Where My Demons Hide

A Play on Words
23 Vult, 998 YK

Harland meets his Employees in the City of the Dead. He shows the name on the Machine – a half-orc that has been dead for two weeks. The Machine is never wrong.

The party quickly realizes that the body buried inside actually was a half-orc. Further investigation brings up that he was a notorious serial killer that was killed by the Sharn Watch. The killer made his last stand inside a Cannith warehouse.

They next investigate the warehouse, where they are able to convince the one Cannith flunky on duty that this was an exciting detective case that he can take part in. They find a Book of Shadows, which led Lizardface to realize that they had a warlock on the loose. Worse, still, was that the Mystic Arcanum in the book seemed to be a modified form of Magic Jar.

The group puts puts two and two together and realizes that the murderer transfers his soul to a li’lforged toy. Arik then contacts Paris d’Cannith and convinces them that their House’s full cooperation in the matter is in their best interests. This quickly leads them to Upper Central, where the warlock doll now attempts to use his magic jar on a child after killing her parents (who are members of the Sixty.)

Adue due Belashyrra, grant me the power I beg of you. Secoise entienne mais pois de morte. Morteisma lieu de vocuier de mieu vochete. Endonline pour de boiette Belashyrra!

A fight ensues between the Employees against the doll, its Gricks, and a troupe of men with no eyes. Their combined effort destroyed the doll and its minions, saving the young girl from further danger.

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Headlines
Over the Past Two Months

From the Sharn Inquisitive

Tain Gala Attacked!!
Sul, 08 Sypheros 998 YK

She calls herself Lord Halas d’Tarkanan.

With at least 30 dead among the most prominent Sharn families, the Slaughter of the Sixty will now be remembered as a dark day on the long history of this storied city.

With motivations currently unknown, all that is clear is that eyewitness accounts referred to her as an aberrant, whose skin burns through her bandages (of which she was covered head to foot) with the red marks of uncatalogued dragonmarks. (continued on p. 6)

Mourning Survivor Surfaces
Secondary Headline for Sul, 08 Sypheros 998 YK

He has been wandering the streets of Sharn as a beggar.

Artemiy Kassad, a Karnn squadron leader from the days of the Last War, has surfaced from the slums of Dura. “I do not remember entering Sharn,” says the beleaguered man to the reporters on site, “but I do remember some of the battle in Metrol.” He has no memories of the dead-grey mists that now surrounds the doomed city.

Officially dead, he was recorded to have been survived by his daughter Anka Kassad, now a junior instructor at Morgave University, and his wife Thora Tavin-Kassad, of Brelish citizenship, who is also widely known as the Chief Executor of the Boromar Export and Trading Industry, Inc.

Over mounting concerns over the ease of entry for illegal immigrants, Lord Commander Iyan ir’Talan had this to say. “The Sharn Watch remains committed to the safety of all people with legitimate …” (Continued on p. 8)

Karnn Protests Intensify
Sul, 15 Aryth 998 YK

Hundreds of Graywall residents await the fate of Lady Natsuko Hazal outside the Citadel at Central Plateau. The Blood of Vol priestess was implicated over the Barrakas attacks on the lightning rail.

Meanwhile, other citizens of Sharn conitnue to criticize the slow pace of the trials.

We caught Karnn Ambassador Syra ir’Tarrn for comments on current events in the city. “The emerald claw are terrorists,” she admits, “but they are outlaws even in the homeland. I repeat: They are terrorists. The common Karrn is not.”

She continues. “His Majesty King Kaius has tasked me to keep a close eye on the alarming increase of Karnn persecution cases in this otherwise glorious city.”

The ambassador not only refers to the trial of the Lady Hazal, but also of the calls for the now infamous Artemiy Kassad to face military trials for suspected ties to the cause of the Mourning. Artemiy is currently under the protective custody of the Embassy of Karrnath. (Continued on p. 7)

Princess Haydith to Visit Sharn
Sul, 08 Vult 998 YK

As the New Year approaches, new hope for stability comes from the crown.

His Royal Highness King Boranel has granted his ward, Princess Haydith ir’Wynarn, leave to visit the City of Towers. She is expected to take on a tour of the Upper Districts and to meet with the City Council. Most importantly, the princess has expressed her desire to visit Graywall to help assuage the belief that Brelish citizens Karrn descent are persecuted based on their ancestry. Her tour is expected to begin at the start of the year and is said to last for a week.

Haydith ir’Wynarn is the sister to King Kaius III of Karrnath and heir apparent to the Karrn throne.

(Continued on p. 7)

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The Seer and the Throne
994 YK

Placeholder. Feel free to add as appropriate.

