Day 51, continued:
The PCs interrogate Cezar after the fight. He pleads for his life and offers riches in return, including the deeds to The Orc’s Head, the current stock and the enchantments upon it that prevent fires. He claims he’ll need an hour to gather those, and other sundry items, from his study. We offer a provisional agreement and Théorn senses relief and hope in Cezar’s body language, which makes us suspicious.
Max is left with him in his study to ‘interrogate’ him for a few minutes, and discovers that Cezar is more afraid of someone else than of us. After further threats from Max, Cezar offers information for his life and tells of Count Rakanx, and produces a letter from a hidden drawer that he had been hoping to destroy when we weren’t looking. Cezar wishes to live, but says he will only be safe if Rakanx believes him dead.
Meanwhile, a paladin rides into town and arrives at Pastor Waverley‘s church. He seeks those who liberated the Temple of the Clear Springs. Pastor Waverley and the paladin, named Pieter (who donates 100gp to the church) both head over to investigate the disturbance in town. They arrive in time to find Pennyworth wailing over the death of Elkovar and telling all who will listen the story of this ’sartorial giant’. Pieter recognises the warforged from a vision, striking down a demon, and goes to introduce himself while Pastor Waverley arranges a funeral pyre in the town square.
Back at the interrogation, Max learns that Rakanx appeared to Cezar each time under a different guise, though always carrying a sword dripping with poison. He had apparently noted Cezar as someone of promise and recruited him to an organisation interested in the surrounding area. This organisation wished to have leverage over any freelance adventurers in the area and required that Cezar keep them in his pocket. Cezar suspected the involvement of merchant guilds from Affen, but Rakanx terrified him and so agreed to this and the regular monthly payments he was required to make to Rakanx. The next such payment is due in just two or three days. As a condition of this arrangement, Cezar was required to distance himself from Brysias.
I NEED A BIT OF HELP DECIPHERING THIS BIT OF MY NOTES. I’VE COPIED VERBATIM WHAT I WROTE DOWN AT THE TIME. DOES IT SOUND FAMILIAR TO ANYONE?
The party regroups, and Pieter joins them. Carson (human battleaxe) asks who the new boss is. Max chats to him for a bit. Marvin.
The PCs discuss arrangements for the town in light of the power vacuum that Cezar’s absence will cause.
Meanwhile, in The King Valiant Pennyworth talks to Brysias to sell on various acquired magical items that we no longer have need of. She is also seeking help for her brother Fyodor, who has money troubles and has an item for sale that Pennyworth would be interested in. Pennyworth is indeed interested and the party agrees to meet with Fyodor in the village of Trenton.
Brysias, who is uninterested in the local politics as she will be leaving the area soon, mentions during the transactions that another shifter bought a very poor quality dagger from her barely an hour ago. Théorn is curious about this and goes looking for this shifter, accompanied by Hollan and Napoleon.
This other shifter turns out to be Theorn of the Tattoia tribe, who is not at all happy at discovering that Théorn now uses a sword. He talks of the the legend of Kalashnakash, He Who Wielded Wrongness, and whether Théorn is trying to follow in his path. Theorn hopes that Théorn will see the light and turn away from this shame but is convinced to keep quiet about it for now.
The PCs try to talk to the movers and shakers to set up some sort of town council (Skill Challenge) before we depart. Hollan talks to Clementine, Pieter talks to Pastor Waverley, Pennyworth talks to Thena, Max talks to Carson, Napoleon talks to Mal Sheringham and Théorn talks to Alberno. All save Clementine agree and gather together in the evening, before Elkovar’s funeral and wake.
The PCs use the funeral and wake as cover to sneak Cezar out of town without anyone seeing, to maintain the cover story that he is dead.
Early in the morning we set out for Trenton to meet with Fyodor. En route we are ambushed again by gnolls (Encounter 1) but arrive without problems.
Arriving in Trenton we find Fyodor’s house and Pennyworth announces our presence. Fyodor answers the door and we see two other tieflings in the background introduced as Pyotr and Vladimir. The rest of the PCs retire to a nearby inn while Pennyworth conducts his negotiations.
