Empire Renewed, A Dragon Ascendant, Substance and Shadow

A Meeting of Fates
Three struggled soud towards Glen’an’Ril:
  • Krull, his adopted House destroyed by political machinations and imported human assassins, he was left for dead in the sewers beneath El’af’Banaan where he found
  • Rabiah, escaped from the prison beneath the city, she has lost track of just how much time she spent there, but is desperate to find her family. Upon escaping the city, these two are joined by
  • Arjuna, a boy forsaking the way of his people, seeking peace instead of profit
Upon arriving in Glen’an’Ril, they rescue
  • Thaerun, an entertainer – and hence an almost-nothing among his people – from the clubs of some Shipping District toughs
and Rabiah thinks she recognizes
  • Nassir, a dead-ringer for one of her nephews, absconded from his post at the Soud border of the Empire over his botched attempt to stop some human trafficking.

After much wrangling, our heroes decide to pursue their common concern over human incursions into Fyn’faliir:

  • Krull, determined to extract vengeance against them for their part in his House’s downfall;
  • Nassir, to clear his name by tracking the true criminals;
  • Arjuna, seeking to the weed out the root of swirling violence;
  • Radiah, hoping to find information about her family among those in need;
  • Thaerun, a careful eye measuring future allies and the opportunities to be made out secretive politics.

They begin their quest seeking out knowledge of activities local to Glen’an’Ril that might connect to the human merchants. Casual conversations in the streets and taverns clued them in to rampant bribery in the Licensures Office, as well as problems for the Taxation Collective. Pursuing this lead, they refused to be thwarted by the kindly old archivist, and discovered that several shipping companies and trades businesses are involved in bribing a few licensing agents:

The shipping companies:
  • Fargosk & Son,
  • Brothers Ronne,
  • Hook Needle Shipping,
  • Boatman Nak
  • Lanks’ Rafts
The trade businesses:
  • Jewels of Afran
  • Ive Ironmongery
  • Star Silks
  • Haran Antiquities
  • Marchmar Toolcraft
The licensing agents (only first initials available in the records):
  • P. Kresso
  • J. Nyrne
  • D. Valto

Relative to the taxation issues, they discovered that a few Vilde tribes north of the city had been paying their due sporadically for nigh on a decade, then not all in the past year. The tax delegates signing for the Vilde are J’Ban Asur (m), Tuval Eltner (m), Yvenne Slou (f).

Our heroes also planned further investigation with the troops of the Garrison, as they would probably have some information about general illegal activities in the surrounding regions.

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Floating Down the River

The night before our trip down the river, Krull left and we were joined by his brother Diarmuid, who is looking to travel to the Imperial City. We took him into the group to insure his safe arrival at the city, because he is being hunted by unnamed assassins. The night we stayed at the Blue Oyster. Diarmuid gambled, and lost a bit of money while Nassir was looking on.

The next day we set out to meet with the wharfmaster. After haggling him down on his paying price for our protection services on his rafts, we settled on receiving 1 gp per person in advance and an additional 1 gp per person on completion of the job. He took us through the docks and got us situated on the five rafts that were tethered together to travel down river. Diarmuid and Thaerun were stationed on the front raft, Rabia and Arjuna on the middle, and Ral and Nassir on the last.

The day passed uneventfully, but that night we felt the rafts shuddering oddly. We inspect the water around the rafts, prod the riverbed with the steering poles, and even send one of the Svalt into river to see what is going on. Nothing out of the ordinary seems to be happening, so another Svalt dives in to inspect the rafts and informs us that the bottoms of the rafts are torn up. We decide to travel back up river to the location of the shuddering and station ourselves till morning when we have better light to decide what to do.

The next morning we rigged an alarm system while we did a more in-depth inspection of the rafts and the surrounding river. While we are looking around the alarm sounded and we were surrounded by reptilian amphibious creatures. They proceeded to destroy 4 of the rafts while we and the Svalt fought them off. In the end only 4 (out of 20) Svalt remained with us, we had captured one of the creatures, and saved one of the rafts.

We decided it would be best to continue down the river to the nearest town and repair the ship and interrogate the creature for more information on why they attacked us. So we began paddling downstream…

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After the battle on the Ril
in which we meet W'rix and head into the swamp....

After the battle on the Ril, Diarmuid questions Redrenn, who eventually reveals that he’s a member of a wharf gang that’s been illegally trading with non-elves.

Initial attempts by Thaerun and Ral to interrogate the prisoner are unsuccessful, as the prisoner does not appear to speak Imperial common, and her language sounds to her would-be interrogators like a long series of dissatisfied grunts.

