The Age of Worms

Session Twenty-Three

Moonday, 24 Ready’reat CY 595

Archie leads the party to a resplendent manor house on the curve of Peacock Court whose driveway is lined with carriages. A party is in progress. Archie notes the change in footprints – the heavier set trails off, and the lighter set becomes heavier as if it took the other’s burden before approaching the house with the party…

One of the servants at the party informs them that a dainty fellow delivered one painting and then left in Lady Tillanda’s carriage with two more paintings in tow. Scouting the layout of the house itself they see that one side of it is actually a 2-story ballroom, and that is where all the guests are stuffed like sardines. The house belongs to Belfor Vittanis. Riddle tells the servants he believes everyone at the party is in grave danger, and Tyrrell convinces them of the seriousness of the claim. The party is admitted and heads for the ball room doors where Roddick the house castellan hears out their tale of killer paintings. They notice just in time that Vitannis is about to unveil the small painting at the far end of the room. Jane screams “Stop!” but cannot be heard over the unholy din of the party, and transforms into an eagle. Tyrrell runs through the crowd towards the dais screaming “Fire, fire, fire!” Riddle envelops Vittanis in binding winds. Finesse is clearly not the party’s strong suit. Unable to get into the crowd, Scar-Eater and Archie run outside the building, and Archie breaks a window. Everyone at the party now believes the house is under attack. Only Long Fist even attempts to control the situation through diplomacy, herding drunken party guests to the exits.

Some rushed intimidation and diplomacy later, Athena simply grabs the painting and flies out the window with it before it can be opened. But with the bouncers still approaching those inside, Scar-Eater sees little choice but to grapple Vittanis and order him to call off the bouncers so everything can be straightened out. Riddle is able to sweep in and calm things down, noting that Lady Tillanda may also be in danger. But Tillanda is still in attendance at the party, and claims the “Darius” was taking her carriage to Katarina Gertwright’s manor. Vittanis offers the party carriage drivers to follow after the delivery immediately, arriving just in time to witness the delivery boy being knocked to the ground by an invisible being at the gate of Number 14, Burgundywine Terrace. The party jumps out of the carriage. Flying overhead above the carriages, Athena transforms back into Jane and floats to the ground, casting faerie fire as she drifts, illuminating the invisible stalker with eerie gree mist, but the party is not able to stop it from killing Darius. Riddle attempts to speak with it, but before it disappears it will only tell him it was summoned to kill this person. After a thorough search of Finch’s body, they find a map of the Midnight’s Muddle district, showing the locations of where all the paintings were delivered that very day, as well as the words “Sandalwood Lane” on the back. The Crooked House was apparently the second stop on his rounds, so the party immediately set off for the first address on the list.

On the way, the party digs up their knowledge of the local art scene and realize they are headed to the home of Endrik Archerus, a popular local artist, on Blue Sapphire Avenue, and that another artist of recent reknown, Imron Gauthfellow, has a home on Sandalwood. They also know that Gauthfellow was a wizard in his adventuring days.

Upon arriving at Archerus’ home, the party is admitted by his servant Suzanna, who takes them to the top of the tower. No one is in the studio, but there is a new painting there, a hideous image of a hag on a warhorse and masses of worms. They discover a note amongst the vellum on the floor that suggests foul play. Magic radiates from many things in the room, including the painting. Suzanna recalls that the second delivery person may have been a half-orc. She reports that her master is private and unassumin, and that his other servant, Tharivol, had been working outside the house somewhere for the last several weeks. Riddle uses an augury spell to determine whether casting dispel magic on the painting would bring weal or woe, and the forces answer with a decisive “Woe.” Riddle covers the painting with a sheet as Archie notices that one of the worms that was in the painting when they entered is not there anymore. The party checks the room but finds nothing other than the tracks of a bare-footed humanoid walking towards the painting. The party takes the covered painting back to Vittanis’ house.
As they get out of the carriage, Archie checks to see if the tracks of the delviery person who was not Finch are still visible, and finds he is just able to make them out under the snow. Leaving the paintings in the carriage, the party takes off after the tracks. Forty-five minutes later they have reached the Greyhawk docks and a tavern called The Grunting Bunty. There is a big half-orc behind the bar and another ragged one that the barman refers to as “Pissface” at a table. Pikoh tells the party he was paid a gold piece to carry the paintings, and shows them where the paintings were stashed in an alley. Jane casts remove disease on him and the party writes him a letter of recommendation for Tarquin of The Crooked House before returning to Vittanis’ house.

Sergeant Jessup Gandling of the Greyhawk Watch offers the party 2,500 gp to investigate the matter of the killer paintings. The party attempts to find a connection between themselves and the other targets with little success, or to figure out if any of their enemies have ties to Greyhawk ( Shukak, Filge, the Ashborn, Smenk, or even Allustan or Lanod Neff).

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