The Age of Man

Episode 1- Setup

The Quiet Men were handling a series of routine jobs, traveling west toward the edge of the Empire, when they received a communication from Lieutenant Commander Sasumon, who ordered them to investigate some items recovered in the outpost town of Abdera. Mayor Orestes had ordered the expansion of their irrigation ditches, and the entrance to an old Dragonborn temple was discovered. While such a find would normally be of interest, the fact that the temple appeared to have been sealed and hidden before the fall of the Dragonborn Gods is of particular concern. The Mayor is storing the items initially uncovered, and is awaiting aid before exploring further.

As they traveled through the woods within a day’s ride of Abdera, Katharos spotted an area where a naturally good ambush position seemed to have been subtly improved to be an even better trap. When he drew closer to investigate, the leader of a band of Elven bandits sought to extort an exorbitant toll from them. When they revealed that they were part of the military, the haughty bandits raised the price and sprang the trap.

The bandits had the advantage of good positioning and preparation, and their brutal opening moves threatened to overwhelm the party even though they sought to avoid fatal blows. The Quiet Men rallied, protecting their fallen friend and working together to take down most of the band. The leader and one of the archers escaped, while the other four were taken captive.

The party was able to spot the tracks of the leader, but decided to take their prisoners in town to interrogate them rather than abandoning their horses (and prisoners) to follow deeper into the woods.

Shae close

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Episode 2- Shell Game

Upon arriving in Abdera, the players were greeted by Mayor Orestes and invited into his home. Their prisoners were escorted to jail while they learned that the situation they had been sent to investigate had grown more complex. Of the four workers who had excavated the temple one had died, one had vanished, and one had picked up stakes and left town. There was also a break in at the Mayor’s home that resulted in the murder of the serving man- Michael. In addition, one of the items excavated from the temple was broken (a mirror) and the other was stolen (a knife made of glass).

The PCs questioned the household and began to notice holes in a few stories. It appeared that Paul, the oldest son of the Mayor (17), had broken into the basement and stolen the knife. He may also have uncovered the mirror, and when Michael was cleaning up in the room some sort of shapeshifting creature left the mirror and murdered him.

Paul took the dagger to his girlfriend, an elven woman who recently came to Abdera to ‘seek her fortune’ by seeking out others’ fortunes. She convinced Paul that if he helped her get some of the items from the temple they would have enough money to flee Abdera and set up in a real city together. Paul revealed he was intending to meet with her the following night, and would take them to the spot if they promised not to hurt her (since he was the one who stole the knife). When he went to his room, however, Adonia cast her senses up into his room and observed him holding a necklace and concentrating- it seemed he somehow had a device that allowed him to send her a message.

The Quiet Men decided to take the evening’s rest, and visit the uncovered temple in daylight. The carvings they found on and in the temple led them to believe it was a temple to Sin, the three-eyed white Dragon. Within they found a few minor items of power in the entryway, adjacent to a room with a teleportation circle, and two dead Dragonborn bodies. One had an unusual dagger, and the other bore a holy symbol no one had seen before, a shiny black eye on a flat black field.

The living quarters of the temple were explored, and in addition to numerous objects of art and rare books they found a hidden coffer containing 950 gp worth of coins and gems, 3 healing potions, 2 vials of Alchemist’s Frost, and a mostly burned collection of documents related to the sealing off of the lower reaches of the temple- a scrap of which said ‘… lower temple has been sealed off as well, and it’s entrance hidden. Traps have been set to discourage intrusion, so that the Fluid can be retrieved when needed. We should be ready to leave come nightfall. I only hope that all this work is wasted, and that Ariken’s Vision never comes …’.

The party then descended into the deeper parts of the temple, where a series of traps separated Katharos from the rest of the group for a few minutes. They overcame the traps and reunited, and Katharos described seeing evidence that what awaited them was a primal creature of darkness, and that several light sources would need to be lit to insure their safety. They continued on and were attacked by several swarms of twisted and malnourished Drakes before entering a massive ritual chamber.

