After meeting with Lady Vanderboren at her residence, we traveled to the vault to assist in retrieving our payment. Accompanying us on this journey was the Acolyte that Aesmarele mentioned in her letter.
Once in the basement of the castle, we were shown to a short hallway. Lady Vanderboren fitted her signet ring into a socket on the door and the whole area glowed momentarily with a faint blue light. The door opened easily enough, but inside was an Iron Cobra. The construct only managed to inject venom into one of us, and after it was defeated we proceeded to search the room for the treasure that we all assumed to be there.
A recessed switch was found in one of three identical pillars in the room, and inside were seven images of monsters, each with more eyes than the last. Throughout the whole vault area was the same eight-pointed star symbol. This room had it in the ceiling, with a red ray pointing to the entrance.
We sat around trying to push what seemed to be some kind of lock around the room and trying to puzzle out some meaning from the riddle. Finally, our halfling decided to try his hand at picking the mechanism and several hours later, we had access to the inner rooms.
Lady Vanderboren inspected the contents of the vault, and was dismayed to find merely a few silvers in each coffer but the last. In that hold were two ledgers showing numerous accounts owing debts to the Vanderboren house which had never been collected. Additionally, there was enough gold and gems for her to pay us what was due from our last mission.
Asking upstairs, the clerk in charge of the castle told us that no one could possibly have gotten in or out of the vault without the proper signet ring. He looked up the records and it seems that a Vanthis Vanderboren had signed his way in a few times over the previous weeks. Since no other person had accessed the vault, this must be where the money from the other coffers has gone.
Vathis is the name of Lady Vanderboren’s missing brother, long presumed by her to be dead. It seems that he was never the same after their parents passed away, and he may have fallen in with the wrong crowd. He found a woman somewhere who had a reputation as a pickpocket, and after staying at the Vanderboren residence for a time, left for the Azure District.
Traveling to the Azure District, we looked around for some of the brothels Vanthis was known to frequent. One of the serving wenches remembered someone matching the description we gave, but hadn’t seen him in a while. Another person was able to tell us that his associate was one Brissa Santos, a well known pickpocket in Shadowshore.
It seems that neither Vanthis nor Santos has been seen in the Azure District for some time. We may need to dig some more into Vanthis’ past to find out who he fell in with during the time after his parents’ death. It seems that he was working on a plantation, presumably in the Sunrise District, shortly before it, and his change from the brother Lady Vanderboren knew as a child may have started there.
And, of course, there’s always more bars and brothels that we can search.