Things in Sandpoint have been progressing smoothly since the return of the Dragonbusters from the Moathouse. Elsbeth has become a leading member in the Knights Hospitaler due to her vast amount of experience over the local acolytes, gaining a promotion to Sergeant. Kiba, having resigned his position as the bouncer for the Rusty Dragon, sees possibility in the recent events of the Blackfang Crisis. Shalelu, the captain of the Sandpoint Rangers Guild has gone missing after mounting a team for an extended hunt of the beast’s lair. Until a search party could be commissioned to go after her, Kendra Deverin has called upon Kiba to fill in as Captain and to begin training of new recruits to mount a recovery of the former head of the town guard. The team’s newest member, Gargantuon the Ballbuster, also managed to find a niche for himself by entering into extravagant arm wrestling competitions against up to four opponents at a time from various other adventurers and mercenary companies. Needless to say, the half orc managed to garner the necessary audiences to stoke his massive ego! Iseri continued to study the arcane arts, growing a deeper fascination with the craft of golem creation. The elven magus also continued to put things in motion so that the now abandoned mansion of Menrar could become a proper stronghold for the team, though with the absence of Ramona Josie to the seductions of Bob, things were somewhat slow going.
During this time Iseri received a package from distant Calimport, along with a letter from her former employer Ydranos! The halfling alchemist reported a bustling stream of business due to Iseri’s exploits in rooting out the Cult of the Dragon and her earning the nickname of ‘the Raven of Sandpoint’. Ydranos informed his former employee that there had been a string of abductions in the past weeks following the expulsion of the Cult. Children and youths being snatched from their homes in the dead of night by an unknown group had put the people right on the edge. Ydranos hoped that as a Rogue herself, Iseri might have some inside information that could solve this mystery. A suitable reward was promised, in addition to the gratitude of Calimport itself. Perhaps it was the heroics of her group rubbing off, but Iseri knew she had to take the case! The potential treasure couldn’t hurt either….
At this point, Ydranos’ package began to jingle! Emerging from inside a tiny velvet sack sprang a recently awakened pixie who immediately set about exploring the Rusty Dragon. Another note from Ydranos explained that the pixie was named Kiki, and that she would serve as Iseri’s guide and transport to Calimport. The elf pondered how best to gain her new guide’s trust. Alcohol served no use, save to have the pixie use the glass as a kiddy pool. Fortunately a nearby dessert dish revealed the pernicious pixie’s predilection for pastry!! One glazed donut later and the two new friends were riding the stardust way back to Calimport.
Ydranos was happy to greet both his former employee and messenger girl. After a brief rest and some refreshment, Ydranos cut to the chase. A member of the abduction cell had been caught shortly before the arrival of Iseri. Thanks to the wailing of the child he was carrying, the town guard was able to converge on the kidnapper and with Tevaga leading the charge, the child was saved. The kidnapper was unable to be questioned, as he ingested poison before he could be brought to custody. His gear revealed no crest or sigil, but there was one possibility: a small tattoo of a scorpion located at the base of his hairline.
Iseri recognized the tattoo as the mark of a criminal fiend known as the Scorpion!! Ruthless, greedy and utterly evil, he had once held Iseri in bondage as a slave, but she escaped his clutches and fled. She still bore a scorpion brand upon her back as a permanent reminder of his debauchery! Iseri agreed to whatever needed to be done to spare other innocent lives from what she had suffered (Zephus would be proud if he could see this)!
The mission was bold and simple. A nighttime drop into the canyon known as the Viper’s Playground via pixie. From there, infiltration of the Scorpion’s den and the extraction of any children still under his lash. To aid his agent, Ydranos traded Iseri’s billowing robes for a skintight suit of leather made from the hide of a Displacer Beast to help her become one with the night!!
The Canyon was full of danger. The Scorpion paid well for security, hiring platoons of Rangers and Fighters to guard the road to his fortress. A simple mock tattoo allowed Iseri to pass as a new addition along with a silver tongue and a good deal of strong ale. She managed to have a suspicious Ranger guide her to the entrance of the Scorpion’s lair and he also doubled as a handy meat-shield against the giant scorpions that nested in the pass leading to the door. Iseri was able to glean how to enter the fort by way of a medallion based locking mechanism and even spared the merc’s life when he revealed that he balked at the idea of child slavery, but went along with it to protect his friends. This didn’t stop her from fleecing him blind after he passed out from over exposure to scorpion venom however!
A bit of bad luck in a rockslide might have put things into dire straits had the elf not proved herself as a consummate actress! Limping and groaning her way into the next enemy camp, the rogue received healing potions and a soft bed when the leader, a gnome called Qualzar, decided it would be best to question her in the morning since he was highly suspicious of her ‘new recruit’ tale. A few hours was all that was needed to rob the gnome of two wands, a pouch of gold and his medallion key! Further exploration revealed the second medallion to have been lost, along with its owner, in a den of giant frilled lizards! Using a wand of grease allowed Iseri to maintain the high ground and cut the normally fearsome predators off from reaching her. Summoning force magic, she slugged the female back to the stone age and fire magic managed to solve the riddle of what happens when a lizard is set on fire: the same thing that happens to everything else!
Securing her keys, Iseri wired Ydranos via Darkholme of her progress. He managed to supply her with scrolls to scribe necessary spells and shortly before the dawn broke, the daring damsel made her way into the bowels of the Scorpion’s desert hold! Could she save the children and best her old nemesis? Only one way to find out!