"Second Son of a Second Son" - An Aquerra Story Hour (*finally* Updated 04/19)

handforged

First Post
And yet another duel...

Perhaps Telie was jealous that Tim got to go first. Hopefully these things can be resolved without too much drama, but I doubt it with you as a DM.

~hf
 

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Telémakhos

First Post
And yet another duel...

Perhaps Telie was jealous that Tim got to go first. Hopefully these things can be resolved without too much drama, but I doubt it with you as a DM.

~hf

Neither I nor TK wanted to duel, but once TK believed his name would be mud if he didn't accept, he felt he had no choice, if for no other reason than to avoid the scorn of his father.
 

Was it a scenario like this?



And Scene…………..


DM: The demon attacks

PLAYER: I Will Attack with my magic rapier

DM: OK and you hit………mumble mumble

PLAYER: I Will Attack again with my magic rapier

DM: OK and you hit…again……mumble mumble

PLAYER: I Will Attack again with my magic rapier

DM: OK and you hit…again……mumble mumble

Later on

DM: (To himself) how can I prize that magic weapon away from my player? …..Hmmm…….. A Ha!!!

Much Later on

DM: so you are in this Inn and this guy says that your rapier rightfully belongs to him and he would like to challenge you to duel for the rapier

Player: shucks that’s our only magic weapon

nudge nudge say no more

not that I realy think el-remmen would be so petty
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
not that I realy think el-remmen would be so petty

He don't know me very well do he? ;)

But seriously,

1) The association of the sword with its former owner was emphasized right from the beginning, and there were warnings along the way (for example, see InterSession #21.1)

2) In my campaigns a magical item is just another tool for the plot and not something you are entitled to as part of your character's abilities/power level as the 3E default suggests.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #26 – “Challenges, Trials & Tests” (part 3 of 4)

Anulem, the 28th of Ese - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

The days grew cooler, and Ra’s Glory was obscured by clouds at noontime as the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland made their way to the appointed place where Timotheus Smith would duel with Floris Tenbrook. There was a crowd of townsfolk trailing them, and as they passed the tents where refugees were still crowded after the fire’s destruction, it swelled to twice its size to merge with some people already waiting there with Floris Tenbrook.

Word of the duel had spread quickly around town, aided both by Floris’ general reputation and Tim’s nightly carousing, playing up his origins as ‘a simple soldier’, and being free and easy with his coin, buying drinks and wooing ladies of questionable repute.

Victoria Ostrander of Anhur had joined her companions to watch over the proceedings and bless them in the name of her god, as her mother had headed back to Schiereiland earlier that same morning. 1

The agreement had been made ahead of time that the two combatants would fight until one of them yielded and would try their best to avoid blows to the head or other vital areas, and Victoria reminded them of this as she called them over and had everyone bow their heads while she gave a prayer to Anhur.

The opponents shook hands. “We shall be fighting with rapiers,” Floris said with a smile.

“Huh?” Timotheus was confused.

“I challenged you. You set the terms of defeat as whomever yielded first, and now I get to choose the weapons. I choose, rapier,” Floris explained.

Timotheus nodded.

“And remember,” Victoria said to Timotheus immediately after, as Floris looking a bit hungover, did some exaggerated stretches, as the crowd looked.. “How you acquit yourself will reflect on our entire band…”

“And remember there is no dishonor in yielding,” Telémahkos chided his cousin. “Don’t get yourself killed… Remember, you’re supposed to be protecting me!”

“Gee, thanks…” Timotheus looked sour.

“And you know I’d miss you, you lug!” Telémahkos gave Tim a playful slap on the chin. “I want you to be my second in my duel…”

“I always wanted to go to Lilly City!” Timotheus cheered up. He stripped off his shirt, preferring to fight without any hindrances, and wanting to show off his well-muscled chest and arms. Telémahkos handed him his spare rapier after reminding him that honor in dueling generally refrained from either opponent using a magical weapon.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right…”

“Does not custom also dictate that you stand with Floris, since you are his second?” Bleys asked. As Timotheus’ second, the watch-mage was standing beside him.

“Oh yeah!” Telémahkos jogged over to Floris.

There was a murmur in the crowd. They were growing restless; someone was making a killing selling ladlefuls of sour beer from a cracked cask rescued from the fire.

“Shall we begin?” Floris asked. He was wearing his usual yellow billowy shirt, but his long hair was pulled back tight and tied in a close knot to his scalp. He had a large skin of wine and took a long slow sip, and then threw it over to Timotheus who did the same. Floris took one more short sip before passing it to Telémahkos to hold.

Timotheus raised his rapier in salute to Floris, and the swordsman returned the greeting with flair, his own blade humming in the air.

The two warriors came at each other. Timotheus bounding with heavy purpose, as Floris skipped in, moving rhythmically from side to side. He must have underestimated the brawny veteran of House Briareus, because no sooner did their swords meet when Timotheus muscled forward, driving Floris off balance as the former’s blade punctured the latter’s neck and flicked off to the right, drawing a gout of blood. Only Floris’ quick leap back and hurried awkward parry kept Tim’s blade from puncturing his larynx and ending the duel with the first blow! 2 Floris danced back and his hand went reflexively to his neck, risking a peek at his now bloody off hand. Timotheus moved back as well, a look of concern on his face as he wiped a fleck of his opponent’s blood on his sweaty chest.

“Uh… I’m sorry…” Timotheus said, nearly dropping his guard. He raised his rapier in time to block a blow, but Floris was a practiced swordsman, and he used the momentum of his blade bouncing off Tim’s to riposte. Timotheus felt the flick of the blade across his fingers, drawing a painful welt. Again, acting with pure instinct, Timotheus drove his blade forward with great strength, and again, Floris could not keep the blow at bay. He jerked away as the blade sunk painfully into his shoulder. The yellow shirt grew a dirty brown as it absorbed blood. 3

“Ready to give up yet, Briareus?” Floris mocked, and then winced from the pain. His blows were being easily blocked by Timotheus, but his own movement was pained. The crowd was hooting with animalistic excitement. Someone in the back of the crowd yelled, “Kill ‘im!” And it was echoed by a few other voices. A brawl began somewhere in the mix, and some of the town-watch began to drag away the drunken brawlers.

Timotheus stepped in again hoping that one more hard blow would end the fight, but this time, Floris danced and spun to his left and Timotheus felt the blade smack him across the belly and then back side, painfully. He turned around himself, having to step back to make room to defend himself against Floris’ quickening blade. “You’re as good as they say,” Timotheus complimented him.

“I know…” Floris replied with a wink, and then his sudden flurry of cuts and scratches forced Timotheus further back as he scrambled to defend himself. The crowd ebbed to give them room, as Bleys and Telémahkos made sure to keep close. Victoria and Laarus helped to hold the other side of the crowd back as they moved in, and Markos echoed every solid blow with a tittering laugh.

“Give up!” Floris demanded. There was an edge of nervousness in his voice that bloomed in a cough of blood he spat out. The momentum of the duel had turned his way, and Timotheus had countless little cuts and bruises, but those two hard blows Floris had received were making him flag as much as the heavy-footed Tim.

“Umm… Well, how about just a little more?” Timotheus gave a weary smile.

“Finish it, Tim! We’ll heal you!” Telémahkos cried out, letting the excitement of the fight carry him away.

“Hey!” Floris complained. “You’re supposed to be my second!”

“We’ll heal you, too!” Telémahkos replied sheepishly.

Encouraged by the crowd and his cousin, Timotheus came in aggressively again. Floris’ rapier danced around Tim’s, knocking it this way and that, until it moved wide enough for Floris to leap in and drag the thin sword back under Tim’s arm. He raised the basket-hilt of the rapier to block Tim’s heavy retaliatory blow, and then deftly flicked the point up under his opponent’s chin. Timotheus winced with pain and stumbled backward. He tried to raise his sword again, but fell to one knee, and then collapsed.

Floris raised his sword in the air and let out a yell of victory, and then almost fell over himself, but Telémahkos and someone from the crowd held him up.

“Someone had better help him,” Floris grumbled, gesturing to Timotheus with his chin.

Victoria of Anhur kneeled beside her bleeding companion and laid a hand on his forehead, calling to her god to heal him enough to keep him from dying. “Let him sleep off the rest of his wounds and bruises that he might contemplate the consequences of battle…”

“He acquitted himself very well,” Floris Tenbrook called to the crowd, gesturing to Tim. “So let me not hear even one voice say that Timotheus Briareus is not a good swordsman. He is at least half as good a swordsman as me!” There was polite applause from the crowd, but mostly it was already dispersing.

Telémahkos and Victoria carried Timotheus back to the inn, steadying him on a borrowed mule, but Floris protested. “You are my second! You must come with me immediately to celebrate my victory! You!” He pointed at a random townsperson walking by. “Help this fine militant bring her companion back to Death & Taxes, and be quick about it!” A moment later, Floris and Telémahkos were walking off through the crowd, with Bleys following. Laarus helped Victoria bring Timotheus home. “Did I win yet?” he murmured, rolling in and out of consciousness.

“Joining us, Bleys?” Floris Tenbrook asked the watch-mage. He leaned heavily on Telémahkos, who tried his best to look like he didn’t mind. “I did not think you were the revelry type… We’re going to a private party in honor of my victory that a friend arranged, knowing that I of course, would win…”

“I actually wanted to take the opportunity to ask you as I walked with you about the circumstances of Barakis’ death,” Bleys replied. “There are conflicting stories about what happened, but most versions I’ve heard put you at the scene with him…” 4

Floris Tenbrook took a long time to reply. He stopped and drained what was left of the wine in the skin Telémahkos carried for him. “Aye, I was there… At his side… It was a hard fight…”

“Where did it happen?” Bleys asked.

“On the Beach Road…”

“And whom or what were you fighting? Who else was there?” Bleys continued with his questions.

Floris face took on a pained look. “This is not a pleasant memory and now is a time for celebration, not mourning,” he said. “I am still sorely wounded from the fight with Timotheus… I would rather not talk about this now…”

“Very well…” Bleys replied.

“Speaking of Timotheus,” Floris said, turning to Telémahkos. “I have to admit, I underestimated his strength and prowess… That is quite a warrior you have among your ranks…”

“Well, he also underestimated you,” Telémahkos replied.

Bleys the Aubergine left them to their revels and made his way back to Death & Taxes, where Markos awaited him in the common of one of the suites to give the matter of access to Jakos’ tower one more try. The day before he had finally gotten a visit with Jakos, but the old wizard had been uncooperative, and a subsequent visit to the tower itself found it under guard by soldiers from Havesting.

“Not now…” Bleys was dismissive.

“I just worry that some of the stuff in there may fall into the wrong hands,” Markos brought up a point he had made several times.

