Codex IV-Chapter 3

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Rynn was a little astonished at first. Quite frankly, he hadn’t thought that Amara would just show up again. But here she was.

Khaska was the first to act. “Please, Amara, take my seat.” He got up and indicated it, and the sorceress gladly sat down, not noticing that by doing this, Khaska had nicely positioned him between her and the door.

Rynn didn’t waste time on niceties, though. “Amara, we need to talk.” He glanced over at Knight Franmore. Perhaps the paladin’s presence would be a detriment to Amara speaking openly, but there was nothing to be done about that now. “That was you at the skyport this morning, wasn’t it?”

“Ah. I thought that was you, but I didn’t quite get a good enough look to be sure. How did you end up on the ship?” she asked.

“I had seen the training exercise with Godfrey. He was despondent after losing, so I had a drink with him.” He glanced at Jenika. “And, well, I stayed the night.”

“You looked like you had had your fair share of that wine.”

“Yes. But that’s not the point. If Godfrey was despondent before, think of how he feels now that his crystals have been stolen!”

“Amara Palladia, I am Hazel Franmore, of the Knights of the Silver Dragons.” Hazel stood. “These are serious accusations. What do you have to say for yourself?”

Amara looked at her companions. “You went and got the Knights already? I would think you would at least give me a chance to explain myself!”

“If you have fallen in with criminals, then there would be little to explain,” Khaska said.

“We’ve been through a lot these last few months,” Rynn said. “And I think of you as a friend, but what happened this morning was outrageous. So what were you doing there?”

Amara held up her right hand, showing her ring, wiggling that finger. “I am a worshipper of the dragon god. This has been true since I discovered my powers. After we came into our money in Hammerdine I was able to have this ring fashioned. The symbol on it is the draconic rune for ‘worship.’ However, I apparently am not the only one who uses it.

“When I arrived in town I was seen wearing it by a cleric by the name of Belim Sandgrin. He asked me if I, as a sister in the cult, would be willing to help with something. I had no idea what he was speaking about, but was intrigued. I agreed to help, and he gave me some brief instructions. I was to help him this morning with a task for the cult, and he said I would be handsomely rewarded by our superiors, whoever they are.

“He came to get me in the morning, and we met up with the others you saw, Rynn. It was then that we all received our full instructions on what was to happen, and we went to the skyship port to steal the crystals posing as Knights.”

“So where have you been all day, then?” asked Jenika.

“Helping Sandgrin find a place to hide them. I assured him that if Rynn had been there, that not only would the Knights be tracking him, but likely Rynn all as well. I did not tell him about the rest of you. He had to improvise a bit. But … ” she smiled. “I know where they are being hidden. He was going to smuggle them out of the city on a ship that’s due to leave day after tomorrow. But we can get to it before then.”

“So let me get this straight,” said Knight Franmore, “you just happened to stumble on this opportunity and you went along … why?”

“Because I’m trying to be less selfish than I have in the past.” Amara looked at her friends. “My friends here have shown me that power doesn’t have to be used to benefit solely oneself. I took this opportunity, and now have come to them, and I guess you, with this information.”

“Why did you not tell us before?” asked Khaska. “You were fiddling much with your ring last night at the performance.”

“Because I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go along with it. And I didn’t know what Sandgrin was going to have me help with until this morning. Now that I’ve had a chance to slip away, I came straight here. I think he trusts me, for warning him about Rynn.

“And how did you say you knew me?”

“That we came here to Laishtek together, as part of a caravan from Hammerdine. I didn’t lie to him, not really anyway. He seems to have bought all of it.” She looked at the party, and at Knight Franmore. “So what do we want to do?”

Eryx (DM)
The party has a few options. Do you want to run just go get the crystals? Do you want to trail this cleric to find his other friends? Do you want to pose as other members of this cult? Do you want to catch him in the act of delivering them to the ship in a few days?

Also, you can ask more detailed questions of Amara, but I’ll probably just answer them here in the gray box. I’ve tried to be thorough in the conversation, but maybe there’s something that you want to know that I didn’t put in it. Maybe I’ll integrate those questions and answers into the conversation for the next post. We’ll see how that goes.

I can roll Sense Motive checks for you if you want, too.

I’ve talked to Beth, and she will be joining us shortly. We have to wait for an opportune moment to introduce the character, but she and I have been creating her character and will be ready soon.

What do you all want to do with this new information from Amara?

