The remaining members of the Major’s elite squad (Ivellios having been MIA for 4 years now) had scattered across Eberron since the end of the war. However, one day each of them received a message requesting that they all attend a meeting with Darrak Mineshadow, a member of The Aurum, on the 24th day of Nymm in the city of Passage to discuss a potential new venture. They each decided they would indeed at least attend the meeting to find out more, but they each had to figure out how they would get from their current locations to Passage within the required week. Vailen’s older sister Illyanna (an artificer, conveniently) also decided to come along.
Oenomaus was in Flamekeep, having returned to running missions for the Church of the Silver Flame, and paid the 50gp necessary to travel to Passage by teleportation circle.
Durmindin was in Shae Loralyndar in the Eldeen Reaches, greatly disturbed by the events of the Day of Mourning but comforted by getting to see other Wilden again and being reminded of home by the fey city. The druids he was visiting helped speed him along to the meeting by getting him to Greenheart (the capital of the Eldeen Reaches) in less than a day through the use of druidic magic, allowing him to quickly travel through the vines and roots of the forest. From there, Durmindin also paid for travel via teleportation circle.
(Hey, Paul, was Watcher able to go through the tree roots, too? That must have been interesting. Does Mark then also have to pay for teleportation circle services? Would Conrad’s character have incurred travel expenses as well?) Paul – “I’m not sure what Watcher did during the last 2 years but yes, Watcher and Athemathos would both have to pay for travel.”
Vailen and Illyanna both serving aboard the airship, Swift Griffon, disembarked at Flamekeep and then paid for a teleportation portal to Passage.
Oenomaus asked around in the time between his arrival and the meeting and found out the person we were to meet was indeed a local member of The Aurum, a dwarf, and often conducted meetings at this inn because of the relaxed setting. We knew from common knowledge that The Aurum collect artifacts, running museums and such and paying adventurers to collect items for them.
When we met Darrak, he struck us as being genuine and full of life. He got us whatever food and drink we desired before turning to business. (His two bodyguards, an orc and a minotaur, also came along, but seated themselves a good distance from our table; he assured us they were in no way there to intimidate us—not that he expected adventurers as renowned as we were would find them intimidating.) He explained that he wanted us to investigate why an adventurer he’d hired—Hadvar Arrowway—had not yet returned to him. He had been hired to retrieve a certain map (which may lead to a treasure, but Darrak claims The Aurum just wants to display it). Hadvar had sent Darrak a message on the 10th from a message station in Sharn saying he had the map, but Hadvar had not arrived nor sent any more word since then. Darrak wanted us to retrieve the map and find out what had happened to Hadvar. As to how he knew about us and our whereabouts, he told us he has a bit of an obsession with anything to do with the war, had heard many soldiers talk about our exploits, and had followed up on what we each had been up to even before the situation with Hadvar had arisen. Basically he was claiming to be our biggest fan, even if in a stalkery kind of way. When we asked for more details about the map, to try to think of some more leads on where to look for it and Hadvar, Darrak told us it was a map of Xen’drik; some of the party thought that might explain why Hadvar’s last contact had been from Sharn.
Description of Hadvar:
White human male
33 years old
Tattoo on neck
Blond & red hair
Favors bow & longsword
Last contact was on the 10th of Nymm from Sharn (message station in the bazaar)
We got 1200 gp from Darrak for expenses. We used some of this towards using a teleportation circle to get to Sharn.
In Sharn, a Gnome at a House Sivis messaging station did remember Hadvar. He’d had to be escorted (by gnome Wilnan Trickfoot) to his room at The Winking Lance to complete payment. He’d had the gold to make the whole payment & tipped Wilnan as well. Wilnan said he seemed to be in a good mood.
We next checked out The Winking Lance. Therkain Arborshate, the innkeeper, claimed Hadvar was still there; although he hadn’t actually seen him in a while, he told us Hadvar had prepaid for 3 months of lodging and food and had asked that 3 meals a day be placed in the hallway outside his door. Caruvial Beestinger (a halfling who works in the kitchen) always found when she went up to collect the tray that the food had indeed been eaten. We got Therkain to take us up to the room, and noticed a bad smell & that potpourri used to mask it. Durmindin sensed a corpse in Hadvar’s room. We got the room opened up, & were hit with the stink of death & saw a very dead, naked body on the bed. Durmindin’s “autopsy” revealed it did seem to be Hadvar with a slit throat, and that it seemed to have been dead about 15 days (i.e., he died on the 10th). A dagger with a distinctive decorated handle was found under the mattress.
A detect magic spell from Illyanna & Vailen registered a faint signal, which we eventually found came from a tiny vial that used to contain the poison Walking Death—but not a fatal dose! The window showed no signs of being used for entry/exit, but the lock on the door had been picked. (Did the Dwarf do this? Couldn’t Arianna just have let him in, after incapacitating Hadvar?) Paul – “Who picked the lock was never actually determined, but it’s assumed it was the Dwarf since Arianna entered with Hadvar.”
