After leaving Lt. Roland Nixon’s office and returning to the Rusty Sock, the party brought Cordain up to speed on recent events and then spent the evening pursuing their usual pastimes/vices. On the following morning (27 Rhaan), Kryle headed out to the Blackwheel Company headquarters in the Ambassador Towers district to offer his services as a full-time operative and to receive some weapons training with his recently acquired kukri. Cordain headed to an armorer to place an order for some masterwork full plate armor and then joined Kryle at the Blackwheel Company headquarters, offering his services as a freelance operative. Kryle received an assignment from the Company to perform surveillance on an emissary of Baron Jorlana d’Cannith who was visiting Sharn. After House Cannith’s involvement with the schema debacle, the other Houses wanted the Blackwheel Company to keep an eye on Cannith activity in Sharn. Cordain was given a task performing guard duty for some artifacts that the Company had recently acquired from Xen’drik. After recovering from the previous evening’s festivities, Brandis headed out into Sharn to forage for whatever resources he could use in the crafting of his bow. Illiyana dutifully went to work in the temple, while Reborn decided to skip work and instead hone his hrazhak skills in a few pick up games. After everyone returned from their daily activities, the evening passed uneventfully.
In the morning, Lt. Nixon sent a Citadel agent and a skycoach to fetch the party. He wanted to update them on the situation in Black Arch garrison and give them some leads in their investigation of possible Emerald Claw involvement in the plague. Lt. Nixon told the party that the Citadel team that had disappeared in northern Breland while looking for the necro-arsenal had consisted of a leader, two warriors, and a rogue. The infected zombie that the party dispatched in Foundation had been identified as the rogue.
According to Lt. Nixon, the Black Arch garrison was forced to lift the quarantine on refugees from Foundation and allow them to enter the garrison for screening prior to resettlement because of increasing undead attacks. While initial reports from Foundation indicated that only zombies were carriers of the necromantic plague, it seemed that the disease had begun to affect other undead as well. There were also rumors that the disease was even capable of reanimating those who had been dead and buried for quite some time. Many of these rumors could not be verified, but the plague was planning spreading despite efforts to control it. Lt. Nixon gave the party the names of two members of the Sharn Watch in order to jumpstart their investigation: Captain Daja Brel of the Guardians of the Gate and Commander Lian Halamar of the Daggerwatch garrison.
After leaving Citadel headquarters, the party headed to Black Arch garrison to meet Cpt. Brel. Cpt. Brel leads the Guardians of the Gate, an elite branch of the Sharn Watch that is responsible for monitoring the activities of immigrants and foreign nationals in Sharn. Cpt. Brel directed the party to her chief investigator, Guardian Six. Guardian Six gave the party an earful about jurisdiction when she heard that their investigation was being conducted under the auspices of the Citadel. She also took issue with the fact that the Citadel and the party assumed that Karrns were involved in the plague simply because it involved undead. Eventually, the party managed to win her over, and she provided them with contact information for two prominent Karrns in Sharn (Falko Dorn and Lan Hazal) and some information on Graywall, an insular district populated mostly with Karrnathi immigrants. Falko Dorn is a well-known Karrnathi composer, and Lan Hazal is the leader of the Graywall community. She also let the party know that the Sharn Watch is aware of Emerald Claw activity in Sharn but has yet to pin down their base of operations. As the party left her office, Brandis and Reborn noticed Guardian Six changing her face in one of the mirrors, indicating that she is a changeling.
The party left the Black Arch garrison behind, heading to the Daggerwatch distict in Upper Dura. They made their way to the Daggerwatch garrison in the hopes that they could speak with Cdr. Halamar. After waiting for two hours for an audience (it pays to make appointments!), they were finally able to meet with the halfling commander shortly before he left the office for the day. The party decided not to mention that they were working for the Citadel, since it had provoked such a negative response from the Guardians of the Gate. Instead, they used Cpt. Brel’s name as a reference when Cdr. Halamar inquired about the purpose of their visit. Cdr. Halamar filled the party in about Dura and some of its districts, including Fallen, the Stores, and Precarious. He informed them about the activities of organized crime (Boromar Clan, Daask, and the Tyrants) in the Stores and warned them to be cautious engaging the Wharf Watch. He also asked that the party keep him in the loop if their investigation led to any of the districts under his charge. Kryle suspected that Cdr. Halamar was involved with the Boromar Clan and informed the party of his suspicions after the meeting.
After speaking with the Cdr. Halamar, the investigation seemed to have hit a dead end, since the party was unwilling to approach either of the Karrns that Guardian Six had suggested without any proof of the Emerald Claw’s involvement. The party discussed their options at length, with most of the party advocating either approaching the Karrns or setting up surveillance in the Stores. Brandis favored leaving Sharn behind in search of the necro-arsenal in northern Breland. Ultimately, the party settled on a plan to visit to the Karrns the following day and retired to the Rusty Sock for the evening.
