Zellara the Harrower's page

8 posts. Alias of skizzerz.


"Oh my, you all look absolutely dreadful!" exclaims the apparition of Zellara as Varian draws out her Harrow deck once more for advice from beyond the grave. It's true--the party has had a rough couple of days from dealing with a hidden cult of Urgathoa to picking up the pieces after Blood Veil finally stopped spreading so rapidly through the populace, to the recent declaration of Martial Law by the Queen.

Zellara manipulates the cards into a grid and flips them over. "The Liar speaks to me and represents the part of the past most relevant to you right now. There have been many lies by many people, and for many reasons, that have caused you to all come to know each other. I sense one lie in particular, perhaps more an omitted truth, that may prove to be an unexpected boon. When examining the card, I sense a figure in my mind's eye, and swordfighting in the background. But this does not seem to be a battle, but rather friendly sparring."

"In the present, The Demon's Lantern represents a siren call, a trap. The friendly banter I hear in the scene has turned to shouting and cries. I believe it has already been sprung, so who has befallen it I cannot say, but keep your eyes and wits about you. In the future, The Rabbit Prince shows that same figure in my mind's eye, this time broken and defeated. But the light hope shines upon him, emanating from each of you."

"From this, I can only surmise that the figure is none other than Master Orisini. I feel something grave may have befallen him, but it is not too late for you to step in. Once you do, this omitted truth may come to light and shine brightly as a beacon of hope for all of Korvosa. Good luck." Zellara finishes her reading and fades away.

A picture of the spread is available.

"Ah, a Hospice, a wonderful idea to aid the sick and dying in this time of plague. Or, that's what they'd like you to believe. It seems there may be more to this place than initially meets the eye, and that is why you are calling on dear Zellara, yes?" the apparition addresses the group assembled before her, shuffling her Harrow deck while she speaks.

Zellara sets out the spread and continues speaking. "Looking to the past, I see many images of the Skald Hakon. Anguish and grief. Anger and hatred. And an image of another Skald on his deathbed, a sibling perhaps? The Teamster tells of an unrelenting force, always driving one to move forward." She locks her gaze with Hakon before continuing. "These images shift to look like others, curses of betrayal escaping with their final breaths. Your image shifts to the family they leave behind, similarly in grief. While you quest for vengeance may have ended with Lamm, there are others in this world who lack your determination, your strength, and your refusal to give up. While the half orc in this card is under constant toil from an uncaring taskmaster, he knows that the work he performs is for his betterment and the betterment of others. Be that champion and try to right the wrongs happening in this hospice, even though it is not a burden you ought to have borne."

Zellara then flips over the central column, revealing The Big Sky, The Hidden Truth, and The Theater. Her gaze fixates on the latter of these as she pauses for a moment. Shaking her ghostly head solemnly, she begins. "A theater is normally a happy place, where one goes for entertainment and to forget the worries of the world. However, a dark, more twisted play is being put on at this Hospice. I see a young doctor with a brown coat, but he is not caring for his patients. Instead, he brings them deeper, whether alive or dead at the time, although to where I cannot see due to something blocking any further visions. Beware this 'Doctor' Davaulus, for he answers not to his patients or the wellbeing of Korvosa, but to an altogether darker master."

"Looking to what is yet to come, I see The Avalanche thundering ever closer. But this avalanche does not doom Korvosa. Instead, it smothers the stygian abyss beneath the Hospice, forcing them into the light of the day. Whether for good or ill, the veil over this land will soon be lifted. Should you prevail, I feel the plague will meet its end and the city will begin to heal. Should you fall, I feel the masterminds behind this calamity will begin to act openly and brazenly with no one else to oppose them. Do try to make it the former case."

"It is unlikely that you will have time to consult with me again before plunging into the depths, so I wish you all the best of luck. Come back alive." Zellara gathers her cards back together, gives a curt bow to the group, and vanishes once more.

A picture of the spread is available. I won't be doing a Harrow reading for 2D since it follows immediately after 2C with no reasonable spot to rest in-between.

The group looks over one of the many fliers of the Queen's new decree that have been posted around the city while planning their next move in which lead to follow.


