Burning Seldoorn

Interlude: 20 years ago...

Young Cici the roden scavenger found her cousin Jimbo injured and barely coherent stumbling back into the warrens below. Jimbo muttered and rambled about the mother load scavenger find in the tunnels deep below, and handed Cici his rope-map. Cici took Jimbo to the sawbones, and then headed into the tunnels.

Deep below the warrens, in long abandoned tunnels, Cici ran into the middle of strangeness. Rocks were floating in mid air, slowly dancing past each other, and the dust in this area floated like a fog, refusing to settle to the ground. Ahead, there was a rent in the wall ahead, with piles of rock spilling into the tunnel as well as the space on the other side. Cici carefully approached, and saw on the other side a very large chamber.

At her feet was something covered in cloth buried in the rocks. Beyond, a smooth floor was perurbed by five short plinths, topped with glowing gemstones, surrounding an arcane circle filled with glyphs and symbols at the center of the room. In the middle of the circle was a grey skinned creature, floating resplendent above the floor. It had slicked back black hair, pinned behind two elegant horns, a short goatee, and bits of brass armor covered various parts of its body. It seemed to blast its thoughts right into Cici’s mind, and was amused to see an intelligent rat creature, commenting on what strange tidings the aeons passing have brought.

Cici nervously contemplated the creature, and came to the conclusion that this was Jega’al, a demon, a servant of the god of the orcs. Cici engaged the demon hesitantly, as Jega’al requested to be released from his predicament. It explained that the elves had trapped him here, many aeons ago, possibly thousands of years, he was uncertain. Cici wondered how he had not gone mad. Jega’al explained that time was not the same for his kind as for mortals, and he merely needed to resume the tasks he had been set to so long ago. Cici was uncertain whether help here was appropriate, but Jega’al suggested Cici confirm the fate those who trust elves, pointing to the rubble covering the clothed body.

Cici found that the cloth belonged to the robes of a skeletal remain, clutching a book and a staff, with many crushed articles in packs about. Cici couldn’t make much of the articles, but packed them away quickly.

Jega’al recounted his tale in brief, that elves had imposed this prison on him, and the elves even went so far as to condemn the human wizard who actually performed the binding to be doomed along with Jega’al, as the elves could not command the power to do this all themselves.

Cici hesitantly approached agreeing to help, on the premise that Jega’al leave her kin be. Jega’al promised her power, specifically calling out the power of the mage who lay dead with him for so long. Cici reluctantly aquiesced, Jega’al granting that he didn’t know the disposition of the Roden, and would not act until he did.

Cici tried to pry a gem out of one of the plinths, but it ended up breaking and scorching her paw instead. Jega’al suggested reading the tome, but Cici couldn’t read. She tried to use loose stones to damage the circle but to no avail. Finally, reluctantly, Jega’al suggested that Cici’s blood might break the barrier. Cici held her arm over the circle, slowly squeezing blood from her wounds. Eventually, she passed out.

When she came to, the chamber was empty and dark, only the embers of her torch still shedding light. Jega’al was gone. Cici gathered herself, lit a new torch, and began dusting off her fur… And to her shock it was not the color it should have been, but stark white. She nearly panicked, and in so doing her mind raced over recent events. Thinking of Jimbo, she suddenly realized that there was power in her mind, the power to heal.

She rushed back to the warrens, only pausing to smear ink into her fur to hide her albino fur. Regardless, she quickly attracted a crowd as she made her way to the sawbones. There, Jimbo was still in a sorry state. Cici followed the knowledge trapped in her mind, and executed the incantation to heal Jimbo. He almost immediately came to, hardly well, but better. Cici returned his rope-map to him, but urged him never to go down into those tunnels again. Then she disappeared into the crowd.

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Arrival in Zinnen

Jurgen sailed the group into Zinnen harbor largely uneventfully. The harbor was filled with small fishing vessels, and on pier able to host larger ships like that of the party’s. The village of Zinnen boated a few hundred houses, with a small town center of a temple to Hof, a tavern, and town hall.

