Previously, the heroes of the White Eye had made their way into the Kingsport carceratum to find that the rebel lords had continued their rebellion by leading the prisoners in an uprising against the crownsguard after one of the lords, the young and impulsive lord Szymon Radowan, had been the target of an assassination attempt by one of the assassins of the cult of the Dark Queen. Breaking from the carceratum into the ancient waterways the prisoners were confronted by countless skaven and a fight ensued.
Ninth Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262
(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon is waning. Darkmoon is waning.)
Astrid, Quentin, Yurina and lord Szymon fought on the front line against the skaven, having overextended themselves so as to be surrounded on all side by skaven and rat ogres. This proved to nearly become fatal to Astrid and Yurina, while Quentin and Szymon fell prey to the strange disease that the foul creatures seemed to spread wherever they went. Among the skaven was another one of their shaman, who spread an infection among the skaven; their eyes gained a fell green glow and their attacks became even more rabid.
Astrid was overwhelmed and went down, only to be pulled out of the fray to have the rare and costly healing potions administered to her. Many of the prisoners died when one of the rat ogres was felled and exploded in a cloud of noxious fumes. Luca sent angry volleys of eldritch energy into the midst of the skaven, while Emrys and James shot dangerous projectiles from a safe distance.
Once the heroes and the prisoners retreated back into the carceratum a proper defense was mounted, using the hole into the waterways as a chokepoint. The bodies of skaven and prisoners started to pile up among the rubble, making it harder and harder to traverse, eventually stemming the tide of vermin. Many prisoners were dead, and Yurina was close to expiring.
Exploring the waterways beyond the walls of the carceratum revealed a maze of tunnels and pipes, all flowing water and sewage along in narrow canals. Phosphorescent moss covered the slick stones of the paths, bridges, walls and ceilings, casting everything in a strange, ethereal glow. Two skaven could be seen down the tunnel standing over the body of the dead shaman, rummaging through its belongings. One of them went down to an arrow from James’ bow. James called Luca to search the shaman, and a leather scroll carrier was found.
Quentin and lord Szymon were given some of the ointment that James had received from father Devon, which had wonderous healing properties and could also cure most mundane diseases. Much to the delight of both men, the ointment worked wonders on their well-being as well, and they found that some of their wounds were healed and the symptoms of the disease they suffered were fully mitigated.
Garvan was eager to depart and decided to lead everyone along a dizzying array of tunnels and corridors. Occasionally daylight and cold raid came down from a sewage grate that lead to the surface, and it was through one of these grates that the prisoners rebel lords and heroes come up into an alleyway in Lewisham, around the corner from the legendary Hoxton tavern.
Any cohesion among the prisoners was lost as soon as they stepped out into the late afternoon light and each immediately went their own way, including Garvan. A suitable route to the street between the Magisterium and the House of the Raven Queen was plotted by James, making sure to avoid Steward Square and as much exposure as possible.
In the shadow of the House of the Raven Queen the two rebel lords changed out of their rags and into the commoners clothing that the heroes had purchased. Eventually they were approached by a group of six people who were dressed like fishermen, wearing water-treated capes underneath which they hid light armour, weapons and the heraldry of House Waxley; a turtle on a green field. The leader identified himself as ser Oliver Waxley, first cousin to lady Annabella. Hey explained that he would take the rebel lords into his custody and move them to an undisclosed location in Northshire. The rebel lords seemed satisfied and thanked the heroes for their efforts to release them from the carceratum.
It was just at that moment that James, ever vigilant, noticed that one of the crownsguard had spotted the group, turned around and had walked off. Ser Oliver commanded one of his troop, “Tiny Tasha”, a young elfling, to follow the guard while the rest departed. The heroes decided to take a round-about way back to the Careless Wanderer. They were tired, in need of food, sleep and some were in need of stitches and a stiff drink.
They never did learn what happened to the guard and Tiny Tasha.
At the Careless Wanderer, the heroes had baths drawn up in the basement and they spent a time soaking in the hot water and scrubbing the filth of the sewers off of them. A conversation was had about the next steps, about potentially leaving as soon as a ship could be arranged and not staying in Kingsport for longer than strictly necessary. During this time James was stern and quiet.
Once the water ran cold everyone got dressed. James went to talk to Astrid, who was uncharacteristically lethargic and tired. He instructed her to go to the docks and find passage to Eastmarsh the next morning. She said she would look into it.
Luca went to find Callum the Diviner in his room overlooking the House of the Raven Queen. The old man invited Luca in and they sat down to have a chat. Captain Randall had arranged for the travel to Eastray and beyond, deeper into Eastmarsh and the earliest they could depart was on the morning of the first day.
