Date: Autumn, 1333 Avard
Morderain was an elf finally out exploring the world, performing the work of her god, Whalin the Compassionate. She healed the poor and indigent in Kashin's less influential districts, but she was getting tired of healing the same problems caused by the same character flaws, over and over again. Her only relief had been when Tullia would come to volunteer some of her time. Tullia would have fantastic stories of villains bested and monsters slain as she worked for one of the city lords. And then Tullia would be off again on another adventure, and Morderain would have to wait for her return, questioning her chosen path in life. She was an elf with centuries ahead of her, and yet there were idiots that needed healing, then and there, or their quality of life would suffer even more or others who depended on them would suffer. Many of the poor were gracious, giving what they had and what they could as offerings in exchange for the healing. Unfortunately, many took advantage of the tiny clinic, giving nothing and expecting healing, again and again. And then came word that Tullia had died. Morderain despaired, knowing her friend would never tell another story, cut down before life had even begun. But, Tullia had lived more in a short time than the long-lived Morderain might ever live. She knew she had to change. She left the clinic and reported to the very lord Tullia had served, offering herself in Tullia's place.
Nyx and Eva had a long history together. Nyx was a gnome, one of the most reclusive races in the world, long thought wiped out and extinct. She was a friend of the forest, walking the land and protecting all its denizens from any evils that would cause harm or lock them in unchanging and unadaptable stasis. Decades ago, she had found a crying elf child among a pack of dead wolves. The elf child had been adopted by the wolves, though not before she had learned the basics of speech and family. The wolves had been kind, but they had all been killed by arrows. The child had arrived at the scene of the ambush too late, grief-stricken, her second family torn away from her by killers who did not even bother to skin the wolves or eat them or speak with their spirits. Nyx took in the elf child, who only remembered the name Eva, and helped her relearn language, clothing, and conversation. She also taught the child about weapons, and how protecting the forests could include vengeance. Decades passed, as the two formed a strong friendship. During the War of the Undead, they battled evil whenever it formed. During the War of the Four Winds they cautiously watched as ograns swarmed the forests and ate little. Ignorant of what was edible in a land alien to their desert, the ograns barely touched the forest, save near those cities they wished to besiege. After the war, they easily undid much of the damage, but a new threat was rising: A chemical that could change living things into chaos had been sneaking its way into the land, released in man-carried shipping containers. Nyx and Eva needed help to handle the dangerous fluid that could turn a tree cat into stone or a grasshopper into a monster or a person into water. They turned to one of the city lords in charge of timber with a long history of respect for the woods.
Marcus had served Yatindar all his life. He had served a soldier during the Fifth Crusades, and then during the ogran invasion he finally achieved his soldier's dream – he was rewarded by the God of Justice with the special powers and privileges of a banner paladin. One of his first tasks was to leave his home duchy, taking with him knowledge of an arcane mutational potion that was infiltrating the lands from the east. He was to act as liaison between the two duchies, share information, and find out who was responsible. Long months of waiting went by without a word, and Marcus helped the local reeves as best he could in the meantime, keeping an ear out for trouble. And then it came – one of the local lords reported that his investigative team had encountered an unusual material identified as the arcanogen. It had destroyed a brewery, transforming people into a myriad of things and shapes and misery. One of them had become liquid ale with a mind full of alcohol, and killed all but one of the lord's team. The local lord vowed to find the source of the arcanogen, and so Marcus was immediately transferred to assist with the investigation.
Enialis, being the lone survivor of ale elemental encounter, made his faithful report to the Baron Longaxe and then took time off to visit family and friends. Upon his return, he spent time working with the Lyle House, earning credit towards his own spell program and assisting with their studies.
A local thief appeared to be stealing things at random, somehow breaking in without leaving a trace and stealing seemingly random items of value. He had nearly been caught, once, and tiny bits of cloth and some hairs were left behind by the thief. The cloth was analyzed by the clothiers, but nothing distinctive could be told about it. It was brought to the Lyle House for arcane testing, when the samples tested positive for arcanogen.
