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A Candlekeep Mystery (IC)

DEFCON 1

Legend
Hawthorne nods to Irony and stands up, quickly polishing off his drink and dropping off a few coins onto the bar as a thanks to the bartender for their service. "Thank you very much for your help. I shall make my way to the Pillars right now." He turns to his footman "Shedrick? Once you've finished polishing off those 6 pints of ale you seem to have ordered for yourself, how's about you see if you can rustle up any assistance in our research? The Black Dragon Gate has given us a stipend to use as we see fit, and I'm more than happy to spend it on additional eyes."

He glances around the tavern and catches several sets of those potential eyes looking at him... whether from curiosity regarding research or merely at the mention of money is unknown to him. "If you happen to see Argenti, our young Genasi companion, be sure to mention it to her. She has already proven to be a favorable travel partner so I know she can be good company. Plus she is judicious with her speech, which makes the reading and research process more bearable... not being interrupted every thirty seconds."

He realizes in that exact millisecond of the statement escaping his mouth of its potential for offense... so Hawthorne consciously does not look in Irony's direction with that last statement so as to not outwardly display any deliberate comment about her... loquaciousness. He keeps his eyes glued on Shedrick for a second, then two, then three... waiting against hope to receive some response from the man. After however long he needs to wait, Hawthorne then widens his face into a grand smile, turns to Irony with no indication of the potential faux pas he made, and with a gesture allows the tiefling woman to move ahead to the door and lead him along as though he was a puppy. "I am at your disposal, Miss Irony. Please guide me towards our destination!"

As he begins following her towards the door, he lets out a very slow and quiet breath and thinks to himself "Well, that wasn't my greatest ever... but I think I got away with it."
 

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FitzTheRuke

Legend
Irony went on as if she did not notice the slight, telling Hawthorne as they crossed the courtyard, "It's a great idea to get on it right away, I mean, you never know what you're going to find in these books. Something might lead right to another, and soon you'll find yourself just lost in the reading of them. Here they come now! I had Graystock bring them up - it was just too much for me to carry!"[/b]

Sure enough, a dark-haired dwarf was hauling a book-cart (a glorified wheelbarrow) full of tomes of various sizes down a ramp to the right of the Emerald Door - the softly glowing green door that was the entrance to the Inner Ward, and the Library itself. A single guard, probably a mage, stood and watched the dwarf at work with an expression of concern, though he did not move to help.

"That's the Keeper of the Emerald Door." explained Irony, "There's a few of them, but that one's Svantos. Call him Keeper Svantos when he's on duty, which he is. It's his job to monitor who comes and goes from the Inner Ward, and the Library. Seekers can't go in there without the invitation of one of the Eight Great Readers. Without an invitation Keeper Svantos couldn't let you in if he wanted to."

After Graystock got the books down the ramp, Irony led them to one of the towers in the Pillars of Pedagogy, where she gave Hawthorne the key to a room with a desk, a chair, a fainting couch, a chamber pot, and a window overlooking the Sea of Swords. In addition, the room had several empty bookshelves, that Graystock and Irony began to stock with the books from the dwarf's push-cart.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Argenti had arrived at the Hearth and was considering a toned-down version of her guide's rather ambitious midday meal when Shedrick banged two tin cups together (having drank the contents of both) and said, "Hear ye! My master Hawthorne is seeking assistance as a seeker... er, he is asking for help in searching for a specific book. A reasonable stipend will be offered. In addition, should what he seeks - uh, looks for in the books - be found, he will be proposing an expedition. In this task, we may also need some assistance. As you all know, the wilds can be a dangerous place, so only the brave need apply."

He seemed to consider his final words and added, "For the expedition. One need not be brave to look for the book. Anyone here should be more than qualified for that. Uh... I mean no offense."
 

