Wind 8, 721 IA (Fireday)
Following a much needed rest, the party did some shopping in Delver’s Square where Gideon purchased a new suit of chainmail, while Ian and Maur spent some time in the Ghostly Minstrel picking up a few rumors circulating about town. A group of Ratcatchers were overheard discussing rumors of a Rat-King working in the sewers to bring about the downfall of the city. There was also talk about St. Gustav’s chapel recently being visited by city inspectors who demanded some maintenance be done to the building lest it be shut down. The Church of Lothain supposedly had refused to pay for such repairs, insisting that Brother Fabitor step up the tithing at the chapel.
The group paid Brother Fabitor a visit, confirming the rumors were true and that the city had given him one month to make the repairs, which would cost 1,000 gold. Gideon donated 250 gold and told Fabitor to start work…more would be forthcoming.
The party then decided to look into these rumors of Rat-Kings and followed up on a clue they had been given some time back. They visited Igor Reichstav in the Necropolis. He not only told them the precise location of the Temple of the Rat God in the Temple District, but also mentioned that the high priestess of the temple was looking for a mechanic to help figure out how to operate a device they recently unearthed from the catacombs beneath the city.
Posing as just such mechanics, the group made their way to the Temple District, and to the hidden Rat God Temple. They met Silion Ankismar the human Rat Priestess and were led to a large cavern beneath the city. Here were dozens of ratmen and members of various chaos cults gathered to admire a giant (20’ tall) statue made of grotesque chains and serrated blades. Silion explained this was not a statue or idol, but a giant construct that her consort, Longtail AKA the Rat-King had recently recovered from his exploration of the Labyrinth beneath the city.
Silion led Maur and the others to the giant construct, showing them a small opening in its side where a person could climb in. Inside, Maur found a small room with an ancient padded chair surrounded by numerous gears and levers. The Rat Priestess needed a mechanic to figure out how to operate this giant mech-like creature!
After some time, Maur surmised that with a little time and practice, he could figure out how to operate the construct, noting that it was fueled by “liquid chaos” a strange liquid that appeared like an oily substance of swirling vivid colors that refused to mix or blend. Maur demanded a sizeable payment (1500gp) to make the construct work, bluffing that it needed a few minor repairs and that he would need to fabricate a few replacement gears which should take no more than a day to prepare.
Silion stated that they had little gold on hand to make such a payment, but that Longtail had led a group of ratmen and orc mercenaries back into the labyrinth a while back to recover more chaositech, hinting that he should be returning with a large cache of powerful items any time now. She would prefer to pay Maur for his services with a few of those devices.
Maur accepts a small payment of gold (500gp) up front “to cover the cost of fabricating the replacement gears”, and agrees to return promptly to begin working. Silion insists that a member of the party remain as a hostage to guarantee his return, but through much fast-talk and negotiation, she settles on Maur leaving his bastard sword instead.
The party makes their way to The Ghostly Minstrel, with Ian quickly noticing they were being followed by two brutish looking thugs. They spend the rest of the evening at the Inn, discussing their plans and weighing their options. The two thugs seated at the bar across the taproom, failing to go unnoticed. At one point, the two thugs move to a table to get something to eat, with Ian noticing one of the men is having a little trouble holding his liquor.
The group considers their options. They reason they can either return to the Temple of the Rat God, try to get the construct working and then use it to try to kill all the ratmen and chaos cultists. They could also report their findings to the Temple of Lothian and hope to lead a group of temple guards (Order of the Golden Dawn) to either raid or otherwise help in a frontal attack on the Temple. Neither option is particularly satisfying. What if the construct doesn’t have enough fuel? What if they can’t get it to work? How could they get more fuel? If they get aid from the Church wouldn’t most of the cultists just escape?
Ian pays the local tavern minstrel to sing a uplifting and fun drinking song, which gets the many patrons worked up, clapping, singing along and dancing. During this distraction, he moves towards the thug’s table, intending to spike one of their drinks with a little poison to cause nausea. After almost getting caught, he reconsiders and returns to the table with the rest of the party.
They eventually decide to stay at the Inn for the night, going to their rooms. Ian leaves the two thugs, one of which is in a stupor at this point in the taproom. Once he is in his room, he climbs out the window with plans to pay a quick visit to Castle Shard.
