Curse of the Crimson Throne

Nemo's Journal Part 3
Moonday, 29 Gozran, 4708AR:

Well, that didn’t go as well as expected…

Our scouting was mostly unfruitful. We had someone watching the building for three days. I was immediately turned away from the meat line because I was clearly not a local and they weren’t “in the business of helping outsiders”, so I was unable to get a look at the inside. Zoe made a pass or two as an entertainer on the street. We were able to confirm the rumors we had heard at the Three Rings. They did give out free meat, and they did run out about noon everyday. At nights we had either Aria or Kell with Shorenka watching the building and the surrounding area. The only thing of note we found was on the last day of our scouting. Aria spotted a man walking a really pitiful looking cow toward the building. However, after he entered the stockade she was unable to see anything. Kell let us know that Shorenka had been able to sneak a peak in an upstairs windows and count at least 5 men.

The time passed slowly for Zoe and me. I couldn’t get too close, or be seen too many times because of how unfamiliar I was and Zoe couldn’t because she was too familiar. Her uncle has been very kind and let me stay in his home. I have helped him some around the forge. At my request Zoe has not revealed my racial heritage to him. I keep my dependance on water hidden by taking a bath everyday. He thinks me odd for this but just laughs it off as a silly habit since I waste nothing by conjuring my own water every night.

At Zoe’s insistence we have taken a walk each night since accepting our task from the guard to help me learn my way around the city. She has also accompanied me every day to go searching with Yelena. We still have not found her brother but we remain hopeful as it is not uncommon for homeless children to sleep in the shingles. He is also a bit older and I suspect he is starting to feel independent and may be shamed by having to accept handouts from the church, which may keep him away as well.

After the end of the third day we decided we already had all the information we were going to get and began discussing a plan. Several ideas were discarded, brute force attack didn’t seem like a good idea because we had no solid data on their numbers, Gregoria kept stressing that all we knew was that there were at least five. Sneaking in and disposing of them one by one seemed like a bad idea for two reasons, one, we didn’t want to kill them if it could be avoided, and two, only a few of us are any good at moving around quietly. We eventually settled on trying to convince them that we wanted to join them. Our excuse was that we wanted to help the city just like they were doing. This started off bad and ended up worse.

We first approached the shop with Aria and Zoe in the lead. They seemed the most likely to be able to diffuse a situation without drawing weapons. The thugs we talked with wanted them to come inside for a private “talk”. This made the rest of us very nervous as we had no way to communicate with them from a distance.

To our extreme relief, a few tense minutes later our ladies returned and told us what they had learned. They had been taken into a cold room for a private conversation. They were only able to talk with the subordinates, they didn’t see Vancaskerkin at all.

The thugs they talked to were very cagey and hinted that they had a side business where they “dealt with” certain people for a price and were willing to share the profits if we would help in the labor. They scheduled another rendezvous earlier this evening to get our objective.

On arriving they told us that we were to confront a man about cheating on his wife. Again hinting that it didn’t matter if he was brought back dead. Needless to say, all of us were uncomfortable with this idea. So we hatched a plan to try and have our cake and eat it too.

Bad plan.

For one thing Vigo wasn’t particularly thrilled with the idea of lying, even to mercenary criminals. The plan was this, we would wait an appropriate amount of time to seem as if we had gone and done the job. Then, we would return with Vigo carrying Shorenka over his shoulder under a tarp of some kind. We hoped to be able to pass her immobile form off as a dead body, at least enough to get us into the building and hopefully get us a moment of surprise.

All was working at least marginally well until one of the thugs caught a glimpse of movement from Shorenka, blowing our cover. What followed was a bloody mess with several close calls.

