed back to their webs. We decided that we weren’t likely to make it farther in this direction without preparing something to deal with the spiders so we headed back down the eastern tunnel to try the other passage.

As we moved around the bend in the eastern tunnel Karrauk spotted some writing on the wall in a language neither of us recognized. The writing was done using some kind of red pigment, possibly blood, and while it didn’t appear fresh it also wasn’t very old. As Karrauk got closer to the skulls they turned and faced him, following his movements, and as I got closer two of them began to watch me. We decided to avoid the fenced in area and instead took a turn back to the west. After traveling down the western tunnel for awhile it turned back to the north leading to a t-junction with a strange looking northern wall. The eastern direction ended in an area with drains pouring out from the walls and emptying through a small opening on the eastern wall, while the western tunnel continued as far as we could see.

Out of the darkness a rat approached from both directions. Karrauk shot two arrows in quick succession at the eastern rat causing in light injury. I readied and loaded my crossbow, but the rats closed in on us before I could fire a shot. Karrauk hit the eastern rat with his scimitar causing it to flee out the eastern grate, while I held off the other rat with my club. Suddenly, a huge centipede came out of the northern grate and crawled along the ceiling towards Karrauk and bit him. It was clear that this centipede’s bite had some sort of effect on Karrauk, but he fought on anyway. Karrauk hit it twice with his scimitar severely wounding it and driving it away. The centipede did its best to flee but its injuries were too severe and it collapsed a short distance away. Karrauk then moved around behind the final rat and, while I distracted it, and killed it with his scimitar.

We examined the northern wall and found it to be a smoother surface made of large stone blocks fitted together, rather than the smaller rougher bricks most of the sewers are made of. Karrauk believed it was likely we had reached the fort and that these stones were a part of its foundation, made of much older stone. As we continued down the western tunnel we again began to see spider webs. While the tunnel continued on to the west, there was a split leading off to the south where most of the webs were concentrated. Our past experiences led us to believe we were not equipped to deal with the spiders, but it might be possible to get around the webs in order to continue on through the western tunnel. We headed back to the entrance of the sewers in order to retrieve one of the torches we had seen lighting the entrance. When Karrauk attempted to remove one from the wall one of the hooded figures guarding the southern gate called out for him to stop. He offered two imperial copper coins in exchange for the torch, which was quickly accepted.

We took the torch back to the spider webs and Karrauk jumped through part of the webbing swinging the torch to clear as much as possible, while I used Spark to burn away more. The spiders once again swarmed and quickly began to bite Karrauk. He continued through the webs and reached the western side, doing his best to burn a clear path. The spiders advanced on me but I was able to keep at a safe distance as I used Create Water to keep them at bay. Karrauk continued to burn away the webs drawing the attention of the spiders once again, but they soon retreated down the southern passage away from the flames. I ran through the opening Karrauk had created and we continued on.

View
Turin's Journal 4

To the southwest was a section of the sewer wall that had fallen away, revealing a cave behind it. There was a steady stream of sewer water flowing down the slope into the cave. We followed the water into the cave as it curved slightly to the north before heading to the west. We followed the path for awhile before we reached a larger chamber that was about 60×60 feet. The water was flowing out another passage leading to the southwest. Karrauk heard a frail frightened voice chanting in a language he didn’t recognize. When I listened I could only tell that the chanting wasn’t magical in nature, and that the voice referred to Jezra, the goddess of death. Karrauk believed the voice was coming from farther in the cavern, towards the northwest.

Karrauk attempted to sneak around a corner to see where the voice was coming from, but slipped on the uneven floor, making a sound. As he rounded the corner he heard shuffling and saw a ratlike humanoid huddled amongst a bunch of rocks and rat bones. He was dressed in layers of clothing in ill-repair, causing him to appear like a pile of dirty rags. His skin was covered in red rashes and scabs, hanging loosely on his bones. His fur was patchy and he was shaking due to age or weakness. His irises were an opaque milky white and his eyes roved around spasmodically seeing nothing. He feebly attempted to move farther into the corner away from Karrauk and asked “Who comes to torment poor sick Kathek?” He said he knew it wasn’t one of his kind, but that Karrauk was too loud to be one of the “cloaked ones.” Karrauk reassured him that we weren’t here to hurt him, that we were merely exploring the caves. Kathek begged for help, saying that his illness was killing him and that his people had left him to die.

