League of Assassins - Conclusion

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #13 - 4/27/03

Chapter 41, “The first target, and it’s one of us”, July 10th, 1019, 12:15 A.M.

Blip arrives at the Black Sun Abbey and circumnavigates around the building. It is a small rectangular shaped two-story building, approximately 30 by 50 feet in size, with a pitched roof. All windows and shutters are currently closed. The entrance faces east and slightly south to the main road. Above the door is the sign “Black Sun Abbey”, and painted onto the building above that is a depiction of a black sun. The streets are quiet, and she does not notice any activity in this neighborhood. She flies back to the Magical Stone Inn.

She invisibly enters room #506, seeing Aradyn and Cassie asleep in one of the two beds. Aradyn’s player comments “Of course we’re in the same bed. We’re not Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.” She decides to give the couple some privacy, and exits the room via the front door. The movement of the door is seen by Cassie’s owl Deanna, who immediately wakes her master. Cassie wakes Aradyn, alerting him that “Somebody invisible came into the room.” Meanwhile, Blip heads down to room #406, and is unable to pick the lock. She then heads down to #306, which she is able to pick. She sees Darrius and Lono asleep on the only bed in that room, and reconsiders the empty bed back in the first room.

Flying into the fifth floor hallway she sees a now dressed Cassie standing alert in the doorway, and Aradyn with his bow out and looking down the hallway. Blip flies back down the stairs, turns visible, the walks back up. Cassie “You’re the one who opened the door.” Blip answers “Sorry guys, didn’t mean to wake you.” Cassie replies “Didn’t it occur to you that my owl would see the door move?” Aradyn tells the gnome “You need to be more careful. I could have shot you.” The three rerun to the room, Cassie instructing Deanna to wake her at false dawn.

They awaken at the first hint of light on the horizon. Charen, Darrius and Lono are told to go up to the roof to look towards the real sun “just in case”. Aradyn, Cassie and Mark get into the Bag of Holding, and Blip flies them back to the Black Sun Abbey. Her original plan was to land atop a roof across the street from the building, but finds that they are all taken by several assassin teams who had the same idea. She also sees a several more people down on the street, including several vagabonds who were not there the night before. She decides to just stay aloft.

As the first light of dawn comes over the horizon, and falls across the painted black sun picture, a hammer-like object appears fastened to it. She flies in for a closer look, determining that it is a wooden mallet like those used to conduct a meeting. She decides to retreat when she hears the sound of invisible individuals climbing the building to also get a closer look.

The team reassembles back at the Magical Stone Inn. They brainstorm about how this clue probably means that a politician or judge in the city is probably a target, as they would be the ones who use a gavel. Cassie writes out a note for the other team, and has Deanna fly it down the street to the auction house. Serita receives the note, and her team then speculate about it. It is pointed out that it wouldn’t be a Judge, as Kindor’s predecessor had executed all judges, barristers and attorneys, and Kindor decided not to reinstate a judicial system, instead using military tribunals for any trials.

It suddenly occurs to Lannon “Hey, it’s a gavel!” “Yeah, so?” Serita states. He replies “We’re here for an auction! The target is the auctioneer.” The group decides that he has hit upon the right answer. (And the DM wonders why it took over half-an-hour for anyone to figure this out, having thought the clue was rather obvious). “Isn’t Kindor running the auction?” Timothy asks. “No, our party member Hiroshi is,” Vincenzo comments. Narg exclaims “Hiroshi? He’s the nicest guy in the world. Why would anyone want to kill him?” Serita says “Well, his mother wasn’t happy about him leaving their family estate. Maybe she hired the ILA to kill him.” “That sounds a bit extreme,” comments Timothy. Lannon suggests “Maybe this is a plan to either rig the auction or just get access to all the stuff.” Serita states “They must be planning to replace him with an imposter.” Narg says “Okay, that makes sense.” “We need to warn him,” Lannon interjects. Vincenzo reminds them “He’s coming over here this morning with Kindor and Melito.”

They arrive mid-way through the morning. Hiroshi is shocked when he hears this news, commenting “Those people are trying to kill me?” Narg asks “Well, how many people have you ticked off?” The 71-year-old replies “Well, I have lived a long life. Quite a few I guess. Maybe it would be a good idea if I just stay here today instead of leaving and coming back later.” Kindor points out that it isn’t public knowledge yet that Hiroshi will be the auctioneer. “But everyone will find out tonight at the Bidder’s dinner,” the oriental wizard comments, muttering again, “People are trying to kill me?” Narg interjects “You’ll get used to it. We all have.”

The party decides to increase security further, suggesting that Kindor double the number of troops he had planned to have outside. The party also decides to combine the Bidder’s Dinner with the Bidder’s Preview that had been planned for the following day. They discuss the option of “not inviting” two guest groups to the dinner that could be potential trouble, namely the group from the desert kingdom and a group comprised of an orc warlord and his party who had arrived the previous night through one of the west gates while the army was tied up at the east gates.

They ask about these orcs. Kindor says what little he knows, that the head orc is a chieftain named Hargash, and that he has with him a half-ogre and a dozen orc followers. They stopped by the Lordholder’s castle early in the morning to drop off their 8.000 gold piece auction fee and register four names. They are from a land known as Blackdirge, and belong to the Throat Ripper clan. “Damn!” Lannon yells, as that was not the name of the orc tribe he is seeking revenge against. Still, the dwarf asks “Can I go great this group? Please?” Hiroshi adds “Somebody probably should. I don’t know who they are, I certainly didn’t invite them.” The party decides that they should probably send some of their human party members. Fiona says “Fine, just don’t say anything about the dinner. We can tell them the auction rules later if we decide to let them attend.”

Kindor announces the results of the prior nights arrests at the east city gates, stating that a total of 50 foreigners were arrested, and that they have all now been moved to his military fortress in the northern part of the inner city. He says that while many of these people are probably innocent, and were just coming into the city at that time, they have in custody at least 16 who have been positively identified as having attended the ceremony following the Moorhead funeral.

Kindor says that “Three others were also killed trying to escape arrest. We used Speak with Dead on them, and determined that they were the assassination team from the city of Tallarn. We also found out where they were staying and I retrieved a pouch with around 150,000 gold worth of diamonds that they had brought as their ILA dues.”

Melito then says “I want to talk to you about Lady Darlene.” Serita interjects “Hey, I didn’t kill her…although I sure thought about it.” Narg says “Hey, beating up on evil monks is one way to keep us from getting bored.” Mojo says “Yeah, that’s your philosophy Narg. We really should find you a different hobby. Do you realize how many people would still be alive on this continent if you just learned how to read?”

Melito says that “She has actually agreed to freely tell us what her primary mission is, under one condition.” The group throws out assorted guesses “That we agree to let her go”; “That we offer her political asylum” “That we cure her”. Melito replies “No, none of those. Her only condition is that King Matthan be present when we question her. Serita says “Absolutely not. I don’t trust either one of them. I’d rather not know what her mission is than agree to that.” The rest of the party discuss the advantages and disadvantages, but Serita is adamant that “I don’t want those two together.” The party discusses the option of polymorphing someone to look like Matthan, but decide that it probably would not work. Melito says “I guess I can try to get the information from her on my own, but she is a rather powerful monk and quite resistant to pain. Plus, her deity is the Mistress of Pain so she may actually enjoy being tortured.”

Lastly they discuss contingencies in case it is discovered that they only have replica items at the preview. Lannon states “We don’t say anything unless somebody else does.” Serita says “If that happens we just state they are replicas and that the real ones won’t be put out until the auction for security reasons. We have the power here, they have to play the game by our rules.” Mojo interjects “Yeah, we’ll just says that we didn’t want any dirt bag foreigners touching our stuff.” Fiona comments “We really need to make sure that we don’t let Mojo talk.”
 

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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 42, “A dead elf lying on the beach”, July 10th, 1019, 11:00 P.M.

The stealth team arrives in the forests north of he city an hour before the noon clue is to be given. They soon find the huge tree, which stands almost 200 feet high. One player suggests “Should we all gather around the tree, hold hands, and start the song ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing’?” Another player answers “No way, I’ll have a Coke, but I’m not singing that bloody song!” Charen has a Cloak of Elvankind, so they decide to let him stay hidden near the ground as the others take up positions higher up in other trees, and Blip hovering on her broom.

Time passes. The woods are not nearly as crowded as the area near the church had been, but between 10 and 12 other people are seen hiding nearby. Noon comes and goes. At around 12:45 some of the other groups pack up and leave. The party reassembles at around 1:00 P.M., and decide that whatever happened they must have missed it. Lono suggests “Maybe whoever was supposed to give the clue was one of the ones who got arrested, so was not able to.” They get into the Bag of Holding, and Blip flies them back to the Magical Stone Inn.

Unbeknownst to the stealth team, something did occur, just not where they were at. Those at the auction house find out about this at 12:20 P.M., when Colonel Tenbar arrives at the auction. He says that “I’ve just been told that there was an assassination down on the beach of the east outer city. My troops have secured the crime scene. Do any of you want to check it out with me?” Fiona, Serita and Timothy decide to join him.

