The Bonesnatchers, Azura 1st, 720, which begins with the discovery of a severed arm...
The Storm of Heaven, Azura 18th, 720, which begins when a man comes through the godstone...
The Double, Halane 6th, 720, an interlude with Navehans...
Nuzyael 18th, 721
The party has a few months of downtime before this current adventure starts. The party discusses what to do with the treasure gained at Telumar, and how to divide it. There were a few artifacts and esoteric tomes, as well as a bit of money.
Lelea of Lorinsen, Lepridis' last apprentice, returns to Nurisel and presents herself to the Lyahvi syndic. She petitions for three masters to examine her art and promote her to the rank of Satia-Mavari. At the same time, Torin presents the three items and three spells to qualify him for the rank of Shenava. Both are approved. Torin also quits service in the "Low Guard" of Melderyn, and is looking for other patronage. Back at Cherafir, Embran studies ancient scriptures in his temple, and learns a new ritual to fight the scourge of witchcraft.
Gerick leaves the party and returns to Ivinia, and Zarisa travels to visit her family. Three new members join the party, Quint the veteran knight, Feric the weaponsmith, and Pedris the Odivshe.
The Obasaran of the Larani temple contacts Embran early in the morning. He is told to gather his companions and meet him at the Reliquary of Saint Syriles in the temple. There will be a few others as well. Urgency is paramount. And so the party gathers just after sunrise. Along with the Obasaran is a shopkeeper from the village of Halain (outside of Cherafir). He is introduced as Tymas of Stylman. He has a problem requiring discretion, that indirectly involves the interests of the church. (Embran and Torin knew Pedris before, but this where they meet Quint and Feric).
Tymas appears very nervous and embarassed, and the party must swear upon the urn of of the saint before he will speak. He then explains that his shop is really a tiny Jmorvi chantry, with just two masters, himself and his wife. In the basement of his shop is one of the finest lockboxes in the city, which is bolted to the bedrock foundation of the house. But last night the lockbox was robbed and something was stolen, along with some other items of value.
A year and a half ago, the Juka-Melbesa had been recoved by Cherafir arcanists and kept secret. It is a famed holy sword of the Agrikans, and the prize for the Octennial games. The winner of the games is called the "Maparas" and for eight years serves as the ceremonial champion of Agrik. After recovering the sword, the Guild of Arcane Lore kept it secret, and recently in Tymas' lockbox. Then Feric is called to explain how the sword was recovered. He had been one of those who discovered that the Agrikan Maparas had gone rogue, and was in Melderyn on a nefarious mission. Feric had been greatly wounded, but not before helping to defeat him and seizing the unholy weapon. Until this moment, Feric had assumed that the sword had been returned to Azeryan.
During the past year Agrikans have been searching for it. They knew that the Maparas had fled his keepers to Melderyn, but after that they lost track of him. Azeryani and Agrikan spies have been detected in the city, and frequency of Azeryani ships in the harbor has increased. The political ramifications are enormous! Discreet inquiries have been made regarding the weapon, and the Guild has disavowed knowledge of it. King Chunel even received an official embassy from Azeryan who inquired about "missing artifacts", which the king denied knowledge of. The Octennial Games are next year, and the Agrikans are becoming anxious. But now they may know that the Guild was lying, and had been keeping their most sacred artifact from them. At best it would lead to major embarassment, at worst to open warfare.
While asking more about the sword, suddenly the Seneschal of the Guild of Arcane Lore enters. He has obviously been listening. He explains more about the weapon. It is treated as a holy relic by the Agrikans, but it is far older, and probably an Earthmaster artifact. Like other Earthmaster artifacts, it has powers that do not easily fit into the convocational system of the Shek-PVar. The sword emits heat when in use, and the air about it shimmers. It is a weapon of great potency, and takes on a parasitic relationship with the wielder, who becomes dependent upon it. One mage who attuned to it was more susceptible to the commands of authority, but another mage who tried to attune grew sick and died. He says that the Guild has tried to make a copy of the sword, and then "find" the copy to return to Azeryan. But they have not the skill to do so. The sword is curved, like a great falchion.