By Decree of Her Royal Majesty, the Radiant Queen Ileosa, all citizens and members of the Korvosan Guard are to aid and admit the newly established Queen’s Physicians in this time of urgency. These royal agents will extend healing to those who are ill and organize defense against the spreading affliction known as “blood veil.” They are to be allowed access to any home or building they deem necessary in the course of their duties. All those suffering from disease or disorder are to submit themselves to the Physicians for treatment.

To aid in the duties of the Queen’s Physicians, know that the order of the Gray Maidens shall also provide military support as needed. The Maidens answer directly to the Crimson Throne, and will be called upon as necessary to augment and strengthen the peace where city guards will not suffice.

Impeding or distracting the Queen’s Physicians or the Gray Maidens in the pursuit of their duties is punishable by imprisonment. Impersonating one of the Queen’s Physicians or Gray Maidens is punishable by death. Knowingly harboring or hiding the infected is punishable by death. Purposefully spreading blood veil is punishable by torture, then death.

The Queen’s Physicians will be making rounds of every city district henceforth until Her Majesty deems this misfortune has abated.

Suddenly a familiar ghostly voice speaks up behind them, with Harrow cards floating in midair as if to distract them from the words plastered on the wall. “So, what sort of a bind have you found yourselves in this time? I hear rumors upon rumors as the plague spreads, and each answer brings with it only more questions. An abandoned ship comes into port and sinks. Why was she abandoned? What cargo did she hold? How could something at the bottom of the river possibly cause this plague? A wererat from the sewer is trying to overthrow Korvosa. A plague is certainly an effective way to reduce defenses, but what is the plan from there? Why is the plague spreading through the populace but no reports of it have come from the palace and most noble estates?”

These questions weigh heavily as Zellara’s apparition continues to speak in solemn tones. “While many have died, they do not have the answers you seek, and may confuse the cards. Nevertheless, let’s see what my Harrow has in store for you. Looking to the past, I see The Eclipse partially aligned, The Owl partially aligned, and The Keep misaligned. The cards weave a tale of a stalwart city giving into fear and mistrust. Those who work in the shadows of night have started to make their work known, picking through the weak and feeble. I can say with confidence that this plague is no happenstance, it was created by those who wish to do Korvosa harm. The shadows of the past flicker and fade, and I am unable to see the visages of these conspirators.”

“In the present, the cards have revealed The Joke, The Cricket, and The Tyrant, all partially aligned. The answers you seek are still out there, our adversaries have not managed to completely cover their tracks. While you are seeking those answers, there are others who wish to profit from the situation. Grifters peddle miracle cures that are little more than perfumed water to a desperate populace beset by a swiftly spreading disease. Not all problems should be solved by violence, as taking overt action against these swindlers may incite the mobs more than placate them. During all of this, the Queen’s decree may harm more than help. Her physicians and grey maidens seem to be helping on the surface, but I sense more at play there. Time will tell whether my suspicions will bear fruit, but time is not a luxury you have right now. If you want to save Korvosa from this menace, you will need to act swiftly.”

“The future brings us The Marriage, The Midwife, and The Winged Serpent. The Winged Serpent is misaligned and tells of the perils of chasing down rabbit holes. The more time you spend on hunting rumors, the more time the actual conspirators have to further their own causes and the more people in Korvosa that will die. The Field Marshal may be sending Korvosa to its doom by investigating all of these leads; try to find the hidden meaning from them before it is too late. In any case, I must now take my leave, for you will soon have a visitor that I do not wish to frighten.”

With that, Zellara vanishes once more, her harrow deck magically putting itself away as an old woman approaches the group…

A picture of the spread is available.

"That was some pretty good aim." Zellara remarks, her spirit coalescing before the group shortly after the paintpot renders Corporal Vancaskerkin unconscious. "Be careful here, for things are not all as they seem. I have read the cards as you were coming to this place. They spoke to me in riddles, clear as mud. Whatever force is at play regarding the king's death and this painter, it is clearly trying to obscure the truth."

"Looking to the past, I saw The Juggler, partially aligned. Whatever force is at work to obscure these events, another one seems to be at work to shed light on them. I believe it is that force that brought all of you together, and for you to meet me. Lamm was the first cog in what is being built there, and the machine has since grown with the addition of Field Marshal Croft, Vencarlo Osini, and Thousand-Bones. Continue this act, and juggle the needs of those around you, and your support will flourish. Even the deepest secrets can be revealed with enough light."

