The Compass Rose

Session 56 - Feb. 24/14
Talking Dead

After the battle, the group searches the rest of the abbey’s basement. In a small wine vault, they find two bodies of the red priests, heads crushed. In the same room, a cask is found to contain an unconscious but live captive. It is Maia, the priestess of Fira that was sent by the Matriarch weeks ago to investigate the abbey. She wears a cursed amulet that is paralyzing her. Quintin gives her a potion of Remove Curse so that the item can be removed. Arah then heals her of her wounds and she regains consciousness.

The party finishes searching the abbey. The find a secret passage to the well. There is the dead body of a soldier floating in it. After falling into the water, Rod retrieves the body. The group also finds a natural cavern containing luminescent lichen. Quintin takes samples of the lichen and the underlying rock. On the opposite wall, they find a tunnel that leads to the outside, by the shoreline. Rod removes the items from Tormund’s body.

Rod and Quintin take Maia and Manuel to the surface to hear their stories. Arah and Murad remove the Unhallowed effect in the worship room. Bertom stands guard.

Maia tells them what has transpired. Soon after she arrived, her Knights of the Benevolent and the garrison’s soldiers were attacked by the red priests. She believes that the knights and most of the soldiers were killed. She was imprisoned. Before she was rendered unconscious, she did overhear that the red priests were looking for an item, an artifact of the Malevolent. They could not locate it, so decided to wait for Manuel to arrive, hoping that his arrival would allow them to find the item, somehow. They seemed to know that he was coming.

Manuel regrets attacking them, even if it was being influenced by the demon. He recalls the tale that he told the party, when they first met, about the monks that once lived at the abbey – his brothers who died almost a decade ago by a plague that Manuel escaped while at sea. Manuel now admits that that story was a lie. What really happened was that when he returned from being at sea, he found the monks worshiping the Zaur. The abbot was holding an artifact of the Malevolent – an item in the form of a triangle. He knew at that moment that he needed to kill them. So, he poisoned the well to end their evil. Then, Manuel fled.

The red priests were trying to hunt him down for years and set a trap for him here at the abbey. They knew that Manuel would come if he heard that the red priests had returned to the abbey. They ambushed Manuel and tied him to the floor of the worship room inside the triangle symbol on the floor. They were looking for an artifact and were going to use Manuel as a sacrifice to summon a demon. They wanted the demon to help them to find the artifact. When the demon appeared, it betrayed the red priests. It possessed Manuel and used him to kill the priests. During the battle, their dark Knight of the Malevolent, fled.

After hearing Manuel’s story, Maia wonders if Manuel did in fact see the monks committing the evil or if it was a false vision. Manuel is confused.

Maia questions Rod and Murad about their tokens. They tell her that both tokens have recently increased in power. During the discussion, Arah mentions that she has a weapon, a magical trident, that she has noticed has increased in power since she has been with the party. Maia studies it and learns that it is, indeed, the Token of Fira. Quintin wonders about the Token of Galus and where it might be. No one seems to know.

Maia looks at the severed head of Tormund. She identifies him as the dark knight that served the red priests. Bertom speaks up. He recognizes him as being a former Knight of the Just, Meldus of Byton. The knight was high ranking and well regarded in the order, but he disappeared about three years ago. The patriarchs would not speak of the manner of his departure.

Maia decides that she needs to talk to Meldus to question him. Murad offers to reanimate the body for this purpose. She agrees. They reattach the head to the body and Murad uses the Token of Zaur to animate the corpse. Maia questions it, and Murad compels it to answer.

