Dark Side of Ptolus

A New Task

What is the Biggest Problem in the City?

A week passes since the party’s liaison with Toridan Cran. They rest and recover, sell loot, and perform other menial tasks.

During this time, they also investigate the mysterious Mehtul Watcher. Louis return to his neighborhood of specialty, asking about the man in the Temple District. Kel goes to Phon to ask her about the new lead. He heads to her place of employment, Saches in Longbottom, Midtown. She claims to not know the man, but it seems as though she is hiding something. Kel asks who the father of her child is, but she refuses to tell, saying that, if she did, he would be ruined. She breaks down crying, spurring her employer, Marta, to shoo the captain from the store. Pieter taps into his network of seedy contacts throughout the city, going to the shop of Jallos Roth, a tinworker. The man took some time to ask around about the mysterious employer, but no one he knew had ever heard of him. Similarly, Jaecyn went to the Longfinger’s Guild and asked his fellow thieves about the contractor. Again, no one had ever dealt with the man. Realizing that the name was a pseudonym that hadn’t been previously used, the group abandoned their search, figuring that there was nothing more they could do.

On the 29th of Birth, the party was passing by the Administration Building in Oldtown when they noticed that the Republicans, headed by the tall, bald, sky blue robe-wearing, priest, Helmut Ilstein, were having a rally, demanding secession from the empire and an elected government. The party decided to stop and watching, scowling. Soon after they arrived, however, a flask of alchemist’s fire was lobbed at the podium from the crowd. The speaker was unharmed, but the crowd was outraged and began to riot. Most of the party fled the area in their various manners. Kel attempted to help individuals being trampled, but quickly realized he was just getting in the way and, too, left.

He met up with Jaecyn and Louis at the Ghostly Minstrel, and the three decided to drink the day away. While he was at the bar, Kel ran into a soldier, Marick Thran, who was in his regiment during the war. Surprised to see him, Kel sat down and chatted. Marick revealed that he was an enforcer for the Balcaczars and expressed disdain for Kel’s work as a Delver. Wanting to help his friend but not knowing how, Kel stood and left.

At that time, Louis received a shadow sending from his temple, requesting that he see the High Regent with all due haste. He took a carriage to his temple and went to the high priest’s quarters. The old cleric relayed that he had received a post from the Bishop of Ptolus, Nireus Pard, asking that a representative attend a meeting the at 12th bell the following day at the Temple of the Lawgiver in the North Market. He asked that Louis go; the paladin accepted the request.

At the appointed time, Louis went to the temple of Lothian. There, he was met by a group of clerics representing over 30 of the temples in the city, including those representing altruism, technology, magic, and even foresight. Included in this meeting was Helmut Ilstein of the Temple of the Watcher of the Skies. Several minutes late, the bishop appeared and explained the reason for his calling of the meeting. He expressed disgust at the power-mongering of the Holy Emperor and asked that the churches not support him if it ever came to that. Also, he warned them of increasing activity on the part of the Chaos Cults operating in the city. A brief argument ensued, and many of the clerics left in disgust.

Pieter meanwhile wanted to help the impoverished in the city. He asked around, trying to discern the biggest problem in the city. During his inquiries, he met a homeless boy by the name of a. He determined that he wanted to find this boy a job. At first, he investigated the possibility of starting a courier business, but found the cost prohibitive, so he resigned to get the boy a job as a bellows-worker using his contacts in the Ironworker’s Guild.

Back in the Minstrel, a slightly-pudgy human priest took a seat next to Kel. He introduced himself in a very professional manner as Content Not Found: mand, a priest of Asche. He asked if he was correct in believing that Kel and his associates had recently put a stop to Toridan Cran’s operation. Kel answered in the affirmative, and Mand went on to explain that he was a friend of the Lords of Castle Shard and that they had a job they would like the adventurers to complete. He gave them an invitation to the castle and left, saying he would see them at 14th bell the next day.

The next day, the party dressed in its finest clothing, acquired house gifts to give to the Lords of the Castle, and headed to the Nobles Quarter. As they climbed the hill, they engendered looks of distaste from the guards on duty at the gate.

In the eccentric castle, they were greeted by Kadmus, the eerily-knowledgeable and genile butler, who accepted their gifts and offered them they favorite drinks. He let them into the meeting room. As they entered the room, the encountered Lady Rill, one of the lords of the castle, who floated in from outside on a rug carried by small birds. She greeted them, then left promptly. Soon thereafter, Mand and Zavere, the other lord, entered. The pair explained that Linech Cran, Toridan’s estranged brother, was also a small-time hood operating out of the Rivergate District. Previously, they had thought that his shivvel operation had collapsed, but now he was hiring adventurers. They asked that the party go to Linech, accept the job, and report back to them. They wanted to find out what he was doing and where he was getting the resources to do so. The party accepted the job.

