Where we left off…
After determining that the Cydonic Prince, Steponas has likely been abducted by the same gang of vampires who have been warring with Carboni’s 3 Rings Guild, the party captures one of a pair of mysterious individuals they discovered tailing them from Steponas’s last known residence.
Setting: A cluttered alleyway just off of Panthium’s crowded central market.
Fearing the inevitable approach of the city watch after their pursuit of the individuals who were following them, our heroes decide to take their captive to Carboni’s for interrogation. Before leaving the alley, Santiago knocks him unconscious, not trusting him to remain quiet due to a rather flippant attitude initially exhibited towards his captors.
The party exits out the far side of the alley with the unconscious skulk stuffed unceremoniously into the bag of holding. They make sure to let him out for air every few minutes, and generally proceed with caution to avoid the notice of the city watch.
Upon arrival at Carboni’s Guildhall, the party takes their prisoner down to a holding cell in the lower levels. When he is removed from the bag, the group discovers that their pursuer was actually a changeling. When he slipped into unconciousness, his features slipped back to their natural undefined state.
After sending for the thief master, Xandre & Santiago launch into a good-cop bad-cop routine hoping to loosen their prisoner’s tongue. After coaxing some basic information out of the changeling – his name is Leo, and he does, in fact, work for Samara, Xandre offers him a role in Carboni’s ranks in exchange for more in-depth cooperation. Meanwhile, Santiago engages in visible and aggressive martial arts exercises punctuated by brief intimidating charges to scream in the cowering changeling’s face.
Not wishing to be on the receiving end of the 1/2 orc’s fists, Leo agrees to cooperate and reveals the following information:
- Samara and her gang did, in fact kidnap someone matching Steponas’ description a couple nights previous.
- He was brought to the safe house where Leo was based before being transported to Baron Ashenwood’s Estate.
- The gang operates a number of safe houses and business fronts around the city. Non-vampire gang members are kept largely insulated from other cells on a need to know basis, but the vamps utilize a series of portals linked to the Plane of Shadow to travel unseen between Baron Ashenwood’s holdings.
- The Ashenwood estate contains no entrance on the material plane, but is said to be accessible from the Plane of Shadow.
- Leo’s base of operations is the closest access point to the Plane of Shadow in relation to the Baron’s estate. It is located in a section of abandoned sewer accessed from the commons just outside the Vecnan Parish.
- The trip across the Plane of Shadow is rumored to be very dangerous, and gang members refer to it as “The Run.” No non-vampire is known to have completed the Run alive.
Leo agrees to provide the group with directions to his base of operations and a map of the sewer leading to the safe house. After securing Leo’s conditional promise of protection from Carboni, the party retires to their rented cottage in the Pelorian Parish.
Later that night:
During the night, while Lanna and Santiago are standing watch, smoke suddenly begins to pour in through the windows and under the door of their cottage. Lanna and Santiago raise the alarm and proceed to battle the spreading flames as they shatter windows and pour into the house. Upon looking outside of the house, Lanna sees what appears to be someone in Pelorian robes watching the blaze from afar.
Roused by Lanna’s continued cries of alarm, the rest of the party wakes and gathers their belongings. When it becomes apparent that the fire is beyond their control, they decide to flee the burning building. Santiago smashes his way through the front door, surrounded by a ring of flame. Vester & Lanna climb through one window while Rayne and Piruk head out another. Xandre and Kit elect to take a more direct route from the upper level, leaping to safety with only mild injury suffered on the part of the bard.
As our heroes gather to assess their status, Lanna notices the mysterious figure has disappeared. The smoke from the fire, however, has roused the Parish and Pelorians are now converging on the site to battle the blaze. Santiago also notices a mysterious symbol painted on the chimney, which is determined to be an ash leaf.
Safe from the inferno, the party is put up for the night in a Pelorian house of healing. The plan for the following day consists of research and preparation for their strike against the Ashenwood gang.