The trip through the great swamp that surrounded the land-side of Gloomwrought was uneventful overall. Enterprising Dark Ones operated the skiffs, poling them slowly but safely through the 20 miles of bog called "The Skins" by locals.
Other than the distant, earthshaking roar and footfalls of something the Dark Ones called a "Thunder King", the only other interesting encounter was meeting the half-elven bard, Azilis Roe.
The bard was friendly but a bit aloof. She could provide no information on this "Carrigan", but bid them good luck as the party reached the city.
The next day was filled with re-supplying and investigation. At the Great Library, Kordun and Trin discovered Carrigan had been researching a particular cult of Orcus called "The Ashen Covenant".
While most cults of the Blood Lord longed and prayed for the day their Master would supplant the Raven Queen and bring eternal undeath to the Natural World…the Covenant actively sought to make this a reality!
A friendly but simple-minded tiefling janitor called Random gave them information on the location of Carrigans home and his daily routine.
The only other interesting tidbit learned was that several days before, a great Shadow Dragon called Urishtar Nightwyrm had crashed in through the massive stained glass roof dome and stolen away a large tome about the Dawn War. (Battle between the Gods and the Primordials over dominance of reality)
Following the clues, their investigation led them to the conclusion that Carrigan had been kidnapped by the Ashen Covenant.
While searching the scholar's home for clues, they encountered Carrigan's sister…the bard Azilis Roe! She had returned to Gloomwrought after having a "bad feeling" and wanted to check up on her brother.
The dead tiefling assassin they found stuffed in Carrigan's closet revealed one name to them under the influence of the Speak with Dead ritual…Varim the Mad! Varim was one of the ranking members of the cult…a Tiefling Warlock with a penchant for insane schemes and creating as many undead as possible.
More investigation gained knowledge of Carrigan's journal, the book in which he kept all of his collected rumors and knowledge of stable, two-way Shadow Rift and apparently the object the Ashen Covenant was seeking!
To Be Continued…