The party reaches Vidoon, the capital of Ceorther, the Dwarven nation. It has been a long and uneventful journey through the trade tunnels under the Worldspine Mountain Range, which divides the nations of Ostai and Ceorther. The trip was so uneventful, that the Pixie, Rittophoran, became very bored, which is something one should always endeavor to prevent. What follows is what is known as Pekzliryu Pekzhir, or “Pixies being Pixies” in the Elven tongue. The specifics of what happened on this trip has yet to be chronicled, as the only ones who know the full tale are those who were there, and the members of the party seem oddly reluctant to have the tale spread, though it is thought by many experts on Pixie behavior, that the survival of Rittophoran likely has more to do with the pixie’s natural dexterity and the ease with which she can hide than to the restraint of her companions, particularly that of Tekh StormCloud, who is known to have no restraint.
As it was, Tekh was barely out of the tunnels than she was inside the nearest inn, grabbing the first dwarven man who caught her eye, ordering a great deal of ale, and dragging the chosen male, who was still trying to sort out the whirlwind he suddenly found himself part of, up to a room. By the time the rest of the party showed up, a heavy rhythmic thumping could be heard coming from that room. After a while, even the minstrel by the fireplace had unconsciously started using the sound as a kind of metronome and adjusted his tempo to match.
Already inside the inn was a lone pixie named Blaise. She sat in a corner, looking dazed and confused. She had just had the strangest dream in which three of the deities had set on a quest to gather four artifacts, and she was to join another group who were also on the same quest. Part of her disorientation was also due to the fact that she could suddenly see much better than before, and seemed to pick out the finest detail with astonishing ease. She is then further confused when the very group that had been in her dream suddenly walks into the common room.
Ferasar, Cham, and Rit walk into the common room, and order drinks at the bar. Ferasar and Cham become aware of the pixie in the corner staring at them. Rit is oblivious at this point because she is head-first in the small mug of ale she’d been given, going from sober (for a pixie) to roaring, stinking drunk in two seconds flat. Cham tried to bring the other pixie to Rit’s attention, but she was too far gone. So Cham instead orders a cup of coffee to try to sober her up enough to converse. What he got was not only coffee, but the inn’s “Special Brew,” a coffee so strong that it was rumored to be able to take a drinker beyond sober and into the horrible mental state on the other side of sober where all of life’s little illusions are stripped away. Fortunately, Rit was far enough gone that the only effect was instant sobriety. Only then was Cham able to bring the other pixie to Rit’s attention.
Rit then went over and introduced herself with her normal enthusiasm. Blaise was shy and nervous at first, but loosened up quickly after Cham bought her a small ale (that was still the size of a small bathtub for her). Blaise was apparently quite thirsty and hadn’t had much to eat or drink for a while, as she did not have any money, since the coins were too large for her to have many, and she did not have the special money pouches that most pixies, such as Rit, tend to carry to enable them to handle money scaled for the human-sized people that populated most of The World. Besides, it had not been all that long since she had escaped from the clothing factory where she had been a slave, so she had not had a chance to earn any money, especially since she was still afraid of being caught and returned to the factory. She did not, of course, reveal any of this to the others.
As the pixies began to feel their ale, Ferasar decided that it was a good time to retire, leaving Cham to deal with the two drunk (and very, very giggly) pixies on his own. As the pixies were playing hide and seek in the brooding Cham’s hair and trying to cheer him up, he mumbled to himself, “I am truly in Hell…” and tossed a few more coins on the bar and standing. “See that they don’t hurt themselves,” he says to the bartender, who just gives him a look that said, “Do I look like a babysitter to you?” to Cham’s back as he went up the stair to his room. The pixies followed him up shortly thereafter, and proceed to keep him up for the rest of the night as he continued to think, “I am in Hell… I am in Hell… I am…,” as he tries to sleep. The continued rhythmic thumping coming from Tekh’s room eventually does lull him and the pixies to sleep.
In the morning, the pixies decide to go wandering around the market, looking for ‘shinies.’ This is another one of those Pekzliryu Pekzhir situations that it is best to avoid, so Cham grudgingly follows along behind them to make sure they don’t get in any trouble… or at least try to minimize the damage.
A little later, Ferasar wakes up and, remembering why they were in this city to begin with, asks the bartender about where he might find out about art collectors in the area. The bartender directs him to the city’s auction house, and when asked, lets him know that Cham and the pixies had left for the marketplace earlier. Ferasar then decided to go get Tekh before going to get the others. Just as he arrives at the door, Tekh’s ‘playmate’ sidles out of the room, dress in what is left of his clothes, and walking funny. He flashes a frightened look toward Ferasar and waddles gingerly away, mumbling something about a monastery. Ferasar watches the (un)lucky dwarf leave and knocks on the door of Tekh’s room. His only answer is a loud snore. He finally opens the door and walks in. After a few unsuccessful attempts at waking Tekh up, he finally takes the pitcher of water on the wash basin and pours it over her head. She wakes up…
In the marketplace, as the pixies are looking at some jewelry under the extremely watchful eye of the stall’s proprietor, Cham finally formally introduces himself to Blaise, saying, “I am Cham Leon.” Rit suddenly casts an illusion of an eight foot version of Cham saying the phrase again in a deep, serious-sounding voice. Unfortunately, a few of their fellow shoppers were decidedly startled by the sudden appearance of an apparent ogre in their midst, nevermind that real ogres are closer to 10-12 feet tall. There are screams and panic spreads, and shortly the marketplace is in chaos. Eventually, the watch shows up and tries to arrest the pixies, but they both bolt and are soon lost in the crowd, leaving Cham to deal with the guards alone, and since it was his image that had appeared magnified, they were not particularly kindly disposed toward him. Fortunately, just at that moment, a red-haired elf goes by trying to cast a calming spell at a full run, followed by a screaming, dripping wet, completely naked, and totally angry female dwarf, armed with a hand axe in each hand. The guards suddenly decide that stopping an attempted murder is more important than dealing with Cham, and runs off after them. A passing troubadour is suddenly inspired and composes a new song on the spot.
