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DM Magister Ludi's Legacy of Fire

Game Master Gordon the Whale

In the barren wastes of the Brazen Peaks, secrets await those brave enough to find them.


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"Oh, I am Hadrod, a humble camel drover, and this is my wife Hadrah, who is also the camp cook."


The sun is setting as you are speaking, though it is still twilight.

"You are right, sahib, Rombard is a very smart and friendly goat. He always comes when we call..."


"--and he has never run off before. And look at the thorny brush--" Hadrod gestures at the brush, which is indeed quite formiddable.


"--It would be so hard to find him, especially since it is getting dark. You see, Rombard is a very young goat, and if he had a mind to hide--"


"--and it seems he does--" Hadrod sniffles.


"--then I doubt there's much to do before morning but hope." Hadrah pats her husband on the back consolingly.

"Oh, but sahib, you must be hungry after your long journey and hard work fighting the fire. Look at me forgetting myself in all this fuss. Come with me to the campfire, and I'll get you and the other young men some dinner."


Game Master

Dross:
The ground does look a little scuffed up at the base of the tree, as though someone had been there, but you're not a good enough tracker to determine who it was or where they went when they left. From behind the tree, you can see Almah's silhouette on the wall of her tent, cast by a candle or lamp within. She is sitting at a desk with her head in her hands.


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

Valik smiles at the two drovers. They quite obviously have been together for a long time and are of good heart.

"Thank you Hadrah. I would definitly appreciate a warm meal right now."

As they walk to the campfire Valik asks "So what do you think about the fire? It seemed mighty peculiar to me. Why didn't the fortune teller wake up and escape the flame?"


Hadrah talks quickly and animatedly as she and Hadrod walk Valik back to the campfire. "Oh, it was strange. I was the one who saw the fire first, I was over here serving some stew to Father Zastoran and those two young mercenaries, you know, the brother and sister -- what are their names again? Oh it doesn't matter. At any rate, as I was saying, I was just serving them some stew, and I happened to look over in that direction for just a moment, and I saw smoke and flames coming out of the wagon, and oh! I started shouting! Then those two young people jumped up and ran to try to get Elois out, and Almah was shouting orders, and I just didn't know what to do! Only then, Hadrod called me, and he said-- Oh, you tell him dear."


Hadrod takes up the story with hardly a heartbeat of a pause, "Well, it's just as Hadrah says,you know everyone was running about with buckets of water, and I was about to go and help, when lo and behold, I saw that the gate was open, and the animals were all streaming out. Spooked by the fire and the shouting, no doubt, but I'm certain I didn't leave the gate unlatched. When I looked at it after getting the animals back in, it appears to have broken. Just rotten luck, I guess. And now poor Rombard is all alone..." He shakes his head sadly.


"Bad luck, indeed. And it seems that Elois must have had more of the same. It seems an odd thing, for a fortune teller to be caught in an accident like that. I mean, he's a nice enough man, for a foreigner, don't get me wrong, but all his talking of... Cyclones, and Uprisings --"


"--and Fiends! Aye, he was an odd one. But our Lady Almah trusted him, so he must have been a good sort. Even if he couldn't foretell his own wagon catching on fire." The couple nod at each other resolutely. "Well, here we are, at a delicious pot of Hadrah's finest spiced stew. Mmm, mmm, smells delicious as always, dear."


Hadrah beams at her husband and serves up a bowl of stew for Valik. "But Elois was saved, wasn't he? There's no permanent harm done, is there?"


HP:15/15

Dross shakes his head slowly and then looks up from the bush to Elois burnt out wagon. Trying to work out if it would be likely if Dashki lit the fire or not. Trying to catch a glimps of the Ameera was a little creepy but it was far from proof that it was he that started the blaze.


Game Master

Dross:
You can't actually see the burned wagon from your current location; Almah's tent is between you and it.


HP:15/15

Dross scratches his greasy hair releasing flakes of scalp. Well perhaps this isn't so open and shut and the only person here that can help is our only suspect... Dross wanders around to the burnt out wagon again and to see if he can find any prints that might match those behind the bush, though he's not hopeful.

Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 18

He then heads back to the fire to meet up with Valik.


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

"Well I am certainly glad that you were as successful as you were chasing down the animals. The fire and the unlatched gate could have been a bad combination. I will pray that little Rombard shows up with the Lady's first rays."


Hadrod nods and smiles wistfully. "Aye, that's kind of you Valik. I hope the Lady sees fit to answer your prayers." He sits down near the fire with his own bowl of stew.


