Bowie here again. I tell you, sometimes days go by without you noticing and sometimes a day won’t let you escape.
A large, fat priest waddles into the temple of Aroden followed by a very old priest, each in their smallclothes. I guess every faith has their own style. Outside, the smoke has cleared a bit and we see that the Hellknights are surveying the scene and speaking to passersby.
I tell the priests about how these guys were robbing them as I keep a rapier at the living one’s neck. I also tell them how the good druids were the ones who put out the fire. Po searches the dead miscreants. I ask him to hide me a dagger. They have manacles on them too. Brian suggests manacling the living one. Our prisoner says, “I ain’t saying nothing.”
A druid shakes my hand. He says his name is Bungo. He is with Arinoka and Adelaide. They want to get out of there before the Hellknights get there. I agree that is a good plan. He says maybe they could use my help one day. I tell them to look for me at the Three Rings Tavern.
Reginald is the high priest here, the old one. He says thanks, though he is kind of out of it. Brian begs for some healing and he kind of shrugs. I tell him I’m just spitballing here but maybe since they can’t do healing any more since their god is dead, maybe they could have some kind of regular get-togethers for the neighborhood and give some speeches about Aroden and such and then maybe I could step in and do some healing, since I get in trouble when I do it out in the streets. It’s a win-win, it seems but he says maybe we could talk about that another time.
A Hellknight wants to know what is going on. We explain. The priests back us up. The Hellknight is more talkative and seemingly more nervous than they usually are. He must be new. He sends us off downtown.
As we trudge through Old Korvosa, Mod and I seem to notice some psuedodragons watching and flying off annoyed. We head to the Citadel of Volshynyk. We see the Gate Captain. The Captain is annoyed with us and says the healer is busy. He wants a report written up. Brian can tell the Captain is lying about the healer being busy and starts to cry.
We are sent to the Duty Sergeant (“Duty!” snicker) and I give a good account of all the details. I notice he isn’t writing anything down and I praise him for being such a veteran that he can keep it all up there, but if he’s going to write it down later anyway, why not do it while I’m telling him. He gets a little grouchy and refuses to write up our report. I ask if he is grouchy because he has one week left until he retires and he doesn’t need this riot stuff going on and all he wants is to just go live on the boat he’s been saving his whole life for. As he forces us out, I ask him how one becomes in charge of Duty. snicker
Then we’re sent off to Field Marshall Cressida Croft. She seems to have been in battle and is getting healed up by a priest of Abadar. She seems troubled by the facts of the case. After a request and the Field Marshall’s backup, the priest of Abadar heals Brian up after noting the cost in his ledger. I remember a clue, I point out. There was some very expensive gin used to ignite the fire and also get everyone drunk. I offer her a taste of what I’ve got left in my battlemug. She says she can tell the gin is from Absalom… imported. Then I remember the label on the barrels was Absalom Bottom Rocker. She remembers something and looks through some reports and tells us that a ship was robbed recently and those barrels were stolen. She asks about the Cerulean Society and then explains who they are. Ruffians who run protection rackets, though they are semi-legal and pay their vice taxes. Then she says good job and dismisses us. I say “Yes sir!” and snap a salute which gets a small smile.
Pavi thinks we should go check on Leela. I agree. Brian insists on going to the castle. We say we’ll catch them up. We head off and I try to slip a hand around her waist. She steps away but doesn’t seem completely annoyed. Progress!
Mod, Brian, and Po head to the castle. Brian and Mod feel like someone is following or watching them. They can’t spot anyone though. They travel up Field Marshall Avenue and see tons of guards and crowds gathered all around.
They don’t wait for Pavi and me. Guards ask them to state their business. They tell them about the brooch. They are told to give up their weapons. Po tries to hide his bombs but then they notice them and ask for them. They are shown up the stairs.
A beautiful woman in full plate armor greets them at the top of a large winding staircase. She nods curtly and then dismisses the other guards who seem nonplussed at this and hurry down the stairs. I’m Sabina Merrin, the Queen’s bodyguard. Welcome to Castle Korvosa, then. She says, “These heroes are no threat to the Queen,” dismissing the other guards. Brian tries to emulate Sabina as she walks.
