As mentioned last time, Orphan and Sierrafinnia went to the bar (The Lazy Dragon Inn) while Dogar had some unfinished business to take care of, and Luvanar went to the Council Meeting. Orphan started working on getting good and drunk, challenging other patrons to drinking, then punching contests.
A dark-skinned warrior wearing Volhkerhaast colors and a large sword (I forgot to mention that in-game) helped the loser of Orphan’s punching game to his feet, and Sierrafinnia tried to read his thoughts. She was unable to get through his defenses, but she did pick up the stray thoughts of his dark-haired companion, who she decided to chat up while listening in on her underthought:
“Oh, Orren, always helping folk. I love ye fer it, but d’you always have to do it?”
>cognitive dissonance< O’Creagh? That’s impossible! How could she… >apparently communicating mentally with something else< I know, but-
>alarm/outrage/disgust/shame< reading my mind?!
The woman, who was known by the name Xiandra Balefire, was shocked to find out that Sierrafinnia was who she was, and accused her mother of causing her family much pain and loss of status. Sierrafinnia had had no idea that the curse on her was the result of so much trouble, and offered to help out if she could. Xiandra put her off, as she was very clearly uncomfortable around the pixie.
As this was happening, Orphan challenged the Volkerhaasti, whose name was Orren, to a punching game. He politely declined, then seemed shocked to see her there, insisting that she was last in Lotash a month ago. Orphan did not like that line of conversation, and instead began concentrating more on getting drunk. Xiandra withdrew from Sierrafinnia, and told Orren something about her encounter. She too was taken aback by Orphan’s appearance, certain that she was in the company of with General Marcos Demmill in Lotash, far away from here, and on campaign. This made Orphan angry, and while Orren managed to defuse the situation, the two of them were not to become the best of friends. Orren and Xiandra left the bar shortly afterward,
Sierrafinnia tried to talk to Orphan, but she remained closed to her, so Sierrafinnia performed a song about how even despair must pass, followed by a lively song about taking life by the short hairs and yanking for all you’re worth on her harp, much to the delight of the patrons of the place.
Meanwhile, Eilonwy found a curious stone tablet under distressing circumstances while she was gone. She returned and found Masks, who spoke to her briefly, thinking that she had been sent back from the strange realm of golden sand and halfling comforts. She hadn’t, but she had been there, so they bonded briefly, despite Bleddyn being unsettled by the seven-foot masked man and Eilonwy unsettled his tales of what he did to the halflings while he was their guest.
Luvanar wandered back at some point, I don’t remember when, and said that he would be gone for a little while, and that he would catch up as soon as he could.
Masks and Eilonwy found the others, and everyone looked over the tablet. Only Sierrafinnia and Eilonwy were able to read it, and it seemed to be some sort of riddle. They tried to show it to Orphan and Masks, who could not see the riddle.Orphan didn’t care about it, since she was not interested in words written anywhere, and had had more than enough words for several days, after having listened to Luvanar talk so much. Masks put on a mask with no mouth, which Orphan approved of. They talked about the problems of words and emotions, and she felt that they had a moment. Orphan shared her devilweed with him, ranted a bit more, then passed out mid-tirade. The innkeeper rifled her pockets to pay for all the alcohol she’d drank, which was a lot, but Orphan had no money with which to pay, so Sierrafinia covered her, as well as a room for a few nights. Two of the workers at the Inn carried her upstairs, and put her to bed.
Masks tried to take the stone, and touch it with his chains, but the stone did not like that at all, turning into a rough-hewn stone rat and trying to flee from him. Eilonwy caught it and stowed it in her bag of holding, patting it to soothe it. They also made a permanent image of the stone in a discreet corner, in an attempt to show the others what they saw, as trying to transcribe the riddle failed. Finally, they deduced that perhaps their place of origin (The Blue Tree Wilderness) might have been the reason.
Armed with this information, they sought out Xiandra, who was likely from there, or at least its surrounds, and after several entertaining and tasty distractions and an encounter with an enthusiastic fat man, who told them that Xiandra and her companions had defeated the pit fiend that was ravaging the front lines in the battles between Cardinnia and Lotash, they tracked the girl down.
Masks, apparently bored or restless, began wandering the room and relieving patrons of their money. Sierrafinnia caught a glimpse of this before she left, as the weed had slowed down Masks’ reaction time a little.
Xiandra was less than pleased to see Sierrafinia back so soon. She admitted that she was from around the area of Blue Tree, but she could not see anything on the stone. She called for Kevin, who turned out to be an old friend of Eilonwy’s, who seemed to be more knowledgeable of the ways of magic than she was, and he could not see anything either, though he did confirm that the stone was indeed powerful magic.
Back at the Lazy Dragon, Masks found a playmate, and was looming over the hapless fellow, who kept backing away from him, saying that Masks should stay away from him. The other bar patrons were interested in this, as it’s not every day that a 7-foot wraithlike man wearing a porcelain mask with animated chains emanating from his body tries to intimidate someone in your favorite bar.
The man’s distress reached a peak, and two of the barbacks approached Masks and told him to lay off. Masks replied with some sort of cryptic phrase that I can’t remember, and they tried to club him. Masks was too fast for them, a burly man named Ferd, lowered his shoulder and shoved Masks back 30 feet. The patrons “Ooooh’ed” at that. Masks asked Ferd if he wished to change his part, or something almost as cryptic, and said something else along the line of stage direction that a random commoner with an Int of 8-10 wouldn’t understand, then whipped out his chains and flayed the man’s face off. Ferd was dead before he even knew what happened.