One preliminary question: how did Amara know to fashion the ring without knowing anyone in the cult beforehand?

Khaska's trust in Amara has been shaken, and he's still uncertain as to whether she is reliable. (So yes, roll Sense Motive checks, hehe.) He finds it unusual that she would develop an altruistic streak at just this moment - especially when it seems to work to the disadvantage of a group to whom, by her ring, she seems to have given fealty. While it is possible that she is being honest, he finds it more probably that she could be leading them into a trap somehow, or at least distracting them sufficiently to permit time for the crystal snatchers to escape. Given this information, Khaska would want to confront the thieves in the most public way possible, with perhaps superfluous numbers, just to be safe if anything is plotted. Also, since he doesn't trust Amara, he would most likely support making one set of plans with her (for part of the group) and a separate set of phony plans for the rest of the group that would act as a cover for the actual crystal retrieval operation. Of course, this would require both meetings with Amara and without her; we'll have to work the logistics of that out. What does everyone else think of that?

Eryx (DM)
She says that just had a ring made with that rune on it. It's coincidence that it's also used by this dragon cult, apparently. A lucky coincidence, in this case.

What suggestion for a phony plan do you have, if any?

Hm. Khaska doesn't trust that it's coincidental.

I think we'd need more information about the group and what they're planning. Where are the crystals stored? Is it safe to go there? How will they be transported? Along which route? In what vehicle? To where, exactly? At what time? Are there other operatives in the city conducting other projects?

I guess Rynn is quicker to restore trust — or perhaps he is just much more naive. At any rate, he's willing to give Amara the benefit of the doubt and just wants to get the crystals back.

I like Thevarou's ideas; when Khaska has a chance to express them then Rynn will see the wisdom in them. Since this Sandgrin knows about Rynn, we may be able to use that as an advantage. Either purposely put him with or away from Amara; so that will split the group and hopefully give opportunity for anything that Khaska plans.

At this point though (pending Khaska having an opportunity to speak on those lines), Rynn will focus on making plans with Amara. We need to get as much information as we can from her — even if she feeds us disinformation, at this point we have nothing else to go on. Therefore, his response to Amara will be:

"We need to get those crystals back. Dealing with this cult's criminal activities is a problem for the authorities." Here Rynn gestures to Knight Franmore. "I've had more than my fair share of legal entanglements in Hammerdine, and am not eager to repeat them here. For now, all I care about is helping Godfrey."

(Rynn's statement is not entirely true though. He also cares about helping Amara stay out of trouble, and it disturbs him that she might be evil. But he doesn't know what to do about that. As for the cult, he has his typical ranger-inspired views: inasmuch as they make trouble and give Rynn the opportunity, he'll help to put them down.)

Jenika wants to help get the stones back too. Jenika sees a difference in breaking the law in a misguided attempt to do right, and Amara's blatant disregard for the law. Therefore Jenika will do nothing to save Amara from the local authorities.

Eryx (DM)
Khashka's Sense Motive gives him the impression that Amara is being genuinely sincere.

The crystals are being held in the basement of a local butcher's shop. The owner is a member of this dragon-worshipping group, but seems to be a low-level kind of fellow. Amara isn't entirely sure on the details of transport, but it would likely just be on another horse-drawn cart. It wasn't odd at all to deliver the box the crystals were in to the butcher shop, and it wouldn't be seen as odd to take a box from the butcher shop, and then take it to the docks to the ship. She doesn't know the name of the ship.

The "most public way possible" and with "superfluous numbers," option would be to round up some local city watchmen and go right now. If presented with this plan, Amara will ask to be left out. You're not going to catch Sandgrin that way, and she would like to be able to keep playing double agent.

Seems you have three options:
1. Go right now with the Knight and maybe some local constables or city watchmen. In IM conversation with BlackWolf, this is his character's vote.
2. Stake the place out. Wait for Sandgrin to show up or something else to happen. Jenika, maybe could do this?
3. Wait until the crystals are transported. Hit them as they move from the butcher's shop to the ship.

Let's come to a decision here in the gray box, so I can just move things ahead.

Having Rynn be the one to lead the Knights to the butcher shop would be good, as after that Amara could continue being a double agent, put the blame for their discovery on Rynn's possibly tracking her, and leave Jenika and Khaska unknown. Khaska finds immediate action to be risky, but probably best, especially if Amara can maintain the cult's trust and continue to act as an informant.