Dashki and the rest of the new mercenaries wander over to the fire to be fed as well. The stew is a strongly spiced goat curry, which is very well prepared. The rough men are cheered by a warm meal and a bright fire. Dashki sits somewhat apart, wolfing down his food and eyeing the newcomers suspiciously, as though afraid they will steal his meal.


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

Valik nods to Dross as he approaches. "Did you discover anything?" he asks quietly.


HP:15/15

" Not much I'm afraid. Dashki was hiding behind a bush near the Ameera's tent perhaps watching her just before the fire started. I'm not sure if he could have got to the wagon in time to set the fire. I still think he had something to do with it though maybe he had an accomplice? What about you? " Dross says after leaning in to whisper.


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

"Someone was trying to set up a diversion. The gate to the animal pen was left conveniently unlatched. As soon as the fire was started, the animals spooked and ran. So perhaps someone was trying to cover up something other than the fire, or they wanted to cause confusion and make the camp vulnerable. I don't know who else to talk to...perhaps we can ask the Ameera if she has checked all her valuables since the fire?"


As the detectives rise to visit the Ameera, Hadrah interrupts them. "Oh, if you're going that way anyway, you should take the Ameera her dinner. She usually takes it in her tent, you know, just like you'd expect of such a high-born lady. I'd take it myself, but since you're going that way already..." She smiles beseechingly.

I assume someone will take the food.


Almah greets the group at the door to her tent. She has removed her voluminous desert robes, and is wearing a beautiful and intricate red silk tunic worked with gold. Her wrists, neck, and ears, likewise glitter with gold, and her hair is concealed beneath a glittering beaded net. "Ah, my detectives have returned!" She sees the meal that they have conveyed to her from Hadrah, and smiles wryly. "I hope you have more for me than a bowl of stew; I find that the excitement and worry of the day have quite ruined my appetite. Tell me, effendis, what have you learned?"


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

"Your food Ameera, courtesy of Hadrah." Valik says as he hands over the tray.

"To be honest, I know little. It seems that someone set up the animals to flee by unlatching the pen. Which is exactly what happened when the wagon flared up. I feel quite confident that Hadrah and Hadrod are either quite innocent and nice people, or the most diabolical criminal masterminds of this age. Since they are quite worried over a baby goat, I will lean towards innocence."


HP:15/15

Dross nods along as Valik shares what he found before launching into his own report." Well Ameera, Dashki your guide was seen by one of the guards hiding in the scrub behind your tent right before the fire was lit. Trying to see your silhouette the guard believed. I'm not sure if he could have made it to the wagon to start the fire but in my experience people don't hide unless they are doing something wrong. Perhaps the fire and the letting go of the animals were designed to be distraction while something else was carried out? Have you found anything missing from your tent since the fire?"


Almah listens to all this news. She smiles just a little at Valik's joke, but her face darkens at Dross's speculations about Dashki. At the suggestion that something may have been stolen, she strides over to an ornate ebony and gold box, opens it, while standing so as to block view of its contents, then closes it and turns back to the mercenaries. "I do not believe anything of great value is missing. Your other news is indeed suspicious. I agree that Hadrah and Hadrod are unlikely conspirators, and their excessive love of the animals makes it hard to believe they would enter into any scheme which could bring danger upon them. Dashki is certainly more... cunning, and his behavior does seem suspicious, both in this report of him skulking in the brush immediately before the incident, and in his unexplained absence during and since. But what motive could he have for spying on me? Or for harming Elois?"


HP:15/15

Dross looks to Valik and then back at Almah. " Well Ameera, Father Zastoran seems to believe that Dashki lusts after you... and that he may have imagined a reason to be jealous of Elois. It doesn't seem enough to prove he is guilty. I fear that we have failed you." Dross bows his head fearful of the Armeera's response to such base comments concerning her.


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

"I see two other posibilities: It could be an accident, however unlikely. It could be that Father Zastoran is involved. I know little enough of the man, but he seemed very keen to point the finger at Dashki. It always worries me when people are so eager to point the finger at others." Valik frowns. "Her light rises anew each day. Do not let the darkness make you forget her dawn..."

"In any regard, we are now aware of the threat and will be on the lookout for future vandalism. I expect that we will be visited by the gnolls tonight, so it will be best if we make our preparations soon."


The Ameera's eyes open wide at Dross's suggestion. "Dashki? Lust after me? But there is such difference in our stations -- it would be so completely out of the question -- he's so filthy, and uncouth, and, and poor -- I had never even considered such a possibility. Had you told me Hadrod's prized goat held such improper feelings toward me, I could not be more surprised! Abadar forbid!" She is silent for a moment, putting a delicate finger to her lips in thought, then continues more slowly. "I do believe, however, that it might explain some of his odd manner around me. And," she shudders, "why he might be spying on my tent." She hugs her shoulders and looks nervously around at the walls of her tent, then sits down gracefully, if nervously, on a large, ornately embroidered pillow, and reaches for an expensive porcelain cup of coffee, sipping it as she continues.

