Part 34: Fear and loathing in Imystrahl
The boat pulls into the dock, a small undersized dock compared to the other ones that are on offer. The captain looks enquiringly at direction to park in the small dock but says nothing upon being directed by the elf.
“It’s been a pleasure making your acquittance” the Captain says to Mahin, not really meaning the sentiment.
“I’m sorry for the trouble good sir, we appreciate the work” and with that Mahin flicks the tiger eye she was showing at dinner to the Captain.
With that, the party departs the ship to the sound of cheers of the crew glad to see the back of them. The party moves down to wharf towards to noise of the town. A white run-down stone building stands off to the side, marked clearly as the office of the harbourmasters.
Alena Backstory: Gwen was taken from her village and sent to the slavers, Alena then went to seek her. Alena’s father went to the elven city to seek information about what is happening from the Elven King exiled them.
Ezra Backstory: The organisation who raised him from the orphanage may have originated in this city.
A confrontation between Alena and the harbourmaster ensues to which the bitter rivalry and hatred of the Atlanteans is revealed. The prejudice disgusts Alena, as though this behaviour is beneath such creatures as themselves. After a rough conversation between them, in which Alena grabs the man’s neck and pins him to a wall, he doesn’t believe their names or their elven heritage. Ezra scrambles to cast a spell to distort Arcandur’s features to hide him from the guards to allow them to enter the city. Casting allows his face and skin colour to be a closer match to Ezra and hoping that this trick fools the elves.
They join the line hoping for entry into the city, slowly they move forward. Finally, upon reaching the front of the line Alena bargains with the guard to gain them entry without the necessary papers, at a cost of 50 gold for the party. They enter the grand gates to find the streets almost completely deserted. The guards are more prominent than the commoners, and they all appear to be elven or half elven. The fear of Arcandur being seen concerns Mahin greatly, however the sun is setting, and the stores are closing.
Arcandur begins to seek further information about the city and the Atlantean relations.
Elves came to Thule via world-gates more than 5,000 years ago. They were a more powerful, ambitious people back then. The elven nations of Imystrahl and Sersidyen went to war against the serpentmen and rakshasas that dominated the continent, and over the centuries, the elves ground out advance after costly advance. The rakshasas retreated to Hellumar and the serpentmen lost their great fortress of Bhnaal Pruth. As the elven numbers diminished through attrition, they bolstered their ranks with humans—sometimes slaves, sometimes mercenaries, sometimes junior partners in alliances of convenience. The humans learned well from their elven masters, and in time they rebelled. The armies of Quodeth conquered Sersidyen completely, and the elves of Imystrahl retreated to Thule’s southern coast. Elven dreams of empire diminished further when the Atlanteans arrived in 307 AR, sweeping elven fleets from the seas and sacking the city of Imystrahl itself. The elves repulsed the Atlantean raiders, but at great cost: the city lay in ruins, and elven armies elsewhere in Thule made their way home to Imystrahl. Over time, the elves rebuilt, never forgetting the blow struck by the Atlanteans and occasionally using their magic to thwart Atlantis’s colonial ambitions in southern Thule. The elves rejoiced in 1906 AR when Atlantis sank beneath the waves, and many would love to see the last survivors of the Atlantean race leave Thule for good. The current year is 2213AR and many of the elves alive today remember the Atlantean colonial times.
They head north through the city; the moon begins to rise. People are laying throughout the streets, groaning and looking horrible in their filth. Approaching a market, they find a few stores open and behind the market a beautiful white colosseum, falling to disgrace and ruin. A city in ruins in fact, not cared for or loved by it’s people. They locate a store which has several clothing wares for sale, wary of the attention they were receiving.
“Where are all the people?” Mahin asks the store clerk.
“The black milk is the greatest gift to the city, I work here only to pay for my intake”, she replies with a nervous tick, “looking for something specific.”
Arcandur picks up a robe and seeks a new one in a different colour, using a broken dialect and halting elvish his message is received and the deep blue robe is brought forward. Mahin also purchases a new cloak, one trimmed in gold. While there Mahin inquires about an inn to spend the night and is recommended the Elven Branch Inn.
Alena probes the store person about the black milk, finding out where the milk can be purchased from and discovers a human is selling it at the Elven Branch Inn. And that she can not recall a time before the black milk even though she knows that there was a time before it, nor can she recall her age or her parents passing which for an elf is the very essence of disgrace.
