18 – 24 Rova 4712
With the street and marketplace buzzing over the violence witnessed, and cries for the city watch ringing out, Searors Woodsoul, cleric of Erastil, took his comrade, the Varisian rogue,Rhondal Belliveau, aside and whispered, “Be gone before the watch arrives; we’ll handle this here. Take the alleys and we’ll meet you back at Ayra’s.”
Quickly taking to the shadows, Rhondal disappeared as Searos and the elf mage, Gedryr Telhenar, dealt with their target, Jasper Kandamerus, who was busy rolling in the muddy street, Kandamerus is shouting crazed proclamations to the air.
“Steel is a thin reed on which to hang thy hopes – remember the strength of stone,” was one declaration, “Fear is wiser than folly, but folly will aid thee in the nights to come!!!” was another gem.
Searos set to work at calming the man while Gedryr surveyed the scene. After a few minutes of work, Jasper’s mind seemed to return and he thanked our heroes for their aid and asked what he could do for them. The half-elf told Kandamerus that he and his comrades were heading to the Mushfens, and more particularly the Lady’s Cape, and he hoped that Kandamerus, who is rumored to have spent much time in the swamp, could provide some insight into the area.
Kandamerus confirmed that he had spent much time in the swamp, looking for something in particular. But, when Searos asked what that might be, Kandamerus became agitated and shouted, “A door…THE DOOMSDAY DOOR!!!!!!”
With some more soothing, diplomatic words from Searos, Kandamerus was calmed and said, “Oh…it doesn’t even matter anymore. The Doomsday door was probably in Bakhrakhan anyway…IT’S LIKELY UNDER THE OCEAN NOW!!!!” he continued, anger at a fevered pitch, he shouted while slamming the skull-shaped ends of his flail into the street, in a violent, attacking “overhead motion.”
Then, just as suddenly, he calmed again and said he’d happily tell them what he could. At that point Searos made note that Jasper’s family name, Kandamerus, is not a typical name of this era, but Thassilonian. Kandamerus confirmed this by saying a bunch of babble about being from the past and the present, and the seer of the future…OF DOOM!!!!!!
Noticing how that had agitated Kandamerus, and sensing his mind wandering again, Searos was able to refocus the cleric of Groetus who told the half-elf and elf to seek out Maroux, an orc-blood witch who lives on an island there. “Call out to her, ‘Greetings, Lady Maroux…Jasper sent us to you. We seek your advice!!”
He also suggested our heroes offer to help Maroux with any tasks she needs done. It seems the witch starts many projects, but lacks the courage and motivation to finish them, “Oh, but, please, do not tell her I said that…” Kandamerus quickly added.
As, the trio were winding down their conversation, the city watch finally arrived and was pointed in our two heroes’ direction. The trio of blue cloaked city watch people strutted over to the elf and half-elf and, with typical city watch attitude, said, “Arlight now, where’s your friend, the one attacking people with his sword…”
Searos, again putting on his most diplomatic air, assured the city watch people that there must be some “kind of misunderstanding” and there must be “something we can do to make this right…” The city watch definitely knew something they could do to “make this right.” It involved a nice contribution of 25 gp to the city watch.
Our heroes paid it, and off the watch went.
Returning to Jasper, who had an excited look, Searos thanked him for his time, but Jasper Kandamerus had his own idea, and offered to accompany the group into the swamp. Before Gedryr could get out, “Hell, no!” Searos agreed, happily, and told the crazed, cleric of Groetus they were not leaving before the Harvest festival, in four days’ time, and he should meet the group in front of the Deadeye Lodge at dawn that morning.
Jasper was GEEKED and assured Searos he’ll be ready to go!!!
Gedryr wasn’t as geeked.
