Toward The Edge Of The World

A Rose for a King
That is not the King!

In the morning, a runner bring us instructions on how to dress (outing-wear). We report to our assigned location, are given a briefing, and head out to a classic Polish Court Outing. The proceedings formally start with the arrival of the King and Queen to a brief fanfare. All of us are approached by a seeming unending stream of important people, most of them curious to meet a group from Montenegro. The King is middle-aged, of Polish blood (unlike some of the other nobles). As tall as I am, and moderately skilled. The Queen is almost as tall and slim, and I keep thinking she might have Elven blood. Later, Mery points out that the Queen ran interference for the King, to keep him out of very in-depth conversations. Milo notices that he seems to need a high level of focus for many common tasks, like taking a drink.

Mery drags me over to meet King Leopold Mathis. When I mention that Berringer had suggested we stop by, the Queen seems a bit more relaxed. The King invites us to have brand with them that evening.

During some of the outing discussions, a Winged Hussar named Kjorovich and I strike up a conversation. He seemed interesting in swapping war stories and perhaps thoughts about the Summer offensive. We make some loose plans for the next day.

Jared reports that the King, over the past year, has been looking for people to take on some sort of complicated quest for probably an artifact. Some mercenaries were hired and disappeared. Many of the younger men think the Queen has been stepping out on the King, and is sleeping separately.

Milo heads off to see Bishop Harlan Knox for a courtesy visit. Mery, Kell, and I take Bo off for dinner while Tomas keeps some older nobles company.

At brandy, the Queen tells us that many other groups have been engaged or consulted, to no avail. The Queen indicates that the King’s illegitimate son (she is infertile) is sick, in a way that defies common healing. Word reached the King of an artifact that would heal his son. After so many others tried, the King eventually went off on the quest on his own. His most trusted valet, Argyle, has taken the place of the King. At that point the valet resumes his normal shape — much shorter and fairly nondescript — almost featureless.

The valet reveals that he is one of the (Russian word for) Soulless. I mention hearing that soulless were assassins. He tells us that perhaps some fringe religious sects of the soulless might be in that category. Most avoid contact. Mery of course, proceeds to question him extensively. In antiquity, Russian mages created the original soulless, with “lines” of descendants with particular traits. They all look fairly featureless, and can assume the appearance of pretty much anyone. Most of the soulless are kept as slaves. They represent a secret that most Ancient Russian bloodlines want to keep hidden.

The King’s son has been sick for over a year. Somewhat sudden onset. The Queen gives Milo a letter to get him in to see the King’s son. The King’s reign (election) was a little over two years ago.

The Queen gives us a drawing of a rose, that is linked to the artifact we are about to seek, along with a notebook of information gathered by the King. Milo recognizes some of the legend, that the rose can heal anything, and that most scholars think it does not exist.

The Queen asks us to either find her King, or find the rose. For her benefit, the King.

Milo visits the Kings son for a close-up diagnosis. Thin, pale, sunken cheeks, coughing fits yielding blood, generally dying slowly. The caregivers have a journal of prior treatments, which range from the mundane to exotic, including heavy-hitter Sarinae priests.

I drag Mery with me to see Kjorivich, and we swap stories of the big battle where my King was assassinated. The more we talk, the more we validate that there was deliberate sabotage of the battle plan at a key juncture. We bond and promise to reconcile accounts with those responsible.

We start exploring plans, considering how to best use the Wayfinder. One idea is to take multiple readings and somehow use a map to figure out how to get as close as possible with rings or other creative fast travel. Jared heads to the Navigator’s Guild, Milo to get Lynn’s help, and I work to resupply.

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Arriving in Warsaw
We are marked.

Garrick stays behind to find the Lantern goblin and find a place for a new ring.

We set out from Expeditious Retreat on March 5th, without Garrick, and taking Aydarov, on Lynn’s barge. We learn that her barge has a mage-rudder, making the journey upstream much more practical.

Tomas chats up Aydarov about making the rings and about the Lanterns. All rings can get to another ring, and the name of the place is extremely important. He describes Lanterns as a secret society, with a schism from the 1880s regarding philosophy. One side sought to influence and guide Europe, and the other sought to serve as protectors (solely). The leader of the Guiders, and his followers, leave the lanterns to become the dark or hooded lanterns, using the old symbol. These are the zealots, the neck snappers.

Aydarov also reveals that in Russian antiquity, there was a portion of the country that served as a haven, including for goblins. Those goblins farmed and were generally peaceful. In legend, a goblin sought to stop the Golden Horde, becoming dark to fight the
dark.

