Curse of the Crimson Throne

Seven Days to the Grave, Part 3
A Ghoulish Surprise

Arlynn, Ashla and Egan awaken to acrid scent of bodies being burnt en mass in the Gray District. Zandu, meanwhile, wakes up at the Sticky Mermaid feeling crummy but it’s not until he reaches Zellara’s house that Egan recognizes that he’s suffering from Blood Veil. It takes both of Egan’s remove disease spells to cure him.

Arlynn travels to the Gray District, where porters have hauled cartfulls of bodies to be burnt in mass graves. The paladin joins a cleric of Sarenrae and a cleric of Pharasma in praying over the bodies. Their meditation is interrupted, however, when the last cartfull of corpses causes the mass grave to collapse into a another chamber below it. A ghoul pokes its bare, pale head out of the new hole.

While two clerics try to contain the situation, Arlynn races back to Zellara’s to rally the rest of the group. Zandu pauses to stock up on alchemist’s fire before they proceed back to the Gray District. Several ghouls and a ghast have emerged from the smoking crater to attack the clerics.

The party engages them in combat, but the fight grows more challenging as a shift in the wind sends a plume of foul smoke from a nearby pyre billowing across the battlefield. The five heroes (and Majenko) struggle against smoke inhalation, giving the undead abominations an advantage. But the party’s strength of arms and the power of Arlynn’s faith ultimately prove enough to overcome the monstrosities. Egan also makes the canny move of dousing the pyre with create water to clear the air of smoke. After successfully tricking and striking a ghast, Slim is stricken with paralysis and infected with ghoul fever. It takes two charges from the wand of remove disease to cure him.

Once the ghouls are vanquished, the party ignites their burrow with Zandu’s alchemist’s fire, hoping to finish cremating the bodies and eliminate any other threats. An investigation of the burrow discovers a small tunnel twisting off to the west. Following the tunnel, the party ultimately arrives at an ancient crypt.

Altar of the Pallid Princess

The crypt contains six sarcophagi — five unopened — as well as a desk and an altar to Urgathoa, goddess of gluttony, plague, and undeath. The area appears to have been well-trafficked until quite recently. Arlynn immediately feels a powerful evil pervading the place, while Zandu detects necromantic energy in the sarcophagi.

The party decides to have Arlynn pry them open one by one and then collectively destroy whatever is inside. But opening one sarcophagus alerts the denizens of the other four and the party soon has a desperate fight on its hands.

The crypt is guarded by five armed and armored skeletons, their empty eye sockets ablaze with a pale green glow that clings to their gear as well. Perfectly silent, the skeletons attempt to surround and eliminate the party, who find that swords are less effective against bones. The tense battle is ultimately concluded by Arlynn and Ashla, the former dismantling a skeletal warrior with a devastating blow and the latter lopping off the head of the last abomination.

A thorough search of the place discovers some notes, none more recent than several weeks ago, scribbled by the leader of the Urgathoan cult, someone named Lady Andaisin. According to her writings, the cult was preparing for some “grand project” in service to their goddess. One note mentions Rolth the necromancer, who was apparently trying to join the cult in order to get closer to Lady Andaisin. She is unimpressed with him, but intends to make use of his limited abilities.

Arlynn has Egan deface the Urgathoan alter with stone shape an the party then travels up through the secret mausoleum entrance to the crypt and into the daylight. They notify Bishop Keppira d’Bear about the desecrated tomb and she proceeds to reconsecrate the place and dispel its Urgathoan taint.

From there, the party heads to the citadel, where they find Field Marshal Cressida Kroft mulling over a map of blood veil infections. They notify her of their discovery of the altar and she agrees that it seems likely the cult had a hand in the plague. The presence of a full-fledged cult makes them the second-biggest threat to the city after the blood veil itself, particularly since they seem to view Rolth as a chump.

Cressida tells the party that although the druids are tending to Guardsmen who fall ill in their duties and the clerics of the city’s temples are healing as many victims as they can, their supplies of potions and wands of remove disease are running low. At the very start of the plague, the Cerulean Society bought up every such potion and wand not in the emergency stockpiles and are presently scalping them at ridiculous prices.

The Field Marshal asks the party to use their connections to have the Society turn over its stockpile, or she’ll be forced to march into their dens in the city and confiscate the supplies personally.

The Devil You Know

On their way to the Sticky Mermaid, the party is confronted by a ragged, filthy man suffering from the blood veil — recognizing Arlynn as a servant of Iomedae, he demands that she cure him. Almost immediately, the rest of the party vanishes, escaping via magic (Zandu & Egan) or simply fading into the shadows (Ashla & Slim), until the paladin is left alone with the angry plague victim. Arlynn says that she can’t cure him, but is doing all she can to fight the plague, and mollifies him by tending to his myriad cuts and bruises.

In the mean time, Eagle-Egan beats Expedious-Zandu to the Mermaid and lets Kyra know about Cressida’s ultimatum. As the rest of the party trickles in, the halfling woman explains that the Cerulean Society has already sold off its stockpile of remove disease wands and potions. Half the noble houses in Korvosa have bought up their own supplies, but Kyra says that the number one buyer was in fact the Temple of Asmodeus.

Zandu stays behind to deliver a truly spectacular reading from the Book of Joy and buy drinks for the house, while the rest of the party stops in at the Bank of Abadar. They learn from Ishani Dhatri that the river water does not appear to be tainted with the plague. When he hears that the Asmodeans have been hoarding healing supplies, Ishani is outraged. He explains that the faiths of the city were supposed to pool resources to fight the plague. Ishani also provides some background on the Asmodeans, who were invited to Korvosa to placate Cheliax and have been feuding with the Bank of Abadar ever since over who has the right to verify and witness contracts in the city.

The party returns to Cressida to relay the information from Kyra. The Field Marshal explains that the Asmodeans have wormed their way deep into Korvosan politics, with strong ties to the Acadamae and its noble backer House Ornelos, as well as retaining the protection of the Cerulean Society. The party concludes that the only way to force the Temple’s hand is catch the Asmodeans doing something illegal. They plan to investigate the Temple’s rumored connection to slave trafficking in the sewers.

That evening, Zandu sends a letter off to his family in Cheliax asking them to look into the background of Dr. Reiner Davaulus, the head of the Queen’s Physicians.

The Color of Death
Seven Days to the Grave, Part 2
The Last Horse Out of Korvosa

While the others review the cryptic summons, Egan Silentall wakes up feeling ill and is forced to treat himself with remove disease.

After filling in Slim with some quick background on Vencarlo Orisini, the party responds to the fencing master’s request by trekking over to his academy in Old Korvosa. Along the way, they see that the Guard has set up a quarantine around the Avenue of Arms where Brienna Soldado spent her silver. They arrive at the academy to find it closed for the day, but a wary Vencarlo lets them inside—except for Slim, who he does not know (and who Ashla won’t vouch for yet). Slim, however, sidles around the building to eavesdrop while Vencarlo leads the rest of the party into a curtained and shuttered study. Then the old duelist invites in his other guest, Trinia Sabor.

