Holber deduces looking at Thay’d, “you must’ve been the one who hired my barrister.” Thay’d only states he was looking out for him without saying yes. Not only did Thay’d procure a barrister, he got one of the best in the realm, and one whose intellect, beauty, and expertise few could compare. Tharg and Tobuscus also needing a barrister agree to have Ezetta-zah represent them upon a payment of 300 gold each.
“Very well gentlemen,” Ezetta states as she receives their bags of coin. “Our business is only beginning.” I will start on your defense. Rest assured you are in good hands." She then stares at Holber with a warm smile on her face and her cheeks becoming rosey. “You Holber, we’re meeting tomorrow night. Our business too is also beginning” as she gave off a glowing look. Holber looked back with a tense smile as if he didn’t know what to do or say. “Tonight we’re going out for dinner.” Holber responds, “you’re paying right?” Ezetta responds she will pay, knowing Holber is not yet a man of means.
Elven princess Astenaria walks to the party’s room and announces, “I will meet with each of you for three hours to assist with your legal issues. It warms my heart that you have an elven barrister. She is one of the best but her father is an exceedingly arrogant man.”
Meanwhile in town, Thorgal has walked away from the party, not in legal peril himself, and makes his way back to the weaponsmith Torvac in Eastfare. “Friend Torvac! I return! Show me the blade by which I will kill 1,000 foes!” Torvac pulls out a beautifully made mastework-kukri. Thorgal holds it up the air, stares at it while checking it’s balance. “It’s a thing of beauty and function! I will insert this shaft into the inflamed, bloodied, and unwitting flesh of evil time and time again! Back and forth, back and forth!, out from the wound will spurt out blood that I will proudly claim is my doing!” Despite the boasting, Thorgal is truly and sincerely touched by this new blade, it’s beauty, it’s craftsmanship and that it was given in to him out of respect for acts of kindness. “Aye,” he thinks to himself, “this will be a blade for good.”
Torvac tells Thorgal of 2 orcs he killed but barely managed to survive. “Aye, I killed them but I’m more of a craftsman than a fighter.” Thorgal in return tells him of Drow he’s killed. “They be pretty darky-elf boys with purple skin. They be skinny, and they dress in tight black leather to make them even prettier, but don’t let them pretty things make you think they be anything but the worst evil you’ve seen! Orcs be tough but stupid, their danger is their numbers, Drow are fast, smart, clever!” He then takes off his backback, sets it down, opens it, and takes out an anvil larger than the backpack could hold unless treated with magic, only being able to do so because it is a Haversack. “Look at this! I’m a crafstman too! I used it to fashion me axe. That or I drop it on the head of a drow!” The two exchange humoruous stories. “Thank you my friend” Thorgal exclaims but Torvac only telling him he he did a great service for his family healing his cousin. Thorgal goes to town to expend his healing energies for those in need.
Thay’d makes arrangements for dinner with the ambassador of Iuz at the Owl Bear restaurant.
Tobuscus pens a letter. Sir Joss, I humbly request you to meet with Taiven and I to make amends and find a reconciliation between all parties. In the spirit of true paladinhood and forgiveness it would be in our spiritual interests to find this reconciliation…… The letter is dispatched to Sir Joss.
Then the paladin gets the rubbing of the obelisk and goes to Eastfare’s library accompanied by the elven princess hoping to find something in the library to better understand the obelisk’s symbols. While traveling the paladin discovers he is being followed by a monstrous lizard man of 7 feet, armed with an equally impressive scimitar, hide armor, well-financed gear, and a human of just over 6 feet in mithral armor.
“Ah the game is afoot,” the paladin thinks to himself. He stares at them using his paladin powers (Detect Evil) discerns they are both evil. Tobuscus instead returns to the castle, and leaves now accompanied by Taiven and 3 elven rangers. One of the rangers is asked to accompany them from several feet behind to observe if they are being followed. They again embark to the library and this time see the lizardman with now a half-elf and a beautiful human woman singing The Baron of Bones. (She performs at a 28 on a perform check).
