The Hangman's Body Count

Session # 100
Meeting with a Fey Lord

Last time on HBC… More fighting in Hell!!!! While the party continued to work their way through the prison of Divided’s Ire, they found only doors and more doors! Finally managing to open one of them, the heroes encountered a massive bull-gorilla demon, which Quinn was able to dispatch using motions and movements that were nearly indescribable for mere mortals. As the group escaped, they rushied back out into the snow and ash, only to hear the distant calls of more demons, while Danica continued to hold off the large cadaver golems. Picking they’re way around in the slush and ash, they found themselves accosted by vrocks again, winning the day and finding themselves pressing outside of the island fortress gaol and onto a bridge span that crossed a cavernous ravine.
River takes a deep breath, covering her face with the cowl of her robe, then dashes quickly past the next pall of noxious vapors
Stormy: It’s times like this that wings really come in handy.
Pyros grumbles something.
River tumbles as she runs through and draws in a accidental breath that causes her to sputter and gasp.
Lily: Unfortunately I can’t get any of you across the easy way. So you’re going to all have to go the hard way, sorry!
Stormy: Now now, it’s their fault for not having wings.
You hear another vrock screech in the distance…
Stormy shudders
River glares at Lilly for the comment, then grins a bit when the vroc screams
Lily: River however, I could get you to fly around the last poison cloud if you wish.
River gasps, coughing up something as she slows down
River: I w-would…appreciate…that
Fallow → Susan: Sister! I’m going to cover River! She’s too far out there alone…..and the pixie doesn’t count
The golem is slid somewhat before slamming into an invisible barrier.
Susan: It can’t come through the barrier!
Pyros goes to the cloud and gets ready to run through.
Danica Bonaduce: Thats good? The one I put down already is starting to move!
River takes a deep breath as she dashes through the first roiling cloud
Fallow takes a deep breath as she dashes through the first roiling cloud
River: L-lily?
Lily turns towards river, Stormy flaps his wings so fast that a large tornado appears around Lily, and using her skills she directs it to envelop River.
Lily: Your own personal tornado! Fun huh?
You land on the rocky cliffs on the other side of the ravine, a thick steam coming from the cauldron of the volcano that is held back from the water by a thin seam of stone. Ahead of you is another large fortress, though this seems to be in better repair than the side you’ve just left. A large single brass door is set into the stone wall here.
River: M-more brass d-doors. M-Moro, come here please
Moro chuffs and begins moving that way
Moro bamphs over to River in a snit
Moro dashes through the fury of the poisonous cloud once more
The creature advances on Susan and slams its massive fists into the stone around her, missing horribly.
Susan ‘s eyes flash with cold power, and frozen ice blades appear in the air, pinning the golem for a moment.
Susan turns and jumps over the ravine.
Pyros holds his breath and runs.
Moro dashes through the fury of the poisonous cloud once more
Fallow dashes through the fury of the poisonous cloud once more
Fallow lifts her head to the heavens and seems to be shrieking silently
Fallow a glow encompasses her form as her head comes back down
Pyros (looks at Fallow): I hear you.
Pyros: Not… literally.
Fallow switches positions with Moro, glancing and studying the door
River switches positions with Moro, glancing and studying the door
Its a large brass door, big enough to accomidate a large creature. It looks very similar to the doors that youve encountered earlier within the prison on the other side that knocked out Fallow and Susan, and its twin is at the other end of the bridge.
River: T-this door appears the s-same
Lily: Oh joy. So we’re all going to die trying to open this one too.
Stormy: This place makes Chaos seem like a holiday park.
Susan: Well, hello again
Danica Bonaduce llets loose a thunderous blow before leaping out the the split in the wall and landing lightly near Susan.
Pyros oves through the last cloud.
Pyros coughs and breathes in cleaan air to fill the lungs with non-toxic… well… less toxic air. <standard>
River wiggles her feet in a short dance, teleporting over to the shoreline nearby
Fallow wiggles her feet in a short dance, teleporting over to the shoreline nearby
Fallow then moves to the door, eyeing it cautiously
Fallow disappears for a moment and when she reappears, the rocky slope crumbles beneath her armored weight. The fey knight catches herself as the ground begins to fall away, scrambling to pull herself to more stable ground away from the cauldera.
Fallow glances back, panting, then shudders at the fall she almost took
Lily: Huh… Ok, so, this door is… alive.
Lily: At least, it’s minorly sentient.
Quinn Winterborn falls to his hands and knees, looking quite ill
Quinn Winterborn is so ill he doesn’t even pay attention to the door
Susan rushes through the clouds only to fall flat on her face, blood leaking through many places in her armor.
Quinn Winterborn: Th…thanks, River
River: N-no problem
River: C-can you understand….this door, Master Winterborn?
Pyros: Thank you, River.
Lily steps up to the door.
Lily: Mr Door, would you be so kind as to open up for us? We really are meant to be here.
River reaches down to stablize Susan
Danica, standing the poison cloud, reaches into her pack and produces a small vial of liquid, which she pours into Susans mouth.
River looks at the monk, standing in the poisonous vapors, and shakes her head disgustedly
Susan gasps to consciousness.
Stormy: Welcome back
Stormy: Did you have a nice nap?
Susan: It didn’t happen whilst i was unconscious right?
River: S-susan, Are you ok?
River glances at her swollen belly
River: N-no
Susan looks at River, with a warning look.
Susan: Then I should be okay for 15 more minutes, right?
The door appears to be similar to the others that you have encountered before, large enough for a large creature to enter without issue. The door radiates magic in a manner that suggests it is directional, rather than an ambient trigger. There is some sort of animalistic sentience – that the door recognizes friend from foe – or master from food.
River nods briefly to Susan
Danica Bonaduce: Sure
River looks at her belly again, and shrugs
Susan: Lets make it a quick rest. Who knows how long we have, and we have things to do, right?
Lily: So, any ideas on how to open this door? Something tells me it wont open by us pulling or pushing.
Susan gets up with a lot more effort, and moves to the door.
Pyros: Is there another way? Maybe we can get over yonder?
Lily: Well, I can… Not so sure about you guys.
Quinn Winterborn: If only we’d succeeded making that golem earlier…
Susan tries to open the door.
THe massive door swings open silently on massive hinges with out issue, save for a minor tingle in her fingertips.
Lily: Oh
Lily: So maybe it DOES open just by us pulling it then.
Susan: It’s a prison guys.
Susan: IT’s meant to keep things inside. Not out.
Quinn Winterborn: So prop it open, maybe?
Fallow nods as if that makes a lot of sense
Stormy: We sure we want to go in then?
Stormy: It wasn’t exactly easy getting out the other side.
Susan: Sounds like a plan, Quinn.
Stormy: Except for me, of course.
Fallow shakes her head and shoulders as if to say “not reallY”
Lily kicks Stormy
Susan begins walking inside, holding her side.
The smell of stale sweat and mold comes out of the opened room. The room is bare of most everything, save for a battered wooden rack bearing a handful of simple iron shod cudgels. A single door sits on the southern end of the room.
Pyros: No use in staying where we are, so we have to go on. How can we keep this infernal door open though?
Susan grabs some cudgels and starts piling them against one of the open doors.
Danica Bonaduce: A spear in the ground, perhaps? Or sword? Something solid?
Quinn Winterborn: The cudgels should do the trick?
Quinn Winterborn assists Susan
Susan: If not, theres the whole rack.
Touching the door from the inside causes a similar malaise to fall over you as before, so the instinict to pull away is quick enough to avoid the effect this time.
Susan stumbles and leans against the nearest wall.
Susan: Fallow suggests jamming them into the hinges.
Lily: Maybe a mage can mage hand them?
Lily: To avoid the effect?
Susan gestures in agreement at Lily
Susan: Although it will mean that the birds can follow us.
Quinn Winterborn: I can try
Susan: No offence, Stormy
Stormy: None taken
Lily: Now, stormy says that. But really he’s screaming at me.
Susan leans against the wall, and tries to take subtle deep breaths, occasionally coughing.
The door inside of here is made of simple stone, with a n iron latch.
Susan: Are we ready?
Lily: Not really
Fallow looks at the latch pondering, then points at it as if to say “go ahead”
Lily: But I don’t think we have much choice huh?
Quinn manages some quick geometry and jams the cudgels into the hinges to a point where one cracks and breaks from the applied pressure.
Danica Bonaduce: I can open it if you like?
Susan: Please.
Fallow waves her forward
Susan moves to the side.
The door opens quietly and reveals a long stone hallway splotched with black spatters at irregular intervals. Two halls lead to the east, along with several doors dispersed throughout the corridor.
Susan: I miss Xila.
Fallow nods quietly in thought
Fallow looks down the passage, then steps forward, shield and hammer raised in ready position
Danica Bonaduce: Shall we?
Fallow glances at the door to the east
Several more corridors and numerous more doors can be seen throughout the inner fortress here. Both hallways to the east end in small cells that hold remains is what it looks like.
Stormy relays this info
Lily hops back on Stormy.
Stormy also notes that the black stains seem to lead from the doors on the west towards the small cells.
Susan: I say we head for the first door on the west
Pyros: I will follow you.
Fallow nods
Fallow looks down at the stains, trying to get a sense of what they are
Lily: Stormy, don’t land, ever.
Stormy: Wasn’t planning on it.
Fallow nods to Susan in agreement
Susan: Lets go.
Fallow glances back to the door curiously, looking for how it opens
Stone door, iron latch, pushes inward
Fallow glances at the others, nodding to the door with a questioning glance
Susan nods
Fallow reaches out, lifts the latch and pushed the door open
Quinn hears nothing at his door. Fallow hears the near silent tinkling of chains through hers.
Susan: something is chained in there.
Susan: says Fallow.
Pyros: Should we…
Lily: Is it wrong to say I am very curious?
Stormy: Yes
Stormy: Yes it is
Fallow nods emphatically, then opens the door anyway
Pyros: Should we just call out to our friend and listen if he’s answering?
Quinn Winterborn: Danica?
Susan: it’ll bring things down on us.
Fallow nods as the door opens in front of her
Danica Bonaduce: Im not certain he would be able to answer, based on what Mr Winterborn relayed earlier. His physical body seemed detached from his dream form.
Pyros: True.
Lily: Sounds painfull
Quinn Winterborn: We might need to start opening doors and praying for the best
Lily [Elven]: [Translation] Akadi, grant us the storm required to get us through this tough time. And may we find whoever it is we’re looking for soon, because i REALLY hate this place.
The room here reeks of blood and offal, though the stench of sweat and burnt hair is not too far behind. A humaniod creature with sharp angular features is strapped to a rack table, thin rivulets of pale opalescent blood dripping down into a set of prepared glass vessels. The creatures features are pained, but still maintain a commanding air to them, even through the constant pain it must be enduring, as dozens of long thin needles pierce its flesh at the joints, under finger nails and in other soft places. A small cadre of chain devils whirl as you open the door, each administering some kind of hurt upon the creature.
Lily: So…
Lily: Shut the door?
Fallow shuts the door
Lily: I really need a shower now.
Quinn Winterborn: Did you recognize the humanoid?
Fallow glares at the scene in front of her, then charges in, her face set in a rictus of rage
Susan: Guys it’s a powerful fey, that Fallow thinks we should rescue!
Quinn Winterborn: I’m less concerned with ones power, and more concerned with ones disposition
Susan: hey, I’m just the translator.
Lily: Is this a friendly Fey?
Fallow moves into the room, pulling out her banner and planting it in the center
Lily lightning courses through Lily’s eyes and transfers into her finger tips as she lets out a burst of thunder.
Lily lightning cackles once again as she creates a storm cloud above Fallow which strikes around her but protects her in the eye of the storm.
Susan: Son of a whore!
The power wells around the fey creature for a moment, but the breaks apart without effect.
Susan starts trying to pull out the torture implements, and set him free.
You begin jerking out some of the needle like draining tubes from under the fey creatures fingernails.]
Chain Devil (Kyton) 1 [Abyssal]: [Translation] Get to Sarthassan! Tell him there has been a breach!
Quinn Winterborn [Abyssal]: [Translation] I wonder what a Sarthassan is….
Susan: They’re going to get a Sarthassan!
Lily: A what now?
The creature lurches to the side and a trio of chains shoot out of the creature seemingly of their own accord, slamming into Susan before a white hot iron snakes around her legs and squeezes her tight while searing her flesh.
Lily watches as the storm rages above the Devils, chilling them to the bone while also heating them up.
Lily: Fallow, deal with the one next to Pyros, I’ll try and kill the other one!
Lily more lightning strikes at the two Chain Devils as she echos her last strike.
Fallow nods appreciation at the small pixie flying in the doorway
Lily creates a literal bomb of thunder in her tiny palm as she throws it towards the devil.
Stormy: Y’know, I’m made of lightning, and you still scare me Lily.
Lily: I do try.
Susan continues un-needling the fey.
You pull another… several needles out of the fey, the iridescent blood trickling to a halt.
Susan: Easy, easy. We’re getting you out.
Susan grits her teeth.
The chains tighten and squeeze, searing Susans skin anew.
Danica Bonaduce: Its… gone?!?!
Stormy: Oh great, the case of the vanishing devil.
Stormy: As if things couldn’t get any better
Fallow takes another strange dance step, and teleports to the other side of the Fey lord
Fallow looks frustrated, as if something did not work. Then reaches out with one hand to lay it on the forehead of the Fey creature on the rack
Fallow: My lord, I am Fallow Hadarai-Ellonw Ebonsword. You may know my mother. Let me help free you. You are lucky I came along. You have been missing a long time, even for Fey.
→ Fallow: The creature’s eyes flutter for a moment, and your touch tells you how damaged it is, as the creature is flush with heat and nearly burning to the touch. It does not respond to your plea, however.
Fallow → Susan: Sister, he is badly hurt. Some kind of fever. Can you get River to help him?
Susan: River, this fey has a fever, and he’s badly hurt. Fallow wants your help with him!
River looks down at the bound creature, clearly thinking it over
Lily fires another lightning bolt at the devil.
River steps forward and carefully examies the obviously in pain creature, looking for the best way to help him.
Susan continues removing needles.
Fallow: Easy, m’lord. We are working to help you now.
As River gets closer, she feels a strange tug, one similar to what she has felt before, near the soul vessel that she had been trapped in. As such, she pulls up a bit short of the fey, eyeing the glass vessels accusingly.
Rive : T-those g-glass containers…they ensorcell him….and me
Susan grabs the jars and throws them in her bag of holding.
River looks down at the glass.
Susan: Solved!
River tests the area before moving forward again
The vessels have no lid, and the fluid trembles violently as they are handled.
Fallow → Susan: Take care, Sister, that is Fey blood
Susan pauses before they’re in the bag, and instead just walks away with them a few feet.
Fallow → Susan: I suspect it is magic
Fallow dips her head to the Fey, making an ellaborate obeisance, then reaches out once more to touch him
Susan walks carefully away from the torture rack and places the fluid on the ground.
Fallow: M’lord – do you know how we can ease your suffering more?
River looks uncomfortable and a bit green as she helps remove the needles
Fallow: Ease your worry, M’lord Autumninal Faun, we will have you free soon enough. You can go back to the Winter Court
The needles are removed carefully and with minimal injury to the fey creature. It continues to stare at Fallow blankly.
Fallow: M’lord, do you not know me?
Lily: So… are we sure this guy won’t, y’know. Kill us?
Lily: I did zap him with quite a lot of lightning.
Fallow: M’Lord, I do not know your proper name. Please tell me how best I can assist you?
Fallow thinks for a moment, then closes her eyes, laying her hands on the chest of the fey creature, green light slipping through her fingers into his form
Fallow continues to hover over the fey, her posture one of sincere care and obeisance
With a burst of magic that settles over the fey creature with a sound similar to that of falling leaves, Fallow channels her magic into the creature and lets out a breath that she wasnt aware she was holding. The feys eyes flutter and a set of whisper thin eyelids open, showing the eyes of a stag beneath. In the span of a heartbeat, Fallow’s hair and skin tone change to that to match the burnished bands on her armor, the color of autumn leaves. The creature then speaks, though the voices timbre is resonant, you can still detect the weakness therein.
Fallow staggers a bit with the sudden change
Autuminal Faun [Sylvan]: [Translation] Winter’s daughter, thou has arrested my bondage and willed me back to the land of the living with thine own power. I am in your debt. Dost thou know of a manner in which I can repay this debt?
Fallow then bows deeply to the Fey Lord
Fallow blinks astonishment at the creature, then ponders thoughtfully, her head cocked to one side timidly
Fallow let’s her hand go hesitantly to her broken voice box, her thoughts a jumble of desire and hope and other things less obviious
Lily: Hey, so Mr Fey person. I’m sorry for, y’know, zapping you with thunder. Hope you forgive me?
Fallow bows, going to one knee, holding out one hand to the Fey Lord, her eyes dropping, tears beginning to flow as she reaches out with the other hand toward the Fey, hoping he will deign to hold her in his hand, to allow her to speak once more to his mind
Autuminal Faun [Sylvan]: [Translation] If that is thou’s wish, then it will be so. Take my hand, child, and help me from this wretched table.
Lily: Erm, don’t suppose anyone can translate that huh?
Fallow rises, standing beside the Fey, reaching out to give what little assistance she can in her astonished state to help him rise from the frame that has tortured him so long
Fallow: M’lord = I do not know what to…say; any fey would have done this for you
Fallow her eyes rise to those of the Fey slowly, hopefully
As you reach out and cut the straps holding the creature to the torture table, it stands upright, though on trembling legs, like that of a newborn colt. Its form shimmers and blurs, slowly expanding out, and within a moment the humanoid creature takes on a much different form. What could only be described as a mix of elf and stag stand before you now, some eight foot high at the shoulder, with a massive antlered rack with nearly forty points in total. Holly and ivy hang from the antlers that seem to bend out of the way of the ceiling as it moves it head, and small winter flowers begin to sprout from the rocky ground beneath its feet.
Autuminal Faun [Sylvan]: [Translation] Thou is mistaken, Winter’s Daughter – of not all of the fey would have done so – even fewer that share a mix of Summer and Winter’s blood. Now, I shall reward thou with what thou hast asked of me. Kneel.
Lily: Ok
Lily: Now I feel small
Fallow kneels suddenly, like her legs have lost all power to hold her erect any more, ner knees sinking into the loam of the sprouting winter flowers
Lily: Nice flowers though! Reminds me of my first home.
The fey reaches out with hands that end in wicked looking claws and with a quick movement, they pierce Fallow’s throat, a well of bright crimson blood spouting forth for a moment, as a thorny bramble wraps around her neck and burrows deep into her flesh. The bramble flares with a pale blue light that burns bright enough you have to shield your eyes for a moment. Within a heartbeat, the light is gone, and the skin on Fallow’s neck is tattooed with the image of a winters briar wrapping all the way around her throat.
Autuminal Faun [Sylvan]: [Translation] It is as thou hast asked, child. Speak and let you voice be heard as Winter’s Daughter once more.
Fallow voice catches with a small gasp, then almost whispers out with a croak that gradually strengthens to a beautiful rich soprano
Fallow: …I…my…voice….
Fallow looks up at the fey lord, her eyes filled with tears of joy
Stormy: Oh great. And I was just getting used to you not being able to speak. Now I have to deal with another voice?
Lily: Stormy!
Fallow: I…thank thee, m’lord
Fallow: I….do not know….where to start. It has been….so long
Fallow her hands rise to caress her throat, then she hums, and a beautiful soprano note comes forth
Lily: So, you can talk now… Right? Like, I’m not imagining that?
Fallow looks up once more at the stag-like lord, ignoring the others for the moment
Fallow starts a moment….then her cheeks flush in embarassment
Autuminal Faun [Sylvan]: [Translation] Perhaps more should be spoken later, child. I must be away from this place and return to my demise, for if I have been away as long as thou hast said, my affairs must be in dire need of my attention. Seek me out in my home, once thou hast finished business in this wretched place. Wilst thou fetch me mine essence?
Fallow: M’lord, I again thank thee, though I know I should not do so with a Fey
Fallow walks over to Susan, her hands out for the glass jars
Fallow: Sister….may I?
Fallow smiles at Susan, her hands reaching for the jars
Susan: Sure.
Fallow takes the jars gently from Susan’s hands, then turns back, reeturning to the lord with them, offering them to his form
Susan hands them over carefully, not making eyecontact
Fallow: M’lord…wait….my I ask a small boon before ye leave? I will take on a future service in it’s stead
Fallow looks at the others briefly, then back to the lord before her
Pyros nods at Fallow.
The fey places its hand into each jar and the iridescence evaporates, making the creature seem more… solid and real in your presence. As the last of the jars is absorbed, you all can feel the weight of this creatures gaze in the room, much as you felt the presence of the ancient spirit in the grove within the FeyWild that watches over River and Moro.
Autuminal Faun looks to Fallow and nods.
Lily looks on in awe, while Stormy just yawns.
Fallow: We…we seek another here, trapped like you were. Can you give us some guidance to where his cell might be?
Susan is still and silent.
Fallow shudders a bit, knowing one does not ask Fey for favors but wanting to help the others with the quest as well, knowing she will pay the price when the time comes
Autuminal Faun [Sylvan]: [Translation] I know not of many places within this wretched place. There were two others that I saw whilst trapped here. One was a human man, aged in years by their standards – he is a personal toy of the warden here, and tortured frequently. Kept in chains and under constant guard. The other is… human in part, though the other is more celestial in nature. That one was kept under a massive block of ice, even when transported. I believe it is kept near the warden as well. Those chambers are on the eastern side of this structure
Fallow bows again deeply
Fallow: I thank thee m’lord. I will indeed seek thee out upon my return to the Winter Court. I am in your debt now.
The Fey Lord looks out over the group once more and nods, once before a powerful push of his hooves send stones cracking below its feet as it charges out of the building and onto the bridge. There its form wavers and becomes encircled in a strange emerald mist before vanishing away in a swirl of leaves.

Escape from the Bath
Session #95

Last time on HBC – After meeting with the head of House Fonte and laying out a bit of their road ahead of them, the group was also confronted by the possibility of meeting with Xila’s sister and discovering more of the ongoing plot. They found out from Danica that her husband, the priest Cadderly, was trapped in the nine hells, and would likely be the key to breaking Zenwrick’s hold over the Spirit Soaring, a cathedral that was displaced into the Shadowfell. After having Quinn and Danica work on more information about how the group could surivive the Shadowfell, the rest of the group sped off to meet with Arina at a bath house. There, most of the group disrobed and found their way to the bath, while Pyros, not willing to disrobe in public, decided to go back into the lobby and wait things out. The rest of the group was confronted by a naked halfling Arina and her Red Wizard companion.
Arina: The safe was… well its where he kept all the ledgers and money… though there wasnt much of either in that when we found it.
River: I see…
Fallow looks questioningly at River
Sanya: What is it you want from us? Arina wants to save da, but he is not much to be saved, I think.
Susan: We want to do what all Heroes do. Save everyone we can.
Susan: With Xila being high on that list.
Sanya chuckles. “Hero, huh?”
Lily: Yup, we’re the good guys… Right?
Fallow nods sagely
Meanwhile, as Pyros sits in the lobby, he strikes up a seemingly one sided conversation that causes the bath attendant to look in his direction oddly, but otherwise ignores him. After a minute of his muttering, the energies building around him discharge, and wash over the room.
Arina: Look – I dont know you guys much, but I want to save my family if I can, and if Xila’s in trouble, then I definately want to save her. I cant promise much on my end… I have trouble keeping it together most of the time even with Sanya’s help. But if you’re her friends, then… well… I’ll do whatever works. Aligned goals, friend of my sister is my friend and all the other cliches.
Fallow raises one corner of her mouth distastefully
The attendants eyes go wide for a moment before they relax and she smiles at Pyros. “Hello sir, can I help you?”
Susan cocks her head, and looks to River for her opinion.
River: That would be g-greatly a-appreciated. I’m c-certain Xila would approve of such.
River: She was q-quick to warn us to not lay a finger on you or the rest of her kin.
Sanya: Without plan, the shadowfell is death to all. Unless you come from there.
Susan: That’s why we’re going to hell first.
Susan: One of them at least.
Sanya cocks an eyebrow at Susan.
Susan instinctively sucks in her stomach, and tries to stand taller.
Fallow grimaces at Susan’s antics
Lily chuckles slightly.
River: There is s-someone that can a-assist us, trapped in one of the layers of hell.
Lily: So we need to go rescue someone so we can rescue someone else!
River: It is… c-circuitous, but it meets our needs.
Fallow sighs silently
Susan: We just have a few things to work out, before hand.
Fallow nods to Susan worriedly
Arina: Ok… well, Im not sure I can make that trip… There’s some things I have to keep my finger on here. Are you going to be long and do you know who you are going to get?
Fallow shrugs noncommittally
Lily: I’m sure we won’t be long. We need to leave before Susan pops.
Pyros (walks over to the attendant, looking stern): We will see if you are competent enough. I’m here to test this establishment for safety, by order of the highest authority. Rumors came up that the water heating process is not up to the safety standards that my client expects. If the heating process involves fire sources that are dangerous or instable or even too hot, this establishment will be closed for further inspection. I was made to wait long enough, before you got your mind to around to offering help, so I’m already a bit impatient. You would do your employer a favor to show me the way immediately. ((then adds in a friendlier, quieter tone)) Look, I understand if you can’t leave your post here, and have to keep greeting the customer, we probably both had a long day, just let me into the bathing area and I’ll find my way. I assure you, I’m not here to disrupt or disturb any customers, as the rumor spreading wouldn’t go well for this establishment and neither of us wants that.
Fallow hooks a thumb at Lily as she looks over at Susan curiously
River: We have a n-name and relatively s-specific location. It shouldn’t take too long if all g-goes well.
Fallow grins at Susan conspiratorily
Attendant: Of course, Sir. Please take this keystone, and enter through the men’s changing room. The stone will allow you to pass through the wards. Please return it upon leaving.
Flak (River): Hmmm… not that I can think of.
Attendant hands you a small ruby colored stone.
Susan grins back.
Pyros nods, takes the keystone and proceeds.
Pushing his way through the wards, Pyros walks down the halls, following the directions they were given to the appropriate meeting place. Though several people see him not clad in bath house attire, no one accosts him.
Stormy: Hey, how’d you get through?
Lily: Pyros is outside.
Fallow looks up curiously, waiting for whatever show is about to take place
Pyros: I have my ways.
Stormy: Well you might not want to go in… Not everyone is fully erm… covered.
Stormy: I’ve told Lily you’re here though.
Pyros: I don’t appreciate water anyway, so I’ll wait outside, but in case something fishy is going on, I’m ready to jump in.
Stormy: If anything happens Lily will let me know, and I’ll let you know.
Stormy: I believe they may be leaving soon anyway.
Susan: Would either of you know of any other avenues into Planar Travel?
Sanya: There are lots of way to travel planes. We were looking for scrolls and ritual to do so – we did not find it.
Arina: Im thinking about approaching one of the other houses to try and levy a favor or two. But, Im not sure if they will be receptive to someone who’s supposed to be dead.
Lily: There are worse things to be then dead.
Susan: Yes… you are supposed to be dead. Are there any side effects to the not being dead? Whole soul, and everything?
Susan makes a vague gesture at Arina.
River looks nonplussed.
Arina: Im not… what?
Susan: Xila mentioned that she spoke to your soul in the family crypt. I wondered if it was some segment of your soul, or a trick?
Fallow makes a gesture as of a head being cut off, and points to Arina nodding
Susan glances at Sanya to see if shere is a reaction.
Fallow nods
Both of the women seem to share a glance of confusion before looking back to Susan. Sanya taps a thick finger to her chin, “Is maybe reason she is broken in her head then? If Zenwrick has fractured her soul, then… it might be true.”
Susan: Unfortunately, it’d be difficult to check. Xila wanted to save your soul from suffering, and released it into the great here after.
As Pyros and Stormy relay information to each other back and forth, there is suddenly the sound of a klaxxon that rings from up near the changing rooms. The alarming sound is followed by the flashing of the magical lights from a pale blue to an angry red.
Lily: Trouble
Lily: There’s a Klaxxon sounding outside
Lily: Stormy can hear it, even though we can’t
Susan frowns.
Susan pulls a blade out of her necklace.
Lily: Some kind of Alarm.
Arina: What is a Stormy?
Fallow pulls the dagger from behind her hair
Lily: My companion
Susan: Well, we should see what’s causing such an uproar.
Lily: Pyros has this key, if need be we can get to the changing rooms and grab out gear and still enter the bath.
Pyros (enters the bath and closes the door behind him): If that alarm is not for us, i don’t want to just stand outside like I don’t belong there.
Susan very nearly moves to stab Pyros before catching herself.
Fallow glares at Pyros distastefully, but hides nothign
Fallow stands, moving toward the door to leave
Stormy: I apologise, I tried to stop him.
As the door opens, you can hear the blaring alarm that sounds from far up the hall. As the door shuts the alarm is no longer heard. Sanya remains standing as does Arina, though the later looks like a cornered animal.
Pyros: Well sorry to interrupt this suddenly, but as the saying goes, there’s no time to knock, if the house is on fire.
Susan moves with Fallow.
Pyros: I don’t mean it literally.
Stormy wraps herself around Pyros’s head, covering his eyes
Fallow opens the door and moves outside, turning toward the lockers, grabbing for Pyros as she goes
Pyros goes with Fallow.
Susan: Lets get our things, and leave. Lets not get caught with a woman who is legally dead, and a bunch of not halflings in the capital city of racism.
Looking out the door, you can see that from far up the hall, a half dozen or more halflings in city guard uniforms are walking in your direction.
Lily: Sounds like a plan to me
Fallow looks at Pyros, pointing to his belongings as she is touching his shoulder pushing, and says “How?”
Susan steps back inside.
Fallow follows Susan, pulling Pyros with her
Susan: I can make one of you vanish. Which one of you is more likely to be arrested for a long time.
Pyros shows her the red keystone, “I bluffed my way through to get this.”
Fallow shakes her head half ruefully, half admiringly as she puts a towel back on
Pyros: Well, I’m the one still in clothes.
Lily: So, between us and our clothes are a bunch of guards.
Sanya shakes her head, “We are capable.” As she says this, her features start to melt, and reforming into that of a bald, elderly halfling woman, complete with red robes and weapons.
Pyros hands the stone to Fallow. "Give it back to me or to the establishment, they will need it after we leave!
Lily summons Stormy to her and hops on top, riding Stormy.
Arina looks wildly back and forth, “What is this? A set up?”
River: Not o-one of my doing, I assure you.
Lily: Nope, we didn’t bring them here.
Susan: Do we need a distraction perhaps? Thin the number?
Lily: I can go… talk to them?
Sanya: Arina. Get your things. We will go. Can we meet somewhere else…
Pyros: I’m still not certain the alarm is meant for us, let’s not be hasty, but be prepared.
Fallow taps Susan
River: You k-know where to contact us.
Fallow looks at Pyros as if he’s lost his marbles
Arina nods and dives under the water for a moment, before coming up with a bag that she starts to pull clothing out of.
Lily: Clever
Susan looks to the other.
Fallow grimaces distastelylly again
Sanya: The ship then?
Fallow nods
Lily: Stormy, go scout.
Sanya: We will be there in morning then. If one of you would crack the door.
Fallow raises her arms to say “How”?
Susan cracks the door.
Fallow steps to the other side of the door from Susan
Sanya and Arina, still half cramming on her clothing abruptly disappear from sight and their passing is only noted by the door opening slightly wider for a moment as they pass through. The alarm is still going on in the hall, but peeking out, you dont see the guards at the moment.
Susan: Lets just go, and deal with the problems as they appear.
Fallow nods grim agreement
Pyros: First we need to get your things unless you want to abandon them for good, in case this alarm is meant for us.
Fallow looks at Pyros again as if he’s insane
Fallow: pushes up to Pyros, pushing on his shoulder playfully, saying “Silly” as she does so in his head
Pyros looks at Fallow as if to say is it not reasonable what I said?
Susan: One problem at a time.
Susan: Get our stuff. Get out. Get to Hell. Get the Guy out. Get to the Cathedral. Get Xila. Get…. Whatevers next.
Pyros: Ah so THAT is how you communicate then. interesting, Fallow.
Susan mutters under her breath.
Fallow still touching Pyros she says in his head “Obviously”
Pyros: Not so obvious to someone watching. I had my suspicions.
Pyros: As an excorcist, i’ve seen people trying to pass on demons like that.
Pyros: My apologies for distrusting you, but now let’s get things going.
Fallow sighs silently, moving past Pyros to open the door when they are ready
Stormy darts out and passes through the hall, stopping at the intersections and peeking around. At the first, there is no one in the halls, but at the next intersection, the guardsmen are standing outside of one of the private rooms, discussing something. “…she said without the keystone it would sound if we crossed the ward in our gear. But she didnt know where it was.” “Idiot woman – thats what you get for hiring a human.” “Right, but we still have to find the red wizard and bring her in. The boss wants to talk to that one in particular.” “I thought we were looking for the dark haired girl with the white wolf?” “Them too, but no one would bring a wolf into a public bath.”
As the two guards banter, a third exits another private room, and sees the crackling electric bird in the hall intersection and yells, “What in the hells is that thing?”
Stormy vanishes instantly and returns to Lily
Lily: So we need to go now. Stormy was.. spotted.
Susan: Susan walks out of the room, trying to look as imperious and furious as possible.
Fallow follows her looking as grim as she can
Pyros waits a bit and follows out of sight of Susan.
Susan storms out into the hallway, finding no one in the immediate area.
Lily flies up to Fallow and hides inside her towel
Susan continues towards the locker room, looking for guards.
Fallow pushes Lily away from her breasts and behind her head to her hair hanging down
Stomping down the main hall, you can hear the sounds of voices arguing, coming from the hallway ahead. Peeking around the corner, you can see several halflings dressed in guard uniforms arguing with one another.
Lily hides
Susan: “Oh, I’m so sorry, is this dreadful alarm interupting your conversation too?!” Susan says with escalating volume and rage.
Fallow lowers her eyebrows threateningly beside Susan
Parsantium Legionaire: Im sorry Madam, we’re here under orders from the Crown. If you return to your room, Im sure the alarm wont bother you further.
Fallow glares at the Legionaire
Susan: Do you know who you are talking to?!
Pyros uses Ghost sound quietly to tell River and Lily that he plans to use Ghost Sound from behind the guards to make a sound of a door opening violently to make them look that way, as soon as all their attention is on Susan and not back there. As soon as River and Lily hear that door sound they are supposed to quietly rush past the corridor section with the guards and hurry into the locker room.
Parsantium Legionaire looks at Suan with a scowl, that drains quickly from his face in an instant. “Madame Tzittas. My apologies. I did not know you frequented this bath. I assure you, we are working as quickly as we can. If it pleases you, we can escort you back to your room, or to your manse, whatever would make you happy, ma’am.”
Fallow bumps casually into Susan
Susan rubs her forehead, and waves dismissively to Fallow. “Collect my things and wait for me in the locker room.” She then turns to the guards and moves towards them. “Can you explain to me what you’re looking for, specifically? Perhaps I can help.”
Fallow turns toward the locker room making her way there reluctantly, with a scowl back at the Leginonaires
Parsantium Legionaire: Umm… I…uhhh… well… Crown matters ma’am. Im not at liberty to speak about them. But suffice to say that we are looking for some persons of interest who are wanted for questioning by the Crown, Ma’am.
Susan: I was hoping it’d be about that woman who brought her mutt in here. Never mind then.
Susan starts to turn away slowly.
Parsantium Legionaire: Was it a dark haired woman? With a large… white canine?
Susan: Yes. Feral looking thing, and I don’t mean the dog. If I had my way…. well, I don’t have to tell you.
Parsantium Legionaire: Yes… well, thank you Miss Tzittas. I will make sure your help in the matter is noted in our report.
Susan: She was down the hall. I think the third or fourth intersection? Honestly. They’ll let anyone in here. Tattoed freaks, dogs. Now the guards.
Susan sniffs, and walks toward the locker room with measured steps.
Fallow reaches out to Pyros
The guard seems confused but nods and then goes to speak with the others in his group as Susan leaves.
Fallow points to River and motions as if she will go with her
Pyros nods to Fallow that he understood her wanting him to stay and nods agreement.
Susan quickly grabs her stuff, but just throws her underclothes on, and straps on her sword. “Just keep moving.”
Fallow nods grimly, gently hurrying Rivfer along in front of her
Pyros goes when Susan goes.
Susan: When we get to the ship, I’m calling Invahdiah. Let’s see if she can get us a hall pass into hell.
As you leave the locker room, you see there are two human men standing behind the desk, talking to a very confused and upset attendant. She keept repeating, “I really dont know what happened to it… It was here just a little while ago, but its just gone. I didnt leave, I swear.”
As your group exits the building, you are greeted outside by a trio of ettins in guard regalia that are seated on the stone steps playing dice and laughing in their gutteral tongue.
Avoiding engaging the ettins, you skirt them quickly and then head out of this area of the city, pushing back over the bridge and into the port district, back towards your ship.
River: This is… unfortunate.
Susan: We may not be welcome here much longer.
Lily: Looks like we’ll need to get out of this place pronto.
Fallow nods agreement
Fallow flaps her arms as if flying away
River: I would still inquire the n-nature of their search… but I do not believe it is in my b-best interest to wait too long to find out.
Susan: Lets make sure we can get onto the boat first.
Making your way down the main thoroughfare, you hear a ruckus coming from behind you, as a large wagon being pulled by a quartet of horses and surrounded by several city guards trundles past quickly, followed by several human men and women who are yelling at the guards, who seem oblivious.
Pyros: Careful, it may be under observation, if the city knows what they’re doing.
Lily: Erm…. What just happened?
Susan: Boat.
Pyros: Not everything in the world happens because of us.
Lily: Sure feels like it
Fallow looks doubtful
Susan: Susan would be worried that step two is arresting every dark haired human woman, who has been seen with a dog.
Asking one of the passersby, you are told that the City Guard has arrested Iovivus Fonte for conspiracy against the Crown and aiding and abeding known felons.
Susan is moving as quickly as possible, trying to part the crowd by sheer force of will and murder walk.
Heading back to your ship, you manage to get back with no more attention drawn to yourselves, as the cities attention seems to be focused elsewhere.
Susan: Lets get out of dock, if we can. That way we can’t be boarded.
Pyros: I agree.
Climbing aboard, you find that Quinn and Danica are not aboard, as they ventured into the city earlier to work on their idea. Most of the crew is also in town, but Selnarine can take the ship out into the river or out of town if you wish.
Susan swears loudly.
Pyros: Master Winterborn has the other sending stone.
Pyros: The rest of the crew could be a problem to contact though
Lily: So, what should we do now?
Susan: We need to be ready to leave on a dime. Were they all expected back by nightfall?
Fallow sets herself up on watch on deck, overlooking the boarding plank and docks
Selnarine, Briar Witch Dryad: They will be back before the morning, but I can take the ship out into the river. It would look suspicious since there is some traffic. Alternatively… the ship can fly.
Pyros: We could also leave and come back in the morning to have a meeting. We’d just need to get word out to lay low until then.
Susan rubs her face.
Susan: Okay. I know my next step. I need to try and summon a devil, and negotiate for things.
Pyros: Need assistance?
Susan: Does anyone mind If i trade our vampire dragon in a bottle?
Selnarine, Briar Witch Dryad: Did you do something that warrants suspicion or arrest?
Susan looks at River.
Pyros: Yes, we kinda ‘meddled’.
Lily: Apparently, the crown want River.
Pyros: Seems to be enough here.
Pyros: I’m fine with you trading away the dragonlich, Susan.
Susan fingers her necklace and nods to pyros.
Lily: Wait… you have a dragon?
Lily: I’ve always wanted a Dragon
Susan: We have a vampire dragon in a bottle who probably wants to murder us.
Pyros assures Susan of his help by nodding back.
Susan smiles at Pyros.
Lily: Cool
Stormy: Dragons are not to be meddled with. I would treat that bottle with extreme caution.
Selnarine, Briar Witch Dryad: Are you planning on summoning devils on this ship then? That seems like its arrest worthy…
Pyros: We could let it out for target practice every other tenday.
Susan: I would love to know why the crown wants River first.
Susan: IS it your aunt trying to force her way into our lives agin, perhaps?
Pyros: Others of Xila’s family have tried to get their hands on her before.
River: No… I think it’s just a misunderstanding I’d rather a-avoid.
Susan: My plan is, if everyone’s okay with it, going downstairs and asking Mot to tell Invahdiah that I’d like to trade the soul form of a Dracolich, and if she’d like to bargain.
Lily: If this is a misunderstanding, I’d hate to see when it isn’t
Lily: Invidiah?
Lily: Who’s that?
River: I’d rather wait until all of the c-crew is present.
Susan: A very powerful woman, who is always looking for opportunities to become more powerful.
River: Then w-we can leave at a m-moment’s notice.
Stormy: You talk of Bargains, and earlier mentioned summoning devils
Stormy: Is this Invahdiah such a thing?
Susan: I’d like to trade something akin to what Arina was looking for. A tome that would give us access to the magic rather than a one way trip.
Susan: She is. But we’ve had dealings before.
Susan: Well…. some of us…
Stormy: Devils are terrible creatues to make bargains with. I am against this cause of action.
Lily: If Stormy disagrees, I do as well.
Susan: Well… do you have another option for getting into hell?
Selnarine, Briar Witch Dryad: Its risky, but if youve had dealings before, and they dont burn down my ship, then it maybe worth the risk…
Lily: I only know of the… direct route.
Pyros: house Tzittas had dealings with these kind of beings and might know a way to get there and back.
The night goes by uneventfully, with Quinn and Danica returning to the ship in the early morning hours, and Baelgarr and Lurra returning shortly thereafter with a wagon load of supplies.
Lily: I wonder what Quinn and Danica were up to last night…
Everyone appears to be here now. As you finish unloading the wagon, you see there is a pair of halflings in city guard outfits standing behind the wagon.
Fallow glares at the halflings
Lily: Can we help you?
Parsantium Legionaire: You look nicer in only towel, elf.
Parsantium Legionaire winks.
Lily: Oh, it’s you two.
Lily (quietly): I do agree though, Fallow does look nicer in only a towel.
Pyros: no comment.
Sanya: Can we come up then? It is getting… odd in the city.
Fallow hand twitches as she forebears drawing her craghammer to teach the halfling a lesson or two
Fallow blinks astonished
Susan: come aboard. We can have a ccome aboard. We can have a chat in my room.
Fallow glares again but this time a bit more irritatedly
Fallow stps asside to let them board
The two guards step aboard the ship, heading below decks as quickly as possible.
Pyros will not leave them out of his sight, always watching.
Susan leads them to her quaters, and sits primly in her throne.
Fallow glances at Susan’s belly this morning
Selnarine, Briar Witch Dryad: Are we leaving now, Miss. We’re all aboard now.
Susan frowns a lot, and then gestures to the throne. “Will someone question these people who include a woman who has tried to murder us, and make sure they won’t try and kill us again.”
Fallow looks at Susan, a bit put off, knowing she can’t be the one to do that either
Lily: So.. You going to try and kil us at all?
Fallow thinks for a second, then nods to her friend Susan in appreciation
Sanya: Im not inclined to do so today. Arina is… she wont. Probably.
Stormy: Then we can discuss like ciivlized people.
Stormy scowls at Susan sitting on her “thrown”
Susan looks to the rest of the group.
Sanya: Are sprites and conjured birds people?
Susan: So. We need a plan. I still vote for the tried and true, but i’m open to other ideas.
Lily: Hey! I am very much a person, even if I am a Pixie
Susan snorts.
Stormy: In truth, no I am not. Indeed I am nothing.
Fallow walks over to where Lily is and offers her a perch on her shoulder
Stormy: But that is beside the point.
Fallow blinks
Sanya shrugs. “We can talk then. What is plan?”
Lily perches on Fallows shoulder.
River: The p-prime goal is to enter the Shadowfell, in pursuit of Xila and her potential c-captors. In order to follow, we need assistance.
Lily Looks at Fallow.
Fallow nods toward the Thayan
Pyros: What i would like to know, just to build some degree of trust in… ganging up in this cause of rescuing Xila, what exactly was your role in abducting River a few months back, why did you do it, for whom, why did you lead us on this wild chase to that tower where River was being kept and why did you leave a trail of murder and deceit in your wake?
Stormy: It is also of importance that we go to Hell.
Lily: Don’t suppose you guys can shed some light on that little problem, huh?
Fallow smiles slightly, somewhat lost in thought, as if distracted by another conversation she finds amusing
Pyros: That one has half a soul, is crazy and family to a friend of mine, very well, but what is your agenda in all of this, Thayan Woman?
Sanya shrugs her wide shoulders as Arina chews her lip in frustration. “We were trying to find out more about Zdnwricks plans. He wanted little girl, so we wanted to stop him and use her as leverage.”
Fallow glances at River, wondering how they got “little girl” out of her
Sanya: I have no agenda, devilborn. I am Arina’s friend, that is all.
Lily: Well then. Let’s get to the more important topics.
Lily: Like how we can get to hell.
Lily: Or the Shadowfel.
Susan: I’ve laid out my plan. I’m waiting for other options.
Pyros: What does friendship mean to you? If you’re the kind of person who helps their friends leave a trail of dead people behind, just for fun, I have a different understanding of the concept.
Quinn Winterborn: Well, if it helps… I maybe able to get us there… but we have to know where “there” is…
Susan: explain?
Quinn Winterborn leans into the room, with questions in his eyes for the arrayed personages.
Pyros: The hell goes in circles, but is huge. We need an accurate location, that much is true.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ve got my hands on some pretty interesting magics that I can use to move people across the planes.
Lily perks up at this
Susan: The Plane Shift Ritual perhaps?
Lily: Does this ritual go to… every plane?
Sanya: No. A similar one – teleportantion circle… and one that is quite a bit more potent.
Susan: So we can’t take the ship.
Pyros: Linked Portal or Planar Portal probably. A difficult part is to get your hand on a sigil sequence to get it to where it is supposed to go. known Sigil sequences go to the major cities in the realms, but beyond that…
Quinn Winterborn nods at Pyros. “Not those either… True Portal. And Danica believes she knows the name of the place where Cadderly is being kept.”
Stormy: So, we just have to find the right sequence to get us into hell.
Stormy: Should be a piece of cake.
Pyros: I’ve read about it in my studies, but wasn’t interested at the time and studied… well…. fire.
Stormy: You studied poorly… Lightning is much more, elegent.
Stormy: Fire is too destructive for my taste.
Pyros: Debatable.
Sanya: That magic is beyong most mages in my clave, you must be powerful indeed to even know the ritual, let alone be able to cast it.
Susan: So, we have the same problem. We need someone who knows the sequence for a circle in hell. And presumably there permission to use it, or we get chastised on the other side.
You create a circle of glowing sigils and state your desired destination-any place you name. The circle fills with a hazy vision of the place. When you step inside the circle, you are instantly transported to your destination, no matter how far away it is.
Quinn Winterborn: We just need the name, Susan… and the ability to cast the ritual…
Quinn Winterborn: and… some pricey components.
Susan: Do we know a magic user powerful enough to cast this?
Susan: I don’t know if the power of friendship would be enough this time around.
Sanya: I am able to cast the teleportation circle ritual, though I do not know it, if that is of use.
Stormy: How convenient.
Susan: I could ask Invahdiah for the power to cast this spell.
Stormy: You truly wish to make a deal with this devil don’t you? I wonder whether Lily has made a poor judgement of her allies.
Lily: Hey! Stormy… Right that’s it, back inside you go.
Lily clicks her finges and Stormy vanishes, causing Lily’s body to flash with lightning once again
Susan: Stormy will probably live longer than the rest of us.
Susan: It clearly has more sense. But yes. I could… maybe get the power to cast the ritual.
Fallow nods agreement
Lily: Stormy will definitely out live us all… There’s no question of that.
Quinn Winterborn: I dont like the idea of involving devils, Susan. Its a dark path, and one Im not willing to tread. I might be able to channel enough power to open the way, with some help, but I do not think I could open the way back, or even move once cast. Its a tremendous amount of energy to wield at once.
Pyros: I take it we can’t take the ship with us?
Lily: What would assist you?
Quinn Winterborn: Well, if we had a teleportation circle, that makes this ritual easier to cast, and with the help of Pyros and Susan I think I can open the portal, but Ill be spent afterwards. If we have a circle, though, one of them can likely bring you back.
River: And the components?
River: I don’t believe we have such items r-readily available on a whim.
Quinn Winterborn: They will be expensive but there is a cabal of mages within the city and there is enough market for such things that they can be bought.
Quinn Winterborn: There is a chance… that we could all be burnt by over channeling this much energy – perhaps even cut off from magic entirely if it fails completely.
Lily: That would be.. unacceptable.
Pyros: Xila would risk it for any of us in a snap.
Lily: But if we must… then I shall risk it. Stormy would never forgive me if I didn’t/
River: We must do what we can.
Pyros: On the other hand Xila would risk it in a snap anyway, even if none of us were in danger.
Quinn Winterborn: Its an option, and one that doesnt require diabolical pacts or sacrificing babies or killing puppies…
Fallow nods agreement with the wizard
Pyros: How can we prepare to minimize the risks?
Susan visibly vibrates with rage, glaring between Quinn and Fallow.
Lily: I am also in agreement.
Quinn Winterborn: Frankly… dont suck. We’re wizards – we have to be smarter than the magic… and not trip or just be clumsy.
Susan stands up and walks to the door.
Susan: Right. Lets go to the cargo room then. There should be enough space.
Susan: One second.
Pyros: You also have to act responsibly and with reason. that means you have to be able to admit if some magic is yet too powerful for your skills.
Susan walk out of the room, and loudly retches.
Fallow makes the sign of the growing pregnancy pointing to Susan and looking at Lily while Susan is turned away
Lily: Fallow wants me to say that time is important.
Fallow nods vigorously
Susan returns, wiping at her mouth with back of her hands.
Quinn Winterborn nods. “This…” motioning to his spellscar, “.. has opened my senses to magic in its more… raw form. I know I can manipulate that, but Im also just a man. I dont know that I can hold that much power. Thats why I need you… and Susan to help.”
Pyros: I will do my best and learn to overcome my limitations for all that is important. But in all honesty and among friends i have to confess…
Pyros: i… I am deeply and terribly in fear of hell.
Sanya: That is the most sane thing said in this room.
Lily: Hey!
Pyros: i have a sense of foreboding that really freaks me out.
Lily: I think I’ve said some sane stuff… Or well, stormy has.
Fallow grins
Sanya: Bird is not person, by own admission.
Lily: Still counts
Quinn Winterborn: We can only face whats in front of us, Pyros. And you’ll have Susan to protect you from the devils. Shes on speaking terms with them.
Susan leans against the wall, rubbing her head. “Can we get to the part where we go to hell, before I start having to pee every give minutes.”
Lily: You sure you’re up for coming with us Susan?
Pyros: I don’t fear for my safety, but for yours.
Susan: Quinn Winterborn. I have no idea what he ever saw in you, you-
Susan goes green and walks out of the room again.
Lily: Huh, why?
Lily: I’m not a child!
Lily: …Oh
Quinn Winterborn says softly, “He, unlike you, was my friend….”
River: …With that, we must not t-tarry.
Fallow throws sad motif into the air
Susan returns shortly after, taking deep breathes. “Okay, I have the magical ability to throw up whilst angry. Surely this a boon from my god.”
Susan: “Let’s go to hell.”
Pyros: Me entering hell could…trigger events that… it’s too early… if we do this, we have to do it fast.
Fallow nods emphatically, standing up, walking to Susan and putting her arm on her shoulder
Quinn Winterborn: Its a grab mission… get in, grab the man, get out.
Lily: Hey, Hell can’t be any worse then the Elemental Chaos…. Right?
Sanya: I could be much worse.
River: It’s Hell for a reason.
Susan continues taking the deep calming breaths.
Lily: I mean… The chaos has The Abyss, that’s pretty bad.
River: Pyros, Quinn, gather the ingredients.
Susan: I hear it’s very well run. They pave the roads with good intentions.
Pyros: The elemental chaos has the abyss, which comes close to hell.
Sanya: Where do I make the circle? I can start now, it can be done in several hours.
Susan: The bottom deck. I’ll show you.
Pyros: Okay, we need to get to a permanent circle to be able to pull this off, any known circles in the area?
Arina: Why are we even here, Sanya? They arent going to help Xila or us… they’ll just stab us or strand us there. Its gonna get bad and then we’ll be alone again… and then..
Susan: No we just need a temporary one for the spell there. And the ship can meet us in that last city when we return.
Lily: Don’t worry Arina. We will help Xila.
Sanya: Hush, lil one… it will be ok. I will watch you, and you will watch me. It will be ok.
Lily: While I don’t know her as well as the others do. I know that they would do what is needed to save her.

And the walls come tumbling down...
Sessions #92-94

Last time on HBCMURDER! IN an attempt to argue her point home, Xila pursued her father(?) to a point of isolating herself from the group, while they attempted to free River from the soul jar and were embattled by undead. Xila disappeared, however, as did the rest of the Moonwater clan, while a human woman has now charged forward to do battle with the rest of the group. Where is Xila? Is she alive? Did she go willingly, or was she taken? Let find out tonight…
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Fire is always hungry.
The zombie body burns away finally with the intense flames coming from Pyros’ form.
A few more undead creep forward from the open crypts…
The undead stagger forward…
Quinn begins to cast a spell, but waits for the enemies to get closer.
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] In the end only ashes remain.
Danica dances out of your way.
The zombie lurches forward and lays into Susan with a heavy handed blow.
Quinn then releases the spell he was holding.
River: S-Stay on her, Moro!
The Zombies curl and blacken from the blast of fire.
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Yes! Burn!
River: X-Xila! Are you OK?
As you begin to focus on the shadowy woman, there is the sound of fabric being torn, and in the center of the room, a jagged black tear begins to form as if something was pushing into this place from beyond…
The shadowy woman blinks out of existance for a moment before slamming into River from the shadows!
River: A l-l-little help here p-please…!!
Pentacorn ‘s flames grow brighter as in answer to River’s call.
The zombie explodes under Fallow’s heavy hit, spraying the group with nasty spores sthat eat through cloth and metal alike.
Susan: Leave…River… Alone!
Danica slaps the sword away with the palm of her hand.
Susan as the blade gets knocked aside, Susan looks aghast, and turns to look at River.
Susan: Get away, River!
River: In d-due time…
The monk then grabs Susan’s second strike, nearly throwing the blade out of her grasp.
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Go yonder, my Flame and burn my enemies. River needs help.
Go yonder, my Flame and burn my enemies. River needs help.
The black jagged tear opens wide as a feminine form steps through. A woman emerges, one you have seen before, though now she is clad in tightly fit chain armor and bears a pulsing shield of crackling black energy that floats near her threateningly. “Zenwrick! I will rip that lying mouth from your face and feed it to a bone devil!” Meredith Sainte Voullaine snaps as she steps forward.
River: This is… not i-ideal.
Quinn Winterborn: Are we not supposed to kill your family too?
Danica’s head snaps to see the new threat, but then advances on River.
River: Nngh… My pain is n-nothing.
As the strike connects, Danica’s body is enveloped in black tendrils, before she is casually thrown through the air and into the stone of one of the nearby crypts.
Meredith: Thats enough of that.
Susan looks at the figure in front of her, just trying to make sure it’s real before she goes with her last resort.
Meredith: Focus on your task, woman. Im not the threat here.
Moro: How I long to hear your neck snap between my jaws…
Moro growls lowly at the actress, eager to snap her fangs into her.
Meredith: Yes… death and destruction and wanton lamentations. We’ve all seen that you are quite scary.
River: Why are you h-here?
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Fire is relentless. In the end it will get you.
Fire is relentless. In the end it will get you.
Meredith: I came looking for that arrogant sniveling runt of a man!
River: Z-Zenwrick? I was u-under the impression you’ve tired of dealing with h-him.
Meredith: I came to kill him and blast apart this entire abomination. His ambition far out paces his reach.
Meredith: And if you’ll allow me to assist you with this… mindslave, we can speak freely.
River: …Moro, stand d-down.
Moro: You do not believe her to be trustworthy, after all this—
River: No. But we must ch-choose our battles wisely. This is n-not the time.
Meredith flicks a hand towards the monk, as a globule of crackling black energy flies from the shield at her side.
Moro growls menacingly before turning away from Meredith.
The energy forms a crackling black void around the woman, tearing at her essence.
Quinn Winterborn: Wait, is she… helping us?
River: F-For now. We will trade words once we d-deal with the other.
Fallow glances once over her shoulder
Meredith: Pick your jaw up off the floor, wizard. A fight is at hand.
Quinn Winterborn: This is insane.
Meredith: Indeed.
Moro simply harumphs.
Danica kips up and then vanishes from sight, only to strike out at River from behind once more.
River parries with a defensive block from her spear, turning in the nick of time.
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] You cannot outrun fire.
Fallow raises her shield protectively near River as she stands ready to defend her
Meredith: She is clearly under the sway of that foul succubus – not that it matters in the least.
Quinn Winterborn: It matters to me. If she is under the control of someone else then it would be wrong to killl her.
Another black void of crackling energy springs into being…
Quinn Winterborn attempts to dispel whaever magic is holding Danica
The twisted tendrils of shadow that curl around the woman lessen under the hammer blow of Quinn’s magical onslaught. They tense for a moment before shattering, sending shards of black crystals all over Fallow and River. The woman then releases a heavy sigh before slumping to the ground, with color slowly seeping back into her face.
Quinn Winterborn heads over to Danica.
Quinn Winterborn: Is she alright now?
Fallow blinks, then glances back at the wizard, wondering what the bleep he’s on about
River: I believe she is s-subdued.
Quinn Winterborn breaths a sigh of relief
Fallow moves between River and Meredith warily
River: Now… I b-believe we have matters to d-discuss.
Susan doesn’t react to Fallows, message, eyes locked on Meredith, but moving to stand directly next to River.
Meredith: Indeed. Assuming your compatriots arent going to assault me, and we can discontinue shouting across this horrible room.
River: Of c-course. Is this agreeable to you all?
Quinn Winterborn: Pyros, please can you take down your flames? Danica should be alright now.
Fallow looks back at River, then nods reluctantly
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Fire agrees not to burn Meredith unless she attacks.
Moro harumphs again… and fades away.
Meredith [Primordial]: [Translation] You are fire now? How presumptious of you.
Pentacorn turns back into his usual self.
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Alright, Master Winterborn.
Quinn Winterborn: Thank you.
Pentacorn: Alright, Master Winterborn.
Pentacorn: Could I have your assistance back here, Master Winterborn, if you will?
Quinn Winterborn nods
River: …Xila is not here, it seems.
Pentacorn has a look at the bottle magic and consults Quinn on his opinion how to bottle it again.
Quinn Winterborn: That does not surprise me. She probably went with her family. She did want us not to hurt them
Quinn Winterborn examins the bottle
Meredith: Another of this horrid family? I thought her dead – at least thats what Zenwrick would have me believe
Fallow glances around carefully while watching Meredith, looking for some sign of little Xila
River: There is much the Moonwaters have k-kept secret.
The bottle appears to be similar to the containers that Susan procured from the tent where Dias was lost.
Meredith: Clearly. Why are you here?
River: To uncover both their p-plans… as well as your own, d-dear Aunt.
River: I would assume you c-came to that conclusion already.
Meredith: I doubt you’ve uncovered much in the way of my own motivations and machiations, dear. But it is fetching that you have attempted to, thus far.
Quinn Winterborn summons a mage hand to pick up the bottle. Then moves it to the far corner.
River: It is not I who has d-done much successful d-digging.
Susan: can we just put a cork in it? Like the second bottle we already havea
Pentacorn retraces Xila’s steps to look for clues to her leaving, a note or anything.
Meredith: Oh? Thats slightly disappointing, considering your ability to elude me thus far. Tell me, was it this idiot family that cost your uncle, or was it the trecherous drow?
River: …He is d-dead?
Meredith: Debilitated. A nasty poison of some kind, that they make in this city in particular.
River: I do not b-believe it is the Moonwaters, n-no. They have their own motivations. There is… some troubling notes of import.
River: T-Tell me, how have you and they worked t-together in the past?
Pentacorn packs the Spiritsuckerbottle into his bag of holding.
Meredith: Contracted – they do some work in smuggling and were looking to break into something bigger. Your uncle prides himself on making coin where ever he can, so he hired the lowest bidder. And now he sits in a puddle of his own filth because his bowels are uncontrolled.
Pentacorn: what do i see in that crypt?
River ponders for a moment, putting the evidence thus far together.
River: There is a s-strong possibility Zenwrick and his kin have l-left once more. But I may k-know where they have g-gone.
Meredith: The Shadowfell, I would assume. He seems to be doing the most damage on that plane- the idiot.
River: There is… a g-great deal he has accomplished there.
River: For us to f-follow I fear is not… possible at this time.
Meredith: You do seem ill prepared for such a journey. To what extent do you know of his plans? Where does he retreat to, what are his goals, who is his patron?
Fallow puts a hand on River’s shoulder gently
Fallow looks slightly worried and torn as she looks at River
River: If my own suspicions are correct… not too f-far off from your own.
River smiles wryly.
Meredith: You would be incorrect, for the most part, child.
Meredith: at least, the last part. We do not serve the same patron.
Quinn Winterborn: Of course you wouldn’t admit it.
Pentacorn (mumbles to himself): Xila where have you gone … … … and do you even want us to follow?
Meredith: Admit what?
Quinn Winterborn: Your plans.
Meredith: You’ve likely uncovered enough that it would be redundant to walk that path now, or are you inept in that as well?
Quinn Winterborn: And whether you served the same patron.
Fallow glances at Susan over River’s back
Meredith: This place reeks of the Lady of Loss. That is not my patron. We are, in fact, diametrically opposed to her.
Kevin (Fallow): do we know “Lady of Loss” meaning?
River: To some, any shade of d-darkness is too much to bear.
Meredith: Please… this plane is like all others, shades of gray.
Meredith: Not her… no, she is the absence of everything – good, evil, puppies, devils… everything. Gone. Nothing to love or hate – just nothing at all. There’s no future in that, child.
River: Regardless… I fear we may still be at an impass proceeding.
River: As much as I would… regret this…
River: C-Can you be of assistance in… our pursuit against Zenwrick?
Meredith raises an eyebrow.
Quinn Winterborn: You are seriously asking for her aid?
Fallow looks at River a bit poleaxed
Meredith: I echo your companions concern in this course of action.
Quinn Winterborn: You know it’s bad when the enemy themselves tells you it’s a bad idea for them to assist.
Pentacorn: Are we enemies then?
Meredith: Caution is warranted in all things, wizard.
Meredith: Wizards, then.
River: Our friend Xila was lost in this battle… knowing her… she most likely followed them to their destination…
Pentacorn: Humility is a great asset though, when pride navigates you into a dead end.
River: Or d-dragged there.
Quinn Winterborn: Or she went willingly.
Fallow nods
Pentacorn: Well, there is a lot of blood here, so it can’t just have been talks. One side attacked the other and if Xila didn’t attack her family, it was the other way around.
Meredith: I do have the resources to provide you with aid in this course of action – I know where he is, and what his plans are – or at least a modest estimation of them – but what is it you would provide me? I could simply take you here and now, if I liked to…
Meredith: However, we are being civilized, and there is a time and place for recklessness.
Pentacorn: Either they left at some point and she followed after them without them knowing, or they took her. In either case she’ll need assistance soon, i reckon.
River: And what would you ask of us in r-return?
Meredith: There is… something.
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t like the sound of this
Fallow shakes her head worriedly
River crosses her arms in thought.
Meredith: Within the eddifice that Zenwrick occupies there are a number of tomes that have not seen the light of Faerun in several hundred years – magics lost to the changing of gods and the burning of magics. While Zenwrick attempts to corrupt ‘the book’, there is another, “Canticle of Madness” that lies within. You bring me that book, and I will call this ‘even’.
Quinn Winterborn: What do you want with this book?
Meredith: Should he successful corrupt the other book… well, it wont end well for any of us.
Meredith: To read it, simply put. It is important to me
Fallow looks curiously and with great trepidation at Meredith, trying to determine anything about her heritage
Fallow ‘s head pulls back suddenly, then she looks at Susan
River: It is not…. unseemly to find this.
Susan: It can, fallow.
River: Of c-course, we n-need to become p-prepared for the venture ahead.
Quinn Winterborn: Why are you so eaher to get this book? Surely reading it can not be your only objective
Meredith: I have some things that can offer protection from the latent energies of the Shadowfell. And perhaps one of my retainers, if youd like. There would need to be some sliver of trust here, in order for this to happen, however.
Pentacorn: The what if Xila is not there in the first place? Don’t we need to figure out where she went exactly first before we go into darkness?
Meredith: It is a lost book of my faith – which were all ripped from the planes hundreds of years ago. They are important to the faithful, though I will freely admit, I hope to find more within.
Meredith: I know where Zenwrick is at. Ive been tracking him for a time, but he vanishes from my sight on occasion, likely some kind of antimagical room of some sort.
River: Hmmm…
River looks over to Danica’s prone body.
Quinn Winterborn: I defer to River. But I am against this. That book does not sound promising.
River: What of her? I doubt s-she is not unfamiliar of their location either.
Meredith shrugs. “She seems formidible, but I doubt she would fare better than you in that plane.”
Meredith: Assuming she was controlled by the devil, then its likely she wont recall much while being charmed.
Meredith: Perhaps something more… vital to add to the bargain then? Something that may tip the balance?
Quinn Winterborn: I’m listening.
Meredith cocks her head a moment and then states plainly. “You agree to a geas to bring me that book, under pain of death, and I will agree to leave Violet alone for all of eternity.”
Fallow glaress a negative at the foul woman before them
Quinn Winterborn: Word it differetly, and perhaps we can come to an agreement. Your offer of leaving River alone is far too vague.
River: What of the others?
Quinn Winterborn: Plus, you must have a geas placed upon you as well.
Fallow lifts her bloodied hammer at the woman, shaking her head vehemently in the negative, then emphatically makes the sign of Selune in the air before her
Meredith: Thats the premise of a geas… it works both ways.
Meredith: What others? These ones? You can word the agreement however you like – include them, exclude them. Ive never been after them, they were… collateral to my goals.
Susan: Neither you, nor any of your agents. Nobody working on your behalf, or by any order, suggestion or stray comment you might offer. Applying retroactively, to anyone you may have already requested this service of, or made a suggest to.
River: …The fact you are w-willing to undergo a geas for this is… of great concern.
Meredith: I cant state that… as I have no control over the machiations of those that have been in my employ. I will not lift my hand against her, nor pursue her actively or passively in any of my endeavors.
Meredith: Child… I have spent the wealth of small empires pursing you – my goals are outside of your scope and vision. This is a means for us to part amicably and for you to live your life without me lurking over your shoulder.
River rubs the side of her arm in thought.
Quinn Winterborn: The ‘other book’…. what is it?
Meredith: Its a relic from another god – something that if tampered with, will bring on the destruction of everything, particularily in the hands of an oaf like Zenwrick.
Meredith: The Tome of Universal Harmony is its title, if thats meaningful to you.
Quinn Winterborn blows out a low whistle.
River: …I cannot agree to this. For us to part amicably forever…
River: That is not possible. Ever.
Meredith: Less amicably, and more blissful ignorance
Meredith: or indifference… or hate me, thats equally agreeable.
River: Our paths will cross once m-more, that is certain. But we have our own m-matters to deal with that is not here.
Meredith: Do you ever recognize what it is that you are, child? Or what I am? Have you thought to question this beyond the surface of things?
River: …What do you mean?
Meredith: Clearly, you are not simply a human – do you ever think on that for more than a moment?
Meredith: And what do you know of me, beyond that Im a sinister and horrible aunt and a fantastic thespian?
River: …Have you always known this? Even before?
Meredith: How old do you think I am, child?
River: W-What are you?
River takes a step back in fear.
Fallow steps ready to guard River
Susan: is holding out both hands.
Susan is holding out both hands.
Meredith: If you’ll allow me, I can show you. But it may be… graphic.
Pyros: Showing your age? How, like a naked grandma?
Meredith: I appreciate the attempt at humor, wizard.
Pyros smirks.
Fallow prepares to defend her friend and companion
River clasps her hands in fear… before nodding.
River: Show me.
Meredith takes a step backward, as she dismisses her crackling shield with a dismissive wave. Reach upwards slowly, she undoes a clasp at her neck, allowing the chain armor, along with her clothing to fall to the ground. For a moment, the alabaster skin and perfectly crafted body of a young woman is shown before you, not quite matching the delicately wrinked face of Meredith. With a sickening pop, her shoulders pop from their sockets, her arms lengthening and the skin splitting, revealing blood and gore within. Her knees buckle as well, somehow gaining another joint as she begins to convulse from the pain that is evident on her features. She throws her head back in a otherworldly scream, as her jaw lengthens and fills with a mass of jagged teeth. In a blast of blood and gore and a spray of bone, you see before you a vaguely woman shaped creature, though her features are gaunt and sharply angular. Her skin is a midnight purple, and her eyes globes of pure darkness. A pair of what might have once been large feathered wings protrude from her back.
Quinn Winterborn: What the….
Pyros: Should have done that on stage.
Fallow looks incredulously first at the thing, then at River and then back again.
Susan is resisting the urge to run.
Fallow looks again at River, then takes an involuntary step back, away from her
The creature stands upright, a full twelve feet tall, her pained gaze leveled on you. “This is what I am, child. Older than you can imagine, and twisted to this fate by the whims of a sadistic goddess who cares for NOTHING.” her words echo painfully as they stretch beyond the syllables she speaks and grate at the edges of your mind.
Fallow hand leaves River shoulder suddenly as she steps back
Pyros: Well, enlighten me, what is this supposed to tell us about your age?
River: I… but… I don’t…
River is speechless.
Fallow shakes herself, then gets a resolute expression, and shakes her head in the negative, throwing off what bothers her about this
Meredith: You… are not this, child. But you are something more… you are divinely blooded – and that is what fuels your… power.
Fallow determinedly takes slow steps forward, back to River’s side, and places a reassuring hand back on her shoulder, shakily
Quinn Winterborn: SO… how is this going to convince us to get a book that literally has madness in the title and give it to you?
Fallow glances up at the creature before them, an expression of grim purpose on her face
Quinn Winterborn: Because if anything, this is convincing me to do the exact opposite.
Meredith: What is Madness to you? Slaughter? Chaos? Believing in something so intensely it twists you into something diffierent? The complete and utter destruction of everything that ever is and was and will be? That is whats on the line here, wizard.
Fallow shakes her head, trying to rid herself of the fear that the insanity the being speaks of just does not exist and is not possible
Pyros: Well wouldn’t that be all more the reason to destroy the Canticle of Madness?
Meredith: The Lady of Loss is entropy – she wishes everything to be destroyed. Her fingers are always seeking that end – the void in Sembia – her, the return of the Netherese – her, the breech at the edges of Fey into the beyond – her.
Meredith: Very little can stop her, there is one – one that has already slain one god, and has the ability to do so again. And I have worked for untold time to find this opportunity and seize it.
Fallow blinks as River turns away
River: W-We’re leaving.
Meredith: I see.
Fallow backs away defensively, her steps faltering
Pyros: So you would have Cyric slay another god to stop the destruction of everything, but would in turn open the world to evil unmeasurable? I think you are being deceived by the Prince of Lies.
River: M-Master Winterborn, w-watch over the woman. We will need her assistance.
Quinn Winterborn nods
Meredith: The offer still stand, Violet. Think on it before acting rashly.
Susan: I can get us pretty far away in an instant, but we might be stuck there for a while until our ship can meet us.
The creature begins to fold in on itself, joints popping and cracking as she folds back into a quivering pile of alabaster skin and dark eyes.
River: …My name is River.
River: …Let’s go.
Pyros: The last word has not been spoken in this conversation, um… Meredith. But I’m afraid there is a lot we have to stomach before we can continue any talks.
Meredith stands on quaking legs and beings to dress quietly, while watching you leave.
Fallow wishes forlornly that she had her voice again at this moment in time

Last time on HBCMURDER! IN an attempt to argue her point home, Xila pursued her father(?) to a point of isolating herself from the group, while they attempted to free River from the soul jar and were embattled by undead. Xila disappeared, however, as did the rest of the Moonwater clan, while a human woman has now charged forward to do battle with the rest of the group. Where is Xila? Is she alive? Did she go willingly, or was she taken? The heroes were then beset upon by the shadowy monk called “Danica” and a quick fight against a formidable foe started. As the pitched fight started to swing in the direction of the monk, a black rift tore open in the midst of the area and Meredith Sainte Voullianne (River’s aunt) broke into the area, demanding justice to be served against Zenwrick at her hands. As River was battered by Danica, Meredith pitched in on the side of the heroes, and they were able to knock out the monk, after realizing she was likely under the domination of Askavan. In the aftermath, some quite interesting revelations were brought to light, including some strange things about River’s heritage, as well as that her aunt is some kind of extraplanar entity, which shed some light on her plans to free the Mad God. After offering to join forces with her aunt, River flatly refused, leading the others out of the underground complex along with the unconscious Danica, to seek their fortunes and the friend in some other manner or method. What will our intrepid adventurers do next? Lets find out this week on The Hangmans Body Count…
Fallow keeps an eye out behind them, making sure she is last to leave
River continues her march out of the catacombs, Moro by her side.
Susan is staying very close to River, and watching everything very carefully.
Fallow , once out of the catacomb itslef, glances worriedly toward River, her concern evident on her wood-grained features
Meredith shrinks back to her “human” form and watches you leave without speaking or moving, letting you leave in silence.
Fallow shakes her head ruefully
Fallow points her hammer at the demon Meredith as she leaves the chamber, letting the portcullis fall behind her
Quinn Winterborn: I’m sure the Harpers would love to help stamp out any evil threats. That said, about half the party counts as evil threats, so shrugs
Pyros: Well the Harpers are most concerned with the evil in this world, not sure if they really extend their influence to other planes.
Susan: Then we need some kind of kind of defence.
Fallow face takes on a haggard look as she contemplates the loss of her littlest sister
It takes you the better part of twenty minutes to climb out of the catacombs and back into the moonlight of the late night in the Imperial District. While is still quiet and dark, as you look towards the mansion and the front gates, you can see that the guards are still standing at attention where they were previously, but what grabs your attention moreso is the faint blue were-light that passes by one of the manorhouse windows.
Fallow as she exits, looks toward the mansion and the light there
Fallow looks at the mansion in curiosity
Pyros also looks.
Pyros: So who is this Danica again?
River: You can ask her when she c-comes to.
The light is coming from one of the room on the second floor, near the front of the manse.
Quinn Winterborn: Indeed
River: H-Hopefully it is not too soon.
Pyros: So people who inhabit the mansion would just light the usual lamps, right, someone using a light spell in there must be someone searching the place without asking?
Fallow nods at Pyros in agreement
Quinn Winterborn: Really? If I had a mansion I’d use magical light all the time…
Pyros: Even if we ourselves don’t search the place, I’d like to know who this one is.
River: …It appears there are o-others searching.
Pyros: Can you see how many, River?
River: Two. One r-rather tall.
Fallow looks grimly at her companion Susan
Susan sighs. “Fallow thinks we should look more”
Pyros: I agree to that.
Fallow nods reluctantly
Pyros: I don’t know if we should just leave Danica though, is she an important prisoner to be questioned or something?
The silence is suddenly interrupted by a muffled thunderclap and a dull THUD, accompanied by a small dust cloud that comes from the manor house.
Pyros: What was that?
River: B-Best to witness from inside, y-yes?
Pyros: oh it sounded like…
Fallow nods
Pyros: A magic lightning bolt.
You note that the light has gone out.
Quinn Winterborn: I believe Danica to have important informatoinf or us, and I believe she is friendly. Perhaps hope is a bettter word
You guys can leave if you want, you came in on the far side of the property, and wouldnt go near the manor house.
Susan hovers anxiously over River’s shoulder.
Pyros: Okay, I’m for going inside now, look what’s up and take Danica with us, we can drop her if we get into a fight, but I don’t like the idea of leaving her out here alone.
Fallow glances at River, wondering a few things herself
Pyros: Maybe the mansion has a back door or just some windows, not within the sight of the guards at the compound gate.
Quinn Winterborn: Or we could not break the law. Using magic isn’t suspicious, guys….
Fallow glares at Quinn in distinct disagreemtn
Fallow points back to the catacomb they just entered illegally
Pyros: We have entered the compound already, so much for the law. Apart of that, Xila is our friend and part of the family, if we look into what could be burglars of her family mansion, we should be o the side of law.
You guys are a couple hundred feet away from the manor house, so doubtful you would be seen by them from where you are, just as you approach there might be issues.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Pyros with profound skepticism
River: Curious.
Fallow glances at River expectantly
You all note that the ettin guard has moved in the same pattern twice now since youve been standing here. The halfling do not appear to have moved.
Fallow points to the guards at the tower gate
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, that’s a neat illusion
Pyros: Well, getting back to the ship is not exactly absolutely urgent now, but whatever is going on in there is bound to be over soon. So if we just go back to the ship, we might just miss an opportunity. I will follow your lead though, River.
Fallow glances at the others wondering if they have made up their minds, then raises an eyebrow and points to the mansion
Pyros: What is it , Fallow? Speak your mind.
Susan: We all took a heavy beating recently. That wasn’t an easy fight.
Susan: … Poor choice of words, Pyros.
Fallow nods toward the mansion, taking two steps in that direction, ending up beside River in the process
Fallow nods with a glare at Pyros
Pyros: Should I have said, mind your speech then? Communicate your mind? Ah whatever.
There is a brief flash of red light from the manor house and as it disappears, the guards wink out of existance, leaving nothing behind.
Fallow pats her hammer in one fist menacingly
River: I doubt th-there is anything left inside… but we must t-try.
Pyros: um… okay, I’m for going back to the ship now.
Susan: Lets go quickly then, River.
River ceases scrying and begins to head into the mansion.
Fallow follows
Pyros: If who ever is inside can just wink guards out of existance, that is something I don’t need to experience personally.
Quinn Winterborn: The guards were an illusion
Pyros: Oh well.
Pyros follows River as well.
As you approach the manor house, you all note that there is some signs of a scuffle in the courtyard and in the overgrown garden to the opposite side of the gate you can see a large boot sticking out of the undergrowth.
Susan looks into the undergrowth curiously.
Ahead of you is the wide front walk to the double doors of the manor house.
You find a dead ettin, in house guard uniform lying over the top of two dead halflings, all bloodied and burnt in several places.
Susan pats them down quickly to see if they were robbed.
The coin purses have been cut and their weapons are missing.
Susan: Crime of opportunity? They noticed the place was empty?
River: …Not q-quite.
River proceeds undaunted to open the front door.
Fallow looks over at River, waiting for her continued details
Pyros: Maybe, but who ever it is they are maybe as exhausted as we are, after the fight with the guards.
Quinn Winterborn follows River closely
Fallow follows River inside closely
Susan knocks the boot into more cover, and then follows.
The door is partially opened, leading into a wide foyer. Inside, there is no light, but it is apparent that the house has seen better days. Nearly everything is covered in a thick layer of dust. A wide staircase leads up to a landing that then wraps back around to the second floor above you. The house shows signs of restrained opulence, but its in heavy disrepair. Two large archways lead to the left and right.
Quinn Winterborn casts light spell
The light shows there there has been some movement into the house recently, as two sets of tracks, one child sized, the other human sized walk into the room and directly up the stairs.
Fallow stays next to River the entire way up
Pyros follows River.
Going up the stairs, you see two steps that are avoided by the tracks, which lead up and around towards a room on the second floor that you saw the light coming from before.
Fallow points to the missed steps and avoids them herself as the move upward
Quinn Winterborn: Watch the trapped steps….
Pyros follows in Fallows footsteps, literally.
Moving up to the second floor, you are now eye level with a massive chandelier that is thick with dust, but looking at it in the light of Quinn’s spell, you can see that the entire thing has halfling children engraved in the gold work and crystal therein. The tracks lead to a closed door.
Fallow glances both ways and then follows River
Opening the door you are hit with the overwhelming smell of ozone and acrid smoke. The room inside appears to be in as much disrepair as the rest of the house, though the dust coating has been disturbed greatly within. A blackened desk sits in the middle of the room, apparently the epicenter of the blast. Two of the walls are lined with bookshelves, and a third wall, had a set of shelves against it, but it has been toppled over, and a small alcove behind it is revealed, though there appears to be little inside.
Fallow steps to the alcove and looks in and around it
Fallow points out one after another, broken potion vials, some old ledgers and several large scraps of burnt paper on the shelves
Pyros: Hmm, who ever was here, where did they go, where do the footsteps in the dust lead after this? Did they leave, do they hide?
River: I b-believe the name should be f-familiar. Arina.
Susan: Pyros, you’re the fire expert. Were those part of a trap, or did they break in to destroy some papers?
Pyros: It might have been a security measure, so that secretive papers don’t get into the wrong hands and explode rather than be stolen.
Pyros: But let me check the traces…
River: Looking c-carefully, they a-absconded with something of i-importance. Something l-large.
Pyros: hmm, lightning magic and teleportation as well.
Quinn Winterborn picks out one ledger in particular and opens it
Pyros goes to the window and look sout.
You can look out over the complex itself, seeing the gardens and the mausoleum you were standing at previously.
Fallow nods her thanks to Susan, then moves back to the door, watching down the hallway for any one else to arrive in the manse
Pyros: Hmm, I guess they’re gone now. Let’s hurry as well. I’m not in the mood of being accused of the murder of three guards and breaking in here, even if we didn’t do it, it could be hard to prove our good intentions after what happened here.
Pyros: I could repair the burnt papers if we think they have valuable information.
River: …Agreed. I am c-curious to the reason why this occurred… but that will have to wait.
There are mostly ledgers describing the movement of textiles and cloth goods to numerous distributors, and then house ledgers concerning foodstuffs and building supplies.
Danica stirs slightly from her spot on the ground, but does not awaken.
Quinn tucks one of the ledgers into his pockets, while Susan picks through a few more. There seems to be nothing else of use here.
Pyros will use Prestidigitation to create a puff of wind to whirl up the dust to erase the group’s tracks on the way out, going last to do this. Will also whirl up the dust on the two trapped stairs, but AFTER he passed them and from 10 feet away.
Susan: Fallow has a good idea. Those of us with badges could go out, and then bring the ship down the river side to pick up whoever doesn’t.
Fallow shrugs at Susan
Susan: how much can your cloak change a person, pyros??
Quinn Winterborn: Danica may have her own means around here. Maybe we stay around until she awakens?
Pyros: It can change the looks completely, but if you touch the person the illusion is detected. It is not mine though, it was always Xila’s and I borrowed it.
Susan rubs her eyes.
Fallow points at Pyros
Susan: We can’t plan anything until we see what we’re up against. Maybe we should approoach the door out, and then make a plan based on what we see.
Pyros: But then they see us, too.
Fallow starts walking toward the gates
Heading back towards the district gates, you find the massive iron gates manned by a trio of ettins that stand with their backs to you. As you approach, a small door opens at the side of the gate an a tired halfling emerges, rubbing his eyes. “House and Business.” he states, though its cut off by a yawn.
Pyros: House Fonte, business is none of your business.
River sighs as Pyros does Pyros things.
Pyros (in a slightly lower voice): If you absolutely need to know we need to get this woman here to a healer, but the story is rather embarassing, so we’d be glad to keep it quiet.
Fallow grimaces
The guard gives you a quizzical look, “My business is to know who is coming and going…”
“Ahh… right.. the play and all that. FIgures – humans can never hold their liquor. Just move through quietly, please.” the halfling knocks on the gate a trio of times and the gates part, letting you through into the rest of the city.
Pyros nods his thanks to the halfling.
Hurrying through the district and back to your ship, you get a few sideways glances from some of the patrolling guards, but you appear busy and confident enough to get past without any real issue. Within the hour, you are welcomed aboard the Nightingale by ‘Lurra, who appears to be halfway into a bottle of dark rum.
River: Life needs more clipboards
’Lurra: Mornin’ friends. You look like shit.
Fallow grabs the bottle of rum, chugs half of the remainder then hands it back to Lurra
Quinn Winterborn: …True.
Susan: So, shall we drop your friend in my room, and get some answers the old fasioned way?
‘Lurra glares at Fallow, and then slugs the rest of the bottle before it can be stolen again.
Quinn Winterborn: Offering biscuits and tea?
Fallow pats her hammer in her off hand thoughtfully, grinning at Susan’s request
‘Lurra: You need anything? Are we running from the law or anything I should wake the others for?
River: N-Nothing so dire at the m-moment. We must obtain infomation before departing.
Susan: I was thinking a throne that compells obedience and Truthfullness. But tea would be lovely.
Quinn Winterborn: That’s the old fasioned way??
Fallow looks disappointedly at Susan
River: For… some.
River sighs heavily.
Susan starts to make a retort, but sighs when Fallow looks at her.
River: I need to r-rest. It has been a l-long evening.
Pyros: If you don’t need me, I’d go through all those ledgers and look if I can get anything of interest out of them.
‘Lurra: Right… well Selnarine should be up shortly. I have a fence to meet. Oh, and theres another person aboard… like we’re collecting outcasts and deadbeats by the minute.
Fallow looks at River in agreement, nodding
Fallow at word of “another person” looks up at Lurra expectantly
Pyros: Someone…else?
‘Lurra: Yup… Sel’s friend I think. She’s a lil firecracker though.
Susan cracks back, and then turns to ‘Lurra. “Can we meet them?”
’Lurra: Likely once Sel’s up. Their sleeping now I think
Fallow looks explosively at Lurra, like that is NOT really unusual for this group?
‘Lurra: I can tell them to prep a morning meal and get you kids up if you wanna rest first though
’Lurra taps her earring and then points at Fallow.
Susan: Okayy, i’m going to go sleep in my perfectly reasonable chair.
Susan: Wake me up when you boot up the Feast Table.
’Lurra: Right… sleep and a meal it is. Ill leave Sel a note.
’Lurra: What are you doing with Danica?
Pyros: Shall we let our…guest…sleep in a quarter or in the brigg?
Quinn Winterborn: I do
The little creature hisses again at Susan, but perches on the coat hooks opposite the singe cell in the brig.
Susan mutters “Little monster” to herself.
Fallow catches the comment, grins at Susan, and points a pinky finger in her direction

As you all find your way to sleep finally, you dreams are filled with hazy visions of halflings veiled in darkness and the wicked vision of Meredith’s true visage that is burned into your mind. When you wake, the entire ship smells of strong coffee and maple bacon – which permeated nearly all levels of the ship. Finding your way to the dining hall, you note that it is well into the day, likely close to noon. Entering the dining hall, you find Selnarine seated facing away from you, with heaping platters of eggs, bacon, fried breads and oatmeals spread along the table. Pitchers of coffee and juices sit along the table as well, and there are a dozen places set at the table.
Directly in front of Selnarine, on the table, is a small chair with a tiny creature seated upon it, and both break off their discussion as you enter.
Fallow immediately notices the fey creature at the table and stops, despite the aromatic smell of the coffee
Lily: Hey Sel, you wanna introduce us?
River pays little to no attention to anything until she has taken a sip or three of coffeh
Selnarine: And these are the ones that got us out of that situation – the ones that Lurra was being so… annoying about.
Fallow looks up at Selnarine at that comment
Lily: Ahh, so these are the ones!
Fallow: hesitantly steps forward to get a better look at the other creature beside Sel
Fallow hesitantly steps forward to get a better look at the other creature beside Selb
Lily hops up on the table and then hops up into the air. You can see that she has a pair of very tiny wings.
Pyros: Excellent breakfast, what’s the occasion?
Fallow blinks in astonishment
Fallow walks forward, eyes on the faerie form in the air, moving toward it where she bows slightly, her eyes never leaving the creatures eyes
River sighs in contentment after perking up slightly thanks to the wonderful power and might of caffeine.
Quinn Winterborn: Friend of yours, River?
Selnarine: Your return – Lurra noted you all looked to need a good breakfast after a rough night. She had this all sent from the market. I’ve managed to contact one of my associates, Lily, who happened to be nearby, rather than in the FeyWild. We were catching up.
Fallow glances at Sel as if to say….“why?”
River: Th-Thank you.
River bows graciously to Selnarine.
Selnarine: She’s a free-lancer… or Wild Fae… not associated with the courts.
Lily: Sel was telling me all about your travels! I must say I’m rather impressed… She also mentioned a halfling who I was rather looking forward to meeting. Where is she?
Fallow closes her eyes, an expression of thankifulness enrapturing her visage as Sel’s word’s sink in
River: …E-Elsewhere.
Lily: Elsewhere? Y’mean like, she’s out in the market elsewhere? or elsewhere as in she’s dead and you’re just trying to suger coat it?
Fallow opens her eyes at River’s response, nodding to the small figure sadly
Selnarine: Well, sit and eat. What are we upto now, or are we still waiting the arrival of Ms Xila?
River: The l-latter. Although t-truthfully, I do not kn-know of her condition.
Selnarine: Oh. I see.
Fallow grabs a plate and fills it, beginning to eat as she sits down beside River
Lily: Oh, that’s a shame.
Selnarine: And the woman in the brig? What is she about?
Quinn Winterborn: A potential ally, we hope
River: She m-may be of s-service, if she is friendly.
Fallow looks at Quinn carefully
Selnarine: Would you like me to wake her then? Ive kept her asleep until I was made otherwise aware of what her condition was.
Fallow reaches out to touch Sel
Pyros sits down and then grabs a plate and breakfast with Mage Hand. He flambés things before eating them though, just to be certain bacon is well done and crispy as he likes it.
Susan wanders in late, armor already on and strapped up tight.
River: Her mind was entranced e-earlier. I believe she is free of such… but safety is always g-good to keep in mind.
Lily: You can never be too safe.
Fallow looks at Susan over a mouthful of eggs and pancakes
Lily looks over at Pyros
Quinn Winterborn sits cross-legged facing the brig
River: There are some that would d-disagree. B-But regardless, we should talk with her s-soon.
Pyros: i had a strange dream tonight… that fighting with fire might damage things that I don’t want damaged and that the illusion of fire might hurt enemies just as well, going to look into that.
Lily: Sel told me about you… but I didn’t think you’d look so… frightening.
Pyros: You think I look frightening?
Pyros chuckles.
Pyros: You should look away then, if I’m ever angry.
Pyros winks at Lily.
Flak (River): O.o
Susan blinks at Fallow, and then looks around as if she’s just realising she’s not in her room.
Lily: Hey! You flirting with me?
Lily: Sorry to say, but you’re really not my type.
Fallow nearly chokes on her pancakes for amoment
Pyros: Nah, just having an exceptionally well made breakfast and I’m in a good mood, no worries, you’re not may type either.
Lily: You saying I’m ugly?
Lily flies up to Pyros’s face and stares.
Susan: So, hey, who knows the gestation period of an angel?
Pyros: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Fallow keeps an eye on the faerie guest as she drinks some orange juice to clear her pipes
Selnarine: … what?
Fallow chokes again on some bacon
Lily turns to look at Susan
Lily: The what of a what now?
Lily: Sel, when you told me about these guys, I didn’t expect them to be so… weird.
Fallow looks over at River after Susan’s comment
Selnarine: Thats literally the first thing I told you about them.
Lily: Good point
River merely pinches the bridge of her nose in annoyance and frustration.
Fallow reaches gingerly out to touch River’s elbow, hesitant to do so
Susan: Sorry, I didn’t catch your name, miss. Time tables are accelerating, and things are falling to the way side. We’ll try and keep things in order.
Fallow looks frustrated at not knowing what word to use
Lily: My name is Lily!
Susan: Pleasure to meet you Lilly. We’re Susan.
Fallow gets a resolute expression on her face
Lily: Err… “We’re”
Lily: So you’re all Susan?
Susan: …I am. Sorry. long…. morning.
Pyros: Call me Pyros, for the time being, please.
Lily: Oh, I was going to say, pretty sure Sel didn’t mention you all had the same name.
Quinn sits in front of the cell and notes a trio of flowers that had sprouted from the wall inside of the cell wither and die. A few moments later, Danica begins to stir.
Fallow keeps her eyes on River with limpid liquid pools of trust int them
Selnarine: Right… Thats Susan, Pyros, Fallow, River and the other two are missing.
Lily notices Fallow
Lily: You’re awfully quiet, cat got your tongue?
Lily: I know I’m pretty, but you really shouldn’t be awe struck.
Fallow looks unconvinced at the reply she just got from River
Selnarine: Quinn is a male human wizard, and Xila is a female halfling… murderer.
Fallow finally looks away to glance at Lily
Pyros: Spot on description, I’d say.
Lily flies over to Fallow and bops her on the nose.
Fallow reaches one hand out open, toward the fey
River sighs defeated, before slowly rising up to help interrogate Danica.
Fallow rubs her nose a moment and pulls the hand back
Selnarine: The woman should awaken in a few minutes… the pollen can take some time to expel fully.
River: Be c-careful. She is quite capable, e-even when unarmed.
River: What do you think, M-Moro?
Susan: anyone want to drag a throne down into the cell?
Moro fades back into view from the shadows with a huff.
Lily looks over as Moro appears
Lily: Oh! You have a companion!
Quinn Winterborn keeps his eyes on Danica
Quinn Winterborn homonculous frowns at Lily
Fallow shakes her head at Susan negatively
Lily: Oh and you do too!
Lily: Guess I should introduce you to someone then.
Selnarine rises up from the table, and motions towards Fallow. “This is Fey Knight Fallow Hadarai-Eilonwy Ebonswood, knight of the Summer Court of Astrazalian. She is currently honor bound to stand guard for this crew of adventurers, upon decree of her Father. I formally introduce you to Mistress Lily – the Voice of Thunder.”
Pyros: I think it would be easier if we invited her to talk in your room, Susan.
Lily notices Sels introduction and bows.
Selnarine: I would also inform you that Mistress Fallow is mute, not rude nor stupid or slow.
Fallow blanches a bit at the amount of information Selnarine shared after she asked her for an introduciton
Lily: Fallow’s mute? Aww no fun.
Lily: Oh well.
Lily taps her stomach
Lily: Come on out Stormy!
Lily As Lily speaks suddenly she glows blue and the lightning that was inside her shoots up into the air and then coalesces into a small bird, that’s larger then Lily.
Susan: It’s okay. If we don’t feel like it’s needed, i’ll just- Huh!
Stormy: I must say, you have chosen some rather odd companions Lily.
Lily: Everyone, this is Stormy! My very own companion.
Moro growls low as more chittering reaches her ears.
Fallow looks up without surprise that the fey has brought yet another companion to their company
Danica stirs and in a moment of panic sits up, eyes wide and panic etched on her features.
Stormy: It is nice to meet you all. I hope that you and Lily get along well.
Quinn Winterborn: Hello Danica. How do you feel?
Selnarine: Ah… the woman is awake on the deck below.
Fallow nods carefully to the new creature
Pyros: So… you have Stormy as companion, and Stormy thinks you have rather odd companions. I must say, I’m beginning to like you guys. Just as weird as we are.
Fallow stands immediately, shovelling the last of the food from her plate down as she heads toward the brig
Danica Bonaduce: I am…. confused, to say the least. Who are you and where am I at?
Stormy: You believe us to be weird? I do believe you’re mistaken. It is you who is weird, we are just different.
Selnarine: Just mind the lightning flares while you are aboard, please.
Stormy flies over and lands on Pyros’s shoulder.
Stormy: I believe we are going to get a long quite well.
Lily: Oh! Right, sorry Sel.
Lily: I forget that Stormy likes to make an appearence.
Quinn Winterborn: I am Quinn Winterborn. You are on our ship, somewhat removed from teh estate of Zenwrick Moonwater, whose “employ” you may or may not remember
Stormy: I cannot help it, it’s in my nature to be flashy.
Danica Bonaduce: Estate? Im a bit fuzzy on details. I dont recall much after the fight in the…. wait, where are we? This isnt the Shadowfell?
Lily: Now, do you wish to go down and see your guest? If you wouldn’t mind, I would quite like to join you.
Quinn Winterborn: The good news is that this is not the Shadowfell. The bad news is that the Spirit Soaring IS in teh Shadowfell
Pyros goes down into the brig as well, fully accepting Stormy on his shoulder.
Danica Bonaduce: Its supposed to be. Why am I here?
Quinn Winterborn: It’s…. supposed to be? That’s not what Cadderly told me….
Lily: Hey! Stormy! Why’re you tagging along with him?
Quinn Winterborn: You’re here because you attacked us while under the ensorcelment of the Moonwaters, and we wer hoping for answers
Stormy: His shoulder is rather comfortable
Lily follows after them.
Danica Bonaduce: I….
River brings up the rear, slowly recovering from a headache.
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, you’ve had a rough night I think. Want some tea?
The door to the small bank of cells open, revealing Fallow with some others not too far behind.
Danica Bonaduce: Wait… you spoke to Cadderly? I havent seen him… he was… broken? I cant recall…
Fallow glances at Quinn and then keeps her eyes on the woman in the cell, readying her hammer in her hand as a precaution
Quinn Winterborn: Well, it’s a bit of a long story, which I’m sure comes as no surprise to you.
Fallow keeps her gaze on the woman, but her ears are perked up listening to the wizard who rarely speaks
Danica Bonaduce: Ahhh yes… what day is it?
The date is Fifth-day, 15th Eleasis, 1480 DR
Danica Bonaduce looks to the others as they enter. “I suppose you are all part of the same group?”
Lily flies over and lands on Fallow’s shoulder, then whispers in her ear “Now you can talk to me, right?”
Quinn Winterborn: I have travelled a ways with these people.
River: Some are… n-newer than others, but we are indeed.
Fallow seems a bit distracted with the faery on her shoulder
Danica Bonaduce: You have my apologies for any ill I have caused you. I was not in my right mind.
Lily grumbles a little bit on Fallows shoulder.
Danica Bonaduce: Is… is that a pixie?
Fallow nods once, glancing between the pixie and the monkish woman
Lily: The genuine article.
Lily: See I have wings and everything.
Lily flies up and does a piroette.
River: Do n-not worry of what ills lay in the p-past. It is the f-future that concerns me.
Danica Bonaduce: Pikel would be dumbstruck, would he be here now.
Danica Bonaduce: Or… is he here?
Quinn Winterborn: Well spoken, friend. Danica, this is my friend River. River, this is Danica.
Fallow frowns a bit at the word useage of “friend”
Danica Bonaduce panics anew, her eyes wide and her knuckles white. “The children…” she breathes. “Are the children here? Do you have them? What of the others? The dwarves?”
River bows graciously to Danica. “You are the only one w-we have seen and collected.”
Quinn Winterborn: I’m afraid, Danica, there is much I don’t know. You were enthralled by the one who has tainted the Spirit Soaring. I do not know of any others.
Danica Bonaduce: …
Danica Bonaduce: Perhaps they are safe still… I can only grasp at the shattered fragments of my thoughts at the moment.
At the statement, the woman’s stomach releases an audible growl, and she grimaces at the sound of it.
Danica Bonaduce: You said you had tea?
Quinn Winterborn: And bacon, if it hasn’t all been eaten. I will fetch you some.
River: It s-sounds you could do with more than j-just tea, yes.
Quinn Winterborn: Please, be kind to our guest in my absence, everyone
Quinn Winterborn heads updeck to fetch tea and food.
Moro growls in annoyance before rolling over.
Danica Bonaduce: Why was fighting you? Mister Winterborn said something about a Moonwater?
River: Erm… Y-Yes. We were in the catacombs of the M-Moonwaters, a family of halflings in somewhat… reputable standing in several circles.
Fallow chuckles silently at the “reputable” part
River: Under their th-thrall, we were forced to come to blows.
Danica Bonaduce: … I do recall a halfling man that Cadderly was dealing with… his name was.. Quintos I think?
River: Y-Yes. Quinos. Or the guise of such.
Danica Bonaduce: I see..
River: We seek to find this p-person of interest. They have much to a-answer for.
As Quinn is retrieving the breakfast, he nearly smacks into the one armed dwarf, as he is coming down the hall. “This was left for that halfling girl by some big bald lady this morning. Kin you give it to her?” he presents you with a letter sealed with maroon wax.
Quinn Winterborn: Thank you.
Danica Bonaduce: Of course. Im not sure I would be of much help at the moment… but if my memories return, I will be at your service if I can be. May I ask if Im being held prisoner, or is this simply a percaution?
River: I will a-admit, you were… f-formidable. We had fears of your condition when you awoke.
Danica Bonaduce looks at her heavily scarred hands. “I understand. I will submit to your judgement, for my offenses against your persons.”
Quinn Winterborn returns with a tray laden with tea, bacon, eggs, toast, and oatmeal, and an odd envelope
River smiles. “You were not in control of your actions. I d-do not see why you should be h-held accountable for s-such.”
Quinn Winterborn: River, someone sent our halfling friend a lettter here. It doesnt’ seem to be magical, but our friend did have enemies. Maybe someone can look it over before we open it?
Quinn Winterborn offers breakfast to Danica through the bars of the brig
River: …Is… that so?
Lily: It’s rude to open other peoples letters.
River: …Odd. May i see this l-letter?
Lily: Don’t care, still rude.
Danica takes a few shaky steps towards the bars and takes the small tray and slowly devours the food and slurps the tea greedily. “Fank ou” she mumbles through a biscuit.
Stormy: Forgive my tiny friend, she still has many things to learn.
Pyros: It is rude, Lily, but we are worried about our friend, she might be in grave danger and the letter could help us find her.
Lily: Hey! I’m not tiny!
Stormy: You really rather are.
Moro smirks as Danica gobbles down her food.
Stormy: You are significantly smaller then I am.
The letter is folded in three and appears to be on rather well made parchment. The letter is sealed with maroon colored wax pressed with a crescent moon.
Lily: Right, that’s it, you’re caged.
Fallow glances at seal
Quinn Winterborn: Lily, might I ask a question?
Lily clicks her tiny fingers and stormy turns into a lightning bolt and shoots into Lily, causing her to once again glow blue with lightning.
Fallow blnks a bit at the flash of blue light near her shoulder
Lily: You may
Quinn Winterborn: You are beautiful, well-spoken, and charming. And you have wings! Does your size bother you so much? Or perhaps does your familiar tweak your temper?
Lily: I’ll have you know I am tall for my age!
Quinn Winterborn: I believe you.
Lily: And thank you for saying such, but I must say, you’re really not my type either.
The letter is written in a very shakey and wobbles throughout the note, and you note several small crimson stains on the parchment, though they have been blotted.
Quinn Winterborn: Not every kindness is flirtation, Lily. Though I will admit, I do like tall girls….
Lily: So do I, they are rather nice aren’t they?
Lily glances at Fallow, River and Susan as she says so.
Quinn Winterborn: They are.
Quinn Winterborn eyes are on the bacon, as he did not keep any for himself and is hungry
Fallow does not even move a muscle at Lily’s comment, frozen in terror
Susan is upstairs in her room, sitting on her throne, and trying to alter her armor herself.
Xila – I want to meet up with you and talk about Dad. I think we’re onto something weird he is upto, but it might be more trouble than I can handle. I have a room at the Constitution Club – I’ll be in the third private bath on the left… the one mom used to take us too when we were good. No tricks this time… I swear on Mom’s berry pie. – Arina
Pyros: Hmm… That means we can’t use plan A, just to burn down the whole thing without even looking into it, as it’s a bath and they have plenty of water.
River sighs miserably.
Lily: I don’t know this Arina, but that letter sounds genuine to me.
Lily: Still rude to read it though
Pyros: Arina has a way to sound genuine while she’s lying is the danger.
River: C-Considering Xila’s c-current status, it may be necessary.
River: Along with certain information… I’m inclined to a-agree.
River: This might be… genuine.
Lily: Plus, whenever you swear on food, you can’t be lying.
Lily: It breaks every code there is.
Danica Bonaduce: Well… I am feeling better, but still am having trouble with my thoughts. If its alright with you all, I will take some time to meditate and sleep more, and hope that will help bring things back into focus.
River: O-Of course. Take what t-time you need.
Lily nods
Pyros: Well, if it is genuine, Arina might have thought the letter might be interrupted and read, maybe she phrased things so only Xila would know… if for example swearing on mom’s pie would always mean to AVOID places mentioned etc…
River: P-Perhaps. However, circumstances as they are, there is little choice.
Pyros: There’s no time mentioned for the meeting either.
Lily: If she tries to kill you, I’ll just zap her
Lily: Although I’d really rather avoid that if possible.
Lily: If I can .. come with you, that is?
Pyros: Hmm… you want to come along, Lily? It might get dangerous.
River refolds the letter and pockets it discreetly.
Lily: I can live with a bit of danger.
Fallow touches River’s arm
Pyros: Oh, one thing, River, if i could see the letter for a moment, please.
River: …If you m-must. We m-may need it later of c-course.
River nods at Fallow and follows her out.
Pyros takes the letter and sniffs it, to check if it smells like citrus.
Xila – I want to meet up with you and talk about Dad. I think we’re onto something weird he is upto, but it might be more trouble than I can handle. I have a room at the Constitution Club – I’ll be in the third private bath on the left… the one mom used to take us too when we were good. No tricks this time… I swear on Mom’s berry pie. – Arina
Susan Throws on her armor as she rushes to the brig.
Susan skids into the room
Susan: The guards are here to speak to River.
Pyros: Arina didn’t strike me as someone who couldn’t write…
Lily: Guards?
Pyros: Also the blots here do look rather crimson, could it be blood?
Lily: What do they want with River?
Susan starts heading out ahead.
Fallow leads River toward the main dock entry
Pyros goes with River, just in case. Also hands her the letter back.
Lily flies over to accompany River.
The guards are standing on the gangplank to the ship. A quartet of halflings stand there, waiting patiently speaking to each other, while two ettins stand on the docks, sneering at each other.
Quinn Winterborn stays at the Brig with Danica
Parsantium Legionaire: Mistress Sangria?
River: I am.
Parsantium Legionaire: We have been asked to deliver this missive to you and your company. Here you are.
The halfling hands you a pale blue envelope sealed with emerald wax.
Lily: I’m impressed you need so many to deliver a missive.
River tries to stifle her annoyance with so many missives, but nods curtly to the halfling while taking the envelope.
River (muttering): So many letters…
He holds out his hand, and clears his throat.
Lily: You expect to be paid?
Fallow reaches into her purse, pulls out a copper and put it in his hand
Lily looks at them all.
Parsantium Legionaire: The city pays us, ma’am.
Lily: Oooh, so you want a tip.
Fallow rolls her eyes
River: Thank you, kind officer.
Lily: Y’know, this could be seen in some circles as bribry, what would your boss say if I told him you were taking money from poor, innocent defenseless pixies?
River presses several gold pieces into the hands of the guards.
Parsantium Legionaire: Yes ma’am. I appreciate your appreciation. Have a nice day.
Ettin Parsantium Guard: You think we can eat thaat bird lady?
Lily: Try it buster!
Lily: You might be in for a shock
Parsantium Legionaire: Not now Char. We’ll get a fat duck or three on our way back.
Lily: And I’m not a bird
Lily: Stormy is though
Lily: But he’s not edible either.
The guards walk away from the ship and back into the city.
Lily summons Stormy
River rubs her temples in worry as she returns into the boat to read the letter in relative privacy.
Lily: Follow them.
Fallow follows River guardedly
The emerald wax has a trio of peacock plumes behind a harp pressed into it, the insignia of House Fonte.
Stormy: Are you daft? You know I cannot go that far from you.
Lily: Ohh, right, I keep forgetting you’re bound to me.
Stormy: I literally live inside your body, I can’t be any less bound if I tried.
Stormy returns to his perch upon Pyros’s shoulder.
River: …It appears… the Moonwater estate has b-b-burned d-down.
Fallow eyes draw down in distaste
River: As a r-result, the city and nobility are quite nervous.
Stormy: Ironic that a place named Moonwater estate could burn down. Guess it was rather dry after all.
River: H-However, Lord Fonte has expressed interest in a-assisting us. We may be a-able to explore that avenue if necessary.
Pyros: Good to know.
Selnarine: I take it you arent to be arrested then?
River: At the m-moment, no.
Selnarine: Excellent.
Selnarine: Are we staying here then, or do we have another port of call?
River steeples her hands and lowers her head in thought. Moro does the same, although without thumbs.
Pyros: Is the Constitution CLub here in this city?
Susan: We can get to the library, But we’ll likely die in the attempt. We need allies and defences we can trust.
Selnarine: What is it that you need?
Pyros: What library are you talking about?
Selnarine: And Im not sure if thats in this city or not, but I can send someone to find out, if thats what you require.
Susan: With the book, that they’re going to corrupt and end the world?
Pyros: You know where the book is?
Lily: A library, I do like a good library.
Stormy: Libraries do not like you though. Their books end up a lot smaller then they used to be.
Pyros: i know the feeling, Stormy.
Lily: Hey, it’s not my fault there books are too big for me to read.
Susan: Cathedral! Sorry!
Susan rubs forehead.
River: We will n-need to stay for perhaps another d-day or two.
Pyros: Ah. So you think the book is in the Cathedral, yes that would make sense.
Lily: And they do go back to normal size… Eventually.
Susan: Is this other realm safe? Are we gonna be dropped into the middle of a world with no air? Because, i’m going to admit, that i need air.
River: We must speak with Arina certainly. As f-for other leads, we may need to speak with Lord Fonte and follow up on his ‘lead’.
Selnarine: ‘Lurra should be back this evening and I can have her ask about for this club, unless she already knows about it. Otherwise, I can finish re-equipping the ship.
Lily: Hey Sel, sorry to love ya and leave ya, but I’m going to go along with these weirdos. Stormy’s grown quite attatched to them and I can’t say no to her.
Stormy: Don’t lie, you’ve been telling me for the last few minutes you enjoyed their company.
Lily: I did not!
Selnarine: You’re free to do what you like – though I think they are staying here for the moment.
River: K-Knowing the Moonwaters, they oft p-prefer nighttime rendezvous. Hmmm…
Susan: I also need to find out an answer to my question.
River: Oh… y-yes. H-Hold a m-m-moment, Susan.
Selnarine: … you were serious then?
Susan removes her breastplate.
Lily watches intently.
Fallow covers her face with her hand in a facepalm
You all see that Susan has a bit of a pot belly where there was nothing but smooth abs and muscle yesterday.
Stormy covers her face with her hand and wingpalms
Fallow shakes her head sadly
River: I f-figured as m-much.
Pyros: Okay, so what is there to do? A) Have a look at the moonwater’s out of town grounds, B) investigate with the Fontes, C) Find out where the Constitution Club is, D) I’m not sure I like the idea of leaving Miss Danica behind on this ship, if she bluffed us all to infiltrate, she could very well take the ship over with her abilities.
Pyros: Should we split up?
River scribbles some notes on a scrap piece of paper.
Selnarine: That is doubtful, Master Pyros. I have most of my faculties back – I will not be overpowered again.
Lily: Huh, I was expecting something rather different
Susan: I thought I’d have a few months. But judging from my vague knowledge of biology, i skipped three months in an evening.
Lily: Yup! You can count on Sel
Fallow nods agreement with Lily
Pyros nods to Seldarine.
Pyros: And then we… what in the world did who is the father of are you insane, Susan?
Fallow nods her head ot Pyros as well
Stormy wacks Pyros on the back of his head with her wing.
Pyros blinks and gathers himself.
River hands over the note to Susan, before clearing her throat.
Stormy: You should not ask a lady such things Pyros.
Susan takes the note.
Pyros: Yes, but no but what happened to are you an angel now?

