Fireborn: Dark Phoenix

The Secret Sits
We run around in a ring and suppose...

[Edited to add an option 6 I was reminded of earlier!]

As promised, the day after the factory breakin, Doctor Raykov provided you with (freelancer) journalistic papers for the Daily Courier, the local paper.

After some investigations and bank robbing (in the nicest possible way) around town, the party found that the Cyraean Workers’ Republic was interested in their activities and interested, too, in working with them – something that held some interest for Jaxar and a little for Aethelthior (albeit with major reservations in the latter case), but was soundly opposed by both Radomir (for reasons of personal loyalty and fundamental disagreement with their ethos) and Marius (for reasons of their genocide against the ‘slave race’ in the early days of the Republic’s founding).

Radomir, however, had been approached by Patriarch Verrisch Vanadich of the Detective Enforcers with a similar offer; and the party was more amenable to this as an option. A meeting was arranged.

Patriarch Vanadich arranged a fancy dinner at the King’s Head Restaurant, and offered a copy of the Royal Secrets Act to each of the party; the agreement, to be paid 1 guilder a month for as long as the contract is in force, but in return to be bound to keep secret any information learned in the course of their duties to New Urgen. Payment for any specific work performed – and danger pay, potentially – would be discussed on a case by case basis.

Rotis seemed uncertain whether he should agree without his mistress’ permission but signed anyway; Aethelthior had more fundamental disagreement since, as an Elven citizen, he was very concerned that acting as an agent and employee of an Uruk government could compromise both New Urgen and himself if it were ever revealed. He did however agree to a handshake promise not to reveal any information gleaned directly from New Urgen’s authorities by virtue of this rudimentary alliance; but also promisd that if he learned other information in the course of his adventures and travels and felt it was important for Elven authorities to know, he would tell them. The one concession he made was to inform Vanadich of what he was revealing if(/when) it came to it. Vanadich agreed, reluctantly, since it seemed Aethelthior’s aid might be important in this instance.

Vanadich however revealed that he had not previously been made aware of Lord Apargopolous’ ‘arrangements’, and his opinion that the New Urgen military had badly mishandled the situation by keeping Lord Apargopolous’ security light and not demanding access to more of his information and sources. His main short to medium-term worries are that despite some setbacks to their efforts, the New Arkalian Navy-Bloodforce-Solarian alliance was on the verge of becoming the major player in Arkalia and becoming the acknowledged goverment there; and separately, that Lord Apargopolous (and his younger son Hergert) were kidnapped by the invaders at Trynsham and may end up revealing the secrets that New Urgen as a whole doesn’t seem to know.

He also mentioned “Aetherlord” and “Kingmakers” as names that have arisen in his enquiries and asked if you knew the terms or groups or persons involved. The party did not (or claimed so, perhaps).

He therefore has several ‘jobs’ he thinks need addressing urgently (this is expanded and clarified from last night, since it was getting very late!):
1.) The Solarians have promised to reveal a ‘new shrine’ of some kind. If true, and he thinks it is, it is likely within the regions barred by the Treaty of Grelda; but he seems to have a lead on the location and seems to prefer that a New Urgenian discovery of it be made, before the Arkalians can get there (as this would provoke an international crisis and lend legitimacy to Princess Ioanna’s claims on Arkalia’s throne). Since Radomir is a famed explorer and Aethelthior is an Elf who can legally travel with an entourage beyond the borders, he thinks this would be a useful avenue to pursue.
2.) Lord Apargopolous acquired artifacts from two “sites”; their locations aren’t precisely known but at least one appears to be in Birren’s Land somewhere. Locating one or both of these “sites” and ensuring New Urgen can secure them before the Arkalian terrorists can extract information from Lord Apargopolous and loot them, is important.
3.) The New Arkalian Navy has recently built new shipyards and refitted old ones, and is now capable of building simple steam-ships for its war fleets. He thinks this, and other circumstantial evidence, means the Navy has access to its own advanced technologies, either by piracy from others (it is known Apargopolous lost several shipments to piracy); or possibly because they have their own supply, which may be the same as Lord Apargopolous’ “Sites”, or may be separate. With Jaxar’s Blood-Force history it may be possible to infiltrate (or simply find weaknesses and attack and seize) and learn their sources.
4.) Lord Apargopolous was robbed by a pair of as-yet-unidentified orcs posing as Kobold Society members; and they sent a crate to a local man named Silverio Giacomelli. Since the party have already begun looking into this angle, learning who he was, who he worked for, and what his interest was in the affair, may likewise be extremely illuminating.
5.) He’s sure the party has other avenues they can or will wish to pursue. He is open to suggestions as to what and how.
(6.) – Party suggestion was made that seeking out a first-generation birrenian kobold might yield dividends, but would be difficult and/or expensive – though Korakova is likely to have the most in the world, outside Birren’s Land).