House Tenbrook shall determine what best to do with property and its contents in order to help fund reconstruction of the burnt part of the town,” Bleys explained.

“Yeah… right…” Markos smirked.

There was a knock on the door. It was a messenger from New Harbinger with a letter for Bleys from young Lord Septimias Giaus Swann.

It read:
swann_summons.jpg


The messenger said he was returning to New Harbinger at noon the next day and was a guest at Havesting, if the watch-mage wanted to send a message back with him. The watch-mage thanked him and tipped him.

“What is it?” Markos asked.

“Something has gone wrong with the negotiations with the lizardfolk,” Bleys said. 5 “Oroleniel has been arrested, but I cannot leave here until I have been replaced by the Academy.”

“We can go without you,” Markos suggested, but Bleys shook his head.


Isilem, the 9th of Keent - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

Late morning found Bleys and Timotheus walking back from some sword practice at the temple of Anhur. Victoria had joined them, but remained behind with her fellow militants, while her companions returned to Death & Taxes. As they approached the inn they noticed a wagon parked in front of Barakis’ house. It was full of bags and crates. The house door was open. A woman in bright purple watch-mage’s robes appeared at the door. She was petite, with short brown hair cut in a style very different from most Thricians, though her fair complexion did give away her Thrician origins. Bleys the Aubergine recognized her as Laurie the Purple from reputation alone

“You must be Bleys the Aubergine,” She hurried forward and leaned forward for a kiss. “We have never had the pleasure of meeting but I already feel like I know so much about you!”

“Well met…” Bleys replied.

“And who is this?” She looked over at Timotheus, and Bleys introduced him.

“Oh! One of the infamous Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland!” She tapped his forearm with a finger.

“Infamous?” Timotheus asked.

“Everyone knows you were involved in whatever happened in Kraken’s Cove,” she replied. “Now be a dear, and use those muscles for good and carry something into the house for me while I talk to Bleys here for a moment about some watch-mage business. And maybe later we can find another use of them…” She gave Timotheus a wink and he went and hefted a crate out of the wagon and lugged it into the house. Laurie took Bleys by the arm. She led him in a quick walk around the house, and explained that she had been sent to be the permanent replacement for Barakis the Bold. She was to be the new watch-mage of Sluetelot. She had him brief him about the state of the town and tell her what he knew of the fire, the recent plague of insomnia and Jakos’ experiments. 6

By the time they came back around the front of the house, Tim had finished moving all her stuff inside. Laurie stepped over to him and gave him a peck on the cheek and led him by the arm to the garden gate as she continued to talk to Bleys.

“I shall tell the members of the council of your arrival should I see them,” Bleys said. “Darbold, Leisel, Floris…”

“Floris?” Laurie’s voice grew tight. “He is still in the watch-mage’s council here? I would have thought he would have taken his leave after Barakis died… Well, it matters not. I plan to dismiss him.”

“Can you do that?” Timotheus.

“Honey,” She winked. “I’m the watch-mage of Sluetelot. I can do whatever I want!” She slapped Timotheus on the rear end as they bid her goodbye and returned to the inn to clean up.

That evening, the young nobles had dinner together in one of the suites and discussed their plans and information. Tymon had returned from visiting his family in Azure, and he informed them that his brothers were working on a detailed map of the area of the King Stones and the route through the Disputed Territories to the lands of the Ray-Ree based on his sketches and notes. Timotheus showed off his recently completed heavy shield made from the hide of the landshark. It was designed to resemble the wedge-shaped head of the beast, with engraved eyes painted black, and encrusted with shards of the thing’s teeth. Telémahkos expressed his eagerness for his masterwork chain shirt to be completed in a few days. 7 Bleys informed the others that he was now free of his responsibility as interim watch-mage of Sluetelot, which now allowed them to travel as a group to Lilly City in order for Telémahkos to fight his duel against Danser Von Huet Blued.

“Which brings us to an important point,” Telémahkos said. “When we get to Lilly City and register at some inn we should not register as the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland. We need a name that is better than that…”

“We should sign in as Timotheus Smith and his Mystery Men!” Timotheus laughed, but no one else did. The group fell into another long discussion regarding a name, with both Laarus and Victoria still being against the party naming themselves at all. 8

…to be continued…

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) While Victoria’s player was still not at this session, it just did not make sense that she would miss the duel.

(2) Timotheus scored a critical hit on his first blow, getting this result: Struck in Neck. Apply Crit Multiplier +1 to Damage Roll (and armor DP damage )– Fort Save (DC 10 + ½ damage) – Fort Save vs. Attack Roll (+15 to save if full helm) or Larynx Punctured, 1d4 bleeder, Die in CON rounds if not repaired. Luckily for Floris, he made his saving throw. Tim’s player also threw in an action die towards the resulting damage.

(3) Timotheus scored a second critical hit on his second contact, getting this result: Apply Crit Multiplier +1 to Total Damage. Once again, Timotheus’ player threw in an action die to the damage.

(4) Bleys has asked several people about Barakis the Bold’s death, but most recently he had gotten this bit of information from Cwell the Hawk.

(5) Oroleniel the Salmon agreed to accompany Sir Septimias Benedict Swann to the Crossroads Bog to negotiate with the Goldstraw Lizardfolk. (See Session #5)

(6) See Sessions #23 to #25

(7) The masterwork heavy shield made of the landshark hide grants an additional +2 enhancement bonus to armor class. The chain shirt would be forged to grant a +1 to armor class, and reduce the armor check penalty by 1. (See Masterwork Weapons & Armor)

(8) The group has had many discussions about naming themselves with a great deal of disagreement (what a shocker!), both in and out of character.
 

handforged

First Post
What a great job Tim did. It sounds like picking the rapier didn't help Floris after all with all of the crits. Too bad Tim couldn't get one more solid hit in. Now that Bleys is no longer the "LAW!" I wonder if he will continue to pursue the passing of Barakis. I guess all will be revealed in due time.

One duel down, one to go.

~hf
 

honor and chivalry

Since when does the challenger in a duel get to decide what the duel will be fought with?

What happened to honor and chivalry and all that?

I look forward to your next post

EDIT

never mind i got my duels mixed up and also i am begining to sound like a heckler

my bad
 
Last edited:

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
InterSession #26.1 – “Timotheus & Floris in Sluetelot” 1

Later in the evening, the day before the Signers planned to travel to Lilly City, Timotheus Smith sat in the common room of Death & Taxes with a mug of ale in his hand. Sharing his table were a pair of iron merchants, with whom he was amiably swapping travel tales.

Timotheus was raising his mug for another hearty swig when he saw Floris Tenbrook enter from the main square. "Hey, Floris!" he called. "Over here!"

"Greeting Timotheus! How is the mighty Bastard of Briareus, greatest warrior of the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland?" He waved to Barton Digits, who quickly filled a mug and two shots of dwarf spirits for him. Floris raised two fingers and pointed to the table, and the innkeeper set up another.

"Those are some mighty ugly ladies you are chatting up," the noble duelist said with a wink, gesturing to the iron merchants. "Go away now…" He said to them. "This is swordsman talk, not about pinching coppers or mining iron…"

The merchants left grumbling as Barton brought over the drinks. Timotheus was momentarily nonplussed, but then waved a friendly farewell to the merchants. "See you around, Gavin, Miles! Give my regards to my Da next time you're up Chalkour way!"

Knocking back his first mug, Timotheus set it aside to make room for the new drinks that Barton brought. "You're looking good," he said to Floris, picking up one of the shot glasses; it looked tiny in his grip. Floris handed his long woolen brocaded coat to Barton, and he straddled a seat, he wore black leggings beneath his kilt. "Throat's healing up good, yeah?” Tim asked. “Soon you'll be ready for another go! Though maybe a friendlier one this time." He grinned and took the shot

"It's fine…" Though his hand went reflexively to his throat. "I don't have time for these friendly duels… I did it to humor you, my friend…to give you and your group a little boost. . There is not much reason to keep dueling someone if there is no issue to be resolved…" There was an underlying menace to his words, though his smile never died. He took a shot and followed it up with a long slow sip of ale. "Where's your cousin?"

"Not really sure where he is," Timotheus replied, the joviality of his voice making his obliviousness to Floris’ tone obvious. He threw down the second shot and followed it with a mouthful of ale and smacked his lips. "But you know him, he's probably off with a girl somewhere. Maybe with this new watch-mage Laurie… She's certainly pretty enough for his tastes. Speaking of which…" Tim lowered his voice. "Do you know her? Because she sure seems to know you, and I think she has some pretty strong opinions."

"What?" Floris put down his mug of ale heavily and a bit came splashing out onto the table His tone grew even more grave. "Laurie? Laurie the fncking Purple? Is taking over for Bleys?" He looked Timotheus right in the eye with such intensity as if to pierce through it and read his mind.

Tim grinned nervously. "Uh, yeah. That's the one… I guess you know her, huh. Old girlfriend or something?" Floris upset the table as he stood, the drinks spilling and the glassed scattering on the warped wooden floor as the table teetered back to stillness. He turned and began to storm out, but stopped and walking back and leaned on the table, putting his face right in Tim’s and whispering, his demeanor completely changed.

"Tell your fncking cousin that he had better not have forgotten what we talked about when he first got back into town.2 I can only protect him for so long…" Floris hissed, at the edge of restraint. He turned, and this time, did stalk out.

Timothes stood and followed Floris out onto the street. "What the hell are you getting angry at me for?" he demanded. He put a hand on Floris' shoulder, and said more quietly, "And I'm not done, I heard something I thought you should know. So can we go somewhere and, you know, talk for a minute?"

Floris turned, fuming. "I don't have time for this bullshlt right now…" he looked around and seeing the street mostly deserted walked across it and to the corner of the alley that led behind Barakis' house, but then noticing light coming through the curtained windows, walked back across and signaled Tim to follow.

"What is it? Hurry with it…" He asked quietly.

"She said she's gonna kick you off the council. Dunno if you can do anything about it, but I thought you'd want a bit of warning, you know?" Tim was uncomfortable. "But you didn't hear it from me, okay? I really don't need that kind of trouble."

Floris sighed with exasperation as if Tim just said the most obvious thing in the world. "Don't forget to tell your cousin," is all he said in reply and walked off, trying to end the conversation once again.

"Uh, okay, sure." Timotheus raises his voice to add, "Catch you later!"

Later that night Timotheus went about town to do some more carousing and ended up being kicked out Laurie the Purple’s bed just before dawn. 3

End of InterSession #26.1

-----------------------------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) This InterSession was played out on messageboards after Session #26, but before #27. Since it goes chronologically in this part of the story hour, I chose to put it here.

