Saturday, March 5, 2016

Ancient Dread: Totuga Pt II - The Party

Totugo – The Party 
Separate from Strongbow, Echo the Water/Air Warlock (along with her Goblin companion Ackdor), Frederick, Priest of Apis (Freddy), Klyn the Thief, and  Eddy the Knight head into town.  Quietly, Klyn detaches himself from the party to locate the local Thieves Guild and find what he can find.  The others locate an inn in which to stay for the next several days.  As they walk, Ackdor, his muscles, trident, and demeanor imposing even for one so small, clears the path ahead of them in this rough and tumble port.  Echo looks on with approval of her well chosen purchase. 
In the privacy of their room, Echo examines the pink orb they took with them from the Eldren temple back in Northern Timiro. Freddy and Eddy choose to go out exploring and seeing the sights, mostly unwashed pirates and ragamuffins.  
Out in town, Freddy and Eddy encounter Roan, the Wolfen Mind Mage and Mate off of the Virtuous Maiden.  He tells them that the rumor mills are saying that a Hitari slaver ship, the same group that had tortured the boy Malthus, has been spotted in nearby waters.  If it is true, the ship, the Damascus, would likely be little match for the Virtuous Maiden, especially re-enforced by the party’s firepower.  With a hostile growl at the idea of disemboweling the slavers, Roan turns and walks away. 
Before Roan is out of site, they turn their heads to the sound of someone frantically calling their names. Frederick goes to the runner, a young boy.  
Hello, there! What need do you have of me? “

"Please, come quick Sirs! To the Dog Tired Inn!" He responds, breathlessly. “The one called Echo is unconscious and not responding!”

Quickly they return to the inn and as they open the door to Echo's room, they encounter an angry looking goblin who quickly goes to a ready stance with trident at hand. He relaxes after recognizing them and beckons to a bed where Echo is resting with her hands across her chest.

"M'lady held a brilliant gem, and after a few moments passed out!”

Frederick rushes to her and lays his healing hands on her head.  After several minutes of healing Echo opens her eyes.

“Hello, Echo! Welcome back to us! What happened to you?”

Echo blinks in confusion as she tries to regain her thoughts. 

Eddy, always conscious of others, demands “Where’s the gem?”

Ackdor defense of his mistress, snaps back “"That is M'lady's possession and her concern"
“I’ll hurt you” Eddy threatens back, anxious for a fight.

Echo intervenes “It's safe, don't worry. And no threatening my bodyguard.”

"I'll threaten as I damn well please. You could've been dead." Eddy retorts. 

In an attempt to sooth the upset in the room, Frederick interjects with a suggestion “Let's all calm down and have a good chat. Perhaps if the good sir Ackdor would run down and get us all a cup of tea, and we can discuss this like the friends we are."

Following his lead, Echo adds “Tea would be nice. Go ahead, Ackdor.”

With a last snipe towards Eddy "Who do you think sent the runner you tin can?" Ackdor acquiesces to his mistress "Yes m'lady".

Frederick asks Echo if she is alright and if the gem harmed her.

“Not exactly”, she replies, “ I…. just wasn’t prepared”.

“Apis guided us to it,“ notes Frederick”, so it must be important.  Do you require assistance?”

“If you wanted to stick around, I could try examining again,” Echo suggests”, Though I don’t know how much more I can get out of it.”

Eddy interjects “Should we get Roan to look at it?”

“I’d prefer that we keep it a secret among ourselves”, says Echo.

“Why?”, questions Eddy.

“Because it could draw unwanted attention,” says Echo.

“Even from just Roan?” Eddy asks.

Echo explains “Roan seems like a nice enough guy for a Wolfen, but we haven't known him that long.”

“Eddy, I also believe it better to have faith in those we have more of a history with.”, Frederick agrees. “What assistance do you need with the gem? I am more than happy to help.”

“Just having you around in case I get overwhelmed again would be helpful.”, Echo states.

Thrilled at being able to help Frederick exclaims “Absolutely! Let us wait for our tea, and then we shall proceed. “

As if wishing became reality, Ackdor returns with the tea.

“Did you get sugar?” Eddy demands.

Ackdor looks incredulously at Eddy, "Is my skin green? Of course I got sugar. Also Rum. M'lady may serve herself first."

Taking a sip, Echo opines “Good tea doesn't need sugar.”