Arriving at Castle Shard, he learns that Lady Rill is in the middle of casting a prolonged magical ritual and can not be disturbed. Lord Zavere, likewise, is meeting with some guests and could possibly be occupied until well int othe morning.Kadmus promises to notify Ian as soon as either of them are available, turning him away at the door. He returns to the Ghostly Minstrel.
Wind 9, 721 IA (Queensday)
Over breakfast, the party decides that since Castle Shard was not available to assist them, they should pay a visit to Darthalis Temester at the Bookwagon. They promptly leave as one of the thugs from last night comes down the stairs. He quickly falls in behind them. Not long on their way, Ian again notices the thug following them. He alerts the party and they make an effort to shake him on the busy streets as the enter the Temple District, but can’t manage to lose him. Feruch then splits from the group, circling back towards the Ghostly Minstrel. The thug continues following the main group. Maur then offers to split from the group as well, to find a blacksmith to make the parts he needs to fix the construct. The thug takes the bait, following the dwarf “mechanic”.
After a few more blocks, Gideon then sends Ian to circle back and follow the thug following Maur. He then continues on the the Bookwagon.
Ian falls in behind the thug trailing Maur, noting that the thug is soon joined by another. This one is a half-elf with long, raven black hair. A Vai, perhaps? Both continue following Maur from a safe distance.
Gideon arrives at the Bookwagon and learns several interesting things:
Liquid Chaos is a highly volatile substance derived from casting strange spells on demons that siphons their energy which is then used to fuel many chaositech devices.
Some devices have demons trapped within them, serving as a permanent energy source.
There are many demons in the Necropolis.
Liquid Chaos, or Raw Chaos, explodes when exposed to light, and perhaps other substances.
There is only one person in the city that is known to be knowledgeable of chaositech and liquid chaos, the Surgeon in the Shadows. He is a mysterious figure employed by the Balacazars who surgically augments many of the Balacazar’s lackeys and friends with strange chaositech devices.
The Balacazars are believed to have a safehouse somewhere north of the Warrens, near the Cliffs of Lost Wishes, where they have a supply of Liquid Chaos in storage. For a price the Balacazars may be willing to part with some.
Darthalis also informed Gideon to not approach the Church of Lothian with any chaositech they may have or might find. He explains there is a group within the Church known as the Concilliators who are actively searching for such items, supposedly to study and learn who to combat it, but that they are actually some within the group who seek to use it to expand their own power for their own evil ends.
He also tells of a group called the Shuul, who are believed to be in league with the noble House Shever, who are also looking for it. The Shuul are a group of technophiles who recently appeared in Ptolus. They are willing to use both normal machines and chaositech to further their goals of advancing scientific knowledge. They secretly work against the Empire, hoping to place themselves as the dominant force in not only Ptolus, but all of the Empire.
Lastly, Gideon asked about Methul Watcher. Darthalis wrote the name down, saying he had not heard this name but would look into it. He asked Gideon to return in three or four days to see if he turns up anything. Gideon then returned to the Ghostly Minstrel.
Ian kept an eye on Maur from afar, as he met with a blacksmith at the Dancing Anvil in Midtown. The two men following him, waited in an alley across the street and Maur had a key-like cog made. As Maur left to make his way back to the Minstrel, he noticed the thug from the night before and a raven-haired half-elf watching him from the alley. They followed him back to Delver’s Square, Ian close behind.
After a while all members of the group met up at the Inn. Ian arrived last, noting that the two following them were now across the street at Ebbert’s Outfitters. Gideon shared what he learned, as the group discussed their next move. Maur assured the group that he was confident there was enough Liquid Chaos already in the construct to kill all the ratmen and cultists at the Temple, but if they needed more, they could possibly trade Linele’s Pocketwatch for more from the Balacazars. Gideon also mentioned that they could possibly use any remaining Liquid Chaos to destroy the construct once the job was finished, or (as Maur mentioned) just smash the controls.
At this point, the second thug from the night before came downstairs, taking a seat on the opposite side of the Inn, ordering a mug of hair of the dog.
