As I'm sure has been posted on here before, after the Trial, TotB takes a weiiiird turn. It's almost like they intended the AP to end after the Trial but then realized it was way too short.
Does anyone have any advice on how to make the whole Schloss Caromarc bit fit together a little better (assume the Beast is found innocent, my players are really good at Diplomacy checks)?
Also, I had planned to introduce Adivion in this part (I sort of introduced him as a friend of Lorrimor's who showed up late to pay his respects just as HoH was ending, but he was never named) by having him show up to defend Vorkstag and Grine in the trial if they get found out (it DOES say they have friends in high places...), but that's assuming they find out about their involvement and drag them to trial. I'm planning to have him show up either as a minor antagonist or as an unknown figure in every book. Is there anything I should watch out for on that front, that might mess things up later?
Oh, and as sort of a secondary question, in a Gestalt, high stat campaign, would bumping up Grine to a level 3 Cleric/Rogue Gestalt, Vorkstag up to a level 6 Alchemist, bumping their Save DCs for abilities/HP/To-hit/Damage up a little be overboard?
I thought it gave them a bit more oomph (especially after I swapped Vorkstag's Discoveries around to include Sticky Poison and Smoke Bomb instead of Acid Bombs and made Grine a TWF-er), I just wanted to make sure I didn't give 'em too much oomph.
There are more than a few posts on that issue. Check out this thread for ideas. It can be done, but you'll need to provide a bit more of a push.
I don't think that Adivion would necessarily bother with V&G. They worked with Vrood and I figure Adivion would cut his losses rather than suggest association with V&G. Especially if the players find the skins.
In my game, the players found everything in the Works and thus there was no real trial for V&G... though there was for several of the people who showed up as buyers of corpses. This gave me reason to keep the players in town for a week or so while they gave testimony in a number of trials and hearings.
My plan with Caromarc is that the Beast is asked, right after the trial, by the Judge (Daramid? It has been awhile since I ran this book) to go home and check on his father and to send word back immediately. She knew, via information obtained by the palantine eye, that the Beast could be controlled by some means that Caromarc possessed though she had no further specifics). A week later, when there was still no word from Caromarc or the Beast, the Judge summoned the party and offered them another reward to go and check on the castle and, if necessary, rescue or capture Lord Caromarc... depending on how he's doing and what happened.
This provided my players a reason to go to the castle without giving away any plot information.
|Fubbles the Baby Cow|
I had Adivion attend the trial. Adivion is an old rival of Alpon Carromarc, and seeing an opportunity to cause him grief, began to spread the rumor that Alpon was the Beast's true creator. After the Beast was found guilty and escaped, Adivion ramped up the rumor-mongering, causing a rabble to form, hell bent on getting their pound of flesh from Carromarc.
Judge Daramid enlists the group to reach Schloss Caromarc before the mob arrives, secure the Count, and return him to Lepidstadt, where he could receive the protection of the court.
This added a "ticking clock" element to the this chapter of the story, forcing the players to carry on when they would have normally rested and healed. It also presented a nice moral quandary for our paladin when the Count offered the wealth of his manor house in exchange for his freedom to escape.
I have to thank you Fubbles for the idea.
I had Adivion attend Lorrimor's funeral. Also I had run 1-on-1 sessions with each player before starting the AP to help establish their background with Lorrimor (so rather than them choosing a Campaign Trait, they played it out). The Wizard PC was put in jail in Korvosa during his 1-on-1 and was jailmates with Lorrimor and Adivion (who were at the time adventuring together ... this would be a few years prior to the events of the AP).
Adivion was never forgotten throughout the AP, especially since the same Wizard PC fell in love with Kendra who had been engaged to Adivion. So there was a rivalry there. That Adivion ended up being the main bad guy was quite a turn of events for them.
Hm. These ideas are neat.
I like Fubbles idea, definitely. Perhaps delay the angry mob from night two (make it a very small riot, have the Beast kill some people as they try to drag him off) and then turn it into a full-blown mob on the last night.
