As Far As You Can Tell – Episode 13
The party watches the explosions on the west side of town from their hotel room. From this height they are unable to tell how large the explosions are, but they seem to be occurring roughly six blocks away from the hotel. The party decides to leave and investigate, and once in the streets they smell a chemical burning smell akin to alcohol. Citizens are panicked and running through the streets. There does not seem to be any causalities, but the party notices large circular scorch marks where the explosions happened. Ana can tell that this was not alchemist fire, and she has not come into contact with something that could cause an explosion this small, yet so strong. There is no glass or body parts to be found at the scene of the explosions. It looks as if the site of the explosion got hot quickly, and then cooled just as fast.
After a few minutes pass the town guard shows up to investigate. People start coming back to the streets to see what happened for themselves. The fires are now contained. Oscar Lawrence, a town guard, says that all the explosions took place on the west side of town. He and his team helped evacuate people from the area. People are being contained on the east side of town. The party learns of Angel Peck, the leader of the Anchorage Vathis Sentinels. He knows Concord, but he is an Outrider, not his commanding officer.
The party goes to the warehouse district, being forced to push through the crowd. They cannot find the Astean worshipers. They go to the Astean church, and find the area ringed by hastily-clad Astean worshipers. They are armed, and silent. Hove questions them and twelve step forward. The city has become a powder keg – they want to make sure that it has nothing to do with them. They are standing in a ring to protect their church.
The party leaves the Astean church and heads towards Guardian, where they find the front door slightly ajar. The two men usually guarding this place are missing, and the party hears combat from within. In their rush inside they pass eight or nine dead Guardian worshipers, all notably lacking their armor and weapons. They follow the sounds of combat to a small room in the back of the keep, where Zack and four of his brethren are pinned against the wall by several Asteans. They jump into combat, and also notice strange sounds coming from the direction of the sewers. After aiding Zack the party finds two Asteans dragging the corpses of Guardian members to the sewer to hide evidence of them being here. Raziel bursts through the floor to get to them. Afterwards, while conversing with Zack, he tells the party that believes the attack was planned because Guardian was getting ready to actively oppose the Asteans.
By the time 3am rolls around the city has quieted down, and citizens are returning to their homes. The party also decides to return to the Ivory Mirror to rest. In the morning, Kakara hands the group a newspaper. It claims that a fire happened, and no one died, but nobles were murdered in a brutal fashion – hacked and slashed to pieces in the northwest side of the city. Their names are Ben Hart, Augusta zi’Sosa, and Silas zi’Downs. The paper details the attack on Guardian while pointing fingers at the Asteans. It also features a series of interviews of those affected last night: Alex Webb, Semaj Brown, and Gabriel Young. All revolve around the Astean’s attack on citizens of Anchorage. The party finds something odd – Zack is pictured on the list of interviewers, but no interview from him was published. The picture itself is very recent, most likely from this morning. The article was written by Sam Clarke: an Isril human in his mid-40s. He is known for his journalism during the Darkest War.
Back to Guardian
Guardian is bustling, as repairs are being made to both the second floor and the access point to the sewers. All are in mourning for the loss of their brothers. There are twenty-seven remaining members. When confronted about the article, Zack shows his paper to the party: and his is different. His is all hope and glory, and depicts the attack on Guardian as a misunderstanding. This paper claims that the Asteans are at large, and Zack’s interview reports him as saying that everyone should have mercy on the Astean’s souls. The article is also written by Sam Clarke. Zack points the party in the direction of a Bluewind messaging center in the middle of the city, next to the resonance tower. This is where they might find Sam Clarke.
The party stops are all the newspaper stands on the way to the messaging center. All of the papers they find along the way match Zack’s paper. When they reach the station, the party asks the receptionist (Mila Harris) to see Sam Clarke. They wait for thirty minutes, then Mila takes them upstairs to a small office cluttered in newspapers, clippings, and photos. Sam is the head writer for the paper, so he is responsible for almost everything in it.
