Second Darkness

DM Comments 04: The Big Reveal
Chapter One: Shadow in the Sky
 
It is a difficult thing to surprise players. When you play for so many years, and you play with the same people for so many years, how do you give them a "What the Hell" moment? For me, it is even more difficult because I know that my emotions show on my face. I try to maintain a neutral tone, try to talk the same way, try to say one thing when I'm thinking the opposite. Often I'll try to help out when I know in fact it helps the enemies. I will try to maintain a sense of innocence about an NPC when I know they are preparing an ambush. The problem as was voiced last session was they the players can easily read my face. They knew I was lying.

Did this take away from the big reveal? Yes and no. It would have been nice to keep the Vancaskerkin betrayal a secret. Yet, like the last campaign with Queen Ileosa, there was a celebration by the players. They said "Ah ha! We knew it." So in one way that is fantastic because if I'm a player and I see an NPC turn on the party, I'm thinking right away how I could have missed seeing that? What remains then is the reason behind the betrayal? In many cases, the reasons lie in pages of back-story that the players will never know of.

So why would Saul suddenly betray the players? That in itself is of course the biggest question. It may not even be true of course, but one way or another, the answer will be had next session, one which promises to be filled with answers, explanations, and what should be the biggest reveal of the entire campaign. But that title already belongs to one that was a true surprise when it was revealed that Citrine was a Vancaskerkin.

I was very close to making a last minute change during the session that really would have rocked the party. I had suggested that Gunderhoff stay behind to look upon the Golden Goblin and Saul's welfare. And then it occurred to me, to perhaps have Gunderhoff betray the party and outright murder Saul when everyone was away and turning the dwarf into the main antagonist for Second Darkness. To be faced with a dwarven defender with an impenetrable armor class, would have been fun. It was something I dismissed in an instant though, only because I made Gunderhoff like a character that I would have loved to play.

So how does someone like me surprise the players? Well for one, I have to start wearing a mask to cover my facial expressions. I think one of the biggest things though is staying patient. As a DM, you know who's good and bad, and what's coming up. You can't let that excitement push your actions, nor influence how you have NPC's speak. You can't smile when you should be frowning. You can't blatantly lie when you try to make the players believe it's the truth.

These are things that I think about every second of every session. You react moment by moment based on what the players do, trying to remember what you had said previously so as not to get caught up in your own spur of the moment ideas. Because those are the dangerous moments when you can ruin everything by accidentally revealing too much.
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Summary 03: Chaos at the Golden Goblin
Chapter One: Shadow in the Sky
 
Saul Vancaskerkin sat with Citrine Vancaskerkin and Ruil, and prepared to explain everything to his daughter whom had found him in the wilds of the world. He was grateful to see his daughter, but it was clear that he was fearful of what she would think of him when he spoke the truth; the truth, not only of his past, but hers as well. It was fortunate then that a client entered through the doors, giving him an excuse to delay the inevitable for at least a few moments.

Corthana, spellthief extraordinaire, was greeted by Saul in a very friendly manner, almost to a fault. She was surprised to see Gunderhoff in the corner, counting coins and looking at the various games to be played in the next day's event. That was the reason she was present, as her new mission was to win the Cheap the Devil And Steal His Gold gambling event; at all costs.

Saul showed Corthana a room, and in the process, was told by the thief in not-so-many-words that she was here on a certain crime lord's request. Saul said that he would make the next day's events easier for her should she choose in turn see him favorably for the crime lord Clegg Zincher to which he had lost his hand to. The deal was accepted.

It was then time for Saul to finally reveal to his daughter his own tale.

Saul had been a crime lord of Riddleport in his younger days. One day he fell in love with a beautiful woman; the daughter of another crime lord named Clegg Zincher. Zincher was none to pleased and sent assassins after Saul. Rather than fight a battle he couldn't win, he and his now pregnant love, left Riddleport, taking Saul's great ill-gotten gold with them to start a life together. Sadly, only a few months after giving birth to Citrine, his love passed away from a mysterious illness. Yet Saul loved his daughter so very much, and did all he could to raise her to become a good person, even taking the false mantle of a priest of Sarenrae in order to surround her with good values.

And then Zincher finally found Saul. He threatened to kill Citrine if he didn't return to Riddleport and pay back the money that Saul owed the man. As proof of how serious he was, he had his goons cut Saul's left hand off, though this was more in vengeance as Zincher blamed Saul for his own daughter's death. And so Saul returned to Riddleport, taking out a loan to pay off part of what Zincher owed and to start up a lucrative gambling hall to pay off the rest of the dept.

