Keepers of the Cerulean Sign

What's in the Box?

And you thought the cat was tough to put back into the bag?

Loudwater. Hmph. Backwater would be a better name for the place. Sure, it’s got its own oddball characters and a certain dull ambiance, but you don’t come to Loudwater for excitement. Any place who’s most marketable feature is the sound that nearby water makes is not likely to draw a crowd. Or attention for that matter. So it suits me just fine.

I’m still not sure whose cake I peed on in the command structure, but after 3 months in Loudwater, I’m about ready to bake a new cake for every last Seeker in the organization for a chance to get out of here. I was beginning to think they put me here to forget about me. But I wait. I watch. And I listen.

People say funny things when they think no-one’s listening in. You can gather a lot of information just by not being noticed. And my two greatest skills are not being noticed and being very noticed. So noticed, that people tell me the things I’m not able to overhear. So noticed, that they don’t stick around to risk seeing me again. Drow have that effect on people. I’m ready to have that effect on some people.

Takes people like me to protect folks from what they really don’t want to see. Things that most folks can’t look at with their minds turned on. Things that crawl out of nightmares or more accurately stated, things so real and so horrid that they spill over into our nightmares. Things from beyond. And the Keepers hold em back – or die trying.

So when the Guardian and the Forest call a meeting saying they’ve seen a sign, well, let’s just say no one suggested we call in sick. We went to the sign site and picked up our drop. Not much to work from. A town name, and a picture of a box. A box which held something – maybe it held something back or maybe it held a secret. But whatever was in the box meant trouble for whoever had it – cause we meant to come get it.

We looked at a river run to get there, but it became clear that we might miss out on key information along the way. A small caravan had made it’s way to the town in question overland, so we were going to go overland as well. A few bandits got in our way – incidental casualties. Someone ought to do something about the bandits in the area – someone not busy saving the world from tentacled horrors bent on eating our brains for breakfast.

Once in town, we started looking for clues in our own ways. I hit the local poor excuse for a pub – more like a busted ditch with beer nuts. I settled for being not noticed to start things off. The Face found someone to talk about the traders – just passing through, apparently. Lead got us a cold trail. But it was the Outsider who managed to catch a break for us. He found the local sage and spent some time chatting him up. Something about animal attacks. Didn’t seem like much at the time, but any lead was worth checking out.

We came together to review what we had and decided to look into the wild animal attacks. The Forest and the Guardian found some odd tracks. At a crossroads, 8 wild dogs came for us. But these weren’t normal dogs. Something drove them to attack, to kill. And they’d waited in ambush for us. After we dispatched them, it was a matter of figuring out who had sent them after us. The sage seemed a good place to start.

But the abominations weren’t finished with us that night. Hordes of rats came pouring out of a small house trying to overcome us. After a brutal fight, we finished them. Unfortunately, they’d already finished the residents of the house. Not a pretty site, to see a man eaten by rats. Even uglier to see signs he was still alive when they started.

Once we made our way back to the Sage’s tower, we knew we had to dig deeper here. The sage didn’t answer so I used an old key that maybe he’d loaned me or maybe the door was just left open – I don’t rightly recall. But we went in and found him in the basement. Or at least something that was wearing him. The box was there, as were summonings circles filled with abominations from beyond. After a hard fight, we put him down. The Illithid larvae had already eaten his brain so there wasn’t anything to save. We took what clues we could find and slipped out into the night.

Now we have to track down the seller of curiosities to make sure he doesn’t have anymore presents for sages unable to control their curiosity. Maybe a mark on the box or a receipt will help us track him. Maybe some of the papers we’ve gathered his journal and notes will help. Maybe we’ll have to let this one go. But we won’t let him go easy. We never do.

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Aegyptus

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