Xen'drik Expeditions09/24/2007

Chapter 2: Conflict
Campaign Plot Summary

The Crimson Codex

A glimpse into the recent past:

The recent history of the Codex has included its share of bloodshed and misadventure: In the midst of an assault on Codex operatives from numerous groups, including internal dissenters, some Serpents were tasked to look into a potential threat against one of their repositories. The investigation into these rumored threats took the Serpents into service of a member of House Phiarlan as she undertook her own mission in the Shadow War of her house against House Thurrani. The Serpents had to contend with an assassin and information gatherer who is trying to learn who these new players in the Shadow War were. After helping the House Phiarlan operative, they learned of Blackwheel Company plans to raid their repositories of tomes and artifacts. However, they learn further that the Blackwheel Company has been duped into carrying out this raid by grell forces in service of Virulence.

Following that encounter, internal strife erupted from within the organization, leaving it vulnerable from the outside: Various forces inside and outside the Codex have left the organization’s resources severely limited. The remaining Serpents in Xen’drik were ordered to go into hiding behind their cover identities until further notice. Their leader, Ohnal Caldyn, ordered a few Crimson Codex Serpents to take on the roles of a Thranish peace delegation that is met with a Karrnathi delegation in Stormreach. Caldyn was worried that even though this meeting is a ruse to draw attention while the real peace talks take place on Khorvaire, some outside forces would attempt to disrupt the talks.

The Serpents meet some powerful Codex members, including a spellscale called Candle. During training on a privateer airship, air elementals attacked in an attempt by the rightful owners of the ship to retrieve it.

Back at Stormreach in the guise of the Thranish delegation, the Serpents dealt with not just the hostile Karrnathi representatives, but also a nosy reporter and the flunky of a local politician. Abrinxenphyrinc, a beholder in the service of the daelkyr Virulence, aided the Serpents in their mission. He also reveals that he might be able to provide the location of the missing Zeke Brithlestone. From there, the Codex pledged to increases its attention toward and resources in Xen’drik. To that end, they promoted the spellscale Candle to the position of leader of the Codex forces in Xen’drik.

Candle’s first act as leader of the Crimson Codex in Xen’drik was to begin ferreting out the traitors within the organization. While some simply felt that the Codex needed to focus more attention to the happenings on Xen’drik and were therefore forgiven, some members of the Codex were actively working against the Codex.

Candle called upon Serpents she could trust to take part in the purge. These agents engaged in an operation to learn what forces a traitor within the Codex was selling secrets to. The agents caught an information broker who revealed that he was selling Codex secret to a member of the Chamber. A meeting with Stormrider revealed that some members of the Chamber were vehemently opposed to lesser races actively attempting to manipulate the Prophecy.

The agents also encountered Melia, a daelkyr half-blood offspring of the daelkyr Virulence. She supplied the Serpents with information about the whereabouts of Zeke Brithlestone, and she passed on some interpretations of the Prophecy from Virulence. Acting upon this information, the Serpents found Zeke imprisoned in sea caves by skum. The skum served Virulence’s forces, but had rebelled and were preparing to kill Zeke.

A glimpse into the future:

With a renewed focus on operations in Xen’drik, the Serpents of the Codex can expect additional training and more resources at their disposal. However, the Prophecy is hinting at major events brewing in and around Stormreach, and Ohnal Caldyn is worried that even more resources may not be enough to undo whatever catastrophe is impending. He only hopes that if it does come to fruition, the ramifications won’t be felt all over Eberron.

The Covenant of Light

A glimpse into the recent past:

The Covenant of Light has entered a crucial time in its history. For three years, the faction has worked to establish itself as a force for Good in the lawless land of Xen'drik and abroad. By founding its own fortress and rallying point at Radiant Hold, a castle built within ancient ruins near the city of Stormreach, the Covenant has a "face" to show the world and a protected citadel from which to expand its influence for the betterment of all Eberron.

More recently, there have been some internal divisions that threaten to undo some or all of the faction's great achievements. The most important of these is the growing rift between the Covenant of Light and the Church of the Silver Flame. Starting with the death of one of the Flame's most important clergymen in Stormreach, the church has become increasingly dissatisfied with its relationship with the Covenant and withdrawn much of its public support for the faction and its goals. This schism became quite visible recently when the Church of the Silver Flame in Stormreach headed up the investigation in a murder case involving the faction's military leader - Lord Xandrin Corvalis.

