Diary of a Mercenary
Marcus’s Hit List:
Harmon Alvessah – Murderer, Thief! (Note to self scrawled in the margin reads: “Bide your time, Marcus. Judgment is coming for him.”
Dr. John Watson – Warlock, Betrayer, Kill on sight. Assaulted Rearden and the Squad.
?Capt. Palamon? – Areen Capt. Seen with John Watson. Deadly on his mount. Kill on sight.
Master Gurloes – Slaver and Plantation Lord
It seems fitting that I should put my thoughts to paper as this part of my life begins. I am both excited and terrified. It’s not that I think myself incapable of leading enterprising people into battle; it’s that I worry for them and for myself. Will I make the right choices? Will I accept the weight of putting them into harm’s way? I have honed my own skills. My techniques are deadly and unforgiving, but those techniques are not what lead warriors. A soul leads warriors; an indomitable will to see the objective and take it … that leads the best of men. Well … let’s face it, the money doesn’t hurt either. That’s why we’re in this business right?
Forgive me my rambling thoughts. I simply am putting thoughts to paper. My name is Marcus Jens, now Captain Marcus Jens of the Redhawk Arms Company. Mercenary work isn’t the most glamorous. We don’t usually get parades and flowers thrown at us. There are few triumphal marches and fewer still memorials to our sacrifice. In other nations with strong martial tradition there are mugs of ale and bottles of spirits opened at will for a warrior of his nation. For us, it’s usually one of three things, a shallow grave on the field of battle, a funeral pyre outside of the city, or a day or two of rest before another mission, another job.
Don’t misunderstand me. I wouldn’t trade my position for any other … well maybe the Mayorship of New Garen, I hear that’s a nice job to have, but I probably lack the political gravitas, such as it is in that city, to get by. This Company has made my family wealthy beyond anything that we could have hoped for. My brother has more coin than he will ever spend, barring an open war with Areen, damn curs. My sister, she is certainly doing well with her books, and her maps and her charts. I swear that not a grain of rice moves from one bag to another in this company without her knowing about it.
The opportunity is both amazing and terrifying. Gods help me, they’re here.
We’ve just handed a Bane weapon over to a half-orc that doesn’t seem to know what the pointy end of the sword was for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to get paid, but you must understand that it pains me to leave valuable items in the hands of such a nitwit. He’s going to end up getting himself killed.
As for the squad I’ve decided that I need to start making assault teams to split up the work. The chaos of battle is unavoidable but we need to be better prepared the next time out. Here are my thoughts on the Squad after one outing in the field:
Oak – The Goliath is a power to behold. He is strong and seems to shrug off many of the blows that were landed on him. He will clearly be on the front lines. His heart seems to be in the right place but I need to break some of his dedication to Pelor and redirect it to the Squad.
Ianto – The Sorceress seems quite potent but a bit unreliable. I catch myself looking out of the corner of my eye at her to make sure that she’s not hit one of our team with a Stupidity spell for her own amusement. Still she provides us some much needed arcane firepower, though I wonder what her purpose here is…
Terath – This young boy is exceptionally well trained for his age. He reminds me a bit of myself when I first started in the Company. He’s a bit rash at times and I wonder about how much of a beating he can take. He looked a bit strained at times and I really hope he gets his shit together. He and I will work very well together with Oak. I see the three of us spending a great deal of time on the front lines.
Max – The elf is a bit enigmatic but seems to have a great deal of combat experience. I worry about his inclusion in the squad when it comes to certain Areen officials that we will eventually have to deal with. Still, he seems strong and is willing to put aside a lust for glory so that he can support us from time to time. Being from Wistron I hope that he fully understands the threat Areen poses to us. I do worry that his religious inclination might hamper his … flexibility when it comes to certain missions.
Rezon – The archer seems more than capable enough in battle but I do wonder about his motivations. He’s almost too quick and accommodating at times. Still his long range firepower will be immensely helpful when things start getting messy.
Mission #1 – Tomb Raider
Client: Tak (Half-Orc ‘farmer’)
Objective: Enchanted Sword and Shield
Location: Crypt outside Walsh Proper
We headed out to meet our client who it turned out was a lying sack of shit, many of them are. He tried to pass off our grave robbing as recovering a family heirloom for him. Well it was someone else’s family it seems. We waited for daylight to head into the Crypt and Terath was able to find and negate a nasty little trap on the front door. We entered to find a large room and several of our sharp-eyed allies were able to see several of the shambling undead. We split the team, moved in, and had Max cast a spell which flooded the room with light. Now that we were able to clearly see, I let Oak and the others get to work, putting my own kukri to good use as well.
After dispatching these pests, we searched the rooms, found several items of value and a small bit of gold. In one of the rooms we were ambushed by more of the undead. Several of my comrades it seems have weak stomachs and cannot stand the sight of the swathed forms of rotting flesh. Don’t misunderstand me I find them as repellant and vile as the next man but to run from them in fear is simply inexcusable. I think one of my men might actually have wet himself.
Max was able to turn these undead and afterward the team made short work of them. We proceeded to the burial chamber where we were set upon by two Shadow creatures. Despite the fact that our weapons sometimes had difficulty biting into the things they were quickly dealt with.
That’s when the fun began. We discovered the sword and shield. The minute that we laid a hand to them we were visited by their owner, a most potent ghost. This critter lay dormant and malevolent for centuries and our abilities to harm it were greatly reduced. Even my blades failed to find purchase at times as we threw ourselves at it. During the combat two of my troops fell victim to the ghost’s ability to enter and possess the body of a living host.
Normally this would spell the end of the individual possessed as the ghost has near complete control. However … we had the sword, a huge Morningstar, and Oak, who might be the biggest damn Goliath I’ve ever laid eyes on. A threat to smash the sword froze the creature and we demanded his exit. He left our comrade but was soon angered again and attacked. We had at it again, thankfully Rezan’s bow seemed to harm it more than anything else and he pummeled this irate, overage, and soon to be dead … again?… elf.
The Ghost then possessed Terath, held high the sword, and babbled about vengeance on humans and in particularly us. Well, Ianto seemed to take a bit of umbrage at this idea of being purged. She cast a web to hold our possessed Terath in place. It would seem that there might actually be gods and they might actually smile on us. Max was finally able to summon his will and hurled his holy power against the ghost. It fled Terath’s body and cowered right up until it was shredded by Rezan’s barrage of arrows.
There was one noticeably odd event while fighting this creature of the deeps that I wish to make note of: We had gathered inside a circle of protection that Max had cast. The ghost recoiled from its radiant light and I thought that perhaps we might be able to simply walk out with our objective. No, for some reason his magic failed. I do not know why, but I would not put it past the other spell users in our party.
After giving Tak his weapons, with which he will most likely slit himself from navel to jaw, we headed back to Redhawk. During the debriefing we received a slight scolding for “modifying the terms of the contract” and then John Watson decided that he was going to excuse himself. I should have sensed it. He left his pack on the floor. Rearden reacted before I did. I never thought I would see a light so bright. The roar was deafening and my ears and eyes are still hurting. They are attending to Rearden. Apparently, my brother will be fine. Gods, be with him.
John Watson has added his name to the list. I will instruct my squad to terminate him with extreme prejudice. This kind of nonsense simple will not be let go. I’m sure that Rearden will have a plan. I just hope that he gives us a crack at finding this magnificent piece of shit.