He says he has ‘others’ who could pursue many or all of these things as well, though it’s unclear how much (or how imminent) progress is possible with each line of investigation. He also says he’s aware that you have acquired some evidence related to Mr Giacomelli. As long as he’s informed what information was acquired he’s no objection to you keeping any valuables you found; stolen individual pieces of research aren’t his key concern as long as the Sites are unknown and Apargopolous is missing.

He presumably knows other information but hasn’t revealed it. If anyone has immediate questions, ask via Skype or private message here (or openly in the comments if it’s retroactively inserted into the dinner talks) and it may be answered.

APs: 3
AP Total: 31

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Flashpoint in the Factory
or, "The Brave Investigation of a Deadly Spy-Ring"

The Cigarillo Factory was investigated. However a government raid interrupted, but not before you provided a scoop for the local paper and earned a good rate for one night’s work.

Plus, APs.

AP: 5
AP Total: 28

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An Overheard Conversation

The conversation next door proceeds slowly. Four voices are fairly clear; a fifth, sometimes addressed as “Meselheim”, is muffled oddly. The language is difficult to make out but between all of your knowledge, you piece together the Arkalian conversation.

“Meselheim”, it seems, Is in charge; though the other four seem oddly dismissive and undeferential towards him, even though when he gives an order, they simply agree to do it. After a few minutes, you have the impression from the tones, that “Meselheim” might be a messenger of some kind, passing on instructions (or reminding the men of instructions) from an authority that they do recognise, and accept he is authorised to speak for.

Meselheim, at times, seems to refer to the group collectively as “Cobras”.

The man called Sokolev – probably the Sokolev Gerasim that Jaxar has mentioned he spotted and knows from a long time ago – seems to be in charge officially, to judge by the way that everyone (including, sometimes, Meselheim) show.

The discussion they’re having at the moment is the benefits of sending the “last shipment” for “the Zhorak “ to collect. While three of the men seem to support this – and sending the “raw materials” too – the rest, including “Meselheim”, say it’s best to drop them overboard and get away from the factory before any “suspicions” develop from “Kardevron’s involvement”.

One of them points out that if “the Zhorak” isn’t going to collect the last shipment (and they just dump it in the river/sea) they will have trouble getting to the “Slader dock” since they don’t have a map of “the reefs” and that besides, they wouldn’t dare risk a “third party captain” knowing that information. Meselheim agrees vehemently and says they will have to report to “Solaria” and await new orders.

The men worry that if they go to “Solaria” they may be sent off to “Ortorten”, but are assured by “Meselheim” that that mission would be volunteer-only. One man – whose name seems to be Sergei – seems very happy at the idea and says he would lay down his life to prove to the world that Solaris was a force beyond immortal emperors and merchants. His colleagues are dismissive of him, but in a way that seems to be friendly (but awkward) banter rather than bitter division.

After perhaps 10 minutes “Meselheim” tells them that “a close ally” has urgently asked to speak with them, and that “the Admiral’s” standing orders to “Meselheim” are that if this ally makes any requests they are to be treated as priority orders. The others seem confused and protest, but Sokolev silences them and says that of course, any friend of the Admiral’s, they will hear out, and to “connect” them whenever they’re ready.

Then there is a long silence which Sokolev breaks.

“Hello? Meselheim?”

