GM, what do you think about Sanduro trying a Kn (nature) check to recall knowledge about Uspid's DR now that he has seen it in action? I'll roll it in a spoiler in case you approve.
Sanduro nocks another probably useless arrow and readies to fire if the Prince of Teef reappears.
Zsofia leans back to avoid the Angel's blow, then lunges forward to try head-butting the glass construct in the jaw.
Slam!, flanking, challenge, inspire courage: 1d20 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 101d6 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 + 1 = 5
Chin dripping with blood, Wallace staggers a bit from the blow. Seeing Zsofia taking it from the opposite side, he hazards a follow up swing before he fully regains his footing. To predictable results.
"Garmid, let's strike as one!" he calls to the Phantom. Firmly on his feet, he steps over to Ketra with his shield ready to intercept any blows.
Adamantine Warhammer (Challenge, IC, Flank) vs Angel of Teef!: 1d20 + 6 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 6 + 1 + 2 = 131d8 + 3 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 3 + 2 + 1 = 14
+3?: 1d20 + 6 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 6 + 1 = 22
+3?: 1d20 + 6 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 6 + 1 = 23
Swing, 5ft step! I can't move the token for him, but if Garmid is willing to take a more active role, there is room for him up front! ;)
Sanduro's mostly ineffectual arrow comes as a harsh reminder that for as absurd as Uspid is, he is still a fey and possess many of their resistances. As a tooth fairy monarch, his flesh is difficult to harm except with cold iron, and even magic will often slide harmlessly off of him. (SR14 and DR5/cold iron)
AoT Fort: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
???: 1d6 ⇒ 5
UspidAttack vs G: 1d20 + 6 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 6 + 1 = 22 Dmg: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
UspidBite vs G: 1d20 + 5 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 5 + 1 = 7
Garret Fort: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
AoT vs W: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13 Dmg: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
AoT vs Z: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14 Dmg: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Garret's magical shriek causes dozens of tiny cracks to spread throughout the Angel of Teef's form and the construct shudders before straightening to continue the fight. Its powerful swings come in, but Ketra nimbly dodges and the knight catches the strike on his heavy shield. The creature is both tougher and quicker than it looks, however, and escapes a rain of blows from Ketra, Zsofia, Silvia and Wallace without further harm.
"Where you lead I shall follow, Sir Lundgren!" Garmid leaps forward, his ectoplasmic form deceptively light and graceful given his armored form. The phantom lightly maneuvers around the construct to hem in it. "Strike it down, Lady Dancer!" he calls encouragingly to Ketra. "Let us see if this so-called Prince has any stomach for the fight when his pet is so much dust!"
While the knight's words are encouraging, Garret feels a sudden blow in the middle of his back! Staggering forward, he sees Prince Uspid's jaws clamp shut just inches from his arm. "Hold still, you blabbing fool!" he shouts at the halfling. (4dgm but the paralyzing bite misses!) Sanduro spins and fires, but the arrow goes wide.
Prince Uspid (-1h)
Angel of Teef (-16hp)
Prince Uspid (-1h)
Angel of Teef (-10hp)
Stepping away from Uspid, Garret rejoins, ”Oh how princely, striking from behind while invisible! Surely thou art a knave in noble’s garb!”
After backing away a few paces (five foot step), Garret aims his crossbow at the princeling and shoots him with it.
Light Crossbow Attack with IC: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 4 + 1 = 24
Light Crossbow Damage with IC: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Light Crossbow Attack Confirm with IC: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 4 + 1 = 6
Light Crossbow Confirm Damage with IC: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
”Trust Uspid to miss the point, even when it hits him upside the head!” exclaims the frustrated sorcerer when the Fey’s DR ruins a good shot.
Ketra hops lightly from foot to foot, looking for an opening. The moment that the 'angel' turns even slightly to look at Garmid, she dashes into to deliver a rain of strikes with her cesti. She grunts "Gosh, I never thought I'd be using this to punch windows. Really..."
