This is a publicly-viewable record of the story so far.
12 Halli 2000
The Wings of Salvation receive an urgent summons from none other than the Wylmarn Ambassador, Xiroth Duskwatcher.
On arrival, they are made to wait in a separate parlour for a time. Someone notices that they are being observed from the other side of a thin wall.
The Wings meet Duskwatcher in her office, where her head of security Duensel Stormwind is standing by. Duskwatcher has a pest problem in the kitchen, and offers to pay the party to handle it. They accept.
Solace and Tetra notice that the rapier displayed on the wall is an illusion, but initially make no comment. They also notice that Duskwatcher is using a minor illusion to provide makeup and make her look less tired.
In the kitchen, the party discovers that the pests are, in fact, mysteriously invisible dire rats. With the help of some flour and a mending spell, the rats are dispatched and the kitchen none the worse for wear.
No one in the party decides to peek at the cook’s mail, but Verdad leaves a tract behind.
Confronted with the rats, Duskwatcher pays the party a bonus and suggests that she may have more work for them in the future. Tetra insinuates that this was a test, and Duskwatcher does not directly deny it.
14 Halli 2000
The Wings of Salvation are summoned back to Duskwatcher’s residence.
Tetra asks about the sword on display. Duskwatcher claims that it is not missing at all, and that the display sword is merely a ruse to distract thieves.
Duskwatcher states that Kehzer Murnig, a wealthy gnome, has obtained a book that was stolen from the Duskwatcher Inner Archives. She also claims that Murnig will soon be requesting the assistance of the Wings of Salvation in handling a pest problem. She asks the Wings to discreetly retrieve the book and destroy all copies, and provides a description. She states that the book is written in Ancient, and is from around the time of the Apocalypse. It is rare, valuable, and potentially dangerous in the wrong hands.
She can’t retrieve the book herself because Murnig is a close friend of Mayor Bunane, and the disruption could badly impact ongoing trade negotiations with Rogent.
She offers a fairly large payment. The Wings accept the commission, though the contract is purely verbal.
15 Halli 2000
Tolles, Lazuli, and Solace scope out Murnig’s horrifically tacky mansion. While checking out the exits, Tolles overhears a commotion inside. The group observes a messenger departing from the mansion post-haste.
16 Halli 2000
The Wings receive a message from Murnig in the morning, requesting their assistance in handling a pest in his basement library. He complains that it smelled musty, and that he ran away from something that tried to eat him.
The library is clearly an older construction than the gnome-sized upper floors. The Wings realize that the library foundations likely predate the Great War fifty years ago, and that such libraries typically would have an adjoining study. There is no study.
A brief examination of the library leads to an encounter with an invisible monster of some kind.
Lazuli tears the creature apart. After its death, the Wings identify it as a phantom fungus — an ambulatory, predatory mushroom that is invisible until death.
Cog’s spell to locate the valuable book fails. Tolles locates a hidden door to the missing study — which is lined in back with lead, likely blocking Cog’s spell. Something in the study smells… rotten. The clerics sense the presence of undead.
The study has four alcoves, with locked doors. Lazuli accidentally disarms a javelin trap (into herself) on entering the room. Two of the alcoves are filled with vargouille, monstrous undead flying heads, and one headless body. One is empty. One contains Drusilia Decker, a seriously ill half-elven Moil investigator.
Solace and Verdad easily hold the vargouille at bay with their holy presence, while the others vanquish them. The brain-in-a-jar also in the room is more formidable, mind-controlling Lazuli into injuring Tolles until Solace manages to put her sword through it.
Decker mentions that Murnig was under investigation for tax evasion on several bribes that he took.
In the aftermath, Tolles helps Decker leave unnoticed (so that she can be prevented from becoming a vargouille herself). Tetra takes possession of the book (see its contents here) and the three copies. Lazuli carries out the headless body — Decker’s partner — in the hope that he might be resurrectable. Murnig gapes at the scene, panicking, while his single gnome guard gives him the side-eye.
The Wings of Salvation take Decker and the corpse to the nearest police station, where Decker receives clerical treatment and the adventuring party is debriefed. The phantom fungus is incinerated.
Later, the Wings of Salvation receive a message from Seebo Beren, Master (Absent-Minded) Alchemist, who is trying to find his missing invisble rats and phantom fungus.
Solace and Laz visit the Temple of the Balance with a copy of the Record of the Last Eclipse. Father Tosscobble presumably makes a copy out of sight.
17 Halli 2000
Tetra runs an errand in the early morning, which goes awry.