Steve Gorak

Explorer
Ethian smiles at the master dwarf and says in an earnest and friendly manner: “this sounds absolutely fascinating! I would love to read your dissertation, but I am certain that I will be blind to the nuances that a scholar that has spent countless hours in research will be aware of. Perhaps you can tell me more, as we help the fellow over there.” Ethian smiles and nods at Hawthorne. He then continues talking to Ruz. “Surely your knowledge of the library will be indispensable to him, and you can give me some more background on your research
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
"Perhaps just a pudding for now, Sprig, there are details we need to discuss still." Argenti mused as the pair were seated. Though she had to admit that the goose-breast with vegetables sounded delicious.

Their meeting was interrupted before it could begin by Shedrick's timely outburst. Hawthorne and the Mining Consortium were looking for a book, which would lead to an expedition. It would be safe to assume that they were looking for some sort of buried treasures, be it raw ore, or something lost. Geb be praised indeed, this was exactly the kind of lead Argenti was hoping for, and they were even offering compensation for the trouble. By the time the warlock was done with her pudding, which also happened to be the time Sprig was starting on his crumble, she had made up her mind. She would be staying in Candlekeep for a while, and this might be the best way to use that time.

"Sprig, you are quite the thorough fellow." The genasi said as she noted how the halfling was cleaning his plates. "The people here in Candlekeep are wonderful. And I wouldn't mind helping them out a bit, while doing my research of course. Let's go with Shedrick, to see what his request is all about."
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
OOC: I had meant to post this picture earlier...


EmeraldDoor.jpg
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Ruznami Warmaker
Candlekeep
Afternoon
Round 0

Ruznami sat up a bit straighter at the elf’s flattery. No one ever wanted to actually read his work. But the elf might be right. He might not be able to understand it

The proposal to aid another Seeker in his hunt for information was given, and the dwarven scholar contemplated it. He was between projects at the moment, and it sounded like an opportunity to possibly get out of the monastery. Ruz had never been outside the walls of the library before. And if it was a mining operation, it was likely to have dwarven influence in it.

“I will assist you,” Ruz volunteered.

***

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 listens to Shedrick's spiel. He was not much of a research but getting out and into an adventure was tempting. He comes to a decision and speaks up.

"I am not much of a researcher but I will assist where I can. Plus I can be of service for any expedition that is required."
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
With the extra hands sorting through books, Hawthorne found the book he was looking for on the following afternoon. The book, bound in black leather with “A Deep and Creeping Darkness” embossed on the thin spine, showed minimal signs of wear and tear (other than a few pages creased through carelessness and a spot here and there). The work was neat though not flawless and contained notable spelling errors and ink blotches. Ruznami judged that it was not the work of a professional scribe.

A Deep and Creeping Darkness told the tale of a mountain village whose residents went missing over the course of several months. The book presented a series of vignettes allegedly collected from “those who were there” - survivors, traveling merchants, and (in second-hand accounts) residents of nearby settlements. It was unclear whether it was a fictional tale, folklore, or true history. The contents seemed factual, but the language was extravagantly dramatic.

Vermeillon, established after settlers discovered a platinum vein in the mountainside, did a booming business in both the raw ore and the refined metal for about a decade. Due to the rough terrain and the harshness of the climate, the village never grew large. It intermittently hosted a succession of traveling merchants who came to the village for a week or two, sold and traded their wares, then left again. The nearest civilized settlement was three days’ ride on horseback down the mountainside. The inhabitants named in the book included Mayor Lei Duvezin, a kind and talented dwarf smith named Tormun, and his wife, Blenyss.

Dated seventy years ago, an explosion rocked the platinum mine, collapsing the tunnels and burying workers under tons of rubble. Sixty miners were underground that day. Over thirty of them died in the initial collapse, and the instability of the tunnels made rescue of the others slow and dangerous. The miners who survived the collapse were trapped for days or weeks before they were rescued—or perished in the deep, alone and terrified. Sixteen came out alive. Eleven were never found.

In the wake of the catastrophe, another horror plagued the village as people began to disappear, starting with the survivors—not all at once, however. One or two would vanish in a single night, then a tenday might pass before the next disappearance. These unexplained disappearances terrified the remaining miners. After all the survivors either disappeared or fled, other villagers began to vanish. The villagers tried to protect themselves by sleeping with weapons and taking shifts on watch, but nothing changed. Traveling in groups didn’t help, since a companion might vanish while even briefly out of sight.

