Savage Tide Pathfinder Style

Chapter 1: There Is No Honor: Session 3
Den of the Dragons

The group reconvened the following morning in the Sunrise District, the location of the Taxidermist’s Guild. Passing by in the early morning hours, they noted that the location, facing a narrow road adjacent to a canal, was closed. The old, creaky buildings sitting on either side of it appeared to be condemned, their doors and windows boarded over. Consulting the back of the guildhall, a triangular alley surrounding a well called “Dead Dog Alley”, they found the guildhall secured by a pair of large doors barred by a massive chain and lock. Resolving to try again later in the day, they reconvened to a local tavern.

Growing restless after a couple hours, Dorian decided to take a solo stroll back towards the Taxidermist’s hall when, en route, he was intercepted by a smartly-dressed human of about thirteen carrying a festive package. He asked somewhat clumsily if Dorian was “one of the guys from Parrot Island” and “looking for a bunch of thieves”. Not sure what to make of the odd intrusion, Dorian almost let the boy go, but managed to get out of him that someone named “M” wanted to speak to he and his cohorts and that, if they were interested, they could find her at Last Ditch Lovers, a brothel in the Shadowshore that was known for being perhaps the worst in the city in terms of quality of employees. Intrigued enough to tell the others about it, Dorian reported this to everyone at the tavern they’d been using as their impromptu meeting place, but not before finishing his walk past Dead Dog Alley, where he saw that the Taxidermist’s Guildhall was now open for business, the front door ajar and anticipating business.

The group decided to visit the brothel for their mysterious meeting first, making the trip to the Shadowshore to the dumpy, run-down home of a stable of four or five prostitutes who were either past their prime, never prime to begin with, or bore the weight of two prime women that was known as “Last Ditch Lovers”. Cautiously, they inquired after “M”, which only confused the madam, as the only one in the building with an ‘M’ name didn’t “entertain” clients. They asked to speak to her nevertheless, and after a moment of arguing with someone behind a nearby door, thumbed the party over to a softly-lit room.

Inside, they met an attractive young woman of about sixteen or seventeen who was dressed like an adventurer, wearing studded leather armor that was custom-tailored and dyed black, with a rapier resting on her exposed hip. While she appeared mostly human, she clearly was something not quite. A half-elf, perhaps? They asked what she wanted them for. The young woman, whom they still knew only as “M”, claimed that she had become aware that they were searching for the Lotus Dragons, and had information that she believed might be beneficial to them. Her stake in this, she revealed, was that the Lotus Dragons were “competitors” for certain interests in the city, and she’d delight in seeing them come to ruin. Furthermore, one of her men, a halfling named Lucas, had recently attempted to infiltrate the Lotus Dragons but not returned. She charged the party with finding and recovering the halfling or, in the case of his death, returning with his belongings. In return, she gave them information that she believed would be crucial intelligence for their siege on the Lotus Dragons: she knew of at least twenty-two individual members, that they were funded by one of the noble houses in the city even before Vanthus’ inclusion to their ranks, and that the nature of the guild was such that they would only get one punch; to that end, she emphasized that before they venture after their prey, they be well-fortified with healing and weaponry and be steeled to fight at least thirty men.

Taking heed of this advice, the group set out to acquire enough healing potions and alchemist’s fire to outfit a small squad, and returned to the Taxidermist’s Guildhall, now open. Inside, they found a quiet showroom displaying a wide variety of taxidermied wares, everything from small, common animals to massive and fearsome beasts, including a small black dragon wyrmling. A bell on the counter proclaimed “RING FOR SERVICE!”, which Nemian Roblach, a lanky, hook-nosed human man of about fifty with a salt-and-pepper moustache and goatee dressed in a green tricorn hat and captain’s coat, the guildmaster, from the back room where he’d been working. After a brief but confusing conversation where Dorian attempted to engage Roblach about his wares under the pretense of offering him business, Othar allowed his nervousness to overcome him, and he spontaneously attempted to blind the man with a color spray. Momentarily fazed but mostly just angered by the attempt, Nemian blinked out from behind his small, circular classes and hopped over the front counter, shouting “Watch! Watch! Some fucking maniac just assaulted me! Arrest this asshole!”

