Arriving at the home of Noah, father to the three brothers who rescued us, we're surprised at the odd nature of what we assume to be his house. When Ham catches us gawking at it we're told it's a boat his father is building. At our confused looks he simply laughs and advises us to ask Noah about it. We're also a bit put off to discover this seems to be where all the animals migrating down the dry riverbed are ending up. As we approach closer we can see three young women waving palm fronds, directing the wild animals up the ramp into the huge "boat" as they wander in from the riverbed.
Once we've finally arrived the three men dismount and head off to greet their father while the mercenaries around us slouch away to a bunkhouse tent nearby. When we climb down and walk toward them we find they're already presenting the hearts of Magosh, Hak and Malivosh to Noah, who seems deeply grieved. Noah then instructs Ham to see to their burial and he leaves to do so. Shem and Japheth immediately shuck their armor and start pitching in with the woodwork that the elderly man was hard at work with when we arrived but he waves them away, admonishing them that they have guests (us) to welcome. With that we're practically shoved across the wide yard to the small building that seems to be the actual house. In moments we find the women outside have come running to help us prepare for a meal, which itself practically appears out of nowhere. Having arrived only a couple of minutes earlier we're already seated to a feast and treated like lifelong family friends.
Going along with things for now we sit down to eat and converse with the strange people, finding the father here apparently thinks a flood is coming and that God has instructed him to build the huge boat outside to save his family. The animals likewise wandering down the riverbed are all being ushered into the boat as well to ensure their survival. During the course of the conversation we're privileged to a few more interesting facts of note.
First, the locals in the area and specifically Noah's kinsmen in Jared have been giving the family quite a hard time. Having at first admonished him for his eccentric behavior they've now taken to using their influence to make the purchasing of building materials for the boat difficult, hoping to dissuade him from continuing with his project. Noah finds suppliers in Jared less than eager to deal with him and those that do charge exorbitant prices. Having been forced to turn to the local towns and villages for the supplies he can't easily gather himself he's run into similar difficulties such as we had recently in Shoham. Namely the local townsfolk being rather untrustworthy and often downright dangerous.
Second, with folks nowadays being always eager to pounce on any perceived sign of weakness, the family has come under attack many times from bandits and robbers who take his apparent eccentricity as encouragement. Having spent a large portion of his accumulated wealth hiring on mercenaries as guards for his lands he now finds many of them abandoning their duties or quitting outright for much the same reason. Knowing that your employer expects you'll die in some great flood soon doesn't exactly inspire loyalty.
Finally, Noah's greatest grievance seems to be that both his wife and his son's wives have all suffered as well, mostly from their own families who have several times attempted to lure them away. Mostly they seem embarrassed to have daughters married into such an odd family and wish to distance themselves as much as possible. The women are often required to visit Jared or the local towns and villages for supplies but can't always take their husbands along for protection, as work on the boat is rather time consuming. For that reason they're lacking many resources that would be very convenient and are readily available in nearby settlements but are unwilling to take time away from the work or send the women alone to secure. Likewise Noah's sons don't especially trust their wives to the mercenaries in their father's employ and the wives themselves aren't comfortable going alone with them either. At present Noah's own wife, Naamah, should be returning from Jared today in the company of three of the more trustworthy mercs and the family expects that will be the last time they allow the women to travel there.
Once the meal is concluded we're surprised again when Noah offers us lodging for the night if we wish or money to secure an inn room in nearby Jared, if that is our goal. Having not given any particular thought to our goals after the hearts were delivered we aren't quite sure. Noah advises against traveling to any of the smaller settlements in the area as folks out of Nod aren't likely to be welcome. Jared, on the other hand, hosts many families who've fled Nod and the oppressive rule of the sons of Cain there and we aren't likely to suffer much mistreatment based on our origins. We might even find allies there.
