8 Month Interlude
After their last mission into the swamps to defeat the Swamp Hag and determine the fate of the courier, Neimos, the party took a well-deserved hiatus from adventuring to recover, rest, and chase personal ambitions.
First, Kaudian inquired about having the curse on spear removed by Priest of Apollo, Lucius Phokas. However, Kaudian was reluctant to give up the spear, even temporarily. It required many of the Priest’s attendants to hold Kaudian down to separate him from the spear. After a brief struggle, the curse was removed and Kaudian’s fascination with the spear was removed.
Euphestus met a satyr who offered to raise and train his pet lizards for 200 sp — an offer which he gladly accepted. Euphestus also impersonated Kaudian and was met by the brother Sidigan Votis, brother of Neimos. Euphestus was placed in the uncomfortable position of informing Sidigan of Neimos’ fate.
Meanwhile, Erastus developed a friendship with fellow priest, Lucius Phokas. Erastus believed that developing this friendship would also enable him to more quickly ingratiate himself with House Phokas. In addition to scribing the plethora of spells into his spellbooks, Erastus authored a ransom letter for the captured wand and spellbook belonging to the wizard of House Lascaris which had been captured during the battle between the forces of Houses Phokas and Lascaris. Erastus delivered the letter to a representative of House Lascaris.
The entire band attended the wedding of their friend, Kerg the Dwarf.
Kaudian and Eupehstus were approached by a courier informing them that Erastus’ father had been beaten, robbed, and his shop vandalized the prior evening. The two immediately made their way to the Druid’s Grove where they knew Erastus can usually be found. They informed Erastus of the bad news and the party quickly made way for Bordertown.
The party proceeded directly to the Temple of Hera, where Erastus’ father, Quintus, was recuperating. After checking his father’s wounds, Erastus asked Quintus what had happened. Quintus could only remember that he had been jumped by five or six thugs wearing red sashes and told to stay out of their business or they would ends his. The party was aware that the red sash was the signature of the Red Sash Gang. After passing this vital information, Quintus passed into unconsciousness.
The party began to investigate the Red Sash Gang. They unsuccessfully searched Bordertown’s prison for a link to the gang. Following that disappointment, Kaudian came up with the idea to draw out the gang members, by making himself appear to be a vulnerable merchant, ripe for mugging, and walk alone through the shadier parts of Bordertown. Though the ruse did not lure out any gang members, two thugs made the mistake of trying to take on Kaudian and the rest of the party. After a swift beating, they told the party that Midas was a member of the Red Sash Gang and a frequent visitor of the House of Soft Whispers.
The party headed to the House of Soft Whispers and after a rough initial introduction, finally came to an agreement with the House’s Matron, Lady Zara, who agreed to notify the party when Midas departed the establishment.
The party followed Midas to the Hammer’s Anvil Inn. Kaudian and Euphestus followed Midas inside the establishment. Kaudian intentionally hit Midas’ table as he was eating in an attempt to start a fight. As the two headed toward the door to take their business outside, Midas hit Kaudian in the back of the head with his flagon – Kaudian rolled with the blow and pretended to go down. Midas emerged from the inn and ran into Erastus. Thinking quickly, Erastus offered to show him something and immediately dropped him with a magnificent magical blast of color.
Erastus put Midas onto Artaxus’ back and the party quickly moved him to a remote alleyway. After a rough bout of questioning led by Kaudian, Midas gave up the name of the name of the Red Sash, Aeschylus, and provided the location of his residence. With this new information, the party split up and decided to get some much needed rest.
After some rest and preparation, Kaudian located and scouted the manor house reported by Midas to be used by Aeschylus. Euphestus recalled that the manor house was owned by House Maniaces, an ally of House Lascarus. Patiently, the party waited until dark before proceeding to the manor house.
The manor house was protected by an exterior wall and gate. Using his knowledge of locks, Kaudian quickly bypassed the gate and the party ascended the steps to the manor house proper. Just as easily as he had dealt with the first lock, Kaudian opened lock securing the manor house’s front door. As the party moved inside the house, they heard the movement of several individuals toward the house. They suspected it was the local guards. Erastus shut the front door behind the party, relocked it and quickly barricaded it shut.
The party moved from the front unused and dusty parlor room into a room used for the possible manufacture and storage of wine. As they ascended a ramp leading to a platform contained several barrels of wine, the enemy sprung its trap. Suddenly, numerous barrels began to roll down the ramp toward the party. With the exception of Erastus, the trap was avoided. Erastus was crushed under the weight of the barrels and knocked prone. After unleashing this surprise, the party regrouped to battle a human warrior, a sorcerer of dragon lineage, and a summoned, large wine (water) elemental. A tough battle ensued but Euphestus rallied the party to a victory.
The party continued searching throughout the house, ascending to the house’s upper level. In one room, they encountered a group of trainee gang members, who were quickly subdued by the intimidating threats thrown at them from Euphestus and Kaudian. In another room, the party found themselves staring face to face with a large wolf chained to a wall – the wolf surprised the party by spewing a blast of frost from its mouth. After another tough battle, the party seriously wounded the wolf. Surprisingly, before it could be killed, it spoke and yielded to the party’s assault. The party recognized its surrender.