The Seneschal says, "We need to you find the sword and bring it back, and make sure that those who took it are properly dealt with." There are two sourthern foreign arcanists currently in the city who may be leads. The first is Nasheo of Falani, a peleahn mage whom the party has previously met. The other is a Karejian merchant, Avishel of Avakinikos, who bought himself a membership in the Guild, citing his interest in Earthmaster artifacts. But suspicion is not limited to these two, as the Alienage is a bustling international port.
Torin asks who all knew of the swords presence in the lockbox. There were Tymas, his wife, his oldest apprentice, and "certain others who can be trusted." But beyond this, many masters of the Guild knew that the sword was in Cherafir. After some more questions, it is learned that the lockbox was opened as if by key or locksmith, and not broken into. The older apprentice, Denald, was found beaten and unconscious in the early morning at first watch. There were other chantry treasures stolen as well, including a box of unusual and ancient coins, a golden bejewelled goblet, and a long copper rod of Earthmaster origin. The Seneschal also says that th sword is heavily warded and not divinable. He says to make sure that the Guild is not mentioned during their investigation, and if he must be contacted, to do so very discreetly. The Obasaran adds that if it is necessary, the church's authority can be used.
The party goes to the chantry. Tymas is concerned that the party will make him look bad to his wife. When they get there, they request all members of the household to attend. There are Tymas, his wife and daughter, three apprentices, and a maid. Embran cautions them that has ways to tell if they are lying. The household is asked about their activities of last night and early morning. As this is going on, the mother appears nervous, and the daughter increasingly angry. The daughter keeps skirting direct questions as to her activities. She angrily exclaims that they should be looking for the thieves instead of harrassing her family.
After some more pointed questions, the daughter, Lysa, admits that she had gone down to the cellar. Then she says "everyone in the village is talking about the big treasure in the cellar!" She says to talk to her father about not locking the box. She knows this, because when she went down to the cellar the box was unlocked, and she opened it and saw the sword! (This is the first the sword is mentioned). She did not tell anyone in the village about it, but everyone knows. When the artifact arrived, it was in a big box with lots of guards, and was such a todo that no one in the village could have missed it.
The wife then appears as if she has something to say, but requests a private confession with Embran. In the other room, she confesses that she has been having an affair with a man she met at the Halean temple. She met him a month ago, before the artifact was entrusted to Tymas. She did not sleep with him until a week ago, and says that yesterday she hinted to him that a great treasure was stored in her cellar. The man was Avishel of Avakinikos. When she looks to Embran for support and forgiveness, Embran says, "I will hold my tongue because I have nothing but contempt for you."
Meanwhile in the other room, the daughter accuses her father of plotting with the older apprentice, Denald, to sell the sword. She says she heard them discussing it. She turns to storm out of the house, but Pedris casts an Odivshe spell to slow her down, so that Torin catches her by the arm. He walks her outside, and convinces her to cooperate with the party.
Back inside Pedris questions Tymas while Quint provides suitably intimidating looks. Feric mumbles about some ingenious "tools of persuasion" he has repaired for the king's dungeon. Tymas breaks down and tells his story. "I got word that there would be an attempt to steal it last night. The plan was to leave it unlocked so that that they could steal another sword I left in its place. I asked Denald to help them and pretend he was an inside man." He was told of this plot by the Seneschal. But he forgot to switch the swords. One copy of the Juka-Melbesa had been made, and what was stolen was the copy! It was a decoy all along. "The peole who were supposed to steal it were not the ones who actually stole it." A group of lia-kavair thugs from the Alienage were supposed to. Denald says that three thugs came in, and he showed them to the lockbox, and pretended to open it. But the sword was not there! The thugs became angry, and they stole other treasure against the agreement. Denald begged them not to, but they clubbed him unconscious.
All of this subtle intrigue goes against Feric's Jmorvi nature, and he goes downstairs to look at the lockbox. He examines it. The box itself is very strong and of high quality. It does not appear that the lock was picked. Meanwhile Embran makes the household swear an oath not to spread the news to anyone, especially that the sword was a fake. Quint has some men in the Alienage he sends for to watch over the household, to ensure that no one does anything untoward.
