City of Knives

Episode Two: Gods Save The Queen

Previously, in City of Knives…

• Lord Verden d’Deneith has been forced to go into hiding at the crew’s safehouse in Menthis Plateau. No one knows why Lyrandar’s pilot, now deceased, looked exactly like the young Deneith heir. Rail, the warforged fighter, offered to protect the young lord while they hatched a plan.

• Still, this fact gave the crew convenient ‘proof’ that Verden was dead as instructed by their mysterious client. The crew attempted to lure The Client into an ambush. They offered the mysterious, albeit irritable woman the chance to kill the boy herself at their safe house. The appointment was set to a candle mark away.

• After making their way to Menthis, the crew heard sounds of struggle inside the safe house. Before charging in, the artificer Axel Ducaine stole a peek in and saw The Client squatting on Rail’s fallen and seemingly unconscious form. Her mouth was open, and she was choking out blackish blood into his open mouth. Her words: “Mother will not be pleased…”

• A serious scuffle ensued. Not only was The Client in possession of a Tarkanan Blade, a fearsome weapon rumoured to steal souls, but she also bore an aberrant mark that spawned creatures made of blood. One of them whispered: “Musn’t disappoint mother…must kill him…brother must die…must become the true daughter of Khyber.”

• Though The Client escaped, the fight came to an end but not before some of the ‘bloodhounds’ splashed onto Rail and seeped into his wooden limbs. Though seemingly unharmed, the warforged began to exhibit strange symptoms: a pulse, and a hunger for meat.

• The enigmatic Man in the Bird Mask appeared with Lord Verden in tow. He tipped his hat and pushed Verden towards them, and before they knew it, he was gone. Who is he, and why did he help them? They helped the boy forge a new identity to help him disappear, much to the satisfaction of Uthar Morrus.

A week later…

• At the Lava Pit, Rail is enjoying his newly discovered appetites. He breathes, dreams and eats and has even paid women to teach him some of the more ‘carnal’ pleasures, though he has a suspicion he is being had.

• Their new client at the Pit is Ri, a young changeling who claimed The Queen – the internationally adored entertainer and musician – to be his sister, Li. They were both former members of The Tyrants, a gang of shape shifting criminals. Now ‘The Queen’ works for The Toybox – a place where the truly wealthy can purchase the services of high class companions.

• Suspicious of the true nature of The Toybox, Ri requested the crew to perform an extraction to the tune of 4,000 Galifar coins. He suggested befriending The Queen’s handler, a dwarf by the name of Grundar.

• Calin’s contact, Lyra shared her information: Nemrith d’Thuranni, the Toybox’s director, possessed the Mark of Shadow, but the Toybox was off limits as far as the houses of Thuranni and Phiarlan were concerned.

• Berennab, the gnome demonologist presented himself as his public persona of Berennab d’Sivis and a potential client of the Toybox. He requested for a Halfling he could murder under a full moon. The receptionist accepted the request without batting an eyelash. Rail accompanied him as his ‘bodyguard.’

• Calin d’Thuranni, the elven assassin and Axel are to enter through the lower levels of the Toybox through the waste canals where the least amount of magical protection was detected, though it was noted that a number of limited circles of transportation are present in the building.

• While the assassin and the artificer ready their infiltration of the compound, Rail sits in the reception area, with not a few explosives hidden on his person. Meanwhile, Berennab’s engagement is about to begin. All they need to do is find The Queen and convince her through words or force to escape. What could possibly go wrong?

Episode One: Racing Shadows
  • 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?

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