Diarmuid brings Redrenn to the prisoner, and it turns out that Redrenn and the prisoner can communicate in Svalt. The prisoner is a dragonborn, and her name is W’rix.

Using Redrenn as a translator, Thaerun asks why the dragonborn are attacking shipping lanes. W’rix responds that her “people” were cheated by Svalt traders who took what they wanted but didn’t deliver the promised goods in return. Redrenn claims not to know anything about this as he is just a poleman, not a trader himself.

Thaerun asks what it will take to stop the attacks. W’rix replies, somewhat cryptically, that the dragonborn want "theirs” returned.

Thaerun then asks what their instructions were in the attack. W’rix replies that they were to take the goods but take no prisoners – in her words, to extract the “price in trade and the price in blood” that her tribe is owed by the cheating Svalt.

Diarmuid asks what will happen when the escapee gets back to the leaders with a report of what happened. W’rix says that the dragonborn will try to return and finish the job, but she assures him that the journey to her home village takes seveRal days so they will not return soon.

Diarmuid asks whether there’s a way to discuss with the bosses to negotiate a settlement. Redrenn indicates that his bosses would want to negotiate a peaceful agreement, as their concern is profit and the current situation is not helping them reach this goal. W’rix says that the group has demonstrated they are worthy to enter the tribal territory based on their success in battle and agrees to escort the group to her homeland. She swears an oath to ensure their safe passage into the swamp… though she cannot guarantee their safe return, which she indicates will depend on the group’s comportment while among her people. When asked why the group should believe her and not suspect they are being led into a trap, she explains that among her people “word is bond.”

Diarmuid asks whether any of Redrenn’s bosses are in next town. Redrenn indicates that they’ll be there and talking to them can be arranged though the matter is delicate and needs to be approached with subtlety. Redrenn says he can do it himself, as it would be dangerous to himself and to the rest of the group if his bosses were aware that the others knew about the gang’s activities.

When the group arrives at the docks of Ruandeau, the locals express shock at the state of the shipment and its couriers. The group notices that the population of the city is almost all S’valt.

Redrenn directs unloading of the merchandise and loot, which includes 8 spears taken from the fallen dragonborn. He tells the group to go to O’Tom’s for supplies and tell O’Tom that Redrenn sent them. He suggests that they take W’rix with them, then sidles off into the crowd and disappears.

The group leaves the crew to set up a return shipment and prepare for the journey back to Glen’an’Ril.

When the group reaches O’Tom’s, seveRal of the party members are reluctant to enter, as the shop is very crowded – mainly with fish over many varieties, which cover all the surfaces and hang down from the rafters. After first attempting to sell the group some fine (though pungent) fish, O’Tom eventually offers to sell the group rafts and bladders. Nassir negotiates to trade the crocodile skin for 7 bladders and some poultices. Rabia selects poultices that actually work and the group buys 50 doses. The goods are distributed among group members – 1 bladder and 7 poultices per person. Rabia hangs on to the extra poultice.

Next, the group heads to Rakomar’s (the weaponsmith’s) to sell the 8 spears they looted from the fallen dragonborn (market value 10G). Thaerun sweet talks Rakomar, who tests out the spears to determine their quality. They negotiate a price of 35G for the lot, but around that time W’rix begins grunting, in what appears to be distress. Luckily, Redrenn reappears while the group is trying to understand what W’rix is upset about. She cannot understand why the group would trade such valuable weapons for “small pieces of worthless metal” and that, in any case, the spears are needed to lay to rest the bodies and souls of her brethren. The group grudgingly agrees not to sell the spears and to follow through with the traditional ‘burial’ rights, which consist of hanging the corpses in trees in the swamp and skewering each one with a spear.

The group ducks out of Rakomar’s shop quickly, hoping to avoid his scorn at their withdrawal of the spears after he agreed to a fair price, and they begin their journey through the swamp, distributing the dragonborn corpses as they go. Notice scorch marks on many of the skeleton-like trees scattered throughout the swamp, and W’rix explains that the souls exit the corporeal form through the spears, which conduct the soul out of the body and into the sky. Sure enough, as it approaches evening and the group has just hung the final corpse, a storm approaches, and the group observes from a distance as each of the ‘burial’ trees appears to be struck by lightening. (Storm head with 8 distinct lightening strikes, which hit the trees where the bodies are.)

Rabia sets up a super-awesome campsite. The group decides to take 6-hour shifts standing guard and divides into two watches (1 – Nassir, Redrenn, Thaerun, and Arjuna; 2 – Diarmuid, Ral, W’rix, Rabia).

Sneak attack (order: Blue, Nassir, Thaerun, Baddies, Diarmuid, Redrenn, Ral, W’rix, Rabia, Arjuna)

Two tents lost in battle.

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