The characters were going about their daily business when they each discovered a mysterious Harrow card hidden on their person. On the back of the card was written a message:
Having long nursed grudges against the evil crime lord Gaedren Lamm, the characters individually made plans to travel to 3 Lancet Street in the hope that the mysterious invitation might reveal some answers. The address turned out to be a modest home and Harrow-reading shop in the Westdock district. The walls were draped with brocaded tapestries, one showing a black-skulled beast juggling men’s hearts, another showing a pair of angels dancing atop a snow-blasted mountain. A third tapestry on the far wall depicted a tall hooded figure shrouded in mist, a flaming sword held in a skeletal
hand. The room’s only furnishings were a wooden table covered by a bright red throwcloth and several elegant tall-backed chairs.
As more and more people arrived, the characters soon learned that their individual grievances against Lamm were not unique. These others, including friends and romantic interests, had apparently been victims of Lamm’s depredations in the past and had received similar invitations. After a few false starts and concerns that the meeting might be a setup, the characters settled down to meet their mysterious contact.
They did not have long to wait, as shortly an attractive, middle-aged Varisian woman came in through the front door. Introducing herself as Zellara, she proceeded to tell the characters that she knew where Gaedren Lamm was hiding and offered to share this information if the group would help her get revenge on him for killing her son.
After the party agreed, Zellara offered to perform a Harrow reading. The smell of incense and spice was strong as Zellara shuffled the cards back and forth in her hands. It was obvious she was an expert at this, her fingers seeming to blur as she manipulated the Harrow deck. Suddenly she stopped and removed nine cards from the deck. She held these out to each of the characters in turn.
Nora: Peacock “I see you facing a vain man in mortal combat. He holds a bow, but he is unsure of the change facing society. You can help him see the path. Or not.”
Aria: The Dance “You must know your place in the greater good. Step out of the pattern at your peril. Beware the true master of spiders.”
Nemo: The Cricket “You have traveled far, but still have far to go. I see you high above the streets and buildings. Step quickly or you will fall.”
Zoe: The Rabbit Prince “Blades are dangerous things, but those who take a chance may be rewarded. Fingers are the prize.”
Vigo: The Avalanche “Panicked crowds bring disaster. The unthinking mob is something to be feared. Move quickly to face this danger.”
Gregoria: The Locksmith “Lamm is a tool in a greater game. Do not be afraid to face him, for your destiny goes further. The ancient magic is restless.”
Zellara then took the cards back and shuffled them into the deck. The candles flickered slightly as she placed the cards on the table, the mystic pattern on the back of the Harrow cards contrasting with the bright red of the cloth. The dark-haired Varisian placed the cards in a square pattern – nine cards, three each representing past, present and future.
She turned over the first row of cards – the Eclipse, the Betrayal and the Bear. The air seemed to chill slightly, although it was probably just an errant breeze coming through the open windows. “Each of you has been betrayed by the same man,” she began. “We know his name. Gaedren Lamm. What he has done to you is unforgivable, but you are not consumed by hate. Your past shows your character. You will not give in to betrayal but will rise above pain to bring justice to many.”
She then turned to the second row, turning them over one at a time. The Brass Dwarf. The Snakebite. The Beating—a true match in the bottom center of the reading. One of the braziers of incense hissed and gave off a puff of smoke. “Our city is under attack from all sides. You may not see it now, but it is there. Order will dissolve under relentless attacks from without and within.”
As the party absorbed what Zellara said, she turned to the final row – the future. The Inquisitor, the Hidden Truth and the Locksmith – the last being the same card Gregoria picked in her Choosing. Two cards in opposition. “The future is always in motion,” the mystic began, “what appears to be immutable is not. You must court disaster to fulfill your destinies.” She turned to face Gregoria, “and you, elven-kind. Insight into your destiny is hard to see. Lamm may be the false lock, but may have the true key nevertheless.”