Orik's smile fades and he blinks, and looks genuinely surprised and pained at the reaction as he shrinks down to regular size and retrieves his bow. "Miss, I'm sorry about your birds. I... didn't want them to hurt my friends. Why did you attack us as soon as we showed up? We didn't necessarily bear you ill will. We are just trying to find some companions who were kidnapped." he pauses "We don't need to keep fighting. I really am sorry about the birds." He tries to appear nonthreatening, and keeps his bow lowered.
I'll be damned at the swarm thing. I've been running and playing that wrong for years! Thank you for the correction!
Chiquq shows none of the pity that Orik does. She keeps her bow aimed at the woman with a grim line settling her mouth.
"Do you think you're the only one to lose FRIENDS? My cousin has been kidnapped by you and whoever you work with, or for, witch! You will talk or you will take an arrow through your heart!"
Dez takes the opportunity to draw his bow and notch an arrow, and he joins Chiquq in aiming at the woman. He comments to Orik: "Is there anything you can do to help Ogon? How long until he can see?" And to the woman: "I suggest you listen to my friend and immediately tell us where the prisoners are and what dangers lurk in the towers. When our hobgoblin companion recovers his sight I think you'll find him less pleasant to deal with than us."
Ogon, able to hear if not see, growls and summons his flaming blade to hand - hoping to look at least somewhat intimidating.
i don’t know if I can heal it, does Orik know enough about the raven swarm to know how to cure the blindness? He doesn’t have heal trained. Putting the action in spoilers in case he’s not allowed to do it..
”I don’t know, I haven’t had to deal with blindness before. I can try, but I am not an expert on this type of injury.”
If he can, Orik will put away his bow and try to examine Ogon and heal his injury.
Heal: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Orik can’t figure out what’s wrong. ”I’ll keep trying, but this is beyond the simple magic that I rely on normally.
I assume she’ll do something before Orik can act again
I was mostly saying that for flavor, because Dezső assumes clerics are healers. I wouldn't expect Orik to be able to do more than perhaps estimate how long it would take to overcome the blindness.
Of course! I just randomly didn’t train heal, for some reason, and I doubt I can take 10 in combat, so I’ll just have to keep trying. In character Orik is just bewildered because the community domain doesn’t have blinded as a status to clear. Presumably if we get out of combat I can clear it relatively easily. :)
The woman stays tense, with the words of Dez and the arrow pointed at her stoking her fear and anger. "That was my flock," she said. "I don't even know if I can replace them. ...and I don't work for anyone!"
Clearly she works for someone, but doesn't really enjoy working for them.
She looks at the hobgoblin. "That's that grotesque thing that Nazhena had as a sculpture, isn't it. You need a real cleric to heal him, not some bumbling half-orc."
She exhales loudly and slumps slightly, then draws herself up to her slender height. "Oh, what are you going to do, slay me in cold blood? Let me gather up my birds and no, I don't know where your friends are held. I don't like to go out of the aerie much."
This is obviously Jairess, the cleric that misogynist Tower guard mentioned.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
"Lady, we don't know who you are from gourds. If you don't work for the witches of the tower, why the hell are you here? Speak quickly, this 'bumbling' cleric is interposed between you and what I gather will be an unpleasant afterlife, our patience is not infinite, and we are extremely dangerous." He says grimly as he examines Ogon again.
Heal: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
Orik grumbles, satisfied, and then draws his bow again, keeping it lowered.
Orik and Ogon don’t know, but I think the rest of us would all recall having learned an hour ago in game that She’s a sylph and a mercenary and a wanderer who keeps to herself. The Master wants to bed her. I think that’s about the sum total we learned. She’s not a witch. I don’t think we know who she worships or how evil she is.
Sense motive: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Chiquq exhales, her anger fighting with an unwelcome and unwanted empathy. She presses her lips together, thinking of Ila.
"If you wish to live, then you had better keep a more civil tongue in your mouth," she snaps. "I have no problems at all slaying you in 'cold blood'. I doubt you would have compunctions about doing the same if our positions were reversed. Tell us what you know of the rest of the tower, and answer my companion's questions."
