The following day, the party had a few items on their agenda. They first went to the Nagel Estate and presented Kurtlan Nagel with his newly retrieved family signet ring. Kurtlan was terribly gracious to have it back, promptly inviting the party to join him for a small dinner gathering of friends and allies to be held the following weekend. He explained that several members of other noble houses, as well as representatives from a number of organizations would be present. The party was to be the guests of honor. He explained that the Lord and Lady of Castle Shard would, likewise, be invited, but not to expect them, since they rarely leave Castle Shard.
The party then went to the Ghostly Minstrel to have lunch with Sheva Callister and meet with her friend Jevicca Nor regarding magically locating the whereabouts of the Markessa. She was awaiting them, as expected, but sat alone. She greeted them by asking the party to “join us” for lunch and was rather conspicuous regarding keeping the chair closest to her vacant. As the party sat with her, making idle chitchat, they were joined by Moynath Autumnsong who explained that he had been asked by Jevicca to attend in her stead. “Jevicca felt that I would be better suited to assist you delvers in whatever it is you need done,” he explained, as Sheva pulled up a chair for him to join them (again insuring that the seat closest to her remained vacant).
The party explained who the Markessa was and why they were searching for her. Moynath explained that in order to locate her, he would need to either have seen her, himself, or the party would need to give him something that belonged to her. Gideon offered that Markessa had made a clone of herself and wondered if that would be of use. Moynath explained that clones were grown from a part of the original wizard, and as such would be an excellent means to cast his spell to locate her, provided that the clone was present at the time of the casting. The party agreed to bring Holone (Markessa’s clone) to him. Moynath said that the spell would take some time and that they would need a place where he could be uninterrupted for several hours to effect the spell. He then revealed that he was a frequent guest at Castle Shard and even had his own private quarters there. Such a place would be perfect to meet and conduct the ritual. He would meet them there at sunset.
The party then split. Maur and Ian paid a quick visit to Vagger’s to pick up a large sum of gold that he had for them, as well as to sell the gems they had found the night before. Meanwhile, Gideon stayed at Delver’s Square to do some shopping.
Once the party was reunited, they contacted Kaira Swanwing by thoughtstone to meet with them about getting Holone to assist them. She agreed to meet the party at her house in Oldtown.
Meeting with Kaira and Holone, the party outlined their plan to locate the Markessa, using Holone as the focus of Moynath’s divinations. At first, Holone was hesitant, since she saw the Markessa as a mother of sorts to her, but finally agreed to help the party, provided that they never speak with her regarding the Markessa any further and do not share with her how the encounter goes. Holone made it clear that she would help them find her, and she can only hope that the party is able to redeem the Markessa, instead of slaying her outright. Perfect…one clone wants her dead, and the other wants her to live.
The party then made their way, now with Holone, to Castle Shard to meet Moynath. Kadmus, as usual, met the party at the door, announcing that Master Autumnsong was in his chambers awaiting them.
Moynath’s chambers consisted of a well appointed bed chamber. It was clear that he rarely slept there, instead using the space for spell research and rituals. Shelves lined the walls and the well stocked magical lab dominated the space. He ushered the party in, explaining that since a clone is an imperfect copy, having different memories, and purpose, it would be necessary for him to probe each of their thoughts to see the true Markessa as each of them saw her. With their consent he cast ESP upon each, in turn. He then drew a few drops of Holone’s blood and cast discern location.
Inviting the party to come closer and gaze into the mirror, the spell revealed that the Markessa was presently in a large subterranean chamber, lit by large torches in wall sconces. It appeared she was meeting with several other individuals: a human male with an eye patch and skullcap, a pair of robed men (likely mages), a robed monk (with no obvious holy symbols), and a dark cloaked man cleaning his nails with the tip of his dagger.
“Where is this place?” Gideon asked.
“The spell should tell us the precise location, but there is something interfering,” Moynath said, “Let us pry.”
He closed his eyes in deep concentration, forcing his will through the mirror. “They are located in the Undercity, beneath the eastern portion of Midtown, near the Cliffs of Lost Wishes,” he said finally, “but to access this chamber…” his voice trailed off as the image in the mirror changed, like a vision playing in reverse.
