Speaker in Dreams

Arena Duel
A momentous main event
  • Landen introduces Shadrach to the group.
  • The group heads to the arena to inquire about betting odds on the duel. Hillfort places 100gp on Durgyn, while Largo bets 1400gp. Hillfort overhears others standing in the betting line speak about the gladiator Durgyn is set to fight. A dwarf, Gamak Ruhollah, has been fighting in the arena for the last 15 years and has never lost a battle. He fought in the suppression of Baron Gstohl’s uprising and was imprisoned for his crimes, including eating those he killed. Serin arranged for his sentence to be served in the arena, which has resulted in another avenue of profit for his crime organization. He now only fights in duels to the death, and prepares a meal of his losing opponents.
  • Landen seeks a blade for hire to aid in his quest for Shadrach, and he finds Gerard. Landen takes to his rough and confident personality and offers him 3gp a week and 5gp per dark dwarf head on their quest. Gerard agrees, “for blood n’ gold.”
  • Sapphira speaks with a wizard in a local magic shop called Lanta’s Wands, inquiring about teleportation services for the party to begin Landen’s quest. The price is far too steep.
  • As the time draws near for Durgyn’s duel, Landen seeks a spot to sneak onto the tops of the arena to perch. Shadrach looked into Durgyn’s opponent and tells Landen he should be concerned, he hands him an invisible arrow to aid the minotaur if direly needed. Landon spots a rope hanging from the arena wall in some vines and tangled bushes. A pair of kids are arguing who will climb first when Landen surprises them. “Don’t get us in trouble!” One kid plees. “There’s nothin’ but trouble here kid… Scram,” Landen gruffs. The kids run and Landen climbs. At the top he spots a man dressed in animal hides crouched at the edge of the wall and another street kid sitting next to him. The man introduces himself as Gvados, travelling druid. He offers meat from his sack and Landen shares his wine. Gvados offers Landen’s wine to the kid and Landen stops the bottle’s motion in that direction with his hand. “I don’t think so. Not the kid, you know what this costs?”
  • The final event is announced in the arena. “For the first time in this arena, witness with your own eyes, a true Minotaur of Torger in mortal combat!”Durgyn is huge in size, but the dwarf commands a fearsome presence in the arena. He certainly holds the crowds’ favor and his armor is custom, blood stained, and gleaming with menace. The battle is fierce, both combatents exchanging life threatening blows, bleeding from horrible wounds. As they expend their last energy, Gamak delivers the final blow to Durgyn. The minotaur drops his weapon and collapses to the ground. Landen fires the invisible arrow from the walltops… And it misses!
    As Hillfort watches from amongst the crowd, he watches in terror as the minotaur loses the duel. He looks to the man next to him and believes everyone’s attention is so involved in the combat no one would notice him. Hillfort disappears with invisibility and takes to the air, flying towards Serin’s warehouse with revenge in mind.
    As Gamak positions for the final blow, Landen perches himself on coiled legs on the wall’s edge.
    “No!” Gvados shouts. “This is a duel, you must not interfere in sacred battle!” The words were powerless as Landen’s eyes were filled with the near death of his friend. The thief’s legs explode and he flies from the wall, falling the long distance to the arena’s dirt battleground, his trajectory lined up with the dwarf. Landen crashes onto Gamak, quickly gains his feet, and as Gamak turns lifting himself from the ground Landen’s scimitar falls. The greart dwarf warrior’s head leaves his body and falls to the ground.
  • The crowd falls silent. Landen reaches down and helps Durgyn to his feet. The crowd begins to cheer and chant, “Torger! Torger! Torger!” Landen lifts the dwarf’s head and Durgyn picks him up, raising him up on one arm. Gvados the druid changes shape to a raven and lands on Durgyn’s shoulder, casting a healing spell to offer a little aid.
    The arena announcer observes the entertained crowd and is pleased. He speaks, “Battle is over! What do the champions have to say?”
    Durgyn shouts as the cheering crowd grows quiet to listen. “The foul creatures that attack Brindonford will find defeat at our hands!”
    “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new Lord of the Arena!” Landen and Durgyn take in the cheer of the crowd, and a voice raises from the VIP balcony behind the announcer. “NO!”
    They look to the balcony and see Serin standing at the announcer’s precipice. “I want their blood!” Standing next the Serin the announcer raises his hands in responce, “and what do the people say?” The crowd screams and shouts in hatred toward Serin’s proposition. Hillfort hears the crowd halfway across the city as he flies through the air, imagining grusome things happening to Durgyn’s defeated body.
    Serin yells in rage and strips a crossbow from a nearby guard’s hands. He takes aim for the heroes and the crossbow bolt zips past them. Largo hops from the crowd into the arena pit, revealing his weapon, “this is how you shoot a crossbow.” The bolt stabs into Serin’s chest, the crime lord drops in pain and retreats.
  • Meanwhile… Hillfort arrives at Serin’s warehouse. He flies in through a window and finds loads of treasure: jewel crusted dragon skull, mithril horse statue, amongst countless small treasure. The majority of Serin’s wealth that runs his crime organization appears to be held in this very warehouse… And Hillfort blasts the place with fireballs. He walks away unnoticed as the warehouse is engulfed in flames.
A day in the big city
Spies, shopping, and rumors
  • Largo wakes up early to setup shop at the harbor market. He isn’t alone finding a spot to setup at 4am, then when the sun had fully begun its course in the sky at 6am the market was packed with merchants.
  • The rest of the party wakes and Durgyn cashes in his spa token, Landen orders room service, and Sapphira invites the others to visit the local temple of Heroneous to satisfy an itch to hunt undead. Hillfort finds a note form Largo inviting him to visit his stall in the market. Hillfort finds a crowd packed at the harbor market as he searches for Largo’s wagon, and a petty thief pitifully attempted to pick his pocket. He finds Largo stressed having never been in the midst of such bustle. To aid in his marketing efforts, Hillfort casts a spell sending dancing balls of light above Largo’s wagon. This must have worked, as a wealthy man eventually purchased two of Largo’s most expensive items: a ring of force shield and cloak of protection… it seemed the man was a little paranoid about his safety, as a body guard who carried his coin came forward from the market crowd shortly behind the man.
  • Sapphira, Durgyn, and Landen walk the streets of Shiny Cove in search of an enchanter on the way to the temple and Landen notices someone had been following them since they left the inn. They find an enchantment shop and slip in to negotiate the improvement of Landen’s scimitars. While the party discusses paying for the enchantments Landen sees the man who he suspected following them waiting across the street outside.
  • After Largo’s big sell, he packs up his wagon and takes inventory as Hillfort tries to navigate it through the busy marketplace.
  • Landen gets concerned of the quality work this enchanter is offering because of his prices, but the gnome introduces himself as Skupnik the enchanter and testifies his abilities, which reassured Landen to trust his scimitars in his hands. After completing the transaction Landen asks if the party may exit through the back door. “Well, that’s outside the customer area,” Skupnik replied. “Why do you ask, are you being followed? You’re not criminals are you?”
    “Would we have paid if we were?” Landen retorts.
    “Fair enough,” Skupnik says, and he leads them through the door to the rear of his shop. The back room is cluttered with the gnome’s work. He opens the alley door and says “The swords will be done this evening. Will you be returning through the back door as well?” The gnome chuckles.
  • The entire party rejoins at the temple of Heroneous. Hillfort notices Landen missing something and asks, “where are your scimitars?”
    Landen glances to his empty scabbards and looks back up to Hillfort with shock, “I don’t know!” He pauses then starts laughing, “I’m just kidding.”
    A temple servant greets them as they enter. “Welcome,” he notices Sapphira at the head of the group, “are you all servants of Heroneous?”
    Landen leans to the temple servant and whispers, “secretly.”
    “No,” Sapphira answers. “We seek to honor Heroneous and destroy any undead that trouble Shiny Cove.”
