Rainiar, playing a hunch, soon had us investigating the Winter Estate’s fur trading business at the request of Ralliman Winter himself. Ralliman, being a good man, wanted nothing to do with illegal activities and asked Rainiar to check into it following Tenser’s revelation that the fine leather and fur were permanently polymorphed human and elf skins.
We were rounded up and travelled by Able Carter’s Coach from Greyhawk out to a remote ranch half a days journey south. Rainiar concocted a plan to distract the workers that we would set in motion when we discovered the leads we were hoping to discover. Posing as workers with work papers in hand, we went about tasks from loading and unloading wagons, overseeing the tanning of hides, and preparing the various skins for curing. A man with short, dark hair appeared to look over things at the camp, and when satisfied with whatever it was he was looking for, collected himself into a carriage bound for Greyhawk. When all seemed above board, Echo discovered that one of the crates headed for McGloogan’s Warehouse in Greyhawk contained an assortment of magical items and weapons and another held human and elf bodies. Ivorian and Kel went over the books in the small office indicating various shipments and a chest of coin originating in the Pomarj and the lands of The Scarlet Brotherhood.
With all the evidence needed, Rainiar and Ivorian instigated the magical distraction, including a violent storm and the reversal of the permanent polymorph spell on several of the hides. This sent the workers into a panic allowing us to collect what we needed to head back to Greyhawk and to booby-trap the chest for Mr. Winter to pick up at his leisure.
A quick stop a McGloogan’s proved that either the workers were unaware or not telling us what scheme was taking place in the warehouse. In either case, the no-nonsense warehouse manager told us where we might find Tarnek McGloogan – in an apartment above a small bakery or at The Green Dragon Inn.
Investigation of the apartment over the bakery turned up little except he was caring for his infirm father and a very large giant killing sword. Posing as clergymen and healers, Echo and Kel healed some diseases that ailed him and got a little more insight into the McGloogan’s home life. There was some debate about taking the sword, but decided to leave it in the closet as to not tip anyone off that they’d been snooping in the apartment. It seemed that Tarnek was caring for his father in his final days with hopes of selling off the warehouse.
At The Green Dragon Inn, Rainiar, Tirion, and Ivorian mingled with the afternoon tavern-goers hoping to spot Tarnek. Being a huge hulk of a man, he was easy to spot in the far corner. Tirion flirted with the red-headed barmaid and watched the crowd, noting the barmaid’s behavior especially. With Ivorian distracting some of the pub crowd with delightful cantrips, Rainiar noticed that Tarnek was on the move and there was something left on the table. He summoned a bird to obtain the note left under a tip of some small coins left behind. The note indicated he’s found their mark, a rather inept young wizard staying in the inn.
The Companions decided to scope out the Inn but sent a group to tail Tarnek. Tailing Tarnek McGloogan, Kel, Tirion and Echo discovered that Tarnek was using a messenger to alert someone staying in the Lord’s Crypts. Reconvening, Rainiar waited across from the Inn out of sight with a bottle of ale (and a bag of flour) for the mysterious person to arrive. Inside, Ivorian and Tirion guarded and informed the naive wizard that he was a target. Outside and on cue, Rainiar spied Tarnek and a mysterious dark figure meeting in front of The Green Dragon Inn. With Tarnek disappearing inside after locking eyes with the druid, Rainiar threw his finished bottle of ale at the cloaked figure, narrowly missing the drow’s head but catching a glimpse of drow features and causing the drow to panic and head inside. This is when all hell broke loose.
Rainiar pursued the dark figure inside trying to blend in with the crowd then lost him. Now invisible, and then spotting the dark cloaked figure through magical means, Rainiar flung the bag of flour yelling, “DROW!” Tirion fired pheromone arrows into the drow. Tarnek flipped over a table hoping to block the incoming arrows of Tirion’s trusty bow. The crowd immediately went into a panic fleeing, giving Tarnek and the drow the moment they needed to escape into the streets as well.
In hot pursuit, The Companions split into two groups. One chased the drow all the way to the High Market while Echo, in Cuthbertine nun guise, brought Tarnek to his knees in submission. Unfortunately, for our trusty heroes, no good deed goes unpunished. Everyone was surrounded by the city watch and spent the next few hours in jail for minor offenses. Rainiar, the druid, was given a little more of an interrogation and reprimand due to his use of a fire-based spell in the High Market.
After the City Watch was satisfied that The Companions were upfront and law abiding citizens and warned of using destructive magics within the confines of the city walls, they were set free with bail and fines paid for by an anonymous benefactor.
