Tales of the Righteous Vanguard

Part Six: Loose Ends Chapter 7

It was on the 3rd day of Coldeven, in the Common Year of 580, when the Righteous Vanguard began their investigation into the crimes that would eventually lead them to the current residence of the mage Bronwynn. After speaking with numerous people about the latest string of burglaries, including Derider Fanshen and the latest victim of the crimes, Aaron Strachan, the Ambassador of Furyondy, the band decided they needed some divine assistance in determining their next step. Realizing that their were dozens of wealthy citizens in town who could be the next potential victim and that, unlike in Branko’s case there was no warning of where the thieves would strike next, the band needed some kind of clue that would narrow down the list of possible targets.

So the following morning, Gildor, as soon as he was able to, cast a divination spell asking for advice on where to expect the next place for Bronwynn’s puppets to make a burglary attempt. The advice given was to seek out the old residence of the “Crazed One”. Believing the divination spell was referring to Zagig, the Mad Archmage, who once ruled over Greyhawk and was the builder of the famed Castle Greyhawk, the group asked Sturtevant about an old residence of his, hoping there was another place besides the monster infested castle ruins that lay just north of the city. Sturtevant told them about an exotic estate that was once the summer home of Zagig’s within the city, just to the southeast of the wharf gate. It was now the residence of Count Reichart Petrides, the Ambassador of the Duchy of Urnst.

Once this was discovered, the band wanted to stake out the place without making it look obvious that they expected a burglary attempt. So they spoke with Derider Fanshen and had her send extra guards to various other wealthy homes, hoping it would help to cover any suspicions when they went to speak with Count Petrides. When they got to the estate, only Nero and Gildor actually went and spoke to the count while the others stayed back and observed the area from a distance. The two explained to the count what was happening, who then showed them around the house as they examined potential areas where a puppet thief could enter and any things that might be stolen. Once this was done, it was simply a matter of hiding and waiting for the burglars to arrive. So, in the meantime, the band got some rest, and returned in the evening for the stakeout.

Aejiri picked a spot on the city’s nearby outer wall where he could easily observe most of the mansion’s roof top, Nicholas hid in the bushes at the edge of the estate, Nero waited inside while invisible, Gildor disguised himself as one of the many stuffed creatures that were displayed all around the house, and Kieranen posed as the only visible guard out front along with the two other guards who regularly lived and worked at the estate.

Late that night, shortly after one in the morning, Gildor heard the sound of something moving in a nearby room. When he crept over to investigate, he saw that a shallow pan of soot in the fireplace, previously placed there by the band, had been disturbed and that there were tiny footprints in it. But rather than immediately alerting his companions, Gildor decided to wait and see if anything else occurred. After a while, when he realized nothing else was going to happen, he ran and told Nero, and the band quickly began their efforts to track down the thieves. Fortunately, the band had also previously mixed into the pan of soot the crushed petals of a strong smelling flower, knowing that puppets would have no sense of smell and would not detect it. This strong smelling flower was then easily tracked by Nicholas’s wolf, which then led them outside and on to the trail of the fleeing puppet, despite the puppet’s head start.

Oddly enough however, no puppet was ever seen coming or going from the estate and even more puzzling was the fact that the scent of the flowers led them straight to the city’s wall, which probably meant that the puppet was not only invisible, but very likely had a fly spell cast on it, since it is doubtful that a potion would have any effect on a puppet. Whatever the case, the band had to quickly get to the other side of the wall and the nearest city gate was closed. So Gildor cast a passwall spell on the wall and the band moved through. From there, they followed the wolf into the hills and woods north of the city where they eventually came upon an old tower nestled in a small valley and hidden from the view of the city.

The band then observed the tower from a distance, seeing that there were a number of light sources from within, and began devising a plan of attack. Certain that this tower was the residence of Bronwynn and recalling how she had fled from them on their last encounter, the band wanted to get to her as quickly as possible. Several elaborate ideas involving attempts to enter through the second or third floors were brought up, but in the end they decided to simply enter from the first floor through another impromptu entrance created by a passwall spell from Gildor. This they did, but as soon as Nicholas entered, he was attacked by an animated tapestry. Easily brushing past this he then missed the stairs leading up and ran through a dinning area into the kitchen of the tower. Aejiri followed right behind and began to head down the stairs into the basement. The rest of the band however, spotted the stairs going up and went in that direction causing Nicholas and Aejiri to turn around and back track after them.

On the second floor they came to a room where four animated suits of armor approached them. But Gildor dealt with them easily enough by throwing up a wall of stone and cutting them off. It was not until they reached the third and upper most floor that they encountered their first difficult opposition. There they ran into a huge stone golem that threatened to crush them and breathed out a smoke that threatened to slow them down. Kieranen hammered away at the huge construct with his sword and though he did manage to damage it, it was slow going.

So Gildor came up with a clever idea and cast a spell that caused the floor below the golem to give way, sending the golem down to the second floor out of harms way. From there, the group burst through a door and into Bronwynn’s large bedchamber. But Bronwynn had obviously heard the group coming and had just enough time to cast a few spells of her own. One of them apparently had summoned three large earth elementals, which were now standing between Bronwynn and the band. Aejiri managed to slip past the three elementals and began attacking the mage, while the others either attacked from a distance or focused on the elementals. Early on in the battle Bronwynn cast a spell that cause Nicholas to become confused and effectively took him out of the fight. But the rest of the band continued on fairly well despite receiving a number of wounds in return.

At one point, it became clear that one of Bronwynn’s puppets was attacking while remaining invisible even though it never actually hit anything. So Gildor cast an invisibility purge spell and the puppet known as the Jester then appeared. Soon afterwards the Jester received a few attacks as well and very nearly met its demise at that time. Eventually one of the earth elementals was taken down and by that time the band had begun to press in on Bronwynn and was disrupting her spell casting, despite the fact that she had caused some damage in return. But things were getting desperate for her at this point. So she grabbed the Jester and, apparently using a command word of some sort, suddenly disappeared.

Nero realized however that she had cast a dimension door spell and could not be far away. After stating this fact, Gildor cast a locate object spell and discovered that she was now down below the band. So Aejiri jumped out of a window and used his monk abilities to avoid taking damage from the fall while Nero did the same using his ring of feather fall. Kieranen just turned and headed down the stairs. Seeing that she was not outside, Nero and Aejiri realized she must be in the basement. So they turned and went back inside. Unfortunately, Nero entered through the back door where a magical symbol of pain went off and caused Nero to experience excruciating pain.

And as if this was not bad enough, Nicholas was left behind in a state of confusion against two large earth elementals while Gildor, for some unknown reason, intentionally dropped down into the hole he had created for the stone golem. So, not only did Gildor receive some minor damage from the fall, he now found himself in a locked room all by himself against a stone golem that began to beat on him. Fortunately his ring of freedom of movement kept him from being effected by the golem’s breath. But, nevertheless, his situation appeared to be quite dire indeed at this point.



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