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A flash of lightning momentarily illuminates the Rex family study, followed moments later by a *crack* of thunder. A small kobold scurries in the door with a tray of drinks, and walks around the table quickly, setting down a glass in front of each creature seated there.
He pulls out three glasses, and fills each of them with sparkling red feywine. He gives a nod of respect as he presents the glasses to a golden-haired Eladrin with the half-smirk; a taller half-eladrin with the star of Corellon tattooed on his cheek, and a slightly shorter half-elf holding what looks to be a longbow with flute holes in it.
The kobold continues around the table, setting a small cup of brandy in front of the chuckling gnome in robes. Finally, the kobold lifts the final item from his tray: a large mug containing a thick white liquid, and places it in the hands of a creature who looks to be a mountain come alive in the shape of a human.
As the kobold bows his way back out of the room, the fire crackles, and the five companions seated around the table take a moment to reflect on the events of the previous night that took place in this same room.
Berrian motions you to take a seat. He looks to be completely drained, but after a moment he begins speaking "Um...yes, so...er...best just to tell it straight. Oedipus came under a sign of truce. We searched him for weapons, and he and Tacitus walked around the grounds while they spoke. I am not sure what was said, but when they came back to the house, my Lord Rex looked ... pleased, as did Oedipus. It seemed as if they had resolved their differences. They retired to Lord Tacitus' personal chambers to continue their discussions, and ordered me to bring them finest wine from the cellar. When I entered my master's chambers, I found him on the ground in pain, and Oedipus slipping out the back window. I tried to save Lord Rex, but it ...er... I was too late."
Berrian pauses a moment to collect himself, before pulling out a small knife barely as long as his index finger. "Yes, well... we found this buried in the nape of Lord Rex's neck. I'm not sure how we missed it when Oedipus was searched, but it was buried deep, and coated with a deadly poison."
The Eladrin gives a cough, possibly to hide a sob, but continues speaking. "The captain of the guard is leading the search for Oedipus as we speak. Normally I would ask for your aid in this, but I fear there is a greater task I must ask your assistance in. Unfortunately, it is a matter of some er...well, secrecy, and I must wait until my Lord's son arrives and gives me leave to discuss it with you. I sent him a message less than half an hour ago, and he is returning here with the greatest haste he can manage. With any luck." Berrian nearly spits as he says the word, "he should be here by tomorrow evening.
"For the time being, rooms will be prepared for you. Please meet me here tomorrow evening at this time.
The rain continues to pound against the window, punctuated by the flashes of lighting. You have yet to see either Berrian since last night, nor has there been any sign of Tacitus' son.
This is the beginning of the 2nd part of the "Adventures in Fallcrest" game. The first part of the game can be found here
The mountain man takes his mug with the utmost care and poise, his dark brown eyes gaze upon the liquid with the quality of the staunchest artisan and connoisseur. His great stone hand gently lets the liquid turn once in the mug before his brings it up to his outcropping of a nose and breathes in with a deep snuffing of air. A moment passes, then another, and the giant seems to chew the inhale slowly; a deep rumble echoes in the caverns of his chest. The ritual continues, he dips an obelisk of a finger into the contents, stirs it once, and brings it to forefront of his face to gain a better look, narrowing his eyes. After a quiet perusal, the finger enters the giant's mouth, and he swishes it around once before withdrawing it from his mouth. He sits in stony silence, drumming his fingers atop the hard wood of the table thoughtfully before his deep booming voice cracks through the stilled air.
"A '53. Excellent vintage." The Shepherd exclaims pleasantly.
"Forgive me, Corellon. I have failed," he says quietly and mournfully, his gaze shifting to the floor between his feet. "I am an unworthy representative of you." He rejoins the others and sighs. He looks even paler than usual.
