Carnival of Dreams

A Brother's Final Messages

The warforged sat on the concrete floor, legs crossed with his hands resting upon his knees, as if meditating. His chest was open and his inner workings could be seen whirring and ticking. They would catch and stop sporadically, causing the warforged to cough and splutter. The concrete walls surrounding him, covered in mildue and moss, and the pipes and gratings throughout the room hinted at a sewer room of some sort. Three make shift beds, a number of large chests, a table littered with maps and documents, and three chairs seemed to be all that furnished the room. The warforged appeared to be muttering to himself.

“Brother, I have failed. The schema is in enemy hands. A group of fleshlings, who I can only suspect work for House Cannith, have aquired it. I am on my own. The group killed Cutter, Kalis, and almost got me too. But I will not fail our Lord.

I returned to the provost’s academy to see if I could find any further clues regarding the schema but found nothing but a burnt out room. I “questionned” a member of the academy’s staff, as well as a City Watch guard, and found that the room had been destroyed on purpose. The culprit? A changling spy. But a group of carnival folk was also involved, some of whose descriptions matched the group that had attacked me and my team. I have just returned from that circus brother and I found them all. See them now as I have seen them. If my plan fails it will be up to you to retrieve the schema from their cold dead hands.

My wounds are too great to attempt to attack them head on. So I have hired a group of mercenary kobolds. They are naive and eager to please. I am confident they will be able to slip into the circus and place the masters explosives. I’ll then get the group’s attention with a direct attack. I shall “convince” one of the kobolds to bring them an explosive in person. Once they see it’s effects, I am confident I will be able to barter the locations of the remaining explosives for the schema.

Compassion for their own kind is one of the fleshlings greatest weaknesses brother. I look forward to exploiting it. With luck, my next message shall bring better news. May our Lord’s blessing watch over us both."

“I pray you can hear me brother. I was wrong. There are those among the group with no compassion, and ready for battle just as we are. The master was right, they plan to enslave us. If we don’t subject ourselves to them willingly, they will take our free will by force. I can’t hold on much longer brother. Avenge me…”

A Fly On The Wall

The room looked fit for nobility. While small, it contained a fine wood carved desk close to the window overlooking Sharn. The plush, finely crafted chairs placed at each side of the desk also hinted at decadence.The walls were lined with bookshelves and cabinets filled with all manner of books, trinkets and trophies and fine art was hanging from what free wall space remained. Given the three doors found along the remaining walls, it appeared to be an adjoining room used for quiet getaways and break away meetings. One such meeting was taking place now, between Lady Elaydren and a slighter older man who looked even more regal and pompous than the Lady. The man sat behind the desk and appeared to be listening to a report being given by Lady Elaydren.

“Ah yes, I assume that situation has been taken care of then? You were lucky that the local newspapers found out so little about the deceased provost’s true benefactors.” The man’s tone was authoritative and he was obviously not happy with the report he was hearing.

“Yes my Lord. I was able to locate the journal before the warforged extremists got their hands on it. With the ring you gave me I was then able to find the extract the human had told me about. It revealed the entrance to the foundry. Bonal Geldem was much closer to the truth than I had originally thought.” Lady Elaydren spoke with care, and in a rather submissive tone. The elegance and authority she previously exuded was no longer present.

“You would do well not to underestimate the lesser races. We will not make that mistake again. Now, tell me of this group you have hired.”

“They seem quite competent my Lord. My contact in the City Watch informed me they dealt with the warforged assassin in mere moments. And, as they’re from the carnival that has just arrived in town, they’re unlikely to raise many suspicions from our usual rivals.” The man interrupted her sharply before she could continue.

“Did you just say they’re from the carnival?” He sounded angry, and could barely contain himself. He paused before continuing. “What is the name of the carnival?” Lady Elaydren was noticeably shaken and seemed scarred at the outburst.

“My…my Lord?…”

“The carnivals name you whelp!” A flash of what looked like a black mist flooded through his eyes, gone almost as quickly as it appeared. The lights in the room began to flicker and darken as the man’s face contorted in anger.

“Cirque…Cirque de Mystique my Lord…” The Lady was shaking now, looking around in fear. The lights began to settle as the man composed himself, now lost in thought.

“It can’t be a coincidence…” He seemed to be muttering to himself more so than to the Lady. “…I must make sure.” He returned his attention to the Lady. “Whatever it takes, make sure they deliver the schema. Take matters into your own hands if you have to. Failure is not an option. I also need you to send a message to our base in the Mournlands. I require another agent immediately. This carnival must be investigated. Now go! Before you try my patience again.”

“My Lord.” Lady Elaydren rose from her chair and bowed to the man before exiting the room.