"The Theater also speaks out to me about the past, although it is unaligned. A grand stage has been set, relatively speaking, and while you are gaining your own allies, our shrouded enemy is gaining theirs and they are growing in strength. Expect them to come, and when they do, expect them to be stronger than you realize."

"For the present, we have The Bear, fully aligned. It speaks to your current skills and abilities. While your allies are few and your supporter base weak, you must rely on your own strength to overcome the challenges ahead of you. None of your friends will help you capture this Trinia, and I expect that the other residents of the Shingles will be resentful for the guard going after one of their own. Especially one as supposedly nice as Miss Sabor. But strength is not all that The Bear represents, for it only makes the pretenses of being tamed, to escape at the last moment. If ever you believe you have everything under control, that is when you are most wrong and must be the most wary."

"In the future, I see The Cyclone, partially aligned. It represents the shrouded force I was talking about, its goals of destruction. The king's death was but the first of the chaos it will wreak about Korvosa. However, if you stand true throughout these trials, no cyclone lasts forever. Things can be rebuilt and made right once again. The key is to endure and to never lose hope and sight of the task ahead."

"The Brass Dwarf also tells about the future. Its placement shows that the rule of law itself is in danger. I was unable to discern how this relates to current events, so read into that as you will. Our enemy appears to be both strong and cunning, and will strike the hardest when you are beleaguered and out of resources to fight back. Keep reserves at hand to stave off these attacks."

"That is all the cards have told me. Now go, and travel lightly. Chasing someone through the Shingles is not for the faint of heart or heavy of foot." With that, Zellara vanishes back into her Harrow deck.

A picture of the spread is available.

"After the prodigal son, are we?" chides Zellara, as the group consults her before heading into the Dead Warrens. "From what I've heard of him, he fully deserves whatever may be coming to him. But, he has likely fortified his position; let's see what the cards have to say about that. Everyone, please choose a card."

Zova goes first, picking a card and flipping it over to reveal The Rabbit Prince. "That card seems to like you, does it not. You certainly seem to have a way with animals. However, the Dead Warrens, as the name implies, is full of the dead. With Rolth's presence, likely undead as well. Even the best tamer has troubles getting animals to get near such unnatural creatures, so do not rely on their aid overmuch."

Varian is next to approach, and finds himself with The Juggler. "The key to juggling is to keep a steady rhythm and steady eye. Allowing either to stray means you drop your balls. The longer you take in attacking, the more Rolth can rally his defenses. The cards speak to me of fire setting the place ablaze -- the undead mostly do not care of smoke-filled air, but you certainly will."

Radovan goes next, obtaining The Foreign Trader. "The one you are trying to find has been desecrated and raised as an undead. While fighting him is inevitable, it will not be an easy fight. As an information broker relies on secrets he knows, you must rely on what you know as well. Running yourself ragged by fighting when there are other options on the table will quickly burn out your stamina and leave you unprepared to meet the request of Thousand-Bones."

Zadim silently picks up The Peacock. "The cards tell me of captives held in the Dead Warrens, to be raw materials for Rolth's next monstrous creations. They are guarded by a hideously deformed ogrekin named Cabbagehead. He may kill the prisoners out of spite should the presence of your group be known, so you all may need to adjust your tactics."

Hakon is last to step up and obtains The Avalanche. "Hmm, this card portends something worse brewing. It seems Rolth is not on the premise at all, but left it in the care of someone else. What he has planned, the cards are concealing from me, but I see him working with the shadows of many other figures. You can deal a decisive blow to him by recovering Gaekhen, disposing of the other undead, and rescuing the prisoners. But I feel that your quest against him will not come to an end today."

"Now, if you would, please return your cards so I may create the spread." Zellara uses her influence over the deck to have it shuffle itself, and nine cards fly off into a grid. The first column flips over, revealing The Peacock, The Fiend, and The Tangled Briar.