[Musical link for the following conversation: https://youtu.be/uhesDs6FWpo?t=54m31s ]A deep, oddly booming voice answers.

“No. A new mission, priority, for Cobra Squad. Bring me Jaxar Tilton.”

“Jaxar..? You mean Ga-”

“Dead or alive. If dead; no significant decomposition permitted. No significant thermal, chemical injuries even post-mortem. Body to be kept intact for sampling. Do this and you will be rewarded. Do you understand?”

There’s a long moment of silence and some whispers that you can’t make out.

Then Sokolev replies. “Actually, we’re not sure we do; we’ve been after Kardevron for months, we’ve never been given any… instructions on how to treat his body. We don’t really understand why there’s a sudden interest?”

There’s a long silence. Then…

“You have identified Jaxar Tilton as your Kardevron.”

Sokolev is silent for another long moment. “But that’s just an alias, I don’t-”

He’s interrupted. “Jaxar Tilton is a more important identity. Jaxar Tilton is a Trynsham identity.”

Sokolev breaks another odd pause. “Trynsham? I suppose he was looking for our operatives, I don’t-”

“6 survivors known, at Trynsham Station with X4 sample. Further 5 suspected present within infection window soon after. You will bring me Jaxar Tilton, dead or alive, for the furtherance of vital research. This is priority above your equipment; your factory; your lives. Fail and you will be made to suffer greatly in punishment. Succeed and you and all your men will receive 5,000 Guilders each, and be granted any power you wish of the Sixth Concentric Tier.”

There is a long silence.

Then the deep voice speaks again. “Do you understand?”

More whispering, this time more urgent.

“…yes”, Sokolev says, simply.

Meselheim responds. “I heard all that. This is unorthodox but the Admiral was clear, and I’ve never heard Deep Ocean give a command that urgently, so as soon as you’ve sealed the valves and covered over the factory, find that Tilton man and bring him in. You know what to do.”

Sokolev replies, “Shall we just dump the shipment in the river and head after Kardevron?”

Meselheim thinks. “Make sure the factory won’t survive the night, and dump the last rounds wherever you think necessary. Then get out of there and let it be an unexplained tragedy. No witnesses… obviously.”

Sokolev replies, affirmatively. “Understood. Rastok, out”.

Then there is the sound of chairs scraping, and Sokolev continues – this time in New Urgenian. “Vitomir, Sergei, shut down and tidy up here, then come find us. We need to be gone within the hour. Bring anything you don’t want to carry with you; we’ll burn it in the engines. Give us a minute downstairs, though… we need to take care of something.”

The Sergei voice leaps in. “Sir, we know cremation in the furnaces can’t be traced, we-”

Sokolev interrupts. “Not at half power, sergeant. This will take a bit more ingenuity, but we’ll deal with that after we deal with him. Now get on with it, we don’t have much time if we want the bonus the… ‘friend’ mentioned.”

Two muted “Yessirs”, and the door outside opens… and two sets of footsteps walk past, and down the stairs. Within seconds you hear a door shutting, and the place is quiet – but the remaining men must be in the next room even now.

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Another abandoned scrap of paper, ripped in two and crumpled, its contents slashed with ink
Frostheim - 14 - Rastok

Quietly thoughtful – even anxious – as his companions reasoned how and why they ought to break into the cigarillo factory, Rotis had slipped away to be alone. The following scrap of paper may have been found, scrunched-up and discarded with slashes of ink through the entry of the 12th, later on that day.

Attended lecture; like a Pengold’s 1921, my Mistress. Redeeming qualities that parallel the 1919 Grange of your own political aphorisms, but crass to the discerning intellectual palate: 11th Frostheim. Neither sympathy nor pride will fill Croc’s peoples’ hungry bellies, nor cure them of their ailments. Subsequently I attended once again to Doctor Raykov’s muddled office; I trust you’ll find my system better-suited to your tastes.





: 12th Frostheim.