They arrive at the beach. It is located next to a dry dock area and ship construction yard. They see that the huge tree which Sir Phillip found upriver has been moved up onto the shore to have its bark stripped for use as a mast, and one player exclaims a classic Homer Simpson “Dohhh” statement. Another player protests “Not fair. The clue referred to the tallest tree. It doesn’t count if it’s dead and lying on its side.” [DM’s Note: My opinion is that there were sufficient hints to this. They were not only told of this other tree, and that the Jawltorn shipyard was its destination, but even had an encounter upriver near this tree. Also, there was a comment made during the prior game, that was included in Chapter 40 of the Story Hour, reminding the players that this tree was taller than the one near the city.]

Melito is at the crime scene, and tells the party that the cause of death was a poisoned crossbow bolt to the victims neck. Serita asks about the poison, and her gives her the information as to its composition. “Who was the victim?” Timothy asks. Melito replies “An old elf. He walked out onto the beach and blew three times into a horn he was holding. The bolt then hit him.” “Must have been done by a music critic,” Tenbar quips. The blanket covering the victim is removed, to reveal the corpse of a rather filthy human male with a neck wound. The man reeks of alcohol, his skin is all grimy, and he has a scruffy beard and matted hair. He is of undetermined age, but probably in his late thirties. His only clothing is a clean beige tunic and rope belt. Melito comments “He is dressed the same as the victim I removed the bolt from, and the wound is in the same place, but he was a old elf ten minutes ago.”

They party concludes that this was just some poor wino who was duped by the ILA. They examine the horn, with Serita speculating that the target might be a bard. They try to find more information, but there were few witnesses, with most information being second or third hand. A search of the area does not reveal where the shot was fired from, as there are so many piles of construction materials, sheds, and fishing equipment around that it could have been from any one of a number of places.

They review the number of “old male elves” who have been invited to the auction, reaching a total of four. Of those four, the only bard is the Llyr Family Elder from the Brondani group. They are bothered by the fact that this was just the first of two clues to the primary target. The remaining clue will be given the following day, but they have no idea when or where, having missed seeing this clue being given. Fiona speculates that the clue may not have been given at all, that one of the assassins may have killed the guy before he had a chance to state it.

They decide to go to the Sleeping Raven Inn to warn the Llyr family of the possible threat against their leader. They arrive at the rather upscale three-story building, and enter the main lobby, which is softly lit. While the side of the building facing the street was rather closed off, with the one door and two shuttered windows, the back of the building has a open look to it, with a screened porch opening out to an enclosed garden area, and a fair amount of light shining in from that direction. Off from the lobby is dining area, with around twenty tables that extend out onto the porch. The booths nearest the lobby are partially surrounded by walls, and rather dark, while the tables near the porch are open and brightly lit from the sunlight.

A female half-elf, the human equivalent of late thirties, is standing behind the counter, with a raven sitting on a perch near her. Serita notes that the floor beneath the raven is clean rather than having droppings normally associated with indoor birds. There are currently around a dozen people in the dinning room, spread out on various tables. One of these patrons, a male in simple clothing, has a raven sitting on his shoulder. Timothy whispers to Fiona to keep a tight hold of her cat familiar, that the birds are not for eating.

Serita asks the woman for the room number where the Llyr family is staying. The woman replies that they do not divulge that information, respecting the privacy of their guests. Serita explains that she is Serita of the Jawlt Council, and that they have information of a possible threat against the life of the guest. Unfazed, the woman says “I see. I am Claire Harellina, and have been co-proprietor of this inn for the past 15 years. While your message sounds to be important, it is the policy of our establishment to only allow registered guests beyond the first floor. If you will please wait here I will see if any of the Llyr family are available to speak with you.” The woman departs. The raven closely watches the party as they wait.

The woman quickly returns accompanied by a male elf the human equivalent of around forty and a younger male half-elf. The older elf is attired in casual clothing. The half-elf is attired in linen pants and a blue tunic with a unicorn design on it, his only visible weapon is a sword hanging from the belt of the half-elf. The elf introduces himself as Bradwen Llyr and the other as Daniel Llyr. They all take a seat at one of the dining tables. Claire brings them a bottle of a fruity wine that tastes rather light on alcohol. Serita begins by telling them about the ILA convention, which Bradwen acknowledges that he is already aware of. She then tells of the assassination on the beach, and the suspicion that an older elf bard could be the target. Bradwen says that of the eight members of his party three are bards, namely his father, his daughter, and himself.

Bradwen states that “While it is well known that both the Silvanost and Mengale Kingdoms have deep hatred for our family, it greatly disturbs me to think that either of them would attempt to assassinate my father. However, both groups appear desperate to obtain the Stone of Llyr, and our family has the strongest claim to it, so I suppose that is possible.”

He asks to be informed if there are any further developments. Serita relates to him the information about the specific poison that was used, which Bradwen gives some thought about. He then thanks them for the information, and invites them to “Feel free to visit with us again during the next week. With this possible threat we will probably not venture out from this Inn for the foreseeable future.”

The party leaves, Timothy informing the others that the aura around the elf was Lawful Good while the half-elf’s was Neutral Good. They decide to head over to the Ancient Keep, to warn Lord Aldorn about the potential threat to an older elf.
 

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 43, “Hargash the Mighty”, July 10th, 1019, 12:30 P.M.

During lunch the group discuss that Kindor had asked them to go visit Orc Chieftain. They decide to send the human members of the group, Furynick, Timothy and Vincenzo. The trio decide to use one of the wagons rather than the good carriage, and travel to the west outer city to the Half-orc’s Tooth Tavern and Inn. The Inn is a fair sized wooden structure along the main west road, in a section of the city consisting of armorer and weapon shops. Next to the inn is a large stone sword smith shop displaying the sign “Gruumsh’s Swords”.

They secure the wagon and enter the building. It is rather loud inside, with sturdy but well worn furnishings, and the whole place reeks of beer. Vincenzo comments that “the place has old world charm to it”. Timothy just gives him a disgusted look in reply. There are currently around thirty patrons in the building, including a table with a group of eight orcs. Furynick tells the two clerics “Better let me handle this,” and he walks over to the bar, with them following behind him. The half-orc fighter tending bar gives the two tall human clerics a suspicious glance and then says to Furynick “Yeah, whadda ya’want?” “Looking for an orc chief named Hargash,” the scruffy fighter replies.

At the mention of Hargash’s name all eight orcs stand, and one heads over to the bar. This orc is wearing scale mail, and has three weapons hanging from his belt. He approaches Furynick in a threatening manner, and exclaims “Why you want Hargash?” “You him?” Fury replies. “No, me be Korlod, one of Hargash two lieutenants,” the orc replies. Fury says “Well, I came here to welcome him to the city. I’m working with the auction he came here for.” The orc yells over to one of his companions “Go tell the Mighty Hargash someone important here to see.” An orc charges upstairs. Furynick engages Korlod in small talk, saying that it is good to see other brave warriors.”

The room then echoes from the sound of a pair of massive boots stomping down the stairs. The party looks up to see a huge orc, standing at least six-and-a-half feet tall. Heavy armor covers over his muscular frame. His gleaming white tusks have been capped with silver and his face is covered with several scars. He is holding a very large sword in his hand, with a shield hanging from his other arm. He appears to be the human equivalent of middle-age, which is something that Fury and his two companions have never seen before in an orc warrior. While he is clearly an epitome of intimidation there is also something disarming about the slight smile and soft but piercing eyes that are staring down at them.

[DM’s Note: A picture of Hargash was shown to the players, namely the cover drawing from Dragon Magazine #275.] The full specs and history of Hargash can be found at the following Rogues Gallery message thread: http://enworld.cyberstreet.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=29357

The orc walks directly up to Furynick, and points to Fury’s eye patch, asking “Did you get that in battle?” Furynick replies “Yeah, that and a whole lot more.” Hargash cocks his head to the side, and points to a deep scar above his left eyebrow, saying “Any like this?” Furynick unfastens the armor covering his collarbone, and shows the scar from a prior near-fatal wound. Hargash counters by unfastening his left bracer and unstraps the remaining armor from his left leave, showing a deep cut running down most of his arm. This game of one-upmanship continues for another quarter-hour, which each removing more armor to display various wounds. Vincenzo whispers over to Timothy “If either of them start to remove their pants I’m leaving.”

They eventually finish, and one of the orcs from the other table comes over to help Hargash get back into his armor. Hargash gestures to a nearby table and asks Furynick to join him for some drinks. Fury sits down with the orc chief as Timothy and Vincenzo remain standing. The orc assistant is sent to the bar, and comes back with four mugs of ale. The orc continues to ignore the two clerics, putting a pair of mugs in front of each seated fighter.

Hargash points to the clerics and asks Furynick “Why do you have those goody-two-shoes types for your bodyguards?” Fury replies “You can never be two careful, and they are both tall and powerful.” He then gestures to Vincenzo, and adds “Plus the big one can be funny.” Hargash acknowledges that clerical guards are indeed very useful, and that he wouldn’t currently be his clan’s chief without the support of the clan’s shaman. “So how big is your tribe?” Furynick asks. The orc answers “Around 150 brave warriors. All of the orc tribes within a days travel of our lair have either joined my Throat Ripper Clan, or suffered the consequences.”

