Episode Twelve - The Good Doctor
Episode 12: The Good Doctor (Level 8)
During the night, Carmenith sneaks into Vash’s room, and asks him for his help rescuing her two brothers, Jhareth captives somewhere in the city. She’s sure they are alive, but has no proof of this. Carmenith is exhausted, weak, and thin from months of near-starvation and lack of sleep. Vash offers her food and the use of his bath, but is struggling with the results of Nuslec’s vampiric bite, and is hard-pressed not to bite and kill her. He calls for help, and Tobias and Lyda intervene. Lyda doses him heavily, knocking him unconscious. She takes Carmenith to her room, and insists that the she sleep there for the night. Under her care, he is finally able to throw off the effects of the illness. As she sits vigil over Vash, Tobias stays up with her, and the two share a tender moment and declare their love for each other.
The next morning, Ichtaca rises before dawn, leaving the group on a personal mission given to him by Spirit Elder Mahua. He is unusually mysterious about the whole endeavor, but promises to be back soon. The others head out into the city again. Carmenith remains with Lyda at Dr. Northwell’s clinic, where Lyda is once again set to work for the day, freeing up time for the good doctor. Vash and Tobias seek information in the city about the mob, the connections of the Duke-Regent, the Eitharmos, the locations of prisoners, and Tobias’s father’s visit to Forteth over thirty years ago. With Vash sometimes posing as Tobias’s slave, the two visit taverns and churches, and speak with guardsmen, street preachers and people from many walks of life. The streets are full of military police and their demon dogs, a greatly increased military presence in reaction to yesterday’s attack on the prisoner’s carnival. The Avans have been blamed, although people are still buzzing about Magistrate Viln’s arrest and possible involvement.
Vash learns that captured Jhareth and members of the Jharric faith are usually held at the main prison, Atwall Towers, a forbidding structure located on an island in the bay. He gathers information about the facility, learning that the ferry there only comes onto the mainland to take on new prisoners, and once a week for the change of the guard. Staff at the prison work one week on, one week off. Atwall Towers are said to be inescapable, and the grim black walls rise up off of the island in the distance, looking very much as if that is true. Vash, struggling with the prejudice against drow, is having a harder time moving through the city than Tobias, even when he is free with his coin.
Tobias locates a gentleman’s club run by the Mollathe family, the local heathfolk mafia. Although the facility caters mainly to dissipate young nobles and other members of the upper class, he sweet-talks his way in and finds himself in a smoking room, with dining tables full of well-dressed young men and hoydenish heathfolk waitresses. He avoids the floor show and heads upstairs, to the casino, where he makes a stunning first impression on a grizzled old heathfolk bartender. finding they share an acquaintance in Athelshoth, the man takes him into a back room for a private conversation. The man becomes alarmed during the conversation, believing that Tobias is hinting that the Souliaydach family will be moving in on the Mollathe family’s territory and interests. Seeing the value of the young man, he offers to induct Tobias into the family, gives him a roll of paper bills, and tells him to return two hours after midnight, to bring some comely young ladies, and to be prepared to demonstrate his skills, if he wants to impress the boss.
At the huge Etholchan cathedral across from the red palace, Tobias and Vash enter as master and slave seeking records. They are led to an attatched monastery, where a records keeper helps them with piles of dusty ledgers and histories. As Vash keeps watch, posed as a bodyguard-slave, Tobias learns that his father was here, but the records of that are in a sealed room, to which only the highest level church officials have access. He and Vash decide to return in the dead of night and break into the sealed records room. Meanwhile, in the histories, he reads that Chorrom Dythan Mathis was the Chorrom a century ago, at the time of the great crisis. When Trentsmund burned in a an apocolyptic firestorm, the old cathedral fell, and Mathis was fatally wounded, though it took him months to die. Much of the nobility, including the royal family, survived the crisis, having access to safehouses and resources unavailable to the commoners. Before he died, Mathis prophesied that the city had been purified by the fires of the Abyssal Throne, and that the survivors were the chosen people of Lord Daemoth. The king called home many of the colonials from various Trentsmin colonies, especially Terratorrume, and the city was rebuilt from the ashes. Tobias is disturbed by what he reads, and looks up from his book to find Mathis there in front of him, taunting him about his curiosity. Mathis again tries and fails to overthrow the psion’s mind, then leaves with the threat, “I know what you love.”
Concerned, the men now rush to the clinic, to be sure Lyda is safe. She and Carmenith are fine, although Anotros Bartoli Ciprano tried to speak with Lyda there earlier. Carmenith “encouraged” him to leave. Tobias warns Lyda to be careful of Dythan Mathis, but she assures him that she has not seen him, heard him, or felt anything of his presence. Reassured that the women are safe, Vash and Tobias head back out into the city.