Behind the scenes, though, Khaska thinks it would be good to find the ship they were going to use to transport the crystals. That would potentially lead us to other links in this possibly criminal group. Perhaps a few days after the butcher shop raid, Amara could feign to have captured Rynn and bring him to the group's HQ, wherever that is, with Knights and local police in wait to arrest whoever's there. The group would tell Amara that Khaska and Jenika are in the reinforcements waiting, but really they'll be finding and helping seize the ship. Does that sound good?

That sounds good to me. Given the circumstances, Rynn is anxious to help Godfrey now instead of waiting. Partly this is due to his own sense of guilt. But partly it is because he's less interested in catching the cult — the experiences in Hammerdine have made him more wary. But that's not to say that he won't help deal with them… it's just that he hasn't yet seen the need for it. Maybe if we uncover more of their schemes then he'll start to feel a sense of duty in that regard.

But Rynn will definitely be up for helping find the ship in any way he can. And if Khaska and Jenika believe that waiting to retrieve the crystals is the best thing then he'd go along with it (after some convincing).

If we have Rynn go right away to raid the butcher's shop, then leaving Khaska and Jenika unknown would also be good… but if the cult knows about Rynn they'll be able to quickly find his associates. So should Rynn keep to himself for a little while after?

That sounds good. Then maybe have Amara "uncover" him.

“We should confront the thieves in the most public way possible. With superfluous numbers, if we could muster them,” said Khaska, almost immediately. “Where are the crystals stored?” 

“They’re being held in the basement of a butcher’s shop. I don’t know much about the inner workings of this group, but I got the impression that he’s a low-level member.”

“I do find it odd that you just happened to have a ring with this dragon cult’s symbol on it,” the cleric continued. 

Amara glared at him. “I have no desire to rehash that point. I worship the dragon god, and had this made in Hammerdine. It happens to be how the cult marks its members. Can we move on?” She folded her arms. “If you’re going to go right now, then I think I should stay behind. Or at least not come with you. All you’ll find is the butcher and the crystals. Sandgrin is long gone, I know not where, but perhaps I can still be of assistance as a double agent. Can’t do that if I show up as part of the raid.” Khaska stared for a long moment at her. He detected no deception on her part, but the situation seemed entirely too coincidental to him. 

“We need to get those crystals back,” said Rynn, breaking the silence. “Dealing with this cult’s criminal activities is a problem for the authorities,” he gestured to Knight Franmore, “and I’ve had more than my fair share of legal entanglement sin Hammerdine, and am not eager to repeat them here. For now, all I care about is helping Godfrey.” 

“Then let’s go,” said Jenika. “If Amara doesn’t want to come, then perhaps she can stay with the Knights or the city watch.” 

“What?” The sorceress was flabbergasted. “Why?”

“You broke the law,” Jenika was curt. “Whether a misguided attempt to do good or a deliberate deception. We’re going to that shop, and I don’t want to leave you alone.” 

Amara sniffed. “Fine.” 

They left right then, Knight Franmore leading them towards a nearby city watch precinct. “I’ll go get a few of the city watch, and leave Amara in their care,” the Knight said. 

“Am I under arrest?” The sorceress’ words were laced with venom. 

“You are not, but there are other questions that we will ask of you. You will tell us where this butcher’s shop is, and then wait here until we return. Come.” Franmore was very business-like, though not impolite about it. She and Amara disappeared into the building. 

Rynn paced back and forth in the street, while Ranna was content to stay in the shade, her tongue lolling out. Khaska stayed there with the wolf, and Jenika crouched down to wait. The ranger was frustrated. This was turning out to be almost a repeat of some of what had happened in Hammerdine. Secret cults. Underhanded dealings. Innocents at the mercy of those manipulating the populace. The ranger was unused to the complexities of city life, and was sharply reminded of them now. He had half a mind to abandon the group after the crystals were retrieved and head back out into the wild. But then he thought of Khaska and Jenika, and the promises he had made to them, and felt slightly ashamed. This didn’t help his mood, with embarrassment, anger, frustration, and shame all roiling up inside him. 

Rynn kept almost bumping into people as they would stop to listen to a bard on a nearby street corner. The young lady was playing some complicated instrument Rynn had never seen before, some combination of a violin and a keyboarded instrument. Her fingers flew back and forth on the levers that changed the pitch while she bowed furiously. She was currently playing a fast little dance number, and it was good enough that a small crowd gathered as people stopped for a few minutes to listen before moving on. 

