Back to Chapter 5 : The Quaan and Beyond : Part 3

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Belie
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Date/Time Evening of the 18th of Growth : Church of Lothian Party for the Sword of Truth’s Recovery

A knock at Vogh and Talin’s room announced Belie. The rogue was uncharacteristically dressed up, as they all were that evening. Talin opened the door and both men eyed one another head to toe, each with a glimmer of amusement in their eyes at seeing the other so bedecked in finery.

“Well Talin, it seems you do clean up rather well.” The rogue chided as he stepped inside and closed the door behind him. Belie’s eyes widened when Talin stepped out of the way and he caught sight of Vogh. A lump formed in his throat and he couldn’t produce a glib quip.

“By the Spire…” He spoke breathlessly. Belie bowed forward deeply, bending at the waist, open palm on his taught stomach, the other behind his back. “Forgive my gaze Talin, but the lady will steal the show tonight. You look positively breathtaking Vogh.”

Shaking his head to break himself of the gorgeous woman’s spell he focused on Talin. “There is a great deal of chatter about the party tonight, but we’ve detected nothing nefarious. Granted, we’ve only a few eyes and ears helping us, so take that with a pound of salt. Is everyone ready?”

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Narrator
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Vogh, Talin and Belie went just next door to collect Deacon, Julia and Bharash. The sextet descended the stair with Bharash leading and Belie behind.

Flanking the Minstrel’s main entrance door were two Knights in shining full plate armor, carrying halberd’s styled after Lothian’s ankh cross symbol. Both also had long swords strapped to their hips, and the Order of the Dawn’s symbol emblazoned on their chest plates.

Brother Fabitor popped up from a nearby table to greet them and let out a low whistle. “You all look quite a bit different when you’re not stone statues, or tattered, wounded and covered in blood.” The portly priest said with a wide smile. He too bowed, hands on either side of his hips. “Ladies. Gentlemen. Your carriages await outside. After you…” Fabitor gestured for them to exit the door, which one of the knights pulled open for them and in military precision stepped aside to hold it. The second stepped outside and took a guard position beside the door once more.

Two dwarves stopped in their tracks, about to enter, looking from the knight to the group, back to the knight and back to the big dragonborn stepping out the door. They politely moved aside and ogled the group as it passed. All eyes followed the friends as they exited the Ghostly Minstrel until the door finally closed behind them.

Two beautiful carriages awaited them outside in Delver’s Square. Two knights stood outside each, while liveried driver duos sat atop the main seat. Four white horses were hitched to each carriage as well. Each coach was gilded in gold, with Lothian ankh’s embossed nearly everywhere they could be.

A knight at each coach pulled open the door, which sported a pair of steps allowing for easy entry, even in long dresses. Standards flew at each corner of the remarkable vehicles, depicting the church. Inside the seats were plush and conformed to each person as they sat. Once everyone embarked, the knights took up positions on platforms at the rear of each coach, halberds held high. Reins snapped and the lead carriage was away, followed quickly by the second.

Sharp horn notes blasted from the lead coach’s driver seat as one man blew to warn all in the street of their passing. People stepped out of the way for the clattering hooves and clacking wheels against the cobblestone streets. Evening had set in full and the magical street lights of Center Street illuminated the thoroughfare. Not to be outdone, Lower God Row was likelywise lit and the group thundered across the Blessed Bridge to enter the Temple District where of course Saint Valien’s Cathedral sat.

St. Valien’s itself was even decorated for the occasion. Every outcropping flew a banner, and the entire walkway leading up to the huge doors was lined with vertical standards that bore an image of the Sword of Truth. Every light was lit, including iron braziers with fire dancing in the wind all over the front lawn.

A Steady stream of people were flowing up to the entrance. Upon the arrival of the carriages, everyone walking up the path stopped and turned to regard the newcomers. Once again, the Knights opened each carriage door. Then with everyone out, all six took up honor guard positions, three in front and three behind forming a triangle. All parted before them as the Dawn Knights marched in lockstep up the path and into the open double doors of St. Valien’s. Brother Fabitor followed politely behind the final knight several paces.

Ringing out in a boisterous voice, the group was announced upon their entry to a chorus of cheers and applause. The herald named them in the order they entered:

“PRESENTING! RESCUERS OF THE SWORD OF TRUTH! MASTER BHARASH! MASTER TALIN URSALATO! MISS VOGH KATH! MASTER DEACON HAVENHOLD! MISS JULIA GREYMANTLE! MASTER BELIE EKIK!”

All of the cathedral was applauding their entry while the knights moved off to the side. All the pews had been removed from the church’s sanctuary, making a massive room which was still very full of people in all manner of finery.

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Talin
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When Talin opened the door and saw Belie all decked out in a suit he smiled to him and under his breath he said, we need a drink. After Belie reeled in his tongue and stood up straight after his bow to Vogh. Talin said, Come let’s put down a little drink before heading over to the others. I need to steady my nerves.

Moving next door and grabbing the others was simple. Heading down into the tavern… not so much. As soon as they were able to be seen, the whole of the tavern turned to stare at them as the group moved down the stairs and then across the tavern floor to the two knights that were waiting. It felt strangely odd to not have really any protection on them but Talin at least knew some arcane spells to help if needed, unlike Bharash, who looked extremely nervous.

Getting up into the carriage Talin held Vogh’s hand to lead her up inside and then followed with Belie behind. The other carriage held The Archeons. They were accustomed to working closely and being together.

The carriage ride was something else as well. The lights all over the city were on display for the party this evening. When they finally pulled up to St. Valien’s the place was all decorated extravagantly. Talin couldn’t get over all the eyes that were on him at that moment. It was almost overwhelming as he looked around. He leaned in close to Vogh and said quietly, how do you get used to this? It was a perfectly honest question for anyone looking at any of the other five and then to Vogh could see that she felt at home. She flowed up the stairs and into the hall. Even as her name was called she gave a slight nod of her head and proceeded in further.

If Talin thought the outside was decorated, he didn’t even know what half the decorations were on the inside. It was a huge shining interior with flowers and gold and finery everywhere.

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Vogh
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Once they arrived Vogh turned on the charm. She had been to many parties and had been taught perfectly what to do. She wouldn’t disappoint her family on this most important occasion so she let all her lessons flow from her.

When she heard Talin’s question she whispered back, training! Before turning to see all who was in attendance.

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Narrator
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Once the clapping had ceased and the music resumed, people still watched their way, but seemed to go back to what they were doing prior, talking, eating, drinking, flirting, whatever. This allowed the more cagey members of their little group to relax a bit, but it was still most unsettling to Bharash and Belie to know they were the center of attention.

The dragonborn was accustomed to be gawked at, and the focus of combat, but this was a very strange feeling. Then poor Belie was used to being the watcher, not the watched, and his darting eyes made his discomfort plain.

Several white robed young men and women approached the group and gave them each greetings, explaining that they were to attend to any and every need each of them had through the evening. Drink, food, accommodations, and so on, would be brought to them upon request.

Brother Fabitor finally joined the rest of them, having stayed behind through the entire grand entrance and wore a wide smile. “You all deserve this and more. I hope you can enjoy your evening. If you need me, I’ll be about. There are a great many powerful people here today that want to meet you.” With that, the heavy cleric gave a light bow and padded away on soft soled shoes.

Approaching them next was a couple of halflings who seemed to have some age about them. The female had sparkling green eyes and short black hair streaked in quite a bit of gray. Arm-in-arm an equally aged gentlemen halfling accompanied her. His hair was mostly gone, except a horseshoe about his head that was all cut short. Both were dressed well, if in slightly outdated fashion.

“Well Hello! My name is Doleen Kaffer, and this is my husband Nartin.” Vogh recognized the woman’s name immediately. She was a rather famous author, with her most famous work being a treatise on Abesh Runihan, whom Runihan – or Delver’s – Square was named after. Doleen had also written books on several other people of note from the past few decades, documenting the exploits of delvers, knights, soldiers and even a few City Watch personnel.

“I’m certain you folks will be positively swamped tonight with sycophants and fawners, so I won’t take too much of your time. I’m an author, and it would be my great honor to interview you all about your exploits! Please, take my card, and send a message to me so we can setup a time for interviews. Your story should be told, and people want to hear it!”

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Vogh
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It was good to have Brother Fabitor with them in case they needed some backup on certain principals or something like that. Thank you so much Brother Fabitor, Vogh said sincerely as the priest moved away from them.

When Doleen Kaffer approached them soon thereafter, Vogh smiled as she said hello. Very nice to meet you, I have actually read some of your work. It is really good. I particularly liked the piece you did on Abesh Runihan. Vogh too nodded at her husband whom she didn’t know. Vogh didn’t introduce herself for everyone here knew who they were.

After listening to her proposal Vogh once more gave that acknowledging smile and said, I think we could definitely find some time in the next few weeks to sneak in some interview time. Would it be okay if we conduct it at the Minstrel? It will also give some publicity for the place, not that they need it of course but Tellith has been most gracious to us all.

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Doleen Kaffer (NPC)
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“Absolutely! That would be most excellent. My husband and I live in Oldtown. We don’t come into Rhuinian square often enough! I will send a messenger to coordinate a time that works for each of you. I would love to interview each of you individually, then together to pen a full narrative.”

With a polite curtsy, the older halfling lady and her husband then turned and whisked away. Doleen certainly had a spring in her step and was talking away with her husband as they moved into the crowd.

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Sister Mara von Witten (NPC)
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Two familiar faces approached the group as they started to make their way into the crowded sanctuary. Sister Mara von Witten and Sister Daliana Varaun, whom they first met in this very church when they requested the troop return to the Banewarrens to guard it. Mara wore a wide smile, while the much older Daliana held only a small grin.

“Greetings Heroes!” Mara said loudly as she threw her arms open wide to either side. Mara’s white robe had oversized sleeves which flapped from her gesture. A wide, blue belt gilded in gold was wrapped about her, and a blue and golden buckle clasped it together. The Sister also wore a gold and blue holy ankh Lothian cross about her neck.

“You have done a great thing for Lothian, the Church, the City, the World even! We are in your debt and cannot express our appreciations enough. I hope this celebration can be a small token of that admiration.”

In a lower tone she leaned in to address them privately, “We also greatly appreciate your discretion regarding the disgraced traitor.”

Mara leaned back away from them and spoke in a full voice one more. “No need to focus on anything negative tonight! Eat, Drink and be Merry!”

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Vogh
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Vogh curtsied likewise to the little halfling as she moved off with her husband. Vogh noticed them chatting as she moved away and wished it wasn’t too loud so she could hear what was being said. Vogh turned to her friends and said, We will have to organize what we reveal to her so that our stories are accurate.

Vogh was about to find someone else to talk to when Sister Mara came at them. The older woman was quite joyful in her greeting. Vogh remembered the first meeting she had with her those weeks back. It was a stark difference from this evening. Smiling as she had been doing to everyone she began to speak with, Vogh said, Thank you for the kind words, Sister Mara. We honestly couldn’t let what was happening to go without action.

When Sister Mara leaned in and whispered the traitor Heth’s name, Vogh whispered back and said, we didn’t find him in the Quaan either. He must be hiding somewhere in the city. When Sister Mara leaned back Vogh said louder, We believe we destroyed the leader of the Pactlords and destroyed the one thing that tied them together. It was a fountain that when drunk while wearing the bone ring we found on each of them.

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Sister Mara von Witten (NPC)
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Sister Mara declined her head in agreement and respect, while the elder Sister Daliana likewise smiled in full.

“And that is what makes you heroes!” Mara said boisterously. “A hero runs toward the trouble, while everyone else is running away. It’s too bad you didn’t encounter the traitor, by Lothian’s will, perhaps we will catch him one day soon to met out punishment.”

Sister Daliana nodded in agreement with the statements. “Truly. Just as Lothian could not abide the evils of this world and fought to right them, even giving up his own life in service to others. You all are indeed champions.”

“Indeed!” Mara chuckled and clapped her hands in agreement. “Why don’t you let me introduce you to a few fine individuals? You have no refreshments yet… Please, make use of our acolytes, they will fetch you any food or drink we have available. We cannot let our guests of honor go hungry!”

She waited a moment for them to make any requests of their attendants before speaking further, and leading them deeper into the temple. “Sir Kalerecent should be about somewhere as well. He shared that you all have not seen one another for some time and shared his desire to share your company again tonight.” Mara kept walking, looking back to make sure everyone was following and could here.

There was a large number of people in the hall, with the din of conversation at a soft buzz in their ears. Despite the congregation, the temple was so large, that there was still plenty of space to move about, thus the group was able to walk together. Groups of people were clustered about and nearly everyone turned to regard the troupe as they made their way. No one broke off from their group to engage the sextet as they saw Sister Mara was clearly leading them somewhere.

Just a reminder, Mara isn’t “old” by any means. She’s probably nearing middle age. Older than you all, but certainly not elderly or anything.

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Vogh
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Each of the friends gave the acolytes their order, which was actually light on the alcohol as Vogh had instructed them to do. No heavy ales or dark wines Vogh had said, and certainly no more than a couple of drinks in total.

They each gave their order of food, which was free game, for whatever they wanted. When Sister Daliana said they were Champions, Vogh smiled along with Julia who had been taking this all in and was a little overwhelmed. Thank you so much Sister Daliana. That means a lot.