Vencarlo explains that after escaping from the botched execution, Blackjack brought the fugitive girl to his academy. The fencing master and the folk hero had crossed blades in the past and had developed a respect for one another. Vencarlo agreed to hide the girl until she could be smuggled out of the city. Unfortunately, he is being watched closely due to his anti-monarchist sympathies and all his usual contacts have gone to ground. So he has turned to the party to get Trinia safely out of the city. He advises against any flashy or grandiose escape plan, as the Korvosan Guard and Sable Company will be on the lookout for such attempts.

Ser Arlynn Farima suggests smuggling the young woman out through the gates with one of her family’s trading caravans. Using Ashla’s disguise kit and a bit of Zandu’s magic, the party gives Trinia the appearance of a merchant woman, while Majenko carries messages coordinating with the Farima caravan.

After cluing Slim in that they need to sneak someone out of the city, they set out at a leisurely pace, meeting up with the caravan and journeying down the length of Korvosa to High Bridge and then over to East Shore. Along the way, Slim makes a show of playing merchant, pausing to inspect and purchase various minor trinkets. Trinia plays along, but is always careful not to stand out from the group. Arlynn adds to the display by ducking out of the caravan to purchase a mithral sword from the blade shop Slicers and Dicers.

But along their trip, they continue to spot people exhibiting the telltale cough and red rash of Brienna’s affliction—as far north as Old Korvosa and as far south as Midland, far beyond the Avenue of Arms in North Point. Their progress is briefly impeded by the reemergence of the Mad Prophet, who warns that the gods are punishing the city for the sins of its harlot queen. Only when she is removed from the Crimson Throne will they show mercy.

Zandu makes a scene accusing the Mad Prophet of being Blackjack in disguise and the rest of the caravan is able to slip on by with Trinia. The madman is seized by a Gray Maiden, causing him to pronounce that “I saw you in my dream.” The warrior woman conks him on the head with a mailed fist.

After passing through an exit inspection, Trinia and the party pass through the gates. Once they are out of sight of the city walls, Trinia thanks them for everything they have done for her and assures them she’ll be able to make it to Harse on her own. The party members then each make their way back into the city, trying to allay suspicion.

Slim returns to the Sticky Mermaid to give a somewhat guarded report of events to Kyra, who pays him for the info. He also alerts her about the quarantine ship’s cargo spreading infection through the city. Kyra says it might be a good idea for the Cerulean Society to stock up on wands of remove disease before the prices spike. She offers to give discount healing to Slim and the party, if they need it in the coming days.

Zandu shows up at the Mermaid a little while later, asking about the Book of Joy he ordered. Kyra presents him with a large, gilded tome, and after charging for it coyly suggests that the Calistrians’ are a little unimaginative when it comes to height differences. At the halfling woman’s prodding, Zandu gives a public reading of his new book to the raucous crowd, with Kyra the most enthusiastic participant. Afterwards, the two of them discuss the merits of Calistria and Zandu tipsily spills the beans about the party’s role in Trinia’s escape. Kyra then packs him off to bed.

Arlynn, meanwhile, checks up on the Midland orphanage, where Headmistress Aula explains that they have closed the building to most visitors and sent home staff who have fallen sick. So far, it’s allowed them to avoid any cases among the children.

The Queen’s Physicians

The following morning, the party receives a message from Ishani Dhatri urging them to meet with him at the Great Bank of Abadar in North Point. When they arrive, they find the marble steps to the bank crowded with poor, sickly petitioners who are being turned away by armored clerics at the entrance. Zandu, Egan, and Ashla find ways around the crowd while Slim handily slips right through it.

Arlynn, however, is quickly recognized as a paladin and swamped by desperate people demanding that she heal them. Before the crowd can get too grabby, Arlynn is able to convince them she is on important business at the Bank where she will work with the Abadarians to combat the disease. This placates the crowd, who instead begin asking about whether there’s a cure. Arlynn assures them that everything possible is being done as she enters the Bank.

Instead, a siege mentality prevails among patrons and clerics alike. The party meets with Ishani, who explains that they have seen far more cases of what is being called the Blood Veil than could possibly be accounted for by Brienna’s silver, including many among the Abadarians who have had no contact with the sick. Ishani explains that although the Bank of Abadar traditionally handles public health crises, they are presently in no shape to do so. He intends to go over his superiors’ heads and convince the Guard to take direct control of the response, but he needs an escort to get him safely to Citadel Volshyenek.

Arlynn is once again able to convince the crowd to let them pass and they are able to arrive at the Citadel without further incident. There they find Field Marshal Cressida Kroft introducing her troops to Dr. Reiner Davaulus and the Queen’s Physicians, who have been placed in charge of combating the Blood Veil by royal edict.

Dr. Davaulus welcomes Ishani’s suggestion and also asks Egan to reach out to the druid community to help coordinate a response to the plague. The doctor is cautiously optimistic that it can be contained, if they section off the city and restrict movement between districts. Zandu is skeptical of this approach. Cressida, clearly unsettled by the strange Physicians, says that while the Guard focuses on erecting quarantines and maintaining order, she’d like to use the party as troubleshooters to deal with other problems.

First on her list is the owner of the perfume shop Lavender, Vendra Loaggri, who has turned from peddling fragrances to hawking what she claims is a cure for the affliction. Cressida asks the party to investigate to see if her cure is genuine. Ishani promises to pay them 1,000gp for the task.

As the party departs, they see a new royal edict being posted promising heinous punishments for those who impede the Queen’s Physicians in their duties, who impersonate a Physician, or who hide or spread the blood veil.

Lavender’s Luxuriant Liniment

When the party tromps over to Lavender, they find a queue of eager Korvosans standing in a line that stretches nearly four blocks from the perfumery’s distinctive amethyst-shaded windows. Ashla and Arlynn interview patrons exiting the shop—after scaring one away, they speak to a man who has heard that the elixir, Lavender’s Luxuriant Liniment, can cure the plague and has purchased a vial just to be safe.

Slim and Egan, meanwhile, skulk around the alley behind the shop, while Zandu lurks at the alley entrance, trying to avoid contact with with the crowd. Slim spies a thug in a purple doublet emerge from an apartment facing the alley and carry a crate into the adjacent perfume shop. Slim quietly sidles over to the apartment door and unlocks it. Ashla slips away to join him, while Arlynn convinces another thug to let her speak with Vendra.

Inside the apartment, Slim, Egan and Ashla find a lushly decorated and perfumed interior. A careful search reveals a hidden door in the bedroom leading to the adjacent apartment, where Slim spies a third thug toiling over a big tub of something fragrant. He tries to sneak up on the goon, but haphazard debris on the floor betrays his movement. The thug ducks behind the doorway and shouts an alarm.

Inside the perfume shop, the two other henchmen charge out in response and Vendra tries to excuse herself. Arlynn insists that she stay. “Please,” she emphasizes, placing an armored hand on the hilt of her mithral sword. Vendra shrieks that this “false paladin” is trying to rob her and all hell breaks loose. Arlynn channels divine power through her sword and names Vendra as the false one. They each try to sway the crowd of frightened patrons.

