Alase in the Season of the Runelords:
Introduction | Adventure 1 | Adventure 2
City of Secrets
Season of the Runelords: Adventure 2
We’ve arrived in Magnimar, the so-called “City of Secrets.” Not sure how anyone could keep a secret here; they all live on top of each other. Literally, in the case of the Underbridge. Unfortunately, that’s the only place we can find rooms. People say it’s because of some royal wedding up on the bridge, but I suspect the fact that we arrived late and haven’t had a proper bath since Sandpoint might have something to do with it too.
We arrived so late because our real goal is to head towards the Hollow Mountain to the North, where there rumors persist of activity in the land of the Runelord of Wrath. We scoured the docks for anyone who could carry us across the water, but found no passage. We’ll try again tomorrow.
I’m just jotting this down while Imrijka negotiates rates with the innkeeper. They’re not even going to have the rooms ready for hours, and ‘Rijka feels that’s worth a discount. She cuts an imposing figure when she wants to, so I think we’ll get a good rate. The fact that her crossbow is as large as Amli doesn’t hurt. Maybe while we’re waiting, we can go check out that pretentious party upstairs…
There goes the bride
Are city weddings usually that much fun? If so, I’ve been missing out… not a lot of crusaders planning elaborate banquets like this one back in Sarkorsis, what with their vows of poverty and whatnot. Probably for the best, though. The food was great, and the masquerade costumes were pretty hilarious, but I bet most weddings are boring compared to this one.
While we were waiting in the buffet line, some cult crashed the party, claiming it was cursed because it was Xanderghul’s Eve. I think they actually just wanted to steal the wedding gifts. It was a bunch of amateurs, running around the party, summoning giant bugs, letting loose some crude golems, that sort of thing.
Good thing we were there; most of the guests weren’t even armed! Honestly, that’s just irresponsible. I don’t even go downstairs for breakfast without preparing a few spells.
Anyway, we squashed the bugs, broke the golems, and tried to round up the criminals. Tonbarse could have run them down easily, but I had dismissed him earlier, to avoid scaring the delicate bride and groom. Fortunately Imrijka was able to pin them down… apparently they weren’t expecting an angry half-orc sharpshooter on the guest list. They weren’t expecting Gaston either. He had insisted we bring Donahan with, since the stables weren’t ready, and together they chased the cowards. They ran into a hedge maze, but that horse, apparently used to the terrain around the Worldwound, easily leaped over the hedges. We had them tied before it was time to cut the cake.
Best of all, the scuffle scared most of the guests out of the buffet line!
These gangs are more annoying than the goblin tribes
The bad news is that we’re still looking for a ship that can carry us to the Hollow Mountain. The good news is that we’ve been able to do some good with our time here in Magnimar. A Lieutenant Kasadei from the city watch approached us early this morning, having heard about our misadventures at the wedding. It seems that in Varisia, you rout a few cultists and all of a sudden you’re the local heroes.
Anyway, Kasadei offered us a job for the day, to deal with some local gangs. We accepted, since we had nothing else to do, and we thought it would be good combat training if it came to a fight. Unfortunately there was nothing fun like that; it was all politics. This gang wanted that gang’s weapons, the other gang wanted some magical items returned, I don’t even remember who was who. These city people have too much time on their hands, they should get out into the real world. Try having a cute little gang rivalry when there’s a locust demon hunting you.
Fortunately Imrijka and Gaston know all about high society and diplomacy and whatever. They found the gangs’ leaders and hideouts. Then they spent some time trying to get on the leaders’ good sides, figure out what they wanted, sort it all out. But it wasn’t working. So Amli had the bright idea to get them all in one place and work it out. Dwarven directness, right? I thought it was a great idea, because either we could make everybody happy, or if they caused trouble, we could make everybody dead. And then either way we could get dinner.
So we spent the rest of the day coordinating this meeting, and chasing away some bandits, who arrived like vultures sensing opportunity. And we actually pulled it off. The “making people happy” thing, not the “making people dead” one. Although I doubt Kasadei would have been too upset if we solved her gang problems permanently.
