When last we left the crew of the “Barrel and Hammer” they had just acquired an ancient schema from an ancient and nearly forgotten House Cannith forge for their beautiful but mysterious patron, Lady Elaydren d’Cannith. In the process, we learn that Hamilcar’s bodyguard, Bolgor, is actually a Warforged wearing an arcane glamour that facimilates (I may have made that word up) human skin, (and, oh yeah, did we mention that he’s the little brother of the Lord of Blades? Yeah. That happened too.)
In the weeks that have passed since their successful quest, they have been running their mildly popular tavern, employing the halflings they defeated in the Rat’s Market and enlisting their leader, Rory, as head of security. They have also made many trips to the House Sivis message station, seeking word from lady Elaydren. As of yet, there has been none, and they, each time, return disappointed.
Part 1: Sharn
- The Message Station
It’s another rainy day in the City of Towers, the thunder rolls in the distance and the rain cascades steadily. As our friends approach the message station expecting more disappointment, they notice that the door to the small structure is hung open at an odd angle. As the lightning flashes, they are able to see one of the door’s hinges has been forcefully removed from the frame.
Bolgor turns his head quickly as he hears a groan coming from the station. “Guys…there’s someone still in there.” He draws his sword, the rest of the party following his lead and drawing their own as well. Hamilcar stops for a moment and closes his eyes, mind scanning the building for life.
“There’s no one else in there, just the one and she’s barely conscious.”
The group, still weary, enter the message station, clearly in disarray. “Well, this place has certainly had itself a thorough ransacking.” Vit remarks, scanning the room and gingerly stepping around the broken objects littering the floor. As he steps behind the counter, he spots the Gnome clerk, lying atop a spilled shelf of scrolls and parchment sheets. She moans as he rests his hand on her head. “Blow to the head. Knocked out.” He mutters, then looks over his shoulder. “Harjonger. We got a Gnome down, lad.”
The Paladin, is there in seconds, kneeling , with Vit, beside the Gnome. He places a hand on her head and mutters softly. “Th’ light of Nesumnee restore ye.” There is a soft glow and a low hum that thrums the air around them and then fades.
The Gnome’s eyes flutter open and she jolts to her feet. “The Messages!” She cries out. “I have to check the messages!” She bounds around the shop, opening and closing drawers and checking shelves and hidden compartments as well.
Othello, still checking the shop, spots a scattering of rounded sling stones, and a set of footprints made in ink. He growls low in his throat. “Kobolds!”
Bolgor finds another ink-made footprint, something erupts in his mind and an image of a warforged in a red cloak appears and is, just as suddenly, gone. “A Warforged was here as well.” He sighs, then looks as his own hand, covered in the arcane glamour that creates the appearance of human flesh. Vit and Horjongr nod and sit the Gnome clerk down,
“Can you tell us what happened here?” Vit asks as Horjongr gestures for Bolgor to keep an eye on the door.
The Gnome rubs her head gingerly as she looks them over, finally recognizing the group. “I…I know you folk! Sure, you’re in here every couple of days. Well, I was minding my own business, you know, tending the shop and all, when a group of about four…no, six Kobolds charged in and just attacked me here. They pinned me to the counter and the others started to go through my things here. Oh, look at the mess they’ve made!” She cries, tears welling in her eyes.
“It’s alright lass, they’re gone now. Tell us what happened next.” Horjongr urged.
The clerk nods. “Well, that’s when a large man, I couldn’t see him well, but he seemed about human-size, he comes in with a deep and rumbling voice. He belted orders at the Kobolds and they followed him without question. Goodness, they all but yelped in fear when he spoke to them. He was asking for…oh, dear.” Her face pales a little and her look becomes apologetic. “He was looking for any messages that were addressed to you.” She gestured to Horjongr and to Othello as well. “It was the most amazing coincidence, that I had just transcribed a message for you from the speaking stone.”
