Day 3 continued
The adventurers concluded their discussion with the slave girl who until his death, belonged to Urian the slaver. The party was still hurt from wounds previously received and went to the merchant district in search of curatives. They did not have to travel far as Urian’s home was on the outskirts of the mercantile district and an hour’s worth of asking around led them to an apothecary. A plethora of herbs and poultice scents wafted around the mercenaries within the smoke-filled shop. Behind a counter stood a short, older Ophirean merchant. He eyed the foreigners warily and curtly asked what they wanted. When told of their desire for curatives, the merchant went behind a curtain and retrieved a clay jar which contained several doses of a poultice made from Acacia extract. The party haggled and was able to purchase several doses of the healing mixture. They left the shop and ducked behind a nearby alley, removing their armor to apply the poultice and immediately felt it’s effects.
Dhak mentioned his need of power to fuel his sorcery to the rest of the party and they agreed to aid him in harvesting the necessary mystical energy from whatever street folk they encountered. It was not difficult for the mercenaries to locate 2 unfortunates in an alley. Cuana and Tullweim each grabbed one of the vagrants, who kicked and fought helplessly within the barbarians’ vice-like grip while Dhak placed his hands firmly on their faces and drained them of their senses. After setting them back down, Cuana slipped a single silver into each vagrants’ tattered tunic. With Dhak flush with power the party made their way further into the slums towards the Tovalis mansion.
Suspicious eyes from passerbys followed the passage of the mercenaries as they arrived at their destination, the aged front of the Tovalis mansion. The mansions’ windows were boarded shut and a single weathered door sat solidly in its frame. The building appeared deserted, but a furtive movement behind one of the boarded windows on the second floor was noticed, betraying an occupant inside the fore-boding edifice. The adventurers assumed they had been spotted and moved further down the street, attempting to look like they were searching for another building. Dhak and Xacksmith left Cuana and Tullweim in the front of the building while the two lightly armored and stealthier companions made their way to the back.
The back of the dilapidated mansion overlooked a squalid alley full of refuse and vermin. The stench was unbearable. A small door was located in a one story addition to the main house. There was a stack of crates and debris in the corner. Xacksmith moved towards the back door and pulled out his trusty lock picks. He worked at the door and triggered a trap which caused a cloud of smoke to shoot out from the wall next to it. The Hyrkanian leapt backwards, narrowly avoiding the trap. Afterwards, the two adventurers stealthily made their way through a kitchen, where food was boiling on the pot. The room past that had been modified into a barracks like quarters with several bedrolls and cots throughout the room. Xacksmith listened at the door on the west wall and could hear at least 5 people conversing and shuffling about. Dhak suggested they continue south and went into another room whose original use had been abandoned for a sleeping quarters for several people. Dhak listened at the door to the north and heard a group of people beyond. Dhak and Xacksmith surmised that the north door led to the same room which Xacksmith had already heard voices come from.
Dhak and Xacksmith decided to leave the door with occupants behind it alone until they could get their companions inside the mansion. Xacksmith opened the door on the west wall and triggered another trap. A dart, gleaming with a coating of poison shot from a wall opposite the door the Hyrkanian had opened. Luckily, Xacksmiths’ leather armor prevented the point of the dart from piercing flesh. Xacksmith then opened the front door of the mansion wide, triggering another dust trap, which dispersed into the open street harmlessly. He saw Cuana and Tullweim and gave them a thumbs up signal. Both barbarians rushed into the building and Xacksmith pointed to the door where the Stygian had heard voices. Tullweim slammed his mighty thews against the door, burst it open, and surprised a group of 10 bandits in a banquet hall. The surprise did not stop the bandits for long as the leader ordered the thieves to action and they swarmed the Aesir, flanking him, their swords finding the chinks in his armor and biting deep into his flesh.
Cuana, Dhak, and Xacksmith went through the western door of the entry hall, triggering another poison dart trap that the Stygian nimbly avoided. They entered another room refurnished to be a sleeping quarters and Cuana knocked down the door which led to the banquet hall. Cuana and Xacksmith rushed into the room while Dhak spoke ancient words of power at one of the thieves. The unfortunate thief was struck by a tormenting pain that brought him to his knees, crying out in agony. Xacksmith feinted at one of the brigands and Cuana brought his sword down on the distracted thief, cleaving him in twain. In the same instant the Cimmerian unleashed a flurry of blows, stabbed his sword into the groin of a thief who jumped onto the table and cleaved the screaming head from the shoulders of the thief Dhak had ensorcelled.
Hemmed in on all sides but his back and bloodied from the multiple stabs the bandits had landed, Tullweim let his fury rise. Letting out a rage-fueled roar the Nordhiemer fought like a cornered lion, his opponents fell like lambs in a slaughter. The other adventurers came to his aid and used a combination of lethal strikes and the flats of their blades to bring the remaining 2 bandits into unconsciousness. Much of the wealth in the room had been destroyed, wild sword swings and fallen foes had demolished rare vases and figurines. Cuana, Dhak, and Tullweim tended to their wounds while Xacksmith explored the last room connected to the dining hall.
The door opened into a room which was elegant in the extreme, well-befitting the private chamber of a master thief. Like the rest of the mansion, there were many artistic items, including a bronze medallion with the grisly likeness of Al’Kiir upon it. Xacksmith’s keen eyes also saw a note written on vellum in a very fine, steady hand. The note said:
Actual wolves, stained red with the blood of others, will visit the house on Wolves’ Row today. Stay away.
