The Compass Rose

Session 51 - Dec. 16/13
I don't need no advice - the Queen won't notice my daggers...

As they leave the Tower or Stars, Murad explains that he can travel across the world by transporting through plants. Rod does not relish the thought.

Rod disguises himself as Aeric and goes to the Journeyman’s Rest tavern to find out more about the would-be assassins. The bartender suggests that they are members of the Guild of Thieves and directs him to the docks district. Rod heads to the docks and finds a suitably seedy tavern. Inside, he talks to a man named Gailen. Rod asks about the two would-be assassins. He leaves the assassin’s dagger with Gailen and says that they shouldn’t have taken the contract to try and attack Rod. Rod then waits outside. When Gailen emerges a few minutes later, he follows him to what looks like a hideout.

When Murad returns to Rod’s estate, Yulando greets him, looking bored. He asks Murad if they are going home soon. Murad explains that he can take him home at anytime if he wants but that he would learn more if he stayed with Murad – they will be leaving soon on the next sea voyage. Yulando seems somewhat reassured by this.

In the morning, Quintin does some research into new formulas. After speaking with his laboratory colleague, Brodie, Quintin learns that their research on the enhanced Attenuate formula should be complete within the next day or two.

Back at his estate, Rod learns from Kent that a letter has arrived for him. It is an invitation from Lady Clyson to meet her for tea that afternoon at her estate. He is informed that his family’s warehouse would fetch about 10000 Gold Swans. Lastly, Kent gives him the notice that he has been formally nominated for the vacant High Council seat. He is to attend the High Council meeting on the morrow at 11 bells.

At around noon, the group goes to the Cathedral of the Benevolent, in the city’s southern quarter, to meet with the matriarch and to find out about Manuel. A priestess leads them to a room with Dwynn, Matriarch of the Benevolent. They are asked to kneel before her. Quintin kneels but Rod and Murad just look at each other and shrug. She invites them to sit.

She mentions the Abbey of Bartholomew the Good in the Hanum islands. It was once used by the Order of the Righteous Wave, of which Manuel was a member. She explains that it was abandoned for many years after a a plague had wiped out most of its members. In recent months, it has been occupied by the Queen’s army, who are using it as an outpost. Some three weeks ago, she received a message from their commander that they had seen a monk, not of the abbey’s order, wearing crimson robes with a glowing triangle on his forehead. The triangle is the symbol of Zaur, the Malevolent. The church sent a priestess and some guards to investigate, but they lost contact with them. When the Matriarch learned that Manuel would be visiting the capitol, she arranged to bring him to the cathedral. When she spoke with him, she mentioned the abbey and the sighting of the crimson monk. Manuel claimed to have no insight into this although she feels that he seemed deeply disturbed by the news. She asked him to stay overnight at the cathedral – she had some more questions for him. The next morning, when they went to fetch Manuel, he was gone. They spent the next few days looking for him within the city. They learned that he hired a boat and was seen sailing to the west, to the Bay of the Protector. She believes he is heading to the abbey.

She asks the group if they would be willing to go to the abbey to learn what has happened and to find their friend. They eagerly agree. She thanks them and offers the services of one of her priestesses for the mission.

Outside, Quintin is frustrated that Manuel did not come to them for aid. Quintin offers to speak with the High Archmage to explain the situation and the mission. At the Tower of the Stars, Quintin explains the proposed mission to High Archmage Kurn. Quintin mentions that Murad has offered to transport them to the abbey through plant-based teleportation. Kurn consents to the mission but expresses concern about the teleportation magic. He explains that accidents have been happening lately when such high level magics are being used. Murad should test his magic first. Quintin agrees to tell Murad this.

Murad and Rod head to Lady Clyson’s estate. A servant tries to have Murad wait outside, but Rod will have nothing to do with it. After some behind-closed-doors complaints, the Lady concedes to seeing them both. Rod introduces Murad as his adviser and bodyguard. Lady Clyson tells him that she has received word that his step-mother and half-sister are alive, in Marakfall. She asks Rod if he has been nominated for the High Council seat, to which he answers yes. She suggests that, if he wanted to focus on trying to save his family, she could sit on the High Council to represent his house’s interests in his stead. Rod declines the offer, but thanks her for information on his family. She seems disappointed and somewhat angered.

After returning to Rod’s estate, Murad sends messages to Sota and Ita, back on Calmuth Island, asking about Princeton and his people. He is told that his people are well and are still hidden. Princeton is now occupied by the Lettanni but the Governor is holding out within the keep. Their friend, Taipa, has visited to make sure the people are alright.

Early the next morning, Murad and Yulando head out to test Murad’s plant transporting powers. Murad transports them to a tree near Marakfell but Yulando is not with him. Murad sends him a message asking him where he is. It turns out that he never left Rod’s estate. Murad contacts the Matriarch to ask if she also has noticed problems with higher level spells; she confirms that she has noticed this also. Murad regrets to say that he will not be able to transport the group to the abbey as he planned. They will have to take a more mundane mode of transportation.

Instead, Murad teaches Yulando some simple spells. Then, as a small Roc, he takes the lad on a flight to see the lands north of Llantry. Yulando is impressed by the natural beauty.

Rod gets ready for the High Council meeting. He stashes most of his weapons in his bag, but still keeps a pair of daggers on him very well hidden. He dons his glamoured armour. As he gets into the carriage to leave, they hear some sort of chanting or singing off to the west. This triggers Rod’s memory – today is the 15th day of Suriel – the Day of the Justifier…

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Session 50 - Dec. 2/13
You can never have too many knives...

After the meeting of the Low Council, Murad and Rod return to Rod’s estate. Quintin goes back to the High Alchemists’ laboratory and briefs High Alchemist Heyrod about the events of the past 24 hours. Heyrod inquires about the man that led Rod to the abandoned shop and suggests it be followed up on. The High Alchemist is also uphappy that Quintin shared the Attenuate formula, as it seems that it may have gotten out of the laboratory. Quintin apologizes and promises not to do this again.

At the estate, Rod and Murad discuss what to do with JE Ritter, the ex-pirate. Rod mentions that he knows of a “place” where they can leave him long-term. Murad has a plan to make Ritter a threat to no one. He flies over to the room where Ritter is being kept. The room is foul smelling and has not been taken care of. Murad finds Ritter lying in the bed mumbling something incomprehensible. Murad sees a pitcher of water and a small cup sitting on a table near the bed. He casts a curse spell, Water of Maddening, onto the water to further twist Ritter’s mind and deform his body. Then, he casts another spell, Cup of Dust, to make Ritter thirsty. Predictably, Ritter quickly drinks the cursed water. He collapses to the floor in a tangled mess. Satisfied that Ritter is unable to escape, Murad returns to the estate.

Rod pays his driver, Len, to tour the the city to make it look like he is in the coach. Then, they hail a cab and go and fetch Ritter. The land-lady of the room haggles with Murad over back rent, to which she tries to overcharge. They take Ritter to a small sanitarium. The tell the woman in charge that his name is “George” and that he is first cousin to Lady Clyson. They pay a month’s lodging and leave. They find a tavern nearby – The Golden Gander – to kill some time.

