Bear Claws

24. Cabbages and Kings

...my second cousin twice removed on my mother's side...

Characters: Alton, Jak, James, Xaladin, Thornside, Roland
Level: 7
Location: Lost Mines of Karak, Overlook
NPCs: Shephatiah, Aerun, Balasar, Alebottom, Kalad, Emil, Ruth and Rory, Bede, Glorin Hammerfist, Brak

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The Bear Claws wake Shephatiah and question her about what is going on. She tells them that she is the immortal Queen of the Drylands. Sarshan has employed her to operate the mines and provide chaos forged weapons. Bram is his contact in Overlook and he sent the Bear Claws to the mine so that she could kill them. Sarshan works for a General Zithiruun, a once great conqueror of the githyanki who disappeared a few hundred years ago. Pug and Quick represent some presence higher up than Zithiruun.

Malthazard is a demon of the Abyss and he has long had great interest in the material plane and in sowing chaos therein.

She tells them there is no way to seal the rift to the elemental chaos.

Jak dispatches her and Thornside skins her and puts the skin in his bag of holding. They load the entrance platform with mining explosives and leave it halfway down the shaft. Alton’s fireball he uses to set them off misses and lights the rope instead. The platform tips and the explosives begin to roll and then fall down the shaft. Xaladin throws one of his flame seeds after it and the explosion causes the floor of the dungeon to collapse. Xaladin summons the roots of the trees above to grow down into the basement and hold up the floor so that they can get away.

On the journey to Dunesend they discuss what their motivations are for joining the Bear Claws. Jak wants to know if he can learn to change shape into a human.

In Dunesend they meet Glorin Hammerfist, who is helping move the inhabitants to Overlook. The sandstorm destroyed their crops and they have nowhere else to go. With her is Brak. He has been given the job of High Ancestor of Moradin because Durkik Forgeheart passed away. He has come down here to help Glorin before taking up the position. He has some new information for James regarding runes and they go off to talk, taking Roland’s staff with them.

Glorin tells them that Bram killed Thornside’s parents because they were staring up a competing coalition of merchants. He is also responsible for the Orc invasion.

Bede tells Alton and the rest that he is not going to Overlook. His daughter Buttercup wants to be a bard so they are going to Sayre where she can join the University. Bede wants to open an inn there. Alton suggests more of a coffee house type setup to cater to the university crowd.

Alton summons his phantom steeds to pull their wagon to Overlook and the Bear Claws set out across the Thornwaste. As they enter the Westdeep Alton guides the horses across a small lake, their flaming hooves sending up a trail of steam in their wake as they run across the water.

As they enter Overlook Aerun meets them and tells them that there are rumors going around that they had all been killed in the Thornwastes. He asks to talk to Thornside and takes him into the guard room off the main gate. Inside are Balasar and Alebottom. Balasar identifies Thornside as the one who admitted to thievery and leaves. Alebottom curses Thornside and tells him he doesn’t want to see him again. Aerun makes a deal with Thornside that he will forgive the jail sentence in exchange for doing spy work for the city guard on occasion to help them round up the corruption in the city.

Thornside agrees and when they get outside Jak hands Aerun the letter they found among Shephatiah’s things, the one that is from Bram telling her to kill the Bear Claws. At this evidence Aerun is anxious to act fast to arrest Bram and the rest of the Elsir Consortium. He tells them to meet him at the inner guard post in one hour where he will have seven teams of men to arrest all the members of the Consortium at once.

The Bear Claws are teamed up with Kalad and Emil to go to Bram’s house and arrest him. Once there Thornside goes into the house to check for traps or guards before they make their entrance. While he’s in there he notices a shadow moving in the corner of his eye. Angry at the recent news that Bram killed his parents and upset that he just got kicked out of Alebottom’s house he loads an arrow and takes aim at the shadow.

Outside Kalad is telling the Bear Claws that he would like to reinstitute the Order of the Sundered Chain and asks if any of them would like to leave off adventuring and become priests of Moradin.

Emil shows Roland his plans for intimidating people: “I’ve come here to vanquish evil and eat potatoes. And I’m all out of potatoes.”

He’s also excited to tell Alton that he is getting married to a young farmer girl named Sweet Potato. The marriage was arranged by his mother but he’s met the girl before, their caravan passed near her farm last year.

Just then the door of the Ironfell mansion blasts out of its frame and Thornside comes flying out, followed by the huge head of a shadow dragon, the rest of its body coalescing out of the shadows as it lunges forward.

The Bear Claws rush in to do battle and fight off the dragon and two dragonborn mercenaries that are also hiding in the shadows. Emil tries to help out but only manages to knock a piece of wall across the street into Xaladin.

The dragon is killed quickly and the dragonborn tells the Bear Claws that he doesn’t know where Bram is, Sarshan left them here to cover Bram’s escape, probably into the Shadowfell.

Kalad and Emil run past while the Bear Claws are questioning the dragonborn and they all make a thorough search of the mansion. Emil finds some scraps of letters burned in a fireplace. One of the scraps has Sarshan’s signature on it. Several others are written in elvish on some kind of leaf-like material.

Bram is nowhere to be found.

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