I'm not sure whether I want to introduce Adivion as a friend though, but it could be fine. I just want to make sure the players at least get a spooky vibe off of him, but that could be possible without him ever doing anything overtly antagonistic.
They're bad at keeping track of time, maybe they show up for the Trial on day 2 or 3 late and he's showed up to "fill in" for them as the defense in an attempt to gauge their attitudes and effectiveness in person?
Thanks guys, I've got some stuff to think about now.
Wow, that's a great idea, Fubbles.
I actually transformed Adivion into a sinister ally of the PCs. He supported them in the defense.
In my campaign I've reconceptualized Adivion as a triple agent: The Whispering Way think he's their mole inside the Palatine Eye, but he's actually working to undermine the WW from the inside, by letting their Carrion Crown plan *almost* succeed so that he can lure their leaders into the open and destroy them.
Unfortunately, he's also being manipulated by Kendra Lorrimor, the Whispering Tyrant's real last remaining heir, who's planning to trick him into letting her use the Carrion Crown for real.
I've made Adivion replace Kaple on Day 2 of the trial. Worked out so far.
Figure I'd let him (well, his Simulacrum) hang out with my players for a while and maybe remember he has business in the Shudderwood so he follows them there after ToTB is over, and talks with Vrood in private for a little while before leaving.
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I played around with the trigger to get them to go to Schloss Caromarc by making it more personal, and I also altered Alpon Caromarc somewhat.
Firstly, my players had befriended the Crooked Kin *extensively* - to the point where they spent their nights with the Kin, rather than in town.
Secondly, when the Beast (whom they named "Edward") was acquitted, they realised that he probably wouldn't be safe in Lepidstadt, so they asked the Crooked Kin if he could go with them. Being quite accepting of those that are...err...*different*...they were quite accepting of him, and the surviving two girls and the Wolf Boy loved him.
Then I ran into the same problem as the OP...how to get them to Schloss Caromarc? An idea came to me that I think was triggered by me starting to read the "Magician" trilogy again. There's a character, Ghamina, who can both see and project thoughts and feelings and images from and into peoples' minds.
Poppy, one of the microcephalic girls from the Crooked Kin, was about thirteen in our campaign (I can't remember if that was canonical, or I just grabbed three ages two years apart when I was statting up the CK). Anyway, I thought..."Hang on. Freak show, carnival, sideshows...lots of 'odd' stuff happening all the time. Poppy hits adolescence and starts to manifest a similar ability to Ghamina, from 'Magician'. Being pretty simple, she can't get complex *ideas* across, but she *can* read feelings and images, and project them."
So I had Alpon Caromarc have one last preparation that Waxwood could get for him: "Dream". He sent a dream message to Edward to help him...but due to his starvation and terror, the dream is fragmented, and contained a lot of extraneous "junk" from Caromarc's life.
Still, it was enough to send Edward rushing off to the castle to help his "father.
The PCs were at Judge Daramid's, figuring out what to do next when Kaleb shows up with Poppy. He explains what happened, and says that Poppy can show them Edward's dream. He had fallen asleep, and she had fallen asleep leaning on his shoulder, so she sensed his dream.
I did a fairly extensive written scene which showed the dream like a series of flashbacks of Caromarc's life: the coup that originally exiled him to his castle, his anger over that, his wife begging him to stop his experiments and his excitement over getting closer and closer to creating life...then his wife's death during childbirth, and how this shattered him, and drove his obsession with bringing back the dead, and led to his creation of first the Aberrant Promethean (the "prototype" that didn't work properly), and finally Edward.
I even got to throw in a little homage and have Caromarc standing in wonder, staring at Edward as he begins to stir on the slab, with Caromarc whispering: "It's alive! It's alive!" :)
Finally, the dream showed Caromarc meeting Vrood at the Cromlech outside Lepidstadt, and how he was overpowered by the Whispering Way cultists, and taken back to the castle.