Take 10 on Sense Motive
"If you dislike your master so much, then go!" Ogon hisses, his eyes still sore.
Also take 10 on sense motive for 18.
"We know you are only a hired hand, but the fact that you would work for these people doesn't make you look good. You're going to need to tell us everything you know about the people who run this tower, what they are trying to accomplish, and who is in the tower right now. I would also like to know if anyone is watching us through that mirror. Also, tell us who you worship; we know you're a priestess."
Jairess slits her eyes at Ogon, then thinks. "You're here to slay him, aren't you. He's locked himself up in the top floor, that coward. And you wouldn't know the first thing about what it's like to be a woman under his command."
The sylph cleric (for sylph she is) carefully lowers herself, and her spear to the floor, her eyes on Chiquq. "You would understand," she says (perhaps not noticing that Yrja is also a woman--such is the life of a tiefling in the background). Just as slowly, she raises back up and turns to Dez. The faint aura of flight still surrounds her, as she's imbibed a potion, but out of courtesy, she remains standing on the ice floor.
"I'm a priestess of Gozreh. I was--hired here." She makes it sound as if it may have been a last resort. "I was commissioned to direct the ravens," she says, a little mournfully for a moment, but then her face hardens to pragmatism again. "But enough. I took the job, you're right, I deserve it if enemies of Nazhena and that toad Radosek come through here. If there are special prisoners, they are with Radosek. I don't go to his chambers--ever," she says with a shudder, "But I know he has a familiar, a goat--damn appropriate--" she spits, "And really, no one else up there. He said he has other allies, which is probably more statues like those nymphs and dragons, but he didn't tell me. He was far too busy telling me about the softness of his bed and the--" she bites her lip.
"I have the bastard's key," she says. "He has walled himself in to the top level. I could use it 'anytime', he said with a smile. If you'll wipe if off his face then I'll call us even." . She crosses her arms, shaking just a bit.
Chiquq studies the other woman, then lowers her bow. "Very well. Leave us the key, and go while you can. I am sorry for your birds. But I have lost an animal that was dear to me also... as well as my kinsman... because of the white witches. Sometimes, when the coin seems too easy and good... it is."
Chiquq thinks of the spoilt Taldan lord whose own cowardice had played a part, however small, in setting her feet on the path she is now walking.
"The witches to seem to have many pigs walking about in the bodies of men, serving them," she adds on sourly, thinking of the sergeant and his comments. "We will wipe the 'smirk' as you say. Maybe carve him a new expression."
Yrja makes a disgusted noise as Jairess mentions Radosek's advances, and the the woman's obvious sadness at the death of her birds moves the tiefling to sympathy. Kneeling on the icy floor, she strokes the silky feathers of one of the small, black corpses.
"I, too, am sorry for your birds. We came here to search for our friends, and we have been met at every step by violence and trickery, so we were understandably tense. When the ravens started pecking at us..." She shrugs, eyes downcast, one gloved finger still stroking the dead bird.
Dezső listens to the others and lowers his bow.
"You still haven't told us about the mirror. And who is it that Radosek and Nazhena work for?"
Jairess shakes her head. "No. I checked the mirrors. The [i]attentive mirrors[i] that Radosek employs are only used to monitor the winter portal and talk to his contacts. There's one or two in Waldsby; one in the guard quarters, surely, but they are too precious otherwise." She shudders. "I broke several mirrors just to be sure. They weren't magical."
She shrugs regarding the second reply. "Nazhena and Radosek are teacher and student, and lovers, although obviously that rat isn't keeping the candles lit for her while she's away. Irrisen is--a totalitarian monarchy. The people serve the Lesser Jadwiga, such as Nazhena; the Lesser Jadwiga serve the Greater Jadwiga, who are the Daughters of our Dear Mama." She makes a respectful sign across her face and shoulders. "The current ruling Daughter is the Jadwiga Elvanna, Queen of Irrisen."
