D&D 5E On the Planes

ThirdWizard

First Post
I hadn't run a Planescape game since around 2007. Over five years! This is coming from someone who ran Planescape games from '94 to... well 2007. It's my favorite setting, and its what I love. So, when D&D 5e was released, my goal was to go back to Sigil and do a crazy urban-based campaign. It's been a rough ride. I had to put together a new group, the group fell through, I put together a second new group, and so far this one is sailing along and Planescape is just as fun as I remember it.

But, one of my biggest regrets from my previous games has been that I didn't record a story hour to go with them, to look back on and remember fondly or share with friends. So, to that end, I'm doing it this time. This project is mostly for myself, but hopefully some readers will enjoy it.




Cast:
Mehen - A dragonborn paladin from the Outlands. Worshiper of Ioun and member of the Fraternity of Order.
Mozzy - A half-elf wild sorceress from Arborea. Member of the Believers in the Source.
Aurian - A human diviner wizard from a Prime world. Member of the Free League.
Jer - A human bard from a Prime world. Member of the Free League.


 

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ThirdWizard

First Post
Session One - The Cursebreaker

Sigil. It is the impossible city resting on top of the infinitely tall Spire of the Outland.

The City of Doors. It is a metropolis of endless opportunities, where a cutter can find anything if she knows the right people or can pay the right price. If you find yourself in Sigil you can go anywhere. The Multiverse is your playground, and all you need is the right portal to take you to where you want to go. Adventurers crowd and haw and tell stories that make modrons wonder and succubi blush. This is where you want to be.

The Cage. It is a place to hide, to squirrel yourself away. It’s a place where a power can’t go, and where even the proxies of powers don’t have as much influence. And, once you’re tucked away, you can’t leave. The streets and houses, the hustle and bustle, the affluence and scheming and learning here are a trap, and a vague dishonest safety of most of the city belies the hard truth. A prison you choose for yourself is still a prison.

Which is true? What is Sigil really? It depends on who you ask.

“Cities of the Planes”, Volume 1 page 4. Written by Thram Kip

The rain poured down across the city, leaving dirty soot puddles on the ground. Tomorrow hopefully the rain would subside, but then the bellows would blow even more ash into the air, and clouds of smog would replace rainclouds. In the meantime, the Mimir, a pub in Sigil’s Market Ward, was filled with patrons trying to keep dry. Esbjorn could barely keep the steins full, and was barking orders from behind the bar at his only help for the day, the rough-built Abby, to find another barrel of mead and roll it in. His demeanor was harsh and rough, which meant he was is a good mood.

Mehen sat looking out the window of the Mimir with stein in hand waiting for his companions. Alma wanted to talk to them all together, and she had a guest with her. The aasimar belonged to the adventuring group Gungnir's Aim and the two groups often shared stories in the Mimir over a stout drink. Today her mood was different. Her mind was elsewhere, and it wasn’t time for tall tales. So, the dragonborn sat there looking out the window at the rain, thinking about the day’s activity at the Courthouse, and wondering what news she had for them.

This man with her, young, well dressed, and looking very uncomfortable, seemed completely out of place amongst the Norse patrons of the Mimir. He also looked very anxious, and perhaps not just because a fight would break out, usually to be taken outside, every five minutes. Whatever job the two had for the group, it was personal to this guy.

The others showed up one by one.

Aurian arrived first. Most days without work for the group he’d spend engrossed in study of one thing or another, or hanging out with his Free League friends. Today wasn’t much of one for perusing the market, so he was at the Mimir earlier than usual. He took up a seat beside Mehen and managed to get a full stein of mead despite the short supply. They were regulars, and Esbjorn knew how to keep his regulars happy.

Mozzy was next, having come from across town at the Great Foundry, the biggest spewer of ash and soot into the city air. It’s where the Godsmen set up shop, and where most of the city’s industry was forged. She was deep in her apprenticeship, learning the trade of smithing. It was a requirement of the Godsmen that their members learn how to forge metals, and as they forged externally their mind was to be focused inward. It had been a long day, and she was not yet particularly skilled. After any day of hammering and shouting, a beer was just the thing.

Last was Jer. He ran a little shop nearby, but had closed up for the evening. Not many customers had come around anyway, and he was getting antsy. He wasn’t really the “storekeep” type, but it was a good way to get information about what was going on in the city. People tended to have loose lips while shopping. He took the final seat at the small table the group had claimed for themselves.

As Jer sat down, the smalltalk rolled to a close, and Alma cleared her throat. When she did so, the hound at her feet lifted its head, looked up at her, then finding that nothing more than conversation was being had, laid back down to continue its nap.

“My friend here has a problem, and Aim might handle it given different circumstances, but we’ve got to get out of town within the next hour to take care of an old debt. So, I’m hoping you’ll hear him out.” She looked at the man. “This is Colin Herald.”

“Ah… hello.” The man’s voice was quiet and didn’t carry far in the din of the Mimir. He took a breath. “I will get right down to what I need. My father, Gerar Herald, is ill, but… well, I mean to say he’s cursed. And, this is beyond anything the so called experts have been able to take care of. I don’t know exactly what caused it, and I don’t know where he was when it happened…” Colin put his head in his hands, propped up on the table and licked his lips. “I think it was some kind of hag. I can barely make out what my father is saying right now. He doesn’t have long…”

Alma cut in there. “I’ve heard of a cursebreaker in Sigil named Tesa. She’s supposed to be the best at what she does. Colin needs you to track her down and bring her to his father so that she can break the curse. And, as for payment, it’s three hundred gold for a successful job. But, his father’s life is priceless. Payment for the cursebreaker is no object.”