Case 1,109, Lower City District 19 - Public Disturbance At Rats Market: Eyewitness Report

I, Skakan, born in 969 YK, am Brelish. I am a humble merchant, trading in the local markets of the lower city of Sharn. During the incident, I was in the presence of Ealdwick, my business associate, selling my goods from my stall. Suddenly, a crossbow bolt engulfed in flames flew across my vision and as I turned to follow it’s path I saw it strike a clawfoot, which was acting as a halflings mount. The clawfoot hit the ground hard, badly wounded, and the rider was trapped beneath his mount. His companions, a female elf, a male half elf, a male tiefling, and a male human (note: see attached for sketchs of these suspects) quickly reacted and charged in the direction the bolt was fired from.

By now my fellow merchants, the cowards that they are, had worked themselves into a frenzy as they tried to get out of the path of a likely fight. I of course kept my cool, and through the frantic crowd I eventually spotted the group’s assailant. A male warforged shrouded in a red cloak (note: see attached for sketch). The warforged fired another bolt at the tiefling, who was charging at him. The bolt hit but the tiefling shrugged it off and struck the warforged with a flying kick. The tiefling however wasn’t able to stand against the warforgeds return strike, a sword thrust through the chest.

As he advanced, the elf prepared a shield spell of some description and enhanced her sword with a silver magic. At the same time, the half elf moved forward to a nearby column, readied a crossbow and summoned an ice elemental! I know, unbelievable! At this stage I mostly kept my sight on the half elf to see what other wonders he might conjure. The elf did seem to be holding her own against the warforged however. As this was all happening I also went to the tiefling, placing myself in great danger, and provided what aid I could. And the human was also throwing daggers or something.

It was then though that the half elf conjured some sort of localised fireball spell! The spell engulfed the warforged, and as he flailed around helplessly the elf took the opening to sever his leg at the knee to take him down. At this stage the City Watch’s whistles could be heard in the distance and the group made a quick exit. Of course, no one was foolish enough to stand in their way. My associate and I, fearful for the warforged’s life, quickly brought him to Doctor Ales just down the road. However, the doc pronounced him dead on arrival. I then returned to my stall to resume my business and found the City Watch questioning the locals and looking for witnesses to the fight.

The Korranberg Chronicle - Murder In Mid-City

Another night, another murder. Sharn is a dangerous city and murder, unfortunately, is not an unusual thing.  Last night, in the pouring rain, the city claimed Bonal Geldem, a provost at Musgrave University. Witnesses say the man was attacked from behind by a cloaked figure, who struck him, unprovoked, with a battle axe.

A group that was passing by intervened, and a swift battle followed. The cloaked figure, a female warforged, struck an elven member of the group from behind while yelling something about “death to the weak fleshlings”. The elf’s friends set upon her with crossbow, dagger and bomb. Witnesses describe a blazing flame engulfing the attacker and taking her down before the rain put the fire out. The group themselves could not be reached for comment.

Unfortunately the group arrived too late to save Mr Geldem’s life and the City Watch pronounced him dead at the scene. What was the reason for this murder? Colleagues at the Musgrave University informed me that Mr Geldem’s area of research was pre-Galifar Sharn, while my sources within the watch tell me it is suspected the female warforged was an agent of the Lord of Blades. Could the two be connected? Something tells me there is more to this than a random mugging or hate crime, and when I know more, my readers will of course be the first to know.

The Korranberg Chronicle - The Circus Has Arrived In Town

The carnival has arrived in Sharn! Last night was Cirque du Mystique’s opening night in the City of Wonders, and what a show. The lights, the sound, the spectacle! I’ll discuss the show in it’s entirety in my full review on page 23, but for now I must mention the act of the night. This has to have been the opening act. A great blend of showmanship, humour and skill, the act saw a Talenta halfling with his dinosaur mount face off against a dagger throwing aasimar. The challenge? Hitting colourful bombs thrown by a half elf alchemist!

The halfling and aasimar sparked off each other at first, and were neck and neck throughout the challenge. This was despite the alchemist throwing in his own spin on the game (multiple bombs! blending in with his surroundings!) and a harlequin appearing midway through to literally shock and awe the challengers. Eventually things had to come to an end, and in a sneaky move the halfling and his mount separated to hit the last two bombs to win the challenge.

Continued on page 23…

An Unmarked Journal

The writing in the journal before you is barely legible, the scrawl written as if the hand wielding the pen was far too large for it.

The fire burned so brightly and so intensely, and yet the darkness descended all the same. Without warning it struck, and the circus didn’t know what hit it. Most thought the fire was an accident, and treated it as such, grabbing water wherever they could to fight the blaze.

But there were those that knew better, and Gili’s group fought the real danger under the big top, amongst the flames. But they weren’t prepared for what the darkness had sent, they weren’t strong enough. One by one they fell to the Envoy of Darkness.

Today is a dark day. I must have missed a sign, a portent. And those poor adventurers paid the price. I must redouble my efforts, become more vigilant, and illuminate this unknown darkness.


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