Curse of the Crimson Throne

Infiltrating the Fishery
Edge of Anarchy 003

The old warehouse is illuminated by shafts of morning light filtering in through cracks in the walls. Outside the ruckus from up the street subsides. You overhear, outside, a few noblewomen talking. Two Workers were sucked down into the Otyugh’s lair.

Aiyanna glances at Learis, making sure she heard it too.

“If we’re going in the fishery, now the time. Before people return and see us.”

Aiyanna casts one last glance down the street, toward the sudden silence, then back at her sister, “Yes”

There’s still quite a crowd about two hundred feet north, and a lively discussion in groups.

Learis senses her sister’s gaze, but forcibly ignores it by staring at the fishery and trying to remember if there were openings on the other side.

“We can squeeze through the opening the kids went through,” Aiyanna offers, “Though it should probably be the sneakiest of us though,” she looks around, noticing Lexon’s sizeable frame, Lil’s bulk, and Learis’ armor, “Oh, that’s me, isn’t it?”

“So do I try to sneak in, or do we take up Lexon’s offer to smash a new entrance for us?”
Aiyanna tries to keep the nervousness from her voice

The floor of the warehouse has a grid pattern of pallets, each stacked with wood. And along the edges are huge slabs of hardwood, spaced to dry with spacing wedges. A few wooden staircases go up to a second floor, like the loft of a barn, and the rafters are criss-crossed by planks. To the east are several workbenches set with heavy tools. Racks of saws wrapped in oilcloths hand above them.

“Grab some tools,” Aiyanna suggests, “maybe we can walk around to the boat, away from prying eyes.”

“Good call with the tools,” Learis replies, “We can see if there is an opening on that side we can use.” she nods to herself, “Lets move before too many people return.”

“OK” Aiyanna nods.

You easily find an assortment of crowbars and hammers.

Aiyanna, oblivious to what would be helpful, grabs an awl and a planer.

Lil grabs her glaive-guisarme, “Just point me at shit to break.”

Aiyanna gestures, “use the wood from the pallets, craft a makeshift bridge. We can use it for our escape too. Then skirt around towards the boat. Maybe pry something open from that side?”
“Or, use the same sliding platform the kids used?”

“I planned to use the platform. we just need to make a wider opening to use it.”

The sliding platform is hidden, but once found easy and obvious how to use it. It is well-maintained. But to get out the window slot that it uses, you need to be S or smaller.

“Shhh! I hear someone on the roof”

“Shhhhhhh!” Aiyanna echoes, “What did you hear, Lil?”

“Someone’s walking around up there”

None of you hear or see anything as you scan the rafters.

Aiyanna resists the urge to conjure her magic, “Are you sure?”

“Yeah I heard something. Weird” Lil comments, scowling at the rafters, “Anyone see a way up to the roof? I want to check it out”

“Did you hear something else, Lil?” Aiyanna asks, “We’re going to need to move. If we’re going to go into the fishery, we need to do it now.”

“I swear I saw something as well as heard it” the dwarf replies

Learis looks at her sister. “Is she delusional?” Learis takes a moment to listen.

Learis hears nor sees anything amiss. Only the sounds of the street outside, a crowd arguing, a few guards shouting. Faintly you hear a sudden outcry, again from the north, like a collective gasp of horror.

“Ok, lets go.” Lexon pries the frame of the window; there is an almighty crack and the entire window opens. Sunlight floods into the room. Your eyes adjust easily and you see the rickety walkway and the forbidding wall of the Fishery.

Aiyanna winces at the noise, “Did anyone notice, Lil?”

Lil can’t see past the wall of people, but she does see a woman hurrying her two children from the scene. And a teen boy lurches from a sea of peasants’ back to retch.

Learis cringes from the noise and watches the Fishery intently for any movement.

“Everyone notices me” she says with a self-satisfied smile, fluffing her hair a bit. “Oh you mean out there.” She peeks back outside.

It is impossible to see into the Fishery from this angle, but you faintly hear the noise of low-level activity in there, just like you would from regular work being done.

Lexon buts in being quiet but urgent. “Guys we really need to act fast, I’m getting worried about out there.”

“Nah they’re distracted by something that is making people barf. Talk about an effective diversion.”

Learis pushes the walkway across, and checks to see if anyone is looking then start across.

Now you all hear quick footsteps on the rooftop and Lexon (from the window) sees a slight figure in dark brown, and with hand crossbow, make an almighty leap above you from one rooftop to another. The walkway slides out easily and thumps into pre-set grooves on the other side.

Learis freezes with her hand on her sword as Aiyanna curses under her breath.

“Told you!” Lil chides, “No one ever listens to the dwarf.”

“Guys I saw at least one person and he’s armed!” Lexon hisses

Aiyanna grabs her hair close to the scalp and grimaces, “Learis, go! if he warns Lamm, this is done for!”

Learis crosses quickly to catch him

“Lexon, you go to the roof, see if you can find where he landed!” Aiyanna continues, “Lil and I will follow Learis. And Lexon” Aiyanna smirks, “I’m sure that if you here some scuffles from the fishery, we won’t mind some property damage if you find it necessary to bust through the ceiling.”

Lil crosses and goes in through the window.

Aiyanna nudges Learis

“We will break in through that opening.” Learis point ahead. “Lexon go” She points to the ladder.

Lexon has already broken ranks and headed up to the loft in a few bounds, and with the agility of a trained warrior gets to the top of the ladder.

Learis crosses and begins to work at the opening as soon as she is off the walkway.

Lexon hits the trap door with a heavy thud, his bruised shoulder indicating it’s barred from the other side!

Aiyanna notices Lexon hit the trap door, “Bust it!” she cries.

Lexon plows into the trap door and there is a crack as it busts open.

Seeing Lexon head towards the roof. Learis will start to pry the window open; a whip-crack noise accompanies a spray of splinters and layers of paint chips that shower the side of the building as the frame loosens violently

AIyanna remains on the warehouse side until Learis and Lil enter the fishery window

Meanwhile, on the roof, Lexon sees a very startled looking child figure, dressed in oily black rags and a leather turban. It is armed with a hand crossbow. Without missing a beat he fires! The bolt plants itself next to Lexon and the figure makes a sprinter’s start from crouching to panther-like dash across to the north!

Learis recites the words to a spell in her mind, preparing to cast shield as she climbs through

With the deadly precision of a hunter, Learis swings out and in one fluid motion flips up onto the roof of the fishery!

“Guys I’m pursuing!” Lexon runs full speed.

“Dammit” Aiyanna crosses the gangplank after Learis leaps to the roof, “What’s inside, Lil? Can you squeeze through?” She casts her eyes to the roof, “Or should we all go up?”

With ungraceful tromps, Lexon beats it over the rooftop of the warehouse, headed north. The black-clad urchin reloads swiftly and is making a full bore leap for the Fishery roof. Lexon follows after and hurls himself across the span between the buildings. His legs windmill wildly trying to maintain his momentum, and he hits the fishery roof with a surprising grace

The second waif has made the center of the fishery roof and is crouched there, manipulating something with one hand, and with hand crossbow at ready in the other. His attention split between the roof, and his pursuers.

The two children are dressed more like proper infiltrators, all in blacks and browns— head and faces covered, and handling their weapons like professionals.

Lil moves to help the fight on the roof, she jumps and grabs the eave of the fishery roof, but can’t get enough purchase on the soggy shingles. She dangles there, her legs swaying with the effort.

Learis mutters the words to a spell, as a line of runes appears on her blade, in an instant, the runes almost seem to unscrew. As the runes stretch, so does the blade, and she swings her arm in a wide whipping arc, snapping her wrist at the last moment, the blade snaking out like a silvery lash and wraps around the waif’s arm! With a smirk of satisfaction and a sudden yank, he is flipped over entirely and onto his back. As the bale returns to its normal shape, Learis stalks towards him.

Below, Aiyanna watches Lil struggle to hoist herself up, and looks inside the window and sees a factory floor. There are about a dozen sad little orphans working the various vats and churns and cutting tables for making fish slurry. She tests the window, but it won’t budge.

Learis is now standing next to the prone waif. As she approaches he levels his hand crossbow, “Put it down,” she warns, “I don’t want to, but I will kill you if you make me.”

“You too kid,” Lexon growls, “drop it or we will take you down.”

Aiyanna listens intently to the battle above, hoping that her sister and new allies are ok.
She is trying to stay out of sight while observing the inner workings of the fishery. Hoping to see Lamm, or one of his lackeys.

The waif in the center of the roof, prone and next to Learis, bangs on a trap door entrance there. Learis can see that there is a puzzle lock made out of sliding wood blocks.
And he fires his hand crossbow at Learis! The bolt lodges directly in her face, and loosens two teeth as it wedges in the jawbone!

