Episode 54: More Platinum More Problems
With the fallen aasimar Mera Maryndottir subdued by the Ring of Bliss, the party turned their consideration to how to escape from the compound. Yuna and Sirlius debated attempting to trick the religious mob outside the building into believing that Mera had released them. The party climbed the spiral staircase to the loft, intending to take Mera out onto the balcony. To their surprise they found Rimbal Knacklebun, the first-born son of the mighty House Knacklebun, locked in a small iron cage. The adolescent gnome was terrified of Mera, but the party convinced him they were secret agents working for Bartok Brescht, the captain-general of the Uman City Watch. Whisper attempted to comfort the stricken young man, her efforts partially hampered by Sirlius dumping handfuls of gravel into the cage, as “psychological warfare,” though the reasoning behind this remained unclear.
Keen had some difficulty picking the lock of the cage until Rimbal hesitantly provided a key technical detail about the type of lock. Once the cage was open, though, Rimbal refused to exit so long as Mera was anywhere near. Yuna took Mera out to the balcony and addressed the crowd, suggesting that their leader Mera had had a change of heart. The crowd was unconvinced, but Met, a human mine foreman they had met in the compound previously offered to come in and arbitrate.
Once Met was inside, he begged the party to help him escape the compound: Mera was insane, he said, and all he wanted now was to get everyone out without bloodshed. The party hatched a plan: they would place the Ring of Reduction on Rimbal, reducing his 2-foot statue down to a mere 12 inches, and hide him in Magnus’s pack. Mera, still wearing the Ring of Bliss, would be transformed via the Hat of True Frog, and likewise hidden in Ara’s gear. All that remained was to convince the crowd to allow them safe passage out of the compound. Met reluctantly agreed to address the crowd on their behalf. He joined Yuna and the incoherent Mera on the balcony, and despite his lack of oratory skill between him and Yuna, and despite Sirlius’s magical attempt to make it seem like Mera was talking, the party were allowed out of the main building.
They approached the guards at the edge of the compound, the suspicious crowd following at a distance. They were stopped by a guard known to Met, and challenged, but Met convinced the guard to let them out. As they passed, he eyed Magnus’s clearly overloaded pack and stopped him, suspicious once more. But Magnus’s bloodied, beaten state worked to his advantage, and he claimed it wasn’t that the pack was heavy but that he was greviously wounded. The guard bought the lie, and they successfully walked out of the Community of the Hearth and back to Bartok Brescht and the guard encampment.
Releasing Rimbal Knacklebun, the gnome was dismissed by Brescht, who sent him home with a guard escort. The party surrendered Mera to the guard but warned Brescht that she was dangerous and powerful. The surly half-orc concentrated a moment and cast Detect Evil and Good, and was shocked at the powerful wave of evil coming from Ara. A moment of tenseness was resolved when it was realized the source of the evil was not Ara, but Mera, still in the form of the frog in his pack. Brescht excused himself for a few minutes, and at length the party joined him at a teleportation circle expertly scratched into the hard hill stone. They were ushered through by his lieutenant, and in a moment found themselves deep inside a heavily secured prison facility. They carefully removed the Hat of True Frog and the Ring of Bliss, releasing the former Lady of the Heart to a cell, where layers of anti-magical security would – they hoped – hold her.
Brescht, tired and deflated, took his leave of the party, and directed the Lieutenant to see them out, but thanked them again and apologized that despite their service to the city of Uman the party was unlikely to be officially recognized.
Escorted by the Lieutenant, the party exited the prison facility and were surprised to find themselves in the House Brescht district of the 2nd Tier. The party stood for a few minutes and debated approaching House Knacklebun for a reward. While they discussed it Yuna received a message from the Lieutenant, who informed them that Brescht had decided he would reward the party himself, and granted them title and deed to the Margoleth Manor, the house on the 7th tier where the party had lately battled an Oblex.
The party spent the early afternoon on the long walk down from the 2nd tier, and arrived in the Hard Stone neighbourhood of the Eastfalls district on the 7th a couple of hours before sundown. They found Margoleth Manor in a poor state: already suffering from years of neglect and then taken over by a monstrosity with a horrid stench, the derelict house had since been squatted in by vagrants of the 7th Tier and had no salvageable furnishings.
As most of the party attempted to clear out the refuse, Keen made a circuit of the grounds and made two discoveries. First, a sealed up well in the tiny and overgrown back yard, and second a section of the stone foundation that had been repaired. As Magnus went through the refuse of the late Solaufein Margoleth’s wizard’s laboratory in the basement, Keen broke through the wall with a pickaxe to discover a large heavy sack hidden in a crawl space behind the stone. As he reached in to grab it he was attacked by a black budding lurking in the darkness, its gelatinous form wrapping around his arm and burning through both clothing and flesh. He alerted the party via their telepathic link, and together with Magnus and Ara they dispatched the creature. Returning to the crawl space Keen retrieved the hidden sack. To his complete surprise, the sack contained thousands of ancient platinum coins, each stamped with the head of an unknown Drow king.
Meanwhile, Whisper, who lacked the telepathic bond of the others, had spent the fading light outside, clearing the front of the house. She was therefore the first of them to see the arrival of Ambriel, the young elven acolyte of the Temple of Syf in Whitebridge, and his charge, the bombastic King of Whitebridge, Whibraxis. While a young copper dragon Whibraxis appeared to be attempting to travel incognito, polymorphed into a humanoid form and wearing a small, nondescript traveller’s hood. The effect was largely spoiled by the remainder of his clothing: full noble regalia and jewelled finery, and further complicated by his humanoid form being a mishmash of physical characteristics of the party themselves, them being the first humanoids he encountered after recovering his sanity some weeks ago.
Whibraxis loudly instructed Ambriel to announce him, which he did – somewhat reluctantly – as “His Most Noble Person Inconsequentia” to Whisper, and asked for a meeting with the rest of the party. Whisper called them forth, whereupon Whibraxis greeted them loudly, announcing himself again and declaring that he had arrived with dire news for them all.
Compound Exit Strategy: Talking?
High Fantasy Furniture Simulator Level: ACNH
High Fantasy SuperMax Security Rating: Probably Fine.
RP Rating: Awesome!