The lizard man and human warrior in the mithral armor keep back 15’ and shadow Taiven’s movement. While moving the human yells, “the dragon-man cunt married the elven princess cunt and they had a cunt-mongrel!” Tobuscus looks at the princess and replies, “remain calm, their intent is likely for us to cause a scene.”
They get to the library and once inside notice they are no longer followed. A man apparently in his 50s possibly a librarian sage introduces himself. “Show me to the languages section, and please provide me a private room.” requests Tobuscus. The librarian allows him the use of a staff office. The princess detects for magic in the library but finds none. Toby tells all (Taiven, princess, elven rangers) that the contents going on are secret and they cannot reveal what they find to others.
Despite lacking training Tobuscus finds some letters similar to that of the Aasimar characters. He goes to the history section, going to the Aasimar section to see if there’s mention of anything branching languages. Celestial shows 2 common characters. An elven ranger comes into the library bleeding on his left cheek. “The man in the mithral armor cut me with a rapier then called it a love cut!”
Upset but trying to keep calm, Toby and his crew leave the library to head back to the palace, but now see a dwarf (not detected as evil), a man in large plate (detected as evil) with the sigil of Rel Astra, one of the 4 principle cities of the kingdom. When they get about 35’ feet from the other group the they hear lyrics from the female singer, “cowardly elf, cowardly dragon-man.”
Tobuscus and his group get to the temple of Pholtus where hundreds are being treated for wounds and sickness There they meet with the older cleric Targ. Tobuscus greets, “you have made a beautiful and divine temple,” and introduces the princess Astinaria. “Where may be Sir Joss?” asks Toby. Their host tells Tobuscus, " “There was a scary woman here asking for him. She works as the city’s inquisitor. She puts fear up my spine!”
Tobuscus asks if there be available clergy for fighting. “On the outskirts of town there is another temple to Volantis where I serve as bishop. There we have two young men. Baku, he is a man of the scripture and not one for fighting. Batai on the other hand, he’s filled with anger and rage. Properly trained he could make an excellent Templar.” He continues, “I’ve treated Black Blades, a disbanded order. The Knights Protectorate took from mostly Heironeous, Pholtus, and Hextor. With the coming of the Ivid dynasty they were disbanded and deemed treasonous. They attempted treason on King Ivid but the proof is in dispute. They were hunted down, but some still live in the wilderness. I know of no one to contact within the Knight Protectorate. Perhaps Jaquen Dane or Allister Tain but I would not trust that Heironean. He is not of the great kingdom but he imposes rules on us as if he is one of us.” Toby heals some of the sick with channels.
Elsewhere in Eastfare, Thorgal wanting to make himself useful but also hoping to learn of Eastfare heals the masses hoping benevolent acts could change influence. “You know lass,” he says to a wounded girl while healing her," I’ve never seen that dragon-man act like the beast that’s being said of him." The girl stares at him, " noble dwarven healer, we know you to be kind, you heal us without asking for anything except our friendship. That dragon-man must suffer and pay for the babies he’s eaten! What perverse man or woman was willing to lay with a dragon and produce this beast mongrel!?!?" Thorgal smiles, continues to heal her, “Lass you get better. Rest, and when you have the strength help your people so I can get back to putting me axe in the skulls of evil!” He realizes he’ll likely never be able to change their minds, then returns to the palace to alert them to the bad feelings against Tharg.
At the palace, “Hear ye! Lord Jaquen Dane, the Queen’s Justice!” he is introduced to the party wearing elegant, masterly and beautifully crafted gold-chromed and glossed red armor. “I wish to speak to Queen Astenara of the Adri Forest.” “I am honor-bound to tell you that I am one of your 3 judges.” “I fought your mother once,” he says to Tharg. “Then you are a lucky man,” Tharg replies. Dane tries to get a measure on Tharg. “Tell her that we have 2 of her elves that we arrested for starting a fight. When she comes to me I will release them to her custody.” ,"hard to say but he doesn’t seem to be 100% against you.
