Wind 12, 721 IA
Before rushing to the Temple of the Ebon Hand, the party decided to pause long enough to do some investigating and prepare themselves for the challenges ahead. After a good night’s rest, they made way the Castle Shard to discuss their recent findings with Lord Zavere.
Referring to the recent issue of the Midtown Partisan, Gideon asked about a “Cherubim Wynthaes”. Zavere had heard of him, correcting Gideon in that he is a cherubim elf names Wynthaes, and knew that he was most active near the Docks. He described him as a wild card, a lone wolf, and a saboteur, who tended to work alone but is believed responsible for many attacks on Ennin activities in that area (attacking slave smugglers and such. He wondered what Wynthaes’ motivation is, though, since his aggression seemed rather personal against the slavers. He also added that there were reports that many slaves who managed to escape from the Ennin have fled into the catacombs beneath the city, most likely dying down there.
They shared with him the many ledgers and notes they had gathered together from previous adventures, with Zavere pointing out that the Ennin Slavers is a separate group from the Ebon Hand, who have known ties with the Balacazar Crime Family. They also learned that Linech Cran’s body had recently been found at the bottom of the King’s River Gorge. While it was obvious that Malkeen Balacazar must have been responsible, there was no evidence directly linking him to the murder. Regardless, Zavere was pleased with this development, seeing it as a major victory against the shivvel trade in the city.
Reviewing Linech’s Ledgers more closely, they began to wonder who ’Lukar Eboneyes" is, since they were probably blackmailing Linech, resulting in him getting behind on his monthly payments to the Balacazars. They also were curious as to who “Shaelican Darkfingers” might be, since apparently they showed up to bail Linech out of his financial woes.
Aleele (Linech’s former accountant) remained at Castle Shard as a guest, so he was summoned to help shed further light on these individuals. He was happy to help, knowing that had he not been taken in by the party, he would probably now be dead along with Linech. Aleele explained that he never met Lukar Eboneyes, just that occassionally Linech would require a few thousand gold to pay to him. Aleele assumed it may have been gambling debts, or that he hired him to do tasks best not asked about.
Recently, Aleele explained, he arrived at the office one morning to find a large statue in the office, with Linech smoking a fine cigar, saying that all his money problems were now over and that he had a new partner that was going to take his business to the next level. Aleele was introduced to a dark elf named Shaelican Darkfingers. He wore heavy robes to disguise himself, since dark elves are killed on sight in the city. He was also accompanied by a pair of similarly robed blue-haired gnolls. Linech explained that Shaelican would be staying in the burrow for a few days to observe how their shivvel operation was run. Linech mentioned only that the dark elf was an old friend and was now dating Linech’s half-elven sister, Biesta.
Maur mentioned that such names – Eboneyes, Darkfingers – made him wonder if these could have been members of the Ebon Hand cult. He reasoned that the Ebon Hand could perhaps be taken literally as a reference to dark elves having a hand in the rulership of this cult. He even postulated that the high priest of the Ebon Hand – Malleck, may only be a front man, a false face of the cult, since dark elves are not able to openly operate in the city, and that these dark elves could be the real power behind the group. It was a very interesting theory, but unfortunately Aleele and Zavere were not able to confirm it to be the case.
Referring to their book of prophecies, Gideon called out two:
“The Golden Lord of the fallen house will be found by the dark elf but the idol of Ravvan brings doom. The kin of a half breed knows where the Restorative will be found. Those who search beneath the scrap will find what they seek while the common work.”
Clearly ‘the Golden Lord’ must be Lord Abbercombe and Shaelican Darkfingers the ‘dark elf’. No one had any idea what the ‘idol of Ravvan’ might be, or the ‘kin of a half-breed’ (unless it was Linech’s half-elven sister). The ‘scrap’ may refer to the junkyard near their rent house where they followed (and lost) a blue gnoll a few nights earlier. The “common work” may be speaking of a shop or storage building nearby. They were still not sure.
“The girl will not be freed so easily. The hand will crush her in its ebon grasp.”
This was certainly Yara Etherin who they were currently looking for, since all clues are pointing to her having been kidnapped by the Ebon Hand. This one seemed obvious.
Zavere observed that clearly the Temple of the Rat God had been kidnapping people for the Ebon Hand, and now that the party had wiped out that temple, the Ebon Hand may be doing their own kidnapping to get children for their evil purposes. They were likely also kidnapping others in the city to sell to the Ennin Slavers to fund their diabolical plans, whatever those may be. Regardless, he announced that he would not be of much help on this, since he was still focused on making the best of his gains against the shivvel trade, and most of his resources were tied up with that.
The party conversed further, trying to determine their next steps, when Zavere stepped out for a moment. When he returned, he mentioned that Lady Rill had just informed him that she is at a loss on how to revive Lord Abbercombe. Every spell she had tried and all the research she had done, so far, had been unsuccessful, and she was running out of ideas. He was clearly disappointed, near frustrated, but insisted the group not concern them with his personal troubles and stay on task of rescuing Yara.
The party then went to Delver’s Square to purchase a few items, including a spyglass and more ammunition for their dragon pistol. They also had several items appraised and identified.
Making one last stop before going after the Ebon Hand, they went to Hammersong Vaults. They had gained a lot of treasure and gems in their recent adventures and were growing uncomfortable carrying so much on their persons. While there, they presented the bank draft from Methul Watcher/Helmut Itelstein which they had found on The Vai Assassins he had hired to kill them when they first arrived in the city.
The banker refused to honor the note, saying the accounts had all been closed a few days earlier. Gideon pressed the issue, with the banker eventually relenting and explaining that the accounts had been closed, with Mr. Watcher explaining that he was leaving the city for an extended period, but in their weekly audit, they had learned that due to a clerical error, one lockbox had not been closed out. Since the banknote was confirmed as legitimate, the law required them to offer the contents of the lockbox in lieu of payment of the note, or the group could refuse the contents and file a legal complaint at the Administration Building. The party opted to accept the lockbox, which turned out to contain a pair of arcane scrolls, a wand of delay poison, a few small gems and several gold coins. They ended up gaining far more than the value of the note, as well as the satisfaction of knowing that wherever Itelstein may be, he is certainly going to notice these items missing.