Mission #2 – The Innocent Man
Client: Vasha Redroot
Objective: Prove the innocence of a man sentenced to die.
We’ve been given the task of investigating a murder. A woman’s daughter was found strangled to death in an ally and one of the teachers of the battle schools is suspected, has been arrested and is scheduled for execution. She swears that he is innocent.
These kinds of missions are always a pain in the ass because of the time constraints that we face. While we are licensed to deal with issues like this I hate having to interact with the city watch. I become increasingly convinced that they could not find their ass with both hands and a detailed map.
We arrive at the woman’s house and after some cajoling find out that she is having a relationship with the battle school teacher. He was with her on the night of the murder and was discovered with the body later when he went to investigate. However witnesses claim that they saw him, specifically. Perhaps some sort of shape changer?
We questioned the teacher at the headquarters only to find that he denies the entire thing but refuses to use his lover as an alibi because it would violate his vows to the school. He seems hesitant to get her involved. We will have to do this without his aide. He did give us a name: Fligg.
Fligg is apparently a lieutenant in the street gang known as the Crushers. They wear Yellow ribbons in their clothing and are known to frequent a number of bars near the battle schools. We set out to find Fligg.
We found him at an inn and hatched a plan to catch him while he was alone.
In the attempt to get him alone the whole plan went fucking sideways. It turned into an open confrontation out in front of the inn. Fligg had a Cleric of Wee Jas with him named Mia and she and Ianto squared off facing each other down. The whole thing went Charlie Foxtrot when Ianto up and stabbed the woman with some sort of life draining dagger. At that point it was every man for himself and the blades came out. We slaughtered the goons, Mia was burned to a crisp and we were able to snatch Fligg and retreat. It wasn’t until we got back to Redhawk that we noticed Rezan was missing. The bastard probably went and got himself caught trying to make his getaway on the rooftops.
Needless to say this was not going as planned. Through a heavy dose of interrogation and some slightly less-than-legal mind probing from Ianto we found that Fligg fancied the murdered girl and when she rejected him, he and Mia decided to make sport of her murder, beating and stabbing her within an inch of death then healing her wounds until Mia finally changed into the teacher’s shape and strangled the girl to death in order to pin the murder on an innocent man.
Since Mia is now somewhere in the Nine Hells suffering at the hands of the most sadistic demons that one might find, we must focus our energies on getting this old man off the chopping block. First thing: Grab the girl’s body.
The new addition to our team: Kathko, added much to this portion of the mission. We were able to sneak the body from the cemetery while Max distracted some other mourners, with a long prayer and rousing sermon on the mortality and beauty of a life well-lived. We snuck into the city after Terath cut the purse of a guard drawing them away from the gate. He escaped their clutches. We return to the secret entrance of Redhawk only to find that a certain guard was having a cup of coffee right in view of our entrance. Kathko simple walked up behind the
officer, picked up his cup of joe, and smashed it into his face. The onlookers at the café were astounded as Kathko took fleet feet and went on the run. I’m sure that the city guard are wondering about this sudden outbreak in theft and assault on their own officers!
We were able to move the reeking corpse into the basement of the company and Max, using his spells was able to question the corpse and confirm Fligg’s confession with a fair witness present.
We had several copies of this statement made. We decided to take one to the captain of the city guard. He threatened to arrest us for the murder of Fligg’s goons and showed us that Rezan had been tortured, a very odd and unusually practice here in Walsh. He arrested Ianto and smashed my jaw loose. They were taking me back to Redhawk when Terath took off running to warn the company.
The guards were met outside the company by fifty of our finest warriors as well as Max and Major Vec. I teleported into the midst of our men escaping the hold of the guards. I was able to be healed and we had to reconvene to hatch a plan.
At this point I learned that I had been relieved of command. I’m ashamed. Rearden gave me this responsibility and my second time out I screwed it up so badly as to be relieved. Max was gracious enough to make me his lieutenant, but I must work to reclaim command. I’ll be smarter and work harder to do so.
We kicked around the idea of starting a mass movement at the execution block but this was discarded. The Captain wasn’t acting right and we needed a way to find out how the Crushers were putting pressure on him. Oak was able to find where his family lived and we found their house deserted.
When we arrived back at Redhawk we found Ianto waiting for us. She said that she had been released but I assume that she was able to spell one of the guards into letting her out. Apparently this poor fellow then killed himself … a likely story indeed. I grow more suspicious of her every day.
Rezon then shows up with no other than the Captain in tow. They want us to meet with Boss Gripe, the leader of the Crushers. We go and are subjected to a very disturbing and invasive search. When we go to meet Gripe we brought Fligg with us. Gripe had the Captain’s family and was holding them as leverage to get him to do what he wanted.
Fligg, acting all smug decided to act like he was a big shot. That is until I let slip to Gripe that Fligg and his lover had violently murdered the girl and pinned the blame on her teacher. Gripe seemed less than pleased and had Fligg dragged away. I can only hope that his end was one of excruciating torment.
The Captain got his family back and we were able to clear the teacher of his crime. The captain quit his post and left town, a prudent move.
We lost our reward for completing the mission but an innocent man was saved from the block. Not to mention the fact that I lost my Captaincy. I have to make the next mission perfect.
Mission #3 – Gurt Toffus and his infernal shipment.
1st of Elambious
Client: Gurt Toffus
Objective: Weapon shipment and payment shipment security
Location: Walsh to Gurloes estate in Areen and back
Our next mission was to escort a shipment of weapons from Walsh to an Areen estate owned by some asshole name Gurloe. All of the landowners out there are little more than robbers and thieves.
We were met at the shipment by four of Sable Wolf’s mercenaries. There were supposedly Werewolves littering our paths to the estate. They were grim types but I’m quite convinced that the burden will fall to us in a fight.
The biggest problem was the slaves. Magically enhanced carts pulled by slaves. What utter and complete nonsense. As if oxen wouldn’t move faster. Gurt, of course, acts as if this is normal. We head out, keeping our unit in close so as not to be separated from the carts that must arrive intact.
We run into a mounted patrol of Areen soldier led by a Captain Palaemon. He rides and massive black horse with fangs and claws called a Destrir. He reminds us of the danger before riding off. No backup, what a nice chap.
The first night out we have no issues, though Terath is able to find one woman and her boys that wish to be free of this servitude. We will do what we can for them by contacting the Society of the Broken Shackle. Perhaps an opportunity will arise where we can spirit them away.
The next day we march all day, the carts making good time over land. That night we were set upon by Were-creatures. The idiots from Sable provide little help and between Oak, Terath, Ianto, Kathko, and Animals summoned by Max, we turned them back with heavy casualties on their side. They were attempting to destroy the shipment and us with it. No time for that. It felt good to bury my blades in flesh again and I have noticed several aspects my training becoming more apparent. My senses are more feral and sharper. I wonder if I’m turning into one of the animals that my training mimics.
We re-secure the carts with an injured slave and in tow and Terath shoulders the burden on the cart.
We haul ass and make camp for the night, plotting a way to get Hatha and her boys free of Gurt and the other slavers. Oak and I formulate a message to the Society and are given a location to meet.
The final evening we arrive at the estate. We are given a place to rest and Terath, Rezan and I try to find a way to get this woman and her boys away. We found the Destrir in the stable with the other horses, a curious coincidence. I dislike coincidences.
