Curse of the Crimson Throne (TRU)

Down Below (Part One)
Episode #17

 

Down Below (Part One)

 

                The Harrows were slowly recovering from the ambush that they had fallen into while exploring Old Korvosa by the strange group known as the Red Mantis. They gathered what they could from the bodies and decided that they had to see what was going on over here and for that they might need Vencarlo’s help. Si’ro had some experience in tracking and they went back to the academy to see if he could pick up a trail. As he surveyed the ground he saw that the tracks were quite muddled as the riots and crowds had moved through the area. It didn’t look like that the academy had seen any use in the past few days however which was quite troublesome.

                They then decided to look for what they came here for in the first place: the wererat den suspected to be the cause of this plague. For the next few hours the group scoured the streets checking out any access points that would lead them down to the sewers where the wererat enjoyed staying. At the end of it all, they found nothing as they were beginning to grow tired.

                “I’m starting to think this was a lie.” Lumpen said as he looked towards the rest of the group.

                “I agree with the little one.” Xandak said, resting against a nearby wall. “That doctor lied to us! I will have his head.”

                Jathan looked towards them as he motioned to try and calm the half-orc. “Easy there. We need to figure out the best course of action. Let’s find a place to camp out for the night and head back to the mainland tomorrow. Then…let’s pay our old doctor friend a visit.”

                The rest of the group agreed as they began to find a place to camp out. They found an old abandoned shop and used it as their home for the night, keeping a few people on watch to make sure that nothing attacked them during the night. The night went by without an issue as the riots and mobs of people seemed to leave this area alone. With a new day ahead of them, the Harrows got ready and made their way back to the docks where they had said they would signal Deman to get them. A quick performance of lights from Trigeji and Deman shortly appeared with his boat to ferry them back across to the rest of Korvosa.

                The adventurers started to make their way back to the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden to talk with Dr. Davaulus. When they arrived there, they saw that the door had been boarded up and it caught them by surprise. Jathan stopped one of the citizens walking along the street to question them about what had happened. The man said that the word on the street was someone attacked the hospice during the night and due that forced them to relocate to a secret location. They took all the people and shut down this warehouse. This sudden news raised some eyebrows from the group as they wondered what exactly was going on. They thanked the man and went back to exploring the warehouse, heading to the back where they had initially gotten into the building. They saw that the hole they had made had been boarded up as they motioned towards one of the other doors. Xandak nodded as he needed to get some anger out and smashed a hole in the door, prying some of the wood off to create an opening for them to enter.

                Like last time, Jathan moved in first on his own to scout out the place and make sure it was safe. He peeked through the leather curtains into the main room and saw all the beds had been left there but there were no bodies. There was also no sign of any of the physicians or Grey Maidens that were here before. The half-elf returned back to the group to let them know what he saw in there and the rest of them then moved in. Once inside the warehouse, the group of adventurers moved up to the top floor to see what was there. They saw the set of double doors that Dr. Davaulus had been standing next to last time and a quick check revealed it to still be locked. Jathan went to work picking lock and soon it was open for them to go in. The room behind the door had a series of beds along either wall with some tables in the center. The tables were covered with broken glass and it appeared that most of what was there had been destroyed. An examination of the beds showed that these beds had leather restraints on them as the party looked at one another.

                “They were experimenting on people up here…” Jathan said, tugging on one of the restraints.

                Barilut looked around the tables in the center and saw some burnt papers. Most of them were destroyed but some weren’t fully burned and he could make out some of the writing. “Hey guys, look at this…” The dwarf said as he motioned to the paper and started reading it out. It mentioned doing work for Urgathoa and “Sending it down to A”.

                “Down?” Trigeji said, wondering what they meant by that.

                “Maybe there is something beneath the building.” Si’ro said, wondering how that could be when he tried his trick on the lift. They took the paper and continued exploring the room when they saw another door at the end of the room. As they went to go check that door out they saw it lead to what appeared to be an office and figured it was probably Dr. Davaulus’s office. The place looked ransacked as books were thrown off the shelves and vials were smashed on the table. Si’ro moved over to check some of the broken vials and saw that it appeared to be blood. The books themselves looked to be anatomy and medical volumes and had no clues to what they were planning.

                With the office checked they started to look into the “Down below” part of the burnt documents and how to get there. They figured that they may as well check the lift once more as they went back through the building and into the cargo lift. A pull of the lever and they started to descend as the group tried to see if they noticed anything. It wasn’t until Jathan used his sharp vision that he noticed something peculiar with the panel that operated the lift. In the slot where the lever was there appeared to be an indentation for something like a small button, but it was missing. The rogue went to work trying to open and bypass whatever this mechanism was and a few moments later the panel clicked. This time they tried pulling the lever down and it gave as the lift began to descend further down into a new, hidden lower level of the hospice.

                The lift opened and they were in darkness as there were no lights. Lumpen quickly used Light on Trigeji’s Warhammer to light up the space as they stepped forward into a large room. The walls of the room were decorated with carvings and murals of skeletons dancing among fields of dead. A number of the doors in the room were decorated with skeletons wielding large scythes. The Harrows moved towards one of the doors as Jathan examined it. He could detect that the door wasn’t just made to look eerie but was trapped as well as he began to decipher a way to get past. A few moments later and the door’s seal was broken as they pushed open the door and entered the next room.

                This room had a table in the center with a number of cabinets lining the wall. Looking into these cabinets they saw an assortment of robes similar to those that the physicians wore and even a few of the strange masks that they wore. Looking through the room they found one of the cabinets was locked and with a quick pick of the lock the door was opened as the party grabbed some of the potions, healer’s kits, and some onyx gems. They searched the room for any more items before continuing through another door and into what appeared to be a barracks of sort. A number of beds with chests at the foot of it lined the room as a few figures stood there in leathery robes. They were a number of the Queen’s Physicians and they turned when they saw an intruder, proclaiming that they didn’t belong here as they moved in to attack. The physicians reached into their robes pulling out these small concoctions before tossing it towards the group of adventurers. The object exploded in a blast of fire as it splashed around and burned a few others.

                “Careful! They have bombs!” Si’ro said, recognizing what they were throwing. The adventurers charged into the physicians, closing the distance and using their power to overwhelm them. By getting in close they could reduce the number of bombs thrown since the blast radius would hit their own. However this also opened them up to getting swarmed as the physicians moved to attack from all angles. A few moments later and the physicians laid dead around them with the party only taking minor injuries from the attacks. Xandak wiped his brow as he cleaned his greataxe while they looked through the chests to see if there was anything of value. A few bottles of wine and other trinkets later, the Harrows had finished exploring this room and were ready to move on.

                They opened the door and walked into a room that they were not expecting. The floors and walls were glass and behind the glass were numbers of undead bodies, writhing and wriggling as some pressed and clawed at the thick glass. It was such an eerie sight as they were surrounded by this display of death that they almost didn’t notice the number of undead zombies in this room standing by a number of doors. The monsters saw the party enter as they lurched forward and began to move in their direction. Lumpen blasted one of them with a barrage of magic missiles before Barilut, Xandak, and Trigeji fanned out to keep the undead back. They had fought similar undead before at the Carowyn Manor so they knew what they up against. This time they were more prepared as Lumpen began to summon a monster and suddenly this creature of dancing lights appeared around them. The monster spun in its place, its body glowing as it shot out rays of light towards the zombies burning their flesh with its divine energy.

                The bodies of the zombies crumbled under the Harrows might as Jathan turned to look back at Lumpen. “What was that monster you summoned?”

The gnome sorcerer smiled a bit as the creature faded from this existence, “It’s a Lantern Archon. I figured we could use some additional support and firepower to take these guys down.”

Barilut smirked a bit. “Nice work. I agree that we must not hold back against these foes. They are killing this city and must be stopped.”

The adventurers decided to go through the door that had two of the zombies guarding it and it led them into a large open chamber. The chamber had similar carvings of undead marching through series of dead corpses and up near the ceiling the carvings of a female figure with her entire lower body just a skeleton overlooked it all. The room had three large metal vats in here that seemed to be bubbling to the brim with a putrid greenish color to it. A set of stairs lined the two walls that led to a series of catwalks that traversed over the vats. Inside this room they saw a number of hooded figures wearing robes, each one of them wielding what appeared to be a scythe. Some of them were tending to the vats while others walked around. Near the center of the room overlooking it all was a familiar sight of Dr. Reiner Davaulus. When he heard the doors open he turned to see who it was as a smirk crept along his lips.

“Well..it seems the little ambush didn’t take care of you guys. How disappointing…” Davaulus said.

Jathan looked up at the man. “It didn’t. Next time you should hire someone more challenging.” These words brought a chuckle out from the doctor as he glanced at the half-elf. “Just because you disposed of a few assassins doesn’t warrant such bravado. After all, you fell for my ruse like sheep.”

“We fell for it because we care for the city and want to protect it.” Lumpen said, getting angry at the words spoken. Again Davaulus turned to the speaker and looked at them before speaking to the whole group. “I do care for this city. That is why I am trying to save it. The city is plagued with the poor and ill-ridden. These people need to be cleansed so that we can make Korvosa a great city moving forward. It truly is a great cause.”

“Enough of this. Let’s end it.” Xandak said, clutching his greataxe tightly as they prepared for battle.

The mysterious hooded figures began to move towards them, coming from both sides as some made their way down the catwalks while some were on the ground floor already. Davaulus began to speak once more to invigorate and empower the strange cultists around him as the Harrows started to clash with the scythe wielding enemies. The battle was broken out into two fronts where Si’ro and Xandak handled one side of cultists while Jathan, Barilut, and Trigeji handled the other side. Lumpen stayed between them so that he could provide support to either side if needed. The cultists all seemed to cast a spell before charging into battle and the gnome sorcerer shouted out, “Careful! They are using Magic Weapon.” A few of the cultists who were on the catwalk dipped the long curved blade of their weapon into the vat coating it with whatever was in there as they continued their march down towards the group.

The strange cultists that were charging the adventurers began to swing their scythes slashing at them with a ferocity to try and keep the intruders back. Each slash that connected sliced through armor leaving nasty cuts on them as Davaulus watched on from his spot on the catwalk. The doctor reached into his jacket and pulled out a strange concoction as he inhaled it and his body seemed to glow briefly. “You shouldn’t have come down here. This will be your grave!” Davaulus said out to the Harrows.

Barilut and Trigeji ran to clash with some of the cultists as they swung their flail and Warhammer respectively, smashing them into the sides of these figures.  The figures winced in pain but continued their advance. One of the cultists saw Jathan moving around to try and flank as he began to cast a spell. Suddenly, the rogue’s body stiffened and couldn’t move as the Hold Person took effect and paralyzed him. The dwarf and gnome saw their friend caught in the spell and moved in a way to put them between the cultists and Jathan so that they could protect their teammate. Meanwhile on the other end of the room Xandak broke into a rage as he started to swing his greataxe towards the cultists slicing deep through the armor as he let his anger towards them fuel his power. Si’ro moved in position with his musket taking a number of shots at the cultists to break their armor and keep them back.

Davaulus saw that the Harrows were proving to be quite skilled in dealing with the cultists as he began to cast a spell of his own and in a blink the man disappeared from view as the sound of movement could be heard along the catwalk. Lumpen saw that Davaulus vanished and studied the catwalk a bit as he began to cast a spell. “Not so fast!” The gnome sorcerer said as suddenly a cloud of golden dust particles appeared and scattered on the catwalk. As the particles settled it outlined the figure of Davaulus ruining the effects of Invisibility with his successful use of Glitterdust. The doctor scowled a bit at the spell as his plan was ruined.  The cultists were starting to get worn down a bit by the might of the adventurers as some of them began to cast healing spells on each other to restore some of their wounds while the ones that were patched up moved forward and continued to slash and slice with their scythes. Davaulus proceeded to make his way along the catwalk with some of the cultists to the nearest staircase that led to Xandak and Si’ro.

