11th of Kythorn of the year 1492
After the visceral murder of ISAC in front of them and the disappearance of the intruder, the party was stunned and in shock. In front of them was nothing more than a pile of clothing and gear. The only remains of ISAC that they could see. Most of them sat in place as they attempt to understand what had happened. Fogo ran to the where ISAC had been yelling for him, but there was not an answer from the pile of ashes and dust. Digging into the pile hoping to find ISAC, or something remaining of him, he noticed that the breastplate that ISAC always wore was missing.
Casting his Locate Object to see if he could find it, he was disappointed as he determined that what was left of the breastplate was mingled into the pile of ashes and dust that was scattered around the room now. Much of it was fading away as if it never existed. Upset at his failure, Fogo ran out of the room and inn heading to the Allfaith’s Shrine hoping for a miracle. Asking Imdarr for help, he was told that if there is not a body, then there was little he could do except offer some prayers. He suggested that both Angelica and Fogo try praying to their gods as well and maybe a miracle might happen.
“What the fuck? Where did that guy go?”
Dancer pulled out his sword and immediately began searching for him looking out the window first, followed by under the bed and finally under the seat cushions of the couch in the room. Fwoosh also began looking for any evidence of that person, but there was not a single trace to be found by anyone.
Avery had immediately prepared a spell in panic, but with nothing to target he let that drop. He then went downstairs as well to get something strong to drink. When he got to the bar where Gwendolyn was bartending, she stopped him and handed him a ratty looking notebook and told him that it had been dropped off for him and that he would know what to do with it. Confused, but still eager for that drink he slammed down some of Ilmeth’s Everclear that was on hand and took a bottle of vodka back up to the room.
Back in the room Vladimir trying to take charge told Fwoosh to go and get Dhelosk, demand for Dhelosk, but bring him here. Heading down and meeting Gwendolyn Fwoosh tearfully explained he needed Dhelosk and was able to convince her to try and get him. It did not take long for Dhelosk to come out and join everyone upstairs.
“So, who was that guy? Who did you piss off?”
“Never seen him before.”
Back in the room, Dancer expressed his concern while Vladimir tried to answer while starting to dig through where ISAC has been. As he touched any of the ashes and dust, they all just faded away as if none of it existed.
“I have no idea who that was Dancer, or what the hell just happened. My only hope is that we might be able to get some clues from Dhelosk. There is clearly some magic at play.”
It was then that Fogo came back in still in panic mode. He was looking at gathering up the ashes and beseeched Angelica to pray to her god. But no one was listening, and the ashes could not be gathered as they were all fading away into nothingness. Failing to the ground crying, Fogo just sobbed in a pile on the floor.
“I did not get to talk to him, and I was going to tell him that I was okay with him, and that he is important to the group and that I did not get to talk to him…”
Angelica tried to offer solace by giving out hugs to anyone receptive to that and Avery arrived back with his bottle. Setting it up on a table and pouring enough shots for everyone, he then went to the couch and began to look through his new notebook. Inside was a poorly written love poem.
Beneath moon’s glow, passions ignite,
Bodies entwined, the world out of sight.
Whispers of desire, in your embrace,
Our love’s a fire, a passionate chase.
Dhelosk and Fwoosh arrived at the room where the group tried to explain what had happened and to see if he could help do something or see if he could find something. Looking around using his magic he did not see anything new. He mentioned several of the magic items that the group had, Vladimir’s maul, Dancer’s sword, Avery’s new book, and a few other things that everyone had. He did notice that there was one thing missing. Something that they kept talking to him about, the golden statue. Unless it was stashed in one of their bags of holding, it seemed to be missing.
“Time Stop. That is something far, far beyond I could do. But, color disappearing, magical Time Stop does not cause that. It sounds like something different. It is not a magic that I know of. Maybe Dlara might know something. It sounds almost like someone tried to impose another plane on this temporally. She is the one that is expert in extra-planar research, not me.”
“It is an unusual disintegration. It does not usually affect organic stuff. If someone was disintegrated, it would be all of him, including what he is wearing.”
Still desperate for a solution, Fogo continued to beseech Dhelosk for a solution, but besides some prayers to the gods, there was not a solution that he could provide. Asking about Dlara to see if she could help, Dhelosk did say he could reach out, but told them that there was little she could do at this point. She was not as skilled or learned as he was, and this was something far beyond both.
“Why did he choose you? If he is that powerful and he can sneak in here without me knowing. He could stop time, or suppress time, or force a dimensional merge. Why would he just kill one of you? If he wanted you dead, all of you would be dead, all of us would be dead.”
“He said we were just rats in a cage and that he was impatient.”
“He said we needed a push.”
The discussion devolved around what has happened and attempting to attribute something to this event, but no one could think of anything specific.
“I assume in whatever conclusion of whatever you are aiming to do he will be there.”
Not being able to provide any answers, Dhelosk left the group to their own. The party continued the discussion on what they should do and where they should go at this point. It was then that the anger started to settle into the group now that the fear had settled, an anger to do something, to strike back, to not be rats in a cage. Trying to capture their memories and what happened, they started gathering everything they could remember and capturing it on paper with Fwoosh providing an eerily exact replica of the shadow’s voice saying the words that only reinforced their helplessness. To start the arduous process, Avery began to go through what was left of ISAC and the gear there. With a heavy heart and hand, they divided up what was left of ISAC’s gear.