On the topic of the dragonmarks, Aydarov thinks they come in three tiers: Least, Lesser, Greater, with seven types in each tier. We end up checking on our marks:
  • Tomas’ and Milo’s mark is a Least Mark of Passage.
  • Mine is the Least Mark of Healing.
  • Mery’s and Jared’s is the Least Mark of Hospitality.
  • Kell’s is the Least Mark of Finding.

As expected, we do encounter ice on the river. Aydarov helps with clearing it, so we make better than expected progress. We arrive in Warsaw on the 14th of March, and Aydarov heads off on his own business. He left a means for Mery to call for him later, for when we’re ready to build the new ring.

Warsaw is pretty crowded, including a larger quantity of apparent refugees. We head to our embassy, and are quickly introduced to Elmsmere Vaughn. He has our trunks and (modest) rooms ready at the Embassy, with an offer to help find better lodgings in the city. Vaughn makes arrangements for us to visit Court the next day, and takes us to dinner with a walking tour of the City. We are warned to cautious at night, as the Bear Cavalry bears can occasionally get out of control.

The Polish Court is a place of International discussion and debate. The Poles take ideas from these discussions to their Sejm (assembly) where they are further discussed, voted upon, and often become law, policy, or other enactment.

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Off to Poland At Last
With some ad-hoc Lantern learnin'

On Saturday the 10th of February, we head off to Poland. We set up our route to go to Expeditious Retreat then hope to catch a boat up the Vistula river to Warsaw. We stop over briefly in Castle Ravenloft to visit the now-King Strahd (briefly). We get to Expeditious Retreat on the 3rd of March. A lot more patrols, even in the winter, beyond the Edge of the World.

On arrival in the Retreat, we do our normal divide and conquer approach. Milo arranges for lodging and starts his usual sick check at the Gem. His beau Lynn happens to be in town, and seems amenable to taking us up to Warsaw. Tomas heads to the Gem to relax and pick up rumors. Apparently a small group of Russians had recently passed through. Mery, Kell, and I visit with Tess and make tentative plans to visit Sabrina, depending on how quickly we can find a boat ride. Milo reports that he will work with Lynn to start us up the river the day after the next.

Garrick, Mery, Bo, and I take a walking tour around the outskirts of the Retreat. During our wandering, Garrick notices something and we follow him to an encounter with an older guy camping out there. The guy immediately labels us as the Montegran Lanterns. He reports that the goblin Lantern is “doing good work.” However, his chances of success are limited without help, such as by use of the Rings, and suggests this would be made easier if someone were to build a new ring convenient to the goblin Lantern. Then this guy bursts into a flock of birds and flies away. Bugger didn’t even tell us his name.

Mery talks to Marcus, the artificer that created the local “popup” hotel, about creating the magical ability to travel. Hopefully she remembers not to raise the rings, specifically. Marcus is forthcoming (to Mery), and she learns that the rings are likely created through some kind of ritual magic. Gnomes or Russians would possibly know more.

Milo has dinner with Lynn and her crew. Mery and Tomas encounter each other as they pass in/out of the Gem. Mery is chasing after the rumor of a Russian remaining in town. After chatting with Liam, she learns the Russian is still present, and shorty afterwards meets him. We’ve met him before, Aydarov Alekseyss, at the Montegran court and also our recent warforged training camp. He is a Lantern. A Place of Meaning or Importance (Named, of cultural significance), several hours, and various materials will be required. The place’s name must be formed of the set of characters that make up the rings.

Mery and I take Bo with us to Sabrina’s for a quick social call.

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Delivering a Valentine

“Good morning, Mr. Porter. Would you please ensure this reaches Her Highness on Wednesday? Yes, the 14th. The letter is… um… for her personal attention.”

She leads when others do not, a champion
She sees what others do not, a visionary
She studies, to help others, a learner
She cares about her people, a guardian
I follow where she goes, I think of her always
She is my passion

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Training Interlude
I dislike your political analysis

During the joint field exercises with the mages, the warforged do well. Pretty much unfazed by things exploding — very good cohesion. Jared gets a company of Romanian Cavalry to join in, which also helps. By Wednesday, a few Russians join as well. I direct Peabody to invite all of the other nearby foreign units to join in the training exercises.

Mery comes to me with a tactical advantage for us. She does something to Garick, to no obvious immediate effect. After encouraging Garick a bit, he discovers… he can fly!

