An Inconvenience Rightly Considered
Veiled made his way to Palderton and delivered the freed prisoners to their families — including young Rosine to her uncle, Crevan. With Crevan’s support, Veiled persuaded Mayor Lammert Kullman to lend him some of the local guardsmen to mount an expedition into the North Redding to wipe out the orc tribe responsible for destroying Boynton. Kullman agreed, subject to one condition — two others must accompany the group.
Veiled learned that Skalding Sam Franklin and his traveling companion Wynnder Darcy, had arrived in Palderton themselves. Franklin had invoked his authority as a Skalding to seek the Mayor’s assistance in completing the mission that had originally brought him and Darcy north. They were sent by the Libraries to search for Erlenn Halderson, a scholar who had been hired by the Temple of Hamal in Torei to assist with some research. Franklin was supposed to meet with representatives of some orcs who had taken Halderson hostage to negotiate the man’s release. Veiled, however, had killed the four orcs with whom the Skalding was supposed to parley, and then taken the Skalding prisoner. Though they suspect Halderson has since been killed as a result, the Skalding hopes to retrieve a journal that Halderson was keeping.
With a contingent of Palderton guards, Franklin and Darcy, Veiled turned west towards Tivaris to also enlist the assistance of his own temple. He recruited some other followers of Shevaresh and then led his party into the North Redding to track the orcs. Along the way, while passing through Tivaris, Veiled was told by Franklin that the greatsword he and Wynnder have been carrying previously belonged to another traveling companion, Briart Gunnarson. A North Redding warrior, Briart had been killed when they were making their way north, and they hoped to deliver the sword to his kinsmen in the North Redding once they completed their assigned task.
The group made their way into the North Redding mountains in search of the orcs. One of the other Quaj was killed in a skirmish, but careful planning allowed Veiled to track the orcs to their encampment where he and those under his command killed them all.
A search of the remains uncovered bones of Boynton residents, as well as proof that Halderson had indeed been eaten. Veiled recovered the scholar’s journal, but before turning it over to Franklin, Veiled found a folded letter written in an unknown language hidden in the leather binding – and pocketed it without mentioning its existence.
Tara, Jochim, Aureus, Brennik, Amira and Go’bluth
Tara, Aureus, Jochim and Brennik — along with the caravan they had traveled with from Palderton — arrived in Obber’s Mill. The sheriff, Cyrus Fletcher, was temporarily absent, but his lead deputy, the half-Quaj Jinni Eglund, took Seril and Tallon into custody and locked them in the small jail.
It turned out that Jochim had a history with the owner of the inn, a young woman named Deborah. From the awkwardness between them, it seemed that their past relationship — before she had moved to Obber’s Mill — had not ended well. Still, she made an effort to make the party comfortable, and she filled Jochim in on the local goings on while Hilt, the town drunk, did the same for Tara. Together, they learned that the town thug, Cloten, headed the mill, was sweet on Deborah, and was involved in shady dealings of some sort.
At loose ends, Aureus, Jochim and Tara decided to take a walk and check out the mill. For such a mundane business, it oddly was protected by magical wards and some random goons. Jochim snuck in, only to be caught when his invisibility spell wore off. Cloten demanded that Jinni arrest the trespassers, but she hustled them away and refused to do so.
Meanwhile, Amira and Go’Bluth arrive. The Quaj bard and gnome illusionist had recently left Tivaris after she was sent out by a fey to whom she was sworn on a quest of some sort. Knowing that her half-Quaj cousin Jinni was deputy at Obber’s Mill, they made their way there first to catch Jinni up on family doings back in the forest and to do a bit of entertaining the customers at the inn. Jinni asked Deborah to make them comfortable before going off to do her regular rounds, accompanied by Brennik Wayson.
That night, in the midst of the performance, someone set fire to the inn. Jochim, Aureus and Tara helped evacuate all the innocent bystanders to find an ambush waiting for them outside. Cyrus Fletcher, the sheriff, and Fletcher’s wife were in cahoots with Cloten, the murderous miller; the sheriff had released Tallon and Seril from the cells so they could all finish off Aureus and Tara and collect on the contracts placed on their heads. With Amira’s and Go’Bluth’s assistance, the party fought off the initial attack, killing Seril, re-capturing Tallon, and eventually arresting the corrupt sheriff.