Pavick takes a sip of the brandy he was given. "Ahh..." he sighs loudly, obviously enjoying the flavor. He sets the drink back on the table and slides off of his chair. He moves over to Eltain and places a hand as high as he can reach on the eladrin's back. "You most certainly are unworthy, at least in this state. Corellon is a god of beauty. There is absolutely nothing beautiful in a life of sadness and regret. We've faced a setback, and lost a good man. But now he sits at the feet of the gods and we are left here to do what we can to move on. Stewing in remorse of Rex's loss does nothing to bring beauty back to the world." With a flick of his wrist, Pavick produces a simple daisy from thin air (using prestidigitation). He hands the flower to Eltain and returns to his seat.
After climbing back up into the chair he begins practicing his flower production. First he makes another daisy, then drops it on the table. Then a rose appears in his hand, just as the previous flowers disappear. He drops the rose on the table and it soon disappears as a lily appears in his hand. He continues this series of flower production.
After a few minutes, the door cracks open, and Berrian enters. He gives a weak smile, but the circles under his eyes indicate that he has not had a chance to trance in some time. Immediately after Berrian, a tall Dragonborn in armor enters, followed by a slim human in brown robes. The Dragonborn is heavily armored, with the symbol of Bahamut emblazoned across his plate mail. He bears a resemblance to Tacitus, but lacks the presence of the former Rex lord. The human is a middle-age, balding man in long brown robes, and he carries a staff at his side with the head carved to resemble the platinum dragon. He gives a warm smile to the party, and moves to take a seat in the corner, near where Berrian and the Dragonborn have taken their seats.
Berrian drains the glass that he brought in with him, and stands. "My good fey, demi-fey and ...er... Shepherd. May I present the new Lord Rex, my master Tyrannus." The Dragonborn looks up at the party and gives a nod, before casting his eyes back down awkwardly, deep in thought. "And this," Berrain says turning behind him "is the former trainer of Tyrannus who has agreed to stay on as an advisor: Friar Hubert, a holy man of Bahamut." The balding man in the corner stands and gives a soft smile to the party. "I wish I could have met you all in different circumstances, but it is a pleasure. I have heard much." he sits back down, and politely refuses the drink the kobold presents to him.
Berrian motions for his cup to be re-filled, and turns back to the party. "Er...what I'm about to tell you is of the utmost secrecy. I have spoken with Hubert and Tyran- Lord Tyrannus, and we agree that you are the best suited to deal with the issue. Um..." he turns back to Hubert "Would you care to explain the situation to them? You know more than I."
Hubert gives a humble nod, and stands. "This is widely unknown, but there is a reason for the success of the Rex family. Many years ago, my father, as well as Tacitus' father, were adventurers together. On their final quest, they found an ancient artifact, a relic of Avandra called the Flame of Fortune. It's a small object that looks like a tiny fire made of crystal; but it bends luck and good fortune in the favor of whoever wields it. Tacitus' father, Marcus, didn't realize it's potency, and he used it when he retired from adventuring, and set up a small shop." Hubert motions to the house and the grounds. "Obviously, that "small shop" did very very well. The Rex family did better than any could have imagined, and what was one shop soon became 2, then 5 and eventually began opening up shops in other cities. Whenever a Rex store opened, it always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, and the store prospered.
"When Tacitus first became the head of the Rex family, it was just shortly after I met him, over 30 years ago. He decided that his family's fortune had grown enough, and he wanted to see what he could make of it on his own accord, without relying on the Flame. I helped him hide the relic away in a safe location, and he continued to expand his family empire through his own willpower and cunning. As it turned out, he didn't need the flame. He was a shrewd enough business man that the empire continued to grow and thrive, although not as rapidly or dramatically as it had before; but Tacitus was content. Everything was going well, until Oedipus found out." Hubert is cut off by a sharp *crash*, and all eyes shift to Tyrannus, who is now holding the remains of a shattered cup in his hands. The dragonborn mumbles an apology, and Hubert gives a sad, thoughtful look before continuing.
