The morning following their return from the ruins the Broken Dawn set out south to the town of Howich. In a stroke of good fortune Maycon’s military was willing to provide use of their teleportation array, instantly transporting the party to Shaystead Stronghold, a fortress well withing walking distance of our hero’s destination. After a brief misunderstanding between Shedinn and the portal guards the four marched valiantly to Howich. Howich proved to be an industrious little village where every vice conceivable was available with little or no difficulty. Quite quaintly put, a party town.
After asking around the party found their way to an inn where their contact was supposed to be staying. To their surprise the elf was delayed and had sent a runner ahead requesting that the party wait in Howich for her. With little to do our heroes took a long earned rest. Being men of simple tastes Leon and Shedinn went off to The Knight’s Tavern were they preceded to spend the day getting drunk and fat. Celeste still in her refractory period after slaying Malik, had a more constructive plan for her day which entailed locating a fight club and beating the everliving shit out of some poor soul… She was not successful. Varioth being a man of more refined taste decided to to enjoy some people watching, his activity yielded the best results. A giggly young girl in her early twenties approached Varioth asking for an autograph. Flustered by the new experience he obliged the girls request and sent her on her merry way. Satisfied he reunited with the party at The Knight’s Tavern where they split up earlier.
Upon reconvening at the inn our heroes received a note form the bar tender requesting that they go to The Hero’s Inn at dusk. Dusk being the time of day already our heroes made it there little time to spare. In the corner of the room they spotted a cloaked man. Approaching the mysterious figure it became all too clear that the man who sat before them was Zacchaeus. Only barely staying their hands from starting an all out blood feud in the middle of the tavern our heroes conversed with the mysterious arbiter. The first order of business was addressing the fact that Zacchaeus full well knew about Malik and withheld that information from Celeste, a transgression that only provoked a surprising mild retaliation, a drink splashed in Zacchaeus’s face.
Moving on to more pressing matters Zacchaeus declared that Lord Norontus of Drenin has almost found an Ithlean artifact of great destructive power, allowing him to raise Maycon single handedly. The device is supposedly similar in design to the artifact Leon retrieved for Baron Adrien, only much more powerful and larger in scale. In a reassuring manner Zacchaeus convinced the party that he had substantial personal gain riding on this endeavor, strangely the profiteering truth was more comforting than an altruistic lie. Regardless of if the threat was real or not it was too great a threat to let it go unabated. However the presence of a man with such alien knowledge is a rare opportunity. And thus an impromptu grilling on Zacchaeus’s knowledge of demons was in order.
Going on what little they had our heroes asked their pseudo host about Yewtindel. Firstly Zacchaeus confirmed that Yewtindel was one of several demons similar to his own. What he described was a warrior obsessed with strength and violence, a beast of personified rage, although not very smart, her straight forward and simple goal is the continued feed of her blood lust. Unfortunately Zacchaeus affirmed that the host would inevitably be consumed and crushed by the transcendental entity in question. Short on time Zacchaeus bid the group farewell and eluded to the continued well being of Leon’s son before disappearing into the crowd.
Taking in the information the group agreed that seeing to the mysterious device was their first priority, unfortunately to Varioth’s chagrin, the search for Arioth would have to wait another day. A brief while later focus shifted to Shedinn and his exemplar of violence when a break through was had. Just like Shedinn’s rage reflected his mental interloper so did Varioth and his demon’s thirst for knowledge, and the same with Leon’s paranoia or something Celeste and her demon had in common. It seemed that each demon was paired with their host’s most prominent personality trait. However this revelation would have to wait, if what Zaccheus said was true countless lives were at risk. The Broken Dawn made plans to leave the next morning.
For most of our heroes the rest of the night would be fairly uneventful, however the following morning would be a different story. Party awoke and headed down stair to find Shedinn already awake and enjoying a hearty pile of mutton for breakfast. As Varioth spent some extra time in the wash room, Celeste decided to pay a visit to a nearby temple. Left by their lonesome Shedinn and Leon continued eating breakfast and enjoying idle conversation.
Unfortunately Celeste found all too familiar a sight on her way to church. Town guards were crowded around what looked like a crime scene. Upon further inspection in became all too apparent that the victim was the elven contact they were supposed to meet, her spine crushed and her eyes popped from their sockets, blood and brain leaked onto the streets. Unable to appease to the guards with rank alone Celeste had to use her status as a death priest to gain access to the body under the pretense of last rights. Upon inspection deceased was carrying a book with her. In an act of thievery akin to Leon, Celeste quietly pocketed the book and made her way back to the inn.
Meanwhile Shedinn and Leon discussed a wide range of topics extending to Shedinn’s love of mutton and Leon’s alcoholism… Neither conversation went very far, as usual the talk took a downward spiral with Celeste walking in on Leon exclaiming that Shedinn’s chain mail left little to the imagination. Ignoring the usual psychobabble as usual Celeste took Leon to the side and asked him to check for a set of Shedinn’s tracks outside, as Leon disappeared down the street Celeste thought it was a good time thought it would be a good time for a heart to heart with Shedinn.
Celeste expressed a deep concern for Shedinn and his well being regarding the friend that plagues his thoughts. Shedinn assured Celeste that he was able to control himself during the day, however he did expressed concern that the group apparently doesn’t trust him, and he didn’t want to add to that witch hunt. Celeste went on to draw a fine line between a lack of trust and sincere concern for someones well being. But before the conversation could come to a ahead Leon appeared in the door way. A recent set of Shedinn’s tracks led straight from the inn to the scene of the murder.
How long will Shedinn’s mind and body remain his own? What are the true motivations of the mysterious Zaccheus? Will the Broken Dawn be able to reach the mysterious artifact in time?