Of course, the truth was just as you had circumcised; the evidence of Blackscale craftsmanship concealed within: 13th Frostheim. Mistress, I wish simply to report the delightfully incredulous expression the discovery did enlist upon Jaxar’s visage. Further, too: Marius employed that I should share my knowledge of Drakarik script, confirming your suspicions. No further proof of Radomir’s adeptness with the Art, however.

Mistress, I must concede distress: 14th Frostheim. I cannot refute the reasoning that we have to strike at once upon the factory, nor that as a group we do ensure that no vital evidence will be neglected. But I must insist that I can only Solicit the Truth alone, it is the done thing.

.
Thank you, Mistress.

As I consider your proposal, I sit here with the white-striped bijou resting in my palm. I can only speculate as to its ultimate purpose. Much else appears clearer to me. Transarbinan meddling in local affairs is indisputable. In seizing your rightful property, Aziz Farukan will have established a line of supply from Trynsham to the sea and to home; that his fellow Transarbinan, Jacomelli, had anticipated still the arrival of stolen goods after the capture of Trynsham points only towards collusion between Transarbinan entities and the brigands in Trynsham. The productive alliance between Lord Acropolis and the state – evidenced by his tremendous output of patents, fruits borne by the excavation of Blackscale artefacts no doubt – may have qualified a threat (or, at least, stirred interest) to the Scientological supremacy of the League. Indeed, a letter to Jacomelli betrayed the paranoia of ‘enemy spies’ within Arcopolis’s lavatory.

Following the subsequent relocation of all Agropolis’s operations to Trynsham came the invasion. So there is no doubt that this was the prompt – the arrival of something, some precious artefact, prompted the attack. I must carefully scour the lavatory for lingering traces.

The mole, of course, was the Lord’s Arkalian wife. Further, I’ve little doubt that this Solarian ‘holy site’ was discerned from the spoils of Trynsham. Perhaps it is Birrensland itself, ultimate source of the ancient treasures. Supposedly, we shall know soon enough.

The Truth beckons. Jacomelli was a vociferous ally of my destitute kin, and a letter to him spoke of ‘Seekers’. I sense a potential connection to the ‘Strugglers’ who had threatened the lav, due to the intention to purchase slaves. After tonight, I shall resume my investigations with the utmost diligence.

I will break nothing but the veal that obfuscates the Truth from you, my Mistress.

Your devoted, ever-faithful Rotis.

END JOURNAL

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Investigating the Items
or, "A Strange Tale of Mechanism and Mystery"

[Detail to be filled in later; in the meantime, APs]

APs: 4
AP Total: 23

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Seeking the Seekers
or, "The Mystery of the Vanishing Paretian"

Despite a shaky start (with Rotis shooting one as a demonstration of their seriousness), the party made the friendly acquaintance of a gang of “Sewer-Rats”, led by the kobold Croc. After showing off their Elven magical healing friend, providing bread, ale, and mechanical assistance, and doing a few other favours about town, Croc’s gang was highly willing to do business with you.

it turns out that they knew Silverio Giacomelli reasonably well. (Or at least, had met him and done work for him). Specifically they had been paid to keep an eye on the postal depot to alert him to any deliveries to his depot box number; and on the Laboratory at the University with which you’d already become acquainted. They further added that they had burgled the place at the behest of an ork calling himself “Cobra”, who’d been staying at the workhouse attached to the Kagano Cigarillo Factory in Rastok, and apparently working as a caravan guard.

This “Cobra” was seen at times talking to the air in a foreign (but North Encyronian) language; and his little gang all appeared to be guards. Despite an offer to pay handsomely for particular items believed to be in the laboratory, Croc’s gang were suspicious of the unknown foreigners and decided to send a terminally sick kobold to meet them, with a bag of rocks instead of most of the stolen goods (with just one or two pieces to create the right illusion instead). However, the bag that Cobra gave the kobold in exchange contained not gold but brown powder, which caused her to undergo near-instant seizures and death within moments. The hidden gang members then retreated fast with the remainder of the goods, some of which they pawned for cash around town.

