We begin once again in the Royal Palace. Thorgal sends word that he will be staying at the Temple of Heironeous, has received an audience with Allister Tain, and will invite the party when appropriate to treat with the legendary hero of the Chaos War. The party is summarily informed that Taiven broke out of prison and is blamed for the death of the touched prisoner as well as also blamed for the ensuing fire that killed a prison guard. Owen March strides in haughtily flicking a stack of papers on the floor, each of these are wanted posters for Taiven the False Faced One:
The heroes clean up the spy painting to prevent it from being used to spy on them. Azeta shows up along with Jos van Duren. Greetings are exchanged. “We’ve scouring the city for the Princess I pray no harm will come to her.” Azeta apologizes for losing her temper earlier. Sir Tobi apologizes to Sir Jos for being wrong about Taiven. “He’s wanted dead or alive, at least Baron Tharg was wanted alive.” Sir Jos continues: “I’ve come here today as not a Templar not a paladin but as your true and good friend to once again plead with you not to take the course of action of besmirching Malagor’s name. It has come to me that as the despicable tactic may be used. It would seriously damage my opinion of you.” Azeta answers; “Sir Jos its a viable legal strategy, we both know the charges against these are trumped up, but Malagor is dead it won’t hurt him.” The two argue back and forth.
Baron Tharg adds: “I recall that Taiven was there when people were disappearing, supplies were being burned, etc.” Zha says: “Ya’ll need to make up your mind on the defense. You’re going up against 3 lawful judges.” Sir Jos says: “Your friend Thayd is a person of interest in the Princess’ disappearance. There’s more talk that Taiven devoured her soul. The next time I see Taiven one of us will die. After last night’s encounter I begged the head of my order for special permission and he came through: Taiven has a big surprise coming. He murdered a simpleton, who was responsible for the death of a child, if rumor is to be believed there is probable more to it than that. I will say this without shame, some are inherently evil like Orcs. The Simpleton should have the protections of law, and if he were proven to what he did, then his head should be have been cut out. Taiven probably has to kill something every day to maintain his powers. I have spoken to the chief of the watches and have warned them of Taiven: they will not be looking to take him alive. If you find where he is and you take him alive you can turn him in. It was his unorthodox fighting style that took me by surprise. Pholtus would have saved me.” Sir Jos leaves.
Zha says: “You need to stop listening to that guy. You know what courage and honour gets you? I’m planning to introduce the 80 statements of our caravan witnesses. We have 30 more than the others. I will want Baron Tharg to take the stand. As we discussed before, you need to downplay your abilities especially in the intellectual department. Don’t mention Taiven he’s a distraction we don’t need. We also have Sir Merkel who was in the employ/service of Malagor and he is still waiting for an offer for his testimony. He feels his testimony will ruin his career, he may not be wrong given Sir Jos’s adamence. He went into great detail regarding certain losses of bowels and not remembering things etc. He is also willing to swear that Sir Malagar no longer remembered the daily prayer and just mumbled through it.” Sir Tobi Says: “I can offer him an apprentice ship.”
Rumors are flying around that the demon-faced Taiven and the dragonman ate the Princess in a heinous blood orgy.
Dread, the Inquisitor, is invited to the trial of the dragonman this afternoon, given that she was one of the investigators. Dread attempts to investigate the prison break, but finds little given that fire covered it up. Dread does confirm that the neck was snapped cleanly of the simpleton child molester. 3 of the escaped were known members of the Eastfair Thieves Guild including Lefthill who was known to run a scam and was slated to be interrogated by Dread. Dread continues to follow up leads.
Dread finds that there are 4 elves unaccounted for. Astenaria had a meeting with the Queen, at which time 7 personal servants were in attendance, however only the bodies of 3 servants were found slain.
