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A Candlekeep Mystery (IC)

FitzTheRuke

Legend
(OOC) Chat Thread
(RG) Rogue's Gallery

Welcome to Candlekeep

A coach rolled down the road along the narrow isthmus that connected the rocky crag to the coastlands. It was a grey day with a biting wind as the coachman pulled the reins as they arrived at a pair of towering gates in black iron. The footman dismounted and opened the coach's door, marked with the emblem of the Black Dragon Gate Mining Consortium.

"We have arrived at Candlekeep," the footman said, stating the obvious, as the two occupants descended the short steps. The wind brought with it a light sea-spray, salty and cold.

Multicoloured towers rose above from behind the wall, some with peaked roofs flying banners, others flat-topped or domed. On the wall above the gates, a dour-faced wizard stood, his robes blowing in the wind like something from one of the great plays. At the iron gates were five priests in purple vestments, ready to greet the new arrivals and to negotiate the terms of their entrance.

GM: Here arrives Hawthorne and Argenti, who can feel free to speak to the Avowed at the gates. I will introduce the others soon. The coachman's name is Broun (a middle-aged half-orc) and the footman's name is Shedrick, a young human man.


Candlekeep.jpg
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Hawthorne descends from the coach after the young Genasi woman, pulling his cloak around him a bit tighter to ward off the bite of the ocean air. He glances up at the towering citadel before them before looking back at the footman.

"Thank you, Shedrick, for your assistance on the journey... your stories about the Grand Dukes were quite amusing." He lifts his chin towards the coachman and nods to the man sitting on the seat at the front of the carriage. "Sorry we didn't get to speak more, Broun. Perhaps when I return home we'll get a chance to talk then."

He smiles at both men and says to them over his shoulder as he begins walking towards the front gates of Candlekeep "When you get back to the Consortium, tell them I'll get in touch once I've found anything concrete. I suspect I'll be doing a lot of reading over the next several days, so if you see my mother please tell her that 'Yes, I will make sure to get up and walk around a bit to stretch my legs and will drink plenty of water.' I know she doesn't like it when I'm curled up reading for hours on end and not going outside."

Hawthorne turns back to Argenti and then motions his right hand towards the gates and the five robed acolytes awaiting them. "Shall we, Miss?"
 
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FitzTheRuke

Legend
Broun tipped his hat and waited until Shedrick had gathered Hawthorne and Argenti's personal items before dismounting and conscientiously double-checking the horses' comfort - their hooves, the yoke, and all. It was partly regular care and maintenance, and partly on the off-chance that they were refused entry. Broun dubious that anyone could by anything at all with only a book.

As it happened, the consortium had done their research, and the book that Hawthorne carried was a missing part of a collection that the First Reader (Candlekeep's master of collections) had requested. Hawthorne was expected, and the Avowed at the gates greeted him warmly, confirming the book's authenticity with broad smiles and nods.

"For this great gift that will enrich the library's collections, you may come and go as often as you like, for a period not exceeding six month's time. You may designate up to three assistants to accompany you at any point during that time." they told Hawthorne, generously.

They turned to Argenti, with curiosity and mild excitement, hoping that her exotic appearance suggested that she had brought them something interesting from afar.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Hawthorne laughs at the Avowed's comment and shrugs sheepishly.

"If my research takes more than six months, then I should rightly be sent back home and not be allowed back in here at all, another new book or no."

He glances over at the young woman with a pique of curiosity as to the tome she is intending to donate for admittance, and notes immediately that she does not, as yet, have a book to present in hand.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Argenti smiles at Hawthorn and nods in appreciation and agreement as she disembarks the vehicle. Awaiting her turn patiently and quietly fretting over what to do, she suddenly seems distracted for but a moment, as a distant voice feeds her an idea.

"Ah, yes, a book. Of course." The Genasi has a twinge of apprehension about her. "I do have one, a Book of Wonders, detailing Dao magic and rituals on how to contact them."

Argenti takes out a simple linen package and unwraps it. Revealing, in a most dramatic contrast, a book that could easily considered an illuminated manuscript. Bound in a purple leather, with gold and silver painted edge, and a strange lock on the front that seems to take a key in the shape of a gemstone.

"There is but one condition" The young woman asserts herself in the face of the wide-eyed guards. "This book is a family heirloom, and as such I cannot let it stay within these hallowed walls." After taking a breath to allow herself, and everyone else, to regain their composure, she continues. "However, I have been told that your fellow priests can copy such manuscripts. And that would be permissible, I pray?"
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
The avowed acknowledged that the book that Hawthorne had brought them was very valuable to them indeed; the consortium had done its research, and had been very fortunate to have acquired it.