Meanwhile, one of the thugs dodges a scorching ray from Zandu only to run into Ashla’s swords. Slim nicks the cheek of the goon in the lab, while Egan casts heat metal on the chain mail he spotted underneath the man’s purple tunic. Zandu responds to the sound of fighting in the lab by blasting in the door. The explosion temporarily dazes the beleaguered henchman, allowing Egan to get behind him and Slim to land a devastating strike. The blast is also the last straw for the thug facing Ashla, who complies with her calls to surrender.

Inside the shop, Vendra and the third henchman face off against Arlynn, with the merchant using her hired muscle to keep the paladin’s attention while she pierces a weak spot in Arlynn’s armor with a poisoned dagger.

Half-blind and roasting in his armor, the thug in the lab surrenders, leaving Egan and Slim struggling to keep him alive long enough to get him out of his super-heated chain mail. They eventually dunk him in the tub of water.

Ashla and Zandu sweep into the shop and Vendra offers to stand down. She says she was paranoid that someone would try to steal her cure for the blood veil and overreacted when the alarm went up from the lab. The party questions her about how she came up with her cure and she admits that she stumbled across it while fiddling with perfume components. But she says that the treatment has proven effective on some of her regular customers, such as a local dockworker who is in the shop right now.

Zandu and Slim take samples of the liniment from the perfume lab; to all appearances it’s mostly river water with some fragrant oils and purple coloring added. As far as Egan and Arlynn can tell, it has no healing properties whatsoever. The party lets the thugs go, but takes Vendra and her cure to Ishani. (Zandu pays her 2gp for his vial of the elixir).

The priest of Abadar agrees that the liniment is almost certainly useless, but at Zandu’s prodding agrees to investigate whether the river water might have any curative properties thanks to the sunken ship. Vendra will be held in custody while the liniment is investigated. If her claims prove false, she will be handed over to the Guard. If she was found to have been selling a false cure in the belief that it was genuine, she will merely be fined. If her intentions were more malicious, she will face steeper penalties. Ishani pays the heroes their reward and tells them that by shutting down Vendra’s operation they have saved many lives.

Afterwards, Ashla quietly checks up on the six regulars that first tried Vendra’s product. While all claim that it alleviated their symptoms, at least two of them are still infected with Blood Veil.

Zandu, meanwhile, drinks the oily and bitter-tasting liniment to see what effects it might have on him.

Signs and Portents
Seven Days to the Grave, Part 1

The night after Slim was introduced to the party, the residents of Korvosa are rudely awakened to the sound of a trebuchet firing near North Bridge. Stumbling out of his room in the Sticky Mermaid, Slim is able to glimpse a sleek brig burn and swiftly sink into the wine dark waters of the Jeggare River, just shy of North Bridge. Ashla, on patrol in the Shingles, also hears the commotion but is unable to see anything.

The next morning, gossip buzzes throughout the city and fanciful tales run wild. Slim and a bleary-eyed Zandu stumble into the Sticky Mermaid’s common room to find Kyra ordering her men to find out more about what happened to ship. The halfling woman tells them that while the local speculation is that it was an attempted raid by pirates from Riddleport, she’s sure that’s hogwash. But all she knows for the moment is that a single ship tried to sail up the Jeggare and the Guard shot it down. Slim is suspicious of how easily it seemed to have sunk and ventures out to find more information. Zandu returns to his room to sleep off last night’s entertainment.

Ser Arlynn and Egan meanwhile head to Citadel Volshyenek to try to get more information from Cressida, but discover that she is tied up in a meeting. They speculate as to whether she might be the latest recruit for the Gray Maidens and joke about the Queen’s motives for forming an all-female unit. Arlynn is stonewalled by the other guards, but Egan is able to find one who was on duty the previous night. He says that a sinister-looking ship refused inspection as it sailed into the river. When it neared North Bridge and still refused to make its intentions known, the watch fired on it and sank it.

The pair then head for the Sticky Mermaid, pausing along the way to track down Faunra. The Elf druid says she’s spoken with some of the river’s animal inhabitants. They report that there was no one on the decks of the ship and no bodies in the water.

Slim, meanwhile, tracks down someone in Old Korvosa who was watching from nearby as the ship sank. The witness reports that there appeared to be no one on board the ship—but that the ship was lit with a single eerie lantern. Slim reports this back to Kyra, who pays him 100gp for his trouble. The halfing remarks that her father was a sailor and she’d learned from him that a single yellow lantern is a nautical signal that a ship is under quarantine for plague or other infectious conditions. Kyra abruptly loses her enthusiasm for looting the wreckage. Slim and Zandu bring Arlynn and Egan up to speed when they arrive, but by then the day is far gone enough that there is little else they can do.

Ser Arlynn does a quick sweep through the city on horseback before dusk, coming across a crowd of about two dozen threatening a well-dressed merchant. The merchant, a supporter of Queen Ileosa, had criticized Blackjack, earning the ire of the mob. Arlynn is able to convince them to break it up shortly before a pair of Gray Maidens arrive, dressed in plate mail, faceless helmets, and bright red capes. The Gray Maidens brusquely thank the paladin for her assistance and then escort the merchant home.

That night, Ashla again patrols the streets, but the only evil she turns up is a con man running rigged games of chance.

The next morning, uncertain of what else to do, the party—sans Ashla—heads to speak with Dolgrin Deepdelver about investigating Rolth and the Bekyar slavers in the sewers. The dwarven engineer has an office in North Point overflowing with maps and blueprints of Korvosa’s labyrinthine sewer complex. Unfortunately, Dolgrin says that Rolth’s potential hiding places are too numerous to count, but he’s betting the necromancer is set up somewhere in the Thassilonian Vaults below the regular sewers.

Regarding the Bekyars, the dwarf agrees that there’s likely a hidden entrance to the Temple of Asmodeus in the sewers. However, the area below the temple is particularly thick with some of the sewers’ nastiest “beasties,” making any investigation of possible entrances very difficult. But it also means that any slaves brought through the sewers would have to be moved under heavy guard, potentially leaving enough in the way of tracks for Ashla to follow.

The Half-Elf Ranger, meanwhile, is woken by the sound of someone thumping on the door. It’s Grau Soldado, who is looking for Ser Arlynn with an air of desperation. Ashla tells him the last she knew, Arlynn had gone to the Sticky Mermaid. Grau thanks her and sets off. A few minutes later, the rest of the party returns with a map of the sewers around the Temple of Asmodeus. Ashla sends Majenko to recall the guardsman and upon his return, Grau lays out the situation.

His niece Brienna is very sick, broken out all over in red pocks and barely able to keep food down. Her mother, Tayce Soldado, is talking about going to the Bank of Abadar for help, but Grau knows that the family can’t afford the prices the clerics will charge for healing magic. So he is asking Arlynn and the rest of the party to help save his niece’s life.