Meanwhile the other half of the party conducted investigations showing that a red-handed woman called “Vittoria” had been hunting Silverio, had made a scene at the depot demanding his name and address (apparetly a failure, but she found him quickly after that regardless). She had also been seen at the Laboratory, and Silverio had warned Croc’s gang that she was a witch who could kill a dozen men with a glance, and to stay well out of her way.

However Vittoria hadn;t been seen around town, possibly since a fire at the Laboratory that seems to have caused its near-complete shutdown. Silverio’s neighbours and Landlady proved helpful to Jaxar, in the guise of a journalist, and Silverio’s post was bought for an exorbitant sum.

However, when his post was found to contain a shipment of stolen artifacts from an inside-man at the Laboratory, it was generally agreed that it was well worth the price!

Two other artifacts might be possible to buy from Croc’s gang, though for the even more exorbitant price of 5 guilders each.

Doctor Raykov’s been busy, it seems, organising some other journalists to find clues and leads as well; it seems smoke was recently seen on the Skyhorn, and the Solarians in Arkalia have said that the New Urgenese have destroyed the shrine there as revenge on their own rebellious populace who recently rose up to try to seize the Shephame Valley to ensure that Unity can prevail there (as it did in days of yore). They have, however, revealed that ‘Queen’ Ioanna now possesses one of the five Tablets of the Sun, and further that she has had a revelation sent by Solaris that will soon ‘prove’ the righteousness of their cause.

He has also given some warning that the police, aided by the military, have begun showing an interest in the recent events in Rastok; he pondered that perhaps word had got out of Shephame about the crate and the theft, and that the locals had begun (belatedly) joining the disparate dots. Raykov recommends hurrying to avoid conflicting directly with the Authorities… though he also pointed out that coming clean to them, albeit belatedly, is also an option, though a risky one.

In the meantime, apparently someone at the aforementioned Cigarillo factory has begun asking questions about a blackscale seen around town, prompting Marius to dye himself dark-brown instead. The man who’s enquiring is called Scarface; though whether that’s a descriptor or just a nickname isn’t yet known.

Finally, Aethel’s lecture on slavery and morality was pretty well received by the student body, despite some heckling. A small group of particularly interested students seemed, to judge by the way they insisted Aethel took a copy of Yedevan Galos’ seminal “Manifesto of the Workers” to be Collectivists (or sympathisers thereof); presumably not the safest political affiliation in a Monarchic nation. Whether they might be of use, though, is another matter.

APs: 6
AP Total: 19

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The Road to Rastok
Or, "The Case of the Undelivered Postmaster"

After arriving, and making contact with Adriannos Tsatsos’ Uncle, a Doctor Anton Raykov, a sociologist at the university and a part-owner of the local newspaper – with the remainder presumably owned by Perspective Media, the international news agency for whom Tsatsos’ investigation is being conducted.

Taking the serial numbers from the long-lost crate, which the New Urgen authorities never had access to and thus had never followed up on, Rotis was forced against his will into a crate and delivered to the postal depot until after dark, whereupon he was able to sneak carefully out and locate customer payment details to find who’d hired the post office box that the crate would have been delivered to, had its contents not been found to be Lord Apargopolous’ stolen equipment. This led to the address of Silverio Giacomelli, a Transarbinan from the Paretian Emirate (#6 on main map); but the place was in great disarray and neighbours spoke of him leaving in a hurry in the last few weeks. Also mentioned were an altercation with another neighbour who owns a bakery (she owns slaves, he disapproved); an angry landlady called Luiza; an enigmatic woman with a parasol and red gloves who’d been asking around about Silverio shortly after he left; and (from the party’s investigations) someone, probably a kobold, had been in the house when Radomir and Jaxar broke in.

The King Fillipos Theoretical Science Workshops and Laboratory was in some disarray after a robbery several weeks ago; a fire about a fortnight ago; and a Struggler terrorist threat against the staff thanks to the labs’ budget request for a slave, which roused the more liberal student body to protest and turn it into a popular scandal. The place seemed to have been emptied; apparently the staff have been relocated as well for their own security. Guards were posted around the abandoned laboratory, but that didn’t stop Rotis entering and finding a forgotten accident record sheet.