Then When Sister Mara asked if they wanted to meet some other people, they all nodded and followed behind Sister Mara. It seemed to them all, as they already knew of course, that Sister Mara was very popular within the church. Then Sister Mara spoke of Kalerecent. Oh yes, we would love to see him again! He was such a huge help on the mission.

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Narrator
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Sister Mara made her way over to a small collection of people speaking to one another. Standing behind them was a woman with glowing white eyes and a face so perfect that none were able to look at her for very long. Arched behind her back was a pair powerful looking, feathered wings. Hair of radiant white, it was clear this was no elf or human that stood before them. And having met one before, the group was fairly certain she was an angel, possibly an astral deva like Callin they had met in the Banewarrens.

Beside her stood a less imposing, but still angelic young man. His eyes were a piercing blue, with silver hair while his wings were a light blue. While still an adonis, all were able to meet his gaze, unlike the more powerful being which stood among them.

One of the humans that stood with them had an inner glow as well, literally. It seemed like a small sun was contained beneath his heavy tunic, as light radiated from inside and illuminated the fabric itself. He was a square-jawed, handsome man with a massive chest and powerful arms. Embroidered in gold on his tunic was a golden sun, which matched the oversized, golden holy symbols worn around the necks of two other men in the group.

“Allow me to introduce Melior Kalen and Barit Calomar, high priests of the Temple of Gaen. Steron Vsool, a Paladin of Gaen. And Josiah Crand, of the Malkuth, dubbed the ‘Advocate of Light’ by some.” She finished with a half smile that hinted at an inside joke which had this Josiah shaking his head.

Now close to the group, everyone noticed that Melior and Barit, while having different surnames, looked nearly identical. Both were thin, but muscular, with short, sandy brown hair and blue-grey eyes. Both was wearing matching golden robes with sun symbols woven everywhere. Mara did not give a name for the angelic woman standing with them.

Steron was the first to speak, standing a head taller than his friends his voice matched the powerful physique: deep and bold. “Well Met. Your deeds are becoming known throughout the city. I’ve only recently returned, but word of the Sword of Truth’s existence, and subsequent recovery, has spread like wild fire. Likewise, my friend Jevicca speaks very highly of you.”

Both priests nodded along with Steron’s words, each only softly offering a polite “Well Met.”

Josiah politely waited for Steron to finish before speaking. “Well met indeed friends of the church. It’s wonderful to hear of people doing good, spreading light when there is so much darkness in the land these days.”

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Vogh
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As Vogh and the others followed Sister Mara through the crowd a group caught Vogh’s eye and it seemed it had caught Sister Mara’s as well as she steered over towards them and pulled up next to them. Vogh and the others had seen Callin who was quite similar to these folks.

When Sister Mara had introduced them all, each of the friends, in turn, gave a slight bow of acknowledgment to them. When Steron the paladin spoke, people listened, for how could they not. He was an imposing figure and commanded attention. Vogh commented, Well met, and thank you. Has word even spread outside the walls? The one thing about notoriety was that it made you more of a target oftentimes. Though with the powerful people they were getting to know, perhaps it would lessen the chance that more attempts on their lives would be taken.

When the two priests said well met, Vogh added, Thank you. You know we helped rescue an Astral Deva by the name of Callin. We haven’t made mention of it before now. He is out in the world now looking for his kin.

After a brief conversation about Callin, Josiah spoke and Vogh smiled and bowed to him after his kind words, Thank you so much Josiah.

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Narrator
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Steron shook his head lightly. “Oh. Apologies. No, Miss Vogh. I was told about the sword upon my return to the city from my compatriots here.” He gestured to the twin clerics. “But do not be surprised if word has indeed spread beyond Ptolus’ walls. The church of Lothian spans the Empire, and word of such a powerful artifact being found will spread quickly indeed.”

The paladin looked to his companions, then back to the astral Deva who had been standing perfectly still in silent guard. Her only reaction was to turn her head and slightly narrow her eyes. Josiah waited not a moment to ask more.

“You what? You rescued a Deva? From where? How? How was he imprisoned? Where was he held?”

Even Mara’s eyes widened at the proclamation.

“Where is he now? He hasn’t come to the Pale Tower. When did this happen? How long ago? I thought we had record of all the celestials who have entered the world?”

Josiah looked toward the angelic female too, who’s only response was a nearly imperceptible shake of her head.

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Vogh
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One thing Vogh and the others were unsure about was how much information people knew at the celebration. Did they all know about the banewarrens or not so Vogh used her telepathy to ask Sister Mara. Sister Mara, this is Vogh, I want to be honest about what they are asking but I don’t know if they knew about the banewarrens. That is where we rescued Callin.

Vogh delayed answering some of the questions first while she listened to Sister Mara, When he left us he said that we could meet him at the Pale Tower in the future. Vogh said to Josiah.

Vogh wondered why the Astral Deva didn’t say a word yet either and only made a very slight shake of her head.

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Sister Mara von Witten (NPC)
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Mara visibly blanched at Vogh’s mental intrusion. Her eyes widened fully and she jerked her head toward Vogh. Thankfully everyone was focused on Vogh’s coming answers and no one noticed Mara’s reaction.

Vogh felt a voice return to her like a person stepping blindly in the dark, very slowly and deliberately.

“Vuh… Vogh…? Vogh, you’re a telepath? By Lothian. Oh my. You’re not the first I’ve met, but that was a surprise. Oh! OH! NO. We’ve told no one where the sword came from beyond ‘in the dungeons’, which is not a lie. Remember, it’s of the utmost importance we never speak that name again.”

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Vogh
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The reaction that Vogh received from Sister Mara was why Vogh continued to give information right away after she spoke. Yes, Sister Mara, I am a telepath as well. It is not something that I share with everyone though so please keep it a secret. Vogh said inside Sister Mara’s head.

Continuing on to Josiah, Vogh said, we found him near death in a prison below the city. Matter of fact, anyone looking at him without an untrained eye would have mistaken him for dead. We aren’t sure how he got there but we rescued him all the same. Vogh then thought about the time frame in which they had freed Callin. It was just a bit over a tenday ago. If you do see him please tell him we will come to the PaleTower to visit as promised.

Vogh continued to check out the other Astral Deva to find any reaction at all as they spoke.

17:34, Today: Vogh rolled 31 using 1d20+17.

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Talin
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Talin had kept his mouth shut for the most part but as he watched Vogh getting asked questions about Callin Talin piped in to help her out.

Clearly he went against the one who imprisoned him. It is a good thing that he too has now paid the ultimate price of death. Talin said with a steady voice.

17:33, Today: Talin rolled 15 using 1d20+8. aid Vogh.

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Narrator
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Vogh noticed the mighty angel narrowed her glowing eyes at her statement, but the bard wasn’t certain why. Everyone else shook their heads along with the story each of them shared.

Neither cleric spoke a word, but were intently listening. Josiah and Steron both spoke at the same time, but the paladin politely gestured for Josiah to continue.

“The one who imprisoned him, this Callin, is now dead? That means you know who imprisoned, even tired to kill, a celestial. Please, share the name… Who would do such an evil thing?!”

It was clear Steron had intended to ask the same question because he was nodding along with Josiah’s questioning.

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Vogh
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To answer the question about who imprisoned Callin Vogh could be revealing much more than she wanted to know so she tried to divert the question. Vogh gave a mental, quiet! to Talin before answering further. We never saw who it was that tried to kill Callin. We did find out, from Callin himself, that who did this had been killed. Callin didn’t give us a name. And there it was the bald-faced lie, Vogh held her composure though knowing that these celestials before her now could probably sniff out a lie easy enough. Quickly though Vogh moved on, I certainly hope that Callin will find you all and he can tell his tale.

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Narrator
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Josiah cocked his head and wore the crumpled face of confusion at Vogh’s statements and started to speak sputteringly, “What… Um. Why… You…”

A gentle hand lain on his shoulder by Steron stopped the part angel. Josiah looked back at the big paladin, who offered, “Rest in knowing the wrongdoer is gone my friend. Hopefully this missing Malkuth will visit you soon!”

Clearly the young looking man was not satisfied with this, but he dropped it nonetheless. Josiah nodded at the idea of them meeting. “Yes. Indeed. Hopefully.”

Sister Mara piped in to break the tension. “Very exciting! I should like to meet this deva as well. Having so many residents of the heavens in our fair city is truly a blessing. We are very fortunate the Malkuth of old chose to build the Pale Tower here, and grace is with their goodness! Now, our guests of honor have many rounds to make. Steron, it’s a pleasure having your ‘warm glow’ back in the city.”

The paladin chuckled at Mara’s obvious double meaning and raised his glass to her as they moved away. He and Josiah offered a parting, “Well met” as the group walked away. Josiah’s was filled with far more questioning than Steron’s.

“There is someone over here who is likely very anxious to see you this evening.” Mara stated as she guided them through groups of people.

Around one large cloister of talkers, Vogh saw a sitting area and her eyes lit up at the occupants.

Her adopted mother, and brother, were sitting and speaking with Hallusian, head of the knights of the chord and a few others.

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Vogh
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Vogh was glad that there weren’t any more questions to be had, though she knew that if it was up to Josiah, they would have never left the group.

Back on the move again after speaking with the celestials, Vogh said to Talin in his head, I am sorry for yelling at you, but with two of us trying to lie to celestials it could have gotten too difficult to not tell the truth. I thank you for trying though.

Talin heard Vogh’s voice again in his head and looked to her and just smiled before looking back just as Vogh’s family came into view.

When Vogh saw her mother and brother sitting and speaking with Hallusian at a nearby table she was thankful for the familiar faces. As they pulled up, Vogh called out to her brother who was dressed in a fine tunic of the darkest blue hue and brown leggings with high black boots, ah now don’t you look very nice Raul? Vogh said as Raul got up to wrap her in a warm hug.

Raul too commented on her dress, Your dress is like a shining beacon of beauty. Who made it for you? Before Vogh could answer though her mother stood and wrapped Vogh in a hug. The hug was one that helped her relax and calm herself after that tense meeting with the celestials. Mother, I didn’t know you all were going to come. It is very nice to see both of you. Vogh said to her brother and mother.

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Sallina Kath (NPC)
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“Surely you jest child!?” Her mother looked about the group as she made her quip, a wide smile on her face. “You think I would miss one of the greatest honors my only daughter has ever received!? Why, should the ghost king have risen again, even he could not have kept me away!” Sallina said with a great hand-waved flourish. “You have made us all so proud Vogh, and you have honored the Kath name beyond measure.” She gave Vogh another tight hug before extending her hand delicately to Talin for a kiss. “And you Talin, have kept our precious gem safe. Thank you.”

Sallina ran her hands behind herself to push her dress forward and took a seat, keeping the garment straight and unwrinkled. Raule extended his hand and shook Talin’s. “It’s been a bit.” The young man had a hint of steel in his voice, but Talin could hardly tell, being so distracted by the feminine softness of Raule’s hands. The had to hide a tiny smile.

“Here. Sit. Sit. All of you, please.” Sallina gestured for the rest to take up positions about them in the available cushioned couches which had clearly been moved to this part of the chapel for just such use.

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Narrator
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As the group took their seats, the acolytes joined them with plates of food and the drinks each had ordered. Ottomans with wooden tops were brought over in front of each person to set their food and drink. This far forward in the cathedral, everyone could see more islands of these couches circled or set in squares with varying numbers of people at each. Sister Mara also took her leave of the group, moving off into the crowd.

Hallusiun Everfar, the elven leader of the Knights of the Chord, remained standing long enough to delicately shake Vogh’s hand and kiss her ring, then to shake Talin’s hand firmly. Despite having the fair skin of an elf, Talin noticed that Everfar had calluses which meant his hands likely knew both blade and instrument well.

“Miss Vogh. Master Talin. And everyone. It’s a great honor to be here, and to get to know such heroes of Ptolus.” He took a seat beside a beautiful shoal elf who Vogh and Talin both quickly recognized as Nivae Tamelli, easily the most famous bard in the land!

“I’m certain you both already know Nivae.” Hallusiun turned to regard her sitting beside him.
The woman’s prowess was legendary, but it was fascinating that Nivae wasn’t interested in combat or adventuring, however. In her spare time, she researched musical history, attempting to learn old songs and old dances important to cultures long dead. That night the elf was dressed in a figure hugging gown that matched her piercing eyes. Her gown and sparkled together in the lights of the temple. Nivae smiled at Vogh and Talin, raising a glass to recognize them, but didn’t speak.

“It’s uncontested Miss Tamelli is the Knights greatest asset, and it’s only because of her constant insistence in refusing to lead that I’m still leading the Knights!” Hallusiun offered with a chuckle. “She’s also created a couple of her own, powerful, spells which could be shared with fellow Knights some day… If any like minded martial minstrels were so inclined…”

The handsome elf raised his eyebrows as he looked between Vogh and Talin. “But that’s for another discussion!” He waved the hand not holding his drink to move on.

“Everyone has been dying to hear about the circumstances which led you all to discovering this amazing, lost artifact of the church. Will that story be shared tonight?”

All eyes were on the two bards. Belie sat uncomfortably near the end of one sofa, closest the opening of the U shaped furniture layout. He hid part of his face behind an oversized wine glass.

