The Party delved into the ruins they had discovered in the UnderCity, hoping to find some sign on the kidnapped Elves.
Everyone was struck by the similarities between these ruins and the ones they had recently discovered (and destroyed) near Walsh; Ianto repeated her outlandish claim that the ruins were Dwarven in origin. The rest of the Party was skeptical, and Ianto refused to provide any evidence corroborating her claim, but once again her knowledge (whatever its source) proved invaluable to the Party as they attempted to make their way through the dark and dangerous passages.
A body was discovered, the remnants of its head scattered explosively across the small room in which it was found. Maximilian was able to identify it positively as a member of the Duego family.
The Party was able to sneak past a pair of powerful golem guardians without incident by employing artifacts found in the ruins.
The Party encountered resistance deeper in the ruins; emaciated humans and elves, wielding staffs that cast dangerous bolts of purple energy, attacked with reckless force. Their starved and filthy appearance reminded the Party strongly of the thralls they had encountered in the ruins near Walsh; the Party began to suspect Psionic involvement.
As the Party ventured further in, Oaklav experienced an almost unbearable premonition of danger and withdrew to pray to Pelor; within moments, he saw Rearden materialize for an instant in front of him. Rearden appeared to be in the act of examining Oaklav’s ring and, for a split second, seemed to notice Oaklav; in flash, however, the image had vanished, leaving behind only the ring, glowing a brilliant gold. The Party gathered around as Oaklav placed the ring on his finger.
The face of an old man appeared, hovering above the ring. The old man addressed Oaklav familiarly as “my son” and warned him that he was walking into a trap; moving further into the ruins would be incredibly dangerous, perhaps even lethal. He added, however, that the risk was necessary as countless lives were at stake; a Psion named Xivilivix, he said, was mere moments away from completing a ritual which could cause untold pain and suffering all over Urda. Insisting that there was no time to explain, he commanded Oaklav to lead the Party into the trap immediately and stop Xivilivix, no matter what the cost. The old man promised Oaklav that he was on his way and would rescue the Party if he could, then the image faded and disappeared.
Oaklav refused to explain the reappearance of the ring or the strange conversation, saying only that the old man was his “master” and that he trusted him with his life; he strode forward, weapon in hand, and the Party followed. Ahead they heard voices—shouting a challenge, they charged down a stone corridor and into battle.
The Psion Xivilivix had assembled a small army and seemed to be expecting attack. Most of the combatants were of the sort the Party had encountered further back in the ruins—starved-looking thralls armed with energy weapons—but the Party was shocked by the appearance of several familiar faces: Tak the Orc, whom they had spotted earlier that day in the market, now wore shining armor and hissed insults at the Party as he slashed at them with his magic sword; Captain Palaemon, clad in a massive suit of stone armor, fought with a rage that was terrible to behold; and John Watson, infuriating as ever, cackled wildly as he traded spells with Ianto. Hovering at the back of the chamber was a portal of some kind, similar in appearance to the one the Party had recently discovered near Walsh.
The fight was short and brutal. Captain Maximilian’s summoned creatures swarmed the thralls and kept their deadly weapons pointed away from the Party. Captain Palaemon waded into combat and laid about with an enormous hammer; Oaklav held him for as long as he could, but he almost certainly would have been killed but for the quick thinking of Terath, who leapt courageously onto Palaemon’s back and managed to poison him, forcing the Longstrider to flee cursing, his face a melted ruin. Tak exploited a moment of inattention by Rezan to slip in behind him and attack, severing his head from his body in a single stroke. Moments later Tak was dead, pierced through the neck by two of Shar Shaddam’s quarrels; as he died the Elven Ghost fled wailing from his body. Xivilivix himself was surrounded and cut down. However his “death” was shown to be a ruse when he abruptly came to right before Marcus Jens beheaded him. The survivors (Watson and Palaemon) escaped through a magical portal similar to the one discovered near Walsh. (It closed seconds later.)
Several surviving members of the Duego family were found unconscious near the portal and rescued.
With Rezan dead, the Party had little stomach for further exploration.
The Party follows a contract into the tunnels beneath New Garen
RedhawkCEO Rearden Jens was understandably upset at the destruction of the ancient ruins discovered near Walsh; he ordered Oaklav into his office and questioned him closely. Oaklav insisted that he had done the right thing by destroying the ruins, which he claimed were dangerous and evil; he refused, however, to tell Rearden how he accomplished this act or whose voice The Party had heard in their heads. As punishment, Rearden confiscated his ring.
