- travel to the Sword of the Edict’s guild for healing, find out Carson is missing, his office reveals several clues
- on way to Carson’s residence, arrested by the Sealord’s Watch
- back to Fortress of Justice, Hollister has orchestrated situation to ensure companions agree to favor – kill Crick McGillicuddy
- investigate Carson’s residence, no new leads
- return Mark Hawks to his brother Martin
- on to The Honey Pot, see thugs loading suspicious kegs
- return Kendrick to Brughan, secure entry to back rooms
- play poker with Ansor, several rumors provided including that Scarbelly, someone Carson wished to speak to, is in town
- battle sandman and imps in chill-out lounge, Brughan defeats Erick the Entertainer in combat
- activate the mighty man in basement, new clue provided
The dawn of a new day greets the companions as they leave the sewers. Besides Kendrick and Mark, a man-sized frog and its dishevelled druid keeper, Grin, also exit. Introductions are made and interests aligned, the group decides it best to continue on together. Fevered from the filth they just slogged through, the companions head back to town and arrange a cab to the Sword of the Edict’s guild.
They contact Eagel at the gates – he is distraught and advises that Carson is missing. Feeling a sense of duty to Carson, the group decides it best to investigate his disappearance. After arranging for healing through Eagel, the companions examine his study for clues. The room is tidy overall, with the exception of his desk, which is littered with papers. Upon inspection, the companions unveil a lot of unfinished work, and a to-do list. The list includes: sleep, talk to Captain Scarbelly, update journal, find turnips, examine travel logs, get some sleep!
In discussion with Eagel, he confirms that Carson was acting strange of late. He advises that his condition pre-dates the possession by the accuser devil. It seems that Carson has a history of leaving on short notice. Years ago, Carson was acting in a similar fashion and disappeared for an extended period. Before he left, his personality changed – he was caught accessing several books and records in the library that he didn’t have appropriate clearance to view. He left shortly thereafter and was not heard from again for 4 years. Upon his return, he begged the guild to let him back in. The head of the organization, Thuron, heard his plea personally and granted his appeal. Interestingly, Carson has no memory of his time away.
Eagel is worried about his mentor and offers the companions a reward for his return. The group respectfully declines his kind offer, but confirms that they are on the case and hope to track him down. With both of his superiors, Thuron (head of the guild) and Milos (head of the library), unavailable at present for questioning, the companions decide the next best course of action is to investigate his personal residence. Eagel provides a key and the group hail a cab.
Before achieving its destination, the cab comes to a skittering stop in front of a solid line of the Sealords Watch. The cabbie apologizes profusely and denies any connection with this turn of events. Within the cordon, the companions recognize a woman from the Pirates Council, Nicola Cage, someone that Hollister owes allegiance to. The druid exits the cab and attempts to engage in conversation with this woman. He is unsuccessful, but manages to discuss the companions plight with the captain of this regiment. He returns to the cab and advises the group that is in everyone’s best interest to lay down arms and let this play out.
Not wanting to make a bad situation worse, the companions follow the advise and are arrested. They are loaded into a paddy-wagon and taken back to the Fortress of Justice for processing. The companions are identified by the receptionist from the night prior, are matched to the sign-in log, and marched down to the Minister of Penance, who further confirms the group. The companions are then led to a discreet location in the jail, far from the prying eyes of the general population.
At some unseen gesture by Nicola, the guards back away to the end of the hall. While she chain smokes, Hollister appears from the shadows. A file with all the evidence the Watch has on the companions is handed to him. It is obvious to the companions that he has orchestrated this state of affairs to showcase his power and influence. He cuts to the chase – he can arrange for the companions pardon if they are willing to assist him with something. The group readily agrees. He advises he has a situation that needs to be rectified – his significant other has been cheating on him, and the competition needs to go, discreetly. A dossier is provided with information on the perpetrator, a certain Crick McGillicuddy. The companions are ushered out a back entrance to an awaiting cab.
