Book Four: Paean of Iron Bells
CHAPTER ONE: Assembling the Companions

Verisa Umberdakarday - Umbermoraday

Account by Ts'Elf

I suppose it's time to share the tale of Frankie's death, or at least the parts I understand.

Frankie had been dividing his time between upgrading Tself and working on a new clockwork. During breaks, I worked on identifying the items we had accumulated, and keeping an eye on Frankie lest he (points to Thalazzar) tried something.

Thalazzar: "If I'd wanted the gnome dead I wouldn't have hired someone else to kill her."

Frankie received a visit from Sroasa one night. I overheard bits of it. Sroasa wanted the secret of firearms. Frankie refused, thought it best the knowledge be supressed. Sroasa warned that many would kill to control that knowledge... or ensure it didn't fall in enemy hands. Prophetic words as it turned out, but didn't read it as a threat.. at least not at the time.

Next day Frankie and I went out into Valparaiso to get supplies... I hoped to find a merchant to sell some of our magic items too. We were attacked by four assassins, Ninjas with white crane tatoos. I tried to fight them off, but couldn't knock them down fast enough to protect Frankie. By the time I chased off the last of them, she was dead.

I ran with her body back to the Daisy Cutter. If Rin can be restored, then the same should be possible for Frankie. Keratone tried but it didn't work, he said Frankie is refusing to return to us. Why? Keratone suggests a clue to her refusal might remain at the scene of the attack, so we returned the scene of the crime. If nothing else there might be a clue to who the attackers were. We were attacked again, more ninja's with the same tatoo. This is when we met Haast, a local rogue who came to or aid in the fight. We defeated all four this time, bur there was little to learn from their bodies or the scene.

Haast said we knew a man, Grieg was his name, who should know something about the assassins. Said he was some sort of underworld boss... wasn't sure what that meant since he seems liek a normal surface dweller to me. Grieg was a strange man and not particularly pleasent. He demanded payment for his information so we offered a Ninja sword. He said the assassins are White Crane Assassins, formerly of the Hankuo but now working independently, unaffiliated with any of the local crime lords (not paying their dues). Their orders are to attack any who leave the ship. The attack was unsanctioned. (Unprovoked killing can be sanctioned?) Finally he said we could learn more at the Celestial Dragon, a bar by the docks.

Haast offered to accompiany me to the Celestial Dragon, but I didn't want to go straight there. I didn't particularly trust Grieg, so decided to return to the Daisy Cutter an prepare Divination and Srying scrolls to learn more before walking into another trap. Haast accomianied me.

When we arived we learned that the clockwork Frankie had been working on, Shadowcog, had activated despite an incomplete heart. Keratone speculated that perhaps some final act on Frankies part contributed to waking or sustaining Shadowcog, explaining why Frankie will not return to us. A replacement heart had to be found soon however. I remembered there was an extra heart in the Blaylock's hidden lab where I was born. So we set sail immediatly, the Celestial Dragon would have to wait. Turns out others had left the ship, and were laft behind, but we wern't aware of it at the time.

During the journney I did perform the Divination and Scrying. Divination revealed the name of the one who ordered the attack, an entity known as The Wind. Scrying on the assassin the escaped seemed to show us a Hankuo dojo. The assassin is summoned to speak to The Wind. The sensor can't see The Wind, and we can't hear, but we managed to read the lips of the assassin. His half of the conversation went something like this...

> (Nervous) “But I killed the halfling
> “Not my fault the Wizard and Bard got away, I wasn't there.”
> “If your going to kill me do so, I am a crane first/last/allways”
> “Is the payment we took greater than the honor of our clan”
> (Gulp, listens)
> “Yes Sensai, I will not rest until it is done.”

When we arrived at Blaylock's lab, it had been broken into by some Neogi and an Umber Hulk. I invited them to leave, but they chose to put up a fight rather than go peacably. Haast and Shadowcog proved able combatants. Searching we found a replacement heart, as well as a secret room containing a giant organ that I was unaware of. After fighting more Neogi and Umber Hulks in the organ room, Shadowcog managed to activate the organ. Somehow it spoke to me in Blaylock's voice and answered a few questions.

Meanwhile Keretone as assessed the lab's equipement. It was too damaged and not longer in satisfactory condition to perform the operation, nor did the Daisycutter have what is needed. Peppershot had the closest facilites, aand that's where you caught up with us.

I'm pleased to report Shadowcog's new heart was installed without incident. Haast has left us with material for a few new songs I'll wager.

As to were to go next... I'm hoping we can find some way to contact these 'In Between Men'. If they can truely make a difference, then we should co-ordinate with them the best time for my.... suicide attack.

Ts'Elf's Conversation with Mnemonium, Remembered

To Ts’elf

Mnemonium looked at him a moment, reading the embossed text covering his body. She snorted and said, “You must have caused quite a stir in Theonian lands.” She advised Ts'Elf that, if he wanted to learn more about himself, to seek out the Libriohenaum in Selunaport to learn more about the ancient Hrakuu Civilization.

To Both Ts'Elf & Frankie, Before Leaving

“The tiniest coil of spring can allow a Clockwork to dance.”

Next!
Shadowdog Dreams

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