The crew headed into the Sinking Ship tavern. They walked into a crowded room, and immediately noted Orgunn and a female elf sitting in one corner. Zakarias stared a little too long, and the elf stormed up to him challenging him. Zakarias tried to make a polite excuse, but she made to knee him. Zak blasted her with shards, bowling her over in agony. Konrad tried to go to her aid, but she pushed him away and stormed off, telling Zak that he’d made a mistake.

Orgunn was meanwhile greatly amused by this whole exchange. Broon approached him, and tried to see if he’d be interested in dealing business. Orgunn told him to buy a round for the bar, but Broon tried to weasel out of it saying Orgunn must have the money for such largesse. In the end, Broon decided to try to impress the crowd with his bag of gold, and shelled out for a party. This was very well received by the locals. Orgunn also informed him that he’d be by at sundown to deal.

Meanwhile, back at the ship, Konrad was working on some tasks Jurgen put him to. A priest of Hof came by looking for him, and yelled up at the ship about how Konrad’s cousin had been captured and would be put to an ordeal for having betrayed the faith. Konrad hid under some tarps.

Zak suggested they introduce themselves to the local lord, and see if he could intercede on their behalf. The group trouped up to Lord Zinnen’s estate at the center of town, and they were received by a men at arms who said that Alfonz, Lord Zinnen, would see them. The group tried to convince Lord Zinnen to help them with secular backing to see Konrad’s friend Sebastian, but he said he would not risk the ire of the church. He did give the group access to his maps. Broon dug into the circumstances around Anise, and it became obvious Alfonz was hiding something. With a bit of dwarven persuasion, the Lord came clean that when he was young, he has a relationship with her, but that they had since broken it off… he seemed unhappy about that turn of affairs, but commented that he needed human heirs to rule after him.

The party made copies of the maps available to them, then returned to their ship to deal with Orgunn’s merchant party.

Orgunn brought along several hands, including Anise and a veteran named Rosko. Rosko evaluated the horseshoes, and said they were good enough. Orgunn offered to buy 100 sets. Zak made an overture about how they could supply him with more, and that they were looking to start a business venture, but Orgunn was unconvinced. Anise outright took offense, and threatened violence. Broon soothed Orgunn with platitudes, convincing him to hold Anise from actually starting a fight. Orgunn agreed to buy what he asked for, but said he’d have no further dealings… as Anise, in his opinion, was in fact right. Broon did manage to talk the price up some, and there was coin left to share among the group.

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Interlude: Ragmir's Fate

With an opportunity to confer with Rekfous, Broon decided to try to define the fate of Ragmir’s Forge. Rekfous was willing to listen to his request for discussing the dwarven reclamation of the mountain, but would only do so in his council, it being such a far reaching decision. Broon found Bryan DeVon to get some support in his debate.

The parties gathered in the Prime’s meeting hall. Viktor was particularly worried about foreign troops on Seldoorn soil. Broon countered that he’d been a trustworthy ally. Rekfous’ advisors were also concerned that there’d be an autonomous group that did not pay their fair share, and Broon countered that in the end, if they didn’t get some reliable folks on their side, they’d be outnumbered by enemies within Seldoorn. Although Rekfous agreed to support the dwarven reclamation of Ragmir’s Forge, he did agree with his counselors, that some kind of tax would have to be levied on any who reside in his realm.

Zakarias got a new spell, Jurgen practiced his marksmanship a while, and Broon worked on his… Broon things.

In the middle of a snow squall, Konrad, faithful of the old gods, lands in Seldoorn. He found his old buddy Jurgen, who immediately showed off his newfound pistol to him. Konrad was looking for work, so Jurgen introduced Konrad to Broon and Zakarius. The duo was planning on heading to ZInnen, while Konrad was hoping to find traction for his old religion in Seldoorn proper, though was advised by Broon that the other major churches may not take kindly to a new major player.

In preparation to head out to ZInnen, the group tried to get Bryan to lend them a cover by having them ship his wares. He was reluctant to do so, and wanted money up front rather than just hand them a bunch of his product. The group convinced him in the end that it was better for him if he just hooked them up with cargo, and he agreed as long as they took care of transporting and loading of the cargo onto the ship themselves.