At the laboratory, Brodie tells Quintin that one of the labourers, who helps grind the raw star ore for the production of Ama, has become ill. Quintin searches that area of the lab but doesn’t find anything unusual. Brodie also mentions that the fungal rock that they have been studying seems to have moved from its previous spot.

p. After the meeting of the Low Council, Murad and Rod return to Rod’s estate. Quintin goes back to the High Alchemists’ laboratory and briefs High Alchemist Heyrod about the events of the past 24 hours. Heyrod inquires about the man that led Rod to the abandoned shop and suggests it be followed up on. The High Alchemist is also uphappy that Quintin shared the Attenuate formula, as it seems that it may have gotten out of the laboratory. Quintin apologizes and promises not to do this again.

At the estate, Rod and Murad discuss what to do with JE Ritter, the ex-pirate. Rod mentions that he knows of a “place” where they can leave him long-term. Murad has a plan to make Ritter a threat to no one. He flies over to the room where Ritter is being kept. The room is foul smelling and has not been taken care of. Murad finds Ritter lying in the bed mumbling something incomprehensible. Murad sees a pitcher of water and a small cup sitting on a table near the bed. He casts a curse spell, Water of Maddening, onto the water to further twist Ritter’s mind and deform his body. Then, he casts another spell, Cup of Dust, to make Ritter thirsty. Predictably, Ritter quickly drinks the cursed water. He collapses to the floor in a tangled mess. Satisfied that Ritter is unable to escape, Murad returns to the estate.

Rod pays his driver, Len, to tour the the city to make it look like he is in the coach. Then, they hail a cab and go and fetch Ritter. The land-lady of the room haggles with Murad over back rent, to which she tries to overcharge. They take Ritter to a small sanitarium. The tell the woman in charge that his name is “George” and that he is first cousin to Lady Clyson. They pay a month’s lodging and leave. They find a tavern nearby – The Golden Gander – to kill some time.

At the laboratory, Brodie tells Quintin that one of the labourers, who helps grind the raw star ore for the production of Ama, has become ill. Quintin searches that area of the lab but doesn’t find anything unusual. Brodie also mentions that the fungal rock that they have been studying seems to have moved from its previous spot.

Murad uses the crystal to send a message to Lord Waltin to ask him to meet them at his back door at 11 bells. Later, they head over to Lord Waltin’s estate. In his study, they tell Lord Waltin about the Children of Zepha and the falling star. Lord Waltin explains that he has been nominated by Duke Attham, an ally to the Queen, to stand for the open seat on the High Council. He does not relish the position and agrees to speak with Duke Attham about supporting Rod. Rod assures him that, although he is being supported by Duke Cahorn, he does not intend to vote with him at the High Council meeting.

They slink out the back door and send a message to Quintin updating him. They fetch Quintin at the laboratory. He tells them that the magic items they requested are ready. The three of them decide to find the man who led them into the trap at the House of Fenne offices.

Rod dons his new Hat of Disguise and changes his appearance. They go to The Elephant Inn and Tavern to find the man but have no luck. Murad, knowing that he has actually met this man, thinks to use a Scrying spell to find him. He will require some time to prepare the spell so they return to the DeloSiren estate. Looking into a mirror, Murad sees the man in the tavern that they stayed at their first night in Llantry – The Journeyman’s Rest. The man seems to be asking after Rod and his companions.

Quinton takes alchemies to enhance his physical abilities and runs off toward the tavern. Rod and Murad watch the man a little longer. Then Murad turns into a Roc and, carrying Rod, flies in the direction of the inn.

Arriving at the Journeyman’s Rest, Quintin sees the man from the mirror on the street, about 40’ from the tavern. He is talking to another, larger man. He can hear them talking about the group and Rod’s estate. Quintin decides to get the jump on them and lobs a stink bomb into their midst. Quintin’s companions arrive. Murad drops Rod onto a roof and casts Barkskin on him, “making him into that what he hates”.

Quintin drops another bomb and moves into the stinking cloud to close. He finds the smaller man retching and his friend trying to help him flee down an alley. Rod moves to overlook the alley they are headed for. Murad changes into a pigeon and Quintin hits the stumbling man with a tanglefoot bag, slowing them down even further. The larger man abandons his friend and takes off towards the alley. Quintin grapples the sick man and proceeds to pummel him into unconsciousness. By this point, Rod is hiding in the alley and catches the fleeing thug by surprise. He hits him several times but the man continues to run. He manages to quaff a potion of invisibility but Murad sees where he is and knocks him out with an_ Ice Storm_ spell.

The groups hauls the unconscious men up to a roof. They send a message to High Archmage Gralius Kurn that they are coming. Murad transforms into a small Roc again and flies all of them toward the Tower of Stars. As they approach the tower, the glass of the tower room opens to allow them to land. The High Archmage, seeing the men lying on his floor, demands an explanation. Murad explains what happened, as Rod disarms and removes their items of interest.

  • +2 dagger
  • +3 glamored short sword
  • +2 glamored studded leather armor
  • +1 corrosive burst dagger
  • assassins dagger
  • +3 leather armor of improved shadow
  • potion of invisibility
  • 3 small vials of tears of death

Before they leave, Gralius Kurn tells them that the Matriarch of the Church of Fira wishes to speak with the party. It has to do with their friend, Manuel…

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Session 49 - Nov. 18/13
A mouse is a powerful ally.

Murad revives Quintin then dismisses his wall of thorns. The enemy sorcerer falls to the ground. While searching the body, they find:

  • Metamagic Rod of Extend Spell
  • Potions: lesser restoration, greater magic fang +3, shield of faith +3
  • Wand of arcane lock (CL9, 23 charges left)
  • Studded leather +2 (spell resistance 15)
  • Light mace +2, anarchic
  • Dagger +3
  • Bracers of Armour +4
  • Handy haversack
  • Headband of mental superiority +2
  • Ring of spell knowledge 3, (Rejuvinate eidelon)
  • Suicide ring (spent)

The group searches the rest of the offices. On the second floor, they find a well appointed office. A hidden compartment nest to the fireplace contains:

  • pink crystal
  • several league bank notes, worth 8,000 gp
  • a ledger

They also find a safe which contains more bank notes (10,000 gp), a bag of gems (6,200 gp) and a bag of coins (15,500 gp).

They hear knocking at the door and what sounds like a guard calling. The party decides to not make their presence known to the guard at this time; they take the body of the sorcerer and return to the corridors below. They finish searching the other corridors. The east tunnel leads to a warehouse. The north tunnel leads to a closet with two men heard speaking on the other side. Murad turns into a mouse and sneaks under the door to check it out. He finds that it is a guard house, and the two men are city guards. The west tunnel is the shortest and leads to a textile shop. They wrap the body in a carpet and head to Rod’s house.

The group holes up in Rod’s office and figures out what to do. Rod says it would not be a good idea to go to the city guard just yet, seeing that a tunnel went to a guard house. They decide to go to the Archmage first.

While poring over the ledger, Quintin finds many deals involving with Rod’s family. He also finds a contract purchased by House Fenne for the services of a Brindish mercenary company called “The Black Blades”. The contract was subsequently sold to House Cahorn.