Quint and Embran go to the Alienage, while the rest of the party goes to meet the Seneschal of the Guild. Torin sends him a message, and they meet at the temple of Save K'nor. The ask him of Tymas' claim that he was acting on the Seneschal's instructions. He confirms that it is true, "He's worse at keeping secrets than I thought!" The duplicate was created by Master Graeber of Glenoth (who happened to be Feric's master. It is not a problem that the copy was stolen, for that was the plan. The problem is that it wasn't stolen by the right people, who were to give it to the Agrikans. He explains that a group of Lia-Kavair had been hired to break in and steal it. The Guild worked with Tymas to facilitate the breakin. The Seneschal believes that it was Avishel who hired the group. He had made hasty arrangements to leave the city yesterday, yet this morning he asked the ship captain not the sail, and returned to his quarters. He is suspected of being a spy. Like the Juka-Melbesa, Avishel has been difficult for the Savoryans to divine upon. Hearing this news of Avishel, Torin sends a discreet (and magical) message to Quint.
Meanwhile Quint has gone to see Avishel, with whom he has a current business relationship. At his residence, Quint notices that some of Avishel's personal effects are missing. Then he is served wine in a rather plain wooden mug. This is unlike Avishel's normally cosmipolitan behavior. Avishel explains to him that he received news yesterday that his father is very ill, and that he is leaving the city. They go to the Bronze Anchor tavern to discuss investment matters. Embran is already there incognito. Quint broaches the subject of a major theft in Halain. Avishel is clearly lying when he tries to feign ignorance of the event.
As he says this, a servant comes in and overhearing the conversation, quickly turns and leaves. Embran goes to follow him. The servant is an Ivinian and easy to follow. He goes to a tenement and raps on a door, "there's trouble let me in!" Embrans listen through the door. "I heard people talking, they know what happened! They're goin to blag that it was us!" "Shut up, Jamys doesn't know what we did, we left no clues, so all is well. Don't worry about it." Embran also hears some references to a coffer of old coins and "that ugly pewter thing". He assumes that these were the men that Denald let in last night.
Back at the Bronze Anchor, Quint sees genuine surprise in Avishel's eyes as he makes oblique references to the theft in Halain. It becomes hard for Avishel to deny any longer that he might know something. Quint says, "I know you have contacts, if there is anything you can find out, let me know." To this Avishel replies, "Is this matter business of yours? But of course, you have been hired to look into it!"
Quint leaves the tavern, and as he is walking through the Alienage, the man he left at Halain sees and approaches him. He has the daughter Lysa with him. He says that he caught the daughter trying to climb out a back window. She is humbled, and says meekly, "I took the sword."
Nuzyael 18th, 721
The remainder of the party is nearby, and they all gather in Quint's flat to hear Lysa's story. She overheard her father and the older apprentice discussing their plans to steal the sword. She did not know what the item was, but was appalled that they would be planning for anything to get stolen. She went to look at the object, and saw that it was the sword. "So I took it," she said, "and wrapped it in an old dress." She took it to the Bears Head inn, and gave it to a male friend of hers, who took it to a safe place. His name was Gaylor, and he is a journeyman to a weaponcrafter bonded to the Baron Nobis of Florian, in the village of Reginol. Lysa did not tell him what it was. Gaylor did not get along with Lysa's father, and considered him simple. "He has connections to some very influential people," a secret society known as the Tongue of Alvanius, who are apparently arcanists interested in the ancient henge culture and in aquiring artifacts.
When she learned the full story from her father, that the sword was meant to be stolen, she tried to sneak out the back window and get it back from Gaylor. Torin says she will come with the party to get it back.
As the party is discussing this, footsteps are heard outside of the door. Then there is a knock. The party and Lysa go upstairs to be out of the way, while Quint answers the knock. It is a noble lady who introduces herself as Lady Trunis of Halis. She is seeking to hire Quint as a bodybuard. She is going to travel to Nurisel with a side trip to a henge site, and wants a bodyguard. Quint is suspicious, and tries to pass the service to one of his men. But she wants Quint himself, because of his reputation. He says he has prior commitments, and that she should come back in three days.