Locating the Elven Branch Inn from the directions given, they find a white marble building with little to no noise coming through the windows. The building is of the same run down look as the rest of the city, once beautiful and now sad and desolate. Upon them entering the inn and hearing them speak the head of one of the elves raises from his resting place on the counter.
“Well, you look tired and hungry….and is that an Atlantean? Never mind, you are paying customers! Paying of the poppy???” The innkeeper says.
“Atlantean! Never.” Arcandur pulls his hood closer to his face. “We need room and board, food, and maybe a sample of the black milk?” In fluent elvish.
The innkeeper brings to their table four beers and a wine for Gwen, seeming disorientated and uncoordinated in his own establishment. They probe him for information on the local happenings, and find an execution is to take place in several days and is bringing much excitement to the people of the city. Mahin glances at Alena and sees her reach for her sword, diverts the attention of the innkeeper by requesting the rooms. Ezra, Alena and Gwen stay in a room together while Arcandur and Mahin bunk down together. Arcandur speaks elvish again to the innkeeper and requests a whore, however the innkeeper has long been without guests and is unsure of his ability to conjure such a request. For some reason both Alena and Mahin hear "hawk" rather than "whore".
Entering the rooms, Arcandur begins to investigate this powder and understand it. He mixes a dose he has decided is safe, combining it with water, turning the white powder into a black liquid. Twenty minutes passes and an elven woman appears at his door, looking disorientated and offering her companion services. Looking around the room, claiming her value and worth by increasing the asking price. Motioning her inside, Arcandur asks her to get comfortable while he also displays disorientated behaviour. Gauging her current level of inebriation, he considers her carefully. Arcandur moves to collect the doses he has made earlier and brings her the beverage to invite her to have a little fun before the fun.
Clinking glasses they swallow their individual drinks quickly. Almost instantly, her voice slurs more as Arcandur knocks on the wall. Alena warns Gwen about Ezra and hands her two daggers, advising her to go through the eye should trouble arise. Alena enters Arcandur’s room and begins the questioning. The elven whore tells of the black milk and her pimp Sarass provides her with the drug and offers protection, for a price. Alena treats her kindly and with affection tinged in sadness, lays her down to sleep. Summoning Gwen to come with her, and Gwen waking Ezra, the party provides downstairs to find this Sarass and get the information they need.
Mahin caresses the lock and pops open the door to another room on the floor, while Ezra fumbles but finally makes the door opens. They spot a man below (pimp looking mother fucker – worthy quote) resting against a wall. They signal each other via the mental communication method used by Ezra. Deciding to put him to sleep, Ezra chooses the non-confrontational method of grabbing this man and getting him under their control. However, as he is an elf he is unaffected by the spell.
Mahin begins descending the wall in the darkness of night. She stealthy moves down the wall she approaches him silently from above. Sneaking up on him she tries to take him by surprise, and misses. Luckily her abilities are under her control and remains in the shadows. Ezra climbs down the wall and avoids detection. Moving within range, Ezra utilises his mage hand to lead the rope stealthily toward him and tries to entangle him around his feet. Alena steps into the alleyway silently. Approaching Sarass, Alena engages him in conversation about the black milk. Tricking him into looking at his shirt, punching him directly in the jaw. His feet tangled and his head throbbing he offers any information they desire.
Dragging him into the light of the kitchen and upstairs to the room that Gwen and Alena were sharing with Ezra. Arcandur sends Gwen to care for the whore while the party interrogates this elven man. Prath Napartan is the name that comes to light, a human man based at the eastern Elven Branch Inn. Asking about the execution, Mahin uncovers that it’s been many years since the King has been seen and that many executions are currently being held of noble folk. Mahin searches him and discovers his stash and coin purse containing ten gold. Arcandur takes the stash to his room and mixes it with his stash from the innkeeper, combining them in a glass and bringing that to the room that Sarass is being held in. Offering him the beverage, Sarass swallows it quickly. Upon his collapse, Arcandur collects him and carries him downstairs back to the alleyway. Sarass begins to convulse in his arms as if he is dreaming. Arcandur puts him down and a notices a light mist has appeared across the ground. The man prostate man suddenly stops breathing and glowing eyes appear down the alley in front of Arcandur and a roar echoes through the night...