Saturday, July 5, 2014

Westmist Session # 76 - The Heist

Before leaving New Breven, Erijay and Kern decided they needed to take care of Zana and Rathgold. A sentiment with which Rylee and Gurruk, now back from their own business, agreed. Waiting for dusk, Bjorn and Erijay each cast invisibility and fly, then proceeded to scout out the keep and locate Rathgold and Zana. They found Rathgold in his rooms, toiling away at his desk. They did not see Zana, there being no windows on the third floor of the keep where they suspected her room was located. Erijay decided to cast locate object to look for the bag of platinum Kern had given their blackmailer. She did locate platinum coins in the NE corner of the third floor, confirming their suspicions.

Although they weren't able to figure exactly where Zana was, the party decided to take they chance they could find her when needed and put their plan to deal with her and kidnap Rathgold into action. First, they took their leave of Lord Merdwyn and left town with the Company of the Four Brothers. They parted way with the mercenaries near the end of the day, when the road turned east towards Westmist. The party instead headed west, ostentatiously to go see Zoleran, but actually to loop back around back to New Breven. They set up camp for a few days to allow enough time to cast invisibility on everyone, a task interrupted just once by a giant bee attack (quickly dispatched by Bjorn's sleep spell). Once everyone was invisible, the party headed back overland to New Breven arriving at the edge of the river opposite town late in the afternoon. And then realized they'd forgotten there was a river to be crossed. Flummoxed, they decided that in the morning Erijay would fly over to the castle and hopefully pin down Zana's location and maybe capture her. With that in mind, Kern gave her the magic chest to stuff Zana in, having already confirmed it could hold a living person for at least a few hours.

Next morning , the still invisible  Erijay flew across the river and made for the keep. First stop was the balcony and doors on the third floor, and to her surprise the door was open! Inside the room she could see Silco and Ikar (of the Company of Good Cheer) just rising from bed. They spend a few minutes getting dressed, and then headed out of the room. At this point, Erijay noted an opening in the north wall, covered with a sheet. The opening looked newly made. Knowing this is where Zana was likely to be, Erijay floated over to the sheet and flicked it aside as if it were blown by the wind. Inside she found Zana and Quid together in bed. After some time, they both got up, made some small talk, and dressed. Quid then left the room, followed shortly by Zana. Erijay now flew out the balcony door and climbed above the keep to watch for Zana. She spied the spy leaving the front door of the keep alone, but rather than head out the front gates, Zana turned to the west and headed for the rear wall of the castle. There she disappeared into the wall, only to emerge outside an the edge of the road leading down to the town. Obviously a hidden postern gate.

At this moment, Erijay saw her chance. The road was deserted at this early hour. She cast hold person on Zana, who was suddenly paralyzed and froze in mid step. Erijay then landed, summoned the chest, and stuffed Zana inside. She sent the chest away, and finding her fly spell had ended, walked down to ferry crossing hoping to sneak on board  invisibly. The ferry was just arriving when she got there, and with just a few passengers to cross, she was able to get on board without anyone knowing, and crossed to the north side of the river unharmed and unmolested. Making rendezvous with the rest of the party, they opened the chest to find Zana still paralyzed. There was some discussion of keeping her alive for questioning for now. Rylee, however, ended the debate with a mace to the back of her head. Now all they had to do was get rid of the body ...
... but only after getting Rathgold out. Waiting for nightfall, the still invisible Bjorn flew over and broke into Rathgolds room. He carried the chest (sans Zana) and a note from Kern, telling the scribe to get in the chest to escape. Rathgold, awoken by a shake from the invisible Bjorn, instead cowered in fear when the chest appeared. With a sigh, Bjorn cast sleep on him, stuffed him in the chest, and flew back to the party. Which now headed out in the darkness, to put as much distance between them and the scene of the crime(s) before daybreak. No pursuit appeared though, and after a simple matter of bribing the guards at the Citadel of Amrath to take them across the river, they were back in Westmist after a few days travel (having dumped Zana in the Great River along the way).

