As Far As You Can Tell – Episode 27
Welcome to town!
The party approaches a fortified gatehouse. There is one guard on the opposite end of the gate who asks where we’re coming from, as they don’t get many visitors here. His name is Alexander. No one finds anything out of the ordinary in the city, and the snow begins to fall as the party proceeds. Within fifteen minutes it’s coming down pretty heavily, but people are bundled up and take no notice of the snow. Kids are outside playing.
The Gilded Lily looks like other buildings. It has a large lily over the double doors. Inside there are twenty or so travel-worn looking people, and a fairly good-looking human female is behind a desk. As the party approaches the desk, no one really looks at them. They ask the woman, Lily, for a day-to-day room, as they are unsure of how long they will need to be in the city. She has rooms on the third floor, and gives the party three rooms – two people to a room, and Veil gets her own room, facing the alley. The party heads upstairs with blankets and pillows. Lily mentions that there are no fireplaces, and all heat and light is eldric provided. The rooms are well-maintained and comfortable, with wood walls and floors. The beds are soft. Raziel’s room features a special chair that accommodates his wings, insinuating that the inn receives vasar visitors at least occasionally. Veil’s room is larger, and features a fireplace with fire, but it gives off no heat. Veil’s door is open next to a large dog. It’s nametag says Shadow – it’s a black dog, and it leaves after hearing a whistle. The party follows the dog downstairs, and learns that Shadow is Lily’s dog, and he often acts as a companion to travelers throughout the night.
The party eats downstairs. Lily asks where they are from, and Veil asks her why everyone here is so happy. She explains that they were given no notice during the Darkest War. The Shattered Hand never came through this town, and most of the husbands are still alive. Shardfalls will be quite to their liking if they stay more than a day. When asked what there is to do around here, Lily tells us that there’s a small theater, art gallery, and playhouse. During the warmer summer months there are sports. CORE provides the necessities to the town. The contact for CORE within Shardfalls is Owen Buckley. We’ll find a lack of darker deities in Shardfalls – there are temples, but a great number of the smaller temples and faiths were destroyed during the Second Empire Wars. There aren’t many cultists here – a relief to the party.
Lily used to have two other dogs, but they disappeared around five years ago in the springtime. She doesn’t know what happened to them. Veil decides to take Shadow for the evening.
The part rests and is woken up at 10am by a bell. Veil has doggy paws in her face. After showers and an uneventful morning with food, the party is out on the streets of Shardfalls. It’s a nice day – the snow accumulated two feet overnight. The party heads towards the bridge, and on the way they find two snow forts. The party is let through. There is the sound of hammers – ildera working on the bridge – and Ward is standing and gesturing. It looks like a support beam is broken, perhaps by a tremor, or something large struck it. If they brace the beam it will self-heal. The bridge is 50 feet wide. The water is 40 feet. Instead of beign pushed in, it looks like the bridge was pushed from the side. The party learns that CORE’s headquarters lie to the northwest, so the party returns the way they came back through town.
The party proceeds through the city. They’re greeted by a mother and small girl, around six years old, with strawberry blonde hair. The girl is a building a small snow castle. She’s tossing around a series of ice soldiers. As her mother looks up the party realizes the snow soldiers are moving on their own when the mother isn’t looking. The daughter is whispering to herself, and it appears that she’s playing castle. There’s a king and a guard and a princess, and someone else is playing the princess. The mother introduces herself as Danielle White, and the daughter’s name is Sarah.
The party makes out Sarah saying, “it’s okay Heidra, she’s gone now”. The name is native Isril, but extremely old – no mother would name her child that. Hove can hear a small whispering voice, but he isn’t sure of what it says. Danielle has heard of Heidra and believes she’s Sarah’s imaginary friend.
Intrigued and a little spooked out, the party goes to the local cemetery to look for a Heidra. They find religious references to Junon, Aleydra, and Mileen. The White’s go back around two hundred years -they notice an older gentleman named marlin White, who died during the Darkest War, and was a loving husband and father. The plot next to him is reserved for Danielle. Sarah was one when he died.
A priestess of the Curator (Mileen), greets the party. Her name is Aspen. The party asks for death records, or anything related to a person named Heidra, but no one with that named has been here and died within the last three hundred years. She emphasizes the recent disappearances, like the seven-year old boy named Lucas Sharp who went missing four months ago. Aspen provides the party with newspaper articles. All of the children who’ve gone missing are between five and eight, and all have disappeared in a time frame of four to five months apart. The party is afraid that Sarah may be next. The parents of the missing kids just seem to turn around for a second and then the kids are gone – most went missing from their homes, and left no tracks. The party leaves Aspen after an hour or so of conversation.
As the party continues through town, they stop at the church of the Wyrmfather, and converse with Throtin Stormriver. He tells Hove the long story of how Sillirai and Mythrayne had a shared culture. They then proceed to the northwest section of the city. The entire CORE facility is walled off by eldricsteel, but they walk into the building’s entrance and ask for Owen. A dark haired gentleman in a suit brings them into the office. He explains that the party would need 75k to build a resonance tower, which would be manned by CORE employees. The mile of land they require is for protection – the facility will sit on a few thousand feet. He also mentions the disappearing kids.
The Sharp Residence
The party heads to a small house on the south side of the city. It rests on a small hill, with its back to a wall. They have a fenced in backyard. A middle-aged human woman named Camille opens the door, and after some persuasion, lets the party into her home. As they enter, they notice that everything in the home looks fairly well-kept. She tries to clean up some loose papers and items quickly. She explains that Lucas went missing in the middle of the fall – he was outside playing, and she came back outside, and he was just gone. He didn’t have an imginary friend – he had a lot of real friends, and the name Heidra doesn’t mean anything to the mother. His shoe was found at the southern gate, but there was no other evidence.
The party hears kid-like footsteps above them, but she does not have any other children. The group heads upstairs to look at Lucas’ room. Nothing is out of the ordinary, and no magic grabs their attention. The south gate is visible from his window. Within his room there’s a small bookcase housing books, and a toy chest. It looks like the mother hasn’t moved anything from when he was last in here. His bed is in the corner, and he has a small writing desk. The party notices that within the corner there’s an upside-down wagon. The wheel is moving, and then stops. They don’t find any drawings in his room, just wagons and toy soldiers, and a castle made of mud bricks. There’s a prince figure who looks well-painted. Lucas writes stories about castles and kings – in one story he writes about a prince with a secret advisor who has no name. The advisor, referred to as a ‘she’, tells the prince secrets of how to destroy the dragon and escape. Hove hears footsteps, and a boy giggle.
Lucas’ father killed himself two months ago. He was hung from the bridge. Camille tells the story of how he wasn’t a great father, and always ignored the boy, but when he went missing he was overcome with guilt. The bridge was broken after the man hung.
There are castles in the backyard, and replicas of Shardfalls. Within the replica town there is a bridge, and it looks like one side wrecked the other side, and Lucas buried the figurines within the town cemetery. He buried the ‘evil dragon’. As they search the yard and they feel for magical emanations, Violet is smashed in the back of the head by a rock half the size of her fist.