Chapter 08: Cloak & Dagger

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Session Number: 97
Date: Sunday 8 May 2011
Venue: Fergus'
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr9 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Feren Rog10 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal10 (Craig) (kills: none)
Tomen Rgr9/Drd1 (Ash) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz10 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

The party review the plan again. Feren decides he doesn't want to be disguised as Uther. Arrian takes his place, to keep the plan intact should Uther's brother prove violent. Rowaine wonders whether they might corroborate Uther's story about having a brother - the museum seems a likely place…

Tomen keeps vigil while the others skirt around the building and return to the central city and the museum. Troll "scouts" the building, looking for Zonya's hourglass. Arrian smells a rat and follows him. The others are shown in to see Kraan, the curator they originally spoke to.

"Thank you for seeing us, sir," Rowaine says. "We were wanting to know who might be an appropriate person to speak to regarding Lawmeron's lineage."

"Uther Lawmeron? Then you'll want Joseph, one of the other curators. You met him at the questioning. He is off duties today, I expect he's out enjoying the festival. He'll be back in the museum tomorrow."

"Is there anything here that speaks to Uther Lawmeron's past?"

"Not really, no… They might have something at the library. Did you find the hammer?"

"No, but we have heard it has returned," Rowaine says carefully. What is your take on that?"

"Oh, I'm just happy that Uther has returned," Kraan says. "I do wonder how he got his hammer back, though. If he wants to keep it, that's fine. It's his, after all."

Rowaine draws the conversation to a close. Kraan seems genuinely willing to help this time, apologising for his previous demeanour and offering his services in the future should the party need them. The group leave and wait outside for Troll and Arrian to return.

Troll moves towards the hourglass exhibit with Arrian behind. Arrian knows nothing about Troll's interest in the exhibit and cannot decipher his intent beyond an uneasy feeling. Troll attempts to teleport the hourglass into his hands but the object remains stubbornly in place. He gives up and the pair leave, joining the others outside.

"Is the hammer back?" Rowaine asks, misinterpreting Troll's true mission.

"I didn't look," Troll says.

"You didn't look? What were you doing?"

"You know me, I love museums!" Troll says. "But if you want me to look at the hammer, OK, I'll go look at the hammer. I'll be right back."

"No, never mind," Rowaine says. "It's probably not there. It's so very much part of the other Uther's disguise, I can't see why he'd put it back here. Let's go to the library."

On the way, Rowaine and Arrian spot a figure tailing them. They confirm with each other, remembering the same figure on their walk to the museum. They surreptitiously impart this information to the others. An alley forms a four-way intersection ahead. The group turns off the main road into the alley to the right. Once out of sight, Troll Teleports across to the opposite alleyway. He pulls up his hood and scarf and leans against the wall nonchalantly, watching his friends walk away. Feren hides behind a group of rubbish bins while Arrian and Rowaine continue on.

Troll spies the figure following the group into the alleyway. It appears to be a man in a long black hooded cloak and fairly nondescript clothes. The hood obscures the figure's face. Troll waits until the figure takes ten steps into the alleyway before Teleporting back across. He maintains some distance and follows him. If the figure is indeed tailing the group, he doesn't seem too perturbed that their number has shrunk from four to two…

Rowaine and Arrian stop at the alleyway's end. There is a cafe on her left. She suggests that they stop for a drink. Rowaine enters the shop. Arrian makes to follow, first looking back down the alleyway. He sees the man, followed by Troll who is readying two wands. Feren steps out, rapier drawn. The trap is beginning to close!

"Good day, sir," Arrian says to the man, drawing his sword. The man pays him no heed, continuing to walk.

"Stop right there!" Arrian says, more forcibly, raising his sword. The man keeps walking. Whap! The flat of Arrian's sword slaps into the man's side. The clothes billow, then flutter to the ground, empty.

Troll immediately casts Detect Magic, whirling around. There are a handful of other people in the alley but they seem to be going about their business and radiate no magic. Rowaine steps back outside while Arrian scans the alleyway with a Detect Magic spell. Nothing.

"That wasn't an illusion," Troll says, "and it wasn't simply animated either."

"What was it, then?" Arrian asks.

"Either it was a creature that was dispelled, or the person teleported away, somehow leaving their clothes behind. Strange… I don't know a spell that would do that. Perhaps it was some form of natural ability…"

"Do you know how far away they might have gone?" Rowaine asks.

"Not exactly, but my guess is it's fairly short-range."