Don’t forget to mention what the trio are doing as well. It’s not just Vogh and Talin there. 😉

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Vogh
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Vogh accepted warmly the other hug her mother gave her and tried to take a deep breath to get the red out of her cheeks before she took a seat. Then before Sister Mara headed off Vogh said, we will come to find you in a little while. I would hope to see Sir Kalerecent next.

With her drink and food now, Vogh listened to her mother speak for a bit, and then as Hallusiun thanked them all for what they had done Vogh smiled wide. Thank you so much for that Hallusiun. He then introduced Nivae Tamelli, whom both Vogh and Talin knew, but the Archeons didn’t. Vogh said, Well met Nivae Tamelli. I would like to introduce the other heroes that aided us in this whole adventure. Master’s Bharash, Deacon Havenhold, Belie Ekik, and Miss Julia Graymantle. Without them all, we wouldn’t even be sitting here today. They are all accomplished adventurers in their own right. Vogh then gave a slight nod to them all and raised her wine glass. Vogh had thought then that she was grabbing all the attention and this wasn’t all about her.

If Vogh was lucky perhaps she could rally this into a position for both her and Talin in the Knights of Chord.

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Julia Graymantle
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Julia had been taking it all in. Having not been a part of this whole party society before she was just watching. Julia had been in the church many times before today, being a Lothian Life Oracle and all. Sister Mara was one of her mentors when she had joined the church in the beginning.

Julia nodded back as Vogh introduced them to Miss Nivae Tamelli. Vogh was right in saying that she wouldn’t be standing her if it weren’t for them all. Belie was instrumental in all the traps the banewarrens had. Bharash, well he just had a thirst for battle. She was quite happy the Dragonborn wasn’t on the other side with the Pactlord’s. She couldn’t even imagine that. Anyways, when they were asked about the story of it all Julia looked to Vogh knowing the woman was a spinner of tales.

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Vogh
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The story you say? Hmmm, I think I can whip something up on the fly. Vogh said with an arm wave.

Vogh began her story with the ‘heroes’ gathering to head down into the dungeons below the city. Vogh didn’t say where it was though. When we went inside we found right away that the place wasn’t naturally made. Some powerful creature had clawed its way through the area. It didn’t take long before we came into a tunnel when the creature came bursting out of the stone wall beside us and attacked. The thing was only defending its territory and had no idea the power of the people that it was attacking. In a matter of a few seconds the beast, which was am Umber Hulk lay dead below our feet.

Vogh went on to describe further movement through man-made tunnels and described a number of traps they had to overcome in order to push forward. Vogh described to great detail the battle with some demonic creatures and also undead creatures. Vogh made certain not to give details about the sealed rooms or anything that would seem to not fit in a normal dungeon. She did mention the pactlords though and one particular battle, As we entered one area that we initially thought was clear we ran into a weirdly assembled group of monstrous creatures, a Lamia, Sphinx, Ettercap, an ogre, a hag, and a Mind Flayer. We didn’t quite surprise the other group as one of the creatures, the Lamia, charged forward and attacked Belie who had just opened the door. I moved to a better spot and sang a song of courage to my companions. Bharash used the song and moved in to attack the lamia getting 2 solid hits on the creature as blood sprayed on the walls of the tunnel. Another companion who is not here moved forward and swung his blade opening more wounds on the lamia. Then a sphinx-like creature swooped in and impaled its beak in Belie’s chest. Vogh paused and looked to Belie as she remembered the fight.

Continuing on, Belie took a couple of swings at the sphinx causing wounds to open on its torso. The ettercap then spit its webbing at Belie but the rogue was too quick for it to grab hold of him. Then suddenly the world turned black for Belie as he was stunned by a mental blast from the other creature with tentacles where its maw should be.

Deacon cast a spell to hasten our movements so we could possibly defeat the foes quicker. Julia cast a spell to bolster our minds and harden our bodies against evil. The ogre that was near turned gaseous and began to close the distance to Bharash and I. The hag then moved into view and pointed a wand at us. Some of us took the full brunt of the lightning that issued forth, our hair standing on end, and muscles clenching.

The lamia now badly wounded stepped away from the three in the front and opened a potion and drank its contents down. The magical healing properties healing wounds and knitting flesh back together. Bharash moved in towards the thing once more and struck it 3 times opening fresh wounds once more. It wasn’t enough to bring it down though so I moved in, my footwork performing a dance that enflamed everyone with draconic fires. I struck the sphinx, but somehow it still stood after my assault. The beast didn’t like what it had just felt and decided to withdraw as well. The ettercap spit its webbing at me this time and I couldn’t get out of the way fast enough. I was stick to the ground somewhat now. The tentacled thing issued a mental blast, but we shook off the effects thanks to Julia’s spell.

Deacon, then cast one of his more powerful spells. Black tentacles sprouted up from the stone floor between the enemy holding them where they were, grappling them, and squeezing the life from them. Julia moved back for cover and kept an eye on Belie for he was badly bleeding. The gaseous form of the ogre seeped through the companions and on the other side it reformed into the ogre again, it saw Deacon and tried to hit him with a huge blade but somehow missed. The Hag let out another blast from her wand hitting me squarely and catching Belie in the lightning blast. The lamia which was stuck tried to fight but was not effective at all. Bharash then finished off the Lamia as it fell dead at his feet. I turned back around as I had followed the gaseous form of the ogre and as it became the ogre again I stepped close and swing my crystal blade hitting it hard twice. Then the sphinx screeched and deafened only me as the others somehow shook off the effect. The ettercap tried to spit its web again but missed Bharash this time. The tentacled thing once more mind blasted the group to no effect.

Deacon, in the face of the ogre, stepped back and defensively cast a spell and turned invisible. Julia saw that everyone was hurting quite a bit now stepped closer and cast a healing surge of energy on us. Wounds began to knit and the blood stopped flowing as her power fell over us. The ogre tried to hit me but missed as I dodged the blow. The hag once more shot a bolt of lightning in at everyone and once more some felt the sting of the electricity. With no target near him, Bharash went back through the door and hit the ogre twice which still didn’t kill it. I was right next to it though and finished the ogre off. With no targets for the sphinx or the ettercap, they couldn’t attack. The mind flayer once more sent a mind blast out which failed once more to stick.

Deacon moved again and then cast a fireball that erupted in the middle of the hag, ettercap, and the sphinx. When it exploded the sphinx dropped dead, burnt to a crisp. Julia moved as well to a spot she could cast a spell and let loose two admonishing rays right at the mind flayer but it was too crafty for the spells to stick. The hag had finally used up her wand so she didn’t have much choice but to try and escape the black tentacles, which she couldn’t of course. The same went for the ettercap as it failed to escape as well. The mind flayer this time escaped the tentacles and moved away from them.

Deacon, then sent out another fireball pea that exploded, and this time it killed the ettercap. Julia sent out another admonishing ray pair and injured the hag. Bharash and I moved in to attack the mind flayer. Our weapons clanged off the flesh of the mind flayer as if it were made of stone. I called to the mind flayer and gave it the option to give up, but it didn’t listen. The mind flayer reached out with its tentacles and touched Bharash and me. The power in the mind blast this time was too much for me and I stood stunned, not moving.

Deacon moved again and cast a scorching ray at the hag killing her while Julia went to make sure that Belie and was okay. Then suddenly the mind flayer was gone leaving the bloody mess of the battle behind. With the mind layer gone, I was able to move again.

It was in a few rooms later that we found the sword. It wasn’t easy getting into the room but when we did we saw the sword or rather swords. It was with 7 other swords which all looked the same. It turned out that 7 of the swords were mere images though. Having thought we had found something of great power we returned to the surface soon after. Deacon had cast a spell to identify the blade for what it truly was. So, we all came here and spoke to Sister Mara and gave her the blade. The rest is history.

The long story was told with much passion and flourish that had everyone captivated.

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Bharash
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Bharash had watched as Vogh had told the story of the battle with the pactlords. It was almost like being there again as she whirled and stabbed out with her hand and made gestures when others were spellcasting. As Bharash looked around he saw everyone was captivated by her tale.

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Narrator
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Everyone listened captivated, and easily two dozen more people had filtered over, standing behind the plush couches. No one drank or even nibbled on refreshments during Vogh’s retelling. A cheer rose with everyone clapping at Vogh’s triumphant finish.

Vogh’s mother had been covering her mouth with fear in her eyes through the entire telling. Sallina Kath had no idea the dangerous her daughter had experienced since leaving home, and the woman was starting to think she didn’t want to know any more. Raule’s brows were raised through everything, but reclined and sipping his drink. He glanced Talin’s way more often than he watched Vogh, which the bard caught.

Belie winced at mention of his wounds and even subconsciously rubbed his chest when Vogh mentioned his terrible injury. Deacon caught only snippets of Vogh’s story as she spun and moved in the retelling.

“Heroes! Cheers to the city with Heroes!” Hallusiun raised his glass high and stood, clapping further accompanied by a second round of cheers.

At the end of the U shape arrangement a few people stepped aside to admit an older man in flowing and expensive robes. He clapped with only 2 fingers against the palm of his drink holding hand. In a soft voice he added, “And pity the city that needs them.” A hush fell over the crowd, people whispering at the comment as Helmut Itlestein strode into the group. High priest of the Watchers of the Skies, and leader of the Republican movement which sought to free Ptolus from the empire.

“But Ptolus needs no pity! For We HAVE HEROES!” The priest shouted the last, extending both hands toward the frescoed ceiling. This clarified his intent to everyone about and a cheer rose again. “Well met again Miss Vogh Kath, Master Talin Ursalato. It’s wonderful to see you again, and more wonderful to see you being celebrated for your services to our fine city.”

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Deacon Havenhold
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Though Deacon didn’t catch a good portion of the battle that Vogh was telling, Deacon knew it all too personally. Talin wasn’t the only one that noticed that Raule had been paying more attention to Talin than to Vogh. Deacon wondered what that was about. A little brotherly looking out for his sister? Deacon didn’t know for sure but it seemed that way. Since Deacon couldn’t follow along he kept looking about at those gathering for the story of the recovery of the blade. Of course, Vogh had emblemished parts of the story to make certain nothing was given away about the banewarrens.

After the story, Deacon noticed a change in the way others were reacting. There was clapping and hearing from those gathered and even Hallusiun had congratulated the heroes. When he noticed that a few people moved out of the way, Deacon noticed a man which he knew but hadn’t met as of yet, move forward. Deacon paid particular attention to his actions and his words.
10:15, Today: Deacon Havenhold rolled 27 using 1d20+13. sense motive.

Deacon did notice that he didn’t acknowledge the Archeons nor Belie though the man certainly knew their names.

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Vogh
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Vogh bowed slightly at the words that Hallusiun had said and as she looked up she saw Helmut. So, he was back in town. She wondered when that happened and why he hadn’t sought a meeting with them. They had unfinished business, something that Vogh had been waiting for for quite a while now. Was he stalling hoping that we wouldn’t go against any of his further attempts at murder? Vogh could only guess at his intentions for he was really good at lying.

At Helmut’s first comment which silenced the gathered group, Vogh responded with, who said that the city needs heroes? The city has plenty of them all about the city. Vogh named a few just to hit the point home. Then as Helmut said the next part, which seemed to Vogh like a threat, but she kept her words to herself about that as the crowd erupted with a cheer once more.

His acknowledgment of Talin and herself didn’t change her mind. Though Vogh calmed somewhat and finished with introducing the others to Helmut. The celebration is for the recovery of the sword of truth, not just I nor Talin nor our friends. We thank you though all the same. Vogh said as she raised her glass. As Vogh did everyone that had a glass raised theirs as well and another cheer went out.

Now if you will excuse us everyone, we would like a bit of privacy to speak with my family and Hallusiun. Vogh said as she particularly looked at Helmut.

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Narrator
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A ripple of confusion went through the crowd at Vogh’s words. Helmut wore a partial smile, but it looked forced. Vogh’s mother gestured for her to come over nearer, then whispered to her. “These people are all here to celebrate you… The time for privacy is later. It’s not polite to send them away…”

Despite Vogh’s request, only a few filtered away, murmuring as they went. Furthermore, she was frustrated to see that Helmut was not one of those who left.

“But of course this is for your entire group’s benefit Vogh. I meant no offense. Unfortunately I’ve never had the pleasure to meet the rest of your company.” The High Priest inclined his head to the still seated individuals. Belie was nearly directly beside the man and kept glancing over to Talin and Vogh for any sign. The poor man looked like a caged lion dressed for a Royal Court and wanting simply to pounce, yet Belie held his composure.

“Some time ago you requested I gather some information from you. I’ve ascertained those answers. We should discuss at a more appropriate time. We are all working for the betterment of Ptolus, our fair city. It’s wonderful what you’ve done so far. We’re watching to see what you’ll do in the future, and the stars above look bright indeed.”

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Vogh
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Vogh grew a bit frustrated when most people didn’t even budge let alone Helmut himself. Vogh knew she made a mistake then, as some started to murmur as they left. When mom pulled her aside and whispered to her, Vogh was already nodding. I know mother and I do appreciate it honestly. Vogh whispered back.

