29 Brussendar (Whelsen/Wednesday) (one week later) 845 PD
The day before, a note was delivered to the TD Embassy for Rinn, requesting him for a meeting at the Take early the next day (breakfast!). However, before even that early hour…
Stubby has a dream. In it, she sees her mother, Vex- but a much older Vex, similar to the one she saw when they were 80 years in the future. However, this Vex is wearing a set of odd robes of a brownish red, and is humming as she sits in a room, with chalk markings and symbols on the floor around her. (Stubby has seen runes like this before, Gilmore has done them. They’re magical.) Vex cackles, and draws another rune. They flare green (evil green), and another voice joins in. “I can help you.” Then Vex turns to look at where Stubby ‘is’, and Vex has Vecna’s eye! She then points at Stubby (with Vecna’s hand). Stubby goes frozen, and is starting to be pulled towards Vex, but then a dark shadow gets between her and her mother. The form speaks in a male voice “No. Not this.” The form throws his arms out, and raven wings extend to shield Stubby. It’s Vax, who tells her “Remember this name- Kas.”
And she wakes up, panicked. There’s barely a bit of light in the sky, dawn is still some time off. She scribbles things down in a notebook, (Tāmarai, sharing a room with her, doesn’t wake up), grabs her gauntlet and cloak, and runs out to head to the Raven Queen temple in the Westways district nearby.
Rinn does hear the front door shut, and that wakes him up. He slides the wall/door between the two rooms open to see that Stubby’s gone (though looking more like she left, rather than was taken), and Tāmarai is still asleep. He hurriedly pulls on some clothes, whisper-shouting at Tāmarai to wake up- and she finally does after he tosses a pillow at her. Tāmarai spots a raven feather on the blankets where Stubby was, and figures out where she would have gone. The gnome gets dressed in record time, and she and Rinn both head out quickly to the temple as well.
Stubby makes her way to the RQ temple. (She spots Lightning Tetsuo making his way with a ladder, extinguishing the street lamps.) At the temple, some of the acolytes are up and about. She slips in and goes to the courtyard in the back where the ravens usually hang up. There’s a copper bowl there that she made as a gift, filled with water and a floating compass on it. She gives it a spin, and it spins… and does not point north. It goes dark, and the water in the bowl turns to blood. The sky darkens, and Stubby hears a (female) voice behind her. “Why are you so scared?” She turns around, and sees a woman all in black armor, wearing a cloak, face shrouded. The woman is a bit see-through, as if she’s not all there. She’s smiling faintly, not a cheerful smile, but the smile of someone who’s seen it all and knows the answers. But it’s not unkind, and she seems curious.
Who else can this be but the Raven Queen?
Stubby bows, and tries to gather her thoughts. “Hi. Um. I had a dream. Vax was there, were you?”
“My champion, yes. He beseeched me to watch over you. I have allowed it. But why are you scared?”
“Well, I saw my mom. But not my mom. Vax’s-”
“I’m aware of who your mother is. You saw a shadow of a time that was. You were in and out of time, and it has affected the ripples of the world.”
“Actions are not without consequences. Life needs death. But things we alter have implications that you could never dream of. Did he warn you?”
Stubby pulls out her notebook. “There was a voice that spoke with my mom, but then he got in the way.”
“What did the voice say? The voice that was through your mother but perhaps not.”
She checks her notes. “A cackle, then ‘I can help you’, then I got sucked closer, and Vax stepped in, and said to remember this name, Kas.”
“Then you must remember that name, and hold it fast. Great damage was done to OV. Our powers here are difficult, due to these magics that have been unleashed. You will find many temples here, but their gods don’t always speak back to them.
“Do you choose my path like your uncle did? He did so under duress. Did your mother tell you the truth of his story?”
“Your uncle gave his life to me to bring back your mother. For that I asked only for his service, and he became my champion. But you are not your uncle, nor are you half (?). The paths ahead of you are your own. But if you choose to walk my paths, to uphold that life and death have their purpose and their meaning, steal from neither, then I will be with you in all things. Kas chose my path many years ago and I was with him and through him I worked miracles. You will not learn of him in NV, but you may learn of him in the ruins that were. If you are brave, go to my temple there, and I will speak to you again. You do not have to decide now. But if you do come to my temple, I will assume you have decided to walk alongside me. … Your friends are coming.”
And with a fluttering of wings, just as Tāmarai and Rinn are approaching the temple, a black swarm of ravens surround the temple, fly through it, and into the courtyard (hundreds of birds). Stubby hears Vax’s voice say “We are with you.” and then the birds take off and the sky clears- leaving lots of feathers behind, including one in Stubby’s hand that wasn’t there before.
Rinn and Tāmarai hurry through the temple, (Tāmarai tossing coins in the direction of the donation box), and make their way to the courtyard to see Stubby still standing there, trying to process everything. There is a quick check that she’s alright, and Stubby mentions her dream (?) and meeting. It seems clear that they do need to go to OV.
An acolyte brings out some tea for the three of them, but Rinn realizes he needs to get to the Take for his breakfast meeting. There’s no time to go home and try to straighten up (he got dressed in the dark and looks like it), so he hurries out then runs to the Take.
Meeting at the Take
As Rinn approaches the Take, he spots a familiar figure- Abe (the assassin). Abe looks very hang-dog, and is walking with a couple of other people (thieves guild), who look sternly unhappy. They don’t spot Rinn thankfully, because that would have been all sorts of awkward.
