The Nine and Six and One

The Plot Thickens

Session Date: 12/13/2011

Heading towards Wayfinder’s Institute.

During the night, Aldric went out to look for the Thieves’ Guild. He can explore 1/8 of the city starting from the rail station. Aldric finds that Fairhaven is a pretty clean city mostly free of crime. He slips into the sewers. The sewers are fairly wide, but pitch black. He lights a torch from his adventurer’s kit. He sees no more thieves’ marks down in the sewers. He explores a bit more noting entrances and exits. After a few more hours, he finds that each slice of the city has a couple of accessible man holes, which he can’t fit through. As he gets closer to the docks, someone calls out to him, seeing his torch.

He responds with his Flamekeep guild sign. Hobb Knobb Cobb, the guy who called out, realizes Aldric is not from around here. He demands that Aldric leave the sewers, the he not steal from the Dragonmark houses, and that he doesn’t interfere with other thieves. “Cutthroat Charles wouldn’t be happy.”

If Aldric minds himself, then he may get an invitation. Aldric didn’t see Hobb Knobb Cobb, but got a good hear of his voice. Aldric heads back to the inn and sleeps. The group is sharing one room, and Hogar was keeping watch for Aldric, yet Aldric slips into bed unnoticed.
We wake up in the morning, smelling a delicious breakfast downstairs. Today the inn is serving imported Thunder Lizard eggs from the Talenta Plains.

The party, wary of the high cost of eating at the Smiling Mutton, attempts to avoid eating their despite the scrumptious smells. Neils wants to eat fine food, as a wizard of his stature deserves the best. Aldric is so hungry, that he can’t resist. The rest of the party heads out onto the street (dragging Neils & Aldric) grabbing a 2sp meal at some random street stall.

We head over to the Wayfinder Foundation. Aldric hears along the way that the general disposition of the populace is cheerful but there are some rumblings that some people are unhappy with “the Eyes”. These are the local intelligence — Aundarian Royal Eyes. They are in Fairhold, center of city. Zel gossips with the local ladies, and finds out that there was a murder at the Wayfinder foundation last night! In fact, they had some sort of trouble before that, brought in a House Deneith guard, who was subsequently murdered. The foundation is closed due to vandalism.

Neils regales us with what he knows about the Foundation: Lord Boroman Erdain has revitalized the explorer trade by making many journeys to Xen’drik and has returning with many treasures.
Upon arriving at the Wayfinder Foundation, the party notices that it is a large building, not unlike a museum of natural history, with large Corinthian pillars. Outside the large, front double doors we see a small cluster of people arguing. On one side are several armed and armored people facing down door guards of a male dwarf, a male Halfling and a human female armed only in their fine clothing.

We hear them …

Miscellaneous Bully Boy: “It was our man who was killed in there. We’ll tear this place apart.”
Halfling: “You… can’t. Can’t destroy our life’s work! We’ll find out what happened to your man. Just gives us some time.”
It becomes obvious that the Bully Boys must be from House Deneith and the Halfling and company must be Lord Boroman Erdain and his associates. Neils smoothly inserts himself into the conversation.
Halfling: “Yes, perhaps these adventurers can be handy…”
Neils establishes a rapport with the Lord retelling some of the stories he has heard.
Lord Boroman: “I will contract these adventurers to find out what happened to your man.”
Zel mentions, “We’d be glad to help them,” While strongly hinting at payment.
The blademarked Deneith guards say “alright….we’re trusting you Boroman. Don’t let us down. If we don’t have result tomorrow we’re coming in.”
They leave.
We know that membership in The Wayfinder Foundation (and thus unlimited access to their extensive libraries) is by invitation only. To become a member, one must either have

  • adventured in 1 land beyond Khorvaire, finding at least 2 artifacts worth 10k gold pieces each,
  • have been escorted by a giant of Xen’drik as guest
  • Accompanied a Wayfarer Foundation expedition and served admirably
  • or be recommended by one of the rulers of the local nations.

Members have unlimited access to Wayfarer Foundation library, artifacts, resources, or request rescue by the rescue team. Anyone of course, can buy shares into expeditions.