The party meets with Ambassador Duskwatcher as agreed, and receives 7500 GP for their trouble.
Drusilia Decker visits, looking a lot healthier, and mentions that she owes Tolles a favor. Her partner, Zurrao Oathfire, has been raised at Murnig’s expense. Decker expresses interest in getting to know Lazuli better. Tolles suggests that the three of them go out drinking some time.
The Moil Gazette reports that Mayor Bella Bunane has definitely stated that any friendship she had with Murnig is “over.” Dimble Knackle, CEO of the Forge and Mill Engineering Company, has stated that they are “re-evaluating” their support of Bunane in the upcoming elections, depending on the depth of Murnig’s crimes and Bunane’s associations with him.
18 Halli 2000
Ambassador Duskwatcher sends a message, requesting a meeting with the party for a new commission on 22 Halli.
19 Halli 2000
The Moil Gazette reports that trade negotiations between Xiroth Duskwatcher, and Amaryllis Greenbottle (Rogental Ambassador) are moving forward. The question of how exports of magical items, tomes, and artifacts from Wylmar (particularly via smuggling) has been resolved in Wylmar’s favor, with much heavier penalties for anyone caught doing so.
Tetra and Solace, working together, successfully translate the first part of the Record (available here). They then destroy all the other copies that the party has on hand.
20 Halli 2000
Mayor Bella Bunane sends the party a message, requesting a meeting.
Various party members go shopping.
21 Halli 2000
The Wings visit Mayor Bunane. She offers to pay then 5000 GP in exchange for evidence that she was not involved in Murnig’s plot. The party persuades her to increase her payment to 6000 GP.
The party reads her list of official visitors, but don’t find anything too unexpected.
The Wings contact Thelma Murnig, Kehzer Murnig’s cousin. She’s in the textiles business, and profoundly unhelpful. She states that she hasn’t been talking to Murnig for years, and makes a mention of “ladies at parties” before slamming her door in the Wings’ faces.
The Chief of Police meets with the party as well. He shares some information about Murnig’s known associates, which includes numerous creditors and some… lady gnome escorts. Murnig seems to have been short on real friends. Murnig had invested in both Greenbottle Transport and Forge and Mill Engineering.
At the Low Market, numerous rumors and variations of the Murnig story are flying around everywhere. There is no particular word about the Record. However, Tolles, Tetra, and Verdad hear about another book, “Artifacts of Mind and Magic,” supposedly written by an early Dwarven artificer.
They manage to contact Ellivalen Greenmeadow, a book-dealer that Murnig purchased curios from. While she insists that she doesn’t deal in artifacts like the Record, buying a couple of trinkets convinced her to mention that the “Artifacts” text was purchased by a human disguised as a warforged. She also informs the trio that she had heard that some “warforged,” perhaps the same person, was purchasing a number of expensive crafting supplies, and asked for the bulky ones to be dropped off near the Ghost Yards.
22 Halli 2000
Ambassador Duskwatcher charges the party with determining who was involved with Murnig in the theft of the Record. She’s interested in anyone who may have helped steal or transport the book, or have been asked to help translate it. She doesn’t want the Rogental police involved, as that spreads information about the Record. She’s worried that the Record resurfaced because copies had already been made and stored elsewhere. She is, unsurprisingly, suspicious of the Order of the Open Mind.
Duskwatcher pays the party a retainer of 2000 GP to start, with a promise of 15 000 GP for the results of their investigation.
Tetra, Laz, Cog, and Solace pay a visit to Moil University. They meet with Torrenna Jarret, the Dean of the Languages and Linguistics Department, and an expert on the Ancient language. She immediately understands a cypher prepared by Tetra based on the Record, but says it is not familiar. Her student also figures it out, but says much the same. Dean Jarret claims that there are few other people in the city with the knowledge to puzzle out this kind of Ancient cypher, except some priests of the Balance with whom they collaborate. [Note: not sure which day this happened on, please correct if it was a different date]
After being friendly with the police station secretary, the party gets access to Murnig. They interrogate him under the influence of a Zone of Truth. He refuses to admit who he was working with, apparently out of fear, but does mention that he “helped facilitate transport” of the Record across the border of Wylmar. He was supposed to be paid — partly in kind, with the original of the Record.
Late that afternoon, Tolles and Cog visit the Order of the Open Mind at their building in the Warforged District. They meet Antinua Werd, the de-facto head of the local branch of the order, necropolitan, necromancer, and High Priestess of Altenn. She is intrigued by the Committee on Improved Programming, and sees a possible opportunity to work together. She is concerned by the Murnig incident, and worries about its effect on popular opinion regarding undead. She claims to have no particular knowledge about the incident, though she states that the undead creatures used are not readily controllable onces, and she wouldn’t allow a member to keep them in the Order’s building.
