Curse of the Crimson Throne

The Wererat's Bite
Seven Days to the Grave, Part 7

Questions & Answer

Ser Arlynn asks around South Shore to see if anyone saw what happened to Ruan, but the servants tending the nearby empty mansions are no help. Slim, meanwhile, reports back to Cressida and asks about the mad elf Jolistina. He learns that she was a minor criminal with a morbid, self-destructive streak. Cressida is concerned that Rolth and the Cult of Urgathoa would give such valuable gear to a small-timer like Jolistina. It suggests the cult has far more resources at its disposal than expected.

When pressed by Slim for any other leads, Cressida notes that they have little to go on beyond the sunken ship itself. Sable Company dispatched a team to the vessel a few days after it sunk, but they never returned. If the party is willing to follow up, she would be grateful, but she urges them to confer with Marcus Endrin of Sable Company for advice on underwater expeditions.

Egan visits Faunra at the Citadel, where she and the other druids are tending to guardsmen who have fallen ill. Egan asks if they’ve heard anything about the missing Varisian musical prodigy, but the Elf admits she has not. However, Faunra says she will follow up with her kinsmen at the Elven Embassy in South Shore to see if they saw anything.

Slim then begins trekking up to the Sticky Mermaid, but is drawn into an alley in North Point by Kyra. The halfling woman wants to pick up their conversation about the Bekyar slavers. She says that the slavers set up in Korvosa six months ago, but the operation was so hush-hush that she didn’t even learn of it until a few weeks ago.

The Cerulean Society is taking a cut of the slavers’ profits in exchange for having a corrupt tariff inspector, Grask, ensure that the slavers’ ships can come and go without scrutiny. Kyra’s family escaped slavery in Cheliax two generations ago and she has no desire to see it take root in Korvosa. But as the Society’s grip on the city weakens under pressure from the plague, the pro-slavery faction only grows stronger. She gives Slim a bag of gold for freeing the halflings, while swearing him to secrecy about her role in leaking the information.

Learning of the party’s plan to investigate the sunken ship, Kyra suggests they get in touch with an old woman named Eries Yelloweyes who fences potions and other items at a stall in the Gold Market.

When Slim approaches Old Korvosa, he sees that the district has been effectively abandoned by the Guard, with even more sick on the streets while ruffians openly loot the houses of the dead. Grouping up with Zandu, the two of them decide to spend the night with the others at Zellara’s house.

Threat from the Sewers

The following day, the party seeks out Eries Yelloweyes, who says she can offer them all potions of water breathing—but only if they help her with a favor. She says that she has heard good things about them from Kyra and from Samp the sewer scavenger. Eries says that the citizens of Korvosa are looking for someone to blame for the plague, and one easy scapegoat is the city’s wererat population.

One unlucky wererat was caught on the surface and killed by a mob. Now a band of wererats led by Girrigz are preparing to launch a retaliatory strike against the city. Eries fears that their misguided effort could bring down another rat purge even worse than the ones under the old Queen Domina decades ago. Eries fears that Girrigz can’t be reasoned with, but she urges the party to stop him with a minimum loss of wererat lives. Then she can help them investigate the ship.

Rodents of Unusual Sentience

The party ventures once more into Korvosa’s tangled maze of sewers. After dispatching a small group of ghouls, they draw near the wererat den. Hoping for a diplomatic solution, Arlynn, Slim, and Zandu enter with their weapons holstered. They encounter a trio of wererats who, while initially suspicious, are ultimately talked into arranging an audience with their leader. But when one of them goes to alert him, Girrigz responds by bellowing for the wererats to kill the surfacers.

Another four wererats spill into the from chamber of the den, but only about half of the lycanthropes take part in the battle, while the others hang back. The start of hostilities also alarms the shrieker mushroom in the front chamber, which lets out an earsplitting wail that makes further dialogue impossible.

To escape the crowd of wererats, Zandu drops a smoke stick and flees into the main sewer tunnel, where Egan and Ashla are waiting. Slim, and several wererats, soon follow him out. Arlynn is trapped in the haze, surrounded by wererats and enveloped in a biting swarm of filthy rats.

