+71: At Weric’s suggestion they go to a tavern in the warehouse district to inquire about access to the tunnels. The warehouse district is commonly known to be occupied by some of the seedier citizens. Black market merchants specialize in moving stolen goods through their networks using a combination of underground burrows and false walls in many legitimate buildings. The tunnels start to this smuggling operation, the thieves that organize these efforts tend to partake in the same locale. Crogan and Weric enter the district tavern. They inquire with the barkeep, with no success. Eventually they socialize with a group at a table that is betting on arm wrestling. Crogan takes part, winning a match. They solicit for “work” to gain access to the tunnels. They agree after receiving a few rounds of drinks to meet Crogan a few blocks away. At the meeting there was an ambush with four against. Crogan and Weric is victorious, forcing one survivor to show them how to access the tunnels.
+72: The next day, they visit the apothecary to acquire strong sleeping herbs. That evening they treat the guards at the stockades to beers laced with the herbs. The two guards fall asleep within a half hour, allowing for Crogan to sneak out Embarr to the tunnel entryway at the armory. Jensen the AWOL rebel from Crogan’s home pleas to escape with them, Crogan allows it.
In the tunnels all was smooth until they came upon a smuggling operation in progress. Combat ensued with nine men. Crogan and company find exit, but dawn had come and the search for them had begun. Radim, Ulsen and Donerak’s other four guards came down on them to attack. Crogan’s company defeated them taking their horses in the process.
+73: Arriving at Elman’s estate, Crogan, meets Elman and Raquel there, with them is man named Skylar. It is explained that Skylar is a paladin of an old, long thought to be defunct order. The Herald predates Hacon the First. It was them that called forth prophecy that many believe that Neven’s conquest over the Gehan fulfilled. The prophets believed that one would come to usher in a new man. The establishment of the Nevenease theocracy satisfied that call. Many of the Heralds saw truth in that and reordered behind Hacon believing him to be the embodiment of the true god in the realm of men. However a small minority did not. They doubted that Hacon and the establishment of a new Eber Nation satisfied the true scripture. Skylar is a man of that following. Raquel, Elman’s niece, is his apprentice.
Elman is a scholar first and foremost. He has long studied the histories, through this pursuit Skylar was commissioned to recover old tomes. That was 25 years ago, and he has served the Magister since. The study of these tomes showed a different tale. They did not speak of a Man, or a family as was often told amongst the Neven followers. It spoke of a new kind. The writings went beyond Birthright and spirituality; it was a more tangible power. It was not righteous; there was darkness in the texts.
Elman’s interest in the old prophecies was largely academic until 15 years ago. At which point he proved the old scripture true.
Crogan is led down to a basement to meet Rhead. Rhead is tall but gaunt, even in his oversized robes. He is elderly or at least appears so. His skin is pale to the point it actually is missing pigment. He is wearing a thin metal helm. He takes it off, showing the unnatural patchiness of his hair. In spite his seemly disturbing appearance, he has pronounced presence about him. Moments go by in Rhead’s tale, when Crogan and the others realize that Rhead is not speaking at all; at least not audibly. His words simply manifest in the minds of Crogan and his men.
Rhead tells the story of his youth. When he was five his brother Nom was born. He was born hairless and white as a ghost. His eyes were of a red hue. His appearance unsettled the village. More so, it unsettled their father. He remembered overhearing his father arguing with his mother, wanting to kill what he called an abomination. He explained it was the only way, to rid the sickness. Rhead’s mother refused. His father continued to plea, he spoke of others in his family born so afflicted, it seems it happened in their line ever so often. Each time the babe would grow to be mad. Some murdered, others committed suicide themselves, others simply were driven crazy to point of indolence. His father stated that the lessons were learned and his family would dispose of such babes. Rhead’s mother still refused. That evening was the last Rhead ever saw his father.
Nom was still loved by his mother. Rhead, even though he looked odd, still looked out for him as a big brother would.
Four years later, Rhead returned home for the day following reading lessons with the town scribe. What he saw horrified him. His mother laid on the floor in the great room, her body stiffened, her hair falling out, her complexion had faded. The worst was the expression of her face, her eyes were locked open and in the pupils you could see tinges of pain. Her mouth was open in the shape of a soundless scream. Rhead, vomited at the sight. Then he realized. His brother was gone; he is the one that did this. He left out to look for him. He had to know how, and had to know why. He found him out by a creek outside the village, actually Nom found him. Rhead could not move, not from fear but physically could not move. Nom came to touch his frozen brother, the simple touch caused great pain, even so Rhead could not scream. He felt as if the reach of Nom’s finger extended beyond into the depths of him somehow. That was the last Rhead remembered.
Three days later Rhead was found, much the worse for wear. Nom was gone, never seen again. Rhead looked much like his mother did. His hair had fallen out in patches. His skin looked bleached. He body felt as if it had been beaten. Other things were different as well. But he lived. The village looked after him for a bit, but he knew despite their sympathy they would never be comfortable around him. He also could not be comfortable around them. It began a few weeks after he was saved. The headaches, the voices, would penetrate his mind. He could not stop it. He heard everyone’s secret, but knew no one’s as it was as a crashing wave against a wall. Other symptoms appeared. It was not to long after that he was found by Elman and Skylar. He has been in there care since.
After Rhead’s tale, Elman speaks of Nom. He believes that Nom is the one prophesied of. He also believes he is the one behind raid in Wharveton, he fears what may be afoot. He asked Crogan and Embarr to escort Rhead; they should seek out Nom. Skylar will go; he is Rhead’s sworn protector, Raquel as well.
Jensen suggests that if the raids are by sea, then the rebels may be able to help. There is hidden seaport that acts as their Headquarters on the eastern shore. It may be that their ships have come across these raiders.