It turns out that you have to have a damned license to buy any sort of magical remedy in this accursed land and we finally had to turn to Gurt to make the purchase for us. What a waste of my time. I almost killed the cursed little man for our inconvenience.
Oak and I then head out to find our rally point for getting the slaves out. Though we found that the boys had been sold to Gurloe and this was going to complicate matters as the boys and their mother were being held separately. Fucking slavers.
We meet a large man at a house not far from the Gurloes’ estate that tells us he can move the boys and will try to get the woman out from under Gurt’s control. I go back to the estate and grab Rezan, we’ll need someone to get the boys out of the area and who better than a Ranger trained in the ways of the wilderness? He accepts my proposition and we head out to find the boys. They are in a series of shacks guarded by only one of the Areen troopers.
We sneak into the house where the boys are sleeping and get them to come out of the house. One of the trips on the way out and attracts the attention of the guard. Rezan makes a feeble attempt to bribe the guard and as he draws his sword I strike. I bury both of my blades in his back but I seemed to miss his heart. Rezon takes a step back and drills three of his Force arrows into the guard’s chest, killing him with barely a gurgle. He takes the boys to the house where they will be spirited across the border to the Garic City States. I hide the distinctive wounds that my weapons leave by carving him up with my boot-dagger. I leave the body in a place where it will easily be found and hopefully they will think that the slaves jumped him.
I head back to the house where Max is sleeping and get him to create water so I can wash the blood from my clothing.
It turns out that Gurloes wants us to secure the gold that is supposed to go back to Walsh and forsake our contract. This is of course out of the question. We intend to screw him out of his money and make sure that it arrives safe and sound back on the other side of the border
We go to leave the next morning and the estate is in chaos. One of the guards was killed and some slaves have escaped. Excellent. I wish I could kill all of the monsters. I t looks like the weapons were for Gurloes and I wonder if he is plotting against his neighbors. If so, I wonder how we might ruin his plans.
We are met on the road by Captain Palaemon who questions us about the death at the estate. Max denies any knowledge. We move out to find that the Sable Wolf men are lying dead in the road with a note attached to them. Ianto casts a spell to break any enchantment and Max opens it. It turns out Ianto isn’t the sorceress that she thinks she is. A resounding gong sound attracts a pair of Bullettes. We dispatch the monsters with little difficulty and move out.
That night Max meets with the Captain who pressures him to hand of the shipment of gold then and there. It appears that the man is as crooked as the rest of his Areen counterparts. The Captain is going to attempt to take it from us. Bring it on, Captain. I’ll be happy to have your blood decorate my blades.
We are moving out when we are set upon by five masked men, one of the riding a Destrir. Rezan opens with a volley and Captain charges Oak. Oak deals a crushing blow to the Destrir, nearly bringing it down. The magic user that Palaemon brought with him rises from his horse and begins firing bolts of energy at us while Terath, Kathko, Oak and I deal with the other lackeys. I bring down two men and their horses while Max ties up Palaemon in a huge nest of brambles. He repeats this several times in an attempt to slow the charging maniac down. \
Ianto squares off against the opposing magic wielder and the shit-talking commences. How he knows our names was beyond us initially, until we realized that it was John Watson. That bastard. Terath attempts to take Palaemon hostage and fails as the man rips him from his mount.
We are able to dispatch the other riders and finally Palaemon and Watson retreat, bloodied as hell but not dead. I want their heads, and I swear to whatever gods are listening I’ll have them.
The damaged cart is more-or-less easily dealt with by jury-rigging the wheel and by distributing some of the weight of the gold to the horses. It’s a close call—and we hear the howls of wolves as night begins to fall—but we’re able to make it to a border station before it’s too late. The remaining day of travel to Walsh itself is boring by comparison.
As we entered Walsh and drop off the cart full of gold at its intended destination the office of a consolidated trading company, we saw a large, dark-skinned man negotiating with Gurt. They conversed in private, so we weren’t able to hear what happened, but afterwards Hatha is led away by the dark-skinned man and Gurt doesn’t look happy. The dark-skinned man winked at me as he leads Hatha away towards the east gate of Walsh and I then realized that he was our contact from the Order of the Broken Shackle.
Immediately upon our arrival at Redhawk, Gurt Toffus stormed into my brother’s office, never a wise choice, and spluttering, demanded his money back for the “pain, suffering, and considerable distress” he received on his journey. This is damn near a death-wish and I’m surprised that Rearden kept his cool. My brother listened to this idiot go on and on about his troubles without comment; at the end he simply smiled and reminded Gurt of the exact terms of the contract. Muttering under his breath about “most unprofessional conduct” and “the full power of the High Courts,” he begrudgingly doled out a weighty pouch of gold to each of us—the full 5,000 gold crowns promised in the contract.
I noticed that not only is Rearden on his feet, his arms appear to be fully healed. Excellent, my brother is back at full health. Beware John Watson, Hell follows my brother’s path and it is not a gentle sleep.
I was brought into Rearden’s office later with Terath and he showed us that there is a warrant out for the murder of the guard in the slave’s quarters. He told us not to worry about this that he has several of them out on his head but he did advise up to keep our heads down for a few days, and Gurloe probably has spies and perhaps assassins lurking about to punish us for not handing the money back over to him. I might have to pay that bastard a visit in the future to teach him a lesson is contract negotiation.
Well, time to see if we can get some cash on hand to get my weapons enchanted again.
I don’t even know the damned date. Gods, but this is annoying. Apparently we lost four damned months?!
Client: Caius Justinius
Objective: Rescue … I think.
Location: Southern Areen, closer to the Dagger Spur than I’d like to be.
I’m losing my grip on what I am. Shit, since Rearden disappeared, I’ve gotten very tired of taking our orders from this cleric. We’re not getting paid and we’re not able to get to a real city for rest and refit. All this Caius does is babble about some great threat to the world, but ever in unspecific and in the vaguest of terms.
Of course Oak buys this line and I’m not sure, maybe there is some threat. But I’m not in this to be a damned hero. I’m in this for the money, and the revenge. Let me make sure that I don’t pretend that I don’t have a score to settle. I’m worried about how these vendettas are affecting me. There is part of me that is not operating as I was taught. The rage and the hate overwhelm me at times. I’ve found myself blacking out in combat and not remembering small gaps of time. I know that my Tiger Claw training was supposed to make me fight more like an animal, I’m wondering if this is an effect of all these damn Dwarven ruins.
Anyway, so we wash out of this underground river and we’re near a small town on the Aloueth Bay. Exhausted we collapse for a day and then head down to the town. The odd thing is that there are quite a few mercenaries around. In fact, I recognized some of the standards from the army that was around Gurloes’ Estate. … Which didn’t make a damn bit of sense. Even more inexplicable, it’s colder than it should be. I don’t know. I think that we just need to get to this damn ship and make our way down the river so we can rescue this damned holy man.
We met the Captain of this ship called the Pike’s Tail. Of course, his last name is Pike, Gareth Pike. How stunningly creative. We met our contact on the ship, he’s … shocking. I’d always heard legends about the Lupix race that lived far to the south of Getheen but I always thought they were nothing more than stories to scare children and the impressionable. I’ll tell you this though, this Dohaeris of Clan Arrow is every bit as terrifying as the tales admit. His common speech is a bit slurred and gruff, but it’s passable. I think that his cultural manners might be a bit … lacking. He’s taller than the Goliath and lean as hell. If there is an ounce on his body that isn’t muscle, bone, or fur, I’d be surprised. In fact, seeing him square off against Oak might make for entertainment. I’ve got 3-1 odds on the wolf.
