22 Brussendar (Whelsen/Wednesday) 845 PD
Cue back to a ticked-off Rinn hanging from a Stubby-set snare at the front door of the TD Embassy. (“Who zhe HELL traps zhe FRONT DOOR?”) Tam and Stubby are there in their night clothes, though Stubby did grab her gauntlet and has it on. Even though he’s hanging upside down, Rinn sees someone on the roof of the stable. He can be angry later- he curtly tells Stubby to get him loose. Tam worries about Rinn being dropped on his head. Stubby isn’t worried, and frees Rinn- who makes a perfect (nat 20) landing. Instead of saying anything else, he turns and starts towards the stable, which probably was not a good idea – as he gets shot with a (poisoned) crossbow bolt. (This day keeps getting better and better.)
Initiative! (Stubby, Rinn, Assassin, Tam.) Stubby hurries out from the front door area, pulling something off from her gauntlet and tosses it down. It forms into something like a BB8 (named Aegea), and a blue glow surrounds her, Rinn, and Tam. (11 temp hit point shielding.) She also fires off a Thunderwave spell, which knocks the guy off the roof (plus quite a few roofing tiles). From the thud and swearing coming from behind the stable, it sounds like he didn’t land well. Rinn is still on his feet, and does not want to get shot again, so as he heads around the stable (between it and the house), thinking this should be subtle enough, quickly casts Blade Ward on himself. (He was wrong. Both Tam and Stubby noticed the casting.) The Assassin (dressed in normal, ‘working class’ clothing, but with a hood and wrap around his lower face) tosses a dagger at Rinn- which misses (either bad aim or hurrah Blade Ward) and thunks into the side of the Embassy. Tam is quick on her feet, heading around the other side of the stable, and casts Faerie Fire on the guy (lighting him up to make him better to hit), and Inspires Rinn- he’s not alone in this fight!
Stubby follows Rinn between the stables and the Embassy, and Messages the guy, hoping to both intimidate him and maybe get some information from him- “Who are you, what do you want? Surrender or die!” and manages to get a bit of an answer- “She wants you alive, I want you dead”’. Rinn pulls out a couple of daggers and tosses them, drawing the assassin’s attention for a quick moment, just enough to be angrily told “You’re not supposed to be here!” The assassin then pulls out a sword- and turns back towards Stubby, heading in her direction. Rinn gets a good opportunity, and just sticks out his foot and trips the guy, who faceplants but manages to get up and slashes at Stubby- which does nothing but damage the blue glow-shielding.Tam goes all Primal Salvage, leaping up to attack the assassin, but he manages to dodge that attack. She still manages to do a quick spell to put a glyph of “Marked for Death” in Undercommon on his hands.
Stubby directs the health-shield generator (Aegea) to keep working, and then shoots the assassin with her gauntlet crossbow. The guy still has his back towards Rinn, so one sneak attack with a dagger strikes, but he misses his stab with the other. The assassin is upset at getting interrupted, but just goes back to attacking Stubby, actually getting through the health-shielding and hitting her (though barely, and she resists the poison on the sword). Tam goes after him with Primal Savagery again, ordering the assassin to stop.
The assassin isn’t stopping, even after everything they’ve done so far.
Stubby shoots him again, twice. Rinn stabs at him again (getting one strike in), tells him in Cant (hoping maybe to get the assassin to stand down- who knows?) “You took the wrong job!”
The assassin is obviously a thief, as he does reply back in Cant – “I’m not the one who took the wrong job!” And goes after Stubby again- missing, as he yells (back in Common) “For Vasselheim!”
Tam catches the man’s voice- she recognises it, from somewhere here in the last day or so. Someone from New Vasselheim, but she can’t quite place who. Yet.
Stubby fires at the assassin again (hitting both times), also yelling in Cant for him to stop. But this assassin is STILL not stopping. Rinn has sort of had enough here- he tosses one of his daggers to the side, flicks a clenched fist open and grabs the assassin with Shocking Grasp. Again, he’s hoping this will be subtle enough not to be noticed- and maybe enough to stop this guy. The electricity shocks through the assassin (and thunder rumbles in a clear sky).
