((This session contained 5 encounters totaling 4000exp. All player characters should advance to level 12, but daily powers, health, and healing surges should NOT be restored to full as the characters have not taken an extended rest. For example, if you were at 74/86 HP and gain 6 health per level then you will be at 80/92 at the start of the next session. Session 13 will start immediately where this session ended.))
It is the morning of the third day since the party arrived at Guardian’s Peak. Everyone had been busy acclimating themselves to the mountain stronghold and its surrounding so had not spent a great deal of time in each other’s company. Alia Dawnedge was sent to check on Hadron Rook. The new airship that Rook had been working on for the Vanguard Foundation is due for its maiden flight that evening and Alia was sent to confirm that Rook thought the ship would be ready. On her way up to the airship docks Alia overheard two cloaked and shrouded figures discussing sabotage that was done to the ship, but the figures fled before Alia could identify them. Alia made her way to the airship to find Rook and Caelestis cuddling on board. She informed them of what she overheard and Rook was able to find tampering to the ship’s skyjammer core that would have caused it to explode during flight. While Rook set about fixing the core and going over the rest of the ship in detail Caelestis Nailo dragged Alia off to find the rest of the party and gather them for a meeting.
After Alia reported her eavesdropping to the party they were discussing what it could mean an eladrin woman approached the party to warn them that poisons had appeared in the kitchens over night. The eladrin revealed herself to be Sin (Sintera Barona). Sin had been disguised as a cook at Guardian’s Peak for some time. That morning she had found hemlock and other poisons in unlabeled jars in the spice cabinet. She is sure they were not there last night and secreted them away this morning before the morning’s cooking began.
Norlan Donaaran then informed his comrades that the airship sabotage and poisons weren’t the only attempts on lives since their arrival. The day after they all arrived at Guardian’s Peak Norlan set out with a group of laborers to retrieve his camel and see if there was anything worth salvaging from the air skiff’s wreckage. While the camel was recovered alive and well the skiff itself was smashed beyond any hope of salvage. Even the core was completely demolished. On the way back, however, when his crew was nearly to the mountain stronghold they came across a guard leaving. The guard panicked when confronted and tried to stab Norlan. Norlan easily captured the guard and while searching his belongings found an unsigned letter stating that “the Gensai had failed and the adventurers arrived alive.” This traitorous guard was turned over to Savatri and Norlan had not yet heard of any interrogation results.
Ten then chimed in, telling the others that over the past couple days he had been approached by a total of seven blonde women of the human, half-elf, elf, and eladrin races. The women came individually or in pairs and asked questions about the party’s past ranging from personal histories to how they fought their battles. Some of the women seemed very business-like about the questions they asked and others were excited to hear harrowing battle tales. Alia recognized the women from Ten’s description as a group that works for Savatri but wasn’t able to provide any details of what they do.
At this point our heroes decided to split up into three group. Ash and Eve would head upstairs to the ship docks and living quarters to investigate the sabotage more. Norlan, Ten, and Caelestis would go to Savatri to see if any new information had turned up in questioning the traitor guard that tried to knife Norlan. Sin (still in her eladrin form) and Alia would head down to the kitchens to investigate the poisons further.
At the docks Ash and Eve found Rook and a small crew of workers going over the new airship with a fine-toothed comb for problems, though no new ones had been found. Rook dismissed his workers, explained the repairs to the core he had made, and talked with the shifter a bit about the blondes. Rook told them that the blondes are called the Seven Sisters, that they work in different areas of the stronghold to keep it running smoothly, and report to Savatri. He bragged that the Sister who was in charge of technomagic research had been working on the ship before he joined up, saying that it wouldn’t be flightworthy yet if he hadn’t taken over, and he pointed out one who worked in supplies and logistics named Yuma who was in the docks right now. Ash and Eve spoke with Yuma about her job (Yuma appears to be run ragged by her work and is in a fit over large quantities of supplies that have been going missing lately) and informed her of some of the trouble the party had uncovered so far. Yuma took off to report the situation to Savatri while Ash and Eve searched the living quarters for anything suspicious without turning up anything of note.
