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Session 4
In Which an Alien Attacks

20 May, 103 CY (Continued)

GM: Aramis finishes binding the gray-skinned eyeless “orc”. Reeoh notices something else behind the chest. It appears to be a cloth banner of some sort.

Reeoh: “Hey! Look at this.”

Aramis: His work completed, Aramis does so. (Overcome – Lore +4) “The Red Hand of Doom,” Aramis says in recognition. “A mighty orc horde that plagued the Elsir Vale, years ago.”

GM: Perrin finds a trapdoor in the floor of the warehouse that seems to lead underground into what appear to be Brindinford’s sewers.

Reeoh: “Great, are they coming to visit?”

GM: “Probably how they were getting the bodies off the streets so quickly,” Perrin muses. “Those they didn’t eat,” he says, eyeing the chewed femur in distaste.

Aramis: “I’m not sure, Reeoh. Perhaps their defeat was not as final as history would have us believe. Could there be more of them?” He peers into the sewer, nose a-wrinkle.

GM: “Still no sign of my nephew,” Perrin says softly, reminding the others that for the former Watch captain, Family First.

Reeoh: “Not much of a horde here, so…Maybe?”

GM: Perrin: “Advance scouting party?” He frowns at the gray bodies. “Are these even orcs? And if so, why murder townsfolk?”

Aramis: “They don’t look like the orcs I saw in Khundrukar, anyway.”

GM: Perrin nods. “Nor those I faced before I … you know. Died. The details are still fuzzy, but they might have had a Red Hand Banner. I was distracted.”

Aramis: “Interesting. She said that ‘Ghaerleth Axom cannot be stopped.’”

GM: Perrin: “Is that a name?”

Aramis: “I’m not sure.”

GM: Perrin: “The Watch aren’t helping. Maybe we should take this straight to the baron.” He sounds uncertain.

Aramis: “I agree with the former. Do you think you could land an audience with the baron?”

GM: Perrin: “He’s my cousin,” he says simply. After a beat, he adds wryly, “So. Maybe.”

Reeoh: “I’ll take a look down here,” says Reeoh, indicating the sewer entrance.

Aramis: Aramis accompanies her, renewing his light spell.

GM: Perrin: “I’m not going down there.” He takes the banner and climbs out the window to go see about informing the baron about stuff.

Reeoh: (Overcome – Notice +2)

GM: (Looks like a sewer. Smells like one, too. Sounds … sewer-y.)

Aramis: Coming up with nothing, they return to the warehouse.

GM: The prisoner sits against the wall, struggling against her bonds, somewhat feebly. Her head jerks this way and that, and if she had eyes, you’re pretty sure they’d be wild and darting.

Reeoh: Reeoh scurries around collect all her knives.

GM: One body twitches as she pulls the blade out of its brainpan.

Reeoh: “What are we goin’ to do with her?”

Aramis: Aramis approaches her, slowly, dropping to a crouch close enough to half-whisper: “Who is Ghaerleth Axom?”

GM: “Leave me, Death. Your minions’ torments are sufficient.”

Aramis: “Not until I am answered.”

GM: “Doom,” she says with the fervor of Blind Faith.

Aramis: “The Red Hand of Doom?”

GM: “Pawns.”

Aramis: “Played in whose game?”

GM: She shows her teeth. “Ghaerleth Axom.”

Aramis: “Did Merdick Forren get caught in this game?”

GM: “I don’t know that name.”

Aramis: “The Captain of the Watch.”

GM: “Anything is possible.” Her tone is bored.

Reeoh: “Why have you come here?”

GM: Her head turns toward Reeoh, and though eyeless, she gives the impression of staring intently at a piece of meat. “To hunt. To conquer.”

Reeoh: “On whose orders?”

GM: She turns to “look at” Aramis again. “Not very quick, your friend.”

Aramis: “Ghaerleth Axom,” Aramis tells Reeoh.

Reeoh: Under her breath she says, “I really do not do interrogation well.”

Aramis: “Where is he?” Aramis assumes it’s a he.

GM: She “looks” off to the side abruptly and cocks her head, listening. After a pregnant pause, her attention returns to Aramis. “Close.”

Aramis: Aramis turns to listen. “We should probably get out of here,” he says. (Overcome – Notice +2)

GM: (Sounds clear.)

Reeoh: (Overcome – Notice +0)

GM: (Sounds muddy.)

Aramis: Aramis stands and walks toward the window.

Reeoh: Begins tying a noose

GM: “Listen,” she snaps at Aramis’ back. “He will come for you as he came for all of us. The Speaker in Dreams. You will see.” She laughs a little at the irony. “Oh, yes. You will all see.”

Reeoh: Reeoh frowns. “See what?”

GM: No answer is forthcoming from the bound and blind prisoner.

Aramis: “We’ll send someone to collect her,” Aramis tells Reeoh as they exit.

Reeoh: “Couldn’t we hang her up by her feet before we leave?”

Aramis: “We could,” Aramis says in a humoring tone, “but I don’t want to be here if and when her friends arrive.”

GM: (Timestamp: Noonish)

Aramis: “Until we hear back from Perrin, I believe we should look into this laughing ghost of West Hill.” He doesn’t put quotes around “laughing ghost” because he doesn’t even joke about the possibility of undead.

Reeoh: “I agree, it’s something we can do for now”

Aramis: We head that-a-way.

GM: (West Hill) This eccentric district is popular among intellectuals. It contains specialty bookshops and is home to a number of sages on various subjects. The buildings are largely freestanding houses with small yards. The shrine to the Raven Queen, which they avoid because of Father Sloane’s ire, is found in West Hill, as is the Zenadiel Academy.

Reeoh: (Create Advantage – Contacts -1)

Aramis: (Create Advantage – Investigate +2)

GM: Aramis and Reeoh try to corroborate the stories they’ve heard about the Laughing Ghost, avoiding fairgoers and attempting to reach out to any of the local businesses. For the most part, the proprietors have no time for “superstitious nonsense” and the adventurers are shooed out. As they walk about a quieter street in West Hill wondering how to proceed, something strange happens.

GM: For an instant, the very fabric of space seems to warp—distances stretch to infinity or close to nothing, straight lines warp and weave, and vertigo assaults their senses. In the eye of this insane storm, space opens up, and a pool of thick blue slime oozes out onto the street. As the vertigo subsides, a huge wormlike creature rises up from the pool. Its translucent, purplish skin reveals strands of pulsing organs beneath it, and a ring of hooked tentacle-like limbs surrounds a gaping lamprey-like mouth.

GM: (2 zones: Alleys, Streets; Situation Aspect: WTF is That?!)

Reeoh: “This ain’t good, Aramis! THIS AIN’T GOOD!”

Aramis: Aramis works his jaw until he realizes that nothing is going to come out. Then he draws his sword.

Reeoh: Following his lead, she readies her knives.

GM: (Exchange 1)

Reeoh: (Attack – Shoot +2)

GM: (Defend – Athletics +2)

Reeoh: (Boost on Wyste, Knife Wedged in its Teeth)

GM: The creature screeches squelchily!

Aramis: Aramis calls on the power of winter to slow the creature’s movement. (Create Advantage – Lore +6, invoking Cleric of the Raven Queen)

GM: (Opposition – Physique +5)

Aramis: The wyste is Freezing Up (1 free invocation).

GM: The otherworldly horror slithers forward and attempts to wrap its bulk around Aramis! (Create Advantage – Physique +5)

Aramis: Aramis is too slow to avoid (Defend – Athletics +4, invoking Freezing Up)

GM: (Aramis is Grappled!; 1 free invocation for GM)

GM: (Exchange 2)

Reeoh: “Damn!” (Attack – Shoot +4)

GM: (Defend – Athletics +1; 3 shifts of stress to wyste)

Reeoh: Skips to the right. (in a non-zone-changing fashion)

Aramis: Aramis attempts to hack his way free of the grapple. (Attack – Fight +5, invoking boost Wedged Knife)

GM: (Defend – Fight +4, invoking Grappled!; 1 shift of stress to wyste)

GM: The wyste tries to hold Aramis still while it brings its be-tentacled mouth down to take a bite! (Attack – Fight +4, fate point to invoke Grappled!)

Aramis: Aramis resists. (Defend – Physique +5)

GM: (Exchange 3)

Reeoh: Reeoh moves to the alley to hide (Create Advantage – Stealth +4)

GM: (Opposition – Notice +3) The creature loses track of the rogue.

Reeoh: Reeoh in now Hidden (1 free invocation).

Aramis: Aramis tries to keep its attention on him with another strike. (Attack – Fight +7, invoking Dragonslayer) “You aren’t so big,” Aramis lies.

GM: (Defend – Fight +5; 2 shifts of stress to wyste)

GM: It trills hungrily/angrily and tries again to devour the frustratingly kill-y priest. (Attack – Fight +5)

Aramis: (Defend – Physique +1, invoking Eye for Wisdom; 3 shift hit + boost Squeezed)

Aramis: (Minor Consequence Bruised Ribs, 1 free invocation)

GM: (Exchange 4)

Reeoh: Reeoh flies out of the alley and “Double Stabs” the worm (Attack – Stealth +6, Backstab stunt)

GM: (Defend – Athletics +2, 3 shift hit on wyste, plus boost Distracted by Pointy Bits)

Aramis: Aramis attempts to make himself Too Cold to Hold (Create Advantage – Lore +4)

GM: (Opposition – Physique +7)

Reeoh: “I’m running out of knives!”

Aramis: The cleric’s reply is all wheeze and no words.

GM: The wyste feels lunch at hand! (Attack – Fight +4 ; you know, after 3 free invocations to reroll the horseshit.)

Aramis: (Defend – Fight +5, invoking boost Distracted)

GM: Aramis holds it off.

GM: (Exchange 5)

Reeoh: More knives from the mouth of the alley. (Attack Shoot +5)

GM: The worm-like monstrosity seems to have worn itself out. (Defend – Athletics +1; it is taken out.) It slumps to the street and its body melts into a puddle of viscous purple goo.

Reeoh: “That’s nasty. Aramis!”

Aramis: “What WAS that? Are you all right?”

Reeoh: “Me? Are YOU all right? You sound like a broken concertina!”

Aramis: “I don’t feel much different either.” He looks around to see who’s watching.

Reeoh: “And that was a large purple worm … from nowhere”.

GM: A few looky-loos poke their heads out of shops or peek through windows at the remnants of the scene in the street. They look spooked, and who wouldn’t?

Aramis: “Did everything kind of… bend when it appeared? Did you feel that?”

Reeoh: “I saw it. But I don’t understand.”

GM: The purple puddle evaporates as they talk through what just happened.

Reeoh: “Uh … At least I don’t have to go wadin’ to get my knives back.”

Aramis: “Nor I.”

GM: A bystander says, “I wonder why Alein is not here. She’s usually on top of anything that happens in West Hill.”

Reeoh: “Alein?”

Aramis: He turns to look at the bystander.

GM: “Yeah, Alein, the Champion of Bahamut. She lives in the shrine not too far from here.”

Aramis: “I see. We’ll let her know what happened here.”

