Sands of Sumalis Part II

Where things stood at the end of Session 1

  • The Bow of Murder is with what the Party only knows are religious acolytes of some form.
  • City Guilds and Groups are confused about what is or may be happening in the desert. Dren’s disinformation took on a life of its own and things are blown way out of proportion.
  • Illarion is traveling back to his last known Kruthik lair.
  • The Blue Fox Adventuring Group have lost almost a dozen (9 to be exact) members and they have no real idea why or how. The party still has the insignia of those that died first.
  • A new Merchant Caravan has arrived in the City of Glass bearing thousands of pounds of goods and merchandise not normally found in the desert, and stand to make a small fortune.
  • Zenaris is the only member of the Party who holds any kind of interest in the Anti-Armor Sword, and as such is the one currently holding it.

Kaderin – High Elf Bard and Official Leader, Colgrim – Mountain Dwarf Barbarian, Dren – Tiefling Rogue, Esriame – Scourge Aasimar Cleric, and Zenaris Wheelwright – Rock Gnome Wizard

Description of the City of Glass

The City of Glass shimmers like a jewel between the ocean and the desert. Mighty walls, decorated with blue and white glazed brick dominate and protect the city. Green plants, palm trees, and blooming flowers tended by Acolytes of Nature decorate the streets inside the city, standing in stark contrast to the endless sea of sand outside and the ocean nearby. There is no need for pavement, the sand being packed down enough in the streets it may as well be concrete. All the buildings are a cacophony of colors and mosaics of glazed brick décor. Undead skeletons patrol the streets, usually in pairs, spiked metal helmets, white thobes edged in gold trim covering metal cuirase. They’re adorned with silvery bracers, and leather footwear, and their eyes glow blue from gems in their eyes, blue runes cover every inch of exposed bone, and bits of ghostly form appear when they move.  Golems trundle around the streets, mindlessly fetching goods and completing errands. In many street corners there can be found groups of sailors and/or workers engaged in games of chance, being watched over by the Clerics of Chaos, who are easily distinguished by the symbol of a Snake’s head with dice for eyes that is sewn or embroidered onto to their thobe.

Down by the harbor the streets smell like fish, the docks are made from sturdy stone, wooden sailing ships of all sizes and shapes come and go. Rope, barrels, nets appear strewn about everywhere as workers, sailors, and fishermen of all kinds keep busy. Seafood is the most common foodstuff to be found in the city, as other consistent sources are rare to come by in the desert, although the Acolytes of the Nature Domain have managed to coax some small farms into existence around the city.

The Grand Marketplace is sprawled out in the center of the city, overlooked by a giant golden building, the bank of Zeseus (Temple of the God of Fortune). Street vendors hawk wares from carts covered by brightly colored cloth rippling in the sea breeze. Occasionally giant steam powered Walker Mechanica caravans will come through, carrying wares from beyond the desert in bulk for delivery to the more established vendors and stores.

The Castle of Glass to the west of the grand marketplace is the residence of King Arkturis, and contains the Shrine of War. Most other nations have great temples where the Domain of War is invoked in all matters military, from strategic discussions, declarations of war, military parades, etc. However Arkturis’ unique undead army means very little military discussion ever takes place, and a shrine is all the King deems necessary.

Immediately north of the castle is the Administrative District. It is dominated by the great Temple of Order, where the courts are kept by Judge Priests. Most administrative and clerical work is done in the buildings within close proximity to the court.

To the East of the Grand Market is the Cleric Quarter. It houses the great temples of the Domain of Nature (who run the desalination area along the ocean just outside the eastern wall), and the Domain of Grave (who handle the mortuary services of all the dead who are not Contracted), and is where most clerics in the city reside. This area is not nearly as guarded as the rest by undead guards, leaving it mostly to hired living folk who can enter consecrated or holy areas without catching fire.

The Mysterious Assassination

It has been five days since they returned from the desert empty handed and despite some attempts by Dren to find anything about the acolytes in the desert before going on a multi-day drinking binge with Colgrim, nothing new was found. The Esriame and Kaderin and did find that historically, the Bow of Murder had no definitive origin. Nothing was known about it other than an assassin began killing with it some 400-450 years ago. Zenaris was out and searching for what the anti-armor sword was and what its use was for. And turned up little other than it was apparently rather broken.

