The Hangman's Body Count

Chapter 3: The Shards of Sin

Chat log started at 14.9.2016 / 17:18:44

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

Chat log started at 21.9.2016 / 17:09:50

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

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

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

Chat log started at 5.10.2016 / 13:44:35

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

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

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

Chat log started at 12.10.2016 / 17:03:48

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

Chat log started at 19.10.2016 / 16:49:09

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

Troglodyte 1 rummages around…
Zhek calls out encouragement to his new companion Hudson
Zhek: Stand firm, soldier!.
Quinn Winterborn deftly flips his staff around to point the other way
Quinn Winterborn coughs pointedly
Quinn Winterborn frowns, and inspects the staff with great interest
Dias: Yeah, this is taking a bit longer than I hoped.
Dias tinkers with his music box…. and twinges as it starts making a ghastly racket.
Dias: Okay okay ow, yeouch….
Dias: Well… Regardless. YOU THERE. TREMBLE BEFORE THE MIGHT of the HIGHWAYMAN! Before you wet yourself, at least.
Dias: ….Oh. Forgot. Probably too dumb to understand common.
Dias sheepishly rolls his eyes.
Quinn Winterborn takes his staff in both hands, and points it awkwardly at a trog
Quinn Winterborn takes a moment
Dias slams on his music box, trying to get the music to properly sync.
Dias: Come on…. come on, you damn thing.
Dias: …Huh. Maybe…..
Dias tries to load another record into the music box… and loud, booming heroic music echoes forth!
Dias: THERE we go!
Xila: Now this is my music!
Xila moves her dagger in time to the beat, which surprisingly makes her always hit the weak spots.
Dias: Okay, slime! PREPARE TO BE SCRUBBED!
Dias: …In due time.
Xila dances to the music and moves in time to dodge it.
Xila does a pirouette while dancing to the music, slicing open the trogs neck as she does so.
Dias: FEAR ME, EVILDOERS. THE HIGHWAYMAN KNOWS NO MERCY TO THE DARK AND DEPRAVED.
Xila pierces the trog
Xila: Well, one down
Xila: How’re you guys handling yours?
Xila: Wait.. they’re still alive?
Dias: IN DUE TIME!
Xila moves closer but doesn’t go all the way
Quinn Winterborn: Amanautor!
Xila: Brandobaris grant these people the luck of a halfling.
Xila: Thank you Brandobaris, that was quick!
Dias: FOR HONOR. FOR GLORY! FOR A CHANGE OF SCENERY!!
Zhek: Push them back!
Zhek: Give us room!
Dias twists his blade, giving it an icy sheen.
Dias: HAVE AT THEE!
Zhek: Good strike, Dias!
Zhek [Draconic]: [Translation] Surrender, Frog! You are beaten!
Dias: You, runt! Move with the tempo!
Xila: Don’t call me a runt
Xila moves in time to the beat around the trog
Zhek: grrrr
Quinn Winterborn: I, uh…ow…ok, I’m coming..
Xila stabs again in time to the music.
Xila: This is fun!
Xila: Need to do this more often
Dias: …Well, that took longer than it probably should have.
Hudson pants.
Dias: … SHUT UP, dammit!
Xila: Speak for yourself, the trogs never dodged my strikes.
Dias slaps on the musicbox hard…. and it slowly whirs out of juice.
Zhek chuffs another frustrated breath
Xila hums to herself as the music plays on.
Xila: Aww.
Xila: I liked that music.
Zhek: wait
Quinn Winterborn sits down and takes off a boot

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

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Chapter 2: The Edge of Justice

Chat log started at 1.6.2016 / 17:18:17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chat log started at 3.8.2016 / 17:29:19

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

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

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

Chat log started at 17.8.2016 / 17:28:37

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

Chat log started at 24.8.2016 / 17:44:02

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

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

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

View
Chapter 1: Shades of the Zhentarim

Chat log started at 30.3.2016 / 17:48:51

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

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

Chat log started at 13.4.2016 / 18:03:55

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

Chat log started at 20.4.2016 / 17:50:54

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

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

Chat log started at 27.4.2016 / 17:28:44

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

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

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

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

Chat log started at 4.5.2016 / 17:41:49

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

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

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

On the far side of the doors, the air is much drier and the air smells of must and decay. The walls in this chamber are decorated with faded murals depicting corpses in various stages of funeral preparation. The floor here is covered with the remains of old urns and wooden coffins that have been hacked to pieces. The stone of the walls has been crudely hacked away in many places to create rudimentary niches, but whatever treasures might have been stored within are long gone.
A search of the entire chamber reveals no more surprises on the ceiling. The ghouls that attacked you must have sat there for years, as the outlines of their bodies are still made upon the stone ceiling.
A puff of air being drawn towards the entryway draws your attention to a mostly hidden door at the side of the chamber.
The remainder of the room is still rife with broken pottery, crates and other bits of refuse. Hudson had managed to find a hidden stash of valuables, and shared them with the group.
Upon inspection, the door is only hidden because of the refuse and junk piled around it. Once moved, the door is made of rusted iron, as was the main chamber door. There is some pitting around the stone and quite a bit of rust, but there is a large knob and you believe that the door will open normally.
Quinn Winterborn looks vaguely disappointed
Hudson reaches for the door handle and tries to open it.
Quinn Winterborn: After you, Hudson
The door is heavy and the hinges rusted, but the Warden is able to wretch the door open, revealing a partially caved in hall beyond.
Quinn Winterborn: I guess we shoudl wait for Izual to wake up before proceeding?
Quinn Winterborn: Can’t hurt to check for traps I guess
River: …I’ll t-tend to him…
Hudson: I could carry him, i believe?
Hudson: but i do not know how much they would enjoy being put in danger without the ability to protect themselves.
The hall beyond is a different stone than the mausoleum, this being a splintered combination of white marble and dark gray granite. Its not symmetrical at all, You believe that this is the result of two seperate forms crashing together quite unnaturally.
Quinn Winterborn: Interesting
Quinn Winterborn: If we need to move on, I can probably carry him. We’ll probably need you to have your weapon at ready
This hall is considered DT and all creatures of medium sized or large are squeezed while therein.
River: He’s…. fine, for the m-most part…
River: Moro, if you p-please?
Izual murmurs incoherantly.
Moro nods and grabs the gith by the collar, dragging him along behind the others.
Quinn Winterborn: Okay then
Hudson: I’ll take point.
Quinn Winterborn nods briskly
The hall winds onward, at various point forcing Hudson to squeeze his frame through cramped quarters. Progress slows down considerably, and you are sure you have only gone a fraction of your speed as you contend with the shattered passageway
Hudson: I don’t like this.
You still manage decent time, with a combination of your known skills, you make the best of things. Eventually Izual shakes his comatose state so he ceasess to be drug by the wolf. Still, he remains quiet and aloof from the rest of the party.
Hudson respects his silence for now.
Quinn Winterborn frowns, but remains focused on the task at hand
After another hour, the winding chamber ceases to have dark stone in the mix – its all shattered white marble. Within another 200 paces or so, the chamber opens up into a small room, some 10′ × 10′. At the opposite end from you is a spiral staircase.
River raises a hand for the others to halt.
River nod silently to Moro, who takes point to investigate.
With the stoppage of the group, the hall grows erie-ly quiet.
THe quiet scuff of the wolfs paws on the stone floor is the only sound to be heard. Moro walks from one end of the room to the other, finding nothing amiss within.
Hudson: could this be it?
River sighs, and nods for the others, giving the all-clear.
Hudson steps in first, and starts towards the staircase
Quinn Winterborn: Onward!
The staircase is canted at a crazy angle, as if the staircase was leadiing diagonally, instead of upwards. The stairs are made of stone, and appear to be in good repair. Looking upwards you can see they spiral upward into the darkness. On the level above you, there appears to be an archway.
River: Watch your s-step…
Hudson: I’ll go first.
River: I-If you insist…
Hudson: If something is up there, or if I fall, I’m not as…
Hudson makes a vague gesture
The spiral staircase is canted at a slightly disturbing angle, but it seems sturdy enough. It winds around several cracked columns before ending at an archway, above which is carved a circle filled with seven stars and what looks like a misty river flowing through the center. Beyond the archway, a ten-foot circle has been carved into the stone floor. A larger version of the symbol above the door has been inlaid into this circle.
THe staircase continues upward past the symbol on into the darkness.
Quinn Winterborn: This seems to be a portal of some type, though it is long dead
River: …Mystra. Saints preserve us…
Hudson: If Mystra is dead, do we have anything to fear of her symbol?
River: It is…. or was…. hallowed ground. I’m n-not one for religion…
Quinn Winterborn: If it’s Mystra, it means the Art, though, I should think
River: There m-may be those that seek to d-defile this place. Be on your guard…
Quinn Winterborn: If this is the Tower of Art, it is, or was, 10 stories high. In it’s day, it would only have been accessible my magic. Let us hope time, decay, and the spellplague have opened new avenues
Hudson: Then lets continue onward.
Quinn Winterborn: …though, come to think of it, the spellplague may have brought its own horrors here.
River presses onward, despite not appearing optimistic about what lies ahead.
You continue to climb the spiral staircase, but after only a few tens of feet, your upward progress is halted by the collapse of a massive support beam. (Acrobatics to dodge the falling stone)
Quinn and River lunge to the center of the room, while Hudson and Izual press against the wall. Stone and silt rain down around you, but none are hurt by the collapse. (Success – regain one healing surge each)
Above you can see only rubble. Another archway opens to the side, and the room beyond seems to be largely clear of debris. Bright light of various colors flickers through the open archway.
THere is definately something arcane in this room, but it is difficult to ascertain from here. You need to get closer
Quinn Winterborn steps boldly through the archway, and looks around
Hudson follows Quinn quickly.
Quinn Winterborn: Oooh!
Quinn Winterborn: The magic of the tower may be partially intact after all.
Hudson: Quinn, be careful!
This large room is dominated by a roaring pool of magical energy. It looks as though a portal to the Elemental Chaos has somehow opened in the floor of the room. Along the walls, what appear to once have been archways are now filled with ovals of glowing, colored light. Across the room another staircase ascends to the level above.
Quinn Winterborn: I may have found the means to teleport up to the higher levels of the tower
Quinn Winterborn studies the lights and the portal intensely, though from a distance
River: Th-this… seems ominous…
River: Moro….?
The portal at the center of the room dominates all your senses… Sparkling motes of light appear and disappear at random, the WHOOSHING sounds of an impossibly large crashing ocean fills your ears, acrid ozone like scents fill the air, all the hair on your arms and neck stand straight up.
Moro trots carefully towards the large portal, smelling the air in search of danger.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh wow
Quinn Winterborn is emboldened, and rushes over to study the portal close up
The closer Moro gets, the more and more the hairs stand out on the wolf. As she moves closer, it becomes apparent that there is a pull from the vortex that begins to pull at the wolf.
Quinn Winterborn: Whoa, Moro! Be careful!
Quinn Winterborn starts to reach for Moro to pull her back, then realizes Moro is a spirit
Izual: Quinn, tell if arrow comes through other side.
Izual fires an arrow at the portal.
Hudson rushes to Quinn to pull him back just in case.
Quinn Winterborn: Eek
The arrow flies through the portal and shatters against the wall.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson? Help?
Hudson grabs at Quinn and pulls him back.
Izual: Good to know..
As Quinn edges closer – suddenly a wall of crackling blue energy springs up, cutting off the access to the staircase..
Rising out of the portal you see four humanoid figures. Their bodies crackle and writhe with elemental energy of all sorts. Flames dance along their arms, while cold energy wreathes their legs. Their hands drip with sizzling acid and a halo of lightning crackles around their entire torso.
“Halt, intruders!” intones one of the guardians. “The Tower of the Art is forbidden to non-members. The punishment is death.”
Izual: Would been nice to know before now!
River: Uh… Someone…. h-help?!
Quinn Winterborn eyes grow wide with sudden understanding
Quinn Winterborn shouts “The pool augments elemental powers”
Quinn Winterborn: It’s quite safe…
You feel the pull of the arcane portal, but as you enter it, the pull abates and you are just ruffled by the swirling currents therein
Hudson unclips one of his two thowing hammers, and launches one at spellwrought guardian 3.
Izual feels the power of the pool, and smiles as he imbues his arrow aimed at the Guardian.
River: GHAAAAA~!
Moro saunters into the pool and yawns.
Xila: Oooh sorry! You look like you’re in a bit of a pickle, need some help?
Quinn Winterborn: Who? Wha?
River: Uh…. W-who are you?
River: Please, don’t h-hurt me or th-them….
Xila: Names later, daggers in stomachs now.
Xila: Or in my case legs… Size difference an all that.
The guardian reassembles itself upright and then dashes away!
River holds her longspear close, still a bit wary of the newcomer.
The guardian then whirls and disappears into the magical portal!
Xila is a halfling about 4 foot exactly, she has uncharacteristic blue hair and wields a small spiked shield on her arm, she has daggers within easy reach.
An instant later the guardian explodes from the adjacent portal and slams into Izual!
Moro bites Hudson in the leg, causing an… involuntary swing at the guardian!
Izual smiles as small spirits of imps draw from the ground and take the Guardian 1’s feet out from under it.
Moro growls as the guardians surround and encircle the others…
The guardian vanishes through the portal and crackles with elemental power, which sparks into the ceiling and an energy mote coelsces into being.
Xila: I wont hurt ya sweety, just the ones holding the long sticks and the eyes that say “imma get ya”
Xila cracks her small knuckles, pulls out her trusty dagger, and heads inside
Xila looks at her dagger, and a frosty chill begins to seep over it, then she throws it deftly at Guardian 2
Quinn Winterborn eyes widen in surprise, as a newcomer appears
Xila waves
Xila: Hiya!
The guardian takes damage, but crackles with energy and begins to glow with a pale blue light.
Xila: That doesn’t look good
Moro howls and lunges at the guardian’s throat!
Moro then strides past the guardians, ending her path at the halfling’s side.
Spellwrought Guardian 1 shakes its fist at the Spirit Wolf.
Xila looks at the large wolf striding towards her
Xila: Err… Good dog?
Quinn Winterborn raises his staff, and slams it down, with a thundering boom
Moro growls in an unfriendly manner, but doesn’t snap just yet at the rogue.
Xila: Good doggy, there’s a good dog, go bite that guy, not me.
Xila points at one of the guardians
The guardian absorbs the blow and begins to crackle with ephemeral lightning.
Quinn Winterborn offers a quick, almost frantic wave in Xila’s direction
The guardian crackles with emphemeral lightning and pale blue light as well.
Hudson: Heh. That’s the best you’ve got?
Izual cannot contain his emotions any longer, and his demonic traits manifest once again.
Xila: A…. a demon?
Izual: YES, BACK INTO THE FRAY ONCE AGAIN!!
Izual lets out an extremely maniacle laugh.
The guardian charges through the portal and slams into the halfling.
Hudson: Oh, good. It’s you.
River peers with fear beyond the rubble, taking in the view of the fight…. and steels her resolve.
Stepping on the portal stone makes you feel nauseous, but you appear on the other side of the room.
River (queasy): Ugh…..
Xila smiles to herself
Xila: Interesting
River: O-Okay…. Just… believe…
Moro moves up to the guardian and lunges for the throat once more!
Quinn Winterborn glares at the motes, and mutters
Xila tries to strike her dagger into the guardians gut
Moro trips up the guardian at the right second to give the halfling that extra bit of force in her stab.
Xila notices the cold on her blade doesn’t seem to affect the guardian at all.
Xila: Interesting
Moro howls in triumph!
THe guardian shimmers for a moment, threatening to explode in a cacophony of light and aethyr. It insteadcompacts in on itself and disappears in a wink of light.
Xila looks at her dagger, the frosty chill dissipating from it, then deftly moves forward and stabs guardian 1 in the back
Izual snarls and barks at the rogue as she comes close.
The energy motes explode sending bits of radiant energy dashing around the room.
Quinn Winterborn turns to face the guardian with a grim smile.
Izual: THIS WILL BE OVER SOON ENOUGH!!
Hudson flinches away from the fire, the ice on his skin melting and refreezing a little.
The guardian explodes in wild magical energies tht wretch from the portal. Hudson appears to be partially innured to the blast from the pool, while Xila merely steps around it.
Xila: You really must try better then that
Quinn Winterborn screams
River: M-Moro! Help them, please!
Moro hesitates for a moment, then does as she was bade.
Moro tears into the guardian’s leg, wounding it severely.
Xila calls over to River
Xila: You need any help there love?
River: I…. I’m fine…. Please, help them!
Xila: Well, if you say so, don’t cry to me if you lose something important.
Moro picks up Xila by the leg and clubs her into the guardian… pointy end first.
Quinn Winterborn takes a moment to assess his wounds
Quinn Winterborn: Grr…ugh….
River: Hudson, be c-careful! We’re almost th-through this…
River: Ngh..!!
River: Moro!
Quinn Winterborn: River!
Moro drags River out of the corner and towards safety.
Xila moves into the portal, then immediately tries to stab the guardian
River falls to her knees, still hurting from her wounds.
Izual: FILTHY MORTAL TOOK MY SLAUGHTER!!
Izual screams.
Xila wipes the blood off her clothes
Xila: Well that was fun!
Xila: Nice way to pass the day.
Hudson moves towards the group.
River: …I thank you… but I’m not done yet.
Izual sees hudson approach and trains his bow on him.
Izual: YOU AGAIN?@
Quinn Winterborn: IZUAL!!
Xila walks casually towards Izual
Xila: So you’re a demon huh? Cool!
Hudson: Someone heal this annoyance.
Quinn Winterborn: Not. Cool.
River slowly gets back on her feet, and looks carefully over Izual’s new form.
Izual begins feeling very uncomfortable as the others surround him.
Quinn Winterborn: River, can you heal this him, and bring our Izual back?
Xila: Ooooh, I wonder what colour demons bleed, I’m curious.
River: Give me a bit of time….
Xila: Never stabbed a demon before!
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, hold, please. Our friend is in there…somewhere…
Izual draws his arrow and points it toward the rogue.
Quinn Winterborn face is conficted
River: Excuse m-me…. Mr. D-Demon?
Hudson silently watches everything ready to react if- Izual does something like that!
Izual: JUST TRY IT, YOU MOTE OF DUST!!
River: I don’t believe we’ve been p-properly acquainted…
Hudson: Put it away!
Xila: Ooh, wonder which one of us can hit the other first? Guarantee it will be me.
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, please stand down.
River: My n-name is River…. May I ask for yours?
Izual lets the arrow loose as Hudson closes in on him, nearly missing him.
Quinn Winterborn begins to pray to Amaunator for guidance
Hudson: Listen here, Izual. I will break you before I let you hurt these people.
Izual: GET NEAR ME AGAIN FOOLS, AND I WILL NOT HESITATE TO LOOSE MY ENTIRE QUIVER INTO YOUR SKULLS!!
Quinn Winterborn sighs
River: Please…. Lower your arms… all of you.
Hudson: Hurt these people, and i’ll shatter that bow before doing the same to you.
Quinn Winterborn: Is there any chance we can speak to the Githzerai Izual?
Xila looks around.
Xila chuckles
Xila: You lot are funny!
Quinn Winterborn grumbles
Izual draws another arrow and laughs at Hudson, but soon after his laughter dwindles into a disoriented groan and he collapses.
Xila: Hey demon boy, you need to cool down.
River: Be careful. He m-may not be in the best of moods when he stirs…
Quinn Winterborn curses under his breath
Xila heads towards Izual and places the size of her cold dagger on his cheek (Just so he feels the chill, not that it huts)
River: Give me a m-moment with him again….
River: Mr. Winterborn, could you i-investigate the strange wall there?
Xila steps away from Izual then sits down, fiddling with her dagger in her hands.
Hudson watches him collapse, and lowers his hammer. He doesn’t look at anyone, instead, moving a few feet away and kneeling with his back pressed against a wall.
River: Mr. Aydar, please guard our entrance for a-anyone else coming our way….
River: And…. you. I-I never got your name, ma’am.
Hudson grunts.
Quinn Winterborn sighs,
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, River? What? Oh, the wall
River: I t-thank you for helping us… but…. who are you?
Xila: Name’s Xila!
Moro wanders up to the halfling and sniffs her curiously.
Xila looks wary for a second, then proceeds to stroke Moro
Xila: You got a cute dog there, quite handy in a fight
River: G-Greetings. My name is River…. And this is Moro.
Xila: Nice to meet ya Moro, you as well River.
River nods.
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head
River: The w-wizardly man over yonder is Mr. Quinn Winterborn… and the one with the hammer and stern gaze is Mr. Hudson Aydar.
Quinn Winterborn: …more problems…
Xila: And demon boy?
Xila: Guessing his name is izual judging from what everyone said
River: Our…. sleeping friend is Izual. Although…. the demon within is something unexpected.
River: I sh-shall have a conversation with him when he stirs…
Xila: So, what’chall doing here?
River: W-well…. We’re the Lost Light.
River: As for your q-question…. I could ask you the same thing.
Xila: No no, you first.
River frowns a bit, but relents.
River: If you i-insist….
Quinn Winterborn turns to look at the pool of energy
Izual groans as he sits up from his little nap.
River: We’re seeking an artifact of…. dark interests to those of the g-gods… Cyric and Bane, as well as S-Shar…
Quinn Winterborn: Hmmm….
Xila: Oh… boooooring, and here I thought it was something much more fun
River: Well…. we’ve had our shares of t-troubles…. as you saw yours-self…
Quinn Winterborn: Oh WOW!
Quinn Winterborn starts to shuffle from foot to foot excitedly
Xila: I noticed, glad I showed up when I did huh?
River: …Excuse me, for a moment, Ms. X-Xila…
River: Mr. Aydar, could you s-see what Mr. Winterborn had found?
Hudson: Sure.
River: I’ll talk w-with Izual…
Xila lies back onto the floor, throwing her dagger in the air and catching it perfectly.
Hudson walks over to Quinn, pausing to glare at Izual along the way.
River kneels down to Izual, looking down on the gith with kind eyes.
Quinn Winterborn: Hey Hudson, got a weapn handy?
River: …Are you o-okay?
Hudson: Always.
Quinn Winterborn: OH, AND STAY AWAY FROM THE MAGIC WALL EVERYONE
Hudson: What do you need?
Xila jumps up to her feet.
Xila: Oooh, what’s this?
Izual: Did me blackout again..?
River nods solemnly.
Quinn Winterborn: Dip your weapon into the magical pool
Quinn Winterborn grins with excitement
Xila: Why do we have to stay away from it?
River: We… saw something from you…
River: Do you have s-something to share with us?
Izual: What do you mean?
Hudson: Does it have to be a magical weapon?
Quinn Winterborn: It’s both impassable, and it will attack you, but that’s not important. Someone dip their weapon into the pool.
Quinn Winterborn: Nope. Any weapon will do
Xila nods with excitement
Hudson dips his old warhammer in the pool.
Xila dips her weapon into the pool
River: In the course of b-battle… you were hurt… and you ch-changed…
Quinn Winterborn is preactically dancing with excitement
Hudson: [1d6 = 1]
Xila pouts as hudson beats her to it
River: Into something dark… and d-demonic.
Izual ‘s eyes go wide at the mention of this.
The magic clings to the hammer, filling in old scratches and scrapes with pulsing energy. After a moment then aethyr currents settle and the hammer pulses a faint blue and whisps of frost cling to it.
Quinn Winterborn: AMAZING
Izual: Then what I feared is true…
Hudson: … okay.
Hudson cautiously dips his other weapon in it.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
The pools energies calm slightly
Quinn Winterborn: Hmm, I had hoped it would be repeatable. Still, wasn’t that amazing, Hudson???
Xila: Oooh, now your weapon is the same as mine, all frosty!
Xila: Mine’s sharper though
Hudson: My weapon was already… frosty.
Hudson shows the Hammer of Victory.
River: …I do not d-doubt your strength, Izual… but I worry for your s-safety…
River: Come. Let us return to the others.
Quinn Winterborn studies the pool for a long moment
Izual: Right..
Quinn Winterborn: I think we can likely dip a few more weapons into the pool before the effect dissipates.
Xila: So, how we going to get out of here handsom?
River offers a hand to help the gith to his feet.
Quinn Winterborn: It would work on Izual’s bow, too….
Quinn Winterborn seems to suddenly remember where he is and what’s going on….
Hudson: Sure.
Izual takes it and stands.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, hello. Who are you, halfling, and how did you get here?
Xila: Name’s Xila, and I followed you of course!
Quinn Winterborn: Followed us? But what on earth for?
Izual moves to the group with River.
Xila: Curiosity
Quinn Winterborn: Do you worship Bane? Cyric?
Quinn Winterborn: Possibly not, halfling
Xila: Absolutely not
River: Well, we’re f-fortunate for her help, Mr. Winterborn. Please, don’t be so g-guarded…
Quinn Winterborn: I believe it imbues frost or cold damage.
River: Moro seems to have t-taken a liking to her.
Xila: My dagger’s already frosty, wonder if it’ll make it stronger.
River: So… what is everyone p-playing with over here?
Quinn Winterborn: River! River, this pool imbues elemental damage on weapons dipped into it. Hudson dipped his warhammer in, and it was amazing. The arcane energies….
River: Hm….
River surveys the pool for herself.
Xila: You’re an excitable one, do you do parties?
Quinn Winterborn: I…uh….
Quinn Winterborn coughs, and takes a deep breath
River: What do you think, Moro?
Hudson: I take it I need to hit this wall, Quinn?
Moro looks hesitantly at the pool, and whines.
Quinn Winterborn: I find arcane magic to be fascinating.
River: Hm…
River: Well…. I wonder.
River takes out a small wooden idol and holds it aloft…. before dipping it into the pool while holding onto the thread it hangs on.
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson, please do not. It is unbreakable, and will hurt you
Hudson lowers hammer, and moves away a little.
Xila: So how we going to get through?
Xila: Any ideas mr arcane boy?
River: I t-take it you wish to join us then, Ms. Xila?
Xila: Well of course! Your quest might be boring, but you guys certainly aren’t!
Quinn Winterborn: The wall appeared in response to our approaching the pool. Maybe it will dissipate when the pool calms down?
Quinn Winterborn: Alternately, there may be a teleport mechanism somewhere. The Tower of Art was full of old, powerful magics
The energies whirl around the small totem, and you hear the clarion call of a pack of howling wolves as the energies clash together. When removed the totem pulses a dull silversheen, and emits a whispered howl when primal energies are pushed through it.
River: ….Strange.
River: Perhaps you were right, Moro. It is dangerous works.
Izual follows suit and dips his greatbow in.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Moro with a slightly wounded expression
The pool energies wan to almost nothing… you think there may only be one more use left before it is gone.
Izual: Everyone, I have apology.
Xila: ooh, this’ll be good.
Moro begins to drink at the pool’s surface.
Quinn Winterborn looks directly into Izual’s eyes
Izual: River has brought to mine attention that I… Transmogrify into a demon when I’m become too hurt .
Moro glows briefly, but does not seem to be effected.
Hudson turns and looks at Izualm face painfully blank
Quinn Winterborn nods but says nothing
River: Perhaps…. you have an idea h-how this is so?
Izual: It is as I feared long ago and I now have confirmation… Mine father performed a blood ritual on I when I was infant.
Xila: Oooh a blood ritual!
Xila: Interesting
Izual: The demon you see is my brother.
River bites her lip as she takes in this troubling information.
River: …What is his name? P-perhaps we can help you with… your c-condition…?
Izual: If my research of the Daemonomicon holds truth… His name is mine name.
Izual: Izual.
Quinn Winterborn: That…matches what I was able to learn from him
River: Hm… Most unusual…
Izual: I’m know this is a awful burden to the group, and I’m understanding if any wish me to leave. I would not want to cause more problem.
Quinn Winterborn: Izual….This is a problem
River: No…. I… I feel as though it is our d-duty to help him.
Hudson: I don’t want you to go, Izual. I trust you more than I’ve trusted anyone in a long time. The same with a lot of people in this group.
Quinn Winterborn: Can we, River?
River: I…. I don’t know.
Hudson pauses, and takes a deep breath.
River: I’ve never dealt with…. possession and d-demons at all…
Quinn Winterborn: My faith compels me to help Izual, but I fear the demon may strike when our backs are turned.
Hudson: But If the other you tries to hurt someone else in the group, I will not pause in their defence. I hope you can understand.
Xila: Well if he goes out of control, a good sharp dagger will fix that right up!
Xila: Or a blow to the head with the strong mans hammer, that works too.
Izual: It is mine understanding that with the proper practice I can control the demon within mine body.
Quinn Winterborn speaks softly, sorrowfully
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, the demon has threatened us
Izual: I am sorry…
Quinn Winterborn looks down at his feet, but says nothing
River: …In any case, our g-goal is ahead of us.
As Quinn removes his staff from the pool, the last of the energy from the whirling aethyr is absorbed into the staff, tiny tongues of flame dancing along its length. The moment the pool is gone, the wall behind you falters aloud, turning solid like ice before fracturing and exploding outward, raining the staircase behind with shards of solidified magic.
Xila: Cool!
River: Let us go. W-we are still being p-pursued, I fear…
Hudson looks at Xila for a moment, and then back to Izual.
Izual: I will work on this so that I’m not cause danger anymore. It is my understanding that only when my physical body is in danger does the demon show itself. I vow on my honor that I will master him.
Izual: But yes, lets us be going.
Hudson: We have a lot to think on, and not much time to wait. I think we all have enough mind to walk and think at the same time.
Quinn Winterborn offers a handshake to Izual, again looking him in the eye
Quinn Winterborn: Thanks, River
The staircase beyond is blocked going downwards, so your only choice is to go upwards. The stairs are not on the crazy angle as the previous case, and you think you can see a light way up above.

