Last week on the Tuesday game...
As the party raided the court wizard's chambers, they discovered that the "wizard" wasn't even a proper graduate of the Hidden Schools! What he was instead was a warlock, someone who made a dark pact with a creature from beyond space and time for magical power, and he used that power to pass for a wizard.
Despite only wanting to use his newfound power for good, absolute power corrupts absolutely. It was only a matter of time before the court wizard eventually succumbed to the wishes of his patron and became nothing more than an extension of the eldritch entity's will on the Prime Material Plane. As such, when his master demanded that King Wethorp be struck down by a mysterious ailment that cannot be cured, the wizard unquestioningly obeyed.
As Alistair recounted this to the party from the false wizard's journal, a panicked-looking Sir Boderick burst into the room flanked by two of his guards. When the party assured them him that all was taken care of, and that the King was no longer under the spell of the court wizard, Sir Boderick smiled a strange smile, and as he gestured, the two guards by his side disappeared into the ether, and his eyes turned the colour of molten silver.
Sir Boderick explained that he was the silver dragon that Dimplebottom had sent the party to Wethorp to chase away, but because he is still currently engaged in a year-long game with his adversary, he cannot yet leave the kingdom. However, if the party will help him restore the broken rune of Thrummax - the rune of rightful kingship - to its proper place above the king's throne, it will render his opponent helpless here and thus allow "Borderick" to leave Wethorp.
Although the dragon currently has half of the broken rune, the other half is currently located in a cave about half a day away from Drandur, in the hands of his opponent's minions. The dragon can teleport the party to the cave, and assures them that he is able to keep the portal open for at least five days so that they may swiftly make their way back to court. To further aid them in their task, he also had a gift for the party: a shimmering silver cloak, woven from scales off his own body by his own hands, that was also enchanted to appear to be nothing more than an ordinary travel cloak when worn. Lia accepted the gift with grace, and the party agreed to help the dragon with this task.
As they stepped through a mirror that the silver dragon ensorcelled with some sort of artefact, they found themselves in a large cavern... as well as some very surprised gnolls. The fight proved to be long and bloody - with a surprise appearance by an ogre who promptly knocked Lia into the underground river (thankfully, Fenrir managed to save her before the current swept her away) - but after several close shaves with death, the party eventually prevailed.
Searching the cave, the party found a wyvern's nest and promptly decided to steal all three eggs within the nest. Unfortunately, Serrano was overly clumsy and dropped the first one onto the floor, while Fenrir promptly lost another egg to a snake when he left it on the ground unattended; by the end of everything, only Alistair's egg made it out of the cavern unscathed. As was to be expected, the sound and smell of the cracked egg quickly drew the mother wyvern's attention, and another fierce battle broke out. Thankfully, Alistair still had a Fireball in his back pocket, and after some clever sculpting of the spell around his teammates, he blasted the flying lizard into smithereens.
There was only one room left in the cave system that they have not searched, and the silver dragon's intelligence proved accurate enough: the other half of the broken rune was indeed there. However, when Craghammer reached for it, a barely-visible Glyph of Warding protecting the rune shattered, and the room burst into flames. As the books all around them burned, a disembodied voice addresses Fenrir.
"I see you've chosen to oppose me. Foolish mortals! This will be the last mistake you worms will ever make."
A large shadow crosses the entrance of the cave and, with a roar of fury, the world outside explodes into fire and smoke. It seems like half the surrounding forest has been set ablaze, and as thick black smoke billows into cave system, the portal in the middle of the cavern flickers briefly before, finally, blinking out of existence. There was only one way out now - the underground river - and the party seized the opportunity to do just that.
Thankfully, the river lead them closer to Drandeur and not further underground, and the bedraggled party found themselves spat out about a half day's ride away from the city. With Fenrir leading the way through the wilderness, they returned to the court and, ignoring the curious stares from the guards on duty, immediately sought an audience with "knight commander Sir Boderick".
