After a long and exhausting night I woke to sounds of chatter down stairs. I was surprised to see Kara had returned. She told Andrew and me that since she parted ways, after seeing the oracle, she has been suffering intense visions. Visions far stronger than the ones she received from Andraste. One such vision depicted our deaths from Blackflame. The conversation quickly moved on to why Andrew left in the middle of the night and nearly died at the hands of assassins. Andrew possessed no memory of these events. Zee scanned him magically and found remnants of a compulsion spell, which was almost certainly placed upon him by the succubus Selena. I decided not to share my meeting with Wolfclaw until we are sure Andrew is himself again. Guided by Halean Zee and Aranwe went to the market to buy a charm to protect Andrew from more dream encounters with the demoness. When they returned Arenwe was very put off by Zee’s many stops along the way to buy costumes for October 31st celebration.
That evening Dac stopped by looking for work, but after feeding him I sent him on his way as Halean was already scheduled to lead us to the Ardocs’ since he originally couriered the letter to Besel for us. By the time our guide arrived we were ready to meet Besel Ardoc. Andrew, Drayfus and Zee were all dressed in costumes, while the rest of us opted out.
The city streets where filled with people wearing masks and costumes making nearly impossible to tell who is friend and foe. It was a relief to reach the designated warehouse in Bis. The Ardoc party was in full swing upon entering. Music, dancing, food and wine were in bountiful portion. The main table was headed by a man in robes, but without a mask. Zee identified him as Kalarond emissary to Lady Crimson. Halean stepped away from us cementing the fact that this invitation wasn’t from the Ardocs. The music stopped and every guest changed masks to ones of white porcelain worn by the League of Shadow Assassins. A wall folded away revealing the leaders of the fore mentioned league. The sorcerer Black flame who fled from us last night was one of them. The second was a built man in cloak and wearing a brimmed hat. He was referred to as Wraith. The third leader was a woman called Stiletto.
Kalarond revealed that under the protection of this city he has more room to act on his own. This evening was engineered for his entertainment. The League wanted us lured into a trap in order to kill us for being witness to the attempt on Andrew’s life. Furthermore they are the ones posing as Pathfinders and had Horus killed. To make it sporting should we survive then Kalarond will give us a locator stone and a scroll containing the location of the Vault of Heavens. With no real room for negotiation our hand was already dealt. The Assassins all broken vials of red mist, breathed it in and moved in for attack. With this extra edge of magic they proved to be much more formidable opponents then the last time we fought. At the expense of many egregious wounds we had slain 10 of the 15 masked assassins. With their advantage dwindling the three leaders join the fray. With help from Arenwe Andrew killed Blackflame. Stiletto fell next, but Wraith who could turn incorporeal at will escaped with threats of vengeance.
True to his word Kalarond gave us the stone and scroll. With all of us on death’s door we did not push our luck and start a fight with Kalarond, so we took our leave. Back at the house we found it thoroughly ransacked, but nothing of true value was there to be taken.
Now that Andrew’s mind was protected with the talisman I shared my conversation with Wolfclaw to the group and that we have two of the three keys. Andrew shared that he knows who has the last key. A famous figure in town nicknamed the Recluse. Upon request I returned the first key to Andrew and the tracking stone was given to Kara. We decided to try and speak with the Recluse that very night.
Young Dac led us to the center of the city and to the home rumored to be the estate of the mysterious Recluse. The estate was guarded by unusual men made of stone. After meeting Edmond the house servant and I invoked the name of the Vault of Heavens and we were welcomed inside. The estate was amazing yet felt devoid of any warmth or charm. After moving through an amount of space that shouldn’t have been possible in a house that size we were led to a young boy. To my great surprise this boy answered to the title of Recluse. Zee whispered to me that the boy was a vampire.
He quickly acknowledged that he is a guardian of the key we seek. We warned him about the Dark Lords’ quest and that he is in danger as long as the key is in his possession. This amused the boy and he admitted an attempt was already made. We pressed again on how important the vault is to the Dark Lords’ plans and that he will not stop till whatever he is after is achieved or destroyed.
He looked us each over with an unnatural gaze. The ageless boy seemed genuinely surprised to learn that my intentions for the vault are entirely pure. He detected the same from Zee, but became hesitant when observing the conflict between the other three. He offered us to stay in the safety of his home for the night and he would see us again in the morrow and make a decision.
I was fearful that we wouldn’t prove worthy of the responsibility of saving the world if we can’t work with or trust one another so I locked us in a room where all can voice our concerns. Arenwe was like a smoldering coal and spoke with a barely contained anger. He proposed leaving the party so not to hinder the quest, but we reminded him of how much he is needed. I asked if his distrust of Andrew was enough to risk the fate of the world and he decided to try and stay. Andrew shocked me into silence when he revealed he was in fact a thief and a murderer in his not too distant past, but has been trying to change and promises that his intention for the vault is merely to thwart the Dark Lord’s plans. So not to appear a hypocrite I had to stomach my distain for Andrews’ past and asked everyone to operate on faith of action and necessity.
After much prodding Aranwe disclosed that he no longer has any feelings for Kara, neither love nor hate he has completely detached his feelings from her. It was a terrible thing for Kara to have to hear and my heart broke for her. Perhaps the most painful part is that I believed Arenwe had truly turned that part of himself off from love.
Besides the obvious trouble and imbalance between Kara and Arenwe she was also concerned in going after the vault of heavens as she had a vision of her own death and if she doesn’t die in the right way the Dark Lord will win in a future final battle. As a group we convinced her to stay on with us. Emotionally exhausted we adjourned the meeting and went separately to our rooms. The morning will reveal if this discussion was a success or failure.