The party explored the rest of the manor house and its subterranean passage. They also freed the wolf and informed the local guard, who had gained separate entry into the manor house, as to what they had discovered. The local guard managed to slay the majority of the Red Sash gang members and capture Zarus, the gang’s bookkeeper. Erastus questioned Zarus and learned that Aeschylus had been paid 500 silver pieces to conduct the intimidation of Quintus. After pressing, Zarus told Erastus that the silver had been paid in Imbayol dinars, a currency minted in lands far to the east.
With the wolf’s help, the party picked up Aeschylus’ trail outside the manor house. Tracking Aeschylus brought the party outside of Bordertown on the north side. They continued to track Aeschylus north. They eventually parted ways with the wolf, who was too wounded to continue the journey.
The party tracked Aeschylus across a river to a small village and straight to a modest house. Euphestus and Kaudian quickly knocked the house’s front door off its hinges. Unfortunately, Aeschylus was no longer present. Instead, the party found an obviously distraught and nude woman. Though she was angry at the intrusion, she confirmed that Aeschylus had been with her very recently and that he maintained a safehouse further to the north. Exhausted, the party rested at the village overnight and refreshed their supplies.
The party continued tracking Aeschylus north toward the safehouse. Once the safehouse became visible, Kaudian sneaked up to it and discovered it to have a door with a tunnel. The door opened easily and the Kaudian once again went ahead to scout out the long passage; Euphestus, Erastus, and Artaxus followed.
The party emerged into a well stocked storeroom, complete with rations and traveling equipment. As they edged closer for a look at the provisions, they passed overtop a set of runes carved into the stone floor and instantly vanished.
They suddenly reappeared, finding themselves far from home as evidence by the very warm climate. Erastus deduces that the party is far to the east. Erastus picked up on Aeschylus’ tracks and led the party for a few hours before the tracks ended at the entrance to a hillside cave.
Kaudian approached the cave alone to scout, the rest of the group remained within watching distance but following closely. The cave entrance drew the party in several hundred feet. Kaudian suddenly stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of piles of coins and gems, allowing the remainder of the party to catch up. It was then that they noticed they noticed the huge green dragon sitting atop the pile of coins and gems!
The dragon quickly conjured a wall of stone behind the party to prevent their escape; however, Artaxus was too quick and instantly bolted from the cave. The dragonfear washed over the party. While visibly shaken, Euphetus and Erastus reluctantly held their ground. Kaudian, on the other hand, began to enter a state of panic, screaming loudly and clawing at the magical stone barricade.
The noise angered the dragon and it began to rant in Draconic about a thief. It brought its huge head close to each member of the party and inhaled deeply, explaining to Erastus, that it was searching each of them for a stolen platinum statuette.
After several long moments of calming Kaudian down, Erastus engaged in a discussion with the dragon. The party learned that Aeschylus is an old elf and the likely thief who stolen the statuette. As a condition of their release, the dragon demanded that the party find Aeschylus and return him to the dragon. After providing directions to the nearest settlement, the dragon placed a magical mark on each of them and released them from the cavern.
The party set off toward the settlement, Mokumabul. The further they traveled from the cave, the more arid the land became and the higher the temperature rose. The party began to see herds of camels and feel the fatigue of the desert. Erastus used his Druidic magics to ease the party’s travel through the desert. They traveled for three days.
After the days of travel, the party finally reached walled-city of Mokumabul. The group fell into the small line of traders seeking entrance and finally reached the guards screening the city’s visitors. Using a series of hand gestures and a few coins, Kaudian was able to make it clear to the guards that the group was visiting the city to conduct trade. The party roamed the streets for a short while before they found an inn.
After getting seated comfortably at a table in the dining area, Kaudian was approached by a few local women selling sexual services. He disappeared for a while as Erastus and Euphetus sampled local foods and searched the inn for an Arademian speaker who could help them navigate the city. Eventually, they found a man named Marcus, who was of mixed Arademian and Imbayolan descent. Euphestus secured Marcus’ services as a translator and guide for the price of a magic ring.
Kaudian eventually returned – quite satisfied with his recent purchase and the group left the inn with Marcus in search of Aeschylus. While the search was difficult and unlikely to yield positive results, they did manage to confirm the presence of Aeschylus in the city from Lady Illyra, a Priestess of Ishtar. After some small talk between Lady Illyra and Erastus, a fellow man of the cloth, the party continued their search for Aeschylus in the noble’s district.
Not quite dressed for such an excursion, it didn’t take long before the party was stopped by the city guard. Just before the guards were going to forcibly remove the party, Kaudian dropped the name of Lady Makroon, a wealthy noblewoman, and convinced the guard through Marcus that the party was a group of fine cheese merchants. Surprisingly, the guard bought Kaudian’s story and the guard departed to confirm with Lady Makroon that she was interested in meeting with cheese merchants from Arademus…