Trace of Breath

1208.12.12-13 - 3rd Rest 12-13:1208

Crossroads (XP 1,129; Total = 3,987)

The Gatekeepers return to their guild house, where two members of the Aegis Knights wait to escort Argoth before a Tribunal. His comrades choose not to accompany him, but instead proceed inside to speak with Truquan Gladerunner.

Their guildmaster has much news:

Harken – “We have sent agents to the Village of Harken to investigate the goblin movements around this Mythos Barrow you spoke of… but there has been no word. I’m sorry for Argoth. This will come as a blow, not knowing what has become of Raelle and Torodrin. He and Torodrin were never close, but comrades through several adventures and I know Raelle is… special to him.”

Camden – “Good news, Camden… or… news anyway, on your parents! Their ship, Vrock Chaser, was found off the coast of New Ansalon somewhere. It was… underwater. Still, perhaps you could explore the wreckage, you might find… clues.”

MAJOR QUEST – Track Down the Dark Traders (150 XP each)

Argoth (upon his return) – “We have found a lead on your father. A credible source saw him just before he left on his journey, meeting with the head of the Dark Traders. Perhaps you could learn more if you were able to arrange a meeting with him. I have had little to do with the Thieves Guild, but the City Watch has been tracking their movements for some time. It is possible they might help you, in exchange for your services. I’ve asked for a meeting with Captain Warrick to see what is to become of Calumnior and Charlie Sampson, so he has agreed to meet tomorrow night at the Soggy Frog Inn.”

After resting and shopping the next day, the heroes wait for Captain Warrick at the Soggy Frog. As time drags on, he seems to have stood them up. Two burly halflings pick a bar fight with them, proving much more difficult than they appear (especially since the heroes are unable to use their peace-tied weapons). Bottles and fists fly, until Captain Warrick appears from the kitchen: “Well done, lads! Perhaps you’re not the reckless vigilantes I was I suspected you to be. Sorry to have to put you through the ruse, but I had to see what kind of men Truquan was sending my way. Here’s a little coin for the inconvenience, shall we say it was all in good sport? (The Nutslinger brothers spit in unison and offer their hands ‘fair fight’ they grin). Truquan tells me you are looking to make contact with the head of the Dark Traders. I’d like to make contact myself, but he keeps himself well hidden. Still, we’ve learned their methods a bit and might be able to point you in the right direction. Along the way, you might help us clean up the street a bit. Since the war, we’ve been mightily undermanned, but the royal treasury can spare some funding for an honest law man’s job if you are willing. Our first lead is a missing merchant. The Dark Traders left their calling card, but the job looks a little sloppier than usual. Perhaps you could find some clues to track them down, interview some folks that might have seen something and such. You might have a special interest in finding this merchant, as you helped him and his son once before.”

When asked about Calimnior and Charlie’s sentences, he declares them both free (Charlie because the prison is defunct and his trauma exceeded his crime anyway, and Calimnior because he had no record of his ever having been there in the first place).

Minor Quest – Solve the Mystery of the Missing Merchant (150 XP/# of PCs and 225 gold)

The Gatekeepers traveled to “Peddlers Row” in the Market District. They discovered an unmanned cart that had been overturned in the snow with signs of violence. They found traces of blood and strange hairs, but were unable to determine their source. No merchandise seemed to be stolen, but they found a token with a symbol they were able to associate with a tattoo commonly worn by the Dark Traders. Several neighboring merchants suggested Dark Trader involvement as well, though the heroes were cautious because of previous cases like this that turned out to be a set-up.

Unable to wade through the web of fear, lies and competitive agendas, the Gatekeepers finally decided to tail one suspicious merchant who led them into an alleyway ambush with several were-rats that emerged from a sewer. Defeating the beasts, the heroes realized that these hairs matched those found with the blood near the merchant’s cart. With that knowledge, they braved the septic tunnels in the hope of rescuing survivors and getting a step closer to the head of the Thief’s Guild.

In the bowels of Anvar’s underbelly, the Gatekeepers defeated swarms of mutated rats of all sizes and shapes, stealthily circling a main chamber where a deranged Troglodyte seemed to be muttering to himself and his “pretties.” They rescued Qasim, who helped them fight off some of the rats by lobbing bags of grain. Finally, they confronted the Troglodyte Ratmaster who summoned swarms of vermin to overwhelm them. With strategy and teamwork, the Gatekeepers defeated the insane lizard and discovered the devoured remains of Qasim’s father among his belongings. Hiding the gruesome corpse, the heroes took the orphaned foreigner back to their guild-house, where they told him his father had nobly sacrificed himself to protect him. They then proceeded to discuss options for a livelihood they could provide the boy, from contracting him as a cabin boy to serving in the Temple of Bahamut.

The Gatekeepers had solved the mystery of the missing merchant, and were rewarded by Captain Warrick, but the only lead they found about the Dark Traders was a list of names found on the Troglodyte’s person. Qasim’s father was the latest in a series that were scratched out, but the next name on the list was that of Gelflawn “May” Mapleshade. Since none of them knew who this was off-hand, Argoth decided to investigate her identity and whereabouts while the others looked into some of their remaining loose ends.

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JGrant

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