Pedris sneaks out the back window and scouts around. He sees no shadowy figures, or anyone who may be with the lady. When she leaves, he follows her. She goes to the Thatcher's Glove tavern, also in the Alienage. The clientele are farmers and villagers. She heads upstairs. He waits in the common room, but she does not come down during the hour wait.
Back to the others, Lysa says Gaylor doesn't tell her much about his secret society. She does say that he is Shek-Pvar who is likely a Shenava in rank. Then Feric remembers a fellow Jmorvi apprentice from long ago, named Gaylor of Hull. He was a bookish and boastful fellow. He claimed he would return in one year and one day to claim his rank of Shenava. He said he would find an artifact potent enough to count as the three required for promotion. But he never returned during the remaining six years of Feric's apprenticeship. Lysa gets miffed when Feric describes him as a braggart. "He's just smarter than eveyrone else," she says.
Torin looks for a ship heading up river soon. There is one leaving in an hour, but it is going to Haox, and not as far as Reginol. But that is close enough, and the party books it. Embran does not come along. The idea that the Guild of Arcane Lore deceived the church with the fake sword has him getting angrier and angrier. But he will keep a watch on the lady at the Thatcher's Glove.
The party takes the boat the Haox. It is the sunny afternoon, but by the time they travel on foot to Reginol, it is raining and late evening. It is a small somewhat isolated village, with no baron's keep to be seen anywhere. Neither is there an inn. The manor gate is shut and no one answers it. Pedris climbs over the palisade and opens the gate from within. Feric would protest this breach, but the gate is open and the party is through, before he can speak. They knock at the manor door, with no answer for a long time. Finally a servant answers, by the name of Serge. Quint asks for hospitality. He says that the lord is asleep. As he shows them to the hall, where he lays out some furs, Quint asks him about the weaponcrafter Gaylor. "What?" says the servant, "What weaponcrafter?" There is no weaponcrafter in the village.Nobis is only a landed knight, and not a baron. Lysa is upset that Gaylor lied to her.
At breakfast the next morning, the lady chamberlain comes down to great them. They ask about Gaylor and describe him. She thinks and says that there might be someone like that at Canof to the east. "The bailiff there is an astrologer of the Guild of Arcane Lore." Finally the lord of the manor comes down, and is surprised that there are guests. Quint and the lord briefly reminisce about old times during Ezar's War. In return for the lord's hospitality, Torin offers to dye and restore the faded tapestry on the wall. Not to be outdone, and seeing that he has no weaponcrafter, Feric offers to polish the lord's sword. Then he realizes what he has said and turns bright red. An hour later the tapestry looks new again, and the lord tells Torin that he will always be welcome here.
The party then heads to Canof along a muddy track in the rain. On the way they catch a glimpse of an old henge. They arrive at noon. There is a smith or forge here, and a stone tower of sort off on a hill. The party goes to the forge. A youth meets them at the door. They ask about Gaylor, and the boy says that he came back last night, but then left this morning. The bailiff was mad at him and was cursing up a storm. The weaponcrafter here is Master Jordi. The boy thinks the bailiff is at the tower looking at the sky again. The party did not pass Gaylor on the way, so they wonder which direction he went.
The party goes to the tower, which appears to be an astrologer's tower for observing the stars. It is locked. No one appears to be there, then they notice a boy running up from the manor. He says that the bailiff wants to see them. The go back down to the manor house. The bailiff is an astrologer by the name of Merriman. Torin tells him that Gaylor has taken an artifact by mistake. Merriman says he summoned Gaylor in the morning, but he did not come, but ran away. He talked with Master Jordi, and heard that Gaylor came with a "sword of fire", which he took with him when he ran away. Torin asks the bailiff what his concern with the sword is. He answers that he has seen in the stars that the imminent time of trouble would depend on a sword of fire.
They tell him that they did not pass Gaylor on the road. The bailiff says he might have taken the long road to Darade. Darade is a henge site, and has a small Peleahn chantry there. The bailiff surmises that Gaylor fell in with some folk there. The scholars of Darade have a reputation for the unorthodox arts. He sends a local yeoman with them, who knows the area.