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Alabaster's Downfall

Broon, Zak and Jurgen stared into the maw of the cave system under Seldoorn that Alabaster and his clan were supposedly hiding in. Zak tried yet again to cast Turn Aside the Blade, with no success, so the group headed on in. Jurgen took the lead, trying to prove useful, and claiming to know the lay of the land, but promptly lead the group down some random tunnels to who knows where. Broon heard an ambush forming, and so the party charged into the darkness. Roden skittered away at the edge of visibility, scoring several hits on Jurgen with throwing knives, but finally Zak lead the charge into the group of roden. One ate a crossbow bolt, two others were blasted with shards, and the part then scattered the injured roden, capturing one. They dragged it aside, and Broon patched it up well enough so it would survive until it could be properly interrogated above ground. Rather than pursue Alabaster, they decided to retreat and turn over their captive to Lorne or Viktor.

Broon, Zak and Jurgen showed up at Lorne’s office with a bundled up Roden. Lorne was immediately concerned, and led the group in rounding up Viktor and Rekfous. Viktor was not easily found, but then the roden started giggling, and declared that they were too late, and that their reign was about to end. Jurgen was told to take the roden back to Broon’s, while Zak and Broon ran for the throne room. After the group ran into several dead guards in the corridors, Lorne peeled off to find more guards and raise an alarm.

Broon and Zak arrived at the throne room, with two roden guarding the gate in. Broon dropped one with his crossbow, but the other began slicing up the duo in melee. Although the roden was quick and hard to catch, it tired just a bit faster than the human and dwarf. With the duo working in tandem, Zak lured the roden out of position, Broon shoved him out the throne room doors, and they barred the the roden outside.

A grey fog swirled throughout the room, and neither Broon nor Zak could see what was going on in the far end of the room, but fighting was going on, and Rekfous was calling out for guards. They wasted no further time, and stormed across the room. They arrived just in time to see Alabaster, the albino roden, execute the last of Rekfous’ guards, and backing the old Prime into the corner. Zak yelled at Rekfous to run, while him and Broon engaged Alabaster. Although Alabaster moved quickly, and had the advantage initially, Broon managed to avoid being skewered and nicked the roden in the first pass of the fight. Continuing his swing around for a second pass, Broon channeled all his desire to see the return of dwarves to Ragmir’s Forge into a strike, and sliced through Alabaster’s torso, dropping the roden in a bloody heap to the ground.

Viktor arrived just about then with more guards. Rekfous issued some orders to clear and secure the area, but the crisis was over.

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Hunting for the Right Cave

Broon was passed a note by an urchin from his apothecary friend. Apparently the apothecary was being held hostage by some thugs. The thugs turned out to be Orgunn and his crew, who was trying to patch up his one badly injured crewman still struggling to live. After a tense stand off, finally Orgunn told the crew that he worked for the Castiron Cartel in exchange for Broon patching up his crewman. Orgunn said he delivered a cargo to the roden, and that his business was concluded. Broon and Zak parted ways with him awkwardly, and he indicated he’d be leaving port post haste.

Zak and Broon, aided by Jurgen where he could, went around digging into the nature of roden warrens beneath Seldoorn. After finidng some maps and information, Zak contacted an old acquaintance, Ursula, from his childhood in the Runs. Ursula had gotten old, but gave them some information about how Nicklos, once a crime lord in the Runs had fallen from power, but his hideout was rumored to have been taken over by roden. She also knew where caves leading to this warren started, and had an urchin guide Zak, Broon and Jurgen to this enterance.

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Fracas on the Wharf

The brave duo decided to set up a sting operation for the Zinnen Zephyr, and so began a search on the market for a good spyglass. The jewelry dealer in fact had a very fine dwarven spyglass, which Broon decided he must aquire. He went into negotiation mode, and noted all the flaws on the instrument, while Zacharius pointed out that it clearly must be stolen. Finally, the storekeeper caved, and lowered his price on the fine spyglass. Broon mustered up all his financial assets, and with his burning greed payed for the dwarven heirloom.