Inside the Take, there is a raucous celebration going on in the dining hall. It seems that one the the goliaths that works for the Take, Vimak Katho-Olavi, (often called ‘Dawncaller’, non binary, helps with armor repair and whatnot) has been promoted to Assistant Captain of Outside the Walls, replacing Vlad (who left). Adding to the overall cheer, as explained to Rinn by Pansy (Asst Captain for Inside the Wall, halfling who packs a goliath-sized punch into her halfling-sized body), is the deal/apology they just worked out with the Thieves Guild, ‘thanks’ to the mis-guided attack on Rinn. The Guild now owes the Take, and things are looking good for the monster hunters. Her ‘thank you’ slap on Rinn’s back nearly has him staggering, but she then points over to a quieter table where Otel is going over paperwork. Rinn heads over.
Otel has all sorts of documents, contracts, and whatnot spread out in front of him, as Rinn sits down across from him. Ma Kosti comes over, and then returns with some coffee and a small breakfast platter for the two of them. Otel mentions the bit with the Thieves Guild, and asks Rinn if there’s any particular details about it. Rinn hedges a bit, but mentions that Abe seems to have planned it for when he thought Rinn wouldn’t be there- so at least Abe was sort of trying to keep to the unofficial non-interference thing the Guild and the Take had going between them. As to the “why”, Rinn is vague, just that it seemed the Empress seemed to like Stubby and Tāmarai, so that’s why Abe (and the Guild) thought it best if those two were gone-
Otel mentions that he does know who Stubby is, (and about the deRollos and Briarwoods), and that it’s pretty much an open secret in some circles about that bit of information. (Rinn plans an ‘I told you so” for Stubby about this.)
On to the contracts. Rinn had asked for information for Stubby, regarding some of the creatures she and Tāmarai (and the others) had dealt with in Ravina, but whatever price list the Take had for miscellaneous creatures is gone now. As for the subcontract to go out to OV- is Rinn sure about that? The Take has very little information about things out there, and the few people (usually Cobalt Soul) who’ve gone out there, a lot of them don’t return, or don’t return right. Crazy. And in his (Otel’s) opinion, Rinn is risking a lot to go out there. So if he starts hearing things, or feels like he’s being watched, to return straight away, and Otel will deal with any ‘breach of contract’ that occurs because of it- Rinn is worth more than that. If Rinn can go there, however- any map info (Otel has a copy of OV, pre-blow up, map for Rinn, that he can add to) – would be worth a lot. Plus a list of any monsters etc seen about in the ruins, so the Take knows what sort of contracts they can do. And as for supplies, Otel hands Rinn a document, a notarized authorization so he can get supplies at the Take’s usual 5% discount. Otel also mentions, with the trip to OV taking a couple of days, he’d plan on leaving first thing in the morning, spend one night on the road there, then spend the second night outside the city before going in the next day.
And then, off of Take business. Otel asks Rinn what he knows about him- Rinn mentions that he knows Otel was with the take before OV blew up. Otel points out that it’s pretty obvious that he’s not from around here (drow), and that he did come with the Xhorhasian contingent – and he originally entered the Take to gather information. He had been looking for something that they think is still in the ruins of OV- a Luxon. Now, he still tries to get information together, and watches for people in the city who are connected to the Luxons and have been reborn, and helps them to get the help they need to deal with it.
As for looking for the Luxon in OV… Otel mentions Tāmarai, and that he knows her household. And while her motivations, as long as they align with Rinn’s, are fine, but if they don’t- people from her household can be smart and resourceful. (Rinn isn’t sure how to take all of this, and keeps quiet on it. He’s starting to trust Tāmarai, so he’s not sure how right Otel is on all of this- a person is not their family or household, afterall.) But, Otel would take it as a great favor- for himself, not for the Take- that if something Xhorhasian is found in OV, if Rinn would tell him. Rinn non-committedly nods.
And that is pretty much it. Rinn gives Otel a nod, and stands to leave. (He does notice Otel using magic for the contracts- the basic spell that helps enforce people to keep to what they’ve signed.) Back to the RQ temple where he left Tāmaraiand Stubby.
Stubby and Tāmarai at the RQ Temple
(Rinn gets updated as to what happened while he was gone.)
Meanwhile, back at the RQ Temple, Stubby apologizes again to Tāmarai for running off. Tāmarai says it’s alright, just please wake her next time. An acolyte brought the three of them some tea earlier, Stubby goes to return the tray.
The acolyte asks if everything was alright. Stubby hedges a bit, then mentions she was told she needs to go to Raven’s Crest (old RQ temple in OV). “Did she (RQ) tell you this?” Stubby nods- and the acolyte pays off some money to another- apparently a bet was made. Stubby mentions Vax- but then covers and says he had been an acolyte ages ago at Raven’s Crest. She mentions some of the old other temples (the Everlight one that had been found), and finds that the acolyte’s grasp of history is shaky at best. (Kept thinking Pike’s name was ‘Puck’.) Stubby does mention that she had a dream, causing the acolyte to ask her to wait, and they head to go get someone- a very tall elf (with a bit of a beard shadow, what an accomplishment!), named Gleason, who is head of the priests at the RQ temple. She and Tāmarai sit and talk with him- after being asked, he’s quick to reassure them they can’t be spied on, he has an amulet that can shield them. (There’s only a few of these.)
Stubby tells him about meeting the RQ, and that she’s supposed to go to Raven’s Crest in OV, and does he have any information that can help her? It’s a bit of a shock, but Gleason believes her. He had wondered what the big thing with the ravens was this morning, thought the ‘Old Man’ (oldest raven there) had been causing some trouble. He’s a bit shocked at Stubby’s plans to go to OV, but figures if the RQ invited them, it must be safe. Gleason also knows the Identify version spell that Local-Vic did, and sees that the two of them are covered in dunamancy magic, so that rumor about how these two appeared (and the others) must be true.
(The rest still in progress)