Meanwhile, Gurion Redember and Kellfrid Yngvildrdottir were ordering their matching, warhammers. They were very excited, and decided to have the dwarven runes for Sea and Stone carved into their heads. They’d be ready on the 22nd day of the month, four days’ time. Rhondal, after having his weapons pilfered, and with no city watchmen hounding him, stepped into a weaponsmith and exchanged a pair of well-crafted Varisian bladed scarves for an equally well-crafted rapier, The Cat’s Meow.
As everyone finished their tasks, they headed back to Ayra’s manor, and, realizing they’d need to provision themselves for their adventure in the swamp, looked at their loot and decided to sell off what they could.
Taking the narcotics, Rhondal and Kellfrid decided to call on their new contact, Sabriyya Kalmeralm, the Princess of the Market, to see if she could negotiate a sale of the drugs. Gurion, Gedryr and Searos would take the magical items and artwork and sell them for what coin they would command.
Gurion, Gedryr and Searos’ mission went smoothly and without interest, save for Searos making a new friend.
Rhondal and Kellfrid, on the other hand, found Sabriyya had a new business venture and needed the aid of our heroes in getting it off the ground. It seems that there is quite a lucrative market for the wild spices that can be found in the Mushfens, most notably: whiplily, frog’s eye, miresh and fen pepper. Sabriyya wanted a piece of the action. So, she hoped her “friends” Rhondal and Kellfrid, who she “happened to hear” were traveling to the Mushfens, would broker a trade agreement with one of the locals of the swamp.
Since it doesn’t matter who picked the herbs, Sabriyya didn’t really care with who, or what, our heroes negotiated this arrangement. All she cared about was that a deal was made and whoever picked them honored the deal.
Rhondal and Kellfrid agreed to help broker that deal, Sabriyya bought the drugs off the two, and Sabriyya, to show her appreciation, arranged for Rhondal to bang one of her buxom servants while Kellfrid gambled.
A productive day.
The following day, our heroes learned that Brodert, who had been busy with Ayra’s affairs, would return to the Kaijitsu Manor and at 6:00 in the evening and would need to speak to them at that time. With the day to themselves, our heroes continued to plan for their mission in the swamp.
At the appointed time, the group found Brodert in the library and the old scholar excitedly said that he had a matter that “could prove profitable to you, and detrimental to those insufferable Pathfinders!”
It seems that Magnimar is home to a very famous artist named Ayavah who specializes in lustful, erotic succubi sculptures. Ayavah has a standing agreement with the Pathfinders regarding exploring the Mushfens and the Lady’s Light. As no Pathfinder has been to the region yet, Brodert thought our heroes could fulfill whatever mission she needs of them.
Our heroes liked the idea. So off they went, into the slums of Magnimar known as The Underbridge, to the Irespan’s piling known as the Harpy, home to Ayavah, sculptor.
They found her, a willowy, pale-skinned woman, wearing and expensive silk hajib, and silk toga. Introducing themselves, our heroes informed Ayavah that they were heading to the Lady’s Cape, and hopefully, the Lady’s Light, itself, and they would be more than happy fulfill whatever task she had for the Pathfinders.
Ayavah would be glad to offer the same deal to our heroes as she has with the Pathfinders: Go to the Lady’s Light and bring back whatever succubi related artwork as they can. Much like Sabriyya Kalmeralm, Ayavah doesn’t care who delivers her the art, as long as it’s delivered.
With a toast to their new relationship, and some more small talk, our heroes soon left the artist and headed back to Ayra’s manor.
But, as they traveled, still in the Underbridge, our heroes caught sight of a figure lying prone in the muddy street, a torch burning at its side. As our group went to investigate, they heard a voice from their past, the voice of the half-elf Pathfinder rogue, BlackLeaf. “Foolish of you all to stay in town,” he said to Ayra’s Five, then to his hidden associates he commanded: “Kill them!” and fired an arrow at Gurion, burying it deep in his shoulder.
