Dragonqueen: A Tyranny of Dragons Campaign

Xorne

First Post
We started our 5E campaign this afternoon, and I'm so excited about it that I'm going to write a Story Hour for it. The last story I did was a long time ago when I wrote our 4E campaign. That story died because the game broke up (but not before I wrote a very long story), but I'm feeling really good about this group. I have the outline for the adventure they did today done, and I'm going to try to space the updates out to make it to the next session (we play every other Sunday right now). I'll use this top post to provide "game" information for everyone, and hopefully folks enjoy this story as much as I enjoy writing it.

Perspective will not always be just from the PCs' point of view, so when there are sections that the players shouldn't read, I'll have that in spoiler text so they can skip it (I know they'll be reading this as well). As I finish each chapter I'll be providing a Word document on Google docs for folks to be able to download and read. On with the story!

NOTE: This story is based on our 5E D&D group playing through the Tyranny of Dragons adventure path. While each DM will run this adventure differently, major events will be spoiled!

The Player Characters:
Rubick Folkor - Gnome Wizard, Sage (Librarian)
Koven Mishan Daarshidian - Dragonborn Barbarian, Outlander (Tribal nomad)
Daichot - Tiefling Paladin, Squire (Urchin)
Rhallick - Half-Elf Rogue, Criminal (Hired Killer)
Aligheri - Half-Elf Rogue, Entertainer (Jester)
 

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Xorne

First Post
Prologue:

Wispy trails of stinking, black smoke snaked up from the blurry gloom of a nameless village, traced back to a dozen smoldering fires across thatched roofs and overturned carts. A large, greasy feathered crow landed heavily on the corner of a taller building near the town’s center, and looked down at the mayhem on the dusty street below. The setting sun was leaving a red-orange splash of color in erratic streaks where the dark smoke wasn’t blocking the rays, making an unsettling, almost living dance of snake-like shadows across the market square.

The crow peered to its right, looking back towards a looming wall of rock and mortar that formed the base of the town keep, perched atop a hill and above the tallest buildings in the rest of the town. The keep was not exempt from the twisting plumes of smoke, which actually seemed to be drawn towards the main tower of the stronghold. Dozens of inky tendrils converged as they spiraled up the tower, spinning faster and faster as they rose up the outside of the spire. The crow launched into the air with a lurching caw of protest.

Climbing higher, the walls of the tower disappeared completely beneath a whirling maelstrom of the smoke, now turning into something solid, almost like a fabric made from the shadows of a nightmare. The town as a whole was swallowed into a gaping maw of loose fabric, forming into a cloak of deepest night that continued to swirl and billow in a torrent of sinister consumption, long after the entire town was gone. The crow climbed higher, seeing a point of light faintly above it, fleeing the consuming darkness below.

The light split and there were then two, gleaming like piercing jewels of power in the obliterated, starless night, where no sun would penetrate. As the crow flew towards those jewels, a face started to form around those jewels—a man, wearing a flowing robe of the darkest purple, holding something in his outstretched hands, away from the crow. The bird beat its wings furiously, trying to see what the jewel-eyed man was hiding.

With a sudden lurch of motion, the gemstone eyes separated into five distinct pairs of stones. Ruby, onyx, sapphires, emeralds, and agate—and the crow soared towards them, enthralled with their beauty. So enthralled, the crow flew ever closer to the floating eyes, as their sparkling countenance began to blur, and melt into liquid pools that swirled together, until they exploded outward in a torrent of havoc--sweltering fire, sizzling acid, freezing ice, rotting fumes, and crackling lightning—and consumed the crow greedily.

Rubick sat upright in bed, gasping for breath, feeling an involuntary shiver as a cool breeze wafted across his sweat-soaked nightclothes from the open window in his bedchamber. He looked about the room in confusion, for a moment still not sure of his surroundings. That was the third time this night the same dream had plagued him. Finally regaining enough of his cognitive ability to tell that he was, in fact, awake and in the real world again, he let out a soft grumble and slid out of his bed.

Stuffing his feet into a tiny pair of gnome-sized slippers, Rubick grabbed the candle on his bed stand and spoke a soft word of magic with a whisper. The wick of the candle burst into flame with a soft pop, and the young gnome smiled inwardly with an appreciation for the arcane possibilities he tapped into, despite being relatively sleepless for three days. Walking over to a small desk (by human standards) he grabbed a mug from the surface, then walked towards the towering door of the chamber (by gnome standards) and grabbed a cowl from his coatrack to sling over his shoulders as the ventured out into the cold hallway of perfectly fitted stone.