While Lord Corvalis was exonerated through the efforts of his fellow faction members (including several people dedicated to the Silver Flame as well), the damage between the two powerful organizations has become very apparent, even to the average citizen of the jungle port city.

Other matters of import include multiple attempts by dark forces to ruin, discredit or outright sabotage the Covenant's activities. The faction recently lost its secondary base; a tower facility deeper in the wilds of Xen'drik called Freedom Point. While details about the loss of the tower are unclear, most faction members are aware that the small keep was taken by an evil from the faction's own past. Few Scions dare speak his name aloud, but some have whispered outside the faction that Freedom Point was attacked and taken by a fallen member of the Covenant and an overwhelming horde of undead. If this rumor is true, the blackguard Seraphen Cryheart may be even more of a threat than most members of the Covenant of Light once believed.

A glimpse into the future:

The faction's recent work to help living conditions in Stormreach have finally started to reach fruition. While some in the faction believe the Coin Lord's proceeding with Lord Corvalis' trial was merely a way for the "true power" in Stormreach to undermine the Covenant's growing respect and authority within the city, it cannot be denied that the bad publicity surrounding the investigation has been damaging to those efforts. Even so, the Covenant's small hospice is open and functioning, relief charities continue unabated and hundreds are helped every day by the Covenant that would otherwise go hungry and homeless. Still, there are more good works to be done—and countless evil to rally against…

The Cabal of Shadows

A glimpse into the recent past:

The Cabal has experienced both success and temporary setbacks in their multiple missions within the lost continent. One of their first duties was to convert their recently-acquired stronghold, the Hand of Stalwart Reverie, into a more manageable size. Construction is slowed by the lack of manpower, so the Cabal has instituted a policy of capturing vagabonds and street people from other neighborhoods.

Sages among the Cabal discovered that the name Suroth Morellu has surfaced repeatedly over the centuries in connection with the Caldyn Fragments. A person by the same name, a rich recluse, was rumored to be somewhere in Stormreach and was to attend a masquerade ball given by Lord Eldon Vown d’Cannith to celebrate the anniversary of the end of the last war. Cabal operatives were tasked with a mission to find Suroth and determine how he was connected to the Fragments, then form an alliance or recover any parts of the prophecy he might have if he is unwilling to join the Cabal.

While investigating Suroth, Cabal adventurers came to the attention of an ex-Cabal operative Sitadedis Thelta, who now works for the Covenant of Light after finding redemption. Sitadedis attempted to assassinate key Cabal operatives, but was instead, herself slain. When the same operatives later infiltrated the masque they were able to save Suroth and his bodyguard from being abducted by Sitadedis’ operatives; unfortunately the recluse used magic to flee the scene.

Cabal operatives were finally able to track Suroth to his home, and after a brief struggle, learned that Duroth is undead and his bodyguard is a yugoloth. The coercive Cabal operatives eventually persuaded Suroth into an alliance with the Cabal. Suroth has quickly become a power source of information and an occasional extraplanar ally. In particular, he wears a false eye, known as the eye of flame, which is inscribed with a part of the prophecy detailing the Cairn of Stone Hearts.

From that point forward, the Cabal set out, new information and allies at hand, to exact revenge. As such, they Cabal organizes several dozen strike teams and gave them each separate missions and targets. They had three days to study their marks, and an inflexible eight-hour window to carry out the assassination. Now known as the infamous Night of Shadows, the killings were of demonstration of just how close the Cabal could get to anyone living in Stormreach. The extent of the murders is not fully realized by the rest of the Factions or the Stormreach authorities and many of the dead have been replaced by changelings or far worse.

Of particular note, the Cabal slew Burgandy Clor and appropriated much of his operation as their own. This provided the Cabal with a new source of gambling income and much needed manpower in the form of Clor’s many goblinoid and troll thugs. Strangely around the close of operations, the weather around Stormreach took a drastic turn for the worse.

As the strange weather continued to plague Stormreach, it piqued the interest of the Cabal. As the organization, still receiving great support from operatives on Khorvaire, struggled to deal with the affects of foul weather and piracy on its shipments, an operative placed in the city watch during the Night of Shadows notifies the Cabal that a pirate has been captured and is receiving unusually stringent attention from the Coin Lords regarding the weather. The Cabal ordered a team to recover this pirate, Looish the Soft, determine what he knows about the pirates and the strange weather, and then solve the problem.

