Session Date: August 5th, 2019
Effective Character Level: 4
Mission Report – DR 1491.08.05
Three of our more promising students, the tiefling sorcerer Mythocletian, the wood elf monk Thelonius, and a human bard had finished their individual training at our academy in Lyrabar, needing only to complete their final examination before being fully commissioned. As the final exam to enter the Order involves an unsupervised mission, they were tasked with moving an Order’s 50-pound “blackbox” from the nearby city of Filur back to our headquarters in Lyrabar.
After taking a public coach service to Filur, they met with the half-elf Altael Dorberos, the clerk in the local Order branch office. They were reminded of the specific instructions involving blackbox transport:
- Don’t open the box.
- Don’t cast any magic on the box.
- Don’t let anyone else take or transport the box.
- You are not expected to defend the box with your life, but don’t bother to return without it.
Using their pooled funds, the trio were able to purchase three riding horses and a carriage (at a discount through the Order). They set out along the Royal Road to the southwest, soon catching up with an ore caravan that was traveling in the same direction. There they met a dwarven miner named Doranmoul, who explained many of the poorer folks transported raw ore between cities, since it was of too low a value to be stolen. The cart drivers might make only a few silver profit per trip, but it was simple, steady work.
Of course, as per standard procedure, we kept intermittent watch on the three via the Scrying spell, cast by a high-level wizard. We suspected we were not the only agents to do so.
Difficulties began almost immediately when four mounted horsemen (claiming to be Warswords from the nearby house of Mistren/city of Hlammach) approached, under pretense of assuring “daggerbond” was being followed. Their true intentions became apparent when they rifled through the trio’s belongings to confirm the presence of the blackbox. Our cadets were only able to prevent the loss of their cargo through a combination of the monk’s quick reflexes (spurring the carriage horses into a gallop) and the sorcerer momentarily fearing the lead rider.
Three of the riders continued pursuit of the carriage (one having been dismounted in the confrontation), but the monk kept them at bay with his longbow. The riders were ultimately dissuaded from pursuit by a contingent of lance-bearing mounted knights from the road ahead. Unlike the raiders (who had displayed a shield of House Mistren on an affixed sleeve), these knights had their emblems emblazoned directly onto their armor. Our graduates felt they could trust these newcomers.
Once the threat had been driven off, the cavalry captain explained that word of the blackbox had leaked to numerous actors, and that the calvary been assigned to safeguard them as far as Hlammach. (The knights didn’t know what was in the blackbox, but they knew it was in their interests to make sure no one else stole it.)
Following one of the captain’s suggestions, the trio exercised eminent domain over a local farmer’s house. There they quartered the party inside. During the night watch, one of the knights on guard duty was asphyxiated by an unseen assailant. The party was able to bolt themselves inside the house while their invisible foe battered against the shutters. Eventually deducing they faced an air elemental, they allowed it to enter via the chimney, then used handfuls of soot to reveal its location. Through their combined efforts, they were able to disperse the threat.
(While scouting outside during the confrontation, the elf monk spied four stationary riders, silhouetted against the moon, two miles off. Once the air elemental had been dealt with, the riders reluctantly left the area. He suspected they were the raiders from earlier in the day)
The three couriers arrived the next evening in Hlammach without incident. They politely declined their escort’s offer of housing in a tent in the yard of the local castle and instead checked into a local inn. They did their best to remain out-of-sight and inconspicuous.
Unfortunately, it seemed that word of their arrival (and a description of their carriage) had been passed along back-channels, and awards promised for retrieval of the box or the couriers. This could have contributed to the thievery of their horses, which occurred soon after midnight. The young stable-hand alerted the innkeeper of the situation, but the innkeeper appeared to have been either threatened or paid to turn a blind eye. It was the resident halfling bard Amollen (an artist of the bohemian persuasion) who informed the trio of their plight and offered his services.
The three graduates considered their options, and the next morning they checked in with the clerk of the local Order office. After a quick Sending to headquarters, the clerk affirmed that management was keeping an eye on their progress, and that they were to continue the mission as it stood. They sensed that departing as soon as possible was in their best interests.
Back on the streets of Hlammach, the three again encountered Doranmoul and his ore cart, whose caravan was stopping in town for the day. Entertaining a sudden notion, the tiefling sorcerer paid the dwarf in gold to hide the human bard and the blackbox within a pine coffin, buried in the ore cart itself. Arrangements were made and money changed hands.
The group were able to complete the next two days of travel to Lyrabar without incident. The elf monk rode ahead alone, both as a decoy and to scout for possible ambushes; several groups of riders seemed interested in him, but were apparently confused by his lack of companions. The tiefling sorcerer disguised himself whenever he was approached too closely, and the human bard had an uncomfortable (but relatively safe) trip in the darkened box.
Once the cart had arrived at headquarters, I personally received the triumphant couriers and their cargo. Leading them into a private receiving chamber, I then revealed the actual mission in its entirety.
- The mysterious object within the blackbox was a magical item from (it was rumored) the Citadel of Conjurers. If so, its interaction with magical spells was still unknown; hence the need for a no-magic blackbox courier, and why we simply couldn’t Gate it to headquarters.
- As initial preparations were being made, a mole was inferred within our offices in Filur. A second “decoy” courier mission was then crafted, with our three newest graduates taking the helm. Unbeknownst to them, their dual mission would be: a) running a decoy mission, run parallel to the actual courier, and b) the flushing out of the mole’s identity within Filur.
- The blackbox they had spent so much effort to courier had, in fact, been a false box. There was nothing of worth inside, save a primer on halfling language. They were allowed to keep it, as a memento.
- The actual blackbox had been hidden at the bottom of the same ore cart they’d eventually found refuge inside. After all, many divination spells like Locate Object do not work through an inch of common metal–such as that, for example, found in iron ore.
- The dwarven driver, Doranmoul, had been given only the sparsest of details about what he was transporting, and he’d been paid in silver to ask no further. He’d likely assumed the box contained illicit substances for redistribution in the city; telling him otherwise would only have put him at greater risk.
- As it was the decoy blackbox and not the real blackbox that became the target of enemy action, we can safely assume that that mole is the half-elf Order clerk in Filur: Altael Dorberos. It is possible he is not a willing turncoat and is instead being pressured by outside agents–perhaps by threats to his family. We plan to keep him in his current office, using his presence to identify the larger spy network.
Our three graduates have successfully completed the mission comprising their final examination, and, as per my authority, they are to be instated as full agents of the Order, with all rights and responsibilities pursuant.
To Light and Truth!
Shining Blade Training Academy
Order Headquarters, Lyrabar, Impiltur