Rubick walked down the hallway to the main staircase of the Candlekeep library where he lived, and ascended to one of the upper floors with an expansive garden balcony that overlooked the city, which he found calming. After propping a pillow he’d brought with him up onto one of the benches, he scaled the human sized slab himself and sat down on the pillow, so that his elbows were at a comfortable angle on the surface of the stone table, out in the moonlight. He pulled out a small book (by human standards) that had been tucked into the inner pocket of his cowl and started to open it. Despite the dim light of the moon, he could read the writing clear as on a sunny day, thanks to his gnomish eyes.

Apparently he spent the rest of the evening reading the small tome, because the first rays of sunlight were peeking over the outer walls of the city when something broke his concentration.

“Don’t gnomes ever sleep?” came a harassing call from behind him.

Startled at not realizing he wasn’t alone out on the balcony, Rubick quickly snapped his book shut and tried with dubious success to conceal the small tome back under his cloak before the source of the voice saw it.

“Of course we do,” he sputtered, agitated at being taken so unaware. “I’m just… not tired,” he lied. He looked across the garden for the female whose voice he recognized.

A human girl stepped out from one of the taller shrubberies in the garden, trailing her left hand along a flowering vine that wrapped about a pillared archway leading back into the library. Rubick knew her by the name Ashlyn, and was pretty sure she was still considered a girl by humans; she looked very young, and wasn’t as rude as he considered most humans when they reached adulthood. Still, he wasn’t spectacular with telling the age of humans at a glance, nor had he asked her.

“Did you have the dream again?”

Rubick started to deny the event reflexively, but didn’t see the point—Ashlyn had been outside his room the first time the vision had woken him up screaming three weeks ago, so there was little point in hiding it now.

“That’s correct.” He stated with a note of bitterness. “It’s becoming quite irksome to me.”

Ashlyn arched an eyebrow in puzzlement. “Didn’t you say that you only have the dream every few months?”

Rubick did remember telling her that three days ago, when she first heard him wake up screaming. Now he just wished that it was still true. Every night when he tried to sleep now, the nightmare returned. Was it a nightmare, really? It was ominous, regardless of what title is assigned to the visions.

“That used to be the case,” he sighed with concession in his voice, “but apparently that’s not the case anymore.”

“This makes...” the girl looked up into the sky as she recalled the times she knew of, “once every tenday?” Ashlyn reached the stone table and sat on the bench opposite him casually. “What are you going to do?”

Rubick felt the book underneath his cloak, tucked safely back into the pocket where is always rested. “Actually, it’s twice every tenday now. And I’m going to leave Candlekeep,” the little gnome revealed.

There was a small, trifling feeling of amusement in Rubick as he saw the complete shock in Ashlyn’s face. Leaving Candlekeep was no small act; entrance into the city required an impactful donation to the library, and once a guest left they were not allowed to return without another contribution. Ashlyn had been born in Candlekeep, and the thought of leaving this haven in a world of relative chaos was something she seemed unable to fathom.

Before she could say anything, Rubick explained. “I came to Candlekeep to understand my dream. I think I’ve learned all I’m going to here, or at least I’ve run out of time to learn more. I know where I’m supposed to go—at least I think I do, and it would appear that my visions are imploring that I pay them more heed.”

***
 
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Xorne

First Post
For the typical people who moved about the bustling cobblestone paths of Waterdeep’s market district, the passing of a large, hunched humanoid in a tattered brown cloak was cause for little more than passing notice. Daichot was not a typical person, however, so he was watching the individual closely. Their appearance was unusual to him, as the fabric of the robe hung awkwardly across their wide frame, but more peculiar was the erratic gait with which they moved through the crowd. They moved not like someone old or infirm, but like a strong and able-bodied person trying to look old and infirm.

Daichot was a tiefling, humanoid in appearance, but with blood-red skin, black horns on either side of a shock of dark blue hair, and gleaming silver eyes. In a smaller city, his race was exceedingly rare, but around the likes of major populations like Waterdeep and Neverwinter, the tieflings were not unheard of, though his devil-like appearance still drew plenty of whispers in his wake. Worse yet for Daichot, he had spent a good portion of his life begging on the streets and trying to look as needy as possible in the hopes of a greater pittance from passersby. Because of that he was well equipped to spot the façade from someone with such an amateur performance. As a street urchin living in the damp alleys and dark corners of the largest city on the entire Sword Coast, one had to have a keen eye for spotting trouble quickly, and with no family or support, living in the streets and often turned away even from shelters because of his horns and tail, Daichot had to learn to take care of himself, and other outcasts.

