The governor was murdered relatively recently, they just found out
Did not come to an important meeting
He summoned “The Council of Nobles” to discuss the unrest after the goblin invasion
He didn’t show up
He was stabbed to death.
All still in the garrison
Daggart has suggested to anyone of importance that they should be inside the garrison until things in the city settle down.
There are twelve families on the noble council
Daggart is in a panic
The people he would normally assign to this are out in the city trying to restore order.
He isn’t sure how he’ll convince the rest of the city that the goblins aren’t coming back
He’s testing the waters, seeing if we want to be detectives
He hasn’t been inside the room, doesn’t know how many times Svend was stabbed.
Murder happened within the hour
Rosie has locked down the crime scene, with the guards assigned to her
No one’s really leaving the garrison except guards
Eloenn says the murderer could be disguised as a guard, Daggart orders the garrison locked down
He takes us into the garrison, throws orders at everyone, everything is in an uproar.
Svend was quartered high up in the garrison, in the most luxurious quarters. Near to where Daggart stayed
When we get to the door, there are guards on either side, going in and out of the room
Svend’s body is still in bed, stabbed many many times in the chest
It’s early afternoon now
The guards there don’t know anything, the guards that were here aren’t awake yet. Possibly drugged
Harper brings up the masked man, Daggart is annoyed.
He rubs the bridge of his nose. Without leadership they can’t bring the city in order to defend themselves.
Without the governor, leadership falls to the council.
Daggart sent his right hand man to get Svend for the meeting, found the guards asleep, saw Svend dead
Didn’t touch anything except the door
Door was unlocked
Nearby rooms, Daggart’s room across the hall, Daggarts closest people in the nearby rooms, but no one has been up there
Policy says it’s up to Svend, whether he’d want to lock the door.
Eloenn says they should hire elven guards
Both guards were human.
Daggart doesn’t know where his wife is. She had her own quarters with the children.
He’ll send someone to go check.
They’ve found some people with medical magic talents. Sends the order down to check out the sleeping guards
Eloenn goes over to the body, but is too squeamish to tell anything about it
Eloenn sets up an alarm spell around the body.
Lyulf can tell the murderer has killed before, weapon they’re not as familiar with.
Blade thick, not as sharp as it could’ve been, had to do work
Harper notices that Svend was definitely overpowered, caught asleep
Svend’s right hand has dried blood on it, around the thumb, bruise on forearm, but not injured on the hand otherwise.
There aren’t trails of blood out of the room
Blood splatter seems strange. There’s a slight trail that goes under the bed. There’s a knife there.
Eloenn casts detect magic. The blade has been used for magical purposes in the past, not currently enchanted.
Used for religious purposes. Eloenn can tell this is a very old sacrificial blade, mostly considered ceremonial now. In the past, used for rituals for the church of Ishkur.
Church is pretty mainstream now, worst they used to do was sacrifice animals. More rural members would have done it, not a recent practice.
It’s been many decades since the blade was used with magic attached to the blade. The magic traces are pretty well ingrained.
Eloenn picks it up with mage hand
There’s blood all over the knife. Not really any kind of hand print.
Bruises on Svend’s forearms, some struggle, but quickly overpowered, definitely surprised.
Riley looks closer, she thinks the attacker was one person, both very strong, very prepared, very agile. Surprised Svend in the night, when he was asleep, didn’t wake up until stabbing started.
From what she can tell, Svend got one attack in, but the attacker overpowered him. Probably used his knees to hold him down. Enough weight to keep him still during the stabbing.
Svend has an average build, kinda thin. Frail from stress. Surprising how beaten down he seems. He didn’t seem this beaten down before, very charismatic.
Daggart remembers seeing Svend go to bed early, shortly after sundown.
Last changing of the guard around midnight.
Svend was missed in the morning, but it was so chaotic, and no one wanted to pressure him, so they were giving him his space.
Sometime between midnight to eight in the morning, for the guards’ shift.