Searching around the table also revealed the presence of a dust that gets left behind when a person uses a ritual scroll, but which ritual is unknown.
We also found that the bottom of the room’s chair had a torn corner of very old paper wedged in it, as if perhaps the map had been hidden there but ripped away. In the wardrobe was a backpack containing a standard adventurer’s kit, minus all the sun rods and trail rations, looking as if it had been rummaged through. None of Hadvar’s clothing, armor or weapons were in the room.
We questioned Therkain and Caruvial thoroughly, and discovered the following:
- Hadvar came in very tired but happy on the 9th and paid for that night
- he was happy still on the 10th and paid only for that night, and was escorted about midday back there by a gnome who left shortly thereafter
- late on the 10th (almost midnight), he came in drunk, with a girl with a sexy shoulder. He mentioned that he had been celebrating at a tavern, The Drunken Sage. They each got a drink and took it upstairs. No one saw the girl leave. Hadvar mentioned to Therkain in passing in this drunken state that he would be checking out the next day.
- Caruvial saw that after those two came in, a dwarf with a pink feather came in, ordered a drink, finished it, ordered another drink, and then disappeared (leaving his payment on the table) while she was in the back for a while.
- Therkain was the last to see Hadvar (supposedly); on the morning of the 11th was when he prepaid for the 3 months’ worth of food & lodging and asked that the food be left in the hall. Therkain had noticed that Hadvar didn’t seem hung over but thought maybe he just held his liquor/recovered really well.
At this point Vailen sent a message detailing our progress to Darrak, to see if he mentioned knowing the Dwarf, but the reply basically just told us to try to find the map and, if possible, extradite Hadvar’s killer to Passage.
We decided our next question was who had been eating the meals. We asked Caruvial to act normally in the kitchen and to prepare Hadvar’s supper tray as usual. We put Hadvar’s room back the way we’d found it, and Oenomaus hid, sword drawn, in the wardrobe. Watcher and Athemathos hid in rooms down the hall, ready to spring out at a shout from Vailen if needed to block any escape down the hallway. The rest of us hid in a room across the hall, watching under the door to see what would happen to Hadvar’s supper.
After the supper tray was placed, Oenomaus didn’t observe anything strange happening in Hadvar’s room, but the rest of us spied someone eating the food in the hallway. We sprang out—much to the shock of the 12-year-old orphan boy who’d been stuffing his face.
Not sure if we asked the boy his name :(. Paul – “Come to think of it, no one asked him his name, but for the record, it’s Norkas.” He had been eating the free food for about 2 weeks. He’d been told about it before breakfast on the 11th by a dwarf with a pink feather who’d found him digging for scraps in a rubbish bin in the tavern district, near The Drunken Sage. He’d been told if he got caught, the free food would end. We pointed out to Therkain that the food was already paid for, and that since he was going to be able to make double money on the room (renting it out again even though it had been prepaid) he should be able to spare the remaining paid-for meals for the boy; while Therkain felt we were teaching the boy it was ok to steal, he bowed under our threats and reluctantly agreed.
We had the boy show us where the Dwarf had found him. Oenomaus asked around about a dwarf with a pink feather, and discovered that he was known for running some sort of business to do with women out of The Drunken Sage. (Best line of the session: “Oh, he IS a pimp!!!” …because we’d all guessed that based solely on his feather and the presence in the story of a “sexy shoulder girl”.)
Vailen entered The Drunken Sage and noted that the girl with the sexy shoulder was there. Vailen bought drinks for this girl, Arianna, and played out the charade of wanting to hire her for a threesome with his friend. (She was willing so long as he was going to pay.) He gave her the money for her fee, which she put in a glass and dropped off at the bar before leaving with him. Oenomaus followed them. As they got closer to The Winking Lance, Arianna became upset and said she wanted to go somewhere else. Vailen insisted that was where his room was, promised to be gentle, and finally promised to double her fee; after giving her half of the increase up front she reluctantly continued with Vailen. As Vailen and Arianna passed the bar, Therkain piped up, “Yeah, that’s her! Did you catch the guy?” This confused and distressed Arianna so much that Vailen had to grapple her and carry her up the stairs. He took her to Hadvar’s room—Oenomaus following closely behind—where she broke down into tears. (More on this below!)
