Sunday, June 14th, 2009
The group reached the city of Xaarum with no further issues. They decide that the most important thing is to find the home of the wizard Milead, who supposedly used devils to guard his home.
The five adventurers enter the city and see that it is not as well off as Zoa. The limestone walls are cracked and pitted, and the forest is in places growing right up to them.
They enter the first inn that they see, to both gather information and to celebrate their victory against the orcs and bugbear.
The name of the inn is the Dwarf's Load Inn, and the barkeeper asks what he can do for them. "Two ales, one for your, uh, small friend, then? Here you go...that'll be six copper."
Raizix puts a silver piece on the bar. "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't take this" says the barkeeper. "Xaarum has it's own coinage. You'll have to find a money changer. I'll put the ale on your tab, Master..."
"Raizix, and these are my companions, Darwin, Jelena, Ember, and Deekin."
"Oh, very nice. So, what brings you to Xaarum, since you are obviously new here."
"Well, to be honest, we are looking for the mage Milead."
The barkeeps face changes. "I didn't take you for that sort...I wouldn't get involved with him. He worships some dark, forgotten god they say. Let's not talk about that."
The group goes to the money changers and gets a couple dozen gold coins changed, and get twenty-two Xaarum coins in return. As they do that, Deekin returns. "Deekin found something! Milead has three devils that guard his house. And his house is right over there." Deekin points across the river to the older side of Xaarum at a large house in a clearing.
"Good job, Deekin. Let's go now, maybe we can get back to Zoa quickly."
It doesn't take long for them to travel across the river and to Milead's manor. It looks to easily be the largest house in the city. Raizix pulls on the bell rope, and is shortly greeted by an old, thin man with black livery. "Yes?"
"We are here to see the Wizard Milead about a matter of great importance."
"Your name, good...sir?"
The man in livery waits, looking at the four others in the group. "I'm Deekin, cleric of the shimmering one!"
The others give their names reluctantly. The liveried man closes the gate and returns to the house. He returns moments later and says, "The master is too busy to see you. Good day."
"No, but I will relay the information to the master." He leaves once again, returning after a slightly longer wait. "As I said before, the master is too busy to see you."
Raizix pulls Darwin back, and Deekin follows them. "Is there something you can do, make him more friendly, or something?"
"No, I cannot. My gift doesn't work that way."
"Deekin can!" Deekin exclaims. When everyone stares at him, he begins again at a whisper, "Deekin can. It won't be long and he might be angry and it might not work, bit Deekin will try."
Deekin says with authority, "approach," and the man walks toward him quickly. Everyone else runs through the open doorway, gaining entrance to the house.
"Master, the hooligans are in the house! They have weapons and a magic user!"
The group searches through the house, to find a man in robes beside an empty fireplace, standing. Just as Raizix enters the doorway, a monstously huge viper appears between him and the man.
"Leave now. You have bothered me and my chamberlain enough."
The group have a heated conversation with Milead, telling him of the wizard Daresh and the coin of power grafted to her skin, and their attempts at creating another one to fight back against her.
"So, we need the blood of a devil," finishes Raizix.
"Then you have come for naught, and as I told you, wasted all of our time. Leave, before I summon the watch to remove you by force."
The group leaves dejected. But it doesn't take long for them to decide to get what they need anyways.
"Looks like we need a place to keep our stuff if we are going to be fighting devils in the city," says Darwin. They return to the Dwarf's Load Inn and get two rooms to put equipment in, and begin to look around the city for any other information about Milead.
It doesn't take them long to confirm that something supernatural guards the house at night. They also find something unexpected.
There is a bard, singing on a street corner who chants while playing out "What do you get when you cross a half-orc and a pig?
Nothing, there's just some things you can't get a pig to do."
While he did get a few laughs from those nearby, the half-orc across the street obviously took offense. "What did you say?" he says. while quickly approaching the bard, then snatching the lute from his hands and grabbing his shirt collar.
Raizix and Darwin also begin approaching the burly half-Orc and pudgy human bard. "I'm going to give you two seconds to give me a good reason why I shouldn't shove this..."
"No, no, I didn't mean it. I'm sorry," sobs the bard, almost incoherently.
"See, he's obviously sorry and we wouldn't want any trouble, would we?" says Raizix while putting hand to hilt. The half-orc backs up and away, and grunts.
"Your lucky, myoozishuhn. They won't always be here, and next time I see you, I'll tune you up real good," says the half-orc as he walks away.
"Good sir, would you like a job?" says Raizix to the bard.
"Why, um, yes. Yes I would. Thank you, and thank you for rescuing me from that ruffian. No sense of humor..."says the bard, apparently trying to be jovial but still trembling.
"Very good! We'll need your abilities at the Lord Milead's Manorhouse tonight at midnight. If you could meet us there? And here's a deposit for your trouble, " says Raizix as he hands the bard ten gold. "Your name, good sir?"
"Gonaathan the bard."
"Ah, excellent. I'm Raizix. We'll see you then."
The group then goes there separate ways, selling some of their equipment and purchasing necessary items while trade is still going on. They meet back at the Dwarf's Load Inn, and see a female dwarf performing music on stage in front of a large crowd. They go to their rooms and retire early, knowing that they will be up later and may need to leave the city.