What did you seek in this abbey?
-We sought an artifact of the malevolent; the ritual with the monk would attract it.
How did you know Manuel would come?
-We made it clear that we were here; we knew that he would come to avenge the death of his brothers.
Did you influence Manuel to kill the monks?
-Many years ago, the High Priest of the Malevolent, Ered, ordered that someone be used to murder the monks. Manuel was abducted at sea. He was implanted with the commands that would compel him to kill the monks later. Then, they left him on the shore of the island, knowing that the monks would take him in.
How did the high priest know that this is the location the token would appear?
-His divination decades before determined this.
Were you a disciple of Zaur when you were a member of the Knights of the Just?
-No. I changed just before I left the order.
What was your plan if you obtained the artifact of Zaur?
-Take it to the High Priest in Brindi.
Do you know anything of the falling star?
-Yes, it is falling to the planet. It will destroy most of it, but provide them with great power.
Do you have any contacts or places of worship in Llantry?
-Yes. There is a temple near the theatre, underground.

With no other questions, Maia destroys what is left of the fallen paladin. Manuel and Rod take the bodies of the fallen soldiers above ground to be properly interred.

Maia decides to leave for the nearby village of Rosebeach. Quintin, Rod, and Manuel accompany her. Murad, Arah, and Bertom stay behind to re-sanctify the abbey.

In the village, Quintin and Rod find lodging in a small inn. Quintin studies a book from among Meldus’ gear. It is entitled ARTIFACTS OF THE HOLY. A passage at the end, in another handwriting, speaks of an artifact that arrived at the abbey eight years ago. It was a a piece of light blue coral shaped like a triangle (inverted). It was said to shed a bright light when commanded.

Among Meldus’ gear, they also find:

  • +1 arrow (50)
  • +2 Frost, Cold Iron Warhammer
  • +3 Flaming, Unholy Adamantine Longsword
  • Masterwork Composite Longbow (Str +3)
  • +2 Electricity Resistance Mithral Heavy Steel Shield
  • +3 Cold Resistance Mithral Agile Breastplate
  • +3 Amulet of Natural Armour
  • +4 Belt of Physical Might (Str and Con)
  • +4 Headband of Mental Prowess (Wis and Cha)
  • +3 Ring of Protection
  • Potion of Cure Serious Wounds (3)
  • Potion of Remove Curse

They also determine that the mask that Manuel was wearing when he attacked is a Mask of the Skull.

While searching for the bones of the late abbot, Murad finds a hidden panel at the bottom of the sarcophagus. Inside it, he finds a triangular piece of coral that radiates weak Evocation magic and is found to give off light, like a Daylight spell, when commanded. Manuel later confirms that this is the item that he saw when he decided to kill his fellow monks. The compartment also contains some of Maia’s missing items.

Back in the village, Rod warns the tavern keeper that he will be getting a lot of business very soon. Just after midnight, The Walrus and the other two ships arrive in the harbour. Rod is there to greet them and their captain, Maddy. The sailors come ashore and quickly find the tavern. In the morning, Murad and Arah finish the blessing of the abbey and head to the village. Using the crystal of communication, Murad contacts the Matriarch in Llantry, informing her what has happened. Manuel offers to accompany Maia and the coral artifact back to Llantry.

The group bids Manuel and Maia farewell. The crews return to the ships and they set sail. It takes them about a day and a half, to reach the west side of the Hanum Islands. Here, they decide to invoke the magic of the shard. Quintin brings the lead box containing it to the bow of the ship. The rest of the crew stays at least 60 feet clear of it. On opening the box, Quintin sees a dark grey rod with a strange sheen to it. He is suddenly swept by a wave of nausea, but manages to hold it together enough to complete the ritual.

Following High Alchemist Heyrod’s instructions, Quintin begins to utter the words of the teleportation magic. With the use of the small blue crystal, given to him by High Archmage Kurn, he casts the Submerge Ship spells on the three ships. As the ritual progresses, the shard grows more bright, until it becomes almost blinding. Then, the light slowly fades. The shard darkens so much, that it seems to virtually disappear from existence. The ritual nears completion. The faint glow, that developed around the ships as the ritual progressed, is pulsating. Quintin says the final words. Everything goes dark.

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Session 55 - Feb. 10/14
Never trust no one, even if he did water the horses...

Arah checks the health of the man who was hiding in the pile of bodies. He begs for food. Murad gives him a goodberry (after he makes sure it is not a fire seed), which the man eats greedily.

