League of Assassins - Conclusion

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 33, “The Elf Cracks”, July 8th, 1019, 11:30 A.M.

The quartet have arrived at the Magical Stone Inn, a five-story high wooden structure located at the intersection of the warehouse district road and the main southeastern road. Ki comments how the inn is situated so there is an excellent view of the auction house and its entrances from the upper stories. They go inside and find the proprietor, a human named Roberts. Ki-Geloryn and Lannon state their credentials as members of the Jawlt Council. They explain that they wish to see a room that an older gnome was staying in. The proprietor tells them that no gnomes are currently staying there, and suggests that they instead check the One-Eyed Gnome Inn, located in the outer city.

They then describe the half-elf fighter. The man says that there is a guest with that description, staying in room #406. “Was he staying alone?” Ki asks. The man replies “Actually he had a female companion, a middle-aged human female. She had her own room.” Lannon describes Florine, and Roberts says “Yes, that sounds like her. She is in room #306. “Who is staying in room #506?” Furynick inquires. “A male elf with blond hair,” is the reply. “I think we need to check each of those rooms,” Ki states, and they are given keys.

They begin with the 4th floor room, which is fairly sparse. Tapping on floorboards, they soon find a loose board under two of the bedposts. Furynick shoves the bed aside, and Lannon works at prying up the board. In the 4” space between the floor and the wooden ceiling to the room below they find an oiled cloth containing plants, a green robe, a club, a sling and some sling bullets.

Next they go to the 3rd floor room. In the same place they find a loose floorboard, beneath which they find a magical dagger, a pouch of spell components and a spell book. Lannon attempts to read the book. Furynick comments “This is amazing.” Ki replies “What? That both Lannon and Timothy have proved to be useful on the same day?” Furynick answers “No, that a dwarf actually knows how to read.”

The 5th floor room also has hidden treasure under the floorboard beneath the bed. They find another dagger, more spell components and another spell book, this book being much thicker than the other. They decide to also check out rooms #106 and #206. The 1st floor room is unoccupied and has no hidden treasure. They are told the 2nd floor room is currently being rented by a human couple. The group finds nothing in that room, but makes a mess of the couple’s possessions searching it, so Ki pays the proprietor for their stay at the inn to make up for the inconvenience. “See, I knew we brought him for a reason,” Furynick comments.

They head back to the auction house and share their findings with the party. Both spell books are identified as being Illusionist. Serita identifies the plants and items found in the first rooms as druidic in nature, albeit rather low in level. “And that elf was also true neutral,” Blip points out. “And would also still have spells…” Serita exclaims, with a bit of panic in her voice. “I’m on it,” Mojo yells. Serita grabs the Rod of Cancellation. Kharole stops her, saying “No, that would also cancel the Charm I have on him, which has been working well. .

Mojo charges into the room and tells the guards they are relieved. “What?” exclaims the elf. Mojo says “I think you’re holding out on us.” Mojo then strips the man of all possessions, noting delicate elvan features everywhere except for the hands, which are still human-sized. Mojo tugs at the hands, pulling off a pair of flesh-colored rubber gloves. Fastened to the top of his actual right hand is another set of thieves tools while the top of the left hand has a thin blade attached to it. Mojo confiscates both, and says “Do you have any more hidden items? You’d better tell the truth because you won’t want me to search anywhere else!” The panicked elf assures Mojo that he does not.

Kharole casts another ESP spell and enters the room. Mojo shows her the items, saying “Look what I found!” Kharole hands the elf Dar a cloak to wear, and says “This plan of the gnome’s is coming apart at the seams. Why don’t you make this easy on yourself and tell us where the sphinx is hidden. We found all of your other possessions hidden in your rooms at the Magical Stone Inn, but no sign of the chest with the sphinx. We also know you are a druid. What spells do you still have?” He answers “Nothing offense. Mostly communication spells. I was to use Speak with Animals to talk to mice or rats in the prison to find out about guards and escape routes.”

She tells him that the only way to assist either himself or the gnome at this point is to cooperate. The elf’s spirit is clearly broken, and he explains that he signed on for this assignment because the gnome promised him the dress. “It doesn’t look to be your color,” Mojo interjects. “Not for me,” the elf states, “I wish to marry a princess, but her father says that I am not worthy. She is also a druid, and if I give her the magical dress her father might reconsider.” Kharole comforts him, assuring him that love is a noble sentiment, but that the time to think of that has passed. The best way for him to ensure that he will ever see his princess again is to cooperate.

The elf offers to bring them to the sphinx. “Why can’t you just tell me where it is?” she asks. He replies “I could, but it is trapped. I wouldn’t want you to get hurt.” She also asks about the replica items, but he tells her he has never seen them, and does not know where they might be. Kharole and Mojo rejoin the others. She says that the ESP revealed the room the sphinx is in, but not the location of that room. She describes the room, which is clearly smaller than the rooms at the Magical Stone.

She wants to take him up on his offer to bring her there. Serita is very suspicious, and does not want to let him out while he still has spells. Kharole names the spells that his thoughts indicated were still memorized, none of which are offensive in nature. They decide to let Kharole go, but insist that she not go alone, with Mojo and Serita offering to accompany her. Blip offers to follow behind invisibly. As the elf is let out of the room Narg says, in a voice loud enough for Dar to hear, “If he does anything tricky just cut his head off.” Serita answers “No problem,” as she fastens her magical scimitar onto her belt, while giving the elf an intimidating look. .

The elf named Dar directs their carriage through the inner city and to the east outer city, to the elvan region. They stop at the One-Eyed Gnome Inn, where Dar brings them inside. Dar tells the gnome proprietor “I misplaced my key. Could you let me into my room?” They are let into the room which matches what Kharole saw with the ESP spell. Mojo notes the gnome-sided bed and larger bed in the room, and comments “Now we know where Timothy hangs out when he’s in the city.”

They soon find the metal chest that housed the sphinx statue, which has been turned invisible. Powder is sprinkled on it, but it is still not visible enough for Blip to feel comfortable opening the trapped invisible lock. The chest in placed inside of the Bag of Holding. A search of the room also uncovers a second item, the Rock Hammer of Bold Edgar. “What was the story about this thing?” Mojo asks.

Kharole tells of the tale, which is a popular children’s story on this continent. A gnomish artifact of ancient times, this hammer was forged by the rock gnome Edgar himself, renowned smith who learned his trade apprenticed to the mysterious being known only as "The Adamant". Forged of the meteoric iron of the Frost Giant's Grand Jarls throne, whom Edgar and his lesser companions bested in riddle games, and smelted in sacred fires of the Dragonkin, the rock hammer is the acme of Edgar’s art and a testament to his wit and daring.

First given to a simple Gnomish peasant who went on to become empress of the great Elvish island nation, and later given to a powerful human nation to seal a defense treaty, the rock hammer grew steadily more and more enchanted. It was wielded in great (and often witty) adventures by heroes throughout the ages as well as used in the forging of great works.

The hammer lost its enchantments, in fact its ability to be enchanted at all, when it was used to smash the Anti-light engine of the Death Scion in the Well of Worlds. This completed the fourteenth and greatest task of deification of the Gnomish adventurer Johnathon Silverhand, as well as completing his revenge against the being who had stolen his knowledge of gem cutting.

