A Conspiracy Discovered
It's Kesenday, Vhast 27 17:51:26 1019. The full moon isn't up. The tide is low and ebbing. A cold wind blows from the west, driving charcoal clouds before it and blotting out the stars in isolated patches overhead. The air is clear and elsewhere the stars shine brightly.
A14: Artificer's Hall
The sun is sinking in the western sky and the cold of another winter day is turning even colder as the sky turns to night. Entering the foyer of the Artificers Hall is the ranger Ga'Elian, looking around like he'll never quite get used to this place.
Fazahd, on the other hand, is quite at home here - though he never looks happy about it. Not that he looks happy about much at all, mind. He stands at the base of the great window depicting the tower within the World Engine, looking up at the glorious work of art. Frowning. Some people aren't art fans, perhaps.
Ga'Elian heads toward the interior of the Hall, and approaches Fazahd. He glances up at the stained glass for a moment, then says, "Heya, Fazahd. I've got a meeting here with a certain professor, but it just might interest you. I dropped off a suspicious looking artifice box a couple days ago with the Dean of Kulthian Studies, a gnome by the name of Professor Argus Bumblebottom. He was going to check it out. Wanna come along and see what he's found out?"
"...quite." He looks away from the tower only after a few hesitant moments, turning to follow. "Where did you get this box?"
Ga'Elian turns to lead the way down one of the eight hallways. He replies, "Well, I was flying in the mountains up by the Deluge Mines and Fate's Spire a few days back and discovered the wreckage of a teamster's wagon below a part of the Mountain Road where it goes along the edge of a cliff. The cliff was all icy, and I figure the driver lost control. Anyway, This box was apparently his only cargo. When I saw it, it was clicking and wrirring, and had writing on it in glowing characters that I was pretty sure were in ancient Kulthian. It seemed possibly dangerous, so I hasted to bring it here. Dean Bumblebottom agreed that it needed to be looked into sooner rather than later. Since then I've learned that the freighter was with the Redridge Freight Company, a Khazadi consortium, and that the box was destined for delivery to a certain Lady Jaquetta who was extremely upset when she heard that the box was delivered here."
Fazahd mmms. "Well," he says, "We'll know about it soon enough." The explanation of the matter only makes his frown etch more deeply. "Jaquetta. Who is this woman?"
Ga'Elian shakes his head, "I haven't met her, but her herald turned as white as a sheet when he heard that the box came here, and ran into the Fernwood to tell her lest he catch her wrath for delaying the news of it. Munch and I are planning to visit her right away, and perhaps escort her to the Watch, if she turns out as menacing as her herald gave the impression that she would." He stops at an office door that has 'A. Bumblebottom' across the glass in gold letters, and raps smartly on it.
"All right," he replies, though his expression is very hard indeed. "I might like to talk with her as well, if it doesn't bother you."
Fazahd waits for whomever might be on the other side to answer, then.
Ga'Elian nods. "No problem here. If you can make it with Munch and me, you're welcome to then, or otherwise, I'm sure the Watch inspector will respect your credentials and let you interview her in his custody."
Conveniently, right then the door is opened by a contraption on wheels with a robotic arm. Inside, the professor stands holding a stack of papers, or more properly vellum sheets, and smiles. "Master Ga'Elian, just on time indeed," as if punctuality is what he lives for. He continues, "Oh, and you brought Enginebreaker Masterbuilder, too. Wonderful. Won't you gentlemen please come in. Have I got news for you."
Ga'Elian looks around and then cautiously takes a seat, which immediately adjusts to the perfect proportions for the elf's comfort. Slightly discomfitted by the chair's behavior, Ga'Elian says, "Good. I gather you've opened the box safely then?"
The gnome says, "Well, yes. It was tricky business, but the box, for as clever a device as it was, is of negligible importance. What really matters are these documents that were inside it. Absolutely TERRIFYING. Why, the information in these papers is most alarming indeed. Are you familiar with the Empress Altima?"
"Yes." Fazahd's tone is unto the tolling of a lead bell.
Ga'Elian looks blankly from Bumblebottom to Masterbuilder and back. "I'm not. Sorry."
The professor says, "So you see, these letters chronicle the babblings of an insane former courtier of hers from when she ruled here in Alexandria several years back. Then a certain Grimble Anvilhorn from Dun Mordren writes to some Lady Jaquetta that he deduces from these babblings that he can find the mortal remains of the High Artificer, and asks if she knows the rituals necessary to raise her to undeath. It's really quite chilling."
"Altima was once empress of Charn," says Fazahd. "Then she conquered Alexandria curing the Crown Wars. It was revealed that she was of Kulthus, somehow having lived down through the millenia." Fazhad shakes his head. "Professor, is there have any evidence that this is what the lady seeks to bring about?"
Ga'Elian listens with all due shock as the alaming news is spoken. He then says, "This Lady Jaquetta is staying here in the City even now. I have met her servant. As for what she intends, I had yet to ascertain that. (beat) Professor, you seem positively giddy with anxiety. Are you alright?"
The gnome looks alarmed again upon hearing of the Lady's confirmed presence in Alexandria. He says, "I had not even known of her until I read these. I am sure the Ministry of Internal Affairs here and the Minister of Security in Dun Mordren will both want to follow up on this evidence and interrogate them. Enginebreaker, do you know this Anvilhorn or his clan?"
"No," says Fazahd. "I am from Ironhold, and they do not have much representation there. I can, however, look into it. As for this...woman..." A beat. "Shall we see that she is arrested? Or at the very least, detained for questioning."
Ga'Elian nods vigorously. "Um? Absolutely! Anyone dealing in rituals to raise undead should be arrested or questioned, but conspiring to raise Altima? That sounds like high treason and a threat to the security of the whole of Ea. Let's make certain that these conspirators and this evidence both get into the custody of the authorities."
Professor Bumblebottom says, "I took the liberty of replicating the documents, so both governments could have a set."
"Good," says Fazahd. "I would like a copy too, please, for the reference of the Inquisition."
"Agreed," replies Fazahd, nodding slowly. "But it will come out all the same. We must be watchful." Fazahd looks to the professor. "Thank you, Professor," he says. "Please see to it that a copy of the documentation is brought to me. We will need to speak to this woman."
The gnome says, "Of course, Enginebreaker. Here. Take these, I'll copy the other set and see to it that the governments get them. Perhaps the Adventurers Guild can handle the delivery to Dun Mordren. I'm not confident in the security of ordinary couriers."