Well we found Karsten and a whole lot of trouble. Remarkably, Karsten is doing just fine. He’s made some friends including Count Sawicki, the one made infamous for his expedition into the shadow rift. We also got to meet Bellrauthien, an old friend Karsten met in Tepest. I’ll make notes of him later.
In just a few days we’ve met with both of them, stumbled upon a body in an alley, fought gremlins beneath a building with dead bodies, made strange relationships with at least a few Stables, investigated the Signature Killer and/or his duplicate, sold items in the market, fought an alleged mummy (possible fey inhabited body) in the market, met with the Dommer Vasilko of the Iron Cathedral, learned of the cat cult that might be behind this including a wild cat that attacked a coffin maker named Nikoali Allarian, and been contacted by a servant for Sir Tristan.
It’s almost ridiculous the layers of activity here. Meanwhile I’ve been trying to sell things and set myself up as the traveling merchant while Seregil insinuates himself with the nobility, which has gone well I might add. I’ve also researched a number of things, talking to numerous groups and people while investigating recent events, what’s happening in Tepest, the underground of Liara and individuals.
Kuzma Sudislav, the servant of Lord Hiergaard who is trying to hire us to stop the bandits around Fairhaven, is well known for helping the nobility when they have a problem. He’s outside the normal channels and they know because of this he can get things done quickly and discretely. He even has a direct link to Sir Tristan. That can be quite helpful for our end goal. Also the 3200 bridles between us won’t be bad either.
Thinking we’d gone along on his errand, the next morning we made use of our time first looking into the building where we fought the gremlins. We surprised a nursing woman in the building. People actually live there. We didn’t find much else. Underneath we found lots of trash. It’s terribly dirty and still smells of pure evil. Where I had killed gremlins, rusted metal lay behind. There were dead bodies of dogs but also children. Horrific but I wasn’t surprised.
Esera sealed it up with stone shape and hid it over with refuse.
Arden and I went to the Iron Cathedral to try and talk to the Dommer but he was busy. Considering he hasn’t come calling for us, I assume he’s been occupied with the ramifications of the attack in the market. That has helped us gain information and some fame, especially Arden and I and to agree Ducan (Kraj). We ended up leaving with little comment but apparently Arden noticed the cats are getting riled up again.
I had hoped to find Karsten but considering he’s with Sawicki, I chose to spend my time elsewhere. I found out a great deal about Eleana Grucia, the dead noble and socialite who was murdered with her husband. The guards couldn’t capture who did it, but I bet we will.
Arden, at least, found out that there’s an exotic flower shop out of town where the Novana Lilies originated. Baelaran Markor or something. It’s outside the city. Funny, we’ll be outside the city here soon.
We also found out more information about the woman we found: Yuria. Seems like we had to go to the Purring Palace and Kuzma wasn’t at the Tavern yet, so Esera stayed behind while we left to meet the ladies. Well I wish she would have gone.
A few of us could tell the guard outside was uneasy. I even tipped him after badgering him about why he was nervous. Well I guess I should have badgered more or checked the heavy fabric we walked through to get in. Once inside, the madame rang a bell and the ladies ran as the “bouncers” surrounded us. And just more kept coming.
We were quick to react, and likely too quick. Even me. Bellrauthien had already cleaved a man in two after two quick swipes of a greatsword that came out of his quiver. Yes, quiver. Remarkably spacious those quivers. There was something said about this was their only chance to stop us or something. Turns out this was the Bravos stable and I realized they were scared. That’s why so many were there. Aanother stable, some wandering stable of lycanthropic creatures called Eclipse has been shaking down the Palace for money. We met Roman, whose words had first clued me in. I calmed everyone down for a moment, enough that we could talk. They finally backed down, realizing we weren’t the group. The Madame even noted she’d never seen any of us before. I kept repeating how we were here to actually help investigate what was happening and I’d even paid the guard outside for his troubles. Roman was disheartened; we’d already killed one of his men but is that really our fault? We then got to talk to the Madame.
It’s no good if we’re being mistaken for some other Stable of crazy shape changers but I suppose that’s because of Bellrau. He’s a bit animalistic in appearance… The claws and all.
Well the Madame’s name is Mother Leepa. Yuria was a slave purchased by Mother Leepa. She told us a man who visited often named Peter Rurik who could only get off with submissive, quiet, unmoving girls (disturbing) had come in asking for Yuria specifically. Not only that, he asked for a room in the basement. Well what do you know, the basement had a long sealed door. Apparently after Peter left something came through it, likely magically, and dragged poor Yuria off. It was unusually deep anyway, 20 feet or so. Old stone… old magic. The women who stayed down there would have dreams of a door and scratching at it.
I suspect the Araq, using the Signature Killer as a cover.
We told Mother Leepa not to use the basement ever again. She seemed genuinely horrified that the girls were actually right. The others updated Roman, including getting the name of the Bravos stable’s master: Vladmiir. I on the other hand chatted with the girls and learned Peter worked in a nearby barrel factory.