He asked if there were any questions, to which Ruil replied that he wanted information on a woman that he was rumored to be hanging around with. There was no other woman however, at least not yet as far as Saul could tell. He said his love had died many years ago, and there would be no other. With no other questions, Saul gave them both free room and board and gave them both a free ticket into the Cheat The Devil And Steal His Gold event the next day. Both Citrine and Ruil turned the offer down however, yet both agreed they would help with security.

The next day brought about a hundred people into the gambling hall. All of them had a single goal; to win the 10,000 silver grand prize. The rules were simple: win games to earn enough chips to buy ones way out of the seven hells. The first to do so, won the great prize, while the rest left with only half their winnings. Saul had with him a caged imp named Old Scratch who spewed forth profanities in its infernal language.

As the day wore on, Citrine's keen eye caught one man putting a card up his sleeve. She reported the infraction to barkeep Farur who promptly tossed the man out to the streets. Corthana, a participant in the contest, was not doing so well, despite the winks and nods from the dealers on when to stay with the cards or which insult the ghoulette head would cry out. After a while, as well as a little pick pocketing, and a loan from Citrine, she was able to buy her way to the third Hell. Gunderhoff meanwhile was not faring well at all, and his seven gold turned into minus twenty after negotiating a loan from a seedy patron.

Ruil kept his eyes open for the woman he was supposed report upon. Without a description, it was a difficult task, but his contact had been specific in saying that Ruil would know her right away. That knowledge gave him some pause as he noticed an elven gambler. Her beauty was exquisite and so he approached her. She said her name was Samarithia Beldusk and she had come in the hopes of becoming a cypher mage as her interest was in the runes upon the cypher gate. They were the oldest runes known to exist, and had been researched extensively, but as of yet, there was little known about them. After a few pleasant words with her, it was unclear whether she was whom Ruil sought. The fact that she didn't seem at all associated with Saul, likely meant that he still had to keep searching.

Corthana had just won a large chip count and was nearing enough for Hell number four, when a sudden explosion before her eyes blinded her to the world. The pyrotechnics left most of the people in the room blinded. Only Citrine and a guard shook off the effects, as several armed goons moved through the crowd, and smashing their clubs down upon those who were armed.

Upon the stage, a bard starting singing a pirate tune that seemed to inspire the goons violence. Corthana decided to silence that tune by launching a dart his way. Yet her orientation in her blindness was off and she heard Gunderhoff cry out in anger as the dart pierced his shoulder blade. Old Scratch meanwhile found his cage magically unlocked, and he flew with delight to the rafters above. A blinded Ruil found himself flanked by a pair of men who, seeing the elf's greatsword, knew right away that the elf was a true threat. One of their clubs shattered three ribs on Ruil.

With no foes in sight, Citrine blessed the room to give those who allied against the attackers, a boost to their fighting spirit. Ruil turned his blade upon one of his attackers, but he simply couldn't hit what he couldn't see as his blade whistled wide. Gunderhoff pushed his way to the center of the room and sent out a wave of healing energy. Corthana put her ear to the air and finally sent a dart at the bard. As is the wish of all singers, the bard died there upon the stage as Corthana's dart struck true.

Ruil again took a club hit in the ribs and it seemed he was done for as, with all the commotion, there was no one to come to his aid. Unknown to him, Citrine finally arrived near him. She caught sight of a wizard shrinking the chest of silver down to size, but the immediate threat was in front of her. She slashed one of the men threatening Ruil with her scimitar. That brought a grunt of pain from him, and also let Ruil know where he was. The elf brought his sword down upon that same place. The spray of blood that he felt upon his cheek was so great, there was no doubt he had struck a death blow.

Gunderhoff meanwhile was dealing with another goon. Though blinded, he still bore his near impenetrable armor. He felt his opponent’s club bounce off his helm, then bashed his warhammer in the darkness. The metal caved in skull, and sent the goon dead to the floor. He felt a mental voice that asked him to attack anyone around him. He pushed aside the imp's words, and listened to the crowd for any other way to help out. Ever the thief, Corthana felt about and picked one of the panicked client's pockets.

Citrine took a small club hit from the last thief, and then gutted him on her blade. To her left, she saw the mage run out the door with the small chest in hand. She attempted to pursue, but by the time she made it through the crowd, the mage was gone.

