Curse of the Crimson Throne

19th Calistril 1408
Super Sloppy Double Dares

Hi everyone! Bowie here on the Fireday Night That Never Ends. There were a lot of Fireday nights where I’ve said, “I wish this night would never end!” I don’t think I’ll ever say that again even though so many good things have happened. If you’d told me a week ago that in the same night I’d secure safe healing for Leela, and Pavitra would be partying naked, and I’d get to have an adventure with my new friend Brian, I’d say, “All right!” Now I kinda feel more of a “I don’t want to die!” sort of thing.

In the sewer beneath Old Korvosa, Brian and I smell sour apples and wet fungus in a powerfully strong stench in the dark. We hear loud sloshing and the cry of “Maxmax!” coming closer. I step between Brian and the ladder and the voice. I call out, “Hello?” into the darkness. Brian begins to panic. We both hear a very very faint snickering, higher pitched, off in the darkness from behind the first voice.

A bright ghostly form of light appears as Brian whimpers. In the illumination, we see a disgusting, large, three-tentacled monster that is mostly a mouth. We also see a splash of something hitting the water near it. Brian screams and waves his crossbow around. Very faintly, in Po’s lair, Mod hears Brian screaming. I think we should go, quickly, and suggest Brian climb up the ladder as I call out to the thing hopefully, “Do you want Maxmax? I could get you some.” Mod yells, “Brian!” very loudly and heads out into the sewer.

The thing moves forward and fishes something out of the water where the little splash was and then its eyes fix upon me. Brian climbs slowly up the ladder. I step beneath him and the creature reaches out and fondles my face with its gloopy, slimy tentacles. I call upon Cayden Cailean to protect me from this thing so I can live to feel a more pleasant tongue on my face. With my god’s divine power, I touch the tentacle to imbue it with chaos. Then I scramble up the ladder a bit, just behind Brian who is stuck at the top.

“They’re the ones who took your maxmax! They’re the ones!” cries the tiny voice. The tentacled creature roars and tries to climb up on the ledge behind us but falls, because of the chaos affecting its motor skills. Brian squeezes through the opening. I scramble up after him and skitter away from the ladder.

It tries to follow us up the ledge and the ladder. Brian asks what to do and I tell him to run away. He says, “What about Po and our friends?” and I assure him they are safe behind Po’s security door. I convince him we should leave and go buy some maxmax. As we run, Brian hears a loud thumping in the basement behind us.

Meanwhile in the sewer, Po and Mod have arrived around the corner from the creature. Po believes he can recognize the smell as one of the otyughs but it is far away from where they normally are. He tells Mod, “Brian and Bowie have probably been eaten by now.” Mod says, “Oh. The Korvosan Guard will take care of it.” Then he remembers that they are stretched thin. Po says maybe Brian is all right. Or not. Mod wonders if he should shout for him. They hear a crumbling and splashing of stone.

Po sneaks a little closer to see the otyugh is destroying his “front door.” He throws a bomb at it but it splashes in the water and startles it.

I run towards The Sticky Mermaid planning to buy some maxmax. I tell Brian as I spread the distance away from him that he’ll like the place. It’s really cheap, I say.

The otyugh comes down from the ladder to attack the half-orcs, but it seems a bit stuck and squeezes itself to stay on the ledge; it doesn’t quite get close enough to attack Mod although its tentacles sweep close.

Po hits the otyugh with a bomb and then Mod slices it badly in a rage, spraying green goo everywhere. It smells like his mom’s apple pie. Then the creature grabs onto Mod and Po hits it with another bomb. Burning, the otyugh splashes off into the darkness.

Meanwhile, back in my room, naked Pavitra staves off the strength of the flayleaf the druids had offered her and keeps it together and doesn’t wig out.

Po and Mod find our footprints escaping into the night.

Brian and I get to the Sticky Mermaid. I walk in with a big smile. “Hi everyone!” I don’t see the maxmax vendor. A Watch Sergeant comes ambling over, “Neffy, it’s Graow!” I ask if he has any maxmax. He says let’s go to the docks and he grabs a big tankard of ale. He asks if I’ve ever been in love. I say I keep things footloose and fancy free. Then I introduce him to “Ryan” and he talks about Brian’s hair being like “hers.”

