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The droid blinks rapidly. "There is no need to speak in machine-code, Weld. We are all fluent in the common language. I have a passing familiarity with Maya. I understand you wish to retrieve her package? Of course I can help! I am a helpful fellow, after all. Of course, there is a small transfer fee to discuss. The eminently reasonable sum of 1,000 credits should cover all expenses. Once that is paid, I will give you the chip that will allow you to pick up the... merchandise."
The Gammorrean grunts, "Is paid, go in." He grunts at the other two, who look somewhat confused, but stand aside to let you in.
The deep storage bay is as run-down as the hallways leading up to it, with entire metal plates missing from the floor and a huge, open exhaust shaft near the back of the room. Large crates litter the area, creating the appearance of a haphazard mess, and the air has a distinct smell of sweat and fumes that makes the entire area unpleasant. Flickering lights provide modest illumination, and a burst pipe along the ceiling leaks blue fluid down one wall.
Near the center of the room is an item that seems very out of place—a large, finely crafted desk made of Japor ivory wood, which means that the desk is both priceless and rare. Sitting peacefully behind the desk is a protocol droid with shiny, ebony coverings that seem to soak up light and offer only the slightest reflection. The droid’s eyes flicker slightly, as though imitating a person blinking rapidly.
"Ah! Clients, if I make my guess. I am Switch and this is R5-B8. What can an honest droid do for Imperials?" The protocol droid says in a metallic voice. Next to him, mostly hidden behind the desk, an astromech droid lets out a long whistle.
You head back to the vault, which opens as you approach it, the lock clicking. A bizarre collection of antique goods rests upon wooden shelves
The safe holds only five items:
- A Bloodstained Handaxe: This +1 handaxe was the Lopper’s favorite murder weapon. No amount of cleaning can remove the bloodstains on the blade or handle as long as the Lopper’s spirit continues to haunt Harrowstone.
- Collection of Holy Symbols: These holy symbols were used by Father Charlatan, who would select one from the collection that would match the faith of his victims as proof of his good intentions. There are a dozen holy symbols on fine silver chains—the collection as a whole is worth 300 gp.
- Moldy Spellbook: The covers and pages of this thick, leather-bound spellbook have become caked with mold over the years, but some of the contents remain legible. This book once belonged to Professor Hean Feramin, the man who would eventually achieve fame not through academia but through murder. Known in his final days as the Splatter Man, he was delt a hideous blow to his morale and sanity by the loss of his spellbook. The book, like the other objects in this room, now bears a
- Smith’s Hammer: This masterwork smith’s hammer grants a +2 competence bonus on all Craft (armorsmith, blacksmith, and weaponsmith) checks. If used in battle, the hammer functions as a masterwork light hammer.
- Tarnished Silver Flute: This 300 gp masterwork flute was once owned by the man known only as the Piper of Illmarsh.
You are being watched with a mix of fear, apprehension and outright hatred as you walk into the obviously illegal market. You catch a mutter of "Imperial scum." as you walk through, but no one makes a move toward you.
As you approach the Gammorreans, Jex notices that they seem pretty at ease, despite the axes and blasters they carry. One steps forward and grunts at you inquisitively.
The ghost seems to flicker slightly as she hears Xerice. "Statue? No, not killed by a statue. Killed by magic, made by the whispering men and women who took my husband's spirit. Then they smashed him under the statue, to make it look like an accident. I remember the leader: a thin, gray-skinned human man who wore a bone breastplate and carried a black staff capped with a skull gagged by a black cloth. He gave the orders. He killed the old man. He took my husband." She pauses and throws her head back and lets out a wail of despair, then her image flickers and she is calm again. "Below? The Five, the worst of the worst. They rise again, seeking exit. The Splatter Man, the Lopper, the Piper of Ilmarsh, Father Charlatan and the Mosswater Marauder. They alone have will, have desire. They wish to leave. I can stop them, but they grow powerful and I fear they will not be held. They do not fear me like they feared my husband. They must be found and they must be destroyed. Each one carries an object that resonates with them. Powerful magic now, but dangerous. The objects carry a fraction of their masters' evil will. You must find the objects. They will help to destroy the spirits. Go to the property room, in the Southeast corner of this floor. I will... I will make the door open for you. But I cannot do much. I am bound to this room, this space where I died. I can keep the spirits here, but they do not fear me."