A few seconds later, everyone's vision returned; and all eyes turned on Saul. He too had been blinded, but that might have been to make it seemed as though he was an innocent victim. Now the people wanted blood. Or, more importantly; gold. After healing Ruil, Citrine stepped to her father's defense, commanding them to ease off. Yet their rage was simply too much to leave empty handed. It was either pay up or lose more than another hand, and so Saul paid them all as much as he had.

When the dust settled, Saul was more broke than ever. His guards left that eve, leaving only the help as well as the only four who made a difference in the fight. He thus offered them all employment as well as a free place to stay. Gunderhoff accepted, given he had no other place to go. Citrine too accepted, having finally found her father and not wanting any harm coming to him. Ruil had a mission that was directly related to Saul. He took the hand offered in order to complete his own mission. As for Corthana, gold was all the reason she needed to stay. She looked to Samarithia and said that a job opening had suddenly opened in the Cypher Lodge, and that she could have it.

The next morning gave Ruil and Gunderhoff a scare as they awoke to the screeching of metal. Looking outside, they noticed that all the weather vanes in Riddleport had twisted around and were all now pointed at the Blot in the sky.

From there, the four new companions helped Saul with the cleanup up the Golden Goblin. Once done, they did all they could to help stem the bleeding of gold the gambling hall was spewing. From guard duty by Citrine and Gunderhoff, to drink mixing by Ruil, to promotion by Corthana. Yet despite their work, they couldn't seem to attract clients. The only ones that did show up were a bunch of drunks that wanted more money after the Goblin fiasco. Luckily, Citrine and Ruil were able to calm them down and send them on their way without a fight.

There was one other visitor, and that was Samarithia. She had come to thank Corthana for her help in getting a spot in the Cypher Lodge. Once she turned her back however, Ruil noted a smile upon Corthana's lips, and it was evident that there was more to Corthana's "generosity." Perhaps it was she whom his allies had sent to look upon.

A few days later, the bartender Farur failed to show up for his shift. Saul explained that he had sent the honorable man to speak with Lymas Smeed, one of the people Saul had borrowed money from. He wished to renegotiate the loan as Saul was out of funds. He thus asked his new favorite employees to investigate what happened to Farur.

The obvious place to start was Lymas’s home. As they arrived at the house, Gunderhoff spotted something in a garbage can. It was the cloak of Farur and it had over a dozen bloody stab marks in it. As Lymas was a crime boss, as well as a moneylender, they decided on caution. Corthana offered to pick the lock on the door. After a few tries however, it was obvious she had much learning to do on the Riddleport security system as the door remained closed tight. A knock on the door did get the occupants attention as a slip opened in it. Citrine tried to negotiate her way in, but Lymas refused her entry unless she was there for a loan. Corthana then knocked, and when the slit opened, she shoved her dagger right through the hole and into Lymas’s eye.

Several moments later, Corthana finally picked the lock. Gunderhoff was the first to move in and hit a trip wire that sent a crossbow bolt into his armor. Shaking off the minor poke, the four proceeded into an empty room. There was an empty potion bottle on the ground in which had been an expensive healing potion. There was also a large pile of hay in the center of the room. Ruil stabbed down into it in the hopes of stabbing an unseen foe, When he retracted his blade, he notice he had skewered several piles of dung.

A staircase led upstairs so Gunderhoff headed that way, triggering another trap that sent a bolt grazing is hand. On the second floor, they came to a hallway. Corthana decided to use her skills to try to find any further traps. As it happened, she came upon a trip wire that was easily bypassed. At the end of the hallway was a door. After ensuring no surprises awaited the person who turned the knob, Corthana motion for Gunderhoff to proceed. It was not much of a surprise when a poison dart jabbed his open palm as he turned the door knob.

As the dwarf entered, he was hit again by a crossbow bolt fired by Lymas who had been waiting behind a desk. In the far corner of the room, a baboon was frothing at the mouth in anger at seeing strangers. Lymas demanded that the four leave his home. He was clearly outnumbered, making the threat a hollow one. Citrine demanded the whereabouts of Farur, but Lymas denied knowing anything about the man. Yet there seemed to be a glimmer in his eye as though he was hiding something. That was enough to spring the battle into action.