With no one willing to keep the mine open and the disappearances leading to fears that Vermeillon might be cursed, merchants and other travelers stopped visiting the village. The end of the patchwork story claimed that the village was still there, though whether anyone would still inhabit it was a mystery. The volume’s writer mused over the decline of the village, speculating about the fate of its inhabitants. They wondered whether it would be worth hiring adventurers to see if anything remained of the village—particularly the platinum ore. Sketched on the back of the last page was a rough map of the village’s location, with directions from the closest mountain town, a place called Maerin.
 

Steve Gorak

Explorer
"How very fascinating! Who want to go on an excursion to find this village?" Ethian says, half in jest, half serious. Looking at Ruz, he adds: "We'll have plenty of time for you to give me background on your thesis"
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
"I'd love to go with you!" exclaimed Irony. Then, much to Hawthorne's relief, she added, "But my duties here don't allow it. Master Ruz is lucky to be a Master Reader, who can come and go as he likes. Not that I've ever seen him go. Have you ever left Candlekeep, Master Ruz? I haven't, except for that once when I went fishing with Little One, but that was only down the road."
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Ruznami Warmaker
Candlekeep
Afternoon
Round 0

Ruznami seemed embarrassed by Irony’s questions, muttering into his white beard. “No,” he admitted. “I have never left the monastery.” He fussed over the book, ironing out the creases. They really should get this recopied by a professional hand. It would be more readable.

“This is the mine the guild is looking for?” Ruz asked. “I suppose I could lend my aid to an expedition up there.”

Ruz pulled out a map of the mountain area to find the village of Maerin.

***

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 watches as the dwarven Master Reader takes his time trying to smooth and clean the book that he had found, admiring his technique and desire to keep things tidy. When the high elf, Ethian is his name, makes the call to journeying out to find this village of Maerin, Hawthorne nods in agreement. "That was exactly my thought as well, Mister Ethian. We of the Black Dragon Gate are constantly trying to find and recover old mines across the Sword Coast... both for the historical value, as well as... well, I guess let me be blunt... economical value as well."

He tilts his head and shrugs his shoulders in a sort of "It is what it is" sort of response to his own comment. "We've actually done extensive work trying to recover the remnants of an iron mine north of here in the Cloak Wood. Was flooded over a hundred years ago by... get this... a spawn of the dead god Bhaal. Can you believe that? Who knew the God of Murder hated mining so much that he'd send his kids to go around destroying them. Crazy."

Looking around the room and counting the number of folks here that all volunteered to help him with his research, he realizes that he might have just enough to fill out an excursion party to go off in search of this village of Vermeillon and the platinum mine adjacent to it. "I've been commissioned by the Consortium to find out whatever information I can, and this book here..." He motions to Ruz, still in possession of A Deep and Creeping Darkness. "...gives us a fairly strong lead to go on. Shedrick and I will be preparing to journey forth--" He suddenly realizes something and furrows his brow in irritation as he glances at his footman. "--we probably shouldn't have sent the coach back home, should we? We could have used it." Hawthorne heaves a big sigh in resignation for not having thought far enough ahead. "Well, in any case... we're going to go look for this place and I have the gold to hire anyone experienced in this line of search and work to lend aid. You've all proven yourselves useful in a library setting-- anyone feel like you are good out in the field too?"
 