A strange creature with fluid features loomed over the mayor’s daughter in the center of the room, as each mirror reflected her image back at them. A brief wave of emotion passed over Argent‘s features at the site, and he declared that the ritual must be stopped. Oz advanced cautiously, casting a suspicious eye on Katharos. Valentine charged forward to meet the strange creature in battle, driving it back and away from the girl. Katharos moved forward as if to help him, but then Oz’s suspicions proved well placed, as he drove his knife into his allies back. In the parties light, each mirror disgorged another of the foul creatures, whose flesh twisted into a mockery of the party as they swarmed them. Others slipped from the shadows to strike from surprise, and the battle was truly joined.

With Oz and Valentine binding the bulk of the mirror creatures, Argent and Adonia cast their magics through the mirrors to bring low groups of the foul shapeshifters. From the shadows at the far end of the chamber came another surprise, Argent the Panagyric’s faithful manservant Grouse swept in to lend his aid.

The party worked seamlessly together, pinning down the enemy as the mirrors were destroyed and preventing young Angela from being taken from the chamber (though she did suffer a most unfortunate stabbing, before Grouse’s stirring words strengthened her resolve). A single one of the creatures escaped into a mirror, and the rest were slain. It was clear from the condition of the girl that she had been held there since the day of Michael’s death, a second victim of the thing in the mirror. Cells behind the ritual chamber held Katharos’ body, an Elven brigand, the girl’s cell, and two other recently occupied but empty cells. A rocky outcropping above the ritual site held a dragon egg coated and surrounded by layers of choke frost

The party took custody of the Elven prisoner (in exchange for information about Isabella, the leader of the brigands), and the egg, then began their journey out of the temple.

Loot-
An Anunnaki idol- Functions as a dowsing rod, but with a +4 bonus to nature rolls when foraging.

An Ironskin Soulfang- Power (Consumable): Minor Action. Until you remove this soulfang, you gain resist 3 to all damage, and you take damage equal to half your healing surge value at the start of your turn or if you remove the soulfang on the turn you use it. Damage caused by this soulfang cannot be reduced by any means.
A coffer containing 950 gp in coins and gems
3 healing potions
2 vials of Alchemist’s Frost
3 Sending Stones
1 Dragon egg
1 Elven prisoner
1 recovered 8 year old
A number of rare books and art that would typically belong to the town of Abdera, though you could likely smuggle them out of you wish to keep the proceeds (likely around 100,000 gp worth of items)

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Episode 3- Reflection

The Quiet Men made their way out of the temple, escorting Angela and Lael back to the Mayor’s home. Oz remained outside the gates, Grouse and Argent circled to cut off any attempts to flee, while Valentine and Adonia went to meet the Mayor. They took him to Oz and revealed his real daughter, and then entered to catch her replacement. The maid went to bring the false Angela down, but returned without finding her. As the others went downstairs to the basement with the maid, Oz searched upstairs and discovered the dead body of the maid. Making use of their newly acquired sending stones he alerted the others, and the ‘maid’ was captured.

Once it was clear that the jig was up, the creature began to reveal something of its nature: Once native to the Feywild, The Fluid are the things responsible for a creature’s reflection in a pool of water or mirror. Sin used the glass dagger to somehow carve the Fluid off from the normal Feywild, crafting these creatures to serve her. When the temple was sealed away they were left in a sort of stasis, without any real sense of passing time and events. Having realized that Sin was slain, they seek a purpose, and they believe the burgeoning Erathin Empire would be their best option.

The Quiet Men sequestered the creature, and began to debate their best course of action. Argent seemed quite firm that the creature was a murderer and a monster and should be slain out of hand. Grouse an Adonia counseled that it might be best for the Empire if an alliance could be made, if the creatures could be made to follow the rules of the civilized world. Oz and Valentine seemed to see wisdom in both sides of the argument, and both felt that they should hear from their superiors before moving forward.

The field communication receiver was heated up, and contact with Lieutenant Commander Sasumon was established. After a detailed report, Sasumon told the team that if she were to take custody of the creature that any decisions would become bogged down by bureaucracy, and that the question of how many rights extended to the thing would complicate things further. She extended the group the right to make bargains on behalf of the Empire, and asked them to settle things without her involvment for expediency.

