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



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Ruminations #3: Unraveling
Bernard!?! After all of these years, how did he find me? What does he want? I need to talk to him, but now, with everything going sideways... I will watch for him and find the right time.

And Tyla! Why couldn't these magic pastries have made him a collie or some other smart dog? Had to be a yapping beagle. Talking about the Circus's other operations in public. And the broach! How in the 10,000 Gods of Newhon does he know about the broach? That was two years ago... And how is that related to Billy and Thieves Guild?

Too many questions. Maybe it is time to disappear again. Hopefully it is not as a permanent ass...
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Epic!
Was that the boy from the church talking to Tyla?
I've seen Tyla around with that boy. What was his name, Tak? Tor? He looks so much like the one I spared. He alone if the church was pure, unformed, just a child. Gods, did I make him into one of Tyla's orphans all those years ago? All I remember from my haze of rage and blood was tossled hair and the look of fear. A shake of my head and he bolted for the door, out into the night. I hope I didn't make a mistake in letting him live, the only soul who saw what I did and who I really am. So long ago now, I'm sure that boy didn't survive on the streets but I'll have to keep an eye out to see if Tyla suspects anything.
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When Jerry is with us, who can stand against us?
Flossin stood precariously on the crossbeams of the Temple, a broad smile on his face. Last night he had felt fear are foreboding about travelling to the countryside to get involved in the economics and disputes of grain merchants. A fight over a woman had sealed the night as a bad deal all around.
But this morning, Flossin consulted his precious carved conduit into the mind of Jerry. Lo and behold, it looked like Jerry had Flossin's back today. Flossin knew that whatever happened today would be a sign and guidepost to guide him in the right direction. You could never trust what the Great Gygax had in store, so knowing that Jerry was with him reassured Flossin.
When Flossin came across the body of Leela, he knew that this was the direction they had to follow. And if part of the mystery meant stealing a sacred relic so be it. Life was about adventure, experience, and staying one step ahead of the Great Gygax's machinations.
Bringing his focus back to the present, Flossin quickly stepped across the beam to the net that held the crystal. With a quick motion, he grabbed the crystal. Immediately, crystal spiders came to life. Grabbing the rope, Flossin climbed, feeling alive and triumphant. He never doubted for a moment that he and his new friends would get away. When Jerry was on his side what could go wrong?
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The long walk across town
Tyla's stomach felt as though it were filled with snakes. That simple night of meeting with Ricky had quickly spun out of control and now he'd somehow found his way not only back to the Thieves Guild, but in their covert employ.

Cheeks reddening at that simple thought, his pace slowed. Surely his new compatriots across town were still preparing the specifics of their heist, but the less Tyla knew, the better. "Plausible deniability" was his watchword, and a bombastic and generous his appearance at the Hairy Cod would hopefully put some distance between him and the goings-on at the Church of the Eye. If these brothers-in-arms were somewhat still in the dark on their contractor, that was all for the good.

Pausing at the next corner, he surreptitiously checked his coin purse, hoping he had enough goodwill to stretch these rilks into several rounds. Perhaps a gratis performance could balance the scales with Sir Harry...

A quick, silent prayer to the Bakkus, god of mirth and wine, and one to the Lord of Chance for good measure, and he set off again.

Nearing the door to the Cod, Tyla noticed some familiar faces in the square. A smattering of dock workers and some merchant-shippers from the eight cities. Certainly, these talkative sailors could be counted on for boisterous song and matching his generosity. With any luck, the Beggars Guild would have some members nearby, further solidifying Tyla's alibi.

Affixing his most genial smile, Tyla burst through the door. "An ale to the sailor with the most preposterous tale of sea monsters!"
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The Eye of the Universe
Margon dreams of her god Mortis Dey. She says she has chosen the wrong spot for her temple and should choose a different location. When she awakens, she is in a different location from where she fell asleep. There is a reddish/black fog that envelops the house. Margon is outside a house where several people died during the night. Margon tells the people gathered there that the gods are angry and the house is unclean. A cart arrives to take the bodies away through the south (marsh) gate. Margon follows the cart and inspects the bodies. The bodies may have died by suffocation.

Ricky and Tyla look at the beautiful masquerade mask Ricky picked up. Instead of eye holes there are two large gems. It is possible to wear the mask and see though the aquamarine gems. Ricky gives the mask to Tyla and he goes to the orphanage for the night. The next morning Tyla runs into Valin, the innkeeper of the Lucky Copper. Valen tells Tyla to be wary. The watch stopped by the Lucky Copper asking questions about who was around at closing last night.

Walking south to the marsh gate Rafe finds that several fishermen found some valuable pearls overnight. Rafe suspects that Ricky may have a hand in this and is perhaps the reason Ricky is “retired”.

Genet runs into Mrs. Codsbellow and tells her he will meet her at the Lucky Copper.

Once together, we decide to search for Palp. Palp is a member of the Thieves Guild. Tyla has “contacts” in the thieves guild and reluctantly offers to investigate. His contact asks him to take on a task as a personal favor. He asks us to obtain the large crystal Eye of the Universe from the Church of the Eye for a client of his. The thieves guild cannot take on this task but we can. The reason the thieves guild cannot take on the contract is because the Church of the Eye often hires the Beggers guild to supply “miracles” for the church. He offers 125 smerdics and information on Palp in exchange for the Eye of the Universe.

Madam says Leela’s roommate’s name is Jolks. Tyla, Genet, and Rafe ply her with drinks, money, and sympathy. Jolks tells us that Leela was invited to a party of some sort. Adding that Leela was restless about life on the street and wanting to stick it to the rich for making life difficult for the lower cast citizens of Lanhmar. Rafe gives her some money for “rent” and offers to meet her later.

We decide to go after the crystal Eye of the Universe. When casing the temple, we see Baron Ustov Cordovna walking outside the temple. Genet has to hide and cannot help his friends. The temple is three stories tall. There are trap doors on the roof that are open during the day and closed at night. We have been assured that these will be open for us at night by our contact. There is a basement where the priests live. However, there are usually a few priests sleeping on the main floor at night in case beggars try to break in. The Eye is a head sized crystal that is suspended from two crossbeams.

Flossin and Ricky climb up to the roof of the temple. Ricky lowers Flossin down and Flossin grabs the crystal. The instant he grabs the crystal, two crab like gargoyles morph out of the wall. Genet unlocks the front doors of the temple and looks inside. He sees the crystal crabs climbing up and through the roof. Genet closes the doors to the temple and Rafe spikes them shut. The crystal crabs chase us through the neighborhoods of Lankhmar until we finally lose them. Tyla sits this one out at a bar where he can be seen (not pillaging a temple).

Flossin hears voices (the crystal) that guides us to a thugs’ hideout room with mysterious writings on a wall. The wall has a depression on it that the crystal would fit in. Flossin hears “place me here -home!” Flossin places the crystal in the depression. There is an intense flash of cold and the crystal goes dark.
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