In short, I was badly wounded early on along with multiple others. I was running around using our wand to help as many as possible without getting hit myself. Shorenka managed to kill a man by severing his spine, one got too close to me and I put my trident through his neck with a bit more viciousness than I had intended. One of them was knocked unconscious and Gregoria really shone with some very well placed sleep spells. The first caught the last of the thugs, leaving Vancaskerkin alone able to resist. Realizing that he was outnumbered we started discussing what was going on he didn’t seem to know about the side jobs the others were doing. We were just getting him to relax when he passed out. Turns out that Gregoria had begun casing sleep and decided to finish while he was distracted.

After that, it was all over, we tied them up, searched the building for anything that could be used for a profit. We obtained a nice suit of masterwork chainmail, a composite shortbow with a decent strength rating, and a quiver of very carefully fletched arrows. I took the chainmail, Zoe took the bow and arrows. In addition we found a pile of other assorted armor and a silver dagger. We sold all the scrap metal to Bavolio. And went to collect our payment from Kroft. After returning the three still living men to the Guard and collecting our fee we went to our separate accommodations for the night.

I find myself curious that Verik didn’t seem to know anything about what was happening under his leadership outside of his helping the people. Fortunately, I don’t find myself too troubled by his fate. He knew what he was doing when he decided to desert his post. And, whether or not he was aware of them, the actions of the men under his command are his responsibility as well.

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Nemo's Journal Part 2
Oathday, 25 Gozran, 4708AR

Today was interesting. I woke up this morning conflicted over my actions from last night. I had had a hand in murder. Righteous, well deserved, and necessary murder, but murder all the same. I knew it had to be done, and yet I felt guilty. I’m not a devout worshiper, but I wonder if the gods don’t have a plan specifically for me. I wonder if I would feel the same if I was given the task to end someone, rather than partaking in vigilantism.

After Kell checked with Shorenka that some of the turmoil had died down we elected to try and go sell our gains from the previous night. I brought Yelena with me to the market with the others. We started off by selling any of the items that we weren’t going to keep. Then, while we were looking for someone to appraise our brooch, we ran across a peddler selling various wares. He was haggling with Kell and Aria when I heard them say what it was they were discussing, and called the others over. It was a wand of Cure Light Wounds that the peddler claimed had 25 charges. Kell told me in an aside that she had confirmed that he was telling the truth and that the wand did indeed still have 25 charges remaining. Knowing that this would be a valuable group asset, I started discussing with the others about splitting the cost. The hold up was that no one of us in our party could afford it, and several of us were disinclined to even split the cost as they might not directly benefit from its use. Not wanting to see this opportunity pass by, as we could not afford a fully charged wand at all, I proposed a deal. Everyone would pay 50gp and I would pay the difference and that I would be the one to wield it. This idea got everyone on my side but for one. Aria was not having it. She insisted that if she wasn’t going to pay for an even portion of the wand without a guarantee that she would get an even share of the uses, four to be exact. I was galled, there was no way I could could be certain that she would be the one in the most need of the healing from the wand. I said something stupid and childish and she started to walk off. Realizing then that she was serious and was only thinking as she likely would have had to think to survive in this city, I called out to her. Thankfully she stopped and listened. I looked her in the eye and said, “If you are serious about insisting that you get four heals from the wand, we can talk”. After some more discussion between just the two of us, I told her that there was no way for me to guarantee that four charges from the wand would be used on her, but that I was willing and able to guarantee four castings of Cure Light Wounds, either from myself or from the wand. She accepted this compromise and we bought the wand. The wand itself is a wooden shaft with small sphere carved at the top. The sphere has six grooves cut into it. They are in two groups of three that are on opposite sides of the sphere from each other.

Our next stop was at a boutique to have the brooch appraised. Most of us stayed outside while Zoe and Aria went in to haggle. After a few moments and some nervouscited(click for definition) glances between each other, they returned to the rest of us. It turns out that our brooch actually belonged to the queen herself.

Amazed at our find, we decided to make one more stop before going to see the queen. We went by the Pantheon of Many to the alter of Iomedae where we had sent the orphans that we found working in Gaedren’s warehouse. Upon arriving there Aria handed out candy and Yelena recognized several children that she had known from before I had rescued her. When asked, they told us that Aedyn was out working. I donated some money to the temple for their trouble and told Yelena that she could stay while I went on with the others to the castle.