Near midnight, they go to the manor house and a few minutes later, Gonaathan arrives. "I, uh, don't see much happening here, or a stage. Who did you want me to perform for?"
"Well, see, we needed your services to simply use this knife to stab one of Milead's guards."
"One of Milead's guards? But he doesn't have guards, he has...oh, oh no. You'll have to give me a bit more than you already did if you want me to do that. And I ain't fighting nothing. I'll stab it, if you hold it, or kill it or something. One hundred gold. No less."
"Very well. You'll get it when you do it."
After their discussion, Jelana approaches the gates of the manor, and contemplates hoping the fence. However, she had already gotten something attention that appears about thirty feet away from her. It appears like a ephemeral lion, glowing slightly, and going invisible in the torch light. She draws her bow, and shoots.
The arrow lodges into the form, which growls ferociously, and runs toward the fence. It jumps, and almost clears it in a single bound, but just misses the top and begins pulling itself up and over, far more intelligent than a simple animal.
"Get ready for it, I'll be guarding all of you, so don't worry about getting hurt," says Raizix over his shoulder to everyone, but mainly to Gonaathan. He runs forward, ready to engage the creature once it drops from the fence"
Jelena takes aim again, waiting for it to land. Darwin and Ember begin casting spells in preparation, and Deekin casts a spell on Raizix, who appears much stronger.
The creatures lands, and charges towards Jelena. Raizix smashes into it with his sword, and it turns it's attention toward him. Jelena shoots her bow as it is turning, and gets it in the side of the eye, doing some obvious damage. It begins trying to claw in to Raizix, but his armor protects him for the most part.
It doesn't take long for them to kill the thing, while Gonaathan stands transfixed in horror. "Now here we go, Gonaathan. Just take this longsword and cut it, anywhere you like. You just need to draw blood," says Raizix.
"I, um, uh....," stutters Gonaathan.
"Come on man, stick it, before I stick you!" shouts Raizix.
Gonaathan grabs the sword from Raizix and slashes at the devil on the ground, and quickly walks away and begins to vomit on the ground. Raizix grabs a glass vial from his pocket and collects the blood dripping from the wound.
He then walks over to Gonaathan, holding the vial and a knife in one hand, and a pouch of gold in the other. "Here's the hundred gold you asked for. You earned it."
Just after Gonaathan takes the bag, Raizix grabs Gonaathan's hand with his now free hand and nicks it with the dagger, allowing some of the blood to drip into the dagger with the devil's blood. It begins to bubble and smoke slightly, and he puts a stopper on it. "Yes, you definitely earned it."
"Your crazy, all of you," exclaims Gonaathan as he runs away, with gold in hand.
As the group gathers their things, they leave quickly, and come across a guard patrol. "Halt. Identify yourselves," says one of the guardsman.
"My name is Raizix, and these are my companions Ember, Jelena, Darwin, and Deekin. We were playing cards, when we heard a disturbance near that manor house. thought we would investigate. Adventurers and all, you know."
"Best leave that sort of thing to the watch. Get on back inside, and be safe."
"Will do." And the group returns to the inn and goes to sleep. Early in the morning, they pack their belonging and leave the city, fearing possible retribution from Milead.
Luckily, after three days in travel back to Zoa, they aren't accosted by Milead or by anything else for that matter. When they return to Halaan's forge to deliver the devil's blood, however, they see a sign on the door.
By issue of the
GREAT COUNCIL of ZOA
This land has been seized by the
City pending trial for the seditious
acts performed by the occupant
Just as they finish reading the sign, they hear footfalls behind them, and then see a dozen men, some with crossbows, aiming at five of them. "Come with us."
"Where are you taking us?"
"To see Sargeant Sooloe, of the watch," says the lead thug.
"Well, okay," says Raizix, thinking that he could possibly survive a crossbow bolt due to his armor, but Darwin would probably not fare as well, and wouldn't want to be responsible for the elf's death. The dozen men escort them from the forge, towards the city gates, and back north towards Xaarum. About half an hour outside the city, they meet four more people.
"Good, you brought them. I am Sergeant Sooloe," says one of the men, wearing chainmail and a longsword on his belt.
"If your a sergeant of the city watch, then why are we meeting you out here and not back in the city?" asks Raizix.
"Let's just say that I'm representing a different interested party today. Your friends of Halaan. If you want him back, you'll have to return some books that were taken from me that I believe to be in wizard Geolain's possession. Of course, we know you know both Halaan and Geolain, so don't pretend otherwise."
"There just casual acquaintances, really," quips Darwin. He sombers when he gets scowls from both Raizix and Sooloe.
The group reluctantly agrees to get the books in return for Halaan's release, but not before seeing that Halaan is alive. Sooloe agrees, and has Darwin bound, gagged and blindfolded and escorted by one of his men to see Halaan. Darwin returns, and when ungagged, says, "Halaan is alive, and is about five minutes away."
When he says that, all the crossbows turn toward him, and Sooloe begins to draw his sword. "That was foolish, very foolish of you, elf," begins Sooloe. "What is to say that he has not already been moved, or that you went in a, how do you say it, circular direction? You do not truly know where he is. Or perhaps you try to find him, and die trying, or he dies in you trying. Will you risk that, eh?"
"No, we won't," says Raizix. And he then turns to leave. "We'll have to books for you tomorrow, at noon."
The group then leaves, contemplating their next move.