Broon, Zacharius and Jorgen set up their surveillance on top of Broon’s house, from where they could see the ship fairly well with the spyglass. Keeping constant watch, they determined the crew and their routines. There were six crew plus the captain, one of whom appeared to be an orc who only came above deck at night. They always had one guard on deck, who always seemed attentive, but most of the crew tended to go into town during the day.

Then they noticed one evening that a Roden boarded the ship, and went into the aftcastle for several hours. Later, the Roden departed aboard a rowboat manned by the orc and one of the human crew. The group was debating whether to try to report what they observed to Viktor or to simply go and assault the ship, or some other approach to the situation, when Jurgen noticed that something was afoot. The remaining crew were clearly readying the ship to sail, and they’d be ready to depart by the morning. That pushed the case for the group to make an assault right now. They made a Molotov cocktail for Jurgen, then headed out.

Broon stealthily approached the area, and took up a sniping position on an adjacent dock, while Jurgen and Zacharius approached the Zinnen Zephyr. Jurgen threw his Molotov cocktail, only to have the burning fluids splash back at him and set him on fire. The captain of the Zephyr, Orgunn, was nearly unfazed, and charged at Zacharius. Zacharius blasted him with shards, only to make minor injuries across Orgunn’s chest. Broon engaged in a sniping match with the two other crew, who both ended up with sucking chestwounds generated by crossbow bolts. Zacharius took a brief moment as Orgunn reeled from one of his shards to shove Jurgen into the water to put him out, then in a titanic struggle was nearly overcome by the half-orc captain. In the end, Zacharius managed to shove the captain into the drink as well… and as he turned about to depart, was confronted by Ted and a cohort of the wharf guard.

An altercation between Zacharius, the wharf guard, and Orgunn followed, Orgunn trying to murder Zacharius, the guard trying to prevent that but arrest Zacharius, and the wizard simply trying to get out of the situation. Amidst the confusion, Zacharius managed to shove his way out of the crowd on the far side, and with Jurgen fled from the wharves. Broon just snuck away in the shadows. Jurgen evaluated the Zephyr as now being incapable of setting sail, so the group grabbed supplies at Broon’s, then disappeared into the Runs to try and find out where the roden may have gone.

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Altercations Port Side

Zacharius and Broon dragged their captive, Ted, off into an abandoned building in the Runs, and set about interrogating him about goings on in the port. He did not seem to have too much hidden information, and readily told them about ships, and that the ship in the harbor was somewhat sketchy, but nothing too out of the ordinary. He got a bit secretive around why the harbor master, Gabor, hired them, but in the end, Broon got him to admit that the city guard abandoned the wharves after the murder of their captain, and Master Gabor had to hire on someone to keep order. There were 15~20 of the guards, headed by Master Gabor’s personal bodyguard Old Mac. Ted also told them that there was a cave up the Rusty Run where smugglers are rumored to run goods. He also made comments about how Roden may be involved in that bit of business. Zacharius and Broon then decided to make Ted a friend, and install him as a spy among Master Gabor’s organization. Broon scournged up the money to pay him some significant coin, and the duo convinced Ted to relay back any useful information on illicit trading

After the all night bender of interrogation, Broon and Zacharius headed down to the wharves to see if they could round up a former captain of some sort to act as a guide and guard in their on going investigation. Zacharius ended up leading the pair to the Southern Docks Tavern, where they came across a Captain Jorgen, who was already three or four ales into his day at noon. They bought the man another, and some food, and found out a bit about his past, and that he was not currently employed or in possession of a ship. Zacharius managed to convince the erstwhile captain to come along and help them out.

