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Journal of the Souls of Legend (completed)

Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
Strange dreams, stranger gifts – 08/28/2019

Things never seem to last. Ragpicker’s Square is full of the refuse and broken things of Sigil. The poor pick through it, looking for anything that could be of value, no matter how low.

It’s a testament to how nothing stands up to the ravages of time. How things change from useful to junk.

But sometimes you can find value in the garbage. And sometimes it finds you.

We made for a nearby hill that looked promising for the night. We didn’t say anything as we made our way there. Even as we setup camp, we didn’t talk. Each of us had an experience and each of us were trying to sort it out. So, it wasn’t until a fire was going, and we started to munch on the stale rations did we say anything. And of course, it was on the least of things.

“Myrai, can you give me a light?” Beepu said, staring at various papers squinting.

I was staring absently at the fire, while I flexed and lit up a nearby pebble for him and muttered, “Sure thing.”

“So, Beepu what does it say?” Iesa asked looking up from where he was feeding Mo a piece of bread.

“It is not a book, it is a schematic, so it does not say anything.” Beepu shot him a glare. “And unfortunately, it will take me time to decode it. My father’s notations are hard to decipher.”

I turned and looked at him, “Why? I thought you had been doing that for a while?”

“Well yes. But these notes are very different. They are including references I have not seen before. I may need to visit a family friend in Waterdeep to make headway. He studied with my father and may be able to help.”

“Waterdeep eh?” Daneath said frowning. “Nothing but rain there. Besides I need to head south.”

“You too?” Iesa said. “Same vision?”

“I suppose so. But Umbra went south based on what the…um Elk showed me.”

“Yeah. Same vision.” Iesa said. “I think it was somewhere south of Daggerford. Secomber perhaps.”
Daneath nodded. “And there’s where we start.”

“Hey what are you going to do Myrai?” Iesa asked looking towards me. “What did the Elk show you?”
I thought a moment before replying. “It showed me…It,” I started searching for the right words. “It didn’t show me anything clear like that. So, I’m a little…I don’t know.” Saying finally.

“No path home?” Daneath asked looking at me intently.

I didn’t answer and just stared into the flames, as if the answer was dancing there all this time. All I could do was slowly shake my head.

“Well, you are welcome to come with me to Waterdeep,” Beepu said cheerily.

“Or with us,” Iesa said with Daneath nodding, and Mo jumping up and down.

I gave a small smile, “Thanks. I…I’m going to think on it tonight, if you don’t mind.” And I stood up and stretched. “Perhaps a small walk will settle me before I turn in.”

“Well, stay in Foggle’s sight. We don’t want more ankhegs or gnolls.”

“I will,” and I moved away from the trio at the fire to think and walk. I was very tired, and after helping cleanse the Elk’s statue I still didn’t feel great. But I was wound up, and needed to do something to clear my head and answer a simple question.

What did I want?

A barmy question at first glance. Thirteen days ago, it would have been easy; ‘Go Home.’ And that would have been that. Since then a lot had happened.

I gained some semblance of power.

I died.

I was forced back.

I had more jink in my pocket than I ever had before.

I had…friends.

That last one stuck with me. I originally thought as them as adams; partners of convenience. But we had fought and bled together. No, they brought you back to life. That wasn’t something a partner did; you meant more to them. Far more. Sure, they made a horrific bargain, but so had I in the past. Many in Sigil wouldn’t have bothered.

Sure, Sigil was home, but what was really left there? A filthy kip, which by now was probably picked over for anything left behind. Who was left there? A pack of fiends, spivs, and knights of the post around every corner and a couple of bartenders who valued you for your occasional jink and little else. Beyond a standing tea time with one being there on occasion, there wasn’t anyone close. And he…was a dangerous friend.
Even so I missed it. The familiarity. The sounds. The smell of the food…no just food in general. I hadn’t thought about za in a long time, but I certainly craved it. But all of this longing and nostalgia really distracted me though from the obvious.

I was enjoying myself. As much as I wanted to mock the clueless, it was still new. The Hate Night’s party and dance with the nobility. The elegance of the Elk tribe’s forgotten tombs. The simplicity of the people’s lives here. Even the food. Except the eggs…I may never get use to them. But it was a Sensates’ dream. Experiencing everything first hand. Not the jaded tales overheard in the Bottle and Jug. Everything.

Including having your throat ripped out I suppose.

Sigil could certainly live without me for a while. And I perhaps needed her less for now. I was growing in power here, getting stronger.

So perhaps I knew what I wanted, just not the direction to get there. I turned and walked back to my tent at the edge of the fire. I waved at Beepu and refreshed his light. Once inside I removed my weapons and my chain and laid down. Perhaps a night’s rest would give me clarity. I lay there, looking upwards hoping that the dreams would be gone for just an evening…

…But such was not to be.

The nightmare began again. But it’s different. Instead of being the actor, I was watching myself. Everything felt like I was in a indistinct fog and I felt detached from what I watched.

And the dream was different. I was no longer a girl, I was older. The sequence is the same; Elisna dies and rises again. But there the resemblance ended.

I saw myself run into a familiar tenement with tears in my eyes. The faded banners of Kelemvor on the walls. But the room has a sinister edge to it, as I spot three altars, of darkness along the wall, where no altars stood before. But only one was clearly visible in reddish light, where I could see the carvings of three triangles upon it.

I then saw myself turn around and see him. I never knew his name, and he was a guest of the Bleakers for as long as I knew. I fed him and other like him in the Gatehouse, in the Barmy wing. And he always remembered me. He cursed at me, as I saw one eye stare out from the hole in the door. A wolfish blue eye, bloodshot and quivering as it stared at me, shouting obscenities.

And now this disheveled man, in a torn grey tunic leered at me; his hair, long dirty and unkempt. I didn’t recognize that man. But I did that eye. I saw myself back up in fear, putting a hand up to shield myself from him. Then my world fell apart, as the floor buckled from rot, causing me to plummet into darkness below.
I watched myself, twisting and turning as I bounced through mud and water tumbling deeper under the Hive. I saw myself pass layers of trash and detritus. Until I finally stopped, landing on damp stone.
I saw myself lying there a moment, before stirring and struggling to stand. Turning and twisting in the dark, trying to understand where I had fallen.

The Weeping Stone Catacombs. A place buried deep within Hive. A place said to be prison for cursed spirits for crimes committed long ago. Here the water flows from above and pour over the bas relief of faces carved in the wall, making them slick with tears. Cut off from the light and air from above, it lives up to its name as a black tomb in the Hive.

But I was more concerned with finding a way out, as I watched myself looking around. Now, I always could see in the dark. But here the passages led in all sorts of directions. But it was all the same; the same echo of dripping water, the same smell of musty earth, the same passages going beyond my sight. I watched myself turn about in panic, until I saw something just at the edge of my vision. And then I moved towards the figure, and as it retreated, I followed it.

But this didn’t make sense. Was that real? Is this a tale my sleeping self is telling me? I don’t remember falling. I don’t remember the Weeping Stone. I don’t remember this at all. But it feels right. It feels as real as the nightmare before.

Why don’t I remember this?

I watched myself with curiosity as I clambered in the darkness, towards something or someone. Being able to see in the dark was a gift. I could have flooded the passage way with light, but that seemed wrong. Almost disrespectful for those slumbered here.

I follow the figure; passing alcoves and openings. Now I am aware I was not alone here. Each one paws at me frantically. And each shiver and turn away afraid. Each shiver and I feel the echo of the Strand resonate in my dream. I am being led downwards and finally I enter a room deep underground.

It looked to be a tomb to someone important, forgotten long ago. An ancient place. Like the rest of the Weeping Stone Catacombs, it was a time when the dead were still buried in Sigil, long before the coming of the Dustmen. And it was indeed old. The water and time had worn away the details of carvings or even color. Who was interred here was a forgotten detail, just like the catacombs themselves.

Another tunnel exits from here, and in the distance, I see the figure. It was crouching in the darkness, and it carried something in its arms. I watched myself following it trying to see who it was, and what it held. I get closer and I finally see what I am following; a mustie. But it moves with purpose. And it knows the path well, no hesitation or uncertainty. I had heard tales from Dustman that even the least of the undead could find awareness given time. But I thought then it was barkle but watching this one made me think there was some truth to it.

It started to climb and was out of sight for a moment. Once I reached the bottom, I could see it climbing. It was ascending a great pile of dross, trash and broken items. I watch myself struggle to find solid grips and footing as I pulled myself up out of the pit below. I could see the mustie above, climbing slowly but with far more certain footing, as if this path was well known to it.

I watch as I squeeze myself between beams, and cracks in stone, and through mud. Finally, I saw myself break free and breach the surface, near a large pile of debris. I think I am somewhere in Ragpicker’s square, deep in the Hive. I can now see the mustie clearly; it looks desiccated and old; few wisps of hair remain on its once human head, and its eyes are empty sockets. Yet it sees just fine as it threads its way between towering piles of wreckage.

Finally, the mustie has come to a stop in a cul-de-sac of trash and refuse and sets its bundle down on a fractured table of stone. I watch it unwrap it, and I watch it place a silver cylinder upon the surface.
The mustie turns to looks directly at me, and shivers and points at the table. I see on the table a glyph or rune, with the cylinder in the middle of it. I am still watching myself stare at it, and as I watch, the glyph glows in a warm yellow light. Then I heard a noise of steel on stone and I watch my dirty and disheveled self, turn around.

There behind me, staring with that wolfish eye was that same barmy that started this. He drags the edge of a rusty cleaver against a broken bit of stone. The sound of its scratching echoes lightly around the mounds of debris. The man’s smile and eyes were widening in excitement as he continued to move slowly forward.
I reached towards my side looking for a dagger and I panic as I realize that it was missing. I watch in horror as this slow drama unfolds before my eyes. I see myself back up slowly, a hand and arm behind myself trying to feel my way. I move that way, until my back comes in contact with the altar, and in turn my hand brushes the silver object.

Then I watch several things happen at once. First, I see the madman and his cleaver charging at me. The, my hand touched the cylinder and a bright white light flashed from the glyph. And finally, I see the purple bolt of energy erupt from my right hand and striking the madman in the chest.

I watch as my face changed from one of fear and surprise to strength and confidence. I threw another bolt and then another, forcing the madman back. As I throw more magic at him, my gaze is captivated by the glyph on the table. Something simple and elegant.

The mustie suddenly moved not towards myself fighting the barmy, but to me watching in the dream. It reached out and gripped me, and It painfully forced me to look at its empty eyes. Then it leaned in close to me and it whispered in Celestial:

Ehōike mai ka ʻikunae. Ehawi iau i kai Welo. Ehewi iau i Kamana.

I then awoke with a start, breathing heavily. I sat up and for the first time I could remember the dream. Why I felt fear. Why I felt that something was just out of reach. But what happened? Was that real or just dream stuff.

I sat there and thought and tried to remember when I could first cast magic. I remembered it was after the Faction War ended, but now it seemed that the event I dreamed was what happened. Why could I not remember that before?

I crawled out of my tent, not even bothering to put on my boots, my bare feet on the grass and earth. Iesa and Daneath were up, and talking quietly by the fire, and Foggle was on a stone nearby keeping an eye out for things. The dream now clung to memory, not allowing me to forget it. It was clear; as if it just happened a moment ago.

What did it mean?

Why now?

As I stood there in the cool night air, I looked up at the moon they called Selune. It was full, and its cold white light shone from it, and I could make out shapes and patterns on its surface.
I looked around a moment, and then I returned to my tent, and grabbed the greensteel stiletto from my discarded boot. I drew it and tossed the sheath back onto my bedroll. I then scanned the earth, looking for a flat open area. I found one easily enough and I then began to draw with the sharpened point of the stiletto, using it as a brush in the canvas of the earth.

I recreated the glyph; its form still burned into my mind’s eye. I didn’t think I could forget it if I tried. I felt compelled to draw it out. I did the whorls and arcs, and then made corrections until its form matched my memory. I then outlined it with a single circle on the outside perimeter. Once completed, I thrust the stiletto in the center of the glyph I carved from the dirt. I then flexed and put my light onto the pommel, lighting the earth and the carving I had made.

