24 Zol and 25 Wir Eyre
Still in shock at the loss of [[Dreams in a Jar (Session 12)| loss of Zinnia]], the group tried to put together what happen. Professor Barrasten seemed professional about it, doing everything she could to investigate the issues with Zinnia, but Jak could feel something is amiss. For a few days, the group seems aimless.
Professor Gourthan, however, was busy with leads to find “Titan’s Home”, and was certain that he would find the information here. He told the group that he was working with Aldus to find more about the Koldoran Piece—for according to Gourthan’s research, the giant Koldoran was based in Stormreach, but originally came from Titan’s Home. Gourthan believed that Koldoran’s tomb lies beneath Stormreach and had been looking for it. With the help of another professor, Durran Sarroni, who recently joined the Expedition, Gourthan believed that they have a lead: A meeting with the Collector.
Little is known about the Collector, but supposedly he or she knows much about the secrets of the city. According to Gourthan, a meeting on 26 Zor at Stormreach’s showing of The Fall of Cyre in the Temple District was scheduled. Most of the Expedition, including Sarroni’s protegé Beacon—an unusual warforged invoker—planned on attending.
Of course, such a play is a formal event requiring the appropriate dress. After a series of misadventures including a stage-prop version of a leather tuxedo for Jak, a battle ready sequin gown for Valna, and a drug addled experience for Humphrey, all were ready.
26 Zor Eyre
Professor Gourthan secured a few carriages to ferry the group across the dangerous parts of town between Southwatch and the Temple District. All were asked to keep a watch out for the Collector. Of course, it is hard to find a man that no one is familiar with.
The Fall of Cyre was not about the Day of Mourning, but about the split of Galifar at the death of king Jarot. While entertaining to some, Jak was less than occupied. While the Collector never showed, one odd thing happened: Beacon found in his possession a magical coin. It was apparently a token from their benefactor.
Unclear how to proceed, the group returned to their carriages. But on the route back, they were ambushed! Fire rained down from the sky, separating the two carriages, leaving Jak, Beacon, Valna, Humphrey, and the ellusive Xendrohs separated from their mentors. Out of the shadows, kobolds scurried. The crafty interlopers used the terrain to their advantage, darting in an out with spears, or pinning them down with swarms of rats or chaotic magic. Valna, Humphrey, and Jak were gravely wounded and one of the cretins escaped, but soon the ambushers were defeated.
On the note of one of them, a description of them all and where to find them. Someone wanted them stopped.
27 Far Eyre
After the battle, Professor Sarroni looked at the corpse of the kobold leader—a filthy tender of rats—and suggested that Beacon could perform a ritual to speak with the dead on the morrow. First thing in the morning, that is what was attempted. However, Beacon’s mastery of the ritual was lacking, and the spirit of the kobold only sneered at them, refusing to help.
Meanwhile, Professor Barristen had determined the nature of the coin, much to Lecturer Omrish’s consternation: It was a message coin, enchanted for the right recipient. Thus decoded, it showed a map of Stormreach, and then a location far above the city: A crumbled tower by a tree in one of the floating ruins above the city. “Here we will find what the tomb,” Gourthan exclaimed. “This is what the Collector wanted us to see.”
Others were skeptical.
The party was sent to scout out the location and secure it if need be. While Xenhros suggested using the airship, Valna pointed out that it could not navigate in such tight areas. In addition, Captain d’Lyrandar did not seem too keen on letting them borrowing the Ascendant’s skiffs. Thus, they would have to do it the old fashion way: Climb the Rigging that anchored some of the floating ruins to the ground and each other and hope for the best.
After some close calls, including some of the group almost falling to their death, the group made it to the ruins. But someone was there first! Goblin archers, lead by a toothy human and his dire rat companions, were their first, scouring the ruins. They joined battle immediately after sending some of the rats away. The battle was fierce, with goblins jumping along the ruined structure while the rat-man showed its true lycanthropic nature. The party held the day, capturing one of the gobs. But a quick search of the structure turned up two things: A dragonmark on the ground that look much like an aberrant mark, and that whatever that had been found had been taken.