Colin nodded.

Mozzy was the first to speak up. “She needs to be tracked down? Why don’t you know where she is?”

“She is supposed to have a shop called the Eight Watchful Eyes somewhere in Sigil, but no one knows where it is. Or at least, no one I’ve talked to. That’s why I’m bringing you in, specifically. Someone will need to do some digging to find her, and I know that your group has contacts to do just that. Honestly, even if I attempted this myself, I think you are all better suited for this than Aim. This isn’t quite our thing.”

Mehen nodded. “Aurian and Jer have the market contacts. I can check any records surrounding Tesa. Mozzy knows people who wouldn’t talk to just anybody.” He turned to Colin. “We’ll find her. How long do we have?”

“Hours. A day,” the young man responded.

The group looked at each other. It was a tall order, tracking down someone who didn’t want to be found in twenty four hours. Still, they had worked under worse time crunches, if perhaps not with similar consequences. Since time was of the essence, they would need to start right now before the city closed up for the night.

“Anything else we should know?”

Alma answered. “He can’t be moved. You’ll have to bring Tesa to him. You’ll have to convince her.” She slid a paper forward. “Here’s where to bring her.”

Mehen looked at the paper and nodded, passing it to the others. When Colin had said money was no object, he wasn’t kidding. Whatever the family was doing, they were doing it very well.

“Please. Right now, you’re my father’s only chance.”

“Don’t worry,” said Aurian. “This is what we do.”
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
Mozzy walked into the Horned Berk to meet one of her contacts. Carmine was an oddity, a figure cloaked from head to toe. Fully robed, gloved, and wearing a plain white mask, people wondered and gossiped about who Carmine really was, even if Carmine was a he or a she or what race might be found under that mask. Mozzy sat down at an inconspicuous table near the rear of the public house. One didn’t find Carmine. If you wanted to speak with Carmine, you let out the word and he or she might come to you, if you were lucky. Today was Mozzy’s lucky day. As the enigmatic being sat down across from Mozzy at the table, Carmine’s voice was a smooth and almost pleasant.

“I hear you need information,” Carmine said - almost playfully.

“I need to find a shop. The Eight Watchful Eyes.”

“One favor. Payable in the future. But, know that I can only point you in the direction, not take you beyond the threshold. You will have to find the way there yourself. The Eight Watchful Eyes cannot be found through street address.”

Debts were Carmine’s currency. Mozzy knew that going in. “You’ll have to give me more than a riddle for my favor.”

Carmine nodded. “Go to Thesidass. There you will find your answer.” Standing, “When next we meet, I will require you to find something for me.”

Mozzy knew she had just stepped into something. Only time would tell what that something was.




Jer knew that people talked while shopping, and the most talkative person around that he knew was a man named Twine. Or his shop was named Twine and nobody bothered to learn his name. One of those two. Either way, his shop was a junkyard of jetsam with the occasional diamond in the rough (sometimes literally). You’d often see people down on their luck, scavenging through Twine’s piles of junk, and Twine was always looking to start up a conversation.

“Looking for something new?” Twine, as usual, came out to greet Jer and Aurian as he would any customer, slapping Jer on the back and directing him to a pile of rubbish that smelled like day old bread and ale. Jer had to hold back the sudden urge to turn and walk away, but he stomached the disgusting pile and started to rummage through, keeping his eyes on the smiling merchant. Aurian kept his distance, watching the exchange from the front door. Gathering information wasn’t really his thing.

“You know me. Always looking for a deal.” Jer and Twine discussed some unimportant matters, a bit of politics, and the unfortunate rain that had fallen all day before Jer brought up the real reason for his visit, nonchalantly, like it was more smalltalk, “Ever hear of a shop called the Eight Watchful Eyes?”

Twine’s eyes lit up. He was no fool. “I may have. I may have. I hear there’s a gifted blood who runs that place. Not anything like what I have going on here. No no. A real specialty shop.”

“That’s what they say. I’d love to browse her goods. I bet she’s got quite the inventory. Not that I’d stop coming here, of course. Why, look at this!” Jer pulled up a small amulet with the symbol of the Revolutionary League on it. He noted the oddity. Anarchists rarely advertised their status as such, seeing as how membership was illegal in the City of Doors.

“Would you like to purchase that fine novelty?”

“Maybe… maybe…” Jer held the object up, examining it. “I do wonder if it’s authentic…” He frowned, and started to lower it, to place it back.

“What? Of course it is! Let me see that!” Twine grabbed the item from his customer. “See this here? On the back? It’s a hidden mark. It signifies that the wearer belongs to a particular cell. The front is just a trick to keep most people from noticing. That’s how you know it’s the real deal!” He thrust the item back into Jer’s hands. “It’s probably worth quite a bit to the right person! I’m sure you could find a use for it in your business!” He smiled broadly.

“I’m not so sure… let me think.” Jer studied the item a bit more. “But, tell me, how do you know about the Eight Watchful Eyes.” He spun the amulet a bit, not looking at Twine directly.

“Oh, you know. I had a customer come in who had been to her shop. He was a strange fellow, stands out quite a bit. Not hard to find at all - if you know who you’re looking for.”