She asks how to introduce them. Brian says, “Brian.” Mod says, “Sir Mod.” Brian adds, “Sir to be, Brian.” Po says “Po Gorb of Old Korvosa.” She smiles, saying she is unsure that Mod is a Knight of Korvosa.
They arrive at a large set of double-doors and announces them in a very loud voice. Sitting on the Crimson Throne is the Queen Ileosa in a lush living room. They are asked to approach the Throne.
Brian walks on his knees, daintily with his hands outstretched. Sabina, amused, takes the brooch from him and gives it to the Queen. She says, “This was stolen from me some time ago. I had not expected to see it again. Yet here on my darkest day you come before me with kindness. This is much more than an honorable deed. It is inspiration. It is hope. I love Korvosa as my husband did before me. His death shocked the city as it has me. But I will not see his legacy destroyed or torn apart. All Korvosa stands at the precipice of a disaster at the hand of her citizens. You have already done me a great service. It will be rewarded. Could I ask you to do something more?”
“ANYTHING!!” Brian replies, in tears.
The Queen smiles down upon him and says she will call upon him in need. “I must retire to my personal quarters. My grief has drained me. I hope your days of serving the crown are only just beginning.” Sabina has to remind Brian that it is time to leave and he is gently escorted out and asks them to wait. She returns quickly, handing them a small silver chest. “Here is your reward,” she says. “If you wish to serve the crown, the Field Marshall needs assistance.”
Mod says we’ve already done that. Sabina tells them to leave and be heroes and snaps her fingers to bring some guards.
Brian opens the red velvet-lined chest to find twelve gold ingots with the royal seal. Po thinks they are worth 100gp each. The guards take them back out to the courtyard.
Meanwhile, Pavitra and I visit Mrs. Chang, the landlady. She lets us in and offers us some tea. She says she tried to give Leela some fish paste. I offer to take over doing so and see that she won’t hold a spoon herself but she will eat a little bit. She nibbled it off my fingers. Aww! I’m a dad! Pavitra seems anxious to see that the place is secure. I give Mrs. Chang some of the gin. She likes it.
Pavitra gives her a gold piece and she gratefully grasps her hand. As we’re leaving, she asks where Brian is. She asks if he has a second name. She says she doesn’t have any reason really, was just wondering. OK.
We meet up with the others as it is starting to get dark. Brian insists we won’t use the gold for anything, ever. But I say he’s being silly. We’ll use it to heal Leela. Pavitra tries to meditate to calm down. Po and I give Brian a good reason to use the ingots rather than hiding them away: That he can show everyone he buys things from that he has special gold from the Queen.
We head through the streets to get to the Gray Quarter to the temple of Pharasma to pre-pay for Leela’s healing. There is a tense atmosphere in the Gold Market which is mostly empty. There are no guards. I knock on the door of the temple and say, “Who do we see about donating a large sum of money?”
“Oh it’s you. The murderers. The Bishop is away.”
“When will the Bishop be back?” asks Pavitra.
A few days, we are told. I talk out how to divide it up. Pavitra reimburses Po and Mod for their share of the reward. Brian keeps two ingots and the box.
We then head off to Three Rings and are greeted by Theandra. She is quite glad to see that my tab is paid up and she makes us a fine meal after I bless the ale. Pies and sausages and stew.
Sez shows up and hears from Mod about what happened with Lamm. He and Mod get drunk and start rowdily cheering the throwing down of oppressors and calling for toasts. Sez asks to hear about us. He says there are some people that want to get their mates out of prison. Change is afoot. Not everyone that went into Longacre deserve to be in there. There are unjust people locked up there. Sez thinks the monarchy keeps everyone down and keeps shackles on the poor. He wants anarchy. He says there is going to be a riot down at Longacre in the next few days. Sez doesn’t like when I mention we’ve been deputized. He tells Mod not to trust them. Mod says we’re infiltrating. Brian primly is annoyed.