Tharg alerts Taiven of the above. Tharg talks of his mother, “She tried to embaress my father and dropped me off on him.” He then tells Taiven of the history between elves and men that have been rocky for the last several decades.
Elven princess Astinaria gets Jaquen Dayne to sign a release so she may go to the dungeon to talk to her elves. The elves reveal they were accused of attacking a royal guard. Taiven trying to defend the elves tells Dayne that the other men “verbally abused us.” Dayne replies, “you are a large man, what they called you names?” Taiven, “what would you do if your honor was acosted?” Dayne reponds, “Trial by combat. These elves got into a fight and had their asses handed to them. Statements were made, these elves were taken by law-biding people of the city.”
Sir Tobuscus introduces himself to Sir Dayne and supports Taiven, but Dayne plays devil’s advocate, "How did you know they were insulting her? There are several elven princesses. Did they mention her by name? This is a lawful society. You must be able to prove that these were the insults made against her. Taiven retorted, “they said she had carnal associations with Baron Tharg and no other elven princess knows him except for her.” Dayne retorted again, “they did not mention her by name.” Despite their disagreement Sir Toby told Sir Dayne of his respect for him and his reputation of fairness and they parted.
Later that day, Joramy Wendell calls in the party to meet with his hired underlings. They meet in a conference room. Enters Voltar: a large man in heavy full-plate, Vok: a dwarf wearing the symbol of Clandeggan Silvebeard (dwarven god of battle clerics), Sindarin: a Lizard Man in Elven garb with hide armor, Oin March: a human male in mithral armor (calling out cunt), Jenyra Tyelor: an attractive human female bard, and Moghulis: a wizard (male, looks like a tiefling but not a tielfling). Some of these characters were the same ones seen following Tobuscus on his trip to the library.
Joramy Wendell says, “I am recusing myself because I will sit in judgment of you tomorrow. I understand you had a fracas with some of my underlings. Figure it out.” The party all rolls sense motives, the highest one being a 32 DM-“he just wants to stay above it all”.
The attractive human singer, Jenyra Tyelor says, “I was just having fun with my friends today and now it’s gotten to my employer, and now he wants to fix any misunderstandings.” Taivan and Tobusccus cry foul, “one of your guys, that guy, who keeps saying cunt cut the face or our elven ally!” She responds, “The cut under the eye of my friend, I know nothing of it” while holding her hands up, nor showing any concern. Then Oin looks at Tharg with a threatening glare, “I thought the cunt dragon-man would be taller.” Tharg angrily responds, “My dragon-mother wanted to pass a message, thank you.” Oin stares back, “you’re welcome” with an angry face. Further insults are thrown at each other.
Toby-“We don’t have to take these insults.” Jarenn nonchalantly replies, “I make my money entertaining, and songs of dragon-man are the trend. If I’ve insulted you I apologize.” Sense motive-you believe her. “I don’t care if they insult me,” says Tharg. Oin replies, “good cause I like insulting you and I so hope that cunt princess gets insulted by me, and if you want to do something about man-to-man I’d like it even more.” The insults continue, and Oin, considered one of the most adept fighters of the region, grabs his rapier, but just as he draws it out just an inch Thay’d even quicker whips out his brass sea-blade (natural 20, total 32) with such adeptness and pose that it’s apparent he’d have thrown it at Oin’s neck before his rapier could be completely removed causing Oin to stop midway, and only stare back at Thay’d and put his rapier back into it’s sheath. His look alone said more than words. Not only did Oin avoid a throat slit by a thrown blade, not only did he stop cursing out loud but kept silent for a few minutes.