“How does ten gold pieces for this amulet sound?”


Twine scowled. “Ten? Why, it's worth at least fifty! This is a one of a kind item!”

“You know you won’t get more than twenty for anything in this store.” Jer glanced over at Twine, whose eyes were gleaming by now. He shook his head. “Here’s thirty.”

“Sold!” Twine took the coins without counting. “Oh, and as for the customer, who had been to the Eight Watchful Eyes, his name was Dancing Gull, a Xaositect who had just escaped from the Gatehouse. Said he had just bought a lucky bracelet from that shop to stop some terrible curse. Tall skinny guy. Watch yourself out there. I’d hate to lose a paying customer.”

Great. The Gatehouse was the insane asylum. Jer hated dealing with barmies.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
Mehen was across town in the Lady’s Ward going about things in his own way. As a member of the Fraternity of Order, he had access to all kind of information about the running of the city that most people either couldn’t access or would have to wait months on. Having just finished filling out his final forms - in triplicate - he finally got a hit on this Tesa person. And, the information he was looking over did not paint a good picture.

There were no outstanding warrants for her arrest, which was good, but there was a bounty on her head. Bounties themselves weren’t an immediate red flag. The Harmonium were quick to pull the trigger on bringing anyone in, and this was at least for bringing her in alive. Still, there were some missing pieces that still needed to be put together. Mehen began hunting for the guardsman who had signed the bounty, a Troy Esber. He’d know more. Perhaps he could shed some light onto what was going on.

He had to wait for the man to get off duty, a broad shouldered Harmonium almost as tall as Mehen, which wasn’t something the dragonborn was used to. Harmonium weren’t known for their helpfulness, but he stopped for the Guvner. There was a mutual respect that the two groups shared. Mehen knew that if their roles were reversed, he would be expected to help out a Harmonium with questions.

“So, what can I do for you? You want to know about a bounty?” The man looked bored, stressing the last word, like talking about a bounty was unimportant. Mehen was used to this. The Harmonium rubber stamped bounties like a… well like a Harmonium arrests lawbreakers. With little evidence and because they like exerting their authority. It was always up to the Courthouse to sort out their messes.

“Yes,” replied Mehen carefully. “I would like to know why the bounty was approved. That is, what basis was it approved under. I’m curious about this Tesa woman.” Mehen showed Troy the wanted poster for the bounty.

The man thought for a moment. “I recall two drow coming in to meet with me. Normally, I don’t give them the time of day, but they said she broke some fairly serious laws of theirs, and that she was an instigator. I worried that she might do something here, so I am allowing the capture of the fugitive. Either to be released into their custody or to go through your people. Honestly, if I can get rid of her and get this problem out of Sigil, all the better. Does that answer your question?”

Mehen just nodded. Drow? After her? But, why? None of these things could be answered by Troy, and so the man stepped aside, leaving Mehen to his own quiet contemplation.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
Early the next day the group sat at a cafe just across and down the street from Thesidass’s shop eating breakfast. The shop itself didn’t have a sign, or a name for itself really. Neogi didn’t see the point in such things. They watched the shop discreetly for about an hour. There was a little traffic, but not many people moving in and out. And, all of those people appeared to be quite a bit more affluent than the four observers. The group knew that they themselves were not the clientele that Thesidass was after.

Still, they had to go in.

Slowly, they made their way in. They had heard of the shop before. Thesidass was famous, after all, for selling any and everything magical, and the storefront did not disappoint. The two umber hulk bouncers, however, were quite a discouraging sight. The foursome split apart and started to look around. Carmine had sent them here for some reason, even if they weren’t sure what it was. They weren’t about to leave any stone unturned if they could help it.

Weapons lined the walls, and armor stood on mannequins. A barrel of scrolls was in one corner, and a pile of wands in another. Seemingly mundane items like decks of cards, pouches, pipes, and even furniture was showcased. Even as they had a mission, they stood wondering what some of these things could possibly do. The weight of what was in just the front of the store was staggering to peruse for them. They who barely even had a platinum coin to their names.

Mozzy was the first one to notice something out of the ordinary. Her senses were a bit better at certain things than Aurian and Jer, both Prime, and Mehen was right behind her in spotting the portal. It was difficult to make out exactly where it went, but it seemed like this might be something Carmine was hinting at.

She was approaching it when she found a neogi between her and the door. Neogi, like a cross between a spider and an eel, are unsettling even to seasoned planeswalkers, of which Mozzy still was not one of. The creature was fast, and she almost fell back at the shock of it.

“Yeesss? What is it that this creature wants in my shop?” It’s large head swiveled around one side of Mozzy to the other. “Perhaps the waif has wandered in off the streets looking to get out of the rain. Perhaps… perhaps…” It crouched a bit, the head coming down to be level with Mozzy, looking her in the eye, its toothy mouth inches from her face. It’s voice was high pitched but raspy, like it wasn’t meant to be speaking like this but to be shrieking. In a way, she wished it was shrieking. This air of civility wasn’t fooling her. “What brings you here to Thesidass?” It was sure to take a look at Mehen, Aurian, and Jer to make a point that it knew they were all together.

Mozzy spoke up. She wasn’t about to let on to their true purpose. Not yet. She hadn’t gotten a good look at the portal yet. “Just looking around.”

