Quartet Tales

World Creation
The Beginning of the End

Brother Thomas loses his grandfather to an accident in New Haven. Leo, passing through, prevents Brother Thomas from jumping into the swamp to try and save his grandfather as the situation is obviously beyond hope.

Brother Thomas asks the elders of New Haven why do they not drain the obviously artificial swamp that city is founded on but gets not only a non-response, but is also further forbidden from seeking out the answer. Disgruntled, Brother Thomas leaves New Haven in search for answers.

Passing through the Vale of Tears on his way to the Librarium, Brother Thomas sees a tavern catch on fire. He removes the carriage blocking the doorway and leaves in the confusion, letting some girl who dove from the second storey window take the credit for being a hero.

That girl is Elissa, a bard of some renown who was playing at the Golden Goose. Despite having always sung of heroes and heroic deeds, this was her first taste of actually being the hero, and she decided that she liked how it felt. Quietly packing her things, she decided to follow the mysterious figure who was the real hero.

Elissa contacts the Academy and arranges for a bodyguard to accompany her to the Librarium. Leo answers the contract, and the two of them begin making their way to the Librarium in the footsteps of Brother Thomas.

Elissa arrives at the Librarium and sets herself up in the Five-Fingered Discount. A crazy fan sends her a bracelet, which Leo tosses out of the window because “it is a security risk to accept gifts from strangers”.

Baryl picks up the bracelet and, looking over the strange runes finely etched on the inside of the band, becomes curious enough to wear it. The fire demon imprisoned within the bracelet tries to possess Baryl, and the two of them struggle mentally, with Baryl coming out on top.

With the demon safely confined to a corner of his mind, Baryl wisely decides to leave the Librarium lest his newfound elemental powers cause him to accidentally torch a book and get him “disappeared”.

Brother Thomas, after learning that there are no temples within Librarium, decides to make his way to a rundown shrine on the outskirts of town to pay his respects and to thank his god for a safe journey. Elissa and Leo follows.

On the way there, they are jumped by bandits, and both Elissa and Leo are held captive. Baryl finds them and, seeing that they are unconscious, decides to save them with his newfound powers.

Brother Thomas, returning from his pilgrimage, passes by and is the only one who sees Baryl torching the bandits and their camp. He decides that the gods have led him to his point so that he can save this mage and help him turn his back on the foul powers that he has pledged his soul to.

They all return to the Five-Fingered Discount to celebrate, but midway discover that their purses have all be lifted. Unable to pay their tab, the innkeeper says that they may pay in kind instead.

Seeing how they look like the sort who can handle themselves, he tells them that he has a rat infestation in his cellars and, if they would just find the source of the infestation and clear them out, he would consider their debts paid.

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Beginnings

After thoroughly investigating the first floor of the Five-Fingered Discount, the party realises that the rats are likely coming from the qanat tunnels that run throughout and beneath the entire city. They make up their minds to locate a map of the city while, at the same time, trying to investigate who exactly it was that stole their purses.

Brother Thomas and Baryl make their way to a makeshift bar in the middle of a street known as a place for Runners to hang out between jobs. Baryl hits up some of his old contacts, and someone gives him the location of the map: which turns out to be in a building inhabited by an old woman and a younger, more pregnant one.

Not having any money on them, Brother Thomas decides to hold down the old woman and yells for Baryl to make a run for the map. Baryl does that, startling the younger pregnant woman, and Brother Thomas gets smacked sideways on his head by an oaken walking stick for his troubles (giving him a Mild Concussion). However, the duo manages to successfully retrieve the map and leave.

In the mean time, Elissa and Leo makes their way to the grocery store opposite the tavern. They are greeted by a pretty young girl, and Elissa – having noticed some Guild marks on the signboard – tries to pass off as Guildsmen. However, not knowing the correct countersign, she messes up.

Baryl and Brother Thomas soon arrives, and between the four of them, the quartet manages to successfully piss the girl off sufficiently that she threatens to shoot them with a massive crossbow if they do not leave. Before beating a hasty retreat, Leo notices that the girl has a tattoo on her inner wrist, but does not manage to get a closer look at it.

Back in the tavern, they consult the map and make plans. They learn that the qanat runs west-east, and there are only three access points: the water source in the west, the exit into the Shifting Sands in the east, and the governor’s house in the city itself, located near the Walled Quarter.

Baryl decides to find out more about the governor’s house, since the city has never had a governor before. He hits up the same makeshift bar and meets an old drunkard who offers him information in exchange for a drink; but, having no money, Baryl can’t afford the information. The barkeep strolls by and offers to buy Baryl the two drinks in exchange for a small service: deliver a small pouch to a man with a tattoo on his inner wrist somewhere in the city.

Baryl accepts, and that the governor’s house does not just border the Walled Quarter: in fact, it is the only house to bisect the Quarter’s chalk line. Taking down the address, he runs the errand and returns to the Five-Fingered Discount; but not before opening the pouch to discover that it’s filled with a greenish powder.

Meanwhile, Brother Thomas decides to do the dishes in exchange for erasing some of the party’s bar tab. Leo watches the crowd, trying to spot whoever it is that stole their purses, and discovers a serving wench acting suspiciously. He grabs her hand, revealing not a purse but instead a small pouch containing the same greenish powder that Baryl just delivered to another mysterious man. In the commotion that follows, the wench slips away into the night.

The party regroups, but Brother Thomas cannot make any sense of the greenish powder beyond the fact that a) it’s green and b) it’s powdery. Having met a dead end, they decide to hit up the governor’s house.

As they approach the Walled Quarter’s borders, they are met with a Hermetic Mage who reminds them to not cross the chalk border under any circumstances. Brother Thomas agrees, and they break into the governor’s house without any trouble, making their way into the qanat system in the basement.