Before we can ask about it, Noah also sends one of his sons off to fetch a small chest from which he produces a rather generous amount of gold coin to reward us for our efforts in delivering the remains of his kinsmen and friends. Also, he points out, to replace the gear we lost in Shoham, having been stripped of everything but Beckah's monkey and forced to flee with only the shirts on our backs.
Now relatively wealthy again but unarmed, unarmored and without so much as a water jug, we're tempted to take Noah up on his offer to stay the night but find we're more comfortable making for Jared and resupplying. We do offer our services as mercenaries to Noah, should he find that he requires them. As it's still only mid-day we decide to head for Jared right away to gear up. Noah again offers lodging should we happen to pass by again and promises work for us here should we require that as well. He further asks that we extend his affections to Naamah if we pass her on the way.
The hike to Jared is short and easy, requiring nothing more than following the riverbed a few more hours march to the west. Two things jump out at us on the way there, however. One is that the riverbed is noticeably devoid of traffic as Noah's family seems to be fairly successful in redirecting all the animals wandering down it into their boat. The other is the ring of mountains far to the west where we spy what at first seems to be a dark cloud hanging over on one side. As we hike onward we begin to realize that it's not a cloud at all but the oval outline of the top of some humongous tree. We then recall the legends concerning Eden and the great poison tree there. Folk lore tells of a grand garden where Cain himself once lived with God and from which he was banished after slaying his brother. It is said a giant spirit warrior with a flaming sword guards the pass into Eden, to prevent the descendants of Cain from destroying the great tree and breaking the curse it bestowed on mankind. Furthermore the land of Eden supposedly contains the very spring from which all the rivers of the land originate.
We're also a bit unnerved to find the sun setting behind the mountain range before we've quite reached Jared, until the shadow of the great tree begins creeping ominously in our direction.
Arriving at the city of Jared before nightfall we find the city is nevertheless quite dark, as the shadow of the tree miles away has already overtaken it. We see right away that Jared doesn't quite match up with our definition of a city compared to those in Nod and only a few actual stone buildings are scattered here and there around the middle. Most of the city seems to be composed of tents and collapsible huts. From the layout of the streets it's obvious that most of these structures come and go with some regularity and the routes through and about the place likewise change frequently. We even pass one large group that's just finishing up erecting a series of tents on the outskirts of the city. A family of merchants from what we gather by the gear they're moving around.
Once we get past the tents and temporary housing to reach Jared's open market we move quickly to purchase what gear we can. The three shops housed on the side offer us the opportunity to arm ourselves so we head there first and replace our weapons and armor. From the professional mercenaries we've seen in the crowd on the way in it appears they're comfortable sporting arms in town, most likely to advertise their profession, so we don our gear immediately after purchasing it to do likewise. With evening coming on we take a huge hit on the prices not wanting to waste time haggling but in the end we still have a nice nest egg.
When we've outfitted ourselves to our satisfaction we find the market dwindling and individual merchants closing up shop for the night so we seek out the nearest inn to secure lodgings. On the way we witness something interesting. A very attractive older woman, oddly enough dressed only in her woolen nightgown, darts past us down the connecting street up ahead. Once we reach the street and glance down it to see what became of her, we see her talking to a man there and she seems to be pleading with him. Eisig is naturally curious and heads that way to see what's going on and Talman likewise is impulsive enough to follow, leaving the girls to tag along despite their not wanting to get involved in any potential trouble. Before we can reach the pair though, the woman spies us over her shoulder and glides off down the street, seemingly disappearing into the shadows. When we ask the man what that was all about we receive a rude response to mind our own business and so decide to drop the matter and continue on to the inn.
Arriving at the inn we are once again gouged a bit by the innkeeper, not so much because we're so obviously out of Nod but more out of his dislike of Talman and the Mark of Cain so prominent on his face. Once we've got a room we head there right away to avoid interacting with the locals just yet and already have plans to hike right back out to Noah's land in the morning to take him up on his offer of work.
