July 20, 2019 recap

Ruven having been out of town was told about the curfew in Whitestone. He needed to update his adventurers badge so he can move around the city at night without getting in trouble with the guards and the mechanical dragons. Patrols of both had stepped up since the vampire attacks and that Alistair had still not returned to the city.

The group had taken on one of the quests from the Wild Cards’ quest board. Tonya, a young woman from Whitestone had posted a job asking someone to help locate her brother, Edgar. He had been missing for about 2 weeks. She is afraid he is another of the vampires’ victims. Last time she saw him, he was leaving their house in his nightgown telling her he was going dancing. She has not seen him since. She said my brother does not dance. Rhom and Shanasita had been investigating 3 murders where at least one (maybe more) had said they were going dancing before disappearing and then getting killed. One was a sailor, another a guard and the last was a noblewoman. Also, this is similar to what happened at the masquerade ball with the younger vampire lord who was charmed by magic that had been place on the mask he wore at the ball. His name is Cagavian Atabarand and his father’s name is Rodigas Atabarand. They were ambassadors from Ember and big shots, politically. They had some pull with the merchants associations. They had come to look at improving trade deals with Whitestone and while Alistair was away from the city, Lord Crumbly let them in. Trade for the most part between the cities was tariffs slapped on goods by Ember. Well, not really. As Shanasita said, Ember does not trade. Ember raids.

Tonya said that Edgar worked at Volec’s jewelry shop and according to the constables, he had stolen from his place of employment on the same day he disappeared. Tonya said that Edgar’s boss was convinced he had stolen from him and then skipped town and was now living it up in Ember. They noticed many portraits and drawings in the house. Tonya said Edgar was an artist and he was pretty good. They asked to see his room. He had a drawing desk with supplies and more drawings. Most were of pretty girls. They then found a number of drawings of a person dressed all in black wearing a black mask with bloody tears. Rhom stopped short and then muttered, I have seen this image in my dreams. It has kept me from getting decent sleep. Whatever this is, it means to harm me and I have no idea what it is. Ruven thought for a moment and said I have heard of a small sub-set sect of Sulis (spelling I know is wrong) that uses black masks and bloody eyes. Everyone looked at him oddly until Ruven replied, well that is what I have heard. They thanked Tonya and left. It was getting close to nightfall and with the curfew up there would not be many places open. The ones that were open would not have been many in them. They decided to go to the Traveler’s section of the city and try asking in the inns there about Edgar. No one had seen him. Ruven saw that folks were bored so he round up some other bards in the inn and they performed for those stuck in the inn. It was getting late so they decided to head back to the Guild Hall. As they were walking down the street, they saw a figure some 100ft or so ahead of them, running down the street towards them. As the figure got closer Rhom, Mitsune and Shanasita recognized it as Cagavian, the younger vampire lord and he was covered in blood. Looking closer they saw he had a slash across his face. From their hiding place just off the main street, they were able to grab him and pull him into the side alley. They calmed him down enough for him to tell them that he had been attacked by a mob sent by Crumbly. A silver dagger shot through the air and sunk into his chest. Rhom saw a figure, (was it a woman?), standing on a nearby roof, dressed in all black wearing a black mask with bloody tears. He immediately went after the assailant. She tried to cast Invisibility but he dispelled her magic so she dropped just below the roof line. He used his grappling hook to get up to the roof to follow her.

Ruven, Shanasita and Mitsune tended to the vampire. Shanasita removed the dagger while Ruven used his medicine skill to try to patch the vampire up. It was strange trying to do first aid on a creature of the night so at first they were only able to stop the bleeding but not much else. Mitsune offered her arm so Cagavian could feed and that stabilized him enough for them to get him up on his feet. Rhom was gaining ground on the mysterious figure when suddenly she stopped and turned around and cast another spell - Power Word: Stun. Rhom was held in place only able to mumble swears back at her. She said to him as she laughed, “Not yet. We will play later.” And she disappeared. Rhom was not happy. Soon the stun spell wore off and Rhom joined with the others down below. Ruven had picked up the dagger and examined it. It was covered in something, perhaps holy water but maybe something else, a poison perhaps. But what kind of poison would harm a vampire. Ruven wrapped the dagger up in a cloth to save for a better time to look at it closer.

After a brief discussion they decided to take Cagavian back to the Wild Cards Guild Hall. It took some persuading but they convinced him that he would be safer away from the inn where he and his father had been staying and the attack had occurred. He finally agreed with them after they told him that they would check on his father at the inn. They would then work on a way to get him and his father out of town.