Since the Hammer has been a symbol of the Gnomish people, and is prized by collectors of all races. It has the most thoroughly documented history of any item in gnomish history. Every gnome dreams of a chance to add a little tidbit to the history of the hammer, smuggling forged accounts into the great libraries of the land, perhaps even making new "more authentic" versions of the hammers to put into the public eye. The hammer is one of the great practical jokes in gnomish history. But it serves another purpose as well, reminding the gnomes not to be swayed by "history" or great tales, and to evaluate an item as it really is. In this case, just a hammer. Although this one is the original the Edgar made so long ago….Perhaps!
 

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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 34, “Wister’s Plan Crumbles”, July 8th, 1019, 2:30 P.M.

The situation has finally calmed down inside of Kulp’s Comfortable Castle. When the magical doorway vanished a now more confident Florine told the others that the situation had changed, that the gnome Wister had taken the Orb. She announced that when the door opens again in several days it would be her friends on the other side of the door rather than theirs. The others were less than pleased at this revelation. It took Vallessa several hours to calm down Dennismore and Ailsheir, and to finally get them to agree to untie Florine, as none of them are going anywhere any time soon. They also debated whether to tell Ebony what had happened, choosing not to.

On the other side of the now missing dimensional doorway, the orb now reaches its destination. The wyvern Maynard lands in the coastal town of Gelorynth, outside of the green Victorian-style mansion of the wizard Derieki, which is located adjacent to Ki-Geloryn’s castle. Cassie and Aradyn knock on the door, which is answered by Derieki’s valet Colin, an invisible 12-foot high monster that nobody has ever dared ask the wizard about. As Colin goes to assist with Maynard, Derieki welcomes his former student and her boyfriend. He starts to engage in small talk when Cassie says “We don’t have time for that now. I need you to deal with this,” holding up the Orb. “Your hand?” Derieki asks? Cassie exclaims “Sorry, I forgot that it was still invisible. This is the Orb of Kulp, and we need it recharged immediately.”

Derieki agrees to recharge the item. He first makes the Orb visible again, then has Cassie assist him in setting up his laboratory for the multi-day charging spell. He offers to let them stay in a guest room during the five days. Aradyn declines, saying that they are needed back in the city. Cassie pouts, not wanting to leave while a spell that she has never seen before is being cast. Aradyn finally convinces her to go, but only after Derieki agrees to show her the next time the item needs recharging. They return to the now fed and watered wyvern to fly back to Jawltorn.

Back at the auction house, the chest has been made visible again. Blip uses her tools to scrape some type of poison gel out of the chest’s lock. She tells Kharole “This is a pain. Tell your new boyfriend not to gum up locks ever again.” The chest is soon opened, and they confirm that the chest contains the gold sphinx statue with the large clear gem. They decide to temporarily store both it and the Rock Hammer inside of a Bag of Holding, which Serita then shoves down inside the front of her armor. “Great, so now only Kindor will have access to the items,” Blip comments. Serita remarks “Well, they are his.” “And the magic items too,” Mojo adds.

The group has a debate as to what to do with the gnome Wister. Mojo says “Well, he’s smart, he’s clever, and he’s rather unpleasant to have around. People like that we usually make into members of the party.” To say that Serita does not support that idea would be an understatement, as she details the various ways she wishes to kill him. Narg interjects “Hold on. There is no need to be lethal. This whole thing is not about the future of the Lordholding or Continent, it’s just a damned auction.” “Not true,” Serita exclaims “He tried to keep me from getting my hospital.”

Narg states “Well, no matter what we do, we have to make sure he is contained until this auction is over, otherwise he’ll just try to steal the items again.” Lannon says “But if we let him go afterwards he’ll just try to steal them from the people who bought them.” “That’s their problem,” Narg counters with. Serita again suggests killing him. Narg says “I can’t. He’s a friend of my wife.” Mojo interposes “But she’s not here right now. You could explain to her how he died valiantly trying to free her from being trapped inside the Orb.” Narg stops to consider that suggestion.

Serita suggests bringing him back to their island and throwing him through a recently discovered mystical portal to another world (From Module #115, “The Well of Power”, played from November 2002 to January 2003.) Mark points out that the other world did not have any race on it except for humans. Mojo says “Yeah, that would be a vile and evil act. Introducing gnomes to another world.”

It is reiterated that Wister is still wearing his robe, with who-knows-what inside of the inner pockets. Mojo decides to deal with this. He as two of the guards hold the gnome, and uses a magical dagger to cut away the robe. “Hey, untie my hands and I’ll just take it off”, the gnome protests. “Not going to happen,” states Mojo. The fighter then gets zapped for six-points of damage, and yells “Owwwww….found the joy buzzer.” Wister states “I warned you that some of the pockets are trapped.” The sliced pieces of the robe are carefully set aside, for Cassie to check after she returns. Blip provides a gnome-sized tunic for the prisoner to now wear. Mojo questions Wister some more, catching him in a lie about the number of associates who are working for him.

The party decides to pass the buck, and go ask Kindor about what to do with Wister. The Lordholder points out that, with the real items gone for the next five days, it would be helpful to have the replicas to show for the preview. Otherwise, they will probably have to postpone the auction. He is reluctant to do that because he doesn’t want the potential troublemaking guests in the city any longer than absolutely necessary. Ki points out the fact that if the auction is postponed the ILA will probably also extend their convention. Furynick interjects “Oh fess up Kindor, the group that you really want to get rid of is us.” “Well, maybe a few of you,” Kindor jokes.

Kindor also points out that they still don’t know how any of these items were actually obtained, but that Wister does, since he was the one who obtained them. His testimony might therefore be needed as a witness during the hearing to determine the rightful ownership of these items. Serita and Narg decide to go talk to the gnome again. The group consents to this only after Serita calms down and agrees not to kill him. She replies “Okay, fine, but at least let me be the one to break his spirit.” “How are you going to do that?” Narg asks. She replies “Watch,” as she gathers up some items and then steps into the room. where the gnome e is being held and guarded.

Serita starts the conversation by relating in detail how all of the gnome’s carefully made plans have fallen apart. She shows him the various items taken from Dar. She mentions that they now know Dar is an elvan druid, and not to expect any assistance from him with spells. She then shows him some of the items found in each room at the Magical Stone Inn. Next she describes the location where they found the orb, and says that somebody else is currently recharging it. Finally, she tells of the items found in the room at the One-eyed Gnome Inn. She concludes by saying “So, instead of you wanting a total of seven items, including the three you already had, why don’t we revise that number to zero.”

Narg says “So, I guess the only things that we now might want from you are the fake items. And even those are not critical, as we’ll have the real ones back in five days.” Wister agrees to tell them the location of these items, provided that they agree to let him and his four associates go, along with their original possessions.” “Fine, but that doesn’t include any of the 18 items,” Narg states. Serita says that Wister and his associates also have to promise to leave Jawlt and never return to the Lordholding. “Agreed,” Wister affirms. Narg adds that Kindor may also want him as a witness for the item ownership hearing. Wister says “I’ll only do that in exchange for one of the items, of Kindor’s choosing.” Narg says “You can negotiate that directly with Kindor, but we agree to the rest of the deal.” Wister gives them the location of the replicas, inside of an invisible Bag of Holding fastened beneath the bed of a room that Florine has rented at the Woozy Illusionist Inn.