After further debate, Valentine proposed that Seshat‘s role as a goddess of mystery might make her a logical choice for the Fluid’s service, and that he knows of a priestess that he trusted who had recently taken a post outside the town of Reed in the Garshen Province just to the north. The group began another round of questioning, seeking to determine if this one truly could be trusted. Since it claimed to have no name, Valentine gave it the moniker Mime, and they asked to know if he could truly negotiate for his people. He assured them that as the first to enter the physical world he could, though he would need to contact his people to explain any details- a process that would require a darkened room and access to a mirror. He did all he could to cooperate, and indicated that they would happily serve the empire if it allowed them to perform as they were meant to in safety. When Argent proposed that the knife might be used to seal away or destroy their realm (and them with it) he became more impatient to begin the alliance, but the Quiet Men sequestered him again to attempt their meeting Isabella, the elven bandit.

Paul was nervous as he took them to the meeting spot, and when it was revealed that they knew of him using the necklace he admitted that he sent feelings that she was in danger, and he didn’t think she would show up. As they approached the clearing, Valentine slipped quietly into the woods, moving toward one of the hidden figures he scented in the trees. Argent called out for Isabella and she cautiously stepped form the trees. Initially at a distance, they discussed her fears that things had gotten well out of hand, and that she just wanted to arrange what she could to protect her men. Paul was sent home, so they could question her more openly. When she was told of the dangers the knife proposed, and that her lover Lael had been replaced she gave up what little resistance she had and placed herself into their custody. She told of being hired by a Dragonborn name Kor Haleen in Ashera. Her and her band were blindfolded and after a few hours walk they found themselves in the Fields of Shae. They were sent specifically to find the dagger, and when she got Paul’s warning she sent the dagger and most of the band to meet their employer, while she remained behind to negotiate for the jailed members of the band. She agreed to lead them to the meeting site.

They traveled northeast, and as they cleared the woods Valentine caught sight of a large animal at the fringes of the trees, though it did not follow them into the fields. They followed Isabella’s directions and came upon the meeting site, where the remaining members of her band (and the Fluid who hid among them) had been cut down by physical arms and potent magic. The bodies hadn’t been robbed, though the dagger was gone. Argent and Adonia found evidence that a linked portal had been used, though it was impossible to tell what location it once led to. The trail, for now, was at an end.

The Quiet Men returned to the Mayor’s home to resolve what could be resolved. Argent confessed to the fact that he recalls having given Sin the knowledge that she needed to create the Fluid. Isabella, Lael, and the other bandits are sentenced to be put to work expanding the irrigation ditches and other projects for Abdera for a year. At the end they would be given their wages (low, but fair) so that they might afford to start their lives without being forced to return to criminal pursuits. Valentine took them aside and spoke to them of how the judgement against them wasn’t simply punishment- it was a chance for redemption. They had gotten a glimpse of what it is that the Quiet Men stand against, and the costs of defending the Empire, and he told them that if, at the end of their sentence, they wished to join he would speak on their behalf.

The group decided to keep the loose coin (950 gp) and items of magic found within the temple, but turned over the tremendous value of art and books to the town of Abdera. The spoils taken by the bandits would be redistributed to the victims as best the Mayor was able, and Paul would be denied any chance to associate with Isabella. Mime and the party set forth with fresh provisions from Abdera, their travel quickened by Grouse’s Travelling Chant, so they can arrange for the Fluid to enter Sashet’s service.

