Fair Haven village, Varisia
The 12th day of Lamashan, 4713 AR – middle afternoon
The party questions the captive half-orc, and searches the ruins for more clues. Little new is discovered, however, and you regather at the burned out tavern shortly thereafter. By this time Igmar and Evelyn have recovered the charred skull of the dead wizard, and have packaged it for transport. You pause a moment to consider what to do next. At the moment Talathel is on guard duty, and is huddled atop a cottage just off to one side of the now burned out tavern building. The air reeks of woodsmoke. He pauses a moment to look down at the others, and smirks at the paltry sum of money that was recovered. Then he looks up again, and sees the tall grass in the plains that surround the village begin to sway, as if disturbed by the wind off the sea.
Then he realizes that the wind is blowing in the opposite direction, and that a large force of some sort is stealthily approaching the village through the tall grass. They are currently about 300’ out, and closing fast. You cannot make out what sort of men or creatures they be, although they move with great speed. It is almost impossible for you to imagine that they are human. Your initial estimate is that perhaps 20-30 individual creatures are now approaching you at a very fast pace.
“We need to get out of this place,” Omari hisses. “Now.” Igmar hastily scribbles down something on a piece of parchment, and hands it to Akorian. The nobleman smiled, and drops it to the ground.
“Let us go.” Akorian takes up the Horn of Asmodeus, and sends forth its clarion call. Mist swirls, and your bellies clench as the magic takes you. Moments later you are once more in the foyer of Teveras Manor, safe and sound. It is almost as if your trip to the coast had never happened. Zusa and Yelen are both pleased (and relieved) to see you safely return – although both women are clearly distressed with the blood and soot that stains your clothing.
“We should clean up a bit, and consider what is to be done next.” Kymrych turns to your captive. “You, friend, are to be our honored guest. Come with me.” The big Varisian takes the half-orc by the scruff of the neck and leads him hither. Sanaya and Evelyn joins him and together the four of you head down into the cellar of the sprawling manor house. There, in the depths of an old wine cellar is a secret door that slides silently aside. Beyond it is a short hallway lined with dank cells, each secured with a stout iron gate and padlock. The locks are old but lovingly cared for, and allow your prisoner to be stored here without difficulty. You secure the archer therein, and strip him of his equipment. Then you see to it that he is fed, and left with a ever-burning torch and some much needed peace and quiet. Then the three of you head upstairs to rejoin the others.
You take the time to strip out of your tattered garments, bathe, and generally refresh yourselves after the harrowing trip to Fair Haven. Whisper, Jayne and Athera are present, and inform you that a messenger arrived while you were gone, and left a sealed letter for Akorian. He breaks the seal, and reads the letter. The scowl on his face speaks volumes.
“Tis’ from Iacobus. He says the Korvosan Navy has fought a battle with ships loyal to Magnimar near the mouth to Conqueror’s Bay. Our forces won; apparently we lost one ship, while they lost two, including one galleon that was taken as a prize. Dozens were killed on both sides.”
“Blood has been spilled, then.” Igmar’s expression is just as dark. “I fear peace may well be impossible now.”
“We should rest, and eat something.” Sanaya’s voice is pitched low. “You in particular need to rest, friend Igmar. And pray for guidance. Perhaps then we can attempt to summon the spirt of the dead mage, and see if he will cooperate with us.”
It is hard to argue with her logic, so you head off to your individual rooms as needed. For their part, Sanaya, Akorian and Evelyn gather in the main dining room to investigate the cache of magic items that you recovered from Fair Haven, and attempt to divine what each of them is capable of. You are just finishing up when Hartley enters to tell you that one of the servants claims to have a desperate reason to speak with you.
“Which servant?” Akorian wants to know. He is instantly suspicious. Or tired. It is hard to tell which. Evelyn climbs over the back of a couch cushion to sneak a biscuit off a silver tea service. She takes one scone, and then another. When no one complains, she scoops the entire tray’s worth into the folds of her cloak, and scurries off to the corner to gobble them up, one by one.
“The girl called Niaveh, My Lord.” Hartley harrumphs in distaste. “She is one of the upstairs maids. Normally I would shoo her off, but she insists that it is rather important.”
Akorian shrugs. “I see no reason to be rude, Hartley. Show her in.”
“As you wish, Milord.” Moments later the so-named girl is ushered in. You all remember her, and know that she is one of the girls brought over from Venk manor. She is rather pretty, but quiet.
She blushes, curtsies, and turns immediately to Akorian. “Good evening, Milord. I mean, I—”
“Calm down, girl.” Akorian smiles, and gestures for her to sit. “Start from the beginning, and tell us what brings you here.”
Niaveh blushes again, but soon finds it within herself to tell the tale she has come to tell. She and two other girls were at the market yesterday, intent on purchasing a barrel of pickles on the orders of Master Hartley. Apparently goblins are very fond of pickles, and your majordomo desired to keep the delicacy in stock. Other provisions were needed as well, and soon the party’s wagon was being loaded. With nothing better to do for several minutes Niaveh found herself wandering amongst the market stalls, eyeing bolts of imported cloth. That was when she encountered the woman dressed in red and black.
She was beautiful, Niaveh tells you. And obviously a woman of means. Her clothing was of an expensive cut, and in the latest Chelish style – an oddity here in Korvosa, you know. Most Korvosans do not usually garb themselves in the devilish colors of House Thrune, despite their Chelish heritage. The woman smiled, and asked if Niaveh worked for Lord Akorian. Niaveh admits to being so startled by the woman’s sudden appearance that she immediately admitted the truth. She is ashamed by this, and readily awaits any punishment you may hand her.
Akorian asks her to continue, and this she does: the nobleborn woman handed Niaveh a bulging envelope, and asked her to deliver it to Lord Akorian personally. She pulls said bulging envelope from her skirts, and hands it over. She is obviously rather relived to be rid of the thing, you think.
Sanaya ushers the girl out, and tells her that there may well be more questions for her. Then you all watch as Akorian breaks the wax seal on the envelope, and a bulky iron key marked with a pentagram clatters to the table. The pages inside are crafted of the finest vellum, and show a well-drawn map of the grounds and buildings of the Chelish Embassy here in Korvosa.
“How interesting…” Sanaya picks up one of the pages and eyes it expectantly. It is the main house’s second floor, she notes. There a set of double doors have been circled in red ink. It is interesting to note that the doors are set in an outer wall of the house, and appear to open out into a bricked up wall. Those of you who have been to the Embassy before know there is no door there – at least not on the outside. None of you, however, have ever seen allowed to see the second floor of the house.
This attended to, you put the map and the key in a safe (and secret) place, and go to dinner. The other members of the group are immediately told of what Niaveh has reported. Afterward you do as you wish before going to bed. Jayne and Whisper stand watch as always, and the night passes quietly enough. With the dawn you rise, greatly refreshed, and Igmar attends to his morning prayers to greet the rising sun. Then he attended to the fire charred skull, and casts a spell to allow him to speak with the dead.
For long moments brilliant, sparkling motes of power swirl about the skull, flitting too and fro like tiny fireflies. Then the magic fades, and the skull goes dark once more.
“I’m sorry.” Igmar scowls. “His will is too strong for me, even from beyond the grave. There is nothing more I can do right now.”