Prologue: Gates of Stone

Moons Ascendant
Cuthberta Eoselunday

Excerpts from Domaldi's journal,
Written quickly while waiting for a sign from the Dripping Blade

I spoke this morning to a researcher from the Libriohenaeum at the Temple of Heironeous called Jones Bishop who was attempting to translate the map my Father found in the Caves of Göesse. He stated that the writing near the top was the language of Giants called Drüüg and meant "Salt Water Barrows". I recall that this is a local name for a partially submerged and ancient cemetery near Lake Dakar, not 50 miles from Göesse. He also stated that the markings on the bottom were the Bakare numbers "1037". This confused him because Bakare is an extinct language from the Order. He was unable to identify any of the writing barely detectable on the map, thus indicating a vanished language of inestimable antiquity. Due to these mysteries, he asked to keep it a while longer for further study and produced a copy for my continued investigations. I agreed given the man's stature in the academic community once I calmly explained its importance to me as the only link to my Father's killer. Jones Bishop also explained that the word "Anupkaz" is Drüüg for "gate". It seems that I may have been in error as to the name of the Slayer. In any case, if not for my commitment to this present Quest started by the Dream of Horrors, I would leave this morning with Pelu for the six-day journey to the Cemetery. It seems on reflection that My Father's Death is tied up in this Mystery by any account.

Jones Bishop

I noticed while convalescing in the Temple, many of the Brothers in Arms were away fighting the Wars - either reinforcing the coast and the Wall of the Righteous in political manoeuvres, or battling for their lives against the Hordes form the Wilderlands. I am concerned that we are being pulled apart by too many enemies.

After my night in the hospital, Nimbus and I went to the Bell & Dragon to meet with the others. Arek also arrived carrying his uniform and badges of office in a sack. He explained that when we went to the Guard Station with Phillip and Scuz, he was interrogated quite extensively. He fell asleep in the room and awoke to be in another room with agents of the Unspoken called Pug and Pucker. They were very interested in all of us but more importantly, they asked about "Anupkaz". Arek did not know of my connection to that word and thought it connected to the portals from our Dream. Furthermore, these two told him the Claimers had been disbanded and that Arek was forbidden from contacting them or wearing his badges of office.

We decided that there are four possible things we could do:

  1. go to Selunaport to track down the origins of the tapestry
  2. go to Salt Water Barrow
  3. track down Grist and Woden as the line to Tallum who is still unaccounted for
  4. talk to a priest of St. Cuthbert to learn more about the Claimers and the legends of the Cradle of Creation

We decided that we would go to the Fells to try to get contact with Kybbo at the Temple of St. Cuthbert. First we went to the Guard Station to get a message to Grist through Cpl Pickett to try to get information on Tallum. At the Temple, we only found Permani, who told us that the Withering had spread to Claxxon and all of the clerics went to aid the situation. Who is left in Riot's Gate if Heironeous and St. Cuthbert are away, as must be many others? Since we could not find Kybbo, we sent Nimbus into Axes Bithat to leave a message for Olaf at the Temple of Moradin.

He waited for Grist and Olaf at the Censer & Chalice in the Temple District. I spoke to some clerics of Heironeous and they stated that they did not know about any changes with the Claimers. They did not know about Grist or Woden.

We decided that we should go to the Orindish Embassy to contact Grist directly. On the way, we saw a Giant Gold Dragon fly in from Seluna Port and land on an observatory tower in Axes Bithat. What a magnificent site! That such a creature could fly with such grace. Verily, the Eye of Independence will be a monumentous event if it attracts such beings!

The Embassy was closed but we passed another message to Grist. We learned that he was Tallum's bodyguard. His capture by the Gluttony Cult seems to coincide with her disappearance. We decided to head back to the Bell & Dragon for Tiberio's performance and to try to crack this problem.

At the Bell & Dragon, we saw Phillip and he was expecting us. Once again, the Coward ran. Nimbus, Frankie and Arek went into the street to chase him but to no avail. Waiting at the door was Whitey and a large number of Dripping Blade henchmen hidden in the drunken crowd. Whitey said that the Dripping Blade would not tolerate Thalazzar selling Silverleaf in Riot's Gate without their cut! I knew that a fight in here would turn into a slaughter of the patrons because the Dripping Blade had so many crossbows. Tiberio jumped on to a table to try to distract the crowd and calm the situation with his soothing voice. I challenged Whitey that if he wanted to fight, that we would be waiting in the street. I stopped Arek at the door because if a fight was needed, then the street was where it had to be to save the lives of innocents. I felt that Tiberio could calm the situation down while Thalazzar dealt with his past. When Tiberio stopped singing we all went in and found that Whitey and some of his henchmen had left. He had tried to Charm Whitey to diffuse the situation but was shot with a crossbow bolt and was unsuccessful

Thalazzar told us that once he had to help deliver goods from Seluna Port to Riot's Gate. His ship was sunk by Ogres and most of the crew was killed. He retrieved the cargo and sold it to survive not knowing its contents. He says that he will not do it again and I sensed he was telling the truth. As I Laid Hands on his wound and heard his story I recalled a story my Father told me in my youth. My Father had caught a young boy trying to pick his pocket and he gave him a gold piece and let him go. I asked why he had not sent the boy to the stocks for a whipping for breaking the law. My Father said that the boy could not help his upbringing and that had Life been only slightly different, that boy would have been me. The pursuit of Justice must also be tempered with Compassion. The tenth rule of the Keepers: "Everyman's duty is the Maddock's, but everyman's soul is his own". Just yesterday when I was near Death, My Father told me that I still had work to do; maybe helping to redeem Thalazzar is it. I will remember the face of my Father.

The Dripping Blade delivered a package for us: Plake's Ear. We are to pick up something from a half-orc named Iron Tusk in McGrevey Town for the Dripping Blade. It is clearly a trap and that clever Frankie is right: the Dripping Blade has been a prime mover of evil thus far. They must be confronted. I agree with him that we must save Plake or he will die and I see no other options in the time left. We will be going into a crucible just as the Eye of Independence arrives- I would have it no other way!

An Account from Frankie's New Journal!

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