A swift motion that did not match the pace the hunched figure had been displaying confirmed Daichot’s suspicions. He slightly increased his steps, just enough to match speed with the individual. As the figure turned down a smaller side street, the tiefling slipped through a cluster of people with a whispered pardon, pausing at the corner to keep from getting too close to his quarry.

“Stand ever alert against corruption.”

Daichot turned his head back towards the words and saw a chubby, round figured woman of elder years looking at him. She had grey hair in a neat bun, and wore a drab but clean blue dress with laced cuffs and neckline. A ribbon sash fought to contain her ample belly and she was smiling at him. As Daichot was over six feet tall, he nodded politely down to her and quickly offered a return hymnal.

“Salvation may be found through service, milady.”

His voice was distracted as he continued to watch the lumbering figure moving further away down the side street; their pace was still quickening.

“My grandson has intention to become a knight of Torm, such as yourself,” she said to him, pointing at the holy symbol around his neck.

Daichot absently felt the pendant on a short cord around his neck, the silver gauntlet of Torm, open palm facing outward. The robed figure was moving with longer strides now, towards an alleyway that would take him out of sight. “I’m not a knight,” he said distantly to the woman, with more hostility than intended. He looked at her, and tried to soften the edge in his voice, “this symbol belonged to my master, Sir Bellamin.”

The woman’s eyes widened with recognition. “Sir Bellamin the Savior?” she asked excitedly.

“One and the same,” Daichot answered. The figure strode heavily into the alley, and the tiefling thought he saw a glint of metal flash from beneath the robes. “Excuse me, milady, Torm’s blessing to you.”

The tiefling broke into a trot as he moved up to the alley entrance. As he rounded the corner he was faced only with a vacant space between buildings, where only a haze of dim light filtered down through the yawning roofs and clothes hanging from lines suspended for stories up. The robed man must have broken into a run to have gotten out of sight already. Whether that was because he noticed Daichot following him, which seemed unlikely, or whomever they were following had increased their pace as well, he did not know.

The tiefling looked back at the side street behind him, mentally visualizing where he was in the city. He had lived on these streets for most of his life, and many times his safety depended on the ability to navigate the winding alleyways unerringly. This alley in particular took a serpentine path along the district wall of the market, meaning there were many spots ideal for an ambush. Rather than chasing the man down the alleys with no idea how far behind he was, Daichot turned back to the side street and moved briskly ahead to another access where he should be able to intercept the strange figure.

As he quickly made his way two blocks over, very close to the inner wall dividing the market district from the military quarter, he noticed a pair of humans stride quickly into the same alley that he intended to use as a shortcut. He moved cautiously towards the mouth of the alley, and peered around the corner, in time to see the two humans both brandishing tarnished blades and wearing thick leather tunics under their cloaks. They spoke to one another softly, but Daichot was unable to make out their words.

Waiting for them to follow the alley around the first of many turns that followed the inner walls, he slipped into the alley and followed them, gripping the base of the scabbard strapped to his back with his left hand, and gripping the heavy, wire-wound hilt with his right, and drew his great sword as quietly as he could. Each step he took in the alley felt like it echoed for miles in the quiet of the alley, as his chainmail jingled with every motion. By the time Daichot reached the turn though, the two humans were ahead of him still, moving too quickly to hear him behind them, apparently.

From somewhere beyond those two humans, there was a bellowing roar and sudden clang of metal, which shattered the stillness of the alley. The two humans broke into a sprint and headed for the sound, ducking down yet another branch of the complex alleys in the market district. Daichot dropped all attempts at stealth and ran after them, as fast as his legs would carry him. He felt his heart thundering in his temples in anticipation of battle.

There was another roar, which did not sound like anything Daichot could identify. It was almost like a screeching eagle, only with a much deeper pitch, and with a clacking sound at the end that was almost reptilian. This time there was an answering cry as well, that sounded like a human, and was silenced abruptly with the unmistakable noise that metal makes when impacting flesh. His legs were starting to burn from the strain of running in a full suit of chainmail, but he shrugged away feeling and rounded the last corner into the alley junction he had already seen in his mind.

The scene brought him up short.

