Arcanis: Gonnes, Sons, and Treasure Runs (COMPLETED) - Page 41
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    Madness in Freeport - Part 19: Milton’s Folly

    As the first light of dawn creeps over the horizon, the harbor was illuminated, revealing an amazing number of ships and boats of every kind.

    “I don’t think the harbor’s ever been this crowded,” said Kham in disbelief.

    Ilmarė pursed her lips. “Drac’s planning to throw Freeport a party it’ll never forget.”

    A dark shadow stretched across the water, growing longer and longer with the rising of the new day’s sun.

    Beldin gazed upon the source of the blackness. “And that’s how Drac plans to kick off the celebrations.”

    Milton’s Folly loomed over Freeport Harbor. The scaffolding that encased its walls was gone, and the white marble of the lighthouse gleamed in the sunlight. The waters around it were kept clear by a patrol of four Sea Lord cutters filled with marines.

    “Now what?” asked Vlad.

    “First, we get back to the Temple of Althares. I need to deliver a package to them.” He patted his coat pocket.

    “And then?” asked Beldin.

    “Then,” said Kham, “maybe we go to the top of that lighthouse and tell the King in Yellow that his subjects are revolting.”

    Ilmarė wrinkled her nose. “They really are, too.”

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 20: The Hall of Columns

    “I sure hope this plan works,” said Vlad.

    “This is the best time to strike,” whispered Ilmarė. “There is no moon tonight; we should not have been spotted.”

    “It doesn’t matter,” said Kham. “There’s a warrant out for our arrest. We’re enemies of Freeport now, according to Drac.” He spat on the ground in disgust.

    The lighthouse was guarded by a roving patrol of four fast-moving ships full of marines, circling the island. The lookouts that watched from within the lighthouse by day were not on duty at night. They approached in total darkness.

    “Does anyone else find it strange that there are no guards at night?” asked Beldin.

    “Whatever Drac’s doing up there, he doesn’t want any witnesses,” said Ilmarė. “We can use that to our advantage.

    “Yes, we can,” said Kham, “but that involves everyone keeping their mouths shut.” He craned his neck against a set of stone double doors. Two great iron pull rings were fastened to the center of each door.

    “Those doors will make a lot of noise when you open them,” said Beldin. Through the darkness he could make out an intricate relief on their surface, depicting the lighthouse shining streaks of light over the harbor.

    “That’s why we brought the elf along,” said Kham. He nodded to her.

    Ilmarė whispered one word: “Dîn.”

    Even the crashing of the waves on the reef became silent. Vlad and Beldin battered the door until the wood that barred the doors from the inside splintered apart. It fell noiselessly to the ground.

    Kham made a gesture that the others should wait for him. Then he slipped in and pressed himself to the wall.

    The second set of doors was not barred. He peeked around the corner.

    Kham returned and pointed at his eyes with two fingers. Then he lifted four fingers. He drew Fleshripper. The others drew their weapons and followed behind him.

    To their right, four cultists stood around the foot of a staircase. They were huddled around a crate, playing cards. Some imperials were scattered on the makeshift table.

    Kham stepped out of the cone of silence, only to plunge Fleshripper through the back of one of the cultists. The cultist adjacent to him rose to retaliate, but a crossbow bolt shivered from his chest and he fell down. The third cultist stumbled backwards with a yelp, but an arrow in his throat cut off any further cries.

    The last cultist ran for the stairs, only to fell back down, a throwing axe in his back.

    Kham pointed up the steps and waved them on. He followed up after them.

    A few seconds later, he came back and swept the imperials off of the crate. Then he went back up the steps.
    Last edited by talien; Sunday, 2nd March, 2008 at 05:25 PM.

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 21: The Water Shrine of Yarris

    “You’re sure this is it?” asked Vlad. He wiped blood off of his sword, a result of another confrontation with cultists.

    They faced a dais with a statue of Yarris wielding a trident. To the right of the door was a round, stone basin filled with water. Four square stone pillars spaced ten feet apart flanked the pool.

    “Yes,” said Beldin. “Near as I can tell, there should be two mechanisms that open the door blocking the stairwell. The first mechanism was the statue of Hurrian’s lance. We had to pull it down.”

    Kham stood over the basin, shaking his head. “Oh, Margy. You stupid, stupid girl.”

