WORK IN PROGRESS…
“Our numbers only seem to be growing.”
“The arrival of our ‘fine and esteemed’ friends was not as observed as ours. Perhaps we go back to where you’re staying?”
“I have many loyal men. One of them, Forgus, is not too far away and he’s beyond suspicion,” Captain Borgellis suggested.
Moira nodded in confidence. “Then so be it. Show us the way!”
“I can take those of you who’ve been at court without arousing suspicion, but the rest of you,” Captain Borgellis paused as drunks began to wobble down the alleyway. Lowering his voice and leaning in, he continued, “Come in small groups. Tail us, but stick to the shadows, and no more than a pair at a time!”
With that, Captain Borgellis quickly lead the warriors of the party out of the slums and back towards more civilized parts of Garamondia, where they removed their hoods and played the role of tour guide and tourists. En route, Captain Borgellis showed off what his fine sovereign had established in his own name. Finely carved – if not just a bit garishly ornate – shields bearing Garamond’s coat of arms and monogrammed bricks lead up to the center of the city where the Baron’s estate stood, and off beside it, Garamond Gardens, which kept the Baron’s court suspended in a haze of fragrant ignorance to the rotting tenements that made up the outskirts of his barony. As the warriors wandered off towards Borgellis’ rendezvous point, the Black Brothers (and Grunt) followed yards behind, while Lyssa and Trisoll kept a safe vantage point following them.
Borgellis concluded the warriors’ tour at a small but well-maintained complex in a well-lit neighborhood that sat directly in between the gardens and the slums. The complex featured duplexs in block-long chunks, much in the same manner as Greyhawk (though more humble, and with much less in the way of metal finishings.) As the evening had drawn both moons out and higher into the air, only a few apartments kept their lights on. Borgellis blithely led the warriors to a larger apartment on the lower level, where he heartily knocked on the front door while continuing his spiel about the rapidly developing neighborhood they were currently in.
Large bald mustachioed man (presumably Forgus) leads them into a basement-level chamber. He waits upstairs while the others hatch their plot.
Trisoll opens up to Lyssa about his evening with Abigail, much to her discomfort. She writes it off, citing that he had been treated much in the same manner as he has treated women in the past.
Under the floor of Forgus’ home, the party reveals what happened at the garrison with the dragon as well as the details of their relationship as a traveling party.
Captain Borgellis turned his attention to Moira. “I saw it in your face, at dinner. Your expression told me everything. The principles you have for those in pain, for those under foot. Usually when Baron Garamond shows his favor, even the most iron-hearted knights and wary nobles give under the weight of his flattery. Not you though. This city’s pain was your pain at the feast, and though I could tell you and your friends were doing the best to put on a front, I knew. He has bled this city dry, and it’s time for his reign to come to an end. Please, help us!”
Borgellis reveals a map of the Baron’s elaborate estate. He and Vetnik begin to go over the layout of the estate and the roster of guards. He ensures Vetnik and company that he can have at least 13 men inside, but the rest are Garamond loyalists, whether due to selfishness or obligation. Vetnik proposes that one or more of the loyalists be taken out, whether for the night or off duty more permanently, but Borgellis insists that despite their allegiance, they are still under his command and he wouldn’t have them harmed unless necessary. Thom proposes to hire one of them to act as a guard. Borgellis agrees to allow one of them on the inside to shadow but urges that none can leave without arousing suspicion. Vetnik volunteers under the cover of diplomacy, observing foreign defense tactics.
While the men did their best to figure out a way to infiltrate the estate via the city guard, Lyssa spoke up from the shadowy edges of the basement war room. “Garamond, what are his vices?”
“Vices? His virtues number far less. Food, drink, hunting, gaming, you name it he’s dabbled in it!”
“What about women,” Lyssa asked Borgellis, sauntering out of the shadows and slowly pacing around the table.
“We have women, we have food and drink,” Thom offered.
Borgellis paused and looked down with a soured expression, shaking his head. “It repulses me to even say it out loud, but—“
“Speak it,” Lyssa commanded.
