Quick Note: Current Time is ~8pm on First Day, Seventhmonth, late in the day that Elessar took his Test on. Given the time it takes for the party to gather everyone up and head out to help Rubin, you'd leave the Tower at ~8:30.
Moon Magic: Same as previous day.*
Once everyone is ready, you leave the Tower. Getting back in may be an issue, but as the mages are aware, the Grove's effects can be lowered to allow guests to enter. Plus Elessar still has his invitation which would allow several people to bypass the Grove regardless.
As you leave the Tower, you can see the red moonlight reflecting off the outside of it. The white crystal walls reflect the light in patterns which change with each step you take. From inside the Grove, the Tower soars to incredible heights and it hurts your neck to look up that high.
The walk from the Tower to the Grove is interupted by an alabaster wall. It's not particularly tall, perhaps eight feet high. The gates are made of silver, but the most stunning aspect of the wall is the sheer number of red and black roses grown around the entire inner side of the wall.
Obscuring your view of the moons themselves is the Grove. It consists of tall and gnarled olive trees heavily laden with green and black fruit hanging from them. None of the fruit lays on the ground and the mages have to remind their Kender companion of the dangers of eating the olives. The occasional chirping sound can be heard from birds which live amongst the trees.
It takes a few minutes to leave the Grove as it is several hundred feet in thickness. The path you follow is relatively clear. You encounter no issues on your passage. The Grove is meant to keep people out, not keep them in.
The walk to the neighborhood with Lutgar's shop takes about an hour. You can see along the way that many shops are boarded up, vandalism being the obvious cause. The riots of last night seem to have affected the entire city: everything is eerily silent and you pass few people along the way. Periodically you come across a street corner where a struggle of some sort obviously occured: blood stains cover a few cobblestones. Military veterans like Lutgar and Elessar see that it is an amount spilled that would not be survivable.
Arriving near Lutgar's shop, you see that his street had a number of shops heavily vandalized, including one next door to his. The worst is across the street and several shops over. That one seems to have been lit partially on fire and has most of the front half of the building laying in a pile of rubble.
Thankfully Lutgar's shop is relatively unscathed as far as you can tell from the front: there appears to be debris strewn out front but none of it appears to have come from his shop.
*ooc: Seraphi lucked out this chapter: she'll have +2 for all fights.
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. - Sherlock Holmes
OOC: Woohoo! Next chapter might not be so favorable though.
Seraphi glances around the street at the destruction caused by Taylor's little display. The sight of blood is a poignant reminder of the people that needlessly died out here yesterday. The mischievous woman casually explained it away as something that was bound to happen. Seraphi finds herself doubting that dismissal and knowing for certain that picking a festival when the streets were full couldn't have been any worse. Then again, there was that wild elf that Elessar had spotted so maybe it would have happened anyway.
Pushing those thoughts away, Seraphi mentally instructs Mynx to stay nearby but keep her senses sharp. Her familiar makes a most excellent scout, most people not thinking to ever suspect that a cat could be intruding in on their conversation. After all, with the thousands of alley cats living in the city, what is one more cat anyway. Find a roof Mynx and keep your eye on that building there, she mentally instructs her familiar. Let me know if you see any dwarves leaving. That is the shorter, bearded two legs, she adds for clarification. The answering empathetic feeling of an cat annoyed at being patronized brings a small smile to Seraphi's lips.
As her cat slinks off into an alley to find a lofty perch, Seraphi points to any of the buildings down the street. "Any of these should do," she says. "I'd like to stay close but my spell has a range of 700 feet or so. We'll be able to view the room I spotted Rubin in from anywhere nearby." Seraphi leaves it for Lutgar to decide where the group can find a little privacy. "I'll need about ten minutes," she says just in case they have already forgotten how difficult her spell is.
Once they choose a place Seraphi will settle in and begin the casting of her Clairvoyance spell. Targeting the room with Rubin in it will be easy considering as how she was able to view it when Wystal was scrying it. And at least this time it won't smell like his sour sweat, she thinks with relief. Meanwhile, she'll leave it for the others to decide strategies. Lutgar will know best one which way to enter, the layout, and how best to surprise Brack if he is still in there.
Aye dere be a Cobblers shop next ta mine. Da alley between us is about ten maybe fifteen feet and me and Cord are on good terms, repaired my work boots on several occassions over da years. He's a bit senile though, he's human and is almost as old as me..think he's pushing seventyfive fit as mule and still working hard.
Lutgar thinks for a moment and it dawns on him a bit of a problem that could be a big problem.