“Hey, what is Myrai doing?” Iesa asked.

“I’m not sure. She’ll call if she needs something,” Daneath replied.

I sat down outside the circle and crossed my legs. I placed my hands on my knees, my palms facing upwards.

“E kohana ma ko’o makunanae,” I whispered aloud and then reached within myself to find the Strand. It hung there wavering, and I took equal measures of darkness and light and mentally wove them together into a braided strand of grey. I then imagined placing the Strand into the circle and surrounding the Glyph on the ground. From there I pictured that the threads of light and dark snaked from the binding circle and reached in and wrapped themselves on the Stiletto in the middle.

Centering myself, and closing my eyes I began to chant aloud softly in Celestial:

Ehōike iau i Kaʻikunae. / Show me Knowledge.

Ehawi iau i Welo. / Give me Vision.

Ehewi iau i Ka’mana. / Grant me Power.

I could feel a twinge of the fabric around me, and a stirring in the weave of magic. Keeping my centering, I repeated the chant calling out to something far beyond.

For Knowledge, For Vision, for Power.

I could feel the energy build and flow through me. It felt like a wind that flashed between hot and cold, twisting around the Glyph and through me. It grew stronger and stronger, and I felt it pulling on my hair. Still focusing I opened my eyes and saw that the ritual I was calling had manifested as a wind around me. The blade no longer was anchored to the ground, now spun on its point like a needle shaped top in the air.
The brothers were now standing staring at the confluence of energy that I had summoned, mouthing something I couldn’t hear. But they didn’t move as they watch the ritual unfold.

I could feel it reaching its crescendo. I tasted the energy in the air. I felt something close on the horizon in my mind, slowly being pulled closer. I stood up, still chanting, my hair now swirling around in the wind. I stepped carefully into the circle, avoiding touching the lines with my bare feet. I then reached out with my right hand into the center of the glyph, above the now wobbling spinning Stiletto, and chanted the words one last time.

Ehōike iau i Kaʻikunae. / Show me Knowledge.

Ehawi iau i Welo. / Give me Vision.

Ehewi iau i Ka’mana. / Grant me Power.

And as the last syllable crossed my lips there was a flash of light and in my hand, I felt a warm metal object. The wind started to die down and the weave that was once twisting around me returned to normal. The stiletto dropped and stuck into the earth below it.

I stared at the object I held. It was a cylinder covered in markings that resembled a form of Celestial writing. Along the sides at regular intervals were tabs that stuck out. I switched it between my hands, and pulled on a tab. A sheet of metal was extruded, as thin as strip of parchment. On it, was writing in a form of celestial, although the lettering wasn’t familiar. But as I handled it, I could feel that it wasn’t just a strange document. It contained power.

“What just…what is that?” Iesa said looking at me standing on the bare earth, my hair a scattered mess.
I curled my arm to regard the cylinder a moment and looked at Iesa.

“A gift.” I said simply.

“A gift? From who?” Daneath said looking around his arms outstretched.

“My…I don’t know.” I said, not wanting to guess aloud. But to myself I thought something else.

Thanks father, wherever you are.


My watch had come, and I realized I had a task in front of me. The writing was Celestial, but it was archaic. It would take some time to read it and understand it. But its appearance solidified something in my mind. I knew where I needed to go next.

The others had awoken and soon we were almost done packing up. I could hear the “What? She did What?” from Beepu, as Iesa told him the story from last night.

“And you did not wake me?!? Do you not think that might have been considered important?” Beepu said angrily as we all started the march to Portstown.

“Well, if it was important, shouldn’t have Foggle woke you?” Iesa said pointing at the brass owl.

“He would indeed…oh. Wait. Foggle! We need to talk.” Beepu said wagging his finger at the owl overhead.

“It was a bit of wind is all anyway. And a thing right Myr?” Iesa said.

“Yes, a thing," I said giving him an exasperated side glance. "And it means I know where I am headed next.”

“Where? Candlekeep?” Daneath asked.

“Based on what Beepu told me, I don’t have a way to pay the entrance fee. No, I need to go to Waterdeep and look in some of the libraries there.”

“What? Oh excellent. I will introduce you to some very important scholars there.” Beepu said surprise and then with enthusiasm.

“You sure?” Daneath asked, sounding a bit disappointed.

I nodded. “Honestly I think I would prefer going south than crawling through books. But dusty tomes it appears to be.”

“Well the barges will take us down all the way to Waterdeep. And from there Daneath and I can make our way to Secomber,” Iesa said.

“We can send a message up to you two when we have found something,” Daneath said.

“That will allow me to research what I need for the device as well,” Beepu said happily.

“I guess that means we have a plan, cutters,” I said smiling.

“Cutters?” Iesa asked.

“A term used for skilled friends that are trusted,”

“I kinda like that. Cutters.” Daneath said.

“Not as good as ‘Big-D’ though,” Iesa said slapping the big man on the back.

“Oh, not that again,” Daneath admonished.

“Come on, that’s a legendary name!” Iesa said.

And so. the argument continued for miles, with me smiling at the miracle of finding friends so far from home.

End of Part I​

Session notes:
There were two things that happened here, which is really part of last session. The first, leveling up. The second was a discussion on how we wanted to spend our downtime. where we were spending some down time.

That discussion is boring to read though.
 

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Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
I, Gossamer - 09/04/2019

I wasn’t born yesterday. But I suppose it’s close enough to count.

I could feel the warmth and glow of the sun this morning, as it streamed through the windows of the inn. I lazily opened my eyes, enjoying the touch of the sun caressing me. I yawned and started to stretch my limbs and my back, arcing it. Today would be a wonderful day; for the first time in weeks the sun was out. Waterdeep’s omnipresent gloom of rain and fog from the sea was broken. I sat up in my bed satisfied and looked over across the room. What I saw, started my tail to thrash.

There in the feather bed, sprawled on her stomach was Myrai, still asleep. Her golden hair was a tangled knot, and the sun’s rays danced across her bare back as she softly breathed. As I stared at her, she would occasionally give out a quiet contented little snore. The glory of the mornings’ light was lost upon her, blissfully dreaming something pleasant elsewhere.

I thought a moment. Perhaps she was exhausted from last nights outing and she just needed a later start, and I took the moment to groom. It wasn’t incredibly urgent that we get up now I supposed, but I didn’t want to miss the prospect of seeing everything in the light. But as I washed my face, I realized that this might have been the first decent night’s sleep, she has had in weeks. I mean, I don’t think I was going to ever get used to her sitting up suddenly, bolt upright with terror in her eyes.

But now, she was resting peacefully. Oblivious to the wonderful prospect the sun gave us. But Myrai didn’t seem to mind the rain here in Waterdeep. She told me that the rain here was cleaner than the yellowish drizzle from the lower wards of Sigil. There, everyone wore leathers to keep the rain from staining your skin an ugly shade of yellow with a nasty brimstone smell as a bonus. That is, if you could afford it. Better to have yellowish leather instead of skin. Or fur and feathers I supposed.

She explained that it was a prominent feature of the lower wards because of all the portals to Baatezu, the Abyss and other lower planes, spouted brimstone clouds into the air. And truth be told, even in the Lady’s ward the rain wasn’t clean there either; but they had more magic to clean it up.

But that would be there. We’re here in Waterdeep, the rains from the sea had the scent of salt, not brimstone. But with the sun out to play across the sky, the city awoke and started the process of drying itself out after weeks of rain off and on. A welcome change for certain.

And yet, Myrai was completely unaware of it. And that made it totally unacceptable. For some reason, my clear glare of contempt isn’t going to wake her up. I mean she should feel the glare. So, I try the next obvious thing; shouting in her mind.

Myrai!

-No.

Myrai

-No. Get out of my thoughts.

Come on. Myrai!

-No! I want to sleep some more…


Clearly, I needed to take more drastic action. So, I flit down from the bookcase where I was perching and landed on Myrai’s back. If it were nap time I would be napping. But I wanted to finally see the city and not be cooped up with her and her silver book thing. The sun is out now, and that could change at any time. Now was a great time to stretch my wings. Myrai would not be allowed to sleep when there were things to do.

Myrai opened her eyes slightly. It took some practice, but I can now tell if Myrai was looking at me, or not. I noticed a lot of others just get lost in the mazes of mirrors. Most wouldn’t even notice if she wasn’t paying attention to them, was bored with them, or was interested and focused. Those silver mirrors could tell you a lot once you knew how to read them. Granted, it was sometimes easier just to ask her. But for all of the two weeks that I knew her, she spent an inordinate time trying to find a corner of an inn or bar and just hide.

Because, as forceful as a personality that she has, she usually wanted to be left alone. She was not a great social person. She does well enough with people she knows, which are few in number here. But, here in Waterdeep she is almost constantly accosted by strangers. And most of them fall into two groups of people.

The first were the “Suitors.” They wanted her for various reasons, to get to know her and spend time. Many times, this involved plying her with …um…think she calls the stuff “bub.” She’s cautious about drinks she didn’t ask for. But even then, the tactics of these people were too similar and just didn’t work. They were all flash, thinking she would be an easy mark to their charms. The older males (and two females as I recall) were interested in her as some sort of trophy or collectible. She was used to it she said, but it was more intense here; Aasimars are rarer here, and most aren’t as …distinctive as she was. Or so she said. Never did see another one that looked like her. In fact, I didn’t recall her identifying another one at all. By comparison there were more tieflings about. But, being a distinctive Aasimar led to a very different group of people trying to see her: The “Desperate.”

This group heard only that “an Angel is in town” and came to her seeking blessings. This was a new experience to her as apparently, as this didn’t happen in Sigil at all. So, the first time I saw an example of it, it shocked her. It was simple; a poor woman asking an ‘Angel for a blessing for her child.’ That was simple enough, but then others came. Many with unlucky stories. And it never stopped.

So, every night it she toured the city by going to a different festhall or inn each night. While she enjoyed the exploration, I realized it was mostly just to make her harder to find. But someone would, and to her credit she was more patient with them than I would have been. She never shouted, or turned them away, but she would leave the place at the first opportunity.

But no matter where she was there was one who could always find her; the toy. The toy always was looking for her. The toy was fun. It was fast and quiet when it wanted to be. But the golden tone tended to reflect light if you knew to look for it.

And I was told to keep an eye out for it. I enjoyed this, as it became a game. The toy would swoop in and chirp that weird “bee-poop” noise, and I would swoop down from a rafter and pin it to the table. It got smarter about it too, so the challenge was there. Never really hurt it.

But boy its pet howled a lot about it. Wherever the toy was, the funny short pet would be following, objecting on some principle. “Scuffing it,” “I might break it,” “I don’t treat your things that way,” “I should have never taught you that spell.” Repeatedly.

Always with the complaints. But despite the rhetoric, he was the only person she generally wanted to see. They both spent time on researching various things, and traded notes. Or at least, she let the pet go on about his research and gave him some practicum of planar detail that weren't covered in the books. She had borrowed some books and spent time researching some sort of Arcanum and older dialects of Celestial.
At night, she would pour over the silver scroll thingy. The pet didn’t understand that object at all. Not to say he didn’t try, he just didn’t get very far. I wondered if it was his lack of background in Celestial. She did try to teach him one of the quatrains that apparently covered some type of ritual, and he barely understood it. Not his fault, Myrai had to learn a smattering of gnomish to understand his spellbook, and it was a serious amount of effort to translate his notations to hers. I stole a glance at both systems, her’s would be described as “elegant with style.” His actually was very precise and detailed. But neither really could understand the other without helping each other.

So, in general she appreciated the dialog but he did occasionally grate on her nerves. In fact, last night was the only time I remember her complaining about him. It started when he told some type of off-color joke in which the punch line involved a two-hour genealogy lesson about his family. That appeared to hit her tolerance level last night and so she hit the bed early.

But that was last night, and we live for the now, and now Myrai needs to get up. Now. But instead, as I stood on her back, Myrai barely turned her head and gave me a look that roughly said, “Are you sodding kidding?”

