48 Summer, 2979
Kya, Karsari Federation
Rivo silently shut the door to the altar room. Still clutching a folded piece of parchment in his hand, he quickly made his way down the hallway, careful to avoid the appearance of being rushed and disturbed. A few acolytes crossed his path at a intersecting hallway though they made no reaction to his presence. After turning down another hallway, the half-human came to a stop at a heavy oak door. The iron braces were new and shined in the torch light. He gave a several rhythmic knocks and then waited, the sweat from his palms made the parchments soft in his hand. Just when he thought no one would answer, the door was finally opened by a figure in a black and dark blue robe.
Rivo gave a deep bow of his head, “Your Excellence. Vormark has sent word.”
49 Summer, 2979
Kya, Karsari Federation
The Golden Bucket was loud with laughter, music and drunk patrons and Julius was glad to be back outside. Though it was dark and mildly cold, he took a deep breath of salty air. He had lived in Kya his whole life and nothing refreshed him more than breathing in the sea air. The thin human looked back at the tavern and then to his empty satchel. All of the invitations had been delivered. With a smile, he began to walk down the street to Brick Hills.
He thought about the events of the day and the people he had met. An odd grouping of adventurers down at the Sea Spirit that all had the same tattoo on the right side of their face and neck. Obviously seasoned, deadly and mean. It made his job easier though, finding them all in the same place. The rest, however, were more spread out. There was Kang the Abominable along with a shady looking character who also received a letter. Julius reminded himself that he should bet on Kang whenever he got back into the pits. Seeing the goliath in person convinced him that if anyone could win it big, it was him.
From them he had headed down to a small shop where he had met SOL (Son of the Light) and The Pentifex Monolith. He never thought he would ever see a Deva before. What an odd looking creature. From the shop he headed out to the Golden Bucket, his last stop where he met a pair of cushani, Shan Ives and Chaus Twelfth-Born, a scary looking pair. He had never encountered cushani up close, only from a distance. The claws and teeth along sent shivers down his spine, and thoughts of being devoured alive surfaced to his mind. He was definitely glad to be out of the tavern.
As the thin man made his way down the street, a glint of something caught his eye off to his right at an alleyway. Julius knew better than to head into a dark alley at night. He turned and began walking on the other side of the street to keep his distance. Just as he passed the glint, a gloved hand came out from the darkness and grabbed him by the head and mouth. He tried to scream but only tasted worn leather. The strong hands pulled him into a small and dark house where he was thrown to the ground with such force that it knocked the wind out of him. A figure stood over Julius with a wickedly curved and serrated blade, “You’re going to tell me everything about the hunt,” the dark cloaked figure purred in amusement.
50 Summer, 2979
Kya, Karsari Federation
Mr. Farceria stepped into the common room of the Sea Spirit Inn already bored. He was thankful that his involvement in this competition between Sarns and Cottle was minor at best. The old man wanted to make sure the Black Lance was aware of who was involved, what the outcome was and how much money was involved. He always was the micromanaging type and this was certainly no different.
The young man looked at the collection of adventurers that had been chosen by the two companies. The tattooed group was certainly well seasoned by their look. The Winter Blades they called themselves if he remembered correctly. They were known to operate in southern Aiyia and northern Ro mostly. Deadly group. They would be hard to beat for sure.
The rest were scattered about the room. Mr. Farceria immediately recognized Kang. He wasn’t aware that the goliath was free of contracts. He made a mental note to let the old man know so that an offer could be presented. Talent like that was definitely hard to come by. The pale figure he did not recognize though he certainly carried himself well. Most likely works on the shady side of life, he thought to himself. The two cushani he didn’t recognize either though he had never much cared for the Dominion. The remaining two he knew well enough. They were recently new to the city and owned a shop in town. Decent people. They paid their taxes. They didn’t seem to be the adventuring type though. He mentally shrugged, he would place his bets on the Winter Blades. He the mentally prepared himself and then spoke to the group.
“Thank you all for joining us at the Sea Spirit Inn. I am Mr. Farceria of the Blank Lance Company. I am a neutral arbitrator for this competition between the Sarns Company and the Cottle company. Each company will ask to speak with you to gauge its interest, and then you will be selected into two teams. The winner of the treasure hunt is the company that presents the largest value of treasure. Without further ado, please begin the interview process.” The man then made his way to the bar where a glass of red wine was placed in his hand.
Both men representing the two companies stood and introduced themselves. Viktor Cottle then immediately motioned for the Winter Blades to join him at his table. The other man, calling himself Doyle Sarns, clearly looked annoyed at the immediate loss of the Winter Blades to Viktor. With a somewhat depressed look, he motioned to the remaining adventurers to join him at his table.
“Good evening. As I mentioned, my named is Doyle Sarns. It would appear that fate has brought us together. You all do not appear to have worked together before but I’m sure that we can find a common ground to base our relationship on. Money,” he said with a jeweled smile. The representative then went on to explain the rules of the hunt.
“First and foremost, Sarns will not be responsible for any deaths that may happen during the course of this treasure hunt. We hold no liability for any death, dismemberment, injury or loss of wealth or equipment. In addition, you may not kill a member of the opposing team during the course of the treasure hunt.”
“Secondly, you will be taken by ship to the shores of Iso’Farsh where the treasure hunt will take place. You will be dropped off two miles outside of the city. You have five days to gather as much treasure as possible. At the end of the five days, the treasure will be counted and a winner declared. The losing team will receive fifteen percent of the total treasure. The winning team will receive thirty percent.”
“Now, if everyone is agreeable to these arrangements, I just have some paperwork for you to sign. Just legal stuff that you agree to the terms and such. Nothing fancy. Once that is done, we set sail in the morning aboard the Leviathan.”
