The Bright Desert was left behind, without incident, and the Abbor-Alz crossed. The party retraced their wagon-tracks back to the wooden palisades of Tradetown, the eastern part of Hardby. Here incoming caravans, carts and wagons are inspected, and theirs was no exception. The guardsman summoned the appraiser Joseph, who checked through the chests, coffers and bags full of statues, jewelry and artifacts before announcing the duty on this haul. “Well, this would normally be officially reported as worth about sixty-thousand gold, so if that’s what I put down then the duty will be three-thousand gold…”
Believing the take to be worth more than that, RebaMac agreed to that duty, which raised the appraiser’s eyebrow; he wouldn’t be getting a bribe from this group, apparently. He did inquire about four incense cubes in a coffer with other loot, and then advised them that the Dionysan Grove nearby might be interested if the incense was for sale. Joseph also pointed them towards Mystic’s Way, East End and the North End to sell off magic items and the most valuable artifacts.
That done, they proceeded to sell the Cubes at the Dionysan Grove, the Sanctuary of Delleb, the Temple of Uraan and the Parthenon of Zeus, and sold other magic items, all with the benefit of RebaMac’s Helm of Influence, acquired in Pazar’s Palace dungeon. Now laden with the coinage to pay for training, the party members achieved new ranks and titles over the course of two weeks. On what was to be their last day in Hardby, getting ready to pack up for a trip west to Niole-Dra, Hardby constables and Marines surrounded the characters and attempted to arrest them on theft charges.
It seems several sacred artifacts had disappeared from the Sanctuary of Delleb (an Arrow of Apollo – they are synonymous in this campaign), the Dionysan Grove (a Font of Bacchus), and from the Artemisia, the Gynarch’s preferred temple (a Mirror of Diana); additionally, the party was known to have approached antiquities merchants in the North End in order to sell artifacts. The characters protested vociferously and nearly came to blows with the city officers, but they went to the Constabulary to discuss the accusations in detail.
In the midst of this discussion an investigator approached the Chief Constable with new information – three torn pages of a riddle referencing the missing items and daring officials to send someone to retrieve them. The riddle mentioned a “feathered cone”, which was assumed to mean a nearby volcanic mound known as White Plume Mountain, and featured extra scribbles on it – a BA, a 10 and stick-figure drawing of a dancer in a three-pointed hat. An agreement was reached whereby the party would retrieve the items, keeping any loot found for themselves, and all the party’s current wealth would be safeguarded in the Constabulary until their return, and party members would be treated as citizens of Hardby in all future visits, freeing them of entry fees and securing reduced duties when trading.
White Plume Mountain
The trapdoor has been forced open; someone must have dug through that muck to find it. I hear many feet on the stairs, in spite of the pulsing of the mountain’s heart; and they splash through the slimy water, though they attempt silence.
The guardian has taken down the wall – how long was that stupid riddle supposed to hold them back? I see nine, armored and armed and with magic – there is some power there.
The elf-woman has found the hatch, but she’s much too weak. Oh, clever, the tall wild-man jumped into the water-pit and is turning it – the hatch is open and the water’s begun draining. So much for that fun… And up to the pool-room they go, that short fellow in front probing with a long pole – I think he’s overcompensating a bit. The pretties will have their fun with these men!
Or maybe not. Their arrows hurt her bad, but her sister’s unscathed. But the group is turning back already…they’re going west, proceeding cautiously as always. And at the corner, they stop when they see the orb approach. Sir Pole tried to attack with his little blade, but missed; and now they’re letting the orb go past. Not sure what to expect, this group – but now for a real challenge, the copper hall!
The meat tin is examining the copper plates on the walls, and the skinny man near the back is shining a bullseye lantern down the hall – can’t see the end, heh heh. A couple of them attempt the hallway and turn back, as things are heating up…wait, Meat Tin’s just striding the whole way, glowing sword drawn, and checks out the room at the end! How did he make it without burning up? He’s going back, and now the others are shedding metal items in turns, handing them to him and travelling down the hall with him. As he heads back for another go someone up here waits for their metal gear to cool off. Once I see two more at this end…
Attack now, ye ghoulish dead! Ah, holy symbol, but not holy enough. Four are turned and slink off into the shadows, but the others fight. The undead fall, not to rise again.
Play ended here for the night.