It was a nifty way of delivering a fair bit of exposition, giving them the backstory, making the point that Alpon Caromarc was more of a tragic figure than a bad guy (which they had assumed up until this point), and giving them a look at Auren Vrood - who they think is the BBEG of the campaign. They think Adrissant is a friend and sponsor, and he is playing up to this by deflecting all *his* activities off onto a vampire noble called "Vladimus", who is actually the dhampir PC's "father".
So, because they genuinely adored Edward, and wanted to stop the Whispering Way, as soon as they got the dream sequence, there was no stopping them. They headed straight for Schloss Caromarc, and an absolutely, gob-smackingly AWESOME finale on the tower atop the laboratory. :)
When they returned, Adrissant had left a letter for them, explaining how he had to return to Caliphas to investigate rumours of a noble connection to the WW, but he feeds them bits of info and suggests that Auren Vrood is the key to figuring out where Vladimus is...this not only got the dhampir PC riled up (she *desperately* wants to kill Vladimus), but pointed them directly at Ascanor Lodge for the start of "Broken Moon" (which we're kicking off on May 5).
I'll post the dream sequence and the letter...that'll give you a better idea.
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The Dream Sequence...sent by Alpon to the Beast, but "overheard" by the characters thanks to Poppy.
A tall, slender man in his late twenties sat by a fireplace, his fingers steepled before him, a forgotten brandy snifter on a small table beside him.
The fire was burning low, more ember than flame, and produced little warmth. An occasional pop would send a cascade of sparks, swirling like tiny fireflies, up and into the flue, to be born away on the wind that could be heard outside.
A beautiful young woman entered the room and walked over to stand beside the man, putting her hand on his shoulder. He took it, and squeezed it, smiling slightly as he pressed it against his cheek.
“You always make me feel better, my dear Ceryse. Thank you.”
“Alpon, I wish I could have prevented this…all this.” Ceryse replied, gesturing emptily in the air. Alpon looked up at her, noticing for the first time the tiny lines around her mouth, the first hint of crows-feet by her eyes.
“I’m sorry, my love,” he said to her, “you deserved more than this…refuge. They’re going to come after us, I fear. The Palatinate Council may be content to let the nobility sit in their mansions until age withers them, but the people will not be so compassionate.”
“But we’ve done nothing to them!” Ceryse’s eyes flashed with anger. “You stepped down voluntarily! There was nobody hurt!”
“It is human nature, my dear. They will come – if not this year, then the next, or the next. I need to prepare…I need to make some additions and begin to plan.”
“Not that horrid laboratory again!”
“That ‘horrid laboratory’ will save our lives, Ceryse. I can create defences for Schloss Caromarc up there – I know I can. Creatures that will be completely loyal, completely reliable. Much better than hired guards.”
Ceryse looked at him, withdrawing her hand. A pained look passed across Alpon’s face.
“You mean start the experiments again?” she said. Her voice had lost its gentle edge. “You promised me they would be no more. No more animals hurt, you promised me, Alpon.”
He nodded wearily. “I know, Ceryse. We’ve had this discussion before, and I know where you stand. I still believe a small pain to alleviate a greater one is a good trade, but I respect your wishes.
“There is no need for anything to suffer, however.”
Ceryse wasn’t sure to be reassured by his words or disturbed by his smile.
“I have almost discovered the greatest of secrets…I think I am on the verge of being able to reanimate the tissues and organs of a creature that has passed beyond the mortal veil!”
“Bring back the dead?”
“Not quite…not yet, anyway. But if I can do this, Ceryse, I can create those servants I spoke of from deceased creatures, and nothing needs to suffer or be harmed!”
His smile was radiant…Ceryse’s less so…
Alpon paced nervously, his hands linked behind his back, fingers rubbing against one another. He kept glancing at the large oaken door at the end of the balcony whose length he was marking out with his strides.
