Curse of the Crimson Throne

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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Yawn...this dinner party is DEAD!

While the group waited for Valek to create water breathing potions for us to investigate the shipwreck we split up to take care of personal matters within the city. Meeting up at a predetermined time, Henric informed the group of a contact that had approached him about her missing brother.

A few nights prior he had been invited to a dinner party at a ritzy manor in town and had not been seen or heard from since. Investigating the property on his own, Henric found the gates locked tight, all the shades in the house drawn, and the unmistakably stench of death wafting from the grounds. With Valek still needing time to finish crafting our potions Henric, Illendrian (accompanied by Oberron the wolf-hound), and Zarian decided to investigate.

Picking the lock and slipping onto the property, the three adventurers entered the mansion to an almost unbearable stench of death and decay as three corpse couples shuffled together on the dance floor next to a pile of other bodies. Turning their undead glaze on the group, combat quickly ensued.

As six zombies quickly became nine we heard a voice echo from upstairs, revealing her presence as the conductor to this undead production. As Zarian, Illendrian, and Oberron kept picking off zombies advancing towards the stairway, Henric lept into action and pursued the mysterious voice.

No sooner than Henric made his way upstairs did all hell break loose. Nine zombies turned into roughly twenty as Zarian and Illendrian were now shut off from reaching the second floor while Henric battled our mysterious lady-friend one-on-one upstairs.

With some quick thinking on his part, Henric threw our mystery host off the balcony and into the throng of her zombie horde, following closely behind himself. While shielded from our attacks, she took the only avenue available and ended up cornered. In a surprise move, she surrendered and ordered the zombies off.

After a quick interrogation – where the necromancer Rolff was found to be behind this gruesome scene – Henric and Oberron stood guard as Zarian and Illendrian put an end to the rest of the undead abominations. Hauling our prisoner off, we handed her over to Cressida’s second in command (which couldn’t have come quick enough for Henric who looked VERY uncomfortable with her flirting).

With our report filed, we took our leave to go see if Valek had finished crafting the necessary potions for our jaunt to the bottom of the Jeggare River…

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A problem in the sewers...Where at wererat?

Apparently the adventuring party’s exploits in combating the city’s woes haven’t gone unnoticed as we were approached by a member of the local were-rat population that had made a section of Korvosa’s sewers home.

With her husband recently removed from power (and this mortal coil) by a hulking brute of a were-rat, she came to us looking to put an end to his scheming ways and stop a war that the city didn’t even know was coming. Diplomacy would be the option of choice, but if force was necessary then so be it.

Following the directions provided to their lair we were met with open hostility and a fight quickly ensued. While trying to keep as many of the clan-members alive as possible, this new “chieftain” finally showed himself and gave the adventurers quite a test – almost felling Illendrian. The tide turned however, when the young ranger freed his new autiaug (spelling?) friend. The were-rats all fled, leaving behind only the chief who was eventually taken down by the combined efforts of the group.

Returning with her brethren, our initial contact thanked us for restoring order and stopping what would have been a needless war. Promising us a continued peaceful existence below the city street, she offered us payment in the form of information…clues regarding the mysterious ship that was sunk a few nights before, including the approximate location as well as the cargo it was carrying.

Thanking her, we parted ways amicably to set out on investigating the ship wreck.

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Memories Blossom from the Scent of Deception

Had it not been for the scent of undeath still permeating my nostrils from the previous encounter with the ghouls in the Grey District today, I might have realized what I was walking into. I was driven, both by justice & spite. Wiping the smugness from that guards face was a bonus, helping those being swindled by this con artist was the true reward of this task. I was lost for a few moments as the dust settled within this odoriferous menagerie. For a moment I heard my mother’s voice behind the counter, looking upon it only to see a young girl standing against the wall fearful of what would be happening to her for her part in this apparent hoax.

For a brief moment, I was back listening to Illendrian interrogate this leech of society. I had barely paid enough attention to what she was saying to provide help to the conversation as I soon found my mind wandering again before I even finished my only sentence added to the current assessment of this degenerate. I found myself gazing upon the guard I had given a fresh limp to; the smile quickly leaves my face as I hear my mother’s scream ring through my head. Was this the kind of man that showed up that night, for all I know this could have been the same man. I wish I had not pulled my blow; he should be in a pile on the floor. Maybe I should try and convince Gavin to have a chat with him when he gets to Long Acre. That would be a conversation he deserves, certainly. Luckily for him I know that my unwillingness to do that is what separates me from a man like that.

I was paying just enough attention to my surroundings to notice this interrogation ending. This Vile woman should keep none of her profits from this business, “We should confiscate the contents of her cash drawer and safe for evidence along with her. Don’t want her or anyone else making off with these deceitful gains.”

The smell of the candles & perfumes take me back to my parent’s busy shop again, I find myself having to look up at the person standing in front of me, I can see his mouth moving but I hear nothing. My mother is behind the counter talking to another customer, and I can feel the pulse of the wooden floor from behind me. A hand touches my shoulder and a deep voice cuts through the silence, “I might be able to help you with what you’re looking for, your wife will love some of the perfumes we have over here.” As I turned expecting to see my father and his friendly “shop smile,” one of the guards had came up behind me, his was the hand on my shoulder as he was trying to move past me to get to the shops funds. It sent a shiver down my spine that I am sure the guard felt by the puzzled look on his face as we made eye contact.

