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Journal of the Souls of Legend

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.
 

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 as 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.
 
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
Thanks! It means a lot.
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.
 

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