Curse of the Crimson Throne

A Walk to Remember
Conversation between Illendrian & Trinia on the way back to Korvosa

It was mid-morning on day three of our journey back towards civilization, towards Korvosa, towards home. Things had been quiet since leaving Scarwall Keep – even for our group. We all had a common goal in this – to save the city we called home – but outside of that the bonds of true friendship had never really taken hold and now that we were on the road home without the constant threat of danger it was becoming ever more obvious. We were allies it seemed, but not much more, and as such the days passed slowly as we quietly made our way back across the Cinderlands.

The others were just finishing packing up camp to start today’s march and I was doing much the same – taking a few moments respite to rub Oberon behind the ears and promise him heap loads of sausage upon our return to civilization. He’d more than earned it on our journey – a fact he constantly reminded me of, Sarenrae love him. As I turned back to finishing rolling up my bedroll and securing my pack I saw Triniaapproaching. “We about ready to head out?” I asked as I stood up, hefting my pack over my shoulder with a grunt.

“Yeah,” she responded. “I told them to go on ahead, we’d be right behind them. There’s…there’s something I wanted to talk to you about.” Trinia slid her hand into mine, it felt clammy. She was nervous about something.

“Of course,” I gave her hand a gentle squeeze as I kissed her on the cheek. “What’s on your mind?” Glancing up to see the others a hundred yards or so ahead of us I continued. “We can walk and talk. We’ll keep back of the rest of the group.” Turning towards Oberon I added, “Come on boy, we’re heading out” and gave a quick whistle. I communicated the words empathy and Trinia via our telepathic bond and as Oberon lumbered to his feet he trotted over besides the bard and nuzzled her other hand with his nose, showing her some added affection.

Letting out a soft sigh Trinia turned to me. _ She looks confused, maybe even a little hurt._ “Back there on the ice bridge, you….you changed. What was that? I didn’t even know you could DO something like that!”

“Honestly,” I responded. “I didn’t know I could do that either. Call it instinct, a defense mechanism, whatever you want. I took a vicious hit and somehow tapped into some primal power I didn’t know I had.” I hadn’t really given it thought, but it had obviously been weighing on her. Come to think of it, how had I managed that? Could I do it again? Control it at will? I made a mental note to try again on our journey back. Was there anything else I could do?

Trinia paused for a half-step, forcing me to slow for just a moment as well. “Let’s say that is true…” she started, “and I believe that it genuinely is” she hastily added, gently giving my hand another squeeze for reassurance. “Don’t you think you should try to get a handle on what exactly happened?”

We walked in silence for a moment or two as I contemplated her words. She had a point. The last few weeks had been a whirlwind of activity and Saranrae only knew the other ways I’d grown…changed. “Yeah” I said, “that’s probably a good idea. If nothing else, knowing full well what I’m capable of can only help in the fight to come. Things were bad when we left the city, I can only imagine what they look like now.” I paused, then with an exasperated sigh added “Hopefully we’re not too late to save Korvosa.”

A bittersweet smile spread on Trinia’s face and – finally deviod of the next imminent threat – I remembered how beautiful she really was. “That sounds more like the man I fell in love with” she answered. I raised an eyebrow quizzically as she continued, “The one who was all about saving lives and second chances. Not the enraged brawler, the lost soul out here in the wilderness whose first instinct was to draw blood.”

At that my shoulders sagged a bit and she knew she had cut me with her words. But she was right, since we left the city I’d been quick to anger and to violence. Still, most of that was against monsters and those vile Red Mantis. Creatures unworthy of a second chance.

I took a deep breath ready to speak but Trinia piped in before I had the chance, seeing the hurt in my eyes. “That’s not to say much of who and what we’ve faced has been worthy of redemption. Monsters, undead, and a league of ruthless assassins don’t exactly make for good allies or second chances. I just want to make sure this journey hasn’t blackened your soul…that you’re still the good-hearted hero who stole my heart.”

