The War Room – Where the magic happens
After a six month hiatus the heroes have begun tracking the elusive albino warrior they believe is responsible for the events in the north. See the previous entry: The story thus far. During that time the Watchers have been joined by a new recruit: A Derelf (a race long thought extinct) assassin by the name of Branix.
Now, An Agent of The Watchers: Belifas Gornd, contacts his superiors with information that the albino, Elric was spotted in the city of Aridell in Eledor. Beliflas, a rug-maker by trade, requested that our party come with all speed and meet him at his residence. Fortunately Aridell has a Wyr gate and so Arlaith was able to transport the party there after the party restocks with additional supplies. The Children of Methusella are reunited with their mystical stallions, Gildrias (meaning: Silver Mane) and Irunsan (meaning: Mist – but the player insists it actually translates to “Bitch-Pound”). The plan, on arrival, was to secure the gate area if necessary, scout out the rug-makers abode and place of work, then approach him once verifying that it was a legitimate request and not a trap. On arrival we find the gate is in an unused park within the city, just off the main thoroughfare. Dark times are abound and the tension of the people is palpable. Being armed and armored strangers, the party seems to feel the entire city watching them.
To search for our contact more efficiently, we split the party into two groups; Branix | Lance Yoshioka, Delymeer | Scott Oden, and Kinsman Thalos | Jason Hatfield go South while Charis Laurelin | Adam Porter, Morian Avanseer | Jason Quinn, and Arlaith Sindare | Kristie Oldaker head North. Each group finds lodging and explore a little into the city’s merchant district. It isn’t long before Charis’ team discover the rug-makers shop, but it appears empty. Locals say that nobody has seen Beliflas for at least two days. The group moves to the back and discover evidence of forced entry through the back door. Using caution they enter and discover that the place has been ransacked. The arcane senses of Arliath and Morian pick up evidence of malevolent magic on the upper level. In the meantime Kinsman’s party find their way to Beliflas’ shop. Charis is about to let them in the front door when Branix notices they are being watched rather intensely by a roast beast vendor. They change their plan and head in the back way before the upper level is explored. Upstairs we find a macabre and disheartening discovery. Belifas lies murdered in his office, his body bearing runic markings which are the source of the evil and magic detected earlier. We recognize them as signs of rituals used by agents of the Shadow for speaking with the dead. Charis finds the bodies of two children in another room, their throats slit probably while they slept, the wife is found in the same condition by Delymeer in another room. Thorough searching commences and Morian sets off a concussive rune trap left by the murderers beneath the rug-makers body. The party is about to give up and resign that whomever did this found what they were after. However, Arlaith casts a spell to reveal anything hidden or secret. In doing so a lever is found in the rafters above, throwing it opens a cache containing Beliflas’ Watcher’s Ring of Recall and a single sheaf of paper. On the paper is a strange sigil and beneath some cryptically penned suspicions listed out like pieces of a puzzle waiting to be connected. (see item: Beliflas’ Notes ) Exhausting their clues, Morian suggests journeying to the local Children of Methusella cryptorium and asking for aid. It lies a days ride to the East and with evening fast turning into night, the party decides to leave poor Beliflas and family as they are and leave town at dawn.
The journey begins and the day is uneventful. A watch is set that night as the party retreats from the road to pitch tents behind the cover of a dense copse of trees. Sometime around 3:00AM Charis is by the fire seeking a bit of relief from the cold drizzly morning and is fired upon by some unknown assailants. The bolt misses and hits a tent rousing Branix, Kinsman, and Delymeer. Charis spots two Hadesborn and a pair of Jackalyth nightspawns charging in to attack. Kinsman plants a shaft in each with prodigious skill, landing a stunning blow that opens one of the Hadesborn to further attacks. More enemies approach from the south and Branix moves to intercept while Charis lays them low with a great blow that knocks them off their feet. Morion and Arlaith are up now and the former lights up the newcomers with a lightning bolt allowing Branix to shadow step in and start carving with his wicked saber Syraxill. As the fight progresses Delymeer shows the enemy the wrath of his sae-forged long saber Ash Wand and scores several staggering blows. The enemy counterattacks viciously wounding Arliath and Charis but in the following melee they are all cut down and sent the way of all who hinder us. On searching the foes, Morion discovers sigils identical to the one in Belifas’ note tattooed on the neck of each Hadesborn. Wounds are healed and we carry on East to the cryptorium on the cliffs overlooking the Trimmin Lakes.
