’Tis a new morning. Our heroes are on the island of Kuskarosa until their ransom has been awarded to Reikasha, who has purchased their bonds from the pirate Seripathia.
Stangil was sought out by Torvin, the man who had paid his entry fee for the fights the night before. Torvin asked Stangil to carry out a job for him, merely acting as intimidation, or perhaps muscle in the event that an untrustworthy merchant did not pay his bill. Stangil agreed and they went into the market to find the merchant.
Serafina ventured into the market alone to hear the whispers of gossip, see what there was to see, and learn what there was to learn of the dice and card games.
Elrathia awoke in Reikasha’s bed alone. Half-dressed, she investigated his room. She fell disappointed when there was not much to learn about him. There were only two books; one, an epic poem about the Drekar and the other, an old history book containing the lineage of the Arkons of Voranyth’s people. Elrathia found Reikasha and over breakfast she discovered that the dragon tattoo on Reikasha’s chest was of Leopa, an old dragon, and that he was not of any of the known races. Reikasha was made by Leopa.
Elrathia learned that Leopa was known as the prettiest and the smartest of all of the dragons. She also learned that the story of the fall of the dragons began with The Trickster, Somnambuliss, tricking The Fool, Goraurik, into starting a conflict that began a war among the dragons. Before she left, Reikasha invited her to dinner.
Back in the market, Serafina, having bad luck learning much of the strategy of dice games, caught sight of Stangil and a man walking through the crowd. She followed them into a smoke house and found a seat when they went into a back room.
Stangil’s role as intimidator was short-lived as he quickly fell to the role of negotiator. Sorting through the two sides of the story, he found that Torvin had been requested a male and female (most likely Drekar slaves) and delivered three females to the merchant. Thus, no payment was received. It was agreed that they would meet the next morning and the merchant would pay Torvin half since he had been delivered half of his request. Stangil then left to find a blacksmith.
When Stangil left and there were no sounds or sight of conflict, Serafina decided that it was okay to leave. She had a nice buzz going from the smoke a stranger offered her and was content with leaving at this time. Wandering around the market once more, Serafina spotted Elrathia. The two found linen merchants and purchased some fine silks and cotton to be made into dresses more appropriate for the fashion of the Drekar.
Suddenly, Reikasha stood in the middle of the square and the market silenced. He announced that the men who disturbed the peace and broke the rules of Kuskarosa last night had been caught and punished. Guards marched out complacent men, some of whom Serafina recognized from the fight in the street, and placed them in hanging cages for all to see. There was something about the men, devoid of usual facial expressions or personality. Reikasha left but the silence hung for a few more moments before the market resumed its usual buzz.
Presently, a large plume of smoke off in the distance was noticed. Stangil, Serafina, and Elrathia all left what they were doing to seek the source. They came upon a burnt and sunken ship in a cove, tucked away from the town or docks. Stangil discovered Gauladek in hiding and flushed him out. Gauladek apologized to the three and begged them to assist him in finding safe passage off the island. Stangil promised to find a trustworthy captain willing to smuggle him out as soon as possible while Elrathia and Serafina agreed to disguise Gauladek.
Once back in town, Elrathia picked up her dresses and made ready for her date. Serafina made friends with the inn’s cook, Thyiss, and tried to learn more about the food that the Drekar eat (always take the far right soup). Stangil sought out Torvin and cut a deal; as payment for facilitating the payment for previously sold goods, Torvin would take Stangil’s shipment out of Kuskarosa.
The day had worn down and the adventurers felt somewhat accomplished. Stangil found Julian drinking and sharing stories with some Drekar. Serafina went upstairs to her room to change into her new dress. Elrathia arrived at Reikasha’s for her date.
Over dinner, Elrathia became frustrated that her attempts at flirting with Reikasha were in vain. Instead, she pressed more questions and learned that he was over ten-thousand years old and that Leopa was a dragon of wind and air. He asked her which of her children she favored most and why she was attracted to powerful men that were ass holes. These questions infuriated her more so. It was clear to her that she would receive few answers that she found informative and he would continue to ask her questions that she did not like.
Meanwhile, Belaric returned to the inn and excitedly told Stangil that he was going to be a pirate. There was a tattoo on his wrist, in the shape of a cross with a plain circle in the center. The cross was red with black outline. He told Stangil that he would explain in the morning and was off to bed. Early.