The kid nearest to Lexon attempts to scurry away, "I warned you kid,” Lexon shrugs as he punch-strikes the kid with the head of his earthbreaker. The kid sways for a moment on unsteady feet before tumbling face-down onto the roof, “Should have stayed down kid.” Lexon says.

The waif in the center of the rooftop lolls his head with the force of Learis’s blow, but the damage is done! Laeris is seeing red from the seriousness of the shot.

The combat is clearly over as he begins to plead for his life. Laeris notices something now— the “child” is really a gnome. His pointy little ear sticking out from a disheveled turban.
A huge wave of relief floods through her at the realization. She pulls out a potions of cure light wounds and drinks it.

“Shall we question them?” Lexon asks flipping his over seeing that they are a gnome as well.

Aiyanna tries to stifle her panic as the silence after the combat stretches on…

Lil is grunting as she keeps trying to climb up but failing.

“Lexon, can you help pull her up please”

Obligingly, Lexon hoists the dwarf onto the roof and returns to the clobbered gnome; he disarms them and takes the weapons.

One is still conscious and looks quite concerned and is nursing a severe wound to his torso.
He allows himself to be disarmed and is completely cooperative.

Learis points her sword at the dazed one at her feet. “Lil, search him for weapons please. Then we will tie them up.”

Aiyanna makes her way to the edge of the roof and stage whispers over the eaves, “Guys?”
“Are you ok? Guys?!?”

Lil searches for weapons, setting aside valuables and trinkets. She sucks her teeth in glee as she pulls their weapons free, and digs out a small pile of coins, a small gemstone, some tools, a disguise kit, “Oooh, a pretty garnet!” She exclaims, holding the gemstone up to the light, before returning her attention to the rest of their gear, “A key! This is probably to something important!”

“We’re okay. It’s clear now Aiyanna.” Learis calls over the side of the roof, as she examines the key.

Aiyanna tries to hoist herself onto the roof. Her she mutters a quiet invocation and her fingers start glowing with energy as she brushes the debris from her clothes, leaving the faintest hints of glowing runes where her hands pass. Satisfied at her appearance, she joins the rest of the group. She quickly surveys the scene and kneels next to the one bleeding out, and tries to staunch the wounds. Her relief that they are gnomes instead of children is evident on her face.

Aiyanna squats on her haunches next to Hookshanks, “This is unfortunate for you,” She shakes her head sadly, "You’ve put us in a terrible position. Now we have to decide what to do with you.
“We can’t have you warning your boss,” she continues, “and we can’t just slit your throats,” she pauses and looks at Learis, “Well, we can, but I don’t want to. It’s messy.”

Learis glares down at him as she rubs her jaw, then shrugs. " we could just leave them tied up and toss them into the water. Let whatever that creature was have them.
“That would be a lot less messy…..for us anyway.”

“See, you pissed her off. Now she’s mad, and that’s not going to end well for you. You shot her. In the face.” She sighs, “I don’t want to toss you in the river, but you shot her in the face. If she had died, we’d be having a much different discussion.”

“Well I have an idea,” Lexon interjects.

Learis glares at her sister, before walking away a few steps.

“So you put me in an interesting place,” Aiyanna continues, “I don’t want to see you killed necessarily, but I don’t really mind if you died.” She steeples her fingers and presses them to her lips, “So what do you say we do about it?”

In an exasperated voice Learis turns to Lexon. “No, you cant eath these ones either!”

“Rude I’m barely orc.” He frowns.

Learis turns back to the gnome. “What is this key for? And where is Lamm hiding?”

“There’s a cabinet in the offices, upstairs.,” Hookshanks hisses through gritted teeth, “Lamm stays downstairs mostly, and never leaves the building.”

“And whats in the cabinet?”

“Coinage,” the gnome snarls, “measured after the cutpurses hand it over to Yargin”

“And Yargin?” Learis prods, “which office is his?”

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Finding a Lead
Edge of Anarchy 002

Danvar is checking the man’s eyes, pulse, and other vitals, ensuring he is on the uptrend, but keeps an ear out for the conversation; as Learis is still waiting for an answer from Grau.

Aiyanna looks around the room, half expecting the thugs to return with reinforcements, and notices a dwarf with vibrant pink hair repeatedly meeting her gaze. The dwarf is nursing some manner of beverage with a collection of fruit wedges balanced on the rim.

Learis see the concern on her sister’s face. “Perhaps we should find a more private location”

“At least get our backs to the wall. Just in case,” Aiyanna replies, gesturing to the corner they had occupied, she sends Lexon to fetch more water, and helps Danvar move Grau to a more comfortable position. Grau groans weakly as they move him.

Aiyanna winces, the wounds are still fresh, and even magical healing can leave them tender.

Learis, realizing he is still dazed, waits impatiently for him to regain his senses.

Danvar begins to check the knife wound, poking and prodding at it. Aiyanna glances nervously at Learis, watching the dwarf work, while the other patrons of the Drunken Dame have gone back to their activities.

Noticing the blood seepage, he says another quick prayer, then squeezing the flaps of skin together, he channels positive healing energy into the wound. As the healing magic courses into his body, Grau takes a deep breath and starts to his feet. He winces and sits back down.

“Easy, now” Aiyanna soothes.

Learis helps gently guide into the booth. “Feeling better?”

“Yes, thank you. Much better.” He murmurs appreciatively

“What pray tell, was that all about?” Learis asks, “And why would you hope they’d let you die?”

“Holy gods of light!” Her starts to crawl to a nearby bench.

Aiyanna starts, casting concerned looks at Learis and mutters, “Not the reaction I was expecting.”

Beneath the tattered tunic is a uniform of the Korvosan Watch, but it is in such a state of disrepair, and he has other clothes on top, further obscuring the uniform. His bleeding has tapered off, but the wounds still look fresh

Learis shakes her head in confusion at her sisters look.

He is laying on the bench, with one arm over his eyes.

He sits up now. “You should know that there is nothing I can repay you. I have nothing. I am nothing. I have lost all.”

Learis looks at him, stunned. “I didn’t expect repayment”

“Then, I thank you.” He seems to sober up. “Tell me then, who are you people?”

Danvar looks at the others. “That’s a good question”.

“I know many people in our Fair City. You two I recognize. I have seen you at the Faire before.” he looks at Laeris and Aiyanna.

“My name is Aiyanna Reyne,” Aiyanna gestures to herself, then to her sister “and this is my sister Learis”

“Sisters?” He squints, “I don’t see the resemblance, apologies.
“But again, I can hardly see straight right now.”

Aiyanna quirks the corner of her mouth in a smile, but lets the comment pass.

The fiddling of the illusory devils makes everyone talk yet louder, and a crush of new bodies enters the tavern as the Faire starts to close down.

“That’s not surprising. I would have expected you to handle those ruffians easily given your reputation sir.”

“Ugh,” Aiyanna grunts, “Maybe we should relocate somewhere calmer. Are you good to walk on your own, Grau?”

He smiles knowingly. “Yes, I sure gave that first one a lesson. But my days at the Orisini Academy are long over. I tried.”

Danvar is sitting back, looking rather perplexed, not having a clue what they’re all talking about.

“Yes, I can walk. I am in your debt. Where shall we go? I stay for now with my sister in Midland, on Harborview. As you have aided me, I shall rise to trust you.”

“I think that would be fine,” Aiyanna scans the crowd again, “It’s getting crowded, and I don’t know if I want those thugs coming back.”

Danvar notices the barkeep looking expectantly at Grau as he rises to leave. "I agree,” mutters the injured warrior

“Yes, they might be back, and in greater numbers. I have many enemies in the underworld.”

Danvar walks over to the barkeep, hand’s him 5 gold. "Should cover the clean up, eh?” He then leans in closer, and whispers. “Listen, I’m new about these parts, you got any idea what I’m getting meself into?”

“What with Grau?” the bartender quickly scoops the coins up before anyone notices. He nods deeply in appreciation, “He’s washed up, but he was once well-liked and still respected in many parts.”

As they rise and leave. Learis will quickly explain to Danvar about Grau Soldado the famous swordsman and Son of Korvosa.

Aiyanna nods appreciatively at Danvar, wondering why the dwarf in the corner keeps staring at him.

Danvar bites the inside of his cheek while contemplating things, then heads back towards the group.

The streets are dark, but there are still people there and well-placed spell lanterns light the way enough. You soon arrive at the Soldado homestead. It is only a block from the leeward part of the island, and the smells of the docks are thick to the out of towners.
The house is dark and brooding, but clean, and the wooden railings have been cut and painted in cheerful Varisian patterns.
The top floor has a single candle in the window. The bottom floor is boarded up, what it may have been before is unknown. And you also see a set of stairs leading downwards in a very narrow alley.

