Previously, the heroes prepared themselves and set forth into the ancient waterways in search of the night master’s headquarters. They believed that they would be able to find Hamish there and liberate him from the Steady Hand. James had learned of the whereabouts of the headquarters and the heroes found a strange battle scene near to where he believed the entrance to be.
Fifth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262
(Silvermoon is waxing, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waning)
The battle took place on all banks of a junction of several large canals. The groups that were in opposition of one another during the fight seemed to be a large group of skavens and a group of rogues, lead by several aberrant lords. Curiously, there were no rogue bodies; though there was plenty of evidence, in terms of discarded weapons and blood stains, that they had indeed partaken in the fight and suffered casualties. The heroes concluded that the rogues had gotten away and had taken their dead and wounded with them.
An oddity presented itself in the form of a third casualty; a custodian had been killed while bound by his own shackles. The heroes surmised that the custodian had likely died from wounds suffered at the hands of the skaven.
The aberrant lords, similarly, had been killed by the skaven; likely by one of the two brutish rat ogres whose bodies lay nearby. They were leaking a noxious vapour from their wounds and the roughly stapled surgery scars that held their bodies and grotesque modifications together.
The heroes riffled through the possessions that were left behind and found that the aberrant lords carried no personal items and that the custodian had been stripped of his possessions. The skaven had crude weapons and strange leather armour which the heroes had seen at auction before. The two taskmasters which had been driving the rat ogres had small barbed whips and small crossbows, which betrayed the creatures’ capability of sophistication. Most of them had little trinkets and talismans on them, and a few even carried some strange, copper currency with them.
Emrys and Astrid investigated the skaven shaman, a robed, white-furred creature with curved horns on its head. It was bedecked with talismans and and had a leather satchel and scroll case attached to a crude belt. Inside, Emrys found an assortment of occult items and components, likely meant to be used for spells and rituals. The scroll case contained a spell scroll and a letter. The spell on the scroll was something from the necromantic and abjuration school of magic, and the letter written in a curious script that Emrys was not able to read and decided to investigate later.
After the heroes left the scene of the battle they continued to follow James’ directions until the got to a section of the waterways in which James believed to find the entrance. After several frustrating moments searching for the entrance the heroes finally found the entrance, which was expertly hidden behind some of the plant and root growth that had grown into the corridors from the surface over the centuries.
The stone frame around the double doors was decorated but the carvings were too faded for Emrys to make out. The keystone above the door, however, was still clear enough, but only legible to Quentin. In archaic Lyrian it said:
Welcome to the Halls of the Senhadrim
Sanctuary for all who strengthen the Light
Protection for all against the Darkness
After carefully inspecting the door a cleverly hidden keyhole was found, and James could discern that the lock was fitted with a nasty and potentially lethal needle-trap. He retrieved a satchel from his shoulder bag and unfolded it to reveal a dozen slender tools. He slipped them into the lock and managed to harmlessly discharge the trap and then proceeded to open the lock.
After opening the door on a crack the heroes overheard a conversation between two of the members of the Steady Hand. They discussed tracking down and interrogating Jeroen the Daerlanian to find out if he had anything to do with the raid on the orphanage in Grimsdown. After finding out that Luca’s little dragonling could turn invisible it was decided to let it scout the nearby interior of the headquarters. It was able to show Luca that there was a room beyond in which a group of people were casually talking to one another. There were corridors leading from that room, deeper into the headquarters.
After some deliberation, the heroes decided that Emrys would turn the entire group invisible and they would sneak into the headquarters. In order for Quentin not to draw so much attention while invisible James gave him his enchanted boots to wear which would significantly quiet his step.
Once inside the heroes stayed close together and went exploring. They discovered that the first chamber had three rogues casually talking to one another. They chose to ignore the corridors leading east and west, instead making their way to the far side of the room to take the corridor leading north.
At another junction they found a large store room where two people were quietly doing the logistics for what looked to be a smuggling and fencing operation. While a man was working on a ledger and meticulously documenting all of the items, a woman was packaging valuable art objects in crates, readying it for transport.
It was at this point that Emrys could finally put his finger on something which had been nagging at him since entering the headquarters; the layout was exactly the same as that of the carceratum. This opened up questions on how the headquarters and the carceratum were related, but it also answered why Garvan was so capable of finding a way out of the carceratum.
To the east which seemed the heroes found a room which looked like a mess hall of sorts where two rogues and a mercenary pouring over a map, talking about raiding a retinue of people travelling in from the west. Their intention was to kidnap some high ranking nobility that were travelling with the retinue. Quentin suspected that they might well be discussing the retinue that his father was travelling towards Kingsport with.
There was much more of the interior of the headquarters to explore, and the heroes had seen no trace of Hamish yet.