The pink crystal turns out to be a communication device. It can send messages to any known recipients and can receive short responses. It can also store up to three messages. The crystal currently has one stored message. They hear a woman’s voice:

My wizened friend, It is proving more difficult to retrieve the assets of the late alchemist than had been foreseen. None to worry, we know of their location and I have taken special measures to obtain them.

You will be pleased to learn that both Lord Keye and his heir have been disposed of. That should strengthen our position on the council. Their deaths have made another of my tasks easier. The group that has been interfering with our plans will soon be in hand. They have taken the bait and are investigating. I will be leaving the city shortly. The other items that you seek will be retrieve…

Quintin remembers that the term “Wizened” is a title given to a High Archmage. After much debate, it is decided that Murad and Quintin will confront the High Archmage with this information. Rod will hold the ledgers and will pay a visit to the Queen if something befalls the others at the meeting.

They meet with the High Archmage, Gralius Kurn. Murad casts spells to protect himself before going in, planning for the worst. Quintin reveals the body to Kurn, while Murad shows him the ring. They mention the connections between the murders, House Fenne, and the Duke of Cahorn. Kurn assures them he is not the one referred to in the message. He also mentions that the Queen has called an emergency meeting of the Low Council for 3 bells this afternoon. Murad asks the High Archmage about resurrecting the Earl and/or his son. Kurn responds that the Churches might object to it, but he will look into it all the same. Gralius Kurn will arrange to have Quintin act as an assistant to the mage who will be attending the Queen during the council meeting. Murad is authorized to surveil the palace grounds as he sees fit.

Quintin and Murad rush to meet up with Rod and let him know how the meeting went. They then go to the House Cahorn estate so that Rod can make his appointment with the Duke. Murad, as a mouse, hides in Rod’s pocket. During the meeting, he transmits the details of the conversation to Quintin by using the crystal.

The Duke explains the history of the councils to Rod. This jogs Rod’s memory about how the Queen herself came to rule. Duke Cahorn then asks Rod what his feelings are about the war. Rod replies that it is not profitable and so he is not in favour of it. The Duke seems comfortable with his response and tells him that there may be a motion for peace at the council meeting today.

Rod asks him if he was responsible for his brother’s death and asks about his connection to House Fenne re: the Black Blades contract. The Duke calmly says that he was not responsible for his brother’s death that he does not know of anything about the contact. Cahorn then informs Rod that a seat on the High Council is now vacant. He asks Rod if he would accept the position were it offered to him. Rod replies affirmatively. The Duke offers to nominate him at the next High Council meeting. As he is leaving, Rod also informs the Duke about the falling star and the Children of Zepha. The Duke seems to be unconcerned with these issues.

Quintin goes on ahead to meet Jalnorm, the Stars’ Children representative at the Low Council Meeting. Rod takes his carriage to the meeting with Murad in his pocket.

At the meeting, Rod speaks with Lord Waltin, his sister-in-law’s father. Lord waltin thanks rod for looking after his daughter. Rod uses Murad and the crystal to warn him about the pending motion by the Duke of Cahorn.

The Queen’s speaker enters the chamber and announces the arrival of Her Majesty Elyn, Queen of Ealdur. She greets the councillors and takes her seat above the High Councillors. Quintin and Jalnorm move to their seat near her and observe the crowd.

The speaker announces the death of the Earl of Keye. He informs council that a seat on the High Council is now vacant. High councillors may nominate members of the Low Council for the position up to 1 hour before the next High Council meeting, which is to take place in two days.

Lord Byton’s motion to change the name of the Queen’s Army to the “Loyalist Army of the Counties of Ealdur” is easily defeated.

Earl Kellan of House Rand takes the floor. He speaks of the siege of Wendgate. The city has not yet fallen, but more Brindish armies are on route. He argues that now is the time to sue for peace with the Coorish. Caldy, other league cities, the merchant houses, and League Bank are in favour of peace. Lord Byton of Byton, Duke Cahorn of Baywick, Lord Arthard of Llantry, and Lady Clyson of Sebluff support the motion. Lord Ortlander of Cumbrindy, Lord Attham of Niya’s Pool, and Lord Waltin of Niya’s Pool are opposed to the motion. They argue that the Brindish may attack the southern Ealduran city of Cumbrindy, despite the situation in Wendgate and that the Coorish fleet will quickly dispatch Wendgate once it arrives. The speaker indicates that the Queen opposes the motion. Rod votes in favour of the motion. The yays win. The matter will be brought to the High Council for a final vote.

Lady Clyson motions that the Stars’ Children be barred from attending the council meetings. Some elements of the Stars’ Children are rumoured to be aiding the Lettanni and Coorish in the war and having them present here, may compromise their security. Rod votes against it. The vote ends in a tie – the Queen breaks the tie and defeats the motion. Many councillors look displeased with this.

The speaker adjourns the meeting and informs the councillors that the next one will be held in a fortnight. Afterwards, Rod speaks with Lords Waltin and Athard and Lady Clyson. Rod gets the feeling that she wants the vacant seat on the High Council.

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Session 48 - Nov. 4/13
Beware of ambushing dinosaurs!

Murad and Rod head to Earl Keye‘s estate and they meet the captain of the guard who is already meeting with the Earl’s daughter. They exchange information and they find out the address of the Earl’s son, in the market district. After a quick change and rearming they head to the flat and toss it looking for clues.

They find a crumpled and ripped note in the corner, that says “you will not inherit”. They head back to the King’s Theatre and find the lead investigator. They give him the note and inform him about the poison. They are informed that Yoel, the Earl’s murderer, met with a man earlier in the day at the Elephant inn and tavern.

They go and meet up with Quintin and compare notes and Rod recalls that the Earl of Keye was a supporter of the Queen and that the Earl’s seat of power is located in Vale, which is along the border with Lettan and if it fell, would open the capital to attack.

Quintin obtains a truth potion from the laboratory, which he has Rod hold onto (to Rod’s displeasure) and they head to the Elephant.

Rod sneaks into the back of the tavern while Murad and Quintin enter the front door while getting many dirty looks. They start to engage the locals in some conversation to gain information and to find the man who supplied Yoel with the poison.

Rod walks into the back of the tavern and bribes a bar wench for information on Yoel and the man, she directs him to another serving wench who after some coins directs him to another man, who said he saw the man, and did see him climb out the window of an abandoned building.

They make there way to the building. After Rod pops opens an easy lock, they begin searching the building. They find a set of tracks leading upstairs then back down to the basement. Rod sneaks into the basement while Murad, as a dog, goes upstairs and Quintin searches the main floor. Murad finds a strong smell coming from a pile of straw, which turns out to be a bloody shoe, and lots of strange footprints, including a very large pair. Rod finds a dead dehydrated body, and a trap door which the tracks lead to.

Rod attempts to open the door, but triggers a magic trap and gets badly hurt. After some healing, they set off down a tunnel. After a half mile following the tracks, they come to a room with 3 other tunnels and a metal ladder going up. Murad discovers that the smell goes up the ladder.

