Episode 40: Levani and Tak, Reunited
Refusing to be poked by an ambulatory mummified hand all night, Keen slipped the Ring of Bliss – which he had managed to hide on his person after all, despite the party’s equipment being confiscated by the guards – onto the hand’s finger. Magnus, now blissfully stupid, settled down for rest, and soon the whole party was asleep.
Ara awoke from his trance a few hours later to see Keen floating in the air between the bars of his cell, twirling and somersaulting in his sleep. Eventually Keen floated gently back to the ground, and the rest of the night passed without incident.
In the morning the party was roused by Bartok Brescht, the Captain-General of the Uman City Guard and leader of House Bresht. He led them up out of the cells, through the barracks of the guard house and out to the main thoroughfare of the 3rd Tier. The party was surprised to see that the sun had not risen and the streets remained bathed in twilight, despite it being well past dawn.
Brescht explained to the party the terms of their service: noble though their intentions were, they were nonetheless guilty of crimes against the citizens of the City of Uman: trespassing, attempted theft, and assault; they must answer for these crimes, or the Guard would suffer political consequences. He gave Yuna a large platinum medallion, inscribed on one side with a sword capped by a crown with its tip in flames, the livery of the Holy Order of Woden, and on the other a seven-sided device enclosing a seven-pointed star, the symbol of the Seven Noble Houses. With this medallion the party would operate with the authority of Brescht himself, commanding those would could aid them to do so. But Brescht also warned the party not to abuse this authority, to act only in the interests of justice, and that their authority was not absolute: they may arrest those guilty of crimes, but they must be brought before the Guard. Finally, the party was not to set foot above the 5th Tier. Brescht dismissed them then, directing them to the Temple of Mimir on the 6th Tier, where there was a report of a missing parishioner.
Before he left, Brescht also whispered to Yuna that there was a mad-woman on the 7th Tier claiming to be a prophetess of Drahni, and that while she had yet to cause any serious trouble, given Yuna’s possible affiliation with the God of the Hearth, she might want to look into it.
The party made their way down the Great Stair, a massive staircase connecting all seven Tiers of Uman in long switchbacks. At each turning the posted guards regarded the party intently; it was clear the Uman City Guard were aware of the party’s status, and they were being watched.
At last the party arrived on the 6th Tier, where the hustle and bustle of the lower class’s daily mercantile and agricultural economy was just getting going. The lack of daylight gave the scene a certain tenseness, and the party hurried their way west, towards the Westfalls Temple Distinct.
At the Grand Waterway, the arched stone bridges that span the gap of Long Drop Falls around which the city is carved, the party encountered a skinny, dirty young elf setting up an easel and paints. Magnus assumed this artist was there to do caricatures, and tried to engage the elf to do a portrait of the party by the bridge. The Elf was initially agreeable, until Magnus tried to pay with coin instead of scrip. Unable to come to terms the party left the young artist behind and crossed the Waterway into Westfalls.
Keen did not offer to pay with any of his scrip.
Eventually the party found their way to the Temple District, following Magnus’s dim memory of the city’s geography from his time here 400 years ago. They stopped at the Temple of Syf, and relayed a summary of the events that befell the Temple in Whitebridge to the Holy Father. Hearing the news of the sacking of the temple and the town, the Holy Father excused himself for a few minutes, and returned saying that he had just been in contact with Holy Mother Masym; the temple and its people were well, and were returning to Whitebridge.
Heartened by this news the party continued on to the Temple of Mimir, where they were met by two acolytes, their faces covered entirely by mirror masks, and who contradicted each other on every point until they were dismissed by an older priestess. She thanked the party for coming, and told them of Lady Margoleth, an elderly parishioner who had stopped attending the temple some weeks back, and no word had been heard from her. Margoleth had a large manner home Eastfalls on 7th, where she would often take in and care for children orphaned or abandoned to the evils of the city, and the priestess speculated that she might have run afoul of the criminal element in some way.