    “Within the city things are well.” The servant explains. “Undead on Ancestor’s Island are rare, it is a sacred kept graveyard well tended by our clerics. The last sign had been about three months ago, and rumor is a necromancer is hidden outside the city walls possibly camped outside the North Gate on an ancient unmarked burial site.”
  • Outside the temple Hillfort spots a familiar face. He thinks he saw him at the market, or perhaps when he left the Inn this morning… The party suspects they have all been followed throughout the day, so they split up to meet at Skupnik’s enchantment shop in thirty minutes to see if they are each followed on their way there. Landen spots the same guy he noticed following him outside Skupnik’s shop earlier. Landen slips into an alley and catches the spy by surprise when he comes searching for him in the alley. Landen takes a wound in the scuffle and feels the effects of a poison from the rogue’s blade, but Landen still gets the advantage and questions him at rapier point. “Who do you work for?”
    “Press that point as hard as you like, but I won’t speak.”
    “Then I’ll have to get my friends to make you talk…” Landen replies, and with this threat the rogue attacks again, breaking free to flee down the street.
  • When the party regroups at Skupnik’s Landen arrives notably weakened from the poison. “We’re definitely being followed. Who else noticed a tail, you?” Landen looks to each of his companions, and each in turn suspected they were followed. “Largo, was anyone following you?”
    “I… don’t know… maybe?” Largo replies, unsure and seemingly nervous of the question.
    Landen suspects a thieves’ guild is targeting Largo to steal merchandise from his wagon, while Durgyn thinks Landen’s ostentatious behavior is the cause of this targeting. “You had to have the biggest room in the inn,” Durgyn points out.
    “It was pristine,” Landen boasts as he recalls the lavish comfort of the room. “You could have joined me. Regardless of why we’re being targeted, I say we set a trap for them.”
  • While Landen retrieves his freshly enchanted scimitars and plans an ambush with Durgyn and Hillfort inside the shop, Largo and Sapphira wait outside.
    “Heroneous be with you,” Sapphira says to each passer, wishing the blessings of her deity upon them. Largo notices one of the men who have been following standing a block down looking at them. He tries to discreetly give him a signal to move away, and both Sapphira and the spy do not pick up on his efforts. Largo exaggerates the motion, shooing with his hands at his waist. The man tailing them notices and moves along down the street, but Sapphira also notices Largo’s behavior. “What are you doing?” She asks.
    “Nothing,” Largo tries to play it off. “Just waiting for the others…”
  • The group heads outside the North gate of the city to test if their followers would continue their task past the city walls. Sure enough, they notice a group of six leather armored men leave the North gate shortly after them. “Alright,” Landen says to the group. “There they are. Let’s go up ahead and stage an ambush just off the road.”
    “Ignore them,” Largo replies. “It’s not a big deal… I… I can explain later.”
    Durgyn laughs at the notion. He finds ignoring shady individuals following them around the city a pitiful joke.
    Largo tries to press his point. “If they attack, go ahead and kill them. I can explain why they’re following later, just know that I’m a friend.”
    The party continues walking down the wooded road. “We deserve an explanation,” Landen insists.
    “I don’t think you do,” Largo disagrees, trying to avoid revealing the truth as much as he can.
    “We do,” Durgyn’s voice booms in a forceful, unamused tone.
    Then Largo explains everything: his debt to Serin, his recent meeting, and how Serin insisted if he didn’t get his money soon enough from Largo he would take it from his traveling companions.
    “Why didn’t you just tell us?” Landen asks, finding the secrecy of the matter making things more complicated.
    “You may work for a shady man,” Durgyn adds, “but if your only involvement is a legal contract to owe him money, we see no problem.”
    Sapphira shares a thought. “Perhaps instead of being followed around, how about we have audience with him as a group, discuss arrangements to sort this out.”
    “Haha,” Largo laughs nervously. “Not so easy. I have more money to give him, but they only let people see him who have a sigil.” He shows them the token given to him from the first meeting.
    “Well I see six more coming this way,” Landen says indicating the group following them.
    Largo looks nervous at the prospect of killing their followers and using their sigils to barge into Serin’s office.
    “Okay, let’s just setup camp and see what they do.” Landen suggests, stopping at the side of the road.
    Eventually the group catches up to the party’s stopping point at the side of the road.
    “Evening,” the first man says in a jovial greeting. “Seen any deer about?”
    “Nope,” Landen simply replies.
    “Ah, well we’re out on a hunt. This looks like it could be a good area.”
    “I could help you find some.”
    “Nah, stalking them is a part of the fun. Probably the most fun I’d say.”
    Landen catches a hint of innuendo in the man’s statement, and they look at one another each understanding the underlying conversation.
    “Well good luck, I hear deer in these parts can be real tricky.”
    Another awkward moment passes, as each group stands looking at each other waiting for anyone to make a move. “G’night then,” and the man leads his group off the road into the woods.
  • The party heads back into town and returns to their inn: the Tankard & Gull. They discuss what to do and agree to pay a visit to Serin Colmok. Landen doesn’t want to miss his arrangements for Pier 7 at midnight, but his companions assure him there’s plenty of time.
  • Largo takes the group to Serin’s warehouse and tells them to wait outside.
    “Listen,” Landen says, “leave your gold out here with us as a bargaining chip. Don’t pay it to him now or else you’ve got no leverage.”
    “No,” Largo replies, “I just want to pay my debt.”
    “But you’re in a position here to change things. We’ll wait outside, and you can…”
    “I’ve got it handled, just let me do it my way.”
    Indifferent, Landen agrees to let him go in as he wishes.
  • Inside Serin’s warehouse, Largo is led to the boss’ office. “Ah, my little merchant friend. Come with some good news I hope.”
    “Well, I have some money for you.” Largo produces a pouch of coin.
    “AH! You said the right words. That’s good to hear, good to hear.” Serin opens the pouch and gives the coinage a quick estimate.
    “It’s eight thousand,” Largo states. “I’ve got two thousand more, but I brought something else.”
    “The adventurers are outside, and…”
    “Well I thought you’d want to meet them, perhaps they could help you…”
    “I don’t want them here! I wasn’t looking for new friends, I just wanted information about them if you fell through on your debt!” Serin’s temper was starting to show its ugly face. “How about my two thousand gold now without the adventurers.”
    “Well, I kind of need it…”
    HAH! Funny, it’s my coin. We can do this the hard way.”
    “Okay, I have a propose a gamble.” Largo tries his swindling ways as hard as he can in the hopes to keep some coin in his pouch. “I thought you’d like a good wager?” Serin only replies with a stern look. “Your best fighter against one of my companions. If I win, you forgive my remaining debt and I keep the two thousand gold I have now. If I loose, you can have the two thousand plus an extra ten thousand added to my debt, and I’ll give you all the merchandise back.”
    At first Serin’s annoyed expression turned to confusion, then he grinned. “You’re right, I like a good wager. You’re on. I’ll arrange the event for tomorrow evening. Have your man enlisted for the duel at the arena by tonight. Haha, this should be good.”
    For some odd reason, Largo gave a nod and left Serin’s office with a grin.
  • “You did what!?” Landen said to Largo as he returned to them outside. “That’s NOTHING like what we discussed!”
    “I know, but I thought it was a good idea.”
    “Good idea!?” Landen tries to keep himself contained. “What are we going to do, draw straws!?”
    “I won’t let any of you risk your lives,” Sapphira shares as her thought on the matter.
    “Maybe you can hire a brigand to fight for you?” Landen jests, although as he sees it, his odds of finding a willing man would be better that way.
    Durgyn steps forward to add his words. “I have experience fighting in an arena.” The group is silent and they all look to the minotaur. “I will fight for you.”
Arrival in Shiny Cove
The group makes it to the big city