Once again Lumpen saw the man moving along the catwalk as he began to cast another spell. Suddenly, part of the catwalk began to glisten as the Grease spell covered the area. Davaulus slipped a bit but was able to keep his footing in the area but the cultist who was with him stumbled as they fell prone. The gnome sorcerer was beginning to manipulate the battlefield to give the group the tactical advantage they needed to limit the oncoming assault of cultists from both sides. The doctor was beginning to grow weary of this as he reached into his jacket once more to pull out a small object and tossed it at Xandak. The bomb exploded as it burned part of the half-orc’s skin only angering the bloodrager even more. In retaliation, he brought the greataxe down and sliced into one of the cultists killing him with ease. Si’ro had moved to the staircase to intercept the oncoming cultists as he fired off two more shots towards one of them critically injuring him. Davaulus saw the gunslinger approaching and turned to throw another bomb towards Si’ro causing the flames to explode and burn part of him as the cultists continued to advance.

“As for you…” Davaulus said, turning his attention towards the half-orc. He had watched Xandak take down a number of cultists and knew he was quite strong. “…Take a breather.” The doctor cast a spell and suddenly Xandak dropped to the ground as he started to laugh. The laughing was uncontrollably as he rolled back and forth on the floor suffering the effects of the Hideous Laughter spell. With him currently indisposed, the cultists could focus on Si’ro and the others. Lumpen saw Xandak fall to the ground laughing and knew they were in trouble and had to call in some help. He quickly summoned up another Lantern Archon that began to shoot beams of light into the cultists. While the battle heated up on this side of the room, the other side was turning into a slugfest as Barilut and Trigeji were trying to take down cultist after cultist.

Jathan finally could feel his body as the Hold Person faded and he was ready to get his revenge. He darted behind one of the cultists and thrusted his dagger into the back of him to kill it. One of the cultists saw the numbers were beginning to favor the Harrows and clutched the holy symbol around his neck as he washed the area with negative energy which harmed Jathan, Barilut, and Trigeji as he desperately tried to take them out. However while they seemed to be defeating the cultists on this side the other side didn’t look as good as Xandak was still laughing on the ground. Davaulus jumped down from the catwalk and went over to the half-orc as he plunged the rapier into his side causing him to bleed out profusely. The half-orc finally snapped out of the laughing but was in terrible shape as his ferocity kicked in. He looked up from the ground and clutched his greataxe as he swung it one final time. “Take this!” Xandak screamed as the axe cut into Davaulus causing a nasty gash into him.

But the attack wasn’t enough as the doctor still stood. After the swing Xandak lost any energy he had as his body collapsed to the ground and laid there still. Xandak was dead and the first member of the Harrows to fall in battle. The rest of the group paused for a moment as they turned and saw their comrade fall. Si’ro continued to blast the cultists on the catwalk taking them down as Lumpen focused the archon on Davaulus. The gnome sorcerer was beginning to be drained of resources as he reached into his robes and pulled out a Wand of Magic Missile. “This is all I got left. This is for Xandak!”Lumpen said as he shot out a magic missile, the magical force crashing right into Davaulus’s body. The arcane blast scorched the man as his body fell to the ground dead. Doctor Reiner Davaulus had been defeated and with him down the cultists had no chance as the group of adventurers struck them down one by one. Soon, the Harrows stood amongst all the dead bodies as victors of the battle although at a cost of one of their own.

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Hospice Stay
Episode #16

 

Hospice Stay

 

                After the run in with the Grey Maidens the Harrows turned their attention to the last issue they had discovered: the Queen’s Physicians. They had to go to the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden and try to figure out what exactly was going on and how were these mysterious doctors involved with it all. Making their way to the location they discovered that the building was an old warehouse converted into this hospice to help treat the victims of the Blood Veil. The Harrows checked the door knocking on it as a voice told them to come on in.

                When they walked through the door they saw a small waiting room with a long desk, a number of chairs and a dark leathery curtain that concealed the next room. Muffled sounds of moaning and coughing could be heard through the curtain as the Harrows made their way up to the counter to the burly figure behind the desk wearing gloves and what appeared to be numerous scarves wrapped around her face to cover her mouth.

                “Put your name on the list and wait to be called.” The burly female said as she waved in the general direction of the notepad that appeared to have a list of names on it. Turning around one could see chairs lining the wall with more than half of them filled with sick people. Barilut turned back towards the nurse as he tried to reason with her.

                “We are trying to speak with Dr. Davalaus and are offering to help.” The dwarf said as he looked at her.

                The woman looked at him. “You will be allowed to see him when your name is called. Those are the rules.”

                Jathan sighed as he grew frustrated with these waiting games. “I’m going to grab some fresh air.” The half elf said as he went outside. Once out, he began to explore and check out the entire building as he walked around it. There were no windows to sneak into but he did come across what appeared to be three loading doors from back when the building was used as a warehouse. The doors appeared to be sealed and not used for a while so they would require some force to get in but it would skip waiting in line. He smirked a bit at this discovery as he made his way back to the rest of the group to tell them what he found.

                They liked the idea of going through the loading door but knew it would probably cause a noise so they needed to keep the nurse occupied. Barilut and Trigeji chose to stay back and talk with the nurse while the rest of the party went around to where the loading doors were. After giving them a closer look they figured there was only one way in as Xandak raised his greataxe and brought it down chopping a large chunk of the door with it. He then used his half-orc strength to tear the rest of it down until there was a large enough opening for all to pass. The adventurers slowly made their way into the building and were now in a room that contained a large number of crates and barrels. Examining the crates they saw that they were here for some time and appeared to be from all regions of the world as tags read off places like Vudra, Mwangi Expanse, Taldor.

                “Looks like this place had quite a few imports coming in.” Si’ro said as he browsed the wares. Jathan also looked around the room and nodded. “Seems this warehouse was used for some sort of trading company. Either way, let’s find what we’re after.” Lumpen interrupted the half elf as he looked up at him. “This should help you scout out the area.” The gnome sorcerer said as he placed a hand on the rogue and cast Invisibility. Suddenly the half elf vanished from sight and combined with his natural ability to sneak around quietly he would go explore the warehouse to see what was going on. Slipping through the dark leather curtain Jathan saw the large open floor of the former warehouse covered with over five dozen beds almost all filled with sick patients. Hovering from bed to bed were a few of the Queen’s Physicians, their bird masks giving an eerie look to the whole scene. About 20 feet above the floor was a set of catwalks that overlooked the ward with a number of Grey Maidens patrolling above. He glanced over and saw a set of double doors with a few more Grey Maidens guarding it.

                Jathan returned back to the group as he told them the layout of the hospice. It was interesting to note that the Grey Maidens were here and they wondered what they were guarding. They discussed a plan to try and take out the guards as the group took their positions for a potential ambush. When everyone was in place Lumpen used Ghost Sounds to create enough noise to lure the guards. Sure enough, the two Grey Maidens guarding the door went over to explore what was making the sound. Once they crossed the curtain the ambush was sprung as Jathan and Xandak each took one as they unloaded into them with their weapons. Si'ro’ was near the back of the room and unloaded a few musket shots that while proving effective in putting down the guards was also quite loud.

                Meanwhile, Trigeji and Barilut were chatting with the nurse at the counter when they heard the sound of gunfire and knew that something was going down. They tried to keep her distracted but she ran back into the ward to see what was happening. They quickly rushed outside and went around to the back of the building where the loading doors were. By the time the two of them made it inside the storage room the two Grey Maidens collapsed on the ground. “What’s going on?” Barilut said as he saw Xandak pushing some of the crates across one of the doorways into the room to barricade it. However they didn’t have enough time as the Queen’s Physicians barged in demanding to know what was going on. The adventurers told them that they wanted to see Dr. Davalaus and the figure responded that if they waited patiently they would see him then.

                A few minutes passed before the physician took them to the stairwell and went upstairs. They eventually were brought to a room and saw Doctor Reiner Davalaus standing before them, a Grey Maiden on each side of him as well as a number of his physicians in the room as well. He turned to look at the group before speaking.

                “What is the meaning of all this?” Davalaus asked them, outraged at what was going on at the hospice.

                Jathan stepped forward. “We wanted to speak with you to first see how things are progressing and if any help was needed. Could working with the temples help at all?”

                “The temples are doing their best to heal the disease but we are also trying to research a cure for it as well.” Doctor Davalaus said. “If we can develop a cure then we can stop all of this.”

                “We did discover something else….a house with a mad woman in it. She provided details of giving a man over to a necromancer who was escorted by some of your physicians. We also have reason to believe that a cult of Urgathoa may be involved.” The half elf told the doctor.

                The man pondered for a moment, rubbing his temple as he took in all this information. “I’m unsure of these physicians that you speak of but dealing with such a widespread plague is quite stressful and some may not be able to stay strong and stray from the path. It is a sad thing. However I do believe there is something a group of adventurers like yourselves can do for me. I have suspicion to believe that this disease originated from a small cabal of wererats living in the sewers of Old Korvosa who worships a parasitic deity. I haven’t had the time or resources to send a team to investigate but you seem like a competent group.”

                The Harrows listened to the doctor and agreed to go check out this group of wererats seeing as how they had experience with wererats in the past. The last thing they wanted to ask was about the room that was guarded downstairs and Davalaus told them it contained the lift that was behind them. The group decided to try out the lift as they were escorted back down by one of the physicians. As they arrived at the ground floor Si’ro bumped into the man operating the lift controls to see if he would accidentally not stop it there and push on to a lower level. The lift however did stop at the ground floor and the party was all escorted out to the street.

                The task now was to figure out how to get into Old Korvosa due to the quarantine that was in place. All the bridges had been destroyed and the main bridge was blockaded off with a stone wall leaving only way in by water. They figured the best way to get in would be at a quiet spot and went to Trail’s End across the Jeggare River to try and find a boat. Here in this poor district where they had first seen the disease they would hope to cross over to the small island. The adventurers walked around the area until they eventually came upon a man working on his boat. They approached him and offered to pay him for a ride over to Old Korvosa. After much discussion he agreed and ferried them across.

                The man was named Deman and he seemed to be a nice guy. They even arranged a deal for him to come back and get them by checking the coast of Old Korvosa at 2 pm for a signal which would end up being an assortment of Dancing Lights. Once everything had been agreed the boat sailed back to Trail’s End and the adventuring group was out to try and find this group of wererats. Looking around Old Korvosa they saw the place was in pretty bad shape. The plague had hit the area hard and many diseased bodies lined the street. With the quarantine anarchy had begun to break out as riots and mobs filled the streets. The party slowly navigated the streets and made their way over to the Orisini Academy to check on their old friend Vencarlo. They hadn’t seen him since the plague began to grow severe. Arriving at the academy they saw that it was still closed and knocking on it proved to have fruitless results.

                After striking out with Vencarlo, the Harrows decided to move on and begin searching for the sewers and any leads on the wererat threat. As they navigated around they were suddenly surrounded by four strange masked assailants dressed in red with weird mantis masks on. These strange figures didn’t talk as they moved towards the group with their blades drawn ready for combat. The first one extended its sabres out and began to sway them in a rhythmic pattern that seemed to draw the viewer in. Jathan glanced at this and couldn’t resist the rhythmic sway as he grew fascinated with it and stood motionless watching it all. Meanwhile, the other three shrouded themselves in red mist as they dove in for attacks against the party. Quickly Xandak, Trigeji, and Barilut rushed out to meet them to create a perimeter as Si’ro and Lumpen prepared to help fend these assassins off.

                The one that was enchanting Jathan seemed to draw nearer and nearer as it captivated the rogue. Si’ro looked over and saw that he was in trouble as he aimed the musket and let a shot ring out right into the assassin’s side. The impact caused the mantis to stagger momentarily and break his concentration which snapped Jathan back to reality as he now saw the situation around him and it didn’t look good. Each swing of the sword from these assassins that landed proved to be deadly as the serrated edges cut into their skin and left deep cuts. The half-elf turned to see Barilut, a bastion of defense for their group covered with cuts and bleeding as these assassins proved to be able to penetrate the dwarf’s armor. Xandak rushed over to help Jathan with the assassin that was closing in on him as his greataxe swung and left a deep gash in their armor. The half orc was also showing heavy wounds as he growled and raged in the face of his enemies.

