Trouble in Maldorn

What we Arkan not change
Death of an Architect

As everyone scrambles to find a solution to the strange orb surrounding part of High Fort, threats need to be dealt with. Firstly, the avatar of Karthandi, roaming around town, was eliminated by Drisbee and Gears (likely with the use of copious amounts of explosives, as is their signature). Then, the woken dragon was slain by Count Jared Els’Velcasa, blowing its brains out and making sure it wouldn’t get back up again.

Now all that is left to deal with is the magical orb trapping everyone and freezing time. Some mystical polygon was thought to be linked to the sphere, so Alister fixed it to the end of a pole and reached out to touch it against the orb’s wall, only to be completely frozen in place, along with anything else unfortunate enough to touch him. Different tactics were attempted to free him (well, the polygon mostly), but the only one that proved successful was to use enough explosives to break the pole (and blow his hand off with it) – but the polygon remained stuck to the wall.

Once regaining control over his body Alister learned of Gavern being out to get him. This news is confusing, as he distinctly remembers Gavern being frozen in time and stabbing his throat multiple times just a short while ago. Either way, Alister works on a plan to retrieve the polygon with Connie and company, and after touching base with the local Dwarves (the polygon is covered in dwarven writings) decides to return to his home to check on things. Benny argues against this, knowing that Gavern has already been there and that things are not well at Arkan manor, but he cannot convince Alister to not go.

Sure enough, as Alister arrives home, he finds it broken into, and every frozen in time body features a freshly severed head. Enraged, he means to arm himself and seek vengeance upon Gavern, but his newly minted nemesis finds him first. A clumsy battle ensues, but the presence of Drisbee and Gears manages to calm things down temporarily, so they decide to be on their way to the Duke’s palace where they might have the resources they need to put into effect their plan to free the polygon from the wall. The calm did not last, however, as Gavern quickly backtracked his way into the manor, and though Alister had managed to retrieve a loaded shotgun, his one-armed clumsiness made his one shot miss and Gavern needed no further opening to finish off his foe.

By the time Benny was able to convince Connie to head over there to check on Alister, it was far too late and the grisly deed was done. Benny ran to Alister’s office to grab the plans from his projects. He stashed them in a safe place, taking special care with the plans for the orphanage. He will need to find someone else to finish this work now, if they ever can manage to take down this time barrier, and he fears now more than ever for the safety of his group, frozen in time in Fardry’s house, at the mercy of any who would dare to break in.

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Chapter 2 - Time stops for no one?
It certainly doesn't stop for us...

Benny

A rude awakening for Benny, as he is woken by Lada shaking him telling him he needs to go, only to have her turn to dust in his arms. His mind and stomach can’t process this, and Benny finds himself doubled over and soiling himself in shock. Once he regains control of himself, he notices that nobody else is moving, regardless of what he is doing. He runs away and cowers while he digests what is going on.

The shock eventually clears, though Lada’s disembodied voice does not. It seems her spirit has latched onto his body, and she can now speak to him (and control his body, much to his dismay).

Benny (and Lada) decide to investigate the matter (after picking up a change of clothing) and come across a gathering of people who appear to not be frozen, but instead entranced by something further down the street. Benny walks backwards to these people he vaguely recognizes, and pulls one (Cassandra) away and into an alleyway. It appears that breaking eye contact with whatever is down the street is enough to let people regain control over themselves. She insists on getting her companion, and together the three decide to move towards the waterfall as they hear the town warning horn blaring over the city.

On their way there, the come across Count Jared Els’Velcasa, Connie, Drisbee Cardoon and Gears. The lot of them make their way up the mountain where they find some 60 or so people gathered, and see Shianna walk out and start barking out her plan to them while being heckled for her wardrobe.

The Count and crew move up to discuss this plan with her, and Lada (not a fan of Shianna) urges Benny to push her off the waterfall (which fails), then pulls off her loincloth as Benny does all that he can to get himself out of repercussion range.

The situation seems dire; on top of a 15 foot tall avatar of Karthandi (which appears to be locked in stasis itself), a Dragon is roaming in the city and the majority of the population seems frozen in time (while all mages seem to have turned to dust).

Once plans are settled, The Count, Connie, Drisbee, Benny, Cassandra and Shianna (among others) make their way to see to the safety of the Duke. They are met at the door by a strange type who assures them that things are under control, but won’t let anyone but the guard in training in. This fellow decides to stay here to protect the Duke, while the rest of the group decide to go investigate sources of power emanating in the city.

They first make their way to an old run-down tannican trading house, which it turns out is full of spirit energy, shadow essence, and features a room full of magical sigils and mirrors.

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Scatterbrain

Benny

Keln and the crew continue the squeeze out operations on the pimp, and business is good. Work has slowed down a bit with Drisbee being gone and things quieting down in town, but laying low sounds like a good idea after stirring the bee’s nest that are the Highfort Irregulars.

The pile of jewels stashed in Drisbee’s shed has gone missing, which worries Benny quite a bit. He hopes that Alister has managed to cash the money order that will fund the construction of the orphanage, before the Irregulars get their hands on it and halt the construction.

Benny spends the better part of his days running across town to: discover that the pimp has hired a mage to ferret out his harassers; warn Keln and the others of this; learn that the Hoffstead has been set on fire (and later that the alchemist’s wife was spotted at the scene of the crime); seek out the Count (unsuccessfully); seek out Drisbee (unsuccessfully at first); learn that Shianna has abducted Lada (twice); seach for Kavin on behalf of Shianna (unsuccessfully); try to talk to Alister to warn about packages from Drisbee and move him to spend the money order ASAP to get going with the construction (apparently, some hired Hollens have been cleaning out the lot in preparation).