GM: Concerned conversations begin as more people emerge into the street.

Reeoh: “Maybe we should check on her? And get your ribs wrapped.” She looks at Aramis.

Aramis: “I’ll tend myself shortly,” he tells Reeoh. “Let me see if I can reassure these folks first.”

GM: From snippets of conversation the words “Death priest” and “cursed” punctuate the fear.

Aramis: “Everyone! A… disturbance has just occurred, but my associate and I have dispatched it! Rest assured that we are investigating its cause, with an eye toward making sure this does not happen again.” (Create Advantage – Rapport +4) “Please go about your business.”

GM: They dare not gainsay Aramis and appear to accept his version of events.

Aramis: He takes a moment to treat his wounds, then sets off toward the shrine of Bahamut.

GM: Ahead, a shrine decorated with the iconography of Bahamut looms out of a bank of thick mist. A woman’s voice cries out from behind the shrine. The words are indistinct, but the tone carries a sense of urgency.

Reeoh: Reeoh sneaks up to the corner to peek around.

Aramis: As a Friend to the Needy, Aramis rushes forward without regard for his safety.

GM: Aramis finds that to be problematic when the aggressors in the fog hear him coming and get the drop on him. (Compel for +1 Fate Point)

GM: Behind the shrine, Aramis finds the senseless form of a woman in armor. Magic Missiles streak from above! Two robed and cowled figures are perched on the roof of the shrine. (Attack – Lore +3, +1)

Aramis: (Defend – Athletics -2, +3; 4 shift hit plus boost on Aramis; Medium Consequence Cracked Ribs)

GM: (Exchange 1)

Reeoh: “Well, shite,” she whispers, climbing the wall to get to the roof for a better view over the fog. (Create Advantage – Athletics +3)

GM: Reeoh has the High Ground (1 free invocation).

Aramis: Aramis calls upon a winter wind to blow the fog away in his zone. (Overcome – Lore +5)

GM: (Opposition – +2, Success with Style. Looks Clear)

GM: The robed figures exchange a surprised glance, then strike again! (Attack – Lore +5, +3, invoking boost on first attack)

Aramis: (Defend – Athletics +5, +4, invoking Clear on first defense; boost on Aramis)

GM: (Exchange 2)

Reeoh: (Attack – Shoot +6, double invoking High Ground)

GM: (Defend – Athletics +3, target is taken out)

Reeoh: Reeoh flips the knife high into the air to let it drop right into target 1’s skull, dropping him instantly.

Aramis: Aramis attempts to burn the second caster down with sacred flame. (Attack – Lore +5)

GM: (Defend – Athletics +0; target is taken out)

GM: (End Conflict)

Reeoh: ’What was that? Do you always just trip over fights?!"

Aramis: “More often than not. Search them while I see to her.”

Reeoh: ’FINE!" She searches the bodies. (Overcome – Notice +4)

GM: The robes feature a double circle centered on the chest, a smaller circle inside a larger one.

Reeoh: “They have nothing except this symbol on their robes.”

Aramis: He nods and goes to check on the armored woman.

GM: She is unconscious, but apparently otherwise unharmed.

Aramis: Aramis attempts to revive her.

GM: Her eyes flutter open after a moment and she gasps. “Alein! Oh! Who … who are you?”

Aramis: “I’m Brother Aramis. Has something happened to Alein?”

GM: “Brother-? Oh, yes! The other Dea- I mean … the junior priest of the Raven Queen.”

Aramis: The solemn one’s face shows no umbrage at the near-slip.

GM: “What’s happened here? Why was I on the ground?” She notices the bodies. “Oh! Who are they?”

Aramis: “Were you on the roof? Two spellcasters up there attacked me when I came to aid you.”

GM: “On the roof? No. Alein and I were together inside the shrine and heard a cry for help from the back. She told me to remain inside while she investigated, but she did not return. When I came to check on her her, I found the mist and cried out. After that … I suppose they … ensorceled me? But where is Alein?” She stands, and moves to inspect the bodies herself.

Aramis: “I intend to find out. What is your name, milady?”

GM:Torea,” she says. “I am Alein’s … squire, I guess you could say.” Pulling the cowl aside, she gasps. “Oh! I recognize this man. He was at that bookstore – the Reality Wrinkle, it’s called – when that man was killed!"

Aramis: Aramis exchanges a glance with Reeoh. “Reality Wrinkle? That sounds rather like what we experienced earlier on.”

Reeoh: “An’ then some,” Reeoh mutters.

GM: “Odd little shop. Alein and I were among the first at the scene days ago when word spread that a man had died at the bookstore. Witnesses were unwilling to describe what had happened as anything more than an ‘unfortunate accident.’ The proprietor said that the victim fell down a staircase, but his body was covered with small bite marks and strangely drained of blood.”

Aramis: “I think our search should begin there, then. Though I need a moment to compose myself. Possibly several moments.”

Reeoh: “Ya think?”

GM: She nods distractedly. “I’m worried about Alein. I’m going to see if anyone nearby has seen her.”

The Speaker in Dreams

Session 3
In Which Killers Are Blind

19 May, 103 CY (Continued)

GM: The three make their way back to Chatterstreet Market seeking any new information about the disappearance of Watch Captain Merdick Forren.

Reeoh: (Create Advantage – Contacts +4) Reeoh reaches out to her contacts. “You should talk to these people.” She provides a list.

Aramis: Aramis aids.

Perrin: (Overcome – Investigation +8, invoking Reeoh’s advantage and with Aramis’ aid)

GM: An off-duty town guard, a little intoxicated, mentions that the captain of the town guard, Merdick Forren, disappeared the day before the fair began. He was last seen in Chatterstreet Market. Shoomma adds that she spoke with him just a few hours before he was reported missing. He was on a routine patrol, not investigating anything in particular, though he was asking questions about reports he’d received of extortion.

Aramis: “This extortion isn’t something your people are behind?” Aramis asks Reeoh. It’s not an accusation.

Reeoh: “Not my style in any way. We’re sneaky,” she says, handing Perrin his purse. “Not brutes.”

GM: A sullen, streetwise young man explains that there have been a number of grisly deaths in Southspur recently. No bodies were found, but the sheer quantity of blood found at the scenes leaves little doubt as to the victims’ fate.

GM: A number of merchants in the Chatterstreet Market neighborhood have complained to Shoomma about crime in the last few months. Some have suffered theft, while thugs offering “protection” from theft and vandalism in exchange for money or other favors have approached others. Those who refused to pay were always victimized shortly thereafter. It wouldn’t surprise her if the apparent murders in Southspur were escalations of those who didn’t pay…

GM: A flirtatious barmaid tells a story circulating the town about the “laughing ghost of West Hill.” Residents and visitors in West Hill have heard strange, otherworldly laughter through the streets, with no definite source. Tales say that a scholar, driven mad by his explorations into “things mortals were not meant to know,” took his own life, and his ghost now haunts his old neighborhood.

GM: Evening falls as the three start going door-to-door at businesses in Chatterstreet Market. The first shopkeeper describes scruffy thugs with bladed weapons, who seemed to appear and disappear seemingly out of nowhere. The next tells a similar story, and it doesn’t take long for them to puzzle out that the wererats were probably the face of the extortion racket.

GM: It seems unlikely that they were also responsible for the murders in Southspur, however. Or at least, not personally. Perrin infers that they were probably working with another group.

Aramis: “Perhaps we should investigate Southspur ourselves, then.”

Reeoh: “Uh … Are you sure?”

Aramis: “Unless you think these ghost stories have more merit?”

Perrin: Perrin nods. “I think now is a good time to break for the evening. I’m sure my wife has heard of our excitement at the tower by now. We can meet up tomorrow.”

GM: Aramis remembers that he is due back at the shrine.

Aramis: Aramis nods. “Tomorrow, then. I also have business, back at the shrine. But I’ll find you first thing in the morning.”

Reeoh: “At your place, Perrin?”

Perrin: “I’m sure we can find a place for either of you at my house if you would rather stay there. It’d be easier than having to track you down.”

Reeoh: “Nah, I gots work to do."

GM: (Reeoh has been released Into Perrin’s Recognizance)

Perrin: “The offer was more me just being polite, Reeoh. I can’t have you running off on your own while you are in my charge.”

Reeoh: “Really? But there’s pockets to pick … Uh … I mean, I have people to steal from … SEE TO! People to see to!”

Perrin: “They aren’t going anywhere tonight. That’s the neat thing about cities. People tend to hang around them all the time. Now come on.”

Aramis: Aramis excuses himself while the other two work out their issues.

GM: Aramis Loves Sharwyn, Now, and begins to worry since she didn’t meet him at the fair or send word.

Aramis: Aramis finds his steps leading him to Zenadiel Academy instead of the shrine. (Accepts compel.) After whiling some time away with his lady love, Aramis returns to his shrine, only to realize that the wererat corpses never arrived there, since he wasn’t present to receive them. Father Sloane is Not Pleased

* * *

20 May, 103 CY

GM: The sun comes up to the news of further murders in Southspur. A trio of actors and some of their audience were apparently slaughtered and dragged off. Survivors who fled the scene described Gray-Skinned Orcs! as the perpetrators. Mariel offers breakfast to the others, since she made enough to feed a small army anyway.

Aramis: Aramis eats gratefully, if not heartily.

Reeoh: “Well that lends some immediacy to Southspur.”

Aramis: “Agreed. I’ve never seen orcs in Brindinford. Have you?”

Reeoh: “Coupla halfies, but nothing Grey."

Perrin: "Never. And Merdick’s disappearance has made it so we can’t really rely on the Watch to deal with it.” Perrin slides a journal over to Reeoh. “Thought it only fair that I show you this, after your criminal activity last night.”

Aramis: Aramis wonders if he should feign shock at this news.

Reeoh: “What’s this?”

Perrin: The journal is a list of every law that Perrin has witnessed Reeoh break so far. “I don’t have it in me to stop you, but it will all be on the record for whenever it becomes relevant.”

Reeoh: She turns the book upside down to “read” it. “So?”

GM: One of the kids pipes up. “What’s quim in null activity, Da?”

Perrin: “It’s what people do when they think they deserve better than they are willing to work for.”

Reeoh: “I works for what I earn!”

GM: The child who asked the question blinks slowly, uncomprehending.

Perrin: Perrin grabs the journal. “So now you know. Whether it stops you is up to you.”

GM: Mariel whimpers at the prospect of taking the kids to the fair on her own, but she soldiers on. The three make their way to Southspur and the scene of the grisly (apparent) murder. The Watch must have already inspected it, because there’s only a token guard presence. The fair does not extend much into this neighborhood. Less so, now. The wagon-stage is 15 feet long and 10 feet wide, and it stands 4 feet off the ground.

Perrin: Perrin asks the guards nearby if there are any witnesses still around.

GM: The guards frown at the question. “That’d be Watch business, innit. ‘Less you were lookin’ ta silence anyone who saw what happened? Friends o’ yers involved, Deadie?”

Aramis: Aramis pinches the bridge of his nose, stopping short of a full on facepalm.