They continue mostly small talk about weapons and fighting, discovering that they are both the at the same fighter proficiency level (6th). A few rounds of beer later Fury asks “So, why did you decide to come to this auction?” Hargash replies “We heard that there would be some interesting weapons, and I thought this might be a good time to upgrade some of ours.” Furynick tells him “Yep, there are. But you should stay aware from the Rock Hammer, between me and you, it’s a piece of junk.”

Hargash then asks if there will be opportunities for him to interact with the various other big shots who have arrived at the auction. Vinnie and Timothy exchange worried glances at that question. Fury replies “Yeah, there should be some time just before the auction. So, exactly how did you hear about the auction?” Hargash answers “Some guys who we caught and killed told us.” Vincenzo mutters to Timothy “Nobody reads newspapers any more these days”

“You do that often?” Fury asks next. Hargash says “The clan used to. Made all its money attacking whoever they could. When I came into power that changed, the Throat Rippers then started targeting only rich merchant caravans. Instead of just keeping whatever we found I began trading with the human communities, upgrading the weapons and armor of my troops. We still go after the occasional caravan, but most of our money now comes from monthly tribute paid to us by the humans.”

Furynick comments “I gotta say, you’re not like any other orc I’ve ever run into.” Vincenzo interjects “Yeah, this orc is still alive.” Vincenzo’s comment causes the entire bar to fall into a hushed silence, with nobody sure how Hargash will react. The orc chief remains silent and glares up towards the plump cleric. The tension in the room increases, until the orc warrior bursts out laughing and then slaps Furynick on the back. A now relieved Furynick says “See, I told you he was funny.” Hargash chuckles, then states “And truthful too I’d wager. Don’t worry, I’ve killed quite a few orcs during my life too, so won’t hold it against you.”

The conversation then turns to family. Hargash says that his three wives have given him nine sons, adding “My oldest is really one to be proud of. He’s still very young and has already killed two of his siblings.” Furynick says “Good that he lives up to your expectations.” Fury comments “I’ve never had much time for dames.” He then gestures to Vincenzo and says “But the big guy here, he has ten children, and with only one wife.” “Good for you,” Hargash tells the cleric.

Having been spoken to directly, Vincenzo decides it is safe to asks “So, how exactly did you guys get here?” Hargash explains says they hitched a ride on a Black Mark Pirate ship, which dropped them off outside of town last night. It will come back to pick them up next week. Furynick says “Black Mark Pirates? Sounds familiar.” Timothy speaks for the first time, saying “They are based on a man-made island 700 miles south of the continent. Their ships used to ravage this land, until around 75 years ago, when Aldorn was King and he negotiated a truce. They’ve generally avoided the continent since then, one exception being three years ago when a team from one of their ships decided to compete in the Farnsburg Fair.” “Okay, so that’s where I remember them from,” Furynick answers.

Furynick finishes the meeting, telling Hargash “It was great talking with you. I’m afraid I have to be heading back, lots to do for the auction, you know.” Hargash says “We’ll be there. I paid 8,000 gold for the privilege, and want to get our money’s worth. I guess my other 10 warriors will have to wait outside during it. Furynick replies “That shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll get you great seats. Just mention my name.” The three humans then depart.

Timothy informs Furynick that the auras for both Hargash and his lieutenant Korlod indicated Lawful Evil alignment. Fury says “No real surprise there. He seemed to be exactly who he claimed to be.” Vincenzo adds “Yes, but he is considerably more polite and articulate than you would expect from an orc leader. We had better keep a very close eye on him.”

They return to the auction house, and fill the party in on the meeting. Narg speculates that there will be quite a few guards and servants waiting around outside, and will probably block all traffic on the street. It is suggested that the entourages and carriages could all be parked in the open land to the north where the hospital will be built. Mojo says “Oh yeah, we’ll just tell them to go play in the vacant lot.” Narg says “Wonderful! We can set up a beer tent for them while they wait.” Fiona sarcastically comments “Great idea. Not only are we putting orcs, dwarf and elvan fighters together in the same place, but we’re then going to get them drunk. I’m sure that won’t lead to any problems.”
 

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #14 - 5/04/03

Chapter 44, “The Dwarves of Highforge”, July 10th, 1:00 P.M.

Serita is concerned at the dinner is just a few hours from then, and there are still a great many guest groups who they have not yet met. She is also concerned about the “most powerful fighter” clue, and decides that the clue could refer to members of the dwarven army from Highforge, who only Hiroshi had met. She decides to go visit them, being joined by both Timothy and Lothar, a tall dark-skinned member of their ship’s crew. Lothar is mute, and communicates via his own hang gesture language, which both Serita and Timothy know.

They soon arrive at the Pick & Runestone, a well constructed stone building in a section of the city comprised of engineers and construction workers. The building is surrounded by two groups comprised of ten dwarves and two ogres, in two groups of six with each group having distinctly different military-style uniforms. Serita explains in the Dwarven Language who they are, and that they wish to see the leaders from Highforge. She then states a greeting to one of the ogre troops in the Ogrish language. He gives her a puzzled look, and then says in Dwarven that he did not understand what she said. She apologizes, saying that she had just assumed that he would know Ogrish. He answers again in dwarvish, stating “I am sorry. My family has resided in Fort Burin for over 20 generations, and have lost many of the traditions of our native race in that time.” She offers another apology, saying that it was wrong for her to jump to conclusions. She adds that her group makes it a point to not hold racist views, and that their ship’s crew includes members of both the lizardman and bugbear races.”

They are soon escorted inside and soon joined by the six visiting dignitaries who will be attending the auction, two pairs of which are wearing the different military uniforms. The group is led by King Brothamund IV of Highforge, who then introduces his dwarven Treasurer Gecur Goldsmith. Next he introduces from Fort Drundarr a dwarf named General Hartin Bronzshield and the halfling, Colonel Pellin Bayberry. He then introduces the ogre, General Trelcart of Fort Burin and his dwarven associate, Colonel Brimdi Strongsword. Timothy signals his companions that all of their auras, including that of the ogre, indicate lawful good alignment.

King Brothamund IV explains how he and his companions are actually from three separate but adjacent dwarven Kingdoms. His own Highforge Kingdom was founded 5,600 years ago by dwarves that had come from Moutaingate, two days ride to the east, which had been nearly destroyed in a war against giants. Fort Drundarr and Fort Burin were established as military outposts near the giant territories, to act as the first defense of the new Kingdom. Conflict with the giants continued which escalated into an all-our war some 3,800 years ago. It was then that an unlikely alliance was formed with an army of nearly 2,000 ogres, who were also enemies of the giants, which led to Highforge decimating their opponents. Following the Giant Wars the King of Highforge chose to reduce the size of his expensive army by 75%. The Commanders of both forts strongly objected to this, at which time the Highforge King chose to grant both forts their independence, each becoming a city state pledged to mutual military assistance.

General Trelcart continues the story, stating that “The first King of Fort Burin decided to maintain his army, but had no way to pay for it. His solution was to declare war on the mountains, using the borrowed Pendant of Kouvz’d to locate the veins of precious metals. With a continued alliance with the ogres they were extremely successful, due in part to the strict military discipline applied to the mining operations. The wealth has required us to maintain a formidable fighting force, as they would otherwise become a target for invaders. We of the orgrish race continue to comprise about a quarter of the population of Fort Burin. The many millennia of living in affluence and good health has had the effect of doubling the average natural lifespan of my race. Duty time for the troops is evenly divided between mining details and fighter training. All able bodied men are required to serve in the military, and many women of both races also serve.”

General Bronzeshield of Fort Drundarr continues, stating “Fort Drundarr was initially faced with the same economic hardship as its Fort Burin counterpart , but lacked mountains with precious metals to mine and the only forests and fertile soils were to the east all belonged to Highforge. The land north and west were still populated remaining bands of giants, so reducing the size of the military was not a viable option. The King saw the invasion and conquest of the giant lands as the solution to his economic woes. The other two dwarven Kingdoms felt that our King was stirring up a hornet’s nest, and were further angered when many of their best soldiers resigned to join the Fort Drundarr Army in order to fight giants. Highforge and Fort Burin ceased all contact with Fort Drundarr because of that” King Brothamund interjects “That rift was caused as much by your own King’s stubbornness than anything else. Bronzeshield replies “Okay, fine, let’s not get into that debate again.”

He continues “This led to little reward, as the giants had very little wealth to speak of, and their lands were rocky and barren. Cut off from its dwarven neighbors, the kingdom fell deep into poverty. For the next two generations the soldiers often went without any pay, and the city itself barely struggled to survive. That changed when the army finally reached Grey Dragon Lake and the fertile valley surrounding it, the site of an epic dwarven battle 1,500 years earlier. The land had been originally settled by the Bayberry Clan of halflings, but the giants had forced them out . The halflings had remained refugees, struggling to stay alive in the mountainous regions a short distance to the south.” Serita interjects “And you formed an alliance with these halflings?”

