In my Little Things post, I said I'd start writing about my Dungeons and Dragons sessions. Here's the first part of tonight's session, I'll put the rest of what happened up here later on in the week.
8am, Eighth Day of Patchwall
As soon as we're awake the girls and Brittany kick us out of the room. They have a spa day planned, courtesy of Brittany. She won some talent contest and the prize was a beauty package for three people. It's just me and Twinkle Toes for today's adventures, a halfling cleric who's recently joined our group.
"The girls get all the good stuff. What do you want to do?" he says.
Father always said don't rush into something on an empty stomach, so I head downstairs for breakfast. Twinkle decides to do some reconnaissance on a quest involving King Hănïn.
The tavern is busy with guests who stayed the night, eating some quality food before they set off on their journeys. The establishment's owner, Veto Smoll, weaves between tables making sure everyone's food is to their liking.
After a couple of hours Twinkle gets back. He chased down a few leads, but got nowhere. This king is a real paranoid type, he won't let anyone except his closest advisers near him. This case will be tough to crack.
The breakfast crowd has cleared out, leaving a only a few boozers who spend their days getting drunk and remembering days gone by. I'm restless for some action. "What do you want to do for the rest of the day," I ask Twinkle.
"Not sure, I just want to get away from the Amber Wrath," he replies.
We check the quest board for something out of the city, away from this gang Twinkle is anxious to avoid. Unfortunately for him the only quests the two of us could manage are in town.
Twinkle is undaunted and just as restless. "Let's just do some quest, we could use the gold."
Here's something: a quest to help somebody recover a stolen book. The notice doesn't have many details, but it seems self explanatory. The writing is a little smudged, but it appears to say "see Belinna at the Lysium," which is only 20 minutes away. We take the notice to Veto, who gives us a coin sized quest token with the number 60 on it.
It's getting colder as the seasons change. Today's the first time I've worn my cloak and really needed it. Turning the collar up against the breeze, Twinkle and I head through Icegarden's winding streets, passing carts laden with fresh vegetables and the occasional guard.
The Lysium is a big place with two guards on the front door. I walk up to the one closest to me. "Hi, we're here to see Belinna."
This guard wants nothing to do with me. "I don't know anyone named Belinna. You two look like you don't belong here, perhaps you'd feel more at home in the bar across the street."
It's clear I'm not going to get in here just on my wits, but there might be other ways. It must be thirsty work standing guard outside all day...
"Ok then, is there anything I can get you two?"
The guard I'm closest to walks off without a word, but the second one lingers. "Could you get me a midday ale? If you do, I'll have a look for this Belinna you're after."
Success. "Sure thing, we'll be right back."
The tavern across the street is filled with scholarly types enjoying a lunchtime drink. The barman is at the counter pouring tankard after tankard of ale.
"Hey barkeep, I'll have three ales please."
Without breaking rhythm he says "That'll be six coppers," then puts three pints in front of me.
I slide a silver piece across the counter. "We're looking for someone named Belinna. Do you know any information about her?"
He takes the silver and turns it over a couple of times. "I think I've heard of her. Behind the Lysium there's a ramshackle house where she lives, just go up to the front door and knock three times. Trust me, you can't miss it."
Twinkle and I find a table to drink our ale at. A scrap of paper was on his seat and somehow he's convinced himself it's a clue to our current quest and reads it very carefully. Neither of us can make sense of all the numbers that dance their way across the page, I can see how Twinkle might think it's a mysterious clue.
Halfway through our ales a sheepish scholar comes up to our table. Her face lights up when she sees the paper. "Oh thank goodness, you've found my maths homework!"
Confused, Twinkle hands her the page. It's clear he still thinks it's a clue.
We walk back over to the Lysium, ale in hand. I sneak the beer to the guard without anybody noticing, not even his partner. Not to brag, but my days spent as a groupie for a band of bards really pays off sometimes. Nobody is aware of his sneaky libation until he takes a sip, leaning inside his cloak for a drink and returning with a foamy moustache.
He's as subtle as an orc among halflings, but satisfied with our little gift. "Come back in 10 minutes, I can probably get you inside."
While waiting, we walk around the corner to check out this house. We're in a classy part of town, most places are well kept and the people are very well to do yet this house looks like it has been constructed out of driftwood. Sticks and planks are haphazardly thrown together without any plan, producing something that would be better suited to lowtown. I hesitate to even call it a house. The barkeep was right, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
I knock on the door three times and a half-elf answers. "Hello, who's there?"
"We're here to see Belinna. Is she here?"