The party makes their way eastwards, towards the tavern, and eventually come across heaps of dead rats. They press on, and eventually find an opening in the qanat that widens out into a cavern. Baryl’s light robs the party of any surprise they may have, and they slay the guards as they tried to put a few new holes in Brother Thomas.

However, as the guards fall, they find themselves face to face with a giant humanoid rat-thing that emanates a rancid, sour smell. Despite the party’s best efforts, the creature manages to tear Brother Thomas’ left arm off and, in the process, force Baryl to draw deeper upon the demon’s power from desperation (Baryl surrenders the use of his body every full moon). Eventually, Leo kills the rat-creature by severing its jaw and stabbing his greatsword through its face.

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Initiation

Leo half-carries, half-drags the bleeding body of Brother Thomas out of the qanat while Baryl and Elissa stay behind to saw the head of the rat-thing off, so that they will have something to show for their efforts. They eventually manage to sell the head off to the Five-Fingered Discount in exchange for their debts and some silver besides.

The head gets mounted over the inn’s entryway, and the place is renamed “The Rat’s Head”.

Meanwhile, Leo – desperate for medical attention of some kind – decides to cross over into the Walled Quarter. hoping to find someone who can stop the bleeding. He meets with a Rider who says that he can heal Brother Thomas, but all magic has a price. Leo agrees, and they arrange to meet again at the same location the next day at midnight.

The party awakens to find a note pinned to their door inviting them to a noon meeting. They arrive at the Bloodhound, a fancy upper-class tavern, to find a masked and cowled woman who identifies herself as a member of the Council: namely, as the Master of Coin. She invites them to work with her to infiltrate the Cult of the New Dawn, and offers to lend them her considerable resources.

When the party makes the midnight meeting, they find themselves met by the same Rider who identifies himself as a representative of the Master of the Altar. According to the Rider, the Cult of the New Dawn is extremely dangerous and must be eliminated on sight. The Rider also gives Brother Thomas a new mechanical arm, but Brother Thomas – fearful of all magic – refuses the gift. Baryl picks it up and stows it away instead.

Baryl murders a stablehand in cold blood to rid himself of the disease he picked up from being exposed to the powder. The stablehand was 15, and bled out on the stable floor. His mother will never know the face of his killer, but will instead kill herself out of grief and madness.

After some consideration, the party decides that they should work with the Master of Coin. They make their way back to the Bloodhound and receive a small purse of gold after signing a contract stating that they agree to infiltrate the Cult. They are also given a lead by way of a prison key and a cell number.

They make their way to the prison, and Elissa fake tortures the guy to get on his good side. The guy promises to lead them to a safehouse, and does so, leading them to a basement in the back of an antiquities shop. The hole the basement is located in is cut from the same indestructible stone that the rest of the Librarium is made from, further confirming that the Cult has a way to destroy the stone.

The guy informs the party that the rest of the Cult will be meeting here tonight, it being a full moon, and that they may join if they wish to. Baryl makes some excuse to not join the meeting, as the demon has control over his body on full moon nights, but the party is surprised to find him there when it is time for the meeting: a little late, but there in person nonetheless.

They each give up something precious to them, and in turn get a tattoo identifying themselves as a member of the Cult.

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Missions

The party receive sealed orders from the Cult and are told to deliver them to the Cult in Hallowstone. However, they are also warned that the Hallowstone fraternity has stopped sending communiques about two months ago, and that the party should take care.

They travel to the city, finding it unseasonably cold for the time of the year, and observe that there are significantly less travellers than they are used to. However, they otherwise reach their destination without too much trouble save one.

Midway, Baryl realises that his pact is due and that he must sacrifice a virgin lamb to appease the demon. He purchases a newborn lamb from travelling merchants and leads it with him until he reaches the city. However, the party – sensing that something is off – corners and questions him about his weird behaviour. Baryl eventually breaks and admits to making a pact with the demon.

The party watch him sacrifice the lamb at a crossroads, and Brother Thomas takes the bracelet from Baryl in the hopes that it would stop the corruption from spreading further. Elissa proposes that Baryl should never be allowed to go anywhere by himself, lest he get himself further mired in darkness.

The party visit the Academy, where Leo encounters an old warrior of the Fifth Circle ranting and raving about how the previous mayor was killed. They also come across a few members of the local New Dawn amongst the First Circle initiates, but they seem to be merely newblood sent to replace the old cultists from the Vale and are currently stuck in a holding pattern.

The party hits up an underground casino and cause a scene. Baryl accidentally flashes too much gold in the process and armed thugs try to mug them. Leo cleaves one of the thugs from shoulder to groin, and Baryl punches the man’s face in with a flaming fist as Elissa runs to get guards.

The party finds rooms in the Swan and Goose, a reasonably upscale tavern. They learn from the innkeeper that the old Mayor was really brought to court before the Temple of Stendarr, even though most people simply think that the old Mayor left town. Nobody is sure what the exact punishment was, but the temple of Stendarr will likely have records.

Elissa sends off letters to their respective masters: to the Master of Coin, and to their Cult contact in Librarium. The Master of Coin replies within a day stating that her resources do not extend beyond the Librarium.

The party decides to enter the Temple and, under the auspices of Brother Thomas, manage to get themselves into the rooms of the head priest. While the head priest is distracted by the rest of the party, Baryl enters the records room and steals the book with a record of the Mayor’s crimes and punishment.

The book states that the Mayor was accused of apostasy by the current Mayor – a strict believer of Stendarr – and was brought to court for this very reason. The priests prayed on the matter, and the ex-Mayor was eventually found guilty and sentenced to being drawn and quartered in the basements of the temple. Six of his other confidantes were also accused of the same crime, and they were also summarily executed for it.

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