Return to Tepillien

The Diviner of Girifrid

Immanuel goes to see Turua, an elven diviner in the wizard’s guild of the Trading District of Girifrid. He lays before her more of the improbable tale of the Commentary than he has to anyone else up to this point. Turua is skeptical, but speculates aloud that IF there were such a thing as a crackpot elementalist commentary on the Book of Beginnings or the Book of Legends, it was probably written long ago, and therefore most likely in the eastern part of Bapsia, which was settled earliest. Nebbar, maybe, or Akalamaka. In fact, there’s a lot to be said for Akalamaka…on a purely speculative basis, mind.

She could cast legend lore on the book if properly compensated, but Immanuel is hardly ready for THAT experiment.

Turua assures Immanuel that he could certainly speak with the schismatic clerics at the Shrine of Sammas in the Ocean District if he wished, although she couldn’t say whether they would let him examine their copies of the Books of Beginnings and Legends. She really couldn’t say why they even bothered to acquire them.

All things considered, Immanuel decides for the moment to go downtown and visit the library at the Citadel of Palion instead. It’s a gorgeous dome of fluted white marble held up by four gargantual flying buttresses. Even so, it is dwarfed by the Palace of Giril, the seat of the Prince’s government, across the street, made of buff sandstone with battlements and many square towers. There are no shortage of soldiers at its three entrances wearing the teal and/or rusty brown of the House of Stroan.

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The Vishi Mine Entrance

Date: 13 Draco

Theodoric and Arblaith, with their elven cloaks, attempt to slink into the entrance area of the mine and investigate a small ruined stone structure, but they are spotted by an eagle-eyed guard. He approaches, weapons stowed and peaceful but apparently on edge, and warns the two away from the mine, which he says has been appropriated for the defense of Thornlin duchy (from what is never specified).

The party regroups and decides that Katarine and Elspeth will lead and invoke their moral right to know what happened to Tobias and the children. The mine entrance is now deserted. Elspeth notes an alarm spell with detect magic. The party goes to the side guardhouse, newly hewn from the bluff just like the story Mederro told back in Vichy. They knock, then break a plank out of the door. A tense standoff is temporarily smoothed over by Elspeth’s calm emotions spell. The cleric of Zuran (who is accompanied by five archers and two swordsmen) protests that he does not know what happened to Tobias, but agrees (under the influence of the spell) to Katarine’s request that he ask for her to be able to collect his remains.

As he crosses the space between the side guardhouse entrance and the main mine entrance, the spell ends. The cleric whispers something to the soldier accompanying him. They trigger the alarm spell and then run on into the mine. The archers close and bar the door to the guardhouse, trying to fit the plank back into place. The party stands in the entryway to the lethal and contested Vishi Mine…

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Shrine of Sammas (Girifrid) and the Trading District

Date: 13 Draco

Immanuel finds his way to the Shrine of Sammas, but no space available for the night.
Inn: the Copper Urn
Immanuel asks the innkeeper, a Quaran woman, questions.
Libraries: main Girifrid records near the Palace in the Old City
A wizard’s guild here in the Trade District
The Temple of Zuran at the north corner of the Trade District
Possibly some books at the Quaran Ambassador’s palace
And of course, other eccentric nobles. I think the House of Tarantin is fairly bookish…

In the morning, Immanuel explores the temple, disturbs a cantress practicing old Sammas chant tunes, and eventually runs into Almoness Eretetha (Bapsian).
Immanuel asks for commentaries on the two books (pieces of the Book of the North) in his Tome: Book of Beginnings, Book of Legends.
The Almoness knows little of such things. She promises to introduce him to Abbot Jarotsh after lunch.

