Soanso's Fireside Chat: Rise of the Runelords (AE)

soanso

First Post
Welcome, ibayboy! I still owe you a reply in Arendel's SS thread. What a fun AP, I'd like to compare notes or at least trade tales. I'm percolating a "post-script" adventure for the Shiv'ers for this winter...
 

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ibayboy

First Post
I'm thinking of that too. Either destroying the skull once and for all, or a delve into Savith's tomb. I'm a PC in S&S at the moment, then i'm gonna run Reign of Winter. After that i'm hoping to get my 'paladin' on as a PC in Wrath of the Righteous. We were thinking of re-running RotR, with the anniversary ed , but everything coming out is too interesting! The quality of Paizo's products seems to just get better and better.
 


soanso

First Post
Session 2.2

“Nay,” Aldern bowed deep in respect, and then stepped close to me. “To be saved from such savage beasts by a woman of your, countenance,” he said as his eyes explored my body freely, “is truly a blessing. Be you a citizen, or a traveler of the open road?” He read my roots right and I found that fact, at its base, charming.

Many treat us Varisians as though we are a fog. Seen but ignored, an impediment rather than an accoutrement in the landscape. But it is our land, our story, our history.

“I am quartered in the Rusty Dragon, perhaps you will come by for dinner?” His intent was laid out in his eyes. Mine strayed to his poor companion before returning his gaze. He had dark eyes and brown hair worn long, as is the style among Magnimar’s socialites. His fair skin told me the light of day splashed off his finery, not his bare skin. He was a noble, or at least wanted to be. Perhaps a merchant, but traveling alone dismissed this thought. We could use a nobleman…

“We-” I caught myself. That word again. I glanced over my shoulder as I pretended to check the battleground for signs of life, watching as Mundin, Shaiira, Caramour and Vohoi guardedly approached myself and the stranger.

Steady.

“We are also taking rooms at the Rusty Dragon. It would be an honor for us to dine with you,” I said, loud enough for at least Shaiira to hear, and glean my intent.

Aldern seemed nonplussed that I invited four others to dinner on his doubloon.

“Yes, it would be welcome company to have you and your, associates, for dinner. This evening, then?”

The dwarf spat onto the dusty street. “We ain’t associates-”

Shaiira simultaneously squashed her heel -hard- into the dwarf’s boot while wrangling him in with an awkward side-hug “Yeah, we’re practically family. We are the Heroes of Sandpoint, ya know.”

Vohoi and Caramour picked up on what Sis was saying, nodding and trying to look as heroic as they could. If only I’d mastered prestidigitation to make us all glow…

But the scene was apparently enough for Aldern. We exchanged pleasantries (he and I) as we walked back to the cathedral, parting ways as he headed to the Rusty Dragon and we headed to the North Gate, which we heard from some militia guards we’d passed was abandoned this morning.

We stopped briefly at the White Deer Inn and spoke to the establishment’s owner, Garriden Viskail, who confirmed he did not see guards posted at the Gate, but chalked it up to the Swallowtail Festival. “I dunno- maybe they wanted more of a presence in town. It’s odd, sure, but Sandpoint ain’t exactly a hotbed of intrigue, ya know? Plus, the militia’s volunteer, it’s possible they stole away or didn’t show to get down to the festival- who wants to work on a holiday, right?”

We found the North Gate manned when we arrived, but the guards there reported the post was abandoned when they arrived for duty. Sandpoint’s militia is largely voluntary, it seems. We gathered that the Sheriff has records of the daily watch in his office, which is staffed by a solitary secretary. Sherriff Belor Hemlock is assisted by two deputies, Gomer and Goober, regarding the full-time policing of town. All three were present at the Swallowtail Festival ceremony, leaving volunteer militia covering all the accessible byways and inroads to and from town. Caramour scouted the area outside the Gate and found that at least 10 goblins were on scene this morning, as well as a ladder, perhaps used by the melon-headed monsters to infiltrate the North Gate. We also learned that there is local “goblin expert” by the name of Shalelu, but the elven ranger was on assignment at the time of the attacks. Through accounts given to us by Belor and our own tally, 36 goblins attacked Sandpoint today. This is a dark cloud.