There were three humans in the alley junction, spread out in a half-circle around a towering humanoid, but definitely not human. On the ground at its feet was a crumpled pile of dirty cloth—the robe it had been trying to conceal itself with earlier. Standing over that was a towering figure, taller than Daichot by several inches. It had arms and legs like a human, but a face that was reptilian with sharp, twitching red eyes, and shimmering golden scales instead of skin. Its muscles flexed beneath the thick scaled hide as the creature switched its grip on a huge, menacing great axe dripping with gore. A fourth human was sprawled upon the alley stones in a quickly spreading pool of dark blood.

“Humans!” the creature said in thickly accented common, seemingly struggling with the sounds. “I have questions… you have answers. Drop… your weapons!”

Daichot stepped into the alley, his sword at the ready. They all saw him, and there was a collective gasp from the humans followed by a hiss from the dragon-man as they all adjusted their position for a new combatant. “What’s going on here?” the tiefling demanded.

“None of your business, devil!” One of the human men sneered at him. He lunged at the tiefling but Daichot found the attack to be slow, and predictable. He easily sidestepped the thrust and smashed the broad hilt of his great sword into the man’s face. His nose flattened with a wet crunching noise, and his eyes rolled back into his head as he collapsed to the ground, unconscious.

“These are cultists… of the… Dragon!” exclaimed the dragon-man, as though that would explain everything.

“One of them is dead,” pronounced Daichot, to the giant creature, “by your hand.”

The other two humans were frozen with indecision between the two men. Their eyes darted from Daichot to the dragon-man, and back.

“He… attacked… me!” protested the dragon-man. The words in Common appeared to be a struggle for him to remember.

Daichot looked at the human he had just knocked out. The man was sputtering for breath on the ground, choking on his own blood. The tiefling nudged him onto his stomach with a booted foot, and his breathing eased. “I believe you,” he announced, watching the other two for any hint of movement, “but I don’t know why, or if you deserved it.”

“No!” screamed the dragon-man, the shrill cry climbing in pitch to again sound like some mix of eagle and lizard. “They… attacked… me!” he repeated more forcefully.

Daichot was agitated with the circular conversation, but felt a calming sense of peace and direction to his thoughts. “And I said I believed you,” he stated with finality. The dragon-man seemed to relax slightly. “Now, all of you will lower your weapons. There will be justice to whom it is due.” The two standing humans both looked at each other, and relaxed their stances, though they did not sheathe their swords. The dragonoid stood taller, and Daichot could see a seething anger boiling in its eyes, but then it allowed the giant axe head to slide to the ground, one hand on the handle.

“Better,” Daichot approved. “What is your name?”

“Koven Mishan Daarshidian,” proclaimed the dragon-man. Most of the name melted into a noise that just sounded like the Draconic tongue to Daichot, but he caught the first word and held it.

“Koven , then. You are a dragonborn?” Koven nodded in ascent. “I’ve only heard legends of your race, from across the sea.”

Koven shook his head. “No. I am from the… Dalelands. I am… hunter. Come to city to find… honor.”

“And these men took your honor?” Daichot proposed, half-sarcastically, but the quick nod and flare of anger from the dragonborn made him regret the statement.

“Yes! These… humans… are Cult… of the Dragon!” he yelled, raising his axe from the ground again.

“Wait!” bellowed Daichot, holding one hand up towards the dragonborn. Koven took a step back, but did not lower the axe. Seizing the gap in action, he pointed at the humans, “Who are you then? Why did you attack me, or this dragonborn?”

The man looked at the tiefling with a hard stare, as though he were trying to bore through him with only his gaze. “The barbarian is right—we are the Cult of the Dragon—and you shouldn’t have meddled in our affairs!” With a lurch, the man jumped back away from Daichot and threw a small knife in his direction.

He defensively held up his arm and the blade glanced off the chain mesh of his sleeve, and saw that the man was looking somewhere past him now. He followed the gaze to see four more men, all in similar garb closing on them from the same alley Daichot used earlier. He turned back to the pair of men in time to see Koven roar and bring up his axe in one motion, nearly splitting one of them in two as he kicked the human off of his embedded weapon.

Daichot and Koven found themselves backing towards the same wall of the junction, with five humans in leather armor and wielding shortswords encircling them. The golden-scaled dragonborn’s chest was heaving with anticipation of the carnage, and a grisly noise slipped from between his sharp teeth as his shoulders shook.

“Don’t… kill them… all,” said Koven, and his muscled tensed, like a viper about to strike.