His garb is adorned with the heraldry of the Queen’s army. He says that his name is Tormund, a lieutenant in the Queen’s army. Arah heals him of his fatigue. Rod sneaks ahead to check that the way ahead is clear. The group takes Tormund upstairs to talk in relative safety. He says that he was the one who gave water to the horses when he snuck up to get water for himself from the well.

Tormund recalls how his men saw someone in the woods near the abbey, about a month ago. He was wearing a red robe and had the triangle symbol of the malevolent on his forehead. Their commander, Wilbur, sent word to the Cathedral of Fira in Llantry, who sent a priestess and two Knights of the Benevolent to investigate. This seems to have drawn the attention of the red priests of Zaur, who must have been hiding nearby. They attacked the garrison, killing most of them. Tormund does not know what befell the priestess and her knights. At that point, Murad’s mouse friends return to say that no other people are around.

Tormund informs the party that he has not seen Manuel, but that one of the priests wore a mask, shaped like a skull. The priests numbered three or four and they used magic to attack the garrison. Bertom of Cuford asks Tormund how long he has served in the Queen’s army. He answers that he has served in Lord Weedon’s army for three years. He has been part of the Queen’s army ever since Weedon’s troops were added to Her Majesty’s forces, about three months. Bertom looks somewhat suspicious, but accepts his answer.

Murad asks Tormund if he knows what the red priests were looking for. He says that he overhead two of them speaking of an artifact of the Malevolent. Tormund then asks Murad if they know what that might be and if they have seen anything like it before. Murad finds this question odd and asks Tormund why he is so interested. Tormund tells a tale of how he saw a robe man in Seafield over a year ago, carrying a strange item, shaped like a triangle. Tormund believes that maybe the item that the red priests seek is the same one. Murad nods, like Bertom, suspiciously.

The group decides that it is time to return to their search in the basement. Tormund offers to join them, but the party declines; they do not fully trust him. They ask him to wait in the stables for them. Murad instrcuts him that, if the party does not return in the next few hours, he is to go to the nearby village and find Maddy to explain what has happened. Tormund, reluctantly, agrees. To make sure about him, Murad casts Detect Magic and uses a charge of the Wand of True Form on Tormund. He is “clean”. Tormund laments that they do not trust him, but seems to understand.

Back down in the basement, Rod and Quintin search a large room to the south, a mortuary, and find several secret doors. Rather than opening them, they decide to check the rooms to the north first. They first enter a shrine of some sort. It’s main statue has been knocked over and damaged. To the west of this, is a large chamber, a hall of worship, possibly. A large triangle symbol is painted in the centre of the floor and the room emits an unsettling aura. Two flaming skeletal knights guard the symbol. As Rod enters the room, the guards are alerted to his presence and attack.

Rod uses the Token of Valeria and casts Web. The fire surrounding the knights sets the webs on fire as they walk toward Rod. Murad attempts to control them with the Token of Zaur, but it doesn’t seem to work. Both Rod and Murad feel as though their tokens seem to be feeling different. Quintin transforms into a four-limbed Gargoyle and Arah channels positive energy to cause some minor damage the skeletons. Arah notices that the knights bear the symbol of the Benevolent on their cloaks. Bertom moves up and casts Divine Favor.

Quintin pounds the skeletons. Arah finishes off one of them, and Bertom, the other.
Once the undead knights are destroyed, the party searches the room. The triangle symbol appears to be made of blood. Within it, are four stakes with bits of snapped rope attached.
As Rod checks an adjoining room to the south, someone wearing red robes and a skull mask enters the worship hall from the east. The figure throws the mask at Murad. As the mask flies toward him, Murad can see that the red robed man is Manuel!

Murad resists the effect of the mask. Quintin attempts to disable Manuel with sticky force bombs. Manuel evades the bombs and attacks Arah with the mask, who is also able to resist its effect, barely. Murad attempts to dispel whatever it is that is controlling him, but is unsuccessful.