His hair was a little greyer than before, and he sported a pair of impressive mutton-chop sideburns that were all the rage at the moment, but his expression was one of utmost worry, his eyes bloodshot, and his lips dry.
The door opened at the end of the balcony, just beside the stairs leading down to the main living area of the mansion.
A portly fellow in a fashionable suit stepped through and carefully closed the door behind him. He turned to face, Alpon, and took a white handkerchief from his pocket, mopping his receding hairline with it.
“Doctor…is she…?” Alpon felt an icy ball forming in his chest. He knew what was coming.
“I’m sorry, m’lord,” the doctor pursed his lips sympathetically, “there was nothing I could do. The bleeding was too much.”
“The priests, from Lepidstadt – I have the gold to pay the church.”
“Perhaps if they were here a day ago, sir – but it is too late. It is a full day’s journey there and back, and she will not last the hour.”
“He never had a chance, m’lord. He was already in Pharasma’s arms before he left the womb.”
Alpon looked over the doctor’s shoulder, along the balcony. The room seemed to contract…the whole world seemed to close in around him and fade away into a fuzzy grey blanket that damped out sound and removed all touch and smell.
Everything – the whole world, the whole universe – focused on that door and what lay beyond.
The end of Alpon’s world, he knew…Ceryse, gone. His unnamed son, gone. His life, gone. There was nothing left.
“I do not care that this is your home, Caromarc!” shouted the tall, muscular man, leaning into Alpon’s face. “This is unacceptable for all concerned!”
Alpon refused to be intimidated. Although he was roughly the same height as Dr Henri Moritz, he gave up forty pounds to the bespectacled man who more resembled a wrestler stuffed into a suit than the Vice Chancellor of the Lepidstadt University. The fact that half a dozen of the paid guards of the university were just outside was not lost on Alpon, either; Moritz meant business.
“I repeat, good sir, that this is none of your business,” Alpon stood with his arms crossed in the threshold of his laboratory.
Behind him, a maze of pipes and tubes filled much of the room’s spaces. Great metal spikes rose into the high ceiling, buzzing with energy as sparks wound their way up and down.
Abuzz with the electricity in the air, Alpon’s grey hair stood out wildly, drifting like gossamer webs as he moved to prevent Moritz entering the room.
The man was too strong for Alpon, however, and shoved him aside, striding in to face the two large glass containers that dominated the centre of the room. The furthest one was full of largely clear, greenish-hued liquid, within which resided an enormous, man-shaped creature.
The closer one was more opaque, and the huge shape within only hinted at mannishness…too many limbs, and too-strange shapes dispelled the illusion that whatever was in there, huge as it was, was even remotely human.
“Look at this!” Moritz shouted hysterically. “These monsters are dangerous! They can’t be kept alive!”
“They are completely dormant,” Alpon hissed, his hands flicking inside his coat and deftly flipping the corks from two test tubes within. “They can harm no-one, and I am working on a device to control them when they are awakened.”
“Why?” Moritz rounded on Alpon, “why would you do this? Why would you create these...these…abominations?”
“They are part of my research,” he tipped the contents of one tube into the other and slipped the cork back on the mixture, “the closest one is an experiment…the further one is…he is...”
“He is my son!” Alpon hissed, withdrawing his hand and hurling the glass vial at Moritz. A flash of light and cloud of vapour erupted from where the vial shattered, and Moritz staggered back, his lips blue and frosty icicles in his moustache.
“What?” he mumbled, shaking his head to clear it.
“Now get out! I assure you, Doctor, I am perfectly capable of defending myself!”
With a snarl, Moritz grabbed a heavy metal spike from the nearby tool rack and lunged towards the closest tank, the one containing the misshapen and mostly hidden creature within.
“No!” Alpon shouted, “you cannot release that one! It is the test subject! It is too dangerous!”
With something between an enraged shout and a moan of sadness, Alpon slipped a small, liquid-soaked slip of blotting paper into one hand and rubbed it with the other. Liquid quickly formed around his hand, dripping onto the ground and sizzling where it landed.
