The Freeport Chronicles

Temple of Holy Smoke

Plot to destroy Freeport thwarted, for now

Summary

  • the street urchin escapes within the formerly abandoned house
  • Hollister’s men are stripping the cultists’ temple, plan to return it to its former glory
  • unable to speak with Hollister, the companions travel to the Hall of Records
  • the entrance to Throll Thanger, a dwarven temple, is located on an old map
  • Hollister is linked to the War Company, a private military force
  • the mighty man in the Hall of Records is activated
  • the companions travel to Throll Thangar and find an incense burning mechanism that transports vapor to the city above
  • they piece together a plot to incite the city into violence and bloodshed
  • the incense burning mechanism is destroyed, thwarting the plot
  • the mighty man in Throll Thangar, representing the 9th and last, is activated
  • the portal to hell is sealed, Captain Sil modifies it before leaving
  • the companions provide updates to their patrons and are rewarded

Details

The street urchin nowhere in sight, the companions assume he entered the abandoned house that led to the cultists’ temple. The house is no longer abandoned, as labourers can be seen entering and exiting the premise. There are two guards posted at the main entrance. Anton and Magus Mike approach the duo to ask if they have seen the little scalawag that picked the magus’ pocket. The guards have no recollection of a wayward child. The companions chat up the guards and learn that Hollister has taken it upon himself to “clean up” the temple and restore it to its former glory. And further, he would like to ensure that the instruments necessary to summon an ancient evil presence are no longer available to the general population. The valuables from the temple are being shipped to Hollister’s personal residence located at 100 Wave Avenue.

The companions decide it best to chat with Hollister and follow the shipment of temple goods to his house. Hollister is not available, and the group is provided an audience with Nicola Cage instead. Inquiring into the temple goods, Nicola advises that Hollister is restoring the temple on his own coin, and that his actions are for the benefit of the city. She recommends that the companions consult the public archives at the Hall of Records should they wish to investigate further.

This piques the interest of the companions, as the last mighty man note also mentioned the Hall of Records. The group, excluding Lando who fears greatly another encounter with Sister Sprout, travels to the Hall located next to the Fortress of Justice in the Old City. Entering the grand old building, the companions are immersed in a hoarder’s paradise – there are stacks upon stacks of books and scrolls from floor to ceiling. An older lady sits at her desk in the middle of the stacks, paying little heed to the new entrants. The companions walk up to the desk and address Sister Sprout. Her eyes glint as she recognizes the group, “Apologies, I thought you were the guards back again. They stomp around this place like they own it and leave such a mess. Where’s that sassy little gnomish friend you keep?” She is visibly disappointed that Lando is not present. Further conversation proves uneventful, and the companions leave Sprout to continue with her bookkeeping.

The companions explore the vast archives with little success. There seems to be no logical order to the cataloging. They soon return to Sister Sprout and attempt to play to her good graces. She warms to the conversation and the companions piece together that the guards she had mentioned were Hollister’s men. Inquiring into their interest in such a humble and learned institution, Sprout leads the group to an ancient map of Freeport. She also provides the companions with a selection of documents regarding Hollister’s past.

Studying the map, the companions note that two locations of interest are highlighted. The first appears to be in the same vicinity as the abandoned house; the second an underground entrance to a dwarven temple by the name of Throll Thangar. The name rings a bell and the companions decide a visit is in order – they note the location of the entrance. The other documents link Hollister to a mercenary group called the War Company – a private military force that is often hired out locally to nobles for security detail, but is also known to work for foreign kingdoms on campaign. The company has been hired in a reserve capacity to provide extra bodies for the weekend.

Their research complete, the companions use the clues outlined in their last note to find a secret passage behind one of book stacks. A hallway leads into a room adorned in blue-grey granite, a statue of a mighty man stands in the middle of the chamber. The companions use their key to activate the statue. A magical energy explodes from the statue to fill the room, alighting runes on the floor that form a pathway. The statue beings to pull itself forward along this path. A section of the wall opens to reveal a small compartment with a key and note. The companions grab the two items and quickly exit the building.

The group hails a cab to take them to the entrance to the dwarven temple. On the way, they investigate the note, which reads:

Nine mighty figures take hold of the chain. Leaning back, the last is ready to take up the slack and be pulled to toward the center. Complete my legacy. Draw nine men inward.

