Episode 63: Madame Elethi's Ledger, Part III
Now then," said Madame Elethi, “Mr. Keen, perhaps we can speak without reservations, as friends do. Let us discuss the possibility of working together, to our mutual benefit, yes?”
“Keen?” said Sirlius, in a worried tone.
“Madame Elethi clearly only wishes to help us, Sirlius,” he replied.
“How true, Mr. Keen, how true. And what of you, Sirlius? What has been done to you is horrific. You must be suffering very much.” Elethi indicated Sirlius’s bunny ears. “A true polymorph, if I am not mistaken?”
“This is something I would be pleased to assist you with, to restore you to yourself.”
“I’m not sure…”
“Well, perhaps in time.” Next she addressed Yuna. “Such a rare treasure, such a capable young woman. But not, I think, educated, yes? Our school would have much to offer one such as yourself, my dear.”
Yuna returned the old woman’s frightening stare. “I don’t think so, Ma’am.”
Elethi dismissed this with a hand wave. “As you wish.” She turned back to Keen. “Mr. Keen, I propose an agreement. As you know my reputation forbids me to simply cancel a contract, but I have on rare occasions transferred ownership of a contract to a trusted 3rd party for completion. I would be prepared to transfer the contract from Mr. Henry Smalls, to you. From that point on, any business related to the contract I would refer to you, to handle in whichever way you see fit.”
“You’d transfer the contract on my life…to me?”
“Just so, Mr. Keen. And in return, you, and your friends, would be placed on retainer. I would pay you the sum of, let us say, one thousand gold pieces per season? And in those cases where I have business interests that might extend beyond the city, where my wards are perhaps less effective than they might be, I might call on you.”
“That sounds most agreeable,” said Keen.
“How do we know you’d keep your end of the bargain, Ma’am?” asked Yuna.
“I stand upon my reputation, my dear,” came the reply. “If you doubt me, you have but to ask those in the city whose opinions you trust. Perhaps our mutual friend Bartok Brescht? Surely his word is good to you. And I am sure the captain-general of the city guard would vouch for me.” The suggestion that Bartok might have dealings with Elethi drew a surprised silence from the young aasimar.
Madame Elethi turned back to Sirlius. “And you, Sirlius? Does this agreement sound agreeable to you also?” Madame Elethi, her intense gaze fixed on the tiefling.
Magnus, Yuna, and Ara used the residium binding telepathy to debate Madame Elethi’s intentions. As the conversation continued their suspicion mounted; Keen and Sirlius had somehow been charmed by the strange albino woman, they were certain. The three devised a plan.
Madame Elethi unlocked the animated clockwork cylinder, revealing a portal perhaps 6 inches across. She reached into this portal and retrieved a small book bound in black leather: her ledger. She produced a small knife and pricked the tip of her index finger, drawing a single drop of blood. She handed Keen the dagger and waited expectantly.
“No Keen!” Whisper yelled, and smacked the knife from his hand.
“Now!” Yelled Yuna. Ara raced across the office and with a swift strike from his staff smashed one of the leaded glass windows, flooding the office in late afternoon sun. At the same moment, Magnus moved to bar the office doors. Madame Elethi snatched up her ledger stuffing it into her bustier and in a single fluid motion reached Ara and grappled him. The two struggled, silhouetted in front of the broken window. “This is not how friends treat one another, Mr. Keen!” she yelled. With that she opened her mouth and sank two long fangs deep into the side of Ara’s neck: Madame Elethi was indeed the vampire the party feared her to be. Sirlius rushed to the window and tried to push Ara and Madame Elethi apart without hurting either one, while Keen stood at the desk, too stunned to act.
Whisper also leapt the desk and joined the fray, but not to attack: instead she shoved her hand down Elethi’s shirt and snatched back the ledger. Yuna dragged Keen to closer to the group and focusing her power cast the Calm Emotions spell, breaking the charm on both Keen and Sirlius. Elethi struggled with Whisper to get her hands on the book, but the clever Kenku shoved it into her Bag of Hoarding. While Ara struggled to free himself from Elethi’s overpowering grasp, Keen and Sirlius both attacked. Yuna joined them, creating a Spiritual Weapon in the form of a shimmering, free-floating wooden stake.
The vampire dragged Ara up the wall of the office, biting him again, but the party continued their attack. Elethi dropped Ara then, and moved to attack Whisper, evidently focused on recovering ledger. But the party surprised her by leaping out the shattered window. The moment they leapt Magnus cast Feather Fall on the group, and they gently descended the 6 storeys to the ground. With a screech of frustration Elethi followed suit, plummeting full speed towards the ground. She caught Whisper in midair and the two landed hard on the ground.
Yuna hit the vampire with a Guiding Bolt just as Madame Elethi tore the bag of hoarding from the old Kenku. Rising, she turned and raced for the tower, turning invisible to cover her escape. Frustrated as she was, she failed to notice the shimmering divine aura Yuna’s spell had left surrounding her. The party gave chase and continued their attack. With a vicious strike from the Punisher, Keen slew the vampire, but rather than fall to the ground Madame Elethi disappeared in a cloud of mist.
The party chased the mist through the front door of the tower, following it down the spiral staircase they had used to enter the tower, until it came to rest in a large, opulently-decorated chamber beneath the tower; evidently Elethi’s private quarters. At the center of the room stood an imposing four-poster bed, its curtains drawn. The mist crawled across the rich carpeting and disappeared under the curtains.
While Magnus rummaged in his pack for a wooden stake, Keen made a quick inspection of the room and saw a small wooden jewelry box on a nightstand, and a single heavy brass door leading to a short passageway. The passage ended in a tiny circular chamber, and though it was dark a brass clockwork mechanism was visible on the wall opposite.
Magnus found his stake and with no hesitation strode to the bed and pulled aside the curtains. There lay the paralyzed form of Madame Elethi, once more a humanoid, atop a bed filled not with a mattress but black, peaty soil. Whisper snatched the Bag of Hoarding from the vampire’s clutches with a satisfied squawk: “Mine!” Magnus hammered the stake into Elethi’s heart, and with a whumpf of air the vampire sorceress was destroyed, leaving only a pile of black ash atop the fresh earth. Sirlius stepped up and filled a small vial with the ash, stoppering it and tucking it safely in his pack.
The party debated for a few tense moments how to escape Madame Elethi’s Finishing school. In the end, Magnus snatched up the jewelry box and under the cover of Whisper’s Pass Without Trace spell retraced their steps. Quickly and quietly the moved up the stairs, down the passage way between row upon row of dirt-filled coffins, until they reached the Dwarven tunnels carved deep into the mountainside. After a few tense minutes crossing the bridge where Yuna was first attacked by Vampire Spawn and recrossing the treacherous path across the Ratway, the party found themselves safely out of Elethi’s lair and back in the tunnels beneath the 4th Tier of Uman. After an hour’s travel they exited the tunnels, seemingly without detection, or witness, to their questionable activities.
Homebrew Vampire Lore: Unexpected?
DM Boss Battle Level: C-
Party Boss Battle Level: S
RP Rating: Awesome!