The elf hesitates. "Uhh, let me check," he replies, heading further inside, leaving the door ajar.
I hear indistinct conversation somewhere in the house. "Let's go inside," I say to Twinkle. I give the door an almighty push, but years of neglect have rusted the hinges together. Even with great effort I barely open it enough to let the two of us in.
The room has no windows, the only light is from the doorway. With my dark vision I see two half-elves in the far corners, their hushed conversation stops when I step in the room. As we walk further in, the door closes and a bar is placed across it. I have a bad feeling about this...
"Where's Belinna?" I ask uneasily.
One of the elves points to the door in front of us. "She's in there, but you can't go in with your weapons."
"I'm not giving my weapons to you. If she wants our help, she'll see us as we are. Look, here's our quest token."
He takes the token and considers what I've said for a moment. "Fine. I'll take your sword, but you can keep everything else."
"That seems like a fair compromise," I say as he takes my blade. I'm a better at archery anyway.
He starts ushering me into the next room as I hear a crash on the floor. Twinkle has fallen over trying to follow me. Wait, can he even see in this darkness?
"Twinkle, are you ok?" The half-elf is pushing me toward the door. "Hey buddy, my friend has fallen over." He's still pushing. "Let me help my friend. Look, all his stuff has spilled over the floor." Still pushing. I don't want to get violent with Belinna's guards, but this situation is getting out of hand. He's got me in the next room, closed and bolted the door before I can react.
The room is furnished with a single table. A mound of brown crystals sit on it, something is familiar about it... wait, didn't Jagussen use those whenever he wrote new songs? Oh gods, this isn't Belinna's house, it's a crack den. "Twinkle Toes!" I yell at the door.
A faint glow radiates from under the door. "I'm trying to light a fire to see what's going on," he explains. "I'm surrounded by four elves, they're drawing their weapons, help!"
I back up from the door, then charge at it with everything I've got. It turns to matchsticks as I slam my weight into it.
Shocked by my surprise entrance, an archer to my left looses an arrow at Twinkle, hitting him in the shoulder.
I bellow "Get your hands off my Twinkle Toes!" as I take aim at the archer. I hit his chest dead centre, pinning him against the wall with my arrow as blood gushes out the wound. He slumps over, the only thing keeping him upright is the arrow. One bandit drops his dagger in shock. Four left.
The three still holding their weapons attack Twinkle, two hit really hard. He's not in good shape, but that doesn't stop him striking his axe into the nearest one, severely wounding him. Twinkle casts cure wounds on himself, healing the worst of his hits.
I've notched another arrow and try to say something witty. Wilting under pressure, I say something to the effect of "You're gonna... er, I'm about to... take this, asshole!"
The guy I'm aiming for looks up, practically turning into my shot. Critical hit. The arrow pierces the bridge of his crooked nose, goes up through his eye socket and into his brain, dead before he hits the ground.
The remaining three drop their weapons. "Stop, don't kill us!" One says.
"We just wanted to rob you, the tavern sends unsuspecting travellers here, don't hurt us," cries another.
I want to turn these bandits in, but I fumble putting my bow away and in the commotion they escape. No justice for them, but there's still one who can't get away...
I find a large basin of water in an adjacent room to douse the fire that Twinkle lit. Now empty, I fill the basin with drugs, also finding a small strong box under the table. "Twinkle, hand me your axe and then take this chest outside. I've got a few things to take care of here."
He labours under the weight of the strong box, slowly dragging it outside. As he's doing that, I place the basin next to the guy I shot in the head. Using Twinkle's axe I hack off his head, placing it face up in the bowl of drugs. I cover it with my cloak to keep the surprise.
Outside, I hand Twinkle his axe. "Wait here, I'll be back in a minute." Basin in hand, I walk down the street whistling a tune Jagussen came up with on one of his crack-fuelled benders.
The tavern is still packed with scholars. I nudge my way through the crowd to the bar, where the same barkeep is tapping another keg.
The surprise on his face betrays him. "Oh hello again, I didn't expect to see you back so soon."
I heave the bowl up onto the counter and shout loud enough for all the patrons to hear. "Next time you send someone to kill us," I pull back my cloak for the grand reveal. "Send people who will do their damned job and KILL US!"
Silence. The barkeep goes white in shock. A lady screams, somebody drops their tankard. All hell breaks loose as I put the cloak around my shoulders. Whistling, I push through the screaming scholars back towards the door.
What did Jagussen call this tune again?
Oh yeah, Winds of autumn.