Spring, 632 Miradai. Day 9 of the Eagle Moon
It is in the city of Varshk that our heroes first meet adventure. Here at Jacob’s Tabern Shump Anum the half-orc rogue, Kayuuna Galanodel the half-elf fighter, Korrah Avvenfelth the elven sorcerer, and Cuthbert Herekles the human druid sit at a table relaxing from their travels. But so close to the Edaspine a half orc is a hated reminder of the danger these frontiersmen face every day. Assaulted by their taunts to Shump, the heroes come to fisticuffs with some locals, including Jacob the tavern owner. During the fight Korrah forgets himself and unleashes his sorcerous powers. Though it has been twenty years since the Exodus of the Magi, and twenty-nine since the end of the mages war, the people of Der’ai still fear magic and the land still wears its scars. The patrons of the tavern run to the streets calling for guards in fear.
Fearful for their safety, the heroes flee Jacob’s Tavern, and the merchant’s district in which it lies. They run to the north-east, into the slums.
Upon their arrival however, a group of thugs appear from the shadows. They cry “This is our turf, anyone who walks it has to pay a tole.” The heroes being fearful of pursuit give into the ruffians demands, and pay their tole.
Continuing deeper into the slums our heroes are attacked at every angle by foul smells and decrepit life, the stench of chamber pots emptied into the streets and foul sewage pouring out of the high-rise above them, they walk the long un-cobbled streets to find a small building. In what remains of its torn up sign the adventurers can make out a faint painted bed. This is an inn.
Within they find a thin, weasely man behind the counter. He takes one look at the party, gazing at Kayuuna and her colorful robes. Not liking their kind, or perhaps simply pushing his luck he asks for far more gold than he deserved. The heroes, pockets still chinking with the sound of wealth, are glad to pay and rest, hopeful that they have escaped their pursuit.
Spring, 632 Miradai. Day 10 of the Eagle Moon
And that they have, but alas, new troubles! In they night they had been robbed! The parties purses chink oh so much the quieter, much to their chagrin.
Mourning the loss of their assets, the party decides to split in twain, run off an explore the city. A collected vote is taken, and all agree to avoid the Merchant’s district less they run into trouble. Shump and Korrah chose to investigate the city gates, while Cuthbert and Kayuuna head to the north-western slums in search of a more suitable place of rest.
At the gates the Orc and his Elven companion are shocked to discover that the city that had entered just a day before had been locked down. Not a man, woman, elf or gnome to be let in or out. Curious as to why such measures had been taken, Shump approaches the guards.
“Hail! These gates ate closed by order of the Lord of Varshk, Lord Dourache” The guardsmen says to the massive half-man. And so, being curious and daring, Shump decides to make a gambit.
“I am a Knight of the Homeland, so thou shall let me pass.” he lied.
The guardsmen did not take kindly to this orc-blooded fool dirtying the name of his beloved knights with his lies. Nor did his companions. Drawing steel, they call to Shump “Your coming with me.”
Korrah and Shump, surrounded by guardsmen, yield to the multitudes of armed men around them.
Cuthbert and Kayuuna have had no luck in finding an inn any better than they one they had stayed at the night before, in fact they had found a few that were worse. Failed in their search the march on back to the nameless inn where they were to meet their comrades. Crossing over the main road however, they are taken aback by the sight before them.
Korrah hands have been tied, and he is being led forward at a snails pace by the guardsmen. Two of them are dragging the body of Shump Anum along the street, his entire body bound in lengths of cord. In a bold and brave attempt, the two free companions set out to free their allies.
To no avail.
The entire party is captured.
Spring, 632 Miradai. Day 12 of the Eagle Moon
The heroes awaken in the cold dark of a prison cell, unaware that more than a day has passed since their fight. Their wounds are closed, but the bruises remain, and the fate of the party is still unclear.
Listening to the hall beyond the door, the party hears a clatter. Clink, Clink and the sound of booted feet across stone. They stop before the door.
“Stand Back” calls a voice from the other side. A jingle can be heard, keys. The door opens and four guardsmen stand, armed and ready. “You are to be released. With all the disappearances in the city, we cannot waste any effort in keeping simple riff-raff off the street. We have taken your weapons and any other materials we feel useful citizens do not need.”
The party has no choice but to comply. They follow the guardsmen to their missing belongings, and find that their purses fail to make any noise at all.
Copperless and unarmed, the party returns to the streets of Varshk. But now they have some information. People are disappearing throughout the city. That’s why they have closed the city gate.
Finding themselves in the north-western slums, the heroes search the streets for anyone with information.
“My friend Betty lost a child of her just last night, pretty girl named Marie. They all went to bed, and when they woke up she was gone!.” one woman exclaimed upon inquiry.
The adventurers make their way towards Betty’s home, in the northernmost corner of the north-west slums, right up next to the high rise wall. Here you could see the stream of brown mucky water empty into the streets from the sewer underneath the high-rise. Ignoring what they could of the smell, the party goes to door.
The woman is mystified and saddened beyond belief. Her daughter went missing in a one room apartment on the bottom floor, while the door was locked and with 6 other people sleeping in the room. Not a single one of them stirred in their sleep.