“I thought the king was a good one. The whole town is going to Hell,” says Graow. I say it’s not so bad and he throws up. I’d seen this guy around before but didn’t know his name. I don’t know who “Neffy” is either. He had always seemed to be one of the more decent guardsmen. I try to get him some water and he shares his mix of ale and fishjack with me and we drink to the king. He is sad that he used to be a good swordsman but it’s “no good” anymore. I remind him that the Field Marshall seems to be a good person but he says she’s not really in charge.

I see the maxmax salesman! I ask to cut the line by buying the maxmax for the sailors who are already there. They are happy to do so and introduce themselves to Brian. I use my last coin to buy as much maxmax as I can.

I coax Graow into leaning against a wall to eat his maxmax. There is a slight nagging feeling that he’s not going to be safe out here all alone speaking out against the Queen but I have to deal with keeping the monster from rampaging. Brian asks the sailors for a bit of maxmax. Then he gives them a parting wink and dashes off after me to go feed the monster which Graow thinks is a joke. “Good old Neffy!”

I get back to the basement but no longer hear any banging. The hole has been enlarged though. Brian arrives and makes some light. He looks to see if he can find any footprints and climbs down there. He sees half-orc footprints and a trail of goo from the monster. It looks like they fled in an opposite way that the goo fled. Brian says, “They’re safe. You know what this means.” “More maxmax for us,” I reply. He nods.

Back at the Three Rings, Theandra says, “You’ve been fighting otyughs. That’s foolish.” She insists on splashing me off a bit. I exchange some maxmax for a shot of whiskey. She tells me that some kids came by claiming to be mine and Pavitra’s. It sounds like it was Kester and a couple other of Lamm’s kids. Theandra says they looked scared and feels badly for sending them away. Brian, after some convincing, and I look for them outside and I call his name but we don’t see them.

I walk into my room to see a circle of druids chilled out on the floor. They are not wearing clothes and smoke some flayleaf and play a guitar. Pavitra is in the bed, sitting with a sheet on her. I stagger through and give some maxmax to the druids to their delight and then pass out face first in the bed.

In the blessed, blessed Starday, Field Marshall Cressida Croft has sent a man to bang on my door. “Korvosan Guard! Open up!” I say, “We’re Korvosan Guard. YOU open up.” I go and open the door to see a sneering guardsman. He says we’re to report as soon as possible. That means now. I say that’s impossible since I can’t teleport. I tell him one of us isn’t here. He says well, we need to get there as soon as possible. I go back to bed.

Po wakes up and Rizzo has come to his senses. Po tells him to join him at Three Rings Tavern. Rizzo says he has a lead on finding the Lady in Yellow. He was going to go see Night Ranger at Exemplary Execrables. A friend of his said that during another show, the Deathtrap Dungeon, he could have sworn he’d heard the Lady’s voice.

I wake Pavitra up a bit and tell her about Kester and the other kids coming to visit. She is not particularly coherent and I remind her that partying is indeed awesome but Cayden Cailean reminds us that we need to not lose control, however. She throws up into the chamber pot and I hold her hair back. She agrees we should try to help the kids when she’s thinking a little more clearly. I point out that she is naked. She says that it was really hot the night before so they were all taking their clothes off. Then she passes out again into the bed. I lie down next to her. Whatever the Field Marshall wants can wait, I’m sure.

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19th Calistril 1408 (continued)
Good Cop, Bad Cop, Rich Cop, Bomb Cop, Whiny/Creepy Cop

Bowie here, happily snoring away.

Starday morning. We wake up. The druids seem to have departed. Pavitra and I talk a little bit about what to do today. A “happy morning” as I like to call it is apparently not an option. I ask her to find the others and get some breakfast while I pray for Cayden Cailean’s blessings and guidance.

