We have resurrected our Eberron game after many years. The last part written, Part 9 of the Whispers of the Vampires Blade is not the last adventure we played. After we completed that, we started on part one of Eyes of the Dragon Queen, in which most of the party were killed at the Temple. Only Altera and Toryil survived, so what now follows is from the perspective of a new character, the Shifter Rogue ‘Scarlet’.
Grasp of the Emerald Claw is the last part of the ‘Schema’ storyline which started in the original Eberron Campaign guide…
My name is Scarlet and I am the greatest thief in the world. Don’t believe me? Okay settle back and I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to lately.
First I guess that I’ve got to set the scene. The Broken Anvil is a dive. A cheap tavern in a bad part of town. Of course when I say “town” I mean The City of Towers (or is it “Knives” or “Fools”) itself; Sharn.
I was sharing a drink and a meal with my four adventuring companions. This is a story about me but for it to make sense I’d better introduce them too.
There was Altera. Like me she is shifter. Strong, tough and good in a fight. Skilled in the lore of plants and animals (which is more than I am; I may be a shifter but I’m a city girl at heart). Lately she has taken to having a pet wolf follow her around for some reason.
Toryil is next. He is an elf and hails from the “Undying Court”. He is both initiated into the secrets of the priesthood and trained in the way of the warrior. Like Altera he has a pet but while hers is a wolf his is a double-bladed scimitar. Oh, and he wears a mask so nothing to worry about there.
Next there is Arron. He is a human. Like Toryil he is a priest though he bows down to The Sovereign Host. His holy symbol is domino and he fights (badly) with a sickle which I guess means he has a special place in his heart of the goddess Olladra.
The last of the bunch is Vorj. He is a half-elf. He is a minor noble in one of the hoity-toity dragon marked houses, House Lyrandor to be precise. More usefully he is also a wizard and quite a good one. Like Altera Vorj drags a pet around with him, a lizard, although he claims it is a familiar.
So like I said we were in The Broken Anvil. Altera and Toryil were telling the rest of us about some of the scrapes they got into with their previous adventuring party. Specifically their dealings with one Lady Elaydren of House Cannith. To be honest it did sound like they got up to some interesting, and not to mention profitable, stuff but I was playing it cool and pretending to only listen with one ear.
The reason for Toryil and Altera’s little trip down memory lane was that they had both received messages from Lady Elaydren that morning. She wanted to see us at her town house upon the second evening chime and it sounded like there was a job offer waiting.
It was raining in Sharn, it is always bloody raining in Sharn, and so we took a sky-taxi to the meeting. The trip was financed by some luckless rube in The Broken Anvil whose purse I had lifted. The town house was a large affair overlooking a large plaza. As we approached the front door it didn’t take a genius to notice that something was wrong. The front door was wide open and many of the windows were broken. Papers and documents lay scattered about as if someone had been throwing them out of the front door. We were just taking this all in when we heard a scream from inside. A woman’s scream and it sounded like she was in serious trouble.
That was all the invitation the five of us needed to fly into action. Okay, I say “the five of us” but the other four wasted valuable seconds dithering and it fell to yours truly to lead the charge. Now, if you know me you might think that such a display of heroics is a little out of character. In my defense I figured that we were there to get a job and saving our employer (or at least one of her household) could only improve our standing with her.
I came pretty close to regretting my decision when I saw what was going on in the entrance hall. A comely young woman (yep, that had to be Lady Elaydren) was trying to defend herself against four undead warriors; re-animated corpses wearing half-plate armour. Well I say “wearing” but these corpses were so decayed that their putrid flesh had seeped into the armour’s straps and joints to such a degree that it was hard to see where one ended and the other began.
That armour wasn’t just for show either as it turned away my initial sword thrust. Later on I learnt that these were Karnnathi Zombies, part of the undead army of the nation of Karnnath.
Luckily for me my four colleagues had finally got their act together and joined the fun. Arron called on the divine might of his goddess to drive off the undead. One stood its ground but the other three broke away from the fight and retreated further into the house. That pretty much swung the battle in our favour. We mobbed the one that had refused to run, hacking into it with blades and spells until it was torn apart. Then we hunted down the other three zombies, finding one in a sitting room, one in the kitchen and one in a bed room. Yeah, we won but the bloody things didn’t go down easily. Even if you could get past their armour you had to pretty much hack the things to pieces before they lay down and died (again). I’d hate to be in an army facing off against a unit of them.
As we fought our way around the house we found plenty of corpses as well, Elaydren’s guards and staff who had died protecting their employer.
Once the dust had settled we went back to check on Elaydren. Toryil and Arron saw to her injuries but she was still pretty shaken up by the attack. It seems that a few minutes ago a jolly, rotund and harmless merchant had sweet-talked he was into the house. Once he was over the threshold however it was “Good-bye Mr. Smiley” and “Hello Mr. Scary” as he was transformed into an emaciated man with red eyes and fangs. This sounded a lot like a vampire that Toryil and Altera had met once before leading a squad of Emerald Claw goons. Sure enough the first thing he did was let in another squad of Emerald Claw goons lead by a War-Forged. As well as the usual slaughter and mayhem The Claw had stolen the Schemas and Creation Pattern that Altera and Toryil had previously recovered as well as some research notes belonging to Provost Kedron D’Cannith. Elaydren explained that the notes had contained clues to the location of the fourth and final Schema and she was certain that even now The Emerald Claw were on their way to secure it.
What she really needed were some brave and dependable adventurers to beat The Claw to the forth Schema and then just generally beat The Claw until they coughed up the Creation Pattern and the Schemas that they had stolen.
The good news was it would take The Emerald Claw time to reach the forth Schema as it was somewhere in the far off jungles of Xen’drik. The bad news was that the Schemas was in the far off jungles of bloody Xen’drik, formerly the land of tyrannical giants and their elven slaves, and there was an entire ocean between us and it! Elaydren wanted us to sail for Storm Reach on the coast of Xen’rik and then head some four hundred miles in-land following the course of The Rachi River.
Of course both Altera and Toryil jumped at the chance to risk life and limb for this woman and that meant we were all going. I wasn’t complaining too much however as I had an axe to grind with The Emerald Claw. Last time we had met the bloody thieves had had the nerve to try and steal the loot we had fairly liberated from a ruined temple.
The deal struck Elaydren gave us a promissory note for five thousand gold and told us to pick up whatever magical and mundane supplies we thought we would need. Then we were to meet her back at the town house in an hour. To be honest I had no idea what we might need during our expedition so I just followed Vorj and Arron around about while they brought lots of scroll and potions.
Soon enough we were back at the town house. It seemed that Lady Eldarin had been pulling a few strings while we had been away and arranged transport to Xen’drik. House Cannith had come up with a new invention, something they called an Undersea Boat. They had built four of the things but so far only one nation (I guess they must be pretty expensive if only nations could afford them) had seen their potential and purchased one. This left three going spare and she had arranged for one of these to take us on the first leg of our mission.
Elaydren had also sorted out the first half of our payment, two and a half thousand pieces of gold a head in gems. To be honest my payment was a little more as I had already helped myself to a few nic-nacs that I found lying around her house.
Elaydren’s final words were to head to The Grey Flood district and find a guy called Byam who would be waiting to get us under the sea to Xen’drik. The race with The Emerald Claw was on and glory, or death, was the prize…