Chasing White Elephants

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Chasing White Elephants

Time: Autumn 808

Days: Fridays.

Level: Medium.

Plane: Farwey


Assassins have once again tried to kill Lord Argant, employing primarily Dark Celestial, Binder and Bardic magics, though with a smattering of other magics. Given the relative political stability for the last little while, this comes as a somewhat odd moment, and he would appreciate people working out who the assassins were, who hired them, and why they were hired.
It is believed that several harvest balls in the Empire may provide opportunities to gather such information without resorting to more.... brute force methods which if targeted wrongly would cause considerable issues.

Pay: Some cold hard cash, some Illusion Investeds. Plus usual loot rights. Approx 15k pay each deposited with the Guild already. (Details and exact size of pay will be sorted closer to the writeup time, but that gives you a ballpark figure of pay before loot.)

Risk: Considerable risk of Temporary death, Some risk of Permanent Death, Xp will match.


  1. Rowan Female, Elven, Binder played by Helen Saggers
  2. Gerrad Male, Human, Illusionist, played by Ian Hasell.
  3. Tanis Kerelon Female Air mage played by Emily Jenns
  4. Ben Gaul the warrior with lots of courtier played by Ian Anderson.


1st Fruit So after the Guild meeting, we agree to take a few days to get stocked up with Greaters, Lessers, skin changes etc. With only four of us we'll need all the help we can get.

3rd Fruit Through the portal - 12 hours pass in an instant. We arrive exhausted and head straight for a bed.

4th Fruit After breakfast we go and get fitted with clothing appropriate for the Harvest Balls. We make note of the fashion colours this year. Yellow and Pink are the 'in' colours. Blue/green are power statements - you have to be prepared to be challenged if you wear those colours.

After a light lunch we go to the Keep for a meeting with our employer - Duke Argant, although his advisor - Marvin - does most of the talking. The assassination attempt was very well equipped - binder investeds - and Binders are rare around here. The local assassin's guild deny involvement. We agree to get training in heraldry, and local dances ready ofr the Balls. As well as the ruling families, the merchant families are likely to be present, as well as mage guilds - the Guild of Illusionists is the most organised.

5th-8th Fruit Training in heraldry and other skills as above.

9th Fruit Time to go - Gerrard brought his own horse from Seagate, the rest of us borrow some.

10th-18th Fruit we travel south towards the centre of the Empire - thorugh the wilderness, around the swamp of mild melancholy. The only event of note is that one night we are joined in our camp by a troll. Apparently Rowan and Ben are honorary trolls, and our campsites are 'trollhomes' - which attracts trolls. it's peaceful and leaves in the morning.

19th Fruit We arrive in Lembach - the local Duchy capital. It's a small military city. Main exports are siege machones, and the operators to run them. We get rooms at the inn, have baths, then head up to the keep to present ourselves.

After a short wait, we are introduced to Duke Hengist, who is accompanied by two advisors - one called Manfred, and the other does not introduce himself. The Duke appears old and doddery - or is very good at faking it. During polite conversation, we find out that he is not going to the Ball, his representative will be Baron Greber from Pircha (we make a note to avoid him if possible - prior history with Guild members and he may not like us very much). Also the Duke discusses the equipping of his castle guard with truesilver weapons - it appears he is in possession of a large amount of the metal, and more on the way.

As that appears to be about all the useful information we will get, we make polite farewells and head back to the inn. As we arrive we feel magic impact. Those that fail to resist are afflicted by Bane. A quick check of our rooms show they are untouched, but Rowan's golem guards have been suppressed - so there is a namer about. However nothing else happens immediately. Then Garrard notices guards hurrying along the street - heading to the main gates. Rowan sends out a bird Golem as scout - it shows that the keep is on alert - then the bird gets zapped and Rowan passes out.

As Rowan awakes a few minutes later, Gerrard hears the distinctive sound of falling rocks thrown by a catapult - the town is under attack. We head to the keep to offer assistance. The unnamed advisor tells us the keep was attacked - the attackers were well equipped, but failed, are now trying to escape the town, heading south. We acquire a pennant to idetify us as friendly to the locals and go to head towards the south gate. As we do we see Duke Hengist directing the defense of the keep - shouting orders, casting spells - not the slightest bit doddery. The clarity of his voice makes us suspect he is a Bard.

So we head towards the south gate. Suddenly Gerrard orders us to scatter - he's heard something. As we do, a 'Falling Star' hits the ground where we once were. We somewhat more carefully continue on - we are targetted again but mange to avoid the missiles. As we reach the south gate, we see it is in ruins. Three fire trails lead out of town, and one of the attackers remain guarding their escape. We charge to the attack, and despite a TK Rage taking two of us out, with Rowan's golens and Gerrard's magical net, the man is captured.

