GM’s Note: Millicent’s player has informed me that the actual spelling of her character’s name is Milacent, so that’s how it’s going to be spelled from here on out. Maybe I’ll go back and change the spelling in all the old posts. Someday when I decide I don’t have enough tedium in my life.
“What’s going on here?” the lead guard demanded.
“Uh, you see, we were just rescuing this woman from, uh, kidnappers.” Theodore began.
“Vicious assassins!” added Milacent.
Natalya, splayed out across the ground, collected herself and then looked up at people around her.
“Is that true, Madam?” the guard inquired.
Natalya looked confused for a moment, then looked over at Theodore, and in that moment she appeared to have an idea. “Yes, yes it is,” she answered. “In fact, they were just about to untie me, weren’t you?” And she put out her hands towards her former pursuers. The “rescuers” hesitated for perhaps a second longer than they should have, then obliged by cutting her bonds.
“There we go,” said Zelcor, “all good.”
“Maybe you oughtta come down to City Watch HQ,” the guard suggested.
“No, that’s ok!” said Natalya and the party in unison. “Anyway, you should go chase down the kidnappers! They went that way!” said Scratchy, who had just arrived from finishing off the last crossbowman.
“Hey, is that a gob-” began the guard.
“He’s my brother!” interjected Milacent, “and the kidnappers are getting away!” She pointed in the direction where the woman who ambushed them had gone.
The guards looked back at Natalya, who nodded that it was ok, then went off in search of the vicious assassin kidnappers.
“Well,” started Natalya, “you didn’t kill me when you had the chance, and you didn’t turn me over to the City Watch, so that’s a plus. Now will you tell me who you are?”
“We were sent to find you. By Sheila Heidmarch.” answered Theodore.
“Sheila?” replied Natalya. “Is she angry? Does she want me killed?”
After repeated assurances that she wasn’t going to be killed, the Natalya agreed to come back to the Pathfinder lodge. Sheila was a little angry at first, but it quickly faded into concern and interest once Natalya began to tell her tale.
And an odd tale it was: she had been working with the Tower Girls when she had found the strange, coppery shard the party had seen her use earlier. Almost immediately, she had begun thinking that she was a far better thief than any of the others. She could no longer stand taking orders from them, being held back from what she knew was her true potential. She began to plot, first about how she was going to leave them, then take over them, then rule all the Sczarni, then all of Magnimar. It was a grandiose plan, even if it did begin in a burned-out, sewage-filled boarding house. Natalya had found the sewer goblins, deposed the goblin snake as their leader, and from there began to plot the growth of her empire. And the plan wasn’t over, she insisted. The party, and Sheila, could all be members of her royal court, the first soldiers of her new army; and the first thing they had to do was find the shard.
Sheila listened to the story with growing interest, then nodded her head. They would most certainly help to find the shard, she said, but perhaps the mistress would like some rest first? It wasn’t a difficult argument to make: Natalya was suffering from multiple stab wounds, and the aftereffects of rolling around in sewage, wrestling with a snake. She could most certainly take a little nap while her new minions went out to retrieve her shard for her. Natalya readily agreed.
When she was gone, Sheila turned to the party. “I think we’ve been presented with an incredible opportunity,” she said. “If what Natalya says is correct, we may well have a chance to recover one of the seven shards of the Sihedron!”
“Right. A big fancy human magic thing!” Scratchy asked.
“Um, is there someone more magically inclined I can speak to?”
When Theodore volunteered, Sheila told him the story. Thousands of years ago, the King of Thassilon had a powerful magical artifact he used to defend himself and his empire: the Sihedron, or seven-pointed star. When he disassembled it temporarily in order to perform a ritual of longevity, he was vulnerable for a little while, and that was when his seven lieutenants, the Runelords, betrayed him and seized control of the empire for themselves. Each took a single shard, a piece of the Sihedron, for himself, and they ruled with them until the fall of Thassilon. Originally, each shard had been meant to represent a virtue, but the corruption of the Runelords had twisted them into instruments of sin. Natalya’s shard, originally meant to represent humility, now was the shard of pride, as reflected by her behavior. All the shards carried a similar curse, but it could be counteracted.
With that Sheila got up and left the room. When she returned, she held in her hand a pale blue stone. “Put this in the shard when you find it,” she said, “and then bring it back to me. If we’re lucky, we can find all seven of the shards, and what a boon that will be to the Pathfinder Society. And you.”
The thought of recovering ancient magic had the party nodding enthusiastically. And with that, they set off on their new quest.