    Draped over the lip of the basin was the body of a young woman. The shaft of a crossbow bolt protruded from her back. She was dressed in leather armor.

    “Looks like your companion was not all that she seemed,” said Ilmarė. “You should be careful what you say to the impressionable.” She glared at Kham. “You nearly got Beldin killed before with your careless words.”

    “I didn’t tell her to go here!” said Kham. “She was so interested in my adventures. Now I know why—I was her mark.”

    Beldin reached up and pulled down on the trident. There was a grinding noise in the direction of the stairwell.

    “A fitting end for a liar and a thief,” said Ilmarė. “This is what your tales of glory brought her to. Perhaps one day you will learn to be responsible for your actions.”

    “Let’s go,” said Vlad. The others left.

    Kham turned Margy over in the basin and placed her hands on her breast. He closed her eyes. She looked almost peaceful.

    “May Althares give you the wisdom you lacked in life,” whispered Kham. Then rifled through her possessions for something he could use against Drac.

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 22: Lair of the Gibbering Mouther

    When Beldin opened the trapdoor, his senses were assaulted by the hideous stench of decaying flesh. The floor was smeared with dried blood, and bones lay scattered all around. Four square stone pillars were spaced twenty feet apart in the center of the chamber.

    “Well, I think this…YAAAH!”

    Beldin stumbled backwards at the sight of a thing of pure madness. It was all eyes and mouths, teeth and pupils. The thing babbled to itself, whispering, slurping, giggling, laughing, moaning, groaning, sighing, and screeching.

    “What is that?!” shouted Beldin. He clutched his ears.

    Dîn!”

    All became silent. One of the mouths convulsed and spewed a spray of vomit at Vlad. He lifted up his shield just in time to avoid the splash.

    Kham scrabbled out of the trapdoor and circled around to one of the pillars. His comrades watched in disbelief as Kham ignored the imminent danger; without the benefit of sound, he never even saw the gibbering monstrosity.

    Ilmarė shook her head and then pointed at the amalgamation of eyes and teeth. Vlad and Beldin advanced on it.

    The cone of silence dissipated.

    “Good news guys,” said Kham. “I found some ladder rungs inside this pillar!” He pointed at one of the open pillars.

    Eyeballs and teeth were scattered all over the place. Vlad and Beldin were spattered with gore. Ilmarė glared at him, hands on her hips.

    “So now we can…climb…oh…”
    Last edited by talien; Sunday, 2nd March, 2008 at 05:23 PM.

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 23: The Tower Stairs

    Opening the trapdoor released a shaft of sickly yellow light that washed over Kham’s face. A five-foot-wide, railed staircase hugged the walls, rising clockwise all the way to the summit of the tower, a hundred feet above their heads. The light emanated from the walls of the tower and the hundreds of ritual candles that lined the railing.

    “Well,” said Beldin, “I guess Tarmon was right.” The Yellow Sign within each of the bricks was throbbing with magical energy, illuminating the whole tower with an eerie light.

    Near the top of the staircase, almost at the summit of the tower, were six people looking over the railing and down at them. One of them was clearly Milton Drac. The other five were ssanu were dressed in robes.

    Drac spoke in a booming voice that echoed off the walls of the chamber, “Well, well, well. I see that you have dispatched my pet. No matter. The ritual is almost complete. Soon the Yellow Sign will return to Freeport and drive all the unfaithful masses to madness!”

    Kham struggled to reach for his pistols, but his hands gripped the hilt of Fleshripper instead. “Damn it, Fleshripper, not now!”

    “Your ridiculous attempt to stop us ends now,” said Drac. “Farewell, friends. What a pity that you have come so far only to fail in the end.” With that, he turned to the ssanu next to him on the stairs and said, “I leave them to you, N’tal. They should provide some amusement. Don’t take too long though. I wouldn’t want you to miss the glorious arrival of our master, the Unspeakable One.”

    Drac tossed something down on the ground before him and disappeared in a puff of smoke.

    “Dramatic,” said Kham.

    N’tal threw off his robe and flew into the air. The other ssanu drew their bows.

    “Uh, I don’t remember you saying anything about the snakes being able to fly,” Vlad said Ilmarė.

    “I didn’t,” said Ilmarė. “He’s a sorcerer!”

    “I am indeed, ssslave,” hissed N’tal. “Now feel the might of a true sssanu: Incendiariesss globusss!” He pointed and a pea-sized ball of flames flew towards them.