The party heads north overland towards Darade. There is a narrow hunting trail. Eventually the come to a hill with standing stones upon it. There are no structures they can see. But continuing, on the other side of the hill there is a long house and a couple of outbuildings. There are sheep and goats, and a few children playing. An older man comes out to meet them. His face his severely scarred with burns. He introduces himself as Viran Tobos. He tells them that Gaylor is indeed here. "May we speak with him," asks Torin. "You may not," is the answer. "If you try to take him, I will destroy you!" The Peleahn have a reputation for unsubtle destructive spells. Quint fingers his sword. Then the man says that Gaylor does not have what the party seeks, that he gave the sword to his master back at the village. He explains that the bailiff told Gaylor to seek sanctuary at Darade from those seeking to kill him. Gaylor has taken sanctuary, and Tobos will not allow him to be killed. Then Lysa asks to speak with Gaylor. The man gives her permission to enter.
The party sits in a circle outside the fence gate. Torin has his back to the watching Tobos. He uses his clairvoyance talent to spy upon Lysa. He sees her talking with Gaylor (but cannot hear them). They appear to be arguing, and she slaps him. He is very animated. Then the two come out to where the party is. Gaylor explains that the bailiff told him to seek sanctuary, that the people after the sword would stop at nothing. So he gave the sword to his master and fled. "I had it in my hands," he says. "To think that I held the Sword of Calsten!" [See the background page for the legend of the Sword of Calsten] He explains further that he is a member of a group of arcanists preparing for the coming time of flame. This is the Tongue of Alvanius. They are trying to build an "arsenal" to defend themselves during that time. The sword is a powerful piece of the arsenal. He says, "I feld the power of the sword, that it had chosen me."
Viran Tobos lets Gaylor go with the party, but he warns them that if he dies he will destroy them. Jolly fellow. They head back to Canof. Gaylor says it will be longer but faster if they take the road. It is evening again. Along the way they see several shooting stars. The party stops while Torin tries to clairvoy upon Merriman. He sees a desk with a lamp and the bailiff sitting at it. Then he sees him fall back with a slash across his chest. There is blood. Torin sees a long evil looking sword plunge into his chest, and twisted, killing Merriman. Torin loses the vision.
Nuzyael 20th, 721 (very early in morning)
The party believes that the sword is with the Lord of Canof, Merriman, who lied to them about it. Hurrying to Canof in the middle of the night, the party smells smoke in the distance as they near the village. As they are running, they hear a horseman approaching from the village. It turns out to be Embran. He says that hte village is being attacked by swordsmen. He had been watching the lady Trunis, whome the party was suspicious of. She secretly left the inn in Cherafir and came here with the swordsmen. Embran only recently tracked her here.
They send Lysa back to Reginol, but she follows behind anyway. There is a smell of smoke in the village, and there are small flames about the manor. The palisade around it has been burnt down. The stable roof within the manor is on fire, but nothing else is, thankfully, due to the damp thatch from an earlier rain. Embran says a prayer before rushing into the manor house.
There is no one in the great hall. They hear voices upstairs, and Embran and Quint prepare to go up. At the top of the stairs they see two Ivinians in ring armor and axes. One charges down the stairs yelling. Quint strikes him first to the face. As the other man moves to engage, Pedris leans in between his two comrades and blasts them with the spell, Breath of Dhivu. The two men fall covered in (ethereal) frost, and party is greatly impressed by the spell's stopping power.
Most of the party continues up the stairs. The rooms up here were in the process of being ransacked by the Ivinians. Meanwhile downstairs, Feric discovers the dead Merriman in his office. The scene is as in Torin's vision. He is sitting before his desk and has been stabbed in the chest. On the desk are tarot cards laid out in a pattern, as if he was reading his fortune when tragedy befell him. The room and the desk have been rifled through. The party then hears a pounding, and they discover the servants trapped downstairs in the cellar. They say there were four to eight men with a beautiful woman and a darker "swarthy" fellow. These people took the lady of the manor with them.
Having met the woman before, Torin decides to use his clairvoyance talent to scry upon the Lady Trunis. He sees her vaguely, holding a curved sword before a stone wall and looking angry. The only other stone building is the observatory tower. The party runs out to it. They can see light inside the upper windows. At the tower they can see that the door has been burnt completely away. They glimpse a dead man inside. It turns out to be the weaponcrafter Jordi, who has a serious burn wound on his forehead. There is a rhythmic banging noise coming from upstairs.
