A Lamentation of Thieves

Darkstar Rising – A Tale of Murder Most Foul!

Hired on as caravan guards by the owner, Draven, we made our way towards the city of Hawkmoon. For three days we have travelled without incident and on the evening of the fourth day we arrived at the Darkstar Inn. Here Draven offers to pay us off for our time and effort, meaning we get 5gp each for our trouble. Hmmm, a no brainer for me, but not so sure about some of my ‘fellow’ guards.
The Caravan
• Myself – Thaddeus the Bard – storyteller and singer of fame!
• Jarther – an Eldarin (Moon Elf) that likes to drink and gamble. A very talkative fellow and he likes to do practical jokes. He is not your normal type of Eldarin. Nice change really.
• Hithfaerion – Half Elf Priest of Pelor – ah so loud and good. At least he can heal.
• Kesrick Dragonwall – Eldarin (Sun Elf) – sneaky fellow; might be very useful.

From the journal of Jarther
Well, this caravan gig has been easy money! Just how I like it, free food, travelling in a group, and no combat. That Thaddeus the duck bard seems ok, at least he can play. Hithfaerion is like all clerics of Pelor, rigid with a stick up his butt. Kesrick…hmm.. a sun elf! When I saw him I just sighed.. thinking he would be your normal Eldarin, but he seems different… I think he is a bit slim shady…

Darkstar Inn – the inn has been here a long time, but not as long as the tower that is built into it. The inn is owned but a husband and wife team of ex-adventurers. We take our money and head into the inn – ah time to have my room and food paid for! I am that good. There is a large common room that will easily hold 40 people, plus there us standing room at the bar. There is one stand out feature though – there is a large black rock referred to as ‘The Star’, hence the name Darkstar Inn. Elron is the husband and after speaking to him I agree to play and entertain to gain free room and board for myself and ‘friends’. Well friends is such a strong word…
Meet Marian (wench) who offers special ‘massage’ opportunities. There is a Branke – a Halfling Bard after my own heart, but not as good as me though is story about a dragon that once ruled these lands is not too bad. He finishes and I see Lady Zaan (wife \ co-owner) and she looks like she knows how to handle herself. I am then introduced and sing a song of my home village (embellished of course) that is well received by all (such is my talent). I even receive special acknowledge by another a couple at one of the tables – the woman nods to me on a job well done. During my song I even managed to pull people away from Cleric Leopold’s sermon, but not from the group Tombay is preaching to – they stay under his sway. (GM: They were just happy it wasn’t a One Direction Performance!!)

Jarther and Kesrick head over to a table where gambling is going on. I find out a bit later that one of the clerics when ‘all in’ with a really bad hand. Kesrick won the lot.
From the journal of Jarther
I’ll have to watch Kesrick… seemed he can gamble. Or maybe I’m wrong and he just assed a great hand… which means he might be lucky… just as bad…

Other Knowable Patrons
Gandor the dwarf – he is insulted by Ugan, a mage that seems to think he has the power to tell other patrons and staff what to do. What an idiot – we find out later he is to share the same room as us… He says he works for Lucien the Thief King. He says has an appointment with Marian – him and how many others! After relaxing a bit more we all head upstairs to our room (where we meet Ugan again) and he heads off to see Marian, though he is not gone very long! We sleep though that is strange; Kesrick meditates like all eldarin do, while Jarther sleeps?? Sleeps?? What is wrong with him?? Hithfaerion prayers to Pelor and nods off while I make sure the guitar is put away and ready for my next performance. Ugan sleeps after his ‘effort’ with Marian. Haha! (GM: She’s a woman who loves her work what’s wrong with that!!)
It is the next morning when we hear a scream echoing through the second floor of the building. I listen at the door as I pull on my chainmail and hear footsteps and doors opening as people ask what is going on. I also notice that Ugan is not in the room. I opened the door and look out into the hall and see the other patrons are gathered around the bathroom – Lady Zaan and a 6’6 guy called Lore – arrive, look inside the room and then Lady Zaan commands Lore to lock the front gates. We are in lock down! I go forward with Hithfaerion to investigate. Lady Zaan lets me secure the room while she looks after the female staff member that found the body of UGAN! He is bent over the toilet and his skull has been caved in. Ugan received a massive crushing blow to the back of his head – from what I can see the assailant would have had to be at least the same size as Ugan, and the weapon was probably a morning star or mace. Clerics anyone?
Lady Zaan then calls for everyone to go downstairs for a complimentary breakfast. I remove the key to Ugan’s lockbox from his body – maybe he has something there that can explain why he was killed. Hithfaerion and I try to get in our room but Jarther and Kesrick are still getting dressed? What are they doing in there?!? Hithfaerion thinks that maybe the sun is entering the moon… do not want to go there but I do not judge eldarin and their strange habits. Once inside we find the lock box open (hmmm) with nothing in it – I use the key and lock the lockbox again resetting the trap. We then head downstairs – I think our ‘friends’ picked it!

