We’re heading to Themis: isolationist/defensive, goings-on in town have always been a bit mysterious, rumors of monsters infiltrating government.
A few hours out from Iodale, we see Starspawn attacking some dudes. Our weapons sing a song of battle, and are extra awesome. The rescuees are from Melodin, they’ve been looking for Iodale; we’re suspicious, but let them do their thing.
At night, a fire: Roddy the bandit king. We try to BS them, and eventually Ceri mugs them, since they’re gonna mug us. They’re mooks. But they seem to have not been traitors. He explains the treason: there was an attack on town, including some internal treachery. Bilden was killed, other mid-ranked people. (Alibi: they were getting drunk at Silver Spoon).
In morning, each artifact weapon does stuff. Gulshy ditches his sword; Ceri investigates it, and discovers that it’s “sick” because it’s between its good and evil sides. She tries to convince Gulshy that it’ll like him more if he uses it, but he still doesn’t want it.
As we approach Themis, bright flash of light from there: reflected sunlight from huge shiny steel wall. They’re expecting us. They let us into breakroom, we drink and Dimplefoot pretends to be a dog. Gulshy gets orphanage directions. We learn: Count is eccentric, good guy. Rumor of dissent within Count’s family/manor.
Servant named Lincoln brings us to heavyset youngish Count Richard Leonan. He says mind-warping things didn’t fall here. Unification is opposed by minor nobles and some citizens. He thinks his family people are “kindof sortof maybe a little bit trying to kill him.”
Meanwhile, dog-Dimple and Gulshy are chasing down a skulking figure, find secret passageways. Secret passages lead to a bedroom, with a journal. They eventually get found by a maid, who calls guards, they knock her out, etc. Hilarity.
Cook’s journal: resentment starts with him being blamed for Duke’s sickness, after strife arises in relation to possible VRL alliance. He came to hate the duke, but no evidence of assassination stuff. Count suspects weaponsmaster, brother Martin, maybe Xavier the knight captain.
He totally trusts his personal bodyguard, and his VAMPIRIC WIFE Melanie. (General note: vampires generally considered evil, but not necessarily. Undead are so rare there are few common myths. Undead are close to the Raven Queen.) We ask her about the Raven Queen; she knows a myth of a silver thread that can help someone return from the dead? She gives us info on someone somewhere who knows about the myth.
Gulshy goes out for an hour or so, comes back with no good excuse (but he gave his life savings to an ophanage).
Gulshy’s sword turns evil, he tosses it out the window. (Ceri gets it later.) We confront the knight commander, he’s a brash ranty weirdo. On something mind-effecting. Gulshy kills him, out of a sudden desire to please his sword? We find a diary, and soup. Yeah, the soup has barbarian mushrooms in it. +1 longsword with reach, 3000 gold. The soup came from palace kitchens- came from cook??
The cook claims he was put up to the poisoning by Martin’s son Travis. We lock him in the larder. We go interrogate Travis; we threaten him. He claims his dad wasn’t involved. He eventually admits that Lord of Wind and Shadow came to him (gave him name Zelius, something “only his sworn allies could use”, hah hah we use it anyways). We bring him to the Count, and to Martin: evidence that the star people will mess with you and get people murdered even if you hide away from them.
The Count is pleased; he gives us rewards, including bottles of Chateau Reman.
NOTE: Jacob needs to specify gold/item rewards.