As Serafina finished putting on her lovely new dress and readied herself to go downstairs, Belaric walked in the room with a bottle of wine and two glasses. Belaric poured both glasses, handed one to Serafina, and asked how her day was. His tattoo did not take long to become a distraction and topic of conversation. He explained that he was doing rather well at the dice games in the street and some men took notice. Impressed by the humans thusfar, they introduced themselves as members of the Taalen’vost Brotherhood, and invited him to join. They had many connections and good relations with people in both the lands of Voranyth and Kalloruth and he thought it would be beneficial to their cause.
Serafina was shocked and angry. She asked Belaric how he could so easily sign himself away to this group he knew so little of and in response, he pointed to her tattoo asking if it was so different than her allegiance. With that, she grabbed the bottle of wine and left the room.
Once downstairs, Serafina found Arianna sitting in a corner, with a pool of blood at her feet, and empty space where a table had been earlier. Serafina sat across the empty space and Arianna signed, asking if she were okay. Serafina signed back, ‘m’ ‘e’ ‘n’ and with that, they clinked glasses and drank.
From across the room, Stangil noticed this unnerving display of The Sisterhood of Resting Bitch Face and the absence of Belaric. He stopped drinking and kept watch. Belaric emerged and promptly had three shots at the bar alone. Elrathia walked in, looking equally pissed off. She sat next to Belaric and began taking shots. Stangil was on high alert.
Belaric told his new drinking buddy his thoughts behind joining the brotherhood and that Taalen’vost meant “The Noblemen”. He further revealed that his duties laid primarily in providing a brother with shelter, no questions asked, and the same would be done for him. Valuable information would be accessible to them and Elrathia thought that it was a clever idea and would be very helpful in their efforts to work with both Kalloruth and Voranyth. During the conversation Elrathia noticed that it was extremely warm in the tavern and becoming hotter by the minute. Belaric explained to her that she was drunk. She did not enjoy this new experience. Elrathia then asked if Serafina knew what it meant and reminded Belaric that Serafina might be upset because she thought he would be leaving. Realizing that this would have been a vital detail, Belaric walked over to Serafina and the conversation went like this:
Belaric (on his umpteenth drink): I’m not a pirate.
Serafina (on her third bottle of wine): Okay?
B: I’m not leaving you.
B: Are we okay?
Several minutes of what they perceived to be a hug
B: Wanna go upstairs?
With that, they left. Arianna shook her head and Elrathia sat down at the table with Stangil and Julian. Stangil resumed drinking. Elrathia and Stangil discussed her discouraging evening with Reikasha and began an unintentionally loud conversation about Somnambuliss and Elynsinias. Arianna walked up to them and signaled for them to cease the drunken dragon discussion and Julian walked with Stangil upstairs. Elrathia was helped to her room by Arianna but decided that she needed to ask the two experts about being drunk. Staggering into Belaric and Serafina’s room, Elrathia got an eye-full and unnoticed, left the room and slammed the door. That too, went unnoticed.
That night, Stangil and Serafina dreamed of following Somnambuliss through town and swamp to a cliff where they jumped sixty feet into water below. Somnambuliss came to Elrathia in a dream as well. He called upon her to cash in his favor and asked that she poison Reikasha the following night to distract him, but not kill him. No questions were answered.
With merely an hour of sleep and awaking with heavy hangovers, the three knew what they must do. Julian brought Stangil breakfast, which they ate downstairs. Serafina requested a hangover breakfast from Styiss, to which he happily acquiesced and she sat with Stangil and Julian. Elrathia joined them shortly, absolutely miserable. The three discussed their dreams and tasks for the day.
First, Stangil had to ensure the deal with Torvin was carried out safely. Next, Serafina and Elrathia were to disguise Gauladek, from this point referred to as “Caustic” and bring him to Stangil at Torvin’s ship. Then, Elrathia would go to Reikasha’s to distract him. Finally, it was agreed that as the sun has cast its last shadow upon the earth and the crescent moon has risen above the eastern ridge (so like, 9 o’clock), Stangil and Serafina would be safe to move toward the cliff.