Meanwhile, in the sewers, Po sees that Rizzo is poking around on his shelves. He’s concerned he might swipe something. Po suggests that Rizzo join him for brunch at the Three Rings Tavern. Rizzo wants to know where he has come into money from. Po says he and Rizzo are friends and maybe they could go see the dungeon play together. Rizzo seems to just want to touch him for a bit of coin but Po blows that off.

Brian treats Po very kindly when he sees him, because he lives in a sewer. Theandra is out of bacon which makes me a bit doubly sad but she gives me extra eggs with hot sauce. Pavitra has some wheatgrass whatever that is. I see that Mod and Po are hurt, so I heal them.

We head to the Korvosan Guard Citadel. We hear chanting up ahead. At a crossroads we see a number of protesters, maybe a score and a few Guard are trying to quiet them down. “What happened to the King? The Curse of the Crimson Throne!”

No ruler has ever seen one of their children ascend to the throne, I explain to the others what the curse is. When we reach the Citadel the Watch Sergeant takes us to the side entrance. I’m excited because it’s the employee entrance. We reach Cressida Croft’s office up a staircase.

After a minute, she comes in and seems annoyed that we’re late. She says that Graow is missing. He hasn’t reported in for weeks. I tell her about seeing him last night. She says she would like me to ask him to come in. I explain that he seemed depressed but I tried to tell him how Field Marshall Croft had everything under control. She made an offhand comment about wishing that were true.

She names Verik Vancaskerkin as another missing Sergeant. Maybe they shouldn’t promote anyone any more. She sent some people to find him but they didn’t come back either. Baldrago and Malder were their names and they were sent two days ago. Over by Stirge Street.

She says she wants us to look for him rather than more Guard because there has been some trouble with deserters. I point out that maybe one way to perk up morale would be is if I were to gather everyone around and cast Blessing of the Watch to help the whole force and then she could say something like, “Let’s be careful out there!” and they’d all be inspired. She says it’s a nice thought but best to just go out the way we came in. She stresses she would like us to be discreet. I agree. Once outside, I ask Brian what that means.

We head up towards Northgate, taking Harborview Boulevard. We see someone in a gray robe preaching the end times on the corner. “The eye has turned toward Korvosa! The end is near!” I don’t recognize him. He’s new.

Getting back to Northgate we see the bridge to the mainland. This is one of the main places people enter the city. Stirge Street is a working class part of Northgate and mostly for residents. There are “corner clubs” rather than bars so I don’t know the area as well. But Brian and Mod and I go to one. There are a couple old fellows outside. The bartender says his name is Voldro. He serves us Varisian sherry which I buy with money from Pavitra. It’s very good and I learn it’s best served in small glasses rather than my battlemug. He puts out some nuts and reefclaw eyes. I like these corner clubs! Good date place. I’ll have to remember that.

I ask Voldro if he saw anything about some former Korvosan Guard. He says there is a gang. They call themselves Cowhammer Boys. One of the old men spits on the floor. They are thugs, Voldro says. They give out meat. They are in the butcher place. They beat people up for money. He says they haven’t shaken him down, though. Weird gang.

I buy another round (with Pavitra’s money). We see a young lady go by carrying a large chunk of meat. Brian recognizes it as a rare, soft, and delicious meat and declares that we should get some. Mod says, “Nobody gives nobody nothing for nothing.”

I ask Voldro to qualify…. they give out meat for free and they also will beat people up for money. “So, they’re meat-beaters?” Pavitra asks and one of the old men laughs. Brian’s sherry goes to his head a bit.

We look for the butcher shop and see a free-standing building with a large sign of a Fat Smiling Cow. Lounging by the front door is a tall fellow with a bushy unibrow who looks at us suspiciously. Through the grimy window we see some meat laid out on a marble slab with flies.

“Hello, what’s your name? My name is Brian,” says Brian. “May I have some meat please?” The man is armed with a crossbow and a sword. He looks up and down at Brian in his emerald green jump suit.

“Get off,” the guy says. “Meat’s for those who are in need. You’re not in need.”