My new aid, Lt. Peabody, keeps showing up with lots of minor injuries. Milo has a chat with him to some limited effect. Peabody seems to casually encounter things like walls, door jambs, and un-secured carts to his detriment. He reacts quickly and well to each individual event, just has a large number of encounters.

Colonel Raskin visits us at the exercise field. He divulges that getting the needle rifles is probably easier than we thought. However, an ammo supply is not known, and may require someone to negotiate directly with the Osirans for direct access to the red and black powder.

Tomas invites me to a nice meal. We chat about the strategic situation, and what might happen. He is concerned about how things will transpire if the war ends quickly, or even if it might be better to linger. He also gives me his political analysis of my prospects with the Queen: grim. Unfortunately, I think he is right. Not that I want him to be right…

I visit Porter and ask him to look into how to acquire the Osiran black and red powder. And to pass that information on to the military. I also refer him to Vyse in case local knowledge may be required. Porter tells me Prussian Wilhelm Clager may have been in Prussia within the past week.

I head to see Captain Justinian to pass along Porter’s information. HQ is abuzz with activity involving the upcoming offensive. Justinian has received (strangely) anonymous information that a Montenegran Duke Synarco is involved in some smuggling deals with a Prussian prince. Synarco’s son is in logistics (purchased commission). Some peoples are selling artifacts from fallen nations on the market.

Then on to Sebastian for much the same topics. Vyse reveals the red and black powder is probably easily obtained from a Guild. Even if the French have an exclusive agreement, that could be easily bypassed. Sebastian looks to Vyse as a possible negotiator. Vyse likes my plan to go to Poland to help their King. He suggests a local Polish restaurant.

I arrange for a group dinner at the restaurant to plan our trip to Poland.

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Training the Warforged

On the morning of the Prussian demonstration (Saturday, Feb 3), we report to a training field a few miles outside of the capital. Many high-ranking officers from several countries and the Queen are present. A Prussian General does a brief speech and introduces their new military equipment, namely the needle-rifles. And some new tactics to use them effectively in volley and cycles of continuous ranks alternating fire. And a as a big reveal, their new flying galleon arrives to deploy something they call a warjack. Very large armored figures. Slow, powerful, breath fire, and shoot cannonballs. They are described as guided weapons. Their guides, warcasters, are also armored figures, normal-sized, that seem to guide the warjack activities. Sebastian and his new adjutant, Vyse, are also present.

Off to the warforged depot, with Mery and others in tow. After introducing my colleagues to the company, I learn the warforged are not named. So I assign them a task to pick a name (not a number, not all the same). Mery suggests that we train them to work with friendly mages and deal with enemy mages, and ends up volunteering to recruit some mages to help out. I spend the afternoon organizing the warforged company and getting them oriented and prepared to work with our military.

Kell brings a passel of names, puts them in a hat and has them draw one. Mery has already named a curious one “Bo” and starts dragging him around town. I get them assigned to a wide variety of mundane military tasks around the capital. My goals are to expose them to the city, get them trained on route, and help the populace get more comfortable with their presence.

I also lodge a request for 150 needle rifles (and ammo) to equip the company. Logistics is rather unsure on how, so point them towards the French. And I warn Sebastian so he can provide them with some information if they run into any stumbling blocks.

Mery attempts to recruit some mages to help train the warforged. The mages don’t take too kindly to her approach. Milo gets sucked into a red herring argument with her. Again.

Over the next week, Bo seems to become a bit more aware of his environment and starts actively working more closely with us — moving out of the way in advance of a need for example.

I visit the war mage college. I quickly get bumped up to the commanding officer, a Major Renquist. We quickly come to an agreement to share some exercises. Green battle mages with the warforged making things explode.

As we’re leaving, a young officer (2nd Lt) that I’ve seen around catches up to me. He has orders assigning him to me as my assistant. Lt Melvin Peabody. Brand new uniform. Fresh out of the academy and volunteered for my command. Poor fool.

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Introducing the Warforged Expeditionary Force

Mery visits Porter to get started on her new project, some kind of magical gem of seeing.

I drag Garrick off to learn more about the Warforged. We meet with General Zax, the Elven General in charge of the Warforged. He introduces me to a company of the Warforged as their new commanding office, with Garrick as my second. I ask them to show me what they can do, and they run through a few routines. Very precise. The more I watch, the more I notice their individuality. They are equipped with a standard Montenegran army issue. I quickly run into an issue when I try to figure out who leads them when Garrick and I aren’t around — apparently they do not do well without guidance. They don’t eat or sleep. Standard first aid is ineffective, and special magics are needed to heal them.