Chat log started at 18.5.2016 / 17:19:00

Last time on HBC, we left the party in a large room that formerly held a magical vortex. The vortex taken care of, the barrier faded, allowing the party to continue up the stairs and deeper into the Tower of the Art. Somewhere in here, a relic devoted to Shar was waiting for them…
The party is now in a silence, dark room as the magical pool has disipated and the barrier disolved. The staircase ahead of you leads up, and at less of a chaotic angle as the one leading here. The only available route is… up.
Xila: Only way is up! Doesn’t look like there’s any traps, so lets go cuties
Quinn Winterborn: I….ugh…
Quinn Winterborn heads upstairs
Hudson follows Quinn upstairs.
The staircase leads upwards, well beyond what another floor or two would be. After about five floors of stairs, you come to a landing bearing another archway with a seven stared motif, similar to that which you have seen on the lower levels. Here it is more intricate, and a small font sits off to the side.
Opposite the font and through the archway the stairs continue to go ‘upward" but in near the opposite angle to your initial trajectory.
Quinn Winterborn inspects the font for a long moment, then steps away, carrying the definite air of a sad puppy
Quinn Winterborn: I guess we continue upward?
Xila: Looks that way, come along, you big puppy you.
Xila gives Quinn a friendly tap then heads up the stairs.
Quinn Winterborn turns back and looks at the font again
Quinn Winterborn: I…
Hudson: What’s wrong,
Xila stops
Xila: What is it now? Don’t want to divorce the font? It really doesn’t love you back y’know
Izual looks as if he’s extremely deep in thought.
Quinn Winterborn gestures at the font, looking slightly annoyed
Quinn Winterborn: It’s got magic, but it’s divine, nor arcane in nature. Maybe something related to blessings of Mystra, or devotions to her?
Quinn Winterborn looks around
Quinn Winterborn: I’m sorry, I’m not sure if it’s of use to us or not
Quinn Winterborn looks at Xila
Hudson: Izual. You seem to be of a more religeous mindset. Perhaps you can think of something more?
Izual breaks out of his thoughts.
Izual: I.. What?
River presses her lips together firmly, remaining silent.
Hudson: The font appears to be divine magic rather than arcane. Can you examine it?
Izual: I will try. Give me second.
Xila sits on the stairs, clearly bored.
Quinn Winterborn: Is it blasphemous to wonder why Mystra had to die?
Izual: I think this was used for blessing individuals.
River: All things die… its p-part of the natural cycle.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ve always seen the gods as being apart from nature, but what do I know I guess.
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, thanks Izual.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe we will need the blessing of Mystra to progress further in the tower, but since she’s dead, for now maybe we push onwards?
Izual: Either water or wine was poured in, and a prayer was said… and then a mark of the Goddess would be placed on the hands or forehead of the desired desciple.
Hudson: Anyone want to be blessed? Or shall we continue?
Quinn Winterborn looks undecided for a moment, then shakes his head
Xila yawns
Xila: If we’re gonna stand here all day, I might need a bed and a nice fluffy pillow.
River: Blessing of a d-dead goddess? N-No thanks.
Hudson: Okay, let’s put Xila out of our misery, and continue forward.
Quinn Winterborn nods in agreement with River, shuddering slightly
Xila jumps up with excitement, then proceeds to climb the stairs.
Heading up this staircase is trecherous – the stairs crumble away at barely a moments notice, causing you to have to struggle to move upwards.
Quinn, Xila and River are unable to catch themselves repeatedly and end up with lots of scrapes and bruises as they finally come to the top of the stairs.
The landing allows only one direction, as the stairs continuing uprwards have been buried in tons of stone. THe hall here goes through another starred archway before turning down a hall.
River: Miss, Xila…. could you p-perhaps scout ahead?
Xila: For you sweety? Anything
Xila keeps to the shadows, and moves forward silently.
Izual peers around the corner
Xila moves forward slightly further
The hall runs along for a few more feet before opening up into a large room teeming with light. Every few heartbeats a sparkle of light flashes through the rooms ceiling.
Izual followed closely behind her, bow ready in hand.
Xila: Oooooh pretty
Xila moves back and pokes her head round the corner, cost is clear guys, you can move up
Izual immediately hold his hand out toward Xila’s face, and then slowly moves a single finger to his mouth.
This room was obviously once a magical workshop of great potency. Bookshelves filled with ritual tomes line one wall, while pools of bubbling energy rest in the corners. Bursts of light streak toward the ceiling where they explode in flashes of brilliant light. A shattered anvil floats in mid-air at the center of the domed chamber, as if the energies from the pools were once directed to that spot, creating a forge of pure energy. At the center of the room, a matrix of runes has been carved into the floor.
Quinn Winterborn: OOohh!
In one corner rests an elaborate work bench and desk which is covered with journals and papers. A line of glowing blue sigils runs along the stone all around this desk, forming a border or ward of some sort. In the other corner, some sort of sacred circle seems to have been inscribed, and floating in the center of that circle is the ghostly form of a human man wearing wizard’s robes and carrying a staff.
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, check the ceiling
The man glares angrily at you. “Defilers and trespassers! You shall tread no further on the sacred stones of Mystra! I, Thagdal, Master of the Tower of the Art, command you to leave this place at once lest you feel the full might and fury of the Mother of All Magic!”
Izual: Everyone, go back.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh no, not more drop ghouls….
Xila steps forward.
Xila: Hey handsom, we’re followers of Mystra ourselves, just checking and making sure the mistress’s tower is well preserved, that’s all! So if it’s alright with you, we’ll just be on our way through, alrighty?
“You are traitors and defilers! You don’t follow the ways of Mystra!”
Xila: I tried
Thagdal, Phantom Master seems confused, but not convinced of your story.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, did you foget to do a devotion at the font?
Xila: Well, looks like there’s no way we’re getting through without a fight
Xila thinks to herself a moment, then nods to herself.
Xila: Yup!
Xila then proceeds to roll forward and flings her dagger at Thagdal
As Xila moves forward, the magic sparkling in the air coelesces and forms a magical tentacle that slams into her.
Xila dodges the tendrill, then fires her dagger at Thegdal
Xila: That’s not playing very nice
Quinn Winterborn: Xila??
Quinn Winterborn: What? Oh, hi there! Who might you be?
“You are traitors and defilers! You don’t follow the ways of Mystra!”
Xila: Yes yes, we heard you the first time, tough guy.
Quinn Winterborn: …and you can’t possibly be alive….
Quinn Winterborn looks around a bit starstruck by the room
Quinn Winterborn focuses on the tendril.
Quinn Winterborn: Watch out, Xila!
Xila: Oh this thing?
Xila points at the tendril
Xila: Yeah, we’ve met
Quinn Winterborn: Yeah.
Quinn Winterborn frowns, and looks back at the anvil
Xila: I mean, it tried to go straight for the kiss, and I was like “At least buy me dinner first” so I dodged it.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Xila as though he has absolutely no idea what she just said
Quinn Winterborn is suprised and alarmed at the sudden attack from Thagdal
Quinn Winterborn: Whoa! Look out!!
Thagdal lets loose a shriek that grates on every nerve in your body, threatening to tear your mind asunder.
Thagdal then points to one of the pools near the halfing, and it boils to life, spitting forth what appears to be blood.
Xila shudders a bit from Thagdals shriek, but composes herself and dodges the spitting blood.
Xila dodges the tendrills again, then gives it a big slap.
Xila: I said NO
A second tendril forms and slams into the halfling, dazing her.
It does not appear to have damaged or impacted the tendrils at all.
Hudson: okay,
Hudson: I was not expecting that
Hudson: Quinn?
Quinn Winterborn tears his eyes away from the anvil…
Hudson: What is this?
River walks carefully into the corridor entrance… and calmly looks at the scene.
River: T-this….is troubling.
Quinn Winterborn: You can’t harm it with your weapon. It’s some kind of…animated magic
Hudson: Can you Un-Animate it?
Quinn Winterborn: Um, I guess I can try….
Xila: Yes, that would be wonderfull, this one’s trying to get in my pants.
Xila points at the tendril that hit her
River: …F-focus fire on the spirit! S-Stay away from the center of the p-pools!
River: Take h-heart! Be s-strong!
Xila: Thank you sweety!
Izual: Master Thagdal, I am follower of the Goddess! The Holy Font was empty, and I could not recieve her blessing. Please, let I pass freely!
Thagdal, Phantom Master: Leave this place at once lest you feel the full might and fury of the Mother of All Magic, foul demon!
Izual looks visibly hurt from the words.
Izual ‘s face turns from pain to anger as he readies his arrow to fire.
River: While I would rather end this p-peacefully, I fear words will n-not be enough…
River: We are w-warriors, not p-poets… despite our sponsorship.
Xila rolls sideways and flings her dagger at Thagdal again
Quinn Winterborn: Hudson, there’s a trigger plate! Shove something underneath it to disable the tendrils!
Quinn Winterborn points
Thagdal, Phantom Master snaps his fingers and the pool behind Quinn bubbles to life, a font of magma boiling outwards and it forms a massive wave that threatens to crash on the mage.
Quinn Winterborn: OOwha!
Thagdal, Phantom Master: You defile the Mistress’ house with your presence! Leave here, lest you anger me!
Xila: Can someone do something about that guy, his words hurt me.
Xila: I’ll take care of the little trap problem for ya
The ring of azure runes flares to life as Hudson approaches
Quinn Winterborn: Cool!
It appears to be some kind of magical circle. You note that the Master has not moved from the circle.
Hudson: Leave her alone!
Thagdal, Phantom Master: DEFILER!
Hudson: Rotting corpse of a dead goddess!
River: Moro, the halfling!
Moro bounds over to Xila and grabs the scruff of her collar in her jaws.
River: Please, stop! We’re t-trying to stop a cult of Cyric and B-Bane from getting an a-artifact!
River: Stay your w-wrath but a m-moment!
Thagdal, Phantom Master appears to calm for a moment, mulling over your words, while fending off Hudson.
River: Focus on the t-trap, Miss Xila… We will p-persevere.
Izual: You must believe, Thagdal! I am a humble follower! Please, let go of your minions!
Thagdal, Phantom Master howls in rage, his spectral hair flying wildly in an aethyric wind. The two other pools in the room boil to life, one a spewing vat of acid, the other a glowing pool of radiance..
Xila tinkers with the trap, clearly in her element.
With nimble fingers and a slim wedge of stone, Xila is able to break bits off of the trigger plate, rendering the entire plate inert. The tentacles writhe in ethreal agony and then simply disappear.
Quinn Winterborn points at Thagdal, and unleashes a ray of frost that does nothing more than chill the far wall
Thagdal, Phantom Master then disappears from view!
Thagdal, Phantom Master activates an AP!
As the master disappears, the pools surge and the waves slap at those within range!
Hudson: Quinn! Where is he?
Xila: Anyone know where he went? is he still in that circle thing?
Quinn Winterborn: I…..oh Amaunator….
Hudson: He’s not in the circle, I know that much.
River calms herself and focuses on the settling dust… hoping it will show the way to the phantom.
River: Moro, search th-there!
Moro smells the air and bites at the wind!
While the attack does not hit, it does reveal the location of the phantom.
Thagdal, Phantom Master: TRESPASSERS!
Moro suddenly darkens, her fur showing glimmering runes along the shadowy hide. Her teeth bared, she growls at the phantom mage.
River: Strike there! To the w-west!
Xila throws caution to the wind and goes to stab Thadal
Moro bites at the heels of the phantasm, taking the foe’s focus off of the halfling’s blade.
Xila pets Moro
Quinn Winterborn catches the caution Xila cast upon the winds
Quinn Winterborn turns cautiously, and points a finger at Thagdal
Quinn Winterborn tries to scurry away from all of the pools
Xila easily dodges the attack
Xila: Nope!
Thagdal, Phantom Master phases out of this plane and reappears elsewhere.
River shifts away from the pursuing spectre, allowing Moro to take her place in the front lines.
River: Please, s-stop this! We must stop the c-cultists from getting that artifact f-first!
Moro tears into the phantasm’s leg, spirit against spirit.
Hudson: Stay Still!
Quinn Winterborn: Need me to run in there for you, Xila??
Quinn Winterborn grins
Xila: Nah, I’m good hun
Xila pierces Thagdal with her dagger
Xila follows her pierce with a low slash
Quinn Winterborn a spectral hand appears beside Quinn, and pulls a healing potion out, holding it at ready
Thagdal, Phantom Master phases out and then reappears to unleash a horrible scream!
River clutches her chest as her mind is rattled by the phantom.
Xila: Could do with some of your mighty fine healing right about now sweety.
River: …Y-yes…. give me b-but a moment to catch my b-breath.
Thagdal, Phantom Master: LEAVE NOW MORTALS!
River limps over to the far side of the chamber, as Moro charges toward the phantom.
Xila: How about you leave Handom? Then everyone will be happy right?
Xila: You’ll be happy cause you wont see us, right?
Xila: And we’ll be happy, because you wont keep hurting us.
Xila: Win win!
Moro pauses, and awaits the others to close in on the phantom before striking.
Xila: Well, looks like you wont listen to me, so gonna have to stab you till you go away.
Moro suddenly grabs onto Xila and swings the halfling like a club at the phantom!
Moro lets the halfling go, and howls in triumph!
Xila: Thanks for the headache
Quinn Winterborn points his staff at the phantasm, and growls in frustration.
Quinn Winterborn: Die already!
Quinn Winterborn: Xila – grab the potion!
Xila looks
Xila notices a floating hand holding a potion.
Xila: Well.. gee thanks floating hand thing!
Xila grabs it
Quinn Winterborn grins, looking altogether pleased with himself
Xila: I think that things got the hots for you sweety! You might want to watch out.
River cowers as the phantom strikes with his sword. She narrowly dodges the attack, as the blade slices through the air.
River (wounded): Nnngh!
Xila: Aww, is that it?
Xila sits on the floor.
River leans heavily on her spear, still reeling from the wounds inflicted by the phantom’s assault.
Hudson lowers hammer. “Well that was frustrating.”
Quinn Winterborn winks at Xila, trying to catch his breath
Hudson: River, are you okay?
Xila seems to ignore the wink, then jumps up again.
With the final shot, the phantom turns to mist and the pools still and begins to turn solid. The room becomes still and only the flashes of magic playing around the magical anvil in the ceiling.
Xila: So, what’s the deal with that.
River: I… I am fine. J-just need to press onward…
Xila pointst at the anvil.
Quinn Winterborn studies the anvil intently (arcana)
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, care to check the desk for traps, treasure, or maybe just a cool book or two?
Xila: Absolutely!
Xila: Maybe not the books though, not much of a reader
Xila investigates the table for loot and traps and other stuff
Moro prods the halfling with her nose, eager to get her share of the loots.
There are several items scattered among the half-made trinkets and baubles strewn throughout the room. Of most interest is a pair of scrolls with an ancient ritual inscribed on it, a journal is found on the desk which seems to have some interesting tidbits about the keepers of the tower.
River takes the journal and reads aloud for the others.
Xila finds the book, then throws it to Quinn.
Xila: You like books, catch
Quinn Winterborn reads it over, twice, clearly fascinated
Quinn Winterborn: This is amazing…
Quinn Winterborn: I…I don’t quite know what to make of it, but it’s very interesting…
River: …And so our m-mission ends. For the m-moment, anyways.
Quinn Winterborn seems to not notice River’s words, as he is lost in thought.
You are well aware that the Tower of the Sky is a floating earthmote that is chained to the southern part of the ruined Zhentil Keep – the part thats amid the shadowy zone that no one enters, as it is filled with powerful undead.
Hudson: … So we have a powerful magical thing meant to hold potential magical energy, hidden in a floating piece of rock, in the middle of an evil part of town that is full of undead creatures.
Xila: What are we waiting for? Sounds fun!
River: M-more or less, yes…
Quinn Winterborn looks up, distracted from his thoughts
Quinn Winterborn: I do wonder if the vessel was not used to store something more…sinister
Xila etches her name in the wooden desk with her dagger.
Hudson: What could be sinister about the powerful magical… you know what? I don’t feel like i need to point out the danger again.
The northern staircase ends abruptly in a pile of rubble, meaning that you arent getting back out this way.
The rifling through things takes the better part of an hour, and while you feel better knowing that the relic is not here, there are still others that are after it.
There are no other avenues or halls that you havent been able to see. You have to go out the way you came in.
River: …We should r-return to to Mr. Cobb. Our work here is at an e-end…
Xila: Who’s Mr. cobb?
River: Come. We should not stay l-longer than we should.
Quinn Winterborn looks around fondly
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: I agree, River
Xila: What, you’re leaving? But we need to go to that temple! it sounded so much fun.
Xila pouts a bit.
Hudson: Want me to carry any books out of here for you, Quinn?
Xila notices the others walking away, then quickly follows them.
Xila: Fiiine, but we all agree we’ll go there someday right?… Yeah, knew you guys would agree!
Xila: So, who’s Mr. Cobb?
Quinn Winterborn: But we still haven’t found what we came for, have we, River?
River: It isn’t here… firmly out of our g-grasp.
Hudson: Cobb is the man who sent us here, Xila
River: Thankfully, it remains s-safe in the darkness. For n-now.
Xila: Oh, well I’m gonna stick with you guys, this was fun!.. So off to Mr cobblewobbles then.
Hudson: I don’t know much about the man. Perhaps one of these two would like to explain to you whilst we travel?
Xila: I’m assuming Mr. Cobb is short for cobblewobbles right?.. Right?
Quinn Winterborn eyes Xila with profound skepticism
Hudson: It might just be his name, Xila
Izual: How are we planning to get back to Mr. Cobb? I dont know if the ship will still be in town.
River: We walk.
Izual: Around the Moonsea?
Quinn Winterborn: Back to the docks, see what we can find or hire?
River: If need be.
Hudson: We can go back to the town, and get a goodnight’s sleep… as best as possible. Find transport back, and then we sail.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe his contact will be able to advise us
Hudson: I barely know what day it is anymore.
Xila: I can steal a ship, if you want? Of course we’d have to learn pretty quickly how to sail it.
Izual: I think its only been a day since we arrived…
Xila: and then it’ll be difficult not to get noticed.. yeah, might not be the brightest idea.
Xila: That’s what got me… No, never mind. Forget I said anything guys!
Hudson sideeyes xila quietly