Not long after Vailen had entered The Drunken Sage, Illyanna also entered, but went straight to the bartender, a half-orc named Xangold Farrunner and did not let on that she knew Vailen. (Durmindin kept an eye out for the pink-feathered dwarf outside.) She mentioned Hadvar’s disappearance and asked about him. The bartender reported that Hadvar had been an arrogant, boastful jerk (more so the drunker he got), hitting on the girls much more rudely than anyone ever had, had got into fight with his (the bartender’s) buddy, a Dwarf named Zanben Sapphiredge, and had then grabbed Arianna and left without paying for her. The bartender’s buddy was a dwarf who liked to fancy it up…in fact, the bartender confirmed that he wore a pink feather. Zanben was not there at the moment, but the bartender expected he would be in at a certain time that evening.
Meanwhile, Vailen and Oenomaus continued to question Arianna closely, reassuring her as well. She revealed that Zanben had given her the vial of Walking Death, telling her to give it to Hadvar. She hadn’t known exactly what it was but had assumed it was some sort of poison. She managed to slip it into the drink Hadvar got at The Winking Lance, but because it takes some time to work Hadvar was still able to force her to sleep with him (it’s still rape if she’s a prostitute, right?). Once the poison kicked in, though, Zanben came in, told Arianna to get her stuff and get out, and told her that if she ever mentioned this to anyone, including him, he would kill her. (She only revealed this to Vailen and Oenomaus with much reassurance from them—she was terrified.) The next day, Zanben had asked her if she’d given the poison to this man; when she replied that she didn’t know what he was talking about, he winked at her and said, “Good girl.”
Aaaand that’s when Joy went home, leaving Watcher, Durmindin and Athemathos to stand guard over Arianna while the rest of the party went back to The Drunken Sage to confront a certain very fancy dwarf. Someone else needs to edit this to complete the story now, please :).
While editing this something else popped into my head to record, but I don’t think I did record whatever it was before I forgot it again :P…so if there is something you think is missing above, feel free to add it!!! Paul – “I didn’t notice anything missing.”
Outside, Durmindin spots a rather flamboyant dwarf walk into the tavern and casually, yet discreetly, follows him inside. Durmindin makes eye contact with Illyanna, then seats himself near the back of the bar. Zanben walks over to the bartender and greets him. Xangold then tells him that Illyanna is here to see him and has some questions for him. The dwarf eyes her up and down, smiles, and agrees to talk to her, but only in his private room. So the two walk through the bar and into the back rooms. As Illyanna passes Durmindin she gives a casual nod to him and he notes the room they walk into. Oenomaus and Vailen are finishing their investigation with Arianna and decide that the watch should take her into custody, for her protection. So they contact the watch, which arrives and takes Arianna into custody. They also tell of a dwarf who is suspected for murder and that further assistance will be required. They then head back to the Drunken Sage.
Meanwhile Zanben tries to proposition Illyanna, asking her why she wants to work for him. She assures him thats not the reason why she wanted to talk to him and instead she asks about the missing Hadvar and what he knows. The dwarf does not look happy at the mention of Hadvar’s name. He retells the events of what transpired between them. He tells Illyanna that Hadvar came in boasting about a recent success of his, already reeking of ale. He grabbed Arianna and insisted that she sleep with him. Zanben walked over to Hadvar and told him that he must pay for the services and Hadvar disagreed. Zanben the proceeded to beat up Hadvar. The dwarf assured Illyanna that HE beat up Hadvar. Illyanna’s insight revealed that the dwarf was lying.
At this point the team of Vailen and Oenomaus walked into the Drunken Sage. Durmindin nods to a private room and the two walk into it. The dwarf stands up and yells at them, saying how they dare to disturb him while he is talking business. Illyanna reveals that they are her associates and he spits in their faces. Vailen walks over to the dwarf and unrolls the white sheet concealing the dagger and shows it too the dwarf. He immediately accepts ownership of the dagger, much to the surprise of his interrogators. He tells them that Arianna had stolen his dagger after finally admitting that Hadvar had beaten him up. Despite all the evidence pointing to Zanben as the murderer Vailen can’t get him to admit it. The group then headed to Zanben’s place to search it. There they find ritual scrolls of Change Self, vials of Walking Death, Hadvar’s ID papers and the map lodged under a chair. Vailen decides to take him to House Medani and essentially puts him under a lie detector using the house’s ritual, Detect Lies. We asked all the questions again, like did Zanben murder Hadvar, did he steal the map, etc. To which every question Zanben responded with a “no”. The Medani Trueseer said he was lying everytime. Except when Zanben promised to kill the Trueseer if he ever met him on the streets, that wasn’t a lie.
So the Sharn Watch arrested Zanben for murder and Arianna for an accomplice to murder and we took him through a teleportation portal back to Passage. We take him back to Darrak who is extremely pleased that we were able to capture Hadvar’s murderer and bring him to justice, as well as finding the map intact. He rewards us with a large chest filled with 7395 gold pieces. He insists that during the trial of Zanben and Arianna, where we must attend to give evidence, we are welcome to stay at the Running Squire Inn and Darrak will pay for all our rooms, food and drink. And that is where we left off.