Arrian looks around for anyone showing special interest. The handful of people here do not appear suspicious at all. Rowaine readies her axe, sweeping the alley for evil emanations. Two people emit trace amounts of malice, but nothing that she wouldn't expect to find in any given crowd. Troll finds no more magic, Feren spots no one behaving oddly.

"Let's move on," Rowaine says. "Whoever is responsible for this is going to have to try much harder." After Troll destroys the pile of clothes with Acid, the party continue on to the library. Rowaine advises Arrian to keep an eye out. The alert half-elf sees nothing untoward.

At the library, Arrian asks one of the staff about the life of Uther Lawmeron. The librarian says that there is nothing in their collection about the man's early life. He suggests that the the Carthenage library might have something, being geograhically closer to the area where Uther is said to have grown up: a village where Zorn is now. Uther initially said that he had family here in Ashhope, but he hasn't as yet made any attempt to track them down. Local churches are known to keep records of births, deaths and marriages, but are likely to be busy with festivities.

The day grows long. The party meet Uther, still wearing the concealing hat, and make their way to the meeting. On the way, Rowaine describes their plan to keep him safe by having a decoy stand in his place - at least initially. Uther expresses discomfort with this plan, saying that he does not want to deceive his estranged brother or the prince. Arrian senses honour in his words, not cloaked intent. Rowaine supports Uther's decision.

The group head directly to the meeting point, calling Tomen over when they are in view of the copse of trees they left him in. Tomen rejoins the group, saying that he recently saw six people approach the building. Uther removes the magical hat. As the group get closer they make out the six figures outside the building. Prince Dimaan stands beside someone in extravagant cloth and leather clothes that can only be the other Uther. With them are two men in elegant cloth robes, a man in plate armour and a man wearing peasant garb. The prince and armoured man are armed, the other four bear no obvious weapons.

The prince recognises the approaching party and he and the armoured man close the gap.

"Glad you could make it," the prince says. He then beckons behind him. The peasant and one of the robed men approach. The peasant examines Uther in some detail. Rowaine pays particular attention to the other Uther. He has noticed his counterpart but does not seem at all uneasy. Troll subtly casts a Detect Magic spell. Everything glows, including the building they are about to enter. The two robed men also bear powerful magical items about their necks. Their signatures suggest the items dampen other magical effects within ten feet of the wearer. Rowaine seeks out evil emanations, but senses none.

"I must insist that you disarm before we conduct this meeting," the prince says. "I'm sure you understand."

"Does that include the Hammer of Lawmeron?" Troll asks.

"Indeed it does," the prince replies, his eyes narrowing slightly. "Try to be civil," he says, ostensibly to all, walking over to the building and placing his sword on the threshold. The party disarm, as do the others present. Feren neglects to drop a dagger, a fact that only Arrian notices. He chooses to keep the information to himself. The Hammer of Lawmeron is not amongst the pile of weapons. The two Uthers eye each other up.

The prince leads everyone to the door, which opens. One of the robed men steps through while the other stands just outside. Troll notices the doorway bears its own dweomer, which is disrupted by the passage of the robed man. Together, the robed men's antimagic fields pierce the doorway's magic, forming a tunnel-like aperture. The prince then motions for the party to enter.

"What's this building all about?" he says to the nearest robed man.

"It stops the passage of magic, either inside or out," he says.

"Oh. Alright, then," Troll says. "So are you a member of the mages' guild?" The man does not answer.

"Are. You. A. Member. Of. The. Mages'. Guild?" Troll repeats.

"Are you a mage?" the man asks back.

"An apprentice mage," Troll says.

"If you want to join the guild, speak to me after," the man says. "We will need written consent from your master." Troll nods and enters the building, followed by the party. The remainder of the meeting attendees enter, with the prince and the robed man being the last to follow.

Inside is a small room with doors ahead, left and right. The prince moves to the right hand door and opens it, leading the others through. The room beyond is considerably larger - fifty feet wide by forty feet deep. Two circles with inscriptions around their circumferences dominate the dirt floor. Troll makes out a few of the words; they appear to be circles of containment. "Don't go in the circles!" he mouths to the others. The door they entered through appears to be the only exit. There are no windows. Sconces with lit torches line the walls at regular intervals.

Now that the two Uthers are in the same room, Tomen and Arrian notice that they are not identical. The other Uther has shorter hair, is less muscled and might just be younger also. If anything, the other Uther more closely resembles the Uther depicted in the city's statues.

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