Quentin found Durham behind the bar and ordered a bottle of delicious Beauclair red. He took two cups and found James near the fire of the tavern. He sat down and poured both a cup and asked James what was bothering him. Reluctantly, James explained that he thought that Quentin had acted too hastily in tearing down the barricade the prisoners had erected to keep the skaven out. The blood of those prisoners was on Quentin’s hands as far as James was concerned, and could have been avoided if they had used the passage between the carceratum and the waterways as a choke point.
Quentin returned that James was present and could have weighed in at any time on the plans but didn’t. Quentin admitted he was not proud of the outcome, but said that the outcome was a shared responsibility and not just his own. James finished the last of his wine and got up without a word. Wrapped in his cloak, he went out into the cold, wet streets of Kingsport.
In the meantime, Luca had found captain Randall siting by himself in the tavern and he asked if he could join the man at his table. Luca suggested that the departure should be moved up to the earliest possible moment. Randall explained that with the start of the fishing competition at noon of the first day, all of the ships that were coming into port were standing by. It would take a fortune to get any one of them to leave early. A secondary problem was that due to the delta the harbour at Eastray was a treacherous approach which not every ship, nor every captain could negotiate. Randall had found a ship that was willing and able, but would depart on the morning of the first day, several hours before the start of the fishing competition.
During this conversation, a fresh faced cleric of Paladine entered the establishment, dressed in white robes, adorned with silver thread. He was wearing a white skull cap that barely contained his curly black hair. A silver necklace holding the silver triangle of the Platinum Father adorned his neck and chest. In his hands he held a formal scroll carrier. After a brief chat with Lauryn, the priest was directed to Quentin and he handed him a formal invitation as guests of honour at the Cathedral for the sermon that was going to be giving by saint Benedict the following day at noon.
Quentin and Luca spoke about the invitation but couldn’t decide whether it was worth attending, still having high hopes that they could persuade one of the captains to depart for Eastray early. Both ended up retiring to the room the heroes shared as the tavern was slowly being turned into another common room, with a lot of guests bedding down for the night.
Before turning in, Luca went to investigate the leather scroll carrier he took off the shaman in the waterways. Luca quickly discerned that the leather was supple but thick and like the armour they had seen on rare occasion, not of any animal in the Verdant Kingdoms. Inside he found two scrolls; one holding arcane symbols which would need more time to investigate, while the other seemed like a more formal document, affixed with a seal and ribbon. The seal was in dark wax and depicted the heraldry of an amorphous shape, holding different sized circles. The letter was written in the infernal language of the Nine Hells and read:
The plague maidens are congregating, drawn by the pestilent potential of a potent, ancient magic. I have read the signs and portents and require the skavens of clan [unclear] to investigate and reveal the truth. I have gathered enough [unclear] that I may open a gate through the seal for a short time through which they may travel. Once verified, they will report and be given further instruction.
– Epidemius the Cataloguer, Lord of Decay, One of the Seven Proctors of Pestilence. Devoted Underling of Baalzebul the Calabite, Ruler of the Seventh, Lord of Maladomini.
After his quiet departure from the Careless Wanderer, James made his way to an orphanage he was familiar with in Grimsdown. He knew it to be run by a kindly matron who treated the children firmly but warmly. He knocked on the door and patiently waited for the woman to open the door, carrying a lantern. She was surprised to see James; most of the time she would find young mothers at that time of night. Without saying much, James handed her a pouch filled to the brim with golden crowns. He turned around and departed as quickly as he arrived, leaving the matron shouting baffled words of thanks at him through the gale.
When James returned to the Careless Wanderer he found that only a handful of people were still awake, quietly whispering to one another as the rest slept. He decided he was not going to spend the night with the rest of his companions, finding rest in a chair in front of the fire instead. His back would pay for it in the morning, but it was preferable than the alternative.
Tenth Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262
(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon is waning. Darkmoon is waning.)
The following morning, during breakfast, it appeared that Astrid had not quite recovered from her wounds. She still had blood seeping through a couple of cuts and she was limping, having sprained her ankle quite badly on the barricades the previous day. James said that he would take over in finding passage at the harbour and declined the help that Quentin was offering.
While James was to look for passage, the rest of the heroes would go to the Sacred Baths and seek medical attention from Emma and inform her of the current situation.
The weather outside had turned hostile with high winds and thundering rain. The streets were empty, including the docks and squares. Under these conditions James spoke to a dozen captains and deck masters, all of which were unable or unwilling to depart the city before the start of the fishing competition. The best that James could find was someone willing to consider it for the right amount gold, which was suggested needed to be in excess of a thousand gold crowns.
Eventually, through the haze of the pouring rain, James noticed a familiar, two-master caravel, the Old Queen, sail into the harbour.