Session Six: Vengeance Killing
Part One: Hunted
The session resumed within Tero’s crypt, from where the party had agreed to travel to Laketown. As the crypt was protected by powerful anti-scrying magicks, Tero suggested they stay the night and head out in the morning. This would give him a chance to finish his homunculus, which would be his familiar (and which he took to calling Lizbeth). During his work, Carter approached the young necromancer in private for a brief conversation. While Tero worked, other members of the party descended into the lower levels of the crypt to continue looting the sarcophagi that Tero had not yet gotten to. Among the gold and gems they found were two rings: one plain gold and the other studded with four tiny, clear, diamonds. When Milo ignored them entirely, Carter pocketed them in case they could be useful later.
The following morning, when everyone was ready to leave, the group departed for Bloomingburg. Shortly after leaving the crypt, much to the group’s surprise, Carter and Amora disappeared. Knowing they could do nothing but wait for the twins’ return, the group continued towards the town.
At Bloomingburg, the group searched for an inn where they could stay the night before heading towards Laketown (as the trek back to town took all day). Along the way, while moving through the rich district of town, Oldrian noticed a young guard emerge from one of the mansions, look around as if trying to evade notice, and slip off towards the docks. Thinking nothing of it, however, he didn’t bother mentioning what he had seen to the others. That evening, Milo spent several hours constructing new equipment from his material collection: a steam jet attachment for his armor (to break grapples) as well as a device that, when thrown, would launch cables in every direction as a means of entangling or tripping multiple opponents. It even was equipped with a chamber for a smoke grenade (several of which he had already made).
The following morning, the group was awoken when someone knocked loudly on their door, proclaiming, “I apologize for waking you all, but you’re going to have to come with me.”
After arming themselves and preparing for an ambush, the group opened the door to find two Trazan sorcerers, one a casual-looking hobbit, the other a young and fiery-haired human woman. They were here to take the group to the guardhouse, for they needed to ask each of them some questions regarding a young human sorcerer dressed in blue who had been seen with them.
The group attempted to evade the interrogations about Carter, who was conveniently not with them, which only frustrated the young woman (and her electrical lizard familiar). However, Yantse and the hobbit (whose name was Dan) were able to reach an agreement: they would first go to a tea shop where Yantse could get some tea, then they would accompany him to the guardhouse for questioning.
Dan proceeded to interrogate the group, but it was readily apparent that between feigning ignorance and evading the question, they were not going to give up information on his target. So, as secretively as possible (which is pretty irrelevant when you’re making gestures & invoking words) he cast a spell on Yantse… and the merfolk was now convinced that the hobbit was one of his closest friends. He admitted to Dan that the sorcerer had been with them some of the time, but they did not know where he went when he left them. Meanwhile, Kieran and Milo attempted to create a distraction to prevent Yantse from giving the group away; one which was unfortunately overheard by the two sorcerers. Hearing retaliation, Dan attempted to arrest Kieran, and the entire group exploded into chaos. Milo threw himself to the floor to distract them as Yantse, still under Dan’s spell, utilized what will he did still have to begin an extended declaration of praise for the hobbit who had enchanted him. Kieran tried to talk his way out even as Dan was attempting to retain control of the situation. As he attempted to take Kieran into custody, Yantse broke free of his spell.
“What did you do to me?” Yantse demanded. His declaration silenced everyone, including Dan. But the human woman, her fists suddenly crackled with electricity, was ready to respond.
“You weren’t cooperating, and we know you’re hiding something. Tell us what it is.” Lexi’s familiar was also crackling with electrical energy.
Yantse, enraged at the magic used against him, immediately entered into an aggressive argument with the sorcerer about their actions in using magic to force the truth out of him. The shouting escalated until Lexi’s aggression broke, and a fist to Yantse’s face delivered a violent jolt of electricity. Momentarily stunned and on the ground, Dan took the chance to reclaim control of the situation and cast a new spell, one which struck Yantse and echoed out to affect the entire party (who shrugged it off). This time, the merfolk was compelled to answer his questions.
“Who is the sorcerer who was accompanying you?”
“Carter. He is sometimes with us. We don’t know where he goes.”
And with that, the sorcerers were gone. As soon as they were out of sight, two motes of light exploded into shape behind them, and they were rejoined by the time-traveling Carter and Amora.