Sallina and Vogh moved back to the rest of the group then and Vogh apologized. I am sorry, that was rude of me. Please stay and let us enjoy the evening together.

As Helmut began to speak once more, Vogh nodded as he acknowledged the others. When he mentioned something about information, Vogh wondered if Helmut was reading her thoughts and looked at him with a straight face. Ah, yes, can we meet on the morrow? Say, for breakfast at The Minstrel?

If that was settled Vogh looked over to Hallusiun and said, Hallusiun, I was hoping that we could meet again soon and discuss becoming a Knight again. This made things quite public to everyone gathered about Vogh’s interest in joining the Chord.

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Narrator
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A few people ceased their exit and turned back, but several still made their way elsewhere in the huge structure.


“But of course! I would love to join you and discuss further how we can make Ptolus an even more secure city than you already have.” Helmut smiled wide at Vogh’s offer, then sipped from his drink as she spoke to the Knight of the Chord leader.


“Absolutely! We would love to count you among our number!” Hallusiun stood and shook her hand. Gesturing toward Helmut he added, “Perhaps after you and the High Priest break fast, you could join me at the Templehall? And you as well Talin?”

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Talin
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Talin who had been sitting there drinking and eating all while listening to Vogh had kept noting that Raule had continued to look over at him through Vogh’s performance. Was he sizing me up? Talin knew that Raule was pretty protective of Vogh and had even said so on one such occasion when they met a while back. Talin kept his cool though and just listened. Vogh could spin a tale for certain and everyone enjoyed it.


Talin at one point had looked over at Belie when Helmut was speaking. The roguish man had that look in his eyes but tried hard not to show it. At one point Talin made a slight shake of his head to Belie to give him an answer. Though Talin sure would have loved to see Belie put a dagger through the man for sure.

Talin had heard Vogh invite Helmut and then mention something to Hallusiun about joining the Chord which had Talin thinking… could I join the elite Knights of the Chord? I most certainly had the qualifications… he thought and then heard his name called by Hallusiun himself. Talin didn’t know what he had just said, but it seemed like a question so Talin nodded and said, certainly! Talin hoped the answer was the right one to what he thought was a question as he looked over to Hallusiun.

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Vogh
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When Talin gave his okay Vogh too said, yes, that would be wonderful. We will come to the Templehall after breaking our fast.

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Narrator
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Helmut, much to the group’s chagrin, took a seat across from Belie. The high priest seemed to ignore any discomfort he was causing, and simply joined in light conversation. Vogh’s adoptive mother and brother spoke with Hallusiun and Nivae about many things, including Nivae’s recent research. Sallina reminded both of them of their invitation to the House Kath party which would be happening soon, which both said they would be attending.
The Watcher High Priest engaged in each conversation he could, clearly an expert in politics. He was not at all impolite, but was rather ingratiating and attentive. Attendants were always about, standing behind the couches with bottles of wine and platters of food. One need only raise a glass and it would promptly be filled. Most of the attendants were far more accustomed to this and would often raise their glass, expecting a refill, without even breaking conversation. None of Vogh’s companions fit into that group however.

A familiar face moved through the crowd, and he had several individuals following him and speaking among themselves. Mand Scheben, cleric of Asche entered the couch opening first, as a group of people moved out of his way, and the gorgeous elven woman who strode beside him. [Private to GM: Kaira Swanwing]

Behind him was the unmistakable ogre-mage Urlenius. None of his signature ioun stones revolved around this head that evening, nor was he carrying his golden spear, but the teal skinned creature still stood out. Beside the hulking Urlenius clopped a powerful looking aram male who had a gleaming, gold holy symbol about his neck. [Private to GM: Thorrim Kolvir, centaur paladin of Torskal, aram god of vengeance]

At the rear, two men were speaking to each other. One was a human, the other a stately elf. Both wore the same holy symbol as Urlenius. [Private to GM: Aran Boturr and Tellian Riverborn (Company of the Black Lantern)]

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Mand Scheben
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“My friends! A pleasure it is to see you well and celebrated for your accomplishments!” Mand threw his hands wide, which forced the elven beauty to step back a bit. She shook her head, causing silvery hair to dance around like rays of light bending in midair.

“Vogh! Talin! You are heroes. Before tonight your name had been trickling through the city after rescuing Lord Abbercombe, and now you are a geyser! Forgive me, as I don’t know your compatriots so well as I know you, but let us make introductions. These are some friends…”

Mand stepped aside and raised one hand to the beautiful elf lady with him, “This beautiful woman beside me is Lady Kaira Swanwing, leader of the famed Knights of the Golden Cross.”

Kaira stepped forward and shook each of their hands, starting with Vogh and Talin, then moving to the group. She missed Belie as he didn’t bother to stand, but merely looked about.

“Here was have Urlenius, the “Star of Navashtrom” as he’s famously known. Our aram friend is Thorrim Kolvir, Paladin of Torskal.” The hulking ogre was surprisingly delicate in his touch to each of the group, but met Bharash’s powerful grip with his own, in a good natured hand-shake. The centaur did likewise, careful not to step on anyone with his hooves. Both offered a “Well Met” to each of the heroes, again, missing Belie. Afterward he and Urlenius stepped back near the opening to give room.

“Last, but certainly not least, we have Aran Boturr, High Priest at the Temple of Navashtrom. And Tellian Riverborn, the powerful cleric of Navashtrom and famed member of the Company of the Black Lantern.”

Aran, the human, might have been a High Priest but he was certainly overshadowed by the powerfully muscled elf Tellian who walked with him to shake each of their hands.

“These are powerful friends to have and know, and heroes should know heroes!” Mand clapped his hands together as if pronouncing his duty done.

After all the many hands had been shaken, and “well met’s” shared among everyone, each found an available seat and rested. All but Urlenius and Thorrim who kept their position at the end of the couches, but still close enough to converse.

The lovely Kaira spoke first after all had found their spots. “I was told there were six in your company?” She addressed Vogh and Talin, then looked down the line to Bharash, Deacon and Julia.

(sorry, not trying to highlight Belie or anything. Just came about as I thought about him no introducing himself)

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Vogh
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Vogh endured through most of the conversation with Helmut. Of course, he was a good conversationalist, it was just that he annoyed the hell out of Vogh. Finally, after some time Vogh noticed Mand Scheben walking with a group of others. She recognized one of the members, Urlenius. After a moment the group entered the area where The Calling was speaking with Helmut, Hallusiun, Nivae, and Vogh’s family.

When Mand gave his congratulations, Vogh blushed a bit and smiled wide. Thank you so much, Mand, Vogh said finally. Talin too said his thanks and bowed slightly as well. Mand acknowledged her friends as well and then went on to introduce his. Ah yes, please do, Vogh said.

As Mand began to introduce his companions, Vogh gave a big smile and greeted each in turn with am outstretched hand and a curtsy. Having met many important officials over the years inside House Kath, Vogh knew how to greet someone properly.

The first he introduced was Lady Kaira, It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Lady Kaira. I hope you are having a lovely evening so far? As Kaira shook the other’s hands Vogh couldn’t believe she met the leader of the Knights of the Golden Cross. Then Mand introduced Urlenius, We have seen you on a number of occasions but have never met, it is nice to meet you finally Master Urlenius, Vogh greeted him with a smile.

Thorrim Kolvir, Paladin of Torskal was next, Master Thorrim I have never actually met one of your kind before. Thank you for coming to the celebration. The rather large Centaur was quite fluid with his movements and managed to make his way through the crowd pretty easily. Next was Aran Boturr, a high priest, Vogh glanced slightly at Helmut to gauge his reaction to another high priest but then took the hand of Aran, Pleasure to meet you, Master Aran. Lastly, was Tellian Riverborn, a large man in his own right. Master Tellian, Company of the Black Lantern, now there is a first for me as well. I haven’t had the pleasure to meet you before either. Vogh then announced to them all, I am glad that you all have joined us this evening.

Powerful Heroes indeed, Vogh thought to herself. It would help them if something ever was too much for them to handle. They could ask for a bit of assistance. Yes, you are quite right. Powerful friends are very welcome in our company.

Then as Kaira asked her question, Vogh said, ah yes, there are six of us. Belie, here is our other companion as well. Vogh motioned to Belie as she said his name.

When things were done with the greetings Vogh asked them all, We have been following the news about the Barbarian Horde. Do we know if they have plans to try and come to Ptolus?

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Belie
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Belie wore a small smile as he looked from his spot quite removed from the rest of the group as several sets of eyes turned to regard him. Raising his glass just a bit and nodding his head in acknowledgement he looked back over at Helmut and threw him a little wink which made the High Priest blanch just a bit. Then the rogue took a small sip from his nearly clear wine.

Leaning forward, spanning some of the distance between them, Belie quietly asked Helmut a question so as not to over power the conversation down the way. “I’ve heard your name spoken as the leader of this Republican movement. Can you tell me more about what it would mean for the city?”

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Narrator
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Everyone turned at Vogh’s words to acknowledged the sixth member of the hero troupe, but Vogh quickly drew their attention back with her question about the barbarians.

Mand waved his hand in a dismissive manner. “Please. Ptolus is better protected than any other ten cities. Commisar Urnst is famed for his military mind. The Commisar’s Men are well trained and battle hardened from following him in the Gnoll War. Not to mention our City Watch! The Commisar has kept the defense of Ptolus at the forefront of his ideologies. Plus, we have the largest collection of powerful divine and arcane magic users anywhere in the world!” A small cheer went up as Mand raised his fist in triumph.

“Look about this room alone…” Mand’s hand gestured to encompass all those seated around the couches, then beyond. “What evil could stand against such power if it were to be arrayed against them? No… Tarsis was weak, overconfident and vulnerable at the time. These barbarians will never breach our walls.” The priest punctuated his statement by leaning back and dramatically draining his glass.

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Narrator
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Vogh, ever trained in the art of measuring a crowd, watched the others’ reactions to Mand’s words and few seemed to share his confidence. Most in their area smiled and nodded or raised glasses at the cleirc of Asche’s words, but Vogh saw a spot of worry on more than one face.

Steron was the first to speak after Mand. “By Gaen I pray they can be dissuaded from attacking the city. The barbarian king at the time was asked why he sacked Tarsis, and his only response was that, ‘it was there.’ So we aren’t dealing with scrupulous and civilized individuals here. Still, if the time for battle comes, then indeed Ptolus is well suited to defend herself.”

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Urlenius
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Urlenius spoke up, nodding along with Steron. “Well said Steron.” The teal orge-mage’s voice was surprisingly mellifluous. He sounded nothing like his heritage would suggest. Clearly the Brotherhood of Redemption was right to be proud of their conversion of this amazing being.

“Prayerfully the barbarians can be dissuaded or assuaged without bloodshed. In honesty, I never believed the stories that the tribal king attacked the capital city for no better reason than was given. Personally, I feel like those tales came down to desensitize and turn the populous against the tribes, while also possibly covering the true reason for an attack. That said, were they to assail our walls, my spear will join your heartglow in battle gladly.”

Dipping his horned head and strong jaw with both tusks, Urlenius nodded to Steron.

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Vogh
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Between Mand, Steron, and Urlenius Vogh was happy with what was said. Vogh didn’t think that it would be an issue but something to keep in the back of her head. I agree as well as long as those members of the city you speak of would bond together and set aside any differences they had for the defense of the city it shouldn’t be a problem. Standing with all of you would be quite a pleasure. My songs and blades would certainly be heard. Vogh raised her glass of wine and though it was her second one, she finished the rest. Quickly an attendant was right there to fill her glass once more along with anyone else who had emptied theirs.

Vogh would have to know more about these individuals’ stories at a later date for she was certain that there was more than one grand tale to tell. Perhaps, on another occasion, we can all meet and swap tales. I would love to get to know you all much better if that is alright with you of course.

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Bharash
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Bharash spoke up then. He hadn’t said much since the new group had joined them. My blades would be right there with you Vogh. Certainly, our lives have been much more exciting since we, Bharash motioned at Julia and Deacon, met you, Talin, and Belie. Certainly, much more gold in our pockets as well. Bharash said the last with a hearty laugh and a draining of his wine.

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Narrator
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It seemed everyone around kind of shrugged and nodded with wry smiles. Based on just the clothes the folks in their vicinity were wearing, they were not poor by any means. Without seeing their armor and weapons though, one was unsure. Yet, if they were here, then it was likely they were not paupers.

“What about an army to defend Ptolus without any chance of losing a life?”

Everyone turned to regard a rather strange looking half-elf male who strode into their midst. He had on many layers of clothing, and it looked like his long hair had been sun bleached. His blue eyes looked passionate and lively, darting around the group, with what some might say a touch of crazy.

“Oh no. Nutae. Not this. How did you even get in here?” Mand stood, obviously purturbed.

“Shivel-pot. You’ve rotted your brain Nutty.” Helmut even quipped at the man.

If either of their comments bothered the half-elf he let on not at all.

“What’s so crazy about raising an army to defend the living? Necromacy was outlawed because it’s evil uses. But I argue, can not a sword fell an innocent as easily as it can thwart evil? Why then can we not use the undead as tools to defend the city? They are just laying there after all… Your beloved Commissar has even polymorphed volunteers into trolls and other forms to defend the city. Some of them stand guard even now at the King’s River Bridge. How is this any different?” The newcomer’s eyes darted to the seated Vogh, Talin then each of the group, ending in a small bow.

