The road not taken
A Coded Message
A coded message
A coded message from Holgrath that was given to the party by the leader of the Crimson Irregulars, this parchment contains a seemingly undecipherable string of symbols. Anyone familiar with ancient Demerian can recognize that the symbols are, in fact, characters of that ancient language’s script, but the letters still make no sense.
Here is what is known of the message (as narrated by the mysterious leader of the Guild of Guilds):
Jules recognizes the script to be ancient Demerian. Although he is unfamiliar with this language, he doubts that knowing how to read the string of letters would reveal any information. The message seems to be nothing but gibberish, as is evident by the sheer number of consonants that are placed next to each other, in blatant disregard of all rules of spelling. The man must be right: it must be some sort of coded message. Without breaking the code, whatever information may be contained on the parchment cannot be read.
(Malcom) “…We might be an individual group. But we are also the banner that all of Sovrinn will unite under.”
The man turns to Malcom; firstly, he replies to his claims: “Strong words, but words alone will not bring the Empire to its knees. However, if it reassures you, know that I share the sentiment.”
He turns to the rest of the group: “Prove us your competence and your trustworthiness, and we will admit you to our group. Our network extends through all of Andelia and you will be able to make use of our resources.”
He then tries to answer Malcom’s questions about the message: “A member of the guild of guilds intercepted this message from an emissary of the Imperial army less than a week ago. The message was intercepted just outside the city, at the Seductive Succubus. We have reasons to believe that the emissary was riding from Holgrath, and wanted to… em… relieve himself after the journey. Our agents can be very persuasive when the circumstances demand it.”
Malcom, having lived in Andelia for long, knows that the Seductive Succubus is a large brothel and pleasure-house just outside Lower Andelia. However, this is not your typical run-down local brothel. The establishment’s prices are prohibitive for all but the wealthy, so none but nobles, bureaucrats and the most successful of merchants frequent the place. These regular patrons make sure that no-one without the proper credentials disturbs their privacy.
The rebel continues: “The guildswomen copied the message and re-sealed the original, so that we do not raise any suspicions. Unfortunately, our efforts in breaking the code have been futile thus far. That’s why we are asking you… We do not know to whom this message was delivered to, but one thing is clear: the information appears to be extremely sensitive, otherwise the Imperials would not have bothered with a code.” He pauses, observing as the piece of parchment changes hands, and he sees that the message is met with confusion. "I do not expect for any but the most talented scholars to be able to decipher this message. If you do not know of such a person, may I make a suggestion: There is a man that might help. He is an infamous diviner, that is known by many simply as “the secret stealer”. Our agents confirm that he is currently associated with the local thieves’ guild, offering his services to the highest bidder. The man goes by many names, but it seems that his latest pseudonym is Runolf Graycloak."