Council of Thieves

Hunting Shadows
Getting paid to do something really stupid in the dark

The group has seen a sign that says if you put a body of a Shadow Beast on the stoop, you will get paid handsomely and the name of a man who supposedly has done it. The party talked to the man and got his story about killing a shadow beast and then finding the money next to his bed the next morning.

The Party, being interested in the nature of the shadow beasts, decided to try to hunt one themselves. They go out into the darkness after sundown using Rustscale to help scout ahead for beasties. He discovered some kind of strange darker mass in the gloom. When Pierce shot an arrow into it, shadow beasts began to emerge. The group cast spells and protections. One of them attacked Rustscale but didn’t do a lot of damage. Another hit Pierce in the vitals and while his armor held and he was only slightly wounded, the pain knocked him down and turned off his spells. Vacant was able to using a Binding spell on one until Pierce was able to shake it off and fight once again. Rustscale completely ripped into the beast that attacked him, proving that while lethal, they weren’t very tough and couldn’t take hits.

The party looked over the bodies and could not make sense of them. The shadow-stuff power they emanated disappeared when they died leaving the insect-like shell behind. They hid the bodies and decided to keep looking for more to get more information. They discovered another shadow portal that two dogs were barking at, but it faded away on its own without releasing any beasts.

They were directed to an even darker part of town by Rustscale and managed to find another portal. When they approached, two shadow beasts had already emerged and were just hanging out on the roof of a nearby building. One teleported to the neighboring roof where Rustscale and Crawl were waiting, while another attacked Pierce. This time, Pierce was ready and blocked the attack with his shield, while delivering a killing blow of his own. Rustscale slew the beast on the roof. As they got ready to gather the bodies, a huge mass of shadow stuff fell out of the portal. It was a Shadow King, a mass of shadow creatures. It was a bit larger and tougher, but Pierce killed it.

They took the bodies to the stoop and knocked on the door to talk to the man collecting them. The old man, Twice Beyond the River, is a scholar studying the shadow beasts. He said that he had learned a lot about the shadow beasts and the portals and told the group that the portals were weaknesses in the area and not necessarily a spell. They were more like a naturally occurring phenomenon and due to something happening in the Shadow Realm.

The Party asked him if maybe they could help him learn more about the shadow beasts.

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Going to the Theatre
Laying Low

Aftermath

The party begins looting the bodies for things to sell for the resistance. Pierce takes a suit of Hellknight armor to use as a disguise in the future. They gather up swords, crossbows, horses, some jewelry from the Signifier and two heal potions.

After that, they slime everything else, reducing it to a puddle of green ooze and teleport away. They appear in a perfume shop, a secret teleport location of Crimson’s. Then they all make their way separately to the hideout in the old Shrine of Arrow.

There they celebrate the release of Hue and decide to “lay low” for several days. The first thing they do during this time is, Pierce, Crimson and Amber sell the horses. That’s no problem with Amber’s uncle Turquoise. At the same time they meet a rich, blustery fool of a mintrel named Harp who want to get a “horse fit for a king” to use in his play. He wants something that looks impressive and scorns the advice of Pierce, who already doesn’t think much of him, that he needs a docile horse that would work well on the stage. Maliciously, Pierce decides to sell Harp the Signfier’s mistreated warhorse at an outrageous price and split the extra money with Turquoise.

They hear that the horse did indeed make an incident. It kicked some poor actor in the head and embarrassed Harp. Pierce felt bad that it wasn’t Harp that got kicked, so he paid for a physician to look in on the actor who was kicked. Crimson received a bouquet of dead flowers, who he assumed was from one of his many neglected lovers and Pierce mysteriously received two tickets to a play. He checked out the theater ahead of time and it was one of the poorest theaters in the city. He decides to go, with Vacant and Rustscale and hides Rustscale on the roof where the dragon can watch and listen. Pierce and Vacant sit in the very top balcony to be close to Rustscale in case something goes wrong (either because the dragon is spotted or this is a setup).