With that my disposition brightened. “Hero may be too strong a word, I’m just trying to save the city that I love. This journey hasn’t been an easy one, I know, but I swear I’m still that same man. I admit I was starting to lose my way but you’ve been…you are…my light in the dark. Always guiding me back home.” I stopped, tugging her hand to turn her towards me and kissed her deeply. “Thank you.”

We turned and started walking again, trying to keep pace with the rest of the group a hundred yards or so ahead of us. A minute or two passed before Trinia spoke again. “That’s not all I wanted to talk to you about…”

“Okay” I retorted with a bit of a concerned looked. “What else is up?” She didn’t seem nervous anymore. At least not like before. I really wasn’t sure what to expect here but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. It couldn’t be that bad, she did just reaffirm her feelings towards me.

“So we’re heading back to Korvasa.”

“Yup” I countered.

“Umm…I’m not exactly ‘welcome’ there. I mean, I am probably still wanted for the King’s murder. How am I going to be able to just walk around with you guys. For that matter, are you guys even going to be able to walk around normally? I don’t know what happened but I’m guessing it may not be the wisest choice of action.”

“You make an interesting point, love.” I responded. She was right. Again. She couldn’t just traipse through the city streets, and for that matter neither could we. A series of questions ran through my head. Not many answers followed. How bad was the city? Were any of our allies still within the city walls? Who could we trust? How could I keep Trinia safe? Was my mother still alive and well?

“Well,” she squealed in almost child-like excitement, “I think I have the answer!”

Any sense of fear had disappeared, it was more like nervous anticipation in her voice now. She was looking for approval. “Continue…” I said with a wry smile.

“As I said, it’s probably not safe for me to walk around the city what with the accusations of murder floating about. However, we do still have all of Blackjack’s gear AND Vencarlo wants to pass the Mantle AND I’m sure the city would be bolstered by Blackjack’s return!” she practically screamed.

I gave it a second or two of thought while giving her hand a squeeze. “I think that’s a great idea. It’ll let you move around with us more easily and should certainly give the citizens of Korvosa hope – something they’re sure to need if things kept progressing after we left.” I gave her another quick kiss on the cheek. “We’ll let the others know when we catch up to them. I’m glad you brought this up, this was just what I needed.”

And with that we sped up our pace a bit to rejoin the rest of the group, optimistic that the city we both loved was still able to be saved…

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The Blessing of the Ancestors

The Blessing of the Ancestors is a ritual conducted by Sun Shamans of the Sklar-Quah to bring the recipients to the notice of a closely allied spirit in order to seek advice concerning a current quandary or event. The information isn’t imparted by the contacted spirit, but rather from the realm of spirits—the spirit contacted merely serves as a conduit for this information.

The ritual itself takes about two hours to prepare—to the outside observer, it looks like little more than a rhythmic droning chant by the acting Sun Shaman. Those who wish to partake in the blessing seat themselves in a circle around the Sun Shaman and his focus fire (a small campfire) so that they are each touching another, forming an unbroken ring of flesh and bone.

The ritual began two hours before sunrise so it would conclude around at the break of dawn. The Sun Shaman chose the upper tier of Bolt Rock to perform the ritual, and the entire Flameford tribe accompanied them to watch, silently and respectfully, as the ritual progressed.

The shaman began by recounting the legends of the tribe and the heroics and wisdom of the ancestors in a sing-song voice, shifting after 10 minutes into wordless droning and rhythmic chanting. This continued for two hours, after which the Sun Shaman slumped and the spirit to be contacted rose from the smoke of his focus fire to address the participants.

Zellara2

As Zellara rose from the smoke, her form coalesced and she recognized the PCs with a smile. She greeted them each by name, and then said that she had a message for them about their goal. But before she delivered this message, she would like to perform a Harrowing for them.

Much like the previous harrowings, a table manifested before her and the harrow deck dances between her hands as she laid the cards on the table for interpretation.

The Betrayal: it foretells that one of the PCs’ allies will betray them before they reach their goal. Yet to abandon an ally one suspects will betray them could lead to an even greater peril.