-Along the road, ambushed by brigands: pay a toll. One escapes them & they take a prisoner. They find a sigil on each body.
-In Shiny Cove Largo splits from group to meet Serin and update him on the status of his debt. The rest of the party goes to guard garrison to turn in their prisoner. Turns out the leader of the group they killed was Spender, an employee of Serin Colmok, 500gp reward. The sigil is his mark for those that work for him that they may gain entry to his properties within the city.
-Shopping: Durgyn finds Gronan, minotaur smith. Durgyn introduces himself with full lineage. Arrange custom full-plate armor set to be crafted, Gronan promises a minotaur enchanter to do the magic work. Also identifies the mark on axe found on gnolls as an item crafted by legendary smith of Iath Savon.
-Largo: Serin, I have 300… I mean 3,000 & info: Brindonford. Largo lies about money, Serin “I can start removing body parts…” Search him and finds 2k more gold. Asks for details of his traveling party. Serin says he wants updates and will be watching them, and will not hesitate to take his money from his companions if he fails to pay. Largo stores his wagon in Serin’s warehouse and Serin gives him a sigil for access.
-Sapphira visits church of Heironious to donate 660gp. Hillfort brings news of Brindonford, specifically about what Landen saw at the church of Pelor to the local temple of Pelor in Shiny Cove. They inform him that they know and brothers went to Eurnox to join army being assembled by Eurnox & Mithrondale.
-Landen visits docks at night and posts the Black Starling note on Pier 7. He leaves a gold piece in a sleeping drunk’s hand.
-The group assembles at Shiny Cove’s largest inn: The Tankard & Gull. They each get the style of room they desire. Landen gets the largest suite “how much? doesn’t matter, I’ll take it” and plays off like Largo’s his servant. “Largo, pay the man” and sneaks away.
-After the rooms are sorted out, Largo goes up to the top floor suite. He unlocks the door with the key and finds Landen kicked back & shirtless (having picked the lock to get in) inside. “Largo!” Landen cries jovially. “Fetch me some elven maidens!” Largo throws the key at Landen and leaves the room to find his bed in the common room.

