Episode 38: On the Trail of a Thief
Before leaving the town of Whitebridge, the party spent some time investigating the abandoned shops and manor homes, looking for supplies and things of value. Ara found a bundle of yew-wood longbow shafts in the blacksmith’s shop. He took one of the unstrung bows with him. In the temple of Freya, a thorough search of the many bedrooms uncovered one where a wealthy patron had apparently beat a hasty retreat, leaving behind a suit of fine clothes and a Cloak of Displacement, which Levani stashed in her pack. Keen found a few coins in the office, as well as another wanted poster depicting his name and likeness, and offering a 500 gold-piece reward for his capture.
Yuna and Magnus spent some time searching for the bodies of hobgoblins and extracting residium slivers from their hearts, which Magnus added to his collection.
A survey of the chaos of Coin Row showed that anything of value had been taken, and moreover anything that contained metal had been dragged up to the mayor’s residence and fed to Whibraxus by the hobgoblins, yielding little of interest.
Their affairs in Whitebridge complete, the party attempted to use the power of the Residium Binding Teleport spell to follow the blue-skinned tiefling woman who stole the Dragonhead. Their first attempt failed, and as the blinding pain stabbed through their minds their efforts drew the attention of Whibraxus, the copper dragon that was making its home in the ruined remains of the mayor’s house.
Whibraxus at first had trouble understanding what the party was attempting to do, but gradually they were able to explain that they were on a quest to stop a mighty evil. Whibraxus approved of this, and using a portion of his rapidly developing magical power to enhance the party’s natural abilities, helped them successfully complete the teleportation ritual.
Unfortunately their lack of familiarity with their target caused complications, and as the party was pulled through the void they became separated. Magnus, Ara and Levani each materialized at the bar in a casino. Yuna landed in a fountain in a busy city square. And Keen found himself deposited in a large hay bale in a field just outside the city of Uman.
Yuna pulled herself out of the fountain, soaking wet, confused, and lost. She was quickly approached by two city guards, who took one look at her and demanded she leave the 3rd Tier immediately. Promising that she would, she made her way east, following her residium-enhanced instincts toward the general direction of Magnus, Ara and Levani. Along the way she encountered a beggar named Kadu who revealed to her some basic understanding of the city and its social structures. Kadu explained that the city consists of seven tiers built into the side of a mountain, and the higher up you go, the more exclusive, and more expensive, it becomes. Uman is ruled by seven noble houses, she said, and warned Yuna to avoid dealing with them if at all possible.
Thanks to the residium binding telepathy, Yuna learned from her companions that they were in an establishment called Zandilar’s, and asked Kadu about it, and about the blue-skinned tiefling they were pursuing. Kadu said the club was owned by Madame Elethi, a wealthy noblewoman who ran a finishing school for girls, and that Sabetha was known to work ther. She warned Yuna that Zandilar’s was best avoided.
Yuna thanked the beggarwoman and made her way east through the bustling city towards Zandilar’s.
Sensing that he might be known to the city guard, Keen entered Uman by hiding under a carriage and riding in through the main gate, thus avoiding potential complications. Having gained entrance, he made his way to a bar on the 6th Tier, the Lovers' Lament. It being midday the bar was not particularly busy, and Keen struck up a conversation with Belia, the proprietress. From Belia Keen learned that the price on his head was known, and the rumour was that House Pashtum had set it in response to his dealing with Jeffrey Pashtum, the young man from whom he won the Dragonhead coin at cards in this very bar more than a season past. The Pashtums had apparently executed this Jeffrey, which Belia seemed to suggest was significant of how seriously the Pashtums took the situation.
Keen also learned that Madame Elethi’s Finishing School For Girls was a front; the true purpose of her organization was to raise, train, and hire out young women as thiefs and assassins.
