Whipping up an impromptu coffin and gurney, the party trudged out of the sewers and back to Alexandria, to find the city in the midst of a transformation. Guards were numerous, barricades under construction, and cannons were being hoisted and aimed atop the walls. War was brewing, and it wasn’t hard to figure out who the enemy might be.
Delivering Nessa’s faceless body to Scylla, you received the Chief’s terse commendations and official acceptance into the Hunter’s Guild (commemorated by receipt of your Hunter Signet rings). Additionally, the poster of the job wished to meet you personally (to discuss payment, you hoped). Scylla gave you a slip of paper with an address and instructions to meet there at noon the next day. Overnight, Finn transferred the sword-a-rang enchantment to his favored blade (no, the longer sharper one. heyo!), despite not knowing the word of command that activated it. Maelgyn revisted the grad student who helped him with the translation of the Lucari myth. She was taken aback to find that the story she translated could be true (but alas, she was still in grad school…). Daelwyn paid Tick Tock a visit, and received the forged writ of abatement (complete with signature and seal) that will get Guyver back into the University’s good graces. Of course, the document cost a future favor that Tick Tock will certainly call for at an interesting time. Meanwhile, Guyver constructed his latest “friend”, a medical bot that will soon be penetrati…examining from a respectful distance all vital orific…attributes of potential patients.
Midday found the party at the specified address but there was nothing there. Nothing except a blank factory wall, children’s chalk/graffiti, and a crazy peddler, who was thrilled to see customers in his deserted street. The peddler unveiled his wares, offering each adventurer a single item of their choosing (no questions, but no examinations either) in exchange for a story. After careful consideration,
- Daelwyn chose a child’s wooden duck on a string, which appears to always give its holder a rapt audience for whatever story they tell.
- Guyver chose a small metal rod, with a red button at one end and a blue one at the other. Pressing the red button seems to suspend the rod, suddenly immovable, in space, while the blue one releases it.
- Maelgyn chose a squeaking burlap bag, found to permanently contain 5 ferrets. If ever one is removed, it behaves like a normal ferret, but when it runs off, there are still 5 more ferrets in the bag.
- Finn chose a crowbar, bearing the inscription “Diplomacy” in fancy script. To his disappointment, the crowbar appears to resist any attempts at disenchantment, but it does give its wielder a lot more umph when breaking objects.
Upon completion of their purchases, the peddler began to cackle. He stood up straight, shouting “Petrichor!”, and with a flash, Finn’s beloved sword flew from its scabbard into the peddler’s hand. The peddler laughed again, then did hopscotch down the sidewalk and disappeared into thin air. The startled party followed suit, finishing their hopscotching in a stone chamber apparently at the base of a tower, with a spiral staircase winding its way up the wall.
Using ferrets and “diplomacy” they investigated the various chambers as they ascended, but they appeared to be storerooms, bedrooms, and workrooms. At the top, a door lay open, with the golden glow of firelight pouring through it into the hall. But the scene through the door appeared to be a deserted and dusty room (the one that Maelgyn saw atop the King’s Mage’s tower previously). Stepping through the door a curtain seemed to part, and the adventurers found themselves in the very alive and occupied study of the King’s Mage, Lionel Vannay.
Vannay greeted them with generously spiked tea and proceeded to explain all the things. Some of those things included:
- his theory that the tzadikim nistarim legend was real, and the world’s continued existence hinges on their preservation
- the Calamity and the fall of the Imperium was a direct consequence of the research and experimental destruction (not killing) of a large number of tzadikim
- the Lucari are beings from outside the ’Gard, attempting to end the world so chaos can devour it
- the voidstones, the stones the Lucari/Seekers dropped when slain, are somehow connected with the Calamity
- if only he knew what Galbadia had discovered about the Imperium (and how they made contact with the Lucari), perhaps it would be clear could be done to stop the Lucari
With these things revealed, Vannay lay out his plan: discover what Galbadia might have learned about the Imperium by seeking out the world’s premier Imperium scholar: Greta Flintback, a dwarf and one of the Digger’s Guild’s prime researchers. The catch being that no one had seen or heard from Greta since she left on a long research expedition. Vannay handed you a map (of most of the currently civilized world) marking the sites where Greta was supposed to have been doing her research, and the key to a refurbished airship, The Albatross. It is your task to find Greta, bring her back to Alexandria and use what she knows to stop Galbadia and the Lucari, and save the world.
Oh, and retrieve the werewolf, Owen. He’s a tzadik (though don’t tell him that, since they don’t really have the capacity to accept their identities). Maelgyn tree-ported through the Dark Forest, discovering that the Ruah had left its bounds. Rather than hopping throughout every tree on the continent, he flipped the Ruah coin Isaac gave them upon their departure into a puddle. The reflection quickly changed to Isaac’s surprised face, who told Maelgyn the Ruah were performing in a village 3 days north of Alexandria (by wagon).
The team set off in The Albatross (after greeting its sole crewmember, Scruffy, the Captain) to retrieve Owen, and do all that other stuff. When we parted, they had just landed outside a village with the brightly lit wagons of the Ruah in sight…