Stalking a hunter
The party tries to find Luftwyld

-morning audience with Helinack: Brindonford plans and bounty on Luftwyld (2000gp). Scout Brindonford and begin to organize an army.
-Reunion with Sapphira in the streets of River’s End.
-Hillfort tells Landen what he saw the night Luftwyld fled arrest (read thoughts): he was scared.
-Largo suggests falsifying Luft’s death to save Luftwyld and gain gold reward. Party not keen on dishonesty.
-Head out, no sign of Luftwyld… Luft tracks them.
-Set up camp, Landen scouts out and spots Luftwyld hidden in the tall grass, thinks he’s an animal because of the furs he wears. Landen stalks him like an animal, gets close enough and realizes it’s not. Right up behind him then fight.
-Party notices the scuffle. Largo pleads they stop and reminds them of his plan, Sapphira approaches, Luft: “hey pretty lady, you better stand back.”
-Durgyn implores Luftwyld must return with them. Landen tries to get behind Luftwyld after the other adventurers have approached, but Luftwyld notices the action and attacks him. Sapphira tackles him and a grapple begins.
-They pin Luftwyld with some struggle. Landen notices Luftwyld’s fast healing and thinks he’s cursed. They tie him up and establish watches.
-Luftwyld gets loose on Sapphira’s watch, explains “I gotta pee.” Durgyn wakes and reties him, “just go.” Luftwyld howls to ruin everyone’s sleep, Durgyn gags him.
-Landen takes watch. Landen ungags Luftwyld, “gotta pee.” “Seriously?” “Yes.” “Ugggh.” Landen unties his tether but keeps him bound. Hears Luftwyld’s plea that this is all wrong. Landen sees everyone else is asleep, unties Luftwyld’s bounds: “shred the ropes and be gone. If I see you again, you will die.” Landen walks away but Luft doesn’t flee, follows Landen to camp and talks. Then Luftwyld runs.
-Morning. Durgyn “Where’s the prizoner?” Landen: “He must have escaped! I might have fallen asleep… elven wine… but I didn’t drink any…” They question Landen but he succeeds at a bluff: “I wanted him more than anybody! That was my bounty!”
-Luftwyld begins journey home to Eurnox woods, party continues south to find road to Shiny Cove.

An Eventful Dinner
Audience with the Lord of River's End falls apart

-Everyone acquires their market goods: Hillfort arranges to purchase large amount of Finnegan’s barley blend.
-Durgyn is brought to the Lord’s keeper of coin, Algan Finnegan. Finnegan is first skeptical, then takes interest and invites Durgyn and his party to dine with Lord Helinack.
-Talk about cleaning up Luftwyld. Durg, Landen, and Hillfort are in their fine atire.
-Luftwyld buys a vest, Largo tried to barter for him but insults the craftsmanship of the vest, which was handmade by the merchant. They settle on a price the merchant is more happy with.
-Lord Helinack, Finnegan, and Lon Deneldin are present at the head of the Lord’s table in the big dining hall.
-Durgyn introduces the party and they tell the news of Brindonford. Luft’s manners invoke a comment whispered by Finnegan to Durgyn, “he should be eating with the dogs.”
-At the climax of Riis’ tale, Landen asks the lord for one of his finer vintages of wine. The lord graciously permits the request and Landen tells his tale of Pelor’s temple.
-Luftwyld snags more meat with his hands from the platter and dips his bread in the meat’s runnings on the serving platter… Landen is appalled and becomes angry.
-They discuss aid for Brindonford and the lord explains the relations of River’s End with the larger city, how halflings have played a part in the hamlet’s success.
-As the lord shares his plans for the next morning in relation to Brindonford’s situation, he is interrupted by Luftwyld licking his plate and tossing it onto the table. Landen’s anger is increased with this and he states “I have killed for less!” Largo takes the moment to excuse himself for supper. Luft lights a cigar with a table candle and props his bare feet on the table.
-The lord is angered and demands they leave due to their insult. Largo leaves of his own accord, but Luftwyld refuses until he has finished his cigar. Helinack calls the guards for assistance of his removal. Luftwyld fights and Hillfort casts hold person to help. They remove the paralyzed feral adventurer, Durgyn apologizes and everyone denies their association with Luftwyld.
-Luft escapes, chase through keep, running at high speed to retreat town, guards shoot arrows and give chase on horseback. The party still dining with Lord Helinack hears him escaping and offer their services to the Helinack. He commends their honor and bids them to give chase.
-Landen borrows a bow and hits fleeing Luft twice. 4 guards on horse give intense chase, Luftwyld kills a couple horses and a guard dies in his fall from horseback.
-Luftwyld escapes.

