The Headmaster called everyone into his office. Having considered their words from their last encounter, he had decided to take his expedition in a different direction. Out of thanks for their years of decorated service, however, he offered them handsome Academy-branded bags of holding, and wished them luck in future endeavors.
Now left to their own devices, the party was about to set on the road once more, only to be distracted by a disturbance near the Academy’s vaults. A young man was trying to get access to his father’s vault, only to be denied, as he had neither the key, nor identification. His pleas that he’d been robbed while at the Inn of the Crossroads fell on deaf ears, and he was turned away. Perhaps identifying with his frustration with the Academy, the party sat down with him for a talk.
The young man was called Corrin Hawke, the latest in a long line of gentleman adventurers, and he was after his father’s equipment, stored in the Academy Vaults. His father had gone missing on an expedition recently, and Corrin had vowed to take up the family business and find what happened to his dad. Unfortunately, he explained, the night before, he’d been robbed of his travelling gear, and all his identification. In return for a considerable reward, the party agreed to help him recover his possessions and be on his way.
The Inn of the Crossroads was bustling, and tracking down the culprit didn’t promise to be easy. To set up cover, Varris started a rowdy drinking contest with a washed-up orc wrestler and some dwarven miners. Using the distraction, Zed was able to infiltrate the upstairs rooms and determine that the goods weren’t in the hands of anyone staying at the inn. A conversation between Amare and the kalashtar merchant revealed that a gang of thieves had been operating in the area. Finally, a hushed conversation between Nyrineab and the shadowy gentleman in the corner led to an ID. The young elf man who’d been flitting around the periphery was the perp. The party nabbed him, but then a misunderstanding broke out with the proprietor. In the confusion, the elf bolted. Visok was easily able to catch the bandit, but allowed him to escape so he’d lead them to his base.
The trail dead-ended at a cave in the woods. The party crept along, Zed disarming the numerous traps as they went. At one point the party was separated by falling doors, and threatened to be crushed by a giant roller, but Amare was able to lodge the threat in the wall. The end of the path held a small room filled with chests that opened to reveal junk, but a hidden door led to the real mastermind: a young halfling woman, who threatened the party to stay where they were, her hand ominously on a lever by her side.
The halfling explained that she operated a Thieves’ Academy, and the party had stumbled across one of her students. Asking why they’d come, she immediately procured Corrin’s stolen property. Nyrineab decided that their business was concluded. Others were less convinced. It didn’t really matter, though, the halfling explained, as she was just buying time for her students to evacuate their training cave. Throwing the lever, she was launched into a hidden escape chute in the ceiling. Visok pursued up the shaft, only to meet a boulder that had been moved to block the way, bearing the message “You’ve just been had by Lilyberg Biscuitbarrel!” By the time the goliath moved the stone, the thieves were long gone. Swearing revenge, he set the cave on fire as he left.
Back at the Academy, Corrin triumphantly unlocked his father’s vault. Paying the party handsomely out of the strongboxes contained within, he gathered up the old adventuring equipment, and opened the ceiling to the sky outside. If the party was interested, he offered, he would be willing to enlist their services. He could promise excitement, danger, and sights they’d never seen before. As the party considered his offer, he removed the dust cloth from the giant object filling the vault: a huge magical ship, shining and silver, that could fly! Oh hells yes they’re in…