After viewing the company, I head off to the military ministry to try and figure out where all this fits into the Plan. A plan which I anticipate needing to be fixed. We find Colonel Raskin, the commanding officer of the Warforged Expeditionary Force (WEF). He tells us about a demonstration coming up by the Prussians. Some of the opposing units are missing from the pickets. Raskin is trying to get more scouts deployed, however their Commander is resisting this for some reason. Raskin muses he wishes he knew the Commander’s mistress’ name, so that he can mention inviting her to an upcoming social event in front of the Commander.

We visit Sebastian next. Vyse is now with Signals. I ask about Raskin. Raskin at one point had an argument with the King about troop deployments — a conversation that resulted in Raskin losng a rank down to Colonel. Apparently he came out of semi-retirement (quiet post on the Northern frontier) to demand a line unit. His aid is Lt. Purvis Cromberg. Cromberg is uncertain whether Raskin likes him, as Raskin has threatened to kill him several times. According to a rumor that reached Sebastian from a pub in Liverpool, the Sea of Storms may be gone.

Mery visits her Mother to learn more about Synarco’s dealings. He is apparently involved in some smuggling with a Prussian Prince, Kal’ryn. One of the notable items is the Prince is not interested in a unified Germany. Their smuggling involves getting something into France.

We gather together for dinner and share our limited information. Jarod points out that Mery’s Mother might be able to find the Scout Commander’s mistress’ name.

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Debriefing Vyse
Have you thought of Signals?

If I had not had prior experience with Vyse, I would have thought him a native. Maybe a slightly paler than average native, but definitely someone that isn’t unusually. After a bit of

Vyse tells his story. The portion of my command that he had been overseeing was hit by short-falling cannon-fire, resulting in him getting knocked out for a while. Later, as he started becoming conscious, he heard conversation between an un-recognized Montenegran Colonel, and a man in black. The Colonel was apologizing that the cannon had fully wiped out the unit. THe man in black asked if the King was dead, and the Colonel indicated he stabbed the King personally. The Man in black reiterated that it was imperative the Royal line was wiped out. The Man in Black also indicated the Soulless (specific Russian term) would take care of that. When Vyse confronted the Colonel, the Colonel pulled a dagger, they fought, and the Colonel was stabbed, and bled (rapidly) to death.

A Prussian captain saw this. Confronting Vyse, he challenged if Vyse was part of the conspiracy. When Vyse denied this, the Captain pulled a rod and called for help. This resulted in many goblins chasing Vyse, who ran for his life. Fortunately, a big black wolf kept interfering with the goblins chasing. He made is way to the Crimean beach-head, then to Athens, and started researching the Kravencho family. Kravencho is a Russian family that predates the rule of the Czars, almost wiped out but for Valentine Kravencho around 1810.

Vyse does not currently have the dagger, and has it stashed somewhere. When the dagger cuts someone, they cannot be cured, and bleed to death. The dagger is part of a set of dueling daggers from the Kravencho family.

Vyse has three different lantern symbols, one that matches what we are used to (and wear), one that matches the group that tried to kill him (the winged version), and one we have not really seen before.

The “winged lantern” group has been selling off assets from the Kravencho family. This group has been trying to kill Vyse, presumably to recover the dagger. This group all know the trick to snapping their own neck. The trick came from the Ottoman Empire, and Vyse has also learned it.

The 3rd type of lantern has been going after the winged version.

Our version of lantern symbol, aside from us, just seems to watch.

A black ore (what we have seen before in the Dwarven mine) is highly sought after by the Osiran Death Mages. The ore seems to be related to creation of undead. Eastern Russians, long ago, experimented with creating undead that may be the Soulless. This practice was outlawed sometime ago.

The Osirans have been exporting something like gunpowder to the Prussians. The material is a red and black powder that when mixed, explode.

I inform Vyse that we need to get his story on the record, and that he needs to tell his story to “someone else.” I rattle off a quick note on the message tube to Cate, and we adjourn to the cutter for a rapid trip back to Podnarko.

Mery asks Vyse a few questions about his travels and other topics. He is unaware of any pictures or description of Valentine. The Casablancan Elves are separatists from Spain. We learn that Vyse does have a dragonmark.

The Man in Black’s description matches the man in black we briefly fought recovering the village prisoners — one Thoss. Vyse indicates that Thoss is a highly-placed minister in service of the Prussian King.