Small Hold River's End
The party arrives to the keep downstream from Brindonford

-Morning ambush from party of gnolls
-Hillfort blasts remaining gnolls and leader with fireball, catching surrounding brush on fire
-Gnoll leader is mildly healed and spared, crawls away angry and badly wounded
-Blaze is extinguished, party finds a battleaxe with unique maker’s mark on one of the gnolls
-Second night camp… Luft wakes Landen even though it’s Hillfort’s watch… Landen wakes Hillfort
-River’s End: old keep built during the war, recently restored and settled as a small town, ruled by a noble (Lord Helinack)
-Durgyn takes Klobaen Riis and goes to inform Lord Helinack of Brindford’s plight, Luftwyld seeks dairy products at a small farm a little ways outside of town, Hillfort seeks grain at the market, and Largo sets up shop to sell his wares and some poor quality bows pilfered from the gnolls

Marshal Law
Something is wrong; the town falls into fear

-Speaker in dreams visits the players in their sleep
-Durgyn works on docks, Landen finds him, tells him of letter from Shadrach
-Durgyn and Landen go to Guilded Goose, sign autographs, get gear ready to leave town
-Durgyn heads to shrine of Heroneous and hears a herold
-Hillfort begins a new batch of brew, hears the harold
-Luftwylde enters town
-Durgyn discusses with Torea and Alein about the cult. Ask if they know of baron’s address, all head to baron’s keep
-Luftwylde sees crowd at baron’s keep
-Landon sees crowd, spots Durgyn and joins up
-Hillfort spots Durgyn, joins them
-Baron’s address, spot creature
-Luftwylde hears heroes talking, asks if he can join them as he just came into town, Luft shows he’s capable
-Landen bolts to nearest gate out of town, observes scene at the temple of pelor, spider climbs over city wall
-Luft, Durgyn, Hillfort head to Hill’s home/brewery/shop. Frantically get ready to leave, sees harold in street flanked by creatures
-The group heads to East Gate, Durgyn intimidates militia guards. One leads them through, attacked by other guards and joins the party: Klobaen Riis. Kill two militia men and meet Landen in grove
-Head southwest along river path, at night they spot a campfire
-Landen sneaks up on gnome working on broken wagon wheel, they meet Largo
-They discuss traveling arrangements, Landen offers protective services, Largo refuses… I forget why they decide to travel together. Largo and Hillfort talk merchandise.
-Make camp. Landen kills gnoll while ranging around camp, comes back and wheel is fixed, Luft takes next watch.

A grand celebration
A party to honor the heroes of Brindonford

Landen and Durgyn take the evidence found in the Reality Wrinkle to the Brindonford guard. With the plot of Those Who Hear put to an end, all the recent disturbances in town seem to be solved. As the adventurers settle down to relax at the Guilded Goose, a messenger comes with an envelope from Shoomma, the old dwarf woman who heads the merchants of Chatterstreet.

In gratitude for the great services you have rendered to our community, the citizens of Brindinford invite you to a feast in your honor, to be held at the Stony Gaze Tavern in Eastgate on the evening of the morrow. To you we owe a debt that cannot be repaid, but we wish to express our gratitude with splendid food and entertainment.

The heroes decided they needed new attire appropriate to the affair, so together they searched out the best place in town. Durgyn realizes he’s grown in size, so he decides to get new armor that’s of high enough quality for a formal occasion, so it should fit comfortably. A minotaur isn’t one to wear fine garments of silk and fleece, but Durgyn knew the right armor could be just as fitting for such an occasion, especially if it was shining new and kept from battle-wear. The smith assured him it will be entirely comfortable and discusses the particulars of the ornate gold detail work that shall adorn it.
Meanwhile Landen discusses some custom fine silk attire in elvish style and browses for jewelry to accompany it. He also has a signet ring made for himself, and during conversation with the tailor Shadrach’s name comes up.
“Ah yes,” said the clothing merchant, “I know your mentor well. Matter of fact I have a piece on hold for him. In light of the unfortunate news, I would rather sell it to none other than you.”
He brings from a collection hidden from the general public a cloak clasp in the shape of a black starling; a small bird with wings spread mid-flight.
“I understand you have spent all your gold on the garments we’ve arranged, but because of your relation to Shadrach, I have no problem granting you this on loan.” The tailor shares warmly. Landen gladly accepts this token with a 200 gold loan, and the man told him more as he examined it.
“It’s magical, you know. It will protect the wearer from falling, but only once. The magic consumes the clasp.”

Their new attire arrives first thing the morning of the feast. They’re greatly pleased, and as Durgyn removes the cloth protecting his armor he spots a small piece of paper on the breastplate.
“My friend,” the note reads, “I hope you will find this to your liking and honorable enough for one in the line of Eidolon, descendant Of Voalrikar. I would like to bring your attention to the main armor clasp which fastens at the right shoulder. You will find this red crystal decorated with gold warm to the touch. I had a friend enchant it to provide protection from fire. Although it is obviously designed to decorate this suit I have made for you, it is detachable for use on any armor you’d like, as I imagine you may not wish to wear this set in combat. Best wishes, come see me again as you wish.”

-at the party, baron’s sister awards the heroes
-Landen shames poorly sneaky messenger with letter from Shadrach
-Durgyn arm wrestles three men
-Meet Hillfort Demitrias Thorip
-Durgyn carries Landen back to inn

