The Black Rose

Missing!
Sounds to me like the party is over.

The adventurers were all invited to a party hosted by the newly-appointed head of the Mercantile House, Marcus Eleas. When they showed up, Marcus had not yet made his entrance, so the party (not yet formed) took time to acquaint themselves with various partygoers; the dwarf spoke in secrets to his fellow housemates, the cleric observed with patience, the elf did his best to network with Marcus’ inner circle, and the politician was… a politician.

Marcus entered the party some time later and greeted his guests with a speech; however, the speech’s subject matter was not what they were expecting. Marcus announced that he was to give up the reigns of the Mercantile House to his long-time friend, a halfling by the name of Griswold.

Some time later, Marcus retires to his chamber.

During the party the following events happened:

-The dwarf made a deal with Hark, Marcus’ right-hand man, to meet in the wine cellar after the party died down.
-The cleric met with Steffen, the high elf sorceror, but after a less than great interaction was sent to a cell in the wine cellar.
-The elf also met with Steffen, but seeing as the two were like-minded intellectuals, only pleasant things happened.
-The politician heard words of a dealing between Griswold and a man by the name of Rick. As a result of their business, the politician decided to follow Rick at a distance, believing him to be involved in future foul play.

The Wine Cellar

The cleric was sent to the cell, where she sat for some time. While in the cell, she witnessed Hark enter with two shadowy figures, both of whom took posts in the cellar. Some time later, the dwarf enters and has a conversation with Hark. Hark informs the dwarf that he is going to be used as an alibi. Hark and the dwarf discuss Marcus’ incredible debt with the four other tradehouses, and that because of which there is a plot to make Marcus disappear.

After the deal had been made, the cleric made herself noticed by accident causing her to be interrogated by Hark and his men. Successfully feigning deafness, Hark and his men were convinced and left the cellar. The dwarf, however, was not convinced. Having seen her at the party shaking hands with the nervous, stammering politician. the two conversed about the deal that was made moments before. Not much was said, though, as the sound of metal clanging led the two outside the wine cellar. Hark and his two employees were found slain in the hallway that led to the party. The dwarf decided to go back to the party while the cleric decided to take the other exit into the courtyards.

The Courtyards

The elf, bored of the party, decided to take a walk in the courtyards. Out the corner of his eye, he noticed a group of three black figures skitter through the next courtyard over. Suspicious of what these figures were up to, the elf decided to trail them to their destination.

Later, as the party was dying down, Griswold and his spouse were taking a stroll through the same courtyard, but were being trailed by the sneaky politician. Soon after, Griswold and his wife were both knocked unconscious by a brute hiding in the nearby bushes. The politician came to the rescue, leaving the assailant with an early demise and a missing limb.

When he turned around to check on Griswold, he saw that both Griswold and his wife were gone without a trace.

On the Trail

The elf followed the three figures closely as they made their way to a tower that contained Marcus’ chamber. Instead of using ropes and grappling hooks, however, the sneaks scaled the wall with what appeared to be boots that glowed a soft blue color. They then made their way up to the Marcus’ personal balcony, disappearing into the room. The elf, in an attempt to thwart their presumably malicious intent, raced up the tower via stairwell. He arrived in Marcus’ chamber only to find that Marcus had gone missing. The elf then ran out to the balcony to see the three figures now fleeing the tower with Marcus in tow.

On the ledge of the balcony, a black rose was left. When the elf touched it, it glowed this blackish-purple hue, which later turned into a cloud of smoke leaving the rose as merely a flower.

Back to the Courtyards

After the fight, the politician was left with blood all over his face. The cleric was walking through but noticed the grim scene and confronted him about it. A few minutes later the dwarf, having left the party because no one was around, stumbles past them and is thusly sucked into the snafu there.

Upon inspection of the scene, the cleric noticed a similar black rose left on ground near where Griswold was. Soon after, the elf encountered the other three and they conversed about the happenings. Upon search of the corpse, the party found a sigil on his person depicting a black rose with gold trim.

Soon after, Steffen led some guards down into the courtyard the party was in, but luckily the party hid before they were noticed. Steffen ordered the guards to search the banquet hall while he and another guard went to investigate Marcus’ quarters. All but the cleric pursued Steffen to give the information they had to him, of which was shared in an interaction in Marcus’ quarters.

The group reconvened in the courtyards, where Steffen offered the party a reward to find Marcus and Griswold. The politician and the drunkard dwarf decided to follow a lead on Marcus’ bookkeeper while the elf and the cleric ventured to the elf’s workplace at the apothecary archives.

The Raven

The politician and the dwarf seek out the seediest of pubs, and end up at a place called the Pailing Nackbut. Upon entering, the politician was recognized by a drunk patron, which forced the politician into a corner. After a long awkward silence, the two were escorted out of the tavern. Upon checking his pocket for his flask, the politician noticed a note in his pocket that had an etching of a raven on it, which the drunkard dwarf proceeded to rip up on accident.

This trip-up did not shake them, however; the duo went to the next bar over and pursued on. An interaction with a drunk at the tavern gave them a lead to a chapel attached to an aviary, which was said to have ravens.

They arrive at the chapel and speak with one of the monks who informed them of the aviary’s closing for the night. When asked about the aviary’s stock of birds, the monk replied with “we only have pigeons here.” Clearly duped, the duo received permission to examine the aviary after-hours. Upon searching, they uncovered a note lettered to a “Maester” regarding some business about birds.

Slightly dejected, the dwarf noticed two ravens fly by the open window into the night. They decided to follow up on it after resting in the chapel for the remainder of the night.

The Archives

The elf and the cleric journey to the elf’s place of work, the archives of the apothecary office. Not knowing much about enchanting magic, the elf has a miserable experience with one of his more knowledgeable colleagues. After much prying, his colleague produces a file about a botanist that operates the botanical gardens across-town.

More search in the archives garnished an encyclopedia of sigils and the ties apropos to them. However, the botanist wouldn’t be at the gardens until the next day, so the two planned on resting the night and reconvening the next morning.

At the conclusion of this leg of the story, the party is back together at the apothecary with the intention of going to the gardens.

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