Part 38: The Clothing Thieves
The entered the sorcerer’s room and found the alter to the Dark God and the remnants of black milk. Arcandur uncovers her hair on the altar and begins to scry for her, finding her in a room overlooking the city….
As they are deciding on how to proceed, whether to find the black milk, whether to stop to executioner, or whether to rest and recover from the fight. Mahin approaches the wizard and asks about whether he could enchant weapons and armour, though unfortunately he is unable to help her. After being told they were not welcome to sleep in the library, Arcandur suggests that after finishing his spell they should move to an Elven Branch Inn and rest. Once complete with the spell, Arcandur motions for the party to depart and they head into the depths of the city.
As they leave the wizard calls to Ezra that they will meet in the morning to collect his transcription. They move through the town as the sun moves through the sky making for a hot humid day. Surrounded by people in their drug riddled state. Moving north through the city they pass the arena and see advertisements for the event tomorrow, the execution. Alena sees this and twitches, while Gwen looks scared and concerned. As they head further north the streets become cleaner and the people also become so. Everything looks much better kept in this part of town. Approaching the gates leading to the castle, they can see the difference between where they were and where they are now.
Ahead of them the see the well-kept Elven Branch Inn, much different to their previous location. They enter the Inn and find a relaxed atmosphere of drunks and milk takers. The elvan man behind the bar looks up at them and greets them warmly. He welcomes them to the bar and expresses that this Elven Branch is the best in the all the land. Horrified to hear that they have stayed at another Elven Branch Inn he boosts that his is the best of them all. He speaks loudly of the execution upon the morrow to Mahin and how the prisoner must have gone against the word of the king and deserves his punishment. Telling Mahin the price of five gold for the room, Mahin reaches into her purse as no one else seems to be interested in paying. Offering to take them to their rooms or feed and water them, the party agrees to food and ale. Alena asks for something more. After the innkeeper inquires about what happens to her face as its burnt to a crisp.
Heading to a table in the main room, they sit in a booth in the corner of the room and survey the patrons. The barkeeper starts to pour Alena a glass of rum, she grabs his hand and shakes her head. Placing five gold on the table she begins to drink directly from the bottle and slowly her pain recedes. The kitchen wench presents a hearty meal to the table. The party dives in with enthusiasm. It has been a long while since they have enjoyed such comforts. No one in the main room approaches the party and they decide to rest.
Arcandur asks Alena if she knows for certain that her father is the one to be executed. Alena says no but she feels strongly that all their fates lies in the castle. Telling her that he can use her blood and hair to scry for her father. Alena slices her hand open immediately and takes a drink of rum from the bottle. Arcandur looks at her disgustingly and tells her that he also needs to collect her blood in a mug. Telling her that he also needs his likeness and a token. Alena has nothing of his, but Gwen has his ring of the throne. Ezra offers to perform a spell to cast an illusion of Alena’s father based on her descriptions. Unfortunately, he is unable to perform the magic to a standard that helps Arcandur further.
However, Arcandur’s magic is strong as the full moon he is casting under. He makes a connection to Alena and Gwen’s father.
Darkness, so much darkness. Surrounded by walls. A door with bars, a small amount of light shines through it. Taking a moment to adjust he sees a man slumped in the cell. Looking around outside the cell he can see a corridor disappearing into darkness. Moving further beyond the space to explore the surroundings, Arcandur finds nothing besides rock to start with. When he moves through the wall on the left, he finds another man in another cell. The elvan man has been beaten badly. To the right, he finds an empty cell. Moving outside the door, he finds a guard doing his rounds of the prisoners.
Recounting what he saw in the room, he advises that the other party members Mahin and Ezra need to make inquiries around the town to find out where prisoners are kept. Allocating jobs between the party, Ezra to the Elven Branch near the prison, Mahin to head to the castle and use her woos, Alena to head downstairs with drunks to find out further information.
Saying that this was the best idea the wizard has ever had, Alena grabs her rum bottle and heads downstairs. Ezra objects to this plan, not wanting to go off by himself. Arcandur offers to stay with him and head downstairs. Mahin sneaks out the backdoor and heads offs to the castle. Upon entering the main room Arcandur and Ezra are taken back by Alena playing cards and conversing amicably with fellow drunk and high patrons playing cards. Arcandur expresses his surprise that Alena can read, he moves to the bar with Ezra to await the contact should they come.
Mahin moves stealthily through the night and approaches the castle in the cover of darkness. Seeking to find a uniformed officer she doesn’t need to look to hard to find many along the wall and in front of the gates. Mahin shakes back her hood and walks through the gates. Noting her beauty, the guards let her pass without question. Upon entering the gates, she finds many guards in uniforms different to the ones that Arcandur had described. Deciding to approach a guard to find out whether she can attain further information about uniform Arcandur saw in the vision. The guard glares at her question about where the guards in the green uniform are located. However, her deception skills are next to perfect and she can convince him of her merchant status and interests in the supplier of the material. She takes this newly acquired information that the guards are in the prison she heads back towards the Inn.
