Hamvas 15, 6995
Burning Down the House
On their way out of the city, Tyr, Galen, and Gnaeus were accosted by a beautiful red-headed woman who slapped Galen. He assured them he had to take care of something, and disappeared with her. The other two continued on towards Gnaeus’s house, which turned out to be a still-burning ruin.
Tyr called out to Lily, who howled. Gnaeus and Tyr found Lily in the woods, with Yuli and Geneva, holding off a pair of orcs. Gnaeus shot one, Lily brought the other one down. The orcs were the survivors of the warband that got wiped out the night before, and they took their revenge by burning down Gnaeus’s house on their way back to town. Gnaeus seethed in impotent rage as he realized he already killed their employer, so there was no one to insure against his loss.
Loading Geneva into the cart, the dispirited band headed back to Setine.
Ups and Downs
Annika was overcome by her mysterious malady, and required bed rest. Meanwhile, after a night of drinking, wandering, and watching bare-knuckle boxing, (and pickpocketing) Kurt showed up to see how things were going.
He arrived in time to see Adal De Morcey returned to the Aril house, with a bundle of 4 paintings and Nosse’s mask. Adal and Dakri went to talk to Nosse.
They met Nosse Aril, elegant in his silver mask. Nosse offered to hire Kail as his agent, getting a permit to carry heavy weapons and armor in the city. Dakri took the necessary 10 silver from Kail, and went out to get the permit. However, he lost the money in a mysterious circumstance, so Kail said he’d go along the next day and make sure they got it taken care of.
Tyr and Gnaeus arrived with Yuli (and Geneva in the cart.) Lily had to stay in the woods. They had lunch together, meeting the soft-spoken coughing Adal.
What Happened to Adal?
Adal said he had a row with Nosse, then went to a pagan party with his girlfriend, Calim Deskru (a family name Tyr recognized, part of the Bestia clan around Setine’s outskirts.) Anyway, the Hammers raided the party, and Adal tried to hold them off while the pagans fled. He was captured, and taken to Stonepit, and interrogated. The Hammers sent to Lord Shenwhe to verify Adal’s identity (Adal swore he was not a pagan) but in the days it took to deliver the message, his interrogation permanently damaged his chest.
When Lord Shenwhe arrived, he took Adal home to Tailwind Heights, in the city, to nurse him back to health. Adal was uncomfortable, and said he did not trust his fevered memory of what happened. But he escaped the house, and went to the Rubble District, where he subsisted until he was captured by Vash’s creditor agents and used against Nosse. They kept him imprisoned in a house in the Rubble District. Then, this morning, they freed him and sent him back with some art and a mask.
Checking the Story
By now it was late enough that the weary adventurers needed sleep, even after their afternoon naps. (Busy couple days.) Not Kurt! He found Tailwind Height, and scoped the place out to see if it matched Adal’s fevered memory of an attack.
The single bored city guard proved no obstacle as Kurt slipped in and looked around. A huge hole was knocked through the wall, there were signs of blood and struggle, and some huge clawed thing moving through the house angry and killing. The house had been emptied out, the city guard was there to keep out vandals and squatters.
Kurt reported his findings over breakfast.
Adal was shocked; Lord Shenwhe had one of the best curated collections of pre-fall Setinian art in the world. It should not fall into the wrong hands.
Tyr shared that he was a shaman (and Yuli explained what that meant). The adventurers decided to return to Tailwind Height and see what else they might learn there. Kurt ushered them past two guards, and they cautiously explored the empty house.
Kail and Tyr immediately agreed this was the work of a troll. They found several spots in the house that were indifferently cleaned, where people clearly met their end. Tyr summoned up the ghost of Lord Shenwhe, finding out that Shenwhe’s brother was a Hammer and would inherit all, and Shenwhe was not aware of any enemies. Pulling out, they ruminated on their next move. (Later, Tyr realized and shared that the timing of the attack lines up with Summer Solstice, a time when summoning things from the Other Side is easier.)
Kurt approached a local tavern frequented by domestics, the Dread Star, with Gnaeus. He gossiped around until he found people who told him about the troll attack. It was too fast for the response to be effective, then the troll disappeared. 10 people died.
