8th of Dravago, 998YK, 0130 hours
Having delved the depths of Dorasharn tower and discovered the lost House Cannith forge in the ruins of an ancient city, our intrepid adventurers – Drow, Run, and Sevren – have just dispatched the Iron Defenders guarding the schema they were employed to find.
Run picks up the second rod that sprang from the head of the felled defender. Drow is rummaging through the shelves and bins of the workshop looking for anything of value. Sevren takes several minutes to dislodge the head of the third, crushed Iron Defender and pry the rod from its skull. He looks appraisingly at the metal head of the beast and shoves it in a sack to take as a souvenir.
He then joins Run who has spent the last few minutes examining the two rods and the forge itself, which he discovers has three depressions along its top. The depressions and the rods have matching shapes; one is triangular, the next is square, and the last hexagonal. But there is no indication of the order with which the rods should be placed into the holes. The sound of metal pegs spilling onto the wooden workbench cause Run and Sevren to glance over at Drow as he rifles through draws and pulls objects wrapped in ancient oilcloth from the shelves. They go back to examining the forge.
The kiln takes up the majority of the back wall, with a small anvil wedged into the right-hand corner of the room. There is metal grating on the floor extending about 10 feet out into the studio-space. Sevren, anxious to return to the surface of Sharn, walks toward the forge. “Fuck this,” he mutters, as he shoves the triangular rod into the matching depression. The air turns sharp and acrid as a bolt of blue energy erupts from the metal floor with a crack, sending Sevren flying through the air. He lands on a small crate, crushing it under his weight. He sits up, rubbing his head, and gives Run an embarrassed grin.
By this point, Drow is done with his search and joins his companions. He helps Sevren to his feet and they return to the warforged’s side. Unexpectedly, Run has a spark of recognition and inspiration. It’s the rods, their number of sides that catches his attention. Triangle, square, hex; three, four, five. He looks down at his forearm and sees it, something that’s been there since his day of inception. He came out of the forge with it, and that’s why he’s now convinced it’s relevant. There, etched into the armor on his left forearm is the number ‘534’. He lifts it up and shows it to his friends. “This must be it,” he says.
Drow and Sevren look at him dubiously, but before anyone can disagree, Run walks up to the forge and drops the five-sided rod into the hole. Nothing happens. He gives a quick glance over his shoulder before continuing. Sevren takes a step back, gently pulling Drow with him.
Run pushes the triangular rod into the corresponding slot. Still nothing happens. He takes one last deep breadth before sliding the last rod in place, his shoulders bunched in anticipatory tension, awaiting his fate. Nothing. He turns to the others and says, “Hey! It wor…” He was going to say ‘it worked’ but before he could finish the word, a surge of energy, even bigger than the one that zapped Sevren engulfs Run, sending his massive bulk soaring into the air and landing on his back at least 10 feet away.
Drow and Sevren run to where he landed. Run seems uninjured, but he’s out cold. As Drow kneels beside him, he thinks he can hear a small humming sound coming from inside Run’s body, but he’s not sure. Suddenly, the sound of rock grating on metal startles the two men. They look up and see the forge swinging out into the room revealing a hidden vault beyond. It a small space, just a few shelves, but this must be where the schema is hidden. Drow begins to stand, just then Run’s eyes flutter open. “What I miss?” he asks.
He stands to join his friends and that’s when they notice it. On Run’s forehead is a small, glowing symbol of House Cannith. It matches the symbol on the front of Professor Geldem’s journal. They point it out to him, but no one really understands the implication of all this. Anxious to be on their way, they turn their attention to the contents of the vault. Inside they find a couple of sacks of ancient coins, a few vials of liquid, several gold ingots, a folded up map, and an adamantine plate shaped into seven-pointed star – the schema! They quickly seize up these treasures and take a moment to unfold the map. Its delicate and antiquated. It seems to show a portion of southern Khorvaire but the group doesn’t want to stop to study it just yet. Sevren snatches is up and says he’ll keep it safe, as he tucks into his waistcoat.
Drow shows them the other valuable gear he’s found scattered around the workshop and they fill their sacks with the booty. “Let’s get out of here,” Drow declares and heads for the door. They remove the heavy bar that sealed the door from the inside and push it open. In all the jostling, Run can’t be sure, but he thinks he sees Drow stuffing something into one of his pouches. “Was that the map?” he wonders to himself.
Finally able to leave this underground ruin, the party steps out from the building happy with themselves for having accomplished their task. They only have a moment to react as a flame bolt streaks toward them from the area of the rubble surrounding the large column. Sevren and Drow are able to jump back to the protection of the doorway, but the bolt buries itself in the ground at Run’s feet and explodes. Sevren is able to pull him to safety as they try to figure out what’s going on.
“Weak flesh!” a powerful voice calls out. “Now you face Saber, greatest of the devoted followers of the Lord of Blades. Throw down the schema and walk away. This day does not have to end with your blood on my hands.” Inside the workshop the two conscious members evaluate their situation.
First, they need to get their teammate back into the action. Drow exclaims, “The repair rod!” and begins to rummage through Run’s backpack. Kneeling beside him, Drow raises the rod above his head and drives the plunger with two exposes leads into the armor plating of Run’s chest. He bolts upright, lets out a ferocious yawp, and immediately hurls the ax he had gripped in this hand out into the darkness. “I’m gonna kill them!” he shouts.
