Shortly after returning, I was contacted by Nedrin of house Denieth. Though not strictly family, he is basically an uncle to me and nearly was my uncle in fact. So I agreed to help locate a missing daughter of one of his nobleman friends Kellan Ir’ Mardell. My fellow cat’s paws seemed interested by various degrees, especially Samc and to some degree, Hagar.
Samc did the bulk of the investigative groundwork again, putting facts and searches together in one afternoon that would have taken me weeks to unravel. The daughter, Habra had been cast aside by her lover, a young, spoiled, scumbag of a nobleman named Ardell. It seemed that Ardell had recently taken up with a shadowy figure named Asmarian who ran a strange theater in the Torchfire area of the Lower Menthis Plateau Despondent, she began to investigate Asmarian, otherwise known as The Puppet Master. For she thought this strange theater owner had something to do with her lover’s sudden disdain for her. At this point her trail went cold. But there were other threads to chase.
Apparently Ardell was involved in an illegal fight club, so we pursued this. We pieced together enough information that Jaskir was able to act the part of an exotic fighter that tempted a nobleman sponsor. This allowed he and Samc as his trainer to attend. Jaskir played his role perhaps a little too well, while Samc mingled with the betting men. They learned that Ardell and Asmarian had once brought a fighter of terrible power that destroyed his opponent utterly. We became wary of what we were getting into upon hearing this.
I found evidence of a long string of strange murders in the area we investigated running back several years. My contacts in the morgue and undertakers guild uncovered a strange pattern of mutilation found on bodies. I thought perhaps these mutilations were related to the fight club, but this was later proven incorrect. But still it was another hint to the horror of the Puppet Master’s suspected activities.
We also attended one of Asmarian’s grotesque shows. Having already gained hints as to the nature of the operation, I was horrified by this mockery of the living displayed in this show, though I hid it as well as I could. I think we all left the place a little uneasy at the foreboding growing in us.
We reported our findings to Kellan, who became quite desperate and ready to charge into the theater since this was our most suspect lead. We convinced him to let us check it out and we did so that night. Breaking in through a second floor window, we explored some of this nightmarish place before rousing some of its inhabitants. We took several prisoners and revived the ticket taker who proved to be a hardened gang fighter. We eventually got out of him that he’d ordered one of his men, Obrius to take Habra down to the cogs, because Asmarian wanted her to disappear and stop making trouble. He also told us all about the horrible experimentation with human flesh going on in the laboratory above us.
Here our party split, for as concerned as I was for the girl, what the ticket man described about his master’s study disturbed me far, far more. I doubt anyone but Hagar could understand so directly the need for this abomination to be undone. Samc’s harsh words were evidence to this, treading heedlessly on alien ground. In retrospect, I have only myself to blame for keeping such pained secrets, but at the time it was enough to send us on different paths. Samc and Jaskir went on with our prisoner to get Habra. Hagar and I stayed to sabotage the theater, and Cadeus and Debole accompanied us for perhaps a similar reason or just knowledge to be gained.
Four of us now pushed on through the Puppet Master’s library and beyond, navigating secret tunnels and doors and traps. We encountered enslaved undead in the halls and I helped deal with them, perhaps revealing more than I wished to. We finally came upon the laboratory full of machinery and tools to construct puppets out of human flesh, which we destroyed completely. And in the end, we faced Asmarian himself, and his greatest creation, Brillant. Here a terrible battle exploded, which we triumphed only by fortune, for just as likely this could have been the end of us. Exhausted and beaten we left after making a search of the library, back to the brewery to recover.
Meanwhile Samc and Jaskir navigated the Cogs, and by short investigation came to the house of the cutthroat, Obrius. Here Habra was found and it became clear she was the victim of many days of rape and torture. Jaskir acted without thought and ended the man’s life quickly but brutally, rending him apart with his claws as a beast destroys its prey. This murder caused yet another rift between Jaskir and Samc, as Samc would have seen law’s justice set upon Obrius instead.
They all met back at the Brewery and clothed Habra before taking her back to her father, who was crushed at the sight of her and at the tale that happened. Taking the payment for the investigation we left silently and went home and apart to heal our bodies and spirits. I sit here now dictating these words and wonder at the horrors seething in the hidden parts of my great city home.
In addition to all we learned in our investigations, we uncovered several books and scrolls from Asmarian’s lair before the watch arrived to close down the place:
1. “Treatise on the Brelish Culture” with covers of leather and is in average condition. The parchment pages are sewn into the spine. In addition, the book is in a case of stained wood and the book is wrapped in a dirty cloth. Anybody could guess the book’s worth to be about 250 gold.
2. This hefty tome is aptly titled “Dragahisa the Mad’s Codex on Daemonology” with covers of leather and is in good condition. The parchment pages are unbound, but wrapped with a leather cord. Any thief would tell you that it’ll be worth 500 gold crowns in your hands.
3. The outer cover is made from leather and it seems to be in poor condition. The vellum pages are unbound, but wrapped with a leather cord and on close examination the tome is secured by 3 locks. The book contains a wide range of information on the creation of golems and similar constructs. The book gives you +2 to any knowledge Arcana check regarding Golems, provided you have time reference your situation or findings in the book.
4. The scrolls in this section of the shelf seem to be a collection of experimental results on the creation of Warforged, Golems and other creatures. They are written in Draconic, all by the same orderly hand. The scrolls make frequent mention of the “Libram of Malevolent Constructs” which the author appears to have in his or her possession and made use of in the experiments. The scrolls also seem to indicate that for a time the author worked with, or was a protégé of, Mordain the Fleshweaver.
5. A collection of scrolls stuffed into a fine leather binding. The scrolls are worn, but otherwise in good condition. They were written in various styles, clearly not from the same author. They include: 1st
- alarm; burning hands; comprehend languages; expeditious retreat; feather fall; identify; mage armor 2nd - alter self; bear’s endurance; blindness/deafness; hideous laughter; mirror image; scorching ray; see invisibility. 3rd—fly; haste; invisibility sphere; magic weapon, greater
6. a small sheaf of notes that appear to be letters from someone high in house d’Cannith. It is difficult to understand the content of the letters because they are encoded with euphemism and hidden meaning. Sufficient study reveals some plotting regarding the mud sorcerers. You make out reference to Jezulien witches, Rajahs and a plan to build constructs more freely.