Later that afternoon, after the party had gotten some sleep, Gideon was contacted by Lord Zavere through his thoughstone. He inquired if the party would be willing to come to Castle Shard later that afternoon to meet with Kurtlan Nagel to discuss a personal matter. After speaking with the rest of the party, Maur agreed to accompany him to Castle Shard.
About an hour later, Gideon and MAur arrived at Castle Shard, where they were warmly greeted by Kadmus, as usual, and were quickly ushered into Zavere’s sitting room, where Kurtlan and wis wife Fransin were calmly waiting. Refreshments were waiting on the coffee table and Lord Zavere seated both of them on the side opposite of the Lord and Lady. After a moment of brief formalities, he politely excused himself “to attend to other matters”.
Kurtlan Nagel explained that over the past few days he had been making quiet entreaties to re-establish his old alliances with House Dallimothan, the Knights of the Chord and Doraedian Mythlord, master of the elven enclave of Emerald Hill.
As he continued, he arrived at the purpose of meeting with the party. When he was arrested by the City Watch and sent to The Prison, his signet ring was taken from him by the Prison Warden, Odsen Rom. Upon his release, Odsen denied having the ring. Lord Kurtlan is convinced that he still has it in his possession and desperately needs it back, as it’s possession will greatly aid his efforts to restore his noble house. He further added that his intention was to introduce the party to these various contacts, once he was able to reestablish his alliances with them – the only payment he can afford in his present state.
Gideon reasoned that it may be easier to replace the signet with a replica, instead of stealing it back outright. Of course, stealing it was the only viable option, since going up directly to Odsen Rom would likely land them in the Prison, themselves.
Kurtlan said that the forgery would need to be made discreetly. Since he feared word getting out that one existed. Gideon mentioned he could craft one, with Ian’s help and Kurtlan’s description, as long as they had access to a forge and the materials. As it so happened, Kurtlan had access to a forge in the Noble’s District and could gain access for them to craft it after hours, that evening.
Kurtlan explained that the signet was likely still in Odsen’s office, near the dock entrance to the Prison, not far from where they picked him up on the day of his release. He also mentioned that there was a large guard contingent in that area, but they were there to mainly stave off frequent attacks by goblins who inhabit several adjoining tunnels around the Prison. He explained the Prison was a part of the Labyrinth beneath the city, and that several areas adjoining it were infested with creatures. The guards carried about as if they were in a constant state of siege against the goblins.
They discussed a little further the roll that Lord Zavere plays in the city, Kurtlan mentions that Zavere is not one to take matters into his own hands, working through a vast network of agents and go-betweens. As he understands it, often Lord Zavere’s goals are not necessarily in line with the Commisar’s or Twelve Commanders, and naturally often counter to the goals of some of the evil organizations active within the city, including the Balacazar Crime Family. To remain effective, he is content to be an instigator who is often suspected, but no one is able to actually prove his involvement. He rarely gives specific commands, but says things such as “It would be nice if…”, or “It would be a great aid should someone do this or that.” Regardless, Lord Nagel stresses that Zavere is a valuable ally to have in the city, in the he is one of the few people that Kurtlan knows who can be fully trusted – he always lets you know exactly where you stand with him and is not one known for betrayal.
A sudden explosion rocked Castle Shard, causing the door to the sitting room to slowly swing open. Lord Zavere quickly rushed passed, causing Gideon and Maur to jump up and follow him.
They soon arrived on the second floor of Castle Shard, a massive open space filled with smoke. Lord Zavere and the heroes were joined by Kadmus as they bolted through an open doorway, where the smoke was pouring from. Inside the room, once a large bedchamber and laboratory, was now in shambles. Small flames flickered about, with smoke hanging heavy throughout. To one side of the room, Lord Zavere ran to find Lady Rill. Much of her clothing was burnt away, and she was covered in tiny cuts and scratches. The golden statue of Lord Abbercombe stood motionless nearby.
He knelt down to aid her, and carefully sat her up. Seeing Gideon and Maur, she reached out her hand, causing several small birds and butterflies to materialize and quickly swarm about her to coalesce into a shimmering multi-colored gown. As Lord Zavere helped her to her feet, she was clearly upset.
“It should have worked! I have spent weeks trying to revive our friend, Zavere. I have cast every spell, made every incantation, but it has been for naught. This is a dark curse, a dark and powerful curse behind this.”
Kadmus righted an overturned chair, helping her to take a seat. Gideon and Maur, seeing that she was safe, hastily put out the numerous flames. She continued, looking to Zavere, acting as if she was not even aware there were others present.