Colonel Bayberry picks up the story, “Yes, our clan had domesticated the Stardoo, a local animal that resembles a cross between a mountain goat and antelope, which we used as mounts. They could travel quickly over rough terrain, so we acted as scouts, gathering detailed information about the enemy, and working as couriers for the military regiments. The giants were defeated, and the City of Grey Dragon Lake has now grown to be the second largest community in the Fort Drundarr Kingdom. Bayberry scouts and couriers remain a key part of every Fort Drundarr military unit.” Serita says “I have heard of the Stardoo, but have never seen one. I would love an opportunity to do so.” Colonel Bayberry says “Then join me after the meal, we have several with us in stables here at the inn.”

King Brothamund says “Over a millennia ago Fort Drundarr reunified with the other two Kingdoms. At that ceremony Fort Drundarr present their most precious artifact as a gift to the Highforge King, namely the Axe of Drundarr. It was unfortunately lost around 225 years ago by my predecessor in a mountain climbing accident. We thought it was still lost near the summit of Mount Roundtop, until we heard that it was here and to be auctioned off. Also in the auction is the Maul of Moradin, which had been used by a dwarven hero from Kouvz’d at the final battle at Mountaingate. The final item of interest to us is the Kouvz’d Pendant, which we would like to return to them.”

Serita tells them about the ILA, which they state they are already aware of, which is part of the reason they brought a large number of troops. She then tells them of the clue regarding the strongest fighter. This leads to a debate between the army officers as to which of them is the strongest, which they resolve through arm wresting contests that the ogre emerges the winner of. Following the meal the party heads out the stables, where Serita spends a short while looking at the seven Stardoo mounts.

[Note: More detail on these three lands and the elvan lands of Silvanost, Mengale and Brondani, can be found at the following Plots & Places thread titled “Kingdoms of the Elves and Dwarves”: http://enworld.cyberstreet.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=31874
This particular thread is available to both Players & Readers ]
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 45, “Meeting a few more guests and other preparations”, July 10th, 2:00 P.M.

Serita, Timothy and Lothar next visit the lodgings known as The Wanderer’s Castle, which is another inn that has been converted from a former aristocratic estate. The group from the Eldamar Lordholding’s capital of Eldamar City are staying there, and only two of the five from that group are at the inn when they stop by. They meet with Lawton, who is the head of the Eldamar Ruling Council with the title of Lordholder. With him is Amerikus, a wealthy dwarven merchant. They warn them about the ILA, and are informed that the group already knows of them, since Amerikus’s daughter Teakas is one of the Queen’s Generals. Afterwards Timothy informs his friends that Amerikus is of lawful good alignment, while Lawton appears to be lawful neutral. Serita is not overly surprised at this, reminding them that Lawton was the former Guildmaster of the Eldamar City Thieves Guild. She says that he can be trusted, that he has previously worked for Queen Jennifer and has also helped their spin-off team, Da’Bears.

They next go to the Orange Sunset Inn, where two groups from the Heian Empire are staying. The inn is situated along the southeastern shore of the inner city, on a rocky plateau that is the highest point along the beach. The inn had been converted from a centuries old five-story high fortress and lighthouse. The group enters and a female elf looks up from behind a counter and asks “Council Member Serita, how may I be of assistance to you?” She explains who they wish to see. A female elf brings them up to the third floor, and has them remove their footwear. The elf knocks on the door, and then speaks in the Heian language (Japanese) to a pair of oriental human men.

The group are asked to enter the large suite, which has a huge glass picture window on the western wall affording a stunning view of the harbor. The room is furnished like that of a Heian pagoda, with a low table, straw mats, pillows, paper room dividers and silk wall hangings. Both Serita and Timothy recall the proper mannerisms and ceremonies from their visit to the Heian Empire the previous autumn, and pay the proper respect to the hosts, with Lothar taking his cues from the others. The older of the two men introduces himself as Matsimura Wa, Family Elder of the Wa family from the Wa-Kai Province of the Empire. He introduces the other as a relative of his, Ningyo Wa. The group are invited to join them for tea. Timothy signals that both men are of lawful good alignment.

After the requisite amount of ‘small talk’, Serita broaches the subject of the ILA. Matsimura states that Hiroshi Mitsubishi has already made them aware of that, which is why they brought with them a trusted elvan associate, who is a skilled bodyguard familiar with both eastern and western culture. Serita then tells them that Hiroshi himself has been targeted by the ILA, and asks if they might know who would wish to see him dead? Matsimura is shocked by this, stating that Hiroshi is a man of great honor. He is unaware of who might wish to harm Hiroshi, stating that he is unaware of the specific politics of the Miyako Province where the Mitusbishi family originate from. Formal goodbyes are then stated, and the female elf then leads them down the hallway to the other group.

The other group are from the Heian Empire’s capital of Miyako, and consist of the Fujiwara Family Elder, Fujiwara Michinaga, and his associate Sei Shonagon. Timothy detects the Elder as also being lawful good, but the associate as having a lawful evil aura. He signals this to his companions. They keep this visit brief, saying nothing about the ILA, then return to speak again with the Wa family. Matsimura Wa is shocked to hear that an evil man and possible assassin has infiltrated the Fujiwara clan. The man is now very afraid, and says that the assassins from his land are known as Ninjas, and that they never work alone. Serita tries to convince him not to say anything to the other group. She informs him that she will keep two Heian groups seated apart at the dinner to minimize his future interactions with them..

As they are leaving Serita tells Timothy “This diplomacy stuff is definitely not for me. I hope we run across someone soon who I will be allowed to kill.” They head back to the auction house to share this information with Hiroshi. He tells them that the Fujiwara family trade primarily in agriculture and have little connection to the Mitsubishi family’s interests. Serita speculates that Hiroshi’s nephew Toshiro being engaged to the Emperor’s daughter might be one reason. Matsimura had acknowledged that, stating that the Fujiwara family has always been prominent in the Emperor’s court. The group decides that with a potential assassin present who wants Hiroshi dead, that it would be best for him to not be standing up on the stage as an easy target. It is decided that he will stay out of sight during the dinner, and then announce the auction rules from the top of the staircase, surrounded by a Wall of Force.

It is now less than an hour until the first guests will arrive for the dinner. The room has been arranged with 17 tables with 8 place settings at each. Each table has been positioned in 20 foot squares, with 3 rows of 5 tables and 2 tables along the north wall between the stage and west wall. Serita gathers together the Bags of Holding and Helm of Teleportation, then teleports back to the Island to Jerry’s Tavern to get the food and waitresses. She brings back with her the food and 7 of the oriental girls as well as Vincenzo’s wife Jamie to supervise them.

Meanwhile, while she was gone Timothy decided to go visit one more guest, who was staying in an aristocratic neighborhood not far away. He brought with him Lothar and Vincenzo. They arrive at the Labyrinth Lodge, an ornate brick and wood structure surrounded by vast gardens filled with mazes made from the shrubbery. The Lodge was originally a private club for aristocrats who enjoyed games and puzzles. Each of the tables in the main dining area is a different type of game table. The soon find the person they are seeking, a tan-skinned halfling by the name of Abu, who has listed his title as Puzzlemaster. Timothy detects his alignment as neutral good, communicating this to the other two. Abu (speaking in the voice of the same-named character from “The Simpsons”) tells them that he has come to purchase the Puzzle Box (pictured below). They ask what he knows of it, and he says that it was once the possession of a renowned Puzzlemaster Abu Bin Sala, whose name he has taken to honor the great one.” “What exactly does it do?” Vincenzo asks.

Abu replies “There are many stories about it, some of which may be true and some of which may not. Most stories say that the item was first made for Abu Bin Sala by Loki, the God of Mischief. One story says that it will magically appear before those meant to solve it and then vanish into the air once it is solved. Another story says that if the puzzle is solved it will then grant the solver their greatest wish. Other stories say that upon solving the puzzle Loki himself will then ask the person a riddle. Answering it correctly will bring great reward, a wrong answer will result in the person’s death.” Vincenzo replies “Sounds to me like something you can have. We don’t want to keep something like that around the house.”

There is no longer time to go visit the remaining three new guest groups, so they return to the auction house, where the other members of the party are busy determining the seating arrangements for the dinner. Vincenzo is happy to see his wife again, but she is too busy ordering around the girls to pay any attention to him. The group is having difficulty working out the seating, trying to figure out how to keep apart the three groups of elves that hate each other while also making sure the orc group isn’t near any of them or the dwarves. They also work on keeping all potential assassins away from the Queen, as well as where they can easily targeted by their own guards who will be hiding up in the catwalk. Serita comments that “This seating assignment project is like planning the wedding reception from Hell.”
 

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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #15 - 5/11/03

Chapter 46, “The Guests Arrive”, July 10th, 3:45 P.M.

Final preparations for the dinner are made. The catwalk had been decorated with various banners and flags in front of black netting, behind which padded platforms had been set out for the dozen members of the ship’s crew. This in effect created a ‘duck blind’ above the dining hall, for the fighters to wait with their crossbows and short composite bows. Lloyd, the ship officer in charge of artillery takes charge of this group, who all get into position. Ship Captain Jacob takes up position at the top f the stairs near the catwalk.

