The Catalogue of Demons described Beligandir as a towering, horned being with gargantuan black wings, brandishing a flaming whip and a sword crackling with magic. One question remained: How would the Party even hope to defeat such a terrible foe?
Still, they needed to move, for Kolmhaag had exhausted its information. They would need some way to find out where Edessa had gone to. Carric, pondering on this, remembered that Bowmeet, a free trading city north of Dusk Coast , held much knowledge from many corners of the world. The University of Bowmeet was an unlikely jewel in the middle of the port that also saw adventurers, pirates and other unsavory travellers. After naming their ship the Huntress, after the fact that their immediate future would be hunting for information, the Party bid farewell to Kolmhaag and left.
After over a week on the sea, Bowmeet rose on the horizon. On the 20th of Reaping, the Huntress moored and the Party stepped out. At least for Dulkan, this would be the farthest he had ever traveled to. To the regular visitors of Duskport, the influx of new accents and things on sale were not as wondrous as one would have expected. But the posters were: The Cult of the Guardian, heretics and troublemakers, were wanted for acts of terror. Brushing these local concerns aside, the Party strode to the University. And they found blackened ruins.
The destruction of the University of Bowmeet came as a hard surprise to Carric and Althea, both appreciators of scholars. Inquiries to the reason of the destruction revealed that the Cult was to blame. During the last month, after Khariss’ death, they had intensified their efforts and had raided the library. Ashanti’s followers met their raid, and in the ensuing fight, the library burned.
Outraged, the Party headed to the Temple of Ashanti to speak to the current person in charge after the death of Dogi of Bowmeet at the hands of the Cult. Ser Brack, a Paladin of Ashanti, had taken order into his hands. He told the Party that the Cult had demanded for the disbanding of every Dragon Divine’s Temple on Bowmeet. Unsurprisingly, every cleric, priest and Paladin had declined, and the entire city had become the battleground in the cat-and-mouse game between the factions.
Ser Brack was sympathetic to the Party’s cause, as a demonic incursion was not to be taken lightly. But he was also hesitant to release any of the potentially heretical piece of information, nor the suspected wizards. As a symbol of mutual trust, he asked the Party to perform a task that he did not have the resources to currently attend: Find out what had happened to a ship that should have brought in reinforcements. The Party was disappointed to the answer, but promised to take a look.
Dulkan returned to the Huntress, while Althea and Carric asked for the local sea charts from a nearby tavern: The Mysterious Lamb. Dulkan discussed the situation with Celad, the Huntress’ captain. From the port, Celad had found out about a third faction: The Patron of Shadow. A criminal kingpin who had turned from thievery and corruption to aiding the war-torn Bowmeet. Intrigued and dissatisfied with the Paladins, Dulkan put out a message that he would like to meet the man. On The Mysterious Lamb, Althea and Carric found a message from the Patron of Shadow, stating “There are always options”. It seemed that the Party’s arrival had been noticed.
As Althea and Carric returned, Dulkan presented them with a message that had arrived to their ship: The Cult of the Guardian wanted to see them. Concerned with the Cult’s reputation, but not wanting to judge them without meeting them, the Party headed out to the meeting.
On the decrepit alehouse they found a mask-wearing human, who introduced himself as Sid, a devout Follower of the Guardian. The man explained their organization: The Guardian was a human, empowered with divine power who helped out free settlements in need and who slew dragons. The Followers had come from the far east, with a man called Master Oberon. Now that (according to their claims) the Guardian had killed Khariss, the Followers were rising up and resisting the dragonic oppression, one facet of which was the belief of the Dragon Divines. Sid explained that the Followers had great respect for the Party, who they saw as doing just work.
Despite Dulkan’s eagerness to help the Followers, Althea negotiated some time to think before any promises were made. For the Followers had a plan to release the prisoners and confiscated materials. Then they left the devout, pondering on this.
But on their way back, Dulkan’s message had bore fruit. A wine bottle, reminiscent of the one bought by the Patron of the Shadow in the tavern, was waiting for them, along with directions to a house. The Party followed the directions, resolved to go through every faction that seemed to want something from them. And at the house they found an unassuming halfling, stating that people called him the Patron of Shadow.
The Patron was revealed to be a rather sophisticated criminal, who now wanted for value and prosperity for the people of Bowmeet. He argued that while the Followers of Guardian wanted to bring security and the Temples of the Divines wanted to bring order, they did that via trust in some questionable higher being, or via draconic, dragonic attitudes and hierarchy. He thought that the best way was to bring liberty and mutual understanding to everyone. And that is why he had been garnering goodwill by spending his ill-gotten gains.
While the halfling seemed confident in his claims, the Party couldn’t be fully confident that the criminal kingpin wasn’t hiding something. What he needed from the Party was clear enough: He needed someone to clear one of Bowmeet’s southern rocky outcroppings for him to expand his operations.
With many options, the Party returned to weigh them to the Huntress.