We finally headed back to the Rusty Dragon to relax, thanks to Ameiko’s generosity. Mundin wanted to pass by Savah’s Armory, but we convinced him our meager coin, and the meager daylight, assured she’d be closed for business. We entered through the tavern and found Aldern had set out a modest feast for us, including Ameiko’s award-winning salmon, a few quails stuffed with cornbread and hot peppers, Parson’s cabbage, Korvosan-fried potatoes, wild kale salad, fey noodles with scapes, gold tomatoes and black truffles, and several carafes of fine red wine.

A tall mug of stout lager kept place for Mundin, who was more than happy to oblige. I must admit, I find the dwarf a welcome, if aloof, ally. Shaiira took to him instantly; I think young and reckless suits the dwarf just fine. It seems they both take to things with abandon, as if nothing holds them to this mortal coil; I wish I were as free. The Vudrani does not eat much; perhaps his culture forbids certain foods. Vohoi takes to the repast like a proper Varisian, indulging food, drink, and host with a wanton lust of life and frivolity. After a few glasses of wine, we all felt much better about the day and ourselves.

Aldern, of course, reserved a seat for me at his right elbow. I was happy to oblige- I am no fool. But I had already batted the nobleman about my head for the afternoon previous. What to do with him? Tis nice to be appreciated; but again, I am not an easy mark. It would be simple to turn his game around, to make him the fool, but then what? Passing on a friend to gain an enemy is not a circumstance I wish to visit. He made mention of Magnimar, perhaps I will leave it at that.

Over dinner, he asked after my family, my origin, but always politely. I simply told him that I was in town for the festival, and that I had relatives all over Varisia. He pressed to find if I had ties to Magnimar; I saw through this, based on what he’d already said. There’s Old Bull Farateldi there, but he’s more a headache than a relation, always whacked out on pesh or worse.

Foxglove then invited me to his Magnimar estate, if I ever found myself in town, as it were. I smiled and thanked him. Sinister or delusional on his part, it was the right response as his guest. During an interlude in the meal, he pressed a small pouch into my lap under the table. I felt its weight before he spoke- “The first part of your reward, for saving me,” he whispered.

First part? Time to shorten the leash on this hound!

Aldern then asked me if I’d accompany him on a boar hunt in the Tickwood. He suggested that success would let us bring it back for a feast, prepared by Ameiko. A small assumption for a nobleman; I’ve field-dressed many kills, and prepared the meal as well. I hoped for his sake Aldern had already asked Ms. Kaijitsu about this endeavor; but I assumed he had not. I saw Vohoi whispering something to Bethanna, the halfling matron of the Rusty Dragon. I hope he overheard Foxglove’s intent, Vohoi seems the type to advance plans, as it were.

“We’d love to!” I said, fueled a bit by the wine but more so by feeling suddenly alone. That word again.

Sha and Mundin were engaged in some sort of shenanigans across the table; intoxicated whispers led me to believe there was some sort of wager placed on the Foxglove incident. Caramour and Vohoi were all in for the boar hunt.
“Great! We’ll leave at first light!” pronounced Aldern.

“Actually, we have a few things to take care of in the morning, if that’s okay,” I interjected.

“Of course, dear Sivoulette, as long as we get out before noon. The quarry sleeps the afternoon away.”

There was a boar/boor/nobleman joke there, but I bit my tongue. I could not place Aldern. On the one, he found me attractive and interesting, a parlay I held at arm’s length, and one I’d not experienced in some time. This made flirtation fresh and exciting, but I had a We, an Us to once again consider. I played the passing-through card, and he read my tell and offered his residence in Magnimar. He is obviously of noble rank, or at least has the means to pretend such.

***

Wine tends to distract me from time, but nonetheless after the banquet, as we took brandy in the Great Room, I noticed a rather well-endowed and flaunting young woman approach Caramour. A semi-whispered conversation was, to my ears, a poorly laid attempt by the lass to rope the austere Vudrani into some sort of shenanigans. As the others embraced the fireside chat, I made note, and followed C as he left the Inn. Of course, I signaled the others to follow at a distance. Sha and I crept close, when I realized he’d been courted by Shayliss Vinder, one of Venn Vinder’s daughters and heir to the Sandpoint General Store. She led C on, claiming giant rats were attacking the stores in the basement. Caramour was wise to take his staff and leave the door to the store open.

I padded inside, and got close enough to see the pair head down the stairs, C’s demeanor certainly not of the bedside sort. Knowing Mundin, Shaiira, and Vohoi were outside meant nothing when I heard the front door open with a bang. Praise Desna, the lamps were still burning low in the store, and I was a traveler. I feigned surprised as the man strode in.