I eye the fellow and I notice that there’s a Korvosan Guard shield there behind him. I point it out to him and imply that I’m looking for Verik. He says to move along and I point out how that sounds just like something a Guard would say. I make a couple jokes about the Cowhammers and he calls, “Malder, I think it’s time for a lunch break.”

“Oh, you must be Baldrago,” I say to the speaker.

“How do you know my name? I don’t know you,” challenges Baldrago.

“Don’t you?” I reply.

Malder whispers something to him and he says, “Come back after dusk. Come to the side entrance.” I get a bad feeling but am excited about further employee entrances.

Mod and Pavitra look around the fenced-in yard in the back. It smells manurey. Mod climbs up and sees a large cattle pen and a shed and a back door. There is just one sad, skinny cow. Mod tells Pavitra about it. He suspects there is something odd about not seeing more animals.

Mod keeps saying it is “Sus.” I don’t know what that means.

I suggest they stay and keep an eye on things and I’ll go report to Croft. Brian goes off to look for the girl with the meat. Po lurks about to watch the butcher shop. Po notices the faded words painted on the side of the butchery: All the World’s Meat.

Brian asks Voldro where the girl went. He doesn’t know. Brian cries for the missing meat. Voldro offers him some Varisian sausage but he doesn’t want it. Brian asks Pavitra to do a dance for him and she does a backflip instead. One of the old men claps and tells them where the girl lives, in some shacks by the water.

Brian takes her hand and they head off, a happy song in his heart.

Mod comes back from taking a leak and sees everyone is gone. “Where did you go?!” he yells. Po catches his attention.

Brian and Pavitra don’t see the girl. Brian grabs a random middle-aged lady and shouts, “Meat!” The lady says she will call the Guard on him, “Meat Man.”

Brian suggests making a giant fire to get the girl’s attention. Then he shouts, “Fire! Fire!” Pavitra grabs him by the wrists and tries to drag him back to the others.

Mod and Po see a weedy fellow with a pimple on his nose start banging on the door. Po sneaks closer to listen. The door opens a crack and the guy says, “I come about the night cuts!” Then he goes inside and someone checks the alley behind him.

I get back to Citadel Volshevik and talk to Field Marshall Croft. She asks if I learned anything. After I tell her about the proper way to drink Varisian sherry she qualifies to ask if I learned anything about Verik. I tell her. She says she’s glad I reported back to her. She seems to concur that Verik might be in league with them. She says he was very popular and she’s very worried about all this. I ask if he was popular for being a good Guard or a bad Guard. She says he seemed connected from someone high above and had advanced quickly and ambitiously. He gave himself airs. She offers a large reward to bring him and the other two back alive if I can. Less, if they’re dead.

Pavitra takes Brian in search of different meat. Another corner speaker is saying, “We’re all going to do it. The red rubbing of parts. The writhing doom is coming!” He is coughing up blood and wears patchwork clothes. He points at Pavitra and says, “This one will be involved!” and begins heading over towards her. She retreats. “When she draws her first coughing breath, that will be the end!” At that, the crowd seems to eye her funny and she gets out of there, dragging Brian behind her.

I get back to Stirge Street. Along with Po and Mod, I see the weedy fellow come out the door and head up to Old Korvosa. We share information and find Pavitra and Brian at the corner club. I call for Cayden Cailean to give us the Blessing of the Watch even though we aren’t actually the Watch and we’re kind of going against the Watch members. It works!

We realize we could sneak into the back area of the butchery and decide to do so. Mod knows a way in, he says. He climbs over the stockade and opens the door to the shed in the back for us. We close the door after us. There is a straw-covered wagon. I ask Cayden Cailean for Door Sight to see through the back door.

I see a grim chamber strewn with blood-stained straw. There are meat hooks all around and vats and chopping blocks. There is a guy mopping meat and blood up.

I go and look through the other door in the cow pen and see a guy throwing something to some ravenous-looking pigs who seem very excited about it. I gently try the door and see it is not locked.

Brian says he can make a distraction so we go into the hallway by the pigs. He makes the sound of footfalls and voices out by the shed door. We hear the sound of metal on stone and then a door opens. We hear, “Corello, come here. Bring your sword.”

