The Ashen Crown, the Lords of Madness, and the Queen of Death

An Interlude with Graeb Shanks

A muffled voice came from within Bog’s pack. Reluctantly, he rummaged around and fished out the sending stone. From the smooth, rune-inscribed stone he could hear the all-to-familiar voice of Graeb Shanks.

“Do you smell smoke?” Shanks asked.

“No?” Bogs replied.

“Well, that’s interesting. I smell smoke.”

“Look Shanks, I know you’re trying to imply that you’ve set fire to something important to me, or the building that I’m in. Why don’t you just come right out and tell me what you’re up to?” Bogs grumbled.

Shanks laughed. “There’s nothing that warms my heart like a good fire. Did you know that bodies that have burned to ash cannot be brought back from death? That could spell trouble for some very dead friends of yours.”

Fearing that Shanks may have attacked House Jorasco, the party took a sky coach back from the Borough of Blackroot. They arrived in the good part of Sharn to find that something had indeed been set fire to- a great pillar of black smoke was rising from a casino in the neighbourhood. They had barely dismounted from the sky coach when they were ambushed by Graeb Shanks, his cockatrice Scheherazade, and four gnolls thugs.

Arasinya cleverly distracted the cockatrice by having her pet raven fly circles around the dim-witted chicken-dragon thing’s head. Scheherazade spent the battle hopping up and down, trying to nip at the raven, which was careful to keep out of reach of the cockatrice’s petrifying bite.

Tinker managed to briefly disarm the gnolls of their spears with his spike wire, but the gnolls’ tolerance for pain meant that they soon had them in gripped in their paws once again.

But in spite of their ingenuity, the party took a beating. Maltassar Bogs was felled by Graeb Shank’s blade and Arasinya and Tinker were knocked out by the gnolls. But just as things were looking quite dire, the halflings of House Jorasco rushed out to assist the party and, miraculously, Maltassar Bogs regained consciousness on his own.

Realizing that the battle has turned against him, Graeb Shanks hurled himself over the street railing and activated his “feather fall” talisman, slowing his descent to a safe speed. Rushing to the rail, Bogs caught Shanks in the eye with a crossbow bolt and the minotaur died. The talisman failed and the mob boss plummeted into the clouds below. Not eager to meet the same fate, the gnolls fled, towing the cockatrice on it leash along behind them.

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