“You look, you look.” It turned its head back in the direction of the door she was headed toward moments before, then swung back around to Mozzy. “Stay in here, yessss? Don’t get too curious, yessss? Doesn’t think you have the coin to pay, though. Not thieves are we?”

The umber hulks’ heads turned in unison toward Mozzy. Mozzy swallowed.

“We are assuredly not thieves,” Mehen spoke up. He stepped forward. The dragonborn did not have much subtlety in him. Whereas the others’ faction affiliations weren’t advertised to the world, his was, the Fraternity of Order symbol emblazoned upon a tabard he wore over his armor. No one could mistake it, and no one would dare wear such a thing unless they were a Guvner. He would stand no one would accusing him of being a thief, not even Thesidass.

“Truly, truly, little judge,” the neogi addressed him. The umber hulks relaxed just a bit, but held their gazes. “But, still, not customers. So, then what? This is my shop. My rules. You come and go at my word. And, if mistakes are made…” tick tick tick went its spider-like feet as it skittered past Mozzy and toward Mehen. “... by my faithful guards, then I cannot be held responsible. Perhaps… perhaps it would be good for you to remember this, yesssss? Thesidass thinks so.” It’s voice became low, and its mouth curled back in a snarl.

There was one last thing they could try. It was a long shot, but they needed information. Mozzy knew there was a portal in the shop, although she didn’t know where it went. “Thesidass.” The neogi turned to her, its head still low. By now the shop had emptied of any other customers. They were the only ones foolish enough to still be there. “You have people coming and going here, correct? We aren't the only intruders? How would you like it if that stopped. How would you like it if we put a stop to it?” She kept her eyes even, her jaw stiff. The neogi would find any hesitation weakness.

Thesidass relaxed, the sneer fading, and it stood up again. “Thesidass would find such a thing pleasing. Yesss…” It tilted its head slightly, thinking. “Pleasing, yes. Worthy of reward” Mozzy shot a look to the others. “But, is this a thing you promise?”

It wasn’t something they could do yet. They didn’t have the key. But, perhaps they had a way back into the shop without being torn limb from limb by umber hulks.

“No. Not yet.”

“Then it is time for you to leave.”

They didn’t have to be asked twice.

Their troubles, however, did not end outside the shop. Almost as if they were waiting for the group were two individuals who Aurian and Jer recognized instantly. Red Wake, they called themselves, Jaut and Bake. Jaut was the one that came up to them. He was a large individual, completely covered, head to toe, in armor. The armor was finely crafted and adorned with the symbol of the Mercykillers on the right breast. A visor covered his face, and in his gauntlets, he gripped a large greatsword which he was using as a walking stick, still in its sheath. It was said that he never removed the armor, and countless rumors abounded about why that was.

Bake stayed back, watching, at an easy distance and leaning against a wall. He was a smaller individual, githzerai, wearing a light chain shirt with a sword at his side and a shield strapped to his back. He appeared to be amused by the confrontation.

“I couldn’t help but notice that you entered that shop there,” Jaut motioned with his free arm slightly, “but came out with nothing. It doesn’t look like your kind of place anyway.” It was impossible to get a read on him without seeing his face. No one in the group responded, although they stopped for him. His reputation told them that they didn’t want to slight him, but at the same time, they didn't want to have any dealings with him. He continued, unperturbed. “I think you’re looking for a certain curse breaker.”

“We have no idea what you’re talking about,” Mehen replied stepping forward.

“I think I misspoke. Because I know that’s what you’re doing. You aren’t being as discreet as you think you are. And, I think I’ve got just the deal for you. Take this,” he tossed a silver coin to Mehen, who caught it and examined it. Closely. There was a faint aura of magic on the thing, though he really had to concentrate to see it. “All you have to do is leave this wherever you find the cursebreaker. That simple. You do that, and we owe you.”

Mehen wanted to ask what if they didn't agree. But, he already knew the answer.

Satisfied, the two walked away. Things were getting more complicated.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
The Gatehouse stood as a testament to how old the Cage really was. Not even the most well lanned whitebeard in the city knew who created it or what it’s purpose was. The structure consisted of a huge building encircled by a great wall just inside the Hive Ward. The giant courtyard was in the front of the building, encircled on all sides by high stone walls. A now immovable barred gate was the only way in and out, but the bars (each over a foot thick) were spread far enough apart that groups of people could easily walk between them. What was meant to be kept in or out of the building was almost as maddening a thought as trying to understand the current inhabitants of the building.

A line of people weaved from one of the entrances, around the wall, and into the streets of the Hive Ward beyond and out of sight. These were people looking to check in themselves or loved ones, to get a bite to eat from a soup kitchen, or to visit the insane within. An old gnarled man coughed as the group passed by, looking up at them with desperation in his eyes as they passed by the line, making their way down the street to take a look at the front of the Gatehouse. The street was busy, with pushing and shoving to get through the mess that inevitably gathered in this neighborhood.

An obviously exhausted Bleaker, what they call a member of the Bleak Cabal who ran the Gatehouse, was standing on a raised platform trying to keep things in order here. Her hawk like eyes had deep circles underneath, and she constantly twisted and turned as she stood on watch. “No cutting! To the back of the line!” he yelled out, signaling for one of the bouncers, for lack of a better term, to push an angry sod out of line where he wasn't supposed to be. The heavy-set bouncer grabbed the scrawny young boy, he couldn't have been more than thirteen, by the scruff of his neck and shoved him into a ditch just as the woman on watch called out another interloper.

