When last we left (most) of our heroes, Roswyn, Carkal, and Edward were trapped in an underground near the Beyton family’s home vault. The approaching footsteps soon revealed themselves to be a mass of guards and war hounds. Our allies, the freed prisoners, attempted to bar the way but alas, it was to no avail. Trapped as we were, Roswyn began scratching away at the teleportation circle while Carkal stepped up to stall for time by using Edris’ wife as a hostage. In the midst of negotiations, Edward finished the ritual that set off our previously planted charges, and blew the Beyton estate tower to smithereens. Ah, how I love the smell of property damage in the morning.
Nevertheless, at the behest of the mage leading them, the guards chose to press their attack. The mage demanded that Roswyn stop her ritual so that negotiations for Edris’ wife could continue. Carkal demanded that they call off the war hounds first. After a tense moment, the guards acquiesce, though one wayward mutt chose to stay behind and gnaw on one of the prisoners who had injured it. The mage came closer and demanded, once again, that we cease our ritual. Carkal kept stalling while another prisoner pulls Edris out of the sack. With a final burst of effort, Roswyn finished the ritual and opened up a portal, at which point the mage ordered the guards and knights arrayed about him to attack…which triggers Carkal’s Hunger of Hadar.
While the guards were distracted by the whole “being devoured by eldritch beings from among the stars” thing, Edward helpfully used his psionic powers to slide us all through the portal—prisoners and hostages included, in an unusually altruistic gesture for the Heroes of Amarak. Then again, Edris and his wife were only kept for questioning, so perhaps not so altruistic after all. The whole lot of us land in comical array atop a heap of treasure in a darkened room.
We were met by a man named Harold who attempted to extort money from us for having the hostages transferred to the keeping of the Thieves’ Guild! Hah! Once we had disabused the poor foolish man of that laughable notion, we loaded up our gold and headed across town for the warehouse where we were to meet Ash. Once we arrived, Ash demanded the story of what had happened while we—being naturally exhausted and with no time for such silly demands—were trying to whine our way out of it when there came a mysterious knock on the door! …Turned out it was Perra, who had made his own way across Madaban to the site of our rendezvous. After this joyous reunion, Perra and Roswyn eventually capitulated to Ash’s cruel, cruel demands and told him the story of what had occurred. The hostages, meanwhile, were escorted away for fates unknown
Upon the end of our tale, Ash inquire as to the contents of the vault, and his interest was particularly piqued by the wooden box we had found. After some reluctance, we let Ash take a look inside, hoping to find some connections between the Beytons and other noble families. Ash gave the innocent-looking box a quick once-over and opened it. Inside was a small sack bulging with objects, and upon seeing them Ash shuddered and turned pale. While he had a bit of sit-down (and possibly had smelling salts waved under his nose) we checked out the box ourselves and found it full of numerous little crystals that we recognized as soul crystals…already full of souls.
Revived, Ash was determined to find out what the crystals might portend (such, as for example, an impending night of the living dead). After handing over all the papers we had pilfered from the Beytons’ desks, we divided up our loot and headed out to enjoy a few days off. The next day, however, we were met by a blond boy who had been sent by Ash and told us the location of the Beyton family’s real vault—in a bank within the Cut, Madaban’s banking district. With nothing better to do with our time, we moseyed on over to check the place out, and found it surrounded by guards in Beyton colors. Clearly we would need a subtler approach than “kill it ’til its dead” if we were to get in and examine the bank’s security.
We obtained some fancy clothes—a suit for Carkal, and childrens’ clothes for Roswyn. With a touch of Prestidigitation to take care of some cosmetic changes, Carkal and Roswyn headed in to the bank under the pretext of wanting to safely deposit something of great value in the bank’s vaults. Perra accompanied them as a bodyguard, while Edward kept an eye outside. The ruse worked, and we were treated to a tour of the bank’s vaults and their varying levels of security including some tricks we’d already encountered—triggered scrying, Cabal mages, and anti-teleportation wards oh my! We get out of the bank without further incident, change out of our disguises, and after some discussion ultimately decide against robbing the bank. No doubt Carkal’s pocketbook shed a tear at the riches we had so crassly turned away.
The rest of the day we whiled away wandering about. Roswyn did some busking, just to keep in practice and bask in appreciation for a bit. We headed back to our inn at the close of the day and settled down for peaceful rest…that was interrupted in the dead of night by a flaming torch thrown through Perra’s window. Yes, it seemed the Beytons had finally caught up with us for some good old-fashioned revenge.
The rest of the inn was quickly set on fire, and soon discovered that we were surrounded by Beyton guards on all sides, including nearby rooftops and the air. In a rare show of common sense, we decided that discretion was the better part of valor and teleported to a building across the street. Roswyn made her own way through a combination of invisibility and wings. Perra was stuck in a sack. We broke out the back door and headed for a sewer entrance. Unfortunately, a mage flying overhead spotted us and tried to slow us. Fortunately, he had worse aim then a blind man aiming at a gnat.