The rats had it!
A chase followed, made more difficult by their late start. The vermin had almost made it back down to the sewers when the Jak and the others caught up to them and mashed them into paste. Amongst them, a shard of the natural dragonmark. Perhaps a key of some sort?
Xenhros and Valna interrogated the goblin prisoner, one dark and the other friendly, and soon they discovered that a man named Thalos had hired them to loot the tower (which was obviously not Koldoran’s tomb). The scarred man was known to hang out at the Wavecrest Tavern in the harbor, a den of vice and debauchery. Hearing that, Jak was happy to go there.
The Wavecrest was full, orc laborers drinking with their goliath overboss, several humans trying to gamble with them, and a big man deep in his cups. While Xenhros tried to use the warforged to win a drinking contest with the orcs, Valna and Humphrey spoke to the waitress to find out what they could about Thalos. Other than he was a treasure hunter and ran with a very bad crowd, little was found.
But then the orcs found out Beacon and Xenhros were cheating at the drinking game and the bar fight broke out.
It was a sight to be seen: Flaming beers being tossed around the room, the big man and Jak pummeling each other for sport, and chaos reigning. Eventually, calmer hearts prevailed: Or those without were unconscious. Fjord, the big man from far north Karrnath that riled up the fight, laughed and bought everyone drinks. A good time was had by all.
Returning to The Ship’s Cat, the party broke the news that the ruins were not the tomb but something else. Puzzled, Gourthan answered that what the Collector gave them must be a clue, but they needed more information. He know one last place to try: the Lighthouse Library. In the center of the harbor stood the lighthouse, an artifact of giant construction. And there, a very eccentric hermit by the name of Eldamir Fallowcrest lived. He liked his books too much, and valued them far more than people. But if there was something obscure written about Koldoran and this strange tower, Eldamir would have it. Thus, Professor Gourthan took the group to the Lighthouse.
The harbor was rank with the smell of sewage, unsettling the stomachs of the crew. Knocking on the towering door, the group was greeted by a sour looking thin man—Eldamir. Initially he refused to assist them, but some words and display of historical and arcane acumen swayed him. They began searching the library, though Jak’s more direct approach barreling through books required the group to smooth things over several times. Eventually they found the section where they needed to be, but Eldamir was so fed up that he stormed off.
That is when the books started to attack them.
A library filled with ancient and eldritch magic can be dangerous, especially when the magic leaks and gives malevolent sentience to the papers within. Such a dark spirit now possessed this lower level of the library, assaulting them with cuts of thin paper and swarms of books. Xenhros kept away from the battle while it swirled around Jak, cutting him grievously. Eventually, the party resorted to fire, setting aflame half of the floor’s contents. It was enough to defeat the monster, but also have them forcibly evicted.
Fortunately, Professor Gourthan had snuck out the book they needed.
28 Sar Eyre
Gourthan and the others professors poured over the text all night. Soon, the pieces fit together: The ruined tower was a gateway to a set of cells beneath Stormreach isolated from the rest of the city. Heinious prisoners were kept there. The token the group found was needed to attune a ritual that would take them to Koldoran’s cell—the place where the apparent criminal was imprisoned until his death. All it said about Koldoran was that he dabbled with “the dead” and something about an “abomination.” This did not instill confidence.
Soon, the group was back at the tower, the ritual for opening the gate to the cell in hand. But again, someone had beaten them there. Xenhros and Beacon could both feel the trailing threads of another ritual that had been cast recently. The group briefly debated waiting for the others—likely Thalos’ gang—to come out, but Cheep, Aldus’ homunculus that was following them with the Koldoran Piece, suggested against it. Reluctantly agreeing, they opened the portal and stepped deep beneath the city.
And there, in a circular ritual chamber beneath the earth, was a door engraved with the likeness of a giant bearing what appeared to be an aberrant dragonmark. Above, the words were ominous.