As they seek information, Vash and Tobias plant conflicting rumors about both Magistrate Viln and the eitharmos, hoping to cause trouble for both. Vash finds several priests who are willing to listen to his juicy gossip, despite his heritage. Most have never heard of the eitharmos, but many seem willing to believe his scandalous accusations about the priest from Chayrshellech.
Tobias follows a suspicious-looking couple to a slummy, partially abandoned apartment building in the slums. Struggling with flight after flight of crumbling stairs, Tobias resorts to psionics, floating in mid-air as he finally confronts the couple with his knowledge that they are Jhareth refugees. Terrified, the couple flee, and Tobias pursues them to an apparently vacant upper floor. He finds a secret panel and is confronted by a man with a sword, defending a rag-tag group of more than fifty starving Jareth refugees. Tobias calms them, telling them he will help them find the Avans and get to safety. The man identifies himself as Pollath, and begs him to hurry, as they may be discovered soon. Tobias agrees to go to the Avans soon, but has agreed to meet up with Vash at the clinic first, to check in again on the safety of their friends.
Lyda and Carmenith are not there. One of the doctor’s assistants informs them that the two women left over an hour ago, in the company of the dangerous, lecherous Anotros Bartoli Ciprano. Tobias and Vash react with rage and fear, rushing to find the man, sure that both women are in terrible danger. It turns out to be a false lead, however. A beggar stationed nearby swears that he only saw the Anotros visit once, earlier that morning, and that neither of the noticeably attractive women have left the clinic. Returning to the clinic, they confront the assistant, threatening him. He reveals himself as a vampire when he attacks them with gnashing fangs. After a brief struggle, the two men take him hostage, and force him to lead them to the missing women. Down the stairs, they find an underground laboratory, connected to a long tunnel lined with barred cells full of zombies. The doctor’s much-vaunted knowledge of the undead plagues causing vampirism and zombiism begin to make more sense.
As the vampire assistant leads them down the hallway of zombies, he suddenly tries to escape, knowing that a trap will be triggered by the doctor downstairs at any moment. Vash holds him back, and steel doors drop at either end of the tunnel. The gates trapping the zombies in their cells spring open, and toxic gas pours down on the group from above. A desperate fight ensues. Vash slices into the pressing throng of zombies, holding them back from Tobias. Tobias jams two of the vents with zombie corpses using telekinesis, then locates a hidden ceiling panel with controls to open the steel doors. The poison chokes him, and he struggles ineffectually with the delicate gears of the mechanism within. Frustrated, he abandons that effort and instead lashes out with his mind at the zombies. Finally, the vampire and the zombies are all dead, and Tobias and Vash manage to disable the poison vents. Vash summons a cloud of shadow, and the two heroes hide. When two more vampire assistants open the doors and begin poking through the zombie piles to find their corpses, the two men spring into action, quickly dispatching them. They descend farther into the lair.
Dr. Northwell’s famously potent healing elixirs line walls of a storage room, and the two men emerge from it into a horrific scene. Human organs on drying racks hang from the ceilings, ready to be ground into powder as the primary ingredient of the doctor’s potions. Unconscious patients lie on gurneys, naked except for a sheet, drugged and awaiting harvest. Gutted corpses are piled into a cart nearby. Carmenith lies on one of the gurneys, her pale body showing wounds from a fight. The doctor and two vampire assistants stand over an operating table, where Northwell is poised with his scalpel, on the verge of cutting into the motionless Lyda. Dr. Northwell calmly expresses his regret at their discovery of his operation, since he was interested in their potential cure for the Nemelethe, and was considering hiring the group himself. Sadly, he rambles, his useful new assistant Lyda sent Carmenith in search of some supplies downstairs earlier today, and she stumbled apon the truth of his operation. The two women became a liability. Now that the men also know he is a vampire, he continues, turning back to his victim, perhaps they can come to an understanding? Shaking with fury, Tobias interrupts the doctor’s monologue by shooting his head off. The two assistant run towards a back exit, one calling out to the other to blow the charges, but Vash calmly shoots them before they can escape.