“He fancies… younger—“
“How young,” Lyssa continued to interrogate, wasting no time for dramatic pauses.
“I don’t want to hear this,” Vetnik cried out with a look of disgust at both Lyssa and Borgellis.
“I do! How young?”
Borgellis sighed and took a step away from the table. He lifted his hand off the table and brought it to his side. With another sigh he began to lower it down the length of his torso, stopping just below his hip. Lyssa and the others kept their eyes on him while Vetnik shook his head and groaned, made uneasy by the details. “Too young,” Borgellis hissed!
“So he doesn’t like women at all,” Thom noted.
Lyssa stopped just beside Trisoll, who nervously turned back to see Lyssa looming over him. “Trisoll, be a dear?”
Trisoll furrowed his brow, turning his face to meet Lyssa’s. With a slight lump in his throat, he replied, “um, sure.”
Without further warning, Lyssa placed the palm of her hand firmly against Trisoll’s chest. Staring out at the others, her eyes flared briefly with magical energy before that same scarlet energy suddenly began to crackle around her open hand, flickering before disappearing into the unsuspecting cleric’s torso. She stepped forward and released his chest from her grasp, and the party watched as Trisoll began to wince and jerk as the sparks of arcane energy seeped and disappeared into his body. Trisoll cupped his hand across his mouth, muffling a slight cough, but soon the coughing grew more and more intense. Trisoll ripped his hand away from his mouth and the party watched as dense plumes of opaque, crimson smoke poured out from his mouth and nostrils. Trisoll stood frozen and helpless as the smoke quickly swirled around the entirety of his body as the mage stepped forward, glancing at her work in motion. Soon his entire form was engulfed in it. The party watched in astonishment as he vanished from sight, replaced by a pillar of undulating smoke. Just as fast as the smoke had swallowed him, the Trisoll-sized plume shrunk down to a smaller height and thinner width. Lyssa waved her hand and summoned the crimson smoke into the palm of her hand, where it swirled and vanished in a tiny spark of energy. With the smoke cleared, a foreign body stood in place of the priest. It was that of a small girl, fair-featured and trembling with confusion. Her hair was long and chestnut brown and her face faintly smattered with ginger-colored freckles. Jade green eyes bulged from behind lineless lids, searching the room, pleading for clarity.
“Bloody brilliant,” Thom exclaimed, gawking at the adolescent girl standing before him!
“What the fuck are you doing,” Vetnik cried out, bracing himself in case he would need to handle Lyssa.
“You want to get through to a man like the Baron? You get him through what he lusts for most.”
Trisoll stands around, trying his best not to freak out. Letting Lyssa’s plan sink in, Thom polymorphs himself into a similarly aged young girl. This puts Trisoll at ease, and together they hatch a plan.
“Why me, Lyssa?”
“Because, you’re the only one of us with the ability to keep him quiet. When you silence him, Thom will then… silence him for good.”
The party waits until the following morning to begin picking daisies in the royal gardens. Abigail takes watch over the gardens atop a nearby complex, while the
“You do remember how to skip, don’t you,” Thom goads Trisoll, putting flowers in his companion’s wavy brown tresses. It takes mere minutes before the pair is approached by a tall, wiry man, whose oily features glisten in the early afternoon sun. He tells them the Baron wants a word with them, and the pair follows without hesitation (well, almost.)
Lyssa, placed under an invisibility spell by Thom prior to his own transformation, stakes out the Baron’s estate in anticipation for the girls’ arrival. Abigail darts from one rooftop to another with a better view of the Baron’s bedchamber. There, she signals to Grum and Grunt to take posts nearby should they be needed. Moira stays posted in the baron’s court inside the castle, keeping an open ear and watchful eye for any sign of struggle or danger while touring the grounds. Vetnik takes his post as shadow to one of Borgellis’ men, a guard named Threnn. There the pair makes soldier’s small talk, that is, until Peckish returns with two young girls in tow, leading them up to the Baron’s chambers. Vetnik notices that while most of the men turn a blind eye and do their best to hide their displeasure, Threnn is visibly more upset.