Last Time on HBC – the heroes found a strange occurence within the manor house that lead to an impromptu investigation that turned up only some scraps of parchment and a few ledgers of House Moonwater. Returning with their captive in tow, the heroes settle down for some rest and relaxation from their emotionally draining evening. In the morning the heroes were greeted by a friendly acquaintance of Selnarine – Lily, a pixie thats slightly less obnoxious than Xila. After breakfast they were able to talk to the captive Danica before River was summoned to the deck to address some city guardsmen that were asking for her by name. The missive was from Xila’s sister, Arina, begging for a meeting between the two later this evening.
Fallow reaches out to touch River on her elbow carefully
Xila – I want to meet up with you and talk about Dad. I think we’re onto something weird he is upto, but it might be more trouble than I can handle. I have a room at the Constitution Club – I’ll be in the third private bath on the left… the one mom used to take us too when we were good. No tricks this time… I swear on Mom’s berry pie. – Arina
Stormy: I don’t know about this meeting, but if Berry Pie is on the menu, then I believe we should go, lightning quick.
Susan: Fonte might know more about this club’s reputation.
River: I’ll s-speak with Lord Fonte. He m-may be able to assist us… in one form or another.
Susan is busying pulling her armor back on, struggling with the buckles.
Lily flies around Susan giving her a hand with he Buckles.
River: After which, when ‘Lurra’ r-returns, I shall do what I c-can regarding A-Arina.
Susan: Thank you, Miss.
River: Are you s-sure you’ll be OK as you are?
River glances at Susan with a worried look.
Lily: Don’t mention it, happy to help.
Stormy: Any excuse…
Lily: Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?
Stormy: Nothing, nothing.
Susan: I’ll be fine, for a while. And Arina assumes that Xila is still alive, Fallow.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll stay here and see if I cant help goad Danica into remembering more.
Susan: … I mean…
Susan glances at the others.
River: It is… fine. Her condition is unknown to us all.
River: We must remain h-hopeful.
Pyros: Alright, Master Winterborn, you keep one of the Stones, I’ll take the other, so you can join us later or we can get back safely.
Fallow looks worriedly at them all
Moro growls under her breath.
River: …You’re r-right. Daylight burns.
Lily: Yup, let’s not waste any more time. Stormy is getting quite impatient.
River: I will be off. Ms. Lily, watch over Ms. Susan for us, please.
Fallow looks alarmed
Stormy: I believe it is you who is getting Impatient, I spend most of my life with you, I have plenty of patience.
River stands up from her chair and proceeds to leave for the city proper.
Fallow steps up by River, looking like River is not going anywhere without her
Lily: Hey! I can’t come with you?
Moro fades away, as a spirit is want to do.
River looks aside to those coming to her side.
Susan: After the events of the Crypt, i would assume we all want to move together?
River: Do as you wish.
Fallow nods to Susan
Susan follows River.
Pyros: I will go with Susan, if she decides to go elsewhere. In the meanwhile, I’ll leave the ledgers here, please see if you can get anything useful out of them, Master Winterborn.
Lily: I think Susan’s already going.
Lily: So, let’s go!
Susan nods to Fallow
Fallow proceeds River by two steps, letting Susan watch the rear of the group
Stormy nibles on Pyros’s ear for a moment (Stormy is still on Pyros’s shoulder) and then flies over to Lily. Lily lands on top of Stormy, riding the larger bird.
Lily: Ah much better, I was getting rather tired of flying myself.
Stormy: I find it rather odd that one who has wings decides ride a bird, but who am I to question it.
Lily: You’d find anything odd.
Fallow glances curiously at the two winged ones
Pyros: I’ve seen flying fish, everything is odd until you get used to it.
Stormy: I always see Flying Fish, usually they are in my beak as they do so.
Leaving Quinn behind to tend to the recovering Danica, the remaining members of the Lost Light with their new pixie companion venture out into the city, now without the lone halfling in their group. You have to head through the market district and across the river to Master Fonte’s estate, which sits near the far end of the southern bank.
It takes the better part of an hour to make your way along the crowded bridge into the southern portion of the city. As you trek through the market, you can see there is a heightened presence of both halfling city and house guards present. Nearly all of them appear to gaze at your strange group intently as you move through the streets, but none stop you outright. Once youve crossed the bridges, you find your steps retraced to the large estate of Iovivius Fonte, who appears to be seated outside once more, looking over a large outside stage where several young men and women are reciting lines.
Fallow stands on River’s right side, warily on guard throughout
Iovivus Fonte looks to your approach and claps his hands aloud, causing all of the younger people to stop their recitation. “We will take a refreshment break and be back here in an hour. Remember your blocking, as I will not go through it again. If I must, I will have a herd of conjured monkeys perform this piece instead of you!”
Lily: I’ve always wanted to be an actress, I think I’d be amazing.
Stormy: You would, but nobody would be able to see you.
Lily: Aww
Pyros: I would enjoy a play recited by conjured monkeys I think.
Fallow shakes her head sadly at the two fey
Lily: As would I, It would be a rather fun spectacle.
The young men ad nwomen walk off, clearly interested in the group that has appeared, but knowing better than to linger in the area. The fat man stands, thinks better of it, then sits down once more. “Forgive me for my lack of decorum. I see my missive has reached you, Miss Sangria.”
Pyros: Yes, I agree, Lily.
Stormy: The difference is, Lily would find anything fun if it had legs and could move.
Lily: They don’t even need legs.
River: It has, Lord Fonte. I came to inquire about the information you have d-discovered.
Iovivus Fonte: I see. straight to the point, as it were.
Fallow nods abrupt agreement
River: It is not without w-warrant. I know of some that find their t-time shorter than they would wish it to be. I aim to prolong what I can for th-them.
Lily grumbles slightly at the use of the word “short”
Iovivus Fonte: It would appear, as if there has been some kind of incursion by a handful of Thayan magi within the city recently. A woman bearing Thayan tattoos has been seen in the marketplace with a halfling woman that bears a remarkable resemblence to one of your associates.
Fallow raises an eyebrow curiously
Fallow covers a gasp
Stormy lands on Fallows shoulder with Lily still riding her.
River: I… see. I have engaged less-than-pleasant civilities with Thayans… this may be of interest to my c-companions.
Susan rubs her forehead, and tries to remember.
Fallow glances with a smile at Stormy
Fallow raises an eyebrow at the bird
River: Th-thank you, Lord Fonte. I do not believe it immediately possible, but d-do you know of someone that m-may aid us in planar travels?
River: It is not without w-warrant. I know of some that find their t-time shorter than they would wish it to be. I aim to prolong what I can for th-them.
River: We may need to p-proceed into inhospitable environs.
Iovivus Fonte: Im not sure I have such things ‘readily’ available.
Fallow gets an amused look on her face
Iovivus Fonte: There are some members of the magi school that would likely have such things available, but Im afraid being human in this city does have its disadvantages.
Fallow grins lightly
Iovivus Fonte: I can put out a call to some of my other associates, but I do not think that the help you desire would be available any time soon from that venture, Im afraid.
Fallow pats one of the clawed feet of the bird on her shoulder fondly with the fingers of her left hand
River nods. “I understand. We may have to explore other a-alternatives…”
Fallow ‘s corner of her mouth quirks in a smirky smile
Iovivus Fonte: I would do so carefully – there are many reasons non-halflings are already persecuted within this city, and with recent events, I think that there is much risk in raising unwanted attentions.
Iovivus Fonte: Is there anything else I could be of assistance with?
River: My aunt has departed for S-Suzail, I understand?
Iovivus Fonte: That is my understanding
Fallow nods agreeably to Stormy
River: Did she leave any last correspondence?
Fallow gets a glum expression in thought on her face
Iovivus Fonte: Just a note with one of my valets that she would be leaving abruptly, as she had a sickness that would keep her from performaing.
River: I s-see. I believe that is all I wished to ask of. Th-thank you, Lord Fonte.
Pyros (whispers with Ghost Sound to River): Ask about the Constitution Club!
Iovivus Fonte: Of course.
Iovivus Fonte: MIss Susan – how was your… evening with Miss Tzittas?
Susan looks up from the ground she was contemplating and blinks.
Lily perks up slightly at this question, looking curiously at Susan.
Susan: I’m sorry, I don’t believe we’ve….
River: …We s-saw you enjoying your e-evening at the theater. Or parts of.
Iovivus Fonte: You look exactly like her, so I was a little skeptical of the reports from my people about your… evening plans, but it is quite uncanny.
Susan: Miss Tzittas was a very welcoming and gracious host. We had many fruitful conversations, and parted on good terms.
Iovivus Fonte: You look exactly like her, so I was a little skeptical of the reports from my people about your… evening plans, but it is quite uncanny.
Susan says this, but it sounds very canned.
River: I see.
River: We sh-shall speak more that later, y-yes?
Iovivus Fonte: I… see. Well, thats not her normal reputation. I was happy to see that the suite was not as… used… as in the past. Her appetites are typically more destructive.
Susan: It was a pleasure to meet you, Lord.
Susan: Perhaps she is mellowing with age.
River: May I ask… wh-what do you know of Ms Tzitta’s prior engagements?
Iovivus Fonte chokes a bit, but recovers quickly. “She is a woman of generous and varied appetites. She is generally rude, crass, and capricious. She is as cruel as she is destructive.”
Susan opens her mouth, closes it, opens it again, closes it and coughs lightly.
Fallow looks at Susan in concern
Susan Fallow How do you explain that he’s talking about the other parent of my accelerated pregnancy, without being very rude.
Iovivus Fonte: She is part of a corrupt house that traffics in demons and their worship. In general, she is a foul creature, as is her family. So, naturally, I was concerned for your associate, who appears to be with child.
River: She has dealt with such creatures once before. Regardless, I s-shall watch over her carefully.
River: …Oh. Pyros, you wished to a-ask the Lord a question?
River turns slightly to the tiefling.
Pyros: No.
Susan: I thank you for your worry, Sir. Believe me when i say that I’m taking all precautions I can.
Susan: I have a small question. Has Miss Tzittas left the city recently? Or cancelled any trips to your knowledge?
Iovivus Fonte: Fair enough, young lady, just please be careful in your dealings with the Tzittas. Im not aware of any recent changes to her schedule, though she seems less… amorous of late.
Susan bows deeply. My thanks.
River: I’m afraid we h-have pressing business. Good day, Lord Fonte.
River bows appropriately to the Lord before making her exit.
Iovivus Fonte: Of course, Miss Sangria. Good fortune.
Fallow joins River as she departs
Pyros bows as well and follows.
Susan follows behind.
Lily: Nice to meet you Lord Fonte, and if you’re ever in need of an Actress, let me know! Stormy here can act too.. so long as the show requires a bird of course.
River continues until out of sight and earshot of potential prying spies.
River: Unfortunate. Any assistance to delving into the Shadowfell will be l-l-less than optimal.
River: H-However… Arina may p-prove to be of unlikely aid.
Fallow looks at River in curiosity
River: Even so… c-consorting with Th-Thayans…
River grimaces with distaste.
Pyros: He spoke of the wizarding community, maybe we can ask them, or mayybe there’s a church of Amaunator around?
River: Any immediate assistance will be unlikely to be given to a non-halfling. Th-that much is obvious.
River: After a p-percieved attack against the community, it has only gotten w-worse.
Pyros: Unlikely doesn’t mean impossible… it may just depend on the deal we offer.
River: Perhaps. Th-There is another reason I would ask Arina before all else:
River: She may have some information r-regarding the Moonwater’s plans forthwith.
Pyros: If she shares plans with us, can we trust the information though?
River: Considering w-what little I know of Xila…
River: It would be worth their berry pie.
River smiles wryly.
Stormy: It is never a wrong idea to trust your enemy if their interests align with yours. An enemy can be an unlikely ally in such situations. It is always correct to be cautious however.
Pyros: Let’s see what we can learn then.
Moro returns as River sets foot on the docks, looking nonplussed as always.
As it gets through midday, the traffic along the bridges is intense, but you make it back without any real complications around 3 in the afternoon.
Returning to the ship, you find that Lurra has returned and is in the hold securing foodstuffs and other supplies that had been purchased. Danica and Quinn are seated in the lounge when you arrive, both enjoying some steaming tea.
Danica Bonaduce: Its actually a blend of leaves from the FeyWild, from what your dryad woman stated.
River: Afternoon, Master W-Winterborn. Lady B-Bonaduce.
River relates the small info they got from Lord Fonte; Arina being seen with a Thayan woman wizard.
Danica Bonaduce: Miss River, Miss Susan, Miss Fallow, Mister Pyros. I cannot begin to apologize for our altercation before. Please accept my sincerest apologies.
Fallow shrugs noncommittally
River: P-Please… no apology is necessary. You need not f-forgive us.
River: Although… any assistance in f-following our quarry would be a-appreciated.
Danica Bonaduce: Your plight seems complicated, as is my own at this point. Master Winterborn has filled me in on some of the details – Im not exactly sure what assistance I can be in this situation, I tend to solve things with my fists – Cadderly was the thinker.
Danica Bonaduce: As it stands, I believe your Zenwrick is in the midst of a plot to turn the cathedral to his own whims. While I think there may be a way to thwart it, I believe we need the assistance of my husband to do so.
River: A task easier said than d-done, I fear.
Danica Bonaduce: Not to diminish your own prowness, mind you, but the cathedral is… how to say this… it is part of him. Its the seat of his power and belief – he would be better equipped to deal with such a thing
Lily: Then we have to find your husband.. Aww, uniting lost lovers. How romantic.
River: I d-don’t suppose you know of his w-whereabouts?
Danica Bonaduce nods, but remains silent.
Stormy: So you know, but you won’t tell us? Rather strange I must say
Lily nudges Stormy to be quiet.
Quinn Winterborn: His exact whereabouts are a bit muddled, but we believe he is being held captive on the plane of Stygia.
Danica Bonaduce nods tightly.
River: …That is unfortunate. May I ask…. how?
Quinn Winterborn: How do we know? Or how was he imprisoned?
River: The latter.
River: And perhaps why as well. It seems a bit… contrived.
Lily: So, we have to go to Stygia, to get to the Shadowfell? Why can’t we go anywhere nice?
Lily: Like the Beach
Pyros: You don’t have to come along, Lily.
Lily: Trying to get rid of me?
Danica Bonaduce: He can connect… using the Song… to those that can hear it. He is being held under a mass of ice and brimstone – that points towards a planar locale. Stygia is known for its prisons, as some of the most imfamous creatures are held under lockup therein.
Susan: Beaches have krakens.
Fallow grins her thanks to Susan
Lily: I like Krakens
Pyros: I’m trying to get a sense of your depth of loyalty. If you leave us while we’re in danger, there’s no sense in you to come along in the first place. The journey will most certainly be uncomfortable and dangerous and tricky.
Susan gives Fallow a thumbs up.
Fallow shudders and shakes her head in the negative at Lily’s comment
Susan: Wait…
Susan: I can’t go to hell.
Fallow bangs her hammer on the table, “Bam! Bam!”
Susan: Not right now at least.
Danica Bonaduce: I believe that with my husbands assistance, and some work with Master Winterborn to brew a concoction from my order which should neutralize the impact of the….
Fallow looks askance at Susan
Danica Bonaduce trails off at Susan’s outburst.
Susan has a hand around her stomach possessively.
River: We’re not l-leaving this minute, Susan.
Fallow grimaces and then glares briefly at Susan
Susan: The…. child would be… wanted.
Danica Bonaduce: The… child?
Lily: Child, where?
River: She’s a bit along term.
Fallow giggles, then points to Susan
River: I would s-say… two more days?
Lily: Ohhh… I thought she was just fat.
Fallow shakes her head sadly no
Susan: The one in my uterus, who developed around 3 months, over the course of 12 hours?
Stormy turns upside down and throws Lily off her, making the unprepared Lily land on her ass.
Lily: I was kidding!
River: Extraplanar relations c-can have that effect.
Quinn Winterborn: What a fascinating arcane effect. What sort of spell did you cast on it, Susan?
River: So…. wh-what exactly transpired with you and Ms. Tzittas?
Pyros: And what are your plans for the child?
Susan: Ms. Tzittas is not what she appears. But I would prefer we continue this conversation in as much privacy as possible, if we can?
Susan: do we have any rooms with wards, and such?
Pyros: I can go outside and sing. If anyone listens in, they’re immediately close their ears.
Susan: No, Pyrso. Youu should hear this too.
River: This is the best place for such d-discourse.
Stormy: I believe I have you beat in the noise department Pyros… I can deafen you all with a simple flap of my wings if I so desired.
River: I’m waiting.
Susan: Miss Tzittas… is not human. And she is not demonic either, before you jump to that conclusion.
Lily: Is she a Pixie? Cause that would be totally awesome.
Susan: Miss Tzittas isn’t Miss Tzittas. She’s an angel who has been bound in that form as punishment, and forced to act as Miss Tzittas.
Quinn Winterborn stares dully at Susan
Pyros: Looking as she did, maybe a Doppelganger?
Pyros: An angel of which god?
Susan: No. She was alive when Sorshen walked the earth, and enjoyed the form then, and chose to replicate it in this time as her cover, assuming that all traces were gone.
Susan: I have very very few details. This is what I know.
River: …But why?
Susan: …why what?
River: I would assume most angels would not consort with mortals without due cause.
River: Being forced to act in her place is one thing…
Fallow nods at River’s comment
River: But to sire a child?
Quinn Winterborn: Would the child be aasimar?
Pyros: If it is part of teh punishment and the will of their god, they would. Still which god is it, as most good gods woulnd’t deal this kind of punishment.
Susan: Well, if I were bound to a single place, unable to leave or act in the manner i chose, and I found a being with very good genetics and similar structure, who could leave, and sire a child that could be developed into an adult at accelerated speeds…
Susan goes quiet.
Susan: the body is a shell. And you can trade shells.
Pyros: I so wish that would be true for all of us…
River: I am used to this ‘terminology’.
Susan nods slowly at River.
Susan: We want to keep the child.
Pyros: Do we want to prepare for it growing up at accelerated speed?
Susan: We thought we’d have more time to get things in order-
Susan: I. Sorry. I.
Pyros: It would age about a year every two days.
Danica Bonaduce: Are you certain it was an angel? They tend to be more… rigid and strict. Perhaps it was an archon of some kind?
Susan: I used the term loosely.
River: Not all angels remain stolid in their ways.
River sighs, with a bit of remorse.
Danica Bonaduce: Im sorry, I dont have a lot of knowledge on the subject
Fallow glances at River troubled and with some curiosity
Susan: Neither do I, I didn’t mean to snap Danica.
River: Regardless, I assume this will leave the b-bound shell useless.
Susan: It was a throne Archon. Punished by a Solar.
Lily: An Archon huh? Interesting.
Pyros: Okay, a good god wouldn’t punish their angels or archons with assuming a shape and leading a life of demon dealers. Some cruel or evil god would. So if we have to prepare for a child from an angel of an evil god, that would grow to be 5 years of age in a tenday, we have to get out of teh city to protect innocent lives.
River begins to retort, then bites her lip.
Fallow glances at Pyros in obvious vexation
Susan: We should just continue. The demon said it could last a few months for the gestation, so… i must assume that i’ll remain in this state. But… I’m worried about literally taking a celestial embryo into hell.
Pyros: If it grows at the same rate inside you for a few months, you may have to grow as well.
Fallow puts an arm around Susan’s shoulders
River: We will need to p-prepare for planar travel regardless. Hopefully when we have done so, you will be clear of term.
Pyros: And we’d just leave the child behind then?
Susan: Let’s work out the first problem. If we can’t get there, then this whole conversation is mute
River: B-Besides… I feel as though the child will speak their mind of the decision.
Danica Bonaduce: Did you not state you have some contact within the Hells that could be contacted for assistance?
Lily: So, we’re really gonna do this? Go to Hell and back? I mean, I’ve been told to go to hell quite a few times, but I’ve never taken it this literally…
Pyros contemplates in silence.
Lily mentions something about it being “mostly Stormy who says it”
Fallow keeps her arm supportively around Susan’s shoulders
Susan leans on Fallow.
Quinn Winterborn: Well, rescuing the Cathedral is important. Rescuing Cadderly is important.
Fallow staggers a bit with the extra weight, but maintains her hold
Danica Bonaduce: I would hate to be presumptuous, but perhaps the hellspawn would have some connections as well?
Susan: I can try and contact Invahdiah, but… It might become a sittuation.
Fallow glances more worriedly at Susan
Susan nods at Fallow.
Danica Bonaduce: I fear we cannot do one without the other.
Pyros: Planar travel it is then. We could ask the local wizarding community as well, might not be likely they help us, but it’s a chance.
Fallow looks grimly at Susan
Quinn Winterborn: I could do some reading….
Quinn Winterborn: I like reading…….
Danica Bonaduce: Its possible to reconstruct the brew from my monastery to counteract the negative energy from the Shadowfell, but I would need assistance
River: The w-wizards will have to assist with such.
River: Meanwhile, I must speak with A-Arina, lest she grows impatient.
River: Lurra, do you h-have anything to report?
Fallow drops her arm from around Susan slowly, turning to River to be her escort
The lanky elven woman leans into the doorway from the hall and flicks her wide brimmed hat up from her eyes. “Care to be a bit more specific, ma’am?”
River: The C-Constitution Club? I would l-like to know it’s not a complete deathtrap.
Quinn Winterborn: Danica, I would be happy to help you if I can
Lily: As would I, I would love nothing more then to see a happy couple reunited.
‘Lurra: Ahh… right. Thats a bathhouse near that swanky hotel for the foreign folk. It seems to be on the up and up, but there’s a lot of high rollers that go through the doors there. Lots of private baths – good for under the table deals Id guess.
Lily: Ooh a Bathhouse I could do with a good Bath.
Fallow touches River’s elbow
River murmurs to herself, “Third on the left…”
Fallow → River: Near place we stayed?
Stormy: You know I don’t mix very well with Water Lily….
Danica Bonaduce: I would appreciate your assistance, Master WInterborn. MIss… Lillie is it? Do you have any experience in alchemics?
Pyros: Neither do I, Stormy, so you can stay with me then.
Lily: Erm… Nope.
River: Thank you, Lurra.
River nods approvingly and ponders her options.
‘Lurra: Of course, Ma’am
Stormy: So long as you do not stray too far from Lily, I shall.
Pyros: I would probably wait outside the bath in case anything happens.
Stormy: Depending on Distance that may be too far… We shall see.
River: I would w-wager too many people in one place would d-draw undue attention.
River: The letter was for Xila… thus, her lack of appearance would be quickly noted and they would be q-quite defensive.
‘Lurra: There’s three or four dozen people there at all times, Ma’am. Even moreso in the evening. Its a pretty large place.
River: Hmm…
River: Well, if they will be on alert regardless… let us go f-forth.
River stands up and prepares to head to the Club.
Susan: Are we splitting up?
Stormy: If they are to be defensive… Then I shall stay with Lily.
River: I do not think it will be a long meeting.
River: We should not need to sp-split at this juncture, I think.
Stormy: I agree, it would be prudent to stick together at all times. Splitting up halves your effectiveness as a group.
Quinn Winterborn: But I have research to do….
River: You will h-have the rest of the evening, Master Winterborn.
Pyros leaves the other stone on the ship then.
River: And perhaps the bath will do your soul some good.
Lily: Why research at a Library when you can research how many ways there are to wash yourself at a bath?
Susan: I suppose it could help. My feet have been sore today.
Quinn Winterborn: Lily, I do’nt think the baths are about washing yourself.
Quinn Winterborn: Also, I think I’ll pass. This research really is rather important.
River: If you insist.
Lily: Shame, you’ll miss out on all the fun.
The baths are in the same district as the Fonte Manor house. It takes you the better part of an hour to fight across the bridge to the southern bank once more and you make your way to the large Inn that River and Fallow stayed in. Just around the block and through the small park you find the Constitution Club, a sprawling bathhouse complex that takes up nearly an entire city block. The entire building is clad in rough white stucco with some timbers poking through the roofline at regular intervals. A few food carts stand on the street facing the main entrance and two male clad only in large fluffy white robes stand outside of the building offering a sample of massage oils or hand massages with a membership purchase inside.
Pushing past and entering the building, you are assaulted by the heavy scent of soap and the pluck of a large harp somewhere behind a wooden panel. A woman wearing a robe cut like a suit jacket stands behind a large counter. She nods at you upon entereing and sets a ledger aside. “Can I help you?”
River: We are with the Xila party. We may be later than expected…
The woman looks at the ledger and then back to you. “The Xila… party?”
Pyros: Third Private Bath on the left.
River: That I believe is their preferred room, yes.
River: The Moonwaters, I recall.
?: Ahhh… I see. Yes. well, I hate to be like this, but I have strict orders – and none of you bear the likeness of a Moonwater, nor do you bear their badge. Do you have a passcode?
River ponders for a moment….
River: I swear on Mother’s berry pie?
The woman’s eye twitches for a moment, but then she shrugs with a bit of resignation, “Close enough. If you’ll kindly disrobe in the room beyond, you can place your belongings into the lockers within the room – take the key from the locks on them with you, and then see yourselves through the other door, proceed to the third hall on the right, and the private room is the third from the end on the left. There is plenty of soap, towels, grooming implements, oils, lotions, balms, salves, lubricants, champagne and fruits provided within the room. The baths with respond to your verbal command of temperature preference and amount for both steam and water. If you require companionship…” she blushes, “… beyond that which you have brought, there is an additional fee, but it can be taken care of as well. Do you have any other questions?”
River: Thank you.
The locker rooms are massive and contain about 200 assorted lockers, most of halfling size, each with a large complex looking lock and key. Inside the lockers that are opened are several towels and a simple linen robe
Susan hides her necklace inside her robe.
River turns to an appropriate locker, then realizes the rather public nature of the bathhouses.
Fallow blushes as she begins to remove her armor and accouterments, her skin turning a burnished brown and the lines of her heritage coming clear to all
Lily notices Fallows “lines”
Fallow recovers, then finds a way to drap her craghammer with a cord down her back, behind the robe as she dons it
Fallow uses her long hair to drape over the robe, hopefully hiding the bulge of the hammer behind her
River begins by storing her things in the locker, leaving only the exchange of bathrobe and her clothing last.
Lily stores her tiny things which look swamped by the locker.
River glances aside and tries her best to find an empty row to use a momentary period of privacy.
Lily re-summons Stormy.
Fallow notices River’s hesitation and goes and stands in front of her, blocking the view as much as possible
Those of you that attempt to leave the locker room with some of your equipment find that the exit door does not open.
Fallow turns around but remains
River sighs, and deftly tries to change into her bathrobe with haste.
Lily takes a robe which is far too big for her.
River proceeds to wait outside the changing rooms for her compatriates.
Lily taps it with her finger and the robe seems to shrink down at a rather fast rate, and is now small enough for Lily to wear.
Lily: Much better.
Lily: It’s rather inconvenient being a Pixie, nothing ever fits me.
Fallow replaces her craghammer with two non-magic daggers
Lily wears the now shrunken robe.
River, Fallow and Lily stand in the hall, waiting for the others. You see there is a single massive hallway here that has at least a dozen halls branching off of it in either direction. Its oddly quiet, save for some low murmurs coming from the very end of the hall, which seems to open into a large public bath.
The ladies reconviene in the hall, and wait another moment for Pyros…
Stormy: Huh, in that case Stormy will just follow us then and wait outside the door to the bath, keeping watch.
River walks rather ungainly as she leaves the locker room, heavily favoring her right side.
Pyros leaves the mens locker room and finds a nice bench in the main entry area to settle down in.
Lily floats towards the door.
Waiting a few more moments, the ladies then head down the halls, towards their pre-arrainged meeting. You pass by at least three dozen doors before you get to the door that was perscribed to you by the hostess. The door is simple wood and has a small ivory placard upon it with a crescent moon upon it.
Lily: I think this is it. Keep watch Stormy.
Stormy: Have fun.
Opening the door, you are hit with a wall of hot steam and the smell of intense strawberries. Inside of the room is mostly a large tiled bathing basin thats a few feet deep at its apex. Small carts and bars are at random places throughout the room, with a variety of bottles and soaps and pastries upon them. There is a large platter of strawberries upon a floating platter in the middle of the bath, and a massive woman leans against the far pool side, her skin pale and flush from the heat, though the dark tattoos on her bald head are a angry reminder of the danger she likely poses.
?: You are letting steam out. Please close door and enter.
River snaps out of a momentary daze and complies quickly.
The woman cocks her head to the side. “No halfling. Are you in wrong place then?”
Lily: Nope, we’re in the right place.
Lily: I’m half a halfling, does that count?
River: …I am afraid she was unable to come due to… extenuating circumstances.
River: We are answering for her in her s-stead.
?: You look better… more whole than when we saw you last, Miss.
River: I wonder who is t-to thank for this.
River swallows nervously while keeping a cautious eye on the woman. She slowly makes her way to a seat somewhat distant.
Fallow moves behind River and remains standing there
Lily flies over to the strawberries and eats one.
The woman stands, letting the water stream off of her body and revealing burn scars that twine down her torso and gnarl the entire muscle of her left leg, giving it a near ghoulish countenance. She does not limp, whether through sheer determination or some other means, as she grabs a pair of towels and uses one to mop her brow. “What are your names? How are you standing for the Xila?”
Lily: I’m Lily, and I’m not standing for xila, I’m flying.
As you fly over the to strawberries and try to take one, then entire platter shudders and starts to giggle, before you are slapped at…
Lily: Hey! No fair.
Arina: You ruined it!
River: I am R-River, as you are no doubt aware. Fallow, Susan and Lily are w-with me as fellow companions in business with X-Xila.
River: As for Xila h-herself… she has been abducted.
The pile of berries melts away to reveal a halfling girl, who looks surprisingly like Xila, though shorter and less… composed.
Arina: Wait… what?
River: Or… left willingly. We are uncertain.
Lily: Or she could be dead, but I hope for the former.
Arina: With who? Why? When?
River: F-Forgive me if I seem brusque… but you seem unusually concerned.
Arina: What do you mean? Its Xila – shes my sister. Why wouldnt I care about her?
River: She has h-had quite a strained relationship with her family, or so I observed.
River raises an eyebrow.
River: I wonder.
Arina: Well… yeah. I mean, we all do. But she’s my big sister and… she’s not been there all the time, but…
Arina: But WHO took her?
River: I doubt you would b-believe me.
Lily: According to what they told me, it was Zenwrick.
River: In a way… yes and no.
“It was father, no? I told her that.” the bald woman starts, before the halfling leaps from the platter and practically crosses the pool in a single leap, a blade produced from somewhere on her naked body and held to the woman’s throat. “HE’S JUST SICK OK! HE WOULDNT HURT HER ON PURPOSE. SHE WAS HIS FAVORITE!!! DONT YOU EVER SAY SOMETHING BAD ABOUT HIM, SANYA! I WILL CUT YOUR THROAT IF YOU DO IT AGAIN!” Arina screams at the bald woman while completely ignoring what comments have been uttered during the outburst.
River: I see… Erm… It… only appeared as Zenwrick.
The bald woman just stands completely still, not moving or otherwise correcting the halfling in the slightest.
Arina: IT WASNT HIM! HE’S NOT A BAD MAN… he’s not bad… he’s just sick. Maybe she went with him… maybe Xila’s helping him right now….
Fallow shakes her head sadly
River clears her throat before musing aloud.
River: I do not know much of the Moonwater family… I have heard much of Zenwrick the father… but not of the m-mother.
Arina looks up and drops the knife into the water with a splash. “Moms been dead… for a long time. Thats when dad started getting sick… And then Xila left to find some help… but she never came back..”
River: I would not hold such things as fact.
As the halfling speaks she starts to slump a bit, and you can see the eyes of the bald woman continually dart to one of the carts that has a single silvered urn upon it.
Arina: She might have come back, but I never saw her… then I left to go find help… so I could find him help and so he wouldnt be sick anymore… but then… well then he was ok for a while…
River: They may n-need help. But we c-can’t follow them at the moment.
Lily: Get yourself a companion like Stormy, then you can speak through that :P
Lily: Yeah they may be far out of our reach…
River: I was… hoping you and your c-connections may assist in this.
The woman slowly starts to shift to the side, moving away from Arina and pacing to the cart with the silvered urn and opening it to remove a pinch of dull grey dust from with in it. Turning, she glares at Fallow and Susan before tossing the dust at Arina, who startles at the movement.
The halfling inhales deeply and then shifts her stance slightly.
The voice that comes out is the same, but marginally more stable and unwavering. “How bad was it this time, Sanya?” Arina states, while still staring at the water.
?: You almost cut throat again. And we’re naked in front of strangers. And you go on about father again.
River clears her throat, trying to break the awkwardness.
Lily: Hey, I’m not complaining about the nakedness.
River: This is a common occurrence?
River: …I’m not that surprised, c-considering Xila.
Sanya: The naked? Yes.
Sanya: She needs some help keeping mind together. This helps, but does not last long anymore.
Lily: What’s wrong with her?
Sanya: Is mostly medicine, some poison as well… Dont eat or breathe it.
River: Stress m-manifests in different ways, Lily.
Arina: I’m a bit broken.
River: …Funny. I’ve heard that before.
River smiles wryly.
Lily: Aren’t we all broken, in our own ways?
Arina: I… I have found out that my father is not my father… but instead, someone else masquerading as him. He caught me… and his minions splintered my mind. Im.. Im not strong enough… or even stable enough to stop whatever he or they are doing.
River: I see.
Lily: Then… he could be doing that to Xila as we speak, if indeed he took her.
Arina: He has her?
Arina: Are you certain?
River: As I said, she was either abducted… or she went willingly.
Arina: To the shadow then? He had me ina similar place I think.
River: Aye. I believe we will n-need assistance to stop what Zenwrick has p-planned.
Arina: There was a book… in his office. I tried to find it. He had some ritual scrolls in it to traverse the planes. I didnt find them in the house though.
River: Ah. Was that what you were looking for?
Sanya: Yes. Only found lightning bolt though
River: What of the safe?
Lily: Finding a lightning bolt? Nothing wrong with finding lightning.

You cant choose your family...
Sessions #88-91

When we last left our friends, they had uncovered what appear to be the private chambers of some Moonwater person. It also appears as if they had uncovered some sort of shadowy puddle that eats fingers. With an unknown amount of this complex left to explore, what will the heroes do?

GM: Did you want to do anything else in this room?
Fallow looks at Susan knowingly
Susan: Fallow believes we should move along. Plenty more opportunities to get ourselves killed.
Susan: If it becomes important, we can pick it up on the way out.
Fallow shrugs
Susan nods to fallow.
Pyros: Or maybe it will become the way out at some point…
Fallow shudders, feeling that such an option would not be a happy place
Susan: Pyros, let me tell you. I always have a way out.
Susan: Just depends which of you i decide to take with me.
Susan grins.
Heading back out into the smooth tunnel, you continue to follow along as it leads further downward into the earth, while winding back on itself a few times, but with no further branching or side tunnels. Three hundred feet of tunnel passes before you come to an abrupt corner, where the tunnel suddenly opens into a small room with a small black stone statue standing in its center.
Pyros: Can you take us others along, Susan, if not I’ll still worry.
Fallow looks at Xila surrupticiously
Xiliana Moonwater looks at Fallow
Xiliana Moonwater: Yes?
Fallow quirks an eyebrow, wondering just how into themselves Xila’s family line is
Pyros nods to Susan in understanding.
Its similar. A formless, faceless femine statue with its arms outstretched, though instead of holding an orb, its arms are stretched to the sides, in a weird almost embrace?
Yes, the powder is still present in the tunnels, though it appears to taper off as you enter this chamber.
Xiliana Moonwater walks towards the statue.
Quinn Winterborn: Careful with the Shar memoria, Xila
Two narrow staircases lead to stone doors.
Xiliana Moonwater looks back at the others, then without waiting for anything, heads towads the southern room
Fallow sighs as she steps into the room, thinking Xila is one day going to get us all killed, but probably not her lucky self
Xiliana Moonwater examins the table/altar/thing
Fallow looks down the right stairway
You find nothing is trapped as you wander forward. This large table is made of stone and is of perfect height for someone of short stature. It is made of dark stone and at the same time is stained near black from what was likely blood. There are grooves that lead down into the floor, where four recesses are present.
The halls ends in stone doors.
One of the recesses contains a ceramic container of some kind.
Xiliana Moonwater picks up the container without hesitation.
You have a small black-stained ceramic jug that can hold is about the size of a milk container.
Xiliana Moonwater: Oooh, a jug… That can hold stuff I guess?
Theres nothing in the jug at the moment.
Xiliana Moonwater: Empty
It contains Xila’s sense of decency.
Otherwise, there are a few odds and ends in the room, but nothing else that is notable.
Quinn Winterborn creeps cautiously into the rooom, keeping his distance from Shar
Xiliana Moonwater places the jar in her pack.
Xiliana Moonwater: Welp, nothing left here
Both sets head downward.
Xiliana Moonwater: I guess if there’s anything we need to bottle up, I now have a jar!
From Susan’s perspective, the tunnel continues onward as it had before…
Susan: Lets check out the stairs first. Don’t want to be taken from behind.
Xiliana Moonwater: So, which way?
Xiliana Moonwater: Hey, nothing wrong with being taken from behind.
The stairs head downward about 25’ and end in a pitted stone door.
Xiliana Moonwater: More fun that way!
Susan: I meant in a murder kind of way!
Xiliana Moonwater: So did I
Xiliana Moonwater: What was you thinking of?
Pyros: How do I get THAT picture out of my head now…
Quinn Winterborn: Get a room, you two
Fallow taps River
The door doesnt even budge as River strains, making unbecoming grunting noises…
Fallow > River: Move sister
Xiliana Moonwater: Come on River! You can do it!
The stubborn girl heaves once more, lifting the door about five inches before it slams back down.
Fallow seems impressed by the girls effort
Xiliana Moonwater: Or not
Xiliana Moonwater heads over to the door and tries herself.
Fallow steps up to help
Susan: … Okay, at this point you’re all embarrasing yourselves. Will you let me
Xiliana Moonwater: No!
Susan rubs forehead.
Both the lithe fey knight and the halfling heave and manage to get the door open as far as River did, but it does not lift higher.
Xiliana Moonwater: One… More try….
Fallow steps asside for Susan
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh… There could be a trick to this door.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, why don’t you have the key to this place?
Xiliana Moonwater examins the door
I imagine Quinn just standing back with his arms crossed, a smirk on this face.
Xiliana Moonwater: That’s a very good question.
Fallow grins as Susan struggles with the door as well
Pyros: Maybe we need to turn the statue around? Right now it’s facing to the open door, maybe if turned that will close THAT door and open this one?
Xiliana Moonwater: Doors stuck somehow.
Xiliana Moonwater: But doesn’t seem to be different from the other doors in this place.
The statue does appear not be connected to the ground.
Xiliana Moonwater as river swivles the statue, xila attempts to open it again.
Quinn moves past as River begins inspecting the statue, and squatting into a Chessentian farmers squat, he lifts the door upright, the grind and squeal of the door annoucing to likely everyone that someone is present here. The door moves upright about four feet before the gearing snaps and the door grinds to a halt.
Xiliana Moonwater ducks under the door and enters the room.
The statue does move, and as you swing it to face west, you can hear the grinding of stone on metal.
Inside the room is dusty and only partially finished. There is a small dias and some unfinished statue on the northern wall, two doors (one north, one south) are present near the end of the room, though shards of stone are present on the ground here. There also appears to be some kind of ‘pit’ that is semi-covered at the far side of the room.
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh, I think once we’re out, I’m going to have some work done to these tunnels. I think there needs to be some statues of me here.
Susan nods to fallow.
Xiliana Moonwater: I mean, these are moonwater tunnels, so they’re mine.
Xiliana Moonwater: So, north or south?
Fallow listens at the door, keeping an eye on the hole to the west
The doors are similar to the ones youve seen throughout the complex, but there are stone pieces missing from all around the doorframe.
Fallow → Susan: Open yours sister?
Susan opens her door.
Susan leans down and heaves the door upward. As she does so, the southern door also opens, revealing both rooms at once. Inside both rooms are similar stone coffins that have been smashed to pieces, and four creatures wrapped in linen and gold brocade. Each move quickly and strike at Susan and Fallow.!
Susan: I do love when they come to me.
River: Moro?
Quinn Winterborn Quinn’s scars briefly light up as he throws a bolt of bluish purple arcane flames across the room
The mummy swings its sword at Susan, who ducks out of the way, before it murmurs a smattering of horrible sounding syllables her way.
The mummy shambles forward and swings at Susan, who parries its blade with her shield, sending the blade flying across the room.
Susan grins wickedly.
Pyros: Maybe Fallow is trying to be quiet though.
Fallow grins over her shoulder at Pyros, chalking one up in the air to him
Susan: Trust me, Fallow is never quiet.
Pyros: Trust me, she is.
Fallow seems to be laughing as she dances
The mummy falls before Fallow’s nimble hammer dance.
And the other follows suit…
The mummy falls the bits of flaming ash and bone as Moro and Susan team up against it.
Fallow grins at Moro’s slavering form over the prone Mummies bodies
Xiliana Moonwater: You shall die by my hand… The stone commands it.
Xiliana Moonwater begins with a low slash
Another mummy bursts into flames and ash
Xiliana Moonwater wrings her hands together for some unknown reason
Pyros: There you have it!
Fallow glares at Pyros for taking her fun away
Fallow picks up the standard and stows it
Pyros looks at Fallow as if to say ‘this is not fun, but life and death’
Fallow shakes her head as she walks past Pyros – obviously he does not know what “fun” is
The mummies crumble to dust under the onslaught of the group, and fall in a barrage of fire and hammer blows.
Susan: Fallow says to do your thing, Xila?
Xiliana Moonwater: There had better be stuff in these rooms…
Xiliana Moonwater investigates the northern room.
You peer through the broken stone coffin and poke around a bit, you dont find anything interesting.
Fallow points to the southern chamber
Xiliana Moonwater: So… that was for nothing. Good to know.
Quinn Winterborn: This is…in the city. Those were…dangerous…
Susan: Not nothing. Imagine if we had been forced to escape in this direction in an emergency, and ended up trapped, weakened, with these creatures.
Xiliana Moonwater: Well, I guess I’d have to remove them from my tunnel at some point…
Xiliana Moonwater: Right, lets continue!
Quinn Winterborn: This place needs a boatload of clerics to come and purge it out. Can’t have undead in a major city like this
Xiliana Moonwater not waiting for the others, Xila foolishly swivles the statue to face the eastern door, hoping it opens it.
The statue swivels around and you hear the grinding of stone upon stone as the eastern door slowly grinds open.
Susan follows.
Xiliana Moonwater enters the newly opened door.
This room is covered in a layer of stone dust and cobwebs. The stone lintels and shelves are broken in numerous places.
Xiliana Moonwater heads towards the double doors and tries to open them.
Quinn Winterborn looks on with great interest
Fallow helps out
Moro lies down and watches with disinterest.
Quinn Winterborn smirks
Quinn Winterborn winks at Moro
Fallow groans in pain from the pulled muscle in her calf
Pyros suddenly looks nervous.
Pyros: I have a bad feeling…
The door shifts, but you hear the grind of stone and metal as you did before and the door does not move.
Xiliana Moonwater: Dang..
Xiliana Moonwater: Well, round two.
Susan: Let me help. Fallow, take a breath.
Xiliana Moonwater readies herself to try again.
As the women go to heave on the door once more, River walks back out to move the statue. As she does so, the door directly in front of Quinn slams shut, and the door on the inside of the room opens wide.
Xiliana Moonwater: We did it!
Xiliana Moonwater notices the other door slammed shut.
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh….
A single coffin stands in this room with small podiums standing around it, each holding some small dish or trinket.
Xiliana Moonwater walks inside the room.
Xiliana Moonwater investigates the room
Two doors are present in here as well, exiting to the left and right
Xiliana Moonwater: Don’t open them, we need the others.
Xiliana Moonwater heads to the slammed door and attempts to force it open to jam it like the other one.
Xiliana Moonwater shouts for Quinn to help.
Fallow glances at Susan quickly?
Susan looks around slowly.
Fallow looks around cautiously
Quinn Winterborn: That wasn’t what we wanted, River.
Pyros enters.
As you move the statue back, the inner door slams shut and the outer door near Quinn opens again. There doesnt appear to be a happy ‘half way’ point
Xiliana Moonwater: Hi!
Xiliana Moonwater: We need to jam this door open it
Quinn Winterborn: IOh, hi Xila
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe we’re forced to split up?
Pyros (whispers): I feel it too, it feels familiar and not good.
As the double doors slam down, as Pyros ducks inside, the two side crypt doors open, revealing two more stone coffins on diases.
There is a small chest in the eastern room, while a smashed vase in the western room shows a smattering of dust covered coins.
Xiliana Moonwater: Hey River, turn the statue back
Xiliana Moonwater: We need to get everyone together.
Pyros (whispers): I can mage hand get that, if you’d like, ut I have a bad feeling here.
Susan: Better to spring a trap from afar?
Fallow nods sagely
River: Hm… there should be a better way of coordinating this.
Pyros (whispers): Let’s see if that is too heavy…
Xiliana Moonwater: Close this door, and me and Quinn force it open?
Xiliana Moonwater: That way both doors can be open at the same time
Pyros tries to get the chest with Mage Hand.
You look up to see a stone ceiling.
Susan: I can get out in an emergency. Let me step inside and try.
You use mage hand to scoop up a handful of dusty coins.
Xiliana Moonwater heads to the double doors again and tries to force them open
Susan nudges the chest with her sword.
The statue moves once more, and the eastern and western doors slam, the northern door opening once more.
Susan: Wait

Xila sees Pyros and Fallow…
Xiliana Moonwater heads in as soon as it’s open
Xiliana Moonwater: What’cha doing?
Xiliana Moonwater: Where’s Susan?
Pyros: The doors here opened and closed again soon after.
Susan sighs loudly, and continues to poke the room carefully.
Pyros: There seems to be gold in that room and a chest in this room.
As the door slams, Susan whirls to see the door slam down, as she looks around to see a spectral figure emerge from the coffin…
Pyros points to the according rooms.
Susan: … You are all the worst
The halfling ghost opens its mouth impossibly wide and lets loose a spray of dark ectoplasm that covers Susan and locks her in place.
Fallow spits in her gauntleted hands, bends, and tries to put everything into lifting the dam door so she can get to her sister
Fallow grunts, groans, and then pants helplessly
Pyros: Okay, do we have anything to jam the doors open?
Fallow shrugs helplessly
Pyros looks around for something useful.
Pyros (speaks into the sending stone): Master Winterborn, are you there?
Quinn Winterborn: Hello?
Pyros: Yes, here are more doors that open and close all the time, are you still turning the statue?
Xiliana Moonwater shouts loudly hopiung Quinn can hear through the stone
Xiliana Moonwater: GET THE DOOR OPEN
Susan: It’s all these unopened doors.
Xiliana Moonwater looks at the stone floating around her head.
Quinn Winterborn: River, turn it back, now!
Quinn Winterborn: They’re in trouble
Xiliana Moonwater: Now, I could do that… but that’d mean killing a friend, and I’m just not going to do that.
Pyros: Keep turning it every now and again, so we can move forward, explore and come back, please!
Xiliana Moonwater gasps
Xiliana Moonwater: They said what now?
Xiliana Moonwater: Ok, it’s stab time
Quinn Winterborn: (To Pyros, won’t you be crushed?)
As you look around, a spectral halfling leans out of the stone coffin before you… and screams.
Pyros: Only if you turn it very fast, if you turn it say… every 3 seconds we should be fine!
Xiliana Moonwater: And now we have ghosts to deal with… Great.
Quinn hears a massive shriek over the sending stone…
Xiliana Moonwater: Hopefully there’s none in the room Susan’s trapped in
Xiliana Moonwater: That’d be horrible.
Pyros: Also here are ghosts of some sort, but i guess turning the statue so we can help each other out is the best you can do!
Quinn Winterborn relays Pyros request to River
The northern door slams shut, while the doors to the east and west open once more.
Quinn Winterborn: River, want me to do that while you go help them? I’m not much of a healer
Susan: You suck!
Xiliana Moonwater looks over at Susan
Susan is covered in black goo and appears to be frozen mid movement.
Xiliana Moonwater: Susan, you alright in there? Or want me to teleport you out?
Xiliana Moonwater motions to the ring on her finger
Susan: There’s a ghost in here!
Pyros: In here as well.
Susan: …Then dealers choice!
Xiliana Moonwater thinks a moment, and then looks at the stone, then nods.
Xiliana Moonwater: Stone tells me to kill things
Susan: I assume we’re going to have to kill these ghosts? Or are we happy to run away from these weirdly malevolent ghosts?
Xiliana Moonwater starts off by throwing her dagger at the ghost infront of her.
Xiliana Moonwater follows up her snap shot with a dagger aimed at the ghosts eye
Susan: No offence, Xila, but your ancestors are terrible people.
Susan: Or ghosts.
The ghost pops back into existance from Susan’s banishment.
Xiliana Moonwater: Nah, they’re not that bad.
As Quinn and River have their attention focused on the doors, a spectral halfling emerges from the wall.
Pyros: Usually ghosts linger if the person who died either can’t move on, or won’t for some unfinished business.
It blasts River with a inky black goo and then turns to Quinn with a malicious glare.
Quinn Winterborn: OH, hello
You pull a muscle in your back trying to lift the door.
Xiliana Moonwater watches as the door opens to reveal Gasp another ghost!
The doors slam open and shut.
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh, hi there.
Xiliana Moonwater: Need a dagger?
Xiliana Moonwater: You’re going down Ghost!
Xiliana Moonwater: …Again

Last time on HBCGHOSTS! THe heroes continued to explore the Moonwater crypt, digging deeper into the unfolding mystery of who exactly is alive and dead in Xila’s family and why there are so many things do here. Finding another strange statue, the heroes found that it was attached to the door opening mechanisms and effectivvely leapfrogged their way into another crypt before being attacked by GHOSTS!!!
Quinn Winterborn ducks
The ghost howls in ‘pain’ as Moro tears through the halflings form.
The ghost ‘stands’ up
And unleashes a blast of dark goo
Pyros: Could you step back a bit?
Pyros: It would make targeting with my fire easier!
Xiliana Moonwater takes a deep breath and then springs backwards, the inky goo coming off as she does so.
Fallow hammers the ghost down for good!
Fallow peers into the room the ghost came out of for other targets, then to the left as well
As the ghost shrieks, Fallow lands a nasty hammer blow that splits the ghost into nothingness.
Susan walks up and checks the chest to see if it is locked?
Xiliana Moonwater rushes towards the chest as soon as she’s able to.
Xiliana Moonwater: Now the ghosts are dealt with, I can open this chest
Fallow breathes heavily, trying to gain her wind back
Susan: Well I’m glad to be helpful in some regard.
Pyros: For a moment, i thought she was goin to rip off her top.
Lock clicks, seems to be unlocked now
Xiliana Moonwater opens the chest, not bothering to look for traps
Fallow looks over her shoulder
As Xila opens the chest a cloud of yellow green dust billows into her face causing her to cough and choke.
Xiliana Moonwater coughs
Xiliana Moonwater: Aww, how dull.
Xiliana Moonwater: Just some cloth and a… dead cat I think.
Xiliana Moonwater: And whatever that dust was.
Xiliana Moonwater pokes around the chest.
Xiliana Moonwater: Ah-ha
Xiliana Moonwater: Knew it.
Xiliana Moonwater pulls out some gold coins from behind a false bottom.
Xiliana Moonwater notices there aren’t that many, so doesn’t bother sharing them out.
Xiliana Moonwater turns from the chest and stumbling a little, heads to the other room.
Bits of cloth and broken chests here. You can search if you like.
Xiliana Moonwater searches
You dont find anything of worth here. Some moldy books and tattered cloth… but thats it.
Xiliana Moonwater: Aww, nothing here.
Pyros: Books?
Xiliana Moonwater: Moldy books
Quinn Winterborn: Books?
Pyros: I’d like to have a look.
Xiliana Moonwater leaves Pyros to his books
Xiliana Moonwater: Knock yourself out
Xiliana Moonwater stumbles a little as she returns to the main room, waiting for all the doors to open.
Pyros takes the books with Mage Hand and examines them at a safe distance.
There are three moldy illegible books that have the look of some kind of poetry or maybe prayer books.
Pyros: I’ll keep the books just in case. They are illegible, but that could be repaired with some ritual I know.
Pyros: Thank you, River, you have been most helpful here with the doors.
Xiliana Moonwater coughs
Xiliana Moonwater: Hey River, I think that dust might have done something to me… Anyway you might know what?
Xiliana Moonwater explains the chest and the dust and the coughing
Fallow looks around alertly, sensing something
River: If you insist. But remember to be more cautious in the future.
Xiliana Moonwater: Uh-huh!
River ceases her door opening to look at Xila.
Quinn Winterborn shushes the people around him
Quinn Winterborn: Quieter, susan is trying to scout
Fallow tries to listen more closely to what she caught before
Susan looks expectantly at Fallow.
River: Hmm.
River: Perhaps… Leprosy?
Pyros looks expectantly at Susan and Fallow.
Xiliana Moonwater: What’s that? Sounds fun
River: Sometimes known as ‘Rotting Doom’.
Xiliana Moonwater: That… doesn’t sound fun
River: It’s not.
River: I’m… uncertain which particular one you have.
River: Cemetary Rot, which withers…
River: Or Festering Doom, which mulches…
Xiliana Moonwater: Ah well! Not to worry. I’ll get better, I always do. And If I don’t, well oh well.
Xiliana Moonwater: I’ll just have to stab as many people I can until then!
River: If you don’t… you’ll be either a zombie or an ooze. Both mindless and otherwise un-Xila-like.
Fallow shakes her head negatively
Susan shrugs to Fallow
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh, well if I turn into a zombie or an ooze, then you have my permission to kill me.
Xiliana Moonwater: Just, y’know, don’t before
Xiliana Moonwater: I quite enjoy living
River: I-I can do what I can to t-try to stave off the worst effects, but it will t-take time.
River: Meanwhile… we must p-press on.
Quinn Winterborn: How’s that voice in your head, Xila?
Xiliana Moonwater: Telling me to kill you.
Quinn Winterborn: I figured.
Susan hearing River, steps into the next room
Xiliana Moonwater: Apparently if I kill you first, you wont be able to kill me when I turn into a Zombie or ooze, go figure.
Quinn Winterborn: It’ll have you valuing killing over treasure if you’re not careful
Xiliana Moonwater: That will never happen
Xiliana Moonwater: I like them both equally.
Quinn Winterborn nods solemnly
The room narrows back into an earthen tunnel that is butressed by stone columns at every twenty feet. Unlike the rest of this complex thus far, there are no more torches or were-lights that spring to life as you nose into the tunnel.
Susan lights one of her sunrods.
Xiliana Moonwater notices that lights don’t come on anymore, but before Susan lights her sunrod, Xila notices something.
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh… How odd, I can see in the dark better then I could before.
The sunrod flares to life, but it seems to light much less of the hall than other before it. You wonder if perhaps these have gone bad somehow.
Susan frowns at the sunrod.
As Pyros casts his spell, it also seems to be much dimmer than before.
Xiliana Moonwater: Oooh, I like this! No more pesky light to stop me sneaking around.
Xiliana Moonwater: Wonder why your lights are so dim though
River: Aside f-from not being able to see where you’re h-heading…
River: Either way, this is f-foreboding.
Susan mutters a quiet prayer under her breath and then pushes on.
Pyros casts light on Susan and himself.
Fallow makes the sign of the moon goddess and follows
Susan: My thanks, Pyros.
Pyros: You are welcome, Miss Helen.
River grips her spear tightly, prepared for something ahead.
You continue to push down the tunnel, which winds around quite a bit before finally ending abruptly at a pair of large stone double doors.
These large stone doors stand twenty feet tall and are made of a dark black stone that you havent seen yet in this place. A glossy black circle is present about ten feet up.
Fallow looks carefully at the circle
River stands still, trying to pick up anything in the quiet echoing tunnels.
Susan rubs her forehead.
It is the symbol of Shar on the door.
Susan: okay i get the message.
Fallow shudders
Susan looks up.
Xiliana Moonwater: Shar again huh, you must be loving this Mr voice in my head.
Xiliana Moonwater attempts to open the doors
Susan tries to push them open dramatically.
The doors pull open, revealing a dimly lit large room. As the doors are being opened, a massive iton portcullis slams down from above!
Susan: Son of a-
Xiliana Moonwater: Someone really doesn’t want us in this room.
Xiliana Moonwater tries to see if she can see anything inside through the portcullis.
Xiliana Moonwater: I’m very confused right now
The thick barred iron gate slams down just inside of the room, blocking your entrance, but allowing you to see into it. Here in the room there are six massive crypts and three large altars of some kind. Standing inside of the room and now looking right at you stands Zenwrick Moonwater, and another halfling man. A few undead loiter between you and them.
Xiliana Moonwater: Wha…
Xiliana Moonwater: Father?
Xiliana Moonwater: But, I saw you… you were dead.
Xiliana Moonwater looks at the other halfling
Xiliana Moonwater: Quinos?
Zenwrick Moonwater: This is… unexpected.
Xiliana Moonwater: You’re telling me
The other halfling completely ignores you and continue to pour one container of powder into another.
Xiliana Moonwater: Hey, Brother! Don’t ignore your big sister.
Xiliana Moonwater tries to open the portcullis gate infront of her.
Zenwrick Moonwater: We dont really have time for pleasantries right now. Go back into whatever hole you crawled out of and die there, waif.
Xiliana Moonwater: Yup, you’re definitely my Father alright.
The gate hisses and moves up slightly under Xila’s effort, but the added heave from Fallow gets the gate to push up enough for the others to slip by if they like.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Fine… must everything with you be a pain? Why couldnt you just stay dead or drunk or knocked up or whatever you were?
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, are you a mommy?
Xiliana Moonwater: No!… Why do you want me to be? Wait, not the time.
Zenwrick Moonwater waves a hand and the entire crypt floor shudders and skeletal hands claw their way up through the stone and begin grasping what whatever is close by.
The entire crypt is considered difficult terrain.
Xiliana Moonwater: That’s a new trick… Never saw you do that when I was a kid.
Zenwrick Moonwater: You never paid attention.
Xiliana Moonwater looks to Fallow who’s helping keep the door open, then glances at the others… Then, lets go and slips inside.
The portcullis slams to the ground.
Xiliana Moonwater: You never paid any attention to me either!
Zenwrick Moonwater: You never showed anything that would garner my attention, whelp. You still dont.
The skeletal hands grasp at you, attempting to hold you in place.
Xiliana Moonwater creeps closer to her father, fighting off the skeletal hands.
Xiliana Moonwater: You can’t stop me that easily Father, you should know that. I’m a Moonwater.
Zenwrick Moonwater: You are nothing… neither is that pathetic name. Ive grown beyond that now.
Xiliana Moonwater: Why? What happened! .. Infact, how are you alive? I saw your dead corpse just a short while ago… Tell me Father, why?
Quinn Winterborn: Pyros, be careful. There’s some kind of an arcane null zone in that room
Quinn steps forward and heaves the gate upwards, getting it to open about five feet.
Xiliana Moonwater turns around and notices Quinn raising the gate
Xiliana Moonwater: Stay out of this!
Xiliana Moonwater: This is between me and my Father
Quinn Winterborn: The HELL I will. He stole the Spirit Soaring!
Xiliana Moonwater: I don’t care! He’s my Father!
Susan: After all they’ve done to you, you still care for them?
Xiliana Moonwater nods
Xiliana Moonwater turns back to her family.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Its not that I care for you Xiliana – you see, Ive got other things on my mind at the moment. But if you press me, I will make you bow to my whims.
Xiliana Moonwater: Just.. tell me the truth, please. Help me understand!
Quinos continues to pour a white powder into the small metallic cylinders on the altar in front of him.
Pyros stays out of sight and quiet, maybe to gain a bit of surprise later…
Xiliana Moonwater: Quinos, what are you doing?
Fallow looks at Susan worriedly as she tries to hold the portculis up desperately
??: Is everything alright out there?
A voice that sounds like sex on velvet comes from further into the room.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Its fine.Just a nuisance. Continue with the preparations, Askavan.
Xiliana Moonwater: Hey! I’m not a nuisance, I’m your daughter!
A human looking woman with long blonde hair emerges from one of the crypts carrying a heavy looking lead chest, she walks across to the other crypt before handing off the chest.
Fallow releases the portculis when Quinn takes over, then pulls out a flask and drinks from it
Though she looks human, her features are cloyed with shadowstuff.
Fallow shows a snarl as the new creature enters the crypt
Fallow steps forward, fighting off the grasping hands of the floor as best she can to get to….something
The hands grasp at Fallow, trying to slow her down.
Susan: And…. Then
AS you rush forward into the room, doing your best to avoid the skeletal hands, you race past Xila and slam into an invisible barrier that nearly knocks you to the ground.
Xiliana Moonwater: Father… Quinos, please, speak to me.
Zenwrick Moonwater: We have neither the time nor the desire. Leave this place and city, Xiliana – there is nothing for you here. It was better that you had simply left never to be heard of than to have returned. No one here knows you or cares for you.
Xiliana Moonwater: Nothing for me here? There’s everything for me… My Family are here! I thought you all to be dead… But if you’re alive, then you’re here, and that’s reason enough for me to stay.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Why would you think me dead? Clearly I am not.
River mutters under her breath and bolsters her spirit with defensive wards.
Xiliana Moonwater: I told you, I saw your corpse just a short wile ago.
Xiliana Moonwater: And spoke to your spirit, which was trapped in something.
Zenwrick Moonwater looks up, for the first time and stares right at you. “You sound like the idiot girl that left here with idiocy in her mind and neglect of her rightful duty in her heart. You abandoned us then and have been dead since then. You belong in the stone box above.”
Zenwrick Moonwater: If you test me further, I will not hold back – not for your sake, or that of your companions.
Xiliana Moonwater: I… I’m sorry I left Father. But when my Mother died I couldn’t stay! I knew that you hated me… But I ran away, and was taken by the Frost Wolves. After being with them, I had been away so long, I couldn’t return!.. I feared what you would say or do, and now I have returned, and my fears are true… But please Father, all I want is for us to be a Family again!
Zenwrick Moonwater: Odd… thats not the story I got from them. You relished the life and abandoned them to run away with another guild for coin and slaughter. Instead we wasted away without your Mother’s steady head to guide us. After losing the others… well, you were the stone that started this entire avalanche.
Xiliana Moonwater: It’s true… I did leave the Frost Wolves for another. But as I said, I couldn’t return home! I knew there was no place for me at that time…
Quinn Winterborn: River, Pyros, you guys coming?
Pyros: Oh well.
The skeletal hands claw at Pyros’ boots.
Pyros: okay, if we’re going to fight here… I’ll take on my other form.
Xiliana Moonwater: No! We will not fight.
Pyros: Okay, I’ll hold off, Xila, but in the end undead must be put to rest… eventually.
Quinos finishes metting out the powder and then starts capping the containers.
[TURN] Askavan
Xiliana Moonwater: Father.. What is it you are trying to do here?
: I cannot hold this portal much longer – my power wanes this far from the Font. Hurry up.
Xiliana Moonwater: Who is that?
Susan: At a guess, the powerful undead that i’ve been telling you about since the theatre.
Fallow snarls silently as she watches the creature dart into the other tomb
The shadowy woman moves back to the crypt she came from and you can hear the scrape of metal on stone.
Zenwrick Moonwater: None of your business. Quinos, take the containers and go with Askavan.
Susan tries to use Sequester on Quinos.
As River moves into the room, Zenwrick looks up with a bit of a confused look on his face.
Xiliana Moonwater: You recognise River?
Xiliana Moonwater: We saved her… It’s what lead us here. I was so shocked to discover my Family had a part in her kidnapping.
Zenwrick Moonwater: She was the reason that wretched woman was poking around here earlier.
River: I-I apologize for our intrusion.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Its fine. If you come closer, I can provide you with the formal hospitality of House Moonwater.
Quinn Winterborn: The hospitality your provided the people of the Spirit Soaring??
Quinn Winterborn scowls
Zenwrick Moonwater jerks a look at Quinn. “What is this, some kind of fools motley? The Spirit Soaring does not concern you, Chessentian.”
Quinn Winterborn laughs a long, laugh, mocking laugh
Xiliana Moonwater: Hey, not cool Dad! You can insult me all you like, but.. don’t insult my friends.
Susan shrugs furiously, kicking the invisible wall a little.
River: Threats do you little justice, both of you.
Zenwrick Moonwater: You are nothing to me, girl. Leave. Take whatever you want from manse, I care not.
Xiliana Moonwater watches as her father approaches.
Zenwrick Moonwater paces forward, tapping his fingers on his clasped wrist. “Leave. Now. Or you will not see the sky again. This is your last chan…”
His eyes narrow as if seeing Xila for the first time, and then tighten. “Where did you find that?”
Xiliana Moonwater: Find what?
Zenwrick Moonwater: You know what Im speaking about. Where did you find that STONE?!?
Xiliana Moonwater: Ohhh! That thing. I found it next to my Mothers empty coffin.
Xiliana Moonwater: Well
Xiliana Moonwater: I didn’t find it exactly
Xiliana Moonwater points to Susan and River
Xiliana Moonwater: They did
River smiles weakly and waves.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Leave… Ill even let you take the stone, though I should rip it off your corpse.
Xiliana Moonwater: Speaking of… Do you know why my Mother’s coffin is empty?
Zenwrick Moonwater stares at you intently without answering.
Xiliana Moonwater steps towards the barrier and tries to step through it.
The barrier seems malleable, but you cant force your way through the barrier. Its like being caught in plastic wrap.
Xiliana Moonwater: Nice wall you have here.
Xiliana Moonwater sighs
Xiliana Moonwater: Shut up stone! I’m trying to talk to my fat…
Xiliana Moonwater: Wait
Xiliana Moonwater: Her?
Xiliana Moonwater: I’m not killing any of my friends, I’ve told you before!
Xiliana Moonwater: Apologies Father, ever since I got this stone it has been telling me to kill people… Not that I really need convincing.
Xiliana Moonwater: Now, where were we…
Zenwrick Moonwater: Leave.
Pyros: It’s your decision, Xila.
Xiliana Moonwater: Please Father.. I’m still your daughter.. And you’re still my Father. Speak to me. Help me to understand…. Once you do, then I shall leave
Zenwrick Moonwater: This is your last chance, Xiliana. Leave. I will not delay this any further, even for you.
River: A q-question, Mr. Zenwrick. Whose is it?
Zenwrick Moonwater: Whose is it?
Xiliana Moonwater: Whose is it? Wha?
Pyros: Whose is it?
River: You m-mentioned you and my aunt are not on good t-terms.
River: So… who gave you that bottle on your b-belt?
Zenwrick Moonwater: She is insufferable.
Zenwrick Moonwater: These…
Zenwrick Moonwater motions to the small ruby vessel tied to his belt, one that looks eriely similar to the ones that Susan has. “… are of my design. Which that bitch stole!”
Xiliana Moonwater: Father…. You say you wont delay any further… But… Why have you delayed at all? I thought you hated me.
Zenwrick Moonwater screws up his face. “I never hated you, you were just in the way constantly. And I couldnt have you in the way. Not then, not now.”
Xiliana Moonwater: You treated me with hate… How could I think anything else?
Fallow glances at Xila thoughtfully for a moment, considering something
Xiliana Moonwater: It was clear to me, only my Mother really loved me.
Zenwrick Moonwater just stares ahead silently.
River bites her lip in thought. “…His design… Hmm.”
River: Why did you make them in the f-first place, if you d-don’t mind my prying?
Xiliana Moonwater looks at the stone.
Xiliana Moonwater: You’re not saying to kill my friends… are you stone? You’re telling me to Kill…. her.
The stone nearly hums aloud.
Xiliana Moonwater: I think…. I’ve figured it out. My father hated me… He would never… I saw your dead corpse…. You can’t be alive…. But, you’re not dad are you?
As the realization starts to spread over Xila’s features, Zenwrick grabs the vessel at his belt and throws it at River. “If you care to see it so much, perhaps you should take a look at it closer. Askavan, Quinos, Danica – we go now!”
Quinn Winterborn: Danica???
Quinn Winterborn: Cadderly’s Danica?
The ruby vessel sails through the air and as River attempts to leap out of the way, her body deadpan falls onto the floor, as the vessel hits the floor and rolls away.
Xiliana Moonwater: River!

Last time on HBC… Upon reading through all of the information present in the lair of Zenwrick Moonwater, the heroes were presented with some conflicting information about who exactly was on the up and up. A brief encounter with a shadowy puddle, the heroes left the lair to continue through the crypt, only to come across a large crypt area, complete with a variety of undead and the living Moonwater men – Zenwrick and Quinos! Xila and Susan slipped through the bars for a confrontation with Zenwrick, before everything broke down and, at the behest of a woman’s voice, Zenwrick threw a ruby cylinder at River, which caused her to collapse to the ground. The halfling then turned his back on Xila, retreating behind the barrier once more.
Xiliana Moonwater: Don’t turn your back on me! Talk to me!
Fallow glances at Susan, then the flask, then at Xila, wondering when the halfling girl will finally decide to act
Pyros: Xila, decide. Caall for action now, or let’s leave. I think the talks are over until the situation changes.
Susan is summoning magic around her hands, ready to release a spell.
Xiliana Moonwater: I can’t leave! Not until I have answers!
Fallow touches Xila gently on the shoulder
Pyros has readied his other form, in case fighting starts.
Xiliana Moonwater looks at Fallow with tears in her eyes.
Fallow nods wisely beyond her tender years
Xiliana Moonwater: …We have to fight our way through. But if anyone hurts even so much as a hair on my families heads, I will kill them.
Fallow nods emphatic agreement
Quinn Winterborn: really?
Xiliana Moonwater looks at Quinn with a fire in her eyes.
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head in frustration
Fallow pulls her hand back from Xila’s shoulder as she passes one more message to her
As you move around the exterior of the mausoleum, you discover another zombie and come to a broken wall that reveals a dark room inside.
It appears to be some kind of crypt.
Xiliana Moonwater completely ignores the spooky crypt next to her.
Xiliana Moonwater: Power [Action Point] [free]
As you make a break for the center of the room, you slam into a barrier or force that trembles at your “intrusion”.
Moro covers her snout in a doggo-face-palm.
Xiliana Moonwater curses her luck as she picks herself up and continues running full sprint
The stone door slams to the ground as Quinn the doorstop moves away.
A spectral hand appears at Quinns command and grabs the ruby bottle, tugging the cap off of the bottle. There is a whoosh and a hint of ruby sparks…
River gasps and draws breath once more.
Quinos shuffles towards one of the smaller crypts.
The human female then comes out of the south eastern crypt holding a pair of large chests upon her shoulders. She waits patiently behind the halfling not seeming to mind the weight of the chests.
Fallow rears back, craghammer flashing in her dance as she preps to brain the undead in front of her
River however… does not stir from unconsciousness.
As Fallow delivers the hammer blow, the body shifts and its dull red eyes flare to life.
Susan raises her hand, and tries to put her Divine Challenge on Zenwrick.
The magic fails to find a target.
The zombie turns its head at Pyros as the blast of fire burns off a layer of decaying flesh.
Pyros: Good work, Susan you distracted it very nicely!
Susan lets out a furious growl.
As the zombies swing at Fallow and Pyros, a sickening sucking sound is heard, as the remaining zombies in the crypt begin pulling themselves off of the walls and floors that they were ‘attached’ to.
The zombie slams its fists at Fallow, but they flare at the barrier, sending a spray of fleshy spores against the barrier.
The zombies move toward the nearest living creature and pound against the barrier.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Idiots.
Xiliana Moonwater looks at the group in front of her out of breath.
Standing in the doorway of the crypt, you can see the form of a sleek, scantily clad woman with a leather harness on, who is doing something… magical.
Xiliana Moonwater: Oooh, she’s nice.
Xiliana Moonwater: Now it’s just us…
Xiliana Moonwater: Tell me, what’s going on!
Xiliana Moonwater looks at Zenwrick
Xiliana Moonwater: You already know I’ve realized, there’s no point hiding anything from me now.
Zenwrick Moonwater: You had your chance years ago, instead you wasted your talents and made yourself a pain. Just leave here before things go badly for you.
Xiliana Moonwater: My chance? My chance for what?
Zenwrick Moonwater: I tried… but you wouldnt listen… your blind hatred for your father and his actions made it too hard to groom you as I wanted.You rejected her touch and like that… well, we had to be rid of you.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Not like your brother here… he listens and behaves without question.
Xiliana Moonwater: I loved you!
Xiliana Moonwater: When you died… The grief was too much… But I guess, you faked that huh?
Zenwrick Moonwater: You loved the idea of me… but not me… you never loved me.
Xiliana Moonwater: You’re wrong! If you… if you hadn’t faked your death, I might have been Quinos right now… But what you’re doing, whatever it is, is wrong!
Zenwrick Moonwater: No Xiliana. Im fulfilling my purpose, and your brother along side me. Soon, we will be above this prattle and none of this will matter anymore. Ive worked my whole life to ensure it, and you wont mess this up for me because you’ve managed to bungle your way into this. I will have the book and I will free the Dark Sun.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Quinos – kill her.
Quinos turns a heavy head towards Xila.
Xiliana Moonwater: Quinos… Why?
Xiliana Moonwater: Very well
Xiliana Moonwater: If I must die, then so be it… But I won’t strike you. Either of you.
Xiliana Moonwater waits for Quinos to make his move.
Quinos casts a spell with a flick of his hand and a sparkle of light flares around him and his nearby allies.
and then he disappears.
Xiliana Moonwater blinks
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh?
Askavan: Damnit Zenwrick, if I have to hold this portal any longer, you can BET that woman will pinpoint it and know EXACTLY where we are going! Get your brat and the components and LETS GO!
Xiliana Moonwater looks at the women.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Fine. Have the woman and Quinos stall them. We have a book to retrieve.
Askavan: You hear that, Dani. These interlopers have captured your children and are keeping them from you.
Xiliana Moonwater: You do realize that she’s not actually Zenwrick right? Just figured I’d point that out… Incase, y’know you didn’t know.
The human woman turns slowly toward Xila and drops the chests she was carrying, a flare of something deep in her gaze.
Xiliana Moonwater: Erm… captured children?
Xiliana Moonwater: What?
Xiliana Moonwater: I’ve captured no child… At least, I’m pretty sure I haven’t
Fallow stamps her foot and wills a sudden teleport from her feystep leggings, appearing near the zombies behind her
Xiliana Moonwater: Kidnapped a few adults in the past, but no children.
Fallow pulls her favorite standard from it’s place on her back and plants it firmly in the ground beside her
Xiliana Moonwater: Now, I’m sorry, i know you’re likely under some kind of control. But you’re not family, so I have no issues whatsoever stabbing and killing you.
As the zombie swings and connects with its longsword, the target zombie releases a blast of toxic spores that cause both Susan and Fallow to break into a coughing fit.
Pyros suddenly and in a burst of fire that seems to consume him, transforms into a being of pure fire and heat. Rolling out from the creature comes a wave of fire that is a lot hotter than what you are used to from Pyros.
Moro blinks nonchalantly.
As you shift partially into the ethereal plane, you catch a glimpse of Rivers spirit standing near her body.
Pyros [Primordial]: [Translation] In the end the fire will take everything.
The burnt corpse of one of the zombies that Pyros utterly blasted risess from the ground and shambles forward, body still aflame.
The zombie staggers forward and slams into Susan.
The zombie at Fallow’s feet rises and smashes its fists into the fey’s face.
The zombie explodes with spores as Fallow smashes it with her hammer.
As the zombies are tossed away from Quinn’s magical eminations, the ruby vessel is also thrown outward from the blast.
Moro snaps at the zombie, in a maddened rage of utter hate.
There is the sound of shattering glass, and Zenwrick looks nervously as she shoulders one of the chests.
Xiliana Moonwater: Nervous about something?
The zombies lurch forward and pass through the barrier, their limbs elongating as they surround Susan!
Susan: Son of a-
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh, friends
Xiliana Moonwater: Zombies aren’t gonna stop me Mother, you know that.
Xiliana Moonwater: Hey!
Xiliana Moonwater: That was close, I thought you were actually trying to hit me then
Zenwrick Moonwater tosses a blast of negative energy towards Xila which blots out the area, obscuring him from view.
Zenwrick Moonwater: You want to play games… fine. Lets play!
Xiliana Moonwater: OOoh, I love games! Y’know that one we used to play when I was a kid, how about that one? No… Oh well I tried.
Xiliana Moonwater: Y’know I’m not even trying to dodge, it’s like you really don’t want to kill me.
Xiliana Moonwater: I take that back
Xiliana Moonwater chugs an elixir of invisibility
Xiliana Moonwater tries to sneak past Askavan
Standing where you were about to rush into is a swirling inky black magical portal.
Xiliana Moonwater tries to see what’s on the other side of the portal.
As you peer into the portal, the hazy picture of a grey landscape with a large rocky tor is within. You can see some kind of structure atop the tor.
Xiliana Moonwater turns away from the portal and faces Askavan… And then stabs her.
Xiliana Moonwater knocks Askavan unconscious
The demoness falls to the ground as Xila knocks her unconscious, and there is a perceptible rumble as the portal begins to grow slightly, consuming the stone coffin behind it.
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh
Xiliana Moonwater: Thought that might have worked.
Xiliana Moonwater: So, now it really is just us Mother.
As Quinn blasts at the zombie near him, it falls forward, attempting to pin him beneath it.
A quartet of small missile flare from the darkness and slam into Xila.
You hear the clang of your dagger being directed to the floor.
Askavan: Insufferable cur!
Askavan: DANICA!
Xiliana Moonwater: You can blame my mother for that… I mean this was a game, I had to win.
The woman lunges forward with a heavy fist, before shifting around you can hammering away with a flurry of blows.
Xiliana Moonwater: If I die here
Xiliana Moonwater: Just know, that whatever happens Mother… I still love you.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Oh… dont worry… I’ll have Askavan make you into an obedient puppet… then we’ll have a wonderful time.
Xiliana Moonwater: How do you know that you’re not her puppet mother?
Askavan: Your children never shut up, Mal.
The spore zombies fall flat under Fallow’s massive hammer, though her attack on the cinder zombie sprays her with fire…
The zombie arms reach up from the ground and clasp tight around Susans boots, preventing her from leaving as intended.
The zombie falls to the ground, but then picks itself back up…
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Flames will consume the weak.
River: Moro, go h-help them. I can hold this one off.
Moro howls, and the spirits begin to swirl about the wolf.
Quinn Winterborn: I sure hope Xila’s talking to her family is going well….
Fallow grimaces at the wizard’s comment doubtfully
The zombie explodes in spores, which cover River and Quinn…
Xiliana Moonwater: Before I die… Mother, tell me, at least.. Why do all of this? Why? When I was young.. You were amazing, so kind and loving. Was that all an act? If so… why?
Zenwrick Moonwater: Mewling child – all you’ve ever done is mettle – and now you wonder why – you even managed to botch this up. I gave you a chance, and you’ve wasted that as well – you were much your father’s child.
Xiliana Moonwater: If you had just spoken to me! Then I wouldn’t of had to! I can’t let you leave.. not until you’ve explained everything.
Xiliana Moonwater: I was perfectly prepared to let you go.
Moro viciously tears into the zombies with righteous indignation.
Zenwrick Moonwater: No. You werent. And the Lady rejected you as well. You could never do what was required, not even at a young age. Once she rejected you, it was over, even if I wanted it some other way.
Zenwrick Moonwater releases a blast of fire.
Zenwrick Moonwater: Quinos – take her. Danica, get the chests. Lets go. Now.
Xiliana Moonwater as xila falls to the ground she utters some last words “Mother… I forgive you.”
Zenwrick Moonwater reaches down and snatches the dark stone that orbits Xilas head.
Zenwrick Moonwater steps through the portal and disappears.
Quinn breaks the grab.
Quinos moved forward, and scoops up Xila’s body and then steps through the portal.
Askavan: Danica… make sure the others are dead… then I’ll come back for you.
Askavan then prances forward and leaps through the portal.
The human woman rushes out of the crypt with blinding speed, charging towards your group.
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Fire will burn every life to the ground.
Danica Bonaduce [Primordial]: [Translation] Shut up, Demon.
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] You will burn too in time.
More hands clasp at Pyros’ form.
River: Nnngh!
A wave bursts from River carrying the zombie away from her.
River: M-Moro, stay on her! We need to m-move!

Last time on HBCMURDER! IN an attempt to argue her point home, Xila pursued her father(?) to a point of isolating herself from the group, while they attempted to free River from the soul jar and were embattled by undead. Xila disappeared, however, as did the rest of the Moonwater clan, while a human woman has now charged forward to do battle with the rest of the group. Where is Xila? Is she alive? Did she go willingly, or was she taken? Let find out tonight…
Quinn throws a ray of frost at the zombie near him, and then dashes away to get his back against a wall. Meanwhile, the shadow clad human takes a side step and makes a flurry of attacks.
The woman then slams her fist into the wolf with a final strike
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Fire is always hungry.
The zombie body burns away finally with the intense flames coming from Pyros’ form.
A few more undead creep forward from the open crypts…
The undead stagger forward…
Quinn begins to cast a spell, but waits for the enemies to get closer.
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] In the end only ashes remain.
Danica dances out of your way.
The zombie lurches forward and lays into Susan with a heavy handed blow.
Quinn then releases the spell he was holding.
River: S-Stay on her, Moro!
The Zombies curl and blacken from the blast of fire.
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Yes! Burn!
River: X-Xila! Are you OK?
As you begin to focus on the shadowy woman, there is the sound of fabric being torn, and in the center of the room, a jagged black tear begins to form as if something was pushing into this place from beyond…
The shadowy woman blinks out of existance for a moment before slamming into River from the shadows!
The woman then gives chase to her target.
River: A l-l-little help here p-please…!!
Pentacorn ‘s flames grow brighter as in answer to River’s call.
The zombie explodes under Fallow’s heavy hit, spraying the group with nasty spores sthat eat through cloth and metal alike.
Susan: Leave…River… Alone!
Danica slaps the sword away with the palm of her hand.
Susan as the blade gets knocked aside, Susan looks aghast, and turns to look at River.
Susan: Get away, River!
River: In d-due time…
The monk then grabs Susan’s second strike, nearly throwing the blade out of her grasp.
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Go yonder, my Flame and burn my enemies. River needs help.
Pentacorn directs the flaming sphere to Danica.
The black jagged tear opens wide as a feminine form steps through. A woman emerges, one you have seen before, though now she is clad in tightly fit chain armor and bears a pulsing shield of crackling black energy that floats near her threateningly. “Zenwrick! I will rip that lying mouth from your face and feed it to a bone devil!” Meredith Sainte Voullaine snaps as she steps forward.
River: This is… not i-ideal.
Quinn Winterborn: Are we not supposed to kill your family too?
Danica’s head snaps to see the new threat, but then advances on River.
River: Nngh… My pain is n-nothing.
As the strike connects, Danica’s body is enveloped in black tendrils, before she is casually thrown through the air and into the stone of one of the nearby crypts.
Meredith: Thats enough of that.
Susan looks at the figure in front of her, just trying to make sure it’s real before she goes with her last resort.
Meredith: Focus on your task, woman. Im not the threat here.
Moro: How I long to hear your neck snap between my jaws…
Moro growls lowly at the actress, eager to snap her fangs into her.
Meredith: Yes… death and destruction and wanton lamentations. We’ve all seen that you are quite scary.
River: Why are you h-here?
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Fire is relentless. In the end it will get you.
Meredith: I came looking for that arrogant sniveling runt of a man!
River: Z-Zenwrick? I was u-under the impression you’ve tired of dealing with h-him.
Meredith: I came to kill him and blast apart this entire abomination. His ambition far out paces his reach.
Meredith: And if you’ll allow me to assist you with this… mindslave, we can speak freely.
River: …Moro, stand d-down.
Moro: You do not believe her to be trustworthy, after all this—
River: No. But we must ch-choose our battles wisely. This is n-not the time.
Meredith flicks a hand towards the monk, as a globule of crackling black energy flies from the shield at her side.
Moro growls menacingly before turning away from Meredith.
The energy forms a crackling black void around the woman, tearing at her essence.
Quinn Winterborn: Wait, is she… helping us?
River: F-For now. We will trade words once we d-deal with the other.
Fallow glances once over her shoulder
Meredith: Pick your jaw up off the floor, wizard. A fight is at hand.
Quinn Winterborn: This is insane.
Meredith: Indeed.
Moro simply harumphs.
River parries with a defensive block from her spear, turning in the nick of time.
Quinn Winterborn: She’s being controlled.
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] You cannot outrun fire.
Fallow raises her shield protectively near River as she stands ready to defend her
Meredith: She is clearly under the sway of that foul succubus – not that it matters in the least.
Quinn Winterborn: It matters to me. If she is under the control of someone else then it would be wrong to killl her.
Another black void of crackling energy springs into being…
Quinn Winterborn attempts to dispel whaever magic is holding Danica
The twisted tendrils of shadow that curl around the woman lessen under the hammer blow of Quinn’s magical onslaught. They tense for a moment before shattering, sending shards of black crystals all over Fallow and River. The woman then releases a heavy sigh before slumping to the ground, with color slowly seeping back into her face.
Quinn Winterborn heads over to Danica.
Quinn Winterborn: Is she alright now?
Fallow blinks, then glances back at the wizard, wondering what the bleep he’s on about
River: I believe she is s-subdued.
Quinn Winterborn breaths a sigh of relief
Fallow moves between River and Meredith warily
River: Now… I b-believe we have matters to d-discuss.
Susan doesn’t react to Fallows, message, eyes locked on Meredith, but moving to stand directly next to River.
Meredith: Indeed. Assuming your compatriots arent going to assault me, and we can discontinue shouting across this horrible room.
River: Of c-course. Is this agreeable to you all?
Quinn Winterborn: Pyros, please can you take down your flames? Danica should be alright now.
Fallow looks back at River, then nods reluctantly
Pentacorn [Primordial]: [Translation] Fire agrees not to burn Meredith unless she attacks.
Moro harumphs again… and fades away.
Meredith [Primordial]: [Translation] You are fire now? How presumptious of you.
Pentacorn turns back into his usual self.
Quinn Winterborn: Thank you.
Pentacorn: Alright, Master Winterborn.
Pentacorn: Could I have your assistance back here, Master Winterborn, if you will?
Quinn Winterborn nods
River: …Xila is not here, it seems.
Pentacorn has a look at the bottle magic and consults Quinn on his opinion how to bottle it again.
Quinn Winterborn: That does not surprise me. She probably went with her family. She did want us not to hurt them
Quinn Winterborn examins the bottle
Meredith: Another of this horrid family? I thought her dead – at least thats what Zenwrick would have me believe
Fallow glances around carefully while watching Meredith, looking for some sign of little Xila
River: There is much the Moonwaters have k-kept secret.
The bottle appears to be similar to the containers that Susan procured from the tent where Dias was lost.
Meredith: Clearly. Why are you here?
River: To uncover both their p-plans… as well as your own, d-dear Aunt.
River: I would assume you c-came to that conclusion already.
Meredith: I doubt you’ve uncovered much in the way of my own motivations and machiations, dear. But it is fetching that you have attempted to, thus far.
Quinn Winterborn summons a mage hand to pick up the bottle. Then moves it to the far corner.
River: It is not I who has d-done much successful d-digging.
Pentacorn retraces Xila’s steps to look for clues to her leaving, a note or anything.
Meredith: Oh? Thats slightly disappointing, considering your ability to elude me thus far. Tell me, was it this idiot family that cost your uncle, or was it the trecherous drow?
River: …He is d-dead?
Meredith: Debilitated. A nasty poison of some kind, that they make in this city in particular.
River: I do not b-believe it is the Moonwaters, n-no. They have their own motivations. There is… some troubling notes of import.
River: T-Tell me, how have you and they worked t-together in the past?
Pentacorn packs the Spiritsuckerbottle into his bag of holding.
Meredith: Contracted – they do some work in smuggling and were looking to break into something bigger. Your uncle prides himself on making coin where ever he can, so he hired the lowest bidder. And now he sits in a puddle of his own filth because his bowels are uncontrolled.
River ponders for a moment, putting the evidence thus far together.
River: There is a s-strong possibility Zenwrick and his kin have l-left once more. But I may k-know where they have g-gone.
Meredith: The Shadowfell, I would assume. He seems to be doing the most damage on that plane- the idiot.
River: There is… a g-great deal he has accomplished there.
River: For us to f-follow I fear is not… possible at this time.
Meredith: You do seem ill prepared for such a journey. To what extent do you know of his plans? Where does he retreat to, what are his goals, who is his patron?
Fallow puts a hand on River’s shoulder gently
Fallow looks slightly worried and torn as she looks at River
River: If my own suspicions are correct… not too f-far off from your own.
River smiles wryly.
Meredith: You would be incorrect, for the most part, child.
Meredith: at least, the last part. We do not serve the same patron.
Quinn Winterborn: Of course you wouldn’t admit it.
Pentacorn (mumbles to himself): Xila where have you gone … … … and do you even want us to follow?
Meredith: Admit what?
Quinn Winterborn: Your plans.
Meredith: You’ve likely uncovered enough that it would be redundant to walk that path now, or are you inept in that as well?
Quinn Winterborn: And whether you served the same patron.
Fallow glances at Susan over River’s back
Meredith: This place reeks of the Lady of Loss. That is not my patron. We are, in fact, diametrically opposed to her.
River: To some, any shade of d-darkness is too much to bear.
Meredith: Please… this plane is like all others, shades of gray.
Meredith: Not her… no, she is the absence of everything – good, evil, puppies, devils… everything. Gone. Nothing to love or hate – just nothing at all. There’s no future in that, child.
River: Regardless… I fear we may still be at an impass proceeding.
River: As much as I would… regret this…
River: C-Can you be of assistance in… our pursuit against Zenwrick?
Meredith raises an eyebrow.
Quinn Winterborn: You are seriously asking for her aid?
Fallow looks at River a bit poleaxed
Meredith: I echo your companions concern in this course of action.
Quinn Winterborn: You know it’s bad when the enemy themselves tells you it’s a bad idea for them to assist.
Pentacorn: Are we enemies then?
Meredith: Caution is warranted in all things, wizard.
Meredith: Wizards, then.
River: Our friend Xila was lost in this battle… knowing her… she most likely followed them to their destination…
Pentacorn: Humility is a great asset though, when pride navigates you into a dead end.
River: Or d-dragged there.
Quinn Winterborn: Or she went willingly.
Fallow nods
Pentacorn: Well, there is a lot of blood here, so it can’t just have been talks. One side attacked the other and if Xila didn’t attack her family, it was the other way around.
Meredith: I do have the resources to provide you with aid in this course of action – I know where he is, and what his plans are – or at least a modest estimation of them – but what is it you would provide me? I could simply take you here and now, if I liked to…
Meredith: However, we are being civilized, and there is a time and place for recklessness.
Pentacorn: Either they left at some point and she followed after them without them knowing, or they took her. In either case she’ll need assistance soon, i reckon.
River: And what would you ask of us in r-return?
Meredith: There is… something.
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t like the sound of this
Fallow shakes her head worriedly
River crosses her arms in thought.
Meredith: Within the eddifice that Zenwrick occupies there are a number of tomes that have not seen the light of Faerun in several hundred years – magics lost to the changing of gods and the burning of magics. While Zenwrick attempts to corrupt ‘the book’, there is another, “Canticle of Madness” that lies within. You bring me that book, and I will call this ‘even’.
Quinn Winterborn: What do you want with this book?
Meredith: Should he successful corrupt the other book… well, it wont end well for any of us.
Meredith: To read it, simply put. It is important to me
Fallow looks curiously and with great trepidation at Meredith, trying to determine anything about her heritage
Fallow ‘s head pulls back suddenly, then she looks at Susan
River: It is not…. unseemly to find this.
Susan: It can, fallow.
River: Of c-course, we n-need to become p-prepared for the venture ahead.
Quinn Winterborn: Why are you so eaher to get this book? Surely reading it can not be your only objective
Meredith: I have some things that can offer protection from the latent energies of the Shadowfell. And perhaps one of my retainers, if youd like. There would need to be some sliver of trust here, in order for this to happen, however.
Pentacorn: The what if Xila is not there in the first place? Don’t we need to figure out where she went exactly first before we go into darkness?
Meredith: It is a lost book of my faith – which were all ripped from the planes hundreds of years ago. They are important to the faithful, though I will freely admit, I hope to find more within.
Meredith: I know where Zenwrick is at. Ive been tracking him for a time, but he vanishes from my sight on occasion, likely some kind of antimagical room of some sort.
River: Hmmm…
River looks over to Danica’s prone body.
Quinn Winterborn: I defer to River. But I am against this. That book does not sound promising.
River: What of her? I doubt s-she is not unfamiliar of their location either.
Meredith shrugs. “She seems formidible, but I doubt she would fare better than you in that plane.”
Meredith: Assuming she was controlled by the devil, then its likely she wont recall much while being charmed.
Meredith: Perhaps something more… vital to add to the bargain then? Something that may tip the balance?
Quinn Winterborn: I’m listening.
Meredith cocks her head a moment and then states plainly. “You agree to a geas to bring me that book, under pain of death, and I will agree to leave Violet alone for all of eternity.”
Fallow glaress a negative at the foul woman before them
Quinn Winterborn: Word it differetly, and perhaps we can come to an agreement. Your offer of leaving River alone is far too vague.
River: What of the others?
Quinn Winterborn: Plus, you must have a geas placed upon you as well.
Fallow lifts her bloodied hammer at the woman, shaking her head vehemently in the negative, then emphatically makes the sign of Selune in the air before her
Meredith: Thats the premise of a geas… it works both ways.
Meredith: What others? These ones? You can word the agreement however you like – include them, exclude them. Ive never been after them, they were… collateral to my goals.
Susan: Neither you, nor any of your agents. Nobody working on your behalf, or by any order, suggestion or stray comment you might offer. Applying retroactively, to anyone you may have already requested this service of, or made a suggest to.
River: …The fact you are w-willing to undergo a geas for this is… of great concern.
Meredith: I cant state that… as I have no control over the machiations of those that have been in my employ. I will not lift my hand against her, nor pursue her actively or passively in any of my endeavors.
Meredith: Child… I have spent the wealth of small empires pursing you – my goals are outside of your scope and vision. This is a means for us to part amicably and for you to live your life without me lurking over your shoulder.
River rubs the side of her arm in thought.
Quinn Winterborn: The ‘other book’…. what is it?
Meredith: Its a relic from another god – something that if tampered with, will bring on the destruction of everything, particularily in the hands of an oaf like Zenwrick.
Meredith: The Tome of Universal Harmony is its title, if thats meaningful to you.
Quinn Winterborn blows out a low whistle.
River: …I cannot agree to this. For us to part amicably forever…
River: That is not possible. Ever.
Meredith: Less amicably, and more blissful ignorance
Meredith: or indifference… or hate me, thats equally agreeable.
River: Our paths will cross once m-more, that is certain. But we have our own m-matters to deal with that is not here.
Meredith: Do you ever recognize what it is that you are, child? Or what I am? Have you thought to question this beyond the surface of things?
River: …What do you mean?
Meredith: Clearly, you are not simply a human – do you ever think on that for more than a moment?
Meredith: And what do you know of me, beyond that Im a sinister and horrible aunt and a fantastic thespian?
River: …Have you always known this? Even before?
Meredith: How old do you think I am, child?
River: W-What are you?
River takes a step back in fear.
Fallow steps ready to guard River
Susan is holding out both hands.
Meredith: If you’ll allow me, I can show you. But it may be… graphic.
Pyros: Showing your age? How, like a naked grandma?
Meredith: I appreciate the attempt at humor, wizard.
Pyros smirks.
Fallow prepares to defend her friend and companion
River clasps her hands in fear… before nodding.
River: Show me.
Meredith takes a step backward, as she dismisses her crackling shield with a dismissive wave. Reach upwards slowly, she undoes a clasp at her neck, allowing the chain armor, along with her clothing to fall to the ground. For a moment, the alabaster skin and perfectly crafted body of a young woman is shown before you, not quite matching the delicately wrinked face of Meredith. With a sickening pop, her shoulders pop from their sockets, her arms lengthening and the skin splitting, revealing blood and gore within. Her knees buckle as well, somehow gaining another joint as she begins to convulse from the pain that is evident on her features. She throws her head back in a otherworldly scream, as her jaw lengthens and fills with a mass of jagged teeth. In a blast of blood and gore and a spray of bone, you see before you a vaguely woman shaped creature, though her features are gaunt and sharply angular. Her skin is a midnight purple, and her eyes globes of pure darkness. A pair of what might have once been large feathered wings protrude from her back.
Quinn Winterborn: What the….
Pyros: Should have done that on stage.
Fallow looks incredulously first at the thing, then at River and then back again
Susan is resisting the urge to run.
Fallow looks again at River, then takes an involuntary step back, away from her
The creature stands upright, a full twelve feet tall, her pained gaze leveled on you. “This is what I am, child. Older than you can imagine, and twisted to this fate by the whims of a sadistic goddess who cares for NOTHING.” her words echo painfully as they stretch beyond the syllables she speaks and grate at the edges of your mind.
Fallow hand leaves River shoulder suddenly as she steps back
Pyros: Well, enlighten me, what is this supposed to tell us about your age?
River: I… but… I don’t…
River is speechless.
Fallow shakes herself, then gets a resolute expression, and shakes her head in the negative, throwing off what bothers her about this
Meredith: You… are not this, child. But you are something more… you are divinely blooded – and that is what fuels your… power.
Fallow determinedly takes slow steps forward, back to River’s side, and places a reassuring hand back on her shoulder, shakily
Quinn Winterborn: SO… how is this going to convince us to get a book that literally has madness in the title and give it to you?
Fallow glances up at the creature before them, an expression of grim purpose on her face
Quinn Winterborn: Because if anything, this is convincing me to do the exact opposite.
Meredith: What is Madness to you? Slaughter? Chaos? Believing in something so intensely it twists you into something diffierent? The complete and utter destruction of everything that ever is and was and will be? That is whats on the line here, wizard.
Fallow shakes her head, trying to rid herself of the fear that the insanity the being speaks of just does not exist and is not possible
Pyros: Well wouldn’t that be all more the reason to destroy the Canticle of Madness?
Meredith: The Lady of Loss is entropy – she wishes everything to be destroyed. Her fingers are always seeking that end – the void in Sembia – her, the return of the Netherese – her, the breech at the edges of Fey into the beyond – her.
Meredith: Very little can stop her, there is one – one that has already slain one god, and has the ability to do so again. And I have worked for untold time to find this opportunity and seize it.
Fallow blinks as River turns away
River: W-We’re leaving.
Meredith: I see.
Fallow backs away defensively, her steps faltering
Pyros: So you would have Cyric slay another god to stop the destruction of everything, but would in turn open the world to evil unmeasurable? I think you are being deceived by the Prince of Lies.
River: M-Master Winterborn, w-watch over the woman. We will need her assistance.
Quinn Winterborn nods
Meredith: The offer still stand, Violet. Think on it before acting rashly.
Susan: I can get us pretty far away in an instant, but we might be stuck there for a while until our ship can meet us.
The creature begins to fold in on itself, joints popping and cracking as she folds back into a quivering pile of alabaster skin and dark eyes.
River: …My name is River.
River: …Let’s go.
Pyros: The last word has not been spoken in this conversation, um… Meredith. But I’m afraid there is a lot we have to stomach before we can continue any talks.
Meredith stands on quaking legs and beings to dress quietly, while watching you leave.
Fallow wishes forlornly that she had her voice again at this moment in time
Pyros wishes that as well, all the time.

