The Circlestone Injustice, episode 2.
Episode 2: A Swift Spiritual Blow to the Breadbasket 12 Elient, the wee, small hours ... Our heroes take the opportunity to question the two thugs they apprehended under the watchful eye of Bitova D'Vee a captain of the City Watch. Remy pursues a tough line of inquiry designed to get to the very crux of the nocturnal shenanigans, exactly what were the gang going to paint on his shell! J'Wi take a rather more constructive, if still strangely unemotional approach, asking the two apparent bigots if they felt that harassing, assaulting and terrorizing another being is really good they want to operate; is it how they would like to be treated, or how their loved ones might be treated? Ultimately the soon-to-be convicts agree that it was their on-the-lam and recently de-trousered colleague, Donovan, who was the ringleader. They revealed that he was the convener of a new, small, but expanding group of humans who felt that "weirdos we used to think of as monsters" where becoming a problem, buying up property in human cities, taking his from hard-working human folk and even stealing women away from real men, like them! Eventually, Bitova D'Vee and his watch officers to the two scoundrels away, in all likelihood to apply some old-fashioned rough justice before incarcerating them in the Neverwinter gaol. The PCs returned to bed. 12 Elient, morning. In the morning the group breakfasted together and Jonathan accompanied J'Wi to a nearby supplier of all things magical, a shop known as The Cauldron. There they meet the store owner, a playful dwarf called Owpown Shartlinker. Shartlinker appeared to try and pull the proverbial wool over J'Wi's ophidian eyes, but she was too sharp, pointing out to him that the discounted price he offered her for her supplies, of 3 gold pieces and 20 silver pieces was in-fact equivalent to the original price of 5 gold pieces! Without batting an eyelid, he apologised for his error and clarified that he had meant 3 gold and 2 silver pieces, he trusted that there was no ill feeling and that J'Wi and Jonathan knew that his miscalculation had been just that, and was certainly made without intent to defraud. They left with a parting remark that remains private. Eventually the party set off for the two day trip to Port Llast. Travelling the Sword Coast High-road (SCH) turns out to be a relatively relaxing affair. The group spends a peaceful night camping on the cliffs, the mighty Trackless Sea to the west and Neverwinter Wood just visible across rolling grass and farmlands, to the east. 13 Elient, evening. As planned the group arrives at the city of Port Llast in the early eve of 13 Elient. After a brief and linguistically challenging discussion with the Gate Watch, they head into the port's grimy and rather utilitarian streets until they come to the Gilded Lily (and not the Guilded Lily, which is another establishment in the city). There they rendezvous with Anahita who tells them that her personal business is not exactly resolved, rather it is a work in progress. She says no more about it. Remy is delighted to discover that The Gilded Lily has an all-you-can-eat bread table and he tucks into rye, flat, stone-ground, steamed and even some uncommon breadless bread! The PCs then retire for the evening, except for Anahita who accompanies J'Wi to the snug, a comfortable room containing various scrolls, books and games that patrons can enjoy at their leisure. There, J'Wi borrows a book of words and their meanings from a professorial-looking elf, in an attempt to discover more about the word she heard in her dream; sifanti. Unfortunately, she finds nothing relevant. 14 Elient, morning. Morning comes and a caring inn-worker leaves a bread-basket next to the sleeping Remy. Embroiled in dreams of all-things-leavened-and-unleavened, Remy wakes to be confronted with this kindness just inches from his beak. He is amazed and wonders how this could have appeared in his sleeping space (actually, the bread store converted to host Remy and his bulk) and comes to the only logical conclusion that a one-thousand-and-one-pound, glowing, teenage-tortle monk can come to, he must have the ability to manifest in reality the things from his dreams! Well, bread at least. Breakfast passes without incident and the team head off once again, this time bound for the northern city of Luskan, some seven days travel. 17 Elient, morning. The first three days pass uneventfully and on the morning of the fourth day, 17 Elient, the party comes across an unusually large, white tent, with banners flying on poles around it and six riding horses and a draft horse and cart tethered to a hitching post just next to the tent. Maena recognises the banner of a relatively powerful Sun Elf family, although at that precise moment she can't recall the family name. Another banner she realises shows an amalgamation of several religious sigils, as though someone has cherry-picked the graphic representation of faith that they are most fond of. As the party wanders closer to investigate, Anahita particularly interested in checking in the well-being of the horses, a figure exits the large tent. He greets the friends, introducing himself as Yysaril Shiningdawn Fairway Goldenhair, and bids they come join him and his "followers" for some breakfast. Their curiosity piqued, Maena and Anahita agree and enter the tent. His desire for more bread piqued, Remy joins them. The more cautious and less socially comfortable, Jonathan and J'Wi remain outside. Inside the tent, which is set up with benches, cushions and a low platform, Maena, Anahita and Remy are formally introduced to Yysaril, who insists they call him Izzy, and his companions and followers, Sanime, a female elf, Subagho, a female halfling, Andabe and Llanapp, two dwarven women and Uoosorts and Jatote, both human women. A meal is shared, although of the PCs, only Remy actually eats, and a prayer is said. Maena is intrigued by exactly which god is being followed here, but despite her best efforts, her questions lead to imprecise, and possibly deliberately obscure, responses about the true god, the god of love, the one god. Maena is disturbed by this lack of clarity. At the same time Anahita finds herself wondering about the likelihood that Izzy would have exclusively female acolytes, she starts to become concerned for the well-being of these female followers. Meanwhile, outside, Jonathan and J'Wi do a cursory scout around of the area and find five smaller tents pitched behind the main tent. The smaller of these tents are all without any real form of closure, the entrance flaps bring of heavy material which overlaps, rather than having fasteners of any sort. The remaining, larger tent is well pitched and has a robust set of fasteners providing it with some level of privacy and security. It is at this point that two of the acolytes come out to check on Jonathan and J'Wi, asking Jonathan directly if he needs anything? He says not, the land provides all he needs, to which Uoosorts responds, "What of companionship?" J'Wi is not impressed by this perceived slight. Jonathan ignores the potential offer of some sort of engagement and asks if the troupe has any maps he might see, Llanapp says that they will ask Izzy to show Jonathan the maps he has in his personal library. Remy, Maena and Izzy also exit the tent, Izzy apparently fascinated to dig into Maena's own epistemology. Eventually, he pushes her to question her truth and attempts to overwhelm her with his charm and charisma, and while she feels a strange pull towards his personality, her faith and strength of character allow her to keep her control. She even challenges his intentions directly, to which Izzy simply smiles and declares that he has so much to learn from Maena.
Inside, alone with Sanime, Subagho, Andabe, and Jatote, Anahita tries to ask if they are all safe, if they remain with Izzy of their own volition; the response is clear. Izzy is the shining light, the path, the way, the true conduit of the god of love, and they love him. If anything, rather than being consoled by this, Anahita finds herself even more troubled with the situation. She leaves the elf, dwarf, halfling and human setting up the tent for a coming prayer-meeting, joining the rest of her group outside. Izzy has responded to Jonathan's request to see any maps he might have and is returning from his tent clutching various rolled up parchments when the party notice that from the north a crowd is descending on the camp. They guess, from the dress and demeanour of the people they see, that the vast majority of this crowd is made up of farmers and other agricultural workers, gathering from the farms and small-holdings scattered along the coastal road.
As they watch the figures getting closer a sense of unease starts to grow in each of them ...