Date: Autumn, 1333 Avard
* word arrived from Takanal of five individuals apparently transformed – one had been a 15 year old boy and was no a rampaging beast; the other four were missing
* en route to Takanal by river, they stopped in Lena, where a man turned himself in to the first paladin he saw: Marcus; he may have killed someone – even the gods were angry at the man
* after a bit of stormy weather and a delay, they made it to Rilan, where they discovered that a priestess of Habrem had likely been murdered; even the angels seemed to cry out in despair at her loss
* they had the potential murderer sent to Lok Magius, as he was arcanogen infected
In the wee hours of the morning, the Guard were out in force on the streets of the Stone Line district of the city. Delaying and lethal booby traps were found in plenty, and were diffused. The paladin Marcus directed the Guard, ensuring order and information flowed. The corpse of the assassin was sent off for cremation, with a coroner and the mage Enialis overseeing the autopsy. The small druid Nyx watched over the scene, hoping to learn more about the arcanogen that had made the assassin nearly invulnerable. The woods ranger Eva had had enough, though, and she and her wolfbound Kai returned to their quarters. The cleric Morderain oversaw what healing as was needed, as several of the guard were injured by a few booby traps, but after half an hour without injuries, she went to the nearby healing clinic. There, she tended to the poor and indigent, healing them as best she could with her gods-given powers.
Enialis and the coroner found little new information on the gigolo-turned-assassin, save that his heart was made of steel. The assassin had been able to turn his skin into steel, taking on the properties of inanimate items, but apparently his heart had not turned back to flesh as the rest of him had when he was finally defeated. Enialis took the steel heart as both evidence, an item of research into the arconogen, and a trophy.
Marcus dealt with hours of paperwork, files, reports, and more. After finally cleaning up in the hours after dawn, he almost crawled into bed to sleep when there was a summons for him to the count. The count had already read the reports, but had a new one for Marcus: A town to the west known as Takanal had sent a message involving the arcanogen. Apparently a fifteen year old boy turned into a rampaging beast that was barely contained, and four others were missing. The description of the chaos reminded the count and Marcus of the arcanogen, and so Marcus was dispatched to Takanal to investigate. He was given a writ from the count authorizing expenses, and told to be on his way as soon as possible.
After gathering up the team with the permission of Baron Longaxe, they set sail along the river. Overland, the journey would take five days at a minimum, but by river the journey could take as little as three days, weather depending. The easiest transportation was a Guard sloop transferring members of the Guard from Kashin to Lena, a day to the south.
The autumn weather showed them many a golden and red tree, interspersed with evergreens, as they sailed down the river. Behind them were the great mountains of the Rakanus Clan, Mount Lavanor chief among them.
They arrived in the evening in worsening conditions. Freezing rain fell from the heavens, and so Enialis and Nyx opted to remain on the boat, Nyx staying with the wolfbound Kai. Eva and Morderain went in search of warm drink, while Marcus made an exploratory foray to assess the Guard. He had inspected those aboard the sloop before they debarked, and had heard too many rumors of the lawlessness of Lena.
A fellow followed Marcus after a bit, and finally introduced himself in a stuttering, nervous way to the paladin in the same tavern Eva and Morderain had found to get out of the miserable weather. The fellow had difficulty working up the courage to explain his situation, but finally let out that he felt he had murdered someone. Bloody clothes had been found in his room when he awoke, and he had no memory of the night before.
While Marcus was asking pertinent questions and opening an investigation, Eva and Morderain were approached by a fellow with jaunty riding boots pulled down and a large candelabra with a score of candles. The fellow identified himself as 'Lightbringer', and offered information or escort in exchange for pay. He had plenty of minor leads, such as a scrag (water troll) infestation dealt with by a mob only a few weeks before, but nothing to help with the arcanogen or with their mission to Takanal.
When Marcus left with the stranger, Eva and Morderain followed, letting the Lightbringer light their way – more curious about his candelabra in the freezing rain than out of any need for real light. The candelabra was enchanted, keeping the candles lit no matter the circumstances, perhaps some lost relic of the Storm Wars or some cheap gimmick from the mages academy.
Aboard the sloop, the fellow was interrogated by Enialis' magic – which identified him as positive for the arcanogen. He had been affected. Further interrogation indicated he had been in Rilan recently, the night before, or so he thought.
Nyx, taking wolf form when Kai whined, followed the wolf into the cabin corridor. Both of them smelled something familiar and foreign. There was a hint of incense that seemed familiar, like those of the gigolo affected by the arcanogen. It was the confused man that Marcus and Enialis were speaking with – he smelled of the arcanogen, and it set Kai's fur a ruffle.
Marcus ordered the fellow held and observed by the Guard, while the inn was investigated. The cleaning staff had already removed the mess and all that remained were freshly scrubbed floorboards with a bit of blood stain. The blood smelled human to Nyx. That much blood would indicate someone was brutally murdered.
Their trail seemed to dry up, but suspicions were aroused. The next day, they would head to the fellow's last port of call – Rilan.
The weather turned cold and nasty, and their trip was slowed by a day, but the sloop was able to make it to Rilan after an extra day's careful travel as the golds and reds of autumn were washed away in a blanket of ice and white.
In Rilan, Marcus checked in with the local reeve, a tall desert elf called Bridar, and arranged for transport up to Lok Magius. With the weather as bad as it was and their sloop going the wrong direction, they knew they would be in Rilan for an extra day. Working with the harbor master's logs and the dock workers' memories, they were able to find out the fellow's name: Vilhelm. Vilhelm had arrived from Takanal almost five days' prior – putting him in Rilan almost a day after the incident in Takanal.
More investigation found a ship's crewman with a broken arm who had been on the same ship as Vilhelm. When they interviewed him, they found that Vilhelm – stuttering, peaceful, confused, weak Vilhelm – had put the man through a cabin door and broken his arm. He had look confused afterwards, but the crew and the captain let it go because Vilhelm paid in gold – for his passage to Rilan and for the damages.
The team believed that Vilhelm was one of the missing four from Takanal.
The smell of the wind brought a familiar scent to Nyx and Kai – the human scent and more incense, but different than the arcanogen. They investigated one of the large temples in Rilan, and found that the smell of the Mountain's Bass matched that of the scent left behind in the inn in Lena where a pile of bloody clothes had been. Inside, they asked the temple's vicar about happenings, and learned something dire.
The elder vicar, an elf of a thousand years' age, feared the worst. One of their priests had been sent to Lena to open a temple, there. She had boarded a ship headed for Lena – a ship that had yet to report back and had also logged Vilhelm boarding. The night the priestess boarded, an omen had sounded, like angels wailing in grief from within the temple. The vicar felt in her bones that it was the priestess' death, for she had had the voice of an angel. She hoped she was wrong.
The priestess was a young woman, blonde of hair with gold and red-gold robes, and all the accoutrement of a priestess of Habrem, including a holy symbol.
DM's Notes: We played at our place, with Gabriel being a bit fussy, Sarah and Kellan running around, Nicky entertaining himself on the computer, and all of us catching up on and being entertained by one another's stories and antics and issues. Lynn was dog tired from all her work, David was looking forward to retirement, and Mike was ready to PLAY; Sommer was dealing with Gabriel and Sarah, and Saige was doing her best not to be bored. Saige hasn't yet mastered the art of inserting herself into the situation, so I did my best to pull her in when I could. We eventually had to call it on account of it being the day Kellan's 6th birthday was being celebrated! Yay!
None to date.