Around 5 am, Thayd’s Uncle arrives at the docks and requests to see Taiven, who is forced to forgo his morning bath with his concubines. Taiven travels to the ship quietly, entering the state room. There is another man there who wears full plate – this is Allister Tain. The two are introduced. “Your uncle and I are old friends.” Uncle: “I called Allister here b/c your man Gaston made me aware of a malady you’ve been suffering.” Thayd says, “Yes unfortunately uncle in saving the Princess of the Ardi Forest I touched the wrong crypt here I sit before you half the man I was..” Uncle says, “Allister owes me a favor.” Allister says: “The church of Heroneus thanks you for the benevolent gold offering.” Tain looks over Thayd and remarks, “This might take me more than one try.” He does cure Thayd on the second try. Heroneans true to the their word come through and Tain excuses himself.
Uncle says; “What have you gotten yourself into. It took him twice.” “Some powerful ancient magics Uncle.” “Tell me about it, I had to pull a lot of strings to get him here, and he OWED me one which I had to use on this. So now you owe me one. So what have you been getting into besides associating with the wrong people? What in the world were you thinking about having dinner with the Ambassador of Iuz? In public? I taught you better than that” “I covered my tracks.” “Oh you mean that beating that you took? You may have fooled the masses, but now you have to talk to me. What have you gotten our family into?” “Well Uncle this Kingdom hangs in the balance. There is a man here who left Iuz and hangs in favor with the Queen, this same man attacked our caravan. He is not who he says he is.” “You rarely give me cause to disbelieve you, but I gotta say the last day or two I’ve considered having your sister handle things on the main continent for a while. She does not have your brashness. You say this Sir Bahl attacked you and parleyed favor with the Queen?” “Not only that but while we were rescuing the Princess he came to the aid of the Caravan as it was attacked by Iuz. On the field teh weapons and soldiers that remained were all of inferior make. I’ve reason to believe that hte weapons and the attack came from the bandit lands. The maker’s mark on the weapons was by an orc there, the banners were moth-ridden as if they were stowed for 25 years, the weave was decades old.” “So you’re saying the attack was staged. Staged so that he could ride in and be the hero? So he could gain the favor of a new and young queen. Is this a machination of his own or of Iuz? You had dinner with the ambassador to discern it. You gotta know those guys are excellent liars.” “I did purchase 13 slaves who formerly belonged to Sir Bahl.”
“Evidently this kingdom is under assault.” Thayd gives him the details of the monster attack. “Wow, this is an opportunity for us though – we could get in with this Queen and potentially open up trade for us. I don’t think you’ve done too badly. Of course Iuz wsa interested in trade, being landlocked, but we’re not going to do business with him. Winks At least not openly. All joking aside, whenever you deal with Iuz grow eyes on the back of your head.”
Thayd continues, “Jeremy Windell has been stirring up trouble with my group – his champion Owen is no slouch. We’ve facing 5 plots that we know of.” “You wanna come home? This will die down after a few months.” “Just the fact these plots are so hurried gives me great concern.” “Well Windell was old when I was young and it is a fact that he was a principal adviser to Drax the Invulnerable. He had Rel Astra wrapped around his pinky including the Thieves Guild etc. He held out for the Knights Protectors and Unification of the Great Kingdom, his purse got fatter and fatter but now without any real leader in Rel Astra you can bet he is running things. I’ve dealt with the man before, runs a tight ship, never had any business issues with him, but he is prideful – all of his champions are ruthless killers who kill at the drop of a hat. I heard Drax took on some dragon, I wonder how that all came to pass.” Thayd answers, “Baron Tharg is directly related to that dragon.” “There’s no such thing as a half dragon that walks like a man, a little early in the morning to be telling tall tales. I have sailed the world and have seen things you cannot imagine. I will bet you he is a lizardman freak of some kind. How does he even have a Baronhood? If he’s not a fraud, he’s a nothing. He’s gotta be stupid to be walking about human lands expecting to fit in.” “Pay close attention at trial and you’ll get a sense of his mind.”