A metal grate that sealed off part of the sewer channel grinds open, releasing an Otyugh that swiftly ensnares Zandu. Working together, Egan and Ashla are able to bring down the abomination, while Slim fends off the wererats. Arlynn, meanwhile, is caught in a blind slugging match with a wererat inside the smoke cloud, even as the rat swarm continues to gnaw at her despite her spiked armor.

The Wrath of Girrigz

With the otyugh dead, Egan and Ashla refocus their attention on the wererats. It is at this point that Girrigz himself appears, garbed in chain mail and wielding a mithral rapier. He charges Zandu and bites him savagely, sending the sorcerer tumbling to the ground with a terrible wound—and the taint of lycanthropy.

The wererat leader proceeds to deal grievous harm to Ashla, batting aside her defenses with two vicious stabs of his rapier. Soon, he is fighting Egan, Slim and Ashla while holding his own.

Determined to help her friends, Arlynn stumbles blindly out of the smoke and is knocked to the ground by her wererat foe. With the air finally free of the shrieker’s howl, she calls out to Girrigz, urging him to negotiate. But the lycanthrope leader is fully committed to wreaking vengeance on all non-wererats.

Ashla deftly cuts down his remaining follower, but Girrigz then dispatches her with a terrible blow, leaving her near death in the sewer channel. Slim and Arlynn grimly close in on the wererat, but it is Egan who ultimately brings him down with a lightning strike.

The remaining wererats, who sat out the fight, vacate the den peacefully, pledging never to harm the surface.

The Curious Case of the Rats in the Nighttime

The party returns to Eries, who thanks them for sparing what wererats they could. Eries relates how some of her brethren watched the ship sink and saw strange debris drifting from the its hull. The flotsam amounted to small boxes full of dead rats and a few bags of silver coins conveniently bound to floating timbers. Suspecting something wrong, the wererats kicked the the debris back into the river. Eries is convinced that the ship is incredibly dangerous. She then provides the party with potions of water breathing.

The five adventurers check in with Commandant Marcus Endrin at the Great Tower to get his advice on aquatic expeditions. He explains that land-bound creatures will be out of their element in the water, making them vulnerable to creatures native to the environment. The party pledges to keep him informed of what they find, though Slim fears that the answers they uncover may not be to their liking.

House of the Dead
Seven Days to the Grave, Part 6
We’re Coming to Get You, Ruan!

As they head down from the Sticky Mermaid to rendezvous with the rest of the party at Zellara’s, Zandu and Slim come across some acolytes of Abadar putting up a rather forlorn banner over the Bank’s entrance to celebrate tomorrow’s Taxfest.

Slim goes to investigate and learns that the Bank won’t be able to hold its usual feast due to public health concerns, but acolytes are planning to accompany the city tax collectors to distribute free food to those in need. Slim passes them 5 gp as an advance on his taxes.

After meeting up with the others, the five of them (plus Majenko) tromp down to South Shore through the early morning light. South Shore is Korvosa’s newest district and has largely been given over to the manors of the nouveau riche. There aren’t many people on the streets, but nonetheless the party notices that South Shore seems largely unaffected by the plague.

Carowyn Manor is a stately, gabled mansion along Shoreline Way, overlooking the bay. Festooned with cinderberry garlands and bright red drapes, its grounds are surrounded by a thick, thorny hedge. Ser Arlynn knocks on the door, but receives no answer, though they can hear the faint sound of movement within. Unable to get a response, the paladin turns to Slim, who deftly opens the heavy Bloodsworn mahogany doors.

Grim Fandango

The doors open onto a entryway that expands into a great hall, where a massacre has taken place. Upon the marble floor and heaped in the corners lie more than a dozen corpses, each clad in garish outfits of sequined velvet, revealing silk, and colorful feathers. Masks of all shapes and sizes adorn the dead. In several cases, though, these fanciful adornments have fallen away, revealing withered flesh covered in nauseating facial tumors. Most horrifyingly, upon a bloodslick space cleared at the room’s center sway three couples, jerking like hellish dancers, all obviously dead.

