With Lucan Stellos incapacitated inside of the abandoned Goblin temple, and the forces of the Emerald Claw led by Garrow in retreat, the party now found themselves in need of transportation back to Sharn to return their prisoner to the Dark Lanterns. Wrapping the body tightly inside of Joharra’s acquired hunting tent, they set off overland for Vathirond in the Southeast, and the Lightning Rail that would take them home.
Despite the arudous conditions, the weather held and it’s likely they would have had their first pleasant journey ever if not for the ordeal that they had been through. After a few days travel, they arrived in Vathirond and prepared to return to Sharn to deliver their prisoner. However a new complication arose as Teppic was concerned for the trial and future treatment of Grilsha Stellos, currently imprisoned back in Sterngate. His argument being that although she had aided the creature her brother had become, there were no formal charges laid against her that could not also be applied to the party, and leaving her for the Dark Lanterns would be questionable to him at best. Althoguh initially supporting just letting her go, he was persuaded by Castar Sil to instead bring her back to Sharn with them to formally hear what would happen. However, as there were apparently several parties interested in the fate of Lucan – not the last of which was Grilcha herself – it was decided that Castar and Grolsh Ramstein would bring the body and sword back to Sharn immediately, while Teppic, Joharra and Ossul would retrieve Grilcha.
After some creative interpretations of how different races and cultures interpreted the nature of bribery, Grolsh and Castar managed to successfully board the lightning rail bound for Sharn with the body of Lucan still tightly sealed. During the three day journey however, the pair found themselves confronted with a disembodied voice that urged them to sell the retrieved Soul Blade, as the reward offered by the Dark Lanterns for a magical item of that power was grossly underpriced. The speaker was eventually revealed to be the Soul Blade itself, but its arguments were rejected as presumably part of the price of returning the Soul Blade was not having the secret intelligence agency of Sharn angry at them for putting such a powerful artifact on the black market.
The sword’s second attempt though was much more persuasive. Forged during the Last War, it was gifted to a specific Kharrnathi family to be used during the conflict, though its wielder fell in the war and it came into Brelish hands. It had spent the time up to this point locked in a vault, and wished to return to its “rightful” owners. Though the sword itself could offer no reward for this, it did promise the gratitude of Warlord Barakas, the last surviving member of its family. Intrigued by both the offer of reward, and the potential political intrigue here, both Grolsh and Castar agreed to give the sword’s request a fair hearing once the rest of the group had met up with them. The Blade agreed to wait, and informed the two that Lucan had concealed the sword inside an enchanted glove that he held, which Castar could then mask with a magical aura. He further informed them that Lucan was captured by a master Vampire lurking in the depths of Sharn named Calderus, who had sent a Mummy after Lucan when he had drawn too close to his operations. The sword warned the two adventurers that Calderus was likely still seeking the Soul Blade, and they needed to keep its existence a secret.
When the Gnome and Dwarf arrived in Sharn, they were quickly met by a man who was there to receive their delivery of fine Kharrnathi cheese. To the surprise of no one at all, this was an agent of the Dark Lanterns who delivered the pair of them to Viorr Maelak. Congratulating the two of them on the successful return of the Vampire, he delivered the reward as promised and asked about the whereabouts of the Soul Blade, as well as anything the pair may have learned as to the fate of Lucan. Mentioning the existence of Calderus appeared to take Maelak by surprise, but ultimately neither revealed the “deal” with the Soul Blade.
In Sterngate, Teppic, Ossul and Joharra retrieved Grilcha from the care of Captain Eredenn Davoh, and prepared to return her to Sharn to face the consequences of her actions. Before leaving, the two Silver Flame devotees received a message from Cardinal Hebert demanding an update on their progress as well as the fate of the cleric he had dispatched to contact the two of them. With a heavy heart, they realised that the Cleric that Garrow had disguised himself as during the battle in the temple was not an entirely fictitious disguise. They also had a message from Cardinal Fullstead who wished them well and requested an update on their progress, as he had heard nothing since the incident at the diplomatic ball.
With a quick response fired off, the matter was now brought up whether Grilcha would go with the party to Sharn. She initially feared that her brother had been killed, but when Teppic revealed that he had merely been “captured” and returned she agreed to accompany them as long as she had at least the opportunity to see her brother again. The train ride back was not entirely uneventful, as Teppic was no longer convinced in the teachings of the Silver Flame that a man transformed into a vampire was necessarily completely destroyed and Ossul argued that this did not change their duty to eventually destroy the evil. This debate lasted the entirety of the trip, leading Joharra and Grilcha to bond over their mutual disbelief at the ability of the Silver Flame to argue endlessly and unceasingly.
Two days after Castar and Grolsh’s meeting with Maelak, the party was reunited in Sharn and escorted to the Gilded Truffle for a dinner regarding fine Kharnnathi cheese. Although the Dark Lanterns wanted to keep the two groups separated, Ossul and Teppic’s ceaseless arguing made Joharra’s request to sit anywhere but with them go more or less unnoticed. During the argument, Castar was able to inform Joharra that the Soul Blade had not been returned to the Dark Lanterns, and there was more to discuss.