Tolles and Cog spend a little while at the Minority Sentients Support Group, where Cog invites the sole warforged attendee (Piston) to join the CIP.
After Cog leaves, Tolles does some sneaking around. He overhears the grumpy human who let them in cast a sending spell: “Just get him out of the way, dammit!”
Meanwhile, Solace and Tetra pay a visit to one of the guards who keeps an eye on one entrance to the Ghost Yards (more to keep bad things out of the city than to keep regular people out). He’s happy to chatter, and mentions a group of halflings who came in with a big dog, and a lich who supposedly lives deep in the Ghost Yards.
Tolles, Laz, and Decker go out for a drink or two. Decker has to leave early when she receives an urgent work-related message.
Meanwhile, the party gets everyone back together to plan. Someone realizes that the grumpy human’s message may have been about Murnig. Solace and Tolles rush to the police station, but they’re too late: Murnig is already dead. According to the police chief, he was stabbed twice — once in the eye — and the perpetrator wasn’t seen, though there are traces of illusion magic at the site. He shared the information in the hope of getting some help from the Wings’ investigation.
23 Halli 2000
The Wings of Salvation gear up for a visit to the Ghost Yards. Laz is called away by some urgent business on the visiting Sophronous.
Passing the shanty-town outer perimiter, they eventually reach the utterly uninhabited parts of the Ghost Yards. Tolles is attacked by a possessed set of clothes, which Solace handily destroys.
The group turns north, to investigate the possibility of connections to smugglers. They eventually reach a road into a blocked-off party of the yards, which is guarded by a very large dog and a trio of stubborn halflings. They refuse to move, stating that they are in debt and even if they perish, they need the money. They are eventually persuaded to leave their post by a payment of 2000 GP.
Inside the rubble-surrounded area, the party discovers a cleared courtyard. One of the buildings is occupied — by a swarm of zombie rats and a quell, a ghost with a particular hatred of all deities and their servants. Solace and Verdad are cut off from their divine support, but working with Tolles and a bunch of magic missiles the group manages to take them out. Inside, they find a shipping crate (mostly empty, but with some raw materials and empty alchemical containers), a work table with a few diagrams on it, and a metal box that is about five feet square and three feet tall.
They also find a skulking cyst hiding behind the metal box, which splatters against Tetra’s mage armor before being turned and skewered.
The box is steel, with a single slot in the top and arcane, Illumian-style runes engraved on two and a half of its side panels. The diagrams on the table match the incomplete inscription on one side. Tetra notes that the runes indicate some magic from the school of abjuration.
After a circuitous barrel chase, Laz rejoins the group and helps them haul the box surreptitiously out of the Ghost Yards. A closet in the company’s headquarters is lined with lead, and Laz pops open the box. It’s filled with arcane engineering and some kind of artifact coin — “shadow” and “illumination” are written on opposite sides in Ancient.
Koren Ederat, a young (half-vampire) necromancer-in-training, visits the Company ostensibly because he’s interested in the adventuring career path, but also because he’s worried that Elric Smid, a tempermental wizard at the Order of the Open Mind, is up to no good.
Later that evening, the group visits Father Tosscobble at the Temple of the Balance. He mentioned that Tharivol Galanodel, one of the younger clerics but an expert in cyphers and translations, has been working on translating “a particular text.” He confirms that the coin is holy, but does not recognize it — it wasn’t stolen from the Temple.
When the Company goes to meet Galanodel, it all goes wrong. Gimbal, a warforged known to Cog as having been a member of the CIP, attacks Galanodel — fatally wounding him. The company responds in turn, badly damaging Gimbal before the warforged manages to teleport a short distance away. The group finds evidence that Gimbal didn’t make it far, or alone. In Galanodel’s alcove, the party also finds part of the translation of the Record (see here).
Father Tosscobble tries and fails to raise Galanodel. The incident is reported to the police, who are now also looking for Gimbal.
Tolles (with the rest of the group as backup), sneaks in to Smid’s office, and relieves him of evidence associating Smid with Murnig, as well as diagrams showing the design of the mysterious box.
The group informs the police about what they have discovered regarding Elric Smid. The police chief mentions an intention to hold a raid on the Order of the Open Mind.
The Company reports to Bella Bunane, including the text of the letter that Smid wrote to Murnig. She is satisfied, and pays the party the agreed-upon sum of 6000 GP.
