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Defenders Log #22: Political Treachery

Party Roster:

Felix, 4th level fighter, 42 hp, played by Alex
Drew, 4th level ranger, 34 hp, played by committee
Balinor, 3rd level fighter, 33 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 4th level cleric, 27 hp, played by Katherine
Morgan, 4th level fighter, 22 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 5th level druid, 20 hp, played by Jeremy
Perry, 5th level thief, 16 hp, played by Sean
Donald, 1st level mage, 7 hp, NPC

We had last left the Defenders enjoying the spoils of a successful mission
to Hafney Hill. Treasure division was settled as follows (if Mark or Kyle
have strong objections please voice them and I suspect we can probably
change some stuff):

Since it was fairly obvious (Mark, if you disagree please tell us) that
Hecht and Kerr would not settle down in Restenford, that left Auburn to
form a party, and since that was an uncertain proposition, we thought it
was best just to give the Lightning a share and let them decide on their own.

We made this deal: The Baron would give us approximately 11000 gp as an
"allowance" of 3000 gp per year for three years, plus the extra in the
fourth year. We withdrew our first years' allowance and gave it to the
Lightning. So the split is as follows:

Lightning receive 3000 gp, Captain's Jacket. The Defenders cover the cost
of the Identifies on the three items, and the salvage tax. We're certainly
willing to help you trade the Captain's Jacket, either with the Phaulkonian
Church (who is probably quite interested) or the Petethalian navy. The
split of that treasure is up to Kerr, Auburn, and Hecht (who still have to

That resolved, we trained Cassian and Quentin. Cassian picked up falconry
and a hawk, who was not fully trained when the events in the rest of the
adventure occurred. This was done in January/February 2175. In addition,
Quentin picked up sling and direction sense.

While Perry and the others helped rebuild Restenford after the terrible
storm hit (on our way back from Hafney Hill), Perry also kept an eye on the
suspicious bait shop owner, who had been spotted passing some kind of note
to a caravan master before we went to do the burrow worms (late 2174).

While in Barnacus, Felix and Balinor got items IDed, and checked with the
Church of Nevron to see if the Hand of Fate had returned and was interested
in doing the Temple mission. They had not yet come back from the escort of
the Leviathan dagger to the bishop in Cromwell. The earliest they could
return is the 15th of March, when the ports reopen.

In the middle of February, a few days before Balinor and Felix returned,
Perry spotted another exchange between the bait shop owner and the caravan
master. He saw a note passed to the master, who put it in his pocket.
Sensing his moment had arrived, Perry moved stealthily and attempted to
pickpocket the note.

His attempt was a dramatic failure (95), and one guard slashed at him with
a broadsword, injuring him. Perry went for the gusto and grabbed the
entire pouch and turned to run. The other guard slashed him again, nearly
bringing Perry down. But Perry sprinted away toward a guard. He told the
guard to talk to Relkin and arrest him before he was killed. He handed the
guard (Colemac was his name, of note for our later adventure) the pouch and said this was what he stole. The guard said, "Hey, here's your stuff back!" and returned it to the caravan master.


VERY FORTUNATELY, Perry had already pulled note out of the pouch and hidden
it on his person. He was arrested and hauled off. While in his cell,
Perry discovered that the note was a heavily coded message. Perry managed
a phenomenal Read Languages (09), and actually deciphered the first level
of the code. Relkin explained that in order to maintain appearances they
would have to keep Perry in jail for a month.

Perry agreed. The note was given to Peltar (the Baron's wizard) and his
students to attempt to decipher it. An invisible guard was left to observe
the bait shop owner in the following weeks. Balinor and Felix arrived and
we all settled down to wait.

Peltar had nearly deciphered the second level of the code, and suspected
there were three of them by February 24th.

Then the &*#! hit the fan.

On the evening of February 24th, a late season storm passed over Restenford
and let up around midnight. Baron Grellus got up to get a snack (most
likely cheese) around 11 PM. He went into the kitchen and turned on the
light, scaring away some mice who had gathered there.

At 4 AM in the morning, the Baroness awoke to find her husband had not
returned to bed. Suspecting something had come up, she asked the guard
Carlton what was going on. Carlton replied that nothing was going on, and
Baroness went down to the kitchen.