While going through the gear, they came across the broken sword with the red jewel in the pummel and an interesting symbol carved into the hilt. Non one recognized it, nor knew anything about it. They could only vaguely remember ISAC asking about symbols with crows or ravens but little else.
Symbol Found on Sword
While the gear was being spread around, Avery took the time to get better acquainted with his new book, especially now that he knows that it is magical. Upon completing his attunement, he found out that the text on the inside had changed to something completely different, and once read, faded away as if nothing had ever been written.
Larmon Greenboot at Alfred’s saw some shallow graves east of here in the hills, might be related to your quest with the delegation – reply here.
Once again, they tried to talk about what they have been doing, where they should be going. They had the lead to Beliard that they needed to follow, there were still possible bandit locations they had not searched, and Avery brought up that he suddenly had a new lead.
“I think we need to talk to Larmon Greenboot at Alfred’s.”
Everyone’s confusion at the sudden and unprompted new clue caused a lot more talk. It was not clear who sent the message, but it was agreed that Avery would go to Alfred’s tomorrow and check it out. Fogo still was not willing to let go and believed that somehow ISAC was somehow alive. The party overall wanted to move on. Fwoosh gathered up the pieces of the mask that ISAC had been wearing and Fwoosh took a single piece as a keepsake.
Fogo headed to the outdoors to grieve in the manner of his tribe and family. Angelica tried to help Vladimir deal with the death of ISAC, and Dancer was in a hurry to find a new room that did not contain the ashes of his compatriot. Trying to settle themselves, some got food, some went to their room, but eventually everyone ended back in their rooms. Fogo came in the latest with his face covered in blood and mud from his ceremony. Eventually almost everyone went to bed except for Vladimir that just sat pm the floor thinking of everything that has happened, and Avery who finished off the bottle of vodka and not getting enough rest to count.
12th of Kythorn of the year 1492
Bumbling down the stairs in the morning, they queried about Dlara and found out that she was unavailable and would not be able to come sooner than a ten-day and was not sure if it was even worth her time since there was nothing more, she could do that Dhelosk did not already do. Fogo requested that if word came in about the armor, he had commissioned in Amphail that he just wanted it held at the Blackbutter Inn until he returned.
Avery went over to Alfred’s while Dancer went to collect his daily ration of bear claws, Fogo to Haeleeya’s and Vladimir stayed behind for a conversation with Dhelosk. The rest went to the Wagonworks and waited for the group to assemble. Vladimir magically mailed a letter back home having not contacted them in several years and Fogo had Haeleeya send a letter to the Emerald Enclave about the current happenings.
Upon entry to the baker’s store, he asked about Jepos from Mangobarl. Gesturing him to the back Dancer had questions of Jepos about the attacker from yesterday. While the Zhentarim employ assassins, Dancer was told that this assailant was something far beyond anything that the Zhentarim had on staff, or least as far as Jepos knew.
At Alfred’s, Avery chatted with him about if he had seen Larmon or not and was directed over to a group of old men gossiping. Going over taking Larmon over to the side for a conversation.
“You had mentioned that you had seen some shallow graves to the east?”
“Yeah, not too far from the Rover Dessarin in the foothills. I’m a shepherd and I was taking my flock around because one of the homesteads that we hold them in is not that far from there and I was on my way back and heading here to market and I could see off to the side, there were a whole bunch of piled up rocks.”
“Yes, that what it looked like, they were not there a week before that.”
“Can you tell me about how many there were?”
“I do not really look around that much, but I can tell you where it is.”
Being told the follow the foothills and he should be able to find it. Asking about their wagon, Avery was told that if they stayed in the foothills, they should not have any problems. Getting what he needed, Avery also headed to the wheelworks.
With their errands completed, they got together at the wheelworks, and got their wagon ready. They now needed to decide to head to Beliard or the shallow graves. After a bunch of back and forth they decided that the shallow graces were a better clue than just asking around Beliard. So off they headed on out to the south and east of Red Larch toward where they thought the graves might be. Skirting to the south of the hills they realized that they would be able to go past one of the bandit locations and investigating it would not take them out of their way.
With all their capabilities in tracking they completely missed any bandit tracks, assuming there were any in their path. Continuing they eventually got to evening and a chance to go camping. Fogo rush forward to make a meal while the rest set up the large eight-man tent that Fwoosh had purchased. Settling in for the night. They decided to let Avery and Vladimir sleep without taking a watch so that they could recover from their exhaustion.
After a nice meal, they set up their watches and started their rest. It was clear that they had not been camping in a while and somehow let down their guard. It was during Angelica’s watch that they were ambushed by the bandit group they had been trying to find. It seems that the bandits had found them first and followed them to their camping location.
The numbers were not in the favor of the party, but they were able to take them on and out. Everyone was wounded and the search of bodies started. Nothing was a surprise, not even when they found the bloody eye tattoo over the heart of the bandit leader. They gathered in a little bit of cash, and a map that was in the pouch of the leader.
Tattoo on Bandit Lieutenant
Map in Bandit Lieutenant’s Pouch
With the action over, the party headed back to bed.
After a fair amount of grief and self-recrimination, the party has moved on. After finding out about the shallow graves they went along that direction hoping to run across the bandits in the area, and they did, but it was after they started camping.