Karrauk attempted to give the man a potion of cure disease, but his arms were to weak to take the vial. He said that Chief Redfang the Foul had thrown him out of their warren due to his sickness. His people did not know what the illness was, and unlike us fragile sun-dwellers they were not prone to disease. Karrauk was able to tilt back Kathek’s head and helped him to drink the potion. Kathek began to shudder and then color began to return to his face and while he remained blind his eyes were no longer glassy. He smiled and said that the face was gone and the whispers had stopped. He thanked Karrauk profusely for helping a poor soul he had never met, and that while he may still die at least he wouldn’t die in terror. When he was exiled they had taken everything from him, even his clothing, but maybe he could reward us with information.

Karrauk explained that we were searching for a tomb with a stone door that had a silver hand on it. Kathek told us he had been laying there for over a week and in that time not many had come down into the cave, but he had noticed some people moving about before he went totally blind. Four or five different figures wearing robes had passed by and the one in the lead held something shiny and metal that wasn’t a weapon. Kathek said that further down the caves there was nothing but some old tombs and a haunted pool. While Kathek was sharing his story, I approached and gave him some water as well as using my Healing Hex on him to help his recovery. He thanked me and said that while he had been in the cave he had no water to drink, and the only thing he had to eat were rats he could catch when they tried to bite him.

Karrauk asked about the haunted pool and Kathek said the surface of the water moved on its own, swirling in an unnatural way. There is a tomb with no entrance to the south of the pool that is rumored to contain treasure, but his people are too scared of the pool to attempt to enter it. Karrauk also questioned Kathek about the face he had mentioned, and he told us it had something to do with the disease he had been suffering from. The face was pale as death and its eyes were like deep pits with tiny red points. At first when he had gotten sick he had only heard whispering, initially only a word or two at a time. As he got sicker it spoke more often, in whispers that seemed to make his brain itch. He could never understand what was being said and then eventually whenever he would close his eyes he would see the face, and it seemed to be looking at him. He couldn’t sleep or it would see him and when the blindness came the face would come and go. Sometimes it would flash in and out of his mind quickly, while others it would seem to come from far away and grow closer, always watching and staring.

I couldn’t think of anything that would cause these symptoms, but I found it highly unlikely that it was anything natural. It had all started when he had been bitten by a rat. Two weeks ago a dire rat had come into their warrens and was mad with a sickness. When his people attacked it to drive it off he had been bitten. Over the next few days his skin had begun to itch and his fur began to fall out so he was banished from the warren. None of his people knew where the rat had come from or recognized the sickness.

Karrauk asked if Kathek wanted help to get somewhere safer, but he replied that he would never go back to the warrens after they had left him to die. Neither Karrauk nor I have had any experience with Ratmen, though we had heard of them as unconfirmed rumors. We doubted there would be anyplace in the city where he would be easily accepted. Karrauk asked about the warren and Kathek said that it was where his people came from and that it was to the east and guarded by four skulls. They live beyond there and have modified that section of the sewers to suit their needs. Chief Redfang rules over them all and they mostly keep to themselves, but at times they fight the cloaked ones. When asked about it Kathek told us they are sun-dwellers who come from the southern part of the sewers. They have made their own modifications to the sewers, and that occasionally the two groups fight for control over different territory.

Karrauk told him that we needed to leave, but we would try to bring him back some food and water. He thanked us again and said as long as he no longer sees the face he is happy. Karrauk gave him his furs to help keep him warm, and then we continued down deeper into the caves. After a short time the cave turned towards the south and then back to the west before opening into another large cavern. As Karrauk scouted around the corner he spotted a structure that seemed to have part of the ceiling collapsed on it. The north and east walls of the structure were exposed, but there didn’t appear to be an entrance. Each of the walls was a solid slab of stone, and the edges were worn and covered with moss.