I think she’s taken a liking to us. She paid us in full for the day, and let us keep some of the magic items. I’m a little concerned she won’t try to use us somehow, like Thelsikar did. But she seems honorable. And I summoned Tonbarse right behind her while we were wrapping things up today. He doesn’t like it when I surprise people like that, but I feel like it helps things go smoothly when people know about the “ferocious giant wolf guardian” thing. Tonbarse wasn’t happy hiding all day either, but he knows we have to be careful here in the city.
Dinner is ready so I’ll stop here. Afterwards we’re headed to the city’s largest tavern; Gaston insists on treating us all to a few rounds after a good day’s work.
I am bone-tired after today. Lieutenant Kasadei has basically deputized us into the city watch. Thousands of people in this city, and she has to ask us to do her dirty work? Not sure if it’s because we’re genuinely getting powerful, or because the watch is that desperate.
At least she got Gaston out of jail. The idiot was supposed to just be in there overnight for some drunken antics at that tavern. But after all the carnage he left in the prison, they might have kept him for questioning for weeks, if Kasadei hadn’t intervened. As I understand it, the prison warden was a traitor, and Gaston saved a guard’s life from a mob of shape-changing faceless stalkers the warden sent. Lucky for the guard that Gaston sobers up almost as fast as he gets drunk.
Meanwhile, I’ve spent all night patrolling Habe’s Sanatorium, which Kasadei suspected was the source of the stalkers. I kept watch there, while Tonbarse patrolled and kept an eye on the others. There was another stalker there, left on guard duty by Habe. It tried to get the drop on me by releasing an Ogre from the sanatorium’s dungeons (How ogre-smuggling got past the elite city guard I’m sure I’ll never know). Fortunately I was able to dispatch it with some of the new spells I’ve picked up.
Habe was not at home though; he was out in the city, looking for more victims. Amli saw him in the town square, after he hired some thugs to ambush her. The ambush failed miserably (dwarves are hard to surprise, it turns out), and he fled like a coward. He led her right to his safehouse in the city’s outskirts. He had a wererat bodyguard there, but Amli caught them off guard, killed the rat, and subdued Habe. I was still at the sanatorium, but watched it all through Tonbarse’s eyes. Take note, it is not wise to face a well-prepared warpriest, especially a dwarven one. The way she methodically tracked the doctor and efficiently put down the wererat make me glad she’s our companion. Tonbarse agrees that we can learn a lot from her studied approach to combat.
After Habe was arrested, we still had more to do, since Kasadei enlisted us to go after a stalker that Habe confessed was still at large. We flushed it out, but it fled towards the Underbridge. Gaston followed on horseback; the impatient sod was so ready for another tavern crawl that he didn’t wait for the rest of us. And of course he blundered into a trap. Fortunately Tonbarse had a premonition the moment before, and appeared at his side, carrying my new staff. I still haven’t unlocked all the staff’s magic, but apparently there’s no weapon (or beer stein) that Gaston can’t master, and with the staff’s power and Donahan leaping, he vaulted across the pit trap, and caught the stalker on the way down with his lance, with all his and Donahan’s weight behind it. Suffice it to say, the stalkers are no longer a problem.
Predictably, before Gaston had even cleaned his lance, Kasadei said she had another job for us tomorrow. I’m enjoying being able to help out here, and learning new techniques along the way, but I’m eager for us to be on our way. At least the pay is nice in the meantime.
Those crates were empty when we got here
Lieutenant Kasadei is turning out to be a pretty good ally. It’s nice to have a few friends in high places, unlike in Sandpoint.
It turns out Kasadei’s next job for us was to guard a museum, after she got a tip about a possible theft of some demonic idol the Pathfinder Society donated recently. Kasadei seems to have a good eye for danger, because she guessed exactly the night the thieves would strike. As Tonbarse’s divination senses improve, I appreciate more and more the ability to predict danger like that.
Honestly the thieves didn’t stand a chance. It was just another gang of pathetic cultists, the Skinsaws. They didn’t even have any demonic support. They tried to sneak a bunch of goblins into the museum as a distraction for their heist, but Gaston made short work of them. Then when they realized we weren’t your normal set of rent-a-guards, they tried to lay an ambush and a bunch of traps for us in the warehouse. But Tonbarse and I were hiding there, waiting for them. I know some cultists collect scars as badges of honor; I wonder if those ones will show off all their new bite marks with pride. Anyway, after Imrijka killed their leader, they pretty much gave up and fled.
