John play: Hero for hire

JOHN PLAY
“11 PLAY REVISITED”
SEGMENT 141
“COMMANDER DANIEL’S OFFICE”

ORALUNE 1, 998

“DON’T….. Don’t say anything. You and your ‘friend’ may have just begun a war between Droaam and Breland. One King Boranel would prefer to avoid and in part why I am here.” The psionic Dark Lantern Sgt cannot help but allow her intent be mentally felt as much as heard. Play scowls and Avireal winces from the headaches beginning to develop.

The three of them are sitting in Commander Daniel’s office. He did not survive the first volley of arrows from the gnolls. The arrow pierced his throat and was coated with poison. He was dead before the poison even took effect.

“I have half a mind to implicate the two of you. The King will deal with you as he will and Droaam will demand further punishment to you. All of this just to keep the two nations from acting out in war.”

“I want you two to think about that in here while I go to alert the King he can expect a nasty gram from Sivis or the damned Gnoll ambassador.” She leaves and slams the door.

“She is mad.” States the drow barbarian.

“She’ll get over it.”

“Is she right? Could a war break out between the nations?”

“We are already at war. A war of secrets and information gathering. A cold war if you want.”

“I…. am sorry. The forces began to move in to flank and entrap us. I acted out of my training.”

“I know. Nadia understands that. You just put her between a rock and a hard place is all.”

Silence.

More Silence. Play begins to look around the room in boredom. “Time to get on with things.” He gets up even as Avireal looks on with some uncertainity. He looks over the books on the shelves. He pulls out one book. ‘The War of Broken Tusk’ is an old book written in Orc. It details some of the dwarven tactics involving tunnel defenses against the aggressive orcs of the southern mountains. Also a note with a name and number. “Can’t get away from you can I?” he mumbles to himself. The paper reads ‘Kim ir’Elderich 234’

Another book catches his eye. Or at least the lack of fine dust from the book being taken in and out. ‘Journal of the hand 990’. Play thumbs through it. He reads about secret agreements made between the fort commanders and several Gnoll and Medusas in that year. Curious. He looks about some more.
He finds 978, 979, 980, 985, 986, 987, 990, 992, 994…… several journals are missing….. most notably- 991.

“Avireal- could you do me a huge favor…. Look around for a book that looks like these….” And Play spreads out the journals he had located. Going through hundreds of books they find the missing journals for years 981, 983, 984, 988, 989, 985 and 996. Journals 982 and 991 are both still missing.
Deciding the hell with it, he now spies and looks for secret spaces. By doing this he finds a few potions and daggers. Avireal finds a ring. It is black gold with a dark green jewel set in it. In emerald is a flame like hand. Curious about it, she takes it. The law of the jungle….. he is dead. He doesn’t need it anymore.

“Ah….. here we go.” Plays says happily as he finds a sliding panel on the desk. “Drats” and he tosses Journal 977 aside.

Pulling up the rug, he carefully feels the boards….. and finds a lose one. Opening it, he finds a small bundle and….. Journal 991!”

“Now why would you hide this here and leave the others out to be found?” He digs further and finds the answer. The original journals are here. Comparing the two for 990, 992 and 993 he finds there are the originals and there are fakes with false names and places. He places the originals into his magical bag and smiles to Avireal. “Time to go?”

“Is that a good idea?”

“naw….. but it can be the most rewarding.”
 

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JOHN PLAY
“11 PLAY REVISITED”
SEGMENT 142
“GOING SOUTH”

ORALUNE 15, 998

Avireal and Play have been traveling south on stolen horses for the past two weeks. In reading the stolen journals Play has discovered several things. Commander Daniel was an agent for The Emerald Claw. Bad boy. He has learned also his mother was involved in a lot of illegal magical experimentations on living men and women. He being one of them. He also learns his mother had contact with agents from Argonnessen. Play lost sleep over that tidbit. But Avireal helped him stay busy that night- and other nights.

Their relationship is growing stronger as they continue to go (flee) south. Play is even wondering if he has found the one.

They travel between The Greywall Mountains and The Skyraker Forest. The one journal suggested that after faking her death, his mother took refuge near the shore of The Grey Rakes.

ORALUNE 28, 998
On the way, they stop at a small tavern named Greywall Hall. Simple and too the point. It is also a very busy and active spot in an otherwise quiet and dreary trip.

The tavern is packed and no one is watching the two. No seems to care that Avireal is a Xen’drik elf. After a while, startling Play at the act, she reveals her cowl and exposes her black skin for all to see. Two men pause then spot Play and continue watching the activity.