With that statement, the cultists charged. Daichot slapped away two thrusts, sending their blades wide, and countered with sweeping, downward cleave that left one of the men without his sword arm. The other screamed with a combination of panic and desperation, taking a wild hack at the tiefling, only to strike air, as he ducked low, and thrust upwards with the giant sword, piercing the man’s belly and sliding the blade up till it protruded from his collar. Daichot continued to thrust upwards as his legs and arms extended, lifting the man several feet off the ground and pulled his sword free, leaving the body to flop to the ground with a spray of blood pouring from the ruined torso. The first cultist, missing his arm, pulled a dagger from his belt with his other hand and raised his arm to stab downward at Daichot’s leg. With backward stride he brought his sword down and neatly decapitated him.

Daichot turned and saw the dragonborn moving in a blur that belied his size. The first enemy he reached tried to parry with his swordsword, but the great axe just drove the blade back into the man’s face, wrecking his skull with his own weapon, followed by the gore-slicked head of the axe. Before the motion stopped, Koven whipped his tail around behind him, reversing his spin and cleaving through the next man’s thigh with the axe, then delivering a bone-jarring punch to the man’s face as he screamed in agony, which was silenced as the blow crushed his jaw.

The last man turned to flee as the barbaric fighter hoisted the axe over his head and launched the weapon end-over-end, embedding the weapon in his back, and the man fell flat to the damp cobblestones of the alley, dead before reaching the ground. Daichot watched guardedly as the dragonborn turned back to the man with a crushed jaw and scooped him up by the jerkin, and pulled the mangled visage closer to him.

With a sharp inhale that sounded akin to a forge bellows, Koven's jaws spread inhumanly wide and paused for a split second, a glow emanating from the depths of his reptilian throat. Then with a sound not unlike a retching cat, a continual blast of flame erupted from the dragonborn and consumed the cultist’s face for several seconds. When the torrent of fire subsided, the barbarian dropped the charred remains to the ground, and stood upright, his chest heaving.

The metallic smell of blood mixed with the disturbingly aromatic smell of charred flesh, and left Daichot momentarily speechless. Koven frowned as he looked about the carnage, and suddenly exploded in outrage. “I ssaid… don’t kill them… all!”

The tiefling felt the instinct to raise his sword, but the dragonborn didn’t advance on him—his tantrum was restricted to just yelling. Daichot pointed to the man on his stomach, still unconscious, with a smashed nose. “That one is still alive, Koven.”

“Oh!” exclaimed the dragonborn, and retrieved his great axe by planting his foot on the body and tearing the head free. “I forgot… that one. You are smart… to knock one out before you… kill rest.” Again, Koven made the same sickly gurgle in his throat.

“Are you...” Daichot hesitated to ask, “Are you… giggling?”

“Yes,” Koven nodded, “it is… funny… that I forgot!” Daichot wasn’t sure what to say to that, but Koven quickly moved over to the unconscious one. “When he… wakes… you will… see they take… my honor.”

Daichot walked over to stand next to Koven , and saw that he had a gash in his side, which was bleeding steadily. “You are hurt.”

Koven nodded, “I am… fine. It is… deep scratch. Thanks to you… for helping.”

Daichot shrugged at that, not sure if he wanted thanks for this battle yet, but abruptly placed a hand on the wound, and felt the divine power of Torm flow through him. The wound closed abruptly, and mended without a scar.

Koven's small eyes widened in realization. “You are… pala-damned!”

The tiefling’s expression puzzled. “What did you say?”

“Pala-damned. You heal with… gods! You are… pala-damned!”

Daichot felt a dark emotion for just a moment, then smiled at Koven. “It’s pala-DIN.”

Koven's demeanor shifted from that of towering strength to crestfallen embarrassment. “I… sorry. Not mean… insult.”

Daichot held up a hand to stop him. “No need, you were closer than you know. And anyway, I’m not a paladin, either.”

***
 
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Xorne

First Post
The leather tunic Rhallick wore creaked softly as he leaned on the rickety wooden fence at the side of the road, listening to the many wagons of the caravan he'd signed on with moving slowly behind him, heading east towards the next town or village along the way. Beyond the fence stretched a large, grass-covered field dotted with the occasional cow, lazily tearing clumps of vegetation and methodically gnashing it to pulp in a cycle of swallowing, vomiting, and chewing that encompassed the simple existence of a cow's life. Farther out across the pasture he was watching, there was a small building, too far distant to make out all the details of, but he could tell the front was spanned by a covered porch, so it was probably the ranch owner's house. That probably wasn't a bad life then, tending to the simple needs of cows, chewing their cud by the road the world moved on around them.