(2) See InterSession #21.1

(3) This event was actually mentioned during the session, but it made more sense here than with the way I broke up the actual session installments, so I stuck it here.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #26 – “Challenges, Trials & Tests” (part 4 of 4)

Osilem, the 10th of Keent - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

The next afternoon they headed out to Lilly City. They took a galley that took passengers from Sluetelot to the ‘City of Flowers’. Timotheus sat near the stern strumming his lyre poorly, and the rest of the group kept their distance from his painful strains, talking quietly and observing the high battlement-topped walls that lined the canal in many places on the south side, and the rolling green landscape to the north. Ahead of them to the west they could see the blue-green sheen of the Captured Sea growing larger and brighter as they approached. The green landscape grew dotted with white buildings and scattered forms of herds of sheep and other domesticated animals.

The galley rowed out into the Captured Sea where surging fresh water roiled with the dirtier water of the canal, and then turned through large gates into Lilly City itself. Sometimes called ‘the Drowned City,’ the city was made of islands with platforms of wood and stone built upon them. It had broad avenues of water that wound its way through the city, flowing in and out a moat-like trench that surrounded the immense area. The ferry let them off at the top of large protrusion of earth and rock that served as the city’s harbor. The galleymaster referred to it as ‘Island Port.’ Two squat towers defended the passage beyond here into the city itself. The Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland waited in the shadow of one of the towers, at waterside, looking out over the city in rare silence. They could see the central tower of House Roorback’s citadel, http://aquerra.wikispaces.com/Terrapin]Terrapin[/url], at the center of the city, dwarfing everything but the spire of the High Temple of Ra not far from it.

“You folks looking for a gondola?” A voice called up from the docks below, and they saw a long narrow shell with a partially enclosed cupola, and a long pole for propulsion and steering. At its helm was a young man dressed in a vest and a dark blue kilt. He hopped off his boat and walked up to the young nobles, and then stopped in a sudden and exaggerated manner when he saw Bleys the Aubergine.

“Ah! Noble watch-mage! Allow me to bring you and your companions to your destination this dimming evening,” the gondolier said. He bowed deeply.

The man’s name was Peter and the party asked him to bring them to an inn. “The Gold Arch Bridge and Inn,” he told them as they climbed on. “Not far at all!”

“How much will it be?” Bleys asked.

“It such a short trip!” Peter protested with humor. “You are obviously fine and gentle noblemen and women visiting our fine city. Pay in advance for my being your gondolier on the morrow and the rest of tonight is free. There is no need quibble over coppers for each trip.”

Bleys agreed.

As Peter poled them to the inn, they could see that the islands of Lilly City were connected in clusters by bridges, but a gondola was required to traverse the entire city, and with the most convenient mode of travel in most areas. The buildings and islands were covered in fragrant flowering creeping vines, and anyone who smelled the polluted canal water understood why the plants were ubiquitous

The Gold Arch Bridge & Inn was indeed a bridge, or at least it was built as part of an immense bridge that crossed the Grand Canal that led into the center of the city and under which most boat traffic had to pass to enter or leave its boundaries..

“How convenient! You can puke right out the windows into the canal!” Timotheus joked, and his cousin glared at him.

The gondola was moored at a small island that held a support for the great bridge. The architecture was impressive. The inn was a long sprawling building with one whole level beneath the span of the bridge, and partially enclosed staircases led up to the inn within the frame of the supports. Peter was told to wait around as they would be visiting somewhere else after checking in, and he gladly agreed to wait. They noticed nearly a dozen gondolas moored on the other side of the canal at the other support, and a small cottage that looked like was a place to hire passage around the city.

Porters appeared to take their packs and gear and carry it upstairs for them, though the young nobles were allowed to ascend first.

The Golden Arch Bridge & Inn was startling in its quality. They stepped into a sitting room decorated with a plush carpet, bright paintings of the Captured Sea and scenes from the Lilly City canals and bridges in gilded frames. The chairs were plush and wrought with decorative black iron, and the tall desk of the clerk was a deep beautiful mahogany. A low fire crackled in a hearth in the cozy room. Peter Van Durant, the fancy inn’s host greeted them with quiet respect, addressing most of his comments to Bleys. The inn was owned by different branch of the Winter family.

They were shown to two suites on the lower level that hung beneath the bridge. They each had common room with a large window looking out onto the city, and two separate smaller bedrooms. Bleys and Markos shared one suite and Timotheus and Telémahkos the other. A cot was carried into the suite common room for Tymon. Markos tipped the porters generously when they carried his things into the rooms. Laarus and Victoria, however, were put in a suite up on the bridge level, as that was the final vacancy.

After dropping their gear, they hurried back down and had Peter pole them over to the Silver Harbor, the place Danser Von Huet Blued had said he could be found in order to arrange for the time and conditions of the duel itself. The tavern was well-named if it were a tarnished silver harbor it were named for. It had swollen and warped moors, and the building itself listed, with a half-collapsed sealed-off porch that was slightly more than half under water.

The inside was dark and dingy, and there was Danser bouncing coins on a table top in some elaborate drinking game he and a group of dirty looking men in frilly shirts and tight pants played for money, as some well-endowed wenches looked on.

“Ah-ha!” Danser Von Huet Blued stood suddenly as soon as he noticed Telémahkos and the others. “So you decided to actually show up! Excellent! It is always more honorable to face your defeat with courage and magnanimity.”

“We shall see who will defeat whom,” Telémahkos replied. “And yes, I have arrived for our duel… Now we only need decide when and where and by what terms.”

“Go and sign us up for a time to use the arena in the Duelist Market Square. It can be arranged for at the temple of Fallon,” Danser replied.

“The Temple of Fallon? Really?” Victoria was confused.

“The Fallonites take small donations in return for the service of keeping track of the duels and administering over them so that fewer are killed or gravely injured than would otherwise be,” Danser explained. “As for the conditions, we already know that when I win I shall take back my rightful possession, the sword of my former master, and if you… ahem… win, then you shall have proven yourself a worthy enough swordsman to wield it – though, there are few I think, perhaps, including yourself? Heh… Few who think you have any chance of defeating the student of Kilgante Valeros!”

“Yeah… Yeah…” Telémahkos was dismissive. “I get to chose the conditions of victory, and the first of us to yield or fall unconscious shall be declared the loser.”

“Those terms are acceptable, and we shall fight with rapiers,” Danser replied.

Telémahkos told his challenger that he would return with the time of their duel (aiming for the next morning), and he and others got back on Peter’s gondola and headed out to the Duelist Market Square, not far off the center of the city, and often in the shadow of the spire of the High Temple of Ra when the sun was shining. As it was, Peter lit a small lantern he hung from the prow of the gondola, and poled carefully in the darkening waterways of Lilly City. The square island had several buildings on it, but the vast majority of it was given to dozens of stall for merchants and peddlers to hawk their wares. The vast majority of them were already closed and the rest were closing. There was a recessed area where the duels took place and perhaps a hundred people or more could squeeze into the three-tiered stone levels overlooking it. As the young nobles made their way across the wide plaza, they noticed a large weapon smithy, another place where gondola service was rented, a message post noted for its pen of pigeons and its faultless on wooden perches, and finally the white stone of the long temple of Fallon. It was built low to the ground, and the front doors were down a short and wide set of yellowing marble steps.

The Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland were greeted by Felix of Fallon, who gladly chalked in the name of Danser and Telémahkos for an hour after noon the next day in return for a silver coin for the temple.

“While we are here, we also have need to speak with the ranking Medicus here,” Bleys the Aubergine said to Felix. “It is regarding a matter that we believe is of some importance to your order…”

“Certainly,” Felix gave a shallow bow and had them wait in a sitting room outside of the of the inner temple chamber where the altar was. The portion of the temple dedicated to the recording and arranging of duels was in a narrow wing just off the entranceway, far from the sacred chambers and hospital itself.

Phaedra was the high priestess at this healing house. She was approaching middle-age, but her hair was already graying, she had a hard face, but kind eyes, and listened patiently as Bleys told the story of the recovery of the Amulet of Fallon from the Tomb of Dalvan Meir. 1

“Do you know Leisel of Isis? It was she who told us we’d be best served bringing it here,” Laarus of Ra said. 2

“Oh, Leisel! What a lovely woman she is!” Phaedra’s face lit up when the priestess of Isis was mentioned. “You do our temple and Fallon great honor to return to us this ancient item from the days before our order even existed!”

“We did not know if it would be right to keep it, but agreed that your wisdom on this matter would be the best followed, if you said we could keep it we would…” Bleys said. Markos leaned in, eager to hear the answer to this. He had spent a good deal of time back in Sluetelot and on the journey to Lilly City trying to convince his allies that they should make an offer to the temple in regards of some kind of favor or reward for it return.

“This shall come into the hands of the Church of Fallon and be sent on a pilgrimage around the world to heal the sick and wounded,” Phaedra replied. “Such relics are best not kept unused in one place, or used by the same people for too long… Fallon’s favor is meant to be shared. It shall travel from temple to temple and we shall be sure to let everyone who hears its history know that it was the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland who retrieved it from a tomb of darkness and evil…”

“Also know as the Sons of Thricia…” Telémahkos added. “If you could also let it be known that our charter would be open to having one of your order accompany us on our adventures as we seek to aid the people of Thricia and right more wrongs, we would really appreciate it…”

Phaedra of Fallon agreed to do so.

On the way back to the Silver Harbor, Peter decided to bring them the long way around, past the impressive walls of the High Temple of Ra and the towers of Terrapin, in order to get a view of the Theatre of the Fire Gods. It was huge impressive building of three crenulated spires and long wide steps that led up to a broad open patio from which the inner theatre was reached. It was constructed of red and brown stone, and decorated with long narrow tapestries of yellow, red and gold, that ruffled in the wind and were lit up by the flickering lights of reflecting lamps.

“This impressive theatre is really the jewel of Lilly City’s architecture,” Peter told them. “It is the home to the renowned Rainbow Garland Players, and once a month Ataro the Olman Princess sings a special performance… I have never been able to go, but I hear it has people falling into the aisles, weeping from the sadness or joy that her divine voice evokes…”

After a quick stop at the Silver Harbor to let Danser know about the arranged duel, the young nobles returned to the Golden Arch Bridge & Inn to eat and rest before the next day’s activities; that is, except for Markos, who was making plans to go back out again…

End of Session #26

----------------------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) See Sessions #17, 19 and 20.

(2) Actually, it was Amarantha Roorback of Isis that told them to bring it to a temple of Fallon, though Leisel was present. See Session #22
 

handforged

First Post
I am a bit more concerned about this upcoming duel than I was about the last one. Hopefully it won't end too poorly. I like the pseudo-Venice. I think every campaign world should have one, there is just so much that can be done with a city that doesn't work the same way every other one does.