“Carter, we need to leave,” declared the distraught Yantse, fully aware of what he had shared. Carter, who only barely knew the party (they had been with the party for only 10 minutes before now), cautiously agreed. He was still learning who was who, and his sister was complaining of a horrible hangover. Apparently they had just been preparing to fight a vampire, and when she had left there had been flying giants shooting fireworks. Also, she may or may not have slept with someone named Rasmus.
In the early morning, the group lent a cloak to Carter and hastened to the docks, where they (minus Yantse, who took advantage of his chance to swim) took the day-long ferry down the delta to Laketown.
Part Two: Milo’s Revenge
As the ship approached Laketown, it became apparent that there was some sort of festival going on. Some inquiry on the ferry revealed that the weekend was a multi-day Festival of the Harvest, dedicated to the harvest god, Yondalla. It was a massive gathering of merchants from across the kingdom, and with the festivities and packed marketplace, it seemed likely that they could buy whatever they wanted in Laketown. On the opposite bank, the group saw a lone black cat with purple eyes, its face scrunched angrily as it attempted to follow while keeping clear of the water in the lake.
Almost as soon as they entered, however, someone recognized Milo’s armor and immediately he was swarmed by people. As there hadn’t been any Mechanists in town for several years, they all wanted him to buy their wares… or to buy gadgets from him… or to have him commission things for them. Milo had become quite the celebrity. The group quickly made their way to an inn where the dwarf could shirk his things and retain his anonymity for the time being.
Then Milo explained to them why he had wanted to come here. He was from a community in Azad-Roahk (the dwarven kingdom) called the Izzet’s Mechanists. They were inventors, designers, and “crazy steampunk guys,” and they operated as a completely egalitarian community led by their elected head, the Izzet. Until several years ago, the Izzet had been a benevolent dwarven man named Drynn—Drynn also being Milo’s uncle. However, that had ended several years ago when Drynn had been mysteriously assassinated. Milo was here searching for his uncle’s killer. He had learned from the son of one of the dwarven nobility, and had confirmed it with several supportive accounts, that the assassin had been a mercenary with a scar across his eye and a distinctive scowl. The mercenary had last been seen in Laketown—and Milo was here now to get his revenge.
Given the chaos of the festival, it seemed like it would be difficult to find a single man whose name they didn’t know. However, Yantse revealed that he had a contact in this town, a merfolk who had once been a part of his roving band of landpirates (though he didn’t admit to that much!). Saying that Milo now owed him two favors, Yantse agreed to meet up with his contact and see if Daetir could find them Milo’s target. While Yantse did that, the group went off to go shopping in the festival.
Yantse’s meeting with Daetir went well, as the two caught up on each other’s adventures. Daetir had settled in Laketown as a textile merchant—placing truth in their go-to cover story. He also said that while he did not know a dwarf of that description, he had other contacts in town who would be able to find this man for them, and later that evening he would have an address. Wishing each other a familiar farewell, Yantse set off to let Daetir resume his swindling.
The party spent the rest of the day doing shenanigans in the market. Most of them bought new equipment, particularly weaponry, now that they were in a place where they could get magic items for at least a more reasonable price than normal (though the price was still quite unreasonable). Milo, also, found someone who would give rides on “lake serpents” (the smaller, freshwater cousins of the famous giant sea serpents). In his adventures, he managed to spot, on the lakebed below, the giant skeleton of a long-dead dragon, belly-up beneath Laketown. That gave him all sorts of ideas—starting with Tero’s necromancy.
The most successful venture of the marketplace, however, came from Kieran. Assisted by the oratics of Yantse and Amora, the young elf offered to let people ride dinosaurs for a “reasonable” fee, and as this was likely the first dinosaur the people of Laketown had ever seen, it was quite a hit! The three of them raked in some legitimate cash, while Amora also busked for gold. That evening, Daetir passed on the information to Yantse that Milo would need: his target worked as a middle-man who sold food grown from the farmlands. He had a stationary address in Laketown, and would be easy to find.