Perrin: Perrin doesn’t seem as patient with that today. “The Captain is family, and I have reason to believe his whereabouts are related to this. So it’s family business.”

GM: The guards are unimpressed. “Cap’ disappeared in Chatterstreet, which is exactly where we ain’t.” (Perrin, have a fate point for unhelpful-to-hostile watchmen entrenched in the Culture of Superstition)

Perrin: Perrin wonders why he bothered doing it the polite way first. “Aramis, maybe you and Reeoh could ask the locals without me scaring them off. I’ll go scout the area.”

Reeoh: “Uh… Alright.”

Aramis: Aramis nods and heads toward the nearest place of business. (Overcome – Investigate +4)

GM: Aramis does find someone willing to talk about the recent murders. All the deaths occurred in roughly the same area, within 100 yards of the attack on the stage. No apparent connection exists between the people killed, except for their location. They included people living on the street, relatively successful business owners, men and women, street toughs and helpless innocents. Sometimes individuals were killed in dark alleys, other times entire families were slaughtered in their homes.
Plenty of locations in the area could hide a gang of murderers—abandoned warehouses, deserted homes, that sort of thing.

Perrin: Perrin tries to locate any tracks or other evidence that could point him in the direction of the killers. (Overcome – Investigate +4)

GM: Perrin finds a trail that leads back to an abandoned, boarded-up warehouse. The tracks end abruptly under the window in the southern portion of the east wall, the only window in the building that is not boarded over.

Reeoh: Reeoh scans the immediate area. (Overcome – Notice +3)

GM: Reeoh notices the large, abandoned warehouse with one window not boarded over … and Perrin standing under it.

Perrin: “Anyone up for knocking on another door today?”

Reeoh: “Do we have to knock? It didn’t work so well last time.”

Aramis: “It looks like the door isn’t an option.”

Perrin: “There is something going on in there, and I’m not in the mood to try and get the Watch involved. I’m still dizzy and I have a headache from all the blood loss, but Merdick might be in there.”

GM: (Exchange 1)

Reeoh: “I can just go in the window…?” (Overcome – Athletics +2)

GM: She can’t quite reach the high sill.

Perrin: Perrin tries to climb up. (Overcome – Athletics +4)

GM: Perrin makes it up and through the window into the darkened warehouse. As in, light ends at the window sill. The stench of rotted and decayed wood fills the place. (Dark and Darker Still, ”Listen. Do You Smell Something?”)

Aramis: “Do you see anything?” Aramis asks before climbing up himself. (Overcome – Athletics +4)

Perrin: “Nothing. Need light.”

GM: A low cackle issues from the black, and a whispered voice says, “Take them.” Aramis and Perrin come under attack by unseen assailants.

GM: (Vs. Aramis: Attack – Fight +3)

Aramis: (Defend – Athletics +3; boost on Aramis – “What The-“)

GM: (Vs. Perrin: Attack – Fight +3)

Perrin: (Defend – Athletics +2; 1 shift of stress)

GM: (Exchange 2)

Reeoh: Jumps to the window sill. (Overcome – Athletics +4)

Aramis: Aramis calls upon his divine power to dispel the darkness (Overcome – Lore +5)

GM: (Dim and Dimmer Still) Under the open window, a raised platform, fifteen feet square, stands about seven feet off the floor in the corner of this vacant warehouse. Dust and scraps of wood litter the floor below. Standing on the platform with the three are two massive, gray-skinned humanoids with wild black hair and no eyes!

Perrin: Perrin shoots the nearest whateverthehellthatthingis. (Attack – Shoot +5)

GM: (Defend – Fight +1, the whateverthehellthatthingis is taken out).

Perrin: The force of the arrow drives it well into the thing and propels it off the platform.

GM: The remaining whatever goes after the little girl who has just joined the party, swinging a primitive-looking stone axe. (Vs. Reeoh: Attack – Fight +5)

Reeoh: (Defend – Athletics +6, invoking Short (Tempered)) Her flinch is the equivalent to a full duck for the big people.

GM: It swings just over her head and slams into the wood of the wall behind her.

Reeoh: “Yipe!"

GM: Six javelins fly up from as many Gray-Skinned Orcs(?)! on the floor of the warehouse, two aimed at each of the three!


GM: (Vs. Aramis: Attack +4, +1; invoking boost ”What The-“ for first attack)

Aramis: (Defend – Athletics +3, +2; 1 shift of stress)

GM: (Vs. Perrin: Attack +2, +4)

Perrin: (Defend – Athletics +5, +4; invoking Ex-Captain of the Guard for second defense; boost on Perrin: Under Fire)

GM: (Vs. Reeoh: Attack +5, +1)

Reeoh: (Defend – Athletics +4, +4; invoking Short (Tempered) on first defense; 1 shift of stress)

GM: (Exchange 3)

Reeoh: (Attack – Shoot +2) Reeoh throws a dagger at the guy on the platform.

GM: (Defend – Fight +3)

Reeoh: “Hey! How did you even see to block that?!”

GM: It brushes a strand of stringy, sticky hair aside and grins lewdly.

Aramis: Aramis swings Wintertide at the thing attacking Reeoh, trying to draw its aggro. (Attack – Fight +6, invoking An Eye For Wisdom)

GM: It whirls to interpose its stone axe between itself and the priest, but not quickly enough. (Defend – Fight +4; It is taken out.)

Aramis: The sacred blade scores a deep line along its neck, and it flops to the platform, bleeding out.

Perrin: (Attack – Shoot +5) Perrin starts raining down fire back at the others on the floor level.

GM: (Defend – Athletics +3; It is taken out; 5 remain)

GM: The remaining ones focus fire on Aramis and Perrin.

GM: (Vs. Aramis: +4, +1)

Aramis: (Defend – Athletics +2, +1; 2 shifts of stress)

GM: (Vs. Perrin: Attack +3, +0, +7; invoking boost Under Fire on third attack)

[6/16/2015 8:59:10 PM] Perrin: (Defense – Athletics +5, +2, and +4; 2 shifts of stress plus boost on Perrin Still Under Fire)

GM: An Orc(?) assassin emerges from the shadows of the stairs and comes after Aramis for stealing the darkness. (Attack – Fight +9)

Aramis: (Defend – Fight +6; 3 shifts of stress)

GM: She grins at him as they cross blades.

GM: (Exchange 4)

Reeoh: Reeoh flings six blades in a believable manner, to make the guys on the floor Duck for Cover (Create Advantage – Deceive +7). Then she descends the stairs to the floor.

GM: The orcs(?) almost fall over themselves at they Duck For Cover (Success With Style, two free invocations)

Aramis: Aramis tries to get back from the new attacker, keeping her at reach. (Attack – Fight +5)

GM: (Defend – Fight +6) Her swordplay is a little better than Aramis’, he can tell.

Perrin: Perrin tries to distract the assassin with you know… arrows flying at her at high speeds (Create Advantage – Shoot +5)

GM: (Opposition: Fight +5; boost on assassin Suppressing Fire!)

GM: The orcs(?) on the floor continue lobbing javelins at Perrin and Reeoh.

GM: (Vs. Perrin: Attack +0, +2, +2)

Perrin: (Defend – Athletics +1, +3, +2; invoking Duck For Cover on second defense; boost on Perrin Spearophobia)

GM: (Vs. Reeoh: Attack +1, +0)

Reeoh: (Defend – Athletics +4, +2; boost on javelineer Overextended)

GM: The assassin presses the attack on Aramis. (Attack – Fight +9, using her second free invocation from earlier)

Aramis: (Defend: Fight +9, invoking boost Suppressing Fire!; boost on Aramis Outmatched)

GM: (Exchange 5)

Reeoh: (Attack – Fight +3, invoking boost Overextended) She knifes the javelineer knife the guy.

GM: (Defend – Fight +4)

Perrin: Perrin continues to try and distract the Assassin. (Create Advantage – Shoot +3). Failing that, he jumps to the floor to help Reeoh.

GM: (Opposition – Fight +7) She looks amused as she swats the arrow aside nonchalantly.

Aramis: Getting tired, Aramis desperately calls on his Queen’s wisdom to press the attack. (Attack – Fight +6, invoking Cleric of the Raven Queen)

GM: (Defend – Fight +3; 2 shifts of stress + boost She Does Bleed) The assassin’s arrogance lends Aramis an opportunity, and he gets inside her guard.

GM: The Orcs(?) swarm Perrin and Reeoh.

GM: (Vs. Perrin: Attack – Fight +3, +3, +5)

Perrin: (Defend – Athletics +4, +4, +4; invoking Ex-Captain of the Guard on first attack; mild consequence Pierced Leg)

GM: (Vs. Reeoh: Attack – Fight +5, +1)

Reeoh: (Defend – Athletics +7, +2, invoking Ducks For Cover on first defense)

GM: “You should have stayed in your shrine, Dead Priest,” says the female. “Ghaerleth Axom cannot be stopped.” (Attack – Fight +10, invoking boost Outmatched and a fate point on Assassin)

Aramis: “I will drag you there soon enough,” he deadpans. (Defend – Fight +10, invoking boost *She Does _Bleed*_and Solemn Cleric of the Raven Queen; boost on Aramis Getting Tired)

GM: (Exchange 6)

Reeoh: Reeoh counts the odds and sees that Aramis is overmatched; she Vanishes. (Stunt: Ninja Vanish)

Perrin: Perrin tries to fight his way out of a corner. (Attack – Shoot +5)

GM: (Defend – Fight +2; It is taken out; 4 remain)

Aramis: Aramis changes his tactics and casts Whispers of the Dead. :My Queen awaits you.” (Attack – Lore +7, invoking Cleric of the Raven Queen)

GM: (Defend – Will +1; She is taken out)

Aramis: Visiting his knowledge of the Shadowfell upon her proves to me too much for her mind, and she collapses.

GM: The other Orcs(?) see their leader collapse and look at one another uncertainly. Seeing an opportunity for a promotion, they all close on the guy without the direct link to the Ungrateful Dead. (Attack – Fight +3, +1, +0, +1)

Perrin: (Defend – Athletics +5, +3, +6, +6)

GM: (Exchange 7)

Reeoh: Reeoh appears and backstabs one of them (Attack – Stealth +6)

GM: (He is taken out; 3 remain)

Reeoh: He slumps silently

Perrin: Perrin shoots at another (Attack – Shoot +4)

GM: (Defend – Fight +1; It is taken out; 2 remain)

Aramis: Aramis attempts to snuff out one of the remaining monsters with a lance of faith. (Attack – Lore +2)

GM: (Defend – Athletics +4)

GM: The remaining orcs(?) attack Perrin and Reeoh, one on each.

GM: (Vs. Reeoh: Attack – Fight +2)

Reeoh: (Defend – Athletics +3)

GM: (Vs. Perrin: Attack – Fight +0.)

Perrin: (Defend – Athletics +2)

GM: (Exchange 8)

Reeoh: (Attack – Shoot +3, invoking Short (Tempered) Reeoh attacks her foe.

GM: (Defend – Fight +0; It is taken out.)

Reeoh: Knife to the Nuts

Aramis: Aramis tries to laser the remaining bad guy (Attack – Lore +4)

GM: (Defend – Athletics -2; It is taken out.)