Meanwhile, Aethel has arranged to give a speech about Elven culture and impressions of Uruk culture, and denouncing slavery, in the hopes of making some contacts amongst the liberal students who might be able to give more information; and Marius has been alternately helping Aethel, and looking around the Campus for library research materials and lab space that might be accessible (legally) should the need arise.

The following AP earnings include the two that were granted during the session.

AP: 4
AP Total: 13

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Murder on the Mountain
Or, "The Dishonourable Acts of a Rogue Soldier"

After a brief pause at the base of the nearby cliff under the Solar Tomb’s plateau so that Rotis could seek out a particular stone with a white stripe that he said he needed to find, the Survivors encountered a trio of soldiers coming back down the path. One appeared intent on something, and his two companions seemed angry and inclined to drag him back up the mountain again. When they attempted to do so, taking advantage of his pause as he spotted the Survivors around a corner and muttering something to himself as Radomir approached.

But then the soldier stabbed one of his comrades through the neck and knocked the other out cold with a blow from his rifle, damaging it in the process. Then he advanced menacingly on the Survivors.

The brigand was swiftly subdued, with the help of a dynamite-wielding soldier on the clifftop and a pair of the ascending, rival soldiers who came back to investigate the gunfire. He leapt from a cliff and, according to Rotis, took off like a firework (after Radomir, Jaxar and Cano had been subdued themselves, almost fatally).

In the interim, it seemed the man with the single red glove had a skull made of metal and was very resilient to damage…

Now all that is left is to descend the mountain… slowly, with many injured in tow… what could go wrong?

Oh, and the Solar Tomb doesn’t appear to have exploded despite a battle evidently taking place around it.

APs this week: 3
AP Total: 9

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Marius' Conversation with Tomaz Jnr.

Here follows what Tomaz Jnr. said when Marius attempted to question him about the stolen items we recovered from the train. His words are in bold. Any pertinent details, replies or theories are not in bold. (This will appear as and when I or anyone else get round to typing them

“I hear some madman’s going around hunting everyone on that train.”
“That’s rather why I’m here”
He looks at you, and for the first time there’s a hint of suspicion. “Did they find my father’s stolen objects?”
“And… were they…” he pauses. "No, I suppose it doesn’t matter, none of my business!

“So you’re ‘seeking’ them too?” he says, with odd emphasis.

“I don’t especially care, I’m just curious what was going on. But if I’m not already a target I don’t plan on making myself one. When Father heard from a constable that two orks had been seen running towards the town in the middle of the night, he was furious, and demanded they arrest “the society men”, said it’d be them. He was very sure… I don’t know why." He sighs. “Maybe he just assumed I’m a naive fool whow as played by his enemies. Maybe I am, who can say…”

I should make a confession. Part of the reason I invited you… by which I mean, the Society… was because my Father didn’t like it. I don’t quite know why… maybe he was afraid of infiltration somehow."
“I might always wonder. Even though, at least, it wasn’t the robbery that prompted those terrorists to invade.”
“Ever heard of Seekers? Or Krakens?” he suddenly adds, another non-sequitur.

(You’ve heard the name Krakens. Something piratical in Kitantha’s sea, you think. Seekers means nothing to you.)

“It was before I went to University. I didn’t really understand it at the time, but once I came across the Krakens later I started realising my Father… wasn’t the philanthropist he claimed to be. I think he was invovled with some very shady characters… and I think at least some of his fortune came from the military. He was friendl;y with a lot of senior soldiers in Shephame, I could never work out why considering he’d never been in the Army…”

“All I know is, I’m not going to get involved. He got regular crates of deliveries from overseas… I think some were from Korakova, others from the Empire.” He looks at you. “I don’t know why he was so interested in you after he sent those other two packing. I wondered if I’d unwittingly given a cover for some clandestine meeting or another. But I guess you’d not be questioning me if that was the case.”

He nods, and pauses. "Does the word “Vindicator” mean anything to you?" he asks.
“Father mentioned it once, while talking to himself. I didn’t hear the context, it was only the way he flinched and looked at me as if he was scared, that made me take any notice. I think it was connected to his work somehow.”