A group are sent off to the inn, which is located about a mile away near the Sorcerer’s Guild, to retrieve the items. While this is going on Narg asks the gnome “Why is it that you took a pacifistic approach towards us in your quest for the items? Was it because I married your former employer.” The gnome answers “No, it was because of the great respect and admiration that I have always had for your group.” “And why is that?” Timothy asks. Wister replies “Because you are the ones who vanquished the evil Lord Kohlorahdooh, who had brutally murdered the members of the royal family who I worked for here in Jawltorn. Anyone who ridded this world of that vile tyrant is okay in my book.”

[The incident that Wister just referenced occurred during Module #1, “Search for the Rod of the Seven Parts”, played back in 1982-83. The Story Hour for that module (which includes the characters Kharole, Mark, Narg, Serita and Timothy) can be found on the www.dragonsfoot.org internet site, on the Campaign Journals message board. (Note: You must be registered on dragonsfoot to access that particular board.)]

The Bag of Holding with the items is soon found. The party tells Kindor that he can now go ahead and schedule the preview for the residents of Jawltorn for the following day.

END OF PART ONE.

Part One of the module focused on the high-profile members of the party planning out the auction, securing the auction site, meeting most of the guests, discovering what most of the items were, plus Wister’s many attempts to steal the collection. With the next game the group will begin Part Two, which will emphasize the ILA Convention. Most action from this point forward will be with the group’s “stealth team”. I’m actually rather curious myself as to which characters will now comprise that team, since 5 of the original 6 members of it are now trapped in Kulp’s Castle, and no longer available for this part of the module!


One Final Note:
Reader’s comments are welcomed! (this Story Hour thread as been pretty quiet up until now).
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #11 - 4/13/03

Chapter 35, “The New Stealth Team”, July 8th, 1019, 5:30 P.M.

Aradyn and Cassie return, and she is given the pile of the sliced robe pieces to dissect. She yells at Mojo for having destroyed what was probably a magical robe. He says “Fine, yell at me for trying to be useful.” Narg interjects “Being useful. There’s a class that few of us would take and none of us could teach.” Mojo says he didn’t want to risk untying the gnome’s hands. “It was probably magical!” she reiterates. He answers “Could have been. The gnome didn’t like me cutting it.” She says “Well, I doubt you’d bee too happy if I cut your clothes off of you.” With a lecherous grin he says “What if I were Aradyn?” She blushes.

Cassie picks up the pile and is warned that some of the pockets are trapped. She gets out her surgical tools and carefully dissects the robe pieces, setting off a few traps in the process. Using tongs and pliers she opens the 18 separate pockets. Spell components are in 12 of them, 3 have assorted coinage, 1 has a marble, 1 has a small 2-inch square picture frame and the last pocket is empty. Both the marble and frame appear to be magical. The frame actually resembles a 9-pane window like would be used on a child’s doll house, and even has a latch that can be used to slide it open. Cassie speculates that it is some type of portable window, and was probably how Wister managed to get into the building. Mojo makes the bad pun “I’m sure he went to great pains to make it.”

She decides to ask Wister about the items. He explains that the marble increases spell effects, but only works if held long-term by the spellcaster. He says that the window is indeed a portable window, and that when activated it enlarges to a 2x2 foot window that will allow viewing through any wall, floor or ceiling that it is placed against. It is also a one-way window, as an illusion is created on the other side making the wall look unchanged. Furthermore, the window can be opened and traveled through, acting as a Passwall spell. He offers to let them borrow and use it provided that they get their wizard friend to fully recharge it before returning it to him, as it is currently down 14 of its 36 charges (as indicated by a darker staining on the wood around 3½ of the 9 panes.) He tells them the command words for it, which are in Gnomish.

Melito arrives, and says that he will meet with the group’s stealth team the following day, asking for a meeting location to send his ranger operative to. The group randomly picks a tavern where no guests are currently at, choosing to meet for lunch the Jester’s Bells, located in the artisans district of the west outer city. They tell Melito they have a slight problem, as most of the prior ‘stealth team’ is no longer available, with it now consisting only of Blip. They say that they will come up with an alternative by the next day. He departs.

Using the process of elimination, they decide that during the past week Fiona, Kharole, Lannon, Mojo, Narg and Serita have been too high profile for that team. They also decide that Bruce, Cheveyo, Furynick, Timothy and Vincenzo would have difficulty operating in a stealthy way . Mojo interjects “Yeah, but you could hide an entire stealth team behind Vincenzo.” That narrows it down to Aradyn, Cassie and Mark, all of which would need some type of disguise to change their appearance. Mark puts on the clothing, wig and fake beard that Dar had worn, and the group concludes “Close enough.” Cassie uses a variety of cantrips to change the length and color of her and Aradyn’s hair as well as skin tone. Cassie turns her owl familiar Deanna invisible. New clothing is found for Aradyn and Cassie to wear. They also each put on an amulet that will obscure their alignments from being detected.

Blip points out that while these three add a lot of power to this team, they are still short on rogue skills. One of the 10 construction workers, a human named Darrius, is a lower level fighter/bard so has some rogue abilities. He is added to the team. The group debates having Serita teleport back to the island to retrieve Mojo’s cousin Lono. Lono is a skilled fighter/rogue, but also has a rather obnoxious and abrasive personality. The group reluctantly concludes that she should go get the elf. She returns with Lono, and the group immediately begins to regret that decision, as Lono starts off my questioning “The competence of this group that I will be the leader of.” Party magic items are distributed, giving this team a Bag of Holding, a Ring of Regeneration, the Portable Window and some healing magic.

They decide that for lodgings the stealth team will use the already rented rooms, taking with them Dar and Wister’s keys to the rooms at the Magical Stone Inn and the One-eyed Gnome Inn. They do not have Florine’s keys to her rooms at the Magical Stone Inn and Woozy Illusionist Inn, however Blip says that her getting access to those rooms will not be very difficult.

July 9th, 1019, 11:45 A.M.

The stealth team has been snuck out of the Auction House under the cover of invisibility, and they now arrive at the Jester’s Bells tavern. A waiter in tights dressed as a jester shows them to a private dining room. Lono mutters “If he sings the menu he’s a dead man.” Blip whispers back “No, he’s probably going to mime the menu.”

Sitting inside the room are a young elvan ranger in nondescript clothing and a human Gandalf-type wizard with robes and a large staff. The wizard gives the lunch order to the waiter, with the party recognizing the speaker as being a disguised Melito. The waiter departs, shutting the door behind him.

Melito introduces them to his associate, a ranger/rogue originally from the Aldorn Lordholding named Cheran Jeblain. Melito explains that “The prior ILA convention was held five years ago, in the elvan Kingdom of Quel’Thalas. The King of Quel’Thalas had been an enemy of one of the ILA leaders, and she sought to use the convention to get revenge. That was the first ILA convention held after I had been expelled from the local guild and ILA, and I wanted to know what was being said in my absence, particularly if it concerned either myself or Kindor. Lord Aldorn put me in touch with Cheran, who was being apprenticed in Quel’Thalas at that time, and knew that area well. He was able to get close enough to spy on much the convention happenings.” Cheran’s player interjects “Yeah, I was the 10th caller so I got backstage passes.” Melito concludes that “Since that time, Cheran has been on my payroll, living here in the elvan district of Jawltorn. The locals know him as being only a ranger.”