As this is happening, Rod, in the adjoining room, notices that a secret door ahead of him is starting to open. He returns to the worship room, closing the door behind him. Bertom challenges Manuel. Manuel releases a flurry of blows onto Quintin, which causes him to drop, unconscious. Suddenly, another man enters from the south room. It is Tormund – he says: “I heard fighting, can I help?” Both Murad and Rod sense that he is not revealing his true intentions.

Arah heals Quintin, returning him to consciousness. He then strikes at Manuel with his teeth, claws, and tail, knocking him out. Immediately after this happens, a large, winged demon-like creature emerges from Manuel’s limp body. It seems to be on fire and carries a sword and a burning whip. It flies to intercept Murad. Murad counters by first summoning a dinosaur to aid him, then transforming into an earth elemental.

To the east of the room, the party can see that several animated corpses, wearing the heraldry of the Queen’s army, are closing to attack. Bertom and Arah channel positive energy and the undead creatures fall. Their channelling heals Manuel enough that he regains consciousness. He begins to sob, as the weight of what he did falls upon him.

With Murad hiding beneath the floor in elemental form, the demon turns its attention to Rod. He is hit by the demon’s whip and entangled by it. The demon pulls Rod toward him, burning him when he comes in contact with the demon’s fiery skin. Quintin engages the demon and damages it. Tormund offers his aid to the demon and attacks Rod.

Murad’s pet attacks Tormund, gravely injuring him. Weakened, Tormund tries to cast a Darkness spell to escape. The demon, not impressed that Tormund is trying to run, cuts his head off.

After much trading of blows, the demon, severely wounded, decides to flee. It teleports away, uttering these final words: “Perhaps you are of more use alive".

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Session 54 - Feb. 3/14
Use the stairs, they're safer...

The Walrus and the other ships continue on their voyage to Wellsummer island, the home of the abbey. Early in the afternoon, Rod spars with Bertom of Cuford and instructs Yulando in fighting. Later, Quintin has a philosophical discussion with Bertom.

Over the course of the voyage, every day, in the afternoon, Arah comes above deck to catch some air. Murad tries to engage her to learn about her goddess and how her belief system compares to his.

After several days of sailing, they see the odd Ealduran ship, but there are still no signs of the enemy. The day after Maddy comments that they are making good time, a thunderstorm hits the ships. During a scouting run on the sixth day of the voyage, Murad spots land. He reports this to the party and Maddy. She asks if they want to arrive in the early morning, by dark, or later, after dawn. It is decided that the party will fly ahead to scout and the ships will arrive later at the village near the abbey. The ships will re-supply there, if possible.

The party, with Arah and Bertom, fly to the abbey, under Murad’s power. After about three hours, they reach the island. At the abbey’s dock, they see 5 boats, which is one more than when Murad first visited. They believe that the new boat may be a sign that Manuel has arrived. Murad sets the group down on the top of the abbey’s bell tower. Being in a state of disrepair, the roof of the tower is rather weak. With some careful maneuvering, the party makes it to the flight of stairs. They “magic up” and head down into the abbey.

On the next floor down, Rod thinks to cut the bell rope so that the bell is not yanked down on them. Like the roof, this floor is in poor shape. Murad makes it to the staircase on the opposite wall. As Quintin moves across the floor, his weight causes him to fall through to the next level, 40’ down, with the ceiling following after him. The floor nearly gone now, Bertom and Arah are unable to cross. Rod climbs back and secures a rope. The rest of them climb down safely to the floor below.

At this level, there are exits from the tower room. The group starts searching the rooms off the tower. This floor looks to have been ransacked. In a large common area, they find a scorch mark and bits of charred flesh. Quintin finds tracks that indicate bodies being dragged to the hole for the bell rope. They find a large bedroom with blood stains and splatter on the wall. There is a library that has been ravaged, with the books scattered about the room. Out on the terrace, they see an animated skeleton, standing still. The group times their actions – Quintin will open the door and Murad will zap it with a lightning blast. They are all too successful – the skeleton crumbles. Murad mentions that it was not there the last time he was on the terrace.

