It was a tense morning. The trio was still struggling with what to do with the Eye of the Universe. Was it really wise to give up the stone? Was it less wise to hold on to the stone after having asked around about it? There were still many unanswered questions, and the Eye seemed to be the key to start unlocking some mysteries. Giving the stone up, it seemed, led to the most answers.
Prior to convening back at the mill to prepare for the exchange, the group noticed some missing person flyers posted up in the city. It appeared that a priest for the Church of the Book by the name of Liam Scosbargh had turned up missing the day before. Felix asked around and didn’t turn up much. However, when he brought up the poster to Relocks, the thief grimly confirmed that Liam was to be the fourth invitee to the inaugural meeting of the Order of Independence. Liam, as it happened, had been expressing displeasure with his church. Word had gotten back to Relocks and he saw it as a prime opportunity to gain a powerful ally within the religious community.
Further rumors were abuzz in the streets of Lankhmar. Overlord Radomix Kistomerces, eccentric as he was, was gaining a bit of notoriety among the nobles for having quite the harem. He had been seen each night with a different woman (or women) at his arm. Most people had been chalking it up to an ego-maniacal royal with a penchant for carnal pleasures.
After a good deal of discussion at the mill, the party set off to the Street of the Gods. They were headed to what they presumed was the Church of the Beggar King, the modest building on the East end of the Street of the Gods marked with the Sign of the Beggar.
The street was bustling. It was midday at Cheap and the Street of the Gods, after all. In true ‘Felix Fashion’, the thief slapped on a quick disguise as a blind beggar and cased the joint. It had become clear to Vera and Guy that when Felix said that he was going to ‘case the joint’ it meant that he was going to walk right in.
The two-story building was a modest affair, with dark stone walls, few windows, and door wide open to the masses facing the Street of the Gods. There were two other doors, but less inviting than the main door that Felix casually strolled into. The church was quiet, save for the faint sound of chanting coming from the back of the room. It was a long, narrow building, with the main entrance feeding down into a hallway that led to another room. Felix felt around, peeking from behind his blindfold. He cam across an alter with a large ornate book. Flipping through the pages, he saw ‘Word of Goro’mosh’ on the title page, and the following pages appears to be scripture that spoke of the Beggar King’s mission to bring up the poor and elighten the wellborn.
Felix moved away from the alter with caution as he continued examining the room. Behind him was a book shelf. More books. But also small shards of unrefined aquamarine carelessly strewn about. This seemed strange, especially after all they had learned about the stones’ worth. Further down the hall Felix spotted a table adorned with large chucks of the crystal and accompanied by a pile of a couple human skulls. Nevermind, he thought, this is Lankhmar…what’s a skull or two…?
As he ventured further down the hallway, ever cautiously, the chanting became louder. It was about this time that Felix decided to turn around and head back to meet his compatriots, sufficiently creeped out. He explained what he saw, and advised that he hold onto the stone while Vera and Guy went in to talk with whoever was in the church. Guy begrudgingly handed the stone over to Felix with a sneer, “I thought that’s what we discussed earlier and you didn’t like the idea…?” Felix chuckled playfully and slinked back into an ally to change his disguise – this time to a shepphard.
Felix and Vera made their way toward the back of the church, eyes darting back and forth, ready for a trap. Surely the Thieves Guild would be there waiting… As the hallway opened up to an open room, the chanting became clearer, yet indistinguishable. “Au’chtre bvrre Goro’mosh. Da’sect uvre Goro’mosh…” It continued until Vera politely cleared her throat, standing several feet back from a man kneeled on the ground in front of a tattered wooden coffin.
A tall man, draped in common priest robes, slowly rose as the chanting stopped. He turned slowly and greeted his guests. His eyes were wrapped in bandages. This was clearly the Middark they had heard about. Guy remained steadfastly silent while Vera chatted the priest up. She had her doubts about the man even before arriving. She tested him throughout the conversation, giving non-verbal cues, nods, and waves to see if the preist would react. He was clearly either a good imposter, or he was truly blind.
Middark explained that the stone he sought was a symbolic gesture to his god, Goro’mosh. The more stone he piled into the church, the more favor he gained with the god. The more favor with Goro’mosh, he explained, the better the mission to help the poor raise up. He motioned toward the coffin that he was previously knelt at, “That is the ancient body of Goro’mosh.”
He went on, surprised that it wasn’t the Thieves Guild talking to him right now. He expressed his disdain for the Guild and his displeasure with their carelessness with his stone.He advised that he had already paid for the stone’s procurement, so he was unable to compensate the party should they return the stone to him. He did, however, have a proposition. There were more stones that needed to be found, and he offered the work to the group as opposed to the Thieves Guild. Vera and Guy stepped back to discuss their options.
It was around this time that Felix began to notice a change in the street. Crowds had begun to clear out. The shadows seemed to thicken. He felt eyes upon him. The man disguised as a shepphard was now mostly alone on the street. He approached the door of the church to signal for his friends, but when he caught a glimpse of a man lurking in the shadows as a rare bit of sunlight peeked through the clouds and smog, he began walking down the street away from the church.
When Vera and Guy made it to the door of the church Felix was nowhere to be seen. An uneasy feeling came over both of them and they made their way to the meeting location they had previously agreed upon. They felt a presence descend upon them as the arrived that he corner. Felix hid back in an alleyway, out of sight from any intruders.