We arrive in Montenegro on the 2nd of February, 1912. Porter meets as us at the dockside with a carriage. We are whisked off to the Palace. I introduce Porter to Vyse, so the one can stop looking for the other. Porter tells me he has had some luck tracking down the Prussian Captain: Captain Wilhelm Kleger, listed as a deserter.

We end up in the Palace with the Queen, her (external) spymaster, Justinian, and Sebastian. Vyse walks back through his story. From his initial visit to Athens, he made a trip to Paris to visit some auction houses, before returning back to Athens, where he luckily ran across my sister. The way he traveled from Paris to Athens isn’t mentioned, and the timeline seems awfully short. Perhaps the rings?

The intense questioning reveals Vyse definitely has an eidetic memory. He dredges up a very large number of details.

Sebastian asks a lot of questions, and gains a thoughtful look, that results in a “have you thought of becoming a Signals Officer” question to Vyse.

Later as we wander back out of the Palace, we run across a few of the Elven Warforged. They just stand there. I remain unimpressed.

Mery asks Polarion about the soulless, whether they detected as magic (they do not), and Polarion mentions that Milo’s Church claimed the bodies. Mery goes on to discuss this with the Royal Wizard Guild Liaison, Reger Nance. She tries to determine how magic could be used to determine whether someone was a soulless. The reference that comes up is a Gem of True Seeing. Mery moves on to Namfoodle, who tells her much the same thing. Namfoodle give Mery the item she had the idea for, to capture thing she ses (a camera). Only slightly daunted, Mery continues in her quest. She moves to ambush the Royal Artificer outside one of his classes. He confirms her findings. Also points out that the Russians might have more ideas.

Milo reports to Gerald at his Church. Mentions the black ore, the soulless, and the dagger. Not much is known — the dagger is close to an artifact in age and power. Probably only another artifact could protect against or heal wounds created by the dagger.

Tomas begins a research project into the 3rd type of lantern symbol, the watcher group. The winged lantern symbol become “standard” in the mid-1800s. In the late 1800s (1880-1890), the symbol was changed to the 3rd type. Our symbol, overlaps with this period, roughly. This suggests the rift in the lanterns was dated in roughly the 1860s. Still not a lot known about the rift.

I linger back with the Queen after most folks have left, and check on how she is taking the news. She laments not being able to raise the Colonel, ask him a few questions, and having him re-killed. She shares her version of good news — I’ve been promoted to Major, and am being put in command of a company of Warforged. Apparently, they need someone of rank and experience. I lacked the rank, which the Queen took absolute delight in promptly rectifying. She did an excellent job masking, at first, her amusement at my discomfort.

Mery chases Milo down after he visits the Palace. She works to recruit him to get a Priest to help in the creation of a Gem of Seeing. After extended discussion, they agree to collaborate.

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Caught: (in) A Vyse
What is Mery doing?

Using the message tube, Milo ensures that the Queen is aware of our itinerary and schedule. We hear that the Elves have arrived, but not much more than that. Mery and Garrick set off to catch up to us in Casablanca, using a Montenegran corvette the Queen arranged. Miraculously, we all arrive on the same day, the 27th of January. Mery seems unaccountably quiet.

Shahim points us towards the Library of Casablanca, to which I drag the group.
Along the way, Mery and Garrick update us on the Elven arrival. Some kind of armored suits, called Warforged, are the promised Elvish assistance. Apparently the Elvish mages have constructed these as artificial soldiers, and sent us 1,000 of them for use in the war. Not exactly machines, rather they are some kind of living constructs.

The library’s claim to fame is the abundance of collected Elvish lore, and we see a number of elves in the area and in the library. Upon inquiry by Tomas, we learn that Vyse has been working as a translator for the past few weeks, and is expected back later that day. I hover at a cafe while most go off for various excursions and return.

Mid-afernoon, we see Vyse working through the crowd. Garrick notices several other people watching Vyse, and moving to intercept. Vyse notices that group, and us, at the same time, stops, raises out his arms and closes his eyes. Tomas and I rush to intercept Vyse, as the strangers close in to attack. While I hold off the strangers, Tomas rushes Vyse into the libary and ultimately off to Shahim’s boat.

We kill a couple, knock one out, leaving one last hostile. When he realizes that he is alone and outnumbered, he snaps his own neck.

Mery somehow convinces one of the strangers to follow her off to the docks. Garrick follows, trying to understand what was happening. Later, the stranger asks her if she bears the symbol, notices her lantern ring, and then snaps his own neck.

