Fires of the Faithful

Chapter 4 - Pissin' Contest
Volz is forced to assert his authority

When we left off, Volz and Brother Alford had both seen Sareen pocket a set of lockpicks and both had plans on how to use that knowledge to get something they wanted. Volz wanted Sareen to do something. (Sorry…I missed that part. Feel free to edit it in.) Brother Alford wanted her to get the Forgery kit that she said she had access to, otherwise he’d make her lockpicks known to Valdorn who had been going on and on about needing some. Volz announced to the group that they’d be leaving town in 2 days, although we didn’t have a destination in mind.

With that, Brother Alford suggested that Volz and he should go check out an old monastery outside town, as it was likely to have some useful information. Volz would rather have the former monk read further in our books to find a likely destination for our journey. Volz’s careful and forceful reasoning won out, and Brother Alford agreed to stay in and read until he’d learned something useful.

Bernard excused himself to settle up some matters around town, in anticipation of leaving in a few days. Valdorn left as well, while Volz retired to his room. Sareen went to speak with him, but he had mysteriously vanished. The only clues to his disappearance were the sounds flapping wings, and a drawn-back curtain at his window. (He had transformed into a raven and went to scout for information.) Sareen picked the lock on his room and entered, while Brother Alford remained enthralled in his book.

With Volz gone, Sareen wanted Alford to help her learn more about the Ring of Truth. She had to work hard, but finally she persuaded him to leave his important research behind and go haring off after her personal project, to the detriment of the group. (Yes…I’m editorializing. That’s what the guy who writes the story gets to do.)

In the meantime, Valdorn set about finding the carriage company who had rented the carriage to our vaguely-known competitors. Intentionally not asking Sareen, he pieced together the location from the details in her story, and found the company. With an intentional flash of his writ proclaiming him a guest of the Lord Steward, he persuaded the carter to tell him a bit about who rented the carriage, to where and from where they had come. He learned that it was rented by Lady Isata. (Asata? Isita? Apidistera?) She was destined for Delios, and had arrived from there only 4 days prior.

Valdorn found a Charcoal Burner who could fill him in on the Lady. She was an agent of a powerful and dangerous man, Saerc Delyf, a Truth-seeker. (Inquisitor’s inquisitor in the Church of Maras.) The Truth-seeker was known to have the gift of fortelling, which explains how he knew which book to try to steal. Luckily, his sight failed him in seeing how events would play out. Armed with knowledge that might actually, you know, matter to the quest we were obstensibly on, Valdorn headed back to inform his friends.

While searching around, Volz found the monastery and it’s destroyed environs, and investigated briefly. He discovered evidence that Maras worshippers were still frequenting the site. He, too, headed back.

Sareen and Alford found a dangerously insane seller of rare books. After successfully navigating all the dangerous spots in his crazed ramblings, Alford decided on the book that would help Sareen in her quest. Unfortunately, it was not the same one that Sareen decided would help, once again using her reading skills surreptitiously to pick a likely title. Luckily, the bookseller, Kelvis, picked the one she liked. After some brilliant negotiations, Sareen managed to get 1 rare book for the price of two, and used up every spare copper she had. Broke, and satisfied, they headed back.

Arriving first, Valdorn had a few minutes to poke around. He saw the massive tome on the undead sitting unattended, and thought he could do something useful if he had a piece with which to set a trap. He found a page with some illuminations, but nothing that looked to be writing, and cut a small piece out of it for later. Sareen’s room was locked, so he couldn’t tuck it into her gear, but hid it away in his boot. He noticed Volz’s room standing open, and was standing there when Volz flew in as a raven and transformed back into himself.

After defending himself against Volz’s charge of breaking and entering, (“Remember…no lockpicks”) Valdorn learned that Sareen had recently acquired a set. This set the stage for a bit of a brou-ha-ha upon her return.

Alford and Sareen came back, with Sareen proudly clutching her ancient and worn tome, with a distinct air of poverty about her. There followed a brief discussion about whether or not certain people were being team players, and how one member was focused on the mission and always giving it his all despite the fact that everyone else was only doing their own thing and apparently didn’t care about the quest and spent all their time and resources on personal goals while that one member was making sure everyone was fed and had a roof over their head and busted his butt trying to make sure we were making progress on what we set out to do. Or something like that.