Lono asks Cheran “You don’t have any strange pets or unusual allergies do you?” The elf replies “Well, I’m allergic to getting a knife in the back, but that’s about it.” Cassie continues with the ad-hoc application form, stating “Do you have any gods, demigods or ascended heroes who are currently out to kill you?” “Or that you are related to,” Blip interjects. Cheran states that he does not.

The food arrives, and as the group begins dining. Melito starts to explain what he has figured out as to when and where the opening ceremonies of the ILA convention will take place.
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 36, “Lunch and planning”, July 9th, 1019, 12:15 P.M.

Melito asks if any of those present can speak the drow dialect of Elvan. Lono (whose player also plays the drow Ailsheir) sarcastically comments “One of us did, but he couldn’t make it.” Cassie says that she does. Melito says “Then you know the phase for ‘symbol representing’?” She replies “Sure, ‘Litran Iltrare’.” He replies “Exactly, and combined with the phrase ‘League of Assassins Convention’ in the common tongue you derive the acronym L.I.L.A.C., which is why they have used the lilac plant as a symbol and to indicate clues.

While that plant is fairly common on this continent it is not indigenous to Jawltorn. In fact, there are only three places in the city where it can be found. One is in a flower shop in the elvan district of the outer city. I have checked with that shop, and all of their current lilac plants were purchased in advance a few months ago. Coincidentally, that was during the same week when the ILA representative came to this city to give the local guild false information about this convention. The second location is in a druid’s botanical garden in the north outer city. The third is in the inner city, where lilac bushes have been planted around the fence surrounding the aristocratic residence of the Moorehead family.

I have had all three places under surveillance. This morning black wreaths were hung on the wall of the Moorehead residence, along with a funeral announcement. The announcement stated that Lady Moorehead’s great aunt Wadona had passed away, and that the funeral service will be held this evening. It stated that she had been a guest at the family residence for several years.” “Was she?” Cassie asks. Melito replies “We have no record of anyone by that name ever living in the city. Furthermore, the funeral notice stated that she had originally come from the capital city of Quel’Thalas.” “Where the last ILA convention was held!” Blip exclaims. “That is an elvan land. Was this woman human?” Cheran asks. Melito replies “The Moorehead family are all human.”

Melito continues “Cheran already knows this, but I think the rest of you should be aware of the name of the Quel’Thalas capital, where she is supposedly from.” He places on the table a map of the land of Quel’Thalas (This map can be found at the following link: http://www.blizzarduniverse.net/extras/quelthalas.htm)

Lono loudly exclaims “Silvermoon!” “So I guess that means we are the targets” Blip comments. “I’d say at least one of your group is,” Melito comments, “Although the clues to the actual targets won’t be revealed until this evening.” Cassie exclaims “Damn it all! Why is it that everyone wants to kill us?” Lono interjects “I don’t know. Maybe it is because we’ve gone and killed around seventy-five percent of the people we’ve come across over the years.” “Yeah, but they’ve all deserved it,” Aradyn interjects. Lono says "Hey, I’m just excited to hear that we now have a city. We should go claim it.”

“Where will this funeral take place?” Blip asks Melito. He replies “The funeral notice said that it will be held at dusk at the Moorehead family plot, which is situated near the center of the Jawltorn Cemetery. The cemetery begins along the coastal road, three to five miles east of the city. The notice also mentioned that the service should only be attended by those who were personally acquaninted with the deceased.”

Cassie says “Wait a minute. You now know where all these assassins will be. Why don’t you just have Kindor’s army move in and grab them.” A player responds “Because then the DM wouldn’t have a module.” Melito explains that the idea has merit, but that “Kindor only has a total of 500 troops, and even if they could be mobilized and moved to the cemetery perimeter in a matter of hours it probably would not work. The cemetery covers over six square miles of territory, with a perimeter wall of over ten miles. To completely surround the cemetery with this number of troops each soldier would be more than 100 feet away from the next, and given the tens of thousands of tombstones, mausoleums, crypts and family plot walls there would be far too many places for the assassins to hide and escape.” “Plus it would probably get a lot of soldiers killed in the process,” Aradyn adds.

“What if we can get some more troops?” Blip comments. Lono says “That’s it. We just hang “Free Beer” signs on the cemetery walls, and all sorts of soldiers and fighters will show up.” Darrius interjects “No, that would primarily just attract a lot of actors and musicians.”

Cassie ponders if there is some way to mark these people. Lono says “We could put a sword through each of their backs.” “We’ll do that later,” Mark comments. The group speculates about this idea, but concludes that the best they could do would be to mark the clothing. This is ruled out as most assassins will probably be wearing funeral clothing, which they will just discard afterwards. The group notes that they need to also spend the next couple of hours finding appropriate clothing for themselves.

Cassie says “How about this idea. If they want a member of the Silver Moon why don’t we offer to give them Lono as a sacrifice.” Blip states “He’s probably not the one they want, but I suppose we can make it obvious that he’s with us by carving a silver moon on his forehead.” “Hello! In the room!” Lono yelps.

The players then deviate into a side discussion about different types of donuts. The question is asked “Where do jelly filled donut holes come from? Jelly donuts do not have holes in them.” Another player complains “And speaking of jelly donuts. If you suck all of the jelly out of them they won’t refill it for you. I know, I’ve tried.”

The DM pulls the conversation back to the game. It is pointed out that each assassin team numbers from 1 to 4, so if they stay together as a group of 7 they will be conspicuous. The group ponders the best way to split the team, deciding that they need to split the two high-level rangers, the two spellcasters, and those with rogue skills. Lono just complains, and Blip tells him to at least try to be helpful. He replies “Hey, don’t blame me. It’s not my fault that I got saddled with all of you second stringers.”

The meal is finished. Melito pays the bill and departs. They others decide to split up now, so as not to all be seen together. They divide into three teams, one with Aradyn and Blip, the second with Cheran and Mark, and the third with Cassie, Darrius and Lono. After appropriate mourning clothes are purchased each team makes its way out of the city along the southeastern road.

The walk proves to be uneventful. The well-traveled road affords a good view of the ocean, situated a half mile to the south, with marshlands and sand dunes between the shore and the road. North of the road is comprised mostly of wetlands, with an occassional rocky outcroping and a smattering of trees. They travel for approximately three miles to a point where the marshes end and the cemetery lands begin. A eight-foot high stone wall, broken by sections of iron fence and gates, surrounds the cemetery.

Each of the three sub-groups of the party arrives individually at the southwestern corner of the Jawltorn Cemetery. The large iron gate beside the main road is open. Just inside the gate the the home of the cemetery caretaker, a dark-colored three-story Victorian-style structure. Standing before the building is a tall thin man in dark clothing, who asks if they are there for the Moorehead funeral, and then provides directions to the Moorehead family plot.
 

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 37, “The Start of the ILA Convention”, July 9th, 1019, 6:30 P.M.

