Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 26: The best-laid plans

Earlier that evening, before all hell broke loose, Kayde had taken a bath and gone to lay down and enter his nightly trance.  He came out of it abruptly about half an hour later to the sound of a great commotion – feet running, doors slamming, and someone yelling for Yeraa.  Throwing on some clothes and grabbing his new byeshk spear, he left his cabin and followed the running sailors onto the deck, where he saw a little trail of sticky orange footprints, a huge press of sailors and Yeraa’s people at the bow, and heard ethereal goblin singing.  Approaching the crowd, he found Lestok standing over Jalros (who was covered in G.R.O.S.S.), Quentin laying in Aruget’s arms with Yeraa’s hands on his chest and a huge pool of blood on the deck beneath him, Jak laying against the rail and also covered in blood, and the Captain demanding answers from him and Aruget.  He ran up to Jak, who sent him back belowdecks for a healing kit.  Opting to take the quick route, he melted down through the deck as a shadow and quickly returned.  As Delan continued to grill Jak and ordered the crew to restrain Jalros, Quentin begged Aruget to carry him over to Othello, but the crew insisted that he was fine.  Jak attended to his own healing, but the wound to Quentin’s arm was beyond his skill, and he enlisted Kayde to help get the beat-up druid to bed.  Lestok, meanwhile, slipped away unseen down to the brig to keep an eye on Jalros.  Quentin again begged to check on Othello, which Aruget did, confirming yet again that he was fine and sleeping off a blow to the head. With that Quentin finally fell asleep while Jak, determined to spend the night at his friends bedside, filled Kayde in on the events of the evening.

Down in the brig, Lestok found Jezirpa of the Kech Volaar guarding Jalros, along with the captain who demanded to know who he worked for, what he was doing on board, and why he’d attacked Quentin.  Jalros replied with nothing but a smirk.  Lestok attempted to intimidate the assassin, but his cold bare feet got the best of him, and he wound up making a spectacle of himself instead.  Laughing, Jalros finally told the captain that he knew what he’d been up to, and that House Lyrandar would not appreciate it.  He gave Delan an ultimatum: let him go, or House Thuranni would see to it that the captain lost his ship in the event of his death.  Delan replied by telling Jezirpa not to let Jalros out of his sight, and reached into the cage to gag him before going back up above.  

The next morning, Lestok discovered he’d fallen asleep during his watch, and woke up stiff and cold to see a new guard had replaced Jezirpa.  Jak and Kayde appeared, and Lestok filled them in on the parts of Jalros’ threat to the captain that he could remember, leaving out the bit about him being a part of House Thuranni.  As Jak rattled the bars of the cage with his dagger to get the elf’s attention, Kade noticed a dragonmark peeking out just above his collar.  Jak, unable to squeeze any information from Jalros, threatened to replace him, which elicited another laugh.  Kayde tried his luck, but was similarly shut down.  Frustrated, Jak threw his mug of hot rum at the cage, while Lestok had also had enough and began pumping up the Fumigator.  The hobgoblin guard quietly reminded them that Jalros was not to be killed, so Lestok busted out his trusty whistle in hopes of torturing Jalros with its shrill wails instead.  Jak and Kayde took that as their cue to go check on Quentin.  

They ran into Delan on the way up.  The captain told Jak and Kayde that Jalros had been on board for about fifteen months, that he’d been good crew and was well-liked…and that he’d made viable threats about what could happen in the event of his death.  Jak pressed the captain if there was anyone on board who was skilled at extracting information by more unsavoury methods, but Delan shut him down hard.  He gave Jak and Kayde the contents of Jalros’ pockets: a necklace with a Siberys shard in it, a cheap-looking one bearing seven dangling gemstones, and a pouch of five small glass balls that Jak recognized as smoke pellets.  Delan reiterated that he was reluctant to kill Jalros, but willing to maroon him.  Lestok, catching up to the group, revealed that he had a plan, but Quentin had to be in on it.

As Lestok jolted Quentin out of his slumber, he asked him how he’d like to live under an assumed identity – to fake his own death.  Quentin, disoriented, asked for a debriefing instead.  He revealed that he suspected Enzo of hiring Jalros, but didn’t elaborate why, and pressed the others for what Jalros had told them, and how he had gotten the drop on him.  Uncertain of Lestok’s plan, he suggested that Jak, posing as Delan, pretend to sell Quentin out in exchange for information.  Kayde stormed out, insulted that it was suggested that Jak could sell an act better than him, and found Tikulti turning Jalros’ room upside-down.  Tikulti said he was doing a more thorough search, and Kayde offered to help.  Eventually smashing through a hollow part at the back of a cabinet, they found some items and a letter.  As Kayde read it, Tikulti let out a sigh and seemed relieved that it was unrelated to their quest for the Ashen Crown.

As Othello came to check on Quentin, Kayde showed his friends the letter, which said that “House approval has not been acquired” for Quentin’s “removal.”  Jak seized on this as meaning that Thuranni had not approved the hit, which gave them leverage over Jalros.  Othello replied that it indicated Enzo’s grudge was far longer than either him or Quentin had realized, and suggested that it was House Lyrandar who had not approved the hit, a theory Kayde supported upon re-reading the letter, along with the realization that this letter was damning evidence against Enzo that should be presented to Lyrandar, as that seemed to be the only way to cancel the contract.  However, Jalros remained an ever-present problem, and the party hunkered down to consider his fate.

Back in Quentin’s room, he told Othello he was wrong about Enzo – still at large, and probably not in Lhazaar.  Othello replied that it indicated Enzo’s grudge was far longer than either of them had realized.  Quentin asked Kayde if he knew anything about the assassins that he might be not be letting on, to which he replied that Thuranni was not Phiarlan.  Discussing using the scroll of mind reading, Jak recalled through stuff he’d heard around the Citadel that when mind reading is used, it depends on the skill of the person using it as to whether or not it is detected by the victim.  Finding Lestok, he gave Kayde the necklace of firebolts.  They decided to go with Quentin’s plan to have Jak impersonate Captain Delan and talk to Jalros and “sell out” Quentin.  Delan was skeptical about their chances of success, and the group returned to considering faking Quentin’s death.  Kayde recalled from his own espionage training that, if Jalros was a Thuranni assassin, he’d be well trained not to break.  As Kayde re-read the letter, he realized that it was more damning evidence against Enzo than it was against Jalros.  The only thing that concerned him was that the assassin’s threats probably had weight behind them, and that he might have a contact he needed to report to or else there would be bigger problems.  Jak knew that the Calabas was run by House Tharashk and there was enough House activity there, including a growing Lyrandar presence.  Kayde reached out and demonstrated that he could disguise Quentin, as the injured Khorovar held up a mirror and saw a human woman looking back at him.  

Behind the Scenes

  • Question of the week: What do you see as your greatest failure in life so far?
  • This was Aruget’s turn to miss a session, which is why mention of him is minimal.
  • The loot taken from Jalros’ cabin included a necklace of firebolts (which I’m sure we will use very well and will never backfire on us) and three scrolls of mind-reading.

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