The Dance: Zellara grows grim and revealed that the card represents herself and that there may come a point in the near future where she may have to leave the party.

The Eclipse: This card represents Zon-Kuthon, the lord of darkness. It represents the
many undead that wait for the PCs in Scarwall. The dual nature of the eclipse symbolizes that the agents of Zon-Kuthon can both help and hinder the PCs, and that perhaps this duality is inevitable.

The Keep: This card symbolizes Scarwall; it represents a destination the PCs must seek out.

The Tyrant: This card represents Kazavon. It symbolizes his current influence over Ileosa.

Wisdom will be important in your immediate future, and that bolstering yourselves against
death magic and the undead would be a good move.

As Zellara finished the Harrowing, she looked to the PCs again and explained that she had a tale to tell them. Without further explanation, she began to sing, her voice clear and haunting.

Zellara’s Song
Fate of steel—Serithtial
Her cage for years sustained
Four enthralled in lost Scarwall;
Undead to keep her chained.
A spirit first, red war his thirst
Still stands at post of old;
A second foe, infernal soul
Waits high in tower cold.
In kennel’s grime third bides his time
Then vents his killing breath.
And on a stone ’mid ash and bone,
The final dreams of death.
The spirits worn and battletorn
And locked in their damnation,
The chained one’s hold at last grows old
And ushers in salvation.
Yet hope remains amid the chains
When blade’s stone cage has crumbled,
Friends to dread and the death of the dead,
Keys to Kazavon humbled.

As she finished her song, Zellara smiled again, although this time her smile seemed somewhat sad or bittersweet. Each PC felt a sudden upsurge in their souls as the spirits of the dead infused them with energy to aid them—even hundreds of miles away, the cruelty and evil of the undead within Scarwall are a blot in the spirit world, and the spirits sought victory as much as the heros. The Shoanti stood amazed as the ritual concluded and Zellara faded into darkness. Finally Chief Ready Klar broke the awestruck silence. “Truly these Friends of the Sun are blessed by the ancestors. They walk with the spirits and bear their mark. They honor us with their presence and friendship. As they go forth to battle the evil that has plagued these lands of ash for many score generations, they go with the power of the Sklar-Quah. They shall go forth with the power of Father Sun in their hands.” The sudden influx of spiritual energy gave each PC two additional benefits to aid them in their trials within Scarwall, as detailed below.

Infused Weapon and Armor: The spirit world infuses one weapon, suit of armor, or shield owned by each of the PCs (even if the item in question is not present at the blessing). If the PC chooses a weapon, it gains the undead bane weapon quality. If the PC chooses armor or shield, the chosen protection gains the ghost touch armor quality.

Infused Soul: The next time the PC fails a saving throw against a death effect, that effect is negated but the PC is stunned for one round as the spiritual energies in his soul are burnt away. This protection can save each PC only once from a death effect.

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Skeletons of Scarwall

Scarwall
Some places attract adventurers and treasure seekers; their names are synonymous with legend and promise of great riches to be won. That these notorious sites are well known to be deathtraps seems not to deter eager explorers— they come armed with tools and magic and lore, hoping their skills and abilities will save them from disaster. But there are other places just as rich with opportunities for treasure and glorious battle that have, for whatever reason, gone ignored by seekers of wealth and fame. In some cases, these sites are simply too obscure or hidden or lost, but in others, in the darkest, most haunted places of the world, reputation alone is enough to warn away even the most foolish. One such site is blood-soaked Scarwall, fortress of the legendary warlord Kazavon.

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Secrets Revealed

While recovering from recent events in Flamford several Burn Riders approached the PCs to inform them that the shaman requests their presence in his tent. The Sun Shaman waited there alone to speak with the PCs. Once they arrived, he congratulated them again on shedding their outlander status to become Sklar-Quah before inviting them to be seated around his personal fire.

