All of our Children are Missing
Scribe Notes: Session – Summer 812
GM: Scott Raymond
Night: Tuesday nights, at Chez Smith.
Title: All of our Children are Missing.
- Lath - Female Air Mage (Human) played by Jono.
- Basalic - Male Earth Mage (Human) played by Keith. Scribe
- Flamis - Female Fire Mage (Human) played by Jacqui
- Silverfoam - Male Namer played by Mike P.
All seemed perfectly normal when we went off to Dottery in Ranke to witness the wedding of Flamis’s eldest brother, Robert. Flamis's comment was about time he did. Along for the trip – and the party – were Silverfoam and Lath. Silverfoam was providing the transport which was just as well as I had a few kegs of homebrewed beer and cider to bring. All three of our children: Emrys [15, male], Rhiain [12, female], and Cerys [6, female], were along as well.
We finally arrived at Dottery at about 6pm and the party had already started. The children were left with their minders while we went to catch up.
Next day, we were basically partway through the morning and the party was still going on. That was when we decided to check on the children who were supposed to be with the other children, according to their minders. But to our surprise and concern, they weren’t there. Flamis and I did a discrete search about and there was still no sign. None of the other children had seen them.
We were rather worried by now and informed Lath and Silverfoam. No one else had missing children but Lath’s divination told us they were nearby. We searched the room they had been staying in and got the distinct impression that they had been abducted during the night. I couldn’t find any clues outside but there was some magic on the windowsill that, according to Silverfoam was a mixture of binder and air. Flamis saw some odd clothing and Lath recognised that as being something like a famous Guild of Assassins that was based at Arabie. By now I was in a mood to throw honour out the window and go medieval on whomever was responsible. Of course this incident was reported to the local sheriff, just in case.
It was decided to head back to the Guild and report, in case it had something to do with those Havenites. Maybe they were trying to catch Guild Adventurers by going through their families. Just as we were about to leave, a note arrived written in an unknown script. Lath had a feeling that the same script was used in Ilsig but, since we were going to the Guild we may as well get a translation there.
The idea was to get there as fast as possible and, as it happened, the quickest way to the Guild was not in a straight line. Instead it was via Lath’s island, up to Adjepbar and a portal to the Guild. Unfortunately when we went through the portal, we emerged in a patch of Rank 20 darkness. Thinking that it was caused by the assassins, we backed off. Just then a brick with a note attached to it was thrown back through the portal.
It was from Guild Security and said, “They’re watching for you. Go to Thorn”. However we were determined to get to the Guild so we windwalked, at speed, through the portal. Upon arrival, we found that the Guild gates were shut and a member of Guild Security was waiting. He didn’t saw anything but handed us a note. “We meant it – go see Thorn. Believe someone has infiltrated the Guild as a spy, haven’t found them yet. Now go away”.
So it was a short trip up the Sweetwater to our farm then through the portal to Bolton Manor. There seemed to be a sort of panic on when we got there so we headed for the main hall. That was when we found out that all the children and some of the women had been abducted during the previous night. Thorn also had the same note in the same indescipherable script.
After getting our full adventuring gear, it was off to Newhaven. Other Guild members lived there that may be able to help read the document and also I might be able to get a Greater. Once there, no sign of Logan, but we were able to get a rough translation. It was something like “We will send someone to talk to you. Do what they say or we will punish the families”. It was addressed to the Master of Bolton.
Lath sent the translation to Thorn by Whispering Wind then also sent a message to the Sorceress in Silver. Her Locate on Emrys pointed southeast so we headed off to Adjepbar. There, the locate was northwest. If the kidnappers were coming here, we must have got ahead of them.
When we arrived there, we docked the ship in the cave under Lath’s manor. I was keen to immediately go to intercept the kidnappers to give them a really good seeing-to, but the others cautioned me to wait – so we could meet them on our terms. As far as we could tell, there were 35 to 40 children missing.
Flamis used her crystal ball and discovered that the children were cramped in a small dark space and were chained up: wrists, ankles and necks. We could see stars moving outside the small, grilled, window, which seemed really odd since that it was still daylight here. Had Lath read her compass backwards and that the kidnappers were actually still to the southeast?
