Came across some new adventurers in the Inn today. I overheard that they had tried to speak to the Oracle. They look like competent, though a tad fledgling, adventurers. There is a rather tall Genasi female with them, and she gives me a weird vibe. I saunter up and put on my most serviceable face – and get right to the point. I have connections and I might be able to help them. They seem desperate, especially the young male warrior. The Genasi, as expected, does not approve. I drop a few hints about my connections and am quickly questioned about my over-eagerness. I tell them I enjoy learning gossip – not entirely untrue. I also can smell an adventure and life around here has gotten a tad dull. I notice a wizard with them and make mention of the magical items shop – this seems to pique his interest quite suddenly. He follows with a question about a library. I tell him there is one in the Oracle’s Tower, and that my connection might have access. I can’t seem too forthcoming with information. I tell them I will be here in the morning if they wish need of my services. Let them sleep on it. I have no qualms waiting.
I stationed myself at a table and await them. They saunter down and I greet them, making sure not to press the issue. I take them on a tour of the city, making sure to appease the wizard (he seems to be the leader). They buy a hand, and we head to the tower. I “speak” to a few guards, and take them up to see The Lady. I never caught her name, and people only referred to her as The Lady, and, given the freedom that came with her acquaintance, I never cared to press the issue. She did always fancy meeting newly landed folk, and she appreciated my eagerness for the tales they brought. The Genasi, Stormlit, took me aside while perusing through town. It seems she is the overseer of the younglings. Not so subtly put, she wanted to make it clear that, if at any moment, the children’s lives were threatened by an action I caused; she would not hesitate to kill me. With my biggest smile and deepest bow, I assured her that would not happen.
I took them to meet The Lady. She greeted them kindly, as she does all new people she meets. She welcomed us in to her lush suite and started on the normal pleasantries. It seems that the young Luc was in no mood for such trivialities. His brashness will get him killed in this world. People like being buttered up, adored, and reassured of their greatness. Their pride is oft their greatest weakness. Fronts are sometimes all we have to get through obstacles. Keeping those fronts intact is essential. His naivety will surely get him killed.
They questioned The Lady, Luc and the wizard Kalleron, a Gnelf, pressing the issue the most. They make quite a unique coupling. I wonder if they fight with the same tenacity? Suddenly, The Lady turned and a chill went through the room.
What happened? Stormlit shot me a look, but I had no idea what happened. They backed away. I was confused. Nothing like this had ever happened before. The Lady didn’t seem much different. Some sweat beaded on her forehead, her face a bit taut, but nothing more. Still, I could not shake the feeling something went horribly awry. Keeping civilities intact, I excused ourselves from the room. The Lady insisted on keeping us a bit more. The group looked spooked and my curiosity piqued. What did they do to her? What did she do? Something happened, that I am sure of. What, I cannot say. I head down the stairs after the group, thanking the guards again. Connections must be maintained.
I rejoin the companions, albeit briefly. They seem wary of me now, which is understood, but not due to anything I knew about. Questions abound – too many for now though. But what did they do?
Suddenly a crash sounds in the distance. Screams erupt from the market district. This day is getting quite interesting! I take to the rooftops and head to the commotion. What have I gotten myself into? Arriving at the district, confusion has obviously swept across the villagers. They seem to be running from something. I spy two women, Eladrin maybe, in the epicenter of the commotion. Are they the cause? I have never seen them around these parts. What is going on?!
The companions arrive and nearly get trampled. Maybe they’ll kill themselves! Guards start trying to bring order to the mob while regaining their own senses. A guard fells a lady – the bastard. Does no one know how to read the tide of a battle? There is no battle here! The two figures are gone, my attention lost at the arrival of more guards. This may not be safe to be snooping around.
Luc called out. He apparently noticed a man fleeing in an opposite direction of the scattering crowd. I saw him quickly from my vantage point. Maybe he knew what happened or maybe he was the culprit, but I knew he knew something. As I was tailing him, Kalleron joined me on the rooftops (creepy magic). I pointed to the mark. We tailed him until he ducked into an abandoned 2-story house. Waiting for the others, Luc and Kaela, showed first. No one knew where the Genasi was. Luc entered first. I decided an aerial ambush during his entrance was appropriate. Getting a running start, I leapt for the window, preparing to crash through the boards…and slipped. Talk about first impressions. Landing deftly on my feet, I slipped in behind Kaela and Luc, hiding in the shadows of the house. I hate confrontations, and this had all the makings of one.
On the far end of the room was a door. Luc bolted for it, Kaela hot on his heels. As they neared the door, a crash sounded above. My guess – the wizard made it. Staying put to keep a lookout, a commotion sounded from the room Luc and Kaela entered. A sound of anguish and a screech of pain was all I needed to know that I should stay where I was. Kalleron emerged from the doorway above the stairs. I appeared and greeted him, directing him to the room. Following, I came across the reason for the commotion. Luc had “dealt” with my potential informant and found himself two young ’un’s to boot. These sights sicken me. I returned outside to stand watch. That’s when Stormlit arrived. Her stare is cold and fierce. Motioning inside, I assured her everyone was alright. Taking one last look down the streets, seeing no one, I followed inside. On the ground was a mosaic – mostly covered by dust, but brilliant in its detail. The carvings seem ancient, unlike any I had seen. This might be a clue that I had been searching for! Arguing ensued as to what they should do. Apparently the wizard and rogue are related. Great – sibling Gnelfs.