I was unconcerned. I simply reached out with my forepaw and I slowly extended my middle claw, and only it. And very gently placed the tip of my claw on Myrai’s lower lip.

Myrai was fully awake now, as the claw tip was just sharp enough to get attention without drawing blood. She attempted to swat and throw me off the bed, but I just flew back to the shelf just out of reach. Propping herself up, Myrai regarded me with bemusement. She stretched and rose from her bed and made her way to the window.

We were on the 2nd floor of the “Dancing Cyclops Inn,” somewhere in the Trades ward. I overheard during an evening that it was founded by a bunch of adventurers some time ago. Myrai stated it was comparatively cheap and had a room to let. But I suspected it was a bit more than just that.

One reason was the staff. Considering that her choices and offers for tours of taps, she tried to keep her evenings here…or at least try to end them here. Only when the Desperate started showing up, did she change venues and the kitchen staff seemed well disposed enough to help her sneak out and the Innkeep never really confirming that she was there, ever was there or if she was coming back.

But there was something else lurking in her heart as well. Because if she could she would park herself here in comparison to any other place. It didn’t matter where, on a stool or a chair or on a bench. And it didn’t matter what was going on. Bards, drinking contests, contests, drunken song or all at the same time. And sometimes she just hung out in a corner and read her scroll thingy. After asking and getting evasive answers, I came to the conclusion it was a combination of being lonely and that this inn reminded her of something she’s lost. The pet that came to visit was a friend, but more in a sort of professional way. She was looking for something else, but she never would say what. I'm not sure she even knows.

But as she looked outside this morning, and saw the weather taking a gorgeous turn for the better she smirked.

“Typical, the day we are going to leave is finally the day that there is good weather,” and she moved to start putting on her small clothes and leathers

What? Leave? Did I miss something from dinner last night?

“Yes, you did,” and she turned her head with that smile and looked at me. “Now if you wouldn’t exhaust yourself playing with Foggle, you would remember that. Beepu got a note from the brothers finally, so we’re off to Secomber after a quick stop in Daggerford. I hope they are alright, and if they learned something useful.”

Ah…the brothers. She had been talking about one of them constantly here. Big “D” she called him. Some of the patrons of the bars had heard about him, with most saying that he was a great pit fighter. Oddly enough, there was a group of halflings that laughed at and said he was a washup with ‘tender apples’, whatever that meant. But that was only one group, and no one believed the one halfling that claimed to have beat him twice.

She had mentioned the other brother a couple of times but never by name publicly, referring to him either as a “Knight” or rarely his name “Iesa.” She smiled when she mentioned his name and saying that she was sure that someone named “Mo” would keep an eye out for him. I did catch that she had recovered him from near death several times, so she was worried about him. Said that he reminded her someone else years ago.
She sounded like she cared about both of them. It made me wonder why she chose to come here, instead of Secomber.

Sounds like you are worried about them.

“I am.” She said after a moment. “I have pulled them both back from the brink more than once,” and now she was starting to put on weapon belts and check that everything hung where she wanted them.

But if you were so worried, why did you come here instead of following them.

“Well, two reasons. The first to understand…this,” she held up the silver cylinder that was resting on the table. “I was given a vision to…to summon it, I guess. I learned enough that I could copy some of Beepu’s spells into it, using a mild acid to etch them on the blank sheets of metal. But there is a lot more in it I can’t read. So, I was hoping to find a primer on old celestial or some other guide,” and she slipped the silvery cylinder into a leather scroll case on her belt.

But that didn’t work.

“No, it didn’t. Celestial is a very old tongue, perhaps the oldest known, and it hasn’t really changed much. And this style of lettering is..strange. Blurry or overwritten in many places. I never considered myself…educated. But I thought I could understand this at least.”

So, what was the other reason.

She smiled and looked at me, and reached out to stroke my fur, and the feathers on my wings. “To create you, Gossamer.”

You didn’t really create me; I was there when you called.

“I guess you are right there. A celestial spirit that needed a form, and when I called, you answered.”

But why a flying cat?

“Tressym, not ‘flying cat.’ I remember a pet keeper in the trade district in Sigil having one very briefly. And I’ve wanted one ever since.“

She then scratched my ears, and said, “Come on, Beepu will be waiting at his friend’s house, and we have a bit of travelling to do. And besides, you’ll have fun keeping an eye on Mo.”

Can we at least look around the town a bit in the sun? It’s been ten days!

She smiled at me and scratched the fur around my cheeks. She knows just the right spot…ah yes.
There!

“I think we can do that for a bit. Be a novelty not getting wet,” she grabbed her pack and looked around the small room for anything else she might have left behind.

It will be interesting travelling here. This is all very new to me.

Myrai cocked her head at me and smiled again nodding:

“You and me both.”

Session notes:
Downtime: 1 week of thought, 5 min of discussion.

But on a completely different note; this thread as of this point is one year old. Thanks again to all of you still reading. It means a lot to me that you do.
 
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Hey Nthal. Just wanted you to know I'm really enjoying the story. I'm only at the early stages still (reading it in dribs and drabs at work), but at least that means I've still got plenty to read ... :)

Keep up the good work.
 


Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
Carriage Ho! - 09/11/2019

Sigil is called the ‘City of Doors’ by some, ‘the Cage’ by others. To most, the only difference is a key.
To wiser cutters, the real difference is who is holding it.

The carriage slowly made its way southwards, wedged between lumbering carts and wagons of the caravan. The pace was slow and steady on the hot summer day. Most were carrying merchant’s goods from Waterdeep, Neverwinter and other towns north on the sword coast. Most of the drovers hide under tarps, to shade themselves from the oppressive heat of the day. The few guards on horses had doffed their heavy helms, and now wore wide brimmed hats of leather, to keep their faces in the shade.

Inside the carriage it wasn’t much different; the shade of the enclosure was enough to shield its occupants from the sun’s wrath. But the heat still lingered in the stifling air inside. For the two very different occupants, they had decidedly different approaches to handling the heat.

The first was a gnome, dressed in a linen shirt, a leather vest now unfasted hung on his shoulders and simple breeches. Across from his seat, was a backpack, and a disorganized pile of papers and scrolls, each pinned down by a small collection of stones, that were gathered from a prior stop. He lay back on his seat eyes closed taking deep breaths dozing, as a golden mechanical owl, perched on the door sill to the carriage, beating its wings to cool its master.

Sitting diagonally from him, sat a woman. Her legs were stretched and propped on the seat across from her. Her feet were bare, and the lacings on the lower legs of her leather breeches were undone, exposing her calves as they laid upon a pile of chain armor, a rapier, some daggers, boots and a bodice. Her blouse hung loosely around her exposing as much skin as decorum would permit, as her midsection was no longer constrained by the leather garment. Her golden hair hung loosely around her shoulders and moved in the breeze created by the mechanical owl. She wore a pair of pendants around her neck, hanging just below her clavicles. But behind her neck was a wet towel. Every so often she would wave her hand and mutter something, and a cool mist would appear from the cloth. But truth be told, the heat was far her mind as her brow furrowed with concentration.

In her hands was what looked to be a silver scroll case and extruded from it lengthwise was a sheet of metal. On the sheet were symbols and glyphs of an ancient alphabet; some said the first one. Created millennia ago in the upper planes. The woman’s eyes were as polished as a silver mirror, and the light and the scrolls reflections were clearly seen in her eyes.

This was the scene for many miles and many days. At the beginning there was small talk, but as each took the time to review their own texts, they fell into a familiar pattern of silence. They enjoyed each other’s company quietly, each focused on their own objects of study.

“Alright you win Myr,” the gnome said softly. “I can feel the cold coming from your towel. You are clearly more comfortable.

Myrai, turned her head slightly to look at the sprawled-out gnome, Beepu. She returned her focus to her reading before replying, “Well, Foggle certainly keeps the breeze moving in here.”

“Sure, but let me prove my point. Did you want to trade the wind for that towel?”

“Nope,” Myrai said, not even glancing up.

“I should have kept that spell handy from school. Now I understand how it could be useful.”

“Mmm hmm,” Myrai muttered in response.

“You are not listening to me, are you?”

“Mmm hmm,” again came the response.

Beepu opened his eyes and glared at the woman. He then turned to his owl and gave it a steady gaze. In a moment, the owl took to the air, and flew towards Myrai with talons extended. It flew past her neck as it grabbed the cold wet towel from it.

“Wha…hey! Give that back,” as Myrai reached for her comfort too slowly. The owl swiftly turned and dropped it on Beepu’s lap and settled again on the sill and started to beat its wings.

“It is rude not to pay attention during a dialog!” Beepu said in a huff, as he wiped the sweat from his brown with the now captured cool towel.

“Sorry,” Myrai said a bit guiltily. “It’s not like you don’t do the same when you are focused on your schematics,” and she put her feet down on the floor of the carriage and reached across the seat to reach into her pack.

“I concede that is true.” He then placed the stolen cloth behind his head, and he was quiet a moment before he spoke again. “Did you get anywhere with it?” and he waved his hand at the object she held.

Myrai had pulled another strip of cloth from her pack and was wetting it from a waterskin that hung from the pack’s side. “No. I can’t even read its proper name. I can see the word ‘Apocrypha’ but the second word is a jumble. Almost like someone wrote on the same spot over and over again.”

“Did you not say, that the words are etched or imprinted on the metal?”

“Yes, which is confusing as well. Only one section is really clear, and that one contains spell formulae. Everything else is gibberish with a couple of clear words.” And she retracted the metal sheet back into the cylinder. “How about your schematic?”

The gnome sighed as he placed the towel behind his neck and settled into his seat, “Well, I am certain now that there is a part needed, and I am also certain that the part can be found in the Misty Forest.”

“Why is that?”

“Because I finally found a reference in an old journal this morning that I had overlooked. My father apparently visited the forest in the past. But it was not until I found a name in the Journal that he left behind that I made a connection. The name…Melandrach.”

Myrai blinked a moment and leaned slightly forward. “And…”

The gnome nodded, “Yes, yes it was quite clever.”

“No…what is the importance of that name,”

“Oh! Sorry. Melandrach is an uncommon elvish name. The only one I know that goes by Melandrach, is King Melandrach. And he is the king of the Misty Forest near Secomber.”

“Where your father visited. Simple enough.”

“Not really. The borders to the forest are closed to non-elves.”

Myrai frowned a moment, “So…did your father grow a few feet?”

“No! I already knew had a guide by the name of Ravalan, but now I am certain where Ravalan took my father. I wrote a letter to the brothers to see if they could track him down.”

“That might help. I remembered you saying that they were running in circles looking for Umbra.”
Beepu nodded. “Yes, well that might have been because Umbra and my father were disguised or hidden. But Ravalan is a local, so finding him will be easier.”

“Sure it’s a him?”

“It is a male sylvan name, so yes.”

Myrai nodded and draped the damp towel behind her neck, leaned back again and propped up her feet. With a quick motion she resumed the spell, and cooling vapors again drifted from the cloth. After a moment she smirked to herself and whispered a second incantation, looking squarely at the stolen cloth around Beepu’s neck. Satisfied she turned to look out the window at the passing countryside. She concentrated a moment and the scene before her shifted to a spot somewhere above the carriage.

She could smell the wind; feel the heat of the sun, and the cool wind rushing through feathery wings and the sound past her ears. Her heart was racing as eyes looked from shrub to shrub, searching. Suddenly Myrai, felt wings tuck in close. The wind rushed past even faster, as she approached the ground. Just ahead, a mouse seemed to slowly bolt to a nearby hole in the earth. But before it reached it, Myrai watched fascinated as outstretched claws…

Myrai severed her connection to Gossamer and the grisly results of his hunt. She enjoyed tapping into his perceptions; the Sensate in her appreciated the primal perspective of her familiar. The sensation of flight was intoxicating as well, as her senses were replaced with her familiars’. But while she appreciated the sensation of the hunt and the kill, the consumption of the prey was something she didn’t need to experience again.

Did you want a bite?

-Uh…no thanks. I’m fine.

You sure? I could find something else. An egg perhaps.

-Not funny. It’s not like you have to eat to start with.