                The first assassin dropped to Xandak’s greataxe and as his body fell it faded into red mist leaving just his gear behind. They had finally defeated one of these enemies and were shocked by this turn of events, questioning if they had ties to vampirism.  But by charging and taking this one down they left an opening as one of the dual wielding assassins ran towards Si’ro and slashed its blade into the gunslinger. Xandak rushed over to try and stop him but as he did the assassin turned and thrusted his blade into the half-orc causing him to cough out blood. Xandak bit his tongue as he clenched onto his axe, using his ferocity to stay on his feet and fight through the pain. He stepped away and drank a potion quickly to heal himself and get stabilized. When he was stable he invoked the arcane ways and suddenly his axe elongated almost like a whip as it lashed out towards the target’s legs and cut into them causing the assassin to get knocked to the ground. Once on the ground, he was no match for Si’ro’s gunfire and the greataxe of Xandak as the second assassin had fallen.

                The other two had been occupied dealing with the rest of the party as Barilut and Jathan tried to stop one while Trigeji was taking on the other. However, the pink haired gnome was having a tough time as the blade cut into her back once more causing her to fall to the group and bleed out. Xandak rushed over to try and save the gnome as he swung his axe to block the next set of blades and protect her.  With the odds in their favor now they had the advantage and soon the other two assassins were defeated, their bodies fading into the red mist. The Harrows had survived the assault but barely as both Trigeji and Xandak were passed out from bleeding after everything was done and Barilut and Si’ro were severely wounded. They examined the armor and gear of their attackers and determined that they were members of the Red Mantis Assassins, a deadly assassin organization. Why would they be here? More importantly, why were they sent after the group and by who? Who knew that they would be here in Old Korvosa? The attack proved to open up many more doors then close any and provide answers.

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The Hungry Dead
Episode #15

 

The Hungry Dead

 

                The Harrows continued their quest to try and put an end to the mysterious vampire spawn that they had discovered in Racker’s Alley. They went back to Citadel Volshynek to speak with Cressida on the matter to see if she could provide any assistance to them. They confirmed with her that there were a number of bodies there and she was planning on sending some guards to keep the place secure so no more dumping happened there. However, she couldn’t provide a dedicated support force to deal with the vampire spawn threat directly due to how stretched the Korvosan Guard was.

                The adventurers were stumped on where they could go to get some aid as they tried to plan their next move. It was then they decided to go ask the Grey Maidens for assistance as they were the new protective law force of the city. Walking through the streets of the city they would eventually cross paths with one of the patrols as it wasn’t hard to spot the crimson plumes and shiny full plate armor. They stopped the patrol as they asked them to come provide aid with a matter that threatened the city. The female voice behind the metal helmet told them to leave as they weren’t about to chase any lead or theory from a citizen. This just angered the party as they didn’t understand how people who said they were protecting the city could ignore a danger.

                It was then that they decided to go speak with Queen Ileosa herself on the matter as they made their way to the large pyramid that Castle Korvosa sat upon. The last time they were here the place was heavily guarded with Korvosan Guard but it seemed like now a number of those posts had been replaced with Grey Maidens as they created quite the formidable force around the structure. As they approached the guards stopped them in their place. Jathan moved up and said that the Harrows were here to speak with Queen Ileosa about matters. The Grey Maiden shook her head as she told them that no one was allowed into the Castle as the Queen has requested no visitors. They were put back by such a thing as they had seen the Queen in the past and even were working for her to help protect the city. Why would she not let them through?

                They then told the Grey Maiden to deliver a message to Sabina Merrin that the Harrows were here and wanted to speak with her and the Queen about a threat to the city. One of the guards went up the stairs to go deliver the message as the Harrows waited down at the perimeter for them to return. Minutes passed by until 15 minutes or so and the guard returned. The Grey Maiden told them that she passed the message to their captain and after some discussion their request was denied. Jathan couldn’t believe this as the guard not only took a long time but didn’t even deliver the message properly. He accused them of being incompetent at their jobs and only preferring to stand around and look menacing then actually get their hands dirty with any real work.

                Such insults provoked the guards as they drew their blades and looked at the adventurers menacingly, warning them to watch their tongue about what they say. However the frustrations of the group bubbled over as they snapped back and told her that they weren’t scared of false protectors. Suddenly a few more Grey Maidens joined in around them and let the Harrows know that they weren’t going to take their words sitting down. The adventurers now saw themselves face to face in battle with the Grey Maidens, the protectors of the city. The armored enemies set up in two rows as some charged forward with their steel shields and longswords while the ones in the back drew their longbows to provide ranged cover. They focused their attacks on Jathan as the arrows shot out and pierced the rogue as they clashed with the soldiers.

                Si’ro didn’t care for the armored guards either as he supported Jathan in this matter unloading his musket into them. The armor was no match as the bullet pierced through and struck them. Meanwhile the rest of the Harrows joined in the fray as Xandak and Trigeji swung their axe and hammer respectively to try and take down a guard. Lumpen provided support with his Haste spells and Magic Missile barrages. Barilut rushed to help heal Jathan and fortify the front as the battle continued on. However it seemed that the skilled adventurers were too much for these guards as one by one they fell to their knees unconscious. As the guards were falling, the Harrows could see more of them coming from both sides of them as it started to dawn on them that picking a fight in front of the castle might not have been the best idea.

                Barilut healed one of the Grey Maidens as she rose to her feet as he tried to talk them down and stop the fighting. However she would have none of this as she drew her sword and rejoined the battle instantly. Another shot from Si’ro and the guard was brought down again as they tried to edge their way back away from the castle. It was at this time that another Grey Maiden joined the chaos but this one appeared to be of higher status as she barked out at them to leave before they were all killed. They recognized her voice as Kordaitra Destald, one of the commanders of the Grey Maidens. This was the queue for the Harrows that they should probably bolt and with their increased speed due to the Haste spell it wasn’t hard for them to outrun the slower fully armored guards chasing them.

                When they were at a point of safety they headed to get some rest and recover from some of the wounds they had taken. During this time, Si’ro decided to hit the streets and using his silver tongue began to weave stories about how the Grey Maidens attacked them so that he could alter the facts for when word got out about what had happened. The next day, the Harrows decided that no one was going to help them with the vampire spawns so they would have to take care of it themselves. They made their way back to Racker’s Alley but this time with a plan. Armed with silversheen and alchemist’s fire, they slowly sneaked their way into the strange toy shop to where they had encountered the spawn last time. One of the doses of silversheen covered Xandak’s axe as Jathan went down into the trap door to where the four coffins were. Seeing t hem, he tossed an alchemist fire at the two coffins in the front setting them ablaze and burning the spawn sleeping inside.

                The vampire spawn awoke furiously as it screamed seeking out whoever did this to them. The loud noise and disturbance woke the other two as now all four spawn were eager to get revenge on who did this. Jathan quickly jumped out of the trap door and prepared to ambush whoever came as Xandak was on the other side. One by one the vampires would burst out from the crawl space to attack them but the sharp silvery axe of Xandak and Lumpen’s magical barrage would keep them back and destroy them. What was interesting was that when two of them appeared to have been defeated the smoke that they turned into last time dissipated and faded.

                However, two of them turned into a gaseous form as the smoke seemed to head back down into the crawl space. “The coffins!” Jathan proclaimed. “The two that faded must have been the ones that were burned. Get to the coffins.” He told them as Trigeji, Xandak, and Barilut went down after the gas. They discovered the vampire spawn had returned to their coffins, eyes shut as they were resting to recuperate from the damage that they had taken.

                “Time for you to go to sleep for good.” Trigeji said as she broke off a splintered piece from one of the other coffins and used it as a stake, driving it through the heart of the vampire as its body turned into dust. Xandak did the honors for the other spawn as he drove a stake into that one and now after proper planning all the spawns had been taken care of. With the creatures now defeated they checked the coffins for anything of note and noticed a bag with a bunch of gold coins with a strange emblem on them. They took what they could find and headed back upstairs to check out the rest of the toy store. Going through the locked door that was in here took them to what appeared to be the storefront of this establishment as the shelves were lined with poorly manufactured toys and strange models. Jathan checked around the store and found a small lockbox behind the counter that held a few more coin and a strange key with a number on it. They recognized the logo on the key to be the symbol of Abadar and figured the number had to belong to a lockbox of some kind. Putting that with the rest of the items they found they headed out relieved to have taken care of the spawn.

                The next stop in their adventure brought them to the Bank of Abadar to see what the key led to as they showed it to one of the clerics who nodded and went to get the box. He returned shortly with the lockbox as Barilut and the rest of the party were eager to see what was inside. Using the key, they opened it to see a pair of boots and an assortment of strange horrible toy designs. The boots appeared to be a set of Boots of Striding and Sprinting. It was an interesting find and definitely a nice treat after everything that they had been through.

                But now their minds turned back to the last thing they had to investigate: the Queen’s Physicians at the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden. What was going on there and would they find the answers they sought? Could they stop the plague from taking any more lives and were there more vampire spawns in the area?

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Mass Grave
Episode #14

 

Mass Grave

 

                The Harrows spent the next day or so preparing themselves for their mission to infiltrate the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden. The first order of business was to get rid of a number of items they had gotten from their dealing with the wererats and Jolstina. The group sold all the excess weapons and armor they had so that they could focus on what they really needed. The first thing they had to get were healing potions or wands of healing to help keep them up in battle. They scoured the markets and were able to get their hands on some items as it seemed that healing items were at a premium with the plague in full effect.

                The next item they wanted to get in their arsenal was some more holy water. If they were dealing with a necromancer then undead were sure to not be far and having some preparations for it would be ideal. They went to Citadel Volshyenek to talk with Ishani Dhatri about trying to get some vials of holy water. He was able to provide them with a few at that moment and would need a day to create some more, albeit reluctantly as that would mean he wouldn’t be able to contribute to help fighting the plague. The group talked him into it and with a generous donation to the church of Abadar Ishani agreed to help them out. The next day they stopped by the Citadel to pick up the vials of holy water and thanked him for his assistance.

                The group was now ready to make their way towards the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden. As they were making the final preparations, Xandak looked at the rest of the group. “Didn’t Cressida give us another lead to check out before?” Pondering what it was that the young Field Marshall had told them. After a few moments they recalled Cressida telling them about people dumping plagued bodies in an alleyway and not in the proper designated areas. They figured it would be best to not leave any stone unturned and go check it out before they headed to deal with the necromancer. Everyone agreed and they headed to the area of Korvosa known as Racker’s Alley.

                The alleyway itself was shrouded in shadows as the tall buildings that composed the area loomed overhead. Walking through the street towards the alley they saw heaps of garbage and filth piled up, flies and rats making themselves comfortable in the grime. However that wasn’t even the worst part as when they arrived at the alley they saw more than 3 dozen bodies piled up in the darkness. Looking at the bodies one could easily see the signs of blood veil with blisters and redness all over their skin, the scent of decay and rot filling the air made it clear these bodies had been here for a few days. What was strange was that some of the bodies were quite pale and showed no signs of blood veil at all.

                Jathan turned to the group telling t hem to stay here as he slowly made his way down the alleyway to scout it out. Moving further through the alley he saw the bodies were sprawled out all over and along the wall. Part of the wall had been broken and a large hole had been made to allow access into the building. The half elf continued to examine the bodies seeing that the ones that were pale had two small puncture wounds on them be it in their neck, wrist, or thighs. He continued to scout out the area heading to the end of the alleyway that seemed to come to a storefront. Making his way back to the group he told them what he had discovered. It was quite worrisome that a number of the bodies had appeared to be drained and the group of adventurers cautiously followed after Jathan. However navigating that many dead and diseased bodies piled like that proved to be a hard task as both gnomes and Si’ro brushed against the corpses getting infected themselves.

                They decided to explore the hole in the wall as they tried to sneak inside without disturbing whatever may be in there. Jathan went in first and was met with a peculiar sight of numerous dolls staring back at him. There were doll parts scattered amongst them as their eyes just stared back cold and lifeless. A workbench sat in the corner of the room with a bunch of sawdust all around it with tools scattered on top. The body of an older man sat near it, pale just like some of the bodies that were outside. Across from him was a door that seemed to lead into another room. Most of the Harrows made their way into the strange room doing their best to do so without making too much noise, but Xandak accidentally hit one of the shelves on his way in as a bunch of the dolls fell off and scattered on the ground.  The rest of the group glared back at the half-orc for making such a loud noise as they heard some stirring down below them.

