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Carousing for G57: Tzeentch and Chance
Fortunately the bright light of day is still upon them as Martin and Hanna begin their spree, and she is glad to start in the taverns near the Temple of Trianoma. The domesticity of daylight feels safer. The Arcades of Martin's rough youth promises unsavory characters, if he choses to take them that direction. She is torn between the need to blow off some steam and knowing that previous mishaps in the nighttime city could go so much worse now.
Martin discourses on his goblin orphanages. They move from place to place. Their entourage grows. Hanna stays close to the fighter, enjoying the herself but clinging ever too much.
Eventually she realizes she is a burden to him. Maybe he wants his freedom without some female halfling hanging around? They are a few hours into darkness and he barely notices her leave. She has taken her time with the pints, her head is clear.
Crossing into the Ward of Strangers is not far. She wanders over the canals and looks into the inns where the well-travelled scratch out plans and enjoy a wide range of imported beverages, rich and poor.
She forces herself to walk to the wealthier East End of the ward. Isn't that what gold in the pocket is for?
A meal in a restaurant with tablecloths called The Adler, and suddenly she is the guest at a nearby table. They have invited her over to dine: one each, an elf, a dwarf and a halfling. They are older, dressed nicely, seem to be older friends. There is the avuncular way the halfling, hair in white tufts around his head, spectacles finding his ears through the tops of unkempt mutton chops, invites her over. The others appear put out.
"My name is Harold Cheesemettle," he says, "and my companions are Uthar Zakunden, the dwarf, and Castlemoss, the elf. I'm sure we would be delighted to have you."
The elf snorted, "I don't think we need a fourth set of ears." "Oh pish, pish," came the reply.
Collared into following the trio's own tour of pubs, she sips cognacs and nibbles imported langoustines, slowly becoming aware of a conspiratorial tone to their conversations, punctuated with Cheesemettle's comical winks at her across the table. Castlemoss seems the most fervent - accustomed to her presence he starts addressing her as well. The dwarf, younger and more active, seems a sort of man in the field for whatever it is they are involved in.
And then it comes out: an organization called the White Lanterns. In a country where demi-humans are disrespected and discouraged, they are seeking to provide aide and providence, quietly, of course, especially in a time of war, when scapegoats are everywhere to be seen.
It goes on too long. The exhaustion of demon-slaying, and of mixing plonk with vintage, catches up with her. She curls up a corner while they inexhaustibly discuss, the sounds of a Thyatian mandolin tinkling from near the door.
The morning finds her jolting awake in a strange bedchamber. Harald Cheesemettle knocks softly on the door. "Is she awake? Will some morning tea suit her? Oh, my dear, you're afraid! Nothing to be afraid of! We brought you back and I tucked you in, yea, ten hours ago. I gave you my dear wife's old room. Someone needed a rest!"
Her clothes have been cleaned by the help. Washed up, she comes to thank him in his study, not failing to notice how his apartments have been 'cut down to halfling size', despite strong admonitions against such things by the governance of the city. They share a plate of North Shire mid-morning pastries and he asks her about her adventures.
A successful carouse! Hanna rolled a natural 20 as a saving throw — extra special result — and rolled a 7 for amount, 1050gp spent and xp gained.
Martín le Black
Pritchard Hood had longed for this day. The moment when he would again encounter his old friend Farkas, and complete his final, dreadful obligation to the man who ate Rainbow's horse. He had not expected it would happen quite like this.
Looking down at his legs, he realized he felt no pain at all as the ghoul Farkas tore at his flesh with broken teeth. No pain. Just a dreadful certainty that chaos had claimed its own at last. When they had stormed the temple, when they had defeated the abyssal Vrock he had thought, if only for a moment, that Law had some chance in this world. That darkness could be pushed back.
"We'll never part again," Farkas tittered, Chaos perverting their old bond. "You'll be with me forever. In my belly."
And if it were to be so… if the time had come… Pritchard could not say he had not been warned. Suddenly it was too much, and he could not watch anymore as he was devoured piece by piece. He turned his gaze away and his eyes fell on the obscene curtains hanging inches from his face. Where he lay on the floor (paralyzed, he realized now: it had all happened so fast) he could only see the profane words upside down and backwards. Still his brain writhed with the linguistic contortions of the Read Languages spell he'd so recently cast. He could understand the words on the curtains, the prayers, the supplications. One incantation stood out, for some reason: the ancient prayer of Chaos known as the Calling of the Dead. An old summoning… had it brought Farkas here? Had his subvocal perusal of the words been enough to summon the ghoul?
There was something strange about the words. He saw them upside down, and backwards. Strange, but the runes of ancient High Glantrian were written in such torturous calligraphy that when viewed like this, the characters formed other words, still perfectly legible. Upside down and backwards, the Calling of the Dead still formed words of power. But words of such a different sort. Why, Pritchard realized, if the incantation were pronounced backwards, with a few consonant shifts, the Calling of the Dead could become its exact opposite. A charm, a little nonsense rhyme, that might actually turn the dead away.
That might turn the undead…
"I'm so glad you came back for me," Farkas slurred, as he chewed on part of Hood's patella. "Tell me, do they still celebrate the Invitational, up above the ground?"
Words… words coiled like serpents in Pritchard Hood's mind. Words of power, of compulsion. The syllables shifted, trying to escape him, but he clutched to them like a man falling from a cliff will clutch at errant twigs. Words of command. So this was how Hamish the Dim felt, when he called on his strange god. This was how all those sanctimonious clerics felt, when they wrestled with the unclean!
So close to death now. Pritchard had lost a lot of blood. He started to form his mouth around the words, prepared to loose them. An abjuration to drive off Farkas, to save his life. Words of Law to fight against the darkness. He opened his mouth, and prepared to speak them:
"Guh. Buh-duh dur… durrrrr…. duh," he said.
No! The paralysis that took the pain away kept him from speaking, made his tongue loll like a worm in his mouth. No! His one chance to save his life! To find the words of power, only to never be able to use them, oh, Lonely Moon!
And then Robert Hazart hit the ghoul with his staff of striking, and his Farkas head exploded.
[Having reached fourth level, Pritchard Hood has gained the power to turn the undead like a cleric of half his level. He then went home and crafted a scroll of Hold Portal, spending 900 gold and receiving 900 xp.]