Con artists and cutpurses plied their trade here as well. One cagey basher was trying to sell his place in line. He had a sign up that read, “Ten copper, one seat, take my place.” The bouncers seemed to ignore him, but who knew if after purchase the new arrival wouldn't just be kicked to the back. Another berk was trying to sell dirty brown water, and he was making a mint in doing so. The people at this point in the line must have been there for days, and the weaker looking among them looked like they could pass out at any moment. A pair of Dustmen walked the line asking anyone to sign one of their Contracts so that they could use the poor barmy’s body after he'd passed away. They had a stack of signed paperwork weighing them down.

Mehen, Mozzy, Aurian, and Jer stood looking at the indomitable structure in front of them, and at the difficulty at getting in. They had asked around about Dancing Gull, and all the signs pointed to him being back inside the compound. They were on a time crunch, and they needed answers quickly. They had hoped they could just ignore this lead, that Jer had wasted a bit of jink on Twine. But, they needed answers beyond what Carmine had given them, unfortunately. They needed a portal key. Right now, more than that, they needed a way in that skipped the sodding days long line. They didn't have days. They had hours.

This was Mozzy’s specialty: infiltration. With a spell, she looked just like any of the members of the Bleak Cabal who ran the place, uniform and all. She chose a look that didn’t stand out too much: male human, average height and weight, brown hair and eyes, not too muscular, not too good looking or ugly. She was no one in particular. The others fell into line behind her as she led them past the line, all breath held. At least they looked sort of like they belonged. That was worth a lot when you're trying to get in somewhere you shouldn't be. They crossed the courtyard without incident, and started to wonder if this would actually work. As they approached one of the entrances, aiming for one of the clerical paths that was less traveled than the soup kitchen or assignments areas, however, they drew the attention of one of the Gatehouse guards.

“Hey there. Who are you bringing in here?”

Mozzy was ready with her reply. “Visitors. Unscheduled audit from the sodding Fraternity of Order.”

Mehen didn't hesitate with his reply. “We're just here to make sure you're compliant with all the current codes.” The other two nodded.

“Can they…? I don't think they can…” the guard started, but Mozzy cut him off quickly.

“Yeah yeah, probably not. But, that’s for my boss to decide, not me. If you want to turn them away, then you can take the heat for it.”

The guy looked uncomfortable with that idea. “You'd better take ‘em in.”

Mozzy nodded and they entered the Gatehouse.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
The Gatehouse was an imposing structure from the outside, and a maze from the inside, with three wings. With a little help from an overworked clerk who Mozzy easily fast talked, they were on their way to the proper cell block, slowly finding their way through the corridors. Luckily, there weren't many people in the asylum passages, and most were too busy with their own business to even offer the interlopers a second look, if even a first.

It was around an hour before they were at their destination, a small, unremarkable cell in an unremarkable hallway. They had no key, but Mozzy had the door unlocked in moments. The four slipped in and softly closed it behind them.

In the dark room was a man hunched over in a corner. He ignored them, fidgeting with a small ragdoll. There was a bracelet of beads and bronze hanging loosely about his left wrist, twisted into two rings. An untouched tray of food was sitting to his side, ignored. He appeared a tall, and they would have found him intimidating if he weren't so gaunt and emaciated.

“More poison?” he said as they entered. “Get it away!” He threw the tray of food at them, the tin clattering on the ground in front of the door with a splay of mushy everywhere, the brief look of anger quickly falling from his face as quickly as it had emerged. He went back to fiddling with the doll and ignoring them.

The group spread out a bit. Jer stayed back to listen at the door while Mozzy and Mehen approached the man cautiously. Aurian stood in the middle of the room, watching both sides and ready for anything.

Mehen spoke up first. “We're not your keepers. We're friends. Hey, that’s a nice bracelet you've got.”

The man clamped his hand over the bracelet. “Keeps me from killing. Kill kill kill kill kill.”

Mehen looked at the others, a bit more concerned now than before.

Mozzy spoke up. “You kill people? Sounds like you don't want to.”

“Who, what? No no no no no. Flying through the air, cursed. Lost to time.” He shook his head. “No no no no no!”

“Dancing Gull.” Mozzy tried to catch his eyes, but they were loose, unfocused balls. The only thing they seemed able to catch sight of was the doll he held. “Hey. We just want to talk.” His eyes started to focus on her for a moment before rolling to the floor. “You just got that bracelet, right?” His eyes snapped back up for a half second, trying to find focus in that moment but failing.

“Yes, No! I don’t want them to die! Don’t want anyone to die!” He started rocking back and forth. “They just die. Was in Bytopia. Guide fell down the mountain. Poof, gone. Couldn't find our way after that. Lost. Started starving. Only one left was me. Rescued by gnomish balloon.”

“That couldn't be your fault, though,” Mehen said as he started to move closer to the man.

“First time. Second time in Ysgard. Goblins from Baator attacked. Made it out with one friend. Then she was killed by wolves.”

“Okay, but-”

“Portal to Outland shifted. Didn't realize it. Ended up in Plane of Air, scattering everyone. Fell for days, all in different directions. Aimed for land. Made it back a week later.”

“Uh…”

“Sometimes, I look out into the nothingness outside the city. I want to just jump in, and…” His eyes glazed over and he started toying with the doll again.

