Notes for our newest adventure.
Dinner at Lavinia Vanderboren’s
The Taking of The BLUE NIXIE
On the night of our dinner, we traipsed down to the docks to get a look at the situation. The Blue Nixie was anchored a ways out so we took one of the public boats and rowed all sneaky-like over to it. During our attempt at a stealthy boarding, we were discovered and proceeded to battle the thugs on board, slaying most and driving away a few. Vark was killed and the attempt to burn the boat was extinguished.
The piratey sorts were apparently using the Nixie as a place to store a variety of illegal animals for sale on the black market. One of the creatures, a Rhagodessa (iirc) escaped, killed the female pirate who was trying to set fire to the ship and then fought with Horatio who defeated it while Quorin put out the firest. We sent the bodies to the depths minus their loot and eventually freed the animals (Quorin thought completing the sale would have been better). We found Lady Lavinia’s money and went the next day to pay the harbormaster. Through some diplomacy, Thor got the man to cut the fee in half due to the business with Vark. We noticed the Harbormaster is not in good health and the business is going through tough times because of it. The Kellani family is hoping to gain more status and the post of Harbormaster would certainly do that. As far as we can tell, though, the Harbormaster’s condition is a natural one. Next stop, Vanderboren family vault.
Visit to the Vault of Vanderboren
A clerk led us beneath Castle Teraknian, where we entered the Vanderboren vault with the allowance of the signet ring. There was a symbol we did not recognize, an eight-pointed star, that recurred throughout the vault. The first chamber was magically trapped, causing two large iron snakes to come forth from the pillars within. Luckily, we gambled that the ring would be recognized and it was, causing the snakes to withdraw. The next chamber was a large combination lock of sorts, and we used the slip of paper found with the ring to figure it out. When revealed, the Vanderboren treasure seemed to be mostly gone, perhaps taken by a group of people that Aiden found some traces of.
We found the last of the Vanderboren treasure and dozens of ledgers indicating that though the father and mother did many dangerous deeds for different groups of the city, they rarely accepted any form of payment. Instead they could retrieve the rewards at any time. There were other documents, including maps of jungles, coastlines, and other tropical regions as well as a diary written in Sylvan by Lavinia’s mother, that detailed adventures had on the Isle of Dread.
On our way out, the clerk informed us that Vanthus Vanderboren had been accesssing the vault multiple times over the last few weeks, in possession of a second ring which must be his mothers that went missing.
Upon leaving the vault, we spent some time gathering the debts owed to the Vanderboren family for Lavinia before undertaking the mission of finding Vanthus.
Lavinia told us of Vanthus: They were close as children but separated when she was sent to Thenalar Academy and he was sent to work on a plantation. A year ago, they both returned but Vanthus was bitter and hostile, awake at odd hours and spending time with unsavory characters. Rumor was he took a lover in the Azure district. After the parents deaths, Vanthus came home for a week. They argued and eventually Vanthus struck Lavinia. He left after that. She wishes us to find him so she can talk to him once more in the hope he can be “saved”.
We put out our feelers. Thor ran a slander campaign regarding Vanthus’ love of animals. Leah the bard was consulted. This turned up the following information: Vanthus was seen in taverns in the Azure district with one Brissa Santos, a pickpocket turned artist. Noone has seen either of them lately. In Shadowshore, Vanthus was seen in the company of a smuggler named Penkus, a semi-notorious figure in that district known for drunken binges and violent temperament. Away for most of the past year, just a few weeks ago they were spotted together at the boat shop “It Still Floats” arguing with the owner, a dwarf named Panchi.
Quorin consulted the mask about the deaths of the parents and received this in return.
In Reaping did the deed transpire,
When madness drove a son to shame,
His parents burned with Alchemist fire,
And those who lived knew not whom to blame.
(Reaping is June, about the time that Lavinia’s parents died.)
Lavinia was the sole heir to the Vanderboren estate, according to a reading of the will. Vanthus was notably upset at being cut out of the will.
Next, we investigated the dwarf lead. Panchi was hard to deal with but Thor got him to talk. He admits that he sold a boat to Vanthus and Penkus. He goes on to say that they seemed excited, and loaded a lot of lamp oil, lanterns, and rope into the boat before they left. He’s not sure where they went, but they headed west.
A few days later, we were approached by Shefton Rosk, a nervous-looking half-elf with messy black hair, a ragged suit of leather armor, and dirty hands. He told us “Vanthus approached me a few weeks ago to help set up a smuggling operation in the old tunnels below Parrot Island. I really don’t know who he’s been associating with. Don’t know much about his doings, other than setting up a smuggling ring. Who are the Vanderborens? I was not involved in the theft of the vaults. I meet Vanthus in a Shadowshore tavern, but he didn’t tell me where he was staying.” The next day, he led us to Parrot Island and showed us the entrance to the smuggler’s tunnels. We paid him 20 gold total for his services and suggested there would be more of that if he would make himself available to us in the future if needed.
