Gallowsbird (2016)

The Search For the Council
-20 gold

Shortly after we split up Broderick approaches me. He thinks searching for the council should be our top priority. I agree and we agree to meet at the Weather HQ in two hours. When we split up I go back in and find Fischer in his office. He is sitting in a chair with his head in his hands. We have Fischer Conversation 2.

After that I return home to check on everyone. Viola is deep asleep so I leave her alone. I pick up my swords and go downstairs to talk to Bell. Inside I see Thomas has a swollen limp. We comment on each other’s wounds and I ask Bell to heal me. I drink one of the remaining potions and store the rest. I ask Thomas if he is any good at tracking people. He agrees to help and we leave. After we leave he comments that Bell has been distant lately. We stop by Falconflight’s place He comments that it will be “dicey” finding Harrison and agrees to join us since he’s still working for me.

We all return to the Weather Society to meet up with Broderick. Introductions are made. Broderick states he thinks they are in the Docks but not much more. We agree to go to Batch’s house in order to let the tracker’s do their thing. Thomas and Falconflight start investigating the area and Thomas finds the trail. He says it looks like she voluntarily went along for at least part of it. The trail starts to lead towards the Docks and Thomas points out a blood splatter on the ground near the border. We advance further into the docks through the streets. As we are following the trail we spot Richard laying on a rooftop.

He climbs down and informs us that he is tracking the mysterious packages he keeps receiving. Apparently they are brought to this point so he is staking it out. We question what he is staking out and he points us to the spire. The spire is a large tower made of black stone, barely visible, that is way out in the ocean. He further states he doesn’t need to do anything till the night so he is free to help us with our investigation. We turn to our trackers and they point out that the trail becomes “three” people here but otherwise ends. Thomas suggests we follow the third trail.

That trail leads to a nameless tavern filled with sailors. A sailor/guard/bouncer tries to escort us out. Falconflight ends up bribing him. I leave momentarily to tell Thomas to go home, he mentions he wants to purchase something big but otherwise heads home. I enter to see Richard and Broderick talking to some ugly sailor. I try to walk in nonchalantly and avoid money getting thrown at me. As I approach Broderick is asking if he can sell some Weather Society uniforms. Pete says he can ship it to them for a modest price. I ask if he also delivers messages to the spire and start to catch the attention of the rest of the crowd as Ugly Pete gets anxious. Richard asks if he has seen anyone unusual. Pete claims he is not a snitch and Broderick quickly ends the conversation.

We leave and try to figure out what to do next. Falconflight states a rowboat seems to come to shore recently. Richard states that whoever delivers his packages comes by rowboat at night. Everyone except Broderick thinks there is probably some correlation, who insists we should look into the the missing uniforms. We debate but eventually me and Broderick leave to go follow up on the uniform lead while Richard stays behind to resume his stake out.

We split up and I let Falconflight return to the Mids. Afterwards Broderick reveals he has a contact we can go see. As we head to his contact I’m explicitly told not to ask or think about her wife. We go to his apartment and we have Tom conversation 1. We follow Tom’s advice and travel to a sewer grate with an arrow painted above it. Down said hole is a small cleared out section for a shop. The store has a few stacks of disguises: patchy Temple robes, moth-holed Matroni suites, etc. All fairly real looking. The store is owned by a older female ratfolk. We inquire about Weather uniforms and she informs us that the “demon fighters” have a standing order for them. After more inquiry she says they also go by “Harriers”. After asking she says they come by every day. We make some small purchase and leave.

After we leave I have a short conversation about the Harriers with Broderick in Broderick Conversation 4.

We return to our meetup spot and find Richard on the shoreline talking to a heavily robed man near a rowboat. Nearby we see Richard’s knife. Using object reading I see that Richard left to go confront the man on the shore when it approached. We end up going to approach the pair. As we approach the identity of the cloaked figure is revealed to be Lenny.



Me: “Wait. Lenny actually sent the letters? I thought he was dead”
Rich: “So did I”
Bro: “So what’s going on here?”
Rich: “He says Areana is at the Spire waiting for Harrison to return. The Upper Council are there too”
Lenny: “… sorry… I didn’t have a choice.”
Me: “Elaboration needs to happen”
Rich: “Harrison has an exploding collar on him as well as some…magical persuasion”
Me: “Is this related to the chemical? The persuasion I mean”
Bro: “Then we need to go to the Spire. Like right now.”
Rich: “We need to rescue the upper council, kill Harrison for real this time, and free lenny from his control”
Bro: “All of which is at the Spire.”
Me: “Hold on. Lenny. What is this spire like? Does he have guards? How many? Does everyone have those collars on? Can we break this compulsion?”
Lenny: “Its terrible there. Full of traps and monsters. And the demons lived out there too…. but Areana said they won’t come back ‘yet’”
Me: “Till Harrison returns right? Are the upper council speaking the same mind controlled gibberish?”
Lenny: ‘I don’t know what they do. They disappear into the ruins. I stay on the surface… I’m not allowed inside the ruins. The bodies I hauled were brought into the ruins. I don’t know what happened to them. I’m sorry."
Me: “… the bodies? Were they dead when they were brought in?”
Lenny: "I didn’t get a good look. I was told to row. "
Me: “Who took them in”
Lenny: “Areana and some undead. The brainless kind… they have cadaver-packs they put the victims in.”
Me: “… Lenny. Are you some undead with a brain?”
Lenny: “I don’t know. Harrison didn’t either. He called me a curious sort of failure. Only reason he kept me is bait. I am sure of it. I’m sure even now I am just bait.”
Bro: “Guys, I need to talk to you in private”
Me: “Lenny why did you row out here tonight? They were taken two days ago”
Lenny: “I needed to get a package from the courier… he meets me here in half an hour.”
Bro: “Well, let’s clear out and ambush him too.”
Me: “I’m good with that. Although. Question Lenny, now that you’ve seen us will you do anything differently? Will you report us?”
Rich: “How much control does Areana have while Harrison is dead? or Lenny?”
Me: “Well if they had control they haven’t fled. They’re still there and Lenny here has been delivering stuff to her. Since he can’t go down”
Rich: “He didn’t flee because of the explosive collar”
Bro: “Alright, let’s lie in wait.”
Me: “Which we still don’t know how to disarm. My point is. If we don’t ambush the courier. They won’t know we’re about to invade. We can go and get reinforcements and come tomorrow”
Bro: “No. We can’t. I need to talk to you.”
Rich: “We can still get the courier he’s just dropping a package.”
DM: The group retreats to the roof.
Bro: “I’ve been pushing so hard for us to investigate this today/tonight, because I know that something big is going down. To quote: ‘The future of the Weather Society will be dead by the morning.’”
Me: “…who the fuck said THAT?!”
Bro: “…Is there any chance we can avoid that and just take my word for it?”
Me: “Broderick if I said that would you take my word on it?”
Bro: “I got all my information about the missing Council Members from the Bear, okay? I doubt he’d want me to reveal we worked together on this, but I don’t see any choice now.”
Me: “… so the Bear says they’re going to be dead by the morning? How does he know?”
Rich: “This is apparently Harrison’s secret stronghold. We’re still pretty banged up from our misadventure this morning. It’ll be dangerous to go in ill-prepared.”
Bro: “He didn’t say. But I’ve heard rumors of something big going down tonight, so I’m inclined to believe him. And to ease your worries, Richard, we can employ the remainder of the Weather guards for this mission. That’s the best I’ve got. But I’m going after them tonight.”
Me: “Grrrr fine. We intercept the courier. We go get reinforcements”
Rich: “Are we not intercepting the courier together?”
Bro: “Also, how do we get to the Spire?”
Me: “The rowboat?”
Bro: “The rowboat with all of our forces?”
Me: “I mean do you have someone who is willing to lend us their boat?”
Rich: “There’s that whole bar of drunken sailors. I’m sure we convince someone to give us a ride”
Bro: “Yeah, we can make that work, especially with our troops.”
Me: “Okay. Does someone want to stay here to get that together? While the other two go back?”
Bro: “I have to go back. I’m a lower council member, so I’ll have extra authority to draft some guards. Plus, I was planning on supplying our health potions from my business’s personal stock. Pearce, will you accompany me? Having a second person will help sell the importance that we need guards.”
Rich: “I’ll try to secure us a means of transport”
Me: “Then let’s head back”.

