Arcanis: Gonnes, Sons, and Treasure Runs (COMPLETED) - Page 23
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    Holiday in the Sun - Conclusion

    They returned to a cheering crowd.

    “I knew you’d win out all along!” said Baldric. “And here’s yer treasure!”

    Two men dragged a heavy chest of exotic spices up to the stage. Vlad accepted it graciously.

    “You were right,” Dril said to Ilmarė, a hint of admiration in his voice.

    “I’ve studied human history,” said Ilmarė. “The majority of Captain Drac’s booty was exotic spices. He raided trading ships, and very few ships carry bars of gold. So it stands to reason that the treasure was a case of spices.”

    “I suppose so,” said Dril. “And what of Lucius and Egil?”

    “They’re back at the Temple,” said Ilmarė. “I’ve told them not to trust any more dwarves promising them information about Lucius’ nightmares.”

    “Strange,” said Dril. “I didn’t find a dwarf’s body anywhere in the spider’s lair.”

    ”You wouldn’t,” said Ilmarė. “That was an aranea, a shapeshifter. It used its dwarf form to lure the two idiots to the basement. The equipment we found was all dwarf-sized.”

    “Oh?” asked Dril. “What kind of equipment?”

    “A sword, a pair of boots, and leather armor. It’s all dyed purple, with a yellow sign burned onto it. It’s the same sign that was on the temple wall.” She showed him the scabbard. The wavy triskelion was emblazoned in yellow on the purple leather, leather that came from no natural beast.

    Dril was silent. Behind him, the crowd was cheering and carrying Vlad, no longer in his armor, aloft. Vlad’s defeat made him more popular than if he had actually won the One-Eyed Jack contest.

    “Dril?” asked Ilmarė, concern in her voice.

    “I don’t know why I didn’t make the connection before,” said Dril. “The aranea whispered something which might have been addressed to me…or maybe it was just muttering to itself.”

    “Whispered what?”

    Dril didn’t respond.

    “Dril?” asked Ilmarė, losing patience. “What did it say?”

    When Dril finally responded, his gaze was unfocused, his features cold. “It said:

    “Have you seen the Yellow Sign?”
    “Have you seen the Yellow Sign?”
    “Have you seen the Yellow Sign?”

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    Chapter 15: The Senator’s Seal - Introduction

    This adventure is soft point 2 in Year 2 of the tournament module, "The Senator’s Seal," written by Michael S. Webster and Team Paradigm, set in the Arcanis setting. You can read more about Arcanis at http://www.onaraonline.org. Please note: This adventure contains spoilers!

    Our cast of characters includes:

    · Vlad Martell (human ftr4) played by Matt Hammer
    · Ilmarė Galen (elf brd4/ftr1) played by Amber Tresca
    · Naruis Drilian (human rog1/rgr2) played by Mike Best

    Michael Tresca (that’s me) was Dungeon Master for this session.

    I knew the short adventure wouldn’t be enough to fill out the evening, so I decided to use The Senator’s Seal. This is a tough adventure for our group…lots of problem solving, not nearly as much combat. It worked nicely as a bookend to Holiday in the Sun though, which was all action, no problem solving.

    This adventure is actually all just a set up for another adventure, so I didn’t mind it. Unfortunately, this is another adventure that goes horribly awry…our heroes don’t do so well this time around. It’s my fault too—I played at a higher Average Party Level (APL 6) when the party was actually APL 4. Even then, Jaleon was down to 10 hit points in the last fight before he got away.

    The players are about to read what happened when they were helpless and unconscious. Lesson learned: Grand Coryan may look prettier than Freeport, but that doesn’t make it a nicer place.

    P.S. Vlad recently learned the Blind Fight feat. See if you can tell.
    Last edited by talien; Monday, 9th October, 2006 at 01:14 PM.

