L'lanon

Encounter with the Boggart

Lilith has returned from her ghostly sabbatical. She mentioned something about an eclipse and something about increased ghost activity. In any case, the party gathers together for the journey with Olivie. Yish is so hung over that he is essentially unconscious. So they strap him to the cart and begin the journey.

There is discussion of hot springs. Hnng asks whether there are hot springs along the way to the ruins. Olivie responds affirmatively, but she adds that it is a research site for distilling acids. They decide it would not be relaxing to go into those hot springs.

Marda continues ranting about the importance of saving the animals. Olivie, after spend two nights with Marda, is visibly avoiding being near her.

In passing a marsh, the party begins crossing a bridge to go over a particularly swampy area. Lilith is walking behind the cart. Marda is on the horse which is dragging the cart. The cart is an open flat bed about two feet above the ground. Olivie is in front of the cart, with Hnng close behind her. A loud thud crashes into the cart; what looks like a deer’s head with very large antlers is visible, but the body is gangly, and the eyes are the size of saucers. It is trying to grab Yish. Hnng asks Olivie what the thing is; she screams that it is a boggart and seems not at all prepared for this venture.

In attempting to grab Yish, the boggart’s movement causes the cart, weakened from the initial impact of the boggart dropping into it, to crack; the boggart’s body falls halfway through and is stuck. However, Yish is still within the boggart’s reach. Olivie shoots her already loaded crossbow (Yish mentions his always loaded crossbow). Olivie is scared and inexperienced, so she points the weapon in the general direction of the cart, turns her head away, closes her eyes, and shoots. The bolt gets stuck in the side of cart. Lilith runs up from behind the cart, swinging her morningstar and hits the severely hindered boggart. Clarion dives under the cart and uses an inflict wounds spell as she touches the boggart’s pinky toe. Hnng turns to Olivie, tells her, “watch this”, and then rushes forward with the intent of vaulting over the side of the cart and grappling the boggart. Hnng manages to get himself over the edge, but his foot gets caught, and he falls straight into the cart, with his face planted into Yish’s crotch. Hnng is disappointed that he wasn’t able to impress Olivie, but he stands up. Marda turns around on the horse and shoots an icicle at the boggart, and then crawls into the cart.

The boggart struggles to get out of its compromised position. Although it remains stuck, it does manage to hurt Hnng somewhat. Olivie runs off to the other side of bridge and into the woods. Lilith also casts inflict wounds and touches the boggart from on top of the cart. The boggart begins coughing up blood. Clarion then strikes the boggart’s legs with her steel scarf. Hnng attempts to tackle the boggart, imagining himself a luchador jumping off the ropes; he is slightly aroused from the sensation of touching the boggart. Marda stabs at the boggart with her trident.

The boggart finally manages to master the cart situation. Olivie is still off in the woods somewhere. Lilith misses with her morningstar. Clarion once again strikes with her steel scarf, and the boggart falls unconscious. Hnng is even more aroused by the sensation of the body falling limp.

Hnng begins checking the body for loot. Hnng now sees that the boggart was male. Underneath its fur (all matted into dreadlocks), Hnng feels something hard on its sternum. It smells very bad (12 years of swamp water). Hnng manages to hack away the fur and finds an amulet. Hnng continues working the chain out of the fur. Once the amulet is free, Hnng shouts out for Olivie, but there is no response. So Hnng goes off in search of Olivie, with Marda and Lilith following. As Hnng runs past a tree, Olivie swings her sword out; of course, Hnng is so short that the sword goes over his head. She is very distraught and worried about the boggart, but Hnng assures her that the boggart is dead and that he single-handedly killed it to rip the amulet off of it for her. At first, Olivie totally buys Hnng’s lie, but Marda and Lilith try to get the story correct. After this, Olivie has some doubts about Hnng’s story, but her opinion of Hnng has gone up by six points. In any case, Olivie refuses Hnng’s amulet (it smells terrible), so Hnng walks back to the cart while appraising it, thinking of it as a symbol of the new level of the relationship Hnng now has with Olivie. He realizes that it is worth more than 1000 gold pieces. Hnng puts it in his chest pocket, convinced that it was the reason Olivie sort of believed his story.

In the meantime, Clarion mends the cart. Yish is still asleep. The party continues on and makes camp after the end of the marsh, where a plains area begins.

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The First Trial (again, but with Cory)

Marda shows up to work and begins ranting about animals; apparently, when Marda opened her mouth about animals in the morning, Olivie excused herself, saying something about “taking care of stuff”. Yish has a little headache, but asks Marda about animals. Hnng is writing reports so that the inn stairs broken from the other day can get fixed. Hnng is standing, since sitting isn’t pleasant.

Yish asks Marda if she remembers the leader of the “army of whores”. Hnng steps out from his office and claims that Cory does not have an “army of whores”. Yish ignores Hnng and lets Marda know that Cory will be coming in today. Marda asks Yish what he wants her to do, and Yish asks her to be “so drunken on your love for animals that you will do everything he asks you to do”. Marda answers affirmatively.

Yish then looks around the office and wonders what Leaf and Lilith are up to. Leaf is now out for the third day in a row.

Hnng knocks on Nen’s door. Nen opens a newly installed panel so that he can look out. He doesn’t see Hnng, so he opens another lower panel and sees Hnng. “What do you want, Hnng?” Hnng asks whether if there is some job for the day. Nen responds that this is his day job. Yish then appeases Hnng by promising him soiled underwear from the appointment with Cory.

Cory taps Yish on his shoulder as Yish sits out on the porch of the office. Yish then attempts to get Cory to promise soiled underwear. Before Cory can answer, Hnng comes out the door and tries to introduce himself (again). Cory ignores Hnng and mumbles something about sufficient compensation.

