Lost in the Mists
As our heroes settled in on a deserved rest, a dark shroud of despair fell on Miredus. The people could hardly be blamed for their pains. Indeed, the past several weeks had seen one terrible event after another. The recent surprise at the Feast left many townsfolk dead and imparted on the rest a sinking feeling that there was no hope in this dark land. Even with this growing depression, the people of Miredus courageously limped on. They began building a monument to the lost villagers and placed the cleric Lestin on trial. He was expectantly found guilty and hanged on the very green his fellows had butchered the people. No doubt Vosk got a good view of that. One wonders what he thought of the whole affair.
Perhaps stirred by these events, Vosk let it be known that he would be making his annual announcement in three days time. The players were told to be ready for anything, and expectantly something grim did occur: the apothecary Douglas Lirn was found dead. The Order summarized that he was the victim of a vampire attack and called for the party to investigate. Though initially fearful of such a terrible turn of events, the party quickly concluded that, while this was a vile murder, it was mundane in nature. Goodman showed incredible insight and prepared a ritual to speak with the corpse of Douglas. No doubt his assassins did not expect that! The flesh told Goodman that he had been killed by a man named “Revince” and a group of thugs to “tie up loose ends”. Armed with this knowledge, the heroes began sleuthing.
They were successful but their results were quite grim. It appeared that a group of men, likely this Revince and his men, had been attending the apothecary’s for several days. An investigation suggested that “Revince” may have been Captain Revince of the Order, a truly disparaging find! The heroes also investigated Douglas’s ledger and saw that he had been building large amounts of materials from the other apothecaries in Miredus with a sudden –-and large—- purse of gold. Following up with the other alchemists put the pieces together: Douglas had been hired by Revince to purchase substances and was then killed to remove trace of the event. Arcanic knowledge allowed the party to conclude that the substances: salt, crushed flint, magnesium, mercury, and other substances could be combined to make a large explosive of some kind.
But what, pray tell, would this explosive be used for? Goodman answered that one with another divine insight. Most of the city would congregate on the green to hear Vosk’s report, and would be easily killed by a large explosion. To what benefit, you ask? Goodman believed that whoever financed Revince was planning on killing and/or replacing Vosk. A showy—- or do we dare say “thunderous”—- sacrifice may be all that was needed to supplant the dark lord of Miredus.
A search of an abandoned blacksmith shop near the water revealed two things: there was a great deal of this explosive powder and their opposition was very opposed to discovery. Lucas’s quick thinking saved Saima—-and by extension everyone in the eastern district—- a catastrophically brilliant demise. With that trap disarmed and the remaining barrels of the explosive destroyed, the heroes reported their findings to Durgan. The Master of the Watch was deeply troubled and tasked the party to find Revince and bring him to be questioned. They diligently sallied forth, but found Revince to be long gone. With nothing left to do for the evening, they rested.
The morning arrived and brought more death with it. Their mysterious opponent evidently had more loose ends to tie up. Sadly, this unfortunate victim was the dear wife of Councilman Greyson. It appeared to be another vampire attack and the party was summoned at once. Disappointingly, the heroes already knew this was a ruse and used their nigh necromantic ritual to speak to the dead Elyse Greyson. The corpse reported to the heroes that her own husband had slain her, in order to save their daughter Megan. With this they immediately arrested Greyson and began questioning him.
Imagine if the heroes had discovered this later, perhaps on the other side of the city? Think of them running through the city streets to confront their adversary, time running out! That would have been a great story—-and perhaps it will still be!
Greyson was indigent about the death of his wife; resigned to her loss as he was resigned to her murder. With veiled threats to his daughter, and overt threats to his life, Greyson revealed his plan. He had been in contact with a devil called Al-Keymer. Greyson revealed a secret he had found: Vosk had used Al-Keymer’s power during the Drought War to destroy his opponents. In exchange for the thousands of deaths his armies wrought and Vosk’s immortal soul, the devil had granted Vosk great power and promised him he would be king of Meridus. It appeared that Al-Keymer would have risen high in the infernal host for this deal—had not some other power humorously intervened at the moment of Al-Keymer’s triumph.
Needless to say, Al-Keymer was angry about this turn of events and sought a way to the Land of the Mists. Through powerful summoning magick, Greyson contacted the fiend and brokered a deal: Greyson and his daughter would be free of the Mists in exchange Greyson would kill Vosk and as many other people as possible in the attempt. Though sympathetic over a father’s plight to protect his daughter, the heroes noted that it was all for naught and the “show was over”.
On cue Al-Keymer, possessing Elyse’s corpse, entered the room. The deal was still very much on, and the devil offered whatever the heroes wanted in exchange for Vosk’s life. Saima was almost swayed by the devil’s offer to save her daughter, but her friends saved her from damnation. And there, a fight erupted between the heroes and Al-Keymer’s summoned minions. The devil was full of tricks, but he was quickly defeated by the heroes.
With Greyson in custody, our players raced into the city to find where Revince was setting up the explosives. Their search lead them to the sewers under the city, where recent excavations had tunneled underneath Vosk’s dark tower. They found the fallen Order soldier and his men setting barrels of the black powder to collapse Vosk’s tower. Goodman and Zephyramtried to reason with them, explain that their plan had failed, but it fell on deaf ears. Revince had been promised an escape from the Mists, and his despair gave way to suicidal anger.
Having no choice, the heroes had to stop Revince from detonating the barrels and a fierce melee erupted. Furthering his self-destructive path, Revince murdered one of his own men in sacrifice to Al-Keymer, allowing the fiend to arrive in the Mists once again. With another—-and likely final—-chance to capture souls, Al-Keymer summoned the aid of a frost devil and joined the fight. This combat proved to be much more difficult than the previous and the party was thoroughly taxed. Lucky for them that they had avoided another large fight by their quick thinking.
Regardless of the difficulty, our players bested their foes and sent Al-Keymer back to face his disappointed masters. Several guards were taken custody and delivered to the Order to face justice. Even with this victory, the heroes dreaded the upcoming event.
The people of Miredus, despairing and broken, came out of their homes in the dark to face their dread master. Vosk appeared after an ominous period of time, and chastised the Council for not protecting his city. The irony was crushing. The gaunt dictator announced that he was appointing a grim champion to carry out his wishes. Any who opposed this champion would be killed. The champion marched through the crowd on a black horse, dragging the still living conspirators behind him. Their fates made the assembled citizenry shudder.
The event ended after this and the people dragged themselves back to their homes. The party was left alone on the green, clenching their teeth. Some one needed to stop Vosk. One wonders who would be appointed to that task?