Latest News: War of the Burning Sky (B Team)

  1. The Battle of Seaquen
    • Vortbert’s anti-Elvish forces attacked under cover of night and rain on the night of 23 Sarenith, the undertaking of which was blessed by a new moon. Based on the “evidence” found at the Floating Theater, Vortbert and his lieutenants were able to recruit a significant force, made up of both townspeople and refugees.
    • Around 500 people attacked the Elvish boats in the river, mostly aboard fishing boats well suited to the river. This force was sortied against the Elvish blockaders and attacked from stealth, including some that were effectively suicide firebombers, carrying alchemical bombs which they crashed into enemy vessels and ignited. A large number of coracles and jonboats were sortied as well.
    • Surprise was almost total, but once the Elves knew they were under attack, they struck back hard. Vortbert’s troops were overwhelmingly “irregulars” with only basic fighting skills, and many were killed.
    • The river erupted in flames – between the bombs of the Seaqueni and the arrows and spells of the Elves, the conflagration could easily be seen in town, despite the hurricane rain and wind.
    • Showing tactical acumen thought beyond them, when the Elvish defenses flagged Vortbert deployed a reserve force that struck and scattered the retreating Elves.
    • Among the dead:
      • Xavious Foebane, a captain and leader of the dwarves of the plains displaced by the Sargavans. He was a capable military strategist and often consulted with the Bandu on matters of war. He was found on the shoreline, ostensibly drowned, wearing no armor and having no weapons, and with no marks of violence on him. His lips and tongue were blue.
      • Laurabec was found dead the day after the battle, shot by Elvish arrows. Her body was taken to her people and prepared for the funeral rites of her people a few days hence.
      • Shalosha the Elvish commander was not found among the dead. If she escaped, she has certainly by now informed her father, the Lord Shraladel. It is likely that he would not be pleased, and will probably seek revenge for his slain warriors.

Upon learning of Laurebec’s death, the party’s suspicions immediately turned to assassination, and the thought that Vortbert, who openly argued with Laurabec on many occasions, had her killed. Upon discussion with Simeon, the party voiced the suspicion that perhaps, like Sidoneth, Vortbert might be in league with the Sargavans, and the hydromancer might be aware of it. Simeon questioned Sidoneth about it but Sidoneth denied any knowledge of Vortbert selling out to the Sargavans. Simeon believed he was telling the truth, especially since Sidoneth had, since his capture, readily admitted all the crimes and treacheries that he had been suspected of, and more. This seemed

Simeon admitted that Sidoneth’s crimes have negatively impacted his reputation in town. Simeon, although influential, was never a politician, and it was he who recruited Sidoneth, taught with him in the Lyceum and promoted him for the position of Hydromancer. His betrayal, the party could tell, hurt Simeon more than he was willing to admit. And while Simeon perhaps shared some of the party’s suspicions regarding Vortbert’s motives against Laurabec, Simeon said that Vortbert had always been a staunch supporter of the Lyceum and, Simeon believed, considered him a friend. Still stinging from Sidoneth’s betrayal, Simeon was visibly reluctant to take personal action against Vortbert.

The party decided to investigate the death of Laurabec, as she had been friend to many and evidence against Vortbert (who’s popularity among both townspeople and refugees had increased significantly since the success against the Elves) of him having a hand in her death would be welcome to her people and justify the feelings of vengeance everyone was feeling. The party went among the people of Laurabec’s camp, seeking out whoever would be her second in command. It was not long before they found him: Qema, a hunchbacked half-ogre that was seen going around from place to place, helping refugees in the same manner as Laurabec once did. Upon approach, the party was swarmed by men-at-arms, asking their business. They were allowed to speak with Qema, and he had much to say:

  • He too believed that Vortbert had Laurabec killed. Never would she have aided Vortbert against the Elves – doubly so, since she and Shalosha were friends and, while Laurabec felt that Lord Shraladel’s demand that the town submit itself to his rule was out of bounds, Laurabec and the elves were otherwise aligned on most topics.
  • Qema had been suspicious of Vortbert and his allies for a while, and worried for Lauabec’s safety long before the hurricane, and he’d detailed men-at-arms to surreptitiously watch over Laurabec. On the night Vortbert attacked the Elves, Laurabec was not seen leaving her tent, nor was she seen fighting against the Elves (as Vortbert’s allies have intimated – Vortbert had praised Laurabec by name in his eulogies for the victorious dead)
  • Laurabec was found on the shoreline of the boat basin with three Elvish arrows in her.
  • Laurabec’s people were to conduct her funeral ceremonies in two days.

Upon hearing this, Po asked if he might draw back the spirit of Laurabec and ask her what happened. Qema said that he would, as he felt that Po’s heart was true and he would not defame her spirit. Before that, they would share ale and discuss what vengeance would look like, should Laurabec confirm their suspicions.

