Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 13: Victory at a cost

Still furious and with no signs of slowing down, the minotaur ignored Aruget’s attempts to stop him and his minions, and ripped into Quentin, wounding him badly.  Injured, desperate, and conscientious of just how bad the situation was, Quentin frantically lied that he was the group’s treasurer, and offered the minotaur his entire purse in exchange for their lives when Jak’s crossbow bolt came whistling over his head and lodged itself in the minotaur’s own skull.  Not enough to take the beast down, it turned to Jak with renewed rage.

Meanwhile, Lestok got the bright idea to muddy the waters by offering the minotaur’s *henchmen* the gold in exchange for helping take down their boss and get a bigger cut, which the orcs seemed to ponder, but the gnolls seemed completely indifferent to.  As Aruget fought off the gnolls, Jak latched on to Lestok’s plan and called out that any man who turned on the minotaur would get a further fifty gold each from his own purse.  This gave even the gnolls pause, and the minotaur finally made the party an offer: Quentin’s purse and Jak’s two hundred for their lives and Kayde’s body.  Seeing no other way out, the party took the deal, and Jak rushed to his friend’s side.  Frightened and shaken by the sight of such massive injuries, Jak yelled at Quentin to help Kayde with his magic, but the minotaur coldly informed them that staying on the road any longer would require more payment, so they bundled Kayde onto their pack donkey and made for safety.

After finding a place to stop, Jak again implored Quentin for help, fearing Kayde’s injuries were outside of his basic training, and Quentin made Jak take notice that he was injured as well.  He asked Jak to patch him up so that he could help Kayde in return, which Jak did, skillfully stitching up all his wounds.  Quentin closed his eyes, called on the healing wind…and stumbled backwards as magical energy painfully crackled up his own body.  Jak, wide-eyed and furious, yelled at Quentin as the once again injured druid explained that the winds in this area had rejected him, which Jak did not accept as an explanation.  He shoved Quentin away from Kayde and managed to tend to the worst of his external wounds, but could do nothing for Kayde’s internal injuries, and he spent the night sitting by his friend’s side while Quentin slunk off by himself, embarrassed, sore, and questioning his usefulness.

As Jak sat with Kayde, Lestok approached and proposed a new use for his G.I.N.S.U. oil…or was it an unguent?  He suggested that he could clean Kayde’s clothes.  This brought a small smile to Jaks’ face, knowing that clean clothes would make Kayde happy, and he wrestled the unconscious elf’s shirt off and gave it to Lestok.  Lestok’s crazy theory proved correct, and he brought back Kayde’s shirt cleansed of blood and muck.  Jak blinked back tears at this cap to the day’s madness, smiled a little, and – much to the old gnome’s surprise and delight – promised Lestok a drink if they made it to Greywall, using his real name for the first time instead of just calling him “old-timer.”

The next day on the road, Aruget explained to the group that the minotaur and his lackeys were most likely raiders from the north, where many minotaur warlords operated.  As they continued on, they came across a cart with a lone human man hunched over it, as if making repairs.  Jak, Kayde, and Quentin hung back while Aruget and Lestok went to investigate, remembering to keep up the ruse of being a research party from Morgrave.  Though Lestok did not perhaps make the best first impression, the man welcomed them and allowed Lestok to take a look at his broken cart wheel, which the gnome got to work on with unbridled enthusiasm.  Seeing no danger, Jak advanced to join them, and the man introduced himself as Hestian the Grim, a traveling trader who’d come from the fortress of Orcbone as of late.  Jak commented that he didn’t look too grim, earning another broad smile, and tested him with a Dark Lantern code phrase, which was not properly returned.  Hestian asked them some more questions about being from Sharn and plenty of comments about meeting “good Brelish folk”, and made an odd remark that Sharn must be nice to visit in the spring, which meant nothing to Jak in turn.  

Meanwhile, still keeping his distance with Kayde and the donkey, Quentin heard from the woods what sounded like an imitation bird call.  He relayed it to Kayde, prompting him to call out his own “possible danger” code phrase to Jak…

Behind the Scenes

  • Question of the week: Was the start of the Last War just or unjust?  Why do you hold that stance?
  • Quentin’s attempt to heal Kayde resulted in a crit fail and a trip to the Dynamic Backlash table, which was a whole lot of ouch for the poor fellow. Jak’s fear, anger, and bad attitude resulted in the two of them having it out in-character between sessions, with Quentin eventually coming to a place of grace that shamed Jak for the better, and was a significant turning point in the young man’s story.
  • Re: using Lestok’s name, it’s true – Jak had literally never used Lestok’s name up to this point. He likes nicknames to keep people at an arm’s legnth.
  • Lestok ended the minotaur encounter by encouraging him to embrace more cowbell. Because someone had to. And that someone is usually Lestok.

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