The silver dragon was exceedingly pleased. Holding the two halves of the broken stone together, he spoke a word of Mending beneath his breath and smiled as a pure silvery light issued forth from the restored rune and washed over the empty throne room. Thrummax was the king's divine right to rule made manifest, and all who saw the rune shining in the dark had to resist the urge to fall to one knee in recognition of its glory and majesty.
"The rune is now restored to its rightful place, and my task in Wethorp is done. Before I go, however, I have one last thing to ask of you: although the King is now recovering from his 'illness', it will be some time before he is fully fit to rule once more. Until that day comes, I will not leave him and the Crown Princess unguarded. Will one of you step up and take my place as the Knight-Commander of Wethorp?"
Fenrir stepped up and accepted the mantle, and the dragon nodded, pleased. Shifting back to its true form, the silver dragon snapped its wings open and, with a single graceful leap, took to the skies. Circling the city twice, it proclaimed its triumph to the world with a roar that shook the castle to its foundations before, finally, leaving the kingdom of Wethorp.
Downtime Action #1
The party receives a royal writ declaring that, as mercenaries officially under the employ of Knight Commander Fenrir, they may use the elevators going up and down Cliffside for free. For their help in curing the King, Crown Princess Abigail also gives them Breezeholt, a small building on the ninth floor, second sub-floor, of Cliffside.
Breezeholt was once owned by a spice merchant before he went bankrupt. When his creditors decided to liquidate the property, they could not find any buyers and were thus forced to sell the warehouse to the Crown at submarket rates. It has a set of private stairs leading to a balcony landing, a reception hall, a main living area, two bedrooms, a study, and a fully-functional latrine. As it has been abandoned for several years now, it is not currently in a liveable state, but once cleaned up, it will make a very respectable base of operations.
Embracing his new role as the Knight Commander, Fenrir declares that the King is now officially on the mend and clears the court of the charlatan healers trying to profit off the king's illness. For the first time in months, the court is finally quiet, and the kingdom treasury is no longer at risk of being drained, although the damage done to it will likely take several years to fully repair.
Lia dreams of becoming a duskstone supplier, and her first task is to start by finding a supplier. She sniffs around for someone willing to sell the drug to her wholesale, and eventually comes up with two possible sources: one on the Road, and the other off the Road. Her old friend Excellence falls into the former category, and he is willing to sell her 100 ounces of the stuff for 800gp, or 8gp per ounce (street value 10gp).
On the other hand, there's this half-elf by the name of Zyl who's willing to sell her 100 ounces for just 500gp. The only problem is, Zyl has sort of been... exiled from the Road, and if the guild finds out that Lia dealing with Zyl, there might be trouble ahead for both Lia and Serrano.
Serrano spends a day casing the many curios shops in Cliffside and finds a small shop on the eighth floor, sub-floor three, that specialises in antiques. The shopkeeper there identifies the dagger as a ritual knife, about 200 years old, and apologetically offers Serrano a paltry 50gp just for the metal and gems alone. "It isn't even close to what its worth, but the knife's style is old, out of fashion, and I'll have a hard time finding a collector willing to buy this. Although... hmm. Actually, there might be somebody willing to buy this."
The shopkeeper scribbles down a name and an Undercity address on a scrap of parchment, and passes it to Serrano. "I've never met this guy personally, but I heard from a friend that he was sniffing around for something like this a while back. Maybe you want to go look for him, see what he's willing to offer? If not, you can always come back here, and I'll take it off your hands for 50gp."
Alistair visits the Hidden Schools and taps his alumni network for people interested in buying the wyvern's egg. A frumpy halfling by the name of Wilner says that he knows someone who might be interested, but his client's all the way over in Caburh. "If I take it off your hands, I've still got to find a way to transport this damned thing over there safely, in one piece. Ya know what I mean? Best price I can offer you is 400gp, and that's only because we're schoolmates." Alistair grudgingly agrees, and the egg is sold.