The companions travel to Carson’s private residence. Gaining entrance with Eagel’s key, the group is introduced to a modest residence with two rooms on the man floor. A small stair leads to a basement. On a table in his room is a journal. A quick perusal provides the following:
6 years ago – this morning I am frightfully fatigued as if I was up all night fighting
5 years later – I awoke from a strange dream to find that I have been kicked out of the guild for violating sanctum, with no recollection of the last 5 years – what happened?
6 months ago – my life has resumed to relative normalcy. I feel like my old self – I have many questions, but would like to move on with my life. Milos is asking after me again
A week ago – the dreams are coming again, of a city as tall as the clouds with creatures alien in form. Is this connected to the lost years? I’m deeply concerned that I am possessed
Last night – I need answers. Thuron and Milos have discouraged me from researching, they are worried about the reputation of the Temple, and rightly so
This morning – I feel like I’m being watched, I will take my dagger with me today just in case
Descending the stairs to the basement reveals an old cellar filled with records and books, many of which have been translated by hand. The druid’s frog, with its keen sense of smell, identifies one of the bookshelves as being newly constructed. The companions surmise that there may be a passage behind the bookshelf, but do not have the tools necessary to dig through the wall. They decide it best to acquire the appropriate tools before continuing their investigation.
The companions take a cab to Martin Hawks’ store to reunite the brothers. Martin is overwhelmed by Mark’s return. He would like to properly reward the group for their efforts, but his first priority is making up for lost time with his brother. The group takes the cue and continues on their journey.
Outside of The Honey Pot, the companions witness the same 3 thugs from their prior visit piling out of the tavern. They have with them 5 press-ganged patrons that look to have had a rough night. The thugs each carry a keg, oddly heavy looking, and a leather bound package. The kegs are loaded onto a pushcart. Lando detects that the contents of the kegs are magic with some sort of transmutative and necromantic aura.
The companions wait for the thugs to leave before entering The Honey Pot. Brughan and Kendrick are very happy to see each other, and they offer a celebratory round on the house. The companions ask for access to the brewing room. Brughan advises that they don’t brew on site anymore, all alcoholic beverages are brought in from Gregor’s Brewery. The old brewing room has been converted into a chill-out lounge which the companions are free to check out. With that, the group continues on to let the two catch up privately.
Seeing Kel present, Lando heads over to chat with his good friend. Kel is happy to see him and recognizes the figurehead instantly. Although somewhat surprised, he readily agrees to take care of him and ensure he gets back to the boat. Speaking of the boat, Kel confirms that the Shadow Shift is docked in the harbour. He provides Lando the necessary hand signals and pass phrases to board the ship. It is in disguise in the eastern docks and is easy to find – it’s the largest ship in the harbour and looks like a freighter laden with goods. He congratulates the group for finding the bard and hints that Captain Sil is pulling out all the stops, the companions are probably not the only group in the Captain’s employ.
Lando is curious about the contract and how it works, given that it allows members of the ship to leave from time to time. Kel glosses over the reasons for signing, saying that some secrets are best kept, but advises that the terms are such that members are given 2 weeks of leave per year or they may leave the ship if given a mission as voted on by the ship’s council. Asking about Kel’s circumstances, his eyes become downcast and his demeanour takes on a sadly state – he left for private reasons at great personal cost, the contract can be passed on to a willing and informed party as his contract was. Trying to change the subject, Lando asks about the history of the ship. Kel was not the first captain as he inherited the title from a former mate. There have been many crewmates on the ship as the boat itself is over 2,000 year olds. Kel is uncertain on the number of crew, but estimates it as more than 100. A hit of opium is ordered and Kel is left to reminisce about old memories.
Luckily for the companions, Ansor is running a poker table this night and the companions decide to test their luck. A lively game ensues with plenty of ups and downs for the players. As before, Ansor proves a beneficial source for rumours, including:
- Milton’s Folly, the large lighthouse being constructed in Freeport, will be completed in about 3 months time. A large celebration is being planned in honour of its opening. Ansor has access to VIP tickets and can provide them for 50 gp each.
