Trace of Breath

1208.12.10 - 3rd Rest 10:1208

Intrigue in Anvar (375 XP)

Leaving Raelle behind to watch over the wounded Torodrin, Argoth Stormblade, Polycarp and Jackabee “Jacks” Oaklong traveled for 3 days before arriving in the capital city of Anvar. On there way to completing the mission to bring Polycarp to the Gatekeepers headquarters, however, they pass through a marketplace and witness a Bakkan merchant named Kamal being accosted by two Bugbear ruffians while his 8-yr-old son, Qasim, watched helplessly.

Argoth tried to end the violence with peaceful words but was blown off by the confident and aggressive thugs. Meanwhile, Polycarp and Jacks moved secretly into striking position. Jacks struck one monster with an arrow, baiting him to give chase through the crowded market while Polycarp launched a similar surprise attack against the remaining Bugbear. The monster seemed to shrug off blows from the two warriors without concern, swatting the Deva to unconsciousness in one swing. While Argoth distracted the bugbear, however, young Qasim leapt to Polycarp’s rescue, pouring a potion of healing down his throat. Together, the revived Polycarp and Argoth were able to kill the bugbear and Jacks returned saying that he trussed up the other in an alleyway.

Kamal explained that the bugbears were members of the Dark Traders, a thieves guild that conducts a protection racket demanding regular payment from local merchants on threat of pain and loss of merchandise. He didn’t know any agents of the Dark Traders beyond these two, and had no leads for uncovering their chain of command.

Qasim idolized the Gatekeepers, claiming that he would be a hero like them someday. When they encouraged him to carry on his family business, he called his father a coward for fleeing their home in Bakka because of the war. When they tried to tell him the Anima Revolution had ended and there was no war, he shrugged and said, “here, maybe.”

After bidding farewell to Kamal and Qasim, the heroes continued on to the Gatekeepers guildhall, a large building with many dormitories surrounding a training gymnasium. There, they met with Truquan Gladerunner, the guild master. He explained that they were commissioned by the Temple of Bahamut to return Polycarp to Anvar, where he would serve the sentence of community service as a member of the Gatekeepers. When pressed, he revealed a letter to that effect signed by Denubis with the official seal of the High Priest, Petros.

His final mission as an initiate completed, Argoth was now allowed to take the test to become a full member of the Gatekeepers, granting permanent residence in the guildhall, a steady stream of paid assignments and whatever resources the guild has to offer in restoring his family’s honor. Polycarp and Jacks were also allowed to take the test, per Polycarp’s sentence and Jack’s previous experience as a freelance agent.

The heroes performed admirably in a test of their skills in fighting, athletic skill, creativity, knowledge, teamwork and loyalty. Truquan explained to Argoth that he might have a lead on his father, but that it would take another day to flush out the information. He suggested they report back the morning after next, until then taking care of any personal business as they had need.

In the meantime, Argoth requested that an agent be sent to Harken Village, to check on the status of his love, Raelle, and report any movements of the goblin raiders.

Polycarp Finds his Father

Given his freedom for the moment, Polycarp went in search of his “father,” Charles Sampson. He was directed to the noble quarter, where he saw a parade welcoming Duke Horace into Anvar.

Polycarp was greeted warmly by Sampson in his lavish guest home. The Deva reported everything that had happened to him since they parted, including the appearance of Duke Horace which brought a look of tension on his father’s face. Sampson explained that Duke Cedric had imprisoned his brother, Horace, during the Anima Revolution, but that Cedric has since disappeared.

Sampson has no insight into the goblins’ strange behavior in Harken Village, but questions Polycarp’s decision to leave while the village might still be in danger. The Deva stated simply that he had a mission from Bahamut to exact vengeance on the murderer’s of his souls, but his father posited the thought that vengeance is not Bahamut’s way and that Polycarp may have misinterpreted his purpose.

Finally, Sampson asked if Polycarp could go to the prison and ask for the release of his son, Charlie, who was a “good kid that simply got in over his head.”

Argoth Minds his Mum

Since his family fell from grace in the wealthy House of Stormblade, and his father, Rogoth, and elder sister Isabella, disappeared, Argoth has been anxiously concerned for the well-being of his mother, Leta. She had to move out of her quarters in the wealthy district and find accommodations among the lower middle-class. She took up employment for a local cleric, named Denubis in order to sustain herself, but Argoth feels guilty and wants to provide for her as well.

Upon visiting her at home, however, Argoth is surprised to see a smile on her face. Given the shame and pain of her husband’s disappearance, he is doubly shocked to hear her speak of “new friends” that are “perhaps more than friends.” She even casually referred to a letter she received from Isabella, stating that she was on the trail of her father away at sea.

Argoth decided to pay a visit to the Temple of Bahamut, where Denubis should be found. By the time he reached the Temple, however, the hour had grown late and he was informed by the priest Petros that he had gone to bed.

Petros knew of the Stormblade family, and their predicament. He sympathized with Argoth and promised to offer prayers for the restoration of their honor and the location of Rogoth. He asked to be informed if Argoth found success, so that the Temple might praise Bahamut with them.

Petros also knew of Denubis, who was under his authority, and of Leta’s assistance. He said they were both honorable and faithful people who had performed admirably. Nonetheless, as a precaution he offered to keep an eye on both of them and, as Argoth requested, “encourage mother to remember her husband.”

Rooftop Ambush

Polycarp and Argoth met again on their way back to the guildhall. By this time it had grown dark out, and bitter winter winds cut through the narrow, deserted streets. The hoot of an owl was all that alerted them, as they were narrowly missed by crossbow bolts that bounced off nearby walls. The two heroes dashed into action, scaling ladders to confront two goblin assassins. The goblins tried to outmaneuver the warriors by riding a celestial owl to distant rooftops, but Argoth and Polycarp leaped across the buildings in hot pursuit. When one of the goblins was killed and his avian mount freed, the remaining goblin disappeared down the winding streets. Little could be found to identify the dead goblin or its employers beyond a single playing card, the 3 of spades.



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