An undead guard arrives at the party’s residence and requests Dren, still employed by the city guard, come and investigate a murder.

Thodan, a dwarf and Archpriest of the Temple of Farrin (and follower of minor deity Ezhi, goddess of Plains), lies dead in a pool of his own blood in the Temple Sanctuary. He had been in the middle of leading the early morning rituals before the rise of of the sun. With him at the time were three acolytes. Two of whom had panicked and fled before the party arrived.

The party discovered multiple clues over the course of a couple hours. The Acolyte who stayed and tended the body of the deceased was an elf named Sylhice. He claimed that as they were performing the ritual, an arrow appeared from the wall, like it had simply gone through it, and killed the Archpriest. It was noticed that he was very calm about it, and Dren came stomping over and deeply intimidated the elf, demanding he tell the truth about what happened. It became apparent that he had been telling the truth about what transpired however. A black arrow, feathered with crow feathers with an arrowhead of an obsidian black colored stone (but not actually obsidian) etched with a crow’s head, was lodged in the eye of a stone relief of an elk eating grass. The blood spatter from the arrow when it was removed made the elk look like it was weeping tears of blood.

The party noticed that the wall that Sylhice said the arrow came from had an unusual pattern about eight feet up. Closer inspection revealed that the stone may have been shaped by magic to allow an arrow through, and then immediately closed again. Outside directly beneath where the stone was altered, they found a small magical crystal, some odd dust (later determined to be fairy dust), and discolored vegetation (the shrubs were richer in color, more verdant).

Tracing the path of the arrow back to an inn over a block away (over 900 ft) named the Three Fish Inn, they met the Tavernkeep named Two Fish. Two Fish was a fat, jolly, Tabaxi in a ‘if Santa ran an inn and was Tabaxi’ kind of way. Gregarious, he loves chatting with patrons at the bar, serving food and drink. His fire sprite (whose appearance is about a foot in height and is a cross between Ragnaros the Firelord and baby groot) is named One Fish, and is used to light alcoholic beverages on fire and cook meals. A flamethrower looking device sits behind the bar, and is apparently used to make One Fish six feet tall, and defend the place in times of danger. After some alcohol was consumed and food eaten, they convinced Two Fish to let them investigate upstairs, and found the room the arrow was fired from on the second floor. The room had been painted black, all sources of light hidden or removed, black curtains hung over the window. No light in or out. On the bed an Elven couple had been murdered, run through by a sword. The arrow had definitely been fired from this location.

It turns out the two deceased individuals were Mr and Mrs Gwathrril, merchants who had come into town for a week, checked in three days ago and were never heard from again. Two Fish was distraught at the sight of the dead bodies. Returning downstairs the party took note of two individuals (of what used to be a group of them before they went upstairs) in a corner. They were dressed in blank black garb, covered like undead. They behaved suspiciously enough that it drew the attention of the party and led to a confrontation that included Dren telling Colgrim to do a thing in Dwarven, that the figures didn’t understand, not knowing the language. The figures attempted to escape out the window, but were stopped in the fight. One of the figures pulled out a crystal and activated it before falling over, however Esriame managed to jump over, scoop it up, and hurl it out the window. It exploded in extremely powerful light, which instantly killed the two creatures and left the party and everyone in the tavern and within the vicinity outside blind for ten minutes. The creatures also exploded in bright light as they died. The second creature had made it out the window before dying, and still had a crystal that the party retrieved, as well as two ornate daggers, black handled engraved with leaves and gold trim (currently in possession of Dren). Two Fish pointed them in the direction of an individual by the name of Esynth who would know more about these creatures, the gem, and possibly the Bow of Murder.

Esynth had a store near the wall inside the city, it was fairly out of the way and on the edge of the Grand Market. The shop’s name was also Esynth, and was written in big blocky letters (reminiscent the Old West style) on the front of the building. The party could hear her talking before they even entered. As they entered the shop, they just saw feet and legs sticking up from behind the counter. Esynth herself was resting upside down on a chair, head against the floor. She quickly stood up and greeted the party.

