I, Katla Gyrdottir, along with several companions, were following up on a kidnapping of some halflings. My companions were Cavendish (Troy), Gau (Konopa), Barry (Tootired78), and Dakka Doon (Le Count) (Run by Revy). Cavendish and Barry were among the people who were tracking a group of suspicious and loudspoken tieflings several weeks prior from Port Mirandia. They had lost the tracks of the tieflings near a small unnamed hamlet to the south west of Buqa Marsh. We decided to try and pick up the tracks from there.

The walk from Port Mirandia was uneventful with one exception. The second night of travel we were attacked by a group of thugs in the night. Aside from its suddenness it was not a difficult fight. The last one standing attempted to surrender but Barry was not taking prisoners and promptly killed him. I admit to being irked at the situation, not from a moral standpoint just from a practical standpoint. I wanted to question the ambusher to see if this was random or a targeted effort against us. I found no serpent or scorpion tattoos on the bodies so they did not seem to be connected to the cults in Port Mirandia and Ruined Oak.

Our journey continued until we came upon the hamlet. Evidently the previous group had gone into this hamlet and found different information but I was unaware of any of this. As we approach one of the four buildings Cavendish tries to open to open the door. When that fails she proceeds to kick it. This draws the ire of the halfling woman named Cynthia who lives inside. The door opened to Cynthia holding a crossbow on us and being irate. It was revealed that when the previous group visited the person who came to speak to her was Gargot. Apparently his method of knocking involved a battering ram which broke her door. We managed to come to a compromise and Barry used some minor magic to repair the door and broken lock. We learned several things about the area. First, the other people living in this hamlet had gone missing some time before while Cynthia and her husband were off hunting. Second, there is a bugbear population living in Buqa Marsh. Third, the tieflings were spotted heading towards the Marsh. We headed towards the marsh, finding some cloven tracks that suggested we were on the right path.

During the night we were ambushed by invisible assailants. I managed to move several people out of harms way but it was not enough, several of us were still in jeopardy with blades to our throats. The leader was a woman named Vellith Gacezzi, a tiefling woman, arrogant and condescending as they come. She said she wanted to have a civil conversation with us about why were tracking them. It was pointed out having knives to our throats is not a civil conversation which did not go over well. She began getting angry at us, declaring us to be self righteous individuals who take justice into our own hands. She was either conceited enough or idiotic enough to not recognize the hypocrisy of what she was doing, in response to simply being tracked she escalated the situation immensely and took justice into her own self righteous hands. We managed to learn some things in conversation with her, her boss is someone named Tony in Traders Bay being one of the chief ones. Vellith herself seemed to be in the slave trade, abducting people into bondage. She also had a strange relationship with her underlings, almost seemed like they were her harem. It seemed likely that we were going to be taken into slavery when Cavendish managed to turn the situation around, on purpose or on accident I do not know. She managed to turn it into a business deal with Vellith, saying she would ransom prisoners (AKA buy slaves) from her. Vellith agreed and three slaves were purchased, a halfling, a dwarf, and a sickly kobold who could eat rocks. Vellith took her leave after this, disappearing into the night. Something to note, they all had slug imagery on their cloaks.

Vellith Gacezzi

We slept through the night, planning on getting the freed slaves to safety before anything else. I was still unhappy with the previous night and began racking my brain on how they found us so easily. After some thought I realized some things about Cynthia’s story were not adding up and as I expressed my desire to return and question her, Cavendish offered two pieces of information. First was that they had found buckets of weapons there previously and second was that there was a new building from when she had seen the hamlet several weeks prior. This made me think that perhaps Cynthia was a conspirator with Vellith, providing information on travelers in the area and a safe place to keep slaves. We traveled back to the hamlet, intent on getting answers.

As we arrived we planned some. We heard three people talking in the building we believed to be Cynthia’s house. Cavendish stayed behind with the freed slaves, the kobold having become her squire in some strange manner. The rest of us snuck around the hamlet towards the new building. We managed to open a window into the building, allowing Dakka to sneak in. She investigated some upstairs but eventually the rest of us joined her and we went down the stairs. It lead to a tunnel (more horrible underground travel) that lead north to Cynthia’s home. We were able to hear the three voices down in the tunnel. We decided that I would go back to cavendish and we would would question Cynthia more directly, meanwhile Dakka, Barry, and Gau would stay in the tunnel, ready to ambush them if things went badly.