Body was found around nine.
Daggart doesn’t know the last time he saw Gregori.
Daggart sends for someone to collect Adherent.
We head to see the guards who’d been put to sleep.
The medical area is crazy, dealing with aftermath of attack.
No one’s really checking on the guards. A very exhausted priest shows up, tells us nothing magical has been done to them. Probably poison. Priest of Ivar.
Doesn’t know what poison. Nothing on-hand that’s safe to use has worked.
Harper, checking over the guards, makes an educated guess that it was a poison derived from some kind of lotus. Rumors and legends of a plant from some distant land, random and exotic. Plant that puts you to sleep, its vines wrap around you and slowly kill you. Can derive a poison that can put anyone to sleep, if they use too much, they’ll never wake up.
The guards don’t look like they’ll wake up any time soon.
Adding on, Eloenn knows that there are other just as foreign and exotic antidotes that can wake someone up. Research in the past, a lot of the effects of the Black Lotus have been exaggerated. They’ll probably wake up in a week at most, without repeated doses. Don’t seem like they’ve had that big of a dose though. Should be awake sometime in the next twelve hours.
Eloenn can tell that if the Black Lotus hadn’t been processed, it would be airborne spores. But it dies when it’s taken away from its vine. Only other way they could’ve been dosed would be by drinking.
Daggart will send his assistant to see if they can find who was stationed at the base of the stairs.
The assistant has a week of beard, hasn’t slept more than fifteen minutes in the last four days.
The guards’ gear has been stowed next to them. No liquids. Mostly clothes. Armor has been given to other guards.
A group of people rush in, swarm around Daggart, push us away. Speaking in panicked tones. Daggart bolts away, and we chase him. Into the garrison, into the closed off banquet hall.
In the banquet hall, someone is laying on one of the tables.
Eloenn demands entrance in a fancy tone.
Daggart smacks the guards, and they let us in.
Big feast, twelve nobles all slumped over.
No one we know well, not Eloenn’s parents or Eloise. Nobles Eloenn vaguely recognizes.
Two of them are already dead, definitely overdoses on some kind of poison. Lyulf guesses it’s the same thing that knocked out the guards, larger dose. Another dies as we’re there.
Daggart’s yelling for healers. Magically inclined priests comes in, Lyulf tries to induce vomiting. Trying to leech one.
But one-by-one they all die. The whole Council is dead.
Lyulf asks who is next in command, Daggart doesn’t know, this has never happened before.
Eloenn knows (cause she’s a huge nerd) the next in line in this situation is the major factions in the city, determined by rules she doesn’t know (has the book but not on hand). Top number selects representatives to rule in the interim.
Daggart is assuming complete command of the garrison, locking the city down, imposing martial law.
Promoting us to secret police. No one’s doing anything until we know who’s doing this and execute them.
There are wine in the goblets. Two pitchers of wine on the table, both used. One’s three quarters empty, other half empty. Glasses are all shattered or tipped over. Were holding these glasses when the poison would’ve affected them.
Rounded up the serving staff.
Lyulf takes samples of wine, fills his wineskin.
They didn’t get far into their meals.
The staff says they didn’t do it. Don’t remember anything out of the ordinary. All keep talking at once.
One woman served the wine. She just did her job. Went into the kitchen, there was a platter of wine glasses, platter with decanters. Brought them in, filled them, and left. Harper thinks she looks completely honest. Terrified. Using the truth as a shield. Going through the facts slowly over and over.
A man in cook’s attire says he filled the decanters, doesn’t remember it specifically, but he usually does it.
We go into the kitchen, he points at a cask that’s been opened. He set out the glasses. Points out the cupboard, with dozens more glasses.
Eloenn knows the poison has to be in liquid form, not on the glasses.
Lyulf takes samples from the cask of wine too.
The cask came in from the cellar, has been here for decades. Don’t normally host parties here, this is the nicest oldest drink.
Possibly most obvious choice to serve nobles.
