Tag: Recap

Out of the Frying Pan

Previously, our heroes managed to infiltrate the headquarters of the night master in an attempt to find and liberate Luca’s good friend Hamish. During the rescue attempt several aberrant lords tried to interfere, but the heroes defeated them, as well as several guild members. Unfortunately, Hamish seemed to have been robbed of his faculties, and to top it off, the heroes found their exit quickly being cut off by what sounded like a horde of skaven.

Fifth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262

(Silvermoon is waxing, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waning)

The heroes had defeated several aberrant lords as well as a handful guild members who decided to oppose them. The rest of the guild members had either departed into the ancient waterways, or had hid behind sturdy doors and showed no interest in showing themselves. Besides liberating Hamish, the heroes also managed to save Brandomiir from guild interrogators, as well as a custodian named Jan who had been taken hostage and subsequently had a slug implanted in his eye by one of the aberrant lords.

Quentin asked James whether he knew an alternate route out of the night master’s headquarters, hoping that the young rogue could combine his experience in the ancient waterways with what he learned during their time in the carceratum. Unfortunately, James thought that the only two options the heroes had were departing through the ancient waterways and risk getting cut off by the skaven, or departing through the portal they had seen in the night master’s room.

While the rest of the heroes discussed the two options, Luca tended to Brandomiir’s wounds by calling upon the power of his patron. Since the last time that Luca and Bran had spoken to one another, the young warlock’s relationship with his patron had changed considerably when he found out that his mysterious patron was Aurion; a celestial with a complicated history of service to Paladine. This all explained the surprised look on Bran’s face when a healing warmth coursed through Luca hands and began to rapidly mend broken bones and knit together cuts and tears.

The heroes made it to the night master’s room just in time to see him plunge into the dark portal behind his desk carrying an armful of rapidly gathered items. He had plundered the drawers of his desk in haste, as if he had been looking for something specific. It was quickly decided that Emrys would go through the portal last; the heroes were keenly aware of the strange, disruptive effect the sorcerer had portals. The custodian became very uneasy as he watched the heroes go through one by one. James convinced him that he would not want to risk his life at the hands of the skaven and he reluctantly went through the portal.

When the darkness receded, the heroes found themselves, together with Hamish, Brandomiir, Jan and the dragonling, in a very large, cavernous space. The room was circular, with a ceiling so high overhead that it could not be seen by torch or lantern, even by those in the group whose vision was aided by their heritageor the enhancements of the Arms of the Senhadrim. The floor was tiled and the curved wall was decorated with very detailed relief sculptures of armies of winged warriors fighting a crawling chaos. In eight alcoves, evenly spaced along the wall, stood metal pillars which each held a softly glowing crystal.

In the middle of the chamber there was a circular shaft leading straight down, large enough for two dozen people standing shoulder to shoulder. Shining a torch into its depths revealed that the walls were tiled and decorated with more relief sculptures. James used small metal ball bearings to gauge the depth of the shaft, but it was so deep that he couldn’t make an accurate estimate. He did find, however, that there were sculptures of large faces of winged warriors set into the walls. The first of these was about fifty feet down from the top of the hole, and they were large enough that James was confident that he could climb down and stand on the top of the head. When he did so, he also found that the deeper he went into the shaft, the more the walls of the shaft became covered with fleshy slugs, each slowly crawling towards the top.

While the heroes were discussing how to proceed, Xarrombus took control of Hamish and told the heroes that it would let them leave, but that it would never relinquish Hamish back to them. Immediately, the heroes started to hear the same impassive voice itching in the back of their minds, filling their thoughts with intrusive thoughts which undermined their confidence. Most of the heroes were able to shake off the negative effects of what the voice was telling them, but Emrys fell victim to it and felt overwhelmed by melancholy.

James used the rope with which he had been exploring the hole in the ground to immediately bind Hamish’s hands and feet together and put a blind on him. At the same time, Luca attempted to restore Emrys’ confidence by channelling the power of his patron, but unfortunately it had no positive effect.

