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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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: 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!
Quinn Winterborn: Levia! Do’nt do this!
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.
Last time on HBC…. OH CRAP!!! FELLDRAKE REINFORCEMENTS!!!
Xila rests for a moment
Xila chugs a potion
Xila rubs her eyes and can see again
Izual: GIVE THEM NO QUARTER!!
Hudson stands up and second winds.
Quinn Winterborn: Who are you yelling that too?
Izual: YOU, YOU REDICULOUS HUMANS!!
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.
Izual/e: YOU MORTALS FIGHT WELL!!
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
Izual: WHY MUST YOU ALWAYS COME CLOSE TO ME!?
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: YOU… YOU FOOL!!
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 is obviously ocnfused.
Hudson: Should I carry her into a tent? Maybe that’d be a little better for her?
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 DISGUSTING GROUND-WALKERS!!
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 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?
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…
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: 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.
Xila: HEEEEEEEY HUDSON, RIVER!
River continues walking towards her goal, not heeding Xila’s calls.
Xila: RIIIIIVER, WE’RE COMING TO HELP YOU. WAIT FOR US
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: 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.
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.
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: 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?
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: 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.
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: 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
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.
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
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
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
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?
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 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: But now, we are alone.
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 ramblings – BUT!” 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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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
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.
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.
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: HI GUYS, WE’RE BACK
Xila shouts as soon as she enters the inn.
Xila waves back
Hudson: What did you get us?
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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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?
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
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.
??: 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.
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: 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: 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
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.
Fox rolls her head back and forth for a minute. “You have that kind of coin on you?”
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?
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.
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.
Woman jerks a slender blade from seemingly no where, while Snake brings a blazing knife into being from thin air. “Who are you?”
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?”
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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: 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
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?
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 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: 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: 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: 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?
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
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 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.
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…
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: I’m exhausted, gonna get some sleep, have fun with your ritual!
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?
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
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.
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: 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…
Izual gets ready.
Quinn Winterborn is on his mark
Quinn Winterborn is set
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
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…
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: 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: 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?
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.
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.
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.
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…
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: 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: 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.
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.
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.
Telquine: Hmmm… I think I might be able to help you, if you’d be interested in helping me.
Moro groans anxiously.
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…
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?
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 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.
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.