Stunned silence, followed swiftly by bedlam and panic ensued as everyone in the bar ran the hell away from Masks, screaming for the guards, who were already on High Alert after talking to Luvanar barely two hours ago and finding out something about the concordant killer attacks. Within minutes, they mobilized a party to capture or subdue the perpetrator, while Masks calculated the price of a room at the inn, and lay down.
Several archers took shots at Masks while more soldiers and a pair of iron golems lurked downstairs. Masks jumped out the window and hid in the shadows. Orphan woke slightly from all this commotion, and fluttered past some frantically running soldiers to get a bottle from the bar and resume her bender.
Masks tried to retaliate, but the wizard in charge of the arresting party was prepared for him, and closed him in a plane of ice, trapping him for a moment while the others rounded the corner. They demanded his surrender.
And Masks surrendered, allowing himself to be manacled. They clapped a pair of antimagic shackles on him, and marched him away. Orphan came out of the inn, and tried to explain that Masks was a good guy, and that he had died, but come back to life, so that that might have made him a little crazy, and that they should let him go.
It didn’t work. The wizard caught a whiff of Orphan’s self-medication, and decided that whatever she had to say could probably use some wringing out. Eilonwy and Sierrafinnia realized that Orphan might have woken up, and were hustling back to the Inn when they came across this procession. They fell in line, and got some idea of what had happened.
The group went to the Council of Kingdoms, down to the lower levels, where Masks was tried. The trial was as ridiculous and brief as the events that led to it. Fifteen eyewitnesses, including the other barback were present and identified Masks as the perpetrator, and described what Masks had done. Eiulonwy and Sierrafinnia were horrified by this turn of events. Masks insisted that he did not do it, claiming several things, including, but not limited to:
- Ferd had asked to die.
- The Chains were not under his own control, even though they apparently came from his body.
- Another wizard had or could have caused the chains to kill Ferd.
- Masks had acted entirely in self-defense.
None of these arguments swayed the court. Masks was sentenced to be executed in five days. Masks made the request to be buried in the earth after he was killed. They agreed.
Sierrafinnia and Eilonwy went looking for Luvanar, but he had left the building, last seen heading from the Valdarian embassy. He walked away from there, but may have teleported after that. Orphan kept following the judge, telling him that he needed to let Masks go, that they had been killed but didn’t die, that she had been killed and didn’t die, that one of the angels who had killed her had probably killed this guy, and other things. The judge simply replied that she needed to bring back proof before he would do anything.
Orphan felt that Eilonwy and Sierrafinia needed to help her get Masks out of jail, because Masks had been killed, and needed to kill someone else, or something. Sierrafinnia poked a hole in Orphan’s argument, sighed, and tried to tell her that she was going down a dark path which would only result in a bad end. Orphan did not get it, instead deciding to look for Xiandra, as she had seen Orphan only a month ago in the company of General Marcos Demmill of the Black Velvet Legion. She was unable to find her, however, and slept off the rest of her hangover in an alley.
Five Days to Masks’ Execution:
Orphan spent the morning looking for Xiandra. She finally found her, and found asked her and Orren about Marcos. They told her that he was fine, leading his army across Lotash apparently against Duke Grinnash. She seemed satisfied with that, and uninterested in anything else that they had to tell her about what they saw.
Orphan was ready to fly to Lotash… Until she got high enough to realize that she was on an island in the middle of the ocean, and had no idea how to get where she needed to go. For some reason, perhaps because she regarded him as a friend, Orphan felt that Masks would be the best way to go about getting to Lotash. Orphan came up with A Plan.
Orphan decided to charm a guardsman to get access to the cells and try to free Masks. In her relentless charming style, she managed to charm a guard and he happened to have a friend of a friend who was a caster. She suggested that he convince him to go get him, with some wine, and they would all party at the Rusted Wheel, a modest inn. Somehow, it worked.
Sexy time happened, during which Orphan tried to beat the wizard unconscious. He was made of sterner stuff than she expected, and he managed to escape, sans most of his gear. Orphan sent her first patsy back with apologies and explanations, and waited.
Four Days to Masks’ Execution:
Somehow, the wizard was convinced to come back. Orphan explained that that was just how she liked it, and let him hit her. He did, with a spell that lit her body with cold fire. Burning sexy time happened, then Orphan tried to hold him down and geas him. Unfortunately, he actually had ranks in spellcraft, and realized what she was trying to do. Some struggles ensued, we all learned that Still Spell is perhaps the greatest thing ever, and the wizard escaped, telling her not to call on him again.
Three Days to Masks’ Execution:
Finally, Orphan took the direct route, and snuck into the holding area ethereally and was quick enough to break him out. The two of them dimension doored out of there, then began shadow walking to Lotash.
While all that happened, Eilonwy and Sierrafinnia went to the place in the Blue Tree Wilderness where Eilonwy had found the stone. things were pretty much the same as she had left them, and there was little information to be had. There’s probably at least 2 days of downtime that they can use to investigate further; I was somewhat distracted by trying to pull things out of the fire there.