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Episode 4- Swamped

The party begins the journey north toward Reed, a small village in the Moonlight Marsh where a knowledgeable cleric of Seshat has been stationed. Along the way, the heroes defeat a nest of stirges that were delaying the coastal road building efforts before heading into the wilds. Without way stations within which to rest, the influence of the star Gibbeth began to influence their dreams. Valentine led nightly prayers that eased these dreams for the faithful, and their ‘prisoner’ Mime even began to join these prayers during their journey.
Upon reaching the swamp, they began to see the floating wisps of light that give the Marsh its name, drifting randomly through the trees. They encountered a man poling a simple raft downriver, and learned that swamp lizards had recently attacked the village of Reed. He was going to get help transporting them to safety, and gave directions to the road the refugees would be traveling upon in their attempt to reach Seshat’s Rest.
As the group worked their way to the road they saw the beady eyes of swamp lizards pacing them. Valentine flooded the swamp with the light of his god and chased them away, and the party continued on. They found 15 refugees, several of whom were wounded, being slowly herded toward Seshat’s Rest by a young man named Leo. Among them was a bugbear named Gird, who seemed to be helping Leo keep order. After a quiet conversation with him, Grouse learned that the cleric had set up the monastery in response to an increase in raids by the swamp lizards. Their chief once had tremendous power over the swamp, and she believed that whatever idol he used to wield that power was hidden here.
The group helped heal the wounded refugees, and they quickly reached the monastery, which showed signs of a recent attack. The cleric they came in search of was watching over a few refugees of her own. They shuffled all the refugees inside and prepared to deal with an assault by the swamp lizards.
They didn’t have to wait long. A wave of lizards attacked, many of them somehow directing the motes of light in the swamp to aid them in their attack. They were ferocious, and mixed brutal melee attacks with large bursts of radiant lightning from their support. Even as they were being defeated, the lizards spoke of simply being the first wave.
The heroes took a few minutes to catch their breath and bind their wounds before they began to hear the sound of more lizards approaching. While one of them lay in wait within the water, their spies flickered in and out of visibility, calling down motes of light to burn and blind the party. Two mystics, wreathed in mist, directed a number of their minions to dig for something in the muck. After a long and painful slog, the heroes had nearly closed upon the mystics when they found the reed and clay effigy they sought. The motes within the swamp began to glow more brightly, and the lizards were able to use them with much more potency. They made a game attempt to escape the area, but the party had gotten too close. With the help of the cleric, our heroes retreated back to Seshat’s Rest with the idol after dispatching the 2nd wave of lizards.

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Episode 5- The Sun Also Rises

After defeating the swamp lizards and recovering the reed and clay effigy binding the spirit of the swamp, the Quiet Men retired to the monastery to discuss their options. The cleric of Seshat was introduced to Mime, who expressed his desire to bind his people in service to the goddess of mystery and magic.

The fate of the effigy was discussed, and the party argued over their two favorite options: Bind the spirit to Sokar’s service, so that it would act as a conduit for his power within the swamp, or take the effigy (mystically quieted so it would cause no issues) and have Argent create a massive golem to serve the empire, using the spirit as its animating force. It was ultimately decided that Valentine would dedicate the spirit to Sokar, which required freeing it and battering it into servitude.

The party sought out as much dry ground as they could find, and freed the spirit. Its fluid form of vines and earth was adept at twisting the party up and driving their blades (primarily Valentine’s) into each other, but the group was able to snuff out its malevolent motes and drive it to submission. In a short ceremony, Valentine bound the spirit to support the rise of civilization and the creation of new works within the swamp. The floating motes of moonlight turned golden, filling with the light of the mid day sun, and began to flow out into the swamp.

After turning in their report on the success of their mission, they received orders to investigate strange fires and disappearances a few days to the northeast. On their way out of the swamp they found the path they followed much dryer and easier to navigate.

They reached the foothills of the mountains, which some recalled used to hold an old Dragonborn mine. The mine had been abandoned by the Dragonborn after a meteorite smashed into it, after apparently failing to find a way to mine the ore that fell from the heavens. The locals told tales of strange moving fires in the night, people disappearing, and even a man made of fire that entered town and nearly set a building alight. Based on the information they found on some of the people who disappeared, they have formed a hypothesis that whatever is in the mine may have influences or affects on those who feel guilt or sorrow. They began a slow, determined search through the hills for signs of these creatures or their source.