The most odd thing is that we seem to be missing 3-4 months. It was the heart of summer when we entered into that damned ruin for those idiotic Drow. Now it’s pushing mid autumn. I would LOVE to have an explanation for that. Unlike Dohaeris, I am not equipped with a fur coat. This makes me much more concerned the farther south we go, but it’s not like that little town would have the proper cold-weather gear. My cloak is heavy and we could surely survive if we needed to, but I don’t want to get stuck in the deep south and have a hard freeze or heavy snow set in. Let’s hope we don’t manage to freeze to death.
So we rest for the night in a cramped cabin that reeked of … whatever it is that river boats reek of. The next day we’re greeted by Captain Pike and told that we will set sail that afternoon. I spotted one of his crew slinking off the ship. I pursued, and forgot that my ability to jump through shadows might make a scene. Damn Areen laws. Anyway, after a bit of cajoling I convinced then that I fell off the ship. I pursued this fellow into an alley where he sat crouched and whispering into a bit of paper and then it flew off, sending a message.
With the proper … persuasion we found out that his name was Smiley, Smiler, or some shit. He told me that he was a stringer for John Watson, which I found intriguing. He had a little pouch of his notes and Terath confiscated those. We had him send a false message to Watson stating that the party had taken horse cross-country rather than take the river. We then brought him back to the ship, forcibly. The good captain was told to set sail immediately and we were underway.
I found the method of locomotion to be very odd for this boat. It is shallow bottomed and is obviously designed to stick to the shallow banks of the river as long as wind is not with them. The idea that they could use oars seemed completely foreign to them. Instead they tow it using the deckhands. I don’t understand the aversion but it would seem that our trip will be much lengthened by this nonsense.
After several days on the river, things blew up between Ianto and the rest of the party. The fact that she is able to commune with the Dwarven ruins, understand their language, and generally do all this awesome shit with a culture that’s been gone for … who truly knows how long? The whole thing smacks of secrets. Secrets that we can ill afford at this point. But that’s not my responsibility anymore now is it? If Max ever shows up again He’s going to have quite the handful as far as controlling this group.
A couple of nights later The Maelstrom struck. Captained by some orc named Sha-raaz they attacked us with their enchanted ship. Of course we only knew all this mess after the fact. The first thing any one of us knew was that Rezon was screaming his fucking lungs out. For someone that was supposed to be trained in stealth he sure makes a fucking racket. Honestly…
Anyway, so this massive and entirely unnatural fog bank slips right up next to us and someone demands that we hand Ianto over. Well despite the fact that I don’t trust her a lot, I’m not about to hand her over to a pile of psychopathic, slaving, pirates. So, they launch some grappling hooks over and they sent three agents over to “come get” her. I don’t remember which one of us hit first. It was kind of a blur. But I think they threatened to kill us all if we didn’t help them detain her. I remember charging the leading catfolk, who reeked, and cutting him to bits. He was barely alive when I pulled by blades from him. Oak pummeled one and I think that Dohaeris was waiting for a clear place to pounce. Ianto, in a stroke of brilliance, threw up a force wall right underneath their ropes. Needless to say, several of them went splat and hit the water before allowing us to shed their blood. There were a couple of fish-folk that came over the rail of the ship and gave Oak a hard time for a bit, right before the wolf and I closed in for the kills. Rezon pummeled them with arrows and … of course, Terath did something really really reckless. He decided to teleport his way over to the OTHER ship! Unsupported and without any Intel!
So we cleaned up the mess on our ship and I headed over to the other one with Ianto to try and find or support Terath. He was nowhere to be seen, but the crew was waiting for us. Ianto took a few crossbow bolts and Captain Sha-Razz has some sort of handheld device that fires with absurd force. Need to find out more about this device and where he got it from. Anyway … I took a good swing at him and missed, and then he nearly gutted me. By the gods is he fast. I hurled myself from the ship and dove to avoid his archers. I’m not sure what happened to Terath. He might be lost forever. Let’s hope not. I like the damn kid I just wish he would stop putting me in positions where we have to pull his fat out of the fire.
While I was trying to get back to the ship Ianto had a brilliant idea. She used one of her walls of force as a natural reef and tore a massive chunk from The Maelstrom. Heh, we might have been bloodied, but we did cost him. We had to put our ship up on a sandbar for refit and repair.
That day after Terath disappeared, as we sat around licking our wounds a slave arrived and told us that Sha-razz had Terath and would meet us at a place called Twin Rocks. I think I know exactly what he will propose … we have to find a way to turn the tables back in our favor.
Djinn Diving, Lava Surfing, and Other Things
Client: Caius Justinius?
Objective: Rescue Caius?
Location: Southern Garic Federation, Two days from Getheen
We took a rowboat from the Pike’s Tail and struck south against the current. It helps to have allies that are nearly as strong as dragons when you plan on rowing for seven hours straight. We passed a small town called Crack, named aptly after a massive fissure in the rock wall of the Volan River.
The only thing worth note as we passed by was that there was an official Areen ship docked at this small town. It’s green paint glistened in the sunlight.
As we arrived at the appointed location, we noted that we were early. We waited. And Waited. And Waited. At this point we realized that Sha’Raaz never intended to meet us. We booked it back downstream to find the Pike’s Tail aflame and Gareth Pike’s head on a spike with a note from the bastard Orc captain.
Terath is being shipped down-river to Clostin to be sold in the slave markets. I think that it’s about time to pay a visit to that den of human misery. It should be fun. I never was one for assassinations but the wholesale slaughter of slavers might be fun. We decided that it would take less total time to go nab Caius and then head north to Clostin and track down Terath. After all, if the Areen officials do one thing meticulously, it’s recordkeeping. Someone is going to regret fucking with us.
We hopped back in the boat and headed BACK south. We arrived at Crack and stopped at the only small lodging house. The old man and lady told us that the boat was the property of one Raff Carter, Areen Tax Collector. Oh JOY! Personally I thought we’d just square the books, kill the guy and dump his body in the river. Alas, despite the fact that his job is rotten to the core, the poor guy was a pretty decent human being, if totally inflexible. He might prove useful in the future.
Ianto killed the guard on the deck and we boarded a sovereign Areen vessel. Happy day! We’re now pirates ourselves.
I gave Dohaeris instructions to kick the door in 10 seconds after I went in just in case he was more dangerous than I thought. I proceeded to clock him in the head and tie him down. We squared the books, with some help from him, and set him to Clostin to go look into Terath. We took a lock of his hair and make him think that we could magically locate and perhaps kill him if he didn’t comply. He began paddling down the river. Hopefully he’ll be useful in the future. I have yet to tell the rest of the group. But the idea of setting up our own mercenary and shipping company is something that I’ve been toying with for a while. If I can get in touch with Major Vek to draw off some troops from Redhawk and maybe convince the captain of our newly acquired ship would like to get into the shipping business, then we could get some stability and income flow.
Anyway, we headed back south with our new ship and stopped in Getheen for a resupply and upgrades. I finally got another kukri to replace the dagger I was forced to trade with. We liquidated a large number of our assets and everyone made purchases. From here we set out to the mountains with Dohaeris guiding us.