As the first members of the party arrive at the funeral location they note that it would have indeed been difficult to get a large number of troops to this location without being seen, as the cemetery extends quite a distance in all directions, with few tall obstacles. The Moorhead plot is comprised of a cross-shaped area, 140 by 40 feet (80 feet at the cross) surrounded by a 4-foot high wall. The only entranceway to the plot is in the southwestern corner. Opposite the entranceway is a raised platform with stairs, atop of which is a podium and brazier. The center of the plot is comprised of two rows each with six graves and headstones near the walls. A one-story high mausoleum occupies both the left and right outcroppings of he cross, with a reflecting pool on the ground between them. The upper section of the cross is comprised of seven above-ground stone sarcophagus.

DM’s Note: A printable map of this can be found on the Wizards of the Coast web site, as the Map-of-the-Week for March 8th, at the following link: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=dnd/mw/mw20020725x2001

The first of the stealth team groups had arrived about an hour before dusk. There are about 15 other mourners already there, congregated in small groups. A great many of these people wear hooded cloaks, or veils, and many of the others have significant amounts of facial hair that may or may not be real. As the hour progresses more people arrive, including the other two party groups. The rangers each notice that several nearby trees have branches leaning down further than they should, which also do not sway in the breeze as much as they should, indicating that invisible people are probably hiding in those locations.

As the sun sets over the horizon, a horse drawn hearse wagon with a casket is seen in the distance, surrounded by pallbearers. By this time there are nearly three dozen mourners, plus another 15 or so following the wagon. As it nears the Moorehead family plot a human gentleman with a dark beard, wearing a thick dark cloak and black clothing, gestures for everyone to enter the plot. The wagon is unhitched from the horses, and wheeled into the plot, with the pallbearers then lifting the casket and placing it along the wall near the raised platform.

The cloaked gentleman climbs the stairs of the podium and lights the brazier. He thanks everyone for attending, and speaks fondly of the deceased. He says that this is a great loss to the Mooreheads. He then introduces Lady Barbara Jean Moorehead to say a few words about her great aunt. A shapely well-dressed aristocratic woman lady in her mid-thirties with long blonde hair heads up the stairs. It becomes obvious that she is currently distraught, although it is unclear if this is due to grief or fear. She thanks the guests for attending, saying that Aunt Wadona would be honored by the number of people present. She comments that she was unaware that her Aunt had met so many people while in Jawltorn. She then invites the personal friends of the family to return with her to the Moorehead Estate for a light meal.

The podium is given back to the gentleman. He says that the service is now concluded, that the body will be interred at a later time. Lady Moorehead approaches several people in the audience who she appears to know, and asks them to go with her. She departs with a total of 14 individuals, each being handed a lit torch to guide their path through the now dark cemetery. The man on the podium remains silent, watching this group depart, and does not speak again until their torches have all passed the caretaker’s house. Only then does he unclasp his cloak and reverse it, the other side being a deep crimson. He then places a lilac flower on the lapel of his shirt, and says “Well, now that they are all gone, we can get to the real reason that we are all here.”

He continues “I welcome you all to the 23rd convention of the International League of Assassins. I am please that all of you found your way here. This should prove to be a very interesting and challenging week. He then gestures towards the casket, the lid of which opens. A thin form rises, this individual being either a small human, a half-elf or an elf. This individual is attired like the man, in dark clothing with a lilac plant on the lapel and a hooded crimson cloak. The face of this person is hidden by a gold harlequin mask. The person then gestures towards the mausoleum closest to them.

A large winged creature with horns on its head then flies downward towards the structure. This creature has its hands clasped to the wrists of an individual attired identically to the other two. The individual lands atop the mausoleum, and releases the hand of the winged creature, which flies off. This individual then gestures across to the other mausoleum, where another like attired individual becomes present atop the structure. This individual only stands about three feet in height. This one then gestures downward, where a similarly attired person now appears. This one is around eight-feet tall, and standing in front of the mausoleum doors.

The man on the podium speaks again. As those present look back towards him they see that he has now pulled up the hood of his cloak and is wearing a gold mask like those of his four companions. He states “There will be a total of four targets with this convention.” The one by the casket then speaks, in a female voice, saying “The primary target is valued at 50 points.” The one atop the first mausoleum states, in a male voice, “The next target is valued at 25 points.” The tall one then speaks, in a very deep voice, and says “The third is worth 15 points.” The small individual says in a high-pitched voice, “And the final target will be worth 10 points.”

The man at the podium speaks once more, saying “The clues to the identity of the primary target will be given during both of the next two days. Clues to all secondary targets will be given out tomorrow. It will be a long day for all of you.” The tall individual speaks next. Most notice that he is also now wearing a silver clasp on his cloak, which Cassie recognizes as the symbol of the evil deity Hextor. He says “Look to the sun at dawn.” A minute later the woman says “At noon, cast your eyes near the tallest tree.”

A short while after that the little one then speaks, saying “Have supper with the most powerful fighter in the city.” Cassie whispers to Lono “Maybe Narg is the target.” Lono whispers back “I hope not, I’ve seen Narg eat before. It’s not a pleasant sight.” The man atop the first mausoleum then states “And finish the day with a drink.” In his hand he is now holding a large glass tankard filled to the brim with beer. He cautiously lifts his mask with the other hand and drinks the contents of the container, all the while still obscuring his face.

The man on the podium speaks again. “The clues have now been given. Expect to be visited during the next week for the collection of your dues. I declare this meeting adjourned.” He then throws something into the brazier, which causes the flame to flare up. Simultaneous to the flash all four of his companions vanish. The flame then begins to diminish as he raises his hands above his head, both hands now tightly gripping a metal rod. The winged creature swoops down from above and grabs the rod, swiftly flying off with the man. The fire in the brazier quickly dies out.
 
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baradtgnome

First Post
cheran recognizes at least one of them

By her mannersisms and voice, Cheran recognizes the women in the harlequin mask as "Tarot" whom he encountered five years ago at the last ILA convention. He shares that information with Mark immediately and later with the rest of the team. He is also watching closely the other 'mourners' for clues to possible indentities and cross checking them & the harlequin masks with his recollections on the way back from the 'ceremony'.
 

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #12 - 4/21/03

Chapter 38, "A face in the crowd", 6:00 P.M.

Colonel Tenbar arrives at the auction house, and asks Mojo and Serita to accompany him. They want to know where he is taking them, and are not convinced with his answer of "A party in a bar" "Why should I go with you?" Serita extorts. "Because Kindor wants you to," he answers. "And me?" asks Mojo. "Because Queen Jennifer has requested it," Tenbar answers. Serita turns to Mojo and says, "We've got to stop snogging people in power."

Both are very suspicious, and refuse to go anywhere until he explains what is going on. He calls them into a side room, along with Lannon and Narg, and says, "I need your help to stop the ILA." "What's your plan?" asks Narg. Tenbar answers "Actually, it wasn't my plan. Your stealth team came up with the idea." "They're stuck inside a doorknob!" Serita exclaims. "No, your other stealth team," Tenbar replies. "They ARE a bunch of doorknobs," Mojo comments. "Hey, some of them are useful," Narg states. "Who?" Mojo asks. Narg says, "Well, there's Cassie, and Aradyn." "Fine two," states Mojo. "And Mark," Narg continues. Mojo answers "We're still at two, and don't you even think of naming my cousin."