The Sun Shaman’s tale was relatively short. He told of how, hundreds of years ago, one of his own ancestors was called to join a righteous cause. A man named Mandraivus, a hero from a distant nation, was gathering a small group of warriors to aid in a fight against a despotic dragon named Kazavon, and the Sun Shaman’s ancestor joined this crusade. He was gone for months, and when he finally returned he was not the same man—his hands shook, his eyes carried a haunted stare, and he cried out in fear at night. He spoke little of what he saw while serving Mandraivus, but did say that they were successful in defeating Kazavon, and that the fortress of Scarwall was now under Mandraivus’s control. He was convinced it would remain impotent as long as the hero managed to maintain a hold on it.

While Kazavon had been defeated, his will to live was so immense that even the remains of his body twitched. The cabal had attempted to destroy the remains, but many fragments of the dragon’s skeleton resisted even their most destructive spells. Mandraivus tasked seven of his surviving followers (which the Sun Shaman’s ancestor counted himself among) each with claiming one of the bony relics of Kazavon’s body and ordered them taken from Scarwall. None of the seven would communicate where they were going to the others or to Mandraivus, and they were to ensure that their chosen relics would remain hidden and guarded for all time in order to prevent the dragon from returning to life.

The Sun Shaman’s ancestor told this story to his fellow shamans, and revealed that his chosen relic was the dragon’s fangs. The Shoanti took to calling them the Midnight Fangs, and they chose the ancient pyramid on the shores of Conquerer’s Bay as their reliquary. After hiding the fangs in a secret room deep inside the pyramid, they took to the task of ensuring that the fangs remained safe. For generations, they maintained their task—until Cheliax invaded and slaughtered the Shoanti. Those few who survived and knew the secret of the fangs were forced to flee with their kin into the Cinderlands. For the next three centuries the knowledge was passed from Sun Shaman to Sun Shaman, and they watched with fearful eyes as the city of Korvosa grew around their ancient reliquary.

That Queen Ileosa has discovered the Midnight Fangs and somehow tapped into their latent power troubles the Sun Shaman greatly, for he knows something of the Fangs’ power. During the time they were guarded, Shoanti shamans studied the fangs and communed with the spirit world about them. They discovered that a fragment of Kazavon’s soul remained lodged within the fangs. While this fragment alone wasn’t enough to work ill upon the world, it could certainly invade the dreams of those who touched them. The Sun Shamans were stubborn and willful, more than a match for the fangs’ temptations and promises, but a weaker mind—say, that of a petty young queen—would have no such defense.

The Sun Shaman goes on to explain that the fragments of Kazavon’s soul are like a plant—once they find suitable soil in which to grow, they can bloom into a mighty tree. This appears to be the case with Ileosa—her own cruelty and strength have been enhanced greatly by the fangs. Worse, she now possesses two souls—her own, and one grown from the fragment of Kazavon’s. Two souls in one body, the Sun Shaman muses, would grant her incredible power over her own mortality. The PCs described to him the events of the failed assassination during “Escape from Old Korvosa,” he merely noded grimly.

At this point, the Sun Shaman suggests the PCs take part in a ritual called the Blessing of the Ancestors. This is a rare ritual the Shoanti use only in times of great change—it calls upon a soul from the spirit world to seek guidance and advice on how to proceed. Typically, the Blessing of the Ancestors is used before making the decision to go to war on another tribe, or to abandon a long-held campsite in hopes of finding a better home, but this situation warrants the ritual as well.

The Sun Shaman asked the PCs if there is a particular spirit or ancestor with whom they have a particularly strong link—the stronger the link, the more exacting the advice granted by the Blessing of the Ancestors becomes. Henric realized there was one in particular with whom the PCs have become quite closely tied—Zellara, the Varisian Harrower.

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Preventing a war

When the Sun Shaman, Chief Ready-Klar, and the other Shoanti braves returned to Flameford the next day, they found the camp in a shambles from the previous night’s battle and celebration. It took some time for things to get back to normal in Flameford, but the Sun Shaman doesn’t wait. He invited the PCs into his home to speak to them personally.