Deciding to exercise some discretion, the party left the Sunrise District until nightfall, when they returned to Dead Dog Alley, the day’s earlier events faded from memory. Thanks to some expert investigation of the empty and condemned buildings in Dead Dog Alley, Dorian found that much of the bulwarks erected to keep people out were false, and that they were able to walk right in. Inside, a vigorous search turned up a trapdoor connected to a knotted rope that lead into a series of brick tunnels beneath the district. Taking one last moment to prepare themselves, they descended into the dark with the midnight moon overhead.

The tunnels beneath the alleyway proved a confusing puzzle at first: if this was the den of the Lotus Dragons, it didn’t show. Even accounting for having (hopefully) caught them by surprise, the den seemed barren. After wrenching open stuck, swollen doors and walking down dank, dripping halls, they discovered that there appeared to be four of these knotted ropes slithering down stone shafts, all four leading up to other empty houses in Dead Dog Alley. These four tunnels surrounded a massive, natural central chamber that was home to a crocodile, though some quick thinking managed to avoid any confrontation with it.

Thinking perhaps they had simply ended up in the sewers, there were some signs of life to be found, including the chain and harness keeping the croc at bay. A thorough search turned up a secret revolving stone wall, leading into a dimly-lit series of brick-lined tunnels. Cautiously, the group moved on, believing they had finally stumbled on to the home of the Lotus Dragons.

It didn’t take long to find trouble: the first occupied room they stumbled on to was the Lotus Dragon barracks, with four men sleeping in bunks as three others played cards nearby. Raising an alarm, one of the men ran out of the opposite side of the room before the party could stop him, leaving them to deal with the other six. Four of them were quickly dispatched, leaving the last two to surrender. Notably low on usable information, all they volunteered was that their boss was “A hot redhead.” Moving on quickly to take advantage of their momentum, the party located the mess hall, adjacent to the kitchen, and next to them both a small room with a feminine kobold who was fast asleep in a hammock. Deciding to leave the kobold be, the party shut the door and explored another wing, where they encountered a monstrous wolf that turned out to be a good deal more monster than wolf, a worg named Cruncher who attacked the party and nearly killed Traxen before being subdued.

Cruncher, it seemed, guarded the prison, a long hall with pitiable cages, though no prisoners were to be found, much to the party’s dismay as they were still searching for Lucas on behalf of M. A warm glow and a sizzle could be detected coming from the door at the end of the hall, and as the group burst the door open, they found a stragly looking thief in a leather apron about to use a searing hot iron on a person tied to the rack. It seemed they had stumbled into the Lotus Dragons’ torture chamber. Quickly dispatching the torturer, the group freed the man tied to the rack, a muscular, bestubbled man who introduced himself as Kersh, a silk merchant who had been abducted while staying at the Bent Goblin, a tavern in the Merchant District.

First, however, they resolved to clear out the passages they had thus far skipped, which proved to turn up some interesting evidence: the eastern portion of the Lotus Dragon guildhall ended in a series of natural caverns thick with tidal life and blankets of sea urchins. Of note was the northeast side, where the cavern yielded to an underground grotto with a massive sea gate shielding the cave from prying eyes, a pier in the center of the grotto that seemed designed for receiving cargo from sea bound for the guildhall, and in one far-off, tucked away corner of the cave, a pair of monstrous rhogadessa, like the ones they’d encountered while reclaiming The Blue Nixie from Vark and his men. Clearly the illegal animal trafficking in Talshuta went beyond Vark, and perhaps even originated here. Strewn across the floor near the great arachnids, Their options were now whittled down to one: breach the inner sanctum of the Lotus Dragons and defeat their fearful matron.

Kersh’s keys neatly fit the lock on the ponderously heavy iron door, behind which was a modest training room staffed with around eight dummies that were clearly used to practice thievery on, some being shackled with crude manacles, other wearing scruffy clothing with bulging pockets. In the far side of the room sat a simple throne perched atop an observational dais. While Dorian set to work sifting through the keys to get through the only exit out of the room, the dummies sprung out and attacked. The thieves that had been alerted earlier had converged here, assembling their might into this one room to ambush the party. However, their combined might amounted to little: the group made short work of them, taking only minor injuries before moving on. A hallway lead into a room where still another rhogadessa, this one on a chain, awaited them. As the door opened, the chain went slack, and the monster leapt forward, leaving the group little choice but to destroy it, but not before punishing them significantly.

