The Volo Job, Part Two

Ranaer explains to the guards what happened and the Captain asks him to stop by the Hall to give a full statement. They take our prisoner and we head out while they clean up the mess of dead bodies. We still have to find Floon. (Note: Fix in previous report before submitting to Spy Master.) Ranaer takes us to a place nearby called the Friendly Flounder to rest and heal after the fighting. Red is pretty sure everyone is going to know about all of us by the next day. That seems bad.

When everyone is rested, we head back out and find a sewer grate near the warehouse and, heading down, find the yellow signs on the wall that Click Switch mentioned. It’s that half a wagon wheel we saw in the tattoos. So, we follow them, and find weird, small, eye-monsters waiting. We squash them all and keep going until we find a secret door. Inside, we find goblins sleeping on the job. We accidentally kill several of them before the rest give up and talk.

There’s a big room ahead, with a big circle, and then a long room where the Boss is. So, we go take a look. Candlekeep says the big room and circle might be teleportation of some sort. In the next room, we find Floon, Grumshar of the Xanathar Guild, as well as a mind-eater with a creepy mind voice. He calls us ‘unexpected guests,’ and says that ‘if any of you survive, we should chat later,’ and to ‘prove your worth.” Then he just walks out, right past us.

Grumshar calls in two half orcs to fight with him against us and we seize the opportunity. My new friends are powerful and we took them, and the mind-eater’s pet brain, down with little trouble. Red rushes out to see if the mind-eater is waiting to chat, but it is not. Floon is very grateful for the rescue and offers us any help we might need in the future. He said they were asking him about the Stone of Gondar. Ranaer says he thought it was a myth, that it’s a key to a grand treasure hidden for his father’s return. He had just assumed his father took everything with him, and says it explains all the fighting.

We all head back to meet with Volo, who gets us dinner, drinks, and rooms for the night. Ranaer adds his thanks, and his offer to help should we need it, if we’re mostly on the up and up. In the morning, instead of paying us, Volo gives us the deed to a manor house – Trollskull Manor, up in the North Ward. This is so strange. I barely know these people and they are all ready to live together and create a dinner theatre out of this old, broken building.

~ Quill Scratcher

Allies, Explosions, and Intestines

We don’t get far in the city before some guards are shouting at us, asking for our papers. Remy tries to talk them around, but it’s clear he is failing, when they suddenly fall unconscious. A teenager dressed in green, with a pointy hat, bids us follow him, and quickly. Having no better plan, we do. He leads us through the streets of the city, avoiding patrols and people , to an old abandoned inn.

Heading inside, we pass through the illusion, to a decently appointed inn, with a gathering of teenagers of all sorts. In short order, we exchange introductions. Hank, a young man in full plate armor with a tree of golden fruit is their leader. He is the chosen of the Green Witch. His companions are: Francis, a burly guy with tight clothes and swords; Wan Kei, an Asian guy with body wraps; Shelly, a hooded girl with daggers; Turner, a black girl working on some small tinkering project, and Locke, the wizard who saved us.

Hank tells us that his patron tasked them to come here and wait for us. They are to accompany us into the tower to destroy the eye of her father-in-law. Hang on, what?

The Royalist mages apparently have the eye of a god or fairy king or something, named Balor (of the evil eye). He was king of the fae realms. The Green Witch married his son, and then killed him. His evil eye popped out and was sent through the planes to ours. We have to stop them from using it or the whole city will be destroyed, maybe even more than that.

Hank wants to either send the eye back to the Green Witch or destroy it. We’re all on board with that, wondering if banishing it will do the trick. They’ve been here, hiding, for weeks waiting or us. There’s a quick discussion about the evils of our various armies, interrupted only when the whole in explodes around us.

Eighteen guards pour in through holes in three of the walls and the fight is on. Locke apparently has non-violent leanings like Klyce, because he dispells the first big spell Gerhardt tries to cast shouting at us not to kill people. But the battle rages on, the eye turns its gaze upon us, and bullets fly. We sleep and knock out as many as we can, but eventually, even Turner agrees with us, and some of the soldiers die. Maribeth ends up chasing their Captain for a bit, but eventually lets him go to avoid a bigger fight.