Immanuel elects to explore the Trading District.
Immanuel identifies, without talking to people, just watching & reading signs, 18 separate merchant houses
some idea as to what several of them trade in
3 of them are top-level wealthy looking, polished brass plates or the like announcing the name, guards at the door, etc
range down to very modest-looking enterprises with a Bob Cratchit visible through the curtains

Identified trading specialties:
Books
Financier / trader in precious metals
Cartographer / illustrator
Rope and hemp and allied goods
Chandler / lantern & oil
Yarn, woven cloth, finished garments

Immanuel notes down the location of Arbustier and Sons, traders in illumination goods
as well as
Emmanthal & Arbutnot, booksellers, scribes, and traders

On the way back, Immanuel intervenes with two Bapsian boys beating up a half-elven child and accusing his mother of being a whore
Tommas the half-elven boy, about 7 y.o.
Immanuel scares the bullies off with thaumaturgy and takes the boy back to his 12 y.o. sister, who is laboring away at the spinning wheel in a dingy basement. He leaves them with a copper for candy.

Immanuel is introduced to Abbot Jarotsch. Unlike Thornlin, this temple has a very ascetic, monastic component. Over 40 religious, men and women, eating in a refectory.

Immanuel poses his question to the Abbot, who says that yes, this Shrine once possessed two very rare copies, one each of the Book of Beginnings and the Book of Legends. The schismatic shrine of Sammas in the Ocean District borrowed both of them before the ugly split that their clerics precipitated by basically calling for a riot against the ruling Prince of Girifrid and his house right in the middle of the Abbot’s sermon.

No one else in Girifrid, to the Abbot’s knowledge, has a copy of these books. (After all, they are in such an old dialect of Old Northern that no one has ever translated them.) The wizard’s guild in the Trading District might have a commentary on them and their puzzling features in their library, or a diviner there might know something or at least be able to point Immanuel in the proper direction to learn more.

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Vishi - Intrigue & Trial
A Shitty Place To Live, but You Wouldn't Want To Visit

Date: 12-13 Draco

While talking to Mederro, the party is accosted by most of the rest of the village population, including the other two Jurors – Thytainet, a sneering middleaged man who takes an instant dislike to the party, and Jenetkan, a grumpy oldster, who apparently carries authority because of his age. The party, being lawful and about as peaceable as PCs can afford to be, agrees to stay the night in the town, their weapons in safekeeping at the shrine of Palion. The cleric suggests playing up the party’s strained relationship with Thornlin’s officers of state because Jenetkan particularly despises the Foremost, Liseli.

At night, Juror Mederro sneaks in to talk with them. Intel is dished on the guards at the mine, the layout of the mine as he remembers it, the names (Barbuosen and Jethshekad) of the ranking managers the mine owner sent to run the place while it was still, you know, running, and corroboration of the timeline of events at the mine that led up to Tobias’ tragic death. Theodoric, always (ahem) fiery, proposes that the party will agree to a trial by “combat” and go to the mine to get answers for the town…or fail to come back, as the gods see fit.

The trial goes off as well as might be expected. Under a zone of truth spell, the party outlines the summit meeting in Thornlin, causing Jenetkan to consider them differently, but also apparently arousing additional ire, distrust, and hatred from Thytainet. They then describe the bandit attack and their restraint in dealing with it. The mineland brigand they captured does a pretty lame attempt on his own to make the party sound like the aggressors. Mederro asks the senior Jurors their opinions; Thytainet is resolute that the party deserves punishment, but Jenetkan is not. Mederro then recounts the proposal of trial by combat, and Jenetkan agrees. In a cold, lethal huff, Thytainet gathers a couple of cronies and sweeps out of the common house.

The party collects their weapons from the shrine and sets off…

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The Journey to Vishi

Date: 10-11-12 Draco, 746 IR

Elspeth’s magic warhammer is still in the shop and will be for another tenday. Grora offers to lend her protege a magic weapon, but the temple is clean out of them, so she has to settle for a silver one. A silver mace and flail were offered as well (it’s possible that Athos or Hugs ended up with those, I don’t remember).

The party acquired some horses on 11 Draco and set off toward the mine country village of Vishi, the one below the mouth of the mine where Tobias and his children were killed. That night they were attacked by brigands, who were mostly intimidated into running away by a combination of eloquence, fiery radiance, and archery by the PCs. The leader succumbed to his wounds before Katarine could get to him and only one prisoner was taken. Apparently it is rough out here in mine country, and these brigands were living (poorly) off the land with only the very occasional mark to rob.

