Eberron - Scarred Elf Campaign
Erdan - Zarantyr 994 YK - Sharn
As they neared Sharn, Tana and Iranwynn explained that the two elves and the eladrin might face some difficulties in entering Breland. Breland was a nation at war with the other former provinces of Galifar, and their lack of identification and travel papers (which the Eldeen Reaches did not even issue) was a problem.
The group discussed options. One obvious one was to travel northwest to the port town of Yrlag in Eldeen, but the boat captain was on a schedule and refused to alter his course from Sharn. Once they got to Sharn, House Tharashk could probably sign them as mercenaries (which would have seen Erdan serving with ogres and gnolls from Droaam), or they could sign up with House Deneith, either of which would solve the problem of identification and travel papers but would likely have them serving in the Brelish military for a time. However, even if either of these options were chosen, they could only be effected after they arrived in Sharn, which meant the three fey could end up spending some time in custody or in a refugee slum.
Another option was to sign on as guards/labourers on one of the ships leaving Sharn. This option would mean losing Tana and possibly Iranwyn as companions, since Tana had business in Sharn that needed longer than 36 hours to accomplish, and Iranwyn was reluctant to part from her.
Sharn was a wonder to behold, a city of towers perched upon tall cliffs. Even the shortest of the towers must have been a hundred yards tall, and some towers seemed to actually be floating above the city. They first saw it from afar in the late afternoon, but as they neared it at dusk Erdan could see that the city was lit up with hundreds of thousands of tiny lights.
As they approached the city, Erdan felt a rush of pleasure from the Coat, and by the time they had reached the docks at the base of the cliff he thought he could feel the presence of another mind, seemingly held within his own. That pleasure turned to fury when Erdan covered the Coat with his cloak in preparation for meeting with the harbormaster and the city watch.
Lady Tana d’Sivis convinced the watch to remand Erdan, Lorien and Erevan into her custody while their status was sorted out, and told them where the party would be staying until that happened. The party then took a magical lift up the cliff into a warehouse district, and Erdan got his first up-close glimpse of the towers.
From the outside they appeared to be merely massive, gentrified versions of the sort of fortifications he had helped to construct in the Cragg. Once he got inside, however, he saw how different they really were. The tower was essentially a hollow shell within which other structures had been built. The ground floor resembled a walled town, except that here most of the buildings seemed to be warehouses. Stairs and ramps climbed the walls of the tower, which was covered in balconies and buildings jutting from the interior walls. Some balconies formed a ring along the interior of the tower walls, and looking up further he could see a web of bridges crossing the tower at different levels. The larger balconies and bridges had more buildings built upon them, so that to his eyes the single tower formed a vertical city of warehouses and industrial buildings. Although it was not raining outside there seemed to be a thin drizzle inside the tower.
They were apparently in a bad part of town, and Tana, Norneiros and Throar had a brief discussion about the safest route to get them where they wanted to go. There was general agreement that the faster they could get to the higher elevations of the city, the better. Initially they had thought to follow the safer parts of a lower route, so that Erdan could remove his cloak to appease the Coat; but the city was so fantastic that Erdan found even allowing his cloak to fall slightly open was enough to mollify the artifact. He did not imaging the Coat would be satisfied with that for long, though.
Tana, Norneiros and Throar led them from tower to tower through a maze of stairs, ramps, magical lifts, bridges and balconies.
As a result, they went up. Once they were maybe a hundred feet from ground level the warehouses gave way to an area comprised of dingy inns and restaurants, closed businesses and wretched tenements, and mainly populated by rough looking sailors and merchants.
Another hundred feet or so and the architechture changed. Instead of the sandy stone they had seen hitherto, the towers appeared to be made of a grey granite, and the buildings were all of a very similar design and appeared to be mainly residences. Most of the faces on the streets were human, or dwarven, and Erdan thought there were an unusual number of children until he realized that the neighborhood also held a large population of halflings. A disproportionate number of the humans appeared to be truly beautiful; most of these had unusual eyes like Erevan and he wondered if they were human at all. After living the last ten years among harpies, ogres, trolls, gnolls and goblins, all of the beautiful faces were nearly heartstopping.
