| "By my ancestors, I will find out the truth!" A mysterious youth seeking to uncover the mysteries of The Day of Disaster.
We returned to the League's office empty-handed, Marith Nimblequill in tow. Fabian the Fat was predictably enraged by the situation. I was sure I had already blown my chance with the League. I was about ready to give up on finding more information, maybe leave Black Bay entirely. Luckily, my companions managed to salvage things somewhat by discussing our leads in the investigation. Good thing too. My purse is getting as empty as my belly.
Fabian was particularly interested in the other bidders for the journal: Lansdown and Ebenmar. Judging by his reaction to the latter, it's clear that the Ebenmars are the most likely culprits. However, even Fabian was wary of openly investigating them. It's clear that we are going to have to tread carefully, as it'll be our heads on the chopping block if things go sideways.
After asking that Fabian see to the safety of Marith, we headed toward Lansdown's home in the Merchant's Quarter. We were greeted by his maid. Aedan needed only mention business opportunities and her master's renowned collection and we were quickly ushered into the house. As Lansdown appeared, I was immediately reminded of the old fishermen that came into the shop for supplies. Though their leathery faces gave them a stern look, they always had a story or a song if you would ask it of them. This one, however, had clearly had great success, as attested by his merchant's garb.
Sebastian brashly exposed our circumstances to him while avoiding directly pointing him out as a suspect. I was sure that we would be thrown out of this man's house. However, he seemed to have nothing to hide and was more than helpful. Although he couldn't provide any additional information concerning potential suspects for the theft, he spoke at length of the journal itself and the story of Karl Oressu. Not only did the old mage have a heftily warded house in the Old City, but he has a living niece in The Stews, by the name of Alana. We opted to seek out the niece. Maybe she had more information on her uncle and why his journal would be worth stealing.
Once in the district, we stopped in The Broken Anchor for information. Judging by the sort of people that frequent this place, I wasn't too surprised that Gilroy was friends with the proprietor. Have to be careful around that one. I might need to learn how to cast spells without my hands, seeing as I'll need them both to hold on to my purse and amulet at all times. Nevertheless, I learned a lesson in intelligence gathering. Not only were we given directions to the home of Alana's son Osgold, I now know to stay away from the eel pies...
The old woman wasn't quite as welcoming as the old sailor. It took some convincing before she would even open the door to us. She became even more guarded when we mentioned her uncle. Luckily, Aedan and that silver tongue of his came in handy once more. Although she claimed never to have met the man in person, he occasionally sent her letters and gifts. The Selkie handed her one of his shiny necklaces and she was all too happy to hand over one such gift, an amulet with her uncle's personal seal on it. It came with a poem.
Sebastian performed some sort of divine ritual to detect whether or not the item was magical in nature. I could have sworn that he gave me the slightest sideways glance. He said nothing, but I had to fight the urge to clutch my amulet. He said that there was indeed an aura of magic, although he didn't provide much more information than that. Fat load of good divine magic does! I could tell by how Ianus puzzled over the poem that the answer lied somewhere within those words.
As we left Alana's home, the sun was beginning to sink, almost touching the walls of the city. We were determined to investigate Karl Oressu's home, but knew better than to venture there as night was falling. We went our separate ways for the evening. Now that my pay situation with the League no longer seemed in jeopardy, I opted to find an inn in The Stews.
The following morning, we met at the entrance to the Old City. They weren't lying when they spoke of the elaborate wards on Oressu's home. It made it quite easy to find the place. This mage must have been very advanced in his art, as I couldn't recognize most of the wards adorning the walls. There were no obvious entrances other than the front door, which had an arcane lock. Gilroy must have seen something I didn't because he went ahead and pulled it right out of the door. It appeared to have lost its power.
As soon as we walked in the door, it was clear that this house had not been lived in for quite a while. There was dust on every surface. The entrance hall gave way to a dining room. I held back a smile as invisible hands attempted to take our coats and serve us drinks. It reminded me of the feasts of my old life. As we explored the adjoining rooms, Gilroy searched the overgrown plants for items of interest. Here we are in the abandoned home of a once powerful mage in a district corrupted by The Disaster, and the rogue needs to search for loot. Well, he found a hungry snake instead.
Although I have not seen much of the fauna outside the walls of Black Bay, it was quite obvious this was a constrictor. This was evidenced by the fact that it immediately wrapped itself around Gilroy in an attempt to crush him to death. I did my best to avoid using magic, but it was obvious that throwing daggers weren't my strong suit. I carefully cast a Grease spell to help him release himself. Everyone tried their best to attack the snake without getting too close to it. No-one could connect. That was until Ianus stepped up, literally. I thought him nothing more than a quiet scribe. Likely inspired by Aedan's song, he stomped that snake with one powerful blow after another. I didn't even know the human body could muster such force.
As we continued to explore the home, we came across another lock. It had 5 dials with letters. We tried spelling out multiple words, specifically things we thought we could interpret from the old man's poem. Nothing worked. I then thought of things that were important to the man. The answer came to me almost instantly: Alana. The name of the wife he lost and of the niece he tried to reconnect with. The lock accepted the name. This gave way to a stairwell to the second floor of the home.