51 Summer, 2979
Kya, Karsari Federation
“Big ship,” murmured Chaus as he took in the full view of the galleon as the group of adventurers gathered at the docks.
Shan gave a slow nod, “Definitely. I want to know what ship the other group is on though. Did you see those tattoos? I’m positive that they are a sect of the Winter Wyrm,” she said quietly to her brother.
The cushani cleric looked at his sister with a slight tilt of his head, “But we aren’t supposed to kill the other team.”
His sister gave a shrug of her shoulders, “Accidents happen…” she began to say before she was interrupted by a servant introducing himself as an assistant to Doyle Sarns.
“Thank you for arriving on time,” he said to the group, “I will show you to your rooms. Once we set sail, Mr. Sarns has asked to speak with you all in the meeting room. This way please.”
The group made their way on dock and put their things away within their rooms. As Shan was shown to her room, she leaned over to the assistant and spoke quietly to him, “What’s the name of the ship of the other group?”
The assistant indifferently answered, “The Crystal Hawk.” With that he moved on to the next room.
The wait was a short one, and soon the group was on the Sea of Shadows headed towards Iso’Latarin. The group made their way to the meeting room at the end of the hall and entered into a spacious room with several expensive looking and comfortable chairs. Doyle Sarns was seated at a chair already as the group entered. He motioned for them to sit, “Now that we have set sail, I have some more…information that may help you. I have it on good authority of three locations within the city that may yield a great amount of treasure. You see, apparently, several dragons have taken up residence in the city. As to why they are their in such close proximity I do not know. What I do know of the nature of dragons is their desire for treasure. It is possible that much of the treasure has already been divided among these three dragons. While the other group is breaking down doors of houses looking for scraps, you can carry off a lion’s share,” he said with a charming smile.
The group was silent as they listened and gave no outward concern that dragons would be involved in their treasure hunt. Vincent then spoke up. “Do you know where these dragons are?” he asked, just before Kang followed up with a question of his own, “Do you know what kind?”
“I know where two of them are…at least, where they were a couple of weeks ago. The third is iffy. The first is in the Vitaeium Conjure, the college. The second is in Somnium Mansion. The third, we believe, is in a cave network in the cliff face of the city. As for what types…I’m not sure. One of them might be a red,” replied Doyle. “Anyhow, I can’t force you to fight dragons but it seems like it would be a good place to start.”
“It’s never easy when you involve dragons,” replied SOL.
Doyle gave a nod of his head, “So very true. Now then, it will be a few days before we reach Iso’Farsh so please, be comfortable.” Just as the man stood, he snapped his fingers, “Oh! I almost forgot. If you hear a bell ring while we are at sea, please stay within your rooms. It is for everyone’s safety.” Doyle then gave a nod to the group as a whole and exited the room.
55 Summer, 2979
Ruins of Iso’Farsh, Iso’Latarin
The rowboat carrying the adventures finally touched land on the beach of Iso’Latarin. The faint glow of light to the east showed that Iso’Farsh, despite being void of its original inhabitants, was certainly still home to something. The group huddled together with a lantern and a map of the area to discuss their plan.
After a bit of discussion, it was agreed that the dragons would be the best source of treasure, despite the danger. Considering that they had been dropped off west of the city, the Vitaeium Conjure was the nearest location. The group then set out on foot towards the city.
Upon reaching the base of the city, they found that the city was definitely occupied by a variety of creatures. Based on the sounds they heard and the fires burning, that several different groups had claimed different portions of the city. They were on the lower tier of the city, which sat on the edge of a hill with the college at the top. To get to the college, they would have to make their way through the city.
Not interested in fighting the entire city just to get to the dragon’s den, the group elected for the stealthy approach. Vincent took the lead as he began directing them through back alleys and between residential buildings. Occasionally, Kang would climb up the side of a building so they could regain their bearings. At one point, they heard the sounds of creatures moving in their direction, and Vincent, thinking on his feet, picked the lock of a nearby house which the group quickly ducked inside. A few moments later, a large group of a hundred gnolls marched their way through the area.
Once the gnolls had passed, the group made their way across the rest of the lower tier. They made the long climb up the stairs to the next tier where they found larger and nicer houses but they were fewer of them and farther apart. The group devised a means of jumping rooftop to rooftop to avoid detection on the tier. Soon, they made their way up to the last tier of the city where the college stood. From their location, they say a large open field in between them and the college. On the field were scores of minotaurs around a bonfire. Several unfortunate gnolls were being used as sacrifices and food.
Not wanting to become part of their ritual, the group skirted around the group without being seen until they finally made it to the entrance to the college. The large double doors were partially open already for years of abuse. Peering inside, they saw a massive common room where students could meet and mingle as they passed between the different wings of the college. On the backside of the common room was a campfire where an ogre was roasting a gnoll. At his flanks were two dire bears, hungry for dinner.
The two groups charged one another. Kang quickly imposed himself in the center of the fight, using his superior brawling skills to keep the three brutes from breaking out and attacking his allies. Vincent, using the shadows of the area, jumped from flank to flank as he used his full blade to inflict massive damage. SOL, Shan, and Chaus provided artillery support, issuing bursts of sunlight and fire. Lastly, Pen encouraged the group with his natural charisma to drive their charge home. The ogre and its “pets” fell quickly to the onslaught. When the fighting was concluded less than a minute later, the group looked to one another with approving glances and nods.
“Hey!” Chaus called out as he looked over the ogre and then reached down and pulled up a fist sized gemstone. “I found a diamond!”
XP per Character: 1,050
Treasure Found: Diamond (5,000gp)