"If his low-born mind were so confused regarding the propriety and possibility of my returning any such feelings for him," she shakes her head, as if trying to rid herself of the thought, "then perhaps he would imagine Elois to be his rival." She glances up at the mercenaries, hastily adding, "Though of course I have no such attachment to Elois. However, he is a trusted advisor, and... and friend, and Dashki, if he were already foolish enough to desire me himself, must surely have seen that Elois, though of no great wealth or family, is at least a more eligible candidate than himself, in social standing, person, intellect, education, manner... In every way, in short. To such a rough man as Dashki, perhaps the desire to eliminate a rival would provide motive enough... It is a theory worth pursuing, though, as you rightly point out, Valik, there is not enough evidence to convict him. Though, his continued absence provides no evidence in his favor."

"Indeed, if there is a risk of gnoll attack, and I must believe you that it is a possibility, then Dashki's presence is even more to be desired. He is, after all, a gnoll expert, and his knowledge and experience would be valuable. Where could he be?"


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

"We saw him at dinner. So he is present. He said that he left the camp early on to see if the gnolls had been alerted to our presence. While I believe him that he left the camp I cannot say what he did while he was out. He said he found nothing. I don't think he was looking hard enough."


"You saw Dashki? Why did you not send him to me? Did I not order him sent directly to me if anyone saw him? This is not acceptable!" The Ameera's fists clench as she looks back and forth between the two mercenaries, eyes hard. Before they can respond, however, she softens somewhat, and her fists relax. Well, it has been a stressful day for us all, and when I gave that order, you had never even met Dashki. Perhaps I can forgive you forgetting it. But I will expect you to do better in the future. And you may start by bringing Dashki to me now, unless you have anything else to say to me before he comes?"


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

"I apologize." Valik says and bows his head at the Ameera for a moment before turning to Dross. "Well Dross, shall we go and run Dashki to ground before he rabbits once more?"


Hp: 21/30; AC:19/19/17 (22 ward, 24 PfE)
Stats:
(Mage Armor, +2 AC 1/6); DR 10/magic vs. ranged weapons (40pts); Fort+6, Ref+3, Will+5 (+2 vs. enchantments, immune sleep, resist cold 5)
Half-Elven Wizard 6

Valik bows slightly to the Ameera, and exits the tent.

Look to see if the guards are in position and still visible. What time is it? Does Valik see Dashki by the fire?


Game Master

The sky is barely still light; it's hard to tell whether the guards are still in position, since they are some distance away. Dashki is still at the campfire eating; Based on how fast he eats, you figure he must be on his second or third bowl. Hadrah and Hadrod are also still there. By the light of an oil lamp, you see Father Zastoran in the hospital pavilion tending to the wounded. It looks as though one of the patients may have regained consciousness.


HP:15/15

Dross follows valik's example bowing and retreating out of the tent. " Damn I don't remember that order at all! " He whispers to Valik while he scan s the camp for Dashki. " There he is still by the fire. Hmm but who's that with Father Zastoran "


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

"Do you think you can handle Dashki by yourself? I think the other mercenaries that we arrived with would follow your lead when you grab him. I want to go see what the Father is up to." Valik says, pointing over his shoulder at the hospital pavilion.


HP:15/15

" Leave it to me. " Dross says nodding " I think I may even be able to get some of the others to help if it comes to that. Just keep an ear out "

Dross wanders over to the fire and plonks himself down by the fire next to Asad " This investigations going nowhere! " he says in a voice he hopes is just loud enough to carry to Dashki. " Just gave the report to the Ameera and she wasn't to pleased! " at this he leans forward and looks over to Dashki. " Oh, Dashki the Ameera asked to see you in her tent. "

Social Check if required: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (16) - 1 = 15


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

Valik stoops over as he enters the hospital tent.

"How goes it Father?" he asks as he enters.


Dashki tenses as Dross addresses him, his spoon frozen halfway to his mouth. He glances around at the gang of four mercenaries, all looking at him. "Almah wants to see me, eh?" He gobbles down the bite of stew, then sets his bowl aside, with a brief, longing glance at it. He clears his throat and looks around the men at the campfire manacingly. "Of course she wants to see me." He stands up with a bit of a swagger; the effect is ruined by the stew slopped over his chin. "Well, I'll just go see her then." He sneers at Dross and saunters over to Almah's tent, where he is quickly admitted.


