So, this week in the Anduwin Chronicles….
Deep in the mines, the group continues its conversation to the side of the mine cart tracks. Farandril approaches Sivaras furious internally, but outwardly appearing calm. He speaks to her about her intrusion into his mind, and that he has a duty to the people of Emelrost and his superiors. He needs to be able to share what he learnt from the portal about what dangers lay on the way to the mines. She states she stands by her decision to effect his mind, as now he cannot know what to say, and so cannot lie. Farandril tells Sivaras that he will no longer vouch for the party with his people and the templars. She walks away from him, and the atmosphere is cold around the cavern.
Almost immediately, Farandril receives a telepathic message from commander Bronx, asking for an update. Farandril thinks his reply, that the way is clear an dportal is clos d, but he cannot confirm the route being safe, and that the group should loose their diplomatic immunity. He plans to discuss further this with Bronx. Granuelle takes out her spoon of plentiful food and flavours it with her spice. Ebeneezer offers some of his own spices to improve the flavour somewhat. The party makes campo and settles in for a rest while waiting for the civilian refugees to arrive. Feeling the tension in the air, 428 moves to the side of the tunnel, and notices a light flying past him from the tunnel entrance, which a faintly magical sound moving down the mine shaft, illuminating it brightly, and continuing downwards. He makes his way to the entrance, and starts trying to see if a person had caused this light. He thinks about possible enemies, and rolls out of the tunnel and turns back to face the entrance, possibly catching enemies at the gate. Standing from a poor roll, he sees no one outside, but is hit by the magical exposure and wind again. The wind swirls and blows away his footprints in the sand. He turns and walks toward the tents outside the mines. Only Brant and Ebeneezer notice that 428 has left the mines. The halfling and human set off to follow the Goliath, but before getting out of camp, the Goliath charges past them, and deeper into the mines proper with his weapon drawn. He charges into the darkness. From his perception, he is chasing what is glowing and flew past him. No one else can see this glow. Ebeneezer drinks a potion of Expeditious retreat and runs off on foot. Granuelle climbs into a mine cart with Sivaras and 5ey set off. Brant waits with Farandril and the pair set off walking down the tracks. The elf and halfling push the he cart which starts to move slowly.
Jumping out, Granuelle gives the cart a strong push and pulls herself back inside, as the minecart picks up speed quickly. He alchemist runs along side the cart with the elf on he opposite side. The group continues to chase 428 with the cart at ever increasing speed. He continues his run down he tracks and recognises the light to be a type of bird seemingly made of pure magical light. The Goliath hears something fast approaching behind him, recognising the sound of the cart. He steps to the side, off the tracks and readies his axe. The yuan ti and half orc had not put any light on, so 428 swings at the cart. He connects the cart and the first rider, Sivaras. The cart is abruptly stopped in its tracks before being flipped by its own momentum, and throwing the women twenty feet forwards. The Goliath immediately tackles Granuelle unsure who was following him. After making sure the girls are ok 428 runs off after the light again. Granuelle calls out “stop running”.
However, 428’s perspective is of Granuelle saying “stop runn” before freezing in time. The Goliath keeps following the bird entity, before twisting, and revealing itself to be an eagle. The bird splits from the mines and makes its way down a side alley, and passing sconces on its way, the eagle ignites each sconce. He walks through a thin passage, which is a slight squeeze for his large build. As he travels along this passage, he sees that this route was once mined but long ago. And whoever was here, had mined through a wall, to reveal a much wider corridor-like room, with a spiral staircase to one side leading upwards. The eagle circles and makes its way upwards. 428 steps into the room, and sees a brazier chained from the ceiling and billowing flame. He sees childlike pictures of clouds and figures on the walls. There are repeating images of two figures holding hands, with a bright sun behind them. In one picture the figures are separated with a partial darkness between them. As he looks at the drawings, he hears a baby begin to cry. He becomes concerned by the chance someone young and innocent is in danger, and so makes his way to investigate.
In another chamber, he sees a cradle being slowly rocked side to side by a female in white glowing robes. He cannot make out her features or face, but he can see beautiful long locks of hair, and hear a very faint but gauntly pretty song coming from her. He feels a surprising sense of calm wash through him. In his calm state, he drops his axe instinctively and approaches the woman bathed in light. He tries to look upon her, but the light is blindin. He feels a sense of acknowledgement and a smile. Then he turns his face to the cradle but doesn’t see a baby. Instead he sees “His” eyes flash and a scream on his mind, before he is flashed back to the group and time restarts. Granuelle finishes her sentence and 428 stops dead in his tracks.