Heading back to the Tavern we were remarkably NOT attacked. I noted some strange people in the Tavern but as it turned out they were Kuzma’s men. He thanked me for watching out for him upstairs in case they were against him. We told him we agreed to the mission but not the killing. What’s more, we want to talk to any prisoners. Namely, I want to talk to the Blood Cat. That made him nervous. I wonder why…
Some of us then went off to the Stallion. Seregil went to talk up recent events, specifically of Arden and Lily but also to make a name for himself. He couldn’t get a room, but it’s only a short time before he will. He made quick friends, even getting a chance to introduce Arden Valois. It was a remarkable performance if I might say. (Perform 35!)
More importantly Karsten was there. Arden found him and Karsten asked him about Lily. Together we three had a veiled discussion with plenty of revelation. We’re to meet with the Count on the 10th of June. We aren’t supposed to speak of it though. He feels he is being watched and that’s quite possible. We learned the Araq are the shadow fey. They can’t be touched by sunlight. Good to know, magically anyway.
I do believe Sawiki is involved with those who find power under the ground. I also know that the shadow rift has something to do with the fey. Karsten was trying to hide it but I picked up on it. He talked a lot about choosing sides, making ourselves into a faction, losing access to information and what can and can’t be shared. I’m thankful I can pick up on his tells; I guess I know his voice pretty well by now.
It was also during this conversation that I learned Malkin, supposedly the one running the underground and also the cat cult priest who saved Kantora years ago, is a type of cat. I’d forgotten that. Sure sounds like someone might be using this whole thing to create their own persona, eh? No, it’s not me.
Oh and the nightmares. Apparently people acting in their nightmares isn’t uncommon here. Poor Krajkah is one of many. It’s something the Count would be interested in even. Apparently there’s been a few times in the city that people have had trouble sleeping or a loved one’s been killed by their beloved, who has no memory of the thing. Dreadful, but at least it’s not just us. We wonder if it’s going to continue outside the city.
Finally, I learned in our discussion that it seems they fey might have kept Arden for a long time afterall. They taught him some odd song that Karsten was very eager to learn. I’m not sure what it means but I aim to find out. I got a copy for myself and I have to say, it’s beautiful and terrifying. Certain makes me think of Fey but also something more dangerous. I think the sleep at the end means death.
Esera at least was going to take a look overnight. She and Bellrau didn’t wake Krajkah. She said it was like his mind wasn’t even there. Like it was away. It wasn’t broken; it was gone. Where does it go and how does it get back? Dark magic I’d say. Could the city be cursed too? It wouldn’t surprise me.
I guess this is as good a time as any for a review of my associates:
Karsten – social, knowledgeable, friendly, secretive. He has his allies and they value their secrets. He’s more than a little associated to at least one group allied with fey. I still owe him a lesson. His paradox seems to be in the interest of information gathering yet secret keeping.
Krajkah – increasingly endearing and funny, eager to get smithing, eager to sell, eager to avoid trouble but wants to fight. I guess that’s his paradox. I trust him but not all his methods, which can often cause complication for mine. I am worried he’s truly delusional about his magic. Is he crazy?
Arden – I find I like and trust Arden more and more. He’s smart, willing to learn and work, and asks the right questions. He’s not the best with people, but he tries and that’s more than most. He must’ve truly been an investigator before. I hope we can find his wife one day. His paradox hasn’t become clear to me yet.
Esera – Esera was extremely annoyed with us in the beginning. She wants to help the people here and didn’t seem to like us saying she needed to keep the magic underwraps. Her trinkets are obvious, much like Krajkah’s, much as he might deny them. She was somewhat flippant about the market debacle. What were we going to do? Let people die? Still, now suddenly she’s quiet and reserved about it. Considering the past and her still avoidant nature, this concludes me to believe she’s up to something of her own. I know she went on a “educational tour” with Bellrau so I wouldn’t be surprised if more than one Stable has hired her for assistance. I mean granted the people are sick and dirty; they need it. You just have to be careful about it. Also, we need her help more. Avoiding our investigations… Why is she even helping then? Avoid trouble, but try to help fix it? Paradox in of itself.
Bellrauthien – I feel for him, sometimes anyway. I can disguise myself easily. Not as much for him. He’s a tormented caliban accustomed to violence and threats. I’m glad he’s fallen in with a good stable. I even hired a member to train me with the shortsword. Bellrau’s trying though and I’m appreciate of his assistance, but he can be pushy. I have helped him disguise himself, hiding the claws and… such. I don’t have a great deal of knowledge of him but I haven’t had much chance to learn the depth of his being. It’s clearly some juxtaposition of the wild and the civilized. He’s between two worlds, which will hopefully aid us.
We’re leaving tomorrow around noon with Kuzma and a few of his people. We aren’t taking everything as it’s going to be looked to by Kuzma’s allies I suppose. I’m taking everything I might want or carry, of course. I’m hoping we can get handwaved back in. It’ll be a few days out at least, maybe a few days more and back. I just hope we can look in on the flower shop while out of the city too.
We still need to see Gerkin, who has the fence shop where Nikolai got the weird cat sarcophagus. Also there’s the barrel factory where Peter Rurik works. I suppose that and my other plans will have to wait for now.
The only excitement I feel right now is that we’ll finally have a way in with Lord Hiergaard, we have a date to meet Count Sawicki, and I’ve been working on my routine while increasing our prestige. Seems all the training and practice and investigation is paying off!