Shae Aloni, awakens first. She finds herself in a 5 by 5 ft stone cell with a locked reinforced wooden door. She is naked save for a simple smock and has no memory of how she ended up there. The last thing she knows for certain was cooking a meal in her tent for herself and her pet centipede, Pinchy and based on her level of hunger she surmises that she had been unconscious for no more than a day or two. The cell is clean and well maintained but it has obviously been used previously judging by the marks and scratches on the walls. She begins to call out, insisting that she does not belong here and that a mistake has been made.
Yartik awakens next. He rouses naked but for a smock in a similar cell, unable to see in the total darkness. Like Shae, he has no memory of how he came to be there remembering only that he was training with his fellow legionaries. His massive body barely fits within the confines of small cell and as he seeks to find some measure of comfort he hears Shae's cries from nearby. The pair converse briefly before Yartik tries to smash the door open with his prodigious strength.
The banging against the door rouses Unndral Vex, he awakens in another cell, dressed only in a smock like the others. The last thing he remembers is trailing an animal in the Undercity before waking up in the cell. He hears the commotion in the cell beside him but chooses to remain quiet for a time.
Naivara awakens last. She too has no memory of how she came to be locked in the cell dressed in only a smock. Her last memory is being in the Undercity en-route to meet a contact with information relating to the death of his master. She hears the crashing of Yartik nearby and calls out to signal her presence to the others.
Eventually Yartik's persistence and strength prove more than the door can handle, and he manages to break free of the confines of the cell and into what seems like a much larger room based on the echoes of his words and movement.
Naivara, bouyed by Yartik's success via brute force unleashes a series of eldritch blasts eventually overcoming the structural integrity and forcing the door to open.
It is then that they hear the sound. Starting as a faint hissing sound then building to a loud wooshing before dissipating as though a flush in a drain.
"There is water somewhere," Unndrel says, finally signaling to the others of his presence.
Naivara repeats her eldritch blast to force open Unndrel's cell, while Yartik persists with strength to free Shae. The four of them a free of their confines and those who can see in the dark look around their surroundings, spying 6 other cells (all empty) and a thick metal portcullis blocking the only visible way out of the cell area.
Again the, hissing builds to whooshing and flushing. The group determine the sound is coming from a dirt filled fissure that has opened in the ceiling above the cells. They take turns to clear the dirt away and eventually expose a rough natural passageway leading into the darkness but (most importantly) out of the room.
The four squeeze their way through the narrow passage, Yartik having the most difficult time until they come to a vertical shaft, looking up they spy a spot of sunlight many hundreds of feet above them, while below is a tunnel filled with water. As they decided what to do next, the water level rose the sound growing louder as it neared the passage they had squeezed into. The level rose until it covered the opening of the tunnel then quickly flushed away some 30 seconds later.
Unndrel points out that going up is not an option, but perhaps they could use this water to make it safely down into the tunnel below. The group agree and they wait for the next time the water rises.
It comes again and the four of them slide out of the passage and into the water filled shaft. As the water subsides the group is lowered into the tunnel below, only Unndrel suffering some minor injuries as the water swirls away.
Once at the bottom they see a long water filled tunnel stretching into the distance in both directions. With nothing else to go by they decide to follow the current.
Some time soon after the see a side passage lit by a flickering light. The group pull themselves out of the water and into the side passage, snapping off the continual flame torch that marked the maintenance tunnel entrance, then stepped through a sealed door and into a network of tunnels.
The crackle and hum of Izzet machinery is everywhere in the maze of rooms and intersecting tunnels. They eventually spy a grate in the passageway that overlooks a large chamber, as they peer into the chamber below they spy a strange site. A goblin reads from a book, a dagger in one hand raised above a moving figure on a stone slab. Surrounding the slab are 4 others, another goblin, two viashino and a human, watching the macabre display with interest.
Yartik seeks to kick the grate open and stop whatever is about to happen but the grate is too small for him to squeeze through. He spies a set of stairs on the opposite side of the rooms and begins to run quickly along the passage, hoping it will take him to the chamber below.
They pass one room with a series of hooks, holding leather coats and some various tools in boxes below them. The others take the coats and makeshift weapons while Yartik continues to run toward the chamber. He eventually finds the stairs but is called to a halt by Shae before he blunders in on the scene.