From the journal of Jarther
I was right – Kesrick knows how to pick a lock…. I stood lookout for him and he managed to open the box. Lucky just in time.. If Hith had of seen us, I’m sure we would not have heard the end of it.

Once we are all gathered, Lady Zaan tells all that no one is going to be leaving the Inn and the gates have been locked and are guarded. Some try to argue with her but the Lady Zaan is VERY intimidating. I step forward and give my finding and Hithfaerion holds up his Morningstar when we say what the murder weapon was! The clerics of both sides argue and blame each other. Hithfaerion bellows and everyone shuts up. Lady Zaan has everyone return to their rooms but the four of us are deputised to find the killer. This will make for an awesome story!
At this point, Kesrick sets forward and says he found a case in Ugan’s locked box. Jarther is not happy (Jarther: facepalm!) and says ‘Just tell everyone!’ (GM: At least he didn’t tell everyone about almost triggering the trap 3x times :D…) Knew those two were up to no good in the room while we were gone. In the case is a ledger, detailing Ugan’s expenses for this trip as well as notes on what he has found. There is a message from the Thief King – Beware the traitor in guild who wants the star.
It seems the ‘star’ has been here longer than the tower and that over the years many spell casters have come to the Inn to study it. While we decide what to check next, in from outside runs the stable boy, Eroth. We discover he has a key to the tower door and that he was on the second level when the scream was heard. He high tailed it back out of the tower and to the stable until told to come in to listen to Lady Zaan. We take the key from him and tell him to go back outside. We decide to check the rest of this floor before going into the tower.
The kitchen has fresh bread and stuff and I decide that we need some food \ provisions just in case we need to explore for some time. – Hithfaerion checks another room and finds silver bracelet – on it are the words ‘To my love Hinda’. Hinda is the wife of the cook and the pair are currently in the kitchen. Unfortunately, Jarther has managed to upset Hinda and she goes to another cupboard and gets out a club called ‘Martha’. I check it (no blood) and find that it is magical!! We work out that Pol and Hinda are innocent and Hithfaerion hands over the missing bracelet. Hinda is very nice to him and me, but NOT Jarther. I ask for supplies for the trip into the tower and they are happy to provide. We also find a secret room under the stairs (room 4).

From the journal of Jarther
That wench needs to remember her place and stay in the kitchen!

The Tower
We head into the tower (room 6) and look around. Storage area and there are longbows, arrow and a masterwork short sword. There is also a spiral staircase heading up to the next level of the tower. Kesrick has to explain to Jarther that Elron was the thief catcher for Lucien. Jarther puts the short sword back…

From the journal of Jarther
Not really interested in having a thief catcher looking for me with all my other worries….

On the second floor is a stone door that blocks half the room. There are a lot of old papers and stuff dealing with the day to day running of the inn. Kesrick listens and says he can hear two voices – a male and female and they are coming from the other side of the wall. The voices are coming from the male and female clerics that follow Tombay. They are concerned that we blamed a cleric for the murder. It was actually a cleric’s murder weapon, not necessarily a cleric – Idiots. I have not seen Tombay since he returned to his room and that he is not letting anyone else into his room.
Kesrick then checks the stone door, it is locked and so he picks it. We open the door and are hit by the musty smell of books – a possible library!! There could be much knowledge in there! We let Kesrick lead the way.
We hear a squeaking sound coming from somewhere in the room. Jarther sends in his familiar in to investigate. It is a 20 foot room. The newest book would be 200 years old. Awesome! Kesrick throws in something and it goes across the floor. The squeaking sound comes again. I throw in some bread and it is eaten by something! I get Jarther to cast light on another piece of bread and it lands in the middle of the room and is swallowed up but a Dire Rat! Jarther fires a magic missile and I fire a crossbow bolt and hit the rat; then the rat attacks Kesrick and he is bitten.
Kesrick slams the rat with a massive blow and the rat bits him again – Kesrick does not look well. I shoot once more and the rat dies! Kesrick is diseased according to Hithfaerion. The battle with the Dire Rat was noisey and the female cleric has heard us. The male says it is just rats and Jarther casts a spell to torment the female cleric! He casts Ghost Sound and there are suddenly the sounds of hundreds of rats but only the female cleric can hear them. She leaves the room in a hurry. The pair do not find the secret door that leads from their room to the tower we are in.