True, but it seems to be a waste of a hunt. Sure, you don’t really want something?

-No, I’m sure. I’ll leave you to your meal.

Always willing to share.


Myrai focus returned to see Beepu shift uncomfortably, pulled the cloth from around his neck and stare at it.
“How did this get so war…Myrai!” and Beepu glared at his companion.

“I blame the weather,” Myrai replied blandly.

----

It was late afternoon when the caravan pulled into the town of Secomber. When the carriage finally stopped, Myrai and Beepu emerged from it, and stepped onto the dusty streets of the small trade town. As Myrai turned her head looking around, Beepu sent his owl skyward to fly over the street. Myrai by comparison sent her Tresym to a nearby roof, to follow her.

But what Myrai was looking for, she didn’t see.

“Think they are at the inn?” Myrai asked still searching for the brothers or Mo.

“Most likely. No reason to come here to meet us,” Beepu said, straightening out his pack on his shoulders.
Myrai nodded and started her way down the busy road. As she walked, she kept her hand on the Apocrypha and chanted below her breath. While she couldn’t read most of it, there were a couple of interesting incantations she wanted to try out.

As they continued down the road, they came to the central crossroads of the town. Here the merchant stalls were open for business, and several inns with attached bars were visible. The town was busy, with trading of all sorts of goods; steel from Mulmaster, fine cloth and leather goods from Waterdeep, vegetables and fruits from the local farms. But as much as the merchants tried to gain the attention of the duo, they were focused on the people, looking for a pair of familiar faces.

“This is going to be a problem,” Beepu said with tone of frustration.

“What? That you didn’t think to arrange to meet somewhere?”

“I did not know the town so I could not say where to meet us, and Iesa simply said they would meet us at an inn here.”

Myrai sighed, “In other words, he didn’t either.”

“Precisely. So, what would be the best way to find him?”

“Find the bar with largest number of female elves?”

Beepu chortled, “Well, that would be Iesa’s normal inclination. Still means we are searching every bar.”

“We don’t need to find the bar. We just need to find Mo.”

“Mo? He does not like Foggle, and probably would hide from him. I told you that when you asked me to have him scout. Pointless.”

“That’s not why I told you to do that.”

“What? Why did you—”

“To distract Mo, while Gossamer found him.”

Beepu’s mouth opened for a moment, and then he closed it nodding, “Yes. They have not met. A good distraction.”

Myr, you said it was a brown furred animal with a tail in the rough shape of a human child?”

-That would be it most likely? Where?

By the fruit stand on your left. I think it is trying to liberate an apple.


Myrai turned to look and saw a farmer’s stand filled with fresh fruits from his orchard, with a canvas awning to keep the sun and heat at bay. It took a moment, but Myrai finally spotted him. Hanging from rear legs and stretching down to reach a vulnerable apple was Mo.

Myrai smiled, and moved towards the farmer, who was oblivious to the sneaking thief.

“Ah yes mad…mad…” the farmer stammered as he looked into Myrai’s eyes.

“Trouble you for an apple for a couple of coppers?” and Myrai reached towards the same apple targeted by the stealthy primate. But while Mo was at first focused on the Farmer, he turned to look at Myrai with wide open eyes.

“Of…of…”

“Thanks,” and Myrai tossed him a trio of coins, far more than a singles apple’s worth. But she turned her attention to the monkey.

“So…Mo. Where’s your dad, hmm?”

The farmer now noticed the monkey hanging from awning and was reaching for a broom nearby, when Myrai waved her hand at the human.

Mo’s face contorted and blinked a moment and he made some screeching sounds.

Screech, chitter / Hey. I know you. I understood you. How?

Myrai grinned a moment and offered him the apple. “Now that’s a special thing I learned. Where is…well how do you call him? Iesa? Dad? Chief?”

Chitter, chitter, squak, screech, / Oh you mean Big Mo. He near. And Mo snatched the apple glancing nervously at the farmer.

“Big Mo…Little Mo. Of course. Can you show me?” and she turned to nod at the farmer and then called out over her shoulder, “Beepu, found him.”

“About time. Now how do we get Mo to show us where he is?”

“I asked him, he’s showing us the way,” and Myrai walked following the monkey’s bounding path over the stalls.

“What do you mean ‘you asked him?’”

“Just that. Apparently, he calls Iesa ‘Big Mo’ and he’s leading us,” and Myrai pointed at the monkey who now bounded into an Inn.

“That would useful. Can you talk to Foggle that way?”

Myrai nodded, “I think so, but he doesn’t say anything back.”

“I wonder why?”

-Goss, come down and follow me.

Sure thing.


“Probably because you told him to be quiet and you never changed that request.”

Beepu straightened up and thought about it. “You might be right. Never thought anyone else could talk to him. I don’t even know a spell that can do—”

“Later Beepu,” Myrai interrupted and she strode into the bar.

It was a working folks bar favored by the locals, with few of the caravan drovers or merchants present. They locals looked up from the drinks and their games of dice to regard the newcomer, eying her critically, and the tones became hushed.

Myrai ignored them, she focused on looking for the monkey, and she spotted him at a table between two familiar figures seated with drinks in hand. The taller and leaner one had the apple in his hand and was wagging a finger at his little companion as Myrai and Beepu made their way to the table.
“Mo…not from the farmers,” Iesa was chiding.

“Well Big Mo, it’s a good thing that apple is paid for then,” Myrai said with a smile.

Iesa’s head shot up as he saw the pair approaching, “Well…how did you find us? I told Mo to hide from Foggle, so I could find and surprise you!”

“Well, ask much as I could let him surprise anyone,” Daneath said standing and offering a hand and to Myrai.
She ignored it, and instead embraced the warrior, “Well hard to surprise anyone in that armor.” She then released him and moved to hug Iesa, as the big man now shook Beepu’s hand.

Iesa backed up a step, “Wait wait, I don’t really hu…what do you mean ‘Big Mo?’”

Myrai stopped a moment and shrugged, “It’s what he calls you. It’s cute.”

“Really? And cute? Really?” Iesa said looking at Mo with shock.

Daneath turned to look at his brother, “Yeah…’Big Mo’ that’s even better than ‘Big D’”

Iesa stared at Daneath with a look of horror, “No. No. No. You are not calling me that in public.”
Beepu took a seat at the table, and I could hear the mechanical whirring above me as the owl settled down on a rafter above us. The locals murmured at the sight of Foggle, and their stares towards us had barely disguised looks of suspicion.

“So, wait a second,” Iesa started. He knows how to hide from Foggle, how did you find him?”

Gossamer was slinking on the ground with wings folded close to his body, and as Iesa spoke he jumped upon the table and sat down upon it, his green eyes staring at Iesa with a hint of challenge in his eyes. Daneath moved to shoo away Goss but stopped as Gossamer unfurled his wings and stretched them upwards. Isea’s jaw dropped as he stared at the winged cat in front of him. But I was less interested in their reactions as opposed to Mo’s

Mo stared for a moment and stepped towards Gossamer cautiously on the table with a paw outreached.

“Goss is a friend Mo.”

Chitter, ork, chitter / sneaky one with wings? New. Friend? Ok. Hungry now.

The paw touched Gossamer on the head for a moment, and he retreated back to Iesa and started to munch on his apple.

“Damn it. Now I have to get a pet to fit in the club?” Daneath exclaimed and sat down with mock exasperation.

Myrai sat down as well, “Maybe. But you already have a little brother, so I guess that counts.”

“Yeah you hav…wait a moment! Myrai!” Iesa said wounded and took his seat.

“I missed you both terribly,” Myrai said warmly. “You missed out on some of the best gnomish jokes, “and she gave a low hand signal of her hand waving back and forth that Beepu didn’t see while mouthing the world ‘No.’

“True, that was sophisticated humor you missed,” Beepu said oblivious to Myrai’s non-verbal signals. “Any luck?”

“Well…no. We just came into this bar to ask the locals without attracting attention…” Iesa started.

“…But that’s pretty much done with,” Daneath finished, looking around at the tavern’s patrons who simply gave the group dirty looks.

“Well that is going to make it hard to find this Ravalan person then,” Beepu said sourly
.
“Ravalan? Now that is a person, I can help you with,” Said a voice at the table next us. And so we turned to look at…

Session notes:

The DM was surprise that suddenly he had to speak for Mo. I admit to getting the ritual spell mostly as a joke on the DM. But you never know what you can learn from animals.
 

Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
The Importance of Vetting - 09/19/2019

Knight of the Post.

Shiv.

Thief.
So many words for the same type of profession. Says nothing about the person behind it. Some hold to codes obscure to any but themselves. Some just want the finer things at the lowest price. And some just look at jink as a way to keep score.

But some folks aren’t suited for the lifestyle. The problem is most only figure that out as they bleed to death in an alley somewhere.

I turned to look at the man. He was dark haired, and brown eyed, and of medium build and he had face while young, was still weathered and tanned. He sat at a table next to us with a grin on his face, and an ale in his hand. Two others that were sitting with him, had left the table, and so he moved his stool closer to us.
“If you are looking for Ravalan, his place is easy enough to get to,” he started looking back and forth between the brothers. “That is if you know where you are goin.”

“And you know him well enough to guide us there?” Iesa asked.

“Me? Nah. I’ve talked to him once or so,” the man continued after gulping a down more of his ale. “But I don’t need to be friends to know where his cabin is. Stumbled on that by chance.”
Iesa nodded a second and looked at Daneath, who simply shrugged. He then asked “Well, then how much is it for your time?

“A couple of crowns would be fine, but you can pay me once I get you there.”

“How far is it?” Daneath asked, leaning towards the man.

“Oh, probably not more than a brisk hike good sirs. Its not like the weather is going to be a problem,” the man replied.

Iesa looked at us for a moment and quickly said, “I think you have a deal. What’s your name?” and Iesa offered his hand.

The man smiled, put his mug on the table, and clasped his hand around Iesa’s. “You can call me Roggins. You ready to head out?”

“Well if it is really not that far, we should go now. Once we talk to him, we can come back for supplies we might need,” Beepu said eager to get moving. “What about you Myr?”

For the first time, Roggins seemed to notice me. He turned to look, and that same old look of surprise was there when he made eye contact. But it faded quickly behind a smile. But there was more to it than that; a hunger or a desire was lurking there. He was canny enough not act on it, but not couth enough to cover it up. I may have been used to the looks that some men cast my direction, but it didn’t mean I enjoyed the attention. And this one seemed more unseemly than most.

Unfortunately, that was to be expected and was common enough in Waterdeep. But something else was off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. So, after a moment I said, “Well you have your hearts set on it. And no sense lugging stuff for a journey if we don’t know how much we need.”

Roggins smile got just a bit wider and he replied, “Well, easy hike for you, and easy money for me. Let’s get a movin,” and he stood, downed the remains of his ale and moved to the doors leading to the street. With the four of us, and our growing menagerie in tow.

Roggins led us westward, away from the hills around the town, and headed towards a flat part of the light forest to the west. The forest was scattered around hills, and Roggins led us through the valleys between them. Isea and Daneath were in front, following our new guide, followed by Beepu and then myself taking up the rear. Foggle of course was flying just over head, Mo was perched on Iesa’s shoulder, while Gossamer ran and flew just behind me in the trees.

The summer sun was going to set late today, and the hike took us away from the farms and any nearby ranches. But as the hike began to wear on, I began to realize something.

We had been following our guide for a while, and I noticed that at least once, that his choice of path had a tendency to move us north and south a number of times, but that we really didn’t make much progress west. But I wasn’t versed in travelling in the forest, so I wasn’t concerned at first. But after a while it kept nagging at me.

Gos. Fly up above us and watch. See if we are making any real progress westwards. Something seems off.

--Sure thing


I then started to watch our guide now. He certainly knew the area; he didn’t look concerned about where he was, which I expected. But as I watched him, he clearly was looking for something. But he was also watching us, and he threw a lot of unsavory looks in my direction. I began to feel uneasy.

After some time, we started to make our way to a clearing when our guide spoke up. “Well, there we are! Just on the other side of this clearing, and on the other side of that hill, and that’ll be the place.”