GM: Silence falls in the wasn’t-quite-so-but-is-now-abandoned warehouse.

Aramis: Aramis goes to bind the assassin.
GM: A locked chest is underneath the stairs.

Reeoh: (Overcome – Burglary +5) Reeoh unlocks it.

GM: Click! (100 gp, a 600 gp black pearl, a ring of force shield, and four scrolls: one with summon monster I and enlarge, one with shield and tongues, one with hold person and summon nature’s ally II, and one with summon monster II and mount)

Reeoh: (Create Advantage – Burglary +7) She pockets the pearl. “It. Is. Empty.”

Perrin: (Opposition – Notice +3) Perrin doesn’t notice the pearl disappear into her pocket, but frowns as he sees the rest of the loot.

GM: Behind the chest, they also find a partially chewed human femur. Pretty sure these goddamn things have been eating the people that have disappeared.

The Speaker in Dreams

Session 2
In Which the Rats are Exterminated

19 May, 103 CY (Continued)

GM: Bell Tower (3-4 zones – Level 1 Stairwell, Level 1 Apartment, Level 2 Nests, Level 2 Stairwell; Situation Aspects: Cluttered, Dimly Lit Apartment; Darkened Stairs; Glowing Red Eyes Above)

GM: Aramis has gained the second story after climbing the ropes attached to one of the bells above. The small room is littered with debris and smells strongly of rodent waste and animal fur. Perrin clutches his bleeding side, while Reeoh takes a quick glance outside to see if the bells have drawn any negative attention.

Aramis: “I could use some help up here,” Aramis calls.

Reeoh: “On my way!” (Overcome – Athletics +4)

GM: Perrin takes the stairs, careening off a wall as he ascends the Darkened Stairs. It hurts.

Aramis: Blade drawn, Aramis moves to strike the nearest ratman. (Attack – Fight +6)

GM: (Defend – Fight +5) He raises his blade into Wintertide’s path…

Aramis: Knowing that these ratmen pose a threat to the needy that he cares for so much, Aramis puts a little extra effort into his attack (Attack – Fight +8)

GM: …the magic blade pushes past the ratman’s guard and with a burst of cold, drives down into the creature’s collarbone. He crumples to the ground, senseless. Reeoh scampers up the rope while Perrin continues blindly up the stairs.

GM: The remaining ratmen converge on Aramis, each using the darkness to their advantage. (Attack –Fight +4, +4)

Aramis: (Defend – Fight +3, +4)

GM: One gets through his defenses, and the other knocks him back where he Teeters on the Edge (boost).

Aramis: Aramis swings at the one that knocked him back (Attack – Fight +6)

GM: (Success with style, another ratman down.)

Perrin: (Overcome – Notice +3)

GM: Perrin continues groping along the walls of the stairwell for an entrance he hopes is there.

Reeoh: Reeoh goes for the last ratman with a thrown knife (Attack – Shoot +4)

GM: (Defend – Athletics +2) The knife catches the ratman in the throat. He drops squealing to the disgusting floor. The three hear something moving above.

Aramis: “The old man kept going.” Aramis points up.

Reeoh: “More of them? Let’s get Perrin first”

Perrin: Perrin opens the door…

GM: …candle in hand, shedding light on the bodies of the three men and the blood staining his clothes.

Reeoh: "And there he is.” She recovers her knife.

Perrin: “Let’s head up and get this dealt with”

Aramis: Aramis nods and returns to the rope with a mind to keep climbing.

GM: In the candlelight, you can see that the ropes pass through a wooden grate above.

Aramis: “Never mind.” He heads for the stairs.

GM: As Perrin hits the landing on the south section of the second story, a burst of sickly green magic energy explodes upward from the wooden floor.

Perrin: (Defend – Athletics +5; invoking Ex-Captain)

GM: His veteran’s instincts allow him to deftly evade the unexpected blast, and he winds up on the far side of the landing.

Perrin: "Careful! Not sure what set that off.”

GM: (Situation Aspect: Floor is Probably Trapped)

Aramis: Aramis looks for the source of the burst, trusting to the price he paid for wisdom (Overcome – Notice +3)

GM: Aramis does not see any obvious trigger. The wooden floor looks as it did before – totally mundane.

Aramis: Aramis does, indeed, pause.

Reeoh: Checks the floorboards for triggering mechanisms (Overcome – Notice +3) “Wow! This a good one!”

Aramis: “Let me try something.” Aramis attempts to disarm it with his magic (Overcome – Lore +5)

GM: The Raven Queen’s holy energy settles over the wooden landing, leaving an icy rime along the edges. The cleric feels fairly confident that his goddess has dealt with the problem.

Aramis: “I think that will help, but mind your footing…” He crosses and continues climbing

GM: Aramis’ and Reeoh’s boots crunch as they walk across the landing to join Perrin on the far side.

Perrin: Perrin cautiously moves forward up the stairs.

GM: They round the eastern corner landing and see a door on the west wall. The stairs continue upward to the north.

Aramis: Aramis tries the door.

GM: The door opens, revealing a room in slightly worse condition than the one on the second story.

Aramis: Aramis casts a light spell as he walks into the room. (Create Advantage – Lore +4)

Reeoh: “why didn’t you do that earlier?”

Perrin: Perrin puts his candle back in his bag

Aramis: (Overcome – Notice +4, invoking the light)

Aramis: “Because I was climbing, and fighting, and DAMN it.”

GM: Aramis’ spell lights up the room … and the dozen or so dire rats therein.

Reeoh: “Eeeeew.”

GM: (Reeoh/Perrin, then Aramis/Rats)

Reeoh: Flying knives of doom (Attack – Shoot +2)

GM: (Defend – Athletics +1) She drops a rat.

Reeoh: “Sorry; panic throw.”

Perrin: Perrin fires past Aramis on the left, aiming at one of the rats (Attack – Shoot +3)

GM: (Defend – Atheltics -3, for a difference of +6) Perrin slays half-a-dozen (or so) rats in a single shot.

Aramis: Aramis presses toward the mob with great cleaving swings of Wintertide. (Attack – Fight +7)

GM: (Defend – Fight +4) Only one dire rat remains, but it flees in animal terror at the death around it.

Perrin: Perrin quickly investigates the room (Overcome – Notice +4)

GM: The ropes pass through another grate in the ceiling above. Perrin turns up nothing in the filthy room, but he hears the creaking of boards above their heads, as of someone or something shifting its weight.

Reeoh: Reeoh pokes at the magic light

Aramis: “Stop that,” Aramis tells Reeoh, not without amusement.

Reeoh: “But what’s it burnin’ to make the light?”

Aramis: “It’s divine magic,” he says as he heads back to the stairs.

Perrin: To the stairs.

GM: This large room is crisscrossed with ropes and enormous pulleys, the machinery that allows a single person to ring the enormous bells above with a mere pull on a rope. The agitated squeaking of a rat echoes high above them. Four ropes descend from the ceiling into the room, one attached to each of the bells at the top of the tower. Before coming down here, each rope goes through a pulley in the roof of the tower. The ropes then snake from floor to ceiling, passing through a number of pulleys to distribute the weight of the enormous bells around the structure of the building. Four sturdy wooden beams, 1 foot wide, cross the room 20 feet above the ground, suspending the largest pulleys.

GM: “Should not have come here,” says a voice from somewhere above.

Aramis: “And you should not have attacked people at the fair,” Aramis replies.

GM: (3 zones: Stairs, Floor Level, In the Rafters; Situation Aspects: Beams, Pulleys, and Rope; Persistent Shadows)

Perrin: Perrin enters the room far enough to try and spot the source of the voice. (Overcome – Notice +1)

GM: As soon as Perrin steps in, ratmen leap down from above. (Attack – Fight +3, +4, each invoking Shadows)

Perrin: (Defend – Athletics +3, +2)

GM: One drives him Into the Wall (boost), and the other slashes across his ribs.

GM: A third ratman drops down into the doorway and attacks Aramis. (Attack – Fight +4, as he comes out of some deeper Shadows)

Aramis: (Defend – Fight +4)

GM: “There are many more where that came from,” says the hidden speaker. (Create Advantage – Deceive +2)

Aramis: (Passive Opposition – Empathy +4)

Perrin: (Passive Opposition – Empathy +4)

Reeoh: (Passive Opposition – Empathy +1)

GM: (Situation Aspect: Reeoh Believes Him)

Aramis: “Perhaps, but they aren’t here to fight for you.”

Reeoh: “But there’s still an end to you!” Reeoh swings wildly with a dagger in each hand (Attack – Fight -2)

GM: (Defend – Fight +2, so Success with Style) Reeoh has Overextended (boost).

Perrin: Perrin manages to knock an arrow and fires it point blank at his opponents face. (Attack – Shoot +5)

GM: (Defend – Fight +4) In close quarters, the ratman’s sword pushes Perrin’s aim away from his face, and the arrow pierces his arm instead.

Aramis: Aramis goes to attack the one in his face (Attack – Fight +8)

GM: (Defend – Fight +1)

Aramis: The Raven Queen’s power flows through Wintertide, freezing and shattering the ratman into shards of ice.

GM: The ratmen press their advantage on Perrin. (Attack – Fight +5, invoking boost and his inner Thug)

Perrin: (Defend – Athletics +5, +3)

GM: (Creating another boost. Attack – Fight +6 as the second thug uses the first guy’s boost. Creating yet another boost in addition to the moderate consequence Gettin’ A Little Woozy Here)

GM: The ringleader they saw in the street fair reveals himself, advancing on Aramis with a grin on his face. The smile distorts as he transforms and lunges! (Attack – Fight +6, as the Wererat Leader joins the fray)

Aramis: Aramis recalls a tactic he used against Nightscale, barely matching the leader’s attack (Defend – Fight +6)

GM: Even so he is Pushed Against the Wall (boost).

Reeoh: “Oh it is ON!” She goes after the ratman with an arrow in his arm. (Attack – Fight +5, invoking Loves a Challenge)

GM: (Defend – Fight +5, invoking the boost) She turns the tables, throwing him Off Balance.

Reeoh: She jumps on the rat-man’s back and starts trying to knife him.

GM: He flings her off, but loses his sure footing.

Perrin: Perrin fires at the off balance rat. (Attack – Shoot +7; invoking the boost)

GM: (Defend – Fight +6, with two free invocations, including burning the boost on Perrin) He hurls himself toward Perrin, trying to use the ex-Captain’s wounds against him, but he isn’t quick enough. He drops with a second arrow in him.

Aramis: Aramis attempts to press himself away from the wall, using the momentum to drive his blade home. (Attack – Fight +7)

GM: (Defend – Fight +5; invoking boost against Aramis) He pushes the blade aside, but only barely, feeling Wintertide’s icy sting across his ribs.

GM: The last ratman tries to finish the archer off. (Attack – Fight +2)

Perrin: (Defend – Athletics +6)

GM: He Stumbles as Perrin sidesteps the would-be deathstroke.