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Episode 6- Descent

The Quiet Men set up in an abandoned house, to keep watch over the town. While no fiery creatures came in the night, the sight of the fire crackling in the hearth brought memories of isolation and loneliness bubbling to the surface among most of the group. In the morning they set out into the hills, following vague directions pieced together from the villagers. The group plied their various skills in concert, and found the hidden mine entrance with little difficulty.
As the mine entrance came into view, so did the human who had fallen under the sway of the star beast’s call. Men in various states of transformation were arrayed in a camp, and they immediately charged out to meet the group in combat. Their fiery attacks weren’t enough to stop our heroes, and they were brought low in short order. The entrance to the mine had clearly been reopened recently, and the mechanical lift had two platforms ready to descend into the earth. After a brief rest, the group split themselves between the two and began their journey. As the neared the midpoint, two other platforms rose into view, carrying further creatures twisted by their proximity to the fallen star. Oz threw caution to the wind and leaped down upon the other platforms. He wasn’t able to hit his target, but did catch himself on the lower platform before plunging to the bottom of the shaft. The battle drew a pack of stirges, who sipped briefly from Adonia’s blood before being destroyed by hammer blows and bolts of magic. The twisted creatures put up a fiercer, but ultimately futile fight. The heroes made their way to the base of the mine shaft, and found no further resistance. Several tunnels were sealed with rubble and mystic runes, but one of the seals had clearly been cracked during the earthquake. There was evidence that the foul creatures had been doing what they could to clear the rubble and worsen the crack in the seal. Argent recalled the signature sloppiness he attributed to Kingu, the dead Dragonborn god of tyranny. He clearly understands enough of the magic to reinforce it, but to make a truly permanent seal would require a piece of the fallen star. Adonia is familiar with a process by which a piece of the star could be used to augment the weapons of their group, and allow them the possibility to actually destroy it.

The Quiet Men reviewed their options:
Seal it with their blood, and so long as one among their number lived the seal would remain in place.
Clear away the rubble and enter to snatch a piece of the star and use it to seal the place permanently.
Clear away the rubble and enter to snatch a piece of the star and use it to kill the beast.

After reporting in, and warning Sasumon to have a back up team ready should they fail, they decided to rest, and then enter to find the star. Their goal will be to acquire a star fragment as quickly as possible, and flee immediately. During the battle to distract the beast while the fragment is collected they will try to assess whether they would be able to defeat the beast with Adonia’s assistance, or if they should seal it away. If acquiring the fragment proves too difficult they will flee with the intent of sealing it in blood until they are better prepared.

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Episode 7- The Star Beast

The Quiet Men’s initial foray into the cavern of the Star Beast resulted in a brutal battle, but armed with the information Adonia was able to provide about the nature of the creature’s shifting forms they were able to acquire enough of the heart of the meteor for their purposes. After resting and recovering, Adonia fashioned charms that would allow them to penetrate the defenses of the beast, and so they returned to see it destroyed.
After defeating the beast in it’s initial form of twisting and shifting crystal, it exploded into whirling clouds of razor sharp fragments, that slowly spread throughout the cavern. The heroes retreated into the mouth of the cavern to draw the clouds away from the glowing pillars that seemed to cause them to reproduce. Oz and Valentine held the cave entrance while the rest of the party hurled ranged attacks in coordinated bursts that finally winnowed the swirling masses. At last, they coalesced into three tangible forms that made a final, feeble attempt to cling to life. The Quiet Men struck them down, and gathered around the heart of the meteor that housed the star beast.
In the discussion about what to do with the meteor it became clear that Oz had some knowledge of the beast, and that his knowledge filled him with fear. He would not countenance any solution but the wholesale destruction of the creature, to insure that it would not bring ruin upon the world. Once again, Argent was denied a power source for a great creation of magic, and the heart of the star beast was destroyed.