The party heads upstairs in single file. About halfway up, Quint says, "hey watch out...", just as the stairs burst into flame. Embran is in the midst of it, and falls back unconscious into Quint. (It is an ethereal fire, so Embran is not physically burned.) The upper half of the stairs are engulfed. Feric uses his Negation talent, and starts walking back up the stairs. As he does, flames within range dampen and go aout. Quint follows him. The scheme at first appears to work, but then someone leans out of the upstairs entrance and throws an axe. It hits Feric hard, and he stumbles back stunned and in shock. Quint drags Feric back down. Gaylor hurls his shortsword at the thrower, but it is a wild shot and sticks in the ceiling.
Thus having learned the lesson of tower defensibility, they retreat to the woods a short distance way, carrying their unconscious friends with them. They hear a woman's voice in their heads telling them to go away. Pedris casts a darkness spell on the upper floor of the tower, and a further message comes to them, "that was very foolish." Then they hear the pounding noise again.
The party attends to their fallen comrades. Embran regains consciousness, and doesn't appear too badly hurt. But Feric has entered shock, and they cover him with a blanket to keep him warm. When the darkness spell wears off, they see the light in the upper floor has moved to the top of the tower. The woman's voice comes again, "We know you're out there. We have the wizard's woman, and we will throw her off the tower if you do not leave." Torin says, "you know we cannot go back empty handed. Give us some of the loot." The answer is somewhat confused, saying first, "perhaps we can come to some arrangement," and then later, "kill the lady in green and let us go with what we want."
Then they hear a woman's scream. Pedris again casts darkness upon the tower, to foil them in their plans. They say they will push the woman over, and then they hear a scream and a thump. Quint and Pedris move foward into the darkness to get the victim. Pedris can see in this darkness, and they find a woman in a dressing gown who had been pushed from the tower. She is still alive. Quint drags her off while Pedris sneaks back inside the tower. It was a thirty foot fall from the top of the tower, and amazingly the woman does not appear to have suffered any broken bones.
Pedris sneaks back up to the second floor. There is no one there. A metal grate barring the roof entrance has been broken, which explains the banging noises. He peers over the trapdoor to the roof. There is an Ivinian attempting to keep guard in the magical darkness outside an attic building on the roof. Another casting of Breath of Dhivu takes him out. A voice from the attic calls out for the guard. Pedris looks inside the door, and sees a few figures in there. He again casts Breath of Dhivu, and hears them fall to the ground. He leans over the edge of the roof and yells for the party to come up and secure the tower, "they're all down." He notices that the magical darkness seems to be "unravelling" somehow. It is different from a normal dispell. Then something attacks him mentally...
The party also sees the unravelling, and they rush upstairs. Lysa, Feric and the lady are left behind, and Gaylor goes to get bowmen. They see Pedris standing before the door to the attic and looking around. The go in and see some unconscious people. To their surprise, they recognize them as Avishel and two of his servants, Clothotis and Koron. They don't see the sword. They ask Pedris about it, but he does not seem to be himself, and confused. He wants to show them something in the room, and says, "she is the one you must look out for." They don't see the woman here. They are worried about Pedris, and Torin and Embran go into the room to talk away from where he can hear.
At that instant a woman leaps down upon Quint from the attic roof. She has a flaming sword and strikes him a heavy blow to the arm. Quint falls unconscious. She then holds the sword to Pedris' throat. Coming out of the room, Embran charges her. She blocks his bow and strikes back. It is a glancing blow, but powerful. Torin casts Beam of Nolar and strikes her in the chest. She strikes Embran again in the shoulder and he falls.
The woman slowly stalks towards Torin, who says, "perhaps this has all been a misunderstanding." She answer with, "the sword is ours, so where is it?!?!" With his hands out unmoving, he silently casts Hlandor's Flash. The woman is temporarily blinded, but rushes at him anyway, and misses. Torin ducks past her as she is still blinded. Quint has just come to, and he throws a dagger at her from his prone position. It does not penetrate her armor. Embran has also come to, and seeing her now as an evil Agrikan foe, rushes back into battle and strikes her hard, and she falls! He finishes her with a coup d'grace. The flame on the her sword flickers and goes out.