"We don't know how Oedipus found out about the relic, but it seems that his attacks against the Rex family were all an attempt to force Tacitus to bring the Flame out of hiding. After all attempts to discover who was trying to destroy his family and the city proved futile, Tacitus did recover the Flame from its hiding place, and used it to hire a team of adventurers to discover who was behind it all." Hubert again gives you all a warm smile. "So I think you understand why we feel we can trust you. You had more success in the first day than any one else had had in months of work. It appeared that everything was going well, and the situation would be taken care of." Hubert sighs, and stares at the table. "Perhaps it made Tacitus over-confident. I cannot imagine how else he would have let his guard down around Oedipus. He must have assumed that the luck of the Flame made him invincible."
Berrian, who has now finished his third glass, jumps in and begins speaking rapidly. "Yes, yes, onto the point. Oedipus stole the Flame, slew Tacitus, and we need you to recover it, bring it back here, and ensure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands." The Eladrin takes a breath, and punctuates his outburst with a slight *burp.* Hubert gives a sad nod. "I'm afraid my friend is correct. It is imperative that you recover the Flame of Fortune. It brings luck upon any who wield it for any purpose. A Warlord trying to raise an army; a lich looking for forgotten lore, a devil looking for souls to ensnare." his eyebrows raise "I'm sure you get the idea."
With a sigh, he looks to the other two. "We think there is someone who can help you track down Oedipus. We have discussed this at length- Berrian mutters a curse in elven, but Hubert continues "but we all agreed that this was our best chance. he gives a pointed look at the Eladrin.
Berrian pouts, but makes a hand motion to the kobold who scurries out the door. "Yes, yes, alright. We've hired Zyrr'delin to help you track down Oedipus."
A minute later, the door cracks open, and the kobold enters again, followed by a very familiar looking Drow...
Eltain politely chokes on his drink and eyes Berrian in a manner that clearly indicates that he's going to need more. He quickly recovers himself and offers the newcomer his most winning smile.
"Ahh, you again. I'm glad to see that you've decided to join the correct side at last. May Corellon smile upon your decision." His words carry the sincerity with which they are meant, though the wheels inside Eltain's head are clearly turning as he rather obviously plots how best to try to bring the drow to the light of Corellon.
The familiar, dark face offers the party a toothy grin and a nod, then eagerly accepts the glass of feywine that a black hand brings to its lips. The drow visibly savors the drink for a few seconds before shooting Lucan a bored look. "Really, I'd be a poor addition if I left that loose end. Our new lord's-" He pauses to give Tyrranus a deep bow. "- men sought me after you explained, and presumably they're on the estate neutralizing as much of the poison as they can using the formula I gave." He then eyes Eltain as he crosses the room to take a seat. "It will be a pleasure. You and yours have been very good at not dying so far, I'll enjoy not being the only competent one."
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Berrian gives Eltain a very knowing look, and gets both Eltain and himself another drink. "The poison has been taken care of, and we've recovered most of the other stores and formulas that were used." He turns to the drow, but avoids making eye-contact. "Er...would you care to brief them on what you told us about Oedipus' plans?"
The new informant pointedly stares at the back of Berrian's head before sweeping his gaze around the room. "Of course. Now, for those of you who think this mass-poisoning attempt was a standard crackpot villain scheme, sorry to dissapoint. Oedipus isn't a lunatic, or I wouldn't have worked for him. He's just a dragonborn with a grudge, and he needed a good cloud of panic to escape under after coming here. But thanks to these heroes" He waves to the adventurers "and yours truly, that didn't happen. Now, the reason I know this, is the gnome got me thinking of what my old boss planned from this point. I did some digging and found this." At this point, the drow reaches into a pocket and pulls out a blood-stained note. "It told me a few things. First that Oedipus wanted the necromancer to do to me what was done to Ramel, second that he wanted the three of us to help move supplies south to some old elven city in the woods."
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Lucan perks up. "An elven city?" he says. "I grew up in an elven tribe, but my tribe was nomadic. I've never seen an elven city. Cities were always something our cousins in the Feywild built." He nods to the two eladrin. "Tell me about this city."
The Shepherd is very quiet through this exchange, absorbing everything being said as he drinks his milk thoughtfully. His dark eyes travel slowly between each speaker, and gaze with such a quality that it almost looks like the goliath is looking through each of them in turn.
