At the dawn of day six, the Skylarks considered their next steps. The golden chest, stolen on the previous night from the Chimney Sweeps, proved to be impossible to open without the key, and based on the note recovered with the chest, the key was located at Heidmarch Manor. The party decided to use their Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments to bury the chest under the floor of the small warehouse in their offices, as well as to conceal the body of Barbas, their recently deceased guild leader.
Because Heidmarch Manor was on the list of list of sites and monuments whose cleaning contracts are managed at the Ordellia Embassy, Fraud and Kiara paid a visit to Augusto Zanca, the embassy clerk who handles those contracts. As it turned out, Heidmarch Manor was on the list to be cleaned and painted, but the contract was not due for another month. A bribe convinced Augusto to pull some strings and escalate the timeline of the contract, and he awarded it to the Skylarks. The Skylarks departed that day for Heidmarch Manor in the far northern section of the city.
At Heidmarch Manor, the party met with the Major Domo who informed them that all of the windows and doors to the manor were protected by powerful glyphs. He would disable the glyphs room-by-room as the Skylarks were ready. Also, a guard would follow the Skylarks around the manor and be present in the rooms being cleaned “to answer any questions you might have.”
The next morning, the party arrived to begin work. Most of this day was used to scout out the location and to learn the schedules of the inhabitants of the manor, particularly Sheila Heidmarch and Van der Meer, the wizard. Later in the day, a safe was discovered in Van der Meer’s room, and the Skylarks focused more on his activities after that. Also, during the course of the first day, Odie Phrexen of the Washside Ringers and Jaster Frallino, the guild leader of the Gallowed, separately arrived and met with Sheila and Van der Meer.
Fraud used his Earring of Eavesdropping to listen in on the conversation between Sheila, Van der Meer and Odie Phrexen. During this discussion, Odie was questioned extensively regarding the theft of the golden chest and his role in it. He admitted to stalling the Esmeralda in customs but no further involvement. Van der Meer threatened Odie with a fate worse than death if he failed to recover the chest quickly. Odie then left the manor, stopping to vomit on the sidewalk, before going on his way.
Jaster Frallino visited later in the day. The Skylarks were unable to eavesdrop on the conversation, but as Jaster was seen leaving in an obvious fury, Malachi used Detect Thoughts on him. What Malachi gathered went something like this: “I’m going to find them, and then I’m going to kill them. No, wait. First I’ll find them, then I’ll feed their feet to my barracuda, then I’ll kill them. No, wait. I’ll feed their families to the barracuda first. Yeah. Kill their pets, too. Oh, and burn down their houses…” His thoughts continued in this vein until he walked out of range of the spell.
During this time, the Skylarks kept a constant eye on Van der Meer. In the early afternoon, they saw him attempt a scrying spell. The scrying was viewed from outside his window by the Skylarks, and in it they saw an image of Sheila Heidmarch in another part of the manor walking down a hallway with a woman who appeared to be a servant. They approached a tapestry, at which point Van der Meer leaned forward intently. However, the vision suddenly went dark, and Van der Meer dismissed the spell with an angry gesture.
The Skylarks left the manor at the end of the first day and returned the next morning. They had discovered that Van der Meere was in the habit of taking long walks around the manor grounds in the late morning, and the Skylarks saw this as their opportunity to break into his room and attempt to open the safe.
As some of the group cleaned the windows in a separate area, and Kiara distracted a guard outside, Varo Pavan used the Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments to paint a hole in Van der Meer’s wall, allowing Dol’oren to enter. Dol’oren detected and removed a glyph from the safe and managed to pick the very complex lock with some difficulty. Inside the safe, Dol’oren found a small box and a bag. Finding the key in the box, Dol’oren took it, but he returned the box and left the bag in the safe. Varo Pavan painted over the hole in the wall, and Dol’oren left the room without detection. With their tracks reasonably covered, the Skylarks remained onsite to finish the job before departing for Ordellia late in the afternoon.
Opening the Chest
Arriving at their headquarters, the Skylarks immediately recovered the chest and used the key to open it. Inside they discovered that the chest was larger on the inside than the outside, wherein they found a shard that appeared to be a part of a larger whole. It clearly had magic properties. In addition, there was a large bundle of items with another note attached. It implied that these items were to be used as a payment (supposedly by Van der Meer) for some unknown service performed by an unknown party. It also implied that the items would help this third party in their next endeavor. What that might be was unclear.
Among the items found were:
10,000 gp in gems
Staff of Thunder and Lightning
Staff of Healing
Wand of Wonder
Adamantine Armor +1 of Fire Resistance
Vicious Shortbow, +2
Bracers of Defense
Cloak of Protection
Helm of Comprehending Languages
6 Honing Stones
Potions and Oils:
Superior healing x5
Greater healing x10
1 jar of Keoghtem’s Ointment (2 doses)