When last we left our heroes …
Having saved a number of people from an evil hag, you enjoyed a night of revelry at the Gentleman Goblin Inn in the town of Flatwell. The next morning you began your return to the capital city, Vorenia, and along the way met a trio of performers who called themselves the Red Aces. Awkwardly, it was this group whom you usurped when you snuck into the Royal Archivist’s mansion and helped his son elope. But the Red Aces didn’t seem to hold a grudge – in fact, it appears that Barrel of Rapiers has gained a little notoriety amongst the theater people of the capital for the brazenness of your actions. The Red Aces invited you to join them at their home theater, the Sprites Assembly, and to represent the Western Theater District in the annual Battle of the Bards.
You agreed, got yourselves some new outfits at a shop called Fancy Francine’s, and – with the Red Aces – came up with an act that took you all the way to the finals of the East vs. West bardic competition. However, something was not quite right. A special guest was brought out to announce the winner – the Royal Rhapsodist, an older elven man – but instead of naming the winner, he told the audience they should all be ashamed, and that he would show them a real performance. Then he took out a flute and began playing.
Pandemonium broke out, as all who heard the flute in the crowded amphitheater suddenly found themselves surrounded by murderous orcs – but it was an illusion. The Rhapsodist and his two bodyguards made their way out of the theater, heading toward the road that would lead them up the hill, toward the Sovereign’s Circle. Most of you eventually snapped out of the illusion, coming to your senses in time to remember that, earlier that morning, the Queen had made an announcement through a specialized, magical, city-wide system, which all the residents of the city were able to hear clearly. You realized that the Rhapsodist was headed toward that system, and you set off in pursuit to stop him.
- Nehiri still confused, but approached by tall “orc” that turned out to be Schwartzy, who healed her and sent her off to catch up
- Luzzarai running (very) late to performance, got distracted grabbing a drink before the show, showed up just in time for chaos
- Luzzarai heard flute in distance, it sounded almost … familiar
- Barrel of Rapiers make their way up Royal Hill, fighting off the Rhapsodist’s bodyguards’ attacks as they go
- reached Clarion and battled what was now a clearly possessed Rhapsodist
- destroyed sigils on Clarion stones, made the system non-functional
- Rhapsodist nearly defeated, then archfey appeared: “smoke/steam/dust/shadow spews from him and from flute, a shadowy more-than-elvish figure appears, eyes and mouth glow with bioluminescence, skin is bark-like but slick with rot, wears a cape of leaves that rot and crumble and blow away”
- multiple party members unconscious, but archfey defeated
- but in last gasp, archfey lashed out at entire group
- suddenly, a golden woman appeared and banished the archfey, though it seemed to take a lot of energy out of her
- she looked at group and expressed dismay, saying that if they were here then she had failed, and the seals were breaking
- she placed a golden band on the Rhapsodist’s flute and gave it to Luzzarai, bidding her find a way to cleanse it
- she warned the group to be wary of Whispers that would be coming
– said they could call her “”/characters/anya" class=“wiki-content-link”>Anya"
- said couldn’t tell them too much or it might damage them, but revealed some visions to them
o “vision bursts forth from you, find yourself over a cold gray sea, choppy with whitecaps – cold wind surges you forward, and you see jagged rocks in the distance – another surge, and you are there, amongst the sharp stones jutting out of the restless ocean, and in the midst of them, an island, sharp and jagged like the rest – you are pushed to the island and you glimpse a fortress made of black rock before you are inside it, in a dark hall before a dark throne – a cloaked figure sits on that throne, face and body hidden, but for one thin white hand that rests on a dagger at its side … the hand runs its thumb over the hilt, the fingernail long and yellowed … there are obsidian stones in the handle, but its blade is even darker, as if made of shadow itself … and you feel it call to you”
o “eyes clear and surrounded by green – leaves, treetops – move forward, break in the foliage and you see a treehouse – but not a treehouse, more like a tree palace – gigantic, towering tree, trained in decades, maybe centuries of growth to cradle this huge structure – your vision blurs and then you right beside it, on a balcony formed out of the branches themselves, overlooking the forest – a woman stands there, tall, in a flowing robe, a silver chain with two black stones and two white stones around her neck, but you cannot make out any further details – she turns, and a cloaked figure shimmers into sight beside her, appearing seemingly out of thin air – they begin speaking, but the conversation eludes you as you find your gaze focused on the cloak … the light shimmers off it, occasionally sending a rainbow sliding across its surface, and its aura of power raises the hairs on the back of your neck … it calls to you”
o “darkness … darkness so deep you don’t know if your eyes are open or closed … darkness that stretches on into untold depths … and yet you feel yourself moving … you sense vast spaces around you … you sense the immense weight of mountains above you … you sense unseen eyes following you … then, light – a glint, drawing you closer and closer … you see gold … you see silver … you see weapons and armor and untold treasures piled against a stone wall … but your eyes cast over all of these and come to rest on the source of the light – a pristine pair of gauntlets, and you can feel them thrum with power … they call to you … and just as you think that, they shift, they move, and you realize that what you thought was a wall, was not a wall, and what you thought were stones, were not stones, but scales … the entire treasure pile shift, coins clinking down to echo in the dark cavern, and you are aware of a massive, entirely white eye opening, its lid blinking slowly, and then a second, film-like eyelid blinking horizontally after it”
o “you blink, and when you open your eyes, you are standing on a cliff looking out over a wide gorge – so wide you can barely see the other side through the mist that creeps out from the surrounding forest, flowing past your feet and into the crevasse like a slow-moving waterfall … below you, you catch glimpses of light, flashes of strange color, and the distant calls of unnatural creatures … your vision is drawn to the side, and there is someone there – tall, much taller than you, and dark, with a black cloth covering its face, and still, so still for a moment you think it must be a statue … but then, in a flash of movement so quick you almost can’t follow it, it turns, draws a bow made of black wood, and releases an arrow – a trail of violet energy follows the arrow’s path and you see it bury itself in the side of a beast that you didn’t even know had been sneaking up behind you … sharp teeth, six eyes, sinewy muscles under gray fur – it snarls and moves to run away, but the tall figure raises a fist, and the trail of violet light solidifies, and as the figure pulls in, the beast is dragged through the dirt toward him … as for you, the arrow may as well have hit you, for you also feel yourself drawn to the dark bow … it calls to you”
- woman faded away with last echo urging Barrel of Rapiers to “find them, before it’s too late”
- Royal Guard arrived, questioned group
- Vice Captain Rolf Jamal didn’t fall for their deceptions, wanted the magic flute they spoke of
- party bribed the Vice Captain, who let them go after that
- returned to Gold Dragon Amphitheater to help with cleanup
- found Schwartzy helping out, along with many other clerics
- saw procession of gray-robed clerics carrying out a fallen teenage half-elf while his elven mother and human father followed, surmised they were off to try and resurrect the boy