Path to Suuvren; Adventure Five
The adventurers are sent to a far off spire city of Suuvren – a trader city, among the league of Quooven. Like many of the other spire towns, this one has a high road, that crawls up the side. As they reach the top, the realize the town is much farther away from the edge as many other places they have been to – and another major difference, no standing army. Most towns have units of archers, horseman and spearmen or other specialists at the ready, but this one, there was at least no obvious groups of soldiers anywhere that they can see. Plenty of citizens, and a multitude of races, all scurrying about doing their business, none seemingly at least aware of the new group of traders coming into the city, and fewer caring in the slightest. Like a few other places in the spirelands, phaetox and minotaurs, have a significant number – but neither were likely to be rulers or sitting on the high counsel. Phaetox, like elves were usually archers; Minotaurs were soldiers, they liked to go on long, enduring hunts.
Just like every city, a few destinations helped defined the community – the Towers and obelisks. The Towers were places of learning and gathering – not just arcane spells, but music, and maps and other wondrous things that helped shape the cityscape. And obelisks – were the places of faith. A few were dedicated to a specific godly figure; like Japeth or Casna, some to an idea – like freedom of expression. Every obelisk was the meeting area for groups of followers, some came together on a daily or weekly basis to make their required sacrifices for heavenly approval. In larger cities, many obelisks were the center of official
churches, that had the control of the land around the obelisk – but in the spirelands and smaller towns, no group usually had domination for long.
The party had been sent to various places in the spirelands over the last two hundred days, making contacts and doing tasks, many of the activities much more dangerous than they had thought at the outset. This time, they had a contact, Allfray – Curate of the Lady, by the designation they assumed the follower was most likely a priest, and they were asked to meet him at the obelisk of Quanna. They separated from their regular travel colleagues and made their way towards the obelisk, at least none of the preachers on the side of the streets seemed to be their quest. They started to ask around, looking for their contact, and in a few minutes, they find a rather typical human, male, tunic, and a necklace with the bright symbol of his goddess, though not out in a prominent way.
Allfray looked unassuming, but ready for his task. He had heard their names called to him in his dreams in the last few nights, and he knew that he needed to find these drovers, these men who were dedicated to the road. Yet neither looked like a typical member of this group. The black skinned elf, didn’t seem typical of his kin, the studious dral, who were incredibly dedicated to studying songs and poems of the past. The dwarf wore non-typical and banged up armor, it didn’t seem suited to his people’s usually dour and hardy bearing. They all greeted each other – Bahlgrimm the a Dwarf warrior and Solauder, the Drow Sorcerer. None were sure what they are to do next, as if one of them was supposed to know the next steps.
Bahlgrim though is the first to notice a small purple owl that seems to be interested in the group and starts to frighten it away. The cleric, tries another approach – reaches out to the avian, and his presence puts it at ease, as the avian lands on his arm. (Some colours particularly show the influence of the heavens, just as Yellow is associated with Quanna, Purple is connected with Casna, the LN Lord of Order.) The cleric sees the owl carry a scroll case, opening it he sees two sheets of vellum, one is a symbol of the Lady of Light, but is energized with power. The second is a overview map of the city. Allfray sees some of the prominent locations in the map, but is there a trend, what does this map mean? Why were they given it?
Knowing they may need more time and discretion to determine the meaning of the map, the group decides to find a more quiet place, perhaps a room at one of the nearby taverns. Allfray reaches out to the owl figure, and it collapses becoming a tattoo on his fore-arm.
The head for the Furroud Bull, a local tavern. They grab a table upstairs and bring out the map once again, trying to determine its meaning. They are stumped, mostly because none of them are scholars of arcana…they hesitate whether they should reach out.
On the upper level of the tavern, they look for patterns in the map, and why it’s cribbed with the symbol of Quanna. The individuals look out, trying to find anything to help. Allfray sees someone at the far end of the bar area, a tall horned grey minotaur keenly watching them, the cleric slowly heads towards the observing minotaur but the horned one turns away, heading out the front door. Allfray wants to know who was paying so much attention to them, and follows the mysterious figure, first out the door and then down into a passageway. Having to keep up, Allfray uses his tricks to stay at the same pace as the other, watching him enter another building. He turns back and heads back to the others. He tells them he knows where the minotaur watcher went to – and they agree to
The cleric goes back to his residence at the small monastery, heads into his unadorned room. He hesitates a moment opening his storage chest, where his heavy armor has been laying dormant. His gear, the items he had tried to promise himself he would try to avoid, left where he (almost) promised he would not touch them again . A voice, a familiar voice reminding him that this is not his work, not his duty. Knowing he could not win the debate, especially with himself, he said no words, said no familar promises, but donned his armor. He was doing what needed to be done, even if he had no words for it.
Allfray returns to the back-alley and to his allies, then to the back-lot building. They carefully review it, looking for an easy way in. This indiscriminate building, a warehouse did not advertise and one could pass it without being brought to attention. Yet, both the Drow and Cleric found traps, if they tried to go through either the windows or hop up to the second floor, there were too high a chance of setting off traps.