Pennyworth chats to Fyodor. They discuss the recent upgrade in power of his Rod of Corruption and Pennyworth gives Fyodor a gift of a vial of the corrupted water from the Temple of the Clear Springs. The negotiations settle on 3,000gp for a suit of leather armour of Dark Majesty, but Fyodor needs the money urgently and Pennyworth will have to meet them the following day in the village of Dung to collect it, alone.
The party travels to Dung and checks into The Horse’s End. After a dull evening, Pennyworth is approached by a street urchin, who leads him to a small barn on the edge of town before running off scared.
Pennyworth enters the barn and is greeted by Fyodor along with his friends Pyotr and Vladimir. Fyodor presents the armour and suggests that Pennyworth try it on to see how it fits. Pennyworth, suspicious of this, summons Chardonnay to keep an eye on things. Fyodor protests that he has a phobia of owlbears and asks that she leave, so she is sent outside. Upon inspecting the armour, Pennyworth discerns that there is an illusion enchantment on it. He complains about this and starts to leave. Fyodor confesses that the armour would paralyse him, saying that he is desperate for the 3,000gp to pay his debts to a very scary man, and begins to threaten Pennyworth unless he hands over the money regardless.
The three tieflings move to attack Pennyworth and he sends Chardonnay flying back towards the inn to alert the rest of the party. Unfortunately the PCs don’t hear her screeching in time to arrive before Pennyworth has been knocked out and his money stolen, with the three tieflings fleeing shouting that Rakanx needs his money. The rest of the party chase them down, with Napoleon pausing briefly to rouse Pennyworth as they pass. Fyodor and his compatriots are caught and a fight ensues (Encounter 2), with The Green Fire WithinTM Pennyworth hungering for Fyodor’s soul. This hunger subsides after Pennyworth has a vision of a silver boy and green fire and all three tieflings are taken alive for interrogation.
Returning to Dung after the fight, Hollan inspects the armour closer and senses draconic enchantment. As Fyodor begins to wake, the armour is placed on him and he spasms painfully before being paralysed. With Fyodor unable to move we interrogate him.
It seems that he ran up excessive gambling debts without realising that it was Rakanx who controlled his debtors. Rakanx apparently wanted to use this leverage to get to Brysias, in his capacity as an agent of a black dragon. This dragon, named Shivastri, is located to the south and is much feared by the locals. She is the daughter of Sharn, an elder black dragon, and has links to dragonborn worshippers of Tiamat who wish to kill all those without scales. She has also recently taken a beholder as a mate.
Fyodor met with Rakanx last night and they worked on the plan to trap Pennyworth. Rakanx had heard of Cezar’s fall and of the destruction of Teveston, a village four days’ travel away, by the forces of Malificent Blacktree. Due to our actions Shivastri wanted Rakanx to conclude business here and leave the area. Thus Fyodor says that Rakanx was no longer interested in his sister Brysias and needed to leave the area rapidly once he had wrapped up all the loose ends. To this end he sought information on where to procure a scroll to control gryphons (which can be found to the north) and was directed to Thena.
We decided to rest in the inn and wait for Rakanx, as he is due to return, though we allow Pyotr and Vladimir to depart.
Rakanx fails to show through the night so in the early morning we decide to race to Ravensburgh to try catch him before he reaches Thena. We buy two extra riding horses and ride hard.
Departing, just outside of Dung. we find the corpses of Pyotr and Vladimir with their heads dissolved by acid. Then near Trenton a horse goes lame and in a rush it costs us 200gp (including 100gp deposit) to replace. A final horse goes lame as we arrive in Ravensburgh, but we rush to Thena’s church.
We can’t find Thena in her church and we’re directed to The Orc’s Head, where we’re told she’s in council. We locate her, and she says that a gnome (Rakanx shapeshifting?) bought a scroll of gryphon control just earlier today. She tells us that there is a gryphon post about two days’ ride to the south-east that was abandoned because of basilisks in the area, though she has scrolls to help against the petrification attacks and a bit of information on basilisk types and their abilities.
The scroll that the gnome bought is for a ritual that takes 24 hours to perform, so the party decides that it’s worth chasing to see if we can catch Rakanx before the ritual is completed and he escapes. We stock up on supplies quickly to set off to the south-east…
Character status at end of session:
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