As we walked towards Citadel Volshyenek I couldn’t help but wonder how many other businesses in this city were still legitimate? Whether it be Butcher’s selling humans and running an anti government underground, Vile Gypsy’s selling hoax cure cashing in on the despondent citizens, or people being paid for a job as simple as carting bodies to the Grey district; cutting corners and dumping bodies before the job is done. I mean the most legitimate business we have seen so far might actually be in Eel’s End.

Also the Rampant Undead that seems to be springing up around the city. I knew we were in dire times, but has the City gone out of the grasp of saving? Is my best enough to make a difference?

My Mothers smiling face cuts through my mind and her voice tells me how proud she is of me…I think that might answer my questions.

Korvosa needs me……

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The Hungry Dead

Cressidia heard a disturbing rumor that some of the plague carters were not carting their dead to the Grey District, instead dumping their bodies somewhere in Old Korvosa. She asked the PCs to investigate the rumor, and correct the issue. Turned out they were dumping bodies in a place called Racker’s Alley. The PCs decided to wait to catch the carters red handed. They waited until dark, and were unexpectedly attacked by vampire spawn! The PCs killed the vamps, and then investigated the vampire den. It appeared the vampires were of Ustalavian origin, but why here or now wasn’t clear.

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Outbreak

The day after escorting Trinia out of the city, an acolyte from the Grand Vault approached the PCs explaining that Vaultkeeper Dhatri requested an audience with them at the temple. When they arrived, there were dozens of people, many of whom exhibited the familiar fiery rash of this new sickness. Zarian saw to it that a small child received the healing he needed. When the party met with Ishani, he told them that since the day they saw Brienna, people have been showing up sick, even some of the Bankers who have had no dealings with the sick. He believed this was the beginning of a bigger problem, and asked for an introduction to the Korvosan Guard (as well as safe escort) so he may begin pooling divine resources to battle this disease.

The PCs agree and make their way to Citadel Volshyenek, only to find that the Guard is already in motion. In addition to the Guard was the presence of a new military group, backed by the Queen herself, called Grey Maidens. These women in full plate with blank face masks are being tasked with coordinating the Guardsmen as well as a contingent of Plague Doctorss, hastily brought in from Cheliax and other areas. Following a speech from Cressidia, the PCs gained access to the talks of what was going on currently, and discussed how to move forward with fighting the outbreak.

Attention

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Second Harrowing

It wasn’t long before Zellara offered another Harrowing to our group. This Harrowing was rife with warnings of disease and death; The aid of the heroes being the key to the city’s salvation. It also had flashes of women with ashen skin and blank faces. There was also an omen of raven’s circling the dead.

Harrow Point Uses
In “Seven Days to the Grave,” the PCs are faced with numerous situations where health and resolve win the day, be this avoiding the contagion that plagues the city, resisting the toxins and poisons possessed by many of the people in the adventure, or enduring the implied race against the clock to find a cure for blood veil before it kills thousands. During this adventure, a character can spend his Harrow Points in the following ways.
Constitution Rerolls: Spend a Harrow Point to reroll any one Fortitude saving throw, Concentration check, or other Constitution-based d20 roll. You must abide by the new result (although if you have additional Harrow Points remaining, you can use them to attempt additional rerolls).
Fast Hit Point Recovery: Spend a Harrow Point after resting for a minute to catch your breath and recover from your recent ordeals—you heal a number of hit points equal to your class level and 1 point of ability damage (but not ability drain) each time you do so. You may spend a Harrow Point in this manner once after each encounter.
Damage Reduction: Spend a Harrow Point to gain damage reduction 3/—. This damage reduction persists for the duration of the encounter in which you spent the Harrow Point.

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Aftermath

With the rioting settled and talks of the botched execution of Trinia Sabor, life in Korvosa seemed return to its old routine. Our heroes sought refuge at the Old Fishery to see if there would be any fallout from assisting Blackjack in his escape.

Concerned for their safety they discretely organized a meeting withField Marshall Cressida Kroft. Less then pleased by the turn of events she rewarded the group’s trust in their friendship. She explained she also shares some of their doubts and while things have become more complicated she trusted their judgment and is relieved that Trinia hadn’t been executed under false pretenses. She recommended that they try to lay low until she can better assess the next coming days. She assured them that no word of their involvement had reached her ears, but would update them should anything new come to light.

Quickly growing restless, the group did not care for their self imposed quarantine. During this time Illendrian Quennore paid a visit to Verik Vancaskerkin and Tiora to check in and ensure they were adequately supplied.

Down time didn’t last for long as our heroes were awoken in the middle of the night due to the thunderous noise of several trebuchet shots. Disguised, they quickly made their way to North Point and discovered the Korvosan Guard and fired upon and scuttled a ship trying to sneak into the city under the cover of darkness. While the group attempted to delve deeper into the matter, the guard was very tight lipped and assured them that the situation was well under control and to return home.

The next morning Zarian Graves was tracked down by his friend Grau Soldado. His request was simple and straight forward. His niece Brienna was sick and no one knows what ailed her. He figured the group would know the right people or be able to heal her themselves, without paying the exorbitant prices the Bank of Abadar would require. They accompanied Grau to the Soldado residence in Trail’s End, where they ran into a Banker by the name of Ishani. Ishani had done all he could with herbs but couldn’t arrange for a remove disease without asking payment per the tenants of his church. Valek paid for a remove disease, and after healing Brienna become heroes to her grateful mother.

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