TRAPPED BY VANTHUS
Parrot Island was a trick! Shefton Rosk is dead, slain by Vanthus after we had descended into an underground ruin where he was supposed to be. We suffered some injuries after fighting off several unlucky pirates cursed with undeath, and found Penkus’ body with a note that betrayed Vanthus’ hiding place as well as his designs to gain position with the Lotus, a criminal organization within Sasserine. We were fortunate to survive, and even discovered some hidden loot, no doubt taken and hidden there by long-dead scallywags of some ilk. Aiden discovered a way out by swimming through some underwater caverns and returning with some pirates who ferried us back to Sasserine for a small fee. Upon our return, during which we kept a low profile to retain the advantage of surprise against Vanthus, we learned the Harbormaster has been murdered violently and the Lady Lavinia has an old family friend visiting, an adventurous and polite elven fellow by name of Dimarius. He has offered to join us in addressing the problem of Vanthus. Now we must determine just how to do that…
TAXIDERMIST’S GUILDHALL: THE ROUTING OF THE LOTUS DRAGONS
Upon our return from the island meant to be our tomb, we found the Lady safe and protected still by our stalwart companions. An exotic and well-meaning friend of the family, one Dimarius Von Driessen, had turned up. An elven swordsman, he seemed eager to lend a hand and after a fine meal and the ever-suspicious Thor’s blessing, he joined us. Our attempts to maintain the element of surprise proved fruitless, as Valhern’s spying brought word that the Dragons were already watching us. Their threats only galvanized our resolve, and we bravely took to the street, throwing all caution and thought of a planned assault to the winds.
On our way to the Taxidermist’s Guildhall, revealed by the deceased Penkhus’ letter to be the headquarters of the Dragons, a young urchin attempted thievery upon my person. Despite my urgings to let him go and the realizations this was likely a trap, we pursued the youth into an alleyway. There we met Aric Azure, a young, noble fellow who had been pursuing some men from the very Guildhall we sought. The attack that came was expected, and the ambush from the rooftops proved to be the last for the group of Lotus Dragons that attempted it. Onward, with our new companions, we went. Entry into the Guildhall itself was a simple affair. The proprietor was of blatantly ill repute and snide manner. Nemien Roblach would not listen to reason, despite Thor’s charm, Aric’s bluntness, and my own attempt to appeal to his logic. The battle was short but intense, as Nemien called two more Lotus thugs into the room. As the battle worsened for him, Nemien vanished from sight and fled out the front door. The thugs fled as well, deeper into the building, and we tracked them with the help of my faithful friend and companion, Sir Biticus. Sniffing them out was easy for the tiny Avenger but they had fled to the streets.
We soon descended through a trapdoor into the warrens beneath the guildhall. The quiet was unnerving, the catacombs extensive, and after wandering about we found a barracks designed to hold several members of the Dragons. It was occupied by six of the wrongdoers. The battle was the hardest we had yet fought, despite the surprise we took them by. Valhern was gravely wounded, near to death, and we fought as we had never fought before with fear for our companion’s life making victory the only option. During the fight, one of the rogues escaped and fled, certain to alert the others. Luckily, with Valhern injured as he was, our fellow Avenger Horatio turned up as the battle ended, along with the young musician Leah whom we had rescued when this whole affair began. Horatio bore Valhern’s badly injured form away and Leah stayed to aid us.
Following the rogues trail, we burst in upon another group of ready half-orcs and humans. The fight in close quarters was vicious. More than once, deadly blows were barely turned aside by the magic armor I had placed upon my companions. In the end, with victory assured, some of the Dragons surrendered and after some questioning, we let them flee. We fought the rest of the way to the Mistress of the Lotus Dragons, Rowyn Kellani, defeating a Rhagodessa and Bugbear Zombie that we found in our path. Both creatures struck blows against us, spilling the blood of the Avengers, yet the faith of Thor and Leah’s calling healed even grievous wounds. When finally we faced the Mistress, we did so hale and with our resolve undaunted. Despite the weariness of chases and battles, we were ready, bolstered by the magic I serve. There was little hope she would hear reason and surrender to us. Rowyn Kellani was a beauty with sharp eyes as bright as her sword. I found myself wishing she were not the pitiless monster I knew her to be. Her first words were an offer; rule as Lotus Dragons by her side. The proud Aric refused for us all, and ended the parley with a demand for her surrender. Her response was predictable: she attacked. With her was a dragon-like beast with the tongue of a man. A rogue Felldrake, Tuskgutter attacked with Rowyn, attempting to team up on Thor. Thor’s hammer whistled in arcs, a blur of steel like rain beating upon the dragonkin’s head and body. From near point blank range, Aric drove an arrow deep into Rowyn’s shoulder. With a cry she broke away, clutching her wound before whispering words of magic and vanishing, leaving her companion to die at the hands of the Avengers. Before she fled, she revealed to us the location of Vanthus: a place called Krakens Cove. Defeating the traps that guarded their treasure room, we recovered the stolen merchandise of our charge, Lady Lavinia Vanderboren, as well as numerous other treasures which we promptly returned to their rightful owners. We also came upon many clues that should help us figure out the plans of the Lotus Dragons, including a map with variously colored flags, letters from Vanthus to Rowyn, and notes on ship movements. They bear more examination. Upon our return to the surface, we contacted the appropriate authorities and accompanied a squad of guardsmen to clean out the rest of the thieves’ den before returning the wealth of many citizens of Sasserine. A much needed rest followed, and an invitation came from the Dawn Council to attend a party as their guests. Kraken’s Cove awaits.