The adventurers asked Nosse to use his contacts to find out where the collection might be. Nosse went to an elegant dinner with some of his sources, an when he returned he told them that the best guess of his very informed friends would be that the art collection was stored in the old Shennai Chapel, a small church built by Shenwhe’s family before Setine’s fall. (He did not know where that chapel would be.) Chances are it would be lightly guarded, as its location is unknown, relying on secrecy for security. And it would be auctioned off to Caligarian collectors, the proceeds going to the Hammer coffers.
Adal nearly panicked upon hearing this. He struggled to impress upon them the importance of that art collection, its quality and its cultural meaning for Setine. To see why the Caligarians should not get it, he urged the adventurers to visit the Graf Museum. He proposed that if they stole it, he could set up a discreet auction to sell it to Masks and maybe even the Golden Prince, to keep that cultural treasure in Setine. And, of course, it would make them incredibly wealthy; he pitched a number of over 100,000 silver at black market prices (since the collection was priceless, and worth at least millions.)
That kind of serious payday means serious danger.
The Graf Museum
On a lark, the adventurers crossed into the Garden District and approached the ostentatious display of wealth and roses that was the mansion museum. They paid to enter, and viewed the many paintings and displays showing how really Caligari was at the root of Setinian success. Everything from a jewel-crusted musket (the first sold to Setine, that brought it prosperity) to a jewel-crusted gilded dragon skull to massive wall size paintings. They left impressed with a sense of the grandeur the Caligarians felt on their own behalf.
Kurt lightened some pockets of Caligarian coin.
They earnestly discussed whether or not to get involved in an investigation culminating in a heist. As Kail argued against it, in the interests of survival, Kurt’s monkey peed on him. Kurt offered to buy him a new shirt, so they headed to the Gray Market to take care of that. Shopping completed, they wandered the Market, leaving after the monkey pranced around over the beer garden fouling drinks and clothes unnoticed.
Kurt lightened some pockets just for fun and profit.
They agreed that Annika could help them with networking and research, and Galen would be useful for navigating some channels of the city’s practical networks.
Scattering to the Winds
Everyone pursued different goals and pastimes.
- Kurt sat in a seedy tavern contemplating petty larceny and looking to make friends among domestics in the neighborhood of the Aril House. He saw a pretty girl crying, and the bartender told him about her stalker. Kurt told her he would take care of it, and he ambushed the fellow (who had a wooden arm, a scar, and a lot of money.) Kurt knocked him out, tied him up, and threatened him to stay away from the girl. The stalker was intimidated, and Kurt left him tied up. He returned to drinking and petty larceny.
- Tyr spent the evening drinking with Gnaeus, and the next day he bound a moss spirit to his spear.
- Gnaeus figured he’d connect with some of his noble contacts, see if anyone needed work done. He connected with Harmon Manaskri, an important Mask on the council. Manaskri’s middle daughter had a current fixation on a zoological garden, and they were having trouble building an enclosure for the rust monster. Gnaeus worked up a design, gave it to the craftsmen, and drank the evening away with Tyr.
The next day, he finalized the work. Lord Manaskri paid him 10 gold for the consult, and dressed him up to serve as a guest. Manaskri had to visit his grandmother, who could not abide useless people, and he wanted to take Gnaeus along to distract her. Gnaeus agreed, in exchange for the contract to work on the enclosure for the out-of-town portion of the zoological garden that contained the hydra.
The carriage ride took them 30 miles out of Setine, to the Manaskri House and Lady Dara Manaskri. While the Lady was vicious as only the wealthy and elderly can be towards her grandson, she was fond in her questioning and discussion with Gnaeus.
She told him that there were dwarves poking around the Erdea Pit near the estate, and she did not want them to set up a colony and their digging and building near her home. She asked Gnaeus, as someone who understood engineering and stone work, to tell them to go away. He agreed, and she said when he next came out she’d host him after he talked to the dwarves.
Gnaeus and Lord Manaskri returned to Setine the next morning.
- Kail took in the art and culture of the city. He was captivated by the beautiful singing of a sad red-head from Scarabae, far from home. He met with her backstage, to find that her name was Collette, and she was fleeing the fey. Her parents promised dwarves they could cut her hair when it was long enough, but her hair was tied to the life of her sister; if it was cut, her sister would die, leaving behind a husband and two children. Due to a shipwreck, she made it as far as Setine.
Kail fell for her, and after a long night of talking they consummated their love. The next day, as he was meeting some of her artist friends, he saw a redcap skulking after them. He confronted and slew it. She gushed that he gave her the courage to keep going, and after a lengthy full-body good night kiss she packed her things and headed for Caligari.