When Arlynn ventures into the great hall, the dancing zombies turn to attack her and Ashla. As the grasping undead converge on the paladin, a screaming bolt howls down from the balcony above and finds a gap in her plate mail. Ashla spies a giggling figure vanishing back into the shadows and warns the others before getting caught up fighting several lurching corpses.

Flanked by the walking dead, Arlynn tries to strike one down with her longsword, but the creature slaps the blade aside and it goes flying. The other zombie takes this opportunity to rip away her shield. Armed only with her spiked gauntlets, Arlynn ducks into the adjacent den—where she finds three more costumed zombies posed around the fireplace.

The dead converge on her from all sides, clawing at her with gnarled, grasping hands. The paladin is able to fend off most of them, but a zombie in a lioness mask gets through her defenses and sinks its teeth deep in her flesh. Arlynn begins chanting a prayer to Iomedae, while Ashla and the others try to fend off the zombies in the entryway.

Her prayer complete, Arlynn channels the positive energy of her goddess into a flare of golden light that batters the zombies, killing some and leaving the others badly damaged. The party make short work of the survivors, even as the sniper continues to fire screaming bolts at them. They get their first good look at her—a blond elf woman dressed in harlequin costume, a wild light in her blue eyes.

The party takes this opportunity to retreat outside and regroup, while a stealthy Slim lurks in the shadows on the staircase landing.

The Gorilla in the Room

Upon encountering the zombies and the mad elf, Ashla’s thoughts immediately turn back to Zellara’s Harrow reading, where she drew the Bronze Dwarf. She feels an invigorating sense of confidence and resoluteness settle upon her for this fight.

Once Arlynn’s wounds have been treated, the party ventures back into the manor. The elf pops up to pelt them with another screaming bolt and Slim takes the opportunity to strike back with a crossbow bolt of his own. Cackling, the elf encourages them to play hide and seek, then quaffs a potion and disappears.

Zandu uses spiderclimb to quickly scramble up onto the second floor gallery. A trio of zombies that are ambling around the room, pantomiming appreciation of the paintings on the walls. They all turn to come after him while the mad elf shoots him with a crossbow bolt from a nearby door. The sorcerer swiftly feather falls back to the great hall and warns the others. He and Arlynn then head back upstairs, where they get drawn into a fight with the zombies. Using detect magic, Zandu is able to get a rough approximation of the invisible elf’s movements as she runs along the far side of the gallery, opening a door to invite more of her grotesque toys out to play. As two new zombies shamble out onto the gallery, Arlynn and Zandu recognize one as Lady Olauren Carowyn, having met her at a party in the manor some weeks ago.

Egan summons a mountain gorilla onto the gallery to help his friends and the beast gets to work pounding on a zombie. The mad elf chides them for smashing her playthings. Slim calls out to the hidden elf “Not the kind of cat and mouse game you were expecting, is it?” The elf giggles that his threats remind her of ‘my Rolthie.’ Still invisible, she deftly jumps down into the great hall and retreats deeper into the manor.

Combining magic missiles with another channel, Zandu and Arlynn finish off the zombies upstairs. Zandu then feather falls into the garden, while Arlynn and the gorilla rejoin the others in the great hall. Zandu, Arlynn, and the great ape then burst into a side room to eliminate the zombies while Slim and Arlynn investigate another route into the back of the house and Egan guards the great hall.

Moving stealthily, Slim is able to get the drop on several zombies, beheading them with a single deft swipe of his blade. He gets caught up fighting a third and is joined by Ashla and Egan. The three of them join Arlynn and Zandu in converging on a single staircase leading into the wine cellar.

No Mercy for Madness

Arlynn takes point heading down the stairs, while Slim trails in back scattering caltrops behind them. They enter a dark and stuffy cellar with a well-stocked wine rack and several large casks lining the walls. A small wooden door squats in the southeastern corner.

Zandu detects the invisible harlequin just in time for her to shiv him. She barrels past the sorcerer and Slim and up the stairs. Then she hits the caltrops (“Ouch!”) and then opens the dining room door to find the gorilla (“Aaah!”).

