Dahkath's Council of Thieves
Thodin Almek Journal Entry 2
17th day of Arodus, 4709 AR
Our journey so far has been fraught with peril; little did I know these sewers are havens for vicious goblins and other abominations. It makes me wonder why these sewers are left to this infestation without any attempt to exterminate the goblins, or to track down who is animating the undead we have encountered.
Our trial continued when we proceeded and heard the sounds of combat ahead. I assumed that it was a group of Hellknight Armigers being attacked by some other menace here in the sewers, and I was correct – more undead, skeletons this time. We moved forward and attacked.
During the battle, we were joined by a mysterious half-elf, who did not share name or title, but alluded to the fact that Janiven had sent him into the sewers to search for us and lead us out. He suggested that we were on the wrong path, and that we should backtrack – a procedure that has not been terribly successful for us in the past. I advocated that the half-elf should simply lead us to the point he used to enter the sewers in the first place, but he demurred. Back we went again
After a short time, we came across a stout door, but one that was probably used as a spillway. I noted movement behind us, and spied several goblins preparing to fire their crude crossbows at us. Vividly do I recall the bolts striking me – then I awoke in a pain filled haze, and lashed out at the vicious beast in front of me. Alas that I tore open wounds barely healed, and collapsed under the pain. Twas worth it to smite one of the little vermin!
Now I feared greatly escaping from the sewers at all; my magical gifts were expended, and many hours would pass until dawn, when I could regain my strength. If Iomedae wished for my death fighting the evils infesting these sewers, that others might remain safe, so be it – a more worthy end is imaginable, but who am I to question Iomedae’s will?
After another hour had passed, with night fast approaching, we heard faint voices echoing through a crack in the stonework. The half-elf stranger, who had keen ears and some skill with his glaive, peered through the narrow crack and quietly relayed that he could spy two imps discussing how they were going to subvert and seize control of the business interests of one Jan Candor, a merchant in Westcrown. Rule of law indeed; these imps, and their human compatriots, twist the law to serve their own wicked ends. If this movement of Janiven’s accomplishes nothing else, may it lead to laws that protect the innocent and punish the corrupt!
Knowing what I know of imps, it is best that we slipped away without noticing.
With nightfall upon us, I whispered a prayer to Iomedae that we would find our way to some form of sanctuary soon; covered in filth, wounded, and with power depleted, we were sorely in need of safety and rest. At the next intersection, we found a door, with a mark next to it; opening the door lead to a room that contained a ladder leading up. Praise Iomedae!
Opening the trap door let me smell the relatively sweet air of the city; I know that it is usually foul with the stench of so many living so close together, but after the sewers, it’s stench was that of sweetness and light. A human with a torch was here, concealed in the back alleyway this exit from the sewers opened into. I identified us as being friends of Janiven, and the lad – who identified himself as Ermolos – let us inside what appeared to be an old shrine to Aroden. More importantly, he promised us baths and an opportunity for food – a welcome respite indeed! I quickly availed myself of the opportunity to cleanse the filth off, and see that my wounds were not infected.
After cleaning myself and my clothing, Ermolos introduced us to the rest of Janiven’s followers, who had gathered here after Areal was captured. They introduced themselves around, and most of them struck me as good and kindly folk. Ermolos has taken to dogging Marius, hoping to learn something of the fighting arts; my offer to teach anyone the use of the longsword was immediately accepted by Fiosa, a female halfling who was quite interested in Iomedae and all that I could teach. I was struck by the sudden realization that I had been in her role, asking Raiel to teach me. Of course, while instructing her in the basics of how to hold a longsword without injuring herself, I told of Iomedae’s tenth trial, where she ruled the city of Kantaria for a year and a day.
Many of these friends of Janiven were in a heated argument, as to what they should call themselves to identify this group to Westcrown. Many of the ideas espoused had martial themes of guardianship or honor – the Knights of Cheliax and so forth. When Marius was asked for his opinion, he demurred, stating that he did not particularly care. A sad sign, but now that I know for certain he is not an agent of house Thrune, it gives me hope that he can be subtly steered from the worship of Asmodeus; caution here is called for, as I believe he will react quite strongly to any perceived meddling on my part.