From the journal of Jarther
Excellent!! What a find!! This library just made me “blow my load” And the book we found, This book has spells from dancing lights through to Prismatic Orb! Well the thief catcher can kiss my eye of terror! I’m not giving this up to anyone! I expected the others to try and stake claim to it, but it seems they are intelligent enough to realise they are too stupid to understand it. Excellent!! I like it when people know their limitations!!
Had never seen a dire rat before, and neither had any of the others I think, but regardless Kesrick stood toe to toe with it, and the duck was right there behind him with his crossbow. I don’t remember Hith doing anything of note.. But hey.. What can you expect from a cleric! At least he was able to inform Kesrick that he was diseased after the rat bit him… wonder if he will go feral?

The books are in an old form of common – very well organised – history, geography, etc and we find a series of red books. These red books are part of the Journal of Ezraban. Hmmm interesting – looks like parts of his journal explain how he came to the tower and cleaned it out. He loved to manipulate light and theorised that he could build a machine to harness the power of light. He names a substance called Nulleum. The dark star rock is probably a made up of this substance that is buried under the tower. Its main property is to absorb MAGIC as Jarther said earlier.
The rock might be able to be moved. Ugan could have tried to teleport himself and the rock and it would have failed! Then he was killed by this traitor. Jarther finds the spellbook of light – dancing lights and prismatic sphere and is a very happy moon elf.
The journals indicate that Ezraban was building a machine to harness the powers of light spells and Jarther says there was a strange device with the caravan. Could it have been Draven and how is he involved if so?? There is also a stairway going up. Hithfaerion calls upon the power of Pelor and heals Kesrick of the disease the Dire Rat gave him. We head up…
On the third level is a deactivated summoning circle and this is where Ezraban would have summoned the extra-planar creatures he talked to. The room has been cleared but there is another set of stairs up.
The final floor has the machine in it that was mentioned in the journals – think of the room as a top of a lighthouse where the lamp is located. I study the machine and work out that there is a slot for the rock to be placed another for the light spell when you cast it (dancing lights?). The view from the room is brilliant. You can see the city from here. One could hold the city to ransom if you had the power to do so. We also read that the dark star stone will absorb spells from 5 feet away; very useful information.

From the journal of Jarther
This Nulleum needs more study, I agree with the duck, it is very powerful. I noticed the notes in the journal about what certain light spells have done when cast at it. I would love to study this more, but even I realise it is neither the time all the place. It’s not like its going anyway quick.

Back at the Inn
We had back down, stop at the second level and hear nothing. We then continue to the bottom level and return to the main inn area. There is an argument between the clerics going on – false teaching, false Gods, each side blaming the other. When people notice that we have returned they quiet down again and we notice that Tombay looks worried; He invites us to his room and tells us that his mace is missing. He last had it in his room… he thinks! He just cannot remember. Kesrick says that the doors lock has been tampered with – thievery! Well he would know. There is also a secret panel in the room but hides nothing of interest. One thing we do find is a secret compartment in his a box with Tombay’s stuff – inside is a love letter. Tombay looks to be innocent after our questioning but we are sure that the murder weapon is his missing mace.
We also discover thanks to some stealthy work by Kesrick that Leopold was with the wench Marian last night so he too was not responsible for the death of Ugan. Lady Zaan comes to the door and tells Leopold to keep his clerics under control. Leopold still insists that Tombay is the one! She counters with keep your clerics in line or else… Hithfaerion turns up and as Lady Zaan goes to leave, Leopold continues to blame Tombay. Tombay heads downstairs and Kesrick checks the lock on Leopold’s room. It has not been tampered with.
Kesrick checks Leopold’s room and lock box but finds nothing unusual in it. From here we go to check with Marian and she lies to us about being with Leopold and Ugan but we see through it and she owns up. She was with both Leopold and Ugan last night. We also speak with her room mate XXXXX, who was the one that found the body of Ugan this morning. She tells us she heard footsteps heading down the passage towards the four rooms in where the Halfling, the Dwarf, Draven and the other Lady are located, though we can rule out Draven as he left well before the murder happened.
The woman and man are asked on their movements and we find out she is a Duchess and was here to havea meeting with someone to help her in securing her Duchy. She has also lost an earring – we did not find one in the bathroom where Ugan was killed. She explains that there is a spell proof room on another level that cannot be listened in on and she was meeting with the merchant Rathen in this privacy chamber. You also cannot leave the room with the key. We find the earring in the room. She was trying to get the help here to stop Lucien the Thief King from taking full control of her lands. She had an item to send back to her Duchy and Rathen was to transport it. Kesrick goes to the merchant and pushes his way in. He is a gemstone merchant and imports them to Hawkmoon. The Thief King puts ridiculous taxes on goods coming in and the Duchess was to be a new contact and way of importing gems and other items thus allowing her to keep her Duchy. The merchant Rathen locks the door after Kesrick leaves.
The inns best room has been rented out for 3 days by a Professor Kristoff. He is a Sage of anatomy. He tells us that the killer was right handed after we examine the body. Amazing but this does clear Tombay as he is left handed. We now head off to investigate the stables.
We head towards the stables and see Lore guarding the gates. We go past the well and decide to check it. Kesrick goes down and finds a wooden handle and it belongs to a mace. We are sure it is the murder weapon and is Tombay’s missing mace. There is dried blood on it…