Citrine blessed everyone, giving them confidence in their strikes. It definitely inspired Corthana as she charged the baboon and dropped it dead with a single thrust to the throat with her dagger. Gunderhoff moved in swinging, but Lymas was able to dodge the attack and counter with a sword swipe that bounced off the dwarf’s armor. Ruil moved in next to her fighting comrade and slashed Lymas across his ribs with her great sword. That left the crime lord wheezing for breath as one of his lungs was punctured. Citrine then walked up to the broken man and clubbed him over the head with the hilt of her scimitar, knocking him unconscious.

A quick search of the house turned up nothing out of the ordinary, leaving only Lymas as a source for information. After a healing wave from Gunderhoff, he was questioned more about the disappearance of the bartender. He remained adamant about his story about not knowing anything, even suggesting that someone might have been trying to implicate him with the bloody cloak in his garbage can. As he either refused to or simply didn't know any information, they were left with two options: kill Lymas or let him live.

In the end, Citrine came up with a very generous offer. She would give the crime lord 500 gold. In exchange, Lymas would reduce the debt to Saul from 3000, to 1000 gold. They would also take his possessions, what little there was. Lymas accepted the offer, while secretly promising sweet and painful revenge for them and for Saul. Thus the four bodyguards left Lymas to wallow in misery and contemplation over the counter attack that most undoubtedly would be on the near horizon.
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DM Comments 03: Smoke Ladder
Chapter One: Shadow in the Sky
 
As I've mentioned before, I play in another D&D group in French. I've had roughly three characters, two of which entered a campaign part way in as, do to how few times they play, their campaigns go on for years. Recently (about a year ago) one of their campaigns finally ended and I was able to create a new character from the beginning. I decided to make a gnome wujen, a class I had never played before. On a side note, when the other players found out I was playing a gnome, they all decided to make either gnomes or dwarfs. Anyway, as I looked through the spells, many of which are unique to the wujen, I decided to pick a very unique spell called smoke ladder. All it does is it creates a ladder of smoke twenty feet plus five feet per level. This ladder can be carried around and weights nothing.

It has turned out to be my greatest of spells.

It seems that every session, a situation comes up where I can use it. Whether its climbing a tree after everyone repeatedly fails their climb checks. Or going to the top of a tower instead of risking the interior. I have saved someone from a pit trap after they were unable to climb out. I have spanned a crevasse that we had no way of going around. I have placed it upon a slippery floor, so that we wouldn't fall. And at one point I had a very annoying kobold NPC with me that I despised. So I summoned a smoke ladder to go down from a tower. After my character (Scalpelexis Twiddlefingers) went down, the kobold started to follow. At which point I dismissed the ladder, killing him in the fall. The DM forced an alignment change on my character from chaotic good to chaotic neutral, but couldn't deny that it was one of the funniest things he had ever seen.

In one of the earlier sessions, I had been tasked with slaying some cockatrices for a mage. After I succeeded, I decided to take a handful of feathers as you never know when they could come in handy. Last session with my character part of the group of players a year later, we were tasked by a dryad to go to a cave and kill a bunch of cockatrices to prove we were worthy enough for the information she had for us. Now a meta-game player (essentially someone who uses rules to maximize their character) would have gone on the quest because of the experience points it would have garnered, and in my case a level up as I wasn't missing much. However, I had Scalpelexis say to the dryad that we had taken shelter in the cave on our way and had destroyed the cockatrices already, and showed her all the feathers I had collected. After I nice 16 bluff roll and a 1 on the dryads sense motive check, the DM had the dryad give us the info. The other players were disappointed that I denied them xp because of my wit, but I was laughing in my head as I had found a simple way around a combat situation. The DM did award a few xp just for my character of course.

So why am I writing about my character? Well, for one, it gives me a chance to talk about him as he is starting to become one of my favorite characters of all time. Two, because every session brings an unexpected occasion where unique situations can be bypassed with unique ideas. Everything does not have to be hack and slash, we win the day. Everything does not have to be linear even though it looks that way. Last session, you all showed a perfect example by talking down the drunks when you could have easily dropped them with a sword thrust. Then there was the stab to the eye of Lymas through the peep hole.

As a DM, I absolutely love seeing things like that, as my other DM enjoys all of Scalpelexis's unorthodox moves (and there have been many). Using or bending the rules to get from point A to point B by using the pentagram theorem (another thing that happened in my last French session) can be more fun that simply fireballing a group of enemies. And I think this current group of characters runs the risk of finding alternate means to succeed as they are a little underpowered compared to MoK.