Joramy tells Tharg, “if found guilty will you willingly go to jail? No matter what happens tomorrow there is a Great Beast that lies in Rauxes. It won’t be the common man or the nobles that will fix this problem, it will be us, people of our wits and means, and therefore I think there should be a plan. Wouldn’t it be nicer if we wouldn’t be on bad terms so we could coordinate?”
Tharg says, “you want to to coordinate but we know who your lord is.” Oin replies, “that man’s not my lord, his money is my lord.” Insults are further exchanged, Joramy responds, “maybe we ought to part ways.”
Despite the arguing to both Thorgal and Vok hardly any of it mattered. What mattered to both of them was seeing another of their kin in this world of humans, and a curiosity of why the other would be here. For Vok, it was refreshing to see another dwarven brother-in-arms, and both could tell the other were of a similarly aligned god from the symbol of the anvil of Moradin on Thorgal’s shield, and the crossed-axes of Silverbeard apparent on Vok. Both of their gods Moradin and Silverbeard were dwarven gods of good and order.
As the two parties part ways, Thorgal walks up to Vok and puts his hand on his shoulder. In Dwarven he passionately speaks, “Kadan eron Raztrum, Tha yol E kadan Nar Moradin. Thamar ath Kronuls Nir arms!” (Translated). “Son of Silverbeard, I am a son of Moradin. We are brothers In arms!.” Vok responds, “Ah it is good to see the plain but welcome and honest face of a dwarf again, and speaking the father-tongue! Let us go out to town and drink!” Both head out enthusiastically, both frustrated with the squabbles from their parties, and both happy to see one of their kind not having seen one for weeks or years.
Ezetta zah enters the palace meeting hall with chalices of wine for guests, approaching Holber for their date. Ezetta being of excellent breeding, a highly regarded family, a noted scholar, a sharp dresser, and also noticeably attractive planned for a romantic night at El-ladriel’s a noted restaurant known for their roast pork and stews. Holber bluntly asks without greeting, “do you know anything about that Tarrasque?” Ezetta responds, “that great beast, it’s name is known to very few, and among those few that know of it, they do not speak it’s name lightly. It would draw dangerous attention. For if anyone recognized the name they would know that the speaker of the the name holds a rare secret. Do not say it in public,” Ezetta says softly as if almost flirting.
Holber, oddly speaks off on an tangent and rather flatly, “you know you could lose a few stones.” “What?” says Ezetta. “You know. You could lose a few stones. You’re attractive, but you’re not perfect. You could lose some belly. I figure that belly could be a little flatter.” Ezetta stares at him shocked. Holber “and good thing you’re paying for this dinner. I don’t have a penny. I especially don’t want to spend anything on something that’d make you fatter. When we get there I’m going to order you a salad. I want you on a diet.” Ezetta throws wine at his face, and she storms out. Holbert thinks to himself, “fine with me, I’m not here to get laid,” without even showing much of a emotional expression.
Baron Tharg unintentionally having witnessed some of the event, approaches Ezetta and kindly offers to be her companion for dinner.
Meanwhile at the Owlbear Inn, Thay’d enters, announces his entrance to the host, and finds the ambassador of Iuz, Sporocystan already seated at a table prepared for the meeting. Thay’d approaches the ambassador but is stopped by two orcs serving as his bodyguards by saying nothing but using their hands up to signal stop. They turn around, walk slowly to the ambassador and silently motion Thay’d to follow them. The two are now at the table, one a noble of the sea, the other an ambassador of a nation of demon-worshipers. The two have a conversation of veiled motives, agendas and half-truths.
Sporocystan says, “we’re just looking out for the people of the Flaeness. If you have one overlord for all the people we will all get along.” Thay’d replies, “the sea is vast, and there are many ships. What about this Sir Baahl?” “Ah, the oath-breaker?,” replies Sprocystan, “I came here with an arrest warrant for him but could not get it fulfilled.” Thay’d asks, “then why not take his lands? His titles?” Sporocystan: “His lands are registered with the Great Kingdom and because of this Iuz could not take these. It was probably his plan to change his cloak all along. Most of his men died in a prairie fire.” During the talk Thay’d tried to sense motive but couldn’t detect any suggesting a magical defense.