The following day was 1 Sypheros, which adherents of the Silver Flame celebrate as the Ascension. In the morning, the party gathered at the Rusty Sock and decided that visiting Falko Dorn in the Smoky Towers district would be the best course of action. When Brandis awoke from his alcohol induced stupor and joined the others in the Rusty Sock’s common room, he found that he had been robbed. He was able to use his tracking ability to determine that a tiny creature had approached his bed while he slept, but he was unable to pinpoint any suspects. Before heading over to Smoky Towers, the party decided to visit Graywall to purchase some Karrnathi delicacies (Nightwood ale, stinky cheese, and some bread) as a gift to secure Falko Dorn’s cooperation. When the party reached Falko’s residence, he was just finishing a very late breakfast. He was very cooperative, sharing his knowledge of Karrnathi history and religion and his experiences with the Graywall community. He suggested that it would be difficult for the party to get answers in Graywall because of bad blood between the community and the city authorities stretching back to the Last War. As the leader of the community, Lan Hazal would be subject to unfavorable scrutiny if he was seen cooperating with agents of the Sharn Watch or the Citadel. Falko suggested that the party attend his recital at the Atrium on 4 Sypheros, since prominent members of the Graywall community would be attending and they might be able to speak with Lan Hazal privately. When asked about resources regarding necromancy (particularly that practiced in Karrnath), Falko told the party that he had no knowledge of such things but that Lan Hazal had an extensive library and might have some scholarly texts on the subject.
After the party left Falko’s residence, there was another lengthy discussion about how best to proceed with the investigation, which prompted Kryle to depart for Mockery’s Forge in the hopes that his underworld contacts could give him a lead. Erasmet told Kryle about a business in the Stores district, Fortune’s Gate, which sometimes handled body smuggling. Erasmet had used Fortune’s Gate in the past to smuggle warforged bodies and grafts into and out of Sharn. He told Kryle to talk to the proprietor of Fortune’s Gate, Saal Ebinor. As an aside, Erasmet told Kryle that he might have a lead on Reborn’s remaining armor. Apparently, an Aundairian collector of antiquities and oddities named Ari Maartel was holding private showings of his collection in Fairhaven. The description of one of the displays in his collection bore a striking resemblance to the plates and studs that Erasmet had sold to the party.
Armed with this new information, the party headed off to the Stores, intending to spend the night. They ended up at a tavern/inn called the Bloody Mug. Conversation around the Bloody Mug focused on the plague raging two districts over and the fear that it could spread to the Stores. Cordain and Kryle were able to dig up some rumors about possible involvement of “foreigners from the north” in the plague, but no one was specific about who the foreigners were or where they were in the district. The party decided to do some reconnaissance the next day.
The party went to Fortune’s Gate the next day and met with Saal Ebinor. It was obvious that Saal was hiding something, and Kryle, Cordain, and Reborn did their best to convince him to come clean. However, their efforts were in vain, and Saal demanded that they leave. The party staked out Fortune’s Gate, waiting for cover of darkness to enter and reconnoiter. Kryle went in first, with Brandis and Illiyana shadowing him. Kryle was able to catch Saal by surprise in his study and take him hostage. The party was exiting the building with Saal in tow when Brandis inadvertently made too much noise and alerted the warehouse guards. Two Emerald Claw soldiers attacked the party, and Saal managed to wrestle free and join the fray. Kryle defeated one of the Emerald Claw soldiers quickly, but the remaining soldier managed to put up a bit of fight before Kryle and Brandis finished him off. Kryle delivered the killing blow, ripping out the man’s throat with his teeth. Illyana and Cordain were occupied with fighting Saal in the staircase, but Saal eventually surrendered when he heard the second Emerald Claw soldier’s death throes. Saal told the party that the only Emerald Claw operatives that he saw were the two soldiers and a priest but that they had forbidden him to enter the back part of the warehouse once they took up residence. The party headed to the back of the warehouse and was ambushed by two hulking undead monstrosities, plague walkers. Kryle, Cordain, Reborn and Brandis quickly dispatched the first plague walker, while the second plague walker focused on Illiyana and Saal (who was being held captive at this point). The rest of the party attacked the remaining plague walker, but it was still able to knock Illiyana unconscious before self-destructing. The resulting blast wounded the entire party, very nearly killing Illiyana, and everyone was briefly sickened. Fortunately, Brandis was able to stabilize Illiyana and Saal, and the Illiyana was able to bring the party back to fighting strength with her healing spells.
The party pressed the attack and headed into the back of the warehouse. There, they found the priest of Vol surrounded by two ornate sarcophagi and two crude coffins. When the party moved in to attack, two zombies shambled from the shadows to defend the priest. Illiyana was able to channel her divine power to turn the zombies, and Cordain quickly dispatched on of them with his trusty longsword. The priest attacked Kryle, using a spell to instill a powerful fear in the kobold that sent him fleeing from the room. Cordain and Reborn were able to trap the priest while Illiyana and Brandis peppered him and the remaining zombie from range. The party made quick work of their foes and then searched the warehouse for clues. The two sarcophagi and one of the coffins were empty, clearly having been used to transport undead into the city. The second coffin contained an infected zombie wearing a Citadel uniform, which the party quickly dispatched. Two letters were found among the priest’s belongings: one between the priest (Gustavus Karlach) and his superior in the north (Ermena Thul) and the other between Gustavus and an unidentified female benefactor in Sharn. The party also recovered a barrel of preserving pine filled with blood and a mithril chain shirt that were apparently part of Gustavus’ offering to his benefactor.
Since it was night and help from the Citadel couldn’t be arranged until the following day, the party dug in and guarded the warehouse and their prisoner until morning.