“Well met. The name is Nutae Wasanthi. Cleric of Charlathan. What do our newest heroes think about the idea of allowing the already dead to fight for the still living to prevent Ptolus losing a single son or daughter in her service?”

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Deacon Havenhold
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Deacon wasn’t a fan of necromancy at all and shook his head when he saw what this newcomer had asked The Calling. The idea of raising the dead to fight our battles has been banned for many philosophical and ethical reasons Nutae. Deacon said plainly. Let me clarify what I said, people are put in the grave, I believe, so that their bodies can rest for the afterlife. How many people would have to live through the death of a loved one all over again?
Deacon took a sip from his glass and then continued, it isn’t like summoning animals, elementals, or outsiders to do our bidding. No, it is not the natural way of things. Tell me Nutae, if you had a daughter that suffered greatly from a disease before finally dying, was animated and you saw her as she went off to fight your battles?

At that point, Julia had placed a hand on Deacon’s shoulder. She knew he was speaking from the heart for he had a daughter that had gone through such an ordeal many years before she even knew him.

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Narrator
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The cleric cocked his head sideways and narrowed his eyes in mock confusion at Deacon’s response. “My good man. Were a child of mine to die, I would grieve their passing, certainly, but I would also know that their soul would be at rest in the afterlife. We leave behind only a shell when our heart stops beating. That shell can either feed the worms, or defend the living…”


“This is not the place for such discussions. We are here to celebrate, not debate. Now be polite, or be off with you.” Mand practically hissed at the half-elf, who again, seemed entirely unfazed.

Helmut spoke up again, “Good Nutty. I would ally myself with Raguel himself if I it would save the city, but tonight’s purpose is to celebrate individuals… living individuals… who have performed great deeds for Ptolus already. As Scheben said, this is neither the time nor the place. Join us at Yarrow when next we meet.”

The Yarrow Street Forum was a well known place for intellectual and political discussion. During any normal day, the plaza was a forum for public discourse of all kinds; concerned, influential citizens may voice their opinions to members of the City Council. Philosophers and teachers instructed students, or anyone who would listen. Debates sometimes rage over a number of topics.

Helmut was known to frequent the place, preaching about a Republican Ptolus. Sorum Dandubal was there often, as was Tallaeth of Vogh’s own House. Yarek Nagel and Marcad Shever had many a public discussion there. Even the renowned Moynath Autumnson and Jevicca Nor would often be at Yarrow not to mention the currently present Nivae Tamelli, and Kaira Swanwing.

“Ah. I see heroes do not like competition for accolades, so I will take my leave. May the shadow of the spire always find you well. Heroes.” The half elf bowed sarcastically then moved away, deliberately slowly.

As he was leaving, an upside down pyramid floated over the head of a human who was passing by. What struck Deacon the most, was that the man looked nothing like an arcane caster. He was dressed more a merchant than wizard.

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Deacon Havenhold
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Deacon watched the man talk and knew right away that the man definitely had a different outlook on life. Deacon wondered even then if the man had a child, for Deacon couldn’t think how someone could say that about their own flesh and blood. Being what Deacon figured was a Necromancer, Nutae probably wouldn’t care either way either.

Deacon was about to speak back when Mand and Helmut piped in to calm the debate down. Deacon had even been to Yarrow street on several occasions himself. Knowledge is knowledge and Deacon prided himself on learning something every day if he could. Deacon gave a slight bow of his head when the man began to walk away. As he did, Deacon noticed the man walking by that had the tell-tale inverted pyramid above his head. Deacon made not of the man in the case they passed him by he might say something to him.

Turning back to everyone, Deacon said, now that was interesting. Now I wouldn’t have any problem with him summoning undead much like I can summon an elemental. It comes from another place and goes back when it is finished with its time here.

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Talin
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Talin looked from the departing half-elf back to Deacon with a scrunched up face. He raised a hand to gain Deacon’s attention then asked the wizard. “Deacon, why would someone want to maintain a constant army of undead things anyway, instead of just doing what you do?” The bard looked over to Mand, but kept his face where Deacon could still read his lips.

“Mand, are you familiar with summoning magics like Deacon uses? He can bring in all manner of magical creatures to fight for him, which merely disappear when they are slain or the spell completed. Are undead, easier to manage or do they require less magic than what a wizard does? I don’t understand the man’s reasoning…?”

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Narrator
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Mand shook his head and his free hand in unison. “It’s a filthy, and evil concept to deal with the undead. It’s not right.” The cleric took his seat, and started to change the subject. His eyes widened when the euphonious voice of Nivae chimed in.

“The magics are very different Talin. The arcane summoning spell you describe merely creates a facsimile of a creature or construct. A copy of one such entity, which as you said disappears when the magic is expended or destroyed. Creating an undead creature is a permanent effect. Where a wizard may summon an elemental to guard his door, the spell will expire after a short time. Whereas an undead would stand guard for all eternity, or until destroyed. Nutae’s ideas, while distasteful and currently illegal, revolve around the idea of using such creatures for the purposes of good. The largest issue is that such creations require the use of negative energy, channeled from a divine entity of evil. Thus, one must be evil in themselves to use such dark power. However, there are some, Nutae among them, who either believe the ends justify the means, or that their good god may grant them the power to create undeath. To pose another academic question, what life powers a construct? A necromancer uses negative energy to infuse a corpse. A wizard uses magic to infuse a machine. One illegal, the other plentiful.”

Beautiful Nivea reclined back against her seat. Mand’s eyes were wide and his jaw slack, while Hallusun was shaking his drooped head. But the group was pretty certain they saw a hint of a smile on his partially hidden face..

“Bah! It matters not. The discussion is not purely academic, and the subject moot as necromacy is illegal. Now. Please! May we move on to more positive conversation? My. My.” The flustered cleric needlessly adjusted his robes and emptied his drink, holding it up to be refilled while still shaking his head.

“Now. Where were we? Oh yes. Miss Vogh! You were saying that it would be good for the present company to swap tales and indeed it would! We sit among some of the most wonderful beings to ever traverse the world. By Asche, it would be fortuitous for you all to share stories and learn from each other.” He sipped his new drink, the color having returned to his face.

“For example, certainly such accomplished individuals would have beneficial advice to offer regarding the defense of our grand city?”

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Julia Graymantle
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Julia was not in the least favorable to creating undead to use as a defense for the city. She had spoken many times in different forums against such a thing in the past. Summoning the way Deacon does is preferable. I agree Nivae, that kind of magic needs to remain illegal and I will always join any debate on the subject. Julia said as she looked to everyone gathered.

Julia was glad when Mand decided to change the subject to calm the mood down a bit. I certainly would love to share some of the stories and lessons learned with you all. Things have gotten really serious for us lately, with the attempts on our lives anything we can learn would be helpful.

Then as Mand went on to ask about the defense of the city Julia thought about it. I think what should be done first is that there should be a meeting of the powers that be. Once the meeting is done, if it hasn’t happened already that is, then there needs to be an invitation to the organizations of Ptolus to invite members to discuss how and what they can do to assist in the defense. There needs to be a good discussion that puts everything on the table. Only then can the leaders of the city best utilize the members of its society to their full capabilities.

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Narrator
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Mand nodded at Julia as did several of the other people present. “Do be careful! And Miss Julia, you are exactly right. Commissar Urnst and his Twelve Commanders have been meeting with High Priests of every temple, as well as the Inverted Pyramid and other organizations to organize the defense of Ptolus and to make sure no one acts alone.”


The aram, who had remained silent up to this point, cleared his throat and spoke up. “As to the attempts on your life, the more you fight evil, the more evil will seek to destroy you. I believe I can speak for everyone here that we’ve all had nefarious attacks and assassination attempts. Remember to protect yourselves at all times and keep alert. You might want to seek out Yula Falass. She’s a security specialist; lives in Oldtown if I remember correctly. She uses spells and her expertise to design magical wards and security procedures for the homes and businesses for some of the most powerful people in the city. She might be able to help you secure your residences.” Several other folks muttered their approval and agreement with Thorrim’s statements.


“All told my friends, I believe you have other important people who would like to speak with you this evening…” Mand gestured toward the opening to their sitoterie where Sister Mara stood once more.

“Yes indeed. Friends, would you accompany me?”

Mand stood and gestured for the group to follow Mara who began walking away as the six of them stood. “Vogh. Talin. A word as we walk please.” The cleric of Asche stood back and waited for the other four to proceed before he began walking with the two bards.

“I do not wish to trouble you on the night of your celebration, but I would like to discuss a matter of import with you at your convenience. I wish not to go into great detail here, but there is a man who was blessed with a vision from Asche to craft three marvelous swords, which, in the wrong hands, could cause catastrophe. But in the right hands could be a huge blessing to the city. At your earliest leisure, might you visit me at the temple?” With their agreement Mand dropped behind them a couple steps.


Through the increasing press of people Mara led them to another sitting area, this one surrounded on all sides by temporary dividing walls made of fabric. Order of the Dawn guards stood on all sides, two to a face of the rectangle. Upon seeing Mara approach one of the narrow sides, the two guards nodded to her and one moved a single one of the fabric dividers apart. The group was very surprised to see those sitting inside.

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Narrator
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None of the powerful people who sat inside the plushly furnished area stood to greet them, but all turned to regard the newcomers and each nodded to the individuals. Both couches and large chairs adorned this private area, with tables of food and wine everywhere. Three of the most famous people in Ptolus, even the entire empire awaited the heros.

Commisar Igor Urnst, the Holy Emperor – and one of the three claimants to the Empire’s Lion Guard throme – Rehoboth Ylestos, and his son, Prince of the Church, Kirian Ylestos.

Urnst and Kirian sat in deep, plush chairs which sported high arms. Rehoboth sat straight in a high backed chair of crimson red leather and covered in gold gilding on every inch of exposed wood.

“Welcome heroes. Join us.” Urnst offered, gesturing for each of them to approach. Finally, as the six neared his chair, the Commissar stood and offered each a powerful handshake. Dozens of attendants, two more Order of the Dawn, and two of the Commisar’s men stood around the periphery, awaiting any word from these leaders.

Prince Kirian conspicuously eyed up both Vogh and Julia, scanning them head to toe appreciatively. His sexual appetites were legendary throughout the city, much to the chagrin of the Church of Lothian, and his father.

“His eminence, the Holy Emperor.” Urnst gestured to the dark skinned man whose chair was beside the Commisar’s own. The Emperor held up his hand, palm down and fingers lax, highlighting his large sapphire studded ankh ring.

“You may kiss the ring…” Was all the Holy Emperor said.

Commisar Igor Urnst

Holy Emperor Rehoboth Ylestos

Prince of the Church, son of rehoboth, Kirian Ylestos

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Vogh
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Vogh and Talin had held back a few steps from the others and listened to Mand speak. When he spoke of three swords, Vogh wondered what they were called and was about to ask Mand when he said he would like to talk at another time about it. Certainly, we will gladly meet you. How about tomorrow night, before dinner? When Mand agreed he dropped back and went the other way as Vogh and Talin caught up with the others.


As they approached the area which was well guarded, Vogh wondered who they were about to wet as Sister Mara hadn’t said. As the guard let Sister Mara through though, Vogh could see exactly who they were meeting. The Commissar and the Emperor. Vogh could hardly believe she was meeting the Commissar, and she could never in her whole life think that she would meet the Emperor. Vogh could see the same look upon the faces of the others as well as they all looked upon the man.

At the Commissar’s request, they all entered and came in close. When the Commissar offered a handshake each took it in turn and gave a firm shake of his hand. Then as the Emperor offered his hand said they could kiss the ring, Vogh took it first. She knew the etiquette here and as she bowed slightly, she kissed the ring and said, Your Eminence, that is all she said as she let his hand go and moved back to let the others do as she did. Each of them, in turn, did as Vogh did, and then waited for the Emperor to sit before they too took a seat.

I think it would be proper to let him speak first and I don’t want to handwave the conversation.

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Belie
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Belie was not happy about kissing a man’s ring, but the rogue begrudgingly did it quickly so as not to offend such a powerful man. Afterward he took a seat midway between the two men and the wall they entered through. The partition was now back in place and the group had privacy from prying eyes.

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Narrator
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After everyone took a seat Vogh recognized the very dark complected man enter through the moved panel. She had never met Lord Renn Sadar personally, but had seen him around many Noble events. Strangely House Kath and House Sadar – or house Shadow as most people called them when not in their presence – got on rather well with one another. The Sadar’s and House Nagel had long been enemies, which Kath named Nagel among their allies, but seldom did the dichotomy cause tension between any of the houses. On his arm was his wife, Enis Sadar, who strode with all the grace of a noblewoman.

Vogh also knew that Sadar’s wife was very influential in the Church of Lothian. She worked very closely with the Order of Dayra which helped the underprivileged, orphans in particular.

“Commisar. Holy Emperor.” Sadar spoke with respect and bowed only to the Holy Emperor. Enis curtsied to both men without letting go of her husband’s arm.

Deacon alone noticed the spinning symbol of the Inverted Pyramid over Lord Sadar’s head which marked him as a member of the organization. Lord Sadar pursed his lips upon seeing Deacon with his matching symbol and nodded his head at the wizard without breaking stride.

