Festival of Merit

Some of them are walking a bit slow after all those pies, so they’re not going far. The riddle table is closest. Jonas steps forward from the group, I thought sure one of the others would want to do this one. He studies the box, and doesn’t even get a shock, picking the right key the first time. Ugh, boring. Guesses the moon riddle right off. Takes a bit of time on the bottles, but gets that one right, too. I guess that “proper” upbringing taught him enough doublespeak to understand riddles.

They’re headed to the Maze now. All the little gnomes take their turns. The metal one doesn’t make it, though it is a bit sneaky, and doesn’t get caught the first time. Did Jonas just bribe the judge? Strange, the little guy already lost. Ah well, even exiled nobles have more money than sense.

Down to the river to go swimming with the sharks now. Looks like the traitor is getting volunteered. At least fighting over here has put some meat on those bones. Getting stronger every day, and not a bad swimmer either. Though that genasi girl is keeping up. Did… did he just puke? Oh man, that orc swam right into it. And he got the spear. Quite a scrum up there. And here come the sharks. That orc is just done and out. Looks like that goblin might be done for, too. The traitor just leaves him behind. The genasi tries to keep up, but… Yes, I think he just used his echo to teleport. Wow, he’s really learning to control it! The traitor wins, and everyone rushes to save the dying goblin. Should have just let the failure die, he can’t even fight a shark.

They’re headed for the young tortoises, now. This oughta be good, some of them are snack-sized. There’s that genasi girl again, might have to have a chat with her. Everybody, even the fancy-pants drow mount up on tortoises. Guess I should grab one too, if I’m going to keep up and not get trampled. This isn’t so bad. Oh, the freaky gnome just fell off trying to get out the gate. He caught up, but the other little freak just fell off hers. Seems she made it mad, maybe kicked it in the eye on the way down or something. It is not interested in moving anymore. The lead herder had to go back and help her. I like this tortoises. Completely impractical in battle, though.

Back into town we go, they’re headed for the final game – arm wrestling. The hobgob made a good show, but the traitor nearly bested all three soldiers! None of the others even came close. I best be careful, he’s definitely getting stronger. Maybe I can join the genasi’s team, keep an eye on things. They’re headed to the temple, I guess I’ll go find her now.

Success. The final is a head-to-head event, and Ayo’s Crew looks strong to compete, and given the numbers difference, it was easy to get her to let me in. Glasariad seems interested in what I know about the others, as well. As I thought, Ayo and the “noble fragments” are the chosen teams. An underwater race for a prize.

An octopus? Who sends folk into an octopus den without warning!? The rest wasn’t so bad, and the sharks were nearly dead by the time we caught up with the fragments. The hobgob looked like he’d been bitten in half though. Dermot helped heal him back up. Ugh, I don’t know about this group. At least we go the kills. No amulet? Where’s the prize? Dammit, they got it before killing the shark. Another cave, though, another amulet. The traitor grabs it, of course. The fragments all fall unconscious and there’s a weird voice! Ayo won’t let us take the amulets from them. Not sportsmanlike. Ugh! Calm, must be calm. A vision? Hmm…

Cheers and gold for the victors, but they’re not even going to keep it? Feed and water the whole town? Amateurs, but I’ll drink on their coin. After I convince Ayo that we should find out what they know. Galsariad doesn’t take much convincing. A powerful artifact that gives visions? He’s already in.

In the morning, that elder talks to the fragments. Something about Bazzoxan, and a Vestige. Ayo is now all in. She’s ready to invite herself right along with the fragments, and they’re surprisingly up for sharing their glory. But they want to stay in town to help clean up and get supplies? Ayo is not about that. I guess I can let them out of my sight for now, they’ll catch up in Bazzoxan, and if he dies before he gets there. Well, I’ll get to go home with a good report.

~FS

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