The Party spent time resting and relaxing in Walsh.
A special contract for Captain Maximilian came in from the church of Saint Cuthbert. Several members of the Duego family—a prominent Elven clan from Wistron—had disappeared in the latest of several apparent kidnappings, all targeted at old Elven families. Most had disappeared without a trace, but one member of the family had been spotted a day ago in New Garen. The Party was contracted to journey to New Garen, track down the Duegos, and either rescue them or avenge their deaths.
At the suggestion of the church, The Party enlisted the help of Shar Shaddam, a catfolk information broker currently living in Walsh. For a fee, he agreed to travel with The Party and guide them through New Garen as they searched for the kidnapper.
The Party made a quick and uneventful journey to New Garen; they spent a day in the huge and bustling market square while Shar Shaddam met with his contacts. While they were browsing, a strange incident occurred—they ran into Tak the Orc, for whom they had retrieved a sword and shield a few weeks previous. He was dressed in fine clothes and appeared not to recognize the Party; something about his manner seemed strange, but he refused to answer questions and stormed away in anger when pressed.
Shar Shaddam was able to unearth witnesses who had spotted one of the Elves in the Undercity being led by a cloaked man; without delay he led the Party in pursuit through the maze-like network of sewers and tunnels.
As Shar Shaddam led the Party through increasingly dark and dangerous passages, they found their way blocked by a kind of “tunnel fortress” manned by a gang of thieves. Unwilling to delay, they forced their way through; in the ensuing combat more than a dozen thieves were killed and the “fortress” itself was completely destroyed by Ianto’s fireballs.
Traveling deeper, Shar Shaddam led the Party to a passage that appeared to have been excavated very recently. At the end of the passage, deeper in the Undercity than even Shar Shaddam had ever travelled before, they found a smashed stone wall; beyond, they saw passages of stone—perfectly straight, unweathered, and suspiciously familiar . . .
Rearden demands an investigation of the mysterious ruins
Ianto returned to consciousness at the Redhawk Arms headquarters, her wounds healed. Her appearance was permanently altered—her facial features, though not unrecognizable, had subtly changed; her frame had slimmed and lengthened and her hair, formerly black, was now auburn. Seemingly unperturbed by the experience, she offered no explanation for her miraculous resurrection.
CEO Rearden Jens, having heard the story of what happened in the ruins, demanded that The Party return to the site and secure it in hopes of turning a profit. He released Marcus Jens, Maximilian Cleona, and Terath Val’dren from confinement for this purpose; the Party, back together again, set out almost immediately with a contingent of Redhawk mercenaries.
Investigating the farm near the buried ruins, the Party found an old woman in a state of some confusion; a few questions were enough to indicate that her mind had been tampered with, most likely by the Psions.
Leaving the Redhawk mercenaries to guard the entrance, the Party entered the ruins once again by the now-exposed underground passage. When they reached the large room in which they had killed the Psions, the Party was blocked by rival mercenaries attempting to claim the site for themselves; after a heated argument, the mercenaries attacked. The Party dispatched them with little trouble and continued onwards.
In the bowels of the ruins—much deeper underground—the Party discovered an enormous and complex machine, apparently still in working order but bearing signs of recent tampering. (Close investigation led them to believe that it had been used to power the “portal” used by the Psions.) Strange writing covered parts of the machine; Ianto surprised the others by insisting that the writing was Dwarven and that she could read it. The others were highly skeptical of this claim—understandable given that the Dwarves had disappeared thousands of years ago and that their language was known only to the most learned of scholars, and then only in fragments—but Ianto, as always, produced results. After a few moments of tinkering, she was able to activate and run the machine.
The main feature of the machine was a large, clear dome; when activated, a creature with coppery green skin materialized within. No member of the Party was able to recognize the creature, but it was vaguely humanoid and looked intelligent. The machine—to the horror of all present—proceeded to immobilize the creature and then “convert” it wholly into some sort of light or energy in what appeared to be an agonizingly painful process.