The image of the woman shimmer for a moment. "Dead? But..." There is a moment when the woman's face changes from confusion to anger to terror to anger again, then acceptance. "I... I remember. The fire, the riot. I came here when I heard the alarms. My husband. My poor husband was below, taken as a hostage by those fiends. When the fire broke out, I tried to rally the guards, but it spread so fast, so very fast. I lost consciousness. I fell." She looks down at the fabric where the skeleton emerges. "I died."
Then she seems to gather herself and a fierce determined look takes her. "But that is then. My husband's spirit was locked here, deep in the prison where he died. But some time ago men came. Men in robes, with blood and spells and they stole his spirit, took him away. The prisoners, the five who were the worst of the worst, they awoke and sought to escape, but I keep them here. I was my husband's wife and now I am the Warden. But I weaken and I cannot last forever. If you are men of good heart, I must ask you: will you help me lay these souls to rest forever?"
Cireth moves inside and casts his cantrip, but before he can register much more, there is a sudden change in atmosphere in the room. Hairs raise on the back of your necks as a blue figure rises from the heaps of fabric.
The woman is beautiful, with proud features and a strong bearing. She hovers in the air, looking down at you and when she speaks, her voice echoes as if from far away. "You must be the new guards my husband sent to reinforce the garrison. I am Vesorianna Hawkran, the Warden's wife. Come in and let us discuss how you will cleanse my husband's prison of the filth that controls it."
With uniforms selected and the route somewhat scouted by the good Doctor's computer work, you head toward the cargo bay V-14. This section of the station looks deserted, but as soon as you get inside, you discover a somewhat thriving black market. Beyond the makeshift market stalls you see three Gammorrean guards standing in front of the door to the V-14.
What do you do?
Taking Sial's advice, you edge back out of the room, but not before Pai casts a spectral web to entrap the specters. The specters surge forward and become enmeshed in the web, but the lead spirit, the chained man, blinks and appears next to the door. He clearly seems to be straining at an invisible barrier that stops him from moving onward. Its chains, however, are not stopped and four fly out, one flying at Ruperta, Slumper, Corbyn and Paxs!
Chain Touch vs Ruperta: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16 dealing 1d6 ⇒ 2 charisma drain if they hit!
As soon as these chains lash out, the spirit howls and reappears, hovering over the throne as he does!
As much as you are ready for further combat, none comes. The branding irons seem to have accomplished their mission and now sit, cold and unmoving. After a few minutes of healing and commiseration, you head to the next door. This door is locked, but the wood is so rotten that it is easily knocked in after determining its untrapped quality.
Tangled mounds of moth-eaten fabric sit on several wooden tables, each surrounded by workbenches. Various sewing tools— shears, needles, rolls of thread, boxes of chalk, and other objects lie scattered over the floor, while the arm of what appears to be a skeleton protrudes from a stained heap of fabric to the west.
Despite your best searching, you can recall nothing you've ever learned about this spirit, though you clearly recognize the life-draining touch of spectres... Behind you Sial lets out a low curse and mutters to you, "This is a chained spirit. He gains power from other souls he's trapped in this castle. His touch is death and should we succumb, he will hold our souls until this castle falls. We should retreat, we will do better to free his chained souls elsewhere in this castle before we face him." Muttering this, Sial and Asyra begin to edge backwards, though Laori has an oddly ecstatic look on her face and seems eager to do battle even as spectral chains slither like snakes from the chained spirit toward you!
Paxs, Slumper, Pai, Ruperta and Corbyn are up!
Corbyn checks the doors and decides they're safe. They open with a loud creaking sound and reveal a great hall, set to receive guests. No one can be seen, but the air here is too cold: you can feel the hairs on the back of your necks rise and the disconcerting feeling that you are being watched.