By the time the party is able to follow her up, she has already managed to slip past the beast, moving with a limp. Slim vaults over the caltrops and Zandu spiderclimbs, but Arlynn and Egan are slowed down and Ashla faceplants onto the spikes.

The badly wounded harlequin elf makes it out onto the street, where Egan brings here down with call lightning. The elf lets out a cry of either pain or ecstasy and collapses. As she lies dying on the ground, Slim approaches her and determinedly finishes her off.

The Case of the Vanishing Virtuoso

With the villainess laid low and her zombies dispatched, the party explores the remaining upopened rooms on the manor. Behind the sturdy door in the cellar, they find a haggard Lord Ausio Carowyn. He describes how the “harlot-harlequin” burst into the manor and massacred the guests and servants with crossbow bolts that were tainted with a rapid-acting form of Blood Veil. Lord Carowyn is greatly distraught to learn his wife’s fate, but despite his distress he is able to tell the party that the missing musician Ruan was on the second floor gallery with the other musicians when the attack happened.

While Majenko is dispatched to summon the Guard to dispose of the bodies, the party conducts a thorough search of the manor but does not find Ruan among any of the corpses. Ashla and Egan inspect the grounds to see if Ruan (or anyone else) escaped that way, but find no sign of a getaway.

Ruan’s sister Deyanira arrives with the corpse disposal unit (she has been hanging around the Citadel awaiting news). Ashla tells her that her brother is not among the dead, but didn’t escape of his own accord, either. His whereabouts remain a mystery, but Zandu is convinced the youth is still alive.

The party searches the elf’s body, discovering among other artifacts a gold heart-shaped brooch into which the words Rolth + Jolistina have been crudely scratched.

Rage in the Cage
Seven Days to the Grave, Part 5
Silent Fight

Together, Zandu and Slim attempt to activate the teleportation runes, which take the form of an appeal to Sorshen, the ancient Thassilonian Runelord of Lust, to grant passage through her city. One flash of eerie blue light later and the party find themselves in a different magically-shaped Vault chamber.

This one holds a large metal stockade containing a dozen people, all suffering from the advance stages of the Blood Veil. The room also contains three man-sized cages that begin advancing towards the party on stout metal legs, making no sound. The party soon realizes that they are within a silence field, making spellcasting difficult. Zandu and Egan search for the edge of the spell while Arlynn, Ashla and Slim confront the walking cages.

The doors of one of the metal boxes swing open and in a single lunge the cage ensnares Arlynn, who struggles to free herself as the metal bars constrict around her. Ashla and Slim suffer similar fates but manage to free themselves, only to risk being swallowed back up. Zandu finds the edge of the silence field and spiderclimbs onto the ceiling, but has trouble damaging the metal constructs with magic missile.

Egan is able to snare two of the three walking cages with soften earth and stone, but is captured himself by the third. Slim manages to pick the cage’s lock before retreating to a corner to drink a health potion. Arlynn finally forces her way free and teams up with Slim against one of the cages while Egan begins calling lightning against the other two while Ashla keeps them preoccupied.

Having become intimately familiar with the inner workings of the walking cages, Slim is able to cause devastating harm by knocking out a single pin, which Arlynn follows up with a blow from her warhammer. Egan’s lightning bolts, meanwhile, melt one of the other cages while the third topples over while trying to attack Ashla and is quickly disposed of.

The Slavers’ Trail

With the cages eliminated, the party frees the captives. They consist of foreign travelers and merchants from Cheliax, Nidal, and the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, as well as several people grabbed from the streets of Korvosa. They were left to die in the Vault three days ago when some of them began exhibiting signs of the Blood Veil. The party provides them with food and water before investigating the cellar above the Vault.

There, they find several dozen crates marked “Danger: Wild Animals” in various states of dismantling. One of the crates has a message in Skaldic runes from “Ragnar of Halgrim” urging the reader to tell his wife Signe that he has been captured by Bekyar slavers.