Without warning, Oaklav Mel-Gooma stepped forward and touched his ring, shining with a golden light, to the machine. As the light began to spread across the machine, each member of the Party heard a single word in their minds: “Run.” They pelted back up the passage and out into the air, shouting to the Redhawk guards to get away from the entrance. Moments later, the earth erupted in a tremendous explosion, leaving behind a charred sinkhole in the otherwise unblemished countryside.
After receiving an urgent-sounding message from Father Ireneus, Oaklav Mel-Gooma rushed to the Church of Pelor. The priest informed him about an increasingly worrisome trend in Walsh—young children from local orphanages (at the Church of Pelor and elsewhere) were being adopted at a greatly increased rate. Merely interested at first, Father Ireneus had delegated investigation of the trend to one his servitors, a man named Priscus; he became worried when the servitor, normally reliable almost to a fault, failed to report in for several days. Worse yet, after doing some digging of his own, Father Ireneus found that he was unable to locate the “new homes” of as many as two dozen of the children. Almost frantic over the possibility that the children were being stolen by Areenian slavers (or worse), he begged Oaklav for help.
Quickly enlisting the help of Ianto, Hirshu Kathko the Kinless, and Rezan Garrus, Oaklav took charge of the investigation as Father Ireneus had requested. Searching Priscus’ belongings, they were able to find a journal detailing (among other things) the beginning of his inquiries after the children. He had apparently become concerned enough to begin issuing magical amulets to orphans all over the city in hopes of being able to track them once they were adopted. Several of the scrolls Priscus had been using to keep tabs on the amulets were found among his possessions. Activating one of them, the Party learned that, while most of the children seemed to be safe and in Walsh, two of the amulets appeared to have been moved a couple of miles outside the walls.
Setting out from the city to investigate, the trail led to an unremarkable hillock on one of Walsh’s many farms. Quickly discovering a magically disguised door, the four party members found themselves climbing down what appeared to be a recently dug passage and emerging into an ancient and remarkably well-preserved ruin with laser-straight, seamless stonework. Still on the trail of the amulets, they plunged ahead.
Rushing into a large chamber overlooking a 60 ft. drop, they found more than half a dozen children, along with their guards—two bald, grim men covered in intricate tattoos, and several ragged, emaciated humans and elves armed with bows and spears. Hovering in the air near the precipice was a glowing portal; as the Party entered the bald men were in the act of pushing one of the children through it. From their tattoos, Rezan immediately identified the men as Psions.
As the ragged humans rushed forward to attack, the Psions launched an overwhelming mental assault on the Party. Rezan was psychically dominated early in the fight and forced to push another child into the portal; Oaklav was hurled off the precipice. A barrage of spells from Ianto bought time for the others to recover, but even as she annihilated the last Psion with a drenching explosion of acid she was cut down and stabbed to death by the mindless thralls. Within moments, however, her wounds began to heal and her features blurred and shifted—she was alive, but changed, brought back from death by some powerful magic. Reeling, the three remaining members of the Party quickly regrouped and fled back to Redhawk with an unconscious Ianto in tow.
The Party, at Rearden’s insistence, took a contract protecting an Areenian merchant by the name of Gurt Toffus. Gurt had acquired three carts full of magic weapons and armor in fulfillment of an order placed by one Master Gurloes, a wealthy and influential plantation owner whose land holdings lay about two days’ travel across the border.
Several members of the party were disturbed by the fact that each cart was drawn by slaves.
Gurt had also hired four Sable Solutions mercenaries, which seemed excessive for such a short trip; from them the Party learned that Gurt’s paranoia was due to a recent surge in lyncanthrope raids on merchant caravans in Areen.
The first day of the trip was uneventful; the caravan made good time, made it to the border station between the Garic States and Areen, and obtained passports easily with a well-placed bribe. Terath Val’dren spent the evening getting acquainted with a few of the slaves, in particular one family of three—an older woman named Hatha and her two adult sons.
On the second day, the caravan was halted by a cavalry contingent led by a powerfully-built man riding an enormous black horse with wicked fangs and claws. He identified himself as Captain Palaemon of the Longrider Corps and demanded identification; once he was satisfied, he grimly explained that the open prairie was a dangerous place and that the caravan traveled at its own risk. Before they rode away, his men helped themselves to the weaponry in the carts; Gurt did not attempt to interfere.