So, we went to see the queen. There was some hassle at the gate about leaving weapons and the like, but we got in to see her without too much trouble. I have to think that was because she had been informed of what we carried. She did seem pleased to receive the brooch, and handed us a silver chest. She also asked us if we would be willing to do some more work for the crown. We agreed to hear the offer.

We went to the Citadel Volshyenek to meet Cressida Kroft as the queen requested. She told us of a man, Verik Vancaskerkin, who had once been part of the guard, but had now gone rogue. She told us that he was operating out of a butcher shop in Northpoint. She requested that we bring him in without killing him. When we told her of our activities the night before, as proof that we had the necessary experience to deal with her situation, she was alarmed but relieved that a man like Lamm was off the streets. We assured her that we would not participate in anymore vigilantism and she relaxed.

After leaving the citadel we finally opened the chest we had received from the queen. It contained a small fortune. Divided six ways we each got two gold bars worth 100 gp apiece. We all agreed to stop by the temple of Abadar to deposit our money.
Finished with that, we agreed to meet at a tavern in North Point called The Three Rings later that night. In the interim I went back to the temple of Iomedae with a document allowing Yelena to withdraw from my account while I was gone if she needed it. She still had no more word of her brother and asked if she could continue to stay. Knowing her to be relatively safe and among friends, I allowed it.

We met at the tavern for drinks, planning, and information gathering. We found out that the meat shop offered free meat to the populace every morning, but that they ran out about noon everyday. We all decided to do some scouting before hand to try and assess the situation as best we can. Tomorrow I am to go and act as one of the crowd waiting for meat in an attempt to get a look at the establishment.

As it turns out, I am no less uneasy at the prospect of getting into a fight that could kill someone, but I am more confident in my cause. I am helping to return peace to a city in turmoil and the preferred goal is not death but capture. These things ease my mind for my second night away from home.

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Nemo's Journal Part 1
Wealday, 24 Gozran, 4708AR

Yesterday I left the village. I don’t know when I’ll be back. I brought Yelena with me, we are following the coastline. I’m not really good at this, but the priest asked me to keep a log of my travels. We don’t get very much news from the outside, isolated as we are, so I am going to keep a journal. We are on a search for Yelena’s brother, Aedyn, who was last seen in the service of a cruel man named Gaedren Lamm. Last night we encountered a lone woman, named Zoe, camped near the shore. We offered to share some of our catch from the day in exchange for a piece of her fire. This morning, we discovered that we were traveling to the same location, Korvosa. We agreed to travel together, she was surprised that we had never heard of her as she is, apparently, a rather well known dancer. I could see why as she performed for us along the way. I saw further evidence as we approached the city and were stopped by a couple of guards. I was nervous at first as I had no papers until one of them recognized Zoe and immediately moved to distract the second while waving us through. We followed Zoe as we didn’t want to waste an opportunity to get on with finding Aedyn.

Zoe invited us to stay with her uncle, Bavolio, who is a blacksmith living in the North Point district. He seems a level headed man and didn’t mind putting us up. I was mesmerized for a time as I watched him work at the forge.

Some time later I found a harrow card among my things that I didn’t pack, it is the cricket. On that back is written a message, “I know what Gaedren has done to you. He has wronged me as well. I know where he dwells, yet cannot strike at him. Come to my home at 3 Lancet Street at sunset. Others like you will be there. Gaedren must face his fate, and justice must be done.” Surprised that I might have a lead this soon, I don’t hesitate to take advantage and prepare for a confrontation. After checking with Bavolio that it would be fine to leave Yelena for a while, I head out to Lancet Street.

After asking for directions I find my way. As I approach I find some kind of confrontation in progress right in front of number 3. After identifying myself as a recipient of the message, followed by the knight that she was threatening doing the same, the skittish looking woman seemed to relax. We all entered the residence together to find Zoe sitting at the table eating. The skittish one immediately went back on the defensive until Zoe showed us her card as well.

