"Well... why did they attack us? They seemed to want me... and I do want to know what THAT'S all about." Axen went over to the visible little flying man. "Sadly, we should probably bind him before reviving him."
Clybe scratched his head. "Clearly these flying ... faeries or whatever they are ... are troublemakers. I doubt they have any real purpose." Clybe was still impatient to get to town and this was distracting them from that goal, but if they were all interested in questioning it, there wasn't much use in really complaining.
Post by scottenkainen on Aug 26, 2015 14:35:35 GMT -6
Day 12/the rest of turn 4a for Axen, Clybe, (Gratien, Kepa, Daphne, Jean-Marie):
Everyone agreed that Axen's suggestion seemed prudent, so Kepa produced some hemp rope and bound the sleeping fairy in it, asking Clybe to take its bow and arrows and sit them aside. While he did so, Jean-Marie and Gratien came over, from different directions, to see what was going on, and Daphne stayed behind on the road to guard the cart.
When the fairy was bound, Jean-Marie cast a curing spell on it to wake it up. It was groggy at first, but then turned mad and struggled against its bonds.
"Easy there," Gratien said calmly. "You were hurt in the fight, and abandoned by your friends. We healed you and will let you go if you promise no more hostility, and tell us what you wanted from Axen here," he said, gesturing towards Axen.
"We wanted to liberate this poor halfling! All of his kind have been made to turn their backs on their fairy heritage and live like humans with you humans. Had he proven his worth to us, we would have let him live with us, as a pixie."
Axen got right down next to the fairy. "Many people have been very kind to me in my life. The people standing here, for one, and countless people in and around Verbobonc. They've helped me and fed me and treated me well. I have everything I want in life. Then you show up, attack my friends, and talk about "liberating" me? I have no interest in your "liberation." Perhaps it is you who needs to be liberated. People aren't evil - well, some are, but there are evil people and faeries and animals wherever you go. But a lot of people are good almost all of the time, and they care for each other. The only care you've shown is for yourself." Axen backed up. "I see no reason to hold this misguided fairy."
Clybe was genuinely impressed at Axen's impassioned speech. It had a certain earnestness and folksy charm to it, something that Clybe, with all of his natural ability to charm people, had never been quite able to master. Axen's message? Whatever. Some feel-good nonsense. But Axen's ability to speak and persuade? Impressive. "This is someone I need to remain friends with," thought Clybe.
Post by scottenkainen on Aug 28, 2015 13:58:28 GMT -6
Day 12/turns 5-6 for Axen, Clybe, (Gratien, Kepa, Daphne, Jean-Marie):
"Hmph, well, that's gratitude for you!" the pixie said, but some of the righteous indignation had gone out of its sails after Axen's tongue lashing.
"We'll let you go; just don't try anything funny," Kepa said, and he bent down to untie the pixie. Gratien took the bow and arrow and tossed them well away."
The pixie disappeared after being released, and didn't bother them again. So the adventurers all made their way back up to the road and continued on.
Some time later, they passed the farmhouse that had marked the halfway point to Penwich on the way down here. Though it had been swarming with the Viscount's soldiers then, now the farmhouse stood empty-looking and deserted.
The Harvesters' Heroes thought nothing of it, though, and kept on past it.
Axen looked at the farmhouse, but didn't really make too much of it. His mind was still puzzling through the faeries. He had never really understood himself as being related to faeries, thinking himself much more akin to people but merely shorter in stature. His interaction with people had been mixed but largely positive, but he had mostly negative interactions with faeries, so he decided he was much happier thinking of himself as closer to humankind.
Clybe really just wanted to get to the city as directly as possible. The bizarre sideshow with the illusionary bear and the faeries who loved Axen was amusing, but a distraction. He was looking forward to heading straight to the temple and issuing his report.
Post by scottenkainen on Sept 3, 2015 13:24:40 GMT -6
Day 12/turns 7-8 for Axen, Clybe, (Gratien, Kepa, Daphne, Jean-Marie):
The day wore on and the heroes finally made it to Verbobonc! That had involved traveling through twilight, dusk, and finally now seeing lights here or there in the dark silhouette of the city, while following the road by lantern light.
The gate to the city was closed at this late hour of the night, but the Harvesters' Heroes were well-known and an exception to curfew was made when Gratien asked for one. The gates were only an inconvenience anyway, for everyone knew that the old curtain wall around the whole city had large gaps in the Dawn Quarter.
"The city looks as whole as when we left it," Gratien said. "I fear we must part here to find out more."
The Harvester's left for the Temple of the Journey. Clybe wanted to go to the Temple of the Heavenly Virtues, but knew that curfew was much more strictly enforced at the Inner Bailey and that gate would likely stay closed to him. And Axen...
