Last Stand

Track down these murderers

they've gone to ground.

After returning the Mask of Languages to Vardo, he pays the party their 200 gold, and displays his wares for them. He honors the 10 % off for everything. He swears softly when he realizes that Jag was ripping him off for quite some time. He doesn’t ask for any of the other merchandise back, chalking it up to the fact that he underestimated Jag’s thievery skills.

Pleased with meeting the party, he promises to toss them other work that he hears about.

As you head back to your quarters, basic barracks in the Gatehouse, or wherever they decide to stay, you are still fascinated by the sheer amount of sights and smells of a new city.
Passing through the avenues out of the Bailey, the party notices a number of things:

  • There is a thin column of white smoke coming from the main chimney of the Castle. This means that the delegates of the various Free Companies are voting on issues. Being locked in the meeting hall, they cannot come in or out until the smoke clears.
  • A lot of people are wearing armbands emblazoned with the White Crow, the symbol of the Riders. Tapestries are being hung over balconies, in windows and from eaves of houses. The city seems to be showing its unanamious support of the Riders.
  • a small group of goblinoid children are playing in the alley by a tavern called the Bleeding Out.
    The Bleeding Out, or The Bleeding, is known to be a rough and tumble bar for mercenaries and off duty soldiers.

*More prevalent in the Bailey than other places, you see small insignias, charms, or other adornments of the Gods. The Horns of War, while the most prominent in a military base/city, are rivaled in number by the symbols of Kiris, The Justicar, and and Cade, The Watcher.

*A Small sect of Lightbringers, followers of Esmara, have opened up a clinic, working tirelessly to fight off sicknesses that breed in the confines of this part of the city.

*There are even a few followers of Tagin, identifiable by their polished steel masks.

*There are rarer sightings of Eternals’ markings. The Hearthmaster, The Wee Man, and even The Huntmaster have the occasional devout followers here.

*Finally, on your way out, you see something that is partially comforting, partially bothersome. Comforting, because the basic design is familiar, and bothersom because it has been altered to the point of almost being corrupted.

*Painted on the wall, is the symbol of Sovena, the Glittering Scale. The original symbol was an off white dragon silloette on a golden shield. This symbol is a Black Dragon on a bloodred shield. You have flashes of finding the Church in Last Stand profaned. The symbol on the altar at the church was desecrated, and had changed to look like this.

While exploring the town, an interesting rumor comes to the group’s attention. A group of kids, incidentally, kobolds, who were playing in the crypts, saw some figures that they’ve never seen before, they got scared, because these humans had no face, just a black spot under the hood where their face should have been.
This is the exact description of the would be assassin that attacked the party in Shade Cove.

The kids who saw the figures are not there, save one, the rest were ‘out playing’. The one kid that is around, Snim, will show the PCs how to get into the crypts, even though they were playing in a not so public part. Snim takes them into the Crypts. And then shows them the way they found.
Snim mentions they were playing Snakes and Mice, essentially hide and seek, but the Mice have to “Die” until the game is over.
Snim’s brother, Fitz, was the Snake, and found, coincidentally, an engraving of a snake on the wall.
This snake engraving is the trigger to open a secret door. The door opens to a forgotten section of the Barrows Crypt.
The other kids, are down here, and are hiding. They saw someone, then heard the low moaning of the hall of screams. They are daring each other to get close to it. Their presence, triggered an alarm deeper into the compound. As the party nears, they’ll see, or hear another of the acolytes. “Khan’s Balls!”, he swears, and runs back down the hallway. As he hits the first corridor split, a programmed illusion splits off, leading the party on the chase.

The party chases the black masked individuals through some ruins deep beneath the city’s crypts. As they meet and overcome obstacle after obstacle, they feel a deep grinding sound, as a door deep within is closed.
In an alcove towards the end, they find an altar to Sliniss’Khan. The altar, shoddly built, was supposed to open a way to The Paths, but more than likely would have opened to a random lower plane, allowing denizens to sneak in.
Past the blocked door, lies the Sect of Sliniss’Khan, sent here to find the group.

The staircase at the back opens up not far into an alley in The Bailey. Laying at the end of the alley, at the street, is a black cloak and facehiding mask. Bustling crowds hide the escapee.

Searching the lair shows that these acolytes, followers of Sliniss’Khan, were looking for the party.
They find numerous scrolls, one of them a sacred writing, which triggers them to remember what they were taught in school.
Sliniss’Khan has historically been linked to Kin’Varos. One of his lieutenants, Khan was thrown out of the Scourge’s Court due to failing at an appointed task. Finding those that The Scourge wants, would let Khan weasel his way back into Kin’Varos’ good graces.

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mexichu

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