Rod mentions to Murad that they should warn Maddy in case the village has been converted into undead. Murad does a quick scout of the village just in case. Fortunately, the village looks just as it appeared the last time he visited it.

On the ground level, they find a dining hall, the main entrance, and a workroom containing maps. One is of the Hanum Islands, showing the movements of the Coorish fleet around the Cape of Sassim. Another is a crude map of the abbey. In the pantry, Murad finds some mice. He uses Wild Empathy and Speak with Animals to convince them to search the basement for people in exchange for better food. In the stables, they find some badly emaciated horses, trapped. Murad talks to them. They say that they have been tied up for more than two weeks and that someone gave them water a couple days ago.

In an out building, they find a disused winery with a hidden hatch going down. The party descends. They find a hidden door off the main passage. Beyond the door is a burial chamber, with a sarcophagus. Looking inside, they see that the body is gone. At this point, Murad tries to contact Manuel, but there is still no response.

In the next room, they find a pile of bodies. They see that one of them, near the bottom, is moving. Arah channels positive energy and the person speaks: “Please don’t hurt me!”

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Session 53 - Jan.13/14
A horse is a horse, of course, of course...

Murad and Rod go to the emergency meeting of the Stars’ Children, with Murad hiding in Rod’s pocket. Lords Ortlander and Weedon are engaged in a heated discussion of the previous day’s meeting. With little fanfare, Duke Attham, Jelnorm, then the Queen arrive. After the Queen takes her seat, the speaker announces that the only agenda item is what is to be done with the rebel lords and their armies, who are currently marching north from the city. The Queen then dismisses her speaker and all other servants.

The discussion begins with Lords Ortlander and Weedon speaking in favour of letting the rebels leave, so that the remainder of the Queen’s Army can march south to engage the Brindish. Duke Attham thinks this is folly. They cannot leave more than 2500 potentially hostile troops alone. He advocates taking the bulk of the Queen’s remaining forces to pursue them. Rod suggests cutting the snakes head off – offer to allow Duke Cahorn and the others to return to the Kingdom, or let them hang themselves. Rod insinuates that he can have the Duke killed.

The Queen bristles at the thought of assassination. Duke Attham requests that Rod be allowed to treat with the rebel lords to at least give their armies time to catch up. Rod says that, if the Duke refuses, he can challenge him to a duel on the charge of treason. Duke Attham calls for a vote to allow Rod to offer terms to the rebels (amnesty from charges and a modest penalty in land if their armies are immediately returned to the capitol) and for 1000 of the Queen’s men to pursue the rebel forces. Lord Ortlander votes against the motion; Lord Weedon abstains; Lord DeloSiren and Duke Attham vote in favour. The motion carries. The Queen consents on the condition that she accompany the queen’s army as it marches north. Duke Attham and Jelnorm advise against this, but the Queen is adamant. She grants Rod the services of two Queen’s Guard for the duration of his mission. The meeting is adjourned.

After the meeting, Jelnorm suggests that they bring Quintin with them to monitor any activity of the Children of Zepha.

Back at his estate, Rod leaves 5000 Gold Swans with Kent to take care of the house. He gives instructions that if things get bad in the city, he should flee with the other staff. Rod also sends 10,000 Swans to his sister in-law.

The three companions head to the north gate and meet up with the two Queen’s Guard. Outside of the city, Murad changes form to a Juvenile Roc. He picks up the guards’ horses and has the 3 people ride on his back.

Within less than an hour, the company sees the encamped rebel armies. They land and approach on foot, flying the banner of House DeloSiren. On the road, the group is met by some riders from Duke Cahorn’s camp. Rod announces himself and is taken to a large tent with the flag of House Cahorn flying overhead. The guards and other members are asked to stay outside. Rod is led inside where the Duke Cahorn, Lord Byton, and a young man are in a discussion over a map. Rod identifies the latter as the Duke’s eldest son, Rorick.