Eloenn investigates the cask, definitely wasn’t tampered with before it was opened.
Someone would’ve taste-tested it, they are still alive. The cook’s apprentice, a younger kid.
Riley is scary, but Eloenn is very soothing. The boy is smitten.
His boss opened the cask, and ordered him to taste it. He tasted it and it was fine. They filled the decanters, set out the glasses.
Kicks his feet, glances at Eloenn. Did let Catarina’s personal maid taste some too. Just came to visit him. Doesn’t happen often.
She asked if she could have some, he let her pour it herself from one of the decanters.
Riley looks at Daggart like, go get her.
Daggart pulls Riley aside, no chance in hell. The girl is with Catarina, in her quarters, in mourning. Without solid evidence, he can’t do anything.
Daggart sends his assistant to make a delicate request for the girl to come forward.
The Council of Nobles are the chosen representatives from the most important families.
Daggart sends someone to ask after Ilsevel.
Guards reappear with the Adherent in tow. We’re taken to the barracks, where the Adherent is being kept.
We’re pulled aside, they searched his room at the inn, one of his robes, hidden in a closet, it was a torn robe of Ishkur covered in blood.
We come in, and he perks up. Did you find him?
Eloenn says the master has sacrificed himself
Well I’m fucked.
Riley – you need to tell me everything
With my master gone, I just got promoted. Long moment of contemplation. He doesn’t know what’s going on here. Doesn’t think Ishkur would want him to stay silent and let injustice happen.
His name is Aleril. Him and his master were sent here by the Circle of Ishkur (based in Two Rivers). The circle was growing concerned because Ishkur couldn’t communicate with the church in Ashfell. They were sent to make contact, find out what was going on.
Found a lot of nothing. The church privately admitted that there had been no divine inspiration or miracles or magic from Ishkur for a long time.
The previous high priest stepped down out of shame, that’s when Gregori stepped up. Has been trying to reconnect with Ishkur ever since. Perform ceremonies as best they can in the meantime.
Gregori was high in the ranks of the temple of Ivar, next in line to be high priest. Suddenly switched to Ishkur, worked his way quickly up the ranks there. Very effective and devout cleric. Not completely out of the realm of possibility that a cleric would switch deities.
It’s been about ten years since Gregori switched religions. Ishkur gradually went silent around a year ago. More and more often, Ishkur stopped answering clerics.
Gregori became high priest very recently, less than a year. Would’ve taken some time to decide who would be the next high priest. Which priest becomes the face of the organization.
In Ivar, the high priest is elected, a figure in the community.
Eloenn thinks they should’ve sent someone to the Circle.
Aleril agrees. This is all very strange.
He knows nothing about the masked man and the demons.
A priest of Ishkur confronted with something like that, sounds like it’s against gods. Aleril guesses that his master thought it threatened everything, including Ishkur himself. Any true priest would react the same.
Riley brings up the bloody robes.
Someone’s framing me.
Who? He doesn’t know.
He’s not staying with the church of Ishkur, staying in an inn. It would not be difficult for someone to come in. The robes were ceremonial.
Riley asks Eloenn to conjure an illusion of the knife we found. Aleril confirms that it belonged to his master. They stayed in the same room.
He’s been coming and going pretty frequently, been trying to help people. His leg is pretty much better.
In general, looking better, but still a little rough. Doesn’t seem like he could overpower Svend easily. It would be a struggle.
We all believe him, based on our insight.
He’s been going out, healing people, helping people however he can, sleeps for a few hours, goes back out again. Not a solid alibi.
It was dark when he got home, was asleep when the guards came to get him.
He can’t think of anyone who would want to frame him. He thought the investigation was going well, started working with the church to get the connection back. Did think it was something they’d done necessarily. Doesn’t know much about demons.
If what caused the disconnect was digging up the demons, sealing them up could’ve had the opposite effect. Wasn’t a solid sealing though.