Once in Westmist, they quickly rounded up Rathgold wife, disguised the two and sent them east by riverboat to Kingsford, carrying enough gold to start  new, comfortable life there. They also found Booh, still waiting for them around Gurruk├Ęs hovel north of town. Questioning the giant, they learned that he wasn't responsible for the raids on the farms, which made them wonder who or what was. They also questioned Riker about what had happened around town in the month they were gone. Apart from a noticeable crackdown on petty crime by Jax and his men, there was little to report. There was also no work from Sir Janus and Duncal, apart from a cryptic note saying they were working to make His Lordship (i.e. Duncal ) comfortable in his new surroundings.Things were quiet ... too quiet ...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Westmist Session #75 - Spy vs Spy

Back in New Breven, the party split to deal with individual business. Sloth, Dai-sen, and  Sheriff Ironbritches took their leave of the party to make their way in this new (to them) world.  Rylee, Gurruk and Darnorth likewise disappeared on private matters, leaving Erijay, Kern and the still recovering Bjorn. First order of business was to move from the common room of the Rusted Sword to better private lodgings at The Wasp, so Bjorn could fully recover his health without drunken troopers stumbling over him. With the magic user settled in bed, Kern and Erijay sent word to Lord Breven that they had returned from exploring the mysterious manor. It was not long after that one of the Count Palatines knights, Sir Kelso, arrived to escort and present them to His Lordship to give their report. They found him once again in the map/war room, along with the Lord Marshal, several other knights, and the Company of Good Cheer (less Zana). Kern laid out the story of their trials and tribulations in Chateau d'Amberville, ending the the final collapse and complete destruction of the place. Lord Merdwyn seemed indifferent to their near final death experience, and while somewhat disappointed in the loss of the chateau, did thank the party for their efforts. He then asked their plans, and Kern indicated that once the party had recovered from their wounds, they would head back to Westmist to prepare for further adventure. At this, Lord Merdwyn requested that they report back to him before departing, in case he had dispatches to send back to his seneschal, Jax.

That business done, the two headed back to the Wasp. Where to their surprise, found Zana waiting for them, sitting on the edge of Bjorn's bed. She was there with a proposal, or more correctly, a threat.  Telling Kern that she knew what he'd been up to, spying on Lord Merdwyn, the leering lady handed him a wooden box. Inside which was a finger, recently removed from Rathgold's left hand. It would seem that Zana had tailed Kern and Rathgold when they met after Lord Merdwyn's feast, and then tortured the details of Kern's spying out of the frightened scribe. In return for silence, she demanded payment. Otherwise, she threatened to go the Lord Merdwyn with the story and then no doubt there would be hell to pay.
Zana gave Kern 48 hours to consider her 'offer', and then left. And then the planning began. Various options, including a knife in the back for Zana and/or smuggling Rathgold out of New Breven keep were weighed. In the end, Kern and Erijay decided to play along with Zana's game for now, and Erijay would make use of her ESP to dig into their blackmailers brain. When the appointed day arrived, Erijay made a show of storming out of The Wasp after arguing with Kern, then slipped on the elven cloak and circled back to hide invisibly in her room. Some time later Zana arrived to get Kern's answer. The merchant stalled her some more, questioning whether they could trust a blackmailer to keep her work. Who knows who else she had betrayed, and who else was in on the gig that could likewise betray any or all of them? While Zana was elusive in her answer to Kern., Erijay read flashes of thoughts. Zana was working alone on this side business; the rest of the Company of Good Cheer was not involved or informed. She was also shaking down a couple of members of Lord Merdwyn's household. Fineous the Squire apparently had a weakness for women, and was paying Zana to keep quiet about all the jilted lovers, pregnant maids, and late night sneaking of the ladies in and out of the keep.  On the other hand, she was also blackmailing Thorious the Lower Bailiff, who was a secret member of the Cult of Yg, information he probably didn't want to get back to the Count Palatine.  In the end, Kern offered Zana 100pp to keep quiet, which she accepted as a 'down-payment", with the understanding that more would be forthcoming.

Fuming over this latest roadblock, Kern and Erijay waited out the week while Bjorn recovered, and then prepared to return to Westmist. As promised, they reported to Lord Merdwyn before leaving.  He had no messages to go back per se. But he did brandish a recent dispatch from his man in Westmist, reporting recent issues with marauding giants north of town, attacking farms and leaving them devoid of families and livestock.  Jax requested that some seasoned troops be sent to help with the issue, so Lord Merdwyn was dispatching a half company of his mercenaries ,The Company of the Four Brothers, back to Westmist. He asked that the party travel back with them, just to be on the safe side. Kern protested that the party may have other business on the way, and Lord Merdwyn was understanding yet insistent that they travel together as far as possible. To which, in the end, Kern and Erijay agreed.