The four-armed part-minotaur Cheveyo takes position on stage by the case holding the items. Fiona decides to also go up to the catwalk, positioning herself near the end by the stairs. The party members decide where each of them should sit, putting the clerics Vincenzo and Timothy at the table nearest the entrance to the room. The armed and armored construction workers are set up in pairs consisting of a human and a dwarf at each door. Hiroshi heads upstairs, along with the crewmember Lothar and Harback, the dwarf fighter/cleric construction worker to guard him.

Outside, nearly 100 Jawlt Army troops have the whole building surrounded, with a dozen of the army’s best archers up on the roof of the building. Finally, the gnome prisoner Wobblewick is brought out to the barn, to be guarded by several soldiers and Cassie’s pet Wyvern. One of the players asks (in an Elmer Fudd voice , pronouncing R’s and L’s as W’s) “Do we really want to leave Wister Wobblewick and a wyvern in one room?”

A carriage arrives with Lord Kindor and council members Ki-Geloryn and Melito. Ki is given the task of official greeter. Melito decides to position himself in the table at the far corner of the room. When is it pointed out that the orc warlord and his party are assigned to that table Melito replies “Good, people will then be watching them rather than me.” Kindor and Serita position themselves at the table beside the stage, where no guests have been assigned.

The first to arrive, per their own explicit orders and protocols, are the uppity elves from Silvanost. The elvan royalty and their bodyguards make their way to the assigned table. The waitresses immediately serve them baskets of bread, cheeses, and fruit. Glasses are filled with a barely-alcoholic wine, prompting another player to comment “This really is like a bad wedding.”

Next to arrive is the orc Hargash and the two orcs and half-ogres of his party.” Furynick brings them over to the corner table, where he and Melito engage them in conversation. Hargash stands and walks over the Silvanost table to introduce himself. The elves are appalled that an orc would even attempt to speak to them, the elvan Queen just saying “Thank you”, and then turning her back. Ki helps to guide Hargash back to the table before an incident erupts.

A steady flow of guests follow. Everyone rises when Queen Jennifer makes her entrance into the room, taking a seat at a table directly in front of the stage. The arrival of the group from Grenvale, with the wizard Dmitri levitating in the chest of coins that the halfling Treasurer named Tucker insists on using as a chair, reminds Serita that they haven’t made any precautions to prevent guests from casting spells within the building. She tells Kindor “We’ll have to fix that before the auction itself.”

Among the next guests to arrive are two groups that the party had not yet met. The first of these is from the land of Draconer, and is comprised of Prince Edmin Drake IV, a 12-year old human, Captain Barigev Oldsmith, a tall and very experienced fighter, and Elinda Shortstrike, a halfling servant. Timothy checks their auras as being neutral good, lawful good and lawful neutral. The second group consists a Duchess Alexia Greatwing, from the land of Ladymist, and her three Satyr servants. She is attired a an elegant emerald green dress, and is wearing a considerable amount of jewelry . Timothy detects a range of alignments from them, being primarily neutral but with hints of both evil and lawfulness. Timothy is also appalled to discover that Serita has seated them at his table, and is shocked at the rather bawdy and hedonistic table conversation of the satyrs.

When King Matthan and his companion Thomas Khorram arrive they are escorted to the table at the far corner of the room by Ki and Serita. Serita tells Matthan that this seating is for his own protection, as they have heard information about an assassination plot against him. This totally panics the man, who exclaims “Assassins!”. Serita can’t resist the urge to add to his discomfort , saying “Don’t worry, we’ve seated a pair of dragons at the table with you as well.” “Dragons!” Matthan exclaims. Ki reassures him that they are safe, being good aligned Bronze Dragons. As they walk away Ki tells Serita “You shouldn’t tease him like that.” “Killjoy” she replies.

Across the room, Queen Jennifer says to her table companions Narg and Mojo “I should probably go say hello to Matthan. Would you care to join me?” Mojo replies “Let’s wait. I think I need to get a few more drinks into me before I meet your husband.” Narg tells Mojo “Take it easy, we don’t want to cause trouble.” Mojo replies “If I was going to do any harm to him I wouldn’t be drinking. The alcohol might unsteady my aim.”

Meanwhile, Ki and Furynick have their hands full keeping Hargash under control, and he is continually leaving his seat to go say hello to the other guests. He takes a particular interest in the young Prince Drake, whose bodyguard Captain Oldsmith protectively moves to stand between them. Most disconcerting is that Hargash continues to be polite, courteous and friendly to everyone he meets, even those who want nothing to do with him.

Among the last to arrive is the other group that the party had not met, a quartet of gnomes from the land of Kalephornyah. Ki announces their names and titles as Sovereign Ruler Knavadah, Sovereign Spouse Dahkohtah, Sovereign Heir Jeremiah Q. Wildwanderer III, and Lord Chamberlain Namfoodle. Both Mojo and Serita recognize the young boy’s name , as the owner of Jerry’s Tavern back on their island is a gnome named Jeremiah Q. Wildwanderer II. The two decide to go speak to them.

They being with small talk, asking why they have come to the auction. The Sovereign Ruler says “Heard there was going to be some interesting items. I thought I might be fun to watch how high the bidding gets on the Rock Hammer of Bold Edgar.” Namfoodle interjects “Yeah, especially since I have the real one,” as he holds up an exact duplicate of the other two that they have seen.” Both Serita and Mojo laugh at this.

Mojo then tells Knavadah “I believe that I used to adventure with both your father and brother.” “You knew my brother Knebrskah? I hear that he died valiantly.” ‘Yeah, well you hear a lot of things,” Mojo replies. “What happened to him?” Serita asks. Mojo answers “It was back with the Liebercrantz group. An ogre mage froze him to death, and they decided to leave him that way. He’s now used as a plant stand in the main hallway.”

Serita then asks Knevadah “And do you know where your father is?” Knevadah replies “Last I heard he was running a tavern somewhere in this Lordholding. We checked into the One-eyed Gnome Tavern here in the city, assuming that it was my father’s, but proprietor turned out to be a different one-eyed gnome. We hope to find him before we head back, as he’s never met his grandson.” “Well, good luck,” Serita says, and leads Mojo away from the table. Mojo asks “Shouldn’t we tell him?” Serita, who has never like Jerry, simply answers “No. Do you really want more gnomes visiting our island?” Mojo answers “Okay, you’ve got a good point.”

The next-to-last guests to arrive are the bronze dragons, in their twelve-foot tall humanoid dragon forms. There is a nasty exchange near the door as Dutchess Greatwing and her satyr companions jump to their feet, and she exclaims in a venomous voice “What are they doing here!” The female dragon Katarensela cranes her head in the Duchess’s direction, and sweetly replies “We are here to prevent you from acquiring the gem that you seek.” The satyrs all state profanities in response, and reach for their weapons. Both Timothy and Vincenzo physically move themselves between them, and Vincenzo tries to calm everyone down. Ki ushers the dragons in the direction of their own table, as the dragon Ssiralkoth nods towards Timothy. The cleric heads over and the dragon whispers to him “Be careful. She is part green dragon.”

The final group to arrive, per their own explicit orders and protocols, are the elves from Mengale. Kindor then rises, welcomes everyone present, then announces “Due to the presence of clergy from a number of different churches there will not be a spoken prayer, but I ask instead that everyone present observe a moment of silence so that each of us can say our own silent prayers to our respective gods and goddesses. After a few minutes of quiet, Kindor then announces “The Bidders’ Dinner will now be served.” He sits, and Serita states “Very well done, dear.”
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 47, “The Dinner, the Preview and a Dwarven Target”, July 10th, 5:00 P.M.

The dinner in served family style, with bowls and plates of the various courses brought to the tables. Several of the guests appear upset over the informal way the meal is served. Things continue without incident. At one point the gnome Knevadah gestures for Serita to come over to his table. He holds up a piece of meat and says “Okay, come clean. I know my father’s recipe for marinated beef when I taste it. Where is he?” Serita is vague in her answer. He says “Look, I demand to see the chef right now!” Serita gets Jamie to go speak to him, without explaining to her his relationship to Jerry. Jamie politely explains that the individual who cooked that particular dish is not present, but that if there is a problem she will be happy to bring him something else.”

Near the end of the meal Colonel Tenbar enters the room with a serious look on his face. He walks along the side wall to one of the rooms, getting Lannon, Timothy and Vincenzo to join him. Both Serita and Kindor make their way over as well. He instructs Vincenzo “Go get your wife. I need her too.” Vinnie says “She’s a busy cooking. I don’t disturb her when she’s a cooking things.” Tenbar says “It’s very important!” Vincenzo turns to Timothy and says “Go and getta my wife.” Timothy does so.

Once all seven are in the room Tenbar has the door shut. “What’s going on?” Kindor asks. Tenbar says to Timothy “Do that aura thing of yours on those three,” gesturing to Jamie, Serita and Vincenzo. “They look okay,” Timothy replies. Tenbar then turns to Kindor and says “Ask her something that only she would know?” Before Kindor can reply Serita looks to him and replies “Left ankle”. The Lordholder blushes, and says “It’s her.” Vinnie declares “I don’t want to know.”

