Theme Song: Heist – Lindsey Stirling
After the events at Novium and hearing Lord Caiden Gallagher speak about the troubles at Brigantia; Brenna, Macsen, and Alexander start for the next town on their journey, Ebora. They, along with Black Dawn, acquire horses and head out of town. Out of the gate, Brenna spots a red-skinned man sitting on the side of the road playing a guitar. These men, known as a Tiefling, usually work underground in the Catacombs, Macsen explained. Macsen also goes on to say that Tieflings are generally second-class citizens and treated as such. As the group passed the Tiefling by, he asks for help with a monster in the Catacombs north of Novium. Fearing that something would threaten the townsfolk, the group reluctantly decides to help the earthdweller. The Tiefling leads the group to a cave opening into the Catacombs, and takes them to a small meeting area to discuss the creature. The Tiefling tells them that a strange creature attacked a group of workers down one of the corridors of the cave that they were expanding. Macsen spoke to and treated the only survivor of the attack, but the survivor could only remember that he was confused and couldn’t get a good look at what attacked him and the rest of his crew. Macsen deduces that it must have been the noise the crew was making that brought on the attack. The Tiefling that led the party down into the Catacombs mentions that they have to expand into that territory to continue their work. After the other men opened the path to the corridor, the group heads down deeper into the Catacombs to investigate.
Upon reaching the area in which the Tiefling workers were attacked, Macsen thinks up a plan to bait the creature out. Brenna, Alexander, and Black Dawn take positions to defend against the creature as Macsen hits the wall with a pickax. It takes a few times, but finally the creature shows itself. A humanoid with a drill-like head burrows from above them and prepares to attack, opening its drill-like head to reveal its teeth and eye. The eye of this creature, called an Oculoid, creates confusion and dazes its prey; and the group felt its power in full effect. Able to fight through the creatures deceptions, the group manages to slay it and take its damaged eye as a trophy. Emilio Ensley mentions that the eye can be sold for a fair price to an alchemist. The group then heads back to the Tieflings and tells them the area is now clear for their expansion. The Tiefling guitarist thanks them profusely and gives Brenna a piece of Magitech that looks like it can fit onto her bow. Brenna thanks him and slips him ten gold so he and the others might have a bit of a better environment.
Brenna, Macsen, Alexander, and Black Dawn continue their trip down the road toward Ebora until night falls. After establishing their campsite, the group settles down after a long day and a strange encounter. Alexander decides to finally take a look at the sword hilt he acquired from N’Arak‘s junk-pile. After Alexander inspects the sword, Brenna spots a horseman in the distance. She describes him as having glowing red eyes and a blade that glows purple, his head also adorned with a radiant gold crown. Alexander calls out to the man to see if he needs assistance. The horseman responds by running Alexander down with his sword and rides off into the forest. Alexander jumps onto his feet, mounts his horse, and begins to give chase to the mysterious figure. Brenna insists incessantly that she join him and, after a good bit of argument, Alexander allows it and the two give chase. Partway through the forest, the figure lets loose a black mist that neither Alexander or Brenna’s vision can pierce. Brenna heads back to camp to fetch the others while Alexander moves forward. Alexander reaches a clearing and can see a large Keep atop a hill in the distance. Once Brenna reaches the camp, she tells the others what has happened and they all pack camp to join Alexander. Once everyone has reached the keep, Alexander suggests making camp against Macsen’s wishes. After much debate, the group heads into the keep.
Upon their entrance, the group is met with a gratuitous amount of corpses littering the floor of the entrance hall. Investigation of the bodies suggests that these corpses have not been such for very long, thus making the group wary. Macen’s investigation of the keep revealed that it once belonged to Old King Vortigern, and so Alexander headed up to the Throne Room in hopes to confront the mysterious figure that attacked him before. When he entered the throne room, Alexander was met with the stench of death. A sword and a crown sat unmoving upon the throne. Alexander once again draws the sword hilt to return it to the throne as the specter manifested it self before him, blade drawn. A tense battle of life and death ensues as Alexander, Macsen, and Brenna are attacked by Vortigern and the corpses that once littered the floor. Black Dawn and Ian Murdock move to help defend them from the rest of the undead. Upon his defeat, Vortigern relinquishes his form, dropping his sword and his crown. As Alexander tries to pick up the sword, he senses an intense evil force emanating from it. Alexander requests that Maicah place a blessing on the sword to keep the evil at bay. Maicah tells him that she will need time and his aid in the ritual, and they begin.