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    The Senator's Seal - Prologue

    “Well, at least it’s better than Freeport.” Vlad stood at the prow of the Shrike, staring out at Grand Coryan. After the assassination attempt, Captain Baldric was eager to leave town for a while. He took them up immediately on an offer to visit Grand Coryan.

    “Senator Okpara’s note said a ‘mutual associate’ recommended us to him,” said Dril. “I wonder who.”

    “Quintus, of course,” said Ilmarė. There was a hint of admiration in her voice. “Being a legionnaire has its advantages.”

    The capital city was a bustling hive of activity as half of the population tried to sell something to the other half.

    “I’ve never met this Quintus,” said Dril. “Who is he?”

    Ilmarė’s expression flickered with surprise at the inquiry. Her icy exterior quickly returned. “An acquaintance,” she said coolly. “Quintus Aurelius Ignatius served under Senator Tensen-Balin. He also led an attack on Ymandragore.”

    Dril looked at the Elorii sideways. “Quintus sounds like a good man to have around in a pinch.”

    Vlad chimed in. “He is. I’ve fought at his side before.”

    Correctly interpreting Ilmarė’s demeanor, Dril avoided the subject after they disembarked. “I’ve done some research on Okpara. He is a senator of the Toranesta province and not particularly well-liked.”

    “What senator is?” asked Ilmarė.

    Dril had never been to Grand Coryan before but was curious about it. Altherians looked upon Coryan with a mixture of admiration and disdain. Their efficiency and organization was undeniable, but all of it was bent towards war--a waste of Altheres’ gifts.

    After a few discreet inquiries to locate the Senator’s villa, they arrived at Okpara’s home. His aide showed them into a chamber adorned with many plush and ornate cushions.

    “Please, make yourself at ease,” said the aide.

    “I hope this pays well,” said Vlad to Dril. “We went through a lot of trouble in Freeport without much to show for it.” Vlad’s bruises from the beating he suffered at the hands of the sailors in One-Eyed Jack’s Stand were only starting to fade.

    “Speak for yourself,” said Ilmarė. She wore converted purple leather armor emblazoned with a yellow sign on the center.

    “Are you sure it’s a good idea to wear that armor in public?” asked Vlad. “Isn’t that the symbol of the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign?”

    “This, from the Milandisian who wears painted over Nierite armor?”

    Vlad coughed. “Point taken.”

    Behind them, Dril idly stroked the yellow sign seared into the purple boots he wore. But he kept it to himself.

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    The Senator's Seal - Part 1: Senatorial Meeting

    Moments later, they were escorted into an inner chamber that obviously served as the Senator’s office. A pair of men resided within; one with the bearing of a professional soldier, the other reclining upon a luxurious divan.

    The nobleman was dressed in fine silken clothing, in the style commonly seen in the Toranesian province of the Empire. There was a clear air of confidence and authority about him.

    With a curt nod from his employer, the soldier closed the door. “I am Jaleon, the Senator’s personal bodyguard and this is Senator Okpara val’Inares.”

    “So we gathered,” said Ilmarė.

    “The Senator has lost something of importance—“

    “What my man means to say,” interrupted Okpara, his rich voice filling the room, “is that something very vital to me and the Senate has been stolen.”

    Jaleon poorly masked his annoyance at being interrupted, but continued nonetheless. “The Senator would like you to recover his Seal of Office. In the wrong hands, it could cause considerable trouble.”

    “Trouble? Trouble indeed!” shouted the Senator. “It would be disastrous in the wrong hands! Not only to my political well-being, but to the Empire itself!”

    Jaleon cleared his throat. “The SEAL,” he continued, glaring at his superior, “is a golden cylinder about six inches long. On one end is the sigil of the Senator’s area of responsibility in Toranesta; on the other is a star sapphire. The Seal is not just valuable monetarily, but more so for its political significance. Even the knowledge that it is lost would be quite damaging to His Excellency.”

    The Senator crossed his arm and sneered down at them. “Quintus says that your discretion can be relied upon. Will you aid me in its recovery?”