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Episode 8- Far and Near

We began our story far to the south, in the depths if the Shifting Desert. A group of champions from each of the major goblin tribes, each in service to one of the human gods, had journeyed to a temple built to house the myriad crude idols of the goblin deities. They had come in search of a stolen relic from the Temple of Seshat, which they hoped would be the key to breaking the goblin curse and freeing their people from being born into savagery.
Led by the goblin priestess Oxoginia, the group disabled the last of the traps preventing access to the relic. They picked up the relic as the sounds of enemies approached. Ogres from the southern desert and vile goblin necromancers flooded into the chamber to spring their trap. The initial onslaught was brutal enough that the heroes feared they might fail in their task. As they fought their way toward escape, Azog (the Orcish follower of Sokar) caught site of something strange in the mirror near the wall- his reflection moved on its own, reaching out of the mirror to grab a strange box on the floor. The strange reflection shouted to them that if they had no other choice, they could hand the relic to it, so it could be spirited to safety.
Having little faith that this strange creature would keep its word, the group redoubled their efforts and began to make headway, slaying the ogre and the monstrosity assembled from dozens of dead goblin parts. As they pushed toward the hallway that lead out of the temple, another surprise appeared- a powerful Dragonborn sorcerer appeared to block their path. Wearing an odd symbol of a black eye on a black field, it called ice and fire to block their way, as spectral hobgoblins flickered in and out of sight, striking at their flanks.
Purk, the Rat Master of Satet, charged forward, his rats driving into the Dragonborn before him. He forged an opening for his companions, even as they hacked him to bits. Urlau the Gnoll also gave her life, refusing to give up the flank so that Oxoginia would remain safe. Their sacrifices allowed the rest of the goblin champions to flee the temple and begin the long dangerous journey home.

Meanwhile, our Quiet Men were making their way south along the river to the city of Garshen. On their journey, Oz seemed withdrawn and contemplative. He often inspected his arm closely in the firelight before turning in, obviously unhappy with what he saw, but unwilling to discuss it.
When they arrived in Garshen, the city was bustling with the preparations for the Empire Exposition, a quadrennial event that showcases the latest advances of art, science, magic, and philosophy. Less than a month remains until this huge event, which will draw people from across the Empire, and even from distant kingdoms around the world.
The party received their pay, and were encouraged to relax and enjoy the city for a while after their recent struggles. They passed on the option to remain within the military barracks, and acquired rooms in a nicely appointed inn to enjoy their free time. Valentine was called by the church of Sokar to aid them on a project, and sent word that he would return when he could. Grouse began to perform around the city, spreading tales of his master Argent, while harvesting rumors and fans alike.
The city is putting much of its efforts towards the Exposition into the building of the Skyfire Observatory, which will allow scholars to unravel the mysteries of the prescient reflections of the Aurora that appear in the Borealis Lake. There is also a great deal of buzz about Rego Trysain, whose family is expected to reveal something that will ‘revolutionize the way of life in the Empire.’
Argent has begun to meet with scholars of magic, giving his odd insights into their field. Grouse has built a large following, and caught the eye of the small goblin population in the city. Oz spends most of his days in meditation, the smell of sulphur and minerals wafting from his room. Adonia has acquired a number of disguises and outfits, and spends her days subtly exploring the city.

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Episode 9- Jumping at Shadows

Setting Information- A recap of the Races of the Empire

Date: From the 1st Day of the month of Newyield to the night of the 7th of Newyield

The Quiet Men are settled into their inn, The Traveler’s Ease, and have begun to explore the city of Garshen. The city is overflowing with people preparing the city for the Erathin Exposition. Valentine sends word that he is looking into a new drug that is being sold in the streets, and will return after he investigates. The group discusses what they should do with the dragon egg they captured from Sin’s temple, and Oz shows them a flyer for the Dynamic Dirigible Company. They discuss the possibility of Argent using the Animus of the dragon egg to infuse such a vessel, and to make it a living ship bound to their service.

Adonia continues to keep a subtle eye on preparations in the wealthy section of town, Argent joins the design and engineering team in laying out the Starfire Observatory, and Oz begins to venture out from his sulphur and incense laden room to see a bit of the city. Grouse also hears about a new drug, and finds out that it, along with a fair chunk of gold, was used to purchase a Kraken Seed, which when immersed in water transforms into a massive, tentacled monster that seeks to destroy everything around it for the minute or so before it fades away. Valentina returns from aiding her church, after failing to find the source of the drug, which he calls Night Ivy. It is extremely addictive, in spite of the fact that it causes hallucinations that are terrifying. A weaker form of the drug grows naturally in the forests where her people make their home, so she was asked to look into it, and only found dead ends.

Grouse and Argent begin to look into the drug trade, while Valentina watches from a distance to make sure they stay safe. They discover that the dealers are taking some pains to avoid being busted by the overworked city guard. Donning magically enhanced disguises to appear to be seedy investors looking to buy large amounts of Night Ivy, they purchase a sample of the drug and ask for a meeting with someone high enough up the food chain to sell them a large amount of the drug.

