Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 27: What’s past is present

Huddled up in Kayde’s cabin to discuss their next move while Aruget guarded the door against any unwanted listeners, Kayde, Quentin, Jak, and Lestok decided that marooning Jalros in a small hamlet far from Graywall – as Captain Delan had offered, since he had a stake in dealing with Jalros as well – was their best bet.  Lestok proposed to Quentin that he get Enzo to drop his grudge by helping him regain his status in Lyrandar, but Quentin replied it wouldn’t be so simple as that.  He also declared that he didn’t want to be cowed by this experience – he was supposed to be living a new beginning. He wanted to be bold and brazen, and go by his true identity in spite of Enzo, and reintroduced himself to the party as Ivello d’Lyrandar.

As the Kordenga got underway for Graywall once more, Jak went up on deck to inform the captain of their decision when he was approached by Tik, his fellow Dark Lantern working undercover as a hobgoblin of the Kech Volaar, and not one known for his personality.  Tik, to Jak’s surprise, apologized for being so gruff on the trail, saying that he had feared blowing his cover.  Jak told him to think nothing of it, apologizing himself for being overly eager at seeing a friendly face in the wild, and shared some of his own experiences working undercover in Sharn.  Tik said he didn’t mind his assignment, for he’d grown fond of his companions, and he gave Jak a quick rundown of what they would face in Graywall before excusing himself to get back to his work.

Meanwhile, back in Kayde’s room, Aruget entered to check on his friends and Ivello thanked him for getting him back to the ship, having recently learned from Jak that he’d been thrown overboard while unconscious.  Aruget asked if he remembered anything about that, and Ivello said that he did not…and Aruget told the most fantastical story of a giant owl having scooped them up, prompting Jak to inquire if he was high.  After some speculation as to why and how a giant owl might come to Ivello’s aid, he buckled down and brought Aruget in on the information about why he was in hiding, and that Quentin was not his real name.  He apologized to the paladin for not being honest with him, and putting everyone at risk, which Aruget chided him for.  Jak got in Aruget’s face a little at that, defending Ivello by stating that they all had secrets. Faced with more of Aruget’s frustration, Ivello defended himself by saying they hadn’t had a quiet moment since leaving Ardev to talk about these things.  Lestok said to blame it on “Quentin”, for Ivello had a clean slate in his eyes, and Aruget declared that “Quentin” was dead.  Aruget demanded that no more secrets that would get them in trouble be kept from him.  Ivello swore on the Host, but Jak simply looked Aruget in the eye and then quickly looked away.  Lestok, meanwhile, realized that with “Quentin” out of the way, he would now be the sole credited author of their research paper!

As the Kordenga began its approach over Graywall, Aruget was astonished at how much it had changed and grown in the six years since he’d left.  Even from above, it was noticeable that the population of Graywall was very different from that of Sharn, to say nothing of how much the city had physically expanded and built up.  They quickly noticed their approach to a district that was much different from the rest – the Calabas, or the “Kennel”, which bore a passing resemblance to a Brelish city, and they wound up docked above a new building whose mosaic patio made out the seal of House Orien.  Asking the captain where in town he could find a taste of Breland – hoping to suss out the Citadel’s interests in the city – he learned that a friendly Brelish family ran the House of the Nine, the only temple to the Sovereign Host in Graywall.  

Yeraa and Tik gathered the party as the Kordenga made its final approach to fill them in on the next stage of her plans.  All she knew was that Murkoorak’s Orb was somewhere under the Calabas, and that the circlet they had recovered under the Six Kings would allow her to track it in a fashion.  Her party would make arrangements at the Gold Dragon Inn and then canvas the district, and she invited Aruget and company to do the same.  He declined, saying that they had their own business to attend to, and to contact them via the khyber shard sending stones once the Orb was found.  As the two parties separated, Aruget laid down some ground rules for Graywall: trading was more of a barter system than a monetary one, don’t get into an argument with a medusa or a harpy, and don’t eat the street meat.  As Ivello and Kayde left to find a healer, with Aruget following them, Lestok became separated from the group and promptly ignored Aruget’s last warning.  Buying some strange, spicy meat from a goblin vendor in exchange for two crowns and a pinch of his special harpy spice, the old gnome was pleased to discover that his dalliances with said spice had shored up his stomach somewhat, and he was able to enjoy his snack in peace before Aruget found him.  

Meanwhile, Jak had broken off on his own, looking for the local Dark Lantern contact.  He knew them only by a code name, and that they could be found at the House of the Nine through Kord or Cheyana.  He found them easily enough, gave his code phrase, and was told by Cheyana to go see Thrandi who owned the ceramics shop on the edge of The Roar, a large plaza in the middle of the Kennel.  

Entering the shop, he found an older gentleman with salt and pepper hair and beard and an eyepatch standing behind the counter.  Again giving his code phrase, the fellow gave the correct reply and waved Jak down into the cellar.  After they made their introductions, Jak told the other agent – whose name was Thrandi – that he was new in town from the Sharn branch, and asked if there had been any trouble lately. Thrandi had indeed seen their old friends Lady Demise and Lt. Sesko in town, and that the lady had been asking about the Dhakaani ruins.  Jak mulled over that, asking where in town he could go for better equipment, and something clicked for Thrandi.  Sitting back in his chair, he gave the younger man a knowing look. “Oh…you’re Jak.”  Thrandi informed Jak that he’d heard about him, and wondered aloud if the Sharn branch was really “on top of things” or if Jak had been exiled to Droaam instead.  Jak, taken aback that the less savoury parts of his reputation had followed him all the way to Graywall, replied that Saj Kalaes trusted him, and that should be good enough.  Thrandi continued to pick at Jak, suggesting that no one hoping for a promotion got posted to Graywall, and generally accusing him of being a screw-up.  After a few uncomfortable minutes, Jak had the presence of mind to turn the tables, asking Thrandi how he’d gotten posted to Graywall if it was such a bad assignment.  The old man brushed it off, and Jak said he’d be back with a bottle to hear the story.

Behind the Scenes

  • Question of the week: What is one special or unique thing about you?
  • Kayde has been carrying that wound penalty an awfully long time, and was thrilled to finally get to try his natural healing roll…until he crit failed it, adding a second wound which was narrated as the old one getting infected and festering. Happily, there is a Jorasco healer in Graywall.
  • Geez, why was that old guy so hard on Jak? How did his disgrace possibly follow him all the way to Graywall? I’ll tell you why…after talking to the GM, I realized that I’ve been playing his Shamed hindrance as Major rather than Minor. So there is going to be an interesting balancing act going forward balancing that with his Connections edge that gets him boons from the Dark Lanterns, but I know my GM’s good for it. 🙂

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