A basket of warm bread is put on their table. They break it and eat, “I believe your Dragon-Man will get a fair trial now that Allistar Tain is in involved,” says Sporocystan. “Iuz offered 5,000 gold pieces for the lawful extradition of Sir Baahl. This price of course could go up. I’ve heard that you and your compatriots found a temple in the Ardi forest and there was some magics in there.” Thay’d replies, “there was a mausoleum,” it drained me of half my life," and I lost 2 colleagues." Sporocystan says, “I would like to hear more. There supposedly is a rubbing of an ancient language?” Thay’d replied, “We did see some magics.” Sporocystan looks at him suggesting he has something to offer, “we have clerics that could fix your half-loss of life.” Thay’d asks, “what of the accusations that Iuz attacked the caravan?” "Completely fabricated, " Sporocystan answers with a smile, “cause Iuz told me so.” He continues, “I believe this is a machination of Sir Jason Baahl to remove himself from Iuz, and get himself into the royal family. Iuz sent him to help the refugees, but craven and unhonorable as he is, this is the situation we have now.” Thay’d shrewdly asks, " If there was proof Baahl tried to enslave the caravan what would be it worth to Iuz?
The night continues, entrees are served. Thay’d asks, “Has Iuz ever lost a banner because one of was found on the field? We seek a smith, Cromag.” Sporocystan replies, but this time in a tone of criticism, “Cromag works out of the bandit lands. He’s the lowest quality smith. Just above useless.” Thay’d replies, “then perhaps these troops are from the bandit lands.” The night still continues, the entire time the two orcs, both massive only stand silently beside the table.
Thay’d continues, “I think we’ve had a productive meeting.” "For the information I’ve given you I ask 2 things, 1-for an allotment of slaves be sold to me legally. Sporocystan flatly says, “I can only sell 13. Would you like the children?; because some have rather distasteful plans for them.” Thay’d replies yes and says, “I would like to continue our meetings but ask the orcs to make me look roughed up for show.” Sporocystan directs Thay’d and his 2 orc-bodyguards outside the restaurant to an area of less visibility. “Oh and do not worry about them revealing information. They have no tongues.” He calmly then walks away unflinching while the two orcs pummel Thay’d.
After the evening dinner hour, Ezetta zah didn’t show up for the scheduled meeting to discuss legal plans for the trial starting next day. While waiting for Ezetta in the baron’s quarters, the party finds a painting in the room has removable eyes, obviously to observe them from the opposite side. Surprised the party then searches all of the rooms they and the elves occupy and fine the princess’s room has a trap door apparently for an emergency escape route.
Sir Joss having received Toboscus’s letter arrives at the castle and knocks on Tobuscus’s door. “I searched for you at the temple of Pholtus,” Joss says while also explaining that Oin killed 3 men in trials by combat all in the same day. “You be careful young ones. That Oin could likely beat both you and the dragon-man at the same time.” He then looks with an angry eye at Taiven. Taiven humbly asks, “If I am evil strike me down.” Tharg tries to defuse the situation and tells Joss, “Can’t you paladins detect evil?” Unfortunately for the party, Taiven’s demon eye emanates an aura of evil that camouflages Joss’s abilities to discern Taiven’s true non-evil nature. Joss says boldy “I can see your evil. The only reason why you breathe is because you were given diplomatic respect because of the Elven queen.” Thay’d, appearing roughed-up from his pommeling at the Owl Bear, inquires,“how much would it take to calm you?” Joss angrily responds, “How dare you try to buy a paladin’s honor!” and he throws down a gauntlet. Taiven, sick of Joss’s judgmental comments yells out, “you arrogant self-righteous maniac!” Joss draws a sword and casts a spell for a magic
Joss yells to Toboscus, “fight it!” referring to Taiven, " Toboscus yells out," Joss I will smite evil and upon Taiven to prove to you he is not so, you will see no divine magic will be expended!, and strikes at Taiven believing a hit will show the divine magic of Smite Evil will fail but Tobuscus misses. Joss calls for help, screaming, “men of the kingdom come to my aid!” Taiven tackles then grapples Joss to the ground.