The Goliath appears visibly shaken by his experience, and seeing this, Granuelle gently squeezes his hand and asks what has happened. He stays silent and thinks about how much he actually trusts the other party members, before walking up he tracks back to the camp. We all follow at various paces. Brant walks alongside Farandril and waits to see if the elf wishes to speak with him about the previous events. The elf walks straight ahead, but keeps his weapon and sheild at the ready. Brant senses that Farandril is still very pissed off, and so initiates conversation himself. Brant apologises for what Sivaras did to Farandril and states he does not agree or condone her behaviour. He states that the rest of the party was equally surprised by her actions. Brant then offers to tell Farandril what transpires in the portal. Farandril shares he will have to make up his mind, and that without trust from the party, he does not know where to begin. He offers to listen to the bards take, but makes no promises to believe it. And so, as they walk back to the camp, Brant tells the full tale of meeting Viscioron the Second and what the Grey Drake revealed to him, not sparing any of the details. Farandril is initially hesitant to believe Brant, but listening to the story he starts to get a sense the bard speaks truth.
Farandril shares he appreciates Brant’s honesty, and asks if he other group members had visions, like Brant’s. The bard is unsure, but is confident his own vision from Viscioron was deeply personal and so he suspects everyone may have been gifted a unique vision. Brant asks Farandril not to tar the whole party with the same brush, and draw opinions on all based on the actions of one. The pair make their way back to the camp and catch up with the other party members.
After a short while a voice in the dark calls out to Farandril and identifies himself as a messenger on behalf of commander Bronx. He joins the elf at the camp and Farandril shares that the way ahead through the mines is cleared and safe when it was last scouted. The messenger shares the civilians are tired but are ready to make the final push to the mines. We learn that the magic wielding templars are struggling due to the exposure. The messenger also tells that the refugees are keen to get moving. Granuelle offers the party to scout ahead of the civilians deeper into the mines, and we learn that the ship, the Andromeda is moving north easterly. And further in land, towards the Veil. Messages have been sent to the Veil to beg them to evacuate the city, if the Andromeda is to attack. The messenger states that this move is unusual, as previously, the Greyborn had been honourable and avoided attacking religious sites. However, this time, they appear to be ignoring this honour, and are en route to the Veil, and the home of the Pendulum. Farandril becomes concerned that the Greyborn have lost their last sense of honour based on this news. The plan remains to evacuate the civilians towards Vespard and then the templars have a duty to protect the Anduwin machines.
We also learn that the forces of The Sultan, have joined with those of Borodos, and more unusually the leaders of the tribes of badlands, and the unified trolls tribes. The combined might of these forces have destroyed the barricade to the north. The messages expects another week to have resulted in the liberation of Majorie, in BeJórne. Farandril confirms his hope for this unified force, and asks if there is any further news from, the east.
We set off walking the 50 miles towards Vespard. It takes us three days, and Farandril continues to make chalk markings on the walls, that the way is safe so far. Sivaras casts goodberry each morning for sustenance and creatures water for us to drink. On our way, Granuelle finds a small metal ball which see works out is some sort of magical throwing item which would be distracting if thrown. Farandril discovers a single platinum peice. Brant was able to find a small box in the bottom of a barrel. The lockbox contains a neatly folded tabard baring a symbol he does not recognise- a crude and aggressive parrot. Between Brant, Farandril and Ebeneezer they work out there is a legend of a pirate captain which was eaten by his parrot, and the parrot rose to be a Demi god. Brant recalls the name of this parrot to be Shakka, and that saying this to a pirate is terribly bad luck. During our travels, Ebeneezer discovers a corpse, but in looking closer, he spots all of the corpses teeth are solid gold. However, Ebeneezer chooses to respect the corpse and leaves them in his jaw, except one tooth, which emits an aura of abduration magic. The tooth contains a sheild spell which can be used at the moment it is needed, if he has this tooth put into his own mouth. One night, Sivaras is leaning on a wall, and the wall moves allowing her to fall through into a secret alcove. She finds a small shelf with long decayed beef jerky, eaten by 428 and Ebeneezer. While they eat, she finds a small black translucent marble which is incredibly heavy and a long thin box. In the box, is a rod with a tag attached saying do not pick it up. She closes the box and takes both items.
Days later we emerge from the tunnel, on he other side. We see rising spires growing out of the mountains, which Brant recognises as Vespard. The heat is bareable, but still it takes us a few hours to walk from the mountain tunnel to the city. Here is a large stone wall surrounding the city and showing off some large regal buildings, as well as hot air balloons and ribbons flying in the sky. The city gates are wide open, and a throng of traffic and carts is pouring into the city. Many citizens are drunk and celebrating Liberation Day. One celebrant approaches Brant and tells him that his costume is “spot on” and he looks just like the real Brant Goldust, the famed Hero of Vespard. The same man tells Farandril he too has a great costume, and he looks like a “dick of a Templar”. Granuelle tells the man to have a drink and throws him a copper piece. The man offers Granuelle change and he gladly accepts 3 gold pieces as change. Farandril casts command on the celebrant and tells him to “behave”.