GM: The leader tries in earnest to retaliate against Aramis. (Attack – Fight +5)

Aramis: Aramis is caught flat-footed. (Defend – Fight +1)

GM: (3 shifts of stress + a boost against Aramis)

Reeoh: Reeoh skids across the floor from being tossed by the ratman but tosses a knife along the way (Attack – Shoot +3)

GM: He tries to get his sword in the way of Reeoh’s dagger. (Defend – Fight +4)

Reeoh: But he Stumbles, so he has trouble blocking the knife (Attack – Shoot +5; invoking boost)

GM: It sinks into the meat of his arm.

Perrin: Perrin takes advantage of finally getting some space and moves out of the doorway to line up a good shot. (Attack – Shoot +6)

GM: (Defend – Fight +4; He is taken out)

Perrin: The arrow flies through the rat’s neck and into the far wall.

Aramis: Getting frustrated, Aramis lunges for the leader once more. (Attack – Fight +7)

GM: (Defend – Fight +5; invoking boost to no avail) Even at a disadvantage, the Death Goddess’ power surges through her servant and overwhelms the wererat leader’s defenses.

Aramis: Aramis overcorrects his lunge. Wintertide cuts deeply into the wererat’s neck; his death is messier and takes longer than the priest intended. He then looks around for any more threats.

GM: Before his eyes gloss over in death, the wererat turns back into a man and he rasps out, “The Blessed will take you…” Then he breathes his last.

Aramis: “Does that mean anything to either of you?” Aramis asks.

Reeoh: “Nope.”

Perrin: “No”

Aramis: “Nor I.” He goes to aid Perrin with his wounds. “I imagine we don’t have long before the Watch comes to see why the bell rang at the wrong time.”

GM: They hear terrified squeaking from the rafters.

Aramis: Aramis follows Perrin into the rafters.

Reeoh: Readies a knife to throw

GM: (Concede) A gray rat in the rafters transforms into the old man from the first floor. “P-please don’t k-kill me…”

Aramis: Aramis looks to Perrin.

Reeoh: “Can’t I just knife his rattyness once before we go?"

Aramis: “No, Reeoh.”

Reeoh: “Sigh.”

Aramis: (turning back to the old man) “What’s your name?”

GM:T-Turvin,” he says.

Perrin: Perrin takes some manacles out of his bag and proceeds to shackle the rat. “All right old man. You get to live, but you are going to tell the Watch all about what your band has been doing in town. And you are absolutely going to tell me what happened to my nephew, the Captain of the Watch.”

GM: “Yes, yes. I’ll t-tell the Watch. But I don’t know nothin’ about the C-captain.”

Aramis: (Create Advantage – Empathy +4 to see if he’s truthful on the latter point)

GM: Aramis feels sure that The Wererats Didn’t Attack the Captain.

Aramis: He mentions as much to Perrin.

Perrin: “Great. Glad that’s settled.”

Reeoh: “So, why are you guys making your move now?”

GM: “I dunno! I just watch the bell tower. Squim was in charge!” He gestures at the fallen wererat leader with his manacled hands. “I just rang the bells! I didn’t want this … this c-curse.”

Perrin: “I already guessed that. It’s why I’m being so nice to you. Your family has been tending this tower for generations. It won’t be hard to convince the Watch you were coerced here.”

GM: Turvin, to Perrin: “Y-yes, sir! Th-thank you, sir!”

Aramis: “Would you care to search him, Reeoh?” He indicates Squim.

Reeoh: "Eeew,” she says before searching the corpses.

GM: Reeoh finds a spell scroll on Squim’s body.

Aramis: “Turvin, someone I know may be able to cure you. Provided that you help us. You will help us, yes?”

GM: “Of c-course! Bless you, B-brother!”

Aramis: He nods. “All right.”

* * *

GM: Several members of the Watch are downstairs, some inspecting the bodies, and others searching the apartment. As the three descend the stairs with the keeper of the bell tower in manacles, more than one eyebrow is raised. “Lieutenant … You might wanna come out here,” says a watchman.

GM: Lieutenant Shella comes out of the apartment and looks up with an unreadable expression on her face. After a pregnant silence, she says, “Well?”

Perrin: “I’ll give you the full report later Lieutenant. Right now I’ve been stabbed too many times to concentrate. In summary, we cleaned out a nest of wererats. Oh. And they stabbed first.”

Aramis: “One of them is the leader of the wererats who attacked at the festival.”

GM: “Ah-hah.” She looks over at Turvin. “Is that true, sir? Are – were – you harboring wererats?”

GM: He nods his head vigorously. “They cursed me with their affliction and made me shelter them here in the tower where my family has always served as stewards.” He looks appropriately pathetic.

GM: Lieutenant Shella’s gaze passes across the three before finally settling back on Turvin. “Very well. You are under arrest, pending further investigation into these matters. If it is determined that you acted under coercion, well. The sentencing will go better for you anyway.”

GM: Turvin looks up at Aramis in panic. “Brother! You said you could help!”

Aramis: “Lieutenant, I intend to petition Father Sloane to cure this man in exchange for his cooperation.”

GM: She nods. “Very well. I will include that in my report. If you all would do us the courtesy of providing written statements about your … findings, here, it would save us all some trouble.” Taking your agreement for granted, she waves them off.

Perrin: “I’ll have the report on your desk tomorrow. Also, this nest had nothing to do with what has happened to the Captain.” His disappointment is obvious

GM: Lieutenant Shella nods at Perrin, frowning but not looking surprised. She had, after all, asserted that the wererats were not involved before the three came to the tower.

Reeoh: "So… That was the tower. Where do we look next?

Aramis: “Look for what, Reeoh?”

Reeoh: “The New Captain”

Perrin: “This was our best lead. We’ll have to do some investigating from here. He was last seen in the Chatterstreet Market.”

Aramis: “Perhaps I might tend to your wounds in a more quiet place first.”

Perrin: “Right. Is there somewhere we can go to do that? I don’t like to go home in this condition and remind my family of the dangers of the jo…. of what I do.”

Aramis: “I know just the place.”

* * *

Aramis: Located in Brindinford’s West Hill district, the Raven Queen’s shrine is nearly lost among the monuments that fill its surrounding graveyard.

Reeoh: “Creepy, Brother.”

Aramis: Aramis shrugs. “I find it tranquil, but I know it isn’t to everyone’s liking.”

GM: Content Not Found: Sloane can be found reading on a bench near the altar of the small shrine.

Reeoh: Drops a couple of coins into the offering box/dish/jar.

Perrin: “I seem to remember some reports of grave robbing a couple of years ago. You were active around the time, weren’t you, Reeoh?” It’s obvious that Perrin is mostly giving Reeoh a hard time.

Reeoh: “Yech… Not a chance it was me.”

Aramis: “I hope not,” Aramis says as he tends to Perrin. “There are few crimes more serious in my eyes.” (Which is as close to a joke as Aramis ever comes)

Perrin: “I can’t say I like the feel of this place. My family only really ever comes here on sad occasions. I’ll leave the caretaking of the dead to Father Sloane. I’m more concerned of who is watching over the living.”

Aramis: “No one does. It’s a very specific succor that we – Father.” He bows his head.

GM: They aren’t aware of Sloane standing over them until he is. “Aramis,” he says, his soft voice a terrible bass.

Aramis: “I believe you remember Perrin?”

GM: His eyes slide slowly, deliberately to the sword sheathed at Aramis’ side. Just as slowly, his gaze returns to the junior priest’s face and then over to to Perrin. As always, his every action is … ponderous. “Of course.”

Perrin: “Hello Father. Thank you for your hospitality.”

Aramis: “And this is Reeoh.”

Reeoh: “Uh… Hello.”

GM: He nods absently, not truly acknowledging the girl. His gaze settles back on Aramis, threatening to bury him under its gravity.

Aramis: “I’ve been helping them with an investigation and I could use your assistance.” He tells the Father about the situation, ending with, “Does ‘The Blessed’ mean anything to you?”

GM: “‘Investigation,’” he says, eyeing the blood and then the sword again. “You still do not feel it.” It is not a question.

Aramis: “Not yet.” It’s difficult to say how he feels about that from just those two words.

GM: He inhales deeply, slowly. His breath gradually wanders out of his body and off into the universe. “No. ‘The Blessed’ means nothing to me.”

Aramis: “I see. I could also use your help curing a lycanthrope. If I can secure a proper scroll, I believe I can perform the ritual myself.”

GM: “Ten,” says Sloane. It was not an answer to Aramis’ request.

Aramis: “Very well. Thank you, Father.”

GM: “You misunderstand, Brother.”

Aramis: “Oh?” He looks up. “I cry your pardon, Father.”

GM: “Ten souls,” he … “clarifies.”

Aramis: “It will be as you ask.”

GM: “Good. Don’t be late. They will be here anon.” Father Sloane turns and walks back toward his bench and his book.

Aramis: “So,” he says to his companions. “That doesn’t leave me much time to get to Chatterstreet. Shall we?”

Reeoh: snort “Wha’?”

Aramis: He gets up to leave.

GM: The others follow.

* * *

Father Sloane closes his eyes, concentrating to dull the sensation of the recent dead in Brindinford. “What manner of instrument have you sent me, my Queen?” he says. “What am I to do with this blind, deaf Shepherd?”

The Speaker in Dreams

Session 1
In Which the Bells Toll

19 May, 103 CY (Continued)

GM: (Reeoh has a bonus Fate point for accepting a compel last session. Perrin has two free invocations on A Stolen Shoomma Sword, discovered last session.)

GM: Aramis, Perrin, and Reeoh make their way to the former Watch captain’s house. His wife has managed to wrangle all six(!) children back to the house, and she gives him a stern look as he walks in the door.

Reeoh: “You in trouble now.”

Aramis: Aramis pauses at the threshold.

Perrin: “It seems I had an unexpected visit with the Watch, dear. Was there any trouble since we left?”

GM: She gives him the standard We Have Six Kids, Of Course There Was Trouble And Also Go To Hell look. “Some Watch wench left that for you.” She gestures at a pile of weaponry near the door. Perrin’s bow and the Shoomma Sword are in the pile.

Reeoh: snerks

GM: “I’m going to fix lunch. Staying to help?” Her gaze takes in Aramis (curiously) and Reeoh (suspiciously).

Aramis: “I’m Brother Aramis,” the cleric offers with a nod.

Reeoh: “My name is Reeoh”

Perrin: “My nephew is missing. Hasn’t reported to anyone in a while.”

GM: She frowns at Perrin’s news, concerned. She apparently decides to err on the side of Good Hostess and acknowledges the two visitors with a nod and the slightest softening of her expression. “Welcome. I’m Mariel, in case my loutish husband neglected to mention. These are the children…” she looks like she’s about to start naming them, but her expression shifts to What’s the Point?

Perrin: Looks to his companions “Hungry? We might as well eat before starting the investigation.” He starts helping with lunch

Aramis: “I could eat. What manner of help do you need?” Aramis asks, only realizing after he’s done so that he’s probably making a mistake.