That evening, Milo’s demeanor changed from his normal cheerful nonchalance to a deadly seriousness. He called upon assistance from Carter, Amora, Akorn, and Oldrian’s owl to infiltrate the house of the assassin he had come for. Amora would be his backup, while Akorn and Oldrian’s owl served as reconnaissance. Carter would be at Milo’s side, ready with his detaining spells at every moment. At 1am, the owl scouted out when was the best time for them to enter undetected by the guards (who were keeping an eye out for the many drunk festival-goers). Akorn slipped into the back of the house, struggling for quite some time before he picked the lock and entered. The first floor seemed to be a grocer’s, but the dwarf ignored it as he slipped to the front and let in Milo and the twins. Leaving Amora to guard the stairs, Akorn took point and scouted out the top floor. It was empty and dark, and only the bedroom had not been checked. Milo and Carter’s snake followed, Milo’s armor making enough of a racket (despite his attempts at stealth) to awaken the man in the bedroom.
That was when Milo busted open the door and two spells from Carter paralyzed the assassin and his wife. Muted by the spell, the assassin’s wife was unable to say anything as Milo gripped his fellow dwarf by the neck, growling,
“Did you think you could escape?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” came the strangled reply. Milo threw the dwarf against the wall.
“You know what I’m talking about, rotten murderer. Don’t tell me you don’t recognize a Mechanist when you see one.”
“I’ve only seen the ones who come through here,” he muttered, trying to get up, Milo grabbed him and hauled him up against the wall.
“You’re going to pay for what you did to my uncle.”
In the darkness, the dwarf seemed confused and frightened. “I don’t know you. I’ve never even been to Azad-Roahk!”
Looking at him, Milo’s confidence dipped.
“Carter, Akorn, is there anything that might prove if he’s telling the truth?”
The pair searched, but found nothing indicating he had ever been. There was also, however, nothing to indicate where he had been around the time Drynn had been murdered… so he had no alibi. Afraid he had been duped, Milo dropped the man and punched the wall, opening up a hole. He had come here on a tip from the Dwarven nobility—and now he was certain they had misled him.
“It’s time to go.”
About that moment, however, there was a knock at the door, followed by it crashing open. From where she waited in the shadows, Amora could see the silhouettes of more than half a dozen guards entering the house. Realizing they couldn’t escape that way, Akorn, Amora, Carter, and Milo had to figure out a new escape route. For a moment they considered Carter’s blinding snow again, but Milo took charge—this was his debacle. Tossing a smoke grenade down the stairs, he allowed the guards to be caught in blinding smoke. Carter and Amora, on the first floor, slipped out the back door while Milo and Akorn burst through a second story window. Milo’s armor took most of the impact while Akorn landed in a roll. Meeting back up with the twins, the group set off at a run. The shouts of guards followed.
Part Three: Escape from Laketown!
Alerted to the trouble by Oldrian’s owl, those who had been staying in the inn quickly packed their things and hurried for the docks. No one was there, of course, as it was nearly three in the morning, but they would have to figure that out on their own. The guards were on their way, with Milo and “Team Vengeance” close behind.
It came down to Milo’s new trip disc, along with an inserted smoke grenade, to trip the guards and delay them long enough for the group to escape. At first they planned to escape on one of the larger ships, but when it came up that Tero could polymorph someone into one of the lake serpents, they hopped into the largest feasible boat and let Tero polymorph Carter to make their getaway. Yantse had since disappeared under the water’s surface. Using Amora’s rope skills to create a tether, the serpent pulled them off from the harbor, pursued by the shots of Trazan crossbows as bolts pursued them. A few party members were hit, but after several tense minutes they were out of range.
Shortly after that, Amora fumbled with the ropes and the boat, precarious as it was with seven people and a dinosaur on it (one of whom was also clad in heavy armor), instantly capsized. Struggling against all odds to stay afloat, it took all of Carter and Amora’s effort to keep Tero, Oldrian, and Milo from drowning in the dark and cold lakewater. Thanks to the timely support of Yantse, who returned the boat to its proper orientation, the group managed to evade drowning long enough to escape to the shore. Shortly after dawn, they collapsed onto the bank, Tero’s spell dissolved, and the exhausted travelers decided they probably couldn’t return to Laketown anymore.
I know all of my posts have been D&D for a while. To nobody’s surprise, I expect, I have been struggling with a rather large load of schoolwork, punctuated by my taking the GRE yesterday evening! But I’m starting to get back into painting when I have a chance (rarely), so you can expect some more painted miniatures to go up in a bit. Hopefully I can keep a regular painting schedule going for a bit after this!