They then each readied for their day. Elrathia, unsettled by the vagueness of Stangil and Serafina’s task, inquired about Arianna’s former loyalty to Elynsinias to gauge Somnambuliss’s intentions. Worried that their orders may bring harm to Reikasha or the island, she implored Arianna to follow them that night and do everything within her power to prevent them from harming whatever they may find.
Stangil did a preliminary exploration of the path they were to take that night and went as far as the swamp that they were to trudge through.
Serafina brought breakfast up to Belaric and they had a sober heart to heart. Belaric clarified what his membership in the brotherhood would entail and that he would not be parting from her. Serafina found reason in his decision. She took this opportunity to disclose how she received her tattoo, how she felt no real loyalty to Somnambuliss, and that she was waiting for the right opportunity to see it lifted. Belaric then told her how his relationship with Belladonna had grown apart over the years and how he blamed Krolovik. Serafina was going to inquire how Krolovik played into it but then he said, “I love you.” Her response was to spaz out and go downstairs to find Elrathia.
Elrathia enlisted Serafina’s help in cooking a meal for Reikasha and decided to poison the wine but not the food. Then, the two set off to disguise Gauladek. He professed his gratitude as they delivered him to Stangil. During the interval, Stangil had ensured Torvin was paid and escorted him to his ship, knowing they had been followed by the merchant’s two goons, where they awaited Caustic. Torvin set sail with Caustic after both had thanked Stangil for his aid. Already some good will had been made with Voranyth’s people. Elrathia departed to her second date with Reikasha, Serafina returned to the inn, and Stangil shook his tail before returning to the inn.
When the barking of the hounds awoke the fairies in the evening so that they may begin their nocturnal dance (or like 9 o’clock), Stangil and Serafina, trailed by Arianna, set off for the cliff in the hopes that Elrathia was successful in incapacitating Reikasha. While the three made their way through swamp and to the cliff, Elrathia was finding that the potion she put in the wine was having little effect on Reikasha. She decided to slip some shroom powder (that Serafina once used in a pie) into the wine.
Reikasha asked what she had put in the wine. “I am both tired and aroused,” he described. Elrathia admitted to adding some human herbs for fun and acted innocent to ill intent. He suddenly became alarmed and said he had to go. She made every attempt to slow him down, including repeatedly asking him what she did wrong, running slightly slower than him, and persuading him to stop and let her stitch his hand when he cut it to open a mausoleum.
At that time, Stangil, Serafina, and Arianna had jumped off the cliff and were sucked through a current into a subaqueous cave. The dimly lit cave was filled mostly with books, but also armor, statues, coins, and weapons. Stangil’s mage-sight revealed that the cave was lit with magic all around, but most of all from a pillar in the back of the cave. The pillar of light that Stangil saw was a rush of wind, emanating from a hollowed shaft in the ground. When the three stood beside the well Somnambuliss materialized.
He knelt at the well and spoke in a strange language. Moments later he stood and told Stangil and Serafina that he had spoken to the spirit of Leopa. Questions were traded for secrets and he had traded enough secrets to have his questions answered and for each of them to ask one themselves.
At this moment a light flashed and Reikasha, followed quickly by Elrathia, appeared. Reikasha demanded to know what they were doing as he ran toward them. Stangil quickly kneeled at the well and asked Leopa, “to whom do the dragon eggs belong?” Serafina attempted to inform Reikasha that they meant no harm and were only asking questions but he had already thrown one of his weapons at Somnambuliss. The blade sunk into his shoulder and with a nonchalant, “well, that was rude,” Somnambuliss pulled it from his flesh. Reikasha lunged toward him and was immediately swept to the side, hard.
Reikasha was injured badly. Ribs were sticking out of his chest and he could not stand, nor would he allow Elrathia to come near enough to tend to him. Somnambuliss gestured to Serafina to ask her question when Stangil was finished. She bent to her knees and asked, “what really happened the night my family was killed?” While she received her answer, Somnambuliss offered Elrathia a question for her friendship. She declined. Then, Somnambuliss attempted to make up for injuring Reikasha and said, “how about a room with a view?” With that, all saw a change through the cave entrance. There was no more water and there were hills and valleys as far as they could see. Unfamiliar stars shone brightly against a dark field dotted with two moons. Somnambuliss flickered and disappeared. Reikasha began to weep.