Tharg, yells “you fool!” and punches Taiven. Holber cries like a child, “I thought you were evil from the start!” while cowering in a corner, curling into a ball, and starts to cry. Two guards respond to Joss’s call and rush into the room. Joss grabs a dagger and aims for Taiven’s throat but misses. Taiven succeeds in pinning him to the ground.
The two guards swing swords at Toboscus, and one slices him in the back. Tharg still in disbelief punches Taiven, who is able to still stand, holding Joss while smacking him, “I don’t see your god Pholtus here now!”
Four more guards come in rushing, one scores a critical hit against Taiven’s left leg, cutting open his femoral artery, and the others not knowing who to attack aside from Joss, attack Tharg, causing minor damage against the dragon-man’s tough scales. Joss yells out and commands, “do not attack the dragon-man, he was not hostile against us!”
Taiven falls to the ground unconscious, and Toboscus uses his healing powers to stabilize Taiven.
Oin runs in, “I hear some cunts need filling with me blades!” A guard yells at Oin and commands to him to leave. The guards command everyone to drop their weapons, restrain Taiven in multiple manacles, and carry him out, two-men per arm, two men per leg. Joss says at Taiven, " I hope you suffer," while Taiven is being carried away. Joss commands that none but Taiven be arrested, “Baron Tharg attempted to stop Taiven, and the wizard just lay in the corner like runt in the mother’s bosom,” and commanded weapons returned to the other heroes of the party.
Joss thanks Tharg. Tobuscus explains, “perhaps it is the demon eye in his head?” Joss tells Tharg, “I thank you and will defend you in court, but I believe this Taiven may have ensorceled you. He is not to be trusted”
At a local tavern Vok buys several rounds of drinks that keep coming. Thorgal proclaims, “I like this beer.” In the Underdark we mostly eat on mushrooms and drink mushroom beer. This grain-beer tastes different! It’s lighter and sweeter. So brother what brings you to the the world of humans?!. Vok explaines he accidentally killed a fellow dwarf, and was banished. “No judgment against you brother. Who among us hasn’t made a mistake we wanted to erase but could not? Time is a pen and ink, and you write but cannot erase. I often trust my luck on Vergadain (dwarven god of luck) for that very reason.” Thorgal tells Vok of how he was, without his control or consent, transported from the Underdark to a tomb the party encountered, but for Vok’s own protection, and Thorgal’s own, doesn’t reveal the beings of Law they encountered or how he lost his own eye only to have it replaced by that of ancient obsidian-colored beings.
Thorgal offers to relay Vok’s circumstances to their kin, “when I see them again,” but Vok replies, “it is of no use, I am dead to them.” Thorgal feeling within moments is uplifted by Vok’s story of eventually joining human-society, working his way up, becoming a trusted healer for the high-ranked of Eastfare, and then assembling the elite party that is now at odds with Thorgal’s own party.
The drinks keep coming, but after 6 tall tankards Vok shows some signs of inebriation while Thorgal shows none. Thorgal looks at the barmaid, “lass you keep these coming! I’m famished and I’m no where close to drunk!” He snarkly looks at Vok, “punch me in the chin!” Vok replies, “oh so you want to friendly brawl eh,” “right, either that or we get into a brawl with some of these lads here, cause one of them is sitting in our seat!” Vok despite seemingly liking the idea and his drunkness replies, “I’d love to brother, but the consequences are too high. We be the only dwarves here, everyone in town would know about it within the hour and think we were trying to lock horns for real.” “Very well then brother,” Thorgal continues to drink, but despite them both drinking to the point where Vok falls stuporous, Thorgal suffers no significant effects from drinking other than a slight buzz.
