Our heroes finally track down the mysterious stone and must defeat otherworldly abominations to gain it, only to find that they must defend it from the fanatical assassins of Agrik. Success is theirs but it comes with the loss of an ally. The stone deemed too dangerous in most mundane hands is instead turned over to an order of religious warriors.
For some it was a restful evening. For Peleus, it was a night in jail as repayment for an attempted good deed of informing the night watch of the latest conflageration between the Lycanon Bravos and the Blackhammer Gimen, an event he and his fellow adventurers were intimately familiar with.
Meanwhile an off duty Gregor Crabapple chatted with Jem, discussing his own aspirations of being a publically read writer while waiting for the return of Peleus to unofficially share insights into the mentality of Reeve Bloodaxe. Hilda privately updated Jem as to what had passed the nigth before and Jem bid Crabapple farewell. Peleus managed to avoid the constable and sought out a lengthy bath (keeping his sword at his side for such was the way of Ancient Arkeans). With some spurring on from Fletcher, the party decided that they would at least investigate their latest lead before setting off to settle the far less tangled quest of restoring the Stone Circle.
The investigation not only led Jem and a transmorgified Hilda up and down the docksides (and into an interesting confession of an opressed worker seeking the fair pay for fair work garunteed by a guild), but to the party involving Deitrich of Baeduex, aspiring paladin of Kalael. Leaving many details vague, they attempted to get the opinion of the upholder of good but found his answer to most deliemas was a rightous smiting. Proming to contact him again, the party once again sought the aid of Fletcher of Remul. Reluctantly Fletcher did accompany them to the cryptic pier 14, a site marked by a concealed set of scratches resembling sideways ancient Arkaen numerals.
Sending Fletcher forth to search for traps and other hidden obstacles, they eventually managed to infiltrate the lakeside warehouse without arousing the suscisions of the goons at the shipping door. Searching through the darkness, they stumbled upon a pool of blood, triggering the arrival of eight mishapen beings. Appearing to be molded of smoke and fire by a hand unfamiliar with the human form, they moved stiffly but with purpose as they attacked the intruders. The party rallied but Hilda’s efforts to reduce the numeric advantage of their foe also alerted all nearby with a thunderous clap. While the party acted quickly to dispatch the malformed spirits, Fletcher leapt to secure the shipping doors before the goon squad added themselves to the mix. Meanwhile HIlda had inadvertantly discovered the final resting place of severeal Lycanons, consumed by the gibbering abomination dwelling in the concealed basement below.
Though they looked of smoke and fire, they fell like soft clay before the efforts of the party. When at last the spirits had been vanquished, they returned their attention to the pounding at the shipping doors. By the time the doors had been unjammed, there were no goons to be seen. All was clear but for a small spray of blood all but missed during a quick scan of the area. Fearing the worst, Fletcher demanded the doors be closed and sealed. While the party turned their attentions to the thing below, Fletcher ran to secure the damaged front door.
By spell and endurance, Serena and Hilda attempted to resist the maddening whispers and bileious spit of the writhing mound of flesh and teeth below, eventually besting it with a final blow struck by Peleus.
Searching through the foul smelling chamber below, the sought after stone and the lead case were found. With utmost care the stone was returned to its case and the shattered lock closed as best as they could manage. Returning up the ladder, they were greeted by two men and a woman in simple traveler’s clothes.
“Hand over the Trapezohedron and you may still live to embrace the glory of our lord and master Agrik. Resist and you shall face his wrath today,” spoke one of them. Peleus replied with his ashen spear. The speaker deftly knocked it from the air and grinned in response.
“Excellent,” he hissed. “It shall be my honor to deliver you into his pit.” And with that the three moved deftly to surround the party, despite Hilda’s attempt to entangle them in place.
With but their bare hands they humbled the party, but could not manage to wrest the stone from their possession. Suffering their own share of wounds and losing one of their own, the remaining two fled with the aid of an unnatural cloud of darkness. As he fled, he called to them, “His shadow shall spread across this land and be my shelter. The day is yours but the war is yet to come.”
As the party attempted to pursue, they found Gartok attempting to force a healing berry down the throat of Fletcher. The elf bore a singular stab through his chest and had long died, ambushed by the Agrikan fanatics, presumably while he was either attempting to flee or to bar the door.
Fearing that soon the lawful authorities would arrive and hold the party responsible for the multiple dead bodies, Fletcher’s body was concealed in a pickle barrel and only a handful of loot gathered from the secert basement. Speeding through the night, they turned over the stone in its case over to Dietrich and urged him to see to it that it was looked after.
Finally seeking rest, the party returned to the Tin Tankard and examined the pickle barrel and the dead elf. Upon the elf they found some minor items, but most notably were the slave marks he had kept hidden as well as those that marked him as now free, and a single silver locket with the image of two elves inside – a female and a youth. More surprising was the twenty one uncut gemstones found concealed in the false bottem of the barrel.
The night was over but the consequences still remained to be dealth with in the cold light of day.