Milacent picked up the black shard and briefly began to wonder why she didn’t have a larger share of the party’s treasure. Then she took out a pale blue ioun stone Sheila had given them the night before and placed it in a circular indentation on the shard, and the feelings disappeared. According to Sheila’s research, this would be the Shard of Greed, and it would lead them to the next shard, the Shard of Lust.
But before that, there were other matters to attend to. Everyone was hurt, and Theodore was out of healing. After a little more debate, they all decided to rest in the alchemist’s room, as it was relatively large and easy to defend. They needn’t have worried; their rest passed without incident.
With health restored, the party set about to finish their exploration of the Crow. The first thing they did was bump into the ghoul, Lockerbie Brast, who was chewing on the remains of a spider-thing from the night before. They made their deal with him: fresh art supplies in exchange for illustrations of the various statues and murals that Sheila Heidmarch had been interested in.
“And perhaps the flesh of the living?” asked the ghoul.
“Uh, no,” replied Theodore, “but maybe we can find you some … goat meat … or something.” They finished by once again reaffirming their pledge to find the brooch in his sunken ship and bring it to Liza Jane. Brast agreed, and they parted ways as amicably as one can with an undead monstrosity.
The next step was to explore the one last staircase they hadn’t gone down. It was a large spiral one headed downward through the floor of the room where they’d initially met the derros. They headed down it, descending roughly 400 feet before it ended abruptly in a hole. Scratchy poked his head through and saw that it opened into the ceiling of a large cavern, whose fungus-covered floor was a straight 80 foot drop below them.
“I don’t think we’re going much further,” said Milacent. “Even if we can get down without dying, it’ll be crazy hard to get back up.”
“But maybe there’s treasure down there!” exclaimed Scratchy, “magical treasure!”
“Well how can we know?” asked Zelcor. “The floor is 80 feet down, and the detect magic spell only extends out 60 feet.”
“Oh, I know a way,” answered Scratchy. Which is how Zelcor found himself dangling from a rope, 50 feet above the cavern floor, scanning for magic.
“There’s nothing here,” the gnome shouted to his friends, “can you pull me back up now?”
“You know,” remarked Theodore, “we have a light, we’re making noise, and now we have gnome hanging from the ceiling. If there’s anything dangerous in this cavern, it’s coming for us right now.”
It was hard to disagree with that assessment. Scratchy poked his head through the hole again and scanned around. There wasn’t anything moving on the cavern floor, so he turned his attention to the ceiling. And there, crawling towards them, was the largest spider he had ever seen. “Ok, we’re done with this place,” Scratchy said. “Pull him up and let’s get out out of here. Pull him up NOW!”
Once Zelcor was safely reunited with the rest of the group, they took advantage of the fact that the spider was too big to fit through the hole and clambered back up the stairway. Safely back at the top, they decided that the next place to go was Lockerbie Brast’s former ship, the Liza Jane.
Near the viewing chamber where they had first seen the ship, there was a set of stairs leading down into water, which they surmised (correctly, as it turned out) to be an underwater exit. They drank some potions of water breathing they had bought during their trip back to town, and set off across the sea floor to the ship. It was of course not unguarded. Two long eel-like creatures with pincers and lobster-like heads swam out to meet them, and were soon another pair of corpses on the ocean floor. Those creatures dealt with, the party searched the wreck and found a mithral rapier, a magical buckler, and a gold-and-pearl brooch with the letters “L.B.” inscribed across it. Theodore took it to keep safe, and they made their way back to the Crow.
Now there was only one more thing to do: explore one final passage. It was a tunnel leading out from one of the rooms with a stone bridge passing over a cistern, just south of where they had initially met Lockerbie Brast. They had bypassed it before, but now it was time to see where it went. They traveled into it, first a hundred feet, then two hundred feet, then a thousand feet. The worked stone quickly changed into a natural tunnel, twisting and turning and occasionally dipping into 2-3 foot deep pools of freezing water, but after 2400 feet it finally ended in a secret door, obvious from this side but well hidden from the other, that opened into a sewer tunnel beneath Magnimar.
“Great!” exclaimed Scratchy. “Now we can go to the Crow directly through the sewers !”
“Yeah, great,” replied Milacent, holding her nose.
“But do we need to go back?” asked Zelcor. “We’ve killed everything inside, and gotten the shard.”
“We’ll need to go back to get the illustrations from the ghoul,” answered Theodore, “but before we do, there’s something we have to handle in town.” And everyone nodded in agreement.
The next day, all cleaned up and dressed respectably, the party went to the dockside and searched around until they found the home of one Liza Jane Brast. When they knocked on the door, a red-haired woman, aging but still pretty, came to answer. When Theodore gave her Lockerbie’s brooch, she broke down into tears.
“He would have wanted you to have it,” Theodore consoled.
“Yeah, and he still does!” Scratchy added helpfully.
“What?” she asked through her tears.
“Ignore him.” Theodore commanded.
She invited them in, gave them what food and drink she had in her little home, and showed him the paintings Lockerbie had made before his loss at sea. And as they said their goodbyes and walked away, Milacent reached down and wrapped her hand around the shard she was carrying her pocket. “Now,” she said, “where are we going next?”