Monday, February 19, 2018

Desperate Resort - Crossroads Campaign - Sessions 5, 6, and 7

Character Journal

It seems that the first thing we would be tasked with in the course of our role as deva was with the ever present threat of paperwork and filing. Our tower came with a number of files on potential recruits and mercenaries, but they were filed somewhat oddly. Thankfully, we were provided with a assistant by the name of Tonwen, one of the Elliyons such as Wendelly is.
They are an interesting people, the Elliyons. According to the history I have heard they are descended from elves and gnomes. Apparently it was part of some last ditch effort involving a magical curse that acted as a plague and killed most of the tall folk on Wendelly's homeworld. There are a number of these people around the Center and apparently the city beyond is primarily populated by them. Judging from Tonwen's wide-eyed near expression when getting to meet an Elliyon deva, I guessed that they were mostly servants, and I would certainly see how right I was later.

Regardless, the interesting combination of elf and gnome results in a being that does not need sleep, similar to an elf, but also has the hyperactivity of a gnome. They are incredibly industrious and hard to keep up with, but also invaluable. Kelmar and myself were helping out with the filing project, but the majority of the progress was made during the off hours when Wendelly and Tonwen were attacking the task themselves. All told it took about three days to get the dossiers in some sort of reasonable order. (Tonwen and Wendelly told us they had been organized by height for some reason).

That task done, Kelmar took a trip to his own homeworld to see if his friend Nezeri was willing to come join us in our tower since we were now apparently sponsored by her god. She turned out to be a humanoid cheetah similar to the way Kelmar was a tiger. Also, I am given to understand that she had been expecting to be picked up some days prior and was apparently none to pleased to be left waiting while we sorted dossiers.
Nezeri - Cleric of Knowledge
With that sorted, we took to looking for someone to take our front ranks. Kelmar is certainly robust enough that he could hold the line at need, but he is far more effective as an archer. Wendelly and I are similar better able to operate from a distance. The addition of Nezeri gave us something of a front line, but a line of a single person is somewhat fragile. So we looked to the dossiers to find another person to fill that gap. My first thought would have been to look to Jones, but now that I'm in the employ of Istryx I doubt he'd be happy to work with me.

Looking through the dossiers, we hit upon four that seemed to fit with our criteria and a fifth that wasn't what we were looking for precisely but someone to consider for later. There was a warrior trained in defense and mounted combat within Myllary's Port, the town that had been pulled out of Wendelly's homeworld some ages past and brought here by accident. She was a noble Elliyon and part of a local knighthood which was a plus.

The other dossiers we'd found including a lizardfolk cleric from Kelmar's homeworld, but Kelmar immediately ruled that out. Seems that there'd been a history of warfare between the lizardfolk and Kelmar's people and he wasn't looking to work with the ancient enemies of his people. There was also a half-orc druid specialized in shape-shifting, and a human warrior who used religious mania to enter into some sort of berserk rage. The fifth was a trained infiltrator and though he was quite skilled, he wasn't what we needed for the moment. We settled on approaching the Elliyon cavalier by the name of Medi.

This led to some questions as to how we would hire her. Kelmar and Wendelly took some fair amount of currency from our job in the Catacombs, but I had opted for gear instead. Between us we didn't really have much money for the purposes of hiring and at the moment the only job we had was that of investigating Eastman's conspiracy. If this had been my homeworld, then Department 7 would have funded us on that, but we weren't there.

Fortunately, Tonwen and Wendelly told us that the Center provided funds to the towers for such matters. She didn't have any particular details however, so it was fortunate that Rhea appeared to provide us with a folio of magical contract papers and give us the explanation as to how matters work as regards to funding and the acquisition of jobs. It seems that there is a bit of a bounty board to go and a monthly stipend of about twenty-five hundred gold pieces.

Some discussion of prices and we settled that one hundred of that would go toward Tonwen's salary as well as other monthly upkeep expenses. She protested that the 60 gold monthly we were paying her was too high, but eventually acquiesced that she was certainly a very expert and valuable employee. I am somewhat new to the currency here, having used the Euro for the most part back home and barter in the Lost. But apparently that was well past the going rate for an expert worker.

Looking at the bounty board, we thought we should start with a job in Opali, Wendelly's home world and the world that Eastman's own house had been before the plague killed most of the humans. We were assured that the plague was no longer present and that there were still a handful of native tall-folk, as Wendelly referred to us, as well as visitors. There was only one real option but it was happily in a good position near the city of Teigh Dru which stood where Eastman's ancestors once lived. If anywhere was likely to have information about his origins, then it was there.
Kelmar was a bit hesitant to go on this mission and not sure it would help much, but Wendelly and I did point out that Istryx had tried to feed us hints in the Catacombs and that one of those hints was the crest of Eastman's old family. So it felt likely that some sort of clue might be found there. The other thing we happened upon was the coins from Sherran and that sketch of a landscape. But those we could look into later.

With a job in hand and finances worked out, we went to go look for Dame Medi. The city sat upon land overlooking a vast gap of nothing between it and the Center. A long bridge, notably with railings in defiance of George Lucas, extended over the void from the Center to Myllary's Port where water flowed out of a river from unknown realms and cascaded down in an endless waterfall to the depths below. It was a rather magnificent sight.
Myllary's Port
This is where the state of the Elliyons became dreadfully clear to me. Based on the history I had heard, the city had at one time been one of either elves or humans, but had been a last refuge for elves dying to this plague. Then it was left to their descendants, the half-elf, half-gnome Elliyon. So, by all accounts, this was their city. Their home. And yet, when we came to the central rich parts of town we found it mostly populated by humans, elves, dwarves, and other such races. The Elliyons we saw were mostly servants with only a few exceptions that walked among the nobility of the other races. Most of the Elliyon population of the town was shunted past the walls of this place living in shack villages on the extradimensional plain.