The play wasn’t great, but the lowly masses, including Vacant, enjoyed it and so Pierce was of the opinion that it wasn’t an evening wasted. Afterwards they found out that it was Harp who had sent the flowers and the tickets. It was his way of “punishing” them for embarrassing them. He accosts Pierce at a tavern where Pierce likes to drink. It’s a fighting man’s bar full of soldiers, caravan guards, marines and other dock workers and laborers. Pierce can’t help but insult him and when Harp implies that Pierce is “inferior” finally riles Pierce’s noble heritage into standing up and defending his honor. Presented with a fighting man, wearing a noble’s tabard and longsword at his hip, the flustered Harp quickly back peddled and then in a last act of defiance, grabbed Pierce’s drink and threw it in the bartender’s face. Pierce apologized to the bartender and gave him a big tip.

As Pierce is going home, he notices a sign that says that money will be paid for the shadow beast’s body. The shadow beasts roam the streets at night in a terrorizing attempt to enforce curfew. There’s also a note from someone who said they did it and got paid. Pierce sent Mouse to look into the story of the shadow beast’s body and Mouse says its legit. So now the players are thinking of trying to kill one themselves.

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The Rescue
Fighting Hellknights on a bridge

We meet the Children of Westcrown, the “we’re not rebels, just concerned citizens” of the old capitol, and we even discuss changing the name. We meet the members. Then we discuss the capture of Golden Hue by the Hellknights, the Order of the Rack.

Juniper wants to rescue him when he’s being transported to a prison outside of the city. He’s being transported by six Hellknights including a Signifier. The group decides to ambush the transport at a bridge near a river. The rest of the journey is open plain. Further, the wagon has heavy reinforcements at the beginning and end of the journey. Nevertheless, six Hellknights will be difficult enough to fight much less with the added difficulties of preserving their lives and protecting our identities.

We set up a fool-proof plan that’s pretty much guaranteed to fail. We set up Crimson and Juniper in one tree before the bridge and Vacant in a tree after the bridge and Crawl hiding under the bridge. Finally Pierce dresses as an Eagle Knight of Allshine and gets a new horse. He takes a up a position far from the bridge to bait and engage the Signifier, the only mounted HellKnight.

Pierce baits the Signifier into a duel. The wagon stops short of the bridge and the three other Hellknights advance slowly on foot to see the Signifier’s fight. Four barely-controlled lesser demons, Dretches, scurry from Vacant’s tree and attacks the bridge to keep the other Hellknights from engaging. Then Vacant throws some binding spells, to no avail, at the Hellknights. The Hellknights engage the demons and begin to slaughter them immediately. One goes down pretty quickly and another dies outright in just a few seconds. The skirmish would continue until one of the Dretches lets out a foul stink cloud that interferes with all their ability to fight effectively which simply prolongs the fight. Meanwhile, Crawl is still too far from the wagon to sneak behind it and let out the prisoner and crossbowmen are still behind. One stays on the wagon and another gets down to help the other knights.

At this time, Pierce and the Signifier have had their first clash. Pierce tilted his lance at the Signifier and misses, in some part due to his inexperience in battle and some due to the inexperience of the proud Signifier in the saddle. The Signifier attempts a mighty blow against Pierce but is blocked at the last second by a defense move, hastily executed after the miss of the lance. The horses pass each other and take a few more seconds to turn and charge again. This time, the lance nails the Signifier in the head, knocking him completely unconscious and bleeding badly. Pierce turns again and gives him a clean, honorable death.

The battle on the bridge has turned ugly. Juniper jumps the bow, so to speak, and fires an arrow at the crossbowman on the wagon, disarming him. He draws his sword and runs down the river searching for their hiding place. Crimson tries to teleport him into the water, but misses and Juniper fires and knocks him into the water, drowning him. The other crossbowman quickly comes over to help his friend. Vacant, seeing the end of his demons and the eventual clash between the unarmored party and the experienced Hellknights, he begins a far more lethal summoning, Slimes. However, it takes time and the Hellknight shoots a crossbow bolt into his stomach, severely injuring him and ruining his spell. Propped against the tree with a bleeding gut wound, Vacant hardily begins another casting, his newly acquired Slime constitution keeping him awake and aware over the wound. Juniper knocks the other crossbowman down on top of his friend with another arrow. Vacant finishes his spell and the end of the bridge is covered in Green Slime, two large patches of it, right under two of the Hellknights’ feet.

