Where we left off…
Eleanor and Daethin have bid farewell to their travelling companions. The cleric, having been accepted into training as a Shadow Guard, and the ranger having grown homesick for the forests of Elionde. The departees have been replaced by two newcomers sent by Carboni to assist the group. The new arrivals are an Aasimar bard, named Xandre Snow and a cleric of Olidammara known as Vester.
The party has just arrived at Kilner’s Plaza in an attempt to deliver a shipment of books to the last known residence of a man they believe to be the missing Cydonic prince, Steponas. Upon arrival, they find the building they seek cordoned off by the Parish watch, and mutters of “murder” percolating through the crowd.
|One of many hotshops located in Kilner’s Plaza|
Encarnya introduces herself and explains that she is but a lonely old woman who longs for the storied life of an adventurer. She offers to tell the party what she knows if they will tell her about themselves and their adventures. Kit senses that there is more to her than an innocent old lady. She suspects Encarnya deals in information.
The group shares some basic information with the woman. Kit tells her that they are adventurers traveling across the Westerlands righting wrongs, committing good deeds and exploring strange places. Rayne backs up Kits explanation with a fantastic account of their adventure rescuing the children of Fenwatch from the hag and her gray jester companion.
In exchange, the old woman informs the party that Old Shelby, the owner of the building next door was killed a couple nights past. She had seen him return home late at night with a beautiful woman on his arm. They had entered his apartment. A little while later, she heard shouting and the sounds of a struggle. Afterwards, she saw three or four individuals leave the downstairs apartment and head upstairs where there was a flash of light, followed by the sounds of another struggle. Then two figures left the upstairs apartment supporting a third slumped between them.
After bidding Encarnya farewell, and purchasing a couple trinkets from her shop as a gesture of goodwill, the group rendezvous with Santiago outside. The monk has been speaking with another 1/2 orc, Baako Leathergut, who owns a small cafe across the street. It seems that he is cleaning up after an unexpected rat infestation, which must have occurred around the time of the murder. He is grateful for Santiago’s assistance and commiserates with the monk about the prejudicial attitudes of humans who frequently assume 1/2 orcs are unclean savages.
The party decides that they must enter the apartment to view the scene of the crime first hand. Unfortunately, a pair of Boccobian guards stationed outside is preventing access and shooing any bystanders along their way. In order to bypass the guards, the party implements an elaborate diversion. Xandre, Rayne and Lanna take up position in the center of the plaza and launch into a song and dance routine led by the Aasimar on his fiddle. Meanwhile, Santiago bribes a group of children, who had been playing with the security perimeter stanchions to redirect their play so as to draw the guards’ attention away from the alley next to the house.
Kit and Santiago then make their way down the block before scaling up to the rooftops. Once they wind their way back to the cordoned off apartment, Kit first sends in her spider-thief to investigate the scene. After scrambling down the chimney, the construct returns with a bloody kitchen knife and snapshot recordings of a grisly scene. Kit and Santiago then drop into the alley and slip into the lower level apartment through the back entrance. Inside, they find the body of Shelby, sprawled in the main room, covered in muslin. Congealing bloodspray covers the walls and ceiling of the room. When Kit peeks under the cloth for a closer look, she sees that Shelby’s throat has been gruesomely torn out, as though by a wild animal. He also exhibits numerous smaller bite marks.
Kit gingerly returns the knife to the corner, where the spider-thief picked it up, and adjourns with Santiago to the alley. The infiltration team then scales up to the 2nd floor, where they enter through a bedroom window. The upstairs bedroom is undisturbed, but provides some tantalizing evidence for the pair. A suit of dragonhide armor sporting a large jewel in the breastplate is discovered in a locked chest at the end of the bed. A nearby wardrobe contains a heavy shield, covered in plain canvas. Beneath the cover, however, the shield is emblazoned with the dragon of Cydon and the purple fox that is Steponas’s personal sigil. Kit stuffs both the armor and shield into the main pocket of her haversack.
The main room of the upper apartment shows signs of a struggle similar to those downstairs… minus the bloodspray and the corpse. The front door has been forced off its hinges, and hangs at an unfortunate angle. Kit discovers a small pile of ash in the middle of the doorway strengthening her earlier suspicions that vampires were involved. The two infiltrators decide that they have what they need and return the way they came to rendezvous with the rest of the group.
Having discovered that the vampires who attacked Carboni’s guildhall have also likely kidnapped Steponas, the party decides to report to Carboni after a brief stop back at their rented cottage in the Pelorian Parish. On their way through Panthium’s central market from the cottage to the Olidammari district, Kit notices two figures behind them, which she suspects have been tailing the group since Kilner’s Plaza. The party ducks into a nearby produce shop where they concoct a plan to turn the tables on their mysterious tail.
Vester casts Alter Appearance upon himself and slips out of the shop headed back the way they came. Kit & Santiago then leave and continue in the original direction, suspecting that the tail may have spotted them sneaking into Steponas’s apartment. When the two leave, one of the tailing individuals follows, but the other remains watching the shop.
The rest of the party then follows, along with the other tail.
Further up the market, Kit and Santiago duck into an alleyway and turn to watch their pursuer. The tail heads to an alley entrance on the opposite side of the street, where he is joined by his companion. When the second pursuer arrives, he whispers urgently to the first. The two begin to flee down the far alley just as the rest of the group arrives.
Lanna immediately draws her sword, and the party gives chase down the narrow alley. Rayne pulls up short after stepping on a patch of caltrops laid to discourage just such a pursuit. However, Santiago’s speed aided by Kit’s decision to call forth the giant mantis from her enchanted amulet and a well placed hold spell from Vester allows the group to quickly apprehend one of their nosy pursuers. Unfortunately, the other manages to vanish out the far side of the alley, lost in a crowded market beyond.