The druids come. Adelaide says she doesn’t eat meat. Theandra prepares some additional food options. Pavitra says she makes awesome green smoothies. She is introduced to Daffy, Adelaide’s dog. Bungo wants to talk to me privately.
“So Bowie, let me ask you do you like animals?” He asks if I’ve been to the Posh and Turtle. He asks if I think Old Tom is happy. I say we should ask him as Bungo is getting fired up. He thinks that is a good idea and I tell him I can think of a way to get them in to talk to Old Tom to ask about it.
Pavitra drunkenly tries to chat up the druids about being a vegetarian and visiting her temple.
A pimply-faced girl comes in and says she’s looking for Po. She twitches and says quietly to him, " Rizzo is in a bad way and needs help. Come quick, come quick!" Po goes to leave. “Party on, Po!” I toast him.
Po tells me he isn’t leaving for fun, but that Rizzo is in a bad way because he gave him some of the bad Shiver from Lamm. I say I’ll come help even though I am really enjoying myself. Leela is going to get healed. Pavitra is getting a little loosened up and I’ve got my arm around her. My tab is paid and I’m sipping ale. Sigh, it’s hard being a hero, Cayden Cailean!
Pavitra wants to stay and talk to the druids who are talking about their favorite bards. I ask Theandra to keep an eye on her.
We head to Eel’s End. It’s in Old Korvosa… a series of ships tied up to one another. The pimply girl says something went wrong when he took the Shiver. She says she got scared and didn’t take any. She says her name is Bella. I tell her that is a pretty name and not to worry. Everything will be ok.
There are a lot of carousers on the ships. We go to the Goldenhawk, gazing up at the other ships: the Twin Tigers, the Dragon’s Breath Corridor, the House of Clouds, and the Eel’s End itself. There is a gnome on the gangplank. He asks our business. Bella says we’ve come for Rizzo and he says with a lisp, “The sthick fellow. Get him out of here.”
I check Rizzo’s forehead and believe he has been poisoned by bad Shiver. But I realize I can’t do anything for him. Po thinks for sure it was the Red Velvet Shiver. He thinks maybe if he took him to his hideout, he could come up with something. I carry Rizzo. “Good riddance. Don’t come back here,” says the gnome.
We go through a derelict building to Po’s secret Vault. He says he likes to be down here because it’s private. “It’s safe. You’ll see,” he says. We go on a winding path through the sewers. “I like to call it an open concept sewer,” says Po. He does some fancy figuring on his door to disable some traps and then he gets an uneasy feeling. He thinks he heard something.
I lower Rizzo safely down the wall and get my weapons out.
Po opens the door to what looks like an old library with a worktable and equipment, glass tubes, and a lab. It is neat and orderly.
“What do you make in this lab?” Mod asks Po. “All kinds of alchemist things,” he replies.
Po takes Rizzo inside. He doesn’t think he’ll be able to do much for him quickly. He notices he has a leaflet crumpled up in his pocket. It has a flyer for a show at Exemplary Execrables calling for adventurers to be fighting monsters and getting whipped.
Meanwhile back at Three Rings, Pavitra invites the druids to come up to “her” room. Theandra interrupts her on the way and asks how many children she has. “Just the one,” Pavitra answers. “Because there are three more looking for you in the kitchen.” “Don’t be silly. Let’s have another round of ale,” she asks and Theandra complies. Pavitra plays music with the druids and strips and dances about, like animals who don’t need clothes. How am I missing this?!
Po begins some tests on the Shiver. Mod stays to watch. Rizzo keeps shrieking and crying out in his fever.
Brian and I begin to head back to the Three Rings Tavern. We think we remember the way back through the sewer. Brian has a better idea of which way to go than I do. As we approach a ladder up we start to hear a splashing behind us and a loud noise and smell a terrible stench. The growling begins to take on some words, “Maxmax! Maxmax!” and something steps out of the shadows. Cayden Cailean, it is really hard being a hero sometimes!