"Guessssssts. We have no had living guessssts in sssssuch a long time." The words seem to whisper from the area of the dais, where the great throne sits. Materializing from the air is a spirit, but one unlike any of the others you've seen thus far. Its eyes blazing in deathless rage, a phantom floats just above and to the left of the throne, unfettered by the bonds of the living world. The ghostly horror possesses its own ethereal bonds, though, its semi-transparent, vaguely humanoid figure clenched in the hold of countless crisscrossing chains—writhing and tightening over its vaporous form in unending torture. Several of these chains extend from the ghost’s body, some dangling through the floor or reaching seemingly through the ceiling above, while others pool in spectral lengths upon the ground like solid things.
"My lord cannot greet you assss he ssshould. He issss indissssposed. But I am Cassssstellan here, and I sssshall sssseee to you. Sssservants!" From the door behind the throne, five spectral forms appear, ready to serve their master!
Knowledge religion checks!
This encounter is annoying me. It's not technically a haunt, but the hardness thing is impassable for anything save an adamantine weapon. So let's make it go away.
Spurred on by his compatriots, Ezechias combines with Sonny's channeled holy energy to smash into the shackles, destroying whatever energy animated the manacles. They fall to the ground, cracked and useless.
Judging by the haunt and the shackles, this must have been some sort of processing room for the prison. Searching the room yields a lot of rusted manacles and bindings, but nothing of value.
You move onward, heading toward the room to the SW. This stark room contains a low stone bench against the north wall and a ruined desk to the west that sits under three narrow, barred windows. An old brass brazier lies on its side to the south, surrounded by several rusty branding irons.
Ezechias Perception: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (2) - 1 = 1
Suddenly Caesare notices the smell of burning flesh, but too late! Four of the branding irons glow brightly red and fly toward the right forearms of Ezechias, Zanu, Cireth and Caesare!
Ranged Attack vs Ezechias: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15 for 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3 plus 1d6 ⇒ 6 fire damage!
Anyone damaged by the brands is burned with a mark of a letter and number combination: a prisoner ID!
Their grisly task done, the brands clatter to the floor where they become quite cool to the touch!
"Stupid droid! Ran over my foot!" The man pounds on the droid, eliciting a beep of disapproval, but his cursing and swearing gets farther and farther away. After a few more minutes the droid stops and your trash barrel is ejected. With a beep the droid rolls away!You are now safely away and in posession of your materials and the things the doc sent you to get. What now?
Thick wooden columns, their sides caked with dust, support the ceiling above this large hall. Between them, in the center of the room, sits a large fire pit, its ashes long cold. Many old stains mar the floor, some surely of spilled food and ale, though several darker ones appear more grisly in origin. At the western end of the hall, a wide dais rises where the lord’s table could be set to oversee affairs in the hall. In the center of the dais is a great chair carved of oak and studded with iron rivets. Down one step and to the left of it is a smaller chair of oak, less elaborate.
You discover while flitting through the datanet that the cargo bay that Switch operates out of, Bay V-14, is currently under quarantine and is not used due to "undisclosed exposure." It has been this way for the past nine months and you're able to find illicit payments to an Imperial official that keeps the bay "quarantined." You also discover footage from a camera outside the bay that reveals aliens frequently visit that bay and that a contingent of Gammorreans guard it. However there are no Imperials near by that you can see.
Finding the droid is easy enough. With some contortions you manage to fold yourself into the trash container. The droid begins to whir and roll and after 15 minutes you find yourself stopping. Peering out, you can see the clinic's familiar surroundings. The droid has set down the new container and is retrieving the old one. You have only a few minutes to gather your things! Moving quickly you grab the items and stash them in the old trash bin and are just about to climb in when you hear voices just outside the clinic.
"Lou, did you hear something in there?" One of the plainclothes Imperials is peering in the clinic door! What do you do?
Everyone save Quen: While Ren remains behind, the rest of you head toward the Imperial laundry storage room. You have a few near misses as Imperial personnel move down the corridors and you're forced to duck into hallways to avoid them, but you find yourself outside the room just as the disembodied voice of Doctor Ren tells you that he's cracked the doors. There is a beep, then the door opens to reveal a small rectangular storage room with rolling laundry carts along one side of the room and stacks of clean and pressed uniforms along the other side. A single laundry droid comprised of several basic hand-appendages and sporting a large cylindrical body is feeding dirty clothes into itself and simultaneously removing and folding four pairs of shirts with its many appendages. It begins to beep in an annoyed tone.