Karrauk waved me up and pointed out the structure which had been outside of my sight. He crept forward and found the cave opened up more to the north. His examination of the structure led him to believe that the ceiling in this section was going to collapse a long time ago, but the structure prevented it. The structure was square-shaped, and the roof seemed to be like that of a ziggurat. As Karrauk examined it closer he noticed some kind of design on the side of the structure. It was very age-worn and covered in moss and grim, but after cleaning it off a bit we were able to determine it was a symbol of Bahamut.

After searching the walls of the building Karrauk was unable to find any switches or levers, leaving us to believe any entrance there might have been must now be trapped in the wall of the cave. We decided to move further into the cavern and found a large pool of filthy water. The air was foul and smokey, and we could see a tomb to the north with a guttering torch and a door with a flat silver plate in the shape of an open hand. The pool of water was moving in a strange circular motion that didn’t seem to match any kind of flow in the water.

There was another one of the structures on the north end of the pool that was partially submerged and opened on the southern side. It tipped into the pool slightly, and appeared to be flooded. There was also another building on the cave wall to the south of the pool which had cracks in the exposed wall. As Karrauk started to move past the pool, a blob of water suddenly charged out of it and attacked him.

The creature was crystal clear and splashed against Karrauk with a great deal of force. I fired my crossbow at the creature, but it flowed out of the way and then surged into Karrauk again. He hit the creature with his scimitar and it seemed to lose some cohesion. I charged in with my club and unsuccessfully tried to attack the monster. Karrauk is able to damage it again, but it splashes both of us causing serious harm. Finally after a third hit from Karrauk the elemental began to retreat back into the pool. With a final blow from Karrauk the creature exploded into droplets of water, and then the pool was calm again.

After the battle with the elemental we were both exhausted and injured, so we decided to head back to the Trencher’s Rest to recover before investigating further. By the time we got out of the sewers it is late in the day and the sun has started to set. When we reached the inn we greeted Brelnas and asked if he had a bath we could use. Luckily, he said they have a few baths in a separate area around the back that we could use for a quarter slip each. We bathed and washed off the filth of the sewers and relaxed. We had an evening meal of roast beef with biscuit, beans, and ale before heading back to our room. The next morning we paid Brelnas for another day of room and board.

March 15, 2170 AE: Breakfast was a filling meal of bacon, eggs, and toast. Before we headed back to the sewers Karrauk purchased a weeks worth of rations for Kathek. We were able to make our way back to the cave without incident, and Kathek was grateful for the food and water. When we reached the pool again we could see there was another one of the buildings in the eastern part of the room. This one had an opening on the southern wall we could actually reach. As we went inside we found a room with stone shelves, on which there were heaps of ash and broken pieces of pottery. On the ground it seemed as if the ash had been scattered around. It appeared as though some items may have been taken and all of the pottery was smashed to bits.

Finally, we headed to the tomb with the silver hand. Karrauk pushed on the door and it swung open easily. Inside the room was a sight similar to the previous tomb except in the center of the room was a stairway leading down. We headed down the stairs and found it lead to a room with shelves cut into the walls. On the ceiling of the room were the remains of what was once a mosaic pattern, though many of the tiles had been removed. From what was left of it, the mosaic also appeared to be a symbol of Bahamut. The only other item of interest was some sort of altar or box with a stone lid. I attempted to Detect Magic, but was unable to find anything of interest in the room. Karrauk used his any-tool as a crowbar to pry open the lid, but inside we found nothing.

