Freedom, finally. I don’t know much about it, but I do know it’s a town that’s been settled by freed slaves. They’ve turned mostly to ranching, and the city itself is largely made out of adobe. They sound like a bunch of tough mudders, if you ask me. A bit outside of town along the main road are dessicated bodies, hanging from crosses and just blowing in the breeze. I only need to read one of the identical signs to get both a good and a bad feeling about this town. The signs simply says:
Freedom Welcomes All But Defilers
This … this could be tricky. It’s nice to see a town that actively fights back against defilers, but I’ve have some growing suspicions about Tylorre, especially after Rokka went all evil on the injured dwarf in the underground tomb.
Just outside town, we come across a young elf. He notices our Feathergale capes, and his eyes immediately widen and he bows. He asks us why Feathergale has returned after such an absence, and we just tell him that we’re not members of Feathergale, just allies, and our business is our own. I’m not inclined to get into a mess of misrepresentation with those who’ve been good to us.
When we arrive at the gates of Freedom, the guards see our cloaks and quickly open the gates to let us in. So, uh, that bit about misrepresentation? Yeah, it’s tricky. To be fair, they didn’t ask us anything just opened the gates.
It’s a fine line. Or, a super blurry and vague one. Look, at least I have a line, no matter what shape it may or may not take.
We start heading to a large building – the Ashen Beetle Saloon – when we spot an arakocra with a red shirt. Moki’s killer. Hopefully we can avenge my friend soon. But, that may have to wait, and I’m a patient dwarf. Kind of.
Apparently all the town’s a-buzz with talk that they’ll be adding to their defiler scarecrows outside town. It would seem that they determine guild by putting the alleged defiler in a caged dome with their accuser. Two enter, one leaves. My stomach tightens, just a bit more.
As we make our way through town, looking for the leader, we certainly draw a lot of stairs. In fact, the overall tension keeps building. Between the Feathergale cloaks, the sheer amount of water we’re carting, and the seeming pervasive mob mentality this town seems to thrive on, I’m getting a bit more anxious. It doesn’t help that a bunch of kids bump into me, and I realize one of the buggers has taken my knife. My magical metal knife, Reszur. Tensions continue to rise, when in an effort to help, Kary’klii offers the crown water in exchange for the return of the knife. Not the best move, and the crowd starts to go crazy when the city guards come in, settle things down a bit, and escort us to the mayor.
He is a monstrously huge man named Cocoton. He asks us if taxes are due (I suspect because of the cloaks), we reply that we know not of any taxes, and offer some of our water as a gift of goodwill. He asks who the leader of our party is, and doesn’t seem to accept our answer of it being more of an anarcho-syndicalist commune. Looking at him, I figure he’s more a “champion as leader” type, so, I decide to just step up.
We talk of the “Evil Air” Cult – there may be more to our featherweight friends than we know – worth investigating. At some point. I explain our relationship with Feathergale, telling him of our manticore slaying. He asks if we know of a Savra – the ranger lady that is our friend over there and fought with us – she’s his daughter! He’s worried that she’s under some thrall or held against her will or something like that. You know Dads are. I tell her that she seemed fine and well, and not under duress as far as we could tell. That seemed to calm him. We offer half of our water, to be distributed to the poor and those in need, and he extends his friendship and protection of the remainder of our water during our stay. It’s also recommended that we hide our cloaks – don’t want to misrepresent ourselves.
We depart, and wander about town. We notice that there’s a lot of small fires in sconces on almost all of the buildings in town. We ask someone about them, and they direct us to Sister Paxatus, who runs the orphanage. She tells us they are an aspect of the Fire Hounds, that keep the city protected from ankhegs. And this Sister – let me tell you – she has a giant of man protecting her. I believe he is referred to as “The Mountain” and that sure is an apt moniker. We talk of the Cult of the Black Earth and our dealings with them in the Northwest. She sees Ghirgaz’s black ceramic armbands, and recognizes them – she knows we’re not lying, and to be taken seriously.