    “Do you have any idea who might want to steal it?” asked Dril.

    “Anyone who would want it for the gold or the sapphire,” said Okpara. “Just the jewel alone is worth thousands of Imperials!”

    “Anyone else besides a common thief?” asked Ilmarė.

    “Its true worth lies in its political power,” said Jaleon. “Anyone could use it write permits or other documents permitting the movement of any number of things: slaves, taxes, or even armies within Toranesta. By the time the documents are verified as forgeries, the damage to the Senator’s career would be irreparable.”

    “Who would most benefit from your humiliation?” asked Dril in even tones.

    “A Senator has many enemies by virtue of his position,” said Jaleon. His expression was carefully neutral.

    “How much?” asked Vlad.

    “500 Imperials each,” said Jaleon.

    “But you must retrieve the Seal and vow to keep this matter quiet,” said Okpara.

    Dril opened his mouth but was cut off by Vlad. “We’re in.”

    “Good,” said Jaleon. “The Senator was at the bazaar looking at a rug merchant’s wares—“

    “When I was accosted by a farmer,” snarled Okpara. “He was a freeman and well-dressed, if unfashionable, fellow. He also smelled.” The senator rubbed his nose with the back of his hand. “He smelled like an animal. Cattle, perhaps.”

    “When the Senator checked his pouch afterwards, he discovered it had been lifted,” said Jaleon.

    “He was the only person to touch me,” said Okpara.

    “Names?” asked Dril.

    “I don’t know the name of the farmer,” said Okpara. “But the merchant is named Aljandros. A strange fellow, he’s very fond of rugs.”

    Ilmarė started. “No, it can’t be.”

    “What?” asked Dril.

    “Let’s just say Kham may be a customer of this merchant,” said Ilmarė.
    Last edited by talien; Thursday, 26th October, 2006 at 02:39 PM.

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    The Senator's Seal - Part 2: The Fabric Merchant

    As they made their way through the marketplace the next morning, they found the fabric merchant assisting a middle-aged woman looking at some cotton cloth.

    Taking the bolt of cloth over to a table, Aljandros noticed Dril. He nodded, acknowledging his presence.

    Then he measured several yards of cloth and handed it to the slave-woman. She passed him a few coins in return. He put the bolt back in its proper place before approaching.

    "You are looking for a rug, yes?" Aljandros said, sidling up to Dril. "I give you good rug. My rugs are very nice."

    Dril frowned at Aljandros, who looked a bit like an overeager puppy. "I am not interested in rugs, merchant. I’m looking for a seal."

    “Seal? I do not know of such things.” Undeterred, the merchant tried Ilmarė next. "A rug for the pretty lady?"

    The Elorii stared the merchant down. "What would I do with a rug?" she said after he backed away.

    "What a question! A rug will keep you warm. It will keep you soft. I give you good rug."

    “Has anyone been by who smells like cattle?” asked Vlad.

    “I am not sure,” said Aljandros. The merchant rolled out a variety of furry-looking rugs. "Touch, see? Feel the softness."

    Dril sighed. “Fine. I will buy a rug, merchant, and I expect it delivered quickly.”

    "Oh yes, yes!" Aljandros said excitedly. "I give you great rug. It keep you warm at night!" He began rifling through a pile of furs and cloth.

    "Stop encouraging him," said Ilmarė. "You'll have us all buying rugs by the time he's done."

    “So about that person who smelled like cattle…”

    “Oh yes, yes!” said Aljandros, stroking his beard. “There was a man, a landowner. He lives outside city. Purchased some silk for his wife.”

    “Do you know him?” asked Vlad.

    Aljandros shook his head. “I have never seen him before in my life. Why are you seeking him?”

    “It’s nothing for you to worry about,” said Dril. “Don’t forget to deliver that rug to this address.” He slipped the fabric merchant a piece of parchment along with some Imperials.