“Ah! Lord and Lady Sadar! I’m glad to see you made it. Allow me to introduce our heroes.” The Commisar gestured to the six of them.


After introductions were made, two more individuals entered, a man and woman. The woman bore the Goldshield symbol, which marked her a member of the Commisar’s group of wizards and sorcerers which helped keep order in the City and worked very closely with both the Commisar’s Men and often provided magical aid to the City Watch. She wore short cropped black hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. Rather than robes, she wore a wide belt of gold wrapped around deep red pants and matching blouse, buttoned to her throat. Her black skin looked silky smooth; she stood midway between five and six feet tall, had a cute round face and wore a small, gold piercing in her right ear. Likely closer to sixty than fifty, her muscular build showed she kept in shape.

The gentleman was tall and ruddy. A reddish-brown goatee was neatly trimmed beneath his hawklike nose. His face was stoic and represented all business as he walked back-straight and proud in his Commisar’s Man livery. Unlike those matching him currently standing near the Commisar, this man bore two golden bars on each shoulder, marking him an officer of some importance.

“All is secure Commisar. Holy Emperor.” The gentlmen spoke succinctly, turning his head to each man in turn..

“Captain Pharis Noldstrom. Jetta Drake. Meet the guests of honor.” Again the Commisar gestured to the six of them. “Pharis is my second-in-command, and Jetta is a member of my Goldshield’s. Sit. Sit. Relax a bit Pharis, I’m certain we are quite secure here.” The Commisar instructed the two newcomers.

“Quite. Quite.” The Holy Emperor added with a smile.

Both shook each of their hands stiffly. He resembled everything one would expect of a military man, precise and hard. Jetta was far more fluid in her movements. She held Deacon’s hand for an extra moment longer than the other friends, matching his eyes she spoke very deliberately while not patronizing, “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance Master Deacon.” Likely a professional courtesy between practitioners of the arcane arts.

“Thank you for your service to Lothian, the Church and Ptolus.” Rheboth said to the six after everyone took a seat. “The Empire needs more individuals like yourselves, willing to risk all for the benefit of the people.”

“Here here.” The Commisar raised his glass in salute.

“I was made to understand you were each rewarded in accordance with an agreement with Clergy here in the Temple, but I would like to personally grant each of you a token of my personal appreciation.” Snapping his dark fingers, an attendant stepped forward with a tray he retrieved from behind one of the several tables. Six small boxes sat on the silver platter. Each was a deep wood with a golden ankh embossed on its top. The attendant walked down the line and each person took one.

“Open them.”

Inside was a large saphire set within what appeared to be a platinum ankh cross.

“These mark you as high friends of the Church, and the empire. You have only to present them at any time, in any chapel, throughout the empire and all accommodations possible will be made available to you. Healing. Sanctuary. Shelter. No reasonable request should be refused you.”

Rehoboth waited for them to say thank you, or respond however they saw fit.

“Nearer Tarsis you might face less welcome treatment due to the contention around the Lion Guard throne. While leadership of the Empire rightly falls to me, two usurpers are trying to weaken and split our glorious state. Should the time ever come, I hope we can count on your support. I believe the Commisar has something for you as well.”

“Indeed! I would like to present your group an Official Imperial Charter.” Urnst watched them all for recognition. “An Imperial Charter is an official recognition of the Empire. If needed, Chartered organizations can also receive a stipend. This is just an honor we wanted to extend to such stalwart heroes as yourselves. Speaking of which, what do you call your group?”

Lord Renn Sadar

Pharis Noldstrom, Second-in-command of the Commisar’s Man

Goldshield Symbol

[Private to GM: Jetta Drake is a 56 year old female Wizard of the Goldshield.

She has short cropped black hair.

She has silky black skin.

She stands 169cm (5’6″) tall and has a muscular build.

She has a round, cute face.

She has a small piercing on her right ear.

She quietly worships Mystra, Goddess of magic, spells, the Weave. (Neutral Good)

She is always prepared.

She is very courageous, to a fault.

She doesn’t like parting with her money or possessions.

She reads every book she comes across.]

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Vogh
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After taking their seats Vogh spotted an ally of her house. Lord Sadar, Vogh knew, was a powerful man in his own right, and to have him here now only proved that. As he greeted the Emperor and Commissar, Vogh gave him a nod of acknowledgment. Vogh knew Enis more personally, as Vogh had on a few occasions when she was younger, helped out Enis with some of the orphans. Being an orphan herself, Vogh had a special appreciation for the work that Enis has done and continues doing. Nice to see you again Lady Sadar. Vogh said as the Commissar introduced everyone.

Deacon saw another inverted pyramid over Lord Sadar’s head. Deacon was beginning to wonder just how many had such a gift in the city.

Just as everyone was getting situated, two more people entered the secure area, Master Noldstrom, and Lady Drake it is a pleasure to meet the both of you Vogh said as they went down the greetings.

When Lady Drake stopped a little longer than she had with the others for Deacon, Vogh wondered if it was because she was a wizardess herself or some other reason, she didn’t know. Vogh even asked Deacon telepathically, What was that about?

At the mention of the reward from the church Vogh said, Yes, that is correct. We were graciously given a handsome award for recovering the sword. But, when the Emperor offered his own reward in the form of a box for each of the companions. Vogh opened hers and found perhaps the largest blue Saphire she had seen before. It was inlaid in an exquisitely made platinum ankh. After he explained what it meant, Vogh offered her thanks.

Not to be outdone though the Emperor also offered a gift, an Official Imperial Charter. Both these gifts would go a long way for anything they might need to do in the city and even outside to other cities if the need arose. Both these gifts are so wonderful and will aid us greatly in any other efforts we have to defend the city against the evils of the world.

When asked if they would support, Vogh smiled wide, Why yes, of course, we would give our full support, Vogh said as she looked to the others for their support. Our whole group is called, “The Calling”, those three have another name they have gone by in the past, Vogh pointed to Deacon, Bharash, and Julia, they call themselves “The Archeons”.

Vogh was astonished at all that was offered to them all. First, the Castle Shard bracelet, now the Ankh and Official Charter. They were certainly making a name for themselves Vogh thought.

With both the Emperor and Commissar sitting before her Vogh wanted to ask as a continuation of the last conversation she had with the other group. Emperor, may I ask a question? Commissar, if you don’t mind as well? I was wondering about the barbarian horde we keep hearing about. Would you grace me with what kind of plan we have for dealing with this? As you know the streets are littered with folks coming in from the lands outside the town. Many are greatly worried about what is to come and how the leaders are going to deal with it.

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Narrator
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Both the Commisar and Holy Emperor smiled and nodded at Vogh’s kind words. An attendant with quill and papyrus scribbled down the names when Vogh said them and stepped away, between two panels and left.

The Holy Emperor stiffened at Vogh’s question about the barbarians, but the Commisar seemed much more at ease about the subject.

“As I’m sure you’re aware, the barbarians did attack and overrun Tarsis in 710. It was then I chose to leave the Capital and visit my son here in Ptolus.” The dark skinned man explained. “Four years later they left the city during which time one of the usurpers, Segaci Fellisti, began undermining my authority and acting illegally. That said, the barbarians have never ventured, enmasse, this far south. Even if they did, Ptolus is a far stronger and more organized city thanks to myself and the Commisar’s efforts, and the lack of political backstabbing among those who should be leading. I’m so thankful the late Empress Addares didn’t live to see these troubles. But heroes like yourselves will see the Empire restored!”

Vogh and Talin caught something on the Commisar’s that none of their companions seemed to have noticed. Urnst had an almost pained look, possibly frustration or even mild anger, as the Holy Emperor spoke the last bit. Neither was sure what that was about at the moment.

The Commisar took over in his orotund voice. “Indeed, Ptolus is well protected. Far better protected than Tarsis ever was. Should the city ever face an actual attack, my three hundred Commissar’s Men and the five hundred members of the City Watch are not its only defenders. The Sisterhood of Silence numbers a hundred and fifty. Lord Dorant Khatru, one of my Twelve Commanders, maintains his own private army of a hundred well-trained soldiers. That doesn’t even include the Church’s Order of the Dawn Knights, the Keepers of the Veil, the Knights of the Pale, uh, the Knights of the Chord – of whom I’m sure you’re well aware Miss Vogh. Then think of the number of Delvers and Heroes like yourselves who would defend our homes? Not to mention the power of the Inverted Pyramid, the Churches, and other casters in Ptolus. We boast the largest populations of magic users over any other city in the Empire.”

It was the Holy Emperors turn to show discomfort on his face at that last remark.

“All told, Ptolus is likely the best defended city in all the Empire, and beyond…” Igor was clearly quite proud of all he shared. After all, he had received his current appointment due to great success during the Gnoll Wars. Urnst was well known as a brilliant military strategist.

[Private to GM: orotund (of the voice or phrasing) full, round, and imposing.]

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Vogh
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After listening to the Emperor and then the Commissar, Vogh felt a little better. The confidence of the Commissar was reassuring. Vogh had known most of those that would be counted on to defend the city but not all. Vogh just hoped that they would all answer the call if it were to come to fruition.

Thank you, Emperor and Commissar, for explaining. I hope that it doesn’t come to that at all but it is nice to hear from the leadership that there are plans on the table on how to defend the city. You can count our services among those that will be here to defend the city. It is our city, as a matter of fact, we will be opening a shop in the near future. With all the magical items we get, we thought we should open our own shop and get better pricing on the items we find.

Vogh would be building their shop within the next week and was so excited by it all. She would have to make sure to check out Yula Falass once it was all done so she could instruct on how to best guard their new place. Vogh will suggest the same to Belie, unsure if he was listening to everything or not as there were enough pomp and puffing of chests to fill the chapel.

Vogh didn’t have any other questions for the Emperor nor the Commissar at this time that she wanted to address. She also didn’t want to address the others sitting for fear of it seeming to the Emperor that they were ignoring him. She lifted her glass of wine and stated, here’s to our great city may she last forever.

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Narrator
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The Holy Emperor nodded and the Commisar chimed in. “Excellent. Most excellent! As you know, Ptolus has long given voice to its people through the City Council, where all the Noble Houses are represented, as well as the guilds and other merchants. Commerce is the life blood of any city, and you contributing to that, beyond your other accomplishments is wonderful. I applaud your entrepreneurial spirit.”

Speaking for the first time, Lady Sadar spoke up. “Indeed. The city needs more people like you, heroes and strong business people. It takes coin to help the disadvantaged, and the most successful people in the world, are those who give back of their abundance.” Enis smiled at Vogh.

Pharis nodded along and added to Lady Sadar’s, and his commander’s comments. “Quite right. Competition among businesses benefits the people, keeping monopolies in check. I would be happy to consult on security of your new location during, or after, building. With the number of delvers joining the city, perhaps too few businesses have gained too much. Where do you intend to build?” Clearly the Commisar’s second in command was no foolish foot soldier. The way he spoke of business hinted that the man must have had experience in commerce.

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Vogh
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The approval meant a lot to Vogh and she saw the same look on Talin as well. You may be right. Competition never hurt anyone and keeps the prices a tad bit lower for everyone. She smiled sincerely to Enis as well and thought that she needed to do more for the orphans of the city and vowed then that she would.

When Pharis asked about the location, Vogh described that it was down by the Tinsmith’s Guild. I would greatly appreciate all you could do for us. If you could gather what information you have we would welcome it. We will also look into Yula Falass to see what she can do to further help us out. Vogh said that last part with a nod and slight bow of respect.

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Pharis
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The soldier nodded, “We know Yula well. She is a good person and has consulted with us on a few properties around town before. If it weren’t for Redwand, she would have a perfect record.” Pharis said with a bit of a shrug.

Nearly everyone had heard of Sobac Redwand, especially among the nobles. He was a well-known elf thief. Perhaps only the aging Hayman Knapp, Guldmaster of the Longfingers Guild, was more skilled in all Ptolus. But Hayman was mostly retired, and Redwand still caused trouble. Currently House Abanar had a 15,000 gold bounty on the elf’s head, but people in the know laughed at how low that reward was.


Enis spoke up once more. “Vogh, once you have the business built, send word to us as I would love to come by. Your location is much closer to the Warrens than some of our kitchens. Perhaps we can work together to help some of the less fortunate people. Not to mention, despite the guildsman district citizens being predominantly employed, there is a still a great deal of poverty there. More than a few children go to bed hungry there each night.”

“That’s too bad.” Belie consoled with a shake of his head, but Vogh caught something in his eye that hinted at the cagey man having more on his mind than what he offered.

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Vogh
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Sobac Redwand was a name that Vogh knew quite well. He was notorious for being able to get in anywhere. Vogh thought for a moment how well Belie would stack up to the man. To Pharis, Vogh replied, wonderful! We will, as I said, check into her once we have some free time in the next couple of days.

Enis spoke next and it pained Vogh. Enis was putting on the guilt for sure and it was working. I would really like to see what we could do. Giving back is one thing I have thought more and more about. Vogh had been keeping an eye on everyone as they spoke and when she looked at Belie when he made his comment, he seemed distracted or something. In his head, she asked, what is going on Belie?

