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*Taern spends her time making sure her adventuring gear is in order, repairing dings and dents in her armor, and talking to Oden Homm.*
Oden, sir... uhh.. .mage, tell me more of your glorious days as an adventurer. I imagine there is much one such as you could teach an adventurer like me. I dont mean to press or anything, but I'd really like to hear more about you, and what you can teach me. I am also quite interested in dragons, such as the one we were forced to... put to rest.
I am sure one as wise and powerful as Oden can teach me all about everything! We'll see who is dumb once he teaches me everything. I hope he has lots of stories about dragons.
Linda the White
Linda gets up from her bed with great energy and a playful attitude. Her first real adventure has done nothing to reduce her desire to prove her talents and her powers to others. Let's see how perceptive these strangers really are. If they are clever enough I might go adventuring with them-I am quite sure master Oden won't mind.
Meditating for awhile she restabilises her control over her magical powers then closes her eyes for a few moments. She then opens them and looks herself at a mirror. Checking the pointy ears, the black hair and the slightly more muscular body elaborately, she makes sure she hasn't forgotten to alter any of the physical characteristics that could give her away. She then puts on a change of spare adventurers clothes consisting of a pair of trousers, a common linen jacket with many pockets and a worn linen cape-all left deliberately worn and dirty so as to look used. She puts on common adventurer boots and she removes the plain ring with a pentagram she usually wears. She puts on a plain leather belt with the inscription Sempter Idem - a sign to Oden that she is herself that has been used many times before so as to let her master see through her disguises without need of verbal communication. Let's see if they will see through this. The only way they can uncover me without magic is through the ring mark I deliberately left and my blue eyes I also deliberately left-and my not speaking Sylvan. If they are clever enough to uncover me, I will ask them to join their adventures.
Looking like a female elf rogue, Linda walks down to meet the others.
OOC: Disguise self, lasts 30 minutes. Since I am not trying to be someone specific that the party has seen before, it shouldn't count as a disguise. Oden should instantly recognise me from the belt. Having done this trick countless times before him he shouldn't give me away unless there is some special reason. Linda just wants to know how clever her will-be teammates are. Taern should recognise me more easily from the others, being an elf herself.
Thokk and Elthan pass the morning in the library, browsing through tome after tome, looking for more information about the necromancer Sethra or about demons in general.
They read about the rise and fall of Narfell and Raumanthar centuries before Dalereckoning. They read about the great plague that swept through Calimshan, the Vilhon Reach, and the Lake of Steam in the first century DR. They read about the wonders of the Unapproachable East. In more contemporary texts, they read about the fall of the dark god Moander, and about the rise of three tieflings, including Iyachtu Xvim the Baneson, who are even now leading an Army of Darkness against the free peoples.
They are just getting bored when Thokk stumbles upon an old reference to Sethra in one of the ancient histories of the Vilhon Reach. There is little detail in the account, just a recounting of his many evil deeds (including many already detailed on the iron plaque). Thokk is especially intrigued by speculation that Sethra might have been half-demon (though this might have been pure fantasy generated by his terrible reputation). The text also describes the fantastic Fire Opal carried by Sethra and rumored to be a source or focus of his great power.
Meanwhile, Taern and Oden Homm pass their time resting and talking. Oden is happy to relive his glory days, telling of his youth in Silverymoon and his early adventures in the Undermountain. In his later adventuring years, he and his friends wandered far and wide, encountering many fantastic creatures and winning much gold. It was after two of his close friends were killed fighting a marilith, however, that Oden Homm decided to take his gold and retire to the backwater regions of the temperate Vilhon Reach, where he planned to spend his old age reading about history and continuing to dabble in/research the Old Magic.
When the group gathers in the dining room for an early tea, they are joined by an ebony haired elf adventurer.
OOC: Each character should make two rollls: a Will save (DC14) to realize glamer is an illusion, and a Spot check (vs. Disguise check: 19) to see through the disguise. Make the rolls on your own and roleplay the results appropriately.
"A serving girl? Eating with the master? Do you not know proper dining ettiquite dwarf? The servants prepare the food and make sure everything goes splendidly. Usually they do not eat till after the meal is done, because they are busy all through the meal. Servants with other jobs would have gotten up and eaten earlier, then gone around their daily routine. A servant only eats with her master when he has guests over only if he wants to show her off, and he usually only shows her off to business associates."
"Deirdre" frowns momentarily at Oden as if something worries her then speaks to the party:
"I have recently been away to see my family in the forest of Tethyr. The trip was too quiet for my liking I am afraid."
She smiles at Oden then goes on
"I have always been fond of challenges in life-what most people call adventuring. So I returned here to see if there is anything for me to do-an adventure to join. I heard of animal disappearances in the village and the surrounding countryside so I came here to ask what is going on-you used to be informed about most things that transpire here master Oden"
She then turns to the "strangers".