    Everything seemed to move in slow motion. Vlad knew the spell. He’d seen it once before, when the insane elorii Neyadis had nearly slaughtered his companions with a fireball. He had to get in front of it…

    He drew Grungronazharr in one motion and skidded into the spot where the fireball would land. Vlad raised the weapon up before him: Elabac said that Grungronazharr meant “forged in fire” and that if he bonded with the weapon, they would both emerge from the flames stronger than ever.

    Vlad had no idea if it would work.

    Fire exploded around him, but the blast arced away from Grungronazharr in a hemisphere that protected him and his companions. When the fires died out, a circle of soot outlined the edges of the blast.

    “What?!” shouted N’tal.

    Kham swigged two potions in quick succession. “Keep him busy,” he said to Vlad. “I’m going to have to do this the old fashioned way.”

    “Scatter!” Ilmarė dove to the side. “I’ve seen what a sorcerer can do, don’t let him line you up…”

    Fulgur sssagitta!

    A bolt of electricity arced from N’tal’s finger into Vlad and then Beldin. They fell to the ground, twitching.

    Ilmarė rolled to her feet and fired an arrow at one of the other ssanu on the steps. It plunged to its death.

    Beldin struggled to his feet. “That’s it,” he snarled. “Now I’m really angry.”

    Arrows whistled past Vlad’s shield, but they were slapped out of the air by an invisible force. He stood in front of Beldin. “Follow my lead!” They charged up the steps to attack the ssanu in hand-to-hand.

    Ilmarė looked around. The lightning bolt had missed Kham. Where was he?

    She looked up overhead. Hopping from wall to wall like some sort of tree frog, Kham covered the distance between the ground and the flying ssanu. N’tal was too focused on Vlad and Beldin to notice.

    Glaciesss imber!

    Hailstones rained down on Beldin, Vlad, and the three remaining ssanu. The two warriors were stalemated, forced to hide beneath their shields as the hailstones pounded down upon them. One of the ssanu lost his balance and fell to his doom.

    There was a blur and something rammed into N’tal hard from the side. The ssanu sorcerer hissed in surprise, only to find Fleshripper jutting out of his torso.

    They spun crazily, bouncing off wall and then another. With a horrible crunch, Kham, N’tal, and Fleshripper smashed into the floor near Ilmarė.

    Ilmarė looked up. Beldin and Vlad stirred, covered by snow and ice. The ssanu around them were frozen, bloody pulps, pounded to death by their own leader’s spell.

    She inspected the crumpled heap of val and ssanu. For a moment she thought they were both dead. Then Kham slowly rose to his feet, wiping blood from his nose. He yanked Fleshripper out of N’tal’s corpse.

    Kham slowly, painfully, began to climb the steps. “Let’s finish this,” he said.

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 24: The Yellow Sign

    Vlad burst open the door. They had last reached the summit of Milton’s Folly.

    The ceiling was angled toward the center of the room and ended in a six-sided glass enclosure that stuck four feet above the stone roof. A raised platform supported a slender stone column upon which rested a crystal that shone yellow light through the glass and out into the night.

    Milton Drac, Melkior Maeorgan, and a ssanu stood in front of the platform. The tower shook ominously, and the platform and column began to glow with a bright, yellow light. The stone throbbed with magical power as a beam of light shot through the crystal and out into the night sky. It blinded them for a moment

    “As I said,” said Drac, “you are too late. The Yellow Sign is now corrupting the minds of all those fools in the harbor below. Soon they will leave here and spread the glorious madness of the Unspeakable One throughout all of Onara! Ha, ha, ha, ha!”

    “I don’t believe it,” said Ilmarė. “He’s monologing.”

    They caught a glimpse of what the lighthouse was projecting on the clouds: the Yellow Sign hung in the air over Freeport.

    “Now, we can turn our attentions to you,” continued Drac. “Since I have been trying to kill you for many months now, an agonizing death seems more than appropriate. Which do you prefer? Being flayed alive or slowly bleeding to death as carrion pick at your bodies?”

    “Is this some sort of quiz?” asked Kham. “How about D, none of the above.”

    “I guess we shall just have to kill you now!” shouted Drac. “Get them!”

    Melkior crossed his arms and drew two wicked-looking knives from their sheaths. “I’m going to enjoy this.”