At this point I was wondering what was going on. It seemed obvious, but it was a bit “too good to be true”. I wanted to believe that my quest would be this easy, but I had my doubts.

At about that time a new person walked out from a back room. I swear Zoe and I were the least jumpy ones in the room. The new person introduced herself as Zellara and identified herself as the person who had given us the cards. She told us that her son had been murdered by Gaedren and that she was unable to exact retribution through proper channels. So she had found us.

She gave us the location of Gaedren’s current base of operations, after which, she left and a furious discussion ensued. We agreed that we should get to know each other’s strengths before charging into a potentially deadly situation; but, as might be expected, there were some trust problems going around and we pretty much only got to know each others profession.

The group consisted thus:

  • Vigo, a paladin of Iomedea, he was wearing chainmail and carried a longsword.
  • Aria, a guard from the Acadamae with a tail, wearing leather armor and wielding a rapier.
  • Kell, a petite young woman carrying a crossbow and wearing leather armor. She hinted at a friend who would join the fray as a melee combatant.
  • Gregoria, an elven ambassador with arcane power wearing traveling clothes and carrying a quarterstaff and a rapier.
  • Zoe, wearing a suit of lamellar and carrying a short sword with a starknife hanging from her hip.
  • Myself, wearing leather armor made from shark skin and carrying just my diving knife.

After the initial introductions we debated whether to attack Gaedren now, or wait and scout the area. After a heated discussion the group decided that Gaedren must pay and that we didn’t want to risk him changing headquarters before we got him.

Approaching the warehouse base, we ran into two men riding in a cart loaded with barrels. Zoe approached in an attempt to bribe the men into handing over their cargo. They were immediately suspicious. When asked why she wanted the barrels Zoe told them that her reasons were unimportant…only the way she said it…”Let’s just say I like the smell of fish.” led the, none too bright, drivers to believe that she was crazy and drive on. Kell approached, crossbow drawn. After the direct threat the men stated that they were working for a man named Balko, not Gaedren, and insisted that there was nothing in the barrels but fish. Hesitant, but not finding reason to doubt them, she let them continue.

We scouted the building for a bit, finding all the obvious exits. We decided to go in from two directions. Vigo, Gregoria, Aria and me at the side door. Kell, more specifically her “friend” Shorenka, a bipedal Outsider of shadow, and Zoe take the front door. We all try to break in at once. We managed to get our door open right away, falling into a room with what appeared to be 4 children shoveling fish slurry through chutes in the wall. Vigo tries to scare them into running rather than fighting, but the one in the chair jumps up and yells at the others to fight. At this point we realize that one was not a child but a gnome.

As the children turn their pitchforks on us Aria steps up and starts working magic with her rapier, one after the other she disarms and sends them running out the door. While she was performing art with a sword, Vigo and I were having a time of it trying to get the gnome. I scored one small cut on him myself but I wasn’t able to see how much damage Vigo managed to do before a huge dog burst into the room.

Meanwhile, we could hear a loud banging from the front door but nothing more from the other team.

We managed to scare off the gnome and the dog, but before we could take stock,a man with a truly hideous sneer on his face looked in the door and failed at a cast from a wand then slammed the door. Since all that I ever speak while stressed is gibberish, I motioned to Vigo to get ready to go through the door.

Just then we heard Gregoria scream and Zoe came running into the room, short sword at the ready. Knowing I could take a few hits myself and that I could heal Vigo at any time, I vainly yelled for her to get back outside to help the others. Interestingly, she nodded, made an odd face, and turned and ran back outside. Soon after I heard the familiar sound of healing magic being cast. (Note to self: If incapacitated, Zoe can cast at least a few healing spells)

Confidant that the rest of the party could handle themselves, Vigo and I press on, chasing the gnome, dog and mysterious man.