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Belie
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Belie blanched as Vogh touched his mind. He quickly coughed away from the group to hide his surprise and give himself a moment to compose himself.

“What? What do you mean?”

When Vogh explained that she caught something in his expression he smiled at her then turned away to take a drink.

“Oh! I was just thinking that if there are many children in need in that district, they might be good sources of information and be willing to help us for food and a small bit of coin.” He imparted back to the woman mentally.

No matter how many times she did that, he still hasn’t gotten used to the intrusion.

Vogh remembered that Jamir and Belies plan for their new “venture” involved having the children of the city funnel information to them and she realized his thought now.

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Vogh
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With a sip of wine Vogh returned to speaking to Belie quickly, Ah, yes your business opportunity! Yes I agree that sounds like we can perhaps kill two birds with one stone.

Vogh removed the glass from her lips and said, Enis, you have given us much to think about. We will make sure that there is something done with the welfare of the children and the less unfortunate.

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Narrator
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“Wonderful. Send word to me at Dalenguard anytime and I’ll make arrangements to come by your shop when it’s completed.” Pharis smiled and nodded at the group. “You can also give word to any Commisar’s man or City Watch member and they will get word to me as well.”


“Oh that is most wonderful Vogh.” Lady Sadar smiled back at Vogh. “I will get in touch with you soon. We will have dinner and discuss how we can collaborate our efforts.”

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Vogh
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Vogh bowed to Pharis with his words, We will figure out a way to get in touch with you. We may just make the trip to the Holy Palace. I have yet to come there and would definitely like to see it.

Then after Enis made her proclamation, Vogh said, We will look forward to the meeting so we can sort things out properly.

Now that it seemed that the meeting was concluding, Vogh said one last bit to the Emperor, Holy Emperor Ylestos, We thank you so much for this appearance. We know how busy you are and to make time for the simple things really speaks volumes about your character. Thank you once again.

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Narrator
———————————————————–
The Holy Emperor nodded to Vogh in recognition. Commisar Urnst raised his hand not holding a glass. “When you’ve made your decision about accepting the Imperial Charter come by Dalenguard and we’ll work through all the paperwork!”

Pharis stood as the Calling did, and gestured toward the wall of fabric dividers where they entered. “I’ll walk you out.” He then moved first and spoke to the Order of the Dawn guards on the opposite side, who moved on panel out of the way. Pharis stepped through and moved to the side, allowing them passage.

“Vogh, we will have you and your friends over to the Manor soon as well!” Enis cocked her head as something occurred to her. “And… I believe we received an invitation to a House Kath party here in the near future. Will you be attending?”

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Vogh
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Bogh looked to her companions after the Commisar made his comment and then returned to look at him and said, We will all talk it over and figure out a time we can meet with you.

To Pharis, Vogh said, That sounds wonderful, we can’t wait! Then to Enis, she responded with a wide smile, Oh yes for sure. If you have been invited then we will for sure see you then if not before. I look forward to seeing you again Enis.

Then The Calling was out of the area and standing alone once more in the Church. Vogh looked back and saw the curtain close once again. Vogh would make sure to talk to them all afterword to see what they thought about the whole of the situation and the Charter of course. Vogh needed to know what it would mean if they signed it.

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Captain Pharis Noldstrom (NPC)
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Pharis had remained outside with them after the panel was replaced and the sitting area closed off once more. “It’s been a pleasure to meet you all. You’re unlike any other delvers I’ve met. People of few words, tight lipped and humble is anathema to most delvers, who I’ve found to be loquacious braggarts. I like you all.” The soldier said with a smile. “Please do keep in touch and let me know when you shop is done.”

Captain Noldstrom cleared his throat and looked around to make sure no one was too near before continuing in a lower voice. “Are you all familiar with this Killraven group that’s popped up in the city?” Upon the group’s communal nodding he continued. “The Commisar sees them as very dangerous but we are too few to take on such a large group. If you ever have an opportunity to strike out against them, do so. Feel free to let me know, if there is time, and perhaps we can muster some aid.Through some of our allies we’ve ascertained the crime-boss in Oldtown is a halfling woman named Thuela Nasarini. She has been especially troublesome in such a politically delicate area.”

The captain straightened a bit and raised his voice to a normal level. “With your exemplary record of service to the City, it would also be possible for the Commisar to grant you an Investiture.”

“A what?” Belie asked incredulously.

“An Investiture.” Paris repeated. “Imperial Investigators are invested with the authority of the Commisar. You would report to Carrina Juten, head of the Investigators, who reports to the Twelve Commanders. She is terribly understaffed at the moment as there are too few people interested in the job, which can be dangerous, especially with the promise of riches below. Plus, not just anyone can be be inducted. Only individuals of upstanding moral character can carry the title and responsibility. Beyond the monthly stipend, Carrina can also award bonuses for important accomplishments, like taking down a known crime boss.” He finished with a bit of a smile.

“I remember one Investigator was recently awarded 1,000 gold bonus for discovering and foiling a plot to kill a City Watch Captain. So the rewards are not paltry. As I said, the Watch and the Commisar’s men are focused on defense and we don’t have the time for investigating. But I’ve monopolized your time too long. Send word, or visit either myself or Carrina if you are interested.”

Pharis remained for any questions the group posed then nodded respectfully and took his leave.

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Vogh
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Vogh took the words of Pharis as a compliment and it actually meant a lot to her that it was obvious how The Calling conducted themselves both on a mission and in the presence of Royalty. Thank you for those kind words, we will be in touch as soon as it is finished.

Then as Captain Noldstrom leaned in to speak to them about the Killraven’s Vogh listened carefully. Having recently been attacked by some of the Sorn Assassins that had relations with the Killraven’s made this information quite valuable. We too have an issue with the group. Your information about the leader might be valuable at some point. Information is key all too often to successful.

Then as Captain Noldstrom spoke of the Investiture, this put quite a few thoughts in Vogh’s head. This information was perfect and something she would also discuss with the others. Even if the payout isn’t as much as she would like, the information available with such a high contact would be the real prize here. I think that is something we will have to really consider. We will be in contact with you or Carrina once we have made our decision on the subject.

Vogh looked to the others to see if they had any questions about anything before she said, Thank you both so very much. There was a lot of information to take in and we have much to discuss as a group. We will definitely be in touch soon. Thanks again.

No questions at this time in this setting.

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Kalerecent (NPC)
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A welcome face was waiting for them, standing at military parade rest with arms behind backs. Upon seeing Captain Pharis walk away Kalerecent approached them. None had ever seen the man out of his armor. The half-elf wore his long silver hair unrestrained and falling down his back. Outside his armor the man cut a very impressive figure.

Form fitting shirt and breeches seemed to be one piece. A long coat without collar was cut into thirds and descended nearly to the floor. He also wore overlapping metal plates as a choker collar from the deep v-neck of his shirt, up to just beneath his jawline. A wide belt was clasped with the holy symbol of Lothian, and a matching silver holy symbol was strung on a silver chain around his neck.

“Greetings my friends! It’s so good to see you well.” The paladin greeted them and shook each of their hands. “The church sure knows how to throw a party, doesn’t it?” He asked with a wry grin that turned up just one side of his symmetrical face and high cheekbones.

“I was told the Holy Emperor himself met with you. Quite an honor, and well deserved.”

When asked what was next for the man he answered simply, “Hopefully much less excitement than we faced together.” He said with another charming smile. “Since our return I’ve mostly been focused on my old duties. Training and whatever tasks the Church needs me for. The Holy Emperor has been visiting far more of late. Politicking as it were. Most of the Ptolus clergy are behind him. But enough with the mundane, what’s next for ‘The Calling’?” Using the group’s moniker for the first time Kal had a bit of levity in his voice, having known them prior to any name.

His hair isn’t quite as long, he has more pointed ears, and his face isn’t so evil looking. But a good representation of the outfit.

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Julia Graymantle
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Julia was the first to notice Kalerecent as he approached. His attire was completely different than what she was used to seeing him in. He was actually quite attractive and now that she could see his body a little better she was quite impressed.

As Pharis left and Kal came forward he gave them all a warm greeting. Julia looked down at her dress and wondered at that moment if he liked it. So very nice to see you again Kal. You clean up really well. Julia said with a sweet smile on her face as he shook her hand.

Julia listed further to what Kal had been doing with himself since returning.

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Vogh
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When Kal approached and greeted them Vogh didn’t take his hand and instead threw her arms around the Paladin. It is good to see you Kal!

When Julia commented on him cleaning up well, Vogh said, he sure does, doesn’t he? Vogh caught Julia checking Kal out and gave a slight giggle.

The routine doesn’t seem so bad, we actually made our way to The Quaan and retrieved the last part to the staff. Deacon is now wielding it, course it isn’t here currently. We also sealed up the area for good with the help of Geristramos. We have also had an attempt on our lives by the Sorn Assassins. Oh, it hasn’t lightened for us in the least.

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Kalerecent (NPC)
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“Why thank you ladies. You both look quite fetching yourselves.” He complimented.

The Paladin was taken aback by all Vogh shared. “By. The. Spire.” Kal enunciated each word to emphasize his surprise. “Those are stories I simply must hear! Perhaps we can share dinner sometime soon and you can regale me with all you’ve done.”

When Vogh mentioned the attempt on their life Kal really blanched. “Oh my! Thank Lothian you are okay. Sorn you say? I’ve heard of the evil Vai. I’m not familiar with this group. Do you have any idea why you were targeted? Was it the ‘monster group’ you think? Where are you all staying? Still at the Minstrel? Are you sure you’re safe there? Perhaps I should look into some accommodations for you all…?”

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Vogh
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Knowing why they were being hunted by the Sorn, Vogh wasn’t sure this was the place nor the time to say so. To answer Kalerecent on the accommodations, Vogh said, We are still staying at The Minstrel but soon our house will be complete and we will be getting with some people to make sure it is secure. I thank you for the consideration though, it is appreciated. We, Vogh said as she looked to Julia, would love to meet for dinner soon. Let’s try and make a date in the next few days. Where are you staying at?

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Kalerecent (NPC)
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“Ah. Very good. Let me know when construction is finished. I would love to come by and see it.”

With an invitation to dinner Kal was already nodding before Vogh finished. “I would love to. I’ve got no plans to leave the city, so you can leave word for me at St. Gustav’s with Fabitor, or pretty much any church. Or, if you want, my home is in Midtown. Right across the river from the here. You take Malav Street and there is a cluster of houses on the East. I live on Needle Street.”

Kal provided the house address so they could find his house.

“It’s not much. Just a single man living by himself, but it’s affordable.”

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Vogh
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I will make sure to get word to you when it will be. Vogh said. She couldn’t help notice that Kal had proclaimed he was single, interestingly since Julia seemed to have an eye for the man.

I know I would love to come and see your place, how about you all? Maybe we can have dinner there? Vogh questioned as she looked over to Julia now.

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Kalerecent (NPC)
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Kalerecen’t eyes widened at the idea of them eating at his home. “Oh. No. No. Vogh, my humble home wouldn’t have room to fit all of you in there, let alone dine together.” The man chuckled self-deprecatingly. “It would be far preferable to dine at a restaurant. A couple good places in Midtown are the Open Kitchen and Full Larder. Then in the South Market, The Starry Night is well regarded, I’ve only been there a couple times.”

The paladin broke their gaze and looked around the room, taking quick note of the other people. “I don’t want to monopolize your time. After all, this whole party is for you.” He added with a smile. “Is there anyone you would like introductions made to? Sister Mara told me she has led you around to quite a few people already.”

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Vogh
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Vogh giggled when Kal said no to them all coming. Okay, we can go to one of the many restaurants or you can just come over to The Ghostly Minstrel.

Sister Mara had taken to meet a bunch of people so far, well at least most of the influential ones at least. It has been quite the evening so far. We will need a break after this though. Vogh laughed lightly.

Oh, we have also set up a bunch of different appointments to meet up with others about this and that. We were offered an Imperial Charter and to become Imperial Investigators even. Enough for now though we can talk all about it when we meet again. We should make ourselves available in case someone else wants to have a word.

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Camrich Rowe (NPC)
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Kalerecent nodded in ascent and bid the group enjoy the rest of their night. Before Kal walked away, Deacon again noticed the human dressed like a merchant he had seen previously, but who had the Inverted Pyramid symbol floating over his head.

The gentlemen stood just under six feet tall, with brown hair and hazel eyes. He was likely between thirty and forty years old but clearly in good shape.

“Greetings. Deacon Havenhold is it? My name is Camrich Rowe. Might I steal you away from your friends for a moment?”

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Narrator
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Deacon stepped a few paces away from the group with the man, but kept his friends in his peripherial vision.

Camrich lowered his voice and looked side to side as he leaned in to speak with Deacon. “Well met member Deacon. It’s a pleasure to meet the Pyramids newest member. It … … … made … … … for yourself.”

The man kept turning his head which caused Deacon to crane his neck and try to follow. When Deacon explained to Camrich that he was deaf, but could read lips very well the man was wide eyed shocked. Deacon told Camrich he had only to look straight at Deacon and the elf would be able to understand his speech.

“A deaf wizard? But… Don’t your spells fail? Nevermind. Nevermind. Apologies. There is a spell which allows us to speak telepathically. Let’s set a time to meet in the Pyramid one day soon and we will get to know each other better. Well met sir.”

