Disaster on the waters of the Voldor Bay had sunk the “Audacious” and nearly cost the Agents of Prince Sevlen their very lives. Many others on board were far less fortunate, meeting their end in the collision or being dragged to the depths as the broken vessel descended. The lost included the captured slave handlers, numerous freshly rescued women, several crew members and Captain Alon; who, in a final act of despair, willingly went down with his ship.
Despite the catastrophic loss of life, the incident did, as Maldus Randorian might say, have a sliver lining of sorts. The mysterious Wood Elf Ellanelle Arbordawn served as a capable and worthwhile ally, pulling as many as she could from the water, and standing shoulder to shoulder with the Group in their battle against the horrific undead who sought to finish what the crash had started. Would she prove to be the replacement for Zeph that the Party had been searching for?
Homeday, Fifth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Given leave by Prince Sevlen to take a few days of respite following their recent accomplishments against the slavers inhabiting the lighthouse island offshore from Itven, the Party members dispersed themselves, tending to various personal affairs. Ellanelle, having previously spoken to Welitryn Harrobalaea regarding the druid Nilu, located Hilg intent on learning the news delivered to the Half-Orc by way of animal messenger days before.
Hilg, who had awoken that morning bearing what appeared to be self-inflicted scratches on his torso, shared the contents of his correspondence. Combining the animal messenger’s request for aid with Ellanelle’s knowledge that Nilu had recently battled a threat of unknown origin, the pair deduced that the encounter must have gone against the elder Druid, and that assistance would likely be needed sooner rather than later.
Elsewhere, Maldus found himself hastily approached by fellow Merciful Fate Telerai. The Tender audibly thanked the gods and informed his subordinate that his assistance was needed straight away. He explained that Soother Vrasthaldol and his entourage were set to arrive shortly and that the pair would need to make everything perfect for his inevitable inspection. Having once been the religious colleague of Maldus’ father Aldus Randorian, the Soother’s reputation for strict adherence to doctrine was well known to both.
Vrasthaldol was every bit as good as his reputation, immediately chastising Telerai, insisting that the Tender’s time would be far better spent preaching in Eastpeg than the city’s myriad taverns. From Maldus he demanded an accounting of his ministry along the coastal roadway, citing circulation of the high praise the junior cleric had received following his success at the Academy’s selection challenges earlier that summer.
Sensing that the Soother’s apparent anger was instead redirected frustration, Maldus did as instructed, recounting his various acts of faith during the journey. Appeased, Vrasthaldol’s antagonism subsided and the discussions proceeded more amicably. The man expressed his discontent with the state of affairs in Eastpeg and exclaimed that the “momentary happiness” provided by The Merry Muses was a poor substitute for the spiritual well-being that was needed.
Plans for a faith event in the shantytown began to take shape as the trio of clergy toured the temple. Maldus agreed to oversee the affair, and soon assembled a large tent in Eastpeg, and enlisted the help of Dokari the illusionary Elf to assist him in preparations. Telerai made stops to numerous taverns seeking donations for the event while Vrasthaldol and his followers settled into a nearby inn.
Meanwhile, over in the Greens district, Stoat conversed with former academy acquaintances Jaren and Jiffar, enlisting the Half-Elves for escort duty for the returning women. Many had expressed interest in traveling back to their former homes, and the Halfling intended all to arrive safely. After gaining their acceptance and acquiring appropriate permission from Headmaster Volren, Stoat left the pair to assemble their team and headed to the familiar antiquities shop of Forberon.
The wizard’s guild broker had a special request for the Infiltrator, one that would require his particular talents. He explained that an affluent client who had generously been extended a line of credit was now contending that the item he purchased was stolen, and that he would be unable to make payments until the item had been recovered, the gold being required to pay for private investigation into the theft. Stoat’s mission would be to verify this story.
Believing the tale to be a falsehood, Forberon desired Stoat to enter the man’s home, and return with the location of the item should it be there. The Halfling agreed to undertake the mission, and the broker bid him return on the morrow for the full details on the item and its owner.
Godday, Sixth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Arriving to the hamlet of Tigden, Rarnok and Relmir enjoyed the hospitality of Brendolm’s new home, staying in his manner house and bearing witness to the joyous reunion of brother and sister, long separated for many months. The former Agent of Prince Sevlen also spoke with Relmir of local troubles he could use a solid sword arm for. Mongrelmen from the Avdoron Mires who saw the tiny settlement as a prime location for theft and robbery.
Back in Cosolen, the Eastpeg tent of Maldus Randorian received a visitor and his henchmen. The slaver Grusenomar Vleddril had caught wind of the cleric’s location after hearing of his impending religious celebration and sought payback for his decimated horse stabling facility. He was joined by escaped criminal Ichrinthan Stroon and master tracker Holcrel, who stood watch at the tent’s entrance as the slavers entered.
Attacking Maldus after exchanging condescending remarks, the pair of slavers were stopped up short, encircled by a powerful wall of thought spell from the formidable cleric. Holcrel, being merely a hireling and easily bribed, accepted an offer of gold in exchange for alerting the city watch as to the presence of the wanted men. As the tracker left to alert the authorities, Dokari used her potent gaze attacks, lulling the slavers into false friendship.
Notified by a watchmen runner that Maldus had been attacked and required assistance at the Eastpeg tent, Hilg left his lodging at the temple of the Founder’s Creation and made his way outside the city walls. He arrived alongside the city’s guardsmen, and observed as Vleddril and Stroon surrendered themselves, on the suggestion of their most trusted ally Dokari. With the pair taken away, the tracker Holcrel returned for the promised payment.
