The PCs must solve Andaeson’s murder, while careful to avoid assassination themselves.
The PCs learn that Andaeson and a barmaid, Lomelin, were killed in the very early morning hours of the 31st.
The PCs provide Belimar the alibi that they were helping Asima protect his farm from wolves.
The Drihten seek out Asima, who corroborates the alibi. The Drihten seem averse to doubt his word.
The PCs are allowed to examine the Blue Belly for clues.
There is one blood stain behind the bar and another in front.
There is a hidden wall compartment in the kitchen that is now open and empty, its interior painted red.
The PCs also speak with Avagon and the other barmaid, Rodina, who found the bodies.
Avagon left just after closing and slept in his apartment. He had noticed no one unusual that night.
Rodina was in her room at the tavern from closing until morning, but heard nothing.
Belimar tells them that both bodies had cuts, but no bruises, and each had a single puncture wound. The herbalist Soom is examining the bodies for signs of poison and will have an answer by the next morning.
Avagon doesn’t know the future of the Blue Belly Tavern at this time.
He knows that Andaeson had a nephew, an ex-Drihten named Gandel, but that they never got along.
He also heard that a will was found and taken to the authorities, but it won’t be read for a few days.
The Drihten allow Rodina to stay at the tavern until a new owner says otherwise. Avagon agrees to stay as well, to keep out thieves.
As soon as the PCs leave the tavern, Tolarec approaches them, flanked by armed bodyguards.
He understands that the PCs might suspect him of Andaeson’s murder, and his bodyguards are to protect against them as much as the real assassin.
His superiors have ordered him to leave town in 2 days if the assassin is not found. Fearing his possible death or absence, and since the PCs passed their initiation test with Qi Wan’s death, he wants to ensure they learn the secrets of the resistance. However, he agrees to tell only Kora.
The name of the resistance is the Third Column.
The symbol is three horizontal lines on the inside of the third finger, tattooed or inked.
The written code is every third letter, backwards, ignoring all punctuation.
The color red, such as blood, is used for warning or to indicate falsehood.
The only other member left alive that he knows of in the area is Talarus in Cotstow.
He feels that Andaeson’s murder is related to the resistance, but not done by someone in the resistance. This is because of the color inside the safe, and the fact that the killer took whatever was in it.
The killer wasn’t familiar enough with the resistance to ignore the contents in the red safe.
The killer wanted information on the Third Column or wouldn’t have taken the safe’s contents.
That night, three of the PCs obtain additional information.
Ceowulf learns from Ruga that someone from Crossroads Castle was asking about him this last week.
Ramius informs Eragin that Pyksylus reported to the Drihten that both Theoden and Dahlkin use aliases.
A man called Goodheart, claiming to be an old acquaintance of Ceowulf, tells Dahlkin that one of the PCs is a spy for the Hooks and is planning to assassinate Ceowulf.
Theoden and Dahlkin visit Soom.
He says that Andaeson and Lomelin died from a poison called jegga.
Jegga paste is made from the glands of pond bats. They are common to lakeshores, but dangerous to catch.
Soom confides in Theoden that his friend Lidwar, another herbalist, has been known in the past to refine jegga paste. He did not share this with the Drihten, for fear of getting his friend in trouble.
Theoden and Dahlkin visit Lidwar.
Lidwar refuses to talk with Theoden, but Dahlkin threatens the truth out of him.
He sold two doses of jegga paste to Sodgar and Cawen, two Hooks, not more than a week ago.
The PCs visit Sodgar and Cawen.
Ceowulf tracks them down to a nine-pin gambling hall called Pin Head.
They and another 4 other Hooks they’re with fight as soon as approached by the PCs. Sodgar, Cawen, and one of the other Hooks are injured. The other three are killed.
Sodgar confesses that he bought the poison, but to attempt an assassination of Garnock and Nauth, leaders of the Hooks, not Andaeson. He still has the jegga doses with him, and the PCs take them.
That night, Goodheart approaches Dahlkin again.
He tells him to examine a crate at the Spring Run Trading Company warehouse to find the name of the traitor.