“It is like Sharn…. But without the clouds.” She comments.

“Shuuuush. Don’t mention Sharn or anywhere we have been. As close as we are to Droaam, I suspect there are government people here. Possibly Lanterns even.” Responds the ex-Dark Lantern. As he holds a mug of ail to his mouth. “I wonder if it is always this busy here. I saw a sign at the door. It suggests a traveling bard is here tonight. From what I saw….. this could be interesting.”

“Oh?”

“Calls herself The Bard.”

“Herself?” replies the Drow in a teasing but knowing way.

“Yes- a woman. But she is a Tiefling.”

“Tiefling?”

“She has fiendish blood in her ancestry.”

Avireal pushes back her chair suddenly while reaching for her sword. “A fiend?!?”

Panicked- “Relax!” She is NOT a full fiend. More, I spoke to a few of the locals while you checked out the room and she has performed here before. She is very good from what I have been told.”

Their food arrives and they eat while watching the growing crowd.

Soon a cheer rises and some whistles. Watching, Play and Avireal spot the cause. A woman dressed in black and red has entered the tavern. Long curled black hair hangs from her hood. She has a small stringed instrument in her hands which she has readied to play. A warm and joyous smile on a red skinned face can be seen. “Hello and welcome boys, girls, men and women whom own the night (she pauses with the laughter and cheering until it subsides)….. Are you ready?”

Behind her, a nervous looking man in leather armor covered by a very dirty and torn poncho comes in. He is carrying his pack on his back and now her pack in his hands. As she moves to the stage area set for her, he moves to a table saved for him nearby but out of the way.

“HELLOOOOOOO……. TOWN OF FREEDOMS, BRELAND. AS YOU MAY KNOW- I AM THE BARD AND YES….. THIS IS NOT A TRICK NOR MAKE UP.” She sings with a magically amplified voice. “ I SING, I DANCE AND I EVEN DO MAGIC ALL FOR SOME COIN. I TRAVEL WITH MY FRIEND- REGGIE. WE HAVE SEEN IT ALL. AND I DO MEAN IT ALL. JUST TRY ME!” and the audience laughs, cheers and applauds.

She gives a few minutes of jokes and a dirty limerick that even makes Avireal smirk. Play is entranced by the spectacle.

Taking a sip from a foaming mug o ale, The Bard then looks out to the crowd. “I CAN SEE LOCAL FARMERS ARE HERE. EVEN A FEW FROM ARDEV. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT ARDEV.”

“What do you think about her so far?”

“She is funny. She has control over the crowd. I like her.” Answers Avireal as she has her third mug of ale. Play is surprised. He expected jealousy.

“AND THAT IS ARDEV DEALS WITH SILVER FLAME PETITIONERS THAT TRAVEL DOOR TO DOOR. SPEAKING OF WHICH- DO WE HAVE ANYONE FROM THRANE? NO? DO WE HAVE ANYONE FROM AUNDAIR?”

A young man with a young woman sitting on his lap gives a loud “Yup”.

“WHERE FROM?”

“South of Vanguard Keep.” The girl answers giggling.

“WHATEVER BRINGS YOU TO BRELAND?”

“We got married.” Answers the man whom then kisses the woman.

“MARRIED?!? THE”M” WORD. HOW MANY DAYS?”

“Last week- 18th.” The woman answers.

“IS TODAY THE FIRST NIGHT YOU’VE BEEN OUT FROM THE BED?” Laughter and the girl blushes and the young man looks embarrassed also. “THAT’S OKAY. IF MY WIFE LOOKED LIKE THAT WITH SUCH A LOW DRESS I WOULDN’T LEAVE FOR ANOTHER WEEK!” The tavern seems to explode with laughter and cheers. It doubles again as she kisses him deeply.

“ANYONE FROM FURTHER AWAY?” And she does an exaggerated search of the crowd as she covers the top of her eyes. Play suddenly regrets this. The crowd, cheering and whistling, parts so that The Bard can see Avireal, a Drow.

“OH MY! I SEE US A WINNAH! WHATIS YOUR NAME HONEY?”

Avireal looks about. She is slightly alarmed as small floating lights pop into existence at their table. Her dark skin and white hair is clearly visible. “I am known as Avireal.”

The Bard walks slowly to their table. Her walk demands attention from the men and others within the tavern.

