Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 8: It’s a trap!

Jak’s day began with Quentin and Kayde at his door, Quentin’s day having begun with the delivery of an ominous message from Prof. Nephret.  Along with a warning about Lady Ulyan “not being who she claims to be”, and expressing fear for her safety, Prof. Nephret sent Quentin a key and asked him to come to her apartment at 8pm that night to take the rest of her notes before she left Sharn.  After gathering Aruget and Lestok, Jak urged the group to make for the Citadel immediately to alert Capt. Kalaes of this development, with Quentin and Kayde splitting off to do some business at the Kundarak bank while Jak led the others back to Kalaes’ office.  Kalaes’ secretary, Bronal, was guarding the door as usual, and unimpressed with Jaks’ pleas of urgency as this was the second time he’d seen Jak try to score an impromptu appointment that week.  Thankfully, after Lestok and Aruget helped bolster Jak’s case, Bronal relented and called the captain, who made time for Jak and Lestok while Aruget waited outside.

Kalaes told them that Lady Ulyan was not known to the Citadel, but thanked them for the information and asked them how they wanted to tackle this new threat.  Lestok was insistent about replacing Prof. Nephret’s documents with misleading forgeries to throw Ulyan off the party’s scent, and Jak managed to not only convince the gnome that forging documents himself with Lenard’s Alchemy Department seal was not only a bad idea, but called on his history with the Citadel to get official forgeries made.  Kalaes dismissed them, and the trio went back to the waiting area while the forgers did their work.  Kayde and Quentin showed up, the group waited, and about three hours later they were presented with some very convincing fake documents.

With several hours left until the appointed meeting time, Jak split off to go have dinner with Jonah while the others decided to go to Prof. Nephret’s campus housing a few hours early to scope the place out and make sure that Lady Ulyan didn’t get there first.  Aruget’s heavily-armed presence on campus was a little conspicuous, so he opted to wait outside the building, and Lestok stayed with him as Aruget had been tasked with holding Prof. Nephret’s key. The gnome’s insatiable curiosity to get in and see what they’d find was eating at him.  He tried to convince Aruget to go to the apartment with him (minus Kayde and Quentin), but Aruget held firm, and Lestok was able to rein in his curiosity in a herculean feat of self-control.  Meanwhile, Kayde and Quentin worked the building’s common room, trying to look natural and learn more about Gydd Nephret, but to no avail – it seemed that she kept herself fairly distant from her peers.

Half an hour before the appointed meeting time, Jak showed up to find all four of his companions huddled around outside the building and doing, in his opinion, a rather poor job of appearing inconspicuous.  For all the hours they’d been there, no one had seen anything suspicious, or heard any suggestion that Lady Ulyan had beaten them to the punch, so they made their way up to the professor’s apartment.

The door was ajar.  Kayde slipped into his shadow form and entered the main room to find it ransacked.  He alerted the others, who made their way inside…and Lady Ulyan emerged from the bedroom, her face a grotesque death mask, gloating of her success.  She informed the party that Prof. Nephret was “safe” with Ulyan’s mistress, and that death was inevitable.  With that, half a dozen zombies began emerging from different parts of the apartment.  Jak managed to keep nimble, avoiding their gnashing teeth and grasping claws, but put on the defensive, he found himself locked in a stalemate in which he wasn’t able to deal much damage in return.  Lestok promptly dispensed his “fun in a can” at Lady Ulyan, who became entangled in the orange, suspicious substance.  Quentin’s whirlwind knocked some of the zombies off their feet, and Kayde went to work with Ashtura’s blade, gutting several of them while Lady Ulyan monologued…and as she did, her face flickered, revealing a horrible creature beneath the illusion that looked like an unholy combination between a zombie and a ghost.  Now fully enraged, she called on her mysterious powers to snatch up Lestok, sending him flying through the air and into the lit fireplace.  As Kayde moved forward to deliver what he thought was the killing blow, Ulyan rallied at the last second and didn’t go down. Jak rushed forward in an attempt to drag Lestok out of the fire, and the party caught a second wind, ready to finish off Ulyan and her remaining horde…

Behind the Scenes

  • Oh, “fun in a can.” Acronym G.R.O.S.S., it’s basically a web spell that Lestok has flavoured with the trappings of an orange can of silly string. It’s effective, and it’s hilarious. Trappings are one of my favourite things about Savage Worlds; I love mechanics that enhance the story and vice-versa.

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