Only an hour later we're roused by sounds of distress in the street outside our window. Taking a peek we see a small crowd gathering around something lying on the ground down the block. Again Eisig insists on seeing what it is so the rest of the team resign themselves to probably getting into some mess or other before the night's over.
Out in the street we find folks gathered around the body of a man lying in their midst. Although he's not quite dead yet he appears to be close to it and is bleeding badly from a wound to his side. Moreover he seems twisted oddly as if caught in a convulsion and his face is contorted into a horrid rictus. As no one seems to be trying to help the man we decide to do so and break out the bandages and salves.
With everyone having the same the Intelligence and Healing Arts scores we randomly pick Jobina to lead the attempt at first aid on the man with everyone else providing indirect assistance. Despite rolling well enough to succeed at an Average difficulty task the man quickly dies anyway, having never spoken a word. Our guess is that his involuntary rictus prevented him even from speaking. We do recognize in the process that the dead man is none other than the one we spoke with little over an hour ago in the street.
When a couple of mercenaries bearing red wolf's paw badges on their chests break through the crowd to demand answers to what has happened here, we inform them of what occurred earlier with the man and provide a description of the woman for them. As we speak the crowd utters a collective gasp of horror and we find the two men (apparently mercs hired on as city guards) doubting our story. A few forceful questions are asked of us and but the two hired guards eventually seemed persuaded that we aren't lying. When we ask after their reaction we discover from several members of the crowd who eagerly pipe in to answer that this mysterious woman in a pale nightgown has appeared every night for the last two nights to lone men on the street. In every case the men are found soon afterward either dead or dying of some cursed malady as this man just has. Locals have already started calling her "the white death".
Almost immediately the two guards start breaking up the small crowd, running people away from the corpse and admonishing them all for being superstitious. They do take care not the touch the corpse or allow anyone else to for fear of contracting whatever curse killed him. We are ordered to return to the inn and stay off the streets while the matter is properly investigated. We do so without any further encouragement.
The rest of the night passes without incident though we do hear men coming and going in the street outside, presumably guards and officials investigating the mysterious death. By morning we awake and take to the street again to find the body gone as we expected and no sign that anything unusual took place.
Deciding it's time to head out of the city and back to Noah's home before "the white death" comes after us we make for the city gate. Before we gotten too far we're accosted by a gaggle of young urchins with a keen eye for anyone who might have a spare coin or two. We're forced to practically wade through the small sea of children before we can get off the block and away from the inn, checking our bags and pockets regularly to be sure they aren't pick pocketing us.
In an attempt to get attention over the plaintive chorus and set himself apart from the army of little beggars around us, one of the children latches onto Beckah's sleeve and tugs hard. He urgently whispers that he knows where she can find something very valuable lying around unclaimed. The young boy in question naturally only requires a small finder's fee to lead her right to it. When Beckah shakes the boy off her he loudly insists it's "worth lots and lots" and he knows right where it is!
Immediately the other children who overheard him begin demanding he tell them where it is but he angrily insists he found it, they can't have it! In moments we're surprised that a shoving match is breaking out, with the gaggle of beggar children all fighting to get to the boy and make him tell them where this thing "worth lots and lots" can be found. At last we're tempted to intervene (and it has occurred to Beckah there might be something of value at stake here). Talman deals with the mess by grabbing the hilt of his sword and roaring madly at the children all around us, threatening to cave in their little skulls if they don't start running. The horde of little beggars immediately start squealing in fright and dashing off, leaving the slightly bruised young boy for Talman to grab by the ear before he darts off as well.
With a little shake of the ear the young boy is pointing back the way we came toward the alley outside the inn. In moments he's led us into the alley and to one of many piles of trash there. Kicking the pile around a bit we uncover a short sword tossed in amongst the refuse which the boy claims to have found this morning. Taking a look at it we're surprised to find the handle is chased with silver wiring and the blade seems to be of some black metal we've never seen or heard of before. Moreover there are all manner of evil looking symbols and signs of ill omen etched along the length of the blade as well.