It was decided to go into Adjepbar itself and get the notice translated. After dodging street hawkers in the marketplace, we found the Street of Scribes. The scribe we first spoke to suggested we go see Akmed the Idiot. Well, I think that’s what he said. The directions led us to a guy, who was just wearing a loincloth, perched on a platform fastened to a six foot high pole. We showed him the parchment and he told us that the language was Ancient Arabique. He admitted he wasn’t that knowledgable in it but then called down “Hey…. Idiot” and what I had originally thought was a pile of clothing stirred. Ah .. it was Akmed and the Idiot. Still, whatever his name, we managed to get a proper translation.
To the Masters of Bolton Bay
We have your Females and Children. If you wish to see them again, you will do as our emissary requests. If you do not, then your families will be the ones that suffer. If our emissary is harmed or impeded in any way we will make our displeasure known to your families.
Do not try to retrieve your families and most definitely do not contact the Seagate Guild of Adventurers. If you do. we will know, and steps will be taken to show our displeasure.
Our next stop was on a cloud and my brain was turning to mush, while my eyes had glazed over, trying to follow the metaphysical arguments that my fellow party members were engaged in.
Basalic – “Good grief. We’re arguing the nature of reality while flying on a cloud”
Finally we reached Arabie at a speed that someone described was akin to a bat out of hell with it’s tail on fire. The whole trip had taken 8 to 10 hours and I had combat-napped through most of it. However, I was awake to catch Flamis’s Speak with Other Selves ritual.
- Where are they being taken to? – Halamut
- Who’s responsible for the kidnapping? - Mokizen Hashida
- For what purpose? – Hostages.
- What is the popular name for the assassins? – Hashishin
- Where are said assassin’s laired? – Halamut
- Who would be of most help? – All Flamis got was a pile of question marks.
- What is the name of power, demon, god etc? – Nazuri
As we came in for a landing, Lath made it rain in an attempt to cover our approach. In the distance, on the coastline ahead, we could see two towns. The one to the south was definitely prettier and more lit up (it was near midnight) so that was where we decided to go. Once on the ground we buffed up with Resist Heat and Cold, Fire Armours, Vapour Breathings, Armours of Earths and Strength of Stones.
It was near dawn by the time we were all organised so it was decided to get food. I also suspected that Flamis was going to stock up her spice pantry. We split up. I went with Lath to be her bodyguard and we spotted a merchant with his bodyguards. I guess I’m going to have to get clothing and weapons like that so I can look inconspicuous.
Lath’s next move was to hire a guide, a boy by the name of Achmed Vazari. He told us that the name of this city was Harzuz. The largest city in the area was Oyundra and also that there was a guild house of the Hashishins in the market place.
We had already paid 50 silvers for our rooms but Lath then put forward 200sp for clothes and four thousand silvers for dancing girls. She then requested four porters, ten bodyguards then paid a perfumer and a spice merchant 2000 advice. I was wondering what the heck she was up to until she explained we were building a cover as travelling merchants. The other piece of information I got that Almut is a mountain, not a town. Caves in the mountain perhaps? The best place to get maps could be the Library at Wasyrat that is two and a half weeks travel inland by caravan.
We then spoke to the local Hashishin representative. He had vaguely heard of Alamut but the name Mokasen Hashida meant nothing to him. I was beginning to wonder if that was a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Nazuri is more of a concept or a creed. It is followed by the Azeris.
We then showed the rep the letter we had received. He confirmed what the letter said but he’s got no idea what’s going on. Yep, I bet that the Hashishins are organised as cells and they don’t talk to each other. He did say that they were independent. He may have to talk to his Guildmaster.
It wasn’t until 1am the next morning until we got an answer. We were told that they were Hashisins, not Hashishins – and the difference was more than just the spelling. The original Hashishins were set up to provide an apolitical service, much like our Guild, They started at Halmut ….. and lost it. Apparently the Arabie culture had spread rather far over Alusia at one stage but it had now shrunk, and in the interim, they had lost contact with the original group, who may still be there, and had even forgotten where Halmut was. Lath’s lodestone on the kids was still pointing in a northwesterly direction.
However, instead of charging off in that direction, we went to Sammakar in Silverfoam’s boat. Must have been a restful trip as I tripled my purification ritual.
It took us thirty hours to cross the 1500 miles and we discretely arrived by sailing up the river. We were loaded with suitable cargo and I had also obtained local seed and rock samples. We had even managed to have live fish onboard and keep them alive, so we had fresh fish for sail. That made us extremely popular and it wasn’t long before we had amassed a tidy profit.