Chaos in the bookstore
The mad cult tries to silence their inquisitors

Landen sneaks up to the third floor, carefully letting each of his footfalls touch the ground like a feather. As he peaks the climb to the third floor, he sees the area is similar to the last; small bedrooms and a common area, except one thing different stands out. An elaborate curtain like the one behind the counter on the main floor hangs in a doorway across the common area. Stars and moons speckle the dark blue skyscape, and at the bottom is an alien landscape crawling with the giant worms Landen is more familiar with than he’d like. A thick fog rolls across the floor seeping out from behind the curtain.
He shifts the curtain aside and the room behind is completely concealed in the mist. He hears something clamber on the ceiling above and unsheathes his dual scimtars, the steel sending its ringing song into the room.
“Ahh, someone has snuck into my chamber? Who dares to be so foolish?” The voice tauntingly calls, its owner perfectly hidden in the dense fog.
“Show yourself!” Landen calls back. “I know who you are…”
“Hah!” The blessed defiantly laughs. “Show myself to the intruder? How about I call a friend to greet you instead?” With these words, the the room seems to shift under Landen’s feet. Without any walls for reference the vertigo makes him feel as if he could be standing upside down. He can see his feet however, and when he looks down he spots a thick blue slime creeping around his boots across the floor; that same blue slime from the street. Something massive screeches, and when he hears it lurch across the floor it’s clear purple body is seen writhing in the mist. The hooked limbs whip around it’s circular, toothy mouth as the worm lunges at Landen.
The memory of his last encounter with one of these creature is too fresh in his mind, and fear racks his nerves. But still he stands and fights, swinging his scimtars. The worm, with concealment on its side, seems to whip around his attacks, then suddenly a hook digs into his arm. A sword drops to the floor and he hacks at the grappling tentacle with his free arm. Two others latch onto him, then suddenly he’s enveloped in the sick creature’s grasp. It lifts him from the floor, and Landen sees its sucking mouth dilating to receive him. The tentacles hooks dig in, and the worms teeth cut into his flesh. Landen falls unconscious from its hungering attacks, and the worms slinks off into the mist to coil up and enjoy its meal.

Torea, Heroneous’ champion in training, covers her ears. The mad blabbering and gibberish that flooded from the closet as the cabalist opened the door was unbearable. Durgyn was closer and had a perfect view of the heap of flesh inside the closet under the stairs. It seemed to take no recognizable form, and it’s surface was covered with random eyeballs and fang filled mouths. The eyes looked everywhere, they were countless. All the mouths were screaming a horrible gibbering at once, in a unison of chaos. Durgyn stared in horror, and the noise grasped his brain in mind-numbing insanity.
Torea knew she had to act quick. She took her hands off her ears to lift her morningstar, then brought it smashing down on the blue robed man behind her. He was drawing a dagger, but the spiked head of Torea’s morningstar smashed into the soft head of the cabalist.
The other cabalist drew his dagger and came at Durgyn. The attack was enough to snap him out of the maddening place his mind had been grasped. The knife cut into his thick hide calling up the rage to fight back. Neither of them expected such an ambush; one that would utilize the strange mind numbing effects of an alien creature. But Durgyn desired to show their efforts meaningless as he revealed the war hammer held on his back.
The junior paladin and the minotaur made fast work of the two blue robed cultists, and Durgyn’s mind turned to his friend. This is where Landen followed the strange bookkeeper Jellik, yet when the old man returned his thief companion had not. If they had been ambushed here, where was Landen and what had he gotten himself into?
The gibbering mouther crawled from the closet and bit out at Durgyn. It’s teeth sunk into him and he returned the pain with a swing of his hammer. It smashed into the formless mass of flesh and a few of the creature’s mouths let out a harsh growl, yet the gibbering persisted from its other jaws. Torea came to his side, and together their used their implements of blunt force to smash the alien freak into silence.

Durgyn leads the charge up the stairs, walking cautiously into the mist that has now enveloped the entire third floor. A voice taunts them from deeper in the fog.
“So glad you’ve joined us. Your too late for your friend though.”
Durgyn thinks of Landen and Torea worries for Alein, her mentor. They hear the giant worm sliding across the floor, and it lunges from the mist at them. Durgyn swings, and the alien creature grasps Torea in it’s squirming tentacles. Its lamprey mouth latches onto her side and she screams.
“Save her,” she groans. “Use this…” She drops a wand at Durgyn’s feet, and he looks down to discover a pool of blue slime creeping across the floor. He feels the floor seems to sway underneath him, then Torea hits the ground with a painful thud. The minotaur looks up and sees the disgusting worm sink into the blue pool from where it came; it recedes and the room returns to normal, save the fog.
“How?” Torea wonders as she realizes she hadn’t become a second course meal.
“Shame my pet had to leave.” Durgyn’s keen hears hone to the voice. “I will have to kill you myself!” The words guide him to his foe’s location and he looses a small pouch from his belt. He tosses it up to the back corner of the room. On impact the bag splatters goo onto the walls, quickly thickening with its exposure to the air. The frustrated grumbles can be heard of the blessed struggling in the entanglement.
Torea lifts the wand she dropped to Durgyn when she thought death’s grasp had her and uses it to heal her wounds. The magic refreshes her and clears her dedication; finding Alein is her goal, and this blessed has her. A dart of magical acid flew into Durgyn’s shoulder, burning his fur and covering him with stinging pain. Torea runs past him screaming in a rage with her morningstar raised.
“Where is Alein!?” and a thud is heard as her blunt weapon contacts something. Durgyn moves forward to join the struggle just in time to glimpse the Blessed skittering across the ceiling, free from the tanglefoot mess. Torea chases and Durgyn tries to tune his ears to the scampering of the robed menace. Torea swings madly through the fog, not quite sure where her foe is. Then she stumbles across a bundle laid against a wall. She glances down and sees the unconscious face of a half elven thief: Landen Cale!
For just a moment, Durgyn thinks he lost the blessed, then a gibbering mumble sends him a signal as clear as day. He tosses another bag from his side, determined to not let this evil escape his hammer again. The vertigo returns, yet Durgyn presses the attack running across the room. The pool of blue slime begins to form once more at his feet, then he can hear the blessed struggling in the tanglefoot’s mess.
“Curses!” the cult leader grumbles. The blue slime and vertigo sensation leave as quickly as they had come on, and this time there is no worm. It seems the minotaur had interrupted the summon by breaking the blessed’s concentration. And this time Durgyn wasn’t disappointed. The tanglefoot bag struck right on target; its thick slime covered the ceiling corner where the blessed was perched, clinging to his legs and even tying an arm to the wall.
Durgyn’s hammer slams into the robed figure, smashing the skyscape of stars, moons, and galaxies into crimson.
“UgGGHH!!!” After another blow, Durgyn pressed his hammer firmly against the blessed’s chest. “This isn’t… how it was… planned.” The blessed was still attempting to free himself. “I was chosen… chosen to hear the speaker.” Durgyn saw a spark in his eye, a determination of a still dangerous enemy. “You cannot break the will of the Ones Beyond!” Durgyn pulled back his hammer and saw the blessed’s hand conjuring an arrow of flame. The minotaur did not provide enough time for the blessed to deliver his spell, because Durgyn sent his hammer crashing back into the madman’s skull, silencing his lunacy forever.