Unexpected Opulence
Session #87

Last time on HBC, the heroes found their long lost halfling trapped within the family barrow and made some other, more harrowing discoveries as well. The black powder that was present within the chambers is apparently explosive, and the black orb of death appears to be some kind of gateway or at least it gives the impression of some other plane and ties to the godess Shar. Xila was ‘reunited’ with some of her family, and it was revealed that her father, Zenwrick, may not be the mastermind behind all of the issues plaguing her family, as was once thought. Instead, it appears that Xila’s long thought dead mother is somehow directly involved in the shenannigans that are afoot. It was also determined that there is a cave in that was not present in Xila’s last visit to the crypts. What horrible things can the DM toss at the heroes tonight – likely some kind of demonic dust bunnies!

Xiliana Moonwater flips through a few pages absent mindedly before clenching her fist tightly and tossing the journal into her bag. “This doesnt change anything. I dont believe that… stupid…. spirit body thing… whatever it was anyhow.”
The corridor ends in a tumble mass of rock and silt.
Susan: Let’s focus on the physical, and what’s in front of us. One step at a time.
Fallow nods encouragingly
Susan begins moving rocks.
Fallow → Susan: Sister, do you really intend to move all that rock?
Susan mutters to herself. “One problem at a time.”
Moro yawns lazily and lies down as Susan does all the heavy lifting.
Quinn Winterborn: This reminds me a little too much of home
Quinn Winterborn starts moving some rocks around
Susan → Fallow: I have to do something. I do not enjoy being in children’s tombs.
Xiliana Moonwater: Whats the point of moving those?
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe there’s gold underneath them
Quinn Winterborn: Come see
Quinn Winterborn smirks
Susan: There’s something beyond.
Fallow glances curiously at Quinn, wondering if he is drunk
The noises on the other side of the rocks quiets as you begin to pick through the rubble. You notice more of the ash and black powder present as you move the rocks away.
Fallow → Susan: Careful sister
Fallow → Susan: Perhaps we could blast it clear with a spark?
Susan → Fallow: I hear you
Susan continues to dig, scooping up the powder when it gets enough to package away.
Susan: Maybe somebody tried to make their way inside before. Or someone left this way, and covered their exit.
Pyros: Can you tell how long ago this was?]
River: Hmmm…
Susan: That’s not my area of expertise. River’s more likely to know.
River looks over the cave in with scrutiny.
River: What do you think, Moro?
Moro rolls over, clearly not interested.
River: …Not t-too long ago. Within a day.
Susan picks up the pace carefully.
Moro grunts.
River: …O-Okay, about a day. Give or take.
Five minutes or so worth of moving this rock, you can manage to get a small tunnel that opens into a dark cavern. As you continue to pull out rocks, you find more dust and ash, and less powder.
Fallow → Susan: They did that on purpose
River: …W-What exactly lays b-beyond here, Xila?
Susan nods at Fallow.
Susan → Fallow: can you tell which side it was caved in from?
Xiliana Moonwater: I dont know… that was a solid wall last time I was here.
Fallow → Susan: Hmmmm
River: Hmm. U-Unusual.
Pyros: I guess we’ll find out tonight.
Fallow → Susan: Something strange about the rubble, but not sure what
Susan: Did I get enough powder to give to our alchemist for experimentation?
Susan is ready to blast anything that pops out.
Inside is a very smooth walled cavern that twists rather abruptly out of sight. Everything appears to be covered in black and grey dust.
Fallow → Susan: Make it wider sister
Pyros: We could squeeze, just in case we have to come back and have to close it quickly.
River: W-We’ll need to widen that gap a little wider, I b-believe.
Quinn Winterborn gets back to work
Susan does too.
Xiliana Moonwater is busy tossing her dagger at the floor near the statue
River: I sh-shall try to help… just be careful not to c-collapse the path.
Moro yawns and continues to laze about as River moves rocks out of the way.
Fallow shakes her head and steps forward to help as well
You make headway in the next few minutes and the tunnel is mostly cleared out. The tunnel is covered in a layer of powder, but is nearly perfectly round, as if the passage of a giant earthworm
Moro perks up as things seem to be finally making progress.
River: R-Right. Let’s go.
River starts to crawl through, as Moro fades out and back again on the other side of the wall.
Susan follows River close behind.
Fallow joins her companion moving forward
River: What do you think, Moro? This d-doesn’t appear natural.
Pyros: I smell a trap.
Moro huffs a bit as the dust kicks up with the slightest movement.
River: …Perhaps. B-But that would have to be… a lot of acid.
Pacing down into the tunnel your footfalls are very soft and quiet as they sink into the thick layer of powder on the floor. The tunnel twists and turns as it dives deeper underground before Moro stops abruptly and waits for the others to catch up.
Pyros (whispers): What is it?
Moro growls lowly and looks away from Pyros.
River (whispering): Door. She… um… doesn’t like them.
Quinn Winterborn raises an eyebrow
Xiliana Moonwater: How can you not like doors?
Xiliana Moonwater: Opening them is fun
River: No thumbs.
Pyros (whisper): What’s the material?
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh… Right
Quinn Winterborn: Is it magical?
Its a stone door that appears to be made of polished stone.
Fallow → Susan: Push it up?
Susan moves to open it.
Xiliana Moonwater waits for Susan to open the door
Susan opens the door.
Fallow → Susan: I will watch River
River sets her lantern to illuminate the area around her.
Susan lifts the door upwards, this one being much much heavier than the previous, halfling weighted doors.
The door lifts open to reveal a room that is filled with some shelves, a few crates… and numerous skeletons that swing at Susan as she picks the door upwards!
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh good! I needed things to stab.
Susan: Oh Xila. Truer words have never been said!
Fallow → Susan: You said it Sister
River: I d-don’t believe those are under y-your family’s directive?
Xiliana Moonwater: Erm… Lets find out
Xiliana Moonwater: Hey skelegoons! I’m Xiliana Moonwater and I command you to … erm… Kill yourself?
Fallow → Susan: She’s so predictable our Xila
Susan: Sorry Fallow, you’re going to have to get the door!#
Fallow → Susan: Shit!
Susan disappears and the door slams downward.
Susan reappears in a completely dark room, with the creak and hiss of numerous undead.
River: That’s… not quite what I was e-expecting.
Xiliana Moonwater: But….
Xiliana Moonwater: Stabbing skeletons
Xiliana Moonwater: I can’t do that if the door’s closed
Fallow looks really frustrated at the moment
Fallow reaches out to River briefly to touch her arm
Fallow → River: Quinn Kick Door!
River grins slightly while Moro grouses as only a spirit wolf can.
A peal of thunder rattles the hall and the dust and powder from the thunderclap rises into the air, causing you to choke a bit.
Susan: I… really thought that would kill more of you!
A blazing silvery light fills the area and it literally burns one of the skeletons to ash as it is cast.
Fallow strains, trying to lift the door once more
Fallow bends her knees and throws the door at the ceiling, causing it to jam in the open position.
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh
Xiliana Moonwater: Impressive
Fallow grins as light glows from her eyes and spreads into the chamber, embracing her sister in golden green flames of glory
Susan grins back savagely.
Quinn Winterborn throws out his hands as a thick rime of frost covers the ground in the entry way, causing several skeletons to fall to the ground.
Fallow looks a bit shocked by the ice that appears beneath her feet, then looks accusingly back at Quinn
Silvery light, green-gold light and a sheen of turquiose froze blast all over the skeletons
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry!
Pyros debates for a moment about hurling some fire, but due to the large amount of black powder in the area, he decides against it and instead lets loose a barrage of orange colored missiles that slam into one of the skeletons, taking it down.
Llyle (Pyros): Walk there and Magic Missile!
The skeletons strike at Susan, slicing deep into her torso, the wounds caking with thick rime immediately causing the articulation points of her armor to seize up.
Fallow grins wolfishly
River: …Moro, we can’t get in. D-Do you think you can help with that?
Moro groans but nods.
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh good! Time for stab.
Xiliana Moonwater begins with a low slash
River peers down the hall, wary of anything approaching to investigate.
River: Moro, go. I shall be fine here.
Xiliana Moonwater strikes her target then shimmers out of view with her armour.
The bones on the skeleton crackle as the ice covers it from the furious strikes. A flicker of purple flame wavers along the skeleton…
Pyros: I don’t like that flame.
Moro appears by Susan’s side, drawing the skeletons closer with ghostly blue light before lashing out and crippling one of the guards.
Susan casts a gimlet eye in the direction of her quarry before a nebulous dark cloud forms around it and she swings her blade at the creature, only for it to dive out of the way.
Fallow disappears in a fflash of moonlight, only to reappear 15 feet away in a sudden bright yellow blaze of moonbeams that rip through the skeletons.
As you strike at the skeletal guard, its friend strikes at you!
Fallow then delivers a barrage of blows that look more like an intricate dance, though her partner is a massive hammer, and she crushes the skeleton with her well placed and deft blows.
Moro blinks, unfazed as Fallow is locked in combat against the skeletal guards.
Xiliana Moonwater: Leave some for me
Xiliana Moonwater: I need to stab stuff more.
Quinn Winterborn unleashes a blast of raw spell energies that roil back on him and seem to twist back on himself instead of being funneled towards his enemies.
Pyros unleashes another barrage of missiles that tear apart another skeleton.
Moro is saddened as the bones merely turn to ash between her teeth.
The skeletons slash their frost encrusted blades once more, slamming into the fey knight.
Xiliana Moonwater: Hey! Stop hitting my friend!
Xiliana Moonwater: I…. can’t lose anyone else.
Xiliana Moonwater steps into melee range then follows up with a snap shot, drawing an opportunity from the Guard
Fallow → Susan: Sister! I have not had this kind of fun in too long! We must do this more often!
Susan Gives Fallow a crazed look, eyes bright and hair wild.
Xiliana Moonwater goes into a wild frenzy and stabs the skeleton untl its ash is ash
The skeleton shatters from blow and flickers with a wild violet flame for a moment before going cold.
Fallow gives her sister a strange look over her shield
Moro clamps down on the skeleton, giving Fallow a clean shot at their foe.
Moro circles about, giving the others more freedom to move about.
Susan finds the weak point in her enemy and blasts the creature with a silvery burst of radiance.
Fallow then follows up with another solid blow with her hammer, staggering the skeleton.
Pyros releases another barrage of magical energies which sap the last bits of its unlife.
Xiliana Moonwater: Well…. I don’t feel any better at all
Fallow pants as things come to a close, wiping a bit of sweat from her arched brows
Pyros: So… what is in that room?
Xiliana Moonwater: Lets find more things to stab!
Moro sifts through the defeated skeletons, looking for something solid enough to sate her craving.
Fallow grins at Susan, then Xila
Xiliana Moonwater flicks her frost dagger as the cold spurs back into life once more.
Theres a set of shelves, some crates and debris
Susan takes a few hard breaths and then stands up straight seemingly in control again.
Pyros: Master Winterborn, please have a look at the Skeletons, they seemed to be charged somehow with purple flames. I wouldn’t want them to ignite anything later.
River: A-Allow me to take a look.
River searches through the room with her usual keen observational skills.
Quinn Winterborn: Purple flames you say?
Three of the skeletons occasionally crackle with a spurt of violet flame.
Xiliana Moonwater searches the room for hidden treasure
Pyros: Yes, I saw them flickering ominously, but then they were overcome before they could do anything with it and the flames died with them.
River: Hmm… I d-do not believe there is anything i-important here…
River: But I do recall seeing a similar flame at one p-point.
Pyros: When and where?
River: This is a violet flame, y-yes? I d-do recall there was a black flame we e-encountered some time ago…
Quinn Winterborn: It’s not really fire. More like flickering necrotic energy. It is without heat
River: I d-do not think they’re connected… but it is interesting to n-note.
Xiliana Moonwater: Ooooh!
Pyros: The black flames in that temple in the other dimension, where we fought the fiery beholder?
Xiliana Moonwater: The dust here is strange
River: Yes, of course.
Xiliana Moonwater investigates the back wall
Pyros: Yes, I recall them, too.
You find a seam in the stonework here, and with it, a hidden door in the stone.
Xiliana Moonwater: Ta Daa! A hidden door.
Xiliana Moonwater attempts to open the hidden door
Xiliana Moonwater but checks for traps first
Susan stands awkwardly outside, staring at Fallow.
Pyros: Kick it like Quinn.
Fallow looks back at Susan with a thoughtful air to her demeanor, then frowns slightly
River: I-I’m surprised you could f-find anything here. This d-dust is irksome to deal with, at the v-very least.
Xiliana Moonwater: Finding doors is my specialty
Susan bows her head and visibly relaxes.
River: Moro, do you s-see this door?
Moro blinks and cocks her head to the side.
Xiliana Moonwater: Well, no traps so… Let’s go!
River: …N-Nevermind..
Xiliana Moonwater tries to find a way to open the door and open it.
Fallow moves purposefully toward Susan, her right hand extended, palm open
The door slides, with some difficulty, and opens into a roughly cut stone corridor that turns hard and ascends some stairs.
Susan mirrors the gesture.
Xiliana Moonwater steps into the corridor
Pyros watches Susan and Fallow.
Fallow grasps the hand offered and squeezes tight i
Quinn Winterborn: This is feeling less and less like a mausoleum…
Xiliana Moonwater pokes her head back into the room
Xiliana Moonwater: Coming?
Xiliana Moonwater: I always find hidden passageways are really fun to explore
Fallow turns away to see what their little one has found
River: After you.
Pyros (whispers to Susan): What was that all about?
The corridor ascends some twenty feet before turning again at a small landing.
Xiliana Moonwater: Let me scout ahead
Xiliana Moonwater sneaks up the stairs and pokes around the corner
Susan: Just me and Fallow understanding each other better.
Pyros nods.
Xiliana Moonwater returns to the group
Xiliana Moonwater: So, I found a trap, disabled it, and I now have vials containing… fire? I think.
Moro blinks and peers at the vials of flame.
Xiliana Moonwater: Also, there’s a corridor that leads into another room
Xiliana Moonwater: We should go together.
Fallow makes the sign of the moongoddess on her chest
Quinn Winterborn: Interesting
Fallow nods to Xila, tapping her on the shoulder
Xiliana Moonwater: I’ll lead, you follow.
Fallow nods emphatically
Moro huffs and strides past Xila. River tries to stay close by and not lose sight of the wolf.
Xiliana Moonwater heads back up the stairs expecting everyone to follow her
Xiliana Moonwater plays leap frog with the wolf
Xiliana Moonwater: Oooooooh
The stairs ascend further and then opens up into an opulently decorated room.
A large desk, a massive bed and several book shleves stand within the room.
Xiliana Moonwater heads inside the room
Moro sticks her nose in the room and takes a big whiff.
Xiliana Moonwater searches the room.
Moro growls low, and River holds her spear tightly.
Fallow gets a purposeful look over her features, glancing back at Susan briefly before turning forward
Susan nods to herself.
Quinn Winterborn: Ooh, books!
Fallow looks a bit disappointed at all the ….books
River: Hmm…
River: T-Take a look at the bed, Moro. I’ll search the desk.
Moro yawns and nods at River’s words.
You toss the room and find a lot of strange things… mainly some ledgers and letters detailing the hiring of several mercenary bands, some communications with a certain Meredith Sainte Voulliane, tracking of money going into and out of local houses, and the purchase of a large swath of property outside of Parasantium.
Susan waits until noone is looking their way.
You find two journals which are just the words “Master Zenwrick Batharamous Moonwater” over and over and over again…
Xiliana Moonwater: Erm
Xiliana Moonwater: What
Fallow eyebrow’s rise in a shocked expression
Fallow almost turns but stops herself
Fallow looks at Quinn contemplatively
Susan snorts loudly.
Fallow grimaces
Xiliana Moonwater: Anyone have any idea what these journels which just say my fathers name ove and over are about….
River: Practice.
Fallow taps Xila
Fallow → Xiliana Moonwater: Read them lil one
Xiliana Moonwater reads them
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, that’s a good thought, River. Forgery practice?
River: Hmm… Do you r-recognize any particular handwriting among this, Xila? Perhaps that of your m-mother?
Susan: It’s hard for him to sign papers whilst he’s… upstairs.
River: I am b-beginning to p-piece things together. Slowly.
Xiliana Moonwater looks at River and then studies the handwriting cloely
Fallow glances at Susan, her face pinched
Quinn Winterborn turns to face River, eyes curious
Xiliana Moonwater: It… might be. It’s been so long since I’ve seen her writing.
Xiliana Moonwater: But it’s… different
Xiliana Moonwater: From my father’s handwriting.
River: I thought as much.
Xiliana Moonwater: But it could be anyone writing this, not neccesarily Mum!
Fallow looks a bit startled, but then her features firm up, and she nods resolutely
River: Aside from wh-what I can piece out… most of this is forged.
Fallow glances curiously River’s way
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh… Speaking of Mother.
Xiliana Moonwater: QUinn, you wanted to examine this… didn’t you?
Xiliana Moonwater takes out the small necklace stone from her pocket.
Fallow wipes away a tear that just begins to run down her left check.
Quinn Winterborn: Please
Susan nods slowly, and moves closer to Fallow.
Xiliana Moonwater: You have to promise… No matter what, to give it back to me after examining it.
Susan offers her hand
Moro whines and shuffles out from her search.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, I know this is important to you.
River: Hmm?
Xiliana Moonwater hands it over to Quinn.
Quinn Winterborn: Thank you, friend.
River rubs Moro softly behind the ears and goes down to look underneath the bed for herself.
Fallow looks very frustrated and angry, eyes focused on somethign in the distance
Susan nods again, and listens more.
Quinn Winterborn hands the stone back to Xila
Xiliana Moonwater: So, figure it out?
Fallow begins to get a bit red in the face, closing her eyes in pain
Quinn Winterborn: It wanted me to hand it back to you.
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh? Really?
Quinn Winterborn: But yes, I did divine its magic and usage
Pyros: What is it Master Winterborn?
Quinn Winterborn: An Ioun Stone of sorts.
Fallow tears flow from both eyes, and are quickly wiped away
Xiliana Moonwater: A… what?
Quinn Winterborn: One whose powers would seem to serve Xila’s talents fairly welll
As Xila takes the stone back from Quinn, it floats up and silently begins to orbit her head
Xiliana Moonwater: Erm
Pyros: There are a lot of different types though.
Xiliana Moonwater tries to grab the stone floating around her head.
Quinn Winterborn smiles
Quinn Winterborn: Let it be, Xila
Fallow opens her eyes, blinking
Fallow allows a sad smile to light her features once more
River stands up and starts to pull out thick tapestries from underneath the bed.
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh? But it’s floating around my head….
As you pull the heavy tapestries out from under the bed, you begin to reveal a solid 5′×5′ area of total black void that quivers as if it was liquid.
Quinn Winterborn: As they do
River: Hmmm. That is m-most concerning.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila?
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh, who just spoke?
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, I know the warning might be futile, but please be careful with that thing. It has a mind of its own, and it’s not exactly an ethical mind.
Fallow blinks astonishment, glancing at the void in front of them
Fallow → Susan: What is that?! Sister
Fallow points at the black void
Quinn Winterborn: Ooh, more magic
Susan glances where Fallow points and recoils a little.
Xiliana Moonwater looks at the void
Xiliana Moonwater: What’s that?
Susan: I do not know Fallow
Quinn Winterborn: What do you think, Pyros?
Susan: It’s some kind of portal. I couldn’t tell you where to though.
Quinn Winterborn: It’s a portal, like to the Shadowfell. I wonder if it goes to the Spirit Soaring
River: There’s only one way to d-determine for certain.
Quinn Winterborn: Throw Xila in?
Xiliana Moonwater: Hey!
Quinn Winterborn: What, there might be treasure in there?
Quinn Winterborn grins
Pyros: Seems to be some kind of portal. The color suggests that it goes to a nether place and the opaqueness tells me that the creator didn’t want the target location be watched, so it could be a secret place. Also it is doubtful if it goes both ways.
Quinn Winterborn: Good to know, Pyros
Fallow grins at Susan
River touches her hand to the portal, her fingers feel like they have touched the heart of a frozen elemental. The color fades from your finger immediately and it does not return immediately.
River draws her hand back after brushing the pool of darkness, clutching it tightly.
Quinn Winterborn: Careful
River: I d-don’t believe we’ll be going this way anytime soon.
Fallow steps forward, ready to protect River
Fallow taps River after a moment
River: At least the numbness is fleeting.
Fallow → River: Roll it up?
Xiliana Moonwater walks over to the void and pokes it.
Quinn Winterborn: The portal likely requires a key of some sort
Xiliana Moonwater: Ouch
Xiliana Moonwater: Eh, was worth a shot.
River: P-Perhaps. Until we find a s-safe way to enter, it shall remain barred to us.
Pyros: Could be. If we could send only one through, they could take one of the sending stones with them and we could either travel all there without danger of the portal, or at least get them back here, if it is only one way.
River wiggles her fingers as color finally returns to them.
Quinn Winterborn: Not a bad thought, Xila. Moonwater blood, or a Moonwater artifact, might be the key
Fallow tap River again
Fallow → River: The stone?
Xiliana Moonwater: Yeah… that was my thinking.
River ponders, then shakes her head.
Pyros: If we come back tomorrow, I could prepare a spell of resisting necrotic energy, so we’d be protected somewhat.
Quinn Winterborn is obvlivious to Xila’s sarcasm
River: Perhaps. Even so, if it s-sapped that much life from a touch, I d-doubt entering the plane would be m-much better.
Xiliana Moonwater looks up at the stone.
Xiliana Moonwater: Hey, voice in my head, got any bright ideas?
Pyros: I agree there. We’d have to protect ourselves with a stronger ritual.
Xiliana Moonwater: OOoh good idea!
Xiliana Moonwater: Wait… no
Xiliana Moonwater: Terrible idea
River arches an eyebrow at Moro, upon Xila questioning the voice in her head. Moro simply rolls her eyes.
Xiliana Moonwater: Or is it?.. Maybe just one of them
Fallow beams a smile at Xila
Xiliana Moonwater thinks
Xiliana Moonwater: No! No… definitely not
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Xiliana Moonwater looks at Quinn
Xiliana Moonwater: Maybe if I stab the void…
Picking through the last drawers and dregs of the room, you also find a small pouch with two small onyx stones inside. The stones sparkle with violet flame if observed for more than a moment.
Quinn Winterborn meets Xila’s gaze steadily
River ponders, then nods.
River: Yes, it should be p-prudent to recover this… puddle.
Pyros steps away from Quinn.
River: Preferably with something more… solid than tapestries.
Quinn can easily ‘see’ that the tapestries appear to have some kind of enchantment woven into them
Taking a few moments, the group piles the tapestries back onto the black portal, covering it up once again.

A Family Reunion
Session #86

Last time on HBC: The party met back up with Susan and found there way into the basement of the theater to search out the reasoning behind Meredith’s strange smell when meeting with Master Fonte. Finding nothing, they then decided they would search out the Moonwater Estate, and see if there was something there that would answer a question or three. Though they were short Xila, the group snuck onto the grounds and found there way into the family mausoleum where they came across a large unfinished statue of a halfling woman and four children. It was then found that a hidden tunnel lead into the ‘real’ crypt. The party looked into the crypt of one Malvira Moonwater, only to find that the room had been broken into prior to their arrival. No body was present inside the coffin, though Susan did find a secret compartment that held a small lead box with a onyx gemstone inside. Before she could think any further on it, a loud ‘BANG’ was heard from another part of the crypt… Who or what is in the crypt with them?!?
River: …S-Splendid.
The stone door is closed now, and it took both Susan and Fallow to lift and hold it open as you guys entered.
Quinn Winterborn: Careful with that stone, Susan
Susan replaces the box and slides the stone lid back over the sarcophagus, making an attempt to put things back as they were (except the stone).
Quinn Winterborn: Susan, we’re putting the stone back where we found it
Quinn Winterborn: ….right/
Quinn Winterborn: ?
Susan: I get the impression this is what someone was looking for…
Susan: Also we should see if ‘someone
Susan: is still in here…
Pyros tries to keep the hallway as well as the sarcophagus room within his line of sight.
Quinn Winterborn: It probably is, though if River’s aunt came here looking for it, she’d have found it, too. Or, she stole what WAS here, and left that for the Moonwaters to find
Quinn Winterborn: Look, I realize this might be the single most ironic thing I’ve ever said, but we are NOT stealing from the Moonwaters
Pyros: I think we should meet up with Xila, she should know what rightfully is in her family’s crypt and what does not belong there.
Pyros: As for that box and stone, I’d vote against taking it without proper reason, but i won’t be in your way if you decide to take it.
Pyros goes to get ready to face whatever made that stone bang sound.
Quinn Winterborn: Just so that we know what we’re up against…that stone in Susan’s hand concerns me. The globe in the statue outside’s hands terrifies me.
Pyros: I don’t think the globe is the source of what is terrifying out there.
Pyros: I might be mistaken though, nobody’s perfect, but as far as fire magic goes, that is just some minor magic.
River: We sh-shall deal with each as we c-can. One step at a t-time.
Susan: Fine. I’ll put it back for now.
Quinn Winterborn: Pyros, under other circumstances, I’d agree with you, but…
Quinn Winterborn points at his spellscars
Quinn Winterborn: My new “gifts” tell a different story
Pyros: Ah, intriguing! As I don’t have that kind of source for information, I shall trust your word and use caution.
Susan slides the lid back and places the stone back into the lead box before begrudgingly pushing the lid back. “Im not promising I wont come back for it though. Its better in our hands than in hers.”
Fallow and Susan straddle the doorway once more, readying to lift the door. “Are we ready?”
Pyros: Quinn, you’re coming?
Pyros (whispers): Ready.
The door is easily hauled upwards revealing the empty stone crypt once more. You see no change from when you entered.
Suddenly there is a long loud ‘BOOM’ from directly across the hall from you, which shakes a few more stone shards loose from that doorway.
Pyros: Okay, I guess we know where the sound comes from.
Quinn Winterborn: Time to go I think
Pyros: It could be magical.
Susan: Time to go where? Arent we here to find something out?
Quinn Winterborn: Aren’t we in the cenotaph of a powerful and influential family with enough noise being made to attract guards?
Pyros: Also it might just be an illusion to shoo away visitors and may just be harmless, you never know.
Quinn Winterborn: I can’t tell, I’m practially blind from all the magic flowing into this room
Susan: I dont know about you, but I didnt see any guards on the property, once we snuck in. Doesnt seem to be anyone alive for eternity.
Quinn Winterborn prays to Amaunator
Pyros: If they hid magical treasures here, the sense overflow could also mean that there are protections aagainst magically seeking out the valuable items.
River: I think we already found the stone via secret compartment, yes? Hmm…
Moro begins pawing at the door, leaping and snapping at the door frame, knocking bits of stone loose from the door jamb.
Quinn Winterborn: Moro?
Quinn Winterborn: River??
Fallow steps through as Susan holds the door.
River: Nothing… I’ll be there in a m-moment.
Pyros: Master Quinn, River, please come through the door, if anything happens, I wouldn’t want you to get stuck on the wrong side.
Pyros: What the… black powder?
River: If y-you insist.
Pyros points at a trail of powder that leads from the hall to that door we’re at.
Fallow begins clearing out the higher bits of the door jamb, removing large pieces the size of her hand, revealing more grooves and chipsi n the stone.
Pyros: Anyone knows what that powder is?
Quinn Winterborn closes his eyes for a long moment, straining his ears trying to hear anything coming from up the stairs
As Pyros points this out, you can see that there is a very fine amount of black powder that goes from further fown the hall to the door you now stand in front of.
Quinn can see up the stairs to where it meets the tunnel, you dont see anything.
Moro: Whuff.
Moro: WHuuuuuff.
Moro rubs her snout on Fallow’s side in an attempt to depowder her nose.
Fallow motions to the door again questioningly, before another solid blow comes from the other side and a muffled sound comes from the other side. Fallow drops to a low crouch, her hammer at th ready.
Pyros: Well, let’s either open that door, or follow the trail of powder, I’d say.
Susan: Get ready to blast it then…
River motions to the door and readies her spear.
Pyros: Or how about this: We just open it a crack and look what is there. Whatever it is, it seems it can’t open the door by itself, or it would have done so by now.
The door slides up with much effort on Fallow’s part, the door grinding to a halt in several places. On the other side, you see a small crypt like room, much like on the opposite side. But standing there in front of the doorway is a dirt streaked, toe-tapping Xila.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila died??
River: Ah, th-there you are.
Xiliana Moonwater: Finally!
Xiliana Moonwater: Do you know how long I’ve been waiting here?
Pyros: We’re in a crypt, too, and I’m pretty sure we’re not dead yet.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, why are you in your familiy crypt when you’re clearly not dead?
Xiliana Moonwater: I’ve been trapped in here for an hour… an HOUR! Do you know how dull it is in here.. No locks to pick or things to steal, or people to stab.
River: …May I ask w-why you were trapped in the f-first place?
Xiliana Moonwater: Well, you were doing boring stuff, like going to the theatre
Xiliana Moonwater: So I came here on my own.
Xiliana Moonwater: Duh
Fallow motions to all of the broken stone and points accussingly at the door.
River: That does not explain the ‘w-why’ however.
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh, well this way leads to where my fathers memorium would be if y’know, he was dead… But i saw something on the ground leading here so followed it, when I came in BANG door slammed shut, trapping me inside, it was not fun.
Quinn Winterborn: So you found your way into the quarter then. How’d you manage it?
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh and some skeletons attacked me, they’re dead now.
Xiliana Moonwater: ..Again
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh? Oh easy
Quinn Winterborn: Who is Malvira Moonwater, and why is her body not here?
Xiliana Moonwater: I bribed the guards and disguised myself as a courier.
Quinn Winterborn is full of questions tonight
Xiliana Moonwater: Malvira? She’s… she’s my mother… And I don’t know, but I’m damn well sure going to find out!
River: It was n-not entirely empty, however.
River reveals the stone they found and presents it to Xila.
Xiliana Moonwater takes it.
Susan: Wait… I put it back
Quinn Winterborn: So we decided to keep the stone that’s doing arcanely bad things?
Xiliana Moonwater looks at it… and tears begin to form in her eyes.
Quinn Winterborn looks at River accusingly
River: Would you rather leave something that d-dangerous out in the open? W-We hardly had much to do to find it.
Xiliana Moonwater wipes her eyes quickly.
Xiliana Moonwater: Dangerous?
Pyros: To make Xila cry is not necessarily magic. Bad or not.
Xiliana Moonwater: This… isn’t dangerous.
Xiliana Moonwater: This was my mothers.
River: …Are you certain? I mean no d-disrespect.
Xiliana Moonwater: She used to wear it in a necklace… I always liked that necklace.
Quinn Winterborn: Well, it’s magical in some way
Quinn Winterborn: As is the torch/orb that statue over there is holding
Pyros keeps an eye on the statue and the golden sphere.
Xiliana Moonwater: Magical?
Quinn Winterborn: I’m not quite certain what’s going on, but my spellscar sight shows me that magic is being drawn into this crypt like a leyline, and it’s pouring into that statue and what it’s holding
Xiliana Moonwater: Oooh, interesting.
River: …Leyline?
Xiliana Moonwater: …Wait, what’s a spellscar?
Quinn Winterborn gestures at the the pattern of lines covering his body
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh… weird.
Xiliana Moonwater: Anyway, I’ll erm… Keep a hold of this stone for now. Since it was my Mothers.
Xiliana Moonwater puts the stone safely in her pocket before anyone can object.
Pyros: Right, spellscars are a topic that can wait for long nights on our vessel, more urgently, what is that black powder and who left it here and why?
Xiliana Moonwater: Dunno, that’s what I was wondering… And why I was trapped in here for so long.
Pyros: Well what is back in there?
River ponders to herself, musing on memory.
Pyros points to the tomb where Xila was in.
Jagged lines of turquoise and silver snake around Quinn’s body, starting at his right hand and wrapping around his arm and torso, before snaking down his waist and hips to his left leg, terminating at his left heel. The script looks almost like stylized writting, but staring at it for too long makes you motion sick.
Susan: So… whats in there?
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, I’d like to look at your mother’s necklace later, if you don’t mind. When we’re done here…
The traces of black powder are basically wiped out from Xila’s pacing over the last hour or more, but she can point out where two small piles of the powder were near the dais that was marked for Zenwrick’s coffin. You can also find three piles of bones that Xila had dispatched earlier.
Xiliana Moonwater: As long as you’re gentle… Sure.
River walks closely to the statue and glowing ball… and inspects it.
Xiliana Moonwater: Once we’re finished, and we’ve found Mum’s body, I’d like for it to be returned to her.
Pyros: I don’t think he meant to examine it while you’re wearing it, Xila.
Quinn Winterborn: Fair
Xiliana Moonwater leaves the chamber, happy to finally be out of there.
The statue is vaguely reminiscent of the creature you fought in Zhentil Keep sewers that killed Faeryl. Its feminine to some degree, but is featureless. The 10’ tall black stone statue holds a solid gold colored stone aloft, though it currently is aflame.
Xiliana Moonwater: By the way, thought you should know… This statue wasn’t here when I was a kid.
Xiliana Moonwater: Course, I’ve been gone a while.
River: That is… even m-more concerning then.
Pyros: You were in the crypts when you were a kid?
Quinn Winterborn: I’d like to inspect it, if we have a few minutes?
Xiliana Moonwater: Does that really surprise you Pyros?
Susan: Whats with the powder?
Pyros: I agree to inspecting it, it does seem to be the most interesting item down here.
Pyros (to Xila): On second thought, no.
Pyros: Do halflings not let their dead rest in piece?
Xiliana Moonwater: You… don’t have a crpyt dedicated to the memory of your family?
Xiliana Moonwater: Weird.
River: M-Most of us d-do not have the luxury of such, n-no.
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh… Right
Pyros thinks about his past and smiles emtily.
Xiliana Moonwater: So, lets go… I’ve been here an hour already, so the sooner I get out of here, the better.
Xiliana Moonwater: Plus, I really need to find my Mums body now… It needs to be put back in its rightful place.
Xiliana Moonwater: Whoever was here before we arrived needs to pay.
Pyros: Any idea about who it might have been?
Quinn Winterborn: Please, Xila. I’d like to do this ritual. I think it’s important.
Xiliana Moonwater: Nope, no idea. But I hope to find out.
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh, what ritual?
Quinn Winterborn: Magic stuff. Should take about an hour
Xiliana Moonwater: An… HOUR?
Xiliana Moonwater: I was trapped in that chamber for an hour! Do you know how long an hour is?
Xiliana Moonwater: it’s like… An hour
Xiliana Moonwater: That’s ages
River: If intruders h-have disturbed your family’s c-crypt this much… there is p-possibly more they have done.
Pyros: If you’re alone, an hour is ages, but if you’re with friends, it’s far less.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, we think River’s aunt might have been down here. You’re the best person to figure out what she might have changed or done here
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh, why would River’s aunt come down here?
River: That is for us to f-find out.
River: if there is a leyline here, th-this is interfering with it.
River points to the blazing stone held by the statue.
Xiliana Moonwater as they start the ritual, Xila wanders off.
Xiliana Moonwater looks around.]
The hall ends in a cave in.
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh, a cave in… That’s not good.
Pyros and Quinn work together to prepare the ritual in a rather quick succession of ritualistic magics. Quinn then attempts to climb the statue in order to touch the orb…
Xiliana Moonwater: So, this is new.
Xiliana Moonwater pointing to the hallway with the cave in
Xiliana Moonwater: Wasn’t here when I was younger.
Xiliana Moonwater turns around an notices River at the left door.
Xiliana Moonwater: Planning on investigating this side huh?
River: There is a t-trail of powder… so it only m-makes sense.
Xiliana Moonwater: Wait… it leads here?
Xiliana Moonwater looks for the trail
Xiliana Moonwater: Well, at least if there’s something in there that’ll kill us, my body wont have far to go…
River: At least it will be your body that you die in.
Xiliana Moonwater: True, plus I’d be buried in there anyway.
Xiliana Moonwater: So it makes no difference to me.
Quinn’s body goes rigid as his fingers touch the orb and the blue bands of his spellscar flare in a bright light that demands attention and continues to grow in intensity as his eyes roll backwards. He maintains this pose for the span of a dozen heartbeats before the light falters and fades.
River: Mr. Winterborn? Are you… Are you O-OK?
Pyros: Okay, I think I need some help here!
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh, that’s not normal?
Xiliana Moonwater: Looked perfectly fine to me… It looked magical.
Quinn Winterborn: The…
Quinn Winterborn: It…
Quinn Winterborn: Ca….
Xiliana Moonwater walks towards the statue, jumps up… and slaps Quinn.
Quinn Winterborn collapses, hitting his head roughly on the floor of the crypt, and lies motionless
Xiliana Moonwater: Err, Quinn?
River: …Oh dear.
Pyros: He will know more when he wakes up. IF he wakes up.
Susan: I didnt think he’d fall…
Xiliana Moonwater still slaps Quinn.
Xiliana Moonwater: Wake up.
Quinn Winterborn blinks
Quinn Winterborn: I hab
Quinn Winterborn: I….
Quinn Winterborn: My mouf
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh good, you’re awake.
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh
River socks Quinn in the shoulder.
Pyros: Bit your tongue? Yeah that hurts for a while.
Quinn Winterborn: Fila, your muffer wash a wishart?
Xiliana Moonwater: My… What was a what?
Xiliana Moonwater: What did she wash?
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh?
Xiliana Moonwater looks very confused
River: …. Hold on.
River: Xila’s mother a wizard?
Quinn Winterborn nods gratefully
River looks at Xila.
Xiliana Moonwater shrugs her shoulders.
Xiliana Moonwater: News to me.
Quinn Winterborn: Your muffer mate a shtu. wif shumun
Quinn Winterborn: shatu
Quinn Winterborn: shtatoo
Xiliana Moonwater: Bless you.
River: She made a statue with someone…
Quinn Winterborn: eh wash a bat fing
Xiliana Moonwater: She washed a bats thing?
River: ….A bat thing. A demon?
Xiliana Moonwater: What is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard.
Quinn Winterborn: Can oy haff a fink? A tink?
Pyros: I think he means a bad thing.
Quinn Winterborn pantomimes drinking
River: Hold on.
Fallow hands over a canteen..
Quinn Winterborn takes a big swig of whatever is in the canteen, swishes, then spits it out
Quinn Winterborn speaks slowly, trying hard to enunciate despite his tongue not cooperating
Pyros: By the way you can talk by using ghost sound as well, fellow wizard. that way you can make the words sound normal.
Quinn Winterborn: Your. Mother. Made. The. Statue. Wif someone. they trapped a fery powerful and good magic in the shadowfell wif it.
Quinn Winterborn nods at Pyros in thanks
River: That’s… definitely a bad thing.
Xiliana Moonwater: Wait….
Xiliana Moonwater: What?
Quinn Winterborn: I saw the Shadowfell in the ritual. Not sure I was supposed to
River: …But why?
Quinn Winterborn: A halfling woman wearing a black tone around her neck, wearing an elegatn dress, and a wavy bladed dagger at her belt?
Quinn Winterborn: Very
Quinn Winterborn takes another drink, swallowing this time
Xiliana Moonwater: But… that’s nothing like my Mother at all.
Xiliana Moonwater: She stayed at home like… all the time. She loved being a wife and mother. She didn’t do exciting stuff.
River: Considering there was another person there…
River: She may not have w-wanted to.
Quinn Winterborn: Either the figure that I couldn’t see or hear was directing her, or someone else wore her black stone?
River: There are a n-number of possibilities. We need more information.
Xiliana Moonwater: Impossible.
Xiliana Moonwater: She never took that necklace off.
River: There could be more than one.
Xiliana Moonwater notices River and Moro heading down so heads down as well.
Quinn Winterborn snaps his fingers, some might say arrogantly, and an image of a halfling woman in an elegant dress appears
Quinn Winterborn: Who is that, Xila?
Xiliana Moonwater heads back and looks.
There is more flowing script in some language you cannot read above this door. The same marks in the stone are present here as well.
It is the exact image of Malvira Moonwater, clan in a dark ebon dress closed at the throat by a string of dark sapphires. Long black leather gloves cover her hands and lead up to her elbows, where the stark white skin of her upper arms stands in stark contrast. The woman has a hard gleam in her eye, not like one you have experienced in your youth. She hold a wavy bladed dagger in her hand, and then cocks a familar smirk at the corner of her mouth.
Xiliana Moonwater: …Mother
Quinn Winterborn: I think?
Quinn Winterborn pauses and sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, I’m sorry
River: …The resemblance is… uncanny.
Those of you looking at the image can see where the majority of Xila’s features come from. Its as if looking twenty years into the future.
Pyros: That kind of dagger is commonly used by Warlocks.
Quinn Winterborn can’t seem to look Xila in the eye
Quinn Winterborn: That would make sense. I think I know who her patron was
Xiliana Moonwater: Her patron?
Pyros: Who was it, what do you think, Master Winterborn?
Quinn Winterborn looks around the room, not making eye contact with anyone
Quinn Winterborn: Shar…
Pyros: !!!
River: …
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh, no wonder I love the dark so much.
Xiliana Moonwater: Go Mum!
River: Shar is not one to be celebrated.
River: This… has taken a dark turn.
Quinn Winterborn looks miserable
Pyros: I assume she pacted with Shar after you left, or you would have had different experiences with her, Xila.
Xiliana Moonwater: That would have been difficult
Pyros: If it was Shar.
Xiliana Moonwater: I left BECAUSE she died.
Pyros: Ah, oh.
River: If… what is true, that right there….
Xiliana Moonwater: Me and my mum were very… close
River points to the necklace Xila has.
River: …Do not let that out of your grasp. Ever.
Pyros: Something is not right then. If you say this statue was not here when you left, and by that time your mother was dead, how could she have made it then later?
River: If my aunt finds that, it is not going to be good.
Quinn Winterborn: I’m sorry, Xila. All I know is what the ritual showed me. The vision does not explain how or why it happened.
Xiliana Moonwater: I didn’t plan on letting it go.
River: Even so, it bears repeating.
River: Do.
River: Not.
River: Let.
River: Her.
River: Get it.
Xiliana Moonwater: Besides… This changes nothing.
Xiliana Moonwater: I still love my Mother, always have, always will.
Pyros: Like your sister?
River: You can’t choose family. But they are still family.
Xiliana Moonwater glares at Pyros.
Xiliana Moonwater: Yes, I still love my sister.
Xiliana Moonwater: A part of me even loves my Father.. despite all his hatred of me.
Quinn Winterborn: We need to figure out how to undo this. The Spirit Soaring being in the Shadowfell is such an evil thing that only Shar could have dreamt of it….
River: ….Could you… repeat that?
Pyros nods respectfully at Xila.
River: Spirit Soaring?
Pyros: If I were in your place, I don’t know if I had the strength left to love.
Quinn Winterborn: Yes. When I touched the orb, I saw a cathedral in the Shadowfell. I beleive it to be the Spirit Soaring
River is floored.
Xiliana Moonwater: Right… Anyway
Xiliana Moonwater: Now that we know my Mother was a badass… Maybe not a good one, but a baddass none the less. Shall we continue?
Susan: So… your aunt was in here looking for your Mom’s thing because they both were bad, but you both still love them? I thought your aunt worshipped some other evil thing?
River: Oh. I hate my aunt.
River: And she to me. It was never a happy time with her.
Xiliana Moonwater: As I hate my Father, and he hates me… But still, as I said, a part of my still loves him.
River: If only I had that same empathy for Meredith.
Susan: Ok… so now what?
Xiliana Moonwater turns back to the door.
Xiliana Moonwater: Right…
Xiliana Moonwater: Time to see what my future holds.
Pyros: Why would a church be trapped in the Shadowfell? What reason could there be? And how could we undo it?
Xiliana Moonwater tries to open the door
Xila walks over and pushes the door upwards, grabbing a small wooden rod and propping it open, though only at about 3’ high.
Xiliana Moonwater: Right, that’s that.
Xiliana Moonwater ducks under and heads inside.
River: A building of that magnitude… in a place of darkness…
Within this small room is another sarcophagus…
River: It is a preparation.
Xiliana Moonwater: Just to… check.
Xiliana Moonwater opens the sarcophagus.
Quinn Winterborn: Pyros – I have some ideas. We can discuss it later, though.
Yes… both Xila and Quinn can read it. It states “Here lies the daughters Moonwater – may their laughter carry to the high heavens and may they be granted their eternal rest.”
Pyros: What dark plan would they prepare, this event got a lot more interesting to me here.
Pyros: Yes, Master Winterborn, let us definitely do that.
Xiliana Moonwater: Oh right, the words.
Xiliana Moonwater tells everyone what they say.
Xiliana Moonwater: I’ll be buried in here when i die.
Xiliana Moonwater: …Hopefully
The coffin bears the visage of a halfling woman, though her features are somewhat distorted in a nebulous manner. You can see that the coffin has been opened, the seal broken. On the top of the coffin there is the name “Arina” carved.
Across the room there is a single hall that leads to another large black iron gate.
Xiliana Moonwater: Arina…
Susan: A bit macabre…
More trails of black powder lead through the iron gate.
Xiliana Moonwater passes the coffin and heads inside.
Quinn Winterborn hides
Xiliana Moonwater tries to open the iron gate.
This small room has a large amount of blac powder on the floor to the north, and the wall here is cracked and pitted, as if someone was attempting to break through it, but stopped short.
The gate opens easily. The lock has been broken and the hinges are bent. The gate swings open with a high pitched squeal.
Xiliana Moonwater steps through the opened gate.
Xiliana Moonwater turns back
Xiliana Moonwater: You guys coming?
Xiliana Moonwater walks towards the coffin.
Quinn Winterborn: Sure.
Quinn Winterborn: Hey Xila, you never mentioned your family knew magic. Do YOU know magic/
Quinn Winterborn: ?
Pyros bottles some of the black powder, for later research.
River tries to stifle a chuckle from just thinking about Xila knowing magic beyond a parlor trick.
Xiliana Moonwater: Magic? Erm… nope, Only what my weapons allow me to do.
Xiliana Moonwater: I mean, I can manipulate the frost on my dagger to weaken you making it easier to stab people.
IN this room is another stone coffin, this with another halfling female upon it. This coffin has also been opened, judging by the broken seal. The stone visage has the name Xiliana Moonwater carved into it, but below it in a dark smear is written “Traitor to the House, Failure as a daughter and a blight on the family business.”
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh
Xiliana Moonwater: Love you too Dad.
Quinn Winterborn: Ouch. Sorry Xila.
Quinn Winterborn: Hey Xila?
Quinn Winterborn: You ok?
Xiliana Moonwater: Yeah, course, why wouldn’t I be?
You can gather about a vial of black powder. Its heavily mixed with ash here, so it is hard to gather much of it.
Xiliana Moonwater: I was always a failure in my Fathers eyes, so this is nothing new.
Xiliana Moonwater: So..
Susan: Umm… is anything in these?
Xiliana Moonwater: Wonder why this has been opened.
Xiliana Moonwater opens the coffin.
Pyros: Anything of interest here?
Xiliana Moonwater: My Coffin.
Pushing open the stone lid is a chore, but you are able to do so with some effort. To your surprise, a small halfling body wrapped in white linens and gold brocade is within.
Xiliana Moonwater: Erm
Pyros: !!!
Xiliana Moonwater: Who’s been sleeping in my bed
Pyros takes a defensive stance vs Xila.
Xiliana Moonwater: I mean, I don’t like to disturb the dead… but this is my coffin, so sorry, out’cha come.
Xiliana Moonwater goes to grab the body and take it out.
Xiliana Moonwater picks up the body and carries it in her arms.
Xiliana Moonwater doesn’t say anything
Xiliana Moonwater walks past the others and heads to the opposite door.
Xiliana Moonwater: Can someone
Xiliana Moonwater: Open this for me
Pyros inspects the empty coffin/sarcophagus.
Quinn Winterborn: On it
Above his door is a partially finished inscription, “Here lies my favorite progeny – the carriers of the Moonwater bloodline and the hope for the family in perpetuity.”
Xiliana Moonwater looks at the inscriptions on the two coffins to find the right one.
As you open the door, you find a small room with two coffins that bear visages. As Xila steps inside, a small line across the entrance way snaps…
And the large mounds of black powder that sit on the floor ignite as a vial of alchemists fire hits the ground with a tiny clink, followed by a roar of flames..
Xiliana Moonwater: Damn
Pyros (shouting): What is going on back there? Is everything all right with you guys?
Xiliana Moonwater winces slightly as she curls into a ball defending the body with her life.
There is a loud thud and the smell of burning hair fills the air as the main chamber is engulfed in a white fireball for a moment.
The small traces of black powder on the ground curl and ignite as well, sending a burning line past River and back into the room with Pyros.
Within a moment, it is gone, and you are left in silence once more.
River: …
Pyros: What the heck are you guys doing??
River: Tripping t-traps.
Xiliana Moonwater stands up straight and without blinking an eye, investigates the coffins once more, saying nothing.
These coffins do not appear to have been disturbed, though they are covered in black soot now.
River: Not too much h-harm, however. I’ll tend to th-their wounds.
DM: sorry.. I missed that.. perception check
Pyros: Alright!
Quinn Winterborn: I think I’ll sleep well tonight…
Xiliana Moonwater steps towards the north Coffin.
Xiliana Moonwater: Can… someone open this coffin for me.
Quinn Winterborn smiles at River in thanks
Quinn Winterborn opens the coffin with Mage hand
Opening this coffin, you find a small body wrapped in white linen and gold brocade.
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh
Xiliana Moonwater: Ok, I am offiically very confused.
River: Shall I… cut away the bandages for this one?
Pyros: I didn’t find anything else in that coffin, but I’m not too much of an expert in searching coffins. There were scratch marks on the outside though, where the seams are, made by some kind of tool.
Xiliana Moonwater nods sadly.
River nods then cuts to see who this dead person is.
Cutting the bandages back, you find the face of a halfling girl thathas similar features to Xila, only with a small scar on the forehead and a slightly smaller nose.
Xiliana Moonwater waits for the other coffin to be opened.
You open the coffin to find another wrapped body
Xiliana Moonwater looks at River.
Cutting away the bandages here, you are shocked to see an adults features, though these are male. Xila sucks in a half breath as she sees the features of Zenwrick from within the cloth.
Xiliana Moonwater: WHAT
Xiliana Moonwater: THE
Xiliana Moonwater: HELL
Quinn Winterborn: Who is it?
Xiliana Moonwater: Dad…
Xiliana Moonwater: River, I hate to ask, but can you grab his body? He’s in the wrong coffin.
Xiliana Moonwater this one belongs to the body I’m carrying.
River: …This is Zenwrick?
Xiliana Moonwater nods
Quinn Winterborn: I thought Zenwrick… well I thought he was responsible for the Spirit Soaring…..Wow, I just don’t know…
River nods as she picks up the halfling’s body.
Xiliana Moonwater places the body she’s carrying down in the coffin.
Xiliana Moonwater: Rest in peace Rilan.
Xiliana Moonwater covers the coffin.
Xiliana Moonwater walks to the Coffin with Arinas body in and picks it up.
Xiliana Moonwater looks at River
Xiliana Moonwater: you can place him on the ground if you wish.
River: ….Hold.
River: There’s… something on him?
Xiliana Moonwater: Is there?
Xiliana Moonwater places Arinas body back in the coffin and goes to investigate her fathers body.
River struggles to hold Zenwrick’s corpse steady, as Xila searches it.
Splitting the remainder of the wrappings, a heavy gold chain with a dark sapphire hits the ground. River gasps, and collapses, dropping Zenwrick as her body slumps to the ground.
Xiliana Moonwater: River!?
River and Zenwrick lie on the ground.
Pyros: Anyone need help?
Xiliana Moonwater picks up the gold chain with the dark sapphire and then moves Zenwrick off to one side as she tends to River.
River appears to be unconscious.
Quinn Winterborn: River?
Moro’s hackles are raised, but she appears to remain stationary.
Xiliana Moonwater looks at Moro
Quinn Winterborn: Was it the necklace? What happened?
Xiliana Moonwater: Do you know what’s going on?
Moro: That Sapphire drew her spirit away.
Moro: Shatter it.
Quinn Winterborn: More traps…
Xiliana Moonwater without hesitation Xila places it on the ground, grabs her dagger and shatters it with the butt of her dagger.
The sapphire takes three or four good hits before shattering in a cloud of azure dust that gets into your nose and eyes. You hear a dry inhale of breath from near you.
Xiliana Moonwater looks towards River
It does not come from River, but instead, from the body of Zenwrick.
Xiliana Moonwater turns and faces Zenwricks body.
The body is still broken and twisted from the fall, and it has clearly been in some sort of decay for a while, but the glassy eyes focus on you for a moment, as the wheezing continues.
River hacks and coughs as she turns over on her side.
River: ….Th… thank you.
Xiliana Moonwater turns and faces River
Xiliana Moonwater: River!
Xiliana Moonwater gives her a massive hug.
Xiliana Moonwater then after finishing, turns and faces Zenwrick again.
Xiliana Moonwater: …Dad?
Zenwrick: Xi…Xiliana?
Xiliana Moonwater: Yes, it’s me… Your “Daughter”.
Moro does that quizzical dog tilt as even she doesn’t quite know what to expect now.
The jaw pops and cracks and the mouth moves for a moment before any words come forth. “You look… much older than I remember… But you have your mother’s angry gaze… I recall seeing it only once… before… before… this…”
Xiliana Moonwater: I grew up. No thanks to you… And before what?
River slowly gets back to her feet, and dusts herself off with her free hand.
Quinn Winterborn hands river back the canteen
The corpse wheezes and shudders. “Before she killed me… before you left… before all of this… before it all went wrong… before… before… before…”
River takes a deep drink before packing it away.
Quinn Winterborn: Before you plotted with Shar to steal the Spirit Soaring?
Xiliana Moonwater: Before….
Xiliana Moonwater: WHAT?
Xiliana Moonwater: Huh? What? Huh… HUH?
Pyros (leans in to whisper to Susan): Wasn’t Zenwrick the one who supposedly hired this Frostwolf guy Elomir to capture River in the first place?
Xiliana Moonwater: Don’t you lie to me! You were alive when my mother was killed. That’s why I left.
The corpse seems to ignore Quinn entirely. “Before… we were running into problems… with the Syndicate and the other cartels. I was a poor judge and had a bad eye… eye… for things. Your mother did not… she knew… always knew… she killed me in the study… stabbed me through the back with a poisoned blade and then watched me die… die… she laughed… so much laughter and cruelty… laughed with the wavy blade.”
Xiliana Moonwater: You’re lying!
The corpse wheezes. “I was not a good father… or a good man even… even… but I did love you… and your siblings… and now they lie… lie… lie… disgraced and trapped… soulesss and bound… dead… by Malvira’s hand…”
Xiliana Moonwater: A good father? You hated me! Only my Mother loved me!
Xiliana Moonwater: Mother would never harm her children! Ever!
Zenwrick: I… was… not a good father…. but… I loved you…. poor…. and broken… poor….poor…. loved you…
The corpses exhales with a long sigh and the light leaves the eyes and it slumps to the floor once more.
Xiliana Moonwater: Mother was killed! Murdered!
Xiliana Moonwater rushes to her fathers corpse and shakes it mercelessly
Xiliana Moonwater: Talk to me! Damn you! Talk!
River: I do not wish to… exacerbate things…
The body flops around as Xila shakes it mercilessly.
River: But that gem held his spirit. Who knows for how long?
Xiliana Moonwater drops the body to the ground and sobs
Pyros: Malvira could have trapped his soul away, so it would seem that he hated his children, she might have plotted to have it seem so that he’d killed her, so that she got an easier way to follow evil machinations and blame it on Zenwrick.
River: There is a lot at work. But one thing is for certain…
Quinn Winterborn: We might do well to sleep on what we have seen tonight, and tomorrow to seek answers from the wise and knowledgeable
Warren (Quinn Winterborn): meaning Quinn :P
River: Zenwrick is now dead.
Xiliana Moonwater stands up and with tears in her eyes walks towards Pyros, Dagger drawn and holds it against his neck.
Xiliana Moonwater: You take that back
Xiliana Moonwater: Mother would never… she would never! She was dead!
River: And yet your father could?
Pyros: I’m merely speculating. You can believe your father a liar if that’s more to your taste.
Xiliana Moonwater drops her dagger to the ground.
Fallow props the door with her hammer, though she seems nervous.
Xiliana Moonwater: I .. don’t know what to believe anymore.
Pyros: In any case, we should lay him to rest and leave here. I don’t think stayying longer would help in any way.
River: It is the least one can do for family.
Xiliana Moonwater: First.
Xiliana Moonwater heads back into the chamber and picks up the body in the northern Coffin.
Xiliana Moonwater: Arina’s in the wrong place.
Fallow → Susan “Sister – something moves beyond that stone.”
Xiliana Moonwater leaves the room and heads towards the coffin on the other side.
River: ….Erm… Be sure to check their persons. Just in case.
River: If what he said has merit…
Susan begins looking around slowly.
Xiliana Moonwater: …Good point.
Xiliana Moonwater carefully examins Arinas body.
Pyros picks up Xila’s dagger from the floor, to hand it back later.
Another dark sapphire necklace is around the neck of the corpse.
Xiliana Moonwater grabs it and takes her other dagger and once again smashes it.
Susan listens at the stone.
The gemstone shatters into a fine powder once again.
The corpse inhales dryly and wheezes, a light coming into the eyes of the girl for a moment. “Xi…xi… sister?”
Xiliana Moonwater nods sadly.
Susan turns away to look at River.
Susan → River: Something is skittering behind this stone. Another tunnel that was collapsed perhaps, but I’m… Just be prepared.
Arina: You’re alive? Fa…father said you were dead… and we saw the body…
Xiliana Moonwater: Yes… I’m alive.
Quinn Winterborn prays softly to Amaunator
Susan is quietly standing watch over this area.
River nods and nudges Pyros.
Pyros nods at River.
Arina: It… is good…. good to see you…. Father hid in his study after you died so long… I didnt think we would see him again…. but then… then… the wagon… and the horses… and oh… oh…. sister… it hurts… hurts….
Xiliana Moonwater: It’s ok Arina…. The pain will go soon.
Xiliana Moonwater: But… I’m confused… We.. Were were chasing you. You… … No, never mind.
Arina: Xilianna… its ok… we all missed you… after you died… .but how… how are you… is Rilan alive too? And mother….
Xiliana Moonwater: I’m fine… I’ve done well.
Xiliana Moonwater looks over at the other Coffin.
Xiliana Moonwater: Rilan is… Fine, he’s resting.
Xiliana Moonwater: Mother…. I… I….
Xiliana Moonwater: I don’t know
Arina: Xili… sister…. I… the pain… its bright and fire… and then darkness…. a bright light and then eternal darknes… now… you are here… and… we can be together… again….
The corpse shudders and then with a soft exhale, it goes still once more…
Xiliana Moonwater: Yes… we can.
Xiliana Moonwater: Goodbye, Arina.
Quinn Winterborn sits with his back against a wall in the main chamber, tears running down is face
Xiliana Moonwater picks up the body in her arms.
Xiliana Moonwater: Now
Xiliana Moonwater: Let’s get you in the right place.
Xiliana Moonwater walks slowly over to the coffin named “Arina”
Xiliana Moonwater: River… Can you open this please? Although… I don’t think I want to see what’s inside.
River: As long as you give me time to step away later.
Pushing off the lid, you find there to be the skeletal remains of two human sized creatures, not wrapped in anything, instead merely skeletons.
River: Give me a moment.
Xiliana Moonwater breaths a sigh of relief.
River tries her best to clear the tomb of the bones.
Xiliana Moonwater places Arina’s remains in the coffin.
Xiliana Moonwater: Rest in peace, dear sister.
Xiliana Moonwater places the lid on the coffin.
Xiliana Moonwater turns around, and breathing deeply, heads back to the other room, and examins Rilan’s body.
You find nothing on your brothers body or within his wrappings that you would consider strange or foreign.
Xiliana Moonwater smiles
Xiliana Moonwater: At least his soul is already at peace…. I hope.
River: That’s about everyone then. At least, those we could find.
Xiliana Moonwater places the lid on the coffin.
Pyros silently holds out the dropped dagger, so that Xila can take it, when she’s ready.
Xiliana Moonwater takes the dagger.
Xiliana Moonwater looks at her fathers corpse.
Xiliana Moonwater: Right… I suppose… We should place my Father in his coffin as well.
River: By your lead.
Xiliana Moonwater attempts to pick up Zenwrick.
Xiliana Moonwater walks slowly up to the chamber she was trapped in.
Xiliana Moonwater heads towards the gate and tries to push it open with her foot.
Pyros: We should go with her.
It squeals opened on broken hinges and yields ot your foot.
Xiliana Moonwater shouts for people to enter.
Xiliana Moonwater motions to the coffin in front.
Xiliana Moonwater: Can you open that please?
Pyros: I’ll try.
Pyros tries.
The coffiin opens easily. Lying within is a small packaged wrapped hastily in linen.
Xiliana Moonwater places Zenwrick inside and picks up the package.
Xiliana Moonwater without even hesitating, she opens it.
It appears to be a journal or ledger.
Xiliana Moonwater sits down on the floor and begins reading.
It is the journal of Zenwrick Moonwater. The last entry is Ninth-day -Nightal – 1464DR
Xiliana Moonwater: God…
River: Wait. 16 years?
River: How old are you, Xila?
Xiliana Moonwater: 26

A Night at the Imperial Theater
(Game Sessions #84 & #85)

The Last Time on HBC – Susan found her date was the physical copy of herself, though apparently, the creature was not aware of Sorshen’s clones. The two managed to hit it off a bit, and continued a tenuous evening at the theater. Meanwhile River, Quinn, Pyros and Fallow managed to meet up in the theater and are currently sitting with Master Fonte in his suite, while River’s aunt’s play is starting. What kind of weird stuff will the players make me adlib tonight? Find out on tonight’s episode of HBC!
GM: Last we left off, the play was just beginning, and River managed to catch a glimpse of two Susan’s seated in the balcony across the theater from them.
Iovivus Fonte: So, Miss Sangria – I take it that your inspection of the grounds went well. It would seem that your worry was for naught. And you cadre of misfits found nothing that I should be concerned about?
Quinn Winterborn shrugs slightly at River
Fallow glares a bit at Fonte’s back at the misfits comment
Pyros thinks about that guy who sells fake passes and the recent break in into that office, bus says nothing.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the theater, Susan watches the beginning act of the play, while her date has eyes only for her. “What’s your story – you know more of me than I know of you.”
Susan: Oh, it’s a very familiar story. The work outliving the artist. But I’m sure you’re a lot more interesting than me.
Susan turns and gives a small smile before turning back to the play.
Vivianna: That’s doubtful. But a story for a story, my dear. Otherwise you’ll find that the evening is quite cold and boring.
Susan considers for a moment
Iovivus Fonte: Fair enough – I won’t bother you for details at the moment. What does you and your compatriots do for a living – some sort of theater security group? That seems to be quite the niche. And it’s rare to see this many outsiders – particularly tieflings and not quite elves…
Fallow glares harder at Fonte’s back
Pyros: Usually I’m an exorcist, but as there were no cases for my order right now, I took a few days off to travel.
River: Erm… W-Well… it’s more than that. I’ve only received word of my aunt’s safety in question recently.
Susan: Before I became Sorshen, I was a young man from Durpar, who left home for the chance at adventure, and suffered great loss and heartbreak in the frozen north. But a chance encounter with an ancient relic gave us both a new chance at life and glory.
Iovivus Fonte: Oh… then your motives lack altruism then?
River: Oh n-no… They are often busy with more serious a-adventuring work. They are more than m-mere mercenaries.
Fallow nods acknowledgement at River’s words
Vivianna: That’s… quite a story. So are you a clone, or a simulacrum or a host party living in a corpse?
Susan shrugs vaguely.
Iovivus Fonte: Men and women who dispatch problems for money – seems like mercenary work to me. But if those words are indelicate, I can refrain from using it. I wasn’t always a pompous old noble.
Susan: I could ask you the same.
Vivianna: I am shapeshifted, if we are being honest… though that irks my tongue just to speak of it.
Iovivus Fonte: A Chessenian, a chaotically marked tiefling, some kind of not quite elf and a Dalelander…. you might as well be holding a giant sign marked “Adventurers”
River: Despite our b-best efforts, subtlety was n-never one of our hallmarks.
Fallow raises one eyebrow archly, as if to say “boy aren’t you the sly one”
Quinn Winterborn coughs politely
Susan: Well, I suppose we don’t have to discuss that aspect of the situation. But I did give you my story, and you’re holding my attention a lot more than this play is.
Susan grins again.
Iovivus Fonte: So… are you here to murder me then, in my own suite? Did another House offer you great riches to make a mockery of my love of theater?
Fallow raises the eyebrow again, thoughtfully
River: W-What?
River: N-no, no no… I assure you… it has more to do with my aunt more than anything else, my Lord.
Iovivus Fonte: Seems pretty straight line plot to me… you use your connection with your aunt to get you and your friends near me and alone – then stab me in the back while I enjoy a play and collect your coin.
Pyros considers asking how much Lord Fonte would offer them if they didn’t murder him… but keeps quiet.
River: Perhaps… it is best to be frank with what our t-true motives, yes?
Fallow looks more curiously at Fonte, wondering why he does not appear to be worried about that
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator forbid!
River: My true aim is investigation, my Lord. Not murder.
Vivianna: It’s a strange circumstance that finds me wanting to open up about myself to one that isn’t in on this entire plot. But that said, it’s a strange circumstance. I will give you three guesses at what I really am, and if you get it right, I will speak only the truth for the rest of our time together. If you get it wrong… well, then you owe me something….
Pyros: You invited us into the suite, along with an escort, I might add. If you were concerned for your life, why not just leave us back down in that office room?
Susan sits more upright in her chair, eyes sparkling.
Iovivus Fonte: I’m an old, fat man who enjoys the theater. My heirs are secure in their holdings and I have made many enemies throughout my life. If I die, I want it to be enjoying something, not sitting in a closet being scared for my life, friend. I’ve ventured out into the world more often than most in this city, so I understand people better than the xenophobes here.
Vivianna: You seem intrigued… I take that as agreement?
Pyros: maybe you enjoy the thrill? Maybe you wanted us to confess last minute and wanted some client information about who hired us to do such a thing… before jumping the trap on us instead?
Susan: Oh, yes. I do love games.
River: …Pyros, please. You’re n-not helping matters.
Susan: …tell me, when you told me of your wish for freedom and flight, was that a wish, or something that you miss?
Iovivus Fonte: Doubtful, but a possibility. More likely, is that I don’t fear death.
Vivianna: Ahh… not quite the game I was speaking of… I was speaking more of three guesses at the creature. But if you would like ’hints’’ and then one guess, we can work that angle.
Pyros: My apologies, it was not my intent to be so forward. Mistrust can go both ways though. I assure you that my intentions and as far as I know the intention of my friends here are not to murder or kill anyone tonight, if we can help it.
Vivianna: Two hints and a guess, or three guesses… your choice… Sorshen.
Iovivus Fonte turns from the balcony and nods his head in your direction. “Fair enough, my tiefling friend. But I carry no blade and wield no magics. My guards could be in here, but not before you could run me through. The right of the situation is that I choose to ignore that you have the potential to do me harm. If I may be so bold. Who are you all – and why are you here?”
River: We are the Lost Light. And I’ve come to investigate my ‘dear aunt’.
River: Mr. Winterborn… can you p-please show the Lord the results of our s-search?
Fallow looks up in curiosity, wanting to see what the wizard will show them
Vivianna [High Netherese]: [Translation] You try my patience, my lovely.
Susan [High Netherese]: [Translation] I apologize, I was just considering my options.
Vivianna [High Netherese]: [Translation] Your accent is horrible. You must not have her entire memory.
Susan [High Netherese]: [Translation] I do not. For better or for worse, I suppose. I will take the three guesses. And my first is… considering your wisdom and good taste… that of a dragon?
Vivianna [High Netherese]: [Translation] That guess is not correct. And highly vague. That is like me guessing you are a humanoid. Be more specific
Iovivus Fonte: You have a journal of some kind and a makeup case? That hardly seems… criminal.
Pyros: Mage lords are very high level, so your choice.
Quinn Winterborn opens the journal and points out the sequence of numbers
Quinn Winterborn: I’m not certain that criminal is quite the focus of my investigation. More….odd and ominous?
Quinn Winterborn: From what we know, there are plots afoot that go beyond mere criminality
Iovivus Fonte: Some kind of… coded message then? Maybe human trafficking? Or does she have some sinister plot to unless in the second act?
Quinn Winterborn: In my experience, investigations involve a great deal of pondering and uncertainty until the very end.
Iovivus Fonte: Ugh… I quickly tired of that life. What I would have given for some linearity in my life! Instead some ridiculously convoluted plot line that had a million branches! Who has time for that kind of thing? So, what is it you expect to do or find with Mistress Sainte Voulliane?
River: I believe she is trying to raise something that should be l-long buried.
Fallow nods emphatically
Iovivus Fonte makes a gagging noise without turning his head.
Iovivus Fonte: Does she intend it here? And does she need something of mine to do it with?
River: No… I believe she is merely holding o-obligations here at this p-point.
Vivianna [High Netherese]: [Translation] Next guess, lovely?
Fallow steps forward to hold River’s shoulder a moment
River: If she d-does indeed need something… it is nothing I-I’m privy to.
River: H-Has she made any… unusual inquiries?
Fallow steps back once more with a pat on River’s shoulder
Susan [Abyssal]: [Translation] Perhaps, and I hope not to offend, but you are something much older, and with great power. Something that would know my name and have the power to change your form to look like mine. A lich, perhaps?
Iovivus Fonte: Nothing unusual. On the surface at least. She needed access to the theater for practice an hour or so earlier than I would usually open the doors. She returned irate and smelled of fresh earth – that was a few moments before we encounted you though. She did make a few inquiries about some of the other Houses as well… Tzittas and Moonwater in particular.
Quinn Winterborn: Moonwater…
Quinn Winterborn looks thoughtful
Vivianna [Abyssal]: [Translation] Ahhh… trying to force information out of me with subtlety. Bravo on the try… yet you dance further from the truth. Two strikes…
Pyros: She smelled of fresh earth? May I ask, is there anything of interest in the basement?
Iovivus Fonte: There is really no basement to speak of in the theater – only the room under the stage used as storage and an access ramp to the rear of the theater.
Pyros: Stone walls and stone floor down there?
Iovivus Fonte: I would assume so… but I haven’t personally been down there in ages
River: S-Stone is no b-barrier to what she may intend. M-May we inspect this area?
Pyros: So maybe it’s just hardened earth… I’d like to go down there and have a look, if I may.
Iovivus Fonte: I gave you full access to my theater before, and have not rescinded the offer yet, so you are welcome to do as you like.
Pyros looks at River, Quinn and Fallow, questioningly.
Fallow nods acquiescence
Iovivus Fonte: It would be preferable to wait until the audience has left for the evening and there wasn’t musicians moving in and out of there, but if you must leave, its upto you.
Pyros: Can we let Susan know where we’re going?
Fallow reaches out to River again
River: I would r-rather not involve the p-public… we’ll wait.
Quinn Winterborn nods, smiling
Iovivus Fonte: The intermission is coming up in a few moments – you’ll have an opportunity to mingle or go loiter if you’d like. You aren’t my prisoners, if that’s what you are worried about.
Fallow nods as she continues to hold River’s elbow
Pyros nods at River.
Quinn Winterborn: We’re grateful for your hospitality, sir
Fallow looks out over the audience while she is up by River, scanning the crowd
Iovivus Fonte: I’m grateful you didn’t stab me in the back while I watched this show – though I will admit, it is quite boring. Did your aunt have a hand in writing this? Usually this playwright’s work is… better.
Fallow > River: Where IS your aunt?
Vivianna scoots to the edge of her cushion, her hips wiggling like a hunting cat in anticipation of your next words. Her golden eyes sparkle, catching the light ever so slightly and a hint of a smirk edges on her lips.
River: Hmm…
River digs out the play script.
She has been on stage most of the times, but her character has died as this Act ends, and she is unlikely to appear much in the second Act.
Fallow blinks in shock, her face going noticeably pale, her hand starting to rise to point across the theater before she catches herself.
Pyros looks into the direction Fallow pointed.
Quinn Winterborn is oblivious
Susan: I will be truly honest with you. I have been stumped on this matter. I don’t believe you to be a Demon or Devil, since you seem uninterested in her more… carnal desires. I’ve already guessed at a draconic heritage, and the matter of the undead seemed to take me further from the truth. My next guess could be celestial, but they tend to err more towards good whilst my measure of you is more neutral, or maybe even a god…. but the final guess I will give is that you may have seen me earlier and known to take my form. And considering my recent adventures, I will guess that you are of the Fey. Perhaps even a Fey lord?
Pyros frowns.
Fallow > River: S-SusanSZZ…plural!?
River rolls her eyes and nods.
Fallow shakes her head, blinking back tears, then leans forward, trying to get more details in the seats across the theater
Vivianna [High Netherese]: [Translation] Oh. my dear… it seems as if you have guessed incorrectly for your third and… final… guess. I am no fey – they tend too much towards chaos to hold this form for as long as I have.
Vivianna [High Netherese]: [Translation] And now for my favor… why don’t we indulge a bit of those… carnal pleasures you spoke of…
Vivianna reaches up and pulls a large privacy curtain across the balcony ledge, effectively blocking all sight into the suite.
Susan [High Netherese]: [Translation] If that is the favor you ask, then I am happy to oblige.
Fallow clutches River’s arm, pointing at the now drawn curtain across the way
Pyros gets ready to leave in a hurry, if need be.
Iovivus Fonte makes a scoffing noise as he follows the finger pointing across the way. “That young woman is insatiable… I’ve been smitten before, but it makes a mockery of the nobility to be so… crass about it.”
Pyros: The one that just drew the curtain?
Fallow nods, her eyes large
River simply sighs.
Pyros: I’d be very interested in listening to everything you know about her, to be honest.
Iovivus Fonte: Vivianna? She is a spoiled brat of all of the spoiled brats in House Tzittas. She treats everyone like garbage or playthings – she is cruel, brutal and often torturous. I would guess whoever she is with will likely have stories they could sell for good coin, though not enough coin as to actually tell them. Tzittas handles their playthings well.
Fallow turns to look at Fonte in incredulous shock
The lights dim once more and the actors come back out onto the stage as the second act starts.
Fallow leans out over the edge, obviously looking for ways up, or down, and thence across to the other balcony across the way
Iovivus Fonte: Retainers aren’t usually killed, if that’s what you wonder… just paid for silence in regards to whatever type of defilement is occurring over there.
Pyros: I meant more of here origin, age and station within the family and city.
Iovivus Fonte: She’s the eldest daughter of House Tzittas. Her station is just that. She’s well known in most popular social circles – plenty of rumors about her personal life. He father is a pompous ass.
Pyros: She didn’t … change her looks recently, she has always looked like that, I mean apart from growing up?
Iovivus Fonte: She’s constantly changing her hair and makeup, but she has looked that way since her birth
Quinn Winterborn: What about the Moonwater clan. Been some kind of upheaval there lately?
Iovivus Fonte: Bit tragic, actually. The head of the House, Zenwrick, has lost most of his immediate family, and its beginning to take a toll on his status within the city. Being relatively ‘new’ money, it’s not something they will likely survive. His daughters, youngest son and wife within the span of a few years. He sent away most of the staff and extended family and became a bit reclusive. His eldest son has the run of things, so I’m told.
Quinn Winterborn: Interesting. I heard he had his hands on an old power, or was trying to lay his hands on something of the sort at any rate. Didn’t realize they were new money
Fallow moves to the edge of the balcony, then closes her eyes very tightly, clenching the edge, obviously concentrating, perhaps mentally on someone’s name
Iovivus Fonte: Its possible. He was interested in some properties outside of the city for a while… obsessive almost. Made a bad deal with another house for the deeds to that land… Ziper I think? That sounds right. But he paid way too much for what he got… His son is still trying to recover money – they hire out as a ‘consulting’ firm or some such ridiculousness now.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh my
Pyros: And the Moonwaters still own those out of town properties?
Quinn Winterborn looks quite unhappy
Susan: I’m sorry. What was that?!
Iovivus Fonte: As far as I know. I’m sure my clerks or some of the characters within the banks might know for certain. I will say this – I haven’t seen Zenwrick in weeks – only his boy now.
Quinn Winterborn: My guess is that he’s at that newly acquired properly, trying to get his hands on some arcane power
Pyros: I’m sure Xila would like to know where these properties are exactly.
Fallow opening her eyes; she looks frustrated for a moment.
Quinn Winterborn: I’d love to know where that property is. Might be worth a visit
Pyros: She’s being subtle tonight though.
Susan: Your-
Iovivus Fonte: Perhaps… or dead. Seems odd that another House would sell something of value to another that’s desperate for it…
Fallow noting the lack of aerial rafters, she begins to look to the side of the current balcony for climbable decorations or other avenues to climb down to the floor below
Vivianna just smiles a predatory smile and plays with a bit of Susan’s hair.
Quinn Winterborn: Hm… Politics is an odd beast
Susan lets out a soft choking noise, and then takes a deep breath.
Fallow eyes light up as she suddenly seems to get an idea
Iovivus Fonte: I don’t pretend to understand the machination of halflings in this city. But yes, Zenwrick is relatively new money, compared to some of the others. He climbed to power quickly, and not without hiding all of his misdeeds in doing so. Likely he was snuffed out by a rival or a someone else who had a grudge.
Fallow reaches down to her hip and pulls up her hunting horn, bringing it up, hesitating a moment when she notices the crowd below
Vivianna reaches up and pulls the curtain back, letting some of the noise from the theater fill the empty air.
Vivianna: So you don’t have to think in a vacuum, lovely.
Fallow notices the curtain open across the way and stops right before blowing her horn
Susan takes a second deep breath, and glances out of the curtains, straightening up but still looking very nervous.
Vivianna smiles and pours a dark red glass of wine.
Susan gapes and jaw flaps for a few moments.
Susan: I am… satisfied.
Fallow gets a sly look on her face, her smile going from ear to ear
Vivianna smirks. “Good. As am I… for now.”
Fallow takes a close look at the orchestra, watching the brass player in particular, waiting….
Pyros still keeps out of sight, in case that horn is blown…
Susan: I presume I must…. see this through, or risk retribution?
Pyros: We could smuggle you and your horn down to the musicians, if you’d like. I’d prefer not to be seen though when you blow it.
Fallow watches the percussionist, looking for a moment of crescendo in the music
Vivianna: There’s little choice on your end, it’s a matter of time and the inevitable. Our bargain will conclude, entirely independent on your cooperation.
Susan nods and then stands.
Susan: If you don’t mind, I would like to stretch my legs.
Quinn Winterborn is enjoying the journal’s mysteries
Vivianna: Ahhh… are you leaving me for the evening? I was hoping for some more… enjoyment later.
Susan: … I’ll return. I hope you understand that this is a lot to process.
Vivianna: And seeing the clone of a 4000 year old dead mage lord is not? You wound me.
Vivianna waves you away. “You are free to do as you like, lovely.”
Susan bows a little, as though unsure of what to do, and then steps out of the booth.
You press out in the hallway, where the three turbaned guards are looming. They allow you to leave, but keep watch on you as you do so.
Fallow sees Susan’s form rise from the corner of her eye, then leave, and slowly lowers her horn back on its sling
Susan walks down to the foyer and begins pacing back and forth, running her hands through her hair.
Pyros seeing the horn back on the sling stands up again.
Iovivus Fonte: Changed your mind? I believe we are close to the ending
Iovivus Fonte: Ianchu is droning on and on though…. he might be losing his charm…
Fallow glances at Fonte, then steps back behind River, on guard once more.
Pyros: I think we were waiting for the audience to leave, not to disrupt anything, and then we’ll check out the basement?
Iovivus Fonte: Your choice, sir.
Susan paces in the foyer for the better part of ten minutes before the large doors to the theater are pushed open violently and a dozen or so patrons leave irritated. You can hear the music playing as the play has come to a close.
Pyros gets ready to leave with the others.
As the final music begins, Iovivus stands and claps loudly, cheering and praising the actors and actresses. The doors to the suite open and the House Fonte guards reenter.
Susan steps out of sight behind a pillar, still quietly taking deep breaths.
Iovivus Fonte: I will go back stage and congratulate the cast and crew as usual. Should you need anything, please ask. And should you find anything else afoot that should concern me, please stop by my manor house and we can speak again. Now, if you don’t have further need of me, I will take my leave.
Susan looks for her team, or the other Susan.
River: Take care, Lord Fonte.
Pyros nods.
River bows as he leaves.
Fallow grimaces at him
Quinn Winterborn: Lord Fonte, would you know how we can obtain passes to allow us to be in the Imperial District?
Iovivus Fonte turns as he was about to leave. “Ahhh that… this xenophobic city… I forget myself sometimes. I can provide such passes, though… a favor for a favor, perhaps?”
Quinn Winterborn: Of course?
Iovivus Fonte: I trust you won’t be too… conspicuous while within this ward? I would hate to have to explain why some guests under my House Banner did something horrible to the crown or set the district on fire while in my care?
Quinn Winterborn: What if it was a really interesting noble house?
Quinn Winterborn: I kid.
Quinn Winterborn: Of course, Lorde Fonte. It shall be as you say
River elbows Quinn hard in the ribs.
Fallow gets the other side ribs
Quinn Winterborn grins at River
River: We would never do s-such outlandish things… but I would l-like to inquire about your f-favor…
Iovivus Fonte shrugs. “I like you… you remind me of a man I used to travel with… looked a bit like you as well. Always the odd bookish Chessenian.” Iovivus fishes into a belt pouch and produces a handful of small silver pins. “How many are there of you again?”
Iovivus Fonte: Nothing in mind at the moment, Miss Sangria. Just something I can call on if the need for a band of independent entrepreneurs comes to mind.
Fallow notes the pins thoughtfully
Quinn Winterborn: Six, I believe. Right, river?
Iovivus Fonte: Six then.
Pyros: I agree to help you if you need it, but I also say that I reserve the right to refuse, if I view your request as evil.
He picks out six tiny silver pins and hands them to Quinn. “A favor for a favor, Mister Tiefling, sir. That was the deal.” The pins are small, and bear the visage of a silver harp, with a trio of peacock plumes sculpted over the harp.
River: It is n-not uncommon to do so, P-Pyros. One hand to help the other, and so on.
River: After all… it is not the first time we have d-dealt in favors.
Pyros: Yes, but I won’t promise to follow a call that leads me to do very bad things. I am willing to help otherwise though.
Susan has begun pushing back through the audience that are leaving, and looking around for River, who she saw earlier.
Iovivus Fonte: Each man must follow his heart – but I would caution breaking deals you have made without thought of the recompense – as a general rule. I can keep one of those badges if you like.
Pyros: I’m not intending to break any deal, I intend to clarify it, so I state up front that I reserve the right to refuse a request I can’t fulfill with good conscience. If you agree to that, then we have a deal.
Iovivus Fonte: I make no promises – I don’t know what your proclivities are. I will simply exclude you from the deal, so you are not held to something so… nebulous.
Pyros: Fair enough.
Iovivus Fonte plucks back one of the pins.
Iovivus Fonte: Now… I must be off.
Pyros: Take care, Lord Fonte.
You guys leave the suite and make your way back down to the foyer intent on heading to the basement, where you see a disheveled Susan pacing in the foyer.