Cog warns the warforged community about Gimbal.
Upon examining the documents Tolles retrieved and studying the mysterious box, Cog and Tetra conclude that the device is currently far beyond their current ability to duplicate or complete. However, the abjuration-based effect is clearly a powerful one, drawing on the magic of the Coin, and seems similar to a combination of an atonement spell and an intensely powerful curse-breaking effect.
The Wings meet with Ambassador Duskwatcher. The party largely tells the truth, but omits the Coin they discovered. She is noticeably worried by the description of the box they found. She pays 15 000 GP, plus a bonus of 1000 GP for turning over the box they found in the Ghost Yards.
The party goes shopping.
Decker pays the party a visit. She informs them about a trio of (murdered) smugglers who were picked up by the police, and are about to be extradited to Wylmar. She also warns them to be careful about working with Duskwatcher, and that she never gave them this investigative report.
The party visits the station, and interrogates Jahvesh Wintershade (the smuggler who was raised) and speaks with the corpses of his dead companions. Wintershade claims that they used to do some “direct sourcing” work for Murnig. They hadn’t worked with him for a while, because he hadn’t been paying his bills. They wouldn’t have taken their last job from him, about four months ago, and just before the new year (probably during Makur 1999) if they hadn’t been paid up front. And paid very well. The package was large, like an oversized coffin, and heavy. Wintershade didn’t see who killed him, and follows a policy of not looking in the packages.
Interrogating Wintershade’s companions suggests that they were killed by a stealthy warforged or someone else covered in metal. The only clear clue about the package was that it contained, “Wood and steel, leather and paper and magic.”
The Wings receive an explosive letter. Sister Solace was seriously injured. She thinks that the handwriting may match that from the diagrams for the box, implying that the writer may have been Elrin Smid.
An incident occurs on the Moil-Unzedhol rail line operated by the Forge and Mill, which Tolles hears a rumor about.
Tetra arranges for a meeting with Mardnab Turen, a Forge and Mill representative, on 31 Halli.
Tetra, Tolles, Laz, and Verdad fly around.
A kobold named Ixen pays Tetra a visit.
Laz kills a few rats for pay, in order to start paying back some debts.
Laz kills more rats.
Tolles finds little further information about the Forge and Mill incident.
Cog pays a visit to the Warforged District.
Tetra, Laz, and Tolles start a campaign of flying for street urchins.
An anonymous admirer leaves Laz a message and a pair of roses, and a suggestion that the party should get better locks.
Tetra and Tolles meet with Mardnab Turen, the representative of the Forge and Mill. She’s suspicious of their credentials, and they don’t get very far.
The Wings send a message to Mayor Bunane asking if they can help with the Forge and Mill “incident” investigation.
Mayor Bunane replies, stating that the F&M issues are out of her jurisdiction, but she’s be happy to give the F&M their reference.
The Wings send a message to the Forge and Mill offering their services.
Tolles manages to convince an Airshipyards police station officer to part with some information about the incident. It occured on the line between Moil and Unzedhol. It was a theft of some kind, though the officer didn’t know what it was. The F&M has spent some effort (and money) to keep it quiet.
The party buys new locks for their place — and gives the landlady a key.
Tetra starts casting alarm on the house as a matter of habit.
The Sophronous is back in town. Wren and Gannet are not; Jaeger mentions that they are on a side-trip in Mynythe, but are expecting to rejoin the ship. Laz gets distracted chit-chatting with Jaeger.
The party goes grave-digging. Sister Solace’s speak with dead uncovers that the Steel Coin adventuring party was paid by a human wizard (enough not to ask questions) to capture or kill (preferably capture) the Wylmarn Ambassador. Said wizard had a sharp nose and was always irritated.
The Forge and Mill Engineering Company returns the Wings’ message, and requests a meeting on 43 Halli, to which the party agrees.
Tolles visits the train station, and asks around. Nothing seems out of order.
Tetra visits the temples of each of the “extreme” gods — Ur-Tel (LG), Turmak (LE), Dervit (CG), and Urna-Dolna (CE), and obtains a copy of their holy texts. (Only Ur-Tel and Turmak actually have codified holy texsts.)
Ilde, a dwarf and a friend of Cog’s, shows up on the Wings’ doorstep, distraught. Her partner, Peris, a warforged, has disappeared. No one can find any trace of him.
Peris has a necklace that Ilde made and gave him, which she was able to describe to the party in the event that they try a locate object spell. The party pays the police the relevant bribe to look into his disappearance.