The dinner with Maelak went mcuh as the last one, with none of the party revealing the overall fate of the Soul Blade. For Teppic and Ossul’s part this was made easier by them not actually knowing the full series of events, although whether or not their deception was successful was only known to the Spymaster himself. Teppic proposed to Maelak that he could contact those inside the Silver Flame to see if a sufficeintly powerful enough Priest could be found to Resurrect Lucan, who could provide information on the Vampire lurking deep within Sharn. Though Maleak seemed distrustful of these motives, he did agree to at least the rough inquiries within the Silver Flame. As well, Grilcha was to be kept a guest of the Dark Lanterns and questioned firmly but politely, before eventually being released. Joharra managed to pass Grilcha her Psycrystal so that the party would stay abreast of if anything was wrong, and she was left in the care of the Dark Lanterns.
The party now found itself with an influx of funds, and an apparent abundance of time. They agreed to wait a few days before reconvening to discuss the Soul Blade so that none in the Dark Lanterns would grow too suspicious. Grolsh used his money to purchase himself an apartment in the lower levels of Sharn, and finally retrieved the Adamantine breastplate he had comissioned so long ago. Visiting the Goblin salesman Skakan in the underhive of Sharn to thank him for his help and the wand sold earlier, he then spent the majority of his time celebrating his newfound wealth and living accommodations.
Castar visited his old friend C. Foster Hearst at the Chronicle and filed a series of backlogged reports, as well as finding information on the family of Warlord Barakas, as if they were to be returning the Soul Blade to him it would be nice to know a little bit more about this man. They learned that he had several children still alive, and was one of the thirteen Kharrnathi Warlords who fought prominently in the great war. There were several members of his family still alive, although the current “heir” would be a son who was relatively high up in the Kharrnathi military.
Joharra went back to University life, and secluded herself writing up the basis of a treatise on vampires that she had learned through first-hand study. While visiting the University store to buy herself a new Tome that would aid her in her research, she also learned that the party were now somewhat famous in Sharn as the “Destiny Five”, who nigh single-handedly fought off a group of airship pirates aboard the Cloud’s Destiny. Immediately purchasing herself a pair of sunglasses along with her magical Tome, she set off back to her dormitory room to continue composing what might be a new thesis, and putting up a sign asking people to politely go away while she was working.
Teppic and Ossul planned to use their new money to open up a school and chapel in the lower levels of Sharn, although they disagreed on whether or not these two functions should be integrated. As they had a large pile of cash, but no actual ability to know how to turn this into real estate property, Teppic proposed they visit Lady Elaydren d’Cannith for advice, and also to inform her of a further run-in with Garrow and the thieves of the previous Schemata. Met at the door by the house steward Silverton, they acquired entry and also learned of their newfound fame. Lady Elaydren was happy to receive the pair, and looked far more rested than the last time she had encountered the party. Although she had no new information about Garrow or the missing Schema, she was more than happy to give them the name of a barrister who could help them acquire property. At Teppic’s request, she also gave them a recharged pair of Sending Stones so that she could contact the party (or vice versa) if news about Garrow surfaced.
They also filed a request with Cardinals Fullstead and Hebert about locating a cleric to resurrect Lucan, and sent a more detailed report by courier to the two of them. Fullstead responded that he was amenable to this request and would make inquiries on their behalf, while Hebert succinctly asked if Teppic was insane, and provided no further information. Completely unclear as to why Hebert would react in such a manner, future correspondence with the Thranish cardinal was left in the care of Ossul.
Finally the day came when the party met to discuss the overall fate of the Soul Blade. The Blade’s arguments were reasonably straightforward – it wanted to return to the family to whom it swore loyalty. The counterarguments were that it was clearly an evil item to the senses of Ossul, and the question of what would happen were it to return to Kharrnath were still unknown. The question was also raised as to if the spirit in the sword could be “expelled”, but the sword itself remain unharmed. The debate raged for what seemed like hours, but ultimately a tentative deal was raised to explore if the sword could be destroyed without too much attention being raised. Unfortunately Grolsh reported that the Dwarfish smiths who forged his breastplate were incapable of that task, and they would have to acquire more openly about this task.
Finally, Ossul declared that if the sword could not be destroyed safely, then it must return to its rightful owners. This forceful declaration finally swung the argument, and they agreed that they would return the blade. However, if there was a master vampire lurking in Sharn then it would not be prudent to take any action with the threat of him once again gaining the Sword for his own no doubt nefarious purposes. Thus the party made a pledge with the sword. In exchange for its assistance in ridding Sharn of this vampire, they would return the Soul Blade to its rightful owners in Kharrnath.
Now all that was left was to find and kill a master vampire…