“What’s going on here?” Vetnik asked, watching as Peckish led the pair of young girls up the stairs to his floor.
“It’s really none of your business,” Threnn said with a stony tone.
Vetnik leaned in closer, keeping an eye out for other guards. “Come now.”
As another guard passed out of sight, Threnn’s stoic front began to come down. Biting his lip, he began to reveal, “The Baron has tastes that I find quite offensive,”
“If his tastes are what I think they are, then I’m glad you find them disagreeable.”
“Best to keep it to yourself, lad. Other men around here have big ears, bigger mouths and hungry pockets.” Threnn quickly huffed and puffed out his chest again. Just as quickly, the guard raised his wall back up before doing his round of the floor, leaving Vetnik’s side. Another guard silently took post next to Vetnik and the pair watched as the two girls were hurried down the hall to another set of stairs leading up to the bedchamber. Vetnik’s eyes met theirs and two differing glances were returned. “Traesie” smiled at Vetnik, winking an eye before returning her attention to the path before her; dragging behind her companion, “Trissie” looked up at Vetnik and continued to linger, her expression pained and uneasy.
Trissie and Traesie are escorted to the Baron’s estate by a homely servant named Peckish. He trades the “girls” off for payment and leaves them in the grubby clutches of Baron Garamond. Working as fast as he can to beat the finish of his polymorph self spell, Traesie is quick to tease and pursue the Baron, luring him into a state of calm before striking. Whilst Treasie sits upon the Baron’s uncovered knee, Trissie hurriedly casts silence over the bedchamber, not wanting to waste anymore time than needed. Taking the cue, Treasie lashes out at the Baron with his longsword-turned-daisy but stumbles off his lap. Confused, the Baron stands and immediately realizes he’s been silenced when trying to scold the girl.
Stumbling over the fumbled young assassin, Baron leaped up and rushed towards the chamber door mouthing cries for help. Trissie knew action had to be taken. As fast as her spindly little legs could carry her, she dove into the back of the Baron’s legs, sending him crashing to the ground. Like some strange, mimed battle scene, Trissie grappled the Baron and bound him by the legs between her thin, pale arms. The Baron flailed and hollered for help, but sound was absent with every cry and kick against the wooden floor. Trissie did her best but struggled to keep the portly Baron to the floor, but the overall physical repulsiveness did little to help in her efforts. The coarse yet sweaty of his leg bristled against her smooth cheek and tickled her nose. Using his weight against Trissie, the Baron began to roll himself on his back in an attempt to pin the child and escape. Just as Garamond spread himself open, Traesie took up her daisy once more and with an expert flick of her wrist, sent the flower straight through his putrid and pathetic nob. A geyser of the Baron’s blood began to spurt out, splashing across the floor and, more unfortunately, into Trissie’s hair. The Baron cupped himself but it did little to stop the torrent of blood from squirting between the spaces of his grubby digits. He attempted to lift himself off the ground and crawl towards the door, but the slick of blood beneath him only caused him to slip back down against the wooden floor. With haste, Trissie squirmed her way from out under the Baron and stood back, watching as Traesie slowly ripped the daisy from out of his now-mangled cock. Garamond continued to mime howls of excruciating pain, thrashing more wildly than before, as if made even more terrified by the silence. Outside his chamber he could hear the clicking of bootsteps, the changing of the guard. With one hand, he reached up to Treasie, who loomed over him, his fate now in the hands of what appeared to be his fondest indulgence. Even in those last moments, Garamond couldn’t help but do his best to sate his most base desires. As Traesie kneeled over him, aiming the stem of her daisy mere inches away from his face, the Baron, with one hand still clasped to his gored crotch, stretched out his other. He placed his shivering, bloody hand upon Traesie’s undeveloped chest and tugged at her dress, bearing and gritting his stained teeth as he did so. By reflex, Traesie snatched her flower back and plunged the stem of her daisy into his heaving breast. Treasie watched as Garamond’s face relaxed and slid into deathly placidness. The tension of his neck disappeared as the back of his head slumped to the floor, and small streams of blood trickled from the corners of his mouth, down his chins and into the folds of his neck.