Rod sneaks up and finds a stone wall and a garden (much to Rod’s dismay). Quintin recognizes that it is inside House Fenne’s offices. As they get up into the garden, they hear a sound and the trap door begins to slam shut. Suddenly they are charged are by what looks like a dinosaur.

Rod becomes invisible, as Quintin stops the door, and Murad casts a spell transforming the dinosaur into a toad. Murad grabs the toad as it disappears from his mouth leaving the party guessing. The party hears some chanting so Rod heads for the sound as Quintin bombs the area. Murad shape changes into a bat, as the dinosaur reappears and attacks Quintin, bringing him down but not before Quintin inflicts damage on it. Murad combats the caster and Rod attacks the dinosaur with his swords and throws a barrage of daggers at the caster. Rod is able to cut the dinosaur down as the caster tries to teleport away, but is stopped by Murad who then traps him in a wall of thorns. They do not get to question him as he activates the magic suicide ring. Murad rushes to help Quintin, who is still alive, as Rod stands guard.

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Session 47 - Oct. 14/13
A Murder Most Fowl

In the early morning, Rod is awakened to Saladin banging on the door announcing his arrival. Saladin tells Rod that a sailor was mentioning that Maddy was back at the Maid of Iron. She was speaking to the bartender and, after some words, punched one of her sailors.

Murad, in cat form, awakens in the garden within the Queen’s Palace compound. Several birds are watching him awaiting him to leave their favouraite berry tree. Soon after, a door opens – a young woman and two small girls come out to the garden, followed by two palace guards and a plainly clothed, bespectacled man. The girls spot the “cat” and think it is their cat, “Patches”. The woman notices that it is not Patches and wonders how he could have gotten into the garden. The girls want to pet the cat, but the man says that they should all go inside. They reluctantly comply. The man approaches to study the cat. After the woman and the girls go inside, Murad tells him that they have nothing to fear from him, and turns back into his human form. The man asks him who he is, while he seems to be in communication with someone unseen. He tells Murad that the High Archmage, Gralius Kurn, has confirmed his identity and requests that he leave the palace grounds and not return.

While in the High Alchemists’ underground laboratory, Quintin receives a note from the merchant house of Fenne (the merchant house that Quintin led the island specimen-collecting expedition for), requesting his presence. At the appointed time, Quintin arrives at their Llantry offices. He is admitted and led to a beautiful indoor garden, with a glass ceiling. While waiting, he sees several exotic plants and animals. He notices a red betelnut tree that he believes he recognizes from the expedition. While Quintin is examining the various specimens, Lady Lobelia, the head of House Fenne, arrives to meet him.

She says that she personally requested his presence and thanks him for all that he has done on behalf of her house. She informs Quintin that Vossian Velsurian had signed a contract with House Fenne to retrieve exotic specimens from the Starbirth Sea. He had gone missing and she understood that Quintin might know what became of him. Quintin informs her that he was killed by some sort of slime beast that he encountered on his journey. She asks if Quintin recovered any writings or alchemical formulae. Quintin tries his best to deflect the questions but does let her know about Vossian’s Journal and some of the items that were found.
Lobelia asks to see the journal and the formulae as she has clients who would be interested in them. Quintin says that he must get authorization from the High Archmage first. After some thought, she agrees. Quintin is then led back outside.

Quintin returns to the Tower of Stars and informs the High Archmage of Lobelia Fenne’s request. Kurn agrees that the request is a little unusual, but says that he will consider it and contact her himself.

Rod spends most of the morning selling items from the DeloSiren estate. While Rod is off doing this, Maddy pays a visit to the estate to talk to Murad. Murad inquires about JE Ritter. She tells him that Ritter’s mind is broken and that he is a shell of a man. She is trying to find a place to take care of him and asks if Murad or Rod can help. She fears about restoring his mind may pose a threat to her and the party, so she has been reluctant to seek out healing for him. Murad agrees to consider it. He then asks Maddy if she would be willing to take The Walrus and crew out into the Starbirth Sea with them to search for a magical node. He explains that there is great potential for booty. She offers to sail The Walrus for them and asks for the ship in return once the mission is over. She adds that her other two ships’ crews in Llantry may also be willing to come along, but she will need to speak with them. Murad agrees to discuss it with the others.

Quintin decides to pay a visit to the temple of Fira to try and find Manuel. He is told that he cannot see Manuel at this time and that he iss under the protection of the Matriarch. Quintin is told to come back in a few days, at which time Manuel may be seeing visitors.

In the afternoon, Rod invites Quintin and Murad to the performance at the King’s Theatre tonight. Quintin eagerly agrees and decides to invite Vina, the daughter of the High Alchemist, Heyrod. Murad initially declines, but eventually agrees to come after some coaxing.

That evening, Rod takes the group to the performance in his carriage. Outside of the theatre, the party sees a crippled man preaching to the crowd about the end of days – there’s war, the forest is encroaching upon the city, and a falling star will destroy the world. Some guards break up the commotion and carry the man off. The group leaves the area and enter the theatre. It is a semi-circular building with a large stage at the open end. They are led to a balcony box and are brought refreshments. Rod notices that Duke Cahorn is seated in the balcony on the other side of the theatre. After several minutes, a man comes to ask Rod that the Duke wishes to see him. Rod follows him to the Duke’s box.

Rod and the Duke chit chat a little. The Duke then informs Rod that the High Council has voted in favour of Rod assuming his late brother’s position on the Low Council. Rod expresses his pleasure and gratitude for this.

The performance of “The Maid and the Fox” begins. A young maid, played by a man, tends to her flock of chickens and visits her prize pig. She leaves the stage. Soon after “The Fox” arrives and, with the help of the pig, proceeds to steal the chickens.

The party notices that one of the Lords in the balcony is getting up to leave – an unusual thing for such an event. He is escorted out by his contingent of guards. As this is happening, one of the actors, dressed as a chicken, jumps off the stage and runs toward the exit, waving his “wings”. Quintin observes that the other actors seem confused by this. The running chicken disappears into the entrance hall. The performance continues on nonetheless.

Suddenly, someone in the entrance hall yells out “Murderer!”. Shouting and screaming from the entrance hall follow. The play stops and the crowd is silent save for some low murmuring. Quintin and Murad rush to see what has happened. Rod goes to look after the Duke.

Murad and Quintin make their way to the staircase that leads down to the entrance hall. The find the Lord that had left his seat, lying on his back, unmoving, on the staircase. Further down the stairs, the lord’s guards stand over the hacked, dead body of the actor. Murad confirms that the lord is dead. He sees a stab wound in his abdomen that appears to be seeping an oily, greenish poison. Quintin finds a dagger near the assailant’s body and examines it. He notices the same greenish residue that Murad found in the lord’s wound.