The library here was a big, white, cube and surrounded by a collection of inns of various prices and clienteles. We finally found one called the ‘Fallen Ibis’ which suited us all.
After lunch we headed for the library. The entrance was marked by an arch, with the inscription, “All Knowledge Resides Here”. That led some people to speculate whether all the knowledge was actually magically stored in the arch and the books were just the backups. There were lots of strange looking entities and languages here but we were able to get someone who spoke elvish. We could have got Cazalian Common but we didn’t want to leave too many clues to our origins.
Of course, for getting the knowledge we wanted, there was a price, either gold or more knowledge – and for many of us, there was knowledge we could offer, whether it be a new language, or other stuff. Even my weapon knowledge was useful. Speaking of which, I managed to get the second ITN for my special glaive. I also managed to get a Greater Enchantment, as well as a headache, from their method of delivering, consisting of a hammer to a metal skullcap. Cost me 23,000 but will be worth it.
It took us all of nine days to unload all the knowledge they wanted but at the end of it we had discovered the following.
- They hadn’t found Halamut but they found Almut and Hulmet, One was nearby and the other was near Ilsig, 100 miles ESE, possibly over the mountains.
- The band of assassins we were looking for were programmed by indoctrination or drugs – so we’re dealing with fanatics.
- Their leader is someone called ‘Hasan E Sibah’ otherwise known as the ‘Old Man of the Mountain’. An earlier name was Amule meaning ‘Wise Eagle’.
- The original base is a really big rock with buildings on it.
- Nazari is the bastard teachings of a so called prophet.
We went off to ponder that lot and decide what to do next. Flamis went to consult with her Other Selves.
- What terrain surrounded the place known as Halamut where the Hashishin were founded – Rocky
- What were any distinctive terrain features near Halamut – Rivers
- What do the Hashishin want from us? – Blindness or silence.
- To what end did the Hashashin take our children as hostages – Co-operation.
- What do they want us to be silent about? – No answer
I was getting back to my original theory that the Havenites were behind this so we wouldn’t interfere with their activities. Certainly I couldn’t think of any other options.
It was also getting more obvious that the original Halamut was the one near Ilsig so we made our way back via Lath’s Island where we could drop off the entourage. It was decided not to contact Thorn for updates in case they found out.
The idea was to head for the suspected area in Ranke where the mountain was rumoured to be, somewhere in the eastern mountain range. Unfortunately Lath’s locate device decided not to co-operate so we headed for Ilsig. Once there, we wandered into town, found a reasonable inn, then, after enquiring where to find mercenaries, we were conducted to the gladiatorial arena.
I’m not quite sure what motivated the next course of action but Lath wanted to use strong arm tactics, such as Sleep Gas and Whirlwind Vortex. The Sleep Gas could be used to wipe their short term memory but I wasn’t sure that Whirlwind Vortexing people was exactly the right tactic. Of course, a fight started. Flamis managed to turn an entire table, plus occupants, including a rather irritating firemage into ash. Meanwhile the wiccan managed to turn Flamis into some sort of amphoromorphic fox woman (a kitsune according to Silverfoam) before succumbing to Lath’s spell. Meanwhile I was busy trying to keep the fighters off our mages, i.e. the rest of the party.
We didn’t gain anything from that except maybe some nice weapons so we went to try a rather disreputable bar where low-lifes hang out. I also believed that, if there was anything going on in town, the bartender would have likely heard about it. We did find out there was a bunch of foreign guys there looking for a free port and it was likely that they were either the foreigners we were looking for or potential pirates. So, again we let them have it, looted the place, and to conceal the evidence, Flamis finally got her wish to burn a pub down.
The loot was taken back to the boat for later examination then we headed back into town. This time it was decided to question the town guard. So a lieutenant was kidnapped on his way to the main station, dragged into an alley and questioned. No, none of the guard are seriously corrupt but there are ‘agreements’. However, he may have heard of the place we were looking for, believing it to be Eagle Soars Pass. We left him sleeping off the effects of Knockout Gas. He also told us a rumour about a kraken hiding up the river, trying to keep away from the Destinian Navy.
So we headed up to that area to look for it, using the tactic of finding someone, questioning them, then putting them to sleep. Three villages later, we found out where the pass was.
While Lath and Flamis flew up to have a look around, I started putting together a late dinner.