~hf
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Wow! There have been nearly 1000 views of this thread since the last time I posted an installment! Who are all these people looking at this and not posting? :p

Anyway, life (and death) have conspired to keep me from updating recently and also led to the cancelation of our last session. We are supposed to play Session #39 this coming Saturday afternoon, and I also hope to post an installment by the end of the weekend.

Peace.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #27 – “Loose Ends, New Threads” (part 1 of 3) 1

Markos awkwardly waited in the dining room of the Golden Arch Bridge & Inn. This part of the inn was on the bridge level and had a big open patio with windowed doors that led out to the main thoroughfare. It was decorated with dark stained wood and cushioned benches. The tables had ornate centerpieces of fresh flowers, and a skinny girl in a pink dress played with quiet beauty as about a dozen people in groups of various sizes ate a quiet dinner. He had ordered some food “to go,” which had really confused the matron. She offered him room service, but he demurred, merely wanting something in a covered bowl he could transport, and a spare set of utensils. Though obviously trying not to appear put-out, the woman never-the-less sighed as she combined the various carefully prepared foods in a large bowl, covered it with a plate and cut a hunk of bread and put it on top, and handed it over.

“How much do I owe you?” Markos asked.

“It will be billed to your room,” she replied.

“Thank you…” Markos carried the bowl down to the moors where Peter waited. “I got you something to eat,” he said.

“Thank you! Thank you, sir!” Peter was surprised, and taking the bowl lay in the bottom of the boat. “Where shall you be going this evening, sir?”

“No, no… Eat! I am in no rush…” Markos said.

“Uh… I… uh, was planning on saving that for later,” Peter replied. “I already ate dinner, and honestly the night is not a time to spend much time about in Lilly City, what with the trolls… If you are plan on going somewhere tonight you should go sooner rather than later…”

“Trolls?” Markos was intrigued.

“Robbers that drag their victims under bridges and slit their throats and taking anything of value, sometimes even their clothing,” Peter explained.

Markos had Peter bring him to the Theatre of the Fire Gods. They passed the occasional gondola, but the canals were already much more empty than they had been earlier in the evening. The area in front of the brightly lit theatre was an exception, as it was crammed with fancy watercraft and impatient servants chatting among each other, some of them playing cards in one of the boats. Several members of the Lilly City watch guarded the area immediately around the theatre.

It took Peter a while to get the gondola into a position to moor it. The other gondoliers stared at them with disdain. All the boats present were privately owned craft, save for Peter’s gondola, which suddenly seemed shabby in the present company. Markos paused at the bottom of the wide steps that led up to the arched entrances, and spied a couple leaving early. He looked from them in the fancy clothes to his own travel-stained cloak, and his plain woolen pants and tan shirt. He ran a calloused had through his wavy blond hair and took a deep breath and began to make his way up the stairs.

At the entrance a young woman intercepted him. She wore a long black coat over a simple white dress. There was a red band on her arm that identified her as part of the theatre staff.

“Deliveries are in the back,” she said at first.

“Uh… No… I am here to… Yes! Uh…” Markos struggled to remember the few lessons in etiquette he had managed to get in with Euleria in the last few weeks, 2 but his delivery was stilted and his cadence haphazard as he stopped to think of the most flowery and polite words possible. “A pleasure to meet you. I am Markos Ackers of House Raymer and was hoping that I might speak to the director of tonight’s production…”

The young woman was shocked and embarrassed, but obviously still not sure what to make of Markos.

“Do… Do you have an appointment?” the woman asked.

“Uh, no… But it shouldn’t take too long…”

“He is watching the performance…”

“Perhaps if I wait for him? Could you bring him a message?” Markos asked.

“You may wait in hopes of catching him, sir… But I…uh… he is a very busy man with a notorious obsession with protocol and his efficient use of time… Perhaps you can return in the day time when there is not a show going on and make a date with his secretary…” The woman was trying very hard not to insult Markos, but was clearly worried about the director’s reaction if she were responsible for letting Markos get to him.

“May I purchase a ticket to see the rest of the show and see if I may be lucky enough to run into him after?” Markos asked.

“There are no more seats available, but House Raymer does have a reserved box…” She began.

“No!” Markos snapped. “Uh… I mean, no, thank you. I would prefer to not run into any members of my family… I could I just stand in the back and watch?”

The woman agreed to show him in, but once again Markos became self-conscious about the way he was dressed.

“Am I going to look like a fool in there?” He asked the usher. Her eyes grew wide with anxiety. “Why, sir…” She said nervously. “You could never look like a fool… Anyway, you will be standing in the back… No one will see you…”

Back at the Golden Arch Bridge & Inn, the rest of the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland took their time eating a rich meal of three courses, and lots of wine and mead. Timotheus enjoyed the food, but complained about the staid atmosphere of the place.

“There are other places in Lilly City that may be more to your liking,” Bleys said. “However, this city is not Slutetelot…”

“How do you know so much about Lilly City? I thought you were from outside of Weirspierogen,” Timotheus asked.

Bleys nodded, “But I spent my apprenticeship at the Golden Tower of the West, home of House Schemerhorn, less than a mile up the shore of the Captured Sea.”

“Telémahkos,” Victoria got her companion’s attention. “Tell me, do you have any plans for the duel?”

“Plans?” Telémahkos asked.

“Well, do you have an assessment of this man you are dueling?” She asked in return.

“I know nothing about him except that he claims to be a student of the man who once owned the Steel Whip,” Telémahkos replied.

“If you do not mind a little advice, I guess that he will be over-confident and seek to end it quickly,” Victoria said. “Take it slowly. Try to be the one to set the pace… Be patient and wait for your opportunity… Worst comes to worst…”

Telémahkos interrupted. “Worst comes to worst I’ll have his steel in me.”

“No, we will protect you, and even if you are to fall we will see you healed. I meant, that if worst comes to worst he will reclaim the Steel Whip, but we shall keep you alive…”

There was still over three hours of the opera left to be performed when Markos began to watch, and while at first he was entertained scanning over the crowd of well-dressed nobles, merchants and wizards, soon enough the action and music on stage was too much to resist, and he was drawn into its beauty. The opera told the story of a young tortured king of the Sunra Kingdom who traded his soul to a fiend in order to save the life of the woman he loved, but that he could never have. When the houselights came up it was like awakening from a dream and once again Markos felt out of place and under-dressed and he quickly ducked out of the theatre and found Peter still waiting before anyone could spot him.

“There you are, sir! Fall asleep at the opera?” Peter asked.

“No, it was quite beautiful actually,” Markos replied.

“Oh course it was, sir…” Peter said. “I have never seen the opera, I don’t know why I spoke out of turn that way… Forgive me…”

“No, no… it’s fine to state your opinion,” Markos replied. “And actually, I would prefer if you spoke to me like anyone else. I’m a boatman, too… A sailor…”

On their way back to the inn, Markos and Peter talked about ships and winds and water, about where Peter grew up (Lilly City), and about his wife and young child. Peter thanked Markos again for the food he had brought, as he had grown hungry while waiting for Markos at the theatre.

“See you bright and early, sir!” Peter called as he pushed off from the mooring as Markos ducked into the stairway that led up to the inn. The young mage stopped back in the common room before rejoining his companions to get a bite himself, and found it being closed down and cleaned up. The servants were put out by his request of food, feeling they had to especially prepare him something worthy of nobility, and all they had left was some stew they had made for themselves. Markos allayed their fears and said some of the stew would be fine, and they grudgingly gave him a large bowl of it to carry back to his suite. He knocked softly on the door and found Bleys in the common room studying his spellbook. They fell to talking about trading spells, a topic that Markos often brought up during downtime, and that Bleys rarely replied to.

Meanwhile, Timotheus went walking out on the bridges in this part of the city and sought out the Temp’s Rise Inn, a six-story building covered in ivy. There he drank, flirting with whores and played some cards, losing a handful of silver before heading back to the party’s fancy lodgings to sleep.


Tholem, the 11th of Syet - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

Early the next morning Laarus Raymer of Ra went over to Flicker’s Gondolas and hired a second boat for the group from the well-known halfling purveyor of transportation in the city that the business was named for. This allowed for him and Victoria of Anhur to go to the dawn services at the High Temple of Ra, while the rest of the group could be brought around town by Peter.

Even the normally taciturn Victoria could not keep from gasping at the beauty and marvel of the High Temple of Ra. The fort-like outer walls of the temple were topped with a golden glass pyramid surrounded by seven tall hieroglyphic-covered pillars. The ceremony was held up there, the morning sunlight glittering amid all the gold on all the stone and people. After the long morning service, she and Laarus met up with Dracius who invited them to break their fast with him.

In the great eating hall beneath the outer temple, the two young noble priests were called up to the table of High Priest Coranatus Barhyte. He was an incredibly tall man with sharp handsome features, and whitening eyebrows, for as all priests of Ra of rank, he followed a vow of glabrousness.

“We are honored…” Victoria said as she knelt to kiss the powerful man’s large gold ring of office, as Laarus had done a moment before. The high priest was curious about their adventures in the Disputed Territories and their retrieval of the Amulet of Fallon. Victoria and Laarus told him much of what they had done, but left out all mention of the Broken Circle or the Nine.

Timotheus and Telémahkos left the inn nearly a full two hours after the two priests, leaving Markos, Tymon and Bleys behind at the inn while they took a look at the dueling grounds by light of day, and hoped to get a view of one of the early matches to see how they were handled.

The crowd was kind of thin for the duel going on when they arrived, most of the people around were peddlers lazily setting up their stalls for the coming day. A Medicus of Fallon was watching the proceedings and young woman with a melodious voice narrated some of the action with the help of an announce spell. A local swordsman dressed in green and called Cambray the Viper fought against a masked duelist named Mezklan Sanchez, each other them with short swords and long jagged knives.

“Go Viper! Kick that foreign fncker’s ass!” Timotheus raucous voice easily carried over the small crowd and everyone turned to look at him. Telémahkos gave his cousin a jab in the ribs. “Ow! What’d you do that for?”

“If he hears you talking shإt and wins he may challenge you next!” Telémahkos hissed. Leaving Timotheus to watch the duel, Telémahkos made his way to the temple of Fallon and found Felix of Fallon going over the schedule of duels.

“Master Briareus! What a surprise! Your duel is not until this afternoon,” Felix said.

“I was hoping you might help me find a fencing master in the city that I might talk to before I fight…” Telémahkos replied.