“AND WHAT BRINGS YOU TO KHORVAIRE MY BEAUTY? THIS HANSOME MAN?” And The Bard brazenly sits on his lap.

Play gives her the best look he can without drawing attention to himself. “We seek Jazen’s mother. She has been missing or years- thought dead.”

“REALLY? AND I ASSUMED THE TWO OF YOU TRAVELLED FOR WANTON SEX.” There is laughter and Play is stymied. What to say or do? The crowd laughs at the joke. Avireal mistakes it as a question.

“We have sex yes. What is “Wanton?”” and the tavern explodes and The Bard can not regain control for several minutes.

Thankfully, The Bard moves on to another target then into song. Three hours go by and the show begins to shut down. People leave the man that traveled with The Bard has passed out and fallen from his chair.

As they are discussing how they should be going to their rooms shortly The Bard walks over. “May I?”
 

JOHN PLAY
“11 PLAY REVISITED”
SEGMENT 143
“AWKWARD”

THERENDOR 1, 998

Play wakes up with a hangover. “How much?” He grumbles painfully to himself. He feels a leg against his leg and he smiles. He rolls over slowly and closes his eyes to kiss Avireal. He kisses her deeply in the mouth then feels her thump his head. He opens his eyes.

“Wha….?!?” And he backpeddles as he sees red skin and jet black hair.

“mmmmm….. and good morning to you also John.”

He falls out of the bed and discovers he is lacking clothing- even his sleeping clothes. Suddenly the blankets pull and twist as Avireal sits up abruptly on the other side of the surprise guest. “Are we under attack?!?

Then it hits him.

Hard.

Too much to drink.

Waaaaaaay too much.

He crawls to a modest wooden screen used for dressing and locates some clothes to put on. He sticks his head out and finds Avireal, also stripped, stretching and looking around. The tiefling is sitting on the edge of the bed sorting out her clothes.

“Wha….What happened. No. Scratch that. I know. But I……”

“Relax. Its no big deal. The two of you had too much to drink and if you wish, I took advantage of it. I’m like that. You know- a Tiefling…… a Tiefling bard no less.”

“I’ll give you some ah…. Privacy. I’m going to locate some food downstairs.” Says Play wearing pants and one boot.

Shortly the two women come downstairs. Their appearances are a stark contrast. Black vs white hair. Red skin vs Black skin. Avireal’s tattoos and The Bard’s horns and tail.

They find bread, butter and eggs for breakfast. The Bard has these but the other two skip the eggs. They take their meals and sit near a window. They eat in silence for a minute then the tiefling speaks up.

“You know….. I’ve heard of you. Jazen……Play……… John Play of Sharn. You have inspired more than one or two bardic songs with your….. exploits.”

“I have?” he says with a mix of surprise and of confidence.

“Naturally. He is a good man.” Answers the Drow.

“Some songs changed names of you, the people and the places to avoid any Lantern attention. You may have heard the limerick- “and the masked men all fell down.”

“That’s not me.”

“You didn’t face twenty plus Emerald Claw terrorists and in the process blow up their alchemical lab?”

He silently smiles. “Good Times.” He says quietly.

“As I said- he is a good man.” Answers Avireal as she squeezes his hand on the table.

Play realizes he is the only one it seems to be disturbed by the nights events.

“Avireal said you were seeking your mother. Is that true?”

He hesitates then answers. “Yes.”

“There are several strongholds south of here- along the shore. I am certain she would be at one of these. With more information, perhaps I can help you locate her.”

“I couldn’t repay you-“

“No need. I like to help people. Good People.” She looks around suddenly distracted. “Has anyone seen Reggie?”

Three buildings down Reggie is spotted on the floor…. Upside down still. He stinks of vomit. The keep curses and hurries to him. The man has seemly drowned on his vomit. He is dead. The keep rolls him over into a sitting position and calls for help.

“What is Darren? What could be so- OH!” calls out the startled wife. Then a ring worn by Reggie glows lightly and suddenly he coughs and vomit clears his throat.

“Wha…. What happened?” Reggie stammers.

“A miracle!” calls out the wife. “You died but…. You’re alive.”

The wife goes to get a wet cloth to clean him up and the keep sets up a chair to sit him on. Reggie looks at his ring. His magical ring. His CURSED magical ring. “Well…… that’s a new one.”
 


No easy way of remaking Play. I have done something however. A Rogue: Phantom / Ranger: Gloom Walker.

I will do a novel style storyhour for a bit then introduce the 5e John Play.
 

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