He lunged forward, grabbing Moritz just as the guards, hearing the commotion, burst into the room.
Moritz screamed as the vitriolic liquid ate through his clothing and began to dissolve his flesh, eating through muscle and sinew before beginning its horrific work on bone and gristle.
“I’m so sorry!” Alpon breathed as Moritz died on the floor before him. A quick flick of his wrist and he retrieved a parchment scroll from his coat, but not before tossing another vial in the direction of the guards.
The nearest guard braced his courage and came through the smoke even while his compatriots ran.
Although not a wizard, Alpon was fully capable of reading and invoking the magic of the scroll, and he did so, feeling the sensation of prickly-heat in his hands as the scroll disintegrated like ash.
The guard looked at him and smiled, the magic of the scroll forcing him to recognise Alpon as a friend.
“Something killed Moritz,” Alpon said hurriedly to the guard, “but I’m not sure what it was – but don’t mention I was here, or I could get into a lot of trouble.”
“Of course, m’lord,” said the guard.
Alpon had returned to his normal size by now. The disfigured body of Henri Moritz lay on the tiles a short distance away, with Alpon refusing to look at it.
The enormous creature that lay on the slab before him was only barely human-ish. Nearly ten feet tall, and over half that wide at the shoulders, it was a stitched-together amalgam of a number of different parts – some human, some troll, some less obvious.
Alpon wasn’t certain he could bring it to life this hurriedly, but he had to get his son out before the guard arrived with people to collect Moritz’s body. If they destroy the rest of the lab, if they killed him – well, he could cope with that.
But he couldn’t cope with losing his creation, the second child fate had given him…not this time. He had hoped his work would lead him to the secret of bringing back the dead…perhaps one day, it would, and he could see his beloved Ceryse once again.
But for now, he had to get his son out of the castle.
He twirled the dials and adjusted the levers by the slab, listening to the build-up of power within the arcane machines he had constructed. Terrible energies were contained within, and they pulsed and echoed around the chamber like living things themselves.
Through the windows, Alpon could see the first tentative flickers of lighting as the apparatus on the roof began to churn the skies, preparing to wrench the power of the gods into the laboratory to be his to command.
First one, then two, then another and more. Flashes of lighting strobed through the windows, and the staccato crashing of thunder rattled the building.
Arcs of power shot through the cables, taking pulses of white light from the lightning rods to the enormous creature on the slab.
Limbs twitched with each burst of energy. Eyelids fluttered. Jaws clenched. Each pulse triggered another movement that quickly died away, but each time it took longer, each time the movement persisted just a little more.
Between pulses, now, Alpon saw more movement. Spontaneous movement. A finger. A muscle spasm in the chest. The eyes moving in concert.
As the energies grew to a climax, and the terrible crashing of the thunder threatened to tear the tower off the mountain-top, Apon staggered back in shock, feeling hot metal and pain as he became entangled in the cabling. The beast abruptly sat upright on the slab, pawing at the cables attached to it and howling with an unearthly scream that rent the night and dwarfed event he thunder.
Sitting on the tiles, Apon gazed upon his creation, his marvellous creature that looked about at its surroundings. He ignored the electrical burns down his arm and shoulder as he stumbled to his feet and moved a step closer.
“It’s alive.” He whispered. “It’s alive.”
The guard outside was unsure of what to do. He knew he couldn’t mention that his friend the Count was there – it would take too much explaining, and the Count could be blamed for something he had nothing to do with.
Lighting flashed and thunder roared for a time before quietening down, and the guard thought it odd that there was no rain.
Then he saw it, leaving the gatehouse. An enormous, bestial thing, its face contorted with rage, its vast limbs swinging as it ran from the castle.
He nodded to himself…Dr Moritz shouldn’t have been experimenting in the Count’s lab – he unleashed something that killed him.
He knew what to say…
The tall standing stones of the Spiral Cromlech cast haphazard shadows in the moonlight. Fog had rolled in from the swamp in the chill autumn morning, and Alpon had to keep wiping back his white hair to prevent water dripping into his eyes.
