Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Episode VIII: The Smuggler's Daughter III (Junar 24-25)

The company meets up again with Dziga and find out what he’s been up to for the last few days. Turns out he was hired by a liason of the Balacazars to serve as hired protection for MENON BALACAZAR’s grandson, DULLIN. It was suspected an attempt might be made on his life during his singing performance at the Cloud Theater. Eventually, Dziga defeats the assassin, who it turns out works for the Vai, but wonders why anyone would want to kill the boy. Did it have something to do with the strange rune on his face? Dziga has also been having a strange dream the last few nights, where he wanders around a strange city of unfathomably huge size, with alien, non-euclidean architecture. However, he keeps the dreams to himself.

The company returns to Castle Shard to meet with Zavere and Rill, who listen with great interest to their story of the sunken ship exploration. Zavere offers the information that the Balacazars have some sort of connection to the Covenant of Blood, or at least some of its vampire members. He also thinks Linele gold watch was actually a demon possessed watch that is of interest to the Covenant. Yet he is not interested in those matters, he instead asks if they located any kind of golden statue with the wreckage. They reply in the negative, but tell him that Linech has a huge golden statue in his office. Zavere and Rill hire them to “rescue” the statue from Linech. They later meet up with Aelric again, who has recovered.

Later that day, Dziga the rogue sneaks into Linech’s neighbourhood and dismantles the lock to the upper floor of the office to allow for a sneak attack later. That night, the company storms the office of Linech while Dziga attacks through the upper window, killing his guards and his girlfriend, a barbarian woman named Ounika. Linech demonstrates his sorcery but is defeated while spider climbing on the ceiling by Dziga’s thrown dagger.

Using spells and magic to bring Linech back to consciousness, they interrogate him. He hides little from them, realizing he is completely finished he may as well spill the beans. He says the Balacazars wanted him dead because of the Arrowhead disaster, and he went to trade his life for the demon possessed watch. It is possible they just wanted the demon possessed watch all along, and had only cursory interest in the shivel. He believes the men who burned down the ship were the Hussar, a dedicated religious group whose goddess is said to be imprisoned somehow by Menon Balacazar. He also tells them that the statue was given to him by a dark elf named Shilukar. Linech thinks he used to be a member of House Vrama. They finish Linech off, and convince the clerk Seanus to work for Darkwater since all his employers were killed in the fight. They get the statue on the wagon and return it to Castle Shard late at night and let them know the news about Shilukar. Zavere tells the company that the gold statue is actually an old friend of theirs, a nobleman named Lord Abbercrombe. Rill begins to prepare the spells to break the enchantment, and Zavere tells them Castle Shard will be contacting the heroes again in the future.

Later, resting at Darkwater, Darusa tells them that Linech actually was his partner in the shivel operation. He is trying to get the Darkwater group back out of the hole and is putting together some new deals. Phil returns from a night of hard gambling and drinking. He is quite hooked on the Mrathrach game, which Aelrich says shares the name of a landmark called Mrathrach's Pit near his hometown. Early goes to the Temple of Ashe to recover his sapped strength. That night Dziga has another dream of the mysterious city, and he feels particularly drawn to one building before he awakes.

The next day, Early goes to meet Itumar at the tournament field and the two practice and exchange stories adventuring stories. Itumar talks about joining and adventuring company, and Early offers to provide him combat lessons to refine his skill with the sword. Meanwhile, the others investigate Methul Watcher but are able to find out nothing of him.

Later, Early visits the Pale Tower again, and speaks with an aasimar paladin named ZOPHAS. Zophas enjoys Early’s curiosity about demons and tells him about Elan’s history. He says that the demons of the Dark Reliquary are too powerful to be defeated. Zophas admires Early’s desire to slay demons, but thinks the former mercenary is somewhat naïve. Early asks about the the Temple of the Rat God -- Zophas believes that the Temple of the Rat God is a front for the worship of one of the "Ancients", named Abhoth, Lord of Filth and Decay. He says the chaos cults worship the Ancients as the only true gods. He says that touching the Abhoth idol, something Dziga and Aelric both did, could have terrible consequences...

He also elaborates on some lesser known history for Early. He tells of the great priest Danar, who built a holy tower called Mosul Pearl, in the place where Elan would eventually be built. Beneath his tower, the great priest Danar constructed a massive vault to lock away evil creatures, items, and magic, called the Banewarrens, which are sealed and impenetrable. Danar was somehow corrupted by all the evil magic he tried to seal away, and became Eslathagos Malekith, the Dread One, known to the elves as Darkstar. The Dread One transformed his tower into the horrific fortress of Jabel Shammar, and created the Spire to overlook the surrounding landscape and make him more impervious to attack.

Zophas explains he was eventually defeated by a group of legendary heroes, who pursued him into the Banewarrens through an access in Jabel Shammar and killed him there. Zophas explains that several thousand years later, Ghul the Skull King appeared, claiming to be the half god son of Eslathagos Malekith and a demon queen, and saying the Spire was his birthright. He created the fortress of Goth Gulgamel halfway up the Spire, and the labyrinth to house his massive armies beneath the city, but he too was eventually defeated by great heroes.

Next time: The hunt begins for Shilukar, and Emeris meets the mysterious sage Saharasahla!

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