The party travels to the Soldado home, a squat two-story house in the impoverished Varisian enclave known as Trail’s End. There they find Tayce’s two healthy sons playing in the living room and a priest of Abadar, Ishani Dhatri, preparing an herbal remedy in the kitchen. Grau heads upstairs to argue with Tayce about bringing in the priest, while the party talks with Ishani.

The Abadarian cleric says that Brienna’s illness is very serious, but its combination of symptoms is unknown to him. The tenets of his order forbid him from providing magical healing without charging a price he knows the family can’t pay, so he has been preparing herbal remedies instead—though he’s doubtful they will be enough. It falls to Egan to remove the disease from the girl and Arlynn to restore her to health. An overjoyed Tayce pledges eternal gratitude to the party for saving her daughter, gripping everyone in a tight embrace—except for Arlynn in her spiked plate mail.

Once Brienna is awake, the party questions her about when her symptoms first emerged. They tease out the fact that the girl found a small wooden coffer full of silver coins which had washed up on the river shore the night after the quarantine ship sank. She then raced off to spend the windfall at the markets in North Point until she began feeling ill. The party fears that whatever infection was on board the ship has gotten loose. Ashla investigates North Point and spies several ailing merchants while the rest of the party fruitlessly searches the shoreline for the empty coffer.

The party rushes to Citadel Volshyenek to bring the matter to Cressida, who admits that the Guard recognized the quarantine light but had hoped whatever contaminated the ship destroyed with it. She will alert the Bank of Abadar and the other temples to organize against the plague.

Upon returning home, Zellara manifests to perform a Harrow reading for the party. The cards warn that despite the party’s successes, Korvosa remains trapped in a hypnotic facade, unable to perceive the dangers all around them. The Harrow Deck tells that the party has unmasked a threat to the city that could claim many lives. Gazing into the future, Zellara can see that a buried secret from the past may be key to overcoming this threat, but it may require great sacrifice to do so. Most worryingly, the cards warn that the very pillars and firmament of the city will crumble. The reading connects Slim to the secret, Ashla to the sacrifice, and Egan to the collapse. Zellara’s reading also suggests that Arlynn will perservere where others falter while Zandu will grapple with sickness or corruption.

Zandu and Egan try to research the disease using the books confiscated from Rolth’s library, but cannot identify it. The disease bears symptoms from several different plagues, but appears to be something new and especially virulent.

With those grim thoughts in mind, the party goes to bed. They awaken to a cryptic message from Vencarlo Orisini, summoning them to visit him at his fencing academy.

New Friends, Old Enemies Part 2
Party of Five

With the threat from the Iron Fists resolved, the party has two weeks of relative quiet to rest, recuperate and look into less pressing matters.

Several days after dealing with the Iron Fists, the party receives a discrete message from Lord Glorio Arkona about his investigations into the monks’ passage from Vudra to Korvosa. Glorio confirms that the monks did travel to the city aboard on of his family’s ships, the Resolve, but has discovered that their passage was paid for in Korvosan coin—meaning that whoever paid for their trip must work for the Arkona family. Glorio promises to inform the party once he has identified the miscreant.

Ser Arlynn drops in on the Midland orphanage, where she finds Grau Soldado also checking in as she’d requested. He says that he’s cut off the orphanages’ access to the Shingles and double-checked the locks, but there’s little else that can be done to improve the physical security without turning it into a prison. He has been swinging by when he’s on patrol however. Arlynn thanks him, but when she asks about Remmy, Grau says that the young woman has left the Guard to join the Queen’s new unit, the Gray Maidens, because of the higher pay. Grau isn’t happy with the way the new force is picking the Guard clean of its best women, but he can’t begrudge Remmy’s choice as she has ailing parents to support. Arlynn also speaks with the orphans, leaving her copy of the Acts of Iomedae after several of the children express an interest in the goddess.

Ashla, meanwhile, continues her training with Vencarlo Orisini. The fencing master is excited about Blackjack’s reappearance and especially his denunciation of the Queen. He is pleased that Ashla likewise supports the vigilante’s message.

Meanwhile, Zandu spends the next few weeks trying to get close to Kyra and insinuate himself into the Cerulean Society at the Sticky Mermaid. The halfling woman takes a liking to him, but is clearly reticent to trust him with any serious information about the society. Still, the sorcerer becomes a familiar and welcome sight at the already boisterous tavern. He parties there often enough that Kyra has a room regularly reserved for him to sleep off the night’s excesses. Zandu also asks around for a high-quality copy of Calistria’s Book of Joy and the thieves tell him that while they don’t have one in stock, they will soon.

Back at Zellara’s home, Egan trains Reno to be a riding dog. The druid also spends some time outside the city to renew his connection to nature. Upon his return, he goes looking for Faunra and her druid circle. He finds them protesting outside the Posh and Turtle, a swanky place in North Point that advertises itself as the finest inn and tavern in Varisia. The Posh and Turtle is built over a sea cave inhabited by an enormous sea turtle, Old Tom, who has grown so large he can’t swim out. Guests can view and even feed the turtle through an enchanted glass floor in the dining area.

The druid circle has set up camp outside the Posh and Turtle, where they are protesting for the turtle’s release and harassing the inn’s staff and clientele. Faunra is pleased to see Egan, but as she introduces him to the rest of the circle, the gnome gets the sense that she’s unhappy with their current activities. The Brackwater Druid Circle is led by a gruff half-orc named Qoro and also includes his son Akko, a human called the Antler Man who only speaks in Druidic and Deer, and about a dozen other members.

Qoro spies the inn’s owner, a wizard named Thaviun, and chases him into the Posh and Turtle, only to be dragged out by guards, all the while denouncing Thaviun and promising retribution. “He’s done this five times already,” a mortified Faunra explains. Egan asks her what she thinks of the group’s activities and she admits that she doesn’t think they are accomplishing much of anything. About a week and a half ago, Qoro just suddenly told the group to start demanding Old Tom’s release. Faunra thinks there’s so much more the druids can accomplish in the city.

With Qoro hauled off by the guards, Egan decides to address the circle. With Faunra’s help, he convinces them that their present actions are actually detrimental to their cause. He urges them to patrol the city to protect its animal inhabitants from abuse by the humans and predation by abominations. The circle is ultimately convinced and abandons the protest.

Akko loudly announces that he’s abandoning the druid way entirely, having grown sick of following his father’s commands. He reveals that for the past few weeks, Qoro has been taking bribes from the owner of the Goldlager, a rival inn from Magnimar, to harass the Posh and Turtle’s clientele. Akko intends to take that money and elope with a dwarven smith, Thenra, that he’s fallen for. Egan wishes him the best of luck. Faunra and Egan agree to patrol the city together on a regular basis.

While all of that has been going on, Ser Arlynn has spent the past two weeks quietly following up leads on the Bekyar slavers’ operation in Korvosa. She learns that the Temple of Asmodeus has long been alleged to be involved in the slave trade, but repeated searches by the Guard have turned up no evidence. But any slaves that are brought in are likely coming from secret entrances in to the sewers. Arlynn also learns that the slaves are likely being smuggled in by ship and that the Cerulean Society has an effective monopoly on all smuggling operations in Korvosa.