The crates were lowered into the cellar from the warehouse floor above. Slim scouts out the area and gets the drop on the Dwarven warehouse owner. The dwarf initially mistakes Arlynn for one of the slavers, who he claims is her spitting image. Under questioning, the dwarf reveals that the Bekyars took hundreds of crates down into the cellar over the past few months, but only brought empty crates up. They were also visited occasionally by clumsily disguised people of means, for some unknown purpose.

The only names the dwarf can provide are Kargann, captain of of the Scorpion’s Kiss, and Shivkah, the overall head of the operation. About three days ago, the Bekyars up and left, saying they’d return in a few weeks. The dwarf doesn’t know where they are hiding, but has seen a few of them hanging around Exemplary Execrables, a notorious theater and museum in Old Korvosa.

The party locks the dwarf and his men in the Vault, while Slim goes to fulfill the contract with the Asmodeans. Speaking with a senior priest, he explains that the teleport circle led to the slavers’ hideout. The priest pays the party for their service and expresses an interest in any more information they discover about the slavers. Slim keeps that detail to himself when he reunites with the party on the way to the Citadel.

The Bodies Pile Up

Before they can report to the Korvosan Guard, however, they stumble across a murder scene. Ashla quickly deduces that the slain priest of Sarenrae was killed by a vampire spawn. They bring this grim news to the Citadel, where Cressida is meeting with Commandant Marcus Thalassinus Endrin.

Marcus pledges to work with Arlynn in snaring the Scorpion’s Kiss the next time it returns to port. Cressida, meanwhile, suspects that there may be a connection between the vampire spawn and reports that some of the corpse disposal teams have been lazily dumping bodies in Racker’s Alley in the North Point district. She also asks the party to take more care in investigating discrete matters like the Asmodeans.

As the party leaves the Citadel, the are approached by a distraught young Varisian woman, Deyanira Mirukova. She explains that the Guard has been too preoccupied by the plague to investigate her brother Ruan’s disappearance. Ashla recognizes the name as that of a local musical prodigy who specializes in the ocarina.

Deyanira explains that several days ago Ruan was hired to perform for a masquerade party at Carowyn Manor in South Shore, but he hasn’t returned. She investigated the mansion, but found it locked up, with curtains drawn and a sickly smell issuing from inside. Zandu and Arlynn recall visiting the Carowyns some weeks ago.

The party decides to look into Carowyn Manor first thing in the morning, to Deyanira’s delight. Convinced that they will soon be battling vampires, the five champions gear up on supplies per Ashla’s expert recommendations.

Wheels Within Wheels

Slim and Zandu then trek up to the Sticky Mermaid, which they discover was badly damaged earlier in the day when a mob stormed it looking for the rumored hoard of healing supplies. The windows are now boarded up and uniformed Cerulean Society goons stand watch outside.

Inside, the two of them confer with Kyra about the vampires and the slavers. Slim realizes that the halfling is lying to him about her knowledge of the Scorpion’s Kiss and asks to speak with her privately. In a dark corner of the room, he makes a personal appeal to her not to hold back anything, but she again rebuffs him. She then slips him payment for his information containing a note warning that “we are being watched” and “this is bigger than me.” The note pledges that she’ll get information to him later.

Zandu, meanwhile, has been talking with the bruised and battered thugs in the bar, learning that the Cerulean Society has been losing ground across Old Korvosa to angry mobs, rival gangs, and simple attrition from the plague. To raise their spirits, Zandu buys out the Sticky Mermaid’s stock of good booze and gifts it to the house. After a bungled reading from the Book of Joy, he stumbles off to bed.

The Devil's in the Details
Seven Days to the Grave, Part 4
Sights and Sounds of the Scenic Sewer

After getting Zandu treated for Blood Veil symptoms at the Bank of Abadar, the party finds a discrete sewer entrance near the looming red marble of the Temple of Asmodeus and ventures into the fetid tunnels below.