Katarine finally thought to warn the party that mine country has its own laws and the folk take a dim view of outsiders for the most part. The party determined to haul their prisoner in and see what happens.

The party marched him to Vishi the following day and Arblaith got off to the best possible start that afternoon with the two bedraggled men posted in the middle of the mostly decayed and dead village. The village apparently has three Jurors who are people with some unknown authority in the quirky legal system of the mine country. One guard runs to fetch Mederro, the youngest Juror. The party enters a conversation with him in which he describes the decline and fall of the mines and miners as their original widely distributed mines got mined out, linked up, and eventually taken over by the Lenday Guild and then the mysterious man in Waymeet who supposedly bought the mines from Lenday. Arblaith and Theodoric suggest that they explore the mines, which are now guarded, together with Mederro, and the hotheaded man thinks about this offer very seriously.

The other guard has run off to find Thytainet, the middle Juror in seniority.

To be determined:

Request items: maps of the mine, tips on getting past the guards without being seen (if possible)

descriptions of the owner’s flunkies that the townspeople have seen

Elspeth would like to be able to compare what Katerine knows to what the locals know – timeline of events, etc

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Immanuel Goes to Girifrid

Date: night of 12-13 Draco, 746 IR (3 nights after Theodoric’s dream ride to see his sister)

Immanuel, his ship slowed by contrary winds, finally makes it to Girifrid and sees the city go by under the moonlight.

Encounters a nobleman semi-undercover (allied with Loyal Troop)
Fight with stray dog, Immanuel uses vicious mockery, companion takes him to be a bard(esque)
Asks if Immanuel is in the Troop
Introduces himself as Lord Tonan Iglanova
Immanuel gives him his name but not his district (conceals that he’s actually from Thornlin)
Tonan gives locations of the Shrine of Sammas (south bank) and Temple of Kacha
Names one Leola, a scribe in the Quaran/merchant district and a frequent attendee at the Temple of Kacha, as a point of contact for the Troop
Immanuel asks for lodging; Tonan advises asking at the Shrine or going north

At the Prince’s Gate, Immanuel tells them his name and gives his business as visiting acolyte of Sammas

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Because Theodoric Might Have Been Feeling Left Out
Interrogations Not As Expected

The party interrogated a thug, probably hired from the lowly Hermits gang, hired by a water elementalist to help her break into and recover Olfric’s letter from Theodoric’s apartment. The thug didn’t know much, but eagerly volunteered to have his fellows round up more information and deposit it at the Fine Time, an arrangement later confirmed with Shiftmaster Oin of the watch, who suggested that a plainclothes officer could pick up intel on Arblaith’s behalf from the landlady of the Fine Time when Arblaith is out of town.

Contrary to the DM’s expectations, Theodoric’s tactic for interrogating the water monk Hydrona directly was to kill her with kindness. He made her tea and chatted quite affably, which confused her for a while, until he provoked her rather unrestrained blusterous nature by slipping her a copy of a decoded cultist letter about the Crystal of Water rather than Olfric’s letter. She went on a bit about how the waterbenders were allied with and probably controlling the cultists, that they did indeed have the Crystal of Water and were now unbeatable, and they would find the Crystal of Fire and lock it away somewhere the sun don’t shine. Eventually she gave away that her master killed Olfric and was after Theodoric’s sister Alexa.

After depositing Hydrona in the long arms of the law, the party asked Elspeth’s superior Grora the Almoness for help, who led them to Vigrid the Diviner. After waking the old man up, he consented to take Theodoric on a magic carpet ride dream journey to find Alexa…if she were still alive.

In fact, she was alive, on the lam not far from her old home. Theodoric confronted her in a strange dream on a foggy island. After Theodoric prompted her with a piece of data from Olfric’s letter, she indirectly interpreted the sticky passage to refer to someone named Dercas, who apparently is on an island. She then became suddenly worried that waterbenders might be spying on her even in her dreams, and her parting with Theo was awkward to say the least.