Arlynn follows up on this information with Kyra, who he finds drinking with Zandu at the Sticky Mermaid. The paladin asks if the Cerulean Society has any information about the Bekyars, or about the fugitive necromancer Rolth. Kyra says that the Bekyars haven’t shown their faces since the failed assassination attempt against Lord Alek Farima. As for Rolth, she’s pretty confident that he’s hiding out in the sewers, but the Society has little presence there due to the intense danger and unpleasant environment.

To make up for her lack of information, Kyra introduces Arlynn and Zandu to the mercenary Ionas “Slim” Tils, a relative newcomer to Korvosa who is looking for work. The halfling woman figures his skill set could come in handy for the party in vanquishing their myriad enemies. A Varisian man of few words, Slim keeps a rapier at his side. A witness to the botched execution of Trinia, he compliments Zandu on misdirecting Blackjack’s pursuers. After trading pleasantries, Arlynn and Zandu take Slim back to Zellara’s house to meet the rest of the gang.

New Friends, Old Enemies Part 1
A Debt of Lives

The captured monk is taken to the Citadel, where Cressida joins the party in overseeing his interrogation. Zandu, still carousing in town, has to be retrieved by Guardswoman Remmy and spies a pair of monks following him on the way to the Guard headquarters.

The captured monk says only that his order attacked the party to repay a debt of lives owed to the person who arranged for their escape from Vudra. Cressida identifies him as one of the Iron Fists, a band of monks that arrived in Korvosa several years ago and have been acting as law-abiding mercenaries ever since.

She thinks the Cerulean Society, the city’s official thieves guild, might have more information and suggests the party ask around for them at a tavern called the Sticky Mermaid. Cressida also notes that the monks must have gotten to Korvosa aboard a trading vessel from House Arkona and says she can arrange a brief meeting with Lord Glorio Arkona the following day.

The party makes some sales at the Gold Market before visiting the Midland Orphanage as the sun sinks low on the horizon. While there, they hear an altercation on the roof and discover Faunra slaying the fugitive Chittersnap. She says that the abomination had lured several Tunnel Terrors into the Shingles and was planning on attacking the orphanage. She apologizes to Egan and the others for her harsh words when they slew Devargo, as she now realizes that both he and his ettercap ally needed to be destroyed. Concerned for the orphans’ safety, Arlynn asks Grau Soldado to check in on the place regularly from now on.

The following morning, Arlynn answers a knock at the door to find her father, Lord Alek Farima, and two bodyguards. Lord Farima, dressed in plainclothes, speaks with her privately in the alchemy lab. Though he’s proud of her accomplishments, he says that her high profile has caught the attention of their family’s enemies among the Mwangi of Bekyar. He suspects that Bekyar slavers have been supplying the Temple of Asmodeus and are now aware of the Farimas’ presence in Korvosa. He warns her to be on her guard, while he tries to take steps to root out this threat.

Dressed to the nines, Arlynn, Zandu and Egan then go to meet with Lord Glorio Arkona as he prepares to address the crowd at the leveling of a dilapidated former brothel. The young nobleman has had no dealings with the Iron Fists, but promises to look into how they purchased their passage aboard his family’s ship. Arlynn also presses him about the silver dagger, clapping a hand over Egan’s mouth before the gnome can blurt out how the blade turned into a snake.

Glorio admits that he saw his cousin Vimanda with the dagger once or twice, but it is impossible to question her as she has been missing since shortly after the king’s death. She’s run off on her own before, but this is the longest she’s ever been absent. The Arkonas had been working with Devargo to track the girl down, but that didn’t turn out well. Arlynn urges Glorio to work the party to find his cousin, but he cuts the interview short as he has a building to level.

The party watches as Glorio addresses the crowd, promising to replace the old brothel with new affordable housing for the poor, while his servants toss silver coins to the masses. Then, at his command, a pair of Acadamae students cast a spell that causes the building to implode into a single compact ball of masonry, which then falls to the ground with a thud. A moment later, the clump of masonry gets up and starts walking towards the Acadamae. The two young wizards follow after it, while their proctor tags along behind.

After stopping back at Zellara’s house to change into street gear and pick up Ashla, the four of them then trek over to the Sticky Mermaid, near the docks in Old Korvosa. The arrive in time to see the huge, scar-faced bouncer eject a pair of rowdy sailors. Inside, Zandu survives a shot of the house specialty, “fishjack,” and then tells the one-eyed bartender that they’re looking to speak with someone from the thieves’ guild. The party is directed to an empty table in a dark corner.

They are soon joined by the scarred bouncer, who drags a barstool over to the table, sets it down, looks them in the eye… and leaves. Moments later, a lithe halfling woman scampers up onto the barstool. “So, what can I do for you?” The fast-talking halfling, Kyra, explains the Cerulean Society’s practice of regulated crime and argues that it is a tremendous service to the community. Zandu hits it off with Kyra pretty quickly and suggests bringing in some more members of his extended family to serve in the guild.

When asked about the monks, the halfling explains that the Iron Fists have long been a thorn in the Society’s side, always hiring out to serve as security for those who refuse to pay the guild’s protection fees. If they’ve started to attack people in the streets, that’s all the more reason to eliminate them. Kyra says that the monks’ latest employer is a dwarf merchant named Harrad Stonebreaker who operates an import/export business not far from the tavern. If the monks aren’t there, he likely knows where they’ve gone.

Zandu, still concerned about being stalked, asks Kyra to alert her people to give the party a heads up if they notice them being tailed by monks, while Arlynn urges her to be on the lookout for illegal slavers.

The party then treks over to Stonebreaker’s Trading House, a large warehouse and attached office surrounded by a fifteen-foot stone wall. A sign posted outside reads “Beware of Dwarf.” Inside, the party is accused by two snarling dogs, soon followed by a limping dwarf armed with a crossbow—Harrad Stonebreaker.

Harrad reveals that two days ago, the Iron Fists broke their contract to protect his shop, returning all the money he’d paid them and saying that they had a previous obligation to fulfill. He is still fuming over the action, which has left him vulnerable to reprisal from the Cerulean Society. He allows the party to search the monks’ former lodgings, but tells them to hurry as he has important business to attend to. Zandu tries to purchase a copy of The Book of Joy, the goddess Calistria’s holy text/sex manual, but Harrad doesn’t keep it in stock as the positions detailed within aren’t well-suited to dwarves. Zandu says he’s just trying to make their visit profitable for the put-upon dwarf.

Turning up little, the party prepares to leave, but Harrad does pause to tell them that the day before the monks broke their contract they had a visitor. A strange cloaked figure with a backwards thumb. Zandu believes that’s a sign it was the Rakshasa.

Before the party can depart, Harrad’s appointment arrives—Lord Farima and his bodyguards. Both father and daughter are surprised to see each other, but before they can exchange many words, the Iron Fists appear on the rooftop of Harrad’s warehouse and attack. Harrad flees back towards his office, but Arlynn calls after him “What kind of dwarf runs from a fight?” “I’m just moving to a better position!” Harrad replies, taking cover in the doorframe with his crossbow.