The next point of order was to see if they could get some information from Master Gabor. The trio tromped into the Wharfmaster’s Office. As they stepped in, a bandaged up man and a one eyed grizzled veteran looking figure concluded a conversation with the bandaged man pointing at Broon and Zacharius indicating they had been the ones to injure him. Seeing a ledger before the clerk in the office, Zacharius just grabbed it, and tried to make off with it. The clerk, though nervous, grabbed on to the ledger, and held it fast, eventually the whole book tearing in half in the struggle. Old Mac drew his sword, and demanded Zacharius and Broon pay recompense for injuring his men, and clear out of the office. Zacharius yelled back, and demanded Old Mac help his investigation instead by providing records on harbor traffic. Neither side was getting anywhere with their argument, so finally Old Mac just began stabbing with his sword. He grazed across Zacharius’ chest, with just enough help from Broon to not get badly hurt. In response Zacharius blasted the man with shards, and practically gutted him. Old Mac collapsed on the ground bleeding, his guardsman jumped out the window and dove into the bay, while the clerk just shook in terror. Zacharius demanded the ledgers, which the clerk let him have, and the trio departed with the books. They returned to Broon’s house to analyse the recent harbor traffic.

Zacharius and Jurgen pored over the ledgers from the docks and came to the conclusion that the ship they were suspecting is just on the edge of suspicious, but that another ship, the Zinnen Zephyr, that had never made any long calls at port before, has suddenly dropped anchor over a month ago with no declared cargo, and hasn’t taken anything on, moved anything off, or made any repairs… overall looking very suspicious. Finally they decided to take a well deserved rest… only for the city guard to show up for them in the morning.

The guard demanded that Zacharius and Broon accompany them to the magistrate. Broon convinced them to come inside momentarily, but refused breakfast, and insisted that everyone move along. They remained polite, but stern. The duo was escorted to the magistrate, but to their luck, Bryon DeVon was waiting to accompany them inside. Master Gabor and several of his men were waiting inside. Master Gabor had apparently already made a case to the magistrate, and the magistrate said that only as a courtesy to the Prime were Broon and Zacharius being heard out. Bryon, however, pointed out that they were being accused of injuring someone who apparently had no proper last name, and that several errors in the paperwork filed on the topic were clearly not in order. On the basis of that technicality, the magistrate was forced to acknowledge that in fact the case was null and void, and Zach and Broon were free to go.

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Interlude

The events in Brakavar concluded, the party went their separate ways. Bryon returned to his home to work on expanding his farrier/information business, and Althoras returned to the elven court to deal with his brother.

Broon spent some time with the dwarves of Brakavar and finishing his research on Ron Soon’s heritage. He also spent time training with his axe, and picking up some finer personal skills. Being overly frugal, his assets none the less suffered from his loss of connections and many patients of his khirurgey having sought new doctors.

Zacharius dove into research on magic back with an old teacher, Venhorf the Wise. Venhorf agreed to teach Zacharius the spell turn aside the blade, for the appropriate fees of course. With help, Zacharius found the funds, and in record time completed first reading of turn aside the blade as well as mage light. With all this time devoted to studying, Zacharius’ finances were also left suffering.

After a few months respite, Zacharius and Broon were summoned to a meeting with Prime Rekfous. They were met in the war council chamber, which was decorated with maps from around the Province. Present were the Captain of the Guard, Viktor, Master of Coin Lukas, and the Seneschal of Seldoorn City, Lorne. Zacharius mused over the maps a little too obviously, and Captain Viktor was clearly becoming annoyed at his tarrying. Rekfous told Zacharius and Broon that there was a situation, that perhaps they were better equipped to handle, given their recent experiences, and handed the floor to Viktor.

Viktor explained that the captain of the wharves watch was murdered, found with a pair of arrows in his back, orcish make, human enchanted. He then sent his best investigator, a sergeant, to investigate, who turned up with a similar dagger in his back within a few days. Viktor is loath to send more of his men to investigate someone murdering people with enchanted weapons, as he thinks he might actually be a little out of his depth.

Zacharius and Broon argued that perhaps some funding might be appropriate, and the Master of Coin informed them that a small fund has been set aside for them to conduct their investigation. Zacharius requested the arrowheads from Viktor, who rather dismissively flicked them in his direction. Although Broon was hoping someone would provide them with some sort of a situation report on the wharves, Lorne responded that he could answer what questions they had, but there had been no cause to keep a spymaster looking over going ons there. He volunteered his knowledge, but little else.