That’s when Stormlit noticed that no blood was present. Curiosity rose again. Some more discussion arose. A hallowed space is thought to be below the house. I run outside and check it’s foundation – solid. Returning, I find that Kalleron sensed magic, and that blood, it seems, exposes the mural. Everyone wants the knowledge, but who was willing? The Genasi seemed to prohibit anyone from taking a risky course of action, but that’s how things are accomplished! Luc went for it and wounded himself. Ahh, a man! Dropping instantly to the floor, his blood seemed to feed the mosaic! Stormlit quickly intervened and healed him. The mosaic stopped emerging. It seems a price must be paid for this knowledge. Luc apparently wanted to cut himself again, but he is too stymied by the others. This is my chance; my opportunity to prove myself to them and win their favor. Removing my dagger, I cut open my hand. I feel like I’m being pulled into the mosaic. I see life breathed into the etchings, their story brimming with life. My life! I am being drained, crippled. I am feeding this monstrosity, sating its hunger. The price for this knowledge is steep indeed. I find myself drifting back though, regaining my senses. The Genasi, I am thankful to say, intervened. The mosaic, now uncovered, was exquisite in its detail. Dragons laying siege to towns, strange markings scattered about, languages I had never seen before, circling around a figure – the focus of the mural. The others seemed perturbed – I was intrigued. More arguing ensued. It seems this is their method of taking action. I, however, study the mosaic closely. Map or not, I took out parchment and charcoal and copied it. I would say I was rushed, but they argued for quite a while.
When they were finished, it seems they decided to check on their ship. I tagged along, eager to learn more about these companions, and took the opportunity to follow up on some leads in the docks. Maybe someone there had learned something, or knew about this mosaic.
It turns out few knew much about either, but the companions decided they needed to get back to see The Oracle. This day could not get any stranger.
Not wanting to see The Lady again, we head to the main sanctum of the tower. They wished to check up on their requests. It seems that they did not receive answers – to be expected. Suddenly, a cleric speaking with a commoner, throws his head back as if possessed. People rush to his side, but the commoner is beaming. Apparently his question was worthy and The Oracle spoke directly through the cleric for his answer. Greater intrigue overcomes the group and Stormlit decides to cast an illusion on us to aid in our infiltration of the tower. Magic, I’m uneasy. Infiltration, I’m good at.
The spell is cast and we appear as clerics. And then, before we can set up markers or rendezvous points, they separate. The arrogance of youth! We will surely be separated! I tail the closest cleric heading for the door to the inner chambers and find myself with Kaela. Wonderful – the others are lost. Feeling sick in the fakeness of the magic, I procure some robes from a dormitory, as does she, and we head off in search of the tower. Our goal, to find the others. Our other goal, to find The Oracle. We make our way up the tower, by-passing clerics in both white and red robes, finding little of interest. Around the 6th floor, we spy a device – a platform of sorts. I examine it and feel a nudge in my back. The bastard Gnelf did it. I felt myself falling and then I appeared in a similar room to the one I just left. Recognizing it as one of the earlier rooms we had passed on the 3rd floor, I realize the device was a teleporter. So I hopped in again to get back. Reappearing, I see no one. I hop in again, and still no one. Again and again and again. The same result. Frustrated, I find the stairs.
I find Kaela ten floors up. Where we are at this point, I have no idea. Her sly smile gives way to a subtle hint of amusement. I can’t fault her – I would have done the same. When unsure of something, get someone else to check it out. We continue our search, and I learn a bit more about the companions. Apparently they are searching for someone. Luc has a quest of sorts and it’s all a bit convoluted. They’ve been traveling together for a while and are quite formidable despite their ages. Their parents seemed to have been of quite importance, but I care little for those with whom I do not have direct contact.
As we continue our way up, we come across a room stacked with papers. These appeared to be the financial records of the tower. As we search the documents a man seemed to appear out of thin air. Obviously he was aware that we weren’t supposed to be there, and he asked us what we were doing. I gave it my best bluff, but to no avail, he saw right through it. Recognizing the trouble this might cause, I moved into an evasive maneuver and hid in the shadows. Kaela approached the man (likely to silence him), and that’s when I saw it. The two tea tables behind him melted and writhed across the floor towards us. I readied my crossbows, now sure there was no avoiding this. Kaela picked up on the situation fast. I fired at the man, hoping to catch him off-guard, but he seemed to anticipate the attack. Kaela engaged the things. They lurched at her, seeming to twist and adjust mid-air. Their movement was uncanny, unlike anything I had seen on the field. Unfortunately, I was distracted from the man too long, and he sent out a gaseous hand towards me. It hit, ruining my hiding place, and I felt cloudy. Then one of the globs moved beside me. The man had disrupted my hiding spot and there was no going back. My focus turned to him, and I unleashed as many bolts as I could. He took them in stride. He flung out with the hand again and it hit – hard. Kaela had offed one of the globs and was heading to the man. I couldn’t take too much more. I released another volley, and he seemed wounded – finally. The being next to me lurched out and I barely evaded. The move did not come without a cost though and the man struck again. I felt my body sag; I would not have more than one final shot. Kaela had done a good job inhibiting him from the blind-side, but he needed to go down, or I was done for. I fired, my bolt lodging deep within his chest. His eyes rolled back and he quivered. The mass next to me quivered as well. Then, in a flash, both melted before our eyes. No man or beast I had ever slain had melted and there had always been a corpse. Now, there was nothing but a glob of clay. Needless to say we didn’t ask questions. We searched the room quickly and, finding nothing of significance, promptly left.
Kaela and I decided to continue to explore the floors, making our way to The Oracle’s room on the uppermost tier of the tower. She fared well in that battle – better than I had expected from one so young. Her confidence and poise had saved me. Perhaps there is more to these adventurers than I initially surmised.