Shae enters first, casting entangle at the feet of the four onlookers. Two of them manage to avoid the vines which appeared from the stone and ran for a rough hewn tunnel on the opposite wall, but the others are stuck fast. Unndrel Vex moves toward the goblin who still brandished the knife above the figure on the stone slab, but as soon as Yartik entered the room the goblin dropped both book and knife and ran for the rough hewn exit as well.
Yartik ran across the room but was unable to catch the fleeing goblin.
"What is going on here?" Naivara yelled, her voice taking on an ominous tone. One of the entangled, a small Viashino collapsed to the ground begging for mercy, while the other - a human - managed to blurt a hasty reply. "We were just doing what Gunder wanted. He promised it would help us. Nobody's getting hurt."
"What of the poor wretch on the slab?" Shae pointed out.
"That's just a zombie," the human managed weakly.
Unndrel moved closer to the slab, verifying the clearly terrified human's claim. It was indeed a zombie, and very poor one at that.
The encounter over, the group learned that Gunder is a member of the Shatterbang Brother's gang. They take money from poor unfortunates from the rot farms and perform "rituals" they claim will help elevate them out of the Undercity. The book is little more than a Simic anatomy text with zero arcane value. The poor wretches tell the group that the tunnel the goblin fled down will eventually take them to the surface but they should be careful because the Shatterbang gang will force them to pay to pass through the exit.
The group let the unfortunate's go and follow the tunnel upward. After many twists and turns the tunnel ends at a door. Shae places an ear against it and hears the sound of movement beyond. Yartik, barely contains his patience and tries the door handle finding that it was not locked, but is stopped by Unndrel before attempting to open it advising them to wait.
Their patience is rewarded as after a long 3 or 4 minutes the sound of scraping is heard - like something being dragged away from the door - and then the door begins to open. Yartik launches himself at the door and smashes into the room. The goblin opening the door is knocked off his feet and Yartik gores him brutally with his horns. In the corner of the room a second goblin - armed with a crossbow - sits stunned by the violent death of his companion.
Naivara comes in behind Yartik and positions herself before the goblin, striking him with a concussive force. The goblin shrieks in pain and strikes back with his sword, hitting the half-elf before fleeing up the stairs and out the door onto the street.
Yartik gives chase, catching the fleeing goblin before he is able to lose the lumbering minotaur in the backstreets and alleyways. He subdues the goblin and restrains him using his dead companion's clothes as a makeshift rope.
With the now unconscious goblin slung over his shoulders the four of them seek out a Boros patrol. They are quick to find such walking the streets, and they show some alarm at Yartik's clothing and blood soaked horns. but as soon as he shows his legionary tattoos they relax and offer the group their assistance. Yartik hands the goblin over and the Boros gift him a weapon and a cloak before advising them to report their kidnapping to the proper authorities as soon as possible.
They agree this is a wise course of action but Shae feels that they should go to their homes to get some supplies first. Shae's home is nearest so they go there first. Everything appears to be as she remembers but Unndrel uses his ranger skill to investigate a bit further. It appears that Shae was indeed taken from her home because while there was no sign of a struggle he did see signs of other's presence and clear signs that she had been dragged out of her tent.
Shae hosted her new companions in her humble tent and feeding then what little food she had - a simple mushroom broth - the group made their way to the home of Unndrel Vex.
Vex resides in the Under City, in the ruins of a once flying castle that crashed many centuries ago and had since been buried by years of urbanization. After a thorough check he determined that his house was exactly as he'd left it before his capture.
They offered to accompany Naivara and Yartik to check their homes but Yartik indicated that - given Vex's house was untouched - his barracks would likely be the same. Naivarra too felt that her house would also be free of any clues.
Yartik felt that he had to return to his barracks and make an official report of what had happened, the others opted not to accompany him but they agreed to meet at The Slush Bucket tavern at 10pm that evening to discuss what to do next.
Vex went back inside his house, Yartik made his way back upside, Shae returned to her hovel, while Naivara went to make a report of her own.
Naivara picked her way through the undercity to a secluded space where a statue, it's arms spread wide, loomed in the darkness - a former fountain in what was once a city square. She carefully checked the area to ensure that she was alone before she approached the statue and stepped into it's chilling embrace. As soon as her hands made contact with the cold stone she felt a familiar tickle in her mind and she shared her recent experience with her handler. Once her story was complete she waited for a response. As usual there were no actual words, but the meaning was clear - she was to find out more. Knowledge is power for the ones she calls master.