Tenbar interrupts saying, "Well their idea was both simple and brilliant. They suggested that since we know where the ILA is meeting to have Kindor's army just move in and round them up. That wouldn't have worked in the cemetery, as they would have seen the troops coming and have been able to escape. However, when I was discussing this with Melito it occurred to us that the meeting is taking place now several miles to the east of the city, and most of them will be returning through the city's east gates. So why not just arrest them then." Serita interjects "So you want to use us a either bait or targets." He replies, no we want to have one of the Queen's Generals and a Jawlt Council Member near each of the three gates as the legal authorities to question these individuals." "That's what I said, targets," the druid replies.

Tenbar says, "No, you misunderstand. If there is a commotion at the gate other assassin teams would notice, and avoid the gates. We want them to enter as if nothing is out-of-the-ordinary, and then escort them to some nearby lodgings for questioning. Mojo says "Sounds like it could turn into a bloodbath." The Colonel states "Not if they don't realize they are being arrested until they are surrounded by overwhelming force. That's also why we could use some of you at each location."

He explains how, as a cover, three groups of 50 to 60 dwarves have hired out each of the taverns nearest the three gates for the evening, under the guise of being off-duty troops throwing a party for a dwarven leader, namely Colonel Tenbar, Jawlt Council Member Lannon, and the Queen's General Teakas. He asks Mojo and Serita to join him at the Cockatrice Inn. Mojo says "Nah, I don't like the name of it. Give me another one." Exasperated, Tenbar says "Fine, we'll go to the Mallet and Hammer. Narg, join General Teakas outside and go to the Cockatrice. Narg leaves before realizing that he has just been paired up with a female dwarf cleric/fighter. Lannon is sent to the northern gate, to the Oak Cask Tavern along the eastern side of the river near the gate.

Meanwhile, back at the Jawltorn Cemetery the 'mourners' have begun to disperse. Cassie's owl familiar, Deanna, alerts her to recognizing a face in the crowd. Enough information is communicated for Cassie to place this woman as Darlene, a high-level monk of the Church of Loviatar who used to work as one of King Matthan's advisors. Cassie does not recognize the two women with her, one rather petite the other rather plump. This trio is heading away from the caretaker's house, heading for the northwestern corner of the cemetery. Cassie instructs Deanna to keep with them, and tells Lono and Darrius to follow her, and why. Lono objects to "Taking orders from an animated feather duster."

Darrius asks who this Darlene person is. Cassie explains that up until last year she was the Regent of King Matthan's Lordholding of Cantage, handling all day-to-day operations for him. She is also a secret leader in the Dunn/Phlooredian church, headquartered in the Cantage city of Dunn, which is a front for the church of Loviatar, the Demigod Mistress of Pain.

"Should we try to stop them?" Lono asks. Cassie replies "Not in a cemetery filled with assassins. My magic is mostly bright and showy." "I mostly do songs," Darrius states. Lono answers "Now I know we're in trouble, if I'm the most discreet one of this group." The women reach the far wall, and the plump one is helped over the wall by the other two. There are open fields for the next half-mile, so Cassie tosses up an Invisibility 10' Radius spell to shield them from view.

They trail them through light forest for the next mile, emerging in a clearing about a half mile from the main road. The see the trio of them getting into a fancy carriage. Pair of footmen takes up positions on the running boards and a driver gets the four-horse team going. "They're getting away. Any bright ideas now?" Lono asks. "Yeah, into the Bag of Holding" she orders the other two. She then uses her Belt of Shape Change to transform into a golden eagle, picks up the bag, and flies off after the carriage.

The carriage travels southwest for two miles until it reaches the city gate. Cassie watches it enter the city, only to be stopped by some human soldiers. One soldier joins the driver, and it is ridden a few hundred feet over to a two-story inn with the sign reading "The Mallet & Hammer." Army troops escort the driver and footmen inside, as six dwarves surround it. The fat woman climbs out of the carriage and begins to berate the soldier. She has changed clothing, now being attired as an aristocrat, with lots of ostentatious gold jewelry. The lead dwarf heads into the tavern, where it appears that a party is taking place.

A few minutes later Colonel Tenbar exits the tavern, with Mojo following him. Cassie doesn't even wonder why the elf Mojo is out drinking with a bunch of dwarves, deciding instead to land on his shoulder. She is still invisible, be he instantly notices the extra weight. Cassie reaches her claw into the invisible bag, pulling Lono's invisible head out of it. He turns his head to the side, and whispers into Mojo's ear "Hi Cous." Mojo mutters an explicative, and whispers "What are you doing with these aristocrats?" Lono replies "You always said I should associate with a better class of people." Lono then whispers "Those chicks of Loviatar are in the carriage." He tells a soldier to "Go get Serita." Hearing that, Lono mutters an explicative. Lono tells Mojo that all three women were at the ILA ceremony.

Mojo has recognized the plump woman as Lady Antoinette Khorram, an auction guest who arrived with King Matthan. Serita comes outside and Mojo fills her in. Serita tells Lady Khorram to go into the tavern with Tenbar, but the woman refuses. A rather angry Serita then says "You're going inside, even if we have to carry you." The aristocrat lets out a sigh of righteous indignation, and stomps into the tavern, with Tenbar right behind her.

Mojo checks out the carriage, finding it empty. Cassie leaves the Bag of Holding with Mojo, and flies up to survey the area for the other two women. Mojo shuts the carriage door, then dumps Lono and Darrius out of the bag. He leaves the two of them to search the carriage and goes back outside. All they find are three sets of funeral clothes on the floor. Cassie and Deanna continue to fly around, with Deanna being the first to spot something of interest.
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 39, "Crouching Tiger, Enraged Dragon", July 9th, 1019, 8:00 P.M.

Cassie's owl communicates that she had noticed a bat flying around by the edge of the roof, which appears to have taken an interest in what is going on below. Cassie communicates back to her familiar "I'll race you to it. If you get it first you can eat it." An owl is a remarkable nocturnal predator, with the ability to fly in near-silence, and the bat is taken totally by surprise. Deanna's claws close around the creature, which lets out a sharp shrill cry. The bat initially struggles to get free. When it is obvious that the owl has clamped onto its prey like a vice, the bat then begins to transform.

Almost instantaneously, the bat wings fold over and around a pair of human arms, as the creature becomes a human female, approximately five feet in height. The form change forces Deanna to release the woman, who begins to fall to the ground below. She is attired in black form-fitting clothing, with items attached to a belt, with a pair of swords across her back in an X-shaped sheathe-harness.

The woman begins to fall the 25 feet to the ground as Cassie goes into a sharp dive after her. Cassie's eagle claws strike at the woman's face, barely missing her eyes, and leaving sharp cuts raked across the woman's forehead. As the woman reaches the ground she lands on her feet and bends her legs, her boots absorbing the impact of the fall. She then jumps upward, propelling herself high into the air. "I guess I now know what those boots are," Cassie ponders to herself as she lets out a loud eagle shriek. This cry causes both Mojo and Serita to round the bend looking towards them.

Cassie lands beside Mojo and Serita, and transforms back into her usual half-elf Cassie form (as opposed to her disguised version). She tosses a Haste spell onto the three of them. Meanwhile, the opponent lands and then bounces upward again, this time landing on the roof of the Mallet and Hammer Inn. "I'm on it," says Serita, who then transforms into the form of a 20-foot long white dragon, and takes off.