When Agenti stepped up, they could not hide their astonishment. This book was something else entirely. It was a unique book, written by an extraplanar being. Without proper time for study, it's value was difficult to quantify. Copying it would be costly and require their most skilled scribes. The group of five dithered, debating among themselves until Hawthorne grew bored and cleared his throat.

One stepped forward, nodded and told Argenti, "This gift is acceptable. You are allowed entry for a time that will be determined by the Keeper of Tomes - your guide will let you know. The book will be returned to you before you leave; but you must stay until we have had time to produce a reasonable facsimile."

To conclude, the avowed told them, "We bid you welcome to Candlekeep! An adjutant guide will be assigned to each of you and will find you within the hour. May you find what you Seek."

They moved aside and Hawthorne and Argenti walked through the towering black metal gate. A wide open-air courtyard stretched before them. Seekers and their Avowed guides came and went across its cobblestone expanse between cylindrical towers on the north side and a series of buildings to the south.

From the gatehouse, on the left and traveling clockwise, were a bathhouse; a smithy and stables; a temple; a large granary; a three-story inn; a humble tavern; and a long building that appeared to be some kind of cloister or work-house. Directly across the courtyard was another high wall, beyond which were the towers of the inner ward. Inset in the wall was a large emerald-green door that softly glowed with its own light. Continuing clockwise from the north-west end of the court, a small cluster of shops. Then there were the cylindrical towers, which varied in height along the north side all the way to the right of the gates.

Outside, Broun shook his head in wonder - it was not his sort of place at all. He tucked down his hat to keep the wind from stealing it away. Then he clicked at the horses and he empty coach rolled down the Way of the Lion, beginning the long journey back to Baldur's Gate.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Glancing around and across the courtyard, Hawthorne takes in all the sights that lay before him quickly and in detail... committing their placement to his memory. As all the various peoples make their way back and forth across the grounds, his pull is towards the temple to Oghma on his left, Oghma being his patron deity and the Lord of Knowledge. He turns to smile at the Genasi woman and acknowledges the gift she presented to the Avowed.

"Dao magic, eh? Sounds like you've got quite the family if that's what you have for an heirloom." Chuckling to himself, he reaches down to grab one of his satchels and slings it over his shoulder, while he points out the three-story inn to Shedrick-- the footman standing next to him holding much of the luggage. "You want to get us a couple rooms, Shedrick, over at the inn? I need to tithe a few coins to The Binder now that we've arrived."

He nods once more to the young woman before turning towards the temple. "May you indeed find what you seek, Miss. It has been a pleasure." With a click of his hard leather heels against the cobblestones, the young man strides confidently across the courtyard.
 
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FitzTheRuke

Legend
Shedrick hefted his master's cases and nodded, heading for the House of Rest while Hawthorne moved toward the temple. For a moment, both men paused to watch as an tall woman in armour brought a magnificent griffon out of the stables and had it stand by the smithy while the smith - a balding dwarf with an impressive red beard - fitted a newly-crafted helmet over the griffon's enormous and beautiful bird-like head.

When Hawthorne entered the Temple of Oghma, through a door with a polished handle cast in silver and shaped like an unrolling scroll, the priest was reciting a familiar prayer, "An idea has no heft but it can move mountains. An idea has no authority but it can dominate people. An idea has no strength but it can push aside empires. Knowledge is the greatest tool of the mortal mind, outweighing anything made by mortal hands. Before anything can exist, the idea must exist."

When finished, the priest came over and welcomed Hawthorne, adding, "I am Lorekeeper Kei. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them."
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Kaliban sat at the bar in the Hearth. On the stool beside him, his guide (a human man named Parmak) was absorbed in a book, his drink left untouched.

Though from the outside, the Hearth appeared to be of modest size, it was at least three times more spacious on the inside. A dozen doors that were not visible from the outside lined the walls. Over the long bar, an intricate clockwork device was suspended, with a faintly glowing crystal orb that spun creating a soft humming sound. Kaliban understood it to be a Geometric Amplifier, created by worshipers of Gond. It was responsible for the extradimensional magic that created the tavern's improbable dimensions.