We run. Hank leads us away from the gaze of the eye and to another safe, empty building. Then he lays hands on us, popping the bullets out and healing us with much more effectiveness than my magic can ever manage. We talk a bit about his abilities, and some of the others, marvelling at his magic. Remy casts non-detection on the room we are in, and Nat uses her arcane eye to look over the nearby sewers. Shelly has to guide her to an entrance, but it goes smoothly from there.

Nat maps out the sewers. Noting that around the central building their are strange fleshy blockages. Pulsing, brown-red flesh surrounds all ways through the sewer to the tower. The flesh shifts and the entire town shakes. While this is happening, the majors fall over unconscious, pulled into a mind-palace with our commanders to report in after sending a short message.

We discuss possible ways through, and where best to go. Deciding to get as close as we can, then reasses the flesh. We’ll probably have to cut through because the army will be on high alert now above ground. When everyone is ready, we head out and down.

It takes half an hour or so to get to the point closest to the tower. Nat uses her clairvoyance to look beyond the wall. The sewers turn into fleshy tunnels beyond five feet of flesh wall. The tunnel is full of liquid – bile, puss, ichor – she’s not sure. Coming back to herself, she casts an augury about going into the tube. It comes up both weal and woe, so we decide that’s the best we’ve got.

Back down the tunnel away from it, into side tunnels as much as possible to avoid the flow. Then start hurling tiny spells at it to burn and freeze away the flesh. It takes a little while to get all the way through, but then the disgusting liquid pours free. Splashing all over several of the group. It takes a short while to finally subside as I levitate above the disgusting mess.

Then we head into the tunnel. It feels like it is breathing. I can feel its heart pounding. The others can hear the heart, too. We get up to another barrier after a while, and having met no resistance so far, burn through this one, as well. This room’s walls are pulsing with the heart beat, and we are not alone.

Into the Fire…

This is crazy! We’re going to go fight these fae who have been devouring men alive?? Well, sure, why not, we do seem to be the only ones who believe all the crazy stories. Certainly the only ones doing anything about it. Ugh! Why are adults so useless!!!

We sit Remy down to get more details. We need to know what we’re facing. He tells us that the sacrificed men all ripped their own eyes out. He says he felt a pull towards them, but was able to resist it, and then didn’t feel particularly obligated to help them, nor to remove his own eyes. Okay, got it, men shouldn’t look at them.

We decide to in during the day. The crowds of adoring men shouldn’t be there, and we might only have to deal with a few guards. Klyce reminds us not to kill the people. Not guards, nobody. Use spells that won’t kill people, murder is not an option. We are going there to stop the fae. These men are enthralled, it’s not their fault.

Two things to do first. We have to scout out the club and decide how best to get inside. We also are going to leave notes for the Knights, to see if they’ll come help us. Long shot, but hey. We’ll get rid of the fae, and then have the cops deal with the people.

Since I understand the pattern of the leavings, I’m on Note duty. Klyce and Gerhardt go with me, to keep would-be kidnappers/random fae at bay. I figure out four possibilities and we head out to leave the message for the red and black knights.

Royalist Knights,

The killers are magical creatures. Stronger and bigger than those gathering the body parts. They are at The Gentleman’s Political Society of the Ruby Chalice. We are going there to stop them. We are on the same side in this fight.

Mage Detective Squad

By the time we get back to the others, they’re in a back alley pondering transmuting a rusty old door so we can get through. It will take too long though, so, as usual, we end up back in the sewers. To no one’s surprise, the sewers below this building are filled with green thorny vines. The others pop their magical protections, and ten Remy slices away a nearby vine. It slices him right back.

As we start casting various spells at the vines, it starts making an awful keening noise. Eventually, we clear a path into a tube that goes to the building. It stinks of old blood and rot. I start feelin cramped, achey, and swollen. Yep, we’re on the right path. Gods, I almost preferred the hunger for flesh.