Ilsevel is back home, she was exhausted and they sent her home before all this happened.
Haven’t heard anything from Catarina.
When we leave the room, Daggart asks if we should execute him. We say no, not yet at least.
Riley says we have to get the right person.
His face turns hard, he agrees but this is about the stability of the entire city of Ashfell.
No one should know the Council is dead yet. But the fact that everything has been locked down says a lot. Feeds the panic.
Catarina has her own personal elite guard.
We head to try to talk to Catarina. For some reason, she’s not in rooms like Svend’s. She’s in guest quarters, but smaller and less comfortable, more defensible. Center of garrison. More traffic there. But the whole guard group is outside the door.
Guards grab their weapons and turn to us.
Now’s not the time.
Eloenn says now is the perfect time.
Xan wants to cast sleep, but Riley is super persuasive. A guard in the back steps over and knocks on the door.
The door cracks open and someone steps out. Not Catarina, youngish girl. Waves us away from the guards.
Eloenn has seen her face before, but was never introduced. She is the handmaiden. Her name is Oksana, she is a human.
Catarina is in mourning. Doesn’t give a lot of details.
We’re out of guards’ earshot.
Riley asks her about the cook’s assistant in the kitchen.
Nothing crosses her face, but she doesn’t say anything for a long moment. She was just checking on how the preparations for the meeting were going. Catarina sent her down because she was preparing to go down herself.
Eloenn can tell that she’s concealing something from us.
Oksana’s eyes moves to each other us, crosses her arms and starts to move back to the guards. Stops and looks at Eloenn. Maybe you should think about where you saw Catarina last.
She disappears back past the guards and into the room. Fifteen guards or so.
Eloenn peers at the guards, they look well-rested, extremely well-equipped, and fit. None tired or injured. None look paranoid or guilty looking.
Harper turns into a spider, sneaks across the ceiling and get in through the gap in the door.
Inside the room are Catarina’s servants, four or five girls. She doesn’t look broken up. Sitting, reading a book, with a glass of wine.
It’s well-known that she’s talented in the healing arts, there is an alchemy table.
Harper claws over to the table, sees a lot of vials. Tools. Nothing stands out.
He can tell that many of the vials are empty, the mortar and pestle has been used recently. Doesn’t know what on.
Everything’s unmarked, nothing’s obvious.
She wouldn’t have been carrying any bags, but the guards would’ve had packs.
There are some books. Drawers, filled with supplies that haven’t been used. Used supplies on the tables. At least two of the vials had liquid in them. Some residue on them.
Catarina got married to Svend when she was very young. As far as the city knows, they’re the happiest couple. The nobles all love Svend. The nobles know Catarina fairly well, know she’s polite. The lower classes don’t know her well at all.
No real conversation in the room.
Harper crawls back out of the room, waves at Riley. She scoops him off the wall. Away from the guards, Harper turns back into a boy in Riley’s arms.
There were no windows in the room.
Riley tells Daggart her suspicions, he tells us to go to the alchemy shop, to see what she got there. That could be evidence that he can act on. He’ll post guards.
The guards that would normally patrol the King’s Road have been recalled, now patrolling the streets. We have a written letter saying we can do whatever we want, we get to the apothecary fairly quickly.
Apothecary lives in his shop and is there to let us in. He seems exhausted by this whole thing, last time we saw him, everything was being attacked by goblins.
You guys again.
Riley asks what Catarina was purchasing.
He doesn’t know, she placed an order through him for a crate. He sent the order onto an apothecary from Two Rivers, the order went south. Crate arrived, and she paid him for the crate.
There was something strange about it. She frequents this shop, normally pays with a writ of credit from Svend. This time, she didn’t have a writ from Svend, she had a writ from the church of Ishkur. Was trying to buy more than the writ would cover. The writ she got from the church would’ve exactly cover the cost of the crate. She wanted certain other herbs.
Lists them off, shakes his head, all pretty innocuous, just mask flavor. It was very weird.