“Oh, um, are you still open? I am in search of a few candles so that I may write in my journal tonight. I am sorry to bother-”

“Meh! How’d you get-”

My voice was loud enough to reach the basement, as Caramour led the young lady up the stairs while saying, “So I think the large rodents are gone, ma’am, and if they do recur, perhaps there is a local pest service you can reach.” I’m guessing by the bodice beneath her nightgown that there are no rats. I looked at C, and he looked at me. It was time to go.

“So, sorry if you’ve closed, I saw the light-“

The merchant shrugged. “Meh, have a few on the house. Be on your way, we’re closed.”

We doubled around back and took the long way back to the Rusty Dragon, hooting as Caramour told us of his night that almost was. There are many cards here in Sandpoint, I must be sure to count them all.
 

soanso

First Post
Thanks K-lobb! This campaign is from a players' perspective (a bard nonetheless!) Drop in whenever! This will continue to be a frequent Story Hour- a bit jostled to begin- as are most- but we'll settle in. This AP has a very dynamic set of players/characters, and will be a ton of fun!
 

Peteinmaine

First Post
There is no longer any doubt in my mind that everything going on here in town is deeply connected.
The goblins, the tomb, the family history, all linked by something. Both past and present. I am also certain that the group coming together now have had their fates placed on a firm breeze. We are all destined to drift where the wind from rising fires takes us. The bard lives by her whits, as does her sister, but in vastly different capacities. The dwarf is holding rage and bitterness back, but both are consuming him. I haven't figured out the sorceror yet, but I know his strange path is meant to fall in these same footsteps, which at the moment seem to be vile little goblin tracks. There is blood and evil that will continue to poison the earth beneath our feet in this town. I hope for the sake of the good people we have encountered that we are able to cleanse it of it's curse and allow it to thrive once more. I hope Siv's insightful gaze helps us avoid the pitfalls my naive mind misses. I hope we can show Mundin that working together doesn't replace family, but it does reinforce what family meant, we are going to need him, and I think he will also need us, whatever evil he's looking for is probably going to be dangerous. I think Shaiira might be the key to unlocking the dwarf's story, and Vohoi's turbulent ways will be invaluable as this path takes us into stranger territory yet. These goblins are despicable creatures...
 
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soanso

First Post
session 2 part 3

As we approached the Rusty Dragon, Belor and Father Zantus greeted us. Tis nightfall, and it’s been one helluva day. “Can we ask your assistance once more, Heroes of Sandpoint?” said Father Zantus, sincere in his greeting. He is a keeper of Desna, to whom I trust. Sherriff Belor bustled at the formalities.

“There was a disturbance in the boneyard. With all that has happened here in the last day, we thought it prudent to seek your help,” Belor interjected, somewhat annoyed by the priest’s dallying. We agreed to help and hurried along to the boneyard.

Father Zantus told us that the grave of Ezakien Tobyn had been disturbed. Known as Father Tobyn in life, he was Sandpoint’s holy man when the old church burned to the ground, five years ago. He and his adopted daughter, Nualia, were the only victims in the blaze. A chill ran up my spine; the coincidental timing was eerie. To disturb the tomb of a holy man is an evil act.

We soon met Naffer Vosk at the boneyard. He gave me a solemn nod; Shaiira’s eyes noticed and I reminded myself we needed to have a chat about Mum. I asked after the Tobyn funerary, and Vosk, the boneyard’s attendant, noisily cleared his throat, “I been at the Festival all day, seen what happened there. Nothing strange to report here until just now, when I made rounds. I do not judge, I leave that to the Lady. I can direct you to the yard, though.” Pharasma’s faithful make the worst informants.

I should ask Father Zantus about Tobyn tomorrow; we may need some information about the deceased preacher. Vosk told us where to find the crypt, but politely declined our invitation to investigate. Sherriff Hemlock escorted us, leading the way with his lantern.

We wound our way to the Tobyn mausoleum, and found the door ajar. Shaiira noted goblin footprints as well as a set belonging to a larger humanoid. The size of human feet, but unintelligible beyond that. So the goblins have a friend, how nice. We were met with a few skeletons, one of the wolf variety and the others humanoid. The lid of one of the two sarcophagi was but a smashed heap on the crypt floor.

