Information has come into the hands of the Guards that the Collector, having escaped the court’s justice through his glib tongue, will be back in his home continuing his unusual antics – and with the sudden disappearance of the particular friend of an adventurer, Red Kent has a warrant to deliver.
Those invited to assist in finding Valinwe and to hand over the warrant for Jeremiah Creep were:
- Venn of the Scouts Guild;
- Guardsman Red Kent;
- Father of Kharach;
They arrived at the gates of the estate and were questioned by the guards as to their business. With the tip off from an ex-man of the Collector’s, they were able to talk their way past the wary guards and make their way into the market. Now, the adventurers were aware that the man had a Black Market running, but they did not know how black the place was going to be.
Two traders were dealing with a vampire and an ogre, plying their trade in alchemy, weapons, body parts and bodies. Gauging the operation led to Kent having a chat whilst Father prepared to dismiss the Vampire, at which point the adventurers got to their business uninterrupted. Kent, reviewing the permits, arrested the pair before looking over the documents, goods and such scattered on the stall. Their eyes were drawn to a list of recent ‘requisitions’ and the true nature of the market came to light. Dark Elves were further in, people were going missing and there were prices for the kidnap of certain peoples for whatever dark purpose. Time to get a move on …
On the road further into the estate Father and Red Kent were stopped by a guard on patrol. He seemed to believe their story about needing to speak with the boss about a mutual interest, but Venn popped out of the woods and startled the man who raised the alarm. His fellows came running but before he could tell them what was happening Kent had knocked him out and the rest were set upon. Leaving them unconscious or dying, they continued on their way – unaware for a time of the shadowy presence following their every move.
Tracked by a dark elf demon they were able to beat the creature back, but were not able to quickly kill it, so they kept one eye on the woodland and one eye on the road. Coming to a crossroads they waited for Venn to interpret the tangle of tracks until something came scuffling out of the shadows and peered at them. Unwilling to delay when there was a chance their quarry could slip away again, Kent was eager to be heading on, but at the request for help with some bodies Father was called to enact his spiritual duty. What he found was a mass grave, tended by a distraught woman who spoke of how her husband and child had been taken and bought by the dark elves, and how she had watched from the shadows as they had been taken away and used as part of some dark ritual. Their bodies dumped in the grave had led her to that place and she begged for Father’s help. But there were no souls in the grave and Father was alarmed at the possible cause for this.
Following the tracks led them along a darkened path, where the edge crumbled away into the water, a booby trap led to part of the wall collapsing on Venn as he scouted ahead, and something exploded in a ball of fire that consumed Father in a fiery inferno. Now wary, they avoided a strange glowing orb that seemed too tempting to be safe, and they stumbled upon the dark elven camp. One of them was walking a circle, summoning some darker evil into existence as a woman sat shackled nearby. Interrupted it set its followers on the adventurers and a scuffle went back and forth until the adventurers were victorious, if not a little bloodied. Freeing the woman Venn hid her in the bushes for them to collect on their return journey, hearing of her patchy recollection of events after she had arrived at the market. Somewhere up ahead slaves were being kept, and given what they thought to have interrupted it could not be good news.
On the road was a group of unmoving skeletons that the adventurers warily passed, before they came upon a second group that were blocking the road. After removing a couple the dark elf with them set the pack upon the group, and the adventurers leapt to the fray. Dusting off the bone dust they turned the corner and were about to cross the bridge when a trio of guards the other side called out to them. It seemed they were ill advised to cross by that path and after the strange insistence by the guards, the adventurers paused – were these three a trap or was there genuinely a reason not to cross this bridge?
Venn cast about and noticed that only their footprints came to the bridge, so he back-tracked looking for further traffic. Apart from the undead and their recent scuffle, the way seemed oddly empty until he came to a fork in the road and a great number of footprints leading away down to the river. He led his companions over a smaller bridge, where they came to the guards. They greeted Venn warily, the darkness lending him a duskiness to his complexion, and when they threatened him their threat was returned in kind.
Onwards they went, hurrying now as the night drew on, until they came to the slave pens where they found a guard on duty and a elven figure within a number of magical circles. After putting the guard down they found an unusual password on his person which “on Crowa’s bloody earth” Red Kent refused to utter aloud. Father did the deed and Venn was able to reach his friend unscathed, but Valinwe would not rouse at his touch and he seemed to be as if dead. One target down, now for the warrant …
Crossing the bridge back over the narrow gorge led them to a group of guards who were adamant that they should not be there. Putting these down opened their way into the building where the trio entered a room of puzzles and disturbed a sleeping woman. Waking her with a blade at her throat Father removed her hatchet from her grasp and took away her papers and then sat down for a little chat. The woman, startled and annoyed she’d been caught napping, was willing to talk a little, indicating that her employer was out and that his laboratory was locked. Various things in the room sparked their attention – a talking statue with riddles, a box with a strange wooden emblem in the top and a hand holding a key. It took some time, but after combing the room for the other pieces of the shape atop the box led them to find another puzzle – both of which eventually yielded a ring.
Father proceeded to attempt to pull the key from the hand, but in doing so he was set alight and Venn first tried to bat the flames with Kent’s shield (only to make them worse) before patting down the priest. One can only assume that Kharach likes his priest’s crispy …
Eventually they were able to answer the riddles with some help from their new found ‘friend’ and retrieve another ring, before the woman made a deal with the party for the fourth ring for the hand and the other key to the door – having realised that a guard, a feral elf and a priest of Kharach were unlikely to have pleasant things to say to her employer. Buying herself a head start from the law and giving up an additional bit of information on how to deal with the ‘dead’ elf Valinwe, she handed over the agreed items and bolted through the door. With four rings on the hand the key was released and they worked to open the door with haste – expecting their prey to arrive at any time.
As they confiscated the papers and contraband items within the laboratory they were interrupted by the arrival of the Collector and more of his men, and he was understandably angry and dismayed at finding people in his private things. He attacked them, the party fought back and soon Father was patting down the unconscious body of the felon for more hidden weapons. With their evidence in hand, their prisoner in tow and Valinwe being dragged behind, they returned to Newcroft.
And so one Jeremiah Creep, also known as the Collector, was found to be a truly terrible man and after his trial for a great raft of crimes (including Treason) was hung by the neck until dead upon Gallows Hill outside the city. And the adventurers made an alarming discovery about the dark elf army currently laying siege to the Rowanwood …