The woman on the roof runs to the other side of the roof and leaps across to the next roof. Serita keeps her in sight, and casts a Faerie Fire spell to further illuminate the opponent. Below, both Cassie and Mojo hurry to keep up with the battle. The woman leaps again to another roof and Serita flies around to cut her off. As the dragon approaches the woman kneels down on one knee to better brace herself, and draws a pair of magical sabers from the sheathes on her back.

The woman gives Serita a determined look, which is clearly a challenge for her to move in closer. Never one to play by an opponent's rules, Serita continues to hover just out of he woman's sword range. Below, Mojo reaches the building they are on and kicks in the door, entering the shop of a silversmith. Serita casts a Control Temperature onto the area where the woman is, which drops the temperature to around -30 degrees Fahrenheit. The woman appears annoyed by the change in the air around her, but remains primed to fight. Cassie reaches the building and stays by the smashed main door to keep anyone from exiting from there.

Still hasted Mojo bounds up to the second floor of the building. He if confronted by proprietor of the shop, who was apparently asleep. Mojo declares "I'm on official business for the Queen." Mojo then looks around for an access to the roof. Seeing none, he tosses his Throwing Hammer upward, cracking the boards above him. A second toss with all of Mojo's exceptional strength behind it breaks through, creating a large hole in the roof. Up above, the hammer smashes through, but on the opposite side of the roof from where then woman is kneeling. This round she gets hit by a Create Water thrown by the druid dragon, and with the air still chilled, begins to form a crust of ice on top of her.

Serita is then distracted by a missile bombardment as three star-shaped shuirken strike her in the right side. The heavy dragon scales deflect two of the shuirken, but the third manages to penetrate. The wound does minimal damage, and Serita successfully saves from the poison that had been coated on it. Serita sees the thrower of the darts, the monk Darlene, who is now on the same roof and fifteen feet away from her companion. By now Mojo has managed to jump up and start to climb through the hole in the roof. As he finishes climbing onto the roof he prepares to throw his hammer again.

Serita flies to reposition herself equidistant between the two opponents. Her sudden movement allows her to totally dodge two out of three more star shuirken thrown at her. The third shuriken bounces off the dragon scales and inflicts no damage. Mojo lets his hammer fly, which strikes the woman with the swords full force, and knocks her off the roof. Darlene then charges at Serita, diving into the air at the dragon. Serita flies upward, causing Darlene to miss her. The monk manages to grab onto the side of the building to slow her descent to the ground. Mojo looks up at Serita and yells "Damn it! I just got up here!" She flies down to him and picks him up.

They see both women running away, and Serita flies down in that direction. Cassie also charges after the opponents. The smaller woman kicks open the door to the next building and they both charging inside. Cassie cautiously moves towards the door of the building. Serita lowers Mojo to the ground. He activates his Ring of Invisibility and enters the building with Cassie. Serita flies back up to monitor the situation from above, being joined by Deanna.

Cassie and Mojo hear sounds coming from both directions in the building, seeing that several interior doors have been left open. They split up, with Mojo catching Darlene climbing out a window. He yells information this to Cassie, and climbs out after her. Cassie heads out the front door to see the still hasted Mojo chasing after the rapidly moving monk. Mojo manages to get two consecutive throws of his hammer to hit the Monk, which start to slow her down.

The monk then pivots around, and strikes Mojo with a fatal psionic blast. As Mojo collapses onto the street Cassie arrives on the scene. She casts an Earth to Mud spell beneath Darlene's feet. This catches the monk off guard as she sinks into the ground up to her knees. Cassie then cancels the spell, temporarily trapping he woman in the ground. Deanna flies down and rakes her claws across Darlene's face as Cassie rushes over to Mojo. He appears to be dead, and she casts a Cure Serious Wounds spell on him.

At first nothing happens. Then, a very dazed and barely conscious Mojo opens his eyes and looks up at Cassie. He mutters "There was a bright light, and I went towards it. And then there was this bright place, with all these red guys carrying pitchforks." Cassie says "Good thing I brought you back. You'd find that that place only serves warm beer."

As Cassie approaches the monk the trapped Darlene draws a handaxe from her belt. "I've had enough of this," Serita comments, as she flies up and over the monk's head. She then pivots around in the air behind the monk and dives straight down. The 1,000+ pound dragon form lands full-force on the monk from behind, bending her over despite the fact that the trapped legs don't bend that way. The dragon claws then clamp down onto her shoulders, digging in for deep cuts. Serita then twists the claws to the side, dislocating both arms. The monk passes out.

A squadron of dwarven troops arrives at the scene, and is sent by Mojo to check the nearby buildings for the other woman. Cassie convinces Serita to finally get off the monk. The druid transforms back into her half-elvan form. Cassie goes to cast a Cure Light Wounds to prevent Darlene from bleeding to death. Serita allows her to do this, but makes sure that all four limbs remain in their unnatural positions, to prevent them from setting correctly. Colonel Tenbar arrives, and gets a group of his senior officers to take the severely wounded woman back to the Mallet and Hammer. The troops are unable to locate Darlene's companion.
 

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 40, “Deciphering clues and the Black Sun Church”, July 9th, 1019, 8:30 P.M.

Mojo returns to the carriage to get Lono and Darrius. Cassie, Cheran, Lono, Mojo and Serita then meet in one of the rooms at the Mallet & Hammer Inn. The three from the stealth team describe the events from the ILA ceremony and the clues as to the target identity locations.

They quickly conclude that the final one, to “Finish the day with a drink,” with the speaker then drinking a very full tankard is an obvious reference to The Full Tankard, a tavern in the east outer city down near the docks. Lono comments “Hey, isn’t that the place we had Narg’s bachelor party two months ago?” (Note 1). Mojo answers, “Yes, I’m surprised it’s still standing.” Lono interjects “Yeah, you’d have thought they would have condemned the place after we left”

Next they discuss the clue “Have supper with the most powerful fighter in the city”. A debate ensues as to the meaning of the word “powerful”. They decide that if the reference is to political power, then Queen Jennifer is clearly the target, or if “in the city” means residency, then the reference is probably to either Colonel Tenbar or Lord Kindor. They also consider that the reference is to Narg, as the unofficial leader of the Silver Moon. Cassie points out “It doesn’t matter, since we know where all four are having supper tomorrow. That’s the night of the bidders dinner for the auction.” They then ponder the need for even tighter security at the dinner than previously planned, if the ILA anticipates getting into the dinner as well.

They discuss the clue “At noon, cast your eyes near the tallest tree.” “Where we went with Sir Phillip’s ship?” Mojo asks. Serita says “That was too far away. The tallest tree around here is just north of the city, near the Druid’s meeting place. That was the tree that was going to originally be cut down, until Sir Phillip found them that other one up river.” “Wasn’t the other one taller?” Mojo asks. “Yes, but it was also so older and was starting to die. Better the cut it down than the one near the city has another century or two of life left” Serita replies. “Enough talk about trees,” Lono interjects.

They then discuss the meaning of the first clue, “Look to the sun at dawn”. “What could you see looking to the East?” Serita ponders. Mojo says “Maybe they are planning to do something at that time.” Cassie brings up the fact that the person stating that clue was wearing an unholy symbol of Hextor. “Hextor!” Serita exclaims. Lono says “Yeah, does that mean anything to you?”