We found a cave entrance and Ianto blew the door in with her staff. We then got a visit from a very strange man. He had smoky colored skin, wild hair, and violet eyes. He asked if we were going in and if he could come with us. After introductions, his name was Alderion, we agreed to join forces and smashed our way in via Ianto’s staff.
Alderion is an odd bird, he writes down and catalogues everything. As a side he dropped that he is from or has spent a lot of time in Manse. Not sure why, but the guy creeps me out a bit. So we get into the ruin and find that it’s in marvelous shape. The entry room has an odd statue in it with three doors. All three open for us and we find a screened off lava flow in one, a strange screen that shifts colors in another, the central door leads to some sort of box that Ianto says will take us down into the complex. We go down.
Once we are down we search the main room, finding a burlap sack with almost nothing in it and a pair of doors.
We head into the right door and Ianto blows the damn thing off its tracks and into the opposite wall. Well since it doesn’t seem like we’re doing this quietly…
We attract some unwanted attention. The figures that charge around the corner are gaunt and emaciated. They carry simple and ill-kept weapons but their eyes are wild with hate and violence. Even I don’t look this mad with the blood-lust takes me.
Oak and I smash their charge and kill the first three. Six more come skittering down the hallway. Oak crushes another, I bury my knives in a second and Rezan opens up with the artillery. Alderion tries to land a blow but fails and withdraws. Ianto blasts a ball of acid into the hall way but by the gods are the things quick, most of them avoid the majority of the attack.
Oak has obviously been studying new combat forms because with a roar he charges into them trampling and smashing all of them, leaving a wake of broken noses, bones, and footprints over all of them.
I retreat after taking a nasty wound and Dohaeris jumps in, scything his massive sword back and forth. He and Oak mop up the rest of the nuts. Al wanted to keep one alive for questioning but all we got from him was gibbering madness. Oak smashed him.
We move down the hallway, finding several rooms including an operating table. I hid a pair of scalpels in my sleeves and we moved on. The next room was full of holding cages … and a black pudding ooze. Ianto held it in with a wall of force and we hatched out plan: Slice it down, back off, and then let oak trample the thing into oblivion after the spell slingers gave it a bit of blasting. Well it didn’t go as planned. It attacked me, engulfed me, and melted a bit of my skin with acid. I teleported out, sliced it up, and teleported to the back lines. I was hurting, badly. Ianto and Dohaeris made short work of the slime and then it was time to get some healing.
We headed down to the final door and blew it open. Inside we found a horror. What was left of Caius seemed to be sewn and bolted onto some sort of base. His ring was mounted on a hand and machines pumped fluids into him. Wiring of some sort ran into a box on the side. A note was on one of the machines. We detected powerful magic on it and I had Oak pocket it for future reference. We then cut what might have been Caius off of the base and held onto his head. I’m not sure if this is some sort of copy or not. There was a copy of one of his hands in the same holding unit as his communication ring. We’d been had. All his “messages” had been fakes.
We headed back to the main room and headed for the other door. We found some sort of arcane workshop with two small identical rooms. We think this might have been used to copy or clone a live being.
Next to this room was a small closet with some nasty items in a cabinet. Behind it was a small button. Ianto blew this for Aldarion who jumped into a small hallway and ran to a black pearl on a pedestal. He called out a name to it and it summed a djinn. Ya know, I really should have been shocked by this but with all the wild stuff we’ve seen and done, I’m really not surprised by anything anymore.
He asked the djinn a question. It told him that its purpose was not to grant knowledge. He then decided to let us know that he was from a 1000 years, give or take a few from the past. He’s not sure how he got here. He “just wants to go home”. Oh boy. Here we go.
We got out to the main room on the lower floor and were greeted by a small golden orb that activated the letter. It was from an armored individual that we figured to be Palaemon. He demanded the staff and Terath, who of course we have yet to go rescue. We hatched a plan, centered around the last of Ianto’s spells.
While we argued over our next course of action another of the emaciated thralls came down in the elevator. Rezan killed him after he delivered his message. The Elven Ghost popped out. Wonderful, this asshole again, just what we needed.
Ironically half our party ran in terror, but the rest of us were able to do enough damage to him to get him to flee back up to be Palaemon’s lapdog.She breached the lava we found on the first level, used a wall of force to give us an escape route and then trapped Palaemon, the Elven Ghost and all of his goons inside … with a rising tide of lava. Their screams were music to our ears and right as we thought that Palaemon might hammer his way through part of the rock, the lava engulfed all of them. Oh happy day!
Now we have some business to attend to in Clostin. I’ve had just about enough of this slave ship nonsense. Of course the other option is that we drop into Getheen and get certain paperwork filed. Decisions …
Spoiled Brats and Happy Cats
Client: Corvin Ven’Drala and/or Shar Shaddam
Objectives: Stop the attacks on Hall of the Guilded Leaf Personnel/Deliver the attacker to Shar Shaddam ALIVE
Location: Getheen and surrounding areas
After the lava flow cooled we took a moment to take stock of our situation. Aldarion decided that he was going to leave us to our own devices and headed back toward the city. We decided that if nothing else we could all use a good night sleep, some hot food, and a bath.
We dropped into the Boardwalk and rented a couple of decent rooms and who should drop in but MAX! We’d been running all over hell’s creation trying to find us until some enterprising individual dropped him a note that he would be able to find us at this very inn in Getheen. Something very strange is going on. Is it Caius? Rearden? The fact that someone is looking over our shoulder is exceptionally disconcerting.
Anyway, Max tells us that there is a shield, similar to the great barrier, surrounding Walsh. Not good, not good at all. But honestly what can we do about it? Last time Ianto decided to go mucking about with that mysterious Dwarven staff of hers things … blew up. Not that I would mind her leveling a city, just not my hometown.
That night I crawled into a bottle of whiskey. The smoky flavor seared my throat but by the gods did it help chase away some of the nightmares. Watching Kathko’s body slowly rising in the grip of that mechanical monstrosity, only to be slammed home on spikes, blood pouring from his mouth, made me shudder. Yet, he looked content. The bodies and faces of those I’ve killed drifted in my mind. There would be more, so many more. Goddamnit! Where the fuck is Rearden when I need him? I took another large pull at the bottle. I knew what I had to do. It had to wait for morning.
The next morning dawn came early, way too early. I woke, washed, and stumbled downstairs for coffee and a large, greasy breakfast. I was met at the door to my room by Aldarion. He told me that he would be sticking around with us because we had messed around with more Dwarven ruins and artifacts than anyone else he had met. He thought he might be able to find answers by sticking around. Fine with me, with Terath’s absence, we need someone to cover some of the more technical aspects of our business and Aldarion was also a walking font of knowledge. He also wants us to help him look into the djinn that he found. He had a contact for us to call on.
The rest of the party arrived and we laid out our plans for the day. Max was going to the church of St. Cuthbert to inquire if they had any news of Walsh. Dohaeris and Oak went to the church of Pelor to see if they could dig up any information on Caius. Rezan and Ianto and I sent a message to the shipwrights to strip, repaint, and rename the Areen vessel we had … liberated. We decided to name it the Hunnin. I went into the city proper and filed paperwork for a new Mercenary Company: The Iron Ravens. I see nothing but benefits for us in doing this. We might even be able to fold it back into Redhawk when Rearden shows up again. I’m not sure but we need to be a little more legitimate. Of course this will mean some initial investment. I bought a small wood building in the Boardwalk area, and hired us a secretary. He name is Mirah Teravon and she came highly recommended. She’s professional and has been in similar lines of work for a while.