He explained that Wwrd of the PCs’ heroics and bravery has spread quickly through the Cinderlands, and as the Shoanti realized that even tshamek can become heroes of their people, the concept of waging war against them started to seem more and more ridiculous. With the aid of the elder clans, talk of war on Korvosa swiftly comes to a halt, and assuming that the trouble with Queen Ileosa can be resolved, a lasting peace between the two peoples might be closer than ever.

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The Flameford Assault

Once the PCs had passed the Trial of the Totems, they had accomplished their goals—they had befriended the Sklar-Quah, and now needed only wait for the Sun Shaman to finish his communion with his ancestors to learn about the truth of what afflicts Queen Ileosa. Yet one more hurdle remained between the PCs and this triumph. The Red Mantis.

Frustrated that the PCs had found sanctuary among the Sun Clan and sensing that her window of opportunity to eliminate the PCs was quickly vanishing, Tarya organized her allies in preparation for an all-out assault.

With her remaining assassins, her well-paid Ashwing gargoyle allies, and the Cinderlander, Tarya’s spies and scrying revealed that the Sun Shaman, Chief Ready-Klar, and several burn riders were going to be gone for a day, making this her best opportunity. That evening, as dusk approached, she and her allies stalked toward Flameford with ill intent.

Flamefordasualt
Chaos erupted throughout the camp as Ashwing gargoyles carried the Red Mantis into Flamford. Fires burned as sounds of battle echoes throughout the camp. The heroes worked there way through the battle field to find Krojun Eats-What-He-Kills CR engaged in deadly combat with the cinderlander.

Rushing to his aid the tables were turned once again. Illendrian’s mentor Tarya called him out by name. Tired of games she offered the Sklar-Quah a deal. Turn over Illendrian and his friends and they would leave in peace. Krojun’s answer was simple and swift. “We do not turn our back on nalharest, tshemek!” Many slowed to watch the fight unfold. With Korjun’s aid, Illendrian was able to free himself from his mentor’s grasp once and for all. With Illendrian’s killing blow, Tarya started to shift into into an intangible red mist and her armor clattered to the ground. Her voice could still be heard as she began to dissipate. “How Illendrian? How??? I taught you everything you know… You couldn’t have possible grew this strong in such short time…” With sagging shoulders and a sense of overwhelming releif, Illendrian watched what was left of his teacher float away into the night sky. “I learned some new tricks.”

As the Flameford assault drew to a close, the Sklar-Quah sent up a cheer. The Shoanti are hardy folk, and the people of Flameford came through the assault with relatively few casualties—certainly not enough to dull the sense of triumph. Until the Sun Shaman returned to Flameford, the campsite quickly became a victory party.

At the request of the shoanti, Trinia was more than happy to recount the tale of the party’s encounter with Cindermaw by the council fire. Almost half the clan listened with absolute fascination. Krojun challenged Illendrian to another sredna match and shared a good laugh. One of the Thunder callers offered to tattoo Zarian to celebrate his triumph in the totem trial and his strength over the pack of bulettes. Henric had taken the opportunity to find some where private to reach out to Vimanda. He was surprised by the honest self admission that he had actually missed her.

The night was filled with drinking, merriment and celebration into the early hours. It was a well deserved evening.

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Trial of the Totems

In an effort to learn more about Midnight’s Teeth, the group petitioned Cheif Ready-Klar to join the Sklar-Quah. The Sun shaman suggest the trial of the totems. Understanding the need behindthier request, he selected one of the more grueling challenges of his people. His hope being that due to the difficult nature of the task, upon success, the the clan would be that much more accepting of the heroes.

As soon as the sun rose, the PCs had only an hour to select their totems and carry them up onto the westernmost tier of Bolt Rock. Even though each totem was hollow, they’re still were quite heavy at 500 pounds apiece. Employing rope and team work they were able to get thier totems in place at each tier.

Keeping the totems upright for 2 days was a perilous task in and of itself, but unfortunately for them, several other factors combined to make the trial even more arduous.