Theo awoke in Vigrid’s guest bed, Vigrid laboring to hold down his supper after using his seeing magic to transport Theo over 1700 miles. It’s now after midnight and a new day, 10 Draco, will dawn in another couple of watches.

Where is Immanuel, anyway? The remaining party members wonder as they lay down for some much needed sleep and contemplate investigating the mine that claimed the lives of Elspeth’s uncle and cousins.

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Conference after Vampire Attack

The adventure begins in Thornlin on Ricors afternoon of Draco.
It’s still the day after Kayra’s ambush.
Arblaith spent the night talking to his father Tsang Ji.
Elspeth just finished her conversation with her aunt Katarine.
The party is gathered at the Library after the noon meal discussing what to do next.

There were three existing options on the table:
1) Finish deciphering that allusion in Olfric’s letter.
2) Investigate the collapsed mine…but Jodie/Elspeth came away from her conversation with Katarine thinking it wasn’t that urgent.
3) Investigate the sewers…but Matt/Arblaith doesn’t want to directly confront the Watch Overseer or directly bend/break his oath not to investigate on their own.

Two more were mooted in the course of the discussion:
4) Could try finding Kayra’s probably well-guarded hiding place, or other details about the Meatheads’ connection to Girifrian organized crime. (mentioned by Tsang Ji)
5) Could try investigating the Watch Overseer, Netschman, himself. (mentioned by Athos)

Aramis volunteers to use his own skills and resources to look into whether Netschman is hiding something shady. Athos decides to help him. [The party has sensed that Aramis is recruiting Athos to join his NGO, the Loyal Troop, and Athos is responsive.]

Arblaith expresses enthusiasm about tracking down his mother’s coffin and entanglements, although it’s clear from what the party already knows and what Tsang Ji can tell them about Girifrian gangs that she will be resting somewhere impossible for the PCs to frontally assault even with a few NPCs to assist.

Tactics were discussed. Tsang Ji informs the party that, in game mechanics terms, radiant damage and holy water interfere with vampire regeneration. Arblaith and Elspeth have means of dealing radiant damage, so it was suggested that Theodoric and Immanuel should probably stay paired with one of them.

The party has some cash and may find this a good opportunity to upgrade weapons and armor, which some characters have probably not changed from their level 1 equipment. Also important to stock:
- Holy water. 4 vials of holy water at 25 gp eaches were suggested as the party’s baseline, with more to be purchased prior to any actual intended confrontation with vampires.
- Silver weapons could still be useful, as the threat from wererats has not gone away.

Since it has been established that the party could be mugged on the street, the DM requested full information on what the characters planned to do and where to go (in particular, when they visited their lodgings and any shops) for the remainder of Ricors afternoon and whether and under what circumstances they intended to return to the Fine Time for Arblaith’s scheduled performance that night.

If possible, please have character sheets updated here on Obsidian Portal.

Dice will be rolled in anger next session. Scout’s honor. The next session is tentatively set for 6 pm on December 17.

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Return to Thornlin
Interrogations & an Interview with a Vampire

The party was interrogated briefly by Malathemnon’s departing spirit, and offered one answer apiece in return.

Theodoric was asked what he was willing to do to avenge his master and protect what his master died protecting.
He asked in return…I don’t remember, but it was about Thornlin and the rats and the cult, not about Olfric, as I recall. LIkewise I do not remember the answer.

Elspeth was asked what she was willing to do to give her aunt Katarine the answers she’s looking for about why her husband and children had to die.
Elspeth asked in return what she and the Church should do, and was told to heal, strengthen, and hunt down the evil that has infiltrated through the docks.

Arblaith was asked what he would say to his father when he saw him again.
Arblaith asked in return how to defeat the Plague Lords. Response: “You five are in a very good position to find the turncoat.”

Immanuel was asked whether he would choose the burden of heaven or the prison of hell.
Immanuel asked in return what his book could reveal to help overcome the threats facing the party. The response was “Secret below secret, depth lying below depth, but the truth is behind the veil of matter. The Crocodile stirs in the depths of the abyss,” which wasn’t very charitable of the DM at the time.