Tenbar then tells them “There was a jailbreak. Three people disguised as Jamie, Vincenzo and Serita went to the military area and helped Darlene escape. The Serita was very convincing, looking exactly like you and did two druidic transformations. “The Crimson Hawk Serita?” Vincenzo questions. Serita explains to Tenbar that there is another Serita, from an alternative timeline, living on this world and working with the Church of Loviatar [From Module # 64 ,”What if Denny Had Lived?”]

“What exactly happened?” Timothy asks. He replies “Serita flew in as a white dragon and then transformed, followed shortly thereafter with the arrival of a carriage with Vincenzo and Jamie. She was insistent that they needed to see the prisoner immediately, and had been sent by Kindor. Once with Darlene, Vincenzo cast a Heal spell on her, repairing her wounds. The Army Major in charge was familiar with your team, and realized that Vincenzo was not high enough in level to cast that particular spell, and sounded the alarm.

A fight followed, and Darlene jumped out a window and then disappeared. The other two women both transformed into bats and flew away. We caught the man, and have stripped him of his disguise, a fake beard and a lot of padding.” “Hey!” Vinnie exclaims. Tenbar describes the man, and Kindor says “Sounds like the one they call the Bishop, who Kindor had appointed Regent of Eldamar.” Tenbar says “I though so too.” Kindor says “After the meal we should have the current Eldamar Lordholder come and confirm that. We can question the prisoner then.”

Tenbar departs and the others return to their seats. Moments later two of the guards come back through the front door, and ask both Vincenzo and Timothy to quickly come to one of the rooms off from the hallway. Being at the table closest to the door they are able to slip out without creating a scene. They enter the room to see a dying Tenbar lying on a cot with a pair of crossbow bolts sticking out of him, one in the leg the other in the side. Each cleric works on a different wound, extracting the bolt, taking off his armor and then casting Neutralize Poison over each of the wounds. A guard is sent to discreetly get Kindor and Serita.

Serita checks the clerics’ work on the wounds and then examines the bolts. She confirms that both were hollow, with spring mechanisms to inject the poison through the points. She notes that the bolts are of two different types of construction and the poisons appear to be different as well. “Not surprising, they came from two different directions” a barely conscious Tenbar mutters. “What happened?” Kindor asks. The dwarf replies “I had just exited the building and was heading towards the carriage when the first one hit my side, followed by another in the leg. Serita comments “If these poisons are what I suspect they are it is a good thing the clerics were right by the door, otherwise you’d now be dead.” Kindor asks several guards and Timothy to stay with him, saying “We’ll deal with this once the guests are all gone.”

The meal concludes, and the auction item preview begins. Hiroshi walks out to the landing at the top of the stairs, introduces himself as the auctioneer, and then explains the auction rules. There will be an ownership hearing where anyone with a claim to an item on the afternoon at 3:00 in the afternoon on the 12th. The ownership will be decided by an impartial panel of three judges. No spell use of any kind is to be allowed, nor will any weapons be allowed into the building, at either the hearing or auction. Anyone violating those rules will be ejected.

The auction will take place at 7:00 in the evening on the 13th. All items will have a reserve starting price, and bidding will be in increments of 100 gold pieces. To place a bid the person must stand and announce the bid amount, and remain standing unless they wish to drop out of the bidding. Jawlt residents will not be allowed to bid at the auction, however have been given the opportunity to submit sealed bids. These will not be opened until the bidding on each item has ended. Payments by the winners are due on the 14th, and which time the person will be given the items.

He then gestures to the stage, gesturing for Cheveyo to hold up each group of item as they are named one up for the audience to see. Having four arms, Cheveyo is able to hold up to three at a time, and gesture to them with his fourth hand. Hiroshi announces “A 20,000 gold minimum bid is set for the Pick Axe of Bold Edgar and Puzzle Box of Abu Bin Sala.” Lannon notices that the gnome Namfoodle is holding a clear gem up to his eye, and looking at the items through it.

Hiroshi continues “A 40,000 gold minimum bid is set for the Axe of Drundarr, for the Blood Stone of Kryamus, and for the Gem of Tiaga.” At a table in the back of the room Baron Te’Col stands, and announces “That is not the true Gem of Tiaga. It is a phony.” Hiroshi says “Sir, you will have an opportunity to state whatever claim you have regarding the items two days from now. In the meanwhile I would asks that you please take your seat so that we can continue.” The man slowly sits down, an angry scowl on his face.

The auctioneer states “A 60,000 gold minimum bid is set for the Finder’s Stone Prototype, for Lavender Mary’s Dress, and for the Ring of Fortune. An 80,000 gold piece minimum bid is set for Lady Natasha’s Egg, for the Pendant of Kovuz’d, and for the Sage’s Stone. A 100,000 gold piece minimum bid is set for the Cloudland’s Pendant, for the Fire Ring of Gaeldor, and for the Sphinx of Ul Bakak. A 120,000 gold piece minimum bid is set for Moradin’s Maul, and for the Stone of Llyr. The preview is now completed.” Hiroshi quickly retreats back to a second floor room. Kindor then stands and thanks everyone for attending the dinner. The doors in the back of the room are opened for people to exit from. Kindor approaches Lawton from Eldamar and asks him to stick around.

Lannon quickly hurries out to catch up with Namfoodle. He introduces himself by name and title, and then asks the gnome “What exactly did you see with your gem?” The gnome replies “I’m sorry to tell you this, but you’ve been robbed. All of those items are fakes.” Lannon answers “We know that. We’ve got the real ones in a safe place.” The gnome replies “It had better be. Half of the items used to belong to me, until a certain individual replaced them with replicas, and then later came back and stole the replicas.” Lannon says “This individual wouldn’t happen to be named Wobblewick?” Namfoodle relies “Yeah, Wister Wobblewick,” and then spits on the ground to show his contempt for the other gnome. Lannon answers “Don’t worry , he’s not going anywhere. Right now we have a wyvern sitting on him.” “Great!” the gnome exclaims.

Back inside, the guests have left, and the party go to check on Tenbar. Hiroshi tells him “Welcome to the target club.” Tenbar answers “I’d prefer not to join, if you don’t mind.” “Too late,” Mojo quips. The group discuss what happened, commenting that nothing else seemed to happen during the dinner to indicate a target. Serita speculates “Yeah, and the head of the Jawlt Army could be perceived as the “Most Powerful Fighter in the City. The jailbreak must have been to get him to come here to the dinner as the signal.” Hiroshi postulates “Well, at least two of the assassins watching this building interpreted it as that, whether is was the real clue or not.” The party decide to have Tenbar stay with them as a guest until further notice. Kindor asks “Does Anyone want to join me to go talk to the prisoner?”
 

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 48, “The Prisoner", July 10th, 7:00 P.M.

The group of Kindor, Lannon, Mojo, Serita, Timothy, and the Eldamar Lordholder Lawton arrive at the military area at the northernmost point of the inner city. They travel through the fortress to the dungeon level, where the prisoner sits tied, bound, and surrounded by six high-ranking officers of the Jawlt Army. Lawton immediately confirms “Yes, that is definitely the Bishop.” Mojo draws his sword, and threatens then man, telling him to “Talk, or I’ll kill you.” When there is no immediate response Mojo prepares to swing, but Timothy intervenes, pointing out to Mojo that the man can’t speak because he is currently wearing a gag. “You spoil all my fun,” Mojo replies. Lawton whispers to Serita and Lannon “Your version of Good Cop, Bad Cop?” “More like Good Cop, Homicidal Maniac,” the dwarf replies.

Kindor moves to remove the gag, but also tells Mojo “Keep the sword handy. If he even attempts to cast a spell stop him.” Serita walks up behind him, striking the man on the head with the Rod of Cancellation, and says, “That should take care of him trying spells.” Mojo says “Okay, talk.” The man replies “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you the truth.” “Try us,” Serita answers. The Bishop looks at Timothy, says “You…Cleric,” saying the word with maximum disdain in his voice. “What?” Timothy asks. Serita interjects “I think he’s asking you to cast a Detect Lie to verify what he has to say.” Timothy begins the spell.

The Bishop then tells them that the High Priestess Pamela sent him and the others to Jawlton. “Yeah, your sister sent you, we figured that out already. Why?” Serita states. He answers “To prevent the Queen from being assassinated.” “What!” Mojo exclaims. The Bishop tells them “A former member of the Halla Thief and Assassins Guild plans to assassinate Jennifer, and let the ILA take the blame. Pamela believes that only Darlene can stop the assassin, and I concur with that, which is why is was necessary for us to rescue her.” Timothy verifies that

Kindor and Mojo demand to know more about this assassin, but the Bishop says he is not at liberty to divulge that information. Serita interjects “You don’t have to. It is obviously Annette of Kaloon, formerly Annie of Halla.” The Bishop won’t confirm or deny that. Mojo says “Why would Pamela want Jennifer alive?” “She must think she can exploit her at some time in the future,” Serita says. Mojo replies “She’s mistaken. The only one the Queen owes any favors to is me.” Kindor looks at him quizzically, and says, “How do you figure that? If memory serves, Pamela was the person who resurrected Jennifer after she was killed by you Mojo.” The fighter replies “That happened a long time ago, a lot has changed since then.”