    The ssanu lifted a crossbow. “You ssshould have lissstened to me when I offered you that deal, Vlad,” it said. “I would have granted you a merciful death.”

    “Brock?” asked Vlad in disbelief. A crossbow bolt warped away from Vlad’s magical shield. “I knew it was a trick!”

    “The name isss Gorn,” said ssanu formerly disguised as Captain Brock Wallace. “Remember it well. It isss the lassst name you will ever hear.”

    Beldin charged forward, only to have Melkior block his path. “Not so fast, stumpy,” he snarled.

    “Let’s see how hardy you really are, dwarf,” said Drac, “When your blood is turned to poison!” He pointed at Beldin.

    The Amulet of the Serpent around Beldin’s throat glowed green. Nothing happened.

    “What?” said Drac in disbelief.

    “Looks like not all ssanu agree with you,” said Beldin. He blocked one of Melkior’s knife strikes with his shield.

    With one bound, Kham cleared the distance to the crystal.

    “I know what you’re trying to do,” snarled Drac. He pointed a finger. “But it will be difficult if you’re bli—AAGH!”

    One of Ilmarė’s arrows shivered from Drac’s shoulder. She had interrupted the spell. “Stop that wench!” he shouted.

    Beldin faced off against Gorn. The ssanu swung high with its falchion, but Beldin blocked the blow with his shield and retaliated by slicing Gorn’s arm with his axe.

    Vlad shoved Melkior backwards with his shield so he could have room to maneuver. In close combat, Melkior had the advantage with his daggers. But with enough distance…

    Kham kicked the yellow crystal off of the pedestal.

    “No!” shrieked Drac. He dove through the air and caught it just before it hit the ground.

    The energy that had been focused through the crystal, without anything to channel it, warped and snaked through the air towards the top of the lighthouse. A shockwave blasted outward.

    Everyone was knocked flat as the glass enclosure exploded.

    Kham struggled to his knees. The energy pulsed outwards in an invisible wave, making each crawling step an effort.

    He reached the pedestal a second before Drac did. Then with a slow smile, Kham placed the Jade Serpent of Yig on the pedestal.

    “Nooooo!” shouted Drac.

    The energy from the lighthouse surged through the idol of Yig. Suddenly, the yellow light transformed into a calming, green glow.

    Another blast of energy exploded outwards from the pedestal, but this time only Drac was affected. The blast hurled him out of the lighthouse. Drac withered even as his body flew backwards, disintegrating in the ocean air.

    Gorn and Melkior were dead. There was nothing but silence. Even Freeport was quiet. Kham limped over to look out at his city.

    Vlad walked over beside him. “Is silence a good thing?”

    Ilmarė bit her lip. “If this is anything like Vestalanium, they won’t be silent for long.”

    There was a low roar. It was the sound of people, thousands of them, shrieking and hollering.

    Beldin fell to his knees. “We are too late.”

    Kham started laughing.

    “Have you gone mad too?” asked Ilmarė. “The Yellow Sign has destroyed their minds! We’ll be lucky if we can get out of here alive!”

    Kham was laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes. Finally, he calmed down enough to speak.

    “You don’t understand. That’s not Freeport going insane. That’s Freeport partying! We just gave them one hell of a show!”

    “Great,” said Ilmarė. “Freeport was crazy enough to begin with.”

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    Madness in Freeport - Conclusion

    The throngs on the ships below and jammed into the streets had no idea how close they came to unending madness. They didn’t know exactly what they’d seen, but they knew it was one amazing head-trip.

    “Speaking of which,” said Vlad. “We still technically killed the Sea Lord. Maybe we should go before Freeport wakes up from its hangover.”

    “Good point,” said Beldin. The green pulse had finally died down and the energy stopped flowing from the Jade Serpent. He gently scooped the statue off the pedestal and put it in a cloth bag.

    “Squeak?”

    “Did you say something?” Ilmarė asked Kham.

    Kham blinked back at her. “What?”

    “I thought I heard you say something.”

    “Not me,” said Kham. “I was just—“

    “Squeak?”

    Beldin peered at Kham. “That definitely came from you.”

    Something wriggled in Kham’s coat. Kham lifted a tiny serpent out of the folds of his pockets.

    “What the…”

    “Khaaaam,” said Ilmarė. “What did you mean by ‘precious cargo’ before?”