That night, the camp was attacked by a marauding band of werewolves and wererats. Their goal seemed to be to set fire to the carts, but the camp was well defended and only one cart was damaged; the bandits incurred heavy losses and fled back into the night. Several of the slaves were bitten, however, and one was savaged badly; Terath and Oaklav offered to pitch in hauling carts the next day to allow them time to rest, and Maximilian Cleona healed their wounds.
Pushing hard even with the injured slaves and damaged cart, the caravan made it to the Gurloes estate before sunset the next day. The plantation was swarming with activity; there were nearly a hundred mercenaries camped out on the grounds. At the stables, the Party noticed Captain Palaemon’s destrier, but saw no sign of the man himself.
Wolfsbane potions were purchased—at an exorbitant price, and only after cajoling Gurt into handing over her purchasing license—for the slaves who had been bitten.
Several members of the Party used a sending scroll to contact a representative of the Circle of the Broken Shackle. Hatha’s sons had been sold to Master Gurloes within an hour of the caravan’s arrival; with only one cart to pull on the return trip, they would not be needed. In a secret night meeting several miles outside the estate, the Party learned that, should they find themselves able to free Hatha’s sons, the Circle would take over the responsibility of smuggling them out of Areen.
After spending a day resting and planning, the Party decided to attempt to free Hatha’s sons in the middle of the night, the caravan being slated to leave the following day. Marcus and Rezan snuck into the slave quarters and were able to locate the two men; they were forced, however, to kill a guard who discovered them in the act. They able to do so silently; they left behind the body in the hopes that the murder would be attributed to the escaped slaves. Rezan then accompanied the former slaves to the designated meeting spot and turned them over to a Circle representative.
Meanwhile, Maximilian had been summoned by a messenger to the plantation house. There, Master Gurloes attempted to persuade him to murder Gurt out on the prarie and steal back the gold that Gurloes had paid for the weapons. When Maximilian refused to violate the terms of his contract and betray the man he had agreed to protect, Gurloes became angry and swore that the money would be returned to him one way or another.
In the morning, the camp was in turmoil after the discovery of the guard’s body. Packs of hunters with dogs were out scouring the plains for the escaped slaves, but it seemed as though the Party had escaped suspicion and the caravan—with its single cart full of gold, hauled by Hatha and five other slaves—was allowed to leave at the scheduled time. The Silver Sable mercenaries did not rejoin the group; they had not been seen since the caravan’s arrival.
The caravan was attacked twice on the return trip. First, the bodies of the Silver Sable mercenaries—apparently murdered mere hours before—were used to lure the Party into a trap which sonically attracted several Bulettes, the deadly “Landsharks” of the prairie; after two of the beasts were cut down, the rest fled. Aware that they were being hunted, the caravan pushed forward as quickly as possible, but less than a day away from the border they were attacked again, this time by a dozen masked horsemen lead by Captain Palaemon—unmistakable on his black destrier, even masked—and one vicious magician who turned out to be none other than John Watson. For a few moments, it seemed as though the caravan would be surrounded and cut to pieces, but a few choice spells from Max kept the horsemen hemmed in and separated while Ianto and Rezan harried the circling Watson and the rest of the Party swarmed Palaemon with sword and mace. Nearly all of the masked horsemen were killed; the remainder fled with Palaemon and Watson, who retreated cursing when the tide of the battle had been turned. Fearing another attack, the caravan pushed ferociously for the border station; they arrived without further molestation.
Back in Walsh, Gurt paid the Party the agreed-upon sum in gold for the completion of their contract, but only after a furious argument with Rearden. The same Circle representative who took charge of Hatha’s sons was spotted buying Hatha herself and leading her away from her former master.
Rearden was pleased with the Party’s success, but noted with some amusement that several members of the Party—Max, Marcus, and Terath—had been placed on “wanted” lists in Areen, on suspicion of murder and theft.
The Party woke in the Redhawk infirmary—having been healed of their relatively minor injuries—and were informed that, though Rearden Jens had survived the explosion in his office, he was seriously wounded. In a later interview, Marcus Jens discovered that Rearden had lost both arms and possibly the use of his legs—a grave situation in light of the tacit ban by the churches of Walsh on providing restoration services for mercenaries.
Despite Rearden’s condition, business at the company was proceeding as normal; Captain Vek encouraged The Party to take on another contract as soon as they were ready. To replace the traitor John Watson, he added the young monk Kathko to the squad.
