Byrne is still mysteriously missing. He was last seen leaving the The Laughing Cockatrice on the first night Lord Blaine’s Expedition arrived in town. He slipped away with little fanfare after the group met with Malcon Delorin. The group has no idea where he has gone, but presumes he is following up on his investigation into the Project Alabaster connection to the Inquisitor they found in Whitehearth.
Kat attended the massive civic funeral with Professor Ener Lumfoodle. As undeclared nobility, they could only access the public section. Thus, they were deep in the press of the common faithful and could only observe the proceedings through projected magical images and the recitations of Silver Flame clerics on raised platforms.
During the course of the funeral, Kat observed a massive cloaked figure stalking the crowd. The figure was obviously large and muscular, moved with a predatory grace, and showed fur and scars on his visible arms. Kat left Prof. Lumfoodle to follow and see if this was the missing Byrne. As he approached he noticed that the figure was apparently stalking one of the patrolling Inquisitors.
When the cloaked figure snatched the Inquisitor and dragged him into an alley, Kat gave chase. He was able to follow them through the winding alleys to onto the Scion’s Bridge, which was currently under post-war reconstruction. After climbing up the harrowing lattice of catwalks and scaffolding, he arrived on the platform just below the cloaked figure and the Inquisitor. From this vantage point, he was able to overhear part of their conversation. The cloaked figure spoke in a ragged, bestial voice and seemed to be pressing the Inquisitor for information. Kat was able to glean the following:
- The cloaked figure had obviously interacted with the Inquisitor in the past.
- The cloaked figure was looking for a dwarf, who was apparently now “well protected” and operates out of a mercantile house near the Lightning Rail Station.
- High Cardinal Ferando has been doing some kind of dealings with House Cannith.
- It seems High Cardinal Ferando had previously been working with Cannith South through a woman named Magritta d’ Cannith, but she failed to deliver on a “prototype.”
- High Cardinal Ferando is now in talks with an unspecified representative from Cannith East.
- The cloaked figure has an unspecified previous relationship with the murdered Bishop Mariella Midlund.
After the interrogation, the cloaked figure informed the captive Inquisitor that for his assistance he was being given “a kindness.” At this point the Inquisitor’s body plummeted from the scaffolding above Kat and crashed down into the bay below. As Kat recovered from the shock, he realized that the figure above seemed to be catching a scent on the wind. Kat readied to descend one of the support ropes next him. Kat was momentarily terrified as he witnessed the taloned claw of the cloaked figure phasing through the wooden scaffold above him.
Kat swiftly used the abundance of chains and ropes to drop down the bridgeworks to the water below. But, observed that the cloaked figure had leaped down from the bridge as well. Kat managed to hide under a dock. As Kat watched the cloak figure plummet, the figure’s descent slowed and he seemed to land upon the surface of the water. After a quick, unsuccessful survey the figure took off running over the water back toward the city.
Kat managed to find the body of the murdered Inquisitor and took the satchel containing his papers and daily orders. He did not alert the Guard for fear of being caught by the cloaked figure. At this point, he was pretty certain that it wasn’t Byrne.
Kat returned to the Soundwall Hostel to reconvene with the rest of the group.
Prof. Lumfoodle attended the massive civic funeral with Kataris “Kat” ir’Ranek. Since he was stuck in the press of a mostly human audience, he witnessed even less than Kat. He did, however, catch a strangely familiar scent. He soon recognized it as a mixture of Eldeen Pine and Witchhazel, highly reminiscent of the scents he remembered from his disastrous The Balinor Expedition. With the recent strange events, the unexpected death of Rayford Lorn (the hired guard from the expedition), and the mysterious home intruder back in Korranberg, Prof. Lumfoodle was determined to track it to its source.
He came upon the source, which was a well dressed, trim man in a heavily modified Cyran uniform which incorporated a heavy amount of Elven accoutrements. The strange man also wore a headband of the same red Zharah Designs glamourweave as had been found both on Prof. Lumfoodle’s roof and upon the dead rats delivered to his house (and Byrne’s undergarments). Prof. Lumfoodle questioned the man, but didn’t glean any useful information and decided the situation was nothing more than happenstance. As the stranger drifted off into the crowd, he bid the Professor a good day. Prof. Lumfoodle realized that he had never told the stranger that he was professor. He went to seek the man, but he had disappeared like a ghost.
Later, after reconvening with Kat, Lumfoodle reviewed the Inquisitor’s recovered papers. He determined that the slain agent was Inquisitor Imperi, the same man they were supposed to meet with the next day. He also found orders regarding the heightened security. They referenced increased observation of an individual named Vogel Wissenborough and improved security for prisoners A70-R and 32.
Rico was invited by Gerald ir’Fenner, his old Aracnix schoolmate, to attend the funeral in the noble section. From his plush seat he was able to survey the assembled Thrane nobility and high ranking clergy. He also had an unobstructed view of the ceremony’s proceedings. He was able to take note of the staves of the faithful, the three ceremonial Staves of Office used in major Silver Flame events. The details of the staves will be provided in a future post.