Clarion, Marda, and Hnng get gathered. Cory asks for the blue stone. Yish asks why Cory should hold the stone. Cory explains that the one who holds the stone determines which trial is activated. Cory then holds the stone next to his mouth and whispers very quietly. No one hears exactly what Cory says, but it seems that he whispered the activation word.

The party once again finds itself on a platform suspended by ropes attached to pillars, such that the ropes are attached to a bridge far away. Cory asks Yish to stand by rope two, Marda by rope four, and Clarion by rope six. Cory stands by rope seven. Hnng is told to stand in the middle of the platform. Cory then instructs everyone to start cutting their ropes but wait until his signal before cutting all the way through. When the people are about three-fourths of the way across, Cory calls for cutting through. All do as they are told, and the platform sinks a little but stabilizes as the bridge collapses from the center. The people reach the other side of the bridge while the orcs are stuck on the other side. No one is hurt.

Once the people are safely across the bridge, a blue portal opens up behind Cory. Cory steps through. Everyone follows Cory. Clarion, though, lights the remaining ropes on fire before stepping through the portal. Clarion is upset that the last time, the platform collapsed; she also remembers falling down to the rocks under the platform last time.

The party finds itself on the porch of the office once again. Cory hands back the blue stone to Yish as Yish asks for the soiled underwear. Cory promises to send someone later with compensation. Yish seems not able ever to remember Cory’s name. Clarion asks how many such trials there are. Cory answers [some number not yet known to the DM]. The party also remembers that Cory knew how to pass the first trial but doesn’t know anything about the second trial. Cory departs.

Yish asks Nen for a job. Nen is not afraid to open the door, since Yish called out. A local witch wants skunk juice. So the party needs to handle the skunk before it sprays. Yish asks Marda for advice. Marda responds that she has a few skunks near her haven. Yish tries to figure out how to pay for them to spray into vials. Marda thinks it might work if she bargains with the skunks by herself. Yish purchases carrots; Marda takes 20 of them. Marda manages to get four vials of skunk juice. The skunks were perfectly willing, and Marda didn’t even get sprayed. In fact, Marda stoppered the vials so perfectly that she doesn’t smell like she was with skunks at all when she returns to the office to hand in the vials.

Hnng knocks on Nen’s door. The lock gets put in place. Nen opens the panel for Hnng. Hnng asks Nen for a job. Nen responds that he does not have any more jobs but suggests that Hnng go talk to his contact

Hnng takes a lunch break. He goes to the new magic shop. Hnng sees Bobby from Cleethorpes and recognizes him. Bobby welcomes Hnng to the shop (it doesn’t seem that Bobby recognizes Hnng). Hnng sees that the shop is fairly small. There are glass cabinets next to Bobby with some weapons. Behind Bobby hang amulets and rings on the wall. On the show floor, there is an enchanted torch that lights up the entire room. There is one other customer, but Hnng doesn’t recognize him. Hnng asks Bobby whether he knows where Leaf is. Hnng sees that Bobby’s eyes glimmer with recognition, but Bobby begins stammering about not knowing Leaf. Hnng calls out Bobby’s bluff. Bobby admits that Leaf is in the back but warns Hnng that he shouldn’t go back there. Hnng is satisfied to know that Leaf has been skipping out on work, so he awkwardly rests his hand on Bobby’s arm and patronizingly thanks Bobby.

Yish passes Hnng on the street but they ignore each other. Yish enters the shop, and both he and Bobby recognize each other. Yish is somewhat disappointed, but he knows he wants gear to prepare for the upcoming trip with Olivie. Yish asks Bobby for help with choosing gear and general advice for encounters with chimaeras. Bobby is now disappointed to hear that Yish, a bard, doesn’t know anything about chimaeras. Bobby fills in Yish on what he few things he knows about chimaeras. Bobby knows that chimaeras are blends of animals that may attack. Yish asks whether offering chimaeras meat will be effective. Bobby thinks that the tactic might work for the lesser ones; the stronger ones are probably not satisfied with scavenging. Yish then asks about putting them to sleep. Bobby offers a wand. Yish leaves, realizing how expensive magic items are.

Yish goes back to work. He asks Clarion whether they can get gas masks. Yish is planning to spray an area with sleep potions so that the chimaeras are easier for Olivie to study. The gas masks would protect people from falling asleep. Gas masks are available in the basement of the office, but aerolyzing the potion still remains tricky. Clarion invents a sprayer and begins working on a prototype. Clarion calls it the souper (spray operated unattended potion emitting receptacles) soaker. (It’s a glass bottle with the bottoms melted off. The tops have small holes. The bottoms are stoppered with rubber plungers, allowing for a syringe-like pump action that allows liquid stored in the glass bottle to be sprayed out the small hole.) She writes up beautiful plans and a patent for her design; she manages to build two, but she stayed up all night.

The next morning, Clarion sprays water on everyone as they enter the office. Hnng gets very agitated, shudders, and goes to his office. Yish is very excited and smilingly exclaims, “it worked!” Marda doesn’t have much of a reaction, although Yish attempts to get her excited by telling her that Clarion’s invention is a new, humane way to deal with animals.

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Meeting Olivie

Every once in a while, Yish wears red suspenders. Mostly hipster, but 15% beatnik. Hnng wears all black all the time.

A new day comes. The party meets in the office. Yish comes in on the end of a high. He begins to be curious as to what the current kingdom may have done to make Cory so upset, but decides such details are unimportant. He begins searching for cheese flavored pork rinds.

Hnng comes in unusually late, almost 2pm. Hnng tries to sneak into the office without being noticed. Yish waves at Hnng, not quite realizing how late Hnng came in. Hnng gives him a strange side eye and then swiftly stows himself in his office.

Leaf isn’t in, probably still excited about the new magic shop. No one’s really sure where Lilith is.