Eddy’s spoiled noble side again rears its results “Echo is stupid.” He mumbles as Frederick loads his own tea with sugar.

“ I fear my sweet tooth takes my better judgement.” Taking a sip “Shall we continue?”

Ackdor however, hears the Knight’s comment. “Is there something that has caused you to insult m'lady so?" as he fingers his throwing axe.

Eddy sneers "Sugar is awesome. Bad Ackdor, bad!".

Trying to calm the belligerents, Frederick tries to interject “  Come now, friends, let us stay on the path we are walking and focus on the task on hand. We can discuss the finer points of cuisine later, yes? “

Echo, however, has had enough from the Knight, “Perhaps Eddy can help by shutting his mouth for once.”

“Nope”, Eddy snaps back. “Ackdor isn’t my friend.”

“I've seen sailors with better manners than this supposed nobleman.” Echo retorts.

“I've seen sailors with better slaves than a good looking goblin”, Eddy responds “Better bait, I mean .”

Slamming his cup on the table, tea spilling, Frederick loses his temper “SHUT UP!!!! We are companions and must act decently towards one another! “

“I’ll….” Eddy yells before he slumps down on the floor unconscious.  Unperturbed by this unexplained turn, Apis guides as she will, Frederick walks over to him and makes a pillow out of a cloak to put under Eddy’s head. 

Calmly he asks “Shall we continue while our hotheaded friend sleeps off his temper? “

All tension seems to have left the room.  After a deep breath, Echo responds to Frederick “Sure”.  A slight smile reaching her face. 

“I will be right here to ensure your safety” Frederick encourages.

Echo sets her teacup aside and holds the gem in both hands.  After a moment, her brow furrows in concentration as she focuses on it. After a few minutes, she looks up.

“Well, that went better.”

“Excellent!”, proclaims Frederick, “What did we learn?”

“In a nutshell it is…. Sort of a nutshell.” Echo explains, “ It’s a container holding a very old power.  I don’t know how to use it or get at it though.”

A cough comes from Frederick’s hip.  His sword, an intelligent being known as An-Sehm, offers his wisdom.

"It's age is older than I was before I was born,” An-Sehm says.

Echo asks, “Weren't you technically born when Freddie assembled you a week or two ago?”

“I think I just woke him up”, Frederick claims.

An-Sehm growls “"You don't know what the 'An-Sehm' are do you?”

“I thought it was you”, Frederick responds.

“In a way,” An-Sehm answers.

“Well then tell us a story, dear sword,” Frederick says, adding more sugar and sipping his tea.

An-Sehm begins,” The An-Sehm are those Eldren deemed worthy enough to serve Sehm for all time.  We arise above our mortal shells to exist forever as red stars, the symbol of highest power, called An. When we are bound to the insturments of Sehm, we become the An-Sehm. Weapons of power to guide those who bind us.  The Gem you hold is an old artifact, and only the highest of our order, the wizards and chosen, were allowed to know of its existence. It is said that inside is something of great power, but only a piece of knowledge. More than that wasn't revealed to the An. Allegedly there is a place in the south that the gem is to be set into to unlock its knowledge. Guarded by an ancient dragon.  All this is tale and legend. I don't know if said 'dragon' is even still there.”

Amidst the proclamations of talk of a great dragon, Eddie begins to awaken and Klyn enters the room.  Klyn informs the group that there is a bounty on the head of a slaver by the name of Kraltos.  Hearing that name, the boy Malthes, who had been quietly sitting off to the side, cries out, weeping uncontrollably. Kraltos is the same monster who tortured and abused the boy, causing his unstable mental state, a member of the Hitari slavers. 

An-Sehm again offers his advice “Echo, it would be wise to have your bodyguard escort young Malthes back to the ship.”

Echo has Ackdor leave with Malthes.  An-Sehm continues.

  “As you said, Kraltos is a witch. Some witches, especially slavers, have a way of imprinting commands into their brands.  Saying Kraltos' name lets him see and hear through Malthes' eyes.”

With this revelation, the party decides that taking out the slaver and his ship, the same one that Roan mentioned was in nearby waters, would be a worthwhile side-trek from their main quest. They find it unlikely that it would be difficult to convince the other party member, the Elf Strongbow, would be disinclined to agree.  Shortly after, they pack up their belongings and head back to the Virtuous Maiden, their course set. 

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