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Fidgety Hands
06 Sypheros, 998 YK

Part 1. The Heist

Martin Short is named by the Machine. He works for the Kundarak Bank of House Kundarak. Together with a few other men (and a dwarf), they transport Kundarak assets from bank to bank using an armored caravan.

Arik d’Thuranni posed as the new guy hired in the caravan. Vorik, meanwhile, follows the caravan from a distance. The first leg of the journey is uneventful. Arik notices that the guards are not as alert as they can be.

Part 2. Kissing feet

Erastes Boromar arrives at the goblin warrens in Dura. He is flanked by his posse of mooks and a Deneith bodyguard. He offers forgiveness and even friendship to Lizardface, but only if he kisses Erastes’ feet in apology for the death of his son. Lizardface seemingly agrees, but one-ups the halfling and shames him, in turn. Erastes is pissed and calls for his head as he and Vaarus run.

Part 3. The Ball

Anka and Killian prepare for the ball with the help of Thora Tavin‘s seemingly limitless wardrobe. Their dresses are outrageous but classy. On of the Helais twins ends up being Anka’s forced date. Killian comes with his secretary, who has a large bag for leftovers.

Thora introduces her daughter to her employers, the patriarch and matriarch (who happens to be a former member of House Jorasco) of the clan, as well as their daughter Ilyra.

Vaarus and Lizardface arrive just as things take a turn for the worse.

A woman literally crashes into the party through the stained glass windows. Standing on a Telekinese’d piano playing Vivaldi was a woman draped in bandages. She wore a fluffy dress, what seemed to be Cannith goggles, and a hat topped by a couatl feather. Behind her were two grells.

Grell__D_D_monster_.jpgThe grells attack, and the woman activates the familiar red glow of an aberrant dragonmark as she murders members of the sixty left and right. With her mother nowehere in sight, Anka and company fight the grells and the mysterious woman.

In a desperate moment, Anka activates her own dragonmark to use Telekinesis on the chandelier. It triggers the woman’s Cannith goggles, it whirs and beeps, and then explodes. Seemingly satisfied, the woman commands the piano to leave the battle. She ignites her silver sword to fend off the desperate attacks of the would-be heroes.

Pulling Terrorist Strings

Martin Short makes his move and triggers an expensive fireball dragonshard. He attempts to escape with more shards in the possession of the caravan, but Arik stops him soundly. Vorik convinces Martin Short to sell out his employer, convincing him that he can fabricate documents to make it appear as if he was sick on this day of the attack.

They soon find out that Martin and his wife Takara were under orders from Malen Torr to steal the shards. In return, he gives them the 100 gp needed to purchase a lil’forged, Cannith’s newest toy, for their daughter Dahlia Short. Arik and Vorik then try to prevent Malen from escaping, but are stopped by a Dread Knight, a suit of armor housing a Karnnathi warrior.

Epilogue

Malen Torr returns to the Karrn embassy, bag of dragonshards in hand. The fireplace is in use; a mouth appears. Lord Tarkanan thanks Malen Torr for the shards.

prophecyShards.jpg

Dahlia is ecstatic at her new toy while her parents beam with happiness over her. “Did we make you happy, child?” They ask in unison. She nods, and then says as her eyes glow, “you can sleep now, mother. Father.” They comply with no question.

Anka’s concern for her mother was unfounded, Thora says as a masseuse works on her back. She was outside when trouble began in the gala, she reassures her, and smiles genuinely through the green beauty goop covering the areas around her eyes.

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Khyber Uppercut!
07 Rhaan, 998 YK

Excerpt:

Floating eyeball: “Long ago… I, Vek’nak, unleashed an unspeakable evil upon this world! But a foolish samurai warrior, Kaz, who wielded a magic sword, stepped forth to oppose me. He cut off my eye and hand—”

overmind_by_r_3h-d6t4ivs.jpg

Adventurer: “Wait, back up just a minute, you’re, whatsisname? Vek’nak? Not Orlasssk?”

Eyeball: “No! I am the dread wizard, Vek’nak, and I offer you unlimited power if you would only—”

Adventurer: “Nope, not the elder evil we were looking for. Sorry to disturb your slumber.”

