The session opens with Drax and Harmattan about to put the screws to the leader of Brog’s kidnappers. Murgin, the town dentist, interrupts, and says that under his tender ministrations Valemar’s cohorts have volunteered a little extra information about their attempted ‘poison-and-blame’ scheme from session #1. Marc and company were supposed to take the young Valemar’s unconscious body to the Rough and Tumble, Dunsany’s skeeziest watering hole. There they would make contact with an alchemist who would reverse the Red Tincture’s effect on the young lord. Murgin further says that the rendezvous was supposed to happen tonight, at midnight.
Drax takes note of the information, and the party floats a few plans around for dealing with the Rough and Tumble. Anyhow, Drax and Harmattan finally confront the kidnapping mastermind. Drax intimates to the prisoner that felons found guilty of capital crimes are used in the recipe of a particularly foul goblin pie, and that pretty much serves to loosen the captive’s tongue. He says his name is Virgil Bluffington, and that he is General Bluffington’s nephew. He was ordered to take his crew here to Dunsany, kidnap the kid, and leave no witnesses alive. Brog was to be taken to the border, where a man with a red cloak would negotiate with the Harl orcs for orc fighters in exchange for the boy. Since he ultimately failed in that mission (i.e. we tracked him down and caught him), he finds himself rather resigned to his fate, although he certainly doesn’t neglect to mention his connection to a powerful noble. Bluffington refuses to sign a confession.
The party (mostly out of character) takes part in a spirited discussion of what to do with Bluffington, now that he has revealed himself and his mission. Drax would like to recruit Warren and Sawyer for the Silver Dragon Company, and no one has any strident objection. The wizard represents a different problem: he is of the Quality. Drax wishes he would slip into the wrong end of the goblin pie machine, but it might be too difficult to keep secret such a fate for long. Harmattan and Galeon favor a trial, although Galeon is disappointed to learn that Bluffington is allowed his choice of trials.
Trial by Combat: We give Bluffington back his wand, pick somebody we think can turn him into paste, and have at it. Nobody volunteers to ‘be the prosecution’, however.
Trial by Jury: This is tricky, as Bluffington would be afforded a jury of his peers (other nobility), which Dunsany has in somewhat short supply. Drax proposes the following jury: himself, Valemar (who owes him a huge favor), and Marsden when or if he shows up. Harmattan argues ‘to heck with protocol’, and use Brog or some elf hotshot as jurist #3. If ‘King of the World’ isn’t a noble title, he doesn’t know what is. The other problems with a public trial: a) it would take a while to conduct, and b) the maximum sentence for a noble killing a bunch of farmers is merely a hefty fine. Also, if word got out in open court that Bluffington was under orders to use dastardly means to secure a small company of orcish troops, Drax and Valemar might be forced to acquit him or be branded as traitors.
Meanwhile, in a seedy part of town, Jamalla meets up with her old ringmaster Melior to talk about old times. She brings up the magic loot we snagged from Bluffington when we captured him (a fire opal ring, a fire opal wand, and a sheet of parchment without any writing on it). Melior doesn’t know a whole lot about this kind of thing, but basically says that such things are good for fencing for a pile of gold, rather than for channeling a particular type of arcane energy. After a few sad exchanges, Jamalla hands him a small bottle of the green fairy, and takes her leave.
The party catches up together, and reports to Lord Dunsany our findings so far. The lord is retiring, and entrusts the resolution of a possible trial to his son, and also begs off of looking at Bluffington’s magical paper, as he has much to do involving other administration and worrying. He does report, however, that his sources tell him that generals Marsden and Bluffington will be in town shortly, and they will be bringing a small legion of lumberjacks with them. It seems that having a large virgin forest so close to Dunsany’s river is a temptation that few admirals could ignore, and Bluffington doubly so. Harmattan inquires after Brog, and Dunsany reassures him by saying that the town barracks are right next door, and also Gastineaux is looking after the lad.
Following up a lead, Jamalla pays a visit to the Mad Eladrin, probably Dunsany’s second most ‘famous’ wizard. The eladrin will only address Jamalla, and then only to speak about the latest juicy gossip. Jamalla artfully steers the conversation over to looking at Bluffington’s magical loot. The loony wizard scoffs at the fire opal gear, but he is interested in the textless parchment. We leave the scroll in his apt but mad hands, and go about our business.
