The day began like any other at The Guild Hall. Chad paced quickly through the building searching for someone capable enough to take on the latest adventure request. This time it was from a prominent Local art collector named Asheron Coyl. The man lived in the same area of Absalom as the Guild, the Ivy District, and was known to fund extravagant expeditions to far off ruins in search of the latest and greatest addition to his art collection. Chad found Shokkanaw, shadowing his Master Pugno as usual. He seemed a capable prospect. The letter was handed to him and the young priest departed. Unfortunately Shokkanaw could not read so he handed the letter to his mentor. The monk paused from his sad efforts to Impress the pretty priestess, Afarrah, and focused on the request. The words were flowery and the translation rough (especially with the brain power of the 1/2 orc and Suli to back it up) but they headed for Asheron’s home to learn more about this new mission. Asheron, being a prominent local figure could be a great resource for The Guild.
Though it was mere blocks away, the group struggled with direction until eventually arriving. Afarrah prepared to stroll up to the front door of the lovely manor house but Master Pugno and Shokkanaw noticed something amiss. The front door sat ajar and hanging by a single hinge. Pugno listened carefully and picked up the hints of a struggle, crashing furniture, breaking glass, and a slithering sound. They moved quickly as a team. Pugno being the fastest was inside to spot an odd scene. The lavish manor was in shambles with a bloody trail leading into the gathering Hall. There he spotted a serving girl hiding behind an overturned bar. The Hall, littered with broken furniture and art, housed a giant octopus with a man’s body in its grip. The creature seemed set on killing and lashed out at Pugno with its lengthy reach, striking several blows. Shokkanaw entered and was immediately grappled in those tentacles. Afarrah launched a fireball into the room adding to the damaged property but singing the octopus. The man he held looked to already be dead. The fight was not easy and the creature took a serious beating, one that strangely did not seem to spill any blood from its body. The octopus died at Pugno’s kick turning into a puddle of black liquid.
They checked the body, Asheron Coyl was most definitely dead. Now what? That did not look good for the mission … whatever the mission was.
They gathered the hiding setvants and questioned them learning that a foppish rake with a hired hand had arrived about an hour prior to deliver a package to Asheron. It was a painting and the only painting still intact in the Hall. It depicted a storm tossed ship at sea. The servants said the handsome finely dressed delivery man mentioned it being a gift from a fellow art enthusiast, but when their master opened the wrapping that creature sprang to life from the painting and killed Asheron. That’s when the party arrived. They also mentioned that the rake was carrying 3 other similar packages. Immediately they sent a servant to fetch the city guard and he returned with a local captain who informed them that this could not have come at a worse time. His men were stretched impossibly thin watching over important events with visiting foreign dignitaries, and so The Guild members were deputized and tasked with locating Lord Asheron’s killer, plus stopping any further casualties. He offered a reward of 2,500gp to seal the deal. The race was on to stop any further disasters.
Pugno began scanning the busy streets of the Ivy District for any unusual characters. He spotted nothing, but Shokkanaw with Afarrah’s diplomatic aid approached a corner vendor offering up the rake’s description. They learned the well-dressed gentleman was Darius Finch also know as ‘The Gent’ in this area. A local minor nobleman whose parents lost his house to debt making him more of a silver-tongued mooch seeking ways to earn coin than an actual part of the upper crust society. The vendors mentioned seeing him headed down the street to the next block over. Being their only lead, that’s where they went. While Pugno scanned the lavish houses for more broken doors, Shokkanaw took note of a large congregation at the biggest house on the end of the street. Belfor Vittanis (another prominent art collector) was having a huge party. They made their way up the drive and met with the drivers and servants hanging outside with the carriages. The servants mentioned seeing Darius enter with 3 packages, stay for a while, then depart in a lady’s carriage alone with 2 packages after paying and dismissing his hired hand. They debated and decided to go inside before another giant octopus appeared and killed all these unsuspecting people.
Unfortunately, not just anybody could walk inside the high society event (though over a hundered people were already gathered). Some drunken patrons mistook the monk and 1/2 orc in a dress for entertainers and they ran with the ruse. Pugno had to convince them however after Shokkanaw lied so badly. The 1/2 orc could not fool the drunken people so Afarrah and Pugno had to speak for him. Afarrah simply presented herself as the Rajkumari priestess she was and was allowed entry. They could hear Lord Belfor announcing over the loud music and drone of drunken patrons that he was about to unveil the mysterious painting delivered earlier. They had to stop him!
Pugno sprang into the crowded hall, dodging past a handsy drunken lady, then using acrobatics to avoid not 1 not 2 but 3 bouncers. Sadly, Shokkanaw and Affarah were not so successful. Shokkanaw was immediately grappled by the drunk lady Pugno avoided. She slid her hands around every private part of his body while forcing her liquored-up tongue down his throat. Afarrah entered trying a different path though she moved incredibly slow in her full armor with the crowds. A drunk man tumbled before her taking her down to the floor with him. While the others struggled to make headway, Pugno deflected the bouncers punches and sprang to the table beside Lord Belfor and the wrapped painting on an easel. He warned the man not to open it but his cries fell on drunk deaf ears so he grabbed the prominent Lord in a headlock and dragged him from the table away from the wrapped painting. The bouncers followed but could not get their lord free. Shokkanaw shoved the woman away with a face palm move and struggled to join Master Pugno through the crowd while Afarrah crawled back to her feet only to be accosted by said drunken lady. Shokkanaw tripped over another drunken patron and sprawled to the flood. Eventually, after dragging the art collector around the crowded room by his head, Pugno was able to explain what was happening and that Lord Asheron was dead. This finally got the man’s attention, plus he was ready to be free of the grapple.