Gos, we’re heading towards a clearing don’t go too far.

--Really? You haven’t been that far from it. In fact, if I didn’t know better, you are being led in circles.


I quietly unslung my shield from my back and strapped it onto my arm. That feeling that I had now was a grim certainty. We were being bobbed and peeled. I mentally cursed at myself for being a cony. I was considering what to do next when Roggins moved ahead to a tree and then stopped, turning to face us.

“Well all, it has been a pleasure. I do enjoy easy work.” He said with a wide grin.

“So where is Ravalan’s place?” Iesa asked sounding puzzled.

“Not sure I could tell you that. But I can tell you that the quicker you drop your weapons and gear, the faster this will be.”

The brothers were glancing at each other, and just in front of me, I could see Beepu stiffen as Foggle must have started to tell him something.

--Myr, there are about five other figures among the trees.

I looked around, and I could see two easily with bows drawn and arrows notched ready to release.

Right, stay in the upper branches, and stay hidden.

“So, wait. You’re trying to rob us?” Iesa said incredulously.

“I think that might sum it up yeah. I was surprised that you took me up on my offer to honest. But as I said; easy work.”

“I think you might find this line of work…dangerous,” Daneath said grimly, his hand already on the hilt of his sword readying to draw it.

“Well we got you outnumbered and arrows ready to fly. I’m not worried.” He retorted.

“Well,” I said. “A bunch of spivs looking to be put in the dead book.”

Roggins blinked a second and tilted his head, “Um, you’ll have to humor me, what does that mean, exactly.”

“A bunch of thieves, who are about to die,” I said calmly, and I then threw out a bolt of energy past Roggins, to a bowman behind him. It struck true and the scream of pain was almost like music to my ears, ending this farce.

The others moved quickly, with Beepu sending a gout of flame towards another target next, followed by Daneath charging towards a closer bowman, swinging and drawing blood. Iesa sprinted towards another one and dropped him with a quick thrust of the rapier and a slash across the throat with his dagger. Mo just bolted for a nearby bush for cover, while Foggle flew higher above the trees.

Roggins wasn’t expecting a fight, based on his expression. He quickly drew a short sword and moved towards Daneath. His swings betrayed a serious lack of skill, as he slashed wildly, hitting Daneath’s shield ineffectively. Daneath’s foe had dropped their bow, for a sword as well and had much the same impact on the large man. Meanwhile the others launched their arrows at me, but nothing was even close to finding a target. They too were untrained, and not even skilled hunters let alone bandits.

Iesa circled and took on another bowman and had great luck in finding an opening and dropping him. Beepu and I each took down our respective targets with more blasts of magic, knocking them down, as arrows flew around us wildly. I felt the rush and joy of the fight once again, and I was almost disappointed on how quickly they fell. But mostly I was angry. Angry at myself for falling into an obvious trap. Angry at the gelbas of these spiv’s trying to rob me.

Seeing his companions fall was all that Roggins needed to see; he was outplayed and far outmatched. He dropped his sword, as did his one standing associate.

“I’m…I’m…sorry…um…perhaps we could--”

“Shut up,” I said marching over to where Roggins and his pal stood with their hands raised above their shoulders. I glared at both of them with a look that I was sure could melt cold iron.

How many others had they done this to? This wasn’t a place of wealth; it was full of hard-working folk that were likely just trying to live and leave enough alone. This whole bob and peel offended me for some reason.

“Strip and drop your gear. Iesa, see if anyone else survived.” I said. My tone didn’t brook any dissent, and Iesa without hesitation started to examine the fallen. Beepu caught up with us and was also angry.

“You mean this has been a waste of time?” the gnome accused.

Roggins was dropping his sword belt and dagger to the ground, while his companion dropped his bow, quiver and another short blade. “Um, yes…sorry…we didn’t want to hurt—”

“Then you shouldn’t have pointed your weapons at us. And keep going.”

“What? I don’t underst—” Roggins started confused.

I plucked a bit of the strand within me and focused it on my voice as I shouted.

“I. Said. STRIP!” and my voice echoed in the forest, far above the level of shouting.

Roggins, who must have stood a head taller than I, was now terrified. I watched he and his friend unbuckle his belt and armor. Iesa came up dragging a body and went back for the others. By now the pair were down to their small clothes and they looked at me with dread.

“Same with the others,” I said nodding at the body. “You can leave their clothes alone.”

I watched them both gulp and start to peel off the gear. As they did so, I saw that Beepu had started some kind of ritual casting. But eventually we had four corpses lined up on the ground with a pile of swords, bows, and boiled leather armor. The two stood meekly by, clearly nervous and unsure on what would happen next.

“Iesa watch them, while I take care of their friends.”

“What are you going to do Myr?” Daneath asked.

“Last rites.” I said and I flexed and pulled on the Strand with in me. This time I used the strand not to throw energy around, but to put that energy to work. I could feel resistance, as I focused on the earth in front of me. As the others watched I pushed up dirt and gravel up and away from a point that expanded. Soon enough soil was pushed up from the ground to make a pit that was about five feet deep.

I turned to look at the would-be thieves. “Lay your friends to rest. It’s the least you could do for them.” The pair nodded and together lowered the bodies awkwardly, but gently into the pit. I then knelt at the edge and prayed aloud:

“My lord, these men’s time has come to an end. Lay these souls to rest in the eternal embrace of death. Judge them against all the things they have done, not just the sins at the end of their time. Let judgement come quickly, and may their souls atone for their crimes. Blessed be the fallen.”

I could see the tears in the eyes of Roggins, and I knew then that he was new to his life of crime. He wasn’t hardened yet by the deeds. He thought he could rob and not hurt anyone, not thinking that others around him could be hurt. He could save himself if he chose.

“Iesa, Daneath bind their hands and feet together.” I said simply as I stood once again. The brothers pulled rope from their packs and the pair started to bind their hands

“Myr what are you—” Beepu started.

“A lesson.” I said coldly. And after the brothers had firmly tied the pair, I again flexed and moved the soil around to create another pit. At this point Roggins and friend started to panic.

“Wai…wai…wait! Don’t do this!” Roggins stammered while his friend’s eyes bulged.

“Put them in, standing.” I said and then Iesa and Daneath complied, looking at me with some trepidation. Once the pair were in the pit, I then reversed the magic. The earth moved and started to fill the pit. Soon only their head and shoulders were left exposed to the air.

I knelt down to the pair and looked at them both and then I quietly spoke.

“Consider this a lesson on how close to death you were. Consider how close you are now. And consider that if the gods decide to let you survive how you might make amends. It’s too late for your friends. As for your souls…that’s up to you.”

“You…you…you can’t just leave us here!” Roggins begged.

“Really? Why not?” I said evenly, leveling my gaze at him. “What exactly were you going to do with us if we surrendered our gear? Let us walk back to town? I saw how you looked at me in the Inn,” and I watched him swallow hard.

“What were you going to do? Hurt us? Blind us? Maim us? Kill us? And what about me? Would you have had your way with me first?” and I watched his face lose color.

“Did you think I was just going to…entertain you?”

“I swear…we wouldn’t hav…”

“You see, I know being a spiv isn’t easy. But your friends have already paid the price. So, I would think very hard about this second chance you are getting. Because if I hear of you causing more problems for others, I will personally flay you.”

I stood again, staring down at the pair in the earth with disdain. I then turned to the others.

“Gather the gear, and let’s go back to town,” I said.

“Well carrying it won’t be a problem at least,” Beepu said as he lifted some of the gear up and then placed it on something hovering in midair. As I looked, I realized that barely visible was a disc of force that was holding the items up.

We all loaded the disc up and started to head back to town, when I heard Roggins call out.

“Please…don’t leave us here…please!”

I didn’t even turn around to look, as their voices faded in the distance.

It was a while before anyone spoke again. The sun had just kissed the horizon to the west when we finally came to the outskirts of Secomber, the orange light illuminating the few clouds, and the houses as we walked.

“That was…cold Myr,” Beepu said breaking our quiet.

“Did you think they had a warmer fate for us?” I asked.

“I do not know. We could have done something else however. Bring them to the local captain of the town perhaps?”

Iesa didn’t even look up from the ground he was staring at as he walked, “Out here, it would likely be a hanging.”

“We had already beaten them up enough, we could have let them go or—”

“Beepu,” I said quietly “I didn’t want them to get off easy, so they rob or steal from someone else.”
“It just seems harsh.”

“This wasn’t exactly a mugging in Waterdeep, where they just take your jink and run,”

“Still…I did not expect that response from you,”

I grimaced, “Its been a while since I let anyone take anything from me. I wasn’t going let him start taking...anything.”

“So, what do we do with this pile of stuff?” Daneath asked gesturing at the pile of gear on the floating disc.

“I have an idea about that” Iesa said with a smile.

-------------------------

“And they are all dead?” the guard captain asked sounding impressed.

“Well, we buried them all,” Iesa said with a smile. “But we figured that the gear might be useable by the local militia or something.

I smiled wistfully as Iesa’s deflection. It certainly wasn’t a lie after all.

“Well we are always short on equipment, so this will help.”

“Not a problem,” and Iesa started to turn and head deeper into town.

“If you don’t mind me asking, what were you doing out there anyway?”

Daneath interjected, “We were looking for someone by the name of ‘Ravalan’”

“The firbolg? He doesn’t live that close to town.”

“That is unfortunate. We hoped to find him soon,” Beepu commented with a frown.

“Well, can’t help you find him, but I can tell you who might,” and the captain pointed down the road to the south. There in the fading light I could see multiple campfires.

“The goliaths have come into town to trade…and drink.” He nodded toward the fires. “I seem to remember that Ravalan had visited them before.”

“So how should one introduce oneself to a…gathering of goliaths?” I asked.

“Well that’s simple. Start with a toast.”

Session notes:

We really should have asked for references. The DM was kind of dumbfounded. I saw the problem far away, and let the newer players walk right into it. It does make for interesting times.
 

Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
Drinking with Giants - 09/27/2019

If there is one thing about Sigil is that everyone drinks. Ale is safer than the water in the Ditch, or anywhere else. In fact, water from Oceanus costs twenty times the cost of a good ale, and a hundred times the cheapest bub.

So, a good chunk of the populace is already drinking or drunk, or figuring out how to get started drinking and get drunk. From Celestial to Fiend, from rich to poor. Drinking was the great equalizer in Sigil.

It also means that the Barkeeps were the true kings and king makers of the city. For without all the drinking, how would anyone stand each other an make the deals they do?

“So how much was it?” Daneath grunted as he loaded the barrel on the cart.

“Enough. The bar didn’t exactly want to sell it either,” Iesa commented.

“What changed his mind?” Beepu asked.

“I told him that we were going to give it to some goliaths. Once I said that, he was quick to sell,” Iesa replied.

“Are their drinking habits that bad?” I asked, wondering if we made the right decision of a gift.

“Drinking no, not really. But it does…inspire them to contests of strength. The damage starts from there.”

“What kind of contests are we talking about? Brawling?”

“Could be anything Myr,” Daneath answered after finishing securing the barrel on the cart. “I’ve only heard stories, but whatever strikes their fancy.”

“This is foolish,” Beepu said with disgust. “Alcohol just dulls the mind! How are we going to get answers about the firbolg?”

“Beepu,” I said resigned, “It’s called being social. They like to drink, so bringing some as a gift will help us make friends.”

“Could not a bottle do as well? The coin I gave Iesa was considerable!”

“Wait…what?” Daneath said his head snapping to look at his brother.

I rolled my eyes and looked at Iesa, “You told me that you couldn’t get jink from the others.”

“Well…more like, enough coin. I do have some left over!” Iesa spreading his hands. Mo abandoned his shoulder to hide in the cart as the three of us surrounded Daneath.

“Some.” I said dryly. “Exactly how much is left over?”

“About eighteen silver?” Iesa said almost guiltily. Almost.

“Each?” Beepu demanded.

“Er no. Total.”

I closed my eyes for a moment and breathed deeply. I then turned around and simply said. “Let’s go.”

“Aren’t you interest in—“ Daneath started.