Luca suggested reaching out to Réonan using the ring that the heroes were given. He wanted to ask whether they would know of a way out of the vault, but James argued that if they were going to attempt to save Kingsport, they would have to go down the shaft and confront Xarrombus.

All of them were fatigued and despite being underground they all realised that the hour was growing late. Quentin took Róisín out of its flowering scabbard, sat down and started sharpening the blade with a whetstone. The sword, meanwhile, hummed the melancholic tune that Quentin had heard Ser Estienne d’Epines play.

After some rest, Emrys seemed to recover from his deep melancholy. The dark voices were still whispering troubling things to the heroes, but each of them had found a way to keep the despondency at bay.

Sixth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262

(Silvermoon is waxing, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is in low sanction)

The heroes decided to contact Réonan and ask for assistance. The ring allowed for a limited message to be passed between it and the grand archmage of the Circle of Mages. This lead to several messages going back and forth in which Réonan suggested that the teleportation circle could be used after the vault guardian was defeated. Confused, the heroes soon learned that the series of pillars and crystals were part of the teleportation circle, and could be used to travel to another vault.

Réonan also said they would organise a rescue, but needed to know where the heroes were and how they got there. The heroes responded by saying that they went in through the night master’s portal which collapsed behind them and that they would continue forward and confront the vault guardian.

Stumbling Upon Conflict

Previously, the heroes descended into the ancient waterways, found and infiltrated the headquarters of the night master, and then proceeded to explore the place. Besides many rogues, all going about their business, the heroes managed to find the night master himself, watching over Hamish. When Luca’s first attempt to translocate Hamish back to the surface failed, the heroes found themselves in a confrontation with the night master, a dozen rogues, and a pair of aberrant lords who had been hidden inside the walls.

Fifth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262

(Silvermoon is waxing, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waning)

There heroes were scatter all over the underground headquarters of the night master. Quentin and Emrys were nearby one another, at the chambers of the night master himself. They had just seen Luca run in and translocate away with Hamish, but they had no idea where to. Quentin was being confronted by two aberrant lords while Emrys was fending off two rogues.

Meanwhile, Astrid and James were fighting off several rogues, back-to-back, in the lobby of the headquarters. While Astrid was bloodied up from having taken on several rogues, she was holding her own by the time that James came to relieve her.

Unbeknownst to any of the others, Luca had translocated to just outside of the entrance of the headquarters. Hamish was still blank faced and unresponsive. Even after slapping him in his face, the young mage would not acknowledge Luca or respond in any way. Luca had seen him in the same state at the orphanage in Grimsdown, but he had been wearing a grotesque crown of flesh at the time. Now it appeared as if something else was amiss, despite Hamish showing bruising and scarring where the crown had previously sat.

Quentin faced off against the two aberrant lords and was immediately assailed by a force that clouded his mind like a wave of hot air. Inspired by Luca’s willingness to charge into the room to save his friend, Quentin shrugged off the evil manipulations by the aberrations and stayed on course. He moved closer to Emrys, eager to lend the sorcerer aid against the rogues who were frustrating him. As the knight did so, one of the aberrant lords lunged at him and latched onto him with those dreadful tentacles. Barbs on the inside of the tentacles bit deep into any exposed skin, and the weight of the aberrant lord dragged Quentin down but despite that he managed to reach Emrys and aid in his defence. The other aberrant lord turned to the night master and engaged him.

While James was squaring off against Lunchbox, a brute of a rogue who had lunchboxes for hands, Luca stopped trying to get Hamish to respond and struggled to come up with a solution to bring his friend to safety without having to resort to leaving his companions behind. It was in that moment that Luca heard a strange sound coming from deeper into the ancient waterways. When concentrating on it, he could hear the distinct sound of rats in the distance. The skaven were coming for the rogues of the Steady Hand to settle the score for the battle the heroes had found earlier in the day. Luca touched the earring he wore and sent a message to warn James, who wore an identical earring, before taking Hamish and heading back inside the Steady Hand base.