They moved to a private chamber to discuss what had happened and to lock the unwrapped painting in Lord Belfor’s vault for safe keeping. Pugno spotted a painting on the wall that depicted Asheron, Belfor and a steel-haired lady together, Eleazonna Gertwright. They learned that the trio often work together in the art community of the Ivy District. They are all good friends and associates. Suspecting that she might be the next target they headed a few blocks over to her manorhouse.
They arrived in time to see the shiny black carriage dropping off Darius Finch ‘The Gent’ who was carrying a single wrapped package. Before they could reach him and after he had barely taken a few steps across the walkway towards the manor, something unseen struck him in the back of the head sending the young rake sprawling and the package flying to the lawn. Whatever hit him continued to hit him and hard. The party raced across the yard to see what they could do. Whoever attacked him remained unseen. Darius looked very bloody and not long for this world. They decided they wanted him alive for questioning and tried to instruct the unseen assailant to desist by order of the city guard. Their commands to stop only drew chuckles and a reply of “out of my way, he’s mine”. When Shokkanaw got between them and then Pugno as well, they both suffered serious blows from the unseen attacker leaving them both reeling. Afarrah continued to pass out healing in the form of channels to keep everyone fighting and Darius conscious. Having little success with the flying invisible attacker and reasoning, Pugno asked for the help of his party and they grappled it away from killing Darius. Eventually they managed to pin, tied up then murdered it … all the while unsure exactly what ‘IT’ was! Pugno just kept saying “I think I’m wrestling a demon!”
Darius fled during the battle but they confiscated his borrowed carriage though the driver also fled, and collected the wrapped painting plus a map in a scroll tube with ‘X’ marked over four locations in the area. The marks corresponded with Asheron’s home, Belfor’s home, Eleazonna’s home and a fourth location. Having stopped the delivery of this painting they rushed to find the missing package at the fourth location. Never mind the confused stares from inside the windows of Eleazonna’s manor after the front yard brawl.
The fourth location was a grandiose tower placarded as the home of the famed artist Endrik Archerus. They approached, spoke with his servants who welcomed them in to find their master. He vanished after retreating to his workshop with a delivered package from ‘The Gent’. Upon investigation of his workshop they found a freshly mounted painting depicting a dark hag upon a huge black horse with chained devils pulling a cart full of human sized worms with humanoid faces. Afarrah identified the painting as magic like the other packages but knew little else. Knowledge was definitely not her forte. Pugno found a cryptic note plus noticed that the painted images were moving ever so slightly. Archerus was nowhere to be found. Shokkanaw was asked to check the painting for traps but he simply shrugged asking what that meant? They opted to back away from this painting and told the servants to keep it locked away in here while they went back to speak with Lady Eleazonna.
The visit with the Lady went well enough. She confirmed that the trio of art collectors were good friends and that Archerus was a prominent figure in the community they dealt with frequently. She also directed them to Imron Gauthfallow, another retired artist and wizard. He was “jealous of them and their success” and he was the one who painted the group portrait years ago. She claimed he was not so great and wanted to be on their level of success but couldn’t possibly manage that. He was a wizard and thus dangerous so this could absolutely be his doing!
They then headed to Imron’s Small manor on the other side of the Ivy District.
They approached the front door to his simple two story home and knocked with no response. So Pugno decided to beat the door down. His pounding revealed a hallway beyond with an oddly calm servant carrying a tray just smiling at him. A guard dog’s barks rang out in the distance but only Pugno noticed. Shokkanaw and Afarrah were oblivious to the howling charging mastiff hound. Pugno decided to try to punch the oddly smiling serving boy who relaliated with a tray. The guard dog approached growling and Pugno warned his companions not to hurt the dog while he attempted to do the same with the strange servant. When he heard Shokkanaw and Afarrah screaming behind him after the dog belched a massive gout of flame over them he decided not to take any chances. He hit the serving boy hard and flakes of the boy’s skin fell away and cracks formed on his body. He was definitely not human, more like painted wood. The guard dog turned out to be a war-horse sized flaming devil hound under an illusion. The servant went down easily but the devil dog did not. It’s bites hurt – A Lot! They killed the dog but it was a hard won fight with lots of blood on both sides and the expenditure of much healing.
Now they stand in front of Imron’s quaint manor house. One of his strange servants lies dead and shattered in the front doorway. His guard dog is dead on the lawn and the front door is knocked from its hinges ….
Pugno, Shokkanaw & Afarrah each earned 6,934xp