But it’s still not enough. The assassin goes for one more slash towards Stubby, then reaches to grab one last dagger- (It seems at this point the guy is looking to kill himself-)
Or he tries to. Rinn grabs his arm, Tam grabs the dagger, and they have him. Tam holds the dagger up threateningly into the man’s crotch, telling him “I wouldn’t”- but apparently the guy would, and he steps into it. (wince)
As Rinn is racking his brain on the possibility of how to handle getting rid of a body, Tam and Stubby quickly stabilize the assassin, and then tie him up. Rinn quickly gathers up all the guy’s weapons, getting them out of reach just in case (and gathers up his own, quickly wiping the blood off of them). They then manage to drag the man into the Embassy courtyard, and Tam sends Stubby off to go get them some extra help- from the Xhorhasian Embassy! They also more securely tie up the assassin (Tam had used her hair wrap before, she now gets it back), and she also does quick Healing Word on Rinn, which… wasn’t expected, on his part. (It does enough to stop the bleeding, and probably deal with the poison.)
Stubby returns quickly enough to see exactly who the assassin is, who had the voice Tam recognised –
And it’s the man who ran the Apple-Dart booth at the festival, named Abe. (Rinn KNEW Stubby showing off was a bad idea!) Abe spits out that since the Empress wants Stubby alive, then he (Abe) wanted her dead. Obviously Stubby must be in cahoots with the Empress.
Then the backup shows up – Ambassador Krynn from the Xhorhasian Embassy, along with a guard. (The guard eyes Rinn, sighs, and hands over a healing potion. Rinn accepts it (after a moment) with a muttered ‘Thanks’, and after a few more moments of debate uses it- and is back to normal except for a bloody shirt in dire need of mending- armor probably as well.)
The Ambassador pulls out a candle- and though it looks purple and glittery, seems to work the same way the ones the Vonns’ had and used. (Anti-scrying, etc.) They can all talk safely, and that means questioning Abe – who seems convinced that the Empress plans to use Stubby (as an experiment?) to further her nefarious goals, and if he can kill Stubby, he can thwart the Empress. Afterall, other people that arrived in the city with her are now working for the Empress, right? (Tunk and Bob.) Tam points out that though they (Tunk and Bob) were with them, they weren’t with them. Abe isn’t quite convinced. Afterall, supposedly they just all dropped in via magic- And Rinn speaks up, saying that they did. He was out there near Old Vasselheim, and saw the Far Rangers deal with the group. (Abe does believe him!)
Tam, since the moment they got Abe tied up, has been talking to him, and now Ambassador Krynn helps her out. They do manage to convince Abe (and hopefully through him the rest of the Thieves Guild – seems that NO ONE likes/trusts the Empress here, imagine that) that Stubby is not working with or for the Empress, in fact, the Empress would like Stubby’s family dead. (As well as the whole of Whitestone.) The Ambassador also shames him for attacking children, (Rinn scowls/rolls his eyes a bit), and shames him for also getting defeated by said children.
Tam wonders if it’s possible that the Empress could be a different soul into this body, (namely Delilah Briarwood). Krynn says it’s possible, but she (and others) would have noticed it. So it’s not that. At this moment, there’s still no idea why the Empress picked the name ‘Briarwood’, and why she has this hate-on for the deRollos and Whitestone. (And it seems that she does know who Stubby is! Which at this point, can’t be blamed on Rinn.)
Anyways, Abe is convinced, and it’s decided to deliver him back to the Guild and let the Guild deal with him and this new information. (Rinn does get to ask quickly what Abe meant by Rinn not supposed to be there- and simply, Abe thought he was there early enough before Rinn should have shown up. Is 7am really that early for people?) The X Embassy guard, Geralt, knows where to take Abe and hauls him up, (covering Abe’s tied hands with a cloak/jacket, perp walk!), and takes him out. Tam does give Abe back one of his daggers, saying no one should go unarmed. (Gerald also pushes a healing potion on Abe, and it looks like he also used a bit of Prestidigitation to clean the assassin up.)
Krynn confirms that there aren’t any ships heading to Tal Dorei- or anywhere, for that matter. (Nor Skyships.) The few ships and boats that have been traveling to southern Issylra have not returned. (Rinn is really starting to wonder how he got here safely.) For all her talk about not wanting to be isolated, the Empress is pretty good at keeping people from leaving.
She mentions a few others that had been involved in the rebellion leading up to the One Day War with Lydia, Ryo, and Victor- Kruell, a Tortle, Arkin, a dragonborn, and a gnome that had worked with Victor. And for all that there had been that falling out with the (pre) Empress and Victor, she named a Fort after him, one located halfway between here (NV) and Pyrah. Fort Victor.
The Empress is fascinated with OV, and is trying to get people to go there – but people under her control, it seems. The Cobalt Soul (another group that doesn’t trust the Empress, fancy that), has sent people out to OV to look around for things, but a lot of them haven’t come back. A few who do come back crazy and/or sick- and Krynn thinks this effect has more to do with the Empress rather than OV. Stubby uses Messenger to mention ‘Blue Sick’ to Krynn- and Krynn smiles slowly and proudly like a teacher with a brilliant student. (And for any of you out there attracted to femme-presenting people, damn Krynn is striking. Even at 7am in the morning, before coffee!)