We move into the city proper and see more and more people in costume looking like Brant, playing various carnival games at stalls in the street. One vendor calls us to try our luck at strength tests. 428 takes a hammer and smashes the shall with his full might, breaking the stall and winning the star prize- a bucket of water with a goldfish in it. After our commotion, we continue through the thorough fair towards the main rise. Granuelle asks Brant to lead as he has been to this city before. Brant suggests going to the pub of the Silver Assault, as he has connections with their organisation. He leads the way to the Brass Bell, and we see a few people sipping drinks outside the establishment. We head inside, but loose tack of Ebeneezer as well do. 428 hands over a particular coin, and asks for a drink. The bar jeep tells him that he will need to go to the cellar and change a barrel. He invites 428 and Brant into the cellar. He clicks his fingers and all of the bars inhabits stand and surround the party, while the Goliath and halfling are lead away into another room.
Brant and 428 are lead into a chamber and wait for a short while, before an elven male with a large purple feather in his hat. He says he hasn’t seen any of these types of coins in a long time. He introduces himself as Killme Clemence, and after inspecting the coins, accepts that the halfling is the real Brant Goldust. Killme shares he is the leader of the facility. He pulls out a file from a cupboard of people that the Silver Assault presumed dead. Brant is offered a debriefing from his last mission. However, Brant gets distracted by stories of his rival and counterpart, Grant Boldlust, the more recent hero of Vespard. It is said that Grant is better than Brant, particularly in his culinary skills. He made and sold a sandwich of “dog shit”. Getting nowhere, Killme turns his attention to 428 for a debriefing. He asks if Brant is alive, which he is, and so pays 428 two thousand gold coins for his service. Killme then threatens that if Brant doesn’t engage in the debriefing, he won’t be paid. Brant continues to explorehe conversation around the dogshit sandwich. However, he eventually confirms he made contact with the target, and extracted him before he died, and that there were complications. Brant shares the target had died but made a deal to come back to life only until he completed his mission. Killme explained he will mark the mission with an asterisk, and the contact was for Anton Quinn, not his heir. Killme offers partial payment, to which Brant casts suggestion for full payment. This fails, and the elf then suggests Brant leave with no pay. As Brant leaves, Killme says “bring in the contact”.
Meanwhile, Ebeneezer has gone to find and make some new friends. He has made contact with merchants in the city, and is brought to the Silver Assault. As Brant leaves the cha,bees of Killme, Ebeneezer is brought in. The pair discuss business opportunities. Killme enquires if Ebeneezer is in town with ambitions to enterprise or to be sold too for distribution. The alchemist shares he aims to build a personal stock, without muscling in on Killme’s business. After checking, Ebeneezer is asked if he will be able to reach more regal districts and clients as they pay good money but are hard to reach. Ebeneezer is unsure he can do this, as this is the first time he has been in this city. However, they agree for Ebeneezer to get some stock and a satchel, if he leaves something valuable as a deposit. He shares the magically sealed lock box from the alchemist in Borodos. This is recognised to be powerful magic, and is accepted as a suitable safekeep. As Brant, 428 and Ebeneezer re-emerge from Killme’s office the patrons all retake their seats.
Granuelle wants to get her ladyship and title ratified but is unsure who to speak to. Ebeneezer goes back and asks Killme about this, and it is discovered that this could be a way for the party to get into the regal regions, and he learns who to speak to in the upper city about her peerage. Ebeneezer tells this to the party, and we talk with 428, who sits with his gold on a bench contemplating his next move, as his job was only to protect Brant. Granuelle leads the way to the main palace, and is followed by Farandril who is looking for the barracks. Brant advises that the city is a spiral and eventually he will reach the barracks. Sivaras waits with Goliath and as she recalls he queens message to protect the storm warrior.
Up the road, a vendor called Hinklemya Berkybink is challenging members of the public to wrestle against his champion, as well as apple bobbing, and a knife at a board game. Granuelle tries the knife game, and wins a Grant Boldlust replica hat. Ebeneezer also partakes of the game and wins a hat. He throws a second time, and wins a hat which he places on Brant’s head.
Sivaras asks 428 what he will do next. He shares he will follow his path and his mission. He searches for the temples and places the sketchbook of Orryon at the temple of Vollabuke. Sivaras explains that her queen has told her that the storm solider has a part to play in bringing down the Anduwin, and she will stay with him, and support him to avenge the wrongs done to her people by the Anduwin and their false divinity. The odd pairing walk away together towards the next temple.
And that’s where we left off…