"These tell of past events that will aid you in your journey. The Peacock stands out to me, for Zadim's talent in avoiding detection will be of use to all of you here until the prisoners are rescued. He can likely teach you hand signals for communication and quieter means of combatting your many foes to avoid an alarm being raised. The Tangled Briar also speaks to me and tells me the story of Gaekhen. His body lies in many pieces, and recovering all of them will take some time and expose you to much danger. His murder along with the many other murders that have taken place there also seems to drive some fell curse on the warrens, draining your vitality and withering your equipment."

The next column flips itself over, showing The Mountain Man, The Keep, and The Sickness. "The Sickness shows a bit more about those shadowy figures next to Rolth from my previous vision. I see him experimenting elsewhere, with cultists and assassins by his side. More than this, the cards still do not say, but I feel it safe to say that whatever it is will not be good for Korvosa."

The final column flips over and reveals The Vision, The Beating, and The Lost. "These cards portend the future. The Lost tells me of doctors killing their patients and misguided Shoanti trying to drum the peaceful tribes into war. Both of these seem to be somehow connected to the events that will unfold at the Dead Warrens."

"Take care, and make haste!" Zellara bids, as she fades away once more back into the deck.

A picture of the spread is available.

"Uncovering secrets, are we? Those have a tendency to want to stay hidden, so you come to dear Zellara for guidance on where to start. Why, a girl would think that you're starting to like her!" Zellara seems to be in a playful mood today, chiding and toying a bit with the entourage assembled before her haunted harrow deck. The group informed the fortune-teller of their recent encounter with Vencarlo Orisini and their need to uncover illicit dealings between the Chelaxian ambassador and the crime lord Devargo Barvasi. "And speaking of secrets, I have a feeling that this Vencarlo fellow isn't telling you everything either. But I suppose that is neither here nor there."

"First things first, I would recommend that you not just barge into the Spider King's domain without a solid plan. If there's one thing I learned about crime lords, getting ahead of yourself may see you lose that head. This task of yours is better left to the shadows, collecting what you can without arousing suspicion as long as possible. If the ambassador catches wind of your plans, he will almost certainly take pains to remove any evidence that may exist. With that, let's see what roles you will all be playing in the upcoming trial."

"For Zova, I have once again The Rabbit Prince. It seems to have taken a liking to you, and so too must you take a liking to your increasingly public role. The aid of others can keep your true purpose masked. For Zadim, I have The Juggler. There are many moving pieces in games of intrigue, and pursuing one to the exclusion of others will weaken your performance much as a juggler dropping his balls ruins his. Rather than relying on the fates to drop these pieces for you, some well placed strikes from the shadows should cause some of the ambassador's pieces to fall. For Varian, The Crows. Gaining the support of others inside of enemy territory is difficult, and you can expect that many will be Hostile towards your attempts to gather information or pick up evidence. Those who follow the crime lord care not about nobility, except perhaps about how they fetch a higher price when held for ransom. Tread carefully. For Hakon, The Demon's Lantern. A canny opponent leaves Hazardous roadblocks for those who oppose him, and tries to lead their enemies directly into them, much as a will-o-wisp tries to sink travellers in a swamp. Do not allow anyone to question your resolve or lead you astray. Finally, for Radovan, The Midwife."

Zellara gets cut off as Radovan interjects with "Nice! So I'm finally going to-"

Zellara stares him down and he stops mid-sentence, her mood clearly soured. "You're incorrigible." she states. "But fine, if you wish to interrupt me then you can interpret it without my aid."

Zellara then lays the cards out in a typical spread, and reveals the first column: The Rabbit Prince, The Desert, and The Foreign Trader. "I see here the events that have led us to this point. One thing in particular that catches my eye is The Rabbit Prince. It speaks of past tactics that have worked out well, and will likely do so again. When Zova brought her animals to the tavern, it calmed the crowd down and prevented riots. Now, in the crime lord's territory, the same tactic may just work out well to loosen up tongues and hear the whereabouts of the information you seek."

"Next we have the events of the present: The Avalanche, The Theater, and The Unicorn. The present is shrouded in mystery, and many of these cards are silent to me. However, The Theater speaks of a game the crime lord is fond of known as Knivesies. The two competitors stand at opposite ends of the table, with their right hand bound behind their backs. Each has an empty pouch on their waist, and a knife is set in the center. People bet by throwing their gold onto the table, and the winner is the one who picks up the most gold into their pouch, incapacitates their opponent, or knocks them off the table. The harrow tells me that Devargo will likely make you play this for his amusement before turning over any information he may have on the ambassador."