Early in the day, the place was only half-full. Even so, the patrons were a mix of fresh-faced adjutants, stodgy scholars, and eclectic guests. Though many stools were empty, the bar could seat up to twenty customers. Most patrons were seated at round tables with stout wooden chairs or at rectangular tables with benches. A dozen soft, cushy armchairs encircled the fireplace in the centre of the room.

Off to one side, a halfling cranked and fingered at a hurdy-gurdy while tapping his foot. The patrons engaged in lively conversations regarding things they had read, or sat alone with a drink or a meal, and a book. Nearly always, there was a book.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Argenti eases herself in a sign of relief at the acolyte's words, and turns a cheeky grin Hawthorne. "Would you believe the Dao that wrote it is my ancestor?" Adding, "And thank you again, for your kind help!" before she turns to celebrate her entry.

While marveling at the keep, the young woman is taken in by the cool sea breeze and the large emerald door guarding the inner. She had finally made it here, to the largest stockpile of knowledge in the world. From here, she could no doubt find the there whereabouts of a valuable treasure, one fit enough for Aurumamma's collection.

But first she had to wait for the adjutant assigned to her. An hour it would take? What could be done in that time?

The granary, hah. Likewise the smithy and stables weren't for her. The temple, it wasn't one of her pantheon, but it couldn't hurt to get on the good side of the clergy. Still there had to be something more immediate. The inn, too soon to check in. The tavern, maybe, in a bit, she needed to stretch out her legs more before sitting at a table. Ah, the bathhouse, perfect for now.

Readying a soap from her homelands, Argenti settled on her course.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Argenti entered the bathhouse where a polite servant offered to take her clothes to the clothier for any minor repairs, suggesting that they would be delivered to the House of Rest (along with any other belongings that she did not insist to keep close by). In their place, the servant offered rust-coloured "Seeker's Robes".

After cleaning herself with a bucket of warm water over colourful drain tiles, she had her choice of three large pools or two smaller ones. In one large pool, an ogre sat speaking softly to an elderly woman; in another, a half-dozen humans and a halfling were animatedly debating an obscure subject; in the third, a green dragonborn sat alone with his eyes closed. The two smallest pools were empty. Alternately, she saw that she could choose to head to the saunas, which were behind closed doors.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Ethian Silvermoon was enjoying his time in Candlekeep. He'd read several interesting and informative books, and had held many interesting conversations with Avowed and Seekers alike. Having given his book some weeks ago, his time as a Seeker was nearing its end, and he did not know what he would do next.

At present, he was sitting in an overstuffed chair next to the large circular firepit in the centre of the Hearth, that gave the tavern its name. He was speaking to his adjutant guide, a stoic elf named Voshadi Moonriver. In spite their obvious similarities, the two elves had very different upbringings, and they had clashed for a time before finding that they both quite enjoyed the other's differing perspective. In particular, they liked to have heated debates.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Argenti thanked the servant for the robes and care her belongings would receive. Candlekeep was truly a hospitable place, it reminded her a bit of home, and that gave her confidence that her goals would be reached.

Taking the crowds in, the genasi settles on a course of action. It would do no good to come all this way and ignore the experiences and information the people residing here no doubt possessed. But she didn't wish to be too intrusive, and her goals could be considered a bit base by most scholars. Wealth was useful in and of itself, but for Dao it was also of cultural significance. By contributing to her Matron's vaults, the warlock would not only make Aurumamma proud of her, but maybe, just maybe, it could also be a way for Argenti to become a Dao herself.

With resolve and a smile, Argenti approaches the large pool with the ogre and the woman. "Hello friends, I hope I'm not intruding?"
After a nod to make sure it was OK, she enters the pool and introduces herself. "I am Argenti, from the lands of Mulhorand, may I ask for your names?"
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Ruznami Warmaker
Candlekeep
Afternoon
Round 0

Ruznami Warmaker leaned over the ancient tome as he flipped through the book. He rubbed his eyes tiredly, an indication he had been working too long. “Bah! This one doesn’t have what I need either!” the dwarf said, leaning back and looking at the stack of books he had just finished. He pulled over a piece of parchment and jotted down the titles of several other books. “Looks like we have time to kill while the interns grab the next batch.” He spoke without the typical accent of the dwarves, his Common perfect.

Not so long ago, that would have been Ruz. Now, however, with his dissertation finished -- was such a lifetime work ever really complete? -- he had graduated to Master Reader and had much more time to pursue his other avenue of study, magic.