The next room appeared to be a sort of war room, laid out with a table, chairs, a chalk slate, and a massive, wall-sized map of the city painted across one wall. The painting, after a moment of inspection, was found to bear the signature “B. Santos”, and several locations throughout the city were marked with red, gold, and blue flags. The slate seemed to track the ships entering and leaving Sasserine harbor for several weeks, including a list of which ones had been “holed”, a scribble in one corner in a language no one could read, and in another, marked-off corner, the names of the party members with an underlined, angry scrawl beneath it reading “VANTHUS! FIX THIS NOW!”

Finally closing in on their elusive prey, they burst into an opulently-furnished room where a beautiful, green-eyed, red-haired woman sat in an expensive armchair enjoying a glass of wine, a small, draconic creature poised at her side. She greeted the group, bidding them relax and listen to a proposition. As eager as they were to fight after all they’d been through, they allowed her to speak. She introduced herself as Rowyn Kellani, guildmistress of the Lotus Dragon Guild, and offered them wealth beyond imagining if they would abandon their ties to Lavinia and serve her, instead. They’d caused a great deal of trouble for her and eliminated much of her gang, it was true, but thanks to Vanthus she had more than enough funds to rebuild it even better than before, and with the party by her side, the Lotus Dragons would become an unstoppable force. The group talked it over for a moment in hushed whispers, plotting strategy before their host ticked on to their intention, smirking “I guess that answers my question. Gut Tugger!”, she gestured towards the small dragon. “Do your thing, sweetheart.”

The battle that followed was quick, for the dwarf ranger summoned an earth elemental that slaughtered Rowyn. The party finished off Gut Tugger in short order, who seemed to fight even more fiercely after being abandoned.

At last, the Lotus Dragons Guildhall was cleared out, the guild itself shattered, and Rowyn’s plans of dominating the sea trade in Talshuta destroyed. In the rooms that remained the group located Rowyn’s private chambers, which contained a wealth of personal items valued at several thousand gold, the Lotus Dragons treasury which included the wealth attained from scores of shady deals, a massive chest full of gold sorted out into neat sacks bearing the Vanderboren family crest, and – most notably – a stack of smutty love letters written from Vanthus to Rowyn that implicated him in not only having stolen a tremendous amount of wealth from his family vault, but being responsible for the outright murder of his and Lavinia’s parents!

With the lucre secured and the evidence collected, the party summoned representatives from the watch, who, after much persuasion, were cajoled into the now-empty Lotus Dragons Guildhall. Stunned at the revelation, they likewise summoned a representative of the Dawn Council to share in the news, and after a morning full of bureaucracy and kudos, the party crawled out of the sewers beneath the Sunrise District as heroes of Sasserine.

All that remained now was to pass the horrible news on to their employer…

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Chapter 1: There is No Honor: Session 2
Company of Parrots

All the party’s efforts seemed to come to nothing as chest after chest in the Vanderboren vault appeared to contain little more than pocket change. At last, the final alcove offered a brief reprieve: a large, unopened bag full of platinum and a sheaf of paper, which, upon Lavinia’s inspection, revealed themselves to be IOUs owed to her family by scores of guilds, noble houses, and individuals throughout Sasserine.

Disappointed with the overall results but at least satisfied that she could now pay her bodyguards their due and begin to settle her family’s affairs by collecting on the numerous debts owed it, she thanked her faithful retinue and dismissed them for the day, asking that they return early the following morning, as she already had another task in mind for them.

Injured as they were by the vault’s guardian, the group sought healing at a nearby temple. This also began their search for a freelance healer who would be willing to follow them and use his skills to keep them alive. Pooling their resources, their search ended at the temple of Irori, where they eventually settled on hiring a scholar and healer named Tobin Gray. Leaving him instructions to meet them the following morning at Vanderboren Manor, the party moved on and enjoyed the rest of their day off.

The following morning found the group reconvening at Vanderboren Manor, now accompanied by their healer-for-hire, Tobin. They were greeted by Kora and taken in to see Lavinia in the main hall again, where she offered them breakfast and explained what she needed of them: she was concerned about the whereabouts of her younger brother, Vanthus. She explained to the group that she and Vanthus were only a year apart, she being the elder, and that growing up together in Sasserine, they had been very close, getting into trouble together, playing, that sort of thing. But as they became teenagers, their parents decided it was time to send them to receive a specialized education. Lavinia was sent to a prestigious academy: Vanthus was sent to a labor plantation. When they both returned from their respective stints of schooling, Lavinia’s appraisal of her brother was that he had changed. He had become bitter, and cynical. He stayed in the family manor for only a month, and even during that time he seemed to take up drink, drugs, and loose women. Eventually he left home altogether, presumably to live his life of ill repute. He then returned shortly after the death of his and Lavinia’s parents, but stayed only a week this time. While Lavinia initially sought comfort in their mutual grief, she found that Vanthus had only fallen farther in the months since she’d seen him. He was hostile, and cruel, and he and Lavinia argued constantly until one night, when things at last came to a head when Vanthus struck her. For a moment, Lavinia said, he seemed as surprised by the act as she, but then he was back to his old self, all scowls and menace, and then he left. She hadn’t seen him since.

