Murder, Slavery, and Seaturtles

Dalish returned to camp. But not our Dalish, our Dalish was still a mummy. This Dalish was alive. And ‘Rictus was prepared,’ is his only explanation. What are we going to do? Living Dalish has to stay, Rictus sent him here. Mummy Dalish could maybe go back with Stephen to learn his necromantic magics? We have to talk to Durance.

The Lt is a bit distressed, but decides to let Mummy Dalish stay, if we continue to take responsability for him. Normally, he’d have just killed him, but we’re a strange group anyway. Mummy Dalish, however, isn’t a citizen, nor a soldier anymore. Just don’t eat people, and we’ll be alright.

We load up camp and march south to meet up with everyone else at New Calay. Along the way, Living Dalish tells us he has a new plan. That Rictus felt his self-harm was bad, and gave him a bunch of books to read to get better. He’s decided that now he plans to kill other people so he can make himself powerful and immortal, and undead. What the heck, Dalish??? Killing people for power??? Don’t we have enough genocide on our hands? He won’t be reasoned with, so we discuss our questions about New Calay.

Once we arrive, we get an understanding of the situation. We have twenty thousand troops surrounding the city, stopping any traffic in or out. They, however, still have naval control of the port, and our ships are out there fighting for it. The walls have some sorching and crumbling, but nothing serious. Everyone on land is currently holding until the naval battle is over.

Durance sends for someone who can un-stone Remy and Stephen. While waiting, we see a few old classmates, but Marybeth can’t find her brother. It takes a few days to find someone, but eventually, Triplehorn shows up in our camp. He’s impressed with our travel, the change in us, and the mystery that is Stephen. We ask him to fix Remy first, and he does, returning him to flesh.

True to form, Remy wakes up swearing, and then starts drinking. Then we talk about Stephen. Nat says he doesn’t like the sun, so we take him into a tent, but that might not be enough, so we ask Triplehorn to come back after dark, if he could. We talk with him a bit about what we’ve been up to, and our suspicions about the worm-tree in the city. He laments that we are too young to have all this on our shoulders. We agree, but we have little choice.

The others spend the day working out what spells they might need to memorize or scribe for city infiltration, but at I have no part in this, I head off to talk to the other mages. They hold regular gatherings to eat and chat. When I ask what’s been going on, they speak of unease among the diviners. Visions of woe in New Caley, firey explosions, a melting city, decaying into dust. I ask if they’ve been up to anything, but they say not until the bay is taken. Nothing? Not even infiltration? They’ve sent some teams in, but they’ve either not come back, or came back before really getting into the city. The diviners can’t pierce into the city, even when linked. Those that tried teleporting in were the ones that never came back. The team that went into the bay was repulsed instantly.

I return to the group and report all of this. We have to have a better plan. Triplehorn also returns, and turns Stephen back to flesh. We explain to him why he’s suddenly outside New Calay and take him to Durance to figure things out and finalize his negotiations.

They hammer out the deal, information for citizenship, and other such things. We help out with all the information we gathered in his house. Then it comes down to the mages who were sent to kill him, that he killed in return, and did necromatic experiments on. Durance wants their bodies returned to their families. Stephen says they are his intellectual property now. Things go downhill pretty quickly, which Remy going off about slavery of the undead being evil and morally corrupt, despiter half of mage society being based on it. I actually get pissed off and shout him down about it not being his choice what other people do, and several of our friends’ livelihoods are based on the same exact thing. Remy says we should destroy them and send their bodies home for burial, but Stephen is very much against this. Dalish offers a compromise, suggesting we give these free-willed, if controlled, undead, like himself, the choice. Stephen agrees to give them this choice, serve or be destroyed so they can be buried at home. Durance agrees to this, and they finish up negotiations. Natty walks Stephen out, giving him the glyph to send him home.

We head back to camp to discuss our infiltration plan. We have to get into the city to see what is going on. The new walls could be enchanted with alarm spels. We’re a small group, and with non-detection, maybe polymorph. Or maybe as diplomatic envoys?

The next morning, we’re called to meet with the Command Staff: The Colonel, the Lt, and a General Waverly. We explain the worm problem to him, and that we think there might be a tree inside. We have dealt with one before, so we ought to go in and see. He put the mage corps’ magic at our disposal, and we ask about previous attempts. The ones that got the closest were the mages who went to the docks, but their soldiers didn’t have protective spells, so they were spotted. Now, with The Machine, limiting spells won’t be a problem. We again, point out that our smaller group might just be able to slip in unnoticed.

We discuss the bulk of us being polymorphed, using Nat’s telepathic bond spell, and having her just be made small to hide with us. Sea turtles seems to be the consensus. General Waverly calls for a mage named Crow. When he arrives and is informed of our needs, he looks Nat up and down. He can do it, but it won’t be pleasant, and it will be permanent until he can undo it himself. He clamps metal bands onto Nat’s wrists and ankles, then uses a torch to melt them closed It takes half an hour of Nat cursing in pain, but when Crow is done, Nat is only two feet tall.

Dalish also has a strange bag that Rictus gave him, that we want to test the limits of. Nat casts her telepathic bond on us, then climbs inside the bag. The bond doesn’t work in there, but sending still does. The air, however, is a bit stale, so we can’t leave her in there a long time. We’ll just have to make her invisible when we all swim in as sea turtles, with non-detection on us all. Mummy Dalish will stay with the mages who polymorph us, so he can tell them when to drop the spell.

We take the day and night to rest and prepare new spells for the attempt in the morning. We head over to an area near the bay, but still outside the city, on a very nice beach. Nat telepathic bonds us, the mages cast non-detection on us, then polymorph all but Nat into sea turtles. One then casts invisibility on Nat, and we head for the water.

The swim in is rather pleasant and calm, nothing bothers us, no explosions from fighting ships. We head into the bay and towards a beach. Nat, invisible still, looks around, and finds us a clear space to land. We ping MD, and he has the mages drop polymorph. We’re just a family out for an early morning stroll on the beach now. Marybeth and Remy change their faces a bit to look more like they’re old enough to be our parents and we head in. There’s a great big square building in the center, with a tower and a magical spotlight swinging around the city. That is probably where we need to go.

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