Executing a Routine: Flutter -> Sting
Flutter Cestus; w/ PA, IC, flank: 1d20 + 5 - 3 - 1 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 5 - 3 - 1 + 3 = 16 Damage (B): 1d4 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 4 + 1 = 9
Flutter Cestus; w/ PA, IC, flank: 1d20 + 5 - 3 - 1 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 5 - 3 - 1 + 3 = 16 Damage (B): 1d4 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 2 + 1 = 5
Sting Cestus; w/ PA, IC, flank: 1d20 + 5 - 6 - 1 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 5 - 6 - 1 + 3 = 5 Damage (B): 1d4 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 4 + 1 = 8
Sanduro suddenly remembers something useful about the dentition-obsessed fey. "Cold iron! Does anybody have any cold iron weapons? It's difficult to hurt the prince with anything else - he's even resistant to magic!"
Might as well keep trying, though. The Varisian duskwalker lets another arrow fly at Uspid (moving past the fountain if necessary to avoid cover).
Longbow, challenge, inspire courage: 1d20 + 4 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 4 + 1 + 1 = 221d8 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
"Hey, beefcake!" Zsofia shouts when Wallace steps out of the flank. "I thought we had a good thing going! You gonna let a little blood - OK, a lot of blood - take you out of a good fight?"
She sees Garmid step up and groans. "Great, now I have to fight next to this guy if I wanna keep my flank. You --" she jabs a finger as she takes a step closer to the other phantom "-- your fighting had better be better than your mustache!"
Zsofia launches a pair of roundhouse kicks at the constructions middle.
Slam!, flanking, challenge, inspire courage: 1d20 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 121d6 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 + 1 = 8
Slam!, flanking, challenge, inspire courage: 1d20 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 221d6 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 + 1 = 4
"Shortsword on my hip!" Wallace calls in response to Sanduro's question. Now if only I could be in two places at once...
With Zsofia aiming for the middle, the Knight does the same with a swing from the opposite direction. "My shield arm is only so long," he explains to the Phantom. "We'll crush it between our blows yet!"
Adamantine Warhammer (Challenge, IC, Flank) vs Angel of Teef!: 1d20 + 6 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 6 + 1 + 2 = 191d8 + 3 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 3 + 2 + 1 = 13
AC +3!: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
AC +3!: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Someone is welcome to grab the shortsword off of Wallace, but unless the Prince starts dropping Fireballs or something, he's going to stick with what he believes to be the biggest threat.
Sanduro shakes his head. "I'd probably end up stabbing myself in the leg! Maybe Ketra or Silvia?"
Silvia's pistol leaps up to take aim at Uspid as he reveals himself. "You'll pay for that, coward!" The flash of fury in her eyes is nearly as bright as the gunshot that follows.
Pistol: 1d20 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 1 - 1 ⇒ (11) + 5 + 2 + 1 + 1 - 1 = 19
B/P: 2d6 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (6, 4) + 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 15
Smite Evil vs Uspid, then reloading! My AC against Uspid is 18.
AoT vs Zsofia: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18 Dmg: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
AoT vs Ketra: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
While Uspid is bickering with Garret, Silvia turns and levels her pistol. The weapon's report is accompanied by a spiral of golden sparks that trails the shot like tracer far; the paladin's aim is true and the tooth faerie barely remains airborn after the grievous wound.
Ketra's quick footwork and grace puts the Angel of Teef on the defensive as her cestus strikes it twice to excellent effect--her third blow is spoiled only because the construct is staggered back a step. Not to be outdone, Zsofia drives a kick into the construct's knee, but the metal frame that holds its glass resists the blow--so the phantom executes a tight spin and knocks an entire pane out its torso with her next kick. The Angel of Teef turns to drive back its tormenters, but it's fate is sealed: with an impassioned cry Wallace steps up with a devastating underhand blow. The stained-glass angel's metal frame buckles and most of the remaining glass panes shatter as they're knocked skyward, raining down on everyone nearby. The construct is a wreck, but somehow still functioning well enough to
With an enraged shriek, Uspid extends his long disgusting tongue and snaps up one of the teeth studding his scepter, swallowing it down with hardly a gulp. Immediately the bullet-wound partially closes up, and with a hateful glare at Silvia and a whispered word of power the tooth fairy monarch once again vanishes from sight!
Prince Uspid (-11h)
Angel of Teef (-33hp)
Prince Uspid (-11h)
Angel of Teef (-33hp)
Just to avoid any confusion, the Angel of Teef has 3hp remaining and a hardness of 2. So if anyone deals 5+ damage to it the others can feel free to take other actions with their turn.