Camrich shook Deacon’s hand and inclined his head in a small bow and smile before walking away into the crowd.

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Vogh
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When Deacon returned to the group Vogh asked, Deacon, what was that about? Who is he?

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Deacon Havenhold
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“He was a fellow member of the Inverted Pyramid merely wanting to meet the newest member.” Deacon tells Vogh “He’s just wanting to meet later for more discussions is all.”

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Narrator
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Most people turned toward the chancel when an Order of Dayra woman walked out upon it and raised her hands. Everyone who hadn’t been paying attention turned when she spoke. Despite being a slight woman, her voice echoed throughout the entire cathedral, “Presenting, his holiness, Archbishop Adlam Theobold!”

Two more Order of Dayra women walked with the wizened old Archbishop. If not for the presence of the Holy Emperor and the Prince of the Church in Ptolus, he would be the highest-ranking Church official in the city. As it were, he was the most powerful Cleric in the city. Theobold would even conduct the holy rite of true resurrection on Theoday each week. It was by appointment only and, even as expensive as the spell was, the waiting list was usually at least three weeks long at any given time. Vogh and Talin had been blessed with getting to experience that once themselves.

Covered head to toe in blue robes which had Lothian Ankhs embroidered everywhere they could be, the elderly man shuffled across the platform to reach his podium. Despite his age and frailty, the Archbishops voice rang out strong, full and bold to all the attendants.

“Welcome! Lothian bless you tonight, and always.” As he spoke, the man held the podium and both Dayra women stepped back just a bit to give him room. “We’ve gathered this night to celebrate a glorious occasion in our Church’s history. Millennia ago, a sword was crafted to be wielded by the holiest warrior do see truly and protect the right. Despite centuries living under a curse, which hid the sword from searching, it has been recovered and returned to its rightful place!”

An Order of the Dawn Knight stepped out of the reliquary door behind the archbishop as he was speaking, carrying something wrapped in a blue cloth. As Theobold finished his statement the knight dropped the royal blue fabric and held aloft the breathtaking sword. Gasps rippled through the crowd assembled and a cacophony of clapping reverberated throughout the stone structure.

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Narrator
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Gleaming in the cathedral’s countless lights, the silver sword seemed to possess a light all it’s own. A long-hafted sword, a set of sapphires could be seen beneath the Knights gloved hand. The pommel likewise held a sapphire which was polished into a point and affixed in a silver surround.

Crossguards of angels wings flared out away from the hilt. Each wing tip glistened with a keen edged sharpness. Proceeding from the cross was a diamond blade that narrowed midway up its length, then finished in a lenticular. Filigree inlay carvings adorned the widest portions of the diamond and lenticular oval. It was a wholly impressive item, and one the group knew thrummed with powerful magic in addition to its flawless craftsmanship.

“The Sword of Truth will defend the Good People of Ptolus for as long as a Lothianite still draws breath. We celebrate our heroes this night…”

Piercing blue eyes looked down from above to find the six standing together. People began clapping once more and moving away from them to surround the group in a circle. Archbishop Adlam called each of them by name and thanked them each individually from his pulpit.

“The Church is in your debt. Heroes. We thank you. Lothian bless you for all your days.”

With the formalities finished the Order of the Dawn knight rewrapped the sword and followed the Archbiship and his attendants back into the reliquary behind. All four disappeared behind the door when it closed.

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Narrator
———————————————————–
The night’s festivities didn’t end after Theobold spoke. Everyone who had been surrounding the group seemed to converge on them cheering, congratulating, shaking hands and talking incessantly. Belie’s eyes darted around to everyone, never staying on any person for longer than a few heartbeats as he watched for weapons or attack. Thankfully his vigilance was unnecessary as the evening passed without incident.

Dozens, maybe a hundred, people talked to the group that night. They met all manner of individuals. Merchants, clergy, warriors, delvers, members of the church, government officials, and more. When everyone had well drunk and ate to their fill the night was deep outside. All six members of The Calling were escorted by a contingent of Dawn Knights to the impossibly gilded carriages once more. Through the pitch black night the carriages growled against the cobblestones, returning them to the Ghostly Minstrel.

After having people fawn all of them for an entire night, it was refreshing to walk into the Minstrel and be largely ignored. A few noticed their passing, dressed in such finery, but no one approached them as the tired group made their way upstairs to find rest.

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Bharash
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For his part, Bharash does his best to keep up with the myriad of names and distressingly similar-looking faces which parade past him in succession – he might originate from a largely oral culture but there simply aren’t that many Dragonborn up in the highlands to have to commit to memory and by the seventh or eighth ‘we really must do dinner you know’ and the ninth or tenth ‘why my husband would simply love to meet you if he’s ever home, but you should visit anyway’ he’s more or less submitted himself to a reflexive rumble of greeting, a measured handshake and a faint, hopeful look shot in the direction of the others in case one or more of them have an ingenious plan to save him (under normal circumstances, he would expect to be the last one out of a bad situation, here? Here he’s seriously daydreaming about throwing one or both of the bards at the crowd and making a break for it).

But the night, like all trials ends in darkness and when liberated – with a bottle of ice wine clutched so hard in his off-hand that it would take a crowbar to part him from it – Bharash joins the others on their journey towards for the Ghostly Minstrel, pausing as he gets to the door when someone else’s voice intrudes on his very slightly punch-drunk (well, alright drunk-drunk) consciousness.

A Sending, I believe!

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Julia Graymantle
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Julia was thankful for the night to be over. She exited the gilded carriages and walked to the entrance of the Minstrel. Vogh and Talin had already entered but Julia notices that Bharash had paused before entering. What is it Bharash? Julia asked.

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Vogh
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Vogh and Talin had walked inside the Minstrel and was thankful that they were back. It had been a long night, but Vogh thought to herself that it had been very fruitful. They had made lots of connections with influential people from all over Ptolus and that pleased Vogh.

If she planned to be a difference-maker within the cities Hierarchy it started with knowing people. Vogh turned back and was going to say something to the others when she noticed that Julia and Bharash hadn’t entered yet. Perhaps they were discussing something before coming into the noise, so Vogh just let it go.

Walking to the bar Vogh asked if Tellith was in. Vogh wanted to tell her that Helmut would be coming for a meeting in the morning and that they would like a nice quiet corner if possible.

Belie, can you make sure that the Archeons are okay? Talin and I are going to head upstairs. He was already fussing with his outfit and I think he needs to get into something more comfortable. Vogh said as she tossed Belie a wink.

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Narrator
———————————————————–
Bharash turned around to see a black shadow bird the size of a robin descending toward him. The big dragonborn had never experienced one before, so he blanched at first, starting to defend himself when the bird of shadow stopped short, opened it’s mouth and began to speak!

Out of the Shadow Sendings mouth came the feminine voice of Nella Schaun, manager of the Griffon, where the Trio had been staying since arriving in Ptolus until only recently.

“Friends. I heard you’re staying at the Minstrel now. You all have been a blessing to the Griffon. Might you return to us? Be blessed!” When the final words escaped its tiny mouth of shadow, the bird’s form dissipated on the wind.

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Belie
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Belie walked back outside as the bird finished its final words and dissolved into nothing.

“A Shadow Sending? I’ve only seen those a couple times. They are expensive. Who was it from Bharash?” The rogue asked, looking between Julia and the big warrior.

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Deacon Havenhold
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“I must return to the pyramid my friends, meetings await. The duties of society call” Deacon tells the others after they are escorted to the carriages. He will then teleport to his room.

Exit it and look for Camrich in the Main Library if Camrich is not in the main library he’ll settle down to rest for the night in his room.

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Bharash
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Strange as it is to think it, Bharash is very much the master of his own fate, and so barring uncanny intervention on the part of the spell, his actual response to the shadow bird is to double-take and fish a bread roll out of one of his belt pouches, a pinch of which he reduces to crumbs before trying to offer it to the apparition…

…because there was a buffet table of course. Don’t ask what he’s squirreled away in the other pouches. As for the unusually mellow response? Well, whatever that green stuff was he was drinking seems to have rendered him a great deal more relaxed than usual, not to mention oriented him very slightly off the vertical.

And then it starts to speak, which makes him blink sluggishly, frown and then remark “What the..? Did anyone just hear that? Wait! It’s a sending? Does that mean I get to reply… Twenty five words, right? Uhm, Greetings and… Wait, where did it go?”

Ah, twenty five word limits and alcohol do not mix. ^_^

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Belie
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Belie chuckled and smiled at the slightly inebriated scaled giant of a man, especially at his flummoxed look when the bird merely faded away into shadow as he was trying to respond. “They are one way my friend. There is a shop here in Midtown where you go and purchase the sending, give them your message and they send them out. I’ve never been myself but it’s well known. No response is possible, unlike the spell. They just deliver the message then disappear.”

The rogue looked around and loosened the collar on his shirt a couple buttons to relax in the night air. Delver’s Square was never empty, but only a few beings milled about in the middle of the night. A pair of dwarves sat on the fountain’s lip. A pair of orcs stood not far from Potters, the low-rent hostel that catered to down-on-their-luck delvers. Three members of the City Watch stood outside the Watchhouse, each smoking short pipes and puffing into the cool night air.

Magical, ever burning lanterns were scattered throughout the square and all along Center Street. Their false light still danced as a real flame would, causing shadows the flit all over the open expanse completely surrounded by buildings. Clouds floated by overhead, sparse enough to let the stars peek through occasionally. No one could feel the wind inside the circle of buildings, all of which stood two stories or more.

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Julia Graymantle
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Julia didn’t quite have as much alcohol as Bharash and it was obvious as he tried talking to the Shadow Sending. Belie’s reply was spot on though and Julia smiled, Bharash, what do you think? I am sure they miss you over there. You certainly ate enough for a few of us. I don’t know though. Vogh thinks it is a lot safer for us to stay here with them. I mean even Belie is staying here after all.

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Bharash
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It would be fair to say that Julia didn’t have as much to drink as Bharash… But since it would also be fair to say that the towering Dragonborn has the constitution of a concrete elephant, there were whole families at that party who did not have as much to drink as Bharash, and most of them weren’t drinking the green stuff as though it were a light wine. Or, come to that topping off the mug with whatever went around – he particularly seemed fond of pairing it with mead, or a sweet port.

The fact that he’s still approximately vertical is an impressive testament to the sheer toughness of the breed… If not to their good sense.

“Well… we’re heroes now, sort of.” he answers, working through his muddled thoughts as best he can, “So I suppose where we stay’s important to the people we stay with… Come to that, so’s where we shop. Huh. Never thought of it like that before.”

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Belie
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Belie chimed in again. “I’m sure your gold helped them out. The Griffon doesn’t normally like delvers, not that we’re really delvers, but you get the point. After Vogh and Talin were attacked in broad daylight, we’ve all just been a bit more jumpy. She felt we would be safer together. I’ve been over at the Welcome Inn quite a bit though, especially as Jamir and I are working on our Toy Shop. But I also don’t walk about as myself very often.”

Bharash knew that for the truth. The rogue had using his hat of disguise down to a sweet science. He would shift between genders, races and ages like most people would change a shirt, while moving throughout the city. This had kept him safe from harm despite all the folks who wished them dead.

“My bet is they are missing the coin you spent there. Plus, as you said, we are something of celebrities now and having you all there is likely good for business. Do what you will, but just take all possible precautions. As we discussed tonight, our defenses need to be turned up a couple notches.”

He looked around once more as the three of them were standing in the doorway to the Minstrel. “Perhaps we should continue this conversation upstairs?”

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Julia Graymantle
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Julia grabbed Bharash on the crux of his arm and said to him smoothly, Come on Bharash, I need some rest. Let’s take this inside as Belie said.

She then added an enticing offer, I will even have a drink with you before bed, your choice. It wasn’t something Julia did often but she was tired and wanted to go to bed sooner rather than later.

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Deacon Havenhold
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Deacon arriving in the entrance of the Pyramid makes his way to the Main Library to look for the individual wanting a meeting. It is late so chances are not high that he’ll meet this person.

He will not linger in the Main Library long. If the person is not present he’ll go to his room and look over the barren room. Now he’d need some precautions before he could leave valuables here, but he needed it at least liveable for the moment.

Calling out he commands the unseen servants “Fetch me a bed and put it over here opposite the door. I’ll need a night stand here beside it. A dresser over here. A wardrobe over here. Fetch me a desk and put it here and a chair.”

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Bharash
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Bharash, by contrast has all the talent for disguise of a troll in dark glasses trying to talk their way into a elves only bar – his main defence against people who want to kill him being the way that they tend to jump out of alleyways, realise their head only comes up to where he would have nipples (another question for the ages there), blanch and apologise, claiming that they thought he was someone else.

For all that though, he doesn’t resist when he’s grabbed and guided inside, simply yawning and rumbling “Whatever we decide, there’s no hurry. Besides, I’m drunk. Never do anything you’ve decided on drunk until you’ve talked it over sober. And the reverse.”

Delicately, he retrieves his arm from Julia and pats her in the head in a fashion that’s both colossally patronising and fundamentally well meant “It’s alright. I’m just going to eat something and drink some small beer, then turn in. I’ll see you all in the morning, assuming the place doesn’t burn down.”

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