Chat log started at 4.4.2018 / 17:48:04

Last time on HBC – The theater, and some dry conversation with Master Fonte, who appears to ally with the party and gives them, except Pyros, a badge to move around the Palace District. Susan concludes a rather “interesting” date and attempts to maintain an air of dignity; while it clearly has been compromised (as has her hairdo) before the company meets once again in the theater foyer at the end of the show…
GM: As I recall, you wanted to see the basement for some reason… something about fresh earth on Meredith when she met with Master Fonte before the performance.
As you come down the large spiral staircase from the suites, you see a disheveled looking Susan standing near one of the columns, her eyes darting frantically around as she is looking for someone.
Fallow waves at Susan tentatively
Pyros (mumbles): How do we know it’s her and not her date?
Quinn Winterborn: Which is worse?
Susan is quietly muttered under her breath, until she sees the party. There’s a moment where she doesn’t seem to recognize them, and then suddenly stands more upright and smiles and waves.
Quinn Winterborn: We’re on our way to check the basement for magic, come along?
Fallow reaches out to Susan carefully
Susan: Yes. Of course. May I have my bag, Pyros?
Fallow → Susan: You ok, sister?
Pyros: Yes, of course.
Pyros hands over Susan’s bag.
Susan → Fallow: I am in much the same state as I was before, but fundamentally changed. As is the effects of time on all beings.
Susan grins at Fallow, and takes the bag.
Pyros: Miss Helen.
Susan: Do I have time to change, or are we on a time crunch?
Fallow blinks a bit in confusion, and then gives a hesitant grin back at Susan
Pyros: By all means, change, but don’t take too much time.
Fallow holds her shield up to offer some modesty over to the side
Pyros: I’ve seen Xila. but oh well.
Pyros walks a bit away to give some privacy.
The foyer starts to empty out as the patrons enter their carriages and other vehicles, and within twenty minutes the theater is empty of nearly all but the staff. You all see the ‘other’ Susan and her entourage leave without so much as looking Susan’s way – the proud and angry face keen on the exit, and berating any and all that stand in the way. As Fallow holds her shield up to give some privacy for Susan, one of the attendants, motions instead to a small coat room that has now vacated for some modicum of privacy.
Susan: Alright then! The basement, then?
Moving through the backstage area where a dozen or so stage hands are busy disassembling and organizing the props, you are directed to a small trap door that gives access to the orchestra pit, and through that, the basement.
Susan → Fallow: My date suggested that the head of the Moonwater house has ties to a powerful undead that were beyond even her considerable abilities. Just something to keep in mind.
Fallow turns her head, eyes raised in askance apparently at something Susan “said”.
Pyros goes down.
Fallow waves Susan ahead of her
Susan shrugs at Fallow.
Susan descends
Fallow → Susan: I will bring up the rear sister
You head through the trapdoor to find a rather sparse room with a few instrument stands and a few small shelves on the walls, you can see through a half window that looks out onto the theaters front rows of seats.
Fallow climbs down; looking around the dark room.
In the rear of this room (opposite the window) there is a small hallway that leads into a 20′×20′ storage room, which is filled with all sorts of crates, boxes and barrels.
Susan: What’re we looking for?
Fallow → Susan: The Countess leaving’s
Pyros: She smelled of fresh earth, so we figured she might have been digging or in a tunnel of some sort.
The floor is all hard stone, from what is uncovered.
Fallow → Susan: She could have used magic to “go somewhere”
Susan nods to Fallow.
A few of the instrument stands have small lanyards attached to them that possess some minor enchantment, something that is tied into the large acoustic enchantment on the entire theater.
Susan: …wait.
Pyros: I am.
Mostly some discarded sheet music and drumsticks, reeds and other instrument maintenance type things on the shelves.
Quinn Winterborn: Guys, check this out
Susan: The Moonwaters were working with River’s Aunt, yes? And then there was the betrayal once they had River. And you say her aunt smelled of fresh dirt?
Quinn Winterborn points to a boring crate in the corner
Susan pauses and turns to the crate.
Susan: It…. is a crate?
Pyros: Her aunt smelled of fresh earth, yes. Or at least that’s what we heard?
Quinn casts forth his dispelling of magic and the crate that appeared to be empty now contains several bottles and vials.
Susan: It is a full crate!
Pyros: Ohh, good work, Master Quinn!
Quinn Winterborn looks inordinately pleased with himself.
Fallow looks puzzled over the discovery of bottles.
Susan: My source suggested the leader of the Moonwaters has been working with a powerful of undead. And undead tend to spend time in graveyards. And the Moonwaters have a family crypt….
Fallow points to crate revealing’s
Susan → Fallow: There loss is our gain, I suppose!
There are several dusty bottles of wine (Waterdhavian Red c.1371) and a bottle of Rashemi Firewine that looks half drunk. The vials contain some sort of bluish green liquid.
Pyros: More powerful undead spend their time wherever they want, not necessarily graveyards… but I have no better idea, so graveyard, Moonwater’s family vault and then the additional lands under their control?
Quinn Winterborn: Is the wine valuable, maybe? I wonder why someone left an illusion here
Quinn Winterborn inspects the bluish green liquid for a minute, then, looking disappointed, puts it back
Susan: A stagehand looking to enjoy themselves after a show but not being allowed alcohol inside the theatre?
The date is Forth-day, 14th Eleasis, 1480 DR
Quinn Winterborn: And potions? Maybe they’re poison
Pyros: Wine must be kept in cellars so that it doesn’t taste bad in the end. The temperature is key. (chuckles at this) So if they didn’t want the musicians to get drunk regularly, they would have to protect it in some way…
River: Perhaps I c-can take a look…
Pyros: What was the bluish liquid in the vial, Master Winterborn?
Quinn Winterborn: Nonmagical
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
River: I would venture they are some kind of antivenin or poison remedy
Pyros: In that case should we take them with us?
Susan: Is there any benefit to leaving them? If not, we should throw it in a bag of holding and think about it later.
Pyros: Well, I’m not a thief. Apart from honorable behavior, no, there’s no benefit from leaving it.
Quinn Winterborn: None of this seems to answer the question of why she came down here
Fallow → Susan: Nothing says she did come down here
Pyros: We’re not certain she came down here; we only suspected that from her smell.
Susan: Fallow says nobody said she came down here.
Pyros: Let’s go then.
Fallow → Susan: Frankly, I don’t associate “earthy” with basements in general terms
Susan: Does anyone else have any plans for the inside of the theatre? Or shall we go and look elsewhere?
Fallow looks disgruntled
Fallow → Susan: Elsewhere
Fallow points up and out
Susan: Fallow has doubts about a basement being liked to ‘earth’ scents.
Pyros: Was her office searched well enough? I just heard River looked with Moro helping a bit?
Susan: I have no idea. I was on my date.
Pyros: I was on the ship at that time.
River: I inspected it and we did retrieve a few items, Master Winterborn is carrying
Pyros looks at Quinn and River.
Susan looks to Quinn/
Pyros: Ah well, any clues there?
Quinn Winterborn: Just a sequence of numbers we couldn’t decode
River: Nothing directly. There were a few items – baubles really – but my aunt is not direct, nor is she one to make bold claims that she cannot cover. We should assume we don’t know what she is up to.
Quinn Winterborn offers Pyros the case to inspect
Pyros takes a good look at the case.
Quinn offers you a small black leather covered case that has a large turquoise pulsing rune on it once the case it touched.
Pyros: …a trap. But this is old, old magic.
Susan: How old?
Pyros: Rather intriguing. How old is this Aunt?
Quinn Winterborn: Susan old?
River: Shy of fifty, as I recall.
Susan doesn’t react to Quinn’s statement
Pyros: It is ancient. So old that I’m not even sure. Ancient history of the Arcane never was my chosen path; I’m more into practical uses, but intriguing nonetheless.
Susan: Can you tell what it should do? Is it an alarm or a trap to destroy what is inside? Or the person opening it?
Pyros: Either she came into possession of this, or she knows magic more ancient than I’d prefer.
Quinn Winterborn: Can’t you tell, Susan?
Pyros: I can’t tell without further research, as I said, it is quite antiquated, but still potent.
Susan takes half a step back
Fallow glances over Susan’s shoulder, curious if it may be Fey in origin
Susan: Let’s put that down carefully, shall we.
Susan: Now, please?
Pyros: Is it harmful to have in possession?
Susan: Depends how attached you are to your sanity.
Pyros considers.
Fallow grimaces
Susan: The rune is one of the words of Creation. Specifically… Insanity.
Fallow → Susan: He’s already insane
Fallow points one finger at Pyros
Susan has taken another step back.
Susan: This is not a joking matter!
Fallow joins Susan far away from the rune
Pyros: Or maybe it’s just the illusion of that, maybe triggering your worst fears as means of protection, but actually harmless.
Quinn Winterborn seems fascinated, hanging on Susan’s every word
Your experience with these spells were targeted for the more powerful ones… but they were rarely used… except by Krasus and some of the other arrogant MageLords
Susan: It would render your mind lower than that of a creature. No thought, no wit. Nothing.
Susan: This is the kind of magic that brought around the fall of Netheril
Pyros: Okay, what do you suggest we do with it then, we can’t just leave it in the wine cellar of some musicians, who knows what they could do with it.
Susan: Well, I’m trying to remember how far the spell pushes out, so I can work out a way to disarm it without watching a useful mind turn to mulch.
Pyros: There’s no magic without risk. For that I’m actually an expert.
Fallow → Susan: And insane, see?
Fallow quirks an eyebrow sardonically
Susan blinks at Pyros, looks at herself, looks at Pyros again.
Pyros: But alright, let’s stash it away for now, no need to experiment with these things in a theatre.
Pyros hands the case carefully back to Quinn.
Susan watches it carefully.
Quinn Winterborn puts the case away for now.
Susan: We keep that as far away from Xila as possible.
Quinn Winterborn nods
Quinn Winterborn: We still don’t know what your Aunt was up to, River
Pyros: Well, as we are in the correct district still, how about paying a visit to the Moonwater residence? Later we could visit their other lands or the graveyard.
River: Perhaps nothing? Though it seems doubtful.
Quinn Winterborn: The Moonwater residence makes sense. I have questions about the former Lord…
Susan: It seems like Meredith’s Plans are still… beyond us. But perhaps we can learn more by striking at her intermediaries, like Pyros suggests.
Pyros gets ready to leave.
Susan gives Quinn a wide berth
Stepping outside of the theater you find it to be late evening, and the moonlight floods the wide tree lined avenues that wind through the district. Looking directly down the lane in front of you, you can see the Imperial Palace. Looking the other direction, you see the large wall that separates this district from the others.
Pyros: Anyone know where this residence actually is?
Pyros simulates a badge with a small illusion, mimicking the ones the others wear.
Fallow puts her badge on and hands Susan hers
Susan debates it, and fastens one to the inside of her cloak.
You simulate the badge, though it is a bad copy and will likely not hold up under any close scrutiny
Susan: Let’s see if anyone stops me or if they think I’m….them.
River: Them?
Susan: Vivianna, my date.
River notes the strange inflection but drops the matter.
Susan seems uncomfortable whenever talking about her date.
Susan: Anyway! Let’s go… break into a graveyard, I guess?
Susan whispers the last bit.
Pyros: You say ‘them’, not ‘her’.
River: I think Xila stated that the Moonwater Manse was at the northern end of the district, as they didn’t have waterfront.
Fallow nods agreement
Susan shrugs uncomfortably, and starts walking northward.
Pyros follows Susan.
Fallow → Susan: Any thought on how we get “in” to Xila’s family estate?
Susan → Fallow: Quietly, or violently.
Fallow grins in appreciation
Furthest from the Palace, and tucked into the northwestern corner of the district, you find the large gated grounds of House Moonwater. A twelve foot tall black wrought iron fence stands between large cerulean stone posts topped with faintly glimmering silvered stylized moons. You find that the grounds cover a rather large yard, a few acres in total, though a thick cover of trees and other undergrowth prevent you from seeing much through the fence. The road leads to a squat gatehouse, outside of which stands a trio of ettin guards while a single halfling stands within the gates. The opposite side of the Moonwater grounds seems to be the back of some other noble household, but these grounds seem to be the ‘least’ desirable of those in this district.
Susan: I could maybe pull them away a little, maybe?
Susan: Let you three sneak in, and then teleport in further down the gates?
Susan: I also have an invisibility potion. If that would help
Pyros: If you can teleport, yes.
River: Perhaps, if we want to gain entrance, we slip in through the fence somewhere out of view. The fence doesn’t look too difficult. Or we can try again when we have Xila with us.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila would want to be here, but she needs a way into the district….
River holds up a small silver harp pin. “Which we have.”
Quinn Winterborn: I’m not giving up my pin….
Quinn Winterborn: neither of them
Pyros (whispering): Okay, let’s find a nice and dark, secluded spot to get over that fence.
Susan begins casually walking down the fence looking for a spot that is hidden from the guard’s view.
Fallow → Susan: I can teleport through it too
Susan nods to Fallow.
You pace back down the lane a bit and find where the fence makes a turn and slink behind that. Pacing a few dozen feet beyond that, you find a few trees that have not been up kept and they poke low and through the fence in several spots, which you could use to get over the fence.
Susan: Perfect. Who wants to go first?
Pyros looks at Susan.
Susan: Perhaps myself? If I’m caught, it’s inter-house sabotage and not connected to us.
Pyros smiles.
Fallow shrugs
GM: Even with her miniscule strength, River can make it over the fence with the help of the tree, as can the rest of you with no problem.
Pyros: Now let’s just ask someone for directions on where to find the family graveyard.
Susan: Maybe just quietly look ourselves, first?
Pyros: Of course.
Susan: Self-sufficiency is very important.
Pyros tries to be sneaky.
Susan too.
Fallow glares at Pyros back
Susan → Fallow: Careful, Sister. Your animosity is showing.
Fallow → Susan: Well ….I can’t help it….he’s….annoying
Fallow pouts a bit for a moment
Susan → Fallow: Lots of people are. It’s the main thing I’ve learnt about the current time period.
Fallow nods at Susan in reluctant agreement
You end up in a dense thicket of hawthorn and walnut trees with tangles of chokecherries and brambles for undergrowth. It’s clear that the groundskeeper is either purposely ignoring this corner of the property, or there is no grounds keeper. Pushing through the undergrowth with some difficulty, you find that the inner grounds are equally unkempt. Far away from your current position stands a large white marble manor house up on a bit of a hill. There are two other buildings… likely a stable and a servant’s house near you. At the northeastern corner of the property, near the looming city wall, you can see another small structure, likely a mausoleum.
Fallow → Susan: Nothing outside the Feywild has seemed normal to me; I must say
Susan shrugs at Fallow.
Susan → Fallow: I can’t speak to that, unfortunately.
Basically all of the ‘lawns’ are of 3’ tall grasses, there are several trails that were likely roads through this at one point, but they are a bit overgrown as well.
Susan: This fits with what I learnt. Zenwrick went mad after Ariana and his youngest son seemingly died, along with their mother.
Pyros (whispers): Fallow, any experience on how to not leave tracks in such environment?
You see no lights on in any of the buildings, only the faint glow of lights on the walls (both manor house and city walls)
Fallow looks like she seems a bit happier at the moment
Quinn Winterborn: I’m not convinced Zenwrick went mad
Pyros: Maybe he tried to open that case.
Susan: What is madness to one is not to another. I mean, I was considering it madness to try and raise a dead god. But someone else thinks that’s a great idea.
Pyros: Hiring me as gardener would be madness.
Pyros: Unless you’re into stone gardens, maybe.
Quinn Winterborn: Depends on which dead god, Susan.
Quinn Winterborn stares at Susan suspiciously
Susan frowns at Quinn, and folds her hands on her stomach.
Susan: Is there a problem, Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: Many. Let’s get on with this, shall we?
Fallow begins to stealthily move the direction of the apparent mausoleum
Susan follows, one hand still on her stomach.
Moving as stealthily as you can manage, you pace the length of the property, coming to a rather small plot of land surrounded by a low stone wall. Inside are a few gravestones and a large granite mausoleum that’s partially clad in white marble. There are a handful of steps leading up to the wrought iron gate of the mausoleum before it is swallowed by darkness. The gate into the graveyard is opened and appears to be in disrepair.
Susan looks for signs of anyone passing through recently.
You all look around the small graveyard and find no signs of freshly turned earth. A quick inspection of the gravestones reveals a handful of cousins and distant relatives, but no family names you have heard before.
Pyros (mutters): &%$§, I’m not used to having no light source.
Susan: Well, we can light up inside.
Susan pushes on into the mausoleum
Pyros: You don’t think that would be seen?
Susan: Not if we close the door.
Walking up to the mausoleum you find that the stone work is mostly unfinished here, save for directly around the entrance. Here the marble is complete and there is an inscription written in a golden inlay over the wrought iron gate. There are tiny halfling looking cherub statues carved in the surrounding stone as well.
Susan: Can anyone read this inscription?
Quinn Winterborn reads the inscription
Quinn Winterborn: Here lie the men and women that built House Moonwater by the sweat of their brow and breaking of their backs. Let nothing disturb their deserved rest
Quinn Winterborn: You know, there’s two ways to read that….
Pyros: What is the other way?
Fallow → Susan: Actually three or four
Susan: Well, the people who made it, or the people who it was built on.
Susan nods towards Fallow.
River: Xila did say something about her father falling in with the wrong crowd…
Susan: Any other insight Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: The workers who built the House are buried here?
Pyros: It could also mean that it is a house of lies, that everyone lies here, if they’re from the Moonwater family.
Susan: I’m sorry, I assumed. How would you interpret it, Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: Honestly, I think the worst of house Moonwater, Xila excepted.
Pyros: Well, let’s find out.
Susan: If I were an evil person, I would have a secret place in a graveyard built, and then turn the people who built into zombie monsters to guard the vault until the end of time
Pyros enters the mausoleum.
Pyros: We’re lucky you’re not evil, Susan, right?
Pyros: RIGHT?
Pyros: oh my…
Fallow looks as if were she able to make sounds, that a heavy sigh would escape her lips at this moment
Susan: There’s an awful lot of radiance inside me these days.
Quinn Winterborn: We should tread carefully here
Pyros: I agree, Master Quinn.
Pyros waits for the others.
Fallow shrugs, then walks forward, stepping past Pyros
Susan is moving with the group, sword out.
Fallow puts her shield up and wonders, “Where is the light”?
Entering the mausoleum you find a small room clad in white marble. As you enter, magical sconces on each wall flare into life, casting the entire room in a stark white light. A massive statue that appears to be in the middle of being carved stands in the center of the room. It depicts a halfling woman and four children standing around her. The statue takes up nearly all of the interior space. There are a handful of tapestries hanging on the walls, going from floor to ceiling. Lush carpets the color of the night sky line the handful of steps leading down into the room where the statue is present. There are bits of stone nearly everywhere within the room.
Fallow looks surprised to have light
Quinn Winterborn: There seems to be strong magic below
Susan: So… something leads down.
Susan begins searching for anything that might reveal a secret passage.
Pyros assists Susan with Mage Hand.
Fallow steps down and toward the unfinished statue, looking around it
Quinn Winterborn sighs nervously
Quinn Winterborn cocks his head, listening for something.
Susan moves towards a massive tapestry at the back of the room.
Pyros: A variety of stones. Huh.
Pyros: Where’s a dwarf when you need one. I’m not proficient in the type of stones, or even can’t say if this is important.
Susan uses her sword to try and move it away from the wall, and see what is behind it.
Fallow → Susan: Sister, someone seems to have…broken this statue
Susan: Which of the statues are broken?
Fallow points to the main one she is looking at
Fallow → Susan: These pieces, they are from it
Pushing aside the tapestry, you find it fastened to the wall with a lanyard. Taking a moment to remove it, you find a small hole in the wall, leading down into the earth. Bits of fieldstones and dirt and present here.
Pyros: Broken… with purpose or by accident? Was it recently?
Susan → Fallow: Bingo. I found a hole.
Susan → Fallow: No euphemism intended.
Fallow → Susan: No comment worthy of me (grins)
Quinn Winterborn: Remember, we’re trying to figure out whether River’s Aunt was here…
Pyros: And if Arana is actually dead or not.
Fallow moves over to the hole Susan found
Fallow → Susan: Shall we?
Fallow points at the hole, looking at Susan
The hole goes in about five feet and then descends downward at a great angle into the darkness.
Pyros goes to the hole, too.
Susan: I could send one of my friends first to make sure it ends in something none-deadly?
Fallow → Susan: You have friends?
Fallow grins at Susan
Susan grins at Fallow, but it’s a little brittle.
Susan: I hope so.
Pyros: I assume it’s for the ashes and bones of people who are not worthy of a proper place in here.
Fallow → Susan: I’m not that big
River: I can send Moro if you wish…
Susan: That seems reasonable?
Fallow blinks over at River, having forgotten she was there
Fallow nods
Susan looks to the others.
Pyros: I would hate to lose Moro again.
River summons Moro and has a heated conversation with the white wolf before it heads, very dejectedly and with hot gazes at all of you disappears into the dark hole in the wall.
Pyros: It’s you decision, River.
Quinn Winterborn: Be cautious, Moro. There is something drawing magic into itself below
A few tense moments pass…
River: The tunnel opens into a wide hall and a worked stone stairwell. I have asked Moro to wait for us before moving farther inside.
Susan: Okay. I’ll go next.
Susan climbs through the hole.
Pyros smells the hole. (To see if it smells of fresh earth)
The tunnel is tight for Susan and her armor, but after the first ten feet, the descent is steep and it becomes harder to stop than to continue descent. After about fifty or sixty feet, the hole opens into a wide white stone stairwell that winds down further into the earth.
Pyros: I’ll go next.
Susan pulls herself upright, sword out, and nods to Moro.
Fallow holds her hand up
Pyros enters the hole, with LIGHT cast in front of him.
As you stand up and brush yourself off, a torch handing on the wall lights up, as do a few more within the stairwell.
Fallow theatrically sighs again and follows Pyros
You all eventually follow and find yourselves standing in a 15’ wide stairwell of worked white stone that winds around.
As you stand up and brush yourself off, a torch handing on the wall lights up, as do a few more within the stairwell.
Susan starts walking quietly, holding a finger to her lips.
Moro walks a circle and then vanishes.
River: She is… upset with me.
You come to the end of the staircase and are presented with a corridor that stretches beyond the edge of your light, as you get closer, additional magical light flare to life on the walls.
Beyond the immediate room, you see a ‘foyer’ of sorts with a larger statue holding what first appears to be a ball of sold gold, but after a moment, the ball flares to life with flames.
Susan: Quinn… what is that fire ball?
Susan: Anyone? Should we be worried about the ball?
To the immediate right and left appear to be doorways; though both are stone, there are large amounts of debris around each.
Pyros: That is minor magic, more for show than anything else. The fire is real though.
Susan: A construct… be careful, it could activate and become dangerous.
Quinn Winterborn: A homunculus?
Pyros: It can hold its fire, so I like it.
Susan: More like the Sharran Constructs we fought when I was Hudson.
Susan: When we were entering the sewer, remember?
Quinn Winterborn looks vaguely disappointed
At your mention of homunculus, the tiny creature crawls out of the collar of your cloak and coos softly.
Quinn Winterborn pats his homunculus reassuringly
Quinn Winterborn: You ok buddy?
The creature coos once more, and then hisses at Susan before tucking back into the collar.
Susan recoils from the creature.
Susan: Quinn, can you control your minion!
Quinn Winterborn: Susan?
Susan huffs loudly, and takes a few more steps away, steadfastly examining a door
Pyros looks if the gold COULD be stolen, if the fire were to be put out.
It’s a big granite door.
Fallow examines the door and debris she is at
lots of stone shards are missing from the door jamb though
Susan stares at it a lot, one hand on her stomach and the other clenched at her side.
Same with Fallows door.
It appears as if the ball is attached to the black stone somehow, but you would have to get closer (its 15’ above you) to tell.
Fallow → Susan: Sister, I think thieves have been here…..within the last few hours
Fallow turns and points to the door jamb
Susan jerks away from her door, and turns to Fallow.
Fallow → Susan: This is fresh
The entire chamber you can see thus far is made of stone… but the tunnel was primarily earth, which appears to track thus far.
Susan: Do we want to keep the element of surprise, or shall we see if we can catch up with anyone who is still here?
Fallow looks at the floor to see if the door appears to open in? Or out?
Pyros: I’m not a stealthy one, so I’m for haste as a measure of surprise.
Fallow → Susan: This door….it lifts up. I need your strength sister
Susan nods, and helps Fallow lift the door.
Fallow mouths to Susan silently, “one….two…three….heave”
Pyros: Master Winterborn needs to help here, too, I would say. He has strong legs.
Quinn Winterborn grins at Pyros
The door lifts relatively easily – much more so than you would have expected. You are startled slightly by the sound of a wooden rod that clatters to the ground as the door lifts. You find that the door will slam back down if let go, however. The room on the other side has little decoration immediately present, though there is a pile of bones in one corner. A large urn standing in another corner. The chamber then steps up into another larger room, which has several large stone shelves present, with various urns, vases and other trinkets present on it.
Fallow glances down at the floor, looking for prints of passage
There is no sign of dust or dirt present here at all.
Fallow holds the door up
Susan: Fallow, go with the others, and check this out. I’ll hold the door.
Pyros: Okay, if you guys are holding it, we others can see if there’s anything to see.
Fallow nods
Susan: Not to sound Mercenary, but… see if there’s some useful loot.
Fallow glances around, then checks out the items on the shelves
Pyros: I’m still a servant of the church of Amaunator, an exorcist and not a grave robber, Susan.
The shelves span most of this room, and there are dozens of trinkets, dried flowers, small children’s toys and some heavily tarnished jewelry here.
Fallow → Susan: An honorarium for visitors perhaps, Sister
The room wraps around.
Susan: I don’t mean things left for the dead. I mean… books detailing evil plots to summon up trapped and useless gods from the ether, or weapons that can kill them.
As you get closer into the room, you can see that there are several small bodies that are present on the shelves as well.
Pyros: That would be something else, I agree.
Fallow → Susan: Children’s bodies….
Fallow looks for names above or below the bodies on the shelves
Susan grip wavers for half a moment.
Susan → Fallow: You’ll be outside of my medallion if you move out of sight, just for your awareness
Fallow → Susan: Or halflings
Fallow → Susan: Noted
As the room wraps around, there is another room, this barred by a white iron gate.
Pyros: Quinn, come through, please! Just in case the door must be lowered for any reason, I’d like us all to be on the same side of things.
Quinn Winterborn: Before we do, can we let it close and confirm that we can reopen it from inside? Just to be safe?
Pyros: I feel safe enough around doors with you around, Master Winterborn.
Pyros says it with deep meaning.
Susan: … I’ll step on this side, and we’ll reopen it if you can’t.
Fallow → Susan: Try what the wizard says Sister it makes sense
Ok… you are all in this room. The door closes as Susan and Quinn step back in.
Through the white gate is a large stone coffin with the lid cut in a manner to look like a woman with her hands crossed over her chest. Her features in the carving look off in some indescribable manner.
Fallow → Susan: Matron of the house?
Pyros: Whoever was in here being surprised by us, probably just now sneaks out through the main chamber.
Susan → Fallow: Could be. Or… supposedly Ariana? Or anyone really.
Susan → Fallow: This is why it would be useful to have Xila here…
In the same script that was written on the lintel of the mausoleum, read the following “Here lies Malvira Moonwater – beloved mother and wife. May she enter the house of Yondalla and find her everlasting peace.”
Susan: The matron then. Let’s move to the other side, like fallow suggests
Susan: Wait….
Susan: someone has been here recently. They’ve opened the gate.
Susan: Forced it though, which suggests they didn’t have the means of opening it properly
Pyros: The gate to the small crypt or the gate that you heaved up?
Susan: To the matrons room
Fallow → Susan: Look and see if the sarcophagi was defaced?
Susan nods and gently pushes her way into the room.
Pyros: We’d need Xila and her lock smith insights…
The gate swings open roughly, as the hinges were bent and they don’t move smoothly anymore.
Fallow → Susan: Not a thief then, but a visitor
Susan examines the room with detachment, but politeness
Pyros: What is it? I take it our little visit here is worth our while?
Susan: …Those of you who have ethical issues should look away.
Pyros doesn’t look away.
River moves around the corner
Susan begins to open the lid.
Quinn Winterborn watches Susan closely
The lid pushes off easily, the stone being much thinner than you are used to.
Susan: Okay, not to horrify anyone, but this coffin is empty.
Fallow → Susan: Hmmmm….this is sounding like someone else thought what we did
Fallow → Susan: Faking deaths? But why?
The inside of the coffin is made of black velvet, and there is no indication that there ever has been anything lying within this coffin.
Susan: Quinn… is there magic here?
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe nobles aren’t buried in their mausoleums? Maybe the crypt was robbed?
Pyros: Empty like the body being gone, stolen or on her own legs unnaturally; or rather empty like…it’s really a secret way?
Susan: Like nothing was ever in here. But it was still opened recently.
Pyros: A secret way then.
Quinn Winterborn: False bottom?
Pyros: Maybe magic.
Susan carefully pokes it with her sword.
Quinn Winterborn: There is so much magic in the statue, and the flame, in the room outside, that I can’t read this room at all
Pyros inspects the coffin.
Your blade pokes though the velvet easily and makes the sound of metal on metal.
Fallow → Susan: Metal?
Quinn Winterborn: Pyros, didn’t you say that the flaming orb was minor magic? Because something out there is very much NOT minor magic
Fallow → Susan: In a stone coffin?
Susan looks for seam in case the velvet can be easily flicked out.
Pyros: Yes, the fire is minor magic. If there is bigger magic out there, the fire is not it.
Susan → Fallow: maybe a different bottom
Quinn Winterborn: The statue, maybe?
Fallow → Susan: Will the coffin “move”?
Susan cuts it out, whilst the others talk
Pyros: I’m no expert on statues, but I guess yes. Susan mentioned about it may be coming to life.
You cut out the velvet lining, and while there is a mostly wooden bottom, there is a metal box set within the coffin bottom.
Susan pulls out her crowbar, and uses that and her sword to pry it out without touching it as much as possible.
Pyros: oh, maybe not a secret way, maybe the family secret vault, it was robbed, all of it but this VERY secret compartment?
The box comes out of the coffin without much real effort. You note that the box appears to be made of lead, which is soft and easily marked.
Susan: Okay, everyone back up.
Pyros backs up.
Quinn Winterborn: We’re not here to rob Xila’s family. Investigate, replace, and move on
Susan: Yes, but considering what we’ve seen on boxes, I’m being careful opening this one
Susan: Mot!
Mot: Yes… Mistress?
Susan: Good evening Mot! I hope I didn’t tear you away from anything important?
The words are heard, but they are said from seemingly nowhere.
Mot: What is your bidding?
Susan: Could you open this box for us, after I step out of the room?
Mot: Of course.
Fallow → Susan: Jeez Sister, sometimes…
Susan: And Mot…. please don’t disappear with the box. It would make me so unhappy.
Mot: Of course Mistress… I serve at your request and by the honor of Invadiah.
Quinn Winterborn: You seem to be getting yourself into all sorts of trouble, Susan
Fallow shakes her head sadly
Susan: You seem to have many opinions, Quinn. But no courage to actually confront them.
Susan turns back to Mot.
Fallow → Susan: Who is Invadiah?
Pyros: It is better to get yourself into trouble than to get everyone else there, and Susan has understood that for quite some time, is what I see.
Susan → Fallow: Invadiah is my Patron. She powers my arcane powers at the moment.
You watch as the box lid slowly opens, and a red skinned imp appears for a moment before disappearing completely an eye blink later.
Fallow → Susan: Sad Sister. I hope you have control of this demon side of things. Deep pits those things lead to
Susan → Fallow: Sister, if I could explain the depths of things have lost control over. You would be horrified and dismayed. But I can handle a demonic contract just fine.
Susan approaches the box once more.
Fallow → Susan: Bah, I’m used to FEY nonsensicalness in my father’s court….what can a few devils or demons do….I’ll stick with ya
Fallow → Susan: Wait till you meet my mother
Lying on the inside of the lead box is a singular black stone made from the deepest onyx. It appears alone and appears to eat the light around it. As you look on it, you head the sound of a stone door slamming to the ground elsewhere in the complex.
Susan smiles slightly.
Susan stops smiling entirely.

Chapter 3: The Shards of Sin

Chat log started at 14.9.2016 / 17:18:44

With their hides in tact, the heroes are ushered onto their next adventure – tracking down a merchant in the employ of Telquine (the Summer Sparrow) who was based in the city of Elmwood, sitting on the southern coast of the Moonsea. With all the arrangements in place, you are lead to the docks early in the morning by Telquine, who escorts you to a sturdy looking carrack and a weathered elven man who is combing over a long list of cargo.
Telquine: This is where I leave you. I appreciate your assistance in this matter. Once in Elmwood, seek out Alamarayne Moonray – she was the one that notified me of the merchants disappearance.
River: As you w-w-wish…
Telquine nods and leaves.
The captain shows you aboard the ship and to your cramped quarters. Clearly this is a merchant vessel, and not one of moving passengers. The ship smells of herbs and fish, but not overpowerly so. Within the hour, you are ready to cast off and when asked, you are told that the trip will take the better part of a tenday before arriving near Elmwood.
Xila: Well, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of food if we need it
River: S-so long as everyone behaves th-themselves…
Xila: I always behave myself.
Xila quickly puts her arms behind her back as she was just about to grab a fish.
Quinn Winterborn looks around gleefully, ready for an exciting ocean voyage
Hudson hides a small smile.
River: P-perhaps. I am just…. remembering the last t-time we were on a s-similar ship…
Xila: Oooooh, do tell!
River: W-well… it involved a v-very … b-brash drow…
Xila: A drow? Never met one, but I heard they’re pretty bad.
Xila: I’m sure the one who travelled with you was an alright drow though, right?
River: The c-captain of that s-ship apparently d-didn’t think so…
The ten day passes slowly, but you are given a breathtaking view of the Sea of Stars as you move along, stopping abruptly in a few of the larger ports that are friendly with Cormyrean vessels. The Sembian coast is nearly completely avoided, before stopping in Scardale and entering the Dragon Reach, a vast bay that harbors a narrow passage into the Moonsea.
You stop to resupply in Harrowdale, taking on supplies for what the captain calls the “worst part of this whole blasted journey” – the trip past Ylraphon and the Flooded Forest. The sailors talk about ghosts and other soulless creatures that would drive a man mad or eat his brain before he knew what hit him. Ylraphon is a ruin of a city, one that once stood before the Spellplague, but was reduced to a monster filled maze of wild magics and other horrible things.
Xila entertains the sailors with ghost stories during this part of the journey.
Passing through the end of the Dragon Reach, you can see that the Flooded Forest lives upto its name, a large sucking mire of rotted tree tops and thick blankets of biting bugs that pester you even far off from the coast. Jagged spires of shattered rock jut up from the swampy landscape, breaking the flat water covered ground.
Hudson spends a lot of time practicing with his abilities, or watching the party quietly.
The captain talks briefly about the history of the region, and how the River Lis was once a wide strait that connected the Moonsea and the Sea of Fallen Stars, but the Spellplague destabilized the area and cause the underdark beneath this area to collapse and the water and land to arrange themselves in a manner that the forest sank, but a wide swath of land rose, dividing the strait into a pair of narrow, but deep channels. This place was once a massive shipping lane for merchant ships, pointing out ruined lighthouse remains on the western coast to emphasis his point.
Quinn Winterborn listens, astonished
The ship enters the river mouth and takes you into the end of the might forest of Cormanthor, which seems to keep the sailors on edge as well, constantly looking over their shoulders and into the massive canopy looming overhead. A full days travel along the river finally gives way to the Moonsea, and a westernly course. In another day, you are docking in city of Elmwood – though city might be stretching it. There is a single wooden dock with the ship you are on being the largest ship in the area by far. Several small fishing boats and a small private ship are anchored here.
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder what kind of trade runs through this town….
Elmwood is a relatively small city by most standards, but being in the middle of nowhere, the city is quite busy, You note that the city proper is surrounded by a massive wooden wall, and another somewhat smaller wall rings the city. The walls appear to be made of still growing trees, their inner ring covered in thick vegetation. The captain directs you to one of the only buildings on the waterfront, a low roofed squat building. He then bids his farewell, interested in moving to the next port without much fanfare.
Xila: I think maybe fishing?
River silently waves goodbye to the captain as he leaves.
River: S-so… shall we g-go?
Hudson: You’re the boss.
The large squat building is fronted by a thin wooden sign marked with Elven script. Muted singing can be heard coming from inside. As a patron enters, you hear distinictly elven singing coming from within.
[Elven]: [Translation] Still Waters Tavern
Xila listens to the elven singing.
Xila: Still waters Tavern
Xila: Nice name
River: A…. t-tavern. Hopefully L-Lady Moonray is i-inside…
Xila: So, shall we go inside?
Xila opens the door and walks inside.
River meekly follows, uncertain of what is to come.
Quinn Winterborn follows
The Still Water is probably the cleanest tavern you have ever seen. The floors and walls are immaculate, the tables and chairs matching sets and all set with small vases of wildflowers. Much to your surprise, the singing is coming from a thick set dwarf that bustles behind the bar. His voice is delicate and not at all what you would believe could come from a dwarf. He smiles at your entrance, though he does not cease singing.
Hudson takes up the rear, standing as tall as possible.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, hello
The dwarf appears to be a real dwarf (golden dwarf). There are four other patrons in the tavern at the moment, all enjoying an afternoon meal
Xila heads to the bar
Xila [Elven]: [Translation] Drinks for me and my friends please!
The dwarf finishes his verse (the song is some kind of stylized elven hymn concerning Selune maybe?) and smiles at you. His voice is still odd for a dwarf, as it is high pitched and lilting, much like the cadence you would expect from an elf.
Enrad Daelborn [Elven]: [Translation] Greetings, traveler! I am Enrad! Welcome to the Stillwater! What can Iget for you?
Xila [Elven]: [Translation] 5 of your best ale
Xila [Elven]: [Translation] So, who’s the dwarf? Odd seeing a dwarf sing in elven.
The other patrons are a mix of elf, dwarf and half-elven (human).
Xila [Elven]: [Translation] Nice singing there by the way! Odd to hear a dwarf speak Elven.
Enrad Daelborn shrugs.
Enrad Daelborn [Dwarven]: [Translation] I can change to a more expected language if you prefer, though the song is not nearly as beautiful in this tongue.
Xila [Elven]: [Translation] I think I preferred the Elven.
Enrad Daelborn smiles.
Enrad Daelborn: Perhaps the trade tongue would suffice, my good halfling. Now, what can I do for you, aside from drinks? Elmwood isnt exactly a tourist trap.
Xila: Oh! Didn’t even realize, guess I got caught up in the atmosphere.
Xila: Well, river would have a go at me if I didn’t ask. Do you know a ms Moonray?
River: U-um… we’re looking for a A-Alamarayne M-Moonray…. to be p-precise…
Enrad Daelborn nods. “A bit hard to miss her around Elmwood. Alma – err.. Miss Moonray is the high priestess of the temple here.”
River: I-Is she busy with her d-duties right now?
Enrad Daelborn: Likely – she’s preparing for the evenings service.
River: W-well… we should meet w-with her before she b-begins. W-Whereabout would she b-be now?
Quinn Winterborn: Evening service?
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
Enrad Daelborn: The temple’s fairly easy to find. Its the large wooden building with the half moon stamped on just about every surface. Just head into the city proper, you cant miss it.
River visibly brightens. “S-Selûne? An evening s-service makes sense then, e-especially with the full m-moon…”
River: P-perhaps we could even s-stay for the service….
Enrad Daelborn nods. “Of course, ma’am. Thats why I was warming up my voice. Im to sing the hymn for the service opening this evening.”
River: I-I’m sure y-you’ll be much better than m-many others…
Enrad Daelborn beams “Thank you! I think if you hurry, you might be able to catch Alma when she comes back from fetching water from the stream. Head to the southern gate and she should turn up there… in the next ten minutes or so.”
River: T-thank you, Ser Dwarf.
Quinn Winterborn smiles
Xila: Thanks!
River bows gently to Enrad, then quickly shuffles out of the tavern to head to the south gate of Elmwood.
Enrad Daelborn: When you’re all finished, I’ll get you those drinks!
Xila: That would be nice.
Xila heads out to follow River
Quinn Winterborn follows
Hudson also follows.
Elmwood has only one main road heading through the city and you pass through the city rather quickly. You do pass by a large wooden temple that is covered in hand carved moons. Thousands of them cover every inch of the exterior of the building, clearly marking it as the favored location to the moon goddess. You notice that most other buildings in the city are also bearing the moon goddess’ mark in some form or another.
Xila: Something tells me these people worship Selune.
Xila: Just a hunch
Quinn Winterborn sighs
River: I-Is something the m-matter, Mr. W-Winterborn?
The road winds to the south, and passes through a pair of 20’ wooden gates that penetrate the 25’ thick wooden pallisade around the city. A contingent of a dozen men wearing uniforms are standing at the gates themselves, eyes scanning into the forest beyond. Before you can think to ask one of the guards, a beautiful half elven woman of moon elf stock enters the city gates, bearing a thick wooden yoke with two buckets filled with water on either end.
Quinn Winterborn: No, River, Xila’s just great. I mean….
Quinn Winterborn is a bit embarrassed
Xila looks confused
Xila goes over to greet the half elf woman.
Xila: Priestess Moonray? Need any help with that.
Quinn Winterborn looks around for the Priestess
Alamarayne Moonray smiles at the halfling, “I am not sure that you could offer much in the way of help, miss.”
Xila: Hey, I may be small, but I’m pretty strong y’know!
Xila pouts.
Hudson waves quietly. “Maybe I could?”
Alamarayne Moonray: Im afraid that Ive already blessed this water, and it would not do to allow a single drop to be spilled.
Alamarayne Moonray: But I appreciate the offer, Miss.
Alamarayne Moonray cocks her head, as she notes the group standing and paying attention solely to her. “Is there something amiss?”
River: I-If we c-could, Ms. Moonray… I-I mean, P-Priestess….
River: U-Uh…. I mean…. w-we were sent by Ms. S-Silverleaf…. S-Surely she m-mentioned us…?
River is barely able to get the words out amid all of her stuttering.
Quinn Winterborn puts a hand gently on River’s shoulder, giving her a bit of encouragment, before withdrawing
Alamarayne Moonray stiffles a mild look of shock, but then nods. “Perhaps you would be so kind as to escort me to the temple. We can speak once I get these buckets to the acolytes. Im afraid my time is at a premium at hte moment.”
River: Y-yes, of c-course…
The walk back to the temple is swift an silent, with Alamarayne walking swiftly through the city. She simply nods greetings back to the populace that speak her way, making it clear she is not to be approached. As she approaches the temple doors, they part ways, revealing the simply interior of the wooden building. She is attended immediately by an acolyte, and with a few quick words, she sends them on their way with one of the buckets, while turning swiftly down the corridor and leading you into a small office. The office is a tight squeeze for all of you to get inside, as it is filled with carvings of wood, stone, metal and bone – all bearing a moon motif. Alamarayne leans in the corner for a moment, and then straightens, looking River in the eyes – “What did Quine say?”
River (nervous): W-w-w-well….. she…. was c-c-concerned about the m-merchants in the a-area d-disappearing….
River (nervous): …A-a-and…. s-since you were the one who t-told her of e-e-everything, s-she told us t-to speak with y-you…
Alamarayne Moonray frowns.
River (nervous): …O-other than t-t-that……
River falls silent, not sure of what else to say, if anything at all.
Alamarayne Moonray: Blast! I did not expect her to send proxies. I need her hand, not some that are so… uninvolved with things – I mean you no offense.
River: N-none t-taken.
Quinn Winterborn: None taken
Xila: Some… taken
Quinn Winterborn gently steps on Xila’s foot
Xila: I mean, none taken! Honestly
River: S-still, I w-would like to h-help where I c-can…
Alamarayne Moonray picks up a small carved trinket and fumbles it over in her hands while clearly struggling with something in her mind.
Alamarayne Moonray: It is… it is like an Elmwood watch, I suppose. I can share with you what I would have spoken to Quine about, though it will be longer with the background that you undoubtedly do not have. That said, I dont have the time between now and the evening service. If you would attend me after this evenings service, we can speak on it then. Feel free to attend the service if you like, or simply return at a candlemark after the mid of night – the service will be over by then and the patrons returned home.
Quinn Winterborn: I would be honored to attend the service of the goddess of the moon.
River: It is a b-beautiful service, Mr. W-Winterborn. It may not be of A-Amaunator’s taste…. but it is fitting for the night of the f-full moon.
Quinn Winterborn: The Sun and Moon are as siblings, River. I revere all those who shine their lights onto our world, and chase away those who slink in the dark
Quinn Winterborn does not look at Xila
River: Ah… That i-is where they differ.
River: Darkness is not to be feared or cursed. Remember that.
Quinn Winterborn smiles and nods
Quinn Winterborn: Shall we, then, River?
River: J-just us two?
Xila looks at Quinn and River
River fidgets a little out of nervousness.
Xila: I’m not usually one for a service to Selune, but I might attend, just to see what all the fuss is about.
Quinn Winterborn: Well, whomever else wants to attend, of course.
Hudson: I’ll probably wander. Get an idea for the area.
Hudson doesn’t really look comfortable in the temple.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Really? I would think it would be an ‘enlightening’ experience.
[w] Hudson → Moro: I don’t hold a lot of stock in all powerful deities who can let atrocities occur.
[w] Hudson → Moro: Oh. You were joking…. A spirit wolf just made a joke, in my head. This is my life now.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Wordplay is not your strong suit, apparently.
[w] Moro → Hudson: But still. I insist you join along. After all, it’s not just for your sake.
[w] Hudson → Moro: I’m not as nimble as you are, it would seem.
The priestess nods. “I’ll have to ask you to see yourselves out then – I have quite a bit to do before the service. Those that wish to remain for the service can feel free to move about the temple. Those that dont, you can leave the same way you came in. And please keep your reasons for being here to yourselves. There are prying ears everywhere.”
River: Y-yes, P-priestess…
Quinn Winterborn trys a bow
Hudson: I’ll stay actually, after wrestling with my inner demons.
(Passive perception) You notice a whisper quiet crack, and can see that the wooden trinket the priestess was fidgeting with has snapped in her hands, as her knuckles are bone white.
Hudson snaps his head towards the sound, hand moving instinctively to his hammer.
Xila: Is err, something wrong priestess?
Alamarayne Moonray blushes, “No. Just things are not as simple as they could have been had Quine just shown up herself. My apologies, theres just so much going on right now.”
River tries her best to smile to the Priestess.
River: D-don’t worry. We may not be Quine…. b-but she would not place this t-trust onto us if it w-weren’t warranted.
A flash of emerald light pulses on one of the nearby totems as Hudson activates one of his powers. The priestess casually looks over to it and smiles. “This room is well warded – which is why I wanted to be here before speaking freely. I have nothing to hide, if thats what you are thinking.”
Hudson: I’m sorry. I thought perhaps you were in some danger in this room that you couldn’t tell us about. And that illicited your… reaction.
Hudson looks a little bit ashamed.
Alamarayne Moonray: Im sorry I cant get into all of it right now, but I am pressed for time. And with things evolving as they have, a group of well armed saavy people such as yourselves – it does not put me at ease. Particularily arriving unannounced as you did.
Hudson: I understand. I’m just… going to…
Hudson awkwardly takes half a step back, not making eye contact with anyone.
River: Y-yes…. Th-Thank you for your time…
River bows to the priestess before backing out of the room to leave her to her thoughts.
Alamarayne Moonray looks up, straightens her body and then snaps back into the calm stoic demeanor of a priestess, vetting all of her nervousness in a smooth motion. “Please enjoy the temple and what Elmwood has to offer. The service begins at sundown, which gives you a few hours to wander at your leisure. We will speak again later.”
The temple is a ring to explain it the best. The corridors, cells and offices ring the outer wall, with numerous doors leading into the center of the temple. Entering the center, you find that it is one large room, open to the sky with hand carved benches and a pulpit within. The pulpit is at the center of the room, with the benches ringing it, seating here is easily several hundred people. Acolytes mill about adjusting some of the decor, candles and other mundane activities.
Heading back to the Still Water Tavern, you find that Enrad is still tending the bar, but he has help now that people are coming in for the evening meal. The tavern is quite full, leaving not much more than standing room. Still, the dwarf sings aloud, a hymn dedicated to Selune in an erie elven voice.
Hudson is wandering around, maybe asking a couple of the guards, or the hunting types.
River – Your secluded part of the temple is quiet calming as the walls of the temple mimic the forest and the branches at the top of the walls are indeed indicative of real trees. Still, you catch some of the acolytes speaking as they move about, talk mostly around the infirmary and how they dont think any of the survivors will pull through.
Hudson – You find nothing interesting about the immediate area. However one of the guards seems to be chatty about a recent skirmish near the city, where a lot of people were hurt badly. They do not share any further details if pressed.
Izual – You find no indications that there are demonic glyphs around, but you do hear some talk about a recent attack on a hunting party that killed three men, and gravely wounded several more.
Xila: So Enrad, you’re the bartender here, heard anything strange around town lately? Come on you can tell me.
Enrad Daelborn: Nothing really strange – just more newcomers than normal. CIty seems near bursting at the seams as of late.
Enrad Daelborn passes you a mug of dark ale that smells absolutely fantastic.
Xila drinks like a Dwarf.
Xila: Another! This stuff is really good.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Even so, I’m certain River is already aware of things being ‘strange’ about here. The infirmary here already has some of the wounded here…. probably not gonna make it.
Enrad Daelborn: Im not a master brewer for simply show!
[w] Moro → Hudson: Now shh. I’m tired and I would like a bit of rest before the service…. zzz…
[w] Hudson → Moro: I don’t know, but if the same people involved in the skirmish have anything to do with the reason we’re here… they sound pretty well trained. If not, why did so many people leave this very well fortified area to fight somebody or something?
Enrad Daelborn pours another mug.
Xila: Ever thought about working in a major city? You could get rich pretty quick off this stuff.
Enrad Daelborn: I wont go anywhere near those kind of places anymore. Saw too much of “civilized lands” in Mulmaster – I’m fine right where I am.
Xila: Mulmaster huh, rough place to live.
Enrad Daelborn visibly cringes. “A vast understatment.”
Xila: So, you get much trouble down here? We’re not that far from Mulmaster, no trouble with the Netherse, Thayans or Zhents?
The patrons in your immediate area quiet, and make no secret of moving away from you.
Xila: …What’d I say?
Enrad Daelborn: Not much, but enough. There was an attack recently – killed women, children, elderly – it was savage. Elmwoods a close knit community. Everyone has been impacted. You ought to work on tact.
Xila: An… an attack?
Enrad Daelborn: Slaughter really. Not really comfortable talking about it while people are eating. Lets just say that a merchant company was ravaged – and not everyone made it back.
Xila: Any ideas who was behind the slaughter?
Enrad Daelborn frowns, clearly irritated “I wasnt available to tally names, if thats what you’re asking.” He sighs. “Im sorry – its just a bit… raw still. We believe it to be some Zhentish mercenaries, but have no real evidence other than history.”
Xila downs her drink.
Xila: Well then, that’s enough of that! I’ll have one more for the road.
Xila: Thanks for sharing your information Enrad.
Enrad Daelborn nods. “Be well, traveler.”
Xila heads out of the tavern.. a tiny bit tipsy.
Xila heads to the temple, knowing she’ll probably find river there.
River is simply sitting on the bench, scritching Moro’s head gently as she naps.
Hudson does similar
Xila relays everything she learned, a little bit too quick and a stumbling over a couple words with her tispynes.
Izual seemingly forms out of the shadow when he takes off his hood, telling the party about the hunting party that was attacked.
Hudson: That’d be the thing I heard about, I imagine.
Xila: Yeah, Enrad said the same thing, women, children and elders were attacked recently, Zhentil mercenaries most likely he said.
Izual: Ah, no. I heard it was just three men.
Xila: Enrad was speaking of a merchant company.
Izual: Whch mean this are differnt occasions.
Xila: …So, there have been multiple attacks.
Hudson: Do we assume they were both attacked by the same thing?
Hudson: If so… could this be this thing be related to why we are here/
Izual: I think it would be safe to assume so.
River: …I don’t th-think it’s mercenaries…. or at least, n-not just them…
River: Where w-would they gain from killing the p-poor?
Izual: Bloodlust needs no reason.
Xila: Most likely, they’re from Mulmaster. Terrible place full of slave traders.
River: Then… they would have c-captured them… not k-killed them.
Xila: Perhaps they did not go willingly?
Xila: We have heard of people disappearing as well.
River: E-either way… I fear it is something less…. l-logical.
Xila hiccups
Quinn Winterborn: Ominous
As the day starts coming to an end, people begin filtering into the temple, filling the benches from the closest to the pulpit outwards. As the sun finally dips below the horizon, and for a moment the sky is lit in pinks and oranges, a single clarion bell chimes, and the crowd falls to silence. The acolytes move into the room, three each moving along the rows, bearing large white wax candles. The procession moves slowly, taking nearly twenty minutes to reach the pulpit, though the crowd maintains silence the entire time. Once they reach the center, the acolytes disperse evenly and place their candles at marked places, highlighting the perfect sphere of the pulpit.
The clarion bell pells once more, and a trap door falls inward from the pulpit, revealing a large silver ball of light that slowly rises from the floor. As it clears the trapdoor, the door is reset, latching with a quiet ‘snick’ of a well oiled lock. The ball of light reaches near human height before it pulses, moving through the lit phases of the moon – quarter, half, three quarter, full, three quarter, half, quarter, new. Once it reaches the new moon. the light fades entirely for a moment, before a brillant flash of silver sparks erupts and Priestess Moonray stands at the pulpit, clad only in a silvered crown and cloak. Her skin glows with a silver lustre and she begins to sing, a husky tone that gains timbre with each passing bar. A few moments later, a recognizable elven voice joins the hymn, Enrad singing from the rear of the chamber.
The singing continues until the moon rises above the lip of the chamber. At this point, the service continues into a sermon, followed by the promotion of two acolytes in rank, and then another set of hymns, this time sung by the whole congregation.
The service continues until the stroke of midnight, in which the service is ended abruptly, as a handful of acolytes bear a small fountain carved of ivory into the chamber, bearing it to the pulpit. The priestess then raises her face to the sky and begins singing in an unfamilar dialect, a ceremonious hymn that no one joins in, but all watch with gusto. After a few moments, a pale streak of cold white moonlight flashes from the sky and strikes Alamarayne before cascading into the fountain, acolytes scurrying to gather the liquid moonlight and solids (?) into inscribed vials.
This happens seven more times before the priestess stops, her body clad in sweat. She then reaches for a silver robe hidden in the pulpit before waving dismissively to the audience. THe patrons oblige immediately, filing out in quiet awe.
The acolytes carefully remove the fountain once the patrons are gone, snuffing the candles and bringing the priestess food and water while she recovers. Within another 30 minutes you are left alone with Alamarayne.
Xila stays in the temple, in awe of what she saw.
Hudson looks mildly interested in the show of power, but not to the level of anyone else.
Alamarayne Moonray is still breathing heavily, and sweating though the night is on the cool side, and she is wearing only a thin robe.
River slowly makes her way towards the priestess, cautious as to not aggravate her condition.
Xila however, bounces towards the priestess like a kid in a candy store.
Xila: That was incredible! I have no idea what happened, but it was pretty!
River: X-Xila, please. She’s s-still recovering…
Alamarayne Moonray [(waves your concern away)] Its fine. Im just not as quick to recover as I used to be.
Alamarayne Moonray: Well, this is not quite as well warded as my office, but saturated in Selune’s light as I am, I believe this is sufficent to speak freely.
River: If you feel it b-best…
Izual: I have never seen anything quite like that, Priestess.
Alamarayne Moonray: It is not a ceremony that many are privvy too. It is a rarity that most only see once in a lifetime, perhaps twice if they curry the Maidens favor.
River: I d-don’t want to take any m-more of your time, P-P-Priestess… but…. can you tell us more n-now?
Alamarayne Moonray: Of course. Im free until the morning anyhow.
Xila still oggles at the light shining from Moonray
Alamarayne Moonray: How well do you know Quine?
River: I… w-well…
Alamarayne Moonray: I see.
Alamarayne Moonray: You’re acquianted in some manner at least – not just hired rabble?
Xila: We have a …. working relationship. She did something for us, we got her out of prison, now we’re doing something else for her. Y’know, the usual.
Alamarayne Moonray smiles thinly.
River fidgets for a bit…. then takes the priestess’s hand.
River: I…. her sister is a friend of mine….in a matter of s-speaking…
River: It’s…. c-complicated, to say the l-least…
Alamarayne Moonray glances down for a moment, but draws in a steadying breath. “Fair enough. I will lay things out as it seems you are at least familar enough with Quine to know her alias, and perhaps that of her lineage. As the Summer’s Swallow, she has done some good – though I think she might truly be bored.”
River nods in kind. “She seemed to r-revel in the l-limelight…”
Alamarayne Moonray: In truth, Quine and her family work against the machinations of the Netherese, both here and in Cormyr. We’ve managed to obtain a few working relics of one of the Mage Lords of Old. I dont know if we are actively being pursued, but there are hints of it.
Alamarayne Moonray: Elmwood is quiet – and out of the way. But things have a way of following you. Quine’s been crass and sloppy with her movements. And some of her minions have been caught in a Netherese trap.
Alamarayne Moonray sighs.
Alamarayne Moonray: And now things are starting to unravel. I am plagued by visions – the relic I shelter is directly responsible for them, but I cannot pursue these visions – I cant leave the people her unprotected. Quine promised she would come and follow the path, clean up her mess, and bring her family’s power to bear within the Forest, stabilizing the region against these incursions. So, you have to understand, when I am disappointed by your appearance, its not disappointment in you – but rather in Quine.
River: I…. I s-see…
Alamarayne Moonray: Its convoluted, surely – but dire nonetheless.
River: S-still… we are here, r-regardless of the past. W-what can we d-do to h-help?
Xila: Does this have anything to do with the recent attacks?
Alamarayne Moonray: Possibly. The attacks are attributed to Zhentish men – I cannot determine the actual culprit, as the interference from the relic is causing issues with my own powers. Which is why tonight was much more… exhausting than normal.
Alamarayne Moonray: Im unsure if there is anything that can be done directly. If you were experienced in the arcane or in netheril history, you might be able to divine something from the relic itself.
Xila looks immediately to Quinn
Izual: Well we have one such person that is trained in the Arcane.
Izual: And if else all fails, Xila and me are good at being quiet. We could track the partys responsible.
Alamarayne Moonray: There are a few moving pieces here, that I am not sure if are inter related or not. The most pressing is the relic. Perhaps we can take a look at it, and see if it has any secrets to bare to you?
River: W-well… worst case, we learn n-nothing…
The priestess stands and walks unsteadily to her office, beckoning you to follow. Once you are all inside of the office, she closes the door and speaks a few words of magic sealing a few wards.
Alamarayne Moonray: She opens a small box upon a shelf and reveals a small metallic shard wrapped in a runed white silk hankerchief.
She opens a small box upon a shelf and reveals a small metallic shard wrapped in a runed white silk hankerchief.
River: Moro? D-do you think you can help?
Moro groans… then looks carefully at the metal shard.
Alamarayne Moonray: This shard is part of a larger whole, but we cannot glean ‘what’ it is.
Moro is unpleased.
[w] Moro → Hudson: …This. This is a remnant of Greed.
The shard resembles an arrowhead with a small concave area in the base of the shard.
[w] Hudson → Moro: A what? The sin?
[w] Moro → Hudson: No…. not that. Ugh. Humans never learn. This was made by humans in a bid for power. Too much for one being to wield.
Izual: I do not like the energy bleeding off of this.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Those dark ones… Netheril? They split it amongst themselves to split the power. Looks like one managed to slip away from its previous owner.
[w] Hudson → Moro: Right. So… logic would say that the people trying to get this, they have pieces of their own and those not in their protection would be powerfully hidden, because if not they’d go after an easier target, no?
River: It…. does feel o-off… But….
Alamarayne Moonray: It makes my mind hurt when I am in its presence.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Either way, it should not even exist. Cursed, wretched thing, ruining the balance.
River: Have you… t-tried to use it?
Moro growls menacingly and snaps at the shard of metal in anger.
Alamarayne Moonray: Use it?
Xila: What’s up with Moro?
Hudson nods at Moro.
River: I…. I don’t know…
Hudson: That piece of metal is not right.
River: I…. I see.
Alamarayne Moonray: I keep it wrapped in that blessed cloth, which lessens its effect. I do not think it to be a religious relic – very few of the Mage Lords were devout.
River: The… Sinedron?
Alamarayne Moonray raises an eyebrow. “What?”
River: Moro thinks…. it’s something called the ‘Sinedron’. Or a p-piece of it.
Moro continues to growl at the shard, obviously disturbed by its presense.
River: W-whatever it is…. she d-doesn’t approve of it being… in existance.
The Sinedron is also known outside of Netheril as the Shattered Star – an artifact that was lost at the fall of the empire. The shards represent a school of magic, but also one of the greatest follies of human kind.
You are also aware that the Shards are said to be cursed to prevent their use by those not meant to use them.
River: It…. is a c-creation of pure power…. one to rival the very g-gods….
River: I c-can see why Moro would detest such a thing.
The Netherese would undoubtedly want to get their hands on it – so we cannot let that happen.
River: So…. w-what can we do? Send it to a v-vault to be s-sealed away?
Xila: Throw it in the Moonsea?

Chat log started at 21.9.2016 / 17:09:50

Last time on HBC – the heroes made their way to the city of Elmwood, where they met up with their contact, Alamarayne Moonray, high priestess of Selune. The party also found out that the town had been target to numerous attacks recently, all of which may be related to the Netherese artifact that the priestess had been keeping within the city. What else can they learn, and why was Telquine involved? And why did she send you?

Quinn Winterborn: They would want it back. It’s a fragment of the Sihedron
Quinn Winterborn mutters to himself “What a terrifying thought”
Alamarayne Moonray: Im afraid I dont know what that means.
Quinn Winterborn: You mentioned you’ve been having headaches since you acquired the item?
River: W-well… whatever it is, Moro isn’t t-terribly fond of it…
Quinn Winterborn frowns, looking worried
Xila: I have no clue what you’re talking about, but sounds kinda bad.
Quinn Winterborn: That’s probably because Moro is wise.
Moro continues to growl at the metallic shard, on constant guard.
Xila makes growling noises to copy Moro
Alamarayne Moonray: Yes – terribly so – its been interfering with my prayers as well. In general, everything is more difficult – which is unsettling, given my powers are not arcane in origin.
Quinn Winterborn: In a sense, the shard is cursed, so that’s not overly surprising
Quinn Winterborn: The Sihedron is an ancient artifact of immense power, and danger. Even a single fragment is capable of doing what you say.
Quinn Winterborn: I do hope you only possess one such fragment…
Alamarayne Moonray: I’e only been given this by Telquine – I cannot say what she has in her possession, but the relics she gains only pass through here, they generally do not stay, as this one has.
Xila stops growling
Xila: We should probably do something about this fragment then.
Xila: Like.. maybe chuck it in the moonsea?
Quinn Winterborn: So we need to sort out how to deal with the fragment, as well as the priestess’ ailments
Quinn Winterborn seems tob e talking to himself
Hudson: And the people who are attacking the town. I’d really like to deal with them.
Quinn Winterborn: The problem is that the fragments have a way of being found. They kind of want to be found, in a way. We need to stop this one from being found or taken by the Netherese, who might try to assemble the Sihedron.
Quinn Winterborn: That would be….bad
River: S-so…. what do we d-do?
Xila: So, what is this Sihedron anyway?
Quinn Winterborn: It’s tied up in the history of Netheril. It’s an ancient, powerful artifact that belonged to Nether the Elder himself
Quinn Winterborn: Back even before the Netherese were corrupted
Alamarayne Moonray: The founder of Netheril – before men wielded magic, if I recall correctly.
Quinn Winterborn: Yes. He was one of the first. Made himself king with it
Xila: Oh, so super bad thing, got it.
Quinn Winterborn: The good news is that, if we can find an Ioun stone and insert it into the Sihedron fragment, it should suspend the curse you are currently suffering, Priestess Moonray
Xila: An.. iron stone?
Alamarayne Moonray looks concerned. “An ioun stone? Those are relatively rare and powerful magical item.”
River: W-well…. is there s-something else we can d-do? I’m afraid I d-dont have much to offer…
Xila: Oh, an Ioun stone, was gonna say, an iron stone would be easy to find.. I think
Xila: …What’s an Ioun stone?
DM: lol
You arent sure why, but you all believe that the priestess is either hiding something, or not being entirely truthful.
Quinn Winterborn: If the Sihedron were to be assembled, it would be a catastrophe on par with the Spellplague.
Alamarayne Moonray: Its a small stone that acts as a magical enhancement to one’s intellect.
Alamarayne Moonray: Doesnt that seem a bit… drastic?
Quinn Winterborn: I’ve always thought of them as providing clarity of thought, though I’ve never experienced it myself. Perhaps that’s how it helps with the curse.
Alamarayne Moonray: Curse?
Moro groans, casting a sideways glance at the priestess.
Quinn Winterborn: I would image, priestess, that you would understand better than I what the repercussions would be if Nether himself’s prized artifact were to be reassembled.
Quinn Winterborn: And yes, the curse on the fragment is what is interfering with your prayers
Alamarayne Moonray: I dont begin to understand what this has to do with me – why would my magic be effected? I don’t cast spells like some hedgemage!
River: P-perhaps…
River: Ms. Moonray… Do you…. I-I mean…
River: Are you…. b-b-being forthright with everything…?
Quinn Winterborn interrupts his own thoughtful muttering, and tilts his head towards River
Xila: Oh, you thought so too huh?
Hudson brow furrows.
Quinn Winterborn: River, Ms Moonray may already be suffering under the curse.
Alamarayne Moonray: Well, no. I mean, this is all very… draining on all of us. The community at large is counting on me…
River: W-w-well…. be as it m-may… it does not add up…
The Priestess puts her hands on her hips and shoots Quinn a withering glare. “Are you insinuating something?”
Quinn Winterborn takes a step back, then takes a deep breath
Quinn Winterborn looks up, seemingly looking at the priestess for the first time in this conversation
Quinn Winterborn looks the priestess in the eye
Quinn Winterborn: Moro, your help please?
Quinn Winterborn looks arouund the room, staring for a moment at the door
River: M-Mr. W-Winterborn…?
Quinn Winterborn looks undecided for a moment
Xila: What’cha thinking Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: By Amaunator and Selune, Priestess, I hope your words and deeds are truthful and good
Quinn Winterborn walks over towards the back of the door, where the priestess garb is hanging, and opens a bag and looks inside
Alamarayne Moonray tries to move forward, but the cramped confines of the office with all of these people make it impossible. “Wait…”
Quinn Winterborn stops
Quinn Winterborn: Alamarayne Moonray, by your goddess and my own, are you in possession of an Ioun Stone?
Alamarayne Moonray struggles internally for a moment.
Quinn Winterborn fixes his gaze upon her, unblinking
River is confused by the sudden changing events.
Alamarayne Moonray flushes white and then turns a brillant shade of red. “I… I dont know what is happeneing to me. I feel like Im fighting my own mind.”
Quinn Winterborn: You are.
Alamarayne Moonray: Left pocket of the inner robe, you will find a stone.
Quinn Winterborn: As I said earlier, the shard is cursed
Quinn Winterborn: I was afraid you would lie to me, priestess
Quinn Winterborn: Tell me, are there also riches and gaudy jewelry in your acessories behind me?
Xila looks sharply in Quinns direction
Quinn Winterborn seems calm and certain now
Xila: Oooh ooh, lemee see!
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, NO
Xila pouts
Quinn Winterborn: Curse, remember?
Alamarayne Moonray: No. nothing of that sort. Only implements of my station – my holy symbol and some semi-precious components.
Quinn Winterborn: Moro? Do we believe her?
Xila: But I’m not afraid of any curses.. I want shiny things.
Quinn Winterborn sighs, clearly having forgotten Xila was in the room
Alamarayne Moonray: If you plan to rob me, within clear sight, I will not take it lightly.
Xila: Oh, so you admit you have shiny things?
Quinn Winterborn: There is a shard of the Sihedron called the Shard of Greed. It curses the holder to desire jewelry and fine clothing.
Xila: Oh well, that wont affect me then, I already desire that.
Quinn Winterborn: If they are not wearing such, they are sickened, as you maybe now.
River: I-I thought we were h-here to help? W-Why are we doing this?
Quinn Winterborn: I find myself wondering if you were fighting your own mind about revealing the Ioun Stone, Priestess, because you are cursed by the shard of greed?
Quinn Winterborn turns to River
Quinn Winterborn: Does that make sense?
River: Please… Just r-remove this curse… You have the m-means now, yes?
Quinn Winterborn nods
Quinn Winterborn: As long as the priestess does not opose us
Alamarayne Moonray: Perhaps the robe is of higher quality than it should be, but it was a gift.
Quinn Winterborn walks to the robe and searches for the Ioun Stone
You fine a iridescent blue sphere the size of a robins egg within the pocket Alamarayne specified.
Alamarayne Moonray looks defeated, but does not make a move or response.
Quinn Winterborn walks to the desk, tryign to smile at the priestess, and inserts the Ioun stone into the indentation
Xila: Ooooooh
The stone sits easily into the indentation in the shard, The stone glimmers brightly for a moment before going dark.
Xila pouts again
Hudson: How do we tell if she isn’t greedy anymore? Try and give her jewelry to charity?
Quinn Winterborn: I think it may take a day or two before the curse is lifted completely
Quinn Winterborn touches the shard when inserting the Ioun stone, then blinks, staggers back, and groans
Alamarayne Moonray: I dont believe it to be an issue, as I have plenty to tend to without worrying over this… thing.
River: ….Uh… Mr. W-Winterborn?
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, sorry.
Quinn Winterborn: If I might suggest, priestess, that you do not give away any of the jewelry or finery you have come to possess for at least a day? You might find it an ordeal….
Quinn Winterborn turns to the party
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh sorry. I have no idea what to do now…
Alamarayne Moonray: I plan on resting if possible. The ceremony took much out of me.
Quinn Winterborn: That sounds like a good plan. Is there someone who can watch over you, just to be safe?
Alamarayne Moonray: Enrad would be the only I would trust implicitly.
River: We s-should talk to him for s-safe harbor as well… while we watch the s-shard…
Alamarayne Moonray: What will you do with it?
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll tell you what we won’t do, is use it to reassemble the Sihedron….
Xila: Why not? if we reassemble it, then the netherese cant.. right?
Quinn Winterborn groans softly, clearly unhappy
Alamarayne Moonray: Perhaps – but the frequency of the attacks in the outskirits of Elmwood have increased since Quine brought this item to me. I cannot but think they are related. Is there some manner in which the relic is tracked?
Xila: Evil things are drawn to evil things, just as thieves are drawn to shiny things.
River: A powerful a-artifact would be easy to find… if they know what and w-where to look… I think we will have to d-deal with the attacks eventually…
Alamarayne Moonray: It does not appear to be powerful, at least not to me. Had it, I think there would have been more effort into shielding it.
Quinn Winterborn: It’s…also not impossible that someone has another shard, and that it is leading them to this one.
Quinn Winterborn: That is not a happy thought
Xila: But, if a shard can lead to another shard, couldn’t we use this one to track the attacker if that’s the case?
Alamarayne Moonray: No. not at all. It means we are being hunted…
Moro growls loudly at Xila’s query.
River: …I don’t know if using the s-shard at all is a g-good idea…
Alamarayne Moonray: Many relics work in concert with one another, but are unidirectional – meaning that the first can only second and so on. The tear of Sune are lost to antiquity because the clergy possess the third and fourth tear, but do not know where the first is.
Quinn Winterborn nods in agreement with Alamarayne Moonray
Hudson: I don’t know if they know exactly where the thing is anyway, since they were attacking groups of people outside the town.
Alamarayne Moonray: But that would explain the strange visions, yes?
Quinn Winterborn: Yes, no doubt the shard was trying to point you to the next shard
Alamarayne Moonray: The stone woman then?
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Yes, though I’m impressed that you saw that much without the stone inserted. Clearly, your will is…impressive
Xila: Maybe we should find this next shard?
River: If n-nothing else but to p-prevent it from falling into foul hands… b-but…
River: Would we need another s-stone to counteract the shard?
Quinn Winterborn: There is danger in possessing more than one shard. So long as we ensure that his shard is safe, we should be fine
Alamarayne Moonray: I do not know – but I would assume the relics share some similarity. Alas – I have no additional stone.
Quinn Winterborn: Apologies for ruining the one you had, but I think it was for the best
Quinn Winterborn grins ruefully
Xila: So, what’s the plan? Wait for more attacks and stop them, or take a gamble and take the shard away from here and hope they’re tracking it so they come after us and not innocent people?
Alamarayne Moonray: It was a gift from the Goddess. She saw fit to grace me with it, and should she see fit to do so, she will replace it. I fear it was gifted to me only to be fated to fill this role.
Alamarayne Moonray: The guard is capable of protecting the citizenry. The worse of the attacks have been away from the city in the surrounding forests and merchant routes.
Alamarayne Moonray: But we are still at a loss for who is conducting these attacks.
Alamarayne Moonray yawns.
Alamarayne Moonray: Im afraid I wont last much longer this night. There are bedrolls tucked in one of the closets in the great hall, you are welcome to sleep there if you have no where else. Im afraid the cloisters are full currently though.
Quinn Winterborn: Is it possible for all of us to sleep at the temple, for now? FOr a donation, of course. I’d feel safer surrounded by those in the service of good
Quinn Winterborn: Thank you
Alamarayne Moonray: Of course – you have already done me a great service.
Quinn Winterborn bows awkwardly
Alamarayne Moonray ushers you out of the office and to where the bedrolls and bedding is kept. She then bids you farewell for the night and departs for her chambers once more.
Quinn Winterborn tucks in
Slumber takes you easily as the quiet of the night coupled with the serene surrounds cause ease within you, even if you feel troubled. Those in the group that sleep soundly (Everyone but Quinn), your dreams are strange and filled with mists and clouds, parting infrequently to reveal a massive stone monolith, jutting up towards the sky. As the dreams continue you eventually get a clear glimpse, a towering statue of a woman wearing archaic looking garb, holding a torch held high.
In the morning you awaken to hear a light commotion from outside of the temple, heard over the open roof of the temple hall.
River slowly stirs, before gathering her things and looking towards the commotion.
Xila stretches as she awakens
Xila: Ahhh what a nice dream.
Xila: So, what’s happening outside?
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s go see
Hudson wakes quickly and is already heading towards the door.
Xila follows
Leaving the room, you find your way back outside of the temple to see several of the guard and a dozen or so acolytes milling around a seriously wounded elf. Charred remains of two other bodies lie covered in the street near the gathering, and a third, smaller body lies covered as well, the hand of a child peeking out from under the crude cover, crimson and coal marring the exposed flesh.
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator…
River: W-w-what h-happened?
Quinn Winterborn: Fireball? Be ware!
Quinn Winterborn looks around for a signs of more trouble
One of the acolytes turn to you, a woman that you saw collecting motes from the priestess’ ceremony last night. “They were attacked outside of the city, on their way from the River.”
River: H-how long ago?
The acolyte shakes her head, “Im not sure exactly. Sometime in the night. They were waylaid by a group of ‘travelers’ who shared their wagon, but then turned on them and killed several outright. The morning patrol found them and brought them here at first light.”
Hudson eyes narrow.

Last time on HBC, the heroes found themselves confronted with a powerful artifact that had brought the local priestess under its sway. Luckily, Quinns understanding of arcane relics was robust enough to determine the nature of the item, and how to counteract the curse on the item. Freeing Priestess Moonray from the shard, the group spent the night in the temple, resting up for another day. In the morning they awoke to a commotion coming from outside, where they found some guards and acolytes tending to some merchants that were attacked outside of the city. The heroes found themselves in a pickle – do they speak with Enrad about the priesttess, or do they venture outside of the city to find the attackers?
To refresh – dead bodies of elderly and children. A badly wounded man who is being tended to by acolytes and a trio of city guard.
River and the others proceed towards the inn, where they hope to find Enrad and bring him up to speed.
The group leaves the gruesome scene to the paid professionals, heading back to the tavern near the docks. You pass several small groups of city guardsmen that rush in the opposite direction of you, clearly irritated. You arrive at the inn to find it locked up this morning, though the singing that can be heard from around the back is clearly Enrad’s voice.
Xila heads around the back, skipping in time to the song
You find the dwarf singing more elven songs, his voice clear in the morning light. He is racking up several large roasts into a smoking box, with an array of bowls, crocks and kettles scattered on a large picnic table behind him.
He takes a moment to notice you, then stops his singing abruptly, “Oh… hello?”
River: Mr. E-Enrad? W-we…. need to talk to you a-about something of d-dire importance…
Enrad Daelborn: Well, I hope you dont mind me working while we talk – food wont prep itself – and folk’s er always hungry!
Xila stomach rumbles right on que.
Xila: Yup! I can agree with that.
River: P-perhaps… We were w-wondering if you c-could look after the p-priestess while we… i-investigate the recent a-attacks…
River: E-even so… w-we’re not sure where to look f-first outside the w-walls…
Enrad Daelborn motions to the table, “If you peel taters while we talk, I’ll give you the lunch meal on the house.” He then stops cold and turns to River, “What happened to Mara?”
Hudson: starts peeling.
River: It… w-we…. she was….
Xila: Oooh! I’m an expert with a knife!
River carefully looks around to check that they aren’t being watched…
Xila steals peeling the potatoes so fast, she makes holes in them.. stabby stabby.l
There appears to be no one in this area but you and the dwarf.
River then leans in toward Enrad’s ear, taking care to whisper quietly.
River (whispering): S-she was a-affected by some kind of m-mysterious artifact she was s-safeguarding… Mr. Winterborn helped to r-regain her senses, but she is feeling w-weak…
Enrad Daelborn grows dark red, his countenance stormy for a moment without saying anything.
River (whispering): It may take some t-time before she is w-well again… Perhaps you c-could watch her until she is w-well again?
Clearly the dwarf is coming to grips with something, before he takes a deep breath and attempts to calm himself. “This is all Quin’s fault! I KNEW that Mara was getting into bed with trouble when those two got together! Its the kind of thing you tell people over and over and over again – do they listen? No. What do I know? Im just an old man who knows nothing about the ways of the world and the dreams of little girls. Fie!”
Xila sings a song about peeling potatoes as she works.. to liven the mood.
Xila stops peeling.
Xila: What’s Quinns fault?
Enrad Daelborn: Not Quinn – Quin – Telquine.
River: P-perhaps… but we can only change w-what is to come, not what already h-has happened…
River: Please, will you h-help?
Enrad Daelborn slaps a thick roast onto the grates, clearly aggravated. “Yes – I’ll look after Mara. How have you remedied her affliction?”
River: We were a-able to nullify the a-artifact with the help of a-another…
Xila: Ooooh! That makes sense.
Xila: Ok, back to peeling
Xila: Peeling potaotes, Peeling potatoes
River: B-but we fear this is what the recent attacks are s-seeking to find.
Enrad Daelborn: The attacks have been increasing recently, and there have been an influx of ‘unusual’ persons through town recently. Could be some of them. But it seems more coordinated and less haphazard. I’d guess slavers, but then again, I blame quite a bit on them.
River: Do you k-know where th-they are heading? Or…. should we s-search on our o-own?
Enrad Daelborn: There were a few individuals that came in the day before yesterday, but I think they’ve moved on since then. No one’s really come through since you’ve arrived. My guess would be that they are heading towards Elmwood from the east, as the attacks have been moving steadily westward.
River: W-well… it’s better than n-nothing… Thank you.
Xila finishes peeling the potatoes
Xila: So! Lunchtime?
Enrad Daelborn: Got to cook them first, unless you like raw potatoes.
Xila: Awww
Enrad Daelborn: Whats your plans then, to just wander the woods, looking for trouble?
Hudson frowns.
Xila: Ok, so, hunt bad guys, eat after right?
Xila: Potatoes will be cooked by then yeah?
Enrad Daelborn: Thats generally a bad idea in the elven forest – people dont tend to like it, and you’re as likely to stumble into trouble are you are to find it. Why do you think the attacks are related to this – magical doodad?
River: It’s……the Sihedron…. Or a piece of it.
Enrad Daelborn looks confused. “Ok. not sure what that is. You said Quin’s involved Mara – that means they have some bits of Shade magic then?”
Enrad Daelborn: If the shades are involved, then likely its Zhent mercs killing and hurting peoples. Likely hired outta Mulmaster. That said, those idiots arent very good at hiding their trails, and the guard aint found much to go on yet, That means this get is sneaky, methodical and likelt manical. Best be careful. Unless you know of someone thats seen these men, I doubt you’ll be able to track them down.
River: If n-not… I feel they will track us instead. We will have to b-be on guard…
Hudson: Better to at least try and get them on the backfoot.
Enrad Daelborn: Then perhaps you set the trap instead? Not sure how though. But sounds like poking around isnt going to be fruitful. Perhaps running away and hiding? That might prevent innocents from being killed.
Xila: But… I like poking around.
Xila: Although I also like hiding.. and stabing people after hiding.
Enrad Daelborn: You murdered those potatoes… I’ll have to peel more so theres some to eat
Hudson: If this is drawing people to us, we should go away from innocents.
River: Exactly. We will have to e-end this one way or a-another…
Hudson: Okay. So, we can either go pick a spot for an ambush, or just head out of town and pursue… the other thing, and let them come to us too.
Enrad Daelborn: Perhaps it will work itself out, but I would plan your route carefully, collateral damage will not be light
Izual: We could always look for the other ones.
A loud thunderclap ruins the relative silence of the city in the morning. Several smaller staccatos ring out in response, the mini explosions rocking the ground and the dwarf’s relative calm. “That sounds like the guards arcane bows. But what could be attacking the city?”
Xila snaps to attention.
Xila: Sounds like trouble, we should go check it out
Hudson nods
River: … I have a b-bad feeling about this…
Another blast rocks the ground and a black cloud of billowing smoke comes from the southern edge of the city,
Enrad Daelborn: Might be a good idea to go check on Mara. Im going to lock things up here.
Enrad Daelborn quickly starts gathering up the items off the table to take them inside.
Hudson looks at the group. “We’re going right?”
Xila nods
River: I….I-If we must…
Hudson starts rushing.
Xila: It’ll be fun! Just think of all the bad guys to poke with a dagger.l
Xila heads off.
Several more explosions and smaller black clouds of smoke billow from the wooden walls of the city as you meander back through the city towards the temple. Luckily, it seems that most of the city guard was already mobilized, and you note that teams of acolytes move towards the walls, medical kits in hand. It seems that whatever is happening involves most of the city’s resources.
Several small groups of guardsmen rush from the western most areas of the city back to the east and south. A few isolated druids and hedgemages also accompany the city guard, busily consulting tomes and scrolls as they do so. You come to the temple, to find Priestess Moonray delegating small groups of acolytes and initiates to areas of the city on a small map set up on the large table outside. A steady flow of wounded come into the temple to be tended by awaiting priests.
Hudson: What’s happening? Where can we help?
Alamarayne Moonray flips a strand of hair from her face, “I dont even know fully It seems that the city is being attacked from several places by groups of well armed soldiers and mages. The city guard has answered, but we are taking losses at a greater rate than we can inflict them.”
Alamarayne Moonray: I cant keep this area organized and tend to the wounded at the other end of the city. You have someone skilled in healing among you, yes?
River: Y-yes… I can a-assist if n-need be…
Xila: And I can assist with stabbing! That’s always fun.
Alamarayne Moonray: Good – please go to the western end of the city – in the bazaar there is a large infirmary – a big white building with the crescent moon upon it – and attend to the woudned there. The acolytes can do the heavy lifting, but they need organization. Can you do this?
River: Y-yes. We m-must hurry.
Hudson nods sharply, and starts moving, hand on his hammer at all times.
Xila: Wait, we’re just gonna hang out with a bunch of injured people and not stab bad guys? That’s no fun.
Hudson: We can keep guard of the place Xila. As a second line of defence.
Xila: Well.. As long as I get to stab someone.
Xila pouts
Xila begins heading off to the infirmary.
Winding through the streets, you find you hear the loud thump of explosions less frequently than on your journey to the temple, however you can occasionally hear someone scream aloud, though you never come across these people. You way is made slowly, as you aren’t entirely sure where the infirmary is, other than a vague direction. The wide paved streets give way to narrower cobbled streets, where the buildings are more packed together and the buildings less robust.
Coming down the main road, you believe that you catch sight of the infirmary or at least a very large white building, a few block down. Turning down what you believe is the correct street, you are greeted with at grizzly scene. Two acolytes lie in the middle of a crossroads, a bright swath of crimson painting the cobbles stones between them. A group of men and women are scatted among the bodies, chief among them a large bald man with a blood slicked greatsword.
River: T-they’ve already b-broken through the western w-wall?
Hudson reaches into his bag of holding, and grabs the Onyx God ready.
Xila readies her dagger
Xila: Yay, things to stab!
Moro growls and readies to initate combat… with her teeth.
Xila: I haven’t stabbed a bad guy for a while, getting antsy.
A mass of bones picks itself up from the ground, where a person once stood. The bald man turns and laughs aloud looking in your direction, “Looks like more fodder, Vilki.”
Xila: But… we’re not food.
Xila: We’re people
Quinn Winterborn: He’s raising undead from the townsfolk! Stop!
Izual: Be careful. We don’t know what’s lurking around.
Xila steps behind the wall for cover.
[TURN] Quinn Winterborn
From Xila’s vantage point, she sees another skeleton down the alleyway
Xila: We got another one
Xila points to the alleyway
Quinn Winterborn conjures a cloud of daggers to pierce the skeleton in the alleyway!
Several skeletons emerge from around the buildings corners and begin to move towards you, guided by an unseen hand.
Quinn Winterborn: They fall over pretty easily… I can mop them up pretty quickly.
The tiefling moves forward, whisps of smoke and fire streaming from his hands as he does so. He stops abruptly and hurls a globule of smoking brimstone at Xila.
Vilkins: Blast! The damned bones are in the way, Charl!
WarMage Minos: Its fine, you upstart savant. Leave this to the professonals.
A black cloud of vaoprs bursts into being in the middle of the group, the choking cloud cutting off your fresh air and filling your lungs with poison.
River chokes and wavers as black vapors surround her and her allies.
Xila looks at the dog Hudson threw
Xila: Doggy!
Hudson: His name is Remus!
Hudson grins at Xila.
Moro growls and jumps into Izual’s frame, disappearing and alighting the gith’s eyes with a silver fire!
Moro suddenly reappears right in front of the two enemy wizards, baring her teeth with vengeance!
WarMage Minos flinches as the massive arrow lances into him.
A woman goblinoid steps from one of the buidlings, moving your way. Large stylized images of a black gauntlet held upright are present on her garb and armor.
Blackhand Thvim: NO QUARTER!
At her cry, the skeleton strikes at the onyx dog.
Zealot Charles rushes forward in a blur of motion.
Zealot Charles slams into the dog full force with his blade, the hit sending Remus staggering backwards nearly 15’.
Zealot Charles points at Hudson. “You die next!”
Hudson: After you.
A slim, familiar man steps from the farthest building, he steps towards the dead men in the street and murmurs something, casting a spell.
River gasps as the man reveals himself. “W-what? N-no, this c-can’t be…”
Xila pokes around the corner.
Xila: Hiya!
Xila shifts away after the attack
Quinn Winterborn rolls back the sleeves of his robes… and lobs a single bead of white light into the street….. which explodes into a sheet of fire!
Vilkins: Heh. professional my ass.
Quinn Winterborn dodges, grinning
Moro turns back to try helping the rest of the party by harrying the bald warrior.
River then pulls out a banner from her pack, planting it in the city street.
River: Be strong, Mr. A-Aydar! Persevere!
River prays for hope…. and fire springs forth around Hudson in a protective circle.
Tal Montez: Its her! Miss Sangria, your presence is requested in Suzail. I beg that you come peacefully, otherwise I will be forced to dirty my hands.
River: I-I… I don’t know what you’re t-talking about…
Tal Montez: You know exactly what I am talking about.
Izual lets loose a flaming arrow, straight at the man who rounded the corner.
Tal Montez laughs.
Blackhand Thvim: Charles, you first.
Blackhand Thvim: You’re out of range again Charles. Minion – strike true!
Tal Montez touches the ground once more, drawing ebony energy into his hand, as the body of the other acolyte begins to rise..
Tal Montez: A shame. I will have to sunder it then.
Moro shrugs off the magical missile with a bit of effort to keep her form.
Xila moves past Khal Drogo to get to Thvim
Xila: Hi! Since you’re near Moro, guess you’re the one I kill
Xila: Don’t you feel all warm inside?
Blackhand Thvim: You are nothing, halfling.
Xila: Tell that to my dagger!
Quinn Winterborn points his staff at the ground, and mutters words of power
Xila dodges the skeletons attack effortlessly, without even turning around.
Moro moves to get the proper vantage point from within the mass battle… and howls!
Xila just stabs Thvim more
Izual ’s bow glows with a firey red… and he aims it at Xila.
Izual: Xila, incoming!
Izual ’s arrow explodes in a fiery blast, setting flame to multiple of his foes.
Xila hops out of the way as the arrow comes charging towards her.
Zealot Charles swings…
and then swings again
Charley APs
Blackhand Thvim: Charles… end this
Xila shakes off the fear caused by Thvim.
Xila: Ha! Takes more then that to scare me
Tal Montez: I warned you. This pain is your fault.
Xila lets lose a torrent of blows, aiming for the targets eyes

Chat log started at 5.10.2016 / 13:44:35

Last time on HBC – the heroes found out some information concerning the shards from the Innkeeper, but when they went back to follow up on some more leads, a fight broke out from outside the city that resulted in some major assault of the city itself. Sent to help out at the other infirmary across town, the group came across some baddies and the resulting sequence has caught them up in a fierce fight for survival!
Explosions of fire flash among the heroes, but none close enough to leave a lasting impression.
Moro dives into Hudson’s body, invigorating him with FURY.

Izual levels his bow at the blind Thvim….
Izual closes his eyes…. and wills the arrow to fly forth towards the backline!
Izual: …You three are next.
Zealot Charles stands up.
Tal Montez: And now we end this charade.
River: Nnngh…. n-no….
Quinn Winterborn: River!?
Hudson: What’s wrong?
Xila: River?
Tal raises his hands and grabs and twists the aethyr around him, causing brillant white sparks to spit from his hands. As he does so, you hear the distant wail of a white wolf as Tal makes a tearing motion and breaks “something” in half. River falls to the ground unconscious.
Quinn Winterborn: River!!
Izual: …That was not a happy sound…
Xila: RIVER!!
Tal Montez: I warned you. Even gave you a chance to come quietly. But no, you acted a fool.
Hudson: You will die. Painfully!
Tal Montez: Enough, cur.
Izual pauses and widens his eyes as recognition washes over him.
Izual: …He severs the connection… but how?
Quinn Winterborn: If words matter, FRIEND, then heed this warning – hurt my friends, and there will be no escape from my magic….
Izual: We must take them down quickly!
Xila turns around and charges Tal
Hudson points at the other enemies. “You’re next,”
Zealot Charles swings his sword in a frantic arc as Hudson’s hammer crashes into him, catching the warden and his hound off guard.
Izual takes a firm grip onto Hudson’s arm and STRAAAAAAAINS to drag him out of harms way.
Hudson looks confused.
Izual: I shall not have you strike down my friend!
Tal Montez: Away from me, halfling welp.
Xila: Well that wasn’t very nice
Xila: I just wanted to stab you, is that so much to ask?
Tal Montez points to the dead body of Zealot Charles. “Arise, Charles. Be of more use now, than you were in life.”
Xila stands and dusts herself off
Quinn Winterborn: His protection just faded. Hit him now, Xila!
Xila: Ok!
Xila Aims her dagger right at Tal, and throws it, then calls it back to throw again a split second later.
Xila then throws her dagger for a third time.
Xila: That’s for hurting my friends you jerk!
Tal Montez: I will put you in a cage and feed you to the carrion birds, child.
Quinn Winterborn: Words, words, words.
?: Outta the way, ma’am. Heroic entrance, comin’ through.
Quinn Winterborn: Who are you calling ma’am?
steps through the alleyway and poses heroically.
?: Stand and deliver, Evildo-
: ….Wait, what happened to everyone?
Tal Montez: Who are you?
Xila: Oooh, whose the friend Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: I…uh…
???: No matter! STAND AND DELIVER EVILDOER. The HIGHWAYMAN demands his due!
Quinn Winterborn looks at the stranger pointedly
Xila: That’s not fair, he has a cool pose. I want a cool pose.
Xila tries to make a cool pose
Highwayman: Y’know, I was expecting a fair fight. Not sporting attacking women.
A cloud of dark vapors pool around Tal’s feet, granting him rapid healing to his wounds.
Tal Montez: Diee…ee… alo..nne…
Xila completely ignores the skeleton nipping at her and heads to strike Tal
Highwayman: Don’t worry, citizens. You are SAFE with the Highwayman at your side!
Xila guides her strike just right.
Xila follows up with a slash at his legs
Highwayman: Stand back, ma’am. We can’t have y-
Highwayman: OH GOD YOU’RE A MAN
Quinn Winterborn shouts “finish him, I’ll protect the others”
Highwayman shakes off his revelation and turns toward Tal Montez.
Quinn Winterborn holds his staff at ready
Highwayman: Anyways, prepare for judgement, criminal scum!
Highwayman: For I am the shadow that stalks you in the night~ I am the boot that kicks the butt of evil~ I am the HIGHWAYMAN!
Highwayman poses once again for good measure.
Xila just turns away from Tal and stares at Highwayman
Quinn Winterborn mutters if Xila swoons…..
Xila: No fair, I want a cool speech.
Xila: I am the one who stabs people in the belly, I am the halfling that never rests until every gold coin is hers! I am XILA!
Highwayman: ….Wait, you’re a criminal too?
Xila: Oh I only stab bad people.
Quinn Winterborn: Smooth…..
Xila: Huh? I’m not evildoer, I’m xila.
Xila points to Tal
Xila: He’s evildoer.
Hudson: Xila is just an annoyancedoer.
Xila: Yup!
Xila: I mean.. heeey
Highwayman: …I’ll withhold judgement against the short one for now. BUT YOU! You shall not escape your fate.
Xila: ..Short one? is that a short joke?
Hudson: …. he means the necromancer right?
Hudson throws his hands out, and eyes turn solid white.
Hudson: You’re going to bleed for me!
Highwayman: Hold on. Lemme get my music box.
Highwayman turns a small key on the side of his belt…. and a hymn begins to play.
Highwayman: Right then. FOR GREAT JUSTICE!
Highwayman charges forth recklessly!
As you strike at Tal, a wasp of dark energy steals your life force.
Highwayman lands a sharp blow, and leaves a parting shot of light into the necromancer’s eyes.
Highwayman: HAH. THIS is a fight!
Highwayman: Come at me, evildoer! Show me that your magic isn’t mere parlor tricks!
Tal Montez eyes flicker with dark energy, as he struggles against the magics of the others. Still, he points a finger at Izual and whispers, “Break.”
Izual gurgles a cry of indescribable pain and falls to his knees.
Xila: Ok, now I’m mad.
Xila: Although I was mad before
Xila: But now I’m madder
Xila steps forward and stabs Tal Montez
Highwayman: Focus your attention on me or be JUDGED FOR YOUR WEAKNESS!
Highwayman bravely runs away around the corner.
Highwayman: That did not do as much as I had hoped it would.
Xila moves downwards and throws her dagger
Quinn Winterborn flicks away the skeleton’s claw with a grin
Highwayman: I shall not go quietly in the night! JUSTICE SHALL PREVAIL!
Highwayman valiantly charges once more!
Tal Montez runs away.
Highwayman: Stop…. Ow my head…
Xila follows after Tal
Highwayman: In a moment! Hero… busy trying to find his feet…
Highwayman takes a bit of a breather.
Quinn Winterborn: I already told you, there is no escape from my magic
Xila stands up.
Xila: Peekaboo!
Xila throws a dagger around the corner.

Highwayman moves up and pats himself on the back for encouragement.
Highwayman: THERE YOU ARE, Evildoer!
Highwayman: Trying to escape me, eh?
Highwayman: A HA! Your feeble attack does NOTHING to faze me.
Tal Montez: Eight of you couldnt kill me,… this is your deaths.
Highwayman: Big words for a peddler of sin!
Highwayman: FALL BEFORE THE-
Tal Montez finishes his comment, only to catch a dagger in the throat and a swirling cloud of magic slicing into his flesh. The man falls to the ground in a heap, numerous trinkets falling from his body as it lies in the alley.
Quinn Winterborn: THERE
Quinn Winterborn: IS
Quinn Winterborn: NO
Quinn Winterborn: ESCAPE
Quinn Winterborn: FROM
Quinn Winterborn: MY
Quinn Winterborn: MAGIC
Quinn Winterborn take a deep breath then lets it out in a puff
Remus rushes to River’s limp form.
Highwayman: ….Aw man. Had a big speech and everything, too.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson, we got him. Check on River and Izual!!
Xila: Serves ya right!
Highwayman turns off his music-box.
Highwayman: No need to thank me civ- wait, where are you going?
Xila loots the body
Highwayman: Where’s my recognition?
Xila: Oh err, thanks for helping us, we totally had it under control though.
Xila returns to looting
Izual and River are unconscious, breathing, but unresponsive.
Highwayman: Really? I thought wizard boy was gonna pop a blood vessel for a second.
Highwayman begins to drag the dead body back to the alleyway with the others.
Quinn Winterborn ignores the Highwayman
Xila stops him
Xila: My loot
Hudson picks up River carefully.
Highwayman: Loot?
Hudson: Grab the Loot for later. We need to get to a healer.
Xila: Yeah, the goodies this guy has on him. I’m sure he’s got some nice stuff.
Highwayman: Whatever, little lady. I’ve got to account for any dead.
Highwayman: You can get your ‘loot’ later.
Xila: Nope, gonna get it now.
Xila finishes looting, then leaves the body for Highwayman to take care of and returns to river.
Xila: Ok, done now.
Highwayman: Sheesh. Scavvers.
Highwayman takes out a small list of paper and does his business as the others take account for their fallen comrades.
Xila finds a lot of gold coins, magic plate, magic gauntlets, a magical orb, some potions and a weird looking coppery shard.
Quinn Winterborn perks up
Xila: Hey Quinn here.
Xila drops the magic stuff on the ground and pockets the gold.
Highwayman: This will do for ‘Services Rendered’…
Highwayman: Right. Now then…
Highwayman: Well, then. That’s…. what, four…. and three…
Highwayman: Right then.
Highwayman turns to the party, carefully putting away his things.
Highwayman: I suppose you’re still in a bit of a pickle, what with two of your number in their current predicament.
Highwayman: FEAR NOT!
Highwayman poses heroically.
Highwayman: I, the magnanimous Crimson Crusader shall assist you and bring you to safety!
Quinn Winterborn eyes Xila warily
Xila: Nah, we don’t need to be brought to safety
Xila: Thanks for the offer though
Xila heads over to river and shakes her.
Xila: Come on River, wake up! Stop sleeping, we have places to be
Xila: If you don’t wake up… I’ll stab you till you do!
Quinn Winterborn pushes Xila gently but firmly awa from River
Highwayman: River? What an intriguing name.
Quinn Winterborn: Some healer you are
Neither River or Izual awaken when “messed with”
Quinn Winterborn: Carry them back to the temple?
Highwayman: My, she’s a tiny sort. Almost as small as the kid.
Highwayman: And th- Ewwww.
Highwayman: I mean, well. Um…. What an intriguing …specimen…..
Quinn Winterborn: That
Quinn Winterborn: …is our friend
Quinn Winterborn picks up Izual
Xila hops over to River and.. dispite her size, manages to pick up river with ease.
Xila: So, lets go
Xila: If she wont wake up, I’ll just take her with us
Highwayman: RIGHT. I, the Defender of Faerûn, shall lead you to safety! THIS WAY!
Xila heads off ignoring Highwayman
Quinn Winterborn follows Xila, slowly
Highwayman: And try not to get any more blood on the streets. This place is hard to tidy up enough as it is.
Quinn Winterborn: So, Xila, someone you met….last night?
Xila: Huh? Oh no
Xila: Never seen him before, he acts kinda funny.
Xila: Cool pose and speeches though.
Quinn Winterborn: Hmm. You seemed…. oh never mind
Highwayman: What? You’ve never heard of the Highwayman?
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, by the way, thanks for your help.
Quinn Winterborn keeps walking
Highwayman: The Bane of Tyranny? The Crimson Crusader?
Highwayman: Come on. You had to have heard of me SOMEWHERE.
Xila: ..Nope
Xila: Not a clue
Quinn Winterborn: Wait, are you the Mauve Maurauder, by any chance?
Highwayman looks as if the wind was completely taken out of his sails.
The sounds of fighting are heard well off in the distance, likely still at the walls, but not in your immediate area. You continue through the alleyways and within a few labored minutes, find yourself at the infirmary that you were sent too. Unfortunately, the building has been gutted. Dark whorls of smoke and soot stain the outer walls, and the inside of the building is burnt beyond recognition. The bodies of a handful of city guard lie intertwined with the masses of bones similar to the skeletons that you fought recently. A quick search finds a few scraps of cloth that match the cloaks of the Warmage Minos that you dispatched.
Highwayman: …Well, looks like the infirmary didn’t last too long without my help.
Xila: Aww, I was hoping for a nice bed to rest in. River’s sleeping so I thought I would join her.
Highwayman thinks to himself, as he formulates a plan.
Quinn Winterborn swears softly
Xila: So, what now?
Xila: Nothing to guard here but bones and dust.
Quinn Winterborn: Hey alley guy, do you recognize these cloaks?
Highwayman: It’s the HIGHWAYMAN, thankyouverymuch.
Xila: Ugh, I cant keep calling you that.
Xila: Too long
Quinn Winterborn: He also goes by red rover, I think
Quinn Winterborn: try that
Xila: How about… Bane?
Xila: Bane is nice a short.
Xila: And you did say you were the bane of tyranny
Highwayman: Well, it’s wordplay. Bane’s a god of tyranny. I’m the Bane of —
Highwayman: REGARDLESS
Highwayman: I’ve seen these cloaks on the outskirts of town, but really, it’s obvious they’re behind the attack.
Highwayman: Hm… Who sent you out here, anyways? You aren’t just some commoners from around here, I’d wager.
Xila: Nope, we’re adventurers.
Quinn Winterborn: She’s the Blue Brigand
Xila: Princess Moony sent us here.
Quinn Winterborn giggles
Highwayman: A fellow vigilante she clearly isn’t.
Xila: Vigi.. Vigilante? What’s that?
Highwayman: Regardless, I would have a word with your ‘Princess Moony’. She may have an idea for my assistance to save the town.
Highwayman: Where is she, by-the-by?
Xila: Oh, probably at the temple.
Highwayman: Right then. TO THE TEMPLE!
Xila: But we just came from there
Xila: That’s boring.
Hudson: Are you planning on carrying the bodies of our friends back through the battleground too?
Highwayman: Of course! What kind of hero would leave the fallen behind?
Highwayman: I’ll pick up the green fellow, since you all seem rather attached to the lady.
Highwayman: Hm. What an interesting banner.
Highwayman plucks the banner of the Lost light from the ground.
Highwayman: I take it this is yours?
Quinn Winterborn: River’s, yes.
Highwayman: I see. She must be dear to you all, judging how you fawn over the lass.
Warren (Quinn Winterborn): should I take the second shard as well, then?
Hudson: I suggest you don’t treat this with your seemingly usual amount of mockery.
Highwayman: Nay, good sir. I save my sharp tongue for those deserving of it.
Highwayman: Take heart! I shall watch over this banner of yours with the delicacy of a flower in bloom!
beyond that minute
Highwayman: …Interesting insignia. Some kind of a star on a black background?
Xila: I mean I have frost daggers so the damage type thing is useless
Highwayman: Hm…. I think…
Highwayman: Yes. I think I recall seeing you about the town earlier. Chatting up the locals and such?