The group donned their armor, retrieved their weapons, and headed to the Rivergate District. They found Linech’s burrow and were directed to his office by a women doing laundry at the well. Entering his office building, they encountered two individuals, Linech’s half-elf half-sister, Biesta, who was in a shivvel-induced stupor at the time, and Seamus, Louis’ cousin with whom he served in the war and who had seemingly disappeared afterward. Seamus and Louis looked coldly at each other, and the wiry man led them upstairs to the boss’ office.

Linech was a burly half-orc who fashioned himself a gentleman criminal. He wore obviously used and very filthy fine clothing and chomped on a foul-smelling cigar. When the heroes entered, a gorgeous elven woman was perched on his lab, flirting with him. Linech’s office was cramped, filled by a large darkwood desk and a masterfully-carved golden statue of a bearded man. The statue showed signs of being burned and scratched, a set of chisels and other tools was on the desk, suggesting that Linech had tried to hack apart the fine piece of artwork.

Jaecyn told the gangster that they were interested in the job he had posted. Pieter interrupted and asked about the out-of-place statue. Linech smiled and said simply, “A gift from our guest.” He then continued to explain the job; a fire had recently broken out of an island in the Whitewind Sea, and his daughter had been killed. A ship, the Arrowhead, was bringing his daughter’s body back to Ptolus, but it had been delayed in the harbor and had sunk. He wanted the party to find out why the ship sank and to recover the glass coffin with his daughter’s body. He offered them a sizable payment and a potion of water breathing each to retrieve the coffin. He also insisted that Seamus accompany them. The party argued the last condition, assuring the boss that he did not want any witnesses, and the half-orc relented. He gave the party the potions, and they were shown out.

Louis returned to Castle Shard to relay the news to Zavere. The fallen paladin replied that, if Toridan indeed only wanted his daughter’s body back, that was fine, but he doubted that that was his real motive. He implored Louis to complete the job and find the orc’s real desire, increasing the promised reward. Louis also mentioned the golden statue. At this, Zavere became very intrigued. He asked for as many details as possible, even calling Rill in to confer with her. He explained to Louis that the statue was not a statue at all, but a friend of theirs who had been missing for some time. He asked that, during the course of their business, the heroes retrieve the statue and bring it back to the Castle. Louis agreed and left, returning to the Ghostly Minstrel to find the party.

The group went to the Docks. There, they desired to know where the ship had sunk, so they went to the Dockmaster’s tower. They were greeted by Secki, the young girl who lives with the rumored grotesquely obese man. Louis watched the girl, wanting to see if she appeared well-cared for and found it to be so. With a small bribe, they were able to learn the location of the sunken ship, about 5 miles out into the Bay of Ptolus.

As they left the tower, a man approached Jaecyn and told him that if they wanted to know about the Arrowhead, they should ask Dodun Fisk at the Captain’s Bar, he had seen it sink. Going to said bar, they found the old man out place in the high-class facility. His speech was drunken slur, and he seemed more crazy than anything else. He related how he had seen the ship start on fire and sink and several boats full of men wearing gold and purple robes coming ashore soon afterward.

Leaving the bar, Pieter remarked that the men sounded like the Hussars, a warrior cult, and Jaecyn pointed out that he had heard rumors that they worked for the Balacazars. They decided to err on the side of caution and not confront the warriors, but noted that it was the crime family who likely sunk the ship.

Needing a boat to get out to the sunken vessel, Pieter sought out Irontusk, whom he found drinking at the Shark, a far less-reputable establishment. The dockworker earnestly agreed to help them, for a small price. At this point, Jaecyn noticed that someone was following them and chased the lurker out of the bar. Cornering him, he found that it was Seamus. The man begged Jaecyn to let him live, crying that “he was just doin’ his job.” At Louis’ urging, they left the coward alive, but brought him with them on the boat.

In the bay, Pieter explained that he had had a bad experience with water as a child and would not be joining them underwater. Louis also explained that he was a very poor swimmer. At that, Kel, Jaecyn, and the wizard drank their potions and dove. They spent about an hour searching the cold, murky water for the ship before they found it. It had a large hole in its side, as though it had not only burned, but exploded. They cautiously entered the wreck, taking care to avoid cutting themselves on the jagged pieces of wood. Looking around, they saw many broken crates with the white paste of ruined shivvel floating everywhere, obscuring their view. The hold was relatively empty, however, and they saw no coffin, indicating that someone had gotten there first.

At that point, Jaecyn felt a stab in his back, and he knew they were being ambushed.

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