Rod presents the Queen’s terms to the Duke and Lord Byton. The Duke rejects the terms on all the Lords’ behalf. He offers a counter proposal, giving himself more land and powers over the realm and demanding that the Queen marry his son, Rorick. Rod agrees to present the counter-proposal to the Queen.

The party returns to a small cluster of trees and sends a message to Jelnorm, asking him to pass on the Duke’s terms to the Queen. About one hour later, he responds that the Queen wishes him to refuse the Duke’s terms but to delay communicating that until her armies can catch up. She does not expressly forbid any other action.

The party debates how Rod should issue a personal challenge to the Duke and how to deal with the Duke’s reaction and his army. Murad, as a small bird, scouts the army camps with the help of other birds. He identifies the cook and provision tents. Quintin concocts a mild poison to make the armies sick. Later, Rod sneaks into the camp and proceeds to poison the three camps’ water supply. He sneaks back out and returns to their own camp The group waits until after the soldiers have eaten before issuing the challenge. They make preparations, then leave to meet Duke Cahorn. Murad is acting as Rod’s horse.

As they approach the Duke’s command tent, Rod issues the challenge so many can hear. He charges Duke Cahorn with high treason and demands that he accept the charges or fight him to the death. The Duke comes out of his tent and accepts the duel, to the protest of his son. As the duel commences, a pigeon flies out of the tent and hovers above the two combatants. Rod makes two lightning-fast strikes to cut down the Duke and throws a poisoned dagger at the bird. The bird drops to the ground. Murad dispels the birds’ polymorph spell, causing it to transform back into a cloaked man. As that happens, a servant of the Duke steps forward. He casts Dominate Person on Rod, commanding him to protect Rorick. Quintin strips the rings off the fallen caster and binds him. Murad turns the other caster into a toad, then crushes him.

Rorick, the new Duke of Cahorn, weeps over his father’s dead body for a short time. He then dismisses his guards and agrees to speak with Rod inside the tent. He laments his father’s decisions and agrees to the Queen’s terms. Rod then visits Lords Rand and Byton at their respective camps. They agree, Rand more easily than Byton, to the Queens’ terms. They promise that their armies will return to the capitol within no more than two days.

Rod makes camp with the Queen’s Guard and awaits further instruction. Murad and Quintin fly their captives back to the Tower of Stars. At the tower, High Archmage Gralius Kurn accepts the traitorous members. Murad and Quintin tell him how they were captured and update him on the political situation. Kurn says that he will speak with the Queen and confirm that things are in hand and that their presence in the capitol is no longer be required.

Kurn identifies the magical items found on the spellcasters.

  • Amulet of Natural Armour +2
  • Bracers of Armour +4
  • Serpent Belt
  • Bracers of Armour +5
  • Headband of Alluring Charisma +6
  • Potion Bear’s Endurance
  • Potion of Cure Serious Wounds (2)
  • Potion of Haste
  • Potion of Protection from Cold
  • Potion Tongues
  • Ring Protection +3
  • Wand of True Form (12 charges)

There is a dagger with a poison on it that Kurn suspects is similar to the one used to murder Earl Keye. He wishes to give it to High Alchemist Heyrod to examine.

Murad returns to the north with Quintin to fetch Rod. The three of them then fly to catch up with The Walrus and the other ships. On the ship, Murad flirts with Maddy, bragging about how they dealt with the Duke and the spellcasters. Rod and Quintin get some sleep.

The next morning, Murad leaves Maddy’s bed and finds Yulando to give him some druidic instruction. Rod asks where the priestess, Arah is, wanting to make sure that “she is alright”. Murad changes into a gull and scouts the Bay of the Protector. Later, Murad has a discussion with Bertom of Cuford about his penance and the upcoming mission to the abbey.

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Session 52 - Dec. 30/13
There has to be some way to offload these bank notes...