“Nervous?” Felix smiled. “Local swordsmen tend to be secretive about their tricks and forms, so I would recommend someone from outside of the city. There is a famed swordsman from the Kingdom of Herman Land staying at the Temp’s Rise Inn… Perhaps he might be willing to help you…”

Telémahkos thanked the priest and left a small donation in the urn as he left, using his usual trick of bouncing the coins just right to sound like several were falling in. Leaving Timotheus to watch the duels and wander the market, Telémahkos had the gondolier bring him to the Temp’s Rise Inn, and then sent him back to the Golden Arch Bridge & Inn to pick up Markos and Bleys and bring them to the Duelist’s Market Square.

There was no comparison between the place the Signers were staying and the Temp’s Rise Inn. It was shabbier than even Death & Taxes back in Sluetelot after its wildest night. There were older men there, nursing drinks and resting their heads on their arms as if they had been there all night and had no intention of leaving any time soon. There were discarded cards scattered on the carpet, and two partially nude women were asleep on a couch in one corner. The bartender was wiping glasses, and a host in a stained dinner jacket greeted Telémahkos effusively.

“I am Telémahkos Briareus,” Telémahkos introduced himself.

“Oh yes! I know your name and of your exploits!” The host replied. Telémahkos’ eyes narrowed. “Your noble cousin was here last night and he sang your praises and your growing skill with the blade… I understand you have a duel today…?”

“Yes, and it is because of it that I am here,” Telémahkos said. “I am looking for a fellow swordsman… A Herman-lander… I was sent here by Felix of Fallon…”

“Oh! You must mean Mercado…” The man frowned. “Yes, he is staying here… He is probably still sleeping, though…”

“I will pay good coin to have a message brought up to him, and if it matters, I am willing to pay him for his time…” Telémahkos explained.

The host leaned in and lowered his voice. “Between you and me, sir, I am sure he would be willing to take whatever coin you are willing to part with, and maybe more than that… If you get my meaning…”

Telémahkos nodded. “I can handle myself…” He plopped a couple of silver coins into the host’s hands, and then took a seat at the bar to wait. He ordered a jigger of dwarven spirits and sipped it. The wait seemed interminable.

Suddenly there was a ruckus upstairs, and a partially dressed woman came running down, clutching a sheet to her chest. She dashed towards the kitchen. A moment later a man in half-buckled pants, loose boots, and a torn hastily-donned sailcloth shirt came tumbling deftly down the stairs. He rolled and leapt to his feet, and spun. Suddenly, he had a rapier in his left hand and it hummed as it cut the air up and down.

“Who has summoned Mercado the Magnificient?!” The man had black wavy hair and brown eyes and the olive complexion of one from the Ermainian Isles. He looked around wildly, but then his gaze fell on Telémahkos and he winked. “Is this about a challenge?”

“In a way…” Telémahkos replied. “I am fighting a duel this afternoon and came seeking your advice and aid…”

“Then you have come to the right person, for I, Mercado the Magnificent, have defeated more men in my lifetime than you have even seen in yours!” He made dramatic flourish with his blade and then put it away, walking up to the bar. Telémahkos could smell alcohol coming through Mercado’s pores along with greasy sweat, and fought to show no reaction to the swordsman’s sourness. He bought Mercado a drink and soon they were discussing swordsmanship and dueling. Mercado had Telémahkos show him his dueling stance and immediately gave him a laundry list of critiques.

“Trust me! You are getting advice from the greatest swordsman east of the Wizard’s Sea, and once I am done here in Thricia, west of it as well!” Mercado winked, and ordered another drink, pushing a couple of coins from the pile Telémahkos had left of the bar towards the barkeeper.

“Is that what brought you to Lilly City?” Telémahkos asked.

“Mercado the Magnificent plans to remain in Lilly City as long as there is war in the east!” Mercado gave Telémahkos another wink. 3

Mercado’s jaundiced complexion brightened with each drink, and Telémahkos left him with a handful of extra silver for his troubles. “Return whenever you want to become a true swordsman,” Mercado said as Telémahkos left. “And remember, be aggressive!”

…to be continued…

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) Session #27 was played on Sunday, March 16th, 2008 in Brooklyn, NY.

(2) Markos was working towards putting a point in Knowledge (etiquette).

(3) Currently, there is mandatory conscription of all men between the ages of 15 and 55 in the Kingdom of Herman Land for use in the effort to quell the rebellion of the Black Islands Barony.
 

handforged

First Post
It seems that I am not the only one concerned with the upcoming duel. And Markos seems like he is really try to learn to be more courteous. Good for him.

I hope that everything is going ok for you, Nemm. Thanks for the update.

~hf
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #27 – “Loose Ends, New Threads” (part 2 of 3)

“Make sure you give Peter a silver when we arrive,” Markos said to Bleys as they walked to the gondola after receiving the message that Peter was there to bring them to the duel. “Who is paying for this stuff anyway? Is it coming from our group fund?”

“Euleria has the group fund in the vault in Sluetelot,” Bleys replied. “We must pay for all this from our own pockets… at least for now. If you want to tip the man, do it yourself.”

“Ugh! This is little trip is going to get expensive,” the mage looked at a handful of coppers in his hand. “Do you think it would be insulting to Telémahkos if I do not attend his duel?”

“No,” Bleys replied. “But if Telémahkos were to die, would you not be sorry you missed it?”

“Yeah, I guess I would,” Markos smirked. In the end he paid Peter an extra five pieces of copper when they arrived at the Duelist Market Square. At this time of day, the area was clogged with boats, and it took some time for Peter to get close enough to allow them to disembark. Once they had, he left to pick up Telémahkos at the Temp’s Rising Inn. Closing in on midday, the place was bustling with people. Also, while most cities and towns in Thricia were mostly populated by humans, as Lilly City was, there were also a number of lizardfolk plying wares and smoked fish.

Bleys and Markos arrived in time to catch the end of introduction of two duelists in the small arena. It was two local boys in their late teens, Rodger and Froederick fighting with long swords and shields. Their swordplay appeared to need some improvements.

“Keep your guard up, Froederick!” They heard Timotheus cheering a combatant at random.

Markos walked over to Tim, but Bleys mingled in the crowd asking about wagers. Soon, he was directed towards Jiminy Grick, the universally accepted odds-maker for duels in Lilly City. He was a little stocky man that might have been mistaken for a dwarf if not for a few inches and a lack of a beard. A large man with a gut as wide as his ample shoulders, stood to one side and slightly behind the diminutive bookie.

“Hello there sir! Care to place a wager would you?” Jiminy asked.

“Not on this duel, but on the next Telémahkos Briareus versus Danser Von Huet Blued,” Bleys replied. The odds were four to one against Telémahkos winning. Bleys bet a single silver.

“Name?” Jiminy asked, as he took long piece of chalk from behind his ear and made a note on a piece of slate he kept tied to his belt with a sling.

“Bleys Winter.”

Jiminy looked up with surprise. “You’re Bleys the Aubergine! You and your friends killed all those people in Kraken’s Cove, and defeated Kilgante and took his sword!”

“They were already dead when we arrived, and the sword was plucked from the sand,” Bleys explained.

“So this Briareus never fought Kilgante?” Jiminy asked.

“No.”

“Hmmm… that might change the odds…” Jiminy rubbed his chin. “Hey! But you’re his companion! You’re not trying to hustle me are you?”

“Hustle?” Bleys cocked an eyebrow.

“The fix had better not be in,” Jiminy replied suspiciously. Bleys went wandering back through the crowd, trying to make smaller side bets with observers noting his intimacy with Telémahkos’ prowess and intimating its insufficiency to beat Danser.

Victoria and Laarus arrived a few minutes after Telémahkos did. Azavia Heartsong, a freckle-faced young bard with long curly brown hair and a kind face that did all the announcing approached Telémahkos, asking him who his second would be and reminding him that neither he nor his opponent could use magical weapons during the duel, nor could they benefit from spells or other items during it either. She would be using a detect magic spell to check them both immediately before the duel. Finally, she asked to hold the Steel Whip in order to hold it up to the crowd when the announcement was made. Telémahkos told Timotheus (who was holding it for his cousin) to hand it over when the time came.

Just when it looked like Danser Von Huet Blued would be late, his voice was heard calling to the crowd. He was leaping from gondola to gondola to reach the Duelist Market Square, as no more boats could reach the mooring. The crowd cheered with each great jump and then parted for him as he came tumbling into the arena with a cocky smile.

A moment later oohs and ahs flittered across the crowd and people began to look up and point, and a round of applause spontaneously broke out. A man was coming down out of the sky. He wore a toga trimmed in light blue, with a sash of the same color and a blue-feathered cap. He had silver ankh around his neck, with a single white feather tied to it, and on his feet were sandals tied up to his knees that had tiny magical wings that were flapping like mad as he descended; his long brown hair fluttered in the wind.

“Greetings people of Lilly City and the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland!” His name was Hobbes the Wing-footed, and he was a renowned Windservant of Shu who served in the local watch-mage’s council. “I have come to see one of these young nobles of growing fame fight an honorable duel!” For a few moments the flamboyant man stole the spotlight.

Soon, it was time for the duelists to be introduced. “Ladies and Gentlemen of Lilly City and esteemed visitors from other parts of Thricia and beyond. We are here to witness the trial by combat of Telémahkos of House Briareus and Danser Von Huet Blued, student of the famed swordsman, Kilgante Valeros in order to determine rightful ownership of the sword of Valeros, the Steel Whip!” Her voice was projected by means of the announce spell, and she introduced Timotheus Smith as Telémahkos’ second, and Danser’s second was a hulking man with a great sword referred to as ‘Mulenbeck the Crusher’.

“It is not too late to yield to justice and just give up the sword,” Danser offered.

“I was about to ask you the same thing, to give up your claim,” Telémahkos replied. Danser just turned his back and went to one corner of the dueling square and took off his vest. As was the custom in Thrician sword duels, neither participant wore armor of any kind.

The two swordsmen met at the middle of the square facing each other and gave each other a short bow and touched blades, before each taking a few steps back.

“En garde!” Danser cried and the fight was on.

“Take him down, Killer! Take him down!” Timotheus yelled as the blades met and the crowd soon echoed with cheers and boos of its own. Telémahkos was aggressive from the beginning, allowing himself a smile when his first good thrust skated off of Danser’s blade and nicked the outside of the man’s wrist. But his smile did not last long, Danser met aggression with aggression, and Telémahkos reeled a bit when the pommel of his opponent’s blade struck him square on the chest.

“That was the last hit you shall score,” Danser said, flicking the pain from his wrist along with a few drops of blood.

They came towards each other again, this time more cautiously, their rapiers ringing against each other as neither could get the advantage on the other. Telémahkos fought on the defensive, waiting for his opening, but his arm was growing tired. Pushed back, he was barely able to parry a blow aimed for his heart, and time seemed to slow as he saw the point of the blade checked less than half an inch from his chest. He flicked back hard, and the swordsmen separated again.