Serita, the Jawlt Council Minister of Religions, says that “Hextor is one of the Lawful Evil deities worshiped by the Church of the Black Sun. That church was formed nearly two centuries ago and was originally comprised of worshippers of a Greater God, two Lesser Gods, two Demigods and an ascended hero. The King Kohlorahooh was a devout follower of that church, and it flourished during his reign. That ended in the year 1005, when we came along and took out the church’s main sponsor” (Note 2) The church suffered another impediment simultaneous to that, as the ascended hero of that church known as the Death Deliverer was defeated here in Jawlt by the Liebercrantz Adventurers. “My original team,” Mojo interjects. Serita says “Yes, that defeat severed his influence in the church (Note 3).

During the subsequent two years both demigods of that church experienced serious setbacks. The temple of the Spider God was destroyed by the Liebercrantz Adventurers (Note 4). The clerics of Spider God then attempted to reestablish two abandoned temples of theirs here in Phlooredah, but were stopped both times by the Silver Moon Adventurers”(Note 5) Cassie interjects “I remember. That’s when I joined up you guys, since one of those temples was near my hometown in the Aldorn Lordholding.” Serita continues “That ended the Spider God’s involvement with the Black Sun Church. The followers of the demigod Loviatar were also impeded by the Silver Moon’s shutting down of their secret slaving operation, which had been the Black Sun Church’s primary source of income (Note 6).

With the three lest powerful deities of that Church having suffered defeats the lesser god Nomog-Geaya decided to exert his influence to strengthen the church. During the summer of 1008 his clerics attempted to summon the god to the mountaintop city on what is now Silver Moon Island. It was through the combined forces of the Silver Moon, Lord Kindor and a Warrior Maiden of Ukko named Ilma that the god was defeated and forced from this plane, which also ended his involvement with the Black Sun Church (Note 7). “And we got to keep the Island,” Mojo quips. Cassie interjects “Yes, and aligned ourselves with Kindor, as a township in the Jawlt Lordholding” (Note 8).

“Didn’t the Black Sun Church take on a low profile after that?” Cassie asks. Serita replies “Yes, the Greater God Nerull and other Lesser God Hextor both apparently felt that this region of this world was more trouble than it was worth, added by the fact that their church’s membership had declined significantly.” “Well sure, they sacrificed most of their followers’ lives trying to bring that god here,” Mojo comments. Serita continues “Yes, but that changed in the year 1010, after Lord Toronas disappeared following his failed assassination attempt against Kindor” (Note 9). Loviatar’s clerical leaders then became the chief advisors to King Matthan. Loviatar then became the predominant deity in the Black Sun Church, and sought to increase its popularity throughout the continent.

This came to a head in 1012, when they had Matthan overstep his authority as King by attempted to annex the Eldamar and Kralt Lordholdings as his own. He succeeded with Eldamar but was forced to withdraw from Kralt. The Lordholders of the Jawlt, Zalpar, Aldorn, East and Kralt Lordholdings then withdrew all of their forces from the King’s Army, and issued him a stern warning to stay within the limits of his authority.(Note 10). Growth of the Black Sun Church was curtailed to the four Lordholdings that Matthan then directly controlled. That lasted until this past year, when Queen Jennifer was elected to succeed Matthan as Phlooredah’s ruler and he and his advisors simultaneously lost control and influence over both the Eldamar and Thenossia Lordholdings (Note 11) The influence of Loviatar has gone downhill since then. Add to that the fact that we just beat the crap out of one of Loviatar’s top clergy members a few minutes ago, and she won’t be returning to them if I have anything to say about it.”

Cassie then interjects. “You left out the Black Sun Church’s biggest stumbling block, Nerull’s abandonment of it.” Serita adds “Right Cassie, you were part of that mission. A few months ago the Silver Moon undertook a quest for Nerull in exchange for him agreeing to sever all contact with this world” (Note 12). The Black Sun Church now consists of only followers of Hextor and Loviatar. With Loviatar on the decline, most remaining followers are now worshipping only Hextor. There is even talk of abandoning the Black Sun name altogether and renaming it the Church of Hextor.”

“So where are they in the Jawlt?” Darrius asks. She answers “They no longer have temples or a cathedral in the Lordholding. Their church in Jawltorn consists of only a small two-story building in the west outer city, not far from the northwest gate.” Mojo says “Hold on. The ‘Look to the sun at dawn’ probably means that building.” Serita comments “Could be. They have a black sun painted on the front of the building.” “We should scout it out,” Lono comments.

They stay at the inn a few hours more. Tenbar tells them that in addition to Ladies Darlene and Khorram, 14 other foreigners were arrested coming through the nearby gate this evening. These people have been told that the Jawlt Army received information about foreign assassins coming through an east gate of the city that evening to assassinate King Matthan. He has apologized to these people for the inconvenience, telling them that they are probably innocent and just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but will still need to be held until after the King has left the city the following week. “Good cover story, but why Matthan?” Mojo asks. Tenbar replies “In case any of these guys really are assassins and manage to get away. We don’t want to put ideas into their heads to attack anybody who we actually like.”

Cassie, Darrius and Lono decide to go rejoin the other members of the stealth team. She flies them back to Room #506 of the Magical Stone Inn, where Blip and Aradyn have been waiting and resting for a few hours. It is almost midnight when Charen and Mark finally arrive. They explain that they were arrested by the Jawlt Army as they entered the southeastern gate of the city and were then taken to the Cockatrice Inn for questioning. It appeared that a significant number of assassins who attended the funeral entered through that gate and were also arrested, and at least three were killed attempting to escape. Narg saw Charen and Mark when they arrived at the inn, but had never met Charen before and did not recognize Mark under his disguise. When they finally got a chance to speak to Narg, several hours later, Mark whispered his identity. Narg then managed to sneak them out of the building.

They all discuss the clues to the items. Blip is sent out invisibly on her broom to scout out the Black Sun Abbey. The others decide to get some sleep, with Aradyn & Cassie staying in #506, Mark & Charen going to room #406, and Lono & Darrius heading down to #306 (with Lono picking the lock, as that is the rented room they currently don’t have a key for).




Notes:
1 = Module #107, “The Wedding”; 2 = Module #1, “Search for the Rod of the Seven Parts”; 3 = The Salem, N.H. Group’s Module #14, “Temple of the Black Sun.”, the Death Deliverer also known as the Son of Pohjola ; 4 = The Salem, N.H. Group’s Module #18, “Chagmat”, from Dragon Magazine #63; 5 = Module #8, “Return to Chagmat” and Module #25, “Chagmat III”; 6 = Module # 11, Clearwater/Slaver Series, using TSR Modules A2, “Secret of the Slavers Stockade” & A3 “Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lord”; 7 = Module #34, “Fall of the Black Sun Gods”, which used TSR Module #I1, “Dwellers of the Forbidden City”; 8 = Module #35, “Gelorynth Interlude”; 9 = Module #45, “Attack on the Silver Moon”; 10 = Module #50, “Go Tell the Army They’re Fired”; 11 = Module #98, “Retake the Island”; 12 = Module #109, “Leave it to Nerull”.
 

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