Location: Kashin, Tongue Wrecker Tavern & Inn
Date: Cal 15th, 1333 Avard
The party rested at Sir Reginald's in the aftermath of surviving a giant demon summoning and slaying Ayra, the woman responsible for the demons in Kashin in the past few weeks. Mialee and Selis were summoned by page to go to the other side of town, immediately, and assist Norion with an apparently even more immediate problem. While the rest of the team wanted to go, they were instructed not to.
In the interim, Sir Reginald summoned the Guard to assist in keeping the area clear until Norion could return. A sergeant in the Guard wanted to immediately arrest Beth for murder, but Sir Reginald and a leftenant that knew Beth well prevented the arrest, assuring a prompt investigation as soon as the nearby manse was secure from further demon summoning, and after Norion could attest to the problems.
The sergeant claimed that one of the town's coroners had returned, and as a favor, investigated a murder. Her results indicated Beth. Forewarned, Beth and the party were ordered back to the Tongue Wrecker where the whole mess could be sorted out.
At the Tongue Wrecker, Halgun had a falling out with Beth over the murder and perceived betrayal. This hurt Beth quite a bit, and she had to change her identity and appear to leave. Eingrim, through his crow, helped the change without the party being quite the wiser. This saddened Gruck considerably, although Mara and Wellby appeared to have no real stake in the exchange.
The next day, Mara and Wellby were sent to acquire a large rug that Eingrim had ordered, and had finally arrived. They ran into Gruck and 'Luise', who were on a different run. The visiting coroner had spoken with Beth's spirit, and positively identified Beth as the murderer. Beth, behind the Luise facade, was having a crisis of conscience regarding the murder.
They were able to spot potential ambushes and a string of assassins on the rooftops – just like the previous one. Avoiding the ambush, they were then better able to witness potential problems. One of those problems was a woman with dark hair a dark eyes and skin the color of mocha, who was asking too many questions. Her accent was odd, but the team was unable to place it. Rather than ponder over it too much, they avoided trouble.
Back at the Tongue Wrecker, they were able to hang the large rug on a wall of the tavern and examine it, together. There was script written in the words of the giants, similar enough to the ogran dialect that Mara and Wellby could make out some of it – especially in relation to runestones. The rug detailed a town of giants called Drbth that must have long fallen to ruins.
Eingrim, eager to get away from a mage killer running loose and the demonic terrors of Kashin and the Guard eager to capture Beth, figured that a visit to the ruins of Drbth might be in order. The distraught Luise was welcome to join them. Eingrim would pay for travel, food, and lodging, and get first pick of any magical items found, and ten percent of any wealth they found, and the party could have the rest. He was not in it for the money, but for the experience and the knowledge.
Mara indicated that any runestones found might have to go with them, and after hesitating, told them why. Mara and Wellby had been sent by an ogremai that suspected the runestones were responsible for the powerful magics used during the War of the Four Winds to decimate the orcs. Mara and Wellby's supporter wanted to keep the runestones out of the hands of fools, fearing that any mere man cold become a martyr with such power. Wizards, taking the time to learn the craft, might be more immune to such foolishness – but Mara warned she might have to take control of any runestones found, and deliver them to her supporter.
Eingrim pondered, and said that he could perhaps meet with their supporter and learn more, himself – as the ogremai was apparently only several days' ride away from the ruins indicated on the rug.
The party chartered a boat to take them to Rilan, and it would leave on the next day. In the meantime, a ferrier was rented for Mara, and some shopping took place.
At the Lyle House, Norion was unavailable, but Savana Beth Lomaksan was. She indicated that with the demonic trouble in the city, it might take some time for things to stabilize enough for Norion to interene on Beth's behalf – but it could be done. Norion's previous meeting with the Duke ensured that party that the city's lead nobleman, at least, could be trusted.
That night, they were beset by Zhaneesa and her fraternal twin sister. Zhaneesa was a blood mage – and her sister, a necromancer. Fighting in the hallway of the upstairs inn of the Tongue Wrecker was difficult, as they could only take on the undead single file – until Gruck and Mara realized that the walls were only wood. Axes and raw strength made side passages the team could use even around the once-possessed Gruck. When Gruck shook off the possession, Eingrim took control of one of the undead and souped it up with defensive spells, using it to hold the passage against zombies while they dealt with shadows that could fight straight through them.
Wellby had managed to steal one of the gems used by Ayra in the manse, and used its power to beat back the shadows. Eingrim acted as healer, his kit rapidly depleting as he bandaged wounds and kept some of them on their feet, while Wellby goaded the other patrons of the inn into action to prevent them from being slaughtered by the undead.
Realizing a new tactic was needed, Eingrim leapt out of a window and tried to attack Zhaneesa directly, from the bottom floor, only to be defeated by a head-long smack into a door. Gruck, more experienced at breaking things, followed suit and easily defeated the door, breaking through it to attack Zhaneesa in surprise.
The necromancer's sister was unconscious, thanks to eye stalk of a beholder that 'Luise' possessed, and Zhaneesa herself fled, leaving her sister to her fate.
Red blast after red blast of sheer power finally beat down the undead, and then took Zhaneesa herself down in the street just outside the Tongue Wrecker. Gruck finally realized that Luise was his friend Beth in disguise, her signature red power bolt something unique to her.
DM's Notes: It was interesting to see how the party fought in a linear corridor with room for only one-on-one combat (save the shadows that cheated and could move through friendly and enemy squares). They took a bit of urging to change the battlefield and think outside of the corridor, but they eventually busted down doors and walls and went through windows to alter the engagement. Saige was very upset, at first, with Beth's wanted status – but she changed in Luise and accepted that she could, likely, in time, buy leniency from the courts (assuming they were not corrupted by Ayra and her corrupt noblemen).
While Austin (Selis) and Sommer (Mialee) could not make it for the session, we have hopes they'll return, soon, and will get them to the party in a reasonable manner. In the interim, the party is set to sail south, and is apparently hoping to encounter a river troll.
None to date.