Courtney (Dekran, Dragonborn Warlord)
Necati (Sokuyo, Human Monk)
Michael (Nobby, Halfling Rogue)
Trevor (Trel, Human Psion)
Jeff (Mel, Dwarf Fighter)
Zac (Therin, Tiefling Warlock)
The late night concluded at Carlisle’s place while Nobby stayed with his boys in the Monastery. The next morning the boys immediately set to work in hiring artisans of all fashion and began plans for improving the soon-to-be “orphanage”. Nobby also planned a large funeral for the 10 boys who had been killed during the attack the night before. In a very melancholy fashion, he began spreading word across the city for all who could come to attend. He felt it would be a good symbol the opening of his orphanage, and bring in a lot more business.
The party had some small business around town. They also made plans to pursue the Crystal Venom problem further. Sokuyo visited a tailor at the base of Royal Hill who was primarily responsible for the nobles’, and king’s attire. He explained that he needed disguises for himself, Trel, and Nobby that would allow them to wander about the southern district of town without being identified. She mentioned she knew just the man, and to return just after midday.
Upon their return they found that it was Kofini Dul, a githzerai contact of Nobby’s whom he had previously stolen from after Kofini swindled a higher bargain price. Nobby and he had an interchange. Trel seemed very fascinated by the man, and paid him 500gp in order to make their disguises that would be available for pick up the next morning.
As the heroes headed towards the castle for the second night of Council, a deep cold storm began to blow and rain down on Vandromar. They were intercepted by a young tiefling man dressed in robes. He introduced himself as Therin Kiroset, a local of Vandromar. He had obviously heard of the bravado of these heroes and in returning the body of Ilario, though he didn’t recognize the dwarf Mel Faldrin. He requested the help of the heroes getting rid of the Crystal Venom problem and offered his training as a Warlock. They were hesitant and assured him they were working on the problem. However, they agreed he might be useful. He too was invited to the council to share his story of how the drug is affecting the streets. It was within the dreary overcast of the weather that the council begun.
King Rostvani began discussion on the Crystal Venom that was plaguing their streets. Laslas Northai, the Eladrin historian, politely objected to the relevance of a local problem with such prominent council members. Emperor Duliel of Feliwyth apologized for his historian’s unbridled mouth and assured King Rostvani and the council that they were there as allies, willing to help in any way they could.
Terulai Haaken, the tiefling head of the mages guild, elaborated on the affects of the drug. The king announced that Estan Cilazy had been given jurisdiction over the monitoring and regulation of the drug being passed on the streets. Therin was asked to share his story. He told of his brother’s quick addiction and the rabid manner that he behaved. He shared how the southern district has fallen apart as its members have succumbed to the drug. Trel petitioned that Nobby be given jurisdiction over the matter due to his skills on the street, and the King looked to consider it but let it remain with Estan.
The attention then turned to the War of Expansion. Much was discussed about the purpose of the war, why the barbarians and orcs were running a frontal assault, and the steps needed to maintain safety and peace in Daemar. Sokuyo desired a peaceful outcome; the king expressed his desire for that as well but said he attempted it with no success. Dekran Jannar voiced his determination to assist the king in whatever way he would and would head to the warfront soon. Emperor Duliel agreed to send word immediately for reinforcements to come from Feliwyth region and any outlying Elven or Eladrin colonies so willing to join the cause. The council was concluded for that evening.
The next day Trel and Therin went to Estan Cilazy’s manor to question him about his methods in handling the Crystal Venom on the streets. Being escorted to the upper floor, they found him bathing in a large metal tub with female servants around him washing him. Disgusted at the sight it took a minute before they spoke. Trel implied he wanted to get his hands on the drug, suspect Estan of being secretly involved. Estan pleaded innocence and told them of its horrors. Unconvinced Trel pressed on. Estan wanted to show them something and so he got dressed after assaulting their eyes with his naked image.
His carriage took them down into the southern districts where he opened a window in their carriage. There Therin and Trel watched as two mercenaries beat a Crystal Venom user within an inch of his life, crushing his mouth and skull and leaving him to bleed in the alley. Estan then threatened, “Because of your status, I will pretend I didn’t hear anything you said to me back there. This drug is a horror, and will be my chance to show my power as a noble to the king.”
Therin then accused Estan and his men of killing his brother and began finding the fault in all his methods. He said these users deserved a fair trial and that they weren’t the problem. Estan’s reasoning was that if he ended the demand, the supply would go away. The two heroes left the carriage as Estan drove away. They attended to the wounded man and paid for him to be housed in a hospice until he recovered.