The next time their blades met, Telémahkos took an aggressive tact again, and in return, Danser tried a wild riposte that left him momentarily open.

“Run him through!” Timotheus bellowed, barely audible over the roar of the crowd as Telémahkos felt his blade bite his opponent’s ribs. Blood blossomed on Danser’s shirt. He tried another weak riposte, but could barely get his arm up. Telémahkos sensed victory. He stepped in to apply the finishing blow, and his eyes widened as he felt something slip beneath his boot. Instinctively, he looked down. It was blood and as suddenly it was all he could do keep on his feet, struggling to keep his balance, and lowering his guard. 1

Telémahkos did not feel the pain of the blow. He just saw the world blur and spin and he turned and collapsed, blood flowing out around him.

“As his second it is up to you to say if he yields…” Felix of Fallon said to Timotheus from his place observing the duel nearby.

“Uh… He yields…” Tim replied. “He totally yields…” Felix walked over and applied a cure minor wounds on Telémahkos to make sure he did not bleed out.

Azavia Heartsong walked over and handed the Steel Whip to Danser Von Huet Blued. He held it up in triumph.

“Finally!” Danser said, waving the sword around and smiling wider with each whipping hum of its enchanted blade. “The sword is in its rightful place and in hands that honor my teacher!”

“Do you mean to imply that my companion somehow dishonored that blade?” Markos asked, walking over. His voice carried as the crowd was already thinning, but those who were there heard it clearly.

“By his own admission he did not defeat Kilgante and thus did the sword no honor,” Danser replied, his lip curling with disgust.

“You had best watch how you speak of my companion,” Markos growled.

“By all means, sir… Pick up a blade and we shall pursue a conversation with steel and not with a wagging tongue that cannot accept that his friend was in error, and his defeat proves as much…”

“Feh.” Markos spun around and took a few steps away. “You would do well to learn how to speak…”

“Enough! Sir, you shall meet me here tomorrow at dawn and your impugning me in the moment of my triumph shall be seen to!” Danser challenged.

“No. I will not,” Markos replied calmly, turning back around. The crowd was getting rowdy. A few onlookers cried “coward!” in the anonymity of the crowd.

“Yes… Then you are a coward and by extension all you travel with are cowards if they will not stand to fight in your stead if you are too pathetic to fight for yourself,” Danser said, his voice rising in volume to assure that the crowd heard him.

The rest of the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland glowered at Markos, Telémahkos’ head lolling as he was carried in Tim’s beefy arms. The brawny Briareus turned to carry his cousin to the healing house of Fallon.

Danser Von Huet Blued left the Duelist Market Square, calling out to remind Markos of their appointment the next day, as the murmurs in the crowded market turned to speculation as to whether Markos would even show up. “He has to show up,” they heard one passerby say. “He’s one of them nobles… It will reflect poorly on his House if he doesn’t.”

“Laarus?” Victoria asked the young priest as they walked behind Timotheus towards the temple. “Are you going to allow this?”

“My cousin’s mouth got him into this. I will help him, if he learns the humility to ask for help,” Laarus replied. “But I shall allow no one to disparage House Raymer.”

Telémahkos groaned in a bed in the temple awakening from his stupor thanks to a spell from Phaedra of Fallon.

“You did very well… He was hard-pressed. You have nothing to be ashamed of,” Bleys said. Timotheus nodded.

“Yes, you should take consolation in that you did not embarrass yourself,” Victoria was the queen of cold comfort.

“Leave me alone!” Telémahkos complained.

Soon after Peter brought the young nobles back to the Golden Arch Bridge & Inn, save for Laarus who went back to the High Temple of Ra. On the way, Victoria continued to push the subject of Markos’ duel.

“I get to choose the weapon, right?” Markos shrugged. “I’ll just choose magic and win…”

“It doesn’t work that way,” Victoria replied. Meanwhile, Timotheus repeatedly asked that Victoria use the power of Anhur to heal Telémahkos some more so that he would suffer from no wounds or fatigue.

“All he needs is some rest,” Victoria finally replied as they climbed the steps up into the inn proper.

“Assassins may still be after him,” Timotheus replied. Telémahkos limped into the suite he shared with Tim and Tymon. He was sullen, and now feeling the majority of his bad feelings towards the militant.

“We are far from where he was attacked, and we are all here…” Victoria left to go to the common room and find some food.

After a nap, Telémahkos awoke to find Timotheus sitting out in the common room cleaning and oiling his weapons and armor.

“Oh, you’re awake! I thought we could go celebrate some at the Temp’s Rise Inn,” He said. “Some of the others are coming…”

“Victoria?” Telémahkos asked. Timotheus nodded. “Disinvite her,” Telie replied with rancor.

Timotheus, Telémahkos and Markos made their way to the Temp’s Rise Inn. Markos was hoping to talk over the prospects of his duel with Telémahkos. They took a set of chairs near the hearth for the day had become damp and the wind off the Captured Sea was biting, and proceeded to call over a lyrist and ordered big pitchers of ale and drank down the best whiskey in the house. Soon, they attracted buxom women with an eye for silver. One playfully ruffled Markos’ hair and nibbled at his ear. He sputtered when she slapped her ample bosom in his face. When she and her friends went over to the bar to fetch more ale, Markos looked to Telémahkos and Timotheus with wide eyes.

“I think she likes me!”

“She’s a whore,” Telémahkos rolled his eyes.

“Really?” Markos face grew almost childlike in its visible disappointment.

“Yeah, but go ahead! Have fun!” Timotheus replied.

“I wouldn’t know how to bring up the issue of payment,” Markos’ tanned face grew red.

“She’s a businesswoman. Just be straightforward,” Timotheus said.

“Oh… I don’t know…”

“Do you want to know about duels or not?” Telémahkos snapped.

“Well…” Markos began.

“Forget it, while we have a moment, listen…” Telémahkos leaned over to Markos. “I’ll be your second. You feign sickness and I’ll get my second chance against that blowhard… Or…” He noticed Mercado the Magnificent enter the room, actually everyone did, for he never seemed to enter a room without leaping, vaulting, spinning and announcing his own name in an exaggerated trill. “Or, you can ask Mercado to be your second, if you really want to beat Danser’s ass!”

“He’ll charge too much,” Timotheus reasoned.

“Yes, and I prefer your special brand of viciousness,” Markos nodded in agreement.

After some more drinking, flirting, and groping, the three nobles went their separate ways. Markos headed back to Golden Arch Bridge & Inn. Telémahkos and Timotheus found Peter and had the gondolier dropped the former off at the Duelist Market Square, before taking Tim to the Wayhouse of Ptah.2 Telémahkos went back to the temple of Fallon and sought out Felix in order to get some more healing, after registering Markos’ duel with Danser the next day, with himself as second. He then went over to the weaponsmithy, run by a dark-haired tall and persnickety man named Dextrobe. There he left a deposit of three hundred pieces of silver in order to secure the use of a masterwork rapier for the next day’s duel, and a promise that he would be purchasing a quality weapon in the future.

Back at the inn, Markos ran into Laarus in the dining room and they discussed access to the tomes in the Library of Thoth located within the High Temple of Ra. 3 Laarus had run into Telémahkos’ brother Nikephorus at the temple, and had discussed having some acolytes do some cursory research for them on one or two topics as Markos had asked his cousin to look into the day before.

“It will cost fifty pieces of silver,” Laarus said.

“Fifty!” Markos complained. “Why so much? I just want to look through some books. They don’t need to have other people do it for me… Can’t I get access…?”

“They are sacred books, scribed by Librarians of Thoth over many generations. Not just anyone is allowed access, and regardless, direct access would require a donation six or seven times what they are asking,” Laarus explained.

Markos grudgingly agreed. He wanted information regarding the southwestern shore of the Captured Sea with special attention paid to anything regarding House Amber or references to ‘gold’.

“Now, regarding your duel…” Laarus said.

“I don’t want to discuss it,” Markos replied.

“I know the man’s attitude might have been wanting, but it was breach of etiquette to goad him in his moment of just victory,” Laarus said.

“Thank you for helping me get this information, good cousin,” Markos said as he stood and then bowed with a flourish and a forced smile and left the dining room.

Evening crept in from the east, and several hours later, Telémahkos was in the suite common room talking with Tymon, while Timotheus was in one of the bedrooms, washing his face and changing his clothes for bed. There was a knock on the door.

There was a message at the front desk for Telémahkos. It was from Floris Tenbrook. Telémahkos told Tymon to tell Timotheus where he was going and closed the door behind him. The page sent to fetch him had already turned the corner past the narrow set of steps that led to their suite. When Telémahkos turned the corner at the hall that ran perpendicular to the wide stairway, he looked up startled. The door out to the steps that led to the front lobby was closing, but right in front of him was a tall man in a long woven coat. He had long dark hair hanging loose and moist around his acne-scarred face. There was something familiar about him, and Telémahkos knew what it was when the man pulled a long wicked dagger from his sleeve, even as he pulled back his coat to reveal short sword being slid out of its sheath.

Telémahkos cried out, but no sound emerged. He spun around. There was a lithe brown-haired woman with a pale and placid face standing some fifteen feet back down the hall closing in on him. He spun back around as he sensed the assassin’s blade thrusting at him. Telémahkos slammed his back to the wall and felt the wounds he had suffered earlier in the day ache him. He moved to flee, but the woman let loose with a dagger and it struck him pommel first in the face blackening his eye. He felt something crack in his mouth. The blade was so sharp that he felt it nick him on the leg as it slid down his body to the floor. He staggered. Overwhelmed by the sudden assault, the silence and the fatigue of his day. 4

…to be continued…

---------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) Telémahkos suffered a fumble result that opened him up to an attack of opportunity.

(2) See InterSession #27.1 to read about Tim's experiences at the wayhouse, as they were played out online after the session was over.

(3) There is a shrine of Thoth and full library dedicated to the apis-headed god within the grounds of the High Temple of Ra. Access to their lore is expensive.

(4) He was also not at maximum hit points.
 
Last edited:


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #27 – “Loose Ends, New Threads” (part 3 of 3)

In his suite nearby, Markos was reconsidering the information he had asked his cousin to get for him, and decided to go over it with him again, as much as he hated talking to Laarus for any length of time. The small mage reached for the door, but as he turned to tell Bleys where he was going, no sound emerged from his mouth. He tried again, and again nothing. He hustled a few steps away from the door.

“Bleys!” He could hear himself again. “Bleys! Get your weapons!” He moved back to the door, but the magical silence was no longer in this area. He threw open the door.