Mundin led the way into the crypt, shouting “Bones! Fall in mates and we’ll be to another flagon of ale!” I took this to mean that he saw some skeletons and we should smash them. We obliged. He’s aloof like that. Having such an ally is proving its worth.

My rapier is a weak weapon against this particular undead horror, though I struck true in battle but to little effect. Mundin laughed and later agreed to make room in his pack for some of my gear, so I might carry a cudgel should the need arise. This dwarf is Desna’s blessing, I swear.

The skeletons were dispatched in short order.

Inspecting the sarcophagi, we found Father Tobyn’s coffin empty save a few scraps of cloth. We did not remove the cover of the other. We found a discarded robe in one corner of the crypt, likely the spent effort of a Robe of Bones. Hmm.

The construction of the new cathedral and its consecration today, mirrored by Tobyn’s missing body amidst an incursion of goblins, plus a set of tracks decidedly bigger than a goblin at the crime scene, raised an alarm in my mind. So much has happened so quickly, I need time to process this deluge of information. We agreed to head back to the Rusty Dragon for a well-deserved nightcap, and a night’s rest in a warm bed.

Bethanna, Kaijitsu’s halfling maid, greeted our arrival. As she helped us settle in for the evening, I passed her a note to slip under Aldern Foxglove’s door; a simple reminder we would meet him tomorrow for the boar hunt. As we padded off for the night, I noticed Vohoi tipped the matron a crown. Inside I smiled.

***
 

soanso

First Post
Session 2 fin.

Finally, sleep.

Awake, and surprisingly refreshed. I headed down to a full breakfast courtesy of Ameiko Kaijitsu and her attentive staff which included Osirian-style cinnamon griddlecakes, Kyonin pheasant sausages, Mwangi fruits-de-freche, Galtan muddled eggs, and Taldoran breaded squash studded with sweet wild berries. About halfway through our late-morning repast, the double doors of the inn were suddenly kicked in. We sat, half-chewed mouths agape, as a stern, older Tian man strode through the commons toward Ms. Kaijitsu.

He unleashed an arsenal of tense and heated words upon her as he strode across the floor. Though Tian dialects are foreign to me, the bluster was obvious. Bethanna circled toward Vohoi, and provided us with a broken translation. It seemed that Lonjiku, Ameiko’s father, was berating her about something she had done, insulted her ‘wandering ways’ and scoffed at her business ventures. Bethanna gasped after one particularly biting comment- “Mr. Kaijitsu just said, ‘You are as dead to me as your Mother-’ a grave insult to Ms.- ”

Caramour moved to interject, with Vohoi close behind. I moved towards Ameiko as well, but the seasoned adventurer trumped us all, smacking the man on the head with a peppermill. He stormed out, infuriated. Afterwards, we found Ameiko unoccupied, and offered our help, whatever that may be. She politely declined, citing a longstanding feud as the cause of the morning’s interruption. Having been around town for a short while, I knew Lonjiku owned the local glassworks factory, and was absent from the Swallowtail Festival events despite being a long-standing businessman of good repute in Sandpoint.

We tarried long enough to help Bethanna with the linens; before she shooed us away, she told us the gravity of Lonjiku’s epitath: Ameiko’s mother, Atsuii, committed suicide, and her home life was complicated further by an estranged half-elf brother, Tsuto. Her brother lived in Magnimar, and was shunned by Lonjiku. He and Ameiko were once amicable, until he struck her during an argument. This prompted her adventuring career, and Tsuto further complicated matters at their mother’s funeral, when he all but accused their father of pushing Atsuii to turn her hand, leading to a near-brawl. We thanked the halfling and left to meet with Belor and the mayor. Vohoi tarried slightly, and I caught a glimpse of him reaching into his coin purse, pressing his hand into Bethanna’s. Desna’s grace.

Kendra, Balor, and an armed and armored elf sat at a long table in the mayor’s office. The elf stood to greet us. “Heroes of Sandpoint, I thank you. I am Shalelu. Mayor Kendra and Sherriff Hemlock tell me you are responsible for saving the town from the goblins that I track all along the coast.”
Shalelu sat down and we obliged, asking her questions about the local goblins and of any motives she might suspect.

We learned that there are five major goblin tribes, and that goblins are generally sloppy, disorganized, and lazy. But the attack on Sandpoint coincided with raids on the Lost Coast near Nettlewood, and in the Mosswood where a farmhouse was burned to the ground.