They finally exited the tower, taking a bridge to another, nearly identical tower. Erdan had become disoriented inside but he could now see from the stars that they were travelling north across the bridge. The next tower appeared to be part of the same district, as were the next three or four after that. Looking down while they were on the bridges and Erdan could see that some of the towers appeared to be built on top of one or more other towers, although he could not be sure that they were not merely floating above them.
They appeared to be travelling in a more or less north-north-east direction though the towers. Eventually the granite spires gave way to more sandy coloured stone, and they found themselves in a quieter neightbourhood of small but well-kept townhouses. A couple of towers later they turned sharply east and the quiet neighborhood gave way to chaos.
The stonework of the area was a drab gray granite, and the buildings were a bit dingy, but the people of this new district were dazzlingly colourful. The bridges and balconies that passed for streets in Sharn were filled with every humanoid race Erdan could name and a few he couldn’t. Humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, shifters, goblins, hobgoblins, a bugbear or two, orcs, half-orcs, a couple of those beautiful looking humans, a huge woman with mottled brown skin, an ogre labourer, and a variety of small and large exotic beasts. In contrast with the rest of the city so far, most of the humanoids bristled with weapons, including an assortment of staves and wands, and many walked about in full armour. What passed for fashion was a hodgepodge of robes, armor, jewelry and headgear so mismatched they were clearly chosen for magical properties rather than as fashion. Erdan began to feel like even his “meat coat” (the Coat of Eyes” would not stand out much in this crowd.
Tana led them to a peculiar inn , built apparently without any right angles, aptly named “The Crooked House”. There for the price of 10 silver sovereigns a night you acquired three rooms: ladies in one, orcs in the second, elves (and eladrin) in the third.
The next morning when he went downstairs to the common room for breakfast Erdan found that the orcs had already left to report in with their House. The group discussed its next steps and agreed to approach House Tharashk for employment before attempting to obtain identification and travel papers for Erdan, Lorien and Erevan.
The party travelled south across the bridge from the Clifftop district to the financial and civic districts of the Central Plateau; a bridge which spanned perhaps a quarter of a mile over the chasm separating the Dura Plateau from Central. They found the Tharashk enclave in the embassy district of Dragon Towers.
The head of the Sharn chapter of House Tharashk is Yevgen Torrn, and once it becam clear who you were he sent his aide to greet the party and thank them for the assistance they had rendered to Doria Velderan, whose relatives were highly placed within the House. After a test of the party’s martial skills, and a reference from Norn and Thor, the House offered them a contract to escort a House agent assigned to retrieve an object in what was likely to be a dangerous environment.
Contract in hand, the party had little difficulty in obtaining identification documents in the civic district (High Towers district, located above Dragon Towers). Since they did not expect to receive their travel itinerary until the next day, the adventurers were free to spend the afternoon finding buyers for the loot they had acquired in the Shadow Marches and shopping for equipment.
Unfortunately, the attempts to sell items associated with Belashyrra’s cult drew unwanted attention. That afternoon they received a note from Nornieros warning Erdan that dark forces would be seeking to obtain the Coat of Eyes and advising him that one of the members of the benevolent Gatekeeper druids would be contacting him to discuss the significance of the Coat.
The next morning, after receiving a message from House Tharashk (delivered by gargoyle courier) requesting them to attend a briefing that afternoon, Erdan was approached by a man seeking to purchase the Coat of Eyes from him. Erdan refused to sell the Coat and the man left, disappointed. Shortly thereafter he was approached by a small goblin wearing the garb of a Gatekeeper; the Coat reacted angrily at seeing the druid, and the goblin retreated with a suggestion that the Gatekeepers would try to contact him again more discreetly.
When the party left for their appointment with House Tharashk they found they were being followed by a man hovering on a soarsled. They managed to drive him off, but while crossing the bridge south to Central Plateau a gang of thugs accosted the party and tried to force Erdan onto a waiting skycoach. The party defeated the thugs, killing one and capturing the others. They commandeered the skycoach. and ordered the skycoach pilot to take them and their captives to their appointment at the Tharashk Enclave.
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