GM: The three were put to work, chopping things, stirring other things, and setting the table. Said table is large enough to accommodate more than two extra guests, so there’s no question of everyone fitting in comfortably. It’s a madhouse of noise from the 12-year-old going on about All her Favorite parts of the FAIR! to the 3-year-old making general 3-year-old noisy demands. After food is ready, Mariel calls the madness to order and silence drops like a shroud. “Brother Aramis, would you care to offer grace?”

Aramis: “Of course.” He chooses one of the faith’s briefer, less depressing threnodies to chant.

GM: Immediately after, the children dig in with gusto. Mariel tells Aramis that she does remember Perrin telling her about their chats. She remembers hearing about Reeoh, too, but that puts the sour expression more firmly back in place. She skirts the specifics of the Nature of the chats Perrin and Aramis had. She seems … uncomfortable about it, but hey. He’s her husband.

Aramis: Aramis is content to let her skirt.

GM: Despite her stern greeting, it is clear from her tone when she talks to her husband and her body language that she really does adore him. There’s a fierce pride underneath it, almost as though she dares the world to speak ill of him.

Perrin: “These two are going to help me look into the attack today. I’d leave it to the Watch, but with the Captain missing I think they might need some assistance. And my gut says it’s related.”

GM: “Are we goin’ back to the fair today, Da?” asks the 7-year-old.

Perrin: “Not today, Adam. I think there’s been enough excitement for today. But there is plenty more time to see more of it.”

GM: “Awww…” he says, crestfallen. His siblings largely echo it. Except the 2-year-old, who stares ahead silently. Mariel encourages Anna to eat a bit more, and the child complies. But it’s automatic.

Aramis: Aramis cannot take his attention away from Anna. “My nephew, Henri, is the same,” he says evenly.

GM: Mariel looks up at the priest, surprised. “Do you … have any idea what it is?”

Aramis: He shakes his head. “Alas, I do not. But his mother – my brother’s wife – is searching for a cure, even as we speak.”

GM: She nods, though what little hope had alit in her eyes was snuffed like a candle in a gale.

Aramis: “I have faith that she will, given time.”

Perrin: “Adam, I bet Rheeo might be able to show you some magic tricks if you ask her nicely. I know she’s good at sleight of hand.”

GM: “For true!” Adam says, turning to Reeoh excitedly.

Reeoh: “I’m best at making coins dissapear, but maybe I could make them reappear?”

GM: Adam and the 9-year-old clap their hands. While Reeoh entertains those two, Mariel conscripts the 11- and 12-year-old into helping clean up. The 3-year-old occupies himself “teaching” Anna to play patty-cake. He doesn’t seem to mind that her movements are rote.

Aramis: Aramis sits with Perrin. “This is a good family you have, Perrin.”

Perrin: Perrin smiles. “Yes, it really is. They are the reason I do what I do every day. Those wererats today are just the next in a long line of threats to my family.”

Aramis: Aramis nods.

Perrin: “Sometimes the threats are simple… such as young kids who think they are the King of Thieves” looks to Rheeoh “Or Queen I guess…” “But what happened to days gives me a very bad feeling.”

Aramis: “We will get to the bottom of this.”

Reeoh: “I’m not simple!”

Aramis: “I am beginning to see that,” Aramis tells Reeoh.

GM: “Come on, kids,” Mariel said. “Da has work to do.” She paused for a moment, and more softly says, “Important work.” It sounds like a mantra.

Perrin: “Let’s go see a man about a blade, shall we?” Perrin, says goodbye to the little ones, hugs his wife and grabs his bow as he starts out the door.

GM: Mariel holds him tight before he goes. “You be careful out there, Perrin Hargrove. Come back to us.”

Reeoh: Reeoh discreetly drops a few coins on her way out.

GM: Mariel notices it, and her eyebrow raises as though she’s reconsidering her opinion of the light-fingered rogue.

Aramis: “I will watch over him for you, Mariel,” Aramis says before departing.

GM: She nods gratefully to him.

* * *

GM: They make your way to Chatterstreet Market. Shoomma is a master weaponsmith, maker of many famous blades and one of Brindinford’s most famous personages. She has plied her trade for one hundred years under a simple sign reading “Smithy,” and she commands the respect of every other merchant and artisan in town. Her weapons are renowned, not for their enchantment (though many were enchanted after leaving Shoomma’s hands), but for the quality of their workmanship. Her nephew and apprentice, a dwarven soldier named Horken, hopes to continue the old dwarf’s legacy.

GM: Shoomma is wiry and muscular despite her age. Her face and arms are dark and leathery from the heat of the forge, and her eyes are sunk deep and surrounded by wrinkles. She is known to be brutally honest to the point of being tactless and is quick-tempered as well. “Welcome to Shoomma’s,” says Horken. “How can we help you, sirs? Lass.” He adds as an afterthought when he notices Reeoh.

Reeoh: Reeoh cases the place, but does NOT take any suspicious actions at all.

Perrin: Perrin puts the blade on the table. “Hello Horken. I’d like to have a brief chat with the Mistress regarding this blade.”

GM: One eyebrow raises as he considers the blade, but then he bows, scooping it up as he rises. “Right this way, sir.”

Perrin: Perrin follows.

Aramis: Aramis also follows.

GM: He leads them back to the forge proper, where Shoomma is sitting in a rocking chair, stoking a fire. She looks up as you enter, glaring at Horken. “What’s all this, then? Who’ve ye brought ’fore me?”

GM: “It’s that former Watch captain, Auntie. Seems he’s got one of yer swords here.” He hands the blade over to her.

Perrin: “Hello Shoooma. It’s good to see you again. We’ve had an attack at the fair. Nasty business. You might be able to help us make it right.”

GM: She inspects it for a moment before turning her glare up at Perrin. “Oh aye? A nasty attack? Lose yer head again?” She cackles at her own crass joke, but only for a second before her glare returns with backup. “Where’d ye get this, whelp?”

Aramis: Aramis masks his amusement with well-practiced sobriety.

Perrin: “From the attackers. They were robbing the booths at the fair. And they released giant rats into the crown. One of them wielded this blade. What can you tell me about it?”

GM: She scoffs, then takes a second look at the blade. “This’n was stolen along with a few more not a week back. Tell me more about the cur you took it from.” It’s a demand. After a beat, she says, “Wait … did you say ‘rats’?”

Perrin: “I did. Does that mean something to you?”

GM: “Reminds me o’ somethin’ is all… Might be nothin’. Might breathe life anew into yer investigation.” She cackles again. “D’ye get it, boy? Or did it go over yer head?!” She cackles again. Clearly, she amuses herself. “Are ye returnin’ this ta me, boy?”

Perrin: Perrin just lets it slide. “Technically I should be returning it to the Watch, as it is part of an ongoing investigation. But I might be convinced to forget about it as I leave if you can tell me what you know. I promise I won’t lose my head over it.”

Aramis: “It would give you the best chance of getting the rest of your merchandise back,” Aramis offers (helping, +1).

GM: She eyes him shrewdly, pointing the sword at him like one would a simple pointed stick. Then she tosses it into a pile to her side. “I like you boy. Kinda surprises me, but there it is. I don’t know what happened ta you, or why ya hang about with a death priest and a street urchin, but ye done me a good turn, so I’m inclined ta help ye.”

Aramis: “_People are often surprising,_” Aramis says in his passable Dwarven.

GM:Her eyes twinkle a bit at that. “The rats ye mentioned, put me in mind of the Bell Tower. Place is s’posed ta be crawlin’ with the filthy vermin. I were well acquainted with the preivious keeper of the tower, Revven. I remember his son Turvin – current keeper, mind – as a baby, but I don’t know him as a man. If’n ye’re lookin’ fer rats, ye might start there.”

Perrin: “Thank you for the information, Shoomma. You are doing a great service to Brindinford” It is clear that he has said that about a thousand times.

GM: “Fah. Brindinford’ll keep. I’m just helpin’ a fella who amuses me.”

Aramis: “I will take that.”

Perrin: Perrin makes his exit. Upon reaching the street again he asks “What do the two of you know of the bell tower?”

Aramis: “I’ve never been inside, no.”

Reeoh: Climbed it once, never went inside

Aramis: “Azal wanted to climb it one night, but she got too drunk.”

* * *

GM: They head to Eastgate, reentering the throng of fair-goers. As they came nearer the scene of the attack, they saw a handful of city guards aiding with the cleanup and talking to several people. One of the Watch, a strong, stocky woman with a square face, a hooked nose, and a big bastard sword, looks up as the three approach. “Well, look who it is,” says Lieutenant Shella. “Coming back to admire your handiwork?”

Perrin: Perrin nods at the Lieutenant “I could have left it to the Watch, I guess. But there didn’t seem to be any around.”

GM: “Convenient, that. First our Watch Captain disappears, then someone with knowledge of patrol patterns shows up to ‘handle the problem’. Where is your nephew, anyway, Hargrove?” Two other Watch members, including Watchman Lar, move up to support the lieutenant.

Perrin: “Last I saw him was for Sunday dinner. You seem awfully worried about him though. Was he working on something particular?”

GM: “Mm,” her disdain is palpable. “What, he didn’t tell you over dinner?” Her tone says she doubts it.

Perrin: “House rule. No talking about the job at the table.”

GM: She sighs. “It sounded routine. He was following up on reports of extortion in Chatterstreet. He might be an entitled, nepotistic prat, but he’s no fool. Something’s happened to him.” She actually sounds concerned.

Perrin: “You and I both know what tends to happen to people that disappear. I’m worried too. If I learn anything I’ll inform the Watch first thing. Thanks for the information, Lieutenant.”

GM: “Wererats,” she practically spits.

Aramis: “Indeed.”

GM: She nods to Aramis neutrally. “Brother Shepherd.” It never hurts to be polite to death priests. Her glance falls upon Reeoh. “Street rat.”

Reeoh: “Bitch.”

GM: She raises an eyebrow at the epithet, but merely shakes her head and rolls her eyes. She has more important things to do.

Perrin: "Attacking in the middle of a crowded fair is bold. They are confident. Be careful, Lieutenant. Rats only attack when they think they have the upper hand.”

GM: She shakes her head. “My guess? These wererats are a transient gang of thugs who came from out of town and decided to live it up in Brindinford until things got to hot.” She indicates the busted up stalls. “Now that we’re on to them, they’ll leave town.” Lar seems annoyed that Shella is talking to you instead of arresting you.

Aramis: Aramis is unable to keep his free eyebrow from raising.

Perrin: “It’s a reasonable assumption. But I intend to find out for sure. About the wererats and about ”/characters/merdick" class=“wiki-content-link”>Merdick Forren."

GM: “As you will. Obviously.” She sighs and turns her men around.

* * *

GM: Brindinford’s architectural pride and joy, the bell tower that stands in the middle of town is a 125-foot-tall tower of fine workmanship and elegant beauty. It is thirty feet square, with a five-foot-wide stone staircase winding around the outside of the building, climbing thirty feet for every circuit of the tower. The duty of ringing the bells every 3 hours during the day has been carried out by members of a single family since the tower was built. It rings 3 PM by the time you arrive. Not many people are around. (Ominous Bell Tower and Empty Streets)

Aramis: “Do you have any friends among the guard still?” Aramis asks Perrin.