When we reconvened Max had learned nothing, Oak and Dohaeris had come up empty, and we prepared to go see Al’s contact in the Financial Quarter. A messenger arrived for us and handed us a note saying that someone would be arriving with Terath! Of course this came as a shock but the author of this note seemed to be the same as the person who had told Max where to find us. Aldarion reminded us that he had a contact to go see, so we headed off toward the Financial District.
We strode up to a nice stone building that had a sign hanging out front with a paw on it. We walk in and there is a catfolk sitting in front of a cozy fire, it’s Shar Shaddam. He looked happy and content as could be, completely unfazed that his former allies has just walked in his front door. We greeted him heartily and got word of a job he needed us to take care of.
A Mr. Greenwine needs his son, Brasterion, returned to him. The hitch is that his son has gone rogue in the Mannerheim forest and is the individual responsible for attacks on workers there. We tell Shar that we’d be happy to take the job and if we’re successful, we’ll also become his primary contractors in the city as long as we are around town. He agrees, pending our performance.
We then head over to the Hall of the Guilded Leaf to try and negotiate our way into getting the contract to take out the ‘rogue’ in the forest. We meet with a receptionist whose palm we grease a bit to get an interview with the elf who is responsible for handing out the contract to go get this nut job. His name is Corvin Dren’Cala and he’s a sight. He strikes me as a workaholic and a bit frazzled. But he’s also smart and, I think, a rather powerful mage.
He tells us that he is considering giving the contract to Black Mountain. We convince him that we can do a more subtle job. After all, the forest need to be preserved and running four or five platoons of grunt infantry probably will do more harm than good. He agrees and we have a few conditions that we have to fulfill for him.
We agree and meet him in the afternoon at the gate to the city. He gives us directions and we head off to the Mannerheim. One of the conditions is that his Orb of seeing must remain with us at all times. HE will be watching from his office and he wants to see the fight. We come up with a plan for taking care of this eye since we can’t have him knowing that one of the community’s most prominent men has a son that is killing his employees.
We greet the guard at the entrance to the Mannerheim and activate the eye. We move down a narrow trail, Rezan and Aldarion out front to scout. Aldarion is set upon by some kind of tiger and the squad rushes to help. Aldarion obviously dabbles a bit in magic as he called down a massive sleet storm to protect and hide him from the tiger that attempted to rip his throat out. Ianto, not knowing what the hell is going on dispelled his sleet storm, but gave Aldarion enough time to get partway up a tree and hide from the tiger.
At this point a second tiger comes charging out of the woods and attacks Oak. Oak gives it a solid strike but is unable to stave off its massive paws. The creature grapples with the massive goliath. I line up and charge the creature which is fully distracted with the seven foot tall wall of steel known as Oaklav. My blades fly and I show this creature that my claws are far more deadly. My kukris tear into this creature’s back like a buzz saw and I drop it with a rapid series of strikes, severing it’s spinal cord and shredding it’s heart and lungs. Oak gave me a grateful nod and we move to engage the other tiger.
Max’s summoned creatures had been wrecking havoc and his lion, which we acted like was an enemy as able to down and destroy Corvin’s Seeing Orb. His devil was able to occupy the last tiger while Dohaeris moved in to engage it. This tiger made the same mistake as the first one: it left its back open to both Oak and myself while it sunk it’s claws into Dohaeris.
Oak Moved in and smashed his mace down, wounding it and I blinked in using my anklets and tore this one’s rib cage apart from a rapid series of strikes. Meanwhile, Aldarion had disappeared. We assembled and tried to figure out what to do.
Aldarion came back a few minutes later and said that he had found Brasterion and had gotten the boy to trust him by asking him for information on the djinn that he had encountered. The boy was fascinated with the djinn and wanted to show us why he was defending the forest.
We headed down the trail and the forest began to warp and sicken around us. In the heart of the Mannerheim, a massive grove of trees appeared to rot, but … not rot at the same time. The Hall of the Guilded Leaf was tapping these massive ancients for a fluid that allowed them to grow their crop trees at an astonishing rate.
We went back to his camp where Aldarion found out that his djinn was not one that granted wishes but one which would assassinate people. Needless to say, Aldarion was not pleased. I knocked the boy unconscious and we made the place look like a battle had taken place. He convinced him that we could help him in his mission but he had to play along. By disguising him as a beetle and having Dohaeris and an injured Aldarion race back to our new HQ, we were able to convince Corvin that we had completed his assignment, but nothing was left of the perpetrator.
He paid us and we went back to our new building for breakfast. We convinced Brasterion to play along once again and delivered him safe and sound to Shar Shaddam. He then paid us and told us he would keep us in mind in the future.
I love getting paid twice!
Bandits, Booms, and Black Mountain Buffoons
Client: Shar Shaddam
Objective: Bandit Removal
Location: Several Hours North of Getheen
In the time that we are waiting for Terath to be delivered to us in Getheen, we need to build our bank account back up. We were sent a note that Shar Shaddam wanted to see us and that he might have a bit of work for us.
He arrived at The Cat’s Paw to find him waiting for us. The Contract was to take out a group of bandits that had been raiding commerce on the highway between Getheen and New Garen. The bandits in question are thought to number between 20 and 30 individuals, most human, and exceptionally violent. They had slaughtered a group of Black Mountain guards that had been guarding a caravan of goods heading to New Garen and it looked like we might get to take another crack at a mission and beat them to the punch. Our orders were to either capture or terminate with extreme prejudice.
Shar Shaddam informs us that he will be coming along with us and after a slight addendum to the contract, we prepared to head out.
The hike took us into the night and we set up south of their position. They had the high ground but their base of operations was perfectly situated to throw off attack. We sent Shar Shaddam, Ianto, and Rezan up to the lip of a bowl-like area in the mountain where they were dug in. Max, Dohaeris, Oak, and myself decided to go knock on the door. I sprinted up to the only piece of cover between us and the gate. The thing looked like a bit of rock with some chains on it. Instead I was greeted by some creature called a Roper. The bastard shot some sticky tentacles at me and started to drag me toward its gaping maw. Max threw up a wall of wind to block the arrows from the bandit archers on the palisade wall. Someone conjured some sort of devil onto the wall as well to keep them busy while we set about getting in the front door.
Dohaeris and Oak both sprint up to the door and I blink through the wall to the other side of the door, I lifted the cross-bar up and then Shadow Stepped back through the wall. Of course the others didn’t understand what I had done and next thing I know Oak delivers a jarring blow to the door nearly taking them off their hinges.
Max summons another wall of wind to cover us from the second palisade. I see one of Ianto’s Acid balls strike into the heart of the camp and the screams of the dead and dying broke through the the howl of the winds and the din of combat. This was followed by a bellowing roar. Yeah … this was going to be fun. Max summoned a pair of massive crocodiles to disrupt the archers even more and Dohaeris, Oak, and I went through the remaining sentries like paper. They got a couple of good shots in but we dropped them in a manner of seconds. It’s so nice to be working with such violently competent individuals.
Max brought up the rear and slammed a dome like wall of stone around the Roper which reached out to nail both Oak and myself before the dome entombed the creature. He rolled up and delivered a quick healing spell. We learned there was an enemy magic user in this camp because One of Max’s Wind Walls fell and next thing we knew Rezan fell a bit down the side of the sheer drop into the camp before he snagged a handhold.