“No. I am interested in cracking open that barrel, so I cure my sudden pounding headache,” I said rubbing my temples. “And the sooner that cart makes it to the camp…”

“Point taken,” Daneath said as he gave a pair of coins, to the drover in the cart. The man nodded and flicked the reins, encouraging the donkey to move and haul its load.

“This better be worth it Iesa.” Beepu muttered, as Foggle took to the air.

I followed along shaking my head.

So…what did you want me to do?

I paused a moment before replying to Gossamer,

--Well, either stick close to me or stay out of sight.

Noted; I’ll stay out of sight. As long as I don’t become an object in their contests, I’ll be satisfied.

--You and me both.


The camp wasn’t far down the road, and while we could see the fires flickering the darkness, it was the sounds that stood out.

Drums. Lots of drums. Small ones, large ones. Slow thumping, deep sounds reverberating in my bones as we walked closer. The tones of smaller ones, that caused my heart to stir its own pace to match. It was that primal feeling I felt once before in Flint Rock. But these beats were in the hear and now, not the distant past. It was the passion of life expressed in the purest way.

Then, as we neared the thundering sounds of drumming, I could hear voices. Laughter, cheers, shouts of joy; the sound of comradery. Daneath and Iesa were in the lead, with the cart. Beepu had seated himself in the back of the cart, glowering. I followed, walking behind them all. Unsure on what to expect.

The cart stopped and I saw large figures approach Daneath who started to shout to them, over the drumming. The pair towered over Daneath, and I could see the patterns light and dark on their skin in the firelight. I couldn’t hear what Daneath said to them, but the sudden grins and clapping him on the back told me that we were clearly welcome. One of the pair moved to the side of the cart, and easily lifted out the barrel that Daneath struggled with earlier.

I never considered myself small, and the fact that most men stood a head or so taller than I was just a norm. But the goliaths made me feel small. Some of them were three and half heads taller than I was, and for the first time I wondered if this how Beepu felt around us.

The cart started to move, returning to tow, and Beepu and I headed towards the brothers. The Goliaths were massive walls of muscle and were smiling, talking with the pair easily. As I approached, I could see at least two dozen of them, drumming, laughing and drinking from the now tapped barrel. Mugs of the ale that Iesa purchased were already making rounds. Beepu and I stepped up to join our companions, already in conversation with a giant of goliath who looked to be their leader.

“Hah! You certainly know how to make an entrance, Big D!” said an older goliath, the marks on his face giving him a mask that I would have called fearsome, if the smile wasn’t so warm and genuine.
Daneath hid his distaste for his fighting name well and smiled. “Well, as they say, ‘know your audience.’”
The giant arched an eyebrow and regarded the warrior with interest. “So, to what we owe the honor then?”
Iesa spoke up, “Well, we were hoping to find someone…a firbolg named Ravalan.”

The goliath frowned a moment, “You don’t say. We haven’t seen him in a time. And normally he comes to greet us.” He spoken and stroked his chin for a moment. “But he is a bit of a hermit. Comes and goes as he pleases.”

Beepu spoke up, “Well then. Any chance you might know how to find him.”

The goliath was startled for a moment, until he found the gnome below him. The gnome was perhaps only knee high at best to the giant’s leg. “Ho ho! There you are. Don’t want to step on you. Now we have a tracker that knows where he lives.”

“That is good to hear. Then perhaps we can pay you for your…”

“Pay? Non-sense!” he snorted. “You have to earn that! Join us in our games, and if you do well then the gods will have said ‘you are worthy’” stabbing a finger at Beepu.

“Games? Games?!?” Beepu exclaimed. “While I do not mind testing my skills, I cannot say that I have hope in matching your…physicality.”

The goliath smiled, “But you have the spirit! Drink with us! We will look to Big D here for your might.”

“Yes! Big D will…wait. What?” Daneath said.

“Join my brethren here tonight. Show that you can keep up. Show us your worth! Go!”

A pair of goliaths stepped forward, and for the first time I saw one of the women. She was lean, her muscles well defined, and dressed in a halter and knee-high breeches. She was taller than Daneath by a head and half and looked just as strong as the man. The pattens of stripes flowed down her chest and arms like a dark river snaking through the plains. She smiled at the warrior and took his hand and dragged him into a throng of goliaths.

Iesa stood there with Mo on his shoulder, and almost reached out to stop him, when he pulled back his hand and instead called out to Daneath, “Good luck and good hunting!”

“Hah! He looks more to be prey right now!” and the goliath gulped down some ale. “I guess the rest of you will have to share cups with me for the time being.”

“That’s fine with me, as long the ale flows.” I said with a smile and took at deep drink from my mug. The ale was malty with earthen tones and had a nice bite at the end. I would have to remember to tell Iesa that least he made a decent purchase.

The goliath turned towards me. When his eyes locked with mine, he dropped his mug to the ground.

“By Stronmaus’ beard! I have never—”

“Fell behind drinking in front of a woman?” I smiled and finished off my mug and held it out to the Goliath expectantly.

He blinked a moment, his mouth agape. Then he broke out the widest grin and laughed. “HAH! I have indeed shamed myself. I should remedy this now, and offer you another…miss?...” and he extended his hand with another mug and expectant look on his face.

“Myrai. And who am I drinking with tonight?”

“Torin Strongbones. And forgive my manners, here!” and he grabbed another mug full of ale and thrust it into Beepu’s hands.

Beepu looked at the mug dubiously, “I really must refrain! I wish to keep my mind sharp.”

I turned to Beepu and leaned down, “Don’t be rude. We did ask for some help after all.”

Beepu frowned, “I suppose a drink will not hurt.” And he gamely quaffed down some the ale.

“That’s the spirit!” Torin said with a laugh and he turned back to me. “Its not often I see something new, and I will say you are that indeed. But sit here by the fire and let it warm your bones from without, while the ale does from within.”

I sat down on a log by the nearby fire and started on my second mug. I closed my eyes, so I could savor the sounds around me and feel the ale coursing through me and relaxing me. I smiled, thinking to myself that there were worse evenings.

Torin sat down beside with grinning with another full mug, and Iesa sat next to him. Beepu sat down as well, but he remained quiet and guarded as we talked.

“So, what challenges is Big D going to face tonight?” I asked and took another deep drink.

“Oh, the standard games; log tossing, barrel rolling, and ‘the Chase.’” Torin replied all smiles.

“’The Chase?’ Do tell.” I said, and Iesa leaned forward with interest.

“Certainly, after we refresh our mugs!” and he waved his hand and four more mugs of ale appeared. I had just finished mine, as did Iesa. But Beepu had to drink quickly to keep up.

“Well, the first thing is a draw is made on who is doing the chasing.”

“What like straws?”

“No…just a coin toss. It’s either the women are chasing, or the men are.” Torin smiled.

“And if the ‘chaser’ catches their…mark? What happens then?” I asked, suspecting the answer.

“Well…that’s up to the one that caught their mark now isn’t it?” And Torin finished his mug and called for more. Iesa had barely finished his, and almost choked after Torin had spoken. I had just downed my third and was feeling quite warm and relaxed.

Iesa spoke, “So…anything?”

“Well…within reason I suppose. But out of the four of you, Big D is more likely to walk away with his bones intact.” Torin laughed.

Iesa was beginning to look bleary eyed at Torin, “I can run…fasstd.”

“I’m sure…but the catching part can be—”

<<WHUMP>>

And over the fire a man in a loincloth jumped. A solid example of fine goliath form. But just to his right, a large athletic female dove for the male’s knees, tripping and felling the giantkin to the ground.

“—quite an impact.”

“I’ll pass. I prefer this drinking game,” I said holding out my mug looking for another. “

“Yesssszz. Another! Thisszz schtuff is vunderfullff,” Beepu said slurring his works badly.

Torin looked at me with a twinkle in his eyes and called for more mugs. Iesa took another gulp and was soon passed out on the log. Beepu consumed another full mug, and then found a quiet spot of dirt next to the log to ‘lay his spinning head’ against.

As for Big D; I didn’t see what happened, but I did hear him shout in the darkness around us, trying to evade his pursuers.

Three more drinks later and Torin was looking at me bleary eyed and his brow was knotted in confusion. “Hows is it you can put away drinksss in that teeny frame?” He asked, looking at me with some respect as he realized that the ale had caught up to him.

“Wells…when you workz ins a bar and yous pickz up ssome skillz,” I said feeling quite buzzed, but determined to be the last one conscious.

“Well…done…then,” and the great bulk of a Goliath, fell backwards unconscious from the log and started to snore.

I turned my head upwards, trying to ignore the spinning for a bit longer and smiled. There have been worse evenings to be sure, and tomorrow might get us somewhere. But for now, a warm fire, and a dreamless sleep is all I wanted or needed.

So, I slumped down to the ground and placed my back against the log, and stared at the dying embers of the fire. Slowly I relaxed and let the numbness and warmth of the liquor finally carry me off to a dark dreamless sleep.

Session notes:

So…I made every saving throw against getting drunk. Everyone else failed pretty quickly. The irony was, I only had a 10 Con. Everyone else’s’ was higher.
 

Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
The Little Cabin in the Woods – 10/3/2019

Surprise can be a wonderful thing. The new and the unexpected is what sustains a Sensate. That unique experience is to be savored and treasured.

But it can also be found in the most ordinary places. Things you thought you knew, or things that you expect to be ‘normal.’

It is simply that; a surprise. But what you do with it, is something else.

The first thing I remembered hearing was the sound of someone in severe pain. As my mind began to focus, my senses were flooded with other information. The smells of cooking, the weight and warmth of something sitting on my chest, and especially the sounds of someone’s pain, manifesting in a shrill and desperate tone.

“Ohhhh….my head. What have I done?” I heard the gnome gasp somewhere nearby.

I opened an eye and down at my chest. There I found Gossamer, sitting quietly, taking space and giving off a tremendous amount of heat. His head turned back and forth watching the camp around him as he sat with his legs curled underneath him. He was clearly watching over me, and he duly noticed my questioning eye, and he met my gaze.

The wizard appears to be in an indelicate state this morning.

--He was drunk, so that’s a hangover.

And I assume that are in a similar condition?

--Actually…no. I only have a small problem.

And that is?

--You are preventing me from getting up and finding food.


Gossamer looked at me with what I think was an amused expression, and he slowly stood, stretched and walked over me to the log my head laid on. I propped my self up on my elbows and looked around. I apparently slept on that log, with my head on a cloak or other piece of cloth. And somehow, I had laid there, balanced throughout the evening. It might have had to do with Gossamer essentially pinning me down and preventing me from turning over and landing on the ground.

Looking around, I first saw Beepu. He sat on the ground, with his head between his hands, while he rocked his body back and forth. He was loudly moaning something in gnomish. I swung my legs over to the ground, stood and stretched my arms high while I looked for my other companions.

The next one I found was Iesa, who was quietly snoring, with his back to another log and his arms spread apart and draped on it, while he sat on the ground, his legs stretched out. Mo was with him as well, but he was fast asleep, his arms wrapped around Iesa’s neck as he clung to the man.
Near him on the ground in a large heap was Torin. He lay flat on his back with a silly grin on his face, and without the slightest care of the world, let alone the local goings on.

Of Daneath there was no sign, and I guessed he would turn up eventually. So, I started to follow my nose to where the cooking was. Not far from the fire I was at, was another fire pit, that was rectangular in shape, and with rocks lining the rim. Across the rocks, were rods, grates and spits. Some meat was already sizzling on hot iron plates set across the rods, and there were pans full of…

I gulped. I recognized the substance in the pans, as I watched a goliath quickly mixed the contents together. He then cracked another white oval on the edge and spilled the yellow and clear contents and mixed it together with the rest. Before I could turn away, the male spotted me.

“Still green after your bout with Torin?”

“Wha…oh no. I survived that fine. It’s just I—”

“—Wanted to try my eggs; Well, give me a moment to season them properly.”