Roswyn, Carkal, and Edward soon made it down to the sewers, at which point Perra was dumped out. Not knowing where we were, we headed down the nearest passageway and traversed the stinky road for hours until we finally found a ladder up and out of the sewer. We found ourselves in a side street in a district of the city adjoining the one where we had so narrowly avoided being turned into so many party-shaped chunks of charcoal. Finding our way to the Black Horse Alehouse, our attempt to contact Ash was in vain as the innkeeper had no idea where he was.
At this point, we decided that the solution to our problems was clearly to knock over the Beytons’ bank in retaliation.
Under mass invisibility, we made our way past the token force of guards who had been left behind while the rest scoured Madaban for our presences. With Perra and Roswyn once more in the Haversack, Carkal and Edward (invisibly) teleported through a window into the bank. The four guards we encountered were quickly assassinated, and the doors were barred to prevent anyone from interrupting us mid-heist. After finding a record of each vault’s contents, we headed for the ones with the most loot, and eventually ended up in a small antechamber. A quick check of the wards in the place revealed that there was some sort of puzzle on the four doors leading out of the antechamber—when one of them is opened, the main door leading into the antechamber sealed. The stone platform in the center of room looked significant, but we didn’t know how. All four doors were warded so that they would explode when the Knock ritual was used on them.
While we were puzzling over this, Edward noticed some illusionary walls in the antechamber. Beyond each, we found some inert golems who—when attacked—attacked back. We swiftly reduced them to rubble and turned our attention back to the far more pressing problem of how were we supposed to get our mitts on all that phat loot? Eventually Edward began disabling the wards on each door, aided by Roswyn. Perra helpfully stopped the main doors from closing by the handy use of our trusty anvil. Meanwhile, Carkal discovered that the balance thing in the room was made of pure gold and tore it off to store in the sack.
While all went well at first, Edward botched the third door. “They” were alerted, and once Edward was freed from the block of ice the door had trapped him in, Roswyn began sketching out another teleportation circle in the antechamber to get us out. Ignoring the fourth door, we began frantically loaded up the circle and Haversack with treasure, but halfway through “they” appeared—Cabal mages! Naturally, fisticuffs ensued as Roswyn frantically finished of the teleportation circle.
We popped through the portal but were followed by a mage, who forced to the portal to stay open so his buddies could follow. Roswyn tried to force the portal to close. As this battle of wills ensued, we finished off the mage and his friends. Harold was naturally horrified to find us battle Cabal mages in his shop’s backroom. We gave him some gold and told him to get out of town, because the Cabal and nobles would soon be on his heels. Once Harold had scurried off, we found ourselves another inn and, deciding to fuck this shit, teleported back to Amarak for some well-deserved R&R.
Alas, the next morning we were rudely interrupted by a sending from Ash to Perra. He informed us that the Thieves’ Guild headquarters had been broke into—Edris was dead, Terik had escaped, and we were to meet him at a mysterious address. After obtaining some breakfast and handy-dandy disguises to wear over our armor, we all hopped into the Haversack and Bag of Holding. Carkal used Terik’s ring to teleport us back to Madaban. On the way to Ash’s meeting place, we saw guards in a noble family’s colors questioning a shopkeeper. Clearly the hunt was still on, and we were suddenly the world’s worst insurance risk ever.
The address led us deep into the slums of Madaban, located in the lowest part of the city near the baseof the walls that surround it. The slums, having been built up and over each other, formed a vertical district. We found a “street” that wound up the buildings to a nondescript, abandoned looking home. We found Ash inside, who reported that the situation was even more dire than he’d told us earlier: the nobles’ counterattack was larger and more organized than anticipated, and more families had gotten involved. Especially puzzling since we’d disabled the Beyton family’s leadership not more than a few nights ago.
From Terik we had learned that the families had made a series of secret alliances with each other and a secret society (!!!). Alas, before more could be gotten out of him, Edris arrived and he shut up. The attack on the Thieves’ Guild happened not long after. Ash also told us that, though he didn’t know where to send us next, close examination of the Beyton family’s ledgers showed that the family had been closely linked to trade regarding soul crystals, or something similar—they had employed a powerful local shipper to convey goods of some kind twice of year. Jakabal Lebin, Master of the Shipping Guild, was our target…though his exalted position meant we’d make a lot of enemies confronting him for information. Excellent, more to add to our collection!
Ash promised us information on when to strike within a day or two. In the meantime, we had to lay low, and were sent to the dens under the slum district as the guards lose all authority in the dens, and they know it well. Ash arranged a meeting with a scrawny Halfling and this thugs who questioned us before allowing us access to the dens under the condition that we keep trouble out—otherwise our affiliation with Ash would mean nothing. As we wandered the dens, we took in the ramshackle inns unsavory businesses, and various shops of a black market nature. While taking in a meal, we were approached by a tiefling who introduced himself as Ozymandias, a paladin of Kord, who was eager to join us and have a chance at striking out at the nobles of Madaban. After some conversation (during which he told us of his plans to resurrect the Turathi empire. …Uh.), we welcomed him to the party, reasoning that with Gragas gone it couldn’t hurt to have a replacement big armored person to take all the hits, and commenced awaiting further instructions from Ash.