Inquiring around discovers that another warforged, named Bell, disappeared in the previous week.
Decker and Laz go out on a date, which goes reasonably well. Decker mentions that she was raised by a single mother.
More carefully inquiries by Cog uncover than more than just Peris and Bell are missing. Warforged have been disappearing for at least the last four months, and possibly longer. It’s difficult to get more details, because disconnected warforged, with few friends, appear more likely to be among the missing.
Peris is the first member of the CIP to disappear suddenly in this way.
Cog searches for Brom, the leader of the Daylight Construct. Cog fails to find her — she may not be in Moil at the present time.
Decker and Laz go on a second date.
Decker leaves a rose and a note for Laz.
Tetra successfully translates the remaining section of the Record (see here for the full text), and shares the information with the party.
Another thing happens.
The party meets with Agda of Clan Jolderdruthe, the Chief of Security for Forge and Mill.
She explains that a shipment of valuable alchemical reagents and magical devices was stolen. It was part of a larger cargo-only train. The train was damaged or sabotaged, and the entire crew was knocked unconscious. Only the most valuable cars were ransacked. Although the reagents and materials were in the last two cars (for safety, in case something went up in flames), the cars were not cut off from the train.
The most valuable part was a large quantity of enchanted manure (provided by Seebo Beren) for some experimental mushroom farms. The previous theft was on the Rogent side of the border, on the Moil-Unzedhol line.
Agda offers 20k GP for joining security on the next train, plus 20k for preventing another theft or finding who was being the original one, the price of second-class tickets, and “reasonable” expenses. With persuasion, she throws in a couple of cloaks of resistance.
She notes that she does suspect that F&M has a leak that allows the thieves to target that particular train.
The next train is combined passenger and cargo. The head of security for that train is a human named Alan Belgarde. The party discussed the detailed security with him, which includes his more heavily armed guards and glyph of warding cast on the cars.
The party agrees, and accepts the 20k GP advance.
Tetra sneaks out to visit the Temple of Turmak in the early AM. Tolles catches her at it, and joins her. The sermon focused on when deception was acceptable, and when it betrayed a lack of direct power, and how to work within the system to advance one’s own agenda.
Tetra reveals that she has obtained a prophecy written by the followers of Turmak (see here).
The party does some more shopping.
The party discovers that a few items being sold in the Low Market that could have been stolen from the missing shipment. However, it’s ambiguous whether these were actually from that theft. There aren’t enough to account for nearly the full shipment, and none of the manure is being sold at all.
Tetra pays Ixen a visit.
Cog holds the CIP meeting. Cog confirms that no one from the CIP is missing, and people are warned to be careful and look after their less-well-connected friends.
The F&M train leaves from Moil for Unzedhol, with the Wings of Salvation on board. Tetra regularly casts alarm on the controlled freight cars.
Verdad bunks with Cog.
Tolles observes a sketchy halfling who’s reading a newspaper. The halfling is not very friendly.
The train has a stop in Embil.
The party realizes that maybe a recently stolen airship (reported in the Moil Gazette) could be behind the theft. Laz starts watching the skies regularly.
Tolles checks out the halfling’s compartment, and discovers that he is Beau Leagallow, a businessperson working for Forge and Mill.
Laz plays cards with a couple of the train guards.
Verdad gets escorted back to his compartment for excessive proselytizing.
Tolles has a brief chat with Leagallow (including introductions with his real first name).
At 2 AM, Tetra’s alarm is activated. The party catches Beau Leagallow listening in on the connection to the first of the controlled cars, apparently hoping to overheard the password.
Tolles confiscates Leagallow’s lockpicks, and Alan Belgard (head of train security) wakes up to figure out what’s going on. Leagallow states that there is “morally reprehensible” cargo on board, and refuses to say more aloud. He seems to assume that the party knows what’s going on.
The train stops in Vermeadow.
After resting, the party gets information from Leagallow via mind-reading and telepathic magic while pretending to interrogate him in front of the train guards. He says that F&M is shipping warforged back to Mynythe, against their will.
The party manages to overhear the password for getting past the glyphs of warding while Laz is playing cards with the guards.
Tolles steals a map of the Mynythe/Rogent border around the train line.
After further interrogation, the party learns that Leagallow is working with Brom, the leader of the Daylight Construct. The train guards know nothing of this.
A locate object spell to find Peris’s pendant fails.
The train stops in Penolhelm.
The train engine suddenly stops working, and someone throws the emergency brakes.
