Journal post, Moonday, 1st of Sunwarm, continued.
At the Hydra’s Horde we could hear that the storm outside had intensified. Our host was being administered to by his assistant, but was clearly in pain and at risk of infection. Aelodir lay her hands on him, was suffused by a gentle glow, and his wounds faded to faint scars. He then led us down into the catacombs beneath the city. At the end of the passage 2 uniformed guards were stationed at a portcullis, which they opened to allow us to pass. Beyond the corridor widened. Another guarded portcullis blocked a passage to the right, and a guarded door to the left shimmered faintly with wardings. Further on the corridor ended at a pair of massive black doors, also warded and guarded. We could hear sounds beyond, as if these were the doors to a tavern. One of the guards was uniformed, the other was shrouded in a dark cloak, and dispelled the warding to allow us entry – here we parted company with our host.
The room we entered was large, pillared and lit by torches. 5 large oak tables are surrounded by a few dozen beings of all races and classes, though no other gnomes were in evidence. The atmosphere was festive and ale flowed freely. One table held mostly scale-mailed dwarves, at another a female warrior with glowing green armour held court surrounded by sycophants – the renowned paladin Seneca, I believe. I saw elves with bows & swords holding close counsel at one table, while at another were… perhaps elves. It was difficult to focus on them, as if they were under a glamour. I saw no dragonborn or eladrin. A few of those gathered wore the symbol of Krothos. Near a central altar 3 small drakes scurried about – 2 reds and a blue. In the far corner the torch had gone out,but in the shadows we could see a lone tiefling, with an orange flying drake sitting on his shoulder. As he strode to the altar he called out for all to find seats, which we did at a nearby table. Marek told us that this was Molith, an aged, scarred tiefling that had been employed by the realm to perform those activities that were better left unknown to the public, and would allow the crown to keep their hands clean. Seneca immediately stood and challenged him, but he rebuffed her indignation as though she were merely an impertinent child. He called on us to gather into groups of 4 and to exit in turns through the gray door if we wished to honour the names of our families (which tells me that those gathered here are not merely mercenaries or adventurers, but members of families with ties of honour to the crown). All others could exit by the red door. As we formed our groups Seneca and 3 of her cohorts immediately exited by the gray door. A few minutes later the door opened and it was our turn.
Beyond the door was an ascending spiral staircase, which ended at door. Beyond this was a rough-hewn chamber containing a table and 2 seated, hooded humanoids. The room smelled of charred flesh, there were remnants of charred clothing smouldering on the floor and a dageer was embedded in the door on the far wall. We were asked if we would serve Lord Kypton unswervingly and without question. When we all agreed we were given our assignment; 2 day hence at sunrise at the Green Gate (91 on the map) we are to escort a caravan along Eveningfall road, from Belfanoc city headed east along the Garnon River to the dwarven realm. The owner of the caravan is a fine dwarf name Lotrin. His cargo must reach its destination. We will receive payment at its arrival. We all agree and are ushered to the exit. As we were leaving Marek stopped and turned to the hooded figures, asking “what happened to the last group?” – they only replied “that is all.”
Beyond the exit door we passed through a guarded portcullis and followed a set of large, shallow steps up, ending at a ceiling. We doused our lights and edged the trapdoor above us open. We were in a dark alley between some homes. The storm had not abated, and we made sure there were no watchers as we exited. A tavern nearby promised refuge from the storm and a chance to sit and make plans. Marek’s familiarity with the city told us that we were still near the waterfront, and the tavern was called the SinkHole Tavern (28 on the map).
We sat at a corner booth and ordered meals and ale, and a large room for 2 nights – Marek would stay with the group instead of returning to his own apartment elsewhere in the city. We idly watched as drunk humans placed wagers on their fellows attempting to cross over a pit on a plank. The pit contained a gelatinous cube, and the evidence that foolish drunkards should not play games of skill.
At this point a Ranger approached our table. Bangalor and she had noticed each other during the meeting, kind calling to kind, though they had not previously met. We invited Tespan to sit, and I noted that, although we had left before her, she had arrived here before us. Apparently she has an alternate egress, which speaks to her having been there before, and is no doubt a long-time agent of Kypton. She warned us of the Eveningfall road, that dark forces have been landing along the shore from the river. The Great Garnon is obviously too vast to be effectively patrolled. She has been tasked with tracking and killing a giant that raids the forest near the Eveningfall Road. The giant Kindall is not alone however, as orcs and other dark creatures have infested the area all along the road. There are keeps for safety along the road, but they are 2 days travel apart (poor planning, of you ask me).