The next day, Po conducted the ritual and drew back Laurabec’s spirit:

  1. Do you know who it was that killed you?
    • “I don’t know the men who caused my death, but I do know this: they were men, and not elves. They had taken bows from the water and arrows from the boats. I was struck, and the men came and held my face in the water until my spirit departed from my flesh.
  2. What were you trying to accomplish that night?
    • I was trying to stop the fighting that Vortbert had begun. I knew that Shalosha’s father had overstepped his authority, but Vortbert’s attack was the wrong answer to that provocation. I was alerted that fighters had moved out to attach the Elvish ships, and by the time I’d arrived at the shore, the attack had already begun. I took a boat, and tried to go into the river, to see if I could reach the fight and put a stop to it.
  3. Who told you about the attack?
    • Talindra Karismus. She came to me from the Elves, and told me the attack was imminent.

Qema confirmed that Laurabec would have trusted this Talindra, since she’d seen her in the company of Shalosha and had assumed that Talindra either worked for or was associated with Shalosha.

Upon return to their manor, the party is surprised to see two men waiting for them: one, an obvious fighter, holding a crossbow at port arms and bearing a short sword of military make contained within a scabbard with suspicious bulb at the tip – perhaps a poison reservoir? The other was a spokesman, inviting the party to dine with Vortbert that evening. After some discussion, the party agreed, but the invitation only served to make them more suspicious.

They were welcomed to Vortbert’s manor that evening, after noticing a large group of men digging a trench and rampart around the already sizable manor house. Vortbert welcomed them in warmly, offering drinks and food in abundance and complimenting the party extravagantly on their prowess, diligent defense of Seaquen, and obvious hatred for the Sargavans. It didn’t take long for Vortbert to get to the point: join his “Seaquen Militia,” preferably as an independent commando force, and take the fight to the Sargavans. During the conversation, Vortbert lets slip that he once had a wife and kids, but now fights for “justice.” Several Sense Motive checks indicate that Vortbert is indeed telling the truth – that despite the fact his attack on the Elvish fleet demonstrably made Seaquen more vulnerable to Sargavan attack, Vortbert genuinely hates the Sargavans and wants to fight them in the field. The party was noncomittal, and did not say they would join Vortbert or not.

Later that evening, the Shade of Laurabec came to Po and the party, and bid them to ask more questions of her, in hopes that they might solicit from her the information they desire. “I can only answer binarily,” the Shade cautioned. “This is the extent that I am allowed, and it is a boon to be allowed it.”

  1. Is Vortbert lawful good? No
  2. Is he evil? Yes
  3. Did Vortbert kill you? No
  4. Did Vortbert order your death? Yes
  5. Is he afraid of us? Is there are reason we should be concerned? Yes
  6. Is Talindra working with Vortbert? Yes
  7. Is Sholosha still alive? Yes
  8. Is Sholosha in Seaquen? No
  9. Is Simeon trustworthy? Yes
  10. Was Xavious killed at Vortbert’s orders? Yes
  11. Is Vortbert funded by Sargava? No
  12. Does Vortbert truly want to wipe out the Sargavans? Yes
  13. Does Vortbert want to wipe us out? No
  14. Is Katarina on our side? No
  15. Is Katarina against us? No
  16. Is Katarina in Katarina’s side? Yes
  17. Will the Elves come back and defend Seaquen if we work with them? To many unknown elements to answer
  18. Is there an elf we haven’t met that could turn the tide of events? Yes
  19. Is Sholosha within ten miles of Seaquen? No
  20. Is the elf a female? Yes
  21. Is the elf watching us? No
  22. Does the elf know if us? Yes
  23. Can she contact Sholosha? Yes
  24. Is she good? Yes
  25. Lawful? No
  26. Is she a public figure? No
  27. I she a refugee? No
  28. Is she in town? Yes
  29. On the west side of town? Yes
  30. Will she approach us? No
  31. If we asked Sholosha, would she know this elf? Yes
  32. Did Sholosha go back home? Yes
  33. Has Sholosha spoken to her father? Yes
  34. Is Sholosha coming back? No (in the short term)
  35. Are the Elves planning to come back? Yes
  36. Will they be armed? Yes

The next day, the party embarked on a concerted effort to find both Talindra and the unnamed, west-side female elf that can contact Sholosha – and speculating that they might be the same person. The party split up – gathering information, scouting the territory, and observing. Elves were in short supply in Seaquen after the battle, but there were some, and a few fit the profiles: two elves, one haughty and one humble, worked at a local brothel; another, fitting Talindra’s description, was found to own a manor and be an equestrienne.

All three were observed in their homes; one, the humble brothel worker, was dismissed from contention due to her home being in the refugee camps. The second brothel worker was found to live modestly in a small home, her haughty demeanor found to be an act.

Talindra – if indeed it was the same Talindra that betrayed Laurabec – lived in a large, three story manor, guarded (desultorily, to be sure) by a trio of dwarves, one of whom bore a badge associated with Vortbert’s local militia and served by a young human girl named Omylia.

It wasn’t difficult to kidnap her and bring her back to their manor for interrogation. The interrogation did not go well, for Talindra – who remained resolute that she was Lady Saphielle, not anyone named Talindra – proved to be a resourceful captive, who defeated Zone of Truth and the party’s question with aplomb.