Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nefret, Chapter 6a: Garden of the Vizier's Daughter

Having returned to Peraten, despite Oshep's seemingly best efforts in Wati, you have decided to infiltrate the nobleman's estate.  The plan is as follows:  Cecil will disguise himself as a servant and sneak around the house looking for information about the Embalmers' Guild.  Posing as merchants (though not a far stretch), Pleebit, Nyala, and Jaeth (their bodyguard) will meet with [ie., distract] Oshep and Natari in Natari's garden.  While Aloysa waits at the back of the estate in the servants quarters in case of trouble, Kiji will do the same outside the front gate ... while preaching anti-heresy in the streets to gather a crowd if necessary for escape.

Important Locations


The city is composed of three districts, one for each of the dominant races of the Three Kingdoms:
  • Elf (Northern) District is located between the Great Temple of the Sun and the Palace of the Pharaoh.  If is here that the most powerful nobles of the city live; it is also includes the central market, which attracts the largest percentage of visitors to the city.  Some catfolk and cattlefolk also makes their homes here.
  • Dogfolk (Western) District is located south of the Great Temple of the Sun, and includes the Lesser [or Funerary] Temple of the Sun.  Funerary processions for the royal family begin at this temple, then pass through each other district before continuing on to the royal tombs.  Some grippli, humans, and lizardfolk also make their home here.
  • Tengu (Eastern or Upper) District is located east of the Great Temple of the Sun, and rests on a hill above the Peraten.  Some dwarves, nagaji, and vanaras also make their homes here.
Oshep's Estate is located in the Elf District, bordering Sebti's Estate.  These two nobles are currently rivals in the court of Akhenhotep II--each vying for the position of Grand Vizier.  Both nobles and their spy networks are aware of a secret passage in the connecting wall between their properties.

Important People

Embalmers' Guild is a professional association active throughout Nefret.  It includes undertakers, herbalists, and mundane alchemists specializing in funerary services and body preservation as well as specially-trained alchemists and necromancers.  Recently, the specially trained members of the guild (including one-time party member Nephethus) were recalled to Tem-Akh, the old capital of the Empire.  Iban (see below) believes a member of the guild may be involved in the Wati murders.

Ibankhknum (or simply Iban; male ramfolk fighter) is a captain in the ranks of Phararoh's guard. He had asked the party to investigate a possible lead related to the murder of two Wati guards.

Order of the Medjay is a special branch of Pharaoh's royal guards responsible for imperial level investigations, intelligence gathering, and the safety of Pharaoh and his immediate family. The local leader of the order is Meret-Hetef.  A member of this order, Ekram Iffek, was working with the necromancer Nebta-Khufre when he murdered the Wati guards.

Oshep is a vizier in Pharaoh's court, and a rival of Sebti. Iban has asked the party to investigate Oshep's recent work with the Embalmer's Guild, particularly a team led by Nephethus. By doing so, Iban is hoping to learn about a necromancer who might have been working with Ekram Iffek.

Natari is Oshep's daughter.  She has a garden on her father's property that is filled with exotic plants--many of which are of particular interest to herbalists and alchemists.

Sessions 6.20 & 6.21

Having set about their plan, things initially went well for the party.  Pleebit and Nyala kept Natari and Oshep engaged in a thorough conversation about herbs, cultivation, and merchandising.  The lady of the house even offered the druids a cutting from every plant in her garden.

During this conversation, Cecil was able to infiltrate the house, even bypassing a guard who was ... distracting himself ... to enter Oshep's private office.  In the office, a letter was found from the necromancer Nebta-Khufre thanking Oshep for granting the Embalmers' Guild access to Wati.  In the letter, the necromancer even confirmed that the object which he sought "was certainly in the city."  Another oddity found in the office was a sarcophagus bearing Oshep's name; however, the typical spells for the protection of the dead were replaced with other spells unknown to our infiltrator.  Symbols on the sarcophagus also combined icons of Ra, Aten, and other sun gods.  An inspection of the rest of the house turned up more iconography of other sun gods, and even a hidden altar to Kephri.  Cecil was able to complete his circuit of the house and return to the safety of Sebti's servant quarters unmolested.

While preaching in the streets, Kiji was arrested for heresy and taken to the "special cells" in the Elf District guardhouse.  He was scheduled to meet with the local inquisition in two days time--during which Jaeth and Cecil are able to pose as guards and win the right to attend the proceedings.  Kiji was interviewed by Ptemenib, whom Kiji knew to be a heretic as well--following a sun tradition that is neither Netjeric nor Atenistic.  A battle of wills ensued, and Kiji proved to be the victor--winning his freedom, and irrevocably shaking Ptemenib's resolve.

The relationship between Natari and Oshep had come into question--and whether or not Natari was even Oshep's natural daughter was considered.  Iconography throughout the house and garden associates Oshep with the gods of the sun, while similar icon associate Natari with primordial snake goddesses.  When questioned during a follow-up visit, Natari brushed the hyper-religious imagery off as her father's odd obsession.  During this visit, Aloysa and Kiji also learned that Oshep is away with "a member of his order who is unwell"--with a high probability that the person in question is Ptemenib.

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