The first figure to emerge from the shadowy abandoned tenement slums was the Pathfinder wizard, Lorech, who quickly incapacitated Kellfrid with a spell. Then from the shadows to the north and south side of the street, the BlackKiss Boys, the crew that brutally beat Rhondal yesterday morning, emerged and picked up where they left off, one attacking Rhondal, one Gurion and the final thug attacked Searos.
Lorech quickly knocked Gurion out of the fight with another of this arcane spells, as the nogoodniks continued their assault. Rhondal, not alone in the fight this time, and spying his own rapier in one of the hoodlums hands, stepped forward and very calmly threatened his foe, shaking the thug to his core.
Searos, reflecting back to the fight against the derro leader, thought the spell effect seemed similar and, dodging blows from his opponent, cast magical water above the incapacitated Kellfrid and Gurion. When the created water fell on the dwarf and she-human, they awoke, ready to get back in the fight.
This fight was not as one-sided as the beat down the previous morning, our heroes were acting with the precision that non-stop trial by combat breeds, and the BlackKiss Boys, Lorech and BlackLeaf were overmatched in every way.
Lorech, who saw the writing on the wall tried to escape his death, but was quickly killed by a combination of magic and arrows.
Kellfrid worked with Searos to carve apart two of the BlackKiss Boys, while Rhondal, taking his revenge on the final BlackKiss Boy, deftly ran Cat’s Meow through his heart. BlackLeaf, then, tried to flee to save is miserable life, but the Heroes of Magnimar, as some were now calling them, did not let him go. There, in a muddy sewage strewn street, in a heap of blood and broken bones, BlackLeaf, agent of the Pathfinders, uttered his last, “I’ll see you in the afterworld…”
A feeling of victory surged over the group. Revenge was taken against the BlackKiss Boys and their primary adventuring threat, the Pathfinders, were eliminated. As they searched the bodies, Searos noticed the BlackKiss Boys each had a tattoo of unholy symbol of Norgorber.
The group then returned to the manor basking in the glow of their hard fought win, and thanking the stars that what happens in the Underbridge, stays in the Underbridge.
The next few days were spent selling whatever they could, and buying whatever supplies they could afford. Brodert had found the group passage on board the ship, The Wanton Ways; it would depart for Korvosa at dawn on the 23rd, the day after the Harvest Festival, allowing Searos to partake of the ceremony with his fellow clerics of Erastil at the Deadeye Lodge. Oddly, Jasper Kandamerus was not at the Deadeye Lodge that morning, and as Searos took part in the ceremony and festival, the rest of the group headed into Beacon’s Point to try to locate the crazed cleric.
It turns out, as some locals told them, that Jasper “had to meet with some adventurers and started walking to the Lady’s Cape…” Gedryr, who had witnessed Jasper in all his glory, was not upset that he would not be joining them.
Also, before the Harvest Festival, Searos had spent some time researching Norgorber more thoroughly and learned that beyond being the god of thievery, assassination and secrets, he was also called “Father Skinsaw” and was revered by a murderous cult known as the Skninsaw Men. In fact, a sect of this cult, including members in high positions within the city, had operated in Magnimar in 4707 AR, unleashing a murder spree that terrified the citizens for weeks. It was only stopped by the efforts of The Heroes of Sandpoint who brought down the cult.
Or so it was thought.
With their supplies purchased and our heroes ready to move, at dawn on the 23rd day of Rova, the Heroes of Magnimar made their way to the Wanton Ways and boarded the ship. The captain was a no-nonsense Garundi named Yarnella Khutu who ran an efficient ship and informed our heroes that the ship would reach the Lady’s Cape just after dawn the next morning. Until then, she would appreciate them staying out of the way. Another passenger, a woman, joined them at the last moment and they pushed off, away from the bustle of Magnimar.
The day was crisp and bright, and the ship made good time. Kellfrid, who was in her element, breathed in hearty sea air, felt the breeze on her face, and relished being back on board a ship. Her comrades stayed out of the way and fought seasickness. The hours passed uneventfully and Magnimar receded into the distance to the north.
