After the fight, the battered party made their way back through the ancient Nar catacombs to the crypt of the temple. Upon getting to the crypt, many voices and booted feet were heard in the temple sanctuary. With puzzled looks, the party ascended to the main temple and found it overrun with soldiers of the Royal Damaran Guard, examining the broken bodies of the osteopede and frost zombies. As Elestrynna answered the questions of the Guard sergeant, telling him of the events that had transpired, the hulking form of Captain Hazan Razorscale entered the temple with a clack of claws and a rattle of plate armor. Snarling his annoyance, Razorscale demanded a status report from the sergeant. Exchanging dark looks at the sight of the hated dragonborn, the party sat quietly until Razorscale turned his attention to the eladarin wizardess.
“More undead beneath the city?”, he snarled as he angrily forced his blunt snout into Elestrynna’s face. “Followers of Orcus. More. How do I know you’re not more of their rotten kind? I’m going to arrest you all and bring you in for questioning – get to the bottom of things in this stinking town. This whole place smells like mud and pig shit.”
While he ranted on, another, smaller form entered through the temple doorway, waiting for the irate Razorscale to pause his rant.
“Really, Captain. Is that necessary? We don’t want to trouble these good people any more than is necessary.” Walking into the sanctuary with a swirl of blue silk and ermine fir came Viscount Niklaus Istvan. He placed his gloved hand on Razorscale, who was immediately silenced, and looked around. “Who is in charge here?”, he asked.
With a painful cough, Sharat leaned heavily on Jai and limped forward. “I am. I am a priest of Oghma and head of shrine being built here.”
“See, captain? A priest of Oghma is with us – let us trouble these good people no more. I’m sure they are as innocent as they seem and there is no need to arrest them.” With an oily smile, the Viscount examined each of the party closely. “I know you” he said. “You were at the Lord Protectors banquet when I arrived. Second table on the right, was it not? Yes, yes that was it. I never forget a face. Never.” And with that, he turned to the dragonborn and nodded curtly. “Clean this place up captain, and let these fine citizens go about their business. Good night.” And he was gone.
With an angry snarl, Razorscale barked out a few orders and stormed out of the temple.
THE NEXT DAY
- After resting and receiving some magical healing, Sharat pays a visit to the widow of Alexei, whose body was discovered in the cistern. The widow, Lorna, is devastated. She worries of her future and considers returning to her family in Winterfell, but Sharat offers her a position caring for the temple of Kelemvor, Oghma, and Ilmatear when it is completed. Lorna is grateful and readily accepts the offer.
- Elestrynna returns to the cistern and busies herself translating the Nar inscriptions. It turns out they are fragments of a larger inscription, likely from a monument built to commemorate workers that helped to construct Qu’entocar. The inscriptions mention numerous villages and towns where workers were recruited from and makes mention of their proximity to the structure. Combined with Elestrynna’s knowledge of locations within the old Nar Empire, she begins to triangulate the position of Qu’entocar with greater precision than ever before. It appears to be located somewhere in the southeastern Giantspire Mountains – a goblin infested wasteland of ice, rocks, and boreal forests.
- A secret door is found! Theros spends some time closely examining the walls of the cistern and discovers a hidden doorway that still opens. The party follows the narrow, cobweb-choked passageway some distance to the north east where it opens into another catacomb dating to the time of the old Nar Empire. While exploring the collapsed section of catacombs, some of the party pick up bits of a conversation that filter down through the crumbled walls, echoes from some distant hallway above their heads.
“That damn red wizard has disappeared. The mess he made of things with Hammerfast will not be tolerated by our allies. Find him and bring him to heel. We can’t afford to have him running around ruining anything else.” “Yes, my lord”
A pause as the voices fade out of earshot before becoming audible again.
“What of the adventurers?” “What of them?” “You recognized them?” “Of course, damn you! I never forget a face – remember who you’re dealing with, Simza. It’s a coincidence, nothing more.” “Of course, my lord.”
Another pause as the sound of crumbling rocks and dripping water obscure the voices. Then…
“You should know that the singers are at it again. We’re narrowing the options and we should be able to move soon.” “How soon?” “Within weeks.” “Good. Make an end of them – we can’t afford to have them interfere. And what our allies’ plans? Are they ready to break the last stronghold?” “Soon. The pieces are falling into place…”
- A messenger boy arrives at the temple dormatories that the party has moved into and brings word that Lord Protector Faren Markelhay would like the to come for dinner that evening. Finally! Word from the castle, which had been silent since the Viscount’s arrival.
DINNER WITH THE MARKELHAYS
- That evening, the party cleans up and ventures to the castle for dinner with Lord Markelhay and his wife, Allande. Lord Markelhay looks exhausted and Allande looks concerned about his state. Despite his normally temperate demeanor, he drinks heavily and complains about the Viscount’s take-over of town.
“They’ve taken over – sent all my men home. They keep rattling on about a ‘Cult of Orcus’ under my damn town! As if I’d allow such a thing to happen. The orcs may be gone, but the thrice damned Royal uuards won’t leave until they ‘get to the bottom of things’.”
- By the end of dinner, Lord Markelhay quietly slips into a drunken slumber while Allande apologizes and leaves to put him to bed. When she returns, she explains the history of Fallcrest and Damara – how the archmage Myrddin Viligoth and his companions The Twilight Riders, agents of Gareth Dragonsbane, came to town before Gareth was king and convinced Faren Markelhay’s great-great grandfather to support Gareth’s claim and join the Kingdom of Damara. Since then, the Markelhay’s have been supporters of the Dragonsbane kings. The presence of the King Frostmantle’s Royal Damaran Guards in town, though, is troubling given the town’s history.
- During the conversation Allande lets slip a charm bracelet bearing the emblem of the Harpers and the Spysong Network, which Theros immediately recognizes. The conversation quickly turns and the party learns that Allande is a member of the Spysong Network! Theros tells of his history with the Spysong Network and the party tells of the conversation they overheard earlier in the day. Allande is concerned, explaining that another Spysong member, Markus Vlachos, lives in the village of Nenlast, two days north of Fallcrest, and should be warned of the potential danger. She also has a contact in Tellerth, that she passes her reports on to.
- Allande also lays out her fears of a hill giant king who lives in northern Giantspires, who has been aggressive in the last few years. She fears the power vacuum left by the sundering of Garuk One-Eye’s host may provide him with an opportunity to raid further south. He has already been stirring up trouble in northern Soravia and Narfell in the past few years.
With that exciting news, the evening ends and Allande shows the party out, promising to stay in touch with Theros should anything come up.