Forlham, the playwrite, dressed as a magician, uncannily resembling the High Archmage, comes to see what has happened. Shortly after, Duke Cahorn, his guards, and Rod arrive. The Duke identifies the dead lord as Earl Keye of Vale and demands to know who the assassin is. Forlham reluctantly divulges that the attacker is Yoel, one of his long-time actors. He was “close friends” with another of the actors, Sasha Keye, the Earl’s son. The playwrite is sad to announce that Sasha was found dead in his room this morning. Earl Keye must have come to see his son perform, but decided to leave when he realized that his understudy was playing the part of “The Maid”. Forlham finds it strange that the Earl would come at all, since he and Sasha were estranged for some time over Sasha’s “lifestyle”. For some reason, Yoel must have thought that the Earl himself had arranged his son’s death and decided to take revenge on him. As they hear the story, Quintin and Murad wonder how this actor got such a powerful poison.

A woman from the balcony section manages to get into the entrance hall. From the top of the staircase, she sees the body of the Earl and screams: “There’s been a murder! It’s a Lettani spy!" She runs back to the balcony as Rod chases after her. He drags her to one of the guards. Too late – the audience panics and they to rush for the exits – a stampede! Quintin manages to rescue a woman that surely would have been trampled to death. Once the people have escaped and the group is confident that the city guard has everything under control, they leave. Duke Cahorn asks Rod to meet him at his estate early on the Morrow.

Quintin returns to the laboratory to study the poison. With the help of Vina and others, he discovers that the poison is an altered form of Green Prismatic Poison. It is the same poison found in the suicide rings used by the Children of Zepha.

Rod and Murad go to the main city guard house to find out what they can about the death of the Earl’s son.

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Session 46 - October 7/13
Umm, where did you say you got that parrot?

After leaving the bookshop, the party boards Rod’s carriage and returns to the DeloSiren estate. Rod makes the final arrangements to escort Lady Tanis, his late brother’s wife, to her Parents’ estate. Murad, disguised as a chatty parrot, accompanies them. Lady Tanis’ young daughter is enamoured with him. Once there, Rod informs his newly-hired guards that they will get a very handsome reward upon completion of the contract.

Upon their return, Rod discusses the war situation with his butler, Kent, and that he wishes to liquidate some of the estate and holdings. Rod assures Kent that he will be taken care of, as will Rod’s niece.

This whole time, Quintin has been poring over the Journal of Jarith Rellor that they acquired at the bookshop. About two-thirds of the way into it, he finds some intriguing entries:

Hielyr 7, 11888 After only two days on this island, three of my men have become gravely ill with a sort of febrile disease. The ship’s physician cannot determine the cause. It is odd considering that they had been with me for more than a year and had not taken ill since that first month of the voyage…

Hielyr 11, 11888 The afflicted men grow sicker still. I fear that the others are going mad from some other affliction. The men claim that some of the large bats that inhabit the island have displayed some strange behaviour. They say that these animals have been seen watching them at night and appear to be communicating with each other. Madness! Only one more week here and I will have my maps completed…

The journal describes the island and the water around it as extremely rocky and that, after some searching, they found a small area on the western shore to land on. Jarith Rellor decided to leave the island after one of his crewmen died. Three more men died after they left.

Quintin determines that the island referred to in the journal is the same one that is today referred to as “Jarith’s Island”. Quintin and Murad debate whether they should investigate this island or to keep with the current plan to investigate the Starbirth Sea. Quintin decides to speak with the High Archmage, Gralius Kurn, about it.

Rod and Murad search the house, and find part of Rod’s brother’s gun collection – 1 masterwork pistol, 2 regular pistols, a musket, 36 bullets for the pistols, and a case of shot for the musket.

Quintin leaves for the Tower of Stars at the Academy of the Stars’ Children. The High Archmage’s assistant, Navin, intercepts him. He brings news that some of the items the party requested are available. He also informs Quintin that the two tokens that Rod and Murad left with their researchers have disappeared. Quintin assures him that the tokens have a habit of returning to the owner.

Up in the tower room, Quintin shows Gralius Kurn the passage in Rellor’s the journal. He mentions that another fellow had wanted this book and that he had asked the shopkeeper to have any other copies of it destroyed. Quintin speculates that the illness that afflicted Rellor’s crew may have been caused by fallen star metal. Quintin also feels that the firebats may be significant. The Archmage tells of another group in West Hanum that is already investigating the island. Two of them, including Cornelius Grey, are members of the Stars’ Children and are believed to be trustworthy. Quintin thanks Kurn and bids him farewell.

Word arrives at Rod’s estate that Quintin requests that they meet him at the Astronomers’ Guild. Rod arranges for Saladin and Yulando to bring the Portable Alchemy Cabinet to the house. Rod and Murad leave to meet up with Quintin.

Quintin has gone ahead to the Guild of Astronomers, housed in an old converted tower. He meets Yolen Gert, one of the Master Astronomers. Quintin asks if it is possible that star fragments may have fallen on the West Hanum Islands two-thousand years ago, just before the One Hundred Year Winter. Gert answers that it is possible – most of the falling star is known to have fallen in Lettan, but some of it may have broken off and landed in other locations.

Murad and Rod arrive. Master Gert takes the group to the top of the tower and shows them his “Stargazing Apparatus”. They use it to look at the moon at many times it’s normal size. Gert swivels the device to show them the new star in the sky, near the constellation of Zepha. It appears to be a little brighter than when they last looked at it. Finally, he takes the group back to the main floor, where he shows them the “Portable Stargazing Apparatus” that he has made for them to take on their journey to the Starbirth Sea.

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Session 45 - September 23/13
Hey, I think this table is for me and my friends!

Rod leaves the library and travels to the High Cathedral of The Just. He inquires about Bertom of Cuford. A Knight of the Just says that he is under the protection of the High Patriarch and that he can leave a message with his assistant. The Knight agrees to pass this on to him. Rod enters the cathedral. He makes a donation to the church to get the attention of a priest. After a short conversation, the priest agrees to inquire about Bertom on Rod’s behalf.

Rod then has his driver take him to the market district where he sells his pistol and ammunition. He uses some of the proceeds to buy two spring loaded wrist sheathes. After finishing his shopping, Rod returns to his family’s estate. The new guards that he sent for have arrived and are stationed around the house.

After some time at the library studying his dinosaur texts, Murad returns to the docks to find The Walrus and Maddy. After some questioning from one of the sailors, who doesn’t recognize Murad as an old man, Cendrik, the first mate, is fetched. Cendrik updates Murad on the recent events and mentions that Maddy went ashore several days ago, after they arrived in Llantry. She hasn’t returned since, though she was reportedly seen by one of the crew at the Maid of Iron tavern nearby. He explains that Maddy sent most of their ships to Keyemba. The remaining three ships, including The Walrus sailed to Llantry to return JE Ritter. Cendrik believes that Ritter was “broken” by his interrogation in Princeton and that Maddy is trying to return him to his family members. Murad tells Cendrik about his party’s mission. He says that he would like to ask Maddy about taking the Walrus with them out into the Starbirth Sea. Cendrik is unsure until Murad mentions the possibility of finding valuable adamantium ore. Cendrik promises to keep the ship in dock until Murad can find Maddy.

Back at the DeloSiren estate, Rod searches the house. He finds a secret ledger and a small bag of gems (4000g worth). He also notices several transactions in this ledger that involve various illegal items purchased and sold through the merchant house of Fenne. When Murad arrives, Rod shows him the book. He makes no mention of the gems. Murad proceeds to show Rod the books he acquired and their dinosaur illustrations.

