Aaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re back! Sorry for the long delay guys, life took me away from the gaming table for a few weeks, but we’re back now and ready to go! So, where we left off last time….
The Spirit Naga, having failed to properly charm Eneko the Bard/Cavalier, hissed in frustration and barely managed to bring about a Mirror Image spell before Noruas the Gunslinger let go with a full volley from her double-barreled musket! The magical images took most of the shots, but a few bullets found their way into the snake-creature’s hide, drawing blood and sounds of pain! The Naga’s response was a blast of intense cold which managed to catch the entire party, though Taz, Eneko’s horse, was able to avoid all of the damage while his rider took a facefull of icicles.
A few spells and bullets were thrown back and forth, before the Spirit Naga, heavily wounded and with all mirror images having been dispelled, pressed by Eneko in melee combat….uttered some syllables, made a weird head gesture, and disappeared! Gavriil the Arcanist threw a spell into the area which seemed to find no target, and the group decided that perhaps the creature had run away. It didn’t take long however for its presence to be seen, as Gavriil, who was taking a few moments to prepare Glitterdust just in case, almost lost concentration to a bout of horrendous laughter! His companions, realizing what was happening, began to take measures against an invisible foe– attempting to find tracks, dragging a rope in an area around their friend, and other such things.
As Gavriil was finishing his preparations, he felt a sickly touch upon his shoulder– whirling with his quarterstaff outreached, he attempted to find by chance the invisible Spirit Naga, but his staff met with naught but air. In the meantime, he felt rather queasy…as if a poison had seeped into his veins! A weakness overcame him as he took a point of Constitution damage, staggering for a moment before continuing on. The Poison spell that had afflicted the Arcanist continued its way through the man’s body, with Gavriil managing to fight off the effects on occasion, and in the end left him with five Con damage. With that immediate threat taken care of, Gavriil set about trying to find the location of this creature, using Detect Magic to see if he couldn’t find where this invisible Naga was standing. He detected three magical auras within the branches and detritus of the Scar around the end of the river, but then struck gold to the south– an illusion spell was present!
Gavriil immediately cast out Glitterdust, which poofed out in the air and descended to outline the serpentine form of their foe, who hissed in frustration at them, thrashing its head to shake the particles away from its eyes! Noruas opened up again, noting that the naga now had a slight blue glow around it, and missing her first shot before her gun jammed! Eneko spurred Taz forward to distract her, while the Naga sent out a blue ray of energy out to Noruas, which drained away the magical buffs Gavriil had built upon her. Gavriil was not deterred, and graced the Gunslinger with a cat’s natural ability once more, allowing Noruas to put an end to the Spirit Naga’s hissing words the next time she opened her mouth to taunt the party…the battle was over!
Loot was found and identified, then distributed, before the group found a place for camp that night. During the night, Gavriil had some restless sleep; towards the end of his rest, his mind provided him with a dream of a shadowy figure backlit in a bright green light, only the vague outline visible, and a feminine voice which floated out to him: “Find it…find it for me….” A moment later the dream flashed a picture of an ornate sword, thorns wrapping the green hilt with a slightly jagged red blade extending from it. Gavriil woke then, the morning air quiet around him. He took some time to sketch down the sword that he saw in his dream, and as the group was preparing to head out for that day’s exploration, Eneko was surprised as the image of Arkanus Taklo (the kingdom Magister)’s head appeared in the air beside him!
“Urgent: Lord Davud Medyved has been murdered. Wife suspects Lord Tawno Lodovka. Possible diplomatic situation. Needed back in the capital immediately. Elysia currently in charge.“
The Sending was over quickly, but the message was clear: something had gone wrong, and it would be best if they returned. Lord Davud Medyved was a Rostlandic noble who represented House Medyved in the group’s kingdom, and lived in a villa constructed within their capital; Lord Tawno Lodovka similarly was the representative from House Lodovka, his own villa not far from the Medyved’s. After a bit of discussion, it was decided to head directly back to the capital, and they were able to enter through the city gates three days later, having encountered no further resistance.
Making their way straight to the Silver Knight Inn where the leadership was known to conduct their business, the party was able to find Arkanus along with Elysia the Ranger, who had remained back in the capital for the last few weeks in order to help train back up a new group of White Wolves monster-hunters. Arkanus, happy for others to be there to handle “the half-crazed Medyved widow,” retreated back to his tower and allowed Elysia to fill the group in on the details.
The long and short of it comes down to this: Lord Davud Medyved was last seen alive on the night of the first of Pharast. He was busy with some work for some time, until having a servant prepare his bedchambers for him around 11. The next morning, a second servant accessed his unlocked room to bring him breakfast, and found him dead, face-down in the bed with a wound in his back, blood pooling upon the silken sheets. She immediately ran downstairs to inform the wife, Lady Kerri Medyved, who confiscated the three copies of the key to his room, locked the door, and refused to let anyone enter. Elysia was allowed to enter the room only briefly to look at the scene a day later, but wasn’t able to gather much more than that before she ushered her out. Lady Kerri was completely insistent that her husband’s murder deserved the best resources the kingdom could muster, so that “that vile Lord Tawno Lodovka can be arrested for his crime!”
Lady Kerri continued to be convinced of Lord Tawno’s guilt, causing quite a stir among the houses and the populace. Jamandi Aldori, the kingdom’s Warden and in charge of city security, had been running ragged to ensure no riots would break out, and was quite happy to see the party return to settle this issue. Thusly informed, the PC’s made their way to the Medyved villa to talk with Lady Kerri and gather information.