Chat log started at 25.5.2016 / 17:19:53

Last time on HBC – the heroes won! You were able to find the lost Tower of Art, climb through the rubble, battle the hidden guardian and win the day. Sadly, the relic you sought was not in the tower, but instead taken to another place by the former champion of the Zhentarim, now Exarch of Bane, Fzoul Chembryl. Your task, for now, is complete. You just need to escape this place with your information and heads, in tact.
River: This way. We s-shouldn’t tarry here for t-too long…
Hudson: If anyone has followed us in, we’ll be walking back towards them. Be on your guard. We are not out of danger, even if we’ve completed our task.
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder if there’s another way out…
Quinn Winterborn looks thoughtful
Xila: Well with you here to protect me handom, I ain’t got nothing to worry about.
Hudson: I’m sure you’re perfectly capable of protecting yourself too, Xila.
Hudson grins.
Xila: You know it!
Xila: But I wouldn’t mind a helping hand.
Xila winks at Hudson, then goes to leave
Hudson looks back at the rest of the party, and then catches up with Xila.
Quinn Winterborn shrugs, baffled
Quinn Winterborn catches up
Moro moves ahead of the pack, keeping her nose to the ground and her ears alert for trouble.
The tower is noticable quieter and more stable as you descend the staircase, the last dregs of magic having been whisked away when the magical maelstrom died down. Aside from your provided light and the quiet jingle of metal coins in your pocket, there are no sounds either.
You exit the tower with no further issues and trek back out into the ruined sewer system.
Quinn Winterborn takes a moment to look around, and wonder how it all might have been in another age.
Quinn Winterborn: We need a ship….
Hudson: Why don’t we get to town first, and then explore our options?
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry, just thinking ahead
Xila: Yuck, back into the sewers I go… Wait, do we really have to leave this place? It was nicy and cosy.
River: Y-you may stay if you wish…. b-but we have to return to Hillsfar.
Xila: Fiiiine
Journeying back through the sewers is time consuming, but done relatively easily with River and Moro near unerringly navigating back the route you came. You shortly pace through the old mausoleum, though the dead are at rest this time.
Xila: So, how we getting to this palce you gotta go? I could maybe bribe some ship captain to smuggle us out in crates.
Quinn Winterborn: Sounds…cozy?
Xila: All nice and snuggly.
Xila winks at Quinn
Quinn Winterborn raises his eyebrows, but says nothing
River: I d-don’t believe it will be so easy as to leave by sh-ship…
Pacing out of the mausoleum, you head back in the direction of the fungus cavern, the scent of which you can detect well before you can see the large mushroom caps.
Xila: Nonsense, gold can buy you anything.
River shakes her head.
Quinn Winterborn: I am not looking forward to the fungi.
River: I don’t d-doubt the greed of people in this c-city. But does it o-outweight the zealotry of those c-chasing us?
Quinn Winterborn: Speaking of which, know a better way through them, Xila?
Xila: Nope
Dancing through the fungus, you manage to avoid being too clumsy this time, and no one is attacked by the nightmarish spores. You break back into the more “sewer-y” part of these ruins, with filth from the outskirts of the city getting stronger as you move back the way you came.
The journey back has taken much less time than the journey to the Tower. You estimate that you’ve only spent the better part of the ‘morning’ walking, putting the hike at a mere 3 hours instead of the wandering eight or nine it took you to find the place earlier. Without much fanfare, you find the entrance to the Temple of Shar, complete with Faeryl body waiting for you.
River: C-come now. No time to w-waste.
Quinn Winterborn looks down, saying little
Xila looks at the body, and at quinns reaction.
Xila: Friend of yours?
River carefully treads past Faeryl’s burnt corpse.
Quinn Winterborn gulps and nods
Hudson: At least we completed his last mission.
Izual only puts up his hood and says a quiet prayer as they pass.
River: N-not yet. We still have to return.
Xila hangs back to let the others walk off slightly.
Xila once the others are slightly out of view, xila proceeds to check the unknown body for any gold “He wont be needing it”
Moving out of the room, you find signs that someone else has indeed been here in your absence. You notice that the remains of the Cyricist (smears mostly) are completely gone and their personal effects are also gone.
Quinn Winterborn: We need to be careful, I think
Xila catches up to them
Hudson: I think whoever came this way, turned back. I think our path of destruction might have deterred them.
Quinn Winterborn: Hope so. Ok, let’s get moving
River shakes her head.
River: It is n-never that simple.
Hudson confidently walks back towards the entrance.
Xila whistles casually.
Quinn Winterborn pulls out the Sharran symbol briefly, examines it, then returns it to his pack.
Xila notices it
Xila: Oooh, what was that Quinn? Some deep dark secret?
River: ….I would k-keep that hidden, Mr. W-winterborn.
River: The less attention we d-draw, the b-better.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Quinn Winterborn: Probably right, River.
Leaving the temple is done without anything eventful. Knotted ropes are left hanging in the entrance “hole” which are easily climbed up and you manage to get back to the trap door that let you down here to begin with.
River: …Now. To the t-tavern? Or to the d-docks?
Xila: Which tavern you going to?
Hudson: Do you know of a good one, Xila?
Hudson: … let me rephrase, do you know of a SAFE one, Xila.
Quinn Winterborn: Heh
Xila: In this place? It’d be easier to find a needle in a hornets nest then a save tavern.
Hudson: I’ll go with Xila and try and procure a boat. the rest of you should get some sleep
Xila: So, what tavern you going to? I’ll go and get us a boat.
Quinn Winterborn: I…like sleep
Hudson: I assume you know this place better than me.
Izual: Wherever us go, I need to go to store and restock.
Quinn Winterborn: This might not be the best city for shopping. I think we need to keep a low profile and leave quickly
River: What do you think, Moro?
Xila: But first, we need to get to the city, come on lets roll.
Moro yawns, then gets up to move into the city proper.
River: If we are to move, we cannot be s-separated.
River: To be alone…. is a d-death sentence in this place.
Xila: I’d prefer to be with as few people as possible while I work my magic at the docks sweety.
Hudson: You saw how many eyes were on us when we arrived. A pair of us will draw much less attention that five.
Xila: I was alone before I met you, doesn’t matter too much about me being alone now right?
River frowns.
River: I…. I am adamant about this.
Xila: I can blend in more if a crowd isn’t following me around.
Hudson: Would it make you feel safer if I went with you to tavern and Xila went alone?
River shakes her head.
River: N-no… I still feel it is best to stick together.
Xila: Fine, you can come, but you must agree to stay as far away from me as possible while I work my charms.
Xila: If things go badly, well. They shouldn’t, but if they do… It’ll be fun.
Quinn Winterborn: But we do so enjoy your charms, Xila.
River: …I p-pray it doesn’t come to that…
Reaching up and pushing open the rusted iron hatch, you hear a phantom squeal, that Quinn instantly recognizes as an alarm/sending spell. The squeal fades away at once, and you are left in the old warehouse, once you are all able to climb up and out.
Quinn Winterborn: Alarm spell!
Izual nocks an arrow and drops to a knee.
Quinn Winterborn: Someone must know we’re here now
River: …No time to w-waste then. We have to move q-quickly.
A few pregnant moments pass in silence as you await an ambush, but nothing happens, only the soft sigh of the wind pressing against the old building. The first rays of sunshine begin to poke over the horizon as a new day begins.
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s move, then
Xila: Nothings coming, looks like we’re clear
Pushing yourselves in the early morning, it takes the better part of the morning to get back towards the docks, as the streets are crowded with merchants and slavers that jockey for better positions to hawk their various merchandise. In the morning breeze you can definately tell that you smell like you spent the night wandering around in the sewers – a long bath cannot come quickly enough.
Quinn Winterborn politely refrains from pointing out that Hudson smells
Hudson generally looks like murder is his go to response today.
Xila: Phooey you guys stink.
Xila sniffs herself
Xila: Well, guess I do as well
Xila: Well, guess I should try and get us a ship.
As you pass by the tavern you first encountered Master Cobb’s son and his pirate band in when you first arrived, you see that the foot traffic has stopped completely. There is a makeshift barricade across the street, and well over three dozen men wearing the clenched fist of Bane are questioning those seeking to push through to get to the docks. A man wielding a hammer easily the size of River stands at the rear, eyes scanning across the crowd, searching ceaselessly for something or someone…
Hudson: It looks like first we’re going to have to murder some more people.
Quinn Winterborn: This could get ugly. There has to be a better way
For those of you that recall, the men who are questioning the crowd are dressed much like the commander from the Temple. Three dozen of them is a death sentence.
Xila: I don’t think we’re getting through this way.
Quinn Winterborn: (softly) you know, I might be carryign something that is not wise to be carrying
Hudson: The Docks are off the table. Calmly, we’re all going to turn around, one by one, and walk back the way we came.
Xila: There
Xila: There’s gotta be a way to the docks, they cant control the entire city.
Hudson: They don’t have to. They can check everything that’s leaving through the docks though
Quinn Winterborn: If they search us and find the secret in my pack, there might be trouble.
Xila: I don’t even know what you’ve got.
River: …I have an i-idea… follow me.
Hudson: The way onto the docks are barricaded, there are people searching the crates and cargo. Unless someone is hiding an invisibility power, we’re not getting through this way.
River begins going a different direction, away from the docks.
Hudson: Don’t move as a huge group.
Xila follows River
??: Hey! You – with the big dog. C’mere! We need to talk to you.
Quinn Winterborn: Keep walking…
Men at the blockade that arent actively shaking down people start to look in your direction.
River ignores the voice and continues on her way.
Moro blinks… and heads down another direction, down a different road.
??
: You see’m, Yarl? That big dog just disappeared. Keep a look out for the dark elf though – thats a dead giveaway.
The men start off in a different direction than your group moves, harassing people as they go.
River then nods…. and Moro fades from view.
Xila: Nice going River
River: We are n-not done yet. Q-quickly.
Quinn Winterborn starts muttering about illusions
River then continues down her path, hopeful for a way out of this city.
Xila: Looks like we’re not getting a boat… Guess it’s the long walk out of here.
Xila: Although I could probably sneak through to the docks, maybe get a ship to pick the rest of you up.
Quinn Winterborn: Long walk involves crossing a river, but I’m up for it if need be
Hudson: or we head to a nearby town with a dock, and buy passage from there…
Hudson: Although, that’d probably be going the wrong way.
You winding trek through the city leads you to the less often used Dark Gate, which leads towards the city of Mulmaster, famed for its slave trade. Ruins dot this route and its far from a popular one. You reach the wide open space between the last few huts and the walls of the keep.
The gate leading out of the city is garrisoned by a number of black-cloaked men and women wearing the heraldry of the Zhentarim, the Black Network. Their leader, a human wearing a gem-studded holy symbol of Cyric, gestures for you to stop well short of the gate. “No one may leave this city carrying items that are rightfully the property of the Zhentarim,” sneers the leader.
“You will surrender all magical objects and papers in your possession for inspection. Your equipment and any standard ritual or spell books will be returned to you following the inspection, but any contraband or items of historical significance to the Zhentarim will be kept. If you do not surrender these items, or if you resist us in any way, then we will take them from you by force.” The mercenaries’ swords clear their scabbards in a practiced motion.
Quinn Winterborn: Sounds like a scam to me
Xila yawns
Xila: Hey, Bozos, you know who you’re dealing with here?
Quinn Winterborn: Avoiding a fight would be fantastic, here….
Quinn Winterborn: Xila….
??: Paltry halfing and a merry band of misfits, looks like. I dont rightly care who you are and what’cher business is. Just do as I say and ye can get one with yer day. Otherwise, this guy gets a gold coin for every scalp, per his contract.
Xila: We worship Cyric as well you idiots! We’re leaving the city on a holy mission.
Xila: It’s one of great secrecy, that’s why we’re not showing any symbols.
Zhent Black Sun Adept 2 narrows his eyes , “Plucky wench you are. But I recognize the Black Suns followers on sight. You should have gone with something more believable, like a churlish Zhent dog or a whore of a Sharran! Take that one’s head, Barlgam.”
The ones in front of you have drawn swords.
Two men garbbed in dark robes emerge from the left tower.
Xila moves forward then readies her dagger
Izual nocks an arrow, and aims high into the sky. Drawing his bowstring nearly as far as it can go, he lets the arrow loose.
Izual smiles wide, as he retreats to the trees for cover.
The priest casts a minor charm at Hudson, before unleashing a blast of violet light in a beam.
Zhent Black Sun Adept 2: Not the little one, you dolt… the one with the hammer!
River cowers in the back, fearful of getting into combat once again…
Moro reappears from a flurry of shadow and mist, and tries to takedown the Cyricist with vengeance!
The mage rushes forward and unleashes a blast of light that blinds Hudson.
Quinn Winterborn: Guh
Zhent War Mage 2 screams in agony.
Poisonous vapors linger in the blast area (DT and damage for entering)
Quinn Winterborn coughs and sputters.
Xila rolls behind Hudson, and flings her dagger
Izual charges an arrow with the newfound power of his magic bow.
Zhent Black Sun Adept 2 staggers a moment from the thrown blade, and then falls to the ground without any drama…
Quinn Winterborn: River! We’re wounded!
THe priest laughs as his minor charm pulls Hudson within striking distance, and then he unleashes a blast of magic that nearly knocks Hudson over.
River: Distance is a b-bit of an issue…
Quinn Winterborn: I know this is difficult, River, but we need you
River walks up to the conflict, warily.
Moro howls and emboldens Hudson’s spirit as he strikes a staggering blow to the Zhents.
Hudson: Get Through The GATE!
Quinn Winterborn: There is no escape from my MAGIC!!!!
Quinn Winterborn nearly throws up from the exertion
Xila: You guys will need new eyes soon.
Xila lets out a barrage of attacks, targeting their eyes
Xila continues the assault
Izual charges an arrow with primal power, and nocks it with a second special arrow.
Xila: And that’s how you do it!
Xila: How you boys coping without being able to see? Not nice is it huh?
Quinn Winterborn grins bloodthirstily
Izual quickly draws his bow for another attack.
River: Aim true, Izual. Stay the course.
Izual: Aye, River. I are doing what I can. You should tend to Hudson and Quinn.
??
: I think thats them up ahead… Hurry, they are under attack!
Xila: Uh-ohhh, looks like we got more company
Quinn Winterborn: We need to GO
Xila: Quick, while they’re blinded, make for the gate!
Zhent Black Sun Adept 1 action points…
Hudson: Run! Get Everyone else out!
Hudson: Xila. I’m trusting you.
Xila: I ain’t leaving you behind handsom!
Quinn Winterborn: Well I’m not noble. I’m running!
Xila: You’re not going anywhere unless we’re all going Quinn!
The soldier moves unsteadily and swings at the open air.
River warily steps forward, looking for an opportunity.
River: Stay the course. T-take them down…. one at a t-time…
Xila: Quinn, you run, a daggers in your back, understand?
Xila: We all leave, or nobody leaves.
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head, looking confused and weary, then nods
Xila: Take out the bloodied one!
Quinn Winterborn swears like a sailor
Izual nocks a rather large arrow, more-so than his standard fare. As he takes aim at the Adept, he draws the bow as far back as it can go, and lets it loose. The huge arrow speeds straight toward the Adept’s neck, and needless to say, he lost his head about it.
Quinn Winterborn cheers on Izual
Quinn Winterborn: Move, Moro, I want to thunderwave them again!
River: We have to keep g-going…. Just a bit further….
Quinn Winterborn: Don’t want to hurt you
Quinn Winterborn puts a hand to his head, which comes away bloodied.
Quinn Winterborn: Thansk, River
River: Ignore Moro! Attack with all of your might!
Hudson climbs to his feet, body a mess of dirt and blood.
Hudson swings feebly at the soldier in front of quinn, almost losing balance again.
Quinn Winterborn face twists with a mixture of fury, and worry for his friends
Quinn Winterborn: Be.
Quinn Winterborn: GONE
Xila shifts to be closer to Moro
Xila does a dagger dance and pierces the soldier
Xila gives Moro a good pet
Quinn Winterborn scowls
Quinn Winterborn dodges deftly
Quinn Winterborn curses
The Zhent slices at Quinn with his sword, misses, but follows it up with a hefty shield bash.
Quinn Winterborn: Wuuuuuuuhhhh
River: There is only the one left…. b-be quick.
Izual: His will to fight is admirable.
Quinn Winterborn: ee ee ooo oh
Moro rends the last Zhent down to the ground.
Quinn Winterborn: Vee neet choo ho
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head, trying to clear it
Quinn Winterborn: wun?
River: The way is c-clear… Let’s go…
Hudson: Run.
Quinn Winterborn: Wun!
Hudson: We run like three of us nearly died
Xila: Lets get out of here!
Xila runs
Before you is a large closed black iron gate.
Xila tries to open it
Quinn Winterborn: Please, Xila
??: Wait! Please!
River: …Check the towers for a lever…. or a winch….
Xila steps infront of the iron lock
Xila: I think I can open this.
Quinn Winterborn: (Correction) eef Diwa
Xila: But.. y’know, I don’t think whoever is behind is is… an enemy.
Xila: An enemy wouldn’t shout please.
??
: Miss River? Mister Faeryl? Mister Winterborn?
Hudson: We can stop and talk with an open gate, so we can run if we have to.
River: ….Hello?
Hudson pauses.
Quinn Winterborn: Fad’s me!
Izual turns to stern-side and readies an arrow, ever the silent Gith
Quinn Winterborn: ewwo?
Xila gets to work opening the gate
A gangly looking child stumbles out from behind a tumbled wall. Wrapping his/herself in her arms, it moves towards you quickly. “Are you… the Lost Light… the charter – you have the charter?”
River: …I do…. y-yes….
River fumbles about for the charter, before presenting it to the small child.
Izual: What is your business, child?
A rickety looking wagon turns the corner begin pulled by a pair of deathly thin mules and driven by another child.
Xila: Got’cha!
Xila: Doors open!
Xila turns around and sees the children.
Xila: Well, hello there, who’re you?
??: Master Cobb said to watch for you. We’ve secured passage back to Hillsfar, but we didnt know where you were at.
Quinn Winterborn: Wait Ooohs
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Gweat Nnnnews
River: ….That is quite f-fortunate… can you take us from t-this place?
??
: Yes… the wagon… you’ll have to lie down in the back.
Quinn Winterborn: I will fowwow you, tw…sh…chiwd
Quinn Winterborn gives up and climbs into the wagon
Quinn Winterborn mutters, under his breath I hate shiewds
River: Quickly… Moro, I need you to go.
River hops into the wagon to hide, while Moro nods and fades from view.
Xila: Even little ole me? I might be too big for the wagon y’know.
Xila chuckles as she hops in the wagon.
????: Get in or stay here – I dont know who you are.
Xila: Names Xila
Hudson gets in the wagon as far from everyone else as possible.
Xila makes an effort to get as close to Hudson and Quinn as possible, to make them uncomfortable.
Quinn Winterborn is very uncomfortable
Izual cautiously gets in the wagon, and goes prone at the end of it with his bow held sideways and an arrow nocked.
Xila: Well, isn’t this all cozy?
Hudson looks at the sky, eyes dead.
River: Ease yourself. It is over…. for now.
Xila shuts her eyes, and is quickly alseep.
Quinn Winterborn: Faeryl….
Stacking back into the wagon, the children tie tarps down over the top of you and then turn the wagon back around, hailing towards another gate out of the city. The wagon passes through the Gate without event. The children take the wagon down the coast for a little over an hour before one of the children starts unclasping the tiedowns and lets you up from your hiding spots. “Its another hour or so to the meeting point, but there’ll be a ship to take you back to Hillsfar.”
Quinn Winterborn: You have my thanks, as does Master Cobb
River: …How do you know M-Mr. Cobb?
The hour passes without incident and the coast of the Moonsea is calming to your frayed nerves. The coast eventually gets rocky once more and the wagon is guided to a hidden cove where a small schooner sits at anchor, with a few armed men bearing the symbol of Armauntor standing alert near a set of small rowboats.
Quinn Winterborn: Praise Armaunator
The “children” remove their garb to reveal simple clothing and steel symbols of the Sun God as well. The illusion melts away, and two fairly thin elven women stand in front of you, wide grins on their faces. “We are contacts for Master Cobb in the Keep.”
Xila: Oooooooooh, I want to be able to do that!
Xila: I wish I was secretly a changeling or something.
Quinn Winterborn: Praise the Keeper of the Yellow SUn
Quinn Winterborn offers a small bow to the ladies
You are able to rest for a few moments before the warrior priests usher you onto the rowboats and onto the ship. Within the hour you are setting sail back across the Moonsea back towards Hillsfar.
Quinn Winterborn: But Xila, would you keep it secret? Or drop hints striaght away?
Xila: I can keep secrets
Xila: Like, this one time, this guy told me his deepest darkest secret! That he was secretly a woman!… Woops
You sail throughout the day and into the night, with nothing more than the singing of the sailors and the quiet waters to keep you company. The next morning you dock in Hillsfar, back to the city that likely wont kill you outright.
River: …S-safe haven in Hillsfar… for the m-moment.
Xila: Safe? Sounds boring to me.
Quinn Winterborn sighs sleepily
Xila: Whre’s the danger, the excitement, at least zental keep was never boring
Quinn Winterborn: But the smell….
Xila: I could pick a mans pocket, and nobody would bat an eyelid.
River slowly heads down the docks to meet with Mr. Cobb.
Quinn Winterborn checks his own pockets, thoughtfully
Xila follows, eager to meet mr cobblewobbles.
A porter leads you back to your tavern rooms, explaining that Master Cobb is not available right away, but will meet with you this evening.
Quinn Winterborn: Sleep, shopping, and perhaps some roast beef?
Plenty of food and drink is provided for you at the tavern, and you are able to relax for a moment and gather your thoughts for your meeting with Master Cobb.
River: …I s-suppose. I shall be busy making… amendments to the c-charter…
Xila: I’m more a bacon girl myself.
Quinn Winterborn looks Xila over once
Quinn Winterborn mutters it shows
Quinn Winterborn winks at Hudson
Xila doesn’t hear Quinn
Hudson: I want a drink.
After you have satisfied him that his son is alive and well, Yazeth Cobb listens to the remainder of your tale with great interest. He reviews the items and documents recovered from Zhentil Keep. The more he reads, the grimmer his expression becomes. Finally he speaks.
“My friends, you have done a great service to the light. The information you have discovered is truly disturbing. I do not know whether this relic of Shar can possibly do what those cultists believed, or if indeed it even still exists. But if there is even the slightest chance that the Shadow Weave could be reformed, we must take action. Even if the relic is powerless as a result of the Spellplague, it passed through the hands of Fzoul Chembryl, and he is now an exarch of Bane. Anything that would have commanded his interest must surely be powerful enough to do great evil.
“I will call upon all my contacts in the church of Amaunator and provide the funding to form an expedition into the southern ruins of Zhentil Keep. We must infiltrate the Temple in the Sky and find this relic so that it can be destroyed. When the time comes, I would be honored if you would accompany that expedition. Can I count on you?”
Xila: I want to go there anyway! Sounds fun
River ponders thoughtfully on the offer.
Xila: And I’m draggin his lot with me if I have to drag em kicking and screaming
Quinn Winterborn: I….reluctantly…find myself agreeing with Xila
Hudson: I’ll be there.
“That said, I also have another proposition for you while I gather the intellegence and resources for a venture into the Temple of the Sky. Do any of you know the situation with Cormyr and Netheril?”
Izual: I feel us would be doing Faeryl an honor if we go.
River: I was n-not made aware of a situation.
Xila: Not a clue
Quinn Winterborn shrugs
Yazeth Cobb: Put frankly – there is war brewing. Since the Netheril have invaded Sembia and parts of the Dalelands, they threaten the country of Cormyr.
River: S-sembia?
Yazeth Cobb: We have… an unique opportunity… to gain the upper hand in this potential conflict. Enough to sway the odds in favor of Cormyr.
River: What is your p-proposition?
Yazeth Cobb: I know just the bare bones – but my contact in Cormyr has asked for people that I trust, who are highly skilled to escort a person of interest to the capital for questioning.
Quinn Winterborn frowns, thinking
Xila: Escorting someone? Sounds boring.
Izual: If I am painfully honest, I are not confident in our ability to keep important ones alive…
Izual looks away for a moment.
River: You d-do not know this person’s n-name?
Quinn Winterborn looks at Izual, a bit hurt
Hudson: Whatever.
Yazeth Cobb: Lo… ummm Mister Vainrence will meet you at the Drunk Duckling Tavern near the border of Cormyr in three tendays time, if you would be agreeable to this. I am not at liberty to state more at this time, but I assure you my contact would explain it all upon contact.
Quinn Winterborn: I’m willing to help out the cause of those who worship Amaunator, and I’m very, very determined to visit a tavern called the Drunk Duckling!
Quinn Winterborn chuckles
River: …I s-suppose there is not much else I can ask, t-then…
Xila: I guess, if I must.
Hudson shrugs.
Yazeth Cobb: Its sadly vague, which pains me. But matters of national security are… well veiled at best.
River: We will m-meet with your c-contact… in three tendays, th-then.
Quinn Winterborn nods
River mutters nervously under her breath.
Yazeth Cobb smiles widely. “As a reward, you may make a request for an item of your choice from my stores, or I can simply pay you in gold coin for your troubles. You have the tavern for your needs until the end of the week, then you will need to set out.”

