Rise of the Rune Lords
A Casual Rescue
Rebecca: Bishop Zantus happily grants you access. You’re able to find a hairbrush and the required hair. (Liam’s quarters are very spartan and very neat btw.) Denis: It’s one hour to cast however.
Rebecca: So, do you cast it in Liam’s quarters? Me: No. Probably in the dungeon. Wherever the party is; and they’re probably busy trashing the temple. Rebecca: So you read the scroll, and rather than the scroll simply burning up and turning to dust as you read; instead its smoke congeals. The image forms and you see Father Liam and five others sitting amidst a series of standing stones. They look cold, but otherwise fine. They have a fire going and are huddled together for warmth.
me: Standing stones… Rebecca: Seven of them in fact. me: Can Aubrey recognize the spot?
Rebecca: Pulling back slightly, you see it is on a rise. Below them, the cliff drops down to a lake. The surface of which is covered with a light haze of steam.
me: Hookay… That’s a hell of a coincidence… All the better though. Seeing it saves Aubrey from having to fly 375 miles in the dead of winter.
Me: Aubrey will pick a spot slightly away from the standing stones and focus on it. Rebecca: OK.
me: Aubrey will draw the Wanderer card and channel his glamour into it.
Rebecca: You’re On Target.
me: Take a few minutes to carefully study the area. He’ll need to be able to get back here in the future. Then walk over, in gnomish seeming, to the gathered men. ”Allo. Funny finding you all here. Mind if I join you?”
Rebecca: Father Liam will break into a hearty laugh. ”Aubrey! I was starting to wonder when you’d get here.” He urges the men to keep calm and welcomes you to the fire.
me: ”You don’t seem properly equipped for winter camping.”
Rebecca: ”No. It came as quite a surprise. Still Deadeye’s been good to us. We’re uncomfortable, but alive.” me: ”Care for some tea and a bite?” Aubrey will pull both out of his pockets and pass them around. ”So how did it go down in the hole?” Rebecca: The men accept it gladly, but eat only a little each. The hot tea seems appreciated. Father Liam shakes his head. ”Can you forgive an old fool Aubrey?” he asks.
me: The gnome shrugs. ”We all do silly things sometimes.”
Rebecca: ”Silly. That’s kind of you. Still, once we got through the door at the bottom, it seemed like just deserted tunnels. There was an odd fellow. Kept appearing and disappearing around us—asking all manner of questions.” One of the men pipes up: ”We tried not to answer them. But when we didn’t—he just kept asking.” Others nod in remembrance and sympathy. ”It was maddening.” Father Liam adds.
me: ”That was the reincarnated form of Xaliassa. What did he want to know?” Rebecca: Father Liam’s eyes go wide, but the name seems to mean nothing to the men.
”How had the world changed.” one offers. ”What happened to Thassilon.” offers another. ”Who rules the lands above today?” “What of Karzoug and Alaznist?”
me: Aubrey fills in the men. ”An ancient Thassilonian wizard who used to run the Bakrakhan complex, including the Old Light, which stood where Sandpoint now is. He was killed during Earthfall ten thousand years ago, though his soul got trapped by accident in the catacombs beneath the town until we released it into the ether a few months back after the Swallowtail festival. Then he was reincarnated by the Queen of Air and Darkness recently.” He looks around with some sympathy. ”Don’t worry. It doesn’t make all that much sense to me either.” wink
Rebecca: A few of the men chuckle. ”Father Liam’s tried to fill us in as to what runes there was where Sandpoint is now. It’s … kinda hard to take in.” me: “You don’t know the half of it.”
sigh Rebecca: ”I was always told that the … um … Queen of Air and Darkness was fond of complicated plots.” Father Liam offers.
”But this…” Father Liam’s motion includes the fire, the standing stone, and the cliff-face behind him.
me: The gnome looks gravely at Liam. ”Most monarchs are.” Looking around, Aubrey continues. ”So how is it you came to be in this spot? Do you even know where you are?” Rebecca: Father Liam raises an eyebrow, and looks gravely back.
”Not where I intended. Nor where my staff should have taken me.” he shrugs. ”The spell was even of my making.” ”I blame the talkative guy,” one guard offers. Others nod. me: ”Strange… I didn’t know you had such a staff. May I see it?” Rebecca: ”... frickin madman…” one guard mutters. Father Liam hands the solid black ironwood staff over. It is elegantly balanced and quite heavy.
me: Aubrey studies its glamour out of curiosity.
It can’t be a conventional staff because Father Liam isn’t of a class or level to make use of Teleport normally.
Rebecca: It has a series of glamours on it. ... trying to find it in my notes …
me: Aubrey hands it back. ”In case you’re curious, you’re approximately 375 miles due north of Sandpoint on the eastern shore of Lake Stormunder at the base of Mount Rimeskull. Sorry it took me so long to find you here. The Sihedron only found out about the sinkhole about an hour and a half ago.” sigh Rebecca: It is a staff of spell storing. And I think one of the spells was teleport … but it might have been another travel spell.
me: Okay. Rebecca: Father Liam shakes his head. ”Glad you found us then.” me: Aubrey looks gravely at the priest. ”So… could you enlighten me as to why the mayor and sheriff didn’t want to contact the Sihedron about the howling hole in the center of town?” Rebecca: Father Liam sighs. ”The Mayor did. She threatened to call you and yours several times. I thought for sure she would. But it was the Sheriff. He kicked me and the Bishop out of the office, then they started really yelling at each other.”
me: Aubrey glances at the other men to study their response to the priest’s statement. Rebecca: ”I only caught a few words. Something about business and guildsmen I think… ” The other men seem interested in Liam’s tale.
