Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nefarious Tendencies - Damaged Goods

Musings of the Dark Powers
GM's Notes
With the sunrise pending, Meridius left to go rest during the day. Aeris, Graven, Sardis and Y’lene also turned in for a few hours. It had been a long night and some rest was sorely needed by all.

Graven woke up mid morning and set off to find himself some more appropriate attire. At Garcon’s Fine Furs and Leathers, he purchased a leather duster jacket and a new scabbard. While walking past a confectioner’s shop, a young street urchin asked him to buy some candy. The child was actually working with a partner, who easily stole 300 gold coins from Graven’s new jacket pocket.

Aeris set off to the Leg of Lamb tavern to find out where she could procure some poisons. The bar was fairly empty at this time of the morning. The barkeep told her that such things were usually purchased in a shop down the street but that she would need to visit Le Mansion du Chein first.

Sardis sat down to lunch at Bothwell’s intent on enjoying a meal before heading out. As he sat in the dining room, he spotted a pair of gossipy women sitting at the next table. One of them was wearing a pair of familiar silver and ruby spider earrings. Sardis scanned her mind about the earrings and discovered that the woman had purchased them that day at a store known as The Cloak and Dagger. Sardis inquired whether the waiter had seen Y’lene that day and was told that she had left early that morning with a young man with brown hair and brown eyes. He finished his meal and then set off for Garcon’s Fine Furs and Leathers to procure a leather jacket.

Once Graven got suspicious, the street urchin went off to The Great Square. It seemed that he and his partner were working the crowd. Apparently an outsider, the duo targeted Sardis next. The street urchin As the young girl snuck up behind him, Graven intercepted. Graven grabbed the girl and dragged her off to a side street. The young street urchin followed, screaming for help. Fortunately for Graven no city guards heard the boy. Sardis slinked off, not wanting to be associated with anything going on that might attract the local authorities.

The woman who answered the door at Le Mansion Du Chein didn’t seem particularly surprised to see Aeris at the door. She let her in and questioned whether Aeris was looking for employment across the street at the The Red Phillips or was searching for other means of monetary gain. Once the two had made it clear that Aeris was looking for information about buying poisons, the woman informed Aeris that she would now need to join the Chein – the local thieves’ guild. Aeris paid her dues and agreed to the terms of membership.

A man sitting on the fountain’s edge in The Great Square eyed Sardis. As Sardis scanned the crowd of shoppers and locals, the mysterious man’s mind gave off a strange, airy sound. No thoughts or emotions escaped the man. He was clearly studying Sardis. After attempting to lose the man through teleportation and startling him by arriving right behind him, Sardis engaged him in conversation. It turned out that the Dantones were interested in recruiting him. The man told Sardis that he had two choices, join or die. He gave Sardis two days to think it over.

The young girl kicked and screamed by Graven’s amazing strength proved far too much for either of the children to withstand. He held the girl up by the throat against a nearby house. Graven told the boy that to save his sister’s life, he would have to agree to meet Graven later outside of Bothwell’s. The boy agreed and ran off. Graven threw down the girl and let her go.

The simple shop looked empty and had a For Sale sign in the window. The display counter was empty and no one tended the shop. Aeris climbed into the rafters. Her fingers found a small metal level that she pulled. Loud mechanical noises sounded below. From the high vantage point, she saw a trap door open behind the sales counter. She climbed down to find Rainier’s Smithy. The man specialized in daggers, poisons and other deadly items. Aeris purchased many expensive poisons. She then set off to return to Bothwell’s and find out how her traveling companions fared.

Aeris met up with Graven and the pair talked to the young street urchin. Graven asked the young boy for information about the queens of the land. The boy told them that a crazy woman named Josephine often mumbled about such things. The trio set off for one of the more dangerous neighborhoods, searching for Josphine.

Josephine was a woman with a scarred face and a stench that could only be described as putrid. She mumbled when they asked her questions. All that Graven and Aeris got from here were random thoughts repeated over and over:
  • Clouds of Smoke. Clouds of Fire.
  • She’s a Horse.
  • She’s been there before (gesturing towards Aeris).
  • Monsters. The king has monsters.
  • I sent them away.
When Aeris, Graven and Sardis met later at Bothwell’s, each described their experiences in the city briefly. Sardis expressed concern over having no contact with Y’lene. He mentioned the woman wearing her earrings earlier that day. Graven mentioned that the last time they had seen her, she went off with Meridius. Aeris broke into Y’lene’s room to search for clues. All she found were carvings of spiders adorning the wooden table and walls of the room.