Meanwhile, Ten, Norlan, and Caelestis entered Savatri’s office and spoke with two blondes sitting at desks by the door working on paperwork. They were directed to a bench to wait for Savatri to see them. Ten recognized the two blondes as two of the women who had questioned him about the party and informed his companions. About as he finished up telling them another blonde entered and spoke briefly with the two at the desk before taking a seat. Savatri then called Norlan, Ten, and Caelestis forward. Norlan asked if anything had been learned from the guard who tried to kill him to which Savatri replied that there wasn’t any news she could tell him. Ten, suspicious that the deva was withholding information confronted her with the details of the ship’s sabotage and the poisons. Savatri took notes, asking questions for more specific details, then beckoned the blonde on the bench forward. Savatri passed the notes to the blonde and told her to have it looked into immediately. Ten, Norlan, and Caelestis were thanked for their report and dismissed, much to Ten’s distaste at being ordered around without being told anything.
Alia and eladrin form Sin chat about their pasts as Alia nearly went to bardic college on their way down to the kitchens. When they eventually arrive the speak with the head cook and show her the poisons. The head cook is absolutely shocked and appalled to hear that poisons were smuggled into the kitchens and starts to raise a ruckus by yelling at the kitchen staff about it. Alia notices one of the kitchen staff trying to slink out the door and starts to go after him but runs into two blondes in the doorway. After a short exchange where everyone demands to know what everyone else is doing the blondes tell Alia and Sin that Yuma had them come look for poisons, and Sin turns the poisons over to the blondes. Alia and Sin depart the kitchen as the blondes begin a thorough search of it, but the kitchen helper who fled is long gone.
The party meets back up on the main floor to share what they all discovered. At this point Ash and Eve tell the party that while they were exploring the mountainside around the stronghold they stumbled across a cave that was well stocked with supplies from Guardian’s Peak. The cave appeared to be regularly used but no one was there when they discovered it. They assumed it was an outpost for the Vanguard until coming back and asking guards about it. The guards told them that no such outpost should exist. The party makes a short tour of Guardian’s Peak and discovers a fair amount of information about the Seven Sisters‘s work and jobs, as well as that the Sisters departed half an hour ago with nearly a score of guards to supposedly salvage the wrecked air skiff. The party, knowing that this must be a fake story sets out to follow the Sisters trail. By riding Ash’s shadow steeds the party is able to follow the Sisters’ trail south, then on a sharp cut west towards the outpost cave, and arrive shortly after the Sisters.
The Sisters had deployed their guards in a wide net around the cave, giving them orders that no one was to get by them. The guards, convinced that the party is there to assist the Sisters, point them to the women. The party catch the blonde women unawares and demand answers as to what they are doing. The Sisters refuse to answer, insisting that the party return to Guardian’s Peak. Both groups stubbornly refuse to budge and come to blows, though both groups make it a point in battle to not kill their foes (the Sisters by declaring they need the party alive and complimenting them on their skills, and the party by not killing the Sisters when kicking their pretty, blonde asses).
The party disarms the unconscious Sisters and rouses them for questioning. The Sisters tell the party that they were ordered to not work together and to share no information. Some of the Sisters suspect that Savatri was testing the party in this, but others disagree. The party, finding it hypocritical for the Sisters to say they are working in the party’s best interest while refusing to share anything they know and being stubborn about it to the point of violence, doesn’t find this at all satisfactory, stating that if they don’t find something to explain all this in the cave that they will most likely be leaving the Vanguard.
Miria, the seeming leader of the Sisters, finally asks to be allowed to speak uninterrupted, to make a statement that, if the party is on their side, they may find helpful. She tells the party that the largest reason the Sisters weren’t to work with the party is that Savatri fears the party might be working with the traitors at Guardian’s Peak. She tells the party that about a month ago she intercepted a message going to the traitors. The message said that the traitors would be receiving powerful reinforcements in a month’s time and then at that time their true plans could begin. Since the party’s arrival the Sisters have been covertly interrupting a seemingly endless chain of sabotages and assassination attempts at high ranking Vanguard members. Miria said that Savatri could not dare trust the party yet when so many lives were in danger. Furthermore, Miria explains that the Sisters came to the cave today fearing a trap and thought the party was there to spring it on them. She tells the party to be careful in the cave; that if the party is really an ally then the trap could still be in the cave, but so could evidence to back up her word.