PREVIOUSLY: Having narrowly escaped an altercation with the priests of Razmir, the heroes commence an investigation of their own into the Razmirans and the Rangers Lament. Eventually, the heroes discover that someone else is also watching the tavern, and the heroes rush to capture the would be spy. Unfortunately, the heroes lose the fleeing man, the result of which poses more questions than answers. Eventually, the heroes return to their inn for the night, and upon rising, they learn that the council has made a decision regarding Kassen’s plea for help. After a trip through Tamran, the heroes arrive at The Forest Bounty, a feast hall at the edge of town as per the instructions from the Tamran Council. Upon arrival, the heroes are greetings by a tall, sturdy man named Reginar who directs them to Aromina whom has come personally to deliver the news. Unfortunately, the news Aromina delivers is devastating – the Mayor of Kassen’s requests for assistance has been denied. However, Aromina suggests another course of action which may lead the council to change their minds. Aromina sheds light on the happenings of the Church of Razmir and her concerns in regards to their activities. She implores them to help her with an investigation into the church’s doings by infiltrating the church. Kal bluntly refuses, whilst the others agree. Aromina says that she may be able to find another recruit to assist which may require some more delicate negotiations…
EVENTS: Armomina provides the group with directions back to the Gar’s Last Meal as the location of the person she believes could take Kal’s place during their infiltration of the Razmir Church. Armomina asks that if they are able, to return to her within the week to report their findings, and if not, she will assume the worst.
As they arrive at the inn, the same inn that they had stayed at since arriving in Tamran, they are shocked to learn that the person Aromina suggested was none other than the elf that Evarl had clashed with only two days earlier.
The meeting went as expected, with Evarl and the elven woman, now known to be Delshandra Laetanlhûn, or “Shandy” (as both Evarl and Nell had nick-named her), trading verbal blows. Delshandra accepted the letter from Armonia which explained what was required. Delshandra accepted considering that the invitation was from her half sister. She further suggested that they utilise the assistance of a young man who had only arrived in Tamran that afternoon from Kassen, and had been asking questions about the group. Delshandra then went and fetched Zevan, who had travelled cross country after delivering the Wizard Aroth Mentinjek to Holgast in Kassen.
The heroes greet their long missed friend with open arms and quickly shared their experiences since they parted at Morrie’s Farm. As the afternoon began to turn towards night, Kal and Delshandra bid the others farewell, allowing Evarl, Nell, Sam and Zevan to make their way back to the Ranger’s Lament. The plan was that Kal and Delshandra would watch and await their signal.
Upon arrival, the group notice that the Ranger’s Lament was empty, save for Rolen Oggersmith who appeared to be cleaning the bar in preparation for some event, the smell of fine food hanging in the air. The group are greeted by the burly bartender, and are advised to take a seat and the ceremony will take place soon. Nell asks after Rolen’s offer of employment from the previous day, to which he replies in the affirmative, stating that she could start the following Moonday if she so desired.
As the late afternoon turned to dusk, several other people attended the Ranger’s Lament, including several villagers, a guardsman and a young disheveled man. Sam approached this young man, and casually asked him a number of questions. The man was rude, and clearly mentally disturbed. Sam left him to his own devices, and casually watched him from across the room.
Eve had planted herself in a corner of the room to get a better vantage point as had Zevan but in the opposing corner, to keep a watchful eye on the door coming in and out of the back of the Ranger’s Lament. Nell remained with Sam, keeping note of the people who were arriving.
As night fell, Rolen closed the front door, latched it from the inside and begun setting the stage for the ceremony. Drapes were pulled, and several of the torches were snuffed out. A short time later, Evarl heard a knock on a door from somewhere in the back room, and Rolen quickly moved to the back to attend to whichever visitor had arrived. Whispering of voices could be heard from the rear, and Evarl caught a glimpse of some robed individuals standing around the kitchen area through the gap in the door as Rolen exited to continue his preparations.
As night-time engulfed Tamran, the group heard the chiming sounds of ceremonial cymbals. With that, the door to the rear room opened and several white robed acolytes entered the room spraying what appeared to be holy water and incense around the room in an attempt, Nell presumed, to ward of evil spirits and cleanse the room.
The Acolytes were shortly after followed by 2 grey robed priests who chanted a prayer in an ancient tongue unrecognisable to the others. Finally, a black robed priest entered the room in complete silence, and moved towards the podium at the front of the inn. The acolytes helped the priest to the stage. The group noted that the acolytes and priests appeared to have all of the exits covered, and that it would be difficult to escape. Suddenly, there was an overwhelming silence.
After stepping up onto the stage, the figure in the black robes turns to the audience, his face hidden behind an iron mask. With a strong voice, he calls out, “You have come here to seek the power and glory of Razmir, and I am here to tell you that he has found you worthy!”
At that, all of the other priests chant in one voice, “All praise the Living God!”
“He is proud of you,” the black-robed figure continues, “for taking this, the first of 31 steps to enlightenment, the path of righteousness, the stairs to power and glory. Razmir is the one true god. What other god so richly rewards those who follow him? What other god lives among his people, guiding them with his wisdom and his might? What other god can lead you to true salvation? None of them! Only Razmir can offer you the power, the fortune, and the glory that you desire. Will you join him?”
The black robed priest then folded his arms and waited for an answer. Many in the room yelled praises or affirmed their willingness to give themselves to Razmir. Nell, Sam and Zevan all pledged themselves, whilst Evarl was more reluctant. The lead priest then publicly questioned the young elf further until she at least agreed to hear what the priest had to say.
The priest then continued a sermon, preaching to the people in attendance, and finally offering food and drink to solidify Razmir’s offering of charity to the people of Tamran. With that, Rolen and another of the priests appeared from the rear room. Eve however noted that by her count, there was one larger priest who had not yet appeared. This made her more wary.
Eventually all patrons were served food, and all of the heroes bar Evarl and Nell appeared to take part. Evarl refused to eat completely, whilst Nell pretended to consume, moving much of the food that was on her plate to Sam’s who she believed would be less affected if the food was poisoned.
It was not long before the effects of the food took hold. Several of the villagers were the first to collapse, followed soon after by the young disturbed man, then Sam and Zevan. Nell faked her collapse, hoping that she would be able to remain conscious and see what they would do with them. Evarl defied the request for the priest to eat. Evarl noted all the people asleep and then confronted the lead priest. Evarl thought trickery would be the best employ, and so stated that he was interested in the “tricks” that the “church” was employing, and wanted to join for that reason, not a sense of honour to Razmir. It was clear that the priest would be unable to convince the elf, so instead he threatened the life of his friend Nell, in an attempt to force him to eat. The elf refused, telling the priest to kill the red haired woman as she meant nothing to him. Evarl was clearly hoping that the bluff would work against the clearly more experienced priest. Nell felt the blade at the base of her skull, but remained still. Evarl could not bear to be responsible for his friend’s death – it was going to be a battle of wills – and battle that Evarl was sure to lose. Evarl raised his hands, allowing the priest this victory. Evarl then saw some of the priests moving the unconscious bodies into the back room. No wishing to be knocked unconscious, Evarl convinced the priest to hoodwink him instead. With that, the large burly priest exited from the back of the inn, and placed a sack over Evarl’s head.
The patrons, including Evarl, Nell, Sam and Zevan were taken down into an underground tunnel and placed in a group of underground cells. Where they were, was anyone’s guess, but Nell, who was still successfully faking being unconscious, believed them to be directly under the Temple of Razmir…