When Andrea Ravn took Nox to Nine Bells, she noticed the district was much cleaner than the last time she was here. Some of the beggars were sweeping the streets and even the temples looked less woebegone.
But he was little prepared for the sight of the temple of Erathis.
“I guess Elyas has really be fixing the place up.”
When they asked for the priest — who apparently was one of the first to join The Order of the Black Feather before the Golden Scales even existed — they were shown to a humble Invoker who directed them to his favorite place to find Wondrous Items: The Dungeoneers Survival Emporium.
They it located in a narrow building. At first, it appeared to specialize in common goods such as rope, tents and bedrolls. But it didn’t take long before Nox figured out that the proprietor — a large half-elf named Myra Edgerton — would show them more interesting things if he flirted with her first.
As she watched the dawning awareness in his eyes, the younger Dragonborn turned to her with something akin to fear. She could almost read his thoughts: “I. Don’t. Know. What. To. Do.”
She was really proud of the kid from the swamp, though, as he steeled himself and decided to bluff his way through it.
“He’s not bad at it either,” she thought to herself as Nox started to flirt with Myra. It occurred to her that the difference between pretending to flirt and actual flirting is not all that great. “I guess a flirt is kind of a bluff in any case.”
At the end of a long, narrow hallway, Myra moved a hidden switch and a door swung inward. Beyond, they found a circular room with a large, ornately inscribed teleportation circle set into the stone floor. Around the outer wall stood display cases and box, desks and large cabinets.
A pile of Restful Bedrolls spilled out of the largest of the ornately carved wooden boxes. The pigeonholes in one of the desks seemed to be each occupied by flints. A silver chime, a flag marked with martial runes, a leather pouch embosed with platinum, and a fancy stylus was displayed in one of the cases.
Asking about their wondrous properties and cost, Andrea settled on the flag. “If we don’t find something better I’d really like that I may just pay the 1,000 gold pieces she is asking.”
Although the Platinum Pouch was tempting as well. “If we don’t find a Bag of Holding, I may have to settle for that.”
She told Nox he might be overdoing it with his flirting. “You may be promising more than you’re ready to deliver,” she whispered to the Sorcerer.
Myra muttered something under her breath, and they suddenly found themselves in another room. This one was octagonal. Crystalline windows revealed they were now on a floor above the other buildings in the section of town where Elyas had sent them.
Andrea could see out in all directions. Exquisite pieced of artwork adorned most of the other four walls. But the thing which drew her eyes was a finely crafted cabinet of polished rare wood with crystal shelves. Displayed in this Dazzling Showcase, she saw five more art objects, including a fan and an opal lozenge.
A small skull made of an unidentified metal floated in the middle of room. It followed Myra around the room, occasionally turning towards her as if expecting a question.
Once Nox diplomatically convinced the half-elf he wasn’t planning to spend the night with her, he got her to show him a piece of coal which was tinged with red. He spotted the rune for fire deep inside it and was able to identify it as a Stone of Flame — a Wondrous Item that Relvaine had told him of.
He bought it on the spot, along with a black metal flask.
“I didn’t know he had that much money,” Andrea said as Nox handed over the 18,000 gold pieces Myra asked.
Now Myra took out a small vial of ink and poured it on the floor in the middle of the room. The blackness spread out in a perfect circle, passing beneath their feet and other obstacles as if they were not there.
The floor disappeared and they floated to the dark floor 20 feet below. She showed them nine more Wondrous Items, but they could afford none of them.
“The Alliance will be honored accept your appointment of Druemeth Goldtemple to the Council. We will be glad to see him assume his duties as soon as he finishes his diplomatic mission to Cachlain.”
— Krasire to Inzira,
The Daughter of the Frostwhite Forest
When Nox Rhasgar thought back on his experience flirting with the half-elf, he realized that it wasn’t as hard as he thought it would be. He had smiled at her, laughed at her jokes — even when he wasn’t sure he totally got them — and teased her a little.
In fact, as he thought back on it, he realized that some of the Dragonborn girls he knew back in the swamp might have been under the impression he was flirting them as well. He certainly smiled at them when they smiled at him. He even teased them a lot.
And the way some of them giggled when he laughed at their jokes…maybe he wasn’t getting all those jokes either.
Stepping through the Argent Portal, all memories of playful Dragonborn girls were brushed from his mind. He found himself standing in an ornately beautiful city.
Old, but beautiful.
It stood almost empty, apparently under siege. Defending it was a strange race of lion-like humanoids. One of them came up to them and introduced himself as Rrowthar who took them to an old man named Obanar.
Obanar told them about an undead guardian who haunts the Necropolis in the city. “Seek him out and see if he will tell you how to find the Sky Metal.”
As Rrowthar took them to the Necropolis he handed them a key and told them the Sky Metal was something which could help them make some artifacts which might help them.
The key opened the massive gate in the wall surrounding the Necropolis. Beyond the gate, they found the Necropolis even more silent and still than the near-empty city. A sense of hushed reverence hung in the air.
A cobblestone path wound between crypts and large, elaborate mausoleums. As they searched for some indication of where Guardian Qwor was interred, an undead creature with a longsword appeared from around one of the ancient tombs.
“What business do the living have…” it pointed its sword toward them “…in this land of the dead?”
The blade glowed with dark energy.
“What do you know of the honor of the Champions of Argent?”
Nox listened as Andrea recounted the history of the Dragonborn people — all three of them were Dragonborn — and saw the Wight seemed to be impressed.
So he decided to try to intimidate the creature. That went well as the Wight cowered a bit at his threats.
“Prove you are worthy to wear the Silver Cloak,” it thundered.
Andrea stepped forward again and explained diplomatically all they had done. Nox could see the creature was receptive to such entreaties. So he put aside his plan to prove himself worthy by demonstrating his athletic prowess and continued the diplomatic overtures.
That was all it took. The Wight bowed to him and pointed toward a mausoleum.
“That is where you will find Qwor buried.”
“I always knew that bastard was no good,” raged Grigore Weatherbie Goldforge when he found out Faren Markelhay had been murdered. Apparently Roland and Kalgore disappeared before the killing was discovered. “But not before the killing. Everything Roland was, he owed to the Warden of Fallcrest. And this is how he repays his debts. At least now Belinda will be able to see him for what he really is.”
When the key did not fit in the door, Aleeya realized it would take teamwork to solve the puzzles in the mausoleum.
Sure enough all three of them got through the door by working together.
They found a maze and split up. Without the teamwork, they got lost in the maze and had to use all their endurance to avoid becoming weakened. But pooling their arcane knowledge — a Sorcerer, a Paladin, and a Warlord have a lot of arcana between them — Andrea was able to get them back on track.
Aleeya knew the construction was magickal in nature — the place seemed much bigger on the inside — so he decided the inherent magic might provide clues as to how to navigate their way through the maze. Nox was able to help him some.
He began to the see the pattern in the way the enormous maze was magickally squeezed into the ordinary-sized crypt. “Perhap,…Yes!” He showed the others they through.
He led them into an elaborate burial chamber.
“I’ll bet it’s full of traps,” he warned the others. “These things are always full of traps.”