Me and Cavendish approached the building (Cavendish calling out her arrival beforehand, something Cynthia had insisted on at the end of the previous meeting). The door opened revealing an irritated Cynthia along with a male halfling and tall human woman (she was taller than I which would put her over my 6 foot height). I am not skilled in matters regarding conversation or persuasion but I was able to ask questions, which combined with some recently learned mental abilities, allowed me to learn some things. She did not seem to have any connection to Vellith and there was nothing malevolent about the new building or weapons. However a consistent thought in her mind was worry about something she called “The Jail” and how she did not want us to check it. We parted from her and I went and collected the rest of the party in the tunnel.

We snuck around to the jail, looking for a way in. There was no door but there were several windows with iron bars. Cavendish chose to enter through the chimney while Gau used magic on the iron bars. He heated them up enough for us to bend the bars, prying the whole bar apparatus out of the window frame. We entered into the building and discovered a cell. As we looked in we discovered a robed and manacled individual sitting in the corner. Our initial worry was erased when it was learned that it was a tiefling named Franky, one of Vellith’s boys. This seemed to solidify the idea that the halflings living here were enemies of the slavers. We decided to reveal our actions and desire to work with them to hurt the slavers.

We returned to the house, intent on gaining some allies. This time Tyben, Cynthia’s husband opened the door, with no small amount of hesitation. We revealed that we broke into the jail and discovered their prisoner which naturally upset him. We also told him it was likely the slavers abducted the other people living at the hamlet. Eventually I told him that we wished to work with them against the slavers, not for righteous reasons or to bring them to justice but for vengeance. He was still unconvinced but he managed to see the freed slaves. Apparently the halfling was his sister and the dwarf and kobold were also members of his group the Longfoot Group (we were initially searching for what we thought was a kidnapped halfling family called the Longfoots). This solidified the agreement between us, an effort to work against Vellith and her slavers. The Longfoot group itself was apparently a group of entertainers that preferred to live outside the normal bounds of law and order. We got permission to interrogate Franky which we did with intensity.

We kept him up through the night, first with Cavendish trying to peacefully convince him to reveal information followed by Gau transforming Franky into a rat and himself into a duck. This proved extremely effective in breaking his mental resolve. All the while Dakka forged outside the cell (in reality Dakka was fixing the window but the loud clanging keeping him awake was fortuitous). Dakka kept an eye on him till morning, ignoring his pleas. When morning came my psychic abilities had recovered and I went in to finish the interrogation. I hauled him up to his feet and asked him some questions while probing his mind, the information is as follows.

There is approximately 100 people in his gang. Vellith’s boys love her greatly (perhaps this could be exploited). The marsh base in in the middle of the swamp. The main homebase is based out of Trader’s Bay. He had no info on the location of where they kept their money. The way he thought about Vellith leads me to believe she may have her boys charmed, perhaps magically. At the very least there is a strange relationship present.

We presented this information to Tyben, Cyn and Mara (the human woman) and headed out, leaving the dwarf and halfling there while the kobold continued with Cavendish. We promised to keep an eye out for other members of the Longfoot group, specifically one named Martin Longfoot, the halfling that asked for help in finding some kidnapped people originally.

Now I wish to speak some more words in regards to Vellith. She claimed we were self appointed self righteous arbiters of justice. However I have never claimed to be righteous, I pursue things because they benefit me. I write this to make sure it is clear what my motivations are in the following paragraph.

I Katla Gyrdottir declare privately, publicly and before the gods an oath, one of vengeance and wrath. Vellith Gacezzi has wronged me and I will right this even at the expense of my life. My oath will be fulfilled when I crush her beneath my heel, take her horns as my trophy, and send her to the hell that is reserved for her. My humiliation will be returned tenfold upon Vellith and those that follow her. If you plan to interfere with my path, I ask you stand aside if you do want to be cut down or be forced to cut me down. I seal this with the blood of my palm.

S I C I L I A M O: The "Bloody Handprint" 447 years on