                Suddenly, a trap door opened in the room as three figures jumped out of it. The figures were all pale skinned as they growled at the intruders baring their sharp teeth and fangs at them. The first one that came out charged towards Barilut as it slashed its claws at him, cutting into his shoulder. The second one glared towards the half-orc as it screamed out “This one’s mine!” before charging Xandak. The third moved to the other side as Trigeji stood there with her Warhammer in hand ready to try and dish out some pain. Si’ro and Lumpen were back near the hole in the wall providing covering fire with a mixture of their spells and firearms as musket shots and magic missiles shot out at the monsters. One of them got its claws deep into Xandak and as it did the bloodrager felt part of his life force get sapped from his body. He violently swung his axe in retaliation leaving a nasty wound right across its chest as the monster glared at him, part of the wound self-closing and healing itself right up.

                Barilut studied the monsters closer as he fortified his stance there to ward off the enemies’ attacks. He turned to the party as he shouted out. “Careful! These things look like vampire spawns. Unholy abominations.” He focused his attention back on the one in front of him as he struck it with his flail but similar to the undead they fought in the manor it proved to be ineffective. With the news of it being vampires Jathan reached into his pack to pull out the silver dagger he had taken from the butcher shop and used it as he stabbed it into the monster. The dagger cut deep inside but it seemed to have no additional effect against it as he was puzzled by it.

                Meanwhile, Lumpen’s magic was proving to be quite potent as each barrage of magic missiles blasted the vampire spawn back. Trigeji was also struggling to combat the one that was attacking her as her warhammer seemed to not be effective at all. Not only was the weapon not appearing to break through the tough defense of the vampire but her energy was being drained with each passing swipe and she felt weak and drained. The gnome darted back to get some space as she resorted to throwing daggers at it hoping to keep herself safe and on her feet. By now, the relentless assault of Xandak’s greataxe and Jathan’s dagger from behind was able to take down one of the monsters as its body faded into a gaseous form.

                It was then the dwarf had an idea as he reached into the handy haversack and pulled out one of the potions of silversheen they had. He used it to coat Xandak’s greataxe with it as he tapped the half-orc on the side. “Go get them!” Barilut said as Xandak smirked at his new weapon. With the weapon coated in silver it glistened as it sliced through the vampire spawn’s bodies. Each slice was now true and had no resistance as he slashed his way through the evil spawns. Unfortunately a fourth one had come out and lashed out towards Jathan as it clawed into him draining him of some of his life energy. He was beginning to weaken just like Trigeji as he was slow to move and get in position.

                One by one, the vampire spawns were slashed and destroyed by bursts of magic missile and the silver greataxe as Xandak had his revenge on them. With each one’s death, their body faded into a gaseous form until there was none left. The Harrows all looked at each other, some struggling to breathe and stand on their own two feet with the energy sapped from their bodies. They moved over to investigate the dead man seeing the puncture wounds all on his body similar to the ones outside. Around his neck was a ring of keys which they slid off and took, assuming it let them access the next room. Before they continued though they had to head back to their home and rest as half of their adventuring group was in bad shape. Slowly but surely everyone made their way to their home where they were able to rest and recover. Barilut tended to those that were infected, praying to Torag for guidance as he began to remove the illness from their bodies.

                As for the drained energy, the three victims fought hard to resist the drain on their bodies. They felt a mystical aura touch them as Zellara appeared there. “Allow me to provide assistance as best as I can.” The spiritual harrower said as she used some of her energy to help them in combatting the ailments. Xandak and Trigeji fought hard and made their way back to feeling like they normally did thanks to the assistance of Zellara and her magic. Jathan also invoked the aid of her and while it helped to a degree he could still feel the stain of negative energy on his soul.  Zellara’s image faded as the group looked at each other.

                “What is going on here if vampire spawns are in Korvosa?” Jathan said, holding his side as he was still in pain.

                “I’m not sure.” Xandak said, leaning against the wall as he folded his arms. “But I think we’re going to need a lot more holy water and silver weapons…”

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Death Masquerade
Episode #13

 

Death Masquerade

 

The Harrows continued exploring the house of corpses, determined to track down whoever it was that was orchestrating these strange displays. The next door they opened revealed a large dining area and around it were a series of corpses. Most of the corpses were still but there were few that sat their spooning at their plate of rotted flesh and shoveling it into your mouths. However, due to their slacked jaws the rotten food just dropped out and back onto their plates. As the doors opened they turned and looked at the adventurers, trying to claw at them.

                The group moved into the room with Barilut and Xandak taking the zombies by the door while Jathan and Trigeji took the ones across it. Si'ro ran up to the nearest zombie that was still seated as he placed the pistol at the back of its head and fired, blasting a chunk of its flesh clean off. The zombies struggled to get up from their seats taking quite some time and effort to push themselves away from the table so they could stand. This gave Jathan enough time to sneak behind one of them and plunge his dagger straight through its skull killing it. The zombie growled as it died, its face collapsing into the plate before it. While the group continued to take care of the zombies they heard the sound of laughter once again as a crossbow bolt flew from behind them and straight into Si'ro's back. The gunslinger felt the bolt plunge in deep as he dropped to the ground in severe pain.

                Jathan looked over and saw their newest acquaintance fall as he called out to Barilut. "Can you take care of him? We got this." He said as he used the zombie that he had just killed as a stepping stool to vault himself across the table to the other side of the room where another one of the zombies was. With a quick slash of his dagger he managed to kill another one. Meanwhile, Xandak was slaughtering zombies at the entrance as his greataxe was perfect for taking heads clean off. Between the two of them the zombies had been slain and Barilut took to tending Si'ro's wounds getting him back up on his feet.

                "Did you see where the bolt came from?" Lumpen asked the gunslinger about the mysterious attack.

                Si'ro shook his head. "No. But based on where it hit me I would say it came from behind us."

 

                The group moved in the direction of where the shot came from using that as a point of investigation. They moved through the doors coming to what appeared to be a library. More bodies littered the ground and corners as the books were knocked off the shelves and scattered as well. Jathan decided to take a moment to investigate the bodies a bit further to see if he could get any clues from them. He crouched down near a pile of them, studying the blisters and obvious signs of advanced stages of blood veil. But something seemed off about them.

                               

                "Hey guys…I don't think these people had blood veil." Jathan said as he looked over his shoulder at the rest of the party.

                "What do you mean? Just look at them! The symptoms are obvious!" Xandak said wondering what the half-elf was going on about.

                "Yeah but…" Jathan stood up and turned around. "These blisters and markings…they're too perfect. This isn't natural but manufactured instead."

                "What sick person would make bodies look like they had blood veil though?" The pink haired gnome said, injecting herself into the conversation.

                "I don't know but we should continue to tread carefully." Barilut said as he urged the group to press on. They moved through the room and continued exploring the manor. The next room appeared to be a small performing area as there was a stage set up and on it was an undead dressed like a blue-winged angel. It was trying to play a harp but the instrument didn’t have any strings as its fingers just strummed the air. Around the stage were 4 chairs with corpses in them dressed like a swan, a castle, and other various costumes. Jathan didn’t like the way it looked as he moved up towards one of the corpses in the chair and stabbed it in the skull with his dagger to ensure it wasn’t getting up. The body didn’t move but the one that was on stage stirred as it saw him and lashed out at him.

                Some of the other party members went around to the other door and came in there as the zombie was surrounded on all side. It tried to bite and slash Jathan as it came off the stage at him however it didn’t stand a chance as a quick shot in the back from Si’ro and Jathan’s dagger were able to slice through the creature killing it. A quick wipe of the blade and they continued to clear the rest of the rooms one by one. Every room they ran into had corpses splayed out on the ground showing the signs of the violence that had occurred here. When they came to the kitchen they saw two zombies acting out like they were carving up a pig but in reality it was a corpse. Xandak made his way into the room to slice some heads off as they cornered the zombies and crushed them. It seems that the first floor had been cleared of any dangerous threats and now they had to decide to move on upstairs or head downstairs.

                “Let me check upstairs and see what’s going on before we move.” Jathan said to the group as he slowly snuck his way up the stairs to check how it looked on the second floor. The stairs opened up to a large room that appeared to be an art gallery of sorts. Various art pieces like paintings and sculptures lined the walls as well as a corner for musicians to perform. This area was heavily littered with bodies all over as a number of zombies were walking around the room. They seemed to stop at a painting here or there and look at it, their arms waving as if they were critiquing it before moving on. The half-elf made his way down to tell the rest of them what he found before they all moved upstairs as one.

                As they got to the second floor the zombies turned to see them, their claws sharp and ready to tear through flesh. The group split up to tackle the attacks coming from multiple fronts as the zombies drew near. Just as they were getting ready to engage another crossbow bolt flew through the air and right into the back of Lumpen, letting out that piercing shriek that they had seen it do so many times before. The gnome fell on the stairs, his vision blurring as the bolt had struck a vital organ and he didn’t have much time left. The rest of the group turned and for once they could finally see the culprit that was harassing them all this time.

                The figure appeared to be an Elven woman dressed in a strange but colorful out of yellows and red that were checkered back and forth. The outfit looked almost like one a jester or an acrobat would wear as she smiled at them with a small crossbow in one hand and a dagger in the other. With the face of the enemy now visible at last the Harrows could finally try to stop this threat. But first they had to take care of Lumpen as Barilut moved to the gnome to heal him up and get him back on his feet. While Barilut was dealing with patching up Lumpen, Trigeji and Xandak moved to engage the zombies while Jathan went a different direction to take on a different zombie. Si’ro being the one with the most ranged expertise focused his efforts on the elf as he fired his musket to deliver a shot that hit the shoulder of the woman.

                The elf dashed down the side of the room towards where the group was as she stood across the stairwell opening and smirked at them as she began to cast a spell. A beam of energy shot out from her hand and hit Xandak as the half-orc felt some of his strength get sapped from his body. He swung his greataxe as he sliced one of the zombie’s heads off clean and looked back in her direction. “Let me at her! She’s mine!” He moved to start dashing after her. By now, Lumpen had gotten back on his feet and was beginning to assess the situation. He turned towards the woman as he fired out a barrage of Magic Missile towards them. The blasts of arcane energy flew through the air and as it neared her it seemed to hit an invisible force and break apart.

                The rest of the party was working on clearing up the remaining zombies figuring that once they were dealt with they could then focus their efforts on her. Jathan moved to another one of the zombies as he plunged his dagger straight through the back of the head, ending its life as its body collapsed to the ground. The rogue motioned for the rest of the party to focus on the elf woman as they nodded and started to move around the stairwell to get to her. Xandak had gotten to her first as he swung his greataxe trying to take her down with one mighty swing. The axe sliced part of her shoulder as it drew blood and the woman winced a bit as she seemed to enjoy it.

                She switched from firing crossbow shots to a dagger as she pulled it out and let loose two quick slashes. The first one cut across the half-orc’s chest as the second went into his side. Xandak staggered a bit as he felt the impact hit him hard, the blade cutting in deep and bleeding profusely. It seemed that her dagger was just as dangerous as the crossbow. Si’ro let another shot from his musket fly out and blast into her side as Jathan had moved in from the other side of the elven enemy. They now had her pinched in between them and were moving in to finish her off however she wouldn’t go down without a fight as a quick pivot and she was facing the half-elf. She swung the dagger out and with two stabs in the chest Jathan stumbled as he collapsed to the ground in pain, the wounds bleeding too heavily for him to stand on his own feet.

                “I’ll get him, don’t worry about it.” Barilut said as he made his way over to the side that Jathan was on. He would have to hurry as his friend and fellow adventurer was fading fast. Meanwhile Xandek against let out a flurry of swings with his weapon trying to end it as the axe cut into her once more. The woman did a quick somersault off the wall as she landed back on her feet and caught Xandak by surprise as the dagger pierced into his side deeply. The Half-orc groaned in pain as he bit his tongue to hold on and stay on his feet as his vision blurred.