View
Public: The end to the war?

Day 6 till payment

  • Called into War Council
  • Fischer by himself.
  • Says we will lose war. Need to surrender. Suggests giving sea-something. Some land.
  • Wants us to negotiate peace since upper council has to do it. Escort waiting
  • Upper council are all MIA the day Harrison was doing his thing.
  • There is a prisoner exchange. Funearlis for Pin, wouldn’t reveal who Pin is.
  • Apparently Temple sent another diplomat. It never arrived.
  • We agreed to go do it
  • I drop off my sanctuary papers. One to the council, one to Broderick.
  • We go to the Apple, Richard says he left someone there to leave a message. Person is now gone?
  • Discuss Fischer being fishy.
  • Apparently Fischer accused Harrison/Richard of murdering Nathan.
  • Richard admits to meeting the bear. Says they talked with Broderick outside. Wanted to get in touch with Fischer. Also wanted to meet with Broderick. Claimed he didn’t go.
  • Broderick claims the Blue Poles might go to war.
  • Also has some robes that mark him as a diplomat.
  • We go to Margerette’s House. It’s locked and object reading says she was the last to open it
  • We go inside. She was in there at least a day or two ago. Had a meeting with her knitting group yesterday.
  • We hear someone outside and after a lot of complex hand signs we open it to a old person. We tell her to move along after she informs us Margarette wasn’t seen yesterday.
  • We move on to go find the General. She says they will probably lose.
  • She also says they haven’t gotten any orders in 2 days. Seems suspicious when another group is suggested to be our escort. Sends reinforcements.
  • We go to Fischer’s location. Several Weather killed and replaced by foreign soldiers.
  • We kill or chase them off. One is bleeding so we decide to follow him next session.
  • We loot the bodies and find out they were mercenaries by the stones they carry.
  • We find the man nearby. Richard’s hand glow and he stops the bleeding.
  • We carry him to a nearby building and he eventually wakes up.
  • According to him he was working for UNKNOWN group from the Matronis. They came here because someone is buying weather uniforms in the Docks. (They also buy druff there). They claim they did this unofficially.
  • I kill the man who was murdering for gold.
  • We put on the foreign ambassador robes and enter the mids.
  • A cloaked man in full armor herds us to the “Administration of War”
  • We are disarmed and then led to a meeting room
  • Broderick asked us to agree to be “aides” and he does most of the speaking.
  • The Temple wants the weather to disband so that the mids can dissolve into lawlessness and they can invade. We say no. They say they want a tithe to pay for the damages in the war. We say no. We eventually agree to give the Shanty Sea area and have the leader of the milita resign for his crimes of killing diplomats
  • We return and tell Fischer and the Council.
View
Cross Examination

Day 5/7 300g rent + 70g Bell Salary

The next day begins with a nightmare. “You have a bad dream. You are alone on an island, a sand bank surrounded by a glimmering ocean. The skies foretell a storm coming in the distance. You look up at the moon, bloated and heavy and red, and you hear a man’s laughter. You feel alone.” I’m awoken by Sam putting a cold cloth on my head. She gives me breakfast (or lunch considering it’s already in the afternoon) and kicks me out so she can sleep. I eat my food and go downstairs to get Thomas. In order to find out who I can trust at the Weather I send him to go finding more info about Margarette Batch. He nods and heads out.

That afternoon I head to the address where Falconflight said I could contact him. I find him in a boarded up office with scrolls and papers covering everything. We briefly converse but I update him on Harrison. I inform him about the caves and he agrees to go see if he can find a place. I also specifically ask him to give me the rune etched box, as well as a warning about it’s teleportation.

I hit up the local taverns and try to find out any info about “Cassius”. Besides that he isn’t a member of the Weather, some special consultant, I learn nothing. I return back. Thomas comes back and gives me what he learned about Batch.

I restore another book of elven poetry, this being the second such one. I skim through this one and start to note that besides awful poetry the words don’t seem to line up. I surmise that the book has some sort of cipher that relies on ancient elven events. Wracking my brain for an educated elf I ask Viola about Gretchen Winterword. I ask Viola if she is an elf and a decent person. She says she has some elven heritage and although decent she believes the “cataclysm saved Gallows from the tyranny of the gods. She just really doesn’t want religion to take hold in Gallows”. We note to meet her if Viola’s surgery goes well.

I meet up with Richard in the front room of the Weather Society. We exchange pleasantries and then upon my request we go to a nearby tavern. There we find a dark corner to have Richard Conversation 6, after he gives me my mental potion back. We finish our discussion and return to my place to pick up Viola.

I tell Richard to wait while I go uptsairs to get Viola and Thomas. Inside Viola is sitting on some cart Thomas found. He doesn’t say where he got said cart. Before we leave I briefly duck in to prepare Samantha for another meeting. We talk briefly and I ask her to play her “part”. As we are about to leave she waves at us before drawing a dagger and charging me. Before she strikes she fades as the hallucination ends. No one else but Thomas reacts who is keenly watching me.

We leave and meet up with Richard before leaving. After about fifteen minutes of wandering, we come to an office with boarded up windows. Painted above the office are the words “Surgery” in blue paint. I knock on the door and Atticus opens the door and directs us to a surgery room. The surgery room has a small table with orderly tools next to a sheer stone altar, which he puts a sheet over. Apparently the building used to belong to a cult. Thomas and Atticus go into the othe room to talk about the procedure. Richard expresses concern but I reassure him that Atticus is good. Richard then uses his ability on Viola.

Viola is nervous and makes a few jokes as she is tied down to the altar. Atticus takes out a hammer and pitons and begins hammering them into her legs. I take out a potion and get ready to give it to Viola. They do this for some time as they break the legs and tying the legs after each swing. I pour the potion when requested to keep her healed. Afterwards Atticus asks us to knock her out, which I promptly do. He then informs us that we need to use trepination. To administer a healing potion to the nerves. Thomas seems reluctant but Atticus insists she will not regain her legs without the procedure. Thomas can’t verify if it will work but says drastic steps are probably necessary. I reluctantly agree and he does the procedure. Afterwards he bandages her head and says she will live and with luck she will be able to walk again, then walks out. I ask for Thomas’s opinion and he says he still unsure but that she will live.

