Rose and Thorn: Session 21

“Well, this has gotta be the main plot,” one of my players says, returning to a long-discarded plot thread. I’m deeply tempted to say “Well, it is now.” I mean, it is since I rewrote this campaign a week or two ago, not since he made that comment. I did so because previously it had seemed like the plot thread they were most interested in, rather than the one I’d originally intended to make the main plot. I do like how I was able to revamp this, however; I think this is going to be much better.

 

The Party:

Alkar, elf mystic

Max, halfling bard

Semaj, human fighter

Zavin, human paladin

Mordora, tiefling warlock

 

The Setting:

The City of Silverrun, in the Wayride Mountains

An Underground Prison, a Former Silver Mine

A Shrine to the Virtue of Decency

 

The Story So Far:

Having seen Semaj get himself arrested, the party promptly decided to… do very little about it. They saw no more need for wanton destruction – especially if that involved caving in a mine shaft, where the prison was located. Who knows what kind of unexpected effect that might have on the topography of the city? So instead, they let Semaj stay there for a time – they certainly knew he could handle himself in there, and besides, this gave him a valuable opportunity to learn more about the Montclair Mercenaries who had so recently taken over the city’s guard.

Indeed, he picked up a wealth of good information – he spoke to some guards he had known from his previous visits, and found that they were now working for Montclair. They had some gripes – they were now working much longer hours, but they were also being better paid than they were before. Montclair had tried, for a time, to dictate that their employees attend weekly services at the Temple of the Seven-Faced God, but that hadn’t gone over particularly well, so they were easing up on that. Semaj pretty much immediately found that conditions in the prison were worse – even basic healers had been removed, they were now forced to work long hours digging in the mostly-depleted mines, and it was far more crowded than it had been previously.

Alkar posed as Semaj’s legal representative to discuss his release with the prison warden. He was directed to a dragonborn clerk named Akalathielar (“Lath for short, please”), who set to work processing Semaj and Alkar’s forms and paperwork. They discussed this for a while – when he was set to be released, the date of his tribunal before the Low Council, and so on. When Alkar reached a specific question on the forms, he noted, “My client has no religion – is he being offered one?” Lath waved his scaly hand and noted, “Oh yeah, yeah, just put down Seven-Faced God there,” and went back to filling out his own forms.

Semaj and Alkar were permitted to speak briefly, exchanging information from either side of the bars. Meanwhile, Mordora and Max busied themselves with running their new businesses. Mordora had “Mordora’s Massages and More” (“Come Again!”), while Max had opened a series of three seemingly-distinct dog-training businesses in the city. He was very cautious to keep them separate, using disguises to appear as a different dog trainer at each one, ensuring that there was “competition”, but that all the money was rolling straight to him. Zavin explored the abilities of the magical glaive that had been locked inside the trapped case at the Shrine of Order.

Semaj sought out the prisoner who had been locked up the longest – an elderly dwarf who’d been serving nearly 80 years (a life sentence can be a lot worse for dwarves, gnomes, and elves, I think). He was glad to speak to Semaj, discussing any hidden-away spots in the mine shafts, the nature of the guards, the best recipes for toilet wine. Fortunately, Semaj’s court date arrived quickly, and he had no need to stage an elaborate escape. It was explained to him that had he only been publicly drunk and disorderly, they would’ve just shoved him in a cell to let him dry out overnight and let him go without any fuss. Assaulting eight city guards however, that was going to guarantee a longer stay (Semaj noted this for the future – who knew when he’d need to get himself locked up again?).

The hearing before the Low Council was straightforward – Zavin, Mordora, and Max watched from the balcony, while Alkar and Semaj took their places at the center of a semi-circle of the Council members. He was released ahead of time for model behavior and given a sentence of six weeks of community service at the temple of his choice, instead. If lightbulbs had existed in this world, perhaps you’d have seen one go off above his head as he considered another possible angle from which to learn more about the Seven-Faced God and his followers.

With the group reunited, they looked at their options for what to do next. They decided to go to the next closest shrine on their nice map of the region, with the Shrine of Order and the Shrine of Blessed Lestrinna crossed off already. While it would ordinarily be a four-day trip to the next closest shrine, they made good use of the Horseshoes of Speed and Brooms of Flying to reach the shrine in a mere two days. They approached the shrine, nestled in a small valley, from the top of the nearest hill.

The shrine itself looked much like all the others – a plain, dark stone slab, a small engraving. This one, however, had much more obvious guardians than all the others. A group of four giant elk with golden antlers circled slowly around the shrine, never stopping in their patrol. Knowing that approaching from the ground would not be smart, Mordora decided to try flying down on her broom, coming down in between all the elk. As she did so, however, they all stopped and stared at her, unnerving her deeply. She backed off, recognizing discretion as the better part of valor. The elks’ patrol resumed.

Semaj, having no such compulsion, approached to befriend the nearest elk. Once again, they all stopped to look at him. This time they decided, as one, to attack.

Session 20

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