Serita states “That doesn’t make any sense. If they weren’t here to do us harm then why did they attack us so viciously?” The Bishop says, “They didn’t attack you. You attacked them. They were just trying to get away.” “They almost killed me!” Mojo exclaims. “Should we really hold that against them?” Lannon mutters. Kindor tells the Bishop “Here’s what I’m going to do. Since you didn’t come here to harm anyone I won’t charge you with any crimes in Jawlt. I still don’t want you here, so I’ll have you extradited in the morning.” The gag is placed back on him, and the guards are instructed to watch him closely.

The group leaves the room and head back to the carriages. “You’re actually going to let him go?” Lannon asks. Kindor replies “I agreed to not charge him here and would extradite him. I never said anything about where I would extradite him to. You’ll recall that seven years ago he helped to assassinate Sir Edward of the East Lordholding Land of Plantaginet. Edward was resurrected later, and still rules Plantaginet, which is where I will be sending the Bishop. Edward can then decide what to do with him.” “I like the way you think” Mojo comments.

Meanwhile, across town at the Full Tankard Tavern, stealth team members Blip, Cassie, Lono and Mark are waiting for the clue to the next target. Cassie looks around the rather filthy building, situated not far from the docks, and asks, “Has this place changed any since Narg’s bachelor party?” Lono replies “I’m not sure. I don’t remember much of that evening.” “Me either,” Mark states.

The tavern is rather crowded, with about fifty patrons, spread out throughout the room. Most are either alone or in small groups, and there is minimal interaction. About the only activity in the room is a pair of men playing darts. The party takes their time consuming the beverages, noticing that most other patrons are as well.

They are there for several hours, until around 10:30 P.M. when several of the patrons begin to file out. “Did me miss something?” Blip asks. “Must have,” Lono comments. Cassie notices that people leaving are all going past the east wall before departing. “Let’s see what they’re looking at,” she comments. They then notice that people are glancing at the dartboard. Stuck into the board are three lilac-colored darts, two on the number ‘3’, the other on the number ‘20’.

They return to the Magical Stone Inn, where they brainstorm about what the numbers mean, but can’t think of anything significant. A note is written out which Cassie’s owl then flies over to the auction house. Tenbar and Melito are still there with the party, and Serita read them the note. An odd look crosses Melito’s face. “Does that mean anything to you?” Lannon asks. He replies “Yes, but it would only have meaning to someone familiar with the ILA. This is the 23rd ILA convention. The 20th convention was held during the year 1003 on the Aldornian calendar. The other ‘3’ would indicate that the person who came in 3rd Place during that convention is the target.” “And that would be you?” Serita ponders. “Yes,” Melito replies.

“Wait a minute, are you saying that you used to kill people for sport?” Mojo quips. Melito replies “You need to understand, while I’ve never been an assassin, I did run the thief and assassins guild, so had a reputation to maintain.” He thinks a minute, and says “And Mojo, you’re hardly what I’d call a pacifist.” Mojo replies “I only kill people I have a very good reason. Like if they’re evil, or if they tick me off, or if they spill my drink.”

Melito then points out that “This could change things. We didn’t originally plan to try to get the ILA leaders because we were afraid of angering them, and making either me or you targets.” Lannon finishes the through “Which we now are, so what’s stopping us.” “Any idea where we’d find these leader?” Timothy asks. Melito says “I know where at least one is staying, possibly two. They never have more than two in one place, so if they are captured a majority will still be free to judge the convention. When Lady Moorehead returned to the city from the funeral I spoke to her. A group of these assassins are at her estate holding her husband and servants as hostage, and this group includes the small ILA leader. When I spoke to her she asked me to get something to her.”

“What?” Fiona inquires. He replies “A bottle, which the mage’s guild has. It has her powers stored in it.” “Powers?” Timothy interjects. He replies “Yes. She fell in love with Lord Moorehead fifteen years ago, and was required to take mortal form to marry him. She was originally a Djinni." Timothy’s player comments “And I’ll bet his name is 'Tony'. Serita’s player says “Just what we need, references to bad 1960’s television shows.”

Melito comments that “To save her husband from these assassins she is willing to return to being one again, although she would then be required to leave.” “Yeah, and probably then come live on our Island, I know how these things work,” Mojo states. Serita ponders “Maybe we can rescue them without her needing to do that.”
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Game #16 - 5/18/03

The game begins with the DM’s wife taking a half gallon of ‘Forbidden Chocolate Explosion’ ice cream out of the freezer, to get herself a bowl of it. She discovers the box is almost empty and begins to berate her husband for having gotten into it. The other players conclude that this particular flavor of ice cream gets its name because “He is forbidden to have it, and she explodes when she catches him.”

Chapter 49, “The Royal Meeting,” July 11th, 1019, 12:00 A.M.

A midnight meeting is held at the Ancient Keep. At the conference table is Queen Jennifer. Seated on one side of the table are her five military advisors: Generals Aaron, Mojo, and Teakas, plus Admirals Kindor and Matthan. On the opposite side of the table Jawlt Council Members Ki-Geloryn, Lannon, Narg and Serita, plus the priest Timothy. The Queen is wearing her Assassin Detection sword, and she then has Timothy check the alignment auras of everyone present, to confirm their identities.

Matthan is glaring at the Silver Moon Adventurers present, to which Narg replies “What are you looking at?” Matthan points to the Jawlt Council Members and states “They are not the Queen’s military leaders, they shouldn’t be here.” Kindor interjects “Matthan, Show them some respect. For the second night in a row they’ve kept your miserable little hide from being assassinated.” Serita says “Let’s stop doing that.” Mojo begins to say something, but is silenced by a stony stare from the Queen who mouths the words “Shut Up” at him.

Jennifer restores the meeting to order, telling everyone to calm down. She then turns the floor over to Kindor, who informs everyone assembled about the ILA convention, that Hiroshi and Melito are designated targets, and that Tenbar and the guest Grediwal Llyr are possible targets. He then announces “We have also uncovered others are in the city planning assassinations of their own, hoping to have the ILA get blamed. One of these plots is against the Queen, the other against the King.”

The Queen states “Yes, and Matthan, both of these other plots have been initiated by the people who you appointed as the Regents of your Lordholdings, namely my two rivals for your hand. Lady Darlene is involved in the plot to kill you, while Lady Annette is trying to kill me. “Gee Matthan, you sure can pick’em,” Serita comments. Narg asks the King “Is there any kind of dog you won’t lie down with?” As an afterthought he turns to Jennifer and adds “No offense Queenie.”

Kindor continues, stating “We have caught and questioned two of their co-conspirators. Apparently Lady Annette, for some reason I can’t fathom, is in love with you Matthan and wishes the Queen to be out of the way. Her boss Pamela disagrees, and sent the others to stop her. Pamela also instructed them to assassinate you.” He then slides a metal vial across the table to the King, instructing him to open it very carefully. The King does so, seeing that it is filled with a clear granule substance.

Kindor continues “The vial contains a lethal poison known as Zedradine. A day ago we arrested your friend Lady Antoinette Khorram. While you and her husband were at the dinner I had their lodgings searched, which is where we found that along with a variety of other things. We’ve now questioned her again, and it turns out that she is a Priestess of Loviatar. That big gaudy gold ring of hers is hollow, and she was planning to use it to add the poison to your beverage during the meal tonight, per the instruction of your former top advisor, the High Priestess Pamela.” Serita shakes her head, and says “Matthan, you are an absolute schmuck!” Narg then tells him “You continue to surround yourself with the scum of the earth. How can you be the King if you are as dumb as a stump?”

“Enough!” the Queen states. She then turns to her husband and asks “How did you get involved with the Khorrams?” Matthan meekly replies “I was in desperate need of Lord Khorram’s assistance. At the coronation it was announced that a counterfeiting ring existed on the continent. I discovered that Pamela was the one responsible, using her role as my advisor and treasurer to issue the false currency. That is why I dismissed her and her friends.” “You just let them go?” Aaron questions. Matthan replies “Yes, it was the only way to keep things quiet. If it became known that my lands were insolvent it would have been the ruin of the royal family. I needed a quick influx of real currency to stabilize things, and Lord Khorram had the necessary funding and willingness to help.” “Ah, so he’s your loan shark,” Serita states. Matthan reluctantly answers “Yes.”

After a long pause Serita then says to Matthan “Please tell me that your son didn’t get your brains.” Narg tells the King “You should have listened to me four years ago when I warned you about associating with them.” Kindor interjects “Narg, that was seven years ago.” Narg answers “Really? Seven years ago? Are you sure?” Matthan still has a dumb look on his face, still processing what Serita had just said and mutters in a panicked voice “My son..” Jennifer tells him “Relax, he’s not where you think he is. I didn’t send him to that boarding school of Pamela’s, the Prince there is one of my guards polymorphed to look like Matthew. Don’t you ever tell this to anybody, but he is attending the school on Silver Moon Island.” “Yeah, he’s safe with his Godmother” Serita exclaims while pointing to herself. Narg adds “And let me tell you right now, he throws one heck of a curve ball. I helped teach him that.”