The Wings of Salvation meet Brom, who is personally leading the Daylight Construct’s band in an airship raid on the train. She is being assisted by Wren and Gannet, a pair of raptoran friends of Laz. Wren would obviously prefer that nobody know he was there. The warforged are also being aided by Nyeldav Rustveil, an Illumian Wylmarn wizard, who was blatant enough about his name and relations that it’s almost as if he wants to be disowned.
The Wings manage to make it look like they’re helping fight off the Daylight Construct while being as ineffectual as possible. During the fight, they confirm that the cargo of . Brom informs the party of the location of a cache of old Mynythe dragonmarks (their currency) which she offers in thanks — and in hope of future assistance.
Brom indicates displeasure when she learns that Gimbol — who supplied the airship — had killed people to get it.
She then knocks out the rest of the party to ensure that their cover story remains intact.
The train arrives in Unzedhol, one day late due to the train incident.
The party explores around Unzedhol a bit. Tolles overhears Belgarde telling another Forge and Mill official that someone observed the party “negotiating” with the Daylight Construct.
Laz gives Cog a fancy magnifying glass as a gift.
The party boards the return train to Unzedhol.
Over the course of the return journey, the party hears increasingly worrisome reports of protests and riots in Moil, over the “alleged” shipments of warforged to Mynythe, and that this has caused diplomatic tensions between Rogent and Mynythe.
Sister Solace receives a sending from Ambassador Kamintel of Arbora, demanding that the Wings of Salvation present themselves to the Ambassadors of the League of Five Nations. Solace indicated acceptance.
Solace divines regarding the future meeting.
The party returns to Moil. While some of the rumors were exaggerated, there have been protests, counter-protests, and riots, as well as some small fires. The police department is stretched thin keeping people from attacking each other — and mostly not taking one side strongly over the other. Some people are protesting the ill treatment of warforged; others, worried about their jobs, want the warforged gone.
In the afternoon, the party members are individually questioned by the Ambassadors.
Ambassador Tordurk of clan Ungart is obviously displeased by their testimony, to the point of having to be restrained by his co-ambassador, Llywethe. The Volair ambassador, Miithi of Xantiro, seems sympathetic and supportive. The rest are more neutral.
The party is eventually let off with a stern warning against involvement in politics (to Tordurk’s dismay). Kamintel, the most senior ambassador, immediately places assigns the party another task: Determine what happened to the highly experienced adventuring company Directed Solutions.
The party has been offered payment of 36,000 GP for this effort, along with necessary expenses. 6000 GP of that has been paid up-front.
Tetra informs the party that she is a member of a secretive group interested in apotheosis, which has helped her obtain information.
Solace informs the party about a prophecy she recently discovered, suggesting that, if the “current bearer of the dawn key” should fall, one of the party members could take it up.
Tetra and Cog visit the university. Professor Jarret, the Dean of Linguistics and expert in Ancient, doesn’t recall having met Direct Solutions recently. She suggests contacting Prof. Ellywick Turen, a gnome who works in cross-disciplinary subjects in the division for math, science, engineering, and magic. Prof. Turen isn’t helpful either, but directs the pair to Professor Emeritus Pollut Bland.
After interrupting Bland’s nap, the elderly human explains that he hasn’t met them, either. However, if they were interested in artifacts, unique magic, and the Ring, they may have contacted Anonika, a reclusive dwarven artificer known for her expertise. He also indicates that if one wanted to study the Columns, Syeltau and Unteltau would be logical locations, as those cities are constructed around that Column’s bases.
Meanwhile, Sister Solace visits the Temple of Ur-Tel. The receptionist remembers seeing Hedwith, DS’s dwarven cleric. She paid a visit near the end of Halli, and gave a brief lecture on the importance of runes to engineering. A killoren friend of hers (likely Emerel) visited at the end of the lecture. Hedwith returned to the temple on Mey 2 or 3, to pray for guidance. The receptionist thought she may have been planning to return to Unzedhol, but wasn’t sure.
Late that afternoon, Tetra and Cog pay a visit to Anonika. There is no response at the door. The landlord reports that he hasn’t seen Anonika since Mey 1, when the rent was due, and is annoyed, but afraid to go in. The landlord gives the pair a key — on the condition that he gets far away first.
No one is inside. After going in past a small foyer, it is clear that the essentially the entire apartment was being used as an artificer’s workshop. There are clear signs of a struggle, and a few drops of blood on the floor. There are also a couple of small, smashed homunculi, which have not dissolved into ichor. There is dust everywhere, as though the place has not been disturbed for some time. There is no more dust on top shelves than on bottom ones, suggesting the occupant may have been taller than a typical dwarf. There are no remains of food of any kind.