At the high point of the ceremony, just prior to the lighting of the funeral pyre, the Keeper held aloft her staff and a radiant light shone out from it. Gerald informed Rico that the light was a reflection of the Flame and would choose a worthy faithful to ignite the pyre. He also mentioned that it was a high honor amongst the faithful to be selected. Of course, the Flame selected Rico.
Dumbfounded, he stumbled up onto the altar and stood with the officiants. High Cardinal Ferando handed Rico the Staff of the Faithful and motioned toward the funeral pyre’s marble platform. Rico, not knowing what to do, brandished the staff with a dramatic flourish to no effect. High Cardinal Krozen leaned into and coldly informed Rico to insert the staff into the platform’s slot. Upon doing so, the pyre became ablaze and Rico was relieved of the staff and quickly ushered back to his seat.
This event, apparently, had a profound impact on the resident nobility. Gerald was both in awe and offended by the Flame’s choice of Rico. After the ceremony Rico became a source on much interest. The Queen Diani ir’Wynarn, the Blood Regent, even invited Rico to dine with her and celebrate his honor at the palace the following evening. As with any royal event, it is sure to become a gala, the focus of the high society attention.
Vashto decided that the civic funeral would provide an excellent distraction to allow him to break into Bishop Mariella Midlund’s office. His goal was to learn more regarding her possible connection to the Silver Flame expedition to Whitehearth. He also hoped his meeting with Inquisitor Drego would help him resolve some of his haunting personal issues. Since he didn’t trust the others to watch her effectively, he brought Mollie Fastinger along with him for his meeting with Inquisitor Drego.
His interview with the Inquisitor went well. He successfully managed to establish his reason for being in town without disclosing the details of Lord Blaine Expedition’s quest. He also discussed his reoccurring haunting or visions of the skeletons the group had faced both in Rose Quarry and the Mournland. Inquisitor Drego said that there was little he could do if Vashto was cursed, but set up an appointment for him to meet with Inquisitor Serberys, one of the church’s leading experts in dark arts and insidious magic.
Drego was also very interested to learn of Vashto’s confrontation with the Emerald Claw. He strategically questioned Vashto and discerned that he was being truthful regarding the altercation. He confided in Vashto that there was an Emerald Claw cell operating in Flamekeep. He requested Vashto’s assistance in discovering this cells and bringing it to justice. The exact particulars were not disclosed, but Vashto agreed to help to save face with the Inquisitor.
After the meeting with the Inquisitor, Vashto attempted to disguise his departure from the Cathedral offices by taking a tour of the art wing. Once in the art wing, he told Mollie to return to the hostel and wait for him there. After a few inflammatory remarks, Mollie left him alone in the glorious arched hallway.
Vashto’s plan to reinsert himself into the office of the Inquisition hinged on his bowler hat. He had strategically “forgotten” his hat in Inquisitor Drego’s office. Knowing that the Inquisitor and the majority of the Cathedral guard would be busy at the funeral, Vashto approached the lone guard protecting Inquisitorial wing. Vashto informed the guard of his lost hat and the guard reluctantly led Vashto back to Drego’s office. When the guard entered office to retrieve the hat, Vashto cut himself with his Dhakaani Straight Razor, thus turning himself invisible. The guard exited the office and quickly became alarmed at Vashto’s disappearance. He was on the verge of stumbling into Vasto and raising a general alarm when Mollie came careening down the hallway dragging a Flamic tapestry behind her. The guard took off in pursuit of her, leaving Vashto at liberty.
Vashto quickly made for the Bishop’s office and managed to reach it just as his enchantment was wearing off. He picked the lock and slipped inside. As he entered the dark office, he heard a soft swish and felt a small pain in his neck. Then he passed out.
When he awoke he was being revived by a man he recognized as Sir Agan Rocabi, one of King Boranel’s knights. Sir Rocabi recognized Lord Vashto and questioned him regarding his presence in the murdered Bishop’s office. Vashto was able to spin enough of a yarn regarding his business in Flamekeep to appease Sir Rocabi. Rocbai, feeling that he needed to bring Vashto into the fold with this chance occurrence, disclosed that he was a Dark Lantern and was operating in Flamekeep to discover what the strange mystery the church seemed to be delving into. He was certain that the murdered Bishop was involved, but hadn’t had substantial proof until he had searched her office. He then asked Vashto to meet him at his safe-house that evening to discuss his findings. He, regretfully, needed to ask for Lord Vashto’s assistance in gaining more information. He then slipped out of the office and disappeared down the hall.
Vashto employed his acrobatic skills honed during his nights as the Towerhawk, and slipped down the highly ornate wall of the Cathedral complex. Upon returning to the hostel, he found Mollie. He questioned her regarding her antics in the Inquisitor’s chambers. Mollie informed him that she had known he was up to something and had tailed him. She said it was obvious that he was going to be apprehended by the guard, so she created a suitable diversion. She never really informed Vashto how she eluded the guard.