As we are talking we hear voices outside. We all duck outside and see two men from the Weather Society with swords drawn in the room. At the sight of us they rush out. According to Atticus they are tax collectors. I promise to have a guard posted nearby to help prevent similar incidents from happening again. I leave Thomas behind to take care of Viola who can’t be moved for a few hours. Me and Richard return to my apartment. We have Samantha Conversation 27. Then we all retire for the night.

The next morning before work I stop by Broderick’s place and we have Broderick Conversation 3.

View
How To Fail at Diplomacy

When we leave the fallen tower Broderick runs off to do something in the Docks. Me and Richard escort Venyard and the two Ratfolk first back to the Rat Embassy. We arrive uneventfully at the embassy and after thanking us the Rat’s go in. We continue moving and have Richard Conversation 5. We change course and head for the Blue Poles. Venyard directs us to a section of the Poles reserved for meatsmiths where various meats of … dubious origin are being sold.

Venyard puts a cloth to his mouth and mutters as he leads us to the back of a building. We hear laughing inside when Venyard knocks twice. It opens to a half-dwarf who recognizes Venyard. Our guide asks for someone named “Big Billy” and is told he lives down the street. We go to the directed build and an imposing gnome with badly wrinkled skin opens the door. Venyard confirms that this is Big Billy and we enter after some brief greetings.

Inside is a tattoo parlor where a half-orc woman is smoking “dreamleaf” which is a sedative. We note various tattoo implements, all of which are surprisingly clean. Me and Richard are directed into a back room where lively art depicts various animals that give the illusion of movement. There is little in the room besides a massive tattoo chair and a drawer that looks to hold dyes. It appears it has some sort of secret panel of sorts. We briefly debate on opening it but Venyard wheels in before we can. Richard clarifies that “Big Billy” is just putting in the soul and not doing anything else and Venyard confirms. Venyard begins setting out ritual components from a pouch, circling the room before he briefly leaves. He returns with Billy in tow. Billy hands Richard some alcohol to dull the pain which he downs quickly. Venyard meanwhile pulls out a scroll and casts a spell from it. I see that it’s an abjuration spell but that’s about it. He touches Richard and claims that the surgery must begin. I help hold Richard down as they slice him open and perform the procedure to put the soul in. After a healing potion Richard, who can barely stand, tumbles out of the room. Venyard is now smoking with the half orc and offers some to Richard. I ask if there is some sort of a test, asking how he confirmed it last time. Venyard claims he doesn’t have to explain his methods. Richard hands over some paper as payment and they leave Venyard there.

On the way back Richard claims he’s kinda shaken up by the memories in the soul. Apparently he found Lenny’s soul which had been forcibly extracted from Lenny. I help carry him to the Weather HQ and then we agree to meet tomorrow night to help with a surgery.

I head back to my place and find a note on top of a package on my door from the Bear.
Note: “The Temple District insisted on this configuration. I have signed copies from them and the Bluepoles’ Thag. I leave the rest in your hands. I have found and important weakness of the Friends that requires my immediate action. I’ll know more by tonight, and should be back in my office by 11. If you wish to meet with me then I would welcome you. If not, it has been a pleasure working with you and I wish you and your endeavors the best.
-Bear"
The package it self contains the documents for the various districts. It seems both the Senation and the Ratfolk play a part in the Sanctuary’s safety. I store that note and then give Thomas Atticus’ potions to check if they are safe. He quickly surmises that they are. I remind the others about the meeting later tonight and then head out.

I go back to the Weather and ask around about Salisbury. I quickly find out he is in a nearby tavern with several recruits. He is there talking to two tables of recruits in the Weather uniform. He apparently is making a defense of hard justice for those who violate the laws of the city. He gets a few claps at the end, which wraps up shortly after I start watching. He then says he will get the first round for the ‘new guard regiment’ and walks to the counter, away from the two crowds. They cheer at this. We exit and have Salisbury Conversation 4. I agree to fight several of the recruits to convince them to not get involved with the war. Salsibury lays out the rules. It’s 3 of them vs me using only my fists. I’m able to knock out one of them but I take more damage than I should. I end up drawing my sword after a lucky punch. I attempt to intimidate them but it has the opposite effect. They take my display to mean all rules are off and one attempts to blind me with something. I dodge it and Salisbury calls off the fight. The dust is identified as Druff and Salisbury is extremely pissed. One student tries to claim I started it by breaking the rules but Salisbury counters that they are the law. He drags the kid off. I confiscate the drug from the others before they get busted and give them a lecture about how it’s bad. Salisbury joins us as I pay for the meal for the recruits. We talk about the faith for a while and convince them to join as well as bolster Salisbury’s faith.

When I’ve said my goodbyes there I go collect Samantha, Viola, Bell, and Thomas. We all go to the Castle. The minstrels are there practicing the first few acts. The place has been slightly cleaned up. They all turn as we enter and ask if they need to leave, several juggling balls and a dagger falling in the process. I go upstairs and find that the desk in the office is cleaned and a awful painting is adorning the far wall. Bell and Thomas are assigned to guarding the perimeter. Sam and Viola are in the conference room going over last minute plans. I wait downstairs for Prestor to arrive.

Twenty minutes pass before he does, surrounded by a crowd of people. They ask to see the dawn. I am slightly caught off guard by this and Prestor sensing that asks to come in first. We have Prestor Conversation 2. I bring him up to the office and leave him there to get Samantha. I find her in the conference room with her cossack outfit. Viola is talking to her and reminding her of things they have discussed. Sam is holding a mirror and a book. She clarifies she needs to know if Prestor is appropriate. I nod and let her and the Prestor conversation continues. I then exit shortly after again to go try and get her bird. I try several tricks before I finally herd it through a window and into the hall where the office is. Prestor conversation continues again. They agree to wait till dawn and I leave some time after.

Viola comes with me as I bring her back to my apartment. We have Viola Conversation 5 before I drop her off. I briefly look at the magical item report Dunwick gave me. I look up the journal and note that it lists the hostel as the last known place. After that I go to the “Small and Tall” for my meeting with the Bear. An elf answers the door and lets me into a backroom. We have Bear Conversation 4.

I return to the Castle. The minstrels seem tired from their impromptu act. A good portion of the crowd seems very engaged, and a hat is going around filled past the brim with donations. Sam is watching the minstrels happily. Prestor is watching Sam and the large, ramshackle standing clock. He does not seem a guy who is easily amused. I request to see the Amethyst Lady and we go upstairs to the office. We have Samantha Conversation 26.

We return shortly and we all idly talk as we wait for dawn. I start to figure out what type of person Prestor is. “He is a charismatic guy who maybe thinks too much, taking his expectations and being bitter when they aren’t matched. You can tell Samantha is not the answer he was looking for, and you think he may be a risky addition to the chosen. You get the feeling he has his own ideas on how Samantha could grow, and based on his short, guided questions, you pick up he is trying to guide her toward traditional god roles – judgement, correction, and miracles for the upper brass. You feel a little disillusioned about him being someone who cares for the poor. You believe he cares for them purely to ensure they are complacent. Samantha seems to be trusting him. You get the feeling she is trusting because she wants to trust, not because she is catching on to the subtle behaviors you are. You wonder if she might be acting still, because if she is an actor she is keeping her role consistent. She gives off a joyous matron, out of touch with the fears of the common man. You don’t know how she learned to act that way, but Viola would be a good bet.”

