21-22 Brussendar (Grissen – Whelsen) 845 PD
Back to the Tal Dorei Embassy, just in time to run into Tāmarai. Some items get dropped off, (like the gift basket Tāmarai returned with from the Xhorhasian Embassy), and they take a break for a quick, charcuterie-style lunch. Rinn grabs an apple and heads out to the courtyard, (eyeing the huge security hole, since at this point he IS planning on coming back and watching over the Tal Dorei Embassy that night, if only to prove Stubby wrong), and Tāmarai and Stubby start working on the lunch in the kitchen.
Stubby tells Tāmarai about her ‘experiment’ with Rinn earlier by the river, tell him her real name. Tāmarai is less than happy about this, even to the point where she raises her voice to then call to Rinn that the lunch is ready.
While they eat Tāmarai brings up that she wants to introduce Stubby and Rinn to the Xhorasian Embassy, since she’s been invited to stay there, and Stubby is welcome as well, but they don’t know Rinn. Rinn points out that he’s staying at the Take, so why worry about it on his behalf? Tāmarai’s worries are based on the fact that she and Stubby don’t really have much in the way of funds, but then Rinn finally volunteers the fact that they do have money. Ryo gave him funds to use for them, and he pulls out a good-sized money purse from inside his vest. It’s the one that Ryo handed Rinn back in the palace, and that he’s been pulling out to pay for their (reasonable, sensible, and logical) purchases so far. (Though Rinn has put half the funds in the safe at the Take, and has a receipt. He knows better than to walk around with that much money on his person!) Rinn doesn’t know if they do this for any new person that shows up in the city, and they manage to get a bit more personal information out of their guide- namely that the Empress certainly did not do this for Rinn when he showed up via ship. Though maybe it’s due to the manner in which Stubby and Tāmarai arrived? Probably.
That’s a bit of a relief, at least.
Afterwards, the three of them head out shopping again- for house supplies. (Pretty non eventful, except the other two point out that they need a lot more in the way of table settings than Rinn would have thought. A LOT more.) They also pickup smithing supplies for Stubby (needed for ‘her work’, and that makes some sense), thankfully getting most of the items delivered so they don’t have to carry them. Then they head across town to a place Stubby heard about this morning and was dying to check out, (crazy) Ivan’s Shop between the Snow Water District and the Rat Docks: Clocks and Cogs.
The place certainly looks like it’s the source of all those explosions that happen every so often. No glass in the windows (smart), and the walls on the inside are black. Charred or painted, who can tell? Ivan is there, looking as you would expect, a mad scientist/blacksmith who’s been caught in his own explosions every so often, plus his wife Olivia, who looks stronger and more buff than Ivan if that were possible. Stubby bounces up and starts talking to them, mentioning building things, and shows off her sketches, and whatever all she says it’s enough to get them to recognize some of key points shes’s dropping, and who all she’s connected to. “Vox Minimus?” Somehow Ivan is pegging them as the ‘young avengers’, that is, a younger generation connected to the infamous Vox Machina- who he well knows, as his father Victor was good friends with them!
Ivan goes shouting out the door to the back, “It’s Three!”, then he and Olivia shut all the doors and windows. Olivia pulls out an odd looking candle and lights it, which puts out an odd, protective magic. It will apparently hide them from any and all scrying, and Olivia charges Rinn to let them know when the candle is close to going out. (He takes this very seriously.)
Stubby does a quick, honest round of introductions for them all, including ‘Mister Shrike’.
Olivia seems to recognize Tāmarai’s profession, from when she traveled with her father through the Dendwelian Empire and Xhorhas with her father who was a ‘merchant’. There’s enough ambiguity there that Rinn figures her father was a smuggler, and Olivia might have a few, or even a myriad* of connections, and makes note to ask a careful question or two later…
And then Ivan starts info dumping on them. He tells them about the lead up to the One Day War, and how his dad Victor was involved. How Victor was working with the Empress, (who wasn’t Empress then, and was going by the name Lyvia Thorne), as well as with Ryo, to help change things in (Old) Vasselheim. How they all felt that the religious leadership of the city wasn’t the best for everyone, and in fact led to so many deaths when Vecna tried to attack and overthrow the city. However they had a falling out. Victor didn’t like something they were planning, so he took a weapon he had been designing (a clockwork dragon?) away to destroy it, as well as taking out all the saltpetre reserves. (Ivan is still working to destroy any saltpetre that gets discovered, as he thinks the Empress wants it for gunpowder or something…)
(Through all this, Rinn is keeping an eye on that candle, though certainly listening to the conversation and glancing over often enough.)
Ivan has tried to reach Vox Machina, but with magic all wonky, nothing seems to have gotten through. This is a reminder to Stubby and Tāmarai, and they have Olivia get something out of the bag Tāmarai has been carrying around. Olivia reaches in and pulls out a huge stone, which is some sort of Communication Device. Tāmarai is (thankfully!) super cautious, and covers it with a bit of fabric since they don’t know who might be on the other end of it at this moment, and activates it. They do reach someone, and it ends up being an apprentice archivist named Hinds in the city of Emon in Tal Dorei, who had been told to keep an eye on a matching stone located there. She gets her supervisor who then gets Lady Vex’halia, STUBBY’S MOM, who was in Emon for a council meeting! She’s overjoyed to hear from her daughter, saying that Keyleth had mentioned that she had found Stubby, but Vex hadn’t quite believed her. Stubby gives Vex a run down of what happened, including the whereabouts of the others who had been with them in Whitestone and disappeared as well. (Jerimiah, Flora, Bob and Tunk.) They also mentioned they had been 80 years into the future, and then somehow made it back (only 5 years off), and were now here in New Vasselheim.
