Night of Fireday 11 Serenith 4708
The group search Gaedren’s body and smelly hideout only to make a startling discovery: in a hatbox is the severed head of Zellara! Badly preserved and covered in tasteless make-up. Inside the box they also find her harrow deck.
A coded ledger that Alika would later decode lies on the strongbox. The ledger would provide information on Gaedren’s activities and would serve as hard evidence that Gaedren was behind the murder of the Acadamae’s student, fully clearing Alika’s name of the false accusation.
A strongbox itself contained some pieces of valuables wrapped in cloth: a narrow teak cigar box inlaid with tiny bits of jade (25 gp), a 2 pound gold ingot bearing the Cheliax coat of arms (100 gp), a miniature gold crown (350 gp), a fist-sized scrimshaw carving of a kraken with garnets for eyes (200 gp), a silver ring bearing the inscription “For Emmah – the light in my nights” (150 gp), a highly realistic and highly scandalous ivory figurine of two entwined succubi (450 gp), a masterwork dagger with a strange blade shaped almost like a key bearing the inscription: “For an inspiration of a father” (750 gp), an abalone-shell holy symbol of Shelyn (300 gp) and finally a bejeweled brooch with a broken clasp.
Among these items Alika and Yla recognised the dagger. The style of the blade is one used by the notorious Key-Lock Killer: a serial killer who murdered over 15 dozen victims between 4690 and 4697 after which the murders mysteriously stopped.
Finally the brooch is recognized by the ladies as property of none other than Queen Ileosa Arabasti!
Roaring Riots, Guiding Ghost
After coming back outside in the fresh night’s air, the group finds alarming signals of mayhem: smoke and bright flame is rising from several different points in Korvosa, the sounds of shouts and clashing steel, a thunderous explosion off in the distance! Riots have erupted with some people shouting “The king is dead, long live the queen!” only downed by cries of “Hang the queen! The usurper whore must die!”. A flight of Sable Company hippogriff riders swoops overhead at a breakneck speed angling towards the castle. One of the badly wounded mounts rains blood on the stress before crashing into a distant ward.
Alarmed, the party almost forgets to check on Zellara’s home, only to encounter it abandoned and empty. Pulling out the harrow deck, the spirit of Zellara manifests itself and explains that she was actually discovered, captured and killed by Gaedren’s gang. Now that she has been avenged, Zellara is at peace and offers her guidance through her harrow deck from time to time (able to cast Identify 1/day by holding a card to one's forehead when examining an item).
The members of the group go their separate ways to check on home and hearth, agreeing to meet the next day.
The Crimson Throne
On Starday 12, the group meets at The Travelling Man (coincidentally, all of them live in Old Korvosa) and decide to turn in the shiver, Gaedren’s decoded ledger and the Queen’s brooch to the guard the next day. With the ledger already decoded by Alika, the guard thank them and give them a hefty reward (the ledger will later be instrumental in closing dozens of open cases).
The party tromps up to Castle Korvosa where on the way Zindar is accosted by a street prophet who claims that plague, doom and death will soon befall Korvosa and that the Eye of Groetus has turned away from the boneyard to look upon Korvosa! Zindar brushes him off and the group continues their way.
At the castle they tell the guards that they are here to return the Queen’s stolen brooch. They find themselves quickly escorted inside, where they are met by Sabina Merrin, the Queen’s handmaiden and bodyguard. Sabina dismisses the guards and leads the party up into the throne room, giving the nervous group some tips on how to address the Queen.
Queen Ileosa Arabasti, veiled in mourning black, is seated on the Crimson Throne awaiting them, but otherwise the chamber is empty. The young queen praises the party for returning her stolen brooch, describing it as a hopeful sign. She urges the four of them to offer their services to the Korvosan Guard to help restore order to the troubled city.
With an armed escort the party returns to Citadel Volshyenek and are escorted to Fieldmarshall Cressida Kroft. Cressida is an attractive woman with dark hair, dressed in red plate mail. She looks haggard and unkempt, but rises to greet the party. She thanks them for dealing with Gaedren Lamm and invites them to offer their services.
Cressida hires the party to capture Verik Vancaskarkin, a deserter from the Guard who had led several of his guardsmen to set at an old butchery “All the World’s Meat” near North Bridge, promising a reward of 500 gp if Verik is captured alive, half that if returned dead.
All the World's Meat
On their way to North Point the party encounters an angry mob who cornered a young nobleman Amin Jalento who was about to lynch him. Zindar addresses the group in an attempt to resolve things without a fight but manages to enrage them even further to a point that the mob attacks the party instead. In a blink of an eye, Alika puts three of them to sleep with a spell before Cael knocks one unconscious with a disproportionately hard blow to the head (he seriously has some anger issues…). The rest of them quickly flee and Amin thanks the party and gives them his gold ring before also fleeing the scene.
Over the next three days (Starday night, Sunday and Moonday morning), scouting the area around All the World's Meat and gathering some information reveals that Verik and his boys call themselves "The Cow Hammer Boys" and have set up the butchery to give away free meat to the poor. Some follow-up investigation involving feminine charm and smooth talk - with a Charm Person doing most of the work admittedly – Alika finds out that that the fellow guardsmen have taken to hire themselves out as thugs without Verik knowing about that and informing about "the night's special cuts" is a code for potential employers. Meanwhile Yla (after some messy business with her new nemesis the brooming crone sentinel guardian hag) has observed that there is some cattle being delivered, but that it appears that there is more meat given away than there is coming in.
All the while Zindar is contributing the investigation by reading his book on arcane stuff and writing in some parchments, saying he is making great progress….
Perhaps an investigation inside will provide more information? Maybe by luring the boys away on a false thuggery jobs allows for a more thorough search?