As soon as we had the lid of the altar, four Veln wearing brown cloaks suddenly came charging down the stairs. The one in front was a male silver Veln wearing plate armor with a longsword in hand. Behind him were two other males, to his left was a black Veln wielding a mace and to the right a brass Veln with an axe. In the back was a white female Veln with a two-handed sword resting on her shoulder. The lead Veln glanced at our hands and seemed confused for a moment before stating that he knows we are working for the Ruby Guard and demanding we tell him where we are holding Janvyre. We tell him we are not working for the Ruby Guard, and the Veln on the right commented that you never know where Indies stand before being silenced.

The silver Veln stared at us in a way that almost seemed like he could see into our souls, before relaxing and saying we hold no evil in our hearts. He says it is unlikely the Ruby Guard would trust Indies to work on something so sensitive, much less half-humans. He will grant us mercy so long as we swear this meeting to secrecy. The black Veln reminded the lead Veln about the initiate, and that they still must rescue her. He replied that just because this action failed doesn’t mean he had given up, and that Brak’nal will guide them.

I explained to the group that we are working for Janvyre’s brother and ask if they have any information about her that might help us. They put away their weapons and the brass Veln commented that it seemed all their work tearing down the signs Davkul put up was for nothing. The silver Veln glared at him for a moment before telling us that he believed what we were saying, and that while his colleague spoke out of turn the reason they destroyed the signs was because they didn’t want to get any Indies involved. Karrauk asked why they would want to keep Indies out of it, and the silver Veln explained that the tomb with the silver hand was a trap to lure in the Ruby Guard. He finally introduced himself as Elhand Emberheart, and that the black Veln with the mace was Martiln Ancarv, the brass was Elgretor Flamesbreath, the white was Thersaadi Goldheart, and together they are the Order of Truth. We introduced ourselves in turn, and afterward they say we must pledge not to turn them in to the Ruby Guard before they will tell us any more.

Elhand explained that Janvyre was an initiate of their order, who was sent to Haven in order to meet up with a contact. She was only told that a silver hand would open the door for her in Haven. Unfortunately, the Ruby Guard found out about the meeting and attempted to arrest their contact before the meeting could take place, resulting in his death. When Janvyre arrived and found no-one waiting for her, she began to search the city looking for him. The Ruby Guard discovered her and began to tail her, which prevented the Order from being able to come to her assistance. Eventually the Guard arrested her and, knowing that all the information Janvyre had was about the silver hand and the stone door, the Order decided to set a trap for the Guard. The Order knew that Janvyre was being held at the fort, but they needed to know where her she was located in order to free her, and the prisoners are frequently rotated between cells. They don’t have the resources for a full-scale assault, but they believed they could free her from the outside of the walls as long as they knew where to breach the fort.

The Ruby Guard would never have sent anyone who wasn’t directly involved in the capture of Janvyre, so the Order hoped to capture a member with the knowledge of her location. They assumed Janvyre would break under the Ruby Guard’s questioning, but perhaps they had underestimated her resolve. Now that we were involved and had been asking around Haven about this place it was no longer safe for them to stay here. The silver hand had been placed on the door to this tomb, as it was actually a tomb related to Bahamut. Elhand’s rank in the Order is known as the “Silver Hand” and he was the one who would have been opening the door to new opportunities for Janvyre. That was what had originally been intended by the message to Janvyre, but they figured they could use the literal translation to lure in the Guard.

While the Order would like to discover the cell that Janvyre is being held in, most of the Ruby Guard would recognize their members on sight. Their best option would be to intercept the Ruby Guard daily correspondence. Due to the bloated size of the Guard they regularly have to send updates, including prisoner reports, to the capitol. Every day a courier and guard head through West Haven to a protected transport cart, which gathers supplies before heading west to the capitol. The best solution would be to ambush the courier on route as he travels through West Haven, but it is a wealthier area so there is a larger Guard presence.