“Wait here.” He starts to sprint up the steps, but slows down right quick, taking two steps per stair. He enters and you hear him talking with a woman in the window.

The woman closes the window, has some sharp words, glances out at you ruffians.

Learis is watching around her as much as she can, attempting not to eavesdrop, as Aiyanna absently traces the painted outlines on the railing, trying not to be obtrusive. She’s always been a fan of the Varisian language, particularly some of their rune scripts.

A group of street urchins runs by, headed to the docks. The urchins are in ragged clothes. You see bruise marks on one little girl’s face. She is maybe six. The largest of them is counting coins out of a purse as he trots along.

Learis watches them cautiously while waiting for Grau to finish talking to his sister. A crash and a muttered curse break the fog-shrouded silence as a dwarven woman stumbles into view.

After a moment, Learis leans close to Aiyanna. “Do you think Grau might be of assistance to our plight?”

“Huh?” Aiyanna starts, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t paying attention. Did you see that little girl run by? The blonde one, with the bruises?”

Learis nods, choking back a sudden lump in her throat. “I suspect they are heading to him now.”

The urchins melt into the mist, and you hear the last of their little voices echoing down on the docks.

Aiyanna rests a hand on Learis’ arm.
Watching the less-than-stealthy dwarf approach from the way the urchin’s disappeared.

You see an olive skinned Varisian woman’s face appear in the window, framed by curly black hair. Her glower is less than hospitable.

The candle snuffs out. A dejected Grau makes his way down the stairs. “We have to go to the basement. Follow me.”

Learis nods and is just about to follow when her sister’s arm stops her.
Looking where her sister indicates, Learis hisses to the others and her hand slide toward her sword.

“Um, hi, sorry. Danvar, is that you? I thought I recognized you. Where are we? Who is that? What are you guys up to?” She sounds chipper and maybe a little overexcited.

Learis looks at Danvar. “Do you know her?”

Aiyanna glances between the dwarves, “And you are?” she asks the newcomer.

“Hi! I’m Lil. This place looks interesting and kind of spooky. I like it!”

“Are you following us?” Learis asks.

Danvar looks at her curiously a moment, trying to place her, “uh, Lil?” he asks.

“I mean you guys seemed super interesting and like you were up to something exciting, so I thought I’d see for myself. In case you need protecting or something!” Lil grins.

“Quiet you lot.” He says the the chattering humans. “You a cousin o’ mine?” He asks the newcomer, ignoring the wry look Learis is giving.

“Yeah! I think our grandmothers were sisters or something.

“Because all dwarves are related,” Aiyanna snickers under her breath.

Danvar snorts. “Aye, I think I recognize ya. Surprised you recognize me. What brings ya about here?”

Lil hears Aiyanna’s remark, “Pretty much!” she interjects affably.

“Oh!” she exclaims slightly louder at Lil’s response; the faint crimson flush of embarrassment creeping up her cheeks.

“Oh, I live here now.” Lil continues, returning her attention to Danvar, “In Korvosa, I mean. Not HERE here. I’ve never been right here before.”

He looks at her as if she’d lost her mind. “Well… since yer here, ya can help the family out. Another o’ our cousins died here some time ago. I’m searchin for his murderer.”

“Oh! Well count me in, then. I’m a good fighter.” She grins again.

“Right, well, come along then. No sense standin out here drawin’ more attention.”

“That just happened,” Aiyanna states to no one in particular as the dwarves move towards Grau.

Learis looks at her sister and shrugs before following them down to the basement.

Lil proudly and happily walks ahead.

Before heading down to the basement, Aiyanna linger for a moment takes another quick look at the paintings on the rail, curious if there are any runes hidden in the paintings. Smiling in satisfaction when she notices a symbol for a Harrow Reader worked into the pattern. It means a matron-trained reader lives here.

The basement is the home of a defeated man; alone.
Grau’s basement, also his spartan living quarters is more like the dusty garage of a smithy— a dirt floor and the thick smell of rust, oil, wood, and discarded tools.
In the corner is a military cot, but a complete mess replete with dirty dishes.

Lexon is downstairs. He is looking at the tools with great interest. “This was once my brother-in-law’s workshop.” says Grau, “My sister lives with her three children upstairs. I’m fairly worthless and just lucky to get some scraps down here. Like a dog in a kennel.” he doesn’t seem to be pitying himself, more like making a true statement.

“Maybe you could use a job. My cousin and I here are looking to find who killed our other cousin.” Ever the helpful one, Lil is.

“That seems like an odd mentality for a Son of Korvosa with your reputation. I am curious how you have come to that conclusion?”

“I was hoping to offer you accommodations,” he says, deflecting Learis’ statement, “but there is no way that my sister is letting you guys in, so sorry for that. But as you can see there is plenty of room here, as long as you don’t mind the floor. I have tents, tarps, oilskins and blankets.”
“Please, if you wish to stay, then make yourselves a place. Or I will see you to an Inn. But if you stay, I will tell you my tale.”

Learis shrugs. “This is fine. I can understand your sister’s caution. Especially for someone with kids.”

Danvar interjects. “Look, I’m glad yer back on yer feet, and lookin’ to stay that way, but I’ve got troubles of me own to deal with.”
“I thought ye two did as well” He said, looking at the sisters.

“And so we do, but perhaps Master Grau can be of assistance in our goal. And I am curious about his tale also.”

“I am at your service, for whatever you wish, for you have saved my life this once.”

Aiyanna leans against the wall, “I’m interested in your tale, Grau. I have a feeling it might tie your issues and ours together.”

“Well, unless he can tell us about our quarry, I’m thinking we should come back later for his story.” Danvar replies.

Lil puts a hand on Danvar’s shoulder. “Now, now, danvar, we can hear a story at least.” She sits down on the floor and makes herself comfy.

“Then I will tell it. As you know, the great Vencarlo Orisini, pride of Korvosa, hand picks his students, and even then only ever so rarely. And they have the privilege of going up to the Academy”

“About the time that Vencarlo took me, a nobody with no family or means to speak of, under his wing; he selected another pupil, Sabina Merrin.”
“I was in love with Sabina, and our romance blossomed on the east hills, in the days of Spring. But Vencarlo also had an eye for her, and bent his charm to win her over. It as all swordplay for him— move and countermove. But I truly had a future with her, and she seemed at least for a while to reciprocate. But one day things came to a head in the sparring room. Whether he was attacking us true, or only as a test, I was unable to tell…”

Danvar sighs, as he leans against the wall, none of this meaning a thing to him. Lil smiles at Danvar and pats the spot next to her on the floor, grinning and goes back to listening to the story, completely ignoring Danvar’s scowl at her.

“Between the both of us, we were hardly able to defend ourselves, and he pulled his punches as she moved to interpose herself. But she left him without two of his fingers, and me with this.” He motions to a scar that goes up his neck and jawline.
“Vencarlo expelled the both of us. But the wheel of fate turns and ground me into the dust, but elevated Sabina to the Queen’s personal guard. The queen has an eye for beauty, and I suspect that they are also lovers, though it would be blasphemy to say as such of the whore queen.”
“Everything, that has come to me, has been taken away. One thing at a time. It is vanity. All is vanity.”
“Now that my tiresome tale is over, how may I serve you?”

Learis feels pity for him, but anger simmers underneath, “Truth be told, we…” she gestures towards Danvar and Lexon. “have only just met tonight. We all seem to be looking for the same person.”

“I’m sorry to hear about that, Grau. You have my sympathies,” Aiyanna offers, somewhat awkwardly.
“We have all had our shares of misfortune, it would seem,” she continues.

Lil stands up and then pats Grau on the arm consolingly.
“If you ever need a hug.”

While Grau was telling his story, Lexon has repaired some tools and has started laying them out in order on a work bench.

Grau smiles and you see him immediately and pathetically just break down on Lil’s shoulder, sobbing in great waves. She hugs him tightly in return, crying a little too. It is over nearly as quickly as it began and as he uses an oily rag to clean his face, he regains his composure and sits up straighter than before.

Learis takes a deep breath and exhales. “We are all looking for Gaedren Lamm. He has wounded each of us greatly.”

Danvar sits back, making no effort to disguise his disdain, no longer wondering why a supposedly great swordsman lives in his sister’s basement.

Grau massages his beard as if taking note of how thick it is, seemingly only just then realizing how long it has been since he’d shaved, “Gaedren Lamm, now there’s an infamous name. When I was Watch Sergeant at the citadel—it almost seems like another lifetime—there was quite a to-do about him for a while. The Scarecrow King we called him. It was quite impossible to pin him down. I believe that you will only be able to find him by supernatural means. Do you have any leads?”