Chat log started at 12.10.2016 / 17:03:48

Last time on Hangman’s Body Count, the heroes continued in a pitched battle against Tal Montez and his handful of henchmen. His magics were twisted in a way that the group had not seen before, and with a single minded focus, the villain sundered the bonds between the primal spirits that gave most in the group their powers. Both Izual and River fell victim to the spell, and both fell unconscious. Luck, however, was on their side, as another brave civilian entered the fray, helping to thwart the villians before much more carnage was had.
It was not all celebration in the end, as the group found out that there were unable to revive the two unconscious members of their group, and in the end, the infirmary that they were to support during the battle was gutted – the sick and infirm slaughtered and the building itself left a smoking husk. Dejected, the group, with their new plus one, headed back to the Temple of Selune to see if the High Priestess could make some sense of the malady affecting their comrades. During the trek back across the city, the sounds of battle silence, leaving only the erie wailing of the injured and dying wafting among the buildings…
Highwayman: THIS way, civilians! I think I see the temple over— Wait, no…. just another tall complex.
Highwayman: There’s a surprising amount of tall buildings around here.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe I should lead
Hudson: Maybe you’re just very short.
Highwayman: Well, be careful with the green one too. I know you guys are attached to your girlfriend and all, but she’s not the only wounded.
Hudson glares.
You track back to the temple easily enough, as it seems that nearly all traffic is heading in that direction. Streams of wounded move towards the temple while those that are bandaged hobble back towards their homes. You find the quirky dwarf, Enrad tending to a group of soldiers near the rear of the temple as you approach.
Quinn Winterborn: Some help over here?
Highwayman: You there, dwarf! We’ve more wounded for you to tend!
Enrad Daelborn turns at the sound of your voice, clearly shocked to see you appear from around the corner. “I thought Mara sent you to the market?”
Highwayman: I…. WOW, I don’t even know what to say to that.
Enrad Daelborn: Well, what happened? Set them down on the bower over there and I’ll see what I can do. Great with gut and a needle, but they dont appear to be wounded.
Highwayman: Well, they’re not waking up. Looks wounded to me.
Enrad Daelborn: Perhaps you’d like me to sew up their nostrils then?
Quinn Winterborn: They fell victims to a curse of some sort.
Highwayman: I’d be careful with the wordplay. The big one doesn’t appreciate a good jab.
Hudson continues to glare.
Enrad Daelborn shakes his head and bellows in an elven-dawrfy kind of manner, “HARL! GET MARA OUT HERE! MORE BAD NEWS!”
Enrad Daelborn: So… what… happened?
Hudson: We already killed the people that did it. A group with dark magic.
Hudson looks to Quinn to continue.
Quinn Winterborn: They wore interesting garb. The curse seemed to feel the two of them with nary a wound. They just screamed and fell where they stood
Highwayman: It was a most heinious act of EVIL, attacking a woman and…. whatever he is. BUT HEINIOUS NONETHELESS.
Quinn Winterborn: It wasn’t arcane magic, I can tell you that.
Highwayman: Thankfully, I was nearby to assist aid.
Highwayman poses heroically.
Hudson: Moro vanished from the field when it hit. I don’t know if that means anything.
Highwayman: …Moro? Some other rapscallion is in danger?
Enrad Daelborn feels around the head and neck of the two unconscious ones, grunting softly. “This is beyond my ken.” He settles for a moment. “Smelling salts?”
Quinn Winterborn: Hm yes this is true. I would imagine that it would take a very specific kind of magic to sever a shaman and her familiar
Quinn Winterborn turns to the HIghwayman
Quinn Winterborn: Did you just use the word rapscallion??
Hudson hesitantly tries reaching out for Moro with his mind.
Highwayman: What? It’s a word.
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head sadly
A few more moments pass, Enrad puts you to work helping bandaging others and fetching water while he works. After several attempts at reviving the pair, he wipes his hands on his breeches and walks off muttering “I cant do anything for them, but I got lots dying aorund here. Mara’ll be here shortly – bet she can help.”
Quinn Winterborn: I pray to Amaunator that you are right, friend.
Ten minutes later, the high priestess arrives, a half dozen acolytes and attendants rushing around here and there. She dismisses them as she comes closer, seeing the forms of River and Izual laid out on the ground.
Hudson: Please. Tell me you can do something.
Alamarayne Moonray: I take it you were not successful.
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: No.
Highwayman: You must be the high priestess.
Quinn Winterborn: Let her work, man.
Highwayman: Sorry, sorry. I’ve just got more on my mind.
Alamarayne Moonray kneels down and feels around with delicate fingertips, probing and proding, attempting to find the extent of the issue. “You said this was a curse of somekind?”
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, priestess, I did not discern the nature of the curse, but it acted very much like one
Alamarayne Moonray frowns. “This is some kind of magic that Ive not seen before, but have read about… maybe. Who was the assailant? What did he look like… and sound like.”
Quinn Winterborn offers a quick, though not observant, description.
Highwayman: He was a cruel and rather talkative villain! Long chin, fancy mustache. Had EVIL written all over him.
Hudson: They could summon and control the dead
Highwayman: Stubborn to the end, no less.
Highwayman: But they could not best the HIGHWAYMAN~
Highwayman poses proudly to everyone’s chagrin.
Quinn Winterborn: VERY arrogant.
Alamarayne Moonray: Clearly not Zhent… but the dead? That does not bode well. Dusky skin and a smooth pate could very well be Thayan, the magic is one Ive read about being used against the Witches of Rashemen in eons past. I… I dont know that I can do anything.
Highwayman: Then all we can do is wait, and see if fortune favors them.
Quinn Winterborn gasps in dismay
Alamarayne Moonray looks very frustrated. “Time, perhaps could mend them – but the magic sunders their connection to the spirits themselves – akin to turning one inside out, stripping them of all they are.”
Hudson stares blankly at hids two friends.
Highwayman: Nngh. Sounds grisly.
Alamarayne Moonray: Its likely thats why the wolf spirit disapated.
Hudson: Moro. His name was Moro.
Alamarayne Moonray: But why would such a powerful creature journey to Elmwood?
Quinn Winterborn crouches down and holds Izual’s hand.
Quinn Winterborn: You know why, Priestess.
Alamarayne Moonray: What is that supposed to mean?
Highwayman: Regardless, it is CLEAR this town is in need of heroes.
Highwayman: I ‘HUMBLY’ offer my services to aid you in your time of need, High Priestess.
Quinn Winterborn does not respond
Highwayman bows low in regards to the Priestess.
Alamarayne Moonray spreads her hands wide. “What could you offer in this time of disaster?”
Quinn Winterborn makes sure his pack is securely fastened
Highwayman: Have you not heard of me?
Highwayman: I am the shadow that stalks evil in the night~
Hudson: Are there anymore attackers in the city?
Hudson completely ignores Highwayman
Alamarayne Moonray: I dont believe so, but the wounded are trickling in from all over. We have not yet heard from the battalions that were outside of the city, at least that I am aware of.
Alamarayne Moonray stops for a second and turns back to Quinn. “Do you mean to say that man was coming for the… item?”
Highwayman: …These villains are after something?
Alamarayne Moonray: Its not out of the question. Quine was sure that they were onto something with the artifact. I assume you still have it then?
Quinn Winterborn nods
Alamarayne Moonray bites her lip fiercely. “So… is it your thought that perhaps if we remove it from the city, this… rediculousness will stop?”
Hudson: What do we do with….
Hudson: if we’re leaving, what happens to River and Izual?
Quinn Winterborn: Sadly, yes to both
The priestess directs several people to take Izual and River inside, and take them to her private quarters. “I will cast a few more divinations this evening once I’ve calmed the populace down a bit to see if I am correct. I can look after them until I can discern how to… fix them. I think it might be in your best interest to leave her for the immediate future – and perhaps determine if the other pieces of the Sihedron are in the hands of the Netherese or Zhentarim. Neither would bode well for people in this area.”
Quinn Winterborn looks down at his two friends, takes a long breath, and sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Well, where to?
Alamarayne Moonray: Enrad and I spoke of the statue that we observed in working with the item. He thinks it might be a Netherese tower left by the MageLord from ages past. He thinks it located in the Flooded Forest. I am not familar with the place, unfortunately. The four of you could likely use some additional assistance, as you are down two people. I have requested one of my more trustworthy associates to attend me – and perhaps he can fill out your party in the interim?
Highwayman: FINALLY some recognition.
Highwayman: I shall show you all, the HIGHWAYMAN shall be a hero this night!
Highwayman: I shall not let you down, m’lady. This mission of whatever you speak shall succeed! ….whatever it is.
Hudson looks at Quinn in disbelief.
Alamarayne Moonray tugs out a weathered parchment with a charcoal sketch upon it. “Here.”
Highwayman snatches the parchment before the others can nab it.
Highwayman: Hm… He’s…. a rather friendly sort, from the looks of it.
Alamarayne Moonray: We thought it to be a statue, but if Enrad is to be believed it is a tower built in the MageLords likeness… a summer home, if you will.
Alamarayne Moonray: Her territory did span this area when she ruled, so its not entirely out of the question.
Highwayman smiles, as sparks of insight flash through his eyes.
Highwayman: Ah…… I recall hearing songs of this place. Rather illustrious history.
Alamarayne Moonray smacks her forehead with an open palm. “You said that these shards could be used to track one another, right? Thats why they were attacking… they knew where the shard was… But that means that they have one as well…”
Highwayman: Not a place for the faint of heart, assuredly.
Alamarayne Moonray: The flooded forest is ripe with monsters. I dont image a tower in the center of that would be deserted.
Highwayman: All the more to inspire tales of my exploits!
Highwayman: Let us be off, post-haste!
Quinn Winterborn: Yes, they’re tracking our shards with shards of their own. Our magical attacker had a shard, that he doubtless used to find us
Alamarayne Moonray: I will make some arrangement to take you into the flats near the Flooded Forest. I know a merchant that owes me a favor. IN the mean time, perhaps you should rest and gather whatever supplies you need for the journey. I will send my associate to meet up with you in the morning before you leave. If you’re lucky I can get you transport by midday.
Alamarayne Moonray: You’re welcome to stay in the temple if youd like. Otherwise, Im sure that Enrad has some rooms.
Highwayman: Nngh. I’d rather sooner than later, but I suppose preparations are necessary.
Alamarayne Moonray: Theres simply too much for me to do before the morning. Theres still all the wounded to take care of.
Highwayman: Right. I shall be in the tavern, rooting out evil!
Highwayman boldly strides off to the tavern.
Alamarayne Moonray: Party taking extended rest.
The evening passes quickly, though the worry for your friends makes the time drag on. At the end of the evening, as Enrad finishes providing the suppertime meal, a large burnished looking dragonborn enters the tavern. Enrad nods to him, motioning to your group before tending to the cooking gear in the sink.
Zhek walks forward confidently to the table he was pointed to
Zhek: Zhek am I, Alamarayne suggested you might need my aid?
Highwayman: Ah…. You must be the associate she mentioned.
Quinn Winterborn offers a hand in greeting
Zhek glances at each member, sizing them up thoroughly in one quick, measured glance.
Zhek nods affirmatively
Zhek: Affirmative
Zhek: Work for her I have done
Hudson watches quietly.
Zhek points at an empty chair questioningly
Highwayman: Oh, sit, sit!
Highwayman pulls out the chair for the imposing dragonborn.
Zhek sits beside you, a tall dragonborn, heavily armored in service-worn, finely-made, black enameled scalemail and bearing a heavy black shield embossed with a silver dragons head. What you can see of his scales are bronze-gold, with the heart of each scale a burnished silver. A white tabard also emblazoned with the silver head, this time edged in dark gold filigree covers his front. A heavy bladed longsword is sheathed at his side, and his face is crisscrossed with battle scars. Looking closely you note a few missing scales. This dragonborn has been around for awhile.
Zhek: Who are you?
Highwayman: Right. Let me introduce myself…. for I am THE HIGHWAYMAN!
Zhek looks pointedly at the Highwayman
Zhek raises one brow-ridge
Highwayman: ….The Crimson Crusader?
Zhek: I….see
Zhek grunts
Highwayman: The Bane of Tyranny? Defender of Faerun?
Highwayman: Nothing ringing a bell?
Zhek points vaguely at the others as he speaks
Zhek: Need to work confidence you do
Hudson: Hudson.
Hudson nods.
Zhek nods to the burliest of the group amiably
Highwayman: It’s a little hard to get the word out when no one seems to listen for some strange reason.
Zhek looks at the wizardly looking one
Quinn Winterborn: Welcome. Any recommendation of Alamarayne’s is welcome.
Highwayman: Regardless, I am assisting these fine folks with their mission. At least, until their friends are able to return to their duties.
Zhek: Thank you I do
Zhek turns questioning eyes on them
Zhek: And what might that mission be? The Lady priestess gave me little to go on
Xila entertains herself by tossing knives at a plank and talking in hushed tones with Enrad, keeping away from the group.
Quinn Winterborn: It…might be better to discuss it out of town, away from prying ears? Let’s just say it has to do with the recent troubles here in town.
Zhek: And her…expeditions…have been getting a bit…stranger lately
Zhek nods
Zhek security, understood
Zhek: Security issues, understood
Highwayman: I’ve never been a fan of discretion, but they like their secrets.
Zhek: Time and place, my son
Zhek: Time and place
Highwayman: In any case, have you all your things? We leave for as soon as possible!
Highwayman: Heroism waits for no man!
Zhek: Ready am I
Zhek raises an eye at Hudson pointing at the Highwayman
Quinn Winterborn: Are you, perchance, from Tymanther, Zhek?
Zhek: Always this way is he?
Zhek brows lower looking over at the mage
Zhek: Aye, I have come from Tymanther….long ago
Quinn Winterborn chuckles
Quinn Winterborn: I come from Chessenta, and likely will not be back. Let’s not hold it against each other, shall we?
Quinn Winterborn offers a handshake again
Zhek grunts affirmatively
Zhek shakes the mages hand, carefully trying not to damage him in the process
Highwayman: Right then, my stalwart and stoic companions. We make…. for the Flooded Forest!
Zhek: Are you ready?
Highwayman: ALWAYS!
Zhek: Believe the Lady said something about providing transport to your group?
Highwayman: Naturally. Walking all the way there would take forever!
Quinn Winterborn: What’s your nickname again? The Mauve Maurauder? The Chicken Chef?
Zhek resists the urge to glare over at the Highwayman
Highwayman: All inventive names, but none quite as original as ‘The Highwayman’!
Zhek also resists the urge to smile at Quinn’s jest, though one corner of his mouth does quirk upward
Enrad Daelborn: Francis should pull in early in the morning, around dawn at the dock. He’ll come and pick up a few barrels of food and water before setting off.
Zhek chats with each individually on the voyage, getting a feel for their role in combat, asking questions that probe gently but with a solid confidence in each member – even the Highwayman
Zhek: An Evil to be avoided at all costs
Night falls on Elmwood and the cries of the day fall into a quiet and tense night. While the attackers broke off suddenly, the city soldiers could find no trace of them what so ever, nor did they find any bodies that were not dead. Sleep comes softly and uneasily, but come it does and before you know it dawn breaks with the obnoxious crowing of competing roosters on the rooftops. A thin man wearing threadbare sailcloth clothing enters and speaks for a brief minute with Enrad and grabs a bit of breakfast. Clearing out, he welcomes you to follow him, asking the largest men to wrangle the two water barrels to his ship. You set sail before he sun is completely up over the Moonsea and you tack back towards the river mouth. Two days of constant travel brings you to a large wide salt flat that Francis pulls along side, letting you know that this is your stop.
Highwayman looks over the glistening salt flat…. and his face souring.
The salt flat extends only about a 1/4 mile or so along the river, before the ground gives way to broken cedar and cyprus and the innane humming of all types of noxious insects, even in this late month, the humidity and warmth of rot is pervasive.
Highwayman: The den of evil is not too far now.
Quinn Winterborn: Fun place
Zhek nods for once in agreement with the noisy one
Quinn Winterborn swats a few bugs away idly
Warren (Quinn Winterborn): ooc
Zhek ignores the bugs for the most part.
Highwayman: Mark my words… The HIGHWAYMAN shall find this home to iniquity and strike the shadows of evil down! …Eventually.
Zhek: We must move on. Do we have further directions?
Highwayman: Naturally! Follow me!.
Quinn Winterborn: East
Zhek: Do we have a map that I might see?
Quinn Winterborn: And, if I could remind you, I am not to carry any more shards
Zhek: Or are we going on the bandit’s gut instincts
Highwayman: They’re not instincts if they’re not wrong!
Quinn Winterborn: We have some magical guidance, but a map or guide would help
Zhek: See we shall
Highwayman: Right then. THIS WAY. Mind the bugs!
Zhek grabs the highwayman by the shoulder before he can lead off
Highwayman: GHA~ Careful there, Muscley. I bruise easy.
Zhek looks at Hudson to see if he agrees with the direction the bandit was going
With the shard and the Highwayman’s innate understanding of the towers location, you are able to navigate the swamp relatively easily with Hudson’s guidance and occasional physical intervention is necessary to prevent Xila and Highwayman Jim from stepping into obvious dangers.
You travel until night begins to fall, still the shard leading your onwards, but it is near nightfall.
Zhek looks unapologetically at the Highwayman after grabbing his shoulder again to pull him safely from the bog
Zhek: Sorry for bruising
Hudson: Maybe some bruising will calm him down.
Zhek grins at Hudson
Zhek looks thoughtfully around, trying to determine if this would be a defensible campsite
Quinn Winterborn: Stop
Hudson stops instantly.
Highwayman: What is it? Danger afoot?
Quinn Winterborn: Camping would be wise, I think
Zhek: Agreed
Highwayman: Bah. If we must forestall Justice another night.
Hudson: Camping it is.
Zhek: Justice comes as it can, my son
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, Green Galavanter
After a little traipsing around, you believe that by climbing into the wide boughs of the cyprus here, you would be in quite a defendable and safe position. The ground is spongy here and nearly everything is damp.
Zhek looks at Quinn, then HWM
Zhek: What IS your name bandit?
Highwayman: Well, it’s not often I traipse about with the common folk on my journey to fight evil.
Zhek sighs theatrically
Zhek: Name?
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, setting watches?
Highwayman: IF it necessary, You may call me Dias Weaver. But NEVER in the public eye!
Highwayman: Also, inform my next of kin if it comes to it.
Zhek looks askance
Zhek: You have kin that claim you?
Quinn Winterborn offers a handshake to the Highwayman
Quinn Winterborn: Well met
Highwayman: Oh. Well, thank you.
Hudson nods
Highwayman takes Quinn’s hand and shakes heartily.
Highwayman: Aye. I’ve an uncle back home.
Zhek shakes head in amazement
Highwayman: Alas, my family is also my quest: TO RIGHT THE INJUSTICE OF THEIR TRAGIC DEATH.
Highwayman draws his blade in righteous fury.
Zhek ducks back in the tree, making sure he’s not slashed accidentally
Zhek: I will take whatever watch is left after you all have chosen, I am used to short rest naps
Highwayman: I suppose I shall take first watch. These eyes are used to the darkness of night.
Night falls swiftly in the humid swamp and the droning of insects does not cease with darkness. The first two watches go swiftly and quietly, nothing to be seen in the darkness of the canopy. Things move in the water, a splash here, a twig snapping there, but nothing close.
Zhek finds nothing on his watch, though as it near the end of his time, the swamp grows quiet, as if all the creatures had finally decided to go to sleep for the night.
Zhek mutters something in draconic about it being too quiet
Quinn, aware of the change in the atmosphere, as relayed by Zhek, keeps his eyes peeled and though he sees nothing, he can hear something(s) moving quickly through the undergrowth, clearly not interested in either stealth but only speed. The creature(s) pass nearby, but continue in the direction that you are planning to head at daybreak.
Getting down out of the trees in the morning, Quinn and Hudson find tracks that are strange and have a large webbed foot passing within 100’ of the campsite. The creatures that made these are now long gone.
Dias: Hm…. Intriguing.
Dias: Perhaps a giant frog? It’s not unlikely we have disturbed the local fauna.
Upon further examination, Quinn finds a javelin in the mud, the head bearing a clear stamping of Cormyrean steel.
Quinn Winterborn: It was either a predator or large – it seemed unconcerned about being noticed
Quinn Winterborn: Or, perhaps, something more…advanced than a mere animal?
Hudson: Did you see it?
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head
Zhek: The javelin points to that….and that it is well equiped for a primitive
Quinn Winterborn: My concern, of course, would be a mounted shard hunter. But I don’t know of anythign one can ride that makes that track
Zhek: Keep sharp. Let’s move out
Quinn Winterborn: Agree
Dias: Right. ONWARD!
Dias flourishes before being dragged about by Zhek once more.
Zhek grabs his shoulder again to slow him down, preventing him from stepping in another bog hole
Hudson shakes his head slowly and starts leading.
Zhek: I’ll try to do the other shoulder next time….it needs the workout too
Dias: Much appreciated, big guy.
Zhek: One moment….
Zhek bends a knee, then offers a prayer to Bahamut, asking for blessings on the party’s journey
Zhek rises
Zhek: We go
Three hours of slogging through the swamp, you come to a large clearing. Scattered upon the ground are obvious signs of carnage, and the vile reek of rot mixed with a pungent reptilian stink assaults the nostrils like a hammer’s blow. Buzzards wheel in the sky above while clouds of flies buzz below. At least three dozen decomposing humanoid bodies lie strewn across the ground here, reptilian and amphibian in form. The reptilian bodies have all been decapitated—the heads are nowhere in evidence.
Zhek: Careful
Zhek: They may still be here, look sharp
Dias: Hm. The battleground littered with dead. Methinks…. a tribal skirmish.
Zhek moves into the clearing warily
Hudson moves to back him up.
Quinn Winterborn: Check for more Cormyrian weapons?
Zhek grunts agreement
Dias: …Guh. Man. How long have they been here?
Zhek lets the other search, keeping his eyes moving around the periphery
Dias tries to fan the stench away from his nostrils.
You find numerous primitively made weapons – arrows, spears, clubs, etc. Among the dead amphibian creatures you find two Cormyrean javelins and a Zhentish handaxe.
Quinn Winterborn: This…bodes ill
You find the relatively fresh bodies are easy to tell from one another, as scale differ from rubbery skin. There are 6 amphibian creatures and 18 reptilian bodies – though no heads of the reptiles.
Dias: …I think civilization definitely tipped the scales in this battle.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Dias: Still… How did they get ahold of such arms?
You note that some of the blades are coated in a thick layer of filth.
Hudson: So, two tribal societies, and our quarry is arming one side over the other?
Hudson catches a glimpse of something metallic coming from underneath one of the reptilian bodies.
Dias: Either that, or perhaps they stole them. Hard to say.
Hudson gets one of the primitive weapon and uses it to move the body out of the way.
You find a gnarled talisman of somekind made of an old spoon, twigs and twine.
Hudson: hm..
Hudson: Well, that’s vaguely ominous.
Quinn Winterborn: Zhek, have a look at this talisman when you can. I think it resembles a demonic totem I once saw in a book, but I’m not certain….
Zhek shrugs noncommitally.
Hudson reaches into the bag of holding, and uses the tongs to gently put the talisman into a pouch, and then into the bag.
Dias: Huh? A talisman? A symbol of evil, no doubt.
Quinn Winterborn: I am filled with feelings of dread
Hudson: Might come up later. I’ll keep it safe.
Quinn Winterborn: Better you than me
Dias: Hm… Well, I can’t find anything else of note in this…. filth.
Dias: Shall we press ONWARD?
Hudson: I’ll carry the demonic iconography, and you carry the arcane death traps. Seems fair?
Hudson: I mean, i would have asked Izual but…
Hudson glances over his shoulder, remembers, and face goes flat.
Hudson: we should keep walking.
Quinn Winterborn: Yes
The battlefield gives way to more swamplands, and more slogging. You catch the occasional frogprints and headless lizardman corpse as you continue to walk.
Dias: ….Well, that’s one frogman that’s carrying a LOT of heads.
Near the beginning of evening you begin to see why this is called the flooded forest. You stay clear of the deepest places, but the crowns of trees that could have been 60’ tall emerge broken from the waters, as creatures unseen move through the water. The flat swamp gives way to small foothills the burst out of the water, and then give way to small lakes in between.
The footpath is nearly all that is solid at this point, and it winds through the flooded forest leading you towards the looming foothills, that break into a myriad of broken and crumbling clifftops that spill back into the water.
A wide cave entrance opens in the side of a rocky hillside here. The cave’s exterior shows clear signs of habitation, with much foot traffic in and out of the entrance, which has been barricaded crudely with mounds of brush and branches. The interior is dark, and a deeply unpleasant odor issues forth like the exhalation of some carrion-fed beast.
Dias: Well. This looks to be promising.
Dias: Wizard… does your divining direct us to that cave there?
Quinn Winterborn: I hope not. Please, a moment.
Quinn Winterborn fiddles with things
The black line is a barricade of bushes, branches, thorns, and junk.
The cavern mouth opening is 40’ at the top, but it slopes back. At the barricade its about 10’ high
Quinn Winterborn: This SEEMS like it.
Quinn Winterborn: There must be a way through if something lives here, and it obviously does
Quinn Winterborn: Traps?
Quinn Winterborn: I smell…somethign flammable…
Quinn Winterborn: Be careful…
Dias: Ngh.
Dias: Surprised you can smell anything here.
Dias: Something flammable, eh?
Quinn Winterborn nods, attention on the cave mouth
Hudson pulls out a 10 ft rod out of his bag of holding and looks to Quinn.
Hudson: should i poke it?
Dias: If it is what I think it is…. we could burn it down.
Dias: That would probably take a bit of time, though.
Dias: Hm…. Well, no bones about it. Tally-ho!
Hudson pokes at the shrugs.
Dias strides forward, ready to clamber through the brush and other junk.
Dias holds up a hand and points at his ear, then at the barricade….
Zhek: Hudson, you and I pull in opposite directions. yes?
Xila: insert flirty statement here
Hudson and Zhek reach into the barricade, grabbing what they believe to be a solid pole and tug together, pulling large pieces of the barricade away, sending the rest of the barricade collapsing on itself, creating a large amount of debris on the ground.
Zhek glances deeper, beyond the fallen barricade, looking for movement
The collapsing barricade reveals the rest of the cave mouth and three startled lizard creatures that whirl away from where they sit, clearly surprised!
Zhek: Hudson, take them!
Dias: Come at me, foul beasts! If you can even manage the brain power to do that!
Dias turns on his music box, as a ballad of battle rings forth.
Dias flips off the troglodyte.
Dias: Even one as dim as you should know when you are beat!
Zhek waves the halfling forward to battle
Xila steps towards the Mauler
Xila follows up with a low slash
Dias: Over here, lizard-brains!
Zhek glances over his shoulder at Dias show of bravado
Dias: Oh. I mean…. the other lizards.
Zhek: Excellent my friends!
Zhek points his longsword at the last one
Zhek: Get that one now!
Hudson turns to the other trog and gives a dissapointed look.
Troglodyte 1 shrieks and fumbles with a small vial before smashing it to the ground.
The smashed pieces of barricade are engulfed almost immediately as the vial of alchemists fire ignites the branches and sticks immediately.
Dias: Just gimme a minute to get this giant toothpick out of my shoulder.
Xila uses her dexterity to dodge the flames
Xila slips out of the fire
Quinn Winterborn: WEll, that was fun….
Hudson steps out of the fire, barely fazed, and splatters the trog against the wall.
Xila dusts off a bit of soot that was on her clothes.
Hudson: I’m a little bit on fire.
Dias pulls the javelin out of his shoulder, still tender from being dragged about by a dragonborn.
Xila: Yup! Sure was, dodging fire is fun
Zhek: As am I
Xila: You guys should work on your speed.
Zhek bats at the flames trying to extinquish them
The fire rages for less than a minute before comsuming all of the dry tinder and burning itself out. You are left standing in front of two slender cavern openings that lead into pitch black.
Hudson: Zhek’s very motivational.
Hudson grins and nods at Zhek.
Dias turns his music box off, in anticipation of sneaking into the darkness.
Quinn Winterborn: Want a light?
Xila: No thanks, I don’t smoke.
Xila: Oh.. you mean for the darkness? Sure go ahead
Quinn Winterborn casts light on Xila’s dagger
Hudson nods gratefully.
Zhek nods back
Xila stares at her dagger
Xila: Pretty
Xila points her dagger forward
Xila: So, which way
Zhek let’s take a short breather
Dias: Onward, obviously! To the tower…. which may or may not be underground.
Xila: But.. there’s two onwards
Xila: Left and right
Xila notices more openings
Xila: Make that more then two
Dias: Well, pick one. It’s somewhere in here.
Zhek: Let’s take a short rest sirs
Zhek: Catch our breath
Zhek: Take stock
Xila: I’m fine thanks! I can go all day
Xila: Lets gooo
Xila places her dagger on the floor and spins it.
Quinn Winterborn: Left?
Xila: This way!
Hudson: We don’t want to get lost, we should – Xila!
You stand in a large cavern. The ground here is flat and smooth, and four caverns lead off into the darkness.
Zhek looks at halfling a bit questioningly at the idea of spinning a blade for direction
Quinn and Xila both move forward the floor suddenly collapses, revealing a deep pit with sharpened stakes covered in foul grime standing up jaggedly.
Xila feels the ground fall beneath her feet and jumps backwards
Xila: Phew, that was close.
Xila brings her dagger up to her face
Zhek: Good reflexes, little one
Xila: Bad dagger, almost got me killed.
Hudson gets out his 10 foot rod and starts poking the ground around him suspiciously.
Xila: Guess we’re not going that way
Zhek: Perhaps that’s what they want
You note that elsewhere in the cavern, small puddles of water are present everywhere, whereas the floor here was devoid of the puddles.
Dias: Well, to the west then? Or are we admiring the pit some more?
Quinn Winterborn: Interesting
Xila: It is a nice pit though.
Quinn Winterborn: The left passage it is
Zhek: Unless you see a way around it, west we go
Xila points her dagger toward the left
Xila: Left it is! See, I knew we should have gone this way
Zhek glares at the halfing
The air in this long cavern is much drier than elsewhere, and the thick tang of smoke fills every breath. A large fire pit burns brightly to the north.
Xila: Hey guys
Xila: More of those things here
Zhek: MOVE!
Xila moves back to safety
Zhek nods as the hobbit passes
Zhek: Hit the Trog!
Zhek: Get the Mauler down first, lad
Dias: Are you guys still fighting things?
Xila: Yup
Xila: You’re missing out on all the fun
Dias: Allow me to BREACH through their defenses! ENGARDE!
Dias smacked the mauler deflty, leaving behind a flash of light in the trog’s eyes, dazing it.
The mauler lashes out weakly at Dias.
Dias: Watch where you aim that, evildoer!
Xila darts around the trog
Xila stabs the trog in the back
Zhek: Nice shot, Little one
Zhek: After the others! Quickly!
Zhek attacks rashly, almost daring the creature to strike back
Zhek only to see it fall at his feet
Hudson: …
The trogs, seeing their dead comrades, rally and charge at the massive dragonborn.
Zhek: Strike now, bard
Dias: Right. Annnnnnnnnd FLAME ON!
The trog skitters away from your blast…
Dias: Well, they’re little skittery types, eh?
Xila starts off with a low slash
Xila turns around to face the runnaway
Xila steps forward and slashes with her dagger
Zhek steps forward, patting the little guy on the back in congratulations
Xila: Well that was fun!
Dias turns off his music box once more.
Hudson: can i go pick up my shame first?
Xila steps over to pick up Hudsons shield
Xila hands it to Hudson
Xila: There ya go
Xila: Next time, try to aim better k?
Hudson: I will… try.
Xila: I’ll give you some throwing lessons larter
Zhek looks questioningly at Hudson, wondering about this defender’s role
Hudson glares at shield and starts messing with it’s holder to check.
Zhek then claps him on the shoulder in shared commiseration
This appears to have once been a communal feasting hall of sorts, but now serves as a place where the trogs keep their dead. Fourteen dead trogs are lying near the large pyre at the rear of the room, thick with flies and filth.
Zhek: Equipment check, my friend
Dias: So. Interesting.
Zhek: Going to have to find a way over that pit, aren’t we my lads
Zhek bends a knee, offering a prayer of gratitude to Bahamut
Dias: Nothin’ a little climbing can’t fix.
Xila: Yup
Quinn Winterborn nods

Chat log started at 19.10.2016 / 16:49:09

Xila skips back to the pit she almost fell down.
Ok… last time you fought some trogs after slumming it up in the swamp for a few days. The halfling almost died to a pit trap. These trogs seem kinda weak and not really into fighting.
Xila looks for a way arround the pit.
Xila tries to walk around the pit with the narrow edge.
Xila: [SKILL] Acrobatics [1d20+15 = 33]
You successfully tumble along the narrow ledge that everyone else can walk along carefully.
Xila: Well, come on
Xila points her dagger forward. Onward.
Xila: Onward
You can smell something fetid here
Xila sniff
Xila: Hudson, did you let one off?
Remus glares
Hudson glares too.
Xila puts her dagger away so the light is minimised.
Xila tries to sneak forward to take a look.
Xila (whispers): There’s people in here. They haven’t noticed us yet.
Xila (whispers): A lot of people
The floor in this cavern is slightly sunken, forming a shallow pool of filthy water. Mounds of swamp plants and branches are heaped here and there to form crude, nestlike beds.
Xila (whispers): Maybe we shouldn’t go this way.
You count roughly a dozen trogs that are lying in these nests, though only a few raise their heads at your approach.
Xila backs around the corner.
Xila: Although, I think we could take em.
GM: You hear a rough, dry sounding croak come from the room.
Troglodyte 1 [Draconic]: [Translation] Have you brought the blessing from the Chieftain yet… and water?? So thirsty…
Xila (whispers): Anyone know that they’re saying?
Quinn Winterborn relays the translation
Xila: They’re thirsty? Maybe we should bring them some water… Maybe poison it first though.
Xila: So, what’s the plan? Kill them as they sleep? Or move on to the next path?
Dias: They’re not asleep. You just heard them talk.
You hear scrambling and splashing as at least one of the creatures begins to get up
Zhek closes his nostrils with a soft chuff of sound in irritation at the smells assailing them
Troglodyte 1 [Draconic]: [Translation] Barak?
Xila: Oh, right.
Zhek: Better move
Zhek: They think we are someone
Zhek imitates a deep frog voice
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] yeah?
Zhek whispers to the others
Xila places her hand back on her dagger ready to draw at a seconds notice.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Trying to pretend to be who they are looking for
Troglodyte 1 [Draconic]: [Translation] Are you bringing the water and the blessed dressings? I think its getting worse.
Xila (whispers): Sorry, couldn’t understand that.
Zhek [Common]: trying to pretend one sec
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] No, no more dressings were ready
Quinn Winterborn whispers
Quinn Winterborn: There may be a plague here??
Zhek nods
Zhek [Common]: Some are apparently ill
Quinn Winterborn nods in agreement
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] I will go ask the others
Xila: Aww, I cant kill ill people, that’s not fair.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Go back to sleep, I will return
Troglodyte 1 [Draconic]: [Translation] Uggilo said theyd be complete already. Let me come out to help – I can still stand.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] No, it will just spread more to the others
Troglodyte 1 comes around the corner….
Zhek [Common]: Kill him quickly!
Dias: This…. hardly feels heroic.
Zhek chuffs in humorous agreement
Xila: k!
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Oh, alright, come on out
Xila throws her dagger at Troglodyte 1
Troglodyte 1 staggers backward away from the strike, as Xila nearly clips the cavern wall
Zhek swings his blade upward at the trog
Zhek [Common]: grrrrrrr
Dias: Hm…
Dias gets a roguish gleam in his eye.
[TURN] Troglodyte 1
Troglodyte 1 roars and attempts to shove Zhek backwards towards the pit!
Xila stabby stab stab
Zhek blinks again at the unorthodox attack.
Hudson catches his shield out of midair and huffs a lot.
Zhek grimaces, curling his lip and showing fangs at the growing number of trogs
Dias [Draconic]: [Translation] Best stand back, creatures! My companions are not as so kind as to leave you alone if you press onward.
Where the ground was water logged and muddy, the wizards icy blast and then the firery blast has caused it all to become soup like. The trogs dont seem to have an issue moving around.
Dias [Draconic]: [Translation] Stay in your cave and leave us be, and you shall be spared the fury of… THE HIGHWAYMAN!
Xila: What’cha saying?
Xila: It is alright for me to go in and kill them, or are you playing nice?
Dias: Well, they’re sick. I’m not gonna kill a bunch of weaklings, even if they’re trogs.
Xila: Well, it’s not fair to kill things that are ill.
Xila: But then, I never have played by the rules.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Stop Trogs, you are sick, perhaps we can help you
Dias [Draconic]: [Translation] Perhaps if you play nice, I may gift you with dressings and such. SUCH IS THE MAGNANIMOUS GENEROUSITY OF THE HIGHWAYMAN.
Dias poses proudly.
Zhek chuffs in frustration
Zhek [Common]: we are going to have to kill them
[understood by: Quinn Winterborn, Dias, Hudson, Xila, Zhek]
Xila moves through the difficult terrain
Xila steps forward and stabs at the trogs.
Xila follows up with a low slash on the other trog
Xila: 2 down! Bunch more to go
Dias: Uh…
Zhek [Common]: Beware lil one
Zhek [Common]: I will watch your back
Dias [Draconic]: [Translation] Um… Yeah, sorry about the halfling. She’s kinda stab-happy.
Zhek Die then you fools!
Zhek [Common]: They make us lose honor
Xila: I never had any honour to begin with
Zhek grunts agreement as he parries the trog’s attack on his heavy shield
Xila blocks all the attacks with her light shield
Xila yawns
Xila: This is no fun, killing things that cant fight back.
Xila: But, oh well, it’s gotta be done.
Zhek grins, baring his teeth as he watches the little one efforletly pary each attack
All of the standing trogs start flailing at the halfling in a fury with broken and dilapidated clubs.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Surrender you foolish Frogs!
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] It is not honorable to kill such helpless foes!
Zhek growls in frustration as he sees yet another weak troglodyte fall with Hudson’s attack
Dias: ….This doesn’t sound right, does it Wizard?
Quinn Winterborn: No, it does not
Xila just stabs stabs stabs
Xila: These things deserve to die for the stentch alone. blergh
Zhek roars his frustration
Zhek cold sprays the room
Zhek doesn’t roar in frustration, but rather in anger at having to do that
The remaining trogs have not stood up and do not appear to be able to do so
Xila: Huh, so these must be the ill ones
Xila: The others weren’t
Xila: Ok, I’m done. The others put up a fight, however small, so I really didn’t feel bad killing them.
Zhek [Common]: Leave them
Xila stows away her dagger.
Zhek [Common]: I will see what I can do
Zhek walks toward one of the ill ones
Zhek kneels, praying under his breath
Zhek looks frustrated as he stands
Zhek: I do not think I can help them. Bahamut is not answering my prayers today. Perhaps my dishonor….
Zhek bows his head in momentary shame
Dias: I take it you three are done with the slaughter? We’ve more pressing matters to attend to than this.
Dias tisks away as he circles about the dangerous pit.
Zhek glares momentarily at Dias
Zhek sighs in frustration
Zhek: They do not have much longer in life
Zhek: And are well beyond my power to help them
Xila: I could put them out of their misery?
Zhek shakes his snout with a snuff
Zhek: No
Xila: Ok
Zhek: Let them have their last moments…with their gods
Dias digs into his pack and clacks alight a sunrod.
Zhek: It is…the only honor…we can yet give them
Xila: Ok!
Xila skips through the crap and heads back to the group, drawing her dagger for light.
Zhek turns and walks out of the chamber, shoulders lowered, shield drooping
Xila points upwards
Xila: This way!
Dias carefully squeezes through the tight cavern passages, ignoring the halfling’s lead.
Zhek grabs the bard’s right shoulder to stop him
The ground in this cavern is a slimy mess of mud and fungus. Several trampled mud nests mixed with fragments of leathery eggs lie around the room.
Zhek but misses with his shame still haunting him
Numerous trogs startle as the sunrod ignites and Dias steps inside.
Dias bows low, silently gagging on the stink of the trogs.
Dias [Draconic]: [Translation] Hello…. I take it this is a bad time…. I’ll be seeing myself out
Zhek: Xila – go the upper passage, see if it wraps
Xila: Don’t think it does.
Dias: ….Yup, more Trogs. I dunno if they’re angry or not. Didn’t stick around to find out.
Xila: Should we just leave these guys?
Zhek a chuff of frustrated air exits his nostrils
Zhek: We not able I doubt, brave one.
Xila: Ok, well if we must.
Zhek: Wait for them to come to us
Quinn Winterborn: Did they see you?
Xila throws her dagger at the Mauler
Dias holds up his sunrod, and raises an eyebrow. “I think this glowing stick kinda gave me away.”
Xila: Told you we should have gone north!
Zhek grins, his fangs showing again
Troglodyte 1 races away, shouting as he does so…
Zhek: Watch that northern one!
Zhek: He’s warning the others
Hudson: I’ll get it.
Zhek: Did get him you do?
Xila: Is Zhek broken?
Zhek: Broken not
Xila: If you say so
Zhek: It….happens
Dias: Nah, that’s just his way of talking. We ignore you when you talk odd, kid.
Zhek shrugs shoulders in frustration
Xila: I never speak odd
Zhek: Little mousy voice odd is
Dias (musing): Eye of the Beholder… Eye of the beholder.
Hudson: oh, that was such a mistake.
Hudson: i’m going to enjoy this
Zhek growls quietly, waiting patiently
Xila dodges to the side as the javelin comes towards her
Xila: Woopsie, that was close.
Xila: You really want to pay more attention to where you throw those things
Xila: Someone might get hurt
Zhek reaches out to the little one in concern
Zhek: Careful lil one
Troglodyte Mauler 3 swipes at Hudson and then bites at Hudson’s neck, leaving a jagged, gushing wound.
Dias: Well, I stirred this hornet’s nest. Only fitting I stride forth to take the front line!
Dias turns on his music box.
Dias: Chin up! For today you fight beside THE HIGHWAYMAN!
The sounds from the music box echo oddly in the cavern.

Troglodyte 1 rummages around…
Zhek calls out encouragement to his new companion Hudson
Zhek: Stand firm, soldier!.
Quinn Winterborn deftly flips his staff around to point the other way
Quinn Winterborn coughs pointedly
Quinn Winterborn frowns, and inspects the staff with great interest
Dias: Yeah, this is taking a bit longer than I hoped.
Dias tinkers with his music box…. and twinges as it starts making a ghastly racket.
Dias: Okay okay ow, yeouch….
Dias: Well… Regardless. YOU THERE. TREMBLE BEFORE THE MIGHT of the HIGHWAYMAN! Before you wet yourself, at least.
Dias: ….Oh. Forgot. Probably too dumb to understand common.
Dias sheepishly rolls his eyes.
Quinn Winterborn takes his staff in both hands, and points it awkwardly at a trog
Quinn Winterborn takes a moment
Dias slams on his music box, trying to get the music to properly sync.
Dias: Come on…. come on, you damn thing.
Dias: …Huh. Maybe…..
Dias tries to load another record into the music box… and loud, booming heroic music echoes forth!
Dias: THERE we go!
Xila: Now this is my music!
Xila moves her dagger in time to the beat, which surprisingly makes her always hit the weak spots.
Dias: Okay, slime! PREPARE TO BE SCRUBBED!
Dias: …In due time.
Xila dances to the music and moves in time to dodge it.
Xila does a pirouette while dancing to the music, slicing open the trogs neck as she does so.
Xila pierces the trog
Xila: Well, one down
Xila: How’re you guys handling yours?
Xila: Wait.. they’re still alive?
Xila moves closer but doesn’t go all the way
Quinn Winterborn: Amanautor!
Xila: Brandobaris grant these people the luck of a halfling.
Xila: Thank you Brandobaris, that was quick!
Zhek: Push them back!
Zhek: Give us room!
Dias twists his blade, giving it an icy sheen.
Zhek: Good strike, Dias!
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Surrender, Frog! You are beaten!
Dias: You, runt! Move with the tempo!
Xila: Don’t call me a runt
Xila moves in time to the beat around the trog
Zhek: grrrr
Quinn Winterborn: I, uh…ow…ok, I’m coming..
Xila stabs again in time to the music.
Xila: This is fun!
Xila: Need to do this more often
Dias: …Well, that took longer than it probably should have.
Hudson pants.
Dias: … SHUT UP, dammit!
Xila: Speak for yourself, the trogs never dodged my strikes.
Dias slaps on the musicbox hard…. and it slowly whirs out of juice.
Zhek chuffs another frustrated breath
Xila hums to herself as the music plays on.
Xila: Aww.
Xila: I liked that music.
Zhek: wait
Quinn Winterborn sits down and takes off a boot

Hudson: gives himself back his nice life saving items.
Dias: Well. That was…. something.
Zhek: Yes
Dias: Let us never speak of this ever again.
Zhek: We forget that one shall we
Zhek looks at Dias in surprise at the same thought
Xila: Oh I don’t know, I rather enjoyed it.
Dias: ….WELP. I feel like I got most of my wind back.
Hudson: it bit me. in the neck.
Zhek: Agree
Dias stands back up and stretches a bit.
Xila: It bit me too
Xila: I shruged it off.
Zhek: You both ok?
Xila: And then stabbed it for good measure
Dias: Maybe they’re affectionate?
Zhek: Wizard, you ok?
Dias: I’ve never really thought about dating ‘trogs’ though. Not my taste, personally.
Looking around the room, you see that the trogs used this as a hatchery, though there are no signs of eggs here. There is a large pile of refuse and a moldy looking set of crates in the back of the room.
Zhek shoulder’s kind of rise and then fall in wonder
Zhek points at crates
Zhek: Search
Xila opens up the crates in curiosity
Dias: ….Ew. You first.
Dias: Might wanna use gloves on that.
Zhek: I get disease, I give to you for sure, Dias
Surprisingly the crates are chained and locked..
Xila: Oh don’t worry, a thief cant choose what they search through.
Quinn Winterborn sits on the ground, torn between paying attention to his sore ankle and not drawing attention to his sore ankle
Zhek: Share and share
Xila: Oh, they’re locked.
Xila takes out her trust thieves tools
Zhek turns to take a look at Quinn’s ankle
Zhek shakes head in disgust
Zhek: You not hurt
Quinn Winterborn: Thanks!
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, any luck with that lock?
Zhek: Break open
You manage to fiddle with the locks enough that after scraping off a lot of the crud, you can barely manage to get it open. However, you are really covered in filth now…
Xila sneezes
Dias: ….Yech.
Dias steps slowly away from Xila.
Xila: It’s fine, I’ve been in filth before.
Zhek: Cover mouth
Xila: I mean you guys found me in a sewer.
Zhek looks intrigued
Zhek: Really lil one?
Xila: Well, I followed you through a sewer.
Dias: Explains a lot, actually.
Zhek: Ah
Xila rumages through the chest.
Zhek: Yes, does that
Inside of this chest are a variety of bones, a well made dagger with a Cormyrean stamp and several bolts of cloth that are rotten.
Xila: Ooh a dagger.
Xila throws the cloth on the floor.
Zhek grunts without surprise
Dias: You done rummaging about in the garbage? We’ve got hero business to attend to.
The other crate has something else inside. Upon opening the crate, you find a large bundle of moldy cloth, and a little girl sitting inside, covered in filth.
Xila looks shocked.
Xila checks she’s alive.
Xila: Hey there’s a girl here!
Xila: Forgot the filth and come help!
Zhek blinks in astonishment
Amaryllis: OH my GAWD FINALLY
Zhek jerks at the sound of the voice
Xila helps the girl out of the crate.
Dias: …What on earth is… that?
Xila: …You friendly?
Amaryllis: I dunno, are /you/ friendly?
Zhek: she dirty is, need bath
Xila: Yup!
Xila: Well unless you’re un-friendly
Xila: Cause I’m not friendly to those who aren’t friendly.
Amaryllis: I don’t wanna be unfriendly.
Zhek: Ignore lil one….liller one…he mean no harm
Zhek: Are you well?
Xila: She
Amaryllis: I just wanna get outta here. Those stupid butt-head trogs stuffed me in a box.
Zhek steps forward to see to her
Quinn Winterborn tries to look helpful without actually standing up
Zhek: I will not harm you lil one
Zhek holds hand out to her
Dias: Well. NEVER FEAR. You have the mighty HIGHWAYMAN to show you to safety.
Dias: Just…. y’know, mind the clothes. I just washed these.
Hudson moves against one of the walls, touching the neck wound repeatedly.
Xila: Well I don’t care about filth
Xila: You can stick with me!
Amaryllis takes the dragonkin’s hand.
Zhek pulls her out of the box
Zhek checks her health
Amaryllis: Well that might be fun.
Zhek offers her a bandage and pantomimes wiping some of the filth off her face and horns
Amaryllis: But I’m kinda on business here, so..
Dias: Hm… What exactly WERE you doing out in the Flooded wood, anyways?
Zhek: What business?
Zhek: Ignore the bandit
Xila shakes some of the filth off her.
Quinn Winterborn: Whose business?
Zhek: And the wizard…
Amaryllis: Oh, I’ve got a dude-guy to nix off. I lost track of him, but this big-bad trog thing has soemthing that might lead me to him.
Zhek: What thing?
Amaryllis: BUT I got careless and got stuffed in a box!
Dias ponders to himself…
Zhek: You need help??
Zhek: Or mayhap we can be of assistance to each other
Quinn Winterborn: Wait, you are on an assassination mission??
Amaryllis: Yeah? You think so?
Amaryllis: And yeah, I am!
Zhek stands tall, pounding his scalemailed chest proudly
Xila: Cool!
Amaryllis: Right??
Quinn Winterborn: NOt…cool?
Zhek: What?!?!?
Xila: I’m a rogue myself, I like stabbing evil people.
Quinn Winterborn: Might I ask whom you intend to murder in cold blood?
Zhek: Not…definitely not…unless target is evil being
Quinn Winterborn: She didn’t say she was killing an evil person, Xila
Zhek: Yes, what wizard say
Xila: Hey, assassination isn’t murder.
Quinn Winterborn: It can be
Zhek: Yes, It is lil one
Amaryllis: Hey, hey, you’re making my head hurt. One at a time please!
Xila: Murder is when you kill an innocent person without reason
Xila: Assassination is a reason.
Xila: Therefore it’s not murder.
Zhek: All quiet now please
Zhek: speak lil one
Quinn Winterborn falls silent, but is staring at Xila intently
Zhek turns to Xila looking at him fiercely
Amaryllis: My mark is named Orianna, she’s a Grey Maiden. They’re in cahootles with the Zhents.
Zhek: We talk later
Xila: Oh well then, definitely evil see?
Amaryllis: Only thing I know is that she’s tossin ‘round cash looking for some.. Nether-whatsit power thingy.
Zhek: Netherese?
Amaryllis: Yeah, that!
Zhek growls in anger
Zhek: Not like Zhents either
Zhek: We definitely going to help you
Dias: Speaking of… We never got your name. I am obviously the HIGHWAYMAN, whom you’ve naturally heard of.
Dias poses heroically.
Xila: His name is Bane
Zhek: And I am Zhek’han’eesh
Xila: I’m Xila!
Xila also poses heroically copying Dias
Zhek: Wait….you say…BANE?
Quinn Winterborn: Quinn Winterborne
Zhek: Who is Bane?
Dias: ….Yeah, no. The defender of Faerun, The Bane of Tyranny.
Xila: Like I said, Bane
Amaryllis: I don’t know of no highwayman, sorry. And my name is Amaryllis! Just call me Amy though, it’s easier.
Zhek blinks in misunderstanding
Dias: She’s just unable to get wordplay is all.
Amaryllis copies both of them, and poses heroically.
Dias: Sheesh.
Zhek: And I am Zhek – also easier
Xila: You can call me Xila! It’s easier too
Xila: I think
Zhek holds out hand to her to shake
Amaryllis: Oh! Before I forget!
Amaryllis: PLUUUUUM!!
Zhek where?
Quinn Winterborn actually stands up, then winces, and rushes over
Zhek lookis a triffle disconcered at – whatever it is
Quinn Winterborn: Is she magical?
Dias: Good. Great. Wonderful. A cat. A tentacle-displacer-kitten.
Amaryllis: This is Plum, my kitty!
Xila: Oooh kitty!
Amaryllis: She’s super sweet.
Xila strokes Plum
Zhek chuffs through his closed mouth in irritation
Zhek: A…cat
Plum purrs as he recieves the pets.
Dias clears his through clenched teeth.
Zhek steps back carefully
Amaryllis: She’s fey, if that’s what you mean.
Zhek snuffs a sneeze
Dias: Great, wonderful. In case you all forgot, we got HEROICS to go do.
Zhek: Right
Zhek: For once, bandit is correct
Zhek: We must move onward
Zhek: Perhaps we will find your…target m’lady
Dias: …What do you mean ‘’FOR ONCE’‘?
Quinn Winterborn: Fascinating
Zhek glares at Dias in warning
Dias: Bah, whatever. This way. My sunrod won’t light forever.
Xila: My dagger will!
Xila lifts her dagger which is still alight
Zhek grabs and misses Dias, again
Quinn Winterborn smirks at Xila, then frowns
Zhek begins moving, catchign up slowly
Zhek: I have to rope you bandit
Zhek: Keep you out of trouble
Dias: Please, by all means, go ahead.
Zhek blinks in confusion
Hudson sits quietly for a while, before he realises others have left. and has to jog to catch up.
Dias: As long as you keep moving, I’ve no reason to keep you waiting.
Zhek glances at the warden as he catches up
Zhek: It ok, I confused too
Zhek mutters to himself in draconic
Xila: Down the side path we go
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] This very strange group
Xila stows her dagger and sneaks ahead
Quinn Winterborn gets Zhek’s attention and winks at him
Zhek blinks, then lowers brows as he realizes the wizard understands his native tongue
There is a small side tunnel here, but it appears quite narrow. However, you hear the telltale shuffle of dry scales on rock coming from the large cavern above you.
Hudson starts walking towards the sound, hammer in hand.
Hudson: more things to kill
Xila: Lets explore the tunnel first
Xila: Let me scout
Hudson sighs.
Hudson quietly. “What does it even matter.”
Zhek grins at the fighter
Amaryllis: Ooh ooh, I can come too!
Zhek: Careful lillest one, remember box
Xila: Lets let my dagger decide
Zhek steps in front of the girl
Xila places dagger on the floor and spins, and watches at it points at the large cavern.
Xila: Ok, large cavern it is
Zhek: you have to stop that
Zhek: it bad habit
Zhek: get in trouble
Amaryllis: Let’s get sneaky..
Xila: Now you’re speaking my language!
Zhek groans, muttering in draconic again
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] I hate scouting parties
Xila takes out her dagger again.
At the edge of your light, you see something moving in the dark
Zhek wonders why the cat is right behind him
Dias: You, go get the backline! Move move move!
Dias slaps his musicbox to get it going again….. which it barely does.
Hudson: I hope you choke on me.
You hear the unmistakable GROWL-SNAP-HISS of a crocodile… but its so deep it rumbles the floor.
Amaryllis takes a deep breath, and a feint ‘thun’ can be heard as a dart speeds into the neck of the Trog.
Zhek steps forward to defend the lil girls
Zhek: grrrrrr
Zhek mutters frustration
Amaryllis: That’s him
Amaryllis: The big-baddie!
A massive Trog decked out in robes of crocodile leather and a massive croc skull mask steps out of the shadows and tromps forward.
Troglodyte 1 [Draconic]: [Translation] You face great Chieftan Uggilo!
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Great Chieftain Ugglio, you are going down
Dias: …If his name is any indication, he must not be a pretty chieftain.
Quinn Winterborn [Draconic]: [Translation] Amaunator deliver you, Uggilo.
Dias snickers to himself.
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] And Bahamut will finish you!

Chapter 2: The Edge of Justice

Chat log started at 1.6.2016 / 17:18:17

Last time of HBC, the heroes completed their task for Master Yazeth Cobb, returning critical information on the where abouts of the sought after relic of Shar. While Master Cobb begins organizing an expedition to retrieve the relic, he has asked you to meet with a contact of his in Cormyr, one that had an escort mission that needed some trustworthy people to embark on.
You have a few days of leisure in Hillsfar before you are to embark for Cormyr. Is there anything you wish to do between now and then?
You spend a few days resting, working connections for sales, renewing charters, collecting your thoughts and other mundane tasks. The evenings see you back at the Inn, where food and mead flow endlessly, and your nights are spent in comfortable trappings.
On the evening before you are to depart for Cormyr, the night feels disjointed, a feeling you cant quite pinpoint or shake, no matter how you attempt to do so. You can feel the fickle fingers of fate touching upon your neck.
While nothing happens to spur on the feeling – there are no fights, no explosions, no mysterious notes or leavings, the night leaves you wanting for sleep, even though you doubt it will come easily.
Eventually, sleep comes, though it is restless and fitful. You find yourself waking frequently to strange sensations dancing at the edge of your senses.
Once you finally do find sleep, it is deep – perhaps too much so. Your slumbering self becomes aware, and you open your eyes to find that you are in a dark room, facing a singular door with a small window in it.
Quinn Winterborn looks out the window
Xila opens the door
Peering through the window, you find that you are looking into a smaller room, perhaps a gaol, or a dungeon. The door rattles once, but does not open.
An elegant woman, shadows clinging to her form, sits in a cell, rocking back and forth. Her eyes are glazed, her face pale. She mutters a single word over and over, but even as she speaks, the word slips from your mind forgotten. At her feet lie a number of dead elven guards in splendid armor, frost covering their mutilated bodies.
Hudson tries to catch any distinguishing marks on the elven guards that would identify them as a group, and tries to memorise them.
Izual beings murmuring the prayer and feels a palpable resistance to the words that form on his lips. Still, the woman does not appear to hear or react to you.
Quinn is able to read the woman’s lips, but even as you decipher the word she speaks, the word itself vanishes from your memory – even focusing on remembering you cannot recall it.
Xila Xila casually throws her dagger towards the woman, curious as to how she’d react.
Hudson recalls a window he saw once in a temple devoted to Corellon. The stained glass window depicted a battle fought in Myth Drannor in which the knight-protectors of that magical realm fought endless hordes of orcs, winning against all odds. The knights in this seen are wearing similar garb and livery.
Xila’s dagger slips through the bars easily and looks to strike the woman directly. However, a tendril of shadow reacts, snatching the blade from the air and dissolving it into nothingness.
[w] → Hudson: The frost thickens and thickens, screening the vision from your sight, though you can still “feel” the rocking movement of the woman behind the ice. You feel the presence of another, more ancient, more sinister being enter the room. The woman screams aloud – full of pain, fear and agony – for several moments on end, before falling abruptly silent. The silence fills the next tenious moments before a deep bass laughter starts and the laughter ends with an accusation, “Do you think you can control the Winter within you, boy? Do you think as she did? You will fail! As have all that have come before you!”
[w] → Quinn Winterborn: Motes of shadow seem to flicker at the edges of your vision, drawing your attention away from the woman and the bodies. The motes slowly begin to change color, blinking in a steady, but undiscernable pattern. The motes turn into silvery motes that take the form of seven stars. You’ve seen this symbol before… in the Tower of the Art. As the scene fades out, you see a silvery harp before the scene completely fades to black.
[w] → Izual: The scene fades from your mind, only to be filled with a red haze that is rife with palapable anger and hatred. A flash of fire and the stench of brimstone and sulfur fills your nostrils, biting into your consciousness and drawing your senses away from focusing on any one object. A fleeting figure, a small devil or demon that dances around the edges of your vision before you awake, drenched in sweat, the sheets singed at your fingertips.
[w] → Xila: Your dreams are interrupted by a gauzy and crackling message that enters your thoughts. “Xi-xila. A con-ontact will-ll b-be in t-touch with-ith yo-ou-u in Su-uz-uz-uz-uz-zial. You ha-ave-ave a mission th-th-there-ere. Mast-ster A’Ashemi will-ill meet you-ou there.”
[w] → River: The scene fades from your vision, and you can feel the room spin slowly on a haphazard axis, your senses are disoriented making your gorge rise in your stomach. You begin to spiral and then start falling downward. As you do so, a firery clad bird spirals along with you, chasing you towards the ground. You feel the presence of Moro, but she chases the bird and is unable to catch it. THe birsd whirls on faster and faster – you can feel the heat pressing closer and closer on your heels. Just as you get close to hitting the ground, the bird opens its beak to squawk at you, the sound of a man’s voice emerges, “Viioolleetttt…” The ground the races up into your face and you awake shaking violently and covered in sweat.
Hudson wakes up and finds a fire to sit beside, shaking violently as though he’s been in a blizzard.
Izual lights a candle, and chalks a small circle onto the floor of his room. He sits and begins to chant a prayer to Kelemvor to protect him and guide him in his trials to come.
Quinn Winterborn rolls over and goes back to sleep
The next day sees you off from Hillsfar, as Master Cobb has arranged for you to travel with a caravan heading back towards the Dalelands, and from Ashabenford, to the border of Cormyr, where you are to meet his contact at the Drunken Duckling Inn. The inn is outside of a cadre of villages arranged around a river ford, and a popular destination for travelers entering Cormyr.
THe caravan takes the main road, and you are given the choice to ride in a wagon, or to walk along side. THe caravan is filled with foodstuffs from the Moonsea, and set to bring back trade goods once it reaches Ashabenford.
Quinn Winterborn: Food? I’ll be in the wagon, guys….
Xila hops in the wagon
Hudson walks alongside, silent.
Izual draws his bow and walks alongside the caravan.
Quinn Winterborn flexes
You fare westernly for a few days, with no issues whatsoever. You see a few other travelers, but none you recognize. A few days in, one of the wagons gets stuck in a rut, snapping the axle. Your groups is able to mend the axle and continue on without losing much time at all. In fact, the wagon seems to work better now.
One night while setting up camp, Quinn spots what appears to be a flaw in the landscape a bit further in to the tree line. Upon investigation, he finds that there is an illusion hiding a treasure chest that holds quite a bit of gold coin.
As you get cross into the Dalelands, you pass several pairs and trios of armed and armored men and women, all of whom secretly bear the symbol of Amanautor. They wave at you politely with knowing smiles as they continue on their way.
You come across your first “hanged man” once in the Dalelands. You recognize this one as one of the tieflings that was with the Sunite caravan you were duped by on your initial journey. The tieflinghas been hung for only a few days, it still being ripe with blowflies and maggots. A faded rust colored “X” scrawled across its chest.
Quinn Winterborn spits on the corpse.
You avoid several encounters with wild animals, as well as what appears to be a cadre of orcs who skirt you campsite and continue along without incident. The caravaneers are grateful for your protection and offer you some “hazard pay”
24 days pass while you are on the trail. Nothing horrible happens, and you manage to get within a travel of the border before the caravan splits away from your path. You are able to rest for a night in the local Inn before embarking in the morning.
Your night is restful initially, but you are visited by the same vision that you had back in Hillsfar – though it had not been seen since you left. The woman continues to rock back and forth in her cell, surrounded by dead elves. You awaken in the morning and depart – the border of Corymr being a full days walk (and a bit more) along the road.
Walking through the day, you arrive at a clearing in the woods which a dilapidated building sits nestled in a hollow. The bulding looks like a giant sat on it, or at least stepped on it.
The Drunken Duckling is more tavern than inn, at an intersection not too far off the border, with only a handful of houses scattered about. It is cramped and the walls sag , and looks as if it could collapse at any time. It has no rooms for guests who wish to stay the night – the common room’s floor is the only place to sleep, and there is just enough room for the you, should they choose to stay.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe camping out would be…wiser?
River: …Not to be r-rude… but I feel more c-comfortable in the f-forest than in those walls…
Xila: I quite like my life thank you, I’ll stay outside.
Izual: Same…
Hudson grunts and follows the rest.
Hudson finds a spot that seems to be agreeable for camping, but Moro huffs at his choice, and as the group continues to look elsewhere, the grunt of a great brown bear is heard nearby. The spirit wolf leads you away from the homes and off the beat path a bit into a thick copse of tremblin aspen that effective sheild you from prying eyes and ears from the road.
River: Good job, Moro.
River scritches the wolf-spirit around the ears. Moro simply grunts in response, but seems happy.
Hudson: Hudson will patrol any nearby roads, ready to step incase of banditry, or a broken wheel or anything.
Hudson: ooc*
You pass the time as you see fit. You take note that a rough and tumble crowd tends to gather at the Duckling in the evenings, and bawdy tunes and raucious music fills the air until late into the night.
The day of your meeting comes, and welcomes you with dreary rain and a cloud filled sky.
Quinn Winterborn: Figures….
The wind changes direction and blows now directly from the north, bringing a chill that rips right through your clothing.
Quinn Winterborn tries to generally clean himself up in preparation for the meeting
River: …The l-land seems to have t-taken note of our arrival.
Quinn Winterborn: Well that’s a somber thought, River.
Xila: Yeah, this chill came out of nowhere.
River: Come. We should m-meet with our c-contact.
Xila: Come on, lets head inside, I’m eager to get a few drinks from good ole Trapuyn
Hudson follows everyone else.
The Duckling is empty throughout the day, only a few people come through during the noon hour to pick up food and hurry on their way. Trapuyn tries to fill the silence with talk of his former life in the army, recent goings on with the conflict between Cormyr and Netheril and other day to day news.
Quinn Winterborn: How does the conflict go?
Innkeerper Trapuyn: Poorly – though its not full blown war as of yet. Just a lot of posturing on either side. Still, with the Sembians under Netheril control, its just a matter of time.
Quinn Winterborn: That’s…unfortunate
River trembles a bit as Quinn converses with the Innkeeper, but remains silent.
Innkeerper Trapuyn: Still, no one likes that braggart shade lovers.
Xila just drinks her drink in silence.
At the end of the afternoon, just before darkness falls, the door opens, and a man enters. Sharp, cold wind blows inside as the door sways open and a tall, bearded man enters the common room. The innkeeper, looks up and hurries forward.
“Lord Vainrence, let me take..” but the man waves him off.
“No need, Trapuyn. We are leaving at once.” He turns towards you, and gives a single nod. ”Vainrence, Lord Warder of Cormyr, am I. No need for further introductions. I already know who you are. We have a fair amount to go, so I want to start off immediately. Put on your mantles, and follow me. We’ll speak on the road.”
Quinn Winterborn hops to
Vainrence turns and steps outside, where he waits for a few moments for you to follow him. Then he starts walking. He leaves the road and starts on a path into the mountains.
Hudson follows
Izual puts his hood up and follows suit.
Xila waves goodbye to Trap and hands him a few gold to buy a round for his later patrons.
Vainrence appears to be a man in his late thirties and is dressed in courtly robes of silver and platinum thread. He walks with an air of almost arrogance, but he exudes confidence and speaks smoothly, with no discernable accent.
Vainrence: This trip will take several hours, so we’ll be walking through the evening. I trust you are capable of managing in the darkness?
Quinn Winterborn: Are we ok making a light?
Vainrence sighs, “If you must, though as we gain closer to our destination, you will have to null it, as it will impede our entrance.”
Hudson grunts.
Quinn Winterborn: Well, we’ll see how it goes. Maybe the moon will be out.
Xila: So, where we going?
Vainrence: We are walking to the location of your ward, whom you will be escorting to Suzail.
Quinn Winterborn nods as though it all makes sense.
Vainrence continues to walk in silence, maintaining a guarded face as you tromp through the flora.
Xila: So, why’re we waiting this guy to Suzail anyway?
Quinn Winterborn: It could be a lady we’re meeting, Xila…
Xila: Guy, girl, they’re all the same inside.
Vainrence: There’s been some… complications with this prisoner. We’ve been unable to use more conventional means of transporting her, and even holding her.
Xila: Oh, so it is a her. Guess you got lucky Quinn.
Hudson: her?
Izual: And why can not you seem to handle the woman?
Quinn Winterborn: It must be more than mere magic, I assume
Vainrence: Needless to say, you’ve been hired to escort a female prisoner to the Crown in Suzail. She’s very important to the Crown for information she can provide. She is also EXTREMELY dangerous.
Quinn Winterborn lets out a long, slow breath
River: A danger to whom?
Hudson: What kind of powers does this woman possess?
Vainrence: Its better to not discuss such things out here. Its best to wait for all of the minutia until we reach our destination.
Xila: What’s her name?
Izual: I would seem that talking about thing while in nowhere is smarter.
Vainrence: Again, better speaking about this once we arrive at our destination.
Quinn Winterborn shrugs, and goes back to brooding
Vainrence: You, Gith, would be wrong. There are issues that span powerful nations and even more powerful men that are not above planting spies in plain sight.
Vainrence: The Crown does need the information that the prisoner possesses, however, as the tension with Netheril is mounting.
Xila: How long d’ya reckon it’ll take for us to get to Suzail?
Vainrence squeezes the bridge of his nose and squints his eyes. “Its damned near neverending.”
Vainrence: Three weeks, give or take a day, by foot.
Quinn Winterborn stars to sigh, and catches himself, embarrassed.
Xila: By foot? We’re not travelling by horse and carrage?
You continue through the foliage, and begin to break into more rocky terrain. Vainrence laughs, “If it were only that easy. Animals will not tolerate the prisoners presence. She causes horses to panic, canines and cats to howl and yammer on without ceasing. Rodents flee her presence. Its.. dreadful.”
Izual: Even when sleep?
Vainrence: You could pull a carriage, if you felt that necessary. We havent had any issues with that.
Quinn Winterborn: I may have to kick Cobb in the shins someday….
Vainrence: I dont know that she sleeps. Though her presence is not diminished in the daylight hours, and only enhanced in the dark.
Xila: I like her more and more
Izual: I find hard to believe that it is able to be called woman.
Xila: Oh izzy, you’re just jealous you can’t scare kittens.
Vainrence: I have no doubt called her worse myself.
Izual shrugs off Xila’s comment.
Xila: I can’t wait to meet her!
Xila: Oooooh, I know where we’re headed.
Quinn Winterborn: Only you coudl be excitged about goign to that place.
Xila: But don’t you find it fun Quinn? An abandoned castle that housed dangerous things. Who knows what we’ll find there!
Vainrence shakes his head and mutters, “These days adventurers do not know the meaning of discression.”
Quinn Winterborn: Well, I can think of one person who knows….
Hudson: where are we going?
Vainrence: A prison.
Quinn Winterborn: Always knew Xila would wind up there one day….
Quinn Winterborn grins
Xila: Oh Quinn, you flatter m
Quinn Winterborn winks at Xila
The remainder of the time is spent in relatively brooding silence. Vainrence feigns disinterest, but his demeanor shows growing concern as you walk through the night.
Eventually, the destination comes in view. It is indeed a fortress, perched on a knife-edged stone ridge. The path connects to the one single road that leads up to the castle.
Vainrence turns around. “Right. Be carefull. Do not pull any jokes or stunts. The guards here are easily triggered, especially with wizards, due to some recent troubles we had.”
Xila: Best keep the dangerous spells to yourself Quinn.
Xila: We all know you like to turn people into frogs.
Quinn Winterborn nods, feeling somewhat flattered
Vainrence: Not just the magic. Keep your hands away from your weapons and other items. They are quick to respond with over zealous violence given recent events.
Vainrence: I cannot stress this enough. If you chose to ignore my advice, then your death is on you.
Hudson: Are you going to tell us what the events are, or are we still too close to prying ears?
Izual: Will be hard considering this.
Izual points his thumb to his giant bow.
Vainrence sighs, “There was some trouble recently, when a War Wizard was visiting, engrossed in some magical research. Something went awry, and he ended up slaying dozens of guards, attendants and prisoners. Its been some time, but the entire staff is very proactively reactive since the incident.”
Hudson nods quietly.
Xila: I thought this fortress was abandoned anyway? Is it just occupied for this prisoner, or are there others locked away in this place?
Quinn Winterborn: WHY would you ever want to know the answer to that question??
Quinn Winterborn shudders
Vainrence motions to the fortress, “This is Castle Irlingstar, once proud fortress of the Corymrean Realm. It is built on a stone vein that has unique properties for nullifying teleportation magics. Which makes it ideal for a prison. That said, there is signficant history here, which you can look up in a history book some other time.”
Quinn Winterborn looks interested at th e mention of history books
Vainrence moves across the heavily guarded drawbridge that spans a massive chasm between the fortress and the road winding up the rocky spar. The guards make no movements towards him or you, though they follow your every movement with their eyes. You note white knuckles on every guard, and as you cross through the massive portcullis, you feel a resistance that is like pushing through thick air, and your magic items shimmer for a moment before returning to normal. Moro, as she attempts to cross through the barrier, simply cannot cross.
Vainrence looks back in surprise. “Oh, a spirit. She cannot pass through the forbiddance, unfortunately.”
Izual: Forbiddance?
Moro looks forlorn at the others… and fades from existance.
Quinn Winterborn: River? You ok?
Vainrence: Magical barrier would also be an apt description.
River simply remains silently stoic.
Quinn Winterborn: Moro, I will watch over her.
Quinn Winterborn turns to River
Quinn Winterborn: ….though I’m sure you won’t even need it…
River: ….Let us f-finish this q-quickly.
Xila: Yeah, I’m eager to meet this dangerous women!
Moving from the entrance into a large room with several chairs and a large table, Vainrence manipulates a few glyphs on the walls, enacting a shimmering ruby field that shrouds the room. For the first time since you’ve met this man, he appears to be more relaxed and natural. “We can now speak freely. Please ask whatever is on your mind and I will address it to the best of my abiiity.”
Quinn Winterborn: OOoh, how does the field…oh, sorry, nevermind….
Quinn Winterborn: Vainrence, no offense, but our charge sounds kind of terrifying. What can you tell us about her?
Vainrence: The forbidance is a magic from long ago that does not allow the passage of spirits, demons, devils, and insubstantial beings to cross into the field.
Izual looks down at his hands, confused.
Vainrence: You will be escorting Miribeta Selkirk, the former leader of a group of criminals and spies, working for and with the Netherse.
You have heard the name Selkirk, as its generally associated with the former ruling party over Sembia, though that was a few decades ago.
Quinn Winterborn: Wasn’t there a noble house of Selkirk in Sembia?
Vainrence nods. “They were a wealthy merchant clan. Controlled a lot of trade along the coast.”
River: P-perhaps. There are many s-such houses that claim s-such.
Xila: So, what makes her so dangerous?
Quinn Winterborn: I…I’m at a loss. Did the people of Sembia succumb to evil, or is the Netherese influence there that strong?
Vainrence chews his lip for a moment, “You should probably see that for yourself in a moment. Lets address your misson before that.”
River nervously fumbles with her totem as the others ruminate on the mission.
Vainrence slams his fist down on the table, “The Netherese just TAKE without any thought of consequence. When the shadow enclaves returned from their removal from Faerun, they sought to reconquer their former empire. Sembia was divided between themselves and the merchant clans. While Cormyr attempted to help thwart the Netherese advance, most of the nation fell under the Netherese sway. Even a few of the Dales are under their control. Now they turn their greedy eyes on Cormyr… which is why we are here.”
Quinn Winterborn frowns.
Vainrence: Miribeta knows much of Netheril and their spies within Cormyr. She had promised to share vital information with the Crown, in exchange for some… concessions.
Vainrence: You are expected to escort Miribeta to Suzail, and once there, there is an additional task – but the details of that will be divulged once your reach Suzail with your charge.
Xila: Nobody said anything about an additional task
Vainrence: Unfortunately, Ms. Selkirk made this arrangement over a year ago. The Crown debated the merits of working with a known criminal, and time has introduced some… unfortunate drawbacks., which is why the Crown needs people of your… talents.
Quinn Winterborn: If we reach Suzail….
Vainrence: You would not have been recommended if Mr. Cobb did not believe that you were suited for the task.
Quinn Winterborn: I hope we are able to live up to his expectations, then.
River: If I-I may ask… what were the c-concessions?
Vainrence: Leinence for her crimes for the most part.
Vainrence: If you have no more questions, then perhaps it is time to go see your charge.
Vainrence: Alright, lets be off. Please do not touch anything you see along the walls. The guardians here do not dilienate friend from foe.
You pace through several dark halls, descend four flights of stairs and those who are attuned to nature can tell they you are well within the tomb of the earth now. Vainrences word were true, as you can see shadows and tendrils of aethyric mist writhe along the walls and trail after your movements. Two guards unlock a massive warded and glyphed iron door, before allowing you to enter. Vainrence moves with purpose, taking you deeper into the fortress turned dungeon.
At the end of the next dark corridor, three men armed to the teeth stand watch over a reinforced metal door. On Vainrence’s signal, one of them unlocks and unbolts the door, and swivels it open.
The corridor grows darker. The shadows coil around your feet. In the cell, a woman is chained to the wall. Darkness seeps form her skin. Her arms, feet, and neck hold bracelets that glow with a golden light.
The woman strains to reach you, leaning forward. Her hands claw and her eyes roll as she screams at you. She utters one name, over and over again, but even as it reaches your ears, you cannot keep hold of it. You cannot remember the name.
“As you see,” Vainrence says solemnly. “We have a problem.”
River: ….Perhaps.
Izual whispers the same prayer, adding to it for cleansing of the woman’s dark energies. Still in deep speech.
River: …Was s-she always like t-this?
Quinn Winterborn: I….
Quinn Winterborn looks very disconcerted
Vainrence: Like this – a gibbering lout? No. She wouldnt have offered information to the Crown.
Hudson stands in the back, eyes wide.
Xila: Why do I have the feeling I’ve met her before.
River: Then…. when d-did this start?
Quinn Winterborn: You, too? That’s… a problem….
River: She will be of l-little use as-is.
Xila: But, i saw her in a dream.. I thought it was…. Well, I thought it was nothing, just weird.
Quinn Winterborn: I saw her, too
Xila: Anyone else?
Hudson: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Izual: I saw her as well.
Vainrence: She has been here well over a year, so if you happen to know her, I would question your loyalties, ma’am.
Quinn Winterborn: I deamed of her the nigth before we left Hillsfar
Quinn Winterborn: She was speaking a word over and over, but I could not grasp teh word
Vainrence: If you’ve seen her in visions – then that does not bode well, as Ms. Selkirk has been removed from the world at large for sometime and she is cloaked here.
You dont believe she shows any of the classic signs of posession.
Xila: So… Err, how’re we gonna get her to Suzail?
Quinn Winterborn: Is it possible that part of her is…elsewhere?
Vainrence: It is hard to discern. The wardings in this place prevent the traveling from this place. Spiritual, physical, psychic or planar travel is nonexisstant. But there is a… reaction when magic is used in her presence.
Quinn Winterborn: I’m curious, but mindful of your warnings, Vainrence.
Vainrence: In particular, rituals are quite deadly. We tried to move her via a teleportation ritual a few weeks ago, and her escort met with a grisly demise. A different ritual was attempted earlier this week, and the results were similar.
Xila: Right, so teleportation ritual, bad.
Vainrence: Teleportation, planar gates, feyroads, blinks…
Hudson: Is it just the arcane? or does the divine draw a similar reaction?
Vainrence: A wind walk spell was enacted by the latest escort. They were obliterated in an explosion of ice and blood.
Vainrence: Divine and psychic powers seem to be impacted as well.
Quinn Winterborn: …and this is her presence, and NOT this prison?
Hudson: and the primal?
River: Spirits would not dare touch such afflicted. To force such a ritual…
River: Our path is clear. …We must walk.
Vainrence: Correct. We took her to the road just outside the fortress and attempted a simple light spell. It exploded in a hail ball that nearly took off a guards head.
Vainrence: We havent had the opportunity to test natural powers, but as the forbidance does not allow the presence of spirits, I cannot imagine such powers functioning.
Xila: And yet we cannot use magic in her presence, if we run into trouble, we would be severely compromised.
River: W-what of her bindings?
Vainrence: Which is why we requested people of your talents.
Izual: Were her last escorts… Elves?
Vainrence: Her bindings prevent the shadowstuffs that infuse her body from communicating with the Netherese. They will remain intact until she gets to Suzail.
Quinn Winterborn: That is some…reassurance…
Vainrence nods, a bit surprised. “Her last escorts were Knights from Myth Drannor. They were indeed elves.”
Izual: Then this confirm that someway she or the shadow had reached to us in our dreams.
River: ….She s-seems to be uttering something… I c-can’t quite make it out.
River: Over…. and o-over again.
Quinn Winterborn lays a tentative hand on River’s shoulder
Izual: Maybe the word is what is to release her from this curse.
Vainrence: No one can… its an enigma we havent been able to unravel.
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder….
Izual: But her curse is stopping us from hearing the word.
River: …In any c-case…. we must move.
Quinn Winterborn frowns deeply, and looks lost in thought
River: T-take her to a cart. We will b-bring her slowly… but s-surely.
Xila: Yes, the quicker we leave, the quicker we can get to Suzail
Izual begins to think deeply about what Gods deal in shadows.
Vainrence: You should take the next few hours to gather yourselves. It is the middle of the night, and it will take a few hours to get the paperwork signed over so Ms Selkirk is turned over to your custody. She should be ready to move out in the morning. Again, recall that no animals will tolerate her presence. If you require a cart, you will have to pull it by hand. A harness would likely be easier to manage, though Ms Selkirk will walk once she is lead a ways.
River: …V-very well.
Izual: Quinn, do you yet have the symbol of Shar in your effects?
River: I… require rest. I h-have not had much sleep r-recently.
Quinn Winterborn: I do…
Vainrence: You are not remanded to this fortress, you are free to leave if you wish. I know you cannot be… comfortable here.
Izual: Might me be able to how to say… burrow it?
River promptly leaves to be reunited with Moro. It might be a while til I can summon her with our… ‘package’.
Vainrence: I suggest you do not attempt to use a foul relic in this place.
Quinn Winterborn: I have no intention of doing so….
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, when we’re outside, sure.
Quinn Winterborn: ..or did you mean in here?
Izual: It is to be use in aid of banishment of the shadows. I have hunch that if she indeed is grabbed by the dark gods, a symbol and prayer may release her.
Izual: Outside is fine. I just wish to tell my plan.
Quinn Winterborn: Ok
Vainrence: I believe that you will perish if you attempt such a thing in her presence. Magic does not react well with whatever has touched Ms Selkirk. I can only warn you so much. Please. Now, I will show you to a room in which you can refresh and rest. IF you plan on leaving the fortress, please stay within line of sight of the drawbridge. There is a clearing on the far side of the chasm that has a a firepit and some trappings for camping.
Hudson follows the group
You are seen to your room or campsite and the next few hours go smoothly, or as smooth as expected given the circumstances. Promptly at 8am, the guards gather those that were in the castle and escort you and the shambling Miribeta Selkirk out to the drawbridge to unite with the others.
Vainrence: She is now in your capable hands. There are provisions for her in this bag, along with a leather harness that will allow you to carry her, should you wish.
Xila: Out of… pure curiousity. What would happen to us if we should… err… fail
Vainrence: I do not know to be honest, but all previous escorts were dead before they were aware of it.
Xila: That’s… reassuring
Xila: How much are we getting paid for this again?
River: Enough.
Vainrence: The Crown is paying you 250 crowns for the safe delivery of Ms Selkirk, and another 3000 crowns upon the completion of your secondary task.
Vainrence: Each.
River: …Come, Ms. Selkirk. W-We are to go now.
River holds out a hand to her charge.
Xila: 3…3…3000 crowns for? Come on Ms. Selkirk lets go!
Vainrence: Not to mention the favor of the Crown, as well as preventing the physical altercations between Cormyr and Netheril.
Xila: Come on come on come on!
Hudson grunts.
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s go…
Mirabeta Selkirk does not react to your voice but upon your touch, she follows simple commands, such as ‘Follow’ or ‘This way’. If you stop touching her, she ceases to move, but will response to the previous command if the same person touches her once more.
After she is taken from the castle, Mirabeta calms down a bit. Still, the insane woman needs to be kept shackled at all times, and she keeps saying the name over and over again.
What’s strange is that you simply cannot recall the name, no matter how often you hear her say it. It’s as if something erases the name from your memory the moment you hear it.
She calms for a moment, but that moment of clarity is fleeting. She lunges away from you, only to trip over her own feet, crashing to the ground. She then returns to being responsive only to touch and direction afterward.
Quinn Winterborn: I….please, let’s not do that.
Quinn Winterborn: Nothing good can come of this, and some very very bad things might happen if we disturb the forces we do not comprehend.
River: So… Y-you’ve dreamt of this p-person before?
River: C-could you e-explain in d-detail what it was, exactly?
Quinn Winterborn: If you’re asking me, she was in a gaol, and muttering a single word, over and over.
River: S-surrounded by soldiers… y-yes?
River: And…. n-nothing else?
Hudson: I think I felt another presence with her.
River turns aside and ponders to herself, clutching her spear close to her.
Quinn Winterborn: Not soldiers, no.
Quinn Winterborn: Um, well.
Hudson: Something that felt old, and malevolent.
Quinn Winterborn: Malevolent??? That’s….
Quinn Winterborn: odd….
Quinn Winterborn looks troubled
River: W-were you able to understand a-anything she said? The dream world… m-might be our answer to our q-questions…
Quinn Winterborn: I…I believe I was able to…apprehend…the word she was saying, only to have it slip from my mind.
Quinn Winterborn: I strongly believe that this dream, and our guest, are deeply tied to the affairs of the gods.
Hudson: I was in a very similar position to what Quinn described.
Quinn Winterborn shudders
River clearly looks troubled….and turns away from the group.
Quinn Winterborn: I’m sorry, there’s not much that frightens me, but I found the dream to be very much frigtening….although I have reason to believe that we will be aided in our journey
Quinn Winterborn: Unless, of course, I’m terrible at interpreting portents….which is posssible….
Hudson: The dream frightend me too, Quinn. What leads you to think we’ll be aided?
Quinn Winterborn looks thoughtful….
Quinn Winterborn looks over at the woman from his dream.
Quinn Winterborn: I….prefer not to say….
Hudson: … I understand.
Hudson: We need to be even more careful than usual, I believe. We don’t know what threatens us, and we won’t be able to access our complete power.
Hudson: I don’t like any of the dream at all.
River: T-there was nothing else that stood out? B-besides the woman and the d-dead soldiers?
Quinn Winterborn won’t quite look River in the eye.
Hudson: I mean, the soldiers seemed to be of the same kind as those i had seen in a recreation of a historic battle at Myth Drannor.
River: Hm….
Quinn Winterborn: River, um, forgive me if this is an inappropriate question, but where does your power come from? Death? The gods? Nature? I’ve never quite understood how you do what you do….
River: I…. w-well….
River: I… I d-don’t know.
Quinn Winterborn: I’m sorry. I just…wish I understood death, and the gods, more than I do.
River fidgets with her hands nervously.
Quinn Winterborn looks abruptly away, as though he has said too much
River: T-truth be told… I don’t b-believe this power is m-mine to have… It seems more a-appropriate to say…. it’s b-borrowed…
River: Or…. g-given.
Quinn Winterborn: That seems both fair, and perhaps even….noble?
River stiffens as Quinn answers… and grows silent.
River: It m-matters not. I am only just as I-I am.
River turns away, obviously flustered.
Anyhow… last time on HBC, the heroes picked up their charge from the secret fortress/castle/prison and agreed to escort her across the realm to the capital of Suzail. You have spent your first day at a rather leisurely pace, still beset by hauntings from the previous night.
Camp is set before deep evening sets so a bit more rest can be had in the open air away from the fortress. Mirabeta seems more responsive … or at least responses more regularily the further you get away from the castle.
The forest is filled with plenty of old hardwoods and a stand of oak trees that you have picked to camp in provided numerous places for roping Mirabeta to.
Hudson passes off the rope to somebody with nimbler fingers..
Xila manages to expertly bind the woman to a nearby tree. Mirabeta moves as directed without any issue.
The night passes without incident. On the second watch both Quinn and Izual feel like something is watching them from the depths of the night, but scouring around and listening does not reveal anything. A search of the area reveals nothing either, and Mirabeta “sleeps” without any disturbance throughout the night.
Quinn Winterborn is still very nervous and watchful
The next eight days go by without incident. You set a pace that eats away the miles, which are through rather idyllic lands and along well maintained wagon tracks. The forest, while packed with trees and wildlife, tends to go silent at your passing, numerous eyes peering out from under cover as your charge passes by. Its unnerving at best – and the silent forest is uncomfortable in the evening.
River: N-not a sound. T-this is….. unusual…
Every night you can feel someone watching you, but you cannot find an evidence of there being someone there. Maybe its your imagination getting the better of you, but instinicts like this are rarely wrong.
Hudson: You clearly have a power about you. I know you can’t make us understand what you’re trying to say, but perhaps you could nod or shake your head?
Mirabeta Selkirk does not respond to your voice or your words, only showing a response if you touch her.
NEarly a tendays journey takes you out of the deep, old growth forests and into more seperated trees, meadows and the occasional farm.
Xila makes a flirtacious comment
The evening of the ninth day on the trail leaves you to camp near a small pond in a lightly wooded area. Tents are erected and a fire set for the evening. The lack of wildlife is still unnerving, but you might be getting used to it.
As the sun begins to set, and the shadows begin to lengthen, you hear the distinictive crack of iron shod boots on the undergrowth.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh no….
A woman with a shaved head and faintly elven features walks into the clearing, her armor reflecting the campfire light. “Greetings. I’m Levia. Would you speak with me a moment.”
River: P-perhaps… I am R-River.
River stands up and bows slightly to Levia.
River: To what do we o-owe this honor?
Quinn Winterborn keeps his eyes firmly on Mirabeta
Levia Shadewalker: Well, its certainly not a chance meeting, if thats what you are thinking. I’ve been watching you for a bit now, and Im interested in your… ‘charge’ there.
River: And?
Quinn Winterborn grabs his staff in both hands, while keeping his eyes glued to Mirabeta
Levia Shadewalker: And, I’d like to talk. Seems like you are ill equipped to be escorting her – ill informed as to who and what you are traveling with – and lacking the conviction for what the Cormyrians will have you do, in the end. I’d like to talk to you about another means to the same end, if you’ll have me.
Mirabeta Selkirk remains still, sitting on the ground where you had fed her earlier.
River: P-perhaps. S-speak freely… if you truly mean no ill will, p-perhaps there may be a c-compromise.
Levia Shadewalker shrugs, “Its simple. I desire to speak with Mirabeta. She has knowledge I wish for myself. I have the strength, the magic and the knowledge of her condition to obtain that knowledge. And once Im done, I’ll walk her into the captial myself and hand her over to the authorities.”
Hudson: And what might her condition be?
Levia Shadewalker smirks, “Knowledge is power. I dont mind a barter, but I would not share that power freely.”
Quinn Winterborn mutters softly “Then walk away then….”
River: I’m afraid we may not p-part from our charge. We are to see her to the capital o-ourselves…
River: But… it is possible to a-allow you to… converse with her. But be careful.
Levia Shadewalker unhooks her thumbs from her belt, moving slowly and deliberately. “I know all to well what she is capable of. I will mind myself. Could you… move her away from the fire. The light will make things more diifcult.”
Hudson: Maybe you should leave your weapons there first?
Quinn Winterborn: This….cannot….be a good idea
River: A m-moment. What is it you seek?
Levia Shadewalker: Knowledge. Mirabeta has seen things that are unique in this world. I wish to know one of these things.
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head.
Levia Shadewalker carries only a mace tied to her pack, you note it is peace bound, and would take effort to remove for use.
Quinn Winterborn: I’m sorry, River, but this is neiter safe nor wise….
Quinn Winterborn sounds uncertain
River: What does it p-pertain to? I would know of the details… before allowing such knowledge to be l-leaked.
Quinn Winterborn: Or, perhaps, for anyone of unknown motives to come within striking distance of our charge
Levia Shadewalker: It is a name, specifically, a word of power from a ruined city, deep deep underground. It dances at the edges of my mind, yet I cannot grasp it.
Levia Shadewalker seems geniunely dejected at the thought of this name.
Hudson: I suddenly find myself agreeing with Quinn, River. After the events we all shared, we know that some knowledge is difficult to …. take in.
Quinn Winterborn addresses the stranger
Hudson looks meanifully.
River: …I am a-afraid I must decline. My companions are h-hesitant to allow you discourse.
Quinn Winterborn: My apologies, stranger, but we have travelled for days in constant fear that those of…unsavoury intent…would track and confront us.
Quinn Winterborn: And now, you appear.
Quinn Winterborn: What are we to think?
Levia Shadewalker: Have I not approached openly and shared my intentions freely?
River: Aye. And we allow you to w-walk away.
Quinn Winterborn: If all you can offer is a personal quest for power, then it is difficult to see you as one who serves the greater good.
Levia Shadewalker: I did not skulk in the shadows and wait until you slept and simply took what I wished.
Quinn Winterborn: Did you approach those who guarded her before us? Or did you skulk from their view?
Quinn Winterborn coughs, uncomfortable
Levia Shadewalker: How was I to find my poor Mirabeta, as she was tucked away in that monsterous place? I could not even tell if she was alive until removed from the confines of that abhorrent place!
Hudson: So, you know her then?
Levia Shadewalker: And now you preen and press like you are something important and special. You are children at play with a thing that you do not understand. You may as well walk a fireball through the market, traipsing along as you do.
Quinn Winterborn: You could have asked the guards? They are not evil men….
Hudson: She is not a fireball though, is she? More like a blizzard.
Levia Shadewalker spits “The men of Cormyr are lawful to a fault, and refuse the emotions of others.”
River: I a-advise you to walk away, Ms. Levia, lest you stir those emotions to strike.
Levia Shadewalker: You are in the wrong here. Do you even know WHY you are taking her to Suzail?
River: My p-presumption is interrogation… and e-execution.
Quinn Winterborn: Duty. Honour. Not a quest for personal power, stranger.
Hudson: I thought it was your intent to take her there too, wasn’t it, ‘Levia’?
Hudson: You claimed you only needed to gain a word from her mind, and then would walk her to the city yourself, but now your emotions betray you. I doubt your intents are what you put forward, and I would suggest you either speak freely of who you are and what you want, or we will be forced to drive you away.
Levia Shadewalker: You are taking her there for them to strip her mind. The war wizards will tear everything she is from her mind in order to try and ferret out a spy or some other such nonsense. THEY WILL DESTROY HER FOR NAUGHT!
Quinn Winterborn walks over to Levia
[w] Quinn Winterborn: whisper softly to Levia – what is she to you?
Levia Shadewalker murmurs softly under her breath.
Hudson: … what is your connection to her?
Quinn Winterborn hols up a hand to Hudson
[w] → Quinn Winterborn: She is my sister in arms, my comrade, my friend… my soft sobs
Quinn Winterborn head drops in sadness
Quinn Winterborn: I….
[w] Quinn Winterborn: softly, to Levia Can we, perhaps, drop this talk of power and secrets and talk plainly?
Quinn Winterborn speaks softly
[w] → Quinn Winterborn: I just want her back…
Levia Shadewalker sobs gently.
Quinn Winterborn attempts to put his arms around Levia
Quinn Winterborn: I think it might be too late for that
Quinn Winterborn pulls back sharply
Quinn Winterborn: Protect her!
An arrow wisks out of the underbrush and whips past Quinns face before planting itself in the ground.
Hudson: Which Her?!
Quinn Winterborn: Miraberta!
Xila takes the initiative, and rushes towards the archer, making up the extra distance with her deft strike
As Xila skirts the undergrowth, she sees a gray skinned dwarf crouching there as well.
River: M-Mirabeta! Come with me!
River takes Mirabeta’s hand and drags her along to cover in the tents.
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh!
Quinn Winterborn: Beware! Levia!
Levia Shadewalker: Take the girl alive. Kill the others. Free Miri!
Izual: River!
Izual: Quinn is dying!!
You can hear something scrambling through the underbrush near the pond…
Moro appears from the mists, howling in fury!
Moro bounds into the fray, ready to tear into her foes!
Levia Shadewalker: KILL THEM
Moro snaps at the meatshield! Graaaar!
Mirabeta Selkirk begin humming to herself quietly.
Moro omnomnoms at the meatshield!
Human Meatshield races around the fire towards Mirabeta
Hudson swings his hammer down on the fleeing dwalf, and then charges across the battlefield, his skin turning to ice as he runs. Coming up to the enemy menacing Mirabeta, he swings his hammer up in icey rage, stopping the attacker in his tracks, before swinging it back down with a crack of thunder!
Levia Shadewalker: Him!
Levia Shadewalker: Anadolin – release the hunters! Kill them all but the girl and Miri!
Izual: Levia!!
Quinn Winterborn: Levia! Do’nt do this!
River: Nnngha….
Izual: Human, you will not gain that which you seek!
Quinn Winterborn: I’ve tussled bigger ’n you….
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila!!\
Quinn Winterborn: Look out!
As the hidden elf removes himself from the brush, three small drakes burst from the bushes and rush the group, spitting acid at the halfling!
River slowly stands up, and pulls Mira close to protect her.
Levia Shadewalker runs off into the undergrowth.

