Once out of the bunker we received our first look at the poverty stricken Warrens. Most of the structures were a little more than wooden planks held together by rope. Drayfus explained that the entire city is built on top and over itself turning streets into mazes and we’ll need a guide if we hope to get anywhere.
The was no shortage of applicants for the job of guide including two disgusting Ratlings and young boy named Dac Hawkins, but ultimately we chose a man calling himself Halean to lead us the Colenguard estate in Cavalcade.
Once through the Warrens we entered Bis, an artisan division of mostly balconies. It was here that we first saw the patrolling squads of Golems. Between that and perched gargoyles it seems nothing is impossible with in these walls. Finally we reached the industrial district of Cavalcade and Horis’s house. Khal spotted signs of alarm as the door was ajar and he quietly entered. A moment later I heard men speaking about murder and Khal swearing he didn’t do it. I stepped to the door and annouce we’re friends of the owner and mean no harm. I received an answer in the form of two crossbow bolts. I stepped aside so Khal could back out of the house. I gave them the chance to talk about this before any blood is shed, but they couldn’t be reasoned with. Between magic and steel we cut them down quickly causing the last five to flee. Khal still furious killed two more leaving only three to escape.
Searching the estate Drayfus did identify a corpse as his brother Horis. Zee’s examination revealed he had been dead at least a day and was stabbed in the back. A note was found on one of the men who tried to kill us. They were ordered to kill anyone who came to the house as they would be either the killer returning to the scene of the crime or be looters. The instructions were from Besel Ardoc. The Ardocs are a famous family in Kaer Maga and they are most known for Golem manufacturing. The party delved into a lot of speculation over the truth behind this note and why Horis would be killed. Horis’s diary did point to a friendship with Besel and noted that a group claiming to be Pathfinders had moved into the city and that Horis was going to look into if they were imposters. We all agreed that the guise of Pathfinders would be an excellent cover for Blackguard forces to search the city for the Vault of Heavens and if Horis could disprove them he could have been killed because of it.
We set watch and turned in for the night. The next morning I asked Drayfus to write a letter to Besel thanking him for protecting the estate and inquiring if he had any information on Horis’s murder. Khal objected as first fearing we were tipping our hand, but after further discussion withdrew his objection.
That afternoon Andrew and I set out to find the Twilight Stride tavern where Andrew is to meet Wolfclaw about the Vault of Heavens. We ran into the boy Dac Hawkins once more. I was reluctant to hire him as this is too dangerous a job for a child, but it appears he has no father or mother to support him and at least I could watch out for him while he was with us.
Andrew handed me the fist size diamond, which was deceptive as it’s true value is immeasurable because it is in fact the first key of three to the Vault of Heavens. I felt honored by his trust in me and accepted to hold it till he asked for it back. Andrew brought up the discussion of distribution of gold from the vault and I declined having a share as my need for gold is so very little. I asked Andrew what he would do with his immense wealth. To my surprise Andrew promised to give all, but the bare essentials away to orphanages across the Midlands. Andrew also shared with me how hurt he is that Aranwe doesn’t trust him and hopes that by helping thwart the plans of the dark lord it will prove to Arenwe his trust worthiness. I don’t see how it couldn’t.
Dac took us through the slave market and it was one of the worst displays of inhuman monstrosity I’ve seen. Women, children sold to the highest bidder. Andrew and I both knew there was nothing we could to do to make a difference, but I forced myself to see every last detail of it. If I couldn’t stop it then I would not attempt to fool myself that it wasn’t happening. One glimmer of kindness was present. A group called the Freeman were buying slaves to set them free. Perhaps there is some hope for that city, I was later proved wrong.
Shortly before dusk we reached the Ankar-Te district and we’re shocked to see the undead walking around freely. May the Maker destroy this place with great wrath and terrible vengeance. Kear Maga is truly a cauldron of depravity and inequity.
For Dac’s safety we had him wait for us outside of the district. Before entering the Twilight Stride we formed a plan that we’d enter separatly and I’d wait till Andrew gave me the signal to join him and Wolfclaw. When I finally entered Andrew was sharing a bottle of wine with a beautiful woman. I assumed this to be an agent of Wolfclaw. After a few hours Andrew excused himself to the privy. I followed and he was surprised to see me as if he forgot I had been waiting for his signal all this time. I quickly learned his was drunk and not just acting as such. His meeting with the woman Selena had nothing to do with Wolfclaw. Selena’s plan was to wait till dark and take Andrew some place to be alone. I finally snapped Andrew back to the reality of the nature of this place and its inhabitants. This reminder sobered Andrew quickly. We planned to exit the privy and then the tavern directly. I opened the door and was shocked to see Selena on the other side of the door waiting for us. I quickly shut the door. She called for Andrew in a seductive voice. Once composed I opened the door and told her I’d be taking Andrew home as he wasn’t feeling well. She countered with an offer of substation for me to take his place in her embrace. I had finally had enough and with my hand on my sword’s hilt I told her she was either a harlot or Devil spawn, but either way she best stand aside as I’ve had all I can tolerate from this Markerless city for one day. She thought it over and ultimately did step aside promising Andrew he would dream about her.
Once outside of Ankar-Te Andrew explained that Wolfclaw was late, but left a letter and parcel for him at the tavern. It was a long and taxing trip back to the estate as Andrew was distracted by each food and wine cart we passed.
Finally returned Andrew went to bed and I read the letter. Wolfclaw would join Rowe soon and with the stone provided he could find Rowe anywhere in town. Zee attempted to show me a code hidden in Horis’ journal. It made no sense to me, but I urged him to speak to Drayfus about it. In our absence Besel had responded to our letter and invited Drayfus to meet him tomorrow. Setting watch once again we called it a night.
When I took watch over from Zee he casually mentioned that Andrew quietly slipped out of the house an hour ago and someone who had been watching the house began to follow Andrew. I was near speechless as to why Zee hadn’t alerted me immediately. Fearing for Andrew’s safety we awoke Khal and with Aranwe guarding the Estate and Drayfus the three if us went after Rowe.
The tracks did confirm that Andrew was being followed. Finally in the marketplace at a great distance Zee spotted Andrew go down an alley. By the time we caught up with him Andrew was on the ground bleeding and surrounded by five cloaked figures. They wasted no time attacking us. The leader was a mage who could turn into black flame, disappear and reappear a distance away. After quickly dispatching his men the mage vanished promising this was not over. Zee healed Andrew in the nick of time and we safely returned to the estate. Tired and disappointed in Andrew running off on his own for a fourth time I turned in for a few hours of sleep.
I awoke to a heavily injured Wolfclaw in my room. He told me that he was double crossed by a Dark lord commander named Gor’rend. Wolfclaw no longer cares about the treasure he merely wants revenge and gave me a giant canary yellow diamond, the second key to the Vault of Heavens. Gor’rend learned from the Oracle the location of the third key and the vault’s location. Wolfclaw said he would be in touch and leaped out of the second story window. By the time I reached the window he was nowhere to be seen.
Nothing has gone as expected in Kear Maga, but with two of the three keys in our possession we have a chance of getting to the Celestial Observatory before the Blackguard. For once it feels like we have the lead and I plan on keeping it.