With Keln’s hideout possibly at risk due to mage spying, the kids move into Fardry’s home as a temporary shelter. They are warned not to bring trouble here.

Current operations are set to:
- keep an eye on Drisbee’s place; there are some dangerous things going on in the basement no one knew about
- keep pestering the pimp, but only with the most evasive people, as they are likely to be setting traps
- find and harass the mage that is assisting the pimp; make him understand that he is better off leaving the kids alone
- keep an eye on Alister to protect him from threats
- keep an eye on the Hoffstead and 19 Hollen lane to spot any threats

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Irregular happenings

Alister

Attempts to single-handedly disrupt a wagon kidnapping of the alchemists’ wife. Takes some bumps for his troubles, but manages to take down one of the assailants with what appears to be broken ribs. Guards catch up to the wagon, but are later found with knife wounds in the back at the site of the altercation. It appears a third assailant was unaccounted for by the guards and managed to surprise them.

Cassandra

Finds herself being stalked by 8 dark silhouettes; attempts to flee but they catch up to her and drop a hood on her head. She struggles to get free, but they overpower her and carry her away.
She is later released by the Count, as he informs her and other kidnapees that they were taken by Malach under his own initiative, and that the Count wishes to rectify the wrongdoing.

Benny

A visit from Darn, Kellsa, Shianna & Kavin brings news of trouble with the mansion’s take. It appears someone or something is tracking the items through a spiritual or magical “evil” presence. Shianna ties the trouble to Lada’s horned helm, and chases her down as she tries to slip away. Shianna catches up to her and tries to rip the helm out of her hands unsuccessfully. She attempts to poke her with a poisoned dart to sedate her, but finds herself feeling drowsy instead. She bashes Lada with a few punches, rendering her functionally unconscious, but remains unable to rip the helm from her hands (much to the horror of the onlookers). Darn takes Lada over his shoulder and carries her away, as Benny decides to leave the shelter for a little while to let things cool down.

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I'll 'beer' right back!

Benny

Acerop returns to the group at night, retelling his harrowing experience of tracking Drisbee in the woods, getting captured and threatened with slavery, and finally escaping.

Discussion on the plans being made up by Alister Arcan, the architect with Harlemon and Essery.

A large group of Holland kids showed up in Fagin’s Lane to threaten the Fagin’s Lane Gang and Benny. Benny bravely laughs them off, seeing as they are operating outside of Kavin and Darn’s direction.

Benny later makes his way to The Hoffstead, to try to catch the Count before his big important meeting and deliver his reports. He is intercepted by a scantily-clad Shianna who invites him to drinks at a beer tent near the Hoffstead. Sitting with her, he shares multiple pitchers of ale and discusses some of his recent events with her (including the Holland children threats and problem with Drisbee).

Following that discussion, Benny slips into the Hoffstead feeling quite tipsy to deliver his news to the Count. He also wants to discuss fencing needs, seeing as the relationship with Drisbee is souring, and gets pointed to the Hoffstead’s cook’s brother, Ascjon, who operates a pawn shop in the nearby town of Toarek. Finally, just before leaving, the count asks Benny to keep an eye on his man Malach, as he has been on a suspicious spending spree. Benny tells him about the protection racket in the market and his rough-handling of Kevassa, which the count promises to rectify (to Benny’s delight). With his insobriety making him ever more talkative, he mentions his plans to have an shelter/orphanage build for the kids of Fagin’s Lane.

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The Stories So Far...
Recap of character story lines (feel free to add your own edits!)

Shianna : Jungle-predator stuck in the big city, Shianna has spent time as a pit fighter and hired hand when not roaming the nearby woodlands hunting and crafting clothing and trinkets that attract interest from the city-folk. As one would expect, her wild spirit often puts her at odds with the social expectations of a big city, and has landed her in trouble many times. She used to work for the Thieve’s Guild and their ilk, but has recently aligned herself with the Hollands instead, hoping for a better mutual fit.

Benton “Benny” Buntz : Member of Fagin’s Lane Gang. This gang of orphaned kids has seen its fortunes turn for the better as of late, as the turmoil in town has provided them with ample work for multiple factions ( Thieve’s Guild, The Hollands). The kids were able to purchase the plot of land hosting the building they have been squatting in at auction, and can even think about building a proper shelter for themselves now. They need to carefully balance the work they do for multiple antagonistic factions to not lose their new-found wealth.

[The army veteran]

Drisby Cardoon : Town fence and member of the Thieve’s Guild. Operated a pawn shop in town while working on secret weaponised concoctions in his secret basement laboratory. Has orchestrated an attack on the Hollands, which was turned back on the Thieve’s Guild with gusto. Now picking up the pieces that are left, scrambling to buy himself and the Thieve’s Guild some breathing room after brokering a flaky (see “Historic treaty”) truce with the Hollands.

Count Jared Els’Velcasa : Proprietor of the Hoffstead Inn, the Count has recently added to his reputation as a fierce duelist not to be trifled with. As an independent operator, he has attracted the attention of both the Thieve’s Guild and the Hollands. He likes to act as a neutral ally to both, but mostly likes to be in the good graces of the faction currently in a position of power.

[The jeweler]

[The architect]

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