She also mentions Rinn, who gets introduced by both Stubby and Tāmarai, (Master/Mister Rinn/Shrike). He gets dragged forwards, very much NOT liking getting pointed out and in the spotlight, to meet Vex, who is reasonably suspicious of him, asking where he’s from, etc. But thankfully Stubby has more commentary, and Rinn is able to step back away from that whole conversation.
They eventually talk about how to communicate back and forth. While any sort of teleporting isn’t working, they probably could toss messages back and forth through trees (Transport Via Plants), and that would be safe. Ivan mentions that their eldest daughter could do it, and Keyleth in Tal Dorei could handle it on her end, as long as she knew the tree she was sending it to. Ivan’s son Segun (‘Seggy’) is an artist, and can send her a drawing. The Tal Dorei Embassy has a tree in the courtyard that would be big enough. As for her end, the Sun Tree in Whitestone will work, and they have a ‘tourist’ style drawing of it for Ivan’s daughter, who is also named Victoria, to use. This should work, and the stone starts ‘winding’ down, leaving a last comment from Vex to Stubby “to keep-”…. Safe, one presumes.
(Somewhere in here, Olivia snuffs the candle, saving a bit of it which makes it easier to make another. Rinn asks about how much she’d sell those for- and it’s a lot, unfortunately. She hasn’t sold them for money, but the trading price has been high.)
There’s more talk about looking for Victor (who is presumed dead, but Olivia doesn’t think so), and rumors of a clockwork dragon sighted (crashed?) in the mountains to the north. It’s mentioned that everyone local tends to go crazy around Old Vasselheim, but Stubby and Tāmarai have been told they should be safe enough, that there’s some sort of odd magic on them protecting them.
Ivan and Olivia seem to think that’s easy enough to check if some of that is true, and call for their daughter Victoria. She was apparently asleep in her room over head, and is a bit cranky at getting woken up, but agrees to scan them for magic-
Rinn steps away from Stubby and Tāmarai, but somehow he’s still included in the ‘scan them’.
Local-Vicky announces that yes, Stubby and Tāmarai just reek of Dunamancy (Time Magic), and then looks at Rinn – and asks if he’s somehow pissed off a god or something, as she sensed some sort of divine magic on him, like a blessing.
And that sort of crashes through Rinn’s whole world. That may not have been how he’s defined things, but it’s close enough. He goes white, stepping back against the wall. Local-Vicky sees his panic, and tries to backpedal, saying she could be wrong/mistaken, but most people aren’t quite buying that. Ivan and Olivia are already debating and discussing the plans they talked about, and Tāmarai’s trying to take notes about it all. Stubby steps closer to Rinn, asking if he’s alright. He doesn’t answer, and just edges out the front door and takes off.
This wakes up Ivan and Olivia to the fact that being ‘closed’ this long might also be suspicious, so they open up the windows and front door. They make plans to go to the Tal Dorei Embassy that night for dinner. (They’ll bring food so that Stubby and Tāmarai don’t have to cook.) Segun can sketch the courtyard tree so Kayleth has a visual to use, and Local-Vicky can start to work with it to ‘prep’ it for the transporting spell. (It takes some time to set up.)
Meanwhile, still in a daze, Rinn starts heading for the Take headquarters, as thats’s the only place he has to go. Thunder is rumbling overhead, and on the way there no one bothers him, or really seems to see him. (This has happened maybe a couple of times before.) He gets there, and just heads straight upstairs to his room (to some speculation from others that maybe he’s sick, or had a rough day dealing with those weirdos he’s been assigned to deal with). He gets to his room, shuts the door, leans back against it, slides to the floor, and quietly has a panic attack.
(Later, some other members of the Take bring up some food- they knock on the door and say it’s out there. They even grabbed some of his favorites – though it’s not until later he actually opens the door and pulls the tray inside, and much, much later that he has any appetite.)
He does actually manage to get to sleep that night, though it’s not so much of ‘sleep’, as his mind and body decided that they had enough and finally shut down. (This happened the third night on board ship when he fled Wildemont.)
The next morning, Rinn thinks he’s come to some (vague) decisions, mostly involving leaving before everyone else figures out what Local-Victoria said, and heads over to the Tal Dorei Embassy. Something is a bit different about the entryway, but nothing he can spot-
Until he’s caught by the Snare spell trap that Stubby set the night before – along with an Alarm spell, which already has her running to the front door, to hear Rinn cursing loudly (and colorfully) in Draconian. Stubby stops, looks at him with her hands on her hips, and asks if he’s there to kill her? (Joking. Hopefully. Though with the mood Rinn is in at the moment, who knows?)
*Myriad: The Myriad is the name for the large Theives Guild Organization based in Wildemont.