In the next room, the mysterious man cast from the wand again and Vigo was hit with acid splash. This pattern continued until we managed to kill the gnome and the dog. Vigo was hit a few more times with the acid and looked ready to rip the man in two.

Next, we entered at the top of a large room. The rest of the party was coming in through the door downstairs. Aria started pointing to a hole in the floor and holding a finger to her lips. That’s where the man(Balko, we found out later) had gone. I cast a couple of healing spells on the party leaving me with one. Vigo wasn’t happy because I judged that he could wait, because I wanted to save the last one for an emergency.

As we prepared to follow Balko we saw that there was water straight down from the hole in the floor, and there was a shark swimming directly below the opening. Having fought many of these out in open water, I made ready to jump in. I forgot that no one there knew about my gills and was reminded by the gasps when I pulled off my scarf. Undaunted, I summoned a trident, also to the group’s surprise, and jumped. I landed a solid blow as I fell, but didn’t take it out in one hit. I readied my trident for defense, but, as it turned, it’s eye met the point of Aria’s blade, ending it.

What followed next was an exercise in awkwardness. I determined that the water was too deep for the others to risk drowning. I managed to find a small boat and pulled it over to under the hole and everyone was able to use it as a platform to get to the small boardwalk.

We found a door back under the building. Seeing the entire party lined up in a row, I opted to swim under. What I found immediately made me regret my decision. I came nose to tail to the largest crocodile I’ve ever seen. Trying not to panic I took a stab at its underbelly. It thrashed but seemed more interested in whatever was going on above. I stabbed it again, I was definitely causing some damage, but it showed no sign. Suddenly there was a splash near its head. Fearing for one of our group I swam up for a better look and saw Balko being dragged way as the creature fled.

Upon dragging myself out of the water I learned of the battle that had transpired above me. Vigo had finally managed to wrestle the acid splash wand from Balko and tossed him in the water to appease the croc that was snapping at legs on the catwalk. I also learned that Shorenka had decapitated Gaedren in a single attack and that Aria was left lacking proper vengeful closure because of it. In Gaedren’s office we found a truly gruesome surprise. We found the decomposing head of Zellara. Just as I was about to ask how it was possible, Zellara herself walked in through the door.

Her shade explained to us the full story, she lost her life to Gaedren while seeking retribution for the death of her son. She apologized for misleading us and thanked us for our help. She then bequeathed her Harrow deck to Zoe before walking back out the door and disappearing.

We gathered and distributed the loot and agreed to meet at the market in the morning to sell what we didn’t want. There was one brooch that really stood out that we couldn’t recognize. We will get that appraised.

If only that had been the end. Upon exiting the building we found the city in chaos. Fires in several places around the city, pseudodragons and imps filling the sky. We briefly discussed what we would do. Kell and Aria informed us that the Acadamae would be closed. We all agreed to stick together for mutual defense for the night, and that we would head for Bavolio’s. Along the way we passed several armed forces groups moving around and heard many people calling out that the king was dead and that his queen had killed him. We also ran into one drunk guardsman. We took pity on the man and brought him with us.

We are at Bavolio’s now and he was not particularly happy to see all of us, but let us in in exchange for a full explanation of what we knew from Zoe. Yelena is safe and happy to know that Lamm is dead, and this fills us both with hope that we will find her brother.

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Edge of Anarchy 3
Welcome to the Guard

From the journal of Baldrago Beetlebrow, formerly of the Korvosan Guard

Me ‘n the boys have settled in to a pretty good spot here in this shop. I’m not quite sure how Watch Sergeant Vancaskerkin knew about this place. He said something about the old butcher being in prison for tax evasion or some such. Maybe Verik put him in the dungeons himself and just now got around to moving in. Butcher’s loss, our gain. Guess Verik isn’t a Watch Sergeant anymore, either. Donno why he still wears the King’s colors after what we done.

