In the White Shadows

Chapter IV: Session I - Salmonella & Concussions?

Meat, Eggs, and a Whodunnit

The heroes awoke from deep, long-awaited slumber to the smell of fresh eggs. They returned to the tavern for breakfast with last night’s sugary drinks now sour on their breath. A buxom lovely smiled at So’Khra, who groggily claimed last night to be a blur. Eyebrows were raised, but the heroes spent the morning relaxing, resetting their minds, and preparing for the road ahead.

The road to Obsidian hugged the foothills of the Witherspines, darting in and out of plainlands and rugged passageways. For two days, the heroes traversed this terrain with little incident. However, as evening approached on the second day, the path took a direct turn into the mountains. From their map, the party understood that the trail would dump them into Obsidian’s western gate in but a few hours.

Shortly ahead, they passed under a short land bridge, and Behrtogg caught wind of a foul beast. It seems they had stumbled into some sort of lair! All would be fine, so long as they tiptoed past the distraction.

Whhhhhmp. With a splat, a pungent slab of meat landed just feet away from Behrtogg, hurled from beyond a boulder ahead. Two large spined snakes burst from a hole in the rocks, eager to source the enticing aroma. On instinct, the party engaged these hungry creatures, only to watch an Otyugh slide into view behind them. A battle ensued, and the heroes nearly found themselves in an Otyugh belly before triumphing over nature. As he struck the final blow, Symon noticed two silhouettes duck out of sight on the horizon line ahead — a thin man with a staff and some sort of flaming figure. Gathering them to be the meat-tossers, he sprinted forward, but the pair was long gone.

Meanwhile, So’Khra and Behrtogg pondered the slimy meat slab. It seemed to have been magically imbued with heightened aroma — and a foul one at that. Together, the group then searched the worm lair and found several soft, translucent eggs. Recognizing their exotic value, they grabbed two and tasted a third. Behrtogg refrained. They also found a thin vein of gold ore running through the hillside!

The heroes attempted to track Symon’s culprits, but the singed twigs and fresh footprints were soon lost upon the main road. However, upon closer inspection, one of the figure’s amulet, branded with a strange symbol, had snagged on a branch. At least it was clear the duo was headed to Obsidian. The party again made camp for the night, intent to explore Obsidian well-rested.

Obsidian was lightly guarded, and the heroes were quickly given passage to see Dagon, the local smithy. As they approached his hut, Dagon was crafting a large ballista and greeted them hesitantly . He had been expecting the crew, and Luden had commissioned an odd piece for them some months before. An adamantine-bladed spade?….how odd. After some conversation, Behrtogg and So’Khra divined that Dagon was in fact the brother of Iagon, the master glasssmith from their earlier travels in Glassleaf. Deep connections ensued.

Still unclear as to Luden’s missive, the be-spaded party set out for the local historian, hoping to find clues to So’Khra’s past (and the party’s future). Bano indicated that he hadn’t seen the symbol on the amulet but postulated that the local mage guild may know. Turns out they had a meeting just that evening!

After fucking around in a local shop for new wares and foisting shitty worm eggs onto the chubby Mayor Mammerschmidt, the party joined the mage guild meeting, held at the home of a prominent Obsidian denizen. So’Khra felt right at home amongst the thirty red-clad guildmates, while So’Khra and Symon felt more apprehension.

The meeting stretched on for some time without incident. After droning on about issues including the growing price of sage imports, the utility of mandated disease prevention cantrips, and who would fix the table outside the apothecary, the Executive Guildsman finally opened the floor for new matters. So’Khra stepped forward and greeted his fellow mages — by thrusting forth the amulet and demanding answers about their attempted assassination. On high alert, Behrtogg and Symon scanned the crowd for less-savory reactions. Only one guildsman showed anything but confusion, and he slipped quietly out the door. Behrtogg and Symon sprinted after the fleeing man, who had turned on the jets as soon as he left the meeting.

The chase took them through several alleys, and up onto the ramparts of the city wall. Behrtogg had wisely darted ahead to cut off the culprit’s egress while Symon was closing from behind. Behrtogg finally lept up into position, flanking the mage, who started. Just then, Symon tackled the man at full speed, shouldering him to the ground.

As he rolled over, the mage laughed and spit, “You pretenders are in over your heads.” Soon the vitriol spilling from his mouth turned to foam and his eyes spun glassy — and dead. Uh oh! This was going to look sticky to anyone but Behrtogg and Symon. Still unsure as to whether he had just killed a man, Symon nobly stated that they should face the guild, albeit with a story told in the best light possible.

Confusion amongst the mages turned to panic and suspicion as these two strangers reemerged, this time with a comrade dead at their feet. So’Khra did much to soothe the tension by explaining that murderers would never return. Nonetheless, the town guard was called in to investigate.

As a bunch of science nerds are wont to do around a dead body, an autopsy was demanded and began. As the party’s interrogation proceeded, it became clear that someone should visit the man’s widow to deliver the bad news. The party convinced the guard that they should come along, as it may be a chance to prevent further danger (and search for clues). However, when they arrived at the man’s home, the windows were dark. Much to the party’s consternation, the guard was hesitant to search the darkened home of a man who had just died — think of the poor woman, losing her husband and her privacy all within an hour! With that, they returned to the mage’s guild.

As they arrived, the Executive Guildsman declared several science-y things, and heads began bobbing around the room. Behrtogg and Symon took a minute to catch on, then realized they had just been exonerated (this was more of a relief to them than anyone else). The town guard told them not to leave town, but that they weren’t being detained for the night. They should keep a low profile.

Unable to ever keep a low profile, the party decided to double back to the dark home. Surely some clues lie there! They skirted into a dark alley, eager for answers…would they ever come?

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