Martin rushed to Leto as Hascya pursued the ship's captain, but the sorcerer bled out before Martin could reach him. Furious, Martin joined the pursuit of the vessel's captain just as Hascya tackled the man into the sea. After a desperate underwater struggle in which Hascya scared off a curious shark, the two men managed to keep the man underwater long enough that he blacked out. They returned to the Black Dragon with the body of their friend and their unconscious prisoner. They gave Leto a burial at sea (that is, they chucked him overboard after looting his stuff).
During the interrogation of the prisoner, the group learned that Carron's fleet numbered about fifteen vessels - seven other scout vessels, a pair of brigs, a pair of galleons serving as supply vessels, four armed caravels, and the Dominance as the flagship. The fleet sailed because Carron believed that Silverkeep had sent assassins after its nobles. The next morning, Daren (the leader of the refugees from Westwend) disguised himself as an officer from Carron and attempted to trick the admiral from Carron into turning his fleet around. He was partially successful in that the admiral sent his slower caravels and galleons back to Carron, but kept the faster, smaller ships on course along with his flagship.
That afternoon, Carron sent a flight of about twenty eagles towards the refugee fleet, but the illusory dragon kept them at bay. That night, Daren took an eagle ahead to try and destroy one of Carron's ships that was trying to cut them off. He dropped a bomb in the ship's powder magazine, but despite everything he tried, he wasn't able to damage the ship and was exposed as an enemy. He flew back to the Black Dragon, where the group met to discuss options.
They decided that attempting to run the blockade would be suicide, and instructed the refugees to surrender. Daren opted to stay with his people and try to help them get by as prisoners of war. Hascya, Martin, and Gareth took their eagles and flew on to Silverkeep.
After flying overland for three days, you arrive back in Silverkeep. It is a cold, overcast day, and you see construction crews working to repair the damage done by Goldcrest during the recent siege.
As you land in a town square, a mithral guard comes running over to Martin and Gareth. "You'll be wanted at the keep," he says, before lowering his voice to be barely above a whisper, "There was another attempt on the king's life a few days ago. I don't know many details, but everyone's spooked. No one saw the intruder, not even the king's personal bodyguard. Whoever - whatever it was, they left no trace of their passage."
Making sure the eagle is attended to, Martin will make his way to the keep. Again whispering to the messenger as they make there way through the crowded town, "When you say attempt, what do you mean? Surely they were unsuccessful?"
"The king is alive, and physically unharmed." The guard says as you walk through the market. "Mentally? We're not sure. He sees assassins in every shadow now. We've doubled the guard on both him and the princess, but he suspects everyone."
As you walk through the market, you notice a pair of men shadowing your group. They are clad in unremarkable clothes - heavy woolen cloaks, linen tunics and trousers, heavy boots. They maintain a distance of about thirty feet behind you, surreptitiously ducking in and out of stalls and weaving through crowds with practiced ease.
Hascya slaps the guard heavily on the shoulder, most likely startling him. Your king sees assassins in shadows but we -- we have shadows. Or perhaps, men who would be our shadows.
He turns around and points to a pair of men about thirty feet behind, clad in unremarkable clothes. These men here -- Twohey has noticed they follow us, although they are very clever. He shakes his head sadly. But not so clever as Twohey.
He turns and begins to walk casually towards the men. How do they respond?
One of the men, seeing Hascya point them out, ambles over to a stall while his partner hangs back. As Hascya approaches, he will introduce himself as "Miles Greywater, bounty hunter. That's my brother, Luca. We're after a murderer. He's human, goes by the name of Leto Anguis, and looks something like this." He retrieves a crumpled sheet of paper from his pocket and shows it to you. On it is a passable likeness of Leto. Below the picture, a line of text reads: WANTED: Leto Anguis. Charge: Murder. Reward: 5000 gold (dead), 10,000 gold (alive). By the order of Charles Silfen, Mayor of Aurra. The man continues, "we've been led to understand that he's affiliated with your friends the guards. Where is he?"