Father Zastoran acknowledges Valik with a nod, and speaks quietly, "Ah, Valik, I am glad to see you my boy. Garavel is awake, and has been asking for news. I have told him about the fire, and his fellow patients, but I think perhaps you know more. Please, talk to him, but don't get him too upset. His condition in improving, but he is not yet fully healed, and too much excitement could be harmful. I will go to my cabin to tend to my infusions, so that you two can talk privately if need be. If anything changes with Garavel or the other patients, please come for me at once." He gives a polite bow and heads to the nearest wagon.


Garavel's voice is gravelly and quiet, and he pauses for breath every few words. However, his eyes look sharp, and he seems quite alert. "Well, Valik, it appears I owe you... and your comrades... quite a debt. I did not expect... a gnoll ambush... in broad daylight. They have... grown bold. Father Zastoran... tells me... you have been... investigating this fire incident... for Ameera Almah. What have you... discovered?"


HP:15/15

Dross watches Dashki walk over to the armeera's tent Well that was easy... I wonder if she will be upset that I just sent him instead of 'bringing him'. Perhaps I should go stand by the side of the tent? I could listen to them... Probably best not to. Though he is a bit of a brute but then so am I. Dross gets up and instead decides to head over to the animal pen to check the 'broken' gate. " I'm gonna go check that gate " he says bluntly to Hadrod. " don't worry I'll be careful. " he heads over to the gate to see in what manner it was sabotaged or if it was merely opened.

perception: 1d20 ⇒ 16


Game Master

As Dross approaches, the goats gather around him, curiously observing him and nibbling at his clothes and hair if he gets close enough, while the camels move off aloofly. The gate has been tied to the nearest post with a short length of rope to keep it closed. The iron latch is definitely damaged. In the dim light, there is no evidence that it was cut or smashed; the mechanism seems to have simply broken into several pieces, though it does not look or feel to have been badly worn or rusty.


HP:15/15

Well now that's clearly tampered with and on the other side of the camp from the wagon. Dashki by the bush, the wagon set on fire and the animal gate broken open! I wonder if there is anyone in this camp who is trustworthy!

" Get off! " he exclaims at one particularly stubborn goat. He looks around and wonders what he should do next. Maybe go around the camp and talk to the guards again?

He heads back to the fire and addresses Hadrah " Those guards must be getting hungry out there, perhaps there is some stew left over I could take to them? "


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

"No thanks are necessary. Keeping you alive was what any honest man should do. As for the investigation...little enough. The seer was hurt in the fire, but I was able to get him out of the fire in time for him to have a fighting chance. I do find it strange that he did not awaken in time to free himself. I would imagine that a fire would wake a person up quite quickly. The father said that he saw Dashki mooning about the Ameera's tent about the time that the fire started, but we think that he is interested in her, rather than having murderous designs. The strangest part was that the gate for the animals was opened at the time of the fire. So there were several people dashing about gathering animals and adding to the general confusion. I thought that this whole thing might be a cover to steal something, but the Ameera said that all her valuables were still safe. To be honest, this is beyond my abilities."

"Oh and the smoke from the wagon was considerable. Dashki thinks that there are no gnolls about, but after our encounter on the road, I am quite certain that we will be attacked sometime soon...perhaps tonight."


Garavel grimaces. "I must admit... I have my... suspicions... about the fire." He sighs belaboredly. "Dashki... has never seemed... entirely trustworthy. Sadly... I would not be surprised... if he were responsible." He pauses a moment. "As for the gnolls... Were there any... survivors... from the attack... in which I fell? Did you... learn anything... about them?"


Hadrah smiles at Dross. "Oh, certainly, there's plenty more. I made enough for everyone, you know, and seconds too! Even Dashki can't eat it all." She pours a bowl of stew and hands it to him. "I'll just give you one at a time, maybe? Unless you think you can carry more?"


Hp: 15/21; AC:15/10/15; Perc +7; Init +0

"We killed them all Garavel. So no, we didn't learn anything. I do have a question for you, and I am glad that I have privacy to ask you. I am concerned about whatever that silver thing is sticking out of the side of your head. It seems distinctly unnatural, and even inhuman."


"Ah... yes..." He touches the bolt. "My... Pactmaster's Favor. It is given to those... in certain positions... of the Pactmasters' service... such as advisor... to an important merchant house. It allows me... to remain rational... in times of stress... and also provides... some protection... from mind-altering magics."[b]

[b]"It is a pity... you could not question... the gnolls... but I am glad... none escaped. They may have simply been... scouts... or a hunting party... not previously aware... of our presence. We are sheltered here... by the hills... from direct observation... from Kelmarane. If the fire... did not last long... perhaps the smoke... could have remained... undetected. But best to be... prepared. We must set... a strong watch tonight."

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