Malathemnon asked Hug Hug what he wanted with all these surface dwellers, and Hug Hug boldly said that he wanted to be on the winning side for once. Malathemnon left the poor goblin hanging and didn’t give him a chance to ask his question.

Hug Hug had the party finish looting the last chamber of the mine, which featured a moldy body that Theodoric set on fire to sterilize.

The party met back up with Z the ranger and was introduced to his mentor, Morro the druid, who put them up for the night and showed them the cave where his bats roosted, the bats being the reason you were originally down here. Now that the mosquito tower has been cleared out, they will have to work a little harder to find food…

The party returned to Thornlin about dusk, reported in with Hug Hug (now Huggarar of Gamsin, a town outside Girifrid) and left a message at the temple, then turned in after a long cold journey. They were awakened after midnight by watchmen to let them know they were expected shortly after dawn at the City Tower on Government Square. None of the protagonists were impressed by this.

The party was met at the Inner Gate to the Old City by Nain, the Watchmaster of the Dwarven District, whom they had met once or twice before. He escorted them into what turned out to be the interrogation room, introduced them to the Foremost Liseli, the Watch Overseer Netschman, Alrigo the city Task Mage, and Def-marius of the church of Zuran (god of strongholds), and was dismissed. The party was subjected to magical lie suppression by the tight-lipped cleric. The wizard refused to play his part via detect thoughts and instead offered his critique of the situation telepathically. Netschman took the lead and questioned the party very minutely about their adventures, passing over events in the slums quickly but getting every last detail about what rats or cultists the party had seen where and on what dates.

At the end, Netschman ordered the party to full silence on the matter of plague cultists and ratmen. Arblaith and Elspeth objected warmly that the Temple should know, and the Foremost laconically called Netschman to heel and said that the High Priest and the Treasurer were quite reliable people. Netschman gritted his teeth and agreed that they alone could also be informed.

The Foremost issued the party a 400 crown reward, to be picked up from Nain the following day, and asked if the party had a favor to solicit for themselves or anyone in the Dwarven District. The party took a raincheck.

Afterward, two acolytes with pie on their faces eagerly escorted the party back to the temple, where not just Fror and Balin, but also Grora (Elspeth’s superior and head of charitable works), Dr. Cornelius (Arblaith’s tutor), and Eldrid the Librarian (and Theodoric and Immanuel’s supervisor in their scribe work) were there. The party informed Fror and Balin of the whole story as agreed. Fror promised to have a polite word with the Foremost to make sure that the city administration acts on things, but party members could tell that his primary concern is staying on good terms with city government. Balin quietly shares his greater concern with the party and escorts them back to the others.

The others have been joined by the most prominent person in city government in the Dwarven District, Bolger the Broad, Most Secure of the Locksmiths Guild and on the seven member Council of Elders that is the highest legal body in the city and duchy. He is underwhelmed by Netschman’s order of secrecy and promises to take it up when the Council meets on 11 Secundus (it’s 8 Secundus today, and the start of the two-day midcycle “weekend”). He also offers sponsorship and a favor to the party in the future if they require it.

The afternoon is spent getting back oriented with the party’s day jobs. Arblaith has lessons with Dr. Cornelius and Athos the weapons instructor. Elspeth talks with Grora and then takes a shift at the orphans’ laundry. Theodoric and Immanuel both have books in their queue for copying.

In the evening, the whole party goes with Arblaith to the Fine Time. Arblaith, assisted by his lighting techie Immanuel, gives another superior performance punctuated by inspiring and heartrending sea shanties and continues the Fine Time’s climb toward the upper echelon of drinking establishments: “The Fine Time: Better than you may have heard!”

