It was more than a little disturbing that this teen had been able to identify and track us. Later we realized, however, that his group was one that had eyes that saw but were seldom seen. They also would make a very useful ally if we could trust them. I think that we can, but I hope that this trust doesn’t come back to cause problems.
Once we decided that the request was legitimate and worthy of our efforts we agreed to meet the boy near the gates of Point Breeze. From what we’ve learned so far this disease is spreading and no one seems to be concerned. If permitted, it could end up an unstoppable epidemic.
I was a bit surprised to see constables posted at the gate between the Western Docks and Point Breeze. They looked us up and down as we approached, but didn’t say anything or try to interfere with us. I assume that they are on the look out for signs of the disease. Beyond the gate the road was narrow and the houses shabby. Here and there we saw abandoned houses and businesses marked with red painted ’X’s. The Little Prince later confirmed that these are quarantined buildings. We also saw very few people on the streets.
Before long the boy found us again and thanked us for coming. He repeated his warnings about the Breezy Point Gang and took the lead. Before long however, we heard the bold laughter of men ahead and when we looked to the Prince for guidance, saw that he had vanished. We didn’t have time to make a plan, however, as within seconds, a pair of toughs rounded a corner ahead. Behind them were several others, and Tanka elbowed me to indicate that he heard someone on the roof as well.
I hoped to avoid a confrontation, but the way they approached us led me to believe that it might be inevitable. They demanded to know who we were and why were here as they tried to size us up. I went with the truth, explaining that I was a priest and was here to help with the plague problem. Surely this was a concern of theirs, street toughs or no. However, they insisted on trying to extort us, and I really wanted to not have to kill them all despite their efforts to convince me otherwise. If they didn’t care that people all around them were dying from disease, perhaps they would care if it was more personal. So I made up some likely sounding symptoms and pretended to see them in one of toughs. As hoped, their tone changed quickly, and they quickly agreed to give us free passage in the district in return for curing their stricken brother. I also enjoyed the panic in the eyes of the others as they edged away from their ‘sick’ friend. Once I completed the ‘cure’ we continued down the street until the Prince reappeared from a side alley. He was pleased that it hadn’t come to violence.
“Even if you kill them you’ll bring trouble down on ya when The Claw finds out”
Our guide led us about halfway across the mostly empty district and then past some barricades and into an alley. The alley ended in a small cul-de-sack surrounded by boarded up warehouses. The children lived in one of the warehouses.
Inside, nervous, gaunt faces peered around corners to get a look at us. Some of them seemed just short of terrified to have armed adults inside their sanctuary. The Prince had quarantined the worst cases to try to prevent the spread, and I noted that despite the squalor, the children had kept the place surprisingly clean and tidy.
There were five children, including the Prince’s friend William, in the quarantine room, but he appeared the worst. The most obvious physical symptom was a red, angry rash that seemed to begin in the ears. Now that I could see the symptoms, the nature of the disease was obvious. This was Mind Fire. After the rash finished spreading, the disease began affecting the victim’s mind, subtly at first, but eventually leading to insanity. Fallham had seen this outbreak before. It could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to run it’s course, but in the end it was usually fatal.
William was in the last stages and didn’t have long.
However, he responded immediately when I called upon Diakris to remove the disease from him. In total, there were nine affected children out of the twenty five to thirty that lived there, so I decided to feed them with the Lord’s Feast. They needed to eat anyway. It was rewarding to see their eyes light up when I set the table.
As we were eating I asked the Prince if he knew any others that needed Diakris’ help and he mentioned a woman that ran a restaurant that often fed his family. He hadn’t seen her in a while and was concerned. So, after the meal, we all set off to find her. William went with us and we got to see them in action. They worked as a well polished team to guide us through the warrens while avoiding the dangers.
The little diner was closed when we got there, but a woman eventually answered our knocks. Sure enough, Martha showed signs of the disease, but I was able to cure her.
We let the teens lead us back to the Western Docks where we said our good byes.
Although I could make a difference, it occurred to me that this outbreak was more than I could handle on my own, so I headed over to the Temple of Farian. As the largest and most well funded church in Fallham, I figure that they could do the most to help. The High Priestess was unavailable, but I made an appointment for the next day. Before returning home I also stopped off at the Temple of Diakris and spoke with High Priest, Urian Alger. He promised to do what he could.
Jalen headed out after breakfast to gather information, or to frequent some taverns. Both activities look pretty similar to me. As usual, he adopted a fresh disguise so hopefully he will not draw attention to himself or to the rest of us. He learned that Duke Canard was planning a visit soon. He would be the Earl’s superior, apparently they were friends as well. This makes sense, as we’ve seen an unexpected bit of work being done to repair and tidy up the city. This stands out from the usual neglect. Apparently the Earl is also calling in the levies. I can’t imagine what that might portend, but it seems like information that Westin should get. He also spoke with Parts who said that he overheard a conversation that the Claw had with one of his people. It seems that they have someone that they can’t get to talk. Given the other clues, it seems likely that this is Dayton. If so, the Dark Syndicate has him and are trying to interrogate him. We need to spring him immediately.
Meanwhile, I went back to the temple of Farian to speak with their high priestess about the plague. We’ve decided that it’s unwise to travel alone in the city, so Tanka accompanied me. I guess I’m starting to come to terms with him being my brother, but it’s still strange to think about.
I was able to speak with High Priestess Arana, and she seems to understand the importance of acting and acting quickly. It took all of my charm and wits to get her to look past her mercenary inclinations, however. I just hope that we aren’t too late.
This evening, Faelyn and I took another look at the orb. Despite our divinations and incantations, however, the purpose of this orb remains a mystery to us. It occurred to Faelyn that our best hope would be research. Unfortunately, the best library for this sort of thing is owned by the Dwarves in Grinadier. This will have to be tabled until then. We’ll have to worry about how to get the Dwarves to grant us access to their library later.
Apparently the Syndicate is on to us. We left Faelyn back in our rooms while, Jalen, Tanka, Nuan Shu and I headed out to try to sell some of Archer’s gear. However, along the way we were attacked. Jalen recognized the half elf and the human twins as Syndicate toughs. The Halfling was new to him. Fortunately, we had most of our strength. Nuan Shu managed to cut down the three warriors, but the halfling managed to slip behind me and get a blade past my defenses. Tanka nearly killed her, but she got away.
Clearly time is no longer on our side and we can’t wait any more. Ready or not, we need to try to break into the Syndicate’s dungeons and find Dayton.
We decided we’d still need to wait an extra day because we had important information that would die with us if we didn’t succeed with the jail break. So, Jalen met with Raven this evening and filled her in.
The Prince knew a way into the dungeons. It wasn’t going to be a pleasant trip, but hopefully it would give us an element of surprise. Given the strength of the Dark Syndicate, we’d need every edge we could get.
Apparently there was a way in through the sewers, and the Prince was confident that it would not be guarded. There might be other dangers, but it still seems like our best choice. It’s not a pleasant option though. He led us through several locked doors down near the waterfront and finally left us when he felt that we couldn’t get lost. We would be wading through raw sewage and human waste, however. No one balked though, not even Faelyn. Diakris, give us strength and guidance.