“Hey, you! Monk!” Rynn turned to see three men approaching where Jenika was squatting. The foremost was wearing a loose blue shirt and had a three-cornered hat. The monk rose to her feet in a fluid motion, and the ranger couldn’t help but notice she angled her feet in a way that meant she was preparing for combat. He turned away from the bard to get a better look at the group. “Yeah, I don’t appreciate much being made a fool of.” He and his friends approached, boxing the monk in. 

“Then perhaps you shouldn’t act like a fool,” came Khaska’s voice. The cleric stepped forward out of the shade he was in, followed closely by Ranna. “Can we help you gentlemen?” 

Rynn stepped forward, his hand moving to his longsword. He recognized the men as members of Teadric’s crew from last night. One of them must have been the man who assaulted Jenika. The thought made his blood boil. “What do you want?” he said, snapping his fingers and calling Ranna to his side. The wolf slunk over, but her eyes never left the man with the three-cornered hat. 

The man in the center turned to look at Rynn, angling his head up so he could see the ranger fully, and then back at Khaska, then back to Jenika. “Your friends won’t help you today. I intend to give you a thrashing for what you did last night. You don’t just get to lead Jeremy Caden on like that and then not give up the goods!” 

“I think you have very low standards of what it means to have someone lead you on,” came a soft voice. “Why don’t you just drop it? You can hardly afford to get into a street brawl in front of a city watch precinct, hrm?” The bard had come over, pointing her bow at Caden, then at the city watch building, then back at him. She smiled at him, but the smile held no warmth, just amusement. 

Khaska and Rynn both noticed that a change had came over Caden. Jenika, completely incensed, didn’t, and looked ready to fight the guy right there. But Khaska reached a hand out and restrained, lightly, the monk. “The bard speaks truth. Must we do this?” 

Caden clearly was fighting within himself, confused as to which action to take. Finally he took a step back. “Just you watch yourself. You’ll get what’s coming to you,” he smiled. “I’ll make sure of it. Come on boys.” He whirled and left. His two companions looked a bit confused, but followed him. One of them glanced at the bard and gave a start. Clearly, he recognized her, and rushed off to catch up with his friends. He said something to Caden, but the other brushed him off and kept walking. The man shot a venomous look back at the bard, gave a quick motion across his throat—the meaning clear, but then disappeared into the crowd. 

“My thanks,” said Khaska to the bard. “For your, assistance, in diffusing that situation.” 

The bard nodded, pushing a lock of her straight red hair away from her face. She had the remains of a black eye and a cut on her face. “I take it from your face, sister,” she said to Jenika, “that you had much the same experience with Mister Caden that I did. He’s not much of a gentleman.” She then glanced back at where they had disappeared, and then, in perfect Maha’i, let out a very insulting word. Khaska was stunned, both by the borderline vulgarity of it, and by the fact that she so easily slipped it into her speech. She turned back to Jenika, and stuck her hand out. “I’m Fan … Bob. Fan Bob. Glad to help out.” 

Eryx (DM)
Welcome Beth! Beth is our new player, to replace Elizabeth. I’ll be posting her character story and things right now. Suffice to say, here in the gray box, her character, Farafanellya Ravenstone, who goes by Fan, is a level 5 bard. 

Both Khaska and Jenika noticed Fan’s reluctance to give her real last name. Rynn remains oblivious. Khaska was also able to notice that Fan had quite clearly cast a spell on Caden, but was unable to identify it. So that was why the situation was diffused so easily. Without the ringleader, the other two members of Teadric’s crew didn’t want to get in a fight, though one of the clearly recognized Fan. 

As you speak with Fan, she’ll let you know that a few nights ago she had been looking to join a skyship crew, and happened upon Teadric’s group, where she was treated the same way that Jenika had the previous night … more a hot piece of female meat than an actual contributing member of society. The two of them can commiserate about that. I also assume that Fan, seeing the group, will ask what they’re about, and probably ask to join you. She speaks Maha’i. Moreover, it’s clearly more the Jevereshken dialect of Maha’i, and Khaska would know that’s unusual. However, from this point on, I will let Beth (Lady Blue Mantle) speak for her own character. This is just how I see the next few minutes playing out, but am open to suggestions on how to make Fan a member of the party. 

Keep in mind, she did just save your butts from a street brawl. 