What happened to Zsofia that she's down 6hp?
Sanduro nocks another arrow and once again readies to fire at the Prince when he reappears.
"Hey, mustache!" Zsofia leers at Garmid. "Having fun yet?"
The late bandit queen turns back to the Angel of Teef and launches another roundhouse kick that blasts through the remaining glass in its torso, followed by a right hook that shatters its head.
Slam!, flanking, challenge, inspire courage: 1d20 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 261d6 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 + 1 = 5
Slam!, flanking, challenge, inspire courage: 1d20 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 261d6 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 + 1 = 5
Ketra grabs the cold iron shortsword off Wallace's hip. "Alright, time to see if this metal really works the way the stories say!" She falls into a coiled stance, ready to strike out if Uspid reappears within her reach. Readying an attack
Looks like Zsofia seals the deal on the Angel of Teef! :D
As their glassy foe crumbles to pieces, Wallace places himself between Ketra and Garret. "Great work, Zsofia!"
In the best position to protect his allies, he devotes his attention to getting his shield into place when the Prince Attacks.
Aid Another (AC +3), DC 10: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
Ready an action to defend (aid AC) Ketra/Garret if they're attacked!
With no useful spells left for combat, Garret reloads his crossbow and prepares to shoot it at any reappearing evil fey, saying to Wallace, ”We need to get that scepter away from him if we can.”
Readied crossbow Attack: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 4 + 1 = 19
Crossbow Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Silvia's eyes rove around the room, watching for when Uspid reappears. "I expect he'll be trying to sneak up on me," she says, her tone light.
Pistol, DA: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23 +1 to attack and damage if Uspid damages one of us.
B/P: 2d6 + 5 ⇒ (3, 6) + 5 = 14
SilviaWill: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Zsofia pummels the Angel of Teef into scrap, continuing her assault well after the construct has stopped moving. Garmid harumphs as though unimpressed. "It must not have been so terrible, if an immoral wretch like her could best it!"
With the stained-glass construct dealt with, the party turns and readies themselves for whatever Uspid's next play is--and the faerie prince doesn't keep them waiting long. With a whisper of magic Silvia feels her limbs freeze up for a split second as Uspid appears up near the rafters, laughing.
"Haugh haugh haugh! Will pull each and every tooth while you watch and dev--ow!" Garret's crossbow bolt bounces off harmlessly, but Sanduro's arrow strikes Uspid in the side, scratching the fey but still not penetrating deeply. "You insolent fool! You will be the next to suffer my wra--!"
BLAM! Silvia pushes through Uspid's magic ensnaring her limbs and raises her pistol to fire. The shot tears right through the faerie's throat mid-taunt. Uspid looks down at you all, surprised, before bursting into a chittering, giggling swarm of translucent ghostly teeth that soon vanish. A chorus of gasps comes from the assembled tooth faeries at Uspid's sudden demise.
"Roit then, Oi suppose' that's that then, aye?" one of the Queen's guards mutters.
Garret tries to catch the Prince’s scepter as it falls from his grasp during his death throes. ”The Queen will know what to do with this,” he says, looking at the assembled fairies and chanting, ”Long live the Queen! LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!”
Leaving the chanting to Garret, Wallace stows his warhammer, retrieves his shortsword, then, finally, to his backpack. Finding some cloth, he does his best to stop the rest of his blood from pouring out of his chin.
"There's a joke in here somewhere about a glass jaw, but I'm not quite sure what it is..." he says with a small smirk. "Nice work everyone, that went just about as well as it could have!"
Zsofia sticks her tongue out at the other phantom. “I didn’t see your morality actually hit the thing, Mustache. Were you trying to kill it by singing it to death? Honestly, another minute or so and it might have worked.”
Sanduro frowns at Zsofia. "Play nice with Garmid, please. I found his song very inspiring." He gives the ectoplasmic warrior a supportive smile, then projects to his own phantom, Not as inspiring as when you punched the glass angel so hard its face exploded, though! I just don't want the new guy to get discouraged.
Ketra doesn't pick up Garret's chant, figuring that a bunch of faeries didn't need their patriotism stoked after that display. Then again... the prince decidedly did not burst like a pinata of teeth, so maybe the faeries here would need something to distract them from a lack of wonderful toothy prizes. Still, Garret looked like he had that in hand.
