(as related by Satinder Ilderfless)
After arriving in Magnimar nearly a month ago and filling my time with occasional odd jobs as either a mercenary or bowyer, I have finally been assigned a task by the Society. Venture Captain Heidmarch summoned me as well as five others to her Manorhouse. When we arrived, we found her engaged in discussion with Koriah Azmeren, a Pathfinder renowned for her knowledge of the Darklands. Lady Heidmarch apologized, saying that she still had some business to attend to with Koriah and would need to excuse herself for a short time. She led us into the manor-house’s library, suggesting we use the time we had to attempt to open a Thassalonian puzzle-box that had recently come into her possession. She then took her leave of us.
The group assembled, other than me, consisted of:
- Draven, a halfling who seemed to be a stealthy and extra-legal sort of adventurer
- Tadashi, a mysterious personage, apparently human, who shields his face with a metal mask.
- Elisabeth, the only female of the group, but who seems likely to be the fiercest combatant in our number.
- Ordrik, a dwarven wizard. I look forward to speaking with him as I have never encountered a dwarven arcanist before. I’m sure his philosophy of magic will prove quite interesting.
- Rathos, another half-elf but definitely not a city-boy like me. Likely a member of a druidic order.
After some investigation of the box, we found a series of runes that could be moved by swapping the positions of two runes. When the original word “cruel” was changed to “lucre” the box opened.
From the open box, lept four ugly creatures that our host would later refer to as “gremlins”. They immediately set about causing chaos and destruction in the library. The gremlins seemed to cause the strangest bout of bad luck to afflict those in their immediate vicinity as I was completely unable to hit any of them without exceptional magical assistance.
We were able to dispatch two of the creatures before our host returned. Koriah dispatched the final two in quick succession with her hand crossbow.
It was at this point that V.C. Heidmarch noticed that Draven had been tampering with a lockbox in a corner. His efforts had been rewarded when he set off a trap within the device that sprayed him with a viscous, violet liquid.
I was amazed at the generosity of spirit which overtook V.C. Heidmarch at this point. Had Draven attempted such a foolish stunt at the Grand Lodge, he would have likely been dismissed from the Society, or at best been allowed to work off his shame in the kitchen as a sculler for a month or two.
After some apologies, V.C. Heidmarch informed us of the reason we were invited to the Lodge. It seems that a contact of hers, Natalya Vancaskerin, a member of a local Sczarni gang, has disappeared. She claimed to have found some Thassalonian artifact of of great value and importance, but when she and the V.C. were supposed to meet, Natalya never showed. Rumors indicate that even the Sczarni are searching for her.
We were to find Natalya and recover the item she spoke of. The item was the primary concern, however. We would be compensated 500 gold for the item, and an additional 500 gold should we be able to bring in Natalya for questioning. It was also important that we remain discreet and cast as little light as possible on our and Natalya’s ties to the Society.
The only leads the V.C. had to give us were a go between with the local Sczarni, a fortune teller who goes by name The Amazing Zograthy. He operates his ‘business’ in Washer’s Row.
There are also rumors of Nidali slavers kidnapping unfortunates from the poorer districts of Magnimar, and it is possible that Natalya fell prey to one of their raids.
We were offered an advance of 250 gold to assist with bribes and other necessities. We were also allowed to take the revealed contents of the Paradox Box: 3 Garnets, a silver dagger of exceptional make and a Ring of Feather Fall.
Our first stop was the City watch station at the Arvensoar. After some conversation, and persuasion of the guardsman on duty, we learned that Natalya was not incarcerated at present and that in the opinion of the Watch, the rumors of Nidalese slavers were unfounded and likely untrue.
We then set out for Washer’s Row. The oppressive odor and humidity of the district is unpleasant to say the least, but that doesn’t prevent all sorts of other commerce from taking place.
After winding our way through the damp streets, we came upon the Amazing Zograthy’s tent. The wrinkled man inside spoke to us as if we were old friends but his eyes betrayed a desperation and hunger that was unsettling from the start. It soon became clear that the Harrow reading and fortune telling was merely a front for his true trade, information. It also came to light that he was a slave to Pesh. I imagine that the vast majority of the gold he earns from both of his endeavors goes immediately to his supplier.
After paying him far too much, he confirmed that the tales of Nidalese slavers were indeed true and that he knew of disappearances in Beacon’s Point, Underbridge, Dockway and Washer’s Row. Some of the missing were Sczarni and the local gangs were determined to find them. He also would arrange for us to meet with a local Sczarni Lieutenant to see if we could trade information and offer to help recover their people in return.
In the hour between leaving Zograthy’s tent and when we were supposed to meet the Sczarni, we got into a bit of an altercation with some of the more colorful members of the district. Thankfully, no one was killed and we were not pursued.
Our meeting with the Sczarni proved quite fruitful. They agreed that working together is probably the best course for both parties. We were informed of a rumored slaver pickup at an old boarded up tavern, the Puffy Pelican, in Dockway.
We also learned that Natalya’s former gang, a group of Sczarni catburglars called the Tower Girls, were looking for her. They were convinced that she had betrayed them in some way. There was also talk that Natalya went a bit mad shortly before her disappearance.
After the meet Draven went to scout out the Puffy Pelican. Thinking better of letting our compatriot go alone, we followed shortly behind.
When we arrived at the former tavern, we found Draven facing off against a sorceror. Draven was wounded but had managed to hide from the spellcaster. Although I certainly don’t approve of Draven’s earlier actions at the Lodge, I am glad we arrived when we did.