Drax catches up with Valemar, who again expresses his gratitude at being saved from his friends and averting a conflict between his lands and ours. Drax inquires as to Valemar’s plans, and the young lord says that he will join the army as an officer. Drax muses about how to get out of having the fey woods chopped down to make boats. The possible options so far include
- Fight the lumberjacks
- Let the elves fight the lumberjacks (which is basically what happened 50 or so years ago when the humans previously tried this)
- Let the orcs burn down the forest. (was there a good reason for this?)
- Get the elves to divert the river into the Feywild for a good stretch, and thus eliminate the elven forest as a viable source of ship lumber.
(Ooh, ooh! I just thought of something! These are elven forests, right? They’re weird, and foreign, and any ships built with such cursed wood will surely run into bad luck as fast as you can spit! Weird sinkings, ships disappearing into mist never to return, carved figureheads singing sailors to their doom, the Flying Dutchman, etc, etc. We need to get the elves on board to start a whisper campaign targeting the buoyancy of their own timber! Oo~ooh! ::bats flapping wings over a moonless night:: ::mad cackling::)
In any case, Drax gets Valemar to use his former lackeys as bait for the Rough and Tumble op.
(I think that covers all the talky bits, let me know if I missed something)
At midnight, at the Rough and Tumble, the seediest bar in town, three young humans enter with blue feathers (the recognition sign) affixed to their cloaks. Jamalla sits at the bar, taking in the scene. There is an elf, which is odd in a place like this, and he sits at a table all by himself. The elf appears to be purchasing disgusting alcoholic drinks and staring quietly at them, never drinking. Two hobgoblin toughs approach the youths, and perform a classic ruse to get their attention. Just as one gob is shaking down Marc and the other is reaching for his dagger, Jamalla stabs one of them severly, and combat is joined.
When Drax, Galeon, and Harmattan enter the establishment (the baron’s son and two dragonborn in full armor), the alarm is quickly sounded. Patrons leap from their seats and start pushing their way out of all available exits. Jamalla and Drax manage to subdue the goons, but not before one of them got one good dagger blow to Marc. As the crowd surges down, Harmatten pushes his way into the mass, and begins to offer first aid to the wounded combatants. Now the only people left in the bar are Brass the bartender and the mysterious elf.
After we resuscitate and bind the hobgoblins, one of them reveals that the silent elf paid them 30 gold to pull a classic ‘bump and dump’ on any humans foolish enough to walk in the door. Suspicion quickly falls to the stranger, who reveals that his name is Friede Garwydion. Drax recalls that it was his clan that warred with human lumberjacks in the past, and that his people suffered many casualties in the fighting. That still doesn’t explain his role in trying to silence the bit players in the poisoning scheme. Friede isn’t particularly forthcoming with his reasons (he does answer three questions), but agrees to be held overnight and be returned to the elves in the morning. He does say that he was asked to perform this mission by none other than William Stern, a human that the party hasn’t yet met. We pass around Friede’s effects for a little while: an elven bow, an elven longsword, and a mummified human hand that Friede was wearing around his neck.
Jamalla pays off the damage to the Rough and Tumble’s custom and furniture (2 gold of the 30 we pulled off of the gobs), and we march the offenders off to the barracks. Jamalla later pays a visit to the hag apothecary, because she’s curious about what an elf, or anyone else for that matter, would be doing with a mummified hand. The hag (with a little help from Harmattan’s player), fills her in on a number of possibilities.
- The hand might be a traditional hand of glory, allowing the wielder to turn invisible or walk through walls or other such magical nonsense.
- Friede may be holding onto the hand for sentimental or revenge-oriented reasons.
- There is an old magic item called the hand of the mage, which is specifically the mummified hand of an elven wizard. If Friede (or any other elf) ever caught someone stupid enough to wear such a thing, one could reasonably suspect Friede’s grisly trophy would be the result of such a meeting.
Anyway, this concludes the session. Next time we’ll revisit the elven forest, for the party has much to discuss with the elders there.
- Where they got their hands on Brog, why they brought him to the half-elven farm, and whether or not they were in league with Bluffington’s kidnap-and-trade scheme
- The silver dragon scales: we want them
- Friede Garwydion, and what to do about him. At the very least we’ll ask that the elves restrain him from funding any more barroom thuggery.