Bottles of fine red Thyatian wine: 1 (bad). Pipeweed: 0 (v. good).
There is a brief discussion on the merits of outflanking manoeuvres before Captain Wighamescu orders us up the ladder. We climb up and into a tatty bedsit. Looking out of the grimy window, we see that we are in the garden of a larger house. We examine the contents of the room briefly. On the desk is a bottle containing the remnants of some wine – similar to what we found in Fortunato Vorloi’s house. The seal on the neck of the bottle identifies it as Trouscan, which is an unusual and moderately expensive wine. In the desk drawer we find a hood, with some red hairs still attached.
We discuss whether we should sneak back out, or stake out the hovel to see if someone returns, or whether the occupants of the house are part of the plot. Captain Wighamescu is however a fan of frontal attacks, and marches up the garden path and knocks on the back door. We follow, meekly. A maid answers and we cross-examine her. The house belongs to a wealthy local master-butcher called Turano. The hovel at the end of the garden has been let to a journeyman blacksmith called Skevlos for the last few weeks, but he left several days ago. It has been unoccupied since. Oin’s spidey-sense tells him that the tunnels would have taken longer than a couple of days to dig (and Goodwife Thanato has been hearing things for several weeks, so that implies they have been digging for several days as well), so we suspect Skevlos is implicated in all of this. Apparently he was working for Oleg, who is the blacksmith that I bought my dagger off this morning.
We decide to go and talk to Oleg. The rozzers depart, in search of more high calorie sustenance. We stop at the inn for some quick vittals, and have a chat to Igor. Previous conversations have led us to think that he is pro-Toronescu and afraid of the Radu.
Moving on to Oleg, we have a chat with him about Skevlos. He was a large chap apparently, and didn’t have red hair, so that means that there must have been someone else involved who wore the hood, and killed Lucia. He left a couple of days ago apparently, heading to the south west. Oleg is concerned that he doesn’t end up in the Black Eagle Barony – we suspect that if he is involved in murder that might be just where he is heading. He was a good blacksmith apparently – had a knack for the work – but was too footloose to settle down. Apparently he helped make my dagger – which may come in handy one day. There must be some sort of complex necromantic ritual you can use to enchant a dagger that has killed its maker.
Oleg seems to have taken a liking to us and offers to sell us some ‘quick-release’ weapon bindings to replace those added by the city guards. We take him up on his offer, although we are intrigued to see how you can ‘bind’ a mace to make it safe – we assume Titus is wandering around with a 4 foot diameter ball of bubble wrap on the end of a stick.
Restored, and feeling freer in our actions, we proceed to check out the wine-merchants of the city. We have been told that Aristo is the most likely to stock Trouscan wine. We ask at the Water Gate where we can find Aristo, and are directed along the Harbour Wall to Vintner’s Lane. We find Aristo’s shop, and Aristo inside. He is a large and sweaty man, also without red hair. We engage him in conversation and ask him about Trouscan wine. Apparently it comes from Thyatia, and is quite rare, although not really that expensive, just artisanal, which I think means made by peasants. Not really a wine for your serious nobility, who drink the really exclusive Thyatian wines, more something for the pretentious arrivistes, being a cut above the cheap plonk from Irendi. He has some bottles in stock, and offers to fetch one for us. We accept and Bryan follows him into the stock room to engage him in conversation on the various forms of alcohol that he has enjoyed – a subject he can talk for the Five Shires on. While they are out, I have a quick look at the ledger on the desk. Five people have recently bought Trouscan wine.
Aristo returns and we buy and open the bottle to sample it. It is very drinkable. We ask to buy a case of it, as it is only 2 royals a bottle, and we are rolling in cash at the moment. Heck, we have so much I even started deducting expenditure on my character sheet. Our efforts to stimulate the local economy are thwarted however as he only has a single bottle left, so we just buy that. Chatting to him, we tell him that it was recommended to us by a friend called Skevlos. The name doesn’t ring a bell, so I describe him as a large man with red hair. Oin starts to mutter something about him having dark hair, but I kick him under the counter. Aristo still doesn’t remember him, and tells us that the only red-haired customer he has who buys Trouscan wine is Akarios the Shipwright (whose name had also appeared on the list in the ledger).
We thank him and leave, with Akarios high up our list of suspects. We wander out onto the quayside, pausing to bring Sergeant Boris up to speed on our latest findings. Along the quayside, we are unable to find anyone who will admit to having every heard of Akarios, and we suspect that they are holding out on us as outsiders. We even try a dockside tavern, which goes ominously silent as we enter. We glean no information as to Akarios there either, but here a lot of gossip about the murder of Lucia Vorloi, and how the Toronescu are responsible.
Giving up on the dockside, we return to the gate and head for home, or at least the Rattlebone Inn. On the way, as we cross the market square, we hear an oarator stirring up the crowd with a fiercely anti-Toronescu speech. The crowd are getting very restive and aggressive and we decide that it is time to leave. Before we can though, 30 of the Duke’s men ride into the various exits from the square and form a cordon. Their captain rides up and orders the crowd to disperse, but is hit with a well-aimed cobblestone. The crowd surges forward, attacking the Duke’s men. We decline to join in, throwing the module into confusion. Oin breaks and runs for the harbour, narrowly dodging the sabre of a cavalry man. Titus unwraps his mace and joins the Duke’s men, hoping to show his prowess and impress them enough to help him join the Order of the Griffon. Tanara pushes through the crowd towards the orator, who looks to be escaping, his seditious work done. Tanara swiftly casts Charm on him, and he turns, smiling at her (the module whimpers at this point and gives up the ghost – charming the orator is not an eventuality it had considered). She asks him to help her escape, and he leads her and Pavel out of the square, followed by Bryan. They dodge the Duke’s men, although the orator gets a cut in his shoulder. He leads them down a narrow alley to a small hovel, which he says is a safe refuge. There, they catch their breath, and he introduces himself as Orel. He boasts of how he was chosen for this role by the Veiled Society for his oratorical skills. The mention of the Veiled Society interests Tanara, but not the others, who have cheated by looking at the cover of the module. He admits that he doesn’t know many other members, as they are all veiled (or rather hooded), but has heard of Akarios the Shipwright. He says that Akarios and his accomplice, Zachariah Boestes have possibly gone too far with the murder of Lucia, as it has really stirred things up. He then shows Tanara and Pavel a tunnel under a hatch, and urges them to escape with him along it – they emerge in a similar looking hovel around 300 feet away. Bryan has followed them discretely to the first hovel, but decides not to follow them down the tunnel and returns to the Rattlebone Inn. We have now achieved our stretch objective of splitting a 5 person party 4 ways.
So we now think that we know who dunnit, we just don’t know why. We suspect that the Radu might be behind this – the waterfront is their domain, and Lucia’s last writing is suggestive of this as well. But we need more evidence before we can accuse them in the Duke’s court – if it comes to that. And who are this Veiled Society, and who do they report to? What is their objective. And are they linked to the Iron Ring that Stephen has been fighting, or are there two secret societies in Karameikos? If so, why aren’t we in either of them?Read More