As the party arrives at Lord Bren’s estate, he is sparring with the head of the city watch. Waiting in the salon, they place Aric’s unconscious form on the floor near a divan. Lord Bren was noticeably surprised upon seeing Aric, and had some questions about what happened.
He had not been the focus of any attacks until the events of a few days ago, and is at a loss about what to do. Searching Aric’s body, they found the aberrant dragonmark that now covers his upper torso. They called for the King’s Wands to take him to a secure location, and woke him up for questioning in the meantime.
Cocky even in captivity, Aric asserted that he was not yet defeated. Between his grandiose claims, the party managed to extract some information:
- He quoted a new bit of prophecy: “And the five that were not fell[ed?] on the day of memory”
- He claims to have “Studied under Ghalerath” and been to the shores of Argonessen.
- He said he had the Bladebearers under his thumb.
- He also mentioned another associate, Borkal.
- He claimed that the current peace would fall, followed by a war like no other.
- He claimed that “the five” are in him, as one, that he stands on top of this coming war, and that he has shaped the prophecy to his will.
After the Wands take Aric away, Lord Bren said that a business associate of his, Kalaja Rusio, is the military-citadel liaison in Sharn and might be able to get them another chance at questioning Aric. He would want a favor in return, however, and Lord Bren suggests looking into some labor problems at a foundry that Bren and Kalaja have financial interests in. He sends a letter of introduction to Dulcinea’s office for use once the favor is completed.
Splitting up to do some research, the party attempted to learn more about Aric’s claims. Hanmere checked in with the High Druid of Sharn, who offered to perform a divination when the moons are right in six days. She shared that some of their visionaries have lately had ominous dreams about the Daughters of Sora Kell meeting with black dragons in secret places.
Dulcinea ran some of their questions past her friend and colleague Gydd Nephret, who thought that “the five” could refer to the Five Nations, or maybe the five children of Galifar I, but said that she was by no means an expert on prophecy. She also confided that some of her students had recently quit the university in order to search for the Mages of Saruun hidden in the Blackcap Mountains of northern Breland. Checking in with the resident prophecy scholar/crackpot, Dulcinea learned of the importance of determining where a given piece of prophecy was uncovered in order to provide a frame of interpretation.
Following Lord Bren’s advice, the party then descended into the Cogs and entered the Tain Foundry. There they learned that the labor problems resulted from a recent spike in kruthik attacks that had the workers scared to come to work. Some of the kruthiks were reported to fly, a previously unknown variant.
A local priest, Olakkai, has taken up the cause of these workers, and provided the party with a map that showed where he believed the hive might be. Following this map, they discovered an ancient Dhakaani tomb. There they found a number of kruthik corpses and spent goblin arrows, but no other signs of the goblins. The entry chamber to the tomb also contained a ten foot high pile of skulls, held in place by a low wall bearing the following inscription:
“Ashurta, slayer of these weaklings, keeper of the Blade of the Ashen Crown. Even in death, he is stoic and strong. The might of Xoriat has not bested him, and Hell goes with him.”
- The reference to Hell suggests that this Ashurta had power of devils or other fiendish beings
- The reference to the might of Xoriat could refer to the war with the Daelkyr, placing this tomb at over 5,000 years old.
Upon examining the skull pile, the party was swarmed by kruthiks pouring out of tunnels in the wall. Some of the kruthiks did indeed fly, but they died like any other bug. Searching around the pile further, they found a magical battle standard with unknown powers, a key, and a blood-stained leather bag with the following contents:
- A damaged journal
- 11 non-Brelish gold pieces
- Potion of healing
The pages of the journal are stained and cut. The few that are scribed bear Goblin writing. The writer was a member of the Kech Volaar-the Wordbearers of Darguun. The goblins came here seeking “Ashurta’s Tomb” and ‘the Blade.” A piece of leather tucked into the section of the journal describing their quest has symbols on it that do not appear to be any kind of heraldry or religious iconography.
Using the key to open the doors leading further into the tomb, the party came to a room with four statues of hobgoblins overshadowed by a stylized fiendish figure with gleaming eyes. In the center of the room are sixteen tiles, arranged in a square, bearing the following words in goblin:
After trying a few of the buttons to no effect, the party moved on through the next door, descending a steep stair into a small room designed to look like the inside of a dragon’s maw. This room had similar tiles, but only four:
Trying the “open” tile in conjunction with the “open” tile in the other room and finding no effects, the party again tried the next door, which triggered a trap! Both doors leaving the Dragon’s Maw barred shut, the stairs dropped into slippery ramps, and pits and spikes now filled the room. The party fell to the ground as the stairs shifted, but most managed to keep from sliding down the ramp. He’u, however, was not so lucky, as her heavy armor dragged her down to close encounter with the spikes dropping from the ceiling.