The underworlder holds up the piece of paper, points to it, and fixes Lucan with an annoyed glare. He deadpans, "It's a city. Built by elves. In the forest. It's in ruins. That is what this says. I've never been there but my ancestors might have considered it a good place to hunt."
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Pavick's eyes widen to the size of dinner plates at the drow's introduction. Well, maybe not dinner plates. His whole head isn't the size of a dinner plate, but tea saucer could perhaps be an apt description.
He downs the remains of his brandy in one large gulp. When he finally manages to recover a semblance of composure, he says, "The gnome's name is Pavick. Pavick Roslow. Does 'the drow' also have a name?" Pavick decides not to admit that he had pretended to know much more about Oedipus' operation than he actually had, but still some questions needed to be asked.
He pauses for a moment, long enough for the newcomer to give his name, if he was going to. "So I suppose we're to head to these ruins to see if Oedipus is there?" He hoped that Tyrannus had put some effort into checking on the veracity of the drow's tale.
The drow feigns shock, his eyes mirroring Pavick's and his hands spreading wide inh is chair. "My name? Why, I never thught you'd ask." He draws himself together again, and rests his chin in his hand. "Zyrr'delin Morvyndis. Of ... well.... you can guess the rest."
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Shep's offhand comment about hunting pheasants actually proves to be a memory jog for himself, Lucan and Pavick.
You all recall that the elven city, once called Lillellian, was abandoned just before the fall of Nerath, more than 100 years ago. The city served as a famous trade route between the material world and the Feywild, because in the middle of the city stood the fabled "Pheasant gate" that served as one of the more predictable roads into the Feywild to the famous Eladrin city of Mythrassar. During the final wars that destroyed the Nerathian Empire, the battle spilled over into Lillellian, and the Pheasant Gate was badly damaged in the process. It's fabled to still work occationally, but only briefly, and to arrive at the precise moment that it was functioning is considered a million-to-one shot, giving rise to the phrase "as likely as a trip through the Pheasant" that some rural farmers still use from time-to-time. With it's main source of trade destroyed, the elves abandonned the city, and it quickly fell into ruin, and became the home of some of the darker creatures of the forest. Some rumors even speak of the trees themselves taking over the city. It was the last true elven city in this part of the world, built on the ground, and in the trees. A large portion of the elves that survived the attack, turned instead to a life of wandering.
A grin slowly grows on Pavick's face as he listens to Lucan's rambling story. "Are you sure it wasn't only when you are mooned by a blue pheasant? They are very modest birds afterall, not likely to go around mooning people too often. Though the question remains, is the blue pheasant the color blue, or blue in mood. I suppose a depressed pheasant would be even less likely to hike up his tail feathers in such a way as to show off his rear..."
The laughter that had been building finally burst out of the little gnome in one loud snort that was quickly silenced when he glanced over to the serious dragonborn sitting at the head of the table. Pavick shifts a little awkwardly in his seat and glancing down at his hands. "Uh... yes... Well anyway. I think Lucan has the right of it, more or less," he goes on to clarify any points that Lucan's description had missed or glossed over.
He turns his attention back to Hubert. "So you expect Oedipus and this relic to be somewhere in the ruins of Lillellian?"
"You may be right," Lucan says as Pavick explains about Lillellian. "Yes, yes, that sounds right. Although I'm still not sure why there's a pheasant at the gate."
He ponders as Pavick completes his story. "So I guess that the elves really did have a city back then." He ponders some more. "Wait. Does this mean all those old elves who were always telling me how hard it was to grow up in the wilderness in their day were... were... fibbing?!"
Last edited by DSCrankshaw : 08-24-2010 at 12:27 AM.
Eltain shakes his head at the more... Comedic... members of the group.
"Er, drow hunting on the surface wouldn't have been after birds. They would have been after... Well. I'm amazed the elves who raised you never mentioned that." He sighs and leaves it for now. No sense sowing discontent that would cause trouble for the group when there was a soul to be saved. "Anyway. So this ruined city sounds like a good place to start, then. Well, at least as good a place as any..."