Impressed by the ruffian’s ability to trail targets, the pair of Investigators offered the man a new job, to track the “Dark Lady” Guldella Olmlor from the site of her last known position in the small town of Bolnven. Given the distance he would be forced to travel before he could even begin seeking her out, Holcrel listed his price at 15,000 gp, stating that said price procured his constant service until the task was done, and a guarantee of success.
The duo sued for time to acquire the gold, and were given twenty-four hours before the tracker would no longer be available. A hurried trip to the palace of Prince Sevlen for the funds ended in disappointment as His Highness was indisposed, and Golden Alliance Gem Folikar Pateris proved disagreeable with regards to granting the necessary gold. Vowing to inform the Prince of the disagreement, the Agents left for the time being.
With the setting of the sun, Stoat made his covert entrance into the home of his target debtor, Duke Ilthan. The hours prior to his surveillance had been spent in discussions with Forberon and the details of the deal had been finalized. In exchange for verification of the presence (or absence) of the contested item, a small statue bearing a powerful magical aura, the antiquities dealer would acquire a dire weasel as payment.
As suspected, the Duke did indeed still possess the item, hidden away in a small chamber secreted behind a sliding panel. The room contained many rare items, including a number of statues potentially fitting the description provided. Inspecting and marking each in turn, Stoat was stricken with an out of body vision upon touching the final piece. His mind’s eye floated through a darkened corridor and passing through a blackened steel door rimmed in crimson light.
Endless hordes of undead lumbered about the chamber, thrall to a feminine creature who seemed to be almost an avatar of undeath itself. So complete was her control of the horde that she was as a mother to the shambling damned, and treated them as such, speaking to the undead as wayward babes. Coming to at last, Stoat exited the residence, his mission complete, but with new questions to ponder regarding this statue and the vision it had given him.
Veshday, Seventh of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Returning to the antiquities shop of Forberon in the early morning, Stoat informed him of the presence of the item in question and gave its location within the residence to him. The broker was enthused, and thanked the Infiltrator, vowing to notify him as soon as his promised dire weasel had arrived. The Halfling took his leave then, heading to regroup with the Party as soon as possible.
Once again at the Prince’s palace, the remaining Agents were thrilled to discover that Prince Sevlen was now free to grant them the desired audience. His Highness was exhausted, a condition Maldus remedied with his divine magic. Sevlen would broker no disagreements between Pateris and his Agents, so the Group begrudgingly let the previous day’s incident go. The recent capture of Grusenomar Vleddril had placed the Prince in good spirits, and he returned the favor by providing the necessary gold to acquire Holcrel’s services.
Meeting back at Maldus’ Eastpeg tent just before the tracker’s deadline, the Group relinquished the chest of gold coins and instructed Holcrel as to his target’s description. He was also informed that Dokari would be scrying on him at the noon hour daily, using her clairaudience to receive updates on his progress. The ruffian nodded his approval and hefted his payment out of the tent.
With that business out of the way, Stoat revealed his previous mission to the Group and told them of the vision he had witnessed, and the feminine creature he had seen. Maldus recognized the details of the vision’s location immediately, having seen the same locale himself, in his own vision upon first encountering the unknowing lycanthrope paladin Sendrita Fordril.
Ellanelle Arbordawn spoke next, she and Hilg bringing the urgency of Nilu’s plight to the Group, and stating their desire to aid him. It was agreed that the elder Druid should be aided, however, with both the faith event of The Merciful Fates and the return of Rarnok and Relmir scheduled for the following day, the Party would need to wait for these events to pass before it could travel. All in attendance nodded their agreement and returned home for rest.
Diaday, Eighth of Replanting, 1044 Y.K.
Devoting the bulk of the day to his religious ceremony, Maldus stood alongside Soother Vrasthaldol and Telerai, hearing hopes for the futures and penance for past failings. Turnout had been better than expected, drawing the ire of The Merry Muses, who felt that the “sudden interest” of The Merciful Fates was a subtle insult to their constant vigil over the past year’s time. Despite this minor rivalry, the event was a success, generating 2800 gp in donations from city folk to help the unfortunates of Eastpeg.
With his allies all attending the ceremony, Stoat visited the city dungeon, wishing to check the status of Grusenomar Vleddril. The slaver sat nearly motionless in his prison cell, almost lovestruck, with Dokari’s name on his lips. Satisfied that the brawny slaver was suitably detained, he exited the prison and returned to the Academy grounds to prepare for the following day’s travel.
With the day nearly at its end, the Party’s wagon containing Rarnok and Roth entered the city at long last. The Gnome sorcerer explained the absence of Relmir and told the Group of Brendolm’s trouble with the Mongrelmen of the Avdoron Mires. Not wishing to leave their former teammate undermanned, the Party called upon Grond Plonnor and Ervaln Norforn to travel to the hamlet as well, and reinforce the Knight-Paladin.
The brothers-through-marriage agreed to the assignment and readied themselves, Norforn assembling his array of architect’s tools and Grond bringing his wife Wulalta up to speed. The woman refused to stay behind, having been away from her husband for many months. She gathered herself and bid the Party, her saviors a fond farewell. With Brendolm’s reinforcements set to leave the following day, the Group turned in early, knowing their own trek to Nilu started tomorrow as well…