Thayd says: “My sister travels with the elves, one of them is husband to the missing princess.” “I heard the princess was kidnapped do you think she is dead? Its weird that they would put one of their own paladins on trial?” “I’m not clear exactly.” “So this Tobuscus. Any potential useful allies for the Sea Princes? Any diamonds in the rough, who can serve our needs?” “There are several nobles here who need to be met with. We need to untangle these treads. The Princess named one of our party as Elf-Friend. He is a brash monk and was maligned.” “Wait you’re talking about the Demon-Eye.” The Uncle spits out his drink: “Prince Eladrel is gonna shit a brick when he hears that!” He is belly-laughing. “Elf-Friend? That’s not a title lightly given. If you can bring him in it’ll be 3,000 gp.” “The title should give him significant protection, although much is hinged on technicalities.” “I don’t like societies that talk about purity of law, they’re the most corrupt sons of liches that are. At least with Iuz you know they’ll stab you with a dagger later on.” “In that case, Sir Jos is a man to be avoided Uncle b/c he represents everything you just said.”
A servant comes in with a note in hand, looking it over the Uncle says, “Tell me this is a jest. Our safe-house is under siege. By the city guard. Have you been truthful with me?” The note is shown: “The head of the elven princess was put on a pike on top of the safe-house. Not only that, but one of our employees was arrested with the bounty and named you as the mastermind behind the Princess’ disappearance and murder. Of course I know this is false, how do we prove it false?” “We should probably sail away. I wholeheartedly agree but it makes you look guilty. Gaston! First off, find out if this Princess is dead or not. What modifications did you make to the safe-house?” “I made entire foyer a murder box.”
Tobi looks for Marrko. Marrko answers, “I know of certain truths.” “I hear you’re hesitant to speak these truths.” “May I speak frankly we all know that Sir Jos is very fond of Malagar. In his prime Malagar was a hero to the kingdom and sharing the truths that I have to share is not going to endear me to either of those. I’ve decided to resign my commission I don’t believe the path of a paladin is for me. I will still serve in the military, perhaps political aspirations.” “From what I’ve seen in this palace we could use some good politicians.” “Those aspirations would be short lived if I don’t have any real support. It’s only because I respect the truth so much that I broach the subject of saying anything. He was a doddering old man, but he was still special. I feel like its betraying him, but the light of truth shines through the darkness according to Pholtus texts. I do not like your friend the dragonman I believe him to be an arrogant braggart, but he should have never been put in command.”
Meanwhile, Baron Tharg, Holber, and Azeta Zha are walking the streets. The Baron gets hit with a couple tomatoes. Zha wants Holber to take her shopping to make up for the last date which went poorly. Azeta Zha points to a bottle of perfume, “This is what I want. Buy it.” Holber says, “Go ahead.” Azeta says, “Now we need flowers. Because I said so.” She spends 2 hours looking at every flower and admiring them. “I’ll need a half dozen. After we’re done we’ll have a gourmet meal where we won’t be getting salads.” Holber refuses to pay the high price for the flowers, and as a result Azeta storms out of their date and leaves furious. Holber on his way back to the palace hear of the death of the elven Princess and the arrest of a pirate servant who was arrested trying to take away the ransom. Rumors say that False-faced Taiven ripped off her head and threw it onto a pike.
Baron Tharg consoles the Princess and the two of them enter the Owlbear for a drink, where Taiven happens to be staying. There are half-orcs, orcs, knolls, several rough-looking people. But all of them stay away from the Name Level Wizard with glowing eyes and the dragonman. The goblin bard quickly changes songs from disparaging the Baron to disparaging Taiven instead. Zha says, “What will you do after I get you off these charges? Going after the beast is unwise. I wish you could know what I know of it. It’s said that in year 1333 it killed Arathox Gold Dragon and friend of the elves. Its said the sun shone less bright after that.”
Rumors circulate that the city guard lost 5 members trying to breech the home of the sea Prince Noble, and it was found that inside all the staff had already been killed. The home was connected to the Catyph family. Its rumored that the Prince kidnapped the elf, ransomed her, and sent a servant to collect the ransom. There is an arrest warrant issued for Thayd. Supposedly a snake-like creature killed the guards. As a result, the lizard man serving Joromy Windell has been arrested.