Zel begins the negotiation for our help, starting with a request for membership.
Lord: “Hmmm…membership. I…..I’m afraid not. What lands have you explored? What beasts have you slain? What fantastic tales have you experienced?” Neils: “How about juts access to the library?” “Nope.” Zel: “What are you offering, then?” The Woman: “There is….perhaps the Pearl? As a suitable exchange…” Lord: “Ah…uh….it’s a….minor magical artifact.. (Lets us reuse an encounter power if it missed).”

Zel uses his expert negotiation skills to request additional gold on top of the pearl. The dwarf flexes his fists… and Aldric takes careful note of his four gold rings— he is a member of the gold conglomerate — Aurum Organization. The dwarf offers us 100 gold. Lord: “Please, this is worth at least 300 gold.” Zel closes the deal for 300 gold+ pearl + a chance to talk with these people again and pick their brains for information. They take us inside to show us… The Wayfinder Foundation!

Inside we find… Life sized dioramas… a grand main hall, displaying stone tablets in ancient languages from Xen’drik… A beholder suspended from the ceiling… Cases of artifacts and weapons recovered from everywhere… scales of dragons…

Lord Boroman shows us into a side room where we see a collection of creatures — real creatures that have been taxidermied. The pride of the collection is the hydra…but it has been vandalized. Its heads lie almost severed, as if from a blade. Others creatures have been damaged by deep claw marks as if from a medium sized creature.

Lord: “This was damaged two days ago. We contracted the blademark guild for a guard to stop the perpetrator. This has happened more than once. Other displays had sustained minor damage. We had to close it after these incidents! Last night the guard was killed!”

As we continue our journey through the Foundation, we step through an archway….into a jungle. We hear the hoots and screeches of strange creatures. The temperature is controlled by magic… It is close to what you’d find on Xen’drik.

The stuffed creatures are delicate but some survive the trip and find a new home in this display. Boroman leads us to a small clearing. We see on the ground a sign of a struggle. The guard must have been dragged to the ground and thrashed. The guard’s sword was still in its sheath. Aldric thinks it looks like signs of a messy garroting. The guard was confirmed to have been strangled. Strangely, nothing was taken. The group asks if anything was destroyed last night? Other incidents of vandalism occurred during recent nights. This has been going on for a week. No new exhibits were installed recently. All examples of previous damage have already been removed and replaced. The damage appears random.

Aldric doesn’t see any way someone can access this room. The walls are of solid stone, with a high ceiling. The glass panes are all fixed, and the water river was done by a mage smith. Water is teleported from one end to the other to flow again through a hole to small for any know sentient to pass. The next chamber over is a cave environment with glowing fungi, mosses and similar stuff. Lord: “Here is my thought on the matter…come back tonight. We’ll let you in, and you catch whoever is doing this in the act.”

We leave and head towards the University. We plan to be back after dinner. Imre Levalle will let us in. As we leave, Zel explains that the Lord is dying of some odd disease. He had contracted it from raiding a Xen’drik ruin. The disease is draining the life out of him slowly… he will die within the next year if no cure is found.

We head over to Wynarn University. The U consists of several large buildings on an open campus with many stands of trees, lecture halls, as well as the required admin building. There are students out walking and relaxing. Neils goes to the library and finds that Julian Dronnell is recommended as the professor of aberrant dragon marks. Aldric starts casing the joint. Bulwark goes to the section on medicine finding information on folk medicine, modern medicine, and that House Jorasco is around for magical healing.

Niels starts speaking with Professor Dronnell. He finds out that the War of the Mark was fought by the Dragonmark houses to eradicate the aberrant marks. The war culminated in the destruction of Dorasharn. The city of Sharn is built on the ruins today. The marks are not hereditary… they can appear anywhere on anyone, unlike other, standard marks. No one has any idea where they come from. Perhaps exposure to dragon shards (chunks of concentrated magic - 3 types for the three different levels) is part of the cause? After the war, the potency of the aberrant marks was greatly reduced; however the marks have begun to increase in numbers again in recent years. The Professor has met bearers of aberrant marks… further he believes there are some aberrant bearers hiding in the Ghallanda Enclave. Prof. Dronnell has never heard of accelerated aging on a human bearer of an aberrant mark. He also mentions that he has a possible rival at Morgrave University (in Sharn).