Not knowing where Vanthus was – especially considering the state of her family – was causing Lavinia much distress, and so she asked the party to find and retrieve him. He might not be willing to come quietly, she cautioned them, but asked that he nevertheless be brought back perforce, if necessary. The party had few questions, and Lavinia had few leads, though she knew enough to tell them that last she’d heard, Vanthus was shacking up with a woman in the Azure District. Following their only lead, the party began their search there.

Inquiring around the seedier parts of the Azure District with the aid of a sketch of Vanthus that Othar drew up during their meeting with Lavinia quickly paid off. Several sailors and thugs had remembered seeing a man matching Vanthus’ description in the company of a buxom blonde woman, a resident of the Azure District who fancied herself a sculptor by the name of Brissa Santos. No one reported seeing either of them for weeks, however.

Trying to follow up on Brissa’s trail was equally frustrating: few people seemed to know the woman, and fewer still remembered seeing her anytime recently, let alone in the company of a well-dressed man with a goatee. It wasn’t until their investigation lead them to the Shadowshore that the investigation seemed to turn in their favor, when they found a man who claimed to have seen a man matching Vanthus’ description in the company of a dwarven smuggler named Penkus. The two of them had been spotted three weeks prior renting a rowboat from Lienne at It Still Floats!, a spot the party was now all too familiar with.

Visiting Lienne at her shop proved to be somewhat humiliating, as the group had at this point still not properly accounted for the loss of Lienne’s boat, stolen by Vark’s men. Nevertheless, with some sweet-talking and exchange of coin, Lienne was coaxed into telling them that she had rented a rowboat to Vanthus and Penkus three weeks prior, at around midday, and that the boat had been returned that evening under cover of darkness. No one had collected on the deposit. Lienne had no memory of a woman matching Brissa’s description. It seemed the party had hit another dead end. They retired for the evening, deciding to meet up in the morning in the Azure District where they could begin searching for clues about Penkus, their new lead.

Early the following morning the party met up again, this time in the Azure District, to begin their search for Penkus. It wasn’t long until their searching paid off, albeit by total happenstance. While wandering through the district, the group was approached by a shifty-looking, filthy-handed half-elf who introduced himself as Shefton. Shefton claimed that he had heard about the party inquiring after Vanthus, and that he could lead them to him! According to Shefton, Vanthus had been in hiding for weeks, and was employing Shefton as a gopher to acquire him food and sundries while he hid out. Having no love for Vanthus, he offered to lead the party to him for a small fee, which they gladly paid. Shefton instructed the party to get a boat and meet him in the Shadowshore in one hour.

Reluctantly, the party again returned to It Still Floats!, where they rented another boat (this time with a grossly high deposit), and met up with Shefton, who told them to begin rowing to Parrot Island, a scrubby, rocky outcropping in the harbor pinned between the Cudgel District, the Merchant District, and the Shadowshore. The location was well known to all children of Sasserine, many of whom had spent the warm months swimming out to Parrot Island and looking for the buried treasure that it was rumored to hold. As it was, Parrot Island was little more than an outcropping covered in trees and grass with a sandbar on one side, the boughs of its native flora home to hundreds of noisy, squawking parrots.

Leading the party to the top of the island and into a clearing surrounded by large rocks, Shefton lead the party down a narrow trail and pushed aside a rock to reveal a trapdoor set into the stone. He opened it, and bid them enter, telling them Vanthus was down below. The group attempted to insist that Shefton accompany them, but Shefton seemed terrified by the idea, claiming Vanthus would kill him. Reluctantly, the part climbed the knotted rope down to the cavern beneath the island, some thirty feet down. No sooner had they reached the bottom than they heard Shefton cry out, screaming “I did what you asked, Vanthus! Why—?” before his limp body was pitched into the cavern after the party. Looking up, the party saw the sneering face of their target, Vanthus, who laughed at them as he severed the rope ladder, calling out “Say hello to Penkus for me, assholes!” before slamming the trapdoor shut. What little light filtered in through the wooden slats disappeared as Vanthus sealed the entrance shut, leaving the party to deal with the smuggler’s caves beneath Parrot Island.

