20 Brussendar (Miresen/Monday) 845 PD
Outside New Vasselheim in the Wilds.
It’s Rinn’s day off after a job (searching for a lost child), and that morning he goes downstairs in the Slayer’s Take headquarters to hear Valdesoc Zorjurn (“Vlad”, second in command of Outside-The-Wall) talking with Otel Tasithar (overall Second in Command), saying he needs to head towards the Old Vasselhiem area- his ancestors (he is a cleric of his ancestors, very odd) are demanding it for some reason. Otel doesn’t want Vlad to go alone, and seeing Rinn he offers him the job (day’s pay) to go with him on what should be an easy jaunt. Rinn doesn’t like not having something to do, so he agrees and heads out in a cart with Vlad.
It’s an easy (almost boring) trip out there, but soon they come across a group of Far Ranger Guards, keeping their distance while their leader (Newt Boatman) talks to a group of six very odd looking people (plus a couch, of all things). Another dragonborn, a human, bugbear (!), short half-elf, very short gnome, and Bob. (Humanish? Changeling?) They seem just as puzzled as to where- and when!- they are as Newt is about who they are, but Vlad recognizes one of them and jumps off the cart and goes running. Turns out the other dragonborn, Cembiten, is a long lost family member! (So his ancestors were right after all, fancy that.) It’s a happy reunion, and Vlad is keen on the idea of just up and taking Cembiten to a dragonborn settlement near what remains of Pyrah, where the rest of their family is. Cembiten is fine with that, but then wants to take Jerimiah (the human) with the two of them as their protege – they’ve given Jerimiah a book, taught him, he understands, and all that.
Newt isn’t sure about all this, and uses a sending stone to report in- and then stands up to attention, addressing the air formally. Vlad, Cembiten, and Jerimiah are free to go to the settlement. The others are to be escorted (nicely!) into the city, and then to the palace.
Jeremiah is fine with going with the two dragonborn – he’s tired of war, is sick of what he’s done, and wants to do better. Before they head off, Tāmerai (the gnome) sings a farewell song, and the trio head off.
Newt assigns one of the newer rangers to escort the others back to New Vasselheim, and offers Rinn a day’s pay to help haul them all back as well, especially since he still has the cart. He was going to be heading back anyways, so why not?
Then for an added bit of weirdness, when he’s trying to figure out if this includes that couch as well, it turns into an imp and flies up onto Bob’s shoulder. Rinn is NOT EVER sitting on that ‘couch’.
The ranger/guard assigned for this job is a green newbie named Frank, who after he tries to ask all the newcomers questions, gets maneuvered into explaining New Vasselheim to the group which he’s just fine with doing, being a font of information (and talking and talking and talking). Which thankfully means Rinn doesn’t have to answer too many questions. Frank explains the rebellion, and the special handwave of the movement (last two fingers tucked in, thumb, pointer and middle extended). He also mentions the name of the Empress, Lydia Briarwood. Stubby had seen her device on a banner being carried by one of the rangers as well, and quickly messages everyone in her group to NOT call her by name. The Briarwoods tried to kill off her father’s family, being a ‘de Rolo’ here might be dangerous.
The way back to New Vasselheim is pretty boring, (hurrah for a nat 20 to NOT encounter anything dangerous), except for running into one of the druids from former-Pyrah, who Stubby (half-elf) greets enthusiastically before the druid takes his (polite) leave. (She also whispers a message for him to convey to Keyleth, leader of the Air Ashari- that she is back, and to watch the dragon stones for message.)
Into the City and the Palace
Into the city, and when they get to the inner city walls the group is stopped by one of the city guards who says Frank can go back to the barracks, the guard will take the cart (making sure it gets back to the Take safely), but ‘Master Shrike’ is asked to escort the group the rest of the way to the palace. (Does he need a guide to get there? Hah, no.) Rinn’s on edge, not liking being on any-sort-of-name-basis with anyone or anything to do with the palace, but he doesn’t really have much choice in the matter. He escorts the group (who’ve been looking around the newly-built city) to the surprisingly modest palace.
