Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 28: Men about town

Kayde and Ivello made their way through the Calabas to Hahlo’s house, both badly in need of the halfling’s healing services.  They found him finishing up with a goblin patient, and showed off their wounds, with Kayde getting scolded for letting his fester.  The fee for his service, however, caught Kayve and Ivello by surprise, and Kayde’s natural instinct to haggle kicked in.  Unfortunately, he went too low, insulting Hahlo, but him and Ivello persisted.  The healer became more and more agitated until the two finally gave up and paid him.  Mixing up assorted unguents and poultices as his dragonmark flared to life, it took Hahlo the better part of an hour to tend to their wounds – but Kayde’s infection and Ivello’s arm were not beyond his skill, and he set them both right.

Ivello apologized for the haggling, and he and Kayde took their leave.  He wondered aloud that they might not be the only people in the city looking for Murkoorak’s Orb, and suggested again that they find disguises.  Kayde agreed, and excused himself to go to the bank, agreeing to meet back up at the Gold Dragon Inn afterwards.  Walking alone through the Calabas, Ivello saw lots of orcs, half-orcs, and even trolls walking around in House Tharashk livery, and stopped to listen to a town crier.  The crier’s news included warning that foreigners who wanted to enter the challenge ring would not be protected by Tharashk, and that there had been some muggings and other crimes against foreigners outside the Calabas, but the district itself seemed safe enough.  The crier also spoke of the body of a goblin found in a back alley, believed to have been murdered by a human man with black hair and a scar on his chin cutting through a beard, who was still at large.  Most interestingly, he advertised the nightly goblin market in the Roar, where local vendors sold all sorts of goods uncommon in the Five Nations, and Ivello was reminded of his time in Darguun.

After stopping by a general trader, Jak made his way to the Gold Dragon Inn to set up accommodations and wait for the courier he’d hired to bring a reply from his Sendings to Captain Kalaes and Thom.  As he chatted with the clerk, Holiwell, he noticed a fun sight in the corner: a basket containing a blink dog, whose pups were running all over the place, popping in and out of sight.  He paid for the night’s rooms and went back to the dining room to get a drink and wait.

Meanwhile, Aruget told Lestok that he wasn’t planning to go meet the others at Hahlo’s, and didn’t recommend that the gnome follow him.  Trying to get Lestok to not do something like that quickly proved futile, and he conceded that they’d been stranger places together.  As they crossed the gates from the Calabas into Bloodstone, the whole feel of the city changed, its Five Nations vibe replaced by a mish-mash of mud huts and larger structures made for the likes of ogres and trolls.  They passed by two ogres in challenge rings, being taunted by the crowd, and as Aruget took in the sights and smells, he was glad to be home, and told Lestok he’d get him some real food, not that tourist stuff from the Calabas.  

His destination, the Broken Sword, was a tavern that catered to Five Nations exiles, mercenaries, and other such characters.  As the warforged bartender, Maul, waved them to a table, Aruget took a moment to size up the room and see if he spotted anyone likely to tell him more about Kalak, the troll his brother Dabrak had been working for when he died.  After buying everyone a round to loosen their tongues, he heard that Kalak had since become a lieutenant in Xor’chylic’s personal guard, and while he occasionally came into Bloodstone to watch the fights, he spent most of his time in the Throne district where foreigners were definitely not welcome.  Aruget asked Maul if the name Martigan rang any bells, and Maul replied that he came by frequently, but hadn’t been seen in a few days.  Aruget paid Maul to tell Martigan that Aruget was looking for him, and then took Lestok to the arena for old time’s sake.

They entered the arena to find the more prestigious gladiators training and engaged in practice fights.  Lestok pointed out a wall of statues that Aruget identified as victims of Six Stones, and Aruget expressed his disappointment that there were no fights that day, but invited Lestok to explore other districts if he wanted to.  Lestok, however, was feeling a sense of urgency.  He was worried that the Kech Sharaat may be following them, and also was fearful of how many days they had in Graywall before Jalros caught up to them again.  With that, Aruget agreed to return to meet the others at the Gold Dragon Inn.  

By dinnertime, the party had regrouped in the dining room, as some of their hobgoblin friends began filing in minus Yeraa and Tik.  Jak filled his friends in on the information he’d gotten from his contact, Thrandi, about Demise being in town.  They made some more plans about how to disguise Ivello, who bought a round for them and the hobgoblins, when Yeraa and Tik returned…and Jak noticed the duur’kala quickly pull her hand out of the changeling agent’s as they appeared in the door.  The two of them joined the group, and Tik said they hadn’t found the Orb yet, but they knew it was in the north end of the district.  Kayde replied that they were now in a race with the Emerald Claw, leading Tik to press him and Jak for more information about them. He advised Yeraa that they continue the search that night.  Kayde suggested that he could use his shadow form to plunge into the ground and retrieve it, but Yeraa replied that her seers had determined that only those of goblinoid blood could enter the chamber.  While Ivello pondered what use the party would be if they couldn’t enter the ruins, Tik and Yeraa got up to make their way to the Roar to continue their search.  Before leaving, Jak pulled Tik aside and warned him to be careful with Yeraa; she was a job, after all.  Tik replied that he knew what he was doing: his duty.  Jak couldn’t shake the memory of Tik telling him he’d grown very fond of his companions, and an older memory of his own time undercover, meeting a woman…

The night market was dimly lit and crowded with tents, full of kobolds, goblinoids, bugbears, gnolls, and orcs all hawking their wares.  As the party browsed around, trying to look inconspicuous, Yeraa reappeared and told Jak they’d found the Orb.  She took the party to a spot between two tents and declared it was there…hiding two hundred feet below the surface with no entrance in sight!

Behind the Scenes

  • Question of the week: Name someone in your life that you have had a contentious relationship with, how that came about, and how it has affected you.
  • You know, I kind of enjoy these downtime sessions. It’s nice to have a break from the madness.
  • Ivello is totally into Tik+Yeraa. Jak, on the other hand, doesn’t like it one bit and thinks it’s going to end poorly. Place your bets now!
  • In-between this session and next, Jak did some shopping. He bought, amongst other things, a bottle to share with the surly old Dark Lantern, Thrandi, as promised – and what a shady vendor claimed was a lion’s tooth that would transform into an actual lion when thrown on the ground, which would fight for its master.

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