Also? Kary’klii recognizes the little shit that stole my knife. We grab him, and to prove that her orphan has my property, I speak its name and light it up. *whew* nice to have it back.
Sister Paxatus tells us of Silver Springs (and this is not the first time we’ve heard of this place) and how it is a den, the heart of Elemental Villainy. It’s the core of slaving operations in the area. A place that Freedom hates with all its collective being. She speaks also a particularly vile fiend named Garr Shatterkeel – the King of Slavers. He seemingly also has the power to cause floods – at this point I have to assume we ran into some of his minions just a bit ago. He’s the possessor of a trident called “DROWN“. It sounds like a potent item, but to be honest I’ve never heard of a trident. She describes it, and the best way I recount it is that it’s a type of giant battlefork.
Honestly, it sounds pretty cool, even if it couldn’t summon floods. I just can’t decide if I like the term warfork or battlefork better. They both kinda work.
My train of thought is broken as guards come into the room. For Tylorre. CRAP. He’s been (rightfully?) accused of being a defiler, and is to be tried tomorrow. We recognize this is no place or time for a fight, and Tylorre insists on going peacefully, as it is. So be it.
So, nothing to do now but wait for tomorrow’s trial, and not to sound callous, but I’m in dire need of some R&R. To the Ashen Beetle! Haven’t spent quality time in a good tavern in a while, and this one does not disappoint! Not only is it a bed & beverage, but the bartender is a dwarf! Oh, I haven’t laid eyes on anything so lovely – nor tasted an ale as good – in quite a while. I get to chatting with her – her name’s Lazra – and when she learns that we donated all that water (humblebrag), she buys us a round! I still tip her, of course. The rest of the lads head off in their own directions, leaving Ghirgaz and I here.
I put down more booze, and start telling tales of our exploits. People start gathering round, and next thing we know, we’re regaling all. I mostly just want to impress Lazra, but it’s nice to be in this situation, lauded as heroes. Many hours and drinks later, I make one last comically failed pass at Lazra, and head to bed.
In the morning, the trials begin early. I join Lazra on her scaffolding, enjoying a good view. Apparently, Tylorre is the first up, and his accuser is Marta – a woman from the last little township. She claims that Tylorre using defiling magic there, and used her family as his source. I honestly don’t know if there’s any merit to it as I was busy fighting a giant water snake, but I have a sneaking feeling that she is Just in her accusation.
Tylorre’s reaction is … nothing. He says that he’s not a defiler, and refuses to kill to prove it. He simply lays down his staff, and kneels. She quickly starts attacking him, missing at times in rage. There’s really nothing I can do here. This town – they thrive on this, right or wrong. Any interference, well, would be bad. I may be able to handle myself in a fight, but you just can’t fight that many people, regardless of their (lack of) training.
Sadly, Kary’klii doesn’t seem like he agrees – I see him fly up to the top of the dome, where other arakocra are – including the one with the red shirt. I hope K has a plan, and that includes taking out the red bastard and leaving the fight be.
Guess what? Totally wrong. I notice (and thankfully nobody else really does) that he shoots Marta with a crossbow. Instead of the red bastard. Dude, you’re trying to put out a fire with guzzoline. This is not smart, no matter if you think it’s not fair.
Marta is undeterred. She holds her knife to Tylorre’s throat, offering him last words. He says something about his death and bringing her family back (hard to make out), and she slits his throat. He falls to the ground, blood quickly spilling out. Arvos claims the body, arguing that his refusal to fight isn’t hard proof that he’s a defiler, and that he deserves burial. It’s allowed.
With the dome cleared, it’s time for the second trial – a lady accused of defiling, and “The Mountain” who I assume is fighting for Sister Paxatus. She quickly summons an earth elemental which is quickly dispatched by the Sister’s champion, and then in one fell swoop, finds her guilty. The crowd cheers.
I pour our some of my ale for my fallen friend.
Prior Journal XP: +250, Session XP: +500, Session Date: 07/21/16, Title: Megadeth – Hook In Mouth