A quick shake of the ear again and the boy admits he was too frightened of the blade to take it and pawn it himself, not to mention he expected he'd get robbed by the merchant if he tried to sell such a thing. When we decide to keep the blade the boy extends a hand to us, now suddenly quite bold and assertive, demanding a whole gold coin for leading us to the sword. Jobina is entertained enough to toss five at his feet and we all leave while the boy is still gawking at his sudden windfall.
After examining the sword again closely we find the blade isn't black at all, as we first perceived. Rather it's coated or painted with something black that smudges when rubbed but doesn't come off easy. Immediately concerned with poison we're careful to wash our hands with water and scrub them vigorously, even though the water wastage represents a significant expense.
Some quick questioning of the locals and we're then aware of both a professional apothecary across town and the only smithy in the city known for producing high quality craftsmanship. As they're both on opposites sides of the small city from one another, we opts to head for the apothecary to determine whether or not the sword is poisoned. Already we're intrigued by the sword, figuring it might well be responsible for the death of the man in the street last night. Beyond that it should at least be worth a small fortune.
Arriving at the apothecary without incident we find the herbalist more than willing to examine the substance for a hefty fee but he soon recoils in horror at the symbols etched on the weapon. After insisting we place it down ourselves on the counter he spends a while taking a sample of the black smudging, being careful not to actually touch the evil blade. After cooling our heels for a bit he finally returns to inform us that the thin layer of gunk smeared along the blade is indeed a poison of some kind, most likely a derivative of some snake venom or other. Questioning the herbalist himself we're assured he doesn't manufacture nor sell such things and hasn't a clue who would.
He further offers to test the poison on one of the animals he keeps on hand for such purposes for a further fee, which we agree to. In moments we witness one of the herbalist's caged rabbits pricked by a thin metal pin coated with the poison. It quickly succumbs to convulsions and dies soon after, twisted in a similar manner as the man we witnessed die last night.
Assured that we have the murder weapon responsible for the stranger's death it still remains what to do with it. Although we're at first inclined to keep it to use for ourselves, it occurs to us that this might not be a good idea anymore. After asking around about the blade and showing it to the herbalist we figure if anyone is investigating the deaths it might well lead them to us. Having the weapon in our possession when they seek us out likely won't go well for us at all. In the end we figure it won't hurt to score a few points with the local authorities by turning the weapon over to them.
Hiking back to the inn again we track down one of the hired guards from the previous night, who already knows us from that incident. Showing him the sword we relay our tale about the urchins, finding it in the alley and our investigations up to that point. He's naturally eager to escort us to his superior, likely hoping for a bonus of some kind in the process. The man we're introduced to turns out to be an older man named Lamech, who surprisingly bears the Mark of Cain as Talman does. The two men take a moment to greet one another as kin before the man introduces himself as captain of the city guard and invites us to tell him what we have.
When we present the sword we all fail Perception rolls so we know we've missed something important. Nevertheless by the time we've finished our story Lamech thanks us and offers a very small reward, far less than what even a second hand sword is worth. Still, we figured we've managed to avoid getting in any trouble and likely scored a few points with the guard so our time isn't completely wasted. In an attempt to get to know Lamech and possibly secure him as a contact we find he's not at all interested in making friends and he more or less brushes us off. We do find that he is originally from Nod as we suspected but that his family has lived in Jared since the city was founded, which would make him very old indeed.
As it's already well past noon we figured we've spent the better part of the day on the incident of the sword. An attempt to hike out to Noah's now would likely end with us traveling down the riverbed at night, which isn't normally a good idea. Predators of both the animal and human variety tend to hunt at night. Resigned to spending another day in Jared we hoof it back across the city to the inn to haggle for another night's stay. Already the shadow of the great tree in the distance is starting to creep over the mountains and edge toward the city.