The party agreed to try and find Lady Margoleth, and left the temple. Keen suggested they visit the Lovers' Lament, a tavern he knew nearby, to try and get information about Lady Margoleth and her dealings with the criminal underworld. They arrived at the Lovers' Lament and were met by Belia, the taverns’s rotund and buxom owner, who greeted Keen warmly. Just as they were settling in, an olive-skinned, black-haired bard stumbled out of a guest room and down the stairs to the bar, yelling for the barkeep. This was none other than Tak, the man whose errant summoning had dragged Levani to the Dissian Catacombs and who had left her there for dead.
It took the inebriated Tak a few moments to recognize Levani, but when he did he expressed great joy at seeing her safe, and appeared genuinely oblivious to her seething anger. His attempts at charm only made Levani angrier, so to calm her Tak explained that he had only stabbed her and left her trapped in Dis because he was heavily in debt to a criminal he referred to only as “That Sneaky Fucking Tabaxi,” which debt he had taken on only to pay off an earlier debt to the Skink, a criminal organization operating mostly in south-eastern Telisar, outside of El Astrum. Retrieving the massive green jewel from the catacombs required a blood-letting to break the lock, and since his first companion on the adventure had tripped some sort of trap and been incinerated, he had no choice but to use Levani.
Tak seemed to think this explanation was reasonable, but seeing that Levani was no less upset, suggested that perhaps he could make it up to her by helping the party in some way. When they asked about whether Tak had seen anything during his time at Zandilar’s, or had heard anything about the Dragonhead, Tak said no, but let slip that he intended to rob the Pashtum Bank to recover another of the large green jewels, and that perhaps he could try to find some records or information about the buyer that could help?
The discussion had moved to Tak’s guest room. Eventually, despite his drunken state Tak realized he was in danger. As he became increasingly wary, Magnus distracted Tak with questions about his rapier, a fabulous piece with jeweled hilt and foil and which appeared to be enchanted, floating into the air whenever Tak said the name “Levani.” So distracted, Tak failed to notice that Keen had slipped in behind him, and he placed the Hat of True Frog on his head. Tak transmuted into a small frog, but slipped from Keen’s grasp and hopped out the second story window.
Levani looked out to see the human form of Tak pick himself up out of a pile of refuse, the Hat of True Frog having become dislodged in the fall. From the street, Tak bade Levani adieu and began to cast a spell, but Levani used Step from the Ashes to teleport on top of him, knocking him to the ground. She attempted to cast sleep on him, but he resisted; Magnus leapt out the window and grappled Tak, but Tak cast Dimension Door and vanished.
Levani’s scream of rage echoed through the alleyway, and as she raced to the street she heard a crash from around the corner. She arrived to see a drunken Tak half-buried under a collapsed cabbage cart. Keen and Ara both leapt out the window, and Yuna summoned Stella into the alley. While Ara searched for the Hat of True Frog in the rubbish heap the rest of the party pursued Levani, arriving just in time to see her loose a torrent of lightning at Tak, who screamed, turned invisible and attempted to make his escape, but Stella bounded forward and tackled him, pinning him to the ground. Keen cast fairy fire on the prone figure, and Magnus stuffed rags into Tak’s mouth to prevent him casting any more spells.
The party surrounded Tak, who realized he was beaten, and dropping the invisibility spell surrendered himself to Yuna. They placed the Hat of True Frog on him again, this time Ara clutching the frog and clasping the chin strap to secure it, and stashed the frog in his pack.
The crowd of cityfolk that had been watching this commotion began to disperse, and Levani caught a glimpse of a tiefling in an alleyway, wearing the unmistakable oxblood robes of the Trajte Ur Flasch, watching her, before pulling away into the shadows of the false twilight.
Tak’s Financial Planning Rating: Poor
Tak’s Self-Awareness Level: Poor
Levani’s Fury: Sated?
RP Rating: Awesome!