    They turned and walked away, unaware of the worry that flashed across the normally jovial merchant’s face.

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    The Senator's Seal - Part 3: The Stockyards

    A city as grand as Coryan required an impressive amount of meat to feed it. As a result, the stockyards were enormous.
    They smelled the stockyards long before they saw them. The stench of offal assailed their nostrils.

    Vlad sniffed the air. “Reminds me of home,” he said.

    “Remind me to never visit Milandir,” said Ilmarė with a scowl.

    The bleats and cries of animals awaiting slaughter greeted their arrival. Dril sent a slave to fetch the “wealthy farmer.” A man named Dardanus stepped warily up to them.

    “Can I help you?” he asked with an uncertain smile.

    “Yes,” said Dril. “We come on behalf of a Senator. Do you mind if we speak in private? It’s an urgent matter.”

    “Of course, of course,” said Dardanus, his brow furrowing with concern.

    The farmer led them to a house that was affordable only by a successful businessman. They sat down in the dining room.

    “We are investigating the theft of a particular item, and we’re concerned you may have come into possession of it,” said Dril. “You might have purchased it recently, from a merchant named Aljandros.”

    The farmer, an older man with, leaned back in his chair in surprise. Then he looked at the open doorway over his shoulder. “My wife will be sick with worry. Oh, this will ruin everything.”

    “Maybe if you tell us what you purchased, we can get to the bottom of this,” said Ilmarė impatiently.

    “Yes, I was at Aljandros’ stall this morning,” said Dardanus. “My daughter is to be married and my wife wanted silk from which to make her wedding dress.”

    Vlad and Dril exchanged glances. “Did you remember anything else of note?” Dril asked.

    “I do recall a rather rude man of some means. I inadvertently bumped into him. I apologized of course.”

    “Of course,” said Dril. “Go on.”

    “That’s it,” said Dardanus. “Should I tell my wife to stop work on the dress?”

    “No, that’s fine,” said Dril. “I think you’re cleared of any wrongdoing. Thank you for your time.” He got up to leave.

    “Congratulations on your daughter’s wedding,” Vlad said, shaking Dardanus’ hand.

    Ilmarė looked down as she stepped into the foyer. She was standing on a brightly hued rug. “You have many rugs, one in every room. Do you visit Aljandros’ shop often?”

    “I do,” said Dardanus with an embarrassed grin. “Although I buy fabric for my wife from time to time, I have a fondness for Alijandro’s rugs. He’s certainly passionate about them.”

    Ilmarė’s eyes narrowed. “He certainly is.”

    They stepped out of Dardanus house.

    “Finally,” said Vlad, punching a fist into one palm, “now I get to do some ‘investigating’.”

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    The Senator's Seal - Part 4: The Pawnbroker

    Aljandros dangled from the delicate fabric of his carefully woven vest. Vlad held him off the ground with one hand.

    “You lied,” said Ilmarė. “Dardanus has patronized your shop before.”

    “This is about the small rod of gold!” Aljandros practically shouted. He was visibly sweating. “I found it, yes. In a velvet bag. But I did not steal!”

    “Well, I’m not convinced,” said Vlad, shaking the man a bit.

    “I sold it!”

    “To whom?” asked Dril.

    “Pawnbroker! I give you directions!”

    As it turned out, there were many pawnbrokers within the city, and a few within easy walking distance of the fabric merchant’s shop. They found the shop where Aljandros said he sold the seal. It was a rather non-descript structure filled with an array of items, ranging from toys to cookware to weapons. The proprietress of the place was a lithe middle-aged woman with a patch over one eye.

    “Did you buy something from a fabric merchant named Aljandros?” asked Dril menacingly.

    “Don’t know,” said the women, glaring back. “My memory’s foggy. But I have a fine array of items here you might be interested in purchasing if you’re so inclined.”

    Ilmarė rolled her eyes. “Stupid hu—“

    “I’ll take that dagger,” said Vlad, pointing at a blade ensconced in a gilded sheathe.