Ruz grabbed up a hefty tome, his spellbook, and flipped through it. He made a couple of corrective notations before he was interrupted by a hoot from a box near his open window. Archimedes, a small burrowing owl the size of a child’s doll, with brown feathers, white chin, and scowling eyebrows emerged from the hole in the wooden box, blinking against the light. It wasn’t unusual for the little owl to be about during the day.

“You hungry, Archie?” Ruz asked, standing. “Might as well go see if anyone interesting has arrived. And I need to check on the next batch of ale,” he said.

Ruznami pulled on his official robes over his clothes. At a year passed fifty, he was considered young for a dwarf, though he had been at Candlekeep for longer than many of the humans at the library, though he was by no means the most venerable. He was still young, yet already his hair and beard had turned white, giving him a venerableness beyond his years that was belied by his bright blue eyes and lack of wrinkles or other weathered features.

Archimedes hopped into a sling that Ruz pulled over his shoulder and across his chest, a nice little pouch the familiar could rest in. Then the dwarf headed down out of the hallowed halls of the library and down to the Hearth tavern.

Ruz went to the back of the tavern at first, down into the cellar, where large barrels of ale were stored. He went to the last in the line and tapped a shot, tasted it, swirled it in his mouth, then spat it out. “Not ready yet,” he declared, patting the large oak barrel. “But soon!”

Then the dwarf headed up to the common room. He paused outside the door, taking several deep breaths, steeling himself for the social interaction. He stepped into the tavern and looked around before quickly avoiding eye contact with anyone. He found a seat at the end of the bar, out of the way and hopefully out of anyone’s interest, and ordered one of his ales -- he was particularly proud of that last batch -- and a good meal of fried pork sausages and potatoes, three hard boiled eggs, and carrots and spinach. Archimedes poked his head out, and Ruz fed him a bit of sausage, though the familiar didn’t really need to eat.

***

Save:
Move:
Free Object Interaction:
Action:
Bonus Action:
Reaction: Opportunity Attack, Absorb Elements
Concentration:
Conditions:
Inspiration:

Ruznami
Initiative: +2
Perception: +0
Speed: 25
AC: 15
HP: 26/26 HD: 4/4d6+2

Archimedes (Owl familiar)
Initiative: +1
Perception: +3 Advantage, Darkvision 120
Speed: 60 (fly); 5 (walk)
AC: 11
HP: 1

Prepared Spells
Cantrips:
Blade Ward, Booming Blade, Fire Bolt, Lightning Lure
1) 4/4 Absorb Elements, Magic Missile, Protection from Evil and Good, Shield
2) 3/3 Arcane Lock, Mirror Image, Scorching Ray
Rituals
(1)
Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Identify
Spellbook
(1)
Absorb Elements, Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Identify, Magic Missile, Protection from Evil and Good, Shield
(2) Arcane Lock, Mirror Image, Scorching Ray



Hawthorne Grandview - male Human rogue inquisitive
Kaliban - male deep gnome psi-warrior
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Hawthorne nodded to Loremaster Lei in gratitude for the introduction. "Good day, Loremaster. Name's Hawthorne Grandview. Praise be to the Binder Of What Is Known." Without missing a beat he pulled a small purse off of his belt and dropped its contents into the gleaming silver pan stationed at the head of the aisle leading up to the altar. With the clanging of the coins subsiding, he walked purposefully straight up the aisle and to the altar. He closed his eyes and raised his chin towards the vaulted ceiling, then began rattling off several ideas he had come up with on his carriage ride to Candlekeep and which he was presenting to Oghma and into the ether.

"A cushioned wagon wheel would make for a more comfortable journey."

"Your will can be strengthened as much as your body."

"Do not forsake the chance to make a new acquaintance, for you never know how it might enrich your life."

"Pack light. Always try and remember to pack light."


With his ideas and his coin tithed to Oghma, Hawthorne opened his eyes and smiled contentedly at the large scroll of Oghma's symbol emblazoning the back wall of the shrine. He turned quickly on his heel and proceeded back up the aisle and towards the doors to go back outside. With a final nod to the priest, he bounded out of the building back into the sunlight, the sounds of the courtyard washing over him once again.

"And now a new idea. Let's get a drink!" he said out loud but to himself, and then strode across the cobblestones towards the humble tavern next to the inn.
 