From the journal of Jarther
This is all pointless.. we know ONE of the clerics has done the murder… if we can’t find out which I say we just arrest them all!!

We get to the stables and after a quick search find nothing unusual. We head off back to the inn and talk to Elron who is serving others at the bar. We go upstairs and see Lady Zaan just finish talking to the dwarf Gandor. He is grumpy and pretty much himself but he always carries a club which he looks after. We know that is not the murder weapon and he is too short to be the killer. We then go to the Halfling’s room.
The room is a mess – he is trying to finish his story on the Dragon but he is having a hard time with the ending. We look around and I see a beautifully carved flute and I blow it but nothing happens. Strange indeed but I look at it again and see that something is blocking or hidden in it. I open it (nothing strange has happened so far) but I take a step back as I read the note I have found – he is the traitor and he attacks us! The Halfling attacks me (ouch) and then I strike back. Kesrick attacks and luck is with him and he too hits the Halfling. Jarther casts a spell and summons a fire warrior. Hithfaerion attacks as well. The Halfling tries hard to escape but I kill him with two shots of my crossbow in his back.
Hithfaerion saves the Halfling so he does not die – what a nice Priest of Pelor. We find out there is a prison ship where this guy will go. We keep him alive and hand him over to the Lady Zaan. We have found the killer and his loot!

From the journal of Jarther
So the Halfling was the killer, not a cleric… interesting….. again Kesrick and the duck stand forth and defeat the enemy! I like these two… they are not afraid to face danger (and shield me in the process)…. Sigh… again Hith did nothing of note… but see my above entry about Priests not being worth two knobs of goat shit in combat, so he did as I expected. He did save the Halfling from death… which at the start I thought was a bad idea… but the duck did point out that this gives the lady a living breathing murderer to put on trial and will keep us in the good books…. Fair enough… Hopefully we will keep the loot.

Found on Halfling
• Masterwork dagger and shortsword
• Potion of cure light wounds and of sneaking
• 37 gold
• Lockpicks
• Two bottles – enlarge (1) the other is empty
• 4 Pearls worth 20 gp each
Aftermath
The Halfling was the traitor in the Thief King’s organisation and killed Ugan by stealing the mace from Tombay to throw off the trail and then drinking an enlarge potion to make him the same size as Ugan. A very good plan but it was foiled by us! This will be a great story indeed.

From the journal of Jarther
All in all a profitable little stay…. I might try and tag along with these guys if they are going to Hawkmoon… They all seem competent (even Hith can heal if you’re willing to put up with the constant sermons, and praising to Palor).I think we have the makings of an adventuring party here…. Now… let’s get pissed!!

From the Journal of Lady Zaan
Thankfully this mess is at an end. I could tell that mage was going to be trouble when I heard him boasting about his connection to Lucian. I’ve heard the rumours of a rival gang growing in hawkmoon to rival the ‘almighty’ thieves’ guild but Elron tells me that it doesn’t matter, there’s no way they can win. I almost hope he’s wrong just to see that smug expression ripped off Lucian’s face as he is burned for his crimes. As long as they keep any further activities away from my inn I’m prepared to let the matter go.

From the Journal of Someone
It seems the stone has slipped through my fingers and unfortunately I have more important matters to attend too, there are rumours of these traitors being in the dock area. I shall have to send someone to investigate….

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