"That's awfully convenient," Miles says. "I don't believe you. What do you think, Luca?" He turns to his brother expectantly. Silently, Luca shakes his head. Turning back to you, Miles says loudly, "You're in league with him. Did your friend ever tell you that he seduced and murdered a little girl? Turned into some sort of snake demon and sank his fangs right into her. Tell me, is protecting monsters like that really the stance of Silverkeep's guards?"
You notice that the crowds nearby have turned to watch this exchange, and are muttering amongst themselves. The other patrons in the stall back away while the shopkeeper frantically starts pulling his ceramic bowls off the shelves.
Sense Motive DC 33:
Bluff:1d20 + 14 ⇒ (19) + 14 = 33
He's trying to provoke you into assaulting him in front of the mithral guard and the crowd, but he believes the charges against Leto.
Perform (Oratory):1d20 + 14 ⇒ (17) + 14 = 31 Note: This is a totally mundane performance check to make sure that everyone nearby is paying attention to what is going on and what he has to say.
Martin's eyes narrow at the final comment, "I don't know how people conduct themselves where your from, but this is not the proper way to address a guard of the silverkeep." Getting into the man's face and pointing a finger at his chest, " You can either hold your tongue,or you can spend a night in jail to cool your temper, and I can promise you that the rats will be most welcoming. As for this Leto business, what my friend says here is true, he lies dead at the bottom of the bay." I'm assuming as a pre-industrial city state, peasants are essentially crap, and can be imprisoned on a whim. Go pre-habeus corpus days!
The man stares right back at Martin for a moment, before someone in the crowd shouts out, "What about those murders in gaoltown the other day? Those were done by guardsmen!" The man smirks and backs off, saying "Now that's interesting, isn't it?" His brother, still silent and standing back from the confrontation, face-palms at this display.
The crowd's murmuring has taken on the faintest hint of an edge. "We should get out of here," the guard escorting you says quietly. "That crowd isn't going to stay friendly."
Those from Silverkeep:
Gaoltown is a poor district on the eastern edge of Silverkeep. It held the city's dungeons until they burned down during the succession struggle twenty-ish years ago. The district is poor, but not crime-riddled. In fact, the citizenry of that district tend to be very law-abiding.
Sense Motive DC 26:
Luca bluff:1d20 + 18 ⇒ (8) + 18 = 26
Luca isn't surprised at this display, and neither is he as mortified with his brother as he appears. It's an act of some sort.
Why can't martin be intellegent? I mean, it's clear that this guy has information on our association with leto and therefore should know that we haven't been in town to hear this, but Martin really can't put that line of thought together
"That's news to my ears. Probably some cheap trick of the goldcrest troops. Sounds like they're type of ploy to make the town restless. I wouldn't believe that nonsense."
The crowd calms down a bit at the mention of an external foe possibly being to blame. Another voice from the crowd calls out, "Maybe so, but answer the man's charge. Were you working with a monster like that?"
Also, here are some knowledge checks relevant to the wanted poster.
Knowledge (Geography) DC 10:
Aurra is a sizable town loyal to Silverkeep. It is about three days ride to the northwest, and supplies textiles and luxury goods to Silverkeep's markets. It is a large town of nearly ten thousand people (Silverkeep has a population of about thirty thousand), but it is quite wealthy from the trade it performs with Silverkeep and other cities in the region.
Knowledge (Nobility) DC 15:
The town of Aurra is governed by a mayor chosen by the duke to act as his agent in the city itself. The current mayor is Charles Silfen, a wealthy landowner and noted businessman. The region containing Aurra is one of three duchies controlled by Silverkeep. The current duke is Lord Galliani, who is also the High Priest of Nethys in Silverkeep.
About a week ago, your curse took effect when your Black Tentacles spell strangled the life from an investigator from Aurra. The man suspected that you were an accomplice of Leto's. After you disposed of the body (and received an earful from Castiel), you realized that something was wrong with your reflection.