After spending some time I pull Amethyst aside again, we continue Samantha conversation 26. As we return we not the crowd has slowly left as the night has continued and only half remain. The minstrels are clearly tired. The birds begin a melancholy but beautiful song. One by one they begin to shine. The crowd, Prestor included, are shocked. Samantha smiles and the birds take flight out into the sky, most of the crowd following. Prestor says and we have PrestorConversation 3. He remains unconvinced and some of his followers agree, some stay. We all celebrate those who agree to stay and then go home to turn in for the night.

View
Public: Picking up the Pieces

The poison eventually subsides and we all climb down. We give Venyard Lucky’s old clothes and in return he heals us to full. We begin to collect and divy up the loot we find from the remains. I reveal to the group the basics of my “object reading” power and they allow me to get an idea on the various objects.

Ritual Components:
Knowledge – Various highly sought after ritual components. The amount that were used up here must must have cost a fortune.
Memory – You see the onyx table covered in priceless ritual components. Harrison is casting a series of complicated rituals, and the components are slowly fizzling away.

Platinum from FoM:
Memory – You see two FoM, one you recognize from the scene. The other you do not. “He asked for you specifically. Give him the platinum and he said we can use the portal.” The FoM who has given the bag to the other is lying. You get the feeling he knows more than he is letting on.

Onyx box with Complex lock:
Knowledge – This box has some arcane etchings, but it doesn’t have any of the obvious signs of being magical.
Memory – Blocked.

Dagger from FoM:
Knowledge – Just an unusual dagger.
Memory – You see the FoM cutting bread with his knife.

Surgical Equipment:
Memory – You get a graphic image of Harrison slicing a porthole in a ratfolk’s neck and dumping certain chemicals into his brain. He then force fed the ratfolk some kind of alchemical potion.

Two Bottles of Zombie Fluid:

Harrison’s Bracers:
Knowledge – These metal bracers is engraved with symbolic animals suggesting protector spirits and brood mothers. It is magical.
Memory – You see Harrison put on his bracers. You see Harrison put on his necklace. You see Harrison put on his robe. He does so in front of a mirror, then walks away. The mirror seems to be in a darkened room, based on the walls you think you are in a cave – something with black stone. This is definitely a different room than you’ve seen in the tower.

Harrison’s Necklace, has “HOPE” written in Elven:
Knowledge – You recognize that this is magical, and based on what you remember from esoteric studies. You believe this necklace has wards against rats, and its magic may also compliment this.

Lucky’s Staff:
Knowledge – To a less trained observer, this staff appears unmagical, but you detect it has been cloaked using a different spell. This is not actually a staff, but an immovable rod underneath a wooden shell.
Memory – You see Lucky fighting Harrison. The fight seems to be going Lucky’s way. However, Lucky gets jumped by two other zombies as he is leaving, and Harrison manages to get a net on him while he fought. Harrison then tied up Lucky.

Lucky’s Gear:
Memory – You see Lucky eating alone in his tent. Its night, you can hear fighting going on outside his tent, but you can’t place where in the city he is. Same memory for the tent.
Portable Lab:

Alchemist Chemicals:
Knowledge – An alchemist has a shot at determining what Lucky was last brewing, but otherwise, this is a well used set of chemicals.
Memory –
Harrison is looking at his kit and his chemicals. He selects several bottles, throwing them into a sack. He then throws the remaining stuff back into the kit and puts it back on Dogan’s struggling form.

Lucky’s Note:
Memory – You see Lucky in his tent, writing down a note. He seems to be having trouble with the cipher, as he has to correct it several times.

As we are looking over the items a debate springs up around the Onyx box. Richard claims that the onyx box might potentially be the diplomatic package that was stolen from the Weather Society. He was asked by the ratfolk to return it unopened. Regardless of whether it’s the diplomatic package, Broderick wants to open it. Richard state that the Ratfolk might see opening it as “violations of their sovereignity”. Broderick counters that the Mids are at war with the Temple. If the rats, who are allies of the Weather, are having dealings with the Temple we need to determine if they are a threat. The conversation continues but eventually it is decided to open the box. Before they do I use object reading and find that the box seems resistant to it. We decide to be a good distance away from the box when we open it. Richard casts his spell and the box opens up and I recognize a teleport spell transporting it who knows where. Broderick says, “I saw a small gray marble held in some type of glass/glass like tube, stoppered on one end. I’ve got no idea what that could be, what about you guys?” No one else knows.

We move on and I use object reading on the various objects and tell the others what I see. The loot is then divided up.

After the loot is divided We have Venyard Conversation 4.

We then have a conversation 1 with Ingred and Beaker the ratfolk.

View
Public: Harrison the Lich

After Broderick rejoins the group we climb up the rubble on the other side of the room and descend further. We soon come to a curved hallway with several hand sized holes in the walls. Unsure of what they are we proceed cautiously. We start to hear voices asking if anyone is there. We announce ourselves and a ballista bolt flies from a hole in the wall, shoots through me and pins me to a wall. The others all retreat and it takes a while for them to come back and get the thing off me. Eventually I’m freed and we all move forward, this time low to the ground. We hear more inquiring voices and a scream but seeing no way to find those responsible we just move forward. We see a ratfolk run down a hall as we turn a corner. Me and Broderick stealth after and find a closed door with a sobbing Ratfolk behind it. They claim that they’re sick and don’t want to open the door. The ratfolk claims that the others are all acting odd and seem to fly berserk for no known reason and then forget the event ever happened. We try to negotiate but eventually decide to leave the ratfolk there since he isn’t harming anyone.

We descend farther and find a hallway with four rooms, two on each side. Besides that there are some paintings of nature on the walls. We quickly check to see if there is anything behind the paintings and learn they are just walls. After that we go into one room. Inside is a large tank about 10 ft long. It has a spigot on one end and a small window on the other. I try to use object reading while Broderick looks into the window. Between us we figure out that a lightning elemental is inside. A very angry lightning elemental. Before we do anything we decide to check the rest of the rooms. Two of the rooms are identical. We notice a red rat-like paw-print on the last door. We open the door to find a lightning elemental out of the tank and immediately turns it’s attention towards us. Before it can do anything we close the door. It seems the elemental can’t operate a switch but we decide to barricade it just to be sure.

We attempt to descend further but as we round a corner a figure made of shadow seems to move out of a wall and approaches us. From his voice we recognize that this is Harrison. He threatens us with “gas” if we don’t calmly enter a room and have a seat. When we enter the room we see three chairs waiting for us. Besides those is Venyard in his wheelchair looking pretty roughed up. We also see two ratfolk in the corner, one of who I recognize as Ingrid. In another corner is a large machine that is “pointed” at a large rock that looks extremely cracked. We assume this is a sending stone. The shadow Harrison walks across the room and goes through a mirror. As he does the mirror seems to shatter. This reveals a large pit that separates a second room. The room has a large onyx alter in it, with Lucky Dogan and a Friend of Man strapped on it.

Unsure of what’s going on we all sit down. It seems we are going to witness a ritual. We ask Venyard what is going on, he says he doesn’t know. Unsure of what to do I use telepathy to communicate with Broderick. Since Harrison said he needed an audience we decide that maybe we should run. We agree to throw a smoke bomb and grab as many people and run as we can. I cut off communication and attempt to contact Richard. Meanwhile Harrison is starting the ritual and we figure out that he plans to kill the two on alter. We also notice that a wall of force has been placed between us and Harrison. A new plan begins to emerge I inform Richard to get ready to crawl underneath the wall when a hole emerges. I contact Broderick again and bring him up to speed on the new plan. As Harrison finishes off the FoM we kick off our plan as I cast Stone Shape to create a hole big enough for someone to crawl under.