At that name Nadya, who has been silent for a long period, spits on the floor. "That woman directed her charge, Nazhena, to slay my husband, and then Nazhena made my daughter's soul dance in a poppet," she says with simmering hatred. "I'll gladly gut them both, though all Irrisen bar the way."
Jairess regards this with slight intrigue, but doesn't think much of it for long. "The key to the teleporter, to that rat's lair, is in my bedroom." She points to one of the rooms leading out of the aerie, its door ajar. "As all of Irrisen will be looking for me and any other traitors, I'll be taking my leave now." She begins to rise into the air.
Taking 10 on sense motive for 18, listening for deception.
Dezső is disturbed by her show of loyalty to the witches, and thinks to himself it is good Ogon did not see it, but he holds his tongue. As soon as she's away, Dez heads over to the chests and checks them for traps and anything else of note before opening them. Taking 10 for 20.
Orik waves at the lady, Stay safe and keep your head down,” and moves to Dez to help him check the chests.
Perception Assist, gotta roll: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
If successfully getting a 10, dez has +2 when searching for nonmagical traps. This is our standard gambit, iirc
Dez does not detect any deception from the sylph cleric. Jairess snorts as she rises into the air--several of her flock stuffed away in her possessions. Perhaps they can be raised? "I won't alert anyone, on my word. Make him suffer, would you? And let everyone know you killed me. That'll keep them off my tail for a turn of the glass." And she is gone, slipped out through an aerie window, to the Mammoth Lords' land or who knows where.
Jairess' room is spare, as if she never moved in fully. Two bookshelves, a chest, and a comfortable-looking bed heaped with thick blankets furnish this bedroom. A mobile of ice crystals carved to resemble birds hangs from the ceiling, glinting in the light from frost-covered windows. One of the birds looks rather like a key.
Her chest, unsurprisingly, is empty, save for some extra fur blankets. She must have been already preparing to leave, and probably only did when she figured you'd deal with Radosek--or, at least, your deaths would slow down him looking for her. :D
There is one more room off of the aerie.
Yrja waves after Jairess, wishing her well, then turns to help the others search her room, admiring the mobile for a few moments before reaching for the key-shaped bird. Or is it a bird-shaped key?
Blunfness is the best word.
Dez gives the cleric little thought or attention as she departs. After a thorough search, and once it is clear Yrja is handling the key, he listens at the remaining door and checks it for traps. Taking 10 for 20/21.
It's more of a bird-shaped key, but a key, certainly.
Dez listens at the door and detects nothing. Opening it reveals a cramped, triangular space stacked high with boxes. It smells quite a bit like grain and bird bedding (wool fluff, mainly.)
Dozens of stacked crates fill this angular storeroom. Several miniature dollhouses stand atop high shelves.
Orik searches around for anything valuable and for secret doors.
perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
”Lookit that thing! Ooh dolls! That’s weird as heck.”
”Looks like the aerie is closed off from the rest of the tower - beyond burrowing through the walls we’ll have to go back downstairs I bet. Unless I’m mistaken about the layout. What do you think?” to no one in particular.
Dez aids in the search.
Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (17) + 10 = 27
"Yes, that's odd. Yrja, are those dollhouses magical?"
If she doesn't warn him off, he will inspect them further.
"I think you're right, Orik. I think we need go to back down and then up in the room where the nymphs are. Remember not to bother them!"
Orik and Dez make a fine show of clambering up the shelves and bringing the dollhouses down. They are filled with trinkets and...changes of clothing and items for the atomies the party squished in the dining hall. Perhaps they lived in there? Or did something. Ew.
Altogether, the dollhouses contain a jeweled silver dagger whose hilt resembles the head of a blue-eyed winter wolf, a jade bracelet in the shape of a Tian sovereign dragon worth 175 gp, a pair of porcelain dolls (worth 40 gp each), a silver medallion decorated with sapphires (worth 300 gp), a gold signet ring ["the signet of the Jadwiga Tashanna. That dates back to the Witchwar, 500 years ago," says Nadya, her eyes wide] (worth 250 gp), and three blue quartz crystals (worth 100 gp each.