He was old, now. Too old for this sort of nonsense, he thought to himself. But he had little choice – the author of the message he’d received knew things, knew Alpon’s history, somehow.
He knew about his Son. And he threatened to expose him.
Alpon may not have been as spry as he’d been in his youth, but his coat was well-stocked with his reagents, and his practiced hand could be hurling explosive vials and arcane substances at his enemies within seconds.
This fool – no doubt some Lepidstadt thug with a few connections and a tidy sum of gold – was threatening to blackmail him, and Alpon wouldn’t be standing for it. He was getting close, now…closer than he’d ever been before, and he would not let anything constrain his work now.
The blackmailer would either back down, or die.
“Count Apon Caromarc, I presume?”
Apon squinted as the man stepped out of the shadows. He was tall, with long blonde hair that shone almost white in the moonlight. He was dressed in finely-tailored clothing of black silk, and a heavy dark cloak was draped over his shoulders. He leaned on a bronze-capped staff of polished oak, and watched Apon with an almost lazy expression.
“You, sir, I presume are my would-be blackmailer?”
“Blackmailer?” the man said, smiling, his white teeth shining. “I would not presume to blackmail you, sir. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Vrood, Auren Vrood, and I represent certain…ah…interests that have need of your unique…ah…abilities.”
“Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but we need your Beast.”
“Your Beast. We need it to break into a heavily secured place and retrieve something for us.”
“You’ll do no such thing with my Son!” Apon hissed, preparing to toss one of his explosive vials before running.
It was then he realised there were others…all around him.
This was no midnight meeting to blackmail him…he’d fallen right into a trap like a suckling babe. He was so angry with himself that he had to hold back from actually berating himself, reminding himself that more important things were at stake at the moment.
“Now, now,” Vrood said, as if chiding a wayward child, “there’s no need for that, Count Caromarc. We will have what we want…but it will be easier if you cooperate…and far less painful for you.”
With a flick of his finger, Vrood sent magic spiralling out to strike the old alchemist. He collapsed to his knees, the wind knocked out of him by the sudden spasm of agony that rippled through him. He tried to scream, but his jaws were locked together.
Blinding pain tore into his joints as his shoulders and hips bent impossibly, twisting and wrenching around backwards. Ligaments and tendons strained in protest, and he felt the nauseating snap! of tearing sinew within his joints. Further and further his limbs twisted, and all the time, he was unable to cry out, until his arms and legs faced in complete opposition to their normal positions.
Finally, he lay in a distorted heap on the ground for a few moments before, with another flick of his finger, Vrood reset Alpon’s joints back into their right orientation.
A whimper escaped the man as he lay there, unable to move.
“Yes, Count – your shoulders and hips have been severely dislocated. I’m sure an educated man such as yourself understands what this means. It will be some time before you can walk again – or, do anything, really.
“Do not fret, however. My friends will bear you to your castle, to Schloss Caromarc, and there we will discuss the best method for controlling your Beast”
Vrood turned to a slender, dark-haired woman who stood behind Alpon, smiling slightly as she watched the man’s agony. She leaned on a large scythe, which was viewed with nervous respect by the half dozen others who had joined them amid the standing stones.
“Organise these others to carry Caromarc to the castle,” he ordered, his silky voice suddenly business-like.
“What of the hearts we procured, my lord?”
“We have what…seven of them?” at her nod, he continued, “the potions will take time. We’ll brew them when we next stop for a time. Use your powers to preserve them until then.”
Alpon Caromarc could only look on in agonised, helpless horror as the cultists following Vrood roughly gripped his arms and legs and bore him away to the north-east.
Insanity is approaching…all I can do is send one single dream…the others have left, they have put me in this nightmare thing, this iron coffin from which I cannot escape. Waxwood is feeding me insects and rats, and giving me a little water…but I fear he is simply prolonging the inevitable.