    “I uh,” Kham swallowed hard. “I found this egg in the snake temple. I figured I’d make myself some breakfast.”

    “Squeak!” squeaked the little snake.

    “Then I felt bad about it. I was going to leave it with Thuron but I forgot.”

    “Squeak.”

    “The energy from the Jade Serpent must have hatched it,” said Beldin.

    Vlad squinted down at the little creature in Kham’s hands. “That’s not a snake,” he said. “It has arms and legs too. That’s a baby ssanu.”

    “It looks like you’re about to learn some personal responsibility after all,” said Ilmarė. She clapped Kham on the shoulder. “Congratulations, Kham. You’re a father!”

    “Ah, crap.”

    “Squeak!”

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    RIP, Gary Gyax

    Out of respect for Gary's passing, the grandfather of all we hold dear on these boards and the man who changed my life for the better, there will be no update Wednesday, March 5. A virtual moment of silence, if you will. Posting will resume on Thursday, March 6.

    I was working on a non-fiction book about the history of gaming and had hoped to interview him, so this is particularly crushing on both a personal and professional level. My condolences to Gary's friends and family.

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    Chapter 23: Herald of the Yellow King

    This is the second in the Ripples from Carcosa series of modules for Call of Cthulhu, "Herald of the Yellow King," written by Oscar Rios and (loosely) set in the Arcanis setting. You can read more about Arcanis at http://www.onaraonline.org. Please note: This adventure contains spoilers!

    Our cast of characters includes:

    • Dungeon Master: Michael Tresca (http://michael.tresca.net)
    • Kham Val’Abebi (val rogue/psychic warrior) played by Jeremy Ortiz (http://www.ninjarobotstudios.com)
    • Ilmarė Galen (elf bard/fighter) played by Amber Tresca
    • Vlad Martell (human fighter) played by Matt Hammer
    • Nauris Drilian (human rogue/ranger) played by Mike Best

    This adventure was originally created for Call of Cthulhu, so it’s always an interesting exercise in converting it over to a D20 system. For one, Call of Cthulhu has plenty of combat (at least as much if not more so than Dungeons & Dragons), but doesn’t deal with any details. So when insane villagers attack, they’re just assumed to attack from nowhere. When the monster fights the PCs on a bridge, you have no idea how wide the bridge is, etc. To rectify this, I built the various villages from the ground up with paper miniatures. This helped tremendously, especially in the first encounter.

    What’s so refreshing about Call of Cthulhu adventures is that they’re not afraid of putting characters into dire moral quandaries, often with no means of getting out of it. There is no “right” choice in many cases.

    I did a lot to beef up this module for a party of 4th through 7th-level characters. Wolves became winter wolves, villagers became 2nd-level commoners with the maniac template (from D20 Modern), and the Spawnling of Hastur became a Chuul (which nearly ate the entire party).

    Isolated, with almost no healing magic, no means of reequipping themselves, and alone in the wilderness, we learned very quickly that our party isn’t just bad in dungeons…they can barely survive in the wilderness. With a relentless snowstorm dogging their every step, in a frozen land where losing your horse can be a death sentence, the party suddenly realized why it’s so important to have a warm fire and a roof over your head. In that regard, I think the adventure was definitely a success.

    That, and they’ve lost a taste for beef stew. BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA.

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    Herald of the Yellow King: Prologue

    Pallidus settled over the Duchy of Moratavia, as it had all of Milandir. Harvest was over weeks before, provisions stored and the yuletide was only a fortnight away. It should have been a time of rest in the castle of Duke Adolphos val’Tensen. Some surely were enjoy a restful morning…unfortunately, not Vlad.

    Vlad greeted Ilmarė and Kham at the front gate. They had rode hard from Naeraanth to the Duke’s castle.

    “I don’t get it,” said Kham. “Why did the Duke summon you all the hell away from Freeport? Doesn’t he have someone else to boss around?”

    “I’m his bailiff.” Vlad suppressed a yawn. It had been a long trip. “He only calls me in when he wants something discreetly handled in Milandir.”

    “You mean, when he wishes to jerk your strings,” said the elorii with a sneer. “I find it odd that whenever you are involved in the politics of another country, the Duke calls you back.”

    “I noticed it too.” Vlad frowned. “I think he does it just to vex the Coryani nobility.”

    “Which is strange,” said Kham, “because he’s from Coryan, isn’t he?”