Instead, she passes Wallace his shortsword and raises an eyebrow at the Queen's guards. Keeping her voice low so as not to interrupt Garret's show, she says "That's that. Weird how you didn't get in there to fight with us. But because I'm so nice I'm not going to say how cowardly you were to your queen." She smiles "Now, you want to fly along and tell her how great we did?"
Garret's chant is met with stunned silence at first, but then a few of the sharper tooth faerie rebels realize a good show of loyalty to Queen Carnassial might earn some mercy, and the rest follow along shrilly.
Garmid harumphs again. "You'd be so much ectoplasmic goo painting the walls if my lord Lundgren hadn't done all the heavy lifting for you! And Lady Ketra too, of course." He stroke his mustache and pointedly ignores Zsofia, except to grunt softly in agreement with Sanduro's audible support.
"Weird how you didn't get in there to fight with us. But because I'm so nice I'm not going to say how cowardly you were to your queen."
The faerie makes a rude sound. "Ayup, you looked like you 'ad it all unna contro' wot with the hoppin' and spinnin' and whatnot. 'Sides, us lads were only suppos' ta help if'n the Usurper's gang o' lickspittles tried to jump you, aye? Betcha they'd a-done that if'n we warnt 'ere ya back you up. So oi think whatcha meant ta say was 'oh thank you so very much, Chompsky!' Ye savvy?"
Silvia replaces her pistol in its holster with a self-satisfied smile. Where arrows and bolts had failed to pierce the tooth fairy's hide, gunpowder and lead had succeeded. Too bad Black wasn't here to see me proven right, she thinks, and her smile falters for a moment before she turns back to the others.
"Right then. Let's tell the Queen that the usurper has been dealt with so we can get on our way before we fall prey to the palace's next misadventure."
Ketra takes out a machete, spins it once and then returns it to its sheath. "Oh, sure, definitely. How considerate of you to help us. All that... floating in place being menacing... that was really critical." Ketra rolls her eyes at the faerie as soon as it isn't looking at her.
Bluff: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
At Silvia's suggestion, she nods "Let's go. It's past time we got out of here."
Sanduro starts to put his bow back over his shoulder, then decides to keep it at hand. "Suits me. The sooner we're back on the Dead Road, the better. Zsofia, please stop taunting Garmid and take point, in case there are any more hazards our new friends forget to tell us about." The duskwalker doesn't bother to hide his suspicion of the tooth fairies, including Chompsky and his partner. “Before we head upstairs, we should get our wounded patched up.”
Sanduro pulls out the healing wand and taps Wallace and Zsofia, then tucks it back into his belt.
Cure light wounds (CL1) - Wallace: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Cure light wounds (CL1) - Zsofia: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Sanduro pauses a moment after healing to change Zsofia's manifestation from ectoplasmic to incorporeal.
With the others heading back to the Queen, Wallace offers his hand to Chompsky. "Your strategic support was invaluable. We'd still be fighting if the other Toothfaries joined in," he acknowledges. "Because of your presence, only the Prince and his Angel had to perish. If not, either we'd have been overwhelmed or you'd experience the slaughter of half of your brethren. This was the best outcome by far."
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With a smug look at Ketra, Chompsky extends his own tiny hand and shakes Wallace's. "S'good one o' you lot's got manners. If'n ye really wanted to thank me, I don' suppose you'd 'appen to 'ave a molar ye wouldn't miss?" This questions draws the sharp focus of every tooth faerie in earshot, who fix Wallace with a ravenously curious stare while they await the answer.
+ + +
The party returns upstairs to the Queen's audience hall to some considerable fanfare, as the former rebels loudly proclaim their loyalty and insist that actually they were double agents of course. Queen Carnassial waves off the toadying with an air of practiced boredom. "Strange mortals, you came from the Dead Roads to aid a Queen with her troublesome usurper, and thus have earned a Queen's gratitude. As a reward, I shall bequeath upon you the stamp of my office and...um..." She frowns. "CHESTER! WHAT DO WE HAVE TO REWARD ANYONE WITH?"