Broderick goes first and fires his bow hitting Harrison square in the back. Harrison ignores us and continues to do his ritual. The rest of us, even Venyard eventually follow. Not sure how to stop anything we push the machine that is pointing at the stone. Harrison continues to drain the life essence of Lucky Dogan. I eventually jump across the pit, activate glorious enchantment, and start attack Harrison to get him away from Dogan. Broderick joins me a turn later as he keeps firing his bow. When we are both near he fires a fireball at his feet which rocks everyone in the room. Broderick flees back to the other side while I desperately keep at it. While this has been going on a low rolling gas has started to sweep into the room. Richard has been creating magical pits in the room as he desperately tries to hold back the gas. Venyard, not having a useful spell, is mostly yelling. He seems to be in pain and says that he is turning into a lich.

With a final spell Lucky Dogan is completely killed which is apparently all Harrison needed. He is now trying to kill himself. Seeing that killing himself is what he wants I decide to just get out. I jump back into the other room. There I see Broderick wearing a gauntlet very similar to the one I saw emerging from the Square book weeks ago. It apparently has magical properties as he is grabbing the ratfolk over a dozen feet away while he is on top of the sending stone. Seeing the gas slowly filling the pits I jump onto the machine and then fling Venyard, who is now naked and has a tail, up with me. Harrison casts a final spell killing himself and leaving us all there to figure out what to do.

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Public: Return to the Dock's Tower

Day 4 to Property Payment (300g)

After my impromptu meeting with Broderick we all meet up in the office. We greet each other before Broderick leaves to go vote to approve the drafting of the Sanctuary plans. The bill passes and I say I will have the document soon. After that Fischer calls us into the council office. Apparently there is something going on with the tower we visited earlier in the docks. We agree to go look at it. After we leave Richard informs us that Harrison was spotted several times last night, each sighting getting closer to the docks. Some arguing about how that info was learned but we decide to go investigate the tower regardless. Before we leave I tell Davidson to go look into reported disappearances and see if the number has increased in the past few weeks.

We fairly easily get to the tower to see that the building has completely collapsed. On the wall is a woman that we saw escaping from the Patricia fight. She identifies herself as Deanna and says that she is watching the tower. Whether she was watching Harrison or not was uncertain. She said that there were several zombies on the premises that she volunteered to help us fight. Since she was on top of the perimeter wall we tried to climb up but only Broderick succeeded. Me and Richard agreed to go around instead of failing to climb up. While we are going around Richard mentions that it’s possible that Harrison has a way to teleport to safety without casting a spell. As we round the corner we find the zombies and engage them in combat. We note that they all have an odd chemical smell and seem to have puncture wounds. We take them all out and Broderick meets us at the front. According to him Deanna wasn’t feeling well, smelled of a similar chemical, so Broderick sent her home.

We find a hole that goes to the sub-levels of the building and we descend with the help of Richard’s rope. We descend some stairs and enter a room that seems to be some old library. Chests dot the room, the their are a dozen shelves covered in books, and there are large paintings spanning the far wall. In the room is a half destroyed zombie and a Ratfolk who seems crazed near a broken painting. The zombie is quickly destroyed and we try to figure out what to do with the Ratfolk. He too has the odd chemical smell and looks to be in great pain. He says that there are 8 other Ratfolk down below and that they were attacked. We consider him a lost cause but Richard miraculously cures him. He also then touches us and claims he knows an old gypsy trick. Broderick suggests that we all just admit we might have unorthodox methods and agree to not mention how if they are exposed. We allow the Ratfolk to leave and then scour the room. We each take a chest, Richard and I get works from some old elven poet named Schmoeller. Broderick gets a rock I believe is a memory stone. The books on the shelves all seem long since ruined. We easily see that beyond the broken painting is a staircase leading downwards. We break the other paintings. One is empty, one seems like it might have once contained some liquid for a trap, the last is a coffin. It contains Schmoeller and his dog. I note that the coffin had 6 rings but the group decides not to take any of them.

We descend deeper and find a room whose floor is partially collapsed. The exit is on the other side but it’s about a 10 foot drop to a room below to go over there. Broderick descends first and is ambushed by more zombies. The rest of us jump down and we fend them off. Before we leave I note there is a rope seeming to go to a hidden room in the lowered section. Broderick proves that he is once again the only one of us who can climb and goes up. According to him the only thing of note is a rat holding a large if fragile gem. The rat apparently bit him but he was otherwise able to gather them gem and returns to the group.

View
Dunwick Manor

After the group separates I head back to my house. I find Belltoll up and back to her patrolling. She asks if anything has been updated and I give her the new rundown on the rules and tell her to use nonlethal force to turn away any Friend’s Of Man. Inside my apartment Thomas is still treating a very small Viola. We quickly have Thomas Conversation 3. After he leaves I grab the FoM statue arm and use Object Reading:

“You see a FoM arguing with a sculptor. The sculptor is working on the sleeve you have. He says, “Look, I am not saying I won’t do it. But this is going to go over really badly in this place. You aren’t a hero here… this statue won’t change that.” The Friend, whom you note is older and pretty ugly, responds: “We will be. Just practice your craft, young man, and don’t worry about us.” You see the statue. It has a very detailed portrait of a person in a Friends of Man robe offering a hand to a person in a Temple robe who is on the ground. The base of the statue is covered in a very detailed design. You see enough to determine whatever the arcane effect was, it is unlikely to be the kind of magic needed. It appears to be a ‘mundane’ effect, possibly permanency and a light spell."

I put it aside and go into the other room to find Samantha wearing an outfit similar to what Viola used to wear. She is messing around with some playing cards. We have Samanth Conversation 23. She ends the conversation and I go leave to investigate the vision I had. I try to sneak to the location but I’m ambushed by several temple archers. I’m able to dodge their arrows and go invisible after I round the corner. While invisible I sneak inside and hear Lucky Dogan talking. He seems to be alone and searching the floor for the portal contraption seen in the room earlier. We have Lucky Dogan Conversation 2. During the conversation we exit the tunnel and Lucky shows me some sort of vision.

Vision: You are a child in your home village. You do not remember Pearce right now. You want to see the object outside, but everyone around you is being noisy and running around. You climb onto the counter. Your mother is shouting at you, but you focus on the object.
It looks like a small building. It’s squarish but has big shiny walls and tall towers looming at the corners. You don’t know how big it is, but it’s getting closer. It must be larger than the village, you think to yourself. Your mother is packing a bag, and there is a lot of noise outside. You really want to see this object. You see a square book your mother got as a gift from one of the new people in the village. It’s sitting casually above the mantle around the fireplace. As Pearce, you shutter back to thinking, and your connection starts to fade. Your anger toward the FoM is hurting your connection to the child but you manage to maintain the vision.

Young Dogan runs as something loud crashes in the distance. There was a bright flash from the building, and then another, and another. After ten seconds, an explosion goes off in the village. Dogan is running, but hears a friend asking for help. You are not friends with this person, they made fun of you one time at the park. Dogan stops and tries to help. The kid pulls on you as you pull him out of the hole that used to have a road, and you fall in. He runs. You are furious with him. You scream but nobody can hear you because of the terrible noises. There is a large staff and the burning remains of one of those strangers in the hole. The ones who dress funny. You look at the staff.