Exiting the cab at the specified location, the companions find themselves in a small plaza with a well. Given that the dwarven temple is presumed to be underground, the companions lower themselves to the bottom of the well. Tunnels branch off in various directions. The companions rely on their general sense of direction to lead them to the temple entrance, which is only a short distance from the opening to the well. The temple is built from the very rock itself exhibiting beautiful stonework and craftsmanship. It is eerily silent, there appears to be no one at home.

The companions take their time to search the empty structure but are unable to locate the mighty man statue. Instead, they are drawn to a strange contraption that resides in a large domed room in the center of the temple. The mechanism contains a heating element, as well as bellows and chimneys that rise to the ceiling above. Recalling a note found in the sewers from a prior adventure, the companions surmise that the contraption is used to heat incense made from blackgoat’s blood, with the resulting vapors collected in the chimneys to travel to the city above. Given their location in the city, the companions believe that the chimneys lead to the barracks of the city watch and reservist guards from the War Company. Both are filled to capacity in anticipation of the upcoming Swag Fest festivities.

It dawns on the group that this was exactly what the cultists were planning to do – to use this mechanism to channel the incense into the barracks above, in hopes of unleashing the guards and mercenaries on the city to incite chaos and bloodshed. With that in mind, the companions obliterate the mechanism and bellows, the end product a jumble of random broken machinery.

Pleased with themselves for a job well done, the group heads to the exit. Before they can do so, however, Captain Sil strides through the door. His countenance appears incorporeal, his features strained as if his being here in physical form is taking a great toll. He motions to the group to follow as he leads the companions to a non-descript wall. With his back to the group, he activates some unseen mechanism – the wall opens to reveal a short hallway leading to a secret chamber. Within the chamber is the last mighty man as well as some sort of portal, a construct that emanates evil intent with great demonic horns on either side.

The companions use their key to activate the last mighty man. Magical energy fills the room, alighting the runes on the floor that create a path to the foot of the portal. The statue begins to pull itself forward, slowly progressing on an unseen track. A small compartment opens at the base of the statue revealing a parchment wrapped scroll. Anton grabs the scroll as the room begins to shake. Captain Sil steps beside the portal and places a rune-inscribed object between the two horns. The object fuses with the horns, creating a single elongated structure around the portal. Seemingly happy with the transformation, Captain Sil exits the room and the companions follow.

Outside the temple, Sil addresses the group as he fades from their vision, “My time here is short. Congratulations on activating the mighty men, you have sealed the portal and for that I am happy. But I fear our work is not done – I cannot tell you how critical it is for you to deliver the cargo we discussed to the Shadow Swift. I trust you will ensure the utmost care and timeliness in its delivery.” The companions return to the surface and hail a cab back to The Bard & The Bastard. On the way, the scroll from the last mighty man is reviewed, which reads:

The chain now forged, the last key delivered. Two statues bearing my likeness were conceived and created: One to bear the burden and one to reward those who have unlocked my legacy. I stand on the grounds behind the Sea Lord’s Palace. Retrieve my final gift as I depart the mortal realm, sealed to my fate for eternity.

Returning to their war-room, the group is eager to provide their patrons – Carson at the Sword of the Edict, and Garvey at the Mage’s Guild – an update on their progress.

  • Carson advises that the Sword of the Edict headquarters is abuzz. A protective barrier has been activated over the city, which will make it difficult for extra-planar beings to travel to Freeport. Carson assumed that the group’s activities were the source of this exciting development, and looks forward to reporting to his superiors. A suitable reward will be provided in recognition of the group’s contribution.
  • Garvey is also excited to hear from the companions. He advises that the barrier – powered by the weather towers around the city – that protects Freeport from the powerful permanent hurricane off the coast has returned to full strength. The waters of the outer harbor and surrounding seas are calm for the first time in a long time. The guild feels it is close to a breakthrough regarding their knowledge of how the azos field works. The guild would like to grant honorary membership to the group for their contributions, providing open access to their stores of knowledge. Lando is so happy he nearly faints.

Lastly, a message is delivered to the room from Hollister, it seems that news travels fast in Freeport. He congratulates the group on their adventures and acknowledges their contributions in keeping Freeport safe. He would like to extend an invitation to the Sealord’s feast, a sought after event during the Swag Fest festivities, so that the Council may recognize their heroic efforts appropriately.

—> Read orc interlude chapter 1

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