I'm not sure what Brack would have in mind for us, but he's probally made it so that we can only enter through the front. I'm sure Kestrel would even have a hard time getting in. All me windows are barred and me doors not only have very good quality locks but each door is equiped with a locking bar. There is an access in me room to da roof, but it is dead locked from the inside. I no not if it be even possible to open it from the outside without making lots of noise.
Lutgar leads the others through the city back to his shop or in this case the cobblers shop next to his shop. The chaos in the streets and the state of his grand city saddens him forcing him to walk a bit slower, down trodden with grief. He looks to the signs of a battle and looks to Ellessar and he nods to him they both know at least a few people died there. He moves on without saying a word to the others. The bloody site angers him, his city, his home...should not be like a battlefield. He fought ogres and Minotaurs to make sure of that and now his fears have awakened and his mission to protect his city has failed...now is only Vengence and Justice. Two things that should never be viewed as the same.
The days pass quickly in the Tower, at least for Kestrel. There might be a few mages and a cook or two who would say different. When she leaves, her pouches are relatively the same as when she arrived, which is a rather sad and boring state of affairs for a kender to be in. Still, she cannot complain for she had some fun during her stay. She managed to find a secret way into the kitchen, which was driving the cook nearly mad with rage when her special largonn cream pies kept disappearing. It’s actually a good thing they only stayed a couple days, for Kestrel’s middle looks suspiciously rounder and if asked, she would swear someone traded out her favorite belt for another that looked just like it but was smaller.
Then there was the episode where she was leaning out the eighteenth story window and almost plunged to her death thanks to some panicky kid who was barely old enough to call himself a mage. She had been outside looking at the tower and she would swear it looked like it leaned just the slightest bit to the west. Well, she tried to ask someone but she kept getting the brush off. *Valiana will want to know if her tower were starting to lean over. I mean, what if it is falling over and no one tells her?* Kestrel reasoned it all out and came up with a plan.
Well, nothing would do except that she make her way up as high in the tower as she could go and check it with the handy plumb line she has in one of her pouches. She thought she remembered the trick of it and had leaned out the window just a tad more when there was this frightful shriek and someone was yanking at her. She wasn’t quite done so she yanked back, almost causing them to both tumble from the window. Evidently, the shriek was heard by someone who was more than a simple initiate because before they splattered on the ground, they became light as a fether and floated down to the ground, landing unharmed. “MORE, MORE!” Kestrel’s request was met with dark looks and a firm escort back to the room where the rest of her friends were staying.
When Kestrel hears of what Brack is doing to poor Rubin, she gets a bit red in the face. She has often hung out at Lutgar’s and Rubin has always been nice to her. Oh, he likes to pretend to get all scowly when she is around but she knows he is just teasing her. Once, he even gave her a wooden necklace, which she still has in one of her pouches. She pats herself down, making certain she has all of her pouches. Reassured, she grabs up her backpack and is ready to go.
The kender frowns when Seraphi joins them, that dratted cat following behind her. “Hey, I think you forgot to tell him he has to stay behind.” She points at Manx, remembering how the cat squished her flat on the landing that first morning. She blinks when Seraphi tells her the cat is coming along. “Hmph! Well, just tell it I’m not something he can just sit on and squish flat.” She gives the cat a wary look, wondering how it would look without any hair on its tail.
She skips along, keeping up with the others and eager to rescue Rubin. Why, she has never been part of a rescue before. It sounds quite dashing! She jumps up, grabbing at some of the olives hanging down from the trees in the Grove. They are the green kind and not the black ones. She beans the cat and Taither in the back of the head, looking completely innocent by the time it strikes and they whip around to look. In fact, she pretends not to know anything about it, managing to pelt Lutgar and Elessar before becoming caught up in a new game, avoiding the blotchy red spots all over the place once they get back into the city.
She obviously knows her way around as grows sad over many of the vandalized businesses. “Oh, now why would anyone break into Old Man Trentmor’s place? He would never hurt anyone.” He has repaired her boots a few times for free, though the cobbler may not have realized he was giving her such a great deal. She does nod at a few of the places, especially one. One tavern, the Drunken Unicorn, had its windows smashed in and the sign was only hanging by one corner, and it creaked whenever the wind hit it.
Finally they arrive at Lutgar’s place, and the dwarf challenged Kestrel by saying she cannot break into his place. Well, she cannot help but harrumph at that. She is the one who helped him find all of his weak spots. Why, if it weren’t for her, even a gully dwarf could have snuck in through that back window. She considers it. She hasn’t tried to break in for awhile and she can do with a good warm up. She wriggles her fingers in expectation and begins to sneak off, sidling away and hugging the shadows. They can go in through the front and while they are distracting Brack, she will sneak in and rescue poor Rubin. This is going to be so much fun! Kestrel grins, slipping off into the dark.