After a quick, heated discussion Sevren helps Drow back up through the hole in the ceiling, to get a better vantage on the situation from the roof. Run moves to the doorway to keep a lookout. “Wait, did I just see Sevren stuff that map back in his coat!?” Run wonders, but them shakes off the notion and turns his attention back to the rubble surrounding them.
From off in the distance more taunting reaches their ears. “The Lord of Blades keeps a special place in hell for Flesh Lovers amongst us! You will pay for your treachery to our kind, warforged!” Once Run knows Drow is providing top cover he calls out, “I’m going for it. Watch for the direction of the arrows.” Sevren lights a piece of rubble and throws it out into the ruins to provide some illumination. Run hefts his trident and starts running toward the sound of the last voice he heard. After a few seconds, another flaming bolt comes speeding at him. At the last second he executes a combat roll, coming back up on his feet. Now that the shooter has exposed himself, both Run and Drow attack; Run hurling his trident, and Drow with a flaming arrow. Both find their mark and the warforged, Saber, lets out a scream but keeps his footing. He yanks the trident buried in his arm out and drops it to the ground, then steps toward Run. Run pulls a flail from his belt and prepares to engage in melee.
Sevren also starts to move across the open space to engage the warforged. Drow levels another arrow at the warforged’s chest. He looses it, and again it finds its mark. Saber stumbles backward, clutching at his waist. Run is about to deliver the killing blow when the agent of the Lord of Blades raises his arm above his head and throws something to the ground.
A loud bang and bright flash blind Run and Sevren momentarily, but it gives Saber the opportunity he needed. He turns and stumbles back into the darkness near the column. Drow, unaffected by flash, jumps down from the roof and begins sprinting across the open space to his friends.
After a few seconds Sevren and Run are able to regain their wits and they all fan out to find their target. They move through the rubble and around the column trying to corner Saber. But when they get to the back side of the column, they realize there was a tunnel opening there they had not seen earlier. He must have gone that way. Run sprints up the tunnel a short way, but quickly realizes they’ve lost their quarry. They take some time to search for tracks, but are unsuccessful. Eventually they give up their search for Saber and begin their ascent back to the surface of Sharn.
Several hours later, they emerge from the ruins, back in the Blackbones section of the Cogs. They continue on to the Broken Anvil and realize it is early morning as they board the people-mover that will carry them up out of the lower city and back to the towers.
Upon entering the inn, they are greeted by the same Halfling matron and told to wait while she awakens the lady. Shortly, the party is directed to the same meeting room as the previous day. Lady Elaydren is pleased to the see them, doubly so when she is presented with the schema. “You have my thanks,” she tells them, “and the thanks of my house. Periodically, check in with the House Sivis message station at the Barmin Tower. I will leave a message for you if more work becomes available.” She presents the team with 300 gold coins apiece and hands Sevren a sealed envelope. She stands to leave, her bodyguard moving toward the door to open it for her, but stops when she notices the House Cannith symbol emblazoned on Run’s forehead.
“Where did that come from?” she asks, suspiciously.
Run explains what happened at the vault. She stands unmoving, dumbfounded.
“The journal. Let me see it!” She barks. Run takes a step back, his hand going to the journal protectively, instinctively. She notes his hesitation and adds, “Please.” As he draws it from his armor, he sees the blue glow of the symbol on the cover of the journal. He flips it open and the pages Professor Geldem wrote about the Ruins of Dorasharn are now plainly visible. Run can see that Lady Elaydren is trying to process this turn of events.
“I…I will reach out to you soon,” and with that she is gone.
After returning the schema, the party decides to take a few days to themselves, take care of personal business, and spend the spoils of their exploits. They wind up congregating at the Red Hammer, a local pub down in the Blackbones section of the Cogs, near where Run lives. The bar is owned by two warforged, Blue and Crucible; veterans of the Last War, just like Run.
Run spent the week working out his anger over the death of his friend by participating in an underground cage fighting league, making a little extra money for his trouble. Drow uses his contacts in the Cogs to sell off the loot the group found down in the ruins. One night, mid-week, he sees an opportunity to boost some goods from a small shop that left a side window cracked open, but his plan is foiled when a couple of guardsmen come along on patrol, causing him to slink back into the shadows. Sevren enjoys his downtime at the Hammer, drinking and carousing with the locals. One night a couple of woman come up to him to ask if his tattoos hurt to get and he struck up a conversation with them. Their names are Skinny Tina and Penelope, local barflies that are good for some gossip from the Towers.
On Zor (Thursday), as Drow is headed home after drinking late into the night with his newfound friends, he’s stopped by a figure that steps out of the shadows; it’s Sgt. Dolom of the Watch. The tells Drow he remembers how he knows him, he was an acquaintance of Drow’s father, Krow, and his father (and by extension, Drow himself) owes him a favor. Drow says there is no way his father would owe anything to the Dwarf, to which Dolom tells Drow he doesn’t know his father as well as he thinks he does. The policeman asks Drow if he read The Inquisitive news article about the problems around that new excavation site in The Cogs. He needs him to check it out, and he thinks he should bring along his new warforged friend, and the crazy elf with the skull face tattoo. Then he leaves, telling Drow to let him know when it’s done.