Clarion comes up about this time, asking whether they’re going to go on a job. Hnng steps out of his office to ask Yish whether there are any jobs. Yish asks Nen for jobs. Nen warns Yish that the current job on offer may take about a week, since it’s by an archaeologist who wants to explore the ruins to the east. Yish is slightly confused, since this seems more like a job for the fighter’s guild. But he asks how much the pay will be. It will be about 7 silvers pieces.

Yish then asks what the ruins are called. Nen responds that they’re called the ruins of Warrington. Yish recognizes this name from his knowledge of history. It used to be the estate of the family named Warrington. It was abandoned 382 years ago because the last known heir of the Warrington family was experimenting with mixing humans and animals. The people in the region were suffering, since this final heir would go around town stealing people’s pets and livestock. The people rose up in anger and drove out the entire family. The people then sealed up the castle.

The archaeologist’s name is Olivie Reece. While Nen knows nothing about why she wants to visit the ruins, Yish recognizes her as a recent hire for Wizards of the Coast, although not in the Copyright division. Olivie’s division deals not with arcane scribing as Copyright but with healing and the use of magic on living beings. Olivie is also a worshipper of Nethys.

Olivie left an Angel network number but doesn’t have a demon network number. Yish asks Clarion if she has access to the Angel network, but Clarion says she does not. Yish asks whether Clarion’s denial is actually covering something due to her non-disclosure agreement

Yish comes out of the office and explains the situation. Hnng is very interested once he finds out that chimaeras are involved. Marda finds chimaeras worthy of death, since they are not part of the natural order of things. Clarion doesn’t want to go. Yish isn’t able to make sense of the rest of the party’s discussion, so he goes back into Nen’s office and to say that the party will take the job.

The party goes to the inn where Olivie is staying (she left that piece of information with Nen). The inn is the cheapest, most run-down place. It’s located far away from any of the amenities of town. It’s actually close to the warehouses. It seems that in the recent past, someone failed to take down the inn.

Yish asks the innkeeper for Olivie. He tells Yish the door number. Yish goes up and knocks on the door. A very young half-elf opens the door, looks up expectantly, and asks whether the visitor has read the ad. She seems to be about Yish’s age. Hnng tries to get a good look at her; she seems to be 15 (in hotness) on a scale of 1 to 20. Yish asks whether she’s an intern. She responds that she’s not an intern any longer and is now a junior researcher. Yish asks why she wants to visit the ruins. She responds that she learned about the ruins in her studies and so was curious. Yish gets very close to her and warns her not to support the chimaeras so that there won’t be any problems with Marda. Olivie looks past Yish to see who Marda is.

Yish then makes the terms of service explicit to Olivie: “Please don’t beset us with chimaeras. When we do get beset with chimaeras, please don’t disappear so that we have to go find you.” Yish then asks Hnng for paperwork so that the company isn’t liable if she gets killed out of her own stupidity. Hnng insists that he must meet alone with her, but Yish convinces Olivie that the paperwork can be done in public.

Marda offers Olivie to stay at her house. Olivie accepts Marda’s offer. Hnng offers to help Olivie pack her things. Olivie is about to accept Hnng’s offer, but she catches the panicked expression on Yish’s face and so decides not to accept Hnng’s help. When Hnng begins to insist, Yish kicks him in the shins. Hnng angrily stomps down the stairs (although the stomping doesn’t make much noise). Hnng’s stomping causes him to fall through the stairs. Yish descends carefully and doesn’t ask whether Hnng is okay.

The party departs. Hnng trawdles off elsewhere (he eventually goes for the “centaur special” at As You Wish). Clarion reminds Yish that Cory might come by during the week job. Yish breaks into a jog and goes to the Cat’s Paw. The new barmaid, a busty one, looks up and greets Yish by name. Apparently, pictures of Yish have already been circulated. Yish asks for Cory. The busty barmaid says that it may take a while. She then goes into the back, pulls out a pigeon, and then throws it out the door. Clarion goes to the restroom; Yish orders a slightly spiked ginger ale.

Marda begins trying to induct Olivie to PETA-MOO. Olivie very carefully answers Marda’s questions, since Olivie used animals during healing training (it was too dangerous to try on humanoids). As for favorite animal, Olivie answers hobgoblin. Marda isn’t totally convinced by Olivie’s answer.

Cory eventually enters the bar. He says that he’s surprised to see Yish. He had been meaning to get into contact in three days. Yish informs Cory that there is job that might take a week. So they agree to take the first test in the next two days before the party heads out with Olivie.

Yish then asks why Cory thought to look at Vallan’s house for the blue stone. And how would Cory know about Vallan having the blue stone but not the red stone? Cory responds that Vallan had made contact declaring that he had the stone; Vallan had come into the Cat`s Paw. Yish is curious about the pigeon, but he decides not to ask. Instead, Yish finishes his ginger ale and steps out.

Yish consults Clarion in the street. They debate Cory’s story. Clarion still doesn’t trust Cory, since Cory’s men had broken into everyone’s homes.

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Cory's Visit

A week has passed. Hnng comes into work in the morning. He ignores the bulletin board. Marda notices three new bulletins. One says that the government wants more information about the princess. Another is of a new magic shop. Marda takes the last coupon attached to the bulletin. It seems that the magic shop is associated with Wizards of the Coast. The last bulletin says that there is a forest fire to the west; much of the forest had burned down, but the government reports that it has no reason to believe arson. When Hnng learns of the last piece of news, he gets very excited to himself and tries not to show his excitement to others.

Yish staggers into the office three hours late. He’s only slightly drunk, but he is pissed (as usual). Yish is wearing a black turtle-neck and jeggings, with many ear rings. The leader of the red cloaks, although not wearing his red cloak, follows Yish into the office and makes himself known. Hnng peaks out from his slightly ajar door. The leader notices but doesn’t acknowledge.