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Prologue - The Life of a Caravaneer
The Adventure Begins

Chat log started at 9.3.2016 / 17:30:21

For reasons of your own, you have signed up to act as caravan guard for a wealthy merchant, Yazeth Cobb, for a trip from Ashabenford to Hillsfar. The trip should take close to a tenday, and you will be part of a crew of four drivers and four other guards. Three wagons carrying a variety of goods including silks, raw ores and a trio of locked and bound chests.
The other guards have worked together as a unit, and sport a motley crew. Alavair is a lithe elf who speaks little. Brom is a barrel chested dwarf that encompasses all of the stereotypes that are common about his people. Shanx is a massive dragonborn that booms hearty laughter at nearly everything that Brom says. Their leader is a firery haired Jaquard (Jack) Peppen. He carries a massive greatsword and a bundle of armor rolled up on his horse. He speaks with a Amnish accent, rolling his ‘R"s and dragging out words with extra syllables that arent necessary. Still, his smile is infectious.
Jaquard Peppen: Guud morrrrning, to you all. I am Jaq – you must be the rest of the guard. Not that you’re needed…
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Faeryl staggers up to Jaquard, his own greatsword in plain view.
Quinn Winterborn: Always good to have more than needed. Quinn, at your service
Faeryl: Faeryl, if you treat us right we will get along, treat us badly, and your head will roll
Jaquard Peppen: Charrrmed, dark one.
Valskan Felgarde: ValskanFelgarde, at yer service sir.
River simply nods and tries to avoid conversation altogether.
Faeryl: Speak up little one
Jaquard Peppen: Lovely. Look at the symmertry. You have a dwarf, we have a dwarf, you an have elf, we have an elf… You have a…wolf? And we have a Shanx!
Faeryl nudges river carefully towards Jaquard
Quinn Winterborn grins
River: E-eh… I- I mean… River…
Valskan Felgarde: We’re just missin a fire haired ninny, now arent we?
Jaquard Peppen laughs aloud, a might guffaw coming from his perfect smile. “We cant all be perfect, Valskan, now can we?”
Faeryl: We have a job to do, do we not? We best get to it instead of standing around talking about fire haired ninny’s
Quinn Winterborn seems to belatedly get the reference
Jaquard Peppen sweeps a deep bow towards River, “Madam – its my pleasure to meet you!”
River: Oh! I… T-thank you…
Faeryl: Careful River, next he will want you in his bed
Moro growls a bit at Faeryl’s comment.
Jaquard Peppen: Calm down, the drivers are getting ready to move, and they wont do so for another few minutes. Feel free to find your way around the wagons. Since we have our own groups, perhaps we should still together – which do you prefer, the front of the train, or the rear?
Quinn Winterborn shrugs, and looks at Valskan
Valskan Felgarde: Fronts gotta nicer view, but I dunt care.
Faeryl looks at the group, then sighs.
River: What do you think, Moro?
Moro looks over the wagons, and stares silently.
River: …The f-front?
Quinn Winterborn: I would think you’d be one born for the road, wolf.
Faeryl: We have a wolf who can scout ahead, and my vision in darkness is second to none should we need to travel at night, we will take the front.
Jaquard Peppen nods, “Fair enough. though the wagons wont travel at night. Too many issues with the roads through the middle of the Dales. Farmers aint much for filling holes or patching washouts.”
Faeryl: Besides, the front is where the action is.
Valskan Felgarde: Plus I dont like being the arse of anything.
Quinn Winterborn: …and where the dust ISN’T
Faeryl: Never assume night time travel will not be required
Jaquard Peppen: Talk to the drivers if you dont believe me.
Faeryl: If we are ever being chased, we may have to travel at night
Jaquard Peppen: Watches will be split between guard groups, We’ll take the first four hours, your group can take the next four. We’ll have an hour for breakfast meals and getting the gear ready before setting out.
Faeryl: I am a drow, I do not sleep.
Jaquard Peppen: Good for you.
Jaquard Peppen: Im a human, and I like to sleep
Faeryl: You will have me on watch all night, It does not matter where I go into trance.
Quinn Winterborn seems fascinated with Faeryl’s revelation, and starts peppering him with questions
Jaquard Peppen: And Shanx gets angry when his sleep is interrupted, so this arrangement usually works out best.
Faeryl: Do not ask me questions of the Drow, I call myself it only because that is what I am
Caravan Worker: WE’RE READY TO HEAD OUT! LETS GET MOVING GUARDS!
River: Th-thank you for helping us, M-Mr. Peppen.
Jaquard Peppen: Sounds like we’re ready to get moving.
Jaquard Peppen breaks into a grin “Anytime, mi’lady.”
Faeryl eyes jaquard
Faeryl: Careful, it is always the timid ones that bite.
Quinn Winterborn laughs a bit louder than was appropriate, probably.
Taking your positions at the sides of the wagons, the animals begin to pull, straining against their harnesses while the creak of leather gives way to the squeal of wooden wheels on the hard packed ground.
The Bandoleers walk as well, their horses tied the rear wagon, carrying nearly all of their equipment.
Faeryl: Corellon, see that we arrive at our destinations safely, and guide my sword should we face resistance.
The scenery is idyllic, green pastures quickly overtaking the walled city and outskirts of Ashabenford. Idle banter fills the air between the Banded Bandoleers and the wagon drivers, while the time and miles begin to pass you by.
River looks over the countryside, wondering what new lands lie ahead…
Faeryl fixes his gaze firmly ahead, not taking in the scenary, instead always looking for possible attack ambush sites
Faeryl: [SKILL] Perception [1d20+10 = 16]
Quinn Winterborn seems to approach every new hill and vista with a childlike glee
River: I pray we find better fortune ahead, Moro.
About three hours from your departure, you come to a crossroads where a large oak tree leans over the road. Hanging from one of the thick gnarled boughs is a body hung from a noose, a massive red “X” scrawled across the victims chest.
Faeryl: STOP
Caravan Worker: Oh gods!
Faeryl: What is this?
Quinn Winterborn moves to get a closer look, fascinated
River: Oh my goodness…
The rest of the wagons come to a halt, a general murmur coming from the others.
Quinn Winterborn: Is that blood?
Caravan Worker: Thats… its… thats… oh god…
Moro sniffs the air a bit, and approaches the body warily.
Jaquard Peppen strides up to see what caused the wagons to stop. “That… is not good.”
Quinn Winterborn turns, and looks at Peppen.
Faeryl: I assume you know what this… symbolizes?
Quinn Winterborn: What is it?
River: B-be careful Moro…
Faeryl: In which case, care to fill us in?
Jaquard Peppen: The Hangman. Its a local vigilante.
Faeryl: River, send your wolf to scout around
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Jaquard Peppen: The body looks dead for a bit, I think, so we’re probably fine. He leaves those as warnings to those that break the laws I guess. Its odd.
Quinn Winterborn: So this points thumb back over his shoulder wasn’t put here by the local law?
Quinn Winterborn: Those who break the law deserve punishment, but from the local constabulary, not from some zealous vigilante.
Jaquard Peppen: Nope. The Hangman’s killed dozens throughout the Dales in the last year or so. Cant catch him, as they only know him by the bodies that are found.
Faeryl [Elven]: [Translation] It does not matter who delivers the punishment, as long as it is dealt.
It does not matter who delivers the punishment, as long as it is dealt.
[understood by: Faeryl, Moro]
Moro returns to River, having found nothing herself.
Faeryl: It does not matter who delivers the punishment, as long as it is dealt
Quinn Winterborn looks unsure, but shrugs
River: …H-how cruel. W-was there no t-trial?
Jaquard Peppen: Doubt it.
Faeryl: A trial? Such a luxury should not exist
Jaquard Peppen: Anyhow, its too high up to do anything about him. We should just keep moving. And no jaywalking or loitering.
Quinn Winterborn turns back to the body
Quinn Winterborn: May Amanunator give you your final judgement, then.
River solemnly nods and moves along with the wagons.
Quinn Winterborn heads back to his spot with the wagons
Alavair: JACK! Lets get this train movin! I got some ale to buy, and this delay aint helping!
Jaquard Peppen: Yeah yeah. Lets get moving. Keep your eyes peeled.
Caravan Worker nods nervously before chucking the reigns and spurring the animals onward.
Faeryl checks around the area before returning to the wagon
Caravan Worker: Faeryl finds nothing of import in the area.
The wagons lurch forward and you begin again down the rutted road, leaving the body swinging gently from its oaken bough.
The day passes without any other event, which allows the drivers to successfully calm down after seeing the hanged man earlier in the day.
As it begins to become dusk, the wagon driver pulls off into a large clearing along side a small pond. Two campsites are here, as this must be a known stopping place for caravans along this trail
Within twenty minutes, the caravan breaks up and the drivers split into caring for the animals and making the evening meal.
Once the animals are tended to and the evening meal is made, the drivers and Bandoleers break into their own groups, gathering around opposite campfires.
Faeryl settles down on a patch of grass watching over the wagons
River spends a minute or two washing the dust off her face from a day’s worth of traveling.
The pond is cool an inviting. You even spy a large white fish splashing around near the shore in the reeds.
Faeryl begins his 4 hour trace as soon as dinner is over. So that he may stay awake and pace during the night.
As the meal is eaten, the drivers turn into their bedrolls quickly, as if they have done this several times. Jaq motions to your own gear, “We’ll take the first four hours. You should get some rest now, while you can?”
River: I-I guess. L-let’s go, Moro…
Faeryl: Very well, I will enter a trance now while you patrol, during my trance I still have full awareness so will be ready at a seconds notice.
Faeryl begins his trance in a spot near Jaquards watch location
The Bandoleers spread out quickly and quietly, standing at regular intervals and making quick, percise routes around the campsite. They have obviously done this several times before.
River: The d-d-drow is… rather fiercely dedicated, i-isn’t he?]
Quinn Winterborn: Seems to be.
Valskan Felgarde: He’s a bit over zealous.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe he has reason….
Quinn Winterborn yawns
Valskan Felgarde: Likely a stick up his bony elven arse
Moro saunters off into the woods as River slowly fades into unconsciousness.
River: Good night, e-everyone…
Night passes quickly in the warm spring. In what seems like a few minutes, Jaq and the other bandoleers shake you gently to awaken you for your turn to watch.
Faeryl is already patroling.
River yawns and slowly gets out of the bedroll.
River: …O-okay…
Jaquard Peppen: You should be good to go. This close to the city, I doubt we have any issues in the night.
Moro soon reappears from the woods, slowly making her way back to River.
Faeryl: You can never be too uncertain
Faeryl: You who require sleep should get some rest.
Jaquard Peppen shrugs. “Just dont wake Shanx. He gets grouchy.”
River: Hello again, Moro. I trust you’ve been well?
Valskan Felgarde: I’ll take this bit up here fer watching.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll be over here
Moro yawns and rubs up against River’s leg affectionately.
Faeryl: I will take the spot I’ve been watching all night
Faeryl: No point changing now
River: O-okay. I’ll take the n-north.
The Bandoleers pass out almost immediately, the dwarf and dragonborn snoring intensely, almost as if in competition.
The first two hours go very very quiet and boringly. You notice the calls of the night wildlife, but nothing else that competes for the snoring dwarf and dragonborn
Moro sniffs the night air and contemplates howling at the moon… then thinks better of it.
However, as the night drags on, the smallest unnatural sound draws Faeryls attention towards the scrub brush around the pond.
Faeryl immediately draws his sword
Faeryl goes to check it out.. sneakily
As you move quietly towards the brush, you see nothing that warns you of what caused the sound, only utter darkness. However, your drow senses tell you something is amiss as the darkness is TOO complete, wherein you cannot even see the reflection of the moonlight off the pond.
Faeryl scowls
Faeryl stays silent, so as not to draw attention to himself
Faeryl: BOWMAN
Faeryl: EVERYONE WAKE UP
Faeryl: SOMEONE WAKE THOSE SLEEPING IDIOTS UP WE HAVE COMPANY
Quinn Winterborn: On it
A dark robed figure bursts out of the darkness near the pond and strikes at the sleeping dwarf.
River: W-what’s going on?! Moro, please help!!
Another bursts out of the darkness and strikes at Faeryl.
River: AH! There’s s-something here!!
River: HELP!!
Bandits leap out of the brush, and daggers fly into the night. THe gurgle of death is heard as a driver is hit.
Faeryl: This is why sleep is a weaknes of the mortal races
Valskan Felgarde swings mightly, but misses the bandit.
Faeryl looks at the bandit who struck him.
Faeryl smiles sinisterly
Faeryl: You die first
Faeryl strikes
Quinn Winterborn shouts
Quinn Winterborn: BANDITS. AWAKE
Faeryl cleaves with his greatsword with all his might at the bandit infront of him
Brom picks himself up as the air begins to crackle with frost and rime.
Brom: WAKE UP YA DAFT PANSIES!
River runs away, frightened and screaming for her life.
Moro charges into the fray, eager for a fight! She pounces toward a bandit, howling a battlecry!
Common Bandit 6: A wolf?
Common Bandit 6: AHHHHHHH!!! A WOLF!
Caravan Worker 4 runs for the safety of the Bandoleers group.
Alavair rolls out of his sleeping bag smoothly, scooping up his odd looking bow and ripping off a shot.
Jaquard Peppen leaps out of his bag and charges the first bandit he sees.
The bandit tries to stand up
THe bandits yell, “Forget the wolf, grab the bag!”
One of the bandits moves toward the wagons.
River recoils in pain as Moro fades from existence.
Faeryl tries to hit the now parrying bandit
Faeryl slices the bandits head clean off
Faeryl chucks the head towards the other bandits
Faeryl: You’re next
Common Bandit 6: Bloody dark elf!
Quinn Winterborn: Protect the wagons!
Brom leads with hammer and shield, batter the bandit to death.
River runs off to the side, still scared out of her wits.
Moro reemerges from the shadows, pouncing on her prey!
Faeryl shifts dragging the bandit with him
Moro catches her breath as Moro tears into her foes alongside allies!
Faeryl: Stand fast girl, we are in combat!
River just want to curl up into the fetal position.
Caravan Worker 4 bolstered by the heroes surround him, grabs a fire log and swings hard.
Quinn Winterborn: Huzzah!
Faeryl points to bandit 6
Faeryl: Kill him
River: I-I couldn’t hurt someone!
Alavair sprints forward, tearing a pair of stone knives out of their sheaths before leaping onto the bandit in the brush.
Faeryl scowls at Rivers cowardice
Faeryl: I shall have to deal with that cowardice if we are to work together.
Shanx rolls to his feet, gripping his massive axe in one hand
He spits a massive bolt of lightning that nearly tears into the wagon as it flys wide.
Jaquard Peppen: Idiot lizard!.
Faeryl cuts the bandit in 2 with one swing
Faeryl kicks one of the halves towards Bandit 6
Faeryl: You have that to look forward to
THe bandit’s eyes go wide in fear… slowly…
Brom charges forward, slamming his shield into the bandit, or at least trying too
River runs towards Valskan, hearing him cry out in pain.
Moro instead presses the assault!
Caravan Worker 4: Oh gods above… I killed a man!
Faeryl glares at Bandit 3
Faeryl: Your turn
Faeryl charges towards bandit 3
River advances and prays for Valskan’s safety.
Moro howls, emboldening Faeryl with vigor!
Valskan Felgarde: Thank ya, lass!
Faeryl rushes forward then charges his enemy
Faeryl rushes towards his enemy and cleaves him in two mid-motion
Faeryl: That is how you deal with the trash
River falls onto her knees and shivers silently.
Valskan Felgarde falls to the ground, clearly battered.
Quinn Winterborn checks in on Valskan
Jaquard Peppen: What a mess…
Faeryl: Corellon, thank you for granting me victory in this battle
Faeryl immediatley turns around to Jaquard
Faeryl: You should have awoken much quicker
Jaquard Peppen: Piss off.
Jaquard Peppen: We’ve got dead to tend to.
Moro puts her head onto River’s lap in an effort to console the girl.
Quinn Winterborn: More importantly, one of them shouted “Grab the bag”. Sounds like we were targeted, specifically. Somone knew we were carrying something?
Faeryl looks around
Faeryl: Yes, I suppose you do. Now is not the time.
Faeryl turns around and heads towards River
Faeryl: River, you need to be stronger in combat.
Faeryl: If your enemies sense weakness they will come for you
Faeryl: Your wolf is strong, but he is nothing without his master
River slowly snaps out of her catatonic state.
River: I-I… I’m s-sorry…
River: It j-just… this i-isn’t the first t-time this has h-happened to m-me…
Faeryl: I see, I will not ask about your past, as I wil not tell you mine. But think about what I have said and improve yourself.
Moro growls at Faeryl and snaps angrily at his heels.
River: M-moro, please… He meant no offense…
Faeryl senses Quinn aproach behind him and turns around sharply.
Quinn Winterborn: River, thank you for your healing. You saved Vaslskan, I think
River: Y-yes… but the o-others…
Faeryl sheaths his greatsword
River: S-so many dead…
Faeryl: Now, let us search these bandits
Quinn Winterborn: So, Faeryl, we were targeted.
Faeryl: See if they have anything that identifies themselves
Faeryl: So it seems
Faeryl: We should hopefully know more when we search their lifeless bodies.
Quinn Winterborn: Agree
Faeryl begins searching the bandits bodies
The bandit pieces are mostly nondescript. Worn steel maces and thin stamped steel throwing knives are about the only things you find. One of them has a scrap of paper with the names of the caravan guards listed on it as well as “3 wagons?” crossed out several times.
Faeryl reads the paper
Faeryl: Troubling
Faeryl: The bandits have all of our names, they have done their research.
Quinn Winterborn: Bandits do not do research. Either these were not simple bandits, or they were hired.
Faeryl hands the paper to Quinn
Faeryl: I agree
The large white fish is floating on its side, a thin steel knife in its side.
Quinn Winterborn turns the note over a few times, and reads it carefully, trying to discern the deeper meaning of it.
Faeryl kicks the detatched head of the bandit like a football in frustration
Faeryl: They had our names, they almost took us completely by surprise.
Faeryl: We should have been more prepared
River: …Strange…
Faeryl: And that darkness
Faeryl: It was unnatural
Faeryl: My eyes could not see through it
River takes the knife from the fish and inspects it more thoroughly.
Quinn Winterborn: Fascinating. I wonder how it worked.
Quinn Winterborn: And who cast it.
Quinn Winterborn: And why cast darkness at night.
Quinn Winterborn: And…
River: Your death will not be in vain, Mr. Fish.
Faeryl describes what he saw and heard when the bandits first arived
River stands up and carries the knife to Jack.
River: I found this nearby…
Jaquard Peppen: Found it? There’s dozens of them all around. Been pulling them outta the dwarves for a moment now.
Quinn Winterborn: Well, the darkness sounds magical to me, but probably not arcane. Maybe divine or natural. River