Once the Order can get the information on Janvyre, they have some charges they acquired from Dwarven traders that they intend to use to open an entrance to the cell block from the outside of the fort. They plan to retrieve her during the night and escape with the element of surprise. Karrauk asked for more information on what the Order stands for and why they have such problems with the Ruby Guard. Elhand tells us the Order has problems not just with the Ruby Guard, but with all of the Syndicates. They oppose their existence and believe they have perverted a holy artifact of Brak’nal. The Syndicates are built on the horrors of an unending war with the undead, and while in previous ages people brought the fight to the undead the Syndicates were content with just holding their current territory. The Order believes that Kyran Steelscale’s armor should be in the hands of the followers of Brak’nal to be used to fight the undead. The Dwarves also hate the syndicates and Half-Orcs and Half-Elves are detested, they feel it is their duty to oppose both the kingdom and the Syndicates.

They told us that the courier takes a similar path each day. As it has become an very routine event the security has become lax after so long without any problems. There is only one member of the Guard with the courier and they always take the same route on the same schedule. The courier picks up the information from an administrator located in the courts at the fort. The Order felt that setting their trap for the Guard was a safer approach, because it would be difficult for them to avoid notice in West Haven. They would prefer not to have to take any action at all, but they refused to allow the Guard to unjustly hold Janvyre.

They didn’t want to approach her brother because they knew he was being watched. They intend to send them both back to New Adamant as soon as they can secure Janvyre’s freedom. They told us they would like our help to free her, but that we could take our time making the decision. They know the schedule of the Guard and the layout of West Haven, as well as various pieces of Ruby Guard armor that could be used as a disguise. It also might be possible to retrieve the information after it is delivered to the caravan, but they felt that would be a more dangerous approach as members of Cold Steel are sometimes hired to assist in protecting the caravan.

Karrauk asked how we could get in contact with them again after we made our decision. Elhand told us to meet them two days from now outside the city in an area to the north. A few miles out of town we would find an abandoned windmill at an old fallow farm. There we would have plenty of space and time to plan. We are to meet them at ten at night, and we are not to use any torches or lights until we reach the farm. He said that they would be leaving now but they look forward to seeing us there. As he left he removed the silver hand from the door and put it in his robes.

View
Turin's Journal 5

Before we left the area we decided to investigate the southern tomb further, due to the information Kathek had provided us. It appeared that there was a crack in the northern wall of the structure that went all the way through. Unfortunately due to the angle of the break we couldn’t see into the tomb itself. Karrauk used his Any-Tool to make a pick which he wedged into the crack to expand it. Eventually he was able open it to the point where we could see inside, which revealed that there was a doorway on the other side of the tomb opening into another passage. After about twenty minutes of work Karrauk was able to break through the wall causing minimal damage to the tomb. Inside we found a room similar to the other tombs in the area, except that most of the urns in this one were still intact. There was also another mosaic of Bahamut on the ceiling of this tomb, also in good condition.

We moved through the tomb to the door and found a small open cave area. On the floor of the cave was an ancient looking chest. The top of the chest was sprinkled with dirt and dust, but it seemed to be well-made. Karrauk did his best to examine the chest for traps and wasn’t able to discover anything that appeared dangerous. When we tried to open the chest we found that it was locked, so Karrauk turned his Any-Tool into a crowbar and used it to pry open the lid. Inside we found two small leather pouches, a long cylindrical wrapping of oilcloth, and a leather tube with a cap on it. Karrauk searched the two pouches and found that one contained two gemstones, an onyx and a tourmaline, the other contained twenty-six Imperial gold coins. I opened the leather tube and found a scroll inside, and after using Read Magic I was able to determine it was a scroll of Flaming Sphere. Wrapped up in the oilcloth I found a vibrant red wand which was perfectly polished and in good condition. I was able to determine it was a wand of Burning Hands. Upon further inspection Karrauk believes the onyx to be worth around ninety Silver Slips, though he is unsure of the value of the tourmaline beyond that it is more valuable than the onyx.

