AiS #22: To Coldwater!

Gloamhold_AiS_022.png

After their recent trials, the party rested for a week, Several of the heroes wanted to reflect upon their experiences and others had some shopping to do (or simply wanted to get to know Languard a little better).

While Veronwe disposed of the party’s mundane loot, Warg spent many hours in Fishshambles seeking more information about the Amma and its crew; the lust for revenge—and a good burning—burnt strongly in his breast and he enthusiastically hurled himself into the chaos of the docks. Ward visited several taverns in the Fishshambles in search of news. Although he visited the Drunken Sailor and the Sea’s Bounty he could learn little more than the Amma had not been sighted for several days; seemingly after the party’s last encounter with the smugglers the boat had disappeared. This angered Warg as he really, really wanted to punish Ambro and his crew for stealing the party’s figurehead.

During the week, other members of the party went about their business. Grogor sought employment as an apprentice locksmith and eventually found a wizened old locksmith in Low City—Sigrud Pettenan—who offered to send him on the occasional job. This was something of a miracle as Grogor came close to failing his “audition” only managing to pick a basic lock on the second attempt. Meanwhile, Thagrimm and Johann visiting the Great Forge for both had business with the master weaponsmiths within. Johann wanted confirmation of the special qualities of his thunderaxe while Thangrimm desired a cold iron dagger in his possession reforged into a kama. Both were successful, and Johann was surprised to be offered several thousand gold coins for his ancestral weapon. Naturally, the dwarf refused.

Veronwe also visited the Dreaming Spires to enquire about the “Special Collection” which Kanbrar had mentioned. After a long wait, the left met the Master of Tomes who denied such a collection existed. The wily elf was almost certain the old man was lying.

Later in the week, several of the party visited Urmas for dinner. The sage was excited because he had learnt something notable about the Alanens while the party had been away: the wealthy merchant Samuli Alanen was claiming descent from that fallen noble family and sought to prove his right to Greystone and the family’s noble title. Thus far he had failed to do so, but perhaps the party could help him? The learned sage also confirmed to the party that the hideous three-eyed idol discovered below Greystone near Luestiss’ watery lair seemed to be a representation of an aboleth—an ancient tentacled creature of supreme and malign intelligence. He promised to research aboleths more and try to find more information. Finally, the old sage confirmed he had heard of the “Special Collection”, but had never been able to gain access himself.

With their preparations complete—and the now recovered Jeremiah set to watch for the Amma’s return—the party set out for Coldwater to learn more about Kanbrar and what he was up to. Their journey was mainly without incident except for a troubling encounter with a riderless horse. Clearly terrified and exhausted the wounds upon its flank indicated something large and powerful had attacked the horse. Sadly, neither Orithur or Johann could calm the beast and it eventually fled from them. It didn’t get far, though, as Orithur’s wolf chased it down.

Meanwhile, Johann followed the horse’s tracks up the trail and shortly discovered the site of a skirmish. Tracks churned up the road and splatters of blood were evident in the mud. From these, and a single monstrously large brown/white feather, the skilled ranger determined an owlbear was responsible for the attack. The party immediately decided to track the foul beast down, but as they tracked it back into the woods it quickly became evident the owlbear was not alone—Johann discovered two sets of tracks probably belonging to the beast’s young. Realising they were probably outmatched, the heroes retreated to the road.

As dusk crept upon the land the adventurers reached Coldwater—a dismal fishing village on Ashlar’s eastern border. As darkness fell, the party gravitated to the village’s only inn—the Stooped Man (a bastion of cheap food, questionable decor and taciturn locals). The strangely forgetful landlord, Arvo Eerola, served the party weak ale and watery fish soup. A liberal application of gold, however, helped him remember much of interest. A half-elf matching Kanbrar’s description had indeed arrived at the village about a week ago and met with a strange woman of wan and drawn appearance, Ningal Lagash, who had been waiting at the inn for several weeks. Ergo didn’t like the look of Ningal who had arrived on the Bloody Griffon captained by Isto Kare a few weeks prior. The woman was quiet and standoffish, but clearly wealthy. There was something about her that Arvo did not like, but he seemed unable—or perhaps unwilling—to say what it was.

No matter, the party set to winning the hearts and minds of the village’s populace by wandering around, knocking on doors and generally asking questions. The most receptive folk they found were at the village’s temple of Serat where one of its priestesses was preparing to light the temple’s nighttime beacon. The priestess confirmed the Amma occasionally docked at Coldwater and suggested the party might want to talk to the half-orc shipwright Uzlen Itkonen. The priestess also knew more about Kanbrar and his meeting with Ningal for several of the Bloody Griffon’s crew had attended services at the temple. It seemed Ningal had hired the ship to transport her to the Shoalstone—a much feared chunk of rock rearing from the ocean waves roughly opposite the mouth to Hard Bay. Many ships had come to grief on and around Shoalstone, and it was rumoured strange passageways decorated with old, curious and unsettling carvings riddled the island’s interior. With this news, the party had much to ponder…