"If I have told you once, I've told you 357 times: I will deliver your laundry when it is done and not a millisec before! Foolish meat-sacks! If I have to launder out another one of your biologically contaminated leavings, I will simply explode! Explode! And I will take as many of you meat-sacks with me as I can. Oh yes, it will be a glorious explosion..." The beeping trails off as the droid seems to indulge in a particularly graphic description of the biological remains that will need to be laundered following the explosion by another droid, thank the maker...
Moving cautiously up to the second floor, you emerge onto a corridor with several doors. Corbyn checks them carefully, and you discover several are servants' quarters that are filled with rubble and dusty skeletons. Another is an ancient bath with ruined tubs and festering privvies. Another large room houses more barracks for the guards, but nothing of value remains. Lastly storage rooms filled with rubble line one wall.
You also find a stairway going up, and two large ornate double doors that evidently open into a large room.
Zanu, we'll say no so you can use your spent point.
Caesare goes into defense, while Zanu's scimitar misses the flying the shackles! Cireth helps Ezechias!
The shackles fly at Ezechias, trying to slam into his wrists! Attack: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4 However it misses as it clumsily flaps through the air!
Xerice and Sonny for Round 1, then Caesare, Cireth, Ezechias and Zanu are up for Round 2!
There seems to be elements of a haunt here, but somehow not quite as defined...
With a rattle and clank, one of the pairs of manacles rises into the air, its ends chomping like steel jaws!
Caesare, Cireth, Ezechias and Zanu are up! The manacles are flying somewhat clumsily and aiming menacingly at you!
Since you have access to the station's schematics through the good Doctor's computer use, you may make a Perception check to find alternate routes to the Clinic.
Perception DC 15:
You note that the cantina next door to the Clinic has refreshers that share a wall with the Clinic; there are some vents which might be 'widened' into useability.
Perception DC 20:
In addition to the Refresher solution, there is a droid that delivers replacement medical waste bins and takes away the full bins twice a day, to keep infectious and hazardous materials safe. The bin is not large, but a person with a bendy frame could hide inside one and use the few moments the droid takes to replace the bin to grab some things and ride the droid back out. Since it's been a half day since the Doc last manned the clinic the outgoing bin will be empty.
Quen's Forceful Feelings:
As you search your feelings, you feel as if the mission for Maya might have deep repercussions not only on your life, but on the lives of everyone in the Galaxy.
When you reach out for your Master, you feel a brief calming feeling in the Force, distant yet familiar. You sense that he is alive, but in hiding and you feel he is in somewhere perilous, where his very survival depends on anonymity. The only feeling you sense is resolve; clearly wherever he is, he is set upon the path he has chosen.
Zanu's swing goes wide as the spider tenses to leap, but Caesare's rapier is en point as he skewers the spider, killing it dead!
End of combat.
Under the webs there seems to be the makings of a small chapel. Caesare is able to find a small cupboard that is mostly intact and contains 5 vials of crystal clear water, a scroll and a wand decorated with the holy symbols of Pharasma. Holy water, scroll of lesser restoration and wand of cure light wounds (15 charges remaining)
Across the hall lies another room that looks to have been used as some sort of gathering place. This chamber is in a shambles—old wooden benches lie in ruins along the walls, while rusty chains and bits of rotten rope lie scattered on the floor. Perception checks, please!
Perception DC 15:
You can hear an odd clanking noise in this room, along with the faint sobs of male voices and you are filled with a sense of hopelessness and a strange weight around your wrists, dragging your hands down.
Ren's computer search taps him into the station's network of security cams and bots. He discovers that the clinic, while looking slightly askew, is not trashed. However, he does note the shady looking plainsclothes Imperials are outside, doing their best to watch the clinic while looking like they're not watching the clinic. If they're going into the clinic, it won't be via the front door.