                Si’ro saw that the adventuring group he had joined was struggling and needed to do something to turn the tide of battle. He studied the layout of the area as he backed up a bit and started to break out in a run towards the railing. One step on the railing and Si’ro launched himself up into the air across the entire stairwell gap towards the woman. As he neared her he swung his pistol out and struck her face with it to throw her off guard. After the hit though Si’ro had to think fast as he clutched onto the railing and hung on as his feet dangled 20 feet off the ground. The daring act was enough to keep her distracted as Xandak swung his greataxe one more time. The axe dug deep into her back with a violent cut as it was the last bit of energy he had before he gave in to the wounds and collapsed to the ground just like how Jathan had.

                With two of their own down they had to go desperate measures to try and subdue this dangerous threat. Trigeji had stepped up and swung her warhammer to try and hit as it struck the woman’s leg. Barilut on the other side extended his flail and swung it out to hit her in the back. The pain from the flail and hammer stung through the woman’s body as she raised her hands. “Alright alright! I give! Let me live!” She said trying to reason with the group. Barilut looked at her as he grabbed the robe and began to tie her up so that she couldn’t go anywhere. As he fastened the ropes around her she giggled a bit and gave him a wink. “Oooh this is starting to get quite fun!” The adventuring group tended to their wounds as they got Jathan and Xandak back on their feet. Jathan dusted himself off a bit as he looked at her.

                “So what is your name?”

                “My name is Jolstina Susperio.” The Elven acrobat responded.

                “Tell us what you’re doing here and we won’t harm you anymore. Did you do all this?” Jathan asked her as the group surrounded her.

                “Oooo I love your voice. Reminds me of my beloved Rolth’s tongue. I was just having some fun!” Jolstina said.

                The Elven acrobat continued to go on about how Rolth had sent her here to cause chaos and kill everyone here. She was assigned to make it look like that they had died of blood veil.

                “You did all this yourself?” Trigeji asked her, shocked that one person could do all this on their own. Jolstina turned to her and smiled. “I did. I hope you enjoyed the display I put on. I probably would’ve got away with it if I just headed out instead of enjoying myself for a bit.” They asked her if she knew the boy Ruan that they were looking for as they described him.

                “Ooo I know him. Rolth told me to keep any healthy young Varisians I saw safe and alive. He was just the one that fit the bill in the whole manor.” Jolstina said with a sly smile.

                “And what did you do with him?” Jathan asked, wanting to come to the bottom of this all. Jolstina smiled. “My beloved Rolth came the next day to pick him up with his new weird looking friends and took him someplace.”

                “New friends?” Barilut asked. “What did they look like?”

                “They were odd looking, wore long coats and had these strange bird shaped masks on.” The elf said. The dwarf turned to the rest of the party. “I knew it. Those strange looking doctors didn’t look trustworthy from the beginning. We should let Cressida know about this.” Barilut turned his attention back towards Jolstina. “Where is Rolth now?”

                The elf shrugged her shoulders the best she could while tied up. “Beats me. He was going to get in touch with me when he needed me.” Xandak was growing frustrated with her as he moved his greataxe closer to her. “Stop with the games and tell us where he is or we’ll have to hurt you!” The half-orc scowled at her.

                Jolstina giggled a bit as she leaned in to Xandak. “I love it when you talk like that.” She licked her lips as she said it with a wide grin on her face. The half-orc wasn’t prepared for such a response as he stepped back a bit nervously. Barilut just sighed, shaking his head as he used the back of the flail and knocked her out.

                “Come on. Let’s get her to the Citadel.”

               

                With the psychopathic elf now in control, the Harrows decided to finish exploring the rest of the manor before taking her back. They opened one of the doors on the second floor to reveal a zombie in a large dress and powdered wig being attended by another zombie dressed in an exotic princess garb. Xandak wanting to get some frustration out after dealing with the coy elf as he charged forward and took his axe to them with a violent vengeance. The rest of the party followed up as they were starting to get effective at taking out these zombie threats. Once both corpses laid at their feet, they continued to clear the second floor to see if any more were alive and it seemed that there weren’t. The last stop they had to go to clear the place was down in the basement.

                Moving their way all the way down they came to what appeared to be a wine cellar with large casks still full. Jathan slowly moved his way through the cellar to make sure it was safe before coming to a locked door. He crouched down as he began to work on the lock and within a few moments had it picked. He slowly opened the door to reveal what appeared to be a small art room with easels and art supplies in it with a man clutching a painter’s knife as he waved it frantically at the intruder. “Stop! Don’t eat me!” Jathan looked at the older gentleman as he inquired who he was. The man had identified himself as Ausio Carowyn, the owner of this manor. He told them how they were in the middle of the party when the elven acrobat they had hired started killing people, laughing the entire time. He fled down here and hid to save himself, scared to go back upstairs and see what had happened. Everytime the man mustered some strength to think about going upstairs he heard that maniacal laughter and stayed in here. The man asked the group if it was safe and if the lady had been dealt with. They nodded letting him know that the coast was clear as they escorted him upstairs and out of the house so he could go someplace safe.

                With Ausio secure and Jolstina in custody, the adventurers headed back to Citadel Volshyenek to talk with Cressida. They handed over the crazy elf to the Korvosan Guard as they began to tell the Field Marshall what they had discovered from her. Cressida was worried to see that the Queen’s Physicians and Rolth may be working together. She told the group that the doctors were using a warehouse as their clinic, naming it the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden. If they were going to get any answers about what was going on here they would have to go there and get to the bottom of it.

               

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The Color of Death
Episode #12

 

The Color of Death

 

                The Harrows had finished taking care of the wererat threat down below in the sewers by Girrigz and his resistance force. Once on the streets they headed to the alley where Eries met them. They told her that they tried to talk Girrigz down but he wouldn’t have any of it and they had to kill him and his men. Eries was saddened to hear the news but knew that it had to be done. She thanked them for the help and told the group that she’d do her best to repay them. The female wererat said she’ll gather some of the other wererats and help dispose of some of the plague ridden corpses in the streets at time. The adventuring group thanked her for her assistance and headed back to their home to rest for the evening.

                The next day, the group began to gather their belongings and get ready to head out to Lavender’s. As they exited the building and walked down the street they were approached by a strange figure. The figure was dressed in a traveler’s outfit with a bandolier on their belt and a strange looking item on their back.

                “You lot must be the Harrows…been hearing about you.” The stranger said.

                Barilut looked at the person. “Aye we are. And who may you be?”

                “The name’s Si’ro Krasu. I’ve been looking for you. Field Marshall Cressida Kroft said I could find you in these parts. I want to help deal with this plague.” Si’ro said as he looked over the group. The group looked at each other and talked it over briefly. The half-orc looked towards the man and eyed him over. “What can you do?” Xandak asked him.

                Si’ro reached towards his waist and pulled out a strange looking weapon. “I’m a pretty good shot. It certainly causes quite a bang.” He showed off his pistol a bit to them as the Harrows examined it. Not many of them had experience with such an item but have heard stories of these “firearms” and what they were capable of doing. After checking it out the group accepted Si’ro to tag along with them as they made their way towards Lavender’s shop.

                As the group arrived towards the store they saw a familiar line to the one that was there the day before as people were eager to get inside and purchase one of the famed cure-alls. The adventuring party looked around as they started to talk to the crowd. “You are all being fooled! This is not a cure but just parlor tricks to take your money! Don’t listen to them!”

                The crowd began to question what the group was talking about. Some of the people slowly begin to disperse as these proclamations just reinforce their doubts already. The stir in the people begins to draw attention from inside the shop as the two guards come out looking at the commotion. They spot the group that were there from yesterday as they moved over to them and asked them to leave as they were causing a disturbance. The adventurers held their ground as they confronted the guards letting them know that they knew what was going on here and that their remedy was just cheap perfume and river water. As the guards continued to try and force the party away Vendra came out wanting to know what was going on.

                Vendra didn’t look pleased at the proclamations being thrown about as she offers the crowd free doses inside the store. The party tried to argue but she would have none of it and told the guards to escort them away. The men drew their rapiers ready to force the party away from the store as what was an argument broke down into fighting in the streets. The Harrows moved into position to engage the rapier wielding guards who tried to stop the adventurers at all costs.  When the fight broke out the sick citizens that were waiting to get into the shop panicked and fled as chaos ensued. Even Vendra herself ran back into the shop while the guards fought against the group of adventurers. However the guards weren’t much of a match against such a force, including their newest traveling companion Si’ro and his arsenal of firearms.

                The guards began to run for their lives as they turned and dashed down the alleyway past the perfume shop as Vendra was coming out. Xandak chased after them trying to stop them with the power of his greataxe. However he was caught off guard when Vendra snuck behind him and plunged her dagger into the half-orc’s back nearly crippling him with one shot. Her sneak ambush was a desperate attempt to turn the tide but Xandak wasn’t going to go down after one attack and that left the shop owner trapped in the alleyway as the rest of the Harrows came chasing in shortly after. With one guard already dead and the other running down the alley to save his own life Vendra had no one. She threw her hands up and begged to be let go. She promised to not come back to Korvosa and leave if they just let her live. The party agreed and she thanked them before also running down the alley and escaping.

                The sound of combat in the street brought the attention of the guards and Field Marshall Cressida Kroft. She made her way to the Harrows asking what had happened here. The adventurers told them about the confrontation and that the remedy was a fake. Not only that, but they were able to recover a small coffer of gold from the shop that belonged to the people of Korvosa who were scammed out of their money. While it would be hard to know who the money belonged to it would go to a good cause to help pay for more treatments to cure blood veil.

                With Lavender’s shop taken care of and shut down the Harrows had completed another mission to help protect the people in town.  But even with such success they still were no closer to discovering what was going on with this disease and what had caused it in the first place. They asked Cressida if she had any more leads that they could follow for her and the Field Marshall thought for a moment before answering.

                “I do actually have some things that need to be investigated. Due to the plague we’ve hired a number of volunteers who help carry the plagued bodies to sanctioned dump area where we bury them. However I’ve heard reports of some of these volunteers doing it just for the payment and slacking on their job and not properly dumping the bodies at the designated sites but instead in alleys. If you can check it out that would be helpful.

                Also, there’s a woman that’s been coming to the Citadel for the past few days. She’s trying to find her brother and seems quite persistent. Unfortunately the guard is already spread so thin that I can’t pull any of my men off their posts to go investigate. She should be there today in fact, I saw her on my way out here to check on you lot.”

                The adventuring party debated for a moment on which lead they should investigate first. After a few minutes of talk they decided to check on the woman and see about her brother as they made their way over to the Citadel. Once there, they saw a woman with dark curly hair outside trying to get the attention of the guards. They approached her inquiring who she was and what it was that she needed. Her name was Deyanira Mirukova and she was looking for her brother, Ruan. He was a musician and a week ago was invited to perform at a formal event at Carowyn Manor. The boy was happy for the opportunity and he practiced all week for the big day. However, Ruan never came back home after the party at the manor. Deyanira went to the estate to check it out but saw the entire place quiet and no signs of life. Worried for her brother, she went to the guard to have them check it out but they were too busy to try and find him.

                Xandak recognized the name a bit in his time living in Korvosa. He had heard of a young Varisian boy that was a prodigy and virtuoso at a peculiar instrument: the ocarina. The Carowyns were a noble family that were lovers of art and threw a lot of their gold into supporting the arts. They told the young woman that they would do their best to find her brother as they headed out towards the manor. The estate was on the other side of Korvosa which took them a bit to get there through the worrying people about the blood veil plague.

                When they arrived at the home they saw a large two story estate with large hedges and plants decorating the outside. Approaching the front door, Jathan examined the mahogany entrance seeing that the door was locked as he went to work on picking it. A few moments later and he had it unlocked as he opened the door to reveal a large hallway that moved on to what appeared to be the main hall for the manor itself.  As they stepped into the manor the sight before them was not what they expected to see. Bodies littered the floor and corners of the room all still dressed in masquerade costumes and masks, signs of blood veil evident on them through the bleeding blisters and scars on their body. The floor was stained with blood as it appeared a massacre had occurred here. However that display wasn’t the most horrifying thing in the room as in the center of the room were 6 undead still dressed in their costumes and paired together like couples slowly swaying back and forth as if they were dancing.

