Last week on the Thursday game...
After throwing the other band of adventurers into the Feywild portal, the party make for the carriage and horses that they left behind, that they may head towards the city of Yus, capital city of Yaniel and - assuming Titania kept her promise - a possible way back to Northreach.
About a day from the main road, the party chances upon a small cottage in the middle of nowhere. The grizzled young tiefling woman living there - who has, for some reason, filed her horns down to bony nubs - appears fully self-sufficient, and when the party knock on her door and ask to share her fire, she is wary but hospitable.
As they chat, the party learns that they are not the only ones who have called upon her recently: "There was this other guy who came by, just a day or two ago. He had a blindfold over his eyes, as if he was blind, but yet he seemed to have no problem picking his way through the woods. Came knocking on my door, asked if I had any visitors recently. Told him that I didn't, and he just bowed and left, smiling to himself and whistling a strange tune."
At dawn, the party take their leave of the tiefling, and they proceed to find the horses and carriage without incident. Thus equipped, they ride towards Yaniel... but, given how it was Trinity leading the way, it did not take long for them to be accosted by a small band of mindflayers intent on eating Borock's brains. It was close, but the party eventually dispatch the ilithids by the skin of their teeth.
The rest of the journey passes without incidence, and they eventually arrive at the gates of Bromwich-Over-Hill, a trading town more commonly known as Tradesville due to its prominent location between Yaniel and Qadal. As its name suggest, Bromwich-Over-Hill is located on the top of a slight hill, and the main road runs straight through the middle of the large paved town square that also serves as its main marketplace. All things considered, trade is brisk, and the town sees a steady flow of merchants and travellers alike.
As the party are about to make their way into town, a group of Romanov gypsies hail the travellers loudly with offers to read their fortunes: "just five silver!", they shout. "Your fortunes told for just five silver!" With hesitant shrugs, the party eventually capitulate and send Borock into the gypsy's caravan first.
The caravan is dark and smoky with exotic spices, and an old Romanov woman sits before a crystal ball. "Cross my palm with silver, young man," she crones, "and I will tell you what awaits you". Borock does as he is instructed, and she presses two of the silver pieces over her eyes. When she next opens her eyes, they appear to be glowing softly in the dark.
"I... I see.... I see five talons closing around a beating heart. Tighter, tighter, they grip! And the blood! So much blood... I see a blind man seeking you, and behind him, a dark shadow follows. Beware! Beware smoke and fire, and shadowed iron."
Shuddering, the old woman pulls herself out of her trance, and she stares at Borock with terrified eyes. "Leave," she whispers. "I do not wish to see any of your futures." A young appears from the front of the caravan, and with a smile that does not quite reach his eyes he gently ushers Borock out of the caravan. "I'm sorry, but my mother is tired. I think you should leave, but should you ever come across my people again, ask them for a drink of water, and we will see to it that you are treated as our most honoured guests."
Once in town, Mordai sidles up to the nearest pair of suspicious figures and eavesdrops on their conversation. Although they appear to be chatting about completely mundane matters - "my uncle's horse threw its rear shoes the other day"; "oh really? That's unfortunate, did the smith manage to fix it?"; "yes, but the horse never quite recovered its stride" - their tone is far too nonchalant for it to be anything but thieves' cant.
Deciding to take things into his own hands, he picks the pocket of the more senior-looking of the two before tapping him on his shoulder: "I think you dropped this," the tiefling says with a winsome grin. Startled, the two thieves stop themselves for reaching for their purses and knives, and after a tense few heartbeats, Mordai's mark visibly relaxes and smiles. "You've got some skills," the man admits. "If you're looking for work, head to Yus and, at the first tavern you come across from the southern gate, ask for the innkeeper. Introduce yourself as a friend of the cartwright."
Mordai makes to return everything that he stole, but the man only accepts the purse. "Keep the medallion," he says, and with a nod to this companion, the man takes his leave. Looking down at the heavy coin in his hand, the rogue notices that it is imprinted with the image of a cartwheel with seventeen spokes.
In the mean time, Trinity reaches out with her extraplanar senses and discovers that there is a large portal - about thirty feet in diameter, making it the largest portal she's sensed so far - about ninety feet beneath the town square. However, unlike the other portals that she's sussed out so far, she has no sense of where this particular portal leads. The party discuss this finding, and it is eventually decided that Mordai should approach the remaining thief and see if he knows of a way to go under the town.
Unfortunately, the thief did not take kindly to Mordai's last stunt, and he insists on being paid at least 20gp before he will say anything. Mordai tries to pick his pockets as well, but this time the thief is ready and waiting for it. Slapping the rogue's hands away, the man draws his dagger and backs away from the tiefling. "The price has just gone up to 50," he hisses, and when Mordai makes a threatening move towards the thief, he lets out a loud whistle. Almost immediately, four men armed with crossbows appear from four different rooftops, and the thief looks expectantly at Mordai, as if to say, "what now?".
Realising that he is outnumbered, Mordai pays the 50gp and is told that there is an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town that one can use to access the tunnels beneath the city. With little else to guide them, the party decide to head for the warehouse to see if it would lead them anywhere.
As it turns out, the warehouse was abandoned for a good reason: something caused the structural integrity of the tunnels beneath the warehouse to collapse, and thanks to shoddy workmanship and inferior materials, the entire warehouse floor collapsed along with it, thus opening up a passageway to the way below. Peering through the hole, Trinity realises that the whole of Brunswick-Over-Hill was actually built atop an ancient town that appears to have been intentionally buried and sealed up... but why? Why go to all that trouble?
Now suspicious, the party reluctantly decides that it is too dangerous to continue exploring, and that they should let sleeping buried towns lie. Solving the mystery of the portal in the middle of the town beneath Brunswick-Over-Hill will have to wait for another day.
It is currently the ?? of Mid Spring.
The party has ??gp, the treasury ??gp, and Mordai's chapter has ??gp.
Notable items in the Keep include:
- Golden Bracelet: the gold of the bracelet frames a thin sheet of marble that features, in the far-eastern bas-relief style of Lacio, the scene of an archer firing a greatbow at a dryad emerging from a pond. Two symbols of Krubivax - the empty circle of the new moon, and a skull with a worm crawling out of its eye socket - appear in the corners of the scene.
Notable guests of the Keep include:
- Nicodemus, chief steward of the keep
- Eldraz, Borock's clutchmate who's missing both his hands
- Tyd, the Azer smith in the keep's forge
- Egoveus, the human wizard living in the keep's tower
- Garle, representative of Ankers & Co.
- Halvenpaul, widowed captain of the guard
- Gilran, lieutenant of Mordai's chapter