As it was the day of the ball, all lose ends were tied up. Rainiar met with Ralliman Winter to inform him of our findings and tended to the druid’s circle. Kel blessed a caravan headed out of town on a great pilgrimage. Tirion filed paperwork and plans for taking up the Lord Mayor’s offer for land and a proposed home. Ivorian met with a team of dwarves to go over plans for his tower. A new mage joined the group, Photharian, seeking out The Companions having heard of their recent adventures and knowing Ivorian from the Mage’s College.
Tirion, eager to find out what Tenser had uncovered regarding a magical bow rounded everyone up to head to Magepoint. Tenser revealed that the bow is now in the possession of a bard in the employ of The Mage of the Valley. Tentative plans were discussed to return to the valley of the mage to seek out this bard.
Rainiar, producing the drow’s cloak, hoped Tenser could find out where the tricky dark elf had made off to so quickly. Tenser ushered everyone up to the top of the tower, under the crystalline dome to see if he could do just that. It was revealed to the group that the drow in fact did return to the Lord’s Crypt hideout, and was ther, but there were two high level mages from the Wizard’s College with them begging him to keep his business going. Feeling adventurous, Tenser teleported the group right into the tomb, while everyone made quick work of capturing the threesome and brought them to justice.
Teleporting the group back to The Fortress of the Unknown Depths, Tenser said his goodbyes and The Companions returned to Greyhawk City to prepare for the Winter Ball. After a quick meeting with Simone to go over the plans once more, the group was finally told that the tiger idol with the emerald eyes held a secret inside a hollow she intended to hand over to Ivorian.
The ball was a grand affair, with no expense spared and was rather formal. Everyone’s tickets were taken, guests were announced, food was buffet style, and the party was serenaded by the beautiful Aestrella Shanfarel. After the main event, which included the unveiling of new paintings and a printing press (a new dangerous looking invention of dwarven make), the group went to work. As soon as everyone intending to head to the tower had gathered at the foot of the grand staircase, Ivorian went to work casting mass invisibility and then began dispelling magic on various furs and leather items worn by the crowd which made for great cover. Rainiar summoned rats to entertain two poor children and to take the attention from the gruesome unveiling. Ivorian and Rainiar stayed behind to watch the Spelljammer through a telescope and mingle while Simone, Tirion, Kel, Photharian, and Echo went about finding their prize.
After passing the door by using the firefly pendant that D’Arcon obtained weeks ago, the group entered the tower holding the Winter family treasures and keepsakes. Tapestries, paintings, sculptures, and display cases and pedestals dotted the circular chamber. The room was made cold by the winter air coming in through the carelessly open window to the north. Soon, it was determined that the idol wasn’t immediately visible, which Kel guessed must be hiding due to the puzzle he just noticed on the floor.
Kel postulated that the four lines of text in the center of the circle were somehow relational to the string of text that bordered the circle on the large round capstone. Tirion began working out the puzzle coming up with this answer:
The group darted about searching for a hidden lantern, Kel noticed a walking stick that belonged to his faith resting on a pedestal. Taking this as some sort of sign he grasped it from it’s place when he noticed all of the words carved into the sides of it fall onto the ground and disappear, except for the words “City of Greyhawk” near the top of the plain wooden staff. While Tirion told everyone to look for a hidden lantern, Simone, Echo and Photharian searched for said lantern, Kel investigated the puzzle’s inlay and discovered a small hole at the top in which something could be placed, like his new walking stick. This is when Kel also noticed a small divot in the top his walking stick that the firefly pendant could rest in. Tirion lit the lantern which caused a concentrated beam of light to shine up to a small mirror in the ceiling, down to a point above the hole in the puzzle. Kel thought fast and assembled the staff with the pendant and placed it in the notch in the floor. The light from the lantern refracted through the pendant and down onto the puzzle’s written verse in a separated prism of light. A rainbow, Kel thought, the answer to the puzzle in the center.
A ribbon of dancing light appeared around the capstone, then there was the sound of stone against stone, as a secret room holding the statuette rose up out of floor! Success was short lived, because as Simone reached for the statue an unseen force lifted it away from her grasp. That’s when a foe appeared at the open window.
A man with a half mask matching his all grayish-white clothing and cloak stepped from behind the curtain near the open window wielding a wand, drawing the statuette into his grasp. Words were exchanged between this masked man and Simone as she now negotiated for the contents of the statuette, which was Simone’s real prize. All this was for naught as the thief in white was attacked and laid low by Photharian’s enfeeblement spell, the contents on the statuette removed and the statuette replaced and the gang climbed out the window to the stable below. Nearby, Ivorian and Rainiar were peering through a telescope with the poor cobbler’s family. Rainiar kindly gave the telescope (provided by Ralliman winter) to the destitute family and then joined the rest of The Companions.
With the thief in white as their captive and the scroll from inside the statue in their possession, The Companions went back to the flying turtle ship to plan their next course of action.