Fiosa next steered the conversation to me, and the group quieted to learn my opinion. I warned them that a name referencing a martial tradition, such as Knight or Guardian, would be seen as a competitor and a challenge to the rightful authorities, preventing any cooperation and likely leading to reprisals. Likewise, any name that referenced Cheliax as a whole would be seen as a revolutionary and seditious influence, and bring down the house of Thrune. Of all the names they selected, the Children of Westcrown was best; regional to Westcrown only, and the use of the word children at once conveys both affection for and expectations from Westcrown itself. The group seemed happy to have selected a name for themselves.
With that decided, I instructed Fiosa in the use of a sword for another hour, then retired for the evening.
18th day of Arodus, 4709 AR
Janiven arrived early this morning, shortly after my morning prayers. She seemed quite agitated, and called us all together at once. It appeared that the legal battle taking place last night over custody of Areal had been resolved; he was in the possession of the Hellknights, and would be taken to Citadel Rivad later today. Time was critical if we were to affect a rescue.
Janiven also had a plan – an ambush in two parts. The first was to lure away the mounted escort into a prepared field of caltrops – painful to the horses, but nothing that could not be easily repaired. This would lead the majority of their mounted escort away from the prison wagon, which would then be ambushed. The group that would lead the mounted Hellknights away would flee once they entered the field of caltrops, and would be comprised of the untrained members of the Children of Westcrown – Fiosa, Ermolos, and the rest. Janiven would lead them, despite my insistence that her skills would be better employed closer to the heart of the conflict, freeing Areal directly. She refused – her concern for her followers is touching, but she seems reluctant to dirty her own hands with this matter. Then again, perhaps I am too suspicious of others – what has Westcrown done to my personality to make trust so difficult? Iomedae be praised that I am on a quest to help redeem my home, and hopefully myself at the same time.
In order to make the ambush work, we required some horses to get ahead of the Hellknights in time to lay our ambush. One of the Children of Westcrown, Gorvio, ran out to procure horses for us. We prepared as best we could, and when Gorvio returned, we set out for the site of our ambush.
Marius and I concealed ourselves next to some boulders on one side of the road, and the half-elf and Jezzie on the other. We planned to wait for the mounted knights to be drawn off, while the prison carriage was on or near the bridge itself; ideally we would wait until it was turning to return to Westcrown, denying it mobility. All the Hellknights would need to do to thwart our plan would be to simply ride away from us, as to my knowledge none of us – particularly myself! – has any skill with mounted combat.
The initial part of the plan went flawlessly. I shielded myself with my faith, and the mounted Hellknights charged off after Janiven and her followers – directly into a field of caltrops. Thrown from their horses, the Hellknights then promptly disabled themselves on caltrops. The remaining guards at the wagon saw what was happening, and began turning about to return to Westcrown.
Just as we were preparing to strike, a shout went up from the carriage – we have been spotted! The large crossbow mounted on the top of the carriage swung about, pointing in the direction of Jezzie and the half-elf. With such a perfect opportunity, I hurled my flask of alchemists fire at the Hellknight manning the crossbow, and he yelled in fury. As some of the other Hellknights charged across the ground towards us, a massive bolt smashed through some of the rock and struck the magical shield I had raised – Iomedae, my faith in you was rewarded again!
The fight between the Hellknights, Marius, and I was short and brutal. When wounded, several of the Hellknights ran off, fleeing from their responsibilities. Surely not all Hellknights are craven cowards who abandon their responsibilities so? I must be cautious to show them respect, let I develop contempt for them in my heart.
When we had subdued the Hellknights surrounding us, we approached the prison carriage. The Hellknight atop it then released a blast of energy – it’s vile darkness scoured me, causing wounds to open. This must be the signifier in charge of the prison caravan.
Next, the villain blasted me with a gout of fire, then jumped down to confront me directly. We both healed ourselves – so not just a signifier, but a priest of Asmodeus as well! Battle was joined between us while Marius went to the aid of Jezzie and the mysterious half-elf, who had not fared nearly as well on their side of the ambush.
After the last of the Hellknights were subdued, I ensured that none had perished – their humiliation between those that had run off or been captured should be great, while the reprisals for this action should be minor – a sound reason for not killing anyone. Searching the signifier found the key to the prison wagon, and we quickly freed Areal.
Areal had been beaten somewhat – a situation I was familiar with. He thanked us, and asked why we would want to rescue him – but the lamed guards were returning, so it was time to return to the city. We rapidly left the area before more Hellknights could arrive, and made our way back to Westcrown.
A strange day, but hopefully a worthy one – with Areal freed, hopefully there will be decisions as to the future of this organization that I find myself a willing participant in.
Iomedae be praised!