Having been briefed, the pair headed down to the wharves to see what the scene was like. They evaluated the wharves, with a dozen or so piers, and a score or so ships, most of which were relatively small fishing craft. A few medium size caravels were also docked, and a larger ship was moored in the harbor.

They also noted that the docks were patrolled more buy out of uniform men rather than city guard. Finally they headed to one of the local watering holes, picking the Northern Bell Tavern over the Southern Docks Tavern. A group of the wharves guards took issue with their ‘creeping around’ on the docks, and were itching to start a fight. Since Broon couldn’t intimidate them into backing off, Zacharias hit them with shards. This sent most of them running except one, who then was promptly smashed over the head with a staff, and dragged out of the bar by the duo.

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The Arsenal of Brakavar

The band immediately went to work on the startled awake soldiers. Bryon stabbed one guard repeatedly. Broon and Althoras put a bolt and an arrow in a guard each, then rushed in and massacred the guards in another two bunk beds worth of guards. The wizard tried to blast the group with The Fear, only for the spell to go out of control. It ended up imprinting an unexpected aura of innocence on Bryon, the only person looking at the wizard at the time.

The wizard prepped a second spell, and as Althoras and Broon put down his two guards, Bryon dashed in, planted a dagger in the wizard, then gutted him thoroughly. Broon fell to checking pockets while Bryon recovered the keys to the locked, presumably arsenal, rooms.

In the meanwhile, Zackarias very thoroughly blocked off the two guard rooms, and began to haul everything burnable to the middle room to torch the place out.

The group opened up the armories, and found numerous crates of swords and light armor, as well as piles of arrows. In addition, a fairly sizable cache of enchanted orcish made weapons and arrows sat in the back of one of the rooms. They had similar runes to the ones presented by Mayor Mark Reimar.

As the two groups of guards trapped in the guard rooms was clearly getting suspicious, the party decided to deal with them. Zackarias went to repeatedly shard one group, forcing them to run in panic, only to be run down by the rest of the party. Bryon then asked for the surrender of the other group, who gave it being faced with a rather untennable situation.

Bryon and Broon returned to the city to get the Mayor to send a baggage train, and were introduced to his castellan Vinhold, who arranged to meet them the next night. He brought three carts, loaded the loot, and payed the group a fairly hefty sum and let Zackarias keep one sword and a quiver of arrows.

With that, the group considered their business here done.

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Into the Depths of Brakavar

Zakarias and Broon convinced Fonroon quite thoroughly that he should share his maps and information, but in the end, would only allow Broon to peruse them. That was none the less enough information that the group could figure out roughly where in the old city the secret arsenal was housed.

In the meanwhile, a group of three toughs showed up at Old Millie’s, throwing Jenni through the door, and demanding to see the elf who owes them money. Bryan and Althoras immediately confront the toughs. The three of them pull weapons, and put up a lot of bravado. Eventually they push Bryan and Althoras far enough that Bryan starts launching daggers, while Althoras sings and starts slashing miscreants. Althoras guts two of them, and they try desperately to flee, aided by their compatriot with a dagger lodged in his shoulder. Bryan chases him down, insisting that his knife be returned, and tears it from his shoulder. Althoras pins one of the three, and demanded to know who the three were working for, and the tough insisted it was just for themselves. Althoras then let him go, life in exchange for a forgiveness of the debt.

The party regrouped, sorted out the maps, and decided to leave into the old city sooner rather than later, on account of the earlier fracas.

The crew trooped through the old city until Bryan brought the party up short at an intersection, with the signs of occupancy up ahead. He went ahead and investigated, to find an occupied guardroom with five guards, four of whom were playing cards, and one was on the lookout. With the rest of the party stalling for options, Bryan went ahead and found a secret passageway into the complex. He then led the group into the tunnel, at the end of which were some kitchen sounds. Bryan snuck in, and found himself in a room with 6 doors. One was open, with a kitchen and a cook… who Bryan assassinated at the insistence of his compatriots. He proceeded to the one room that he heard snoring behind, and moved to kill everyone. With the rest of the group ready, he moved in, but his first victim managed to make enough noise that the others in the room started waking up…

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