Rogue Empire

Stone Cold

With the catacombs in the immediate vicintity cleared of danger, Magdeline Flintjaw gives the party an order for stone to deliver to the quarry, several leagues outside of Ferros in order to wall off the catacombs from other dangers that may lurk in the sprawling labyrinth beneath the city.

Badger Cobblesprocket brings along a portable earthquake machine, a patented invention of the Tinker’s guild to field test.

The group sets off in the morning after a hearty breakfast and encounter a group of “hunters” outside of the city just off of the main road. The quickly deduce the hunters are actually poachers, but having no loyalty to the local nobility or administration, pursue no action against the hungry common folk. The do learn from the hunters that the local wild boar population has exploded this season and that the boars can be quite territorial.

After getting a fair way out of the city, Badger sets off the portable earthquake generator. The machine shakes and sputters for a little while and the ground vibrates slightly before the machine tears itself apart and crumbles into a heap of twisted metal and sprockets. Disappointed, Badger records the findings.

Half an hour later, the group comes to a large chasm 10 feet across that has recently been rent into the ground. The road is completely destroyed and a train of wagons, travellers and horses line up on both sides. The onlookers state that the ground started shaking 30 minutes ago, before the chasm opened up. Clark Wainwright quickly deduces this to be the result of the earthquake generator and suggests the party keep quiet about it. The group assists the travellers in constructing a makeshift bridge out of nearby trees so that traffic can resume, however slowly. There is some concern raised that the local trees belong to the nobility and cutting them down is technically a crime, but the prominent merchants turn a blind eye in order to move their wares.

The group finally arrives at the quarry to see it devastated. The earthquake caused one of the walls of the quarry to collapse, burying dozens of dwarven labourers and injuring countless others. The remaining workforce is digging feverishly to rescue their comrades. The party immediately begins to help in any way that they can. Clarke directs the workers for maximum efficiency, Rhogar Bronzeblood tends to the wounded and Tears, Gregory (Banner) Smith, and Badger help to dig out the trapped workers. Several lives are saved by evening. While the rest of the group learns what they can about the events that transpired at the quarry, Gregory completely destroys the remnants of the earthquake generator so that it can never be used again. Badger is unable to deduce the culprit.

The party learns that the quarry collapse was likely triggered by the earthquake generator as the timing appears to line up perfectly. They are offered a job by the human foreman of the quarry. He had acquired a special breed of basilisk that turned what it gazed at, not just to stone, but to valuable marble. The group infers that this was a way for the foreman to make some coin on the side of his regular duties. Unfortunately, the basilisk escaped when the earthquake damaged its pen. He offers the group a tantalizing reward in gold if they can recapture it alive. The group quickly agrees and the foreman sends them to speak with William “Billy” Gerard, the only surviving member of the basilisk team.

Billy is a skilled painter who would paint threatening faces on columns of stone so that the basilisk’s gaze would transform the granite into marble. Working on the basilisk team is dangerous, and several of the workers have suffered accidents in the vicinity of the creature, only to be sold as statues. However, Billy worries that without the basilisk, he will have to work as a labourer, the wages of which will be significantly reduced, making it difficult to provide for his mother. He does his best to advise the group on how best to deal with the basilisk.

The group sets off to track down the creature and manages to pick up the trail that leads to a small copse of woods. The party rushes the creature, subduing it before it is able to mount a defence. Suddenly, Badger suggests an alternative to taking the creature back to the quarry. He suggests the basilisk be taken to his “friends” in the alchemist’s guild as basilisk bile can be harvested over the long term as a renewable resource from living basilisks. This valuable bile can be used as a restoration for victims affected by a basilisk’s gaze, returning them to flesh from stone.

The party quickly agrees as this would be a way of providing long term funds for their blossoming thieves’ guild. Transporting the creature becomes a bit of a hassle as it is very large and heavy. The group manages to drag it to the main road and cover it with a blanket before flagging down a passing wagon. They ask for a ride to the city in exchange for some silver, stating that the figure under the blanket is their passed out Dragonborn friend who had enjoyed too much ale the night before. The journey back to Ferros is uneventful and they arrive by nightfall.

Knowing they will be unable to bring the creature into the city without the proper permits, the party camps a reasonable distance from the city walls near a line of shrubs. Not wanting to attract attention, the party forgoes a fire that evening, and Badger and Tears decide they will deliver the new to Maggie and negotiate with the Alchemist’s Guild while the remainder of the party guards the basilisk, which has been blindfolded and tied up. That night Gregory Smith is attacked while he is on watch by a massive wild boar. The boar charges the footman, with a bodily blow, but Gregory, stoic and confident does not cry out for help and singlehandedly slays the boar himself. The party awakens in the morning to the smell of bacon cooking.

Meanwhile in the city, Tears and Badger, a child and a Gnome, are easy prey for the dangerous streets of Ferros and they are ambushed by four cut purses who swiftly overwhelm them, though not before taking two casualties. They awake some hours later in a pool of their clotted blood, with no belongings other than the clothes on their backs, minus their shoes. They stumble their way back to the Rat’s Nest Inn to a worried Maggie as the party has been gone for two days on what was supposed to be a simple delivery. They inform her of the basilisk situation and she bids them rest, and that she will deal with it herself.

Maggie arrives outside of the city with a wagon and several alchemists who load up the basilisk and bring it inside of the city, showing the guards at the gates the necessary paper work. Maggie informs the group that the guild will receive 5 gold per week from now on in exchange for the basilisk. She asks the party to rest before their next job. Gregory hands her a significant amount of pork and he cooks it up in a stew for supper at the Inn.

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