Arulia

Split the Party

Session 10: In Which Many Things Are Done Alone

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We resume with a questioning glance into the relationship between Violante and Enzano, her apparent fiancĂ©. As they spend the night together in the barn, Violante makes a move to escalate the relationship, but Enzano feels that the environment is wrong, the timing is wrong, he feels like he smells bad (Lily wild-shaped as an ox and dropped a cow biscuit on his boots earlier), and Violante rolled a 1 on her Charisma (Persuasion) check, so he thinks they should get to know each other better before taking this step. Disappointed, V backs off and goes back to chewing ice cubes, and the two get a restful, if somewhat awkward night’s sleep. Meanwhile, in the house, Rose has a very vivid dream that she believes is a vision. She chooses not to share the details the next day.

Lily, as sunny as ever, decides to do the farmer a favor and uses her Druidcraft to make all the flowers around the farmhouse bloom at once. This follows much teasing about this kind gesture ruining all the seasonals, but it turns out to be OK. The farmer is appreciative and helps collect some fresh produce for the party to bring back to the Spirit Garden, and the group sets out on their return home. On the walk back, Violante and Enzano chat. It’s a pretty long walk, so they spend some time getting to know each other. Enzano had surprised them with his prowess with the rapier, and he explained that he had the finest teachers in Serenza while he was growing up. Because of course he did; he’s the nephew of one of the richest men in the city. As the party gets back to Serenza proper, they notice a great many more people leaving the city than entering it, but that was expected, as visitors are still filtering out as holdovers from the Festival day. Life was returning to normal in their home. Almost right inside the gate, everyone splits up, as it was mid afternoon at that point and people had places to go.

In the briefest of scenes, Enzano walks Violante home and drops her off at her door, as he doesn’t want to go inside and track the stink of his boots into the house. Violante bathes and changes into some fresh clothes and goes to rejoin her friends at the Spirit Garden.

Chief goes back to his flophouse in the Quays, and upon arriving at his room, finds his meager store of personal belongings packed up outside the door. A younger boy in the house tells him that Aunt Raducci wants to see him on the roof. Chief goes to the roof to see Aunt Raducci working in the aviary, helping the new baby pigeons out of their shells. She sees Chief and asks him how long he’d been living there, and tells him that he’s been a very fine member of her household, and she is very proud of him. She also tells him that the house was intended for youngsters who didn’t really have any other chances in the real tough city, to give them a home and a family. As she carries a young fledgling pigeon to the window, Aunt Raducci tells Chief that he was doing very well on his own, and that it is time for him to find his own feet. Releasing the young bird on its first flight, she tells Chief that he would always be remembered as one of the family’s finest sons and that Marco would help him get to his new place. Marco does in fact meet Chief at the door and helps him carry his belongings, and on the way hints that Sabato might be working with the Corals, a rival family, who seem to be making a move on expanding in the Quays. Marco tells Chief that if Sabato ever asks him to hurt someone for him, to let Marco know immediately. Chief agrees as he arrives at the Spirit Garden and claims a room of his own.

Rose feels that her vision from the previous night is important, and so she goes to the temple of Anrahd to ask Father Warmond for guidance. Before finding him, she looks around at the iconography in the temple and notices a symbol from her vision in one of the frescoes – one that represents the Avheret. When Father Warmond meets with her, she tells him that she saw symbols and heard speaking, and she tries to replicate the speech, but isn’t sure she did a good representation of what she heard. She shows him the fresco with the image, and Warmond tells her he isn’t entirely sure what it means, only that it is a symbol associated with Anrahd, and at one time, it might have been a pronounceable word, but that pronunciation is lost. He asks her if she can come back to the temple the following night to meet with some people he thinks can help, and she agrees, leaving in a somewhat bewildered fashion.

Upon her return to Serenza, Dahlia cheerfully refrains from going back to the Spirit Garden, and instead seeks out the guild of performers and artists, the Bardic Collective. Since she’s new in town, she doesn’t really know anyone, but since she won a major competition in the Festival a few nights ago, most of the people in the Collective know who she is. She fails an insight check, and so blissfully finds them all so very welcoming and sincere. She thereafter joins the collective in an official capacity, and paid her first dues and registration fees, and jaunts back to the inn, where she finds a huge stack of job offers waiting for her. The most generous is a one-night engagement in the Verandi, the wealthiest part of town, at the prestigious Evening Star, for a whopping 50 gold sovereigns.