A short while later, Linech Cran and his personal bodyguards (a human female barbarian and a dark haired Stonelost dwarf warrior) came into the inn. They spoke with the thug at the bar, and then they all approached the party.
Linech explained that he had been looking for them for the past couple days, since they never returned to him at Rivergate District. He demanded they return to him the missing pocketwatch, making it clear that this was never about the recovery of his daughter’s body.
As the situation grew tense, Malkeen Balacazar and his body guard [Na’ haras] entered the inn and approached all of them. Linech grew pale.
Linech tried to diffuse the situation, explaining to Malkeen that he was just sitting down to talk with some of his friends about the pocketwatch they had recovered for him. Linech explained this should cover his debts to Malkeen.
Malkeen then looked to the group, prompting Maur into showing him Linele’s Pocketwatch.
The group then explained to Malkeen how they got the pocketwatch, even disclosing that Linele had been turned into a vampire by the thing. Linech came unhinged at this news and angered by the group for telling Malkeen the truth about how they came across the pocketwatch. Malkeen threatened Linech, mentioning that vampires have their uses (with a glance towards Na’haras, who the party now noticed had an oily sheen to his pale skin). He then apologized to the group for any inconvenience they had suffered and took the pocketwatch. Maur mentioned that Linech still owed them money for retrieving the pocketwatch. Malkeen looked to Linech, ordering him to give them his change purse, since he won’t be needing it where he’s going. Malkeen and Na’Haras then led Linech and his guards out of the building.
The contents of Linech’s change purse was nowhere near the amount they had been promised, but among the gold and silver was a small clay coin-like disk with a rat head-like symbol stamped on one side and the name “Siluon” crudely scratched into the other.
Later that morning, the party carried it to Castle Shard, only to learn that it appeared to be a token used to gain entry into one of the family crypts in the Necropolis. Lord Zavere mentioned that such tokens fell out of use a few centuries ago, though, and he wasn’t sure which crypt it was designed for. The symbol was too faded to tell if it was a wolf, rat, or some similar creature. No one was clear why Linech even had it.
Wind 9, 721 IA (Queensday – Noon)
By the middle of the day, the group was ready to return to the Temple of the Rat. They had arranged with Brother Fabitor to have his temple guard accompany them, but they were instructed to not enter until after the party had already been inside for 15 minutes.
The group entered the temple, only to find a service being conducted. They were quickly confronted by a small number of priests and heavily-cloaked ratlings. Explaining who they were, they were escorted to the tunnels beneath the temple, eventually arriving in the main cavern where the Construct was located.
Silion Ankismar greeted them, mentioning that they had been conducting human sacrifices for the past two days in preparation of starting the Construct. There were only about twenty ratlings, a ratbrute, and a small group of acolytes here this time. Maur asked about their pay, prompting three Ebon Hand Cultists to enter the chamber carrying several bags of gold. They noticed that these priests appeared horribly deformed, ones face was covered in ritual scars or wrinkles, another had a tentacle arm, the third with many festering pustules on his head and neck.
With much anticipation, Maur managed to start the Construct and, according to plan, immediately turned it on the assembly of ratlings and priests. The gathered cultists didn’t stand a chance. Although there was only enough fuel for a few minutes, the Construct slew most of the ratmen, Silion and all of the acolytes. The Ebon Hand Cultists and a couple ratmen, however, managed to flee.
The party gave chase, hearing the sounds of battle ahead as the fleeing ratmen ran into Brother Fabitor’s temple guards, who were also joined byt a patrol of City Watch. The three cultists, however, avoided this fight by using a secret door to a part of the temple complex the party had not been to before.
The party gave chase, but the Ebon Hand cultists had a large lead on them. They followed through cave-like tunnels that soon gave way to narrow stone-blocked stone blocked catacombs. Several ratmen confronted them in these tunnels, obviously blocking the escape of the Ebon Hand cultists. By the time the waves of ratlings, and even an albino ratlord, were defeated, the Ebon Hand cultists were long gone.
Recovering from their wounds, Ian and Maur located several secret doors in the catacombs, eventually even learning that these catacombs were located within the Blessed Bridge that connected the Temple District to Midtown. They found several rooms believably used by the cultists to hideout and/or recover from wounds, several healing potions, herbal remedies and spell components. They even located a ladder leading up to an empty building on the Blessed Bridge.
