Thrice The Brinded Cat

Trial By Fire

Sunday, Ariday 19, CY 593 

The next morning Gerran went to Oils Well lamp shop to run the errand that his mother had asked him to do.   While purchasing the order of papaya oil to take to Nebron Kaewyd Fine Leathers workshop where his mother worked, he noticed a strange lantern.  As he looked longer, the owner, Thervain Arduun moved the lamp to behind the counter. During this time Gerran noticed a face in the lamp.  Gerran vowed to earn enough money to purchase the lamp. 

When Gerran dropped the oil off with his mother at Nebron’s leathershop, she took a small Feathered Amulet from around her neck and gave it to him. She said it had belonged to his father and now she wanted him to wear it.

Then we found ourselves in the Town Hall waiting for the guards who were arrested the night before to go on trial.  We had escorted Ruphus Laro to the trial to insure he made it to court safely.  The trial was lead by The Honorable Judge Ghease. After much litigation the guards were found guilty and sent to jail. (The party was awarded three Fate Points each for their role in the convictions) 

After court we meet with Sergeant Justin Maltemps and told her of the job we had been given by Jenya Urikas. We then were asked by Justin to help with her search for the missing people as well.  She gave us a letter of introduction to use when questioning people. 

At some point, Gerran realized he had come into possession of a “jester’s” silver coin. He had heard rumors of these odd coins that appeared to be simple silver pieces minted in Cauldron with an engraving of a volcano on one side, but where an image of the Lord Mayor was usually printed on the other side an engraving of a laughing jester was in its place. Gerran showed the coin to Justin who immediately told him the coins had been deemed illegal in the city and anyone caught trying to pass one off could end up in jail. Gerran gave the strange coin to her.

While in the Town Hall we took a little side trip to the Cauldron Prison complex where we learned that there were several levels below the main hall.  After discussing the cryptic message from the Star of Justice concerning the missing children, we concentrated on the line: “Descend into the malachite’ hold, where precious life is bought with gold.” We deduced that whatever the Malachite Hold was, it might be underground, so we wondered if the Prison Complex might lead us to the Malachite Hold.  Thus we trekked down the stairs until we came to a large, deep pool of water. The water was dark and murky so we decided to look for another way to get to the Hold.  However on the way back up the stairs we decided to have some fun  with the guards on duty so we raced up the stairs hollering and acting as if some thing was following us.  This frightened the two guards standing at the door and caused them to raise the alarm.  When Justin came to determine the problem we acted like nothing happened.  This got the guards into a lot of trouble and gave us a good laugh. 

On our way out we met Edith Vernril, one of the secretaries at the Town Hall. After learning we would not be allowed access to the Town Hall archives (and hopefully some information about the Malachite Hold), Braenna began asking her questions. It was Edith’s lunch break, so the two of them headed off to the The Slippery Eel for some lunch and drinks. Edith was quite the party-girl and Braenna pried some delicious information from her.

The next logical move was for us to check out The Lantern Street Orphanage as this was the site of the last of the kidnappings and where Ruphus was investigating the previous evening before he was attacked.  We were greeted by the headmistress, Gretchyn Tashykk, and she told of how the children went missing. While investigating the rooms on the second floor, Braedan checked to see if magic was used to help remove the children. He found no trace of magic.  At the same time, Gerran met with Patch who confessed that he had been paid to watch one of the missing orphans for The Last Laugh.  We also learned that Ghelve, the local locksmith, made most of the locks in town as well as the locks for the orphanage, leading us to conclude he may be a part of the kidnappings. 

During our investigations of the orphanage, Headmistress Tashykk mentioned that a Sergent and his men from the City Guard had been by to ask a lot of questions, and then two elven ‘ Special Investigators’ from the Guard and then Ruphus Laro from the Church of St Cuthbert – and we were the fourth set to stop by. Later that day some of us began to notice two elves following us. We spoke with Justin about the elves and she was unaware of who they might be and was unaware of any special investigations unit with the Guard.

Upon leaving the orphanage, we noticed the stern-faced paladin of St. Cuthbert, Sir Alec Tercival, performing a one-man patrol of the orphanage grounds – in full armor and in the sweltering mid-day heat. He only glared at us with an unfriendly scowl as we left the gated orphanage.

At this point we decided to split-up. Kenric went to visit The Bluecrater Acadamy to meet with his old tutor, Sasha Kronovavik, to ask her about the mysterious bookbinding and bone he found the previous evening with Smoke. Braenna decided to followup on what Edith Vernril had mentioned about the connection with the Splintershield’s and the Malachite Hold. Braeden decided to visit some of the other churches in town to see what he could find out about the new new tax plan. And, Gerran decided he would pay a visit to Keygan Ghelve at Ghelve’s Locks to follow up on how the children could have been abducted from the orphanage without any signs of entry by the kidnappers.

Braeden discovered that all of the churches had been assessed the higher taxes so it was not an attack on his church. We then learned that the council taxed the churches instead of the merchants but will raise taxes on the merchants in two years.  The money was being used to hire adventuring groups and more guards to deal with an increase in disturbances both inside and outside the city. These disturbances include an evil druid who turns people into ducks at the lake, wild baboons attacking merchants and kobolds outside of the city. 