Rena was not happy that they had brought a vampire to the Guild Hall. But, she shrugged and said well, it is not the worst thing we have had in here. They told her their plan to go check on Rodigus back at the inn to make sure he is okay. She said there is a back room the vampire can stay in. Her paladin companion would keep an eye on the vampire. He said that he would not harm the beast but if his warhammer just happened to fall on his head, so be it.

They made their way back to the inn in the Traveler’s District. Arriving, they saw many guards surrounding the front of the inn and several clerics tending to injured guards. They asked what was going on. The guards explained one of the vampire ambassadors had attacked 8 guards and was now roaming free around the city. It may best if you all got off the streets. They told the guards that they and the older vampire were acquaintances from the masquerade earlier in the week. They thought that the vampires were being set up just as they had been at the masquerade. And that the vampires were actually the ones in danger, at least the younger one. The guards were not totally convinced but they let them in to see Rodigus anyway. Rodigus was not pleased with anything they told him but knowing his son was okay helped a little. They said that they believed that the vampires were not responsible for the killings and that they were being used to potentially start a war between Ember and Whitestone. Rodigus listened to their plan on how to get his son out of the city. It was not ideal but it might work. Ruven knew of a possible way that they could use. Before they left they asked if there was anything they could tell his son so he would know for sure they had spoken to his father. Rodigus said “Tell him I said we are going to have a long talk once we this is over.”

When they got back to the Guild Hall it was surrounded by a group of 30 or citizens led by Lady Wisteria demanding the vampire be brought out so they could destroy him. Another victim had been found in a town square, his body drained of all of its blood. Rena was handling the situation rather well. The group knew they needed to get him out of the Guild Hall. They asked him about his other forms. He said he could change into a tiny bit or a medium cloud of mist. They decided on his bat form so they could carry him in a one of their pouches or bags. They would disguise Rhom to look like the vampire. They would sneak out of the Guild Hall as best as they could and then make their way through the city, over to the university district, down into the sewers and use the magic door/portal to get the Cagavian back to Ember. Ruven explained as best as he could how the door worked. Following the signs he had put to memory of where the door was located, they got there and found only a wall. Ruven looked around a bit, then said Ember and knocked. Nothing happened. He then looked for secret doors and there were none. He used his arcane knowledge and he found that it was likely that the portal had been shut down. They decided to get Cagavian as close to his family’s carriages so he could leave the city. They would then get with range of a Message spell of the inn in the Traveler’s District to let his father know that he was safe on the family carriage. Rodigus thanked them and said I will join him and we will leave and be done with this city.

(I could not remember when we did some of the following things so let me know if anything is out of order)

They decided to go to the temple of Boran Mol to see if they could possibly examine the latest victim. With Rhom’s connections they were let in. They saw that there were bite marks on his throat and the body was pale from lack of blood. But, there was no sign that he was turning into a vampire. The bite marks were jagged and the area was not clean. They found out that a lesser Boran Mol cleric had made the determination that it was a vampire attack. They told a senior official their findings. He thanked them and they left to see if they could talk to Volec the jeweler about Edgar. They arrived and saw an unfinished sign that may have read have the owner’s name. It was difficult to tell. The address was correct, so they went in. The man went into seller mode immediately. They explained they were looking into Edgar’s disappearance. Volec said he stole 5000gp in necklaces and earrings, all women’s jewelry, and is probably living it up in Ember. No forced entry because he had a key. Should not have trusted that boy. He had been working on my sign out front. Found the sign in front of store in the middle of street and he had danced on it. They checked the sign and saw footprints all over the sign. Edgar danced, the sailor danced, masquerade dance - Not sure about the guard or the noblewoman and any connections to dancing with them.

Ruven said my wife really likes jewelry. I don’t think she would be doing this charm magic. It does not seem to be her M.O. She would do the job herself, not charm someone to do it for her. The others said that Lady Wisteria always had some kind of jewelry on her. They remembered she had been wearing ruby earrings at the ball but were not sure what kind of necklace she had. Volec had an itemized list of the pieces that were missing and ruby earrings were on the list. They were hesitant to implicate her but they decided to gather as much general knowledge about her as possible. Lady Wisteria had arrived in Whitestone 3 or 4 years before. He had inherited a good chunk of money from an uncle in the city that did not have any children so the inheritance had gone to her. She was involved in the political scene, taking a moderate stance on most issues. She was for talking to Ember about changes to the tariffs and opening up trade. But that view had changed recently with the vampire attacks. She was involved in several philanthropic endeavors around the city. She was a heart-throb with numerous suitors that she liked to string along. No one was sure where she was from before she had arrived in Whitestone. Also, not one person in town had ever gone against her or opposed her including politicians and merchant folks. Everyone in the group found that odd. They left the jeweler and went to a nearby park where Edgar liked to draw. They asked some of the girls if they had seen him. No one had seen him for around 2 weeks.