In doing clean-up, they found Brennik’s dead body, but no sign of Jinni. The deputy was later found being held by the thugs’ C-team, and was set free by her cousin and the gnome, Amira and Go’bluth. However, as tends to happen in circumstances like this, the NPC innkeeper, Deborah, found herself captured and held hostage. Aureus sacrificed himself to save her.
Jochim prepared his dead friend for burial in the local cemetery. Among his friends’ belongings he found a silver charm and a sealed letter. Opening the letter, he found that it was addressed to “Seran” — Aureus’s real name — and was written by Aureus’s sister, Daris. It was apparent from the letter that Aureus was estranged from his family (both from the text of the letter and from the fact that Aureus had never opened it), but his sister wished him well and asked that if he wished to reconcile, he reach out for them by contacting the Temple of Hamal in Halveet.
Tara resolved to track down the middleman who had first given her the contract to kill Aureus, a fellow named Koshofer who worked out of Malisis. Jochim told her that he needed to stop in Halveet along the way. Amira and Go’bluth decided to go along with them. Leaving Jinni — the new sheriff in town — with the prisoners, and after Jochim’s tense farewell to Deborah, the party rode as fast as they could south.
Mobley and Jonathan
Jonathan Ravencroft comes from a formerly wealthy family whose riches were dissipated over time. He had hoped to redeem the family name by becoming a Politi wizard, but was tossed out of mage-school after taking the fall for a screw-up that ended up killing someone.
His story began in media res. Having been hired by a customer, Hugh Vernon, to locate and recover a family portrait that had been stolen by unnamed thieves who were trying to ransom it back, Jonathan found himself double-crossed. He returned to his ramshackle mansion to find that Vernon had sent lower-rent thugs to take the painting from Jonathan so that Vernon wouldn’t have to pay Jonathan the much higher amount due.
The double-cross didn’t work out quite so well, and Jonathan sent the thugs packing back to Vernon with a message to pay up. Wondering what was so important about the portrait, he took it inside and worked at removing the layer of paint constituting the portrait. Just as he wrapped up that project, revealing an elaborate diagram of a labyrinth of some sort, a visitor arrived — Daris, a classmate at the mage-school he had been tossed out of, who had successfully completed her studies. By now working with Mobley, Daris wanted Jonathan’s help in using his contacts in the criminal world to try to figure out next steps in tracking down the books that were stolen from the Libraries.
With the arrival of Hugh Vernon, with more armed guards, Jonathan gave the newly- revealed painting to Daris and told her to keep it safe. While he went downstairs to talk to Vernon, Daris shrank the painting, left Jonathan a note, and slipped out a back way. Jonathan made an appointment to meet with Vernon later the next day to turn over the painting in exchange for an increased payment, and followed after Daris.
Jonathan and Mobley ended up meeting at the apartments that Daris shared with Theo and Bianchi above the shop of James Laibrook, a jeweler. There, Mobley explained what he had learned about the books and the importance of finding them. Bianchi in turn examined Mobley’s drawing of the rune he had seen on the parchment clutched by Ned Foster as a symbol of Fulmineo, a deity followed by some Shal in Visaiyain.
In order to enroll Jonathan’s help, Bianchi looked at the painting and explained that it looked like a model of a Politi mage’s mosaic — a powerful magical item typically engraved into the stone floor of a chapterhouse, powering spells and wards. Given that Vernon is known for wanting to explore the abandoned — and ward-enshrouded — A’nari Keep, Jonathan surmised (to himself only) that Vernon believes the painting may be a guide to penetrating those wards.
Jonathan, Mobley and Daris went their separate ways to continue their investigations. To keep Theo out of trouble, Jonathan asked the boy to come back to his place and put him to work copying the painting. Jonathan then went out to sniff around about who among the local criminal underground might have been dealing with the dead Ned Foster; he spoke first with Victor Stalcranz, dissolute scion of a wealthy family, whom he has known since boyhood. Stalcranz told Jonathan that he had heard of Foster’s death — the murder was a matter of intense gossip because Foster was Lord Tamasi’s nephew. Foster was known to help people “borrow” things from the Libraries.
Mobley finds out (via conversation with a cook) that Foster apparently had been short on coin lately; the cook had seen Foster rubbing elbows with the wrong crowd (including a local minor criminal figure, Dusan) in some of the lower-class drinking establishments in the city. Mobley also spoke with Finnella once more, who decided that Antazos + Tamasi + dead mage = bad news. She wanted to know what was going on, but she didn’t want to be one of those holding the stick poking a hornets nest, and opted out of any further involvement.