Yish is surprised that the leader was so quiet. The leader had been waiting for Yish to arrive at work. Clarion is also surprised, as she comes up the stairs from the basement, to see the leader.

The leader claims that he is heir to the monarchy. The current ruler is a usurper, a second uncle. The usurper’s done a bad job of ruling, and the leader wants to take the throne back. The leader also reveals that the blue stone is an ancient artifact. Hnng comes out on pretense of getting more coffee. Hnng has completely forgotten of the incident at the barn; he drinks noisily.

The leader continues to explain that the blue stone casts illusion spells that tests the heir to see if he is worthy of the throne. Clarion begins to wonder whether that meant that everyone was standing there in the barn with dumb expressions on their faces. The leader adds that the stone took them into a pocket dimension. Marda then asks what the leader’s opinion is on forest animals. Yish warns the leader to be very supportive of the animals. The leader responds to Marda: “Creatures are important to the ecology of L’lanon”. Marda is very pleased with this response and is willing to help him in any way.

The party then begins to wonder what the leader’s name is. The leader reveals his name to be Cory Dapia. Yish asks rather disbelievingly whether Cory is really his name and then explains that his cousin’s name is Cory. That cousin has really bad eczema. So Yish was surprised that such a non-regal name would be the rightful heir’s.

Both Yish and Marda detect no deception in Cory’s claim to the throne. Clarion thinks he’s lying. Hnng attempts to intimidate Cory into not telling lies (Hnng doesn’t even bother trying to detect whether he’s telling the truth). Cory does get uncomfortable at Hnng’s proximity, although he isn’t actually afraid; even so, Hnng convinced that Cory now fears him. Hnng slithers back to the coffee pot, now filled only with the dregs, pours another cup full, and begins grinding his teeth on the bitter coffee grounds. Yish assures Cory that Hnng is not acting unusually.

The party is now curious to hear what Cory wants. Cory explains that he wants the blue stone.

Knowing that he is in a position of bargaining, Yish makes two demands. The first is to help get Vallan back. The other is to deal with Rudolf, whom Yish describes as being a dick and living in the forest and abusing dire wolves. Cory wonders what he can do, since his rule does not extend to the western forest. But he does promise to protect Sif with his guard. Yish attempts to understand the size of Cory’s guard. Cory replies that there are more guards than whores in the town. Everyone turns to look at Hnng, who becomes very self-conscious and refuses to answer. As for helping with Vallan, Cory agrees to allow them to be served with Wizards of the Coast. In return, Yish allows Cory to use the blue stone under supervision (meaning that Yish and his friends are allowed to be a part of trials).

After Cory leaves, Yish pulls out paper, glue, and broken pottery to work on his collage. Hnng returns to his office, which has a blacked out window. Yish declares that pizza bagel bites is superior to pizza hot pockets. Hnng gets sucked into the discussion. Clarion gets ready to prepare bagel bites for the party’s lunch. But then she remembers that she’s got a sandwich (from the Philadelphia Street’s gnomes) at home and so leaves Yish to finish cooking the bagel bites.

Yish also gets notice that he gets a 10% discount on all items at the Cat’s Paw.

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Return from Cleethorpes

When Marda returned to the office the following day, she found out that the party had ditched her. She was furious that they had left without her, recalling that the last time the party went off without her, hoar foxes had been killed. She arrives in Cleethorpes to find that Yish has been consuming many tacos in his rooms for the past few days; that Hnng has been drinking; that Clarion has been observing blacksmiths and spending time at the beach; and that Lilith has been nocturnally exploring islands (perpetuating the rumor of haunted islands thanks to her spirits).

Friday morning, Hnng is super hung over; he’s squinting 30% more than usual.

The farmer’s market starts. There is much food on sale. The Wizards of the Coast representative, a reasonably tall half elf, takes his place in a stall of honor (he brings lots of money into the town). He takes tickets and hands out parcels. His stall is called the “Stall of Enchantments”. Yish introduces himself and asks the representative about the blue gem, showing it. The representative reveals that he is an intern. Hnng, who has been standing unsuccessfully trying to look like he hasn’t been listening to Yish and the intern, makes a scoffing noise. The intern refers Yish to Bobby the Wizard, who is to show up in a half hour. Joke toys that shock people cost 5 silver pieces. Clarion is very interested.

Hnng goes to the alchemist to find a potion to get over his hung overness. The alchemist pulls out a brown, foamy liquid in a vial and demands 1 gold piece. Hnng throws the coin at the alchemist and asks whether the liquid will kill him. The alchemist responds that he does not know, since the liquid is a family recipe that has never been used on “your kind”. Hnng downs the liquid and finds himself on the ground, very dizzy but otherwise unassailed by being hung over. He gets up and returns to be near Yish.

Bobby is an elf wizard. He walks around pompously with his arms folded into the sleeves of his blue robes. He has long, straight hair with braided bangs that are tied around to the back of his head. Yish hates full elves, but he stifles his hatred to converse with Bobby. Yish produces the blue gem, and Bobby inspects it. Bobby then informs Yish that the item was made long before he had joined the guild and that the item must have been an expensive custom item (Yish thinks to himself “No duh!”). Bobby also surmises that the magic of the gem creates a pocket dimension where the user is transported. He also sense that the magic bends light and causes illusion.

Marda then butts in and asks what Bobby’s feelings on animal rights are. Hnng shoves his shoulder into her stomach and drives her away. Yish lets this happen.

Yish then drags Clarion over to ask about the red gem. Clarion refuses to show Bobby the red gem, citing breach of contract. As Yish throws a punch at Clarion, Bobby casts mass hold person on both Yish and Clarion and reprimands them for their conduct, speaking of public image and such. Yish warns Bobby about Marda and hands him a business card in case he needs to mail Marda back. Bobby in turn hands Yish a business card with his name (for the demon network) and his angel network phone number. Yish decides to hold a grudge against Clarion for not showing the red gem.