We open the door and try to sneak through the slaughterhouse. I slip on some mud and make Mod laugh out loud. The guys come back in and say, “Oy! Who the hell are you? Thieves?” One carries a sledgehammer. The other, Corello, a sword.

Pavitra dances forward and cracks the bigger man in the knee. There is a crunching noise and he is in great pain. I say, “Looks like it’s not your lucky day.” Then I run over and imbue him with the Chaos of Cayden Cailean.

Corello calls for Malder and Baldrago and then takes a swing at me with his sword but misses. Mod rushes up and nearly takes his head off but Corello ducks.

Brian gets his crossbow out and loads it and fires it into a vat.

The large sledgehammer fellow hops a step back and says, “Kick the thing! Kick the thing!” Then he heaves at me with his hammer and, despite Cayden Cailean’s chaotic protection, hits me. Ouch.

Pavitra hears some other people on the move upstairs and then steps forward and misses the guy with her kama. Then I poke him with my rapier. I miss his friend with my battlemug and then step away, clutching my bruised ribs.

Brian sees someone tentatively coming down the stairs. He has a crossbow and fires through the cracked-open door and wounds Brian badly.

Corello begins to kick at a piece of iron at his feet, a rusty pin. “Why are you kicking at that thing?” Mod asks while swinging his sword. Corello gasps in pain.

Brian’s face has twisted into a strange expression, his head tilted to the side. “Don’t do that!” says a strange voice from his mouth as he stares at the crossbowman but the man does not seem to react.

The hammer guy swings at the pin too but misses. It appears to be related to the grate that Mod is standing on. Pavitra steps over and cracks Corello unconscious with her knee.

I take the opportunity to join Brian by the doors to the stairs and I channel some energy and heal Brian and myself. “Thanks!” says the strange voice of Brian, getting healed more than I’d given him. Weird.

Po continues to wait and see if he feels like helping. The two crossbowmen on the stairs reload… I see they are Malder and Baldrago. Mod misses the hammer guy.

Brian looks at Malder, who’d injured him, and the former Guardsman begins to clutch at his head in pain. Brian then does a strange and unnatural dance.

The hammer man, Parnes, we learn later, tries to flee but Pavitra strikes him as he goes but he stays on his feet. “I’m still in the fucking game,” he grits as he stumbles into the shed.

Pavitra heads away into the corridor. I follow her and see a man at the top of the stairs with a composite longbow. A handsome man, in Korvosan Guard livery and armor. I say, “Verik, Field Marshall Croft wants to have a word with you… DOWNTOWN” and charge up the stairs. But I miss him with my touch of chaos.

He takes a step back and fires at me. I take an arrow in the chest painfully.

Po decides he’d like to help after all and steps into the corridor and throws a bomb at Malder and Baldrago. That takes Malder down and injures Baldrago. They both burn in pain but Baldrago fires back at Po and hits him and then pulls out a sword.

Mod gets angry and chases after Parnes in a fury but misses him again.

Brian does a little dance and says, “Your turn! Your turn!” and causes Baldrago to clutch his head in pain.

Parnes still tries to withdraw. Pavitra follows me up the stairs and Baldrago takes a swipe at her and stabs her painfully. “Bowie!” she cries. “Pavi!” I cry back.

I heal her, but Cayden Cailean does not see fit to heal her very much. He must be thinking it will be a better story this way. With the arrow still in my chest, I step forward to menace Verik. “You made a big mistake,” he says. He’s probably right but he misses me with his drawn spear.

Po bombs Baldrago who screams and falls. “All Brian wanted is some meat!” Po taunts.

Mod shouts, “Why can’t I hit you even though you have such big bones?!” to Parnes. Then he swings again and splatters him all over the shed. Mod feels strangely empty. All the World’s Meat.

Brian steps closer and whispers, “I’m inside you!” to Verik who clutches his head in pain. “You are unclean.”

Pavitra tries to flip herself up into the room but can’t manage it and instead takes out a shuriken. I fail at touching Verik with Chaos and step to the side of him. “Mod!” I call, wondering where in Korvosa our big fighter is. Verik barely misses impaling me with his spear.