The fog began to dissipate and Durgyn saw Torea across the room. In actuality, now that things could be clearly seen, they had been fighting in two rooms that were open to each other: one the blessed’s personal quarters and the other his study. It was in the former that the junior paladin was tending to Landen’s body. Durgyn quickly approached.
“He’s alive,” she said. “But barely.” This was the second time Durgyn had to see his friend nearly slip into death’s grasp, both times resulting in combat with a giant, alien worm. Torea put her hands on the half-elf; one on his head and the other on his chest. “Heroneous, grant him the strength to survive. Heal his wounds with your power.” Her words were as soft as a breeze, and Durgyn saw a faint light glow from underneath her palms.
“What happened?” Landen whispered as his eyelids slowly fluttered open.
“You need to rest,” Torea replied. She came to her feet and Durgyn could see in her eyes what was on her mind. They still had to find her mentor Alein and there was only one place left: the basement. The minotaur led the way back to the main floor. The closet door was still open next to the stairs, and the bodies of their fallen enemies still lie cold on the floor. The door on the other side of the stairs was still closed, and more fortified than the closet door; this was obviously the way. Durgyn tested the knob and found what he expected: locked. With a swing of his hammer the door flew on its hinges, breaking the wooden frame on the latch side and revealing a small set of stairs going down.

That sense of wrongness that was ever present in the Reality Wrinkle suddenly seems one-hundred-fold when they enter the basement room. The room itself seems to defy the boundaries of space as they understand them: a grotesque affront to their sense of reality. Distance seems meaning less, angles that should not exist clearly do, and the walls seem to ebb and flow in time to an alien heartbeat. Curled into a ball on the floor at one end of the room — it is impossible to tell how far away — is a woman in a red gown, clutching her ears and covering her face with her arms.
“Alein?” Torea says. Trying to speak the words seems to make her nauseous in this environment, but she knows this must be her mentor. “Alein!” She tried to run across the room and falls to her hands. Durgyn, not blinded by concern, carefully begins walking across the room. “One step at a time” he thinks, and it feels as if he’s walking on a curtain drawn over water. Torea looks up and cannot regain her footing, but she watches confidently as Durgyn continues his sure strides.
When the minotaur reaches Alein, he tries to get her attention. She seems unable to respond to anything, so he lifts her onto his shoulder. Even after they return to the main floor, escaping from what seemed to be a breaking barrier between worlds, the Champion of Heronious was still in a comatose state. Her eyes open yet glazed over. Durgyn had no problem carrying her further, the weight was to his strength like a bag of feathers. He even considered that if he needed to carry Landen as well, it would be slightly more difficult yet still no struggle. Regardless, Torea said he should be able to walk by the time they returned to the top floor.

When they entered the blessed’s study, Landen was indeed on his feet. He surely wasn’t at full strength and still needed to recover from his wounds, but he was alert enough to search the room while his companions were fetching Alein.
He turned to face them and Durgyn noticed a paper in the rogue’s hand. “There’s some interesting information here about the Ones Who Hear.” He lifted multiple sheets of parchment and separated one from the stack. “Certainly this piece here.”
“What is it?” Torea asked.
“A list. And it happens to contain the name of your mentor, Alein.”
Landen paused as if a ghost crossed the room. “And the name of my mentor: Shadrach Alban Oswian.”
As Landen shared the stack of information with his companions many of the horrors that had been plaguing Brindenford started to become clear. There was a receipt for a two-hundred gold piece payment to Squim, the leader of the wererat band hiding in the bell tower; a series of messages regarding a group of grimlocks given refuge in an abandoned warehouse for their services to the Speaker; and the rest made up nonsensical babblings referring to “the bells will toll the end of time” and “they must be out of the way before the gate may open” and “the Speaker in Dreams” and “the Ones Beyond” and… nonsense.
The wererats and grimlocks had been taken care of and everything else summed up to the plans of a lunatic cult. The remaining piece of evidence that captured the group’s interest was the list containing two very familiar names. Fresh ink had struck through the name of Alein, the Champion of Heroneous, as it was obvious they had nearly done away with her for good. Then there was Landen’s mentor Shadrack. Beyond those two, eight names remained. Most of them were crossed out as well, indicating Those Who Hear had gotten away with a series of murders. All that didn’t seem to matter as much to Landen. The scene he discovered in his old friend’s house flashed through his mind as he considered that name on the list, or more so considered the black line that struck through it. Could his great mentor really have been slain by a mad cult in their plans to clear the way for some absurd gate?
At least now it was over.