Emrys and Quentin struggled to reunited with James and Astrid but eventually managed, though not without taking a few wounds. Emrys relied on his sorcery while Quentin relied on some the innate talents he discovered were awakened by the jaunt through the realm of the fey earlier that year. Emrys let loose an illusion that left the rogues and aberrant lords stunned and confused, and followed it up a devastating earthquake that damaged and collapsed part of the corridor behind him. Quentin outpaced the opposition by shrouding himself in mist and reappearing a long distance away.

It was clear that there were other rogues in the base that the heroes had not encountered yet. One of them, a dwarf with blonde hair poked his head out of one of the doors and negotiated safe passage for him and two others who had been wounded in the fight against the skaven. The other two were a man and a woman, while all three of them were wounded, the woman was especially bloodied up and had to be supported by the other two. The heroes let the three wounded rogues depart. Before departure, the blonde dwarf said that if the heroes were looking for the missing custodian, he could be found in the chamber at the end of the corridor he came out of. Quentin went in to investigate.

Astrid, who had darted down a different corridor in pursuit of two rogues, had reunited with the rest of the heroes, and it was at that point that a gruff, familiar voice called out; “Whoever is out there causing these fucks a headache, let me fight at your side, head to hip!” Some of the heroes guessed that this was Brandomiir’s voice. The last of the rogue opposition went down as eldritch bolts of purple energy shot from the crystal-tipped staff, and Luca felt the mounting pressure of Blackstar’s hunger subside. Temporarily.

Quentin took his lantern and explored the dark corridor that the three wounded rogues came out of. The corridor was lined with rooms on either side, one of which had an open door, revealing a bloody bed, likely where the rogues had tried to dress their wounds. At the rear of the corridor Quentin discovered a room where a custodian was gagged and bound to a chair while an aberrant lord stood over him, tentacles writhing nervously, while holding the tail end of a slug which was burrowing itself into the custodian’s eye.

Chaos in the Headquarters of the Night Master

Previously, the heroes descended into the ancient waterways in order to find the headquarters of the night master. They had found signs of combat between the rogues of the Steady Hand, the aberrant lords, and the insidious skaven. They managed to find the entrance to the headquarters and made their way inside, cloaked by Emrys’ veil of invisibility.

Fifth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262

(Silvermoon is waxing, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waning)

The heroes were unsure on how to proceed. They were fairly confident that behind the closed door they had found, deep inside the guild headquarters, they would find the night master, and with him hopefully Hamish too. As they contemplated on their next steps, James heard the soft whimper of a woman echoing down the corridors. It was not coming from beyond the door, but from back towards the way they had come. Behind them James still saw the two rogues pouring over the map that the mercenary had left behind. He concentrated intently and could also heard a man grunting in pain and discomfort, though the sounds seemed disconnected.

When James shared what he had heard it seemed that something inside of Luca broke as he wondered whether it was Hamish that was being hurt. Luca’s voice rose in consternation and immediately James untethered himself from the rest of the group in an attempt to distance himself, afraid that Luca’s emotions would get them discovered by the rogues. Emrys, equally concerned by Luca’s increasingly unstable behaviour spoke to him and got him to focus on the task at hand; opening the door in front of them. “Either Astrid kicks it down, or I will burn it down,” Luca said, not easily placated by Emrys. Quentin, calling upon the powers of his new patron deity commanded Luca to calm himself, which worked. Once the panic was broken in Luca he found that it was easier to restrain himself.

Emrys found a keyhole in the door through which a bit of light shone. He knelt and peered through the hole and noticed that on the other side there were some people, at least two. One of them was pacing, while the other one was stationary, but it was unclear who the two might be. When James was asked to take a look at the lock in order to unlock it he found that after several, frustrating attempts that the door was already unlocked. Swiftly changing tactics he pretended like he managed to unlock it, making quite the show of it in order not to look foolish.