I teleported through the wall and then jaunted back after discovering the source of the reptilian bellow from earlier. The enemies had a caged hydra … and the cage was open. Fantastic. Just what we needed. Max tried to use a summoned creature to close the gate but his massive bear was torn to shreds by the heads of the hydra.
We all ducked back and took cover as the Hydra burst from cover and Shar Shaddam sprinted off to the far side of the camp part of which had been excavated into the walls of the bowl. It appeared that a group of archers had taken cover behind cover and were using the door as a choke point.
While several of their troops acted strangely, probably the effect one of Ianto’s spells, Ianto hit the Hyrda with a blast of acid and Max called down a holy column of fire. Next thing I know Oak slides into position right next to this damn thing and with a bellow and surge of holy light lays into the hydra. On the other side of the wall I could the brilliant light through the cracks in the palisade and the sound of massive ribs snapping under the weight of the blow.
Then for some damn reason Dohaeris goes charging in shrugging off blows from the Hydra and charges in, his massive sword singing for blood. He lays open two massive gashes but doesn’t drop the Hydra. I tensed as I prepared to sprint around the door and dive into this critter… And then it breathed. I could feel the heat as the wall caught on fire next to me.
All I smelled was burned meat and wood. This fucking creature had probably just roasted two of my friends out of their boots. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I dashed around the corner of the palisade, no on fire in earnest, and leapt at the creature. Thankfully, Dohaeris looked like he was able to avoid the worst of the fiery blast but Oak was charred and burned but roaring defiance. None of it mattered, this creature was going to die. I closed the distance with my leap twisting to avoid the heads as they slashed toward me. I tumbled into a crouch and my kukris flashed. I struck the creature again and again, my fury fueling my strikes. I slashed my way through the gash already opened by Dohaeris and hacked my way into it’s chest cavity until I could cleave its heart. The creature shuddered and dropped as I crawled my way out covered in its purple, viscous blood.
We used the large corpse as cover from the arches, until Ianto showed up. She told us not to harm the creature again and next thing we know it started to move, its lifeless eyes swung toward the archers pouring fire on us and it began a slow, shuffling advance, it’s mighty jaws hanging open. The crazy bitch had just raised this thing from the dead!
Oak bolted out of cover into a tent to the left and I teleported after him. Inside we found an injured and bleeding archer and a nasty looking fellow with a knife to the throat of an abused-looking young woman. God only knows how she had been used.
He threatened to kill the woman and his archer friend threw down his weapon and told us that the man with the knife was the leader of this band of screw-ups. Oak smashed him into pulp and then took a good long look at the bandit captain. his knife started to draw a line of blood, on this woman’s neck while her companion, chained to the floor, wept piteously. Oak nodded to me and backed out of the tent to help clean up the remaining archers who at that moment screamed in such pain that it make devils grin and lick their lips in ecstasy.
I took my chance and leapt but the bastard was too fast. He slit her throat killing her as my blades slashed into him. Gods but the little fucker was quick. I slammed several of my blows home but he was able to slap a couple of my blurring blades aside. He was left pouring blood as he staggered back then launched himself at me with his dagger. His strike was mostly turned aside by my mithral but he nicked part of my hip and I felt a searing pain as some form of poison ate into me. Mentally I focused on my Diamond Mind training and slammed a tangible mental wall between my flesh and this foreign pathogen. It oozed out of me as I took a pained breath and smashed this bandit captain to the ground, but I didn’t kill him. I kept him barely alive. I called Max into the tent and learned that we had mopped up the rest of the resistance but that their spell caster had escaped. I had Max heal this monster while I put my kukris to the grisly work of removing his hands and feet and then searing them shut with my blades.
We freed the poor woman who babbled at us in a language I didn’t catch and we provided her with some medical care while we took stock of the salvageable items in the camp. All-in-all a nice haul. And then Black Mountain showed up.
The leader, a hulking brute of a man came forward and somehow thought that we were the bandits. I showed him our charter and he didn’t buy it. He demanded that we hand over the bandit captain and that, for some reason Max stay behind.
What a bunch of nonsense. I tensed myself for a fight but Ianto beat me to it. Suddenly his eyes glazed over and he looked at her and said “What was it I was supposed to do?” She told him to go back down and get his men to go back to Getheen. When he turned away Shar Shaddam shot him twice in the back of the head and then cut off his left hand … I was … speechless. And now we’re stuck in this camp with a pile of mercenaries outside, their dead commander inside, and we’re low on spells, and burdened with the spoils of the battle. On the plus side … we have an undead hydra, how awesome is that!? We should pick a name for it…
Of Watson and Wicked Churchmen
Client: John Watson
Objective: Necromancer Removal
So after Shar Shaddam kills this Black Mountain commander he makes his escape. We are stuck holding the bag. This is just about par for the course with us.
We pile the foodstuffs into tent that we retrofitted into a giant bag. This then led to us piling onto this hydra and Ianto cast fly and invisibility on it. Now I’m not sure if anyone else has ever had the sensation of looking straight down into craggy clefts as they float through the air not of their own volition. It’s mildly terrifying.
We seem to get away from the Black Mountain platoon but some of their scouts seem to be making their way around the mountain toward us and with the hydra unable to navigate the narrow mountain trails Ianto ordered it to head back the way we came and attack the Black Mountain Mercs.
We then divided up the spoils between the Oak and Dohaeris and set out for town. We arrived right around daybreak. We met some nut leading a digging party and after a bit of questioning realized that he was heading to the dwarven ruin that we had just flooded with lava. Something about the man seemed off and after some digging with his former employer, The Hall of the Guilded Leaf, we found this kind of behavior to be completely out of character. We left him, drunk at our HQ while we did some checking on his story.
We dropped by a shop where he said he had purchased his “map” and found that the proprietor of the establishment did not sell maps. We sold some of the loot that we had acquired at the bandit camp and headed back to the Iron Ravens’ HQ on the boardwalk in Getheen. We found poor Mira, our secretary, unconscious on the floor. Apparently Drevas had hit her over the head and taken flight. We will deal with him later. The person bringing Terath is arriving tomorrow.
We sit around waiting for a reunion with our beloved, if impetuous, comrade. And who should walk in the door but Rearden! My brother, back amongst us! He had with him a man that looked like a simple commoner, it wasn’t Terath. He looked a little haggard but given the events recently I can’t say that I blame him. Ianto proceeds to go a little nuts and when we attempt to restrain her she vanishes. At that point Rearden told us that it wasn’t a big deal and that he wanted to show us something.
He pulled out a pendant with a very lifelike carving of the commoner on it. He pressed the carving and the man began weeping blood and blood poured from his mouth as his brain liquefied. At this point the glamour around what we thought was Rearden faded and John Watson stood before us. Weapons came up but he held another pendant … this one with Terath’s likeness on it.
We were at a stalemate. If he pressed the pendant Terath dies. If we kill him before he presses it and he doesn’t “contact his people” Terath dies. I seriously considered killing him right now. I mean there is no proof Terath is even alive and even if he is he won’t give up his bargaining chip. Terath is dead no matter what we do, but he swayed Oak and Dohaeris with information on the whereabouts of Caius.
