Rain 8, 721 IA
The party rounded up several broadsheets to catch up on city happenings over the past month. Notably seeing that Holy Emperor Rehoboth had declared Ptolus the new capital of The Empire. They spent the rest of the day at Delver’s Square reprovisioning and buying new equipment.
That evening, Ian Shever and Maur Anvol took a chest full of various gems, candlesticks, silverware, and other objects they couldn’t readily sale in town to the fence, Vagger Nulus. Vagger gave them a fair price for the multitude of items, as well a some additional information. When asked about their missing companions form the Order of the Dawn, Vagger informed them that he had heard a few weeks back that a group of guards from The Church of Lothian had been captured in the Undercity. Rumor had it that they had been traded off to the Ennin and eventually sold to one of the Cults of Chaos. Recently, it seems these Lothianites were traded to Kinion Luth, the Surgeon in the Shadows.
Vagger explained that the Surgeon had recently set up shop at the top of the long abandoned Clock Tower in Oldtown, but that he frequently moves his operation to avoid The City Watch and any would-be heroes.
Lastly, Vagger said that he had recently received a request to find an item called Neveran’s All-Key. This minor artifact can open any lock, regardless of the magic involved. Vagger explains he has a client who would pay handsomely for information regarding it’s whereabouts, and should Ian or Maur come across it, he would gladly split the fee with them..
Later that night, long after decent people had called it a night, and just as a thunderstorm was rolling in from the west, Ian and Maur joined up with Gideon Hemsal and Feruch Balsura. They took a Growler to the Clock Tower.
Ian scouted the area, while the rest of the party waited a block or so away. Ian noted one of the large double doors at the base of the tower swung loosely from it’s hinges as the storm drew near. A large patrol of the Watch passed by. With Ian skulking in the shadows, he noticed a guard broke ranks to latch the door to the old tower, but was called back by a captain, explaining “that old place is haunted and can watch after itself. Leave it be!”
After the Watch had passed, and as the first drops of rain began to fall, the party entered the tower.
The ground floor was in shambles, most of the second floor having collapsed down ages ago. A pair of Rune Zombies were encountered guarding this area. During the battle, Ian found a trapdoor in the floor leading down into darkness beneath the Clock Tower. Once the zombies were dispatched, Gideon spotted a group of Ratmen on the second floor, who began firing crossbows at them.
Charging up the stairs to confront the ratmen caused portions of the old stairway to collapse, but the party was finally able to climb up and confront the ratmen (two crossbowmen and a pair carrying swords). Making quick work of them, the group then pressed upwards to the third floor, where they encountered a pair of strange monstrous half-human/half spider creatures. They appeared to have been made by stitching a human torso onto the abdomen of giant spider. Their glowing green eyes signaled that powerful chaotic magic shaped by madness created such beings. The party felt they were drawing closer the the Surgeon in the Shadows.
There was no stairway up to the fourth floor, but Gideon spotted a trapdoor in the ceiling above. With Feruch’s help, Ian searched it, finding a tripwire rigged to the door. As the thunderstorm raged outside, Ian disarmed it, opened the trapdoor, and climbed into the topmost room of the tower.
Among the rusted and broken clockworks, Ian spotted a large metal operating table in the center of the room, with the remains of one of the Surgeon’s failed (or in progress) experiments. A human female, most of it’s organ’s having been removed, lay on the table. One of it’s arms had been replaced with a clawed arm apparently from some type of bear.
Bookcases lined the walls, filled with a variety of treaties on chaos and chaositech, as well as journals of the Surgeon’s many experiments.
They also noted that the tripwire Ian had cleverly disarmed, was rigged to cause a large wooden beam to crash down into four 50-gallon barrels of alchemist fire – enough to obliterate the tower, as well as most of the buildings around it! The barrels were also positioned to block the only exit from this room – a pair of iron-bound wooden doors.
The Surgeon was gone, but had clearly intended anyone who came looking for him to not only die horribly, but destroy any evidence of him having been there.
The party carefully moved the barrels to the opposite side of the room, where they found the last surprise in this area – a locked chest. Ian soon realized he had found what may be the legendary Chest of Kagestos – the “Unlockable Chest”.
After failing to pick the complex lock on the doors, and unsuccessfully battering down the doors, Maur shot the lock with his dragon rifle and they finally managed to enter the rest of the tower. Searching the rest of the fourth floor, the party finally found a holding cell in the corner of the tower, where four of the missing Knights of the Dawn were being held. Ronas, the archer, sadly informed them that their leader, Braddock, had died fighting the cultists during the ambush.
They were thankful for having been rescued, and were clearly exhausted and nearly starved from their ordeal. The party soon emerged from the tower, rain pouring, with their rescued friends, and bearing the Unlockable Chest (so heavy it took two of them to carry it). As they prepared to leave, Ian mentioned to Maur that if they could find a way to safely recover the barrels of alchemists fire, it would be worth thousands of gold.