Tales of the Righteous Vanguard

Part Eleven: Vecna Lives! – Chapter 4

By the end of Earthday, the 6th day of Reaping, in the Common Year of 581, the
Righteous Vanguard had learned a great deal about what the Circle of Eight was
investigating when they were apparently killed, including the fact that they believed that
the Eye and the Hand of Vecna had something to do with all the divination spells that had
been going awry, as well as the ominous signs of warning about the future of Greyhawk. In
fact, it was almost certainly the Eye and the Hand of Vecna, wielded by a warlord named
Halmadar the Cruel, which was largely responsible for the deaths of the Circle of Eight. By
this point, the Righteous Vanguard had also learned much about the Cult of Vecna, which
was also somehow connected to recent events, and which appeared to be working against
them.
With all the information they had gathered, from various libraries and temples, to certain
people in the River Quarter and at the wharves, the band decided to spend the rest of the
evening devising plans and creating strategies for combating the growing evil that they
might eventually confront. But one thing appeared certain at this point – to learn much
more, they would need to travel to either Verbobanc or the Kron Hills and continue their
investigations there. And so, before leaving Greyhawk, a list of supplies was created that
they might need to carry-out the plans they had devised, including a few magic items that
they would look for.
On the following day then, Freeday the 7th, the band set out to gather the supplies they
had put on their list. Their first stop was at Sturtevant’s mansion. Sturtevant had been
a resident of Greyhawk for longer than anyone really knew and a good friend of the
Righteous Vanguard for a couple of years, having been of great aid to the band during
the expulsion of the Spurned Cult of Iuz. The more long-standing members of the band
also knew that Sturtevant had a sizable collection of magic items. So they went to him
first to see if he might have any of the magic items they sought after. They found that,
while Sturtevant did have several nice magic items he was willing to sell, he did not have
what they were looking for. However, Sturtevant did decide it was time to let the newer
members of the Righteous Vanguard, Alavarius and Dravos, in on their little secret
– which was the fact that Sturtevant was actually a Greyhawk dragon. The band also
discussed with him their current line of investigation. But Sturtevant was unable to add any
information on the subject to what they already knew.
With this done, Nero and Maximo went to the Guild of Wizardry to see what magic
items they might have for sale, while the rest of the band went on to buy some of the more
mundane items on their list.

At the Guild, Nero was again disappointed that they did not have any of the items he
was looking for. However, they did have a couple of items he was interested in. One of
these items was a Well of Many Worlds, for which Nero had to sell a few magic items in
order to afford. The other item was a Tome of Leadership and Influence, which Nero
talked Kondradis Bubka into holding for him.
Once Nero was finished at the Wizard’s Guild, he met up with his companions again
and they gathered the rest of the items on their list, which included several tower shields
that they hoped would be an effective defense against a silence spell. These, along with a
number of other items, they loaded into Nero’s portable hole.
With this done, Nero, now disguised as a Rhennee and calling himself Aejiri, went to the
wharves to speak with the Rhennee noble, Avrel Riskar. On the previous day, Nero had
received a message at the Whistling Fish Inn for him, as Aejiri, to go and see the Rhennee
noble. So, following the instructions on the note, Nero went to the wharves, found the
right barge, which was guarded by several more Rhennee, and was soon ushered into the
cabin on the barge, where he introduced himself to Avrel. The Rhennee noble questioned
Nero on how he knew about their problems with the cult and how he was able to leave
a message for him in his cabin, to which Nero admitted that not only was he an arcane
spellcaster but also that he was not actually a Rhennee. But he assured Avrel that he was
an enemy of the Cult of the Seeing Hand, as the Rhennee called it, and that he intended to
seek them out in Verbobanc and put an end to the cult. Avrel appeared to be convinced
of Nero’s intentions and asked how Nero planned to travel to Verbobanc. Nero then told
him that he had booked passage on a barge owned by Yagos Slevak. At the mention of the
name of Yagos Slevak, Avrel showed a definite look of concern as he glanced at the other
Rhennee there in the cabin. When Nero asked about this, he was told that Yagos had a
poor reputation and was not well-liked among most of the Rhennee. But Nero told Avrel
that he was not going to concern himself with any rivalries between various clans of the
Rhennee. So, with that, Avrel wished him good luck, and Nero went on his way.
Soon afterwards, Nero met back up with his companions at the Cargo Gate and they
headed into the River Quarter on their way to Kieranen’s home. Partly because they knew
they would be setting out on a barge in the morning, they all decided to stay at Kieranen’s
house instead of Nero’s Tower as it was much closer to the wharves.
But along the way, at about half an hour before sundown, they were suddenly ambushed.
Fortunately, several members of the band reacted very quickly and were able to act before
they were actually attacked. Most of the attackers were either the Blood of Vecna or the
Fingers of Vecna, which are fighters and rogues in the cult of Vecna. But one of the
attackers was recognized as a regular patron at the River Rat, a Rhennee by the name of
Almarth the Halt. Another one of the attackers was a Memory, or lesser priest, of Vecna,
whom the band had heard of, named Ofdar.

Nero was among the first to act in the battle and with a fly spell that was already active,
he flew up and cast a black tentacles spell which caught in its clutches several of the
attackers. Following this, most of the band attacked with weapons and magic missile spells
while the cultists closed in on them. Almarth the Halt used a chime of interruption to try
and disrupt the band’s spellcasting. But it had virtually no effect on the band. The priest
meanwhile, cast a flamestrike spell which hit Nero, Maximo and Nicholas’ wolf Whistler.
But the attackers were unable to get much more than this accomplished as they were hit
with another black tentacles spell and Almarth was grappled and pinned to the ground by
Dravos and his whip dagger. The priest was then disintegrated by Nero and the battle came
to an end soon afterwards.
With Almarth now captured and all the other attackers dead, Alavarius tended to injuries
while the bodies were searched. A few magic items were found, several of the cult’s
symbols and, in the pile of dust which was all that remained of the priest, a curious note
with what appeared to be command words on it. The City Watch began showing up after
a few minutes, and the band explained to them what had happened. They convinced the
City Watch to let them question Almarth before turning him over. Then they took him to
Kieranen’s house where they began an interrogation.
While Alavarius had a detect thoughts spell going, Nero did the questioning. Fortunately,
the detect thoughts spell was one of the few divination spells that still seemed to be
working, so they were able to learn some good information. One of the most important
things they learned was that Yagos Slevak was also a member of the cult. Realizing this,
the band wanted to kill Yagos. But it then occurred to them that killing Yagos might cause
problems with other Rhennee. So Nero decided to return to the wharves and speak again
to Avrel Riskar.
A short while later, Nero was telling Avrel that Yagos was a member of the cult. Avrel
told him that he had tried to warn Nero, and said that he would take care of Yagos, which
almost certainly meant that Yagos would be dead by sunrise. Nero then told Avrel that he
would no longer have anyone to take him and his companions to Verbobanc and asked if
he could help him. Avrel agreed to do so and told him to be at the wharves in the morning
with his companions, and to look for the barge called the Gilfar. He would have the
captain of the barge, Andros Yagosnich and his crew, take them to Verbobanc.
With these new arrangements made, Nero returned to Kieranen’s house and told his
companions what he had discussed with Avrel.

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