It turns out that he’s made a few too many enemies in his time and wants us to do his dirty work for him. If we helped him out with the various people that he’s pissed off he’s willing to let Terath go … or so he says. His first target for us is a murderous necromancer of some repute named Athan Bixley.
According to Watson this man has moved into Getheen and is masquerading as one of the clergy of the church of Boccob. His MO is to abduct, experiment on, and kill them. We had to go in and … take care of him.
When we went to the church under the pretense of selling them a vial of the blue substance that we recovered from one of the dwarven ruins. We met with a young female elf named Piersym who ushered us in and had us speak with their appraisal of magical artifacts, a young man named Ser Duelle. He was very skeptical but was willing to bring the head mage, an older human named Craster.
We talked it over with him and told him that we would have to think about our transaction. We did not bring Rezan with us and had him watch the church for any unusual activities. He returned late that night and reported that he’d seen nothing unusual and both the young church mages had left for their own places early in the evening.
We returned the next day and ate lunch with the three of them and then split the group up to ask a couple of questions. Ianto handled Ser Deulle and I took Piersym for a walk in the park across the street.
I talked with her about her work and those she worked with. She said that Craster had been a bit absentminded within the last couple of months and had forgotten several appointments that had been set for a time of several months. My how suspicious…
Ianto came back to the HQ and told us that nothing out of the ordinary stood out to her about the head mage aside from the fact that he had been forced to venture into the crypt to put down some pesky ghosts. Also interesting.
So we hatched a plot. Dohaeris, who had never been seen by any of the church personnel, would get cut and would bang on the door demanding healing to distract the head mage. While he did that I would teleport in and take a look around the crypt. I used my ring and disguised myself as an elven cat-burgler and teleported through the wall to the care center and race for the doors, I blinked through the doors and headed down into the crypt.
I saw lots mundane urns for ashes and seven ornate urns with the ashes of the former head mages of the church in them. To play up the theft I thought that I would tip over one of the urns, making it look like someone had been scared away before being able to pry the gems from the urns.
I heard a sound and the headmaster came into the crypt, righted the urn and left. He seemed timid, but for all I know he saw me the entire time but he didn’t attack, he headed back up to the medical wing. I did a bit of looking around the most empty of the shelves and found something that didn’t seem to be right. I pushed and the stone shelves seemed to give. I tried to walk through and bounced off the shelves. Hmmm … odd. I took a slice at it with one of my knives and a chunk of wood came away. Ahhhh a wooden door with a glamor over it to look like the stone walls. Well it looks like we found his lab.
I raced back up to the medical ward and as I teleported through the door and out through the wall I saw Craster cutting into Dohaeris with a knife.
Stuck in the Middle with Watson
Client: Cylax Mycroft/John Watson
Objective: Investigating a Cult/Assassinate a Merchant
I … I don’t remember the fight with the Necromancer. I am increasingly concerned that the bloodlust is taking more and more control of me when I am in combat. I’m fighting it but I … I’m scared that I’m losing. I’d talk to someone but … I don’t think they would understand. Hell it looks more and more like I’ve lost everything. Family, History, Home, all of it. I don’t think these people understand that they are all I have left. I already miss Dohaeris … that big fuzzball. At least his outlook was simple.
Well I awoke in a rather posh holding cell in the headquarters of the Scarlet Band Peacekeeping Company with the rest of the group. We were introduced to one of the mediators that they employ, a man named Calyx Mycroft. He strikes me as incredibly intelligent and utterly dedicated to his city and his job. I gave him a job offer that he just kind of scoffed at. Pretentious…
He asked some questions and I get the feeling that no matter how evasive I was he was going to dig out the truth. After being satisfied at least mostly with the answers that he got, he gave us a mission and turned us loose. He informed us that there have been a large number of disappearances, more than the number of bodies in the lab of Bexley could account for. He is concerned about the cult evidence that he found. This Cult of the Patient One, as it is called is suspected but he can’t seem to nail the group down. He has a lead that he needs us to chase down because he is concerned that “official presence” will cause the lead to bolt.
He told us that a woman named Winna Reith heard her son, Thaleon, reference this Cult of the Patient One. Wonderful … as if we didn’t have enough on our plate already. So here is the current to-do list:
1. Investigate a death cult with law enforcement riding shotgun (Oh joy!)
2. Drop by the Auction House to check on the Dwarven artifacts
3. Solve the John Watson problem … permanently
4. Make contact with the remaining members of the church of Boccob
As we were leaving Mycroft handed us a pair of letters. One was a note from Watson saying to meet him in the park across from the church at noon. The other was a death letter from Dohaeris. I already miss that socially awkward fuzzball. You could always rely him to put things in perspective.
As we left we split up. Aldarion and I headed to the market and financial district to pick up some items and bounce over to Memnon’s Antiquities, the auction house appraising my dwarven bracers. Aldarion had his goods ordered and headed back to HQ to rendezvous with the rest of the team.
When I arrived at Memnon’s I was immediately ushered in to the proprietor, a woman named Serasha. She told me that the appraisal, much to her surprise had come back in the affirmative and she offered me 50K for the bracers. I accepted and also gave her one of the necromatic powder solutions that we had found for her appraisal. Hopefully we can boost our bank account by continuing to filter dwarven artifacts (provided we find some more) into her auction house.
I headed back to HQ, met up with the team and walked to the park. We were met by Smiley (or Smiler … I still haven’t figured his name out). He dropped a bag of gold on the ground and spat. He told us that Watson would be along to see us that evening. After a disparaging remark about Dohaeris I lost my temper and backhanded him.
Ironically… as he was leaving he was crash tackled by two Scarlet Band Peacekeepers and hauled off for some offense. We should drop by Calyx’s office and find out what the story is.
From there we headed off to see Winna Reith about her son. Her house was in a nice part of town and she seemed to be rather well-off. Turns out her son has some small magical talent and she was worried that he had fallen in with a bad crew. We set up a ‘tutoring session’ between Ianto and him for the next morning to allow us to talk to the boy and pump him for info.
That evening we had a visitor. A very rough looking Watson showed up at our place. He thanked us for our work and then we got into a bit of a discussion about The Cult of the Patient One. We found out that the ‘Patient One’ is what was listed on the map we found as “HIM”. Watson apparently is scared to death of this entity and when he asked us how we were avoiding the mental influence we were all a little … confused. Come to find out, Ianto had been keeping us shielded from an outside psychic influence all along. I owe that woman a beer.
He then gave us our next target, a woman who worked for Memnon’s as a merchant named Chella. We’d have to look into this, because he refused to elaborate on WHY he wanted her dead. I dislike assassination with no explanation.
The next morning we showed up at Winna Reith’s place and she and Oaklav pumped the kid for info. It looks like a young man Aler was influencing the boy. He told us that he might be meeting Aler in the near future but didn’t know when. We decided to put a watch on the house for the near future so we could tail the boy if he got his summons.
The next day I went by to see Serasha and ask for an appointment with Chella. She agreed, given the profitable nature of our relationship. I got a summons later that day to Memnon’s. Chella and I made small talk about artifacts and her work inside the Tallarian Empire. She became a little aggravated that I wasn’t more help. I mentioned that I had run into an old acquaintance of her’s. I dropped Watson’s name and mentioned that he had tried to hire us to eliminate her and I wanted to know why. She had me kicked out. Ungrateful bitch.
That evening we got a bite on our lead dealing with Thaleon. The boy was heading out…