Out in the hall, the zone of silence that existed between him and Markos’ door muffled Telémahkos’ voice. However, the blond Briareus could be heard crying out from around the other side of the branching hall that led to his suite as he ran back up the stairs away from the assassins. “Tymon! To arms!” he cried, as he felt the bite of a dagger in his back, thrown by the tall man. As he collapsed he could see the shadow of the woman in the lamplight coming around from the other side of the partition. There was a pain of a blade in his side as all went black.

Sagitta caustus!” Markos did not hesitate. He saw the blade fly from the assassin’s hands, even if he could not see Telémahkos, and he let loose an arrow made of acid, but he misjudged and it hissed as burned a hole in the hallway carpet just short of the wiry man’s feet. Bleys the Aubergine dropped the book he was reading on the ground and grabbed his saber, moving towards the door of their rooms.

Timotheus yelled for Tymon to hurry up as he drew a dagger and threw open the door to their suite, but the area of silence moved with the woman and already suppressed all sound in that rear hall. He could hear none of his own words, and neither could Tymon. But he cursed anyway, as he saw his cousin’s crumpled bleeding form with an armed woman hovering over him. He did not get a chance to react. The other assassin, pointed to Telémahkos and then dragged a finger across his throat, rushing at Tim to keep him in the doorway. Timotheus sidestepped, and managed to hurriedly raise his dagger to keep from being stabbed right through the heart. He was wearing no armor. 1 Ignoring the danger to his own life, he dropped a shoulder bowled past the assassin with such speed and fury that the man could not take the opportunity to stab him. Instead, the assassin lost his balance and was forced to drop to one knee to keep from falling over completely. 2 Timotheus dove, pulling a vial from his belt and pouring it down Telémahkos’ throat, barely avoiding a stab from the woman who changed her target at the last minute from Telie to Tim.

Markos ran up the hall away from the fight and towards the door leading to the inn’s dining area. As he threw open the door, screaming “Assassins!” a maid was about to open it and she shrieked in terror, running back in the opposite direction. Bleys went around that way as well, but cut around the hall the as the female assassin had, to cut off that route. He arrived in time to see Telémahkos crawling away from the fight and dragging himself up a wall in order to stand. The male assassin stood as well, and Telémahkos was barely able to roll along the wall to avoid his blow, yanking his rapier from its sheath. The assassin hopped to the left as Tymon appeared in the doorway, longsword in hand. Bleys left the woman to Tim and moved to try to pen the man in. The woman now had weapon in each hand, and Timotheus struggled to block the fast thrusts from both her sword and her dagger. The zone of silence devoured the sound of the clanking blades.

Timotheus risked leaving himself open to attack and grabbed at the woman to put her in a bear hug, and while she was able to turn away and out of his meaty paws, she had to react too fast to take advantage of the opening. Instead, she fell into a roll, and deftly dodging Tim’s dagger, tumbling over to Telémahkos. His cry of alarm was unheard, but he barely hopped back as her blade bit into the wall. The male assassin now had two weapons pulled as well, and was easily avoiding Tymon’s slow and weighty blows while parrying both Bleys and Telémahkos’ swords. The watch-mage winced as one of his swipes was met with a dagger to the forearm.

Meanwhile Markos was stepping back and forth at the top of the stairs back on the other side where Telémahkos was first ambushed, trying to gauge the edge of the area of silence. Finally, he chanted, “Sagitta Aquom! and sent two blue liquid magic missiles careening into the woman. Timotheus tried to take advantage of the momentary distraction and grabbed at her again. This time he got a cut to his free hand for his troubles. Telémahkos, however, was able to step over and flank the female assassin between him and his cousin, while Bleys and Tymon had the other assassin flanked and pressed him.

“The watch has been called!” The maid cried from the doorway when she crept back to it, but only Markos could hear her. The male assassin skipped away from Bleys and Tymon and again tried to finish the weakened Telémahkos. Telie was able to parry one blow, but the pommel of the short sword punched into his gut and he gasped. The other assassin stepped over as well, and Telémahkos was forced to scramble to keep from getting run through. The killer woman w as so eager in her attempt, she left herself open to a blow to the neck, but able to recover at the last moment, pulling back as Telémahkos chopped at her. 3 Tymon stepped out into the hall, taking the space left by the male assassin and penned him in between him and his master. The man grimaced as he was forced to spin around to keep Tymon’s sword from cutting his kidneys loose from his body. Timotheus stepped over to try to keep the man penned in, and felt the satisfying punch of his dagger through the assassin’s studded leather armor, as blood blossomed from the serious blow.

Markos’ hand crackled with blue lightning as he approached the melee, getting on the other side of the woman.

Meanwhile, on the upper level, there was a knock on Victoria and Laarus’ suite door. “Sir? Madam? There is some kind of altercation downstairs… Something is happening to your friends…”

The two Red Lantern Gang assassins continued to focus their efforts at finishing Telémahkos, but he parried like mad, his eyes wide as he silently panting, rarely getting an opening, and too defensive to take advantage of it when he did. Tymon chewed on his lips with absent obsession as he stepped over to flank the male assassin with Telémahkos. The man shuddered and fell as a heavy blow from the manservant’s sword struck him from behind. The woman swerved to avoid Markos’ glowing hand, but left herself open to Timothues, and again he felt the satisfying punch of his dagger through armor. She let out a silent little cry, but did not fall. However, this allowed Bleys to move around the fight by stepping over the dying man, and slash at the woman with a deep blow across her arm and chest. She was quickly bleeding on the plush carpet of the hall. The silence dispersed.

Laarus of Ra and Victoria of Anhur arrived, weapons in hand. Markos frowned at his crackling hand and dismissed the shocking grasp spell. He then cast detect magic and scanned the two killers.

Bleys the Aubergine got down and began to bind the woman’s wounds, but quickly realized she was beyond his help. Telémahkos began to try to drag the other assassin down the steps, but Timotheus stopped him. “He’s still alive,” Timotheus said.

“So?” asked Telémahkos.

Victoria stepped over and knelt beside the man and asked Anhur to close his wounds that they might take him captive, but the spell was either more effective than she expected, or he was less hurt than he seemed. The man coughed awake and then suddenly spun up to his hands and knees. Telémahkos thrust his sword at the man’s back, but he fell over again avoiding the blow. Bleys stepped over and punched at the man with the basket-hilt of his sabre, but the blow landed awkwardly and to no effect. The man climbed carefully to his feet, avoiding the blows and weapons on the young nobles. 4 Victoria grabbed at him and missed.

Meanwhile, Markos noticed a stone in the belt of the dead assassin that glowed with dweomer, and he hurried over to collect it.

Grunting with pain, the assassin tumbled past the cluster of young nobles. Telémahkos thrust wildly, but missed, and in that moment, a pair of the town guard arrived, men in chain shirts with swords and clubs, but he somersaulted past the one that came to the top of the steps. Tymon ran to the other stairway and blocked the door to the common room, forcing the man to go the other way. Victoria threw herself at the fleeing man, and grabbed at the back of his neck, but the man leaned forward and avoided being grappled. However, he was unable to avoid two of Markos’ magic missiles, and he collapsed again.

“Just stop his bleeding, please!” Telémahkos said to the priests, exasperated. “We’ll let him wake up on his own…” Victoria cast cure minor wounds and did just that.

Timotheus and Markos finished searching the dead woman and found a folded up sketch of Telémahkos in folds of her clothing. It was a good likeness. The sketch was shown to the guards as explanations were given regarding the attack.

Victoria walked over to Telémahkos and laid a hand on his shoulder. “Anhur, heal my companion’s wounds that were suffered for the offenses he has given…”

Telémahkos brushed her hand away and refused the healing spell. “If that is the nature of your invocation, I’ll do without… I’m tired of the two of you!” He gestured to both priests.

“If that is the way you feel about it, you may go to the temple of Fallon,” Laarus frowned.

“By the Gods!” Markos swore, overhearing the exchange.

“Yeah, this kind of thing is the reason why I pray to Isis and Nephthys,” Timotheus said, shaking his head.

The captive was taken into custody and the body was carried off. The guards informed the party that the local watch-mage Berenger the Taupe would want to talk to them about the events in the morning. Peter Van Durant, the host and manager of the inn was appalled by what happened. “What can I do to make up for this horrible breach of security?” He asked. It turned out the two assassins had taken a vacant suite on the upper level earlier that same day, but they had come asking about one the night before.

“A refund…” Bleys replied. Peter Van Durant sputtered.

“Well, this event will likely lead to us staying in Lilly City longer than we planned…” Victoria said.

“Say nothing more,” Peter Van Durant replied. “I will make sure you get a complimentary stay for the rest of your time here…”

“Who of the Winter Family owns this establishment?” Bleys asked.

“Raphael Winter, sir…” The host replied.

“I expected as much,” Bleys said. 5

The host informed them that he had sent for a medicus of Fallon to come and see to Telémahkos’ wounds. After everyone retired back to their rooms, Markos sought out Victoria and Laarus in theirs. “You need to stop insulting Telémahkos and be mature about this,” he told the priests.

Victoria tried to stifle a dry chuckle and failed. “You are right,” she said. “Someone needs to be mature about this…”

“You insulted him by denigrating him in your call to your god,” Markos replied.

“I did no such thing,” Laarus said.

“You’re right. You were just at the wrong place at the wrong time…” Markos said. “It was just Victoria.” He turned to her.

“If he chose to be offended by words then it is his prerogative to eschew the healing of Anhur,” Victoria replied.

“You really can be a pig-headed bit…,” Markos stopped himself and spat, leaving.

Back in Telémahkos and Timotheus’ suite, the latter was pacing back and forth and talking hastily, while Telémahkos lounged on a couch, crestfallen and wounded. Tymon Lowe was cleaning and oiling their weapons.

“No, that’s it! From now on we’re going everywhere together!” Timotheus said.

“We were already supposed to be doing that, but you kept whining,” Telémahkos muttered.

“That’s because we never got to do what I want to do!” Timotheus spun on his cousin, and his voice grew sharp,

“Maybe I should just stay in Lilly City and get myself a real sword master and learn to defend myself better,” Telémahkos said. “Victoria and Laarus can shove the charter up their asses!”

There was a knock at the door, and Tim quickly snatched his dagger from the dropcloth where Tymon was working. “Who is it?” he asked.

It was Elias of Fallon, sent from the temple to see to Telémahkos’ wounds.


Balem, the 12th of Keent - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

Ra’s Glory had still not risen when the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland rose to begin their day. Markos went to see Victoria again, first thing. “I wanted to apologize for how I acted last night,” he said. “I had no right to yell at you or call you a name.”

“Apology accepted,” Victoria replied.

“But, can’t you see why Telémahkos would want for you to not characterize him in an insulting way when you petition your god?” Markos tried again.