Drawing Alena’s attention, Mahin signals for her to move upstairs. Gathering her winnings and putting a round of drinks on for the table, she follows Mahin upstairs. Telling the party of her findings, Mahin convinces them that they need to head to the Elven Branch and the prison now. Departing the Inn and moving back through the town they find the degradation and people laying around the street. The party have experienced much in their time together and the time before and are comfortable in these terrible surroundings.
They find the Elven Branch located in the slums and the prison leering over the end of the town. This Elven Branch Inn is the worst of the lot. It’s untidy and broken and rundown all at the same time. The glass lay scattered in the street but the music pumps out of the broken windows and the crowd pulses with the energy of the drunk. Filled to the brim with green uniforms, the prison guards are the notable patrons of this establishment.
Pushing their way through the crowded tavern, they remove passed out patrons from the tables and survey the surroundings of this putrid place. They are approached by an older human man, seeking to sell them the black milk. A creepy human who is clean and untouched by the drug, covered in black satin and peering at them ominously. Mahin asks if he is selling information as well as black milk. He nods slightly. Mahin looks at Ezra, wanting to know if he is the contact they are waiting for. Ezra begins a thief cant to try and uncover if this is the contact. After trying several attempts, it is obvious to all that he is not the contact. To cover this awkwardness, Mahin purchases some of the black milk from this filth. He offers to the rest of the table.
Mahin stands and moves towards the closest prison guard, offering to buy him a drink. He in turn offers to make a half elf with her. Mahin purchases him the drink from the bar, slipping the black milk into the ale. Offering it to him, he drinks willingly and follows Mahin as she leads him to the alleyway outside. Leaning on her heavily, he slurs that he feels like he has had the black milk. With that, Mahin pushes him towards the ground and knocks him unconscious. She begins to strip him.
Ezra surveys the bar, seeking to find someone who could be his contact. Unable to determine who is the contact, he sits and watches and waits. Alena stands and moves to the cards table, taking a seat and beginning to engage in the game of chance with the fellow patrons and drunks. Arcandur follows Mahin outside to find her stripping the prison guard and after a moment of hesitation he begins to help her. Finally moving him to a dark corner to rest his drunken unconscious frame.
Mahin and Arcandur concoct a plan to enter the prison. Alena and Ezra to dress as guards, Ezra to use his disguise-self ability. Mahin and Arcandur to be prisoners being escorted into the prison. But first Mahin needs to get another guard to take with her into the alleyway. Heading back to the same table, she says saucily that the first one wasn’t up to the job but asked if anyone else would like to take a stab. An elf raises his head and laughs and says that he’ll take a stab. But he won’t take a drink, and he won’t take off his armour as he tries to push Mahin into engaging in sex with him. Mahin expresses the desire to be more comfortable and moves around to suddenly KICK HIM IN THE FACE! He goes down but remains conscious. Arcandur moves out of the darkness and grabs his mouth to stop him making noise. He fights back against Arcandur, strong and small he proves difficult to hold. Arcandur looks to Mahin to subdue him further. Mahin grabs a handful of black milk powder and shoves it into his face. He inhales deeply and with his eyes wide, he twitches and passes out.
Ezra finally sees an elf across the room, nursing his drink. Making eye contact but also avoiding eye contact. Moving around the room, Ezra approaches the man. The man moves forward and grabs his arm to position him to head outside. Turning around the corner, they find Arcandur and Mahin locked in the disposal of the guard. Speaking of father, Ezra relaxes. Asking about where father is located and how to get to him and how to get out. The rear of the prison, they can enter the first floor of the dungeon from the sewer. Not able to help more than that, the man wishes them well. Should they fail, the man and his people are organising a riot for the arena tomorrow to stop the execution. A fail safe to save father.
Finally realising the party has left without her, Alena arises from the table and stumbles out of tavern leaving her winnings behind. Calling loudly for her fellow party members, Mahin finds her and brings her over the haul in the alleyway. Telling her of the plan, Alena sobering up instantly. She begins to strip and Arcandur stares at her, an uncomfortable sensation rising in his loins.
As she is dressed, Gwen expresses that she needs to leave, as this is not for her. Alena sends her to the first Elven Branch that they were in. Parting with an awkward embrace, Alena bodes her to rule as father would have. And with that, Gwen was gone from Alena’s life again.
Deciding to enter through the sewer, the party descends into the moat. The cold, smelly, rank moat.