By this time, Quintin has been back working at the Laboratory of the High Alchemists for some time. He is interrupted by a messenger who gives the message that they have gotten word from Arthund in Princeton. Quintin is told to see Navin, Gralius Kurn’s assistant, for the complete message. Quintin immediately leaves to find Navin. Quintin is told that, indeed Arthund did make the note in Quintin’s copy of A Collection of Species. Arthund explained that he saw a copy of the Journal of Jarith Rellor several years ago. It contained an entry that refers to an island in the West Hanum Islands now known as Jarith’s Island. Arthund said that he saw the book in an esoteric bookstore in the the southwest merchant district of Llantry. Quintin then finds his apprentice, Desmond, to help him to track down the journal the following day.

Rod and Murad find Quintin returning from dinner with Desmond. The three of them collect Saladin and Yulando, Murad’s apprentice, at the Journeyman’s Rest Inn and head to the Maid of Iron to ask about Maddy. They arrive at the tavern, the last known location of Maddy. With Saladin’s help, they “find” a table. Rod disappears into the crowd. Murad spots some of the Walrus’ crew and asks about Maddy. One of them says that he saw her a couple of days ago, but wasn’t sure where she went. For a few Gold Swans, they agree to keep an eye out and to tell her to contact Murad via the Stars’ Children, should they see her.
Murad asks the bartender if he saw Maddy. After taking some coins, he says that the last time she was here, she asked for a woman by the name of Laz, JE Ritter’s sister. After he told her that Laz had left Llantry years ago, Maddy was disappointed and left the tavern.

Afterward they go searching for the DeloSiren warehouse to see what is stored in it. Along the way, a beggar asks Murad for alms. Murad gives him some goodberries instead of coins. The warehouse turns out to be a bust with nothing of value. They return to the Maid of Iron to find Saladin beating several sailors at darts. Murad asks him to join him and they head back to the Journeyman’s Rest.

The next morning, Quintin meets with Desmond and two of his friends to search for the bookstore that possesses the Journal of Jareth Rellor. Finds a small store in the southwestern merchant district with a sign overhead – “Books”. The owner, an old man, claims that he doesn’t have it, but Quintin can tell that he is lying. Quintin leaves to find Rod and Murad to help him acquire the book. The trio returns to the bookstore in Rod’s carriage. Rod drinks a potion of invisibility and sneaks into the store. Murad, as an old man, enters the store keeper. Murad is able to convince the keeper to reluctantly admit that he owns a copy of the book. The man fetches the book. The keeper explains that a man bought a copy of the book a year ago and paid him to destroy any other copies that he might come across. The bookstore owner was fearful that the man would find out that he still had a copy of the book. That is why he lied to Quintin about owning the journal. The owner tells Murad to take the book so that he doesn’t have to worry about it anymore. Murad pays for the book, thanks the man, and departs. Outside, Murad hands the journal to a very happy Quintin, waiting in the carriage.

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Session 44 - Sept. 9/13
Hmm, what can I get for this silverware?

The night before Rod’s meeting with Duke Cahorn, Quintin and Ezekiel, new companions, make their way to the Laboratory of the High Alchemists. They are directed by the daughter of High Alchemist Heyrod to his office. After several minutes, Heyrod enters the room by another door and appears to not notice them for some time. After introductions, Quintin presents Heyrod with the fungal rock by which he seems extremely fascinated. Quintin also shows him Vossian Velsurian’s logbook. he is excited about his reference to the Attenutate formula which quenches the toxic effects of certain ores. Quintin shows him the same formula in his own formula book, which he copied from Vossian’s own. Heyrod is delighted and asks Quintin to contribute to their research into finding a formula that will permanently suppress all effects, including magical, of star ore. Quintin agrees.

Heyrod asks Quintin to follow him to the laboratory where the work is taking place. Ezekiel takes his leave and tells Quintin to meet him at the Western University Library in the morning at 10 bells. Quintin follows Heyrod underground to a large laboratory guarded by leaden doors that seems to be processing something, though Quintin does not ask what it is. They arrive at a small lab with two men working. Heyrod approaches one of them, Brodie, who is standing behind a leaden shield. Heyrod introduces him to Quintin. Brodie is the lead researcher on the project and is happy to learn of Vossian’s discovery and that Quintin will be assisting him. They work into the night.

The next morning, at the Cahorn estate, The Duke asks Rod if he has seen his youngest son, Vyncent, in West Hanum. Rod replies that he has and that he seems to be trying to cut a deal with the Lettani to buy his release. The Duke seems unmoved by this and a little perturbed that he must bargain for his release. He muses that should never have sent him there to check up on the Governor.

Duke Cahorn gives Rod the latest on the war.

By some act of treachery, the gates of Marakfell were opened and the city was taken by the Brindish and their mercenaries with minimal resistance. Some 500 Ealduran soldiers that were there to help hold the city have been captured or killed. The Brindish army, accompanied by troops from Fellenfeld and Leona and a mercenary army, is preparing to march up the road toward Llantry.

Wendgate is under siege. When word arrived of the fate of Marakfell, the Ealduran commanders pulled their men out of the city before the Sassimi army arrived. The city is lightly defended now and will surely fall in a short time.

The combined Coorish fleet, led by the Leonians, was reported to have set sail from Leona. They should arrive in the Bay of the Protector within a few short weeks. There is reason to believe that the Western Leonian fleet in West Hanum will be returning to Ashtar soon, if they have not already started back. Their combined fleet will outnumber theirs by nearly 2 to 1.

In the north, much of the Ealduran army returned south with the fleet to prepare for a Coorish attack. The remaining Ealduran units have retreated across the River Breev and are attempting to hold the town of Vale.

The Duke blames the Queen for starting this war unprepared for the Coorish entry. He tells Rod that there are important decisions to be made. He asks Rod if he has received word from his family in Marakfell. Rod says that he has not. The Duke explains that, with his brother’s death, there is a vacancy on the Low Council. He offers to nominate Rod as his brother’s replacement for the position. Rod gladly accepts and agrees to meet with the Duke to discuss the upcoming agenda before the next Low Council meeting, which is to take place in four days. Then, the Duke offers Rod five passes to a performance at the King’s Theatre, two days from now.

P. Rod meets up with Murad, who has returned to the Journeyman’s Rest Inn and Tavern. Rod tells of his agreement with the duke. They decide to speak in a less public place. They walk a few blocks, stopping at a small green space on a street corner. Murad decides to add some green to the city and casts a Plant Growth spell. This causes the plants to overgrow 100’ radius of city streets and buildings. This causes panic and confusion and at least one roof to cave in from the weight of the growing vines. In the centre of it, Murad expresses his desire to kill Duke Cahorn. He sees him as a detriment to his own people, not to mention others. Murad feels that eliminating him will do the world much good. Rod is unsure and prefers to reserve his opinion until after the Low Council meeting, in four days. When their discussion ends, Rod becomes invisible and leaves the overgrown area. He sees a pair of city guards hacking at the edge of the plants. From their talk, they believe this to be the work of the Stars’ Children. Rod whispers “Beware of the Children of Zepha” and runs off. Murad transforms into a gull and flies away. They make their way to the estate of Rod’s family in Llantry.