Change is in the wind and even respected merchants are hung without fear in Ianthe. I strongly recommend you acquire the item tonight by whatever means you possess.
Xacksmith then thoroughly searched the room, uncovering a hidden compartment under the bed which contained a bag of 10 diamonds, an emerald ring, a gem-encrusted cup and 755 silver coins. Xacksmith pocketed some of the items and brought the rest, and the note, out to the banquet hall where Dhak and Tullweim were about to rouse their captives. The Hyrkanian informed the others about most of his findings and read the note to them. Cuana speculated that the ‘A’ signed in the letter could be Timeon’s ally Antimedes. Then Dhak roused the captives and questioned them about Galbro. They replied that they did not know where Galbro was, only that he had received distressing news and had taken 3 of his best with him to acquire the crucible they had been hired to steal. The thieves did not know who had hired Galbro. Dhak then asked about access to the second floor of the mansion, as the party had been in every room of the first floor and had seen no stairs. The thieves told him of a secret wall entrance in the south east room. With his questions answered, the Stygian drained and then sacrificed the two thieves, their blood-curdling cries echoed throughout the crumbling mansion. He used the potent energies harvested from Galbro’s men, the Elephant’s Heart, and the red bandana that had presumably belonged to the master thief to curse the man. Despite his efforts he sensed that the spell did not work as desired.
Meanwhile, Cuana, Tullweim and Xacksmith opened the catch to the secret entrance the thief had revealed and moved up the stairs to the 2nd floor. Cuana was in the lead and released a second catch opening the wall to a seemingly empty hallway. The Cimmerian moved into the hallway and 2 more thieves dropped down from the rafters above. Cuana was flanked and one of the brigands sunk his blade deep into the barbarians’ gut causing him to black out while the other thief closed and locked the wall entrance. Not knowing exactly what happened, but hearing the barbarian’s heavy fall onto the floor, Xacksmith worked furiously at unlocking the door. His efforts were not enough to bypass the complicated lock and Tullweim came up to try and break through the wall. After several attempts, the adventurers finally opened the wall and saw only Cuana, laying face-down in a pool of his own blood. Tullweim entered the hallway to give his ally aid while Xacksmith stayed in the stairwell. The 2 thieves once again dropped from the ceiling, but were not in a position to flank the Aesir. The battle was short, fierce, and bloody. Xacksmith was hurt badly by one of the thieves and Tullweim had taken a solid hit, but both foes were brought down. Tullweim looked to Xacksmith’s wounds while Dhak brought Cuana back from death’s maw. After sewing up their wounds, the mercenaries explored the 2nd floor of the mansion finding naught but rooms which had accumulated filth, debris, and mold from years of disuse. Afterwards the party decided to head out.
Night 3, To Catch a Thief
They walked back out to Ianthe’s streets and with scant daylight left, decided to head back to the mercantile district to purchase more healing salve. The merchant was eager to take the adventurer’s spoils in exchange for more Acacia salve. As he marveled at the diamonds presented to him he informed the party that he was running low on supplies should they need more, as they undoubtedly would. The party left, quickly coated their wounds with the salve and headed back to Timeon’s palace. Dhak stalled a bit and when the rest of the party was out of sight he located a prostitute. He convinced her to go into an alley with him, grabbed hold of her and gazed deep into her fear stricken eyes as he drained her for the mystical energy he had spent in his attempt to curse Galbro. After he was done he rushed forward to meet back up with the party at Baron Timeon’s palace.
Once at the palace, Enaro informed the group that there were 2 more deserters. Tullweim headed up to his room on the fourth floor while Cuana, Dhak, and Xacksmith stayed on the ground floor to discuss matters with Enaro and deal with morale. The party was surprised when Dhak sniffed the air, and said he smelled smoke. Cuana looked around and caught a whiff of the distinct smell of something burning as well. The Stygian quickly found a closed door which smoke seeped from behind. The door knob was hot to the touch. Cuana ran for a basin of water while Dhak opened the door, which sent billowed waves of smoke into his eyes. Dhak called out an alarm for water and several Crimson Wolves responded. The Wolves looked around them and through the windows Xacksmith caught a glimpse of furtive figures who stole through the shadows towards the palace wall. He shouted an alarm and went to meet the intruders. There were 3 brigands in leather armor, but not dressed like Galbro’s men. The Hyrkanian and 3 Crimson Wolves engaged the enemies, who fell back and unleashed stones from their slings. Dhak once again used the power of the Elephant’s Heart to attempt to curse Galbro. He gazed through the crimson jewel at the thief’s bandana and uttered ancient words of power. This time, the Stygian felt his great curse had succeeded, but at a high cost. Dhak felt his strength ebb from him and he had to lean on a wall to keep his legs steady.
On the 4th floor, Tullweim approached his room and noticed that the door was ajar. He threw the door open and saw the room had been ransacked and 4 thieves stood inside. 3 of the brigands were Ophirean and one was a Zingaran. A Zingaran with a familiar face, as Tullweim recognized the sly features of the man he’d seen at the Bull & Bear inn weeks ago, he uttered simply, “Galbro.” One of Galbro’s thugs had Accalia restrained and the Zingaran said, “Bring me the crucible.” Tullweim replied, “we don’t have it,” and began to draw his greatsword. Galbro held up his hands in a manner suggesting peace and then struck at the Nordheimer like a cobra. Two of the other thieves moved in to flank the barbarian and their blades bit deep. Tullweim reeled from the attacks, fell back through the doorway, and heard a woman’s scream from the floor above.