While the party is traveling back to Ban Du, they come across a giant crab. Yish flips it off. Since the party decided not to kill the crab, Marda is very happy and has deluded herself into believing that the party is very close to joining PETA-MOO. Yish notices Marda’s good mood and tells her that he feels rather sick seeing her so happy. Marda is saddened by this.

When the party returns to the office, Yish gets up and leaves. Clarion does as well. Lilith asks Nen for more jobs. The cockatrice job is already done. However, an alchemist wants giant porcupine quills (at least 100). Hnng remembers that giant porcupines are likely on the outskirts of the same forest where Rudolf lives. Hnng is in the mood for killing things; Marda is ready to find their den and pick up shed quills. They successfully find the den: at the edge of a clearing, 40 feet away, there is a nest mounded up. Two giant porcupines come out and start hissing at the party. Hnng wonders whether there are babies in the nest. Marda remembers that there might be up to a half dozen living together. She then converses with one of the porcupines, promising not to bother them if they give discarded quills. The one porcupine converses with the other. That other goes back into the nest, comes back up with a giant pile of porcupine quills, turns around, poops (pellety and string) on the stack, and the two go back into their nest. Hnng attempts to surreptitiously cast guidance on himself. Lilith goes to the pile, sweeps the poop off the top with one of the quills, and begins bundling them in cloth. There are 101 quills. Marda then drops some berries from her pocket as they leave. A porcupine can be heard sniffing at the berries before darting back into the nest with the berries.

Hnng asks Marda and Lilith to go ahead since he “wants to pee.” Marda sees that Hnng is trying to hide something. Hnng goes behind a tree, begins to pee, and leans from behind the tree and stares at Marda. Marda leaves. After Hnng thinks that Marda isn’t watching, Hnng lights a torch, leaves it in a bush and catches up to Marda and Lilith. Hnng says something about his belts and then urges the two to hurry to get back to town before dark. Hnng chuckles to himself as he thinks about the forest fire he has started.

Yish goes in search of a market for a large order of food. Yish walks into the glutton’s shop and asks the receptionist if they cater. She seems to find the request unusula, so Yish turns around and leaves. He then goes into the largest tavern and asks about the princess. People are still not worried about the princess not reappearing. One man tells Yish, “if she’s with the red cloaks, she’ll be fine”. At this, Yish becomes very interested, but his interest leads to an overly aggressive tone which sends the townsman away. Yish goes to another bar in the lower city; it’s seedy. Yish walks in, looks at the other magi-8 tracks with contempt, and begins asking around about the red cloaks. Yish finds a person totally drugged out. He says “Psshhhh! You can’t talk about that stuff.” Yish asks “Why not?” “Because the king said so.” “Well, I don’t see the king around here.” This seems to convince the person to speak more openly. Yish asks more about how to find the red cloaks. “Oh, out in the woods.” Yish thinks to himself that Ban Du is surrounded entirely by woods. Yish then asks when the drugged fellow last saw the red cloaks. “I was riding a ferry” (Yish wonders what “riding the fairy” means) “and saw them off in the woods two months ago.”

Yish then goes to a bar (“The Cat’s Paw”) in a fairly nice part of the lower city with an intuition for finding the people most disgruntled with the current government. Yish mentions “red cloaks” to the barmaid; she points to a door that leads to a back room. Yish senses that she is not lying. As Yish approaches the door, he hears men talking. As he turns the door handle, the men stop talking; stepping inside, Yish sees that three men are playing cards at a table (mid-game). Yish joins their game, realizing that he needs to be done as soon as possible, since he knows how bad he is at poker. He then sneaks in a mention of the red cloaks, mentioning that he is sympathetic to their cause. The men are attentive but cautious. Yish then asks how to get in contact with the red cloaks. The men reveal that they are the eyes and ears of the red cloaks in the city, “loyalists to the old kingdom”. Yish affirms his resolve to take down the current government and asks how to join the red cloaks. They tell Yish to come check in every once in a while. Yish then presses them to see how much they know about him. They reveal that they know his name, his employment, and his co-workers. Girryn, the main speaker, tells Yish that they will find him on Friday. Yish loses the card game. On the way out, Yish asks whether he gets a red cloak for joining. Girryn informs him that the cloaks were garb for guards in the old kingdom.

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Cleethorpes

Marda is out. Hnng dreams about having a bathing suit. He first thinks that it might be made out of his back hair. On the other hand, he thinks that it might be made out of leather, with decorative chains adorning the region around his pot-belly.

Nen has the following jobs available: a cockatrice in a field; vermin in a cave (this man was the same one who came with the hyena problem).

Turns out that cockatrices have an irrational fear of roosters and that weasels and ferrets are immune to the bite, which typically petrifies.

But the party decides to go to the beach instead. Perhaps, the wizards of the coast know more about the gems and Vallan’s disappearance. In the meantime, Hnng offers himself as tribute to Clarion for any more information on Vallan’s current situation. Clarion puts on a show of interest in this proposition, but she is hesitant due to various reasons (unbeknownst to the others, she is still getting over a previous relationship; besides, she doesn’t really like Hnng…no on really does). Yish strokes his beard as he watches the situation and decides to cast Unnatural Lust on Clarion. Clarion shrugs off the spell and gets very upset at Yish.

Hnng knows from his knowledge of arcana that the wizards of the coast used to be in the southern region of L’lanon. Yish finds out from the locals that the wizards of the coast are currently in the south. Yish also recalls from his knowledge of history that Copyright leaves marks on the items they make; the blue gem has such a mark, but the red gem does not.