You use the staff to pull yourself out of the hole. You look around your village. You don’t hear much. You look back at the object in the distance. It’s so big now. You can see the terrible machine at work, with hundreds of tiny bodies riding aboard, moving between windows. You wonder if they can see you. You hear marching. You get up and run. Your hearing has returned. You know a secret about the strangers. It’s in the cave beneath the forest. It’s pretty close. You quietly begin to walk there, dragging your staff. It’s dark and it shouldn’t be. You find the cave. There is a noise you can’t figure out coming from within.
It’s like a humming tone. You go in. Quietly at first, but the marching is close. You see two robed men. They are in front of a portal. Pearce recognizes it is a FoM uniform and the vision is broken."

After that we continue Lucky Dogan Conversation 2. We eventually split up as he heads towards the Matroni District. After that I decide to go find the “Dawnmakers” Falconflight mentioned. I travel to the address he gave me and I find a bakery. The smell of fresh loaves has drawn a crowd of beggars who accost those who approach. One of them asks me to give some for a child. Before I can respond a man emerges from the bakery carrying five loaves of bread. He distributes them to the homeless who praise “the Light” when they get a loaf. He then goes back inside. I go inside to find a long line waiting in the small bakery. Several iconic images of “brightness destroying darkness” cover the walls. I notice that the man who delivered the bread, while an authority figure, is not their leader.

I go up to the counter and ask if this is the place to find absolution. I am directed to a man named Prestor who promptly gives me a hug that lasts just a little too long. We have Prestor Conversation 1.

After that I head to Doctor Samson’s office. I inform him of some of the rule updates including the “no bird harmed” and “Don’t trust Friend of Man”. As well as informing him he has access to “The Castle” if he needs to contact me. We have Atticus Conversation 2. It’s interrupted part way so we can head to The Castle. There we find the corpse of Viola golem which has started to degrade.

I return to my apartment and find Bell again. I tell her that her job has changed from guarding my place to guarding Lady Amethyst wherever she goes. She asks for a uniform. Money is tight so I deny her that but hand her 100 gold for her payment (because I forgot earlier) plus some money for Thomas to get some gear. We part and I go upstairs to find Samantha sitting next to Viola reading a book to her sleeping form. I have Samantha Conversation 24. Which ends when Viola Conversation 4 happens. Viola eventually falls asleep and I bring the statue arm I took with me to Samantha which leads to Samantha conversation 25.

The time for my meeting with Bear draws near so I head to the tailor “Small and Tall”. I go to the back and find a middle aged female receptionist that waves me into the back room. There I find Bear sitting behind a small, inexpensive desk in a barely furnished room. He has a number of scrolls open, which he begins closing as you enter. He looks tired. I sit in a very small halfling chair and we proceed to have Bear Conversation 3.

After a quick stop to go get a heavy cloak and the Love In-between book I go to "The Gaggle where I am supposed to meet a contact. As I approach a commoner with brown eyes, brown hair, and the blue ribbon walks up to me. He identifies himself as William, although he doesn’t sound sure, and we head to the Senation border. We go away from the checkpoints, passing a few guards along the way. As we get to the wall I lose him a few times but he makes sure we don’t get isolated. Along the way I realize he keeps muttering the phrase “My name is William”. I ask him if he’s okay and he reassures me he is fine. He climbs the 20ft wall with ease and drops a rope down. I’m able to scale the wall and see into the Senations. The alley below is empty so we descend the other side. We navigate through the district and arrive at Dunwick Manor.

There is about 30 ft of open land between you and the building itself. It is surrounded by a wall and several guards are doing slow rotations around it. Two guards are stationed at the front entrance. I start William Conversation 1. He goes to distract the guard and I’m able to sneak past without alerting anyone. I enter the door and wait a minute for William. He is apparently already behind me. We quickly search the first floor and find what appears to be a study. Along the way I reference the book to see where the magic items were kept, apparently in some gowning room. I tell William to go find an entrance to the basement, reasoning the tunnel would be there, and the gowning room. While he goes to find those I search the study. There are a lot of paintings of imposing figures.

As I’m looking through then notes I’m suddenly in Dunwick Conversation 1. It’s interrupted when William opens the door and Dunwick falls. Not quite expecting this turn of events I attempt to knock Dunwick out just as a guard turns around to inspect the now open door. William asks what’s happening and I shout to run. As we are running through the manor I find a staircase leading down that I use as a choke point. The guards seem uncertain if I can leave or if I’m trapped down there. They approach slowly. I swing my sword at one and deal some damage. One of them tosses a net which I avoid. We trade a few more blows and William says to follow him downstairs. I knock out the guard I’m fighting and follow.

Down in the basement it is pitch black (The fact that I had a glowing sword was forgotten by both DM and player). William takes my hand and leads me forward. He describes it as a long hallway with 4 doors on each side with big locks. I hand him a skeleton key to try and we try and get through a door. We try a few doors with no success and start to see torchlight in the staircase. William hands me my skeleton key and I’m forced to use a knock spell to open a door. We rush inside and close the door. He describes the room as having a bunch of surgical tools, tubes, vials of strange liquid, and broken machines. He finds some documentation for the lab and puts it away. We hear them checking the other rooms and I ask if there is a place to hide. Hearing no good option besides a dusty tube I choose to just stand behind the door. The door opens and I hear a much louder, Dunwick:

Dunwick: “I will pay either of you a thousand gold and give you free passage to a district of your choosing, along with absolve you of any crimes against the Senations you have perpetuated tonight, if you will betray your partner.”
William: “He pushed me in here and ran! I swear! I’ll tell you everything you want to know about him! He kept talking about the tunnel! But I can’t see where he went! Please don’t hurt me!”
Dunwick: “Come out into the light.”
William: “No! You’ll kill me!”
Dunwick: “Close the door. You four, come with me. The other two, remain in the hallway.”

William asks what to do along with claiming that he is tired? Maybe losing his identity? I tell him to make a distraction to lure them in. He starts yelling his name over and over. I listen at the door and the guards seem confused. Apparently Dunwick locked the entrance to the basement. I then hear screams and the sound of fighting from outside the room. I open the door to find a large demon ripping the guards apart. This one is described as having a rough appearance as if it was made of some tough material. Some sort of mutated demon. At the sight of me it drops part of a guard and melds into the floor. It emerges besides me and I start swinging. I land a few blows and it makes a terrible noise, like grating rocks against one another. William ducks out of the room. We continue to attack one another, his blows doing significant damage. I see from the places I’ve slashed the beast that demon bits, earthen materials, and large black spots. William throws a dagger at the creature causing more horrible noises and it descends into the ground after making one more swing.

