It is not that often that several researchers hungry for knowledge get a chance to learn so much. Well, we have, although the intel we’ve learned is far from comforting.
That is, even before we reached our goal location, which was the Monastery of the Aboclistic order far to the west, the barman at the Limping Carriage Inn told Kialara in the face that he’s sure it was the Empire who took care of the devil’s portal in Kuth. You do so much for Brighthaven, and then see a barman almost spit in your face, regarding you as some sort of vermin. We’ve later learned that someone’s dropping off newspapers a few times per week and that the printed text resembles that of a printing machine possessed by a pack of kobolds.
Anyway, our mission was to gain intel about a so-called post office, an operation center that encrypts, decrypts and distributes messages of Empire agents. A druid firbolg, Maya, seems to have located one in the Monastery of Ablocistic Order in the south end of the Krestmar Peaks. This post office has showed unusually high level of activity recently, indicating that the Empire might be up to something.
We went on our mission under the disguise of academics (which, incidentally, most of us are… well, Gronk, probably, not…) attending a conference on the topic of “One or the Other. An Archeology of the Art of Transmutation in Historical and Societal context.”. A conference that, looking ahead, none of us really managed to enjoy, except for dr. Rudeyart who went there with us. The conference was planned to be 5 days long, we’ve arrived the day before to check in and look around. Gronk, regarded as one of the servants, quickly found a common language with several actual servants, specifically of the people we had our eye set on. Just like the five of us, there were other newcomers to the conference who had… other goals.
Further on, we have observed the following. In the library of the monastery, while pretending that she’s absorbed by the tapestry on the walls, dr. Pendelschmidt has found a secret door hidden by magic. Later, under the cover of night and Invisibility spell, we have searched the carriages of dr. Briant and dr. Alekto that seemed most promising. The first one did not have anything interesting, but dr. Alekto’s carriage had a hidden fake floor compartment that contained a propaganda paper. Our magic has revealed lots more in his room. At the same time, Averie’s spider familiar spent a day in the library and managed to catch dr. Alecto pulling a large green book to enter the secret section of the library, where, as we suspected, the “post office” was located. At the same time, my familiar stayed at the gates of the monastery and observed the same doctor meeting with a strange humanoid that had pronounced rodent features in his or her face. As a final puzzle piece before the action, Kialara went to the bar and had a chat with dr. No-stone and dr. Alekto. Dr. Alekto explicitly told Kialara that Brighthaven will know no more in a few months, and he finds in unfortunate that gifted people like her chose to leave the Empire for Brighthaven.
The next night, all five of us, invisible, went straight to the secret library section. The corridor behind the secret door was hardly lit and ended with a circular staircase with some large gaps in between and very sophisticated mechanics that included geometric figures carved on some of the stairs. A triangle, a square, a triangle inscribed in a circle… Gronk showed outstanding courage trying to solve it and managed to close a couple of gaps. Though, at the end, we decided to cheat and actually make use of our magic. After a short fight with some cloak-like flying creatures (one of them tried to strangle Gronk, and the last one was blasted by all of us together), we finally faced a thick metal door that, upon looking through the peephole, apparently contained what we’ve come there for, cipher books. I guess, the gnomes working there were not prepared to an invasion of teleporting wizards, but one of them was quick enough to initiate the safety system: several mechanical devices that started spraying priceless papers with fire (and me as well). Only the Wall of force created by Averie allowed us to secure the codebooks. At the same time, Kialara quickly questioned one of the gnomes. Apparently, the gnome were much more afraid of some lady in pink that adores mechanical toys, than us. The lady’s name was Reddlepop Waggletop.
On our way out, we’ve captured some of the gnomes (those of them who had not swallowed an ampoule with deadly poison) and took a lot of the valuable codebooks (and a couple of useful rings) with us. Additionally, on our way out we’ve decided that we’ve made enough mess and kidnapping dr. Alekto with some help of the Polymorph spell is not going to add much to it.
Upon returning to Brighthaven, we have learned a few very important pieces of intel. First, the Empire is mustering an army (against Brighthaven, that is). This invasion party is lead by the some captain Elmon Giltleaf, a child of their duke, and supported by someone called Ninoslav Rada and, apparently also the lady in pink, who, as we have also learned, has recruited our dr. Alekto to launch a disinformation campaign (those kobold’s printer, remember?).
All in all, this has been incredibly exciting, but now we will all here in Brighthaven will have to figure out what to do with all of that.
Syllin, Gronk, Averie, Kialara, dr. Pendleschmidt