There’s a guard waiting for them who greets Rinn by name again, (seriously, this isn’t good), and escorts them in where they’re greeted by an elf, Ryo Yelmoira, Master of Secrets. Spymaster. He knows the newcomers by name, (the names they gave Newt), Bob, Tunk, Stubby, and Tāmarai, and as they said to Newt, that they were from Tal Dorei by way of Draconia and somehow arrived here. Very well, and he escorts them to see… the Empress.
It’s a large, fancy room. Seemingly empty, though Rinn spots some discreetly hidden guards, which is to be expected. The Empress- a human woman, more striking/handsome than just ‘pretty’, in simple but high quality studded armor and mage robes, with just a circlet, is talking to a halfing who she dismisses saying they’ll speak later.
She greets the group friendly enough, and warmly, (not entitled or snobby at all), standing up and walking over to talk to them (and waving down her guards). (Rinn notices she has traces of a Dwendalian accent- faint, but it’s there- so he keeps his mouth shut, and keeps back.) She likes to meet new people who arrive in such an odd manner, and since they obviously didn’t plan on arriving here, perhaps they can help them get home? But teleportation isn’t working, there are no airships due, and who knows about the regular ships at this moment. Is there anyone (parents) that they can contact for the group to let them know they’re safe? Everyone there says ‘no’.
But the least she can do is help house them while they figure out what they’re doing, as the Empress is trying to work on New Vasselheim not being so cut off from everywhere. She says they’ll be taken care of, and the group is led out to talk to Ryo again. He mentions that since the group was originally from Tal Dorei they could stay in that Embassy, which is currently empty so it does have room for all of them. And then Rinn is politely cornered, and ‘offered’ the job to guide them, help them settle in, and so on. Ryo will talk to the Take to make sure there’s an official contract for all of this, and hands Rinn a purse to use for the group’s expenses. (250 GP, in mixed coins.)
They head out another door that leads directly to Embassy Row. The Cobalt Soul has a building there, and Tunk’s outfit seems to make sense now. He heads over there, while the rest head to the formerly-empty Tal Dorei Embassy. There’s already people heading in and out of it, doing a quick cleaning and bringing in bedding. Bob doesn’t care- his imp turns back into a couch, and Bob crashes for a nap right in the middle of the main room. Stubby and Tāmarai are hungry though, and with all the bustle in the building while it’s being cleaned, they decide to go out to get food.
A Quick Brunch
Rinn takes them to the Gracious Belly, a place back over in the Snow Water district (down the street from the Take.) He’s been there a few times already, and the waitress (an elf named Lizzie) greets him warmly, which seems to set off Stubby’s curiosity as they sit down to eat. She grills him a bit, and Rinn does his best to answer both truthfully and (very!) minimally. Thankfully it’s easy enough to answer questions about the Take that don’t involve anything personal – though just getting Rinn talking is enough for Tāmarai to pick up on his accent, and identify where he’s from (Marrow Valley, Dendwelian Empire, Wildemont!). She asks/comments on that, and Rinn closes up. She gathers that he doesn’t want to talk about it – and the bard has gathered enough information to figure out that Rinn is pretty much what he’s presenting as, truthfully – or he’s so skilled that he’s beyond her. (Money is on the former.)
Stubby’s also got a theory or two, and asks Rinn a question in thieves’ cant*, which he outright ignores, though she gets the idea that he knew exactly what she said.
The early lunch is over, so they pick up some hand pies for Bob and Tunk (a lot, considering bugbears), and head back towards the Embassy…
*Thieves’ cant – both fantasy and somewhat based in reality, thieves’ cant is a code language, used by those in the ‘varied trades’ (criminals of various types) to identify themselves to other thieves, discuss jobs, safe locations, other criminals, dangers, etc. Its made of slang terms and idioms, and can take a long time to discuss something that way than it can just saying it outright.
It can also use handsignals and whistles. (Like “I’m watching you” or “We’re being watched”.)
Other Notes: All the characters here are starting out at level 3. Rinn, being multiclass, is Sorcerer 2/Rogue 1, which still works out to being level three.