At the DeloSiren estate, Rod and his companion, Murad are greeted by the Butler, Kent, who seems to remember Rod. They share their grief over the passing of Rod’s brother, Jesterein. Kent informs Rod that, with his brother dead and the rest of his family possibly missing, he is head of the household now. Kent asks for direction on what is to be done with his brother’s wife and daughter who are currently staying at the house. Rod offers to go speak with his wife.

Rod finds his sister-in-law, Lady Tanis, most distraught. She seems to be frightened for herself and her daughter. She believes whoever killed her husband may think that she knows something and may want to kill her. She recalls a man from a merchant house visiting the house two days before her husband’s death. During their conversation, Jesterein became very upset and dismissed the man abruptly. She did not hear any of the conversation nor did she find out the merchant house that the man represented. After some reassurance from Rod and Murad, she agrees to take herself and her daughter to her father’s estate and stay there until he arrives in town.

Rod and Murad make their way, in Rod’s household carriage, to meet with Quintin and Ezekiel at the University Library as per Ezekiel’s earlier request. They both notice that their magical tokens, which they gave to Gralius Kurn for study, have mysteriously returned to them. They arrive at the Western University and make their way to the library. Ezekiel has already retrieved his research notes and books from storage and Quintin has recently arrived, himself. Ezekiel shows them what he has found so far on the history of the West Hanum Archipelago. Quintin and Ezekiel compare their copies of Olin’s work, A Collection of Species. After more than an hour, they notice one annotation in Quintin’s copy that does not appear in Ezekiel’s, yet it is not one of Quintin’s own notes. There is a passage on what Olin calls Jarith’s Island, one of the southern islands of the West Hanum chain. The note says “Jarith Rellor refers to this island in his journal.” Quintin decides that it must have been Arthund, in Princeton, that wrote the note. They spend close to four hours searching the library for a copy of Jarith Rellor’s journal. After coming up empty-handed, they decide to pass a message onto Gralius Kurn to ask Arthund for assistance. The group leaves the library, except Murad. He seems particularly fascinated by several books that he found on the subject of dinosaurs…

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Session 43 - Aug. 19/13
Sniff, sniff. Does that water need a change?

The party makes the several week journey to the mainland on the commandeered Leonian vessel, the Seventh Star. Along the way, it is noticed that the weather is rougher then normal. They skim 3 thunder storms, and a hurricane, taking only minor damage (23 points). Murad busies himself with crafting magic items, while Quintin explores the alchemist’s lab, and Rod changes his appearance to look more like a mercenary.

When the party passes the Hanum chain of islands, they are approached by an Elduran ship, captained by a Captain Amer. Cam Rewyn, Murad, and Quintin row over and exchange words of the status of the war and are offered an escort to Llantry.

The channel connecting the Bay of the Protector to the Silent Sea is protected by battery forts. As they approach the city, the smells of tanneries and sewage accost them. They pass through a large bridge with many buildings built onto it. After pulling into the docks, the captain of the Seventh Star, Morso, seems nervous and asks what will become of him and his crew. Cam says that he will speak to the Queen’s men and ensure that they will be fairly treated.

A harbour clerk approaches and tries to tax the party, but an aged looking Murad talks him down stating they captured a Coorish vessel which is more than enough to cover any taxes. The clerk seems to accept this explanation.

The party intends to head in different directions and agrees to meet at the Journeyman’s Rest Inn and Tavern. Just before they depart, they notice a strange ship with no forecastle anchored a few hundred yards out to sea. They also see that The Walrus is docked not far away from them.

As they begin to leave, they notice a man in flowing white robes awaiting them at the end of the dock. He introduces himself as Delthorne and summons Murad, Quintin, and Rod to the Tower of Stars to stand before Gralius Kurn, High Archmage of the Stars’ Children. The apprentice Desmond will be going with them. Manuel is told that he is expected at the Cathedral of The Benevolent instead, and that he is not required to come with the others. A priestess stands nearby to escort Manuel. Bertom of Cuford has left to meet his fate at the High Cathedral of The Just in the centre of town. Cam, his two guards, Saladin and Yulando go ahead to the Journeyman’s Rest. Tomes Finchey thanks the party once more and scurries off, his large trunk in tow.

As they walk, Quintin asks Delthrone if other members of the Stars’ Children have noticed strange happenings with the use of Ama. He confirms that others have noticed that, sometimes, magical spells seem to consume more Ama than is usual. He is not sure why.

At the Campus of the Academy, they see the Tower of Stars, which soars above them at thirteen stories. Once inside they see a large silver star painted on the floor, and magical images of the 13 constellations floating around the ceiling. Another member, Navin meets them and guides them upstairs. Rod dislikes having to walk up the stairs. At the top, a silver door creates images of each of their faces. It seems to be scanning them.

In the room, the party sees more floating images of constellations, this time of ones not seen in this part of the world. A man, presumably Gralius Kurn, the High Archmage, sits at a desk, writing. He greets them and introduces them to the man standing beside him as Ezekiel. Quintin hands over the letter from Jylium and the fungal rock from the Ulgar. He then goes into excruciating detail about their adventures as Rod nods off. It is noted that Gralius Kurn seems occasionally distracted during the conversation and he admits that he is “in communication” with others.

Kurn explains that it was around the time of the Hundred Year Winter that magic was discovered on Ardia. It was a falling star that caused that cataclysm. It also provided their world with the source of arcane magic. The earliest users of magic knew that it was important to secure control of this source.

He speaks of the purpose of the Stars’ Children. In his mind, their purpose is to be the stewards of the power of magic. They may use it to benefit the people, but above all, they must protect the population from it, as they can’t possibly understand it. It is a source of great power, but it must be used carefully. It is dangerous if not used with caution. Also, this power is finite.

The High Archmage explains that Ama is in short supply. Even those that use arcane magic without Ama, deplete its reserves. For some reason, as yet undetermined, the levels are depleting faster than they can account for. This was happening even before they detected the falling star more than one year ago and has recently accelerated. Higher magics, like changing form and teleportation seem to deplete it the most. There are some within the Stars’ Children that believe that the falling star is necessary to replenish their depleted stores of Ama. Kurn believes that the star is uncontrollable and the destruction that it would cause is not worth the power that it might grant. He does not wish another 100 Year Winter or longer cataclysm on the world. He believes that there is a way to destroy it before it strikes Ardia. Once this is done, they can determine what is depleting the Ama.

Gralius Kurn speaks of the existence of four magical nodes. There is one in northern Lettan, which was discovered hundreds of years ago, but its purpose was unknown until recently. Poring over the ancient texts revealed that this node and three others were built between 100 and 200 years after the discovery of magic. Beside the one in Lettan, there are nodes in the southern reaches of the eastern lands and on Kayemba in an uninhabited area close to the Elven lands (they find out that the strange ship in the harbour is Elven). The fourth node is believed to be somewhere within the northwestern part of the Starbirth Sea. They believe that the nodes were made to prevent another disaster like the one that caused the Hundred Year Winter. If they could be found and used, they might be able to prevent the coming catastrophe. The nodes in the eastern lands and on Kayemba are in the process of being secured.