Her description:

Esynth looks like a tall, muscular woman of indeterminate race with brownish-blond hair that is arranged in spikes that go down to her shoulders, the irises in her eyes have bits of metallic yellow flakes floating in them, and tiny metallic arrows pointed down are tattooed in five even rows on her cheeks. Her expression seems to be a constant state of an almost mischievous friendliness, like she knows something you don’t and can barely hold it in. She wears a long open brown leather jacket with a white shirt underneath, black combat boots, and grey pants. 

She is an absolute font of information, and constantly tries to engage in conversation with everyone. She is incredibly talkative, almost overbearingly so. She has thousands upon thousands of different types of rings for sale, ranging from simple pewter rings to deeply elegant and magical rings worth entire kingdoms. If there is a magical spell known to a wizard, there is probably a ring for sale capable of casting it. She has a couple boxes on the counter filled with common and mundane rings for sale, 5 silver for 5 rings. The party notices that the windows look out upon a glacier, not the City of Glass. They attempt to understand it, but are unable to discern it. She says things that don’t quite make sense for the party. She knows Two Fish and is fond of him, however has never been to see him (he always comes there to chat). Has never seen or been on an Airship, but knows the gnomes who invented them.  That kind of thing. Zenaris buys two spell scrolls, so he can learn the spells (when she goes to retrieve them Colgrim notices that there’s a gigantic cavern out the door she went through, and it was way too big to exist inside the City of Glass), and the party learns that the creatures they were fighting were Darklings, they learn about the fey, and that Darklings are known to be excellent assassins, and could have been hired or otherwise coerced into killing the Archpriest. Or they could be doing it for reasons only known to the fey. Esynth also took the crystal one of the Darklings had, activated it and exploded it in her cupped hands, damaging nobody. She also offered two and a half gold for the daggers they had.

After extricating themselves from Esynth’s constant conversation and store (she showed every indication that she could literally talk for days and not be remotely tired of it), the party was met by an undead guard, who let them know that the ceremony to ascend a new Archpriest would be held later the next morning, and Sylhice would like for them to be there, guarding the place as the undead guards wouldn’t be near enough for his liking. The party agreed and ventured over the next morning.

Sylhice greeted them, and pleasantly let them know he was to be the new Archpriest. He asked if they could stand by the doors and look for anyone out of the ordinary as they came in. The party spotted three unusual characters each, but ultimately let them all through. Everyone in the party took a seat around the outer edges or front, Dren standing by the entrance. The temple was open air, and the sun shown down brightly on the proceedings.

In what was probably the middle of the ritual, a figure in a grey robe and hood, face covered in a mask (wearing frosted glasses covering the eyeslits) stood up, and began running down the center of the aisle toward the Archpriest. It ripped off the top half of the robe and removed the mask, revealing the Darkling Elder beneath. It’s voidlike skin absorbing all light, withering in the bright sunlight. Cracks of white light started forming in its skin as he started to shout accusingly ‘Something is wrong with-‘ and then exploded like a bomb made of light itself. The party managed to survive the blast, as did a Dragonborn Sorcerer, a Kobold Sorcerer, and a Tiefling. Over a hundred and fifty others died, along with the Sylhice and all the other acolytes of Nature who had gathered around for the occasion. The survivors were blinded temporarily (for about ten minutes).

The session was ended with the party standing up among the charred and mutilated bodies of the dead.

Where Things Stand

  • The Bow of Murder is still missing.
  • The Acolytes of the Domain of Nature are almost all dead in the City of Glass.
  • City Guilds and Groups were already on edge before the events of the assassination happened. Things are not likely to improve after this.
  • The Blue Fox Adventuring Group is still mourning the loss of their brethren, still have no idea what happened to them (the Party still has the insignia and haven’t returned them yet), and are deeply paranoid.
  • Thanks to Esynth,  Zenaris knows his Anti-Armor sword is broken, but can be fixed with a little magic and some very expensive materials, and that when working can be activated to shift between corporeal and incorporeal depending on the type of foe.
  • Dren has the two Darkling daggers.
  • The Fey have it out for the Domain of Nature (or at least those of the Temple of Farrin in the City of Glass) and nobody knows exactly why.
  • Esynth is very weird, and the party doesn’t know what to make of her.

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