“Now that be odd.” Thorgal thinks to himself. “I had to drink enough for 4 dwarves, and I only be slightly hazed, and Vok, couldn’t even get an arm-wrestle out of him.” He picks up Vok, puts him on his shoulders, and carries him out, staring at the stars of the night sky, a view he still sees with novelty having lived in the Underdark all of his life. He thinks without saying, “might it be that darned eye in me head?”
Thorgal carries Vok back to the palace, feeling nostalgic he could pick up another one of his kin on his shoulders after a hard night of drinking. When he gets back guards tell him he can only return to the party escorted by guards because his party was engaged in a fight. He looks at them as says, “Just what in the blazes did me party do this time!?”
The third hour of the next day, Ezetta-zah enters the palace, requesting to see the party to arrange their legal defense, and appearing extremely upset. She is astute and up-to-date on recent events. “What by the realm were you thinking!?!?! Now there’s an assault on a paladin! Thankfully Tharg and Toboscus came to the aid of Sir Joss and this will work favorably, but the monk may lose an arm!” Tharg snarkly responds, “how about an eye?” Ezetta decries, “an assault on Joss is an assault on the guard, so it is an assault on the military, and a noble.” Toboscus defensively replies, “it could be his demon eye.” Ezetta proclaims, “I have signatures from 72 of the caravan saying you are innocent. I have signatures showing Sir Maligor was cowardly.” Tharg asks “do we have to throw him under?; it would be unfortunate to throw a man of noble acts under the wagon.” Ezetta responds, “we don’t have to but it’ll help. They want someone blamed. I haven’t told Joss because when this happens in court I need the surprise on his face to be genuine.” “The further we destroy this man the more this will help Tharg.”
Thorgal is escorted to his party, stamps his foot and says, "me fair lady, and gentlemen, hold on one moment, " and then he says nothing while pointing to the painting in the room meant to spy on them. . Tobuscus says, “alright then someone keep an eye on this painting, someone check on the princess.”
Ezetta asks “why did you bring Sir Joss to this room and make these two speak,?” Tobuscus replies “I was trying to repair their relationship.” Staring at Holber Ezetta sternly says “and you!, you’re lucky I don’t turn you into a toad!” Holber apparently wrote her an apology note, " you give me a pathetic note. You could’ve at least brought me flowers."
Guards check on the princess’s quarters and she is missing. Her room looks fine, perhaps too much so with nothing out of place, and no signs of a struggle or signs of preparation for a departure. Extensive searches and attempts with tracking are useless. (Thorgal attempts survival advantaged with a blessing, but with no success). When the trapped door is opened, her 3 elven rangers are found dead, one cut into twain as if by a massive sword, and one with several “surgical” stabs in the throat.
Making matters even worse the party is told the librarian who assisted Joss was murdered, apparently tortured before his death and found in the library. Tobuscus thinks silently, “and yet I only asked him for an office.”
At the local jail Taiven is held, his clothes removed and he put into a stinking mildewed loincloth. When asked by other inmates what happened, he replies, “there is an ignorant and arrogant paladin. I had him pinned.” Lefthill , a wiry but well-spoken half-elf introduces himself. “I’ve been in here a few years. I’ve been accused of stealing. They had no proof. I didn’t steal anything. They only keep me alive because they think I know where it is.” He clenches his mouth that reveals a missing molar. Lefthill alerts Taiven that the elven princess is missing, Taiven-“what!?!? Tell me of it. She’s important to me!” Lefthill responds, “all in due time good sir. We plan on breaking out of here,” and shows him a pick he had hidden in his mouth.