Later that evening, Laz, Tolles, and Verdad visit Ambassador Miithi of Xantiro, the Volair ambassador. He is casual and friendly, but also not one to be easily fooled. He states that he does not know much about Kelli, the half-vampire raptoran rogue. To his knowledge, nothing strange has happened at the Column in Volay. Similarly, he hasn’t heard anything about Kelli from her Volair relatives. He mentions that she does have a cousin living in town.
Sister Solace tells the party that according to her sources, Hedwith and Emerel visited Syeltau prior to coming to Moil.
Cog works on building a homunculus.
Kelli’s cousin is very little help. He states that she mostly frequented taverns like the Forgotten Spell, or the party’s base in Moil.
The bartender at the Forgotten Spell suspects that Hedwith and Emerel were heading back to Unzedhol. He says it was unusual for only two of the five to be present (except for when Kelli visited alone), and that they seemed concerned about the rest of Directed Solutions.
Tolles notices an article in the Moil Gazette which has been buried by the ongoing protests and unrest. An airship called the Veiled Lightning crashed in Arbora on the ceiling, while en route from Unzedhol to Syeltau. The ship had been missing for some time, and was not located until the forest fire started by its exploding engines was dampened. It is supected that it crashed around 33-34 Halli.
There are rumors that the Veiled Lightning was taken out by the Dancing Shadow, the notorious pirate ship. However, this does not match their usual modus operandi of leaving a single survivor (none have been found so far) or of stealing stuff (hard to steal from a flaming wreck).
Solace, Cog, Tetra, and Tolles pay a visit to Ambassador Duskwatcher. According to her government sources, Hedwith and Emerel traveled into Wylmar from Over-Moil. They made a petition to the Duskwatcher Archives for access, in the latter part of Halli, and were refused. They then traveled from Syeltau to Moil.
Duskwatcher also confirmed that the mysterious box-device found by the party has been destroyed.
The primary campus of the Duskwatcher Archives is built next to the Column in Syeltau.
Laz and Verdad visit the airshipyards. The portmaster for Mynythe ships directs them to a passenger manifest for the Veiled Lightning. They make a copy of the list, but neither Pelwethiel or any other member of Directed Solutions is listed on it.
The party as a group visits the house owned by Directed Solutions. Mail has piled up. They bypass the glyph of warding on the front door by going in through the balcony. The place appears dusty and undisturbed.
Tolles finds Pelwethiel’s will, which includes a set of aliases to be checked in the event of his disappearance. The “human merchant” alias matches one of the names on the manifest.
The party attempts to investigate the basement, whose entrance is protected by a greater glyph of warding. After discovering that the entrance is further protected by a teleport circle, they give up.
Solace attempts a divination, asking if Pelwethiel would be found if the party took an airship to visit the wreck of the Veiled Lightning. The answer was, “It is difficult to answer a question based on a premise which is false, but know that searching there would be in vain.” The second divination asked how Tetra could achieve the “green meadows” in the Turmak prophecy by working with the Ascendant Order. This divination fails without answer.
Decker pays Laz a visit.
The party investigates the airshipyards, and finds nothing informative.
At the railyards, a 10 GP bribe to an old halfling guy gets some information. A dwarf and a killoren matching the descriptions of Hedwith and Emerel bought tickets for the train on Mey 5. They did not return the following day to catch their train. The halfling hints vaguely that he might have also given someone else this information.
A visit is paid to the temple of Ur-Tel. Because Hedwith is a cleric of that god, a local cleric is happy to cast sending. He receives no response.
Koren Ederat, the young half-vampire necromancer, pays a visit, asking for advice about forming an adventuring company.
Further investigation in the vicinity of the train station uncovers a halfling taxidermist, who describes his lucky break of finding a deceased giant eagle in decent condition in the alleyway. Said eagle is stuffed, and on display for sale in his shop. This eagle matches the description of Emerel’s animal companion.
The alley is found to still have some faint traces of damage on the walls, suggesting that a fight took place there. Asking around suggests that a very large person — a big human, or perhaps a half-orc — was present for the fight. There is no indication of warforged involvement.
A visit to the Forgotten Spell yields information on the location of the notorious Swordfist adventuring company. They have a building near the river, north of the Low Market district.
The party has a meeting with Amaryllis Greenbottle, the Rogental ambassador. She says she’ll try to get information out of the banks — to see if Swordfist was paid for a hit at the beginning of Mey — but she emphasizes that this will take time.