We have had similar ideas in the past, though not many. The one that always comes to mind is the rolling rum, where we often lit a rum barrel on fire and rolled it into an enemy-filled room with the predicted consequences. If there is something you want your character to do, and you don't see a way in the rules to do it, there is a good chance we'll make it work anyway, or at least give your character a chance at it. After all, it's near impossible to use your whip to loop around a dragons mouth to prevent it from biting or using its breath weapon. Running along its back to get to is eye however, is a possibility.

I have no complaints at all with how you are all playing. In fact, I see advancement in your level of play that overmatches all the previous years. It is why being a DM for you all is so much fun. I know there will be a little bit of unpredictability in every session that is not covered in the words of the Second Darkness campaign setting. The only thing that should ever hold your character back is your own imaginations which, even at 2am, are always ready to bluff that ones fireball burned everyone in the room because the floor was covered with oil. Til next time.

Chris
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Summary 02: A Scribe's Last Words
Prologue
 
Citadel Rivad, sixty miles west of Westcrown.

Inking his quill to write the first words of, what he hoped would a masterpiece of history, Scribbler Ribald began his arduous task. He looked upon all the notes he had collected over the many years months, and started from the beginning:

Corthana Trannyth, one of the lowly gophers of the Cypher Lodge, was summoned by Elias Tammerhawk, the high diviner. After hearing of the mission, the lovely Corthana went with gusto to find the location of acolyte Ortese who had gone missing in search of something bizarre in the magical nature.

After saving a dwarf named Gunderhoff, or The Hoff as be would later be known as, from being buried alive, the two followed the magical emanations given off by Corthana's wand. They soon arrived at a…


Scribbler Ribald felt absolutely nothing as the blade slashed on an angle from neck to heart, ensuring death. The killer gathered up Ribald's notes, leaving only the blood-spattered page that the man had been in the process writing. It would serve as a silent warning to those who dared speak of what had been discovered that day. Such knowledge was a much reserved feat to possess. After wiping the blade clean on the scribes brown robes, the killer disappeared in the night, and leaving the Hellknight Stronghold of Citadel Rivad behind.
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Summary 01: I Am Vancaskerkin
Prologue
 
Many months had pasted since the lovely Citrine Summerbreeze had been searching for her father, Sir Alaster The Morninglord. Like her father, she had sworn her soul to the goddess Sarenrae. Now her devotion and her research had led her to Riddleport, City of the Cyphergate. For it was here, that her father had apparently run off to in an attempt to research a calamity in the sky; a dark blot that many saw as a harbinger of doom to come. Citrine hoped that twas not the case, as she had decided to follow in her fathers footsteps.

After many hours of searching, she came upon a clue, or rather a place to acquire a clue. It was said that the House of the Silken Veil was a place where all ones wants could be granted. The building was officially a temple to Calistria, but within its walls, one would not find anything that seemed religious. Debauchery, drugs, and drinking were the pleasure to be found everywhere. It was also a place where information could be easily found, and no one in Riddleport had more contacts than Highpriestess Shorafa Pamodae. She was a tiefling who it was rumored, had been blessed by her goddess so as to be the most beautiful tiefling upon Golarion.

After sampling a dark sunrise, one of the local drinks, Citrine was greeted by an elf. A rarity in their own right, for such a refined creature to be found in such an unrefined place, was a first. He said his name was Ruil Coressther, and that he had been waiting for Citrine. He ordered for himself the same drink as her, noticing with his keen eye as the bar lass dropped a small pill within the drink. Ruil accosted the lass for the transgression, but she said simply that it was the norm as it heightened the mood of the drinker. Citrine, who had already imbibed, hoped she would not be affected, as she needed all her wits.

Ruil explained that he was looking for Sir Alaster, and that he was aware he was the father of Citrine. After asking what his business was, he responded by saying that he represented a group of individuals who wanted the man. This put the cleric on the defensive, but the elf seemed relatively harmless, and an extra set of eyes would help in her search. They thus decided to ally themselves.

Citrine had already placed her information inquiry, and she and Ruil were soon acknowledged by Shorafa herself. She told them that Sir Alaster had traveled to an old temple to Sarenrae called St. Caspierian's Salvation. It was a place where the destitute went to get off the streets or seek shelter where none could be found. And so the two companions left to investigate.