You packed up shop and fled, traveling to Silverkeep to seek out Leto. Once there, you noticed a pair of men going around with a wanted poster bearing Leto's likeness. You decided to follow the two bounty hunters. After a while, you followed them to a market street and observed the current altercation.
Alaric's a hermit. He doesn't know Silfen's minions on sight.
"We'll go," Miles declares. "But remember, people of Silverkeep! Monsters walk among us! Watch for them, lest your children be their next victims!" Unless you move to stop them, he and his brother will walk away, leaving the crowd muttering in their wake.
Perform (Oratory) check:1d20 + 14 ⇒ (6) + 14 = 20 Totally mundane performance. Good enough to hold the crowd's attention, though.
Sense Motive DC 16:
Bluff:1d20 + 14 ⇒ (2) + 14 = 16
You strongly suspect that Miles has no intention of letting up on the rabble-rousing.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
An old man with white hair comes from the crowd. He has short-cropped white hair and a medium length straight white beard. While not particularly wrinkly, the years have taken their toll on him. His gnarled hands are covered in scar tissue and he requires a walking stick to move around. A slightly hunched back accompanies his limping gait, but if one were to look closely he or she might notice a mischievous glint in the man’s pale blue eyes.
His clothes are simple but well tailored. They appear to be old and slightly foreign in origin. They are nevertheless in good kip. He wears a faded blue shirt and brown breeches, over which he has placed a faded black cloak held up by a tarnished silver clasp. A small ruby is set into the brooch a strange contrast to the man's shabby appearance.
Stranger still, a golden crown seems to be floating next to him.
He smiles broadly at you all. "Hello young ones." He begins his raspy voice slowly forming the words as though about to ask if you like a toffee. "For what is is worth, I don't think that is the last you have seen of them. Now, can any of you tell me exactly what happened to Leto? And shall we do it at a bar where the walls have as many ears but fewer hostilities?"
At this the crown pipes up "Perhaps you should offer to buy them a drink at the bar to entice them? I have noticed humans seem to respond well to that."
The old man shoots him a look "Will you mind your own business? These humans can talk just fine on his own. He was doing it for years before he ever met you."
The crown continues its neutral tone "I would point out that your social interactions have never been particularly resounding successes."
The old man shoots back "Well, Castiel, perhaps they would have been if you did not keep butting in all the time."
The old man glowers for a second at the crown after this exchange, seeming to overcome his own stubbornness, before saying "I would of course be more than willing to buy you your drinks as we talk."
Martin eyes the old man quizzically, but then ignores him, and instead finds a place to stand above the crowd, using a merchant's stall as a podium.
Perception check, seeing which way the two went1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9, and making a mental note of it.
Then turning, Martin will address the crowd,
"Fellow countrymen. I know this war has hurt us. Touched each home and every family, and left no one unscathed. But let none of you mistake my words. This war will not break us. Goldcrest can send it's agents, riling up panic in the streets, but these are the cheap tricks of desperate men, who know that they lack the force and will required to win in a straight fight. They cannot break us. We are Silverkeep, for generations this is where we have stood, and where we will stand for generations yet to come. Let them send their armies, we will defeat them. Let them send their agents, they will be caught and taken to task. Fathers, be not disheartend, you toil for the land and country of your for fathers. Your work is not vain, but lifts up glory that is Silverkeep. Mothers, look to the fine children you've raised, and know that you are the heart of this country. Be not dissuaded by these foolish men, with their cheap words, but look instead to the country around you and all that you've worked for. Sons and daughters, you are the future of this country, and need to keep heart in the face of such tyranny. You will keep the land in honor and prosperity in the future, but how can you accomplish this task if we don't set the right example for you now. We cannot let men like this deceive us, such things are the seeds of our destruction. But when we stay true, no force can tear us apart. Take heart Silverkeep, for we will win this war, and send those gold crest pups back whining to their mothers."
Diplomacy:1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
With that,Martin hops from the merchant's stall and makes his way to the keep. If the old man with the floating crown follows, Martin will turn to talk to him before reaching the keep.