Steve Gorak

Explorer
"Friend, no need to call me mister, especially if we will be spending much time together on this trek!" Ethian says in jest. Funny that mister is meant as a sign of respect, but it is so far beneath what my real title is! he muses to himself. Ethian continues, smiling "So tell us mister Hawthorne, how good in the field do you need us to be? I am fair with a sword, and am a chosen of Sehanine Moonbow, so I also dabble in godly magics. I am also a proud mapmaker, and sailor extraordinaire!"
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
"I am well experienced with traveling, Mister Hawthorne. But more importantly, I have an affinity for the earth, which may prove useful." Argenti says with a boastful smile. She then takes an aside with Sprig, "I hate to rush the fine people here, but how soon until the transcription is finished? The Book of Wonders would prove most useful for this venture."
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
"I will go find out!" said Sprig, munching on a cookie that he had pulled from his robes. He disappeared for some time, but eventually returned, puffing from coming up the spiral staircase (which was the way into the research room in the tower).

"Just finished! Here it is." he returned to Argenti her Book of Wonders.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
After making all proper arrangements, the newly formed Company departed Candlekeep the following morning. It was a gray day with a light drizzle as they set forth but the winds had calmed and seagulls flew overhead oblivious to the rain. The seeker's guides bid them farewell, and the avowed at the gates recorded each seeker's time at Candlekeep, and told them what remained should they return.

Shedrick carried the majority of his master's travelling supplies. In addition, they began their journey with food bought from the Hearth and four hours later, they stopped on a bluff overlooking the sea for a cold but hearty luncheon. Three hours after that, they were beginning to look forward to their first full rest stop. This being the first day of their journey, most had not travelled this far by foot in quite some time. Ruzmani had never done it. Many of the travellers knew that a good well-used campsite existed a league away. Though it was only mid-afternoon, their legs looked forward to the stop. Some had bought copies of books from the binder's, that they could sit and read during down-time.

This was when Ethian's keen elven eyes spotted an overturned wagon in a ditch ahead. Not far from that lay the carcass of a dead horse - now mostly bones, having been picked over by birds, wild dogs, and other carrion-feeders.

Hawthorne immediately recognised the overturned wagon as the Black Dragon coach that had carried him, Argenti, and Shedrick to Candlekeep.
 
Last edited:

DEFCON 1

Legend
"What the--!?!" Hawthorne exclaimed upon recognizing the Black Dragon wagon. Without even thinking about it, he immediately withdrew his crossbow and began rushing forward in a panic... barely checking the cord and bolt and making sure it was loaded properly. "Shedrick! Get down! Keep your eyes open! Where's Broun? WHERE'S BROUN?!?"

His eyes began scanning the sides of the road looking for any indications of movement or tracks leading away as he approached the coach down in the ditch...

[Perception check = Nat 1 + 7 = 8]

...but as this was the first time he had ever found himself in this sort of dangerous situation, his flight-or-fight response basically destroyed any sense of perceptiveness that he had been known for as a young man.

"BROUN! BROUN!!!"

Upon reaching the ditch, his frenzied hysteria made him almost miss where the slope into the ditch began and his arms flew out and began waving in circles to hopefully maintain his balance without falling down and into it. "Wha--aaaaaahhh-ahhhhhh!!!"

[Acrobatics check = 10 + 4 = 14]
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Their stay in Candlekeep had been just under forty-eight hours. While it was possible that trouble was still about, the incident had taken place nearly two days before.

Shedrick was nearly as distraught as his master. He searched the sides of the road in despair for Broun, hoping not to find his mangled corpse. To his relief, there was no sign of the half-orc driver.

The coach had been pulled by four horses, and there was only the remains of a single one.

OOC: I'd happily take Perception or Survival checks from anyone who wants to make them. Investigation would be good too. Pick your skill, but just make one check.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Argenti goes to comfort Hawthorne. "We will find him." She somberly states before clasping the distraught man, and pointing his crossbow in a safe direction.

After a moment to make sure he was stable, the genasi turns to the rest of the group. "I'm not the best at this, but here is what I know: We are looking for Broun, a middle-aged Half-Orc man, and possibly three other horses that were pulling the wagon. We have some of the best minds from Candlekeep here, I am confident we can figure out where he might have gone!"

Despite her speech, Agenti herself wasn't having much luck finding clues. "Shedrick, a moment if you please? Can you tell if anything has been stolen? It might help to to know if we are to be on the lookout for bandits or beasts."

 

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