Do NOT meddle in the affairs of dragons; for you are crunchy and go good with ketchup
The five come to the door of Old Man Trentmor's cobbling shop next to Lutgar's. Various marks cover the door, clearly showing forced entry. It also appears as if someone tried starting a fire at the corner of the building but failed.
From a cursory inspection you can tell the place is currently unoccupied. The door swings open on a single hinge. The hinge is quiet and well oiled - leave it to someone who works with leather boots often to have access to good oils - and swings open without any noise. Inside, the place is looted. Where there was once a display for new shoes in various styles and sizes is now a display with only a handful of the lower end ones in odd sizes. Everything else appears to have been looted in the chaos. Behind the small counter are more shoes in various states of repair - these are shoes that were brought in for repair and were hardly choice items to loot.
Beyond the looted merchandise and the singled hinged door, the inside of the place looks relatively untouched. A quick inspection of the back rooms shows storage spaces for oils and special equipment, most of which would be of little interest to the average looter. You have no problems settling down for a few minutes to allow Seraphi to cast her spell. Taither makes a point of standing near the door watchfully, peaking outside to check for anything. On occasion he mentions a Scata patrol is passing by. The frequency of the patrols seems a little high but is not surprising given a recent riot.
Seraphi's clairvoyance spell allows her to see next door into Lutgar's shop with ease. From the help she got from Wystal, she has no trouble pinpointing where she will target the spell.
Inside of Lutgar's shop, she sees the same thing as before: Rubin is tied up in a chair in one of the back rooms. The bindings look particularly amateurish in how they were tied, but it is not surprising as few wizards have time to learn things like proper knot tieing. Such things are usually learned by sailors and the rare sea mage. Nevertheless, it doesn't look like Rubin can easily escape on his own.
Rubin appears unhurt, though his eyes appear a little sunken, either out of intimidation or hunger. He is clearly muscular but not strong enough to escape the bonds.
Various blacksmithing tools sit on the floor near Rubin. Whether they were taken from him when captured or somehow meant to be a threat in the case he talks is unclear.
Sitting nearby at Lutgar's dinner table leaning forward in a chair is Brack. He looks quite familiar: an older dwarf (as opposed to the slightly younger version you saw at the bar) with a greying beard with an untucked black tunic with a dark brown shirt underneath and black trousers. His slightly rounding figure is highlighted by a large silver belt buckle on a wide leather belt. From each side of the belt hangs a large pouch. The one on his left appears to be empty at the moment beyond a single thin rolled up object, possibly a scroll tube. He also wears a cloak which appears to mimic a chameleon every time he shifts in his chair. It must possess some sort of enhanced disguise properties.
On the table capturing Brack's focus is what is obviously an open spellbook. The words inside are difficult to make out, but based on what she can see, Seraphi would probably guess that the spell being studied is related to fear magic.
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. - Sherlock Holmes
Kestrel is just about to conclude that she has made a clean escape when someone snatches the back of her shirt and pulls her to an abrupt halt. She glances backwards, unsurprised to see Lutgar with a fist in her cloak. She forgot he could see in the dark. “I was just going to check and see if anyone was hiding back here.” The excuse sounds lame in her own ears but she nods vigorously, as if that will sell her point with the dwarf. He seems unconvinced as he points toward the cobbler’s store next door. Kestrel sighs a bit and heads toward the shop. She is convinced she can get into Lutgar’s shop from the back, if only she had a chance to try.
She enters the cobbler’s shop. It is destroyed and she frowns. “I hope Old Man Trentmor wasn’t here when this happened.” Kestrel knows the cobbler. He has even repaired her shoes for her. He was very nice about it and he never makes her wait like he does everyone else. She comes in and he fixes her shoes for her right then and there. Talk about good service! It is a bit sad to see the shop torn up and all his pretty shoes missing.
She pokes around a bit but doesn’t see anything in her size. There is one dainty, very pretty red shoe. She picks it up to inspect the leather stitches, marveling at some of the tool work. It is a dress shoe, made to go with a fancy dress. She runs her fingers over a line of beading. Pretty. The others hiss at her to pay attention and she looks up, remembering their mission. Without a second thought she drops the shoe into one of her pouches as she heads after the others.