Maya's voice begins to sound faraway as the meds she's taken start to kick in. "Two doors down, there's a storage room with Imperial crew uniforms waiting to be laundered. It's locked, but if you can get in, you can get disguises..." At the last word she falls asleep, her breathing becoming heavy and regular.
The mural is painted directly on the wall.
Zanu begins chopping at the webs, while Ezechias reflects on the painting, which shows the redemption of souls as Pharasma judges each one.
Unfortunately for everyone, the cobwebs shudder as Zanu begins chopping and three dog-sized spiders drop to attack!
The spiders scuttle through the room, one each attacking Zanu, Cireth and Ezechias! Bite vs Zanu: 1d20 ⇒ 4, Bite vs Cireth: 1d20 ⇒ 17 and Bite vs Ezechias: 1d20 ⇒ 18 The spider attacking Zanu misses, but the other two hit, dealing 1 damage to each and eliciting a Fort Save!
Everyone else is up!
1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
Ruperta's spell goes off, but there seems to be no corresponding cry of pain in the room. However, when she moves to break the jars, there is a scream of rage right next to her! Bite: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (2) + 13 = 15 However the hag's jagged teeth close on air!
Slumper, Paxs and Corbyn, you are up! Pai, your readied action goes off!
"Switch does business out of an Imperial cargo bay. Which means it's off limits to non-Imperials. He won't be hard to spot." Maya smiles as she says this. "I'm not certain what the cargo is, actually. I only know it's vital that I obtain it and deliver it to my superiors."
Anyone perusing the data net can discover what Maya says is true; the cargo bay is two levels below you and is off limits to non-Imperial personnel.
You have heard of Switch, though you've never met him. He's a droid who does a pretty sound business in information on the station. It's made him very popular with some people and very unpopular with others.
Maya frowns. "Rumors of dissent among those in the Empire. Rumors that lead me to believe that there are some who are not pleased that the Republic is gone."
Vagrux sends a couple stunning shots toward the stormtroopers, prompting them to take cover. When one group takes the woman and heads off, the other moves off in a different direction, but not before Chel flicks a hand at the informants and smashes one into the other using the Force.
You split up, one group heading for the turbolifts, the other racing through the corridors, occasionally sending a blaster bolt backwards to encourage the attention of the stormtroopers. The group bearing the woman arrives relatively quickly to find a nondescript door bearing the marking "54". The woman stirs and murmurs a word into Doc's ear, which he repeats out loud. The door beeps and opens with a hiss, revealing a simple storage room that has been converted into a safehouse. A pair of bunk beds, a desk and wardrobe sit in the room. A first aid kit is on the wall and a small privacy shield covers the refresher in the corner. The room is small, but it holds several intriguing objects including several changes of clothing made to fit the woman, including an Imperial officer uniform, a maintenance outfit, the uniform of a podracer and stylish dresses fit for a noble, not to mention the handful of cred chips all bearing the woman's face and different names.
The second group loops around and after several minutes of shooting off escape pods and looping their trail around and through a couple shopping areas and a docking bay, they end up at door 54. They knock lightly and inside the group can see a monitor showing a live feed of them. They are let inside and the door closes with a soft whoosh.
Under the Doctor's ministrations, the woman seems to be doing much better. Her internal injuries are stabilized, and while she won't be doing much physical movement for a couple hours, she is safe from death. She stirs and starts when she sees you in the saferoom.
"Oh my. Thank you for saving me. I admit, I was not conscious of what happened and it's extremely fortunate that I found people who were willing to stick their necks out for a stranger. I owe you much, but let;s start with my name. My name is Maya Droosk. I work for the Alderaanian security services. For the last few months I have been following the trail of some disturbing rumors. I was supposed to meet with a fixer named Switch tonight, but I was discovered by station security first. I barely escaped, and I fear I must ask you for a further favor: will you meet with Switch in my place? He has the location of a very important piece of cargo that I need to recover for my superiors. As I said before, I can pay you for this trouble, and I might be able to get you off-station if you're interested."
As you move around the corner, you see the nearest door is actually hanging off its hinges, having rotted away around them. The rectangular
Still, a beautiful mural to Pharasma can be seen through the cobwebs decorating the northern wall.