Rod hides his weapons, borrows Murad’s Circlet of Persuasion and has him hide in his pocket as he heads to the council meeting. Quintin goes ahead and acts as magical security. On the way, Rod sends a message, using the Crystal of Communication to his half-sister Nelly: "It’s Rod, can’t explain, where is father?”. She responds: “I don’t know, he might be dead, but I’m not sure.”

Rod is led into the High Council chamber. In the room, he finds tow of the other nominees to the High Council – Baron Gareth Harles of Vale, and his “father-in-law”, Baron Maksim Waltin of Niya’s Pool. Soon after, the Baroness Elina Clyson of Sebluff storms into the room, upset that she has to remove her hat. Rod greets her, although she is less then thrilled about it. The High Councillors begin to filter in and take their seats. They are:

  • Viscount Stuart Byton of Byton
  • Marquess Vern Weedon of Seafield
  • Earl Kellan Rand of Cuford
  • Earl Brock Ortlander of Cumbrindy
  • Duke Erol Attham of Niya’s Pool
  • Duke Robern Cahorn of Baywick

Jelnorm, the representative of the Stars’ Children, approaches Rod and tells him to “be careful”, then walks away.

The Queen’s speaker enters the chamber, followed by the Queen, herself. The speaker reads the agenda and then asks the nominees to present themselves to the Queen. They each make their case for being chosen to sit on the council. Then, they are led off to await the decision of the council.

After about a half hour of deliberation, the nominees are led back into the council chamber. The speaker calls the Viscount Rodgerien DeloSiren to stand before the Queen to accept his seat on the High Council. The other nominees are dismissed.

The final agenda item is to decide whether or not to adopt the Low Council recommendation to sue for peace with the Coorish Trading League
Each of the council members gives what their opinion. Lords Byton and Rand and Duke Cahorn are in favour of the recommendation, hoping to use peace talks with the Coorish to redirect the war effort to the Lettanni front; Lords Ortlander and Duke Attham are against. Lord Weedon is undecided and Rod seems to want peace but does not feel that they should compromise their current position to achieve it. The Queen is most definitely against the motion.

The vote is taken: 4 for peace, 3 against (including Rod). The Queen is displeased and overturns the decision. Lords Byton and Rand are upset by this extraordinary use of royal authority. Duke Cahorn, says nothing but stands to leave the meeting. Knowing that walking out on the council before it is adjourned is an offence to the monarch, the Queen’s speaker abruptly ends the meeting. No notice is taken of the Duke’s near-insult.

Meanwhile, Quintin is standing guard outside the council chamber. He spots a vulture circling and lets Murad knows when he checks in. Quintin transforms into a vulture himself and follows a trail of scent. He finds a dead cat with a puncture wound in the back of its neck in the bushes. Quintin relays the info to Murad, who relays it to the mage that he met guarding the palace children. The mage, Ellard, finds Quintin who shows him the cat. Quintin estimates that the cat has been dead for over 24hrs. Ellard agrees that something is amiss, as he saw what he thought was the same cat earlier today.

Quintin goes back to the lab. Back at Rod’s estate, Murad meditates to prepare to travel to Wellsummer Island to find out about Manuel. Rod sends a message to the Duke of Cahorn requesting a meeting. He also sends a message to Maddy, asking to hire some of her most reliable men for guard duty at his house.

Murad travels through the trees, using Transport via Plants, attempting to reach Manuel’s abbey. He arrives near a building and begins to scout. It is definitely an abbey. To Murad, it seems not to have seen much use in a long time.

Murad enters the abbey through the bell tower, does a quick check and heads back to the dock area to see if he can find traces of Manuel. After much investigating, he determines that Manuel has not made it to the abbey yet. Murad decides to wait until he arrives. He finds a village nearby on the island where inquires about Manuel and the abbey. The village folk say that the Abbey of Bartholomew the Good had been empty for many years, after a plague wiped out most of the monks. About two months ago some soldiers were stationed there. They made it a habit of visiting the village, but they have not been seen in two or three weeks.

Back in Llantry, Quintin is invited to see the High Archmage, Gralius Kurn.