On the morning of the second day, Krojun returned from
his therapeutic ride through the wilds and paid the PCs a visit. Although initially enraged that invading tshamek were given the opportunity to join the Sklar-Quah, he calmed down considerably when he learned that the Sun Shaman selected a particularly grueling challenge to properly test their mettle and climbed Bolt Rock to see how the they were doing. He was especially impressed by Trinia whom he suspected would have a harder time enduring the trial. Krojun stared at the PCs silently for a few minutes and then begrudgingly complimented them by suggesting they are lucky to have one another as nalharest.

Trail of the totems
As if the trial wasn’t exhausting enough, A pack of bulettes had noticed the PCs, and as the afternoon of the second day of the trial drew toward night, these six bulettes begin circling the ground around Bolt Rock. They managed to slay them without losing any of the totems.

With the third dawn, the Trial of the Totems ended. The Sun Shaman led the entire tribe from Flameford up to Bolt Rock in the pre-dawn hours, and as the sun began to rise, the PCs were greeted with a rousing cheer. These totems represented new brothers and sisters in the Sklar-Quah, an event that was cause for great celebration. Before the jubilation got too out of hand, the Sun Shaman held high his hands for silence, then personally welcomed each of the heroes into the Sklar-Quah.

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Arrival of the Order of the Green Chameleon
They predator becomes the prey

Illendrian felt a pang of guilt as the locking mechanism on the door to the artisan’s shop popped open. This couldn’t wait until morning, and while all he needed was a bottle of green pigment and a paint brush, he wasn’t big on breaking in to a local business to accomplish his task. The search didn’t take long and while no one would even know he was here, he still didn’t feel right about stealing from an innocent shop owner – especially given recent events. Scribbling a short note “For your troubles…”, he dropped that and a couple of gold crowns on the counter before silently slipping back out into the night (making sure to lock the door behind him).

Step two was much easier – if not a little more gruesome. Finding an abandoned building was easy, as was locating an interior room inside. Knowing his light source wouldn’t draw any unwanted attention here, Illendrian pulled a sunrod from his bag and struck the tip, bathing the room in a yellowish light. Next out of the bag were the two severed heads of the Red Mantis assassins the group had encountered earlier in the day – helmets and all. Finally came the dye and brush.

Laying the template he had carefully crafted, a few quick brush strokes marked a green chameleon directly between the eyes on each of the Mantis’ masks. A few more brush strokes and the back of the masks were marked with “This is just” and “the start” respectively. Extinguishing the sunrod, Illendrian headed out for his final stop of the night.

Crouching in the shadows, Illendrian sat patiently watching the guards on this end of the bridge. They looked bored, very bored. One had already dozed off and the other didn’t look far behind. So far, there was no sign of any wandering patrols either. This might actually be easy, he thought to himself.

It didn’t take all too long for the second guard to nod off, and Illendrian quickly took the opportunity to get to work. With a small effort of will he was suddenly wearing a perfect match to the guard’s outfits and armor. Emerging from the shadows, he headed straight for the bridge. His message needed to be seen by as many people as possible, and what better way to announce the Green Chameleon’s presence to both the Mantis and the Queen herself than with a public display – a grotesque and embarrassing one at that.

Thankfully, the night was cloudy and hid the moon, allowing Illendrian to remain unnoticed on the center of the bridge as he went to work. Driving two spears into the wood in the center of the bridge, Illendrian pulled the now-painted masks from his bag and drove the heads down onto the other end of the spears with a sick squishing sound. Taking a minute to admire his handywork – despite its disturbing nature – Illendrian turned and strode off confidently into the night, past the sleeping guards, and back into the shadows….

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The Queen's Address

The day of the address, you meet up and head over to Citadel Volshyenek. When you arrive, only one guard stands at the Citadel entrance, and none train in the large inner courtyard. Grau meets you to lead you to the meeting room. The halls of the Citadel are silent and empty, with refuse and trash scattered here and there, dust gathering in empty barracks, and an overall state of creeping neglect hanging like a pall over the place.