Eventually, Ferasar manages to lose himself in the crowd and Tekh stops running, at which point about a dozen guards catch up and try to disarm and restrain her. She barely even notices them, and her skin takes on a stony hue and she sinks into the ground ever so slightly. Suddenly, not even the strongest guard is able to budge her, and trying to knock her out only results in broken truncheons. Eventually, Ferasar shows back up and asks if she’s calmed down yet. Tekh glares at him, but doesn’t start chasing him again. He manages to get the guards to let them off with a fine, which is facilitated but the realization that none of them would actually be able to bring Tekh in anyway… at least not without some ‘special’ backup. During this, Cham had followed along behind at a more sedate pace, and was eventually rejoined by the pixie pair. Ferasar and Tekh find them and they all head back to the inn so that Tekh can get her clothes, and Ferasar can bring the others up to date about the auction house.
Once everyone is ready, and the innkeeper is paid for the damages to Tekh’s room, they head out for the auction house. Once there, they are greeted by an extremely neat and tidy-looking dwarf. “May I help you… people,” he asks, taking in the appearance of the motley group. Tekh bristles at the tone, but Ferasar steps in, “We’re looking for an art collector.”
The dwarf shrugs and answers, “Nearly all of our customers are art collectors of some sort. Could you be more specific,” his eyes flash to the holy symbol that Ferasar is wearing and he adds, “sir?”
“Perhaps one that specializes in ancient artifacts or magical items?” the elf ventures.
“Well, that does narrow it down somewhat, but it still leaves several collectors to choose from…”
Cham interjects, “Perhaps you could make us a list, and we can start contacting them?”
“I could certainly prepare a list, but we do not simply give out the personal information of our customers to just anyone who passes by. I could arrange meetings, though.”
“Yes, that would do.”
“It occurs to me that you appear to be looking for something specific. Perhaps if you tell me about it, I would know if anything like it has come through here and who might have it.”
Ferasar nods, "Yes, that makes sense. It’s about so big, " he makes a gesture with his hands, “shaped like a coin or disc, and has a big star on it.”
The dwarf’s face lights up with recognition, “Ah yes, that sounds like the Pentacle, it was auctioned from the Underminer estate. I believe Dugan Goldhammer, one of the top collectors in the city, bought it. I can send a messenger to arrange a meeting if you like.”
“Yes, thank you. We’ll just go find an inn and send one of us back to let you know where we are, so you let us know when the meetings with be.” The party had already decided that they would not return to the previous inn, as they might not be quite welcome.
“Excellent. I’ll send a messenger right away.”
As the party left the auction house, a quick conference was held. It was decided that, considering what happened to [DELETED FOR SECURITY REASONS], Mr. Goldhammer could be in extreme danger as long as he had the artifact, so Rit, in the guise of Iscarot the cat, would follow the messenger and find out where Dugan lived, so that they could get there quickly without waiting for a meeting that might never happen.
Rit transforms and follows the messenger, who leaves the auction house soon after the party.
In the upper class district of the city, where all the biggest mansions are, the messenger goes to one of the largest mansions there and knocks on the door, to be admitted by a butler. Iscarot tries to look in a window, but only sees into the anteroom, and the butler ushers the messenger further into the house. After a moment, the messenger runs back out of the house and heads toward, not the auction house, but the nearest guard house. Intriqued, Iscarot transforms back into Rit, who flits inside before the butler comes to close the door behind the messenger, who had left it standing open in his haste. There is loud dwarven cursing coming from further inside the mansion.
Rit makes her way further into the mansion and finds a richly-dressed dwarf pacing in front of a pair of closed double doors, shouting in dwarvish, and looking quite angry about something. Unfortunately, Rit doesn’t know any dwarvish, though time around Tekh has taught him a few of the more interesting curse words being shouted. Eventually she comes out of hiding and tries to talk to the dwarf. At first, he tries to swat at her and shoo her out of his house, but finally she convinces him that she’s there to help, and he explains shortly that the jewel of his collection has been stolen. He’s confused as to how they could’ve gotten past the locks and alarms. He knows they couldn’t have used magic, though, since he has a very strong anti-magic field set up that works against both arcane and psionic magic. He speculates that Willi Longbeard is probably behind it, as he also had bid on the Pentacle and had only relented when Dugan had finally bid more than the other collector could pay. Rit then announced that he would go and ‘beat up’ Longbeard and get the artifact back and left.
He then goes to meet back up with the rest of the party and tells them that Willi Longbeard has definitely stolen the Pentacle, so they head off for the Longbeard mansion, which just happens to be right beside the GoldHammer mansion.
The party arrives at the Longbeard mansion just as the guards arrive at GoldHammer mansion and go inside. Ferasar decides that he would let the others get on with handling things there, and headed for the GoldHammer mansion to talk to Dugan himself.