Of aliens, babbling, and vertigo
Investigating The Reality Wrinkle

At the Inn Torea takes a moment to rest from her ordeal at the shrine then goes to Landen & Durgyn’s room. Inside she finds Landen laying on the bed. She inspects his wounds and finds the slightly healed bites of a pincher or beak and a horrible mess of lacerations in a circular pattern: the result of the large worm’s bite. She lays her hands on his shoulders and heals him with her divine gift. Landen’s wounds mend themselves shut, and he opens his eyes to find the young paladin looking down on him.
“Your friend Durgyn sent me here. He told me you were badly hurt.”
“How long have I been out?” Landen asked as he took one bite of the meat pie left for him, then returned it to its place.
“A handful of hours perhaps. Durgyn should be returning here soon, then I need your help,” Torea explains gently. “A group wearing blue robes came to the shrine and took Alein, my mentor and keeper of the shrine.”
Shortly Durgyn did return to find his friend sitting up and well. Torea further explained what she knew of the attackers at the shrine. “I recognized one man. I saw him at the bookstore, The Reality Wrinkle it’s called, when Alein and I were there after a man was killed. Witnesses wouldn’t describe what happened, they just kept saying it was an unfortunate accident. The proprietor said he fell down the stairs, but it wasn’t right. The body was covered with small bite marks and drained of blood.”
Between the attack in the streets after Landen spied the meeting involving a man in a blue robe covered in stars, and the robed kidnappers at the shrine of Heronious, they knew it was time to pay a visit to The Reality Wrinkle.

That night as they walked down the street in West Hill where the shops are, Durgyn lifts his ears to an odd sound in the air. Seeming to come from no specific direction, he hears strange babbling of incoherent speech.
“Wait, do you hear that?” He asks his companions. It seems they’re hearing the rumored ghosts of West Hill.
Now outside the bookstore, they ascend the steps and enter inside. The three are surprised as they enter, as things do not seem right. The angles formed by walls, bookshelves, floors, and ceilings seem wrong, as if space itself were warped here. Scrolls and tomes, some bound in materials none of them recognized, fill shelves that line every wall. A small table stands in one corner with two chairs pulled up to it. A counter juts from the opposite wall. Behind the counter, a brocaded curtain hangs in a doorway, its design depicting an alien landscape filled with tentacled creatures of unimaginable monstrosity.
Durgyn notices strange smells floating in the room as well; an unpleasant mixture of odd spices. He stops and braces himself in the doorway with one hand. The disorientation to his senses being too overwhelming.
A head pops up from behind the counter, and the thin old man sets himself on a tall stool. His eyes are constantly squinting and his lower lip droops to one side, occasionally allowing a trickle of saliva to escape.
“Greetings, greetings! Can I help you find anything in particular?”
Gathering his balance, Durgyn walks into the room and speaks. “I’d like to see whatever you have on the Speaker in Dreams.”
The old man looks confused and squints even further, nearly shutting his eyes, as if studying the minotaur. “Would you? Hmm, very interesting. My name is Jellik and this is my store. Set yourselves up at the study table over there and I’ll see what books I can find that might relate to the subject.”
Jellik exits through the curtain and Landen steps silently behind the old man, following him at a short distance to the next room…

Fighting a stronger feeling of that same disorientation they felt when entering the Reality Wrinkle, Landen was now in a room full of more strange books. He could hear the old man hobbling slowly up a set of stairs and silently ascended after him. At the top of the stairs a hallway with four curtained doorways angled into a common living area. The old man approached two robed men sitting at a table and the thief slipped through the nearest curtain. Hidden in this small sleeping room, mostly bare other than a bedroll with threadbare blankets, he could hear everything perfectly.
“There’s a group here asking about the Speaker,” Jellik explained.
“How could one who is not of Those Who Hear know of the Speaker?” one robed man asked. “Only the blessed hears the Speaker!”
Landen can hear the other robed man start giggling with excitement at the mention of the blessed.
“That’s obviously why I’ve come up here; something’s not right with these visitors. One of you go up tell the blessed.”
After a small while the pitter-patter of feet could be heard coming back down the stairs to the third floor.
“We’ll take care of them, yes. Come, let’s ask them questions.” Then the three of them passed Landen’s hiding spot and returned to the main floor where Durgyn and Torea were waiting among the strange books. Now alone in their little base, Landen decided he would go upstairs and see what the blessed had to say about Torea’s missing mentor.

“I could not find an appropriate tome,” Jellik said returning from behind the curtain. “But these men may be able to help answer your questions.”
Two men in blue robes, now very familiar attire to the minotaur and junior paladin, came in with nearly maniac grins on their faces.
“How did you hear of the Speaker in Dreams?” One asked, his voice cutting the question at them like a thrown dagger. His eyes never blinked as he stared hard at the minotaur, and Durgyn made sure to return the stare.
“We have met the blessed. He said to come here that we may learn more.” Durgyn’s voice was solid and unwavering, the baritone sound of a minotaur’s speech. Yet he wasn’t the best at crafting lies, and unfortunately it was apparent the cabalists weren’t going to buy into a story so easily. The one who giggled excitedly while Landen secretly eavesdropped now spoke up.
You have met the Blessed!?” This time he giggled not with excitement, but ridicule. “And how did our blessed come to grace you with his presence?”
Durgyn tried a more direct approach. “We are agents of Heroneus look for Alein.” He hoped they would give away information with their reaction to such a direct inquiry. The two robed cultists glanced at each other, obviously communicating an alarm in their eyes. The giggly one started acting slightly frantic; his lips quivered and he looked at the minotaur with psychotic twitching eyes. The other kept his cool and smiled.
“Ah yes, I see then. Follow me, I will take you to the answers you seek.” He held out an inviting hand and turned back through the curtain behind the counter. Jellik just sat on his stool and watched as this unfolded. Durgyn never lowered his guard and kept his hand rested firmly on the pommel of his sheathed sword. As he and Torea stepped to follow into the next room, the giggly cabalist waited to follow behind them.
In the next room the robed man stood near a door next to the staircase. Durgyn fights the nauseating sense of wrongness that seems to permeate this building, and the man spoke.
“I believe you’ll find what you’re looking for here.” And he gestures to the door. Durgyn and Torea take a couple steps closer, and when the robed man swings the door open they were not prepared for the insanity that assaulted them.


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