As the party prepares to fight the monks, a new threat emerges—three Bekyar warriors on horseback charge through the compound gates, their lances pointed at Lord Farima. Ser Arlynn pushes past her father to defend him. “What in the Nine Hells are you doing, girl?” he demands. Lord Farima orders his bodyguards to protect her, then drinks a potion of invisibility and vanishes from the battlefield.

In the ensuing chaos, Egan keeps the monks tied up with a well-placed entangle spell, while Ashla circles the edges of the melee picking off stragglers. The charging horsemen bowl Arlynn over but fail to strike her despite repeated attempts. Their charge brings them into the firing arc of Zandu’s spells, who sends two of the three toppling from their mounts as charred husks. Attacked from all sides, Arlynn eventually collapses from her wounds but her father reappears to behead one of the monks assailing her. In the end, the Iron Fists are completely destroyed while one of the Bekyar warrior escapes, pledging retribution against the “traitors.”

Afterwards, Lord Farima explains that he was going to use his trade connections to get Harrad’s dwarven crafts sold to southern Garund—including several enchanted items that will spy on their family’s enemies.

As the party prepares to transport the corpses to the Guard aboard Zandu’s floating disk, the sorcerer purchases a tarp from Harrad for five coppers in order to cover the bodies. “Hey, I managed to buy something from you after all!”

Edge of Anarchy, Part 13
Over the Edge

The documents from Devargo’s locker prove valuable enough to raise the funds to pay for Troska’s cure, while also indicating that the King of Spiders was keeping track of the party’s movements. With Troska’s concerns seen to, the party tries to recover from their ordeal at Eel’s End.

But their rest is interrupted by the news that Trinia’s trial for the murder of the king is over. The verdict: guilty. The sentence: death. Queen Ileosa has scheduled the execution for sunset in the public courtyard of Castle Korvosa and has invited everyone who’s someone in Korvosa to attend. Field Marshal Cressida Kroft secures invites for the party. Given all the irregularities in Trinia’s case, she’s concerned that something fishy might happen.

The atmosphere at the public courtyard is more that of a cocktail party than a somber event. Korvosan high society has turned out in their finest, while servants run back and forth carrying trays of refreshments at the beck and call of the nobility. While Zandu positions himself on the wall overlooking the courtyard, the others patrol the crowd. Ser Arlynn inadvertently catches the eye of Lord Tavius Jalento, but Lady Jalento intervenes before anything can happen.

The Queen’s arrival is heralded with a tremendous fanfare of drums and trumpets. No longer cloaked in mourning veils, Ileosa appears dressed in a fabulous gown of emerald and white, followed by Sabina Merrin and a train of servants. Ileosa has clearly grown into her role, moving with the poise and grace of a true monarch as she takes her seat on a small dais erected on the opposite side of the courtyard from the headsman’s block.

As the sun brushes against the horizon, a tremor of anticipation runs through the crowd. Trinia is led into the courtyard hooded and shackled. When she reaches the headsman’s block, the hood is removed to reveal a very frightened woman who nonetheless bravely holds back her tears, if only barely. Trinia is forced to kneel and place her head on the wooden block while an enormous axe-wielding executioner looks on.

Queen Ileosa addresses the crowd, telling them that the tragedy, chaos, and violence the city has suffered over the past few weeks was instigated by Trinia. The Queen insists that while Trinia’s death cannot undo the wrongs she has inflicted, it will allow the city to move forward into a shining new dawn. ‘Off with her head!’ Ileosa commands.

The executioner raises his axe, but abruptly pauses, then drops it to the ground. He keels over in agony, a throwing dagger embedded in his back. It is then that a dark cloaked figure leaps onto the platform as someone calls out ‘By the gods, it’s Blackjack!’

While the crowd looks on in shock, the folk hero cuts Trinia free and helps her up before turning to address Ileosa: ‘Yes indeed, my queen! Let us usher in justice, but let that be justice for Korvosa, not this shambles you petulantly call a monarchy! Long live Korvosa! Down with the Queen!’

Blackjack’s words spread like fire, causing the crowd to erupt into a frenzy of activity. Some demand that he release the assassin while others call for the queen to step down from the Crimson Throne. Queen Ileosa makes a rapid exit, accompanied by Sabina and several squads of guards. However, the executioner has recovered enough to take up his axe again and prepares to strike the distracted Blackjack down from behind.

Ashla calls out a warning to the vigilante, while Egan dazzles the executioner with a flare. Arlynn merely watches with approval as Blackjack dodges the executioner’s blow and together with Trinia climbs up a hanging banner onto the courtyard wall. Backlit by the setting sun, Blackjack bows before the crowd and offers a salute to Ashla and Egan. Then he drinks a potion of featherfall, grabs Trinia and tumbles gently off the wall with her. Zandu follows them as they attempt to escape through Korvosa’s streets. A Sable Company hippogriff rider swoops down to ask Zandu which way the fugitives are running. The sorcerer points in the completely wrong direction and proceeds to lead the pursuers on a wild goose chase. Back at the courtyard, Arlynn manages to calm the crowd down enough to allow for an orderly exit, while Ashla and Egan blend in with the rest of the attendees.

Once it’s clear that the fugitives have escaped, Zandu travels through the wealthy sections of Korvosa and then—after a costume change—through the poorest, spreading news of the botched execution and emphasizing Blackjack’s denunciation of the Queen. News that the city’s longtime protector has come out in direct opposition to the monarchy is raising serious doubts about Ileosa’s legitimacy as queen.

While Zandu roves about the city, the rest of the party checks in with Cressida. The Field Marshal is concerned that Blackjack’s actions could lead to more unrest, but she doesn’t seem too unhappy with the immediate outcome of freeing Trinia. Arlynn then decides to take another crack at investigating the whereabouts of the necromancer Rolth, but after a day spent asking around, all they manage to learn is that he hasn’t been seen since his lab in the Dead Warrens was shut down.

While walking down a quiet street on their way back to Zellara’s house, the three of them are suddenly attacked by a gang of Vudran monks, who launch a volley of crossbow bolts at them from the balcony of an adjacent home while two hired thugs block off the street in front of them with a wagon. An intense battle follows as the monks drop down to street level to battle Arlynn and Egan while charging up to the second story to fight the monks.

By the time a squad of Korvosan Guards arrives, the three heroes have the situation in hand. Ser Arlynn convinces the thugs to surrender, while Egan delays one of the monks until Ashla can knock him unconscious. The leader, a Vudran woman dressed in white, manages to slip away.

Edge of Anarchy, Part 12
Eel's Ending

Having determined to break into Eel’s End, kill Devargo Barvasi, and use his money to pay for Troska’s cure, the party decides to start by scoping out the place during the day. They run into Faunra, the Elf druid they rescued in the sewers. She has taken to protesting outside of Eel’s End, denouncing Devargo’s mistreatment of spiders as well as the sordid business that goes on in the hive of scum and villainy. The party also meets Faunra’s animal companion, Silver, a Jigsaw Shark.

