The New Party
Eighteen days after returning to Baste, the party members are socializing at the Green Frog Tavern. An officer, sent by the Marquis Farileau, arrives. He informs them that the Marquis has summoned them to his keep in regard to a potential “job”. Tanya, Io, Fatima, Cornelius, and Jalec agree and come along.
Meanwhile, the priest, Father Pascal Abel, awaits his summons at the Church of the Benevolent (Fira). He has been briefed by the Church Matriarch, Garon. The Children of Zepha, an organization within the Stars’ Children, have been known to be co-operating with members of the Church of Zaur. She has reason to believe that the CoZ are operating in Princeton. The Marquis will be sending a party to Princeton to help him take the keep. She wishes for Pascal to accompany them. He has agreed. A soldier arrives at the Church asking after him – Pascal goes with him to Farileau Keep.
The main party arrives at the Marquis’ Audience Chamber, followed soon after by Pascal. They exchange pleasantries until the Marquis arrives. Farileau makes his entrance with a rather smug look. He informs them that Princeton has been taken and rather easily at that. The only sticking point is that the Duke’s Keep is untaken. The Ealduran Governor, Darrow, refuses to surrender. The Marquis wishes the party to remove Darrow, alive, and hand him over to Captain Umes, current army commander and governor of Princeton. Once this is done, he believes that the Ealdurans will quickly surrender.
The Marquis offers a total of 20000 Gold Emperors if the successfully remove Governor Darrow, alive. If they need added incentive, he beleives that the Children of Zepha may be aiding the Ealdurans. A storm suddenly appeared just before the attack on Princeton and prevented the Leonian fleet from bombarding the keep. The Leonians decided that they could no longer wait and they returned to Ashtar. Also, the keep curtain wall has been repeatedly fired upon by their cannon, yet it is hardly damaged. Farileau suggests that the party investigate this and are welcome to interrogate any agents that they may find. After a brief discussion, the party agrees to the mission. They are given a description of Darrow and are told to report to the Iron Lady at 3 bells.
The party uses the few hours before their departure to gather information about the town of Princeton and the Duke’s Keep. Father Abel obtains a map of Princeton and a contact of a master mason in that town that might know something of the construction of the keep. Io visits a tavern near the docks and finds out that Princeton was moderately damaged during the battle and that the Gul slaughtered many Ealdurans, both soldiers and citizens.
At three bells, the party meets at the Iron Lady. Captain Lajore greets them, especially Fatima. Over the course of the voyage, Fatima learns form Lajore that the mayor of Princeton had agreed to betray the Ealdurans and open the gates for the Lettanni soldiers. However, he never gave the order and seems to have disappeared. She also learns that the Knights of the Just withdrew to defend their Church and didn’t prevent the slaughter of town citizens by the Gul (except for the ones that had taken refuge inside the Church).
After just more than five days of travel, the ship arrives in Princeton harbour. There are signs of battle about. Many of the warehouses at the wharf are destroyed and the town seems to have suffered some fire damage. The Iron Lady pulls up to the main dock. Nearby is a very large Burjan ship. They confirm with Captain Lajore that it is a slave ship, likely taking Ealdurans and Kayemban mercenaries captured during the battle. Cornelius takes offence to Lajore’s casual discussion of the matter. As the party comes ashore, Cornelius sends a letter back to captain that is trapped with Explosive Runes.
They make their way toward the local chapter house of the Stars’ Children. Pascal learns that his mason contact has gone missing, but obtains another name instead. He plans to follow up on it later. At the chapter house, they meet a pair of Lettanni soldiers who demand writs form Captain Umes before being allowed to enter. Fatima convinces them that this is not necessary. While this is happening, an explosion is heard coming from the docks. Pascal and Io run back toward the sound.
Upon returning to the Iron Lady, they see a commotion. They learn that Captain Lajore has been hurt by an exploding letter. While Father Abel tends to his wounds, Io determines that it was Exploding Runes that wounded him. They ponder who might have done this…
Fatima and Cornelius are admitted to the Chapter House as Tanya awaits outside. Fatima persuades the Master’s assistant to take them to see Master Jylium. Jylium is busy writing when they arrive. He asks their business. Fatima tells him that she seeks her father who has been sent out this way by his master, for some unknown reason. She asks Jylium if he has seen or heard of him in these parts. Jylium replies in the negative. She explains their mission for Marquis Farileau and tells of his suspicion that the Children of Zepha may be helping the Ealdurans. She also expresses her belief that the Marquis suspects the Stars’ Children themselves of the same. Jylium cannot disagree. He tells Fatima to report their findings to him when their mission is complete. They agree and the two companions leave the Chapter House.