"I am quite sure I haven't seen you when I was here a year ago. And a most interesting group you have. Are you adventurers? Has master Oden hired you to check on the disappearing animals? If yes, I would very much like to join you"
Uhh... Deirdre... are you all right? You look all shimmery and a little like the other one that was with us. The apprentice... *clears her throat* So, how are the forests of Tethyr, at this time? I trust they havnt burned down?
"Deirdre" smiles at Taern's noticing something of the illusion then turns to the others, esp Fizzahn:
"Yes, I did see Linda, master Oden's apprentice, this morning. She will be joining us in a while. Tell me though, why did you get the impression she is coming with you?"
OOC: Dunno if it should be a bluff attempt-I DID see myself in the mirror this morning, the illusion should be dispersing in a few minutes so I will be joining them and Linda does want to know why and if they would want her with them. See? No lie said.
Oden Homm's toad (last seen slipping into Fizahn's gear back before the battle with the dragon) hops up onto the table. Oden feeds him a cookie.
OOC: Once Linda's "test" is over, I'll need some kind of consensus over what the group would like to do next.
A couple options to consider: (1) return to the barrows in the Wetwood to do some more exploration, (2) head on to the vineyards of Nimpeth, your original destination, or (3) look for more information in the closest metropolis - Hlondeth, the City of Serpents (farther east along the main road).
If you decide to replenish any supplies in the nearby village of Mimleth, let me know what you buy and please update your character sheet accordingly.
"I guess maybe I just assumed she wanted to come with us, though I'm pretty sure she asked, maybe it was just for the dragon. Anyway, if she is not here with us for dinner discussing what we will do next, I guess it shows that she is not interested in joining our group. Its a shame, she would have made a great addition to our ranks..."
OCC: The Bluff vs Sense Motive check I was talking about was about the answer Oden was going to give me but it was true and it did not tell me where Linda was. It really was a kick ass evasion of the question.
"Deirdre's" look changes to reflect her enthusiasm.
"So, you think she would be a great addition in the party? Very well then, your wish is granted.
"Deirdre's" form vibrates and thinners significantly, her long ears changing to human ones and her skin and hair change to Linda's normal.
"Thokk, can't you see farther than yourself, that can very valuable while adventuring! Linda it's even truer now than before, you would make a great addition to the group. You had me fooled!"
*Turns to Taern and says in elvish:*
"Just to make sure you understand, it was Linda all along."
"Well, it was no joke. For one, I wanted to display another one of my abilities. Secondly, I wanted to see if you wanted me or not-there are some things people don't say directly to someone but may reveal to a stranger. Excuse me for the ruse, but I wanted to see if you really wanted me aboard. Finally, I wanted to see if you would be able to uncover me-you didn't. That means I haven't lost my touch"
"With that out of the way, I would like to ask you to take me with you in your adventures-you seem to be a decent enough group. For now, I don't want a share of the dragon kill gold-I would not take a reward for killing a creature raised by master Oden-even if it turned to evil in the end. The only thing that remains to be decided is where we should go after we leave master Oden's hospitality. You must have had a target on your own but now we uncovered this crypt and at least one of you wants to go there while the others are undecided. The way I see it, leaving the crypt hidden is a mistake. I bet anything something is down there. The seals may be holding it for now but they won't do so forever. If anything survived for 400 years then it can survive long enough for the seals to fade then come out and kill many innocents. I suggest we inform the proper authorities to either send a team there and cleanse the catacombs or keep guard for anything unusual. I don't think we are strong enough to overcome the evil there for now. Therefore, we should pursue some other short-term goal so as to gain power and wealth and when we are strong enough return there and cleanse the catacombs ourselves. What do you think?"
"If we just explore the barrows first, we can gain some quick gold to help us survive while we gain power. I think that master Oden should keep a secret watch on the seal, because if the locals know, word could get out, and some foolish adventurers less-powerful than we are now could open it up, get their foolish selves killed, and unleash a scourge upon the world that could last thousands of years."
Many adventurers are foolish and think only of the gold, and not of survival rates and consequences.
"I will go into the crypt if everyone else is going in, but I think that it would be in our best interests to leave it alone till later in life."
"I agree with Fizahn, we don't know what's under there and I don't think the seal is just a decoration. We should try to get more information about what happened before opening it. We don't want to unleash whatever could be under there upon the world. There might not be anything but I did sense some magic under the seal. As for the rest of the barrows, I think it is our duty to search them and take whatever goods we find in them."
"After that we could head to a large town close by, there might be a library from where we could farther study the subject."
It is late in the day by the time you have decided to return to the barrows, and so you spend another night as Oden Homm's guest. Thokk's armor and sword are repaired/modified and polished. All of the party's burns and lacerations from the battle with the dragon seem to have healed nicely with the assistance of your magic spells.
Freshly rested, the party heads back out to the Wetwoods bog to investigate the barrows further the next morning. Oden Homm waves goodbye and wishes you good luck.
The way back to the pond is now familiar and seems not to take as long as it did just a few days ago. Gone is the foul stench that once led you to the location. Instead, you are guided by the sight of a tall oak tree that you spot from a distance as you approach the forgotten field of barrows.
The sky is cloudy today, but it does not look like it is going to rain.