Meanwhile, Adonia spots Timeth, one of the secretaries who takes the calls from their field communication device. He is touring the most luxurious parts of town in the company of Naomi, a minor cousin of Rego Trysain. She trails him to discover that he is staying at The Lantern, a luxury hotel and spa. She arranges for Grouse to perform at his hotel while she watches from disguise. Timeth sees him performing, and gladly speaks with him, while Naomi looks on pleasantly. It is clear that Timeth is an honest, but naive, man who assumes that Naomi’s interest in him is genuine, and there are suspicions that she is a skilled actress. Timeth tells them that they should come to dinner with the Trysains once Rego arrives in a week or two, and Grouse accepts.

While wandering the city, Argent and Grouse come upon an intricate puppet show, with intricate backgrounds cut from paper and animated as part of the story. One of the people watching is familiar to Argent…a young girl named Esmet that he saw in a village while acquiring his last apprentice. She recognizes him, and flees into an alley and nearly into the arms of a mugger. Though frightened of Argent, he and Grouse manage to calm her enough to get her away from the mugger. Argent explains that the apprentice (her childhood friend) disappeared during the war and is likely dead. Grouse gives her money to be delivered to his family, and they part ways.

Oz tours through the part of the city where stone work and statuary is being prepared for the exhibition. He sees a group of artisans from the swamp town of Vow. They are just finishing up a statue of their hero, Valentine. Oz is confused, as he firmly recalls his companion as a woman. He speaks with them and they show him several works of art that portray even the entire group, but in each of them Valentina is shown as a man. He is given one of the smaller paintings, and brings it back to the group. They become suspicious that some form of potent magic has been used to cloud either their perceptions, or the perceptions of the artist. When Valentina arrives, they ask her some careful questions that reveal that she is not their companion. Oz thumps her soundly as she tries to flee, and the group quickly subdues her. Argent brews up a potent diuretic, and they feed it to her. When she awakens they question her, telling her that she will die a slow death to the poison in her system if they do not get the answers they want.

She reveals that she and a number of her tribe found a dryad infected by the potent night ivy, and they experimented with the drug. In the terrifying visions they felt a presence, a terrible thing that whispered to them about how he could help them destroy the Empire that sought to destroy their way of life. They learned to call it forth, and it encouraged them to organize their strike upon the Exposition. When they saw Valentine, one of their own willingly in service to their oppressors, they captured him. They called upon their terrible ally, and he bound Valentine in magic that drew his destiny and identity into her. As long as Valentine still lived, she would take his role in the universe, and the longer she had it the more it would truly be hers. In doing this, she had begun to realize that they had gotten in over their heads, and that if they would agree to free her she would tell them where Valentine was. She also warned them that if the leader managed to draw the blood of the dryad that the entity would come, and they would all be destroyed. The group took the information, and Oz gave her a glass of mineral water and placed her hanging in his closet with the diuretic still burning in her stomach.

With the help of Adonia’s ability to scry from a distance, they scout the shifter camp, and decide to call upon Valentine’s church for aid. The church arranges for a distraction and lends both swords and healing to their mission. Under the cover of the distraction, the team focuses all they have on bringing down the dryad and the leader, and they manage to prevent the creature from being summoned. They recover the Kraken Seed, and quickly drag the real Valentine out of the pit they were keeping him in, horrified to find him covered in bloody runic scratches, his eyes black and gummy with the signs of Night Ivy use.

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Episodes 10 & 11- A Problem With Pirates

Celestial Event- Over the last month or so, the fickle guide star Caiphon and Palith, the star of lust and fertility, have been growing closer in the night sky. Now, it seems as if Caiphon is devouring Palith, growing brighter as the star of lust begins to flicker and die.

The Quiet Men arrive at their meeting with those who claim to be able to supply them with 2 creates of the highly addictive night ivy that has been hitting the city streets. There contact was a sun-blackened Elven pirate. No one was terribly surprised when the pirate and his hidden companions attempted to murder the Quiet Men for the money, rather than make an honest trade.