“Only his ties to his urchin thieves.” Learis answered coolly, “My sister and I were able to confront him once, but being greatly outnumbered, we fled.”

Lexon give a grunt of recognition as he hoists up a blacksmith’s tongs.

“He’s good at fleeing. Every time we thought we had him, there was only signs of a hasty retreat.”

“So you have no leads, none at all?”

“Scarecrow King?” Aiyanna interjects, “Wait…” She taps her finger against her lip, “Wasn’t there a guy on the docks? Had a pumpkin?”
“No, scarecrow!” Aiyanna gets excited, her enthusiasm bubbling over.

Danvar starts to seem interested in the conversation, but has nothing to add.

Learis looks at her sister, slightly confused. She almost remembers something like that.

“In a backpack!” Aiyanna continues excitedly, “Learis, do you think that man was Lamm?” she looks around expectantly, hoping someone can confirm her speculation, or offer another idea.

Sudden recognition dawns on Learis’ face. “the card you found at the tavern! of course! And the old man Lexon was trying to help when Danvar passed out at our feet. He had a scarecrow in a backpack.”

“Right!” Aiyanna says, glad that someone is following her line of thought.

“I forgot about all that since I was trying to forget about our encounter with Verik.”

Aiyanna snickers, “Right, but if they are related, perhaps the person who snuck us the card knows where Lamm is going to be, and we can get there before him! Instead of following him around.”

“What did it say, get to where? Lancet street? Lets see the card” Learis says, gathering excitedly next to her sister.

Aiyanna hands you the card; hand penned on the back — “I know what Gaedren has done to you. He has wronged me as well. I know where he dwells, yet cannot strike at him. Come to my home at 3 Lancet Street before sunrise. Others like you will be there. Gaedren must face his fate, and justice must be done.”

“Can we get there in time?” Learis asks rhetorically, “it’s only an hour after midnight. Sunrise is in six hours.

“We should,” Aiyanna nods

Danvar looks at the two, angry. “Ye two had this on you the whole time, and we’ve been sitting here listening to this?!”

Lexon nods in agreement with Danvar.

“Unfortunately. I forgot about it when those thugs attacked Grau,” Learis replies, attempting to mollify the irate dwarf, “we had just realized it was there when the fight started.”

“Sitting on?” Aiyanna steps from the wall indignantly, “Sitting on!?! If your drunken ass had been even dimly aware of your surroundings, you would have noted it when I mentioned it the first time!”

Lexon nods in agreement with Aiyanna.

“Well the important part is we know now.” Learis offers, trying to soothe her sisters irritation.

Learis is taken aback at the anger in her sister’s voice. “Well we have remembered it. Let’s get going, shall we? And you Grau? What is your intention?”

Danvar snorts. “Aye, my drunken arse. What was yer excuse for not knowin’ what the hell was going on in front of yer face?”

“We were dealing with you. Perhaps we should have left you passed out in the streets for Gaedren’s urchins to strip you clean?”
There is a profound snoring noise. Grau has passed out on the cot, and not even all the way on. His arms are at his sides and his face is buried in rumpled bedding.

Learis closes her eyes for a second to calm down. “It is done. Let’s not waste more time arguing over it. Let’s go.”

Aiyanna looks like she’s about to say something, and glowers at the dwarf.

Lexon says “We should rest up a bit don’t you think? Besides, we can’t very well come calling in the middle of the night.”

“Except it specifically states before sunrise—” Learis replies,
“We need to be there before dawn—” Aiyanna counters, speaking over Learis. She pauses a moment before continuing, “If we’re going to follow this lead. We can rest for a couple hours, but…” she lets it trail off.

“True that. Let’s not risk it. I’m ready.” he hoists his pack.

Danvar starts for the stairs. “We’ve wasted enough time here. We can check on him in the mornin’ if yer all still worried about this sad lump then.”

Aiyanna nods to Lexon, and gives a tight-lipped smile of concern to Learis.

The city is dark and the fog covers your movements. With the exception of a few street-goers, all in pairs or more, you see no one, and there is no one that doesn’t steer clear of you. It is easy to find 3 Lancet street with King Eodred’s marking system, one of many improvements his reign has brought. The address is south along the docks.
You find it easily enough, but it’s not really a home, just a fortune teller’s shop wedged between two darkened buildings. There is a candle alight in the window.
There are all manner of mystical odds and ends hanging from the wooden awning.
Wind chimes ding gently in a placid movement of air. The fog is still thick and rolling over the city.
The door is ajar.

Learis knocks on the door. Peering through the opening as she does, waiting to see if anyone comes to the door.

The place is a cozy chamber, filled with the fragrant haze of flower and strong spices. There are several sticks of incense smouldering in wall-mounted burners. The walls, in garish fortune-telling fashion, are thick with hangings, brocaded tapestries with mystical figures on them. In the center there is a thickly covered round table, and a small note set up against a candelabra. Nearby is a basket with bread and wine.
No one comes to the door, it seems like the room is empty.

Aiyanna walks in, “I’ll wager a crown that note is for us.”

After a moment, Learis enters as well. “Hello? Is anyone home.”

“Thought there were to be others here?” Danvar asks to anyone who may be listening.

Learis nod to Aiyanna. Her hand on her sword, she cautiously approaches the note to read it.

A smiling Varisian woman, with an elegant (if not horse-like) nose enters the room. her thick brown hair is held in with a scarf, “Please come in. It is late, but I haven’t slept for a while, just waiting perchance for your arrival.”
She takes up the note “This was in case I missed you.”
“Please make yourselves comfortable,” she sweeps her arm across various high-backed chairs, cushioned benches and divans.

Learis stops. “You left us that card? It said others would be here. DId we miss them?”

“I think you are the others. Fate has brought you together. No one else has come.”

Aiyanna nods, the words to a cantrip passing unspoken with the woman’s arrival, as she arranges herself in a chair.

Learis slowly takes the nearest seat the woman gestured towards.

“Please excuse my unconventional means of contacting you. I walk the king’s road, and it is short. I have reason to remain hidden, as a terrible man would certainly do me harm. I have reached out to you (she looks at Laeris) in hopes you would help me. I speak, of course, of Gaedren Lamm, a man whose cruelty is matched only by his ability to avoid reprisal.”

“Oh, where are my manners. I am Zellara, daughter of Zontarra,” She sits at the head of the table.

Danver walks in and takes a seat. “Danvar” he grunts out in greeting.

“Forgive us for being late, were became sidetracked and almost forgot about the card. I am Learis, this is my sister Aiyanna.”

Aiyanna waits politely for Zellara to continue.

“When Gaedren’s thieves stole my Harrow deck, my livelihood and a potent heirloom, my son went to get it back, and was murdered. The Guard of course are of no help, and so I have turned to you.”
“But now I know where he is, and very close as well, hardly more than a stone’s throw from here. If you will help me, I will tell you where to find him.”

Aiyanna notices the predatory gleam in Learis’ eyes, and turns to the woman, “I think Gaedren is in for a terrible day.”

“I am surprised you turned to us. But I believe we can help.”

“I want only for this tumor to be cut out of the City. I sense much good in you.”
“So you will aid me?”

“I cannot speak for the others. But I will agree.” Learis responds, with steel in her voice.

“Lass, you tell me where this man is, and you can rest assured his head will be at yer doorstep.”

“Of course,” Aiyanna replies.

Zellara smiles, “then you can find him, only three blocks north of here, at West Pier 17”
For the piers, the number comes after the name.

“How do you know where he is? And do you know what he is doing there?”

“It is an old fishery. He operates there with his thugs and child-thieves. It is a hide-out, one of many buildings in the city that are boarded up until they can be auctioned publicly.”
“I do not know where Gaedren is at this moment, only that this is his current base of operations.”

“We can certainly keep an eye on it. See if we can catch him coming or going.” Aiyanna muses, “but we shouldn’t wait too long, or he might slip from our fingers.”

“How do you know this. Forgive my suspicion, but you can understand my caution? The man we all seem to be looking for just happens to be close by?” Learis asks.

“The cards tell all.” Zellara replies.

Learis give her sister a questioning look before Zellara continues, “And I have also spent many weeks spying this out.” Aiyanna smirks at the last added part, uncertain if it’s true, or if the fortune teller just offered it to ease our skepticism.

“So you’ve seen him going in and out o’ there?” Danvar asked.

“I have only seen him enter, but not how he leaves. Yes, I have seen it, I know that he is there. Don’t delay.”

“Curiouser and curiouser,” Aiyanna muses.

Learis looks at the others. “Shall we go check it out?”

Danvar looks at the others. “Don’t know about you folks, but I’m going to be gettin’ some rest before I storm some rogues’ complex. We’ve been up all night, and I’ve used most of me magic already as well.”