Eyeball: “—free me from my prison and take me with you. Wait! Where are you going? I offer power! Unlimited power!”

footsteps walking away

Eyeball: “All you need to do is pluck out one of your eyeballs and put me in the socket. Please. Unlimited power! … Take me with you, please, I’ve been stuck here for a thousand years.”

sounds of a passageway being bricked up

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Trouble in the Ranks
25 Barrakas, 998 YK

(WiP)

  • Arik and other members appear before a council of Dragonmarked House representatives. The Houses reject the return of House Tarkanan.
  • On the way home via the Lightning Rail, an Iron Cobra appears before Arik and spits out a name. He saves Mariano d’Sivis from two Boromar thugs, and then promptly stuff him in a briefcase when he proved too noisy.
    Anka is accosted by her mother, Thora Tavin, so that she does something with her life. You know, like her, who gets money by working for the Boromars. Her piano instructor asks her to get the group together as a name demands their full attention.
  • Lizardface gets introduced to the chuul-slayer, Vaarus, while out on break with his new hobgoblin “buddies.”
  • The Employees gather at Tavick’s Landing. As Arik’s train arrives, Emerald Claw terrorists begin lobbing alchemist’s fire flasks to the public.
  • They clear out the terrorists with the help of the Black Arch Garrison led by Commander Iyanna ir’Talan. They are invited to the Sharn Watch station, but the group declines.
  • The Employees realize that the name given to Anka is Iyanna’s. They decide to go to the station, after all, while Arik deposits his gnome-in-a-bag in a Thuranni safehouse.
  • The Black Arch garrison proves to be a place where the Sharn Watch actually do their jobs.
  • Iyanna thanks them for their help with the @
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In Kind
04 Barrakas, 998 YK

WiP, though I probably won’t be able to work on this for awhile. If anyone wants to take over, go ahead!

The rains of Summer has stopped, and as the leaves began to fall elsewhere on Khorvaire, the Sharn Watch of Central Plateau held a press conference. Belew Yorgan introduced the cantrip wands that House Cannith has donated to the Watch. A smiling, dead-jokes goodwill liaison Paris represents the House, and he publicly presents the first wand, a wand of Firebolt, to Killian. Harland, who was also at the event, asks Killian to round up the Employees as the Machine spat out something that had him stumped.

Elsewhere, Dul’Radzak attended a meeting of druids discussing the annual festival known as The Hunt, which is held in honor of the Sovereign god Balinor. Some druids believed that the Hunt is a needless slaughter of a creature, while others see it as the perfect expression of nature’s will. Before he can contemplate his stand, (Killian’s goblin) called his attention so he excused himself.

When the group assembled at The Library, Harland showed them what the Machine provided. It was the number T – XVII – 47. Using their own resources, both Lizardface and Arik d’Thuranni independently found out that it’s a warforged serial number. As many warforged are found in the Cogs, they decide that it would be best to begin searching there.

I am Not a Lobster

Of the myriad ways to get to the Cogs, Killian was the only one to go through Tavick’s Landing. There, he witnessed the unveling of the creature to be hunted for this year’s Hunt: A giant lobster culled from Cliffside. The organizers believed that a giant lobster would be challenging but not especially lethal to anyonw who would decide to join.

The problem was, it wasn’t a giant lobster after all.
chuul.jpg

As soon as the creature was released from its cage, tentacles shot out from its mouth, wrapping one of the handlers necks with it. The handler screamed and kicked, then whimpered and twitched, and was finally still. As its eyes rolled back in a death-stare, the dying man’s mouth moved, and through it, the creature declared that it was “not a lobster.” It was not to be interrupted from its glorious work, it said, and those who do otherwise will be killed in more painful ways.

The creature then released the man from its grasp, falling lifeless onto the ground. It then crawled towards the cogs.

Killian, being the responsible Sharn Watch member that he is, did the heroic thing. He called for backup.

Bullet points!

  • Lizardface applies as a whipper to Snot’s employers.
  • Malen Torr reveals Karnath’s interest in the warforged bearing the serial number to Vorik.
  • carrion crawler.
  • Marla, the leader of the warforged, is revealed to bear the serial number they are searching for.
  • Daask enters a bounty for Marla. Two Phiarlan elves abduct her.
  • One elf is captured, leading the party to a Daask enclave to rescue the kidnapped Marla.
  • Lizardface pretends to capture Killian and presents him to Daask.
  • The Daask “leader” is unmasked as a Tarkanan operative.
  • Fighting!
  • Dul’Radzak is killed by the Tarkanan githyanki.
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No Means No
05 Nymm, 998 YK

Crimes in the Upper City are unusual; when the name of a Morgrave University professor is given by the Machine, Harland calls on all six of his “employees” to investigate.

Professor ir’Kroog (a noble, noted Arik) was unusual for a Morgrave professor; she actually made an effort to attend to her classes while most of her colleagues went on various spelunking extra-curriculars. With this information inm hand, the group decided that it was best to attend one of her classes under different disguises.