                Suddenly a female voice seemed to echo through the manor. “Welcome to my show! I hope you enjoy the presentations and have a lot of fun!” As she finished talking the undead couples stopped swaying and turned towards the party as they lurched themselves forward to attack. Xandek and Barilut charged forward to engage the zombies before they got to the rest of the group as Lumpen and Si’ro stayed back to attack from range. Meanwhile, Jathan tried to weave into the room to get at the zombies but they crowded the hallway before he could find an opening. The half-elf sighed as he was stuck having to use his crossbow to get anywhere near the zombies while the heavy wall of Xandek and Barilut held the frontline. While they were fighting against the zombies a crossbow bolt came out of nowhere and pierced into Xandak’s shoulder. As it struck it let out this high pitched shrieking sound that pierced through everyone’s ears.

                Si’ro looked to see if he could find the location of where the bolt came from but only was able to deduce that it came from across the room. Meanwhile, the zombies were proving to be quite a nuisance to the party as they didn’t seem to mind the bashing done from Barilut’s dwarven derger. But Xandak’s greataxe was a different story as his swings were forceful and cleaved body parts and heads of the zombies as he cut his way through the crowd of zombies. Once all the zombies were taken care of they studied the room to see if they could find any signs of the mysterious voice. Unfortunately there was no signs of the person so the party decided to continue exploring the manor.

                The mainhall opened into another room as they stepped inside to see what appeared to be a den. Two bodies were sitting in chairs in elaborate costumes while another one dressed as a tin man stood between then as if attending them like a servant. When they saw the group of adventurers they turned and lashed out to attack. This time though, Jathan wanted to get into proper positioning as he moved through the main hall and went through another room, sneaking out the other side to end up behind the zombies while Trigeji, Xandak, and Barilut resumed their smashing and slashing duties.

                The rogue made quick work now with proper positioning as his dagger pierced through the back of the undead’s skulls and killed them. With the three undead alive the group all looked at each other and began to ponder what was going on here. There was still no sign of the young musician Ruan and instead they were in a house filled with corpses and undead that was orchestrated by some mysterious host of theirs.

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Outbreak
Episode #11

 

Outbreak

 

The Harrows had finished their diving expedition to check out the Direption and see what was down there in the wreckage, only to discover the apparent ties to a cult of Urgathoa onboard the ship. Not sure what to make of this, they took their evidence and returned back to Citadel Volshyenek to show it to the proper people to see if they had any insight on what any of this meant. When they arrived at the military barracks their first stop was to talk with Ishani, the cleric of Abadar. They showed him the unholy text of Urgathoa so that he could provide any more insight on the religion.

“Urgathoa is not a good name to see…she represents disease and death. If there are cultists or followers of her involved in the plague then this is worse than I thought. And certainly means that our concern over how quickly it’s spreading is valid.” Ishani said, studying the text.

It was at that time that Cressida came out to talk with the adventuring party and see their results. When they showed her the text she certainly showed more signs of concern as she described the name Andaisin. She had heard that name awhile ago about news from Nidal. The story went that a small village had succumbed to a priestess named Andaisin who was a devout follower of Urgathoa. The woman was wanted for mass murder but fled and was never caught.

“I don’t like Andaisin’s name popping up in this book. If the stories are true then she certainly is trouble. The fact that you found nothing else on the ship also worries me a bit. It’s almost as if they wanted us to investigate the ship to throw us off and get preoccupied with it. We’re dealing with some dangerous people.” Cressida said, returning the unholy text to the adventurers.

“What do you think is our next move?” Lumpen asked as the group tried to figure out their next step in investigating this plague.

Cressida thought for a moment as she looked at the adventurers that have helped her in the past so many times. “I actually do have something I need your expertise in. I’ve been hearing stories of a store that is selling cure-all remedies that the people are flocking to. I want you to go check the store out and see if it’s legit or not. I don’t want to see the people being taken advantage of so anything you can do to see if it’s legit or not will help.”

The group agreed to go investigate the store as they took their leave and headed out back into the streets of Korvosa. They made their way to the store called “Lavender” that was apparently the source of this remedy. When they arrived they saw a line of people that went out the door. The storefront had purplish tinted windows with various potions and bottles on display.

“I guess we should wait on line to get inside…” Trigeji said, pondering the best way to get in without causing a stir. The party agreed as they got in line and peacefully waited to get into the store. The line moved slowly and eventually they got through the door and into the alleyway that led inside the building. Once in they saw a store filled with various bottles, perfumes, and potions on display all around the store. Two men stood in the store looking around at all the customers who came in to make sure that nobody was doing anything wrong. Most of the people flocked straight to the table of “Lavender’s Luxuriant Liniment” to grab a dose. Lumpen looked over as they grabbed one of the vials.

“We should probably buy a dose to check it out for ourselves.” Lumpen said as they took the vial and moved over to the counter. Behind the counter were two girls that handled the purchases from the customers and another woman with short black hair. This woman welcomed everyone into the store with a smile as the Harrows looked at her and began to talk to her about the cure-all. They investigated what her experience was with making remedies and why it was only 2 gold when such a special remedy could be sold for much more. The woman who was named Vendra told them that she had experimented with different formulas before coming up with this current one and that she wouldn’t charge much for something that was going to save so many lives. They listened to her response and felt like she was telling the truth as they ended up buying the remedy.

After buying the remedy they looked around the store one more time to see if anything else was off and noticed one man that was hanging around the perfume section for quite some time. They studied him before heading outside to wait for him to come out and question him. The man eventually came out much later and Lumpen stepped in his path as the group circled him. “You were in there for quite some time friend.” Lumpen said, asking the man what he was doing in the store for so long. He answered them saying that he was just trying to buy a perfume for his wife and the old man was scared from the group surrounding him. A few more questions into why the man was there before they decided to finally let him go

With the man gone the adventurers decided to check out around the store to see what else they could find. They went back into the alley and looked further in it to see the alleyway looped around the back to a few more buildings and doors. There was a staircase that led down to a door in the alleyway and another staircase from the street that led to a door. After trying on both doors Jathan eventually picked the lock on one of the doors to get inside and saw what appeared to be a cellar. The cellar had a number of boxes and appeared to be a storage basement for the shop upstairs. It looked to be a number of perfume bottles and other lucrative vials but nothing on the cure-all remedy.

The Harrows decided that they had done a thorough enough check and headed back to the Citadel to report on what they found. Once back with Cressida they reported that the shop appeared to be fine and Vendra was selling a true remedy as some people had reported feeling better after it. The Field Marshall told them that she would take their word on if they believed the shop to be a legitimate business and after some more thought they decided to go test the remedy to try and determine what exactly was in it.  They headed down to Eodred’s Way to check out the local potion shop and alchemist that they knew, asking if he could figure out what was in this vial. The man agreed to although he did charge a small fee. The party agreed and paid the man as he went off into his lab to try and figure out what was in this remedy. An hour later, he emerged and looked at the party.

“Well…I figured out what’s in your vial you gave me. This thing contains sugar, some cheap perfume, and river water.” Bolivar said as he put the vial back down.

“I knew it.” Xandek said looking at the rest of the party. “We shouldn’t have trusted that woman.”

“This is certainly a revelation.” Barilut said as he stroke his beard, “Let’s go tell Cressida of our newest discovery.”

The group thanked the potion merchant as they went on their way and back to the Field Marshall. They reported to her the latest news that the remedy was actually a sham all along and they had it tested to show it had no healing properties to it. Cressida accepted this latest bit of information and decided that it was enough proof. She would send a squad of guards to the shop tomorrow to arrest Vendra for what she was doing. The Harrows told her to hold off momentarily as they wanted to talk to Vendra first about it and that they would call for the guards when needed. She reluctantly agreed knowing that they had done a lot for the city so far and could trust them and would await their signal. They decided to head back to their home to rest up before going to check on Lavender’s once again in the morning.

While on their way home they ran into someone trying to get their attention in an alleyway. They decided to go check it out and saw it was an older woman with yellowish eyes. She had heard about the Harrows and wanted to try and get their help with a matter she had. The group agreed and when she did the woman began to shift her form to that of a wererat, throwing the group off guard for a moment. She told them that her people had lived below the city for some time but now with the plague and the city unrest many people were beginning to target the wererats and putting the blame on them. This upset a number of the wererats and in particularly a dangerous one by the name of Girrigz. Girrigz was angry at the humans and wanted to strike back and was forming up a resistance group to rise up from the sewers. She had tried to talk to him but he wouldn’t have it and hoped that they could talk some sense into him to stop him. If they couldn’t and had to use force it was understandable but she believed the rest of them were good and hoped they could do it without harming the rest of them. The adventurers said they would try as Eries revealed the location to Girrigz’s den.

The party decided that instead of going to their home to rest they would go check out this wererat den. The location led them to a sewer tunnel that stretched down deep beneath the streets of Korvosa. They followed the damp and foul smelling tunnel until it led to a cracked hole in the wall. The group of adventurers decided to move past the crack to explore the rest of the tunnel where they came to a large gate that blocked off any further access. However they could see past it and saw sleeping in the water was a large otyugh, similar to the one they had encountered in the Dread Warrens.

“Oh great, not another one of those things.” Xandek said to himself softly as the group backed up and back towards the hole in the wall. They stepped through into a series of caves, seeing the water trail continue to flow deeper through the caverns. There was a bunch of mushrooms growing on the side of the sewer stream but no signs of anything else. Trigeji stepped forward and past the mushrooms and as she did the largest one began to emit a loud shrieking noise that echoed through the cavern. The sound alerted everyone to their presence and in a moment they saw a few wererats charging at them with sword, accompanied by a number of large dire rats. Xandak charged towards one of them to keep him locked up with his greataxe as Trigeji and Barilut tried to talk them down. However the rats seemed to have none of it as they unleashed violent swings followed up with strong bites. Jathan weaved his way through the cavern to find the perfect spot to sneak attack and strike the opponents with precision.

While they engaged the group of wererats that were guarding this cavern they heard more commotion in one of the chambers nearby as more wererats began to swarm out and attack them. Barilut saw the incoming threat as he planted his feet and assumed a defensive stance to hold them all back. Xandek sliced through one of the dire rats as Jathan stabbed the wererat in the back to finish him off. Lumped found a good vantage point to fire blasts of magic missile at the rats as they got closer to the group. Between Barilut and Trigeji holding the front line with all the wererats and Jathan and Xandek moving around slicing and stabbing the wererats they were able to kill them all, now standing amongst a number of dead wererats and dire rats.

“Looks like they didn’t want to talk…” Jathan said, cleaning his blood soaked dagger on his cloak as they checked the bodies to see what they had on them. After examining the bodies they moved deeper into the caverns and found the chamber where all the rats came from. This chamber apparently was where most of them lived as rat nests littered the walls. Looking around the water trail seemed to turn back into the sewer and they assumed it probably went to where that Otyugh was. “Let’s hurry before that thing comes to get us.” Xandek said, glancing at the crack in the wall that lead there. The party moved down one of the tunnels into a long chamber and saw a number of large dire rats and even a swarm of other rats.

These rats weren’t a match for the Harrows though as their bludgeoning weapons could crush the tiny rats and Xandek’s greataxe would make short work of the dire rats. With the rats slaughtered they continued their trek through the tunnels into another chamber. This one was filled with boxes that appeared to have all sorts of weapons in them. As they entered they saw another wererat and this one hissed at them as it drew a rapier and lashed out at them.

“Girrigz, we just want to talk!” Trigeji said as she dodged the rapier trying to pierce right through her. The group darted into the room to try and deal with the wererat leader. He was fast and strong as each thrust of the rapier showed the power behind it. Jathan felt it first hand as two quick thrusts right through his chest and the half elf staggered backwards before collapsing on the ground. Barilut quickly rushed to his side to help heal him and bring him back to his feet while Xandek kept him busy.