Othello joins the trio on the floor and they all exchange looks, Hamilcar stands with Bolgor, a hand on his shoulder, as they keep watch. “What then, Miss?” Othello asks, his knuckles cracking as his fingers formed a fist.
The Clerk shrugged. “I must have looked at the scroll I was holding, because the next second he snatched the scroll with one hand and then hit me with the other.” She gingerly rubbed her head on the spot where she had been struck. “That’s the last thing I remember.”
Horjongr took a deep breath, his brow furrowing. “Do ye remember what th’ message said?”
Othello places a hand on the Dwarf’s shoulder. “It’s of no use, man. Sivas clerks are trained to transcribe and then forget.” He holsters his gun, giving the clerk a warm smile. “That about right?”
The clerk nods, but suddenly her face becomes a bit brighter. “Oh, but I can remember who the message was from. It was the Lady Elaydren d’Cannith.”
- A Call for Help
The heroes leave the message station, having adequately compensated the Gnome clerk for her trouble and misfortune. Harjongr finds the nearest City Watch guard and gives him some coin to send a detail over to the station to secure and defend it.
As the group make their way into the rainy streets and towards their tavern, a blur of feathers rockets out of the cloud-filled sky. As it circled the group once, Othello recognizes the animal.
“What the?” He exclaims, nearly bumping into Bolgor. “It’s a giant owl…”
Before he can finish, the owl drops the satchel it carries in it’s talons and then streaks off into the air.
Hamilcar, uses his powers to catch the satchel in mid air and sends it to Harjongr, who opens it to find a scroll inside. he reads:
The normal means of communication seems to have been compromised, so I have sent this special messenger to personally find you and deliver this letter.
You served me once before, and now I need your help again. Time is short. I feel that our enemies have discovered me and are closing in.
Meet me at the Broken Anvil tavern, where we first discussed heirlooms and job opportunities. Act quickly, for I believe that we are all in terrible danger.
It is Vit who speaks now, “I think it’s safe to say that we shouldn’t waste any time. Let’s go!”
The five arrive at the Broken Anvil shortly after, noticing that the tavern is strangely empty, save for a women in a worn brown cloak. She raises her hand as the group enters, causing it to glow with white fire as if ready to cast a spell, then causes the fire to die. She pulls back her hood and, despite her disheveled hair and the dirt covering her face, she is no less recognizable as the Lady Elaydren.
Rosie, the innkeeper, runs from the kitchen to check on the noise, but is waved away by Elaydren. As she walks back into the kitchen, she spots Othello and gives him a warm smile before darting behind the door.
“Quickly, Quickly!” Elaydren calls out to them in a strained voice, beckoning the group to her. Vit And Harjongr motion for Hamilcar and Bolgor to keep watch on the door. The two nod their consent and move to the main floor with weapons drawn. The remaining three approach Elaydren, Vit keeping a wary eye about them.
Vit speaks first. “My lady, are you alright?”
“Thank Olladra that you’re here. There is no time to waste.” Elaydren exclaims, lifting a leather backpack from the floor and placing it on the table. It looks very nearly empty, but she draws the trio’s attention back to her. “Look, there is no time to explain.” Her eyes are full of fear, darting from the group to the door and windows and then back again. “Instructions, gold, and supplies are all in the pack. Take it and go, quickly. The letter in the left-hand pocket explains everything, but you must go now! You must trust me, if you are able to accomplish this task, the reward will be vast.”
As if on cue, the windows all burst and the front doorway is thrown open. Six small figures leap in through the broken windows of the tavern.
“KOBOLDS!” Othello shouts, drawing his gun and focusing his powers into his weapon.
As he does, a seventh figure, much larger and broader in size, and wearing a dark hooded cloak. He carried a large gun upon his arm, which he aimed and fired immediately…at Lady Elaydren.
The bullet strikes her in the shoulder, and she ducks behind the table in searing pain. She immediately casts a curative spell on her self and then launches a lightning bolt at the hooded figure, striking him in the face and burning the hood away from him.