We offer to escort our prisoner up to the keep. On the trip, we question him. Turns out he's a member of the local Assassin's Guild. He recognises us as Seagate Adventurers Guild members, and talks freely to us. They took a contract to assassinate the advisor, Manfred, but the attack failed when they found out the hard way that he is a demon summoner. He is adamant that they had no involvement in the attempt on Duke Argant. We take all his gear, and agree to stage his escape. In reality, Rowan turns him in to a lawn ornament for now, and we'll deliver him back to his Guild. The escape looks really good thanks to an invested he has, combined with a few other illusions. After reporting back to the keep, we head to our inn for some well earned rest.

20 Fruit Rest, relax, repair armour etc.

21 Fruit time to leave - we head on - we ahev another 200 miles ahead of us to reach Ashe - the city hosting the first Harvest Ball.

22-26 Fruit We travel onwards. Only event of note is a jousting tourney we encounter on the Duchy border - we stay the night there, after Gerrard engages in a friendly joust.

27 Fruit We arrive in Cryde mid afternoon. After a stop at an inn to make ourselves presentable, we head to the keep to present ourselves. This is one of the original three Duchies in the centre of the Empire. Not a lot of trade apsses through as it is not on the river. It is rumoured that there is a large Celestial college somewhere in the Duchy. Their military is very good - with the core element being cavalry riding unicorns.

At the castle, we meet Seneschal Art. The Duke is away for several days on a hunting trip. It appears that he is apolitical. We discuss local events with the senescgal, including the attempted assassinations on Duke Argant and the advisor in Lembach - Manfred. He doesn't have any more information than we already have about them, although he suggests that the reason for the attacks may not be political. He seems a bit disturbed when we mention all the truesilver in Lembach. It appears you only equip that many people with truesilver if you expect to be fighting demons.

After some more small talk, we make our farewells. He offers us accommodation until the Duke returns but we decline as we still have some way to travel, and the first Harvest Ball is fast approaching. As we leave we all have a vague feeling that next time we are in town, we need to talk to the Seneschal again, but we don't know why ......

28 Fruit - 4 Harvest. On the road towards Ashe. The journey is uneventful, although we note an abundent spider population, including tracks from some that must be the size of dogs. However they leave us alone.

5 Harvest We arrive in Ashe - site of the first Harvest Ball. We take rooms at the Roasted Hog Inn. Other notable guests at the inn are:

- Prince Keld, the King's son, and an entourage of 1 dozen.
- High Poobah Wilfred and entourage from the Illusionists Guild
- Duke Theobald from Milton - who is staying with the Illusionists
- Lord Derek of Colbrook - Colbrook is what's left of the Duchy by the sea after the events of last winter.
- Sir Inmric and 3 other knights not associated with any Duchy
- a large group of merchants, including Merchant Prince Davios

We settle in to our rooms, and as we do we get a message that our clothing for the Ball has arrived - we'll have to go for final fittings tomorrow.

We head out to the local brothel - the Red Rooster - this is also a front for the Assassin's Guild. We make contact and discuss events with them. They confirm they are not behind the assassination attempt on Duke Argant, but they were behind the attack on the Advisor, Manfred. They note that they were unaware that he was a demon summoner until the assassins were attacked by demons, and the price for a second attempt on him has gone up. They are not happy about the assassination attempt on Duke Argant - they don't like competition, and are quite prepared to eliminate them. We agree to share information on this subject, in return they may want our help on assassinating Manfred. We return their 'lawn ornament'.

6 Harvest At breakfast we see many of the other guests. Gerrard decides to approach the merchants, and spends some time discussing trade opportunities with the Duchy of Petrenco with a merchant called Senda. Ben wanders off with a maid to 'gossip'.

This leaves me and Rowan at a table, and we are approached by Lord Derek from Colbrook. He makes small talk trying to find out who we are, and we confirm we represent Duke Argant of Petrenco. Lord Derek is interested in serious negotiations - it appears that he is interested in becoming Duke Derek - but needs to have some support before he does so, as it will make him a target. Main issue is the borders of the new duchy. Petrenco has 'claimed' a large stretch of the old Duchy from the old border across to the sea - it's a valuable piece of land, and gives Duke Argant a piece of valuble coastline (a good trade route). Lord Derek is very quick to cede that he will not contest this, but in return he does want Duke Argant's support, and trade. We decide that the formal negotiations should be done by the experts, and agree to help arrange formal talks between Lord Derek and Duke Argant.

These negiotiations take most of the morning. At lunch, we are joined in the dining room by the Illusionists - today they are a group of non-descript people - all looking exactly the same. Gerrard makes an impression courtesy of an animated chair provided by Rowan, and by being an illusionist himself - he makes himself look like them. He doesn't appear to get much straight information out of him, although they do advise that they are looking to employ all the builders they can find for a project back at the Illusionist college - but not what they are wanting to build.

After lunch we head to the seamstress for final fittings - and a chance to observe people. Our clothes require only minimal alterations, so most of the time is spent gossipping.

We meet Lady Drenda from the entourage of Duke Sendra of Hamalkoy. This is the Duchy that borders Milton. She says that there is regular border disputes between them, but it is quiet at the moment.

