Drifting Sands, Drifting Souls

Upon leaving the fortress garrison outside of Coelin, the party travels into the city proper and views the massive urban sprawl that is Coelin. A city of hardship and vast disparity between the economic classes, they pass through the gates without issue and cross through streets that narrow and widen almost chaotically, as though no plan had been placed into the construction of the town. As Coelin is an Aritikan city, the only temple wherein the heroes can receive healing is a Se’harist Orthodoxy cathedral. They made their way toward it.

Near the steps of the temple was an elderly human who stood on a collapsible speaker’s pulpit, and preached about the Human goddess Oranei of the Divine Pantheon. This particular blasphemy was ignored as the party moved towards the doors. They were immediately stopped as six Temple Guards emerged from the cathedral, intent on stopping the blaspheming preacher, who disappeared with a burst of Arcane magic. After conversing among themselves briefly, the party stepped through the doors.

They met a Se’harist priest that recognized Ghanima immediately as the princess of the Empire, and also looked down upon Lorien for his Elven nature. Haidar remained silent as Faruq negotiated for the price of their healing. Once they reached a decent price, the party was healed by the priest through spell and scroll, cleansing the disease from all of their systems, and clearing the poison from Haidar and Lorien.

As they left the cathedral, they noticed a carrier-crow escape through the doors toward the high tower on the southwestern edge of the city. Lorien knocked an arrow silently and shot it down, as the crow would have brought news of the Princess’ appearance at the cathedral.

The party moved to retrieve the crow and the message it held, and came across a man sitting on a pulpit. He looked completely different from the old man that was preaching outside of the Se’harist temple before, but the pulpit looked the same. The crow had struck the man upon falling, and he was rubbing his head. Shadows passed over the man’s body with a shift in clouds and it showed him to be briefly translucent. Fearing that he may have been undead, Ghanima attempted to fill him wtih positive energy – which simply healed the minor abrasion that he had suffered from the crow’s fall.

This man was a Fetchling – a creature from the Shadow Plane born of the Sikari, a group of humans who have lived on the Shadow Plane since all aberrations, dragons, and the like were thrown out of Thirajin before the beginning of the Mythic Era in the First Age. After questioning him for several minutes in a local tavern that was sparsely populated, they all came to the conclusion that they should find the Elven women that they had freed from the garrison. The Fetchling, Lanith, would join them.

Faruq and Lorien made their way throughout the pubs and brothels in the district in an attempt to learn more about the Elven women through eavesdropping on conversations. The two were not detected as they moved about these circles, and learned that the women had been ushered into the Walled Ghetto, a section of the city of Coelin that had been walled off from the rest of it – only about a mile by one half mile in size, and containing over five thousand residents, all Elves.

They rushed to the walls and found them heavily guarded by Aritikan military. Lanith called upon his familiar, a fey dragon creature that emerged from a tattoo inked upon his back named Shornor, and had her take a rope up to the top of a nearby building. After it was secure, the group scaled the rope and Haidar helped Ghanima when she lost her grip and almost fell. The group managed to work their way down into the streets and Lorien used his status as a Ranger in the Elven Ranger Corps to count coup on several of the residents to gather further information. They learned that the women were staying in a tenement building that was on the western edge of the Walled Ghetto.

The party moved through the snaky streets and among the refuse and waste that lined the cobblestone pathways – little more than alleyways between tall buildings that pushed up against each other – and found a street gang guarding the outside of the tenement. Lorien overheard the men speaking in Elven about their intentions toward the women, and approached them. He offered them the opportunity to move, and the leader of the street gang insulted him. Lorien immediately drew down on him and shot him hard in the chest with an arrow that punched through the man’s padded armor.

A fight broke out, with Haidar rushing forward and striking down another one of the gang members with his blades, Lorien sending two arrows into the leader, and Lanith casting a spell of Grease upon the street to slip up three of the others. Ghanima called upon the celestial fire of her bloodline and struck out at one of them, while Faruq hung back and waited until he understood what was happening – as he did not speak Elven – and then began to recite an inspiring poem for the party. They made quick work of four of the six gang members, and Lorien called for the other two to yield.

Once they did, Ghanima cast a spell of Hold Person on one of the gang members and the group went inside. They had called for a priest, who had come running. The thirty-three Elven women were in the top floor of a dilapidated, awful building. The floor had few walls, was infested with rats and other vermin, and had black mold growing across the ceiling and over the floor. There was little actual water to drink, and none of them had food. The priest began to perform his work at curing the sickness of the women until he ran out of scrolls. He requested to return to his shrine to retrieve more, but was ordered to stay by Lorien.

Faruq was asked by Haidar to go to the temple, and Lanith requested that he go as well – as he had experience in understanding divine scrolls as a preacher of Oranei. The two left the building, and Lorien, Ghanima, and Haidar remained with the priest and the women as they waited for their companions to return.

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