While Matthan is still reeling from all of these revelations, the Queen gives Mojo another “Keep your trap shut” look, and then tells Matthan “And that ship you are staying on is no longer safe for you. Those military officers worked for Pamela, and maybe still do. The same is true with all of the guards and servants back at your castle. I would suggest that you remain here, this inn has some extra rooms. We should also sit together at the auction, to give the appearance that we have reconciled. When I leave Jawltorn you can return with me to the city of Karjjil Valley, and I will do my best to keep Pamela from killing you. I do not want my son to be without a father.” Narg adds “Yeah, it’s only because of that kid that we haven’t dealt with you long ago.” Matthan looks towards Jennifer and nods his head in agreement to what she has suggested.

Kindor announces “That being said, the Silver Moon Adventurers and I really need to get going. We have to increase security due to this ILA threat.” Mojo is clearly upset at being forced to leave while Matthan gets to stay. Kindor ushers the five adventurers back to the carriage and they head back to the auction house. “Why’d she have to do that” Mojo mutters. “Oh don’t pout,” Serita tells him. Kindor states “She was just fixing a problem we helped create in the first place. Twice now we have changed the puppeteer pulling his strings, and both times someone just as bad moved in to fill the vacuum. Jennifer will know what to do with him, and this means that she now has complete control over three Lordholdings rather than one.”

Kindor then says “There is, however, one piece of information from Lady Khorram that I neglected to mention in the meeting. Pamela sent her to assassinate Matthan, but also sent her with a “Raise Dead” scroll. Lady Khorram was to then bring him back, to further gain his trust and solidify her hold on him. Plus, being poisoned at a dinner that I hosted and which you guys catered, he would have blamed us, which also would have played into Pamela’s hands.”

Narg interjects “Hey, this means that we can now shut down Pamela’s church once and for all. Matthan’s army was the only thing stopping us.” Serita adds “Yes, but I am a druid, and we need to maintain a balance. If we take out her church we should counter it by also eliminating the church of Ukko.” “She’s got a point,” Mojo states. “Sounds good to me,” Narg adds. “HEY!” Timothy yells.
 

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 50, “The Most Powerful Fighter”, July 11th, 9:00 A.M.

The party again discuss the clue as to who the ‘most powerful fighter in the city’ might be in reference to. It occurs to Narg that they may have been interpreting it wrong, that ‘powerful’ might refer to fighter experience level rather than political power. He asks “Doesn’t this city have a fighter’s guild?” Tenbar answers “Yes, here in the inner city. There is also a Fighting Man’s Association” in the outer city. “Probably where the real fighters hang out,” Furynick interjects. Narg grabs Furynick, Jacob and Mojo to accompany him there. Serita insists on also joining. “You’re not a fighter!” Furynick interjects. “No, I’m a Jawlt official,” she replies. The others decide not to argue.

The Fighting Man’s Association (FMA) is situated in the west outer city, in a part of the city filled with armor and weapon shops. It consists of three different sections. The first area is a large stone auditorium-style building housing a number of different sparring areas and an indoor archery range. The street-side wall of the building has multiple barn-style doors, all of which are currently open. In front of the doorways are benches, presently occupied by dozens of young boys who are watching the various weapons training by approximately thirty men inside. Next to that is a stone four-story building with the sign ‘FMA Offices’ above the door. On the other side of that is a private tavern, sporting the sign ‘FMA Member’s Only’ above its door. Narg says “This goes against my basic nature, but let’s check out the office first.”

They are soon in the company of the FMA President, a large muscular human by the name of Angus McLeod. He warmly greets Furynick, assuming him to be the leader of the group. The party introduce themselves, and he doesn’t appear to recognize any of their names. He asks them about membership, with them explaining they are working for the city and are seeking information. Asking about experience, it is determined that Angus is at 8th level, and that the highest ranking member is 11th level, but that he is getting on in years and is semi-retired.

Next the party head back to the inner city to the Fighter’s Guild. It is comprised of a stone three-story building. Like the FLA, it is surrounded by armor shops, but unlike the other has no practice hall or tavern. It’s president is named Lord Orson, and he not only recognizes the party and calls them by title but is honored that they have come for a visit. He offers Narg and Mojo honorary memberships, agreeing not to charge them dues until the second or third year.

When asked about experience he proudly proclaims that he is 1 of 16 members between the 9th and 13th level. The highest is identified as Lord William Horace, the Guild’s Vice President. Serita asks “Are you aware of anyone currently in the city who might even have more experience?” He answers, “Well yes, there is a 15th level fighter currently visiting. We were supposed to dine with him last night but he was unable to attend.” Questioning further, they find out that the fighter in question was auction guest Captain Barigev Oldsmith of Draconer. The dinner appointment was made by a Mr. James Thomson. The 8 Guild Officers had waited for him at the nearby Sword & Scabbard Tavern, but the Captain stood them up. They next check the tavern, finding that nothing out-of-the-ordinary occurred the prior evening.

The group next head over to the Hero’s Half, a fairly large tavern and inn situated on the western shore of the inner city, by a 30 foot high cliff overlooking the river. The party has a large dining room heading out onto a wooden deck above the river. Narg and Serita identify themselves and state they are looking for the group from Draconer. The manager states “Of course. You got here quickly.” “Quickly?” Furynick states. “Dummy up,” Mojo mutters to him. The manager continues “It pleases me to see the level of importance that Kindor puts upon the safety of his guest, sending two Council Members to investigate the incident.”

They are led to the room with Captain Oldsmith, young price Taran and his halfling servant Elinda Shortstrike, who recognize the party from the night before. “Would you please tell us what happened?” Oldsmith says “We were dining downstairs when a pair of ruffians attempted to harm my young charge. They came up from behind, but I saw them with my peripheral vision and I countered their attack.” “Peripheral vision?” the one-eyed Furynick asks. “Forget it,” Mojo tells him. The Captain continues the colorful tale of his single-handedly fighting off both men, using his sword on one and shield on the other. One was rendered unconscious, the other ran away. The Prince was unharmed.

Narg and Serita explain briefly about the ILA and tell the Captain that is was probably him and not the boy who was the target. The Captain is relieved to hear that, stating that the Prince’s safety is his only concern, and how he is more that capable to deflecting any further attacks. Mojo mutters to Narg “And who would attack him when he has his ego to hide behind.”

Serita explains that they are taking every necessary precaution to protect the guest. The Captain replies “Well I would certainly hope so. Why back in Draconer we would never stand for this.” Mojo says “Well, I don’t know how things are done in your land of Pooh Corner, but we have everything under control here.”

Jacob asks them about which item are the seeks from the auction. The young price explains that they are seeking the Ring of Fortune, which grants the wearer luck, that it once belonged to his great Uncle. He explains that the Uncle was a diplomat, who also gambled heavily, which is what led to the ring being lost. Serita burst out laughing, saying “He gambled away the ring! That doesn’t sound very lucky to me.” The Prince explains that the Uncle actually won the game, and was assassinated shortly thereafter, probably by one of the losers. That was when the ring vanished. “Still doesn’t sound like it brought him much luck,” Furynick comments. The Prince explains that the Ring does indeed bring luck, but only can be used once a day, and the Uncle had already used it for the card game.

They head to the military area, and question the man who the Captain had knocked out with his shield. They find out that he is one of three sailors from a merchant ship who had been well paid to “play a joke” on the Captain. They were only supposed to disturb his meal, and had not been told to expect him to fight back. The skirmish ended before the third member of their team even got to join in. The group tell him he is lucky to still be alive, that his opponent was a 15th level fighter.

The others decide to head back to the auction house, but Serita chooses to head over to the nearby Red Lance Tavern , where the group from the desert kingdom of Ul Bakak is staying. She finds that they are as uppity, self-righteous and obnoxious as before. The translator for the Mage’s Guild is at his wits end. He translates for her, and it is obvious that the Pharaoh and his priests have no interest in auction rules, expecting to just trade the riches they brought for the Sphinx. She makes arrangements to have these riches appraised prior to the auction.

Word reaches the party early in the evening that Captain Barigev Oldsmith is dead. The party investigate at the Hero’s Half, finding that the section of dining room deck that the Captain had walked upon collapsed. Wearing his full plate mail, he quickly sank to the river bottom, and is presumed to have drowned. A group of Jawlt Navy sailors are currently searching for the body, but have not found it yet.

The group find that the beam beneath that part of the deck had been sawed through, with evidence of wires and a brace having been attached to it. They conclude that the breakfast skirmish was probably a diversion to temporarily empty the deck and create a distraction while the beam was cut by either a magical saw or spell. A sailor from a river barge also reports having seen someone by the shore toss a net over the Captain as he struck the water.

“What about the Prince?” Serita asks. Mojo’s player, who manages a comic-book store and has just come from a long day at work says “He’s a 12-year-old kid. I say we kill him.” The party head upstairs to question Prince Taran and his other companion. They find that the halfling is and has always been the boy’s true bodyguard. The party question how effective a guard she really is, as she is used to “Draconer Rules”, where all fights are resolved through honorable one-on-one duals. She asks the party for a refund of the 2,000 Gold Pieces they paid for the Captain to attend the auction, which Serita flatly refuses. As they leave Narg mutters “Just like a halfling. They lose their greatest fighter, and all she can think of is money.”
 
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