The final evening of Council was the matter of the Six Hearts of Tharizdun. The rain and storm continued outside, putting a damper on the events of the festival and the mood of all present. As the rain pattered down on the domed roof of the council room, and the chamber was lit with torches, King Rostvani turned the time over to the heroes present to tell their tale.
Dekran related his tale of his travels from the southwest. He and his previous band of adventurers found the heart in the possession of a group of goblins near the coast. The goblins were ferocious so Dekran and his party slew them. Their chief wore the small heart around his neck. They attempted to destroy it but it resisted. As a final resort, one of Dekran’s comrades embraced the heart and dove into a volcano sacrificing himself. As the heart was destroyed the blast killed all but Dekran.
The Shadow Slayers then recounted their journeys into the Ziggurat deep in the swamps of Dreadwater, and the subsequent destruction of the heart once belonging to Shammath, King of the Slaughter.
It was wise of the king to begin the discussion with tales of hope, for afterwards Laslas Northai rose and related the stories of the impending darkness. He was hopeful that 2 of the 6 had been destroyed. He was only able to find information on 5 of the 6. He identified one belonging to a Gloomdark child somewhere in the Shadowfell. All the legends speak of a hidden village that worships a small child immortalized by the heart. Another one of the hearts is rumored to be deep in the Rhevendun, the forsaken desert in the east.
After sharing of these 4 hearts, and about to report on the 5th, a grave look came across Historian Northai’s beautiful face. He turned to King Rostvani,
“King, I am afraid and nervous to report to you the last. Fear now fills my heart at this grave news for which I bear. For the 5th heart of Tharizdun lies now beneath this very hill. It belonged to ancient named Sandek Kiroset, of the Bael Turath empire. Darkness now corrupts this hill. The heart was placed inside Kiroset’s skull, and encrusted with illusory gems…”
Even as Laslas spoke, Trel looked up from his bowed head and shot a piercing glance at Nobby. Mouthing the words, “We sold it!” the Halfling then realized what they had done so many months before. While the heroes were cleansing the Bael Turath ruins, the recovered the skull that caused dark effects on all of them, and was a direct result of the rift being opened at the Bela’Thim. Horror now plagued the hearts of the adventurers and Trel rose at once, immediately confessing their folly before the council. This admission caused uproar, an unsettlement of order within the council.
Lady Itolael was furious of their carelessness. Even Emperor Duliel was enraged that it could slip through their hands. Trayse Moral, the Deva Lord remained still as stone as arguments flared across the room. King Rostvani spoke in a commanding voice, bringing order to the room. He defended the Shadow Slayers, and allowed Trel to explain they had no way of knowing at the time. Plans were immediately set in action to locate the heart if it was still within the city. While that heart was the priority, the king asked the adventurers to help with the war, stating,
“If the heart is within the city, the war is no matter for Tharizdun will have his reign and Vandromar will crumble. But if we do not stop the Barbarians, the stronghold of Celysion will fall, and hope will be lost in destroying the hearts. This is our lot.”
Perhaps abandoning the council prematurely without gathering as much information as they should, and still not knowing the identity of the 6th heart, the heroes set to at once. Dekran, who had organized The Acolytes of Arken the day previous, shifted his focus to finding the heart immediately. He and Mel hit the city, though it was late, looking for rumors as to where the heart was sold.
Sokuyo, Trel, and Therin headed to pick up their disguises while Nobby headed to his gang to have them spread out to search the city for who the man was that they sold the artifact to. With some minor adjustments, Nobby’s purchased disguised was fitted to Therin. As the monk, psion, and warlock headed to the dark southern districts they stopped at a contact Therin had. The friend of Therin’s brother let them in after Therin told them they were in disguise. He gave them information on the crazed state of Therin’s brother, and where they might find a dealer beyond the southern district wall.
The district was like a zombie warzone. Those on the drug had oozing bleeding sores, were rabid and fighting, and a few were even feasting on another deceased user. They made their way through towards the docks and after a time Sokuyo found a shady drow standing near some crates. The drow spoke as they approached,
“What maureth do the Griffons fly south?” clearly a code to identify themselves as users. Sokuyo deduced the griffons don’t fly south, Trel prepared to plant a thought in the drow’s mind, and Therin hesitantly spoke the current maureth, “Rul.” Even though it was the wrong answer, Trel persuaded the mind of their new dealer, and Sokuyo prepared for a fight. The inexperienced Therin stood there not knowing whether he spoke the correct answer. The drow finally spoke, “How much are you looking to buy?” They bought 400gp worth, which ended up only being 3 doses, though that is enough to kill. Sokuyo snuck into the shadows afterwards to trail the man for the rest of the night.
Hours later the man traveled back through the heart of Vandromar to the wealthier northern district and went into a large mansion that had a party going all night. Inside were exposed human and half-elven women, as well as boisterous laughter.