Elspeth and Theodoric, with minor setbacks, winkle out some news:

  • The alcoholic woman whose son died of plague and whose house was overrun by rats has not been seen drinking recently, which is presumably a good sign.
  • There is friction between the Blues and Meatheads, who had before the party left been coexisting and staying off each other’s turf.
  • One nasty man in the corner, over some rotgut rye, mutters to Elspeth that he knows there is a figure in the Meatheads leading the trouble, and that this figure may be from outside Thornlin. If there’s one thing a Thornlinian hates more than thieves, it’s foreign-born thieves.
  • Some wagoneers, who arrive late, inform Theodoric about an influx of miners, put out of work up country, due to change in ownership and failure of mine ownership. There was a lot of consolidation—pretty much all the iron mines were bought up by the same guild, the Lenday Guild, who up to that point had mostly dealt with luxury items. Big politics. The iron mines in Thornlin had been mined out of their easy ore decades ago and were slumming along. The Lenday Guild wanted the best excavators to try some new techniques that were filtering out of Lower Papimic…oh, and by the way, there wouldn’t be any other work for them if they turned Lenday down.
    Stage 2, Lenday decided after a couple of years that the iron mines weren’t going to turn around on a timescale that pleased them, so they sold them to some shadowy other guild, or rich bastard, or something.
    Stage 3, of course, is that morning comes for the fly-by-night operation and mines are shutting down. Another couple failed at the end of last cycle, and some of the miners are down here, probably up to no good, recruited by the Meatheads or Blues or both.

Meanwhile, late in the evening a woman in a gray cowl comes, sits by Immanuel, appreciates Arblaith’s performance for a while, and then starts telling Immanuel that people in Girifrid have noticed what he’s about and have work, answers, and the ability to teach him more about his powers. Immanuel is cautious but leaves the door open to potentially working out an agreement. She leads him to a nearby alley where they talk a brief while longer until Arblaith and the others arrive.

She turns around to greet Arblaith, who is poleaxed: This woman has the voice and look of his dead mother Kayra. She reaches for him and is just about to clamp down on his neck when Theodoric slams into her and Elspeth, tapping into the righteous forces of life, turns her away with a pulse of holy light. [Kayra rolled a 1 on her Wisdom save.] She leaps up and clings to a wall, climbs it with preternatural speed, and dashes eastward over rooftops toward the docks. Meanwhile Elspeth trips into the four ruffians set to block any escape north toward the Dwarven District. With Kayra gone, and Arblaith channeling his horror into RAGE, these flunkies are no match for the party, and three drop rapidly. (The Legend of the Silver Whip of Wrath is born.) Immanuel, whose ability to detect thoughts stubbed hard against the lead circlet Kayra was wearing (she was apparently not bluffing about detailed knowledge of Immanuel’s abilities), was subsequently able to pull some pertinent details from the mind of the last ruffian as he, too, prepared to run east toward the docks: a vague image of a ship, a pier, and a stong sense that he’ll be safe if he can just get on that ship and out of Thornlin. Theodoric, attempting to head Kayra off, only hears her curse and spit something about “that bitch Lydia” as she dashes with horrible grace over the open space of an alley.

That’s when Athos the weaponmaster, Aramis the out-of-town bard you met at the Side of Bacon, and some fellow with a lot of elven blood that Arblaith has not seen in a long time charge into the intersection, swords and bows waving, looking for more brigands. So we closed on a cliffhanger:

Elspeth starts running after Kayra, with the feeling that she has to try to at least find out more about where she’s going.

The fourth ruffian would really like not to be here any longer!

We are about to see if Arblaith has done any further thinking about Malathemnon’s question: What will you say to your father when you see him again?

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The end of the Mines / Crimson Caverns & Malathemnon

At the end of the long and winding dungeon, the party ambushes and overcomes a mighty zombie remorhaz. They slip past its prone form and enter the presence of Malathemnon himself, an ancient elven wizard from a forgotten time that meddled in powers too perverse for mortals (to say nothing of making his dwelling in a dungeon filled with toxic mineral fumes). Behind him was the pool of blood where he hid his awful creation: the Orb of Animation. With a blow from the adamant hammer they found, Elspeth puts an end to this thing before it can get into the wrong hands; and the party now knows the secret place where the cult of Torfrem thought they could hide the Crystal of Water.

It’s still beyond belief that they could actually HAVE the Crystal of Water, but that story remains to be told…

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