After Martin gives his speech, the crowd lets out a few cheers and disperses. "That was well spoken," the mithral guard escorting you says.
You see them split up - Luca (the silent one) disappears down a side alley, while Miles (the loudmouth) strolls brazenly away through the market square, in the direction he and your party originally came from.
They're making little effort to be stealthy, and you notice that a number of people follow Miles.
As Martin moves through the streets walking towards the keep, he talks over his shoulder at Alaric. "Sorry If I don't have time to talk about the Leto situation, but you may have noticed we have a war going on, and I need to report to the king. If you want to talk as we walk, that's fine, but I need to get to the keep."
The party, fresh from an encounter with some rabble-rousers, briefly spoke with the old man at the market, learning that he had known Leto quite well. They then left him to his own devices and went to the palace, where they met with Vincenzo. He demanded to know what had gone wrong: he sent them to Carron to investigate why the halflings had aided Goldcrest against Silverkeep. Since then, Carron had declared war on Silverkeep, a massive column of light had apparently destroyed Westwend, and a hostile fleet had blockaded the mouth of the river.
Surprised that Vincenzo was so well-informed (he knew about Hascya), he showed the party a note. He said that it had been pinned to the king's bedpost with a dagger several nights previously, and that the king had become extremely concerned about his and his daughter's safety ever since. The party defended their actions by pointing out that Gareth had initiated hostilities while the others simply attempted escape, and that Pygrado had separated himself from them before things went down. They told Vincenzo about their encounters with Milea and Nerissa, and of the events in Westwend and with the fleet. Vincenzo informed them that Silverkeep and Goldcrest had negotiated a ceasefire for the time being, and that Goldcrest's nobles were preoccupied with internal competitions for power. He did say, however, that the dwarven general Stronginthearm was the most likely person to take the helm. Vincenzo assigned Gareth to palace guard duty and tasked Martin and Hascya with investigating the two rabble-rousers they had encountered earlier.
Departing the palace, Martin and Hascya spent the night at Martin's family estate before returning to the city the next day. Beginning their investigation at the market where they had encountered the troublemakers the previous day, they were quickly directed to an inn called the "Laughing Rogue." This large, rowdy tavern was a haven of adventuring types, including the old man from the previous day, Alaric. Obtaining a side room to wait for the troublemakers, they set about trying to sober Alaric up. After getting to know each other a little better, they eventually learned that the two men had gone to some event near the docks. Twohey left to monitor the situation, and that evening Hascya learned that Twohey had tracked the men to a large warehouse. Martin and Hascya set off through the streets while Alaric flew directly there.
The warehouse in question was large and old. It appeared to have taken some damage during the siege of the city, as one corner of the stone structure was caved in. A faded sign above the office entrance proclaimed it to belong to a "Royal brewing company." Entering the structure through the office, the party soon found armed guards blocking entry to one of the three halls. The guards denied entry at first, claiming that as the building was private property, the party needed the approval of the owner (an Anders Silfen) to be inside. They quickly browbeat the guards into letting them inside anyway.
Inside the barrel-filled warehouse, the party saw a sizable crowd of people. These people appeared to come from a variety of walks of life, from commoners to lower-ranked nobles. Guarded by swordsmen, Miles Greywater stood upon a stage set up at the far end of the room, while his brother Luca stood in the corner. As the party entered, a bound mithral guard was brought out from behind a curtain at the rear of the stage by a man with a greatsword. Martin demanded that everyone surrender, and all hell broke loose. The captive mithral guard was beheaded by the greatsword-wielding soldier, the crowd was cowed into not rioting, Miles fled behind the curtain, and Luca ran up the wall to the ceiling.
Martin and Hascya quickly slew the weaker guards protecting the stage, and Hascya actually reduced one to a spray of blood and viscera with a single stroke. They ran into trouble when faced with the executioner. Meanwhile, Alaric's spells hastened Hascya and Martin's movements, while Ankou fought the two guards by the door.