Yartik returned to his barracks, suffering frequent jokes and derision from his squad mates at his dishevelled appearance. His sergeant stopped the lumbering minotaur before he could reach his bed and gave him a dressing down followed by a please explain. Yartik related what happened and his sergeant grew skeptical. "You'll be telling that story to the Captain, and if even one detail is different from what you just told me you'll be spending the rest of your life cleaning latrines! Now go get cleaned up and meet me in in the CO's office in 30 minutes recruit."
Yartik did as he was ordered and after a quick wash and a change into uniform he reported outside his commanding officer's door. After a brief wait he was admitted within and was asked to tell the story yet again. The sergeant listened intently his gaze never wavering as he stared Yartik down. After he'd finished his report the Captain looked to the sergeant who gave a single - almost reluctant - nod. "Right," said the Captain, "you'll be telling that story again before our Azorious liaison in morning. And I'll expect your fellow victims to be present to corroborate your version of events."
Yartik pointed out that he was due to meet them later this evening and his Captain instructed that he not be late.
Shae arrived at the The Slush Bucket - a tavern on the (wide) border of the Upper and Under City - first. She found a table out of the way and waited. Vex arrived next, he took a few coins from his purse and ordered some drinks before Naivara got there. The trio discussed their plight - basically naked, equipmentless and all but broke while they waited for Yartik.
The big minotaur arrived exactly on time - dressed once more in his legionary uniform. His entrance caused more than a few of the patrons to stop and stare while others flat out got up and left the tavern. The barman fixed him with a baleful stare as he marched directly across to the trio at the table.
Yartik explained that he'd been ordered to report to the Azorious in the morning and the others were expected to be there as well. After a brife back and forth they all agreed and the night was done.
The next day they met at the appointed time at an arrestor station not far from Yartik's barracks. The were ushered inside and all 4 of them told their tale - only Vex decided to omit the details of the goblins and their "sacrifice" in the sewers. The Azorious official took their statements and verified that they believed their statements to be true to the best of their knowledge and then bid them stay - he wanted to consult with his superior.
After another 30 minute wait - nothing moves quickly amid the sea of process and paperwork - they were led upstairs to a far less busy part of the building where yet another official was waiting to met them.
"I am Nassius Ven," the man said, "Representative from the Office of the Guildpact. I understand that the four of you have recently escaped from captivity and are interested in tracking down whoever might have captured you." The group nodded, and Nassius bid them take a seat. "You are not the only ones to have gone missing in recent months. We have had several such kidnappings take place but you are the first to have managed to get free. Unfortunately I have no need of your assistance in finding the perpetrators - we already have people looking into that - but I could use your help with another matter in exchange for sharing what we learn with you."
After a brief negotiation where Nassius agreed to re-equip Vex and Naivara and cover their living expenses for a week the four of them agreed to help Nassius recover a prisoner who had escaped during a prison transfer a few days ago.
The group were issued contracts - which they signed - and became official deputies to the Azorious in pursuit of the escaped convict Krenko - gang boss from the Foundry Street area of Precinct 5.
A nearby tavern was selected and the group took up residence as they began their investigation.
Vex went to the site of the escape and verified the story told by the Azorius guards of spirits rising from the ground to encircle the group as they walked. The spirits moved about the guards in rapid circles attacking them and once the melee had ended Krenko had vanished from amid his wall of guards.
Shae naively offered the bulk of her coins to the barman, who - luckily for her - recognised her naivety and advised her to be more circumspect with her questioning and offering of bribes. Not all people would have her best interests at heart. The barman had no real information at the time but was later able to point the group toward a sewer entrance where several goblins were seen a few nights ago.
Yartik learned from his Boros contacts that the Shattergan Brothers' a rival goblin gang were starting to become more belligerent as if they were getting ready to move in on Krenko's old territory - now that he'd been put away. Cleary they did not yet know he'd escaped.
The group entered the sewers based on the barman's information and soon found evidence of recent passage. It was slow going and with a combination of Vex's tracking skills and Shae's ability to speak with animals they'd followed a path below the city.