Knight Franmore will be back shortly with several members of the city watch. Aside from posting what your conversation with Fan, how do you want to go about raiding the butcher shop for the crystals? Keep in mind … you now have a party member that Amara knows nothing about. This might be a good time to make plans without the sorceress, as was mentioned in the last gray box. 

Quick question: if Khaska hears the name Ravenstone, would he recognize it? He's only been in Jevereshk and the surrounding area for a few years, most of it spent in study within Jevereshk - where outsiders are not allowed. Is there a knowledge roll I should make? Either way, he'll be using a Sense Motive roll.

Regarding Fan (THANK YOU for having an abbreviation! - says the guy whose character has four names), Khaska is exceedingly curious as to how she knows Jevereshkan Maha'i. Normally it's only the traders that might pick up bits and pieces of it, but more often than not, they just hire unattached young Maha'i males to be interpreters - and non-traders don't typically like living among the somewhat aloof Maha'i. He will probably ask, in Maha'i, "How it is you know my tongue?" Hopefully that will get a conversation going, although Khaska knows from her reticence to give her name that it might take a while to earn Fan's trust, for whatever reason.

And about plans… During this past post, Khaska has been putting together the plans that were discussed in the last grey box, and at the nearest opportunity, he'll present them to the party. He's not quite sure yet what to do with Fan. She's clearly helpful to have around (charisma seems to be the party's current shortcoming, haha), but he's not yet sure whether to involve her in the plans. If she's willing, he'll start considering ways to incorporate her.

Rynn will thank Fan for her assistance, and (I assume) will be pleasantly surprised to hear her chat with Khaska in the Maha'i tongue. He will have no objections to her coming along, though he'll warn her that getting entangled with cults can be dangerous, not to mention litigious (though I guess Rynn wouldn't use that word).

While the two of them are chatting, he'll pull Jenika aside and confirm that this Caden was the guy she had problems with the other night. "I'm … I'm sorry. I wasn't there to help you. Instead I was just turning myself into your enemy. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help with him."

Rynn has half a mind to tell Teadric and the Knights about Caden and get him kicked off the crew. But such things will have to wait. First things first: get the crystals back.

Also, a note: if the Knights and/or city officials were to ask the party to help with this cult, Rynn would be much more obliging. As of right now, helping Godfrey (and perhaps Amara) is his main goal. Perhaps Khaska or Jenika would realize this, and could mention to the authorities that our group would be happy to help in whatever way we can, if we were formally invited to do so.

Jenika is grateful for Fan’s assistance in avoiding the fight. While she is curious why Fan gave a false last name, Jenika will give her the benefit of the doubt that she has good reason.

Jenika does not want to talk (or even think about) what transpired with Caden. She will confirm to Rynn it was Caden but will say no more. Never the less she will feel a connection with Fan for their shared experience with Caden.

Jenika is more then willing to except Fan’s help.

Fan is very shy and reserved and she will not exactly jump up and down to beg to join the group, even though she wants to. She will say something like, "Um, I might possibly be able to help. That is, if you want me." And she will blush furiously as she says this.

She will share, if asked, that she spent some time with a group of Maha'i when she was young, but she will be reluctant to share the details, because she doesn't want to reveal that she has famous parents. Other information she will give freely, like her desire to gain capital to open a magic shop. Or the finer points of playing the nyckelharpa (her instrument of choice).

“I am Khaska Nzaidullek Mawkhavi Tereshkven,” Khaska said, shaking her hand. The gesture was becoming more familiar to him. Then, in Maha’i, he inquired. “How did you come to learn the language of my people?”

“I spent some time with my family in the Niktean Wastes as I was growing up. We were adopted into one of the tribes.”

“That is a very rare thing.”

Rynn cleared his throat, unable to understand the conversation. “Thank you for your help, Fan.”

“Sure thing. You might want to watch yourselves, though. The spell will wear off in a few minutes, and then Caden might remember that he’s angry at you. And me.”

“We won’t be here much longer,” said Rynn. He glanced at the precinct. “I think.”

“You waiting for someone?” asked Fan.

“We’re about to go make an arrest,” said Rynn. “Something was stolen this morning at the skyship port, and it was partially my fault.”

Fan pursed her lips and looked down at her instrument, absent-mindedly plucking at some of the strings. “Well, um, I might possibly be able to help. That is, if you want me.”

Rynn raised both of his eyebrows. “We’ve done this sort of thing before, and getting entangled with cults can be … complicated.”