In freeing the pirate, the Cabal operatives performed a daring jailbreak, fighting past the Iron Watch and what turned out to be Crimson Codex Serpents impersonating the Coin Lords’ men. With Looish in tow, they followed a magical tattooed map on Looish’s body to the southern coast where they were attacked by a Reidran Privateer called the Dal Matur in an attempt to recover Loosih for his psionic talents. After scuttling the vessel, the team put ashore to discover a ruined step pyramid in the jungle with a rich source of Siberys dragonshards. Inside the ruin, the team used false negotiations to get close to Ascia, the Keeper of the Storm and a sphinx, who guards an orb of storms. Recovering the relic, the team was able to return it and Looish to the Hand of Stalwart Reverie where Looish has since become a full member of the Cabal. Looish then dropped an ominous warning that the pirates are massing for some large operation. The Voice of Storms, of the Defiance, subsequently attempted to use the orb to control the weather, but some outside force overcame the device and magically destroyed it. It became clear at that point that the weather was not natural.

A glimpse into the future:

The Cabal of Shadows has come through significant trials, securing their foothold on a new continent. They are looking toward the future with plans of expansion, perhaps seeking an alliance with the pirates of Shargon’s Teeth, or at least finding some way to manipulate them.

The other factions have become an increasing nuisance but also continual show a willingness to work with Cabal operatives on some ventures. It seems likely that a significant infiltration and some false alliances are likely needed so that when the time is right, the other factions can be betrayed for the glory of the Traveler.

The Blackwheel Company

A glimpse into the recent past:

The Blackwheel Company has firmly entrenched itself in Xen’drik. Choosing to forgo the traditional cliché of a land-bound H.Q., they instead outfitted their massive airship The Glory Road to act as a mobile command center. With a fleet of smaller combat and transport airships and swelling ranks, the Blackwheel Company established itself as the military power in Xen’drik. Unfortunately, such a show of force drew both attention and disdain from not only the other power players in Xen’drik, but also from within the Company itself. What began as a spark has grown into a roaring flame and threatens to quickly become an unstoppable inferno.

The essence of the internal schism lies within a single, simple question: Does the Blackwheel Company need the Dragonmarked Houses? Many within the Company now feel that their military might and economic prowess can allow them to stand solvent without being the unquestioning right hand of the Houses. Others, including the faction’s leader Mackinnon “Mace” Maceck believe that the original contract should be honored, and that the Blackwheel Company and Dragonmarked Houses are now inextricably intertwined. And while hires and officers alike began to choose sides, missions continued to pour in.

Each day brought new reconnaissance, construction, transportation and military missions from the Dragonmarked Houses, and each house had plenty of work to occupy the Company. Whatever the individual hire’s opinion of the Houses, one thing was clear: The Blackwheel Company was now the most active arm of the Dragonmarked Houses in Xen’drik. Of note, the Blackwheel Company was able to successfully recover a lost platoon with vital information along with several key items relating to the Draconic Prophecy. Disturbingly, a team of the Company’s elite operatives learned of the presence of a doomsday machine in Xen’drik in the recent past. Furthermore, while exploring the ruined giant city of Ek Tlelnak, they learned that the Cabal of Shadows is ominously connected to this eldritch machine in some way. Open hostilities commenced between the Blackwheel Company and Cabal of Shadows at that point. In perhaps the most startling development, the Company found itself on the wrong end of a bargain gone awry. Allying with marauding pirates, the Company was swindled out of one of its most agile airships, the Cloud Ray. The sultry and sinister drow pirate queen made a sure enemy in the Company with her betrayal, and following a string of successes, the loss of the Cloud Ray stood out as a humiliating turn of events.

A glimpse into the future:

The Company, despite all its successes, threatens to shatter from within if some unifying purpose cannot emerge to quell the dissent within related to the Dragonmarked Houses. Maceck has yet to issue a definitive statement and punish dissenters and as a result, opposition has continued to grow. And while the Company’s operations have grown vast in size and scope, that carries with it the difficulty of supervising and controlling such a large and diverse force. Lizardfolk, drow, goblins, gnolls, and sentient martial races from every corner of Eberron continue to pour in for application to the Company. It also remains to be seen what will come of the emergent hostilities between the Company and this Cabal of Shadows group—certainly they will have a close eye on each other. Finally, one thought on the mind of nearly every hire with loyalty to the Company is recovering the Cloud Ray, or at the least, making the Ebon Siren, the double-crossing pirate queen who stole it pay for it in blood.

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