On the way back two young children cavort down the street playing tag, skirting around the legs of the adults in the crowd. We notice they're dressed rather poorly in thread-bare rags and don't seem to have had their hair tended to in some time, which calls to mind the gaggle of beggars we encountered earlier. As we pass by one of the children smacks into Beckah in the attempt to avoid their playmate's "tag" and Beckah fails a Perception check. Of course we naturally assume she just got pick pocketed but there isn't much we can do about it since she didn't seem to notice.
A few minutes later Talman is granted a Perception check as well and actually manages to pull off a Hard check. He notices Beckah's pick-knife is missing from her belt and we immediately suspect the kid that ran into her a moment ago. Turning around to hoof it back to the spot we don't find the children on hand anywhere. Questioning a grumpy (and surprisingly crude) old woman nearby tells us they've wandered off to the east. Just two streets over we find the two at the same scheme again, playing tag in and amongst the crowd moving down the street. In moments one of them "accidentally" bumps into someone and this time we spot the lift as the talented young pickpocket palms the man's coin pouch.
Since they haven't noticed us yet and we'd rather not chase children wildly through the streets, we split up to surround the area and hopefully cut off their escape. The pickpocket spots Beckah right away though and yells out to his accomplice. Both sprint off in different directions and we find we're chasing kids through the streets after all.
With Eisig closest to the pickpocket he manages to reach the alley he ducked into just in time to see the kid apparently dive head first right through the base of the wall further down the alley. When the others catch up we examine the spot and find several of the stones used as a foundation for the wall have been knocked in, revealing a cramped opening. Peering inside we can't see anything in the darkness beyond and have to stop to dig out some oil and a small lamp. Once it's lit we're already aware we've probably lost any chance to catch the little pickpocket but Eisig is curious about the hidey-hole anyway. An examination by oil light shows nothing more than a dirty crawlspace beneath the building. We can't spy any light peeking in from anywhere else beyond that would suggest there's as alternative exit in there.
Figuring there's a good possibility the kid is still hiding under the building somewhere with Beckah's pick-knife we discuss whether it's worth going in after it. In the end Beckah and Eisig decide it's not, since facing a cornered and desperate street urchin armed with a high-quality pick-knife in such a cramped environment doesn't strike them as a particularly fun time. Talman and Jobina's Vengeful complication demand that knife back though, so we find we're in disagreement. Before we can argue about it properly Beckah and Eisig detect an odd sound coming from the crawlspace under the building.
Poking her head inside and listening for a minute, Beckah informs us that she can hear the very muffled sound of a child, probably the pickpocket, calling for help under there. Oddly there's a strange quality to the sound, as if the child is some distance away, though the sound clearly emanates from under the building somewhere.
After we determine that we can all fit in the crawlspace and maneuver a bit without being forced to shuck our leather armor, we all dive in to investigate, hoping to take the little delinquent in hand and get Beckah's knife back quickly. Crawling about under the building with only one small oil lamp for light amongst the bugs and dirt proves every bit as creepy as we expected it would. Eventually we manage to track the pleas for help to the northeast corner of the crawlspace and a hole in the ground roughly a cubit wide. The oil lamp doesn't provide us much light but we can determine the hole extends at least more than twice an arm's length into the ground and the boy's voice is coming from somewhere well beyond that. Dropping a clod of dirt down the hole confirms it's quite deep indeed. It takes at least three breaths before we faintly hear the clod impact somewhere far below, beyond the source of the boy's voice.
Faced with something of an enigma we call out and soon establish a dialogue with the young thief. We discover he fell down the hole sneaking away to hide in the corner and only just managed to catch hold of something on the sides to keep himself from falling any further. Though he tried to climb out again up the series of objects he felt along the side of the hole, he soon ran out of things to climb and had only another adjoining tunnel to the side to make use of. Apparently he attempted to explore that and became stuck within.