Lexon nods in agreement with Danvar.

Learis chuckles silently to herself. “Yes of course. That makes sense.”

Danvar rises from the chair. “Lass, there a decent inn right here?” He asks the fortune teller.

“Go south to Field Marshal Way and then almost to the castle,” Zellara offers, “there is an Inn called the Golden Lion.”

“Perhaps,” Aiyanna counters, "but if we go during the day, we might tip our hand. Gaedren and his thugs know what we look like.
“At least, Learis and I,” she continues.

“Well I intend to observe it first. Perhaps we can find a less direct way in.”

It is easy to find accommodations, especially the night of the Faire, and you even see some nervous apprentices making their way down the streets. The fog has lifted now. Zellara bids you good luck.

“I’ve got an idea folks, a cover that could let us observe the facility, if ya want.” Danvar says to the assembled group.

“Im open to suggestions” Learis replies.

“We’ll be sittin down by the docks, right? A group of folks just hanging out there, not doin’ nothing but looking at a building will draw attention. So we gotta be doing something, right?”

“Yes?” Learis answers, “I imagined us split up a bit while we observe, but doing something would help us blend in better.”

“Well, we got a lot of poorer folks out that way. We set up a cover that I’m there providin’ some healin, and yer assisting me. I can work at helping some of the lesser maladies, and we can get some good done fer a few hours while you guys look for our quarry.”

“well i won’t be any help with healing, but i can be protection.”

“That— That is a good idea.” Aiyanna concedes, “I think that using magic would draw attention to us though. Especially once word gets out.”

“I’m not having much magic to use, but I been trained in basic medical techniques as well”

“Even without magic,” she continues, "It might still draw a crowd.
“There aren’t many that are too poor and downtrodden by the docks. The longshoremen usually chase them off, or they linger in the slums”

“Aye, but there should be no shortage of sailors needing cuts stitched, or rashes looked after.”

Aiyanna looks disgusted, “I don’t want to look at any sailors’ rashes,” she whines.

Danvar chuckles. “Wantin’ to spill a man’s gust on the floor, but squeamish about a rash.
“Anyways, that be my best idea. Let me know if ya got something better.”

Aiyanna lowers her voice conspiratorially so Learis doesn’t hear, "Gaedren deserves justice, and if that is to be found at the edge of a sword, so be it. But I won’t take any pleasure in causing any extra suffering.

“We could pretend to be inspectors hired by the deceased owner’s children,” Learis suggests, “there to inspect the property while they fight amongst themselves?”

“Inspectors would require papers,” Aiyanna suggests, her voice returning to normal volume, “I might be able to … come up with some, but I’d rather we aimed at something a bit more basic. Something that they would be expecting to see, if not necessarily wanting to see. Customs and Tax agents, perhaps?”

Learis considers for a moment. “I would have to agree. Custom agents would make a lot of sense.”

++++++++++

The cry of gulls echos over the harbor. Over the narrow strait you can see the rolling hills of Varisia— a patchwork of thickets and farmland.

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A Chance Encounter
Edge of Anarchy 001

Even at night, Korvosa is full of color— bright points of Varisian scarves and black market streets glittering like a sky full of jewels. A mournful blanket of fog has rolled in from the westerly sea, palling the street lamps; a diffuse haze. North of North Point square is a little known alley that hosts and impromptu faire and market on nights such as these— “The Apprentice’s Tail” it’s called.

Aiyanna scans the crowds, unsure if Learis is still around, or if she has gone her separate way. She gently sets down the filigreed inkpen she was holding and smiles to herself. She does have a tendency to wander off towards things that catch her fancy.

The fog is so thick that you can only see Old Korvosa as a thin line of twinkling lights. And across the Strait Bridge northwards you can hear the bawdy laughter of Eel’s End— a dock-end flotilla of permanently moored ships of ill-repute.

Aiyanna shudders at the thought of the Eel’s End, and their last visit there. She rests a hand on Learis’ elbow; providing some small comfort. Learis gives her a small smile before scanning their surroundings.

As you’re walking along, a stand selling exotic flowers catches your eye: Orchids, Vudran Flytraps, and Salamander Crests, all bright against a dark backdrop. The proprietor is a man with black-lens goggles, bald with sagging neck skin. You can’t tell if he’s looking at you or not.

Learis moves over the look over the Orchids; Aiyanna follows near behind, trying to subtly make eye contact with the merchant. A Flytrap hisses at her and lolls it’s head. The proprietor turns his vulture-like head to the two women.

A young boy bumps into Aiyanna and without a word he moves off. She rolls her eyes, and checks her belt pouches. She’s knows the streets are louse-y with pickpockets, but all seems to be in place.

Learis glances over at Aiyanna “Everything alright?”

“Surprisingly, yes,” she replies, patting herself down, as the kid disappears into the crowd “Still have my coins, components, and spellbook.” She smiles as Learis double checks her own items.

Aiyanna can’t even see the child anymore, nor does she see anything else out of the ordinary. There is a sense of wonder in the air as this fog-summoned Faire is ostensibly for Apprentices and Initiates. Most of the kiosks are selling material components, and the subdued cry of hawkers proclaiming their superior attributes.

Yes, indeed, this faire and the night, and Old Korvosa brings out the oddball people; noting all sorts of oddball types, and none of them too powerful, are crowding in by the minute, for when the fog clears the faire will vanish. That’s the magic of it.

Aiyanna carefully examines the wares for sale with a practiced eye,The wares are all of course way over-exaggerated, but one does catch your eye. A young man of maybe fifteen, clad in dark green, and with spiked pale blonde hair. His first level components have a waxen treatment, and you have read about it. For twenty crowns, he says, he will treat your components with it on the spot.

Nearby, a Varisian matron is just finishing up a Harrow reading and is re-shuffling her deck. Learis leans closer to Aiyanna. “Should we get a reading?”

Aiyanna considers for a moment, still examining the components, slightly distracted by the fortune teller, “I don’t know. You know how mom got about the Harrow Deck—” she trails off “—It did get to be a bit more than a simple diversion for her, remember.”

The woman catches you looking. And with a flourish, she spreads the deck out on her black cloth. She is clad in the bright colors of traditional Varisians, her liver-spotted arms clanking with bangles.

Learis grimaces. “True. I was just thinking it might be a fun distraction.” After a moment of thought, Learis nods. “I’m going to get one.”

Aiyanna casts a sidelong glance at her sister. Trying her best to keep a straight face until Learis moves over to the fortune-teller.

Grinning at Aiyanna. “I promise not to get obsessed like mom.”

“You couldn’t afford to get obsessed like mom,” she chides playfully.

“I am Vendra, Oracle of the Woodlands” She pushes a well-worn wooden collection box out. It’s handle is well-worn and it is worked with silver and malachite leaves.

Learis chuckles back at her sister as she approaches the woman. You notice a passerby rolling his eyes at the woman.

“A pleasure, madam Vendra,” Aiyanna says, as she places a pair of chelish marks on the table, she gestures to the stool with an exaggerated flourish.

Learis smiles at her sister and sits. “Greetings madam Vendra. If you please?”

She has splayed out the deck and asks you to put your hands face down on the spread, “Do not choose yet. You must find your center.”

After a moment hesitation, Learis does as she is instructed.

They both recognize this as the time-worn individualized methods of the thousands of such card-readers and exchange knowing glances before Learis closes her eyes and takes a few breaths to calm herself.

She puts her confident hands on top of Learis’, then closes her eyes and utters some kind of incantation. Though her words are clear, you don’t recognize a syllable of it. Again, the theatrical invented stuff of such a ceremony, “Now! Choose!” She declares dramatically.

Aiyanna watches earnestly, strangely nervous, as she fiddles with her signet ring. Learis takes a breath and lets her ‘intuition’ guide her.

THE ECLIPSE
“Young Lady, this is a powerful omen, and in truth I can see it about you, weighing on you. Your fates will soon change. The way you thought open for you will close, and another will open,…”
“You will soon deal with Evil men, but in them you will find wisdom.”

Aiyanna purses her lips, amused at how vague, and yet appropriate, the fortune is. She knows there can be magic in harrow readings, but it can just as likely be nonsense. She’s trying to decide which this might be.

As she says her final words of the reading, she closes her eyes, and both of you can feel a tangible and real energy coursing out from her to you, and her tone changes from theatrics to prophesy, “If you doubt yourself, you will fall into darkness. But if your faith is quick, you will prevail over all things. With these words, I give you power. As the shadow grows complete, it will be there for you as a star in your Lantern.”

Learis’ eyes widen in slight shock at the change in tone and strange feeling.

“What?” Aiyanna remarks in deadpan incredulity.