Torin checks Pedris' condition. He discovers that he has been possessed. With his magic he commands the spirit possessing Pedris' body. It is Clothotis, Avishel's mute servant, and a Savoryan. Afraid of immiment death, Clothotis took Pedris' body. Torin goes over and kills Clothotis' body in anger, and exorcises the spirit from Pedris.
Meanwhile bowmen from the village have arrived at the tower. Embran tells them that the enemy has escaped through the woods, and that the lady of the manor has been injured. He does not let them up to see the truth of the encounter. Gaylor is told that they got away with the sword. Using a Fyvrian item discovered in an earlier adventure, Torin puts Avishel and his remaining servant into a long healing trance, for the purpose of keeping them unconscious for a long time.
The party's plan is to have Quint "rescue" Avishel, letting him see the carnage of the battle. Avishel is a contact of Quint's, who has deduced that Quint is also looking for the sword. He will tell them the same story, that the enemy escaped with the sword. The rest of the party plans to return to Cherafir with the sword secretly.
But they suddenly realize that this isn't the right sword after all! There is a curious amber gemstone inlaid in the pomel, which appears to be a Peleahn focus. They ask Lysa about it, who has seen the real (fake) sword, and she says the sword is similar, but not the same as the one that was stolen. Apparently this was the Agrikan woman's own sword, and her earlier demand to know where the sword was now makes sense.
The plan is now put on hold while they figure things out. Avishel and his servant are still sleeping, and Gaylor and the bowmen still unaware of the true events. Many question still remain. Who is the woman pretending to be a noble Melderyni? Why is Avishel working with her? And where is the stolen sword?
Nuzyael 23th, 721
The rest of the party is brought into the tower. Pedris and Feric are still unconscious. Torin searches the dead Lady Trunis. She is wearing a very light chain hauberk underneath her dress. Also found on her is a metal scrollcase. Examining the dead Clothotis, there is a case of tarot cards, and a bone scroll case. The latter contains a map of Melderyn Isle, with a black dot in roughly the location of Canof village.
The party discusses their plans. Should they just leave the dead bodies and go? Should Avishel see the other party members, to learn that Quint is with them? Torin and Quint get their stories "straight" in case Avishel asks about the events after he awakens. The basic story is to be that Lady Trunis killed Clothotis, and the party killed Trunis
The Lysa comes up the stairs and says, "your friend, the ugly guy, is coming to." This is in reference to Feric. She then remarks that the locked metal grate to the roof indicates that there may be something on the roof to lock up. They party makes a brief examination of the roof and roof building, but can find nothing else. Lysa then sees the dead Trunis, and seems to recognize her. "She came to my father's shop a few weeks ago." All she did was have a dagger sharpened. Apparently she had been spying on the sword for a while.
Torin leaves the tower to search the smithy, in case the weaponcrafter had stashed the sword there. A while later a magical message is sent from Torin, that the villagers think he is one of those who attacked the village. Things could get violent for him. Quint and Feric go to help. The find him holed up in the smithy. In front are a group of yelling villagers with pitchforks. Quint tell them, "get out of here, you dog!" They back off, but one steps forward to talk to Quint. The knight says that he is friends with their lord Nobis of Reginol, and they came to stop the marauders, and that Torin inside the smithy is with him. The peasant says that they hung the Ivinian in the manor. Quint and Feric return to the tower.
Meanwhile at the tower, Gaylor returns. He says that he returned because he knows the sword isn't out there in the woods. He says he can find the sword, can sense it. Embran brings him upstairs, and he confirms that Trunis' sword is not the one. He then closes his eyes and casts a spell, then points to the wall of the outbuilding. "There are two items of metal here, one is silver... the other is... the Sword of Calsten!" As he was searching and casting, Embran prepares. As he finishes speaking, Embran lays a hand on his shoulder and invokes a holy ritual to make him sleep. Embran then examines where Gaylor pointed, and finds a fake stone.