Pierce has ridden back quickly, turned and ridden by the stink cloud to tilt at the Hellknight furtherest from the bridge. He strikes him in the head, killing him instantly. The other two Hellknights immediately break moral and run, splashing through the green slime they were standing on. It begins to eat through their armor and in seconds begins to dissolve their legs.

Crimson has teleported over to the wagon and Crawl has snuck up. Crawl seems to have some understanding of the weaknesses of locks and opens it without the proper key. Golden Hue is released and the Hellknights dispatched. The party has their identities intact, but much blood was shed in the rescue and the group teleports back to the city with heavy hearts. It appears that the “non-violent citizen’s group” is a rebellion after all.

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The Sewers
A dirty way to get away, but Vacant doesn't seem to mind

Juniper had talked to each of the characters, Pierce, Vacant and Crawl. She also had a suitor, Crimson who was present. Everyone was there to discuss the horrible things happening in Westcrown, in secret. Shadows stalked the nighttime streets in the name of public safety and going out after curfew was not only forbidden but often lethal. Criminal activity was at an all time high and the towns constabulary didn’t seem to be doing anything about it. At the end of the meeting, a boy, Mouse, busts in with news that they had been found out and that the knights of the Order of the Wrack were on their way and that they had Golden Hue. Juniper wanted to leave by way of the sewers under the city to a safer place. Rather than fight, most of the group wanted to go right away and Pierce was worried for their safety.

Under the sewers they followed pre-arranged marks on the walls: etched swords pointing the way to go. They walked slowly and quietly and avoided the filth of the sewer water. When it was clear that something was in the water, they turned to Vacant, their resident expert on slimes for answers only to find him tasting the sewer water.

Half ooze, half beetle Slime Bugs jumped up and almost pulled Mouse into the water. Vacant quickly leapt into action making splashing sounds of an animal in distress and lured the slime to him, but he also called another, hungry for a meal. Pierce plunged his sword into the new one while his dragon Rustscale and the druid Crawl took on the other as it swam past Mouse towards Vacant. Crawl suddenly grew another pair of black, hairy spider arms and drew four swords and made quick work of the Slime Bug. Meanwhile, Vacant kept the other busy by stretching his arms out to impossible lengths and splashed around it to confuse it until Pierce could slay it with his sword.

When they got to the next junction the sword mark had been clawed off and Juniper was going to have to retrace her steps through the labyrinth sewers. As they were attacked by two more Slime Bugs, Vacant drew them away with splashes and a bit of chicken he had stolen from dinner while the others crept silently away. The Slime Bugs tried to topple him on the rickety plank bridge but Vacant kept his balance on the snot-slick wood like he was born to it.

As they came to the next junction, Pierce noticed two small humanoid shapes crawling up behind them. Growing up in a land of perpetual night made his eyes sharp in the dark and he warned the others ahead so that he could take up a defensive position in the back while they shot bows and cast spells at the figures.

Getting into position and Pierce uttering magic words of Strength in the Draconic Tongue, they see two Sewer Kobolds coming up behind. Juniper fires her bow and knee caps one into the water right away. The other runs up to fight Pierce while Juniper finishes off the other. Pierce easily blocks the Kobold’s blow with his shield but misses his swing.

Another Kobold under water jumps up and surprises Juniper, almost dumping her into the water. Crimson, who had been staring at his chalked glyphs and at the ready, releases his spell and Juniper magically appears safely elsewhere. Rustscale, surprised, turns and bites the Kobold viciously. Juniper finishes it off with an arrow.

Meanwhile, another Slime Bug pops up during the splashing for a meal and attacks Crawl. Crawl dodges to the side and strikes the Slime Bug once with a short sword. When it was clear that the slow-moving Slime Bug would not be able to keep up with him, he once again grows another pair of spidery arms and lays into the Slime with four swords, taking it out.