A soft breeze pulled at a wisp of his long silvery hair, trailing it across his face in the cloudy light of the afternoon. He absently reached up and tucked the loose hair back behind his pointed ear, and squinted to the west, toward the sun as it dropped lower in the sky over the road he'd been traveling for the last day. Another wagon from the caravan train was passing by him, with two human men pacing it on either side, wearing leather tunics and casually resting a spear over their shoulders, talking softly to each other as they passed. Both of them gave him a passing glance, no doubt determining if Rhallick was a human or an elf, and reaching the correct assessment shortly after passing, and exchanging a knowing glance at each other. One of them spoke softer than they had been, thinking Rhallick wouldn't hear, but that was because they didn't realize how acute that sense was.

"Half-elf." One of the caravan guards said matter-of-factually. There was nothing negative in his tone; it was the same voice he might have told the other man that porridge was what he ate for breakfast that morning. Rhallick found that the men guarding the caravan had little care for whom they shared the road with, especially when it was another guard, which was the means by which the half-elf had signed on with this group of travelers.

Rhallick's skin was paler than most of the human's in the southern Sword Coast, but darker than his elven father's clan. His frame was light and slim, perhaps slightly sturdier than most elven-kind, but again, not quite as broad-shouldered as a human. His eyes were smaller than elves', but larger than humans, and his ear tips were slightly pointed, but not as pronounced as an elf. He wore well-tailored, brown leather armor which covered his body except for his arms, soft boots with laced that rose half-way up his calf, and had two short swords in crossed sheathes on his back, with unusual blades that curved forward. His long, silver hair, which fell past his shoulders, had a lustrous, elvish sheen to it, which was the biggest indicator of his heritage, even more so than Rhallick's ears. His hair on the top of his head was pulled back into a simple braid which kept the rest of his mane out of his face, for the most part.

As he glanced eastward down the road after the two humans casually, he heard the wagon he was assigned to behind him, approaching from the west. It was still fifty paces distant, but he had grown accustomed to the rhythmic banging of loose metal works in the cart, mostly pots and pans for cooking, hanging from racks inside the covered cart. He pushed away from the fence as the cart came closer, and moved over to fall in step with the another figure walking beside the same cart, clad in leather armor like him, but dyed a deep black, to which the dust of the road clung heavily, giving the ordinarily crisp lines of the armor look worn and ratty. A similarly dark cloak draped over his companion, complete with a hood which was drawn up over the man's head, as well as a thin silk scarf, which covered his face, keeping the road dust out of his mouth and nose. But his eyes were like Rhallick's; too big to be human, too small to be elvish.

Rhallick didn't look at the other half-elf as he walked beside the cart with him, his gaze instead passing over the mule-drawn wagon, their employer sitting atop the driver's bench, occasionally praising his mules, amid the constant, soft clatter of his wares under the canvas canopy behind him. Not seeing their third companion, he spoke.

"Where is Rubick then, Aligheri?" he asked.

The dark-clad half-elf glanced at Rhallick. His mouth and nose were concealed, but his eyes betrayed amusement as he answered. "He's in the wagon again," he said quietly, taking on a squeaky tone of voice, "as the talents he offers through his contracted services are wasted on the pointless task of walking down a filthy road," the half-elf mimed the voice of the gnome in the cart.

"I heard that," came a high-pitched voice that sounded eerily similar to how Aligheri had just spoken.

"Please," admonished the driver of the cart, "I really don't need to hear two of him..."

Aligheri chuckled softly to himself and held up a hand to the driver showing his ascent. He caught a subtle look from Rhallick and quick adjustment of his posture. Casually giving his full attention, Rhallick spoke.

"So how long have you known Rubick, old friend?" asked Rhallick. Is he still reading that book? the half-elf added with sign language.

Aligheri nodded quietly. Yes, the one from his "secret" pocket. He grinned and spoke, "About three years. I did some work for him on a 'research project' he was involved with back then. Kind of kept in touch ever since." He's asked me to 'obtain' quite a few books over the years, and he pays well.

Rhallick nodded his fellow rogue, in answer to that unspoken comment, as opposed to what Aligheri said for everyone else to hear. His old friend had reached out to him through the guild in Baldur's Gate as the caravan passed through. He told Rhallick something big was happening, and there were bad people involved--and there was likely coin to be made in stopping them. Rhallick looked to his left, back towards the small ranch-house off in the distance, and thought to himself:

Some day.

***
 

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