It is Bolgor who recognizes him first. A series of memories flooding into his mind:
- he stands before a group of warforged, untested, untried in battle. It is his job to train then, to make them ready for the days and nights of bloodshed that are sure to come. They must fight and fight well to honor the house that created them all. Bolgor will make certain of this. Cutter, the youngest of his brothers stands with the group, as well as … -
“Cutlass!” Bolgor almost hisses, drawing his weapon.
The Gun-armed warforged looks at the Glamoured warforged and laughs. It is a disturbing laugh that comes from his un-moving mouthpiece. “Well, brother, I did hear that you had taken in with some weak-fleshed errand boys. I did not take you for a flesh lover, but I suppose much has changed.”
“Odd.” Bolgor spoke now as Hamilcar moved forward to help his friend. “I always thought you were impressionable. Now you’re a Zealot for a mad, bloodthirsty warforged.” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop himself, memories still flooding his mind. “Can’t say that I’m that surprised, little brother.”
Cutlass’s eyes glow bright red with anger at the jibe and he launches himself into an attack. Bolgor, with the help of his friends, make short work of the Warforged and a couple of the Kobolds as well. Harjongr pauses once Cutlass is felled to speak to the remaining Kobolds.
“Ye’ were obviously under the forced employ of th’ warforged here. If ye’ continue in this way, we’ll be forced to destroy ye’!”
The remaining Kobolds look at each other nervously, and then break out into a run and flee the tavern.
Elaydren moves from behind the table, grabbing a sword from one of the fallen Kobold bodies. “More of these assassins may show up at any moment, my friends. All of the information you need is in the left pocket of the backpack. Take it and go! Get out of the city as quickly as you can!” without hesitation, Elaydren darts out of the tavern and disappears into an alleyway.
Vit takes a hold of the backpack and opens the left pocket, drawing forth a folded up letter. He opens it and reads it aloud to the group:
The object you recovered for me from the ruins beneath Sharn is a schema, a piece of a pattern used to create items both mundane and magical. I have learned that another schema connected to this pattern was being studies in a secret Cannith workshop in Cyre, called Whitehearth. I wonder if this research is tied to the Day of Mourning?
Parts of my own house seek this pattern for evil purposes and I do not know whom to trust. So I turn to you. I need you to travel to Cyre, find the workshop, and recover the second schema.
The location of the workshop was a closely guarded secret lost when the patriarch of House Cannith died in the Destruction of Cyre. you must travel to the House Cannith outpost in the town of Rose Quarry in Darguun to recover a record of all of Cannith’s hidden workshops.
In Rhukaan Draal, find a man named Failin in the Bloody Market. He can provide you with transport to Rose Quarry. From there, travel into the Mournland to find Whitehearth and the second schema. It is an admantine plate in the shape of a diamond, about the size of a human’s palm. Once you have retrieved it, return to Rhukaan Draal, where I will meet you. Succeed and I will see to it that you are well rewarded for your courage.
Vit places the letter back into the pocket and them opens the remaining pockets for his comrades to inspect.
Impressed by all of the equipment, Bolgor takes a step back. “Well, she certainly seems to have thought of everything.”
Harjongr looks curiously at the vials of holy water. “S’pect we’ll be encounterin’ some nasty black magic as well.”
“Well I take it we should likely figure out how we’re going to get ourselves to Darguun, and quickly. For all we know, the assassins could already be on to what we’re doing.” Hamilcar suggested, leaning back against a table.
The party, all in agreement, take to the task of researching their travel options.
Air travel, as it turns out, is out of the question. There doesn’t seem to be any Airships, Privateer or otherwise, that can make the trip to the Goblin nation right now.
So their Choices come down to the House Lyrandar galleon and the House Orien land travel by Lightning rail.
Noting that the land travel will take them much longer than any of them would like, the group agrees to the option of Sea Travel by House Lyrandar Galleon, and make plans to depart Sharn immediately.
Part Two: Darguun
Oh no! Skeletons!!
AAAAAWWWWW YEAH!! It’s “Bootsy” Baby!! OW!!!