Mehen was close enough to see… petals? coming off of the doll’s head. “So, Dancing Gull, you went to find Tesa. You went to fix the curse.”

“Yes! That exactly! Now no one will die. I won't kill them anymore. I'll be safe. All is well.”

“How did you find Tesa?”

Mozzy got a bit more specific. “We know about the portal at Thesidass’s shop. How did you get through the portal?”

Mehen suddenly took a step back toward the door.

“I’m fast. The monster didn't see me coming. Got through.”

“But, what was the key? The portal key,” Mozzy continued. She gave Mehen a strange look. What was he worried about now?

Dancing Gull smiled. “Little eight legged bug. Squish squash, and I went through.”

Aurian raised an eyebrow. “Spider?”

“Squish squash.”

Mehen went for the door. “Time to go everybody. Lets get out of here.”

Aurian held up a hand. “But, we-”

“Nope. Time to go.” Mehen shot everyone a hard look.

Once they were out the door, Jer closed it back. “Something creeped you out? He was a little crazy, but he didn't seem dangerous.”

“Did you see that doll he had?”

“Yeah. So?”

“It was an idol. It was the Lady of Pain.”

Nobody looked back.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
Back at Thesidass's shop, the group had procured a spider from one of the many vendors in the Market Ward. Not being sure if it needed to be alive or dead, they had opted for a still living arachnid, squirming around inside a tiny glass vial that Aurian clutched to his chest. Standing in the shop once again, they felt the weight of Thesidass’s gaze on them, along with the full attention of two rather large umber hulks.

“The creatures have returned, yessss? Are they looking to be ground to dust, perhaps? Or simply cooked and eaten. I wonder, I wonder.” The neogi approached them slowly, evenly. And as before, the snarl was on its face. It was difficult to meet the creature’s eyes, but the group held fast.

Mozzy spoke up. “We think we can solve your problem with… undesirables.” She wasn't exactly sure how the neogi considered the patrons of the Eight Watchful Eyes. Probably similarly to how another shopkeeper would consider rats or roaches. Pests who scurry in and out, interlopers that you exterminate if you can. Murder was a high crime in Sigil, but once you started getting into the details it got murkier. A person using someone else’s property for their own portal usage was generally frowned upon, and measures could be taken in many cases. An affluent and wealthy individual like Thesidass could probably start murdinging hapless travelers if word got around a bit more about the portal. They didn't want that. If they could get the Eight Watchful Eyes to move to a different location it would be much safer for all involved.

“Think? Think??” It hissed, a short and high pitched sound. The umber hulks stepped forward just a tiny bit, but enough that suddenly the room was far more claustrophobic. Jer squeezed a bit closer to Aurian, whose heart skipped a beat. If Thesidass decided they were undesirables, then maybe this wasn't such a great plan after all. Maybe they should have just rushed the portal. Or maybe they should have looked for the shop’s actual location. Or maybe they should have just told Alma that they were very busy.

“We’ll take care of it.” Mozzy put more confidence into the statement this time. “Guaranteed.”

The neogi's facial expressions were difficult to read. It looked angry, but so far they didn't have much other emoting to go off of. Then, the umber hulks began to relax.

“And, there will be a reward, right?” Jer interjected.

The others cringed.

“You do this, and you will have your paltry reward. You do not…” implication was enough to give them an understanding. “Hurry and go.” Thesidass turned away from them, headed back into the shop to speak with a customer who had been ignoring their entire exchange quite emphatically. The umber hulks did not move from the entrance, however, and they knew that if the portal didn't open... well, at this point they probably would not be able to make it out any other way so the portal had best be exactly what they needed it to be.

Stepping forward, Aurian stuck his thumb into the vial and crushed the spider. This was the moment of truth.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
Stepping through the portal, the four found themselves in a small shopfront, much tinier than Thesidass's shop. The room was dark, with no windows, lit by only a few candles scattered haphazardly on shelves and stands, and it smelled like a mixture of smoke, incense, and old paper. They stood for a few moments after having walked through the portal as their eyes adjusted to the light. They could hear a the bustling of foot traffic coming from somewhere above them, and they assumed they were in some kind of basement. The sound of rainfall continued from before, leading them to believe that they were still, indeed, in Sigil. Thankfully.

Behind a small pine wood counter was a large man. He stood just over six feet tall and was muscular, his skin was a dull gray. He had a book in his hand, an old tome showing signs of age, its cracked leather exterior having the words “Center of the Multiverse” burned into the cover. He put it down slowly as he looked up at the heavily armed customers.

Behind them was a doorway where the anchor for the portal was located, and from the other room they heard a man’s voice call out. “We have customers in there? Let me get my sword just in case.” The voice was casual, and the mention of a weapon seemed like less of a threat and more of a formal warning to would be thieves and troublemakers.

They stepped forward a bit, out of the doorway, and the man behind the counter nodded. “You here to buy?,” he asked flatly. “What’s your problem?” He looked at them like he was sizing them up to determine the strongest opponent in some kind of gladiatorial arena with an eye resting for more than a moment on Mozzy's and Aurian's arcane foci. He didn't seem impressed by their faction affiliations, which each of them advertised in different ways.

All along the walls were hanging various amulets, beaded bracelets, rings, and other accessories. They had similar styles to the talisman that Dancing Gull was wearing, many items utilizing the same twisting pattern they had seen on his bracelet. A small bookshelf behind the counter contained old tomes, many in scripts that they found unfamiliar.