With the Baron slain, Trissie and Traesie, both adorned in blood-covered dresses, look to each other for what to do next. Treasie motions to Trissie to stay by the body while she scopes out the front. As she cracks the door open, an unseen force pushes her back into the room. The door quickly shuts and the pair of girls look around, wondering what force has entered. Trissie drops silence over the room and whispers “who’s here?” Without warning, they feel something grab their shoulders and they’re immediately swept up in a wave of arcane energy, immediately teleported back to the inn.
After a short time, Borgellis goes to check on the Baron. Upon entering, he sees the ghastly murder scene. He takes up the Baron’s coronet, splashes some blood upon his sword, and returns. He gives a rousing speech to the men in his charge, informing them that he has slain the baron and ended his debauched and cruel reign. He tosses the bloodied coronet down the steps as his men erupt in cries of support, while Garamond’s loyalists remain hushed and reserved. Vetnik sighs relief, the perverse plan successfully realized, and after Borgellis’ speech, meets with the Guard Captain. He thanks Vetnik and tells him that while he can’t offer coin in reward, he will give him the service of his men should Vetnik need them.
he rushes back to meet with Moira and together they hurry back to the inn. Traesie returns to
“Though I did not agree with this approach, I cannot argue with its effectiveness. Who dealt the fatal blow?”
“The people of this city,” Thom replied with a bit of a wink.
“No, but who really put an end to him. It couldn’t have been Trisoll!”
“Well, I was the one who had the stomach enough to get close to him, but Trisoll’s role was integral as well.”
“Let me shake your hand then, Thom.”
“A man like that is the worse kind of scum. I thank you for putting him under the sword.”
“Oh yes! Well, he was fully aware of his fate. We made it quick but not painless.”
Trisoll pleads with Lyssa at first to dispel the magic keeping him trapped in the body of a small girl. The twins poke fun, championing the possibilities of having a child decoy in their party who can also cast prayers. Trisoll then pleads with his fellow party members to convince Lyssa to drop the polymorph spell. Lyssa is resistant at first, coldly enjoying her handy work. Vetnik steps in and asks Lyssa himself.
“Please, Lyssa. Give Trisoll back his form?”
“Fine, because you asked.”
Lyssa waves her hand and the childlike form of Trissie evaporates into red smoke that coils into Lyssa’s palm, revealing the unbloodied and adult Trisoll. He grabs at his own crotch and after confirming his maleness, sighs a sigh of relief.
“Thank you, Lyssa. Next time though, a little warning.”
“Let this week serve to remind you that girls aren’t playthings.”
Turning to Abigail, Lyssa fires a barb. “And speaking of lessons learned, perhaps this week could serve as lesson to you to, eh, Abigail?”
Taken aback by her tone, she turns to Lyssa. “Excuse me?”
The pair spar back and forth, with Lyssa calling out Abigail for possibly treacherous behavior and manipulation of Trisoll, much to the rest of the party’s surprise. After a few more barbs traded, and after Trisoll comes clean about their encounter, Abigail and Lyssa go in for a low blows:
“I can’t help it that no one wants to bed you!”
“At least I have two eyes! Can’t say the same for dear ol’ Maja, can we?”
“BITCH!” Abigail growls before bringing the back of her hand across Lyssa’s face. Lyssa buckles to the ground. Turning to the mage hunter with flaring red eyes, she extends her hand and the party watches as energy gathers in her hand before disappearing in a flashing spark of energy. Lyssa looks surprised, knowing her telekinetic spell has surged. Abigail storms out, leaving the rest of the party to discuss the current situation.
Vetnik clams up, upset by Trisoll’s unwillingness to discuss what happened with him first.