Growing up, I had been lucky to be on the "right" side of such a divide. My family had wealth and privilege. Some might point out that we were changelings and faced risk of death or worse should we be revealed, but that was largely unfounded. Maybe from those that didn't know about the Shadow, but among those aware of the world as it was, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary to even find a medusa in an art gallery. Though if said medusa turned out to be making sculptures of her visitors, that would provoke a response. In any case, I was a visitor here and things seemed peaceful. I doubted that they'd appreciate my meddling and given my current immortality, I had time to change matters slowly later, when outsiders weren't threatening to overthrow the pantheon.

We took position at an outdoor tavern or café near the gates leading out to the slums as we heard that Medi often patrolled through the poorer districts helping people as she could. They had an interesting cuisine in that they seemed able to produce whatever food you desired from any world. I asked for macha and blood sausage and was presented with dishes that were decidedly more authentic than I likely could have made myself. Wendelly had some sort of "salad" that seemed more like it was a sweet and sour style meat and fruit dish. Nezeri and Kelmar had simple meat dishes.

Kelmar tried to taste some of Wendelly's food but proved that Wendelly was rather enthusiastic about her food. He protested that he just wanted to see what it tasted like to which she responded that "It tastes like mine."

Unfortunately, even when Kelmar took to the high ground, we saw no sign of our potential employee and speaking to the waitress answered that Medi sometimes came by but that she hadn't been seen today. We decided to head for her estate and see if she was still at home. We arrived to find some guards nervously trying to placate a large white lion in heavy barding. The lion was easily recognized as Alwyn, Medi's mount. Kelmar and Nezeri both recognized the lion's speech and realized that he was trying to get the guards to follow him to the slums. Conversation with them proved that they were unwilling to go with us to see about the matter.

Following Alwyn, he told Kelmar, who relayed to us, that Medi had been visiting a family while Alwyn played with some local children. There was a cry and sound of struggle within. Alwyn responded and came in just in time to see them snapping a trap door closed in the building. Being unable to open the door, he came seeking help. Arriving, Wendelly was able to open the door easily and the lion was down like a shot.

The tunnels resembled something like a mine as we walked through them and made me wonder just what was under Myllary's Port and if it had been originally part of the city or if that had been pulled from some other world. Regardless, we soon found ourselves presented with groups of Elliyons armed with bows and weapons attacking us out of the shadows. I'd had a coin touched with a light spell in hand but even still, the fight was one that favored those that could see in the dark. Which was apparently everyone but me.

It occurs to me now that I have never seen a male Elliyon. I might have to ask about this at some point.

Regardless, the fight was touch and go in many places. Though I was able to scare one person off with the idea that we were werecats of some sort. Being able to change your shape is something of a blessing in that manner. All my comrades took severe injuries, with Nezeri and myself working to try and keep people healed. We pushed slowly to the back of the cave, trading arrows and gunshot, until those in my group could see Medi unconscious in a cage nearby.

The enemy had clustered around a bridge over a low and slow stream and their leader had been felled by arrows from Kelmar. I cast a spell of faerie fire over the scene and urged them to surrender rather than continue to add to the death toll. They slowly dropped their weapons and worked on recovering their fallen leader to keep her from dying. Unfortunately, one among them didn't realize what was happening and took a shot at Kelmar, nearly killing him. In response, Kelmar put an arrow through her head. In the end, three of our attackers died, including the one that I had chased away pretending to be a lycanthrope. Another of the lot had fled out the back tunnels into the dark somewhere, and I hope that won't be a problem later.
At first I had thought them to be the sort of criminal group you would find in any city. Thieves, smugglers, or the like. But looking around the camp it occurred to me that there was less in the way of criminal intent and more one of revolutionary intent. The very idea of this seemed to unsettle Wendelly, who already had not liked the idea of killing her own people, and Medi, upon waking her, insisted that there had to be some sort of mistake and that she knew these people.

Given the guilty and hesitant manner of our attackers at the accusation and the assertion that "it wasn't supposed to be like this," I gather that the idea of revolution is a new thought. I suppose it must have been similarly unthinkable in the medieval days when feudalism was fact of life in Europe. Likely revolution would have developed here naturally in any case, but I have to admit the cultist hunter in me has a healthy amount of paranoia. When eldritch masters are involved, it pays to look at places where old patterns are being changed or broken.

Whispers in the right places would be enough to stir oppressed embers into glowing sparks. The sparks would catch, and eventually you would have rebellion on the doorstep of the Center. True, Myllary's Port wasn't actually part of the Center, but it seemed the two existed in mutual support these days. I suppose I could still be wrong, paranoia is paranoia after all, and doubt this would be a primary goal or plan. But it certainly seems like something that present a fair challenge.

In any case, we brought the malefactors to the constables and conferred with Medi about hiring her for a job in Opali involving some fey that were behaving unusually. She readily agreed and went off with Kelmar to purchase healing potions and apparently visit an orphanage she donates to. In the meantime, I went to go speak to our attackers, initially I had the idea that I would be asking about who encouraged them to these acts, but then the fact of medieval justice came to mind. They were set to be executed, pretty much without trial.

I had not urged their surrender just so I could pawn off their death to the hands of the city. My goal had been to spare who could be spared. Thankfully, Myllary's Port's laws give a lot of power and favor to the deva and I was able to forestall their executions by taking them into service at my tower. This could still come to bite me, but I feel that these people didn't necessarily deserve death for their actions. The guards weren't happy, and just as firm in their denial that a revolution could be in the works as Wendelly and Medi, but they released the lot to my custody. I'm going to put them in Tonwen's command and task them to help and protect her while we're gone.

I only hope that we don't regret my choice here.

Character Journal

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