Oh! Things are not quite as bad as Kestrel thought as they make their way toward the back. She can see that most of his tools and supplies are untouched. Good! Old Man Trentmor will have something to return too and he won’t have to start over from scratch. She pokes her nose around in things. One of her pouches manages to acquire a small vial of oil and a dirty rag with covered in black polish. There is lots to keep her busy while Seraphi does her magic thingy.
Do NOT meddle in the affairs of dragons; for you are crunchy and go good with ketchup
As you sit quietly while Seraphi performs her magic, little changes. Clearly Brack is engrossed in studying and Rubin is incapable of making any move at the moment. The wizardess does notice that Rubin seems to try shifting periodically, likely due to getting sore from sitting for so long. The occasional page is flipped but otherwise the scene does not change. It is simply a matter of time before Seraphi's spell will wear out or a kender explores places she shouldn't.
As the minutes pass, Taither counts out the patrols. After perhaps 15* minutes, he counts 3, but does not notice any more coming. Perhaps it is simply a lull.
His half-elven eyes do notice something else and he beckons others near the door, holding a finger to his lips to indicate the need for silence. Peering through the gap between the frame and the now single hinged door he whispers.
"Across the street. It's him. The Kagonesti. Doesn't seem to be watching us though. More interested in next door."
Seraphi is focused in her spell casting and pays scant attention to her surroundings. She regrets the riots that have uprooted so many people but there is little to be done about it now but try and pick up the pieces. More importantly, the man partly responsible for all this is in a building next door studying a spell book. Seraphi watches the scene carefully, delighted at how well her spell has worked at providing hidden information.
She is in the process of describing the room to everyone and forumulating a plan to take out Brack when Taither speaks up from the front room. Seraphi grimaces at what she hears but maintains her concentration on the spell. "Well regardless, we'll need to do something right away. Either he helps or we scare him off again," she mutters to the others. "Lutgar, assuming the front door was locked what is the best way to get in? Not everything is barred is it? You have to have a key or something that would get us in."
Seraphi contemplates the situation. She would dearly love to interrupt Brack before he finishes memorizing himself a new set of spells. Especially the fear spells. Although prepared for them, that doesn't mean the group will easily over come them. "Over powering him with force is probably best," she recommends to the others. "It can be incredibly hard to cast spells when someone is menacing you with a sword," she shares with a smile at her brother. She thinks fondly back on the lessons he taught her in that regard. In fact, she remembers all too well her pride being cut down by Taither's neutralizing her spellcasting with nothing more than a small, wooden switch.
"I have a spell that I can use that will speed up your reaction time in a fight," says Seraphi. "But it doesn't last long so it needs to be cast just before we engage Brack." The only other plan that Seraphi can come up with is to use disguises and trickery to try and immobilize Brack but that puts someone else at risk.
Taither nods at Seraphi's plan. He brings out his sword and shield to let her know that he is ready. A protective look crosses his face and it's clear he intends to be on the front line of this fight.
A look of disgust then crosses his face, but it's clearly not related to his sister. Rather, the cause of his disgust is rather obvious: there are a large number of centipedes crawling up through the floorboards. The city of Istar has always been a rather clean city by most standards so infestations have always been rare.
At first it's only a handful, but within a matter of moments it's dozens. And they seem to be increasing in number. Anyone peeking through the door across at the Kagonesti (Perception DC 13) notices a smirk on the elf's face.
ooc: Not in combat yet, but feel free to take actions.
The Kagonesti! She missed seeing him during the parade and now she is going to get a second chance. She moves forward, trying to peek through the curtain to see across the street. She can see just fine, and what she sees is the elf smirking to himself. “Well, he certainly seems pleased over something…OUCH!” Kestrel looks down and stomps on a creepy crawly. Looks like some kind of centipede to her. Ugh, she is not someone who favors bugs. She can hear a slight rustling sound, as if there were many more bugs where this one came from. “I don’t think I like the sound of that. Not that I have anything against bugs, mind you. I just would rather they stayed in their homes and I stayed in mine.”
While the kender is talking she is also reaching for her bow. She has an idea, a way to make the elf pay attention to something other than them. Since everyone in Istar seems to be angry with the elves, she thinks she has the perfect idea. “Give me a clear shot at him and I think I can solve this.” She has pulled out an arrow and is leaning over it when she sighs. Her idea won’t work. She was thinking she could light him up by hitting him with the arrow, but if the head goes into his skin it will douse the light, and if it misses he will just leave it and move away from the light. She needs to actually sneak up on him and use her light spell on the elf. She puts her bow away and pulls out her special dagger, the one that can slice through anything.
“I have an idea.” She said that already. Now she slips out, trying to sneak across the street and up behind the elf.