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:
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.
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.