In a brutal battle, our heroes manage to kill or capture their ambushers, while keeping Valentine from giving in to his addiction to the ivy. They were told that the drugs were on the Dark Gull, but figured out that he was misleading them in an attempt to distract them from the Albatross, where the drugs were actually hidden. The battle weary heroes turned over the prisoners to Inspector Kyri, and raced to the docks with some of the guardsmen.

When they arrived the Dark Gull and the Albatross had both slipped away from the docks, and ropes of fire blocked most of the ships from being able to pursue them. Casting a careful eye over their options, Grouse realized that what they had originally mistaken for a shallow barge was the flat deck of Captain Gnomo’s submersible. They commandeered the vessel, and slipped under the fire and the Gull to close on the Albatross. Grouse began a mystic ritual to call forth winds, while the others went up to the flat deck to rain attacks upon the Albatross, hoping to sloww it’s escape long enough for Grouse rite to give them the conditions they needed to unleash their Kraken seed without endangering themselves and Gnomo.

Argent and Adonia rained magic down upon the sails and the crew of the Albatross, while Oz drew as much of the Drow’s fire as he could. As the Albatross began to slow, the captain of the Albatross drew out a blowgun looking device, and launched his own kraken seed in an arc past the submersible. Oz threw himself off the submersible and struck the seed as it was just a few feet from the water, knocking it into the water right at the base of the Albatross’ hull.

The Kraken burst forth, lifting the entire stern of the boat out of the water as it’s tentacles wrapped around the boat…while others lashed out toward the submersible. The captain of the vessel ducked into the hold of the ship, his purpose unknown.

Oz, dragging behind the sub like a fishing lure, managed to barely twist out of harm’s way. Everyone scrambled to fire parting shots as they dragged Oz up, and then fled inside. Gnomo forced the sub to dive deep, and the sound of the hull straining under the weight wasn’t enough to cover the sounds of destruction above.

After they waited out the kraken, they surface to see the shattered pieces of the Albatross sinking below the waves. Several chunks of the pier had also been torn apart before the creature expired. Witnesses reported that the Dark Gull had sailed into the darkness during the chaos.

Exhausted, the party returned to their inn to rest and recover. Over the next few days they worked on a few projects- Argent deconstructed the field communication device to discover that it did not hold any means of being listened in on. Adonia and Grouse made initial business overtures to the Richten brothers of the Dynamic Dirigible Company of Nantyr for the construction of a custom craft to be infused with potent magics, and learned that the Gnomes are open to a business deal, assuming that Argent could teach some mages to employ similar techniques for them in the future, could acquire rare mystical ingredients to power such spells, could arrange for them to get solid contracts with the military, and could arrange for Rego Trysain to use the dirigibles as part of his big revelation at the Exposition.

Lieutenant Commander Sasumon arrived, and the Quiet Men share with her the information from Adonia about a powerful conspiracy amongst several noble houses, who are using the The Devotees of the Hour and their personal influence to subtly work towards the resurrection of the Dragon gods and their own transformation into a superior draconic race. Sasumon leaves to consider their options, and to arrange to privately warn Emperor Menes.

The following day Timith arrives, and gives the party an invitation o have dinner with Rego Trysian, now that he has arrived in town. The group goes, though Adonia uses a potion to obscure her identity. During dinner Rego is quite polite, and tells them that he got word that their group had acquired a dragon egg while in the ruins outside of Abdera. He is quite interested in purchasing it, and mentioned having 30,000 gold on hand if they could help him acquire it. The group told him they had turned the egg in to their superiors, and would look into it’s location. Adonia took a look around, on her way to the toilet. She took note of a small altar to his dead wife. She seemed disturbed to see her pictures so well cared for, but returned before his absence would be noted. Before parting, the team did mention the Dynamic Dirigible Company of Nantyr, and encouraged him to use their vessels for his big presentation. While he told them that his presentation would change the very nature of life in the Empire, he would not share what it was he was showing.

The Quiet Men made their way home in Rego’s carriage, and then set Argent to work on a fake dragon egg, which Sasumon would have worked into the military inventory to delay and distract Rego’s search for the real egg.

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