“The five tribes are united- as best as goblins can achieve such a state- by some outside source. There are the Mosswood- by far the largest tribe- the Licktoad, the Seven Tooth, the Thistletop, and the Birdcruncher. The Birdcrunchers are the closest to Sandpoint, but the least aggressive. The Seven Tooth often scavenge Junker’s Beach here in town,” she said, standing. “But for now I must go, I myself have yet to rest; I also have some leads to track down.”

We thanked Shalelu for her help and proceeded to meet Aldern Foxglove at the Goblin Squash Stables. I noted that Shaiira and Mundin tarried a bit behind us, and caught more than one pass of the dwarf’s flask.

Aldern was waiting, and was as gracious as ever. “Greetings, Heroes! I’ve taken the liberty of preparing your steeds. Please accept them as my thanks for saving my life yesterday. And for you, m’lady,” he bowed low and presented me with an ornate crossbow. It’s craftsmanship was exceptional. “I hope you strike true today, Sivoulette.”

I was impressed but did my best to hide it. I am a Farateldi, not Sczarni- I do not have a price tag. Still, I was not foolish enough to revoke his offer. I smiled and said, “Your Grace is too kind.”

“M’lady, please, simply call me Aldern,” he returned. “I am not your Lord, nor you my serf; just… a happy acquaintance.” I could live with that.

We traveled to the Mosswood, and soon happened upon a fat wild boar. Aldern, being the expert, declared it Dinner, so we approached it, weapons drawn. Shaiira was the first to make a move, and wildly dismounted and charged the beast. I flashed a hot glowering stare at the dwarf, who pretended to not interpret my ire. I looked back to Sha, drawing up my new crossbow; to my horror the beast gored her straight through the chest. She dropped to the ground, blood leaking from her like water from a broken barrel.

My sister was dead.

My scream may have startled the pig; C brazenly dismounted and quickly moved to Shaiira’s side, using his healing magic to steal her from Pharasma. The pig fell quickly to our efforts. Shaiira and I rode side-by-side on the way home, silent.

It wasn’t until after we’d returned to the Rusty Dragon with our prize, and after Ameiko and her staff turned it into a true feast, accompanied by a radish, watermelon and spinach salad, honey-drowned golden beets, truffled fiddleheads and carrots, and a cask of fine Tian ale that I could approach Sha about the incident. I took two glasses of red wine and found her in the corner, chatting with Vohoi. He excused himself, and I handed her a glass.

“A toast,” I said, raising my glass. “To tomorrow.” We drank. “You got lucky, there, this morning,” I said.
“I always do,” she said.
“But you might not.”
“Or I might.”
“I need to talk to you about Mum.”
“Of what? She’s at peace now.”
I paused. “Her grave is empty.”

Shaiira’s expression will never leave my soul, it was so wrought with energies too complex for words.

“We need to help Sandpoint, then we can find her,” I said, trying my best to remove my foot from my mouth. Why did I say that? Why now?
“Aye,” she said. “Well, we’ve got good company, so let’s make haste while there’s oil.”
“Aye,” I said, a smile in my eyes.

She used one of Mum’s favorite phrases. It’s a Varisian trope that means when you have the opportunity to make a play, do it. Life is imperfect, so take advantage of the situation as best you can.

Many of Sandpoint’s elite arrived courtesy of Aldern Foxglove for the feast. We sat with Shalelu, who gave us more insight into the goblin ecology of the area. Both Kendra and Belor were present; Hemlock excused himself early because he is travelling to Korvosa or Magnimar to garner support for the local militia. I find him boring. His deputies, Gomer and Guber, are in charge in his stead.

Shalelu gave us a fine introduction to the Sandpoint Goblins. “Something- or more likely someone- got to these little buggers and set them to task. There are several champions- if you will suspend disbelief- in the goblin camps. Perhaps one or several of these leaders is responsible for the raids.

“First is the Mosswood champion, Big Gugmut. Legend holds he’s the offspring of a hobgoblin and a wild boar.

“Next is a Seven Tooth legend, Corivus. He wielded a magic longsword, but disappeared into a cave in the cliffs of Junker’s Beach, and is rumored to be a ghost, or worse.

“Vorka lives in the Brinestump Marsh, duly noted as the haunt of a powerful witch. Vorka is a goblin cannibal, feared by the Licktoad tribe that calls the Marsh home.