Currently the professor is investigating the upswing in the appearance of aberrant marks. He tried to get an interview at the Ghallanda enclave, but was declined admittance. Neils shows the professor the drawing of the mark. Dronnell’s never seen it before, but he offers to help (and keep silence) in return for us scoring an interview with one of the Enclave aberrants. Neils allows the professor to sketch a copy of the mark.

Aldric is looking for banned books …..figures they’d be kept in a vault underground. After exploring, he finds a vault door guarded by two dwarves. They drive him off. He notes that these are House Kundarak guards (guards for banking system, vaults and items). Bulwark is reading….finding many folk remedies claiming to slow aging…but none seem to be credible based on his alchemy work. Modern medicine books are mostly just anatomy stuff. We spend many hours at the University.

It is dinner time. We find a small off campus café with ok food. It has a rowdy student crowd, yet our rough demeanor allows us a bubble of quiet around our table. Zel attempts to make friends with the students by regaling them with his (Non-existent) adventures. They aren’t very impressed by his muscle-bound mentality. Dinner’s cost is 1 gold total. 2sp a person. We head back to the foundation.

It is dark in the foundation. It’s a fairly cloudy night. As we enter the room…one of the displays, a large lynx is gone! Bulwark leaves to check other displays. Aldric follows at a discreet (rearguard) distance. Bulwark notices some odd sand markings in the desert diorama as if something is buried in there as the rest of the team begins to search the jungle environment. Meanwhile, in the jungle a voice calls out. “Are you with them? Are you enemies of nature as well?” The male voice sounds slightly unhinged. We find an Ashbound Druid. Neils challenges “What, are you going to throw paint on us?”… and combat begins. Sand in front of Bulwark in other chamber starts to stir.

Jungle team is ambushed. Desert team is ok temporarily. Jungle team… a plant like creature tries to whip out and strangle Hogar and Zel. Cavefisher Line Spikers come out of the river. Two large ants come out of the sand and attack Bulwark with armor cutting attacks.
After much carnage… we win, killing the Druid. The surviving animals lose their will and stand placidly. (a vine and an ant). The Druid is wearing hide armor and on his side is a satchel containing 3 scrolls and a letter. The letter is half in one handwriting and half in another.

The first half says:
Brother I know what you’re doing is noble and juts but realize our fight doesn’t belong in Aundair but in the Eldeen Reaches against those at the source. Against House Vadalis, against the Druids who sympathize and those who transgress against nature. And I’m afraid you have lost your way. I hope you come to your senses. I hope you rejoin our fight here.

Second half (Angry slashing letters == in reply….)
How can you be so wrong…don’t you realize that if I stop them here I can stop them everywhere if I can make them terrified of nature…they’ll be scared to leave their cities……

We know that the Ashbound druids have split from the other druids in the Eldren Reaches. They are called the Ashbound because when they left their druidic order they set fire to its grove. They commit atrocities in the Reaches. Farms are attacked, ranches are attacked. House Vadalis is under threat from them. Ashburns fight against the other druids. They are not usually active outside of the reaches. They want to prove the supremacy of nature over industry—to stop people from tampering nature for their own gains.

We try to fix things up a little bit. We spend the rest of the night there. In the morning the doors are unlocked. Lord Boroman and Imre and Sheriari Randeje enter… We find that Imre Levalle was in charge of the displays…. he has an awkward conversation with the Lord when we show the Druid and missing Lynx. “How could you let a Druid in here, Imre?” Sheriari is excited about our captives and tames the ant immediately. Lord Boroman is quite pleased with our results, however Imre is angry with the cracked concrete (damaged by the druid). Boroman offers us the opportunity to come to his office to discuss our business. We get +300gp (60gp each) and a Pearl of Power that is warm to the touch and shimmers with a luminescent glow.
Aldric takes the healing scroll of cure light.
Hogar, son of Grumbar gets the Pearl.
Neils gets the scroll of wind wall.
Zel gets the scroll of Elk’s Fortitude.

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