Kurn tells them that they are assembling a team to take control of the node in Lettan. Originally, the Stars’ Children attempted to negotiate with Archduke Audon to get access to the node. Unfortunately, the node is within the area of the star ore deposits that are the source of Ama as well as the precious mineral adamantium. This is very valuable to the Archduke. Originally, he had agreed to some generous terms in exchange for granting access. However, shortly after, he changed his mind and demanded impossible terms (like demanding that magic be used to fortify his relatively weak military). Debate dragged on within the Stars’ Children on whether to take the node by force. Ultimately, they decided that force was the only course of action. Magical force was considered, but that would have consumed much Ama and the exact location of the node could not be scried – it was being hidden somehow. Attempts to teleport directly were foiled. The involvement of the Children of Zepha was highly suspected.

They decided to present this information to the Queen of Ealdur. After some thought, she gave the order to attack the Lettanni. The thinking was that the Lettanni military was inferior and Audon would soon be forced to come to terms on granting access to the node. But things did not go quite as planned… Ultimately, they have settled on a plan that is less desirable. The current plan is risky – they will have to teleport outside of the area of the node and hike to it. It is believed that it will be heavily guarded.

Despite the challenges that they face with securing the node in Lettan, Kurn needs the group to find the node in the Starbirth Sea. They are to secure it and attempt to activate it. Once all four nodes are activated, the Stars’ Children will attempt to control them from a central location – here in the tower.

Gralius Kurn muses that the war may seem superfluous to all of this. He says that the research of the Stars’ Children and that of the Astronomers’ Guild is critical to being able to use the nodes correctly. If that were to be disrupted by the war, it could be disastrous for the planet. And, of course, they must not lose control of the Tower of Stars. Therefore, it is necessary that they carry out their mission quickly. If they prevent the star from falling, it will mean the eventual end of the Stars’ Children. Let it be their final gift to the people.

Kurn asks if they wish to join this expedition. All agree. They will be granted any reasonable requests for equipment, even magical. They are to see his assistant, Navin, who will tend to their requests. Kurn asks for the two tokens that the group possesses – he wishes to have them studied. They agree to this. He tells Quintin to share the information he has on the history of the West Hanum Islands with Ezekiel, who has been conducting his own research at the Western University. But first, he wishes Quintin to show the High Alchemists his fungal rock. Kurn also asks the party to pay a visit to the Astronomers’ Guild in the next day or so – they are holding something for them. Before they leave, Kurn gives Quintin a small silver stone that can be used to contact him in emergencies.

Quintin and Ezekiel head off to the Laboratory of the High Alchemists. Murad and Rod go to the Journeyman’s Rest Inn. They agree with Cam to wait until the morning to visit the Duke of Cahorn. They enjoy a drink or two together before retiring for the night.

In the morning Cam, Rod, and Murad go to the Duke’s estate where they are told to wait. They overhear the Duke come in and notice his rudeness. He is with another man who addresses him as “father”. The second man takes his leave. The Duke makes the party wait even longer while he ascends to his sitting room. Rod takes it upon himself to “change the water” in a vase filled with fresh-cut flowers. After a while, they are led to the Duke’s room. The Duke neglects to offer refreshments to his guests. He is rather rude to Murad. Cam explains the situation with Governor Darrow and gives the Duke his letter. He agrees to pay most of the balance of the fees owed to the group. Rod does his best to be snarky until Cam introduces him. At that point, the Duke informs Rod of the death of his oldest brother.

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Session 42 - Aug. 5/13
By the gods, Carl! Did you just muck out the stables?

Io and Pascal head back to the chapter house to meet up with the others, then head to see Captain Umes. At the Emerald Parrot, they notice that guards are shoving some of locals. Fatima helps the old man as Io glares at one of the guards. Cornelius subtly casts a spell to make the offending guard smell like a privy.

Io, Tanya, Cornelius, and Jalec go into the Emerald Parrot to await Fatima and Father Abel, who are going to see Captain Umes. Io starts gathering information as Cornelius behaves as a crazy old drunk and Tanya gambles.

Fatima and Pascal go to see Captain Umes, after going through several checkpoints they arrive to Captain Umes. Fatima introduces themselves to the Captain, she presents the letter and writs, to wish he insults Fatima and calls her a slut, to which she bristles and uses magic to intimidate him, then Pascal plays “good cop” to get information about what has been tried already.

They tell the captain that they have the name of one of the masons doing work on the castle and he is summoned. Pascal and Fatima question the mason, and learn a little about the keep, but once they leave the mason informs Pascal that his men have seen foul birds flying around the keep at night.

They then head back to the Parrot to meet the others, and explains what went down and what to do next. Jalec wants to get it done. It is decided that Fatima and Io will approach the front door and try to talk while the rest approach the sea wall by use of invisibility, and silence, and await word from the others.

Fatima and Io approach the gate and try to convince them to allow them access. With some negotiation they are allowed entrance. They are required to fly over the broken bridge, and are allowed to talk with the officer about the dangers of harboring the Children of Zepha and that they need to talk to the Governor. With more discussion, the officer agrees to take them to the Governor. After some traveling, they arrive at the governors chambers. They find him standing in front of a large mirror. Fatima tells him about the Children of Zepha and how they are preforming magic. He claims not to know, to which Io believes. Fatima says she wants to test his honesty, and begins to cast a spell.

Darrow steps into the mirror, with Io hot on his heals. Fatima messages the rest of the party who teleports into the room. A guard asks “everything ok in there?” to which Tanya responds, “ah yes everything is fine here” as the rest of the party follows.

Io appears in a strange jungle garden, with a hut. Inside the hut, a man in a white robe awaits them; he asks if they know who he is. Cornelius guesses that he is a member of the Children of Zepha, He calls himself Arbo. Io’s tension rises – she is about to attack Arbo. The rest of the party sees what is going to happen. Pascal moves to stop Io’s but too late. Io strikes Arbo with her falchion but he is unharmed. Cornelius finds this all very amusing as Tanya hammers Arbo with arrows, which do seem to wound him. Arbo casts Mass Hold Person on the party, trying to freeze them. Pascal, Tanya, and Jalec are affected. Then, Arbo transforms into another man – Taipa.

He says that the purpose of his ruse was to make sure that the party will not aid the Children of Zepha. And explains that he has been helping the Ealdurans against the Lettanni to “keep them occupied”. He says that he is working with Bilya. They are trying to stop the new star from hitting the planet. The children of Zepha are trying to bring this event about. Bilya has gone ahead to “Jarith’s Island”, a volcanic island to the south that has never been settled. It is believed to be a current or former base for the Children of Zepha. Taipa offers to pay the party 30,000 gold worth of gems to investigate the island. The party agrees to investigate this island.

Taipa takes the group to another part of Calmuth Island, in the jungle. He hands the party a bag of gems and grafts a tropical healing laurel onto Cornelius. He then teleports the party to the southern shore of Calmuth island, where a fully stocked double-hulled canoe awaits.

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