The party leaves Marda behind and so investigate southern L’lanon without her. The party makes its way to Cleethorpes, which might be connected to the current headquarters of Copyright. It is a city three days away from Ban Du. Yish goes to the bar to see what he can find out; Lilith goes with him. Hnng goes to the shops. Leaf and Clarion go to the beach (Clarion would probably wear a bikini, but Leaf seems like the kind to go in the nude).

Yish asks the barkeeper what he know about wizards of the coast. The barkeeper informs him that representatives of the wizards of the coast visits the town every two weeks; his next visit will be in three days (on market Friday). He sets up shop to give out items already ordered and to take new orders.

Yish also listens to local rumors:

  • One of the small islands off the coast might be haunted
  • Occasionally, some of the livestock get attacked by something which has yet to be seen, although the locals think that it is a fox or a wolf
  • There is an ogre in the town to the west, although he doesn’t disturb anyone; even so, someone else wants him gone so that he can take over the hill

Hnng finds many shops selling various little trinkets. He chooses the shadiest looking shop, which has a whole shelf dedicated to cursed items. Hnng asks the shopkeeper about the wizards of the coast. He rolls his eyes and says, “those guys, they come every once in a while”. Hnng nevertheless finds out that the wizards of the coast would probably make an appearance at the Friday market. Hnng then asks for information on how to get a unicorn horn. The shopkeeper informs him of the difficulty of obtaining one, since it is questionably illegal to kill a unicorn. There is, however, an island off the coast which is technically not under L’lanon’s rule which might have a unicorn on it. Hnng leaves five gold pieces for the shopkeeper.

At the beach, Leaf and Clarion have a discussion about filtering water. Clarion grew up by a swamp, so she learned that water needed to be filtered. Leaf is convinced that filtering water is magic. So when Clarion gives Leaf the cloth that she used to filter sand out from the beach water, Leaf is overjoyed. They then proceed to have a conversation that deepens their friendship. Leaf reveals that he grew up in the forest alone, not knowing his parents; when he was 18, a priest of Nethys took him in. Clarion teaches Leaf about flirting, although Leaf doesn’t seem to quite understand it all. Leaf begins to practice flirting with Clarion, and the two decide to keep this exchange a secret.

Hnng enjoys his meat and cheese melt; Yish and Lilith get tacos. Hnng and Yish meet eyes and uncomfortably exchange information. Leaf and Clarion happen to stumble upon them at that time. The party takes a boat for two silver pieces out to the haunted island (it’s the one farthest out from the coast).

The party lands at the island and sees a little sign on the beach, which has a warning printed in common: Warning! Mind-stab fungus. Yish recalls that those who approach will be rendered unconscious by the ear-piercing scream of the fungus. Yish stuffs wet flour in his ears; Clarion happens to have three sets of ear plugs. Hnng doesn’t get ear plugs.

The island has a well-tended patch of earth, where these fungi are cultivated. Yish notices that fresh footprints go up from where the party has landed and are all around the field. Lilith does not detect any undead; Clarion doesn’t detect any poison. Yish thinks that they should wait and watch (and hide the boat).

After seven hours, night comes. A light from the darkness approaches. A hooded figure picks up the lantern and approaches the fungus field. Hnng attempts to stealthily get behind the figure so as to block the path back to the boat. The hooded figure goes to a tree near the field, pulls on the rope behind it, lowers tools, puts in ear plugs, and begins to tend the field, which screams out quite loudly. Hnng looks in the boat, only to find an empty sack.

After the hooded figure finishes working, it picks up three fungi and begins moving towards the boat. Yish lights his lantern to signal to the hooded figure. The hooded figure puts down the mushrooms, cuts a portion, and the mushrooms stop screaming. She pulls off her hood, revealing many tattoos. Yish finds out that she is the witch Launlaer. She is quite friendly, explaining that she harvests mushrooms for her potion, and not at all put off by the party’s appearance on her island. The rumor of the haunted island must have been from the shrieking mushrooms. Yish attempts to purchase some mushrooms from her, but she invites him to come to her shop in town. Yish then asks her not to be spooked by his companions that probably are hiding in her boat.

Hnng asks Launlaer whether she knows about unicorns on the islands. She responds that the islands nearby don’t have unicorns.

Yish ends the conversation by asking whether Launlaer knows about Copyright and the wizards of the coast. She informs him that she deals with them frequently. The party returns to the mainland and finds a place to stay for the night (Hnng goes for a ham and cheese sandwich while Yish goes for more tacos).

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Beating Boars

The next day, everyone comes to work. Clarion rearranges the basement as a temporary shooting range to test her newly built crossbow. It pierces well. Unfortunately, one bolt goes astray sets off a poison bomb. Clarion declares that the basement is off limits for the day.

Yish apologizes for trying to force Marda to drink the potion; Marda hangs on to her resentment and declares that it will take time for Marda to forgive him.

For now, the party knows that Vallan is all right, that the princess frequently runs off, and that no one is currently trying to kill them.

Nen Wess has a job for the day: Farmers are complaining about a boar digging up their fields. Yish whispers to Clarion to see whether the trick she used on the hoar foxes would work on the boar. Clarion whispers back that she has the traps but isn’t sure how well the traps would work on the boars; after all, the hoar foxes acted rather stupidly. Clarion then asks Marda what she knows about boar. Marda reports that boars are rather fast and surprisingly strong. Apparently, people like to eat boar meat, although Marda disapproves of killing animals. At this, Clarion can’t resist making a joke (about “hamboargers”); Marda glares back disapprovingly.

Clarion then goes back down into the basement to grab the traps, but she quickly comes back up declaring that she couldn’t hold her breath long enough. Hnng takes a few steps down but accidentally takes a whiff of the poison and passes out, falling the rest of the way down the stairs. Leaf goes down and grabs Hnng (Hnng forgot to sign his non-resuscitate contract). Marda and Lilith manage to grab one small trap each; Yish grabs a large trap. After Hnng wakes up, he retreats to his office, locks the door behind him, and heals himself. He then comes out pretending that he is still hurt, although both Marda and Yish are aware that he is faking. Neither call him out on it.

