A Troubled Economy

A thrice-damned city

20 Eleasis 1372
1834 days have passed

There is a far seedier side to this city of “strict laws” than I had expected upon arrival. In the two short days, I learned that we were very much not welcome here.

After sitting through the necromancer’s undead drum act, we were served our meals for the night. Mutton stew for Enalda and I, simple rice for Sahil, and much more exotic dishes for the others. I hadn’t thought about lying low at this point, but I still didn’t want to stand out.

Tuck, absorbed in the atmosphere of the Eye, requested some sort of mixture to be added to a drink of his. His mood elevated quickly and he was much more jovial than usual. I was curious about the substance until I found out he spent a handful of gold for it, no thank you. After finishing his meal and drink, he left with a Hinn prostitute. To each their own, I suppose.

Shortly afterward, a Drow in a large hat made his way to our table. He dropped sacks of crints on our table with a message. Noone could read the message, but with the aid of Sahil’s magical abilities, he deciphered the text. The money was a gift, and we were to meet someone at a tailor’s shop on Guardian Way in two bells – Likely to discuss more work. I became wary immediately. I did not like this person picking us out of a crowd.

When Tuck had finished with his…acquaintance, we left for the tailor’s. We arrived a bit early, and while waiting, I was able to commission some silver coins with the symbol of Hoar stamped on them. I felt it may strengthen my relationship with the Doombringer, offering the tokens to those who seek vengeance such as I.

Enalda also entered and sought something engraved with Lucha’s symbol to be added to her scabbard. While I liked the idea, I was not surprised that it was not in stock. That would have to be custom-made for her. Perhaps if we are in town for a longer period in the future.

Afterwards, we entered the mostly-empty tailor shop. I had a bad vibe about this immediately. An old man, Suhl, approached us. He gave us a story about how he frequently paid for information and was looking to pay for us to travel South to Listenshire. He offered a massive quantity of crints for the work, again raising my suspicion. How did a man with nearly no stock and rising supply prices have so much money to toss around? On top of that, I was not sure how it would interfere with our current work. I didn’t like it one bit.

My suspicion only got worse when I politely asked if Suhl would let me use my Detect Chaos ability on him. He became very apprehensive immediately. He was stammering about how he didn’t know what the spell would do to him or how that would affect our deal or why it was necessary. I didn’t believe that he could live in a city like this and not know what this ability did. I assured him nothing would happen, used the detection on him, and came up with nothing. I gave him a gold piece for the hassle, even if he wasn’t an agent of chaos, his actions provided useful information to me.

In the end, we discussed it and left without giving a firm answer. I was against it, but a few of the others only saw more money to be had. They could accept his offer, but I would not. On our way back, we split up – Tuck and Sahil left for the Eye, Shino and Danjo to the camels, and Enalda and I went to resupply. I feel like Enalda and I may be the only ones taking our survival seriously.

Once back at the Inn, we reconvened in Enalda and I’s room. Tuck and Sahil told us of a Dwarf who approached them and delivered a warning under magical silence. He warned them not to trust the tailor, and that the tailor had sent many to their deaths already on the road to Listenshire. The Dwarf apparently made a hasty exit when he noticed the Drow approaching through a crystal ball. Later that evening, a message arrived from a delivery boy, advising them to “Seek the path to the sacred shrine.” We could only assume that came from the Dwarf.

Midway through our conversation, a scream could be heard from outside. We went out to find a woman in hysterics. She blubbered on about a dead body outside. We dashed for the door to find a dead Dwarf, his neck nearly severed, bleeding out on the street. Sahil and Tuck identified him as the Dwarf who delivered the warning. This gave me reason to believe the Dwarf over the tailor.

Shortly after, the Lastarr authorities showed up via some magical means – A massive giant and a very powerful-looking man. They questioned the audience after having us give him space. I complied immediately, wanting to assist in every way.

Tuck and Sahil were interviewed by the giant while I led the man to the terrified woman inside. They were finished speaking with us and teleported out just as they had arrived. Most of our entourage quickly dashed back to the room to discuss our next steps. Only Danjo lagged behind, valuing a free drink from the bartender more than the need to address our sudden danger – a foul-looking beverage that could be smelled quite a distance away. I did not believe that now was the time for dulling our wits. We all arrived at the same conclusion back at the room, though: Suhl and the Drow were dangerous and we needed to leave soon.

The room got very warm unnaturally quick and before we knew it, the hall outside of our room had been set ablaze. Danjo and Enalda made to bash the door down when I shoved them aside and went to work with my hammer. The hammer tore through the door in two well-placed hits, opening the passage and filling the room with smoke.

We had to get out. NOW.

Tuck put his fleet feet on and dashed down the hall through the flames. I looked over at the fool Danjo, who saw the encroaching flames and slammed his drink back in one gulp. I could not fathom his idiocy at a time like this, how utterly and moronically reckless. This man could be a danger to us soon, but I couldn’t contemplate this now. I made a mad dash through the fire and made sure to keep an eye on Shino behind me. His elder may be foolish, but Shino did not seem to share that trait. He was both wise and useful.

We rounded the corner and were met with a huge blast of water coming down the hall. I managed to duck under it in time, but Shino did not and was swept up in the current. He made a quick recovery and followed me down the now-extinguished part of the hallway.

