Deep within the City of Towers, exhausted and tired, Norrin stopped at the Bullfrogs Tavern, looking for a hot meal and a place to sleep. After a quick exchange with the barkeep, who had plenty of food and ale to offer but no rooms left, suggested the Prancing Pegasus along the way.
The Bullfrog was busy with many buccaneers and local merchants, some a bit rougher than usual, but whilst waiting for his meal, Norrin asked about the three-eyed Couatl engraving. Most ushered him away … being a Paladin made many uncomfortable! … but the few who looked, grunted and shook their heads.
Norrin retreated to the window overlooking the vast bay to the south, resigned to sipping his ale quietly; when a finger poked him in the leg … it was a rank smelling Goblin, who introduced himself as Squee the River Goblin! “Good day to you fine sir, I hear you are seeking a three-eyed Coutl?” Norrin nearly chocked when he heard the Goblin speak, but wasn’t sure if it was the smell or what he said!
“How do you know of such a thing, goblin!?” Norrin focused intensely on the rouge, but sensed no evil from him. It wasn't the first time he came across a devious grunt. Squee climbed up on the seat at the other side of the table … “I’ve seen one, or rather, a carving of one in some caves within the Endworld Mountains.” Norrin laughed … a goblin in Q’Barra, not likely he thought! “Tell me goblin, tell me more of your tales; I’m in the mood for some entertainment!”
Squee was not impressed, and took insult from Norrin’s comments, but when offered ale and a meal, he spoke of the carving; of where it was and the treacherous journey he had to and from the place, covering the vast Blade Desert and through the mystical Mournlands.
Norrin listened as Squee ate and drank his fill … a merry tale, but with so much detail, it was almost convincing. “Why tell me your tale, young Squee, do you think me a fool to part with my gold without proof?” Squee wiped his face, “No, no, good sir, I seek fellow adventurers to help carry away the riches in the same caves … shall we make a pact to help one another?”
Norrin nodded, “Perhaps … perhaps we can help each other … I am having no luck seeking the three-eyed Couatl in these realms, maybe your tale has some merit.” As he questioned the goblin more about his journey, an elf and dwarf peered around the cubical … “... room for two more?”
As the new friends left the tavern, a little bit drunk from the ale, Squee spotted a shape on the walkway and quickly darted off. In doing so, Norrin took fright and gave chase, only to fall into a fountain with the slippery path and darkness about him! As the elf helped him out of the fountain, they all made their way to the near naked body, noticing Squee with a now full sack of loot … once a goblin, always a goblin! But, as they approached to scold the thief, a harsh voice sounded behind them, “Give me the journal and you can go in peace!” All three drew their weapons, but Castus Wolf, the elf, was struck with a heavy bolt in the butt before he could turn, giving a shriek like a big girl! It was a warforged mercenary, mostly likely the killer of the body on the ground. All three laid assault too the warforged and quickly disposed of it.
Helping the elf bind his wound, the night’s guards appeared because of the commotion, noticing the dead body at the party’s feet, challenging them to lay down their arms. “Hold sir, I am one of the faithful of the Silver Flame … show yourselves!” As the guards approached in the dim light, both recognized each others emblems and put away their weapons … “we came across this body and where ambushed by the warforged mercenary. After some discussions with the guards, they were released, but told not to leave the city until their investigation was complete. Returning to the tavern, they holed up in their room … “Squee,” Norrin spoke, “hand over the journal.” Almost instinctively, he denied having it, then remembered finding it in the street … “it was just lying there, honest!” … Norrin nodded, no point in arguing with what a goblin finds in the street!
"Nothing? All the pages are empty? I’ll take it to a wizards den tomorrow to see if they can make heads or tails of it."
The following day, the party went their own ways … Norrin to find a wizard to unlock the secret of the journal and the other three party members to browse the market stalls. Norrin had little luck with the journal, but was offered many gold pieces for it … “I will have to confer with my friends to see if they want to sell it. I’m sure I will return.”
As he returned to the Prancing Pegasus, he noticed the other party members with a merchant at the main door and after a quick introduction, they were invited to speak with the dead man’s “friend” who could offer some enlightenment on what happened last night.
Arriving at the Drunken Drum, the party were ushered into a backroom, where a veiled woman spoke of her “friend”, a journal he possessed and a magical artifact lost in the dank under-city ruins. As they discussed things, the women spoke of the blank pages in the journal and how only those with a magical ring which was bound to it could see the words, “… the ring in the goblins possession.” Everyone looked at Squee … “oh, this little thing, sorry, I found this in the street as well!” Handing over the ring, reluctantly, Norrin placed it on his finger and opened the book once more, and with each page, he could see words appear, about directions to the under-belly of Sharn, sewers and ancient ruins.
The veiled women spoke again; "Find the artifact that is listed in the book and bring it back too me, you shall be richly rewarded! Take this money and prepare yourself, we have many enemy’s about us.” Norrin quickly grabbed the pouch and the party said their farewells, seeking the market place for any potions and scrolls which could help. This is where Squee came into his own, having the bartering skills of a merchant! He saved the party much gold as they equipped themselves for the journey ahead … tomorrow!