    “That’s better,” said the woman. Her grimace turned into a welcoming smile. “Name’s Melosia.” She wrapped up the dagger in cloth. “I do remember your friend. He had a small golden rod. Don’t they all?” she said, snickering in Ilmarė’s direction.

    Ilmarė didn’t laugh.

    “Anyway, I didn’t buy it from him. Something like that is too rich for my blood. I suggested he get it melted down for the gold. I told him to visit Iphicles the Fat; he’s nearby and reasonably honest.”

    “You better not be lying,” said Dril. “Finding this…item…is trying my patience.”

    Melosia sneered back at him. “Altharian rabble, always making threats they can’t follow up. Good luck in your search. You’ll need it with an attitude like that.”

    She turned away from them. Vlad rubbed his forehead as they walked out.

    “If we keep visiting merchants like this, I’m going to go broke.”

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    The Senator's Seal - Part 5: The Gold Merchant

    Gold merchants were much less common than pawnshops. Iphicles the Fats’ establishment was more akin to a fortress than a workshop. Its high stone walls had nothing but the smallest of windows, more than fifteen feet high in the air. Impressive metal doors stood open and a pair of guards of intimidating stature blocked the doorway.

    One of the guards eyed Vlad warily. “Only two at a time,” he said. “The rest of you will have to wait.”

    Ilmarė nodded. “Vlad, stay here.”

    Her directive was met with a shrug. “I’m sick of talking to merchants anyway.”

    Within were two more stout and formidable guards. Such precautions were understandable, as there was a prince’s ransom in jewelry on display. Fastidiously arranging an array of fine gold chains was a thin, middle-aged man with short graying hair and a delicate, almost effeminate touch. Despite his name, he wasn’t fat at all.

    “Welcome!” said Iphicles. “Such worthies as yourselves are certain to find items to your liking in my humble shop.”

    Even to the untrained eye, the level of craftsmanship was quite extraordinary. The light filtering in from the small windows reflected off of the mirrors of polished gold to bathe the room in a warm, argent light.

    “Look, merchant,” said Dril. “It’s been a long day. Did Aljandros come—“

    “You have a lovely neck,” said Iphicles, sidling up to Ilmarė. “Long, pale. It looks naked without these amethyst earrings. They would go perfect with your hair.”

    Ilmarė watched the merchant through half-closed lids. “Fine. I’ll take them.” She counted out Imperials from a pouch at her belt.

    “Ah yes,” said Iphicles. He pulled up a stool and led Ilmarė to it. “I remember Aljandros coming in earlier in the day. He wanted something melted down into ingots.”

    “Yes, we know that already,” snapped Dril. “Did you melt the item?”

    “No,” said Iphicles. He deftly pulled Ilmarė’s silver and purple hair into a bun. “We are too busy on other projects for the Cathedral to take on such work.”

    “Why didn’t you just give him ingots you already had?”

    Iphicles placed the two earrings on Ilmarė’s ears. “Magnificent!” he said. Then he turned to Dril. “We don’t have the time to refine the gold from the item, and the ingots we have are earmarked for other projects.”

    Ilmarė stood up and admired herself in the mirror. “Not bad,” she said.

    “I did recommend another goldsmith farther into town, Fabiro the Slim.” Iphicles smiled congenially and gave them the directions. “By the way, why do you ask?”

    “I’m sure a busy merchant like yourself has no time for a long explanation,” said Dril. And with that, he abruptly stalked out of the shop.

    Vlad was chatting with the guards outside. He joined them in the street.

    “So?”

    “Another dead end,” said Dril. “We’re being led in circles.”

    “Now what?” asked Vlad.

    “Now we find Fabiro the Slim,” said Dril.

    “Why do I get the feeling,” said Ilmarė. “That Fabiro’s not very slim either?”