“We’re here on behalf of another,” said Mehen.

“We need to speak with Tesa,” Mozzy added.

A man with a thin sword stepped out of the room behind them. His eyes had gold flakes, his hair red, and he wore a scowl like a weapon. Behind him they could see a woman standing in the darkness, just out of the candlelight. The man paused for a moment in the doorway, leaning against the frame. He exchanged a look with the man behind the counter after sizing the group up in much the same way as his business partner. The group was starting to think that if for some reason a fight were to break out, they may be the ones at a disadvantage.

“Need to know your business first,” said the red haired man. “Your... friend... couldn't make it here them self?”

“He’s ill,” said Aurian, then he spoke over the man’s shoulder to the woman behind him. “He can’t come himself. We’re here on his behalf. He has a deadly curse, and we were hired to find you and request your aid.”

The man behind the counter mumbled something under his breath.

The woman then approached them, stepping into the candlelight, revealing her dark skin, white hair, and pointed elf ears. “Easy Borough. They are customers. I will help if I can, and if you can pay.” the drow answered. Her voice was soft and unassuming, with no hint of an edge.

The fact that Tesa was a drow was a bit unnerving. Sure, in a place like Sigil where one dealt with all sorts of lower planar creatures, including fiends themselves, it wasn't all that uncommon to work closely with any particular being. But, still… it was always a bit disconcerting when you inadvertently found yourself alongside an unexpected ally.

Aurian spoke up, addressing the woman with the facts. “We’re working for a man named Colin Herald. His father, Gerar, is dying of a powerful curse that is sapping his life away. We would like to procure your services. He cannot be moved, so you would need to go to him, currently in the Lady’s Ward. Unfortunately, we do not have any details on how he received the curse or what exactly it entails, as he was unable to relate that information to his son. We do know that others have tried to remove the curse to no avail, so we came to the best. Payment will be reflect the gravity of the situation and your expertise.”

Tesa smiled. “I would like to help you. I haven’t left this shop in weeks. You see, I have a bounty on my head.” The two men tensed. The hand of the man between Tesa and the group slid down to the hilt of his sword. Tesa stepped forward and put her hand over the man’s, shaking her head. “They came seeking help, just like the others.”

“They want to take you to the Lady’s Ward.”

“Indeed. I admit it is not a place I want to go,” she looked at her customers sympathetically. “Perhaps there is some middle ground that could be reached?”

“Please,” said Mozzy, “Gerar can’t be moved, and without your aid he is going to die, and soon. There isn't much time.”

“We’ll guarantee your safety. I give my word that we will guard you to the destination,” added Mehen.

“The word of a Guvner,” Tesa mused. “And back, I suppose?” The group looked at each other uneasily, and Tesa narrowed her eyes. “What is this?”

“Bounty hunters are narrowing down on your location. A group called Red Wake knows about the portal from Thesidass's shop, although not how to use it to get here - yet. The shop owner, the neogi, Thesidass is likewise starting to become agitated with your clients using his shop as a go between. I’m not sure if you've met the creature, but he’s liable to kill your next customer. We would advise you to move somewhere else. I assume you can’t leave Sigil.”

She shook her head. “Sigil is the safest place for me right now, even with the bounty. Outside my protective wards, I would be found almost immediately, and I wouldn't have the Lady’s imposed civility to guard me.”

“Can we trust them?” asked red haired man, apparently named Borough. His eyes never left them, and his sword still rested on his sword hit.

“No choice. We should move to the next safe house,” said the big man behind the counter.

Borough considered a moment. There was a pause of a good half a minute while no one said anything, and the group was starting to become nervous. Maybe Borough and his friend would decide to just end them right there, and tie up any loose ends that they might be a part of. But, after thinking about it, Borough nodded sharply. “Dire has it set up and ready. We can have everything moved. But, what if this is just a trap?”

“Is it a trap?” asked Tesa, her eyes looking directly into Mozzy's.

Mozzy met her eyes. “We are sincere. This is life or death, and you are safe with us.”

Tesa considered her a moment, then nodded. “We’ll take the storm drains, then I’ll use the next portal,” she turned to the man behind the counter, “and I’ll meet you at the next Eight Watchful Eyes later tonight.”

“Fine,” replied the man. “Hurry. And watch your back. We’ll be out of here quick.”

Borough scowled. Or continued to scowl. “Whatever you want.” He turned to go into the other room, presumably to start readying for the move.

At that, the gray man behind the counter started pulling down inventory into sacks with the hand of someone who had done so countless times. Feeling that they would be gone soon, Mehen looked around, spotting a crack in a floorboard. When no one was looking, he tossed the silver coin into it as quietly as he could. The group had decided the coin must have some kind of magical tracking spell on it or that it was tied to something of that nature, and they did not want to carry it around with them after leaving with Tesa. Hopefully, hiding it here would be their best option. Red Wake would show up to an empty store, and their debt would technically be paid. That was the plan, at least.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
The storm drains were full up to their knees. It had been raining for almost two days, so that was to be expected. Even so, just because you’re expecting to be cold and wet doesn't make being cold and wet any more comfortable. They trudged on through the maze of passages. Tesa told them that they were in the Lower Ward headed toward the Lady’s Ward, but to them, it just looked like any other underground tunnel, not that the urban dwellers had much experience with underground tunnels. Nor soaking wet boots, to be honest. How she had learned her way around here they were content to let remain a mystery. It was slow going slogging through the water, and what would have been a half an hour walk on the surface was easily taking them over an hour to slog out foot by foot.