Yish notices interesting marks in the ground and searches his knowledge regarding “Copyright Wizards of the Coast”. Yish remembers that “Copyright” is also inscribed into his sapphire. Apparently, there was a renowned group of wizards in L’lanon called the “Wizards of the Coast” (apparently, L’lanon is somewhat close to the coast). “Copyright” was the name of the group. Many years ago, the Copyright had left the region, although this forest used to be where their court was. That is why the marks in the ground are burned in by magic and remain to this day. That also explains why there are rocks around, which, as Marda notices, were not hewn by hand.

The party then gets back to their task. Leaf notices that there is more than one set of tracks that are quite recent. One set goes on direction around a group of trees; the other goes the other direction. Clarion begins setting up the bear trap by one set of tracks. Leaf then climbs up a tree to see what he can see. Leaf sees a crap-ton of stuff. Hnng begins to wander away from the group, but Yish catches up quickly and commands him to get back. Hnng is bitter and begins to sulk around a nearby rock (although his attempt to climb up on it was unsuccessful).

Marda discovers a boar first and decides to attempt to calm it. However, she can’t get close enough to cast her spell; so she stands next to a nearby rock, hoping that the boar didn’t notice her. As she gets near the rock, she notices a second boar next to the first one she spotted. Unfortunately, the boar charges her and yells out for help; her desire to save the boar has gone down significantly. Leaf slides down the tree like Tarzan and begins rushing towards Marda’s screaming. Marda pulls out her trident, no sympathy left for the creature, and strikes her attacker. Clarion jumps up on the fallen tree only to find two boars. She runs swiftly away, warning Leaf of the danger. Leaf uses this new knowledge to attack one of the boars. Leaf misses his target and is staggered from the momentum of the axe. Clarion slaps the boar with her magic-enhanced metal-transforming scarf (now the size for a normal human). Hnng punches the boar in the anus; it squeals at Clarion as it dies (Hnng thinks that his punching dagger is sexually satisfied). Leaf falls unconscious as the boar lands a blow on him; Lilith lands the killing blow on both the remaining boars (after Yish dealt serious damage with his sickle).

Marda, now desiring to make use of the fallen boars, begins butchering them. The party then tell the farmers about killing the boars, and the farmers invite them for dinner. The party get mutton stew with potatoes. Lilith’s butter knife keeps on getting knocked off the table throughout dinner. The party then returns to the city at midnight.

The following morning, the party tell Nen that they completed the boar job.

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Clarion's Secret (Partially) Revealed

The following day, Marda returns to town to hear from various members of PETA-MOO rumblings of people hunting hoar foxes. Marda is very deeply upset that people would dare kill such beautiful creatures; she comes into the office, venting out loud. Everyone ignores her, although the sound of lock clicking comes distinctly from Nen’s door. Yish excuses himself from yesterday, citing a solitary jam poetry session.

When Yish asks for more jobs, Nen replies that there are no more jobs, for other teams had taken care of the ones mentioned earlier. He also notes that the hyena job seems to have been a joke. Nen points out that the team that had taken that job is in the common area. Yish comes out of the office, tells his team that they should go home for the day, but then says “just kidding.”

Yish asks Marda if Sif has had puppies. She has not. Yish then asks Clarion if any progress has been made regarding research on the gems. Clarion reminds the party that they had been teleported by the blue gem and suggests that they spend the day threatening each other (the party thinks that the gem activates when the owner is in danger). But Clarion attempts to blindly activate the gem by smacking it against the wall. This results in a mishap, and Clarion gets hurt. Marda heals Clarion.

Meanwhile, Hnng stays in his office. Lilith is shaking a file in the air (maybe she’s filing her ghosts’ fingernails?).

Clarion suggests further investigation with the gem by putting someone in danger. Leaf is willing to put someone in danger. While Clarion is not keen on the idea of being put in danger of Leaf, Lilith doesn’t seem to mind.

Yish has a hunch that As You Wish might have information on the tentacle portal into which Vallan Dallinheart was pulled in. Hnng is somewhat embarrassed about the party going there, so he reveals that he recognized the tentacles as having come from a Roper. He knows that they are not used for pleasure (they tend to kill). So Yish orders Hnng to go to As You Wish by himself to find out more about the Roper.

Hnng goes home to change into proper attire, puts on a cloak to cover his attire, and then goes to As You Wish. He is greeted by name by a human girl wearing tight leather and much makeup. Hnng asks about the tentacles specialist; the girl responds that the tentacle specialist is out getting more wares, expected to return in an hour. Hnng decides to take advantage of this time.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party are sitting at the office, wondering what has happened to Hnng and his mission. After an hour, Yish gets rather worried and decides it is time to check up on Hnng. At this point, Clarion comes back upstairs and announces that Vallan is in good condition. Yish is very confused about how Clarion would know such information. Thus, Clarion reveals that she has had contact with demons. She further reveals that she has a non-disclosure agreement with them.

Clarion then explains that the devil network uses a blood circle communication system. Clarion then offers to get Yish set up with a contract. She explains that the price of the blood is not the payment; it’s just for initiating the connection. The charge is actually portions of your soul. In any case, Yish manages to figure out that Clarion’s NDA deals with the red gem. Clarion also admits that she doesn’t know anything about the red-garbed people. Yish then tries to use diplomacy to wheedle information out of Clarion, but Clarion’s understanding of the consequences for breaking her NDA prevents her from saying anything that would satisfy Yish.

All this time, Marda, has been ranting about the hoar fox. Yish brings a tranquilizing potion up to Marda and attempts to force her to drink it with magic. Marda’s will is too strong for Yish’s magic; Marda then throws the potion back at Yish and is very upset.

