Fame can be a fickle thing. A thing that all good Bards know, and keep in mind. For every heroic deed there comes a very unheroic fallout. No one talks about the princess growing to resent her savior or goblins slain making way for a Troll horde. Let no good deed go unpunished, they say. I say, if that punishment is indeed inevitable, then be prepared to make sure the other guys do all the dying.
~ Excerpt from the Journal of Evindahl Honeykissed. Referenced by Yolo Swaggins in The Coming of the Outsiders chapter 2.
The party Awoke the next day to the warm welcomes of the denizens of teh Laughing Crow Tavern, for having killed Kennel Master Luthias. The Blades even seemed to look at them with increased respect. A dwarf by the name of Harlo went so far as to buy they breakfast and a drink. Any morning revelry was broken when Fenrick arrived at the Tavern with a wanted poster of Lyman. News traveled fast and the Cult of An’desh’a had put a heafty price for the death of a new “gang” in the Pass. While most of the party was not thrilled by the idea, Lyman was pleased with the increase to his notoriety. After all he was singled out for the death of the death of a much hated slaver. To the party, this was obviously his plan all along. he did allow one of the slavers to leave unscathed.
At risk of being Debbie Downer, Zilah informed the party that a bounty like this would put them on the radar of all of the functioning gangs of the Pass. It was then that Sammuel offered his assistance in keeping party safe. The Party did not want to continue violence against the gangs of the Pass and instead asked for Sammuels guidance in continuing their investigation. He offered a meeting with the Dutchess as a way to gather intel on the Madesta’s. the catch was that they would need to help Sammuel stop incursions by Kieren Rathal’s fanatics, who had been kidnapping folks from all the territories.
The plan was simple. Pose as one of Kieren Rathal’s Scarecrow faced fanatics and attack the Cult of An’Desha’a. Here they would steal a body, kill the men responsible for the kidnappings and plant the body in the rival territory. No harm no foul, and no one the wiser. and when one fell Sammuel would be there to claim additional territory. For the good of the innocent people, of course.
The Party attacked the front gates of the Cults territory and manage to abscond with the body of one of their fallen foes. As they stealthily made their way through the Neutral Zone to the Territory of Kieren Rathal they were met by Harlo, the dwarven rougue and member of the Blades. He was sent by Sammuel to aid them in infiltrating Kieren’s territory and helping them dispatch the kidnappers and plant the body. They wndered around the underground tunnels that went through Sammuels territory and managed to sneak a peek at what appeared to be an altar bathed in red light, guarded by people that did not appear to be part of the Blades Company.
On the way through the territory they witnessed quite a few attrocites and were given what little information there was about Kieren.
- They witnessed the sacrifice of an innocent person who was bludgeoned to death and fed upon by what appeared to be living scarecrows. the party, outnumbered, once again made their way past.
- These living scarecrows used to be regular people who had become addicted to a necromantic drug that allowed the user to live in the memories of the dead. This drug took the form of a skull with a small tallow candle that emitted a toxic smoke that was inhaled.
- It is beleived that Kieren may have some “Eclyptian” (not so nice term for the Ba’Rai. An Eleven race that were natural Vampires and the blood enemies of teh An’Desh.) harlo did not believe that he was a pureblood as the An’Desh Clerics of Pike have ways of locating such creatures and destroying them with all due haste.
The Party came across the kidnappers that Samuel wished dispatched but were shocked to see that they were Hulderan elves who had clipped their ears. Not only that, they were drinking a black, viscous, fluid similar to that they saw in the quarry earlier. This liquid made their veins bulge from the skin and appear black. Harlo also informed them that while their were two present that their were indeed four identical such people in the gang leader employ. They dispatched the two men and planted the Cultist body making it look like the cult had attacked. An interesting note is that a dark orb emerged from the bodies and sunk into the ground. On their way out they found the half eaten woman hung by a lampost and her blood being drained into a chalice. Lyman used his crossbow to knock the chalice over.
The Party returned to teh Laughing Crow Tavern to find a letter from Lady Viren, letting them know the following.
- Felice Theren has gone missing and Soltar is investigating.
- Goll was found in a pool of blood, his neurosis making him seem the likely suspect and he was arrested by Lord Talvas for the murders.
- Lord Vieren had investigated the docks and found that the gang leader Nerstor Zilan was aiding unkown human clerics smuggle crates he believes were drugs out of the port.
- Durden had been attacked by the Taerian’s, who are searching for Balsatra.
- Lady Aya had returned to the passed and looked “Displeased”.
Following their successful subterfuge, Samuel made good on his promise and set up an audience with the Dutchess. The Party, accompanied by Zilah was safely escorted through the Dutchess’ territory, which was run by fancy dressed orcs. here they witnessed the Orcs smashing any form of the drug created by Rathal and “accidentally” killing the addicts in the process. The Dutchess greeted them with all due respect and offered up the history of her family being thrown out of the eastern pass due to the betrayal of Lord Madesta, that eventually left her the only survivor. She had befriended the Orcs and used them to kill her “husband” a former gang leader and took his territory. His men scattered to join the other gangs. She also struck a deal with the party and Zilah to aid the group take out the Cult of An’desh’a and Kieren Rathal. The result would be, she takes the cults old territory and Kierens would be for Sammuel. She also let it slip that there had once been a collection of Half Orcs that had mad their way to this world and the Cleric of Pike had relocated them somewhere, leaving the more aggressive full blooded orcs behind. She is doing what she can to prove that full orcs can be just as “cultured” as anyone else. When Lyman noticed that the Dutchess was a skilled harp player, he offered played for her. She offered him potential work in the future because her orc piano player was just plain awful.
From here, Zilah left the party as they went to check in with Paladin Sylvan Jastra about the mysterious goo that he was going to study for them. They were greeted at the Temple of Liandra but were informed that he was in conclave with the heads of the other Temples. The party made their way to the Temple Of Nepthira.
In the Temple of Nepthira the party watch as many of the human clerics went about their day healing various peoples of the pass prior to being admitted to the conclave. Once admitted they were greeted by Cleric Aken-Ra, Paladin Sylvan Jastra, and Cleric Falnor, who appeared to already be in a heated discussion about Kieren Rathal.
- Sylvan told the Party that the goo was from an otherworldly being similar to shape changers.
- When Falnor was told about the chalice of blood he was convinced that Kieren Rathal was practicing magic used by the Ba’Rai and wanted to stage an attack immediately. Which came as a shock as the Church Of Pike loathes the Cult of An’Desh’a as well.
- Cleric Falnor also explained that he had men looking into Kirens territory and he noticed that a hooded halfling had been coming and going, freely. The Drug had to be created by a Necromancer.
It was then that Lieutenant Veran of the An’Desh Military for this side of the pass arrived late to the meeting. He was a staunch ally of the conclave but had to keep it secret from Lord Talvas, who had once imprisoned him for interfering outside of his normal duties to the pass. He was eventually freed by someone high up in the Military in the capitol. There was mention that this imprisonment may have caused a falling out with Sammuel Trexium, but no one perused the topic.
After more discussion the Party reached another agreement in regards to Kieren Rathals after the Conclave and Military offered their aid in taking down Kieren Rathal. In exchange they asked for help taking out the Cult of An’Desh’a. The Party agreed.
Now the Party is in a dilemma. The Clerics and Military wish to take the territory of the cult. However, the Dutchess also wants it. The party thought they may offer Sammuel and the Dutchess half of Kieren Territory each. Yet two gangs remain a mystery. Could Nestor be the hooded halfling? What of Nodius Jiskal, the warlord gangleader with the largest force to bear on this side of the Pass. We will have to see.