Meanwhile, Daris found herself running afoul of a new PC, Iminye Shal Tamasi.
Leonardo Shal Tamasi’s daughter, Iminye — whom he has spoiled greatly — arrived in Halveet with her own goals. She wanted to follow rumors about a secret society of sorcerers, the Stregoni; although born to a family of Politi wizards, Iminye herself worked sorcerer’s magic.
At the Libraries, she was directed first to speak with Dominta Nadiya Shal Prideaux, a scholar who focused her studies on histories of arcane magic. Nadiya was surprised to have the daughter of Lord Tamasi inquiring about a society that is outlawed in Sa’iph,b but agreed to gather together what information was available in Nadiya’s collection of books.
Iminye next met with Clea Shal Malaspina, the curator of the Libraries’ collections of the official histories of Sa’iph, as well as a collection of the Pettegolezzo Piccolo— a scandal broadsheet written throughout the centuries by anonymous authors all using the pseudonym the Giullare, or the “Jester.” Before Iminye can delve into those materials, however, Clea asks whether Iminye is aware of her cousin’s death — the body of Ned Foster had been found just that morning.
Shocked, Iminye demanded to meet with Cesar Bello, the head of the Security and Loss Prevention Department (and Daris’s boss, to whom Mobley had reported the discovery of the body). Iminye makes arrangements to have a priest tend to the body and have it preserved — a priest of Hamal, Nigel Lire (a PC who was briefly active before his player disappeared).
During the ceremony, Iminye overhears Bello talking with a woman outside the room who is insisting on coming in — it is Daris, who had hoped to have a priest cast speak with dead so that information might be gained from the body. Instead, Daris found herself being interrogated by Iminye, who did not hesitate to throw the weight of her family name around. Daris, reluctant to cause trouble for Mobley or to risk mentioning either Bianchi or Theo, promptly clammed up and refuses to answer any questions.
Furious, Iminye demanded that Daris be placed under arrest, accusing her of being involved in Foster’s murder. Iminye then visited her cousin’s apartments in the hopes of finding information about why he had been murdered. While she was there a strange, bawdy woman knocked on the door and barreled her way in — only to be captured by a magical trap (one Iminye herself had identified and successfully avoided when she entered) that Ned Foster had placed on the rug in front of his door.
Iminye and the stranger didn’t exactly hit it off, and Iminye killed the woman with a spell … only to see the body change into some sort of strange genderless creature. It was found to be carrying in one belt pouch a ring with the seal of the Antazos family. Iminye directed her servant to dispose of the body, and returned to searching her dead cousin’s apartments.
Richard’s story began, like most of the other characters’, in early spring. A former segnato who had been horribly scarred, Richard lives in Torei. He had joined the militia under the command of Arkus’s military commander (one of Arkus’s inner circle), Ivo. Richard was serving night duty watching the docks that had been set aside for the Jotunn who are building ships for Torei.
Richard perked up when he saw his commander, Ivo, walking down the docks in the company of an Archmater of the Temple of Hamal, a girl of about 9 or 10, and a single male guard. Ivo gave the proper passwords to be permitted to approach the Jotunn buildings, but halfway down the length of the dock someone attacked. Spells were cast to set the Jotunn sheds (and the ships inside) on fire. Ivo and the Archmater ordered the single guard accompanying them to take the girl to safety; something about the man’s manner made Richard suspicious, however, and he grabbed the girl, jumped into the water, and then snuck away with her to the house of a friend.
When the girl awoke, Richard managed to get her to trust him — and learned that she was Maeva, Arkus’s daughter, and that very night she and the Archmater were supposed to board a Jotunn ship and sail away. Richard then took the girl back to the
main keep, under the guise of delivering a “decoy” for Maeva herself, and turned her back over to Arkus. He was questioned by two of Arkus’s other closest advisors, Saoirse Cathasaigh — leader of the city guard — and Rahjir (just Rahjir) who is said to be Arkus’s spymaster.
In an effort to lead the attackers astray (at least any who had not already been rounded up by Ivo), Saoirse was transformed by a spell to look like a young girl and Richard carried her out of the city. Eventually, they were able to set an ambush for the last two attackers, a Politi mage and her guard. Richard captured the guard to return him to Hatham for more questioning, but Saiorse killed the mage the first chance she got.