Only my Son can save me now…I hope so much this dream reaches him…
Son! It is your father, Alpon…I am in the castle and I need your help!
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The Letter from Adivion Adrissant to the PCs, which they received upon returning from Schloss Caromarc to Lepidsdt...
"My dear friends,
First, allow me to apologise for not being here in person. I learned a few important things in the last few days, and I felt it important that I return to Caliphas to see if I could build on my discoveries.
That aside, I wanted to thank you for allowing me to help with Edward’s defence. Injustice too-often comes to Ustalav, and while we may have made little difference in the grand scheme of things, I believe proving Edward’s innocence was worthwhile.
Now, onto other matters of import.
I did two things while you were away: firstly, I spent some more time with my friend, Dr Crowl, at the University. Judge Daramid told me that Professor Lorrimor had concerns that a cult called “The Whispering Way” was somehow connected with the events that occurred in Ravengro over the last few months or more.
I was able to apply my scholarly skills to the University library, which afforded me something of a (no doubt shallow) insight into that organisation. It seems that it is a hybrid secret society and cult, whose foundation is uncertain, but seems to have been extant for at least several thousand years. Its members seem preoccupied with matters of death and decay, as well as being obsessively secretive – they rarely, if ever, commit any of their knowledge to written form, preferring to always pass it on via whispers.
Professor Lorrimor was convinced that they were up to something – and considering what I have learned in the last two days, I think he was correct in that inference.
I spoke to Vorkstag the night before his execution. He had calmed somewhat by then, and I was able to encourage him to answer a few questions about Auren Vrood. Vrood himself, it seems, is a powerful necromancer of some kind. You may have already discovered some link at Schloss Caromarc by now, but he referred to Vrood, a tattooed woman with whom he travelled and several of their bodyguards as bearing small totems which depicted a gagged skull…the symbol of “The Whispering Way”!
More importantly, however, he told me how he had come to meet Vrood. The introduction was arranged by a man from Caliphas – some sort of nobleman, it would seem, who was in Lepidstadt, and seemed to be giving instructions to Vrood, who was somewhat in awe of the fellow.
From what I have learned of Vrood, I would be wary of antagonising someone who could cow him, to be honest – but I suspect that is why I am a scholar, not an adventurer.
I digress – this fellow, who called himself “Vladimus the Eternal”, had arranged for Vrood to meet Vorkstag and Grine because he wanted them to vigilantly watch for an adventuring party coming to Lepidstadt, one with two women and an enormous, armour-clad warrior. One of the women would be a mysterious sort armed with an small, ornate-looking crossbow.
Please, my friends, be careful! However it has happened, it seems this Vladimus knows of you! It does occur to me that he may have been behind the attempt to discredit Yeva during the trial, although this is an intuition, one for which I have no hard evidence.
I do not know where this man has since gone, but I suspect Auren Vrood is the key. He is obviously in contact with Vladimus, and I think he might well hold the key to his master’s location, and perhaps even the details of his plot.
If you could somehow find Vrood, you could perhaps unravel the whole mystery.
Of course, the problem is that I have no idea where Vrood has gone. In the absence of any clues, I will return to Caliphas immediately, and attempt to glean what information I can from trusted sources within the capital. If Vladimus is a noble there, I will be able to learn something of him, and Caliphas may well have been Vrood’s next destination, though this is only a guess.
I will continue my investigations in Caliphas, though I must work quietly and slowly, lest our opponents be made suspicious. If I learn anything, I will send word to Dr Crowl in Lepidstadt, as I am unsure of where your next destination will be.
Until we meet again, my friends, take care and stay safe, and may Pharasma, Desna, Iomedae and Abadar shine their blessings upon you. I never had a chance to farewell Edward – please give him my warm regards. I will send word as soon as I learn something. If you need to get word to me, the best way is through Dr Crowl.
Set by my hand and seal, this Moonday, the Fourth day of Neth, The Year of Aroden 4711."