After collecting the contents of the chest we headed back out of the sewers to the Trencher’s Rest. Goroth and Ailaren were missing from their usual spots. Brelnas told us that things have been quiet recently, as Goroth and Ailaren have been gone on some mission for the Underdogs, and the dwarven traders have moved on. After smelling us he offered us the use of his baths again while he prepared lunch for us. We took him up on his offer and, after the baths, enjoyed a lunch consisting of a beef sandwich and some Trencher’s stew. As we were finishing our lunches Brelnas mentioned that he had almost forgotten to inform us of a package that had arrived for us. It was a small wooden box and, after using Detect Magic, I was able to determine it contained a weak source of magic. Inside the box was a six-inch glazed porcelain sphere. On the surface of the sphere is a painted image of the symbol of Brak’nal. Brelnas mentioned that he wouldn’t have figured us for the prayer sphere type, and then we excused ourselves to our room.

It appeared that there was something magical inside the sphere. The sphere was glazed white on the outside with the exception of the symbol. Karrauk held it to his ear and rolled it around for a bit, which allowed him to hear something soft shifting around inside. We broke the sphere open with a hammer and inside was a folded up piece of parchment. We unfolded the parchment and found it contained a hand-drawn map of West Haven. Each corner of the map was a different color and they appeared to be dog-eared as if they had folded repeatedly. There were various points of interest marked on the map, including the Cold Steel barracks and various city landmarks. When we folded the red corner back red ink appeared on the map with the message “Ruby Guard Concentration Map.” We tried the other corners and found that each revealed different information, including the courier’s route, the West Haven districts, and the crowd density. We decided to walk the courier’s route in order to get a better idea of West Haven.

We started in an area north of the fort and began walking. Soon we passed by an immaculate building with neatly trimmed hedges and decorative parapets and a large tower, higher than the outer fort walls. Many people were coming and going, the entire place was quite impressive and showy. According to our map, it is likely this is the Jewel of the Empire Hotel and Casino. Near the entrance where coaches were dropping people off, there was a large red bell with a sign that said “Ring for Guard, hotel employee use only.” As we continued on we found that the people of West Haven mostly wore very fine clothing and many had horses and servants. There were some Ruby Guard keeping an eye on things, but compared the the amount of people on the road there weren’t many.

We continued on and to the right we saw tall gray walls covered with ivy that belonged to the Academy of Magic. We could barely see over the walls to see a tall tower located in the center of the academy. In this area we saw many people with books and generally more scholarly types. The whole wall and tower near the bank seemed newer and of a different style than the rest of the fort walls. The older walls are a square style while the newer is more circular and organic, likely done by the elves. There are many more of the Ruby Guard stationed in the area near the bank.

Once we had passed the bank we reached a major crossroads with many people milling about. To the north was a slope winding up with some low-crouching houses and at the top were a bunch of trees, likely a park. To the southeast we saw a large but welcoming structure that was clearly well-made but not opulent. There was a sign out front with a painting of a golden hart declaring the building as The Golden Hart Inn. There were many people coming and going, and inside we could hear the sounds of music and good cheer. Farther to the south we could see the arts district with the grand performance hall towering above it all. This area seemed more bohemian, with a mix of wealthier citizens from West Haven and seedier ones from South Haven. All along to the north were various shops and people shopping and delivering packages. To the southwest was a dingier industrial area, it appeared to be some sort of warehouse district.

Continuing to the west the crowds got heavier and the Ruby Guard presence increased. We passed the Consortium branch office, the head of the Consortium in Haven, which was mostly composed of large nondescript buildings. There were a lot of goods going in and out of these structures, as well as people wearing orange rings. We also passed the Haven tax office, which was a musty old building with few visitors. We reached one of the West Haven bridges and found it to be fairly wide to accommodate the traffic, and arched to allow boats to pass underneath. The area was very chaotic and the bridge appeared to be a bottleneck on traffic. The auction house was also located nearby, it was a huge structure with columns in front. We could hear the sounds of the auctioneers coming from inside. There were more Ruby Guard in the area than we had typically seen, likely keeping an eye on the tax office and the auction house. To the north of this area were various homes of the wealthy citizens of West Haven.