"Finally, we have the future. The Trumpet, The Wanderer, and The Twin. The Trumpet indicates that should you succeed in this task, you will have a reputation here in Korvosa. One that says that you are unafraid of tackling problems head-on. This will no doubt serve you well and gain supporters to your cause."

With that, Zellara's spirit vanishes back into the deck once again.

A picture of the spread is available.

Zellara sensed they were returning, and successfully at that. Although she could no longer act upon the world at large, her spirit inhabited her harrow deck, and she was the master of that. Furthermore, she could still see and hear what was going on around her, and the city was abuzz with news of the King's passing. She could sense something wasn't right about that, and is confident that those five could discover more. There's just something about them. She removed five cards from the deck, one for each of them. The Rabbit Prince. The Juggler. The Locksmith. The Avalanche. The Foreign Trader. Now, it is just a matter of waiting, and I have all of the time in the world for that, Zellara muses to herself.

Before too long, the nobleman Varian walks into the room, surprised to see the deck laid out. His hand gravitates towards The Foreign Trader to examine the artwork on it. Zellara appears behind the Chelaxian and speaks "Ah yes, The Foreign Trader. It speaks of spies, of peddlers, and of all others who enter into deals. I sense that you have entered into such a deal yourself, it seems with the Korvosan Guard. I would not worry about anyone doubting your newfound authority, but by bolstering its numbers now, I see the Guard declining in the future."

Zellara laughs as Varian jumps back in surprise and, it seems, a bit of terror as color drains from his face. "What?" Zellara laughs, "You look as though you've seen a ghost."

To his credit, the nobleman quickly regains his sense of composure, and states that he saw Zellara's head in Gaedrenn's hands not too long ago. "Ah yes, that was rather unfortunate. I am indeed dead, but as you can see I am not gone from this world. My soul now inhabits this harrow deck, and through it I can speak with those who carry it and divine the future. Treat the deck, and me, well and we will reward you in kind."

Zellara walks to the table and gestures at the remaining face-up cards. "I see that your friends are not present with you, but we lack the time for all of you to meet together. The Rabbit Prince for the Shoanti woman. The Juggler for your tiefling friend. The Locksmith for the Sarenrite. The Avalanche for the skald. Each of these speaks towards their current place in this world." Zellara grabs all of the cards and shuffles them together, laying nine out in a spread.

"First, let us examine the events that lead you to your current situation." Zellara begins, flipping over The Midwife, The Wanderer, and The Juggler. "The Juggler represents your friend Radovan. Its placement in the spread is ominous, and suggests tragedy for him and those close to him. Fate can be fickle, and often Deadly should it turn against you."

Zellara flips over the next column, showing The Tyrant, The Dance, and The Cricket. "These represent events happening now or in the near future. The Tyrant speaks to me. This Vancaskerkin you are after, he holds sway over a group of deserters. His intentions are more noble than the actions of his group, and you may be able to have him see reason once he realizes his rule is not as just as he imagines it to be. The Cricket tells a more harrowing tale. In the midst of all of this chaos, many have gone missing throughout Korvosa. Their families are searching for answers, and you will find those answers on your quest. But, the journey through lies and misinformation will be Confusing, and those affected will see no succor at the end."

"Finally, these three cards represent the future. I see The Desert, The Keep, and The Joke. The Desert speaks to the trials you will undertake here and in other engagements with the Korvosan Guard. It will be a journey with very few supporters, and you may find it Wearisome. Do not give up hope, for you will aid many in your tribulations should you succeed!"

"The cards go silent, this is as much as I can say for now. Take my deck with you, so you and your companions may speak with me again. I wish to thank the rest of them for defeating Lamm as well, in my own way. I see a shadow falling over Korvosa but it resists my attempts to unmask it for now. For now, gather allies that you can rally to your cause, as their support may be crucial." With that last sentence, the deck reassembles itself into a neat pile and Zellara vanishes.

A picture of the spread is available.

