Chronicles of Khaldun: Bread and Circuses

Session 31

Waterday, Patchwall 5, 552 CY (50 AN)

Upon returning to the Addled Alchemist, Croitus, Dhavita, Resh, Southie, and Thava find many within, among them still being Antonio, Manny, Marguerite, Quithyra, Vianibrar, and Yavanna. Manny has moved to another table, and is currently engaged in a lengthy debate with a young wizard — the same handsome young man who was storming away from the Vistani camp, muttering, earlier in the evening — about cosmology. Croitus decides to go wandering around Duchy Jepson instead. Southie, noting that Manny seems to have taken the position that nothing truly exists and his counterpart taking the counterargument that reality has empirical existence, joins the argument with the idea that one can only prove one’s own existence and nothing else. Resh and Thava decide to have a drink. Dhavita sits next to Margot and surreptitiously runs her fingers up her thigh. The two lovers excuse themselves shortly thereafter.

After a few minutes, Southie has managed to irritate the wizard enough so that he leaves the Addled Alchemist in a huff. With the excitement over, Manny, Quithyra, Resh, Thava, and Yavanna all head up to their rooms. With only a few visitors, Southie, and Vianibrar left in the common room, Southie asks if Vianibrar can tell him an uplifting story, one not involving gods. Vianibrar tells him the tale of Theronna Onyxarm and her revolt against the giants. Once the tale is finished, Southie also retires to bed.

That night, Dhavita has a dream. She is in the backroom of a tavern, she thinks somewhere in Sorgforge. A stout, ginger-haired dwarf studies a map of the Sorrowfell Plains. Several blue pins have been stuck in various points on the map, but only four red pins have been — Dawnslight, Scandshar, Sorgforge, and Vonseloth. After a moment’s consideration, three other figures enter the room a heavily-armored male human, a lightly-armored woman with white hair and grey skin (but otherwise appearing human), and a male elf with the look of a scout or ranger about him. These mercenaries gather, and the dwarf addresses them, explaining that he thinks the others have gone about it all wrong. This map depicts all collated sightings of the Scandshar Six. However, those that are definitive sightings — in which local law enforcement have verified the Six — are displayed in red. When accompanied by knowledge of the timing of the sightings — the Scandshar Six were in Scandshar for several days, then in Sorgforge for about 24 hours, then in Dawnslight about half a week later, and finally in Vonseloth about a week later — it is clear that some form of magical transport has to be involved. So far, two accomplices have been discovered; a Zafira Shulud was tried and hanged, and a Mr. Monkshood was found dead, badly beaten and malnourished, in the Weeping Bay in Sorgforge. The dwarf finds it notable that there is a definitive logic to the Six’s travel. In Sorgforge, the Six had business dealings with the Patenaude merchant family (Dhavita’s former master and suspected lover, Lady Marguerite Weogora, was a member of Sorgforge’s Patenaude family); in Dawnslight, they recovered Lady Weogora and a member of Dhavita’s family; and in Vonseloth supposedly resides the remnant of Dar’amaraltria’s tribe. The dwarf finds it suspicious that there are no confirmed sightings of the Scandshar Six in Duchy Jepson, given that it is known to be friendly to slaves, forms another major settlement in the region, and would certainly have the resources to facilitate travel by teleportation circle. He notes that he would like to investigate Duchy Jepson, with one caveat — if one of the party falls, they don’t rescue that person. The survivors just retreat. The others reluctantly agree, and further agree that they will leave for Jepson around dawn.

Dhavita awakens with a start, and as often happens, Margot awakens with her. The night outside is still gloomy; it is apparently just before dawn. After briefly explaining her dream, and the fact that she is unaware whether the bounty hunters are coming by foot or by teleportation circle, Dhavita indicates they need to inform the others. She and Margot quickly dress and leave in search of the others. Dhavita recalls that Southie has been rooming just down the hall, and he might know where Resh and Thava are staying, so she goes to his door first. Southie answers the door, nude, weapon in hand. Manny similarly brandishes his spear, although he is wearing pants. She briefly explains her dream, and Southie says he will inform the others. Dhavita and Marguerite go to find Croitus while Southie and Manny dress.

After Southie and Manny are ready, Southie, unaware of where the others are staying, begins knocking on all the doors in the inn, looking for Resh and Thava. Several people stagger out, realize that it is nothing urgent, and return to their rooms. Yavanna opens the door, wearing a sheer nightgown and apparently with a client. Southie explains the situation, indicates she should likely not get involved (and should deny any association with Southie), apologizes for interrupting, and lets her return to her business.