Meanwhile, Dekran and Mel found out the gems of the skull had been sold separately and they reported this information to Nobby. Nobby informed his boys and they continued searching. They returned with rumor of a crazy man held in solitary confinement at Stonewall Prison who mumbled about the skull. Nobby switched gears and pulled the buried alive Shadow Caller from his tomb and forced him to take them where the Crystal Venom was being manufactured or he would bury his wife alive. The man was shoved into Mel’s handy haversack. He led them to the same mansion Sokuyo was at.
The group met up again and formed a plan on how to proceed. They decided to visit Terulai Haaken and have Therin transformed to look like the captured Shadow Caller so he could gain access to the party the following evening. After resting, the group went to the Mage’s guild just before dusk. Terulai was found in his study. He welcomed them in and asked how they could help. When they shared their plan with him and knowledge he seemed very interested, but more than willing to help. When they opened the bag so he could see the face of the Shadow Caller to replicate his image, the Caller leapt out of the bag grabbing Terulai’s ropes and pleading, “Terulai, please help me!”
Terulai placed his hand on the face of the man and shoved him back down in the bag! The adventurers were shocked and didn’t know why.
“Do you know this man?” Trel asked.
“Yes, he lives near me in the northern district. If he truly is involved in such treachery, then he deserves to die. What is your plan with him?”
Nobby told how he was going to bury him alive after this. Terulai persuaded the Halfling to allow him to perform a public execution to make a mockery of him and the Shadow Callers. He gave Nobby back the money for the donations and cost of the spell and Nobby readily agreed. Terulai plunged his hand into the bag with a dagger drawn and cut the tongue off the man before shoving him in a closet still bound. Shocked at the violent display the adventurer’s grew suspicious. Terulai, wiping the blood from the dagger, explained it is only what he had coming from him if he was to meddle in such awful things.
After Therin was transformed the group headed for the mansion house to get into the party. But on the way they discussed their suspicions of Terulai. Trel decided to use his Sending ritual to penetrate the mind of the Shadow Caller now in the closet in Terulai’s study. It was immediately then that Trel heard the mental voice of the man screaming, and confessing everything, even that Terulai was truly the head of the Shadow Callers, and executed Zanhand to gain power and favor in both realms.
The group changed plans and headed straight for the castle, gaining and audience with the King. They pled with him for some time, presenting what they knew to be fact. But without any evidence, the king was hard pressed to believe them, citing all the faithful acts that Terulai had shown, including the Sacred Binding before the council. He finally agreed to summon Terulai to the castle and have guards check his study, but only to humor his faithful adventurers.
Terulai walked in as confident as ever.
“What can I do for you milord?” and he bowed to the king.
“Forgive me for summoning you here, but these men seem to believe that you are somehow involved in the distribution of Crystal Venom, and allied with the Shadow Callers.” The king expounded.
“I sincerely apologize for anything I’ve done to give this impression, my dear King, and I can assure I am not,” Terulai lied with a sinister evil, but convincing the king. The adventurers felt helpless, having the man responsible standing before them and yet having no proof to convict them. As Nobby began telling how he cut the man’s tongue out and they would find him, knowing full well Terulai wasn’t going to execute him publicly. Shortly thereafter, the guards walked in escorting the man, who now seemed to be in perfect health and delighted to see them all. The man denied everything, and favored Terulai’s story of not being involved nor seeing the adventurers.
Trel quickly realized that a healing spell and a mind erasing spell had been performed on the man. Mel suggested they get another caster to identify who had cast the spell on Therin, but the best caster they found was unable to do so. Terulai seemed confident he was off the hook, and so he began expounding on his willingness to help the king and heroes in whatever way he could to thwart the drug and the Shadow Callers.
In his excitement he lost track of all of his lies and spoke, “These adventurers even mentioned to me there is a mansion in the northern district that is hosting nightly parties, and the drug is being made somewhere in its chambers.” Trel, realizing the slip in his story quickly spoke,
“When did we mention that?”
“Well when you brought him to me of course….” And Terulai, realizing he had just exposed himself before the Lord of the Land as the most corrupt individual within city walls, furrowed his brow and gained a truly evil look in his eyes. Terulai drew his scepter from his side, and the heroes drew their weapons in defense of the king and their land!
XP Each: 683
-Investigating the Crystal Venom: 700 XP
-Roleplay with the Council: 300 XP
-Visting Estan Cilazy: 500 XP
-Creating Acolytes of Arken: 100 XP
-Problem-Solving role play and plans: 1000 XP
-Locating Crystal Venom mansion: 500 XP
-Exposing Terulai as Shadow Caller Leader: 1000 XP
Total XP: 4100 XP