“If you want to get to know who your friends are, get yourself a gaol sentence." - Charles Bukowski
24-27 Elient, Luskan
Remy is determined to get his buddy, Connor, out of the thrall of the street-urchin who has clearly used dark magic to beguile him. He hatches a plan. Using his own magic he creates an illusion so that it sounds as though an explosion, similar to that which had actually happened at the Captains Court. This shocked Connor out of his reverie and seemed to shake the entity that had lured them both down into the basement. For the briefest of moments the tiny, ill, frail looking child is replaced by the image of an angry, adult sized, pockmarked, disease ridden hag, with claws inches long and teeth that seem to have been sharpened goblin-style. Then, the girl is back.
Remy wastes no time in shouting to Connor as the child runs towards the Tortle. She launches herself at him, as though looking for a hug, but transforms into the hag he glimpsed seconds earlier and drives long, steely and diseased talons towards Remy’s throat. Luckily his hardened natural armour deflects the attack. He decides that things are getting too creepy, and as he sees Connor streaking out of the room he had entered, followed by two more monstrous hags, he turns and runs. The waif-hag slashes at his shell as he flees, but her claws are no match for the Tortle carapace.
The Halfling and Tortle escape the central chamber and Remy slams the door behind them. Connor then uses magic to freeze water from his canteen as it splashes across the door, sealing it tightly. Even in this heightened moment, Remy is aware enough to be impressed and intrigued in equal parts.
With the door sealed, at least until the ice melts, the two companions flee through the final room of the cellar, pushing their way through the ubiquitous rags, feeling their sickly embrace trying to steal their very life-essence. Clearly this is the lair of some hitherto unknown creatures of the dark! Connor manages to hold off the draining sensation, but Rembrandt succumbs and a feeling of nausea and weakness overcomes him.
Despite this they push on and up the stairs, back out into the street. Remy slams the cellar doors.
Outside they encounter a Patrol investigating the explosion (or at least, the sound that Remy created) who then enter the cellar. A new conflict begins and several Patrol Officers are killed and injured. Eventually, Remy and Connor help the Patrol Captain to carry the chest from the safe-house, and an injured man, back to SPHQ ...
At the Shore Patrol Headquarters, J’Wi, Maena, Anahita and Jonathon are considering their options as the door opens and a Patrolman summons the young, female officer to another room, telling her that more suspects have been brought in and her stenography skills are required. As they glance out of the open door into the corridor, the friends clearly see Plussa Xange being escorted, hands bound, deeper into the building.
Alone with only the one officer, Maena declares that she will send a message to Circlestone, to Xyxith'xylix Nooxypiath, the head of the town’s founding-family. She does this through communion with the spiritual plane, and sends a message explaining that the team is still heading home. The message is sent, but there is no reply.
Then things got crazy.
Jonathon stole a Patrol Officers clothes, sneaked about, found Rudyard being tortured by an Officer referred to as “Inquisitor”. He rescued Rudyard, taking the broken man back to the room the others were still in.
Connor and Remy arrive at SPHQ inadvertently creating a diversion which probably saves Jonathon’s subterfuge from immediate discovery. They are sent to the room to wait with the others.
Realising that they need to get out as quickly as possible, Maena uses magicks to start a fire and Remy smashed through an internal wall, into a darkened store room. As the fire grows, and Remy’s counterfeit alarm bell is joined by legitimate bells alerting everyone to the flames, the ‘Stoners exit through the back of the building, into the early morning alleyways and to freedom. In the smoke a small, but frightening silhouette alerts Connor to the fact that their escape has not been achieved completely unnoticed; the Inquisitor was watching.
After splitting up to retrieve belongings from One Eyed Jax and ready the horses and the cart, they all exit through the city gate only minutes before a Luskan wide alert shuts all gates to anyone trying to leave.
They hit the road and don’t look back.
Eventually, after 3 nights on the road they reach the Halfling hamlet of Halv, where they hope to get medical treatment for a still very poorly Rudyard. There they discover that several Halvanians have been abducted by an unknown force. Using clues they had picked up on the road the friends realise that there is a good chance a band of orcs is responsible, and they agree to help the Halflings to try and recover their loved ones. They also discover that Harrid Hanner-Gwaed, a fellow ‘Stoner, had been in Halv just before the kidnappings occured. Harrid is a quiet, thoughtful, Half-Orc poet, who generally keeps himself to himself. The Halvanians said he was traveling with news and looking for some acquaintances.
The friends were given the hamlet’s Moot Hall as a base for the night and we left them with Rudyard receiving treatment while they discussed how they might best track and rescue the missing villagers.