“Cults!” Fan’s eyes widened. Then a grin split her face. “You guys do this sort of thing a lot?”

Khaska nodded, while Rynn simultaneously sighed. The cleric spoke next. “There are many who seek to oppress the weak. We do our part to bring these groups to light.”

Khaska briefly explained what had transpired over the past few hours, and briefly mentioned what had gone on in Hammerdine. While he did so, Rynn came around and spoke quietly to Jenika. “So, was it Caden who hit you last night?” The monk nodded. Rynn’s face fell. “I’m … I’m sorry. I wasn’t there to help you. Instead I was turning myself into your enemy. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help with him.”

“Let’s hope that’s not needed.”

At this, Knight Franmore came out of the precinct with four other city watchmen. “Amara will remain here, as we discussed. We know where the butcher shop is, so let’s go.”

Rynn hesitated, and Knight Franmore noticed it. “You do not wish to come?”

The ranger hesitated again, but this time it was Fan who spoke up. “My friend wants to help, but, well, last time he stuck his neck out to help the authorities they were … unappreciative.”

The Knight looked Rynn over. “I will not be. And I think it would be best if you returned the crystals to Godfrey. The decision is yours.” Then she whirled and motioned for the guardsmen to follow her.

Rynn took one look at Khaska and Jenika, then trotted after them. That was enough for the ranger. Khaska followed.

Jenika stared at Fan, who seemed reluctant. Then the monk grabbed her arm. “Come on, you don’t want to be here when Caden comes to his senses either. Come with us.”

The raid was quick and flawlessly executed. The customers were ushered out as the watchmen searched the place. The basement was cold, and filled with various animal carcasses to be butchered, but there was a small supply room off to the side. Inside that room, atop the other things in there, was the chest that Rynn had seen that morning. The ranger was almost giddy. So much had gone wrong in the past few hours, and it was good to find the chest.

Knight Franmore had the butcher arrested on the spot and carted away. Two of the city watch were assigned to stay behind to make sure the shop stayed closed, and to report on anybody else suspicious coming to visit it. Rynn gave the descriptions of the dragon worshippers from the morning incident once again.

“Knight Franmore!” came a watchmen’s voice. “There are only two of them in here!”

The group crowded around. Indeed, the chest only contained two crystals.

Franmore looked at Rynn. He grimaced. “There were four in there this morning.”

“Even so, they should still be returned to this Godfrey friend of yours. I think that you should be the one to get the crystals back to him. Do I need to send someone with you?”

Eryx (DM)
Jenika and Khaska can roll a Knowledge (Local) check, to see if they’ve heard of the Ravenstone bardic family. The DC is 17. Khaska grew up among the more insular of the Maha’i of the Niktean Wastes, and Fan and her family were adopted into a more “progressive” clan. It’s possible Khaska has heard of them, but unlikely. As Jenika has spent some time on Gallidus, it’s also possible that she’s heard of them.

Having not traveled much on Gallidus, Rynn would not have heard of them.

Khaska’s Sense Motive reveals just that Fan is a bit shy about parts of her past, but is genuine and sincere in her desire to help the group.

The raid was successful, and you have re-obtained the chest containing the crystals. However, there are only two in there. You don’t know where the others are. Khaska, Jenika, and Fan were near the raid, but as was discussed, did not participate directly. As far as you can tell, the butcher and the others think Rynn alone led the authorities to the shop .

What will you do next? This is the opportune time to make plans without Amara around. I’d like to know what your long-term plans are, and how specifically you plan to implement them. I’d especially be interested in how you will use this new very friendly bard that has joined, and that Amara knows nothing about. Are you going to search for the ship? Try to find out more about the green-haired woman? Have Amara act as double agent and “capture” Rynn? Search for the still missing crystals? Have someone ask if they can work under the auspices of the local authorities? What?

Also, for her street performance that ended with the arrival of Caden and his cronies, Fan earned a total of 1 gold piece. Even with your newfound friends, Fan will have time to do at least one performance a day, if you so desire, Lady Blue Mantle.

As for long term plans, Rynn doesn't have any solid objectives at this time. He'd like to help Khaska with his Tawru-related quests, and Jenika with her "sister." He has no specifics at this time, pending the other characters moving toward their goals. He would also like to find out what happened to the Peaceful Children pilgrimages. To that end, he'll ask around for more information here in Laishtek. But his inquiries will be general; he's not of a detective sort — his real desire is to try to track down the pilgrimages in the wild.