“We need a distraction. We need a strong man like to you to break the neck of Skeevus. It is providence you happen to be here tonight during a shift with the least number of guards on duty now. We’re taking those 3 men with us,” pointing to 3 other inmates. “They’re good folk. They’re going to set a fire ensuring our escape.” Lefthill then points to a simpleton prisoner, who one can visibly see is such due to his malformed head and face, “there’s Skeevus, he buggers children.” Taiven replies, “I’m an honorable man. I cannot simply kill someone.” Lefthill, “well we heard he buggers children.” Taiven cannot tell if Lefthill’s agenda is honest, and is conflicted. Either face trial believing he will never have the truth told and stay in jail risking not being able to attempt to save the princess, or try to escape at the cost of killing this man who he knows nothing of other than this inmate’s story.
Taiven approaches Skeevus, his voice being extremely simplistic like that of a child, and barely comprehensible. “I heet her doo hod, she wen to seep fowever.” Taiven makes his choice, puts his arm around Skeevus’s neck, quickly and painlessly breaking it. A guard sees Skeevus fall to the ground, “Skeevus is having an episode!” the fire starts, the door is opened, and Taiven runs out with the other 4 inmates. Lefthill tells Taiven, “We’re splitting up but meet me at the Owlbear some day.” The 4 other men run off in a different direction.
The party is alerted by Sir Joss of Taiven’s escape, that another prisoner was killed, and of the elven princess’s disappearance. “He may have been a simpleton but everyone has rights.” The party asks for a ranger and Joss says the best ranger is the Lizard Man Sindarin, “but he’s one of the suspects” exclaims Tobuscus. Sir Dayne posts a 36 in hour martial law to add order forbidding anyone from leaving the city. Sindarin is enlisted to help find the princess. The Elven ambadassor is alerted.
“What of this Thay’d? He was in-league with this Taiven on more than one occasion,” mentioned Sir Joss to the other guards and paladins. “Notice he wasn’t around when the princess disappeared, and he was in league with Taiven when they tried to burn the food carts.” Further investigation of the princess’s room suggests teleportation magic was used because of the nature of her disappearance was so sudden and without a trace.
Tobuscus points out Oin as a suspect due to his callous demeanor and nature of the elven rangers’ wounds, “he was in the room during the fight with Taiven.” Oin now present sharply responds, “I just came in to try to help. (pauses then looks at Tobuscus), you cunt.” Thorgal suggests use of a magical Zone of Truth, but Joss alerts all that this can only be used with royal decree, but Joss will ask Sir Dayne for Vok to pursue this.
At the crack of dawn at the embassy of the Sea Barons, Thay’d wakes up in a comfortable room to the smell of fresh bread and fried bacon, His servant Gaston refinely alerts him. “I’m sorry sir. You will not believe this. Your friend Taiven escaped, 3 of the princess’s elven guard are dead, she is missing, and you are the number one suspect of her disappearance.” “All before breakfast,” Thay’d replies without showing shock, “and your uncle is coming today,” replies Gaston. “The trial has been postponed for a day and a half. What are your orders?”
Gaston tells Thay’d that two of the elven rangers were killed by a finesse weapon, the other by a large blade splitting him into two, and Thay’d replies “and of course it happens to meet the description of the weapons I wear on my back.” Gaston says, “I see 3 options. I should suggest you turn yourself in and cooperate, this is a stupid option, 2-hide here, 3-make for the sea and perhaps your uncle’s rank can assist you.”
Taiven makes his way to city orphanage. There he finds 3 adults and about 300 children. The children, to survive, engage in illegal activities, such as selling narcotics and pick-pocketing. Taiven, now re-clothed, able to scavenge various pieces of clothing left to dry, pretends to be a beggar, approaches other beggars, sees one that is extremely dirty, possibly not even human but is not sure, asks “where do I buy booze?,” the beggar sees Taiven’s demon-eye, becomes frightened, tries to scurry away but moving mostly through his arms because his legs are mangled, but after only 10 feet, falls over. Taiven covers his eye with a makeshift eye-patch, and makes his way to the Owlbear.
City heralds are out on the streets proclaiming, “A ransom request of 25,000 gold for the elven princess! If you have any information on her whereabouts inform the guard immediately!”