Gritty fantasy - in a city rife with crime, corruption and dark magic



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A New Patron
Fiola Holkat ran off again this winter. At first, I thought it was her idiot lover Gybon, but after tracking him down again, it was clear he wasn’t involved in her second disappearance.

Fiona had been missing several weeks before I received a message from Julx. It was a small patch of cloth with the Holkat crest embroidered in fine threads. I recognized it immediately as coming from one of Fiona’s dresses. This piqued my curiosity as I had been unsuccessful in obtaining any clues as to the whereabouts of Fionia.

Meeting up with Julx, she led me to the docks and to a recently constructed warehouse. Inside, two sailors from the Solemn Vow stood guard over a lumpy bundle of sailcloth. They looked me up and down with scowling faces. Clearly not impressed with Julx’s “well to do” companion. She gave them each a few coppers and their demeanor changed to bosom friend (to Julx), and sideways glances towards me. With a tip of the hat they left and I was free to inspect under the tarp. It was Fiola, rather her horribly burned body, beneath the tarp.

Lady Holkat has kindly invited me into her estate and has introduced me to her compatriots as “her man”. We attend social events together and I have some say with the household staff, however I am only “her man” in public. Out of view, we are at most friendly acquaintances. Lady Holkat is amicable, even teasingly peevish, but she has made it quite clear we are nothing more than friends. This odd arrangement has its perks; I have security, comfort, and friendly companionship. However, we sleep in separate wings of the estate and have never consummated our relationship.

It is my impression that Lady Holkat was not overly fond of her late husband. Madame Vobrey confirmed Lord Holkat had an “open tab” at her “hotel” and the Holkat staff have given me hints that he was less than “respectful” to the Lady of the house. Although they would never say anything negative about his Lordship openly. I’m guessing Lady Holkat doesn’t miss her deceased husband all that much. The Lady is wealthy, powerful within the Grain Guild, and rather fetching even if she is a bit older than me. Perhaps she keeps me around to ward off other suitors?
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Unmasking the Beggar King
Yorrabba reconnects with Rafe to discuss her “business”. She says Rafe’s overlord is buying up grain to inflate the price. Rafe offers her a room at his family’s estate.
Tyla hears news of the fire at the docks from the orphan Cuthbert. Many people were killed by the fire that burned a ship, dock, and warehouse. He tells Tyla that some of the dock workers had glowing eyes and their heads exploded when they were apprehended by the city watch. -Sound familiar?

Cuthbert was with the orphan Elaine on the docks. Elaine fell victim to the mind controlling mask and was killed.

Rob tells Rafe about the “Life Draining” silver bowl he acquired at Sendaru’s estate. They discuss destroying the bowl, but agree it must be kept safe until they decide what best to do with it.

At the orphanage one of the kids eyes glow and runs off. We don’t follow out of fear the child will be killed.

Jilks mask The Bunch of Grapes wine shop on Cash Street. David of the wine guild. In the basement of the shop we meet Milga. Kizzle is Milga’s real name. Mask given her by a handsome nobleman with curly hair. She didn’t put on the mask. She suspectes the man may be following her. We head together to the “Distressed Damsel” with Kizzle with the hope the puppet master Foostin will show himself.

Midarc, the priest at the temple of Goramash (beggar king), is the real puppet master. Foostin, the curly haired man, works for Midarc. Midarc uses the helmet of Goramash to become the avatar of the god and control people through the masks. The helmet is stored in the basement of the temple. Masks have been given out to courtesans, orphans, city guards, priests of Arth.

Tyla puts a mask on Foostin. Foostin’s eyes begin to glow and he lunges at Tyla. Tyla moves out of the way just in time before Foostin’s face explodes.

When we arrive at the temple of Goramash there is a service in session and the temple is full. We wait for the service to end. The priest leaves the altar and ducks behind a curtain. Rafe and Yorrabba follow. In the basement they find the priest. The priests welcomes them and asks what they have come for. Rafe tells the priest that they are there for retribution and relates a long list of wrongs, delaying for the rest of us to show up. The priest tells us that our bungling has impeded true retribution. The basement fills with his minions and the room goes dark. The only light is the glowing eyes of the minions. Much fighting. Eventually one of the nightlings kills the priest.

We retrieve seven masks and one helmet.
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Ruminations #12: the dream
The dream was so real. When I awoke, I knew that I couldn't take a chance so I swiped the mask. Who would miss that evil artifact anyway. And just like in the vision, the seas began to mysteriously swell. I didn't wait for it to get too bad though. Over the side it went and we had smooth sailing from then on. Gods damn that mask. May the Great Cephalopod below do his worst with it.
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Flossin's big journey
After finding The Book of Amazing Spells and setting fire to the library, Flossin fled Lankhmar. He left a quick note for family, and headed south. He ventured to Quarmall, city of wizards. There he consulted the learned sorcerers and mages of the city. The book turned out to be more of a hoax than a tome of power. He was told that most of the spells within were of minimal power or written incorrectly. Crestfallen, Flossin decided to stay in the city to learn spellcasting.

Flossin studied with the wizards in Quarmall for the year, learning white magic, herbology, and how to release a possessed spirit without destroying it.

While living in Quarmall, he had a brief love affair with a fellow member of the sorcery guild. Her name was Evelyn, a petite woman of similar age, with Mingol features. Flossin initially captured her interest by growing a new type of lotus flower. Unfortunately, things ended a few months later due to intermittent "performance" issues. Flossin eventually returned to Lankhmar when he ran low on money.

A friend of his from Quarmall, a dark-skinned young man from Klesh, named Umberto, accompanied Flossin. Umberto is also interested in plants, and he and Flossin opened a small greenhouse/flower shop in Lankhmar. Umberto is interested in seeing the strangeness of Lankhmar, but also keeps trying to marry Flossin off to one of his sisters (he has seven.)
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Ruminations #11: the journey
After the events of the past several months, Lysa needed to get out of Lankmahr. She reached out to Captain Satleen and they came to an agreement to have Lysa join him on the Solemn Vow when he returned to Sandheenmar to perform and work on the play for the Pact of the Signet. With Lysa came Bastion now that he was too old for the orphanage and was looking for his next thing. She also didn’t trust Billy to look out for his best interests. Lysa also hired a barely-capable servant girl, Aliss, to assist her and Bastion on the trip.

During their several months in Sandheenmar, Lysa, Bastion and Aliss lived on the Satleen estate. They regularly performed for the family and local residents. They also became familiar with the Satleen Family, which included Darroch, the elderly and infirm patriarch of the family, Damien, the eldest brother that actively managed the Satleen Trading business, Bernard, the Captain of the Solemn vow, and four younger brothers that assisted with the family affairs. Lysa and Bastion also became close to the youngest brother Ernesto who, unlike the rest of the family, was a talented artist and was not involved in the trading business.

Towards the end of their stay, Lysa, Bernard, and Ernesto performed the play that they written. It was a story about the tragic death of a young woman the rippling effects of that death on the family. It was warmly received by both the family and the community.

Once it was time to return, Ernesto asked Bernard if he could join Lysa and Bastion in Lankmahr so that he could practice his art and perform the play they had written. Bernard agreed to take him. Aliss on the other hand asked Lysa if she could stay in Sandheenmar. She said that had found a new home and had nothing in Lankmahr to go back to. Lysa consented. The voyage back was uneventful.
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