There was a huge bloodstain, and spices had been knocked over everywhere.
The Baron was nowhere to be found.

The alert went up, and immediately Peltar and Almax the druid were
contacted. Dogs were brought in to track, but they immediately became ill
at the large volume of spices that had been meticulously spread about the
kitchen. Furthermore, a cleaver was missing from the rack. Finally, three
items were found tucked away that had clearly not come from the castle.
They were: a broken golden string, a gem that had clearly been mounted on
something, and a red button with a design on it.

At 6 AM, Morgan was rudely awakened by the sounds of Gelpus (captain of the
guard) and Peltar (sober for the first time we had ever seen him), dragging
Perry along behind. The Defenders were briefed on the situation. Peltar
suspected it was either a political move, a prelude to an attack by a
bandit army, or a personal job.

Somehow, someone had gotten into the castle without making any noise or
triggering the numerous magical alarms, fought a melee with the Baron
without any noise, and dragged him out without being noticed (the Baron is
a big guy). This seemed to indicate a Silence spell or effect. The mice
in the kitchen mentioned that they had seen the Baron light the lantern and
had scampered away. The assailant would have had to have been quite
strong. In addition, he would either need to pass through walls, or use a
diminuition effect to slip in through some barred windows.

Were these items left by the Baron, or the assailant? What were they used

Four people had entered the town through the west gate (to Garroten and
Barnacus) that night. At 7 PM the innkeeper of an inn in Garroten, named
(forgot), entered and was seen by the distiller purchasing some expensive
wine. At 8 PM a minstrel entered and was seen by Falco's tavern for about
a half hour. At 9 PM, a priest of Osbrum (lawful neutral god of water
travel) entered. None of them were seen after that. In addition, Gap the
dwarf entered town at 10 PM (he's the awesome dart specialist at Falco's).
Gap was at Falco's in the morning.

The golden wire could very easily have been a snapped string from the
minstrel's lute (which had golden strings), the gem could easily have come
from the holy symbol of the priest of Osbrum (which traditionally have gems
on them), and the button could matched the buttons on the jacket of the
innkeeper. The coincidence was astounding.

Something very odd was going on. The castle was sealed up immediately.
The only person who is totally exempt from suspicion in the assassination
is, ironically, the bait shop owner. During the morning hours it was noted
by the invisible guard that the owner started writing another of the
encrypted notes. The guard learned quite a bit from watching it, and this
will greatly accelerate Peltar's efforts. The owner was then questioned
before he could finish, and Peltar was quite certain that although the man
clearly was involved, he was caught totally by surprise that the Baron was
missing. Perhaps Perry accelerated the timetable...

A scrying was attempted on the Baron, but it failed. The Baron is likely
in an unscryable area. Whether he is alive or not is unclear.

Unfortunately, the Restenford government does not have quick access to a
Commune (apparently the Phaulkonian leader cannot cast it). A
house-to-house search was done, but nothing was uncovered.

The assassin faces several problems. If the Baron is not found in 10 days,
he will be unraisable anyway. But the ports have not opened yet, so the
Baron is still on the island (forget Teleport-- if that can be done than we
can do nothing to save the Baron). The scyring was done quite quickly,
around 4 AM, giving the assassin only five hours to get the Baron/ body to
a scry-proof room. One thought was that the body could have been tossed to
fungus beetles that could digest it. Almax's son, also a druid, is
checking that possibility out. Frankly, I don't think there are any fungus
beetles that close to Restenford.

Almax sent out a halt on all Rest Eternal spells from druids, so he can't
be made unraisable that way.

One suspicion that came to the forefront is that this is a move by the Duke
of Kroten (Benct). The two leaders hate each other. It could also be a
prelude to an attack by bandits or other forces.

Peltar is unwilling to leave Restenford, since it would compromise the
defenses. The first choice for help would be the Hand of Fate, but they
are not on Lendore. So it's up to the Restenford Defenders to attempt to
recover the body in 10 days. "At least we'll have tried," said Gelpus.
The Baroness and the family are currently secure in the castle.