I didn’t want to say anything; it seemed rude, so I smiled gamely and watched. Unlike the ones in the Inn in Triboar, he was adding far more ingredients. Spices were added, then some fresh cooked meat that was already diced was mixed into it. Finally, I saw that he reached towards some coals, and pulled out something round wrapped in burlap. As I watched, he peeled off the cloth with hands that seemed impervious to the heat. Inside was a root, that he quickly cut into pieces and threw them in the pan.
The smell was spicy, with the hints of cured meat and smoky wood. Before long, he handed me a plate with a fork, full of the eggs with the fixing. All with the broadest smile on his face.

I took a deep breath. I was a Sensate; I was supposed to try new things. And if nothing else, I knew cooking with the right materials could turn the average to magnificent. I just hoped it would change the vile to tolerable. So, I took the plate, and quickly before I could change my mind, I speared some of the fluffy material, closed my eyes and shoved the fork in my mouth, fully expecting to be poisoned.

The texture was the same, but the flavors exploded in my mouth. I could taste the sharp seeds from the cured meat, salt, and peppery spices. All of them melded together into something that was far more wonderful than that plate in Triboar. I found myself wolfing down my plate quickly, eager to savor more of the flavor.

“Hah! Seems you like it!” the goliath exclaimed.

“That’s better than the last time,” I head behind me as I watched Daneath approached, still fitting a vambrace on his arm.

“What happened last time?”

“She turned green, ran through a kitchen, and emptied her stomach on a nearby tree.”

“Well, glad to know I can cook better than THAT,” the Goliath laughed.

I could feel my cheeks flush red, as I tried to finish my mouthful to get a word in.

“Well, that was the first time she ever even had eggs!”

“And what does this make?”

“Her second time,”

The goliath roared with laughter “Only the second time! I am glad to broaden your horizons then!”

I finally cleared my mouth, “Eggs aren’t…a common meal where I’m from. But these are indeed, better than the first.” And I elbowed the warrior in the ribs, giving him a stare that I hoped could curdle his blood.

“Well, Beepu was right after all.”

“Huh? How?”

“You’ve changed.”

I pursed my lips together, considering that and retorted “Well, did you find your codpiece, or did you dent it again?”

“Not a problem this time. I could at least remember the evening.”

“I hope it doesn’t take your edge off,”

“I should hope not! We can’t besmirch Big D the lover!” Chimed the now conscious Iesa, strolling over to us, while feeding Mo on his shoulder.

“Really? Let’s not get carried away. How’s Beepu?”

“Miserable.” Iesa replied, pointing to the hunched over gnome by the log and fire.

“He’ll feel better with some water, and a guide on our way.” Daneath said.

“Yeah I talked with him already, once we are set, he’ll lead us in sight of the cabin, but no closer.”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Respect for Ravalan’s privacy. I guess we get to be the rude ones.” Iesa said with a shrug.

“Well,” I started and thought a moment. “Get that ale barrel we had last night, and pry off the lid with the tap.

“Oh? Have a solution in mind?”

I nodded with a grin, and with that Iesa was off looking for the barrel. I had just finished the eggs when he rolled it up and stood it on end and removed the top lid.

I looked inside critically and took a whiff. The smell of Ale was strong and had to go. I flexed on the light strands and started to pour energy into the barrel, and soon the ale stains and the smell were gone. Iesa looked at the barrel questioningly, and then looked at me expectantly. A small group of goliaths had also stopped, wondering what I was doing.

I then grasped the medallion of my faith and said a quick prayer pulling on lighter strands, and in a moment, the barrel began to swell with water. The nearby goliaths saw the surge, of water and scattered. I thought I had scared them, but I realized that they were running for buckets, pots, mugs; anything to hold more water.
I held on to the incantation, and let them grab their fill as gallons of water flooded the interior of the barrel.

So did Iesa and Daneath each filling a mug and swallowing down the water. I then twisted the strands and closed off the magic and halting the flow of water. The goliaths smiled and thanked me for the clean water, while Daneath grabbed the moaning gnome and brought him to now half full barrel.

“Ow. Stop moving. Stop BREATHING. It is too loud.”

“I better hold your pack Beepu,” Iesa said, slipping off the important things from Beepu, without him really noticing.

“Yes. Yes. It is too heavy. Now what I need is a lot of water. This drinking thing has gone—”

<<SPLOOSH!!>>

The gnome quickly sputtered to the surface and coughed.

“What the? I meant to drink you imbeciles!”

------

That was early in the morning, but by midday we had made significant progress westward. Our guide, Kolth, new the lands well, and unlike Roggins was an honest guide. He was also remarkably patient, as Beepu was frequently winded in trying to keep up with the long legs of our guide.

He wasn’t much of a conversationalist either, and with the pace he kept, I really didn’t have much energy to ask questions. But eventually we reached some hills and started to ascend. And before long, he brought us to a halt, and pointed ahead. There on a hillside was a lone cabin; its lower footings in stone, and the upper sections in wood.

“There,” Kolth said simply. He then nodded and started to make he way down the hills.

“Thanks again!” Iesa called, and Kolth simply waved his hand behind him, not even turning.

We climbed up the hill to the cabin, and once we made it to the front door, it was clear something was amiss. The front porch was littered in leaves and debris, some of it blocking the front door. We didn’t need to say anything to each other, but this didn’t bode well for a simple introduction.

Daneath, Beepu and I were looking around for any other clues, while Iesa opened the door. It creaked open on rusty hinges and Iesa peered inside.

“That’s a…problem,” Iesa said after a moment.

“What is? What’s inside?” Daneath asked and he moved towards his brother to peer over his shoulder.

“Well, that’s just it. The inside is…missing.”

“What?” Beepu said, and he pushed his way and was looking around the Iesa’s knees. “Well now. I was not expecting…that.”

“Oh, out of the way,” and I pushed Daneath aside and looked within.

The walls were full of shelves full of bric-a-brac and layers of dust. Jugs, skins, and other items hung from hooks or ropes from the ceiling. And that was as normal as it got. I blinked a couple of times as I realized, that in this single room cabin, there wasn’t a piece of furniture. No bed, no tables, no chairs.

But more importantly, there was no floor. Instead, there was a yawning pit that extended wall to wall of the cabin. I looked down, and I could see a pool of water, but it must have been fifty feet below where the cabin floor should have been. As I stared, I could see that there was a passage way leading away from the pool.
“Alright, that’s new,” I said. I waved Gossamer inside, and he found a beam to perch on and he looked down. Foggle soon joined him, while Mo stayed on Iesa’s shoulder.

Beepu spoke up. “That would explain the state of the exterior, if Ravalan fell down there.”

“Meaning he didn’t come back up again,” Daneath said.

“Ok, well I don’t see a corpse either so he might have wandered deeper within,” Iesa said peering at the water below.

“How does someone miss the fact that your ground that your home is built on is gone?” Daneath asked aloud.

I bend down and looked at the earthen walls of the pit, and the rock layer below it. I could see chisel or pick marks in the rock; flat cuts and sharp breaks in the stone.

“Someone dug under here. And the rocks have been moved away,” I said.

“Someone mined here to get to Ravalan I would say. Not at minor endeavor either,” Beepu said nodding. “But why?”

“I guess we’re are going to need to go down and ask,” Iesa said and he started to uncoil some rope attached to his pack.

“No need I can get us down safely,” Beepu said waving his hand.

“What about back up?” Daneath asked.

“Not needed. There must be an exit elsewhere. There were tools used here, so it was a humanoid species that did this.” Beepu replied.

“Wait, why does that mean there’s an exit?” Iesa asked confused.

“Because someone had to know that Ravalan was here at all, to plan to dig under him. You cannot do that randomly from below without reason.”

“He’s got a point,” I said. “Let’s do this.”

Beepu nodded and closed his eyes for a moment. He then pulled a feather from his pouch and started to wave it around as he chanted. In a moment he opened his eyes and looked at us.

“Alright…jump down.”

“Just like that?” Daneath asked dubiously.

“Yes. Why do you doubt me?”

“It’s new. I don’t like new things,” Daneath replied.

“You will endure! Now move,” and Beepu pushed the big man with all of his strength.

Daneath didn’t budge, and instead looked down with concern. All the while Beepu continued to push. Daneath then took a breath and stepped off the ledge, causing Beepu to fall on wooden planking outside the cabin.

As I watched, he slowly drifted down towards the opening in the wall below, and he would also sail over the water. Iesa watched his brother and then he also stepped off into the air and drifted slowly down. Beepu turned to look up at me, smiled and just jumped off the edge.

I shrugged and stepped off the wood and into the pit. I stumbled on the edge a moment though and nearly tripped, but the magic took hold and I felt myself slowly sinking in the air. But unlike the others I was heading straight down towards the middle of the water.

“Great,” I said as I realized my mistake. I was resigned to becoming wet but then I heard Iesa say those magic words…

“What the?”

I looked down, and below me I saw the water shimmer, and I could see…something began to form. I could see through it, like a clear pond with just enough ripples so you tell there was water there. but it was growing upwards. I could see some bits of wood as well, rise and hang in the air as a cubed shape of protoplasm took form below me.

That doesn’t look good.

--You think?!?


“Guys, I’m going to need some help here!” I said, my legs were now running, desperate to change my direction to a wall; anywhere but the middle of the cavern where the cube was.

Iesa glared at Beepu, “Told you we needed to use rope,”

“It is not my fault she is clumsy and cannot jump,” Beepu said archly.

“So not the time!” I yelled and I started to cast and throw energy at the object. A purple blast streaked out and struck the translucent foe.

Daneath stepped forward and swung with his sword, carving a slice of goop off. But the cube reacted, extending part of its form to strike the big man’s shield. Daenath then moved into the room, trying to draw the thing into following him, as he moved around the edge of the pool. Meanwhile, Beepu threw another bolt of fire at it, striking and burning a divot in the surface. Iesa in the meantime threw the rope at me and missed. He cursed and quickly pulled it back and prepared to throw it again.

I didn’t want to be the one enveloped by the thing, and I threw more energy at it hoping to hurt it. I tried to find purchase on anything so I could move away from a gelatinous doom, but I was nowhere near a wall or anything beyond the closing pool. Daneath swung again slicing more parts off and was again repelled by the monstrosity’s strike. But he again retreated, and the mindless foe pursued slowly.

This time with a much better toss, Iesa got the rope to my hand, and he pulled me towards him. I clung onto it fearing for my life. I let out my breath my feet hit the ground. I then turned and threw another bolt of energy at it. Meanwhile, Beepu and Daneath both continued to swing with swords and bolts of flame. Daneath connected with it and its form lost cohesion, melting as foul liquids spread into the pool, leaving behind an acrid smell in the air.

“I hope that Ravalan didn’t fall into that thing,” Iesa said as he watched the form melt away.
“I do not think he did.” Beepu said, turning to face the passageway that led deeper, and holding his arm for Foggle to land on.

“Why?” Daneath asked turning to follow the gnomes gaze.

I turned as well to look down the passageway. There were palisades set into the rock, covered with rock and dirt. More importantly was that their orientation was angled in a way that would prevent the cube from drifting down the passage, without tearing itself to pieces.

“Someone set that there after the cube was placed here,” I said.

Beepu nodded “Precisely. And that cube was not here when they dug underneath the cabin. So, someone is very clever. But not wise enough to leave guards behind.

“I suppose we will need to teach them the error of their ways then,” I said with a smile.

As long as you don’t trip again…

--Oh shut up!

Session notes


The aftermath of the goliath part was legendary, considering my rolls on not getting drunk. Not falling into a gelatinous cube...that was pretty bad.
 


Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
@HalfOrc HalfBiscuit Done!

Caving for Firbolgs - 10/10/2019

Sigil doesn’t really have caves. It has tunnels and passages underneath the city. A city built up from piles of trash. But not natural caverns.

In fact, the only “cave” you can find is in the Great Gymnasium where one was built to look at like a natural underground spring. But it isn’t a cave either.

But it is amazing what jink can buy.

I flex a moment, and once again light up Daneath’s shield, and the warrior takes the lead, with Iesa, Beepu, and our small menagerie, start our way into the cave. Foggle, drifted ahead, Mo stuck close to Iesa, while Gossamer stayed by my side.