Behind it is a wide hollow space. In side is the swork, along with a long black thick metal tube. But as he reaches inside, a blade slashes down from inside. Embran yanks his hand out, but not quite fast enough to avoid sustaining an injury to his hand. Sticking his own sword in, he sees that the trap is fully sprung, and so reaches in again to grab the sword. As he does, he feels something within the blade fighting him. It is battling his mind. But his faith in Larani is strong, and he controls it. Carefully wrapping it up, he places it in his pack. He also takes Trunis' sword. He believes it to be an evil Agrikan sword, and the various ashes and oils found in her scrollcase seem to confirm it.
He pulls out the black tube, and after some examination, discovers that is a telescope of some kind. A tool of the Merriman the Astrologer. He also finds a scroll case with dozens of parchments, many with astrological symbols and charts, but few written in any language he knows. Quint counsels to leave the other items in cache, as they belong to the astrologers wife.
At about this time, Torin sends another message to the group. He used his disembodiment skills to search the smithy premises. He discovered many magical items in its cellar. "It's a whole armoury!" The party goes to the smithy. Torin notices as they arrive, that he can see two swords on Embran. One is faintly visible as a magic item, but the other sword is quite bright when viewed in the ethereal plane. Perhaps the sword itself belongs to two planes. It turns out that this is not the fake Juka-Melbesa, but the Trunis' sword with the amber gem. Once in the smithy basement, the group finds bins of charcoal and crates of pig iron. He also find several crates filled with sword blades and arrow heads. It is enough to easily equip a company of soldiers. All the blades appear to be magical in some way. Feric takes one of the blades to take back to the Guild. The Tongue of Alvanius (the secret group to which Gaylor belongs) really has been preparing for the coming of fire!
The Lord Nobis arrives from Reginol, having been summoned by one of the villagers. Most of the party avoids him by sneaking off into the woods (with the sword). They double back and take the road to the river, where they hire a boat and return to Cherafir. But Quint remains behind to meet Nobis. The lord arrives with a small entourage, and has a knight and a few yeoman restore order to the village.
Quint explains the events to Nobis, but he does not mention the sword, which makes for a very puzzling tale. Nobis has the few survivors, including Avishel and his servant Koron. When they return to Reginol a few hours later, they are put in chains in the dungeon. Quint negotiates with the lord to release Avishel and Koron. Nobis doesn't like it, as he still thinks he is on of the attackers. Quint goes down to the dungeon to speak with Avishel, who is just waking up from his magical sleep. Quint tells him that he "rescued" the merchant. Avishel is confused and remembers little. He says he met a woman who said she could help him reach his "goal" before his rival Quint. When they arrived in Canof, her group started acting crazy and burning things. When he tried to stop her, he was threatened. Someone attacked them, and he remembers nothing more. Quint tells him that Clothotis was killed by Trunis. Avishel is visibly distressed, but he puts a good face on. He says that Clothotis tried to warn him about treachery from Trunis.
Quint also tells him that he recoved the sword. Avishel says, "You have won, and I have lost three-fold." "Not necessarily," says Quint. Once back in Cherafir, Quint will discuss a price to sell him the sword. He then goes to plead for Avishel's release.
Meanwhile the party reaches Cherafir. Embran goes to the temple of Larani with the sword. Torin notifies the Guild of Arcane Lore, and meeting in the temple they confirm that this is the "correct" sword. Arrangements are made to transer the sword to the Guild, to compensate the temple for its help, etc.
The next day Quint arrives with Avishel and Koron. Later that day he visits Avishel and sets a price. It is fifty gold crowns! Avishel is shocked at such an outrageous figure. No deal is made. The next day he offers 5 crowns, but Quint wants 25. But the Guild begins pressuring Quint to hand over the sword, as that was the whole point of the exercise. The next morning Avishel says he called in every marker he could, and offers five crowns in coin, and another five as promissary notes. The offer is accepted. The actual transfer is made in Avishel's cabin shortly before he sails off to Lythia. He examines the sword, then grabs and holds it up. He is convinced that it is genuine. Quint distributes the money to the party.
The temple Master of Archives also examines the other sword. It turns out to be one of a few elite swords made by the Order of Mameka, Master of Steel. It is actually a demon in sword form. Embran was planning to keep the sword as a trophy, but relinquishes to the temple, in exchange for access to fourth circle rituals.