Perrin: “I’m beginning to wonder.”

Reeoh: “They’re all creeped out by the ‘dead guy’ thing”

Perrin: “Yea. The ‘dead guy’ thing. One day I’ll find out what that was all about. Who knows… maybe everyone else is right to worry. But I’ve never felt any different since that day, so I’m just going to go on as if I still had plans for my life and the rest of the town can just deal with it.”

Aramis: Aramis nods., then looks to see if anyone’s actually on the tower.

GM: Looks clear. There is a wooden door on the street level.

Aramis: Aramis looks to his companions. “Should we just knock? Or does this call for something more subtle?”

Perrin: Perrin takes a few minutes to surveil the area around the tower, looking for anything out of the ordinary.

GM: The place is awash with eau de rat. Perrin finds several recent footprints leading to the door. Reeoh notices that the door is locked. She also notices the grotesques atop the tower, sitting in silent vigil.

Perrin: “I’m used to having the authority of the Watch to back me up. I’m not too practiced at subtle.”

Aramis: “If you present yourself with enough authority, they might mistake you for a watchman…” He doesn’t sound convinced.

Reeoh: Unlock the door (all sneaky-like; Burglary 7)

Aramis: “Orrr perhaps we should see what Reeoh is doing.”

GM: She has opened the door, looking back at you guys like it’s no big deal, and what are you waiting for, anyway? (They Don’t Hear You Coming*, 1 free invocation)

Perrin: “Meh. I was run out of the watch for being dead. What Rheeoh does is less of a concern to me anymore. Especially when it helps my cause. Don’t you dare tell her I said that though.”

Aramis: “Following her, I expect.”

GM: The door opens into an antechamber, with steep, narrow stairs leading up to the right and another heavy door straight ahead. Though the ceiling rises high above and another window pierces the wall above the door, all light is swallowed up in the dark granite walls and floor. (Yes, even at 3 PM)

Aramis: Aramis looks to see if anyone has left muddy tracks here.

GM: Dust only.

Perrin: Perrin watches to see where Reeoh decides to go, counting on her instincts.

Reeoh: Rheeo sneaks inside (Stealth 3), and listens at the keyhole in the far door.

GM: She hears someone shifting, as though in a leather chair of some sort.

GM: As Reeoh opens the door from her position above the lintel, an old man’s voice calls out uncertainly. “H-hello?”

Aramis: “Hello, the tower!” Aramis calls.

GM: “Who’s there?” the voice sounds scared. “Help! Intruders! Someone call the Watch!”

Aramis: Aramis walks toward the door so he can be seen. “We are not intruders, sir. We are adventurers who were told that you have a standard giant rat infestation.”

GM: An oil lamp flickering in the far right corner offers this room’s only illumination. It rests on a low bookcase, beside a comfortable looking, if weathered, armchair. In the far left corner is a bed, carefully made, and a small nightstand. From a 5-foot-square hole in the center of the ceiling, four heavy ropes dangle, coiling on the floor. The speaker is an old human, stooped with age and gray-haired.

GM: “Adventurers? Help! Adventurers ! Call the Watch!!!”

Aramis: Aramis sighs. “This was never my strong suit.”

GM: A pair of brutes advance on Perrin at the door from a nearby alley, moving at speed. (3 zones: Outside, Inside Antechamber/Stairs, Inside Apartment)

GM: The brutes have no problem attacking first, one driving Perrin Off-Balance and the other stabbing him with a sword. (Perrin is Stabbed! Mariel’s Gonna Be Pissed!)

Aramis: “Please, sir, if you’ll just listen to me I’ll – shit. Next time I’m knocking.”

GM: The old man transforms into a rat and scurries up one of the ropes hanging from the gap in the ceiling. Perrin tries to duck into the tower, but one of the brutes blocks him.

Aramis: (Attack – Lore +1) Aramis hurls a freezing spell at the fleeing wererat.

GM: The fleeing rat squeaks! Perrin desperately defends against the thugs. The second pushes the advantage to the archer’s wounded side and scores another scratch.

Reeoh: (Attack – Shoot +2)

GM: The brute is so fixated on Perrin that he doesn’t see the knife until it’s in his thigh. He cries out in anger and pain, but does not fall.

Reeoh: “Fall; I’m running out of daggers!”

GM: Perrin takes advantage of the knifed one’s distraction and puts an arrow through his heart.

Perrin: Perrin moves into the antechamber after dropping the thug.

Aramis: Aramis goes to climb a rope after the old man / wererat, and accidentally climbs the bell rope, creating a dismal cacophony and making terrible progress.

GM: (For Whom The Bell Tolls Erratically)

Reeoh: (Opposition – Athletics +2)

GM: Reeoh shuts the door in the brute’s face as he advances. It stops him cold. Perrin bleeds on the stairs.

Reeoh: Pulls open the door and throws a knife at his nuts (Attack – Shoot +3; invoking Short (Tempered))

Aramis: (Overcome – Athletics +2) Aramis continues to climb after the fleeing wererat.

GM: Perrin puts a lethal arrow in the thug in the street. Aramis comes face to face with three wererats in their hybrid form!

* * *

GM: From Chatterstreet, the sound of the tower bell could be heard ringing chaotically. “That’s strange,” said Lieutenant Shella. “Didn’t it just ring three?”

The Speaker in Dreams

Session 0
In Which the Fair Gets Foul

19 May, 103 CY

GM: First day of the FAIR! Where the hell are you?

Reeoh: Boy is this a nice day for pickpocketing!

Perrin: Perrin is taking his family to the fair… buying them lots of fried things

Aramis: Aramis half-watches a juggler managing three burning torches while he waits for Sharwyn to arrive.

GM: The streets of Brindinford bustle with activity as the fair engulfs the main street through town. The main street – none too wide in the first place – is narrowed further by the carts and booths lining its sides. Fortunately, wagons are barred, but pedestrians clog the road effectively enough. Artisans, entertainers, and merchants staff the fair booths, calling to potential customers and trumpeting their wares.

GM: Above it all, two notable features define the town’s landscape. A walled keep crowns the hill at the western end of the town, and in the center of town a huge bell tower stands like a sentry.

GM: The fair is confined to the largest thoroughfare through town, Eastgate Way.

GM: Silver Hill (from the keep to Old Ford Road): Like the neighborhood, the fair here is classy and high-priced. Musicians play sophisticated and serious music. Refined dancers move slowly on clear stages. Artisans sell elaborate items whose function is almost purely decorative, made from fine materials of the highest quality. Food vendors are less common closer to the keep, and they sell fine wines, freshly dressed game (pheasant and venison) that can be taken home and cooked, and sweet pastries. The carts are well maintained and elegant.

GM: Eastgate (from Old Ford Road to the East Gate): Lively entertainment raises the noise level in Eastgate, as minstrels, comedians, poets (lyric, epic, limerick), actors, storytellers, and others compete to be heard. Artisans, merchants, and other professionals sell their wares and their services. The quality of those wares and services varies widely, but seems to increase in both aesthetic and practical value the closer one gets to Silver Hill. Food includes meat pies, pastries, mead and ales, and produce.

Aramis: (In Eastgate)

Perrin: (Also in Eastgate) Perrin is carrying Anna on his shoulders. The child does not react in the least to the sights, sounds, and smells of the fair around them.

Reeoh: (In Silver Hill)

GM: (Because there is Newly Organized Crime and/or Reeoh Loves the Loot, it makes sense that the new criminal element wants to frame her for an assault/robbery on a city guard. This goes wrong for her when they succeed and she is arrested with pilfered loot on her person and a bloody dagger. Damn her luck. She is carted off to the jail for processing.)

* * *


GM: A shout from the middle of the busy fair spreads into an expanding ripple of cries and screams, accompanied by loud crashes that sound like carts and booths being overturned. These ripples of sound immediately transform into a wave of people, as bystanders try to escape whatever is wreaking havoc behind them.

Aramis: Aramis turns his attention that-a-way

GM: Pushcarts have been turned over on their sides, booths are smashed, and goods are strewn over the cobblestones. A handful of merchants swat ineffectually at several big rats with brooms and other implements.

GM: A handful of thuggish-looking types appear to be beating one of the merchants and/or reaching for wares on display.

GM: (3 zones) [Aramis + Perrin + Crowd] [Crowd] [Crowd + Thugs + Dire Rats] Crowded Streets, Panicking Fairgoers

Perrin: (Create Advantage – Athletics +3)

GM: Perrin climbs up on a nearby cart to get above the crowd (Situation Aspect: High Ground)

Aramis: Shaking his head, Aramis reaches for Wintertide in its scabbard and starts toward the rats.

Aramis: (Overcome – Athletics +2)

GM: Aramis struggles through the crowd toward the altercation, but has trouble getting his weapon free in the fracas.

GM: One of the thugs scans the crowd for any sign of interference, but doesn’t notice the approaching protagonists.

GM: Perrin’s first arrow skewers two of the dire rats, then Aramis bellows out, “Dragonslayer coming through!” The people GTFO of his way, and he rushes up to the thugs, with Momentum (boost)

GM: Two of the thugs turn on the self-proclaimed hero, pulling their own blades as they close in.

GM: The first lunges, but Aramis’s Momentum carries him inside the man’s reach.

GM: The other scores a scratch on the cleric’s arm. (1 shift of physical stress)

GM: Perrin’s second arrow lodges in the throat of one of the thugs harrying Aramis. He drops to the cobblestones, dead.

GM: Aramis presses the attack, knocking his foe momentarily Off Balance (boost).

GM: The thug fighting Aramis whistles sharply once, then disengages, transforming into a rat and slipping into the crowd. His cohorts do the same, leaving only a dead man on the stones with an arrow in him.

GM: (Concession with new situation aspect: Oh, Good … Wererats)

Aramis: Aramis is suitably horrified at the sight of the transformation.

GM: The crowd cheers at first, then lays eyes on the archer. And shy back.

* * *

(The Jail)

GM: Reeoh is interviewed by Sergeant Masser in booking.

Reeoh: "Excuse me, but I didn’t do this,” she says.

GM: He snorts. “That’s original. The politeness, I mean.”

Reeoh: “You can plainly see that the dagger with the blood on does not match any of the daggers you claimed from me.”

GM: “You mean this dagger?” he says, holding up the bloody dagger, which matches those she carries.

GM: Clearly, whoever had framed her had lifted it before the deed. Damn!

Reeoh: “Furthermore, there is no blood on me from stabbing someone. And that’s not my style anyway. So obviously I didn’t do it. And guards NEVER have any good coin, so why bother?”

GM: Masser sighs. “Look, we’ve never had you in here for assault before, so I’ll admit to having my doubts. But maybe watchman Johns caught you snatching Lady Dylan’s bracelet and you panicked, lashing out reflexively, aye?”

Reeoh: “I’m too damn good to be caught by Johns, he’d been drinking. And I don’t ‘lash out reflexively’; I run away.”

GM: The sergeant shakes his head. “We’ll get this sorted. Cool yer heels for a bit, lass.”

* * *

(Back to Eastgate)

GM: Aramis and Perrin examine the body.