On the short term front, Rynn is glad to have the two crystals back and will continue to seek the other half. He'll ask for a meeting to be arranged with himself, the Knights, and Godfrey so that the two crystals can be returned and the gnome can immediately relinquish them into the Knights' custody (as was his original desire).

I think we should definitely try to locate the ship Amara spoke of; I'm just not sure if Rynn (who is likely now even more known to the cult) should be the one doing it. So maybe Jenika and Fan can start asking around; get a list of departing ships and that sort of thing.

Rynn isn't sure that being "captured" by Amara will help them get the crystals back, but he's willing to give it a try. And although he doesn't care as much about catching the cult, he recognizes that it might help others to do so. It's a bit of a risky plan, but it seems like the most direct way of finding out more about this cult we're dealing with. Maybe a spell might help? Message doesn't last very long, but if Fan cast it on him at the last moment it might be enough. Or with a little luck, Rynn could send an Animal Messenger or something.

So that's what Rynn will suggest: 1) handle these two crystals, 2) have his friends start searching for the ship, and 3) have Amara take him to the cult to try to elicit more info.

Eryx (DM)
Anybody who wants to go looking for the ship needs to roll a Gather Info check.

Fan still doesn't know exactly what is going on, but she thought the raid was exciting and feels flushed with success, even though she didn't actually do much. She likes this whole idea of looking for Crystals because it sounds interesting and romantic, like something out of a story. Because, really, Fan is still a kid and she likes that kind of thing. Since they have let her come along for the raid, she plans to tag along after them like a 6th grader hoping to steal some glory from the 8th graders.

She has noticed that everyone's voices go all tight and uncomfortable when they say "Amara," so she knows there is something up but she is too reserved to ask point blank what the whole story is.

Jenika likes Fan’s enthusiasm.
Jenika doesn’t think letting Rynn be “captured” is a good idea (he might be captured). Instead she thinks it would be better to find the crystals by other means. She would be willing to ask around about the ship, but reminds the group that she is not skilled at such things.

*Gather Info: 5 (5+0)
Like I said, not her strong area. Maybe Fan will have better luck.

Just a quick note: since Maha'i "adoption" implies acceptance of unattached males for the purpose of sexual unions, Fan's family would never be "adopted" by either Jevereshkan or Gtarrish Maha'i - and in Laishtek, they don't have anything like those customs anymore. Perhaps they were fellowshipped, allowed to live among a Maha'i clan - for that would be about the most that the Maha'i would allow ;)

Anyway, I rolled a 3 for the Knowledge-Local check, so that's a no-go.

Khaska also stands by his plan for distracting Amara with Rynn's apparent capture in order to track down the other members of the cult. While it might only obliquely lead to their retrieval of the crystals, it could have farther-ranging good consequences. Meanwhile, it would be a beneficial for the others in the party to search out the ship the cult is using so as to better plan the eventual raid (behind Amara's back, of course).

  • Gather Info: 9 = 7 + 2. Drat.


  • Gather Info: 8 = 5 + 3

“Actually,” said Rynn, “I was thinking of a mutual meeting place. Godfrey wanted to hand the crystals over to the Knights. He probably still wants to. Could we arrange such a meeting? I think that would be best.”

“Then we will hold onto the crystals. Come by the chapterhouse this evening at eight o’clock with Godfrey.”

“I will be there.”

Their business settled, Rynn left to where Khaska, Fan, and Jenika were waiting around the corner. He quickly explained the situation, and expressed his desire to go inform Godfrey immediately.

“Before you go, I would speak with all of us.” Khaska looked over his back. “Concerning Amara.”

Fan noticed how the Maha’i grimaced as he said the name. She had gotten bits and pieces from Jenika about the situation, but didn’t want to pry further.

“It seems too coincidental that she has been ‘discovered’ by this Cult of Skyrnyn.”

“She seemed genuinely shocked that you accused her of turning traitor,” Rynn replied. “I got the impression that she was serious about trying to turn over a new leaf. Did you sense deception? I’m, well, I’m not good at reading people.”

“I got the impression she was sincere as well, yet … I am cautious.”

“That seems wise,” said Jenika. “She said she wanted to be a double agent.”

“My thought is this,” the cleric said, cutting through the discussion. “What if Amara were to ‘capture’ Rynn. Bring him to this Sandgrin, or at least try to make contact with Sandgrin again. That could lead us to the cult’s heart here in the city, or at least closer to it.”

