Hans delivers the morning news.
1. Aashir needs to see them
2. The docks are dry. Somehow the ships aren’t coming in.
3. Someone handed them a note. Thieves Guild Mark.
They head down to the vaults immediately. Despite the ostensible magical protections and otherwise complex lock, half the gold is gone. And Abuella appears to inform them that another Guild Mark was left behind.
They head to the docks.
They find Tritons, some myrmidons led by a civilian ambassador, Marrilus. Vodos leaves with Marrilus entourage and Myrmidons. Thrawn is a threat, and the Tritons must prepare for what is out there (Zeiram). He takes the earrings, conch, and chuul with him.
Interrogating Witicker, the dockmaster, they learn the ships just aren’t coming. And the thieves guild presence here is gone as well. They head to Ottomon Quay.
There they find a warehouse where Hugo, the scarred dwarf is operating like he did in the waterways below the Themorinn docks. He informs him that he gave the message to the rulers of the thieves guild, whoever they be. And the docks and vault robbery was their reply. Also he says if they’re itching for a fight, it’ll do them no good here. The enforcers here are all street rabble employed on peanuts, just doing as ordered. Same as Hugo.
So then, Hugo suggests speaking to some of the players “friends in high places”.
Off to Lord Auburn they go. Er, I mean back to their HOUSE they go, with plans to see Auburn later (Joe had to leave).
On the way back, there is a jingling sound in the alley they take to avoid public attention. Then a whoosh… then… a goddamn big black bipedal bird. And it tackles Emon. Where once stood Emon is a cloud of feathers, and Emon is on the ground… smiling. Ew.
Anyway, the bird introduces himself as an actual whoosh sound, nice. So they call him Whoosh, and Whoosh is his name.
They stop by the house to orient themselves and find a clean path to Shiek Aashir Zahran, and meet with him first.
Aashir appears with Rochelle again, his uncle still out of the picture. He’s also accompanied by two very uptight, well-dressed high elves. First, he congratulates them on the good work their doing. The undead numbers around Lere seem to be dwindling. So… good news? I’m sure it’s good news… He introduces himself to Whoosh with a compliment, and gets a weird anime sigh in return. He doesn’t know what to do with that so he just grabs Torinn and walks away.
Then he makes his motives for their visit clear.
1. He is going to be proposing the Tribunal Populi. A council of 3 elected public officials that will represent the people, to be a voice not of nobility, but purely democratic power. They’ll vote at council meetings, and be empowered to make some regulatory decisions on their own regarding grain, etc. Decisions that currently are made almost exclusively by House Lere.
2. He wants Torinn to know that eventually, as part of being made “Official”, they will need to select a real leader/lord of House Themorinn. And that leader will be expected to have a lineage, if you know what he means. Bow chicka wow wow. Without it, their “legitimacy” as a proper Noble HOUSE will be called into question, and they permanence of their leadership will be denied, their ownership revoked. Aashir wants Torinn to know that he wants Torinn in charge, that Torinn has demonstrated the strongest morals and care and compassion.
Aashir then informs the party that he’s having a feast to honor the guests from Cadale, elven diplomats sent to broker a deal for aid from Cadale. The elves send aid against the undead, and in return they get a stake of Lere, or a seat at the council, who knows. Something. Some hook into the governorship of Lere.
With that meeting concluded, they head outside to the refugee camp to see what aid they can lend there. Knowing that 4k of their own gold a week is being sent out, and that basically every cleric and druid in the city and Aedyr is out making food, the party wants to know what they can do to help.
Before they can make headway in the chaos of the burgeoning tent city, they are ushered by two panicked wood elves into the woods a few miles west of town. Only that they must see something.
And something it is. When they finally arrive, around midday, they see…. something horrible.
Already surrounded by various druids and shamans of Aedyr both sanctifying the place and debating whether or not to burn it to the ground (also arguing over what this omen means), the players see a tree. The elves couldn’t have known its significance until they see the characters walk up. Emon, Tharious, and Torinn, anyway.
Lashed, staked, bound, and tied to this tree from root to stem, every inch, are about 3 dozen bodies in various macabre configurations, all mutilated so that their stomachs are ripped open and the jagged torn skin and bones are contorted to form crude, hideous mouths. And every single corpse either bares a horrifying remarkable similarity to one of Emon, Torinn, or Tharious, or have been dressed up to achieve that goal.
Torinn sees, however, one more thing. A floating golden orb of light, just like that one that was seen in the temple. It moves to greet Torinn as Torinn approaches is, and as Torinn angrily addresses the orb, it tils and bobs in a fashion that could only be interpreted as laughter, then it disappears into the open stomach wound of one of the Torinn doppelgangers and disappears.
In the silence that falls over the whole glade as the players approach their mutilated look-alikes, we end the session.