By now it's becoming clear that getting Beckah's knife back might indeed prove more trouble than it's worth so we begin negotiating with the boy for his rescue. When the boy begins promising all sorts of treasures he can't possibly truly have access to we turn the negotiations over to Jobina, who seems to be better at handling such things.
In the course of the negotiations the boy proves to be more shrewd than we gave credit for, once he calms down a bit. Before long he's chiding us for not exploring the tunnels on their own merit and reasons that we should find the return of Beckah's knife payment enough for rescuing him if we're going to be passing by down the tunnel anyway. When asked why we should bother exploring the tunnel he expresses incredulity that we wouldn't, claiming it's well know there are tunnels underneath the city that everyone has been seeking for some years now.
At that we're treated to a condensed version of a local legend concerning a master thief named Timora, who's said to have had an underground hideout in a series of tunnels beneath the city. There legend holds that she cached all her ill-gotten gains over the years and with her death in a drunken brawl years ago locals have been seeking those tunnels ever since.
We're naturally dubious at the boy's story and dismiss it. Though Eisig is still curious about the tunnels, Beckah is Sadistic enough, and Talman and Jobina Vengeful enough, to leave the boy where he is to find his own way out. With that we crawl back out, ignoring the boy's frantic pleas, to hike to the market and replace Beckah's pick-knife.
In the market we bring up the subject of Timora with the merchant who sells us Beckah's replacement knife. We find the legend the boy related to us seems to be true and that we may well have stumbled onto a hidden treasure trove after all. [We're actually relieved since we were already feeling pretty bad and looking for an excuse to go back and rescue the poor kid.] Turning to head back to the crawlspace we stop long enough to haggle for a long, solid wood plank from one of the merchants and Talman hikes it up over one shoulder to carry it along.
Back at the crawlspace we shuffle back under and toss the plank across the mouth of the hole, using it secure two knotted ropes strung together and tossed down the hole. With the lamp in one hand Talman takes the lead, climbing down the rope first. Along the sides near the top he finds a few pieces of old rotten wood fastened to the sides of the tunnel that were once obviously used to travel up and down it. Now dry rotted they aren't reliable at all and most seem to have already come loose and fallen below. When Talman finds the narrow side tunnel the pickpocket is stuck inside (now crying woefully at having been abandoned) he hasn't a hand free to deal with him. Eisig then comes down above him and grabs the boy by one foot, making a Burst of Strength check to pull him free and apparently scraping the boy up terribly in the process.
In the end we all shimmy down the rope to the bottom of the tunnel and find it opening some ten feet above a horizontal tunnel below. Thankfully our rope nearly reaches all the way to the bottom and we're able to get down without having to jump. Once we're assembled on the floor of the new tunnel the young thief is pressed into service carrying the lamp.
The tunnel we're standing in is tall but a bit narrow so we're forced to march along in single file, with Talman taking the lead and young boy right behind with the lamp. After more than fifty feet we come to a small central chamber no more than ten feet long and half as wide. From there four more tunnel branch off, each of them as narrow as ours and some at odd angles or high enough off the floor that old crates have been placed under them to allow access. One crate occupies the center of the floor next to what was clearly a cheap cot before it collapsed into dry rotted rubble untold years ago.
Since we're looking for treasure we decided to explore the whole complex in its entirety so we double back without stepping into the central chamber to see what lies at the opposite end of the tunnel we're in. Back down the tunnel we pass our knotted rope hanging from the first vertical tunnel find two more tunnels extending up from the ceiling further down. In both cases there are planks fastened to the wall leading up and into the tunnels. In both cases a hardy tug reveals they're dry rotted and untrustworthy as well when they come away easily.