The trio set off for The Cloak and Dagger to track down Y’lene. The Cloak and Dagger turned out to be quite the misnomer. The store carried many different goods. There were quite a few of Y’lene’s possessions for sale there. Sardis convinced the shop keeper to give up all of Y’lene’s items and found out most of the wares sold here were purchased from slavers. Foreigners, vagrants and other people who would not be missed were often swept up by the slaver’s street hunters. Aeris, Graven and Sardis left to search for Y’lene.

A cluster of shops surrounded a small public square. An auctioneer’s stage stood at one end of the square. Many of the shops had holding cells in their display windows, to show off their wares. It seemed that many of the shops were specialized. Some catered to those searching for laborers, their windows advertising the strong backs for sale inside. Others offered more well groomed and educated slaves fit for a noble’s home.
Sardis led the way, and chose a shop to enter. The shopkeeper was amused at Sardis’s description of the woman they were searching for. “You’re my kind of pervert,” he said, before directing Sardis to the shop next door.

As the trio entered the shop, they noticed more exotic looking women were being held here. There was even a half-elf in the display window. Y’lene was not among those being held in the front room. Aeris held the store keeper with a dagger at his throat, “There’s nine-thousand gold worth of poisons on this blade”. Graven and Sardis quickly dispatched the storekeeper’s body guard. When shopkeepers from next door arrived to assist, they saw the situation required more from them then they deemed necessary.

The shopkeeper quickly handed over the keys to Aeris. She pocketed the cash from the desk drawer while Graven dragged the guard’s body to the back room. Aeris tossed the keys to Sardis who went to the backroom and downstairs to find Y’lene. Aeris kept a look out for any more interruptions. Snapping bones could be heard from the shop’s back room.

Saris released Y’lene from her cell and unlocked the collar from around her neck. All of the prisoners had them. “They disrupt magic” Y’lene explained. She was infuriated for being held prisoner and disgusted at the thought of being sold as a slave. The group set free all of the other prisoners before heading out.

The young man with brown hair and brown eyes that had sold Y’lene his services as a guide in the city and had turned her over to the slavers was now searching the crowd at The Great Square, evidently searching for his next victim. The four adventurers decided to use Aeris as bait. Sardis set up a mental link between himself and Aeris. She wandered the square, looking lost and naive. The young man seemed to notice her but was still searching the crowd. When Aeris threw back her hood, revealing her horns, the young man made a bee line towards her. He politely offered his services as a guide and she accepted. He called a carriage and offered his hand to help her embark.

Sardis mentally ordered the driver to allow him to accompany him atop the carriage. Graven and Y’lene followed on horseback. Aeris and the young man engaged in conversation. In a bold move, he reached for her hands and ran them through his hair. She felt a pair of small horns hidden behind his tusseled locks! He confessed that he had come from the abyss, that his mother had been sent there through a ritual. He was sure that they were related somehow.

The carriage stopped in a narrow side street in a rough neighborhood. As Aeris and the young man climbed out of the carriage, Y’lene dismounted, whip in hand. A look of hatred crossed her face; she meant to kill her former captor. Aeris intercepted, begging for the man’s life. Graven and Sardis began to question the young man while Aeris told Y’lene that he was a half-demon who had answers they needed. Y’lene “gave” the young man to Aeris, her mood quite suddenly turning calm. Graven expressed concern to Aeris, “I wonder how much that will cost you.”

As the young man told his tale, familiar names came up. The pieces of the puzzle were fitting together. Amin, the land’s king, has only monstrous children. He has no suitable heirs. He blames the women for this and sends them all to the abyss in a cruel ritual of sacrifice. There, they are sent as consorts to great demon. Graven’s Mother was the first sent there. Aeris recognized the demon and the human consort as her own parents. She and Graven are half brother and sister. The young man with brown hair is Aeris’ half brother but born to a different human mother.

Graven and Aeris know there is more to the situation and refuse to let the young man go. The four adventurers take the young man with them to Bothwell’s where they hope to straighten everything out.

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