After we crossed the bridge we started to see less of the Ruby Guard, but there was a stronger presence of Underdogs and Cold Steel. The area seemed to have been developed to support the various Syndicate members and had many armories, weapon smiths, and stables. We could see various bars in the area that were heavily populated with Syndicate members. As we approached the barracks we could sense a bit of uneasiness between the members of Cold Steel and the Underdogs. The Cold Steel barracks had a very defined and planned layout, almost military in style. There were many Cold Steel performing drills in front of the barracks. I got the impression that Cold Steel are very strict and organized, a sort of para-military group.

The western gate of Haven seemed more fortified and had a higher of concentration of Ruby Guard than the entrance we had used when we first reached the city. As we had reached the end of the courier’s route we headed back to the Trencher’s Rest and arrived around 4:30. We talked to Brelnas of our walk around West Haven and he mentioned how the Consortium has the marketplace locked down with their price fixing. He told us the Golden Hart is a busy establishment that was originally built by a hunter as a hunting lodge. He would throw large gatherings and invite other hunters in order to display his trophies. The current owner is the great-great-grandson of the founder, and now it mostly caters to wealthy clientele. For dinner we had a Shepard’s pie, a mug of ale, and some muscles from the lake. The inn was still much quieter than we were used to, due to the missing Underdogs. After we retired to our room I worked on an Acid Flask and then we went to bed.

View
Turin's Journal 6

In the morning we decide to follow the courier to get a better idea of his routine. We wait near the casino for him to arrive. While waiting we hear the alarm bell being rung by an employee. In the distance to the east we see the courier and guard running in from the east. As the guard approaches he relaxes. The Ruby guard that had come from around the streets move towards the casino, employee addresses crowd, announcing new winner, a sturdy cart pass through gates surrounded by ruby guard escorting it. As it rolls by the crowd is cheering at a pretty woman inside, waving outside window with beaming smile. She is an elf in finery, upper-class. The cart keeps going to the south, slowly disappears and the crowd begins to disperse.

As things return to normal we see courier approach the employee, Karrauk stealthily moves through the crowd to hear what they are saying. The courier tells the employee they are here to collect the king’s cut. The employee reaches into a sack and gives a rolled sheath of paper to courier. The courier tucks it into a leather satchel. They shake hands and courier turns to leave. They head to the south following the map route. The courier is an elf, slight build, armed with a rapier or saber, accompanied by a large veln. We tail behind the courier towards the bank, there is a lot of commotion and ruby guard have blocked the entrance of the bank. We overhear a richly dressed veln complain about the wait. In front of the bank is the cart from the casino. All access to the bank is blocked and bank employees are unloading heavy looking bags from the cart. The courier goes through the security line into the bank.

A few minutes later the courier emerges and rejoins the escort. They veer off towards the Golden Hart and the courier sits down on a bench outside, the escort goes inside. After about five minutes the escort emerges with two sandwiches. They continue on to a less populated area so we continue ahead to the tax office to wait for them. The escort notices us but is not suspicious. We see them approach the tax office and the escort leans against a post and waits as the courier rings a bell. The door opens and an old veln emerges, his posture is bent and he is wearing thick spectacles. He peers are the visitors and then the courier says the tax documents sir, and he holds out two sets of rolled up papers, one obviously from the casino. The veln accepts the papers and says we will have these taken care of in no time, you boys have fun now, then leaves.

They then head north through the market square, abuzz with people. Many yelling their wares, people shopping for the day. There seems to be an unusual commotion, a crowd gathered outside a smith’s shop. The courier and escort stop to see what is happening. Standing outside the shop near the anvil there are 3 people, a bronze veln wearing a smith’s heavy leather apron, looking on with excitment and anxioty as an elvish man (adventurer) is holding a shining silver blade wearing leather armor, over his armor is a blue tabard upon which there is a silvery white symbol of a running dog. He says a fine blade Ta’nan i think youve outdone yourself, then he does a display of sword prowess, swinging the blade as the crowd oohs and aahs. We relize he may be most skilled swordsman we have seen. There is a 3rd person obscured by crowd, he is a gnome, few seen in haven, he is wearing the same tabard as the elf and is resting idly on a staff. He is looking on with a bored expression. The elf finished with a flourish and the crowds roars and applauds, the elf says there is a reason ta’nan is underdogs #1 weaponsmith. This is your best blade yet, keep this up and you will have dwarves fighting to learn your secrets, hands blade back to smith. The smith is very pleased. The elf scans the crowd and his eyes stop on the two of us and he stares at us for a moment, then his attention is broken when the gnome tugs on his tabard. Then it is hard to see them through the crowd. They seem to be a bit of celebrities (Underdogs). As it calms down we notice the courier and escort are moving away.

