After the last disturbing adventure, the party decides where to head off to next. But as they rest and recover, Richard Chelton disappears, taking with him a share of the profits. He’s even covered his tracks from the party. Where is he headed? No one is sure…
Betrayal aside, the party decides to head to the Bronze Order to report on the revelations from Inn-is-mouth. Morning offers to teleport the party directly there.
A short pop later, they arrive on the slope heading up to the monastery. Ceridan De’Arunsel says that it is traditional to bring an offering to the Abbot, usually a pail of water from the well at the base.
After a few difficult climbs (it’s hard to climb a mountain with a bucket full of water in 1 hand!) the party made it to the monastery… only to find it deserted. From the looks of the crops, it hadn’t been deserted long.
Venturing inside, the party begins to investigate, unaware that they are being watched. As Ceridan investigates something interesting, he is grabbed from behind and placed into a choke hold. A female voice said “If I wished you harm, you would be dead now.” He is released, and realizes that he was just grappled by his old teacher, Sister Helena “Handbasket”.
She explains that she and another member of the order Colin Whittmore stayed behind to wait for Ceridan. The order had to move because they are being hunted by Black Talon. She has a mission for them: to head to the city of Van Legas, a city of crime and corruption. There, they would hire a private detective to help draw out the Black Talon and take care of him once and for all. As part of bait, Helena sends along a piece of the “DragonGate”, though they don’t know what it is.
Upon arriving in Van Legas, Knolan Alvaar Altimus decides to head into a bar to get the word on the street. It isn’t until inside that the party realizes that it’s a drow bar they have walked into… and they don’t respond too well to the elves in the party.
The party then begins to split up to explore the cursed city (it appears to be in a state of perpetual cloudiness.)
Dulin encounters Perot Hercules and is taken for a bit of a ride. Meanwhile, the rest of the party finds lodging for the night in one of the more reputable establishments, and finds out from the innkeep that Hemlock Domes is the greatest detective. And so, everyone meets up to hire his services.
On 221B Baker Street (passing by various pies and breads), they are lead into the study of Hemlock Domes by his assistant Hamish, Son of Wats. Hemlock lists off a number of facts about the party, using his superior deductive skills. All of the observations are elementary, of course.
Dulin agrees to hire the detective at the exorbitant fee of 500 gp plus expenses. She also begins to wonder about her home…
That evening, the party heads back to their lodgings, while Dulin desires more finery and stays at a Grand Casino.
In the middle of the night, as Knolan struggles to stay awake on his watch, armed Drow begin charging up the stairs. Knolan quickly fires off a Grease spell, which causes one of the attackers to slip down the steps.
The party is alerted, and they leap into action. Some are in their skivies, and so fight at a bit of a disadvantage. Their new companion Colin activates some fancy powers, but fails to contend with the Drow’s spell resistance. And Ceridan found that the Drow he was fighting was actually a vampire, and thus would prove to be more of a challenge.
Still, thanks to some powerful spells and powers, the party is victorious. Then the thought occurs to them: Dulin is probably in trouble too. Under the influence of haste, they speed off into the night to find her.
Meanwhile, Dulin is awakened in the middle of the night by her door being torn to splinters by a Werewolf! She quickly fires up her Mage Armor before it closes the distance. Then she engages in some fancy swordwork to keep it at bay. After a while, she switches to her wand of vampiric touch, which proves more effective then her non-silver sword.
She gets in a few shots while keep the beast’s ravening bites at bay, and the rest of the party bursts in to finish it off.
The party seeks some answers. Knolan tries to get into Hemlock’s abode by disguising himself as a Drow, but is hit by a lightning bolt for his ruse. Then Knolan runs into Fred Fade and ends up receiving his services for free. Fred takes Knolan some places to shop, and explains that The Drowfather is in charge of organized crime, and may have something to do with their troubles.
Some more shopping, including some preparation against vampires, happens in town. Knolan seeks more info, and is asked to accompany some goons to see The Drowfather himself.
The party is lead into a back-alley pizza joint, where some shady doings are happening. A back room conceals the office of The Drowfather… who doesn’t quite have the accent that the party expects! The Drowfather (who comes from the Frozen North) says “It’s aboot time you showed up.” After some quick talk about what he considers bacon and a strange thing called “hockey”, they get down to business.
The Drowfather wants the Black Talon taken out too. He also happens to have come into possession of the other piece of the DragonGate. The problem is, he disposed of it in the same place that he disposes people who become a problem. The party is free to take it, as long as they use it to get the Talon out of the way.
Down a deep, dark, cavern is the area where the Drowfather “takes care of” troublemakers. Landing in a disgusting pile of bodies, they move cautiously down the cavern, Knolan taking the lead (as the defacto new trap-finder now that Richard is gone.) He moves out into the darkness… and the darkness coalesces, and strikes! The restless dead strike against the living, sapping their life energy. After a few strength-draining hits, they banish one, and the other retreats further down.
Ceridan fires a light arrow after the creature, then fires more magic arrows to finish it off.
They proceed cautiously into the room, when they finally decide… “hey, let’s look up…”
BAM! A giant spider, discolored and looking especially nasty, descends and sprays the party with webbing, trapping Knolan and Rathgar. Ceridan (who has to resist jumping on the creature’s back), Dulin, and Colin bombard the big spider. The spider rears back, mandibles dripping with dark energy, and critically hits the good Ranger/Monk. They respond by whacking the spider into oblivion as the others finally escape.
Digging through the webbing, they find the other piece of the DragonGate, which fuses to the other piece in a flash of light.
Drowfather’s goons lift the party out. As they step out into the alley, they are greeted with a familiar face: the Black Talon has shown himself. He offers a bargain: in exchange for the DragonGate, he will show the party where Xen the Bronze is imprisoned.
The party demands answers about the DragonGate, but Black Talon gives none. They do notice that he seems to have a particular dislike for Ceridan, even though they didn’t know they had ever met.
Despite being still weakened from the shadows and the spider, the Scales of Justice prepare for battle. The Black Talon gestures, and a huge Black Dragon appears in the sky above them.
The Black Talon flashes a sadistic smile at Dulin, Knolan, Rathgar, and Ceridan.
“I’m going to enjoy killing each of you again.”