Ad Astra Per Arcana

Katya's Journal Part 23 - The world's a stage

...and we are merely players.

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The Clerks Ward is relatively quiet on a typical drizzly afternoon. We head to the Civic Fest Hall for a relatively safe haven (according to Hodey) and come face to face with Hodey once again… but this time with a pair of Kobold girls on each arm and tickets for a bardic performance tonight.

“Ildrun Velvet-tongue? Fantastic!” exclaims Garan as he looks at the tickets. “I’ve been hearing about him for a few years now, but never got to see him. We’ve just got to go, cousin!”

“We’ll talk about it…” I mumble as I look around the crowd nervously. Thankfully here in Sigil just about anyone can fit in, as tieflings, fiends, celestials and aasimar are plentiful in this part of town.

“Hey, there’s the Portaljammer Bar. Isn’t that cool…. it’s made out of a hammership! Let’s go there!” exclaims Constance happily.

“There really isn’t much else we can do but wait,” Garan agrees. I’ve already started the process of paperwork needed to set up a meeting with Esteban…"

“…and we can’t exactly just walk right up to the Rule of Three either,” I finish with a resigned sigh. “Fine… let’s go get some drinks and we’ll go to this show tonight.” Constance and Garan cheer as they walk ahead and I continue to scan the crowd. “Maybe if we’re lucky our presence will bring some of these people out of the woodwork and we can find out what’s really going on,” I mutter to myself.

“Hey, the Green Briar is across the street… they say that you can get divine cider made by the goddess of the Halfings there!” says Hodey as he points to a quaint looking bar nearby.

“Have you noticed the size of the door?” asks Wayland. “I think you’re the only one who can get drinks there.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Eventually it is agreed that Constance, Wayland and I will get drinks at the Portaljammer Bar where we can all get in without stooping, while Kargat tries to get some contract work done and Hodey conducts some business for crafting supplies. Bars aren’t just great places for drinks, though… they’re quite useful for information too. While Constance and the others are in their cups, I mill about the bar until I find a suitable target who might be more than willing to spill any information they know if they’re “nudged” hard enough. I may not be big like Wayland… but I know how to put the fear into someone.

Thankfully my task is made easier by the appearance of a fallen half-elf paladin from a backwater Prime world drinking away his sorrows in a corner. Those religious types… it doesn’t take much to push them even farther over the edge… and after a little cajoling I’m able to learn that he recently hired some arsonists from a group of mephits to burn down our ship… all because his mysterious boss wanted to kill off a descendent of some obscure human sorcerer.

Wait… the Rule of Three is the one who hired that mephit… which means that he wants to kill Constance because she’s related to the Sapphire Mage? Why? And why is he not the only group wanting this meeting to never happen? First the Harmonium cops… and now this!

As I’m pondering the situation I can’t help but get the feeling that I’m being watched… and my paranoia pays off as I catch a glimpse of a githzyrai in monk clothing observing me directly in the crowd before he disappears. Oh, this is not good… not good at all.

Eventually we all meet up again for dinner at the Fountain Bar in the Lady’s Ward for seafood. A small cloaked figure comes up to Hodey while we’re waiting for our waitress and whispers into his ear.

“Well? What gives?” asks Wayland.

“My new friend there told me that someone is out for my friends.” Hodey reveals.

“Tell you what, Constance…” I fiddle with the Chameleon Ring on my finger and pull it off with a sigh. “Seeing as my appearance is accepted here… and yours is quickly becoming persona non grata… how about you where this and disguise yourself while you’re here?”

Constance’s face lights up as she holds her hand out for the ring. “That’s very kind of you, thank you!”

“Of course… you won’t mind signing a lease contract, right? I have to protect my investment… you understand.”

Hodey giggles into his glass and Wayland’s eyes visibly glaze over at the thought of be talking about legal matters again. Constance huffs for a moment, but reluctantly agrees and I hand over the ring. “That’s only visual, now… if someone bumps up against you they’ll be able to tell that it’s an illusion.”

“I don’t like this place,” mutters Hodey. “We need to go somewhere where they serve Koblods just like they do everyone else.”

“Just so long as we don’t have to stoop to get in and sit on tiny chairs,” jokes Wayland.

We finish our meal and head over to The Sullied Angel for after-dinner drinks, and I leave Omen on a perch outside the door to watch for trouble. That… and I don’t need a crowd of hungry Kobolds leaping about the place because of a “black chicken.” While the drinks are reminiscent of Troll’s Piss on a good day, I’m rather impressed with their array of hot sauces. I end up buying one just for Tielfings… apparently it’s made with Gehennan Rot Peppers and would cause someone without our usual resistances some serious internal issues. We partake of venison from the beastlands and actual angel food cake before stumbling back out into the damp night air.