Back to the central chamber we spend a minute searching but there isn't much to be found. The bed has already collapsed and the crate next to it is rotted enough to fall apart with one kick. There's no sign of treasure or of a hidden cache anywhere. Taking the tunnel immediately to the right of the one we arrived from we have to kick apart the old crate beneath it and climb up to get access. Down this tunnel we find two more vertical tunnels at roughly 100' and 140', with the tunnel changing course at sharp angles between each. Both of the vertical tunnels have dry rotted boards leading up to them that we can't trust with our weight.
Checking the next tunnel over we find much the same, sharp angle turns and four more vertical tunnels with rotted boards. We do find a venomous snake which Talman fails to notice in the dim light and treads right past. Thankfully the snake strikes weakly, even after taking him by surprise, and his boot absorbs the blow. We wait while he spends a few moments stomping on it until he's satisfied it's dead.
Heading back to the central room Beckah is in the lead, followed by Jobina and Eisig since there wasn't room to trade places easily in the tunnel. All three of us fail our Perception checks until the boy enters with the lamp and the attractive older woman in a pale wool nightgown is revealed peering at us from the next tunnel over. We all spy her right away when the light shines on her, especially the boy...who promptly screams in fright and drops the lamp, extinguishing it. We can hear him stumbling away in the dark for the knotted rope screaming about "the white death". More interestingly we can hear "the white death" fleeing down the hall as well, suggesting she isn't the ethereal spirit everyone has made her out to be.
Eisig fumbles with the lamp while calling for someone to break out the flint and light it again. He finds the boy has spilled all the oil when he dropped it though and has to dig around for more while Jobina tries to start a fire to light it. Any hope of catching up with the mysterious woman is already lost and we spend the next several frustrated minutes just getting the lamp filled and lit again. Not to mention Eisig nearly lighting himself on fire because he forgot he has oil smeared all over his hands.
In the end we have our lamp lit again and we're rightly frustrated. Down the tunnel we go looking for some sign of the mysterious woman in her nightgown. In this tunnel we again find the expected sharp turns and two more vertical tunnels above with rotten boards leading to them. The second tunnel however has what are clearly handholds recently dug into the wall leading up to it and we figure we have the route our quarry took. Talman takes the lead again with Eisig right behind with the lamp. At the top we find the tunnel ends after only ten feet with a small wooden trapdoor. When Talman tests it he finds it opens with some effort and creaks a bit but he has his head poke through easily enough. At which point he realizes his error when we fails an Average Perception check and the mysterious woman has him by the hair from behind with a knife at his throat.
Though he's rightly angry at being caught by surprise (not to mention the knife) he manages a bit of diplomacy and convinces the woman not to slit his throat right away. When she asks Talman who he is, he takes the time to answer and spin the tale out as much as he can to buy time. In the process something he says convinces the woman to let him go, though she keeps the knife handy and won't let him come up any further.
When it becomes clear we aren't whoever she thought we were or that we necessarily intend any harm she introduces herself to Talman as Naamah, to which he promptly asks if she is the same "Naamah" married to Noah. When our association with him comes to light Naamah immediately begins to insist we take her to him, claiming she is indeed his wife. Now we're in the position to ask some questions ourselves and we convince the woman to let us up, though she hisses and warns us to keep quiet.
Inside the small, windowless room the trapdoor opens into we can see the trapdoor actually opens into a roughly carved niche in the wall, which in turn was once hidden behind a shelf. The shelf has been moved aside and only contains some bed linen and clothing. A bed, chair and table occupy the small room as well but it's otherwise featureless. Naamah warns us that there are men outside her door whom we can't alert to our presence or we'll likely come under attack. Not to mention we risk revealing the trapdoor which she's managed to keep secret up until now.
Once we've told our story (again keeping ourselves in the best possible light) Naamah catches us up on events with her, claiming her father kidnapped her off the street days ago when she first arrived in Jared. At first claiming only that he insisted on keeping her prisoner until he could talk some sense into her, she's since learned that her father intends to hire mercenaries and assault Noah's land. He plans to slay her entire family while she's kept safely here and is obsessed with the idea, having grown to hate Noah long before his crazy tales of a coming flood. As captain of the city guard she has no doubts that he can not only pull that off but that he'll get away with it, maybe even being hailed as a hero by all the people in Jared who've likewise come to despise Noah.