The group had dinner with the captain and her crew: the brutal First Mate Pockeye Sewel; his brother, the oily supercargo Chebby Sewel; and the ship’s surgeon, a half-elf called Lenny. Brodert had paid Captain Khutu well, so she thought that earned the party at least one solid meal before heading into the vast, stinking swamp. After their meal, our heroes began to settle in for the night. While not overly concerned with combat or being attacked, the group decided to maintain their routines and followed their watch schedule.
Gurion and Gedryr took the first watch and took turns patrolling the deck and watching below deck. The moon was waning, but was bright in the clear sky, as Gedryr strolled the near empty deck. Two sailors were at the cockpit while another did something sailor-like at the front of the ship, and, as Gedryr was about to head below deck, his elf ears heard a muffled cry of pain, then silence.
Moving quickly to the source, hidden behind the Wanton Way’s boats, Gedryr spotted a woman, the same woman who joined the ship at the last minute. The bloody dagger in her hand and the eight-inch gash in Chebby Sewel’s throat left little room for confusion: Murder had been done.
Hearing the elf approach, the woman, very quietly, yet very confidently, slid the supercargo’s body into the sea, while she turned, with the self-assurance of experience, to face the elf. Gedryr quickly drew his cloak back, revealing his wicked elf blade, and let his fingers flicker in threatening arcane motions.
While he woman did not lower her dagger, her left hand and fingers began its own arcane dance as she whispered:
“I have no quarrel with you, friend, I am Dialla Marteme of the Balconies of Bis in Kaer Maga. That offal you saw me kill,” gesturing casually overboard, “was responsible for the rape and death of my niece. She was just a lass of thirteen, friend, and those damned Ardocs bought the alibi Chebby’s pig-of-a-brother provided. My sister, my niece, deserved justice Kaer Maga’s ‘Society’ failed to provide, so that task fell to me. I do not wish to face the captain’s justice now that the deed is done. I have a plan, I will take Chebby’s appearance and place on this ship until Korvosa, I only ask for your silence and I will buy it with this dagger and my ring. Do we have an understanding?”
Gedryr, an elf with an appreciation for revenge and justice, as well as fancy rings and daggers, nodded and took the dagger and ring and watched as Dialla Marteme changed her appearance to match that of Chebby Sewel.
“My thanks,” the new Chebby Sewel said, “You have a friend in Kaer Maga.” The two then nodded to each other and went their separate ways.
The next morning, even before the dawn broke, the Wanton Way slowed as it neared the legendary, haunted marshland known as the Lady’s Cape. Mist drifted off the steaming vegetation as shoals and reefs of razor sharp rock could be seen poking out from the sea. Behind the reefs, a narrow strip of muddy beach sat and behind that, the bog, twisting waterways and dense flora of the marsh itself sat, desolate and menacing. Rising hundreds of feet above it all was the Lady herself, the cyclopean statue of Sorshen, Runelord of Lust, standing proudly, defiantly, as if daring our heroes not to be seduced.
“This is as close to low-tide we’ll get today, can’t take the ship any closer,” the captain said, then shouted commands to her sailors who quickly began dropping the ship’s boats into the water. Soon our heroes were being rowed, slowly and carefully, through the reefs and toward the narrow, muddy beach.
Armed with a promise that Captain Khutu would return to this spot in 26 days and wait from dawn to dusk to retrieve them, Ayra’s handpicked adventuring band stepped into the water and mud of the Lady’s Cape. They got their bearings and noted that, according to Jasper’s “map,” they were north of where they’d find Maroux’s hut.
Because the group was roused before dawn, and before the hour Gedryr and Searos allotted for study and prayer, the magical duo still needed to accomplish that task. But, before they started, Gedryr, who had stared long and hard back at the Wanton Ways said to the group, “I should tell you about last night…”