The Fractured Empire

The Lay of The Land

The great Wyrm of despair and cruelty known as the Western Pass, had slowly crept along for years, devouring the hopes and dreams of those poor denizens looking for a better life for kith and kin. Those it did not devour were broken upon the altar of indifference and bent to it’s will as its many heads fought one another to feed their greed, doctrine, lusts, and righteousness. It would not be until a group of outsiders tasked with investigating murders most foul arrived in the Wyrm’s den that it would again waken to violence.
- Coming of the Outsiders Chapter 1 ~ Yolo Swaggins

Upon their arrival in the Western Pass the party was instantly introduced to the lawless nature of the city. Directly in from of them they witnessed a “fancy” dressed orc stab and murder a guant An’Desh Elf in cold blood. However this was immediately followed by a woman by the name of Zilah Barlowe executing the Orc on the spot with a crossbow bolt to the back of the offenders head. Even more shocking the body was dragged away and hung from a sign post outside the Laughing Crow Tavern as a warning to all. Most surprising is both the Orcs and Elves companions did noting in retaliation. Instead they walked away with shrugged shoulders and the utmost speed.

The Party, minding the dripping blood from the sign entered the Tavern in attempt to get the lay of the land. They were here to investigate a murder, not get caught up in local justice. Here they were to Samuel Trexium, the owner of the Laughing Crow tavern and self appointed leader of the Neutral Zone. Since gang violence is strictly prohibited in his territory, Zilah as his enforcer is tasked to make quick work of those who break the rules. The Gang leaders if the Pass also abide and no retaliation would be forth coming.

Samuel asked if the Party had arrived to join The Blades, a mercenary group that he has employed to keep peace in his territory. The party of course, declined and inquired about the seemingly ritualistic killings that had been happening on this side of the Pass. After an almost tragic situation involving Hal’s past as a City Guard, which luckily for all, Commander Jessen of the Blades subdued that Samuel agreed to help with the investigation. After all he wanted the murders solved as well. After all his friend, the halfling, Orlen Farrick sent these naive folks to him for such a purpose.

Accompanied by Zilah and a young Huldrean child named Fenrick, the party was brought to an alley where the young boy “witnessed” the shadows of a short person and a very skinny person commit another murder. In the alleyway Balsatra found some more of the same clear “goo” that he had discovered in the master bedroom of Lord Madesta. The investigation was cut short, however when Lillith another young An’desh orphan girl informed Zilah that the reknowned slaver, Kennel Master Luthias had returned to the Pass.

The Party escorted Zilah and the two children back to the Laughing Crow and made their way toward the Temple district, where they were informed the most recent victims family lived. They were given a warning by Zilah to mind the pathways that marked the Neutral Zone and to not venture outside its boundaries for their own safety. As they made their way they witnessed a group of Orcs attempting to get them to cross into their territory by means of insults and threats. The Party swallowed the insults and kept going. Unfortunately, when nearing the territory of the Cult Of An’Desh’a, a known xenophbic cult of Andesh Elves, they witnessed Kennel Master Luthias line up a group of slaves as the cultists slit their throats in front of the party as a sign of power and an attempt of provocation. This did not sit well with Hal but they kept going.

Once in the Temple district, Hal insisted that the party go to the Temple of Pike. Here he hoped the Wolf God of Justice, that promised him justice for the crimes committed against him would show him the path. However the god was not pleased with Hal simply walking by as people were murdered. Instead of showing him a path to justice the god wracked his body full of pain and demanded that Hal prove his conviction by bringing peace to the Pass. Balsatra was also visited by Dirt Ghost and was asked to find his “line in the sand”. Kira was freed from any emotional guilt she may have had for murder to protect her brother. Lyman was given a vision of the Grey Lady, a woman he was once asked to kill and was told that he would one day be in a position to help her.

After this, Cleric Falnor allowed them to rest in the temple and directed them to the home of the murder victim. Things did not go as planned. Perhaps it was dueto a cultural or language difference but Lyman broke down the door of the grieving family and demanded answers. he was shot by a crossbow for his trouble. Any further violence was halted at the arrival of Paladin Sylvan Jastra of the Temple of Liandra. The party explained that they were here to investigate the "Faceless Queen Murders’ and Balsatra gave the Paladin the “goo” he had taken from the crime scene to be investigated by the Temple.

Not wanting to overstay their welcome, the party left the Temple District for the hospitality of the Neutral Zone. On their way, they came across Kennel Master Luthias who informed them of his views on the Pass and asked them to join him in the “re-building” phase of his slavery business. Not wanting run afoul of the slaver the party lied, and told him that they would think on his offer. they returned to the Laughing Crow in search of food and booze. offhandedly they told Zilah that they had just been propositioned by the slaver. this resulted in Zilah grabbing her weapons and running out of the Tavern. Concerned for her safety, Balsatra turned into a Tiger and gave chase, the rest of the party arriving soon after.

Once in the broken a burned down area of the former West Pass Orphanage, Zilah immediately began killing any slaver she saw. Battle ensued and Kennel Master Luthias lay dead at their feet. It was here that Lyman took a liking to the slavers magical dagger, but it seemed the dagger itself, filled with dark energies rejected him. With Luthias’ head as proof they returned to the Laughing Crow where it was spiked above the bar for all to see. This brought a sense of relief to Fenrick and Lilith. The Party also met a Teifling Orphan by the name Of Perran Hallar, who was not as convinced by the Parties good nature. Not much was gained from his except knowledge about the tenuous acceptance of Tieflings by the An’desh do to something in their two people past that made them immune the normal hunting and eradication of demonic beings.

Sammuel was pleased was pleased with the death of the slaver and was more than willingto pay the party a portion of the bounty and eagerly bought the dagger off Lyman, which did not in any was effect him. Hmmmm. The party rested in the inn.

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