Lady Mirilda the king's secod niece comes through, but is not inclined to talk.

We also meet a group of knights from Oberdorf - the Duchy to the far south. They are young, with very pale skin - and serious battle scars. We chat with them - their Duchy is hilly and there are large numbers of mines. It appears they spend a lot of time underground fighting undead in the tunnels. They are not particularly talkative, but their clothes are another matter. Their outfits for the ball are midnight blue in colour - this is a serious power statement this year - will be interesting to see what this provokes in others. They are also trimmed with magical Dwarvish runes.

Back at the inn, we encounter Sir Inmric, and have a talk with him. Rowan recognises him from last winter - he is a sea captain with his own ship. He's well travelled, and very knowledgeable if you can afford the price - he prefers to be paid in sentients.

We also have another chat with Lord Derek. We discover that he has an uncle Brian who has not heir, and is supporting Lord Derek to become Duke. We instantly suspect this is dodgy, and note to find out all we can about this uncle Brian.

After a quiet afternoon we head out for the evening. There is a grand performace at another inn combining magic, illusion and acting. It's very well done, and has attracted a large crowd, including Prince Keld, the knights from Oberdorf, Duke Sendra, merchant Prince Davios - all with entourages. There is also an odd group of cowled figures at one table.

After the perfermance we follow the cowled figures, but lose them in an alleyway near the Red Rooster. Given everything that takes place there, we suspect a secret entrance. We go in the mian door, and see several groups enter to use the 'private' meeting rooms, although who is meeting with who - we don't know. All attempts to eavesdrop fail - there are multiple defenses against this. After a series of frustrations, we eventually give up and head back to the inn for the night.

7th Harvest Asking around reveals that the major event today is the weekly market in the keep courtyard - a place to 'see and be seen'. We head up there mid-morning. Markey has high quality foodstuffs, cloth, minor magics, minor alchemy items for sale. True magical items appear rare. Amongst the crowd we see Duke Sendra and his entourage, buying pigs and cows for the table - appears they are planning a feast. We also spot Baron Greber from Pircha - luckily while he is some distance away, and we make a point of keeping our distance. We also see a young man in charge of a group of soldiers, with an elderly man with a pronounced limp assisting him - although we can't think of who they might be. They are wearing the King's colours.

After a while Duke Sendra approaches - led by two elves who are part of his entourage. We let Rowan take the lead, and after some polite small talk, they invite us to dinner that night at the Pissing Goat.

We also see the mysterious lady in red. We approach her and talk with her - but she will only talk about non-substantial topics, nothing serious. Like other groups before, we fail to get her name, and eventually she politely leaves.

After a lunch on the move, we see the Knights from Oberdorf - Thrydewulf and Wuscfrea - heading towards a herbalists tent. Rowan sends in her golem bird to eavesdrop, they are haggling for potions - mainly 'death sense' and 'negrogeny' - so this confirms they are dealing with undead. We also pick up on some gossip - apparently some suspicious dead bodies were found by the guard overnight. They leave with their purchases, and we decide to head back to the inn.

At the in, Ben wanders off to 'gossip' with another maid, and this time actually gets some information - the guard found a dessicated husk of a body overnight - it crumbled in to dust on touch - and they have confirmed that the person was alive the day before. I decide that those necrogency potions now sound like a good idea, and head back up to the market to get some. The herbalist is nearly out of stock, but I manage to get two potions for 4500sp each.

After an afternoon nap, we head to the Pissing Goat for dinner with the elves. As we are all fluent in Elvish, we converse in their language - which appears to impress them. 2000 years of history from an elvish viewpoint later, we find out they spent a few hundred years up north hunting for some old ruins in the desert - the ruins apparently hold some religious artifacts. They must be important to hunt for them for so long - but without success. They admit they don;t really know the location of the ruins. Rowan mentions some ruins she saw in the forest - they seem interested, and say they will go and have a look.

Overall we get the impression that these are not court elves, and we will not get any information about human politics. We ask about the overnight deaths in town, but they don;t seem that interested. We also ask why they are in the entourage of Duke Sendra - it appears they are actually travelling with the Ladt Dendra who is part of the entourage, but they don't say why.

After dinner, we make yet more polite farewells. We then check with the barkeep to see if he's prepared to be more informative. He seems to like us, and tells us to speak to Sergeant Brick who guards on the MW bridge - he's known to sell information - so long as it will not harm the guard or put the city in danger. We head to the bridge and locate the Sergeant - he's a very large orc - in fact the guard are all orcs. He tells us there were two bodies - the dessicated husk, and another that appears to have died of fright. There was no signs of magic on either body. Rowan mentions spiders - that we saw the signs of very large spiders on the road in to the city. Sgt Brick looks interested - the road is not part of his normal area, but he will send out a patrol to check it out. Spiders could explain both deaths. We offer to help if needed, and he accepts. As we leave he's ordering the guard to get out the polearms - serious weapons.