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    The Senator's Seal - Part 6a: There is No Honor Among Thieves

    Their path to Fabiro the Slim took them down an alleyway. It stank and had mysterious brown stains in the street.

    “This seems a strange place to place a gold merchant’s shop,” said Ilmarė.

    Several large men stepped out into the alleyway. “We hear you’ve been looking for us. What do you want?”

    Vlad’s reached for the hilt of his sword, but Dril stayed his hand.

    “The Cafelan Cartel,” said the Altherian. “Took you long enough. I assume your boss has what we’re looking for?”

    One of the thugs shook his head. “We’re not here to answer questions. If you want questions answered, you’ll have to speak to the boss.”

    “Right. Raven.”

    “Who?” asked Vlad.

    “Raven,” said Dril matter-of-factly. “The quarter’s Savonan boss for this area.”

    “How do you know all this?” asked Ilmarė.

    “I have my ways,” said Dril. He turned back to the men. “Well?”

    “Fine,” said another of the thugs. “But you will have to be blindfolded.”

    “Now wait just a minute—“ protested Ilmarė.

    “You’ll have to trust me,” said Dril. “This is the only way.”

    “Don’t worry,” said Vlad. “I’m a trained night fighter.”

    Ilmarė took a deep breath. “Fine. But if I feel one hand touch anywhere but my blindfold, that man will no longer be able to clap. Do I make myself clear?”

    The Cafelan thugs chuckled. “We’ll be nice as long as you’re nice,” they said.

    “Then we’re screwed,” said Vlad. Ilmarė was blindfolded before she could glare at him.

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    The Senator's Seal - Part 6b: There is No Honor Among Thieves

    They moved down a flight of steps for what must have been the hundredth time, but this time the temperature continued to fall. Footsteps echoed off of close walls. Voices in the distance rose in volume, then suddenly stopped just as they became comprehensible. As they were finally brought to a halt, snickers echoed around them. Their blindfolds were removed.

    They had been brought before a large wooden chair, carved in great, curving scrolls. Sitting atop the chair was a dark-skinned woman. Raven’s steel-gray eyes critically evaluated Dril.

    “This him?” she asked in a smooth voice.

    A young boy nodded his head. “Yah, these ‘em are the one’s I o’erheard askin’ for us.”

    “Way to keep the mission secret,” Ilmarė said to Dril.

    “So now that you are here, what do you want?” asked Raven.

    “Stop playing us for fools,” said Dril. “You know what we want.”

    “The seal,” said Raven with a slight smile. “Yes, I am aware of it. Two of my employees…acquired it from that idiot merchant. He should never have had it in the first place.”

    “So you stole it from him?” asked Vlad.

    Raven continued. “Unfortunately, they were attacked while bringing it to me—so that I could return it to its proper owner, of course.”

    “Of course,” said Dril.

    “The attackers were quite efficient,” said Raven. “In the process, one of my friends was slain and the other seriously wounded. They made just one mistake.”

    She tossed a scrap of torn cloth on the ground. The weave was very fine. Part of a family crest was visible on it.

    “That’s the sign of the personal guard of Senator Janthi val’Sheem,” said Ilmarė.

    “Very perceptive,” said Raven. “As much as I would like to, I cannot exact revenge for this affront. At least, not in a manner that we would most desire.” Anger tinged her voice. “However, revenge is more than a dagger slipped between the ribs.”

    Dril nodded. “What would you have us do?”

    “I will help you foil this Janthi val’Sheem’s plans. Recover the seal and return it to the rightful owner. Just the public attention of his involvement in stealing the seal will hurt him politically. Avoid permitting harm to come to him; attacking a Senator is a capital offense in Coryan, regardless of crimes he may have committed.”

    Raven sat back into her chair, signaling with but a nod to the thugs that brought them there.

    “Not the blindfolds again,” said Ilmarė with a resigned sigh.

    “Did I mention I’m a trained night—” asked Vlad as the blindfold was applied.

    “Yes!” said Ilmarė and Dril.

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