Instead the team approached directly, and knocks on the door, and a set of eyes appear at the slot but nothing else – they seem to be looking for a password as they ask no questions. The cleric again steps around the problem, casting command, action word – open. The watching eyes, opens the door and steps aside, as the guards come over, the female attendant steps aside and puts up her hands to shake the guards away…the team has earned her honour.
They find themselves in a very busy room, 40 or more people of all different races, all seemingly focused on consuming something. There are humans, grey elves,
dwarves, golden horned jahlen and even grey skinned minotaurs, many of them either consuming alcohol or other drinks, oblivious to everyone except those female green skinned, plant-like servers. Many of the men standing aside, eyes glazed in conversations with images of smoke or dream. Each of the party members, like the rest of the consumers, are drawn into their personal realms of dream, for a few minutes. No one, neither server or drinker pay them little attention; the party realizes there are shum dreams, and little of consequences…as they are lost to their own illusions and dreams. They gather their resolve and determine it’s best to move ahead.
They head up the long grand stairs and realize, at least right away, that few of the others at the base level are aware of them. Most are still in the dreaming haze. Is it the room they wonder, but then determine they had walked past a large fountain in the middle of the base room without any of them realizing it.
As they go up, the staircase separates, and they head towards the larger and more fanciful door heading at the western side. Even before they reach the top, they see three rat-humanoids running towards them with long bladed weapons out. The cleric wins initiative, slamming down with his hammer on one of the ratlings, at the same time, their spears came hurtling towards Allfray and Solauder, but only the cleric was nicked. The drow released a sleep effect, causing each of them to drop.
The fighter stops running, assessing their situation – in utter calm confidence. The cleric, looks towards the door, then towards his dral elf comrade, who is busy going through their pouches. Soulader pockets a few coin purses and a small highly decorated fob.
The group has little time to re-organize themselves, as they see the grey horned minotaur, who was first observing them, gathering a crowd, made up of dwarves, elves, humans and other minotaur-kin. They have just a few rounds before they are overwhelmed, as the group of the warriors call out to them, and are making
their way up the stairs in a careful manner.
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The party sees the oncoming group, and look around and are unsure of what to do next and perhaps even more important, where to go. The cleric hears a feminine whisper in his ears, “Get to a doorway. Quickly.” The party begins to increase their pace, Solauder, casts mirror image on himself for protection, as the cleric, wanting to increase the elves pace, picks him up to carry him along. The group reaches the first door they find, they realize there is a number of fairies among them.
Four small blue smurflings hanging on the dwarf, three smaller insect-legged grig on the elf, and a two-foot tall, green skinned winged fairy flying just off the cleric. Looking for assurance, Allfray tries to gauge the fae, and he gets no suspicion or worries, so he opens the door and they go through. The room is occupied with two lovers on the bed in midst action, one of the fae casts a spell which changes the doorway, they look out and see a different alleyway than the brothel they came from, all step through. Now they are in that alleyway, a few hundred feet from where they once were, and already the doorway changes back
into a door.
The fairy starts berating the group, explaining the urgency of their mission but Soulader turns it around and is showing considerable mistrust, he doesn’t understand the mission as they usually have a simple task to complete. The green fairy tells them that the faeries were the ones who had started “hiring” the group, they were the benefactors, because the group did missions for both reward and honour.
Allfray inquires how could they have known, and the fairy explains that it was on the city map provided to them, and they had the messenger deliver it to them and it was written in Dral. Soulauder explains that Dral is an above ground, good-aligned dark skinned fey of Nyssa, this world. He may appear as one, but he is actually from another world, as his people are the Drow, very distinct in personality and outlook, he does not know the language. The fairy now identified as Abyssinia is surprised and embarrassed, and agrees to help them interpret the city map. They take out the map, and places the papyrus holy symbol underneath, as the shows and incites fairy explains what must be touched and spoken to show the magic, as they follow the instructions, a different detail emerges. Allfray, a native of the city recognizes the spots identified, as he thinks about the areas, and touches the map, it changes, showing a more detailed view of each location. Their mission consists of fixing something from each of these four sites:
The Sky Bridge, a little used, and very well maintained bridge over a now non-existant river.
The Shallow Well, a near empty and shallow well. Once believed to be a fairy drop, where they could come into this world
The third location, Allfray is unsure of
Finally, an Aviary, created from an abandoned Seed Tower.
Since it is late, the group decides to take these missions up tomorrow morning. The Dwarf, has already started resting at a Tenderfoot pub with 17 smurflings as every time one of them laughs, another one seems to come around. The Drow heads back to the pub where their drover allies congregate, joining in their ale and conversation. Again the cleric goes back to his residence at the small monastery for vespers, but he notices a small crowd already there. He feels uncomfortable as many of the eyes glaring at him. While they are welcome, he believes he is being watched.
Tomorrow, the adventure continues at the four sites.