Lady Kerri, properly distraught at the death of her husband three days prior, brought them in and proceeded upstairs, to unlock the door to Davud’s bedchambers. The party entered and began taking a look around. Noruas and Elysia examined the body, noting that the wound appeared to be made by a short-blade weapon such as a knife or dagger, and that no defensive wounds could be found. Eneko and Gavriil questioned Lady Kerri about her suspicions of Lord Tawno’s guilt, to which she replied “Of course he’s guilty! Davud and Tawno have been arguing constantly for the last few months over some silly business of their families! The Lodovkans wanted fishing rights to the Medyved lakes, but Davud is strictly against such measures, and has been using his influence to stop the deal from going through. Tawno hated him for that!”
Elysia in the meantime was able to find a single strand of long, dark-brown hair upon the bed. The rest of the group asked to speak with the servants who last saw and who found Lord Davud, and Lucy the morning maid was brought forth. She gave her story, mentioned that she didn’t see the murder weapon but wasn’t really looking for it before she rushed to get Lady Kerri. Noruas asked Lucy if Kerri and Davud’s marriage was a happy one…Lucy’s eyes darted over to Lady Kerri and back to Noruas before answering that of course it was. Noting this look, Gavriil maneuvered Lady Kerri to take him to Davud’s study to see if they could find anything of interest there, while the rest got more information of out Lucy, who was more willing to talk without her employer around. As it turns out, it was suspected among the servants that Lady Kerri was having a love affair with Lord Davud’s younger brother, Sir Eldon Medyved!
Gavriil in the meantime was looking around Davud’s study, and noticed something a bit off about the room. Succeeding at a Knowledge(Engineering) check, he noted that the far right wall seemed to be a bit shorter than the dimensions of the next room would lead you to believe. Moving up to the wall, he knocked on the wooden paneling and heard a hollow sound– something was back there! Try as he might, Gavriil was unable to discover how to access this space without brute force, and called for his friends to come investigate. Noruas made short work of the area, quickly finding a hidden catch on a suit of armor nearby which slid back the wood paneling to reveal a small room behind the wall! The Gunslinger, this task completed, then decided to engage Lady Kerri in an ‘experiment’ to see if the sounds of screaming could be heard from her husband’s room in hers just down the hall– sending Lady Kerri to Davud’s room to shout for a bit, and taking her opportunity to search Kerri’s own room.
Her searching was fruitful, as she was able to find in Lady Kerri’s room a false bottom to a drawer, in which were a bundle of letters. Quickly stashing them, she cleaned up and managed to make it to the door just as Lady Kerri walked in, asking if everything was alright. That experiment concluded, the two made their way back to the study and the mysterious room.
Elysia and Gavriil had spent their time checking out this new room. A bookshelf held several copies of business ledgers, while the desk on the near wall was scattered with papers. Gavriil took a look over them, and Jamandi, who was still nearby, took the papers and scanned them over. “Well, isn’t that interesting!” Jamandi was able to identify several transactions as being a part of the black market fish smuggling ring which she and her guardsmen had managed to shut down a number of months previous– Lord Davud had a bit of shady business dealings going on, it seemed.
Additionally, the hidden room had a hatch next to the desk which, when opened, revealed a tiny crawl space with a descending ladder. The Arcanist and Gunslinger decided to investigate down the ladder, finding it descended below the villa and through a tunnel before eventually leading to a second ladder, this one heading up. At the top, a latch was present to open up a new, hidden hatch. Clambering up and examining this new opening from the other side, the duo found themselves to be out on the street next to the villa, the passage having led to an exit in the villa’s stone wall! On their way back, Noruas showed Gavriil the bundle of letters and the two of them examined them quickly, to find that they were steamy correspondence between Lady Kerri and Sir Eldon, confirming the romance between the two.
This investigation done, the group had a few more people they wished to interrogate. Lady Kerri’s alibi for the night of the murder was discussed, wherein she claimed to be out of the house visiting the observatory with the priests of Desna, something that the servants confirmed she would occasionally do. Sir Eldon was spoken with next, who seemed little concerned about his brother’s demise, and not all *that* happy about being the one to take over his brother’s business endeavors. He claimed that he spent the night of the murder at the Silver Knight with some drinking friends, and woke up there in the morning. The villa’s head of security was spoken to next, who gave a breakdown of the minimal security which they provided the Medyveds, and gave the party the name of a shadowy man with a goatee who had been around the villa some months ago, whose name was never mentioned but who he once overheard as being referred to as “The Howler.” Finally, a long questioning of the house servants found one particular maid, Mara Dyneria, who had actually observed Kerri and Eldon engaging in a scandalous romantic tryst and was paid off to keep it quiet.
While the majority of the party conducted some of these interrogations, Elysia took the opportunity to go out and check alibis. The priests of Desna were able to confirm Lady Kerri’s location for the night, and a bartender at the Silver Knight remembered Eldon being present and pointed out one of his drinking friends who was there at the time. Elysia found from this man that Eldon was with them all night, except for the half hour or so when he stepped out to use the privy. When he came back, he was a little pale-faced and out of breath, like he’d been violently sick for a time. The Ranger deduced that it was possible for Eldon to have made it from the inn to the villa and back within that time frame. Meeting back up, the group compared notes, formed theories (the reigning one that Kerri and Eldon conspired together to kill Davud), and then resolved to move on to speaking with the Lodovkans next!