THE ROYAL PALACE
Sir Jos informs Tobi and Holber of the details of the breech to the Thayd domicile – supposedly the creature that fought off the guards had snakes for hands. Holber recalls early on into his training hearing about something called an inphidian. They’re a direct progenitor or subspecies of the Yuan-Ti, also very rare on par with dragonmen. Yuan-Ti are rumored to be behind the Scarlet Brotherhood, a secret society aimed at spreading chaos to disrupt governments and cities, recognized having the best spy network on Oerth. Second, the Yuan-Ti were supposed to have been the descendants of the Reign of Colorless Fire in the Sulocian Empire. Sulocians are not allowed to hold office in the Great Kingdom on pain of death.
EASTFAIR BACK ALLEYS
Mercy goes to find Anna, her owner, who informs Mercy of the Princess’ death. Anna says, “This is a concerted effort to assassinate your character, what exactly went on in that Temple? There’s something I don’t know here, you’d best be telling me now.” “There was the ancient race.” Mercy tells Anna about the inphidian. “I’ve heard of Yuan-Ti, but not of inphidians. The Sulocians have no love for the Great Kingdom that’s for sure. It’s almost like all the evil elements of the world are lined up against your group. Its focused on you guys specifically. Not everyone just goes into a temple of a powerful Lawful exinct race. Somebody wants you guys out of the way – you have to know something important or be important. And you’re not important. This is demon-level chaos. I’ve contacts in the Thieves Guild I have tapped, do you wish to accompany me?” “No thank you.” On the way back to the palace, Mercy gets held by Owen, “Don’t struggle you little cunt we’re gonna have a talk in the valley.” Hold person doesn’t seem to effect Owen, to which he remarks, “That was a stupid move.” Mercy is tripped, and a rapier is put to her neck, “You’ll get up and talk to me in the alley you little cunt or I’ll end you right here.” Mercy complies, noticing he has a guard badge. “What were you speaking with the half-elf witch for?” “She’s my mistress.” “Kinky. I know you’re a slave, but not treated like any slave I’ve ever seen. Who killed the princess?” “I would like to know that as well, it wasn’t anyone in my party.” “You’re a lying cunt.” “You’re welcome to Zone of Truth me if you have it. Our party saved the Princess.” “Where is Prince Thayd the Fast Cunt?” “I’m assuming he is with his people.” “Don’t get smart with me cunt I’ll kill ya and won’t feel bad about it either.” “Just trying to help you.” “I’m gonna come around to the palace tonight and we’ll have a nice little talk just you and me. My friend was arrested and I’m a kill whoever set him up.” Owen walks away.
Meanwhile, the city guard lead by Sir Jos arrive at the ship of the Sea Princes where Tumothaw and Thayd are in discussion; “His royal prominence admiral and king of the sea barons, I command you in the name of Queen Allasandra to allow me to board your ship and seize your nephew in connection to the murder of the elven Princess Astenaria. You have one minute to comply or I will take your boat by Force. My name is Commander Jos Van Duren.”
Uncle Tumothaw laughs: “I feel like getting my little saber out and pat this paladin on his arse. To take my ship! Who the hell is this guy?” The boatsman answers, “This is a Sea Baron’s vessel and any attempt to seize it by force will be met by force. It is considered sovereign Sea Baron ground. We will under diplomatic flag meet you upon the docks in 5 minutes.” Uncle inquires of Thayd: “What do you want to do? Stow you away or go out there? You’re likely to be arrested officially but I’ll be there every step of the way.” Thayd strikes the Sea Baron, and he is hauled off to the brig. The Lord Admiral goes out to explain to Sir Jos that Thayd has already been arrested pending investigation. Sir Jos commands the Lord Admiral not to leave port until superiors allow him to leave. There is drawing of steel, but cooler heads do prevail. As a token of respect, Sir Jos is allowed on board to stand guard over Thayd. Dread is sent a message that services will be required of the Inquisitor once he could be extradited.
THE OWLBEAR TAVERN AND INN
Anna has entered the Owlbear, wearing a chain shirt and bearing two scimitars – she looks at ease in this part of town. Tharg nods to Anna and she nods back.