The monster gone William let’s me know he found a secret entrance at the end of the tunnel. I find a torch a guard left behind and go back in the room. I discover the liquid looks very similar to the “milk” I’ve seen before. There are six vials left which I grab and stick in my pack, noting that William probably took some. We then go into the tunnel. The tunnel itself is made of uniformed polished stone. As we walk I start to notice the smell of meat and metal that are trademarks of the Blue Poles district. I state this to William who states that is impossible since we’re only 200 feet from the Manor. We continue and I note that I can see dark specs among the stonework, similiar to those I saw in the demon. Also now that I can look at them better I note it’s similar to the shadow substance I found in the bell tower in the docks. I try to burn one of the spots and note it squirms away from the flame to a different part of the tunnel. William notes that the substance seems familiar and seems to lose focus before I bring him back to attention. Together he dumps a vial of the milk and we herd one of the black blobs into a container. We continue forward and after unlocking a door we find ourselves in a marketplace in the Bluepoles. We note the address and the entrance, which is hidden to look like part of a sewer access and have the rest of William Conversation 1.

That morning before I attend work I find Broderick waiting for me outside the Weather Society. We have Broderick Conversation 2.

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Public: Senation Borders

Day 3/7 to property payment (300g)

We arrive to the building to see Broderick discussing things with Davis Davidson. He informs us that the Weather Society is doing a mandatory draft. Richard admits that he knew it was a possibility but otherwise didn’t have any info. He has apparently scheduled a meeting with the War Council to discuss the matter. While he is explaining this Davis tried to tell us he had something to show us but he went unheard. We enter the council and Broderick and Fischer discuss the necessity of the draft and what to do about it. Eventually they crunch some numbers and they at least pay the conscripted wages at the cost of firing half of the employed mercenaries.

After that is settled Fischer asks us to help him with something. He asks us about what we saw in the tower and we give him a general description after telling him anything we saw in there might be caused by the hallucinogenic we were given. He pauses and tells us that it seems the sewer district were searching the tower for some sort of object. Apparently the Temple had one such object in one of their bell towers but the tower itself was destroyed. Fischer believes finding this item, a stone that looks like it was torn into small pieces and reassembled, will be a key trading piece during the war. According to him one of these “Sending Stones” can be found in a Senation house belonging to the [Blank] family. We agree to look into it. As we leave he notes how we like our accommodations to our confusion.

As we leave Dave Davison leads us to the old spymaster’s office which is now ours. It is 1/4 of the size of the original. Some insults are thrown about the Warmaster but otherwise we try to figure out what we can do. According to Broderick the Senation district has been under extremely tight guard ever since the war started. It might possibly take days to get passes for me and Richard to enter. We ask how quick he can make them and Broderick says he might be able to get them done in a couple of hours. He heads off to go try to get us passports.

As soon as he leaves we have Richard conversation 4. We square that away and begin to make a list of those in the council we might be able to persuade. We go to various council members and try to sell them on the plan to a good degree of success. After a few visits we write out the basics of the documents and send it to the relative parties. As we hand it over to the couriers Broderick returns with some passports which are shabby at best and we head out.

Broderick leads us to the smallest checkpoint that exists and waits from a distance to see if our passports will fool the guards. When we get through the line an officer starts looking through our papers and asks us into a building. Apparently there are some errors in our paperwork. I ask what the errors they are talking about and the guards immediately try to capture us. They throw some nets and fire some arrows but we are able to get away fairly easily.

The plan busted we pay Broderick some money for his failed passports and agree to try later.

View
Friend of Man Resistance

After our group splits for the day I head to the office of Falconflight. As I arrive I see a dwarf emerge who shouts “Just have it removed in 48 hours” as he leaves. I am taken to the back of his offices where I see several files written in Draconic. We have Falconflight Conversation 2.

As I am leaving Falconflight’s office I see Lancette walking down the street. At the sight of me she covers her frown with her hand, turns around and walks away. Concerned why she is randomly avoiding me I call out to her and she starts running away. I give chase and she starts screaming that she is being chased, I respond with a bluff that she stole something from me that calms the few people who see us. As we are running two beardless dwarves emerge from a building and grab her. “She been stealing, it be okay. We solved it.” They say as they block the entrance. I try to engage in conversation and in response they try to pickpocket me. I pull back and they take the opportunity co close the door. Now alone I listen at the door and hear the voice of Lucky Dogan coming from inside, giving some sort of speech. In a window frame a piece of wood was placed with “Free Lecture” written. The door isn’t locked so I go inside.

Inside I see Dogan in a formal suit with a really badly done curly politician wig on his head, the kind we associate with British judges. Just really unkept. He is surrounded by several people of which include the dwarves and Lancette. Everyone seems to be there voluntarily. I stand there and listen to the lecture.

His speech is on the structure of the planes. He describes the two theories as to the structure of the universe. One is a large web constantly being readjusted as the web itself expands. Connections are snipped when no longer needed and new ones are added to support new growth. He hypothesizes that Gallows is a single thread connected richly with other planes, which might explain why so many bizarre things happen. He offers that the demon invasion has had more to do with cosmology than Gallows itself. He goes on. If gallows is richly connected to other planes, why do we see so few intelligent outsiders? Dogan explains that the event we call the calamity may have had more to do with the other planes than with us, perhaps the gods didn’t die or flee, but we’re disconnected from Gallows by an even larger inside force. One that shapes the planar web. He ends his speech with encouragement to search the secret places of the world, and to never stop being curious.

After his speech I see the beardless dwarves try and steal from Lucky. I call them out and prevent them from fleeing with his money. They drop the money and run deeper into the building. Lucky Dogan comes over to pick up his gold and we have Lucky Dogan Conversation 1. It ends with a knock on the entrance to the assembly hall. At Lucky’s request I go open the door. A member of the Friend of man was there. They ask who the owner of the property is and I claim that the owner is currently not here. They ask again and I tell them they will have to ask the owner for the name of the owner.

After expertly getting them to leave I go talk to Lancette and have Lancette Conversation 1. It’s interrupted when the dwarves try to exit the building only to be stopped by foreign mercenaries. I draw my sword and try to figure out what is happening. They don’t really respond, just keep shouting “Down on the floor” and pointing crossbows. I grab Lancette and run off deeper into the building. As I run off I hear them shout “Find the witch doctor.”

As we run into the building we find dogan trying to get out a boarded up window. I stand at the entrance as Lancette goes to help Lucky. As the mercenaries get close I put a gash in one and force him to retreat to drink a potion. As reinforcements get close I hear Lucky shout that the place is open and I flee. The mercenaries wearing heavy armor are quickly outran and we escape. Lucky is moving erratically: climbing over walls and through buildings. Not confident in my acrobatics I chase after Lancette instead and we have the rest of Lancette Conversation 1.

I leave and decide to go sabotage the portal the Friends of Man are supposedly building. Initially I wanted to use the aqueduct to sneak in. I remember that the aqueduct has temple forces who use it for unknown purposes. So instead I go use the temple/dock underground route Jacket informed me about long ago. I avoid some demons along the way and near the entrance I hear humanoid voices. I am able to get into the entrance without getting seen.

At the entrance to the passage I get my light and proceed in. I hear the voice in the darkness. “You look a little lost. Exit is back the way you came.” I say I’m not looking for trouble and I try to continue. I see a ratfolk with an eyepatch and a long stick that is poking my chest. I introduce myself as “friend of the ratfolk”. That seems to jog his memory and he says he remembers me. As long as I don’t tell people he’s down here I’m free to move on. The path has other passengers, some robed and some not. Half are ratfolk and the other half are various surface races. At the other end I find a ladder that extends to a small room in a cantina building. I avoid talking to people as I exit. I put on my disguise I got from a courier.

