Shadowplay

Chapter 1: Murder on the House Orien Express

The story began with four strangers boarding a luxury lightning-rail car at the city of Flamekeep, running express to Sharn. From the Elven nation of Valinar- Tyen d’Phiarlan, a seasoned scout and covert operative who saw his share of action and bloodshed in the Last War, was on an assignment for a client of his dragonmarked house. Fae, the gifted sorceress and favored scion of the dragonmarked house Lyrander, had just left her studies at the Arcane University to meet with her brother after he sent her a vague message warning that they both were in danger. Plot, a mysterious shape-shifting mystic, was following an intuitive agenda all her own, while disguised as Amber, the female halfling . And the pious Half-Orc inquistor, Malevant was on a clandestine mission to root out an insidious corruption suspected to be hiding in a parish chapel of Dol Arrah in the city of Stormreach, using a mysterious green amulet given to him by the Father Superior of his order.

These four travelers met and became acquainted while foiling a carefully planned bandit attack on the train, that seems to have been supported by a house Lyrander airship. After defeating the bandits, they assisted in an investigation into the murder of a wealthy dowager, who had been killed in the middle of a crowded parlor in the luxury car. Though they were unable to get to the heart of the mystery, they got to know a good number of interesting people in their investigation, including Aejar Ir’Wynarn, the one-armed prince of Breland. That evening, based on a seemingly divine intuition, Malevant passed the green amulet on to Plot, along with a note, both were to be delivered to the temple of Dol Arrah in Sharn. Then Malevant disappeard into another room, not to be seen among the passengers again.

Half-way through the voyage, calamity struck when the train was ripped apart in some sort of a collision. The remaining three members of the party and the rest of the survivors weren’t able to crawl out of the wreckage before they found themselves under attack from ferocious goblin slavers who seemed to have at least one collaborator on the train. After a pitched battle the party was forced to surrender to the hoard of slavers, and along with the other survivors, they were shackled and marched off to some sort of prison camp on the other side of the Darguun border.

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Chapter 2: Southern Hospitality, Goblin Style

Fae, Plot, and Tyen were now among their fellow survivors in the cells of some kind of dungeon. There they befriended another half-orc who was among the passengers, a wealthy merchant lord of house Tharashk. They also conferred with an experienced old explorer they had befriended on the train ride, name Mason Snider. As far as they could tell, they were in one of the most unfortunate situations that the continent of Khorvaire had to offer: slavery to the barbaric clans of the goblinoid nation of Darguun.

After an evening in their cells, the three original members of the party, along with Lord d’Tharashk and Prince Aejar, were selected by an apparent client of their slave-monger, a female goblin, equipped with expensive gear and clad in dark garb. Later the party would learn her name as Ochiga, an agent to the king of Darguun. She transported the group in a coach, outfitted with a cage, and the trip took several days. When they arrived at their destination, they were escorted in shackles through the court of the Hobgoblin king of Darguun, Llesh Haruuc, and presented to him by Ochiga. Haruuc had their shackles removed and conferred with them in a backroom. He showed them unexpected courtesy and immediately granted their freedom, claiming to be uninvolved in their capture. He conferred separately with Prince Aejar, who requested to remain in his court for some time and bid the party farewell. Harruc then offered the others an arrangement, by which he would purchase the freedom of their fellow passengers, and grant them great wealth if they would complete a task for him. The party agreed to make their way to Xendrik to find recover a legendary artifact known as the Ruby Heart for the goblin king.

While outfitting themselves for the first leg of their journey, which would take them to the great Brelish city of Sharn, they expanded their funds a bit, by agreeing to serve as a security escort for a Sharn-bound merchant caravan, loosely affiliated with House Orien. Using his personal funds and local contacts of his house, Lord d’Tharashk secured a retinue of useful servants and they set off for Sharn.

As the caravan approached Darguun’s border with Breland, they encountered a dubious character who introduced himself as the Baron, Singeon Rand. He was traveling with goblin minions, and claimed that he ran a sort of underground railroad to emancipate escaped slaves from Darguun and return them to the safety of their homelands. The party found indications that he might have been involved in slavery himself, but they cautiously accepted his company for a time. He then explained that he was currently seeking out a batch of escaped slaves led by a man matching Mason Snyder’s description. Plot, Tyen, and Fae volunteered to help find them, while the caravan was to remain idle for a brief period, guarded by Lord d’Tharask and his hirelings. D’Tharask sent a scout with the others to help them find mason’s trail. Rand split off to cover more ground, but left two of his hobgoblin minions with the group to help them search. After a day of searching, and a violent attack from an isolated clan of goblins, the group sent Rand’s men home empty-handed and returned to caravan to continue their journey to Sharn, hoping Snyder would be able to take care of himself.

After heading through the Marguul Pass, and crossing the Brelish border, the caravan stopped at the Brelish military outpost known as Sterngate, where they were interrogated by a royal

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