All attempts to find evidence of an illegal umbrella spy agency have come up fruitless, especially since your only chance to do so would be like blindly firing a shotgun. So, your efforts have been focused on lying low, distancing yourselves from the theft of the eldritch machine, and making dartboards out of impromptu sketches of Ray Ray. Still, you have found you are safer in numbers, and one day in the market for food and questions turns sour quickly.
Vistra realizes they are being scryed on in the market, but can’t see by whom.
Through a Skill Challenge, they track its origin, but the casters will know they have been discovered.
Encounter: Invisible Stalkers in marketplace
All of a sudden, the creatures break off their attacks, dissipating back to Syrania, the elemental plane of air from which they were enslaved. Parcival, you recognize this as a signature assassination technique by your agency. You look around for a Mage that could have summoned them, and why they stopped. Sure enough, you notice a man in the crowd with a slit throat, doing all he can to keep his blood on the inside as he collapses. Over him, a High Elf woman with flowing green hair wipes off a dagger, looks at you, winks, and drops something on the body with purpose before disappearing into the crowd.
Upon Investigation, they find a card on the body. It reads:
Inn of the Lucky Lemon. Noon.
-Your Only Friend
They make it to the bar.
The bar is filled with the cacophony of cheers, clinking mugs, and the stench of unwashed spills dating back months. A circular table holds a large pitcher of some brew and six mugs, but only one is matched to a person. A beautiful Elf woman has brilliant emerald green hair flowing from her fair head. It is impossible to gauge her age, given her race. The barmaid comes to collect the empty mugs, but the woman waves her off, apparently waiting for company.
The conversation more or less follows as such:
“I know your current situation has left you hoping for hope itself,” she observes, “and I am most impressed with your dossiers. Recently you were double-crossed by your friends, but you can rest assured I have no intention of doing so. In fact, my agency wishes to hire you. If the work is too… blasphemous for you, walk away without ill will.”
Who are you? “My name is Ms. Aleria. I represent the agency that you were recently misinformed burned you. Let’s refer to them as, ‘The Institute,’ until we know we can trust each other. Our organization’s chief concern is to aid the fragile peace between nations to prosper, no matter what means that requires. We processed your burns, but they originated from several different agencies. It has changed our tune quite a bit, and we consider you candidates for hire. We can provide items helpful to your situation, and will keep this as off the books as you desire. It is just peacemeal, of course.”
Why us? Before your forced occupation change, it seems you stumbled onto a multi-national conspiracy that The Institute has spent considerable resources investigating, since literally, no one agency can do so. You have survived no less than three separate assassination attempts by your former employers, which makes us think you are ideally suited to pursue it with us. You don’t have to share any of your secrets with us, and we will run interference for you until you are reinstated, if you like.
What do you want? Are you familiar with the Argentum (they are on the website). They are the relic seekers of the Church of the Silver Flame in Thrane. Their methods put the Dark Cabinet to shame, and they are known for destroying the holy items of other faiths they deem blasphemous, especially the Blood. They recently stole a relic known as the Claw of Vol (literally), and are taking it back to Thrane to destroy it. Although we have little care for the religious consequences, we would like to return the relic to its home at the Crimson Monastery. It is currently en route via Lightning rail, which will be stopping here in Fairhaven to pick up passengers. You can either try to get on board then, or once it is in motion.
Why do you care? If it makes it to Thrane, we have received intelligence our enemies have already set up a heist, and if they gain the item, their weapons will become vastly more powerful.” We aren’t asking you to enhance our weapons, just keep the status quo. The Institute truly believes that the fear of the Day of Mourning is the closest to peace on which Khorvaire can currently rely. Our job is to keep the peace until someday, we are no longer needed.
As DM: Accepting the mission will also allow you to do a little counterespionage to try to figure out what, “The Institute,” is up to, but the only way to figure that out is to also complete their assignments. It is still unclear if they are good or evil, or if that matters to you when the pay is good enough. The question for now is how you plan to get on board the train?
The heist is more or less uneventful, except that the last member of the Argentum summons a powerful angel to combat them.
You meet Ms. Aleria at the same location, where she asks to see the claw, but does not ask for it. “You have proven yourselves capable, I will pay as promised. Here is 500 gold, and we will open an investigation of your burns. If you care to learn more about our organization and continue building trust, make your way to Sharn. The Aurum is holding an auction there, and they will be selling items that will allow you to take the relic back, not to mention we would like to capitalize on the opportunity to take out certain relics of great evil. More than anything, we must get it back to the Monastery, so we can keep it out of our enemy’s hands. The Monastery is the only place it will be safe for the long term.”