“And you!” the seer exclaims, “You are the sister, I can see it. Please child, you should draw as well.” With these words, the sounds of the faire, though present, seem to fade and it seems like only you three are in existence now.

Aiyanna nervously approaches the seer, slightly apprehensive as she places two more marks on the cloth. “Are we sure?” she asks Learis as her sister staggers up from the stool.

“Th..thank you madam Vendra” she manages to stammer out

She reshuffles the deck with decades of experience. The backs of the cards have a knot-like pattern on them. With a deep breath, she spreads them again and bids you place your hands and center yourself, as before.

Learis glances at her sister, an anxious look on her face. After a moment she nods.

Aiyanna returns the nod of encouragement and sits. Resting her hands on the table, she takes several slow breaths. Similar to how she begins preparing her spells. It is almost a ritual of her own. Her eyes closed, she draws from the deck.

THE SNAKEBITE, Aiyanna makes a nervous ‘meep’ at the announcement.

Learis watches with nervous eagerness for what Madam Vendra has to say.

Vendra speaks clearly, as if from a lucid trance, “Nothing is as it seems. Every mask has two sides. Even you! You are already weaving into the masquerade. In disease you will find health. In an enemy you will find a steadfast friend. And in a prison you will find your escape!”

Aiyanna leans back in the stool, puzzlement on her face. She turns to Learis, her expression asking silently if she can make sense of it.

Learis looks at her sister, also confused.

“Remember well that it is a serpent’s nature to bite any hand that strays near.” Vendra continues, as Aiyanna leans back into the reading, slightly embarrassed that she thought it was over, and hoping that Madam Vendra is not offended, “So, too, you will have the power to strike with surety and with the finality of the grave. When the time comes you will see as clear as day, but your enemies will be confounded as if in the deepest night.”

Vendra seems spent. Almost in a daze she quickly packs her little stand into a leather-strapped box, hoists it on to her back and merges with the crowd.

A few onlookers also turn into the stream of bodies. But one of them comments, “Odd to see elder Vendra here, it’s usually her daughter.”

Aiyanna watches her go, a little dazed herself. She turns to the speaker, “Why? Where’s her daughter?”

Learis starts to reach towards madam Vendra but stops herself. Surprised at her reaction. She looks over at Aiyanna. “Wha?” At her sister’s question, she waits for the person’s response.

“Little Vendra?” he drawls, “She works at a perfumery. Can’t say where that would be though.”

The Faire is crowded now, and you hear all sorts of voices, that part where people are starting to have to talk over the din.

You see a jester, an elven woman with modified elongated ears, in yellow and red, juggling skulls. You see a man with an easel set, painting a painting of a handcart full of dead bodies. Nearby is a display with daggers, all sorts of them, but many with animals featured in the hilts. Aiyanna notices one with a serpent’s fangs bared on the pommel. A patron reaches to pick it up and it animates, flaring a cobra’s hood. The young man jumps back startled and the proprietor laughs, the haughty snort of a boar. You hear two young men begging for apprentice-ship from a passing wizard.

As you grow distant down the lane, Learis sees an old flame…

Aiyanna notes the wizard, and the apprentices. A smirk crosses her face, her contemplation interrupted as Learis grabs her arm suddenly and gestures towards the person. “Is that….?”

Aiyanna squints, suddenly regretting not taking her glasses with, “I— I think so?”

Verik Vancaskerkin. He is there in the regalia of the guard, but it is mostly hidden under an oily charcoal grey cloak. She sees him as he pulls the hood back, looking striking with his angular features. There are two other guards with him, the tips of their crossbows skulking under the hems of their cloaks. They are quietly questioning an elderly man, off to the side. No one seems to overtly notice their presence.

A flood of old feelings sweeps over Learis. She remembers all the reasons she loved him. His confident posture. His teasing smirk.

Aiyanna steals a quick glance at her sister, trying see if she wants to be noticed. Learis turns towards her sister and answers the unspoken question, “Lets just go the other way”

Aiyanna nods, and takes another look back at Vancaskerkin, before following. She liked Verik, more or less, but her feelings for him were never as strong as her sister’s. The positive ones at the beginning, or the negative ones at the end.

Verik had a tendency to disappear when things weren’t convenient for him, but he sure knew how to get people to go along with his ideas. His natural charm got people to override their common sense. And with everything that’s happened lately, Learis really doesn’t need to deal with old flames right now.

It’s too late! He sees YOU. And without breaking eye contact he fights his way through the river of humans, flashing that winning smile. Aiyanna recognizes that look, and places a restraining hand on her sister’s arm.
“Learis!” He shouts, so much for the subtlety and magic of the faire! Having dropped his subtlety people glower at him. The Guard does not usually attend this event.

Learis tenses for a moment before sighing in resignation.

Aiyanna panics, steps between the two of them, and extends her hand in greeting, several paces too early.

“Verik?” Learis pretends to just recognize him. “You look well.”

“Verik,” she exclaims, her hand still hanging in the air, “It’s me. Hi.”

Without disengaging his hunter-like b-line for your sister he snaps his fingers “Ah, yes…. ummm…” he’s trying to remember your name. His two companions stay where they are, shoulder shrugging, one has his hand on the old man’s shoulder.
He shakes Aiyanna’s hand half-heartedly and moves with a fighters grace around you. Like a dance.
His dark brown eyes flash for you, Learis. He bows. “You’re looking as….” he inhales sharply as if looking you over for the words, “as radiant as ever. What are you doing here?” he asks Learis. He doesn’t seem to see the thorn-like pain of a bereaved mother in your eyes.

Thouroughly ignored, Aiyanna lets her arm flop to her side. She shrugs noncommittally, and gives the other guard a conspiratorial wink. Gestures to the two of them and makes kissy faces towards Verik and her sister. The other guard smiles nervously. You see now he’s a chubby fellow.

“Thank you Verik,” Learis replies cooly, she glances at his attire, “I’m surprised to see you here at the faire. I didn’t think the guard had any interest in the happenings here?”

“I’m just working overtime, on errands from the Citadel.” he replies, “How is Theole? And you two had a baby right?”

Learis fights to control her expression. "He is fine. Yes, we had a baby girl.” She tries changing the subject, “It seems like you’re busy right now. Aiyanna and I can let you get back to work. We should also be getting home.”

“Well I’m glad to hear that.” he says, with a touch of disappointment. “You know that I’ll be glad to be of any service I can, for you.”

“Learis nods in appreciation. Thats very kind of you. If i need anything, i will let you know.”

Aiyanna notices a stocky, well armed, and armored dwarf stumbling towards the group. He seems lost in his thoughts, a sour look on his face, and mumbling under his breath. He seems oblivious to the group just ahead of him, and is on a path to collide directly with Verik.

“Oh, that’s it huh?” He smiles. “No time to chit-chat with old flames?”

Aiyanna watches the dwarf approach. Curious. And thinks a collision might be just the thing to defuse the rising tensions

Learis give Verik an apologetic smile. “Forgive me, i dont mean to be rude. But we were just about to head home. And i didnt want to hold you up from your duties”

Aiyanna moves out of the way of the shambling dwarf, a crude imitation of the way Verik dodged her earlier. Casually enough to make it seem as though it wasn’t intentional. As she moves closer to her sister.

“If you want to look me up, and can’t find me at the Citadel, find “All the World’s Meat near the southeast wall of North Point, not far from here. Parn’s father owns it and he will know where I am.” He moves out of the Dwarf’s way and melts into the crowd, along with his two companions. He is obviously a much more accomplished warrior than when we was younger. He moves with his holstered spear as if with a dance partner.

Learis gives him what she hopes is a polite smile at his offer and nods, sighs in relief at Verik’s leaving.

Aiyanna is vaguely disappointed that they didn’t collide, but is still happy that Learis isn’t forced to deal with Verik so awkwardly.

A gimp-legged man in peasant’s rags limps by. On his back is a basket,and in the basket is a scarecrow with black-button eyes. “Sir are you okay?” A large fellow says to the limping man as he is able to catch his eye.

The Dwarf gets right in front of Learis, lets out a wretched burp, and collapses at your feet. You hear him mumbling slurs about a man named Gaedrin.

Aiyanna watches the dwarf collapse, and kneels down next to him. She uses a minor prestidigitation to attempt to sober him up. Or at least freshen his breath

Hearing the name the dwarf mutters shakes Learis out of her reverie. She looks in shock at her sister

The limping man looks up, quizzically and continues on his way. “Why wouldn’t I be fine?” he mumbles

“I heard it,” she replies. She gives her sister a questioning glance before her attention is drawn to the big man talking to the crippled man

“You are limping sir! Are you okay?” The large man inquires after the hobbling old man. He tries to get away from you as fast as he can, his club foot making for an awkward gait.