“There is only one thing left that I have not done, but I… I shouldn’t. No, I can’t. It would be to dangerous. I must… Yes, I must research further. There has to be another way.”
Lord Zavere then asked Kadmus to clean up the mess and attend to Lady Rill. He turned to Gideon and Maur, and as he escorted them back downstairs, said, “I trust that you and the Nagels had a fruitful meeting.” He then added “…and I appreciate your concern for Lady Rill, but I’m certain she will be fine. Please do not worry, Lady Rill knows what she is doing. She is quite capable in these matters. We should have the utmost faith in her.”
He then bid them good afternoon and sent them on their way.
Returning to the rent house, Gideon and Maur caught Ian and Feruch up to speed. At first, Ian was hesitant to offer his help, since the Nagels had not offered any payment. He eventually relented, however, satisfied that Gideon felt the job was worthwhile and would advance their goals. Gideon figured that by aiding the Nagels, Kurtlan would get them in contact with a more powerful and wealthy noble house, with much influence in the city – House Dallimothan. By making good such contacts, it is hoped that they could somehow get word to the Commissar and other forces in the city to explain the extent of the plots the Chaos Cultists are hatching and unite them to put a stop to it.
With the party now in full agreement to assist House Nagel, Ian then mentioned that Lord Zavere had previously mentioned that there were several areas around the Prison that had never been delved, and that on the day tehy had picked up Kurtlan, he had noticed a small window in the cliff face, not far away from the Prison entrance.
The party then waited until dark, then went to the forge in the Nobles’ District to craft their forgery of the Nagel signet ring. In the hours before day of the next day, they had completed it and made their way down to the Prison.
Using a boat they had “borrowed” from Sard’s on the Docks, they arrived at the window in the cliff face. Ian climbed up first, then lowered down a rope for the others to join him.
Past the window was a small room, carved into the side of the cliff face. The stonework was ancient, far more ancient than anything the party had seen in the city thus far. A thick carpet of bright green moss grew on the floor near the window. Decrepit furniture, it’s upholstery having long turned to dust lay scattered about the room. A passage exited to Ian’s left and right. Tying off the rope, he waved the rest of the party up as he explored.
The passage to the west, or Ian’s left, the one which should lead closer to the Prison area and Odsen Rom’s office, was piled high with broken furniture and debris. Ian careful weaved and climbed over the mass, only to find the passage continued beyond. A second passage turned to the north, while the main passage continued westwards where it was obstructed by yet another obstacle. This was a solid barricade, with iron spikes projecting forward. A hint of torchlight was visible beyond this fortification, and the helmeted heads of several Prison Guards were clearly visible, as well.
Ian decided to check the passage leading north, hoping to find a way around this prison barricade. To his surprise, as he peered around the corner, he came face to face with a group of goblin guards. Any chance of sneaking about were suddenly dashed as they lunged forward, with a cry!
Gideon and Maur had just turned to inspect the eastern passage when they heard the goblin cry out at Ian. Feruch, drawing his dragon rifle, took a position where he could see Ian’s back down the hallway, but couldn’t get a clear shot at the goblins.
Gideon and Maur, knowing they couldn’t easily get to Ian, advanced down their hallway, hoping to find a way to flank the goblins and lend some assistance. Instead, a bugbear loomed out from the shadows, sinking a pair of arrows deep into Maur’s chest, one actually pinning his arm to his side. Maur fell back to be healed by Feruch, while Gideon rushed forward, tripping over a fallen bookcase in the darkness, as he spotted a second bugbear poised to attack.
With a swift downward chop of his staff, Gideon caved in the bugbear’s head, Glancing up, the bugbear archer retreated through a door into another room deeper in the dungeon.
Meanwhile, Ian managed to slay two of the goblins facing him, but a third fell back to a door on the far side of the room. The goblin banged and hollered for reinforcements, but just as Ian rushed towards him, the door swung open and the goblin was pulled inside. Running up, Ian had the door slammed in his face, quickly locking.
Not knowing what to expect at this point, Ian rushed back through the pile of debris, joining up with Maur and Feruch. Behind him, he heard a city guard at the barricade say, “Think I just saw a goblin run past! Musta been fighting each other again.” And another responded, “Probably right. Keep an eye on it, though.”
Gideon rejoined the group a moment later. After a brief realization that not only the prison guards, but also the humanoids were all now alerted to their presence, the party decided to fall back and return another day. They exited through the window as quietly as possible, then rowed their way back to shore.