Quinn Winterborn looks around for River
River: Y-yes… but i-if you look closely…
Jaquard Peppen looks at the knife closer.
River points carefully at the strange symbol carved in the handle.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, hi River. Do you know about magical darkne…..oooh, what is that?
Faeryl rushes towards River
Faeryl: Show me
Jaquard Peppen grimaces. “This is a bloody mess.”
Quinn Winterborn: OOh, a symbol!
You both recognize that the symbol is likely that of Shar.
Faeryl: …Shar
River: Shar?
Faeryl gets visibly angry
Faeryl rushes to one of the bandits and destroys their body with his greatsword
Quinn Winterborn spits in disgust.
River: What w-would Shar want with the c-caravan?
Jaquard Peppen: Its just a symbol. These idiots have to worship someone. Better Shar than Cyric.
River: I-I guess…
Brom: Talking like that invites trouble, Jaq
Quinn Winterborn: May Amaunator’s light blind Shar and her servants.
Jaquard Peppen: Bah. Were any of them carrying this knife? Or did they have others like it on them?
River: W-well, no, but—
Quinn Winterborn: But something cast the magical darkness, and taht fits with a servant of Shar
Quinn Winterborn: Well done, River.
Jaquard Peppen shrugs, “I suppose. Thats not out of the ordinary.”
Jaquard Peppen: Better question is why though.
River: W-we should ask the c-caravan driver s-still alive…
River: E-excuse me s-sir….
Faeryl follows River
Caravan Worker 4 still is holding the bloodied log and is shaking intensely.
Caravan Worker 4: Hhhuh?
River: A-are you o-okay?
Caravan Worker 4: I… killed a man. With this
Faeryl: Good
Quinn Winterborn puts a hand on the worker’s shoulder, but says nothing.
River: I-it’s okay… I was s-scared too…
Caravan Worker 4 looks at the log for the first time and drops it.
Caravan Worker 4: Im sorry….
Caravan Worker 4: Did you need something?
River: We n-need to ask you s-something. D-did you carry anything in the w-wagons… that Shar would w-want?
Caravan Worker 4: I dont know, honestly.
River: D-do you mind if w-we took a l-look?
Quinn Winterborn: There was a bag in particular the bandits said they were after…
Caravan Worker 4: Master Cobb has a lot of goods and the handlers at his warehouses load it all. We.. uhhh, I… just drive the wagon.
Faeryl: He is telling the truth, I see it in his eyes
Caravan Worker 4: I dont care, as long as it all gets back in the wagon..
Caravan Worker 4: Why would I lie?
Faeryl: You can never be too sure
Faeryl: Only a foolish man blindly trusts those around him
River: D-don’t mind him… he is… rather z-zealous…
Caravan Worker 4 shrugs.
River: Come along, Moro. We need to find something…
Moro groans and follows River to the wagons.
Faeryl leaves the driver and goes to search the wagons
River: Did you find anything Moro?
Valskan Felgarde stumbles over, still clearly bloodied from the fight, and inspects his fellows with a perked brow.
Moro circles about the wagons, smelling for anything of interest.
Looking through the wagon, you find a variety of goods – silks, numerous sacks of spices, barrels of pickled auroch, salted pork, bolts of samite and a large locked chest.
Quinn Winterborn: No, we’re looking for a bag. Next wagon
Faeryl keeps the chest in his mind then goes to check another wagon, the one the bandits was going after
You recall from your meeting with Merchant Cobb, that the chest contains his personal clothing and items from his home in Ashabenford, that are going to his new compound in Hillsfar
Digging through the other wagons leads you to find a large variety of trade goods, but nothing that is overtly religious or magical in nature.
Quinn Winterborn: Check the bodies of the caravan workers, maybe?
Faeryl returns to the locked chest, curious.
Faeryl: Bandits are notoriously good at opening locks
Faeryl: It could be in this chest
Faeryl tries to open the locked chest
Quinn Winterborn looks uncomfortable, but relents.
River: B-but that’s the M-Merchant’s chest…. Won’t he get u-upset?
The Bandoleers have placed the driver bodies into their sleeping bags and covered them up.
Valskan Felgarde: Careful, lad. We’re asked to get things there intact…
Quinn Winterborn: I’m not comfortable with this, I’m going to start rechecking the other two wagons.
The lock on the chest is very ornate, as it the rest of it. Your improvised tool snaps and is lodged firmly in the lock mechanism.
River: I’m s-sorry, Mr. D-Drow…
Faeryl curses in elven
Moro growls a bit.
River: Moro…. she said you should w-watch your l-language…
The sky begins to brighten as dawn creeps closer.
Faeryl sighs
Quinn Winterborn: We’ll need to gather our things and get moving soon, I fear
Faeryl: I suppose it is not for us to know what the bandits might be after
Faeryl: But just for us to protect it
Valskan Felgarde: A word o’ caution, lads. I suggest we don’ go invitin’ trouble when we can avoid it.
River looks about to see if Jack is within earshot.
Faeryl: I will give my apologies to our boss for trying to open his chest once we arrive.
Jaquard Peppen appears to be busy talking with the rest of his group.
River (whispering): I-I think…. th-there might be a r-reason there w-was a list…
Quinn Winterborn: I’m with you, River.
Faeryl (whispering): You suspect a traitor? That is plausable
Faeryl: It is highly likely they are discussing the very same thing
River (whispering): I-I think Mr. Peppen is h-hiding something… But…
River (whispering): I-I’m not sure w-what…
River: A-Anyways… we need to f-figure out w-who’s driving the other w-wagons…
Faeryl: Yes, let us go over and speak to them
Quinn Winterborn walks over to Peppen’s group
Faeryl: Do not mention our suspicions
Quinn Winterborn: Hey folks. What’s teh plan??
Faeryl follows Quinn
Faeryl: We are down a few drivers, but still must arrive at our destination
Jaquard Peppen: Not sure. Its gonna be dodgy getting these wagons to Hillsfar ourselves. So, Im hoping you’re still willing to go the mile with this.
River: Y-yes, s-sir.
Quinn Winterborn: Of course.
Faeryl: I came to do a job, I intend to finish it
Valskan Felgarde: Aye.
Moro yawns complacently.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Shanx
Jaquard Peppen: Most greenhorns wouldnt. Specially after nearly getting split from head to toe. Bandoleers have a reputation to uphold though. So we’re pushing through. I dont expect any of you have any experience driving a wagon?
Faeryl smiles
Faeryl: I seem to recall it was me who split them head to toe
Caravan Worker 4: The wagons are a bit more complex than youd think, but you should be able to drive them using two unskilled drivers, instead of one.
Quinn Winterborn: I’m certainly willing to try.
Caravan Worker 4: There’s plenty of room on the seat for two or three people.
Faeryl: I will not drive, I would prefer to have my feet on the ground, where I can rush into battle
River: I w-wouldn’t mind l-learning… Right Moro?
Moro perks up a bit and shakes off a bit of dew from her fur.
Valskan Felgarde: I think… I would prefer a bit o’ sitting, at least fer a while. I’ll volunteer fer one.
Caravan Worker 4: So thats three. We’d need one from the other band to drive as well.
Brom: I’ll drive. Me legs arent as long as these ones.
River: I-It’ll be a p-pleasure, Mr. B-Brom.
Jaquard Peppen: Take a bit to wake yourself and get cleaned up. We’ll leave in an hour.
Quinn Winterborn: Sounds good.
Valskan Felgarde: Bless ye.
Faeryl sits down for an hour, shrouding himself in a cloud of darkness
River: J-just be c-careful…
After the hour is up, the drvier has the wagons ready and points out how to use the wagons. They are realtively simple, but the braking mechanism is seperated to each wagon wheel. so there are four levels and two sets of reigns.
River: This seems… complicated…
Moro whines as she is removed from the Party sheet.
Caravan Worker 4: Its not that bad. One of you take those two levels, the other gets the reigns and those other levels. Its easy. The horses will follow one another, you just have to keep them steady.
Caravan Worker 4: If you’re ready we can get moving.
Quinn Winterborn: Ready here
River: Why n-not just a-ask the horses to f-follow your d-direction?
Faeryl returns from the cloud
Faeryl: Lets go
Caravan Worker 4: Horses dont read very well.
Valskan Felgarde climbs up to a seat on the wagon.
River: By your l-lead, Mr. B-Brom.
With chuck of the reigns the driver starts the wagons moving, and it takes almost no effort at all to get them moving back to the road. You notice you are going slower than yesterday at first, perhaps the driver is easing into it, but by the midday you are moving again at a nice clip.
Shortly after stopping for the midday meal, you come to another crossroads, where a pair of bodies sway in the breeze, hung from the overhead boughs once more, though this time, there is a black “X” scrawled across their chests.
Faeryl: Another X, this time black
Faeryl: What does it mean?
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder what the colours mean
Brom: Means someone’s got more time than sense.
River: P-perhaps they r-ran out of r-red ink?
Brom strains his eyes, “I dont think thats ink”
River grows curious.
River: L-let me take a c-closer look…
The bodies hang about twenty feet off the ground. But the trees seem easily climbable.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll try to climb the tree and have a close look at the bodies, especially the X.
River tries to get ahold of the tree, but snaps a branch and falls on her back.
Brom let me help you with that lass.
River: I-It’s okay. I’ll be f-fine.
Quinn manages to gain purchase of the tree easily and scrambles up rather easily.
River: I think Mr. W-Winterborn is doing better, a-anyways.
The main bough is thicker than your waist, so it easily holds your weight, along with that of the hanging bodies.
Faeryl: Cut the bodies down
Faeryl: So that we all may see them
River: Eeh~
Quinn Winterborn: Good idea.
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll use my dagger, then.
Quinn Winterborn tries to cut down the bodies.
River quickly steps out of the bodies radius of falling-ness.
Caravan Worker 4 moves the lead wagon out of the way so the bodies are not falling on it.
The bodies fall to the ground with a sickening crunch, and fluids seep from the broken pile of used-to-be people.
River (sickened): Nnnngh….
Quinn Winterborn: Ok, Faeryl, let’s see what we can figure out between us, eh?
Faeryl without a second though, grabs the crumpled bodies and arranges them so that the marks can be seen
Quinn Winterborn climbs down.
River inches closer for a better look.
The marks appear to be made with something natural, or biological perhaps. But it is unidentifiable.
Valskan Felgarde furrows his brow, trying to see what he can, but remains alert from his perch.
Quinn Winterborn: Acid, maybe? Blight?
River: It looks…. like tar… No…. Ichor…
Your low nature checks tell you nada.
Faeryl: Hmm, these men… they bear a resemblence to the men we fought this morning
Faeryl: They might be part of the same band
River: I th-think we should g-go…
Faeryl looks for anything that might hold the shar emblem
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe the vigilante is on our side, as it were.
Quinn Winterborn stands up, out of ideas for the moment.
A squeal from a terrified horse breaks your concentration, as the wagon that River and Brom was driving begins to surge forward as the horses run in panic!
Quinn Winterborn runs for his wagon
River: M-Mr. Brom! Are you a-all right?!
Brom and Jaq are knocked to the ground by the wagon. Those of you close to the wagon are able to try and catch the bolting wagon!
Faeryl reacts immediately and tries to use his acrobatics skill to board the wagon
River, Quinn and Faeryl all manage to leap onto the wagon as it speeds away.
River clutches onto the wagon for dear life.
Quinn Winterborn takes his former position on reins/brakes
River: How do we stop it?! S-someone h-help….
Quinn Winterborn: Someone grab the other brake lever. Follow my lead
You are on the sides of the wagon. You have to make athletics or acrobatics to move to the seat. Endurance to simply hold on.
River: Nnnnnnnnngh…
Faeryl tries to swing his way to the seat
River’s grip nearly breaks, but she remains aboard the wagon.
Faeryl flips into the driver’s seat.
River: Mr. W-Winterborn!
Faeryl takes the reins
Quinn tries to move forward, but the jolting wagon causes him to nearly fall from the wagon.
Faeryl tries to stop the wagon
You will need an endurance check to stay on now, yes.
Faeryl grabs for the reigns. There are two sets.
River winces as she looks ahead…. and swallows hard.
Quinn manages an iron grip and holds on.
Thievery to cut the traces or disable the wagon wheels/axles (only available from the sides of teh wagon) Nature to try and calm the horses (front the seat only) Athletics to use force to stop the wagon.
Faeryl tries to calm the horses from the seat
River: Okay… I can do this…. I can do this….
Faeryl manages to speak to the horses a little, but it only calms them slightly. (SUCCESS)
River: Nnnnnnnngh….
River tries to make her way to the front….
Faeryl continues trying to calm the horses
Both Quinn and River manage to get their way to the now crowded drivers bench
Quinn Winterborn: Trying to stop the wagon:
River (panicking): H-how?!
The horses scream in terro, bolting harder than before (FAILURE)
Quinn Winterborn: Like I’m doing.
Faeryl: River, you are good at animals, try calming the horse down
River: O-okay….
Quinn pulls hard on the wagon brakes, trying to get them to engage. He manages to lock one of the wheels (SUCCESS)
River whistles to get the horses attention.
Faeryl tries to help with stopping the wagon
River: Please, please, slow down….
Faeryl’s lack of knowlegde of human wagons shines through as he NEARLY rips the wagon brake level off.(FAILURE)
River’s whistle brings the horses into a better state, as they slow down slightly and arent nearly as panicked (SUCCESS)
River: Okay…. I can do this….
River: Please stop…. for me.
RIver’s plea does not go unheard, as the horses stop running, and are merely pushes forward by the wagons momentum. Within a few hundred yards, you are able to slow the wagon to a lurching stop (SUCCESS – no help required)
Quinn Winterborn looks at Faeryl, considering.
Quinn Winterborn: Bravely done, River.
River breathes a sigh of relief…. and promptly faints.
Faeryl chuckles
Quinn Winterborn tries to catch her as she falls.
Faeryl: She was indeed brave, I just wish she would realise that during combat.
Faeryl tries desperately to use acrobatics to catch the falloing River
Faeryl falls out of the wagon in his attempt, landing solidly on the ground along with River.
Faeryl picks himself off the ground, and then promptly picks up the passed out River
Faeryl: Quinn, bring the wagon back to the others
Faeryl: I will carry River
About fifteen minutes later the other two wagons roll up to where you are set, as there are not two drivers for your wagon.
Faeryl places river in one of the wagons and tries to wake her up
River: Nnnngh….
River: ….I’m still a-alive?
Faeryl: You were brave, I hope you will take that bravery into combat
Moro quickly appears and begins to lick River’s face in happiness.
Jaquard Peppen: Are you all alright? THat was quite the feat, leaping onto a runaway wagon.
River: I-I’m glad everything t-turned out okay…
Faeryl: Nonsense, we were just doing our job. Our job is to get these wagons safely to their destination, if that includes stopping a runaway wagon, then so be it.
Quinn Winterborn: Let’
Quinn Winterborn: Let’s get on with it then.
Faeryl: What caused the horse to spook I wonder, was it the bodies?
Jaquard Peppen: Probably… dead bodies falling from the sky can do that kind of thing.
River: Are you o-okay, Mr. Brom?
Brom: Bah, Im fine. Took a lump from that lummox of a horse, but Ill live.
River: I’m g-glad. And Copernicus probably didn’t mean to.
Quinn Winterborn: Copernicus?
Brom smiles and nods.
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, the horse!