He was not a fan of how that all went down, the guards took over his shop. It was getting tense when the goblins attacked. They were holding him hostage.
He’d happily testify against her.
The guards will help us escort the apothecary back to the garrison, he tells Daggart what he told us. Daggart sends a LOT of guards to get Catarina.
Catarina and her handmaidens are brought down and separated. Guards are brought down and disarmed.
We check out Catarina’s room.
Nearly every book are books of alchemy. One speaks about Black Lotus. Eloenn summons an unseen servant and loads him up with books.
Harper gets the vials. Enid takes a look at them, can tell, with the help of the book, that this is definitely a reduction of Black Lotus. The drops would be enough to knock out a man for twelve hours, and these were full.
We go to see Oksana, demand the truth. She did what she was told to do.
Doesn’t want to talk, but Riley is very persuasive. The handmaiden says that Catarina killed those people. Oksana didn’t know she was helping until afterward. Catarina told her to take the vials, pour everything into the decanters, and leave.
Harper can tell she’s telling the truth, but not the whole truth.
Why? She doesn’t know, doesn’t care.
Oksana says as far as she knows, she got the poison from the apothecary.
We go to see Catarina.
Head laid down on the table, asleep. Eloenn shakes her gently and she wakes up.
She asks for wine.
Riley says she can have wine if she talks to us.
What do you want to know?
Tell us everything.
She’s a little tipsy. Rests her cheek on her fist. What’re you talking about?
Eloenn informs her that her husband has been killed.
Oh good, about time.
DId you not know?
Shrug and a smile.
She’s drunk and does not care.
E: did you poison the council of nobles?
Sits up, looks in the eye. Not one of you is going to marry off my daughters like they did to me.
All of them wanted to create a family alliance with Svend. Wanted to marry their sons to my daughters.
R – Who killed your husband?
C – It was all Gregori’s plan until it fell apart.
R – What was his plan?
He’s greedy and a fool. He came to her, earned her trust, she saw through his rouse. He thought he was being clever when he suggested that they could help each other.
Everything he did to try to take over the city fell apart. Goblins stopped listening to him, she was stuck in the shop because he didn’t give her enough money. Servants were overthrown by the goblins. He couldn’t deflect suspicion, it was obvious it was him.
E – where is he now?
C – ask his brother. They haven’t spoken in years, first time they saw each other was during the attack. Ever since, they’ve been inseparable.
Eloenn shows off an illusion of the mask the masked man wore.
C – that’s the mask Radu wears when he’s doing Gregori’s bidding outside the city. Next in line to be high priest of Ishkur.
Does she know about the mine? She laughs, what’re you talking about.
Harper believes everything, she’s so done, she got what she wanted. Doesn’t care anymore. Believes that she has won, her daughters are safe.
She doesn’t know how Gregori orchestrated all of this, the goblin attacks surprised her. All seemed like a fantasy up to that point.
Why did Gregori want to take over the city?
Pauses and thinks. No. It strikes her as strange, didn’t seem like something he wanted. Doesn’t think anyone was instructing him. Thinks it was something he felt he had to do.
Someone’s gotta do it, guess it’s gotta be me.
Not necessarily something noble, wasn’t anything high minded.
She wonders if he even wanted to win.
Catarina doesn’t know anything about the Adherent.
Eloenn tells Daggart that we need to find Gregori immediately. He’s been listening. Levi is coming, he’ll let the Adherent out.
In the time it takes us to talk it through with him, Levi comes rushing in.
If you’re looking for Gregori, we have to leave now. I think we can get him but he’s leaving for the churches. Levi’s worried about him.
We rush out, Reckonth doesn’t see Gregori from the air. We have a guard escort.
Gregori was acting very strange before he suddenly left. He was speaking very fatalistically. * Everything happened the way it had to, even if it wasn’t the way he wanted. He kept apologizing, didn’t say for what.
I’m going to meet my end with my god.