Ambush on the road to the Cryptorium
At the doors to the cryptorium the bell of silence is rung and the doors soon open. A pair of Blades escort us to meet the Archivist. His name is Valirend and we reveal the clues found in Beliflas’ study asking if he has heard of any of these items or events. The only information he has is a historical reference regarding the Banewarrens – a vile catacomb of vaults filled with the world’s greatest evils and the warren’s link to the Druidyr Wars. (see item: The History of the Banewarrens ) Valirend advises us that speaking to the spirit of Beliflas, as the enemy did, would probably reveal more information, including where the entrance to these Banewarrens might be. To do this we need a priest and the body of Belifas so we head back to Aridell without incident.
Unsure of where the body might be at this point, the party splits as before with Delymeer’s group going to retrieve the rug-makers body, if it still resides at his shop, while the others go to the Temple of Aon. On reaching the temple, it is clear that disaster has stuck again. A wing of the church has recently burned to the ground and is still smoldering in ruin. A great line of the needy and wanting seeking succor from the church look on with awe as we ignore the line and brazenly strut on in. In the meantime the others find the rug shop showing signs of habitation. Branix uses his skills to sneak in and finds a woman trying to scrub up the blood of the slain children’s. It is clear that the bodies were discovered and moved. Delymeer knocks on the front door and finds out this maid is Beliflas’ sister and that the bodies of the murdered have been taken to the temple of Aeon. By now the others are meeting with a priest of Aeon by the name of Father Lothlar and resort to use rather unfriendly tactics and flex their authority as a Seeker and a Knight of Tyr, insisting the priest share all the information they have on the recent attack. Father Lothlar reveals that the wing burned during the attack on the temple belonged to the Mysterium – an arm of the church that investigates and combats all things related to the Shadow. Only one man survived this attack and his location is known only by the Archfather, who will meet with us at his own discretion. Lothlar tells us the cost to speak with Belifas’ spirit is 2000 crowns, and he can be ready to undertake the ritual at noon the following day. Pooling resources, it takes nearly all of the party’s funds to pay for the service. We meet with Father Lothlar the next day and he takes us back to a large ritual chamber and the doors are ominously sealed behind us. It seems that whomever got to Beliflas first sealed a bane to his soul. Once the rite is begun by Lothlar a vile entity will most likely manifest and must be destroyed before we can speak with Beliflas’ spirit. A line of questioning is prepared for the spirit and a scribe stands ready to record its wailing’s which will be translated for us afterwards. Positions are taken and, as predicted, the entity appears ripping through the fabric of reality to consume the souls of those locked in the temple chamber. It spits a glob of something foul at Morian who is guarding Father Lothlar, then leaps at Branix. With preternatural quickness, the assassin intercepts the demon with a blow that knocks it prone. The entity is soon dispatched under a veritable storm of Sae-magic, steel, and arrows despite its ability to resist blows that would have decimated a lesser creature. With the entity destroyed, Beliflas’ soul is freed and his raging spirit appears – Arlaith asks the prepared questions. Its answers do not often fall in line with the questions, but all we can do is trust that the information imparted is what we need to know.
The Church of Aeon – The Rite
After some investigation and our interview with the Archfather, we discover that he has hidden Father Gerard, the sole survivor of The Mysterium attack, in an inn by the name of The Ardent Shield. Only Father Gerard knows of the location of the Banewarrens. Beliflas’ spirit also reveals that the Banewarrens are indeed open and our chief suspect in his murder, Elric, knows all. What exactly this latter portion of the message means is still a mystery. So, with the plot thickening, our initial quest remains unchanged and our quarry continues to be quite elusive.