Faunra tells them that the warship Eel’s End is propped up on several support pillars and is rotting below the waterline, with a hole in the forward cargo bay they could use to enter stealthily. Though she’s unwilling to directly involve herself in the fight, Faunra offers to have Silver accompany them on a swim to the ship that night.

It’s a long, cold journey to the ship, with Zandu in particular struggling to make headway in the strong river current, but eventually everyone is able to clamber inside the Eel’s End. Unfortunately, their sloshing around in the bilge attracts the attention of two guards, who sweep a bull’s eye lantern through the water-logged bottom deck, but fail to spot the party.

Once it’s safe, the four of them clamber up into the heart of the ship, where they discover an alchemy lab where Devargo is brewing large quantities of Shiver from a mixture that includes dream spider venom, alcohol and water. Carved into the wall is the phrase “Respect the Alchemy.”

The party then steps into what looks like a conference room, with doors on either side. They decide to barricade one of the doors and try to force open the other. After a bit of bashing, they get through and find Devargo impatiently waiting for them, his trademark bladed gauntlets glistening with poison.

In the ensuing fight, the party gets the better of things and Zandu tries to frighten Devargo into surrendering, telling him that they’re willing to sink the entire ship with him in it. Devargo calls out “Chittersnap, get your ass out here and help” before drinking a potion of invisibility and barreling past the party out into the hallway. Something starts pounding on the door they barricaded.

Rather than pursue the fleeing crime lord, the four of them lock themselves into the conference room and search Devargo’s room, bashing open his treasure chest to find a set of valuable documents along with other items. With those in hand, they confront the thing in the other room.

Behind the barricaded chamber is a room thick with strange cobwebs that glisten with rainbow colors whenever the light catches them. Inside they find an ettercap, Chittersnap, the true source of Devargo’s supposed power over spiders. They also find Chittersnap’s pets: an Ogre Spider and more than half a dozen Dream Spiders.

The fighting is complicated by the presence of the dream spider cobwebs, which not only hinder movement but also cloud thought. When Zandu breaks out his fire spells, they discover to their horror that burning the webs releases a noxious gas. Even so, the four of them eventually overcome the spiders and Chittersnap flees through a hatch in the ceiling.

By this point, the ship has begun to lurch beneath their feet. As they exit into the hallway, Devargo taunts them: “I like your idea about sinking the ship. It’s ballsy. But it doesn’t go far enough. Let me show you something I learned in the Land of the Linnorm Kings.”

The party chases after Devargo as he flees out of the heart of the ship, through his throne room, and onto the main deck. Along the way they notice that Chittersnap’s escape hatch was in fact a hidden trap door in the throne room for dispensing with unwanted guests. A few of Devargo’s guards delay them just long enough for him to get off the ship.

Once they get onto the main deck, they realize what has happened. Devargo has destroyed the support pillars holding up the Eel’s End and has cut all but one of the lines connecting it to the pier. The current is tugging the ship downriver, while it tilts to one side as its hold fills with water. Worse, Devargo’s men have covered the top deck in oil. As the party races towards him, Devargo—perched on the edge of the pier with a gang of thugs—starts tossing alchemist’s fire onto the ship.

Ashla and Arlynn managed to escape the flames and leap onto the pier before the burning, sinking warship drifts away. Egan transforms into an eagle to escape. Zandu, meanwhile, catches fire and then falls off the ship.

Devargo’s thugs manage to delay Arlynn and Ashla while the crimelord attempts to flee, but Eagle-Egan slings spells down at him. He dodges the herd of ponies the druid summons, shrugs off Egan’s acid darts, and seems to be in the clear as he staggers towards land.

Then Faunra conks him on the head and he collapses unconscious.

While Ser Arlynn convices the remaining thug to surrender, Ashla remembers that Devargo was keeping a pseudodragon named Majenko caged in his throne room. She dives into the river and is able to save the creature, who gratefully pledges to serve her for a year and a day. Zandu, meanwhile, is rescued from drowning by the shark Silver.

Meanwhile, Eagle-Egan chooses to execute the helpless Devargo, much to Faunra’s shock and horror. A group of Korvosan Guards arrive, poke the body, and leave with a shrug. A deeply conflicted Faunra says she will hunt down Chittersnap, who escaped into the city. Battered, singed, and soaking wet, the four heroes limp on home.

Edge of Anarchy, Part 11
Mr. Pestico's Daughters

After clearing out Rolth’s lair in the Dead Warrens, the party investigates two outlying tunnels—eliminating a pair of ghouls and discovering the Midland bookshop that was a front for Rolth’s backdoor entrance into the Gray District. They learn from residents that the necromancer cleared up shop in a hurry a few days ago and vanished, much to the relief of his neighbors.

Cressida takes custody of Gaekhen’s body, promising to return it to Thousand Bones. She also lets the heroes know that Trinia Sabor is being placed on trial at Castle Korvosa under charges of treason, regicide, and conspiracy to commit regicide. Despite the irregularities in her arrest, the evidence against her seems compelling.

While waiting on the results of the trial, Ser Arlynn drops by the orphanage, which has already begun to see results from Lord Jalento’s patronage—the building is undergoing much needed renovations, the staff have new supplies, and the children have gotten better clothing.

On her way back, however, Arlynn learns of another child in need when she is approached by a distraught Varisian woman, Bekara, who says that her daughter Kel has gone missing. Kel often dawdled at Pestico’s toy shop, but the shopkeep claims not to have seen her and the Guard has had no luck finding her in the two days since her disappearance. Arlynn vows to find the girl and loops the rest of the party in to the task.

But when the arrive at Pestico’s, they find that the toymaker was about to contact them about his own missing daughter, Nathaly. The old man explains that after the death of his wife, he set out to create the children they never had, ultimately crafting six animate dolls, each brought to life with a fragment of a soul. During his decade of research, Pestico partnered with an adjunct professor at the Acadamae, Troska, but they had a falling out. Since he unveiled his daughters several weeks ago, Troska has been pressuring him sell one to her, most recently sending ruffians to threaten him. Now his daughter Nathaly has gone missing and he is convinced that Troska has taken her. When the party brings up Kel, he worries that Troska might have kidnapped her, too.

Troska lives in a two-story house with a balcony in the Heights District, within sight of the Acadamae’s tall black marble walls. It’s dark by the time the party arrives, but they notice a light on in the second story. While the others cover the exits, Ashla stealthily climbs up onto the balcony, where she observes a trio of goons ransacking the room. Overhearing their whispered conversation, she discerns that they are there to recover money on behalf of Devargo Barvasi. After Arlynn bashes down the front door, the trio stumbles out onto the balcony where Ashla confronts them.

The thugs know nothing about Kel’s whereabouts, but they refer to Nathaly as a “murderous little demon.” The conversation is punctuated by Nathaly’s arrival, leaping from the rooftop to attack one of the guards with a dagger held in both of her tiny hands. The ruffians try to flee, but are detained by Zandu, Arlynn and Egan Silentall, while Ashla speaks with the doll.