Gregori has a strange way of disappearing when he wants to.
Levi takes us to the church of Ishkur, we don’t find anything.
Reckonth spots Gregori rushing across the street, into the church of Ivar.
We spot him down a hallway, speaking to a figure in shadow. They dart into a side passage, a secret passage. Stairwell that drops down below the church. We pursue him, under the city streets.
Dips down farther, and suddenly the walls are metal. We’ve never seen anything like this. Steel floor. Follow the path and find Gregori inside a glass chamber with two tall thin pillars to either side.
Turns to face us. Hear him faintly say “I’m coming to be one with you.”
Grabs both pillars. There are alchemical blue-green lights on the walls. They dim and we see Gregori’s soul crawl out of his skin and dissolve. His body collapses.
The lights come back on and we see the mask on the other side of the glass. The man from the caves. He tries to run but he’s still injured. Turns to face us, sees he won’t get away. * Swigs a vial of something and drops to his knees. He’s done running.
Harper casts Purify Food and Drink, but it doesn’t work. The man falls on his face and dies.
Under his mask, he is Radu. Salt and pepper grey hair.
The room looks like the inside of a machine, metal walls, glass partitions, pylons. Walls are lined with LED bulbs, full with glowing green light.
Eloenn casts Detect Magic. Pylons and lights are intensely magic. Pipes and lines and wires on the ceiling, those are glowing with magic too, but slowly fading.
Inside the glass chamber, where Gregori’s body is, there’s a switch.
Doesn’t really looks like a lab. There’s this weird chamber, and hallways, but we don’t know how to open up the secret passages.
Doesn’t seem temple-like. Utilitarian, everything seems to have a purpose. Cold and mechanical.
Ilsevel’s golem was in the right ballpark, but it had artistry. There are not cogs and gears and moving parts here. Not steampunk. More advanced.
Eloenn tries to make Reckonth appear past the supposed secret passages, but it doesn’t work, and the magical wires glow bright.
Levi doesn’t go down with us. He was staring afraid at the doorway.
Magic is fading from Radu. There’s a void where Gregori’s body is, not even a spark of anything there.
Eloenn summons an unseen servant to carry out the bodies.
Riley guides him away so he doesn’t have to see the bodies at first.
Levi asks what happens. Riley tells him gently that his brother and Radu are no more. There’s a contraption down there.
He hangs his head, kind of expected this outcome. Affected but not surprised.
He doesn’t know what happened between the two of them. Gregori was the most loyal and devout person to Ivar, but suddenly turned away from everything and switched religions. Did everything not to communicate with Levi.
Last few days, asking about the church, asking about everything to do with it. Asking about people from the Ivar church he hadn’t been able to talk to for many years, catching up.
We go to check out Gregori’s quarters. Seems normal, but Levi thinks it’s wrong, it can’t be his room. Super generic. Some books, most basic religious texts. Nothing with Gregori’s writing and Gregori was a passionate writer.
Eloenn sends a message to Daggart. Through Reckonth.
The layout of the two churches is similar. The secret passage in the Ivar church has closed up, but the servant had brought the bodies up. We can’t find the original secret passage or any passages in the Ishkur church.
Eloenn attempts to detect magic in Gregori’s office, but doesn’t find anything.
Right now, the Ivar priests are out in the city. The majority of the Ishkur priests are in the garrison.
The city calms down. The immediate threat has been neutralized. Everyone’s pretty satisfied that Gregori was the ringleader.
The church of Ishkur will have a big shake-up. With Adherent’s help, they’ll route out a cult inside the church, “special prayer group” that idolized Gregori. Most of them are dead. Once they started investigating the corpses and those we captured, they could tell it was this group.
Eloenn learns some stuff about exotic crazy poisons from Catarina’s books, adds it to her lore book.
Eventually, someone finds a body in a burned house with a gouged out left eye, we figure out that he killed Svend.
Ilsevel could’ve told us that the assassin wasn’t killed by goblins.