Mehen had taken the lead, holding a torch up and taking direction as Tesa led from right behind him. The others fell into formation with Jer in the rear, all watching their backs. The storm tunnels of Sigil had many stories surrounding them, from tales of the occult to those of animals or other beasts making underground lairs ready to ambush would-be spelunkers. They were taking no chances by being caught off guard, and even as they shivered, their senses were as alert as always, their bodies ready to fire adrenaline at a moment’s notice.

“You know, this isn't exactly the life I expected when I threw my lot in with you guys,” said Jer, maybe half jokingly. He was up to his waist in sooty water.

“Just be glad we didn't have to take the sewers,” Aurian pointed out. “This is clean by comparison.”

“Try not to jinx us.”

“Easy for you to say, wizard. With a flick of your wrist you’ll be clean again,” said Mehen from the front as he pushed open another storm gate that was supposed to be welded shut. You could always count on the city to ignore upkeep on the Lower Ward.

“And you as well when we get out,” Aurian pointed back.

Mehen paused, looking back. “Just remember why we keep you around,” he joked.

They ducked through the small portal, going into a tight tunnel with a tall ceiling. The water was flowing faster through the cramped tunnel, but they pushed ahead nonetheless, Mehen holding the torch aloft as they walked making sure to keep it out of any of the pouring water coming from the street above. Ahead, just on the edge of the light, he saw a cloud gathering. He was trying to figure out what he was looking at when he saw that it was moving toward them. Fast.

“Bats! Duck!”

As they dropped into the water, a swarm of bats flew past them, hundreds of the creatures.

“I think they're gone.” Mehen rose from the water, now his entire body soaked through. The others followed suit, righting themselves carefully.

“Think there will be more?” asked Aurian.

“If we’re lucky, there will only be bats,” remarked Mozzy.

They continued again in silence, listening more intently now for any signs of subterranean inhabitants. The din of the water falling around them from the streets above concealed all but the loudest noises, but they weren’t taking any chances. Several minutes passed before Mehen saw another cloud ahead. This one was smaller. He started to crouch, but something was off. Different. They weren't rushing forward. They were hovering just outside the torchlight like they were waiting, hunting.

“Watch yourself. Those are blood drinkers called stirges,” Mozzy called out from near the rear. “I've heard about them. Never seen one up close, though.”

The stirges began to move toward the group. They readied to fight off the tiny creatures, perhaps half a dozen to a dozen of them buzzing and flitting around in front of them. As the creatures approached, Jer hummed a melody, and as he did, they could see the small creatures wobbling. Slowly at first, then more and more while his humming grew louder. Suddenly, he stopped the song and the creatures all fell into the water below, sinking to the bottom.

“I put them to sleep. They should drown, and they won’t bother anyone anymore,” said Jer, smiling. He motioned for the group to start moving once again with an exaggerated flourish.

“Remind me of that next time I have insomnia,” said Aurian as they continued through the waterlogged tunnel.

Another half an hour passed of wading and walking, and they found an area of tunnel that had a raised platform to one side, allowing them to step out of the water. Climbing up, it was a relief to finally have hard ground under them. Their pace increased, and in another ten minutes they had covered a much larger area.

It was as they turned the next corner that they noticed a figure ahead with a light source of his own. There was a dim green light emanating from something he was holding illuminating a wrinkled and scraggly looking face. Two others were standing beside him, unmoving. Unnaturally so. As the group approached it became apparent that they were dead and rotting, and that the man was looking intently at some kind of runed dagger that was glowing with that dull green light. Beside him they could see some kind of fissure, a break in the wall.

Without looking up from the object of his interest he asked, “What are you doing here?”

They weren't sure how to respond. This wasn't exactly what they expected to run across while traversing the storm tunnels. Jer eyed the dagger with interest, but Mozzy gave him a harsh look. They didn't want any misunderstandings down here.

As the group came to a halt, Aurian gave Mehen a push, and the dragonborn stepped forward, just a step, while rolling his eyes at the mage. The man was blocking their way, and they would have to either get very close to pass him or else wade back into the water. Neither option seemed that wonderful right now.

“Just passing by.” Mehen was close enough now to see that the break in the wall led to some other passage, carved out of Sigil's natural rock if anything about Sigil could be considered natural, and into some kind of passageway or tunnel. It looked like this wasn't originally supposed to be an entrance to wherever this was.

The man languidly looked up at the group before him. There was no look of surprise, or interest, or really any emotion at all. His eyes lazily moved between Mehen, Tesa, to Mozzy and Aurian, falling on Jer then back again to the dagger in his hand. “Be on your way then.” His voice was flat. He didn't move to make any room for them.

Sighing, Mehen dropped to the water below with a loud splash. The others followed one by one. They tried not to think about what the man was doing down here with that glowing weapon near a hole in the wall that led to some unknown Sigil passages as they continued, the man still paying them no mind as they rounded a turn and he disappeared from view. Finally alone again they climbed back onto dry land.

“We'll have to leave the storm drains just outside the Lady’s Ward,” said Tesa.

“Why’s that?” asked Aurian. “Can't we go a bit into the Lady’s Ward.”

“You want to pop out under a Harmonium patrol and have to spend the night in lockup?” asked Mehen.

“Guess not.”
 

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