Po comes up the stairs and draws a dagger. Mod finally comes running. Brian hits Verik with more psychic damage. Pavitra steps up and strikes at him a couple times but misses.

I try again to touch him and miss again. Cayden Cailean, surely this story is cool enough by now!!! Verik misses me again. Po tries to strike him but the Sergeant’s fancy chainmail turns the blade. Mod comes charging up the stairs at long last, in a fierce anger. We have Verik pinned in the corner.

Brian clouds Verik’s mind and keeps him from acting. Pavitra smacks him one. “Remember, try to take him alive,” I say. Then I stab him in the thigh but miss him with the battlemug. Po gets a bomb ready and tells us if we move away he’ll throw a bomb at him.

Mod misses with his sword and steps away. Brian seems to come to his senses and says, in his regular voice, “What happened? Did I die?”

Pavitra hits Verik with a punch to the jaw. “I yield quarter!” he says and drops his spear. I say hold that thought and dash down the stairs and try to save Malder and Boldrago from burning and bleeding to death. After pulling them from the flames and stabilizing their wounds I’m relieved to know they’re both still breathing. I see Corello is all right too. I also see that Parnes is exploded all over the place. “I can’t save the fat one, he’s all over the courtyard!” I call.

Verik drops to his knees. “I knew Croft would come for me, eventually. It was a good plan. We gave away meat.”

Brian asks about the special meat. “Is there any chance of a bacon sandwich?”

“Why are you giving people meat? It’s weird,” asks Mod.

“People appreciate it.”

“But nobody never gives nobody nothing for nothing.”

“I don’t have to answer to you.”

“Yes, you do,” says Mod. “Don’t make me angry again.”

Brian assists the interrogation and I magically enhance Mod’s intimidation. Verik’s shoulders slump. “It wasn’t my idea. It was my lover.” He says her name is Maelynn. “It was a good idea at the time. People need meat. People would appreciate it. They need a leader.”

“What are the night cuts?” I ask. He seems that he doesn’t know. We explain. Verik doesn’t seem to know what we’re talking about. He says that Maelynn just tells him what to do and that she’s really beautiful. She’s human.

Brian tries to taunt him but it makes him clam up. Mod asks where he lives and he says here and points to a closed door. Brian goes to investigate. There is a sheet of paper pinned to the table with a silver dagger. More importantly, a bed. Brian thinks about napping.

I tell Verik, “Do you still have your manacles?” He nods. I say, “Look… we’re going to take you back to the Field Marshall. We’ll cover you up so people don’t see you walking through town in chains. Field Marshall Croft needs good men. She used to think you were one of them.” He seems ashamed but offers no resistance. I tell him the other men are alive except Parnes.

Po says a crowd is gathering outside. I suggest Brian look for evidence in the bedroom. He says there is a dagger and a bed and he’s very sleepy. Then he admits there are some papers. I ask him to grab the papers and dagger. We need to go.

Po puts out the fire with a bucket and some water. I cover up Verik with a blanket. Po looks in a meat locker and notices that the meat doesn’t look like cow or pig. It isn’t natural, Po thinks, warning Brian against eating it.

I find a potion on Verik and confiscate it. He doesn’t protest. I say, “Look on the bright side. You’re still alive. You’re still wanted. You’ve still got your looks. You’ve gotten a second chance.”

“But not with her,” he laments.

Then he and I and Mod and Po haul the cart out, loaded up with the unconscious ones. Some teenagers see us leaving. One girl starts to yell “Oy! What’s going on?”

I go over and say, “Special project for the city. Best you don’t concern yourself with it, young lady. But…” I add conspiratorially, “I won’t say anything if you want to go help yourself to some meat.”

At that, the kids stop yelling and, pausing only a bit to skirt Parnes’ remains, they slip into the meat locker to get some treats and we slip away without the crowd noticing us.

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19th Calistril 1408 (remainder)
Hero's Triumph

Hey everyone, Bowie here. Remember me? It’s time to celebrate our awesome victory!