BASALIC: "Silverfoam, could you prepare a hot meal?"
SF:“My technique of preparing a meal is booking a table at Alphonse's”
The night was spent searching the area with all the means at our disposal but all we found were shepherds and sheep in caves.
Before dawn, Lath’s locate failed to get a lock but, just after, she got a lock so, after a bit of a rest, we headed off in that direction. During the trip I had the loan of Silverfoam’s Wand of Firebolts as I didn’t have a ranged magical attack spell.
The next dawn, we went at right angles to the line and managed to get another line so we could triangulate. The result gave us a point roughly forty miles away near the eastern mountain range. That led us to a multipeaked mountain. It was three miles high with a pass running between the two peaks and it was there we landed.
I summoned up my Earth Elemental to begin the search for caverns and processed metals but the Earth Elemental started insisting there was no earth but we were somewhere up in midair. Lath’s air elemental was also thinking there was something odd about this mountain and even the winds are confused. A rock had no aura so I put it in my pocket. I then tried getting the Plane of Origin of some nearby lichen and got a shock. Was this some really powerful and epic illusion? Or were we somehow slightly out of phase of Alusia?
Flamis attempted a divination – and vanished. A locate told her she was a few hundred feet below us so I tried tunnelling all the way down to get her – and couldn’t find her. However, I could sense she was still alive, just unconscious.
Since we were two and a half miles up the mountain, we decided to descend down to the darker rock, which the elemental was satisfied was real. We then had it tunnel in until we were below where Flamis was and created a chamber to wait in while Silverfoam did his divinations, safe from the prospect of suddenly falling.
What he was able to determine that the ‘mountain’, above the plateau we were on, was a real illusion, woven together over a long period of time by several mages working in unison and would show what the observer would believe would occur. The only way to see what was really there was a powerful True Sight spell or by ‘tricking’ the illusion into some sort of paradox.
Silverfoam was the only one who had the potential to pull this off so Lath and I were turned into mice and placed in Silverfoam’s pocket. I’m not sure how he did it [SF: "I just shut my eyes and floated through the air-slash-stone"] but, when we were taken out of the pocket and ‘de-moused’, we found ourselves on top of a large, ten story, building, in the middle of some rather large complex. Presumably we were now in the mountain but it looked like we were outside. Flamis was three floors down. So we descended down the side of the building and tunnelled our way in (I wanted to boot doors down but Silverfoam was right — we needed to be subtle). Eventually we found a very peeved, near-naked, Flamis with just her irremovable purse. All her other gear was missing so I tossed her my Tinderbox of Fire so she had a weapon. Lath also provided armour for her.
Flamis – “I’ll just put this chainmail over my bikini” Basalic – “Damn!”
Once Flamis was ready to go I started tunnelling again in the direction of her trident. On the way we ran into half a dozen people and Lath fired in a whirlwind vortex. When the wind died down, all that was left was a mess and I was sure that at one stage I stepped on a spleen.
Finally found the trident in a room along with a bunch of people examining it. Most of them dropped from the initial whirlwind vortex and it wasn’t long before Lath and I finished off what was left. Flamis reclaimed her trident and we found a few bits of loot.
Lath – “Anyone got anyway of minimising corpses?” Silverfoam – “Well I thought Whirlwind Vortex was rather effective.”
The next Tunnelling was through the outside wall of the building so we jumped out the hole and landed on the ground. We were surrounded by large buildings and people were running away. So much for subtlety.
We then flew alongside another building and a couple of people attempted to charge at us through the air. They ended up plummeting to the ground. A sniper then took a potshot at Silverfoam. So we tunnelled into the building and faced a volley of arrow fire from the defenders inside. Lath, Flamis and I went into the attack. Lath was hit in the groin and Flamis tripped.
Silverfoam – “Was that one of those special moves you were talking about?”
Silverfoam then bravely charged in as Flamis fell and hit the attacker with a quarterstaff.
Our intention was to capture one alive so we could interrogate him but he obliged us by dying. It transpired he had a suicide pill in a tooth. So we were now going to have to find someone else to question.
It was decided to find another of Flamis’s items and Silverfoam had already
coveted memorised the meditation cushion.
