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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 1 — The Interlink Consortium Corporate Asteroid
Several of the sailors were now at work mopping the deck of blood and scavver-stomach contents. Nargroth and silent Guttar carried the body of the scavver town to the galley to butcher it for meat — being careful to avoid any meat around its stomach. Oma went to Jayce to explain what had happened. (He, by the helm's magic, had been able to observe the whole incident but was helpless to do anything about it.) Szordrin bathed himself as best he cook with a bucket of water and changed into other clothes. Solisar and Martho went back to the map.

   They returned to the process of making small "jumps" from asteroid to asteroid, but now, twice as many sailors were above deck, watching both every asteroid they came to and all around the ship for any sign of unwanted creatures entering their air envelope.

   Before Bansh began to climb the ropes up the mizzen-mast, Hakam asked the newest sailor a question. "What manner of creature are you? I have not seen your kind on my world."

   "I am a hadozee," said Bansh, and he then leapt up and began to climb.

   It was not long before they arrived. The Interlink Consortium Corporate Asteroid was about 750 feet in diameter. At one of the peaks of the irregularly shaped space rock was a tower, sticking about eight stories out of the stone. A few tiny lights blinked from some sort of pole at the very top, perhaps acting as guiding lights for approaching vessels. The tower had many windows, with light seen beyond them.

   From another side, a large wooden shaft seemed to jut out from the rock, like a sideways — relative to the tower — chimney or pipe.

   "That is the warehouse docking tunnel," said Martho. "Steer us carefully into that. Keep the tower up."

   "Understood," said Rimardo.

   The wooden tube structure was easily large enough for the Frihet to sail into. It had a flattened rectangular opening that was twice as wide as it was high. When they had centered themselves, they all felt a sudden jostle, as their ship fell into the asteroid's gravity plane and began floating. The entrance tunnel extended into the asteroid for about 300 feet. At the far end was a wooden dock, built at the same level as the gravity plane, as were the docks on the Rock of Bral.

   On the right side of the dock was tied another spelljammer. This one was a bit larger than theirs. It was somewhat shaped like a naval vessel with a main deck and aftcastle, but it had no masts or traditional sails. Instead, it had "fins" like those of a great fish, made of canvas stretched between ribbing. Two of the fins were massive and extended well below the dock.

   "What manner of ship is that?" asked Rimardo.

   "I believe that the vessel is a tradesman," said Solisar.

   "Yes, that is what they call them," said Martho.

   "Where are its sails?" asked the pilot. "Do not even spelljammers need sails?"

   "They use the fins to catch the spell-winds instead," explained Martho. "Have us dock on the left. I am sure that that tradesman is the last outgoing shipment of the day.

   Their spelljammer came alongside the wooden platform and slowed to a stop. A worker there motioned to one of the sailors, who tossed the man a rope with which to tie them down.

   Oma, Nargroth, and Jayce remained on board with the sailors; the six other adventurers walked across the gangplank with Martho. Martho showed some sort of identification to the dock worker, who nodded and went about some other task.

   The dock was thirty feet wide and at least twice that long. From the middle of the dock was a metal set of stairs that rose 60 feet into the stone ceiling. At the end of the dock, a much narrower wooden bridge led to a large, open doorway through the back wall of the docking tunnel.

   "That is where the main warehouse and magical laboratory facilities are located," said Martho.

   The doorway was three times wider than the wooden bridge that passed through its center, and workers were guiding crates along the side of the bridge with wooden poles. The crates floated in the gravity plane adjacent to the two sides of the bridge, so workers needed only give them a gentle nudge to move them along, much like loggers might move timber down a river. Only when the crates reached the edge of the actual dock were winches and cranes needed to raise them onto the waiting cargo ship. The tradesman was currently being loaded thus, when the Frihet arrived.

   "We, however, are going to go upstairs to the corporate offices. Follow me."

   Martho led them up the six flights of stairs into the ceiling.

   It now felt like they were in a brick-walled building, lit with torches. There was a wide hallway with wood-paneled floors. Martho led them down it, and they entered into a wide open space. There were many people at work at desks here, each segregated off into separate workspaces by short wooden dividers. Several of the workers appeared to be deep in conversations, which confused the visitors at first, until they realized that these must be rings of sending.

   "Have you tried commanding the portal to activate first, sir," said one of the workers, as they passed, a look of deep frustration on his face.

   None of the workers in the room seemed to give them any mind, with the exception of two who simply nodded at Martho in recognition and greeting. It seemed like the giving of tours to visitors was a common enough occurrence to not warrant suspicion.

   They entered another hallway at the other side. Martho stopped them and said, "Wait here for a moment."

   He went back into the large work area and out of sight. Two women employees passed them, carrying bundles of scrolls. Again, they did not seem bothered by the presence of strangers standing there.

