As she goes over her edits to the map, Renn makes particular note of the cistern.
The schematic shows it as a large square room, extending from the U-3 level down to U-5. The cistern room contains a cylindrical tower that holds the base’s water supply. Renn believes that there is a small, permanent magical portal to the Elemental Plane of Water inside, at the base of this cylindrical silo. This portal can be magically throttled open or closed to permit flow of more or less water, as the base’s needs dictate.
As a safety measure to prevent flooding the base, at the U-5 level of the cistern there is a narrow tunnel (3 feet wide by 3 feet high) that provides an outflow channel in the event the cistern silo overflows. This outflow channel runs out from the cistern room and empties at a secret location in the countryside south of Moonwatch. Renn has marked this spot, with descriptions of landmarks nearby, on the Heroes’ territory map of Corinthia.
Specialist Renn is convinced that someone or something has overcome the garrison at Moonwatch and seized control of the base, cutting off all contact to the outside world. Therefore, logically she does not believe that the main gates of Moonwatch will be accessible, and she knows that the observation posts cannot be breached from the outside. That leaves only one possible way in.
Renn strongly recommends that the Heroes locate the outflow point of the drainage channel, and use this to gain access to the base. With the basic compliment of soldiers presently expected to be at Moonwatch, the Intelligence Specialist knows that the cistern will be producing a minimum amount of fresh water, and therefore only a trickle of water should be flowing out of this secret passageway. It will be a long and uncomfortable crouching walk or crawl for the Party (except Lester). And it will be dark.
If they make it inside, Renn tells that the base contains a number of strong security doors at all the main intersection points, magically held open under normal circumstances. If there had been a breach of the base perimeter and the garrison sounded the alarm, then that magic would be dispelled and the doors would close. This effectively seals off the fortress, with one-way locking doors that permit defenders to advance outwards toward the perimeter from the center of the base, but lock out invaders attempting to push in the opposite direction.
If this is the case, she goes on to say, there are two master-keys that will unlock any door in the fortress. One is kept by the garrison commander, and the other by the chief medical officer. Renn knows that there are secondary master keys for both, one secured in the medical bay on level U-1 and one in the commander’s private office on level U-4. To aid in getting to these areas if the alarm has been sounded and the base subsequently locked down, Renn provides a CHIME OF OPENING. The doors are not magically locked nor are they invulnerable, but precious time may be lost attempting to pick all the locks or bash down doors.
All relevant details of the fortress now given, Renn moves on to other intelligence. Very recently, in fact with the last 48 hours, Fire Giants were spotted by scouts very near to Moonwatch. Visibility was not ideal in the waning hours of the day when the daring scouts advanced to within sight of Moonwatch’s tower, but the scouts did see Fire Giants accompanied by smaller humanoids. At the maximum safe distance, the scouts could only count 3-5 Fire Giants and an indeterminate quantity of what looked like humans, judging by the relative scale of heights. Almost no scouts approaching that close to Moonwatch have come back in the past two weeks of this growing crisis, so Renn is especially fixated on this information.
Yet there is other news, and while not related to the presence of Fire Giants, it is vexing to the Specialist. Renn presents a set of orders to the Heroes, received a few days ago. The documents, sealed by Sir Vendec, Lord of War, are addressed to the Division Commanders of the force assembling west of Moonwatch and to lower-ranking officers also commanding scouts out of the military garrisons in Skywatch Tower, Meadowshade, and Lakehurst.
Without saying why, the Lord of War has established an “exclusion zone” in an area of land stretching from the south of Moonwatch to the river border with Khör, and to a half-day’s ride east of Meadowshade. No military personnel are permitted to scout or otherwise enter this region.
The Specialist is troubled and frustrated by so random and arbitrary a declaration from her supreme commander, especially when it prevents her from obtaining intelligence about an area so close to a trouble spot at a time when such information is valuable. She tells the Heroes that while she and others of the military must abide the order without question, it would be a very good idea for the Heroes to investigate what is being hidden in the exclusion-zone. They are not subject to this order.
As this exclusion-zone covers territory very near the secret location of the cistern outflow entrance, Renn advises the Heroes to travel north-east when leaving Meadowshade. The Heroes would technically make better time to Moonwatch by going north and then east along the established roads. But with so many military patrols and the main force of three Divisions edging east towards Moonwatch, the Heroes would become bogged down in constant interruption of travel for demands for identification and purpose on the road.
Specialist Renn knows what is coming from the military intel she has read, and knows that if the Heroes are to succeed in their mission to investigate and hopefully save Moonwatch from destruction, time is of growing importance.
Renn pauses a moment, looks at Lester and Genive and sleepy Jaques again as if in a new light, and asks if the Heroes “are meeting any friends or associates here in town”. When they say No and ask why, Renn dismisses her question’s importance and states simply that there had been other adventurers in town within the last day or two, asking around about strangers or recent arrivals. The Specialist is a military intelligence genius but cares little about Guilds or Guild affairs, so she is not able to confirm if they are Guildsmen.
Her time drawing to a close, Renn invites questions. Lester asks of the black rings taken off the assailants encountered on the road from Meridian to South Bend. From his description, Renn knows immediately. It is a road gang called THE SERPENT’S TRUST, a triad of criminal cells who prey upon merchants and travellers. The military is aware of them because this gang will occasionally attack smaller military-support convoys for weapons or payroll gold. Renn is impressed that the Heroes have basically killed off one leg of this unsavory criminal organization, but can offer no reward for their deed.
Lester asks who constructed Moonwatch Tower and its fortress. Renn responds that it was Dwarves, about eighty years ago. Moonwatch Tower was one of the first of its class of fortresses to have been constructed, and as threats grew in the west of Corinthia and fortress construction was undertaken there, the design and technology improved. Moonwatch is entirely functional for its purpose, built to last centuries, but just outdated by modern standards.
Renn takes her opportunity at meeting’s end to mention she has noticed the Heroes’ array of weapons and armor, and wonders if they would sell their excess. She can pay with 10,000gp worth of MILITARY-CUT GEMS. These are precious stones of varying type, uniquely cut by exclusive military gemmologists into set denominations of gold-equivalent values.
The counterfeiting feature is the cut of the stones; when set on a flat surface in sunlight or bright light, genuine military-cut gems will cast a telltale light pattern that verifies their authenticity. They are the common currency within the military and between military and merchant, though most citizens prefer Corinthian precious-metal coinage and merchants seldom traffic exclusively in them. Underworld types, appreciating the authenticity factor, would rather use a less official currency for their dealings.
Lester eagerly sells Renn the magical trident and hand-axe taken from the Harpys fought on the side-road toward Ridgeway. Renn can easily double her money reselling these items to associates in the military.
It is noon and Renn must depart. She bids the Heroes well, genuinely hopeful that they will succeed. She leaves them to look over the map and discuss.
The adventure ends here for the night.