Rod gets a couple of Maddy’s boys setup to guard the house, with Saladin to oversee them.

Rod and Quintin go the Tower of Stars to see the High Archmage. On his desk is a stone that is creating images of the two Archmages, Celia Heqar and Yul Akafar, that preside over the Stars’ Children Academies in Prue and in Brindi, respectively. Archmage Akafar gives a report on the political situation in the Coorish Trading League. Caldy is going along with the war reluctantly and Leona is having problems with the Zinovans, even threatening to annex them. Akafar then asks Quintin what he knows of the Children of Zepha and their relationship with the merchant House of Fenne and Duke Cahorn. Quintin, with Rod’s help, updates them about what the party has found to this point.

Archmage Heqar informs the High Archmage that the academy in Prue is under threat from the Archduke of Lettan for their rumoured support of the Ealdurans. She gives the news that Gere Raimo will be leading the expedition to secure the node in Lettan. She also expresses concern that the sea voyage to the fourth node will take too long by boat. Heqar suggests that they should use one of the “shards”. Rod and Quintin are most interested to know what these are.

The High Archmage explains that the shards are a raw form of Ama – very powerful, but extremely dangerous. One shard would have enough power to and transport a small number of ships to their destination. Kurn laments that they have few shards left, some of them having recently gone unaccounted for. He decides to grant one shard to the party to use on their voyage into the Starbirth Sea. They are to see the High Alchemist, Heyrod on the morrow to collect it. They are also to obtain one vial of the Greater Attenuate from the High Alchemist, once it is completed.

Gralius Kurn asks the group to learn as much as they can about the magical node once they find it. This information may aid them in their fight to thwart the plans of the Children of Zepha. He adds that the Crystal of Communication is vital to this. He gives them a special container that, when the crystal is placed within it, will appear like a simple brass cup. Kurn will need to modify the crystal before they depart, so that he can send messages to it without being prompted.

Kurn thanks the Archmages for their help and dismisses them. He calls forth Molvin, the head researcher to tell what he found about the tokens that the group possesses. Molvin explains that tokens of the four gods are not uncommon, but these peculiar in their tendency to return to their owners. He found an ancient reference to a brooch that an Araran woman possessed that kept returning to her when she tried to give it away. It never left her until after she died. Molvin feels that these tokens hold some as-yet unrealized power within them. Molvin then leaves.

The High Archmage gives the group a chest filled with 20,000 Gold Swans. He suggest that they use it to buy passage across the sea. He also hands them a collection of maps of the area where the node is believed to be. Finally, he gives Quintin a small blue stone. It contains four copies of a spell, Submerge Ship, that can be cast on the ships in case the shard teleports them underwater. Kurn thanks the group for all they have done thus far and wishes them luck – to be guided by “the four points of light”.

Rod sneaks down to the docks to find Maddy, and makes a deal with her. They will pay her 3000 gold, 6000 in bank notes, and ownership of the Walrus for three ships fully crewed and supplied for the voyage.

Quintin buys 2000 Gold Swans worth of alchemical supplies and has them bring his alchemical wardrobe to the docks. He pays a last visit to Vina, the High Alchemist’s daughter, before he leaves. Quintin and Rod go to the Cathedral of Fira to collect Arah, priestess of the Benevolent.

Back outside the abbey on Wellsummer island, Murad leaves a message for Manuel to wait for the rest of the group to arrive. Then, Murad teleports back to Llantry, sort of – he ends up in an oak just north of the city. He visits the High Archmage so that he can modify the crystal as he explained.

As Rod rushes around making final preparations for the voyage, he receives a note from the Palace. It states that the Lords Byton and Rand and Duke Cahorn have withdrawn their troops from the Queen’s Army. There was some minor fighting as they left the city. Their armies were last seen marching along the north road. The lords can no longer be found. An emergency meeting of the High Council has been called for four bells this afternoon, the sixteenth day of Suriel. Rod suggests to Murad that they “take out” the Duke of Cahorn and his cohorts. Murad urges that they wait until after the meeting…

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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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