“Gutwad, chief of the Licktoads, isn’t afraid of anything that he can send a pile of minions to deal with.

“Ripnugget is the bloodthirsty warchief of the Thistletop clan. He typically leads the charge, and they prefer dogslicers, and I’ve seen examples of their handiwork in Sandpoint.

“Last is a bugbear. Brethazmus is brutal enough to forge such an alliance of goblins, and cunning enough to pull off such attacks. He and I battle regularly along the roads and dens of the Lost Coast.”

I hoped the wine ingested wasn’t too distracting to the elf’s assessment; any errors in my recordings will likely play themselves out.

We lingered after the feast for a nightcap; Aldern bade us goodnight and Bethanna busied herself with our low-key fireside session. Suddenly a woman and her young son burst in- the boy had made claims of a monster in his closet. His dubious parents ignored him, until the father was indeed attacked! We rushed to the residence, and came to a scene of horror. C was the first one to discover the goblin hiding beneath the closet floorboards, and made short work of it. The gnawed, mangled body of the father was beyond our ability to lend aid. The goblin was likely a Seven Tooth, as it bore a necklace of seven teeth. We returned with the sad news, and Father Zantus took the widow and the boy to the temple for the evening.

The next morning sprang us into a din. Vohoi had been awakened by the halfling, Bethanna, bearing news that Ameiko was gone as well as a letter addressed to her from her estranged half-brother, Tsuto. She translated the letter for us, and in it Tsuto implicated Lonjiku as the man behind the goblin raid, and asked Ameiko to meet him at the glassworks this past midnight to “Make sure he faces the punishment he deserves.”

The tone of the letter is smattered with arrogance and a selective distaste for both Lonjiku and Sandpoint. Tsuto apparently finds the local populace to be racist and stupid, and Lonjiku to be tied in so tight that he can escape punishment by the local authorities. I am a bit taken aback that Ameiko would fall for such an obvious trap; but she has. We thank Bethanna and race to the glassworks. It is agreed that the authorities should be notified; Vohoi and C convinced a few itinerant watchmen to follow us to the Kaijitsu compound.

We arrived and broke into two groups, trying both the main entrance to the shop and a back door into the foundry. Shaiira unlocked the foundry entrance, and we proceeded in to find smashed glass everywhere. The pressed-men were sent back to alert Gomer and Guber that something was happening.

We opened a door that led to the glassworks foundry itself and came upon a horrific scene. Shattered glass was strewn about this long room studded with glassmaking kilns on its walls, and long, low crafting tables occupying the center of the room. Butchered bodies lay among the shattered glass, and Lonjiku Kaijitsu sat in a chair in the middle of the room, his visage a twisted horror of unbelievable pain and bloody viscera encased in glass. The low chant of goblins rose from the macabre scene; I counted ten goblins as Mundin’s axe followed his war-cry into the thick of it.

I sang The Way, a chanting type of short melody Filly Wax would sing on long journeys, through the swamps or low mountains especially. It kept us on pace and vigilant. Mundin fell in with his axe, I drew my rapier, Vohoi prepared a spell, C waded into danger with his walking stick, and Shaiira happily jumped into battle, and the bastards obliged our assault.

A terrible evil vexes Sandpoint.
 

soanso

First Post
The Sandpoint Glassworks

I steeled myself against the gory backdrop of the fight; a dozen melon-headed goblins occupied the foundry, which was littered with glass, tools, materials, and the limbs and scarred bodies of the innocent dead; simple craftsmen cut down in some bizarre, destructive fracas. I asked Desna to take them under her wings. Low tables occupied the length of the room, and smoky fires choked the breathable air. We fought our way through the workshop, C and Mundin waded into battle as Vohoi cast another sleep spell, giving Shaiira an advantage as she followed into the fray. My blade struck as true as my voice more than once. We noted one goblin slipped out the doors at the back of the room; our injuries were minor.

My heart cried out to Kaijitsu, a man of whom I knew little. His family was irrevocably lost, and his anguish was his lasting testament to the fury and futility that sometimes is the life lived. Being stripped of family, of normalcy, of the fundamental control of your life is a futility with which few can empathize. I couldn’t imagine Ameiko mixed up in all this, and Mundin echoed my thoughts with his words- if my thoughts were as bereft of sentiment as were his words. But he had the right intention.

