As all proper campaigns should, we start our story at the Lucky 13, a drab and dilapidated inn off the Las Vegas strip, where Iron Horse, almost Champion of the Coyote Clan, was interrupted in his late-afternoon, drug-induced doze by his cousin Mirage, who had taken advantage of a brief moment of liberty to deliver to him (TECHNICALLY without permission) the weapon crafted by his clan as his ceremonial badge of office. Iron Horse received this gift with all the dignity he was able to muster.
Several days later, quite a few things happened to a disparate group of people. Gable Clifton, of Gable and Zharra, was taken suddenly and rapidly ill. Zharra, while concerned about her partner, felt she was up to the task of performing solo and took this on with all due modesty. Harley, the so-called ‘Paladin of the Trickster’, also accepted a job tending bar at the Hellfire Revue. The Herald of Progress, or one of his agents, decided to try to distract Iron Horse from his trials by sending him a ticket to this self-same revue via his medic, Duna Sparksteel. The druid and elementalist of the Water and Power Company, Lear, was requested to bodyguard her manager, Asher Macavoy, at the performance for reasons unexplained. And finally, Gilt “Hardluck” Botherstone received a missive from one of his financial advisors politely requesting his presence at the conclusion of Zharra’s act to discuss some fiduciary matters of interest to them both.
And so it came to pass that these five capable individuals were present when the fire elementals attacked.
At the height of Zharra’s fire-throwing performance, several small explosions that were initially taken by the audience to be part of the act turned out, instead, to be the summons of a moderate number of insectoid creatures from the elemental plane of fire, along with a humanoid elemental, which turned its eyes immediately to Lear. Our heroes leaped forward and bravely defended the theater and its occupants with only minimal casualties and structural damage; Lear went toe-to-toe with the elemental until it struck her down with a mighty blow, only to find Iron Horse suddenly there, standing over her body and fighting in her place. Hardluck took a few painful hits, then dived behind a bar and doused the growing flames with a conveniently-placed bottle of seltzer. Zharra fought fire with fire, doing considerable damage to many of the creatures, and Harley and Iron Horse both interposed themselves at considerable personal danger to save one man who had been pinned down by fire ants.
The casualties and injuries, including Lear and Asher Macavoy, who had fled the scene but been killed by a second strike outside the theater doors, were all sent off to the Temple of the Triune Goddess for healing; Macavoy had been assigned one of the local clerics’ first resurrections. During Macavoy’s sojourn in the realms beyond, Hardluck took it upon himself to safeguard some of his possessions against petty thievery: notably his gold watch and a jade bracelet.
Lear’s wounds treated, our heroes retired to the common room of the Lucky 13 to discuss the night’s events over several bottles of liquor that Hardluck had saved from destruction while behind the theater’s bar. It was there that Constable Lazgar found them. While grateful for their good work, she was as this point unable to ascertain the true scoundrels behind this treacherous attack, and politely requested that all parties remain where they could be reached should their accounts of the evening be required, the more so as a form matching the description of Zharra had been seen fleeing the casino just after the fire. Our heroes readily acquiesced as all dutiful citizens should, and Lazgar left them to continue their celebration.
Morning came and with it a runner from the Hellfire Club, already back in business and none the worse for wear if smelling a bit of soot. The tiefling Prosper, a mid-level functionary under Bartholomeus, offered his thanks and congratulations, and also a task: should these brave folk determine who was behind the elementals, he would be happy to provide them with a token sum in gold; they would also be doing themselves a favor by putting these silly rumors blaming Zharra for the fire to rest. This was amenable to the group and they immediately set out to see what could be done.
Hardluck put his ear to the ground on the subject of the fire: fingers pointed to the Army of Io, the Sons of Coyote, and Saerzra. He and Harley went to discuss the matter with the Sons of Coyote; they expressed concern over the well-being of their erstwhile compatriot, and assured the halfling that their summonings were limited to natural spirits. Hardluck then took the odd jade bracelet to a fence of his acquaintance named Squinty, who told him that jade universally came from the Dragon Empire to the south.
Iron Horse went to speak with Duna Sparksteel to ask for aid. She offered him some oils to enhance his weapons, implying that his task would not be completely safe, and also suggested that he speak with an entertainer at the Bright Tomorrow, a deva named Bette. On speaking with her, Bette informed him that she would happily help him in any way she could, but without her scrying focus she could do little. She strongly suspected the ‘travel writer’ Isadora Rose of the theft; she had been sent over by a drow named Nathcyrl at the Spider and Fly.
Lear went back to the Water and Power Company, where she met with Madeleine MacGillicudy, Macavoy’s personal secretary. Miss MacGillicuddy volunteered to search Macavoy’s office for any details that could aid in the apprehension of such dangerous criminals, and offered Lear Macavoy’s diary, which produced several fascinating insights.
Upon her return to the Hellfire club, she and Zharra inspected the scene of the fire and located several small unusual piles of gravel, which they deemed possibly magically significant and collected.
Once more together, our heroes decided that acquiring the aid of a powerful seer was the next logical step, and set out to reacquire the Eyes of the Deva at the Spider and Fly. Hardluck threw an amount of cash and smooth talk around, and secured an interview with the famed writer Isadora Rose. They engaged in some polite small talk on the nature of Rose’s profession, and she volunteered an impromptu demonstration thereof, chanting a paean to dark forces that caused rifts in reality to begin to float about the head of Hardluck as we draw the curtain on the first chapter of this tale.