Sister Solace divines, asking: Will further investigating Swordfist help find Directed Solutions? The answer is “For now, it is not tenacity, but patience, which will bring you greater insight.”
Cog and Tetra visit Order of the Open Mind. They ask about Radania, a cleric of Altenn and a member of Swordfist. Koren Ederat knows nothing about this. Cog tries ineffectually to talk to some skeletons.
Cog pays a visit to Greta and Gwendelyn.
Tolles pays a visit to Temple of Altenn. He asks Antinua Werd, the high priestess, about Radania. Werd mentions that she saw Radania at the temple around the beginning of Mey.
There is no news from Ambassador Greenbottle.
Cog experiments with the homunculus.
Tetra attends a meeting of her secretive order.
Ambassador Llywethe, of Mynythe, approaches the party discreetly. She indicates that Mexorek, the great gold wyrm of the Tyerek Mountains, sent her a distress sending — and has failed to respond to further spells. She fears for Mexorek, and the Axe of Midday (which he was guarding), as well as some third crisis.
For the last, she only indicates that it is protected behind a heavy barrier, but that keys to access it should be present. She gives the party a key to a specific chest in Mexorek’s lair, as well as the “This too, shall pass” password. She does not describe the protected contents, except to state that what needs to be done will be obvious.
The WoS buy train tickets.
The WoS get on the train, having made arrangements to have their tickets paid for and to have their rent paid in their absence.
Tetra turns into a red dragon, for practice.
The group arrives at Bettle, a town near the Rogent/Mynythe border, on the Rogental side. They rent horses, and start the trip towards the Lower Tyerek Mountain.
At a small village along the way (now in Mynythe), an older warforged tavernkeeper says he saw an airship come and go on the mountaintop, a week or two ago. It was odd — because usually such airships are more on fire when they leave.
The Wings of Salvation manage to get to the base of the mountain without getting lost, thanks to Verdad’s observations.
The group locates the entrance to Mexorek’s lair in the morning, hidden behind trees and outcroppings. The interior looks like old dwarven architecture — simple, beautiful, and functional. And enormous. And also hot — the entire party picks up endure elements to avoid heatstroke on the inside.
Inside, the group finds a pair of storm giants, both armed with hammers and both deceased. They appear to have been injured, but most serious are the signs of frostbite. There are also signs of freeze/thaw damage on one of the walls. Rather than investigating what appears to have been their quarters, the party moves upwards through the corridor.
Tolles finds a pit trap, with spikes on the bottom. Verdad and Laz fly over the pit trap, and use rope to help the others cross.
Verdad scares away a pair of mischevious magmins with a casting of wind wall.
The group is then attacked by a cinderspawn — a hideous undead fire element, which resists fire but drains the warmth (and charisma) from other living creatures. It is turned, and then destroyed, but a larger specimen, or a larger number of such creatures, could pose a serious threat to even a great wyrm gold dragon.
Tolles accidentally triggers a poisoned dart trap. Fortunately, he resists the poison, and the trap can’t reload automatically.
The WoS then explore a side chamber. The entry room is beautifully decorated in an almost elven style, and is at a comfortable temperature. A second, interior room is intensely cold, descorated with columns of carved ice and embedded jewels.
Up the main corridor, Laz and Tolles both manage to dodge acid arrows produced by another trap. Verdad uses elemental resistance to acid to trigger the trap, permitting the others to dash past while the trap is distracted with him and avoiding taking damage himself.
The party then finds what must be Mexorek’s hoard, past the glyph of warding mentioned by Llywethe. The entry chamber has a message inscribed in the floor: “Congratulations on reaching my lair! I wish you luck if you intend to leave with any of its contents. I recommend being an artistic thief. There are some very nice bolts.”
Inside, the group is forced to dispath a pair of mimics that were pretending to be treasure chests. Since there’s space, Laz gets in an effective diving charge. The group finds a significant quantity of treasure, in addition to the box for which Llywethe provided a key. There is a small amount of experimenting with the magical items, with some unintended results.
There is a large, further interior door, on which is inscribed:
Celebrate your victory, oh thief
Take your spoils, and depart
Those who venture further here
Never leave the mountain’s heart.
The party decides against venturing deeper into the treasure rooms.
Tolles finds another trap — one which spouts flame. One of Tetra’s summoned creatures perishes in the flame while testing whether Tolles has managed to disable it. Verdad uses another fire-absorbing spell to draw out the burst of flame, and the rest of the group manages to make their way past. Verdad is only slightly scorched.
Rather than forging on, the group decides to make camp before confronting whatever else might be wandering the halls…