Not sure what to do next they went by to see Father Slushy, the priest at the god of Knowledge Temple that had helped them locate the younger vampire after the masquerade. Rhom wanted to see about having a Hallow spell cast on his room at the Guild Hall so he would not have the recurring nightmare anymore and be able to sleep. They knew the Guild Hall was magical already with the protection against fire and other damage so they were not sure another kind of spell would even be able to be cast. Father Slushy then said, “Our temple has that Hallow spell already on it so you know what that means? Bunk-mates! You can stay here and in the morning, I can make waffles.” Rhom agreed and Slushy said “Good! I’ll get the marshmallows!” Slushy then turned to Ruven and said have you been studying the texts? Good! Pop quiz time! And they sat down at the nearest table and exchanged quizzes while the others waited. Quizzes finished and graded, they left. Coming out onto the street, there was a large parade going by. Alistair had returned. The inns and taverns were rejoicing and celebrating that soon the curfew would be lifted with this impromptu parade. In fact, the curfew was lifted later that afternoon. Ruven joined the celebrations by playing his birdpipes.

They then went to the closest inn near Edgar’s home and work place. The bartender remembered him but he had not seen him for weeks. And yes, he had been hanging around a girl several days before he disappeared. She had short dark hair, a human and was generally pretty. That was not like him but no one really thought too much of it. Ruven went by to get his name on the list for an audience with Alistair. He knew it would awhile so he made sure to mention Tanaka with the note he left. He also looked into getting a bard license but would need to see a magistrate. They checked a few more places for Edgar and then Rhom went to the Knowledge Temple to try to sleep and the other went back to the Guild Hall for a meal and to bed. Rhom did not have the nightmare and was able to get a decent amount of rest.

The next morning, they all met in the common area of the Guild Hall for the morning meal and to talk about what to do next. Rhom had had too many waffles with Father Slushy so he did not eat with the others. Other members of the guild were there including Melody who struck up a conversation with Rhom. They chatted each other up for a while and then she said would you like to meet up later for dinner? He agreed and they decided they would met at a fancy elf restaurant at 8 that evening.

There was another job in the Guild Hall quest board. It was to help Ham with his ghots (ghost) problem. They had helped Ham before with his rats in his basement of his newly acquired warehouse that he was going to turn in an entertainment center. They found Ham in a nearby bar, (not his) very drunk. He said there are ghots, ghosts and they removed his furniture. The ghosts were in the attic and they are less active at night. Oh and to watch out for the bananas. He gave them a key and said he would be here. The name of his place was the Golden Years Casino and Tavern.

They went to his establishment and saw that a lot of work had been done on it. Opening the door, they made their way to the attic. It was full of junk but they did notice a portrait of three men. They were large brutes of men and they did not look too intelligent. Next to the portrait was a tipped over urn with ash on the attic floor. Ruven used Mage Hand to sweep the ash into the urn but he did not finish as three ghosts rose up from the floor. Two of them went after Rhom, Ruven and Shanasita, with the third, whose name was Lenny, possessing Mitsune. The other two, whose names were Tim and Gus attacked. (Think a 3 Stooges episode for the combat) The group ended up reasoning with them and was able put them and the remaining ash into the urn and took them to temple of Boran Mol with the understanding they would be able haunt the cemetery connected to the temple. The priests of the temple thanked them and said they would take it from here. As the group was leaving, the cleric they had given the urn to, dropped it, releasing Lenny, Tim and Gus into the temple. Looking back they saw several banana peels on the temple floor. Things would be interesting at the temple for quite some time. They returned to Ham and let him know the job was taken care of and he paid them and thanked them.

There was one more job on the board. Someone named Xanafex (or Xanathex) was looking for a brave soul for some kind of experiment. Rhom said that sounds like a centaur name. The address was in the Craftsman district so they were pretty sure it would involve centaurs and centaur technology.