Keen slipped Belia some gold in thanks, but Belia was reluctant to take it, saying they could only spend scrip now. Keen convinced her to take the gold anyway, and left the Lovers' Lament to make his way up to the 3rd Tier to rejoin his companions, but noticed several long stares from residents of the city as he went; it was clear that his face was more recognizable than he would prefer.
Magnus, Levani and Ara
Nobody seemed to notice the sudden arrival of the three adventurers save a drunken dwarf at the bar seated next to the seat in which Magnus found himself deposited. Magnus attempted to buy an ale from the bartender, but the surly half-orc refused his coin and told him to go to reception and change it for “scrip.”
Magnus, Levani and Ara made their way from the bar through the gaming tables, and found that they were in an oppulent club, dark and loud, that included in addition to the large bar area, a full casino and a theatre. They made their way to reception, and engaged with a middleaged halfing woman acting as Zandilar’s moneychanger. Levani attempted to ply the woman for information about the scrip and its exchange rate, but was dismissed with hostility, and the party came very close to being thrown out by a goliath guard as she attempted to argue with the woman.
This went long enough that by the time they had given up, Yuna and Keen had made their way to the club. Together the re-entered Zandilar’s, and Keen quickly navigated the social complexities by announcing he had coin to spend. The host escorted him to the moneychanger, where he received 25 bills called “Blues,” for 50 gold pieces. Examining the bills he was surprised to see that they depicted a nobleman in profile that bared a striking resemblance to Magnus. The bill declared the man to be Orin Pashtum. Shocked, Keen asked Magnus, who reluctantly revealed that he was a member of the Pashtum family and that this Orin was likely some distant descendant.
Now prepared with scrip, the party re-entered the club, just as a presenter emerged on the theatre stage and declared that the matinee was about to begin, and when the curtains parted introduced none other than Sabetha, the tiefling woman the party had been tracking. Dressed in luxurious, suggestive silks, Sabetha began a complicated dance involving two large fans. As the party recovered from this surprise, Levani was further shocked to recognize the voice of Tak, the southerner bard that had summoned her to the Catacombs of Dis and left her behind, trapped and near death. Tak and his boisterous retinue had been winning in the casino, and made their way down into the theatre to watch the performance.
Realizing they couldn’t attack Tak and Sabetha in the open, the party decided to try and get backstage. However, the doors stood guarded by more massive goliaths, ruling out stealth. As the party tried to determine their next move, they felt the power of a charm spell wash over the entire theatre, originating in Sabetha’s movements. All but Magnus resisted the effects, and, transfixed, he began to move towards the stage.
Keen caught up to Magnus, slipped the Ring of Bliss on him, and led him away from the stage before he caused a scene. Led by Keen and dragging the sedate Magnus with them, the party approached one of the entrances to the backstage area. Keen successfully bluffed their way past the guards by suggesting that Magnus was in fact Orin Pashtum and desired an audience with Sabetha.
Finding Sabetha’s dressing room backstage, the party began looking for the Dragonhead coin. Keen attempted to open a locked weapons chest, but despite closely inspecting it was surprised by a poison trap attached to the locking mechanism. Yuna quickly healed some of the damage, and Keen again attempted to pick the lock. It proved too difficult however, and as he struggled to dislodge his stuck pick the party heard the dressing room door softly close behind them. They turned, and there before them stood Sabetha, fans out, regarding them with cold menace.
Though reluctant to converse, the party learned from Sabetha that she had been sent to retrieve the Dragonhead coin and had delivered it as requested, though she refused to say to whom. She also said that while she was not under orders to kill them at the time, she would not hesitate to do so now. She instructed them to leave, and warned them not to cross Madame Elethi.
But Levani was not inclined to leave without the Dragonhead. Sparks of lightning crackled about her fingertips as she stared at the thief, who returned her gaze silently, steadily, waiting.
Copper Dragon Jokes Rating: Terrible
Copper Dragon Disposition: Approving
Antagonists Located: 2
Umani Social Structure Rating: Complicated
RP Rating: Awesome!