Xila rests for a moment
Xila chugs a potion
Xila rubs her eyes and can see again
Hudson stands up and second winds.
Quinn Winterborn: Who are you yelling that too?
Izual yells with his tongue out at the archer.
Quinn Winterborn lets loose a rolling wave of sound, pushing the felldrake away from him.
Quinn Winterborn resights his bow with the natural grace of an elf.
River: Nnngh! H-help!
Mirabeta Selkirk continues humming, louder and more audibly than before. Her murmuring voice can be heard easily over the sounds of combat. Those close note the golden bands at her wrists and ankles are gleaming brightly.
Xila stabs a dagger in the Felldrakes back
Moro moves right behind Hudson, and howls with vigor!
Hudson raises his hammer and lets out a loud yell as it comes down with fury of a polar storm.
River: Th-thank you, Mr. A-Aydar…
Izual nocks an arrow and aims it at the archer’s face.
Xila: No thanks for me? I’m hurt, no more daggers in felldrakes backs.
Hudson: “Don’t- don’t mention it, River.” He pants softly, holding his side tight. “Thank you, Xila.”
Izual/e lets out a blood curdling yell.
Quinn Winterborn hears the humming of the shade woman and startles, rushing away from her and tossing magical energies at the archer as he puts some distance between them.
Mirabeta Selkirk ends her chant abruptly and the light dims to almost nothing in the evening air around you. A soft tinkling of bells can be heard before the darkness rips away in tendrils as you are bathed in a cool wash of magic. Your wounds are assuaged in the quickly evaporating darkness, as Mirabeta falls to the ground unconscious.
Xila pierces the archer in the neck.
With a burbling breath, the elf collapses and the clearing is completely quiet for a moment.
River: …M-Mira?
River checks on the woman, unsure of her condition.
Xila goes to inspect izual
Hudson rushes to the woman’s side as well.
Xila: Haven’t seen you in a while Mr Demon!
Izual lowers his stance as Xila approaches.
Xila: You mind going back and giving us our friend back? You’re more then welcome to come back another time.
Mirabeta is unresponsive to your words
Hudson doesn’t even wait for the ice on his skin to thaw before he starts checking for a pulse and breathing.
Hudson: Is she okay, River?
Xila: Oh I just have a soft spot for things that are fun! Demons can be fun…. When they’re helping us.
Xila: If you be a nice demon and give us izual back, I’ll give you a hug.
Izual: I-I… I AM Izual!
Izual: I don’t understand why you think theres another me!!
River: She n-needs rest. Please… attend to our f-friend…
Xila: Well then! In that case.
Xila gives Izual a quick hug anyway, then turns around to head back to the others.
Hudson: There’s nothing i can do for that…. thing, beyond antagonise it. I’d prefer to stay here.
Quinn Winterborn wanders to where Levia ran off too, searching futile-y for traces of the woman.
Xila: How’s she doing?
River: She n-needs rest. We are in n-no condition to move for a w-while…
Izual: Wh-w…
Izual is obviously ocnfused.
Hudson: Should I carry her into a tent? Maybe that’d be a little better for her?
River: Please.
River hands off the shadowmaton to Hudson, turning her attention to the elephant in the room.
Hudson carries Mirabeta with as much gentleness as possible, and then sits watch outside the tent.
Izual: you..
Izual then collapses.
Moro growls and places herself inbetween the demon and the others.
River: There. Th-that didn’t take l-long.
Hudson: Oh, good. The quiet one is back.
Xila: Nice to see you’re back Izzy!
River kneels and attempts to wake Izual.
Izual: Mmmegh…
Izual stands on shaky knees.
Izual: It happened again, didn’t it…?
Hudson offers an arm for support.
Xila: Dunno what’cha talking about.
Quinn Winterborn stomps around in the undergrowth before pacing back to the others, clearly disgusted.
Izual accepts Hudson’s support.
Izual: How bad was it?
Hudson: He seemed to give up on the murder dialogue a lot quicker this time around. So… maybe getting better?
River: It is still… w-worrisome.
Xila: Seemed friendly to me
River: Mr. Winterborn… any l-luck with your search?
Quinn Winterborn: No. she’s gone.
Hudson: We weren’t going to find them, Quinn. They’re very well trained. They managed to all get into position, and bring three drakes in cages into the area without us even noticing.
Izual puts up his hood, clearly it’s thinking time.
Quinn Winterborn: Trails off into the woods then just sorta… vanishes.
River: Let us f-finish our r-rest… we m-must remain v-vigilant.
River enters the tent to watch over Mirabeta, while Moro remains by the campfire to keep watch.
Hudson: Quinn, River… do you have any idea what kind of magic that was that Mirabeta released? Arcane? Divine?
Hudson: Primal?
River: … S-shadow.
Quinn Winterborn: Not sure. was busy with the dragonling trying to eat me. It felt… cold though
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Our friend here helped us?
Izual clears his throat.
Izual: The woman helped us?
Hudson goes quiet, but nods to Izual hesitently.
River: My h-healing has only so m-much reserve. That wave of s-shadow…
River: In darkness… there is light.
The night passes without anything else eventful happening. Morning comes along and Mirabeta has calmed, but has not awoken.
Hudson: I’ll carry her…. Maybe I could borrow the belt that makes it easier to carry things?
River: If you w-wish.
River: Still…. I wonder if this is r-right…
Hudson: if what is right?
River: She is a p-prisoner of more than one c-cell.
River: If we deliver her… her l-life is certainly f-forfeit to her captors.
Quinn Winterborn: Levia seemed genuine in her concern at least, if not in all of her intentions – but I wonder how much of her story was truth?
Hudson: And the other option? The lady with such interest in her? Or Whatever the Knights of Myth Draenor were trying to do?
Xila: Dunno about you, but I don’t trust people who try to kill us with felldrakes.
Izual: We must always consider the two sides, but we are been tasked with one. We must stay with us orders.
River: …True. I st-still fear for her, though.
Hudson: does anyone remember anything more from their dreams?
Hudson: perhaps that could… i don’t know, inform us in some way.
Izual: I will tell you of my dream.
Xila: My dream was raher boring, nothing really to tell.
Izual: The main dream was that I woke up in a dark room, witha solitary door and a small barred window. A woman was sitting in a rocking chair, whispering a word I can’t seem to remember, surrounded in shadow. Below her on the ground, were the corpses of elves in frosted armor. I tried saying a Sharrian prayer to her, but she didn’t seem to ehar me, even though it felt like there was resistance in my lips from another force. The scene fades from your mind, only to be illed with a red have that is rife with palpable anger and hatred. A flash of fire and the stench of brimstone and sulfur fills your nostrils, biting into your conciousness and drawing your senses away from focusing on any one object. A fleeting figure, a small devil or demon that dances around the edges of your vison before you awake, drenched in sweat, the sheets singed at your fingertips.
Hudson: …I thought I might have been the only one. I didn’t know what it meant….
Izual: was yours the very same?
River: Your d-demon still haunts you, even in d-dream?
Hudson: No. I was….I saw the same room, and the same woman. I noted the way the bodies were dressed like i mentioned, but then everything started to freeze over. The woman screamed, until she couldn’t any more…. and there was a presence all around me, Ancient and Evil. It told me… I couldn’t….. I won’t be able to change what I have become. That this frozen core within me would destroy me like the winter in Mirabeta has destroyed her."
Izual: Not usually, no.
River looks pained as Hudson tells of his dream.
Izual: What frightens me the most, is my dream manifested physically. Mine sheets were truthfully burned.
Xila: No fair, you had fun dreams!
Hudson: I did not have a fun dream Xila. I was reminded that…. I was forced to remember.
Hudson: But there wasn’t a physical manifestation of my dream, Izual.
Quinn Winterborn: I doubt that any of the… dreams… we had were good… or fun.
Xila: Mine was boring.
River: Oh? How b-boring?
Xila: I just saw a women, in a room. I threw a dagger at her for fun, it was swallowed by darkness, which was boring then so… I err, mean, nothing happened.. Just woke up, and went back to sleep.
Hudson looks at Xila distrustfully for a moment before turning to River. “Did you dream anything more, River?”
River: M-me? N-n-no…
River: I m-mean…. w-well..
River fidgets with her totem in hand…. and sighs.
River: I heard her….no….something…..
River: s-something dark.
Hudson: did it seem to have a sentience behind it?
River: I d-don’t know…
River: But I heard it clearly…
River starts shaking in fear, uncertain of herself.
Hudson: You can tell us River. You’re amongst friends.
Xila: Ooooooh, tell us!
Quinn Winterborn frowns. “We dont have to talk about it, if you dont want to though.”
Hudson: Quinn’s right, if you don’t want to be specific about what you heard. But can I ask… did it threaten you? Confront you with a personal fear perhaps?
Xila: No no, she does! I told you mine!
River: ….It said….. it said my name….
River: …I will speak no more of it.
Hudson: … so, all but Xila had a presence enter the dream and change it.
Hudson: Confronting them in some way?
Quinn Winterborn: Mine didnt…. there was something present, but not omnious or threatening.
Hudson: … Okay…
Hudson: …wait. River… your magic is… tied to nature, correct?
Hudson: or, to the spirits?
River: I b-believe so…
Hudson: My strength comes from… something I encountered with spirits in the north. Izual? Your abilities?
Izual: I commune with spirits, like River.
Izual: Though there is a demon inside of me.
Xila: My strength comes from my Dagger!
Xila: ..Incase you wanted to know.
Hudson: … so the three primal people were faced by a menacing entity, the arcane wielder was aware of the presence, and Xila was… devestating with a dagger.
Quinn Winterborn: You believe it related?
Hudson: I don’t claim to be a smart man like yourself, Quinn. But… I see a pattern.
Quinn Winterborn: Perhaps. Nothing in this situation bodes well. I dont like to think that we’re being targeted specifically.
River: R-Regardless… We must decide w-what to do with our c-charge…
River: Take her to the c-capital? Or….perhaps…
Hudson: Perhaps?
River: They were c-certainly… brusque. But their h-hearts are in the right place.
River: What of the Kn-knights?
Quinn Winterborn: The dead ones?
River: The paladin. Sh-she was concerned for M-Mira…
Quinn Winterborn: She tried to murder us!
River: She…. tried to s-save her.
Xila: We must continue where we’re going.
Hudson: Is there somewhere nearby we could research a little more along the way?
Quinn Winterborn frowns, “I dont think she would come at us with that many people hiding in the wings without violence in her mind. Plus she said she wanted her for something she knew.”
Hudson: …and when I say we, I do mean the smart people, whilst I prop open a window with my muscles or something.
River: I…. I d-don’t claim it to be wise…. but it might be right.
Xila: I.. Will not object if you take her elsewhere, but I must go to Suzail.
Quinn Winterborn: I dont know whats going on here, but its clear that theres more in motion than we know. I dont think we have much choice other than to take her to Suzail and determine any options presented to us there. Otherwise, we are mired in confusion and half-truths.
River: If…. if we must.
Hudson: … Okay.
Quinn Winterborn: So, we can play what we know close to the chest – If we find out that the Cormyreans are doing something we suspect based on what Levia told us, we can act without them knowing that we know.. what… we… know?
Hudson may hold Mirabeta a little tighter and closer, clearly distressed.
Izual: I agree with Quinn. We were given orders. Should we stray from them, we could maybe give us more trouble than our meddling is worth.
Xila: Yup, plus I want to get paid
River: But are they just…?
River shakes her head.
Hudson: I want to find out what this presence was. And i want to shatter it’s skull.
Quinn Winterborn: Can you make that call without knowing more? The trees arent likely to tell us the truth. We can wait for more velociraptors to try and eat our face instead?
Moro growls as Quinn continues to argue with River.
River: No, Moro. He is right. We should p-press on…
Mirabeta remains limp and unresponsive the rest of the day. She takes a little water but no food at night. The next day is much the same, though in the early afternoon, Mirabeta suddenly contracts herself tightly around Hudson, fingers and legs wrapping around the mans body like tangled vines. She tenses tightly and murmurs something faintly into the man’s ear before becoming an automaton once more.
[w] → Hudson: “Help me…” After that, she falls back to muttering the name.
Hudson looks over at River for a moment, as though he wants to speak, before continue walking.
Hudson: Beryl’s corpse drops from a tree, eavesdropping
[w] River → Hudson: so….. what’s up?
[w] Hudson → River: “She asked for help. She’s still in there, and … I don’t know if I can let her be killed River. Not if this could some day be me. What right do we have to murder those who need our protection?”
[w] River → Hudson: “As I s-said…. there is…. the paladin.”
[w] Hudson → River: Xila only cares about the Money, Izual is stuck to the idea of the law, and Quinn means well, but would rather react. You’re the only one I think cares for this woman like me.
[w] Hudson → River: “I think we should go to her.”
[w] River → Hudson: “Then we go. We walk, and h-have them stop us.”
[w] Hudson → River: “Now?”
[w] River → Hudson: “If they truly wish her to die, they will s-stop us.”
[w] River → Hudson: “Quinn will, as you say… r-react. And perhaps r-relent.”
[w] River → Hudson: “Xila will see it as f-fun, more likely.”
[w] River → Hudson: “And Izual will be outn-numbered.”
[w] Hudson → River: “Okay…. Thank you River. I couldn’t…. I couldn’t let another innocent person die, if I can do anything.”
[w] River → Hudson: “Just…. be bold, and do not f-falter.”
[w] Hudson → River: “I’ll go collect her, and start walking.”
Moro stiffens… and looks around camp, sniffing about.
Hudson goes and picks up Mirabeta and starts walking towards the tree line, posture stiff and cold.
River warily looks about, then goes to collect Moro.
River then scribbles a hand-written note… and places it by the fire before leaving with Hudson.
[w] Xila: Do I notice the letter :P
You easily notice that River/Moro and Mirabeta are gone… as is Hudson. And there is a note apparently.
Xila reads the note
It says…. Dear Friends: We could not bear to take part in sending Mirabeta to what could be her death. We are taking her to the paladin. If you stand with us on this, you are welcome to follow. If you do not, please stay out of our way. At least, this way, any reprecussions will fall on us alone. ~River
Xila wakes up Quinn, and tells them about the letter.
Quinn Winterborn reads the letter several times without speaking, clearly in shock. “Why wouldnt they just tell us?”
Xila yawns
Xila: As I said earlier, I wont object, but I’m going to Suzail
Izual: This does not bode well…
Quinn Winterborn: Do they not trust us?
Quinn Winterborn frowns. “Well – we cant just let them go. Im going after them. We can figure out the rest later – I dont like wandering off in the woods in the middle of the night. And how are they going to find that paladin woman?”
Izual: If they come across resistance that is close at all to what we faced before, they will not survive alone.
Xila: Bu… but… I have to go o Suzail
Izual begins to track for River and Hudson’s trail.
Quinn Winterborn: IS this about the money?
Xila: N.. No, it’s not.. Although money is always nice.
Xila: I… I have my own Business in Suzail that I must do.
Quinn Winterborn: Then leave! But they nearly died with us there – do you want their deaths on your head? We can regoup and figure out what to do once we reunite.
Izual: If that is the case, I thank you for your friendship. Safe travels.
Xila rubs her feet in the grass
Xila: Bu… but I don’t want to leave you
Izual: Which is more important to you. What is in your heart?
Xila: I… I lied earlier.. my d.. dream, it told me to go to Suzail.
Izual places a hand on Xila’s shoulder.
Izual: I promise this to you. When we are done with this, I will travel to Suzail with you.
Izual: But we need you.
Star (Xila): Lol Ben xD
Quinn Winterborn: If we do not take Mirabeta to Suzail, then we forfeit much. We also lose our charter, sponsorship and possibly become enemies of Cormyr and criminals who abducted a prisoner under the watch of the Premier of Cormyr. Its not going to be good – but Im willing to risk it all for them – Id do the same for you too.
Quinn Winterborn nods. “Whatever awaits you in Suzail, if you show your face there without the woman… you’re life is likely forfeit.”
Xila: I… my life may be forfeit if I don’t go to Suzail. But… Maybe not for a while.
Xila mumbles something.
Xila: FIiiiine, you win, lets go.
Quinn Winterborn: We can face that together as well, should it come to that.
Xila heads off.
Izuals knowledge of tracking does well for you, as does his ability to see in the dark.
As morning breaks, Izual and company crest a hill, that overlooks a broad vale – at the other end of which you see the tiny forms of Hudson and River, making their way through the long grass.
River continues walking towards her goal, not heeding Xila’s calls.
With their more cumbersome load, River and Hudson move at a slower pace than the others, and within the hour, their pursuers can easily overtake them.
Xila huffs and puffs
Xila: I told you to wait for us
Xila pouts
Xila: So hey, Suzail is that way
Xila points behind her
Quinn Winterborn: Hold up a moment, you two. We should talk about this.
River: We know.
Hudson: We are aware.
River: There is n-nothing to say.
Xila: If… if you take her to the paladin, we will all be in trouble. By you two acting on your own you may threaten all of us.
River: We know. But I’m u-used to that.
River: I can’t abide s-sending Mira to die.
Hudson: You wouldn’t have been in trouble if you had gone your own way. Say that the wild man kidnapped your charge in the dead of night.
Quinn Winterborn: SO why not talk to us about it – instead of running away?
Xila: And yet you would trust those who tried to kill us?
Izual: But why? What has changed?
Hudson: She needs help. We don’t know her story. We don’t know what happened to her, or what this even is. But she is scared and alone in there, drowned out by something beyond us. She’ll be taken in as an political prisoner, and then… what? Killed cleanly by the guards as a best case scenario, or had her powers tested as a worst? But she asked me for help, and I can’t let my own life come before another person who needs me. Not after him. I know this is a curse I might bare, like she does. I refuse to…" Hudson chokes off for a moment, eyes wet. “I refuse to let someone fall to the knife again, whilst I survive.”
Izual: Are you certain she spoke to you?
Hudson: Yes. Clear as anything. She said “Help Me.”
Xila: Are you sure that didn’t mean “take me to Suzail”?
Xila: What makes you so sure she’d be better off with this Paladin, then those who she wanted to give information to?
River: For o-one… the paladin sought her s-safety.
River: For that I am c-certain.
Xila: How do you know she was not lying? I lie all the time, it is rather easy a thing to do.
Quinn Winterborn: I dont think she was lying either. Levia’s concern was genuine.
Hudson: Even when she turned on us, she wanted Mira’s safety more than anything.
River: Second, she c-could have ambushed us at a-any time.
River: Instead, she tried to p-parley.
Izual: There is truth to this.
Xila: She may show concern for her, but that doesn’t mean the concern is for her wellbeing. It may be concern that we are taking her to give information.
Hudson: Xila. Show us a third option. Because the Capital is a death sentence for Mirabeta, without doubt.
Xila: And your option may be a death sentance for many others, including us.
Izual: You must think of the consequences of each action.
Izual: Saving her would save your soul, but endager your body as well as many others.
River: I am p-prepared to this end.
Xila: Th… Then…. am I nothing to you?
Izual: Bringing her where we’re ordered would give the most peace, but would cause you pain inside.
Quinn Winterborn: Im not sure if you are right or wrong Hudson – I dont necessarily think either option is fool proof at the moment. But Mirabeta was a prisoner of Myth Drannor and she willing to talk to the Cormyreans on her own accord before.. whatever happened to her, happened to her.
Hudson looks to River.
Izual: And there is nothing to say that we can not help her on the road to our destination.
Quinn Winterborn: I dont think whatever has happened to her is the fault of any party’s we know of – but Levia wanted something that Mirabeta knew. I dont think that was a bluff – its what put us all on edge to begin with.
Hudson: And when we get there? Hand her over for her ‘trial’ and all she can say is a name that no-one can comprehend? what happens next?
Xila: Then we get our next mission, which for all we know could be finding the cure to whatever this infliction is.
Quinn Winterborn: I dont know.
River: We may already kn-know of one. Levia said they were c-capable of such.
River: It is a risk I-I am willing to take.
Quinn Winterborn: And if she strips what she wants from Mirabeta and then kills her?
Xila: We took this quest together, surely it is a decision to be made as a group?
Hudson: What I’m taking from this, is that in every situation we’re going to watch this woman be killed.
Izual: The last thing I would want is to split our band up.
Izual: Hudson, if that is the case, we must choose the lesser of two evils. Let us take her to Suzail.
Xila: If we do not all agree on this… Our fun little band would be split up.
River: It would seem that way, Mr. Aydar.
Hudson: She doesn’t deserve this.
Hudson: She doesn’t deserve to die, alone and frightened, lost and cold.
Hudson has tears running down his face now.
Xila: I… I may know of people who can help. But we must go to Suzail.. Where I will do something for them, in return… maybe they can help us.
Xila clearly didn’t want to say that, but felt she had no choice.
Quinn Winterborn: Im not sure that there’s an easy answer here. Mirabeta is a shade, and likely a Netherese. They are nearly at war with Cormyr, so perhaps they will just kill her. But Levia doesnt strike me as someone thats completely on the level too.
River: In both h-hands, uncertainty. To which holds the best hope?
Izual: The hand which holds our wellbeing.
Izual: Self before others, no matter the cost.
Hudson looks around the group, making eye contact with each member.
Xila: Suzail holds more hope, as I said.. I have business there, I am hopeful it may lead to something that can help us… I… may have lied earlier. I was told to meet someone in Suzail in the dream that included this woman.
Quinn Winterborn (mutters): I don think we signed up to kill innocents either….
River: To hold yourself above others….is truly s-selfish.
River: Yet, to act rashly on one’s own is selfish as well… I-I apologize.
Hudson: It was my intention to risk my own life for Mirabeta. They seemed to want River alive too. But…. I don’t want to doom you all too. But… I want it to be understand. If they strike her down… as Izual said, my soul will pay the price. I convinced River to come with me, I hope you hold her no ill-will.
Xila: Nope, none at all! And no ill-will for you either Handsome.
Izual: I am not without my own obstacles in this. My mind weighs heavily on what happens to this woman. I do not fault you for your actions.
Quinn Winterborn: You realize, that with all of our names on that charter, we are all responsible for what happens. If we defect, we do so together, if we follow through, we do that as one as well.
Hudson mutters, “Am I a person anymore.”
River: Then…. to Suzail. And pray Tymora favors us.
Quinn Winterborn: Something impacts her – you can feel magic warp around her. She is dangerous and beyond our ken. If the grand mage of Cormyr is afraid of her, then we should be too – within reason.
Quinn Winterborn: If we go to Suzail, are we taking her to the court, or are we seeking aid elsewhere? We may want to consider changing routes…
River: Once we g-get there, we shall seek Xila’s v-vision.
Xila: I… I must go meet them alone.
River: Fair enough. We sh-shall hide away until she can make contact.
River: If luck is with us, w-we might be able to s-save her yet.
River: If not…. the courts may be our last recourse.
Xila nods
Izual: Many things can happen. It is not wise to put weight on a single path.
Izual: Keep your heads high, my friends.
Hudson stays close to Mirabeta, and can be heard muttering apologies every so often, but it’s unclear if they’re aimed at her or someone else.
The remainder of the trip goes quietly, and you leave the intended route so you are not met by the guard along the way. Twenty six days later, you arrive in a small hamlet just outside of Suzail, which you are able to procure the entire upper level for the group, and in the night sneak Hudson and Mirabeta upstairs without notice.
Xila is now free to galavant into Suzail at her leisure.
Xila galavants into Suzail at her leisure.
As you leave the Inn, a child bumps into you, passing a note into your hand before racing off into the village center.
Xila reads the note.
The note reads as follows – X – you are late. I’ll come to you this evening. NAA.
Xila pops the note in her pocket and waits till evening.
The day is passed slowly, the inn only has a few patrons, one being a gaunt man with knuckles covered with scars. He drinks alone and eats a meal before leaving a gold coin as a tip and leaves without a word. The others are farmers or merchants, but that one man stood out for some reason. Evening comes and shortly after seven, a blonde half elf wearing dirty leathers and gold cuffs enters the Inn and sits at an empty table, hands tucked into her belt.

The group found themselves at an impasse after the extremely bizzare encounter with the paladin Levia Shadowalker. It was at the end of the battle where their charge, Mirabeta seemingly cast a healing spell on the entire group, though it was suffused with shadow energy. Upon taking another night to think about what they were doing, Hudson and River took it upon themselves to leave the group, taking Mirabeta along with them, to find the paladin and perhaps prevent the Corymrean government from executing the prisoner once she was handed over. Izual, Quinn and Xila awoke to find their comrades gone, with only a simple note marking their passage. Luckily, Izual was more than able to track down the pair, and as the morning sun crested the hills, the group caught up to their rogue friends and made up, determined to blaze a new trail ahead – one that did not involve the Cormyreans. With the help of Xila, the group did determine that Suzail would be their best bet, as the halfling had a contact there that might be able to give the group more options. Taking up the only room at a wayward Inn on the outskirts of the sprawling metropolis, the group awaited Xila’s contact, who, surprisingly, seemed to be awaiting Xila’s arrival. A meeting at the Inn was established and it would be upto Xila to barter for help for their charge – and help without garnering the notice of the Purple Dragons, who would be looking for the group to arrive with Mirabeta.
The Inn has well past emptied when the woman entered the main room, her dark hair tied back, revealing half elven ears and intricate earrings that appear to be small knives. She wears well worn leathers and has a pair of golden cuffs at her wrists that look to be function and decorative at the same time. She takes a perfunctory look around the empty room and shrugs, taking a seat at an empty table. “T’s on you, Xila. Your move, girl.”
Xila checks to make sure none of the other party members are around.
No one is in the main room. Your subtle bribe of the innkeeper made him close up early. The rest of the party is upstairs and sitting with Mirabeta.
Xila heads over to take a seat.
Xila: Hiya!
Nualla nods, “You’re late.”
Xila: Couldn’t be helped, some companions of mine decided they wanted to go the wrong way.
Nualla: Things like that happen. Better question is why arent you in Suzail? Word is you were moving cargo for the Crown.
Xila: Yeeeah, that’s kinda why they went the wrong way. Others in the group had a change of heart, they wanted to go one way.. I had to persuade them to come here. They’re all upstairs now, I told em I’d hurt them if they came down while we were chatting.
Nualla: Probably better that way. Talons business tends to make others squeamish. So, are you planning on turning in this cargo?
Xila: Me? I don’t care either way. Although the coin would be nice. The others? Not so much, I kinda had to tell them about this meeting, although they don’t know what it’s for… neither do I come to think of it. They figured maybe I can persuade you to give us other options.
Nualla: Options for what? If you plan on running with your cargo, you might as well hang yourself now. The Crown and us arent on great terms, but they’re better than most – and their mage has a nose for finding things that aught not to be found. Im not wanting to get on Vainrence’s bad side. What are you moving – magical bauble? Netherese artifact?
Xila: This weird person enfused with shadow energy, y’know the usual stuff
Xila: They figured since she’s a living person, it’d be bad to turn her over just to be kille.d
Nualla raises an eyebrow, shutting her mouth for a moment. After a moment, she begins to nod, “Selkirk, then? Figured the elves offed her back in Myth Drannor.”
Xila: Yup, that’s the one.
Nualla: Seems odd the Crown would just off her if they are stashing her somewhere. What exactly are you planning then? IF you dont hand her over, then the Crowns going to come after you. Are you ready to go to the gallows for this woman?
Xila: Me personally? Nope, not a chance. I’d happily hand her over for the coin if I had the chance, the others though, yeah I think they’re willing to die for this woman.
Nualla: Hmmm…
Nualla: Word is that Selkirk was addled – mind was tied up in knots. She was unstable when they found her after that stint in the drow city. That sound about right?
Xila: Yup, kept saying the same thing over and over… although for some reason I can’t never remember what she says.
Xila: She had a brief moment of clarity though, that’s what persuaded the others not to turn her in, Hudson says she said “help me”
Nualla: Figures messing around with primordials and filthy devil elf magic would warp your brain.
Nualla fiddles with a ring on her finger, straining as if to listen to something faintly. “Might be a way to help her. But whats the pay off if you do, aside from your cover would be happy?”
Xila: Pay off? I dunno, I wont get paid for it, which would be a bad thing.
Xila: I guess, doing a good deed?
Nualla frowns.
Xila looks a bit puzzled by the thought
Nualla: You almost have yourself convinced, girl.
Nualla: Better yet, Selkirk’s loaded – she’s the ruler over a nation – though Sembia is a bit in the dark right now – literally. You’ll be getting into bed with the Netherese and making yourself marked as a enemy by Cormyr. Not greeat sides to be on.
Nualla: Not entirely sure I want my prints on this either.
Xila: So, we turn her in, get paid, make an enemy of netherese. Or we turn her into Netherese, get paid bucket loads, and make an enemy of Cormyr.
Xila: Tough decision
Nualla: Im pretty sure the Shades will kill her and you before you can look at them sideways. But if we get involved with this, it casts us against Cormyr, and Netheril is on that side as well. Means working in Cormyr or Suzail would be more than difficult.
Xila frowns
Xila: Say… have you heard of this paladin type named Levia? That’s who the others were gonna turn her into before I persuaded them to come here.
Nualla: Sounds vaguely familar… but I cant place it. I can look into it, if you like, since you’ll be doing me three favors in place of this one I’ll do for you.
Xila: Three favors? Sounds fair.
Nualla: Seems like we’ll be able to help each other then. How are you with formal events?
Xila: Formal? Y’mean working with all those noble types? Blergh.
Xila: I can pick their pockets quicker then you cay say “Oh dear” but talking to them? That’s a whole other thing.
Nualla: Working might not be the best term there, but you’ll definately be among them. But let me start from the beginning and lay out the whole thing before we get ahead of ourselves.
Xila: Sure
Nualla: Purple Dragons and the War Wizards have been setting up for something big recently, and Id guess its whatever they plan on doing with Selkirk. Lots of baubles been changing hands lately, and likely it has to do with all of the relicy bits that are going into it. Some big ritual, I guess. Would steer clear of any clergy in town.
Nualla: But, I’m guessing that Selkirk is bunched up in her own mind and we gotta bust through whatever mental defenses she’s got put up around herself to get her broke outta that slog. There’s a bit of magic thats within the city that might work. Cranky old bint named Grankleshard – big time magic merchant – has a bit of an elven relic… a kiira gem. Should be able to use that to break whatevers blocking your marks head.
Nualla: Luckily, I originally called you here to ease into Grankleshard’s place for a personal favor, but it seems that you’ll need to go there for this elven relic as well. So, it works out rather well.
Nualla: Grankleshards having a big masked formal ball at his newly renovated estate in a few days, and that would be ‘in’ for you and your crew. The lil guys awfully fond of the adventurey type, and I can make arrangements for you to have invitations.
Nualla: While there, I have something else I’d like you to do for me, and that will take care of one of your owed favors.
Xila: Sounds awfully boring, but I guess I can do that.
Nualla: The gnomes not idle when it comes to protecting his items – he’ll have a good bit of magic and mundane protections, not to mention the guards as well. But, he’s not much on the War Wizards or the Crown in general, so he might be willing to let the magicy bit go for something.
Xila: I see, so we can bribe him for it… Or figure out a way to steal it.
Nualla: Either would work – there’s likely to be quite a rabble at the manor that night, so other opportunities may present themselves as well.
Xila nods
Xila: So, what’s this favour I have to do as well?
Nualla: Nothing major. I have it on good intellegence that one of Grankleshards kitchen help is a Zhent spy. All I need is for you to unlock the kitchen door and the servants entrance to the manorhouse while you are in there so I can find and confront the spy.
Xila: Piece of cake!
Xila: …. Will there be cake in the kitchen?
Xila thinks about eating cake while unlocking a door.
Xila agrees to Nuallas favour heads upstairs while Nualla leaves.
Xila: Well, that was fun! You weren’t eavesdropping or anything were you?
Izual removes his hood and turnes toward Xila.
Xila hops onto the bed.
Xila: So, good news and bad news.
Xila: Bad news is, we pretty much have no choice but to give her to the crown, or it’s guaranteed rope to neck action.
Quinn Winterborn nods
Xila: Good news though, we may have a way to stop whatever magic is warping her mind.
Quinn Winterborn turns and looks at River and Hudson
Hudson: Good.
River frowns. “We could still take her to the paladin, and not the Crown.”
Quinn Winterborn: I’m…not exactly a big fan of the paladin
Quinn Winterborn: Paladin’s don’t ambush people in the forest….
Hudson: I don’t want anyone to die. If we can free her mind before the end, perhaps that’s the best we can hope for.
River: Everyone thinks they are the good guy, especially in times of distress. People do bad things for good reasons all the time.
Xila: My contact is looking into that paladin for me, but she pretty much assures me that it’s the crown or death, and I trust her explicitly… She cannot lie.
River: What?
Quinn Winterborn raises an eyebrow to Xila
Quinn Winterborn: River, I hold paladins to a higher standard than that
Izual: I am for it. It allows we to bring at least shred of light to the situation.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, this plan to help Mirabeta, it’s…legal?
Xila: The person i spoke to downstairs, though I admit, my knowledge of her is limited, I know she has an inability to lie.
Xila: Well… It can be legal.
Xila: We’re gonna get invited to some fancy masked ball, the guy running it is a magical merchant. He has this magical thing that can help her. We can either pay him for it, or steal it.
Hudson: Do we have any idea how much this thing will cost? Or what it is?
Xila: An eleven relic apparently, something called a kiira gem
Xila: My contact seems to think the thing afflicting mirabeta is drow magic.. or something akin to it.
River: Why would this thing be able to help her? And why isnt the Crown using it?
Xila: No idea, I’m not a magicy person.
Xila: And apparently the guy holding it isn’t a huge fan of the crown, so he wouldn’t give it to them if they asked… or something.
Xila: But I told you, the one I spoke to cant lie, so at the very least she knows it might help.
Hudson: I think it’s worth it. If nothing else, we can find out what she’s trying to tell us, and maybe we’ll find the presence from our dreams.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ve heard of the Kiira. It would have to be an awfully specific kiira, though such a gem might be very useful
Izual: If i recall, they were exclusive to Elven nobles. I am sure their price would be immesurable.
Hudson: I assume we’ll get the gem first, and then do whatever is needed with Mirabeta?
Quinn Winterborn: We might only need to borrow it, and not use it up. But that’s speculation.
Xila: Yup, once I get it I should hear back from my contact with her findings of Levia, then I’ll let you know what she comes up with, but I’m still certain our only option is the crown if we want to keep our heads.
Xila: And I dunno about you, but I’m rather fond of my head.
Quinn Winterborn tilts his head to one side
Quinn Winterborn: Yeah, it’s not bad
Izual: In us past ecperiences, using up the magic in an item usually destroys it.
Quinn Winterborn blushes
Hudson glances at Quinn, and then stands up. “When will we find out more about our quest?”
River broods quietly.
Xila: Well, our invites to the masked ball should come soon. Then we just… plan what we’re gonna do.
Xila: We either bribe, or steal. Personally I’m all for stealing it.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Xila: Although it will have some magical protection, and guards of course.
Xila: Guards I can handle, magical protection? Not so much
River: Why is your contact doing this for us?
Hudson: I’ll probably need… a change of clothes if it’s a fancy party.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, I understand your preference, but beyond the ethical ramifications, I HIGHLY suggest that you NOT steal a Kiira
Xila: Why?
Quinn Winterborn: Some of them are….intelligent?
Quinn Winterborn: …and magical….
Xila: How can a gem be intelligent? I’ve stolen plenty of them before.
Xila: I mean I know it’s a magical one, but still.
Quinn Winterborn just stares at Xila
Quinn Winterborn: Actually, I don’t know how it can be. But it can be.
Izual: Maybe that is its magical protection. IT protects itself.
Izual: It is a harrowing thought.
Quinn Winterborn: Which would indicate that stealing is the wrong approach
Xila: Well we may have no choice, we need this gem. Also I’m going to this guys place whether you agree to get this gem or not, so really we might as well go and get it.
Hudson: I plan on going too, if it can help her.
Izual: Regardless, I am for the plan. If I have a chance to save the woman’s soul, I know her mind can pass in peace.
Quinn Winterborn: Who will stay and guard Mirabeta?
Quinn Winterborn: I…
Quinn Winterborn looks down
Quinn Winterborn: …prefer not to
Izual: We would need you anyway, mage.
Xila: I’m sure she can guard herself.
Xila: Although strictly speaking, we’d have no need for a wolf at the ball.. Moro could stay
Xila: Unless there’s a range limit River?
Hudson: I would make the assumption that neither myself nor river would be trusted with watching her.
Izual: This is what I think. If she had asked for help, and helped us in turn, I am sure she is behind those shadows. If we spoke to her as a person, I am sure she would understand.
River: I…I dont know…
Xila: Oooh ooh! Just remembered
DM: lol
Xila: Mirabeta is fine here, my contact said she’ll have some people keep an eye on the inn
Quinn Winterborn frowns thoughtfully
Quinn Winterborn: Look, I just don’t want to fail in our mission. I rather like my head where it is.
Xila: So do I
Xila winks
Izual: Well doing nothing at all would result in the same.
Quinn Winterborn: Alright, so we wait for Xila’s contact, then?
River: We… are going to need some less conscpiuous clothing for this to work.
Quinn Winterborn: What’s wrong with my tunic?
Xila: Well, Grankleshard… he’s the magical merchant by the way, he’ll know we’re adventuring types
Xila: That’s why he’s going to “invite” us
Quinn Winterborn looks at his tunic, trying to rub out a few stains
Xila: So we don’t need to go too formal, but I agree, we need different clothes.
Xila: And masks, it is a masked ball after all.
Xila: …I think you wear masks to those right?
River: Thats going to require someone to go into Suzail then. Someone thats not easily recognizable…
River looks at Izual.
River: Likely Quinn and Xila would be the best for this… Im not comfortable in the city, and Mister Izual stands out in the crowd, as does Mister Aydar.
Xila: But.. I know nothing about formal events, never been to one.
Xila: I mean, sure I’ve picked the pockets of a few nobles but dressed like them? Blergh
River: If you can get into the upper end merchants district, you could likely just state that you have to go to this banquet and they can outfit whatevers needed.
Xila: Yup! Do I need to err.. take your measurements?
Xila eyes hudson
Hudson looks blankly back at her.
Hudson: gotta tape measure?
Xila: …Nope
Quinn Winterborn sighs
River: Written measurements should suffice. But the coin thats needed wont be… insubstantial.
Hudson hands over his old armor. “Here. This fit perfectly. Maybe they can work out the sizing from it.”
Xila: Oh coin if of no consequence. I’m sure there are plenty of nobles who’ll happily part with some coin if I ask “nicely”
Hudson: Xila…
Hudson hands quinn a pouch of three hundred gold.
Hudson: That should cover it.
Xila pockets it
Xila: I might still ask for some.. help though
Xila: I mean, can’t hurt to have more right?
Hudson: Just… don’t get caught.
River sighs, “Less attention, not more attention.”
Xila: right then Quinn, lets get going!
Quinn Winterborn takes a deep breath, and follows Xila
Hudson hands another 300 over. “Get something nice for the boys.”
Xila grabs the GP and kisses Hudson on the cheek then rushes out with Quinn.

You manage to sneak into the city, without the guards noting you as anything other than commoners. You arrive near the squallor district, where most of the buildings are made with mud and straw and would likely wash away in a big storm. Its about midnight by the time you get into Suzail.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Quinn Winterborn: Too much like home.
Xila: Lets go find us a place to stay, to the merchant district.
Quinn Winterborn nods and follows
Squatting here or working your way through the city? You could make it into the merchant district and look around or ask around instead.
Quinn realizes that Suzail is built like a massive spoked wheel and with only a little bit of wandering you are able to find a major boulevard that takes you right to the citys heart, where the merchant district butts up to the Palace.
Xila looks around for anyone who might be easily conned into giving them shelter.
Quinn Winterborn naively follows Xila
The night is deep, and you find only a few drunken men and women and some city guard on the street. You find one of the major tailors in the city is adjacent to a Inn which sounds lively and fantastic smells waft into the street from the opened doors.
A slight man wearing a dark green cloak emerges from the Inn/Tavern and stumbles a bit while trying to regain his bearings. He laughs to himself and turns to walk down the street, noting the two of you standing here. “Hhheeeyyy there, ffellows.”
Xila frowns momentarily, then shifts into a child like apparence.
Xila: Please sir.. Me and my older brother we… we’re looking for a place to stay.. Our parents, they died this morning and we haven’t got any money… If you let us sleep on your floor, we’d be ever so greatfull.
The man looks at Xila, then back to Quinn, then back to Xila. “You dont look like yer related? Different mums or something?” He then spits into the street, wiping his mouth on his cloak, a glint of sliver shows at his neck, where the cloak is clasped together by a beaten silver pin that resembles a harp.
Quinn Winterborn gives Xila a stern look
Xila: Yes, we have different.. mothers
Xila sniffs
Xila: But now, we are alone.
Xila sobs
Quinn Winterborn stares keenly at the pin
Quinn Winterborn looks at his sister uncertainly
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe the temple would take us in, if this good gentleman would not? I’m not used to being on the street at this hour….
The man sputters a bit, “I cant have you sleeping on my floor! I might trip and crush you like a wee babe! And my daughters wouldnt take a young man like this in their midst without some kind of incoherant ramblingsBUT!” He comes out of his mumbling with a roar, “I have some coin – you can get a room at the Laughing Lass just there yonder there. Tell’em that Walt sent you and ask for Mishell. She’ll take care of ye little fellows.”
Quinn Winterborn steps forward, and snatches the coin greedily
?? hands over a few thick golden crowns.
Quinn Winterborn: Bless you, Walt
Xila: Oh thank you sir, that’s mightly kind of you!
Quinn Winterborn looks the stranger in the eye, briefly, then lowers his head and turns to his sister, beckoning her
“yes yes… bleeding little orphans. Have a warm meal and a drink on Walt….” he begins to stumble off into the night.
Xila walks off with Quinn then stops crying.
Xila: Well, that went well. Would have rather gone to his house, could have taken that nice pin of his.
Quinn Winterborn turns on Xila angrily
Quinn Winterborn: You!
Quinn Winterborn: You and I need to have words. Very soon.
Xila: What for?
Quinn Winterborn seems suddenly and inexplicably furious
Quinn Winterborn looks angry, but flustered
Quinn Winterborn: Steal that pin, and I’ll turn you into a frog
Quinn Winterborn storms off towards the Laughing Lass
Xila looks puzzled.
Xila follows
The Laughing Lass is a large Inn with a front desk in the atrium and a massive feasthall annex. Two large men stand on either side of the feasthall doors, obviously there to take care of troublmakers. A woman stands behind the desk, smiling and greeting you as you enter.
Xila: Excuse me, miss. We’d like a room. Walt sent us, and said to ask for a Mishell?
The woman cocks her head to the side, “Excuse me?”
Xila: We would like a room, if there are any.
Quinn Winterborn mutters incoherently to himself.
Xila realizes that walt was too drunk and probably just said that cause he thought it would work.
Quinn Winterborn mutters the name Amaunator softly.
: Its a bit late… I think I have something over the feasthall if you would like just a bed to rest in. IF you want a full room with all the ammenities, I have one of those as well, but it would be full price.
From the feasthall you hear the music die down and the crowd begin to quiet. Within a moment a serving girl walks out of the hall and upto the desk. “Mara, these guests are expected and have paid already. I can see them to their room.”
??: If you would please follow me, I can show you to your room.
Xila looks curiously for a moment, then beckons for quinn to follow, and follows the serving girl.
The serving girl leads you through the feasthall and around the bar, through the kitchen and to a back room. “If you would please go inside. Mishell is awaiting you therein.”
Quinn Winterborn follows slowly, distracted
Xila heads inside.
Inside the room is a quartet of chairs around a well worn table. A chestnut haired woman wearing bardic garb sits at the table, stowing a small lute in its protective case. Quinn notes that the lute has a familar set of symbols traced around its base in a stylized fashion. The woman turns to you, a large silver harp pedant dangling from the chain around her neck. “I am Mishell. You are looking for me, so Ive been told?”
Xila: We.. we met a man outside, called walt. He told us to ask for you, you’d take care of us?
Quinn Winterborn: I…
Quinn Winterborn: Oh.
Quinn Winterborn stares at the pedantic pendant
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, I’m sorry. I….had a dream…about that pendant, or one like it.
Mishell Nymomen smiles, “Walt, did he say?” she chuckles, “Thats a new moniker. I believe we have a mutual friend, Miss?”
Quinn Winterborn glares at Xila warningly
Xila thinks for a moment.
Mishell Nymomen brushes the pendant with her fingertips. “Its a relic from another age, actually – but it still means something… to some people.”
Xila: Sarah, this here is … Daniel.
Quinn Winterborn: It means something indeed.
Mishell Nymomen smile vanishes instantly. “Care to try again?”
Quinn Winterborn moves slightly away from “Sarah”
Quinn Winterborn: Frog
Xila: No good huh? Names Xila, this here’s Quinn.
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head
Quinn Winterborn: Why would you even try with a Harper, Xila? Another one of your games?
Mishell Nymomen: She said you’d be difficult. I was hoping for better.
Xila: …She?
Quinn Winterborn: I apologize, bard. My companion here seems to see everything as a contest.
Mishell Nymomen: Nualla. Said I could call on you for a favor for me, which would be a favor for her. And she said you owed her a few.
Xila seems to laugh at this
Quinn Winterborn seems startled
Xila: Oh I knew there was something funny about all this… That Nualla.
Xila: Quinn, you should err.. leave the room, I think me and her have a few things to discuss.
Quinn Winterborn looks for a long moment like it’s the last thing on earth he wants to do.
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Mishell? By your leave then?
Mishell Nymomen: No. I think Mr. Winterborn is fine to stay. What I have to ask is not part of your… association or associates. Though it is related to your current… endeavor.
Quinn Winterborn: You know

Mishell Nymomen: Nualla’s friends are often friends of my own, we just rarely work in the same areas at the same time.
Quinn Winterborn looks back and forth between Xila and Mishell, not quite believing what he’s hearing
Xila: I see, that’s to be expected I guess.
Xila: So, what’s this favour you want me to do?
Mishell Nymomen shrugs, “I know you are going to Master Grankleshard’s ball. I would have you do a task for me while there. It is of some importance.”
Xila: Well, I’m already doing something for Nualla, might as well add to my list of tasks.
“The ball you are going to will be visited by a woman known as lady Irlingstar. She will be wearing a mask and dress to give her the appearance of an eladrin noble. This woman is a dangerous enemy, who has need of watching. We need you to facilitate that, by planting this on her.”
Mishell takes a velvet purse out of her pocket, and shows the contents: a single silver coin.
Xila: So, plant that on a noble woman… Usually I take things out of pockets, but I guess putting them in wont be much different.
Mishell Nymomen: The Lady Irlingstar is an inhuman creature. She is immoral, cruel and very very dangerous. You should not engage her in combat at all, as numerous people could be slaughtered in the ensuing chaos. Instead, you should make sure that the Lady comes into possession of this coin. This will allow my associates to track her. The coin has a minor compulsion that causes people to covet it. This will ensure that the Lady keeps the coin once she has it.
Mishell Nymomen: You should not touch the coin, nor should anyone else before the Lady Irlingstar does, as you would be compelled to keep it.
Quinn Winterborn is practically drooling at the mention of the magic on the coin
Xila: K, I shall keep it safe, you have my word.
Xila: Quinn, no touching ok?
Quinn Winterborn: Of course not!
Xila takes the purse.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, the coin
Quinn Winterborn blushes again
Mishell Nymomen: I cannot stress how dangerous the Lady is. Do. Not. Engage. Her.
Quinn Winterborn: I heed your words, Harper.
Xila looks serious “Ok, I wont engage her. I’ll plant the coin and nothing else.”
Mishell Nymomen: Best to not mention that either.
Quinn Winterborn offers a soft sigh of relief
Mishell Nymomen: Upon completion of this task, meet me back here and I will pay you handsomely for this favor.
Xila eyes light up at the mention of payment.
Xila: Ok!
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Xila: So, any suggestions about how to plant it? I must admit I don’t usually give things to people.. and certainly not secretly.
Mishell Nymomen: She will covet the coin upon contact, so touch it to her and then dropping it would work – or simply planting it in her purse or belt pouches would also be acceptable.
Xila nods
Quinn Winterborn: I apologize for the oddness of my question, Lady Mishell, but I had an odd dream a fortnight ago – a portent. I dreamed of Mystra, and a silver harp, and a word that I could not hear. I know the Harpers are masters of lore, I wondered if the connection made any sense to you.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Mishell earnestly, almost hopefully
Mishell Nymomen blushes at the question, taking a moment before answering. “I cannot read your dreams, Master Winterborn. But I know from centuries of serving the Mistress that things that seem coincidental are often not simply chance. Perhaps you are drawn to a calliing of those who Harp, or perhaps it is the spectral call of the Mistress reaching out ot you through the Astral Sea. I cannot say, but I would venture that whatever you are a part of is uch larger than you realize, and that randomness in your day to day life will one day make sense in the bigger picture. Should you feel compelled to learn more about my organization, we should speak on it at a later date.”
Quinn Winterborn takes a long moment to process Mishell’s words
Quinn Winterborn: I…I would like that very much.
Quinn Winterborn: In the meantime, I shall endeavour to serve the light…despite my accomplice’s bad habits
Quinn Winterborn: Thank you.
Mishell Nymomen smirks, “All skills may be necessary before the venture is complete. Dont forget that.”
Xila: Thank you Mishell… We were fortunate to come across that “Walt”.. Nualla really needs to warn me about future meetings more.
Mishell Nymomen: Walt is a changling that works for both the Talons and the Harpers. He was a proper intermediate. Now, you have a room above the feasthall, and on the morrow, a line of credit is available at the tailor across the street. Should you manage to pull off your endeavors, the charge there will be covered in full by me. Otherwise, you will be responsible for the cost of you outfits."
Xila looks to Quinn, then realizes this probably means she cant keep the 600 gold Hudson gave her.
Quinn Winterborn: Understood
Xila: Alrighty, see you soon!
Mishell Nymomen: Pick your masks wisely. They seem to bear some import at these engagements.
Mishell Nymomen stands up and motions to the door, where she bids you farewell.
Xila: Got’cha, see ya!
Quinn Winterborn takes a step towards the door, pauses, turns back and offers a pretty mediocre bow, then rushes out of the room, embarrasssed

The heroes (or outlaws?) awaited the meeting with Xila’s contact who was amicable in sharing information with the rogue about where help could be found for Mirabeta within the city of Suzail. They would have to infiltrate and obtain a magical elven relic known as a ‘kiira’ which would somehow allow them the break the mind magic on the woman. Obtaining proper attire for the masked ball would fall to Xila and Quinn, the most unremarkable and stealthy of the group. Their entrance into the city went smoothly and without fanfare. Finding a proper tailor was not possible, given the time of night, but a chance meetin with a drunkard provided some additional allies that the group could call on if they completed another task while at the gala. Once briefed, the pair slept the night off before finding their patron had made arrangements for them to recieve proper clothing later at their current residence. But what would they do once they got to the event? Attempt to steal the bauble? Bribe the owner in an effort to obtain the relic?
Xila awakens bright and early, and goes to get Quinn.
In the morning, the door is knocked on by a maid and it is relayed to you that a message was left for you that your costumes would be ready at 2pm for you to pick up. Until then, it is suggested that you peruse the city for any ‘necessary items’ before leaving.
Quinn Winterborn: I think that means spellbooks
Xila: Spellbooks? i think she means Knives.
Xila: Definitely knives
Xila: So, what shall we get. Other then knives and… Spellbooks, whatever you’d want those for.
Xila: I mean, a spellbook is useless, who’d want to read how to kill people? Better just to stab them with a knife and be done with it.
Xila goes on a ramble about how bad spells are compared to good ole fashioned knives.
Quinn Winterborn does not stop Xila ever. He just leaves the room
Xila: Quinn? Quinn! Hey wait for me!
Xila follows
Xila: So, spellbooks and knives.. spellbooks and knives… We should probably find some information on this ball as well.
Xila: Dunno why, but I have a feeling that’s what somebody wants us to do.
Quinn Winterborn: Some info on the guy throwing the party might help.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe he gives out rare magical items to everyone who gives him a petunia. Or a knife.
Xila: I would trade a magical item for a knife, every time.
Xila: So I can relate
Xila: Of course, i’d steal the item back
Xila: But semantics.
Quinn Winterborn: Try chatting up a servant or something?
You know his name – Urobolos Grankleshard, gnome merchant
Quinn Winterborn: So Xila, I would take it as a personal favour if you could not get me in trouble while we’re in the city. I’d rather prefer to stay on the Harpers good side
Xila: But what’s the fun in that?
Quinn Winterborn: I suggest we ask around at the usual places today – temple, servants, if Grankleshard has any, a tavern or two, etc. I’m willing to follow your lead, but please keep it honorable.
Xila: Honorable? What’s that mean?
Xila doesn’t wait for an answer, and rushes off
Quinn Winterborn gives Xila’s back a stern look, then follows, grumbling
Xila: …Ok, works for me
Xila manages to find some local cutters that spill on Master Grankleshard.
Local streetrats are able to tell you a bit more about Grankleshard. He’s a big time merchant in Suzail. Runs the regional office of Seven Suns Trading Company. He knows more about what goes on in the city than almost anyone else – having several high up operatives in the local guilds. He focuses on regional level concerns – delegating the mundane work to others.
Urobolos was an adventurer long ago, and he has a soft spot for those that are currently on the same path. Its a likely avenue of commonality that could be a gateway to establishing commonground.
Grankleshard is wise, patient and methodical. He is a supporter of the King, but opposes the use of magic for “wizard games”
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, I hate to say this to you, mostly because I think you’ll ignore me, but it’s sounding like Grankleshard might be the sort of person it’s best to be honest and upfront about our goals and intentions with.
Xila sneezes at the exact moment Quinn tries to talk to her
Several prominent men and women are present at the masked balls that the gnome is known to throw on occasion. Both those that are famous, and others that are infamous. People are as likely to be magically disguised as they are to be wearing a mundane mask.
Quinn Winterborn: Oooh, I wonder if I could design a magical disguise….
Washerwoman gossip outside of the temple reveals that Grankleshard prides himself that the construction of the Phasian was done without magic. It is, as he says, pure craftsmanship. The building does have a fair amount of magic about it though: magical wards, magically reinforced glass windows, and magical lights that illuminate the entire building at night.
Quinn Winterborn: …and likely magical traps to protect his investments…
The ball is held at Grankleshard’s mansion, `which Grankleshard calls the Phasian (a type of peacock). The main building is mostly glass and marble and has the shape of a bird. The main wings of the mansion, supported by marble pillars, are the bird’s wings, and the reared head in the front of the building is a tower that looks out over the terrain. From a distance the building can be made out to have a bird-shape, though the shape is more bulky than a peacock. Locals have started to refer to the mansion as ‘the Cockatrice’. When guests arrive for the ball, they are brought through a beautiful garden to the main entrance hall, from where two giant staircases lead up to the ‘body’ of the bird where the ballroom has been set up for guests to meet and mingle. The left wing is also accessible to the guests. There are small rooms are available for private encounters, and guests are invited to enter the lookout for a ‘romantic view’ with the mystery guest of their choice. The right wing is off limits. Here is where Grankleshard holds his private rooms, as well as his valuables including the kiira.
Quinn Winterborn: Private encounters?
Quinn Winterborn blushes
Xila: Huh, maybe this will be more fun then I thought.
Xila winks at Quinn
Xila yawns and sits down on the pavement.
Xila: I think we’ve done all we can here, guess we should head and get our stuff for the ball huh?.
Quinn Winterborn: Agree
Travelling back to the tailor’s shop, you are greeted warmly at the counter by a lithe elf in a beautifully tailored suit. He takes down your names and smiles, “You’ll love these… they are simply magical.”
Quinn Winterborn grins
Xila sighs
Tailor: Now, I did not know all of your preferences, but with the ball so close, I could only work with what creatures were not yet taken. I apologize if they do not suit your tastes, but it is quite the last minute.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, just imagine magical knives….
Quinn Winterborn: I’m sure you’ve done splendidly.
Xila brings out her knife
Quinn Winterborn: …I said imagine….
Xila puts away her knife, pouting.
Tailor: Im sure you will represent me very well there. Master Grankleshards suaree’s are simply the toast of this city’s nightlife. Take care to not embarass yourselves there, and by default, embarass me.
Xila: Ok!
Xila: Emba..rass?
Quinn Winterborn: If anyone knows the meaning of that word, it should be you, Xila
Xila: How do you embarass yourself or someone?
Quinn Winterborn: In your case? Yourself, never, it seems. Other people? well….
Tailor: By not adhering to social protocols, making a scene or causing untoward attentions to those that do not want it.
Xila: Oh, well that’s fine then! If I cant embarass myself I wont embarass you right?
Tailor: For example – Refering to someone by name is strictly forbidden in conversation at the gala.
Quinn Winterborn: Do you want to strangle her, Tailor, or shall I?
Xila: Really? That’s lame
Quinn Winterborn: Interesting…
Tailor shrugs, “I do not wish to have my name or shop sullied in reputation. Mens lives are brokered at these events. Your actions have a far reach. Are you familar with the social protocols of the evening?”
Quinn Winterborn: I think NO would be a safe bet
Xila: Nope, not a clue.
Tailor: I see. Well, as I have said. No names are given in conversation. People refer to one another by the name of their masks. All guests must wear a mask in order to be allowed inside. Many sport illusions to hide their identity in addition to their mask, but most people are not trying to hide who they are. At midnight, a guest may remove their mask and reveal their true self. Until then, the masks are supposed to stay on.
Tailor: Men and women with a simple white masks each sporting a single plume walk the edge of the ballroom floor and the balconies. They offer various drinks and finger food to the guests. They provide other entertainment as well, for the right price.
Tailor: Any conversation typically happens on the Balcony,as the ballroom is noisy and not very private. Dallacies may be had in the private rooms in the east wing.
Xila: What kind of entertainment? I think Quinn might want some.
Xila: I
Tailor: The company of a man or woman, or more, may be purchased if you so desire. I know not the rates of the evening, however.
Xila: See Quinn, you can hire someone to gush about magic to all night.
Tailor: Thats the basics. Now, behave yourselves, and we’ll share in the wealth of positive gossip! Now, I must be off – I have several items to hem this afternoon. Please. Take you packages and be off with my best wishes.
Quinn Winterborn: Hey that would be interesting. Maybe they’d believe my lies, too.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Xila
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, back to rejoin the others?
Xila: You go on ahead, I haven’t picked any nobles pockets yet.
Quinn Winterborn is only too happy to go on ahead
Five massive bundles are tied together with a sophisticated knot that should hold the packages together for your long walk.
Xila thinks a moment, then decides against her urges, and goes back with Quinn.
Xila and Quinn manage to leave Suzail without notice. After an hours walk, you find yourself back at the Inn where you left the others.
Xila shouts as soon as she enters the inn.
Hudson waves.
Xila waves back
Hudson: What did you get us?
Xila: Stuff!
Quinn Winterborn: We made a contact with the Harpers, who provided us with costumes for the masquerade
Quinn Winterborn relates the rules the Tailor conveyed about the masquerade
Hudson: Who are the Harpers?
Quinn Winterborn: We also have a second task to perform at the masquerade
Quinn Winterborn looks at Hudson incredulously
Hudson shrugs slowly, and looks at Xila.
Hudson: should i know who this is?
Xila: a friend of a friend
Quinn Winterborn: The Harpers are good guys
Xila: So yeah, she gave us another task to do! We have to give someone something, but you cant touch it!
Quinn Winterborn: They know a lot.
Hudson: Not that i’m complaining, but why do we have to do this second task?
Quinn Winterborn looks at Xila
Xila: Weeeelll… it’s more a task for me, as a favor. But you have to help me!
Xila: And we’re at the ball anyway… No reason not to, right?
Hudson: depends how nice my clothes are, i guess.
Hudson winks. It is awkward. Most people are probably uncomfortable somewhere in the surrounding five areas.
Xila rips open the pack to see what clothes they all have, not stopping at just her own.
The five packages are well wrapped in brownsack cloth and tied with intricate knots. As you tear them open, five unique costumes are presented before you, each clearly fitting only one of you.
River: (Bear) A white leather pelt cut in a one shoulder slung dress, complete with white fur trimmed shoes and a fur mantle. Mask is half faced (top), leaving the mouth uncovered. Quinn: (Canary) A yellow robe lined with sequinned feathers and golden trim. A long beaked half mask (top) trimmed with three long yellow plumes. Izual: (Pig) A full faced pink skin toned mask with snout. A pale flesh toned tunic and slacks with matching shoes. The belt has a small curled tail. Xila: (Dog) A white and black spotted dress with a low cut collar and no sleeves. Mask is full faced complete with flopped ears. Hudson (Mouse): Soft grey tunic and slacks. Mask is full faced and has a set of large ears included.
Quinn Winterborn: So I think our best best is to NOT try to steal from powerful mage who takes kindly to adventurers. Instead, we need to approach him and try to enlist his aid.
Xila: You’re boring.
Hudson continues to look in vague confusion at his outfit.
Each outfit comes with a small ceremonial belt knife, as other weapons and armor are not allowed at the gala.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, I’d be much less boring if I wasn’t terrified that Meribel or Grackleshard were going to murder me.
Xila: But if there’s no danger, there’s no fun!
Quick recap: Your mission is to obtain the Kiira gemstone from Grankleshards manor house by any mean necesary. You also have two side missions while there: 1) Unlock and leave open the kitchen doors to allow Nualla entry into the manorhouse. 2.) Plant the magical silver coin on Lady Irlingstar without her knowledge.
Izual: My costume is in poor taste.
Izual sighs.
Xila looks at Hudson while wearing her doggy costume rather proudly.
Xila: You look soooooo cute!
Xila plays with Hudsons mouse ears
River: T-They say the m-m-meek are the ones to be truly feared… b-but I have my d-doubts about the tailor’s t-tastes.
Quinn Winterborn: River, I suspect we will fit in wonderfully. The tailor seemed quite determined that we make a good impression on their behalf.
Hudson: I… I guess this is… Okay?
In the mid afternoon the next day, a large carriage pulls up to the inn, a sextuplet of men wearing ringed leather and bristling with blades exit the carriage (much to the relief of the driver), exchange a brief word with Xila regarding their charge and then set themselves up around the Inn and upstairs room, a ‘gift’ from Nualla.
Xila: Thanks guys!
The carriage driver leaps down to help you inside of the carriage, complimenting you all on your ‘fabulous attire’ and how well dressed you all look.
Hudson smiles a little to himself.
Xila: Thank you! You’re not so bad looking yourself.
Xila winks
Izual has to keep shifting his position in the carriage so his tail doesn’t poke him in the wrong places.
River: T-this…… is h-h-humiliating….
Within moments you are on your way into Suzail, the carriage ride surprisingly smooth and uneventful, though it takes quite some time to get back into the city. Dusk falls as you pull upto the main drive of the Phasian, Urobolos Granklshards mansion. The mansion itself has an extensive drive going upto the main doors, The main building is mostly glass and marble and is in the shape of a bird. Magical lights highlight the wing and feathers, further giving life to the illusion. The east and west wings, supported by marble pillars are the birds wings, and the reared head in the front of the building is a tower that looks out over the terrain.
Izual: You are telling me, River…
Xila: Aww, it’s not that bad
Xila: I might wear this more oftne
Hudson: We’re saving someone’s soul. Find comfort in that?
Hudson: …
Hudson: Hey, Xila. I think this’ll go well with your outfit.
Hudson hands over hsi amulet of protection, with the drug hidden in his hands.
Xila doesn’t take it.
Xila: I’m not one for amulets, they’re boring. Thanks for the offer though!
Hudson looks down at his hand, and then up at Xila. Then back to his hand.
The driver slides open a small window at the front of the carriage as you begin to sidle up to the main drop off. “You’d best hide anything you dont want seen on you. The guards are searching everyone as they enter. We’ll be there shortly.”
Xila hides her dagger and thieves tools… Somewhere secretive.
Hudson puts on the amulet, and then puts everything he shouldn’t have into his backpack.
Hiding drugs and/or weapon requires a stealth or bluff check (tower please)
The carriage pulls to a stop and the coachman leaps down before opening the door and placing a small set of steps at the side of the carriage. As you step out, you find yourself fjust outside of a magnificent garden filled with all manner of lush vegetation that clearly is not indigeinous to the area. Thick vines, massive ferns and palms dominate the landscape, all peppered with thick waxy leaves and scarlet blooms the size of Xila’s head. You catch a glimpse of the people in front of you moving past the guards at the gate, a man in a half-red mask, and a woman in a half-white mask.
Quinn Winterborn whispers REMEMBER no NAMES
The guards beckon you to their station, asking if you have anything to declare, and if you are in possesion of any contraband. All weapons can be checked at the guard station to be returned upon leaving the ball. Once your masks are in place, you are welcome to enter upon a brief search of your person, just to make sure no one tries anything ‘funny’.
Xila allows herself to be subjected to the search.
The guards casually look at the purses and knives that are carried, lightly patting down the men and nodding to the women to pass. You are then let through the outpost and into the mansion.
Quinn Winterborn: Whee
Xila: Well, that was easy.
The double doors before you open into a large open lobby. Great stairs lead up from an out lobby downstairs to a great hall with a floor that tiled into a massive mosaic of a pair of multicolored fantastic looking birds. Over a hundred people in various masks and costumes (some simple, some elaborate) stand here dancing and talking amongst themselves. The ceilings are nearly thirty feet overhead here, and the walls are marble pillars with glass partions, allowing in the waining daylight and the beginning of twinkling stars.
Xila (quietly): You guys go cosy up to grenklewhatsit, I have a door to open.
A stage at the far end of the ballroom houses a band that plays music all evening and deep into the night. The greater part of the floor is used for dancing. Talking is a bit difficult in the ballroom. The floor is really meant to dance, and those who wish to socialize move up to the balcony and east wing for a quiet place to talk.
Stairs lead up to a massive balcony where most people are paried off, likely talking business. To either side of the ballroom are double doors which lead off to the east and west wing. Near where you entered there is a slim spire that looks out over the entire estate and ballroom. The entrance to which is a slender ballustrade that is accessible from the balcony.
This slim tower, reachable by a winding staior form the balcony, looks out over the estate. It is quite new, having recently been replaced after the first tower toppled. The lookout is used of romantic trysts – later in the evening, there is a small line of couples waiting to have a turn looking out over the lawns or into each other’s eyes.
You note that there are easily thousands of individual enchantments here. Lights, both bright and dim are everywhere. Subtle air currents keep the air the perfect temperature and the musicians are heard at a perfect even level throughout the ballroom, no matter where you are at.
Men and women with a simple white masks each sporting a single plume walk the edge of the ballroom floor and the balconies. They offer various drinks and finger food to the guests. They provide other entertainment as well, for the right price.
Hudson: I’m going to go and get a better vantage point, and look for the man in question.
Xila slips away quielty and heads down to the servents quarters.
You see only the entrances to the wings – there do not appear to be any “servants quarters”
As food and drink trays are emptied, they are magically replenished.
Hudson makes his way through the crowd, the giant mouse lumbering up the stairs and then looking out over the balcony. The line for the tower is long and filled with those looking for a romantic “trysting” spot, so it is avoided for now. Looking out over the crowd, you see a variety of masked peoples, a few standing out more than others. Specifically a blond woman in a fox costume, a woman wearing a very pricy looking costume of an eladrin, a massively built person dressed as a wolf, two men arguing dressed as a treant and a dragon, the half red man and his half white masked female companion, what appears to be a rough orc dressed as a Boar, a woman wearing a Snake mask (notably she is the only one with her mask raised up, and her face showing publically) She is getting stared at and scoffed at by the others. A woman wearing a blank mask.
Xila stumbles towards the two guards.
Though Xila is pretty easily seen, as she is one of the only “small people” there
“The ball you are going to will be visited by a woman known as lady Irlingstar. She will be wearing a mask and dress to give her the appearance of an eladrin noble. This woman is a dangerous enemy, who has need of watching. We need you to facilitate that, by planting this on her.”
Xila: Hey, you see that guy up stairs? In the mouse mask? Yeah I think he might be .. up to something, might want to go ask him something.
The guards both stare at the halfling puppy for a moment, before one of them nods, and speaks into a small gemstone studded bracelet. “Check the mouse on the balcony. He’s reported to be attempting to create a disturbance.” Turning back to Xila, the guard nods, “Thank you, patron. Please enjoy some music or drinks.”
Thee men move toward Hudson position, clearing their throats. “Sir, what are you doing? Can we assist you?”
Xila moves away, dejected and goes to find Quinn.
Hudson: I was just getting a view of the room. Looking to see who might be around. Why? Is something wrong?
The guards look confused, and then one simply shakes his head, “No sir, just making sure you did not need any assistance, we’re here to serve the guests at the behest of Master Grankleshard, thats all. Enjoy your evening.”
Hudson: I hope you have a good night too.
Hudson: Is the Master around? I’d like to compliment him on his wonderful house.
The guard nods, motioning towards the east wing “He is currently speaking with someone in private. He should be out among the guests shortly. You will know him by his peacock costume.”
Xila: Hey Quinn…. Might need a little help here.
Hudson: Thank you so much. I’ll try not to cause anymore worry.
Hudson heads back downstairs.
Xila realizes she said Quinns name.
Xila: Oops
Quinn Winterborn: No names, please, friend
Xila: Lets go talk somewhere quiet.
Quinn Winterborn: Sure
Xila grabs quinn by the hand to go to a “quiet” spot.
Quinn Winterborn: The master here seems to have quite an interest in both magic and adventurers. I do hope we get to meet him
Hudson informs Izual and River of what to look for with the Gnome.
You can go to the balcony, which is still pretty public, but there are also private bedrooms available, a smoking room and a library.
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, did you finish your two side tasks yet?
Xila: That’s what I need help with, there’s these two guards being a pain in the tail.
This room is full with books, most on history and architecture. It has a large table in the center and several chairs for reading. It is the only room in the mansion that is quiet during the ball. Few people come here. The windows here are at the back of the mansion, and the easiest to be reached from the outside.
Xila: I need to get to the west wing, any ideas?
Quinn Winterborn: Not really. Is that where the kitchen is?
Xila: It might be
Quinn Winterborn: Hmm, you know, I could try to figure out if I can tell where the food is being teleported from.
Xila shakes her head.
Xila: No, I know it’s in the west wing.
Xila thinks a moment.
Xila: Hmm, maybe outside…
Xila heads to the windows
Quinn Winterborn: If breaking in was easy, wouldn’t your friend just do so without your help?
While the others are busy with their tasks, River stands near the edge of the ballroom, remaining casually aloof, when a voice she had not heard in years broke clearly out over the rest of the general rumble of the room. A woman wearing an eagle mask is speaking with an elven man dressed as a phoenix.
Xila: Can you figure out a way to distract those two guards?
Xila: Once I get in, getting out should be easy… I hope
Xila: Then I can work my way back here through these windows.
Quinn Winterborn: I….I can try….
Izual is getting exhausted of standing around, and decides to move to the smoking room.
The windows are locked both physically and with arcane sigils.
Hudson watches the eladrin woman watching her behaivour, and any actions she repeats.
In the smoking room you find only a half dozen people here, most of them speaking quietly amongst themselves. One man sits in the middle of the room, his “dress” pulled open and the mask of a damsel sitting askew on his face to allow the stub of a cigar to poke out of his mouth.
Xila: Think you can help me unlock these windows Quinn?
A tray of tightly rolled cigarettes sits near the entrance ot the smoking room.
Xila begins thinking of other ways she can get access.
Izual grabs a jig and lights up , slightly moving his mask up to allow for a drag. He moves over to the man in the dress and says, “You look like an man of taste.”
Hudson: the gnome is talking to someone in private right now. We’ll know him by his peacock costume.
??: You look… like a pig.
: The “damsel” stares guffawing aloud, drawing stares from the others who quickly ignore him.
The “damsel” stares guffawing aloud, drawing stares from the others who quickly ignore him.
Xila: Lets unlock this window Quinn, might help me in the future.
Izual: One would argue that pigs are more intelligent than women.
Xila: Your magic and my lockpicking, should do the trick.
Quinn Winterborn: Quinn would spend 10-15 minutes: sneak back to library, try to find a cool book and peruse it for a few minutes before remembering the mission and heading back to the balcony.
Quinn Winterborn spends a long moment studying the window
Izual takes another drag.
Hudson: Hey, River. Have you seen Xila?
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, I’m honestly sorry. This guy’s good. I might be able to disarm it, but more than likely I’d alert everyone at the party
??: Too right. Though, I aint a lady, and this damned corset is riding up on me something fierce.
River: Shh.
Hudson bites his tongue quick.
Xila pouts inside her costume
: Whadda you here for, pig? Got some business with the peacock?
Xila: Oh well, we have to go their anyway to get the… item, so might as well wait.
Izual: I am here for the food, but peacock sounds nice too.
Xila: I’ll go plant that coin now, want to help?
Quinn Winterborn: Sure, if you need. Might be better solo though?
??: Im waiting for a blonde, but she hasnt showed yet. Women! Im sweating my arse off waiting for a woman while dressed as a woman! This is karma, and shes a fickle bitch!
Izual: Ah, I remember seeing a blonde speaking with a man on the balcony. Mayhaps she is your woman?
Xila: Perhaps
Izual takes a drag, and lets it out very near the man’s face, feigning ignorance about it.
Xila leaves the library (dragging quinn away from the books)
Xila goes to find Hudson
Quinn Winterborn gazes forlornly behind him
Xila: So, did you see the woman I seek Hu… Mr Mouse?
Hudson nods towards the lady, and passes along any information he’s gathered whilst watching her for the party so far.
shrugs. “Could be. She said to meet her here though, so I wont sweat finding her.” He takes a closer look at the Pig. “Not what you seem – lots of that going on here. You local, pig?”
Izual: You could say such. I have been around enough. Yourself?
?? (wheezes): Im from Waterdeep myself. Suzail is such a dungheap in comparison. I hate this uppity crap. Give me a good burbon and a cigar and call it a night.
The rest of the group sees that the “Eladrin” is speaking to the “Wolf” at the edge of the balcony.
Izual: I am more partial to a nice meal at the end of a filled day, myself.
Izual: You’ve traveled quate a way to be here. What brought you?
Xila sneaks her way through the crowd to get closer to the “eladrin”
Hudson: I could attempt to distract the wolf, if-
Hudson turns around and notices Xilas gone.
Quinn Winterborn: She’ll call us if she needs us
Quinn Winterborn: Or drag us
: Women…. and interesting people. Mostly. Lots of strange types here tonight
Izual laughs.
Hudson: Fine. Is there anything else any of you need? Or should i go busy myself somewhere else?
Quinn Winterborn: Your call.
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
Izual: Yes, yes. I seem to remember spotting another small one running around. From what I hear, the peacock isn’t the only short one here tonight.
The “Eladrin” turns towards Xila as she moves closer, the mask conceals her face, but you can feel her eyes on you.
Hudson: Fine… I’m sure you can find me if I’m needed.
Hudson goes to wander around and meet people.
Xila acts nonchalant and goes a completely different way.
Xila then returns to the group
Xila: Ok, I don’t like that woman.
??: Its likely. The peacock likes the attention on himself. But I was referring to some of the others. The Eladrin and the Fox draw my attenion, as they seem to be more than they appear.
Izual: Ah yes, the Fox was an eye catcher. Though, my interest is in the Treant and the Dragon. Have you seen them?
Izual: And what do you know of the Eladrin and Fox?
Xila pouts and thinks of ways to get the coin to the eladrin.
grunts “Burgers from New Velar or some such place… just business men arguing over winning over the peacocks favor.”
??: The Eladrin is some noble woman… she just carries herself different is all. Not natural.
Izual: Supernatural?
: The Fox… she’s a noblewoman… frequents this type of event. Strange thing, all them places she visits seem to be missing trinkets once the partys over. Perfect costume for that vixen.
?? shrugs, “Possibly. Aint for me to say. Just seems wrong around her.”
The Eagle grabs the Phoenix by the arm and leads him off the ballroom floor and onto the balcony for some more privacy.
Izual chuckles, taking a drag and finishing his cigarette.
Izual: Ah, well. I think I will go and see if any new cuisine has been placed. If I see the blonde, I’ll remind her of you, friend.
River waits around and sips some of her drink before slowly making her way to the balcony.
The Eladrin is challenged to an arm wrestling challenge by the Wolf, and is taken up on the offer. A small table is brought out on the balcony where the two take seats. The wolf tosses some coin onto the table top. “Winner takes the pot. Ante up, Lady Eladrin.”
Xila sees her chance and goes to watch the arm wrestle making sure others watch as well
Several guests gather around the contest, placing wagers of their own. Coins exchange hands rapidly, as the white masked attendants try to facilitate the exchanges.
: Much thanks, Pig. Keep yer snout clean.
Quinn Winterborn wanders over to watch
Izual lets out a snort as he repositions his mask, and leaves the room in search of Xila.
The wolf rolls up her sleeve, exposing a massive scarred forearm, tan marks from bracer straps clear upon them. She flexes her arm a few times before setting down on the table. The Eladrin sits slowly, leaving her satin sleeves down, only the well manicured nails left tapping the tabletop softly. “Shall we, if you are done posturing?”
The contest, is shorter than the buildup however, as the two grasp hands and the Eladrin slams the Wolf’s hand to the side, cleanly taking the win. The guests are stunned at the quick victory, as is the Wolf.
Xila picks her moment carefully, watching closely, as soon as the hand is slammed she tries to place the coin on the table
Some of the guests clap slowly applauding the Eladrin’s win, while others begin to agonize over their losses.
Izual walks to where the commotion is coming from, seeing Xila.
Hudson: If it looks as though they noticed, Hudson’s ready to jump in.
Xila claps along with the others, the silver coin squirting through her fingers and landing lightly in the coin pile that the Eladrin calmly slides into her purse. A perfect toss!
Xila slips away quietly, her task complete.
River moves up onto the balcony, and sees that the Eagle and the Phoenix have moved opposite of the small gathering around the arm wrestling table. There are only a few servants near the pair.
Xila and the others move away from the crowd as the contest is over, finding themselves standing at the edge of the balcony.
River leans over the balcony…. praying underneath her breath as she focuses on the pair’s conversation.
River hovers near the entrance to the east wing, loitering near the balcony railing, but her supernatural senses allow her to pick up on the Eagles voice, even from here.
As the guests begin to disperse, you see a ‘man’ dressed as a peacock begin to exit the east wing halls, when the two men dressed as a treant and dragon nearly accost him, to which the peacock hugs them warmly and ushers them back into the private rooms.
The Fox approaches the Wolf, speaking softly to her, breaking up the sullen mood with her tittering laughter.
Izual approaches Xila and leans in to speak to her.
Xila: Yes mr piggy?
Izual (whispering): The Fox is after the pendant, keep your eyes on her.
Izual then walks away, to the food tables.
Xila nods quietly.

Costumes were gotten, the scene was set – the heroes would attend Grankleshard’s masked ball in an attempt to procure the Kiira – though they appeared to embrace the attitude of “winging it”. True to her word, Xila’s contact arranged protection for Mirabeta while the group was away, six heavily armed men taking up residence in the Inn as the coach came to take the group to their meeting. Upon arrival, the group was checked by the guards for any illegal paraphenalia, which Izual and Xila managed to sneak past them easily. With masks down, the group entered the “Phasian” and started looking for a manner in which to procure their prize. Mingling with the crowd paid off for some, not so much for others. Xila failed to gain access to the East Wing, even tossing Hudson under the bus to do so. A meeting in the library proved that an exterior infiltration would likely not end well either, as the windows had heavy locks with magical alarms peppered heavily throughout. The ‘pig’ garnered some information while in the smoking room – a lead which had potential for acquirng the services of a person with a seemingly mutual goal – the theft of jewelry from the mansion this night. Meanwhile, an impromptu arm wrestling match broke out, where the group – with Xila’s amazingly accurate toss – was able to slip the enchanted coin into the grasp of their mark, thus completing one of their tasks. Grankleshard has proven to be difficult to track down, as others have him penned in for business meetings throughout the night – adding frustration to those that look to speak with the gnome regarding the artifact, and procuring it ‘legally’. River has managed to lock onto an interesting conversation between two people of interest, and has proven to be skilled in eavesdropping, even from afar, likely masking any social awkwardness that one would expect from the nervous young lady. The night is proceeding quickly, and still the group has not managed to figure out how to even get to the gemstone, let alone actually acquire it. What will the nights end bring?
At this point, for sake of ease, you have three main routes to obtain the gem:
Sneak in and steal it
Barter with Grankleshard
Find someone else at the party to help you
Currently, the group is standing at the balcony, amid other groups that are speaking amongst themselves. YOu have missed an opportunity to speak with the host, as others have taken him back to speak some business with him. River is still listening intently to the conversation across the way.
Hudson looks to see if he’s still in the room with the two arguing guys.
Grankleshard has just left the balcony and entered a private room with the pair of men who were arguing earlier. He has not left that room since. As you are standing there, the massive water clock chimes out loudly, marking the hour as ten.
Quinn Winterborn: So camp out the conversation room?
Hudson nods, moving closer to that door, still hyper aware of people around him.
Xila: Yup, then once Grenklwhatsit comes out, we can dognap him!
Xila: I mean, speak to him
Quinn Winterborn: We can. You might do best to stand quietly….
Hudson coughs, “names.”
Izual: It might benefit us to talk to the Fox.
Xila: You said the fox was after stuff right?
Eagle and Phoenix part abruptly, the eagle nearly knocking you over as he moves down the stairs and onto the dance floor.
Izual: A man let it be known that the Fox is also after a prize tonight, though I am unsure if it is our mark.
River nearly stumbles onto the floor, biting her lip before turning away.
Quinn Winterborn offers River a hand
River: Th-thank you…
Xila: So, what’s up?
Xila: You were very focused on those two. You know them?
River: N-n-nothing we can d-do for now. W-what of r-retrieving the g-gem?
Xila: Aww come on, you’re no fun. Spill the beans!
Hudson: We’re waiting for our peacock to finish his private discussion and then ambushing him before he gets caught up in another conversation. At least, that’s my intention.
Quinn Winterborn sighs impatiently, looking around as though Grankleshard was going to magically appear
River: I-If you must know, there are th-those after us. Our actions d-did not go u-unnoticed.
River: S-still, at least we are s-somewhat safe h-here behind m-masks.
Quinn Winterborn: Our actions? We’ve done nothing wrong…
Hudson: are they with the people from our first adventure, or the…. presence.
River: P-perhaps I can e-expedite the process…
Quinn Winterborn: That would be appreciated, River.
Hudson: shrugs be my guest
As you are standing around, you note that deserts have been brought out to the floor, and many people are leaving the balcony. You catch a glimpse of a person wearing a fox costume standing at the railing alone.
River: W-well…. good news and bad…
Quinn Winterborn: …
River: The private rooms are unattended…. b-but then they’re unattended…
Hudson: how do you mean, River?
River: The g-gnome is not there. He w-won’t talk with anyone anymore about b-business.
Hudson: … how did he…
Hudson: where is he now?
River: H-he’s to watch the e-entertainment.
Quinn Winterborn curses in frustration
Xila: That is unfortunate
Hudson purses his lips tightly.
River points to a small stage with only a few chairs present, and a few minstrels warming up.
Xila: So iz… you sure this fox is a thief as well?
You see that several of the guests that were milling around are also taking positions around the stage, prepping for a variety of entertainment ventures.
Xila thinks for a moment, then casually slides towards the fox, resting upon the rail close by.
Hudson: Are we splitting up to look for the next step here?
Quinn Winterborn: I guess so. I’m afraid I’m out of ideas.
Izual: I am as sure as the words the man said to me.
Hudson: Quinn…. that woman down there. The snake. Can you get a gauge of how…. magical she is from what she’s doing?
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
Quinn Winterborn: I can try
The Fox stands alone at the railing, but you can tell almost immediately, that the smooth blue eyes behind that mask are watching every detail of what is going on below. The woman has long blonde hair pulled up in a tail that whips around as she takes a look at Xila. “I didnt know they let children in the ballroom.”
Xila: I am no child though, although sometimes it’s nice to be mistaken for one.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson, she certainly knows what she’s doing. I’d say she’s an experienced practitioner of the arts.
?? cocks her head. “I suppose. You’re crowding me a bit.”
Hudson: … I don’t know. She doesn’t seem to fit in here. Could she be an ally?
Xila: Oh, don’t mind me, just continue your scouting.
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
Quinn Winterborn: Shall we find out?
Hudson: why not.
Hudson gestures for Quinn to lead on.
Quinn Winterborn tilts his head to one side, intrigued
The snake continues to wander around, casting spels that seem to delight herself, and begrudgingly some of the other guests, though they still rackle at her breaking with masquerade protocol.
Quinn Winterborn: Excuse me. Have we met?
Fox: Seems like thats something you’ve been doing as well. That move earlier with the guardsmen stank of being an amatuer.
Xila pouts
Xila: It was pretty dumb huh.
Snake looks at the yellow feathered person in from of her, “I dont believe I know any canaries.”
Quinn Winterborn: A shame, canaries are often worth knowing
Fox: It was childish – though that seems to fit your persona.
Quinn Winterborn tries to smile,t hen remembers he’s wearing a mask
Xila: Yeah yeah, thought for sure it’d work… Guess you can’t win em all.
Snake: I will say that you’re the first person thats not given me garbage for not wearing this painfully tight mask.
Fox: I did laugh at how you blamed your comrade… he didnt seem to be the patsy you wanted.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ve always preferred function over fashion myself, plus your arcane demonstrations are more interesting than the mask.
Xila: Well, It was kinda sudden, no time to warn him of my .. err plan
Fox: Fair enough. Did you want something, or just wanted to talk shop and show that you are occasionally observant.
Snake smiles. “These are simple parlor tricks, but someone should be entertaining here. Otherwise I might die of boredom.”
Xila: Figured we’re both after something, so why not work together. I may be.. amateur, but hey, if this all fails, at least you’ll have a falldog.
Quinn Winterborn: I agree completely, which leads me to why I wondered if we’d met. I have the strangest feeling I’ve seen you perform magic before. There’s something…familiar…about your style
Fox shrugs, feinting ignorance. “Not sure what you’re talking about… doggy”
Xila: Uh-huh, of course you don’t.
Fox turns away from the railing, looking down at the doggy. “Perhaps I already have what I came for… but what is it that you are after, I wonder?”
Xila: If you already had it, you would be long gone by now.
Hudson: I’m sorry. I’m not really …. arcanely knowledgable. but… i was wondering if you might be able to help. Do you know the man who is throwing this party well?
Xila dodges the question of what she’s after
Fox laughs, “Appearances. Obviously the one who was here until the something went missing is the one who took it. We cant all hide in rabbit holes. I have a glamourous life as a no…. myself. Im sure you can appreciate that.”
Snake: Urobolus? Im sure I know him as well as I know the lady who made this dreaful mask. Im here to meet someone, at the behest of my lady.
Xila: And yet, you’re identity is unknown, so even if a “fox” disappeard, nobody would know it was you.
Hudson: Oh. I’m sorry. I was hoping you might be able to introduce us, and he might help us save a companion of ours.
Hudson face falls.
Quinn Winterborn: Unfortunately, we’re here at another’s behest as well, as my companion mentioned
Fox: Is that what you think? The designers of these costumes know exactly who is wearing their costumes. Donotella is certain that the fox is me, and if the fox is missing, then obviously I went along with it.
Snake: Im not certain I can help with that. Im here to meet a man in a woman’s mask… or something similarily dreaful. Yet I have not seen him yet. Have you?
Xila thinks a moment.
Xila: Good point! Well, I still doubt you would parade around so.. openly, if you had something in your possession.
Izual walks up to Quinn and Hudson after overhearing the Snake.
Izual: Ah, so you are the infamous blonde.
Fox smiles, and hikes up her skirt, revealing a long slender silver rod with a variety of runes engraved into it. “You’d think that, rookie. But I assure you, the best way to ensure you the best way to remain unnoticed is to do it in plain sight.”
Snake: Pardon me? Who are you… ummm Mr Pig?
Xila smiles
Xila: Good, you’re not after the same thing I am.
Izual: Mr. Pig is just good. Yes, the man in woman’s mask is waiting for you in smoking room. I had promised that if I should find you, I would guide you to him.
Quinn Winterborn beams at Izual
Snake face lights up. “Thank Mystra – I cannot wait to get out of this place.”
Quinn Winterborn: Thank Mystra indeed
Fox: Thats fortunate.
Izual: If this conversation is finished…?
Snake cocks an eyebrow, but turns her attention back to the Pig “Would you accompany me, please. Mr. Pig.”
Izual gestures toward the smoking room.
Fox: What is it you’re after then. Perhaps theres a more interesting trinket here…
Xila: I am after a particular jewel, it is as big as a chicken egg.
Hudson: well… i guess that wasn’t as successful as i had hoped.
Hudson: You said you recognised her magic, Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: I did, but I can’t remember from where.
Quinn Winterborn: I’m glad we helped her, but I can’t shake the feeling I missed something.
Fox: Ahh, I saw that one – left side hall , second room on the right. Nasty alarms on that one though.
Xila: Yes, I had heard it would be heavily guarded.
Fox: No guards, actually – there wasnt anyone in the East Hall
Xila: I see, then the tough part is getting into the west wing, although it appears you did it effortlessly. I must say I admire your skills, you are correct I am an amateur compared to you.
Fox: Im not called the Summer’s Swallow for nothing
Fox makes a low bow.
Star (Xila): ..Do I recognise that name?
Quinn Winterborn has a sudden intake of breath, then looks thoughtful
Hudson: Quinn?
Xila gasps
Xila: You’re the summer… I mean, wow!
Quinn Winterborn: I….I have no idea what to do with what I just realized
Quinn Winterborn: You know, Hudson, I’m not really cut out for all this intrigue
Quinn Winterborn: You know what? Vague portents suck.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Hudson: You’re doing a fine job so far.
Fox: As I said – though Id appreciate you keep that to yourself. Appearances and all.
Xila: Naturally, I will tell no-one, not even my friends.
Hudson: what portents are you aware of?
Xila: I hope I get a cool nickname one day
Fox: Good. Now, little novice, how do you plan on getting your prize?
Xila: That’s a good question, as I prooved earlier the doors are a no-go
Fox: That can be circumvented, if you know how.
Quinn Winterborn is deep in thought, appearing not to hear
Xila: Going outside maybe, but all the windows are sealed with magic.
Quinn Winterborn: Any sign of our host, yet?
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, Hudson. My best guess is that the business with the Snake may have gained us some karma, but did not further our quest in any way.
You see that Grankleshard is sitting in a chair in front of the stage, watching the performers on stage bumble through a not well rehearsed scene.
Hudson gestures. “Well, at least he’s in good spirit?”
Quinn Winterborn nods. Let’s go
Hudson: River? Do you want to come?
Fox taps a finger to her mask for a moment “Tell you what, I like a challenge, and Im really bored. I can get you your trinket, for a price, assuming you can make it worth my while.”
Xila: A price huh?
River: I-I suppose…
Xila checks her handbag.. thing
Xila chuckles to herself “maybe hudsons money will come in handy after all”
Hudson heads towards the performance area, trying to find a way closer to the gentleman.
The peacock sits in the midst of about a dozen people, in various masks/costumes. Guards stand around the small setting, keeping away those that approach.
Xila: How does 600gp sound?
Fox: Light. Dont short me, I’ll walk away, right now. 1200.
Xila thinks for a moment.
Xila: 1000?
Fox rolls her head back and forth for a minute. “You have that kind of coin on you?”
Xila nods
Xila: We expected we might need money with us.
As you watch, an translucent screen flares with light blue light for a moment as the spell goes off, directing it up into the canopy, where it sparkles. Grankleshard does not seem to notice, though two men in double plumed masks look your way.
Quinn Winterborn steps towards the guards, hands up in a gesture of peace
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, no harm meant. Just wanted to deliver a message.
Fox: Well, I think thats stupid, but its your purse. Anyhow, keep your coin on you, I dont need it making me slowed down or any other noises. Have it delivered to the Dancing Monkey Lounge in the dock district to a man called Marb. Once he has the coin, we’ll be square. But if I do this, and you cross me – I’ll kill you and everyone you know.
Fox: But I’ll need something from you. I need another costume.
Xila: Another costume?
Fox: Something to switch into later. Your wont work, I’ll need something my size.
The waterclock blares out another set of chimes. It is now eleven.
Xila: I guess I could try and get one.. Need to figure out a way though.
Fox: You have ten minutes, otherwise, I cant pull this off.
Xila: Ten minutes huh? I best get to work then.
Xila heads down to the rest of the group, at a quick pace.
Xila: So hey, I need a new costume, and fast.
Hudson: What? Who for?
Xila: A friend
Hudson: Will this deal with our situation?
Xila: Maaaybe
Hudson: Xila. If this will deal with it, I will go and make a toga out of a bed sheet, and give you mine. But if this is another practical joke….
Xila: Nope, no joke.
Xila: Need a costume, and within the next ten minutes.
Xila checks time
Quinn Winterborn looks uncomfortable, but says nothing
Hudson: Right. Let’s go to a room.
Hudson walks towa\rds the nearest one at a quick pace.
Xila thinks a moment
Xila: err… Mouse… maybe.. yours wouldn’t be the best. The guards miiight be suspicious of a mouse.
Hudson stops
River: I-I’ll go. I hope th-this is t-truly worth it…
Xila: Maybe someone who’s not us would be best, anyone here owe us any favors?
Hudson: Izual, did the Snake manage to make it to your friend?
Hudson: Could we…. ask her?
Izual: It is a possibility. She did not seem fond of her costume anyways.
Xila: Izzy! Quick quick, to the snake!
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh
Quinn Winterborn follows
Xila heads to the snake woman.
Izual leads the way to the smoking room.
Entering the smoking room, you find that nearly everyone has cleared put of the room now, and only “Snake” and “Woman” are present. Both are drinking and telling tales as you enter, the masks both pulled off of their faces.
Xila bounds into the room.
Xila: Hiya!
Woman jerks a slender blade from seemingly no where, while Snake brings a blazing knife into being from thin air. “Who are you?”
Hudson: Easy!
Xila: I’m Xi… A doggy, I’m friends with Mr Pig.. See
Xila points to the pig
Quinn Winterborn stands at the door like a wallflower
Snake: Calm down, Mirt. These are the ones that told me you were here. Otherwise Id still be downstair refraining from burning those snots alive.
Snake: Im still in your debt for showing me to my rendevous. Care to take a break from the dullness outside?
Izual: Hello again, friend.
Xila: Hey err.. So, since Mr Pig helped you an all. I was wondering if,.. maaybe.. we could err… have your costume?
Snake laughs. “And Im supposed to just prance around in my skin?”
Xila nods
Hudson: Do you remember I mentioned we were trying to save someone? It turns out we need a costume to do so that doesn’t belong to us.
Quinn Winterborn very body language reeks of unhappiness
Snake: While that sounds intriguing, I dont believe our host would be excited having me run around in my skin.
Snake: I do. You’re welcome to my costume, if you have another I can don. That mask is a deathtrap
Xila: I’m sure hudson is willing to give you his.
Xila pokes Hudson
Hudson hands his head for a moment.
Hudson: in the private room there was a bedsheet.
Hudson: Yes! Sure. You can have mine.
Xila: Quick quick, not much time left!
Snake strips her costume on the spot, and before you stands a young half-elf with long blonde hair. She smiles as she wraps the Mouse costume around her shoulders and cocks the ears on her head. “Perfect!”
Hudson: Hudson awkwardly looks at the ceiling, not making eye contact with anyone.
Xila looks at Hudson as he.. also strips
Woman slowly puts away the blade, not taking his eyes off the half elf. “If yer done interrupting?”
Xila holds out her hands to be handed the snakes costume.
You acquire the Snake Costume
Xila: Thank you!
Xila hurries off, making sure to head straight to the fox.
Xila: Got’cha the costume fox.
The Fox guides you quickly to a private room, where she strips out of her costume, revealing a tall blonde eladrin with eyes of simmer blue. She wears tight fitting leathers with tools bound tightly to the underarms. She pops a few picks out of her underarm and slips them into her hair, and changes out a few rings before sliding on the Snake costume. “Now, you need to have someone walk around on the dance floor in my costume, in case things go sideways. I’ll pop in, grab the gem, pop out and you’ll be good to go, and I can get paid.”
Fox: That one’ll do (pointing to River), close enough
Xila: I have another request, I will give another 100gp… There’s a door to the kitchen that needs to be unlocked. it is a favor for a friend of mine… I was to do it along side getting the gem.
Fox: Fine. Any door?
Xila: The servents door to the kitchen is all I was told.
Fox: Fine. Get that Fox out there in a handful of minnutes… ten or so and just move around. Dont draw attention, but make sure you are seen by people. Get a drink, some food… meander… the more people, the better. If something goes south, where can I find you?
Xila: Probably on the floor somewhere, unless you want me around a specific area? I don’t mind
Xila: I’m not hard to spot after all.
Xila points to all the spots on her costume
Fox: I mean if I cant meet back here. If things go south, is there a drop somewhere for your… item?
Xila realizes her mistake
Fox: Always have a backup plan ,rookie.
Xila: Ah, there’s an inn outside Suzail, you can find us there. Or if that is not an option there’s an inn opposite the clothes shop I got this costume, a friend of a friend is located there
Fox: Outside suzail… thats… descriptive.
Xila describes the location, and also notes the name of the “friend of a friend” at the inn inside suzail.
Fox: Alright… if Im not back here at the stroke of midnight, then I’ll make the drop tomorrow night. Dont wait on me.
Xila nods
Snake: Wait ten minutes, Fox… then go and be seen…
River: Y-you make friends in s-strange places, Xila.
River: Still, she is to be trusted if her s-sister is anything to go by.
The Snake then leaves the room with the quiet grace of a prowling tiger.
Xila looks at River
Xila: Her.. sister?
River: I-In any case… this is a s-strange garb.
River: It’s a bit…. long.
Xila: Yup, but gotta be done if we want that gem.
Xila: So, wait ten minutes, then go out and be seen Foxy… Better then a bear huh?
River: ….Must everyone be in here while I c-c-change?
River promptly begins kicking out everyone of her room, starting with the men.
Xila refuses to be kicked out.
River: A-at least turn around. It’s… embarrassing.
Xila looks confused
Xila: How is it?
Xila: Everyone seems to be doing it
River: Others m-might be bold enough to s-strip in front of o-others…. b-b-but not me…
River: S-so, please?
Xila: Well, I don’t get it, but ok.
Xila turns around.
Moro stares down Xila with bored eyes. At least she’s getting SOME action tonight, even if it’s being a warden.
Xila: Moro!
Moro: Yawn
Xila completely forgets that River is changing and heads over to play with Moro
Moro nibbles gently on Xila’s hand. Like…. a dog handshake. With teeth.
River: …Okay. I’m ready. T-ten minutes must be done b-by now.
The Fox costume fits better than you’d expect, as was short to begin with. You are easily garbed in the skirt and tunic.
River: T-thank you Moro.
Moro fades into spirit-fog. Poof.
Xila pats Moro on the head
Xila: Bye Moro!
Xila: Oh, you’ve changed.
River: Shall w-we?
The ‘men’ can hear a bit of commotion coming from the balcony, but they cannot hear or see exactly what is going on.
Xila: Yup
River begins to head out into the party once more, trying her best to stand out enough.
Hudson awkwardly shifts on his feet, and then glances at the other two. “Maybe someone should go check?”
Quinn Winterborn: No chance
River moves towards the balcony to see what the clamor is about.
Xila wants to see what the clamor is as well
As River moves out onto the balcony, you see a massive man wearing a boar’s mask attempting to be calmed by two guards. As soon as the “Fox” comes into view, the Boar screams, “THIEF”, breaks away from the guards and tries to tackle the Fox.
River: W-what?!
Quinn Winterborn: I thought so….
Hudson dives to get in the way.
Quinn Winterborn jumps up and rushes to join the fray
River begins to back away, obviously a bit confused.
Xila: What’cha mean? Fox aint a thief.
River: I-I assure you I am n-no thief!
The Boar misses the Fox in a full tackle, but catches the Fox’s ankle, knocking her over. The Boar then tries to assault the Fox, all the while screaming “THIEF! THEIF! WHERE’S MY ROD!?!”
River: L-let go! H-Help! S-somebody!
Xila: Get off her!
Xila knocks the boar
River takes a few glancing blows, but nothing direct that phases her. Xila gets kicked in the face roughly (lose one healing surge) but the Boar’s cleated boot. The brawl takes only a minute to fizzle out, as the guards pull the Boar off of River, just as the others get to River and the slightly stunned Xila. The guards begin to escort the half-orc out of the masquerade.
River: T-thank you, k-kind sers.
THe small crowd of people gathered around you begin to move away, when Xila feels a small tug at her waist and a woman dressed as a Snake disappears into the crowd…
Xila follows the snake
Xila but checks her pockets and handbag instead
Xila decides against following the snake, and instead tries to gather the crew in a private room.
Hudson will try to keep an eye on where the snake is going just in case.
Xila shakes off the slightly stunnedness
As you begin to move back towards the hall…
The waterclock strikes again, announcing midnight. As the clock strikes, a brillant explosion of colors cascades from the roof, like indoor fireworks. All the guests look upwards in delight, and a with the final strike of the clock, the masks on everyone’s head wink out of existance, revealing the men and women present at Grankleshard’s masquerade.
A woman in the crowd howls aloud, breaking the silence. “VIOOOLLLLEEETTTTT!”
Xila: Friend of yours?
Xila motions to everyone
River breaks out in a mad dash, running for her life.
Quinn Winterborn runs after River, concerned
Xila makes sure her pocket/purse is secure, and follows after River.
Hudson turns to xila, “Did you-”
A late middle aged human female with deeply dyed raven black hair stands at the far end of the balcony, pointing at River and the others, attempting to struggle through the crowd.
Izual ‘s eyes widen as he makes the connection, chasing after River.
Using Hudson’s bulk, the strange gaunt face of Izual and the sheer terror on River’s face, you race down the staircase and out of the ballroom before the woman can even break free of the first person in front of her. The guests are beginning to panic, and those nearest the door are also running, clearly following herd mentality.
Xila leads the party to the inn where her and Quinn rested
Xila: Follow me
Xila: I know a place
Quinn Winterborn: Mishell
Xila: don’t worry river, you’ll be safe there.
Xila: I have a friend of a friend there, she will keep you hidden if me and Quinn ask
Upon exiting the building you race down the walkway and past teh fountains to where the guards were posted.
Izual: Yes, do not worry… Violet.
Hudson and Xila spot the carriage that you arrived in parked first in the line. The driver looks at you and waves, clearly expecting you.
Xila: Ok, forget the inn.
Xila points to the carriage
River: W-we’ll take it. Quickly.
Xila: Come on, lets go.
You leap into the carriage and the driver whips the horses immediately, tearing off before the guards can even catch up to you for questioning.
Xila: So.. Violet huh? Who was that, old flame?
River: …N-no…
River sighs.
Hudson: I am sorry. I know this is important. But did we get what we need?
The carriage tears away, and it takes moments before the carriage settles down and makes aeveral turns winding its way through the streets at a much calmer pace.
Xila: Maybe
River: Excuse me, d-driver? Please, back to the inn.
River: A-and… thank you.
: Sure enough, Miss. Just trying to shake anyone that might have had eyes on us. Standard protocol. I’ll have you back in another hour or two.
Quinn Winterborn looks concerned for River, and a bit miserable
Xila: Mind if we make a quick detour? I need to get to the Dancing Monkey League in the dock district, I understand if you cannot.
River: I fear there may be m-more eyes on us that you might realize…
??: Thats on the other side of the city – will delay you quite a bit getting out of the city. And Im sure Grankleshard will have the guards on watch shortly. He’s got quite the pull here. Best you run an errand on the morrow if need be.
Xila nods
Xila: Alrighty, to be inn then
The carriage ride is silent and full of brooding. But in that silence, you see that the driver is slowly winding through the streets towards the city gate. Within the first hour he gets you out of teh city, though you do notice more and more guardsmen rushing around to their posts. None stop you, however. In another thirty minutes the carriage pulls up to your residential palace, and the driver lets out a shrill whistle that is vaguely reminiscent of a shrike before going silent. Another moment passes and he repeats the call, but none answer.
A third whistle sounds and goes unanswered before the driver slides the small window open and whispers," They do not respond. This is not a good sign."
Xila: This is not good
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, let’s go
: Careful.
Xila: Let me sneak in
Xila exits the carriage, and under cover of the darkness, tries to enter the inn to see what’s going on.
Xila creeps out of the carriage and into the darkness. The carriage driver slips back into the carriage, armed with a large crossbow. “Better in here, than out there.”
You disappear into the darkness, the complete absence of sound grating on your nerves. Carefully making your way around the Inn, you note that it is quiet, and no lights are on inside. The windows are dark, both on the main and upper levels.
Cautiously touching the front door, it swings open partially, then hitting something that causes the door to stop midswing. Carefully peering around, you see a scene out of a horror story. Three of the men stationed here earlier are in pieces, spears of ice as thick as a mans waist coming from the ceiling and piercing them in at least tend places, the bodies ripped to bits of red meat. Tiny shadow motes float through the air, visible even in the darkness.
The staircase is iced over completely, making traversing it treacherous, but the nimble pair are able to do so. You find another man cut the ribbons by the massive ice lances. The door to your room is slightly ajar, and frozen that way. Inside you find Mirabeta lying in a perfect unfrozen, uniced circle on the floor. Surrounding her are two of the guards, frozen into a solid block of ice, a look of terror on their faces. You note that one of them appears to have been tinkering with the woman’s anklet.
Xila motions to Izual to leave, and heads back to the carriage to relay what she has learnt.
The carriage driver pales and rushes into the undergrowth and releases the contents of his stomach.
Quinn Winterborn looks terrified
River: …When it rains… it p-pours…
Quinn Winterborn: We’re going to need to move her somewhere safe
After a few noisy moment, the carriage driver returns, his face pale. “I can take you to another safe house, but I think Ill need a few minutes before I can drive.”
River: We will need to r-reclaim our friend as w-well.
Xila: I’ll err… leave that to you Violet
Hudson: I’ll get her. You guys can work out how to use the crystal.
Xila: My job is done
Xila: What crystal?
???? waves you on as he props himself up against the carriage.
River flinches as Xila calls her that, but leaves the carriage to fetch Mirabeta.
Hudson: the…. the one we’re supposed to use to save her?
Xila: Oooooh… Who says I got it?
Hudson: …
Hudson: what
Xila: I mean. I might have it, but then again I might not.
Hudson: Xila. This is not the time for jokes. Do you have the crystal or not
Xila sighs
Xila reaches into her pocket/bag/whatever and pulls out the Dark blue, multifaceted gemstone set in a finely crafted electrum diadem.
Xila then swiftly puts it back in
MIrabeta is easily gathered and taken back outside, though movement up and down the stairs is difficult.
River: Still in one p-piece. A-although not much can be s-said for your ‘f-friends’, Xila.
Xila: They’re idiots, if they tried to do anything to Mirabeta.
River: I j-just hope that they d-don’t blame us for their c-curiousities.
Quinn Winterborn: This does seem to be the night for us being blamed for things.
Xila: Nah, it’ll be alright
Quinn Winterborn: I certainly hope so, for Mirabeta’s sake.
You load back up into the carriage and forty minutes later you find yourself back in Suzail. The carriage driver pulls around the back of a modest two story stone building in the merchant district and lets you out, using a tiny brass medallion to open a secret door in the wall. Inside is a small room that has a few benches and some hanging hammocks in the rafters. The carriage driver says that someone will be by tomorrow to move you someplace more permanent, but they will use a similar medallion to open the door. They should otherwise remain quiet during the day, though the walls are thick enough whispering should be fine. He then leaves you in the windowless room and closes the door behind him.
River: …Well.
River: Tonight has been… e-eventful. Some r-rest would be most enjoyable after t-tonight.
Xila: Yup, this is cosy.
Xila hops into one of the hammocks

