Session 41 - Following the Trail of Blood
Saviors of Sandpoint rode atop two dragons - one gold, one silver - that had been summoned and formed from clouds by Kadrus Shieldwalker and Lord Villastir. While the wizard and arcanist guided the mounts, the heroes enjoyed the view of the world beneath. Mite and Gallious, however, noticed something quite out of the ordinary. Along the river that the heroes had traveled down a week before, there was now a section that had been burned clear. Along with the fire were two bodies. They notified the others, and the dragons set down to investigate. Preliminary investigation suggested that there had been an attack. Kumiko and Gallious chose to examine the bodies while Mite, Kilgor and Jayvielle checked the burn marks. Mite, being a goblin fascinated with fire, suspected that the precise scorch marks could only have been made by a Fireball spell. As far as the corpses, one body, that of a woman, was face-down in the marshy ground with a stab wound at the base of her skull. Very neat, very precise. Nearby, tied to a tree, was the body of a man. There were a number of interesting features of the body. The most obvious was the brutal beating he had taken, having been struck with such force that he had been partially pushed into the tree. The other was that his right arm appeared to have been replaced with a mechanical limb, one bearing a construction very similar to the skullripper creature that the heroes had fought inside Skull's Crossing. Kumiko began to examine the man's body and discovered that he was alive, but barely. She and Gallious began to heal him, hoping he could regain consciousness and tell them what had happened. Kilgor looked over and recognized the man as Captain Opelka, leader of the group known as the Bloodsworn. They had been the slavers involved with capturing Kilgor, beating him, and taking him to the Shackles to be sold. Opelka regained consciousness and chuckled when he saw Kilgor, noting the irony of the situation. He told the heroes that the Bloodsworn had been hired by Maiveer Sloan to retrieve a trinket that was believed to be inside Skull's Crossing. On their way to the dam, they were attacked by river bandits. They killed most of them, but two of the bandits (who turned out to be Tsuto Kaijitsu and his "girlfriend" Lyrie Akenja ) tried to negotiate with the group. It was then that the Bloodsworn turned on Opelka. Angela, a cleric of Sarenrae who had joined the Bloodsworn and believed Opelka could be redeemed, came to his aid but ended up beaten unconscious. Opelka was brutally assaulted by people he thought were his friends, and tied to a tree while Tsuto assassinated Angela. Opelka was then beaten to death, or close enough that the Bloodsworn left him behind to rot. Jayvielle, Gallious and Kumiko took the cleric's body to bury at the side of the river. "Some people don't deserve to die in a swamp," Opelka told them as they took her away. He looked up at Kilgor. "Some people do." He closed his eyes, and Kilgor cut his throat. Once he had passed, he cut the body loose and left it looking up at the sun. Mite, not wanting to pass up an opportunity, hacked off the construct arm and stuffed it in Kilgor's bag of holding. From there, the search for the Bloodsworn began. They traveled the length of the river, following it all the way to Magnimar without seeing them. They landed outside the city, hoping to find their ship and the Bloodsworn aboard it. Kadrus and Villastir wished them luck and the two elves teleported away. Taking a cart across the city, the Saviors of Sandpoint arrived at the docks and questioned the harbormaster. Opelka's ship was still docked, and he had paid for it to remain there for two weeks. The heroes boarded the ship to try and get information from the crew. The first-in-command, a man named Vannes, said the Bloodsworn had left days ago and they were under instruction not to leave until they returned. Jayvielle told him that he would be taking over the ship as their current captain was dead. Mite produced the arm from storage. Vannes said that Jayvielle could have that conversation when the others were dead, as and Xuk would burn the ship down rather than let anyone else command it. The heroes then made their way to Heidmarch Manor to speak with Sheila Heidmarch. They told her that a stone giant wizard named Mokmurian was gathering an army, and he not only knew she had the Sihedron shards but would collect them "from her cold, dead hands." Sheila suspected someone on the newly formed Sihedron Council must have spilled the beans, so to speak, but Mokmurian would not be getting his hands on the shards. The heroes then handed her a third shard, the Shard of Gluttony that they had retrieved from within Gallious. They also mentioned that they were searching for a group that had been hired by the Aspis Consortium to find the shards - the Bloodsworn. Sheila suggested speaking to Seraphina Gustavos, leader of the Order of Magnimar Security as she may know where they could be found if they were in Magnimar. The heroes made their way to the manor of Torabor Gustavos. Despite the late hour, Torabor spoke with them. They mentioned that they had a giant sihedron medallion to sell, and they suspected that the Bloodsworn may want to speak with him as he was something of an expert in Thassalonian history. Seraphina picked up on the clues and asked her husband to make some tea. When he had left, the heroes told her of the danger the Bloodsworn posed. She said she would take the medallion to the museum to have it examined, and mobilize her people to find the Bloodsworn. The next morning, Sheila Heidmarch told the heroes that Seraphina was waiting to hear back from her contacts. In the meantime, they may want to check a magic shop named Echo's Mystical Oddities. Echo, a human posing as a vampire "for effect", was a black market dealer who may have been in contact with the Bloodsworn if they had been looking for information. The party met with Echo and his pet platypus Julius at the shop. They did some business, Mite bought some magical narcotics known as arcaine, and Echo hinted that the group they were looking for may have come in looking for information. Echo may have told them that if they wanted a Thassalonian expert, then they wanted to go to Sandpoint and speak with Brodert Quink. Concerned for the sage's safety, the heroes quickly wrapped up their business in Magnimar (selling the medallion and the magical items). Kumiko cast the spell Teleport and took the Saviors of Sandpoint to Brodert's front door.
- Shopping loot was divided up at the table, including the gold that was awarded for selling the giant sihedron medallion to Torabor Gustavos.