Verik said we needed to get Parns to come along with us. He and Malder don’t get along too good, but I told ‘em what is what. Sergeant said Parns worked as a butcher before and we needed him to cut up the meat. He seems to like the work. Much better at butchering than he was at soldiering. And it keeps Karralo out of my way, most days, too. He’s good with a knife but that guy isn’t right in the head.

Sergeant stays in his room most of the time. So I gets to make sure that everything goes like planned. New meat comes in early morning and Karralo and Edgaere put ‘em in the pens. Me ’n Malder give out the cuts to the locals until we run out. Then Parns and Karralo bleed out the new meat and cut it up for the next day. Sometimes we add the night’s special cuts to what we hand out. Easiest way to get rid of it, and these peasants don’t know any better.

Sergeant says we need to give this meat away for nothin’. I don’t understand why, but it ain’t like we’re paying for the cows anyhow. Keeps the peasants on our side, right? But me and Malder figgered out a way for us to make a pile of gold sails anyway. The Cow Hammer Boys. Anyone wants someone taught a lesson we take care of it. And we promise no one we take care of will ever complain, hehe.

Dredge got some idea that the Cow Hammer Boys needed some more help. He’s an idiot but maybe we can make even more coin. These two skirts said they’d do the job for only 25 gold sails. So we can do a few jobs a night and pocket a mess’a gold from this other gang’s work. Edgaere was a little nervous about the other gang, said a couple of them looked like they knew their way around a knife. But he’s always been a pussy. No half-starved gang with girls in charge are gonna take on the Cow Hammer Boys.

Other gang’s supposed to be back before 12 bells. I told Dredge’ta make sure they done the job before they get paid. If not, mebbe we add them to the special cuts, eh?

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Shorenka Art

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Kell Nora Art
A quick image I threw together

Kell NoraKellNora.jpg
Kell In Color

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Edge of Anarchy 2
Haunted Fortunes, part 2

The party set out without delay to the address Zellara had given them. The location turned out to be an old fishery in Westdock, along the banks of the Jeggare River. They scouted the location for a bit and were in time to see a wagon depart the fishery, with two gruff laborers at the reins and a few tar-coated barrels in the back. Thinking that these men might be able to tell them more about Lamm’s activities, the heroes accosted them in the street. Sadly, Zoe Illaria’s charm failed to impress the working men and little intelligence was gathered.

The group then decided a direct assault was the best choice. Splitting the party in two, some prepared to enter through a pair of imposing double doors while the rest of the party snuck around to a back alley boardwalk to ensure none of Lamm’s thugs could escape. The first group made it through the doors with little problem, gaining the attention of a group of children hard at work shoveling half-rancid fish, seaweed and brine into filthy troughs. Vigo Drovenge called upon the children to bring their master, his imposing stature (and deadly longsword) adding some urgency to the request. While it appeared for a moment that the sullen urchin was going to comply, he turned at the last minute, a razor-sharp kukri in his hand. The party realized he was not a child, but actually a gnome overseer!

The evil little fey, known as Hookshanks Gruller, threatened the terrified orphans he would skin them alive if they didn’t fight off the interlopers. Looking fearful, they tightened their grip on their pitchforks and approached the heroes. A close battle ensued, with Vigo fighting a defensive action while Aria Tauranor leapt and rolled into the fray, doing her best to knock the pitchforks from the urchins’ hands. Her skill with the blade was apparent, as she quickly disarmed two of the orphans, who then scattered to the wind. Realizing he was outnumbered, Hookshanks threw open a door to another part of the fishery, calling for “Bloo” and for someone named Balko. Hookshanks turned back to the fray only in time to take a shocking blow from Vigo’s sword.

Hookshanks fled, only to be replaced by a snarling, heavily scarred cur, followed shortly thereafter by a sneering blond-haired man dressed in robes two decades out of date. The man, likely Gaedren Lamm’s lackey Yargin Balko, smiled cruelly as he pointed a wand at the party and spoke an arcane phrase…

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Edge of Anarchy
Haunted Fortunes, part 1

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:

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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.”

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