Chat log started at 3.8.2016 / 17:29:19

Last Time on HBC – the heroes successfully(?) infiltrated Grankleshard’s masquerade ball and obtained the kiira with some outside help. The night ended in dramatic fashion as River was nearly accosted by a woman who was wearing the Phoenix costume. A chase ensued, but the heroes escaped, only to find Mirabeta had been involved in an “incident” where her protectors had been killed. THe group then moved to a safe house in Suzail where the attempted rest after a long night.
Daybreak comes silently, Mirabeta still sleeping soundly, and apparently comatose. There are some meager stores under the benches and cotes, mostly crackers and some stale waterskins. You can hear the hushed comings and goings of people through the stone wall, but you believe the walls to be thick enough that your own light conversation could not be heard through them by those outside.
Quinn Winterborn opens a book and starts reading, making occasional notes in the margin
Xila uses her dagger as a tooth pick
Hudson watches River silently.
River looks as if she had very little sleep last night, if at all.
Xila slept like a baby, she’s used to hiding in darkness.
River: I-I hope whoever y-your friends are, Xila…. t-that they retrieve us s-soon…
Xila: If they say they will, they will.
River: I s-suppose…
Hudson: I wonder to what ends.
Xila: Soooo, Violet, gonna tell us what that was all about last night?
River: Nnnnnngh. P-please don’t call me that.
Xila (singsong): Vio-let~
River: There’s a v-very good reason why I’m n-not using that n-name.
River sighs, trying to feel more at ease.
River: That p-person… from last night…. was my a-aunt.
River: I-I’m not on good t-terms with my family. C-can we leave it at t-that, p-please?
Hudson: Not always.
Quinn Winterborn: Sometimes it is. Sometimes, it is not
River: Do you have the k-kiira, at least? I h-hope last night was w-worth it…
Xila looks in deep thought, then snaps out of it.
Xila: The kiira?
Xila: Ooooh, the pretty gem, right.
Xila: Can’t I keep it? Please? It’s so pretty.
Xila: I might have it made into a necklace.
Quinn Winterborn: You know, they’re often aware and intelligent. Maybe it will make YOU into a necklace
Hudson: Sure, Xila. we’ll use it to fix her, and then you can carve it into a unicorn if the mood strikes you. But first the saving.
Xila pouts
Xila: Fine.. Oh, this cost me 1100 GP, so you’re all in my debt now.
Xila takes the kiira out of her pack and passes it to River.
River: T-thank you.
The kiira is a large blue multifaceted gemstone (appears to be a sapphire) that is strung on a electrum diadem.
Quinn Winterborn: Just be polite, that’s all.
River: W-we should w-wait until we reach a s-safe house…
Xila: I’d say it’s likely magical.
Xila: Just a feeling I’ve got.
River: A….. s-safer house.
River: In c-case this makes m-more noise than we a-anticipate…
Quinn Winterborn: On your forehead, when you are ready, River. Speak to it mentally when you’re ready
Xila: Oooh, can I try?
Xila: I should go first, I did get it
River: Really?
River: Then why do we owe you so much g-gold then?
Xila: Well… I enlisted aid in getting it, but I still got it!
Before too much more discussion can be had, the sound of stone grating on stone is heard and a widening sliver of light comes from the hallway, as a figure stands in the entrance to the safe house.
Nualla takes a step inside the hall and puts her hands on her hips. “Subtlety must not be your strong suit, Xila.”
Quinn Winterborn chuckles softly, saying nothing
Xila: Subtlety is boring
Xila: So, gonna take us someplace else Nualla? Oh by the way, those men you chose to protect Mirabeta are idiots.
Quinn Winterborn: were
Xila: Oh .. yeah, were.
River: M-may we please go s-someplace else b-before anything e-else?
Hudson moves closer to Mirabella, just in case.
Nualla: So Ive seen. Theres guardsmen crawling all over the place – partially from the escapades at the ball last night, partially because of the murder scene the innkeeper outside of town, and partially because someone is paying a LOT of coin to find some “people of interest” to the Crown. Care to talk about that?
Xila: …Err, we just got unlucky?
Quinn Winterborn: We need to take care of our business, and quickly.
Izual: If we wish to call it luck..
Nualla: A bit of an understatement, I think. Were you aware that Ms. Silverleaf was arrested this morning?
River: …Telquine?
Nualla nods
Nualla: Your catspaw got pinched.
Quinn Winterborn looks lost
Xila: Looks like she’s not as good as I thought then, ah well.
River: She was the o-one who got this g-gem for us?
Nualla mops her face with her hands. “This is going sideways in a bad way, and fast. I assume you have some plan for your next move? I wont jeopardize more of my resources if you’re playing everything off the cuff. That kind of thing gets more of my men killed.”
Quinn Winterborn: As much as I’d like to side against some of Xila’s shenanigans, I believe your men got themselves killed.
Izual just puts his hood up and looks away.
River: W-well… I a-apologize for the loss of your m-men…
Quinn Winterborn: If it matters to you, we’re trying to do some good here.
Hudson: If everything goes as planned, the crown will get what they want, we get what we need, and everything goes back to normal in the next couple of days.
River: N-not quite… Ms. Silverleaf was incarcerated d-due to our i-interference.
Xila: Plans are boring, although I just used her to get the gem, not my fault she got herself caught.
Nualla: I understand, but these are people. They arent some mindless drones that are expendable. They had families, children, lives. I wont throw that away because you arent thinking ahead. The past is done and gone, and what happened, regardless of fault is set in stone, so I wont dwell on it. But Im not going to commit more until I know that this isnt just a wild dream
Quinn Winterborn looks at River, and shrugs
Nualla: My point being – your choices have consequences. That needs to be factored into your decisions.
River: We’ve gone too f-far to stop now. We must try to release M-Mirabeta from her curse…
Quinn Winterborn: The sooner the better.
Xila: Or we could keep the gem and hand her over.
Xila: That’s always an option.
Quinn Winterborn turns to face Xila, and holds his staff at ready
Quinn Winterborn: I think we might be past that point, Xila
River: After that… I w-would like to try to help Ms. Silverleaf. She was captured by our a-actions… and she may be useful in the future…
Quinn Winterborn: If we can not do it ourselves, River, I know some people in town we might ask for aid. I understand to do so is risky, but as our friend here points out, there is risk in every choice at this point
Xila: I’m sure she can escape on her own, if she really is who she says she is.
Nualla were she not in the custody of Lord Warder Vainrence, I would agree with you, Xila.
Nualla: Were she not in the custody of Lord Warder Vainrence, I would agree with you, Xila.
Xila: Oh, in that case, yup, she’s screwed.
Xila: Ah well.
Quinn Winterborn: So what is the plan? Are we being moved again? Cast out into the street?
Hudson: One problem at a time. We fix this curse to the best of our abilities and give our charge some peace. And maybe find out what happened to make her like this. Then we turn her over to the crown, as a much more useful source of information who can actual barter for own health. We then help Ms. Silverleaf to the best of our ability. I’d say that’s the plan so far.
Nualla: So. what is your plan for extracting the… issue from your corpse over there?
Xila: I’m not a magicy… person, that’s quinns terratory.
Xila: My job is done, I got the gem.
Nualla: You are welcome to stay here if this suits your needs. The storefront is run by one of our operatives, and this room is one of the most secure in the city. You’re welcome to leave as well, you arent prisoners.
Quinn Winterborn: River, maybe we should try this now, then?
River: …I s-suppose.
River: Thank you for your assistance… Ms…?
Nualla removes a small brass medallion from her wrist. “Nualla is good enough for now.” Presenting the charm to whomever is closest, she waves vaguely over her shoulder. “That will get you in and out of the room. It is warded against detection spells, but if you bring in something thats being tracked it will not proof against that. The walls are silenced from the outside, so you cannot be heard in here while the door is closed. There are a few food vendors across the street that are run by the Talons that you can eat at without fear of being pursued.” she looks around, “I might wait until closing time before doing anything exciting though. Magic is a strange thing sometimes.”
Quinn Winterborn: How long until sundown?
Nualla: Its midmorning now. So you have several hours until sundown.
Nualla leveling a gaze at Xila. “Some of you have errands to run, as well.”
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t think we can wait until closing time.
Xila: Errands? Oh! Right, gotta get that payment done.. Wait, do I still have to pay someone who got caught?
Xila: That doesn’t seem right.
River: You h-haven’t paid her y-yet?
Xila: Was gonna do it last night, but we had to get back to the inn.
Nualla shakes her head. “You dont want to buy that kind of trouble. I need to get going. There’s something else going on out there… someone’s moving a lot of coin and men around in addition to the guardsmen. Im planning on finding out who.”
River begins to fidget in fear.
Xila: Good luck!
Xila: We’ll just get comfortable here.
Nualla: Same to you. And attempt some… subtlety next time.
Xila: Aww, that’s no fun.
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator willing
Nualla turns and leaves, the stone slab sliding back closed with a soft knock that leaves the room darkened once more.
Xila: Well, I’ll wait a bit, then head out to get that payment sorted.
Xila: She doesn’t deserve it… but I guess she did do her job.
Hudson: I’m sorry
Hudson: this is…. entirely my fault
River: H-Hudson?
Quinn Winterborn: You tried to do good. So let’s do our good deeds, and get on with things.
Xila: Shudda just gave her over to the crown and be done with it.
Hudson: I thought… I thought this’d be a day or two out of the way, that we could say we were caught up in something and was late. That we’d done something…good in the world. Not that we’d end up hiding from everyone in a room, and having allies arrested for helping us.
Hudson: I’m sorry.
Quinn Winterborn: It’s too late for that, now. We’re on the path we’re on. So let’s help the young lady. The sooner the better
Quinn Winterborn shivers
Hudson: Yes. Let’s…. just do the best we can.
Hudson smiles weakly.
Xila: So, you guys gonna cough up some gold to pay for this gem? The only thing I technically paid for was a door for 100 gold.
Xila: I would have been perfectly happy to leave without the gem.
Hudson: I paid for your costume…. Another 100?
Quinn Winterborn turns away from Xila, and faces River
Hudson moves for his gold purse.
River: I thought you were a th-thief, not a p-pawn-broker.
Xila: Being a thief just comes with the terratory.
Xila: Well, alright, but you all owe me when I get back!
Xila grabs the medallion from whoever has it, and leaves.
Hudson awkwardly stands holding his gold purse
Xila notices hudson
Xila: Oh but if you wanna give me some gold, I wont object.
Xila holds out her hands
Hudson: So, since i bought your costume, you’re okay with only another 100?
Xila: Erm, sure.
Hudson hands over a hundred
Xila: Thanks!
Xila hums a little tune as she leaves holding the medallion.. and 700gp oif Hudsons
Hudson smiles feeling like he did a good thing
Quinn Winterborn: If xila is caught, we may be found before nightfall. I think we have to try now, River
Hudson: I’ll watch the door.
River: Well…. I-I assume it is best to see if the kiira is w-willing, first.
Quinn Winterborn: Of course
River sits down and prepares to wear the diadem… her hands trembling a bit as she does.
The Diadem sits loosely on your head for a moment, before the electrum band snugs, and the gemstone touches the middle of RIver’s forehead. The stone is slightly warm, but does nothing in response to your touch, otherwise.
River: Hm.
Quinn Winterborn: Communicate with it mentally, River.
River: H-hello? Are you t-there?
THe stone grows slightly warmer in response to your query.
Quinn Winterborn concentrates intently on River and the Diadem
River: U-um…. We… I ask for your assistance…. we seek h-help…
The stone pulses twice… you get the feeling you should be more specific… somehow.
River: Eh…. we seek to help…. a soul trapped in sh-shadow… Mirabeta, just over there…
River points over to Mirabeta nearby.
River: Please… will you h-help her?
Another pulse of the stone and a flash of light, then the stone goes “silent”. River can recall the specifics to a ritual that needs to be performed in order to activate the kiira upon Mirabeta, while still being able to give the stone commands.
River: …T-thank you…
Quinn Winterborn tilts his head, eyes on River and the diadem
River takes off the diadem and hands it to Quinn.
Quinn Winterborn: Anything?
River: I was s-successful… b-but we’ll need some s-supplies to help her…
River: Some candles… i-incense… and everyone’s help…
River: We will have to share s-some of her b-burden if we aim to free h-her…
Several long hours later, the stone slab slides open once more, allowing the entrance of Xila once more. It is early afternoon.
River: What is the s-situation outside?
Xila: Everything seems fine, didn’t see anything. Oh and I wasn’t being tailed far as I could tell.
Xila: Money has been paid.
Xila (winks): Thanks Hudson
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, can we do the ritual now?
Hudson: No problem. I’m glad to help
River: I… I don’t know if it is wise to do so n-now…
Xila: Ritual?
River: The kiira has agreed to h-help Mirabeta…
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, we’ll wait until nightfall then.
River: But the ritual to do so…. requires us t-to carry some of her b-burden… her t-trauma…
Quinn Winterborn takes a deep breath, and lets it out slowly
Quinn Winterborn: I…am willing
Hudson: I am more willing. This is my fault. Let me bear it.
Xila: Well, I’m not.
Xila yawns
Xila: I’m exhausted, gonna get some sleep, have fun with your ritual!
River sighs.
Hudson: We don’t know if the burden will involve the shadow magic, Quinn. You might go nova like she did. I don’t actively use magic, and I have… experience carrying mental trauma
River: How much gold will p-purchase your s-services this time, Xila? Or will you simply p-pay another to stand in for you?
Quinn Winterborn nods thoughtfully at Hudson, but does not speak
Xila: What’cha mean?
Quinn Winterborn: Her question was clear, Xila
Izual: I have question of my own.
Xila: Oh, not a case of gold, I just don’t trust rituals.
Xila: I leave magicy stuff to those more.. magicy
River: The ritual is…. c-clear on how it works…
River: The more p-participating, the b-better…
River: But I assume th-those not willing to take p-part would simply be more of a b-burden.
Xila: Well, I don’t particularly want to become a shadowmaton, I’m quite happy just the way I am.
Izual: What is it you mean by “share her trauma”?
River: Pain and f-fear are what bind her.
River: Perhaps with the will of f-five, her curse may be b-broken…
Izual: I do not need more pain or fear. I struggle with my own… demons.
Hudson: Would we all have to share the burden, or just the one of us?
Quinn Winterborn: None does, Izual. But to avoid pain and fear is to choose death. Surely, there is a nobler choice?
River: A-all. That is s-sharing, after all…
Hudson sighs softly.
Hudson: I wish i didn’t have to cause any more hurt to any of you. You are…. the first friends I’ve had in a very long time.
Izual: If it can be done with less, I do not wi-
Izual stops mid sentance, hearing Hudson.
Izual (sighing): I fear for my other half showing itsself as a result.
Xila: Friends huh…
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, if you believe such is possible, then stand aside from the ritual. None will think less of you.
Hudson: It means a lot to me that you would even consider it in your condition. But… this was a choice I made, and I won’t ask you to bear it for me, Izuaal.
Izual: River, do you think it would harm me in such a way?
River: A-are you scared?
River: D-don’t be. If you let f-fear into your heart, it will c-consume you. Ritual or no.
Hudson: We could so something to ensure that if he does, we can contain him? If that’d put you at ease?
Izual: I truly want to help, but I fear for others.
River: I do not. I have f-faith.
Hudson: I have faith in all of you. You all saved me from myself. I trust you with my life.
Though there is little semblence of the passage of time here, through your conversation, one of you note that Mirabeta is still comatose, but shakes slightly – a reverberation that is faint but steady.
Quinn Winterborn shivers
It has a vague familar air to when she was able to heal you in the altercation with the paladin.
Xila sighs loudly.
Izual stands up.
Izual: I will try.
Xila bounces upwards
Xila: Alright! I’m in, why not, could be fun.
Xila: Cause… that’s what friends do right? They help each other.
Hudson smiles brightly and honestly
River: Well, now might b-be better than later then.
River: P-please, wait while I p-prepare the ritual…
Quinn Winterborn is staring at Xila, an odd expression on her face
The ritual is easily set up. A few candles and a perimeter formed around Mirabeta is set up quickly. River relays a focusing mantra that is to be repeated in time with the others, while she lights the incense and places the kiira on the woman’s head.
River: And…. we begin.
A dark flash the kiira springs from the blue gem, and shadows curl around its electrum setting. Then, a great whirlpool of shadow bursts from Mirabeta’s body, engulfing everything in the room. Things go dark and a feeling of vertigo overwhelms you. You are falling, falling…
Flashes of light and sound assail your mind as you try to stretch your perception into a facisimile of attention. YYou feel your mind being stretched – as much as conscious thought can perceive such a thing. What you manage to catch glimpses of is terrifying – bits and pieces of your past – some reminants of your childhood even. It leaves you trembling – though that realization bring you to note that you are once more perceptive and conscious. In a boundless place, where you can see the others scattered around you, lying prone and shaking off the dregs of there own battle.
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator
River: Well. I-Interesting…
Xila: Ok, that was fun.
Xila: So, we done now?
The inside of the kiira is a barren plane that extends in all directions. Pockets of energy in flux litter the area. It is very difficult to concentrate. You can sense your memories being pulled from your mind and it becomes increasingly difficult to recall your fondest memories, or even why you came here in the first place. You will need to resolve your quest quickly before your consciousness is consumed by the kiira. A familiar looking elven warrior with dark skin and black hair materializes before you. He says, “Why are you still here? I thought we had concluded our business.”
Xila: …Gues not.
Hudson: Does anyone…. know this man?
While he seems familar, you cannot place him in any of your memories, though they too, seem fleeting
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe someone MIrebeta knows?
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head, as though trying to clear it
River: We must act q-quickly. My mind… feels f-foggy…
Hudson: Sir, do you see us? Do you know us?
Xila: And what Business?
Zz’Arti shakes his head, “We’ve spoken several times now, Hudson. Its a pity you cannot recall it.”
Quinn Winterborn looks around for Mirabeta
Mirabeta is no where to be seen.
Izual: Is… are you the darkness keeping Mirabeta hostage?
Zz’Arti laughs aloud. “I am Zz’Arti, a guardian of the kiira.”
Quinn Winterborn turns to Zz’Arti and bows
Zz’Arti: Now comes the part where you ask where you are and how you can help your charge.
Hudson: We appreciate your aid, but we shouldn’t stay here. You say we have spoke before? Have we forgotten before as well?
Zz’Arti: It appears so. We’ve spoken several times now. Each time is a repeat of itself….
River: … I only hope this time is when it s-sinks in…
Xila: So, where are we?
Zz’Arti: You are within the kiira. You have come here to seek aid. We have discussed this.
Hudson: Okay, how do we help her?
Zz’Arti sighs.
Hudson: You have told us the script, we can only play it out until it becomes clear at what point we repeat.
Zz’Arti: I will atempt to explain things once more. Slower this time, perhaps that will help.
Zz’Arti turns to Quin, “She cannot hear or see you. Her mind is wrapped in shadow. You are within the mindstone, and she is present, but not here either. You have attempted this several times now. And each time you are disappointed with the results.”
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Xila: k, so just do the thing that you didn’t do last time! problem solved right?
Quinn Winterborn: May Amaunator’s light reach her this time, then, guardian.
Zz’Arti: The mind you are attempting to restore harbors deadly secrets – those which are a threat to civilization as a whole. The memories therein are lost knowledge that we do not wish to have exposed to the light of the world.
Zz’Arti: Rather than allow her to regain these memories, we would that you rather engage and destroy all of her memories through the power of this stone to prevent her knowledge from ever being used for destructive purposes.
Quinn Winterborn: We being, if I might ask?
Zz’Arti: The Illithirri spirits that reside within this stone.
Zz’Arti: And before you ask – the Illithirri are the predecessors of teh drow race, before they were cast out by Corellon.
Zz’Arti: Your mind is much too inquistive for its own good.
River: And how would we d-destroy them without b-breaking her mind? With simple f-force?]
Xila: I’m more for getting her memories back, giving her over to the crown, getting paid, and everything going back to normal.
Xila: But that’s just me
Zz’Arti: I can release the wrappings of shadow that encase her mind, you would then venture in and destroy whatever presented itself. While there will be some damage to her immediate memory, the woman will be physically ok upon awakening. Otherwise, her knowledge would level entire kingdoms and harness by the wrong hands… cause the very existence you hold dear to be obilterated.
Hudson: Can we know the name of the force that did this to her, and taunted us?
Xila: Eh, I don’t think anyone could hold that much knowledge.
Quinn Winterborn: Tell me, last time you told us that, did I say “well, let’s do it”? Becuase that’s what I want to say this time
Zz’Arti frowns. “You are young and do not know everything. I am wrought with grief in sharing this information over and over, for I feel that it taints your very thoughts.” The dark elf rolls his palms upward, “She knows the True Name of both a Primordial and of a Demon Prince.”
Quinn Winterborn shivers uncontrollably
Xila: Cool!
River: Just enough k-knowledge to ensure t-trouble…
Izual gasps at as he says it.
Zz’Arti: You argued with me for a time, and then the nature of this place stole away your thoughts before you made a decision. Prior to that, you wished to free her memories and allow her to make that decision. Prior to that, you agreed that she should be reft of these memories.
Izual: The entirety of all creation would be doomed!
Quinn Winterborn: I’m…. I think…
Quinn Winterborn closes his eyes
Quinn Winterborn: I….
Izual grabs Quinn by the shoulders.
Quinn Winterborn: I am very frightened now. But I feel we must proceed, and quickly, before we lose our memories again.
Izual: We CAN NOT let that information be loosed in the world.
Hudson: Let’s go. She’ll still be saved, and she’ll still be useful to the crown.
Quinn Winterborn speaks in a quiet, soft voice. No, we cannot.
Recap: Destroy her memories and she’s physically ok, but likely a vegetable for the rest of her life. Recover the memories and you have someone with the potential to level kingdoms at the very least.
Recap recap – Your choices have consequences. Choose wisely.
Izual: Not even the Gods could stop a Primordial…
Zz’Arti: They can, and have before. but at a cost.
Hudson: You said the damage would be to her immediate memories, not… her entire mind
Zz’Arti: They can, and have before. but at a cost.
Zz’Arti nods “She will have grasp of her most base faculties.”
River: Such is risk.
Quinn Winterborn: Such is the opposite of wisdom. And experience.
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator guide our choice
River: Show us the p-path, guardian. We will act with h-haste…
Xila: Destroying her memories… and leaving her the way she is now. Isn’t that kinda the same thing?
Zz’Arti grins. “You call on his name as if it causes a difference in yourfortune. He is not all powerful, and was meddlesome in his own way in his youth.”
Hudson: Would she be… happier? Less damaged?
Zz’Arti: The decision is in your hands alone. You have the magics of this stone at your disposal. I cannot make you decide.
Zz’Arti: She would be alive.
Quinn Winterborn: …and no longer killing dozens in her wake
Hudson: Would this do anything to improve her situation? The shadow magic? Her terror?
Zz’Arti: I cannot say. She is bound in shadow, but it is likely that the name on her lips is that which has driven her to madness when left alone with it in her mind. You risk losing everything she is and was if you destroy her memories.
Xila: I know if I was in the same position, I would rather the choice then be made a vegetable by force.
Xila: You can’t do much as a vegetable.
Xila: Except get eaten
Quinn Winterborn: I agree, Xila. If it’s any consolation, I’m making the choice I would want to have made if I was in her position
Recall – Mirabeta was going to cooperate with the Cormyreans, but the Crown did not trust her. So they locked her up until they could decide what to do with her knowledge. She spent a YEAR alone waiting for them to make a decision. Once they decided, she was an shadomaton.
River: I don’t know…
Destroying her memory makes her useless to the Crown. Knowing the True Name of a Primordial and being secluded for a year would drive you insane. Kinda like a name that you can hear but cannot recall….
Zz’Arti taps his foot. “IF you do not make a decision soon, you will likely forget why you are here once more.”
River: We seek her freedom. Not the loss of her mind.
Quinn Winterborn: That is why we came here in the first place, isn’t it?
Xila: So, just a thought, is there a way to destroy just the one memory and preserve the rest.. I’m quite a good thief, maybe I could go.. steal it?
Quinn Winterborn: To save her from death, to give her choice. We saw these as good choices, even though we defied authority…
Zz’Atri says calmly, “You made the same foolish choice last time. I had hoped with further reflection you would have seen reason. Very well. We cannot allow you to restore Mirabeta’s memories. I am sorry it has come to this.” With that, other dark-skinned elves and spiders materialize around you. Zz’Atri commands, “Defenders of the kiira, come to my aid. We must stop these adventurers.”

The Kiira is absorbing your memories. While surface memories are removed first, those deeply rooted in your mind become stronger. Some of these deep-rooted memories are the source of your greatest fear. While this paralyzing fear is detrimental to you, the creatures you are fighting seem to feed on it. While these personal fears and impossible to overcome on your own during this encounter, your allies may be able to help you.
Izual places his hand on Hudson’s shoulder.
Quinn Winterborn: Hi
Izual fires off a shot and then reaches out to attempt to aid Quinn, who is trembling in fear at…
Quinn Winterborn remembers the wild magic Mirabeta unleashed in the very presence of arcane magic.. Magic, the cornerstone of Quinn’s universe, becomes unravelled, leaving nothing making sense,a nd Quinn defenseless
Izual: Quinn, do not lose faith in your God. You know in your heart that these fears are fruitless if we have faith.
Quinn Winterborn: A…Amaunator….
While your plea falls on deaf ears as Quinn is shaken to his very core, you believe that an appeal to another pillar of his self may be beneficial (Failure, but +5 to the next skill check that is NOT Religon)
The spider leaps out Xila, fangs dripping with poison. The bite misses, but the spider spits poison at the halfing as well.
River kicks at the spider as it lunges for her, knocking it onto its back.
As Hudson swings, the spider vanishes and appears behind him.
The dark elf rushes up and slashes at Quinn, then shifts away from him.
[w] Izual → Quinn Winterborn: As you enter Izual’s mind, you see darkness and fire. From an eagle eye’s view you see a ritual circle with a small, green baby in the middle, and a tall, robed man on his knees, praying beside it. The baby is bleeding from the stomach, completely cut open.. and the child has Izual’s eyes.
[w] Quinn Winterborn → Izual: I invoke the history of your people – the struggles and subjugation in their past, trying to invoke the Gith (Hope I have this right) innate strength to overcome seemingly impossible opposition
Quinn’s aid steels Izuals resolve, reducing his fear to a more managable level. (Success)
[w] River → Quinn Winterborn: As you delve into River’s mind… you see fire. Bodies bleeding and dying everywhere. A little girl runs for her life, into the woods…
[w] River → Quinn Winterborn: You see the nightmare as a caravan attacked in the night… and River running for her life to try and survive. What do you do?
Xila heads towards Dark Elf Acolyte and strikes with a low slash.
Star (Xila): I have CA due to first strike
[w] Quinn Winterborn → River: I show River that the woods the girl has run into are safe, and strong, and put her on a road that leads her to Moro, who is both her family and her guardian
[w] River → Quinn Winterborn: W-wolves?! N-no!
Quinns attempt is not strong enough in this place to feel real or adequate enough to calm to girls mind. (Faillure. +5 to nexxxt skill check that is not Nature)
[w] River → Xila: As you delve into River’s mind… you see fire. Bodies bleeding and dying everywhere. A little girl runs for her life, into the woods…
[w] River → Xila: You see the nightmare as a caravan attacked in the night… and River running for her life to try and survive. What do you do?
[w] Xila → River: Xila Jumps through the bodies and fires using her acrobatical skills to get to river, then grabs her hand and to guide her to safety.
The Halfling manages to bolster the girls resolve with her acrobatic save. (Success)
[w] Hudson → River: White. An endless sea of white snow, rising and falling in mountains without any sign of direction, with Hudson lying in the center of it, unmoving. His skin is covered in ice. His eyes are open, covered in frost too, staring unseeingly at the white sky. His skin is cracked, and sluggishly blood leaks from the wounds, frozen almost immediately. “It’s my fault,” Hudson’s voice whispers on the wind, “I made him come.”
[w] River → Hudson: Huh. Hudson might be more messed up than I thought.
[w] Hudson → River: Maybe a little. xD
[w] River → Hudson: Maybe…. I’ll try to thaw the ice somehow. Medical skills ho!
[w] River → Hudson: Or at least try to patch up some wounds. Cure them ouchies.
TEnding to Hudson wounds have shaken him out of his fear induced revere. (Success)
Moro stands strong. Like a boss.
As the poison hits River, she is thrown aside by the pulsing miasma of the Kiira
River is flung into one ofthe energy fluxes!
Chat log started at 10.8.2016 / 17:28:54

Chapter 2: Edge of Justice The heroes decided to attempt a ritual in which to save Mirabeta from the shackles of what is holding her. After long discussion and some moral debates between the group, the enact the ritual and enter the kiira through ritual process. They are then spoken to by Zz’Arti, a Illithyrri spirit that harbors the knowledge within the gemstone. He explains that the kiira is sapping their memories, and if they tarried too long, they would indeed be rendered impaired and unable to leave. He offers the party a solution to Mirabeta’s mind, but the solution would involve erasing the woman’s memory in its entirity – preventing the knowledge she possesses (the True Name of a primordial) from causing cataclysmic events that would ruin the world. The group decided against acting as such, and the guardians of the kiira attacked them, intent on destroying the good intentioned meddlers within the realm of the mind stone. Can the heroes overcome the immense fear and terror that lingers in their bodies in order to save Mirabeta’s mind?
Izual sets an arrow, narrowing his eyes at the spider in front of him and summoning elemental spirits to his arrow.
The spider tries to bite Hudson. Failing to do so, the spider sprays poison spittle all over.
The spider bites ferociously into the hafling, sending her careening away into a elemental flux.
Hudson: Not them. No!
Hudson skin turns into a patchwork of frozen patches, and wounds.
The dark elf causes a blob of darkness to appear, blinding Izual and Moro.
The elf dashes in, makes two quick strikes and slides away from the dark cloud.
[w] Xila → Quinn Winterborn: You see a young Xila sitting alone in a dark corner, she seems to be sobbing into her knees, she seems frightened of the darkness, of the emptyness of being alone.
[w] Quinn Winterborn → Xila: (HISTORY CHECK) Quinn tries to recall and whisper to Xila a humorous story of monsters bumbling around in the dark, and of clever, sneaky children escaping them (trying to make Xila laugh/smile). Think Bilbo and the Trolls kind of story.
Quinns stories bring a light back to the halfling’s eyes as she calms slightly. (SUCCESS)
Xila: Ok, I hate spiders.
[w] Quinn Winterborn → Xila: Quinn moves protectively in front of his sister, and raises his hands, ready to cast a spell to protect her. Then he faulters, and looks around, spying Mirabeta and her odd curse, and Quinn suddenly doubts the very magic he relies on, and despairs
[w] Xila → Quinn Winterborn: (BLUFF) Xila says a few words of encouragement to Quinn, telling him that Mirabeta is a figment of his imagination, and that she has no effect over the magic he holds dear, it is only his own will that stops him.
Xila’s words enbolden the quaking Quinn and he finds a hidden reserve of strength to draw from, calming slightly. (SUCCESS)
The spiders and elves dim slightly, and the misty world grows a bit more sustantial – a change has occured, though you cannot pinpoint exactly what.
The dark elf fires an black bolt at Quinn, pinning him in place. She then draws power from the nearby ally, healing her own wounds.
Xila pets Moro as he’s summoned next to Xila
The spider spits poison at Moro to no effect.
Moro howls in fury, ready to attack in a fuzzy-rage.
[w] Xila → Hudson: You see a younger Xila running away from darkness that is creeping up on her, voices shouting towards her saying things like “You ran away, they’re dead now, it’s all your fault” The darkness draws closer and closer, looking as if it will completely envelop her.
[w] River → Quinn Winterborn: True magic is unknowable. Unscrutable. To contain it and catalogue it is laughable. All one can do… is appreciate it.
[w] Hudson → Xila: Hmmm… Could Hudson put himself between Xila and the Shadows and try and calm her whilst holding off the darkness with his physical presence and endurance?
[w] Hudson → Xila: It’s not your fault. Whatever this is…. You don’t have to bear it alone.
[w] Quinn Winterborn → River: sounds about right. Probably involved mirabeta
Quinn blinks – his mind and body calm significantly and his vision sharpens. (SUCCESS) Regain 1 encounter power and heal your HS value without costing a HS.
Hudsons presence is looming and blends with the darkness, sending Xila into a bigger fright.
[w] Xila → Quinn Winterborn: You see a younger Xila running away from darkness that is creeping up on her, voices shouting towards her saying things like “You ran away, they’re dead now, it’s all your fault” The darkness draws closer and closer, looking as if it will completely envelop her.
[w] Quinn Winterborn → Xila: Tries to explain to Xila that the voices are her own doubts and insecurities, and that if she faces them, they will be silenced (INSIGHT CHECK)
Your voice is inadequate in comparison to the rising tide of darkness. Xila remains afraid.
Xila moves closer to the icy terrain created by Quinn, then lets her daggers fly in a blinding barrage.
Xila then stops to recover her strength.
The dark elf begins to cast a spell that starts to strengthen the darkness…
[w] Xila → River: You see a younger Xila running away from darkness that is creeping up on her, voices shouting towards her saying things like “You ran away, they’re dead now, it’s all your fault” The darkness draws closer and closer, looking as if it will completely envelop her..
[w] River → Xila: You are not alone in guilt or grief. Take heart in knowing… Others are running along with you in fear.
Moro is Moro. ‘Nuff said.
River pinpoints the heart of Xila’s fear, absolving the halfling of her terror. (SUCCESS) Xila regains hp equal to HS value, regains one encounter power.
[w] Moro → Izual: You see River as a small child running from the burning flames of a caravan, fleeing from death and murder into the dark and foreboding woods. She remains on the run, afraid to call for help..
[w] Hudson → Moro: thank you for this insight, spirit wolf. xD
[w] Izual → Moro: … this might be pushing the dreamscape idea way too far, but could izual try and use his knowledge of nature to recreate some bio-luminescant flowers to light the forest, and sooth younger River?
[w] Moro → Izual: Eh. It’s a dream world. I’d think it be cool.
DM: nods approvingly.
As the small flower blossoms, sheding a brillant white light that cuts a safe path through forest. River’s eyes focus, and her fear is banished.
Dark Elf stands…
Xila shifts down to beside Izzy
Xila then stabs the stinger
Xila steals her way into Izzys heart
SOmehow.. that works… and Izual isnt scared anymore.
Dark Elf Acolyte tries to keep her spell going, but cannot under the onslaught of Hudson. Sneering, the acolyte backs away and starts throwing around some magic.
Xila pokes Izzy
Moro groans and grabs the bulky warrior by the arm with her teeth.
[w] Hudson → Moro: The edge of a small campsite, in the middle of a frozen wasteland. Bodies litter the area, and an invisible wall separates a silently screaming, younger Hudson from the scene inside. Every attempt to close the space to him seems to push him further away. Near the campfire a young man is strapped to a table, as a faceless group of men do unspeakable, torturous things to him. A second, frost covered Hudson watches, motionless and completely blank, like some kind of golem. Just watching quietly.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Moro stares impassively as Hudson struggles vainly against the darkness, trying to save his charge…
[w] Moro → Hudson: Then…. with calm foresight, Moro grabs onto the great warrior, halting his efforts.
[w] Hudson → Moro: Let me save him! I have to save him!
[w] Moro → Hudson: ‘There is naught you can do now. The past is unchanging, as written in stone.’
[w] Moro → Hudson: ‘Instead… honor his memory.’
Hudson’s eyes clear and the entire battlefield gains another measure of clarity. The dark elves and spiders waver in form and become more… transparent.
The entire party becomes emboldened as they have faced their greatest fears together, and gain an understanding of each other on a much deeper level.
Hudson: No!
Nope… the entire party is now COURAGEOUS (+5 to all rolls)
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Good strike, child. You learn well.
[w] Hudson → Moro: I can’t stop. I need to keep going forward. Protect those who have protected me.
The very fabric of this place seems to split, causing all to hold their heads for a moment in pain. The energy flux literally tears the spider into pieces, splattering Quinn with ichor.
Quinn Winterborn: Um, ew!
[w] Moro → Hudson: Focus on the task at hand. There is always time to worry later.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Honestly, do all humans worry incessantly about things they can’t control?
Moro blinks from view, reappearing to strike at the lone spider.
River continues to cower in the corner, watchful of any more foes lurking in the shadows.
The spider vanishes in a puff of grey smoke, leaving the field empty for a moment. A sudden shudder tilts the entire field, nearly sending all but the most sure footed of you tumbling. The Energy fluxes pulse rapidly, changing in size. The entire scape goes pitch black and silent.
The scape is changed – some of the fluxes have grown in size, others have disappeared completely. Blinking away the darkness, you can see, but everything is in near darkness and in shades of blacks and greys. A terrible moaning erupts from around you and when you can see it – you are shaken to your very core.
Jonas staggers forward, clearly the result of terrible wounds and savagry. A lopsided, grin sits on the man’s face – which is even worse, as his entire lower jaw is missing.
River quails in fear and runs away from the pair to the south.
Moro jumps to defend the others by biting into the ghastly fears….
Moro’s bite sinks into the rotted flesh of the man and while the attack isnt as savage as she would hope, it still manages to penetrate the creatures defenses.
Mirabeta points her finger at Quinn, beckoning him closer. She leviates slowly, and moves closer to him.
Quinn Winterborn: No…..
Chains of lightning dance between Izual and Quinn, binding them together.
The decrepid woman starts forward, and then blinks – covering a large distance within a heartbeat and striking out at River.
The man howls in a manner that causes a chill to race up your spine. He then tries to grab the spirit wolf while howling, “SAAANNNNNN-GRRRRRRRRRRRR-GGGGggggrrr!”
A bleak looking shadow, much alike Xila’s charges forward, slashing at her with a spectral blade.
Hudson: Leave… Xila…. Alone!
Your attack passes right through the creature, not impacting it at all.
Xila strikes at the shadow in front of her.
Xila then slashes at the shadows legs
Hudson: sorry! I entirely forgot!
Quinn Winterborn takes a deep breath and steels himself
Demonform Izual lets loose a shot from a smoldering bow. The arrow turns into a bolt of lightning as it releases, smashing into the energy flux behind Izual.
As the arrow strikes Mirabeta, a flashing shield of green energy springs to life, negating the spell.
Mirabeta laughs at Quinn, “I thought you wanted to help me?”
Quinn Winterborn sobs
Jonas tries to slam into Hudson, but misses. Howling in rage, the creature then attacks in a wild rage (AP)
Moro howls in a fervor, giving Xila the opening she needs!
Xila pets Moro
Hudson swings out wildly at Moro’s command, and then freezes the hammer almost falling out of his hands. “Please… Jonas, Please. Don’t make me do this!”
Mirabeta laughs again, releasing a burst of thunder. “Come closer, Quinn… Hold me.”
Celeste strikes clumsily at River, “Whhhhyyyy???”
[w] Hudson → Moro: what if this is my chance to save him! He’s right in front of me,
Quinn Winterborn shoulders seem to slouch, as his will wanes a bit
Arturo flickers out of existance for a moment, then reappears near River, attempting to grab her.
River: P-please! Let us g-go! H-help!!
[w] Moro → Hudson: Death is a certainty to all, human. No one is above it. End this false pretender.
[w] Moro → Hudson: After all, would your friend seek your death, even in an act of revenge?
[w] Hudson → Moro: …no. No he wouldn’t.
Hudson: You’re not him!

Chat log started at 17.8.2016 / 17:28:37

The fight continues in the near dark and the confines of the kiira gem. The heroes battled through the guardians of the stone, only to be confronted by their own worst fears come to life. Volatile energy fluxes dot the landscape and some of the group are having a harder time with their assailants than others…
Jonas neglects the halfling as it rushes by him.
Izual misses his shot, and panics. Tossing a burst of magic onto the ground, he vanishes into smoke.
Trueform Izual laughs heartily. “Your tricks will not work, boy!”
Trueform Izual laughs “I CAN SEE YOU!”
Izual crumples onto the ground, the strike proving too much for him to keep is composure.
You see the wave of magic bend awkwardly as it washes over Mirabeta, but your will proves greater and the spell pushes through her aura and slams into the woman, driving her back.
Quinn Winterborn sees magic bend and distort around Mirabeta, and panics for a moment, yelping aloud in alarm
Jonas charges at Hudson – a jarring howl escaping the crumbling face.
Mirabeta grins a bright white smile at Quinn. “Finding your backbone, are we? You ok with striking a woman now?”
River’s assailants reach for her, trying to grab her in their decrepit grasp.
River: Please…. n-no….
River: D-don’t hurt me! L-let me go!!
Arturo grabs her tight and begins to squeeze.
River wrenches herself free as fear overtakes her.
River: Please, d-don’t hurt me! I… I n-never wanted to lose you!
Arturo howls as River twists away from him. The dead man picks up his rusted blade and eyes her once more.
Moro deigns to assist Xila against her shadows, growling to put the creaure on edge.
[w] Moro → Hudson: I alone cannot crush these fears. River is strong… she can hold out until help arrives.
[w] Moro → Hudson: I… cannot say the same of the rest of you.
A flash of bright white light sears the vision of everyone within the area. A clap of thunder and the smell of overwhelming ozone fills your nostrils for a moment before disappating, leaving scorched ground in all directions. In the epicenter of the burst, Izual stands, naked to the waist, his skin whole, but a massive jagged burn scar marrs his chest. His eyes flash with pure white light for a moment, that fades to normal once more.
Trueform Izual howls as he is blinded by the flash of light.
Izual: You will not continue to hold me down!.
The cavenous form of darkness crumples in on itself until there is nothing left at all…
Trueform Izual seems confused at Izuals reappearance.
Jonas finally manages to slam into Hudson, piledriving the warden backwards into one of the energy fluxes. The creature then plods forward with Hudson still in his sight.
Hudson: See, that’s the problem. Jonas wouldn’t have had to throw me into stuff to try and beat me.
Hudson: spits blood.
Mirabeta rushes forward and smashes Quinn with a quarterstaff that materializes out of thin air.
Jonas takes a meaty hit from Hudson, and as the corpse starts to fall, it twists around wildly, delivering a powerful blow that tosses Hudson away. The corpse then falls to the floor and begins to crumble to dust.
River moves with alacrity, hearing Hudson crumple to the floor in a heap.
River: Mr. A-Aydar! P-please…. get up….
Hudson forces himself to his feet, and nods greatfully at River.
Moro picks up Izual by the scruff of his neck, flinging him to the other side of Quinn for some distance.
The lightning tether stretches and sparks wildly.
With her fear vanquished, Xila feels a clarity that she did not feel before. Confidence floods her frame, and she feels resolute in her convictions.
Xila: Get her, lover boy.
Quinn Winterborn mutters I remember, Zac….
Izual: This is the arrow that will bring you down…
Izual nocks an arrow crackling with thunder, and lets it loose at his demon imposter.
Trueform Izual explodes in a burst of lightning and brimstone!
Izual feels more confident and can breathe easier now that his demon is gone.
Hudson connects with a solid hit.
Ben Wilson (Xila): wait whaaaaaaaaaa.
Xila: Come on River. You can do this!
Hudson: What Xila said!
Moro quickly dives in to assist River… finally.
River: Please… d-don’t hurt us! I never wanted you to go….
Hudson: These aren’t the people who had to go, anymore than Jonas was. You can do this
Hudson: You’ve got this, Handsome.
Arturo falls to the ground, victim of Moro’s savage attack.
Xila pokes the dust with a dagger.
Xila: see? obviously not an actual person!
River: I-I…. I can’t bear this burden…. n-not alone.
Hudson: You’re not alone, River. We’re all with you.
[w] Moro → Hudson: She already came to terms with their death long ago, as she did mine. No… her burden is something else.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Do try and keep up, muscle-head.
Izual: River, we are all strong. Together we are more powerful than any fearful thing.
[w] Hudson → Moro: doing my best to help, Fangs McGee
Izual lets loose a flaming arrow, straight into the chest of River’s fear being.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Oh, so the brute has bite. Learn to use those teeth properly.
[w] Hudson → Moro: I don’t think biting people will help her overcome her burden
The undead woman lurches around Hudson, trying desperately to reach River. The warden whirls around, smashing the corpse flat to the ground, where she explodes in a cloud of ethereal vapors.
Arturo’s corpse slowly gathers itself, standing back upright, with its body even more mangled than before. Wicked red light dances in its eyes as it lashes out at River!
River: Nnngh…. I-I….]
Arturo collapses to the ground once more.
Hudson: Is this one connected to the loud wolf?
Mirabeta winces as she gets hit by Izual’s attack.
Mirabeta backs into the energy flux, a shimmering green shield flashing into life as she moves through the energy flux.
Arturo rises from the dead once more and lurches toward River.
Mirabeta disapates under the howling blast of Quinn’s spell. The room brightens slightly, Quinn is more confident, having conquered his fear, and now is set in his convictions.
As the brillant blast of color and light splay across the corpses body, it breaks apart, evaporating as the others have before it. River feels more confident, having vanquished her assailants.
As the corpse begins to vanish, the setting shifts once more, growing bright, with the energy fluxes folding in on themselves until the room is simply empty – a blank slate of pale white stretching as far as you can see.
River: Where…. w-where are we?
At the center of the room, you see the prone form of Mirabeta, lying in a state much as you have seen her throughout your journey.
Spectral bands of ghostly energy snake around her form, writhing around much like a large snake would.
Quinn Winterborn picks up his dagger, and sheathes it thoughtfully
River: I… I’ll see if I-I can get her c-conscious…
Quinn Winterborn: Wait a moment
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s study her first, make sure it’s safe to try
Quinn Winterborn: Fine. You guys get closer, I’ll stay back here and observe.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll warn you if I see anything…um, well, anything?
Moving closer, you can see that the bands respond to your presence, and move away from you. You can hear whispering at the fringes of your conscienceness, though you cannot place what it is saying. You can tell the woman is alive, and she is paralyzed with fear. Her eyes faintly track your movements, but she is otherwise frozen.
River: M-Mirabeta?
River: D-don’t be afraid. We’re h-here to help…
River: …I… I’m going to n-need some assistance…
Izual: What do you need, River?
River: A-All of you… I need to help m-me force these b-bonds off…
Izual nods and moves toward Mirabeta.
Hudson does as asked.
River: Right…. O-on three…
River: One…..
Izual gets ready.
River: T-t-two….
Quinn Winterborn is on his mark
Quinn Winterborn is set
River: Three…!
Izual pulls has hard as he can on the bonds.
The physical manipulation is almost as important as the manifestation of your will. The bands writhe away from your grasp, and try to condense around the woman, but through your tenacity and fierceness, you tear the bonds away from Mirabeta, rending them asunder. The ground shakes at your actions and the lights pulse before the scene fades entirely.
You awaken, sitting in the safe room, with the candles burnt low. Most of you are bleeding and suffer physical wounds from your ordeal within the kiira. However, you are whole – and more importantly, Mirabeta sits up in the middle of the circle, clearly reeling.
[w] Hudson → Moro: ….Can you still hear me?
River: …W-well…. That was… s-something…
Hudson: Let’s never do it again?
River: M-mirabeta? Are you o-okay?
River edges a little closer to the woman, hesitant of what is to come.
Mirabeta looks to you with wide eyes, though as she attempts to speak, she is unable, her eyes darting to the golden manacles at her wrists.
Quinn Winterborn sits up, and scoots back into a corner, holding his staff warily
River: …I-It’s okay. Do you… still have all of y-your thoughts? Are you… w-whole?
Hudson: Are you aware of what has happened?
Mirabeta nods, hesitantly.
River: W-well… we are successful in s-saving you… so….
River: Do you w-wish to speak with those in the Capital s-still?
Mirabeta seems confused, tries to speak once again and then stops abruptly.
She then makes a motion of a quil… eager to write something perhaps?
River unpacks something in her belongings… a small writing case, with quills and parchment.
River: H-here… If that is easiest…
River places the things at the woman’s feet, then backs away.
Mirabeta begins writting feverishly, but stops abruptly, shaking her head. She purposely slows herself, takes a deep breath and then starts once more, this time in a language that you all can read. “You have my eternal gratitude from freeing me from the confines of my madness. I see I am still a prisoner – what do you plan for me?”
Quinn Winterborn looks at the others
River: W-well… we were t-tasked with bringing you t-to the capital… as you were s-said to be w-willing to…
Quinn Winterborn whispers to River This was your idea, what now?
River: B-but… we were a-afraid once we b-brought you to S-Suzail… you would be… ‘d-d-disposed of’ by the government…
River: We c-could not live with sending you to such a f-fate…
River: So… we sought to f-free you… and ask you d-directly on what you would w-want…
Mirabeta nods and writes, “I would honor my original bargain – otherwise I would be hunted all of my days.”
River: T-there is…. something I would a-ask of you…
River: We were also… m-met by a paladin, who sought your s-safety…
River: Do you know of h-her and what she w-wants?
Mirabeta: I have known many in the service of the gods in my time. Who was she?
Quinn Winterborn tries to hide
River: She called herself… L-Levia Shadowalker… Or something l-like that…
Mirabeta furrows her brow at the mention of the name – its clear that she knows her name.
She hesitates writing for a moment, but then starts a swift note “She was once my lover – but we had a disagreement to a point which there could no longer be a reckoning and a mutual understanding. She is staunch in her ways and cannot be moved.”
River: Does it have to d-do with… what e-else you know? Besides the s-spies?
Mirabeta nods… very slowly.
River: I understand h-her position t-then… but it is not my place to s-say…
River: I t-trust you will do the right thing. In the end…
River: Well. We will d-do as you ask… We’re just outside of S-Suzail..
Hudson: I didn’t want to leave you trapped in your own mind. Perhaps now you can plead your case, and do some good, before … whatever comes next. The force that had you said that i was similar to you…. that what i am would consume me. But…. a wise wolf and some good friends helped me realise i can’t keep thinking of myself as being a different entity from who I was. I am both.
Moro yawns lazily and lies back down to rest.
Mirabeta appears confused.
Hudson: Don’t worry. I just…. hope I did some good here, by bringing back your mind.
As a result of your experiences in the kiira, and your shared experiences there, you and your allies confronted your greatest fears. By helping one another, you both overcame your own fear and helped them overcome theirs.

Chat log started at 24.8.2016 / 17:44:02

Moro yawns tiredly.
Moro flops onto the floor, waiting for belly scratchings.
Hudson scraches moro’s belly
Moro groans complacently.
River: …What d-d-did you do to my w-wolf?
Moro resumes lying on the ground and being belly-scratched by Hudson.

Last time on HBC – the heroes completed their trials within the kiira gemstone and were able to restore Mirabeta’s memories. The woman is unable to speak, however, bound by the magic of her manacles. The group is left with a decision on what to do with the woman. As she has expressed interest in fulfilling her bargain with the Crown.
Hudson unwraps some food and water for Mirabeta, now that she’s aware enough to know if she’s actually hungry and thirsty.
Mirabeta looks dejectedly at the golden manacles around her wrists. She looks to the proffered food, and takes to eating with gusto.
Xila: So, now that’s over with! I’ll be taking my gem back now.
Xila holds out her hands expectantly.
River: …‘Y-Your’ gem?
Xila: Yup! I paid for it after all.
River: I recall we were b-borrowing it for a n-noble cause…
Quinn Winterborn: Now that we’ve used it for a good and noble purpose, as we intended to, we should return it to its rightful owner
Xila: Why would you return it? A thief never returns her prize! It was stolen fair and square.
Quinn Winterborn: First of all, you didn’t even steal it
River: Hmmm…
Quinn Winterborn: Second of all, the plan was NOT to enrich ourselves on Mirabeta’s plight. Our plan was to help out Mirabeta
Xila: I would have stolen it, but that other thief voluntered.
Xila: …I mean, I had to pay her but hey, I stole it by proxy.
Quinn Winterborn: Third of all, the person who stole it is now in trouble for the theft. We need to make that right.
Quinn Winterborn gives Xila a hard stare
Xila: I’ve already paid her, her fault she got caught.
Hudson: Quinn. I hate to cut in to this argument. But with what we did…. do we know the Kiira still has any power?
Hudson: we kinda… killed the guys inside it.
Quinn Winterborn: It’s a good question. I don’t know.
Xila: Well then, that’s settled, besides I have no interest in selling it.
Xila: It’s pretty, I’m gonna keep it.
River: I have an i-idea. One that might help T-Telquine and solve the question of the Kiira.
Quinn Winterborn: Yes, River?
Quinn Winterborn deliberately turns his back on Xila and addresses River
River: Well…. we send it to the authorities with a message to absolve T-Telquine…
Quinn Winterborn: I like that plan, River. I think the Harpers would help us do that, if we asked them to.
Xila: Objection! Nowhere in that idea says I get to keep the Kiira
Xila: Therefore, it’s a bad idea.
River: …How much did you p-pay to have it?
Xila: 1000 GP, 100 was for her to also open a door.
Xila: So 1100 in total
Hudson: Didn’t… I pay some of it? I feel like i did…
DM: lol
River digs into her pack and hands her 1000 gold.
River: There. Now it’s like you lost nothing.
Xila looks at the gold, then looks at the kiira.
Mirabeta raises an eyebrow, but continues eating.
Quinn Winterborn turns at looks at Xila appraisingly
Xila: Let me think a moment.
Xila thinks for literally one moment.
Quinn Winterborn nods.
Xila takes the gold.. Then hands River back 500 of it.
River: Good. I think that r-resolves our issue.
Xila pouts
Xila: I still want the Kiira though.
Quinn Winterborn: So make Grankleshard an offer to buy it or something!
Xila: But I’m not such a bad girl as to take all your gold, so you I’ll just take half.
River: I’ll write the m-message. Give me a bit of t-time…
Xila winks nonchalantly at Hudson.
Hudson blinks, and then shrugs.
Hudson: I got a nice set of clothes from….
Hudson: Wait
Hudson: And then gave it to the the woman, in exchange for her outfit.
Xila begins plotting ways to steal the Kiira back from whoever River sends it to.
[w] River: Ohhh, on second thought, sign it the Summer Swallow. Since that might get Telquine off the hook of being the actual perp.
Hudson: Couldn’t we just turn it over when we hand in Mirabeta, and explain we took it to make her more able to give her information?
River leans out the window and chirps quietly…
Xila: Well then, I think the best bet is to take that letter and the Kiira to Nualla, she can sort things out for us.
Xila: Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to ask what she’ll do with it, she can’t lie.
Mirabeta clanks her manacles aloud, looking to the halfling. She motions to her wrists and holds them out to Xila.
Xila looks confused.
Hudson: Are you wanting to communicate again? Or are you just asking to be free?
Quinn Winterborn turns to Mirabeta
Xila: You want me to unlock them?
Mirabeta nods.
River: ….Well, I-I don’t see why not….
Xila: Well, I guess nobody deserves to be locked up. Just don’t run ok?
Xila takes out a lockpick and attempts to unlock the manacles.
Mirabeta nods.
Xila’s deft work with the lockpicks manages to bypass two of the wards that are present on the first set of locks within the wrist manacles. The chains glow fiercely with golden light for a moment, before going dark. Xila has successfully unlocked the outer cuffs. Another set of locks are present for the inner cuff.
Quinn Winterborn is fascinated by the magic in the cuffs
Xila: This lock is well made.
As the magic in the outer cuffs die, you all note that the shadowstuff that leaks slowly from Mirabeta gains strength, becoming darker and more substanitive.
Hudson: … Can you control your… shadow?
Mirabeta shakes her head.
Quinn Winterborn: I"m sorry for the question, but it sit….safer…for you with the cuffs on?
Mirabeta shrugs hesitantly.
Xila: Should I… Keep going?
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, I’m just worried about you. And myself, truth be told.
Mirabeta nods.
Quinn Winterborn smiles at Mirabeta, shivering slightly
River: It is right to f-fear the dark… but I feel we s-should continue.
Xila: Ok! Sounds like fun
Xila continues and tries to unlock the next set of locks.
The second set of locks click open, dropping the mithril chains from the cuffs onto the ground. The runes pulse with radiant energies for a moment before going dark.
Quinn Winterborn gasps, and tries to inspect the chains closely, looking for the faded runes
The shadowstuffs gain more strength, which wafts over the golden cuffs still on Mirabeta’s wrists. She smiles, and rolls her wrists over, exposing the locking mechanisms on the inner cuff
Xila wipes sweat from her brow, as she tries to unlock the last mechanism
The mechanism clicks hard, snapping off the lockpick as a cover slides over the keyhole. The cuffs buzz and send out a blast of radiant energy that pulses between Xila and Mirabeta, throwing Mirabeta to the ground, writhing in pain.

Xila gets up, shaking off the dust
Xila: Want me to keep trying?
Hudson helps Mirabeta up.
Mirabeta lies on the ground clenching her legs close to her body. She takes a moment before relaxing enough to be moved, but she is clearly hurt.
She bears scorch marks and burns all over her wrists and arms – some extending to her body.
Xila looks at Mirabeta cautiously.
Xila: Do you want me to try again? It will be even harder now.
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s not attract any unwanted attention right now??
Mirabeta nods, clenching her teeth.
Xila hesitently heads over to Mirabeta, then clutching her next lockpick attempts the unlock
The inner cuff clicks and the manacle falls to the floor, with a metallic clang. The room instantly becomes pitch black, and the sound of a woman’s laughter fills the air.
The room then returns to normal, with the slender woman standing in the center of it, rubbing her wrists ginergly. “Thank you… you have no idea the depths of depravity that those cuffs have sent me to embrace.”
Xila: Oh, you err, scared us for a minute there.
Quinn Winterborn makes a sympathetic face, but edges slightlly away from Mirabeta
Mirabeta nods, “I have been held in those for more than a year – I could not know what would happen once they were removed.”
Mirabeta: It seems a bit… dramatic though.
Xila: You’re telling me, I think river there might need new underwear.
River is still speechless, despite Xila’s teasing.
Quinn Winterborn: Who…laughed?
Moro smiles as only a wolf can.
Mirabeta: … well I did, of course. I cant believe she managed to unlock those cuffs.
Quinn Winterborn takes a deep breath to steel himself
Xila: Well, I am a master thief!
Xila smiles proudly
Mirabeta: Like I said, I cannot thank you enough for freeing me from my bondage.
Xila: Where would I be if I couldn’t unlock such a simple lock as that?
Xila chuckles slightly
Hudson watces/listens like a hawk. for any sign of magic casting.
River: S-s-s-s-so….. w-w-w-what now?
River is shaking like a leaf, still recovering from the sudden shock.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Mirabeta expectantly
Mirabeta: I suppose that is upto you. I am still your charge, technically. And I would not endanger you further until this current plight is resolved.
Quinn Winterborn: En-endanger? cough endanger?
Mirabeta: You are currently fugitives from the Crown for various reasons involving me, correct?
Moro picks up the kiira from the ground with her teeth, placing it firmly by her feet.
Moro then nods approvingly to Mirabeta.
Mirabeta: That sort of stigma is generally not advantageous to one’s well being.
Quinn Winterborn: We are.
Quinn Winterborn nods
Mirabeta: It would then be in my best interest to return you to a state of good standing with the Crown.
Xila: Yup, that would be awfully nice of you!
Quinn Winterborn: So what is the plan, then? Who should we….deliver?….you to?
Xila: Not sure how the crown will react to you being free and… stuff though
Mirabeta: We are in Suzail, are we not?
Moro nods once more.
Xila: Yup!
Mirabeta: Then honor your previous bargain. Bring me to the Crown and deliver your promise.
Xila: Hidden away in a secret room.
Xila: Well, if that’s what you want, sounds good to me!
Moro picks up the kiira and gives it to River’s shaky hands.
River: T-t-thank you….
Mirabeta: My life is forfeit if I do not. I cannot return to my previous station in Sembia.
River: L-l-let us go then…
Xila: So, out of curiosity, y’know that group that ambushed us a lifetime ago, who were they? Cause that’s why the others almost gave you to.
River: …They sought to s-s-silence her… for other reasons.
Mirabeta frowns, “Levia. I dont know who it is that she has thrown in with. I doubt they would have my well being in their ministrations.”
Xila: Alright then, good job River and Hudson decided to change their minds then.
Mirabeta: I would not go quietly… though Im much more capable without the manacles on.
Hudson: You did help. You let out a pulse of healing during one encounter
Mirabeta: I dont think that was me – perhaps it was the cuffs. Im not in possession of any innate healing abilities.
River: W-we have some tasks to p-perform before we d-deliver you to the C-Crown…
Hudson: ahh,,, well…
Hudson shrugs.
Quinn Winterborn looks at the discarded cuffs for a long moment, before reluctantly rejoining the conversation
Mirabeta: I would make the case that your current situation is likely more important than other errands.
Mirabeta: Im not exactly… unnoticable.
Quinn Winterborn: Both are important, both should be resolved as soon as possible.
River: I s-suppose…. it would make our other tasks easier…
Hudson: Let’s resolve the axe over our neck, and then we can have time to work out what to do with the axe over our allies.
Xila: Still don’t see why we need to return the Kiira though
River: Then…. Xila…. would you b-be so kind to open the d-door?
Xila: Oh! Right, I still have the key.
Mirabeta: A moment…
Mirabeta: I must relay some rather pertenient information. There are spies within the Court. And one in particular that is rather high in the chain.
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Of course…
Mirabeta: THe War Wizard Alarphon Magranet Prio is a spy in the pocket of the Netheril Shadowlords. She is not aware that I know of her allegiance, but when she sees me within the Court, she will know that I have betray the Shadovar. I would not have you walk into what could be a firefight without that knowledge.
Mirabeta: She may not act outright, but in delivering me to the Crown, you will be marked by the Netheril. They do not take meddling lightly.
Xila: Oh, nothing we can’t handle! Thanks for the warning though.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
River: I a-already have enemies as it is…. another shadowy g-group makes n-no matter.
Hudson shrugs again
Quinn Winterborn: Is there a way that we can deliver you to the RIGHT authorities, while avoiding the wrong ones?
Mirabeta looks at the shadowstuff that leaks from her body. “Do not take them lightly. They dont just kill you, they destroy everything they touch. They break you and those you love. Its…” she trails off and is quiet for a moment, “… They take what you are, and remake it their own. You have no idea what you have to lose.”
Quinn Winterborn: Well, we have to do what is right, no matter the dangers
Quinn Winterborn glances at Xila
Izual: If we can kill our own deepest fears, I am sure we can deal with them.
Xila looks puzzled at Quinns glance
Xila: Yup! We’ll be fine.
Xila: So, ready to go?
Mirabeta nods. “So long as you know.”
Xila takes out the medallion that opens the door.
Xila opens the door once everyone is ready
You make your way through the city at the suggestion of Mirabeta, out in the open, with the woman in the middle of your group, well guarded by you all. The peasants move out of your way quickly, and the horses and carriages that can, turn down other side streets to avoid your group. You are met by a Purple Dragon contigent of knights that escort you the rest of the way to the castle.
You are ushered through a series of halls before being lead out into a private garden within the castle’s walls. You are told that the Lord Warder will be with you shortly, and are left alone, save for the trio of knights that stand at the door back into the castle.
After the better part of an hour, the doors open and Lord Warder Vainrence enters, flanked by three hooded figures. He marches over to your group and looks down his hawkish nose at you, in a stern baritone he says, “Report.”
Hudson looks around in case someone diplomatic wants to speak.
River: We d-d-delivered M-Mirabeta as you asked.
Xila: Hiya! We’re finally here, as promised.
River: H-h-however….
River: We were….I was…. c-conflicted about Mirabeta’s c-condition.
Hudson: Not just River. I was with her.
River: S-so… we sought…. means to free her. I am s-s-sorry…
Mirabeta leans over from her position on the stone bench, looks at Vainrence dejectedly, then sticks out her tongue and waves her hands in his direction.
River hands the kiira to Lord Warder Vainrence.
Xila gasps and pouts slightly as River does so
Vainrence recoils in surprise, and the figures at his side reach for weapons frantically.
Hudson: No.
Hudson: There will be no violence until we are done speaking.
Hudson: From either party.
Hudson looks at mirabeta sternly.
River: We have…. inconvenienced m-many people with our a-actions.
Hudson: We have brought her here, more capable of testifying than she was when she left your … ‘care’.
River: I am w-willing to shoulder the b-burden of any punishments we h-have incurred…
The two groups stare down one another for a moment, both waiting for the other to make a move. Still, Hudson’s words broker a bit of peace and the guards settle, and Vainrence straightens his jacket. “Indeed. I’ve heard some of what I assumed would be contributed to your… endeavors.”
Quinn Winterborn is taking slow, deep breaths
Vainrence looks at River for a moment, and shakes his head, “Let us deal with the most important thing first. Mirabeta Selkirk, do you come to us to honor your bargain?”
Mirabeta: Of course – I had agreed to speak with you before you had be shackled and tossed into the darkest cell you could find – LORD WARDER.
Vainrence blanches at the woman’s words, clearly distressed. “That was not my decision. I cannot overrule the word of the Crown.”
Vainrence: Still, we would know that you speak true. Would you agree to a verfication of your words?
Xila: Surely that she’s even here is verifcation? Pretty sure she could easily have killed us all and ran once she was free if she didn’t want to talk to you…. Just saying.
Mirabeta narrows her eyes “Sure. You want your share… but I want mine.”
Vainrence: Do not test my patience, woman. You would share your knowledge with us.
Mirabeta shrugs “I would. I did not say when.”
Mirabeta: But do not fret. I am most willing to share. But I do not see a future for me where I am in shackles. That is all I am saying. Either you accommodate me and my friends here, and I will make you win your war. Or you do not, and then I will be quiet, and see what you make of it.
One of the hooded figures throws back her hood, fire dancing in her eyes. “Do not believe for one minute that you will be set free! We will not stand for that!”
Quinn Winterborn is on his guard
Hudson turns and narrows his eyes.
Hudson: Let’s keep the angry voices in this conversation to a minimum, shall we?
Mirabeta smiles, shadows clinging close to her skin. “Am I asking that? All I wish is for some comfort. I am nothing but reasonable. And I would ask for exsponging all charges against these individuals. They did nothing but aid the Crown, much at their own liability.”
One of the other hooded figures coughs a nervous laugh, while the other stands completely still.
Vainrence: Fine. We will hear your demands. But first!
Vainrence beckons and the figure that remained still steps forward, slowly and deliberately drawing a massive indigo blade from beneath his robe. He presents the sword on his hands, which Vainrence takes and presents the flat of the blade forward, towards Mirabeta.
Vainrence: Orblyn, the Edge of Justice. Put your hand on the blade, woman, and state your name.
Mirabeta smirks, and steps forward, resting her hand much closer to Vainrence’s than he is comfortable with.
Mirabeta: I am Overmistress of Sembia. I am the Heart in the Shadow. I am Mirabeta Selkirk.
The blade flares brightly, and a clairon chime calls out in a massive monotone.
Quinn Winterborn tenses, eyeing the hooded figures
Vainrence nods. “Thats good enough. Ms. Selkirk, if you would be so kind as to walk with the Crown Prince here to your new quarters, we will see to your needs. I will speak with these… assistants.”
Mirabeta nods, and turns to the group, “I cannot express my thanks to you for what you have done for me. If you need my assistance, in anything, if I can give it, it is your – just ask.”
Quinn Winterborn smiles, albeit a bit thinly
Hudson: I’m just glad to have done some… good?
Mirabeta then turns and takes the proffered hand of the figure that drew the Royal blade and walks toward the now opened portal, the other figures following suit. A moment later, you are left with Vainrence, who looks weary.
Vainrence: Now we are left with what to do with you.
Hudson: We have delivered the prisoner, in a very reasonable margin considering what we faced on the road. And with her capable of being reasoned with rather than in a catatonic state.
Vainrence nods. “Yes you have. Though along the way you’ve kidnapped a federal prisoner, broken the trust of the Crown, apparently stolen from a Crown citizen, caused a near riot in the streets, murdered six individuals, somehow framed a member of nobility for your crimes, and then showed up at the castle gates demanding that you are rewarded for your troubles.”
Hudson: I never demanded a reward.
Vainrence: Do you have anything to say concerning that?
River: If there is to be b-blame…
River: It should lie on my shoulders alone.
Hudson: River. You are not being blamed.
Izual: River, you know well we do this together.
River: N-no…. It was my faltering faith in the crown that erred our course.
Hudson: It was your morality, just like everyone elses.
Quinn Winterborn: You asked good men and women to turn a blind eye on something terrible. We completed your task, but you can not be surprised that we acted in good conscience as well.
Xila sighs
Hudson: She would have been incapable of testifying. She would have been brought here, and then discarded.
River: The crown was a-aware of such.
River: What I was w-worried… was what would become of her if she was handed to the Crown without a second thought.
Izual: The biggest point is that the Crown gets to win its war, and without our efforts, it would not have been this way.
Quinn Winterborn: We acted in good conscience, River.
Xila: Mr Lord, all that we have done was for the benefit of the crown. We had no choice but to steal the Kiira you are now holding. If we had handed Mirabeta over in the state that she was in, you would have no testimony and would likely have had to take the Kiira anyway. The person who held it is known to dislike the crown, so I suspect he would not have handed it over willingly to you. Now with it in your posession, you can return it to its rightful owner.. As sad as that will make me. And have the one who we framed for the crime released. Mirabeta is the one responsible for the six murders, not us, as she killed those who were sent to look over her. We only ask that you let us go, alive and unharmed.. and a little gold wouldn’t go amiss either..
Vainrence struggles to maintain full decorum while you talk over one another and try to make points that others are speaking to at the same time. He finally cannot manage any longer, letting a nasally chortle escape his lips..
Vainrence: Do not think that I am without some compassion. I am forced into the cold face of the Crowns Lord Warder. But I was once young and let the world and my whims guide me. I understand what you did and why you did so. I could not say that I would not have done the same in your stead.
Quinn Winterborn: We are anxious to make things right with the borrowing of the Kiira…..
Vainrence: Its true, that the War Wizard Council would have used a Mind Spider to extract the information that they thought to gain from Ms. Selkirk. I cannot say I know what the results would be, but they would have thrown her in a cell forever if they could have. I think the Prince would prevented that, but even he could be overruled.
Vainrence nods at Quinn. “I think we can rectify that. I can return the item to Master Grankleshard anonomyously. Mistress Silverleaf will be freed from custody as well.”
Xila: So, what’s a mind spider?
River: S-Something…. thoroughly unpleasant…
Vainrence: Im not exactly sure… but it is a variant of a portal spell that releases the contents of the targets mind into reality from what I understand. The end result is generally not gentle on the subject.
Xila: Oh, well it’s good that wasn’t needed then.
Vainrence: Now. I cannot say that everything will be smoothly resolved here. You have still made many enemies within the Court. I have already recieved messages from no fewer than six in the War Wizards High Council that they wish to question you personally.
Quinn Winterborn eyes seem glazed as he considers mind spiders and reality-altering magic
Xila: Ooooh, you mentioned when we were done bringing Mirabeta back that you’d have another job for us. Is that now not a thing?
Vainrence: It would be best, I believe, if you were to leave the nation for the immediate future.
Xila: ..Guess that’s a no to the job then.
Xila sighs
Vainrence shakes his head slowly, “No. I dont believe thats plausible at this time.”
Xila: So err, can we ever return? I quite like this place.
Vainrence: Perhaps. I cannot see the future of the nation as things stand. War with Netheril is immient.
Hudson: Lord? Perhaps we should warn you of someone who made an attempt on Mirabeta whilst we travelled with her? I don’t know if she factors into any… plans.
Vainrence: Do share.
Hudson: Levia Shadewalker tried to convince us to hand Mirabeta over. Mirabeta insisted the two have irrevocably seperated, but… just in case…
Hudson quickly describes Levia.
Vainrence: THats… quite disheartening. Thank you for sharing.
Vainrence: Now, if you would be so kind to follow me. I’ll take you to Ms. Silverleaf’s quarters and then you can all leave together while I tend to overwroth egos and other idiocy.
Hudson: I want to trust Mirabeta, but just in case she shows up trying to trick anyone..
Xila: Ok then, lets go
Xila follows Vainrence
You are lead out into the castle and then up into the guest quarters. He leaves you in a large opulent room when the slender eladrin you met at the masquerade ball dressed as the Fox sits on the bed.
Vainrence then turns and leaves.
When the door closes, the eladrin then looks to Xila, “I should have charged you more.”
Quinn Winterborn chuckles softly
Telquine: Are you all locked up with me then?
Xila: Yeah err.. Sorry. And nope, we’re all free to leave I think.
Telquine: Fair enough.
Xila checks the door to see if it’s locked.
Telquine: Did you at least get away with your gemstone?
The door is unlocked, two knights stand outside in the hall flanking the door.
Xila pokes her head out.
Xila: Hey, we’re free to go right?
The knights nod, one speaking up, “When you have gathered your things, I am to lead you to the gates.”
Xila: Oh! Ok, we’ll be ready in a sec then,
Xila pops back into the room.
Xila: Yup, I got away with the gem. Then we used it for.. stuff, and then traded it back for your freedom.
Xila: So really you came out the victor here.
Telquine: Poor trade, rookie.
Xila: I wanted to keep it
Xila: These guys decided to give it up.
River: We had… o-other interests to keep in mind…
Quinn Winterborn: Depends on the stuff we traded it for, I suppose
Hudson: Yes. Morality. Our curse, that holds us down to this earth.
Telquine: My sister would have had me out within another few hours. Still – I suppose I owe you a ‘Thank you’
Quinn Winterborn smiles
Telquine: What will you do now?
Xila: Well apparently we have to leave the nation, cause we’re wanted by higher ups.
Hudson shrugs.
Telquine: Hmmm… I think I might be able to help you, if you’d be interested in helping me.
River: Perhaps…
Moro groans anxiously.
Xila: Sure!
Telquine: I have some interests in the southern parts of the Moonsea. That should be far enough from Cormyr to keep you away from the Crown’s meddling.
River: It s-should do. Better than staying near Suzail…
Quinn Winterborn nods
Telquine: Ive lost contact with a ‘vendor’ of rare antiquities thats quite dear to my family. If you could look into that for me, I could arrange for you to leave the city.
River: A question…
Telquine: Surely.
River: Would this i-interfere with S-Sangria interests?
Telquine raises an eyebrow. “Not that Im aware of. They tend towards Northern Moonsea. Though they may have contracts in the south that Im not aware of. Why do you ask?”
River: I’ve made many an e-enemy with that family. I would wish to a-avoid such c-c-confrontation…
River: Your family oft has… disagreements. Just a thought.
Xila: Ooooh, you’ll have to tell me all about it later.
Telquine: Ahh. I understand. If you wanted to be directly in their conflict, I could arrange that as well. Still, they have fallen out of favor with many in Cormyr, my family included. I tend to avoid them if possible. I hear they are working with some of the more unsavory types in Zhentil Keep.
River: N-n-n-no… I’d rather avoid any such affair.
River: Aunt Merideth is already hot on my h-heels as it is…
Quinn Winterborn seems very curious, but says nothing
Xila: Well then, I guess we’re off to the Moonsea then! Sounds pretty
A flash of recognition crossed the eladrins face, but she smothers it quickly. “This should get you away from their attentions as well. My contact has found a cache of ancient Netherese artifacts centering around one of the fantastical MageLords of ancient Netheril. He has been funneling back some of these antiquities, but the supply has ended abruptly. I would like to know what has happened.”
Xila: Roger that! So, when do we leave?
Telquine: Likely I can arrange the ship before the end of the week, so you are welcome to stay at my manor house until then.
River: …If y-you insist. I w-wouldn’t wish to impose…
Telquine: Its a huge house, and I rarely have company anymore.
Telquine: We can arrange any provisions you would need as well.
Xila: If you find anything missing, it wasn’t me ok?
Xila winks
Telquine: But, we can speak more of it later – lets get out of this place.
Telquine: Steal from me, in my own house, and I’ll feed you to my umberhulk.
Xila: Got it, umberhulk. Stealing bad.
Hudson: that sounds…. violent.
Xila: Err…. what’s an umberhulk?
Moro smiles as only a wolf can.
Telquine: Rarely does one keep docile guard animals.
Xila: Anyway
Xila pokes her head out again
Xila: Ok, we’re ready mr guard!
[w] Moro → Hudson: Ugh…. a noble’s manor. Probably smells of perfumes and other rot. Horrid.
River: It’ll be fine, Moro. Just try to stomach it.
[w] Moro → Hudson: …I am not docile. Hmph.
Hudson: I knew it!
Hudson turns towards moro and leans down.
Hudson: You’re still in here, aren’t you?
Moro looks inquisitively at Hudson, cocking her head.
River: Moro?
Hudson: … This wolf is toying with me.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Cute. The big guy thinks I’m talking to him.
River: A-are you?
Moro smiles as only a wolf can.
Hudson glances between Moro and River.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Nah. I’ll tell you about it later.
River: …W-well, we’ll have time at the manor….
River: We can get this straightened out t-then…
Hudson: I hope the kiila didn’t drive me insane.
River: So… M-Moro spoke to you in the K-Kiira?
Hudson: They did… Since they jumped into my mind to help me until we left…
Hudson: I thought it had just been in the Kiira, but… I feel like i heard him in the castle.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Her. Stupid human.
Moro growls pensively.
River: M-Moro. Easy…
Hudson: I didn’t want to assume anything, miss.
[w] Moro → Hudson: His fear was much like yours, actually. Watching a friend die in front of him. Except less fire.
River: I… I see…
River: So…. w-what’s the issue?
Hudson: … There isn’t an issue?
Hudson: It was just… Nice. Less lonely.
Moro smiles as only a wolf can.
River: …It’s okay. She’s… just getting to know you. S-she was rough with me when I was y-young, too.
River: P-perhaps… she would be willing to speak to the others?
River looks at Moro expectantly, who flattens her ears in response.
Moro then turns over on one side and pretends to be asleep.
River: …She’ll come around.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Hmph.
[w] Moro → Hudson: I have an issue with his intelligence, if I have a say.
River: …It’s okay. She’s… just getting to know you. S-she was rough with me when I was y-young, too.
River: P-perhaps… she would be willing to speak to the others?
River looks at Moro expectantly, who flattens her ears in response.
Hudson: Sure, if she’d like. I just… yeah. It’s a pleasure to…. actually speak to you, Moro. Even if you’re a very tricky wolf.
Moro then turns over to one side, pretending to be asleep.
River: …She’ll come around. Maybe.
Hudson: It’s fine. Another ally in this world, and maybe one day… a friend.
Moro groans petuantly.
Hudson: And river…. please don’t be so quick to sacrifice yourself… You are maybe the best friend I have these days, and it’d kill me to see you go.
River: I… I know. Still… it was my idea to do so. I simply led you all astray.
[w] Moro → Hudson: Not quite…. but meh.
Moro looks into HUDSON’S SOUL…. and smiles like only a wolf can.
Moro: He’s a good kid. Dumb though.

Chapter 1: Shades of the Zhentarim

Chat log started at 30.3.2016 / 17:48:51

When we left the game last, the group was looking over their offical looking aadventurers charter and settling down for the night, knowing that early the next morning they would leave via ship to Zhentil Keep
The date is Tenth-day, 30th Hammer, 1479 DR
Quinn Winterborn is nervous but ready to go
Morning comes too early for some, and too late for others, as the sun still has not broken over the docks as you make your way to the slip that Master Cobb said your transportation would be waiting. Staring you in the face is a derelict looking schooner with tons of crusty looking barancles on the hull. A few men work on coiling ropes on the deck.
Quinn Winterborn whispers I bet it’s faster than it looks
Hudson Aydar: Just so long as it’s more sea worthy than it looks
One of the sailors looks to your group as you approach, splitting a grin that has perhaps two teeth total, “You the motley lot were takin cross the Moonsea?”
River: Um… Y-yes, sir.
Quinn Winterborn nods
Hudson Aydar: nods
Faeryl: I presume so.
Faeryl: That hunk of junk the thing you’re taking us on? That does not inspire confidence.
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder why they call it Moonsea….
Sailor: Fair enough. Master Cobb paid good coin to get you there quickly. Stow yer gear in the bunks below. We’ll get amove on, once the Capn shows up.
Sailor: Ever sailed before elf? It aint all singing and spinning the wheel. This is a working ship, and she be worked.
Faeryl: I try to avoid the sea as much as possible, I prefer solid earth beneath, or above, my feet.
River pales a bit at the mention of a ‘working ship’.
Sailor laughs heartily and makes a sweeping bow, welcoming you onto the ship. Large crates are stacked haphazardly on the deck, but everything appears to be lashed down tightly. The bunks mentioned are through the only door on this deck, which opens into a large (15×15) room with 16 hammocks and a pair of bolted down chests serve as the only furniture.
Quinn Winterborn: I hope the captain gets here soon!
River: I pray this is a short t-trip…
Faeryl: As do I, for both
Through this room is a much smaller room with a desk crammed into a room that also has a bolted down chest and a hammock strung high in the room. On the opposite side of the room is a staircase leading down into the storage area in the belly of the ship.
Quinn Winterborn: I hope Moro sails well….
Quinn Winterborn eyes the wolf warily.
Sailor: Should take most of the day – we should dock in Zhentil this evening, assuming the saughin dont mess with us.
Moro simply yawns and lies down as little is happening (that appeals to her at least).
Quinn Winterborn: Ooh! Saughin!
Sailor: They usually only bother coastal ships, we’re cutting through the center, so shouldnt be an issue
Quinn Winterborn seems vaguely disappointed
Faeryl: You would let a bunch of fish stop you? Pathetic.
With a deep bellow announcing his presence, a stout dwarf steps onto the ship, recieving a sharp cry from the sailors in reply. The dwarf has skin that is deeply bronzed, an eye patch over his left eye that does little to hide the scar that runs from his chin (through his eye) across the top of his head to the other side. His smile does little to ease his visage, though it seems geniune.
Captn Haplo: Morning, travelers – Are we ready to get underway?
Quinn Winterborn nods excitedly
Faeryl: We have been ready since the moment we stepped on this … ship.
Faeryl: I will be honest, I would have thought you, as captain of this ship, would have been here to greet us.
Captn Haplo: Excellent. Then lets be off…
Captn Haplo frowns, “You sayin you know how to do my job, better than I do?”
Captn Haplo: Lets get this out of the way, straight off. Yer cargo and nothing more. You can be pleasant and stay outta the way, or you can be chained to the floor and made silent. Theres no room for ‘helping’ once we set sail. Leave me to do my work, and I’ll getcha where you need to go. Otherwise, shuddap and sit down.
Faeryl scowls
Faeryl: Call me cargo once more, dwarf, and this ship may need a new captain.
River: P-please, let’s not cause any t-trouble for the captain…
Quinn Winterborn: It’s fine. The drow can swim to Moonsea. I’m sure we’ll be happy to wait for him to catch up!
Quinn Winterborn rolls his eyes
Captn Haplo flashes another gruesome smile and flips a satchel to one of the other sailors. “Eres the dispatches. Stow’em and lets get going. Cargo’s getting… squarmy.”
Hudson Aydar looks as though he wants to say something, and then just rolls his eyes
Faeryl inches towards his sword, but stopss himself.
Faeryl: Keep that captain away from me, I do not appreciate his words.
Faeryl heads below deck
River simply sighs as Faeryl heads down, and quietly follows, with Moro in tow.
The sailor snatches the satchel out of the air and gets moving. The dwarf leaves you standing there, bellowing orders as the other sailors rush into action. Within a few moments the gangplank is pulled up and the ship moves away from the harbor and into the open sea.
River spends the majority of the trip sowing something together.
Hours pass, the general hustle and bustle of the sailors clue you in that they are overworked, as they jump from task to task and never quite seem to stand still. Even the dwarf appears to do work that is typically below a captains station – swabbing decks, coiling rope and running up and down the decks fetching items needed above.
The only break the crew takes is for the midday meal, where they eat in shifts, and only hardtack and water from barrels. Half eats while the other half continues work on the ship.
You are not offered anything to eat or drink and are generally ignored by the crew members unless asked for something directly.
Faeryl: I expected we would recieve food, I believe the captain was paid for our transport.
Captn Haplo: Cargo doesnt eat.
Faeryl: I hope he was paid with a single gold piece, for that is all his… hospitality, is earned, and barely that.
Faeryl: And neither do dead men
River: P-please, d-don’t make this trip any l-longer than it has to be…
Captn Haplo: I ent no man. Just keep yer mouths shut and we’ll be rid of ye in a few hours. The dicey parts coming up shortly.
Faeryl: Get back to scrubbing the crap off the floor “Captain”
Faeryl: I will be looking in your storage for food.
Captn Haplo: Touch a crate, break a rope or chain and I’ll kill you meself.
Captn Haplo stands up and heads back to the stern, looking out over the sea and mumbling to himself.
River ponders what she could do to rein in Faeryl’s behavior…
Faeryl: Bah, he can certainly try.
River: Hm…
River pulls out a piece of paper and looks through it for anything of note.
River: Ah. I s-suspected as much.
Within the hour, those of you above decks can certainly tell a change in the sea itself. The water becomes darker and more… viscous-appearing. Bits of flotsam are now standard, and the occasional gagging stench of a dead man is smelled, though not often seen. The sailors all appear to be on edge, but still work vigorously – though more quietly and careful in their movements.
Most communication is now being done with hand signals and the Captain maintains both hands on the wheel at all times. Its erie, but nothing leaps out to grab you as to why.
Quinn Winterborn is fascinated
Hudson Aydar: silently joins Quinn
Faeryl: Suspected what?
River: You should remember y-your promises, Mr. Faeryl. You are bound to r-respect the proper authorities.
River shows the copy of the charter to Faeryl.
River: And… on this ship, that would be the C-captain.
River: So p-please, don’t make any more t-trouble.
Faeryl: He has no authority over me, he threw it away the moment he called me cargo.
River: Th-then… I suggest you be more c-courteous, at least. Trust is a two-way s-street.
Faeryl: I will be courteous when he agrees that we are more then mere cargo. Until then, keep him away from me, he he may find he has no mouth left.
Another hour passes with little in the way of excitement, save the smells. A sudden paniced flutter of hands from the starboard side pulls at your attention. Far off in the distance you see what appears to be a large fortress, though it is clearly in the middle of the sea. The Captain sweats freely, but the ship maintains speed and direct course, and after some tension filled silent moments, the fortress fades from view and the sailors relax somewhat.
River: …W-what was that?
Sailor (whispers): Thats the Bloody Scalps compound. They control most of the ‘commerce’ this end of the Moonsea. Captain doesnt want to pay ‘taxes’ so we’re slipping by.
Sailor (whispers): Luckily, we should be beyond it and into Zhentil Keep within the hour.
Quinn Winterborn spits
Quinn Winterborn: Honourless pirates, or so I’ve been told.
River gets extremely nervous and hides behind one of the crewmen as they sail.
River: Honorless or n-not… It is worrisome…
Sailor: Yes, miss. So, please keep quiet until we’re in the clear. Captins orders.
River silently nods.
Faeryl: Tell the captain, to treat us with respect, or I will shout to the heavens, damned what happens.
Sailor: You’ll swim with the dead with that attitude, elf. Now leave me to my work.
Hudson Aydar: You would endanger River and Quinn to sate your pride?
Sailor hurries off.
Faeryl waits till the sailor goes
Quinn Winterborn shushes everyone nervously.
Faeryl: I would not, it was a threat, and one which I would not fulfill.
Hudson Aydar: … i see.
River (muttering): As empty as your w-word, then…
Faeryl: My word is not empty, if I were on my own I would certainly have done it.
River simply shakes her head at the drow, and heads below deck once again, to continue her needlework.
Hudson Aydar: stands silently, watching everything
Time seems to pass more slowly with other things dancing on your mind, but eventually you see the coastline come into view, and with that, the mouth of the river Tesh. Seated on either side of the rivers mouth is a sprawling city, though the south bank appears to be much worse for wear. Shattered spires just up from teh ground that is covered in tent-like cities that eventually give way to the mud and brick buildings that appear to be more permanent.
Quinn Winterborn heads over to the south side of the boat and gapes.
The sailors begin to move with more determination and vigor as they approach the docks, and you believe that you’ll be off the ship by dinner time.
Faeryl: Good, we’re here, a second longer on this ship then neccesary, and nothing will stop me killing that bastard of a dwarf.
River: Continue that attitude, a-and… well…
River: I-I won’t give you y-your present…
The south bank is a graveyard. Almost literally. Whispers of powerful undead that roam the citys ruins are made more believable as a low dark cloud hangs over the ruins of the south bank. Howls can be heard, even from this far off.
Quinn Winterborn raises and eyebrow and River, curously.
Faeryl: There was once a time his head would be on the floor quicker then you could blink.
Faeryl: Had he called any other Drow cargo… well, I dare think what would have happened.
River: Fine. I will w-withhold your gift until y-you be nice to someone.
Faeryl: I was being nice, not killing him was the nicest thing I could do to a man like that.
Moro snickers a little from underfoot.
The ship docks swiftly, though the pier looks less reliable than most hastily built wooden structures… but it seems to hold weight as the ship butts up against it. The gangplank is lowered quickly and the Captain practically leaps off, meeting up with a few rather rough looking men on the dock. You can clearly see the men argue before the dwarf passes over several gold coin and then another handful of silvers. The ruffians leave, laughing, while the dwarf dejectedly heads back to the ship.
As he boards the ship, he looks to your group and motions with his thumb towards the pier. “Yer here. Get off.”
River begins to leave the ship, before turning to the Captain.
Quinn Winterborn scampers down the gangplank, looking around wide eyed
River: …May I a-ask what happened with you and those m-men?
Captn Haplo: Nuthing… just paying for bringing you here. Took me for a bit more than usual. Prices are going up. Somethings a buzz in town.
River: …I-I’m sorry we were such a b-burden. I can c-cover the cost those m-men asked for….
Faeryl: Good, they should have taken you for everything you had, you deserve it. We are not cargo, we are living beings.
River begins to dig into her coin purse.
Captn Haplo: Yer fine, miss. Master Cobb covered it. Now get off my ship so we can get underway.
Faeryl: And you would do well to remember that, if you had called any other Drow cargo, you might not be here to pay the men.
River: …Yes s-sir.
River firmly stamps on Faeryl’s foot.
Faeryl leaves the ship.
River: Let’s g-go.
Hudson Aydar: follows silently
Captn Haplo leveling a gaze at the drow, “Better watch yer tongue here – aint no ones gonna be scared of you here. Just fair warning.”
Your arrive in Zhentil Keep, finding it to be much worse than Kerstol Cobb described in his letter to his father. The streets are littered with the dead and dying, the most unsavory criminal elements openly flaunt their unlawful behavior, and any sort of law or order seems nonexistent
Faeryl walks off without another word.
The ship pulls away within ten minutes of your landing. The docks give way to a maze of tents and vendors, with ruffians positioned at nearly every corner.
Faeryl: Keep close, I have seen this sort of thing many times in the Underdark.
River shivers nervously as the party advances down the dilapidated streets.
It isnt… think of a town that is literally run by criminals… none of them powerful enough to be at the top of long. Gang wars are nearly constant and the fights leave dead men in the street- which are never cleaned up.
Moro warily keeps an eye on her ward, like a mother safeguarding her newborn.
Hudson Aydar: Watches ruffians, and who is watching who, just in case violence looks to be about to break out.
You can, but aside from the wanton poverty and dead bodies, you think this is just a haven for ‘bad guys’
A few here and there… but generally they are near death… guts spilled out or other grievous wounds that will soon end them. Heal check if thats your route.
River tries to tend to the mortal wounds of a man, seeing if there’s anything she can do to assuage the pain.
Moro stands on guard, cautious of anything amiss.
Faeryl: There is no point, he will be injured twice as bad tomorrow for surviving.
Hudson Aydar stands guard over River as she does what she does, to make sure there’s no retribution from the gang that caused these wounds.
You tend to some wounded, asking for directions. The first person dies before you can begin to question him. The second is able to tell you that the tavern that you are looking for is at the other end of the docks, where the buildings are more permanent.
River: T-thank you, kind s-sir. May you find peace.
You easily find the “tavern” that Kerstol refers to in his letter with the directions given by the wounded man. It was obviously once a one-story barracks, with its dour façade and militaristic appearance. Only a few windows ever adorned the building, and those have been boarded up. Stout wooden doors, currently unlocked, offer the only entrance.
Faeryl opens the door to the tavern and steps inside, holding it open for the others.
Faeryl: Waiting outside will do us no good
Quinn Winterborn follows Hudson
Hudson Aydar follows close behind, hand close to his hammer
The occupants of the tavern are a mix of brawny, loutish sailors dressed in patchwork leathers and commoners unhappy to be stuck in such a place. A female sailor, head shaved clean and ears decorated with innumerable sparkling gems, points at you as you enter. Her scalp is heavily scarred.
River quietly brings up the rear, with Moro and Izual the silent.
“Well what have we here, lads? Adventurers! Looks like we’d better leave—the Keep lets anyone in these days!” A hearty laugh goes around the room. “On second thought,” continues the woman as she rakes her long fingernails across her forehead and draws a longsword, “why don’t you leave your possessions with us and YOU can make your way out of the Keep. This is Bloody Scalp territory.” Small streams of blood trickle from the scars on her forehead. Three other pirates also pull swords and move toward you.
Faeryl: Oh good, I needed something to vent my anger.
Quinn Winterborn grins
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler laughs aloud, patting her longswords together, waiting…
River: Oh…. S-sorry, we must have the w-wrong b-building…
Faeryl: You picked a bad day to mess with us Pirates. I just got off a ship that was captained by a dwarf I was eager to kill. Now I get to kill you.
The other patrons dont appear to get up or be swayed by your words.
Bloody Scalp Pirate 1: Ent so brave now, is you?!?
Faeryl yawns
Faeryl: That all?
Bloody Scalp Pirate 3 nearly dropped his sword in his eagerness to stab at the newcomers. His wild swing instead nearly crowns a patron trying to drink his beer.
Quinn Winterborn grins
River stifles a shriek of terror and cowers as a brawl breaks out!
Moro growls and prepares to leap into the fray!
Hudson Aydar: tries to leap onto the table, and can’t get his footing. Embarrasedly, he tries to swing at the fumbling guy, and misses again. With a frustrated snap, he squares up against both of them.
River cowers!
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler: Seems like these swabs is green green green!
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler cackles aloud.
Hudson Aydar: soon you’ll be red. maybe a little white where the bones stick out.
Moro bounds around Hudson and leaps onto the table!
Moro tears into the hide of the pirate with gnashing teeth!
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler moves along the tables, then suddenly turns and runs forward, swords flashing.
River: Mr. Aydar!
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler howls as blood pours from her scalp wound.
Quinn Winterborn grits his teeth, but maintains his focus on the swashbuckler
Quinn Winterborn grins, but his concentration does not waver
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler rallies her man after his swing goes wild.
The other patrons are visibily cowed now that someone has died, shying away from the fight that has suddenly turned deadly.
Hudson Aydar’s skin is overtaken with ice again, and he slams his hammer into the ground, making the floorboars rattle and move, knocking all the enemies off their feet, whilst he takes a step back.
River flees for her life!.
Moro moves into the fray to try and protect the mage!
Moro once again rips viciously at the pirate scum’s flesh!
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler stands up, slinking forward, eager to finish off the wounded mark.
River flinches and grasps at her wrist as Moro disappears into mist..
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler howls aloud as she scores a savage hit against the wolf, inspiring her remaining crew with increased vigor. She then smiles and attacks again.
Faeryl sees the swashbuckler cut down hudson and gets very angry
Faeryl: You will pay for that
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler swings through, cleaving Hudson to the brisket and looks to continue her swing, but finds there are no adjacent targets. “Yer next, lovely…”
Faeryl smiles as he strikes at the pirate, with enhanced vigor he strikes again
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler spits a bit of blood. “Oh yes, lovely… thats it…”
Faeryl chops the bitches head clean off
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler as she begins to fall to the ground, the swashbuckler swings wildly at Faeryl.
Faeryl easily sidesteps out of the way
Faeryl: Nice try… my lovely
Bloody Scalp Swashbuckler then promptly dies with a wet splat.
Quinn Winterborn grabs his quarterstaff in both hands and drives it downwards
Quinn Winterborn scowls
The pirate stands up slowly, and swings his sword at Quinn
Quinn Winterborn grimaces, but gives the pirate a wicked grin
River begins to run to the other end of the tavern.
Moro coalesces back into form, and tries to strike an attack from behind!
River turns and looks upon Hudson’s broken body, and whispers a silent prayer.
River mumbling …Please get up. I don’t want anyone else to die…
Faeryl: You’re next, your “lovely” leader requests you follow her to the afterlife.
Quinn Winterborn grins. Two at once, eh? I haven’t fought these odds since I left the farm.
Quinn Winterborn laughs ferociously!
Faeryl cuts through the pirate then drags him away from his friend
River: Mr. Winterborn! Be careful!
Hudson Aydar: stands up, his eyes completely white, as the world grows cold.
The pirate splatters under the full force of Hudson’s blow.
River turns to flee for the far counter.
Moro slowly advances, growling angrily at the pirate.
The other patrons, which have begun cowering as the fight turns one sided, visibly flinch as River runs past.
Moro howls and emboldens the party, then attacks!
River: S-sorry, excuse me… I’m s-sorry…
Faeryl shifts through the wolf and strikes at the pirate
Faeryl cuts the pirate in half
The final pirate falls to the floor with a second, wet splat, painting the walls with blood.
Quinn Winterborn: Looks like he….lost the light….
Faeryl roars in victory
Faeryl then prompty facepalms
Faeryl: Anyone else!
Quinn Winterborn looks a bit sheepish
Faeryl: My sword is still thirsty!
As River gets to the counter, a dark haired man pops up from behind it, his face eriely similar to that of Master Cobb.
River: O-oh! I-I’m sorry…
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, hello there.
Faeryl charges past the patrons, his sword covered with the pirates blood.
Hudson Aydar: stands painfully still, his head turning to look at the patrons with a cold evaluating look, almost as if looking for the next target, before he takes a deep breath and the ice falls from his skin like snowflakes
Kerstol Cobb: Uh… hello?
Moro simply yawns and lies down to rest.
The man straightens up quickly, gaining confidence. “I bet my father sent you.”
Faeryl: You must be Kerstol
River: …Um… H-hello.
Kerstol Cobb makes a deep bow, knockin over several bottles from behind the counter. “I am indeed.”
Quinn Winterborn offers a handshake to Kerstol
Faeryl sheaths his sword, its job finished
River: We came b-because of your l-letter…
River: Forgive me, but may I a-ask… is there a place of r-rest nearby? I f-fear we have brought undue attention onto u-us…
Kerstol’s similarities to his father end with his facial features. He is waifishly thin and dirty, wearing clothing that is caked in filth. Around his right arm you see a bandana that bears the mark of the Bloody Scalps as well.
Kerstol Cobb: Not much in the way of rest around here. Woulda left this place if that was easy to find.
Faeryl charges over the counter and grabs Kerstol by the neck
Faeryl: Are you part of that scum?
River pales upon looking at the bandanda.
River quickly steps back a full step or three.
Kerstol Cobb shrugs, “Everyone has to join some gang. Im not sorry you killed them, if thats what you’re asking.”
Faeryl: I should kill you where you stand.
Faeryl lets Kerstol go
River: I… but…
Kerstol Cobb: You arent the first today to say that…
Quinn Winterborn: You’ll have to pardon our drow friend. He feels he should kill everyone where they stand. Only does it sometimes
Kerstol Cobb: Hell, Bridgit said that to me about three minutes before you walked in.
River: I take it s-she…
Kerstol Cobb: And, ye see, there’s always a bigger fish in Zhentil Keep, friend.
River looks back to the swashbuckler’s remains.
Kerstol Cobb points to the pile on the floor. “Thats her”
Faeryl: The one I slaughtered as easily as a cat slaughters a mouse?
Faeryl: Pathetic woman
River: …I… I’m sorry for y-your loss.
Faeryl: I could have killed her in my sleep…. If I slept
Hudson Aydar: she had a good sword arm on her.
Kerstol Cobb: In fact, to settle things out between us, Here’s the payment I was supposed to give her, but didnt. We’ll be square then, aye?
River: …N-not quite.
Quinn Winterborn frowns, but says nothing.
River: You m-mentioned something in your l-letter…
Kerstol Cobb sets a bulging sack up on the counter. “Fair enough.”
River: Something about… an e-evil artifact…
Hudson Aydar: moves to an unnoccupied seat, and begins checking himself for any sign of the near-fatal wound.
Faeryl grabs the sack
Faeryl looks inside and counts, then distributes the gold
Kerstol Cobb: Aye yes, the letter. Been a LOT of activity in recent days… lots of moving parts that have not been seen in a while.
Quinn Winterborn perks up at the mention of an artifact
Kerstol Cobb: There have been shadowy creatures lurking on the streets at night, where previously one only had to worry about press gangs and murderers. The worshippers of Bane and Cyric have also been crawling all over the ruins lately, getting in each other’s way and making trouble for the pirates who are just trying to earn a dishonest living. It’s not safe for indecent folk around here any more!
River: I fear it was n-never safe here to begin with…
Kerstol doesn’t know exactly where the you need to go, and the pirates as a whole don’t want to deal with the situation because they can’t see how it would advance their own narrow interests. However, Kerstol likes his new life, and he’s afraid that if tensions continue to mount, Zhentil Keep could return to open warfare, which would certainly make things tough for the pirates, who are not equipped to deal with such heavily-armed and dangerous threats. Kerstol has heard rumors that there is a relic of Shar somewhere in the ruins, and he has even caught glimpses of what he is convinced was a Monk of the Dark Moon (one of Shar’s elite followers). Kerstol learned that everybody is searching for the ruins of a temple of Shar where this relic might have been kept, but nobody has found it yet. Kerstol knows that other interested parties are probably in the area as well.
River: …But n-no one has found these ruins yet?
River: We might have some l-luck yet.
Kerstol Cobb: Not that Im aware of, but its only a matter of time before they do. Zhentil Keeps only so big.
Faeryl: I hope we are the first to find it then,
Kerstol Cobb: That would be good, indeed.
River: I don’t s-suppose there’s a specific kind of m-mark to indicate the ruins?
Quinn Winterborn agrees
Kerstol Cobb: Look around you, miss… Its all ruins.
River frowns and ponders.
Kerstol Cobb: My knowledge is limited, I havent been actively looking, as the peoples involved arent what I normally deal with.
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t suppose there’s even a neutral priest or sage around we could talk to?
River: Well, while I may be f-frail… I am good at one t-thing…
Kerstol Cobb: Might be able to scare up some more intel. You look like a resourceful lot.
Kerstol Cobb: I doubt theres many priests here save those in the Zhentarim and those on retainer for the gangs. Oh and likely the Cyricists and Sharrans…. but might not be a good idea to talk to em… unless your all well spoken types.
River grows silent.
Quinn Winterborn frowns and looks thoughtful
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator bless you, lass.
Kerstol Cobb: I cannot impress upon you how important its is to find this artifact first. IF it falls into the hands of the Sharrans or the Zhents… or hell even the Shadovar what ever life I have here is as good as gone. They’ve got a head start on you by at least a week…. you’re already behind.
Faeryl: You’re life here is already as good as gone, you joined a bank of pirates.
River: P-please, Faeryl, stop…
Faeryl: I suggest you leave this cesspit as soon as possible, and leave the pirate life behind.
Kerstol Cobb: I dont judge you for your life, dont judge me for mine. It suits me well.
Quinn Winterborn: See, Kersol? Pretty much everyone….
River: …But what of your f-father?
River: I doubt he would a-approve of s-such….
Faeryl: Then I hope I do not see you doing the work of pirates, for I shall not hesitate to strike you down.
Kerstol Cobb: What he doesnt know wont hurt him. He thinks Im an adventurer, and its close enough.
Faeryl: And I assure you, we will be telling your father of your occupation when we next see him.
River: ….Faeryl, wait.
Quinn Winterborn: Come, Faeryl, time to start our search
Kerstol Cobb: You’re call, elf. Just dont expect him to keep up your retainer if you ruin his image of his bouncing boy.
River: …We should g-go…
Faeryl growls at being called an elf
Faeryl: I wish people would not call me an elf.
River slowly leaves the tavern, dragging whomever she can out.
Quinn Winterborn: Well if you want them to call you halfling, try walking around on your knees?
Quinn Winterborn laughs at his own joke
Hudson Aydar: Be well, Kerstol, and survive.
Hudson Aydar follows River out
Kerstol Cobb: But I’ll tell you this, the scalps aint usually kindly to those that butcher their lieutenants – yer lucky their mostly out to sea right now… otherwise, you might have problems. You might be good with a sword but no one can outfight an army…
Faeryl: Remember Kerstol, if I ever see you with a band of pirates, I will strike you down with no mercy.
Quinn Winterborn pulls Faeryl out with him
Quinn Winterborn or tries to
Kerstol Cobb: Hey elf- sod off.
Faeryl dodges their attempts
Other parties interested in retrieving this artifact have been seen in the area, and time is of the essence. Make it clear to the players that taking an extended rest before discovering the location of the relic would be a huge risk, because the other searchers may find the artifact first . WHICH WOULD BE VERY VERY VERY BAD
Quinn Winterborn: We should look for a graveyard. Best place to start looking for a holy relic, if you can’t see a temple, no?
Faeryl sighs
River: Perhaps. …But I have s-something for you all, f-first.
River: Including you, F-Faeryl.
River reaches into her pack and pulls out what she was working on all day: smalls sigils marking them as a band.
River: We are the Lost Light, so it is only f-fitting…
River raises one to all to see. The sigil of a bright yellow circle, with a black starry hole in its center.
Quinn Winterborn smiles
Quinn Winterborn: Ooh, is it magical??
Quinn Winterborn is enthralled
River: Sadly, no… I’ve no talent for magics…
Faeryl holds out his hand
River: But it is to mark us as a band… with a singular purpose.
Quinn Winterborn: River, I like it. Thank you.
River begins to hand the sigils out to the others.
Hudson Aydar: I appreciate it. That you took the time to make me a sigil despite only knowing me a short time means a lot, River.
Faeryl: I thank you, but what may that singular purpose be to you?
River: W-well….
River: The reason I thought of our name… was to remind us.
River: The Lost Light, the flame of hope within us all, easily snuffed by darkness….
River: We should work to preserve that light.
River: Whatever form it may take.
River: I-I’m sorry…. I’m rambling, a-aren’t I…
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator bless you, River
Faeryl: We drow know that above all. But I do not see it as preserving the light, I see it as retrieving it. I wish to redeem those of my people who seek the light and kill all those who follow evil such as Lolth…. If someone such as Kerstol has gone to darkness, then I see it as my duty to try and get him back to the light, and if he refuses, I will not hesitate to strike him down.
River: I s-suppose.
Quinn Winterborn quietly. Faeryl, does it occur to you that Kerstol is a valuably informant, serving the light from behind enemy lines?
River: …A-anyways, we’re required to have symbols of some s-sort…. so, keep them close.
Faeryl: And that is why I gave him a chance Quinn.. More then a chance. I would have cut him down the instant he refused had it not been for that.
Quinn Winterborn: Speaking of cutting down, we should be gone from this place.
River: Yes… We have little t-time to lose.
Kerstol’s information suggests a lost temple of Shar exists somewhere in the ruins on this side of the river. Where exactly is the entrance, and can you find it before any of the other seekers get there first?
Primary Skills: Arcana, Bluff, Diplomacy, Dungeoneering, Heal, History, Insight, Intimidate, Perception, Religion, Stealth, Streetwise, Thievery

River once again turns to help the dead and dying in the streets. It’s in her nature, after all.
River: I hope these c-cloths are suitable for b-binding…
River tends to the diseases and wounds of some of the beggars and common folk of Zhentil Keep, who provide rumors, gossip, and observations concerning the various groups. (Success)
Faeryl sneaks around, trying to eavesdrop on those who may also be searching for the relic.
A number of Zhentarim mercenaries ride slowly down the city streets, whispering among themselves and pointing at specific buildings. They glare with undisguised hostility at anybody they notice watching them.
You tail one of the groups, managing to palm one of their notebooks, which has several areas within the city marked off as already searched, narrowing your field.
Quinn recalls a religious text discussing the worshippers of Shar and is able to identify some of the salient features of the architechtures and motifs that characterize their temples, thereby narrowing your search even further.
You can attempt to, but with all the movings and goings on, the DC is higher because you are just observing and not actively searching.
Faeryl: Common misconception
You actively search… and break a sweat while doing it.
Hudson pours over a map of the ruins of the north bank, looking at topographical evidence for areas that would be stable enough to house an underground temple. He rules out a large portion of the keep, narrowing your search even further…
Faeryl begins crawling through his knowledge of religions to see if he remembers anything of Shar relics.
You fail to recall anything specific on the relics of Shar.
Quinn Winterborn: See if my arcane knowledge can help me deduce where a relic might be, perhaps magically cloaked or shielded from the existing searchers.
Quinn Winterborn flexes
Quinn recalls arcane lore that suggests a possible location for the Temple of Shar, and searches a particular section of the ruins for magical auras that might indicate the presence of the relic
River kneels and prays for a moment, bolstering up her spirit for the search ahead.
River becomes centered… and stands, ready to find the ruins.
River finds a tall place to survey most of the ruins…. and feels the winds blow in the night through her.
River scours the darkest shadows and peers through scrutinizing eyes…
River: Mr. Aydar…. you said it was probably on the n-north bank, yes?
River and Hudson move through the streets, trying to find hints about the location of the temple. As they do so, River spots a bald man with dark robes that moves with unnatural grace, noting the icon of Shar embroidered on his cuffs, they follow the man, which leads you through several streets before the man enters a small encampment with several other similarly dressed men. After another moment, the bald man leaves again with a small sack in his hand, clearly buldging with coins.
The man then darts through another alley, making contact with a worshipper of Cyric, from the mask he is wearing. They exchange a few words and sacks, before departing one another, racing off into the night. River clearly hears something fall as the two race away, and upon investigation finds that the Sharran had a map of the inner city, with several places marked off on the map. Hudson concurs that the temple could only be in one of three other locations.
Moro yawns and lies down for another nap.
You dont recall anything that pertains to this area.
River bends down to listen to Moro.
River: What’s that?
All of your concerted efforts reveal that one of the sites is indeed a underground temple, but it is devoted to those of Cyric. (Success)
River: ….You mean we spent all this time looking for something you already know?
Moro yawns and gets up, then leads the way to the temple.
Quinn begins searching for some significance to the sies that they have narrowed it down to. In his search, he bumps into a group of Banites that are also looking for the Sharran temple. Luckily, his quick thinking allowed him to play along with the priests, posing as an acolyte. Its clear they are close to discovering the location of the temple as well.
More quick notes on the relavent architechture of the classic Sharran design lead the Banites to another location in which they find no temple. Do you continue your ruse, or attempt to leave the group?
You manage… barely… to talk your way out of the group, citing that your mother is ill and needs you to run to the market to get her soup. Even though its clearly 3am.
River feels a LITTLE bit of pressure from all the guys backin’ her up.
River: …Okay Moro. Find the path.
Moro yawns and saunters on forward, as if this was nothing.
You begin heading toward one of the sites, when Moro suddenly veers off toward the other at a breakneck lope. As you make your way away from the first site, you note that a cabal of Sharran monks headed toward the first site – clearly on the warpath. You are lucky to have not been in their way. With the spirit wolf leading the way, you arrive in an abandoned warehouse, which is built upon a shelf of solid stone. Moro paces to the middle of the floor and then stops.
River: … Good Moro.
River pats Moro on the head.
Moro yawns and rolls over to nap.
A bit of further investigation and you find a rustyiron trap door.