“Let’s follow the gob, he’ll lead us to the Bastard!” (I must remember to sit down with the dwarf over a bottle of wine and discuss the finer points of Subtlety. Sha didn’t blink, but I did.) We concurred and followed the goblin’s trail through the double doors. We found rakes, shovels, brooms, and a few wheelbarrows strewn about disturbed piles of sand, as well as a safe on the floor, its door ajar.

The placement of the safe seemed odd; perhaps it was carried here? A utility room is an odd place for safe-keeping, so close to the foundry itself. Nonetheless, the safe was empty and there were several doors as well as a staircase descending to the basement. Of course, we chose the stairs.

We found ourselves in a set of tunnels leaving at a right-angle. A goblin and a human stood in one. Mundin charged the goblin, and the human drew a short bow. A second goblin flanked Mundin from the other side; between the three he took a beating. I came to his side and stabbed one before he cleaved the other twain with his axe. C came forward to heal the fighter as the human and the wounded goblin took off down the opposite corridor. Shaiira padded off after them, quiet as a cat.

She got the drop on them both and dispatched the goblin in one quick swipe from her bladed scarf. Mundin had doubled back as well, and met the human- or so he thought. “Tis the Brother!” he roared, bringing his axe to bear.

Tsuto.

“Don’t kill him!” Vohoi and I called sharply as we raced to the fight, not doubting the dwarf.
“No promises!” he yelled back. “He hit me first!”
As I entered range, Shaiira said, “He only hit his beard.”
“I think that’s close enough,” I said.

“Tsuto! Lay down your weapons and come with us,” Vohoi’s booming tenor echoed in the cramped corridor. “We’ve made arrangements for your safety.” The Tian half-elf- his identity illuminated in the incandescent circle provided by the sorcerer’s light spell on my drawn rapier- ignored the request and instead swung his fists again at the dwarf. Tsuto may be practiced in the martial arts but he was unable to land even a glancing blow on the dwarf. I echoed Vohoi’s call for surrender; the sudden appearance of goblins and an estranged family member in the same place warranted a story.

“Master Tsuto, there is no other way out. Come with us, the glassworks is surrounded. Please, keep your health. It is the best way.” My plea fell to deaf ears- it was obvious he was determined to make a foolhardy stand against overwhelming odds, here, in the belly of his father’s legacy. Axe poised, Mundin hesitated but one second before none called him to stay his hand.

The dwarf’s axe struck true, and Tsuto Kaijitsu was dead. His story over, at least in life. My mates lingered over the body as I approached. Cousin Max had a saying, “The most awkward moment of the hunt is the dressing.” I knelt down beside Tsuto and lidded his eyes; I offered no sentiment, his soul was already given. I rifled through his pack and clothing, handing a bow and arrows, a sword, and the contents of his pack over my head; each was taken in turn. I took his ring and handed it to the sorcerer.

“Tis a fine ring for an unmarried man,” I said as I winked. “Perhaps it’s enchanted.” The ring was; Vohoi gladly accepted the piece of finery, giving him some magic protection from our enemies.

Tsuto’s fine thieves’ tools were given to Shaiira, who in turn gave me her more mundane set. We also recovered a hefty load of gold and silver dust, likely stolen from the safe.

I recovered Tsuto’s journal and quickly flipped through it. He was involved in many dark plots against Sandpoint-
Ameiko.

Several doors punctuated the squared corridor, most contained nothing more than glass-making supplies and equipment. One served as Tsuto’s study; for how long he tarried here is not known. I rifled through his desk and snagged a half-full bottle of wine, a recent Magnimar blend. I made note to ask Aldern about the vintner. Shaiira inspected the doors and hallways for traps until we finally found Ameiko- bound, gagged, and unconscious in a storage room. After healing her, we gently broke the news to her. She was, surprisingly, not stunned.

“Aye, I am sad to see Tsuto has fallen finally to his wicked ways. My father-“ she paused long enough to compose herself. “My father. When I met Tsuto here, he told me of a plan to sack Sandpoint, to really stick it to ‘them’, as he called the townsfolk. He had joined a mercenary party, and worked for some sort of demon…”

She trailed off, and we decided it best to return her to the Rusty Dragon for recuperation. I retired to my room to study Tsuto’s journal.
 

Azkorra

Explorer
Oh, yes! I think I like this journal even better than Arendel's Serpent's Skull story (which BTW I followed from the very beginning to the end). Great job! Keep it up!
 

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