"Oh! Um, let me check!" You hear clattering and rattling for a few minutes, and several faeries give each other exasperated looks, then fly off in that direction. Shortly thereafter, three return carrying a lumpy bundle of cloth between them. The faeries unfurl the cloth, which turns out to be a cloak of darkest black with silver threading--and a small brass medallion, which falls to the floor with a clank. It is shaped like a kite shield and embossed with a fanged jaw symbol. "Aha, just so," the Queen clears her throat and gestures vaguely at the items. "It is my pleasure to present you with--these things. Now come get your stamp."
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The stamp itself isn't terribly impressive--a white fragment of what appears to be a human jawbone, covered in strange spiraling scrimshaw designs. Without further ado Queen Carnassial beckons each of you forward and presses the the stamp against the back of your hand. You feel a slight tingling, but that could be your imagination. When the stamp is pulled away, the symbol that remains is half a skull and several curving lines--when completed, it might be a skull at the center of a spiral.
"Now begone, this day has been wearying, and we have many teeth to obtain if my beloved Canin is to be returned to me!"
For resolving the Tooth Faerie Castle (with a minimum of violence to boot!), you have obtained the first stamp to the Dead Roads! Congratulations and welcome to Level 3!
Ketra, though she finds the faeries rather horrible all told, still bows in thanks to the Queen for her stamp and her reward. "You're very generous. Hope you find all the teeth you need again soon." She even means it. For all the Queen's short temper, she'd lost a loved one just like... well... like everyone in Roslar's Coffer. She deserved to be reunited with them if it were possible.
With that, Ketra takes her leave to get far, far away from the Tooth Faerie Castle before any of the buggers decide that her teeth would suit the Queen's interests. Once the group is a good distance out, she suggests they settle down and rest as well as they can. As the group does, she casts glances back the way they came, hoping that Chester decided to make a break for it after all.
"Yes, thank your for your generosity, Your Majesty. I hope that you find your husband soon," says Garret, already bowing and backing out of the room after they received the gifts.
"Let's get out of here and down the road a bit, then take a rest while we still have all our teeth in our heads," he suggests, heading for the main exit.
"Let's get out of here and down the road a bit, then take a rest while we still have all our teeth in our heads,"[/b] he suggests, heading for the main exit.
“I’ll second that. I don’t think I’d get much sleep with both hands clamped over my mouth.”
Whenever they stop to camp, Sanduro clears a space and pulls out the remnants of the healer’s kit they found so long ago - or was it only two days? - in Roslar’s Tomb. He flips open the box lid hopefully, but all that’s left inside is a fingernail-sized scrap of fabric torn off of a bandage and a few dried leaves from a packet of healing herbs, not enough to be of any use.
“Is anyone still hurt? It’s harder, but I can to try binding up your wounds even without the kit and maybe we can save the wand for emergencies.”
He calls Zsofia over in her ectoplasmic manifestation and tries to knit the spirit-stuff back together.
Treat Deadly Wounds (Heal), missing 2 charges from healer’s kit: 1d20 + 10 - 4 ⇒ (5) + 10 - 4 = 11
Sanduro fumbles for a bit without the usual healer’s tools, but tries again.
Treat Deadly Wounds (Heal), missing 2 charges from healer’s kit: 1d20 + 10 - 4 ⇒ (6) + 10 - 4 = 12
Gah. Will try again with Zsofia in the morning. Anyone else injured more than 3hp (which will heal overnight)?
"Nothing I won't be able to sleep off Sanduro, but thanks for asking." Ketra stretches. "I wonder if Chester chickened out of leaving? It sure seemed like the Queen was taking advantage of them. If that was me, I'd be sneaking off the moment her faerie back was turned."
"I'd normally suggest we rest inside the castle," Wallace begins. "But I can feel the eyes on me when I turn away. I agree with Garret, let's put some space between us and the castle so we can wake up with as many teeth as we went to sleep with." After the awkward encounter with Chompsky, he's all but certain some of the Toothfairies are plotting to get their 'just reward.'
"I'm in a similar place as Ketra, rest is all I'll need to be in top-shape tomorrow." He stretches his weary limbs. "With the time it takes to handle my armor, I'd rather take first or last watch. Garmid, I'd be honored by your vigilance, if you're willing."