Lexon turns away highly embarrassed of his action. “Ugh screwed it again!” His eyes flare up as he looks for a hard drink.

Looking back at her sister and the dwarf, “Where should we take him?”

He sees a woman holding up a dwarf. “Is he okay?” He accidentally rudely interrupts.

Aiyanna lets the magic wash over the dwarf, patting the dwarf’s bearded face a few times to rouse him back to sobriety. She glances up at Learis from her haunches, “We won’t be able to carry him…” She points at a large man shuffling by, “Hey! You, can you help us take him to…the nearest inn?”

Lexon grabs at him from her reach and lifts him over his shoulder bring much stronger than he appears. “I think I saw one this way although I am new to this place.”

The dwarf expels another retched burp, right into Lexon’s face, as he’s lifted up.

“I’ll have what he’s drinking am I right?!” He laughs. I think I’ll like this guy he thinks to himself.

She’s doesn’t hide her surprise at all as you hoist the dwarf over your shoulder. Casting a sidelong glance at her sister as she follows the large man and drunken dwarf.
She’s somewhat miffed that the prestidigitation did nothing to freshen the dwarf’s breath as she walks through the wafting cloud of spirit vapors. Learis grimaces at the smell but can’t hide her relief that they big man was able to carry the dwarf.

You easily find a tavern. It’s on the second floor. Two stairways lead up to a broad balcony where revelers are looking down on the alley. Warm light spills from inside. A prestidigitation of blue orb lanterns wends by the railing. A sign bearing a stylized maiden in blue with a tambourine declares this “The Drunken Dame”

They pull into the Inn setting him in the lobby. “This place itself should match our dwarf.” He laughs and immediately goes to the bar as the others try to find a bench or table in the corner where they can prop the dwarf up.

The taverns usual rough patrons have been replaced by a menagerie of arcane types. Familiars slink around in the rafters.

Aiyanna watches everyone bustle around. She calls out to the large man, “Hey, umm, you! Could you bring some water for the dwarf?”

Inside it is crowded, and many low-tier academy-goers are showing off purchased wares.
The tavern wenches are having an easy go of it, as the more scholarly sort blush and try to impress with coin and spell.

He was on his way back turns and calls out to the barkeep. He grabs his drinks and the water and returns to the booth. “3 ales for me 1 each for you ladies and plain water for the drinking fella.”

Despite being so busy it’s easy to get served and soon you have both a table and the drinks that you wish. Outside the wails of a mad prophet echo across the waterfront.

Aiyanna sets the tankard of ale down on the table untouched, “Thank you, er, sir?”

What at first seem to be the regular ale-house smoke, is in reality the clammy tendrils of fog that are making their way even to the second floor.

Learis smiles, “Yes, thank you…? Sorry, we didn’t catch your name”

“Name is not much of importance. Only drinking is important.” he seems embarrased as he recalls the incident with the man.

Aiyanna uses prestidigitation again, to sober up the dwarf, before turning back to the larger man, “Well, thank you anyway.”

“Sorry trying to forget an earlier account, my name’s Lexon.” He says downing the fourth drink.

“Ah, Lexon. Well im glad you happned by. I dont think we could have lifted him ourselves.”

“What’s his problem?” He pokes at the Dwarf.

Learis smirks at his question. “Odds are, he’s had a few too many of those” she points at the mug in his hand.

“Aww, all it takes is some damn constitution. However I’ve seen you wave something on him and his breath changes what’s that?”

Aiyanna watches carefully as the dwarf drools into his beard, “not enough, unfortunately.”

He barrels out in laughter at her minor joke definitely drawing attention to himself. “I need some more drinks.”

Aiyanna glances at Learis as Lexon flags down more drinks, “We can’t deal with two drunkards.” She whispers under her breath.

“Hey! I’m fine!” Lexon replies indignantly, “I’ve made a tavern run out before I’ve had my full.”

The barmaid serves your drinks, but behind the two men, looking at the two girls makes a face and mouths, “are you guys OK?” I mean, what are these two high society belles doing with these rough out-of-towners?

Aiyanna gestures for the barmaid to approach, “could you get something that could wake up the dwarf?”

“Well, if you wish to keep drinking like this, you’re more than welcome to go. Otherwise we would appreciate it if you controlled yourself.”

Lexon apologizes to the women. “I insulted a man earlier and I feel bad I’ll stop.” He orders some food and relaxes back.

“It’s understandable, I suppose,” Aiyanna replies.

A buck-toothed young wizard in blue Academy robes swirls up; he raises his eyebrows repeatedly at Learis.. “I believe, I can help with your predicament ladies!”

“And gentleman?” Lexon calls back.

Aiyanna facepalms; she almost feels bad for the poor bloke. If it wasn’t for the eyebrow waggle, she might have considered him sincere.

In a theatrical gesture he produces a scroll. “With your permission?”

Lexon scoffs at the boy then looks at Learis with slight amusement waiting for her response.

Learis feigns surprise. “To what predicament are you referring sir?”

Aiyanna snickers, but quickly covers it with a feigned sneeze.

The young wizard is trying unsuccessfully not to look at Learis’s cleavage. “Um, your friend’s enebriated state? I have just the thing, and perhaps the Lady would favor me with a dance?”

“Can you cure our friend first? If you can’t you may want to dance with me.”

He flashes his massive overbite.It’s like two mis-shaped pillow cases hanging in a warehouse door. He is waiting on Learis.

Lexon smiles back with sharp lethal teeth.

To the man, “Oh, well that would be appreciated, but I don’t have anything to repay you for your help”

“The Lady’s consideration is sufficient.” he unfurls the scroll, reads it confidently. There is a puff of arcane blue smoke which he blows in the dwarf’s face. He looks wistfully at Learis and says that he will be “right over there.” And with that he marches off to his gaggle of expectant friends. An illusory band of devils strikes up a strident tune in the corner.

Learis shakes her head at the strangeness of the night so far.

The dwarf feels almost immediately better, and you can see the red veins in his eyes, leaving the clear white of sobriety. He grunts, lifting his head from the table, and looking around at the others, very confused.

“Dwarf! What did you drink to get yourself so trashed! I lifted you all the way here.”

“Welcome back, sir dwarf,” Aiyanna says warmly, “You were quite inebriated to be sure.”

He looks at the others, first at the young man, and then the woman who spoke to him. “Aye, it was by design… who in the hells are ye, and where in those same hells am I?”

“Well, you are in Korvosa” Aiyanna offers, “specifically the Dancing Dame Inn. I am Aiyanna, and this is my sister Learis. This gentleman here goes by Lexon”

He flashes his sharp teeth in an odd semblance of greeting.

The dwarf then starts to pat himself down, checking to ensure all of his belongings are still present. “Ok, aye, so I got yer names. What are ya wanting with me then?”

“You passed out at our feet. In the street. Not exactly a safe place. So we brought you in here.”

Aiyanna glances at her sister, “You made mention of a man by the name of Gaedren,” she leans forward, we might have business with him." Learis’ eyes narrow at the mention of his name, but peers more interestingly at the Dwarf.

His eyes narrow, then looks over an Lexon, with his sharpened teeth bared. He reaches towards his hammer, akwardly trying to release it from its binding. “Aye, I got business with that whore son. You folks thinkin to stop me?!”

“No.” Learis replies, “From your tone, i imagine we share the same opinion of the man.”

“Stop you?” Aiyanna grabs her tankard for dramatic effect, but doesn’t drink, “No. No I don’t think we’ll be stopping you.”

He calms a bit. “Well, I hope yer not seeking coin from him, cause when I’m through with him, he won’t be in no condition to be givin it out.”

Aiyanna turns to Learis, “This keeps getting better and better.”

Learis face hardens. “Coin? No, there is something else I seek from him. Something he took from me. A life for a life.” Learis’ expression turns inward and she doesn’t seem to have heard her sister’s comment.

He looks at her coldly for a minute, then he extends his hand across the table. “Danvar Coppertop. I’m thinking you and I are gonna be gettin along just fine, lass.”

Aiyana’s face falls, before steeling her expression. She finally takes her first drink from her tankard before setting it down with a sigh.

Learis looks at his hand a moment before taking it. “Aye Danvar, I think we might.”

“Wait Gaedren?!” Lexon being buzzed only just now realized the name they had been talking about. In the midst of them calmly talking something changes in Lexon. “Gaedren! I hate him!” His muscles grow and his eyes shift color he seems to gain height and gains an orcish physique. As his rage spikes he quickly comes down.

Aiyanna recoils slightly from the suddenly bestial change in Lexon.

Learis sits back, a slightly concerned look on her face. Her hand sliding near the hilt of her sword before she stops herself.