   Martho returned and beckoned them to follow again. The hallway made a sharp turn to the left, and they could see a figure about halfway down. Martho stopped them a second time. This time, he spoke in a quieter voice. "The room that I am taking you to is off-limits to visitors. So, here is the plan. Take this key. The next door on the right is the washcloset for males. All of you go in there. The door after that is the storage room for receipts. I will summon the hall guard ahead, who usually mans the door, and I will try to get him to follow me around the corner. That will be your chance to exit the washcloset and get yourselves into the storage room. Then shut the door again. Understood?"

   They all nodded.

   The plan, simple as it was, worked without a hitch. All of them soon found themselves hiding in the dark in a room with over a dozen wooden shelves loaded with crates full of parchment and scrolls. Soon, Martho joined them and shut the door behind him. "We should have time to search now," whispered Martho, "but keep your voices low and do not use any overly bright lights, because the guard may notice that it is more than just me in here now."

   Martho explained to them how things were organized by years and months and value and place of sale.

   When he notice a look of hopelessness on one of their faces, he said, "The good news is that the item that we are looking for was only sold for a limited period of time before being recalled, and I know roughly how much it would have sold for, so if we divide up the search, I am sure we can find it. It is only a four to six month period for us to search."

   They divided up and began to search through seemingly endless piles and bundles of receipts. Poor Kytharrah tried his hardest to help, but besides barely being able to recognize the letters that little sister had taught him, his large fingers were not very good at flipping through pages. He spent as much time sniffing the old papers as he did trying to read them. Solisar had told him to look for the letters R, O, and D, but the others were able to go through stacks about three times faster. He felt like he was losing this finding game, until....

   "Found it!" he said, probably too loudly.

   "Shh, Lunk!" whispered Szordrin.

   "One rule of this game is to speak very, very softly," said Solisar kindly.

   "Found it!" whispered Kytharrah.

   Kytharrah found no fewer than eight different receipts for the purchase of various magical rods over the next hour or hour and a half. By the time he actually found the receipt that they were truly looking for, no one expected it to be the correct one,... but it was.

   Szordrin swiped the receipt from his paws and read it:

Receipt of Sale
This document certifies
that on
Uktar 5 of the Year of the Banner
_____Onran_Dranyr_____
_Kaw-chi-wee-tee-tee,_
________Coliar________
has purchased and paid for
1 (one) rod of intraplanar retracing
for the full, asked price of
480 (four hundred eighty) certified Lantanna platinum trade bars
from


   Everyone else gathered around.

   "That is a lot of gold coins," said Solisar.

   "The purchase was made with Lantanese money," said Hakam. "Samber made his purchase with Amnian tradebars. I do not know if that means anything."

   "Coliar is one of the Dawn Heralds," said Solisar. "It is not a star; it is actually the second planet from our sun. I am told that it is a massive planet, much larger than Toril, made primarily of air and clouds, but it contains thousands of floating islands, much like Thultanthar, I suppose."

   "Is Kaw-chi-wee-tee-tee some sort of address?" asked Hakam. The others shrugged, so Hakam turned to Martho, who was standing back, hoping that whatever it was that this group had found would result in some good to balance the evil done by the sale of the rod.

   "What is the question?"

   Hakam took the sheet from Szordrin and handed it to Martho. Szordrin let him take it and stood there in almost a daze. The others did not seem to notice, being curious to hear Martho's answer. Only Kytharrah noticed his little brother's odd expression and posture, but he did not know what to do or say about it. A few hours earlier, Szordrin had almost been eaten alive, and there was still poison in his system; maybe it was just that.

   "Is this an address on Coliar?" Hakam repeated.

   "Typically, we require customers to record their addresses, yes," Martho replied. "I have never been to Coliar or to any of the planets in this crystal sphere — I was hired from Krynn and live in Bral — but it must be some way of locating the customer on the planet of Coliar." He shrugged. "Every planet, every culture is different."

   "Does this look like any language that you know?" Hakam asked Solisar, who shook his head in response. Hakam prayed for Anachtyr to open his eyes and held his holy symbol over the receipt. "It is just a bunch of numbers," he said, "Four-two-zero-one-one."

   After another pause, Hakam asked the group, "The name Onran does not sound like a Lantanna name, does it? Jayce would know."

   "I also know," said Szordrin from the back, finally joining the conversation. "Onran Dranyr... was my master."

   "What?" said Leokas.

   "This is not possible," said Szordrin. "I found the broken rod in the hands of the murderer. Onran never possessed such a rod!"

   "How well did you know him?" asked Hakam. "Maybe he stole someone's identity."

   "I trusted him like a father, and I lived in his home. He also never once traveled in the time that I knew him. I met him in the Year of the Sword, when I was thirteen years old. He was at home in Guallidurth during Uktar of the Year of the Banner. That was three years after we first met. I found him dead early in the next year, the Year of the Gauntlet."