Upon entering the city, Clybe took Axen aside. "I wish for you to come with me to the Temple of Heavenly Virtues in the morning as I give my report. If you will do so, I will buy you a few drinks and a room at an inn here in town."
Post by scottenkainen on Sept 4, 2015 13:59:40 GMT -6
Day 12/turns 8a for Axen, Clybe, (Gratien, Kepa, Daphne, Jean-Marie):
Axen, meanwhile, had been paying particular attention to their prisoner, Guarin. Guarin had been so quiet all day as to be hardly noticed, and had made no effort to run even when only one person was left to guard him during the pixie attack. Outside the city, Guarin had begun to look uncomfortable. Now that they had entered the city walls, he looked to be in pain.
As the wagon rolled in further and pulled Guarin along, he grit his teeth and groaned out loud, stumbling along behind the wagon.
Axen called a halt. "This man is either a brilliant actor or is in obvious pain. Given what I have seen, I believe his curse is bringing him harm. Given the time of night, would some of you be willing to camp out beyond the walls with me with this man, so that we can find someone to identify his curse in the morning?"
Clybe stood there for a moment. He had been planning on preparing himself to give a thorough report to the Temple in the morning, making sure to note that Ramon seemed to have abandoned the order, but then he realized that this offered him a powerful chance to appear pious. "I shall stay with you, Axen. In the morning, I will help you find a cleric for him, to determine if he is actually cursed and, if so, to lift that curse." Clybe reasoned that if he showed up at the Temple with the story of his adventure - and Axen serving as witness - along with this man who needed healing, it would certainly build up his reputation within the order. Not only that, it would continue to build the trust of this interesting little halfling.
Clybe agreed to this plan and proceeded directly to the Temple. This was finally his time to get the meddlesome Father Danilo off of his back and open his path to progressing through the ranks of the Order.
Upon entering the Temple, Clybe sought out Father Danilo, and upon meeting the older man, Clybe immediately launched into his story.
"I have a very full briefing that I need to give you about my time in Avella and in further areas, but I have some pressing matters that need quick resolution. Our mission was successful, and Dame Avella rewarded us well. I gave some of my reward to the temple of Saint Cuthbert in Avella, but here is much of what's left." He handed Father Danilo a cloth bag with half of his remaining gold, having already hidden away the remainder of his stash. "May this money further our cause."
"Now, I do have another urgent need. Along the way, I was able to minister to some bandits who claim to have received a curse from... the incident many years ago. We were able to stop their banditry and I brought along their leader. He is being watched right now by others in our group. I need someone from our order who is well trained in identifying and removing curses. I am not entirely convinced of the innocence of this bandit, but if his story of a curse is true and we can cure it, we will be able to clear the countryside of a particularly nasty group of bandits and make the land safer for all. After this, I wish to make a detailed report of our journey directly to you."
Clybe hoped that Father Danilo would see the donation and his request to heal this bandit in a very positive light, setting the stage for his later report.
Axen waited with Kepa for Clybe's return. As they waited, Axen again talked to Guarin about his background. Axen was pretty firmly convinced of the reality of the bandit's curse and believed that Guarin was a good man who had met a series of very unfortunate events in his life. He hoped that Clybe would return with someone who would provide healing for this man's plight.
"When is he speaking?" This was the kind of community event that Axen loved to attend. He loved being around large social gatherings, often climbing up in a tree for a better view, and the idea of a contest was interesting, particularly a strength-based one. He loved to surprise people with his strength.
Even with his excitement, though, Axen was still more interested in Guarin's fate, so he stayed with Guarin even though the Viscount's speech was on his mind.
Post by scottenkainen on Sept 16, 2015 14:36:36 GMT -6
Day 13, turn 3 for Axen, Clybe:
Axen and Guarin had waited off the road, either sitting or standing in the grass, for the last hour and a half, when Clybe returned with an aging woman in clerical vestments over leather armor, her hair concealed in a simple headdress.
"I am Prefect Juliana Fabron, Head Librarian, Archdeacon of the Shrine of Delleb, of the Temple of the Heavenly Virtues," she said. "This one -- I can almost feel the curse in him from here," she said, pointing to Guarin. "Clybe, Clybe's...little friend," Prefect Fabron said, indicating each of them with a finger, "Hold him fast."
"He won't run," Axen said, proudly defending his prisoner.
"It may still prove necessary. Please..." Prefect Fabron intoned, and it was clear she would not proceed until they both complied. "In the name of Delleb, who knows all curses and their remedies, the name of Cuthbert, who will grant me the wisdom to choose the right words for my prayer, and the name of Heironeous, who will grant me the courage to do what must be done..." she began. She held a holy symbol aloft and it began to glow with an inner light as she chanted holy words.
Guarin, slack in their grip, stiffened up and began to fight Axen and Clybe, or at least appeared to be.