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"What an upside-down world we find ourselves in, where the road is safer and more comfortable than a palace," Silvia muses as their distance from the Palace of Teeth grows. Later on, she waves off Sanduro's offered ministrations.
"I'm fine, just some bruises, mostly from that misadventure in the tomb," she says with an easy grin. As they settle down for the "night," she unfurls the kit she carries with her and goes about cleaning her pistol. She mutters under her breath as she scrubs away residue from inside the barrel with a rough brush.
Bluff: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13 I'll still be down 1 after a night's rest, but my pride will take longer to heal. :P
The party makes their farewells and departs the castle as hastily as they dare, eager to leave the mercurial fae far behind them. The Dead Roads stretch out before you, the mists parting to reveal the way.
You don't see Chester as you are departing the castle, and they don't join you at the gatehouse either. Suppressing a sigh, you turn to leave when you feel a small tug at your boot.
Looking down, you see a root has gently grabbed you, and it leads back to a small scraggly plant and pile of rubble just outside the gatehouse. On one of the pieces of broken masonry a single eye and mouth open with a sound like boots in mud. "Shhhh, don't give me away. They are all watching you leave so I'm going to wait here a bit. Thank you, for being nice to me...I hope we see each other again someday."
The misty half-shrouded Road seems no different from before, Groetus still leering down at you as you make camp. While sitting up on his watch, softly sharing stories with Garmid, the mists press in closer, and once again the knight and phantom see indistinct shapes moving in the darkness.
The Vision in the Mists
The creaking of a cart can be heard a few heartbeats before it rolls into view, pulled by a placid, weary ox. Three figures hop off the cart; the first two remain indistinct, but immediately begin unloading clay and metal containers that slosh with some unknown liquid, while the third comes into much clearer focus. She appears to be a half-elven woman in the uniform of Lastwall's military, the streaks of silver in her hair belying her otherwise youthful appearance. She quickly counts the containers and marks something in the notebook in her hand when the sound of armored boots on stone approaches. She turns and snaps a sharp salute as an armored knight appears from the mist.
With a start, Wallace recognizes Brutus Lundgren--his father. The elder Lundgren barely acknowledges the woman's salute, his attention fixed on the wagon's contents. "The relief force for Shieldring Keep was ambushed at the Danute ford, half the company lost. The Deathspitters will take the keep soon..."
"Unless we act, sir," the woman says, with a bit of heat. This holds the cadence of an argument they've had many times. "Two hundred souls hold Shieldring, and the keep shelters multiple towns. The benefits easily outweigh the costs." Brutus looks uneasy. "You said it will only affect them?"
The woman nods eagerly, "Yes, the last six tests have all been identical. I even entered the chamber myself on the final two--and here I stand, unharmed. The orcs died in under a minute, it's flawless."
"And the orc-kin in the garrison?" Brutus asks sharply. "Have you solved that little 'hiccup', Lieutenant?" At her stony silence the knight just shakes his head bitterly. "The keep can hold out perhaps another week if we're lucky. They'll all be dead if we do nothing..." Brutus seems to be talking to himself, and the woman doesn't respond. The silence stretches out, then Brutus sighs in defeat.
"Call up the Danute militia, we'll collect whoever can still fight from the relief force and try again. You'll get your demonstration, Lyonette--at the ford first. We have to break through or all of this is for naught." Not waiting for a response, Sir Lundgren turns on his heel and strides back into the mists. The woman--Lyonette?--watches him go, expression unreadable.
"You'll see sir. This is everything we've hoped for."
Wallace glances downwards in shame at the sight of his father, but his face is gripped in a scowl when the vision turns to weighing the Orcish lives of their own knights. "Garmid... Did- did you see that?" he asks the Phantom in disbelief.
"That was my father, Brutus. We've never seen eye to eye, especially when it comes to Orcs, but he's a better knight than me. Always has been. Even trained as a Paladin, something I just wasn't cut out for," he admits to his translucent pal.
"I know the others are looking to escape here through earning those stamps, but I don't think there's enough time to stop this," he concludes, gesturing at the fading mists. "There has to be another way and I aim to find it. Will you join me on this quest? It would be an honor to fight with you in the name of all that is righteous, to free ourselves of this place and stop whatever... misguided plans Lyonette and my Father have concocted."
In the morning, once camp has been collapsed...