Nadya recites a bit of half-remembered nursery rhyme:
Queen Tashana killed her fears
Raised a host of blood and spears
Fought her Mama tenfold years
Now she sleeps in frozen tears.
"Tashanna lost," says Nadya, with the resignation of a lifelong Irriseni. "All who go against Baba Yaga do."
And yet, you who saw Baba Yaga's Black Rider die before you feel a certain chill.
The dagger alone radiates magic.
The dolls bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the doll that housed Nadya Petska's daughter's soul. Thankfully, you know that Thora Petska's soul has been laid to rest, or rather, has been sent onward.
”Yick, can we destroy the creepy things? If they’re not worth anything to anyone, at least. Mama always said not to trash valuable stuff if it isn’t harming anyone, but my definition of valuable is mutable at this point.”
Ogon nods to Orik's request, pulls his flaming sword out of midair and goes to town on the dollhouses - which are rapidly reduced to smouldering match-sticks.
"Any of this useful?" He asks.
I need some money to buy a suit of full-plate. Once I've got that then I can do AAO's etc using my gauntlets! For now I just want valuables and somewhere to buy said armor!
Yrja shivers at the sight of the dolls, her mind immediately making the connection with the one they had met earlier. However, it is Nadya who should decide, and the young witch looks at the huntress expectantly.
Spellcraft on dagger: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 19
Dezső gives the dagger to Yrja for her examination and listens carefully to Nadya's rhyme while he gathers the rest of the valuables. He gets out of the way while Ogon destroys the dollhouses (and dolls, probably) and keeps an eye out until the party is prepared to continue. I'm guessing Nadya will want the dolls destroyed, but Dez agrees it is up to her.
"Well, that's that, shall we head back down?" Orik stuffs the valuables into the communal loot sack and heads with the party to their next destination. "Let's kick the snot out of this Radosek character."
"Does anyone want this enchanted silver dagger? As far as I can tell, the magic on it makes it easier to wield and sharpens its edge." Yrja offers the dagger, not comfortable wielding it herself. Slinging spells and using magic was one thing, but grasping a dagger and sticking it in someone... ugh.
Ogon offers Yrja his open hand and nods. "My thanks, good-Witch-Yrja. This will help." With his thanks delivered he moves back to the front of the group, ready to face dangers!
Unless someone else really wants it?
I think we're in agreement that the party returns below and then moves to the transporter near the nymphs, trying not to disturb them but using the passphrase if necessary. The group will then enter the transporter fully prepared for battle and use the passcode. Please add any extra comments to the plan!
Dez does ask one question: "I have alchemical extracts I have prepared that will create an invisible protective shield before me and allow my sword arm to reach to unusual lengths. However, they only last for 2 minutes. Should I consume them now? I would not want to waste time in battle doing so, but neither would I want their effects to wear off before we meet our main opponents. What do you think?"
”I’d say we should use what we have. Radosek seems like bad news and even if we don’t pop up into his quarters, they’re likely very close by on the floor. I doubt many doors will stand in our way, even if we don’t show up in his quarters immediately. I can bless us all, too, for three minutes.”
"We must make sure he cannot escape." Ogon offers in his gravelly voice. "These witches are cowards and flee from a real fight!"
No offence Yrja ;)
"He will have a hard time outrunning my bow," Chiquq says laconically to the notion that Radosek might flee.
She whispers a prayer to the gut-string of her bow, callused fingertips ghosting over the taut line. In her native Kellid she murmurs, 'Strike with the force of a charging mammoth...'
(Casting gravity bow, duration 3 minutes)
Note that we are casting just before we hop through the portal near the nymph statues.
As they travel to the statues, Orik asks, Anyone want some armor, Ertastil can protect you.” Just before they go through the portal, he casts bless on the party, and then Shield of Faith on whoever wants it.
Who wants shield of faith?
Probably over the top but I'll have it if no-one else wants it! Save boosting magic would be best though!