A priest of some water diety I could not identify was channeling these huge torrents. She called to us, “Are there more?” We replied, “Yes!” She acknowledged our answer and ordered us to keep moving, quickly.

Outside the fire and water, Shino and I had made it. Shortly after, Danjo emerged from the flames mostly unharmed. He looked at Shino briefly, seeing that he had also made it out, then passed out. It didn’t take a doctor to see that the drink had finally hit him. Wonderful, now I had to carry this troglodyte’s asshole out.

In the lobby, Tuck advised us to stay put while he went back towards the rooms. The maitre d demanded we make our way out to the street. I didn’t want to risk more lives by further crowding the exit and went outside to wait for Tuck. This ended up being a poor decision.

Outside, among the crowd, I thought there wasn’t anything to worry about. The fire was inside, and we were away from the fire. I was wrong. I came to this realization seconds after I felt a sharp pain in my neck. A crossbow bolt, but it was tipped with something. I struggled mightily against wave after wave of lethargy that passed through my body. Very soon after, my entirety became limp. I dropped Danjo to the ground, but he still did not wake. I followed shortly after.

Enalda immediately came to my aid. She hoisted me over her shoulder and made her way to the temple of Lucha. I could see, but I could do nothing else. Shino had picked up Danjo while Sahil followed. We came under further fire and I could hear the bolts showering my brave sister. Some I could hear clang against her armor, but others made a much more sickening sound. I could offer a prayer to Hoar. Once again, I came begging to the Doombringer. Please, deliver us from this danger. Guide my body and soul that I may have my revenge on this Drow. He had injured my sister, and for that he would pay.

It was getting difficult for me to breathe. We got to the temple and Enalda quickly demanded to be let in as more bolts hit the doors. The guards reluctantly let us in. They immediately looked at our wounds and tended to them. It was explained to me that the poison I was struck with was called the Tears of Death. I was only minutes from dying had they not aided me. My body ached with pain all over as if I had just been in a dozen bar brawls. The temple let us stay the night for our safety. It was only now that I had noticed the absence of Tuck. I do not know if he had just been completely separated from us, ran, or was killed. I suspected he had fled, but hoped he just found a safe place for the night.

The following day, I had a thought. I suspected that the crints we were given somehow allowed the Drow to track us. I had to think of a way to discard them safely. The priests offered to retrieve supplies for us prior to us leaving. Enalda and I sent them out with some coin to grab supplies.

A short time later, the priest returned visibly upset. He claimed that we had given him fake money! I told him in earnest that we had been deceived by Suhl and would gladly subject ourselves to a Zone of Truth to prove our innocence. The priest chuckled and smugly said we didn’t have a choice in the matter, as if he was proud to catch some sort of criminal. They stripped us of our equipment and shackled us together. We were led by guards down the street to the temple of Tyr where we would be interrogated. This was a terrible idea with the assassin still loose, but we had no choice. Surely the guards would be strong enough to deliver us safely, right?

Wrong again. The guards dropped in front of us as I glanced up to the rooftops and saw the Drow. Sahil and I called him out and drew the public attention to him. He continued firing, dropping Shino and Sahil both. It became nigh impossible to move with the dead weight on the shackles. Luckily a gnome dashed to our side and covered us in an obscuring mist. This was no gnome, though, but our pal Tuck in disguise. I couldn’t have been happier to see him. He picked the locks on my chains and I was able to carry Sahil.

Before I could get him to safety, a massive ring of fire surrounded us followed by a shifting prismatic sphere. The authorities had finally arrived, led by a heroic figure in plate mail. He assured our safety and took us back to the temple of Lucha where we explained everything to a priest of Tyr. They made another effort to gather our supplies and even gave us the cover of a camouflaging spell, giving us invisibility for a good period of time.

Outside, we made our way to the sacred shrine described in the note. Sahil and Tuck had managed to ascertain its whereabouts. I felt it important to report back to Assur and deliver the information we had. We were not sent for heroics, but for information of which we had gathered a lot. I was the lone voice speaking this, however, and I could not venture out by myself, so we went East instead.

A pair of pterafolk descended upon us and though they were rather intimidating, they were all squawk and no bite. Once the first one had been slain, the second made a wise decision to keep on flying.
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2 days have passed since the Drow incident.

Comments

Awesome post!!!!!!! :-)

A thrice-damned city
 

Wow, Marc!! You wrote a novella!! The writing has a very consistent “voice” and the amount of detail you put in is quite incredible.

First off, the enigmatic date you always refer to. It’s mysterious, and it really shows Setibyr has a real past, and something weighs heavily in his mind.

You have done a great job of showing how Setibyr and Enalda are very close, clearly she is the only one you really trust. Setibyr’s opinions of his companions are well described in a way that is believable. Setibyr still has not formed a bond with any but Enalda.

I really feel immersed by your narrative, and I enjoyed reading it!

I’m not sure how I feel about you keeping these dark secrets of your past from the rest if the party. I want to be able to trust the paladins more!!

A thrice-damned city
 

Dave, perhaps someday you’ll learn Setibyr’s secret. It is a heavy burden for him, and freeing himself from it has been on his mind for many years.

A thrice-damned city
marcman59

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