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Chickadee and Callum go to "Colonus"/Phidippus for help who sells them a potion of false death as requested. Before the lovers leave his hut, he hands Callum a note to meet at The Beacon at night, alone. First, he has a hatchling dragon shipped to the Beacon under their names. When the dragon escapes at a certain time of night, it kills Callum and bites off his jaw to prevent speaking with the dead.
- framing chickadee because of Marram/Tabaxi descent
- causing chaos in the royal family
- increase distrust in Tabaxi
- justify the invasion of Marram
The primary actors in this tragedy are:
The gang meets up with Tom Wake in The Salt Lick, the tavern serving sailors in the harbor of Korban's Landing. With him are Chickadee and Callum in civilian clothes.
The gang will immediately recognize Chickadee since they met her when she worked as Dauriel Aldarion's maid.
Callum is Prince Callum of the Royal house of Korbantir, though he won't reveal this and goes in civilian attire. He's in love with Chickadee, and they want to start a life together.
Callum looks familiar to those living in Korbantir, and a DC 15 History will reveal that his face is on pieces of copper.
Chickadee is conflicted about their relationship: she is deeply in love with Callum and wants to be with him, but she also wants to go home to Marram.
They tell the gang that Tom Wake's ship will take them across the pond to Rivoni, where they will eventually travel to their final destination: Marram, Chickadee's home.
Sometime during the evening, a crewman will enter and ask Callum or Chickadee if they want their chest in their quarters or storage.
Neither of them knows what he's talking about, so the crewman tells them it must be someone else's, that he'll put it below the deck, and leaves.
During their conversation, Tom tells Pasha that he wants him to rejoin his crew. He's lost a good fisherman and sailor and regrets letting Pasha go. His catch hasn't been the same, and he's losing money, which is why he's taking on passengers on his vessel. He'll tell him that he'll make Pasha half owner of the ship if he'll just come along again and help out.
Tom tells them to meet at his ship, The Beacon, in the morning.
He will recommend 🔐 Madame Mollisher's as an inn, which is a brothel. Jugascuzz will do, too, but it's a terrible nasty crime-ridden shithole.
We'll discuss business in the morning. Tonight, we drink!
As the gang approaches The Beacon docked in the harbor, they can see a group of people watching something in the water between the ship and the dock. It's the body of Callum, floating face down. He has a ragged hole in his torso, burnt on the edges. Someone also has removed his lower jaw.
Chickadee is nowhere in sight.
A DC 12 Investigation/Perception skill check will show that something burned him at a very high temperature. A set of very sharp teeth removed his lower jaw.
A roll of 10 or higher will reveal an unused Potion of False Death in his pocket.
A roll of 15 or higher will reveal that extreme lightning damage caused the wound, usually caused by magic. Very much like Paxalon "Pasha" Yaraxil's lightning damage wounds. Jaws are sometimes removed from corpses to prevent speaking with the dead through magical means.
A roll of 17 or higher will reveal a small piece of paper in Callum's hand, though most of the ink has been washed away by the seawater. Still legible: "Me.. .e a. th. .eac.. to....t a..ne" - translated: "Meet me at the Beacon tonight alone"
Tom Wake is still asleep in his cabin; he got shitfaced and passed out.
Tom did hear a splash and a scream but thought nothing of it since the harbor is a bustling place. Plus, he was too
drunk tired to get up.
He also recalls hearing a cat scratch somewhere down in the cargo hold, so he assumed that the cat might have been making noise.
Tom runs a skeleton crew due to budget constraints, so nobody else was aboard that night.
He will reveal that Chickadee is staying at Gigglemug's, an inn in the fancy part of town called Ashwood Heights.
Before they get much more out of him, a group of guards enter the captain's cabin and place Tom under arrest. The leader of this group says that they've got an eyewitness who claims to have seen Tom murder Callum.
As he gets dragged off, he pleads with them to clear his name.
On the Beacon¶
On the ship, they can find the chest that was referenced by the crewman in a storage compartment. It is labeled with Callum and Chickadee's names.
A DC 17 Thieves' Tools assisted check will open the chest. It appears entirely empty except for some scratch marks made towards a mechanism that can open the chest from the inside. A DC 12 Investigation check reveals that the scratches look hastily done and the mechanism looks like it is slightly scorched on the inside only. This was done by a small dragon, probably a hatchling.
They can find Chickadee at the inn, waiting in her room. She will tell them that Callum had some business at the docks with Tom and that he hasn't returned yet.
If they inform her of his death, a DC 17 Insight check will reveal that she is feigning her sadness. However, if they tell her the cause of his death, she will be sincere in her sorrow and tell them they must be wrong.
She will also confirm that the chest aboard The Beacon is not hers nor Callum's. The luggage they plan on bringing is in her room.
When pressed (DC 15 Intimidation/Persuasion), she will tell them that she and Callum went to a local magicker named Colonus to get a Potion of False Death.