I asked her more about the conditions around the cities in other directions, not wanting our own mission to be too obvious, and shortly after sharing her reports on area activities she left.
Soon after this we adjourned to our room. Bangalor and Marek took the bunks on the right side of the room, Aelodir and I the ones on the left. There were no windows to the room and we shoved the footlockers against the door to help warn us of intruders, all of us being somewhat wary of this tavern.
Around the 3rd hour past midnight there was a loud thump at the door. Marek and Maine immediately shoved the chests aside and rushed after the intruder but they had fled by the time they reached the common room. Spiked to our door by a dagger was a dead cat. I disposed of these using the gelatinous cube in the common room pit, a message to any enemy agents who might be watching.
Illuminated One, On our return to the Hydras Horde, the clerk was tending the merchant’s wounds. They appeared painful though not immediately life threatening, though I feared for infection. Pelor allowed me to illuminate the wounds and heal him, after which we descended to the meeting place.
It was deep underground, and there were many adventurers gathered around several tables. Cavendish pointed out a large, aged & scarred tiefling, Molith, who was hired to serve Lord Kypton with those tasks that require secrecy. The many and various adventurers formed groups of 4 and we went off to receive our assignment. We are to escort a caravan to the dwarven realm, leaving at sunrise 2 mornings from now.
We exited up a spiral staircase leading into an alley, and from there to a nearby tavern. A female Ranger who had been at the meeting joined us and warned us of dangers along our route, most notably a giant named Kindell.
Several hours after we adjourned to our room a cat was spiked to our door by an unknown assailant. It was already dead so I was unable to heal it.
Yours in Pelor’s Service, Aelodir
Escorted through catacombs below city to meeting place – many other adventurers, including a fellow Brightwood ranger, who I have not previously met. Groups were formed to receive assignments. We’re to escort dwarvish caraven of supplies along Eveningside road to dwarf settlements in 2 days. Returned to street level – storm covered us as we came up in the alley and entered the Sinkhole Tavern.
Event Log, 1st of Sunwarm, cont’d
Cavendish Marek:(encoded, private cipher): 1st of Sunwarm, cont’d
Returned to Hydra’s Horde – Aelodir healed the proprietor, who then escorted us down to catacombs. Rumours about Kypton’s underground network seem to be true. Molith has gathered a few dozen adventurers from a wide variety of locales & backgrounds (humans, dwarves, elves – some with symbol of Krothos). A trio of trained drakes scampered about the room. He had us form groups of 4 (I kept to the group I arrived with – they’ve all proven their skills, even though I somehow ended up the punching bag). Each group took their turn passing through a red door and up a stairwell – we were second, after Seneca the paladin and her toadies (she was NOT impressed with Molith, a tiefling, in charge). It looks like she might not be getting all righteous with the unsavoury elements of Belfanoc again… there was a strong smell of burned flesh, charred cloth and a dagger in the exit door when we entered. I suspect she mouthed off about her feelings toward Molith and got her come-uppance. We were asked to pledge our loyalty, which we did, and received our assignment. I asked what happened with the last group, but they didn’t share any more info.
We climbed up and out into an alley near the Sinkhole – it’s relatively safe so I brought the group in where we got a booth and had food while we discussed our plans. A half–elf ranger (Tespan) from the meeting was there and joined us – she and Bangalor seemed to know of each other, and she seemed trustworthy. She gave us some intel on what to expect along the Eveningside road. She’s obviously been working for Kypton for a while – she was able to get here before us, though we went into the interview room first, and she has intel that would have to be provided by Kypton’s owl riders. Looks like we’re heading into an orc infestation complete with giant. She’ll be out hunting the giant, Kindel – we may end up seeing her on the road.
Aelodir arranged a room for us. No windows, and I scouted for hidden panels. The door was the only way in or out, so we barricaded it (no sense taking risks). 3 hours past midnight there was a thunk at the door. Someone spiked a cat to it with a dagger. Maine and I raced down to the common room, but they’d already fled into the night – it didn’t make sense to pursue out there –the rain would hide any tracks and we’d risk an ambush with a divided group. It seems to be a message from the assassin’s guild – which makes me think they must have had a spy in the meeting room. We sent our own message – the cat and dagger were dropped into Big Jelly in the common room.– Magpie