The dead each have a lantern symbol. The “older” one that we have seen in a few places.

The locals tell us that we have to pay to have the bodies removed. Some local requirement. After we pay off the locals for body removal, we manage to re-group at a cafe near the airship docking spire. Tomas has managed to engage Vyse in casual conversation for a while.

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Chasing Vyse, African Edition
Thank goodness for that fireball!

Mery and Garrick stay behind to deal with other inquiries while the rest of us head to Athens, via the rings.

The rings to Athens take us to some ruins on the outskirts of the city. We check in with the embassy, and ask about Vyse. We learn he checked in to the embassy back in September 1911. No record of when he departed, though did mention he was attempting to catch a vessel to Cairo. We head to the Athens Central Library in an attempt to determine what Vyse was researching.

At the Library, we meet Matari who serves as our library guide to help us. Matari recalls Vyse well, and held many stimulating conversations. We learn Vyse was looking into various Russian family lines and antiquities. Vyse was in the libary almost every day for about two weeks. At Tomas’ urging, Matari brings us some of the reference materials that attracted Vyse’s attention. One involved a Russian/French war in 1810, another a Russian family geneology. I ask Tomas to wath for mentions of the Bedarco family and the symbol we found on the sword from Zendrick. Some of Vyse’s work focused on symbols or crests found on Russian weapons. The symbol from the sword does show up in some of the research. Historically, legends claim substantial numbers of magic items, and a large quantity of magic weapons, came from early Russian sources, leading to many prior attempts to categorize and document examples. The symbol on our sword is listed, not well documented. Vyse indicated he was heading to Cairo. Vyse was referred to Matari’s cousin for local money-changing.

After thanking Matari, we head to the moneychanger to change money and inquire about Vyse. We learn that Vyse changed about 700gp (lotsa money). The moneychanger also helped arrange a berth on a ship, in early October, on the Fair Winds with Captain Stevers. We exchange ~100gp for the five of us to live well for a few days in Cairo. We head back to the rings for a hop to Cairo.

The rings in Cairo are in the basement of a shop, an apothecary with a few customers. Milo turns out to speak Arabic, which we need to get directions and find our ways to the Cairo Museum/Libary at the University. Once we get close, we start seeing other foreigners, including dwarves and a few elves. Nearby is a building sporting a French flag, which we learn is the French embassy. And we start seeing a couple of floating/flying ships! Many mooring or un-mooring from a couple of tall spires with spiral stairs to ground level.

At the library, we are referred to another guide, Hintar, with whom we explore our lines of inquiry from Athens. More accurately, Milo does, since the rest of us do not speak Arabic. Milo confirms Vyse visited the Library for a few weeks in October before leaving with an overland caravan to Casablanca. During his research, Vyse looked into some kind of death magic. I dispatch Jared to find us a ring route to Casablanca while we locate food and Milo arranges for a hospitable place to stay the night.

That evening, Jared reports no obvious path to Casablanca. A local arrives to visit Milo and deliver some form of package, a box. The box moves and makes a few strange noises. Milo stashes the box in his handy backpack. During our downtime, we sample the local food and entertainment, do some light shopping (gifts), and otherwise sample the local culture.

The next day, Jared, Milo, and Tomas head back to the library to find out more about Vyse’s research. Kell and I head to look into the floating ships. The library team learns that Vyse was essentially looking in to how to make magic items to kill people. Kell and I learn that these Soar Ships rely on the winds to get places, and getting passage to Casablanca on one is doable. They only dock at the docking spires. We’re directed to the Wind Dancer at a nearby dock to secure passage. The owner/operator, Shahim, speaks Dwarvish, and instant win for me. We quickly come to a deal to leave before sunset on the roughly week-long trip to Casablanca.

The soar ship is pretty nifty, with lost of cleverly placed windlasses and control ropes placed to make it easy for a single person to manage. We learn this ship is fairly fast, especially when we don’t have to follow the land too much. We also learn that they can’t carry too much weight, and are greatly slowed when loaded, yet do not sink. The soar ship has some form of aether, elemental air, drawn in or released to help the ship “swim” higher or lower.

A flock of carnivorous birds swarms towards the soar ship. Shahim quickly blasted off a fireball to obliterate them before we engulfed. We were very luck, he explains, to have someone like him available to clobber those swarms — many others have been unlucky.

We learned that Shahim also provided transportation for Vyse. Vyse was curious about the soar ship, and gave Shahim the distinct impression that Vyse was on the run from something.

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