Flamis to Silverfoam – “You’ve just been memorising the things you’re interested in” Basalic (with a smirk) – “Maybe you should have been using the chainmail bikini then love”
On the way, Silverfoam was backstabbed. We all jumped on the assassin and Lath put one of her charm hooks in him. The poisoned tooth was removed and we got down to questioning. Basically any questions about the organisation caused an adverse reaction, probably some sort of geas. He wasn’t sure where Flamis’s equipment is but most of it might be on the third floor storage area. The rest are scattered around the place. He had no idea where the children were. I was just hoping that they weren’t planning on using them as living shields.
Since our compelled captive wasn't telling us about his leaders, we told him to take us to them and we'd negotiate directly.
Basalic - "Take us to your leader .... or lead us to your taker"
On the way Lath sent out a "threat warning" on the air in an attempt to get someone high up in the organisation to talk to us. Whatever I might think about Lath's style of diplomacy, I have to admit that it was effective. We were led across the courtyard to a more "acommodating" looking building i.e. one that was lived in and being more functional than the others. Once inside, we were conducted to a meeting room where six occupants on one side of a table that also had four empty chairs on the other side, one for each of us.
DAs told us that all six were colleged being, from left to right, Mind, Mind, E&E, Binder, Necro and Illusion. At least the illusionist had a Plane of Origin of Alusia and some sort of Oath magic on him - similar to a Geas. The meeting started amicably enough, as we introduced ourselves, told them who we represented, and why we were here. After they huddled under a zone of silence, they told us that they had an oath not to reveal who had taken out the contract on our children. At that, Lath whirlwind vortexed one of the mind mages and the E&E and told them that if Flamis's equipment wasn't here by the time the samds in her two minute sand timer ran out someone else was going to get it.
Just as the last grains were about to drop, a runner arrived with Flamis's staff, a few other items, and maybe a few extras. Frantic searches were being made to find the rest. So we waited some more, and it wasn't long before the rest arrived, along with a few other things we weren't sure was hers but I guess we'll sort that out later.
A 'request' was also made to check the complex for the children, emphasised by the whirlwind vortexing of the Binder. It was a shame that the E&E had already been done as a Locate would have been useful to speed things up but, after ten minutes, word had arrived that they were in the hospice and a minute of so later, we were taken down there.
It transpired that the children were all in some sort of status which was mystifying their healers. I put trollskins on our three while Lath provided extra incentive by whirlwind vortexing one of the assistants. Negotiations between our Guild and theirs were certainly going to be 'interesting' to say the least. The healer, who was trying to fix it, had no idea who had done it, just that they were found that way, and there were at least sixty three methods that it could have been done.
A message was sent to the Old Man of the Mountain and the reply indicated that he couldn't tell us the parties concerned but their member who had accepted this contract was going to be transferred to the Abyssal Plane for a rather long time. Lath was still keen on making an example of this lot so that they wouldn't do it again so, all the assassins were rounded up and Lath proceeded to kill nine out of ten of them, resurrectably. This led Silverfoam and I to speculate what the opposite of 'decimate' was.
It turned out that the children had been petrified, someone had used a rather powerful basalisk on them and the mandrake roots required were going to take six to nine months to go. No worries says I and proceeded to use my Create Garden ritual to fast grow as much mandrake as I could.
It took a few days to get all the required mandrake but, in the interviening time, a contract had been negotiated that the Hashashin would identifywho kidnapped our children and punishment. Also no action would be allowed against the Seagate Guild. I guess they didn't want to deal with more angry Guild members, especially now we knew where they lived.
Tewnty of them were taken with us along with the children who, unfortunately, had no memory of what had happened. Lath had also found a sack full of interesting objects.
The children were dropped off at Bolton Bay then we headed off to the Guild. Lath went to have a word with Guild Security .. presumably to make sure that what she had done could be classified as 'justifiable homicide' and that she was still stable. Meanwhile we had still no clues to who had been responsible for this incident. Was in the Havenites? Or could it be Sanctuary as they were the main suspects in the theft of the True Silver. Or was this an entirely unrelated incident. All we could conclude that we could do in the meantime was to keep an eye on the situation to see what fallout there was. Or, as Lath put it, who was suddenly going to die horribly in mysterious circumstances.
All I could think of doing was making sure that our children, and those of other Guild members were protected. Even if Emrys decided not to be a Guild adventurer, I was going to make sure he, and his siblings, were going to get what magic they needed. Also I decided to stock up on Locates and other scying magic so we can track them if something happened to them - and vice versa of course.