Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 31: Tricked, backstabbed, bamboozled

As Aruget shrugged off his arm wound and swung around to cut the throat of the bandit trying to take down Lestok, Ivello on the other side of the market laid into Demise with his quarterstaff.  Through his still clouded vision, Kayde saw Demise look back towards Lt. Sesko and company and shout something in a screeching language that sounded an awful lot like the monkey as she gasped in terror and darted forward.  Not wanting to take any chances, Kayde blindly unleashed the effects of his potion of Fernian breath, almost catching Jak and Lestok in the conflagration as Demise lept aside into a tent, and the monkey and tiny shadow creature shrieked and burnt.  As they died, Demise yelled out and seemed caught in a daze

Meanwhile, Sesko wasn’t having any of Aruget’s victories over his people.  He cut deep into the hobgoblin’s chest with his axe, but Jak was right by his friend’s side and paid Sesko back in kind by putting a war pick through his eye, dropping the troublesome dwarf once and for all while Lestok unleashed the power of the Fumigator 9000 to take out the remaining goons.  As Kayde held his spear to Demise’s throat and called for the others, she brought up her wand, forcing Kayde’s hand as he shoved the spear into her and she crumpled to the ground…and changed.  As she died, her skin, eyes, and hair transformed into a shade of cloudy, pale white.  “Demise” was a changeling.

As Lestok patted down his pockets, discovering that Zaraani’s Solitaire was missing, he frantically began digging through an overturned apple cart and found the relic in the debris, singed but none the worse for wear.  Aruget collapsed to the ground as Jak rushed to his side, calling out to the Kech Volaar on his khyber shard speaking stone, but there was no reply.  Disturbed – and badly injured – he clutched at the wound in his chest as Jak began to rifle through his pack for a healer’s kit…and suddenly, the paladin’s hand began to glow.  Light flowed out of it and into his wound, stopping the flow of blood and knitting his flesh back together. As Jak watched, stunned, Aruget concluded that Dol Arrah was smiling on him, and that she had granted him some new power. 

Back on the other side of the market, Ivello inspected “Demise”s body, finding a ring that whispered of magic to him, and got the sense that something about the body wasn’t quite right – he was unsure that she even was a changeling.  Someone who had been transformed by sinister magics, perhaps?  Lestok, meanwhile, was convinced that she was a modified warforged of some impressive and terrifying new construction.  As Jak came over to see if the dead changeling was anyone familiar, Ivello noticed that not all of the merchants had fled, and he bribed them to be on their way and stay silent as Kayde and Aruget heard scratching noises coming from their tent.

Kayde went to take a quick peek inside the tent and saw the goblins of the Kech Volaar begin to emerge from the tunnel, spotting the hobgoblin mage Marduuk – but something was off about the way he was moving.  As he moved into the light, Kayde saw that the mage’s throat was slit, his chest soaked with blood, as he made a guttural sound and took a swing at Kayde.  As Akitani – the Kech Volaar’s toughest warrior – and Yeraa also emerged from the tent, it quickly became apparent that the same fate had befallen them: their throats were freshly slit from ear to ear.  The duur’kala began her song, her voice hoarse and cracked, and for a second Aruget’s thoughts grew muddled but he shook it off.  Confused, he tried to take a closer look at her as Jak’s crossbow bolt whizzed over Akitani’s head and past him, catching the little berserker’s attention as Kayde backed up and let loose his fire breath once again, catching Marduuk and the tent in its blast.  Ivello took that as his opportunity to go in blazing, unleashing lightning that dropped Akitani and Yeraa to the ground, while another warrior lunged at him with his bare hands and got a face full of Lestok’s Zom-B-Gone.  As he evaded the hobgoblin’s grasp and ran over to Yeraa’s body to search for the other pieces of the Ashen Crown, Aruget swung around behind the burning tent and finished off the warrior engaged with Lestok, throwing his Tiger’s Blade deep into the man’s skull. 

With that, the fight was over, leaving the party in different states of confusion.  What had happened to the Kech Volaar?  And where was the changeling Citadel agent Tikulti?  There had been no changelings amongst the undead horde, but there was one lying dead on the ground not too far away.  Was it him?  Had they been betrayed?  These questions and more were at the front of their minds as they stood back to take stock of the situation…

Behind the Scenes

  • Question of the week: What haunts you the most from the Last War?
  • I feel like I say this every other week, but we set another new record for total session crit fails. Lucky for us, three or four of those were on the GM’s side!
  • What’s up with Aruget’s glowing, healing hand? He took the healing power in his last advance, and this was his first opportunity to use it, and he roleplayed it as receiving a miraculous boon from Dol Arrah and it was awesome. His player is so good with flavour.
  • How can Lestok speak monkey language? Through the mighty power of the “Epiphany” adventure card (gain a d6 in any skill for the remainder of the session) and a GM willing to roll with it, that’s how. He really is the best GM.
  • I told them Tik/Yeraa fans it would end in tears! I told them! And you can quote me on that!

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