The party saw a long tunnel, lit with oil lamps; a vast cavernous grotto, illuminated with tall tree-like lichen glowing a pale green to reveal a deep subterranean lake of blackish water; a maze of dark, winding corridors; a hexagonal room with a massive metallic statue, arms raised above it’s head; a short passageway, a trapdoor under a bed, an inn or tavern (perhaps) with a cluster of red roses painted above the door; a street, dark and dank; a walled town built in a large cavern deep beneath the city of Ptolus, dimly lit – a town of vagrants and thieves; long, cavernous passages leading to this town; a room lined with columns guarded by tall, dog-headed humanoids; another cavern lit by glowing lichen; more caverns and passages, eventually the floors give way from stone to sand; a pair of iron doors; a vast warehouse, stone at ground level, wood stained dark with age above that; an alleyway on the surface (dark sky above) off an alleyway; the familiar streets of the Docks, Saltspray Street. The image in the mirror fades as the spell abruptly ends.
“What you have just seen is the memory of what the Markessa saw as she accessed the room where she is now. The details are not perfect, but sufficient to locate her. She is deeply hidden beneath the city, but she gained access to the area from that warehouse,” Moynath said.
After taking time to return Holone to Kaira Swanwing, dropping off their treasure at Hammersong Vaults and leaving a few items at their rent house, the party made their way to the Docks. Following the directions received from Moynath and the vision he provided them, they soon found themselves standing before the very warehouse they had magically viewed earlier. It was a massive, squat, windowless, building with a pitched roof. Atop the roof an old watch tower had been erected. The rear of the warehouse cut deeply into the side of the cliff behind the building, which rose up over four hundred feet to Midtown.
Ian climbed up an adjacent building, as Gideon and Maur positioned themselves in the narrow gap between two buildings on the opposite side of the alleyway. This served to not only give them a clear view of the watchtower above, but the pair of double doors on the front of the warehouse – the only visible means of entry. Feruch stayed some distance behind, keeping an eye out for the watch, or anyone else that may come along and waylay them. The area around the old warehouse was deserted at this time of night, but the distant noise of revelry and partying could be heard from the taverns a block or so distant.
Ian leaped across to the roof of the warehouse. Trying to move as quietly as possible towards the watch tower, the old shingles crumbled and gave way beneath his weight, almost sending him sliding off the roof on more than one occasion. Making far more noise than he intended, it came as no surprise that as he arrived at the watchtower, a pair of thuggish looking guards emerged from a trapdoor in it’s floor.
Ian used an old kneewall that surrounded the tower, hiding in the darkness of the night. One of the thugs lit a torch, waving it about, certain that he heard something. The other, less convinced, soon left to “finish his card game” – he was feeling lucky. The remaining guard looked about, but when he turned his back towards Ian, IAn leaped over the kneewall to deliver a backstab. Unfortunately, his cloak, snagged by a loose nail, tipped him off balance, resulting in the attack missing wildly. The guard spun about, preparing to shout an alarm!
Down below, Gideon loosed his sling, hurling a stone up at the guard. It slammed into his side, sending him wheeling about, briefly knocking the breath from him. The guard swung wildly at his attackers. Ian easily weaved about avoiding the attack, stabbing his short sword at the guard, only getting a glancing blow. Maur fired a volley of arrows up into the fray, one sticking into the side of the watch tower, but the last sinking deep into the guards stomach. He barreled over from the impact, fell and breathed his last.
Ian pried the now smoldering torch from the guards death grip. Looking down through the trap door, he could see a large warehouse filled with crates and boxes. Directly beneath the trapdoor was a small, round catwalk. A rope ladder dangled down to the floor almost twenty feet below. A dozen such thugs milled about, some were moving boxes and crates, three were sitting in a circle playing cards, others were just standing idle. Each was armed with either a short sword or dagger and several also carried crossbows. Near the back of the room, near one of three sets of large iron doors was the familiar black hooded slaver who had auctioned off the party in the Dark Market some time ago. "Malegoch Krill, " Ian mumbled under his breath.