Along the way, a kid ran past them. This time it was Citrine's eyes that picked out the kid stealing something from Ruil's pouch. They ran after the kid and cornered him and Ruil lifted the kid easily off his feet. He was obviously poor, and after Citrine schooled the boy on how others would be a lot less kind to thieves, she gave the boy two gold coins in exchange for what he stole. Think just how well thieving could pay now, he handed over the strange green lantern he had stolen. Ruil started casting a spell to startle the kid, then quenched it, with the elf seeing something strange; that of a purple mist coming from his hand where he was about to send a bolt of magic flying. It lasted only a second, but even Citrine took note.

Soon enough, the searchers came to their destination. A beggar outside asked for gold, but the elf and human simply presented him with questions which he had no answers for. He did advise they not go upstairs as any who went up there never came down.

Within St. Caspierian's wall, they saw many people hunched upon the ancient pews that had been constructed from its founder, Saint Caspierian. There were many people, all taking refuge from the trials outside. One man, wearing only a soiled loin cloth and handmade angle wings, asked if he could save Ruil and Citrine. He promised to give them Sarenrae's blessing like he had to many others. Once received, their lives would be complete. The offer was refused however, as there was a man praying by an alter that was clearly the high priest.

The two approached Father Patrick and his advisor Jhonas. Upon the wall, Sarenrae's holy symbol was only barely visible as age and vandalism had reduced it to a faded outline. After questioning the father about Sir Alaster, be acknowledged that the man had indeed arrived some months ago. He had upstairs, but that was the last he had seen of the man. Like the beggar, Patrick advised they not go upstairs as there was nothing but trouble awaiting. Both Ruil and Citrine were armed for such an eventuality, and took the stairs to the second level.

They soon began exploring rooms. The first locked door they came to, they bashed in, and came face to face with three small scorpions, and their handlers who were definitely not roguish. The scorpions stung and clawed and Ruil as be was the first in line. Their tiny forms proved difficult to hit, but soon their bodies had been squashed. Ruil then moved into the confined room to deal with the human named Rasper. As he did so, Rasper's orcish friend Badeye caved in Ruil's skull with a vicious morningstar hit. The cleric closed some of the elf’s cuts as Ruil cleaved the human's spine in two with his greatsword.

That left Badeye and the half-orc was as tough as he looked. Ruil fought valiantly but dropped after a small exchange of blows thus leaving the heavily armored cleric to deal with. Badeye took a couple of cuts from Citrine’s scimitar in a lengthy exchange between the two but eventually found the opening he was looking for. He smashed the cleric with an upper cut of his morningstar and Citrine dropped to the ground.

Both the elf and human were startled to awaken alive, downstairs before Father Patrick. He had healed their wounds, and said the men from upstairs had dumped their bodies at his feet. Sadly, all their valuables had been taken. For Citrine, that was truly a great loss, as she had yet to place her funds in any bank. Undeterred however, both warriors took up chair legs and returned upstairs. They entered an unexplored room and were lucky enough to come upon the valuables that had been taken from them.

They continued searching, and entered a room with an elf archer and another man who seemed to be a surgeon as he was standing next to a table with various instruments for the trade. Brandy the Surgeon was quick to fall with a quick blade strike. That left Garphael the archers with his hands to his sides, not wanting to fight anymore. After some questioning, he was able to finally give the answers that Citrine was looking for. It seemed that Sir Alaster had come for a little surgery to change his image, including the insertion of a metal hook to replace the hand that had obviously been recently amputated. Sir Alaster then returned the bar that he owned called the Golden Goblin.

Before leaving, they decide to search the premises more thoroughly in search for more clues. From the doorway, the beggar from outside appeared. He advised them that he had been kind enough to grant them their lives, but that it was time for them to move on. Ruil had detected a note of malice in the beggar originally, and seemed to multiply tenfold as the man was not at all what he seemed. In fact, his name was Beltias Kreun and he was the leader of the band of thieves occupying the temple. The two thus left, with Citrine sending a silent promise to Sarenrae that she would return.

Soon they arrived at the Golden Goblin gambling hall. It was clear that there was some great event in the process of being organized. Behind the bar, the proprietor was washing mugs. He looked up and started it surprise at seeing his daughter enter through the front door, and Citrine too started it surprise at seeing the name of the proprietor’s name upon a plaque. Sir Alaster asked that Citrine sit down as he had a lot of things to say. Most importantly that his name was not, nor had it ever been Alaster. His real name was:

Saul Vancaskerkin.
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