Reluctantly, the party began to make their way through the tunnels beneath Parrot Island, but quickly met resistance in the form of monstrous, territorial crabs and the undead remains of the smugglers and hapless Lotus Dragons who had been stranded there, become zombies with mouths full of rows of sharklike teeth. Fighting their way through the underground stockade, they found the source of the undead, a priest of Calistria who had turned in his time trapped beneath the island, and subdued him after a pitched battle. Finally, in a barred room they reached after nearly killing themselves in the flooded, urchin-ridden natural caves beneath the island, they found the body of Penkus, still clutching a note that implicated none other than Vanthus in his death. After looting the room of the smuggler’s treasure that had been buried here (and the apparent aim of Vanthus and Penkus’ original expedition), the party waited until dusk for low tide, allowing them to swim out of the underground grotto beneath the island and into the bay.

Having liberated themselves from their intended grave, the party swam ashore in the Cudgel District and made their way to Vanderboren Manor to inform Lavinia of their findings. As they traveled, they found the city abuzz with the news of the day: Harbormaster Islaran had been found murdered in his bed the previous evening, eviscerated by an unknown assailant, leaving the Azure District without a representative in the Dawn Council and House Islaran without a head. Finally reaching Lavinia’s home, the party reported the unhappy news that her brother had apparently become a murderer, and thrown in with thieves. After a moment of grim reflection, Lavinia asked her troubleshooters to continue their search for Vanthus, with the added caveat that if he could not be forced to return home to answer for his crimes, that they at least make his end painless and quick.

With the note from Penkus in hand and their only lead the Taxidermists’ Guildhall in the Sunrise District, the party broke for the evening to rest and recoup.

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Chapter 1: There Is No Honor: Session 1
An invatation

The party was hand-delivered a message from an ancient halfling woman who introduced herself as Kora Whistlegap, servant of the Vanderboren noble family and Lavinia Vanderboren, eldest daughter of the house, in particular. The letter she issued invited the individuals to a dinner and business proposition the following evening, an offer all of them acceded to.

Arriving the following evening at the gated estate home of the Vanderboren family, a stately and expensive home in the Merchant District that was too rich for the minor noble status of the family twice over. There, they were greeted by Kora and left to wait in the manor’s parlor while Lavinia concluded business with a previous engagement, leaving the party to introduce themselves to each other and speculate on the mysterious nature of their invitation.

Their private conversation was interrupted by four individuals exiting the main hall of the estate, clad in armor set with green accents and brandishing weapons. Their leader, a human whom one of the party recognized, scoffed at them dismissively before leading his retinue out. At this time Kora lead the party inside, where they at last met their hostess and now heir to the Vanderboren family, Lavinia Vanderboren.

Lavinia explained that she had been recently orphaned by the death of her parents at sea slightly over a month prior, and since then, she had been running herself ragged in an attempt to dutifully settle their affairs, a task which the individuals who had just left, the Jade Ravens, were continuing their service to her parents in assisting her with. However, another matter had arose that required immediate and discreet attention, and it was for this that she had sought out the members of the party, relative unknowns who had nevertheless distinguished themselves such that she had heard of them from her network of friends and contacts in the city.

An employee of the harbormaster, a man named Soller Vark, had been keeping her family’s vessel, The Blue Nixie, illegally even after she had paid him a rather sizable sum of gold to settle the debt of its mooring fees. In spite of having paid her family’s debt in full, Vark maintained that he had not been paid at all, and all attempts to resolve the matter peacefully or diplomatically had met a dead end. At the end of her rope, Lavinia summoned these four to take up her cause and reclaim her vessel by more clandestine means. With the caveat that she preferred no one be killed or harmed if it could be helped, she offered the men a sum of gold to retrieve her family’s vessel via whatever means they deemed prudent.

After performing some investigation about town on Vark, himself, the party learned that he was not well-liked throughout town, and that he had at some point been connected with the sale of an exotic reptile to a citizen of the Shadowshore. During their investigation, they also discovered that Lavinia’s family’s ship, the Blue Nixie, was not moored where it should be at all, but was instead moored to a float in the middle of Sasserine Harbor. No one they spoke to knew why.