The Defenders decided that either Garroten or Benct would be a logical
place to go. There is a chapel to Osbrum in Benct, and that is where the
Duke of Kroten is. There is known to be a large assassin's guild in
Barnacus, but the smaller Garroten guild is known as much better quality.
Furthermore, the innkeeper was definitely from Garroten. And there is a
full Church to Osbrum in Garroten.

Is the minstrel in fact a bard? If so, he is practically above suspicion.
We strongly doubt the Baron did anything bad enough to anger the bardic

So we were given fast horses by Relkin, and set off around 1 PM on the
25th. Riding like mad, we made the ever lovely Dead Forest by nightfall
(locusts, spiders, skeletons-- we went in there in Adventure #2!).

In fact, the whole trip brought back memories. The night went
uneventfully, and we traveled frantically the next day.

Drew managed to stop us from being surprised by the three giant snakes that
emerged from the side. Using two Speak with Animal spells, Quentin managed
to convince them to leave. They REALLY wanted the horses, and were very

At around noon, we ran into the bandit ambush.

About twenty arrows were shot at us (short bow). Two horses dropped dead,
and a third staggered and fell over. Morgan managed to leap clear, and
Cassian and Felix managed to sustain a single point of damage but avoided
being pinned.

Quentin raised the druidic staff and let fly an Entangle, catching seven of
them instantly!

"Turn!!!" came the yell, and they broke and ran without even firing again,
abandoning the seven trapped men yelling for help. Balinor and Felix
really wanted to kill them, but since time was of the essence, we instead
yelled, "We are on important business. Since we are in a hurry we will not


We moved on, but unfortunately at only half the speed, since we had lost
three of seven horses. We reached Garroten around nightfall.

We spoke with the local druid, named Martin. Word had not yet reached him
that the Baron was missing, though he did know about the freeze on Rest
Eternal. He indicated that he certainly knew all three people we described.

The innkeeper is a man who prefers to remain neutral, and does go to
Restenford for wine on occasion.

The minstrel is in fact a bard named Balmoro. He is quite powerful and
runs the theater in Garroten.

The priest of Osbrum is in fact Harper, the HIGH PRIEST OF OSBRUM in the
New World. He is totally insane. We have heard rumors that he will
occasionally Raise someone for free. He once wanted a sandwich, and the
person said he would get it for him soon. Harper cast a Quest spell (5th
level!) that if he didn't get the sandwich in four hours, the man would
slowly die.


We trekked down to the theater, and discovered that a person had already
started, and the bard would unavailable until the next day.

We then stopped by the inn. The patrons inside included three farmers, an
ugly armed man, a handsome man running the card games (Grison actually
gambled with him once), a gnome, and one other person I can't remember.

The innkeeper was there as well. This was not particularly surprising by
this time. We went to talk with him. He took us to a quiet corner of the
common room, and we asked him if he knew what was going on. He knew about
the Baron's disappearance, and was concerned by the apparent attempt to
impersonate him. Apparently he had lost a button about a week before from
his jacket. He said he hadn't gone to Restenford.

In a bizarre turn, Quentin secretly noted that he had felt like a
(psionic?) probe had gone through his mind and perhaps everyone's. He
thought it was the innkeeper, but wasn't sure.

We got two rooms for the night, and posted watches, but nothing happened.

In the morning (of the 27th), Cassian spoke with the ugly guy over
breakfast. He was a captain, and had a gruff demeanor. Cassian continued
cheerfully asking him about his travels, and actually got him to admit he
tranported cargo. There were a whole bunch of subtle hints, but we think
he is actually the choice of assassins everywhere for transporting a body.

Then we went to speak with the bard. Balmoro said he had in fact a
student/stage hand had snapped a string about a week earlier while using
his lute. He said that he finds it highly likely the assassin's guild
knows his feelings about them (hatred), and although they probably can't
kill him, they can kill everyone he knows. So he remains cautiously
discovering little bits of informtaion in the hopes of eventually
discovering some of the "big fry." He was very disturbed that someone was
impersonating him, but is unwilling to take action unless we come to him
with a clear plan. He revealed that someone at the inn belongs to the guild.

Balmoro also mentioned that the best time to speak with the high priest of
Osbrum is early in the day, before "he decides to do something."

We ended there.

Whew! I think the Defenders are entering a political phase as well. But if
we can pull this off...



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