We head up through a grate into a storage room, filled with soil and compost. There is moss and fungus growing all over the room. We keep moving, but Nat hangs back to look for anything interesting. She finds a bunch of gold beneath a loose floorboard. The next room is empty but for a fat old wizard, or is that five fat old wizards. I’m not sure, as we’re suddenly surrounded by fire. There’s a lot of spell slinging after that. He even counters my slow spells, but that allows the boys to silence the areas where he is to keep him from really messing us up. Eventually, we manage to knock him out. We tie him up and force a sleeping pill from Raltus down his gullet to keep him from bothering us as we move on.

We head upstairs, down a hallway and up some more stairs. There are some doors up here. We find a coat room, with six coats, but nothing else, so we head up yet another set of stairs. There are two doors here. One of them, Nat says, is where he saw the wizard when he spied from outside. There are soft sounds from the other door, so Klyce breaks it down.

It’s an apartment, but it’s covered in vines coming down from the ceiling, to entangle six men. They are finely dressed, and are not resisting the vines growing in and out of every hole and socket in their bodies. They, nor the vines, respond to our presence, so we close that door for now. We break into the Wizard’s apartment, and Nat pockets his spellbook. There is a lot of mana here – philters, and a Jug from the theft ring. He has another door, that hides a cold room with a dozen skinned bodies. Oh man, this guy was probably a psycho before the fae!

We have to get up to where the roots are coming from, but this isn’t the way. We go back downstairs and through the coat room to the main party space. We head up through the dance hall on the second floor, Remy guiding us now. There’s a slight humming in the air, and we head up a third flight of stairs.

The space up here is like a greenhouse. Hot and steemy, with dark earth and vines all around. The boys are keeping their eyes on the ground now, so Maribeth, Nat, and I look around. There are 6 women up here, beautiful women. Three of them are sleeping and pregnant, the other three look very angry to have been disturbed. Nat gives a shout that she’s been blinded and I grab her shoulders. The three immediately begin casting spells at us, starting with ensnaring vines. A lot of fire gets thrown around, while I try to keep the women slowed. Klyce, at some point, begins defending them. What is it with him and compulsion magic?? Spells fly and people scream, and when all is said and done, four no longer beautiful bodies are melting away into the floor, and two beautiful little babies lay on the ground.

Nat and I go pick up the babies, they have no bellybuttons, but they seem healthy enough. Unfortunately, kill the fae didn’t cure Nat’s blindness, so I still have to guide her everywher. We all head downstairs to find the men no longer hooked up to vines, but catatonic instead. Remy goes to roust the police, and I cajole Maribeth into going out to bring us milk for the babies. She seems to want to just kill them, but they’re so cute and innocent. I don’t tell her, but what if this was how I was born, and my parents were duped into raising me…

Once milk has been procured, Nat and I head back to the school with the babies, leaving everyone else to clean up with the police. We take the to Raltus, having no real idea what to do with babies. As usual for our arrival to the infirmary, Raltus is flabbergasted. We try to explain about them being magical orphans, without explaining all the death and distruction. He takes custody of the children, as we beg him not to give them over to Rictus or some other horrible experiments. He assures us that he is not a monster, and then takes a look at Nat’s eyes. He’s not sure there’s any way to fix them, they might heal, they might not. Nat spaces out for a moment, then says she just had the vision of the desert again, and is sure someone has died.

Frustrated, we head down and meet the rest of the group heading up. Remy continues past us to talk to Raltus, and we all head to Aleria’s office. Her desk holds a book on learning Braille for Nat, and a note for us to read to her. “Yes, it’s fine, keep it.” Nat dictates a note back, offering to take care of the two babies. I add in that she’s now having visions while awake.

We all head to our rooms, exhausted from our latest adventure in fae hunting.

