Rise of the Runelords: Arbiters of Change

Chapter the Third

As chronicled by Thomas of Sartor

I had no idea at the time the danger into which we had found ourselves. And I am uncertain as to what I would have done if I had.

Dinner the night after the Swallowtail Festival was as exquisite as any of Ameiko Kaijitsu’s meals. Though, that night brought the total number of meals at the Rusty Dragon to five… but even I could tell she was something else in the kitchen. However, I digress. We were joined once more by Aldern Foxglove whose company I found enjoyable if stilted. Simply put he and I come from different sides of the path, but be that as it may, the conversation was pleasant enough. Eventually dinner ended and we headed off to bed for the next day.

We started early enough, running a few errands that had not been finished the night before – Tarek and Olaf took their armor to be repaired while I took the opportunity to consider a simple suit of leather armor as protection against what was certainly and quickly become a dangerous new life. Hamdar stayed back at the Rusty Dragon to replenish his alchemical creations and met up with us for lunch. I must admit that I have rather enjoyed how well I’ve eaten the past few days, but lunch was not given much opportunity to sit as we were approached by a member of a guard where it was requested that we go to City Hall to meet with Sheriff Hemlock. We found ourselves meeting with Mayor Deverin and surprisingly we were also joined by Shalelu Andosana, the huntress. She had news for us as well as information as Sandpoint’s new “Goblinslayers”.

Shalelu’s knowledge of goblins was almost as fierce as her demeanor, though the latter had her grace to temper it. We learned that there were actually five goblin tribes in the immediate area surrounding Sandpoint. First and closest are the Birdcrunchers. They live in caves along the western edge of the Devil’s Platter and traditionally are the least aggressive of the five. Next are the Toadlickers, a tribe of capable swimmers that live within the Brinestump Marsh. To the east of Sandpoint live the Seven Tooth goblins in Shank’s Wood. Turns out they’re the ones I used to see raiding the junkyard for refuse and recyclables. Farther east are the Mosswood goblins, which by Shalelu’s estimates are the largest tribe, but generally spend too much fighting amongst themselves to actually do anything. And finally there are the Thistletop goblins who live in the Nettlewoods atop a small island.

She also told us of six goblin – for lack of a better word – heroes. Big Gugmut of Mosswood, Koruvus of the Seven Tooth (a stubborn and vicious brute who bears a magic longsword), Vorka the cannibal of Brinestump Marsh, Rendwattle Gutwad the chieftain of the Brinestump Marsh, Ripnugget of the Thistletop goblins who controls the best lair. And finally Bruthazmus a bugbear ranger who lives in the Nettlewoods. (Note to self: Shalelu seems to hold a personal grudge with that last one and I should probably stay out of her way.)

The reason Hemlock had us attend this meeting, it turned out, was because he was headed to Magnimar to request more soldiers to fortify defenses in Sandpoint until the goblin menace could be dealt with. This left us and Shalelu unofficially in charge of the city’s safety. Admittedly we would be official guards, but we had proven ourselves more than capable and it seemed Hemlock trusted Shalelu implicitly.

Meeting adjourned, we spent the rest of the day uneventfully finishing up the rest of our respective errands. If only the next morning were as uneventful as the day.

In the middle of the night I was awoken by Bethana the barmaid. She had always welcomed us with a glass of mead or ale and served us at dinner, but I had never seen her as frightened as she was that morning. She summoned us to the kitchen where we were found Shalelu in a similar, though more dignified, state of distress.

Once we were all gathered she gave us a note written in an unfamiliar language. Thankfully she had translated it for us. I’ve included it for my records especially as we’ll need it as evidence for later. To summarize, Tsuto, Ameiko’s half brother called her to her father’s glassworks to confront their father about his involvement with the attack on Sandpoint by the goblins. Shalelu was as confused as we were and while we were in a bit of a hurry, we need to prepare ourselves for every possible situation. At dawn we gathered the armor that had needed repair and any other supplies before heading towards the glassworks in search of Ameiko.

We noticed something odd upon arriving at the factory – while we could hear the furnaces going, none of the windows were open and there didn’t seem to be anyone working. I had never not seen the glassworks in motion while the sun was up so we circled the building looking for the delivery entrance mentioned in Tsuto’s note.

The door was easy to find and Tarek tried the knock combination that appeared in the letter to no avail. After a period of silence I unlocked the door making sure the Paladin was looking the other way and opened it a ways to see what I could see. Inside the room was dimly lit and after we managed to get inside and let our eyes adjust we could see that we certainly weren’t the first ones to come in through that door.

Around us were the various powders and chemicals used to color glass, a fact supplied by Hamdar, though while they were busy examining the various bins, an open safe caught my eye. Unfortunately it was empty and after trying to come up with what the safe may have contained, Hamdar further mentioned that gold and silver were also effective at staining glass. Seeing as that was one riddle solved, we checked out the doors leading away from the room deeper into the glassworks and a pair of double doors looked promising.