The heroes managed to open the door at a crack and peer inside, seeing a man standing at a desk and hearing him talk. Next to the desk stood Hamish, blank faced and impassive. Close to Hamish stood one of the strange, dog-sized, fleshy animals, ostensibly guarding the pacified Hamish. They tried to listen in on what the man the heroes assumed was the night master was saying:

David, I know our friendship has… cooled in recent years, but I still feel compelled to warn you that we have been infiltrated.

Whoever it is, they waited until this place was almost empty, which leads me to believe that we have been betrayed.

I have the mage and I will be taking him to the Upright Man. I can no longer protect him and I don’t trust the tentacle-faced scum any further than I can throw them. I know there will be consequences.

The man in question was beyond his middle years, but tall and wiry, dressed in blue cotton trousers and a black and blue, striped doublet. His face was cold, with fair skin, dark brown hair, and a regal, aquiline nose. He wore an amulet on a silver chain around his neck. The amulet bore the crest of a raven, which some of the heroes recognised to be that of house Ravensbourne, to which the ward that they were underneath had gotten its name.

The heroes decided that it would wise to cause a distraction which would draw the attention of all the rogues in the headquarters, leaving the heroes to deal with the night master. It was decided that Astrid would be that distraction; she was the fastest and crazy enough to do it. She drew her swords and started running towards the entrance, dragging the tips of her swords along both walls, sending sparks flying.

It worked, and it drew the attention of all the rogues in the complex. The rogues in the opposite room who were pouring over the map were instantly alerted and started to head towards the entrance, following Astrid. The night master was startled and reached into a drawer of his desk to retrieve a conical statuette into which he placed a crystal. He turned around and faced the wall behind his desk. On two sides of that wall were statues that looked like gargoyles with their mouths agape. Into one of the mouths he inserted the statue and instantly the wall transformed into an black, oval void from which the light could not escape. A sound of an ever retreating wave emitted from the portal.

When the night master made a move towards his impassive friend, Luca could no longer contain himself and rushed in. He ran for Hamish and tried to teleport away. His first attempt failed as he did not pick the destination with care; the translocation spell required an unoccupied space as the target, which Luca could not secure. Temporarily dazed, Luca cursed himself for his stupidity, especially since he had lost the veil of invisibility in his attempt to rescue Hamish.

In that moment, the fleshy dog attempted to attack Luca, but was met with a hail of the night master’s personal items as Emrys used his kinetic magic. Both Emrys and Luca were now visible, and the rogues in the other room set their sights on Emrys. Quentin saw that the fleshy dog was still a threat and ran in to finish the dog with a swing of Róisín, also losing his invisibility in the process.

While Emrys was engaged with the two rogues, Luca made another attempt to translocate himself and Hamish away from the headquarters, but this time he chose a safer location; the entrance of the headquarters. While Luca and Hamish disappeared, Quentin was left with the night master and watched as two aberrant lords emerged from one of the walls of the chamber, as if they had been merged with the very stone of the ancient waterways themselves.

All the while, James had joined Astrid in the lobby of the headquarters, both engaged with the rogues at the entrance.

Infiltrating the Headquarters of the Night Master

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.

Finding the Headquarters of the Night Master

Previously, the heroes were getting ready to descend into the ancient waterways below Ravensbourne and infiltrate the headquarters of the night master in order to find and retrieve Hamish. Before doing so they wanted to enjoy a lavish meal, prepared by Ramsey with the ingredients that James had arranged for, and were interrupted by some violence that broke out at the Careless Wanderer between a retinue loyal to lord Aberforth Dunkeswell and those loyal to lord Peregrine Blackwell, both contestants in the annual royal master angler fishing competition. Also, Luca finally completed his research into the ritual spell the heroes had found in the hoard of the green dragon and used it to summon forth a small dragon with colourful butterfly wings.

Fourth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262

(Silvermoon is waxing, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waning)

Luca introduced the dragonling to the rest of the heroes and it immediately drew the attention of Lauryn. While Quentin recognised the shape of the dragons of legend in the creature, it was Emrys which recognised it as a faerie creature, which also explained why Wynn had responded so fiercely; for there were rivalries among the sidhe.

