It had been a while since they had regrouped with Relocks. Vera, Guy, and Felix had been a busy bunch, and it was high time they talked to the man who had brought them together in the first place. Relocks had let the group know that they could find him at The Tipsy Tankard Tavern in the evenings. For a man who was in hiding, it sure was strange that you could count on him to be anywhere with great regularity. But true to his word, he was there.
In the time before meeting at the tavern, the group had heard more rumors about Overlord Radomix Kistomerces, learned of the death of famed clothier Mario Donticelli, and sent pointed threats to Guild masters. Donticelli has died of mysterious circumstances, and was last seen at The Guilded Leaf Tavern speaking with a large, rich man whole gave him some token of condolences. It seemed that the recent string of missing women may lead all the way to the Rainbow Palace, but any news coming from The Lankhmar Press and Editor Danick Borden is usually taken with a grain of salt.
At the Tankard, Relocks informed the crew that his best lead for them was Liam’s personal belongings in the the Church of the Book. He told the party about a tunnel connecting a popular tavern for clergy known as The Gods’ Mouth and the Church of the Book. Further, the church had a midnight mass that most members attended on the first level of the tower. The task, it seemed, was to sneak into the basement of the tower through the secret passage, find any clues about Liam’s where abouts.
Off the party went. Felix ran off to find some robes that could pass as priestly. He the headed off to the Gods’ Mouth to investigate. The tavern sat behind the Church of the Book, only accessible from some dark, dank alleyways. It was quiet around the time everyone had arrived. Felix was the first to scale through the kitchen window of the tavern. Vera followed, both gracefully slipping into the room. Guy brought up the rear, but his broad shoulders forced him to wedge himself through the window. Despite this trouble, Guy made it inside with very little drama.
The kitchen was very dimly lit. A gentle warmth emanated from a stove that hadn’t been stoked for a while. The faint sound of subdued patronage could be heard through a flimsy door leading to the common room. In one corner of the kitchen a sturdy trap door graced the floor. Felix quickly slipped over and began trying to pick the lock. He quickly found the lock to be quite advanced and began searching for some tools that could aide in his attempt. As he picked up a long sharp object, Guy doused the door hinged in cooking oil he found in the room.
With some stealthy brute force, Felix cracked open the lock and pulled open the door. Dust flew up and cleared away to reveal a dark stairway leading into an even darker tunnel. Felix grabbed a candle and headed down the stairs, followed closely by his compatriots. The tunnel had seen very little use recently. It was quiet, smelly, and dank. As the crew moved through the darkness they began hearing some scurrying down the way. Seemingly from nowhere, a dog-sized rat lunged toward Felix and bit at his ankle. It wasn’t long before several rats were crawling from the woodwork and going for blood.
A torch was lit, rats were slaughtered, and nerves were shaken. At one point Felix began ripping rats apart with his bare hands. When the the tunnel again fell silent, the picture of rat gore was gruesome. This was made even more disturbing by Felix, who took a rat carcass and ‘greased’ more door hinged with rat blood. Vera shuddered.
The basement of the tower was quite. The sound of worship was slinking down the stairway in the main room. It seemed as though there wasn’t a soul in the tower that wasn’t upstairs. Felix snuck from room to room checking for guards or priests. He found one sleeping priest, pale and gaunt in one of the sleeping quarters. With little hesitation, he sent a fist flying toward the sleeping man’s temple. Whatever rigidness the man had slumped into a further state of relaxation as he fell into a deep unconsciousness. Vera again, shook her head in disbelief.
The sleeping quarters were lined wall to wall with bunk beds. Footlockers with initials sat at the end of each bed. Felix found one with the initials ‘LS’, but it turned out to be someone else. The letter inside told a story of parents pleading for their son to come back home, still with the belief that he had joined some sort of cult.
Felix continued through the basement looking around for clues or valuables. He came across a heavy door with a rather impressive lock. Despite his best efforts he was unable to pick the lock. He looked at the mechanism and saw the workings of a lock that which he had never seen. Clearly whatever was behind that door held some bit of value to the church.
Felix and Vera found the other footlocker with ‘LS’ on the nameplate. Inside were standard priestly belongings. Further inspection of the lid of the chest revealed a hidden compartment with several sheets of paper. Two sheets were pages from a book, unintelligible writing and annotations covered them. The other was a tattered map with writing scratched across it, an ‘X’ marking a spot in the middle of the Great Salt Marsh.
The group made haste to cover their tracks and leave the tower. They positioned the sleeping priest to look as though he had fallen out of bed, then began their exit. As they were leaving the ring of gongs sounded. Chanting concluded and it was obvious that whatever service was happening had just ended. The trio quickly snuck back into the storage room from whence they came, gently closing the door behind them just as a horde of priests shuffled down into the basement.
On their way back through the tunnel Felix decided to have a try at a chest that was tucked away. Clearly trapped, Felix took precautions to avoid tripping the mechanism, slid the lock open adeptly and grabbed for the contents. A book. Similar writings to those found on the pages from Liam’s belongings. They took their spoils and peeked back into the kitchen of the Gods’ Mouth.
The tavern had picked up. The cook was hard at work fixing food for hungry clergymen. Getting out was going to be trickier than getting in. As with any problem Felix was approached with, he snuck up on the unsuspecting cook and knocked him out.
Once safely away from the tavern Vera wanted to follow up on Leela to make sure she was OK. She headed to the Whores Guild house and found that she was sent out to a job earlier in the evening. She checked Vera’s belongings and found a diary. In the pages, Leela wrote about her dissatisfaction with the social and political state of Lankhmar. She wrote about meeting Fustan Delante, a kind, rich man that she hated servicing, but respected greatly due to his understanding and sympathy. Vera grabbed the diary to avoid prying eyes from seeing Leela’s ‘blasphemous’ words.
Vera asked Night Lady Gertrude Vindar where she was sent to. Night Lady Vindar was quite uncooperative to begin with, but Vera softened her up just enough to find out that Leela was sent out to Benfolds Babasti’s grain plantation. Before the end of the conversation Vera’s tongue slipped a bit and Vindar heard her mutter, “Bitch…” The two exchanged some uncomfortable words and Vera went off to the Babasti estate, bitter and determined.
She was greeted by the butler, who informed her that Leela had been there earlier, but was sent away hours earlier. Thoroughly concerned, Vera headed back to town to reconvene with her companions the next day.
Through conversations with Relocks, they determined that they could hire a barbarian wizard by the name of Fenyrn Genshal to guide them to the spot in the Marsh. This one map, it seemed, was their best lead to finding Liam… or some clues at least. They would head out the next day.