As the party retires for the evening in the rundown inn, Vetnik and Moira discuss what happened. She’s able to work through his icy façade and reasons that he feels slighted that Trisoll didn’t open up to him first. She reasons that Trisoll was probably scared of what he might think and that him not saying anything wasn’t a reflection on him directly, but she does urge Vetnik to open up more and be willing to understand that despite this, the two of them are still friends.
Lyssa visits Thom before retiring for the evening, and stumbles upon him writing a new song for the festivities in the morning. She opens up to him about her reasons for distrusting Abigail. She wonders why the warriors are so trusting of Abigail. She cites her own lineage as reason enough to distrust her, knowing that both of them having questionable moral and mental stability in their blood. Thom reasons that they’re impressed by her deeds of valor and the warrior’s ideology, which she has displayed.
“It isn’t that I particularly like Trisoll. I think he’s a pig, but he’s our pig. When he told me what happened, I felt strangely protective of him, even though he’s a dolt.”
Thom ends their conversation with “it’s not our blood that defines us, it’s our actions.”
“Fair enough. I’m going to get her back though,” Lyssa warns, rubbing her jaw.
“I’ll give you a hand if you need it.”
In the morning, the party wakes up well rested despite their humble arrangements. Before departing for the festivities, Lyssa consults the Eye of Modius. Her first vision is that of Abigail, who has rejoined the party after a short absence. They stand together on a battlefield of black ice. At Abigail’s side is her druid lover, Maja, with both eyes intact.
Borgellis has his color guard meet the party and guides them to the city square. The party sees that the partitions that kept the slums from the city’s more affluent center are already coming down and any trace of Garmond already lays in ruin. The townsfolk, poor and well-to-do alike, gather together to celebrate the rechristening of Garamondia as the new city of Freeland. Thom darts through the crowds, banging his drums and singing his latest song “Trissie and Traesie and The Baron’s Daisy”. Carts carrying casks of wine and ale are broken open while food from the baron’s pantry is freely distributed to all. Inoehie the Gnome acolyte stays behind to help establish Celestian’s worship in Freeland. Vetnik and Moira are both awarded the best wooden splint mail armor they can provide, free of charge. (AC 3). Trisoll watches as Peckish is led, bound and masked, to the gallows where he’s hung before an angry crowd. He winces but a strange sense of satisfaction rumbles just beneath his peace-and-love surface. As an aside, Thom finds out that there are nearby territories that are rumored to be occupied by nothing but werebeasts and roam freely due to the lack of silver in Kellagha. They get three more packhorses and stock up on supplies before heading back onto the road to Vearnen.
Three days into their trip, they enter a marsh at dusk where they encounter 15 Muckdwellers, who ambush them. The horde squirts jets of muddy water at the Black Brothers and Trisoll. Grum is temporarily blinded by the ambush, while Grunt and Abigail are bitten by the small, slimy annoyances. As Lyssa goes to spray a trio of Muckdwellers with her burning hands, a surge of telekinetic energy explodes from her hand before it bursts into jets of flames. She hears Abigail cry out and turns to see the mage hunter ripped from her horse and thrown into the mire below. The Muckdwellers rush to attack as Abigail rushes to her feet. Grunt whips out Hank and zaps two magical arrows into a pair of Muckdwellers, killing them. Moira hacks and slays two more Muckdwellers. Vetnik charges and cuts down one more Muckdwellers. Grum wipes the water from his eyes and fires two arrows into two more Muckdwellers just as his brother engulfs another pair with flames from his burning hands. Trisoll attempts to whack at a Muckdweller with his shillelagh, but misses. Thom draws his longsword but misses. The Muckdweller’s attack Grunt, biting into him with their small, pointed teeth. Vetnik yanks at the reigns of Clevene’ and cuts down two more Muckdwellers. Drawing her glass blade, Abigail attempts to strike but misses. Trisoll tries to hit at his target but the Muckdweller proves more nimble than he. Moira slays two more Muckdwellers, with Grum felling the last one with a pair of arrows. Thom dismounts, searches the grounds and happens upon a nearby lair filled with shiny things (type Q treasure.)