While the room with pool under Ravalan’s cabin was chiseled, the cave we were in seemed natural. The barriers that were set in the passage ahead didn’t prevent us from moving pass them; they clearly were meant to keep the cube in. That cube then was something like a vicious guard dog. A wet, weirdly shaped one, but a guardian nonetheless. And whoever placed it there, had faith that it would take care of others ‘dropping in.’ Complexly misguided thinking, but we were dealing with something a bit smarter than kobolds. The only question was, how much.

Daneath shined the shield, deeper into the depths and we saw that the tunnel was slowly turning to the right. As it was turning, it was also ascending, and as the passage straightened out, we saw another barrier; another palisade with spikes facing us. Unlike the prior one, this one was clearly meant to keep people out, not just large cubes.

Beepu held up his hand and motioned us close.

“Foggle says there is a camp ahead,” he whispered. “Based on the description, it seems to be a pack of goblins.”

“Goblins?” Iesa questioned. “This seems too smart of them?”

“What to dig a tunnel?” Daneath said looking at his brother.

“No, to dig a tunnel to get to Ravalan. I didn’t think they were that smart.”

“They are not. I surmise there is something leading them that is.” Beepu replied.

“So, how many?” I asked.

“Six? No, eight,” Beepu said as he mentally confirmed with Foggle.

“Let’s get past that barrier and hammer them down fast,” I suggested. “Don’t let anyone bolt for help either.”

Iesa nodded, “Are there fires ahead?”

“Yes. About four of them,” Beepu said after a moment.

“Alright, lights out then,” and I dispelled the light. Beepu held Iesa hand, and I guided Daneath’s shoulders towards the barrier, where dim light flickered ahead.

We quietly made our way forward and came to the barrier. It wasn’t very tall, as even Beepu was half a head taller, but it was enough to prevent us from simply stepping over it. Once we reached the barrier, we looked over it to see what lay beyond. Ahead was a simple cave with another passage leading off in the distance. Within the cave were makeshift lean-tos, made of dirty cloth and simple wood sticks. Something to call a ‘roof’ in this cave, and not a real shelter. But we saw their occupants easily enough.

Green skinned, and short as Beepu with mean squinted eyes, and dirty unkempt hair. They lay on straw mats lazily, and without focus. Mining tools were scattered around the room, along with the occasional blade. And while they looked unkempt, their blades looked cared for and sharp. I could see four of them, close to a smoky fire, disinterested on anything going on, and oblivious to the mechanical owl circling above them.

First Iesa and Daneath heaved, and quietly moved the barrier, so that we could pass through easily. Iesa had kept his bow in one hand with an arrow clutched in his teeth, ready to draw and fire in an instant. But it was unneeded as the barrier moved easily and quietly, allowing the big man through, and I closely behind.
Now that we were on the safer side of the fence, we could see that the cavern curved farther to the right in a crescent shape. More flickering from fires came from that side of the chamber as well, and I could see more lean-tos as well, but not the occupants.

Iesa separated from the rest of us and placed himself against the cave wall on the right, and started to move forward, notching the arrow he once held with his teeth. I moved to the left ready to pull on the strand, while Beepu followed Iesa from a distance. Daneath too moved quietly towards the closest fire. More so than I would have expected a Tinman to do.

Hey boss…

--What?

I just noticed there are little openings in the rock all over this room.

--Like passages?

Yes, carved ones.

--Sodding—


Daneath opened with a charge towards quartet of goblins near the fire. He didn’t scream or shout, but I could see the faces of the goblins snap up too late, as the warrior swung his sword at one of them, causing blood to spray the others nearby. Right after that, I heard Iesa let loose his arrow, and it was followed with a solid sound of the metal biting into flesh, and then by a body hitting the floor.

Beepu threw a bolt of fire at another next to Daneath, felling it as fire consumed the small creature. As I watched, another pair emerged from the lean-tos, and charged the big warrior who stood in the open. As they grouped up, they swung wildly at the warrior, not making much headway, as they were turned away by Daneath’s shield and armor. But as they clustered, I smiled at the opportunity.

I pulled a mixture of light and dark strands, and they vibrated and twisted as they tried to pull themselves apart. As I held them longer, the more they fought and strained against the forced pairing. Then I did something new.

I mentally snapped them apart as I looked at the goblins. Suddenly an ear shattering noise erupted from the middle of them, followed by the sound of bones cracking and bodies slumping into a wet heap on the floor.
Daneath stepped back in surprise at the pile of corpses in front of him, and I watched his as head quickly swiveled in my direction. His face said everything in a mixture of surprise and shock. All I could is shrug in response, and I moved deeper into the cave.

Iesa was taking aim at a goblin running towards the main passage ahead and knocked it down with another arrow. He then turned about and started swearing.

“Where did…ah crap!”

“What?” I said.

“Some of them dived into the rock!”

“Beepu watch out behi—” started to say as I turned to look for the gnome. But he had disappeared, once again turning invisible I assumed.

My eyes were searching the wall side, looking for were they could possibly emerge from, as I heard another twang of Iesa’s bow as he struck a straggler leaving a hole, and running to the passage leading deeper. I still was looking for more holes when my thoughts were interrupted.

The gnome has entered one of the passages, and I think he about to engage the--

--What?

Well I see him pouring some water on his ha—

--How can you see that?

Oh, I can see hidden things like that easily.

--That’s—

You should probably focus.

--You and I need to talk later.


And I heard the explosion of ice, and shrieks of pain echoing in the small side tunnels. A moment later, Beepu emerged with a satisfied smirk on his face, and just a hint of frost on his vest. We all looked around, and it was clear that we had felled them all quickly.

I smiled as I looked to Daneath, as he moved to secure the passageway that led out ahead, with Iesa close behind.

“Where did that come from Myrai?” Daneath asked.

“What? You wanted to take them all on?”

“It’s what I do!”

“How about I don’t want to have to pray and fix you up?”

Daneath thought a moment before replying, “Fine, just leave some for me.”

“You know that somehow, you are going to regret that,” Iesa commented.

The passage continued deeper into the rock, but after twenty paces, split and curved towards the right. Looking down the right the passage, it opened up and there was a large lean-to on the side of the wall. But on the left side there was a crude door, or more accurately a piece of wood planking that covered a hole on the side of the passage, just before the passage curved to the right.

We stood at the intersection for a moment considering our options. But we barely stood there for a moment, when the ‘door’ was smashed apart into splinters, and a great hulking figure emerged. It had a hide of dirty brown fur, and a face with large teeth and yellow eyes, filled with hate. In its hands was a great two-handed Morningstar that it swung, and connected with Iesa in the chest, knocking him backwards.
Its bulky form belied its speed and agility as it quickly moved and swung at Iesa again, this time laying him out on the ground unconscious. It turned just in time to knock Daneath’s sword blow away as it howled at the large man. I realized now that we faced a very angry bugbear, as I could see the wide flat nose and the flared ears. I had seen several in Sigil, and I recalled someone once telling me that they were lazy and sneaky. But mostly lazy.

Mostly.

Beepu quickly muttered and cast an incantation, and his bolt of fire narrowly missed the hulking form. I in the mean time rushed over towards the sprawled form of Iesa and knelt. Quickly I pulled on the of the light strands and imagined wrapped them around his wounded chest. His breathing quickly became less ragged and his eyes fluttered open.

Meanwhile, the bugbear and Daneath were locked together in combat. The bugbear’s Morningstar keeping Daneath off balance, but unable to land a solid blow due Daneath’s skilled shield work. Daneath’s normally precise strikes weren’t finding their mark, as the goblinoid was quick on his feet, and not encumbered with a shield. Beepu again threw a blast of fire on it, this time clipping the humanoid. The smell of burnt fur was now in the air.

But it scarcely noticed, as it continued to focus its ire on Daneath. I then pulled a dark strand out and mentally wrapped it around the bugbear and I plucked it. The soft sound of a bell rang, and the bugbear grunted in pain as some of its life left its body. But this distraction was nothing compared to Iesa strike, as he bounded from his seat on the floor and struck the bugbear from behind with his dagger, its blade sinking deep to the hilt. The bugbear staggered a moment, and then collapsed in a lifeless heap on the ground.
“I’m going to see if there is more coming from that passage,” Daneath said, and stepped into the narrow passage that the wood once covered. Quickly the man returned, with a face that clearly said that he had found something unpleasant.

“What did you find?” Iesa asked.

“Privy.” Daneath answered quickly, letting out his held breath and gasping for air. “Nothing else in there.” I then noticed that Daneath was holding his shield close to him, and was actively trying to avoid moving his arm.

“Your shield arm…are you—” I started.

“He pulled my arm down and I think I pulled something. It’ll pass.
Beepu interrupted, “Well that is good news! Come!” and Beepu moved to the leanto nearby.

“Huh? What is—” Iesa asked.

“Foggle found him, I think.”

I realized that I had a hard time tracking the little trio as it was. Foggle must have started scouting ahead while we danced with the bugbear. Looking around, I saw Mo leap back on Iesa’s shoulder, while Gossamer was trailing behind on the ground slinking for cover in the dark of the cave I guessed.

Beepu reached the lean-to first and looked inside, and quickly motioned me over. I ran over and looked over Beepu’s head to see what he had found.

The figure must have been two heads taller than I, if it should upgright. Its skin had a bluish tinge, and it had a shock of grey hair on the top of its head. A large bulbous nose stuck out from the large face, that had signs of bruise, and an eye that was beginning to swell shut. He was gagged, and his arms were bound behind him, as were his legs as he laid unconscious on a mat of straw.

I knelt beside the firbolg and ran my fingers over the bruises on the man’s face. “He’s been beaten pretty badly. He probably needs rest, but this isn’t the place for it.”

“Can you heal him?” Iesa asked.

I nodded, “Yes, but that will be it for me until I get some rest.”

“I don’t think staying here is a good idea.” Daneath said, looking around. “We don’t know if there are more in this cave.”

“Well I do not think we should waste time. Let us do what we need to and leave. Foggle has found the exit.”

“Where is it and is it guarded?” Daneath asked quickly.

“Farther down this passage, and there does not seem to be any guards.”

I lay a hand gently on the firbolg’s head and whispered, pulling the last white strand of energy that I had left. The figure in front of me moaned and his eyes opened slowly, slowly focusing on me. His eyes narrowed as he tried to comprehend where he was, and who Beepu and I were. I reached forward and pulled the cloth from his mouth. Once removed he breathed heavily and spoke.

“Thanks…but who are—”

“They,” and I gestured with my head to the others, “Need your help, so we came to visit you in your cabin.”
He smiled bitterly, “Yes, they made quite mess of my floor. But who are…wait…” and he looked at Beepu closely as I started to undo his bonds.

“You’re Pachook’s son, aren’t you?”

Beepu’s eyes widened. “Yes! Yes, I am. I need your assistance. Or rather we do.” The Gnome spoke excitedly.

“Hey, I know you want to chat Beepu, but we really should get out of here and then talk,” said Iesa still clutching at his chest.

I freed his legs from the bindings, and he started to rub his ankles, relieving the pain he must have felt. “Your friend is right. The others will return from hunting soon. We should leave.”

“If you can walk, let’s move,” Iesa said. Ravalan nodded and stood and we quickly made our way down the passage. We first came to another barricade, but on this one, the spikes faced away from us and towards the outside. Just beyond, was the exit to the cave, and the dim light of the setting sun was visible. We quickly made our way past the barrier and emerged from the rock. We were facing north, and Ravalan spoke.

“The closest place that is safe is an elven watch post. They may not take kindly to strangers, but they aren’t friends of the goblins.”

“Well, we can talk and walk a bit, since it’s the elves we need your help with.

“Oh? How so?” Ravalan asked.

Then we heard in the distance, the howling of a wolf. Then another. Then another.

“We may need to talk and run. Or just run.” Ravalan said, starting to move westward.

“Why?” I asked and as the sounds of the howling got louder, my heart started to sink. “That’s not just a couple of wolves, is it?”

Ravalan shook his head.

“No. Wolfriders.”

Session notes:
This part of the sessions is perhaps my worst set of notes. But that Bugbear was far more problematic than the goblins to be sure.
 

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