Returning to the main temple dungeon, the group linked up with the temple guards and the one surviving City Guard and searched the rest of the ruined temple. They found lots of coins, gems and varied items, the accumulated loot of the ratmen from the many people they have killed or kidnapped over the past several months, they also found a Letter found in Siluon’s Chamber, that gave them some insight into the plans of the Chaos Cultists, mentioning several people and organizations, as well as knowledge that some members of the City Watch were being bribed by the cultists. It was signed by someone named “Wuntad”.
The group returned to the surface. By now, it was early evening. The City Watch member parted ways, saying he was running to the nearest Watchhouse to file a report and to send a larger group to finish clearing out the temple. The party and temple guard hailed a growler to carry them to St. Gustav’s to figure out their next move.
Wind 9, 721 IA (Queensday – Evening)
At St. Gustav’s the party was healed and they sorted their treasure, dividing up the many potions, herbs, and items. They realized also during this time that the Construct still needed to be destroyed, and now, knowing that some members of the Watch were on the cultists payroll, this needed to be done before they returned to the Temple. There was also some discussion about how it didn’t need to fall into the hands of the Church, out of concern it may reach the Concilliators, that Gideon had been warned earlier could not be trusted with chaositech.
The decision was made that they would need to return to the Temple quickly to destroy the Construct, before the Watch or the Church could get to it. To accomplish this, Gideon ran across Delver’s Square buying four large sledgehammers just before the Bull & Bear Armory closed for the night.
The party (this time without the temple guards) returned to the Temple of the Rat God. Fearing they may bump into the City Watch as they returned, the party entered the temple through the secret entrance they had discovered in the building on the Blessed Bridge.
The now deserted temple complex was eerily quiet, but the party soon found themselves back in the chamber filled with the dead ratmen, Siluon and her priests surrounding the now dormant Construct. With Ian keeping watch, the rest of the group hastily demolished the Construct with their sledgehammer. Maur kept a few pieces to make a necklace as well as the fuel tank, so that Feruch would have something to give to the Church.
As they were preparing to sneak out, the party heard the approach of a large contingent of City Watch. Having no other escape, the group raced down the passage they knew tied into the portion of Ghul’s Labyrinth where the Rat King had found the Construct. The same passage where the Rat King, along with a large force of ratlings and orc mercenaries had gone days before to retrieve more chaositech, but had not yet returned.
There they hid behind a ratling-made barricade which marked the extent of the Rat Temple. Ian explored further down the wide, passage, noting that it continued onward a great distance, slowly sloping downward, deeper beneath the city. The passage grew more rocky and uneven, but he did not follow it to it’s end, instead turning back after about ten minutes of travel.
Meanwhile, a curious group of the City Watch, scouted the area towards the remaining party members, approaching the barricade Gideon, Maur and Feruch were hiding behind. If not for Maur’s quick thinking, and a tossed rock (as well as a particularly skittish guard) the group likely would have been discovered.
The Watch eventually left the complex, save for five guards who remained behind to secure the area until the Church could be notified and send their own guards to investigate the Construct further. The party, with Ian’s guidance, were able to sneak past these guards and make their escape.
The party, now famished and hungry (they hadn’t eaten since breakfast), went to the Ghostly Minstrel before returning to St. Gustav’s. While there, they bumped into Iltumar Shon who mentioned that he was trying to join a group called the “Brotherhood of Ptolus”. He explained that he believed them to be a large group of delvers, consisting of several groups under the leadership of a Master Delver that had recently discovered the ruins of an elven city in the caverns beneath Ptolus. The Bortherhood had staked a claim on the ruins and were now exploring that area. Iltumar explained that the group is very secretive and he didn’t yet know the names of any of it’s leadership, but that a couple of his friends had been talking a lot about it lately and he was seriously considering quitting his job at the Bull & Bear and joining this group. Gideon and Maur both advised him no to do so, but Iltumar eventually promised that he would learn more about the group before making any decisions.
After their meal, the party returned to St. Gustav’s to divide their treasure. After some time, Brother Fabitor explained that the next day was Theoday and he would need to finish his preparations for the day of services. The party then finished their business and returned to their house in the Guildsman District.