Taiven (now wearing an eyepatch over his demon eye) also sneaks into the Owlbear by phasing through a wall and sitting down in a shadowy spot at the Owlbear Tavern. The Barkeep does see Taiven materialize in a corner. Taiven sits down next to Lefthill at the corner table. “Well met I’m surprised you showed up. You know they’re blaming you and your friends, you didn’t cut off that Princess head did you?” “No she was a dear friend.” “So I’ve been doing some checking on you and it seems you are somebody that we may be willing to develop a professional relationship with. What kind of eye powers do you have? I hear that you’re a competent hand-to-hand combatant and actually wrestled and pinned a paladin like it was nothing. The Gortaka orphanage for war orphans was endowed 10 years ago with 150K gold. It’s in shambles because Gortaka left 5 years ago and suddenly through all the taxes the money disappeared. Anyway, with any business relationship, there will be tests of competency. What role would you like? A thug who beats people for collections? We have other operations that are more mercenary than that, utilizing skills such as yours. I recently suffered a setback b/c my prison mission failed thanks to that flipping wizard Holber. He riled up one of the local ruffians and ended up getting kicked in the head – the information in the false tooth got lost when he kicked me. That wizard owes me 7500 gp. Anyway, these tests are basically missions for the Guild that prove your competency and loyalty. Thing is you’re dragonfire hot. Your disguise is good, but we need something better because eventually someone is going to come for you. I need to know whether you’ll help the guild first. I feel I can give you this. One of our operatives made a copy of this and now you know that I’m a serious man. You can read it wherever you need to read it.” Taiven stands up to leave.
As he goes to leave two large Orcs threaten the monk unless Taiven comes with them to speak with the Barkeep, “I know what you did from now on you better walk through the front door.”
THE EASTFAIR DOCKS
Sir Jos walks in to interrogate Thayd. “I do not understand how good and noble men like Sir Tobi and Baron Tharg are drawn to people like Tiaven and you. You attacked me and instigated that conflict, the food and caravan you remember? It may seem long ago to you.” “I seem to remember taking what was mine and also your sword in the process.” “I’ve prepared for the foul machinations of you and your cohort Taiven. I saw you two always talking and joking together it did not escape my notice. You did not kill the Princess though, I don’t believe you did. Even though you’re disrespectful and my Kingdom you’re not stupid or sloppy. Today’s crime was stupid and sloppy. Inside there was a foul creature, it killed 5 guards and killed all of your house guard. It made use of your home which was fortified for assault. So you tell me: you disappeared from the Palace last night. Will you answer our Inquisitor’s questions willingly or not? The Princess’ head was found on your property. It was one of your employees that was found carrying the ransom, and has made a sworn statement that YOU kidnapped the Princess and put out for the ransom.” “I will allow the questions if the same Inquisitor can question this accuser.”
Sir Jos speaks with Dread. “I’ve a question for you. Thayd’s employee: did you handle that interrogation? Can you re-interrogate that person? Afterwards, when you are done with him I would appreciate if you interrogated Thayd. If it can cause discomfort, it wouldn’t bother me.” Dread enters the cell below decks to interrogate Thayd, but Thayd’s mind proves too strong to be effected by Dread’s psionic powers.
THE ROYAL PALACE
Sir Jacken Dayne comes to see Tobi, Tharg, and Holber. “As you know the Princess has been killed. It was her body, that much has been confirmed. It is interesting to hear that she died especially in light of THIS.” He produces a letter written by Princess Astenaria granting Taiven the title of Official Ambassador and mentioning an known vague threat to the Queen. “What is the threat? What about her other four elves?” Elves once they pass on do not choose to come back. “Now Taiven has full diplomatic immunity and the Elven Prince is on his way. Sir Tobuscus I lord Jacken Dayne the Queen’s Protector order you to disclose everything that occurred in that Forest Right now.” Sir Tobi describes the adventure at the Tomb, but leaves out details concerning the Vaati and the Reforger. Sir Dayne senses that Sir Tobi is leaving out important details, and calls him out. Sir Tobi and Baron Tharg explain to Sir Dayne that there is something else not disclosed to Sir Jacken Dane because the information is highly sensitive and would put his life in danger like it has to all of the heroes, leaving him mad at that revelation and Dayne departs furiously, reminding them that they stand trial soon.