The party begins explaining the situation, and Sam shows the party the same paper that Zack has. He claims that this is what he published, so the party shows Sam their paper – the drastically different one – and Sam is visibly upset. He wants to find out where the paper came from, and he thinks he knows someone that is capable of this sort of forgery – Concord Ball. Sam got Concord fired in Gloam around a year or so ago. He has proof in newspaper back-ups he is willing to show the party. As the party leaves they ask Leslie, Sam’s assistant, for copies of the newspapers, and she gives it to them – six newspapers total.
The party reads the newspapers from Sam as they travel to Angel’s office. The first details Gloam and how it ended up crime-ridden and controlled by merchant lords. The second details the rise of the Rising Fire Coalition and zi’Zhang Fae: associates drove the merchant lords out of town and gave power back to nobility. The third paper introduces a Vathis Sentinel named Sophie, an Outrider, who was assigned to drive the merchant lords back set up a Sentinel outpost to the north of the city. Within the four paper Sophie is reassigned somewhere else, and replaced with Concord Ball. This allowed the takeover of Rising Fire. The fifth paper contains a list of bribery charges, and explains how Concord turned a blind eye to expand his power. The last newspaper, the sixth, details the eventual expose of Concord to Sentinel higher-ups. He was removed from Gloam and reassigned to Anchorage, where he is now.
When the party arrives at Angel’s office they show both papers to Angel. She assumes there is another printing operation in town responsible for the false papers. Zack has apprised Angel of what is happening, and he told her about the party via Verity. Angel asks if the party took care of the lizardfolk as well, and says that politics in this city can be daunting. Evara’s father was murdered the previous night with the noble folk – he was Walter. The party learns that Angel and Holly are sisters, and Angel wants the party to meet her in six hours at this location.
Investigation, Warehouse 16:
On the way to the warehouse the party looks at the newspapers at local stands. The papers on the warehouse side of town are different, and reflect the one that Kakara gave the party this morning. An Astean worshiper is harking the papers on a street corner. The party asks him what happened to the kids handing out papers, and he claims to have no knowledge of any children doing so.
At the warehouse a worshiper is guarding the door. He is armored in chainmail bearing Astea’s ankh and possesses a longsword. The party is suspicious of the windows on the third floor, which are blacked out. Hove talks to the guard at the door and claims that he has authority to enter. He approaches and the guard bangs on the door. There are eleven men in total inside: ten are in half-plate, and its dark past them. They say that they arrived in Anchorage on a ship, that they are not being paid, and that they are here in search of immortality. The building itself smells like chemicals. Feeling threatened, the party attacks. They are victorious, but one remaining worshiper runs down the hall while lit on fire, causing the warehouse to explode. The party is thrown against the wall of the warehouse. Raziel is healed by his sword, and he finds the party unconscious. Eventually they come to.
A man in Astean robes named Edward runs down the street to warehouse 15, screaming frantically that it has begun: Astea’s grace is here! The party is unable to catch him before he enters the warehouse. As the smoke begins to clear, the party sees Asteans running all over the place and chanting in prayer. Explosions begin on the north side of the warehouse district (near 5 and 6) and an Astean runs towards warehouse 3. The party hears soldiered footsteps. Nearly 1500 town guards and 150 Vathis Sentinels appear, fully mobilized – Angel is at the front, and tells the party to go deal with Concord.
Station and Church
The party arrives at the station to find that it is on fire, and no one is ere. Unsure of where to look, they head back to the Astean Church. Almost everyone is gone and only a few people remain. The party gruffly talks to Evan Burns, who says that Concord is with Peyton at the printer, warehouse 3. While in the church, warehouse 6 explodes, and debris lands on the church. It catches fire. The party quickly leaves to rush to warehouse 3.
They find the door open, and enter. Upon walking in they realize it has been fortified to appear like a small keep. A man opens a door with a freshly burned face. He tries to scream, but nothing comes out- Violet speaks to him telepathically and he tells them to leave because they have not been kissed by Astea’s grace. They knock him out. Arrows come flying at the party and a voice booms out in front: “This is not a place for you. Please leave.” The party enters combat.
The remaining man moves to the back door and starts pounding on it. The party manages to take him out but it’s too late: Concord steps out and says, “Well, well, well. What do we have here.”
- Six newspapers about Concord Ball
- Maybe some concussions…