If asked about Colonus' appearance, she will describe Agorius to them. Colonus is Phidippus disguised as Agorius, but uses a different name here. Callum learned about Colonus somehow, but the details are vague to Chickadee.
Chickadee and Callum's reasoning was that they wanted to fake his death so they could have a fresh start since the royal family would never approve of their relationship. Callum would take the potion at the palace, be found dead, eventually entombed, and after a few days come back to life to leave with Chickadee.
They met with Colonus in a dumpy hut behind the Fish Market in The Old City district. She can take them there or give specific directions.
Chickadee can't quite remember how she met Callum. It seemed to her as if they met by chance. Now that he's dead, it feels a bit stupid to her that she stayed this long in Korbantir. And the false death plan also suddenly seems rash to her. They also never kept their relationship very secret, going everywhere together in town. If she doesn't reveal it through conversation, a DC 15 Insight check reveals that her love for him last night appears to be waning and nearly gone.
Before they leave, they can hear the heavy footsteps of guards approaching the room. Eventually, they will knock and ask for Chickadee by name. They order her to open up, or they will break down the door. The owner pleads with them to not break down the door, which is made of solid Ashwood (very pricey).
Why are the guards there?
Tom has told the investigators the truth and revealed that he was transporting the two lovers to Rivoni Springs.
The guards are there to bring Chickadee in for questioning. She is not under arrest, but these things don't always have happy endings.
They can use the window to escape or fight the guards.
The AU Encampment¶
Tom is being held in the stockades at the AU encampment in the city.
Those who are not wanted can meet him there and ask him any lingering questions. However, Tom does not have much information. Certainly less than the party has at this point.
All he knows is:
- He is innocent (he actually is)
- His trial is in three days
- He awaits his court-appointed lawyer
When the gang arrives at the purported hideout, it's no longer there, and the spot seems deserted. A homeless Half-Orc female sleeps against a nearby wall, cradling an empty bottle. While the hut is gone, they do find:
After an Investigation skill-check:
- DC 10+:
- A partial symbol of 🔐 Amalchi drawn into the dirt where the hut stood
- DC 12+: Many little footsteps in the dirt, resembling tiny dragon feet
- DC 15+: In a pile of junk, a discarded dragon eggshell, hatched a few weeks ago
The gang can wake the Half-Orc female, who will give them more information if they get her some good liquor. She won't reveal much in exchange for lousy liquor. If she withholds information, Chickadee (if present) will get aggressive and physical.
Clue: Bad Liquor
She saw the hut disappear, and Phidippus vanished with it, along with his blue lizard pet. She knows more, but says, "come back when you have the good stuff."
If present, Chickadee will get angry, shout at her, and get physical.
Clue: Good Liquor
She saw Phidippus move his hands around strangely, and the hut disappeared. She will also remember that Phidippus had a big blue lizard pet he carried on his shoulders before disappearing.
She also remembers him talking to a priest dressed in black robes a few days before.
If they haven't found all the clues, she will tell them that he was always acting secretly, messing around with trash, "who knows why?"
Chickadee (if present) or a DC 15 Religion check will reveal that black-robed priests are devoted to Dhoutr. There's a massive temple of Dhoutr in the city.
Temple of Dhoutr¶
The main grounds of the temple of Dhoutr are open to the public. However, its lower levels are private. This is where 🔐 Phidippus stays while in Korban's Landing. The only way downstairs other than brute-forcing through the temple grounds and down a stairwell is by using a portal.
Where are portals?
The black-robed priests carry amulets that portal them there.
However, they can't take Bhreia's egg through any portal. They would either have to leave it somewhere safe, or someone has to stay behind.
Aldarion Unlimited, and by extension, the government of Korbantir, are in the process of taking over Marram. This is no secret. The extermination and resettling of Tabaxi native people is only a part of this effort. Implicating a Tabaxi in a heinous crime would place the public image of Marram and the Tabaxi people in a negative light. Sadly for Chickadee, she is that Tabaxi.
Of course, the government does not know that the plan was to murder the prince. The royal house does not know any details, leaving that up to Aldarion Unlimited.
Aldarion Unlimited has secrets they keep from the government. They have discovered 🔐 Amalchi in Marram and made contact. They know they need to cooperate to survive there and maintain their place in the world as this new unstoppable power rises.
🔐 Phidippus is Amalchi's instrument, chosen by him to carry out this plan with Aldarion Unlimited's help (or at least them not standing in his way). To set up the murder, he made the two fall in love when their paths crossed. A spell that would dissipate as soon as one of them died.
Once they fell in love and were spotted in public often enough, he would kill them. The night the party met Callum, he sent the chest containing a small dragon to The Beacon. At night, the dragon emerged and killed Callum with a lightning attack when he showed up at the docks.
The next part would be simple: frame the Tabaxi for the murder by placing a powerful Thunderstone on her person. The murder of a royal by a Tabaxi would be enough to validate the invasion of Marram in the public eye.