We were introduced to our new adventurers beginning with the Blue Baron, who was approached by an old underworld contact with an interesting job proposition to steal two jeweled artifacts for a great deal of coin. He found out only so much about the mysterious contract before his contact was killed by a pair of assassins who sought the Baron’s blood in kind. Thinking quickly, he evaded his foes and decided to pursue the contract by seeking out a renown relic hunter who had knowledge of the obscure Jade Eyes.
Osterios, the aforementioned expert in curios, took full advantage of the religious revolution in Turan and creatively acquired semi-precious stones and icons from an abandoned shrine to a deity older than Erlick. Upon selling his wares to a fence, he was directed to a local watering hole where someone had been asking for his services. And thus, Osterios was introduced to the Baron and his contract over drink and conversation. Having heard of the Jade Eyes, Osterios pointed out that only two existed and, according to legend, one resided with a witch queen of sorts to the lands east of Khitai. The other resided with Corinthian nobility. In particular, a woman known as Phaedra Mekersk; the Countess of Striset.
Meanwhile, Captain Lucianna the Red’s ship, El Corazon Roto, had been damaged at sea and been sitting in a Shem port for months awaiting expensive repairs. Not having enough coin at hand to cover those repairs, she had taken on several well paying caravan protection duties that led to the city of Shadizar, on the borders of Zamora and Turan. All seemed well until it was apparent that the recent turmoil in the region had spilled unto Shadizar in the form of a siege. The caravan diverted into the closest nearest river city of Akif. It was there that Lucianna sought out a fight club nestled in the depths of a local mortuary. After making some quick coin, she noticed that she was being followed by a cloaked figure. Giving chase, she overpowered her lurker and tackled him into the confines of a local pub, shattering the bannister and destroying the table where the Baron and Osterious sat.
Across the drinking hall floor an already drunken Nordheimer named Fritjof and his companions Seram and Artemios watched as the commotion caused a large bar brawl to ensue. Before things could get too out of hand, however, the lights in the pub dimmed and a cold wind blew into the common room. Many of the patrons heard strange whispers from long dead souls, prompting them to quickly vacate the premises. Just then, Kwaris entered looking very different since his journey back from the Eye of Xotli.
The Baron stripped an expensive gold vambrace from the now unconscious pursuer to pay the bartender for repairs. Noting that Lucianna’s attacker appeared to be Stygian in origin, he informed his old travelling companion that he was recently targeted by similarly dressed assailants as far away as Kordava. Both adventurers agreed that this seemed like the work of a previous shared enemy from their times on the Crimson Isle; Petrusa Yare.
As introductions were being made, Seram discovered a soiled writ from King Karis himself near its unconscious courier. The message was addressed to Fritjof, Artemios and Kwaris, requesting aid in escorting his son Casimir from Talamar to Karis’ city of Karthane before his scheduled wedding to the Countess of Striset in the winter. Agreeing to accompany these new adventurers on their journey to Casimir’s keep in the south Vilayet, the Baron, Lucianna and Osterios entered into an accord to steal the Jade Eye from the Countess and split the profits amongst themselves.
Our adventurers thus joined a large column of Karis’ troops as they headed to Talamar. Approaching the keep, the commander’s scouts reported a weakened force belonging to a local warlord that was encamped in a large basin, blocking off access to the trail that led up a large cliffside and to the keep itself. Once the order was given, Karis’ forces flooded the basin and killed many of the warlord’s forces. The captives begged the commander to abandon the basin, warning of shadows and terrors in the night.
Kwaris’ sorcerous ways allowed him to ascertain that the very grounds around the keep and in the area were cursed. Whispers of the various souls on the bloody battlefield whispered one name in unison for their demise; Phaedra Mekersk.
The commander dispatched an emissary to the keep to deliver Karis’ request to Casimir and to ask permission for his forces to enter the keep and rest after a long and arduous journey. Seeing a possible opportunity to enter the stronghold and steal the Jade Eye, The Baron and his crew accompanied the messenger. To their shock, Casimir’s men fired volleys of arrows at their company, killing the emissary in the process. Riding back to the encampment, things only got worse as night fell and a strange mist began to seep into the basin, bringing ghostly shades and shadows to life…