Marcus began an immediate investigation of all prior thefts possibly connected to the thief. He interviewed guards, inspected homes, and reanalyzed reports connected to the thefts. There did not seem to be a pattern in the objects stolen, but there did seem to be a pattern in the thefts. They seemed to take place every other day, and the thief could either turn invisible or teleport, as there were no signs of forced entry, and thefts could take place when a guard turned around. The closest time in between thefts for a witness was mere minutes, between when one guard did see the object and the owner discovered it missing. There was no one in the house, and no way anyone could have gotten out without being seen – or so it appeared.
As soon as the next theft took place, Marcus arrived on the scene. Eva's wolfbound immediately picked up a scent that did not belong. Nyx shifted into a wolf form, supporting the wolfbound, and the two trailed it, Marcus in tow. It led to a less-well-to-do neighborhood of three-story town houses nestled together in blocks. Marcus and Eva remained to watch over it, while Eva retrieved the other two members of the team.
No movement took place inside the town house that they could perceive. Nyx took up watch in the back, where a window was open. When Eva returned with Enialis and Morderain, Marcus boldly walked up to the door and knocked.
The fellow that answered the door suggested he was a gigolo with customers whose names he could not divulge. His constant smiles and suggestions of impropriety and how much they would cost were annoying. Enialis, using a special-built wafer-spell to track the thief, broke the wafer. Light immediately reached out to the owner of the hair left at the crime scene – and the gigolo began to glow. Enialis was able to confirm that he had the arcanogen coursing through him.
Marcus had the gigolo arrested on the spot and taken to the local Guard station, and put into a cell. The gigolo resisted questioning, and whatever power or ability he had went unused.
Enialis attempted to investigate the house alone, but several booby traps and two would-be burglars caused some damage. Sensing the trouble Enialis was getting into, Marcus, Nyx, and Eva returned to the town house while Morderain remained behind.
The team went through the town house, and found a hidden section of wall on the third floor. Careful analysis and testing let the team into the hidden wall from the second floor, where they found the stolen goods. Wrapping them up as evidence, they found that two of the items had powerful enchantments – one was an elven knife, and the other was a small jade anvil of the type to be considered Galgiran.
As the team and two members of the Guard began their return to the station, they were met by Morderain who warned them of trouble. The gigolo had moved lightning fast, hurled daggers into the Lord Count and the Guard, and escaped. His skin had turned to steel and was hard as nails, and he could change into whatever inanimate object he wanted. He was akin to a reverse changeling; where changelings could look like anyone, the gigolo could look like anything, and apparently take on some of their characteristics, thanks to the arcanogen.
The gigolo ambushed them from a side street, cutting a swath through the team and leading them into several booby traps in the alleyways that had to have taken hours to make. The gigolo managed to fall into hundreds of pebbles and flow around them at one point, before reassembling and ducking as a huge wooded cross beam on ropes fell and hammered at Morderain and Marcus.
With luck and the wrath of the God of Justice, through Marcus, the gigolo was taken down.
More Guard responded to the ruckus, and more booby traps were found all over that section of town.
Morderain healed the new team from their slashes and bruises and broken ribs as additional booby traps were disarmed by the Guard.
A priest of the old ways brought in to speak with the corpse of the gigolo, and examine the body. They learned from the body that the man likely had never been a gigolo at all, that his words had probably been a ruse. Someone had been experimenting on him. Somewhere, there was a mage learning to channel the arcanogen. A female elf had tried and failed on five others, and the gigolo had a number six branded on his forearm. Someone was using the arcanogen-touched and trying to figure out how to master the powers of chaos.
DM's Notes: Sarah broke the space bar of my keyboard the next day, and so the recap took a bit of time to type… Writing the recap from a month later (to the day), I know I'm leaving a lot out, and I can't quite remember how the party found out about a mage experimenting with the arcanogen. The knife, by the way, is a +1 blade that returns when thrown. The jade statue gives clerics of Galgiran a +1 bonus to all spells while the anvil is in hand. If I recall correctly, there may have been some coinage in the would-be assassin's purse.
None to date.