The Temple society has a smaller amount of land than most of the districts, so it has built vertically, with several bridges connecting overhead above the thin, winding road. Most people wear the robe color I have. I’m able to find the general area that Viola described. There is a bell tower on the side of a square. The square is curtained off with a construction project going on in the center. Nearby are two people in patched overalls having a conversation with a robed man. They are complaining that the thing they are trying to build is not “art” however the robed man said that the “guests” had very specific instructions and were paying handsomely. As I continue to scout out the perimeter I see more robed figures with metal masks covering their face guarding the plaza.

I start to approach the tower next to the plaza and see a Friend of Man exit from an alley. When I go look at the alley it is a dead end. Confused but short on time I proceed. I begin casting a spell which alerts the armored, robed figures. Before they reach me though I place my hand on the stone and a large portion begins to melt. It spews out on the floor, surrounding me like a heavy rain, it cracks into liquid. I see Friends of Man inside, staring into my face, at least a dozen. There is some kind of assembly going on inside, but everyone just looks at me, confused. For that one moment, we lock eyes, but I don’t let my concentration crack. The wall bubbles out, tearing along a tight seam. I recognize two faces from the ones amongst the files. But the wall cracks. I run. Screams start. the metal man stops running, stunned. There isn’t time. The wooden columns inside the tower splinter to matchsticks under the mismatched pressure. I see it bow slightly, then the stone begins the fracture. The building tips. The top starts falling. It fractures off, exposing the long corridor of stairs that reach upward to the bell tower. I see a Friend of Man tip and slip from the staircase. He falls off. I see his neck break, and I learn at least some Friends of Man have innards that resemble human. The tower falls, wind and debris threaten to knock me down.

The place is in chaos. You enter the cloud of dirty debris. You hear sobbing and shouts of help. I see the overall brother trying to pull the still form of his friend out, but I can tell he is dead. I notice they were twins. Its hard to make out the statue, but from what I can tell there was a marble structure that has now been thoroughly destroyed. I see strange cords and beams – foreign things that resembled metal when split amongst the ruins, but I cannot tell if they were from the staired tower or the proportionally small statue beneath. I round to where the structural damage is least on the statue. There was at least one human-figure, I can see a few pieces of debris. Squares are on the sleeved arm I found – a pattern of squares, over and over again, with irregular shading that is uncomfortable to look at. I take the statue arm and flee the scene.

I’m quickly able to find an alley where I disappear before I fly back to the mids. As I fly back I learn that the winds rapidly get faster the higher you get but otherwise return safely. I return to my house and go check on Bell and Thomas. Bell is looking much better and is recuperating. I give her a general update on what’s happening in the mids. While I’m there I ask Thomas to go oversee the delivery of the magi-tech equipment to which he agrees.

With the bells chiming I go upstairs and look for Samantha and Viola. Instead I find a note: “We are at the bar I used to go to, do you remember the one? Or we will be there if you run faster than we can dawdle.” Object reading confirms it was written by the two so I stash the statue piece and the disguise and go after them. As I head to the Jiggling Gypsy it starts to rain. Inside Samantha and Viola are at a corner table playing cards with some strangers. I notice that Viola’s “squeeze” seems to have a new lover, much to Viola’s dismay. As she sees me enter she excuses herself from the table and drops a napkin as she passes. Reading the note it says to check the table in the back, which reveals there are several Friends of Man sitting at the table. Viola comes back and I reach out to her with my telepathic bond. We start Viola Conversation 3. During that I sit down next to the Friend of Man table and try to act inconspicuous. I hear Friend of Man Conversation 1. I eventually notice Samantha and Viola are leaving so I exit as well. Samantha seems to struggle with the concept of being subtle but we all meet up a block away. We continue Viola Conversation 3 and then split up.

With them gone I wait outside for the other members to enter. Outside of getting soaked nothing happens for an hour and I eventually go back in. They are now all dressed in leather armor and watching the performers. I go to the barkeep. I inquire about the group and learn they had a fourth member with them. A strong looking human with broad shoulders and brown hair. He states the man might be with the weather society and after pressing I learn the fourth was accompanied by a halfling in the weather attire. I wait a little longer at the bar and find Salisbury entering and approaching the Friends of Man. He puts a bag on the table and I hear him say “The War Council has agreed to give you temporary housing. Please follow me.” They all shuffle out and I follow.

We head towards the Senation district and the rain increases. I follow them to a square met for diplomats and see them enter a building next to the one for the sewer district. I wait a few minutes and when he doesn’t leave I approach the building while avoiding several patrols. I’m able to telepathically communicate with Salisbury inside. After the initial confusion of our communication he states he is aware that they are dangerous but they are currently the “prisoners” of the War Council. He is charged with guarding them all night along with several others. Satisfied I leave and head back home.

When I arrive I find a note from the Bear:
“Pearce

The Ruler of the Bluepoles has agreed to the Sanctuary, and the Docks has been taken care of, at least as much as it can be. Meet me at my Mids office tomorrow night at 9pm. We need to make an official document to bind the interested parties.

-Bear

PS. I followed up on a small lead on your friend. Unfortunately, it did not lead anywhere. My Temple contacts are still searching diligently though."

Samantha is playing with cards by herself and Viola is “taking a walk” when asked. She arrives shortly after I do. We continue Viola Conversation 3 again. We decide to try and revive her tonight and have Samantha Conversation 22. We all agree to do it and after some calculations figure out that there is a 50% chance of success. Viola agrees. We go to the theater. Samantha has Viola lay down on the stage. She puts some kind of plant in Viola’s mouth. Viola’s form lays still, and the small insect-like creature emerges. Samantha tries to touch it, but hesitates. She gently shoos the bug to another section of stage. She takes out her book and a bottle of tonic and begins writing something down. Samantha writes some things down. If you can see the book, trying to read it hurts your head.
The words move and tangle in the book, connecting in strange ways, sometimes creating a pile of random letters, sometimes turns of phrase. Her writing doesn’t seem to correlate with where text is in the book.

Sam: “It is… Pearce, we have to break her shell. Something is hampering my writing. I only get one try, Pearce. We have to expose her soul to bring her back.”
Me: “You want me to cut open the bug?”
Sam: “Down the middle. You have to slice it down the middle exactly. If any one section of it gets exposed early, it will be ruined. Longways, Pearce!”

I slice the insect. The soul emerges, like a fuzzy, tight cloud, and floats lazily upward. Samantha finishes writing. There is a flash of light and you can’t hear. I have a horrible buzzing in your ears that has deafened me, and I cannot see due to the light. I am knocked backward by a powerful force. Somehow I have Samantha’s book in your hands. I see some garbled sentences on the page and know I need to read it aloud. The light suddenly stops, and I hear Samantha crying as she rushes back on the stage. I turn to look at where Viola was, where the light was. She looks smaller than before, and one look at her legs assures me she will never walk again. Samantha brought her back to the moment before she died, after several days of torture that she was never intended to survive. She is missing most of her fingers and her legs have been shattered.

Samantha is crying, holding the unconscious Viola. “I can’t do it.. I tried… I can’t do it….” I pick up Viola, “She needs food, liquid, and some healing. Let’s go” We walk back home with Samantha babbling about how she tried. She immediately locks herself in the bedroom when we arrive back home. I position her in a way so that I can get some liquids down her throat before I get Thomas to take care of her medical healing and I go to sleep.

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