After a short time in the sewer tunnels, Ashla hears a faint voice up ahead. She and Slim stealthily investigate, discovering a small, nervous man with a crippled arm rooting through a small alcove carved out of the sewer wall. The scavenger, Samp, warns the party that the temple’s vault entrance is guarded by a pack of fierce beasts that Slim recognizes as hell hounds. Samp tells the party of a second, hidden entrance to the vault, and Slim fills in the details on Dolgrin’s map. Samp also warns the party that they are in the territory of the Rat’s Teat Boys, a gang of wererats.

Following Samp’s directions, the party continues trekking through the sewer. The way is barred by a 40-foot chasm that split open the tunnel floor, but Egan uses stone shape to morph a bridge out of the wall. Further down the corridor, the five of them stumble across an Otyugh devouring plague corpses that have piled up beneath a man hole. Slim gets the drop on the creature, and the rest of the party follows up to bring it down.


As they draw near the vault entrance, the party overhears a trio of wererats trying to stealthily approach. In the dark, Slim accidentally alerts the wererats while trying to discretely warn the others. A short skirmish ensues, and all but Arlynn have trouble damaging the lycanthropes. Zandu manages to slay one using the magic, provoking the other two to flee.

Zandu, Slim, and Wolf-Egan give chase through the sewers, eventually catching up with the wererats after the shape-shifters were delayed by a swarm of bats. While Slim distracts them, Zandu intimidates the wererats into offering a truce.

After some negotiation, the party convinces the wererats to help them investigate the Asmodean vault, which the creatures are incensed to learn has been hidden below their shrine this whole time. The rat men leave to run the deal by their leader, while the party decamps to the shrine, which Arlynn determines is dedicated to the goddess Lamashtu, Mother of Monsters. Slim discovers and unlocks the hidden door, revealing a spiral staircase running both up and down.

The wererats return with reinforcements and their leader’s blessing. Together, the party and the lycanthropes descend the staircase into the vault.

Into the Devil’s Den

The staircase opens into a large central room that sits empty except for braziers lit in the corners and closed doors on three sides. One of the doors soon flies open and the party is challenged by Mina Darklight, an Asmodean priestess, who demands an explanation for their unlawful intrusion.

Arlynn declares that they are there to investigate the temple’s alleged involvement in slavery, which Mina haughtily denies. Her attitude rubs Zandu and Slim the wrong way and they quickly escalate to violence. Mina summons a bound devil to defend her, then retreats into her chambers. A bound imp, Quigley, escapes up the staircase to get help. As Arlynn and the wererats converge on the devil, a second fiend appears near Zandu and Slim.

Mina repeatedly urges the party to stand down and soon the sound of many pairs of boots can be heard tromping down the staircase. Arlynn and the wererats bring down one of the devils, while Zandu spiderclimbs to evade the other. Slim demands that Mina surrender, while she insists that the party should stand down and negotiate.

The arrival of a platoon of Hellknights and Asmodean guards brings the fight to an abrupt end, as the party backs down. The Asmodeans vehemently deny the party’s allegations of slave-trading, but their conversation is interrupted by the sound of worried voices from the next room. The party finds several halfling families crowded into a pen that the Asmodeans insist is a barracks but looks more like a prison.

Mina explains that these halflings are contract workers whose passage from Cheliax to Korvosa was being facilitated by the Temple. When Zandu can detect no magical coercion over the halflings, Slim demands to review the contracts. Mina cheerily presents him with one.

Everything about the contract appears to be in order—except for the date. Slim points out that the contract was allegedly signed and witnessed in the Chelaxian city of Westcrown eight days ago, but it takes seven weeks to sail from Westcrown to Korvosa.

The Hellknights seize Mina, while the other Asmodeans apologize for her indiscretion. The halflings are freed and the party searches the vault, discovering extensive documentation of the halfling trafficking program. The laborers were primarily transported aboard a ship called the Scorpion’s Kiss, whose captain Arlynn recognizes as a leading Bekyar slaver.

The search of the vault also uncovers a mysterious circle of runes on the floor. Working together, Zandu and Slim are able to determine that it is a teleport circle, written in archaic Thassilonian and connected to another circle elsewhere in the city. The Asmodeans contract the party to investigate this breach in the temple’s defenses.

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.