- The Sealord’s Watch has run into financial troubles. The budget for the Watch has been cut back such that thieves are running wild in the streets. Criminal organizations are attempting to take advantage of the situation.
- A pirate ship by the name of Bloody Vengeance is in port. It’s captain is a large half-orc that has earned the name Scarbelly.
- The construction of Milton’s Folly, which has taken near a decade to build, has basically bankrupted the Council.
- This one an old tale regarding a Seacaptain by the name of Kel, rumor is he was forced to make a bargain for his daughter’s life at great personal cost. He has not been the same since.
Knowing that Ansor is always on the look-out for new rumors, the companions make mention of the general location of a temple called Throl Thangar. The dealer is excited by the news as it relates to an old myth. Many moons ago, dwarven soldiers formed part of the local pirate’s raiding contingent. They would embark on great invasions up and down the coast, ransacking other cultures. One time, they came back from a raid burden with much gold, the coffers of which were used to build a great dwarven temple. The companions are rewarded for the information.
The evening is still young, and the companions decide it a beneficial time to investigate the chill-out lounge before it gets busy. Brughan provides them entrance. A low fire burns in the center of the room, with many tables and couches arrayed haphazardly across the floor. There are several patrons already stationed in the room appearing in various states of inebriation. Brughan warns the companions that the room uses magical effects to aid in providing a “calming” ambiance.
Lando immediately casts detect magic and advises that the fire is imbuing a sleepy aura across the room. The companions, able to resist the temptation to make this an early night, investigate the fireplace. There are indentations on either side of the pit, although the heat of the fire prevents them from taking a closer look. Lando takes out one of the rods given to him by the bard and uses it to quench the fire. With the fire out, the light in the room dims considerably.
Sand from the base of the firepit rises up, coalescing into the form of a humanoid figure. The small elemental, the guardian of the room, attacks the companions with a magical aura. The druid, Grin, succumbs to the sandman’s effects and falls into a drowsy stupor. Two violet green portals pop open in the corner of the room, the buzzing of flies announcing the arrival of the two imps.
Lando screams in Grin’s ear through magical means, effectively waking him from his sleep. Several of the companions attack the sandman in melee, and Grin’s frog companion scores an integral attack. The small elemental collapses into a heap of sand as Magus Mike coup de graces the creature.
At this time, Erick the Entertainer, rallies the Pot’s patrons to attack the companions. Brughan stands in the doorway, barring the entrance to the chill-out lounge while Lando creates an obscuring mist in the main room to foment confusion. Brughan is able to single handily block the doorway, ensuring the companions sufficient time to focus on other priorities. Anton, the magus and Grin concentrate their efforts on the imps. They are unable to match the group’s ferocious onslaught and quickly fall to their blades. With their deaths, the curse on Lando is lifted, and the buzzing sound fades to memory.
With the chill-out room under control, the companions quickly quell the patron’s uprising with promises of free drugs on the house. Brughan and Erick battle each other in single combat with the half-giant smashing the Entertainer into a pulp.
Brughan takes ownership of the situation in the main room while the companions continue their investigation of the lounge. With the fire extinguished, the group can access the two indentations, that look about the size of the two rods. Putting them in place releases a mechanism – a hatch under the fireplace opens, revealing a ladder into the basement. The companions retrieve the rods before climbing down into the darkness.
The room below looks familiar to the companions, with similar features to other rooms associated with the mighty men. A large statue sits in the centre of the room with glyphs lining the floor. The construct is activated, the hatch above closes as the runes light up and magical energy suffuses the room. The thrumming builds to a crescendo pitch as the building begins to shake. An opening in the wall reveals the next clue and an exit, the companions take the package and return to the tavern.
In the safety of The Honey Pot, the companions open the parchment wrapped package. It contains a new key, this one with the emblem of an open book. The included message reads:
My first journal detailing my time away
was left in trust with the Church of Retribution.
Held in a secret library hidden below their altar,
the book is well regarded. Retrieve the book
and enshrine it within the sacred shelves
beside the radiant arch and the way will be opened.