Unfortunately, the museum didn’t stand much of a chance either. With all the chaos from the goblins and the traps, we made more of a mess than the cultists would have. Plus, in the course of the fighting, Gaston was “thrown into” a bunch armor racks, scattering the pieces. Oh and Amli “missed” a swing at a goblin, smashing the strongbox in the gemstone room. And then Tonbarse “accidentally” charged some cultists through the shelves of spellbooks in the warehouse, and some of the tomes “accidentally” fell into my pack.
Fortunately, Kasadei overlooked all the damage. Apparently the artifact the cult was trying to steal was supremely dangerous, not to mention priceless and irreplaceable, so the curators were happy. I can tell she knows what really happened… she’s too honorable to be any good at lying. I think she just likes us, and is genuinely grateful for the help keeping the peace.
In gratitude, the Pathfinder Society offered to let us stay in their local headquarters, instead of our third-rate inn. For her part, Kasadei paid us for our help, and thanked us with a formal salute. She even blushed when Gaston invited her to join us for breakfast. I’m actually going to miss her when we ship out. I’d invite her to join us, but she’s too married to her duty here to leave. It’s too bad, since Tonbarse thinks we’re going to need all the help we can get in the Hollow Mountain.
Our final service for Magnimar
We’ve finally secured passage to the Mountain. But I’m afraid our morale is low despite this good news.
We’ve spent the last few days helping Kasadei and the city guard investigate some murders. It turned out to be far worse than anyone feared, though. We knew this city had some shadowy corners, but after a week of arguing with gangs and cleaning up after cultists, I don’t think anyone expected anything as dark as demonic ritual necromancy. I think it shocked us all. Gaston hasn’t even been out to a tavern since.
The demon behind it all was called Avalexi. It was hunting the priests of Sarenrae, and had recruited all manner of foul minions to its cause, including the Sandpoint Devil, which we had thought was just a myth. And the worst part was that it wasn’t a straight-up fight, but a game of cat and mouse the whole time. Avalexi initially jumped Amli when she was alone, right at the start of our investigation, and then vanished without a trace. Then as we tried to track it down, we were repeatedly ambushed by a demonically-crazed elf assassin named Zalendi, who had an uncanny knack for getting away right when we got the upper hand. Not to mention how often we were attacked by the zombified former clerics of Sarenrae, and had to put them down. Demons always seem to find the most sadistic ways of achieving their ends. I know that from Sarkorsis, and we can’t forget it if we’re to hold fast.
We did rally together in the end, at least. Tonbarse tracked the demon into a long-forgotten dungeon under the sewers, which it was using as a hideout. We coordinated an attack, catching it by surprise. It summoned the devil again, but Gaston charged it on Donahan, and led it away out of the sewers, taking refuge in a nearby temple where it could not enter. As soon as the devil was gone, Imrijka signalled to Amli and I from a high vantage point she had found. We secured the exits, and cast our blessings on her. She fired shot after shot, while the demon frantically cursed at her, scrabbling at the walls, trying to reach her attacker. We were ready to move in and finish the job, but ‘Rijka’s aim was true, and the creature was no more.
I’m glad to have been able to rid the city of this demon, and make the streets safer. And I think we all learned some new tactics from working closely with the guard. But this was a sobering experience for all of us. Seeing the priests of Sarenrae retrieve the remains of their friends from the demon’s lair has cured a bit of our wanderlust. Perhaps it’s best; if our suspicions of the Runelord are correct, we’ll probably see far worse than this in the days to come.
In gratitude for slaying the monster, Kasadei called in some favors and found a ship that could take us to the Hollow Mountain, across the Irespan. I should be getting ready instead of writing this, but I am unable to focus. I feel the need to commune with Tonbarse, and look into the future with him, but I dismissed him in preparation for our voyage. Perhaps I’ll confer with Gaston. I’m seeing that he’s actually a very good strategist. When he’s not drunk.
Alase in the Season of the Runelords:
Introduction | Adventure 1 | Adventure 2