Macsen and Brenna, along with Dunban Dropkick, proceed to explore another area of Vortigern’s Keep. A spiral flight of stairs led down a path into the basement area of the keep, blocked off by fallen debris. Shoveling around the debris for a bit opened up a small entrance to a room within the basement. Entering the room revealed a door with the same designs as the door underneath Fort Caderyn. When the three approach the door, the specter of Lord Vortigern reappears before them. Strangely enough, Vortigern summons a deck of cards and deals out tot he three of them. A hand of Blackjack reveals that winning lights a rune on the door, but breaking 21 damages the one who busts. Macsen wins three hands and Vortigern offers all three of them a card, drawing from the entire deck. Brenna draws a Jack, Dunban draws a King, and Macsen draws a 3. With this, Vortigern disappears with a hearty guffaw at Macsen’s low-number card. The runed door only partially opens, just enough to stick your arm through. Inside the door lay about five feet of space and a wall on the other side. Both Macsen and Brenna attempt to feel around the small opening and investigate the space. They only find that the space is empty. Trying everything under the sun, they attempt to open the door wider by force or appease it. Using the broken sword or Vortigern’s sword have no effect on the door and they give up.
Macsen, Dunban, and Brenna head back up the stairs to meet with the rest of the group. Macsen, feeling something leering at him, looks back at the door. A figure with a red skull and jet black body leaned from behind the runed door with a menacing grin. Macsen tries to ask the group if they see this strange figure, but it turns out the nobody but him can see the figure. The group sets up camp, outside the Keep this time, and turns in for a good night’s rest. Macsen anxiously looks around for the figure and finds it hiding anywhere it can, leaning around whatever object to stare at him and leaving Macsen’s sight once he gets too close. Bunking with Alexander for the night, Macsen sees the figure again hiding behind Alexander as he slept. Macsen then just attempts to ignore the figure and finally falls asleep.
The group reawakens and continues their travels toward Ebora. Along the way, Macsen continues to see the specter now haunting his waking life. The group arrives at a fork in the road, one leading to Brigantia and the other leading to Ebora. Black Dawn decides to split from the group since their business in Brigantia is urgent and say their farewells. Alexander, Macsen, and Brenna, ride on to Ebora – a large town surrounded by a natural lake with a floating bridge connecting the inner island to the land past the lake. Once they’re in the town, Brenna, Ian, and Macsen go to the inn to piece together Brenna’s Techbow. They’re able to put the bow together and Ian leaves to run some errands around town.
Brenna and Macsen are interrupted by a messenger asking for Macsen by name. Macsen reluctantly responds and men barge into the room and surround them both. When asked what the meaning of this intrusion was, the leader of this band walks in and introduces himself as Dristan O’Donnel; a member of the O’Donnel Family that Macsen owes a debt to. Dristan gives Brenna information about her family, namely that her parents are still alive and working off their debt in a work camp run by the O’Donnels. He informs Brenna that her parents are safe and that they will be kept that way until their debt is paid. Dristan also gives Brenna a letter from her parents. After speaking with Brenna, Dristan turns to Macsen and interrogates him about what happened the night twelve of his men died “mysteriously”; and tells Macsen that a man named Jean Dasch named him as a contact for his debt. Dristan gives Macsen an ultimatum: Find and deliver Dasch in a month, or work for the O’Donnels in their encampments. Macsen says he’s more interested in finding the man that pawned his debt off on him than he is working for the O’Donnels ever. Macsen also says he intends to kill the entire family once this is all over.
Meanwhile, Alexander heads out into town looking for information regarding the Bannerless Army or any other problems the town may face. Several townsfolk mention a strange beast to the northeast of town and then they mention that King Alroy is amassing an army for some unknown reason. This immediately catches Alexander’s attention and he grabs his horse, Macsen, and Brenna; riding off hastily to Brigantia to find out why Alroy is amassing an army and to stop him
or it from beginning another war.