    Vlad nodded. “Duke Adolphos has ruled over the lands for almost a decade, but he still clings to most of his native Coryani ways. The court speaks Low Coryan, the fashions are Coryan, and even the food served most times is Coryan.”

    “Well, we needed an excuse to get out of Freeport anyway,” said Kham. “I wonder how the big lizard is doing.”

    “We can visit Sulfurmarsh right after we finish here,” said Vlad. “At least Beldin was willing to go on ahead to let Sebastian know we’re coming.”

    They were ushered into the great hall of the Duke’s castle. Ilmarė and Kham stood back while Vlad was allowed to approach the throne.

    “Good morning, Vlad,” the middle-aged baron greeted.

    “Good morning, your grace.” Vlad bowed low. “How may I be of service?”

    “It seems there has been another problem with the locals. One of my villages, Derek’s Holding I think, has sent a delegation voicing a complaint from its oldest member. The Moratavia lords who ruled these lands before me had promised this man that a certain tree was not to be cut down until after that man died. That particular tree was harvested this summer when we were enlarging the feast hall.”

    “Stupid human nobility,” said Ilmarė to Kham. “No respect for Osalian’s creatures.”

    “The delegation reminded me that I swore to uphold this proclamation when I took possession of these lands.” The Duke shrugged. “I have no memory of such a thing, but it seems they have my signature on a document stating just this.” He sipped his goblet for a moment, obviously annoyed. “The old man is very respected in the village. In fact, he is the oldest man in all of Milandir. He has seen more than a hundred winters, if you believe his claims. Some sort of pagan mystic or poet, claiming the tree—an oak I think—was sacred.” Duke Adolphos rolled his eyes. “It’s drivel, I know, but he’s demanding and apology and it seems the whole of the village is behind him. That is why I summoned you here.”

    “He summoned Vlad all the way from Freeport to plant a tree?” asked Kham.

    Adolphos steepled his fingers. “I am concerned. There is a persistent rumor about a civil war brewing. In fact, I believe you discovered evidence of just such a prophecy in the Forsaken Wastes.” Vlad was about to say something, but Adolphos cut him off. “I’m sure you had good reasons for not sharing that information with me. But nevertheless, the peasants do so love their superstitions. And we can’t have Moratavia be the center of a rebellion. At least, not yet anyway. I don’t need this old man to be a martyr to their cause. Do you understand me, Vlad?”

    Vlad nodded. “I do, your grace.”

    “Good.” Adolphos gestured to his steward, who stepped forward and handed Vlad a scroll sealed in wax and stamped with the emblem of val’Tensen.

    “I command you to journey to Derek’s Holding and visit with this man. Cael Grebyard, I believe he is called. I am told he can no longer walk, sees poorly, and hears very little. Give him this official apology for cutting down his precious tree before his death. Inform him that come spring a new oak will be planted in its place. It’s a simple matter really, as his health is failing; I doubt he will survive the winter.”

    Vlad took the scroll from the steward. “Yes, your grace.”

    Adolphos rose with a sigh. “Now I am off for a fitting. My lady wife wishes me to have new clothes for the holiday celebration. Have a safe journey and a speedy return.” He leaned forward in his throne. “And remember, you speak in my name; see that all goes smoothly Vlad.”

    And with that, Vlad was dismissed.

    “He was as unpleasant as I expected,” said Ilmarė.

    Kham nodded in agreement. “Maybe he’s upset that his son Rurik nearly ended up marrying Elandre val’Assante.”

    “But they didn’t get married,” said Vlad. “The marriage was called off.”

    “It’s a long story,” said Ilmarė.

    “So we traveled over a week by ship just so you could deliver an apology?” Kham skipped ahead of Vlad as they exited the great hall. “I mean, we all had to get out of Freeport anyway until the investigation over the death of Drac is over, but still…this is a little extreme, don’t you think?”

    Vlad sighed. “Well, right after this we can visit Calactyte, Sebastian and Bijoux in Sulfurmarsh. It’s not too far from here. I’m glad you both made the trip, but you don’t have to come with me if you don’t want to.”

    “Don’t be fooled,” said Ilmarė to Kham. “Like all good masters, the Duke has just smacked his dog on his nose for not barking at the right time.”

    Kham rolled his eyes. “The only thing I hate more than Coryani nobility is bitter exiled Coryani nobility.”

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