While they have a good source of information, the rest of the morning, and a good amount on the candle left, Tam and Stubby bring out the Flynn Stone, since they had been talking about possession earlier. Krynn takes a look (magically) on it (Identify?), and goes white- or at least as white as a drow can go. It’s pre-Calamity, the soul of the mage/wizard in it is powerful, and she would put the whole thing in a lead box, encase it in stone, put it in another lead box, more stone, bury it as deep in the earth as possible, and wipe her own memory clean of where it was, and would still worry. (Rinn can’t argue with all of this, even though the idea of a memory wipe gives him the heebie jeebies.)
The only safe place she can think of to put it at this moment (aside from keeping it away from the Empress because omg that would be bad), would be the ziggurat under Whitestone. Krynn had had plans to visit there before all of this had happened. (OV blowing up, magic going wonky, no one able to leave.)
Phone home again
Stubby and Tam mention they have a plan for sending messages to her parents, and would Krynn like to talk to them? She’s thrilled at the idea of sending a letter to them as well- but no. Stubby and Tam meant the communication stone, and Rinn helps haul it out of Tam’s Bag of Holding. Tam activates it, and a moment later the face of a gnome appears, with white hair up in fun buns- who Stubby gleefully greets as “Aunt Pike!” Pike (along with Grog, who’s conked out asleep, they can hear him snoring) took the late night watch on the stone, waiting for another contact from Stubby and co. (They tried scrying on the stone to locate them, but objects in Bags of Holding are farther away than they appear. Un-scry-able.) Pike runs off to get Stubby’s parents- apparently Percy joined them in Emon. And when he (and Vex) finally show up, years of worry seem to drop away from Percy’s face upon seeing his missing daughter now safe and sound (for the moment).
A few more introductions are made all around, but with both of Stubby’s parents there, Tam is struck by something. She quickly sketches something out, and holds up a quick portrait of the Empress- and damn doesn’t she look related to the deRollos? Just more human looking than half-elf? She looks a lot like the second-oldest daughter- but one of the older siblings just barely had twins. (Stubby is now an aunt!) So how could this be?
(Rinn, not knowing Percy and Vex, his first thought on the matter are ‘bastard’, but he thankfully doesn’t say it- and the Empress looks like a mix of both of them, so that doesn’t work.) But, the Empress is obsessed with dunamancy, time magic- and wouldn’t that explain things? Which he does mention. (If Stubby and Tam could be tossed 80 years into the future, then back nearly to the same time (just 5 years off), it makes sense to him that this could happen to someone else.) Though it still doesn’t quite explain why the Empress has a grudge against Vox Machina, the group that defeated Vecna and saved Vasselheim- which is the first Rinn has had ‘that group of heroes’ identified. “Vhat sort of family is zhis?”
As for the letters, Keyeth has been having some difficulty. She tried sending a letter in a lead box through the Sun Tree in Whitestone, only to have it yeeted back at her (hitting her in the head and knocking her out, though the Sun Tree apologized). Getting things to NV (and Issylia in general) doesn’t seem to work. But hopefully they still might be able to send things from NV, and plans are made to conference through the stone tomorrow (dinner time NV time), while local-Vicky (druid) works with the tree at the TD Embassy and Keyeth works with the one in Whitestone. So hopefully…
They manage to make these plans, and then a sleeping Grog wakes himself up by releasing a totally natural Noxious Gas Cloud. He is overjoyed to see Stubby, and in his enthusiasm triggers the stone off- or the time was up naturally, who knows?
What a morning! Tam offers coffee to Krynn, who accepts (though mentions she’d take something stronger if they had it), and there is more planning. Tam asks about her and Stubby (and Rinn!) staying at the X Embassy. (Though Rinn tries to point out that he lives at the Take, so…?) Krynn mentions it might be suspicious, but they can certainly visit. Especially if Tam and Stubby are to see about learning a bit of dunamancy and other magics. (Like how to make those candles.) Tam also got a message back from her ‘Mother’ (head of her teaching school), that she can perform musically, etc- just to be careful about what she does here in NV, where they may not know or understand her skills.
After all this, Ambassador Krynn takes her leave, leaving these three to figure out how to handle the rest of the morning after what already seems like a long day.
And Rinn has to figure out what he’s going to be doing now…
Notes: At the end of this session, all characters went up a level! To level 4. (Rinn Sorcerer3/Rogue 1.)