We’re leading a wagon through the back-streets of Northgate and then Midland, heading to Citadel Volshyenek. A few people look askance at us. The Gate Sergeant stands to one side and we’re waved into the courtyard. Verick and the others are whisked away and we’re taken to Field Marshall Croft’s office.

Then she plunks down a big bag of gold on the table. She says, “Very, very impressive job you’ve done and I’m very grateful to you.” We explain how Maelynn put him up to it. She gives a big sigh. “Bad business. People are still asking questions about the seneschal and the king. My entreaties to the palace are ignored. We have new Hellknights coming into the city, expensive and counter-productive.” She has nothing more for us.

I give her a description of Kester and she tells me to talk to Lubbens who is the Duty Sergeant. The Guards seem a little less surly with us as we go. Lubbens isn’t, but I ask him to keep an eye out for Kester and his friends. He’s a little grumpy but he writes it down and seems like he’ll tell the Guard headed out. I think I’m wearing him down!

It’s the afternoon of Starday. There is a light breeze and a little smoke in the distance. We speak of what to do now that there seems to be nothing immediate. We discuss what to do with our thousand gold sails. Brian and Pavitra want to go for new clothes and spa treatments. Mod wants to go but they convince him he wouldn’t like it. Mod’s feelings seem a bit hurt and he glumly agrees to go with me to look for Kester.

We divide up the money and Po figures out that Verrick’s potion is a Cure Moderate Wounds. We give it to Mod to carry. I stow some gold in my room.

Po heads out to an alchemy shop: Hedge Wizardry, run by Phaeton Skoda in the Gold Market. Po looks for some supplies. They speak of Black Fester and Flesh Gems and Magnesium and Shadow Cloy and Terrup Sap. He has Po come in closer and gives him a sniff. “You don’t smell of anything,” he says. “How do you learn to do that?” Skoda offers Po some work making potions at some point. Po buys a light healing potion and the ingredients to make some himself.

Brian and Pavitra head to the Heights, to Tenna’s. They are met by an attendant. Brian says they’d like to be rejuvenated. He says they’d like some refreshment and new clothing brought to them. The attendant orders some cucumber sandwiches, wheatgrass shots, mudpacks, pedicures, manicures, and send runners to tailors.

When the attendant asks for some upfront payment, Brian asks if they can open up an account there. “Would 200gp be all right?” After a blinking moment, the attendant says that should be fine. Brian puts mine and the half-orcs’ names on it too.

The tailors’ assistants arrive to take their measurements. Brian dictates their actions. He hears the highest fashion is still currently large hats, tights, a blousy shirt and a flashy cloak. Pavitra buys them some dinner.

Mod suggests we inquire around with street kids about Kester. We notice there a lot of Hellknights around, reducing the amount of rowdiness. One kid we find after a couple hours says he saw Kester on Lancet Street down on Warehouse Way. Mod gives him a gold piece. We remember that Zelara lived there.

We visit Mrs. Chang. She makes us some tea with some sweetbread. I bounce Leela on my knee and tickle her under the chin but she’s still out of it. Soon, she’ll be right as rain!

Mrs. Chang asks about Brian’s whereabouts. “I don’t care where he is,” says Mod. Mod tells her Brian is married. I didn’t know that! Mrs. Chang is disappointed. She mentions that there are a lot of people headed to the Pantheon of Many so we go to check it out.

The Pantheon of Many is a massive octagonal structure of white marble for seventeen different deities including Cayden Cailean. People are shouting about the King’s death like, “We need guidance from the gods!” and “We need an augury!” and “Cayden Cailean rules!” OK, that was me. There are some embarrassed clerics trying to get people down from the chairs.

I find a cleric of Erastil. He’s not too happy about the crowd there and worries that there might be trouble. I remember that some people call Erastil “Old Deadeye.” The cleric appreciates it.

Before we leave, I make up some prayers (that rhyme!) and shell out advice and pearls of wisdom to the folks nearest to Cayden Cailean’s shrine.