Sareen retreated to her room in a huff (and to get some time in reading her new book secretly) while Valdorn and Volz hashed out the problems that had arisen. Her book was not just about the “ring of truth” but about “Rings of Truth”…a wide variety of magical items. She discovered that one was a magic circle located at undead-making sites that judged the best use of a particular person, and how best to make them undead. That might be useful.

In the end, Volz met the challenge to his leadership, resolved the rift between the selfless , giving, mission-oriented Valdorn and the selfish, greedy, yet incredibly lucky Sareen (who keeps managing to “save the day” when if she just worked with us, things wouldn’t need to be saved) and established a new tone for working together.

Sareen shared her book with the group, and cleverly laid it open to her new bit of info without being spotted. Volz and Alford were immediately intrigued by the new information, while Valdorn smelled a scam.

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Chapter 3 - About a Book
Sareen saves the day. Barely.

After disengaging herself from a poor scholar that she tackled (upon Volz’s bad advice), Sareen decided things were dangerous enough that she should go keep an eye on the merchant’s house. Although she knew there were 2 doors, she didn’t ask for help. She camped out with a view on the back door and watched through the night but saw nothing suspicious.

In the morning, she tried the door and found it unlocked. Casually sneaking inside, she found a ransacked house and the body of the merchant hung from the rafters. She closed the door and set about doing a thorough looting. She could spend hours on this.

Valdorn hired a town crier to announce a new tax policy on library writs, and set the man to make announcements near the merchant’s house a few times during the day. Then he set about finding a tax collector who may be in for a little side shakedown, which brought him to Bernard. Bernard understood the score and rustled up a couple guards to help him. “When you go to collect the new tax, make a scene until he comes out and pays up — I know he’s in there,” were Valdorn’s instructions.

Volz and Brother Alford decided to try to find some way to get a library writ, and went back to seek the priest they spoke with the day before. They made the mistake of pretending to be interested in religion, and had a day’s worth of instruction for their trouble. In the meantime, they learned that the priest was also the Lord Steward — the very man they were seeking, and the one who could issue a library writ. He was interested in speaking with someone who actually knew Sir Guy, and as luck would have it they knew someone like that.

While they studied, Bernard and his crew interrupted Sareen as she finished pocketing some spare coinage after having thoroughly tossed the house. As they grew more insistent, she thought about trying to get away. She slipped into a corner while one guard entered through the back as the other pounded on the front. (Not on her — on the house.) Unfortunately, she was spotted and a desperate footrace ensued. She had to drop some of her cash to distract the pursuit, but she got away cleanly and raced back to the inn.

Valdorn was summoned to dinner with the Lord Steward and his companions. The evening went well, and he made sure to drop information about the merchant’s murder which set the Lord Steward’s security in motion. They went to close access to the library. Luckily, Sareen had decided to stake it out. Before long, Volz, Brother Alford and Valdorn were being escorted to the library by the Lord Steward.

Sareen couldn’t get her best viewing spot, as there was already a ruffian casually lying about there. She watched as the guards sealed the library and escorted everyone out. Unfortunately, she did not notice a parcel being dropped out the window. She did spot some of the other inn residents, in the company of the scholar she had tackled, as they met up outside and discussed something briefly. Eventually the four split into 2 pairs, with the lady and the scholar heading one way and the toughs heading another. She followed the men.

They circled back to the library and retrieved a package. She couldn’t afford to confront them, as they were well-armed and apparently skilled, but she continued to follow. Meanwhile, on the inside, Brother Alford enjoyed his unfettered library access and took the time to seek out the “Sorcerous Sites of Significance” that he wanted, rather than the tome on undeath that was crucial to the mission. Valdorn spotted a bench oddly moved under an oddly-open window. It was a puzzle, until Brother Alford realized that the one book we really needed had clearly been taken, and was missing from it’s spot on the shelf, oddly-near to the oddly-open window and oddly-moved bench.

Sareen saw as the villians met up again, and were stowing gear on a carriage, clearly preparing for a swift departure. She saw them stow the carriage, and as the thieves got underway, she stealthily hopped on the moving carriage and carefully cut away the chest that held the package retrieved from the library. She high-tailed it back to the inn.

The carriage passed out of the gates, only minutes before the Lord Steward’s orders came to lock down all egress from the city. The villains felt safely away, unaware that their prize was gone.

