scratching of ink pen on rice paper
I’ve suffered my third serious personal defeat since my creation over a decade ago.
Normally, I wouldn’t mind a defeat; you just go back for another try. But each personal one seems to have some degree of meaning behind it. Though, I’m still searching for the meaning behind that gnome arsonist.
I’d also forgotten what it was like to get kicked in the head(and when Arquebus Abbey did it, didn’t really hurt nearly as bad). I should’ve known that Red Ring invitation was a trap. I even left word with Drozen and Sailla at the shop the Captain bought. Mostly bought, Arion chipped in. A month had managed to pass before this without any real incident(anything the guard tells you differently about my nights at the Rusty Nail is a blatant lie, and a sign their rates have gone up).
I managed to find a lovely crystal-and-steel display case for some of my stoneworks, I wonder if I could get one of the artistic types in Stormreach to visit. And, of course, have the Elf check afterword to see if he\she pickpocketed anything.
Faelh was content to do some blacksmithing work, which was a rare thing after his ascension to head of his house’s affairs in this hive; I almost suspect the family EXPECTED him to kill the Kraken so they could put someone less of an asshole in charge.
Well, only a bit less of an asshole. Perhaps ‘More flexible’ would be a better term.
He and the Wizard were both content to do some work, while Lorelea decided to hang around at the Temple(I can understand devotion to a religion that lets you disintegrate things, and lets you control urges you don’t want, but really, enjoy yourself) and Arion went shopping. I was going to when the summons showed up.
I was actually pleased. Should’ve known better. So, I go.
Lo and behold, a trap. Imagine my surprise. The White Raven of all people. That…was surprising. Really need to talk to Sailla and Arion about putting in some kind of security setup, seems he’s had a bunch of his goons ransacking the shop, and by logical extension the ship(Zax must be out on the town), and came to the conclusion that damned dragonshard we absconded with was carried by me.
Should’ve known having built-in storage would come to back to bite me on my shiny adamantine ass sooner or later. Give the effete man credit, he offered cash for it first, a rather significant sum. Couldn’t screw over the crew like that. Can’t believe he had the gall to think 6 of his minions would be enough to take me.
16, I’ll grant that number would probably stop me. And then the honorable thing happened, yet another surprise(I really need to get better intel): honorable combat. He and I. Even got to choose the weapon. His stance gave him away, first critical bit of information:
The White Raven is a monk. So I went unarmed, fair is fair.
Second critical bit of information: He is an incredibly powerful monk. Capable of denting adamantine, as I found out the hard way(didn’t know they could). Skilled and durable too; I acquitted myself well, 30 minutes before defeat(let too much slip about combat experience in those first few minutes; Faelh’s right, I’ve started getting too cocky).
Bastard took the shard right from my shoulder storage; left everything else though, killed a man who tried to steal my money.
I should not actually respect my enemy this much, it leads to problems. Honorable, bah.
And, after some repair magic, also found out he’s stupid. Wizard finally translated that scroll; short story is, Vampires are elves that made a pact with something from Beyond that gave them eternal life and weird blood magic that let them annihilate giants, but they can’t stand sunlight. That whole ring of storms bit? Their method to protect themselves as they slept. ’pparently some escaped to the outside world, and we get the hybrids like Lorelea.
This guy’s HELPING them, the whole cell of Emerald Claw in the area is I guess. Stupid.
A visit to the local Emerald Claw watering hole turned up four important bits of information:
A. White Raven’s got a business arrangement with the owner of the EC bar; why was I not allowed to burn this place down? Let us plan his next move though.
B. Inquisitor is apparently attracted to the Elf(some House dance, I dunno) and ridiculously fast; I remember the stealth specialist in the Cyrean First and Only being able to out-run me and SHE wasn’t that fast.
C. Arion can’t swim worth a damn, but he’s getting even better at picking locks.
D. Sailla has bad taste in men. Seriously, Karnnathi? Really?
I may not need sex but I can observe and form conclusions. Her house really messed her up bad in the head.
The next day was FUN though; I think I’m going to be carrying the elf around as I fly more often; Arion..not so much. Whisper-stones are useful too.
Nothing beats soaring through a stained-glass window at a temple, dropping fire on emerald claw troops as you do so, and diving into a battle. 6 to 1 odds, too easy. EC don’t scare easy though; choir boys…yeah. White Raven was there, managed to escape with the Inquisitor after disabling Drozen far too handily for his tastes if I guess right(he was even surlier than usual).
Elf’s also learned something new, some odd battle-dance or something. Almost..pretty, for all that I couldn’t see most of it, too fast and obscured by the smoke clouds both the Raven and I threw down.
Wizard is starting to worry me; what he did to the one EC merc we captured in the reliquary…harsh. I should never get to call any actions this crew does harsh. Did get the information we needed; inquisitor was taken due to her blood needed for part of some awakening ritual, and the mercs were after some kind of special book, which they didn’t find. Or did, I’m somewhat unclear.
This temple’s sitting on some rather interesting artifacts, including some holy book; I had better sense than to grab it, it burned the Wizard’s hands. Not Sailla’s though.
Rescued Lorelea after a ruined dynamic entry, slightly anticlimactic.
Seems now we know where we’re going, and a rough idea of what we’re going to face. A highly trained last survivor of a destroyed monastery with a penchant for the dramatic, Emerald Claw mercenaries, ancient and powerful magics plus potentially a millenia-old vampiric entity.
I love my job.