During the protracted fight with the executioner, Martin missed with a number of swings and fell unconscious repeatedly while Alaric provided emergency healing. Luca hung out on the ceiling and fired ray after ray at the party, causing serious damage whenever he connected. Hascya and Martin landed telling blows on the executioner, but he healed himself several times before Martin finally slew the bastard. Alaric momentarily blinded Luca with glitterdust, causing the man to conjure jets of flame with which he raced through the air towards the opposite wall. The party belatedly realized that this was an illusion conjured as the man fled.
With Ankou holding the crowd within the hall, the party pursued Miles through the warehouse's back offices. Slaying several more hostile guards as they went, they emerged into another hall. This hall was filled with wooden crates, and the party saw Miles and another guard dragging a second captive mithral guard with them. Moving quickly, the party engaged the fleeing foes. Martin and Hascya beat down the guard, while Alaric used his slumber hex to knock out both Miles and the hostile guard.
Late in the fight, Twohey had informed Hascya that a glowing man was on the roof, and that an injured man had left through the front door. Nonetheless, the immediate battle was won. The party freed the remaining captive mithral guard, whom Martin recognized as one of the princess's bodyguards. They manacled the sleeping Miles, and realized that he was under the influence of a Charm monster effect. They also dispatched the now freed mithral guard to bring backup to help them deal with their prisoners.
Miles Greywater (asleep)
Two injured guards (both wounded, one asleep)
Eighteen people (the entire crowd, one wounded)
The crowd and one guard are corralled in the hall where most of the battle took place. The rescued dwarven mithral guard has left to bring reinforcements. Luca has escaped the area, although Twohey is following him. Miles and another captive guard are asleep.
- A darkened suit of unadorned agile half-plate armor.
- A scarred steel greatsword.
- Pouch of coins (723 gold, 211 silver)
- Golden locket containing a picture of the executioner and a young lady.
- Wanted poster of Leto(NOTE: Updated, because both ML and I forgot that Leto was an alias, and the printer knew his real name as well).
- Oily-sheened short-sleeved leather armor.
- Bronze earring
- Pouch of coins (23 gold, 47 silver)
- Curved dagger with faint blue runes etched into the blade.
- Thin wand made of yew
Miles wakes up in about seven minutes. It will take the dwarf about fifteen minutes to bring back a contingent of silver guards, or about forty five to track down some mithral guards, which I think was what you requested in the live session. Do you want to retcon that to request any guards, and fast?
Alaric ties up and/or manacles both sleeping men (I seem to remember Martin having manacles, but if we only have one pair we use any ropes or similar objects to tie their hands). He also casts detect magic.
As you keep watch over the prisoners, you notice something odd. The guards all have/had red irises. A couple people among the crowd also have reddish irises, though not as darkly colored as the guards' eyes were.
Check 1 (executioner's armor): You have no idea, but its very magical.
Check 2 (greatsword): This greatsword has been magically enhanced to swing truer and cut deeper (+1 greatsword).
Check 3 (Miles's armor): This lightweight leather armor has an oily sheen to it. You sense that it has been specially treated to allow the wearer to more easily cast arcane spells. +1 Twilight leather armor. The Twilight effect (from Magic Item Compendium) reduces the arcane spell failure chance by 10%, to 0% in the case of leather armor. Costwise, this is effectively a +2 armor.
Check 4 (Miles's earring): This earring ensures that the wearer's teeth always look absolutely perfect.
Check 5 (Miles's dagger): The runes on this vicious-looking dagger flare up when you examine the weapon. You sense that this blade deals extra damage against arcane spellcasters. +1 Magebane Dagger. The Magebane effect (from MIC) causes this weapon the function as a +3 dagger against arcane spellcasters or creatures with arcane spell-like abilities and deals an additional 2d6 damage against these foes. It functions as a normal +1 dagger against everything else. Costwise, this is effectively a +2 weapon.