The class itself turned out to be interesting; as a professor of elementary transmutation, she discussed the rudimentary methods of ritual casting basic spells, which more adept casters can somatically perform in seconds. She also warned against full transmutations into various beasts; instead, she says it is more efficient to borrow certain aspects of the desired beast form only. Many a mage has succumbed to the base instincts of the beast it is trying to emulate, and such transformations are best left to the wise.

basic_alchemy.jpgAt the end of the class, Killian approached the professor and used the most efficient disguise of not disguising at all. (He is an actual member of the Sharn Watch and is an actually investigating a cold case regarding her predecessor.) They agreed to meet at a university cafe later to discuss the case, after which she excused herself. True to his Thuranni nature, Arik tailed her (as did Vorik.)

The two were able to see Karla go on to meet with a senior professor named Soelma Nilaenish. Eavesdropping, they were able to find out that Karla wanted access to something called the Zoretha Scroll; however she needed the written permission of Soelma in order to access it. Denied the request, she stormed off.

Meanwhile, Dul’Radzak decided to search the professor’s newly acquired office. Seeing nothing of importance besides a drawer protected by an Arcane Lock spell (which he had no ability to remove), his kleptomania itch was scratched by taking an letter opener crafted in the fashion of a Karnathi sword.

As the druid leaves the room without incident, Anka was able to use her popularity to learn more about the professor. She was a Karrn noble by birth, but transferred to Breland as a student just before the War ended. Vorik would have been able to use this information as someone connected to Karrn nobility, himself. Unfortunately he was not made aware of this before he had a chance encounter with the professor. Awkwardness ensued.

Not-so Dura-ble Plans

Later in the afternoon, the meeting between Karla and Killian was pleasant but non-conclusive. No links can be found between her and Killian’s case (save for her gaining the homicide victim’s teaching post.) They then parted ways, and the party explored their other options.

Everyone decided to check out Soelma Nilaenish and the Zoretha scrolls. (That is, with the exception of Arik, who once again decided to tail Karla.) Killian used his position with the Sharn watch to politely question Soelma regarding his ongoing case, while the wizard, the sorcerer, and the warlock decided to go on a magical caper to get into the restricted section of the library. But they were spotted by the librarians, and eventually Soelma herself chastised and observed them closely afterward. Sneaking in to grab the Zoretha Scroll does not see like a good idea; in broad daylight, at least. Lost on what to do next, they decided to wander the city.

Arik braced himself as he followed Karla ir’Kroog’s sky coach all the way to Lower Dura. For her part, the professor seemed nervous, as well, and as Arik followed her into a seedy tavern, he quickly realized why. She was meeting with a Boromar halfling flanked by his thugs. Karla was trying to tell him that the job was off. She tried to tell him that she was better than that. For wasting the Boromar’s time, she was about to get into more trouble than she could handle.

So Arik bailed her out through the cunning use of a chandelier.

Carrying the professor, Arik escaped the tavern as a brawl ensued, inside. He was more intimidating than he was warm to Karla, however, and she decided to flee from him via a Jump spell.

Before he can decide how to make the same leap without falling to his death (while they were in lower Dura, they were still some ten stories up,) the Boromar halfling came out with his thugs and spotted him. Arik knew enough about the issues between the crime families, so he fled to Daask territory to try to escape.

It was fortuitous (although Anka’s subconscious chaos magic may have helped), then, that around that time the rest of the group decided to visit Lizardface’s camping grounds. As the Boromar caught up with Arik, Arik in turn was reunited with the rest of the group. Faced with superior numbers in hostile territory, to boot, the Boromar decided to retreat.

For now.

Small Circle, Small Circle, Big Circle

After a short rest, Arik described Karla’s reaction to his “saving her” to the rest of the party. Whatever it was that she wanted with the mysterious scroll, they deduced from her reaction that she may try something tonight. They decided that the next best move is to return to the Morgrave Library.

Upon entering the campus grounds, however, they were ambshed by the Boromar halfling. And this time he brought more men with him. “I knew you’d come back to the professor,” he said. Itching for violence, the party engaged them.

As the rain poured and as the Boromar mooks went down, a flash of light and a loud cry came from inside the University. Arik left the rest of the group (again) to run to the scene, while the rest were left to deal with the halfling and his remaining men. He used his agility to climb in through the windows. And when he rushed to the library, he saw an intricate transmutation circle drawn on the floor with Karla’s silhouette in the middle, and an unconscious Soelma lying on the far side of the room. Arik slowly approached Karla, but stopped when he noticed that she was holding an eldritch scroll.

