Carousing and intersession for G73: Cold As Dungeons
It is clear that the party has gotten themselves into a bit of a knot with Blanchfleur, Evangelista, and the Golem while Snickwick was on his spiritual Journey. Newly enlightened and inspired, Snickwick has some new age theories on communication and emotional open-ness that he is pretty sure will help smooth things over – the feast will be a perfect opportunity to build a meaningful dialogue and start to untangle this challenge.
Snickwick will carouse in Malinbois to get himself ready for the feast. He will have his armor, weapons and kit cleaned and polished to a shine. He will have his beard and hair trimmed and oiled in the latest Gnomish fashion. He will visit the local tailor to get his worn uniform replaced and updated in a sharp fashion that reflects both his traditional beefeater uniform, as well as his newly enlightened mindstate (think Sgt. Pepper).
If possible, he’d like to employ the artisans and attendants that service of the local petty nobility use and gather information on the feast – who is coming? Any rumors flying around?
As the feast is less than two days away, the local seamstresses have neither the time nor the supplies to painstakingly craft the desired outfit to Snickwick's exact specifications. They are, however, able to devise a delightfully vivid costume out of a rainbow of scraps. How charming!
In the meantime, the gnome circulates about the town. The folk of Malinbois are bustling about to ensure that the feast can be brought off on short notice. Indeed, they are eager to speak (reaction roll: 9); rumor indicates that the feast is in the honor of the Company of Crossed Swords — just as Blanchfleur said — and thus they are pleased to be seen in Snickwick's company. While there is no time for inviting guests from afar, the gentry of New Averoigne are expected to be in attendance. It is further suggested that the Company, or some member or members thereof, will receive some sort of reward.
One of the castle cooks suggests that the feast is merely an excuse for the Marais to rid themselves of an unexpected surfeit of highly perishable comestibles. But he is a snarky fellow, and others encourage you to pay him no mind.
(You rolled a 2, spending 200gp and gaining 200xp from discussing the fine details of weaponry with the local blacksmith. Your d20 roll was an 8.)
William of Silence
Still molified by the gurgling, horrid "GO-AK! GO-AK!" cries in the sewers of the city and increasingly suspicious that his own soiled hands might be the problem, the handsome street thug hangs around the servants' drives to the Marais Castle, eventually offering himself less to the rose-cheeked lasses bringing in flowers than to the older shop madams and stewards who have organized such vegetation for the feast. "Listen," he says, revealing the heavy Sun Globe from the cover of his robes, "I may not have much, but I have the gift of rejuvenating life." He gazes dolefully at the stargazers and lillies-of-the-valley, almost willing them to perk up under merchants' gazes.
William will try another reverse carouse with the Sun Globe, this time in solid Malinbois. If the way is failure, he will bury the Globe in the anonymous fields somewhere.
The maids and matrons cluck over the wonder of the Sun Globe! Sadly, they lack the funds to procure such a wonder. True, the more well-to-do shopkeeps could scrape together enough coin to make the deal worth William's while, but who among them would invest so heavily in an untried magic? But one of the stewards, the chatelaine Florine Couteau, expresses an interest. She arranges a meeting that evening with her master, Miendor de Marais, a distant cousin of the Prince whose castle rises over a village in the hills of New Averoigne.
William attends on the white-haired, yet strangely youthful-looking Miendor at supper. The wizard-aristocrat is charmed by William's quiet demeanor and asks a number of casual questions regarding his background. After the meal is cleared, he examines the Sun Globe, then offers to cover all of William's outstanding debts in exchange for the device. Miendor observes that he would welcome a talented young man such as William in his retinue, especially in these troubled times.
(You rolled a 10 on 2d6, gaining the desired result. A roll of 2 on 1d6 yields a bounty of 200gp.)
William is secretly pleased the hale-looking magician finds him quiet. Introspection is for the dead! While he cannot maintain that ruse for long, it would be good to lay low for a while. Some yawning guardsman in the city might recognize from broadsheets what in several months would be forgotten. Maybe this Miendor was worth a thing or two, in experience or gold. Why not?
William hires on with the nobleman until something ill-fated happens to Hop-Frog.
Rusty Buckles (II)
With attention gathering around the feast at Wolf Tower, Rusty makes like a planar dwarf and slips away to conduct some business. He still has a pouch of the green dust left from destroying a like-colored slime in the stygian depths of the library. Somewhere in Glantri City there's a magician-type that wants this… and if not, there's always burrow boxing!
Rusty will reverse carouse a pouch of powdered green slime residue in Glantri City.
Rusty Buckles edged through the crowd in the Wench's Wart. Dim and stuffy, the place crackled with gossip and harsh laughter. He hopped over a pool of stale beer and climbed up onto a seat in an isolated corner booth.
The dark, mustachioed man squinted at him. "Have you the dust?"
"Sure! Do you have the money?" After the man nodded, Rusty slid the bag of green slime dust across the table. His contact reciprocated with a pouch that Rusty dumped into his cupped palm. Several tiny gems glimmered in the firelight.