Chat log started at 13.4.2016 / 18:03:55

Last time on HBC – the heroes successfully managed to determine the location of the ruins of Shar’s temple in the ruins of Zhentil Keep. Gauging that they are ahead of the other groups that are seeking the artifact, the group gets ready to enter the ruined temple.
River: D…do we…. rea..really have to enter this
Quinn Winterborn grins enthusiastically
You stand in the run down warehouse, the massive trap doors opened in the main room exposing a short staircase down to a landing that is closed off with a pair of rusted iron doors bearing a large black disc upon them, lined in amethyst stones.
Faeryl: Yes we do, unless you wish to stay behind?
River: N…No, I’ll come.
Quinn Winterborn: We will be grateful for your spiritual magic, River. And you too, Moro.
Moro: Woof
Hudson Aydar: Are we expecting this place to be guarded? Or trapped?
Quinn Winterborn: Hm.. Yes, and yes, I think.
Faeryl: I wouldn’t be surprised.
Hudson Aydar says, with dry sarcasm, “Marvelous”
Faeryl helps search for traps
The nine stone steps are well worn with age, but not by footsteps. There appears to be no traps leading to the door.
Quinn Winterborn walks down the stairs excitedly, and starts to inspect the doors for magic
Faeryl: It’s safe
Faeryl walks down the stairs carefully, scowling at Quinns carelessness.
Hudson Aydar: As safe as anything in this place is likely to be.
You face a pair of rusted iron doors with Shar’s symbol emblazoned on it.
Hudson Aydar follows, watching everything with sharp eyes
Faeryl: Well, this is definitely the place.
River: W-well…. All that’s left is to go f-forward…
River: ….You first.
Faeryl: Let us inspect the door for traps first.
Quinn Winterborn: Good news and bad news guys.
Quinn Winterborn: The door is definitely magic.
Quinn Winterborn: And I have no idea how to open it.
Faeryl: Where was the good news in that?
Hudson Aydar: stay close, River. There could be secret passages, and none of us should be caught away from the rest of the group if we can help it.
Quinn Winterborn: Well, the lock isn’t magical, as far as I can tell. Still, it’s interesting.
Quinn Winterborn looks a bit hurt
Faeryl: There is nothing interesting about a magical door dedicated to Shar.
River: …P-perhaps it’s more to do with Shar than a-anything…
The door does not appear threatening, but it is very much closed and locked.
Quinn Winterborn starts to explain how there’s a very interesting glamour on the symbol of Shar
Quinn Winterborn pulls out his spellbook and starts making notes on a blank page
Hudson Aydar: “I can always just… fall back on plan B.” Hudson says lifting his hammer
Faeryl: So, how do we open this door. I don’t suppose a conventional lockpick would do the trick.
Hudson Aydar: not the stealthiest maneuver but we have little time before we have more groups catching up to us.
River: …I d-don’t know…
Moro groans and looks happily at Hudson.
Faeryl fashions a makeshift lockpick.. somehow, and tries to pick the lock
River: …I-I suppose…
You are horrible at making lock picks. This situation makes you rethink your profession at lockpicking and that you should perhaps attempt miming
With a feeble kick from a small landing, Hudson’s kick blasts open the doors, tearing them from the hinges with a resounding CLANG! The sound reverberates throughout the stone hall and continues down down down.
Quinn Winterborn appears startled
Faeryl: Well, that was stealthy.
Quinn Winterborn: Shall I make a light?
River: Y-yes, please.
Faeryl: You humans and your need for light.
You are now facing a narrow staircase of cut stone that goes down into the darkness. (Those with darkvision cannot see the bottom of the stairs)
Faeryl: I am perfectly fine with darkness
Quinn Winterborn: Would you prefer that I blindly try to throw my spells over your shoulder, Faeryl?
Faeryl: These stairs go quite far down, I cannot see the bottom.
River: P-please… we need to m-move quickly.
Quinn Winterborn casts Light on his Quarterstaff
Hudson Aydar: I agree with River. If we haven’t the element of surprise, perhaps we should keep the benefit of speed.
Your light flares into life, illuminating the stone staircase. A pitted iron railing leads down into the darkness.
Quinn Winterborn agrees
Faeryl: Come, I will lead the way, your light only lights us, my eyes can see further.
Faeryl leads the way
Quinn Winterborn noticed
You descend the stairs, a few patches that are slick, but easily avoided. The staircase ends abruptly in a 10 × 10 landing with a trap door in the center. The door is long since opened, with the pitted iron belying that fact. Looking down the trapdoor, you see that shaft descends another 20’ before coming to another landing.
Quinn Winterborn: Faeryl, can you peek? I can shield my light if it helps
Faeryl takes a peek
A casual glance around the shaft by those perceptive members of the group note that there are iron runs that allow easy climbing down to the bottom of the shaft.
Faeryl: The only way onward is to climb down
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s go
Faeryl begins climbing down
The short trip down leaves you on a landing that is carved in a dark basalt that is different from the stone that you’ve already been passing through. Heavy oaken doors once guarded the passage into the next room, but time has not been kind to these still locked doors, and it appears that they could be lifted out of the doorway easily, as the hinges are rsuted to nothing.
Hudson Aydar: Allow me
Faeryl: Hudson, go ahead
Quinn Winterborn starts to step forwards, but gives way to Hudson
Hudson Aydar: Quinn, can you point me where to put them?
Faeryl rolls his eyes
Faeryl: Put them anywhere Hudson
Moving the doors you are then standing in a short corridor that has carved reliefs that show religious scenes that are likely dedicated to Shar. This 15’ hall ends in a set of double iron doors, again battered and rusted iron doors.
Quinn Winterborn points to the left, and blushes
Hudson Aydar: Thank you.
River: This is a m-much larger temple than I thought…
Faeryl: Guess we have no choice but to bust these ones down.
River: We s-should only we waking the shadows as we g-go along…
River: Quickly…
Faeryl draws his greatsword and swings it at the door
Faeryl swing catches the stone as he swings the massive sword, but combined with the blow from Hudsons hammer, the doors fly open, the locked mechanism parting easily.
A large, finished chamber lies beyond the rusted iron doors. The room once contained furnishings, but those furnishings have been destroyed and are strewn about the room.
In the center of the room is a statue made of dark stone. The statue is strange in that some of the features, like fingers and toes, are carved in intricate detail, while the facial features are obscure.
A large alcove on the east wall holds piles of coins and other valuables. On the floor in front of a passageway leading south is a square diagram etched into the floor. A circular diagram has been inscribed before a passageway leading east.
Quinn Winterborn: Beware, the statue may be magical
Faeryl carefully steps forward
Hudson Aydar does the same
River: …There’s s-something… unnatural about that s-statue…
Quinn Winterborn: It seems to revere the Shadow Magic aspect of Shar. Interesting…
‘Ben Wilson’ connection lost. Waiting for reconnect
A swirling ball of shadow coalesces in the chamber. It crashes into the nearest living creature, and then it returns to the statue.
Quinn Winterborn: COOL!
Quinn Winterborn: I…
Quinn Winterborn: Faeryl, are you ok?
Faeryl: Damnit, I was careless
Faeryl: Can’t see a thing
Faeryl: And you say something like that is cool again Quinn, and you wont have a tongue left to say anything else.
As the shadowy ball smashes into the drow, the symbols on the ground shimmer briefly and shadowry creatures emerge from them, glaring in your direction. (initiatives)
Quinn Winterborn: I….
Quinn Winterborn looks acutely embarrassed
Moro begins to growl as new foes begin to emerge from the shadows.
A large shadowy canine charges at Quinn, slamming into him with its shoulder.
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh.
Faeryl closes his eyes, and uses his ears to figure out what is going on around him. Hearing the slam into Quinn.
The second canine does the same.
Quinn Winterborn: Whoa, Faeryl, careful!
Faeryl swings his greatsword, narrowly missing Quinn and missing the dark hammer entirely.
The two ghostly looking creatures begin to throw globules of shadow stuff at the group.
Quinn Winterborn: Whoa!
Quinn Winterborn slams his staff into the ground, sparks flying
The shadows waver and squeal as the cacophonous sound wave hits them.
River: Go and help them, Moro!
Moro yawns and moves toward the shadow-dogs.
Moro whispers a quick prayer of safety for Quinn…
Moro snaps at the dark hound. Alas, it deftly dodges!
Hudson Aydar rushes into the fray
Hudson Aydar rushes up to the shadow creature that is facing most of his team, and grabs it’s attention by crashing it’s face with his hammer..
The creature repays the strike with a blast of freezing shadow!
Faeryl steps back, and remembers where the shadow globual hit him, firing his Radiant Vengeance in that direction.
The biting cold doesnt seem to effect the creatures very well.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
River whispers another prayer for her allies…
Moro rakes the dark hammerer with ferocity!
Izual: Hey sorry guys! Had to restring my bow, looks like we’re in combat.
THe canine whimpers as its smashed to the ground, but then disapates into smoke.
River: Good job Moro! G-go to the back and tie them up!
Moro yips in agreement and moves onward!
Izual moves into the room, then fires a shot filled with fire towards Shaper 2
Izual turns invisible after firing his third arrow.
Faeryl fires another radiant vengeance shot in the same direction
Moro whines and growls as Faeryl’s radiant shot goes wide…
The ghosts “stand up” and attack the spirit wolf!
The shadow mote lashes around the statue in futility, but does not strike.
River simply cowers and hides.
One of the shapers suddenly seizes up and breaks apart into smoke.
Moro nibbles on shadowy spirits.
Izual tries to attack the statue.. just to see what happens
The mote lashes out as Faeryl moves past it
Faeryl moves into the room, dodges the moe, then stares down the shadow shaper and charges
Faeryl cuts the shadow shaper in twine.
River: S-so long as we give that statue a wide berth…. w-we should be fine…
The ghostly creature snaps in two from the force of the blow, evaporating into smoke.
Faeryl: Now for the damned statue.
The mote whirls around the statue, but does not attack.
River carefully walks to the treasure pile…
River kneels and starts to sift through the treasure carefully…
Izual fires an arrow filled with lightning at the shadow mote.
Faeryl throws caution to the wind, stares at the statue and motions that it will be destroyed, then charges towards the statue
Faeryl feels his oath not working, and so fires a blast of energy instead.
Quinn Winterborn watches the statue warily, but takes no further action.
Faeryl: Destroy the damn thing Quinn
Faeryl: Don’t just stand there looking at it, use your magic!
The mote begins buzzing audibly.
River continues to sift through the ‘treasure’…
Quinn Winterborn mutters Interesting….
Moro yawns and lies down nearby River as she conducts her search.
Izual: What’s interesting Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: The magic..I might be able to….
Hudson Aydar sighs and moves back towards the group, shaking his head. “Feels kinda… buzzy over here.”
Izual shifts to a fire arrow
A large chunk of black stone cracks and slides off the statue, forever marring its craftsmanship. The mote begins buzzing even louder.
Quinn Winterborn: I might be able to supporess the mote…
Faeryl moves around the mote and then fires another blast of energy at it.
Quinn Winterborn concentrates on the magic of the mote, trying to discern how to suppress it.
Quinn Winterborn steps forward, deep in thought
With a bit of arcane knowledge, Quinn manages to immobilize the mote, capturing the shadow weave magic within a cage of pure arcane energy.
Quinn Winterborn: COO….cough um, I think that worked
Faeryl: We should destroy it anyway, just to be sure.
Quinn Winterborn: I would prefer not to, actually. We have mastered it, and who knows may come along behind us and cause trouble
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Faeryl thinks for a moment. Fine
Faeryl: Fine
Quinn Winterborn: Well, IF I can keep the contain…
Quinn Winterborn: I…ugh. I think it’s goign to escape
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Better kill it, Faeryl
Faeryl: Told you
THe buzzing becomes high pitched as the mote blurs back nad forth within the cage. Tiny black cracks spiderweb through Quinns cage.
River continues to sift through the ‘treasure’…
Assuming River continues to sift through the pile, she comes across a thick wooden quarterstaff buried in the ruined coins.
River: …Hm.
River pulls out the quarterstaff carefully.
The bits of rotted coin sluff off easily, and you get a whiff of charred wood as the sigils etched into the staff pulse dully with a faint orange glow.
River tosses it to the side toward Quinn and continues her search.
Izual casually fires another arrow at the statue
The arrow crashes through the statue, causing it to fracture and break apart. At that moment, the shadow mote hits a high pitched note and explodes, blasting the entire chamber with freezing shadowstuff.
River: Gha~
River: What…?
River: I can’t see!
Faeryl sighs
Faeryl: Not again
Faeryl: Is the statue dead at least?
Izual: Yes, the statue is dead Faeryl.
The statue lies in ruin, which you can see for yourself in a moment. The only good thing that comes from this explosion, is that all of the wooden coins are blasted away, leaving only the real coins behind.
Quinn Winterborn stares almost forlornly at the place where the mote hung, for a long moment, before turnign his attention to the treasure
River sighs and clears her eyes.
Faeryl clears his eyes and sees the statue in ruins.
River: W-we should be okay to continue.
As you take a few minutes to gather yourself and pick over the coins that are buried in the reminants of the treasure pile, you note that the glowing sigls on the ground still twinkle merrily. That is not the only item of note. As you begin to gather yourself several (IE everyone with a passive perception over 19) party members hear the clang of metal on metall and soft cursing coming from the hall above the shaft you descended.
Faeryl: We’ve got company
Faeryl hides around the corner, stealthily
You hear yelling from above, “Get down there NOW!”
Faeryl: I… delay my turn till enemies pop up
Moro suddenly winks out of view.
More clanking is heard from up the shaft.
A man leaps down the shaft, dressed in armor bearing a symbol showing a longsword and a mailed fist. He catches himself on the last set of rungs and lands semi-gracefully.
A second man appears to be pushed down the shaft and lands flatly on his face.
THe man who fell does not move.
Adept of Bane: Get down there this instant… I can hear those bastard Cyricists down there!
Hudson Aydar: Wait.. who are you? We arent whatever Cyricists are.
Fist of Bane 1 looks confused.
You recognize the symbol as an alternate symbol of Bane
Quinn Winterborn casts ghost sound – a rough voice calls out from the prone Fist of Bane – They’re not Cyricists. I think they’re more Bane…..
Indiscernible grumbling is heard from above.
Blade of Bane 1 leaps down the shaft, unlimbering a massive sword while doing so. “You defile the name of the Black Hand. For that, you die.”
Another man, armed and armored like the first leaps down with ease, drawing his sword.
Moro reappears in the thick of the mob, biting ferociously!
Moro rends the soldier to bits and howls!
Two more men begin climbing down the shaft.
Adept of Bane: Blessed of the Black Hand – inure your faithful with your fervor and righteousness!
Faeryl pops out of the shadows, throws his oath on Bane 2, then skirts around Hudson to strike
Izual takes a deep breath as he lines up his shot.
Disgruntled at his missed swing, the blade slides over and kicks Hudson
Moro hounds her prey and strikes!
River: Be careful, Moro!
DM: Ok. I’ll make a note of it. Kill Faeryl on May 5th
Faeryl: Oh, and there might not be a ZG on the 26th either…

Chat log started at 20.4.2016 / 17:50:54

Last time on HBC, the adventurer’s infiltrated Shar’s hidden temple in an effort to reach the relic before the other groups could do so. THey traversed a long way underground before entering the temple and being set upon by shadow creatures and traps. After a short rest, another group, thought to be Banites, entered as well, setting up a pitched fight at the entrance to the temple.
Adept of Bane steps to the edge of the pit and murmurs a blasphemous word, sending arcs of flickering black lightning dancing among his cronies.
River continues to cower in the back, as the warriors hold the entrance and preventing the Banites to overrun them.
Quinn Winterborn: Coo….
Quinn Winterborn jaw drops, fascinated
Adept of Bane then points an armored finger to the men at the top of the ladder, “Get down there NOW!”
Hudson Aydar: This ends now!
Hudson Aydar: slams his warhammer into the floor, knocking two of the cultists back into the walls, and knocking them senseless to the floor.
Moro growls, putting the Blade on his guard.
Faeryl slams his greatsword into the enemy beside him
Blade of Bane 1 moves forward and slashes at Hudson with his massive blade.
River: P-please, Mr. Aydar! Don’t fall!
Quinn Winterborn looks suddenly pale
Blade of Bane 2 laughs as his armored foot caused Hudson to crumple to the ground, “Bow before the Black Hand!”
Faeryl looks furious with the blade beside him.
Faeryl: You will pay for that
Quinn Winterborn: River!!
Moro steps carefully around the dying warrior… then howls.
Moro then strikes with fury at the Blade!
Faeryl sees Moro almost miss, but uses his divine guidance to guide Moros attack straight to the bastards throat.
Faeryl: I told you the bastard would pay.
River: Th-there’s so many!
Fist of Bane 6 scurries down the ladder with the fervor of Bane put in him by the priest…
Faeryl: Just the way I like it, more heads that will roll.
The next man leaps down off the ladder, only to be slammed into by the force effect that Quinn conjured.
Quinn Winterborn chuckles softly
Adept of Bane climbs swiftly down the ladder, leveling his sword at the party. “Surrender, or die.”
River quails at the warrior-priest’s threatening words.
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator burn your bones, foul one.
Faeryl: Everytime I hear those words I keep thinking, are you talking to us, or yourself? Because really, you should be asking yourself, do you want to surrender, or be killed by this sword?
Adept of Bane laughs and states, “So be it.”
Faeryl motions to the giant sword he’s holding
Adept of Bane laughs again, and then begins another prayer (AP).
Faeryl thinks a moment, then feeling he’s rather weak throws off a blast of energy at the Adept
Quinn Winterborn clicks his orb with a finger, grinning at the Adept
Quinn Winterborn: By the Keeper of the Yellow Sun!!
Quinn Winterborn: YEEEEOOOOWWWWW! That’s not supposed to happen!!
River cautiously steps away from the misfiring wizard…
Moro grabs onto Faeryl’s leg… and drags him through the passage.
Faeryl allows the spirit to drag him
Faeryl looks at the Adept
Faeryl: Hi
Hudson Aydar: swings his hammer at the Blade of Bane, making enough room to take a step back, and then takes a deep breath and takes another step back. “Make your choice.”
Faeryl shifts forward, staring down the Adept, then swining his giant sword into his face
Faeryl: Cant run away now can you?
Faeryl smirks
Adept of Bane laughs. “Feeble drow”
Quinn Winterborn grimaces as he casts another spell at the adept.
Moro growls as daggers of force peforate the Banite leader.
Blade of Bane 1 rushes River!
River shrieks in terror!
Quinn Winterborn: River!!!
Hudson Aydar: You will not touch Miss River!
Blade of Bane 1 laughs, “Already did.”
River steps back in fear, trying to cover her wounds.
Moro appears from the shadows, leaping for the blade’s throat!
Adept of Bane: Ooof
Hudson looks at the blade, and makes towards him for half a second, before he launches at the Adept.
Faeryl smirks as he tries to cut off the Adepts head
Faeryl picks up the adepts head, walks around to face the blade of bane and chucks it at his feet.
Faeryl then charges the blade
Quinn Winterborn offers a shout of encouragement
Quinn Winterborn: Damn….
Moro growls menacingly at the Blade.
Moro tries to snap at the Banite’s heels, eager to sink her teeth into his flesh.
Izual takes a deep breath and drops to a knee, aiming for the Blade’s earhole.
River runs to the eastern corner as Moro manuevers to cover her.
Faeryl points to the disembodied head of the adept at the blade of bane’s feet and then swings his sword
Quinn Winterborn breathes an enormous sigh of relief.
Faeryl swings and the adepts head comes clean on, as you see a large smile on Faeryl’s face
River: …Was th-that… all of them?
Quinn Winterborn: I think so
Faeryl: I believe so
Faeryl shouts up the pit
Faeryl: Anymore of you up there? I’m ready to kill more of you if you’re interested.
With a final swing, the room quiets, save for the panting of heavy breathing of those left standing. You are made fully aware that those that are pursuing this artifact are not playing at this endeavor. More will come, you are sure.
River falls to her knees, still aching from the blade’s attack.
Izual: Is everyone alright?
Faeryl looks at the blood coming from him.
Faeryl: Eh, just a scratch.
Quinn Winterborn: Barely
River: …We need to rest. Only for a few minutes.
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s loot up and rest a few minutes
River: Hudson, s-see if you can close those d-doors…
Faeryl searches the bodies for lewts
Izual: I will help with bandages. I have been unscathed.
Izual moves toward Faeryl and Hudson to aid them.
River: Try to b-brace them with the stones from the s-statue…
Quinn Winterborn puts a hand on River’s shoulder
Quinn Winterborn: You ok?
River flinches reflexively… but doesn’t move.
River: …Y-yes… for now.
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry if my spell frightened you. Sometimes magic is… well, I guess I still have a ways to go
You find mostly mundane items, and some coin. Oddly enough, one of the ‘minions’ appears to be wearing a finely crafted set of hide armor, and the Adept is carrying a case of five healing draughts.
River: It’s… fine.
Quinn Winterborn removes his hand from River’s shoulder
River stands up from her knees and looks upon the dead.
River: …So much life… g-gone…
Faeryl: Their life was forfeit the moment they attacked us.
Izual: The preservation of ones own life is just another aspect of nature.
River nods. “I know… It was either u-us or th-them…”
River sighs. “It doesn’t mean I have to like it…”
Faeryl: You had best get used to it River, I see a lot of killing in our future.
Quinn Winterborn: They were evil priests. They rest now in Amaunator’s judgement
Quinn Winterborn: That said, no, we do not have to like killing…
River carefully places the dead into positions of repose, muttering some words under her breath.
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, which way, do you think?
River: Hm…
The symbols on the floor twinkle as you approach them.
They appear to be carved into the stone
River: Which way do you think, Moro?
Moro yawns and lies down.
River (frowning): …I see…
As Quinn approaches and inspects the sigils, he notes that his new staff twinkles in response.
Quinn Winterborn holds aloft his Staff of Fiery Might
Quinn Winterborn looks at his staff, and back at the sigil, clearly impressed
[w] → Quinn Winterborn: the one you are standing next to. The other is +1 damage blah blah blah
Quinn Winterborn: The sigils appear safe
Faeryl: What about the other one?
Quinn Winterborn: Useful, but safe
Quinn Winterborn: I think they were designed to aid in the magical defenses of the temple
Izual: Shall we test them?
Quinn Winterborn starts to drone on about alignment of mystical forces and implements
River: We should be m-moving…
Quinn Winterborn: Sure. This way?
Faeryl: Which way should we go?
River hastily steps over the sigil and blazes the path onward.
Faeryl: If we make a wrong decision, we may regret it
River notes her totem twinkles in response to the sigil as well when she approaches
River: We haven’t the time to spare. Q-quickly…
Hudson Aydar: If we make no decision, then we’ll be stood guarding this entry way until the end of our lives. Which may be very soon if these fights are any indicator
River begins to untangle a sunrod from her bag and tie it to her spear.
Faeryl: Hmm
Izual: I can not seem to determine which path would yield a better result for us. We should make haste with whichever feels best to us.
Faeryl: Agreed, they have both been traversed the same, and neither for quite some time.
Quinn Winterborn: Ok
River: Then quickly.
Faeryl: Let us go east, and pray it leads us right.
The stone hall starts out to be covered in carved reliefs of Sharran worship similar to those that you saw upon entering the main hall. After about 100’ you note that the stone is more… primatively carved. Almost as if you are traveling through some history of carved artwork. FIgures are sharper, less detailed and the scenes are more… chaotic.
The passage grows darker and darker. Your light sources flicker feebly, seeming to weaken as the surrounding shadows devour the light. The worked stone seems to be less and less solid with each step. Finally the stone disappears entirely and you find yourselves standing at the entrance to a maze composed entirely of shifting shadows.
Quinn Winterborn Prays to Amaunator
The floors beneath your feet is still solid, but everything appears to be made of shifting shadows that dim your light and irritate your eyes.
Quinn Winterborn begins to study the shadows, lookign for patterns in the chaos
Quinn Winterborn is fascinated
Izual prays quitely outloud to Kelemvor to guide him through the trials ahead.
River: Hm…
Quinn Winterborn thinks for a moment, then shivers
Quinn Winterborn: Guys, I think this is the place. The relic should be here.
Quinn Winterborn: But the maze…it’s dangerous
Quinn Winterborn: And the path may be lost to time
Quinns light spell, Rivers sunrod and Faeryls darkvision are severly hampered. Visibility here is 10’ total.
River: Then we will simply have to find it.
Faeryl: I have heard of this maze, it is said that the faithful of shar would traverse the shadows with their eyes closed to show their faith in their goddess
Quinn Winterborn looks profoundly skeptical for a long moment
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator willing.
Faeryl: But other then that, I do not recall
Quinn Winterborn: The shadows will leech our life force
Quinn Winterborn takes a deep breath.
Faeryl does something… acrobatic to try and find the way
Faeryl enters the maze… then does something acrobatic
Faeryl motions for everyone to follow
Faeryl: Let us go
Faeryl: We should move as a group
Faeryl: Do not split up
Quinn Winterborn: Yes.
River and Moro follow along, wary of dangers ahead.
As the group starts to enter the maze, the shadows roil with palpable malice, sending dark energies lashing throughout the corridors, pits open in the floor and the ceilings audibly slam to the ground.
Izual does equally acrobatic things right behind Faeryl, mimicing his movements.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] You move well, my friend.
River holds still and prays that bad things don’t happen to her.
Faeryl dodges along the trail, twisting and turning down the corridors, leading the group around the hazards he can see and ‘feel’. [Success]
Hudson Aydar: Quinn, can you think of anything we can do to dampen all this energy?
Faeryl: Keep up
Quinn Winterborn Studies the arcane nature of the maze
Faeryl: There is one speed, mine, and if you can’t keep up, dont step up. You’ll just die.
Quinn Winterborn: Ah yes, clever insight, Hudson
Hudson Aydar: You’re doing the heavy lifting here Quinn. Just…trying to help.
Quinn Winterborn: Still, if the axiomatic flux is theurgistically static….
Quinn attempts to manipulate the shadowy energies of the maze. Unfortunately, his knowledge is not complete and a blast of negative energy consumes him. [Failure – lose 1 healing surge]
Faeryl pushes Quinn out of the way
At the last second, Faeryl pushes Quinn out of the way, saving the mage from the blast (Previous sucess negates the lose of healing surge)
Faeryl: Careful!
Faeryl continues forward at top speed
Quinn Winterborn nods fearfully
Hudson Aydar: You did your best. Maybe that shock will drain some of the magic from the area anyway?
Izual prays to Kelemvor to protect him, as well as he attempts to recall anything from his seminaristic teachings to aid him in the maze.
Izual begins to chant a prayer in his native tongue.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Oh, powerful goddess Shar, I beseech you to aid this lowly wretch in hs path to your blessing. I pray unto your watchful eye that we may pass in peace.
The maze shudders and pulses…
Izual repeats the prayer under his breath for a few more times over.
And then calms suddenly, revealing a clear path forward, towards the percieved center of the maze.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] I will forget you ever uttered that prayer.
The effect is relatively short lived, as the maze begins to boil again, washing back over the path and consuming the brief respite from the utter darkness.
Faeryl immediately begins leading them down the percieved clear path
Izual grins at Faeryl and points at the symbol on his cloak.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Pray, belive me when I say I did not want to call upon her name. It worked though, did it not?
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] That is why I will forget.
Hudson Aydar: Hudson sticks close by River and Quinn, looking for any threats, or ways to keep to the path that’s leads the right way.
Hudson finds a path that Faeryl almost goes down to be a trap, pulling back the drow at the last moment. Instead, the warden’s keen senses find another path in what appears to be a solid wall, leading the party through confidently. [Success]
Faeryl nods in thanks
Quinn Winterborn: N-nice, Hudson
Hudson Aydar: We’d all do the same for each other.
River perceives the path ahead…. and ponders.
River: There is… something unusual about this maze.
River: What do you think, Moro?
Moro yawns. She nudges the shaman gently with her nose.
River: I see…
River: …That’s quite astute. For a wolf.
Moro snorts a bit, but relents.
River: The maze… has a slight pattern.
River: Simply wait… and you will see.
Faeryl swallows hard, then shuts his eyes.
Faeryl: I put my fate in your hands Shar… do with it as you will.
Izual lets out a chuckle.
Quinn Winterborn shudders
Faeryl seems to move as if on instinct, leading the way.
River briefly wonders if this is wise…
Closing his eyes, Faeryl moves towards what appears to be a hall that is thick with shadowy tendrils, but his steps are quick and true, and he moves closer to the percieved center of the maze. [Success]
Quinn Winterborn: This reminds me…?
Quinn Winterborn ponders for a long moment
River: Wait for a moment.
Faeryl halts
Faeryl: Make it quick, I do not like to stand still for long.
River: Look upon the sh-shadows…. Do you see it, Mr. Winterborn?
Quinn Winterborn looks up, as though waking suddenly
Quinn Winterborn: I… I see. Yes, River, thank you.
Faeryl: Tell me what you see, so that I may continue onward.
Quinn Winterborn: You know, this reminds me of when a spell… oh wait, no time for that
Faeryl scowls
Moro groans impatiently, but nods.
Quinn Winterborn: I do see a pattern, though. There is something oddly familiar. It’s this way
Faeryl immediately turns to move in the direction Quinn points out.
Quinn Winterborn leads the group back the way they came, yet somehow, further progress is made
River: The maze moves… changing in the darkness.
Quinn moves in what appears to be a complete circle, counting his steps and making seemingly random turns without looking for the path ahead. A complete circuit brings you closer, somehow, to the percieved center of the maze. The shadows grow thicker here, and angrier as well.
Quinn Winterborn: Indeed
Hudson takes the lead once more, pushing past the cautious drow and taking a series of rights, followed by a series of lefts. He works through another repeated series of turns before pulling up short at a dead end.
Faeryl: Idiot
River: …Are you s-sure this was the way?
Hudson Aydar: Wait
Hudson Aydar: Just… Wait.
Hudson Aydar: This is the exit. I just… I know it. How can it not be here!
Hudson Aydar: kicks at the shadows.
The shadows of the maze curls reflexively, revealing a hint of light beyond.
Faeryl rushes immediately for the hint of light
Pushing through the shadows saps at your life force. -1 surge
Quinn Winterborn is very anxious to get out of the maze
River: W-well… only one way through…
Izual again repeats his chant audibly, attempting to press the shadows away.
The shadows recoil from the wall, revealing a chamber behind. However, you note that the shadows do not recoil as fast and as far as before. The maze knows….
Quinn Winterborn rushes in to the chamber
Hudson Aydar: helps River and Quinn through, and follows quickly
Izual deftly jumps through the shadows into the chamber.
The room beyond is relatively small some 10′ × 10′ and houses only a single ebon basalt altar. Runes and glyphs are carved deep into the stone, veined in amethyst gemstone. Atop the altar is a small mithral and shadowood box, with a robins egg sized onyx on the lid. A soft light with no perceivable source is present, giving you respite from the roiling walls of shadow.
River: …We are safe… f-for the moment.
Quinn Winterborn: Is this the relic? Do you think

Faeryl: Perhaps
River: …It appears s-so… but be cautious…
Quinn Winterborn: Do you think there might be a trap?
River: We have gone through many t-traps before. It would not s-surprise me to find another so soon.
Faeryl: Nor would it surprise me
Izual: It seems all too calm in here.
Hudson Aydar: I imagine one of two things will happen. Either the shadows are being sustained by the Relic, or the shadows are protecting it, and will not welcome our interference.
Quinn Winterborn seems to be deeply unsettled
Quinn Winterborn: I just want to get out of here.
River: Not without what we came for.
River inches closer to the altar, carefully eyeing the box and onyx.
River steps forward and attempts to open the box.
River: Anything?
Hudson Aydar: River!
Faeryl pulls river back at the last second
Faeryl then attempts to open the box himself
Hudson Aydar: Faeryl!
River takes an impetuous step forward and touches the lid of the box, while the others fly forward, determined to save her from a certain doom.
Touching the box gives off a frightening chill, but it is constant, and not harmful. The box radiates cold, but opens easily. Within the box is a pair of gauntlets, a trio of healing draughts, a ebony holy symbol and a small prayer book.
River: …Well.
River take out the contents of the box carefully.
Quinn Winterborn: I… We came here for an evil relic that was affecting the entire area.
Faeryl: This doesn’t look like the relic
Quinn Winterborn studies each object, trying to discern the source of the cold.
River: Do not be s-so quick to judge.
Hudson Aydar: Hudson pulls himself up short. “Are you okay, River. Any…. effects?”
The holy symbol is obvious that of Shars – it is a circlet of jet black feathers set with onyx stones.
River: I’m f-fine…
River: In any case… I believe we found our r-relic.
Hudson Aydar: Which one do you think it is?
Quinn Winterborn: The symbol?
River holds the holy symbol aloft for the others to see.
Izual notices that there is no ill effects happening after the opening of the box, and moves toward the party. He would spot the symbol and the prayer book, helping himself to the book.
The gauntlets appear to be rusted steel, enamelled faintly in black. Rusty red traces of long dried liquid stream from the joints.
Faeryl: Perhaps
River: Mr. Winterborn… could you be so k-kind as to verify?
Hudson Aydar: I can understand the book and the symbol… but why the gauntlets and the potions?
The prayer book is written in some foreign language that both Izual and Faeryl can read.
Izual brings that fact to Faeryl’s attention.
Quinn Winterborn examines each item carefully, without touching them.
Faeryl nods
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] It must be written in the speech of the deep.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] To quote Quinn, how interesting.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] It does not surprise me, considering it is probably an artifact of Shar. I shall study it.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] We shall both study it.
Quinn Winterborn: Honestly, none of these is the relic
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] If that is what you wish.
River: N-no?
River: Most unusual…
Faeryl: Perhaps this book contains answers, both me and Izual can read it, we shall see if it does.
Quinn Winterborn: Not the box.
Quinn Winterborn looks around
River: So…. what of the symbol and g-gauntlets?
River: A-and the bottles?
Faeryl: They are healing potions, I can read the text.
Quinn Winterborn: The symbol and the gauntlets are magical, though it would take a further moment of study to try to discern their nature.
Izual: This book is much interesting.
Hudson Aydar: Important equipment to the people of this temple? Some people leave their prized weapons locked deep in vaults… Perhaps this is something similar?
Upon examining the gauntlets, Quinn reveals a pile of thick platinum coins in the bottle of the box.
Faeryl: This book, they speak of this temple being occupied by a fringe sect. This sect followed a prophecy which speaks of the death of a diety. This temple was built with the belief of that deity being Shar. But it was most likely Mystra.
Here is an excerpt of the prayer book – deciphered obviously.
Faeryl reads the book aloud for everyone to understand
Izual: This temple is powerful, for a group that broke off of the main practice. WE should be much careful in the rest of our journey here.
River: …They p-plan to remake the Shadow Weave?
River: …We should make way for this T-Tower… of the Art.
Faeryl: Agreed, but we must still find the relic
Izual: Before that, I would like to visit library to learn more of this Great Work and shadow seed.
Faeryl picks up the gauntlets
River: It was n-not this way. Perhaps to the s-south, down the other passage?
Hudson Aydar: Do we know if this box is trapped. I know we are in a rush, but if it’s a simple thing, i think it’d be worth some money.
Hudson Aydar: and we might have need later.
River: If we m-must.
Faeryl: These gauntlets are interesting… I shall take them
Faeryl straps them to himself
Izual: I remember maybe that the Tower is dedicated to Mystra. To enfore my desire to visit library, I think it is connected to the Zhents. I would learn more.
Hudson Aydar: Fair
Quinn Winterborn: If it’s the one I’m thinking of, Izual, wasn’t it said to be north of the city?
Izual: I can not recall. If you feel it is so, it is so.
River: We should get out of this maze… q-quickly.
Quinn Winterborn: Agree.
Faeryl: Quinn, let me see that holy symbol a minute.
Faeryl holds out his hand for Quinn to hand the symbol over
Quinn Winterborn hands the symbol to Faeryl cautiously
Faeryl inspects it
Faeryl is burned by the symbol. (10 damage)
Quinn Winterborn takes it back hastily
Faeryl drops it like a hot potato
Quinn Winterborn: Interesting….
The flame is ebon and burns with a cold fire that seems to linger even after the symbol has been dropped.
River: …Are you o-okay?
Faeryl: I am fine, just unexpected.
Quinn takes no damage and can handle the symbol with no issue.
River: …Hm…
River: If I had to g-guess… Your faith in your God must be quite s-strong.
Quinn Winterborn: I….
River: I am not one of the cloth, so my f-faith is… not as strong.
Quinn Winterborn seems unsure what to say
River: It is only a th-theory…
Faeryl: It is, I have not reneged on my worship of Corellon once since it began.
Izual: Is is the same with I and Kelemvor.
Izual: It would be wise to let person with little direction hold the symbol, I think.
Quinn Winterborn: Perhaps these…ecclesiastical…discussions could take place later, when we are away from this dangerous location?
River: Yes.
Izual nods.
Faeryl: I have dedicated myself to his ways and the eradication of those who follow Lolth willingly.
Faeryl adds “And others who follow darkness”
Hudson Aydar: I agree with Quinn. Let’s start moving. Once we’re back in the main room, we can decide about going upstairs or down the southern path.
Quinn Winterborn takes the lead and heads out
Quinn Winterborn: STay close
The symbol will lead Quinn along the path out of the maze. Its exited easily and leads you back to the room you entered in. Upon crossing the sigil, the focus of the symbol changes direction, pulling you southward.
Hudson Aydar: Hudson stays as close to Quinn as he can, eyes sharp.
Faeryl watches Quinn carefully, feeling he should follow instead of lead.

Chat log started at 27.4.2016 / 17:28:44

Last time on HBC, the heroes made it through the deadly Maze of Shadows only to find that the artifact they sought was not contained therein. Still, with the clues and items that they found, they believe they are on the right path, and have journeyed back to the entrance to the secret temple, taking a minute to gather their thoughts before continuing on. Quinn finds that the holy symbol he had found in the Maze is pulling him towards the hall the party had avoided previously.
Hudson: Lead the way Quinn.
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s go
The corridor leads down into the earth, sloping downward enough that you notice while you walk, though it does not cause any issue with balance. The holy symbol continues to pull fervently down the corridor. After more than 200 feet, you feel the holy symbol grow extremely cold, to the point you need to shield your hand from it.
Quinn Winterborn: It’s getting colder. In fact, it’s starting to be painfullly cold.
Faeryl: I think there is a draft coming from the wall over here.
River: Just…. b-be on your guard…
Quinn Winterborn stops, and looks at Faeryl expectantly
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe it’s a secret door? That would be coo….nevermind…
Faeryl feels along the wall, fingers gliding over the crudely worked stone. “Here.” he grunts and with a expelled breath and some straining noises, the wall gives way, a large (10’) door giving way to another tunnel in the darkness.
Hudson: Which way does the symbol pull, Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn looks impressed
Quinn Winterborn: I think the secret passage is the right way to go
Faeryl: That seems… too convenient.
Quinn Winterborn: Well, if we can find a way to close the door behind us, it might through off the Banists
Faeryl: Should be easy enough to close the door once we enter. I just dont like it.
River: Even so… I-I think we should take it. An artifact would be likely h-hidden behind it…
Quinn Winterborn: We should check for traps as we go, maybe? Just to be safe…
Hudson: I agree with Quinn and River.
Taking a look into the tunnel you dont believe there are any traps. Oddly, though the tunnel is of crudely hewn stone, there is no dust on the floor here. But the tunnel descends down into the earth.
Moro heads onward, sniffing the air for anything of interest.
You step into the tunnel with no issues.
Faeryl waits until the enture party has entered the tunnel, then closes the door. The door closes omniously with a loud ‘BOOM’.
River nearly jumps out of her skin from the resounding ‘BOOM’.
Faeryl: Settle down. Nothings in here.
Hudson: I think we’ll all settle, once we’re out of this place.
The tunnel leads down another 150’ before leveling off. The darkness is cloying, and its getting on nearly everyone’s nerves.
The silence of this subterranean lair is cut quite violently by screams. Although the screams are not accompanied by the usual sounds of battle—swords clashing, spells being cast, and so forth—creatures are definitely in pain or worse.
Quinn Winterborn mutters a quick prayer to Amaunator
Hudson: frantically gestures for silence.
River shivers in fear, unnerved by the screams of pain.
Faeryl draws his blade in anticipation.
Inching ahead, you find that the tunnel continues onward for another 60’ before turning hard right.
Hudson: whispered as lightly as possible, barely more than a breath It may be something trying to lure us into a trap.
The screams were definately a “person”
Quinn Winterborn shudders
River (whispering): ….W-well, we have to k-keep g-going… we can’t k-keep s-still…
Quinn Winterborn: …that’s…a person?
Hudson: agreed. Let me and Faeryl take the lead though.
The silence is again broken by the sound of something heavy slamming into the wall, shaking the entire tunnel. The weak cry of a person is heard momentarily before the tunnel is silent once more.
Hudson: -starts moving as quickly but quietly as is possible.
River quails in fear, closing her eyes and clutching her spear tightly to herself.
The group rounds the corner together, looking into a large room.
The passage opens into a large room ahead. Two humans stand at the other end of the chamber, facing a passageway obscured by a cloud. One moves toward the cloud, when a shadowy tentacled creature emerges and lashes at him, tearing his head off. Panicked, the other leaps into the cloud, trying to escape. As soon he makes contact with the cloud, however, his flesh seems to dissolve from his body, leaving a nasty puddle on the floor.
The black symbol in the lower left corner of the room is a carved ebon circle dedicated to Shar. It resembles the mark on the door you entered in this temple.
There is a small fountain with flowing water made of dark basalt and encrusted with amyethysts in the upper right corner of the room.
A dark shadowy cloud hangs in the lower right of the room. It seems to eat the ambient light in the room, and you cannot see through it to the walls beyond.
There is a faint shimmering in the center of the room (green squares).
The holy symbol has not changed at all.
As you take in the features of the room, the shadowy tentacled creature turns to you, dropping the broken body of its victim to the ground. (Initiatives)
Two tentacles lash out at Fearyl!
Faeryl turns to run down the wall, before turning on a dime and charging the shadow-guardian!
Hudson: Hudson steps forward, and swings his hammer with a loud yell, causing a soft sheen of frost to appear where the hammer struck.
River cringes in the back, hoping that Moro can save the day!
Moro leaps past the gith and howls in fury!
The guardian swipes twice at Hudson, missing both times. Then the creature dissapates into mist, reappearing as a mere shadow of itself elsewhere.
Quinn Winterborn: Dammit
Faeryl: You can’t run from me, shadow.
Faeryl continues to charge the shadow guardian with all his might!
As Faeryl rushes forward, the ground shimmers at his feet as he crosses the area on the floor, but there is no lingering effect.
Again the ground shimmers, but no lingering effects.
Hudson: walks towads the enemy, and swings his hammer, keeping it’s attention.
The ground around Izuals feet shiimmers brightly, eating away at the clinging shadows in the room.
Izual: Join me in the light, my friends!
River inches to the wall, watching the fight unfold from a distance.
Izual: It is consecration spell, join me quickly!
Moro charges into the fray, lashing out with all her might!
River prays under her breath…. and spirits rise from the shadows to harass the guardian.
The guardian dissapated once more, reappearing near the two casters.
River (shocked): AH! Please, no!
Izual: Quickly! In to the light!
The guardian latches onto River with a shadowy tentacle. It swings another tentacle at the girl.
The tentacle misses by a hairs breadth, and the creature howls in an otherworldly voice!
River bends over in pain, trying to shut out the unearthly howl.
Light sparkles at Quinns feet, banishing the shadow.
Faeryl dashes through the wolf and gith, then turns on a dime once more to charge mightily!
Quinn Winterborn shouts “Uh, I think these things resist fire and necrotic!”
Faeryl: Let’s see it resist my blade.
Izual manages to chuckle amidst the tense atmosphere.
Faeryl cuts deep into the shadows, smirking as he strikes a well-aimed blow.
Hudson: River! Circle around! You can take my place when you get here!
River: I… I-I…
River looks with fear upon the wounded shadow guardian, scared of what terrible wrath it is capable of.
River cowers and takes a step back from the towering monster.
Moro quickly dashes past the shadow, trying to protect River.
Izual: Why is this light not eat the shadows?!
The Guardian teleports once again and becomes nearly invisible before lashing out at Hudson. The guardian then grabs onto the Warden and pulls him toward the ebon symbol on the ground.
The tendrils squeeze Hudson, sapping at his vitality.
Quinn Winterborn makes a disgusted noise
Faeryl runs toward the western wall, before turning sharply to charge the beast once more.
Faeryl: You shall fall by my hand.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Damned magic light! Why haven’t you banished this shadow?
Faeryl strikes at little but fleeting bits of mist. He frowns as his blade sails through the shadows.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] You could say…. the worth of that light is ‘lost’ on you.
Faeryl chuckles softly under his breath.
Izual makes the most disgusted groan followed by a small chuckle.
Hudson flexes and barely manages to break free of the tentacles.
River and Moro head in different directions, each with the same goal in mind.
Izual: Quinn, yes? Analyze magic please. Make it stronger if able.
Quinn Winterborn: What,t he guardian

Izual: No, the ground, fool!
The Guardian howls again, the red pinpoints of light narrowing and staring in River’s direction.
The Guardian howls with its ethereal voice, swinging wildly at River.
Faeryl: Still you flee from me? How foolish.
Quinn Winterborn swears softly
Quinn Winterborn: I can’t! It’s unholy magic!!
Faeryl runs about, appearing to flee the room, only to turn and charge the beast once again!
Hudson moves to stand alongside River, and swings his hammer defensively.
River quivers in fear as the creature glares at her menacingly.
The Guardian starts to shift, but instead drags Hudson with it a few steps.
Moro leaps ahead, growling intensely at the shadow-beast.
River steps to the side, cautious of what the shadow creature will do.
The Guardian squeals aloud and begins to become more substantial.

Sable (Izual): I think it’s dead, Jim.
Flak (River): I dunno. I recall seeing at least one spooky creature with some fancy undying trait.
The Guardian screeches, and begins collapsing in on itself, pulling dregs of shadow with it. It then explodes into a blast of necrotic energy that catches all of those in the room. The wave washes over those within the consecrated area without causing harm. Those outside of it, however, are not so lucky.

Shar’s Guardian: [ATTACK®] Shadow Explosion (vs. Ref) [RM] [1d20+10 = 30]
Attack 30 → [at Faeryl] [DEF EFFECTS -2] [CRITICAL HIT]
Shar’s Guardian: [ATTACK®] Shadow Explosion (vs. Ref) [RM] [1d20+10 = 27]
Attack 27 → [at Hudson] [HIT]
Shar’s Guardian: [ATTACK®] Shadow Explosion (vs. Ref) [RM] [1d20+10 = 11]
Attack 11 → [at Moro] [AUTOMATIC MISS]
GM: [TABLE] Critical Hit = [1d6 = 2]
GM: [TABLE] Fumble = [1d6 = 1]
DM: Geez…
Shar’s Guardian: [DAMAGE®] Shadow Explosion [6d4+6 = 21]
Damage 21 → [to Hudson] [STATUS: Dying]
Shar’s Guardian: [DAMAGE®] Shadow Explosion [CRITICAL] [MAX] [6g4+6 = 30]
Damage 30 → [to Faeryl] [STATUS: Dead]
Flak (Moro): Oh shit.
Ben Wilson (Hudson): Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
Warren (Quinn Winterborn): UGH
Flak (Moro): ….And this is why you ALWAYS make it to games.
DM: Crit hit and crit miss on one turn…
Flak (Faeryl): Hm…. Nope. I got nothing on that one.
Ben Wilson (Hudson): Moro is fine.
Sable (Izual): Is he perma dead?
Flak (Faeryl): Looks like it. It says Dead, not dying.
DM: Yeah, I dont know if I have anything to save Faeryl on this one… Hudsons just mostly dead…
DM: 48/31 hp… I think he’s toast
Quinn Winterborn screams at River to help the fallen
River snaps out of her fearful state and rushes to tend to the wounded.
Faeryl crumples over in a heap after the explosion.
River kneels over Faeryl’s prone body, listening for a pulse.
River closes her eyes and sighs.
Quinn Winterborn: River??
River then begins to set Faeryl’s body into repose, closing his eyes one last time.
Quinn Winterborn: River….
Quinn Winterborn: Faeryl…..
Izual drops to his knees and begins to pray over Faeryl.
River: …His spirit is gone. There is n-nothing I can do for him…
Quinn Winterborn stands, unmoving
River: At least…. at least he did not s-suffer…
Hudson: I’m sorry. He died to protect us all, maybe… maybe you can take some comfort in that.
Moro sits down next to Faeryl’s corpse… and howls mournfully.
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator, preserve
River sighs… then removes Faeryl’s pack.
Izual punches the ground repeatedly, letting out a howl. A few tears run from his face, creating dark spots on the stone flooring.
The holy symbol at Quinns side begins to pulse a dull thobbing pulse, pulling you towards the dark cloud.
River: Mr. Izual… I feel he w-would… like you to have his things.
The shimmering light of the conscecration wavers and then fades completely, the spell expiring.
Quinn Winterborn: No…
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t want to….
Hudson: Quinn? Are you okay?
Quinn Winterborn throws the holy symbol across the room, and falls to his knees
Hudson rushes to his side.
River simply sighs.
Izual takes Faeryl’s pack from River, hoisting it over his shoulder.
Quinn Winterborn vomits
Izual: We should quit this place before I lose another friend.
Quinn Winterborn: This is NOT what happens to heroes.
The symbol tolls across the floor, landing near the black cloud. As the symbol rolls to a halt, you can see bits of the cloud being pulled into the symbol.
River: ….Interesting.
River moves to pick up the dark symbol.
Quinn Winterborn wipes his eyes and his mouth
Hudson: It’s okay, Quinn
Quinn Winterborn: Did Faeryl carry a holy symbol?
Quinn Winterborn: Might…Might I carry it for a day or two?
Hudson: He died heroically. He died protecting you. That’s what he would have wanted, i feel.
The symbol continues to slowly draw in the cloud, even in your hands.
Quinn Winterborn takes a long, slow, shuddering breath
Quinn Winterborn looks around the room, avoiding the gaze of everyone EXCEPT Moro
River: I t-think… the way ahead might be clear. E-eventually…
Moro gazes at Quinn with naught but empty eyes.
Quinn Winterborn: I…I’m sorry
Hudson: I don’t know what else we can do right now. I can’t… I’m sorry, but I don’t know if I’m strong enough to keep going forward right now.
Quinn Winterborn: The heroic tales we tell in Chessenta don’t really prepare you for this
River: It is as my mother once said….
River: ‘Heroes die. Legends live on.’
River: So… he will only truly die if you forget him in your heart.
Quinn Winterborn mutters Amaunator is right to oppose the dark
River turns to continue clearing the dark cloud slowly but surely.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson, I’m sorry, but I can’t leave this undone. This artifact, whatever it is, is an evil that will claim more lives if we don’t see this through
You believe that at this rate it will take hours to clear the dark cloud from this spot.
Hudson: … then I’ll follow you. But understand Quinn. If I fall too, it is not your fault. Or anyone elses.
River sighs, turning to the others.
Quinn Winterborn stares at the dark cloud for a long, sullen moment.
Izual: We should send Faeryl.
River: We may as well make c-camp for a few h-hours… this will t-take some time…
Hudson: Send? Can you… describe what you mean, Izual?
Izual: Like burial, or pyre. He deserves to be put to rest.
Hudson: I understand. I don’t thinkwe can do that right now, Izual. When this is finished, I think we should carry him from this place and put him to rest above ground.
Izual: Yes, we shall.
Quinn Winterborn inspects the fountain for a long moment. He starts to laugh, but instead sobs
Hudson: Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn: …
Quinn Winterborn: …healing fountain…
Hudson: I’m sorry?
Quinn Winterborn points at the fountain in the corner
Quinn Winterborn: It’s a blessed font. Could have used it to heal during the fight, if we’d known…
Hudson: …we couldn’t have known that. Just like we couldn’t have known the monster would explode. It’s a cruel irony, but…
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head sadly
Once the cloud is gone, the path is now clear to the sewers and from there to the Tower of the Art. Searching the bodies reveals that these are cultists of Cyric. While you were exploring the shadow maze, these cultists entered the temple in search of the relic. They chose the path that you did not, and so they came directly here instead of ending up in the maze. Though not ending up in the maze was not to their advantage, sadly.
Hudson: … River. I need to ask, and I apologise if it seems tactless. But… the gauntlets Faeryl took from the other room. They…. could be useful going forward. I am truely sorry, but do you think we should take them?
River: …It isn’t my p-place to say.
Hudson: You seemed closest to him. I’ll honour your wishes
River scowls.
River: I am not one to speak ill of the dead, but…. we were not close.
River: That is all I will say.
Hudson: Izual then, perhaps?
Izual: I knew Faeryl more as friend as days went past. I feel he would want us to take his strength and move on. The gauntlets no excepton.
River sighs and pulls down her hood.
River: The way is c-clear…
River: If we are done here…. w-we should press onward.
Moro looks mournfully at River with sad puppydog eyes.
River simply need stare back at Moro before the wolf stands back up and goes to her side..
Hudson: Izual, we can lay him to rest here, or we can return for him when we are finished. But… i do not think we should carry him with us.
Izual: Let us go. I will set him alight as we leave.
Hudson: Quinn? Are you ready?
Quinn Winterborn nods briskly
River pulls back her hood up and nods. “Then we leave.”
Once the cloud has dispersed completely, the faint aura around the holy symbol fades out completely, and it appears inert. The floor that you could not see before (aside from the pool of used to be Cyricist) is tiled in red and blue tiles, in a seemingly erratic pattern, but wholly out of place here.
The tiles appear to have once been part of a mosaic, though where they went to exactly, you do not know. They dont belong here, and appear to be “melted” into the floor. You have a lingering suspicion that these tiles are not from around here.. But you cannot place them exactly.
Izual nocks an arrow, and channels spirits of fire into it. He lets it loose toward Faeryl, setting him aflame as the party leaves the room.
You believe that the tiles may have come from the Dalelands… and looking closer, you note that there is a faint insigna in the tiles that is not completely melted flat.
Hudson: These tiles are from the Dalelands. Does anyone recognise this insignia?
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder if it’s Myth Drannor. I hear cool things about Myth Drannor…
River: …Interesting.
River: These were brought by a trading house from… quite a d-distance.
Quinn Winterborn: Fascinating…
River: They’re famous for m-mosaics and tapestries for the w-wealthy. I’m surprised you don’t know of t-them…
Hudson: Maybe someone should make a note of it, for later. But we should continue.
River: Yes. O-Onward…
Refreshed from their brief respite, but otherwise saddened at the loss of their comrade, the group leaves the temple, pressing onward into the ancient sewers beneath the ruins of Zhentil Keep.
The sewers beneath the ruined city have become home to a flourishing ecosystem. Rainwater and some effluent still washes down here, and there are occasional breaks in the ceiling where sunlight streams through, but for the most part, the sewers are pitch black, dank, and gloomy. The one consolation is that the population of the city is so diminished from its heyday that the normal stench one would expect to find in a sewer is greatly reduced. The bricks of the tunnel walls hold solid in some places but have collapsed in many others. Any route from here to the foundations of the Tower of the Art will be circuitous indeed.
Quinn Winterborn: River, you want me behind you?
River simply takes out the holy symbol and ponders.
River tries to peer through the darkness to see where the most likely way forward lurks.
River: Which way, Moro?
Moro looks ahead, and wrinkles her nose.
River: I-It’s okay. I don’t like it either…
Down a side tunnel, you smell a strong stench.
Its not sewage… the sewer smell down here is minimal… this is a different stench.
Quinn Winterborn: I prefer to avoid said stench
Izual: Usually, in sewer, stench leads to civilzation.
The tunnel makes a few quick twists and turns and dead ends in a refuse pit. The refuse pit filled with filth. In the pit are several dead otyughs along with some chewed-up human bodies. The room shows obvious signs of a fight. The dead humans are worshippers of Cyric.
Even in the faint magelight, you can see the glint of coins within the pit peeking from a satchel around one of the dead men’s waist.
River breaths softly and moves ahead, letting Moro scout to see if the way is clear.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll get it, River
Izual: Wait.
Hudson: Be careful.
The satchel is too heavy for the mage hand to work. The leather of the satchel rips, spilling thick golden coins in the filth.
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Only things that appear to have been through here recently are lying in pieces in the pit.
Izual: As far as I tell, it is safe… Aside from filth.
You find approximately 400 gold coins, a magical amulet, and a strange leather harness.
River collects what she can, returning while laden with loot.
Izual: Who wants what?
Hudson stands watch above. eyes sharp.
Returning back to the main branch, you continue onward down the main branch.
Quinn Winterborn having discerned the properties of the amulet, Quinn loses interest in it
River wipes the disgusting filth off her cloak and nods.
River: Okay… we should continue…
You continue along for another hour or so, blundering along in the near darkness. You then discover a large, totally darkened chamber. The floor is covered with a thick layer of sludge. The entire room is filled with giant mushrooms. The mushrooms exude a cloying, sickly-sweet mist that clouds the mind and creates a pleasant sense of euphoria.
Moro: Awoooooooooooooooo~

Chat log started at 4.5.2016 / 17:41:49

Last time on HBC, the group fought its way free of the Guardian in Shars Temple, only to lose one of their members in a raucous explosion. The group was able to rest a bit and lick their wounds, before heading out into the sewers of the ruined Keep, searching for a way to the lost Tower of the Art. We find them at a branching tunnel, trying to determine what path they should continue down,having only a faint “to the North” to guide them.
The main tunnel forks here, forming a “y” intersection. Both tunnels appear to be the same height and width and both are in some disrepair. Both lead vaguely North, though one bears easterly, the other westerly.
Izual: I can not tell which tunnel has been use lately…
Izual: Maybe we just guess.
Quinn Winterborn: As long as we’re still going north….
Hudson: Guessing at tunnels hasn’t lead us too wrong so far. Does anyone have a preference?
Izual points to the left tunnel.
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
Hudson: Lets go left then.
River nods, then waits for the others to start off.
Quinn Winterborn: Do we think the Tower of the Art will radiate any kind of arcane magic? I might be able to detect it if we can get close enough…
Quinn Winterborn: Left it is
Izual: can you sense something now?
River: W-with the destruction of it all – I-I’m not entirely sure th-there’s anything left.
Quinn Winterborn: No arcane aura yet
Hudson: I don’t know enough of magic to say anything either way. I’d just suggest keeping an eye out.
The tunnel leads on for some time, with minor tunnels branching off, but nothing that is followable, as collapses or deep piles of filth block the way. After a near twenty minute walk, the thoughts of doubt begin to creep into your mind or wheter or not you have picked the correct path.
Quinn Winterborn attempts to discern the purpose of the tunnel
Quinn Winterborn paces back and forth a bit, looking at the walls and ceiling, lost in thought
Izual: Well, we are still being north.
Hudson: This place is a maze. And I don’t think I can kick us a path out of this one.
Another trepidatious moment or two passes before the tunnel breaks off abruptly, opening up into a large pitch black chamber. The entire room is dim, even in the wizards light, but the floor is covered in a thick layer of sludge. The floor is not the thing that draws your interest the most however, as large mushrooms that tower over Hudson and Izual dominate the room as far as you can see. These toadstools have bone white stalks and bright red polka dotted caps. The mushrooms exude a cloying sickly sweet smell that clouds your mind and creates a pleasant sense of euphoria.
Quinn Winterborn tries to will himself to back up
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t like this at all
None of you feel that this is necessarily a “bad” thing, but it is something to be wary of.
You believe they are non poisonous, but you are unsure if they are edible.
Hudson: It’d be foolish to ignore the danger nature can pose, but i don’t think they’re a threat on their own.
Quinn Winterborn: I’m worried something more dangerous might lair in here
Izual: I am unsure if I are familiar with the toadstools. Let me think a moment.
Hudson: Okay.
The chamber is more than 200’ across. In the shaded light, it is difficult to determine where exactly the exit to this room may be.
Quinn Winterborn: I guess we could sprint across??
Quinn Winterborn: or through?
Hudson: … I could go first, with a light. If anything attacks, you both can fight from a range. If I find an exit we can then come over?
Izual: I would not do that
River remains quiet for a time, as if mulling her thoughts. “I dont see why we couldnt go through. These mushrooms generally arent hazardous.”
Quinn Winterborn: together or separately. Either way, I say we move quickly
Izual: We should move carefully, I do not want to kick up any spores in case this smell them give is a kind of defence mechanism.
Hudson: Okay. Then I’ll move carefully across.
Izual: Fungus is er… percooliar that way.
Quinn Winterborn: CArefuly, then. I will hold my breath
River: Idont think I could hold my breath that long.
Quinn Winterborn chuckles
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll breathe slowly, and hold my breath as much as I can.
Izual: I vote that us take it slow and be mindful of the way our heads feel.
Izual: I have not good feeling. Toadstools don’t usually get this big.
Hudson: I feel the same. Do we want to go straight across, or skirt around the edge?
Quinn Winterborn: straight to middle, then assess the exits
Izual tosses a stone into the chamber to see if it echos or hits anything that isn’t stone ground.
The stone flies into the midst of the shrooms, bouncing off of the thick stalks before landing with a SPLAT in the sludge.
Izual makes a gutteral growl of displeasement.
Izual: Let us go.
Quinn Winterborn: go
Quinn Winterborn takes a deep breath
Izual lifts his facemask and cloak hood.
The mushrooms grow closer together as you begin to weave through the room, trying to keep your bearings enough to maintain your direction. As you cross what you believe is the center of the room, Hudson nearly looses his balance in the sticky mud, reaching out and catching himself on a thick stalk, which causes a shower of spores to fall from the toadstools over head.
Quinn Winterborn tries to quickly help Hudson to his feet
Quinn Winterborn: I….
Quinn Winterborn: I can’t see….
Hudson puts his hand on quinn’s shoulder. “Do not panic. Keep moving.”
As the spores settle over the group, Hudson finds his vision narrows to a pinpoint of light. A grey speck in the field of black is all he is left with to see.
THe others dart out of the way of the larger part of the spores, but feel lethargic in the wake of the spores.
Izual: This is what I did not want to happen.
River: My tongue feels thick… m-my legs like wood.
Izual: The spores are a psychotic. Do not let it take your mind. Keep moving.
You see a narrowing of the cavern, but no exit.
Hudson follows Quinn, with slow, deliberate steps, trying to keep his heart from hammering.
Quinn keeps his wits about him, and slowly guides the group through the rest of the cavern with little more issue, though upon finding the exit, you note that coming up and out of the cavern, you rise above a cloud of spores, whilch cover your clothing from the waist up, though from the waist down, nearly everyone is covered in grey mud.
River: Oh, Moro… you’re… f-filthy.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson? Can you see?
Hudson: I can’t.
Quinn Winterborn: Any ideas River? Can you heal this? Or should we wait?
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t think we want to continue moving with a blind teammate
River: I-I think if we washed out his eyes… the blindness should fade… eventually.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe we should clean up some of the mud and spores from ourselves. Wash up a bit
River: That would be ideal..
Quinn Winterborn: Ok. Let’s try to wash out Hudson’s eyes with some water (not ale!), and clean up a bit
Hudson awkwardly let’s go of Quinn’s shoulder and stands stock still. “I have a waterskin in my bag.”
Quinn Winterborn pulls out the waterskin and tries to rinse out Hudson’s eyes
Hudson awkwardly leans down a little. “I’m sorry to…I don’t want to be dead weight on the team. I should have been more careful in that room.”
Spending some time to clean up and wash up, rather than continue onward immediately takes some time, as the mud clings to everything, even when scraped. Much to your surprise, you find that the spores that cling to your clothing are already sprouting into tiny fungus strands. Cleaning out Hudson’s eyes, you find that they are thick with hyllae, which are starting to grow into his sclera. Removal will be difficult, and dangerous.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh dear
Hudson: What’s wrong?
River: … I did not expect that…
Quinn Winterborn: River? I’m out of my depth here
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson, stay calm.
Hudson: That doesn’t….
Hudson takes a deep breath.
River: I-I’m not sure…
Quinn Winterborn: The spores appear to be growing
Hudson: It’s… What?
Izual: Hudson. These spores are very adaptible.
Quinn Winterborn: Calm…
Izual: They have taken to your eyes. I will try to remove them.
Hudson: But my sight is… returning. How can they be growing?
River: Its rather frightening… they are growing into your eyes… I dont know if we can remove them without damage.
Hudson: Everything is grey but… I can make out some shapes.
River: Im not sure what that means…
Quinn Winterborn starts wracking his mind for a solution
Izual begins to examine Hudson’s eyes.
River walks her fingers delicately over the hyllae and Hudson’s face, considering what to do.
Izual: So, Hudson. I have two plan.
Izual: Neither are going to be enjoyable.
River: I think I could remove them, if you want me to, but I dont know if it will be better or worse.
River: The eyes are… tricky
Hudson: Izual? You said you had two plans?
Hudson: I should… probably hear everything.
Izual: River can try to remove them from your eyes, which is dangerous and tricky… or…
River nods
Izual: I can wash your eyes out with alcohol. It will kill the spores but.. it could cause damage to your cornea.
Quinn Winterborn: I hope the alcohol is strong
Izual: That’s the issue… if it isn’t we could just be causing more harm than good.
River: I dont think thats quite right… except for the painful part.
Hudson: Doesn’t anyone know how strong their alcohol is?
River: I only have water…
Hudson: … Izual? Do you have any?
Izual: … I do not.
Hudson: Quinn?
Hudson: If nobody has alcohol, this decision might’ve become a lot easier
Izual: Unfortunately.
Izual: I am sorry.
Izual: Or.. we can leave them there and hope they do not cause more harm..
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, no alcohol
Hudson: my eyesight is slowly getting better. There’s no pain, but I can feel a pressure.
Hudson: … if these are going to keep growing, then i need to remove them. at some point, they’ll finish growing through my eyes and move into my brain.
River: Perhaps we take a rest and wait and see if it gets better as we get away from these spores? Im not really sure if thats better or not. Really, you should decide what you want to do, Mr. Adyar. I can attempt to remove them, or we can wait… but its up to you.
Hudson: …okay.
Hudson: River. Please… do your best.
River: Y-you will need to hold very, very still…
Izual: Do you wish to be put to sleep for the procedure, Hudson?
Quinn Winterborn: Would it help if I hold him down?
Quinn Winterborn: Or can you do this, Hudson?
Hudson: I’d suggest both.
Quinn Winterborn: Ok
Hudson: But… Quinn… please try not to watch.
River: It would be better to hold his head, that should suffice/
River: I need his eyes open for the rest…
Hudson follows River’s instructions.
Quinn Winterborn holds Hudon’s head still
River heats the blade of her knife over a small conjured flame, and once it is red hot, she pulls at the fungus and with three deft cuts, she parts its from Hudson’s face. Tiny bits of the hyllae retract into the sclera once severed, but aside from a pair of blisters on his eyelids, Hudson appears to be ok.
River: I think… its done.
Quinn Winterborn nods
Hudson blinks a few time.
Izual: Did you get it all, River?
River nods. “The best I could.”
Quinn Winterborn: Do we need a rest?
Izual: I hope it is enough. Fungus can grow back from even one live cell.
Izual: Let us pray, rest, and move on.
Quinn Winterborn offers a prayer to Amaunator for Izual
Hudson nods quietly.
River looks at her shaking hands, “I – I dont know. But I will be ok if we need to move on.”
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s move, then
Hudson bows his head as if in prayer for a moment, and then stands up. “I’d rather continue. If this is going to get worse again, I should do my best to get us all as far as I can.”
Hudson: Thank you. All of you.
Quinn Winterborn starts to ponder arcane solutions to blindness
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder if you could make glasses of seeing……
Quinn Winterborn looks around, suddenly embarrassed
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry
Izual chuckles.
Hudson: Never change, Quinn.
Hudson chuckles
Izual: Do not worry, mage. I was just thinking if I could make a salve to remove fungus that is safe for the eyes.
Quinn Winterborn looks down, and scuffs his boots
Hudson: Both of those would be great additions to the world. We ran into this problem today, and luckily River could help. But there are people out there who won’t have the benefit of such an adept healer. The world could do with people looking out for it, in every way.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Hudson in admiration
Quinn Winterborn: Well said, friend.
Izual nods.
Hudson ducks his head, and for a moment you could swear there’s a ghost of a smile before he looks back up.
Hudson: I’m probably going to avoid mushrooms for a while though.
Izual: It is a shame. Mushrooms are delicious.
Izual laughs heartily.
Luckily the impromptu chirugery seems to be successful, and the group is ready to move on. Double luckily, there is only one tunnel to follow here, so the choice is easy to make.
Moving along the tunnel, the way becomes drier and drier, to where the mud begins to flake off your clothing and come off easily. Moro seems miserable with her caked fur, but in general, the way is much easier going.
Quinn Winterborn: I…uh..
Quinn Winterborn looks concerned
Quinn Winterborn: As long as we’re not losing a health potion…
Izual: May I see the empty waterskin?
Hudson hands Izual the empty waterskin
Izual empties the potion into the waterskin, and washes out the vial.
Izual then begins to cut samples of the toadstools and corks them tightly inside the vial.
Izual makes a frustrated grunt.
Izual: Would any of you wish to donate a vial for the fungus samples?
Hudson: We could use Faeryls waterskin for another potion. That should be in his bag.
Quinn Winterborn: Not me, Izual
Hudson proceeds to do so.
Hudson: Okay. Let’s go.
After traversing the tunnels for some time, you pass into an older section of the sewer system. The tunnel rises slightly and ends at an iron double door. It is marked with the symbol of an upright skeletal arm holding a pair of scales.
Izual immediatly drops to his knees and begins to pray.
Hudson: Izual?
Izual looks up at Hudson, and then points to the symbol on his cloak. They are the same.
Izual: This is the symbol of my diety.
Quinn Winterborn: Ahh, you worship Kelmvor?
Hudson nods and bows his head respectfully for a moment. “Do you know what should be beyond?”
Quinn Winterborn: The undead
Izual: Never. Kelemvor hold the undying in contempt.
Izual: We respect death and life. We do not toy with it.
Quinn Winterborn: I believe that this is a warning from the followers of Kelemvor
Quinn Winterborn: It is a warning FROM Kelemvor, if you will
Quinn Winterborn: Do we expect the Tower of Art to have undead? What do we even know about our destination?
River: Its possible. The p-plague did cause some quite awful things…
Quinn Winterborn: Well, perhaps this is the place, then?
Hudson: They were creating something called the Shadow Seed for the followers of Shar. They were worried about her death?
Izual: If that is the case, I will put them all down. The dead should stay dead.
Quinn Winterborn: So they should.
Hudson: Does anyone have any reason to think the door could be trapped?
Quinn Winterborn: I can check for magical traps. Given the warning, though, I doubt it?
River: I would expect a different symbol on the door though… I believe the Zhemtarim held Kelemvor in contempt?
Izual: Unless this door has been tampered with, I do not believe there would be any traps.
The iron doors are not locked, nor do they appear to be trapped, but they are very much rusted shut.
Hudson: I was hoping to get to hit something again
Quinn Winterborn: I’m not keen on retracing our steps. Do we have oil? Maybe we can work the doors open….
River: I do not.
Hudson: I opened all the doors up to here with force. Maybe I can open these the same way?
Izual: Please do not damage the doors if you can help it..
Hudson: … Okay. I’m sorry.
Hudson glances at the symbol again.
Quinn Winterborn: I can try to help if you’d like. If not, I’ll ready a spell, just in case….
Hudson: Which will do less damage to them as a whole?
A heavy blow with his shoulder does little but shake the doors. Izual follows up with a solid blow of his own, but does nothing. Quinn takes a moment to size up the door while the others regain their breath, and placing his feet at the right angle, his thing frame bracing, he strains to push the doors apart, which grudginly oblige, squealing aloud, and echoing horribly down the stone walls.
Quinn Winterborn lets out a good natured chuckle
Quinn Winterborn: Now this reminds me of my brothers back home…..
On the far side of the doors, the air is much drier and the air smells of must and decay. The walls in this chamber are decorated with faded murals depicting corpses in various stages of funeral preparation. The floor here is covered with the remains of old urns and wooden coffins that have been hacked to pieces. The stone of the walls has been crudely hacked away in many places to create rudimentary niches, but whatever treasures might have been stored within are long gone.
Izual: This holy place has been desecrated…
Hudson: But these doors were rusted shut… it is awful, but it suggests there is another entrance to this room…
Quinn Winterborn: ok, let’s go
Izual: Be wary.
Izual examines the room around him.
Its the same as when you saw it from 15’ back. Long halls lead back along the room, with crevices carved into the walls to hold the remains of the dead.
Izual creeps forward and when he gets between the walls a flicker of movement catches his eye as a dessicated creature drops from the ceiling down onto him and bites and slashes at the Gith.
Izual lets out a wail of pain.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Get this damned abomination off of me!!
You can barely make out the face of an undead being that is chewing on Izual from around the corner.
Another ghoul drops from the ceiling and onto Hudson, clawing and biting on its way down.
A dirty, desiccated hound rounds the corner and charges at Izual!
Quinn Winterborn: Wow….
Izual yells in a rage, and a dark aura surrounds him. His head sprouts demonic horns, his skin turns scaily, his fingers and teeth grow long and sharp, and a spaded tail sprouts from his waist.
The hound knocks Izual to the ground and clamps down on his leg with a ferocious bite, leaving filth and rot in its wake.
Quinn Winterborn: This is NOT good…
Quinn Winterborn: We need to pull him back!
Hudson: What’s going on over there?!
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator save us!!!!
A shabling bloated corpse dripping motes of shadow and filth trudges around the corner, whipping a globule of shadow at the living.
Quinn Winterborn: Move back! I’ll cover you!
Quinn Winterborn tries to shove Izual aside
Quinn Winterborn: I will spend light point
Quinn Winterborn prays to Amaunator to protect him
The spell causes the zombie hound to crumble to dust.
Hudson: Stay! Down!
Quinn Winterborn seems momentarily surprised as Moro runs by
Quinn Winterborn: Go Moro!
Hudson watches the zombie he just hit with his hammer get yanked away by something out of sight and go limp.
The corpse moves forward, and as it does so a wave of nausea rolls over the living creatures near it.
Quinn Winterborn: Ughhhhch
Izual yells, and then vanishes from sight.
Izual: Then, an arrow engulfed in flames appears from behind hudson, straight toward the ghoul.
Quinn is able to move out of the stench, but still feels the attack has taken its toll.
River screams as another ghoul drops down near her. It lashes out at an unsuspecting Quinn, however.
Quinn Winterborn: I…uh..what?
Quinn Winterborn dodges just in time
The corpse slams into Quinn, leaving a greasy film of filth and putrid rot on the mage.
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh
Izual spouts as he runs past Hudson, still invisible…
Quinn Winterborn: WHOA
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, are you still on our team??
Quinn Winterborn: Then less arrows at my head if you please!!
Quinn Winterborn: Ugh!
Quinn Winterborn: Oops! Sorry!
Izual lets out a blood curdling yell as the last enemy in sight falls.
Hudson finally removes the corpse from on top of him, and storms around the corner, unclipping one of his two throwing hammers. He walks straight through the spell, barely flinching, and then launches the hammer, splitting the ghouls skull into fragments. He turns to the demon he doesn’t recognise, and snarls. “Are you next!”
Izual nocks another arrow and points it at Hudson.
Hudson unclips the other hammer
Hudson: What did you do to Izual?
Hudson: …. Quinn? River? Is it?
Quinn Winterborn: Izual is a demon. Yes
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t know why.
Quinn Winterborn: He said he was on our side….
Quinn Winterborn: Right Izual?
River hides and nods in agreement.?
Quinn Winterborn: Are you on the side of the good? THe noble?
Quinn Winterborn takes out FAeryl’s symobl of Corellon and holds it idly in his hand
Hudson: Are you on the side of Kelemvor still?
River: I-I dont know what you are – but Mr. Izual is my.. friend. A-And he’s in need of mending. Please….
Hudson: River!
River: I-I dont know… I saw him… ch-change. But that is Izual.. at least his body.
Izual laughs as the shaman heals him.
Hudson: Yes. But if it something in control of Izual, you’ve just made it harder to hold down!
Moro steps in front of River, bristling menacingly.
Quinn Winterborn: Wait, so you are both Izual the Githzerai, and Izual the demon? And you serve Obox-Ob, the first prince of demons????
Quinn Winterborn seems quite alarmed
Quinn Winterborn: I know that only one Izual belongs on this plane.
Quinn Winterborn puts the holy symbol of Corellon away, and readies his staff
River: I-I dont know about that… b-but he is our friend… wwhatever his condition, Mr. Adyar.
Quinn Winterborn: You’re not the Izual I want to talk to right now.
Quinn Winterborn: Why do you keep denying that the Izual within you is not?
Izual ‘s eyes turn back to their normal color instead of the burning red, and his skin seems to be returning from the scales that overtook it.
Quinn Winterborn: Amaunator bless you, Izual Githzerai
Izual: QUInn…
Quinn Winterborn takes a long moment before answering
Quinn Winterborn: Aye?
Izual places a hand on his forehead, seemingly disoriented. A noticable struggle between soul and body takes place in front of you, as Izual grunts and strains to fight the pain and influence.
Quinn Winterborn presses Faeryl’s holy symbol lightly into Izual’s palm
Quinn Winterborn: Faith, friend.
Izual: I’m SORry…
Quinn Winterborn puts his hand on Izual’s shoulder, but says nothing
Izual then suddenly collapses to the floor, unconscious. All physical signs of the demon recede, and his body is still.
Quinn Winterborn mutters, to nobody in particular “If that happens every time he stubs his toe……”
Hudson watches that unfold. His body painfully tense and still, but when Izual collapses he half relaxes, reattaching is throwing hammer.
Hudson: River. Check he’s okay. I think we need an explanation when he… when they wake up?
You find a smattering of coins and a massive hammer…
This hammer’s striking head is carved with an intricate scene depicting dwarven warriors cleaving through a goblin horde.
It radiates both cold and static

Chat log started at 11.5.2016 / 17:48:25
The date is First-day, 1st Alturiak, 1479 DR

Last time on HBC, our heroes were involved in some “un-heroic” meandering through the fungal confines of the sewers. Hudson took a tumble and got fungus all in his eyes that was addressed by River and Izual, though later it became apparent that the fungus has had a lasting effect on the Warden. Their trek ended in a partially caved in hall that was marked by the Clergy of Kelemvor as undead within. The heroes entered and were surprised by a cadre of undead that posed quite a challenge for the group. Still, they vanquished their foes and now stand ready for their next step in finding the hidden Tower of the Art.

On the far side of the doors, the air is much drier and the air smells of must and decay. The walls in this chamber are decorated with faded murals depicting corpses in various stages of funeral preparation. The floor here is covered with the remains of old urns and wooden coffins that have been hacked to pieces. The stone of the walls has been crudely hacked away in many places to create rudimentary niches, but whatever treasures might have been stored within are long gone.
A search of the entire chamber reveals no more surprises on the ceiling. The ghouls that attacked you must have sat there for years, as the outlines of their bodies are still made upon the stone ceiling.
A puff of air being drawn towards the entryway draws your attention to a mostly hidden door at the side of the chamber.
The remainder of the room is still rife with broken pottery, crates and other bits of refuse. Hudson had managed to find a hidden stash of valuables, and shared them with the group.
Upon inspection, the door is only hidden because of the refuse and junk piled around it. Once moved, the door is made of rusted iron, as was the main chamber door. There is some pitting around the stone and quite a bit of rust, but there is a large knob and you believe that the door will open normally.
Quinn Winterborn looks vaguely disappointed
Hudson reaches for the door handle and tries to open it.
Quinn Winterborn: After you, Hudson
The door is heavy and the hinges rusted, but the Warden is able to wretch the door open, revealing a partially caved in hall beyond.
Quinn Winterborn: I guess we shoudl wait for Izual to wake up before proceeding?
Quinn Winterborn: Can’t hurt to check for traps I guess
River: …I’ll t-tend to him…
Hudson: I could carry him, i believe?
Hudson: but i do not know how much they would enjoy being put in danger without the ability to protect themselves.
The hall beyond is a different stone than the mausoleum, this being a splintered combination of white marble and dark gray granite. Its not symmetrical at all, You believe that this is the result of two seperate forms crashing together quite unnaturally.
Quinn Winterborn: Interesting
Quinn Winterborn: If we need to move on, I can probably carry him. We’ll probably need you to have your weapon at ready
This hall is considered DT and all creatures of medium sized or large are squeezed while therein.
River: He’s…. fine, for the m-most part…
River: Moro, if you p-please?
Izual murmurs incoherantly.
Moro nods and grabs the gith by the collar, dragging him along behind the others.
Quinn Winterborn: Okay then
Hudson: I’ll take point.
Quinn Winterborn nods briskly
The hall winds onward, at various point forcing Hudson to squeeze his frame through cramped quarters. Progress slows down considerably, and you are sure you have only gone a fraction of your speed as you contend with the shattered passageway
Hudson: I don’t like this.
You still manage decent time, with a combination of your known skills, you make the best of things. Eventually Izual shakes his comatose state so he ceasess to be drug by the wolf. Still, he remains quiet and aloof from the rest of the party.
Hudson respects his silence for now.
Quinn Winterborn frowns, but remains focused on the task at hand
After another hour, the winding chamber ceases to have dark stone in the mix – its all shattered white marble. Within another 200 paces or so, the chamber opens up into a small room, some 10′ × 10′. At the opposite end from you is a spiral staircase.
River raises a hand for the others to halt.
River nod silently to Moro, who takes point to investigate.
With the stoppage of the group, the hall grows erie-ly quiet.
THe quiet scuff of the wolfs paws on the stone floor is the only sound to be heard. Moro walks from one end of the room to the other, finding nothing amiss within.
Hudson: could this be it?
River sighs, and nods for the others, giving the all-clear.
Hudson steps in first, and starts towards the staircase
Quinn Winterborn: Onward!
The staircase is canted at a crazy angle, as if the staircase was leadiing diagonally, instead of upwards. The stairs are made of stone, and appear to be in good repair. Looking upwards you can see they spiral upward into the darkness. On the level above you, there appears to be an archway.
River: Watch your s-step…
Hudson: I’ll go first.
River: I-If you insist…
Hudson: If something is up there, or if I fall, I’m not as…
Hudson makes a vague gesture
The spiral staircase is canted at a slightly disturbing angle, but it seems sturdy enough. It winds around several cracked columns before ending at an archway, above which is carved a circle filled with seven stars and what looks like a misty river flowing through the center. Beyond the archway, a ten-foot circle has been carved into the stone floor. A larger version of the symbol above the door has been inlaid into this circle.
THe staircase continues upward past the symbol on into the darkness.
Quinn Winterborn: This seems to be a portal of some type, though it is long dead
River: …Mystra. Saints preserve us…
Hudson: If Mystra is dead, do we have anything to fear of her symbol?
River: It is…. or was…. hallowed ground. I’m n-not one for religion…
Quinn Winterborn: If it’s Mystra, it means the Art, though, I should think
River: There m-may be those that seek to d-defile this place. Be on your guard…
Quinn Winterborn: If this is the Tower of Art, it is, or was, 10 stories high. In it’s day, it would only have been accessible my magic. Let us hope time, decay, and the spellplague have opened new avenues
Hudson: Then lets continue onward.
Quinn Winterborn: …though, come to think of it, the spellplague may have brought its own horrors here.
River presses onward, despite not appearing optimistic about what lies ahead.
You continue to climb the spiral staircase, but after only a few tens of feet, your upward progress is halted by the collapse of a massive support beam. (Acrobatics to dodge the falling stone)
Quinn and River lunge to the center of the room, while Hudson and Izual press against the wall. Stone and silt rain down around you, but none are hurt by the collapse. (Success – regain one healing surge each)
Above you can see only rubble. Another archway opens to the side, and the room beyond seems to be largely clear of debris. Bright light of various colors flickers through the open archway.
THere is definately something arcane in this room, but it is difficult to ascertain from here. You need to get closer
Quinn Winterborn steps boldly through the archway, and looks around
Hudson follows Quinn quickly.
Quinn Winterborn: Oooh!
Quinn Winterborn: The magic of the tower may be partially intact after all.
Hudson: Quinn, be careful!
This large room is dominated by a roaring pool of magical energy. It looks as though a portal to the Elemental Chaos has somehow opened in the floor of the room. Along the walls, what appear to once have been archways are now filled with ovals of glowing, colored light. Across the room another staircase ascends to the level above.
Quinn Winterborn: I may have found the means to teleport up to the higher levels of the tower
Quinn Winterborn studies the lights and the portal intensely, though from a distance
River: Th-this… seems ominous…
River: Moro….?
The portal at the center of the room dominates all your senses… Sparkling motes of light appear and disappear at random, the WHOOSHING sounds of an impossibly large crashing ocean fills your ears, acrid ozone like scents fill the air, all the hair on your arms and neck stand straight up.
Moro trots carefully towards the large portal, smelling the air in search of danger.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh wow
Quinn Winterborn is emboldened, and rushes over to study the portal close up
The closer Moro gets, the more and more the hairs stand out on the wolf. As she moves closer, it becomes apparent that there is a pull from the vortex that begins to pull at the wolf.
Quinn Winterborn: Whoa, Moro! Be careful!
Quinn Winterborn starts to reach for Moro to pull her back, then realizes Moro is a spirit
Izual: Quinn, tell if arrow comes through other side.
Izual fires an arrow at the portal.
Hudson rushes to Quinn to pull him back just in case.
Quinn Winterborn: Eek
The arrow flies through the portal and shatters against the wall.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson? Help?
Hudson grabs at Quinn and pulls him back.
Izual: Good to know..
As Quinn edges closer – suddenly a wall of crackling blue energy springs up, cutting off the access to the staircase..
Rising out of the portal you see four humanoid figures. Their bodies crackle and writhe with elemental energy of all sorts. Flames dance along their arms, while cold energy wreathes their legs. Their hands drip with sizzling acid and a halo of lightning crackles around their entire torso.
“Halt, intruders!” intones one of the guardians. “The Tower of the Art is forbidden to non-members. The punishment is death.”
Izual: Would been nice to know before now!
River: Uh… Someone…. h-help?!
Quinn Winterborn eyes grow wide with sudden understanding
Quinn Winterborn shouts “The pool augments elemental powers”
Quinn Winterborn: It’s quite safe…
You feel the pull of the arcane portal, but as you enter it, the pull abates and you are just ruffled by the swirling currents therein
Hudson unclips one of his two thowing hammers, and launches one at spellwrought guardian 3.
Izual feels the power of the pool, and smiles as he imbues his arrow aimed at the Guardian.
River: GHAAAAA~!
Moro saunters into the pool and yawns.
Xila: Oooh sorry! You look like you’re in a bit of a pickle, need some help?
Quinn Winterborn: Who? Wha?
River: Uh…. W-who are you?
River: Please, don’t h-hurt me or th-them….
Xila: Names later, daggers in stomachs now.
Xila: Or in my case legs… Size difference an all that.
The guardian reassembles itself upright and then dashes away!
River holds her longspear close, still a bit wary of the newcomer.
The guardian then whirls and disappears into the magical portal!
Xila is a halfling about 4 foot exactly, she has uncharacteristic blue hair and wields a small spiked shield on her arm, she has daggers within easy reach.
An instant later the guardian explodes from the adjacent portal and slams into Izual!
Moro bites Hudson in the leg, causing an… involuntary swing at the guardian!
Izual smiles as small spirits of imps draw from the ground and take the Guardian 1’s feet out from under it.
Moro growls as the guardians surround and encircle the others…
The guardian vanishes through the portal and crackles with elemental power, which sparks into the ceiling and an energy mote coelsces into being.
Xila: I wont hurt ya sweety, just the ones holding the long sticks and the eyes that say “imma get ya”
Xila cracks her small knuckles, pulls out her trusty dagger, and heads inside
Xila looks at her dagger, and a frosty chill begins to seep over it, then she throws it deftly at Guardian 2
Quinn Winterborn eyes widen in surprise, as a newcomer appears
Xila waves
Xila: Hiya!
The guardian takes damage, but crackles with energy and begins to glow with a pale blue light.
Xila: That doesn’t look good
Moro howls and lunges at the guardian’s throat!
Moro then strides past the guardians, ending her path at the halfling’s side.
Spellwrought Guardian 1 shakes its fist at the Spirit Wolf.
Xila looks at the large wolf striding towards her
Xila: Err… Good dog?
Quinn Winterborn raises his staff, and slams it down, with a thundering boom
Moro growls in an unfriendly manner, but doesn’t snap just yet at the rogue.
Xila: Good doggy, there’s a good dog, go bite that guy, not me.
Xila points at one of the guardians
The guardian absorbs the blow and begins to crackle with ephemeral lightning.
Quinn Winterborn offers a quick, almost frantic wave in Xila’s direction
The guardian crackles with emphemeral lightning and pale blue light as well.
Hudson: Heh. That’s the best you’ve got?
Izual cannot contain his emotions any longer, and his demonic traits manifest once again.
Xila: A…. a demon?
Izual lets out an extremely maniacle laugh.
The guardian charges through the portal and slams into the halfling.
Hudson: Oh, good. It’s you.
River peers with fear beyond the rubble, taking in the view of the fight…. and steels her resolve.
Stepping on the portal stone makes you feel nauseous, but you appear on the other side of the room.
River (queasy): Ugh…..
Xila smiles to herself
Xila: Interesting
River: O-Okay…. Just… believe…
Moro moves up to the guardian and lunges for the throat once more!
Quinn Winterborn glares at the motes, and mutters
Xila tries to strike her dagger into the guardians gut
Moro trips up the guardian at the right second to give the halfling that extra bit of force in her stab.
Xila notices the cold on her blade doesn’t seem to affect the guardian at all.
Xila: Interesting
Moro howls in triumph!
THe guardian shimmers for a moment, threatening to explode in a cacophony of light and aethyr. It insteadcompacts in on itself and disappears in a wink of light.
Xila looks at her dagger, the frosty chill dissipating from it, then deftly moves forward and stabs guardian 1 in the back
Izual snarls and barks at the rogue as she comes close.
The energy motes explode sending bits of radiant energy dashing around the room.
Quinn Winterborn turns to face the guardian with a grim smile.
Hudson flinches away from the fire, the ice on his skin melting and refreezing a little.
The guardian explodes in wild magical energies tht wretch from the portal. Hudson appears to be partially innured to the blast from the pool, while Xila merely steps around it.
Xila: You really must try better then that
Quinn Winterborn screams
River: M-Moro! Help them, please!
Moro hesitates for a moment, then does as she was bade.
Moro tears into the guardian’s leg, wounding it severely.
Xila calls over to River
Xila: You need any help there love?
River: I…. I’m fine…. Please, help them!
Xila: Well, if you say so, don’t cry to me if you lose something important.
Moro picks up Xila by the leg and clubs her into the guardian… pointy end first.
Quinn Winterborn takes a moment to assess his wounds
Quinn Winterborn: Grr…ugh….
River: Hudson, be c-careful! We’re almost th-through this…
River: Ngh..!!
River: Moro!
Quinn Winterborn: River!
Moro drags River out of the corner and towards safety.
Xila moves into the portal, then immediately tries to stab the guardian
River falls to he