                Again and again the group tried to reason with the wererat even going as far as attempting to grapple the wererat and pin him down. However Girrigz was proving to be too nimble and elusive for them and their attempts just left them open to a thrust from the rapier deep inside them. It was then the adventurers decided that talking wasn’t getting them anywhere and had to use force to stop this man.

                “Let’s end this.” Xandek said, glaring towards the wererat. He charged forward and delivered a swift kick between Girrigz’s legs bringing him down to his knees and down to size. The Half-orc then swung his greataxe right into the neck of the rat and cleaved through it causing the wererat’s lifeless corpse to collapse to the ground as they dealt with the threat. The group proceeded to examine the rest of the chamber and saw that it contained an assortment of weapons from swords to crossbows to armor like chain shirts.

                “It looks like he was planning something big.” Barilut said searching through everything they found. They decided to take all the weapons and everything else they found up to the surface and figure out what to do with it then. Since it was so much, Lumpen used his magic to levitate the boxes up and through the caverns. They quickly left the wererat den and made their way back to the streets of Korvosa after successfully dealing with another threat to the city.

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The Direption
Episode #10

 

The Direption

 

It has been a few days since the Harrows healed the girl over in Trail’s End with the help of the strange cleric from the church of Abadar. The man told them that he might need their services in the future and they agreed to help him if he needed. As the party rose this day they saw a message on their door with the emblem of Abadar on it requesting their presence to the holy temple. The group of adventurers got their gear together as they headed out through the streets of Korvosa. They eventually found directions that led them to the temple and as they got near it was obvious this was the right place.

                The large marble structure stood before them, pristine and holy as a monument between all the other buildings. Large bronze doors adorned the entrance as gold armored guards stood by barring entrance. The large stairs that led to the entranceway was swarmed with a large crowd of people trying to get into the temple as the guards fought them back. Some were allowed through but others were turned away and as one man turned away and headed home the group saw his face had a deep red rash on it as blisters were all over his face and down his neck.

                “Those symptoms…” Barilut said, recognizing the display from the sick girl.

                The adventurers began to muscle their way through the crowd, forcing their way through the thick group until they eventually arrived at the doors. One of the guards looked at them as he extended a hand. “Halt! What business do you have here?”  Jathan reached into his pocket to pull out the letter, showing it to them. The guards gave them a lookover before motioning for them to go on as they were allowed access inside. Once inside the place was as monumental as the exterior. Clean marble floors, tall statues and trimmings of gold highlighted the temple and bank in one as people moved to and from in a hurry. As they walked further in they were approached by a familiar face in the cleric that had healed Breanna a few days ago.

                “I’m glad to see you received my message. Allow me to properly introduce myself, my name is Ishani Dharti one of the clerics here at the temple.” The tanned skin man said as he walked with the group. “When I returned back to the temple I heard that a few of my brothers here had similar symptoms. They healed it but none of them saw any patients recently to contract the disease. Now, it appears that more and more people are showing signs of this disease. The locals are referring to it as Blood Veil, due to the symptoms. Quite fitting I suppose…”

                “Any idea what is causing the sickness?” Barilut asked.

                Ishani shook his head while turning to look at the dwarf. “No. Most of the people appear to be working class citizens and the majority are from Old Korvosa and North Point.”

                “What can we do?” Trigeji asked, curious to see what the cleric called them for.

                “I would like to meet Field Marshall Cressida Kroft in hopes of working with the Korvosan Guard to help. A number of the churches have come together to help with the healing process but it doesn’t appear to be enough. With things as dire as they are I don’t feel it safe for a priest to walk the streets alone. Would you mind escorting me to Citadel Volshyenek so I can meet the Field Marshall?”

                The adventurers looked at one another. They have been to the Citadel numerous times as they worked with Cressida and the Guard often. They agreed to help the cleric and soon they were on their way back into the streets of Korvosa. As they made their way through the streets the place was quite eerie. People were avoiding one another and groups could be seen whispering as if sound would draw attention of the disease to them. With a few looks from some people the rest of the trip down to the barracks was quite uneventful. However this was not the case as they stepped through the Citadel gates and into the courtyard of the barracks.

                The yard was filled with guards at attention waiting for something to occur. A wooden stage was built in the center and on it Cressida could be seen pacing back and forth. Behind her was a raised platform with a strange looking group. There were a few figures standing there in oily leather robes with large goggles and a mask that came out in a beak shaped over their faces. Next to them was a middle aged man dressed in a simple overcoat with streaks of white hair in the sides of his hair. He watched over everyone with a soft expression as he held onto a doctor’s case. The last figure was quite imposing compared to the others as it was a woman dressed in full plate armor, longsword and shield at her side with a full helm and crimson plumes flowing from it. Before the group could move further Cressida stepped forward and began to address the crowd.

                “You will escort Doctor Davaulus and his men in their royal duties wherever those might take them. Furthermore, you are to consider orders from any of the queen’s new order of Gray Maidens to be as binding as any superior officer in the Korvosan Guard or Sable Company. You are guardsmen of Korvosa. You will not balk. These are dire times and your city needs these healers. Your city needs you. Your patrol leaders have your assignments. Dismissed!” Cressida finished her speech as the soldiers broke off into their respective groups.

                The Harrows made their way over to Cressida who smiled slightly when she saw them approach. She introduced them to the gentleman with the white streaks. He was Doctor Davaulus and the strange looking men behind him were his assistants.

                “Do you have much healing experience Doctor?” Barilut asked the man, not trusting his sudden appearance into the mix of things.

                Davaulus smiled at him. “I have. While not with this particular disease I have been a doctor for a number of years. I’ve known the Queen and her family for some time so when she requested me to come and help I was more than happy to serve her Highness. My men and I have been employed with finding a cure or method of putting a stop to the spread of this disease before it takes the city over.”

                The dwarf looked at him and then at the rest of the group in a way of caution for this man. “How can we help?” Jathan asked Cressida, getting the group to see what they could do. Barilut turned back to Cressida. “Indeed. While we were out we heard about a ship that sunk. Has there been an investigation into it?”

                Cressida shook her head. “No, but I know the incident you are referring to. We saw no one come from the ship and left it there as this disease took our main focus. If you wish to head down there you can. I may have some items in the armory that can help with such an expedition.” Ishani looked at the group. “I can help as well if need be.” After a few moments the Field Marshall returned with a large number of potions handing them over to the group. “These are potions of water breathing, they should help you get down there to investigate. Good luck.”  Cressida wished them the best before heading back into the barracks with the Doctor. Ishani told the adventurers he will be here talking with Cressida to see how he can help them.

                The adventurers made their way over to the edge of the river in the direction of where the ship went down. They looked along the shore finding a fisherman and renting his boat out for a short while A few coin later and the group was out in the waters of the Jeggare River looking down into the dark depths. They each drank one of the potions before diving into the water below. Now while the waters of the Jeggare River were quite calm the adventurers weren’t the greatest swimmers as they struggled to get deeper and deeper. Lumpen led the search as he saw the remains of a ship against a rock cropping at the bottom of the river. The ship had broken in half with one part open to the water and the other pressed against the rocks. The Harrows decided to check out the open part and as they neared the wreckage a number of eels slithered out from various holes and ruins to attack the intruders to their new home. The group was not used to fighting underwater and it proved slightly difficult to navigate their weapons with the resistance but eventually they sliced and smashed the creatures.

                Once the eels were dead they swam further into the wreckage and saw a bunch of empty boxes and debris floating in the water. It appeared that not much was left in this part of the ship and they turned their attention to the other half of the ship. They swam across what was the deck of the ship finding a large cargo hatch but when they tried to open the hatch it had swollen shut under the water. Xandak and Barilut used their weapons to start chipping away and breaking parts of the hatch to get themselves in and when they broke a large enough hole in the hatch a shark swam out to engage them, enraged at their presence. However the shark was not much of a threat to the skilled adventurers as they slashed and smashed it until it stopped moving. With another sea creature defeated they swam inside to explore more of the ship.

                As they swam through they continue to see debris floating in the ship wreckage but strangely enough no corpses. The adventurers were beginning to get worried over where were the bodies of the people on the ship. They could see the damage the Guard had done to the ship with various holes and blast marks in the ship’s hull but still no bodies. They eventually made their way into what appeared to be the sleeping quarters of the ship as a bunch of hammocks loosely hung in the water. Chum and other fish floated through the water as this strange humanoid creature was in there. It lurched at them with a spear trying to stab them as the figure screeched violently in their direction. However the close quarters of the room favored the Harrows and their numbers as they cornered her and she had no place to run from them. Jathan snuck up behind her through the water and with a dagger slid it right into the back of her skull as they killed her. Once she was down they looked around and again saw no bodies besides the hag in the room.

                There was one last spot to check and it was the Captain’s quarters. The party swam out and towards the door that led their as Xandak charged it with force to break the door open. Inside they saw a body floating there dressed in black robes. When they examined the body closely they saw a mark on the man’s head as if something had hit him hard. He wore a strange symbol around his neck which the group took for further investigating. They looked around the room and noticed a foot locker that was sealed tight. They chose not to open it up underwater but instead took it with them as they swam back up to the surface.

                Once on the surface and back in the boat they opened the locker. Inside they saw an elaborate cloak with the same symbol that was around the man’s neck embroidered on it. There was also a few more documents and a strange book that talked about consuming people and dealing with diseases. Barilut looked at all the pieces laid out in front of them as he looked at the party.

                “These pieces…I’ve seen that symbol before. It belongs to Urgathoa, the Goddess of Disease.”

                It was a troubling sight for a ship with what appeared to be remnants to Urgathoa to sail into the harbor around the time this disease began to spread. Did the disease get into the water? Was that how it was spreading? Who was responsible for all this and why did they sail this ship in? Either way, the Harrows were onto something that appeared to be quite troubling for the future of Korvosa.

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A Family in Need
Episode #9

 

A Family in Need

 

The group had prepared Trinia’s disguise and was now ready to head out of Korvosa with the highly sought after girl. Jathan looked at the group as he motioned out the door. “Let me go on ahead and scout the bridge out, make sure that nothing is out of the ordinary there.” The rest of the party agreed as the half-elf raised his hood and slipped out the door. A few moments later the rogue returned to them as he told them that the bridge just had two guards on patrol who didn’t seem to be in a heightened stance so they should be clear.

                The doors opened and they were now in the streets of Korvosa making their way to the bridge that led from Old Korvosa to the main city. As they passed through the crowd they saw the two guards that Jathan mentioned glancing over in their general direction. The adventurers played it cool as they crossed the bridge and were now almost in the clear. They decided that instead of walking through the main street they would go through the side streets that weaved through buildings. These roads would have less guard activity in them and allow them to get near the bridge sooner. While they weaved through the streets they saw groups of people still angrily protesting against the queen and number of people down on their luck coughing with the dirt and filth in some of the alleys.

                Eventually they came back out onto the main street where they saw the North Bridge ahead of them. They were almost out of the city and it was just a little bit further now. It was then the party saw two figures walking down the street in their direction dressed in full plate armor with red highlights on their armor. It was the Grey Maidens and knew that they meant trouble. The group quickly figured the best plan was to split up as half the group went through the side alleys while the others stayed on the street and walked by as normal. By shrinking the group they wouldn’t stand out as much and be easier to blend in with everyone else. The two armored figures walked by the group without paying them much mind and soon they were all reunited and crossed the bridge heading out of Korvosa.

                While on the path to Trots, Trinia began to talk with the adventuring group asking them about themselves and why they were helping her now after trying to capture her. She learned that the group was brought together and seemed to want to do well for the city and liked hearing that she was in good hands. While they were talking the traveling group suddenly heard the sounds of growling as a number of wolves led by a large worg jumped out of the bushes near them and began to surround them. The Harrows created a perimeter around Trigeji, Xandek, and Barilut took the front while Jathan and Lumpen handled the wolves behind them. Trinia watched them in action as she cheered them on, inspiring them with a vigor to make them want to do better in battle. The wolves didn’t stand a chance against the might of the adventurers as weapons and magical spells flew through the air scorching and slashing through wolf fur. Within a minute the path was littered with wolf corpses as they took a moment to patch up some of the wounds they received during the fight. Even Trinia helped out, using some of her knack for magic to cure some of the wounds and get them back on their feet and ready to continue traveling.