As she waited at the inn, palace guards came in and sought her out. Bernard managed to accidentally bribe his way into getting taken too. The party was given modest quarters at the palace as guests of the Lord Steward. Sareen filled in everyone on her exploits, and how she managed to save the day after working so hard to lose it. ;) She opened the chest and produced the book, and also found a set of lockpicks that she pocketed.

Her attempt was noted by Volz and Brother Alford, and both filed the information away for later use.

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Chapter 2 - Well Met in Prodosia

On the road to Prodosia;

Valdorn the Benificent

  • An Innkeep with an ear (for music)
  • Supper for the singing?
    • Sympathy for the decibel {Volz}
  • Sing a song of success

Arrive at city eight days later;

The Drunken Dragoon – common room, food, ale, no entertainment, 8 private rooms upstairs

  • I must have a room! {Alford}

the next day;

Get me to the church {Volz}

  • Or maybe just someone I can talk to
    • Like Luger here

As long as I get to the Library {Alford}

  • “Can I see your rit of access? Where do you get one you ask? Why from the Steward of Prodosia of course.” – Library Guard

Sareen tries to find Alford, they meet in the street;

“We’re on a mission from Guy!”_ -Sareen

Alford to Palace
Sareen on stakeout

Valdorn;

  • searching for evil, with lockpicks

Sareen follows scholar from library to his home

  • Notices Doran also following scholar

Alford visits the Palace

  • and is sent off with a well placed kick

Sareen folows Doran home to the Drunken Dragoon, last room of the hall

Valdorn lays out a plan to Volz

Sareen listens at Thick Door.

  • hears names; Doran, and Tolis (or was it Tolin), not the mystery woman’s name.
  • hears plans; get rit to get in library

Alford goes up to his room to salve injured pride and backside. Disrupts Sareen’s eavesdropping

Volz, Valdorn, and Sareen talk

Valdorn and Alford talk

Alford, Volz, and Valdorn talk

Scribe Fyord arrives at the inn;

  • the scholars engage in a ponderously minuscule discussion of their craft.
  • A shadowed figure at the entrance to the inn
  • Fyord bolts
  • Volz Spells
  • Sareen grabs
  • Fyord screams for the guards
  • a crowd gathers
  • Fyord runs away

Tune in next time, when …

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Interlude 1 - Truth Seeker
He knows what Tomorrow may bring!

A tale wherein Inquisitor Paxton Gibbon seeks aid against the northern rebels. And, we are introduced to Skaric Delyf, who will be the driving force behind several of the antagonists our heroes may face.

“Our Dark Mistress would turn her eyes from us both if I uttered one word of this to you, but that is what I must defend our faith from. Pray for my success Inquisitor, pray very hard.” – Skaric Delyf, Truth Seeker

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Chapter 1 - Welcome to the party

Duke Vogel assembles an assortment of characters for a vital mission: End the threat of undeath!

Volz and Alford agree that researching at the library is the best way to start.
Valdorn disagrees and is quickly cut loose under the watchful eyes of Sareen.
They part ways as soon as the door closes, with an agreement to meet back in the early evening.

Books are read

Pockets are picked

Valdorn tries to put the touch on his former business rivals to help him on his way out of town. They are firmly unhelpful.

Undeterred by his lack of success, he turned to his new associates for aid in remaking his “lost” deed of his destroyed bar. Brother Alford cannot be convinced into the task, but Sareen is quick to volunteer a “friend” of hers for the task.

The next day, with the new deed in hand, Valdorn is off to find a mark. He finds one in Kor Pesse, a fellow bar owner who will soon pay a final price for trying to lay claim to property with this false deed. Also, merchant Pesse’s young sister witness the whole transaction and will swear undying vengeance against Valdorn. (as she is only 10 at this time, Valdorn still has a few years left to him before she can enact her righteous vengeance!)

With cash in hand Valdorn returns to the group.

Next: On the road to …

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Book Three - New Faces
The search to kill undeath

The powerful are settling in for a protracted civil war. Small groups of specialized agents have been sent out by highly placed members of the newly minted nation of Aam. This is the story of one of those groups.

Their task – find a way to end the threat of undeath

The team;

Volz, a renegade wizard still adjusting to the new realms amnesty towards his kind.

Brother Alford, a former clergy of the church of maras well regarded for his scholarship on ancient subjects.

Sareen, A street level thief.

and Valdorn, an ex-barkeep who’s personal encounter with guy le gui inspired him to join the cause.

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Aplistia Ablase
for Church and Crown
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