Part 2:Dead Changelings
After a journey made longer by heavy hearts and untended injuries, the remnants of the Sharn Collection Agency complete the courier mission that payed their way into Karrnath. Without even the grudging ministrations of Schwabus, it's several weeks before they're at full speed again. Tick parts ways with the Agency for personal reasons as soon as that job is completed, leaving Codee, Qaxqiel, and Brannek to consider their next move.
...Well, and Ruby of course, but the odd Warforged does little strategizing, and more question-asking
While the company knows their eventual destination must be the Mror Holds if they don't want to let loose a demon, their decreased numbers give them pause. But, that time is not wasted completely. As they travel through the military country of Karrnath, the surviving members are able to deal, selling away some of their exotic (but ulitmately useless) lighter armors for custom made Full Plate for Codee and Brannek, an enchanted Bastard sword for the ex-Thranian as well, and numerous supplies for Qaxqiel's constructs. Along the way, a peculiar heightened presence of Bone Knights is observed, giving those members not native to the land flashbacks to childhood tales of the monsterous soldiers.
Eventually, the quartet reach a town bordering the Mror Holds. The strange presence of Bone Knights is still in effect, but no one seems willing to talk about it.
- Amusing Bit #1 -- Upon reaching a reputable Inn, Brannek proceeds to toast Thrane, insult the locals, attempt to challenge the Bone Knights, and generally do a fine job alienating himself. He finds himself very alone at the bar, drinking very watered down ale.
- Amusing Bit #2 -- Distancing herself from her foreign comrade, Codee instead opts to win favor with the locals. She drinks a burly fellow under the table in a very 'Raiders of the Lost Arc' esque drinking contest moment. Although attempts to glean information from the cheering crowd are obfuscated by tall tales of beasts they've all fought up in the Mror Holds, she does learn that the road to Mror is currently closed for political reasons. She also utterly fails to impress anyone enough into joining the unfortunately diminished Agency.
Everyone gets seperate rooms for the night. But, early in the morning, Brannek is woken by a pounding on his door.
- Moment of DOOM #1 -- Opening the door reveals local constabulary, and a very dead Changeling with deep claw marks accross his chest lying in a pool of his own blood on the floor outside.
A note addressed to the Sharn Collection Agency was in the pocket of the deceased, and so Codee and Qaxq are roused, Ruby left in one of the rooms, and everyone marches out to be questioned about the murder. Although quickly discounted as suspects, the Agency is still denied their mail.
- Moment of DOOM #2 -- Qaxq finds a way to get the dead Changeling talking. It's disgusting, and morbid, and ultimately, unhelpful. The identity of the murderer is still a mystery.
When the mail is finally delivered later that night, it is discovered to be an invitation to meet someone over dinner at a fine eatery that night. With no better leads, the trio again leaves Ruby somewhere he won't get into trouble, and heads out to eat. The maitre'd, upon their arrival, offers to send a runner to fetch their host while he seats them. However, pulling aside the curtains to their booth turns up:
- Moment of DOOM #3 -- Big reveal! In the booth is another dead Changeling, with another note to the Agency. This time pinned to his forehead by means of a very sharp crystal.
Everyone is shocked. A waitress faints. Brannek intimidates the maitre'd into telling him the address their host is staying at, despite a runner already having been fetched to retreive him.
- Amusing Bit #3 -- Codee argues manners, Qaxq tries to order take out, and Brannek just goes running off down the lane towards the mansion.
Qaxq then further insults the chefs by cancelling his order, talking Codee into going after Brannek for safety's sake. That gets Codee going, breach of etiquette or not. Brannek, however, has a head start. He gets there just as the runner is announcing the need for their host's attendance. But, rather than wait, we have:
- Amusing Bit #4 -- Brannek busts past the butler! No time to wait for niceties! That butler could be an agent of EVIL, trying to delay them! The intrepid fighter charges up stairs, searching bedroom after empty bedroom while...
- Amusing Bit #5 -- Codee and Qaxq finally make it to the house, and are lead through the downstairs to their host, waiting in the library with drinks.
The conversation, of course, turns out to be business. <insert name here> deals in artifacts, and apparently a new temple has just been uncovered in the depths of the Mror Holds. They talk, they haggle. Passage on the very expensive Lightning Rail is offered in exchange for selling rights to some of the artifacts they uncover
- Moment of DOOM #4 -- "Trap?" "Trap." This contract sounds supiciously just like the one that got Codee possessed and a Rakshasa chasing after them. It is agreed that, while this is likely a trap, they need to get into the Mror Holds anyways. Hands are shaken, and passage booked.
Of course, once they get into the underground Dwarven stronghold, not everything goes smoothly. A few supplies are bought before they start spelunking, and a guide directs them to the site of the recent excavation, but...
- Moment of DOOM #5 -- Their explorations are interrupted by hungry ghouls! The monsters repeatedly paralyze Qaxq and Brannek, but the foursome kill the creatures without greivous injury. Too bad they don't have a healer anymore...