Once in the room, Grau leaves you to wait for Cressidia’s return, saying he has many duties to take care of. When you are alone, Zellara appears and indicates the Queen is about to arrive and asks if you are ready to begin. At your assent, the room transforms in a swirl of color, and the PCs are suddenly amidst the crowds near the front of the plaza watching the address. It seems that many citizens showed to hear what the Queen has to say.

After several more moments, Queen Ileosa arrives on stage with much pomp and ceremony. In attendance at the queen’s side are her bodyguard Sabina Merrin (clad in her breathtaking and intimidating suit of Gray Maiden armor), her new Castle Seneschal Togomor (an obese and sweaty man in voluminous red robes), the commander of the Korvosan Guard Cressidia Kroft, and the commandant of the Sable Company Marcus Endrin.

Queen Ileosa announces triumphantly that the plague has been defeated, yet unfortunately Korvosa remains wounded. She goes on to report that the Order of the Nail has showed its true colors and fled like cowards into Citadel Vraid. Worse, both the Korvosan Guard and the Sable Company have suffered terrible losses over the past weeks. Neither group is fully capable of continuing as Korvosa’s protectors, and thus, to shore up this fault, Queen Ileosa names her newly created order of Gray Maidens as the new protectors of Korvosa, appointing Sabina Merrin as the new General of Korvosa. As a ripple of concerned whispers spreads, Queen Ileosa continues her speech, saying that she has decided to dissolve the Sable Company and that the remaining marines will be folded into the Korvosan Guard. At this point, she asks Commandant Endrin to step forth to surrender his badge of office.

As Endrin does so, he trembles. He reaches for his badge, but instead of handing it over, he throws it at the queen, striking her in the cheek with it. Everyone (queen included) is shocked into paralysis for a few moments, long enough for Endrin to bellow out, “Your shameful reign ends now! Korvosa will be free again!” An instant later, his crossbow is in his hands, aimed at the still-shocked queen. Endrin pulls the trigger. His aim is true. The crossbow strikes Queen Ileosa in the temple.

Yet she does not fall.

With incredible speed, she regains her composure and yanks the bolt from her skull. Before the blood from the wound has time to run all the way down to her shoulder, she’s standing before Endrin. Her free hand whips out and seizes him by the throat, lifting him off the ground as she holds him up for all to see. An instant later, she buries Endrin’s own bolt between his eyes with a single powerful blow.

As Endrin’s lifeless body crumples to the ground and Ileosa imperiously shakes his blood from her hand, she cries out in a strong, clear voice—“This shall be the fate of all enemies of Korvosa! Mark well his death! It is only the first!” A moment later, Togomor steps forward, taking Ileosa’s hand and teleporting her back into the Castle. The resulting riot is being quelled quickly and brutally by the Grey Maidens as the images fade and you find yourselves back in the meeting room at Citadel Volshyenek, the silence almost as deafening as the crowds had been.
Marcus death

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The Conclusion of the Plague

With the Cult of Urgathoa culled, the plague doctors unmasked, and Dr. Davaulus and Lady Andaisin dead, the party emerges from their trials heroically. With the notes on the plague from Davaulus, Rolth, and Ramoska, the PCs are able to help quickly find a cure to blood veil and save hundreds more lives.

The PC’s revelation that Andaisin hinted at the Queen’s involvement, coupled with what they already know, has made Cressidia and Marcus quite worried and cautious. They cannot comprehend that the Queen, however vain and unpleasant, could be the source of such evil, and they believe that no one else would easily believe it as well. No evidence was found within the temple or any of the accomplices’ notes to tie the evildoers to the Queen. It does not mean they cannot see the uncanny connections either, they just don’t know how they could legally gain any ground against her.

Cressidia and Marcus both agree to start their own investigations to try and dredge something up, but if the Queen was involved, she has covered her tracks well. The only people the crimes can be pinned on at this point were the Cult of Urgathoa (a very reasonable judgement, based on their love of death, undeath, and so forth) and the Red Mantis – and all those involved are either now dead or at large.

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