An epic search for the Amethyst heptagon leads a party of fresh graduates through the northern reaches of Ustalav. Based in Karcau, the party visits places like the dark Castle Jarovich or the dangerous alleys of Carrion Hill.
Follow me, I bet it's starting to rain again soon.
The door opens and the crimson-haired woman known as the Queen of Hearts asks you to come in.
The ground floor of the house consists only of one large parlour with heavy red carpets on the floor and white furniture. Hearts are everywhere: On paintings, pillows formed like them, on the table cloth, on the wallpapers etc.
The vixen grins as she notices Kirk's expression
Well, you have to stay true, don't you think?
Aramis growls quietly as Harl suddenly appears in front of him
Sometimes I feel sorry for your declining race...but not today...and you he turns to Flofer Hit the road, you clown! If your elven friend does not want to find a mutual agreement with me, it's his own fault if he loses to this Narumek.
"No need to enter agreement with losers, Aramis. We all saw hw well you handled yourself in the last competition. Now scram!" Not taking his glaring gaze off of Aramis, Harl says to Flofer, "You are about to get thumped, boy."
I guess you've come to speak about Aramis de Voisseur - or Jacques de Boche, as he is known to the people of the Boarwood in Galt...
Aramis grimaces and walks over to his squire and readies his bow.
A judge now enters the archery range and points at bales of hay with targets affixed to them.
Dear knights of Sinaria, archery has always been one of the many talents the counts of this land have possessed. In times of peace it's done for sports and hunting, in times of war it can thin the enemy lines...tonight you will have to prove how able you can handle bow and arrow. In the first round you will have to hit a target 20m away - a very simple task.
Aramis laughs loudly
20m? What a joke, I can do that blindsighted, hah!
"In the first round you will have to hit a target 20m away - a very simple task."
"I would be honored to put myself forward for this test. If you are ready, I will begin." Solaric holds his bow firmly in his hand, and then he places an arrow upon the string. The elf pulls the arrow back to his ear and concentrates. He then releases the arrow and lets it fly.
"Indeed, I have. We are of the opinion that he is attempting to win the tournament using... unscrupulous means, at best. He wants the Countess's hand, and he's determined to get it. We could probably get him thrown out of the tournament based on behavior and conduct alone, but that might be too messy."
"Solaric Zekkaran is brave, strong, and noble. He deserves to sit at the Countess's side, and they both deserve more than the treacherousness spectacle Aramis is undoubtedly planning."
"What would you do in our situation, milady? Something must be done, and things could escalate if its not done soon."
"Kirk has well summed the situation, the man is a boar and a boor, and has no place being any sort of fit consort of the Countess. There would be a lot of suffering and tragedy should he be elevated to such influence, and it would be bad for business"
The Queen smiles genuinely as she listens to your little story
So you're little helpers of Shelyn, mhm? How romantic...and there's nothing in it for you? Well, as I indicated, Aramis de Voisseur has not always been his name. He was born and raised in a small village in the Boarwood and worked as a beater for the count of Voisseur...whose only son died during a hunt...
she lets her last words trail off, waiting for your reaction.
"Well that makes sense, that man has a regal bloodline about as pure as porridge. I took him for a pig, I am glad my judgement of his character has borne out to be true, I hate to think the worst of people without foundation"
"Of course there is something in it for us, a happy ending. Who doesn't love a happy ending? Of course it becomes a little bit of an argument of it being 'Happy' for whom; I hardly expect Aramais to be weeping with joy, weeping yes, joy no"
Sir Narumek, you may now use one of the three gilded arrows every contestant has in his quiver. the judge says before turning to the whole group of knights
Everyone of you has these three gilded arrows he may use over the course of the competition whenever he misses the target in a certain round.
Pah Aramis snorts That won't help you, Narumek - you can't even hit the door of a barn with that piece of wood you call a bow!
@ Jo: Yeah, no problem
So what are you going to do with that information? You may have already guessed it, there have been investigations back then in Galt and many people were curious about the circumstances of the young lord's death, but in the end, no one found any proof of Aramis' guilt.
After Johenric has returned from the tournament place to the academy he studied the new spell allowing him to dispel magic. Finally he finished his work on the Demon language. After he solved the sophisticated pattern of the Aklo language, he takes out the Sheets which have been found in the camp near (Carrion Hill) and written in Aklo....