we following them across the bridge and see them having an intense conversation. The crowd is more sparse here except for members of Cold Steel. The reach the crossroads and stop and converse for awhile and the courier rummages through his bad and retrieves another scroll tied with a blue ribbon, shows it to escort. They talk some more and then the courier puts it away and they head north towards the barracks. I disguise myself with my hex to look like an elven fighter and Karrauk removes his cloak. We see the courier pull out his paper and remove the ribbon and looks over the note and rolls it back up and ties it again. The escort looks around but takes no notice of us. They enter the headquarters, we wait for about 15 minutes and then six armored COld Steel mercs come from the barracks and line up outside the office, then courier emerges and meets with mercs. As they come back we split up and appear busy as they pass. They continue southward towards the gate. We see a lot of traffic going in and out of the gate. The group passes through the gate. We follow them through and see the armored cart in a secured area that is fenced off with guards. The courier passes through into the secured area and he reaches into his patch and hands a set of sealed envelopes to the cart atendee. Then he hands the courier a piece of parchment and signs something on it, then the courier leaves back into the city. The whole route took about 2 hours.

We return to the Trenchers rest to wait for our meeting time, I finish my Acid Flask in the meantime. We head out and travel without light. We travel through a sparsely wooded area. Karrauk stops me and then points out some bushes and tugs me to the other side of the path. There is some movement from the bushes and then out from the bushes bursts 2 goblins and a goblin dog. The creatures charge forward and a goblin swings and misses Karrauk, and the dog bites him. I run around and use burning hands on the goblins, then karrauk slashes at the dog, goblin yells at it. One goblin retreats and shoots a bow hitting me. I fire and miss, goblin shoots me again. The dog tries to run and karrauk stabs and kills it. I shoot the goblin, Karrauk slashes other goblin. Goblin charges me with a short sword and misses. Karrauk strongly hits the goblin and it collapses in a heap and starts begging for mercy. Other goblin cuts me lightly, i hit him lightly with club. Karrauk comes to assist on my goblin. I strongly hit the goblin, then karrauk flanks him and stabs him. Then i finish off the goblin. I use healing hex on us. We search them and find 3 SS and 10 BS.

As we approach the windmill we hear a psst from the brush. We look and see Martiln, the black veln from the sewers. He beckons us into the brush and seems quite nervous. He says you have to turn back, we came early and an underdog squad broke up the meeting and took the others prisoner. We still have a chance to rescue Janvyre but its up to us. They were keeping watch but the underdogs came out of nowhere. He said they already made arrangements to free her, they contacted certain underworld elements to position the explosives near a maintenance gate near the fort. The cart is disguised as food crates, gate will be unlocked and unguarded. They need her location tomorrow in order to continue the plan. He trusts his brothers but there is risk of information being revealed, we just need to roll the cart up the hill to the fort wall and position it near her cell, light the card and take cover, grab janvyre and escape. He will be waiting with a boat at the eastern river with Davkul and our reward.

Karrauk asks who else knew of meeting, Martiln knows of noone else with knowledge of meeting. We discuss our options and decide we are unwilling to blow up the fort, Martiln volunteers to do that part himself, we tell him we are not likely to succeed at stealing from the courier with the time limit and he would be better hiring a thief. He is dissappointed but says he plans to try and free her himself.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.