The man's eyes widened as he looked past Rusty. A hush spread as several men forced their way past the Wench's patrons. Their leader was cadaverous and pale; he wore a long coat and a wide-brimmed hat. His eyes were red.
Rusty's contact lurched from his seat. "Blyde!"
"I've caught you this time, Garavin," the witch-hunter sneered. "You should be a little more circumspect with your purchases. Don't you know laetesvirens is proscribed in all its forms?"
"What business is it of yours?" The man's hand crept to his belt. "You've got no authority here, Blyde."
Blyde's grin turned nasty. "Oh, no?" He brought forth a parchment marked with two wands crossed behind an hourglass: the sigil of the city of Glantri. "The Seneschal knows a good man when he sees one. I'm afraid you're done, Garavin. Men! Take them both — him and the halfling."
For just a moment, Rusty gaped at the oncoming rush of men. Then he ducked and dodged from their huge, clumsy hands. Behind him he heard rustling and muttering. Then, as he slid beneath a table, there came a brilliant cascade of crashing, flaring lights! He burst through a crowd of men half-blinded by the flash, all of them snarling and cursing as they stumbled about. Somewhere in the fracas, a voice chanted skin-crawling words of sorcery.
Slipping through the crowd, he pushed through the front door and raced down the street. Behind him, the Wench's Wart began to burn.
(You obtained a bag of gems of as-yet undetermined value, but are wanted by the Glantri City watch as an accomplice in illegal business dealings, assault upon the city watch, and arson.)
Rusty runs and runs, unsure whether to laugh or cry out in fear. He thought he would find someone like Pritchard in the market for that stinging dust, and he did- but on the wrong side of the transaction! "What a spoilsport, " Rusty mutters to himself:
"Was that hat an official hat, like Snickwick's? And hadn't that fellow with the money been named… what had been his name? I suppose it was Garavin. Garavin's a strange name, but not nearly so strange as Seneschal, which itself isn't so strange as Hop-Frog. I wonder if Hop-Frog has known Odd and Gathring longer than the rest of us, or if he'll ever drink with us at the Smoking Owl. 'Smoking Owl' is even funnier than 'Hop Frog', because at least frogs actually hop, and owls never smoke, not even at a tavern. On the other hand, they can turn their heads all the way around, and they can see in the dark, like Hop Frog and Snickwick and Gathring and Odd and Wintergreen. I wonder why Pritchard and I can't see in the dark? Neither could that dead teenager. I guess those are the two kinds of people in the world, sees-in-the-dark and teenagers. Pritchard and I have a lot in common, but we don't have the same spoilsport hat. I wonder if Pritchard knows that stick-in-the-mud; maybe they're old friends like Hop Frog and Odd… That would explain why he burned the building down, Pritchard would do that if he was angry enough… Hey! That would make an owl smoke!"
The sight of a city watchman at the North gates snaps Rusty from his reverie, and he stifles his giggling. He'd have to take the long way around, and be quiet. This was going to make a great song.
The charming elf continues to pass the time with his new friends Longwillow and Amberli, both of whom are somewhat disturbed by the destruction of their rented house in Worms. The three depart the cursed-seeming vallée de l'heureux in favor of the more peaceful environs of Les Hiboux. There they rent a small cottage in the hills and fritter away the slow autumn days, drinking wine and flower petal tea amid the meadows and the orchards of apples and pears.
This is a standard carouse.
As time passes, Amberli acts increasingly erratic. Her soft jawline clenches as if shot with jolts of electricity; her hazel eyes gloss over and her lithe body tilts and sags as if under an outside influence. Her husband Longwillow surrounds her with concern, placing his cloak of rabbit fur behind her as she sits down, extinguishing the candles in their cast iron sticks earlier each night, but there is no consoling her. She begins to double over in pain, caressing her flat belly with a terribly loving hand, claiming she is with child. One night, with the other two elves laying beside her, she awakes with a jolt and claims her spawn is coming out her mouth. Torrents, she says, of tiny fishes. Instead she throws up over the threadbare satins.
Wintergreen comes to realize how poor they are. Answering Zacharias' summons to come to Worms, they came at great expense to aide their friend, and then found him gruff and mysterious. And, now, this.
He lends a hand in defeating her fevers. She is safe, at least, and the autumn indeed is beautiful, and the two male elves are able to find moments of distraction in the company of each other, but finally they bring her to a contact in the capital city, a confidante by the name of Castlemoss, of the White Lanterns, who is able to license a remove curse to uncloud the lady-elf's mind. She awakens, weakened and soaked in sweat, in a small shrine to elven gods in a basement beneath the Ward of Strangers, and cries out for the child she believes she has lost. Small shapes of scales have risen permanently on her wrists and ankles.
Wintergreen spends some more to send them back to their homes. He posts a letter to Zakarias with a private messenger informing him of their regretful departure.
Wintergreen rolled a 11 on his d20 save, barely a miss: he is able to help keep Amberli alive. He spends d6x100gp, or 600gp total, in defeating her depravity and helping them on their way to safety.