Braeanna tried to meet with Davked Splintershield but didnt get any further that the front gate. However, she was able to learn a few things from the pair of dwarven guards posted outside. She found out that one of Davked’s sons went to fight a dragon called Hookface and never returned. His other son, Zenith, and some of the dwarves from the area, recently returned to the Malachite Hold, far below the city streets. 

Gerran met with the locksmith, Kegan Ghelve. While Gerran originally visited the little gnome at his shop, Ghelves Locks, to ask about how kidnappers could have gotten into the orphanage and bypassed his locks, Gerran ended up making Kegan extremely nervous and finally the gnome snapped and spilled the beans. Gerran discovered that Kegan’s shop held a long hidden entrance to the ancient abandoned enclave of Jzadirune and that a few months ago some unwelcome visitors arrived in his shop from the ruined city below. Kegan described the visitors as pale, blue-skinned hairless creatures and were accompanied by short, dark things in black cloaks. The evil things took his rat familiar, Starbrow, and threatened it with death unless Kegan construct a master skeleton key to all of the locks he had made within the city.

The creatures then took Starbrow and held him prisoner somewhere below in Jzadirune , keeping the poor thing alive only in exchange for Kegan’s silence as the wicked creatures crept up from below to kidnap the innocent folk of Cauldron and took them down below for some unknown purpose.

We learned that the gnome city had been abandoned when a disease called The Vanishing struck the gnomes. As a young child, Kegan was there with his father when King Beznod IV ordered all of the doors to the city locked. The doors were locked with gears and magic spells. Kegan warned us that the doors could kill us, but he begged us to go down into Jzadirune and rescue his beloved Starbrow.

It was suspected that the Vanishing was caused when the gnomes tried to combine alchemy and technology together.  Once you get the Vanishing you begin to fade and the disease can take effect in days or in weeks. However, the dwarves who lived in the Malachite Hold were not affected. We also learned that there was a way to access the Malachite Hold from Jzadirune.

Gerran took Kegan to Justin and asked to have him locked up. Justin indicated she could only hold the locksmith for three days before he had to face the Judge. Kegan, at first, was hesitant but then was convinced he would be safer in jail and that we would work to rescue his pet.  

We then searched Kegan’s shop and residence.  We discovered some money in a lock box which was later donated to the orphanage. During our searching, Smoke brought our attention to a dresser in Kegan’s bedroom. After Braeanna successfully set off a trap, we discovered a leather map of the gnome city and a copy of an Academy spell book primer which was owned by Kegan.  This is the second time Smoke has lead Kenric to an Academy spell book. 

Also during the search we were attacked by one of the blue-skinned creatures who was hiding in the darkness of Kegan’s shop. In the attack, Kegan’s grandfather clock was destroyed. After defeating the creature we learned that it was called a skulk. On the creature we found a rapier that was made by the Splintershield clan. After the search we noticed that there was a secret door behind the clock which led down into Jzadirune. 

Before heading down the stairs we had Braeden take the money from the lock box to the Orphanage. While heading there he discovered he was being followed by two elves. These were the same elves that have followed us before. He also noticed fresh paint in goblin writing on the church. On the way back he noticed a note on Keygans door that the Church of Kord was sponsoring a wrestling match this coming weekend. 

Down the gnome hole…

With that we headed down the stairs to find the city of Jzadirune. As we moved down the stairs we heard wind noises, the sound of children laughing and the noise of water in a brook.   

The first room we entered was empty except for 12 copper gnomish masks hanging on the wall. We noticed there were two doors to our left and a hallway ahead of us. One of the doors was ajar and had the gnomish rune for the letter “J” on it. The other door was locked and had the gnomish rune for the letter “A” on it. 

As we stepped through the half opened door we were attacked by a Skulk. We defeated the creature and we noticed that there were tunnels in the walls. I determined that the tunnels must have been dug by some kind of large metallic tool. We considered it might indicate the use of a gnomish digging device. But who was using the device? 

We followed one of the tunnels and discovered another room with pillars and murals on the walls and a circular pool at the end of the room.

Further down a tunnel we discovered two more Skulk. We killed one and captured the other. Immediately after this battle, Gerran began to notice a burning sensation on his chest. He quickly lifted up his tunic to reveal a red welt where his father’s Feathered Amulet had lain against his skin. Mysteriously, the crystal on the amulet was gone, but the feathers were still intact. Then we took the Skulk back to the surface and turned it over to Justin. 

Upon return to Jzadirune later that evening, we ran into one of the gnomish digging devices. After disabling the device and chasing off the two creatures that were running the device we discovered that it contained a rod, which turned out to be a key to the doors. We also found a blue spinnel gem.

Upon returning to the surface we discovered a message from a Tygot Nispot, a local dealer in antiquities, asking us to consider using his services to sell any items we found in Jzadirune and not to go to his competitors – Skye or Maavu 

It was late. It had been a very long day, so we locked up the shop and fell asleep right on the floor of the lockshop.

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