Hearing this, and of the old man in the apartment above Betty’s, the party proceeds up the creaky wooden stairs to ask him what he knows.
“Go away!” he cries “I already told you people I don’t know nothin’ about no missin’ girl!”
Shump Anum knocks again.
The old man opens the door. “I thought I told you I ain’t the one who done it!” He looks out, startled at the group before him. “You ain’t the guards.”
“I know, we were just coming to ask you if you heard anything last night.”
“I heard nothin’ and it wasn’t me.” And then closes the door. Shump Anum knocks again.
“Listen, if you want trouble.” The old man opens the door, brandishing a rusty short sword. “I can still give it to ya!”
Shump Anum punches the old man, hard in the jaw. Dazed but not out, he attacks in return with his sword, opening a wound on the half-orc’s side. Shump falls.
Korrah steps forward quickly, and praying softly that no one outside the party is looking sprays a burst of fire from his hands. The old man falls to the ground, unconscious and burned.
Spring, 632 Miradai. Day 13 of the Eagle Moon
The party uses the old man’s apartment that night, enjoying a space without the shady weasel of an innkeep. They take what few gold the man had stored under his floor boards and the rusty sword.
Using what few gold they could spare to purchase daggers from some thugs the rusty sword and their fists, the party decides to head into the sewers. Leaving the old man tied up behind them, they descend into the darkness.
Once within, Korrah finds a small stone and fills it with a magical light. Slowly making progress, the party is sickened by the smell, trying to ignore some of the things they see floating in the stream at their feet.
Shum Anum in the lead with his orcish vision strong in the darkness, the party comes to a large reservoir. Unable to see a path, he jumps into the filthy water which quickly rushes over his head. Emerging with a disgusted yell, he turns to the side and sees that with a careful step, one could reach a path next to the pool without immersion. Cursing his luck, he swims over to the side and pulls himself out of the water.
Moving to the left walkway, the heroes see another tunnel. Following its path, the group continues for a short while before they can make out the forms of two large rats sitting upon a half chewed body. They turn towards the party.
Brandishing their limited arms the party attacks the rats, but are pushed back by the creatures surprising ferocity. In the process, Korrah is knocked back into the sewage, dropping the magical light. The party, now blind except for Shump, has no choice but to flee.
Korrah is unable to find a ledge, and struggles to keep his head above the disgusting water. Seeing him flailing with his darkvision, Shump prepares himself to rescue his comrade, only to turn and see Korrah pulling himself to safety. The rat see him out of the water, and begin to swim across the pool to get to the elf.
Shump dashes forwad and grabs Korrah’s arm. “This way!” and he pulls him with the others back out into the daylight.
The formerly disgusting smell of the slums now seems like fresh mountain air after the stench of the sewers, and the party heads to a well they had seen on their walks through the city. There they clean themselves however much they can with the soap still in Kayuuna’s possession.
Returning towards the old man’s apartment, they discover him outside talking to guardsmen. Quickly fleeing the party grimly decides that they must return to the nameless inn, as much as they would not like to.
Spring, 632 Miradai. Day 14 of the Eagle Moon
After resting their weary bodies from day before, and a little of Cuthbert’s healing art, the adventurers are ready to return to the sewers, albeit reluctantly.
The walk to the dungeon of sewage is uneventful, a welcome relief to the the party that may not want to explain it’s actions. Once inside, and after taking a moment to adjust to the smell, the party continues forward again to the large reservoir. Careful to bring torches this time, the party takes care to avoid the previous mistake of going for a swim.
The group reaches a decision. Moving to the right pathway this time, the group encounters duct slanting upwards, releasing a small stream of fluid into the pool. Slowly crawling their way up, after about thirty feet the heroes come to a clearing. There in the center is an opening in the floor, a ladder leading down into pitch black depths.
Shump takes the lead down the ladder, which is remarkably long. Halfway down, he hears the sounds of movement below him. Quickly he begins to climb his way back up. Almost at the top, he feels a tug at his leg, and looks down to see a gaunt, almost skeletal hairless man with sharp fangs grabbing at him. He shakes his leg in horror and finishes his climb, yelling to his companions that something was coming behind him.
In the small room, the heroes prepare for battle as fast as they can, and the creature emurges from hole. Daggers, Swords and fists proceed to buffet the thing with cuts, wounds and blows. Skin shred almost to the bone, the thing falls.
“Whatever that thing was, it did not bleed” remarked Cuthbert. “I hope it was not undead… I hate undead.”
Proceeding down the ladder, the party finds a small room with a solid stone double door, cold stale air leaking out of an open half. Surveying their wounds from the fight with the creature, and expecting more beyond the door, the party quickly turns back to rest the night away, again at the shady inn.
“We need to learn what we are doing. We almost lost to a starving, sick… creepy man today!” says Korrah.
Spring, 632 Miradai. Day 15 of the Eagle Moon
Licking their wounds yet again (after washing them of course… sewer filth and all that) the heroes make their way to the stone doors beneath the sewer. Turning the corner into the pipe, the party is startled to find the body of the creature from the day before covered in a writhing swarm rats….