On the other side of the door we could hear the furnaces blasting and maybe something more. Unsure, we cracked the door open and peered inside. Within were nine goblins wreaking havoc on the factory, destroying everything they could get their grimy hands on. Olaf kicked open the door and charged straight at the nearest group while Tarek and I tried a more subtle approach by flanking the goblins. Hamdar meanwhile took up a simple ranged position and began the lobbing of his trademark concoctions.

We made quick work of the goblins, mostly thanks to Olaf’s skill with his sword. Unfortunately one managed to get away but we were distracted by what was in the center of the room: Lonjiku Kaijitsu was dead, entombed in glass that must have been poured over his body molten. We all shuddered at the mental image, but we forced ourselves back into reality and began our search for the missing goblin.

We scoured the glassworks from top to bottom and found nothing, no hide nor hair of the one that got away. Eventually we decided to head back to the main furnace room to examine what we could of the crime scene and look for any evidence of Tsuto or Ameiko. Unfortunately I think I let my guard down too much because just as we were about to enter the room, a blur hit me fast and hard. I could feel my ribs crack and for a moment I thought I had been dropped to the ground, but despite the pain I was still standing.

Olaf and Tarek took point getting in front of me quickly and readying their weapons. Though I think it was their surprise that got me thinking straight – A half elf man was surrounded by goblins and they were helping him ambush us. He looked eerily familiar and then we put two and two together. Before us was Tsuto Kaijitsu and it was him who was behind the goblin attacks all along.

Sadly I didn’t have much time to revel in this revelation, as I was still probably internally hemorrhaging. Tarek happened to be in front of me and I remembered that he had put the wand of healing somewhere in his bag. A quick bit of pickpocketing and the wand was in my hand. Course it took me a while to figure out how to use it which gave Olaf, Tarek and Hamdar time to push the goblins back and finish them off before going after Tsuto.

Once I had caught my breath I followed them in and stood behind Olaf, doing the best I could to keep him standing with the wand of healing while he traded blows with Tsuto, or tried to at least. What happened next took me and Tsuto off guard. Apparently Tarek had circled around to the side and clambered atop a work bench and with a short leap, landed atop Tsuto trapping him beneath his armor-clad weight. After a bit of struggling, Tsuto finally fell unconscious in Tarek’s stranglehold giving us plenty of time to tie him up.

We took a few minutes to rest and compare notes making sure we were all on the same page. We knew we hadn’t finished searching the glassworks, there was still the basement to consider, but there’s no way we could have possibly left Tsuto tied up. His physical prowess was simply too refined to let a simple rope keep him detained. So, Tarek and I carried/dragged him back to the city hall where the jail was and left him in the care of one of Hemlock’s men. He’d be safer in jail and the rest of us can figure out what the hell was going on.

Back at the glassworks we found the stairs leading to the basement and took them cautiously. We were fairly certain we hadn’t seen the last of the goblins, but without a leader we weren’t sure how they would react. Thankfully we didn’t see anymore goblins, but we did find a broken wall hiding a short corridor that had been there for some time.

Within the hidden hallway was an office containing Tsuto’s journal and a masterwork flute. Course, I was more concerned about the former. I skimmed through it rapidly until a drawing of a woman caught my eye. She looked familiar and I had to wrack my brain trying to come up with it until I saw her name – It was Nualia, Brother Tobyn’s adopted daughter. By my recollection she was a celestial, a gifted human born of the union of an angel and a mortal. Or so the legends go. I had never actually met one, but I digress.

The journal spoke of Tsuto’s love for the girl, probably born of knowing the same hardship of mixed parentage, especially that which comes from being abandoned by one’s family. It described how Nualia was seeking to unleash and bind an entity by the name of Malfeshnekor, as demonic a name as I had ever heard one. It outlined the attack on the town and even explained how the goblins got into the city in the first place. But what caught our attention was the fact that it seemed Nualia was planning to sacrifice the whole town so she could gain favor with Lamashtu and rid herself of her celestial heritage.

I was somewhat stunned by what I had read and stowed the journal into my satchel. Leading from the hidden hallway adjacent to the office was a roughly hewn tunnel leading deep underground. Wisely we decided to clear out the basement before venturing into parts unknown, after all if Tsuto had been this close, Ameiko couldn’t be much farther. Luckily I was right.

We found Ameiko tied and gagged in the next room down in the hallway. She looked weary and injured. Olaf healed her with a simple blessing and we quickly tried to explain what had happened letting her know we found Tsuto and managed to capture him, securing him safely in the town jail. Unfortunately this also meant we had to tell her the news of her father.

A moment of silence passed before she spoke, rising slowly to her feet. She felt she had to leave and we let her go. Looking back, we probably should have gone with her to the Rusty Dragon and then together with Shalelu, planned our next steps, but the words from Tsuto’s journal kept flashing through my mind.

We were running out of time and we had to find Nualia and stop her before she could unleash hell upon Sandpoint.

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