                An hour later they saw a wayside inn matching what Vencarlo said they would see. A barrel-chested man came out of the building and gave Trinia a large bear hug as he thanked them for bringing her here. He told them that she will be in good hands and will keep her hidden at his ranch while all the insanity in the city blows over. Since it was getting quite late they decided to stay the night here at the inn as they went in for a warm meal and a bed to sleep in. As the group was getting ready for bed the harrow deck began to resonate once again and Lumpen called the group all into his room. They gathered around as Zellara’s image once again manifested before them from the powers of the deck. She spoke to them about watching what they were doing and proud to have entrusted her deck to people that wanted to do good for the city. But she also felt more trouble coming to the city and wanted to help them by performing another harrow reading to see what the cards said. Zellara had the group participate in the Choosing to draw a card before the reading happened.

                “The Uprising and the Crow cards in the Past show us the riots and looting that have happened during the anarchy after the King’s death. Even the Teamster card is showing us perseverance through it all and represents the unity between you all coming together.” Zellara said as she studied the cards in the first column. She then moved on to the second column that represented the present.

                “The Rakshasa is a troubling card. It indicates slavery and oppression…something I feel the people of Korvosa may be dealing with from the new Queen. The Liar card also shows us that you’ll meet new people and acquaintances.” The Harrower said as she flipped over the last column for future. “These cards are certainly troubling. The Rabbit Prince represents combat in the future so it appears that there are many battles in your path. The Courtesan shows power of a female presence…one that might represent either the Queen herself or her new servants, it’s hard to say for sure. The Sickness is the most worrisome of them all as this represents disease and plague. I hope that you take caution with wherever your adventures take you next.” Zellara said to them before she faded and returned back into the magical aura of the harrow desk itself.

                The adventurers returned to their rooms and rested for the night before heading back to Korvosa the next day. When they returned to the large capital, they decided to head to Citadel Volshyenek and check in with Cressida Kroft to see how she was and if she had any more news for them. When they arrived they saw that Field Marshall Cressida wasn’t looking that well and quite nervous. She spoke to them about rumors that had been flowing through the vines about Queen Ileosa planning on reorganizing or disbanding the military organizations in Korvosa and replacing it with her own new organization she’s developing. Apparently Ileosa was forming a group known as the Grey Maidens and they were slowly growing and developing as the days progress. But with such a terrorsome rumor hanging over her head she wanted to do her best to stay in line and not trouble the waters. While she appreciated the group and everything they did for Korvosa Cressida wasn’t sure she could fund their operations anymore with the eyes of Castle Korvosa scrutinizing everything,

                “Do what you can but remember…Korvosa still needs brave adventurers like yourselves. I will continue to lead the troops the best I can. Those that remain loyal to me and helping aid Korvosa.” Field Marshall Cressida said to them as she wished them the best and headed back into her office.

                The Harrows left the barracks and decided to head back to the house that they were calling their home and when they arrived there they saw a figure knocking on their door. The figure looked vaguely familiar and it took them a moment to realize that it was Grau, the drunk they ran into at the tavern. The man looked quite different then last time as he was clean shaven and dressed up. He looked at them and was relieved to see them.

                “I’m glad to see you all. I do apologize for how we met last time but I have a favor to ask of you all. If we may discuss inside?” Grau says as he looks at them. The group pondered for a moment before letting him inside. Once inside the soldier looked at them as he cleared his throat and began to speak once more.

                “It’s my niece. She has recently gotten quite ill. I spoke with her Mother and they don’t know what to do. She’s…not looking good and all the strange concoctions that the herbalist has been making isn’t working. That’s when I remembered you lot and what you guys did and I figured if anyone would know how to handle such a task it would be you all.”

 

                The party looked at each other deciding what to do. They couldn’t really turn down a request to help someone who was sick and agreed to come look and see what they could do for her. Grau was relieved as he led them out to where his family’s home was in the Trail’s End. When they walked in they could hear the sounds of coughing upstairs. Some kids were playing in the living area with toys and a man dressed in white robes with some gold trimming was standing in the kitchen working on something. When Grau saw the man in white he grumbled a bit before heading upstairs. Barilut turned to the rest of the group “Stay here. I’ll go up and check on the girl. It’s best to not overwhelm her.”

                The dwarf made his way upstairs to where Grau and his sister were. He saw a woman standing there that looked to be in her 40s worried and concerned. She came over to Barilut. “Grau says you can help. Is that true?” She asked. The paladin looked at her and nodded “I will do my best.” Barilut made his way over to the girl as he studied her. She had a reddish rash across parts of her body and a rough hacking cough. He bent down to examine her trying to determine the illness but couldn’t quite figure out what it was. While he was examining the girl he heard steps behind him and turned to face the man dressed in white.

                “Evening.” The man said as Barilut glanced back at the girl and then towards the man.

                “Have you tried to help this girl?” Barilut asked.

                “I have. I wished that the family had called me earlier. I’m afraid that my services at the Great One’s Vault used up most of my resources. Even so, the tenets of my church would require a donation for any service…one I feel this simple family wouldn’t be able to afford. What worries me more is that I don’t recognize this particular combination of symptoms…which has me quite worried.” The man said. Barilut looked at him curiously before remembering reading a bit on the church of Abadar that handled banking and finances. Part of their teachings involved requiring donations or financial contributions for any sort of healing work.

                Barilut looked at the girl and towards the man. He knew that he himself didn’t have the power to cure this girl but it seemed this man did. He looked towards the cleric. “How much would it take to heal this girl?” He asked. The tan skinned cleric paused for a moment. “I can rest and return in the morning to heal this girl but it would require a donation of about 150 gold.” The dwarf pondered a moment as he reached into his pockets and gave the cleric the 150 gold requested.

                “Thank you. I will return in the morning.” The man said as he bowed and headed out. Barilut went back downstairs and told Grau and his sister that they will be back tomorrow morning to help heal the girl. The rest of the party joined up and Barilut told him about the poor condition of the girl. They spent the next few hours of remaining daylight going around the nearby area to ask people and see if there were any signs of the disease. The place was quite rundown and they saw a few street thugs in alleys but didn’t come up with anything. The Harrows eventually stopped into a local tavern to ask around.

                Inside the tavern they continue to inquire about the disease and if anybody else was sick or if there was anything odd that happened.  The bartender didn’t know much about any disease but started to complain about the noise last night. According to the bartender a strange ship had sailed down the Jeggare River and was unresponsive to any hails from the Korvosan Guard. With no response, the guards opened fire and sunk the ship. There hasn’t been any official declaration of the news yet so the people are still wondering what that was all about.

                The next day the group of adventurers return to the family’s home. A few moments later the cleric of Abadar joined them as Barilut and the white-robed man return upstairs. They looked towards the girl as the cleric stepped forward and extended his hands out. The cleansing powers washed over the girl as the rash began to recess and fade from her. The girl opened her eyes slowly as she looked at the people in her room. “When’s lunch ready?”  When her mother saw this she yelled in happiness as she gave the two a big hug. She rushed downstairs and started to whip up a meal for everyone for her gratitude. Barilut and the man headed back down to rejoin the group.

                “The girl should be fine for now. But I must say, sometimes my line of work could use the assistance of such a group to do the things that I or the Guards can’t.” The man said, smiling. “Would you be open to future contacts from me if I need your services?” The Harrows looked at each other and nodded, agreeing to help the cleric if he needed them. The man bowed as he took his exit and the group had completed a good deed in curing a young sick girl.

                 

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A Damsel in Distress
Episode #8

 

A Damsel in Distress

 

(( GM Note: The first half of this session was a shopping episode where the party decided what to sell/buy. It was done mostly in OOC as prices/stats were looked up and the like. As a result, this adventure log will be a lot shorter as I won’t go into the details of the shopping spree that much. ))

 

A few days had passed since the chaos that ensued during the execution of Trinia Sabor. Queen Ileosa’s presentation was ruined by the mysterious masked vigilante known as Blackjack who swooped in and saved the day. After that the city officials were on full force patrolling the city trying to track the man down as the Castle proclaimed a $5,000 bounty on Blackjack. Meanwhile, the Harrows took some time for some much needed rest as they patched their wounds and dispersed the loot they had received. By selling a number of items they had collected through their journey they were able to upgrade their adventuring gear for whatever challenges faced them next.

                One day, when they were getting ready to head out they saw a note on their door. It was Vencarlo Orisini, the man that they had met once at Cressida’s office. In his note he wanted them to meet him at his academy where he could give them some sword training that adventurers like them might find useful for whatever challenges they were to face. The group looked at each other and figured that there was nothing wrong with some free training as they made their way into Old Korvosa where the Orisini Academy was located. Once they arrived, the place appeared to be closed with a note that read classes cancelled today. Barilut knocked on the door and a few short moments after Vencarlo opened it looking at the party.

                “I’m glad you all could make it here. Please, come in come in. We have much to discuss and go over!” Vencarlo said, ushering the group into the building and down some of the halls. Eventually they ended up in a small study with the curtains covering all the windows. The nobleman closed the door as he looked towards the Harrows. “I have an important task that I must ask of you all. But first, we have another guest.” As he said that one of the other doors into the study opened up to reveal another person walking in. This one was dressed in plain clothes with a hat on and long red wavy hair. It appeared to be a female and moved towards them quite nervously as she reached up and slowly pulled on the red hair to expose short blonde locks.

                “I’m sorry for the trouble I caused you all on the rooftops…” Trinia said, looking at the group that had tried to chase her only a few days ago. Xandek looked at her as he felt some tension since he knew how close he was to getting her on the rooftops as Vencarlo stepped in and began speaking.

                “You were all at the Queen’s debacle, so I don’t doubt you recognize this charming young woman. I had only just reached my home the night of Her Majesty’s morbid gala when that rogue Blackjack and this startled woman arrived at my doorstep. The “people’s hero” and I have had some dealings in the past, but still, it’s been some years since I’ve seen the scoundrel. He was quick with his words, and soon swooped off—doubtlessly to right some other festering wrong—but not before entrusting Miss Sabor into my protection and care. Although I don’t know Blackjack’s motives or politics, I trust his judgment and have seen much right done by his blade. He says the girl is innocent of the crime she’s been accused of, and I’m more disposed to trust a hero of the city than the tantrums of some bloody-minded harlot playing at queen.

The matter is simple: Korvosa is no longer safe for Miss Sabor. I’ve arranged for friends in Harse—a couple of wellrespected ranchers—to take in our beautiful renegade until this whole ‘assassination’ foolishness blows over. It’s the first leg of the journey where we find our problem, though. Both the Korvosan Guard and the Queen’s new Grey Maidens have been searching for the young lady tirelessly—they’ve stopped by here three times so far, and each time I’ve only just barely been able to turn them away without inviting a search. My most reliable contacts have gone to ground in light of the recent uprisings, and Her Highness’s considerable bounty for Trinia’s capture makes the use of new agents inadvisable. Thus, after some time to let her trail cool, I turned to you resourceful lot. I have seen your work in the past and know you are certainly capable. Would you do this for me?”

 

The group listened to Vencarlo’s speech and everything he had said. Barilut turned to the older gentleman while stroking his beard. “I assume by Grey Maidens you mean those dressed in the shining armor with red capes that we saw by the Queen’s side?” Vencarlo looked back at the dwarf and nodded. “Correct. There are more of them. I don’t know all the politics of it…that may be a question better left for Cressida next time you see her.”

After some discussion amongst themselves the group decided to help Vencarlo and agree to the plan. He thanked them for it and said that he would entrust her in their hands and that he was going to lay low a bit. His reputation for being outspoken was drawing too many eyes his way and it would be best for him to avoid more altercations. He told the group not to seek him out and that he would look for them again when the time is right as he bid them farewell.

The adventurers then had to decide what to do with Trinia. Luckily, they still had a disguise kit in their bags from their adventures and took it out. Jathan carefully applied the kit to Trinia, doing her makeup and hair to make the disguise and clothes she wore look even better in concealing who she was. All that was left was for them to brave the streets of Korvosa and get her along to the wayside inn a short way out of the city.

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