“Double cross the double crosser! I love it!” Fan blurted out. Then she blushed and looked down at her feet.

Jenika shook her head. “What if he were really captured?”

“We would, of course, be in wait. Possibly with the authorities. I think the danger to Rynn would be minimal,” said Khaska.

“I’m willing to do it. I don’t think we have a lot of other options. The trail, as it were, seems to have gone cold. We have no idea where Sandgrin or the others are in the city. Finding them is going to be difficult.” He looked at the others. “I say we do it. I’ll go tell Godfrey right now. Khaska, go tell Amara your plan. See if you can get support from the local watchmen. We should also be looking for that ship. Amara said it was to leave the day after tomorrow. Jenika, you start asking around at the docks.”

“I can help with that!” said Fan. Rynn looked at her, then nodded.

“After I speak with Amara and Knight Franmore,” said Khaska, “I will come assist in looking for the ship. I think, Rynn, it would be best if you didn’t investigate. It may be that you have already made an enemy of this cult. Plus, you’re going to get Godfrey.”

Rynn nodded. “Everybody set?” With that, they parted ways.

Godfrey was beside himself as Rynn reappeared with the good news. “I really didn’t think you were going to help. It hasn’t even been a full day yet!”

“It went better than I could have hoped,” Rynn replied. “Several things worked in our favor.” He didn’t mention that Amara, his friend, had been one of the ones who had stolen them in the morning, nor that her friendship had aided the situation immensely. He still wasn’t quite sure what to make of her involvement in all of this, and thought it best to be discrete. Unlike Khaska, he was willing to forgive her, but he trusted the cleric’s instincts in this matter. “The Knights are holding the crystals from the raid in their chapterhouse. They are expecting us at eight o’clock, which is just in a few hours.”

“Yes, yes, of course!” Godfrey was able to share the good news with the few crewmembers who were at his ship when Rynn had arrived, and hurried down below the deck to clean up and change. He and Rynn arrived promptly at eight. The gnome was dressed in a fine set of clothes, a dashing silver-embroidered vest glittering in the light from the setting sun as they made their way into the city itself. Several of his crew accompanied them, as well as a sizable group of well-armed gnomes from other clans. Word of the theft had spread quickly, and the gnome clans had been incensed at the outrage. They were making sure Godfrey was well-supported this time.

Knight Franmore was gracious enough to bring them out to the courtyard herself. Godfrey was beside himself with emotion as he accepted the crystals back, then immediately bequeathed them back to the Knights. At this, the gathered gnomes cheered.

Rynn was pleased with the outcome. Godfrey had some of the crystals back, and plans were in motion to get the others. Speaking of which … he walked up to Knight Franmore and inquired about her thoughts on Khaska’s plan to have him “captured” by the cult. Khaska had persuaded her to go along with it.

Amara’s plan was simple. The butcher whose shop had been raided was able to tell where another member of the local cult was. It wasn’t Sandgrin, but the butcher assured that Sandgrin could be contacted through this other member. Amara was to say she had managed to drug Rynn while he was drinking. Then she was to contact this other man, who would bring Rynn to Sandgrin, who would decide Rynn’s fate. This, of course, would all be followed by the city watch discretely.

The plan seemed simple enough. Rynn approved, and all he had to do was act like dead weight and keep his eyes closed, mostly.

Khaska, Jenika, and Fan were all equally frustrated by their attempts to find the ship. They hadn’t even been able to talk to anybody who could tell them which ships were leaving when. They returned to their inn frustrated. Fan, oddly enough, jabbered the entire way back, occasionally plucking at the strings of her nyckelharpa. Khaska had thought that Fan should come with the group on the raid, but looking more as a member of the city watch than with the group. Fan agreed, practically giddy to be the “ace up their sleeve” in case Amara was going to double cross them again.

Khaska did not get the reference.

When they arrived back at the inn, Amara, with Knight Franmore, was waiting. Fan ducked away instantly, and hoped it wasn’t clear that she was with Khaska and Jenika. Amara detailed the plan for them, including Knight Franmore’s guarantee of pardon if it panned out. Khaska nodded his approval. Jenika was still wary, but went along with them. It was time to spring this trap. Amara went to go meet Rynn at the designated tavern.

We'll end the chapter here and move on to the sting operation to begin Chapter 4.

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