   "Martho," asked Belvin, "does someone have to make a purchase in person from the Consortium?"

   "No," said Martho. "Nearly all of our primary customers are learned and wealthy mages, all of whom, you must know, have many creative ways of communicating with us here to place orders. We have a good number of agents who make deliveries all over the planes and crystal spheres."

   Szordrin looked at each of his companions. "Is Coliar a place that we could visit? Can humans survive there?"

   "I believe so," said Solisar. "It must be much warmer, since it is closer to our sun. We could look into it more back at the Rock of Bral."

   "Oh, I hope that you can track this murdered back to Coliar and bring him to justice!" said Martho. "I will sleep so much better at night, knowing that this little breaking of the rules by me has led to some good."

   "Breaking of rules rarely leads to good," muttered Hakam, not loud enough for Martho to hear.

   "We will do our best," said Solisar.

   "Would you let us search for more receipts?" asked Szordrin of Martho. "We also know of another very, very evil man who purchased portals from your company."

   "Portals are our number one product!" said Martho. "We would never have a chance of finding such a receipt. As you have seen, nothing is organized by customer name."

   "Let us be sure to share this receipt with Jayce once we get back to the ship," said Hakam. "He may have some further insight or ideas. He also speaks Lantanna."

   "So do I," said Solisar.

   "Part of me wonders if there is some kind of word game in this receipt or its address," said Hakam, "like we have seen Samber use."

   "Do you think that there could be some sort of connection between Onran and Samber?" asked Szordrin, surprised at the suggestion.

   "What was name of Samber's childhood friend who disappeared?" asked Hakam. "The one that Jayce was telling us about?"

   "It was not Onran," said Szordrin. "I would have noticed that."

   Hakam looked like he was trying to remember. "No, it was not Onran, but it was Ronan. I recall it now. The name is an anagram!"

   "Interesting," Szordrin muttered softly.

   "We already know how much Samber likes to use anagrams," said Solisar.

   "Szordrin, what did your master look like?" asked Hakam.

   "He was a white-haired aasimar," said Szordrin. "His celestial features were about as subtle as my fiendish ones."

   "Jayce told us that the boy had been adopted by a gnomish family, that he had silver hair and golden eyes."

   "Yes, Onran's eyes were gold," Szordrin confirmed. "Onran was always mostly silent about his background. He did not like to talk about it much. When he took me under his wing, he explained to me that his family had done the same to him. He, too, had been adopted, but he never explained by whom or the details of it."

   "Everything matches up," said Hakam.

   "I also know that he was in the Underdark because he did not want to be found, but I do not know why."

   "I wonder what he was trying to hide in his past," said Hakam.

   "I never sensed that he was evil;" Szordrin clarified, "I have never met a man more good. I sensed that he had faced some great tragedy in his past. He simply wanted to leave that past and start anew, and it pained him to discuss it, so we did not."

   "Jayce never told us 'Ronan's' surname," said Hakam. "I wonder if he learned it but failed to mention it. We shall have to ask him. I would not be surprised if it is also an anagram."

   Szordrin and Solisar stared at the so-called address for a while, trying to figure out if it, too, was some sort of puzzle. Neither of the wizards could make anything of it.

   "Perhaps they are some sort of coordinates on Coliar," suggested Hakam.

   "That would make sense," said Solisar.

   "Martho, would you be able to speak to the scribe who wrote this receipt to find out more about this address?"

   "We do not track that information," said Martho, "but I am fairly certain that, whatever the customer tells the scribe who takes the order, that person writes down. Few questions are asked. If the customer wants to receive the product, it had better be a valid address for that world and race. The only ones in the Consortium who might know would likely be our workers who actually make the deliveries. One of our tour guides might also know. I could look into that for you."

   "We have tarried here for a long while now," said Solisar. "We should probably make a copy of this receipt and refile it and then see if good Martho here can get us all out of this room as smoothly as he got us in."

   They all agreed, and Solisar carefully copied down the information onto a sheet of paper.

   "How are we going to exit without being caught?" asked Leokas.

   "Here is my idea," said Martho. "I will exit again first, but I will drag one of these boxes of receipts with me, and I will ask for help carrying it back to the manager's offices. Just give me maybe two minutes, then you...."

   His plan was interrupted by the sound of human screams — one a scream of fear, the other a scream of pain — followed by loud thuds and banging outside the door.

   Szordrin did not hesitate and rushed to the back of the room. A few seconds later, multiple images of the wizard appeared around him.

   Martho ran to the door, and Kytharrah, Leokas, and Hakam followed behind him. Their guide opened the door. No hall guard was standing there, so he poked his head out to look down the hall.

   They heard him gasp in horror, and he immediately pulled himself back into the room.

   "Neogi!" Martho shouted, with a look of dread on his face.
Session: 105th Game Session - Wednesday, Aug 22 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
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