“I’m calm. I’m…. Calm…”

“What?” Learis clears her throat. “And why pray tell, do you hate Gaerdren?”

“That man did many unspeakable things to many people and to have it continue is horrific. I’ve been hunting his men but I’m not sluthy. (Good at collecting info.) It pains me to keep hearing more tails of his deeds and I must stop him!” He doesn’t go into rage but you guys can clearly see the change in his eyes.

“No offense, but usually people don’t stick their noses the actions of people like Gaedren unless it directly involves them. To do so otherwise is considered insane. So why are you. I have a hard time believing its purely concern for others.”

Aiyanna rests a hand on Learis’ wrist, “We have suffered too. And we probably aren’t the only ones.” Learis looks at Aiyanna for a second then closes her eyes to and attempts to calm herself.

Lexon gets extremely pissed at her disbelief. "So you are telling me that just because I “might” not have a personal connection to him that I can’t avenge my belief and do what I think is right?!"

Aiyanna looks up from something, her focus returning to the conversation, “let’s all calm down. No one meant to cause offense, I’m sure.”

For the third time Lexon calms down.

Eyes still closed, Learis shakes her head. “No, I’m sorry. My sister is right. I shouldn’t judge so hastily….and harshly.” She opens her eyes and look directly at Lexon.

Aiyanna seems slightly distracted, she is looking around the common room as though searching for something, before tearing her eyes away and returning to the conversation. Waiting for Learis and Lexon to continue.

“I’ll save my rage for his throat.” Lexon growls.

“It’s just that it’s rare for someone to care, who hasn’t been directly wounded by Gaedren. Most people ignore it and hope they never become victims themselves. For someone to stand up anyway, well like I said. It’s rare. And i welcome you to it” Learis turns to her sister. “Is everything ok?”

“We aren’t alone,” she whispers, taking a harrow card out of her spellbook, “I don’t know when I got this, but—” On the back of the card, hand-penned, is a message: “I know what Gaedren has done to you. He has wronged me as well. I know where he dwells, yet cannot strike at him. Come to my home at 3 Lancet Street before sunrise. Others like you will be there. Gaedren must face his fate, and justice must be done.”

Learis glances around in alarm. Then back to her sister.

There are three groups of people that seem out of place here among the revelrous apprentices. A woman with long black hair and green eyes, drinking alone, a very depressed looking warrior with his head bowed over his tankard at the bar, and three jag-weeds getting really loud and looking to spoil for a fight.

Learis studies the card, knowing that decks are very specific and are lifelong heirlooms with a lot of personal energy. However, she does not recognize this particular deck. It would be very unusual to deface a card with handwriting. Why would the owner do that?

“This is… elaborate” she offers somewhat lamely, “I know a bit about divinations, but Harrowing is almost a magic of it’s own. The Dance represents a complicated framework that requires the cooperation of all to avoid collapse.” Her explanation seems almost an afterthought as she’s scanning the bar. She does recognize someone. The depressed guy is none other than Grau Soldado, a famous swordsman and Son of Korvosa, but she’s trying to figure out if that is significant to their current situation.

Learis gives Aiyanna a quizzical look. “I suppose we could check it out tomorrow? But it could also be a trap”

“It could be,” Aiyanna agrees, “But to what end? It’s not like we have been subtle so far. And there have been plenty of times we could have fallen into a trap.” She isn’t looking at Learis though, she’s staring down a warrior who seems to be drowning his sorrows at the bar.

“Aiyanna? What is it?” Learis follows her gaze to the man. “Do you know him?”

“I would have thought you’d know him,” He’s Grau Soldado, “He’s a warrior of some renown around Korvosa”

Yes, you also recognize him as Grau Soldado, a famous Swordsman, but you also know him as an apprentice of the legendary fencer Vencarlo Orisini. To be taken as a personal protege of Vencarlo is an unheard of honor. But he blew it. You don’t know the particulars.

Learis looks closer. “Of course. Now i do. What would he be doing here?”

Aiyanna notices the look of recognition, “Maybe we should ask?”

“You think?”

Aiyanna folds her arms across her chest and sets her jaw, “Is that sarcasm?”

“What? No! I meant do you think we should disturb him?”

The group of three rowdies approach him. You can’t hear the details over the din, and most of the view is obscured, as the tavern is packed. They are clearly picking a fight. He ignores them as they prod, poke and jeer. Before you can even crane your necks to see what is going on clearly, he has shown, even in what is clearly a blackout drunken state, why he is a Master. In a flash one of the rowdies is laid out with the pommel of a short blade, his teeth embedded in the ceiling.

The other two are on him, and he’s in no condition to defend himself from multiple attackers. In another instant he’s on the ground getting his ribs smashed in.

Aiyanna winces as the action interrupts whatever response she might have had for her sister, “Looks like he’s being disturbed already!” She points. “Knock it off!” Aiyanna bellows at the ruffians. The bellow sounding more like a squeak from way back there and with all the ruckus. The apprentices clear a wide circle around the commotion. Since no property is being damaged, the barkeep simply keeps a watchful eye.

Learis only barely hears her sister as she draws her sword and head to his aid.

Learis, completely has the drop on both those scoundrels as they are beating the tar out of Grau. He is in fetal position, not even defending himself.

“Lets not try to kill anyone tonight!” She shouts after Learis, “If we can help it,” she mutters the last bit as she opens her spell component pouch

Learis grins back at her sister before stepping in and attempting to knock out the closest one to her with her sword pommel. Learis’, first blow lands, and with an elegant stabbing motion there is the liquid snap of his shoulder socket separating. He’s not unconscious, but with a snarl he turns to face you. A metal bar with studs drops out of his sleeve.

She will attempt to point her blade at the others throat, a warning that it’s time to stop.

“Oh!” Aiyanna exclaims as she notices the bar, “Learis, look out!”

They still see it as two on one, and aren’t thinking straight…

Aiyanna gathers up energy, a circle of arcane glyphs appearing around her hands, lightning arcing from rune to rune as they orbit her outstretched hands.

The mere sight of a raging Barbarian breaking ranks with trident in hand leaves both ruffians scrambling for the door, and one with severe trident damage to the ass, but it doesn’t look like Grau is breathing.

Aiyanna stifles a giggle as the men scramble out, but notices the look of concern on Learis, and quickly comes to the her aid.

“Is there a healer?” Learis asks.

Aiyanna curses under her breath, hoping someone replies,

With the fight dispersed, and the call for aid, Danvar rose from his seat, and approached the fallen man. He quickly examined him as Learis steps back to give him room

Lexon gently lifts him up trying to make sure no injuries are further harmed. He sets him in the chair and backs away. He is in bad shape. Blood is filling his lungs from shattered ribs. He has a broken foot, and a small throwing dagger is embedded in his spine.
These were no common thugs. He will be dead within moments.

Lexon pulls out one of his potions and offers it to the man seeing how badly he is injured, while Danvar quickly grabs his holy symbol, and begins to cast a spell. “I’m not sure I’ve got enough power for this, but I’ll do what I can.”

As the healing magic begins to knit his body back together he rolls over with a groan, and looks about as if waking up. With a sigh he realizes he is still alive, “You should have let them kill me.”

The shock of the extent of the man’s injuries is clear on Learis’ face, she silently curses herself for not bringing any potions with.

Aiyanna puts a hand on Learis’ shoulder, “He could have choked on it, and then we’d be just as bad off, or worse. We’re lucky Danvar was here.”

Lexon grab some ale from the counter and pour it over some of the wounds that didn’t completely heal. Danvar looks at Lexon with shock. “Damn ye boy, get the hells away from him. Wasting good drink like that.”

“I’ve had better,” he retorts, “and his wounds need a drink to forget the pain.”

“Tell you what you daft fool, you go spend 15 years learning the arts of healing, and communin’ with gods, and then you can come back here and tell me what these wounds need.”

Learis fights back a chuckle.

Lexon pulls down the collar of his shirt and shows the scars on his back. “Where were ye when I needed healing. Booze was there when nobody was for me!” He boasts, but immediately returns his attention to the warrior.

Danvar snorts at his outburst. “You want to be helpful, go find some guards. Tell them someone tried to murder someone here. Leave the complicated stuff to those who aren’t addlebrained.”

Aiyanna watches the exchange with rising trepidation and raises a finger as though to make a point to the dwarf, and thinks better of it, “Maybe we should discuss this later.” She squats next to Grau, “Are you OK? Why did those men want you dead?”

Lexon walks outside with half a mind to punch the Dwarf but realizes the need of the fighter is more important. He goes outside and is so loud that he can be heard through the door clearly. “Guards we have an extremely injured man that was just nearly murdered!”

Learis gently repeats her sister’s question to Grau

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Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

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1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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