Fifth Frontier

Episode Seven: Down Among the Rats

Don't split the party

After the revelation that worshippers of Tiamat may be searching for dragon parts, the heroes – now calling themselves the “Five Thousand Dragons” – decided to split up to investigate.

Cileth wants to know more about their enemy and heads to the House of the Sun, hoping to learn more about Tiamat from a follower of Bahamut. She speaks with Aurion, a Dragonborn cleric, who tells her the origin story of Bahamut and Tiamat, and explains that the Dragon Queen has no organised religion – only fanatic cults. She also has limited influence since she was banished from the world to the Nine Hells for murdering her elder sibling and trying to blame the death on Bahamut. When Cileth explains she has evidence of such a cult operating in or near Fallcrest, Aurion takes her to speak with Grundelmar, the dwarven cleric of Pelor responsible for the restoration of the Temple; he tells her and her friends to leave this alone, and that they will send for paladins to investigate. When she mentions Ash and his connection to the Oleeae, however, both clerics get a bit nervous…

Ehljayy returned to the Septarch’s Tower, hoping that the wizard Nimozaran the Green could enchant his quarterstaff. After a frosty reception from the wizard’s apprentice, Tobolar, Nimozaran spoke with Ehljayy; he advised that such enchantment was very difficult, as the secrets of making magical weapons had largely been lost, and he has his own problems: he recently ordered a quantity of powdered diamond via [[Naerumar’s Imports]], to use in a spell of warding on the tower, but it never arrived. If Ehljayy could find it, then Nimozaran might be able to point Ehljayy in the right direction for a magical staff. Ehljayy decides to look for leads immediately, and heads off to the Blue Moon Alehouse.

…which is where Relentless is looking for leads on the Blood Patch. She doesn’t find any, though she does observe Ash drinking and fighting and eventually being escorted from the premises. Her best intelligence comes initially from a half-elf named Kael, who works for House Azaer, a Tiefling-run local merchant business. They’ve recently had a caravan go missing and not report in for a couple of weeks. When Ehljayy arrives, they continue questioning Kael and realise that a couple of unusual items ordered through Naerumar’s Imports were also being transported on the caravan – two locked boxes, one of which might contain Nimozaran’s powedered diamonds. Kael offers to meet them as House Azaer the next day, and Ehljayy and Relentless leave to look for Ash.

Meanwhile Capriole, after bidding farewell to the Lost Ones, heads to the Lower Quays and tries trailing a River Rat named Pike who meets with two other members of the gang in a dark spot near the boathouses. Capriole is not as stealthy as he hopes, and they spot him; he asks them about the Blood Patch and they refuse to answer, getting violent when he refuses to give up his questioning, but using his magic he quickly and easily overpowers them. One of them escapes, and he follows them to the back entrance of Fallcrest’s roughest tavern, the Lucky Gnome Taphouse

…which is where Ash has been drinking and fighting, but by the time Ehljayy and Relentless arrive, he has already moved on, leaving only bruised and injured folk as evidence of his passing. As they question the patrons of the bar, they come to realise something is up behind closed doors, and they bust through into the back room…

…where Capriole has discovered that Kelson, landlord of the Lucky Gnome, is the secret leader of the River Rats! He’s none too pleased about his intruders, and also seems to be preoccupied with finding out who killed Longfang, leader of the Blood Patch group discovered in Dragon Manor. He definitely knows more than he’s willing to let on, but when Capriole says he was the one who killed Longfang, Kelson has his men grab and detain the young warlock, eventually incapacitating him and absconding into the night. Ehljayy and Relentless try to follow them, but it’s too late.

They do manage to find Ash, bloody and bruised, near the docks; he’s been fighting as many as would take him one. There’s a crazed look in his eye; something has changed about him. In fact, his eyes turn a bloodshot red, and he foams a little at the mouth…

…as Cileth, Grundelmar and Aurion discuss Kord, and the eyes of his statue in the House of the Sun glow a dark blood red…

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