Pierce trades blows with the Kobold, blocking every shot with his shield and Rustscale, now free of the new intruder, hop-flies over the sewer water and bites the Kobold right in the family jewels.

Hearing voices of patrols coming from the south, the group gets teleported across the slippery trench by Crimson and they continue their way to their destination. Each person gives a drop of blood to become a member and pass the wards of the entrance and they climb up from the cellar of an old ruin. The outside looks dilapidated but the inside looks new and well-kept. One of the last temples of Arrow and it is protected by an illusion of age. Juniper introduces them to several of the others, White Feather and Rabbit and announces, “Welcome to the Children of Westcrown!”

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Introducing Crawl
Always looking for trouble and never leaving disappointed

Mischievous Crawling was a druid of the River Kingdoms. He followed the Skin Changers, druids who picked a specific animal totem and followed its teachings and its ways while gaining the ability to transform into one of them. Crawling’s totem was the spider and he excelled in stealth and subterfuge. His intense curiosity quickly gained him many enemies in his homelands and he wisely decided to travel and see the world. The more he saw the more his thirst for new experiences and sights grew. His druidic powers did not increase in great leaps, but he did get stronger and increased his connection to the Spider. He also learned some skills for finding things that didn’t necessarily belong to him, but he never let pesky questions of property deter him from taking a peek at something interesting. While in the old capitol of the Red Empre, Westcrown, he met a very interesting woman, Junpier, who wanted to talk about some very interesting things at a secret meeting. How could anyone possibly resist an invitation like that!?

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Introducing Vacant
My Only Friend

Vacantly Staring was a promising, brilliant mage in the most wonderful city in the world, Abandon. He delved into the mysteries of the Great Beyond, contacting the awesome and the vile alike. He finally became fascinated with Jubilex, the Faceless Lord, Demonlord of Slimes and Oozes. Making a pact, he began to turn himself into an ooze. Immediately reviled as both heretical and insane, the other wizards of Abandon convicted him and exiled him off of the island. His small boat crashed on the southern shores of the Red Empire. He soon found evidence of foul wizardry all about him, but its practitioners were not the least bit sympathetic, as they followed an orderly sort of evil that would brook no countenance with his madness. Constantly hunted and abused, he kept moving north until he found a quiet place of refuge in the Minotaur Mountains, begging from the few foolish souls who braved the pass. He was beset upon by orcs who couldn’t quite kill him easily and were busy debating the merits of eating something which dripped acid when a knight on a horse with a dragon at his side rode them down and killed them. The knight extended his hand and in a moment of possessed glee, Vacant melted the mailed glove of the knight and then recoiled in terror when he saw the kind face turn stern. However, brow furrowed, the knight found a stout log and held it out to him again to help him out of his hole. Realizing that he had finally found someone who would be nice to him despite his vile traits, he pledged to follow the knight and replace his melted armor. The knight did not care about the gauntlet but accepted his new companion and tries to keep him stable and sane, pointing him onto a path of order over chaos.

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Introducing Pierce
From Darkness to Light

Pierce grew up in Midnight, a land of perpetual darkness in his family’s castle, Dragonhelm. There he roamed the mountains and followed the family tradition of isolation and staying out of Bloody Thorn’s religious politics. When performing one of the Prayers to the Dragons Below that he performed every week, he was shocked to find that there was an answer. Pierce formed a bond with a baby dragon and ran into the deep part of the mountains to find it. He raised it in the castle and explored with it, finally making sense of the lore that he had learned as merely tradition. From the very top of the Mindspin Mountains he looked east over Honor’s Stand and saw the sun rise. From that moment, he knew he couldn’t stay in Midnight any more. He went south over the Minotaur Mountains into the Red Empire. After meeting the strange old man, Vacant, he hired himself out as caravan guard and sellsword. Eventually he made his way to the old capitol and the Red Mug Inn where he meets Juniper.

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