"It is the curse, trying to escape! Do not let him go!" Juliana shouted, before a beam of light struck Guarin full in the chest from her holy symbol. Guarin gripped the holy symbol with both hands, and wind seemed to swirl about her clothes. "Out, foul curse! In the name of the gods of Law and Good, out!"
Blackness began to spill out from behind Guarin, as if his shadow was unspooling like thread. There was a lot of blackness, and it began to shift and move, as if from a will of its own.
"This curse has festered long in him, and grown in power!" Juliana shouted. "Clybe, let go and produce your holy symbol with mine! Aim it at this man!"
As soon as Clybe complied, his symbol seemed to become part of the spell. The same light, albeit weaker and smaller, shone from it. As soon as it was focused on Guarin, Juliana began targeting the blackness, the light from her symbol striking it like a lightning bolt.
"What spawned you, dark curse? I command you to speak!" Juliana shouted.
"...Zuggtmoy," the blackness seemed to say back.
"The demon Zuggtmoy has no power here! Only Delleb, Cuthbert, Heironeous, Rao--"
With a surprising suddenness, and a loud "POOF!", the blackness disappeared. Guarin fell on top of Axen.
Clybe was genuinely shocked at these events. He had begun to believe that Guarin was "faking" his curse in hopes of getting a free ride back to Verbobonc and perhaps some opportunities for banditry. But when the curse emerged from Guarin... it was a powerful experience, to be sure. For a moment, Clybe actually felt a touch of sympathy for what this man's life must have been like over the past decades, with the curse keeping him away from society.
But then... Clybe's mind quickly flipped back into "capitalizing on the moment" mode. He ran quickly over to Guarin and checked on his condition, with words of sympathy and care - a mix of real and manipulated feelings. "Are you all right, Guarin?" Clybe asked, hoping this man to be recovered and thankful for being freed of the curse. Because if he was, he could be an ally.
Axen stood right beside Clybe and checked on Guarin's condition. He had managed to lay Guarin on the ground easily after he collapsed when the curse escaped him. In a way, Axen was deeply relieved. Though he had believed Guarin's story, he also knew there was a chance that treachery was at work. That the curse exited Guarin's body so clearly made Axen glad that he could fix Guarin's situation, but also sad that Guarin's life had been so miserable over the years.
Clybe seemed to be very attentive to Guarin as he lay on the ground, so Axen merely stood close, listening and watching for any response.
Post by scottenkainen on Sept 18, 2015 12:26:52 GMT -6
Day 13, turn 3a for Axen, Clybe:
"I am now, Father Clybe," Guarin said, taking the cleric's hand to help him up.
"Did Father Clybe tell me rightly that there are more men afflicted with this curse, being held in Avella?" Prefect Fabrion said. "If so, we must send relief there as soon as we can. Clybe, would you come with me to make those arrangements at the church?"
"And I would go with Axen, if I may," Guarin said. "Though I would rightly with to thank the gods for my deliverance, in due time, it has been many years since I could last visit Verbobonc and I wish to sample its wares again. Can you recommend a good tavern, friend Axen?"
Clybe wanted Axen to come with him, to report Ramon's transgressions with him to Father Danilo, to help him move up in the church hierarchy.... but would there be more value in being a hero to these bandits? Clybe watched Axen for a moment and made his choice.
"Yes, we should do that, Fabrion. Let us go to the Temple and make plans to travel and rescue these bandits. One moment, please."
Clybe walked over to Axen and Guarin, who were excitedly making plans. "Axen," he said, "thank you so much for your aid and confidence in bringing Guarin here. Your faith that his story of the curse was true likely saved Guarin's life and may yet save the lives of the other bandits." He paused for a moment. "You seem to be ready to help Guarin to settle into the city. Would the two of you be willing to aid the other bandits upon their return to Verbobonc? We may remove their curse in Avella, but we will encourage them to come back here. If there are any... legal troubles still outstanding, our Order will help with that, I am sure. If you are willing, I will bring the un-cursed men and women with me to the tavern where we first met... the Molten Spigot, was it not? I will seek the two of you out there in a few day's time, but until then, Guarin, make yourself at home once again in Verbobonc." Clybe turned on every bit of his charm with this little speech, hoping that between these two, they would help raise Clybe's reputation even higher among the townsfolk.
"Now then," Clybe turned to Fabrion, "let us return to the Temple and make plans to rescue the rest of the bandits in Avella." For the first time in a long time, Clybe began to walk in a different direction than Axen.
Axen was happy to take Guarin to the Molten Spigot and celebrate a bit with him. He made the personal choice to retell Guarin's story to all that would listen with a few of the rougher edges of the bandit's tale shaved off. Axen's plan was to spend much of the day with Guarin, helping him find lodging and any basic things he might need, and enjoying the company of a man who believed that society had abandoned him, only to discover that some truly cared.
Unless yet another crazy adventure came up, of course.