"My able companions, a word, please. Garmid and I saw unsettling visions in the mists during our watch. It was nothing so urgent so as to disrupt your rest, yet something that weighs heavily on my mind," he explains before reciting what he saw.
"I can't say what testing Lyonette has been conducting, however, my Father's stance on achieving victory, especially from Orcs, can be... heavy-handed at times. I don't make this decision lightly, but Garmid and I feel it is our sworn duty as Knights to find a way to stop this from happening. Every Knight knows any battle might be his last, but to willingly harm your own at the expense of the enemy is a step too far. The stamps we seek to escape this place is a good plan, but with only a week... I fear it isn't going to be fast enough. We'll be walking our own path from here on out in search of a faster way back to the Material," he concludes. With a soldier's practice he stands at attention, ready to weather any storm that may appear. Yet despite all his training and discipline, his eyes betray that his mind has been made up, no matter how heavy it makes his heart. We know what is soon to transpire and, for all the shame I've brought him, I don't think anyone else has a better chance of altering Father from this path than me. My strength is not in my sword, but in my heart. If I lose my sword, I have lost a tool. If I betray my heart, I have died. So sayeth the Inheritor.
"Travel well, Wallace. May you find your way and accomplish your task with speed and efficiency," says Garret, obviously sad and perhaps a bit worried to see him go.
"Wallace..." Silvia says, hesitant. "You don't even know if this was real. They already told us the Roads will try to trick you into leaving the path. I won't stop you, but I worry the only destination this will speed you to is the grave."
"And even if they're real, those could be visions of the past..." Sanduro sees that the warrior will not be swayed. "May Desna guide your path, may the Inheritor guide your blade, and may Pharasma judge you quickly and send you to your reward when your journey is done, my friend."
Zsofia gives Wallace a respectful nod. "Toodles, pretty boy. It was fun punching monsters in the face with you." Turning to Garmid, she sticks a finger in the other phantom's face. "Don't screw this up for him, Half-Stache. It's his life, you're just tagging along for your second ride on the pony."
On the way out from the Faerie castle, Ketra oddly stops to eat a snack while still mostly in view of the building. She drops most of it on the ground in an overacted bit of clumsiness before giving a hidden wink and a wave to Chester in their new form.
Bluff; Pass secret message: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
The following morning:
The visions from the night before leave Ketra quiet. She usually wasn't willing to admit it, but orcs frightened her on some basic, instinctual level. She'd worked for years to try to conquer that fear, but it still sometimes gripped her, even around her sister. But no matter her fears, what the vision seemed to show was a reckless, indiscriminate weapon being used to exterminate them. And that didn't sit right with her.
When Wallace announces his plan to head off separately, she breathes in sharply, then nods "I get it. I wouldn't want Darcy to do something she regretted either. Especially not something like that, yeah? Even if these are memories rather than current events, well, you wouldn't want to take that risk." She gives Wallace a hug. "Good luck. And if you find a quick way back, I expect you to send us a message or something to let us know how. Because I certainly wouldn't mind skipping two more waystations."
Wallace sighs inaudibly as his words are met with nothing but acceptance, even encouragement. "Thank you everyone. It has been an honor to serve with you. I'll do my best to send a message. Godspeed!" Snapping off a salute, he collects his things and heads off with Garmid.
Ketra stands and waves for a long time, long after Wallace disappears into the mists.
Quietly, she murmurs to herself and Verun when the bird alights on her shoulder "Was that the right thing to do? I hope he ends up alright..."
"I don't know," Silvia answers, her face full of concern. "But it's his choice. It wouldn't be right to try and deprive him of it."
Ketra shrugs at Silvia, a half smile on her face "He seemed confident about it, at the very least. Gotta take that as a good sign. Maybe we'll see him back here soon."
She peers off into the mists in the direction of the continuing "road". After a moment of silence, she crosses her arms, putting her hands under her armpits. She shivers slightly, though not particularly from the cold "As for us, I think we should keep going. I'm not exactly looking forward to that Mictena lady catching up to us while we're sitting around thinking about Wallace's chances. We've got two more waystations to tackle, and I'm guessing they won't be pleasant."
"They couldn't possibly be--" Silvia cuts herself off with a sheepish look. "It can always be worse," she mutters.