Steve Gorak

Explorer
Ethian enjoyed the comfort of the chair he was sitting in. It was not delicate or orate by any means, and lacked the finesse he was used to, but had the heartwarming charm of human manufacture. He was also enjoying his time with Voshadi, the first elf he had seen in weeks. He had traveled alone, away from other elves: a necessary evil to avoid detection by unseen enemies of his family. Besides, elves that knew his pedigree often acknowledged it, which he wanted to avoid outside of elven lands. He even chose to bring armor and weapons of human and dwarven make, to avoid being recognized. Now, Voshadi reminded him how pleasant it was to be with one of his own. The short lived races didn't savor the silences, and always seemed to interrupt this precious contemplative time.

His reflections were interrupted by a seemingly scholarly dwarf. It was obvious to Ethian that the fellow didn't seem to want to be disturbed. Nodding at Voshadi, he signaled his brethren to look a the master dwarf and spoke in a soft voice in jest: "It's a pity, he doesn't seem to want to be disturbed, but my Dwarvish could use some practice."

He signaled the Tavernkeeper for some food. By now, the man knew that he couldn't' stomach the heavy foods that were expected by other patrons, and only brought some vegetables and cheese. Ethian ate, sharing the large plate with Voshadi, hoping to catch the Dwarf's gaze for perhaps an opener to conversation.
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Ruznami Warmaker
Candlekeep
Afternoon
Round 0

Ruzmani kept his head down as he ate, more comfortable around books than people, though he listened to the conversations around him. He had never left the confines of the library, and his only knowledge of the world outside was the books he read and the people who visited. He sometimes wondered if, at some point, he should actually visit some of the Delzoun sites that he wrote about in his dissertation, visit the famed Gauntlegrym.

Ruz reached for his ale and lifted his gaze as he drank, catching an elven Seeker staring at him. He blinked his blue eyes. What? Did he have food in his beard? He brushed a hand through the white beard to check.

Archimedes hooted then, taking that moment to flap into the air and circle the tavern before landing near the elf.

***

Save:
Move:
Free Object Interaction:
Action:
Bonus Action:
Reaction: Opportunity Attack, Absorb Elements
Concentration:
Conditions:
Inspiration:

Ruznami
Initiative: +2
Perception: +0
Speed: 25
AC: 15
HP: 26/26 HD: 4/4d6+2

Archimedes (Owl familiar)
Initiative: +1
Perception: +3 Advantage, Darkvision 120
Speed: 60 (fly); 5 (walk)
AC: 11
HP: 1

Prepared Spells
Cantrips:
Blade Ward, Booming Blade, Fire Bolt, Lightning Lure
1) 4/4 Absorb Elements, Magic Missile, Protection from Evil and Good, Shield
2) 3/3 Arcane Lock, Mirror Image, Scorching Ray
Rituals
(1)
Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Identify
Spellbook
(1)
Absorb Elements, Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Identify, Magic Missile, Protection from Evil and Good, Shield
(2) Arcane Lock, Mirror Image, Scorching Ray



Hawthorne Grandview - male Human rogue inquisitive
Kaliban - male deep gnome psi-warrior
 

Kaliban took a big sip from his mug and smiled at his guide. He had become a fixture in the Hearth since his arrival in Candlekeep. He had been craving companionship since leaving seclusion. Even though the Hearth was more reserved than some of the other taverns he stopped in on his journey to the library there was still conversation and stories to be had. The gnome scans the room as he finishes off his drink. Several of the other Seekers had started to meet here in the late afternoon to eat, swap stories, and play cards but none of them seemed to have arrived yet. He sighed and looked down at his now empty mug. Signaling to a server for another.

Kaliban glances at Parmak once more. He knew that the guide would be absorbed in the book for the rest of the night. With the unlikely chance of conversation from the guide the gnome slides off the stool and grabs his mug, crossing to a chair near the fire. He smiles at those nearby and takes a sip from his drink. He places it down next to him and settles in to wait for one of his fiends to arrive or an interesting conversation to start.
 

Steve Gorak

Explorer
Ethian smiled at the dwarf, and then the bird. He knew enough arcanists to infer that the owl could be a magical familiar, and if it was, this would be an opening to chat with the dwarf. He needed to make sure though, again, etiquette mandated that he didn't force the conversation.

"What a beautiful creature" he said to Voshadi, but loud enough for Ruzmani to hear. He offered the owl some cheese, and waited for either the bird or the dwarf to react.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
"Ah yes," said Voshadi, "I love how small it is. Where I am from, owls have been known to be of a size where they can be ridden as mounts, if they do not eat you first. One must learn to ask respectfully."

The guide turned to Kaliban, who was nearby, and asked, "Do they have owls at all where you are from? I don't mean to assume, but I would guess that bats would be more common, if I am not wholly ignorant."
 

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