Suspecting a trap, the PCs stake out the warehouse instead of entering it, and the night goes without incident.
The following morning, Drihten greet each of the PCs and bring them to the Town Hall.
Pyksylus is back in town, and investigating the murder of Lord Qi-Wan.
Because of what was found at the castle, his superiors have given him only one week to find the assassin.
He tries to question Asima about the PCs’ alibi, but the guards refuse to even contact him.
He is having a guard come to town the next morning who claims he can identify the assassin.
That afternoon, Kora meets with Tolarec on the final day that he’ll be able to remain in town.
Tolarec has heard that all of Cendasa’s team is dead, except Cendasa, and suspects he is the traitor.
After he leaves, Cendasa climbs up onto the Blue Belly’s balcony and tells Kora his story.
He confirms that he is the only survivor of his team that attempted to kill Lord Qi Wan.
He says that Isper, the man thought dead trying to deliver the coded note, and from whom the PCs obtained it, was the man who betrayed his team and he’s certain is the man who killed Andaeson.
After witnessing Isper kill his last two teammates, including his wife Baum, Cendasa managed to track him to Corsairs Cove on the east lakeshore. He has a camp there with over a dozen men.
He asks Kora to gather the other PCs and help him revenge the deaths of Andaeson and the others.
Just as he is finishing his story, two soldiers burst into the tavern.
Not wanting to keep Kora from vengeance against Isper by being arrested for talking with him, Cendasa tells her to kill him before the soldiers arrive on the balcony.
He says that, as a half-elf, he chose a mortal life when he married Baum, a human. With her gone, he can die in peace if the PCs get revenge on Isper. Kora kills him.
The two soldiers reach the balcony, and find Cendasa dead.
They introduce themselves as Quorl and Lohan. They seek credit for killing Cendasa to please their commander, Smaum. In return, they will tell the Drihten that Kora was only a hostage.
The Drihten arrive and accept the story, taking Cendasa’s body with them.
Cendasa’s Blade is left behind and Kora takes it with her.
Ceowulf investigates and discovers a landing near Corsairs Cove that might make it possible to surprise the enemy.
As they head toward the camp, they are spotted by three guards, two being Lohan and Quarl.
Lohan gives the PCs information and rides his men in the opposite direction to repay his debt to Kora.
The PCs stalk down the path to a camp and attack under cover of night. They ambush Isper, 8 empirical soldiers, and 2 guards from Crossroads Castle. Isper is captured, one soldier is incapacitated, and everyone else is killed.
Dahlkin realizes that Isper was actually the man who called himself Goodheart.
On Isper himself, the PCs find jegga, a Self-Loading Crossbow, a pair of silver bracers, and a silver dagger.
From Isper’s equipment, the PCs take the Shield of Kreg and a Fine Spear. It’s assumed that these once belonged to Cendasa’s teammates. They also find tools that could be used to make poison.
The PCs return to Esgaroth with Isper, and take him to the Drihten in the morning.
The Drihten show the jegga paste and Isper’s tools to Soom, and he confirms that he’s been refining jegga.
Pyksylus arrives with the guard from Castle Jarlack, hoping he will identify one of the PCs. Instead, he points to Isper as Qi Wan’s likely killer, saying he’d seen him under suspicious circumstances at the castle several times.
The PCs plead self-defense in their killing of the men at Corsairs Cove. Crossroads Castle and the empirical barracks in Londaroth blame one another for the guards and soldiers under Isper’s lead, and the PCs are quickly forgotten.
Three days later, Isper is hung to death.
After Isper’s death, Ceowulf finds that Isper’s dagger and bracers vanished from their storage location.
Tolarec overhears Ceowulf’s confusion. He tells the PCs of an elite sect of assassins within the empire who, it is said, are bound for life with their weapons. They are called the Tak Shi, or Shadows of Death, and the PCs should be proud if they survived an encounter with one. Tolarec will attempt to find out more about them.
Tolarec congratulates the PCs on both jobs, welcomes them to the resistance, and leaves town to continue his work.