Curse of the Crimson Throne

A City on the Brink

As the heroes exit Gaedran Lamm’s dank fishery into the midday sun, they discover that the city has begun to tear itself apart. The King is dead, and the divisive Queen Ileosa now reigns. They battle their way through the riot-torn streets, on the way rescuing a young noble called Armin Jalento from having his arm crushed by an irate mob of dock-workers. They also meet the drunk, self-pitying Watch Sergeant Grau Soldado, who has taken to drinking away his troubles. A few stern words from Pelius and some kinder ones from Archibald convince Soldado to return to his suites, once he’s sobered up. He sheepishly follows them back to the nearest guard post.

Eventually, the heroes make their way to the imposing structure of Castle Korvosa, built on an ancient Varisian pyramid. They hail the royal guard and tell them that they have found the Queen’s lost necklace. They are ushered up the great stairs and into an antechamber in the grand castle. There, they are met by Sabina Merrin, the Queen’s personal bodyguard. She guides them into the Throne Room, where Queen Ileosa sits atop the Crimson Throne, beautiful and austere in full mourning dress. She thanks them for recovering her necklace, and rewards them with a large sum of money. She then asks them if they would be willing to head to Citadel Volshyenek, where Field Marshal Cressida Kroft is currently attempting to restore order in the city. The heroes agree, and Merrin escorts them to the gate, and orders a retinue to escort them through the dangerous streets to the Citadel.

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Down by the Pier
Putting and end to Gaedren Lamm and chums

Gaedren Lamm ran his business in a ramshackle old warehouse-pier just down the road from Zellara’s home, in the fishery area of town. Tumbledown wooden structures ran along the dockside, the majority producing a foul paste of fish guts, produced as fertiliser but also packed into slabs and fried as a food for the poor denizens of Korvosa. The smell throughout the district was overpowering, particularly outside the premises said to be occupied by Gaedren Lamm.

On reaching the building, the three rookie adventurers decided that Archibald would be best placed to scout the area, being used to sneaking around where he wasn’t wanted. He picked his way along the walkway that ran round the old pier building, peeking through grime-covered windows as he did so. He spotted a middle-aged man reclining in the entrance, a large log book at his side. Moving further round, he spied another door, and a large boat moored at the far end of the pier, a boat that had clearly seen better days and didn’t look in the least bit seaworthy. After a nod to his peers, Archibald worked on gaining access via the side door, picking the lock and forcing his way into a small office.

At the same time, Marcel de Germande marched right up to the front door and pushed his way in, subtlety never his forte. Archibald used the noise to cover his entrance via the rear door, and took the gent at the desk by surprise. After a brief and noisy exchange, the man on the desk fled into the recesses of the building, firing a wand as he fled. In his stead, a demented half-orc wielding a large club stumbled into the room, giggling as he did so. In addition, a large dog bounded forth, snarling as he leapt at the intruders.

Archibald became rather separated from his allies, and was then set upon by a group of malnourished children, who rushed him, attempting to stab and club him with improvised weaponry. Amongst their number he noticed a ragged-looking gnome, dressed in the garb of a beggar child, and urging his charges onward. Archie made a beeline for the gnome, trying to avoid hurting any of the children as he did so.

The half-orc lumbered straight at Marcel de Germande, swinging his club as he did so, Marcel stepped lightly to the side and struck the giggling maniac a thundering blow to the head from his bec-de-corbin. The thug’s eyes crossed as the blunt force of the hammer smashed his skull inward, and he pitched forth, never to rise again. Between Pellius and Marcel de Germande, the dog was no matter, and once Archibald had finally offed the gnome, the beggar children saw a chance to make a break for freedom, fleeing the warehouse into the evening rain.

The trio then explored the rest of the warehouse, and after a minor scuffle with some large spiders in the hull of the old boat, discovered a secret entrance to a lower level beneath the pier. The inner sanctum of Gaedren Lamm’s operation. A small room with a pit of water at it’s centre, and a small officer at the far end, this was no grand criminal empire. Indeed, Gaedren Lamm himself was little challenge, and quickly fell to the blades of his foes, despite an attempt to turn the local wildlife (in the form of a rather large crocodile) against the three adventurers. The man who had manned the desk up top was also present, but saw fit to surrender after seeing his boss bite the dust.

