23:00 – The group get some sleep after discussing the revelations and planning what to do (the group plan to go to the trade district to purchase a mount for Emmiven whilst they wait for instructions from Archevult).
10/4/1472 (Bright and clear. Cold in the evening. Light frost)
07:00 – A mysterious messenger, dressed in the shifting, spectral robes and mirrored face mask of a Merriel'Shaavite arrives in the main taproom of the Skyfishers Lodge and asks to speak with the group.
07:15 – The party come down, and the thing silently passes them a scroll bearing the seal of the Unified Order, written on their unique parchment. Opening the scroll (after a quick check for any traps), it is apparently sent by a representative of the Order named Rubus. He writes that he has been authorized to deal with “their little problem”, and asks that it be brought to his home – a tower at the edges of the temple plaza where the Unified Order headquarters is located – at noon this day.
07:18 – 08:30 – The messenger bows silently and departs, and the group sit down to discuss their plans in light of this.
It is decided, that whilst Grigori, Schnecke and Emmiven venture out into the mercantile district in order to try and find the Warlord a mount and to sell some of the enchanted items the group have accumulated over their adventures, Varracuda, Seren and Jaeger will meet with the mysterious Rubus Orellio. The group feel that it would be foolish to take the vial along with them (the assassin doubly so after the warnings issued by Archevult), and so it is given to the priest to guard whilst they shop.
08:30 – 10:00 – The group spend some time resting up before their busy day, and Seren thanks Jaegar for his part in getting her promoted, the assassin explaining who Archevult is, and passing on the Archmages warning about elements within the Order wanting the vial for their own dark purposes.
During this time Jaegar visits Adrielle, and asks her what has happened to the blade. He learns to his horror that the sword was taken to the Merriel'Shaavite temple at first light by several of her allies. This horror only increases when he learns that they have taken the most direct route, and that despite leaving over an hour ago, the men have not returned.
10:00 – Grigori, Emmiven and Schnecke leave the inn to visit the market district.
11:00 – Seren, Jaegar and Varracuda leave to find Rubus' tower.
IN THE MARKET DISTRICT
10:20 – The three adventurers arrive in the bustling market district, taking in its sights and sounds, pleasant and not so pleasant. They spend some time arguing over prices with the various hawkers and merchants, getting some reasonable prices for the items they have, before heading over to a hot and stinking sector where numerous merchant sell a wide variety of animals – both mundane and more unusual.
11:30 - Whilst haggling with one farrier, the group are approached by a dark skinned woman, who whispers to them that “cheaper and better horses” “aelwyn horses captured during the wars” are being sold on the sly by merchants operating out of a tannery in the industrial spires. She offers to show the group where this is.
Emmiven however – not trusting this woman and her apparent desire to get their group into unfamiliar ground - pretends not to speak Trade, instantly offending her as she had just witnessed him speaking to the merchant. She leaves, spitting a few choice words at the group as she goes.
12:05 – After finishing their business in the markets (Emmiven fails to find a mount worthy of him), the three head back to the Skyfishers Lodge to await the return of their allies.
12:10 – As they move through one of the subways that link the various spire districts, they are approached by a squad of figures dressed in Merriel'Shaavite vestments, their faces hidden behind mirrored masks, the only identifiable symbol being a rune flickering in front of each masks middle – the rune of Rubus Orellio.
As the figures approach the group one hails them in the mechanical voice of a Warforged. When they reply no more words are exchanged. The figures draw weapons or shimmer as they draw magic into themselves...and attack!!!
11:40 – The three arrive at the perimeter of Rubus' home. Gleaming walls of rune carved stone reach upwards, framing a luminous gate of pale metal, watched over by two robed humanoids bearing glowing staves of power. They show the guardians the scroll, and the gate fades open.
11:42 – 11:50 – The group move through beautifully manicured gardens filled with exotic plants and strange sculptures charged with elemental energies; statues that weep tears of fire that become water then ice, sculptures rendered in mist and lightning, and more mundane carvings made from rare varieties of marble or other semi-precious stones. The tower itself is a soaring thing of white stone, heavily carved with leering gargoyles and grotesques. Flying buttresses, carved with massive support runes arc up to dizzying heights, and the whole thing shimmers with a hundred warding spells, the air around it almost glowing with power.
11:51 – 11:53 – The three enter the front door of the tower, and find themselves in a large, ornate reception chamber. The floor is polished marble; Brudd's Milk marble from the four lost western kingdoms and another variety that is shot through with golden swirls.
At the far end of the chamber waits the open door to a highly decorated lift. Two hulking warforged, plated in grey and gold and bearing Rubus' glyph, wait either side, and bid the party enter the lift.
11:53 – 11:54 – Magic flickers through control runes as the lift silently shoots upwards. The doors open, and the group see a long corridor (much too long to physically exist within the boundaries of the tower they just entered) ahead, flanked by ornate alcoves and carpeted with rich grey and gold.
In two of the alcoves tower massive, white stone statues of naked, athletic men in the style of ancient Iradesh. Seren realises with a jolt that they are golems of some kind – almost certainly powerful opponents that would have cost a fortune.
11:55 – The group move down the corridor and reach a jewelled door at the far end. As the approach it, it slides silently open revealing an opulent chamber beyond, in which waits the towers owner.
The chamber beyond is also far too large to fit within the tower. The walls are white marble, and the ceiling is made from arched panes of glass, through which blue skies and racing white clouds can be seen. The grey and gold carpet continues along the middle of the room, ending at the foot of a large, ornate desk of Greywood, which stands atop a low dais of white marble. Either side of the room, flanking the carpets length, curl elaborate looped relief, engraved with thrumming runes of power (Seren recognizes that within each of the six curls lurks a dormant portal).
On the desk (which bears an elaborate glyph on the panel facing the group; a blending of the Crown of Merriel symbol and Rubus' personal glyph) are neat piles of books, and a curious bell jar of a shimmering, glassy material, sat atop a runed plate of lead.
“Welcome my friends” booms a man as he rises from his carved throne behind the desk, “I am Rubus Orellio”.
He is in his late 30's, and is a slightly rotund man with a gleaming bald spot barely hidden by a comb-over. He wears simple robes of red and gold, and seems to bear only a single golden ring set with a winking onyx. He smiles and bids the group sit in the elegant darkwood chairs he has set around the desk, before asking them where the alleged vial is.
11:56 – 12:00 – Things do not go well. The man shows signs of barely restrained frustration when he learns the group have not brought the vial, and when Jaeger mentions Archevult's awareness of its presence in the city, he looses it. Rubus drops onto his throne, which immediately vanishes into a chute beneath. At the same time one of the portals flares to life, and a wave of dizzying evil, thick and choking pours in. A warding glyph flares up on the doors at the opposite end of the room, as a massive decayed thing – a bloated being that appears as an angel gone down into rancid, effervescent deliquescence – crawls, mewling into the chamber, filthy fluids and toxic gasses billowing out from it.
Staggering with horror, the trio draw weapons and summon their powers realising that they are trapped within the lair of a potent wizard, surrounded by his minions and wards, without any healers or front line fighters...