“What he wants is immaterial,” Victoria said. “He has rejected the offering of my god. The offense is not to me, but to Anhur…”

“Then educate him… Explain to him,” Markos asked. “Reach out to him and see why he is offended…”

“I know why he’s offended,” Victoria replied.

“Then show him why he should not be offended,” Markos was willing to try anything.

“I don’t think it will make much difference,” Victoria said.

“How do you know if you won’t try?’ Markos’ voice rose a bit, and Laarus came out into the common room having been awakened.

“The only lesson I hope to impart to him is one of honor and courage,” Victoria said. “If he does not comport himself with those facets then he will continue to need to be healed as a consequence…”

“But what about unit cohesion? And morale? Are those not important to the god of war and battle?” Markos asked. “Think about your words in light of that…”

“Fine. I will talk to him.”

Markos thanked the militant of Anhur profusely.

After dressing she went directly to catch Telémahkos on the way to the quick breakfast they’d have before heading to the duel at dawn.

“Markos said you wanted to talk to me?” Victoria said.

“No, and I actually don’t have anything to say to you,” Telémahkos replied, curtly and made to walk past, but stopped and turned. “You insult me at my every turn…”

“I know you think so…”

“And you don’t care about my well being either! Like when you wanted to use me as bait to draw out the assassins,”6 Telémahkos continued. “Are you acting out of the rivalry of our Houses?” 7

“You speak foolishness,” Victoria responded.

“Then what is it? Explain to me why you feel I should be left injured after my duel when my life is in danger,” Telémahkos asked, with obvious hurt feelings emerging from his angry façade. “What offense have I given Anhur that you should refer to it in your prayer to him?”

“Anhur would have you behave with bravery and honor at all times,” Victoria replied. “And the offense I mentioned was not against Anhur, necessarily, but rather I meant the intrigues that led to your own role as a possible assassin and the price that has been put on your head as a result of that…”8

Telémahkos and Victoria spoke a little more and came to an understanding, patching up their disagreement.

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

The first lights were peeking from the east when the Signers arrived at the Duelist Market Square. There were few people around, but those that were had come especially to see if Markos showed up. There was a murmur as he and the others arrived, but he was already looking green, having forced down some filthy canal water before going to sleep and drinking another cupful on the way over. He stumbled over Azavia Heartsong to inform her of his illness, with Timotheus and Telémahkos at his side.

Bleys the Aubergine was wandering around the outer arena area, taking in the scene and seeing the merchants begin to set up their stalls when a big yellow hound came bounding at him from across the square. Cautious, the watch-mage threw out a foot to keep the dog at bay, and it stopped and growled.

“Down Ewan!” A figure was walking steadily after the dog. A tall handsome young man in dark brownish gray watch-mage robes tinged in yellow came up to Bleys. He had cropped light brown hair and light eyes, and wore a long sword at his side. Bleys recognized him as Berenger the Taupe, having graduated from the Academy in Bleys’ first or second year there.

“Well met!” The watch-mage greeted his peer with respect and subdued pleasantries, which Bleys appreciated, and they fell to talking about the assassination attempt on Telémahkos the night before. Seeing them, Laarus Raymer of Ra walked over, and made sure to let the watch-mage know that the assassins were the same as the ones who had attacked in Sluetelot. As the time for the duel approached, Berenger said he would meet them at the Golden Arch Bridge & Inn afterwards to finish the discussion and for him to have a chance to question Telémahkos.

When Markos was called up, he stumbled and vomited (using prestidigitation to tickle his own gag reflex and let loose the rancid water he had imbibed). “I want to fight, but I am too sick…” He croaked.

“I will fight him sick or well, it matters not!” Danser Von Huet Blued responded, coming off as even more angry at Markos than he had at Telémahkos. “Let us determine a suitable handicap and I will endure it and still triumph!”

“No… I cannot fight… Telémahkos will have to fight for me as my second…” Markos insisted.

“I will gladly put the duel off until tomorrow so that I might fight the man who insulted me in my triumph,” Danser offered.

“I can understand why you’d want to put off your embarrassment, but my group has been delayed enough because of this dueling foolishness… It must happen today, or else you will be the coward for not going along with it,” Markos was panting by the time he finished, and then hurried over to the edge of where the gondolas were moored and puked again.

“Coward? I would love nothing better than to cut your tongue out!”

“Ugh, the way it tastes right now, I would cut it out myself, if I could…” Markos replied. Meanwhile, Telémahkos allowed Laarus to heal the last of his lingering wounds with a cure moderate wounds spell. Timotheus rubbed his cousin’s shoulders in an effort to get him to relax and loosen up for the duel. “Listen…” He said quietly to Telémahkos. “What kind of trouble were you in in Sluetelot? Floris said you were in some kind of political trouble?”

“What are you talking about?” Telémahkos flinched and spun around, growing tense.

“Well, I was thinking about it and remembered that Floris said something about not being able to protect you the night before we left… He wasn’t very specific…” Tim lamely explained.9Telémahkos glowered at his cousin and pushed him away.

Azavia Heartsong announced the combatants as she had the day before, and once again the duel began. Once again they fought with rapiers (Telémahkos using the one he had rented from Dextrobe’s), and once again they fought until one yielded. This time Telémahkos tried to slow down pace, while Danser rushed in with heavy blows as if tired of the whole thing already. It had hardly begun when Telémahkos was already forced back, panting, wheezing, sweating, and barely able to keep Danser’s sword from scoring a winning (and possibly fatal) blow.

Telémahkos’ return thrusts and swipes were turned away with little effort. This duel was a parody of the one fought the day before. 10 “Are you even trying?” Danser asked, not mocking, but with true disbelief and more than a little bit of disgust. Unfortunately for him, his disdain distracted him and as he stepped forward for a finishing thrust he did not see the patch of slick mud he was stepping on. Danser’s backside slammed into the ground painfully and those around the arena burst out laughing. Vulnerable, he looked up at Telémahkos, but Telie merely stepped back and gestured for Danser to stand.

The opponent got to his feet and brushed himself off. He tipped his cap to Telémahkos and raised his sword. Telémahkos rushed in, but his blade was knocked aside and he felt the basket-hit of Danser’s sword slam under his chin, and the bite of its blade to his left shoulder as he fell back. He sat in the dust panting, and then slumped over, blood spilling from his open mouth.

“And now you…” Danser turned to Markos and pointed at him with his bloody sword. “You will know when to keep your mouth shut!” Markos bit his lip and looked down as Victoria walked calmly over to Telémahkos and called to Anhur to close his wounds before he died. Danser Von Huet Blued stormed off to a little applause from the crowd.

Telémahkos came around and was helped to his feet by Tymon and Timotheus. “Heh. I could have done that,” Markos said, coming over.

“It would have lasted longer,” Telémahkos replied, depreciatingly. Victoria called on Anhur once again to bring him from the brink of reopening his wounds. 11

Timotheus tried to help his cousin walk, but Telémahkos pushed him off and leaned on Tymon instead.

“If you can’t lean on family, who can you lean on?” Timotheus asked with hurt in his voice.

“Tymon, apparently…” Markos quipped and got a punch in the arm for it.

Back at the inn, Telémahkos’ attempt to cloister himself away from the others due to his surly mood was quashed by Bleys, who reminded him that Berenger the Taupe would be arriving soon to talk to them, and he would want to talk to Telémahkos specifically as well.

Grumbling, Telémahkos retreated to his suite to wash up, and asked Tymon to fetch him some wine. Though Telémahkos was greeting his cousin with icy silence, Timotheus stood by ‘on guard’ the whole time. The Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland gathered in the dining room and met up with Berenger the Taupe, his dog, Ewan, wandering the bridge outside.

As they ate a second and heartier breakfast (Telémahkos drinking glass after glass of wine), they talked over the attempts on Telémahkos’ life, and told Berenger that Captain Angeleena Firth had identified assassins as members of the Red Lantern Gang. Markos showed the watch-mage the stone he had found the night before. “Captain Firth called it a ‘Blood Stone’,” he said. Berenger the Taupe took the stone and examined it and took a moment to cast detect magic and stared it for a few moments and then handed it back.

“The one thing you have not told me is why the Red Lantern Gang would be sending assassins after you in the first place,” the watch-mage looked to Telémahkos. He spoke in an almost Bleys-like voice that brooked no nonsense.

“We ran afoul of them during our adventures, and for some reason they have fixated on me…” Telémahkos began.

Berenger looked from Telémahkos to Bleys who nodded.

“I see… it is a private matter that happens to be localized wherever you are…” Berenger said, cutting off Telémahkos. “I understand.”

“And the assassin that lived?” Victoria asked.

“He is locked away in the dungeons of Terrapin,” Berenger replied.

“Can we speak to him?” Bleys asked.

“It can be arranged, but I doubt it would do much good,” Berenger said. “Even if he did speak, most of what he’ll say are lies…”

“I may be able to do something about that,” Laarus said.

“You have a means of making him speak?” Bleys asked.

“No, but if he does speak we can be assured that he speaks the truth,” Laarus replied.

Berenger said he would arrange for them to get an audience with the prisoner the next morning.

End of Session #27

------------------------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) Remember, Timotheus was preparing for bed when this happened.

(2) The assassin was knocked down by the overrun attempt. In Aquerra campaigns, the rules for knockdown apply not only to weapons, but for bullrushing and overrun attempts as well.

(3) The assassin fumbled, allowing Timotheus an immediate attack of opportunity against her. He missed.

(4) Using a full-round action to stand mitigates the attack of opportunity usually allowed adjacent opponents when getting up from a prone position.

(5) Raphael Winter is the patriarch of a wealthy and independent branch of the Winter Family, who show little interest in being part of a noble house.

(6) Victoria made this suggestion in Session #22

(7) While House Briareus and House Ostrander have the same patron house (or perhaps, because of this) they have long been rivals.

(8) Victoria is referring to Telémahkos’ recruitment by the Herald's Guild to kill Harliss Javell. See InterSession #4.1 and Sessions #6 - #8.

(9) See InterSession #26.1

(10) Telémahkos’ player was rolling as awfully for this second duel as he rolled well at the beginning of his first duel.

(11) The first spell only brought Telémahkos back to 0 hit points.
 
Last edited:

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
NOTE: I made a small correction to the most recent installment, adding a (EDIT: TWO) missing footnote(s).
 
Last edited:

handforged

First Post
Well, at least the assassins didn't keep Markos's second from making it to the fight. It's a shame Telie couldn't kick Danser's butt and take the sword back.

~hf
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Well, at least the assassins didn't keep Markos's second from making it to the fight. It's a shame Telie couldn't kick Danser's butt and take the sword back.

~hf

The second duel wasn't about the sword. He wouldn't have been able to take it back honorably without fighting another duel specifically for that purpose.
 

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