”but when the door opened again the Mayor was determined. She made Bishop Zantus swear not to contact you. Literally insisted and gave him no room to argue. Then she stormed out. The sheriff left calmly behind her.” Father Liam shakes his head.
”In retrospect it doesn’t seem him her at all. At the time, well… I jumped to a few conclusions. But now that I’ve had time to think about it … my conclusions don’t really make sense.” ”In retrospect I don’t understand why I didn’t speak up. .. I’m not known for keeping my opinions to myself.”
The men will chuckle and agree with that.
”... In retrospect it didn’t seem like her at all.”
me: ”Whatever it is that’s going on with them, it bears looking into. Their actions aren’t simply negligent any longer; now they’re actively malicious after a fashion. That howling hole’s presence was dangerous to the town and there’s no excuse for ignoring it seeing as how everyone in town has been made aware of what’s to be found in the ruins beneath Sandpoint. No offense. But you’re lucky to have escaped it with no casualties.” Rebecca: A few of the men look sheepish. ”It was a close call um … gov’nor.”
me: ”Did you encounter the demon?” Rebecca: The men nod. ”Two of them. We ran.”
Father Liam adds. ”Down one of the halls and right into here.”
me: ”Well, you’ve a lovely view here.” The gnome takes one last look around at the vista. ”Would you care to stay awhile longer or would you prefer to retire to Sandpoint now?” Rebecca: The men rise as one. Father Liam follows suit. ”I think we’ve had enough of windswept and frigid, but I suspect you’ll want to come back.”
me: ”You’re likely correct. If you will, I’d like to move a little ways off from these seven big-headed dolts first.” Aubrey gestures the men back down the hill the way he came. Rebecca: ”Good idea.” Father Liam answers. The men follow.
me: Falling into step next to the priest, Aubrey continues in hushed tones. ”In case you’re curious, it was due to a letter penned by the Bishop that we ever found out about the sinkhole and your disappearance.”
The gnome’s brow furrows. ”I find it rather baffling and unconscionable that the sheriff and mayor held to not contacting us even after you’d failed to emerge from the hole…” Rebecca: ”A letter? Oh. That was really smart.” Father Liam starts to chuckle. ”Bishop Zantus promised not to contact you by magic nor call for you directly.”
”I’m starting to think that we may have been be-spelled. I know the Sheriff can’t cast magic, but there are items that could have left us confused and … so willing to be convinced. Admittedly, being beaten, injured, and then … exiled does give one the space to think clearly. Even if only for a few hours.”
me: ”By my count, you’ve been out here for almost two days. It’s Wealday today.”
Rebecca: ”Now how did I loose a day?” Father Liam wonders. ”You slept Father.” one of the men answers. ”You bedded down and slept a full day. Not sure why, but you seemed better when you woke.”
me: Once at his spot, Aubrey draws the Traveler from his Harrow deck as he taps the karma bead on his belt buckle and then motions for the men to gather close and hold hands.
Aubrey will be aiming for the temple courtyard in Sandpoint.
Rebecca: The men gather round and clasp hands with a few nervous chuckles.
me: ”Don’t worry. I think I’m getting the hang of this.”
BAMF! ”Service with a smile.” Rebecca: Father Liam tries to hug you. The men cheer. me: grin
Aubrey tries to politely duck out of the way. Most of him is illusionary ATM. Rebecca: Father Liam will just laugh and let you aviod the hug.
me: Before parting ways with Father Liam, Aubrey will reach out to tap the priest’s staff while once more invoking the Wanderer card; thereby recharging his staff with another teleport spell. ”You never know when it’ll come in handy.” wink
Rebecca: ”Appreciated. Come by sometime, I’ve got a gallon or so of good cider. It’s not much of a thank you – but I make it myself, and I’d like you to have it.”
me: ”If you want to thank me, then promise me you’ll contact me yourself the next time anything… Anything. ...alarming occurs in town again.” Aubrey will hand the priest a small silver sphere bell. Rebecca: ”Frankly, I can’t explain why I didn’t in the first place. But I will.”
me: ”Just ring this and I’ll hear the next twenty five words you speak aloud wherever I am. And wherever that is is usually just a few seconds away…”
Rebecca: He nods, and carefully puts the silver bell into his robes.
me: ”It’s now safe to go back into the ruins if you care to go back down. There are six demon hound bodies and Xaliasa’s remains to take care of as well as a temple to clean of graffiti. The others are down there now most likely.
Rebecca: Father Liam nods. ”You lot had best go back to the barracks and see about getting some more hands. I’ll just pop in and tell the Bishop I’m OK, then I’ll join you.”