As the rest of The Party rested and spent the profits from their first successful contract, Oaklav Mel-Gooma took it upon himself to seek healing for Rearden at Walsh’s Church of Pelor. Using his clout as a (secret) member of the Hand of Pelor, Oaklav convinced Father Ireneus to suspend the normal prohibition against providing healing to mercenary companies; Ireneus promised to visit Redhawk at his earliest convenience to regenerate Rearden’s lost limbs.
The Party accepted a contract to investigate the murder of Challa Redroot, a young monk at the Priory of the Open Palm. Marlis Thane, one of her instructors at the Priory, had been convicted murdering her and was due to be executed in two days, but her mother Vasha believed that Challa’s true killers were still at large.
Visiting Vasha at her home in the slums of Walsh, The Party learned that the reason Vasha was so certain of Marlis’ innocence was that he had been in her home—her bed, specifically—at the time of Challa’s death. He was there when she learned of Challa’s murder; she said he flew into a rage and stormed away saying that would make “him” pay. She tearfully begged The Party to go to him in prison and try to convince him to tell the Watch what he knew.
Bribing a guard, the Party was able to visit Marlis in prison. He obstinately refused to give the Watch his alibi, saying that it would violate his oaths to the Priory. He was also unable to explain the fact that a medallion of his had been found on Challa’s body or that the handprints squeezed into her neck matched his. He was easily persuaded, however, to give The Party the name of the man he suspected to be Challa’s murderer—Fligg Errol. Challa had publicly rejected Fligg the week before her death, and Fligg was a known member of the Crushers, an upstart gang that had been terrorizing Walsh for several months. Marlis told The Party to look for Fligg at The Gladiator.
Heading to The Gladiator that evening, The Party confronted Fligg and several of his cronies publicly. Inflammatory demands from Marcus Jens caused the altercation to spill outside, where weapons were drawn on both sides. Ianto responded to taunts from Mia the Mage, Fligg’s consort, by stabbing her with a—hitherto unused—curved black dagger, which appeared to suck in her blood and drain her of her vitality. In the ensuing brawl several of Fligg’s companions were killed, Mia included; Fligg himself was subdued and bound. The Party fled as the Watch rushed to the scene of the killings, accidentally leaving behind Rezan Garrus, who had been beaten unconscious by several ninjas from a local battle college. Angry at the slaughter being perpetrated at their favorite bar, the ninjas threw Rezan from the second-story window, pile-drove into him en masse, then turned his senseless body over to the Watch.
Now wanted for murder and on the run from the Watch, the remaining members of The Party hauled Fligg to one of Redhawk’s holding cells and interrogated him. Ianto probed his mind magically—an illegal act in the Garic Federation—and the details of the crime. Fligg had indeed murdered Challa, stabbing her repeatedly as Mia healed her wounds to keep her in pain longer. They had planned in advance to frame Marlis, stealing a medallion from his quarters to plant on Challa’s corpse; as Fligg raped Challa and strangled her to death, Mia morphed his arms to look like those of the old monk. The Party left Fligg, now weeping and broken, in chains for the night.
Still in need of solid evidence to free Marlis, The Party spent most of the day arranging to sneak into the cemetary to retrieve Challa’s body. They used one of Redhawk’s secret tunnels to sneak outside the walls. Kathko committed some minor assault on an officer of the Watch to create a distraction while the others snuck the body into Redhawk. There, in the presence of a licensed Witness, Maximilian spoke with Challa’s spirit, confirming every detail of the murder and implicating Fligg without a doubt. With the signed statement of the Witness in hand, Marcus, Ianto, and Terath confidently marched to the prison to speak with the Watch while the others guarded Fligg.
Meanwhile, Rezan Garrus spent the day being inexplicably tortured by the Captain of the Watch, Jonas Vekkert. He demanded to know where Fligg was being held, but Rezan didn’t yield.
When they arrived at the prison, Marcus and Ianto went inside to present the evidence while Terath kept a watch outside. When presented with the Witness’ statement, Vekkert flew into a rage and tore up the document, demanding that Fligg be set free at once. When Marcus dared to protest, Vekkert smashed his jaw; he also threw Ianto into a cell for her role in the slaughter outside The Gladiator the previous night. The Captain set off immediately for Redhawk with dozen men and Marcus in tow, obviously intending to storm the place and take Fligg. Terath was able to make it to Redhawk in time to warn Captain Vek, who quickly assembled a force of mercenaries outside the headquarters. Unwilling to engage in open battle in the streets of Walsh, Vekkert stormed away. Marcus was able to teleport out of his custody and escape back to Redhawk.