Craghammer spends 5gp on a rabbit sacrifice at the Temple of Krubivax. When he asks if he may sacrifice the animal himself, the priest asks him if he knows the Parable of the Arrow, and he answers with the appropriate ritual responses. Seeing that he is a true initiate to the Mysteries, the priest shows him to the inner sanctum, where he uses his heart's blade to slit the rabbit's throat in the Third Prescribed Way.
As the rabbit bleeds out its last upon the altar, the dwarf is struck by a vision: of a dark cloud gathering around the outskirts of Drandeur, of corpses being unnaturally compelled to rise again from their grave to serve the will of a great evil. He sees a carriage drawn by four dark horses, each with blazing red eyes, and he sees sacrilege: of a priest's heart's blade drawn in the presence of the unclean and the unworthy, of blood dripping from the shadow knife, of the earth screaming as it tries to reject the wrongness of the blood dripping onto it.
Downtime Action #2
Shook up by his vision, Craghammer decides to pray and meditate on the matter. He also spends some time convincing the rest of his party that a group of undead were seen on the outskirts of Drandur, and that they have both a personal and public responsibility to rid the world of such monstrosities.
Serrano decides to pay the temple of Cracix a visit, partly out of a strange religious calling, but mostly out of morbid curiosity. For 10gp, he pays a priest to sacrifice a rooster to the Stormlord, and the priest anoints him with geblot (blood from the sacrifice) around the shoulders, arms, and palms. From the priests, Serrano learns the basics of the faith: that the elves know Cracix as Cracix Red-Handed, whose bronze greatsword drips forever with the blood of his foes; that the dwarves know him as Cracix Wallbreaker, he who knows the secret names of Stoneshatter and Steelbreak; that the smallfolk know him as Cracix the Thunderer, he who hunts down oathbreakers and breaks them upon his altars. He learns that thunder is the Harbinger's war cry, lightning his spear, the wind-tossed waves his battleground from whose depths he calls his faithful to join him once more.
Alistair pours over the unmarked journal he found a while back and discovers that the book holds five spells: Illusory Script, Longstrider, See Invisibility, Arcane Lock, and Magic Circle. There's also another entry near the end, added in an elegant hand different from that used in the rest of the book, that appears to be a variant of Fireball, but it is somehow subtly different from the Fireball that Alistair already knows. Intrigued, he decides to spend the next six hours learning and copying the new spell to his personal spellbook.
Fenrir posts a notice outside the castle stating that the court is looking to hire a new court wizard. It will be a while before people start noticing it, and word starts getting around, but it's a good start. A friendly courtier, perhaps hoping to get into the Knight Commander's good books, casually mentions that it might be a good idea for Sir Fenrir to start thinking about how he's planning to screen the applicants.
Downtime Action #3
Serrano seeks out the collector in the Undercity, who introduces himself as Devotion, a purveyor of fine art from the Late Mithras period. Explaining that works from the period would often feature the draconic sigil for "breath", Devotion says that he's willing to take the ritual dagger off his hands for 100gp, and would pay more for other such items that he might come across.
As a favour to Fenrir, Alistair returns to the Hidden School and seeks out old acquaintances who might be interested in the appointment of court wizard. He eventually settles upon a charming half-elf by the name of Naill. Despite not being exactly the sharpest nail in the box, the abjurer more than makes up for it with his boyish good looks and social grace.
Fenrir appoints Naill as the official court wizard of Wethorp, and has him formally sworn into office. The half-elf takes to courtly life like a duck to water and, within weeks, finds himself firmly embedded into the fabric of local politics as if he was born there.
Lia buys 100oz of duskstone off Zyl and quickly starts peddling the stuff in the upper-class taverns of Cliffside for 13gp per ounce: 3gp more than what the Road sells in the Undercity. She ends up selling 3 ounces to a couple of intoxicated nobles, making herself a small but tidy profit.