From across the street a man cloaked in the telltale dark grey cloak worn by so many in the Thieves Guild approached the trio. The confrontation the party thought they were going to have never happened, though. The Thieves Guild spy, Karm, was convinced easily enough that their association with Relocks wasn’t at issue. Vera adeptly bargained with the spy, giving up the Eye of the Universe and Relocks’ last known location for a couple favors and a few hundred rilks. Relocks had already been privy to this option and was likely to have vacated the mill in anticipation. It seemed the Guild could maintain their reputation, find their man, and gain some anonymous contractors in one fell swoop.
To the tavern the party went, ready to discuss what exactly had just happened and what to do next. One of their best leads, they decided, was to follow up on the missing priest Liam Scosbargh. With that, they headed out of the tavern to find some clues as to the whereabouts of Scosbargh.
Fortune favors this trio, it seems, or they just have impeccable timing; because just as they exited the tavern a women came tumbling head over feet out of the alley onto the street. Following close behind was an unsavory couple of men and one women shouting, “Just give us the mask and you won’t get hurt.”
Recognition fell over Vera’s face… the women was a member of the Whores’ Guild. The ever-chivalrous Guy quickly stepped in to face the apparent leader. The fight was quick. Eyes were gouges, knees were bashed, egos were bruised. Danger reared its head when from up on the roof top an archer started firing off shots. At some point in the battle it came out that the women was hired from the Whores’ Guild, something that clearly upset Vera. In perhaps one of the most ruthless acts of vengeance in recent Lankhmar history, Vera handily removed the manhood of one of the thugs with a swift flick of her dagger. The dismembered member flopped to the ground and came to rest is a growing puddle of blood.
It wasn’t long after this that a couple off duty guards emerged from the tavern and broke up the brawl. Vera and Guy went in to talk with Leela. Felix ran off to chase the archer who was making a getaway. Felix deftly leapt from roof to roof making quick ground on the assailant. He eventually caught him, knocked him out, and brought him back to the tavern alleyway for further questioning.
Vera and Guy learned that Leela was given a mask for a party she decided not to attend. She presented the mask, a simple black affair with silver stitching adorned with polished aquamarines inset in the eyelets. She didn’t have much to say other than the man that gave it to her went by Fustan. Vera pleaded with Leela to let her buy the mask from her for her protection, but Leela was clearly resistant to giving up the mask.
Once satisfied with the information he got, Guy turned to head out of the tavern. He grabbed one of the arrows that lay on the ground, walked over to the severed member, and with a quick stab down skewered it. Felix motioned for Guy to join him in the alley with the unconcious archer. They woke him up with a splash of water and began an interogation. Guy waved the sheesh-kabobbed unit at the now shaking man. They learned that the thugs were Thieves Guild members, however they were hired outside of guild protocol. Feeling quite proud of this moment, Guy stashed the member in the archer’s quiver, handed it to Felix, and told him to bring it to Vera. Apparently she wanted it, possibly as some sort of trophy.
Guy headed to the guard station where the head thug was lugged off to, archer one hand. A quick bribe sent the guards off to have a couple ales with the archer fiend, leaving boss man and Guy alone in the small cell room. The boss, Johnny, confirmed that the job was not sanctioned by the guild. Further, he named the man that hired them. His name was Fustan.
Not much could be garnered about Fustan, other than he was a ‘religious nutjob’ of some form or fashion. Johnny couldn’t give much more to guy, so the big man turn on his heels and headed back outside. Vera had left to escort the other two courtesans back to the guild house while Felix trailed behind. Stopped at the door of the guild house, Felix handed over the package as the door maid shouted for Vera. She quickly came by to retrieve her reward and turned with a smirk. Clearly she had a plan.
It was nearing dusk now, and with the idea in mind that getting an invitation to one of those masquerade parties might lead to some answers, he set off to acquire some formal wear. He was pointed toward Donticelli’s for the finest evening attire. He climbed the two-story shop near the Noble District and headed towards the chimney. He began shoving items down the chimney hoping to clog it up, but to no avail. He then simply covered the opening with a thick blanket and waited.
Its seemed like forever later that commotion sounded from downstairs. The occupant was grumbling about ineffective chimney sweeps and smokey clothes. Confident that the occupants were distracted, Felix slid into a second-story window and headed to the armoire. All men’s clothing. He shrugged and grabbed what he thought looked like a nice outfit for a man and began thinking. He peeked out onto the landing just outside of the room he was in and saw a vase. With a quick tap, the vase came crashing to the floor and ashy dust came flying up into the air.
Confusion sounded from below, footsteps sounded up the stairs, and Felix made a b-line for the window he had just entered. He jumped down and quickly headed inside the first floor while the man made his way up the stairs. He grabbed the first dress that looked decent as a voice rung out from above, “MOOOOOOMMMM!!! NOOOOO!!” Felix grimaced and darted out of the shop, a small feeling of regret growing in the pit of his stomach. “I hope Vera appreciates this…”
Meanwhile, Guy was investigating the missing priest, Liam. He approached the Church of the Book and wrapped his fist on the heavy wooded door a couple times. He was greeted by a pleasant, but guarded priest. Guy asked about the disappearance and requested to see his personal effects and living quarters. The priest kindly, but nervously declined the request, advising that they have been told to be cautious of who they trust and who to let into the tower. After all, not a few days ago they were robbed of a very valuable stone, and now a priest had gone missing.
Guy told the priest that a Sergeant of the Guard named Dwayne could vouch for him. The priest nodded and told Guy to return the next day once he had spoken to Sgt. Johnson.
With the day coming to a close, and the group off on their own missions, many questions still remain… many new questions have arisen. But just how many have actually been answered?