Last week….
We ended with the heroes stopping a run away wagon and an injuried ego. River woke up in the back of a wagon and we still have no idea where the bandits had come from. That – and we’re only two days into a tenday journey…
Jaquard Peppen looks to the rag tag group, a look of concern clear on his rugged features, “Are we able to press on, or do we need to take a break to tend to the wounded and…. affected?”
River: N-no… we can k-keep going…
Faeryl: I agree with the timid one, we press on. We cannot afford to wait around, more bandits could be in the area.
Quinn Winterborn: ooh.
Quinn Winterborn starts looking around keenly
Brom stomps around the side of the wagon, a splint binding his left leg. “Aye, JAq – we keep on. No damned horse is gonna keep me from earning my coin!”
Jaquard Peppen: Fair enough. Lets take up our former positions and get moving!
River soon hops back onto the wagon with Brom.
Faeryl says a prayer to Corellon before they set off
Quinn Winterborn giggles
You travel two more days without significant incident. While you cannot get over the feeling that you are being watched, nothing tangible reveals itself throughout the journey. The remaining driver takes care of the animals when you break for camp, while Jaquard and Brom take care of most of the domestic duties of making the midday and evening meals, and setting up and tearing down the camp.
Quinn Winterborn grins
The morning of the fourth day you break camp more quickly and efficently than you have on the previous days, as the full nights sleep and no hanging bodys find you well rested on this morning. Without a hitch, you head out.
You share the midday meal with a caravan heading to Ashabenford from Hillsfar, though the merchant is not Mr. Cobb., but a man dealing strictly in foodstuffs. Most of the caravan is seafood harvested from the Moonsea. The caravan guard is much smaller than your own, comprised of only three people – all tieflings worshippers of Sune, who look more out of place than anyone else out in this clearing in the woods. Their well manicured features and prim and proper clothing and grooming look very hard to maintain in an area such as this, and even moreso when they sing in perfect harmony while the midday meal is being prepared while playing various instruments to entertain while passing the time. During the meail, they ask you of the road ahead and if you have seen or heard anything of interest.
River: Um…. w-well…
Quinn Winterborn: Ooh I like music!
Hennifar: Its our pleasure. One can only sit in silence for so long!
Faeryl tells them of the hanging men, and the bandits, getting straight to the point and not beating around the bush.
During the meal, you note that the Bandoleers keep to themselves and do not socialize with the rest of the caravan.
Hennifar gasps, “That is horrible! Hanging men from the trees! Its barbaric”
Faeryl: It is a good deterrent
Faeryl: I have seen far worse things in the underdark.
Hennifar: I suppose so. Still, this is a civilized land, not one of demonic gnolls and dark elves…
River: I-It’s odd, though. D-did you not see any s-such things? B-bandits or b-b-bodies…
Hennifar trails off sharply, realizing his gaffe.
Hennifar: Bandits – surely! They trailed us for quite a while, but never attacked. Perhaps the smell of salted fish did their senses no good!
Quinn Winterborn: Far better for the law of the land to be hanging bandits, though, rather than some hooligan.
Hennifar shrugs, “A vigilante seems like a law breaker either way you look at it.”
Quinn Winterborn nods in agreement
Hennifar: It is strange that you are the only caravan we’ve passed on this route so far. Generally there is much more traffic.
Faeryl: Nonsense, sometimes a vigilante is the only one who can get things done.
Hennifar: That seems… oddly harsh
Quinn Winterborn: I wonder if your shadow has anything to do with that….
Faeryl: Harsh? Maybe, true? Yes
Quinn Winterborn: We should tell Jaq about the bandits ahead of us.
Quinn Winterborn gets up and wanders over to Jaq
Shanx stalks over to the group, clearly irritated. The massive dragonborn gets within ten paces and barks in a low rumble, “Jaq’s ready to go, we gotta put daylight behind us.”
Quinn Winterborn: Jaq, Hennifar mentioned he has seen bandits ahead. Just thought you’d want to know.
Faeryl: Yes, I agree with Jaq.
Jaquard Peppen: We knew there were bandits along this route. Figures they would be ahead of us too. Lets get moving shortly
River nods and politely bows to the tieflings. “T-thank you for h-having us.”
Faeryl stands up, and glances at the caravan.
Quinn Winterborn is ready to get moving again
Faeryl: Be careful on the road, do not let your vision wander for even a second.
Hennifar: Our pleasure! If you’re ever in Hillsfar, please look us up at the Temple of Sune!
Hennifar smiles at the drow, “Our goddess watches over us, Master Faeryl. She’d likely watch over you as well, should you let her.”
Faeryl: I have no use for a goddess of beauty.
Hennifar smirks, “Of course. Good travels to you all!”
Faeryl stalks off, mumbling something about foolish tieflings worshipping a goddess of beauty.
Another ten minutes sees you back onto the road. The contryside begins to change – becoming a more wild and thicker with each passing hour. The undergrowth now prevents easy sight into the shadows and the oaks and aspens are replaced slowly with jackpines and spruce that grow tightly together.
Quinn Winterborn: Decent spot for an ambush, maybe?
Faeryl nods
River: Keep a nose out, Moro.
Faeryl places one hand on his sword as he walks, ready for anything
Quinn Winterborn looks at River with a confused expression
Moro grunts a bit and sniffs at the air every-so-often.
The pace slows a bit, as the road goes from well maintained to little more than two ruts in a grass choked trail. Still, while slightly concerning, there doesnt appear to be anything out of the ordinary.
Faeryl doesn’t relax for even a second
As the evening carries on, you come to a large washed out section of the trail, where a creekbed crossed the trail at some point. It now appears to be used as a turn around for caravans, or a point where travelers can rest. As you approach, you can see two carts that are not attached to any animals off to the side of the trail.
The carts do not appear to be occupied, but there appear to be items in the rear of the cart, covered in a tarp.
Quinn Winterborn calls out “Hello??”
There is no answer to your call.
Jaquard Peppen: I dont like this
Faeryl: Nor do I
Quinn Winterborn: Moro?
Faeryl: [SKILL] Perception [1d20+10 = 11]
Moro grunts and looks at Quinn.
Quinn Winterborn: Smell anything, friend?
Quinn Winterborn: or anyone?
River: I wonder….. perhaps t-tracks?
Faeryl: Perhaps if you stopped your prattling, we would notice more.
River: [SKILL] Nature [1d20+9 = 21]
You dont see anything that is sticking out from here. The drivers of the wagons stop some fifty feet away from the carts.
Faeryl: I shall scout ahead.
River: B-be careful…
Faeryl uses his drow training to sneak ahead
Quinn Winterborn keeps an eye on the trees on the side of the road the carts are NOT on.
Moving quietly… you find nothing as you creep ahead.
As you get within 15’ of the carts, you see that the carts have someone in them, as limbs from two seperate bodies peek out from under the tarps. (Roll Perception in the tower please)
You see that the carts bear the mark of the Sunite temple as well as the same wheels and halters as the wagons that you had lunch with earlier that day.
Faeryl thinks to himself that it’s strange they didn’t mention this
Faeryl motions for the others to come up behind him
Alavair appears near you, moving as silently as you are, flanking the carts from the opposite side of the road. He looks at you then motions you forward with his bow.
Faeryl nods and moves forward following his lead
River frets whether to stay by the carts or back up Faeryl…. and slowly advances with Moro.
Quinn Winterborn stays at the carts, still watching the forest warily.
The elf moves forward with prupose, getting the far side of teh carts and then moves without care for stealth anymore. Tossing back the corner of the tarps, you see a gray-green humanoid with a thick shock of black hair tied in a topknot and a strapping human lad – both bound and gagged and sleeping quietly.
Faeryl also moves without care for stealth
Faeryl: A human and a…. I have no idea what that is
River: …A-are they d-dead?
Alavair: Looks like an orc and elf mix
Alavair: Sleeping.
Alavair: Jaq – we got sleepers…
River: ….A… githzerai. I’ve heard of them.
Faeryl brings out his dagger
Alavair: Bring up the carts while we sort this out
Faeryl places the dagger to the throat of the human, and prepares to wake him up
River: They’re normally very p-peaceful….
Alavair: Ruthless… I like that.
Alavair slinks away
Faeryl: Wake the human up, we can ask him what this is
River: If… you t-think that’s what w-we should do…
River carefully shakes the human awake.
River: E-excuse me….. A-are you o-okay?
Faeryl holds the dagger steadily against Hudsons neck, careful not to cut him accidentally.
River has to shake the human quite hard before she gets even a moderate response. With some more intensity, she manages to get the human to awaken, though the other does not stir.
River: H-hello?
Hudson Aydar: Hudson awakens slowly and then all at once, silent as he looks around. He takes a moment before he speaks. “It would seem you have me at a disadvantage”
Quinn Winterborn starts to wander over to the wagons
Faeryl: It would seem so, be very careful how you speak from here, I hold your life in my hands.
River: P-please, F-Faeryl.
River: M-my name is River. W-what happened?
Faeryl scowls at River for divulging their names to a complete stranger
Hudson Aydar: We were attacked. Where are the others?
Hudson Aydar slowly looks to his side.
Faeryl: Attacked, by whom?
River: We only found y-you and h-him.
Hudson Aydar: And who is that?
Valskan Felgarde: Sounds a might fishy.
River: Hmmm.
Hudson Aydar: Tieflings, armed with some kind of magic.
Quinn Winterborn arrive. Tieflings??
River looks over Hudson’s condition.
Quinn Winterborn: We met some tieflings!
River: A-at least you aren’t h-hurt.
Quinn Winterborn looks thoughtful
Faeryl: Yet
Faeryl: What did these… tieflings, look like?
River begins to look over the Gith and prepares to wake him up in the same manner.
Faeryl switches the dagger round and pushes the blunt side into Hudsons neck.
Faeryl stops River
Faeryl: Not yet
Quinn Winterborn starts to scan the area idly, with a puzzled expression on this face. His gaze stops at Jaq, whom he observes for a long moment.
Faeryl: We must finish with the human yet before we awaken that… thing
Hudson Aydar: I didn’t get a good look at them, but it’s clear they’e taken our shipment. What day is it?
Jaquard Peppen stands with Shanx and Alavair, leaning against the wagons speaking with the caravan driver
Today is Tenth-day, 20th Hammer 1479 DR
Faeryl: Today is Tenth-day, 20th Hammer, 1479 DR
Hudson Aydar: They can’t have gotten far. Have you passed anyone transporting…fish, by any chance?
Quinn Winterborn swears softly, but fluently
River suddenly realized what had transpired.
River: Um…. well….
Faeryl: Do not say a word river
Faeryl: First
Faeryl: Wake the other one, perhaps he can corroboate the humans story
Faeryl lifts his dagger from the neck of the human.
Hudson Aydar: I doubt it. I have no idea who they are.
Faeryl: Do not move
River nods and roughly wakes up the Gith.
Quinn Winterborn: Just keey your eyes open, Faeryl.
Izual startles awake with a yelp and a jolt, sitting up scanning his surroundings like a squirrel that just heard a loud noise. He brings his hand to his head, easily projecting that his head is foggy from whatever happened.
River: ….H-hello.
River: A-are you okay?
Faeryl shifts his dagger to the neck of Izual
Izual growls, still gagged and bound, clearly angry at that fact.
Faeryl removes the gag with his free hand
Quinn Winterborn leans again the wagon, but keeps his eyes on the Bandoliers
Faeryl: Who are you?… What are you?
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] What in the nine hells is going on here?!
Quinn Winterborn: Oh, hello.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] You speak Deep Speech?
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Interesting
Quinn Winterborn is distracted for a long moment by something new
Quinn Winterborn [Draconic]: [Translation] Hello?
River: U-um….
Quinn Winterborn [Untheric]: [Translation] Hello?
Izual takes a moment, noticing the drow peaking his tongue.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Of course I do, Drow, it is my native tongue.
Quinn Winterborn gets bored, and starts to look around for Flak
Alavair: Sounds like a bunch of mewling cats…
Hudson Aydar watches the exchange silently, turning to river and raising an eyebrow in question.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] The girl next to me said you were a … Githzerai, I have never heard of them.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Tell me what transpired here, or my dagger will pierce your neck
River simply shrugs, appearing just as confused as Hudson.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Indeed I am. My race spans as far back as the age of the Astral Sea.
Faeryl sighs
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] You speak common do you not? I tire of speaking in the language of the underdark.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] In any case, your blade is uncomfortable against my neck, as well as these bindings. If you want information, I would appreciate setting me free first. I mean no body no harm.
River: ….D-do you mind letting us in on your c-conversation?
Faeryl shifts to common tongue
Faeryl: You forgive me if I do not believe you
Izual [Common]: I understand your concern considering the troubles in these times, but would a gagged and bound man really need to be threatened to gain information?
River: P-please. We should l-let them g-go.
Quinn Winterborn [Common]: All things considered, FAeyr, if I was in this Githzerai’s shoes, I’m not sure I’d believe YOU. Whatever you said…
Jaquard Peppen: Whats going on over there, friends? I dont want to spend the night in the middle of the road.
Faeryl: Two strangers, we are trying to discern who or… what, they are.
River: I think it’s o-obvious what h-happened.
River: Here. H-hold still.
River begins to cut their bonds free.
Faeryl holds rivers arm to stop her
Quinn Winterborn chuckles
River: Do NOT touch me.
Moro begins to growl.
Faeryl lets go
Izual [Common]: This is beginning to aggrivate me, but I suppose I have been rude. My name is Izual, I hail from the Astral Sea. I hunt demons.
Quinn Winterborn [Common]: For a woman you keep trying to convince to show some backbone, she sure isn’t afraid of you, Faeryl.
Faeryl: I… apologise, I should not have held your arm like that.
Quinn Winterborn [Common]: OOh! DEMONS?
Quinn Winterborn [Common]: What kind of demons?
Quinn Winterborn [Common]: I’ve never seena demon.
Quinn Winterborn [Common]: The Astral Sea?
Quinn Winterborn [Common]: What’s it like?
Quinn Winterborn is clearly excited
River frees Izual and Hudson with a bit of effort.
Izual slowly turns his head to Quinn, with a furrowed brow.
Faeryl rolls his eyes
Quinn Winterborn [Common]: I…uh…sorry
Izual [Common]: Yes, demon. Any kind. And yes, the Astral Sea.
Izual [Common]: It’s… large. And dark.
River: I’m s-sorry for your … misfortune.
Faeryl: … yes, I notice it now, in your eyes.
Hudson Aydar slowly, and with his hands clearly kept away from any weapons, stands up and stretches a little.
Faeryl removes the dagger from his neck and places it back in its holster
Izual [Common]: Thank you, Drow.
River: We’re heading t-towards Hillsfar, ourselves.
Faeryl: A demon hunter has my respect.
Your weapons and gear have been taken from you before being bound. You do not see them nearby
Faeryl keeps an eye on Hudson
Faeryl: The name is Faeryl
Izual [Common]: And mine is Izual. I am pleased to have met you, considering the situation.
Hudson Aydar: Hudson. I suppose i should thank you for finding me before a scavenger beast came across us
Valskan Felgarde nods in Izual’s direction at the sign of Kelemvor, “Brother of the scales – he kin stay.”
Izual [Common]: As for what had happened, I am not entirely sure to say the least.
River: I-it doesn’t matter anymore.
River: I’m certain t-they’ve left by n-now…
A brief search finds your gear stashed in the other cart, though any coins you had on you are now gone. A few empty crates area also in the wagon, along with a few scraps of rope and a few bits of parchment.
Izual [Common]: I was scouting when I came across a band of Teiflings. I followed them until they came across a caravan. When I noticed that a mage was casting a spell, I tried to intervein, but it was too late. Everything went black.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Accursed demon spawn…
Faeryl has a much nicer demeanor, still quite apologetic angry at how he handled River.
Faeryl: I apologise for the dagger at your necks, but… you cannot be too careful
Valskan Felgarde: Seems like damn near everyones a bandit out here.
Izual picks up the almost impossibly large bow and holsters it on his back.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Impressive bow
Faeryl shows his almost as equally large greatsword
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Thank you. It does a well enough job as skewering things.
Quinn Winterborn glances at River and rolls his eyes
River heads out and returns to Jaq to tell him their findings.
Hudson Aydar: Think nothing of it, Faeryl. Safety is an important commodity these days. I should return to Hillsfar. I’ve very little chance of catching up with those Tieflings, and still less of retrieving my cargo. If it isn’t too much of an imposition, could I travel with you back towards the town?
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] I see we have a common taste in weapon sizes.
Izual laughs.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] And share a common language, as tiresome as it is for my to speak it…
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe best if you return to Hilsfar with us, Hudson? As for Izual, well, that’s up to you I assume.
Hudson Aydar: I would appreciate it, sir. I don’t believe i heard your name?
Izual [Common]: I actually came from that direction. Ah, but I have not asked. What are you all doing out here in the first place?
Quinn Winterborn: OH, sorry. Quinn Winterborn, atchyer service
Faeryl: We are escorting a caravan of our own
Faeryl motions at the caravan behind them
Jaquard Peppen listens to River intently, clearly running the information over and over in his mind before responding, “Well, we can make mention to the temple when we reach Hillsfar. We’ve got enough food for the extra mouths and if they’ll pitchin, it should be a big deal. But We arent sharing our cut of the guard money with them.”
Izual [Common]: It is odd that these bandits would attack so frequently in the same rout. I have a suspicion that they are seeking something.
Quinn Winterborn agrees with the notion of NOT sharing our cut of the pay
Alavair: Right. No sharing my coin with scavengers.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Izual approvingly, and nods his agreement.
Izual [Common]: Tell me. Have these bandits caused casualties?
Jaquard Peppen: Fair enough. Friends – I am called Jaquard and am leader of this band for the moment. We welcome you to share our camp and wagons for the ride. We appreciate the company, but wont be sharing our payment with yous. If thats acceptable, perhaps we can continue our chat in the wagons. We have six days travel ahead of us, and I dont want to camp here for the night.
River: W-well…
River looks unsure if she should answer Izual.
Caravan Worker: They killed my friends… the other wagon drivers…
Izual looks River in the eye with his stabbing gaze.
Quinn Winterborn: Some of the drivers died in an earlier bandit attack, but not from the same bandits
Hudson Aydar: There was more of a guard with my caravan. Unless they turned turncoat with our cargo, i doubt their fate was as positive as my own.
Caravan Worker: You dont know that!
Izual places his hand over his hear, and coincidentally over the sigil of his deity on his cloak for a moment, as if praying to the departed.
River: …We should g-go…
Izual then removes his hood and looks to the party
Jaquard Peppen: There were several guards with the caravan we met earlier – four men dressed similar to yourself.
Izual: If you would permit me, I would like to accompany you. I wish to protect this caravan from the same fate as the others. I can naot allow more deaths to occur under my attention of the amtter.
Brom: Climb up here, lass – we’ll get them moving… they can follow or stand here in the dark if they want to talk
River hops onto Brom’s cart.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] You are welcome to join us
Jaquard Peppen: Thats fine, as long as you arent after a cut of our gold.
Hudson Aydar pauses, before nodding once and joining the cavern.
Izual gives a small bow of the head to Faeryl.
Izual: I do not require any paltry sum you have offered the others, Human. My path is righteous.
The caravan driver notes Brom and River nudging closer to his lead wagon, and gets the hint. He slaps the reins and start the wagon moving, with the other two wagons following behind slowly.
Faeryl rushes to the front, motioning for Izual to join him there
Hudson Aydar Hudson stays closer to the back, focused on the forest around them.
Izual nods to the Drow and carries his bow with an arrow nocked at the front of the caravan guard.
You come to a large pull off that has been used for caravans before. Camp happens quickly, with more hands to handle the work, and Jaquard and Brom cook up a stew that has even the staunchest of stomachs growling.
The night watches go smoothly, with no bandits or boogiemen
Morning breaks, and the caravan starts out quickly once again, making up for time that was lost the previous day. (Roll insight and perception in the tower please)
The morning brings on a damp spring rain that keeps off those walking beside the wagons and off to the sides of the road thanks to the trees, but those in teh wagons are soaked thoroughly as the gap above the road allows the water to make its way to the drivers box unimpeded.
Moro whines and tries to shake the water off her fur, to no avail.
Early afternoon arrives, and as such, you come to a crossroads that bears a lone man, hanging from a noose on a long pine bough. He has been here for some time, the skeletal figure nearly hidden amongst the branches.
Izual bows his head to the corpse, and palces his hand over his heart.
Youd guess this body has been here for less than two tenday. You see nothing from the ground that is of note.
Faeryl: Another one, no X this time
Izual: Another one? This is a common thing?
Quinn Winterborn: Well, I’m not cutting this one down…
Faeryl tells Izual of the other two we found
Caravan Worker: Good idea. Bad things happened last time.
Faeryl: Izual, think your aim is good enough to cut the rope from here with an arrow?
Izual: I am glad to have joined you. Theswe bandits must taste bloody retribution.
Faeryl: This was not the work of a bandit, but a vigilante
Izual: You challenge me, Drow? I accept.
It is about twenty five feet up off of the ground
Izual grins with determination.
Jaquard Peppen: Are we to cut down every dead body and pick up every poor soul on this trip?
Quinn Winterborn: Actually, I think I’ve had my fill of them, Jaq. I agree with you.
Izual: The dead must be at peace, Human.
River simply murmurs under her breath.
Motes of energy whirl around the arrow tip as Izual takes aim. The arrow streaks towards the pine bough and as it hits near the rope, the arrow explodes with a blast of lightning that sunders the bough completely, dropping the dead man to the ground. Those in the wagons keep tight hold of the brakes this time, and the horses do not bolt.
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Impressive
River: …A magic arrow?
Hudson Aydar: An intruiging display
River ponders upon it a bit longer. “….No…. something else…”
Izual: Not magic. I commune with the spirits.
Quinn Winterborn seems a bit disappointed that it wasn’t magic.
Faeryl begins to look for the X
Jaquard Peppen: So… dead man’s down… are we having a service for him too?
Izual: I shall send them to the will of Kelemvor.
Izual bows his head, yet again.
Faeryl: Do not bother, if there is an X on this man he was a bandit killed by a vigilante
Though it is harder to see than the others, there is indeed a crude ‘X’ painted on the dead man’s chest. The x is black, but you believe it may just be old dried blood.
Faeryl: There
Most of it has flaked off, but it was there at one point. In looking for it, you have disturbed the corpse enough that the body splits open, sending a foul stench into the groups midst.
Izual: Answer me this. Does this vigilante operate under the law?
Quinn Winterborn watches the horses warily
Faeryl: It does not matter
Quinn Winterborn: It does, and he does NOT
Faeryl: He kills bandits, that is good enough for me
Jaquard Peppen: No. Thats pretty much how vigilanties work.
Moro wrinkles her snout and whines. She quickly hides behind River.
River: …We should k-keep moving…
Izual: I have spoken wrong. Are his intentions in good will?
Jaquard Peppen: Not to that guy.
Izual: Then this body deserves the mercy I give it.
Jaquard Peppen: And Im not holding the Hangman in high regard if I keep getting his ripe fruits dropped in my path.
Izual: Ah, so he has a name.
The horses show their nerves, becoming skittish amongst the smells
Faeryl: Lets go, before the horses run
Izual walks to the horses and attempts to calm them with a tender touch, and some wild produce from the field.
The horses wicker nervously and shy away from the offered food, the smell of death too much for them.
Izual: Yes, we should away.
Jaquard Peppen: Let us go from here. We’re getting behind with all of these stops.
Faeryl nods then leads the way
The group saddles back up, leaving the dead man at the side of teh road, continuing on their way.
You encounter nothing else through the rest of the day, and evening finds you camping near a pond once again. This clearing is large, and allows you to spread out a bit. Brom and Alavair sit under a tarpuline, Shanx stand out in the rain looking off into the distance and Jaq busies himself with cooking.
River soon makes her way to Shanx, a bit concerned about the recent events.
River: E-excuse me…. Mr. Shanx… Are you feeling a-alright?
Izual sits coss legged with his arrows sprawled out infront of him, checking the integrity of the shafts and fletching.
Quinn Winterborn sits alone, watching River.
Shanx ignores you for a few moments, before releasing a breath he had been holding for a few moments, “What do you want, little mage?”
Hudson Aydar spends some time with the horses making sure they are okay.
River quivers for a moment, but steels her resolve.
River: You just…. seem at odds with the world…. a-and those close to you.
River: I w-was wondering if there’s s-something I could do to h-help…
Shanx: They are not close to me. They are simply travelers in the same line of work…. Lead by a pompous ass.
River: O-oh…. I’m s-sorry.
River: Mr. Peppen doesn’t s-seem like a b-bad man… But….
Shanx: He’s a moron.
River nods a bit…. and looks around cautiously.
River: May I tell you s-something….?
Shanx: If you feel it necessary.
River beckons the tall dragonborn to lean in closely so she could whisper in his ear.
Faeryl watches river speaking to Shanx with a curious look while polishing his sword.
Shanx leans down slowly, with likely more issue due to age, not stealth or comfort.
River whispers something closely, so none but her and him can hear.
Shanx shrugs. “I just want another payday before Im done. You’d do well to remember that. Keeping your head down and eyes forward keeps you safe and sane.”
Izual unconcerned with the chattering of the group, he crafts a fishing pole out of a stick and some string so that he may fish in the pond.
River: O-of course, Mr. S-shanks…
River: I’ll leave you b-be…
Shanx grunts non commitally.
River soon saunters off to the campfire, eager to try and dry off.
Settling down for the night, Valskan approaches Brom and the two share a pipe while speaking in closed quiet tones in their native tongue. Alavair sets up his watch site in the copse of trees nearer the road, while the caravan driver settles down the for night amid the wagons. Izual has no luck with fish, as it seems that there isnt anything biting in the pond. Within an hour the rain picks up turning the ground not under the strung up tarpuline’s into a quagmire of muck and mud.
Shanx and Jaq swear as they pace through the mud, but seem to avoid one another.
You awaken slowly, as if a guaze has been wrapped around your head. Your limbs dont respond to your commands, and you find that your arms are bound, albeit loosely, behind you. You see the others are similarily bound near you.
River: ….mmm…?
You note that Valskan is not in your immediate area.
River: …Where…. w-what?
Quinn Winterborn looks around to see if we are alone.
Faeryl: I must have slipped into a deeper trance then I thought, I will never make the same mistake again
Hudson Aydar: Twice in one day? This is getting irritating.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Bound again?! What a load of shit this week is.
AS you begin to get your bearings, a high pitched squeal that pierces the quiet night draws your attention to the direction of the other camp, before it is quickly cut off and ends in a dull “thud”
River begins to panic…. and faints.
Faeryl looks over to river
Faeryl: Damn girl, we could have used her wolf
[TURN] Hudson Aydar
In your immediate area, there are the others in the party, minus Valskan. a pond, the reminants of your campfire, you are lying under a tarp that providing cover from the rain. One of the wagons is in your immediate area.
You struggle to get free, but the ropes seem to get the better of you.
Faeryl tries to slip his bonds, which he has done numerous times in the past
Faeryl: I guess growing up in the underdark has its uses
Faeryl (wisper): I see something moving
Faeryl grabs his weapons nearby
Faeryl waits for the others to get free
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] This is an aggrivating situation…
Quinn Winterborn: I assume centered on me.
Faeryl (wispers): What are you doing? Casting a light! You’ll tell everyone we’ve awoken!
River appears to be out cold.
Izual [Deep Speech] (whispering): [Translation] Daft human!
Moro soon appears from the shadows… and begins to gnaw at Hudson’s bonds.
It appears in the now dimlly lit area out to where the limits of your vision is, a ‘curtain of darkness’ for lack of a better term
Moro deftly shreds the rough rope.
Izual notices the spirit beast and smiles.
As you begin to get free, you can hear muttering faintly before you hear the sound of metal parting flesh, and the sounds of a gagged scream.
Hudson Aydar: Okay, grab a bladed weapon and get at quinn’s bonds?
Hudson Aydar body takes on an icy sheen, as he stands up straight.
Faeryl looks at the group to see who’s still bound
Faeryl looks at River, then moro and figuers someone else can sort her out
Faeryl leaves the group to scout ahead
As you leave the immediate area, the muck and mud make the terrain difficult to navigate
Faeryl hides behind a tree
You still cannot see clearly through the screen, but you note several figures within it. One of them turns in your direction as you settle behind the tree.
Faeryl curses under his breath
Izual tries to gain Faryl’s attention with hand motion, moving an closed hand and thumb across his neck, shaking his head left to right.
There is movement within the screen.
As the magical light slides, illuminating the campsight, it touches the screen, obliterating it completely. Behind which, is quite a sight. The Bandoleers are standing over the corpse of the last caravan driver, who is split from neck to waist. Valskan is bound in front of them with ragged wounds in his body. As the spell drops, Brom opens his eyes and stops his murmuring.
Izual turns his head to the mage, bearing his teeth in absolute anger for illuminating his hiding spot.
Jaquard Peppen points to the group, his face straining in anger, “I told you to kill them, not tie them up, you moron. Kill them all!”
Moro howls and slowly prowls ahead.
Brom steps forward and slams his sword into Valskan’s throat, quickly and effectively snuffing the life from him.
Shanx struggles to move forward to engage.
Hudson Aydar moves for the cover of the cart.
Moro (howls): AWOOOOOOOOO~
Alavair quickly sends a second arrow into the spirit wolf
Moro quickly disappears into a fog of mist as the arrow strikes home.
Faeryl peaks out behind the tree to see there’s no targets he can reach due to the muddy ground
Izual sighs as he knows it is pointless to hide anymore. He pulls back an arrow, and lets it loose. It swirls with ice blue spirits as it flys.
Izual ‘sarrow strikes the ground near Alavair’s feet, and a burst of cold wind pushes him back.
Jaquard Peppen: All you had to do was let us work in quiet… but NO! This is what happens to amatuers! NO ONE MESSES WITH THE BANDED BANDOLEERS! YOU’LL BE DEAD AND NEVER MISSED!!!
Jaquard Peppen: FOOLS!
Faeryl throws himself around the tree
Faeryl: Jaquard
Jaquard Peppen slams his massive blade into Hudson twice, cleaving him both times.
Faeryl: Why do you attack us like this?
Faeryl thinks
Faeryl: It matters not, but you have hurt an ally of mine, you will now die
Jaquard Peppen: SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
Faeryl charges towards Jaq
Faeryl strikes his sword into Jaquard twice, the second time only glancing him
Jaquard Peppen laughs at your attacks, a feral gleam in his eye.
River begins to stir… and cry for help.
River: N…. Help….
River: Please…. Help us….
Quinn Winterborn: River!
Moro returns from the spiritual realms…. and lashes out in fury!
Brom says a prayer and marks a blessing on his comrades.
Moro snaps at the heels of Jaquard, but the warrior is nimble on his feet.
SHanx releases a blast of lightning that sweeps the drow off his feet.
Faeryl curses in deep speech
Hudson Aydar Hudson grips his chest, and then slams his warhammer on the floor creating a close burst 1 zone of rippling earth.
Hudson Aydar limps backwards a few feet.
Alavair fires off another arrow, cursing as it flies wide of the prone drow.
Izual snarls and nocks a javelin sized arrow into his bow, letting it loose at Jaquard.
Izual readies another shot.
Izual readies yes another
Izual fires his final arrow in the flurry
Shanx roars in pain.
Faeryl looks behind to river
Faeryl: River we need your healing! Get yourself free!
Quinn Winterborn: I’ll get her!
Jaquard Peppen screams incoherantly.
Faeryl the drow stands up and casts a cloud of darkness around himself
Faeryl then in the safety of darkness, faeryl regains his strength
River struggles to free herself from her bonds…
Quinn Winterborn cuts River’s bonds
River: T-thank you…
River: W-where’s Moro?
River: Moro?!
River: I’m coming, Moro!]
Faeryl: Foolish girl!
Faeryl: Why are you coming so close
River prays for something… anything to help.
Shanx slides forward a little bit, finally shaking the dregs of the sleep off of him.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] You fiends shall find peace only in your own blood!
Faeryl smiles
River: Ngh!
Izual as if demonic imps rose in a wave from the ground around Izual, he vanishes in an instant followed by the spirits.
Faeryl strikes at Jaquard, but stops just short of killing him
Hudson Aydar moves through the rapidly through the fading darkness, and swings his warhammer up with enough force that even missing his target, it still sends him reeling
Hudson Aydar regathers himself and continues forward to swing at the target again, missing him but making him aware that Hudson is on the aggresive now.
River: Please, s-stop!
Last time…. our heroes were in a pitched battle against there one time comrades, the Band of Banded Bandoleers. With their leader down, the Band refuses to give up, fighting more fiercely than before.