The decision was made that the heroes would venture out to find the headquarters of the night master the following day. Luca had once again affirmed that Hamish was his friend and he wanted to help him. Astrid had in turn affirmed that she was Luca’s friend and she would help him.

The heroes retired to their rooms. Luca spent some time with the dragonling and found it hard to ignore Blackstar’s incessant need for attention. Blackstar only wanted one thing; to consume; consume the dragonling. James found that when he got to his room Astrid was not there and the cot that she had been sleeping in had been removed. He dismissed her absence and went to sleep.

Fifth Day, First Ride, Autumn Twilight, 1262

(Silvermoon is waxing, Bloodmoon is waning, Darkmoon is waning)

In the morning, James got up early and left the Careless Wanderer to visit the Temple of Light and meet with father Devon. He realised that what he was about to undertake was dangerous and that it would be good moment to offload some of the valuables that he had gathered and put them to good use; should he not return, father Devon was to sell the valuables and dedicate the coin he earned to the clinic. James also asked whether father Devon would bless him, which the old priest did by reciting a short prayer of thanks and blessing.

In the meantime the rest of the heroes spent time together in the tavern eating some breakfast. Astrid seemed nervous, bouncing her legs as she ate. Luca shared a special potion with Astrid; one that would give imbue her body with a short burst of incredible speed.

When James returned he walked into the Careless Wanderer together with two men who looked as if they had spent the night on the road; mud-covered and soaked. When James sat down he, as well as Emrys, noticed that Quentin got a bit uncomfortable with the two riders. They stood at the bar and attempted to negotiate lodgings. Their Beauclairois accents were thick and it became clear that Quentin was concerned that they were the vanguard of high lord Gaulthier’s retinue. James offered that he could relay a message to lord Dorian if anything were to happen to Quentin.

For Quentin the arrival of the two riders meant that his father was not far away and he would be reunited with him soon, something which seemed to fill him with some trepidation.

Before departing, James went up to his room and took some time to disguise himself. Once he was done he was hard to recognise, with a deep, hooded cloak which obscured his face. At the same time, Emrys spoke with Lauryn and got an update of their outstanding debt with the Careless Wanderer, which was nearing one hundred gold crowns.

Quentin stepped into the foul weather and walked to the rear of the Careless Wanderer to find Wojciech. The Silesian was taking care of the Beauclairois destriers that the riders had entrusted to him. Quentin asked the stable master whether he could venture a guess on how far the retinue was away from Kingsport. The Silesian said it was likely that the men departed the host about two days prior, which meant that the host itself would likely arrive in about four days.

It was time for the heroes to make their way to Ravensbourne where James knew there was an entrance into the ancient waterways which would bring them closest to the headquarters of the night master. With some trickery to distract a patrolling group of crownsguard and custodians, the heroes managed to enter the grim subterranean world of the waterways. The dragonling, which Luca had named Caraxes, was sent to scout up ahead. Emrys and James almost immediately noticed various symbols left behind by the rogues of the Steady Hand.

Soon the heroes stumbled upon a body of a skaven warrior. Its body seemed to have been partially embedded in the embankment of the underground canal that the heroes were walking down. Emrys mused that either the skaven was transmuted into the stone, or had been translocated into the stone when a teleportation spell went awry. He also noted that the armour that the skaven was wearing was made from the same thick leather that as the strange armour the heroes had seen at auction at the Landsdowne auction house in Bournemouth several months prior. Also, the skaven had several curious talismans tied on dirty bits of string around its neck.

Soon after the heroes came upon a junction where several large corridors connected. Mere minutes from where James believed the entrance to the headquarters of the night master to be, the junction was the location of the aftermath to a battle. Two dozen skaven of all shapes and sizes lay dead among the bodies of others; aberrant lords as well as the body of a custodian. It was a strange site which bore further investigation.