Finally, Hnng meets with the tentacle expert. The expert reveals that Raginmar would know more about Ropers. The expert suggests hiring a wizard to summon Raginmar. Hnng thinks of going to the succubus den to get contact with Raginmar (although Hnng has had a negative history with the succubus den). Hnng goes home, puts on a disguise, realizes along the way how bad his disguise is, and then returns home to put on his uniform and get back to the office.

When Hnng arrives at the office, Yish demands answers out of him. Hnng reveals Raginmar, and Clarion gives him a call. The call connects, and Yish asks questions trying to understand the situation. It becomes apparent that Raginmar is a seller of Ropers and other exotic monsters. Marda begins wondering whether Ropers have rights. Hnng wants to do business. Raginmar divulges that he sold a Roper to a red-robed demon 30 years ago.

Clarion spends the rest of the day building a metal stock for her crossbow. Yish goes to the Grog ‘n Coffee and asks about the Princess. The locals tell him that she runs away frequently, so news of her disappearance is not shocking; they expect her to reappear within a week. Moreover, Yish learns that the Princess is not the daughter of the current king; in fact, the current king is a usurper. As Yish enquires further concerning the past king, he meets closed lips.

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Hoar Fox Pelts

The party come back to the office the following morning. Yish and Marda are missing. Perhaps Marda is recovering emotionally after slaughtering so many rats the day before.

Hnng grumpily goes to Nen for ideas on what to do, since Yish is not there. Lilith and Clarion are not happy that Hnng seems to have taken charge but take glee in how grumpy he seems to be. Clarion tries to flirt with Hnng; Lilith and Hnng get into an argument about insufferability, but this quickly escalates to Hnng yelling at Lilith that he has an above average sized penis. Hnng then storms into his office.

Nen uncomfortably clears his throat, hands Clarion a sheet of paper he pulled off the bulletin board, and quickly bolts his office door behind him. Hnng continues to steam about having been covered in flour and rat guts, wrathfully swearing to kick Yish “in his inferior balls”.

A local clothier wants the skin of a hoar fox, which is a protected animal in the area. While not necessarily illegal to hunt this creature, the local population is interested in protecting them. While Marda would immediately reject such a job, she’s not here today. Clarion and Lilith immediately ask how much the job is worth. Apparently, the asking price for the pelt is 200 gold pieces (although a portion goes to the company for having provided the job).

10 or 15 minutes later, Hnng steps back out of his office wondering where Nen’s job was. Nen informs Hnng that Clarion went off with Lilith and Leaf to hunt a hoar fox. Hnng gets very excited about the chance to tattle. Hnng goes off to a public space and stands atop a fountain, clamoring for attention.

“There is an evil, malicious group of people hunting hoar foxes for gold”, Hnng yells out into the crowd. Most ignore Hnng, but seven onlookers are convinced to follow his crusade against the hoar fox killers. When Hnng realizes that people are actually listening to him, he is immediately filled with regret, realizes that he doesn’t know where the others went, and tries to run away from the situation. Although he gets back to the office, three of the followers manage to tag him back to the office. Since Hnng beelined for his office, Nen had to deal with the followers. Nen, totally fed up with Hnng, retreats back to his office without a word to Hnng.

Meanwhile, Leaf uses his knowledge of nature to find a nest. There are no hoar foxes at the moment, but Clarion sets up a few traps. After an hour, three hoar foxes come back. Although one of them feels that something is not right, two of them stumble into the traps. The perceptive one runs off, presumably to go get others. One of the trapped ones falls unconscious from the force of the trap. The other is still conscious, struggling against the trap. As Clarion approaches to deal a finishing blow, it tries to blast her with a cone of cold. The fox completely misses with that attack, but it does bite Clarion before getting its throat slit. Clarion then extracts the corpses from the traps, and the group returns to the office.

The party decides to consult Nen on how to properly skin the creatures. As the party approaches the office, they find that a group of five people are picketing, with signs that say “Save the foxes”. Leaf intimidates the crowd out of the way. The party passes as the crowd cowers away from Leaf. As they enter the office, Lilith and Leaf notice that one of the picketers is following them. As Lilith turns around to ask if the picketer needs anything, he scampers away in fear that Leaf might also turn around.

The party finds Nen at the office and inform him of the picketers. He tells them that he already knows, which puzzles Lilith, Clarion, and Leaf. Of course, they suspect that Hnng might be behind this, since Nen didn’t want to talk about him. The three of them make off with 100 gold pieces each and call it a good day.

Perhaps the events of this day will lead to the actual government protection of hoar foxes.

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Rats in the Sewer, Part 4

Despite Hnng grappling with rats only seconds ago, he decides to give up fighting. He chooses not even to attempt to defend himself. In fact, he holds out his fingers for the rats to bite (but they seem unable to hit him).

After defeating this wave of rats, Clarion suddenly disappeared. In the confusion caused by this, all of the party members began to scream out in tongues. This seemed to have had an effect, since Clarion suddenly reappeared, although she looked unusually cutsy after her reappearance.

The party continues to speak in tongues, but they also move forward through the tunnels, encountering more rats. Because Hnng has been stubbornly refusing to participate in combat, Yish dumps one pound of flour on him. Hnng, now covered in flour stuck to the rat guts and sewer muck already on him, coughs the dust out of his airway but refuses to react otherwise.

One of the rats utterly fails at attacking Leaf and instead bites another rat, already damaged, killing it. The party chooses to name this killer “Leaf Jr.” Yish, tired of beating on rats, bull rushed Leaf into the rat. Leaf Jr. was smooshed by Leaf as he attempted to gain his balance from the sudden shove. After this point, the party checks back on the poisoned meats they had left, which amounted to 13 more dead rats.

After a rest, the party wakes up feeling a little more powerful than before.

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