Quithyra, Resh, and Thava eventually look out from their respective rooms, recognizing that Southie is the source. He explains the situation, and they proceed to get dressed and agree to all meet for breakfast.

Meanwhile, Dhavita and Marguerite search for Croitus and eventually find him, wallowing. They explain the situation to him, and he agrees to prepare and meet them back at the inn. Dhavita and Marguerite return to the Addled Alchemist while Croitus makes preparations. He snoops around for a stray cat and manages to catch it and snap its neck. The sound awakens someone, who comes out to investigate the commotion, but he sends them back inside. He then reanimates the cat and takes the mangy beast to Guard Captain Chandler’s house. He orders the undead cat to curl up outside, then knocks on the door. Captain Chandler answers after a slight delay, apparently having been asleep, and Croitus, wearing his hat of disguise, explains that he is Croitus and that people may be coming to look for the Scandshar refugees. If he encounters them, he should inform the cat outside, which will come and find them. Captain Chandler seems somewhat perturbed at the confluence of bounty hunters and undead cats, but agrees. Croitus then returns to the Addled Alchemist.

Everybody dresses, gathers what they can carry, and orders breakfast. After quickly eating, Thava decides to stand outside as a sentry. She sees someone approaching the Addled Alchemist, but quickly realizes it is Belnan Zivkovic, the dragonborn Vistani she met last evening. He informs her that they were originally going to leave this morning, but since the eladrin ladies want to visit their returned cousin in the Solaeque Purlieu in Vonseloth, and since that lies in the rough direction of the last known location of Thava’s tribe, they thought they would offer to escort Thava if she wishes to travel that way. If any of her companions also wish to travel with them, they are welcome to do so. She says she is interested, and he informs her that they will leave tomorrow at dawn; if she wishes to accompany them, she needs to be there by then. Otherwise, they will likely meet elsewhere on the road. He then takes his leave.

Croitus, still disguised, joins her to keep watch. They talk for a bit, and she explains the offer she was just given. After a few moments, figures come walking down the road — four of them, armed and armored, and matching Dhavita’s description. Croitus takes his leave to enter the inn and warn the others. Dhavita puts a platinum down on the bar and instructs the innkeeper that they left in the night sometime. The group then scurries out the backdoor and heads north. Croitus removes the enchantment on the zombified cat, allowing its body to return to its eternal rest.

Once they find a defensible position, a valley of sorts, they camp and Resh sets a trap — a gauntlet of falling boulders and spiked pits. They wait.

Thava is still standing on the Addled Alchemist’s porch when the bounty hunters arrive. They ask her a few questions about the Scandshar Six, and show her a stack of wanted posters for Ashraf, Croitus, Dar’amaraltria aka Nobody, Dhavita aka Khuna, Resh, and Southie. Each has a 50,000gp bounty, dead or alive. She says she knows nothing, and the quartet confer. They then go inside the Addled Alchemist, although the grey-skinned white-haired girl remains, inquiring about Thava’s background and family. They pair then go inside to see the other three inquiring about the Scandshar Six with the innkeeper. Thava gathers that they have grown suspicious of her, particularly as they all deign to sit with her and breakfast. They ask a few more questions before the dwarf requests they get down to cases — he knows she knows of their location, and wants to know where they headed. She says east. They send the elf scout, whom the dwarf calls “Carondir,” to investigate. The three mercenaries and Thava sit awkwardly and wait; he returns a few hours later, seeing he found no sign. They ask again, and she says south. The dwarf settles on north and requests that she accompanies them.

The four bounty hunters and Thava exit the inn and leave town without any difficulties. Carondir scouts ahead while the others stay with Thava as an escort. Apparently tired of her evasive answers, the dwarf moves to hit her once they are far outside town — Thava responds by conjuring a gout of flame to scorch the mercenaries. They manage to dodge out of the way, and Thava is forced to fling herself to the ground to avoid a well-placed arrow from the elf. The others gather around to subdue her, and the dwarf manages to catch her with his warpicks while the slate-skinned woman cuts her with a sickle. Injured and bleeding, Thava responds by conjuring the shimmering form of a dragon, soaring into the sky and effortlessly pinwheeling out of the way of another arrow from the ranger Carondir. She wings her way back to Duchy Jepson.



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