At last thinking it time to strike, the group waiting for the cover of darkness and rented a rowboat from Lienne Tiel, an elf woman and proprietor of a boat business in the Shadowshore, and rowed out to the float. It became apparent that the vessel was occupied as a young tough barked at them from the deck, demanding their business. Thinking quickly, the group claimed to be pearl divers on a midnight run, but this diversion availed them only briefly as after a few moments they saw the figure of Soller Vark atop the deck, ordering them to leave immediately lest they face the wrath of the harbormaster.

Momentarily deterred, the party began to row away, earned some distance, and then returned to the vessel on the opposite side, scaling it under cover of darkness. Fortune smiled upon them as they managed to breach the cabin without raising an alarm, having caught the deck guard attending to the chamber pot. Attempting to extract information from him proved fruitless, however, and before being seriously injured, he shrieked out, calling Vark and his men to the top deck.

In the melee that ensued, Vark found himself short of friends as the hands he hired to staff the boat (still for reasons unknown) abandoned him once they realized how straight-up real the shit was. Variants of “Fuck you, Vark! I’m not dying for you!” was heard multiple times as the men jumped overboard, leaving Vark to attempt to hold his purloined vessel alone. Attempts to intimidate or browbeat the party failed spectacularly, leaving Vark to similarly flee the vessel in his cowardice, but not before screaming out “Abandon ship! Burn them all!” to an unknown audience.

Smoke began to rise up from below deck, along with a tremendous thrashing and the combined howls and squawks of multitude birds and primates, followed by the ominous, loud trilling of massive jaws and the piercing scream of a woman’s voice. Racing below deck, the men found a massive, pony-sized arachnid thrashing about below deck with an adult woman’s slumped body clenched in its mandibles, the shattered cages and broken bodies of monkeys, snakes, parrots, and other exotic animals strewn haphazardly about the room, and a small, wet pile of straw where a fire had recently been.

This left the party free to investigate the boat, upon which they managed to get into the captain’s quarters and discover Vark’s belongings, including the money Lavinia had given him and her father’s signet ring, which she had also tasked them with finding. Between the documents found in Vark’s things and the evidence left strewn about the ship, it seemed apparent that Vark was operating an exotic animals smuggling operation and using Lavinia’s boat as a waypoint. Their task a resounding success, half of the group held the boat while the other half returned to Vanderboren Manor and, waking Kora and Lavinia, reported their success. Lavinia thanked them enthusiastically and asked them to return to the Blue Nixie for the evening, promising that she’d be at the vessel at first light with staff to crew it and a district watch representative to adjudicate the legality of the matter.

True to her word, Lavinia returned at first light and introduced the watch captain to the party, who supplied him with the evidence they acquired, as well as the barely alive form of one of Vark’s men who lay clinging to life in one of the cabins. Satisfied with the investigation for the time, the watchman dismissed the party with thanks as Lavinia escorted them off the boat, leaving it in the care of her hired hands.

With her money rightfully reclaimed, her vessel procured, and her father’s signet ring retrieved, Lavinia informed the party that she could now access her family’s vault under Castle Taraknian and pay the party their rightful sum.

Returning the following morning, the party finds Lavinia dressed in exotic blue leather armor and brandishing a beautiful rapier set with her family’s crest. She informs the party that she would like to hire them on as her professional bodyguards and troubleshooters with a monthly retainer, in much the same way her parents employed the Jade Ravens. All four men, eager for steady work and generous coin, accepted. Delighted, Lavinia told them that their first order of business would be to accompany her to her family’s vault, where she could finally give them their first payment. She wanted them along, she explained, because knowing her parents as she did, she suspected there may be some natural or magical defenses within the vault, and she wanted help just in case.

It proved to be a wise decision. After being shown to the Vanderboren family vault by Castle Taraknian’s clerk, Lavinia and her newfound bodyguards came to a large, empty room surrounded by frescoes of various monsters with the strange theme of an eight-pointed star repeating several times throughout the room. While attempting to find a way through or into the inner workings of the vault, the group was attacked by a snake construct, a beast of steel and poison that leapt out of the shadows and attacked the party, threatening them until it was realized that Lavinia could bark the guardian down by showing it her father’s ring. With the construct pacified, they moved on to the task at hand, a puzzle featuring more paintings of monsters and another eight-pointed star design. With the help of a scrap of paper they had discovered in the cabin of her father’s ship, they managed to solve the entry to the vault, revealing several recesses in the wall stacked high with chests.

Empty, empty chests.

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