We look around Lancet street. We see Zelara’s place is locked up and one window is boarded. But down an alley I see Kester, he’s been watching us. He was hiding from us. When I go over to him I see he’s been crying. “You left us you bastards! I hate you! I hate you!” I can’t calm him down. “We went to find you!” he pleads.

He runs off and I use Cayden Cailean’s gift of speed to outrace him and, though he keeps slipping away, I eventually get my hands on him. He kind of blubbers in my arms but does not explain himself. Too tired to run any more, I carry him to Three Rings to get some food. Po is there already.

Brian and Pavitra come in, seemingly a bit tipsy. Pavitra is not able to get him to talk either. But after he settles down, he’s ready, but sullen. “One of ’em’s dead,” he says. “One of the others. And one of them’s taken.”

The Lambs had gone back to the fishery because it was warm. Kester was on the roof watching while the others were cleaning up. He saw a fellow on the opposite wall, crawling like a spider and sniffing. He went in the front door and came out with someone in a sack. The others have all scattered. One was dead. “We came to you for help,” he says, again. “And you ignored us.” Pavitra looks like she is feeling guilty. Well, she should!

“Attica’s dead. Gerb was taken,” Kester says, naming the victims.

“No one likes a Negative Nellie,” Brian tells Kester, pouting that no one is talking about his new clothes. “But we’ll find your friends.”

“Your nails look nice,” Kester tells him and then Brian warmly promises to help find all of them.

Theandra comes over to the table with a note for Brian reminding him that a friend of his is performing at Bard’s End. I’m feeling angry at Pavitra. She’s been acting very selfishly lately. Thinking of the Bard’s End, I’m reminded that I have not seen Meagan in a long time, not since Pavitra and I started looking for Leela so I say I’d like to go. I offer Kester my room. Mod wants to stay with Kester and loses his patience with Brian as Brian tries to get Kester to go to bed quicker so he can go to the show.

We make our way to the South Shore. Even more people are at the Pantheon of the Many. Some are praying. They don’t seem like they’re causing trouble, yet. Maybe the gods will answer them!

At Bard’s End we see a a big crowd including a group of rowdy elves, plus a few gnomes and halflings. There’s a band of three gnomes and a human on stage playing a harpsichord.

I look around but I don’t see Meagan. Brian sees his friend Fianaro and thinks for a moment that the bard onstage looks a bit familiar. He and Pavitra and Mod try to remember but can’t put their finger on it.

I find my way to the bar to get my battlemug filled.

Fianaro spots Brian and his face lights up. He comes running over and embraces him. “I’m… so glad… you could make it. I… hope you… got my note.” The Darkling Lullabies is the name of his group which has apparently grown to a very large size. They speak of Brian’s new clothing.

The bard onstage seems to notice Brian and then says, “Thank you very much!” and ducks off the stage very quickly and runs out of the bar out a side door as his band, confused, finishes up. A mystery!

Fianaro takes the stage. He first mentions that they will be in a battle of the bands in a week. Then he drinks a potion because he has to hit those “high notes” for a song for a very special person. His voice in a higher pitch from the potion, he sings a long ballad called “Brian.” When the song ends, the potion wears off and Fianaro’s voice returns to normal for the rest of the set. Afterward, he rushes off stage to see if Brian liked it. He did. Oh, maybe Brian is married to Fianaro, I realize. I should ask.

I eventually find Meagan who seems put out that I haven’t called on her for a while. I explain how I’ve been working with the Korvosan Guard doing special missions and this seems to soften her up. I don’t mention Leela and Pavitra, though, which makes me feel a little bit disloyal. I don’t know why, though. Pavitra doesn’t care.

I tell Meagan about how we saved those kids from Lamm. But now one of them is dead because we weren’t there to help them again. Meagan is sad to hear that but she’s busy with the place so packed plus she was promised a slot to sing if things slow down before closing time. It’s hard for her to think about other serious stuff right now. I tell her I’ll stick around to hear her if she gets the chance. I just don’t feel like going back to my room and seeing Kester and remembering what a lousy hero I’m turning out to be.

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