He shrugs. “I don’t know much. I didn’t dare try to find out; he was on the verge of cutting me off from my inheritance entirely.” He pauses. “And he is… maybe was… my Father. If my suspicions were even half correct… I’d rather not know.”

He pauses again. “Did he ask you anything?”
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I… can’t imagine him taking that rapid a liking to you unless he thought you had something he wanted.”
“Not his way.”

Who knows, indeed. What my Father was involved in, I don’t know, but I think it was dangerous. I’m… not a brave man, I don’t think. I don’t want to get into danger like that. Hell, I fled on the first train out of there when I heard there was a bomb threat."

“That Rotis fellow… I think he’s involved in this somehow.”
“He was here maybe an hour or two before you arrived?”
“Must’ve been the other kobold on that last train.”
He nods. “His mistress… Korakovan, I believe? Often mentioned but always at a great distance from events?”
“Don’t trust wizards. An axiom to live by.”
“Folks in Trynsham used to think he was mad. That depot used to be huge and bustling; then slowly all the money and employees drained away, and there was just Rotis left doing everything.”
“About the only thing they seemed to deliver was Father’s crates. People in town thought Rotis must be mad to stay there. Well… loyalty is a form of madness, I think. But something doesn’t add up about Lady Gray…”
He shrugs. “Too much speculating, I think. I should let you get back to your bunk. If I think of anything, I’ll let you know…” he pauses. “…if you find out what happened to my father, well… I’d like to know. What sort of a man he is, or was. I just… I should know. Even if I don’t want to.”

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From Shephame to the Zarinsk 6th to 11th of Leaffall
Exert from `The Life of Ethel the Elf: A New Translation’ by Tolstorc

Session 3:

• We visited the hospital. Jaxar and Æthelþior showed no signs of any rashes or itching which the Doctor seemed worried about.
• We found that one of the coin-like metal fragment hosted a depleted form symbol and bore the eleven character for vindicator.
• We gather supplies and travel to Zarinsk; the last town before the Skyhorn

On the afternoon of the 6th day of Leaffall I visited a Uruk Hospital with native companions. Seemingly the violent and unnatural nature of their society necessitates most settlement having large structure dedicated to the healing arts. Such places can be identified by a dual snake symbol. Curiously these snakes have nothing to do with healing; they were chosen because their uniqueness prevent any confusion with other symbol used by the Uruks!

The object of our visit was to determine if we had been infected by the dangerous moulds that Jaxar had identified. An Uruk physic cleared us and told us to watch out for itchy rashes. We inquired as to the fate of the two military personnel but were able to tell us more than that they had been kidnapped. Rotus was able to persuade the one of the hospital staff to lend him some documents; this detailed that the two men’s prognosis was kidnapped; does this mean that the hospital was involved somehow?

Radomir, Marius and Rotis acquired supplies for our journey to the Skyhorn. It seems that Marius and Radomir have used many of their money disks; perhaps I should find some way to get some myself? A pity I do not have enough time to visit the Talrais temple before we left.

Rotis is an interesting creature and know a great deal about symbology. That evening we were able to identify a form symbol amongst the Elven artefacts that Lord Folpodopolos (why do these manamals have such preposterous names?) had in his keeping. It looks like the symbol was once more powerful and has been drained either though age or over use. The object hosting the symbol has the elven character for vindicator scribe upon it? I am still pondering the meaning.

The next morning Marius visited Lord Apopdopaous’ Son and then we headed out for the Zarinsk, the town at the base of the Skyhorn. The journey was some 160 Uruk `Kill-o-me-ters’ and took us four days. The only palatable food was Uruk bread; the others feasted on fleshy-stew. The practice no longer shocks me.

We presented our paper at the army station and were given permission to ascend the mountain. Apparently some of the Warriors of New Urgen would be following us in the coming days. We were warned that we might encounter rebel terrorist of the journey. Hopefully they will respond to some reasonable arguments. If not, I feel safe in the company of the warriors Jaxar and Cano, and with explorer Radomir and his great arsenal.

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