Check 6 (wand): This wand allows the user to turn momentarily invisible, per the Swift Invisibility spell (from spell compendium). It has 8 charges left. With a DC 20 UMD check, you can turn invisible for one round as a swift action. Per 3.5 errata, because this spell is cast as a swift action, you may activate this wand with a swift action. The effect breaks as soon as you attack or cast a hostile spell.
Upon examining the armor and arrayed items Alaric pulls up and says "Executioner's armor...I can't tell anything about it. Hascya could you give it a try and see if you have better luck. The greatsword has been enhanced with magic +1 greatsword. Miles's armor has been improved so that the person wearing it and cast arcane spells more easily (+1 Twilight leather armor. The Twilight effect reduces the arcane spell failure chance by 10%, to 0% in the case of leather armor. Costwise, it is effectively a +2 armor.). I would be very interested in that armor."
"Miles's earring ensures that the wearer's teeth always look absolutely perfect. Seriously, that is the effect. I wonder what his teeth really look like? Hmmm." With that Alaric removes Miles's earring and pulls back his gums to see his teeth.
Whatever he sees he continues on. "Miles's dagger has some interesting runes on it. It would seem that they cause additional damage to arcane spell casters (+1 Magebane Dagger. Magebane effect causes the weapon to function as a +3 dagger against arcane spellcasters or creatures with arcane spell-like abilities and deal an additional 2d6 against these foes. It functions as a normal +1 dagger against everything else. Costwise this is a +2 weapon). The wand it would seem is a wand of Swift Invisibility. It has 8 charges left." (With a UMD DC 20 Check, you can turn invisible for one round as a swift action. Per 3.5 errata, because this spell is cast as a swift action, you may activate this wand witha a swift action. The effect breaks as woon as you attack or cast a hostile spell.)
Alaric upon noticing the strange look of the guard's eyes he uses detect magic on all the people with red irises.
Miles's teeth don't look too bad. A little crooked, but not remarkably so. His eyes are not red.
Alaric or detect magic on red-eyed folks:
You detect moderate auras of conjuration (calling) and necromancy on the guards, and fainter auras of the same types on the three members of the crowd with reddish eyes.
Miles detects as faintly evil. The guards emit moderate auras of evil, and the three members of the crowd with reddish eyes detect as faintly evil. The rest are either non-evil or too weakly evil to be detected. You notice traces of an overwhelming aura of evil in the corner where Luca (the warlock) was. You are stunned for 1 round upon noticing this other aura.
Alaric examines those with red eyes.
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (12) + 17 = 29
Alaric then looks up at Castiel. "Could you detect evil this lot? Don't want any surprises now." Castiel looks around the room "There is a faint aura of evil over three members of the crowd with red eyes...The guards are emitting auras of evil..." He says as he looks around the room, or seems to as the crown slowly rotates around.
"Yaaaah!!" Castiel exclaims as he points toward the corner where Luca, the warlock, was. "So...much...evil..." Castiel seems to be stunned for this round. He rotates slowly in place as though reeling from the evil.
A few minutes later, Miles and the sleeping guard wake up. Neither speaks, but both of them watch you with calculating expressions.
About thirty minutes later, the dwarf returns with reinforcements. He brought three additional mithral guards and eight silver guards. "Sir Martin, I've brought reinforcements! The commander says to bring all the prisoners straight to the palace dungeons when you're done here."
Twohey reports in after a few minutes of tracking Luca, Glowing man disappeared into house.
"I think it would be better if we take this whole lot to the dungeon before trying to interrigate them. It'll help us sort the whole thing out. I'll lead the group. We should split them into groups of 5, they'll be easier to manage, and have a group of guards accompany at each side. Have the mithral guard take up the rear. This one is with me." Martin says pointing at Miles.
Prisoners are indicated by the orange dots. The red-eyed crowdsfolk have red dots as well. Both captive guards have red eyes and are wounded, as is one member of the crowd. The silver guards all carry longswords, heavy shields, and longbows. The four mithral guards (including the dwarf) carry greatswords and longbows.