- A mysterious woman of beauty and cruelty met with the crew at The Lava Pit. She hired them to make sure Lord Verden d’Deneith wouldn’t be able to win, or even finish, the Race of the Twelve. She offered to pay 2,000GP, half now and half later. If the House Heir were to die in front of the capture gems, she would offer a bonus of 1,000GP.
- When Axel the artificer offered a guarantee to kill the boy, the woman set down the bonus immediately on the table. She warned the crew that if they could not hold their end of their bargain, she would be able to find out. Brennab discovered under closer inspection that the woman was concealing an aberrant Dragonmark on her left forearm. She left the money, but did not even bother leaving a name.
- Shortly after, the second client of the evening turned out to be Uthar Morrus, the Secretary for Veteran Affairs in Breland. Morrus was the crew’s contact in the political world of Sharn. He begged the crew to help his nephew, Lord Verden, and protect him during the race. Instead of denying an old friend (and missing out on an additional 2,000GP), the crew opted to try to fulfill both contracts to the best of their ability.
- Calin decided to tap into the Shadow Network and check in on a local Thuranni contact in the Cogs. On their way out of The Lava Pit, a mysterious man in an unnerving bird mask approached them. He delicately placed a note into Calin’s palm and walked away without a word. The note read: The Pilot of Lyrander’s ship wears a pretty trinket. Deliver it to warehouse 13A, security deposit box 14. Once you place the trinket within, fair compensation for your services shall appear within the box. The number is 1,000.
- Intrigued Calin and Berennab followed the man down fog choked alleys. The stranger began to have problems walking, and he made a sharp turn into a dead end as his knees dragged across the floor. The walls were lined with silent, brooding black birds that watched. Before they could ask him any questions, the creature very suddenly melted into black ichor. Berennab discovered that within the mask were summoning runes that help bind a creature to this plane of existence. However, an outside force, of this world, must have written the runes in the first place.
- Rail and Axel made inquires of their own, speaking with regulars at The Lava Pit to find out more. Rail found out that security would be especially tight during the race, and that the latest in capture gem technology would be used to document the race. Cannith, Deneith, Lyrander, Vadalis, Orien, Phiarlan, and Sivis were race for the title. However, Vadalis did not really care to win the title, only that their magebred mounts would figure prominently in the race. Vadalis’ prized mounts and their riders were currently under protection in a Kundarak Warehouse in Lower Dura.
- Calin found (or was found) by Lyra Leek, an awkward and decidedly morbid Thuranni Shadow Contact. In exchange for painful pleasantries and a kiss, she told Calin she knew Lord Verden had forced his way into the race to redeem the honor of his sister. She did not know the details, only that the twin sister’s long term engagement to someone of importance in the Deneith House had recently been called off. She also expressed interest in obtaining Lord Verden’s preserved head in a jar.
- The Crew regrouped and headed to the Kundarak Warehouse. Taking care of the City Watch, the crew proceeded to try to disable the magical devices guarding the area. Unfortunately Axel was unable to disable the traps from afar. The Crew tried to come through the roof, and were ensnared by the Gravity Sphere that didn’t recognize their aura signatures. The crew managed to destroy the Sphere in seconds, and fortunately the Kundarak Security were made up of underpaid dwarves who weren’t very good at their jobs.
- The crew convinced the dwarves they were the Race’s Inspection Team, and dismissed the security. Axel and Berennab manipulated the arcane energies protecting the mounts and riders to take the rider’s place instead. They discovered the traditional masks were in fact secret technology that allowed a racer to mind meld with their mounts.
- The Race of the Twelve took place at sunset, starting at Skyway, down into the cogs, and back up again. The crew fended off several shadow assassins after Lord Verden. None of the other racers could see these deadly foes. The very presence of these murderous apparitions would interrupt the arcane energies of the capture gems. Rail and his Orien pegasus mount stole Lyrander’s necklace: a large glass orb with live lightning crackling inside it.
- As Cannith’s homoculous manticore and Lyrander’s elemental podship gunned to the finish line, Brennab created an arcane black out. The crew broke off with an unconscious but safe Lord Verden in their possession. Before they could make a clean getaway, the skies turned dark with a multitude of black birds that filled the sky. A beautiful woman appeared, floating in midair, her features marred by disease and an aberrant mark across one side of her face.
She first quoted what seemed to be a passage from the Draconic Prophecy, “When the sword falls from an armored fist before it can grasp lightning, so shall the first door to death open.”
She continued in common, *“Is this the vile prophecy you seek to fulfill? Foolish Children of Tarkanan. You do not even deserve to take the name for your own. My father and mother both twist and turn in their graves, burning in the fires under this very city. I come in their names, as their true daughter, and will appear again if those who dare call themselves Tarkanan continue to act with such disgrace.
This is your first and last warning.”*
After her ominous words to the Tarkanan House (which bears the Aberrant Dragonmark), the mysterious woman stretched out an arm. As the flesh of her hand rotted away to reveal bone, the crew suddenly felt rejuvenated, and completely healed. She disappeared. The crew quickly made their escape.
- In a safe house at the University District, The Crew debated on their next step. They needed to keep the Lord safe, but they needed to trick their first client into believing they had killed the boy. Lord Verden woke up and demanded an explanation, or proof that he could trust the crew. He demanded to be let go so he could defeat Lyrander’s Racer and reclaim his family’s honor. Rail pointed out that they had saved his life using the healing properties of the Lyrander Racer’s necklace. Upon discovering this, Lord Verden quickly smashed the necklace under his heel. He suddenly took a change of heart and agreed to follow the crew’s lead.
- Calin stepped outside to procure a dead body to help with the deception. As he did so, he spotted someone conveniently falling out of the sky. The corpse was revealed to be Lyrander’s Racer. His chest had been caved in, where his heart should have been. Lord Verden showed no remorse at destroying what was apparently keeping the Lyrander Pilot alive. Perhaps there was no such thing as convenience in coincidence.
- As the pilot’s mask faded away, it was revealed that the pilot was the splitting image of Lord Verden. Including the greater Mark of Sentinel on the Lyrander Pilot’s face. Lord Verden refused to speak of the matter.
- Decapitating the pilot, they now had adequate proof that they had lived up to their end of the bargain. They would then track down their client, and obtain the rest of their pay. Show a head, get paid. It sounded easy enough, didn’t it? What could possibly go wrong?