Perrin: (Create Advantage – Investigation +6)

GM: Perrin thinks he recognizes the blade. He picks it up and finds the master’s mark of Shoomma, a dwarven smith with a shop in Chatterstreet Market. He thinks that it’s possible the blade was stolen and returning it to her might buy you her good will. And if it wasn’t, maybe she remembered the fellow who bought it. And knows one or more of his associates.

GM: (Situation Aspect: A Stolen Shoomma Blade with two free invocations)

GM: Two members of the Watch show up, and when they see the body, they draw blades on the armed men standing over the dead one. “What’s gone on here, abomination?” the male watchman demands of Perrin.

Chris: Aramis looks to Perrin, once he figures out that’s who the “abomination” is.

Perrin: “Four armed assailants attacked the merchants and let five giant rats loose in the crowd. There was none of the Watch around, so I began dropping the rats. Then one of the assailants escalated and tried to kill Aramis here,” (pointing to the wound on his arm). “I responded with appropriate force. Once he fell, the others turned into rats and disappeared into the crowd.”

GM: “Did they kill anyone?” asks the watchman.

Perrin: “I didn’t allow them to do that, no.”

GM: The speaker scowls at that. “It is not for you to judge ‘appropriate force’, civilian. Vigilantism is against the law in Brindinford.”

Perrin: “Self defense is not. I am aware of the law.”

GM: “By your own admission, you were not defending yourself. And by killing the assailant, you took the law into your own hands.” The other watchman looks unhappy at the direction of this interrogation is taking.

Aramis: “These people were incapable of defending themselves, Watchman.”

GM: The frown turns on Aramis. “Just another customer, eh?” he says, pointing at the corpse with his chin.

GM: “I’ll just go canvas, then, shall I?” says the other watchman. She left to question the other witnesses in the crowd. The people back up Perrin’s version of events, however reluctant some of them might be to defend him.

Perrin: “Son, if you feel like you need to take me in, I’ll be happy to make that stroll with you. As it happens, I do know the way. I’ll come with you peacefully and walk right back out again peacefully once this is all said and done. Then I’ll buy you a drink.”

GM: That pisses him off. “I accept your surrender.”

GM: “Lar…” says the other watchman.

Aramis: “Then you should bring me in as well, though I ask that you send word to Father Sloane that you’ve done so.”

GM: His jaw clenches at Aramis’ suggestion, then he shoots a look at his partner. “I’m taking these men in. I’ll send backup to help you … clean up.” His tone is as dismissive as it gets.

Perrin: Perrin smiles as he removes his quiver and blade, placing them in the other watchman’s hands.

GM: They are escorted to the jail.

* * *

(The Jail)

GM: The jailer comes to check on Reeoh, and sees her cell empty. “What the-” he says, pulling out keys and opening the door before entering to search the walls for holes.

Reeoh: Reeoh drops down from where she’d braced herself between the cell door and the ceiling. She snatches the guard’s keys and dashes out, slamming the cell door shut behind her. On her way out of the building, after grabbing her bag, she runs into (literally) Perrin, while trying to ditch the planted bracelet.

GM: Sergeant Masser is clearly trying not to facepalm at Officer Lar’s arrest of the former captain … not to mention the returning hero, even if he does worship the creepy death goddess. He casually places a hand on Reeoh’s shoulder. (How Did He Know?)

Perrin: Perrin says, “Oh, hello. Reeoh. Still frequenting the establishment I see”

Reeoh: “Uh… I was just leaving, Cap’n.”

Aramis: “Oh,” Aramis says, primarily to himself. “THAT was her name.”

GM: Masser: “As it happens, we’ve gotten word that violent criminals might be getting more aggressive, and even going so far as to incriminate…” he sighs, “… innocent citizens.”

Reeoh: “That’s the truth, there’s no one MORE innocent than I.”

Aramis: To Reeoh: “Oh?”

GM: Masser, to Lar: “We’ll take some statements from the other witnesses that your partner is no-doubt questioning. I see no reason to detain Mister Hargrove or Brother Shepherd. We know where to find them if we have any follow up questions or … ahem … allegations.”

Perrin: “Thank you Sergeant. You know I’ll be happy to cooperate with any further information.”

Aramis: “As will I.”

GM: Masser nods at the two of you, almost apologetically.

Reeoh: “So we’re free to go?”

GM: Masser to Reeoh: “Conditionally, in your case. I remand you into Mister Hargrove’s recognizance. As I recall, you two have something of a history.”

Reeoh: “Sure, I’ll go with the Cap’n. And I do believe that someone dropped this.” She places the bracelet on the counter.

GM: The sergeant pulls Perrin aside before he goes, and speaks to him in an undertone. “Have you seen your nephew since yesterday?”

Perrin: “Can’t say that I have. Something wrong?”

Aramis: Aramis exchanges a somewhat awkward glance with Reeoh while Perrin speaks to the sarge.

Masser: “Hoping not. He hasn’t checked in today. He was following up on a lead in Chatterstreet Market. Might be nothing. Just a bad feeling, is all. Thought you’d want to know. In case.”

Perrin: “Seems like things are getting serious around here. I’ll look into it. Thank you for letting me know.”

GM: He nods, once. “Sir.”

Perrin: Perrin gathers his belongings and starts heading out, grabbing Reeoh by the collar on his way.

GM: Masser to Lar as they leave, “Don’t you have reports to write and file…”

Perrin: “Reeoh have you met my family? I need to let them know we are okay. Then, we need to go to the blacksmith.”

Aramis: “History?” Aramis asks after them as the three depart.

Reeoh: “Didn’t study that.”

Perrin: “Reeoh was one of my more common delinquents while I was running the Watch. But always entertaining.”

Aramis: “Knowing what I know of the company she kept, I cannot say I find that surprising.”

Perrin: Looking to Reeoh “And you! I would not recommend trying to ditch us as we work today. We might need your skills. And remember, I’m retired now. I literally have nothing better to do than to track you down."

Reeoh: “YOU only have to ask, Cap’n.”

Perrin: “What do you know of wererats in Brindinford?”

Reeoh: “Where the rats are? All over the place, really. Mostly in the sewers.

Aramis: Aramis looks slightly pained

Perrin: “Nothing then? Tsk Tsk. I would have thought you more informed than that. How about a new gang, brazen enough to launch an assault in the middle of the fair?”

Reeoh: “Like the ones that framed me for stabbing a guard?”

* * *

GM: “Sergeant?” the jailer called out from Reeoh’s cell. “Anyone?”

The Speaker in Dreams

Prologue: Nevermore
In Which Aramis Begins and Ends

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

24 March, 103 CY

Aramis stared at his folded hands while he kept watch, chanting dirges in a low voice to regain his exhausted spells. Most of his healing magic had gone to Azal, so the tiefling rogue slept more soundly than Bhavik Devanta did. The rest of the warden’s mending would have to wait until dawn, when Aramis’s prayers were answered.

The three adventurers had fled the Black Lake, back up to the foundry’s abandoned library. The room reeked of moldy paper, but its single entrance made it the most defensible position they could reach. Though the dragon was likely licking her own wounds, many other threats still dwelled in the halls of Khundrukar…

Distracted once more by the shame of their retreat, Aramis halted his prayer. We threw everything we had at her, he thought again, and it still wasn’t enough. How can we slay the dragon?

How can we save Talgen?

A shadow crossed his face as a small black form fluttered past the everburning torch that illuminated the room. The intruder flapped to the top of a bookshelf, where it perched upon the cracked remnant of a white marble bust and turned to regard the cleric with one beady black eye, then the other.

“A raven,” Aramis found himself saying aloud. He stole a guilty glimpse at his companions, but neither stirred at the sound of his voice. A sign! It must be a sign… no bird could have possibly found its way down here – not unless it was sent by the hand of fate herself.

“Greetings, Shepherd,” the raven croaked, dismissing Aramis’s last vestige of doubt.

“Hail, raven,” Aramis replied. He didn’t care to be called Shepherd anymore – not after his last disastrous visit to his home in Oakhurst – but he wasn’t about to correct a divine herald on the matter. His exhaustion dragged down every syllable he spoke: “Has my Queen sent you to talk me out of what I must do?”

The bird tilted its head to a different angle. “What makes you say that?”

“I know that, when I go to face the dragon again, I’ll die. We will all die. And my Queen knows that I must face the dragon again. I cannot abandon the only hope my friend has.” Unless Aramis recovered the golden apple that the duergar stole for the dragon below, Talgen Hucrele would forever remain a monster, twisted by the Gulthias Tree into its supplicant…

“Yes. Our Queen knows.” The raven shifted from one foot to another. “Yet she also knows that there is another way.”

“What?” Aramis got to his knees. “Tell me. Please.”

The bird paused to fluff its feathers out, sounding like an opening parasol. “Nightscale may be a dragon, but even a dragon is a living thing. And every living thing owes a death. Fate would have her, and not you, in this hour.”

So that’s the dragon’s name. A dozen questions stole into his mind, but he only dared ask one: “But how?”

“Nightscale has a weakness. She has many weaknesses, Shepherd, but this one may be of use to you.”

“But this wisdom comes at a cost.”

“Of course.” The raven flitted down from the bust to land on the top of Aramis’s backpack, within the cleric’s reach. “It is not our Queen’s way to make her designs plain, even to her servants. But these are trying times.”

“I will pay whatever price she asks.” As she well knows.

“She wants your eye. And she wants your companions.”

A river of ice flowed through Aramis’s veins. “They’ll die? Down here?” Losing an eye to save his friend was nothing. Losing Bhavik and Azal was unthinkable.

“That is not for me to say. But, should they live, you will be called to a place where the tiefling and the shifter will not follow.”

“Will I ever see them again?”

“Not for me to say. Fate wills what it will. But, were I you, I wouldn’t pin my hope upon it.”

The cleric considered this. “I have become the Raven Queen’s avenger,” he said, closing his eyes. “I am Death’s reaper sworn, bringing those who would challenge the natural order of life, death, and rebirth into her embrace, by her grace and my will.” But I’m nothing in battle without my friends. And I’m sure there will be many battles beyond this one… if my Queen wants me to survive this day, what plans could she possibly have for me?

The raven squawked, once; Bhavik groaned, once, then turned over in his sleep. “The choice is yours, Shepherd,” the bird croaked.

Guilt panged Aramis’s heart as his thoughts turned to Sharwyn, the girl who’d fallen in love with him when he was only a shepherd. She’d confessed her love only nine days ago, after keeping it a secret for six years or more. She still loved him, though he could scarcely remember being that shepherd boy, could see no resemblance when he looked in the mirror. How much more could he change before it cost him this newfound love? Fate was cruel enough to tear them apart so quickly after bringing them together, he knew; fleeting love had brought him into the Queen’s service in the first place…

You vowed to save her brother, Aramis reminded himself. Sharwyn would give an eye, at least, to save Talgen. So would their mother! This is the only way. You must pay this price, but don’t count the cost…

“Fate wills what it will,” Aramis said. “I accept.”

“Come then,” the raven said, fluttering up to land on his shoulder. “Let us begin.”


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