It seems that Nathaly had been hunting the gang for several days after they threatened her “papa.” Ashla explains that the thugs won’t be able to scare her papa anymore and convinces her to return. Nathaly also knows Kel’s whereabouts; the girl was living with her in a former imp nest that the doll had cleared out.

A thorough search of Troska’s quarters reveals a letter from the Acadamae rejecting her tenure request and a half-burned scrap of paper from the Temple of Sarenrae reporting that her request is “beyond our means.” A cryptic note in the margins says that “Pestico has the answer.”

After handing over the prisoners to a Guard patrol, the party heads back towards Pestico’s neighborhood to collect Kel. Along the way, they are approached by Remmy, who has been investigating the missing girl and a rash of deaths in the area. Remmy alerts them to strange goings on at Pestico’s, but the party decides to retrieve the girl first. Ashla climbs up into the attic, past the line of imp heads on spikes, and convinces Kel to return to her mother. The girl claims to have seem the fabled vigilante Blackjack running through the Shingles in the area a few nights ago.

Once Kel is given over to Remmy’s care, the party (and Nathaly), investigate Pestico’s toy shop. The front door is unlocked and as they venture inside they discover the ruined remains of Nathaly’s sisters scattered across the floor, the gems holding their soul fragments thankfully intact.

In short order, the five of them are ambushed by an animate display of tin soldiers, lead by a tiny toy Ileosa, who urges on a small army of guardsmen and hippogryph riders. The toys do little more than scratch the party, but they do cause enough of a ruckus that Troska descends the stairs to investigate. The party convinces her to talk rather than fight and she takes them upstairs to where Pestico is bound and gagged.

The group swiftly sorts out matters: Troska had helped fund her mutual research with Pestico, using money she borrowed from Devargo. She’d intended to pay him back by helping him cheat at the Acadamae’s next Breaching Festival, but when the unlearned toymaker unlocked the secret of Soulbound Dolls first, Troska lost her shot at tenure and her ability to pay back Devargo. Pestico had broken ties with Troska after he learned that she intended to use his work to place an entire soul into a construct, creating an easy ticket to immortality that would further stratify society. Troska, meanwhile, was desperate to get access to his research so she could find a way to save herself from the same heart affliction that had slain her human father.

After a lengthy debate over what to do, the party resolves to break into Eel’s End, kill Devargo, and use his money to pay for the expensive miracle spell that could cure Troska, thus solving everyone’s problems through the judicious use of violence.

Edge of Anarchy, Part 10
Laboratory of Horrors

After resting up in the Pharasmian Cathedral, the party returns to the Dead Warrens to search for the rest of poor Gaekhen. They penetrate deeper into the dank and muddy tunnel maze, finding a suspicious hallway whose walls are lined with human skulls. After triggering the hidden acid trap with Zandu’s quarterstaff, the party cautiously moves into the hallway. They are confronted by three constructs made of skull and spine, whose paralytic attacks pose a challenge but which are unable to penetrate Ser Arlynn’s shield and plate mail.

After recovering from the skull corridor battle, the party batters down a locked door at the hall’s far end. Beyond is a large alchemy lab that is in the process of being packed up by three startled Derro. In the ensuing fight, the party manages to cut down all three before they could escape but in the process destroy the equipment in the room.

The four heroes then investigated a boarded up pantry room that holds an out-of-control Carrion Golem, who uses one of Gaekhen’s arms as clubs. Upon recovering the arm, they decide to strike north and come across an unfinished flesh golem laid out on a table. The nearly seven foot hulk is topped with Gaekhen’s head, which Arlynn delicately removes.

They then push their way into Rolth’s sparse bedchambers and attract the attention of the necromancer’s apprentice, Vreeg. The deranged derro rises into the air and batters the party with spells as they struggle to hit him. Vreeg strikes Arlynn with blindness, leaving it to Ashla to take up her greatsword against the necromancer. But the greatest struggle is between Vreeg and Zandu, who trade spells and threats in a drawn-out struggle that leaves both near death.

With Arlynn blinded, Zandu unconscious and Ashla paralyzed, a badly bleeding Vreeg escapes to the south. Egan Silentall is able to get the party up on their feet and they retreat back to the surface briefly to seek a cure for Arlynn’s blindness from the Pharasmian cleric on watch outside the Warrens entrance. With everyone back in fighting shape, the weary band trudges back into the subterranean muck to finish off the necromancer’s apprentice.

Vreeg has fled to a large chamber to the south lined on three sides by ten foot pits containing malnourished captives. The derro is angrily berating a large, misshapen Ogrekin named Cabbagehead who is bandaging him. The ogrekin quickly snares Arlynn in a bear hug and tries to drop her into one of the prisoner pits, but she is able to drag him down with her. While the two of them try to squeeze each other to death, the rest of the party takes down the badly wounded Vreeg. After Ashla and one of the prisoners soften up the ogrekin, Arlynn snaps Cabbagehead’s neck.

After evacuating the emaciated captives—Rolth and Vreeg’s “research” subjects—the party searches the compound, discovering Gaekhen’s torso and remaining arm sitting on Vreeg’s workbench, the arm periodically clawing the air in mute fury.

Edge of Anarchy, Part 9
Grave Business

Welcome to Gray District

The missing body of young Gaekhen was brought to the Gray District, Korvosa’s massive cemetery. The party’s first stop is the fortified Cathedral of Pharasma at the center of the district, where they speak with Bishop Keppira d’Bear about the possible whereabouts of the necromancer Rolth. The Pharasmian Acolyte Pavo guides the party to the crumbling mausoleum in the district’s Potter’s Ward where the body was dumped. Egan Silentall quickly picks up the distinctive four-toed footprints of Derro leading into the mausoleum.

Following a hidden trap door down, the party enters a bone-lined ossuary where they quickly find themselves surrounded by skeletons. While Ser Arlynn overpowers a massive skeletal owlbear through the power of her goddess, Ashla, Egan and Zandu clear the room of lesser undead. They then follow a narrow tunnel burrowed in the wall, finding a network of of muddy passages lit by luminescent fungus and inhabited by derro.

After foiling an attempted ambush, the party interrupts a derro experiment involving a dead beggar and a group of stirges, triggering a lengthy battle fought half in supernatural darkness. When the lights return, one derro lies dead and two more escaped, while Ser Arlynn was weakened by the bloodsucking stirges.

Nonetheless, the party presses on into the necromancer’s corpse dump room, where an Otyugh is cheerily gnawing on the latest batch of bodies. After the party defeats it, they search through the charnel pile for Gaekhen’s body and then return to the Cathedral with their find.

As Ashla puts it to the clerics, “We have good news and bad news.” The party presents the lower half of Gaekhen. “This is both the good news and the bad news.” The clerics promise to preserve the body parts until the rest of Gaekhen is found, while Pavo and fellow acolyte Ramara see to the party’s wounds. The four of them are given space in the Cathedral barracks to spend the night before venturing once more into the Dead Warrens below.