Rearden Jens, angry at the bumbled contract, demoted Marcus and put Maximilian in charge of the squad. He reminded The Party that they had less than 24 hours to clear Marlis’ name before he was executed.
On a hunch, Oaklav visited Father Ireneus the next day and learned that Jonas Vekkert and his family were members in good standing of the Church of Pelor; Father Ireneus was surprised to hear of his strange behavior and reluctantly provided Oaklav with Vekkert’s home address. The Party managed to sneak there without interference from the Watch and found the place cold and empty, with signs of a struggle present. Returning to Redhawk, The Party met Ianto, who claimed to have been released from prison. (She was less than forthcoming with details, and several of The Party doubted her claim, especially after news came of a dead officer of the Watch found in an alley near the prison.)
At the prison, Rezan managed to beg an interview with Captain Vekkert. The Captain admitted that his family was being held hostage by the Crushers until he secured Fligg’s release; Rezan decided to help him gain access to Fligg. Marching back to Redhawk, Rezan convinced Captain Vek to allow the Watch to enter. Vekkert stomped down with his men and took Fligg into custody, hauling him off to turn him over to the leader of the Crushers, Boss Gripe. He allowed The Party to come with him, but warned that if he would kill them if they endangered the lives of his family.
The Party met with Boss Gripe in a closed butcher shop just a few hours before Marlis’ execution. They were thoroughly searched and relieved of their weapons before being allowed to see him; a dozen or more leathery-looking guards were stationed at the only entrance. At first things looked bad—Gripe freed Fligg and demanded to know why he had been imprisoned and mistreated (he was bruised, bleeding, and soaked in his own urine); Fligg, sneering, boasted that The Party would pay for what they had done to him. As soon as The Party mentioned Fligg’s crime, however, Gripe’s demeanor changed. He reviewed the Witness’ signed statement, then ordered his thugs to take Fligg away and hold him; when The Party last saw Fligg, he was screaming for help as he was dragged from the room. Gripe apologized for his subordinate’s actions and told Vekkert that his family was free to go. Their business concluded, Gripe’s guards ushered The Party out.
The terms of The Party’s contract with Vasha Redroot were technically fulfilled—Marlis’ name was cleared in time and Challa’s real killers were exposed. Rearden was far from happy with the total result, however; he denied The Party their contract fee, stating that it would go towards smoothing over relations with the Watch. He further informed them that he was signing them up for a contract protecting an Areenian merchant who was departing the next day—it would be best if The Party left the city for a while.
A newly formed squad of Redhawk Mercenaries sets out on their first assignment
The Party met for the first time in Rearden Jens’ waiting room. Redhawk contracts signed; Terath was sharp enough to notice and rectify an inequity in the contract granting the company an extravagant percentage of all The Party’s earnings, earning approval from Rearden.
Met Captain Vek, deputy of operations, to receive assignments.
Having selected one assignment of three, The Party journeyed to a farm on the outskirts of Walsh owned by an Orc named Tak.
Party was contracted to enter nearby family tomb and bring back an ancient sword and shield.
Tak was intimidated by Ianto into revealing that he had only recently bought the farm—the tomb was technically his property, but the bones within belonged to an old Elven family. He had found out that the tomb contained a legendary sword and a magic shield, but he also knew the place was haunted and was far too frightened to venture inside on his own.
Entering the tomb, The Party fought several hostile undead as they searched the mouldering vaults for treasure. In the innermost chamber they found the sword and shield, but they were attacked by a hostile Elven ghost with a particular hatred for the human members of the party. The Elven Ghost put up a fierce fight, possessing Terath and using his body to wield the sword and shield, but the party managed to expel him and destroy his incorporeal form.
The Party delivered the sword and shield as promised; Tak was angered when they refused to give him any of the other loot they had found in the tomb.
The contract complete, The Party received payment and met with Rearden Jens for congratulations. John Watson chose this moment to plant a bomb in an apparent assassination attempt. Alerted by Watson’s hasty departure, Rearden Jens spotted the explosives mere moments before they detonated and managed to fling them under his desk, possibly saving lives but exposing himself to the worst of the blast.