The trio searched Gaedren Lamm’s personal effects, finding a large hat box, a deck of harrow cards (clearly belonging to Zellara) and a small pile of gold inside a silver box. Opening the hat box, the trio of adventurers were confronted with a rather disturbing sight, the severed head of Zellara! They jumped back and began to discuss the discovery between them, only for the deck of harrow cards they had liberated to animate itself, spinning around the room and summoning forth the spirit of the deceased harrower. She apologised for the deception, stating that Gaedren Lamm had murdered her after she had attempted to find her lost son, and it had only been by chance that she had been able to transfer her essence to her personal harrow deck. She offered to help them in their adventures in Korvosa, offering them a reading whenever the time was right. The three agreed, and Pellius pocketed the harrow deck, as her image disappeared into the pack of cards.

After some further investigation, Archibald discovered an intricately crafted necklace, and almost dropped it as he realised its origin. Mere days ago Queen Ileosa Arabasti herself had lost a jewel matching this description, and had offered a reward for its return, turning to his new-found allies, it seemed only polite to offer a share of the reward. The trio left the foul smell of the docks and headed for Korvosa Castle.

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A meeting with Zellara
Harrowing

The three strangers each followed their instruction and met at the appointed place, the trio exchanged pleasantries, and each produced their card. The mystery deepened as the three adventurers had never met, and the building they had assembled at seemed devoid of life.

Marcel de Germande was the first to enter, his harrow card held in a gauntleted hand. He was followed in by Archibald and then Pellius, each eager to meet their mysterious host. She appeared then, dressed in the garb of a Varisian nomad, all scarves and bangles, with eyes of dark brown. She introduced herself as Zellara, a harrower of some repute who wished to employ them to undertake a task of vital importance. It turned out her harrow deck had been appropriated by a small-time villain by the name of Gaedren Lamm, an altogether unpleasant man who had by coincidence (or perhaps not…) already clashed with Marcel de Germande, Pellius and Archibald for various different reasons. The trio were only too happy to help the unfortunate harrower, especially now they had the chance for revenge on Gaedren Lamm.

Zellara then performed a harrowing for the three adventurers, asking them each to pick a card. Archibald’s card – the Juggler – was then drawn in the harrowing itself, and he had a strange vision of running across rooftops, a premonition perhaps? Regardless, after the harrowing, the three moved out, heading for Gaedren Lamm’s last known haunt, down on the docks.

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An Invitation
Prelude to Mayhem

Marcel de Germande downed another glass of Korvosan piss, the watery red filth barely qualifying as wine. He dropped a hand to his purse, still enough gold to live like a noble in this filthy city, but certainly not enough to live like a true Germande. He hadn’t even crossed blades with anything larger than a poxy rat. He took another slug of the sour wine, and was surprised to find a small card floating in the base of his goblet. He plucked the offending item from the cup, and was about to berate the serving staff when he noted the writing. Addressed to him directly, and offering a meeting. Well this was a turn up, might be a trap, folks round here knew he was flush. Oh well, he considered, if it was a trap it probably meant a fight at least. He smiled and tossed a coin to the barkeep, hefting his polearm as he went, it could be a good day yet.

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Pellius Krupt polished keys, he polished keys at night, he polished keys in the morning, and right now, he was polishing keys in the middle of the day. Abadar was nothing if not predictable, and his clergy revelled in assigning acolytes repetitive chores, ‘Focuses the mind my boy!’ they would say. As he lifted yet another of the holy keys, his fingers caught on a small card, he picked it up for a closer look and was surprised to see his name, along with a time and a meeting place. The card itself seemed to be from a harrow deck, a strange item to find in the church of Abadar, more closely associated with occult, and the varisian nomads and certainly not normal for the holy house of the Judge of the Gods. It must be a test he decided, a test from a senior cleric. He dropped the polishing and stalked back to his quarters, unwrapping a parcel hidden beneath his bed. A crossbow, favoured weapon of Abadar, and something Pellius had been practising of late. A test, after all, could well be dangerous, and priests of Abadar were always prepared.

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Archibald Perrywinkle ducked into his shop, a pair portly red imps spitting at him from the rooftop as he dashed inside, he could hear their foul cackling as he closed the rickety door. His office was a mess, papers littered the desks, and various case files overflowed their drawers. He sighed as he surveyed the little room, business hadn’t been kind recently, mysteries and murders were rife in Korvosa, but corpses didn’t pay, and no one was too keen to answer questions. Aside from following folks on behalf of their suspicious partners, there wasn’t a lot of work about for budding private investigators.

It was then that he noticed the card, tucked at an odd angle under threadbare welcome mat. He stalked over and picked the thing up. A harrow card. An offer of a meeting was scrawled in a faint, wavy hand, but the note was not signed. Strange indeed, but then there hadn’t been enough strange around here recently. There may be some coin in this, he decided, and perhaps even a real investigation to undertake. He smiled to himself, rubbed his hands together, and ducked back out into the bustling street, the two tittering imps hurling curses at him as he went.

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