Lily undertakes a very difficult confrontation. Having evaded the meeting a day earlier, she now decides to go to her family’s house in the city to confront her father, and perhaps also Tristan, her fiancĂ©. Ouss goes with her, at her request, to make sure she has an out if things get ugly. She arrives at the Coumarin townhouse and the butler lets her in, leading her directly to her father’s study, where he sits at a desk. The butler begins to announce her just as Coumarin turns around. His face lights up with surprise, and joy, and he emotionally rushes to Lily and embraces her. He begins to tell her that they’ll get her stuff and they can go back to Naementor for her wedding, but she interrupts, and says she doesn’t want to marry Tristan. She says she wants to live her own life, and she wants to have an epic romance. It is at this point that Coumarin notices Ouss standing in the doorway watching over the whole conversation, and a dark look passes over Coumarin’s face He demands to know who this Bird-Person is and if he’s the “epic romance” she’s talking about. Ouss momentarily loses the power of speech in his shock, and Lily interposes herself between them, calming her father down and saying that Ouss is just a friend. Coumarin and Lily then have a very deep and heartfelt talk about her destiny, her call to adventure, and her responsibility to her family, but when Lily reveals that she can speak Celestial, and her father responds in the same language, he admits that he is protecting her from what he perceives as a dangerous course for her life to take, and she would have a fine safe life with Tristan. In desperation, he casts a Hold Person spell on Ouss and tells Lily that they can just go now. He says he doesn’t want to lose her like he lost her mother. He also says that her mother sacrificed herself to save them. Lily isn’t aware of any of this, although she reveals that she talks to her mother in her dreams. Coumarin begs Lily to come back the next night and he’ll have some answers for her.

After all this is done, the group settles down to play some D&D.

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While everyone gets their dinner at the Spirit Garden, who should walk in but Munya Ostergaard, who has a unique opportunity for them. A rare conjunction of the moons and sun result in an impossibly low spring tide, and she has a job to offer them. She knows of a cave on the cliffs outside of town which is only reachable in this low tide, where she can get a very rare ore: Ultrinium — an almost unknown substance which Dahlia knows (and tells the group) is very rare and special in that it can be forged like iron but has the properties of both Mithral and Adamantine. Munya offers Rose a free “treatment” of the metal on the armor she’s preparing for her if she will help Munya gather some ore. Rose ALMOST agrees to this, but Violante steps in to negotiate to make this service pay off Rose’s armor completely, and Munya throws in 50 gold sovereigns for each other person who helps. After all, she just got paid (by Rose, in fact).

In the dead of night, the party accompanies Munya to the docks where she has a dinghy tied up, and they row out to a dark niche in the cliff face where Munya throws out a grapple and anchors the boat. Lily turns into a shark and swims into the cave mouth, leading the way. Rose hops into the water and scans the cave with her holy senses, and detects the presence of undead not far ahead. Dahlia is surprised that they have to get into the water, and instead she hops onto Chief’s shoulders and clings as he wades into the cave. Ouss follows, Munya jumps in to catch up to the party, and Violante brings up the rear. The water varies in depth as they enter a cave tunnel, but averages about five feet in depth. Everyone can keep above the water, but Ouss has to hop once in a while when the water drops a little deeper. They move ahead where the tunnel opens into a flooded chamber, where the party is attacked by bloated zombies. One of the zombies vomits up sand and seashells onto Chief and Munya, doing a little damage, but the party deals with the zombies with minimal danger.

At the other end of the flooded chamber, a passage leads out and up, leading to a dry surface the party can walk on. They come to a smaller chamber, in roughly the center of which is a hole, and Munya asks the party to secure a rope for her. Ouss spreads his wings and drops into the hole, gently gliding down about 40 feet to the floor of a pitch-black cavern. He finds the floor oddly sticky, and so having the room to spread his wings, gently hovers over the floor as the rest of the party drop down and join him. Munya steps away from the rope and remarks on how the ground is odd, and wasn’t like this the last time she was there. The party finds that the floor is covered in sticky strands like webbing, but as Rose suggests spiders, Lily tells them normal spider webs don’t form like this. Ouss finds that the sticky fibers burn away but don’t ignite. As they attempt to solve the mystery, they are attacked by several creatures hidden in the shadows. Peering into depths of the dark chamber reveals seven multi-armed, smallish, hideously spider-like humanoids. As the party takes a defensive stance, we end on a …. CLIFFHANGER!!

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