After a while he raises his head, pets Ivy and thinks about his next steps...
"What will we do with this information? Nothing, it is of no great value at this point in time. The man is not in a winning position so we have little to gain by bringing him into question, and if anything we show our hand early by doing so. What the information does suggest though that if it is true then we face a lesser repurcussion from trimming the Galtish family tree - they won't miss an adoptee quite as much as a legitimate heir, and should they create a nuisance about the issue we could certainly use the illegitimacy to silence them anyway"
"Perhaps you are the Queen of Hearts; I suppose that either makes me the Queen of Clubs representing what my obstacles soon get hit with, or the Queen of Spades on account of them unerringly ending buried in a shallow grave"
"Your information simply makes my choices a little easier and less complicated"
The texts from Carrion Hill, written in the weird language Aklo, a language used by such different but nonetheless hideous races like the linnorm, aboleths, shogoths and gibbering mouthers begin to confuse you after the first lines
Make a will check DC 20
We do the closed room after you have read/ tried to read the texts.
Aramis grins, he seems satisfied with bringing your blood to boil. The judge however, points at the gilded arrows
I guess you will use one? Otherwise you will be eliminated in this round.
Interesting - I had expected you to run around and spread the news as soon as you can...I like people who can patiently sit in the shadows waiting for the right moment to come...which brings me to the next thing I found out...I heard that Aramis has used some of his contacts to make sure that a group of Ulfen mercenaries has been taken into the ranks of the city guard.
Did anybody already investigate these magical items?
3 Scrolls - gentle repose(found during Carrion hill; after the death of the second victim)
1 Spellbook(found during Carrion hill; after the death of the second victim)
Strange looking, rusty key, with CHA embossed on it. (found during Carrion hill; after the death of the second victim)
2 Rings (found during Carrion hill; after the death of the second victim)
Red potion (found during Carrion hill; after the death of the second victim)
"Mercenaries? Well that is something. A few well placed people can always make a large hole, and the Ulfens aren't shy of spilling blood, they shed it like a sailor spills coin in a whorehouse."
"Suppose now we need to find the middleman between Aramais and the Mercenaries, he would no doubt be passing orders to them via an intermediary, because I would be willing to throw a few coins into a wager that he had set instructions for this intermdiary to carry out some foul deed should Aramais end up as filler for cheap pastries sold on the wharves"
"Thank you for the information, of course, whilst curiously asking my motivations and rewards in all this I note you haven't been forthcoming with your own... perhaps you have something to benefit too from Armais coming to a bad end, or is it just an overwhelming sense of civic duty?"
I guess all objects from carrion Hill have been identified/ and or used by now.
You are able to concentrate and shield your mind from the dark energies emanated by the book. The text tells of a world beyond the stars, a dark universe where horrors like the Yog-Sothoth dwell, waiting to invade distant worlds.
The more you read of the text, the more your mind becomes swamped with the horrors depiced and displayed in strangely crude drawings...
If you want to read on Pass a Will save DC 25
The Queen of Hearts smiles and puts one of her golden locks behind her ear
The man you're looking for is a certain Vaclav Klaus, a sergeant of the guard who is responsible for recruiting. then she hesitates for a moment My motifs? Didn't he tell you? she looks at Kirk now.
He has just promised me that once the time has come he will help me out with his "special skills".
The Vizyalesh academy is as dark and terrifying as it was the last time you visited it. The heavy black oak doors groan creepily as you push them open and the empty corridors don't look any more inviting than they did last time.
"And I expect you'll be letting me know as soon as those skills are needed," Kirk says solemnly to the Queen.
Maybe that's a good excuse for Kirk to go away for an extended amount of time? Again, sorry I'm quiet, I'm graduating in two days and leaving in three, so I don't think I'll be able to post much more than this, unfortunately ;/
Hey, don't worry, graduation is great! And yeah, you're right it's a good excuse.
@ Kirk and Vicky: What are your next steps?
@ Solaric: Yeah, you can surely roll for Narumek.
Slowly you advance to the secured door - past the gigantic library and the twisted stairwells. It feels like the thick carpets soak up all the noise around you - a fact that unnerves you since you won't be able to hear a pursuer up front.