With that we learn that Lamech, the man to whom we turned over the poisoned blade, is Naamah's father and very likely the man responsible for the gruesome deaths surrounding her recently. Naamah is surprised and horrified when she hears that portion of the tale, though not so much that her father is capable of it but rather at her role in it. She had been sneaking out nightly through the tunnel hoping to find someone kind enough to help her escape the city. So far she hasn't even managed to convince anyone to offer so much as suitable clothing to travel by so she can simply attempt to walk home. She certainly didn't suspect Lamech would track down and kill anyone she spoke with and she wonders how he could have known to do so in the first place.
We then detect an opportunity to ingratiate ourselves further with Noah and possibly win yet another generous reward. When we offer to escort her home she quickly accepts but the issue of her current state of dress is still a problem. Jobina solves that by offering Naamah her thigh-length jacket and we find she's ready to go immediately. As she already overdue to return home she figures Noah must have begun to worry for her, not to mention she feels time is short to bring warning of the impending attack.
Scaling back down the tunnel with Naamah following we manage to get down without anyone falling. When we reach the knotted rope we came by we find that Naamah is thankful we opened up this way out since the exit she's been using opens up right outside her father's compound. She's been risking being spotted by her father's guards every time she's used it. Once we're up and have crawled through into the alley again we find night has since fallen, which should make getting her out of town easier. When we mention doing that Naamah tells us that the city guards at the gates are sure to recognize her and seize her again if she goes that way. All of them and most of the rest of the guard know her father has been keeping her prisoner and won't hesitate to capture her and return her to him.
Faced with finding some way of getting her out of the city without the guards spotting her we send Jobina on ahead to hit the markets before they close. We wait in the dark alley while she tracks down and buys a nice hooded robe for Naamah that will conceal her features, though that won't be enough to get her by the guards at the gate. Our plan is to secure her in our inn room until we can figure some other way out of the city. Once Jobina returns and Naamah dons the hooded robe we head for the inn and get a double room while keeping her as inconspicuous as possible in the process. Upstairs in our inn room we take turns keeping watch in teams of two, mindful of the fact that Lamech somehow managed to track down and murder every man Naamah spoke to on the street without her realizing it.
By morning the expected assault hasn't come and we're thankful for that after hearing Naamah's tales of Lamech's past. Being quite old and still in good health he's fought in many campaigns on both sides and become quite a warrior in the process. We're certain even the four of us can't take him on and we've no intention of trying.
Eisig and Jobina head out looking for a deal on an ass and a wagon but find it more expensive than we expected, even when Jobina goes it alone and works her charms. In the end we've secured one and even managed to pick up some of the supplies Naamah originally came to Jared to buy in the first place. This of course giving us something to hide her under. Finding a place away from curious onlookers to actually do that proves to be the kink in our plan however. In a city like Jared even the alleys tend to be open to view.
Nevertheless we move out and find the nearest one to park the wagon in and we have Naamah climb in to be covered with crates and sacks of cheap grain. We move out quickly before word can spread in case someone took notice of the hooded woman in our company and the city guards put two and two together. At the city gate we have a tense moment or two but Jobina manages to flirt wickedly enough to distract the guard (though getting away from them then proves to be a hassle). At last we're out of the city and heading for Noah's land with no sign of pursuit.
[Jobina purchases 4 Skill Points and increases her Shield general skill to d6]
[Talman purchases 2 Attribute Points and increases his Agility attribute to d12]
[Beckah purchases 2 Skill Points and increases her Perception general skill to d6]
[Eisig purchases 4 Skill Points and increases his Dodge specialty skill to d10 and his Short Sword specialty skill to d12]
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