Let’s Be Coppers

After a short rest, we head back to the cistern, to start back at the beginning. There’s a man at the top, furiously turning a spigot. He finishes and ducks into a tunnel, slamming the grate behind him. Water and sewage begins to pour from all the tunnels down on top of us, and the water begins to rise.

I get Maribeth and Dalish to grab ahold of me, and I levitate up to the place where he disappeared. While they start working on the spigot and the grate, I levitate Gerhardt and Remy up to join us. Klyce climbs up the ladder on his own. Dalish puts oil on the stubborn spigot, and Klyce tries to turn it, but it worried it will just break off. Turning to the grate, Klyce tries to rip it open with his alter self claws to no avail. Remy downs a strength potion and manages to finally pry the grate open as the water reaches us.

We rush into this tunnel, and so does the sewage, and slide down to a grate over another cistern, but we are safe for the moment. Safe enough to start arguing over who that man was, and why he is trying to kill us. We decide that he was probably the one killing those people and leaving them for the redcaps, but we’re far too late to track him.

Heading topside, Remy, Gerhardt and Dalish go to the inn the police will send reports to. Klyce, Maribeth, and I go back to school. The sewage has made us all ill, so we head straight to Raltus. There, we find that he has given Nat some paper and pens. She has been drawing furiously in her unnatural sleep. Mostly black pages, but some images: A white mask, a sandy scene with a cowskull and horse, a well-dressed man turning a spigot by a tunnel, a bejeweled goblet, three beautiful white women feasting upon a man lost in pleasurable agony. That seems awfully creepy and prophetic. Raltus gives us all some medicine and we head to wash up and bed.

We’re all pretty rough in the morning, so the boys come back to school to check on us. We tell them to leave us alone for the day, so Remy spends time going over the police reports. Maribeth and I feel better in the evening, but Klyce doesn’t feel better until the next day. Dalish gets called to help Rictus, and tells us he’s been playing with the life-filled bits of Malden’s exploded body. Oh dear gods, No!

We talk about the different police reports, and Nat’s drawings. We make about five different plans, but decide that we should first go to the station and ask for any news from the police. They tell us that there were two more sites the night before. One was just a patch of blood when they got there, the other had body parts. We decide to go check out the latter.

There is some faint magic where the bodyparts lay, and when we look around more thoroughly, some magic up on a nearby roof. Remy says it’s illusion magic. Dalish finds some green fabric on a nearby sewer grate. When we go check out the other site, it is much the same. Figuring this is a more immediate threat, we head back to the station to await the next body pile report.

We are put up in their break room. Remy goes out and gets us lunch while Dalish goes back to the school to leave a note for Rictus that he won’t be down to the lab that evening. Maribeth and I look over the case notes, and when I look at the map, I notice that the locations of the bodies draw out a fertility symbol. We extrapolate from there, four locations that might be next. Then we have a big arguement about what to do with this information.

In the end, we decide to go out and scout these locations before dusk. We go for a brisk walk around the district. Checking traffic paterns, sewer access, ambush points, and any other details that might help us not die tonight.

That evening, a young street boy is brought to the breakroom to speak with us. He says a nice carriage pulled up near him. When he went to offer them directions, a man went into an alley with a big sack and then came back out and left quickly. When this boy got there, there was a big mess of bodies in the alley. Remy asks about the man and the carriage. The man wore a white shirt and dark coach. The carriage was black and really nice, with brown horses.

It’s a trap, we know it is, but we have to go. As we get close, my stomach starts to growl with hunger, just like last time. This is super creepy. The sewer grate in the street is wide open and there’s movement in the alley. Klyce closes the sewer grate with a loud clang. The redcaps all turn to look at us, and I immediately grab the air and slow them down. In all the ruckus of the fight, several of them get back into the sewer, and Remy and Dalish follow. There are explosions and fire erupts from below.

I begin to levitate up in case the ground starts to fall. Glancing around up here, something looks off about the building across the alley. I push off the building I’m next to and pass right through an illusion. I see one black and one red armored knight, staring back at me.

Oh dear…