Moro howls as she is bathed in lightning once again!
Shanx releases another gout of lightning, to little effect. The dragonkin roars in frustration!
Alavair sends another arrow winging into Faeryl, hitting a joint in the armor.
Izual looks like he is steaming with rage when he sees Faeryl on the ground in a bloody puddle.
Quinn Winterborn: FAeryl!!!
Quinn Winterborn gets up
Moro howls in fury, bolstering those near her with vigor!
River runs to safety from a distance!
Brom: Shoulda stayed put and not barged into business that wasnt yours…
Izual simply yells at Brom the moment he opens his mouth.
Brom smashes Hudson with his hammer, then swings around to follow up with his shield…
Shanx: Bloody beast!
Moro growls and dances about the dragonborn’s strikes.
Alavair chuckles low to himself, “Thats how you shoot, kid.”
Izual reaches to his quiver to grab an arrow, and swings the bird over to Alavair before nocking and firing at Shanx.
Faeryl looks at Shanx with a renewed glare in his eye
Faeryl notices that Jaquard is now dead
Faeryl just refrains himself from killing Shanx
Faeryl: Don’t kill them… except the bitch over there
Moro howls as Hudson strikes the deadly blow!
Hudson Aydar: aims for the legs under the shield, snapping the bones like twigs behind the force of his hammer.
Brom goes down in a heap, a cry of anguish escaping his lips.
River cowers behind a tree, watching Moro from afar
Moro bounds up the swampy lands, seeking Alavair’s neck!
Moro only manages to get ahold of the elf’s arm, biting deep into his flesh.
Alavair throws down his bow as the wolf attacks, him, ripping a pair of shortswords from their sheaths at his hips.
Izual nocks his arrow, and spirits of frost and ice begin whirling around it. He helts loose the arrow, and it flies straight into the mouth of Alavair, freezing his head solid. As Alavair falls to the ground, shattering his cranium, Izual simply says, “That’s how you shoot, arsehole.”
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] You stole my revenge Izual
River: I-Is it over…?
Faeryl: It would appear so
Faeryl: Let us tie up those who still breath
Quinn Winterborn: Is everyone alright….
Faeryl begins to tie up Shanx
Faeryl makes the bonds.. extra tight
River lies still from behind the tree, still shaken from the sudden events.
Quinn Winterborn rushes over to check on the Paladin
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] I apologize. He spat upon my name and yours.
Hudson Aydar: unfreezes slowly, his eyes remaining icy blue for a few moments, before he blinks it away and grabs Brom by one of his broken legs and starts dragging him towards the tarped area.
The rain continues in a depressing drizzle, while you tend to the bodies. of the dead and the not so dead.
Faeryl notices nobody has tied up Brom, so goes to tie up Brom next
Faeryl drags he bodies of Shanx and Brom through the mud to the party
River: …It was m-my fault this h-happened…
Faeryl: River… what did you say to Brom earlier?
Quinn Winterborn: No, it was mine. I suspected treachery earlier, but convinced myself I was being overly suspicious….
Izual: Do not place the blame on yourself child. These men had evil in their hearts before you met them. Anything you may have said changed nothing.
River: N-nothing…. B-but…. I t-told Shanx…about J-Jaquard…
River falls silent, and fearful.
Quinn Winterborn smiles encouragingly at River
Faeryl: Foolish…/
Faeryl sighs
Quinn Winterborn: I…what about Jaquard?
Quinn Winterborn looks puzzled
Hudson Aydar: stands to the side, hammer still in his hands menacingly.
River: ….I-I’ll tend to the d-dead…
Faeryl: We should question the scum
River slowly gets up and begins the gruesome work of laying the dead to rest (and possibly searching for loot).
Izual simply takes any arrows that Alaair may have had and places them into his quiver.
Going through the pockets and satchels on the dead and the not quite dead, you find a rather modest sum of coins, a pair of potions and a strange looking whetstone.
River places Valskan into a proper last state of repose beneath the tallest tree… and closes his eyes one last time.
River: Good night, Mr. V-Valskan… May you f-find peace at last.
River takes the two dead Bandoleers and does the same for them, each under a smaller tree.
River: S-so…. what do we d-do with them?
Faeryl: Question them
Faeryl: Find out why they attacked us
River: O-okay…. let me w-wake them.
Both prisoners remain well sacked out, as the damage done to them was substantial.
River kneels down and attempts to stir the dwarf, Brom.
River: Mr. B-Brom?
Brom eyes flutter at the gentle touch from the shaman. His eyes darken as his vision come into focus, and he remains tight lipped and stoically furious.
River: He’s awake….b-but…
Faeryl: Do not be gentle with the bastard River
Izual uses his bow as a leaning post… only that the post is situated on Brom’s stomach.
Hudson Aydar: Perhaps, if you want any kind of mercy, dwalf, you should be less tight lipped to our politer friend.
Moro growls as she advances on the dwarf, teeth bared.
Brom remains quiet in the face of this pressure, clearly flumoxed.
Faeryl kneels down and brings out his trusty dagger to the dwarfs neck
Faeryl: Why did you attack us?
River: P-please…
Quinn Winterborn watches keenly, but says nothing
Brom: You… attacked us if you remember properly, boy.
Faeryl: You killed our comrade, the dwarf
Faeryl: And tied us up
Faeryl: We did not attack you first
Brom: Semantics. I could have cut your throat instead, but I didnt.
Faeryl: Then I change my question, why did you tie us up, and slay our friend?
Izual: Your small moment of mercy does not excuse you from the murder of our envoy.
Brom: No one’s talking to you, monster.
Faeryl puches Brom in the stomach
Izual kicks the dwarf in the nose.
River: P-please! Stop!
Hudson Aydar: I only see one conscious monster, and he might not remain so for much longer
Brom laughs, spitting blood. “Kill me or leave me be. Ive got nothing to say to ye.”
Hudson Aydar: lets hammer dangle dangerously in one hand
Brom eyes Hudson, “Nice swing though, boy. Not bad at all.”
River: ….Mr. Brom. W-why did you spare us?
Brom: Aint nothing personal, lass. But its like I said before, sometimes its best to just stay down and outta the way.
Izual: Killing you would not be enough to atone you of your misdeeds. I say us torture you slowly. Maybe then you will be able to talk.
River: P-please! There has b-been enough b-blood for one day!
Izual: He does not have to bleed, child.
Izual: Torture does not need to involve any pain.
Brom: Already bleed plenty, ya mongrel.
Quinn Winterborn looks a bit uncomfortable, but continues to watch silently
Faeryl: Brom… Tell me, what deity do you swear your service to?
River mutters under her breath. “..I am n-not a child…”
Izual does a search for poison ivy.
Brom spits. “Now we’re having polite conversation between us, elf? Fie! Rot in the darkest pit of the Nine Hells! Only reason yer alive is because yer traveling partners naive as a wet cat. Sod off.”
Faeryl picks up Brom and takes him over to Jaquard, then rubs his face in Jaquards dead body.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Faeryl. Let me administer the nettles.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] We may be in for a long night, but he shall talk yet.
River: S-stop! Why are you doing this!
Faeryl stops and brings him back
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] No… I feel we can do this without resorting to nettles.
River quickly brings Jaquard’s body back to proper repose…
Faeryl begins to search brom for anything that might indicate what religion he serves
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] I’ll trust your judgement, friend. But I guarantee that some nettles in the eyes without the hands to itch will cause discomfort unlike any other. He will beg for relief, and that is when he will talk.
A search of the dwarf’s person reveals very little in the way of personal effects.
a stone ring, a few bits of stone and twine and a copper coin with a hole punched in it
River confronts Faeryl and balls up her hands into fists in anger.
River: Y-you! W-why did you d-do that?!
Faeryl: To teach the dwarf what will happen to him if he does not talk.
River: They m-may be deserving of our r-resentment… but we should st-still respect the d-dead!
Faeryl: They would not have shown us the same respect
Hudson Aydar: At the moment, your legs might yet heal. I see three options for you. You tell us what we want to know, and we leave you here to make your way back to civilization. You tell us everything you know, and we’ll take you with us to the town, to be tended to by the local law. or, I shatter your legs permenantly, and tie you to the back of one of the horses, and send it galloping into the woods, where you’ll never be seen or heard from again. Which will it be?
Quinn Winterborn: This dwarf isn’t going to tell us anything. Let’s either hang him from a tree, or drag him to the nearest guard.
Brom: I dun care for your threats. Either do it, or be off with you.
Faeryl stands up
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] If the body of the fallen may serve from the grave so that we may bring them rest by avenging their death, it is noble, not cruel.
River: By r-rubbing his face in the man’s c-corpse?!
River: Ludicrous!
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, do you really expect a shaman to tolerate dishonoring the dead?
Izual sighs.
Izual: I will not touch the departed.
Izual bows to River.
Faeryl looks to River
Faeryl: I apologise, I should not have done that. Corellon forgive me.
Quinn Winterborn nods.
River simply huffs, trying to calm herself down.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Faeryl, are we ready for the nettles?
Quinn Winterborn mutters “Amaunator smite banditry, and the evil gods of greed they serve”
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] I see no other way… but, there is something about this dwarf that begins to grab my respect, he will not speak.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] He will talk, do not worry.
River ignores Brom for the moment, as she begins to stir Shanx from his unconscious state.
Izual begins to muddle the nettle leaves, extracting the oil from the plant. Putting the oil into a vial, he moves over to Brom, and puts a small drop in each of his eyes.
Quinn Winterborn watches Shanx closely
Shanx stirs, smattering of lightning crackling from his mouth as he awakens. He thrashes about, straining at his bonds.
Faeryl goes over to shanx and kicks him
Faeryl: Stop struggling
Izual: I warn you, this will… er… sucks.
River: Stop! I w-will have no more abuse from the likes of y-you!
Shanx strains against his bonds and snaps them as you move to restrain him. He grabs at River, who was tending to him
River: Ngh!
Faeryl goes to hit Shanx with the butt of his weapon
Shanx: [ABILITY] Strength check [1d20+5 = 17]
Moro growls as River is grabbed by the dragonborn!
Shanx grabs a hold of River, wrapping his massive arms around her head in the blink of an eye. He doesnt move from the crouch or squeeze harder, just maintains the pressure. “What the hell is going on?”
Faeryl: Let her go Shanx
Faeryl places his giant sword next to Shanx’s head
River: ….I w-woke you up…
Quinn Winterborn: Shanx, you killed Valskan, and tried to kill us….
Quinn Winterborn: We shoudl be asking you that question
Izual makes sure to tighten the bindings on Brom, as the oil is sure to kick in soon and he doesn’t want another loose prisoner.
Shanx: What? Why’m I tied like this?
Faeryl: Because you tried to kill us
Faeryl: And we need to know why
Brom has his eyes lowered and is still.
Shanx appears confused.
Izual: We spared yous life, despite our better judgement.
River: Mr. S-Shanx? M-may I ask you s-something?
Faeryl steps away and ponders something
Shanx jerks, as if he had forgotten he was holding River prone. “Wha?!?”
River: Do you r-remember our c-conversation l-last night?
Faeryl turns back around at this, and listens intently
Shanx: N..no?
Shanx: If I let you go, are those ones going to attack me?
Izual moves closer to Shanx.
Izual: Do you know who you are?
River: …Well, y-yes. Quite p-possibly.
Faeryl sheathes his sword
Faeryl: I will not
Quinn Winterborn: I will not.
Izual speaks louder, crouched near Shanx.
Izual: Do you know who you are?
A rumble deep in the dragonborns chest is heard faintly, but the pressure on River is eased, as his grip loosens. “Im unarmed and… Get out of my face, you smelly orc!” he shouts as he lets River loose and points a finger at Izual.
Hudson Aydar: Do you know who we are?
River falls to the ground, and slowly gets back onto her feet.
Shanx: No. I dont. The three of you seem familar, but I dont know you or the orc.
River: …odd…
Faeryl turns to the Dwarf
Izual: I am not an orc, dragonkin. I am a Githzerai.
Faeryl: Is it the same for you Brom?
Faeryl [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Damn it Izual, you should not have put the nettles in his eye.
Faeryl: River, tend to the dwarf, see if he’s alright.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] Nettle oil does not induce sleep. It is not my doing.
River: …W-well, let’s talk again.
Faeryl: Shanx, what is the last thing you remember?
Izual: Dragonkin, there is no need to be defensive. I will tell you all things if you come and sit with us.
Brom is fine, just silent.
Quinn Winterborn looks thoughtful
Hudson Aydar: Brom was aware enough of the fight to compliment me on my hammer swing. Meanwhile, Shanx doesn’t seem to have any memories of this day, if not further back.
Faeryl: It is rather puzzling.
Shanx: No need to be defensive? I woke up tied and bound. My posessions taken from me – people I know bound, gagged or worse – dead… and you all wave weapons around threateningly. I doubt your friendly, orc. Now. I let the girl go, so backup a bit.
Quinn Winterborn: Shanx, what is the last thing you DO remember?
Izual takes a few staps back.
River: P-please. Let us start w-with names.
River: My n-name is River.
Shanx scratches his head. “Its all a bit fuzzy.”
Izual: And I am Izual. You and your comrades attacked us with lethal intent.
Shanx: Im sorry I grabbed you, Miss River. I dont know whats going on here.
Quinn Winterborn [Draconic]: [Translation] I am Quinn.
Faeryl tells shanx of the nights events, how we all woke up tied and bound, how they killed the dwarf and the ensuing battle.
Quinn Winterborn watches him closely and says “you killed a Paladin in cold blood”
Shanx [Draconic]: [Translation] Well met, human.
Shanx takes a half a step back and makes a deep sweeping bow. His voice begins to gain timbre and bass that wasnt present previously. “I am called Shanx, though my name is Shanahavious Doctollotian of the Brass Hall. Now that we’ve been formally introduced, tell me what happened.”
Faeryl: What… what is that
Faeryl: On your head
Shanx reaches up and rakes his talon tips along his head. “Hmmm I do not know.”
River: A…. lot. Do you know of the B-Banded Bandoleers?
Faeryl: Quinn, do you see the shadowed fissure on the dragonborns head?
Quinn Winterborn: I do.
Faeryl: You know the most about magic, do you know anything about it?
Quinn Winterborn looks at Shanx curiously, moving about to look from all angles and mumbling to himself
Leaning back down again, you can all see the cracked scales that run along the creatures cranium. It appears as if something carved a long shallow slice directly into the dragonborns head. It does not appear to be magically made, but you’d more likely attribute it to the massive blade that Jaquard carried around.
Faeryl runs over to Jaquard and grabs his weapon.
Quinn Winterborn: I….uh…wow…
Quinn Winterborn runs over to check Brom’s head
Shanx flexes defensively.
Faeryl brings Jaquards weapon back
River: S-stop! D-don’t hurt him!
Quinn Winterborn: I don’t think he means to, River..
Izual: No fear. I am sure he means not to harm him.
Shanx: I know of the Band. I am a member, after all. That is Jaq’s blade – no mistaking that.
Faeryl: Hold still shanx
Shanx narrows his eyes, “Why do you have it>”
Faeryl holds Jaquards weapon close to Shanx’s wounds, inspecting whether they came from this weapon.
Shanx: If you bring that weapon or any weapon near my person, I will rip your arms off, drow.
Quinn Winterborn: Faeyr!! Um, might want to explain what you’re doing first??
Faeryl: I am seeing whether the fissures on your body came from this weapon
River quivers with fear as the situation gets tense.
Quinn Winterborn: Shanx, what the diplomatc drow is saying is that there appears to be an injury on your head. Your scales are cracked….
Shanx: Got lots of scars, not surprising I have one on my head.
Quinn Winterborn: This one is…different. Maybe.
Faeryl: These scares are… unique
River: …L-let me see…
River beckons the dragonborn to lean toward her, so she can inspect the wounds.
River: …Most strange…
Shanx leans towards River, while watching the drow.
Faeryl gives up and throws jaquards blade to the ground
River: ….D-did you have anyone t-tend to this recently?
Shanx: Dont recall getting hit in the head, so no.
River: It looks l-like it was sp-split… wide open.
Shanx: I… feel like I should remember that.
Quinn Winterborn: [SKILL] Heal [1d20+1 = 11]
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe we should check Alavair too?
River: May I a-ask you s-something, Mr. Shanx?
As Quinn circles around Brom, you start probing the dwarf;s head, finding that it moves much too loosely. Another prod and the dwarf slumps forward limply, much to your surprise.
Izual: Alavair has no head. Nothing to check.
Shanx: Of course, miss.
Quinn Winterborn: I….uh…what? Brom!?!?
River: W-why did you and Mr. Jaquard not g-get along?
Rolling the dwarf over, you find a soft yellow foam at his mouth, and a large gap in his lower jaw where a tooth once was.
Hudson Aydar: … Coward.
Quinn Winterborn alerts the others that Brom has committed suicide.
Shanx: I dont like the younger Peppan much. Too eager for ill gotten gains and glory. Not much like his brothers.
River: I f-fear he may have been w-working with… others. B-bandits.
River: He accused us of p-prying too deep into his a-affairs…
Shanx frowns, “Thats not surprising. Word is he fell into cahoots with the Zhents and was skimming money off the top.”
Faeryl: He betrayed us all
Quinn Winterborn: The Zhents?
River: The Zhentarim.
River shakes her head at the sound of the shadowy group.
Shanx: Zhentarim… not as big as they used to be, but still nine kinds of crazy. Embroiled in religious zealotry and insanity…
River: It may have s-something to do with th-that dagger…
River produces the strange Dagger of Shar.
Quinn Winterborn: Good thinking, River. I agree.
Shanx shrugs. “Might be. Shar isnt really in with the Zhentarim offically, moreso Bane and Cyric…”
Quinn Winterborn spits
Quinn Winterborn: Faeryl, take a quick look at Brom’s scalp, would you?
Faeryl goes to look at Broms scalp
You find no similar marks on the dwarfs scalp.
Faeryl: So, the dwarf was not afflicted by the same thing as Shanx.
River: I a-apologize for the c-circumstances, Mr. Shanx.
Faeryl: Which means he did this willingly.
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe we should get Shanx to a temple.
Quinn Winterborn: I agree, Faeryl
River: I’ll tend t-to Mr. Brom.
Izual: He took a coward’s death.
Faeryl: I apologise River, for what I am about to do.
Hudson Aydar: Leave him to nature. His death can feed it, and put more good into it than he did in life
Faeryl rushes over to the other bodies, and investigates them all thoroughly for any signs of the same markings
Quinn Winterborn: Izual, my concern is more that he took a fanatic’s death….
Faeryl: So, Shanx was the only one afflicted by this malice.
Izual examines the yellow foam.
Faeryl: The others…
Faeryl spits
River stands agape at Faeryl’s dubious actions… and simply shakes her head.
Stripping down the body of Jaquard, you find a Zhentarim brand that is branded into the man’s upper shoulder. He also has a flowing tattoo scrawled on his upper thigh
River gets to work setting them back into PROPER rest.
Faeryl: You were right Shanx, he is part of the Zhentarim
Faeryl: Or… was
River (muttering): …Silly people… stripping them down to nothing… ludicrous…
Faeryl: If I did not, we would not have found the Zhentarim brand
None of you can read the tattoo, but you recognize the script as Netherese.
Quinn Winterborn quickly scetches the flowing tattoo in the margins of his spellbook, for future reference
With all of that out of the way, you finish addressing the corpses and try to rest for the night.
Faeryl spends the night in his Cloud of Darkness, pondering the events
The next morning you are able to pack up whats left of the campsite and get back on the road. You have no further interactions with dead bodies or bandits the rest of the journey into Hillsfar. Shanx remains cautious but talkative during the journey, determined to seek out help once they reach Hillsfar at one of the local temples.
You enter into the large gated city of Hillsfar, which spawls out onto a large cliff overlooking the Moonsea. You are able to follow the winding main road straight to the warehouse district and from there you are able to find the massive compound of Yazeth Cobb. Driving the wagons through the gates, as the guards watch on, you pull into a large warehouse with dozens of men and women working feverishly.
River (murmuring): S-so many p-people…
Quinn Winterborn nods, a bit discomforted
A runner bolts off as you get down from the wagons, sent by the guards to fetch Master Cobb. Within ten minutes, you see the familar looking merchant approaching you from the main house.
Moro groans in impatience.
Yazeth Cobb: Friends!!! How was the journey! You are a day late! I was fearful that my cargo would not make it here.
Faeryl: We were… delayed
River bows in greeting.
River: H-hello, Mr. Cobb.
Izual keeps his arms crossed and his cloak’s hood up, standing in the back fo the group.
River: I…I’m sorry to s-say that…. the Banded Bandoleers were… s-slain.
Hudson Aydar: stands quietly to one side, jaw tight
Yazeth Cobb clasps all of your hands and shakes ferociously in greeting. “Seems there are more and less of you at the same time.”
River: All b-but Mr. Shanx.
Faeryl: River speaks untrue… The bande Bandoleers, all except Shanx here. Were traitors. Jaquard was part of the Zhentarim
Yazeth Cobb: Master Cobb frowns deeply. “Perhaps we should not talk out in the open, yes?”
Faeryl: I agree
Yazeth Cobb waves to the guard “Bring my trunk to my office immediately.”
Entering the main house in the compound, Cobb takes you to a room off of the main living area, which is appointed richly. He motions for you to sit or drink while he pours a glass of wine. “So tell me now. The Zhentarim? This is not good at all.”
Faeryl tells Cobb of the events that took place.
During the tale, two men enter the room, bearing the chest from the wagon, complete with jammed straw lock and all.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Faeryl concernedly
Yazeth Cobb: That is most disturbing. You said they were after something specific then?
River: If w-what we heard is to be b-believed true…
Yazeth Cobb takes a moment looking at the jammed lock. Chuckling to himself, he reaches around the bottom of the chest and releases a hidden cache, which pops the lids open with minimal effort.
Quinn Winterborn chuckles, relieved
Rifling through the contents, Yazeth removes a velvet bag and lays it out on the table, removing numerous letters from the bag.
River: W-what…?
Faeryl: I knew it
Flipping through several of them, he mumbles their significance “Ledger, ledger, bank note…. Ahhh here it is.”
Yazeth scans over a ragged note several times before nodding to himself. “I think this might have been what they were after. Kestral seems to be in over his head.” He holds out the letter, allowing you to read it over.
Faeryl takes it and reads it
Quinn Winterborn: Kestral??
Faeryl reads it aloud
Yazeth Cobb: My son.
Quinn Winterborn: Ahhhh…
Yazeth Cobb: If what he says here is true, that would lend credance to your interactions with the Sharrans and the Zhents.
River: …Shar?
River: E-Experiments?
Yazeth Cobb makes the sign of the Amaunatoran sun across his chest. “Light protect us if this is true.”
Quinn Winterborn also makes the sign.
Yazeth Cobb: It would seem that I am in need of more paid assistance, if I am to aid my son… and perhaps prevent folly in this area.
River: I-I don’t know….
Moro groans and looks at River with a cocked eye.
Quinn Winterborn: It would be an honour to serve Amaunator’s will, and oppose evil.
Yazeth Cobb: If you are interested, I can pay you to travel to the north shore of Zhentil Keep and check out what my son claims. He’s a fine young man and if he is worried, I can only imagine what is wrong.
Yazeth Cobb: If you are not… well, I owe you for services rendered anyhow, so we can settle up and you can be on your way.
River: …We should still t-take a look… For Mr. Shanx’s s-sake.
River: I-If what I think is true… it m-may be more d-dangerous than I t-thought.
River: R-right Moro?
Moro nods.
Yazeth Cobb: I think Mr. Shanx will need some time to recover from his… injuries. Not to mention the discussion that will need to be had with the rest of the Banded Bandoleers.
Yazeth Cobb shakes his head firmly. “It settled then. I will make arrangements for your passage to Zhentil Keep and you can canvas the area, determine if Kestols claims are unfounded are not, speak with my son and report back what you find.” He reaches under the desk and removes a large metal box. OPening the box, he removes 5 trade bars of silver, placing them on the desk, “These are worth 100 gold each, your payment for delivering my wares. Take them and I will provide room and board at the Happy Harpy Inn for two days, when i can secure passage for you.”
River: Thank you, Mr. C-Cobbs.
Quinn Winterborn: Very generous of you.
Quinn Winterborn winks at Hudson and Izual
Hudson Aydar: nods. “Thank you.”
Yazeth Cobb: You may need to invest in an adventurers charter, if you dont already have one for your group. Otherwise, you’ll face fines in Hillsfar and throughout the Moonsea and suurounding areas if you are questioned by the authorities… considering your company, that might be wise.
Yazeth Cobb: If there is nothing else, then please go rest and relax and we’ll reconvene in a few days for your journey.
Quinn Winterborn nods, a bit confused
River: Oh, n-no… I’m not an a-adventurer…
Moro groans, obviously confused.
Quinn Winterborn: That’s ok, River. Moro is.
Quinn Winterborn winks at Moro.
River: B-but…
Moro nods at Quinn, somewhat pleased.
Yazeth Cobb: You dont have to be one… but you’ll want the charter any how.
Hudson Aydar: Before the Tavern, I should probably make my employers aware of what happened to their shipment.
Yazeth Cobb: You can get the charter at any guild house, as they have to sponsor you. I can give you my seal, which should get you the sponsorship of any guild you’d like.
River gently takes the seal… hesitantly.
Quinn Winterborn: There’s more than one guild?
Yazeth Cobb: Indeed. Though you can send a courier to do that as well. Your choice.
River: …What does one r-require in making a ch-charter?
Yazeth Cobb: Sure there is. Thieves guild, merchants guild, artists guild, minter guild, farriers guild, smiths guild… just about any of’em you can think of.
Izual [Deep Speech]: [Translation] I pledge allegiance only to my Diety…
Quinn Winterborn: Oh. I see. Thank you.
Hudson Aydar: It would probably do more good to send a courier. I would have some… strong words for their hiring policies, and could do without starting an argument. I assume couriers can be found around the city?
Yazeth Cobb: Typically its a sponsorship or a reputable person and a guildhall – then your names, description and seal swearing to not plunder or murder for the sake of something nonmalicious or something or another. I dont know the wording exactly. But basically, you wont kill good people for the sake of killing and taking their goods.
Yazeth Cobb: Surely. You can speak with the tender at the Harpy and he can arrange it
Hudson Aydar: I thank you for your advice.
River begins drawing up the charter, with the guidance of the tender at the Happy Harpy.
Quinn Winterborn: Cool
River hands the charter around the party to inspect and sign.
River: The only d-detail left is… the group name.
River: That and the s-signatures, of course.
The date is Eigth-day, 28th Hammer, 1479 DR
River: I’m n-not by any means a-accustomed to adventuring…. so…
Quinn Winterborn: Well, we’re not Bandoliers, I’ll say that much.
Izual: I have suggestion.
Moro groans and gets into a nearby bottle of ink.
River: M-Moro…?
Moro hops up onto the table and places a paw on the charter, leaving a inky pawprint.
Izual: I don’t think I have ever seen a spirit’s signature.
Quinn Winterborn smiles
River shakes her head and cleans up after the messy wolf.
Izual: Anyroad, I have name suggestion.
Hudson Aydar: What’s your suggestion?
Izual: Spirits Respite.
Quinn Winterborn: Hmmm…
River: I v-very much doubt you or F-Faeryl would give respite to anyone… apologies…
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe something other than respite, then?
Izual: On contrary, girl. My path is a righteous one.
Hudson Aydar: Nature’s Shield?
River remains unconvinced, but stays silent.
Izual: I feel that is like a promise we cannot keep.
Izual: Some day, we may not be able to shield nature, or even damage it ourselves.
Moro groans and lies down for a bit of well-deserved rest.
Hudson Aydar: damaging nature is part of it’s cycle. All things die, and all things live
River: I-I’m not sure where to b-begin…
Quinn Winterborn: Choose something simple. I’m afraid I have no flair for these things. Any name will suffice.
Izual: You vote, then.
Izual: We have two names on table.
River: Mr. Tender? P-perhaps you have heard of other a-adventuring group names?
Quinn Winterborn: I like something with Spirit, for Moro. River declined respite, so maybe she can offer an alternative?
Hudson Aydar: looks at Moro “The Wolf Spirits?”
Moro perks up as people mention her.
River: N-no… I’d rather not have any m-more attention…
The bartender laughs aloud, but clips it off abruptly. “Hard to not draw attention to yerself with a big wolf and that orc and drow wandering around with you dear.”
Quinn Winterborn: Isn’t there a name that could honor Moro, while being more…anonymous, then?
Quinn Winterborn: He’s not an….oh never mind
Quinn Winterborn: Sorry Izual.
Izual only sighs.
Hudson Aydar: Fenris Adventurers?
“Ye could go with something plain though, like the ‘Feral Five’ as its prety neutral as names go. Had one called Gadflys Golden Gatherers… "
Quinn Winterborn: Spirit Bandoliers
Quinn Winterborn laughs
River: Hm….
Izual: How about, Brothers of Forever Faith
Moro looks quizzically at Izual.
Hudson Aydar: I fear you’ll find little faith in me, Izual.
Izual: What do you belive in, Hammerman?
Hudson Aydar: Nature. Survival of the Fittest.
Izual: Do you believe in life and death?
Izual: Good and evil?
Quinn Winterborn: Lager and Akle?
Hudson Aydar: Life and Death, yes. Good and Evil is largely subjective.
Izual: So you have the will to live by being stronger, yes?
Izual: pfff
Sable (Izual): pfff
Hudson Aydar: I think that survival is strength. And there’s strength in lots of things. but the only faith you should have is in yourself. And your own place in the grand scheme of things
Izual: So you answered my question.
Hudson Aydar: … Was my answer not to your satisfaction?
Izual: You believe in living, and you belive in yourself.
Hudson Aydar: yes.
Izual: You have faith in yourself to live. I have found your faith.
Hudson Aydar: Perhaps you have.
Quinn Winterborn: Lager and Ale
Quinn Winterborn drinks an ale.
River: I-I have a suggestion…
River: What a-about…. ‘The Lost Light?’
Faeryl: Lets hear it
River: It’s a bit… poetic, but…
River: It’s okay, f-forget I said anything…
Hudson Aydar: pauses, and his eyes become dark. After a moment, he suddenly looks up, with a snap akin to ice cracking. “I would accept that name.”
Quinn Winterborn shrugs.
Quinn Winterborn: Fine by me.
Izual: It is misleading I think, but it has a nice sound to it. I can accept this.
Faeryl: The lost light….
Faeryl sits in silence for a period of time.
Faeryl: Like the Drows of old…. Who were taken from the light by Lolth.
Faeryl: I can accept this.
River: Th-then it’s decided.
Moro just wanted to adventure some more.
Izual: Good ideas, Spiritcaller.
River: I-I…. Thank you.
Hudson Aydar: shall we sign then?
Quinn Winterborn: Aye
Hudson Aydar: Is there a hunters guild?
Faeryl: Druids guild? What’re the perks?

