- When the party docked at Trevethian Island, they had mere minutes to breathe before Molly came running down in a tizzy. “Oh, sorr!” she cried, batting her eyelashes at Lord William (just call him Billy.) “Something terrible has happened!”
- It seemed that the night before, several villagers had heard noise in the woods and had come to the manor house this morning to report the incident. When Molly and Mrs. Bridges looked out, they noted an unexplained plume of smoke coming from the woods. Was it an intruder’s campfire? Normally, a security breach would have fallen to El Cid, but he’d eaten a plate of questionable shrimp the night before, and was down with food poisoning; really, what appalling timing! So the island’s lay deacon, Daniel Wood, stepped up and agreed to investigate. Daniel went into the woods and had not been heard from in hours!
- Les Cinq suited up and crept stealthily into the woods. Juno Nim scouted ahead and reported that there were two figures in a clearing up ahead, which turned out to be a massive muscle-bound barbarian and Daniel Wood, who was tied up like a Thanksgiving turkey. The barbarian was feeding Daniel some sort of revolting soup. “Eat up, little holy man,” the barbarian said. “You need to keep up your strength for when we talk to the noble adventurers. You are a JOLLY little holy man!” Marielle raised an eyebrow and made “cuckoo!” hand gestures. Clement turned brick red and glowered.
- Tegan mumbled the magic words of her favorite spell, entangle, and soon the mysterious barbarian and Daniel were both smothered by plants grown wild. The barbarian smiled contentedly and said, “Don’t worry, little holy man. This is because Les Cinq are here. We’re going to talk to them!” The barbarian waited to be freed, happy as a clam. He introduced himself as Paljaksu, and Juno Nim noted that he had the same ridiculous quasi-Swedish accent as the folks in Glasjenfrei.
- “Why did you kidnap my assistant, you brute!” snapped Clement. Paljaksu explained that his was a secret mission, and that he couldn’t afford to have the whole island knowing he was there because “loose lips sink ships.” Besides, he said, a prophecy had predicted that Les Cinq would come home today, not last night. Daniel was itching to get out of his bonds, filled with complaints about his treatment at the hands of this numbskull.
- Paljaksu explained that he was a polymorphed jötnar and had come as an emissary from Duchess Orielle, whom Les Cinq had installed as ruler of Glasjenfrei, to the north. He presented a letter (see link) wherein Orielle begged for the party to come quickly and investigate a mushroom cloud that had occurred about ten miles from the castle. Paljaksu also reported that some of the jötnaren had been dragged into the conflagration as if by a magical force, their heels dragging piteously in the snow; others had fled the region using a magical rope that kept them grounded.
- Tegan was very curious about Paljaksu’s mode of transportation to the island—he had a primitive sort of aircraft (a construct of some sort?) made of metal that behaved like a bird. “This is the Logos Bird,” said Paljaksu proudly. “It is powered by visual puns. You feed pictures on parchment into this slot and bird fly high above!”
- Les Cinq, Ruggiero, Crusoe, and Paljaksu sought a bit of relaxation at their favorite pub on Trevethian. They traded theories about all the things that happened and pored over Orielle’s letter for clues. Tegan racked her brains, trying to remember any additional information from the afterlife about the polthanatrum. Marielle (with a kickin’ Knowledge: Arcana check) recalled that she’d seen the term mentioned in a wizard friend’s notes as a magical power source. As Paljaksu sat down with the ales, he interrupted to say that he knew the meaning of this term: polthanatrum meant “the death of a god.”
- The party pondered how best to use the Bro’s last divination of the day. They finally decided to ask [Ed. I think? Can’t remember.] “Why did that water witch creature try to attack Ruggiero?” Pelor replied:
WHEN FATE’S THREADS HAVE BOUND YOU FAST
CAPTURED BY THE TAPESTRY
YOU ATTRACT THE NOTICE OF
ALL THE POW’RS OF DESTINY
ACTIONS GOOD AND ACTIONS FELL
LEAD TO WEAL? AH, WHO CAN TELL?
DEATH CAN SAVE US, LOVE CAN KILL.
“Total gibberish,” growled Juno Nim. “Pelor’s poetic abilities continue to deteriorate,” Billy observed.
- After the excitement of the day, Clement asked Tegan to join him out on the courtyard, where it soon became clear that Angelina and Billy were hiding behind a tree, watching their chat. Angelina began casting some illusion magic to create a romantic scene: laser light show, flying cherubs, soft music, etc. Clement delivered a painfully bombastic and rhetorically confused speech proposing marriage, fell to one knee, and presented her with a gorgeous engagement ring. Tegan gently explained that marriage was not on her radar screen any time soon, but that she’d be open to discussing it later.
- Clement took Tegan’s response about as well as could be expected. He added ruefully that perhaps he’d been premature in sending a fruit basket to Tegan’s mother, Branwen, inviting her into the family and calling her Mom. The cleric’s suspicions were confirmed when the fruit basket appeared on the ground nearby and burst into demonic flames. “Mother can be so dramatic, ” sighed Tegan.
- As Tegan went to bed, she hoped she hadn’t bruised Clement’s feelings too badly by refusing. Marriage, family? Complications that reminded her of nasty court intrigue. Her mother would be jumping in to manipulate them at the drop of a hat. And if she should have a daughter, the future heir to the Ashmara matriarchy? Better to enjoy a carefree romance with Clement, as nature intended, fresh and sweet like a wild peach. Who would want to trade that for the burned fruit of marriage and respectability?
Outside, on the courtyard, an apple exploded.
Next time: Lisette comes to visit, and the party confronts Abbot Tomnein!
In Which There is Miscommunication Galore
Memorial Day weekend, 2 of 2. Sponsored by Exposition R Us.