While carousing in The Owl’s Feather Inn, a drunk former adventurer stumbles over to the table where our
inebriated intrepid party is seated. Too impaired to join the conversation in any meaningful way, he passes out across the table; just as the bouncer comes to remove the old drunkard from the Inn, Erroll notices and swiftly pockets three tattered slips of card from the man’s threadbare coat pocket.
Shortly after, a pair of thugs from parts unknown make their way through the front door of the inn. After a brief exchange with the bouncer, the thugs beeline for the table. Noticing something is amiss, Momma Gyrda slyly informs the party of the thugs’ presence and apparent intent, as well as of the existence of a back door, emptying into a seldom-used access alley.
While the majority of the party exits the Inn as swiftly and unobtrusively as possible, Cecil and Dru move to the center of the Inn, Dru shapeshifting into a wild boar. Their intimidation tactic was successful and the thugs fled the tavern, terrified of the crazed monster before them, as well as the wild boar. Dru and Cecil rejoined the others in the attic behind the Owl’s Feather, where Gyrda was offering assistance to the party.
“Those cards you picked up, halfling, are of great interest to some folk around town. People are whispering. I’d advise you to be very careful about who you choose to talk to about them. Those two men in the Inn were after those cards. My son Audun is a Man-at-Arms for the Duke’s men down at the barracks on the south end of town. He can help you get out of Greybark.”
Trusting the renowned Mother of Swords, the party followed Gyrda to the barracks and met with Audun, who offered a small wagon and pair of horses to get the adventurers to where they needed to go. Ultimately, it was decided that the group should travel to Azloria, the City of Prophets, to meet up with Aldara’s friend Penelope and try to find more information about the cards waiting in Erroll’s pocket.
En route to Azloria, the team was beset by a Hill Giant when they stopped to make camp. Aldara cast an illusion to distract the Hill Giant with two leaping, magically-sparkling goats. Thankfully, Hill Giants don’t think clearly when they’re hungry, and he bounded off into the night, slavering and grunting, “mmm, goats!”
There is a tale among the bards / Don’t let an asshole get the cards…
Upon arrival in Azloria, the party began to seek out information. An appointment was made to meet with the Prophets, sanctioned by the city government and serving travelers and pilgrims from across the land. While waiting for the appointment, Penelope revealed to Aldara and the rest of the party that she had heard rumors that The Reverent Key had sent men to Greybark looking for some incredibly powerful artifact. It was decided that the party should split up and seek answers around the city, making use of its unique position as a major travel hub as a source of information.
Arder devised a signaling system whereby each member of the party would smoke a pipe. By linking herself to the burning embers of the pipes, Arder could be alerted should any tragedy befall her partymates.
Dru and Astrafel
In the Laughing Snail Tavern, Isembart the innkeeper let slip that the widely reviled Prince Jordanus has the Prophets in his pocket. “They’ll give you information, sure,” said Isembart, “but it won’t be anything the Prince won’t want you to know…”
Aldara and Erroll
A trip to the Little Pixie, a shop famed for its incredible collection of magical artifacts, revealed more information about the cards Erroll claimed. Not only are the cards part of a Whispering Deck, but they are in fact likely to be cards from the Whispering Deck, the archetypal deck of cards that every fortune teller’s cartomantic props are copied from.
The deck itself is immensely powerful, and it’s said that the cards of the true Whispering Deck will find a way to come together. They exert their influence on their bearers, and if collected and ritualized could bring about immeasurable upheaval.
The shopkeep also happened to have a few members of the deck’s rank, and he would make them available for trade, for a fair price…
Cecil and Niskadora
The Temple of the Reverent Key, the religious cult Penelope mentioned, has a branch temple in the vast streets of Azloria. Cecil and Niskadora paid a visit and spoke with one of the Ordinates of the temple, who suggested that perhaps if Niskadora or her friends had one or more of the cards, that they should be brought to the Temple immediately, and that they should not let slip to anyone else that they may have come to hold the cards. Members of a rival faction, the High Order of the Brothers of the Sun, would be onto them if they found out about the cards.
“In fact,” he said, “that was why we sent two of our Ordinacy to Greybark! Yes, of course! We had heard that the Brothers of the Sun were there and that they were trying to track down these cards! We had to stop them! It’s such a good thing that you’re here in Azloria now…”
The next day…
Deciding it would be prudent to honor their appointment with the City Prophets, the party reconvened the next afternoon and made their way to the massive structure that served as the Prophets’ center of operations. The meeting was brief, but insightful:
“Of course, the existence of a real Whispering Deck is just a fairy tale, a story told by fortune tellers who want to get one over on the common people. Such a thing can not possibly exist. If it did, of course, it would be unimaginably powerful, as I’m sure you can imagine. But it doesn’t. Of course, if there were such a thing, its owners would have to be very careful. But there’s no such thing. Of course."