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Zellara peeks through the curtain at the motley group assembled at the table. An intimidating Kelishite cloaked in blue. An Ulfen man whose expression betrays his inner anger. A Shoanti woman with a fierce gaze. A Chelaxian nobleman with an air of superiority, accompanied by a Tiefling failing to impress the group with his poor attempts at jokes. A strange assortment, to be sure, but united by a common cause. Zellara is sure that they will be perfect for the task at hand.

She steps out and makes herself known to the group, her prized harrow deck in hand. "Thank you for coming, my friends," she begins, and spins a tale of Gaedren Lamm and their shared thirst for vengeance against him.

She lays out a set of nine cards face-down and has each member of the group choose one. The Shoanti goes first, revealing the Rabbit Prince. "Ah, the Rabbit Prince." Zellara begins, "He represents your penchant for hand-to-hand combat. His broken sword symbolizes that anyone can fall in battle, regardless of their skill or bravery. Take care that it is not you."

The Chelaxian is next, revealing himself to be Count Varian Jeggare. The tiefling beside him introduces himself as Radovan, and indicates that the two of them are sharing in this reading. He draws the Crows. Zellara continues, "The Crows are a dangerous bunch who violently take that which is loved, whether that be possessions or the lives of those close to you. With Gaedren around, it is almost certainly the former. Be cautious around your belongings, lest you find yourself Impoverished ere long."

The next man states his name is Zadim, and draws to his surprise a second copy of the Rabbit Prince. Zellara chuckles, "Of course, there is normally only one of each card in a harrow deck. However, the Rabbit Prince is nothing if not capricious. Do not expect fair fights, for you will not receive them."

Finally, the Ulfen shares his name, Hakon, and comes up to draw a card. "The Cricket possesses both fast mind and body, in equal measure. Rushing ahead without thinking is a sure way to fall into one of Gaedren's traps. Be careful that your anger does not cloud your sensibilities."

Zellara collects the cards and shuffles the deck once more, before laying them out in a 3-by-3 spread. She flips over the leftmost column, revealing the Brass Dwarf, the Trumpet, and the Big Sky. "This represents the past, of events that have transpired to lead us here today. Of these, the Big Sky stands out to me the most. It represents those of you who have thrown off the perceived shackles of your homeland to find your way here to Korvosa, only to be accosted and pillaged by Gaedren Lamm and his Lambs. His actions grew bolder as time went on, and you found yourselves in new shackles, figuratively speaking, as the hollow promises of the Korvosan guard have not bore fruit yet prevented you from acting on your own until now. The Brass Dwarf speaks of his ability to evade the law and continue operating. There is an old fishery north of here, where the Korvosan guard do not visit. This is surely where he has established his hideout."

Next, she flips the middle column, showing the Locksmith, the Fiend, and the Empty Throne. "These represent the present and very near future, knowledge which will be certainly be useful before closing in on Gaedren. The Fiend represents Gaedren himself, a dark shadow who subjugates children and mercilessly creates drug addicts to fuel his criminal empire. He will almost certainly attempt to stymie your progress and prevent his defeat. Be cautious walking his Unhallowed grounds, for you may find it hard to find assistance in a time of need. The Locksmith represents the unlocking of your destiny. Defeating Gaedren will be the beginnings of a much greater journey, although what that may entail I cannot say right now."

Finally, Zellara flips the final column, showing the Survivor, the Desert, and the Twin. "These cards represent the future, showing events that may come to pass. The Survivor shows the rebirth of someone, shaped by the ordeals they have been through to bear a mantle thought to have disappeared."

"The rest of the cards speak to me only in vague terms. I see a muddled future ahead for all of you. Look to the Stars for guidance should you feel lost, lest you stumble on your own two feet."

Zellara smiles. "According to the harrow, he can be found in an old fishery north of here, at Westpier 17, where he trains abducted children to be pickpockets and counts his stolen treasures. Be careful, a man who feeds children to an alligator, and who cultivates sharks around his place of business, cannot be trusted. Tread lightly, but ever resolutely. It is time for Gaedren Lamm to pay." With that, she retreats back behind the curtain, her work complete. It's time to rest, knowing that their shared vengeance will soon be realized.

A picture of the spread is available for the curious.