Tobias runs to Lyda, kissing her, trying to revive her, but cannot wake her. After a calmer examination of both women, he realizes that it may be hours before whatever they’re drugged with wears off. Vash searches the rest of the facility, finding an entrance to the sewer network below, along with a small room full of patient records, and a motherlode of explosive powder in kegs. The vampires very nearly blew the entire city block up to cover the truth about Dr. Northwell’s compromised operation. Sure now that no more attackers lurk below, Vash returns to Tobias, who has tended to Lyda and Carmenith as best he can, as well as the other patients, who appear to be homeless people abducted from the clinic. The records confirm that the doctor has long been using his free clinic to identify those who can be easily kidnapped and harvested for organs. His daily trips to the quarantine district were not philanthopic, but instead hunting trips to sate his thirst. The two men go back up to the doctor’s townhouse, and Tobias charms a female servant, setting an appointment with the doctor for later on, to cover their tracks. Vash searches the house, recovers the research journals and the doctor’s notes on them, planting the incriminating records where guards are likely to find them later on, and stealing clothing for the patients below.
Vash and Tobias dress the women in the stolen clothing, load the other four patients into carts, leave them with extra clothing, blankets, and a gold coin each, and leave them in the sewers to wake up on their own. They smuggle their limp companions back into the palace, coming in by the balcony to avoid notice. They pull Losoran out of the ongoing diplomatic talks, fill him in on events, and leave him in care of Lyda and Carmenith.
They descend into the sewers to contact Abasi, and find the Avan operatives. They find Abasi, but have to avoid guards and demon dogs, who are now searching the sewers for the rebels with renewed fervor. Abasi leads them again to the Avan’s new camp, to the dismay of Abbot Othemarrel, who, despite Abasi’s reassurances, does not yet fully trust them. He is impressed with them, however, and very willing to hear their plans to infiltrate the prison and complete a rescue operation. He assigns them two Avan assassins to help. Both men are willing, but grim, and seem to consider this a suicide mission. Vash’s plan is at first, only to rescue Carmenith’s brothers, but somehow the plan escalates to include every innocent prisoner there. Vash urges them to bring the mirror-portal, which would allow them to evacuate prisoners to safety as they encounter them, and maintain stealth. The Avans are reluctant to risk the valuable item, for fear it will fall into the hands of the eitharmos, but Tobias and Vash persuade them to consider it. They pour over maps and charts, hoping to come up with a better way to get a potentially large group of captives out of an “inescapable” facility. Leaving the assassins to their plotting, the Vash and Tobias leave with another of the operatives, a tiefling explosives expert. He evaluates the kegs of explosives hidden under Dr. Northwell’s facility, and tells them that they only need half of them if they want to limit the blast to the destruction of the secret labs and the clinic above. They bring the rest of the explosives to the Avan operatives, who allow them to store them in a hidden cache of equipment near the cathedral. The Avans gleefuly hear their plans to blow up the clinic, and offer to do it for them at midnight, creating a distraction near the clinic that will surely draw the guards away from the streets of other areas in the city. This will finally allow the Avans to rescue the scattered groups of hidden Jharethil Carmenith told them about yesterday, as well as the one Tobias discovered today. The explosion will hopefully also distract the guards around and in the cathedral, and Vash and Tobias plan their break-in for the same hour.
At midnight, a huge explosion shakes the city as the clinic is destroyed. Tobias and Vash successfully take advantage of the diversion, and sneak into the sealed records room of the great cathedral. Tobias delves into the records, and learns that his father Ober purchased some sort of unspecified protection from a secretive order of etholchan priests, the Yáloin, then returned shortly after Tobias’s birth, seeking further aid, which was denied him. The records also indicate that high officials in the etholchan church know that Daemoth died a century ago, body and soul, but that his shadow and power still exist. Maruma’e has shown them a way to resurrect their god in even greater glory than before. The Yáloin have become mimmesarchs in joint service to Maruma’e and Daemoth, and very few outside their order know the truth about Daemoth’s death, and the source that the Daemothites now draw divine power from. Tobias also finds records of the eitharmos’s several bases within Forteth, including a facility in the prison towers. The Duke-Regent knows of them, and records indicate that he cooperates with their order’s operations in the country. Taking a few books, Vash and Tobias sneak back out and return to the palace.
Searching for information skill challenge: 700 xp
Planting Rumors: 50 xp
Zombie Combat Encounter: 2,000 xp
Vampire Lair Encounter: 1,200 xp
Story-mode slaying of Vampires: 200 xp
Rescuing Lyda, Carmenith, and the patients: 50 xp
Setting up the explosion: 50 xp
Working with the Avans to help refugees: 50 xp
Finding the mafia and arranging a meeting: 50 xp
Breaking into the sealed records room: 50 xp
Total XP is 4,400, divided by 2 PC’s, so 2,200 each. Previous cumulative individual total was 13,020, current running total is 15,220.
Vash recovered from Dr. Northwell’s corpse one solid gold non-magical etholchan holy symbol, and a purse containing 500 gp of mixed currency and gems.
Tobias recieved 1000 gp in paper currency from his new mafia contact.