Xanafex wanted someone to test out his new mountain climber/crawler that he created for four legged creatures (centaurs). It was covered platform with 2 legs with claws on it. They followed Xanafex 1 hour outside the city to a good sized hill. He showed the controls to Ruven and said take it to the top and then come back down and I will pay you 20gp each. They agreed and climbed into the contraption. All went well until about 60ft to the top. The climber came to a sudden halt. Ruven messaged Xanafex who said there is a panel right above you. Open it up and you should be able to get things going again. He opened it up and saw several gerbils in running wheels that had all stopped running because the carrot that was dangling in front of them had fell off the string. The group got to work each with a different task. Things got worse, with one of the giant claws detaching from the side of the hill. But they got it back working, reached the top, came back down and handed the machine over to Xanafex. He asked them some questions about the trip while he wrote in a journal. He took all of their ideas on how to make it better and safer. He thanked them and then paid them each 20gp.

They got back to the Guild Hall in time for Rhom to get ready for his date with Melody. Ruven was going to see if there were places that would let him perform and the rest of the group decided to go with him. Rhom said just do not go to the same restaurant Melody and I are going to. They walked outside and a carriage rolled by. Rhom started yelling “Follow that carriage! We will catch up later after my date. Follow the carriage!” Rhom went on to the elf restaurant to meet Melody while the rest of the group took to the rooftops to follow the carriage. Shanasita and Mitsune did okay but Ruven slipped and fell into Ham’s Golden Years Casino and Tavern attic. He made his way down and met up with the others who were watching someone from inside the carriage waving them over. It looked like he wanted them to get into the carriage. He yelled, “Well, get in or okay, don’t then. Darn it I gave them a choice again. No, get in. Now come on.” They all got in and giving a knock on the ceiling of the carriage he began to speak as the carriage begun to move.

“I am Agent T. I run an organization that works to right wrongs. We have been following your investigation into the vampire murders and so far you all have been impressive. My agency has been trailing a cult that we believe is involved with this whole mess and we think we have found where their funding is coming from. I will drop you off up here and you will go to this address. Get in the house. Find what you are looking for. Get out. Don’t get caught. You will know it when you see it.”

Ruven looked at the address. It was in the upper class area of town. It clicked for them all at the same time. Lady Wisteria was the financial backer. Agent T gave them one of his cards. It was blank with a silver line going across the front of it. It did not seem magical but they could not figure anything else out about it. They said they had a companion that would be needed on such a break in but he was away. T responded, “He is playing another role this evening but he should be okay. This cannot wait. Go on now.” And he let them out of his carriage and he was on his way. Meanwhile, Rhom met Melody and they had a great dinner and really good conversation and after a while something felt off for Rhom. She said to him “Come now, we have work and play to do.” And he got up and went with her gladly. He had been charmed and was now under Melody’s control.

The group sneaked up to the side entrance of Lady Wisteria’s house. Not finding any traps nor the door locked, they entered into a greenhouse room. Nothing stood out but a harp over in the corner. They were rumors Wisteria was a bard so this made sense. They opened the door into the house and they were in a hallway with several doors on each side. They went to the first one. It was an office. There was a desk with ledgers, letters and bank information. Also, a number of books and over in the corner was a violin on a stand. They could also see that the wall behind the violin looked like it would open up, if only they could figure out how to do it. It did not move when it was pushed. It had to be the violin but Ruven was hesitant to make any music that could alert someone to their presence. They went to the next room. In there was a drum set and another sliding wall. Another room had a piano, one had flutes, and one had a bust of Lady Wisteria as well as a painting of her. Everything was new. The bust also slid but they could not figure out how to make it move. They went back to the office and Ruven picked up the violin and softly played a tune. Nothing happened. He then began to do scales and a little improv work. Shanasita recognized the melody he was playing. It was a children’s song from Ember. Very popular in that city. The back wall opened up and they saw a ladder leading down below the house. Ruven took the violin and bow with him and they all went down the ladder with Ruven closing the door behind them.