“3rd floor! Stranger watches!” caws Omen as he flies up to a 3rd floor balcony across the street.

“Come on, guys… let’s check it out!” I say as I whip out my wand and activate a Mage Armor spell.

“But… the show! We’ll miss our seats!” whines Hodey and Kargat together.

There’s a sharp pain in my chest as I feel the pain of my familiar suddenly being struck down. “SEE! SEE!” I hiss at them all angrily, my hair whipping about me. “This is all your fault!” I take off into the air and catch my beloved raven before he drops to the ground… cooing to the injured bird as I cradle him in my arm.

Hodey whips out his “Healing Ray” and covers Omen in an oily concoction that while healing him, doesn’t do much to help him fly at the moment. Note to self… make sure they use stain remover on blouse when the staff of the Bubber Saint does laundry tomorrow.

“Who hurt you, my sweet?” I ask it gently.

“Elf woman… hurt bad…” it moans before tucking its head under a wing.

I tuck him securly behind me with my braids and grab Hodey by the collar before flying up towards the 3rd floor, while Wayland and Constance head for the stairs. A splatter of webbing comes shooting down from above that I barely dodge, quickly followed by a blast of lightning that crackles through the air and strikes Kargat and singes Hodey as he activates his Haste Machine.

I make it up to the 3rd floor balcony, but can’t make out the location of the elf woman that hurt my Omen. All I can see is a blur of movement out of the corner of my eye when suddenly a ray of fire shoots out past me setting a baker’s stand on fire across the street while another one hits Wayland in the chest. Thankfully his natural resistances should help… as I’m more interested in causing this creature lasting pain than healing anyone right now. My braid quickly lashes out at the location where the blast came from and I can feel the satisfaction of a thud as I hit paydirt. Constance soon follows suit with a spell and the blur curses as it drops something from its burning hands.

Wayland’s muscles bulge as Kargat’s spell kicks in, but I’m not about to give him the satisfaction as I pull out my favorite spell component and let loose a lightning bolt of my own that causes the blur to scream as it drops to its knees in pain. When the whisps of smoke and the blur fades we’re left with a female elf sporting Harmonium colors looking at me rather… oddly with a dreamy smile on her face.

“You’re so beautiful …I think I love you…”

“What the…” my wonderings at the oddities of magic are cut short, however, as the sky bursts open with a freezing drizzle of sleet and hail that pelts at us all. “The Hell is going on?” I shout angrilly as Omen squawks, “Necklace!” before burrowing deeper under my cloak.

“Please…if you love me…” I beg the elf woman loudly as I huddle under my cloak, “would you please stop ths spell?”

“What? Oh… of course, my love…” the elf woman mumbles happily as she removes the necklace and throws it to the ground.

“Thank you,” I sigh as the storm disappears. “Now… why in the hells did you attack us?” I have no idea why my magic decided to charm this woman… but I am not one to look a gift elf in the mouth.

“My faction ordered me to keep an eye on the girl…” Again with Constance! Seriously… we need to have a talk with that girl. I’m about to ask her more questions when the elf’s smile starts to fade and she shakes her head violently.

“Uh-oh… I think our time’s up,” Constance warns as she touches the elf woman on the shoulder and removes her from the time stream for a few seconds. I position myself so that when she reappears I’m able to restrain her with my braids long enough for Wayland to carve through her reinforced armor like a hot knife through butter.

“Crap… it’s the Sons of Mercy!” Hodey warns as he hears a ruckus below and looks over the balcony. “Time to get out of there…”

“I’m not about to miss this show now,” replies Constance as she pulls out her Wayfinder and motions for everyone to gather close. Hodey and I make sure not to leave any traces on the elf woman first, of course… and then Constance activates her device and transports us to the Ethereal Plane.

“A little busier than I’d like,” says Constance as she looks around at others with the similar idea of escaping the crowds through an alternate plane, “but it will do in a pinch. Now come on, let’s go!”

The Treasure from the Harmonium Elf:

  • Potion of Cure Serious Wounds (Wayland)
  • Wand of False Life (Kargat)
  • +2 Darkwood Armor Shirt (aka chainmail AC) (Connie)
  • +1 Elven Curve Blade (Connie)
  • Cloak of Resistance +1 (Kargat)
  • Ring of Counter Spells – bonded item aka item familiar – Spell in there currently is Dispel Magic (me)
  • Pouch of Holding (Hodey)
  • inside is a slender book covered in dragon hide – spell book. (me)
    SPELLBOOK: Alarm, DISPEL MAGIC, HOLD PERSON , Invisibility, LEVITATE, True Strike, and Scorching Ray.
  • Amulet – held contingency effect if wearer suffered any sort of mental effect or enchantment.

~~~~~

We eventually make it to our seats and don’t switch back to our normal state until we get there; much easier than stepping on toes and tails along the way.

“I still say I should be keeping an eye on things from the rafters,” I whisper. “I mean look what happened outside!”

“Sssh! Watching the show!” Hodey hisses back.

I roll my eyes and stick out my tongue at the Kobold and almost bite it as I notice that githzyrai again. Crap! I try to nudge Hodey and point him out, but he just hushes me and points to the stage.

The show is rather long, but eventually the lights come up again and we walk through the crowds to exit the theatre.

“Hey… did you guys see that githzyrai arguing with a one-horned goat centaur? And here I thought I’d seen everything…” Kargat jokes.

That’s the githzyrai I was trying to point out to you, Hodey! I think that was the Rule of Three!”

“And I would’ve listened to you if you wouldn’t have tried to talk to me during the play,” he replies.

“Well I guess you weren’t paying attention either, because it was a musical performance, not a play,” I laugh.

“Either way, I think we should head back to the ship,” says Constance. “It’s been a long day.”

Nods and groans of agreement lead to us making our way back to the Clerk’s Ward and the bar that is now closed. “Thankfully there are ways around that,” Connie jokes as she activates her Wayfinder again and we walk into the bar through the Ethereal Plane.

“Get me… I’m the Giff who walks through walls!” Wayland chuckles.

Constance slaps some coins on the counter and grabs a bottle from behind the bar. “While we’re here… I could use a drink.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Eventually we make it back through the streets of Waterdeep to our ship. By the time we do, however, most of the bottle Constance picked up has been emptied by the rest of the group… and their drunken behavior soon focuses on our hapless new cook as Constance decides everyone should have pancakes.

I just have to shake my head and laugh as they all come rushing out of the poor gnome’s bedroom as he screams. “What are you doing in my room? Get out or I’ll quit!”

“Seriously… you guys need to sleep it off. Constance, I took the liberty of casting some wards around your room and keyed it to everyone but you and Wayland for your safety.”

Constance smiles and nods in appreciation as Wayland does his best to hide his blush. “I’ll camp outside your door just to be safe, Connie.”

Everyone sleeps safely through the night and all seems well as we make our way to the galley for breakfast… only to find that our cook has been waiting for us.

“HERE’S YOUR BLASTED PANCAKES!”

Suddenly we’re forced to dodge as fluffy frisbees of food coated in syrup come flying through the air at us. Connie gets smacked upside the face with one that she eats cheerfully and by the time he’s done everyone is laughing and feeling very sticky when he stomps off cursing under his breath.

“Hodey…” I mutter as I look around to find at least…1..2..13…14… 17 different Kobolds scrambling to pick up pancakes off the floor. “Just how many of these are your kids?” I reach into my pack and pull out a spray bottle that I promptly use to make them scatter… leaving little sticky footprints in their wake.

Eventually we’re all cleaned up and sobered up after our adventures from the night before and head back to Sigil for some more investigating. At least I’m investigating anyway… I think Hodey is on a quest to try and sell some of his contraptions and Constance has gone off to find some of that divine ale form the Green Briar Inn. I eventually come across a drunken githyanki who is kind enough to let me know a rather important tidbit of information: when the Rule of Three is in Sigil (which is where he’s been for the past decade, he likes to assume the form of an unassuming Githzari. I also discovered that the Harmonium, along with the other factions, were exiled from Sigil two years ago. If they came here they came from Arcadia… and it must have been with a purpose if they were willing to go up against the Lady of Pain’s ruling.

Once I make it back to the ship I head to the bar to reveal the news about the Rule of Three… when I meet someone most unexpected there instead. He’s just under 6ft tall with short spiked brown hair and he’s mostly human looking… if it weren’t for the slightly translucent skin and the large spiked mace hanging from his belt.

“Excellent! Well met, Cousin!” he says with a smile as he holds his arms wide.

I squint at the visitor as I wrack my brain reviewing my long list of relatives. I think I recognize him… swear I’ve seen his face… but I think his family fled to the Prime long ago. What was his name…

“Theridon? Is that you? I haven’t seen you since the family reunion!”

“In the flesh,” he replies as he bows and tosses a scroll in my direction that solidifies in my grasp. “I have been sent here to let you know that you’re all being played.”

“No shit,” I chuckle wryly as I read over the scroll.

“If you can find the things listed on the scroll,” he continues, “you can overdrive your helm and find the Citadel on the Edge of Time.”

“That’s where your grand-dad is…right?” I mutter to Constance in a staged whisper as I go over the list. Everyone else is trying to prevent her from meeting the Sapphire Mage… and now suddenly someone wants us to meet him? When aren’t we being played?

“Oh really?”

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DungeonMasterLoki Kenari_Sanura

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