View
Session 15 Chat Log

The group found themselves at an impasse after the extremely bizarre 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, which, surprisingly, seemed to be awaiting Xila’s arrival. A meeting at the Inn was established and it would be up to Xila to barter for help for their charge – and help without garnering the notice of the Purple Dragons, who would be looking for the group to arrive with Mirabeta.

The Inn has well past emptied when the woman entered the main room, her dark hair tied back, revealing half elven ears and intricate earrings that appear to be small knives. She wears well-worn leathers and has a pair of golden cuffs at her wrists that look to be function and decorative at the same time. She takes a perfunctory look around the empty room and shrugs, taking a seat at an empty table. “T’s on you, Xila. Your move, girl.”
Xila checks to make sure none of the other party members are around.

No one is in the main room. Your subtle bribe of the innkeeper made him close up early. The rest of the party is upstairs and sitting with Mirabeta.

Xila heads over to take a seat.
Xila: Hiya!
Nualla nods, “You’re late.”
Xila: Couldn’t be helped, some companions of mine decided they wanted to go the wrong way.
Nualla: Things like that happen. Better question is why aren’t 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 aren’t on great terms, but they’re better than most – and their mage has a nose for finding things that ought not to be found. I’m not wanting to get on Vainrence’s bad side. What are you moving – magical bauble? Netherese artifact?
Xila: This weird person infused 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 killed
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 don’t hand her over, then the Crowns going to come after you. Are you ready to go to the gallows for this woman?
Xila: Me personally? Nope, not a chance. I’d happily hand her over for the coin if I had the chance, the others though; yeah I think they’re willing to die for this woman.
Nualla: Hmmm…

Nualla: Word is that Selkirk was addled – mind was tied up in knots. She was unstable when they found her after that stint in the drow city. That sound about right?
Xila: Yup, kept saying the same thing over and over… although for some reason I can’t ever 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 what’s the pay off if you do, aside from your cover would be happy?”

Xila: Pay off? I don’t know, I won’t get paid for it, which would be a bad thing.
Xila: I guess, doing a good deed?
Nualla frowns.
Xila looks a bit puzzled by the thought
Nualla: You almost have yourself convinced, girl.
Nualla: Better yet, Selkirk’s loaded – she’s the ruler over a nation – though Sembia is a bit in the dark right now – literally. You’ll be getting into bed with the Netherese and making you marked as an enemy by Cormyr. Not great sides to be on.
Nualla: Not entirely sure I want my prints on this either.
Xila: So, we turn her in, get paid, and 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: I’m pretty sure the Shades will kill her and you before you can look at them sideways. But if we get involved with this, it casts us against Cormyr, and Netheril is on that side as well. Means working in Cormyr or Suzail would be more than difficult.
Xila frowns
Xila: Say… have you heard of this paladin type named Levia? That’s who the others were gonna turn her into before I persuaded them to come here.

Nualla: Sounds vaguely familiar… but I can’t 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 than you can 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 definitely be among them. But let me start from the beginning and lay out the whole thing before we get ahead of ourselves.
Xila: Sure
Nualla: Purple Dragons and the War Wizards have been setting up for something big recently, and I’d guess it’s whatever they plan on doing with Selkirk. Lots of baubles been changing hands lately, and likely it has to do with all of the relic 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 that’s 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 whatever’s blocking your marks head.
Nualla: Luckily, I originally called you here to ease into Grankleshard’s place for a personal favor, but it seems that you’ll need to go there for this elven relic as well. So, it works out rather well.

Nualla: Grankleshards having a big masked formal ball at his newly renovated estate in a few days, and that would be ‘in’ for you and your crew. The lil guys awfully fond of the adventurey type, and I can make arrangements for you to have invitations.
Nualla: While there, I have something else I’d like you to do for me, and that will take care of one of your owed favors.
Xila: Sounds awfully boring, but I guess I can do that.

Nualla: The gnomes not idle when it comes to protecting his items – he’ll have a good bit of magic and mundane protections, not to mention the guards as well. But, he’s not much on the War Wizards or the Crown in general, so he might be willing to let the magicy bit go for something.

Xila: I see, so we can bribe him for it… Or figure out a way to steal it.
Nualla: Either would work – there’s likely to be quite a rabble at the manor that night, so other opportunities may present themselves as well.
Xila nods
Xila: So, what’s this favor I have to do as well?
Nualla: Nothing major. I have it on good intelligence that one of Grankleshards kitchen help is a Zhent spy. All I need is for you to unlock the kitchen door and the servant’s entrance to the manor house 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 favor heads upstairs while Nualla leaves.
Xila: Well, that was fun! You weren’t eavesdropping or anything were you?

Izual removes his hood and turns 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 its guaranteed rope to neck action.
Quinn Winterborn nods
Xila: Good news though, we may have a way to stop whatever magic is warping her mind.
Quinn Winterborn turns and looks at River and Hudson
Hudson: Good.
River frowns. “We could still take her to the paladin, and not the Crown.”
Quinn Winterborn: I’m…not exactly a big fan of the paladin
Quinn Winterborn: Paladin’s don’t ambush people in the forest….
Hudson: I don’t want anyone to die. If we can free her mind before the end, perhaps that’s the best we can hope for.
River: Everyone thinks they are the good guy, especially in times of distress. People do bad things for good reasons all the time.
Xila: My contact is looking into that paladin for me, but she pretty much assures me that it’s the crown or death, and I trust her explicitly… She cannot lie.
River: What?
Quinn Winterborn raises an eyebrow to Xila
Quinn Winterborn: River, I hold paladins to a higher standard than that
Izual: I am for it. It allows us 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, and 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 isn’t 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 can’t 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 immeasurable.

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 experiences, using up the magic in an item usually destroys it.
Quinn Winterborn blushes
Hudson glances at Quinn, and then stands up. “When will we find out more about our quest?”
River broods quietly.
Xila: Well, our invites to the masked ball should come soon. Then we just… plan what we’re gonna do.
Xila: We either bribe, or steal. Personally I’m all for stealing it.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Xila: Although it will have some magical protection and guards of course.
Xila: Guards I can handle, magical protection? Not so much
River: Why is your contact doing this for us?
Hudson: I’ll probably need… a change of clothes if it’s a fancy party.
Quinn Winterborn: Xila, I understand your preference, but beyond the ethical ramifications, I HIGHLY suggest that you NOT steal a Kiira
Xila: Why?
Quinn Winterborn: Some of them are….intelligent?
Quinn Winterborn: …and magical….
Xila: How can a gem be intelligent? I’ve stolen plenty of them before.
Xila: I mean I know it’s a magical one, but still.
Quinn Winterborn just stares at Xila
Quinn Winterborn: Actually, I don’t know how it can be. But it can be.
Izual: Maybe that is its magical protection. IT protects itself.
Izual: It is a harrowing thought.
Quinn Winterborn: Which would indicate that stealing is the wrong approach
Xila: Well we may have no choice, we need this gem. Also I’m going to this guy’s 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 I 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.
[w] Xila: Ah
River: I…I don’t 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
Xila winks
Izual: Well doing nothing at all would result in the same.
Quinn Winterborn: Alright, so we wait for Xila’s contact, then?
River: We… are going to need some less conspicuous clothing for this to work.
‘Ben Wilson’ connection lost. Waiting for reconnect
‘Ben Wilson’ disconnected
‘Ben Wilson’ connected
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 that right?

River: That’s going to require someone to go into Suzail then. Someone that’s not easily recognizable…
River looks at Izual.
River: Likely Quinn and Xila would be the best for this… I’m 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 whatever’s needed.
Xila: Yup! Do I need to err… take your measurements?
Xila eyes Hudson
Hudson looks blankly back at her.
Hudson: gotta tape measure?
Xila: …Nope
DM: that got weird quick…
Quinn Winterborn sighs
River: Written measurements should suffice. But the coin that’s needed won’t be… insubstantial.
Hudson hands over his old armor. “Here. This fit perfectly. Maybe they can work out the sizing from it.”
Xila: Oh coin if of no consequence. I’m sure there are plenty of nobles who’ll happily part with some coin if I ask “nicely”
Hudson: Xila…
Hudson hands Quinn a pouch of three hundred gold.
Hudson: That should cover it.
Xila pockets it
Xila: I might still ask for some.. help though
Xila: I mean, can’t hurt to have more right?
Hudson: Just… don’t get caught.
River sighs, “Less attention, not more attention.”

Xila: right then Quinn, let’s 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 squalor district, where most of the buildings are made with mud and straw and would likely wash away in a big storm. It’s about midnight by the time you get into Suzail.
Quinn Winterborn frowns
Quinn Winterborn: Too much like home.
Xila: Let’s 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 city’s 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 an 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, and then shifts into a childlike appearance.
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 grateful.

The man looks at Xila, then back to Quinn, then back to Xila. “You don’t look like yer related? Different mums or something?” He then spits into the street, wiping his mouth on his cloak, a glint of sliver shows at his neck, where the cloak is clasped together by a beaten silver pin that resembles a harp.

Quinn Winterborn gives Xila a stern look

Xila: Yes, we have different… mothers
Xila sniffs
Xila: But now, we are alone.
Xila sobs
Quinn Winterborn stares keenly at the pin
Quinn Winterborn looks at his sister uncertainly
Quinn Winterborn: Maybe the temple would take us in, if this good gentleman would not? I’m not used to being on the street at this hour….

The man sputters a bit, “I can’t have you sleeping on my floor! I might trip and crush you like a wee babe! And my daughters wouldn’t take a young man like this in their midst without some kind of incoherent ramblingsBUT!” He comes out of his mumbling with a roar, “I have some coin – you can get a room at the Laughing Lass just there yonder there. Tell’em that Walt sent you and ask for Mishell. She’ll take care of ye little fellows.”
Quinn Winterborn steps forward, and snatches the coin greedily
???? hands over a few thick golden crowns.
Quinn Winterborn: Bless you, Walt
Xila: Oh thank you sir, that’s mightily kind of you!
Quinn Winterborn looks the stranger in the eye, briefly, then lowers his head and turns to his sister, beckoning her
“yes yes… bleeding little orphans. Have a warm meal and a drink on Walt….” he begins to stumble off into the night.

Xila walks off with Quinn then stops crying.
Xila: Well, that went well. Would have rather gone to his house, could have taken that nice pin of his.
Quinn Winterborn turns on Xila angrily

Quinn Winterborn: You!
Quinn Winterborn: You and I need to have words. Very soon.
Xila: What for?
Quinn Winterborn seems suddenly and inexplicably furious
Quinn Winterborn looks angry, but flustered
Quinn Winterborn: Steal that pin, and I’ll turn you into a frog
Quinn Winterborn storms off towards the Laughing Lass
Xila looks puzzled.
Xila follows

The Laughing Lass is a large Inn with a front desk in the atrium and a massive feast hall annex. Two large men stand on either side of the feast hall doors, obviously there to take care of troublemakers. 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 because he thought it would work.
Quinn Winterborn mutters the name Amaunator softly.
??: Its a bit late… I think I have something over the feast hall if you would like just a bed to rest in. IF you want a full room with all the amenities, I have one of those as well, but it would be full price.
From the feast hall you hear the music die down and the crowd begin to quiet. Within a moment a serving girl walks out of the hall and up to 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 feast hall 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 familiar 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 I’ve 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, “That’s 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. “It’s a relic from another age, actually – but it still means something… to some people.”
Xila: Sarah, this here is … Daniel.

Quinn Winterborn: It means something indeed.
Mishell Nymomen smile vanishes instantly. “Care to try again?”
Quinn Winterborn moves slightly away from “Sarah”
Quinn Winterborn: Frog
Xila: No good huh? Names Xila, this here’s Quinn.
Quinn Winterborn shakes his head
Quinn Winterborn: Why would you even try with a Harper, Xila? Another one of your games?
Mishell Nymomen: She said you’d be difficult. I was hoping for better.

Xila: …She?

Quinn Winterborn: I apologize, bard. My companion here seems to see everything as a contest.
Mishell Nymomen: Nualla. Said I could call on you for a favor for me, which would be a favor for her. And she said you owed her a few.
Xila seems to laugh at this
Quinn Winterborn seems startled
Xila: Oh I knew there was something funny about all this… That Nualla.
Xila: Quinn, you should err… leave the room, I think me and her have a few things to discuss.
Quinn Winterborn looks for a long moment like it’s the last thing on earth he wants to do.
Quinn Winterborn sighs
Quinn Winterborn: Mishell? By your leave then?
Mishell Nymomen: No. I think Mr. Winterborn is fine to stay. What I have to ask is not part of your… association or associates. Though it is related to your current… endeavor.
Quinn Winterborn: You know??

Mishell Nymomen: Nualla’s friends are often friends of my own; we just rarely work in the same areas at the same time.
Quinn Winterborn looks back and forth between Xila and Mishell, not quite believing what he’s hearing
Xila: I see, that’s to be expected I guess.
Xila: So, what’s this favor 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 won’t 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 won’t engage her. I’ll plant the coin and nothing else.”
Mishell Nymomen: Best to not mention that either.
Quinn Winterborn offers a soft sigh of relief
Mishell Nymomen: Upon completion of this task, meet me back here and I will pay you handsomely for this favor.
Xila eyes light up at the mention of payment.
Xila: Ok!
Quinn Winterborn frowns

Xila: So, any suggestions about how to plant it? I must admit I don’t usually give things to people.. and certainly not secretly…
Mishell Nymomen: She will covet the coin upon contact, so touch it to her and then dropping it would work – or simply planting it in her purse or belt pouches would also be acceptable.

Xila nods

Quinn Winterborn: I apologize for the oddness of my question, Lady Mishell, but I had an odd dream a fortnight ago – a portent. I dreamed of Mystra, and a silver harp, and a word that I could not hear. I know the Harpers are masters of lore, I wondered if the connection made any sense to you.
Quinn Winterborn looks at Mishell earnestly, almost hopefully
Mishell Nymomen blushes at the question, taking a moment before answering. “I cannot read your dreams, Master Winterborn. But I know from centuries of serving the Mistress that things that seem coincidental are often not simply chance. Perhaps you are drawn to a calling of those who Harp, or perhaps it is the spectral call of the Mistress reaching out to you through the Astral Sea. I cannot say, but I would venture that whatever you are a part of is much 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 endeavor 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. Don’t 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 changeling that works for both the Talons and the Harpers. He was a proper intermediate. Now, you have a room above the feast hall, 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, and then realizes this probably means she can’t keep the 600 gold Hudson gave her.

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, embarrassed

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Entry #4 - Lurking Shadows
Within sight, yet out of reach...

It has been some time since I had last written… for which I apologize. Perhaps in the future, when time isn’t so pressing, I can afford to transcribe my thoughts more often.

We paid our respects to Faeryl, then proceeded onto our mission. The path ahead was through a dilapidated sewer and caverns, through which we crept quietly like shadows on the walls. Mr. Aydar had a close call with some fungi spores, which had somehow grown like wildfire into his eyes. With a steady hand and a sharp blade, I was able to save his sight… yet he still suffered from the spore’s intrinsic effects, not all of which is detrimental. It may be some time until I can fully restore his well-being, but he seems satisfied with his condition, so I will let it pass.

It took the better part of a few hours, but we finally reached the Tower of the Arts. Magic still coursed through the mysterious ruins, and drew out Mr. Winterborn’s curiosity like a moth to a flame. It was like a child in a store of wonder, looking at the mysteries that were waiting to be discovered… I was a bit envious of him, to be honest. Still, we had little time to spend on satisfying his curiosity — if we were not immediately being pursued, we were certainly being set up for ambush.

During our exploration of the Tower of the Arts, we had angered the guardians of the ancient ruin. Although they had the remnants of the magic flowing through the tower at their disposal, we were not without fortune ourselves. An inquisitive and somewhat flirtatious halfling by the name of Xila had followed us through the sewers… purely because ‘we were interesting’. It certainly struck me as suspicious at the time, but I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. When I asked for her to help the others, she seemed to leap at the chance to risk life and limb, smiling as she did so. What a strange woman…

We searched the tower for anything relating to the artifact we were so desperately chasing… and came up with bad news with a silver lining. Although it was in the Tower at one time, it was taken by someone named Lord Fzoul Chembryl to the Temple in the Sky. Considering tales I’ve heard of about such a dreadful place, it may be some time before we can even attempt to follow this lead. Still, if it’s difficult for us, it is just as dangerous for anyone else, including those of less-than-good intentions.

Leaving the city of Zhentil Keep would prove just as dangerous as finding the Temple of Shar… as we made our way to the docks, guards had positioned themselves all along the boardwalk to search those that had the misfortune of garnering their interest. We had to leave though one of the gates… so long as we left the city, we could procure another way to Hillsfar. I motioned for the others to follow me.

Alas, luck was not on our side. The guards at the gate had their arms leveled at us, demanding us to comply to a search and seizure or to ‘suffer the consequences’. We had gone too far to simply give them what we had worked so far to find… and we had to strike them down. I regret it had to come to such a thing… but this information had to stay out of the hands of those who would use it for ill.

Mr. Cobb thanks us for our efforts, although he didn’t seem too distraught about the loss of Faeryl or that we had somehow picked up a halfling along our journey. Perhaps such things happen all too often in an adventuring group… I shall have to make some amendments to the charter to accommodate the new changes that has befallen the Lost Light.

In about three tendays, we are to meet with one of Mr. Cobb’s contacts… to tip the scales of war into Cormyr’s favor. The details are a bit sketchy even to him, but it seems to involve escorting a person of interest to someplace for interrogation. If my fears are to be believed… No, it is nothing. We simply must do what we can to help those in need.

~River

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A letter from Hudson Aydar.

To Mr. and Mrs. Craige,

I haven’t interfered in your lives in six or seven years. I know you never appreciated having me near your life, and I was a coward. I’m sorry to tell you, but Jonas died those seven years ago. I’m sure you’d assumed as much already, or believed I had corrupted him and taken him far away.

He was, more than any other thing in existence, the best of me. I feel his loss keenly, day to day, hour to hour. And I hate myself that I wasn’t able to keep him safe. That I wasn’t there for him when he needed me.

You care little about me, but I have nearly died several times over the past week. A group of young adventurers needed help, and I felt indebted to them. One in particular is a lot like Jonas, always inquisitive and excited. I failed your son. I can’t fail these people too. I am willing to put down my life for theirs.

With this message, I have sent a pair of hammers, and some gold coins. The hammers belonged to Jonas, and I have carried them with me as a weight on my side. But I believe you deserve some solid reminder of the man Jonas could have been. One who wanted to see the world, and dreamed…

Who dreamed.

If you erect a grave for him, I would wish to come visit. I understand if you do not wish me to though. But… if you do, or if you wish to speak of him, or if you need help with anything, please send me a message back, to the care of Mr. Cobb. I’ll ask him to hold onto any messages until I return from my next mission.

I loved him, and I know you did too, despite words that may have been traded before we left.

I hope this message finds you well.

Hudson Aydar.

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Xila's Journal - Entry 1
Because apparently, journals are good!

So, I was wondering through these sewers right? And a bunch of guys walked along, so naturally I hid. They all seemed rather curious, so I followed them! Bit naughty of me, but I bet they’re happy that I did, because they ran into a bit of trouble later on! Then I came in, did some stabbing, and saved the day! How nice am I?

Turns out, they were after this boring artefact by some goddess named Shar, booooring! But I tagged along anyway, because they all seemed awesome, there was this one guy who was a Demon! Then he turned back to normal, although he still looked weird. One of them has a pet doggy… or is he a wolf? I’m going to stick with doggy. He’s real friendly! Helps me stab bad guys more, which is always a good thing.

So anyway, once we mopped up the bad guys, there was this fascinating circle thing, the mage, Quinn, seemed enamoured by it. Then Hudson dipped his hammer into it, and it became a frost weapon like my dagger! Cool! I was tempted to stick my dagger in, but I thought better of it. Once it was gone, this big magical wall disappeared… oh right I forgot to mention that wall, well there was a wall, and then there wasn’t a wall… Good enough? Right.

Then we climbed these looooong stairs, but halfway up there was this font thing to Mystra, which Quinn fell in love with, but the font didn’t seem to reciprocate those feelings, so we left.

Once we got to the top, this guy suddenly appeared on top of this magical circle and told us to get lost! I tried reasoning with it… Told a small lie that we were followers of Mystra, but apparently that didn’t go down so well, so naturally I threw my dagger at it, because a dagger solves everything! Right? Of course it does, who doesn’t love a good stabbing? Well, after the stabbing we searched the room and found this book, I chucked it to Quinn who read it aloud, apparently the artefact the others were after isn’t here after all! Aww… But we found out that it was in this cool temple in the sky! I wanted to go there because I thought it would be fun, but the others didn’t, they wanted to go report to someone named Mr. Cobblewobbles… Or was it just Mr. Cobb? Nah, Cobblewobbles.

Anyways, that’s all for now! Byeeeeee.
Xila x

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Hudson's Journal: Entry 1 - Blind Luck.

I almost lost my sight today.

We came across a fungus in the sewer tunnels. Larger than anyone in the party, it also released a swarm of spores that attached themselves to my face. They grew into my eyes and I had to have emergency healing from another party member.

It felt as though luck has been swinging back and forward at a ridiculous pace. We lost Faeryl, but, guessed at a passage that lead us the right way. Encountered mushrooms that tried to blind me, but River managed to remove the spores. Wake up a nest of ghouls, and be trapped underneath one for most of the battle whilst people nearly died, and Izual turned into some kind of demon in the service of a prince of some kind…

Hopefully our luck will swing the other way again soon. I did find an interesting hammer after though. It seemed to radiate cold, just like the north. Maybe it’s a message, some kind of divine suggestion that I’m on the right track. (the last line is furiously scratched out.)

I haven’t thought about him in a while. It’s strange. Half the party reminds me of him, but he hasn’t… reached my thoughts since the boat. Too much going on, perhaps. But even in the north it consumed my soul. Perhaps an old wound is healing… or perhaps it’s like frostbite. Perhaps my soul has finally given up and it’s growing numb.

I managed to smile today.

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Izual's Journal - Entry 2
First-day, 1st Alturiak, 1479 DR

By Kelemvor, is this journey becoming the worst experience ever.
The group delved deeper into these ruins to find this tower, and we came across a fork. Each tunnel was nearly identical, so we eventually decided to go left, which may or may not have been the best idea. We came to a pitch black chamber, filled with mud and peculiar mushrooms that smelled so sweet you couldn’t help but smile. And by peculiar, I also mean gigantic. I had never in all of my time in the wild come across such a strain of toadstool.
The party was wary of the fungus, but we knew we had to press on.

We made out way through the chamber, Hudson lost his balance and tumbled. Consequentially, he knocked a few mushrooms on his way down and stirred up some spores. He lost his sight, and the rest of us felt terribly lethargic, like the morning after one too many ales. We figured we had better stop to take a rest and make sure the spores in his eyes weren’t going to cause too much harm… but as our luck would have it, we ran into a problem.

Hudson has fungi growing into his eyes! As if a gigantic toadstool with a psychotic effect wasn’t enough of a surprise to my knowledge of all things wild, we get an instantly germinating flesh spore. River and I carefully considered our options, and since there was no alcohol in sight to eliminate the fungus, we had to go the more invasive route. River, thankfully with her steady hands, cut out the material without damaging Hudson’s eyes. I not only contained some of the cuts in a vial, but I biopsied a portion of the toadstool and corked it away as well.

We finally managed to get though that wretched place, and the tunnel turned into smooth sailing from there. After some time, we came to a large iron door. To my absolute surprise, it was emblazoned with the sigil of my deity. Hudson and I struggled with all our might to open the doors without damaging them, but to no avail. They were rusted shut by years of rust. However, Quinn took a small moment to size up the task, and slid them open with no more trouble than opening the door to the tavern. It still boggles me.

The holy place of Kelemvor was absolutely desecrated. Looted and vandalized to no end, I’m surprised some of the tapestries were still in somewhat good shape. I went in to investigate the damage, and I was suddenly mauled by an undead abomination. The bastard clawed and bit me, to the point of absolute unbearable pain. All I remember was having waves of heat come over me, and flashing visions of a winged, hawk-faced man. I’ll have to talk with my group on this…

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