The ladder ended in some kind of passageway. There were sconces on the walls every so often shedding off dim light. They sneaked down the passageway and suddenly in the middle of the passage was a young boy, dressed as a nobleman. He looked at the group and said “You do not belong here”. Ruven said yes we do. See? And he held up the violin. The boy turned, started screaming and went to run away. Mitsune reached out to grapple him but did not get him. Shanasita used his Wand of Web to capture the boy. The boy was still screaming so Ruven cast Silence on him. Mitsune got caught in the web trying to grab the boy. They were soon both out of the web and the boy had a knife. He slashed out at the group. Then they heard movement behind them. It was a group of young children attacking them from behind. They fought back using non-lethal damage. Shanasita used the Staff of Insect Plague to bring insects on them but the kids were able to swat the bugs away. Soon the kids were knocked out but the insect plague went away and let more of the kids come through. Mitsune picked up one of the knocked out kids and throw him over his shoulder and the group took off down the passageway. Shanasita used the Wand of Web to slow the children down. They did this several times until the children were no longer behind them. But they were lost. They did find several rooms down there, a kitchen, a school room, a nursery for 2-3 year olds. They traveled for over an hour and suddenly found themselves back at the original battle site that they had had with the kids. They thought they were close to getting out but no. They wandered around some more and found a room with many ropes and wooden blocks. Ruven set off a poison trap but he and Shanasita were able to disconnect that one. But the room was a Test Room with many traps and a door at the far end. Ruven cast Mage Hand and opened the door and there was a forest on the other side. Deciding not to continue in that room, they left and wandered around some more. They found a large 30ft x 40ft room containing books and lab equipment including a desk, chairs and a large table. On the table in all the alchemical ingredients was a recipe for what sounded like vampire poison. They now knew what had been on the silver dagger thrown at Cagavian. It sounded useful so Ruven took the recipe and a vial of the poison. There was a curtain in the room and pulling it back there was another room with a mirror on the wall and a safe. Ruven checked out the mirror while Shanasita tried to open the safe. They got it open and found:

A whole lot of jewelry- most of it was women’s jewelry. They took all of the jewelry A large amulet with a yellow stone set in it. (Ruven took it to give back to Modura) A magic horn that also belong to Modura. Several more magic items (to be determined)

Ruven did not find anything about the mirror except there was a fresh hand print on the mirror. It looked to be a woman’s hand print. Shanasita touched the mirror and suddenly it turned into a communication device. They saw a huge black dragon on the other side. It huffed and said “My Siren, what do you want now?”

“Wait, you are not Siren. Who are you?”

Shanasita tried to activate the mirror again but it did not work. Ruven took off his cloak and covered the mirror. They could hear the dragon yelling at them. “I don’t know who are you but I will find you and I will kill you.”

They left the room. More wandering about and then they find a room with all kind of knick-knacks and mementos. It held everything from strands of hair to painters/artists tools to a single sock and a tooth. Perhaps trophies of some kind. Ruven did not find any evidence of magic. The found a paint brush and a charcoal pencil. These could have been Edgar’s but they were not 100% sure. Ruven took the charcoal pencil to give to Tonya. They then found a Dressing Room. It was more like a Costume Room with outfits of all kinds, mostly for women but some were for men. They left and walked some more and came to a door. Opening the door they saw brick wall. They knocked and said Ember to test things and opening the door they saw the underground of Ember. Everything was made of wood. Shanasita was in no rush to get back in Ember. They did not stay and after closing the door they said Whitestone but nothing happened with just the wall on the other side of the door. They left and wandered around until they found a prison area. On one side was a man that looked vaguely familiar. The other cell has a small boy curled up only in underwear covered in scrapes, scratches and bruises. He certainly fit the description of Edgar. The vaguely familiar man was Rhom and he looked more relaxed than they had ever seen him. He talked nonstop about Melody. He was to wait for her here. She would be back soon. They tried to get him to see that he was in a prison but he would not listen. Ruven healed as much of Edgar’s wounds as he could. Mitsune would carry the young child that they had captured in the fight with the children, Ruven would help Edgar and Shanasita would handle Rhom if they could figure out how to get him out of there. They persuaded him that they were going to take him to her. They started making their way back to what they thought was the entrance. Suddenly the hallway filled with Melody’s voice.

“Where are you going, Rhom? You need to come to me, not leave.”

Rhom dashed off to find Melody. Mitsune grabbed him and tried to knock him out. It did not work and Rhom continued forward. Ruven looked around for Melody but did not see her so he cast Silence on Rhom. Rhom looked confused as he continued to look and seemingly call out for Melody. Shanasita cast Calm Emotions and Rhom calmed down some and they made their way back to the magic door. Shanasita did not want to go back to Ember so they knocked and said The Pit and opened the door and walked through. They were in a large stadium surrounded by many people. Shanasita turned around and knocked on the door they had just come through and said Whitestone. Opening the door there was just a wall behind the door. Looks like all the portals to Whitestone were gone.

How would they get back to Whitestone?

(Out of game knowledge - Modura found another portal door as well. Modura’s kidnapper was also the Siren. Agent T is Theorn)