Her neck twisted so that she could face him even though her back was turned. For that matter, “face” is not the right word. Her whole head was replaced by an eye, and as she blinked what was once her face would be briefly seen as the lids covering the one round eye. The very sight of the eye caused Arik’s skin to crawl and feel uncomfortable.

nothic.jpgHer neck ripped open, then, and from there teeth and tongue whispered of things that only Arik knew. The rest of the group barged in at this time, bloodied but unbeaten by the Boromar halfling. They paused as they saw the aberration before them.

What happened next was a blur. Dul’Radzak felt that Karla’s mind needed to be anchored back to the world, so he pulled out the Karnathi miniature sword that he swiped earlier in her office. With inhuman speed she leaped beside him, stared at the sword, and whispered, “why do you have that?” And shredded his skin with her hands claws. Dul’Radzak instantly fell down, dying.

Taking his cure from the druid’s idea, Arik swiped the miniature sword as it fell to lure that-which-was-Karla away from the rest of the group. Killian also tried to get to Karla through the power of words and persuasion.

Meanwhile, Lizardface whispered to Orlassssk so that he may peer into the mind of the unconscious Soelma. Sifting through the elder professor’s matriarchal feelings for Karla, he found that in the early stages of the ritual, the transformation was still reversible if the circle was slightly modified. He quickly called the attention of Anka and Vorik. Surely with three magi this should be in the bag, right? So, armed with chalks, they began to draw more circles on the floor.

Running away from the creature proved onlyslightly effective when the very sight of the creature assaulted Arik’s senses, so he tried to hide among the shelves, instead. Killian on the other hand began to get a response from Karla. She began to realize that her spell had gone horribly wrong, and that her body hurts. The eye began to sob:

“My mother was a Karrn warlord. She was somebody! I just wanted her back. I needed to see tomake the spell work…”

Resisting the magic of the eye with his resolve, Killian empathized with Karla and hugged her, taking on the pain for both of them.

Dul’Radzak, luckily regaining consciousness, swallowed a few goodberries , crawled to Soelma, and gave her the rest. As the elder professor got back to her feet, she saw the pandas the arcanists were drawing, shussed them, and did the job correctly.

As the transmutation circle glowedx, Karla apologized to Killian, who was in pain as he fnally started to succumb to the gaze magic. She then returned to normal,sparing Killian from a disfigured fate.

Another name was saved by the Machine.

* “Basic Alchemy” Image source: http://notshurly.deviantart.com/art/Transmutation-Circle-Tutorial-158371530. No copyright infringement intended and used for nonprofit. If you own this image and wish to have it removed, please inform us and we will comply immediately.
* Nothic images are the property of Wizards of the Coast and are used for nonprofit.
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Prologue: This Day the World Ends
994 YK

Damn, he should never have taken this contract, Garm thought to himself.

He should have been back in the Lhazar isles by now, cashing in his pay with his contract broker, Bain d’Deneith. The cagey old man had always played straight with him, and Garm had already saved enough for a sleek little sloop of his own to captain. But no, his greed had gotten the better of him and here he was stuck in Metrol in the middle of a siege bodyguarding a cleric of the Blood of Vol.

Artemiy Kassad wasn’t a bad sort, Garm had decided. He was a pretty solid warrior priest, if a bit spit and polish, but hell, name a Karrnathi who didn’t have a pike up their ass? They’d almost made it out of Metrol before the siege hit, and they were caught in a collapse that brought them down to the sewers.

There, they ended up grouping with some other poor schmucks caught up in the chaos: Gavran, a halfling warrior with a nasty streak, Perrin, a shifty elven diplomat, as well as an Aundairan wizard and another cleric whose names Garm couldn’t recall. They’d tried to make their way out of the city through the sewers with a local guide, but when they made it to the surface, a fatal grey mist kept them locked underground.

As far as they could tell, the city was fucked. But maybe they could use the sewer system to make their way out, or maybe up to high ground that wasn’t covered by the choking mists. The impromptu warband made their way past the perils of the sewers, before eventually cutting a deal with an underground hobgoblin leader: the hobgob would tell them of a route out of the city, if they would deal with the monster guarding the path.

Faced with no good choices, they agreed to the hobgob’s deal. The monster happened to be a giant spider. Or to be more exact, spiders. the other creeps caught them by surprise, but after a tough fight, they’d managed to kill the eight-legged beasts.

They’d made it past the secret gate, but rather than follow the passage all the way through, the group decided to follow a strange hidden path that eventually led into an underground temple…


OOC: If you guys want to make corrections, message me or leave a note here please and I’ll tweak them in. -Phil

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