Characters in play: Elwyn Archer — Virtuous Monk of Onus, Raizel — Sociopathic Freebooter, Fernando Sylvio — Mind-addled Runaway Slave
Settings: Balitan Lower City, The Temple of Onus, The Low Road
- Tom Bagnell, cloaked and conspicuous in his inconspicuousness, meets the Trio at Ozark’s Mistress. While they berate him for his long absence (roughly two weeks), Tom apologizes, blaming it on the festivities that have accompanied his new title as the Court Wizard of Balitan. He tells them that he has received word from his contacts at The Purple Maze, and there’s some less-than-good news: They require a gift before any consultation.
- With hardly a lead to go on, Tom suggests one instead. It would seem that this week is the Baron Ozark of Balitan’s 40th birthday and that a good number of his vassal Lords will be in attendance. In particular, the Lord Kuzzo comes to mind, as he’s made a hobby out of collecting particularly magical creature trophies (Potenaxenobiology?)
- To gain more information on this Lord, Elwyn goes to his previous home at Balitan’s Temple of Onus to speak with one the Baron’s Castle Priests, Donal Gallway. Donal speaks to him of the Baron’s previous birthdays and how Lord Kuzzo, between his wild interests and his flamboyant superstitions, always becomes the butt of joke and pranks.
- With more knowledge in hand, the Trio pieces together their plan back at Ozark’s Mistress. Three Armed Strangers enter the homely tavern, completely out of place between their clothing and accents. They hold up a piece of parchment, scanning the room until they find Sylvio. They march up to the Trio.
- These men introduce themselves in an aggressive, yet oddly formal, manner, stating that they will now be taking the runaway slave known as Fernando Sylvio into their custody and they have no quarrel with others. As Elwyn tries to reason with them and Sylvio is threatening them, Raizel digs a knife into the closest one’s chest. That’s more than enough for Sylvio who joins in, and Elwyn, who sticks his stave out to keep everyone away.
- Short work is made of the strangers and, before slitting his throat, Sylvio learns that they are mercenaries sent by Don Adolpho, his Dwarven owner. Throat slit and dead men spit upon, Sylvio walks out of the tavern for fresh air. To avoid responsibility or consequence, Raizel follows.
- Left to deal with the fallback, Elwyn cleans up the mess as best he can at the angered behest of Connie Primm. As he put the bodies out in the street, he notices the insignia sewn onto the hem of the leaders clothing. It is that of the Banded Fist. Though he only warns Sylvio and Raizel of his findings, it is obvious he has a personal connection to the famed Mercenary Guild…
- To take Kuzzo’s gift, the Trio plans to exploit the Lord’s paranoid fears of the supernatural.
First Phase: The Trio will rent horses and ride out on the Low Road two days before Kuzzo’s expected arrival to Balitan. They will then split off, Elwyn keeping on the paved way while Raizel and Sylvio head into the Southern edge of the The Red Woods that borders The Road.
—This phase was rather straight forward and all goes off without a hitch.
Second Phase: Elwyn is to “run in to” Kuzzo’s camp just as they’re settling down for the night. He will then attempt to convince the Lord the that the portion of The Woods his party will head through to get to Balitan is haunted. The hope being that Kuzzo’s fears will begin to spark.
—Though his handiness in a fight is questionable, Elwyn’s more… charismatically charged talents are well in order. He approached the camp in the guise of a priest traveling away from Balitan on at the behest of a sickly girl in a small village to the East, and he would be most honored if he could bless his Lordship and followers in preparation for their journey ahead. This well-crafted lie served two purposes: (1) His offer to bless their party ignited a question as to why they would need to be blessed at all, and (2) adding a “sickly girl” to his “mission” planted the seed for the ghost story he would inflict upon the Lord.
—The tale was spun well, containing half-truths in order to create a full realized paranoia, and it successfully convinced Kuzzo, if not the rest of his party, that there was a Ghost Knight roaming the Woods. It went thusly.
—The Lord, thoroughly frightened, asked what could be done in the event of a confrontation with the Ghost. Elwyn told him what he must do: “You must leave a powerful gift, as the Knight was accustomed to in his land.” Elwyn left the Lord’s party, and continued East until he was certain he could double back unseen.
—Uncertain of his ability to stay hidden, Elwyn’s part was done and would meet the others in Balitan two nights from then. The Second Phase was complete.
Final Phase: Raizel would adorn Sylvio in his own armor (which is much more knight-like), and they would follow Kuzzo’s party to the area they make camp in. When night fell and the majority of the party went to sleep, Sylvio would play the grand role of the Ghost Knight and put a fear into Lord Kuzzo that would make him believe he had no choice but to use his gift as tribute.
—As much of a thespian that Elwyn turned out to be, Sylvio was anything but. But the only one who could attack from the shadows with enough speed and power was Raizel, so there was very little choice. They had until nightfall to set up and decide which of the Pods to use.
—The curtain falls and the first Pod is used, causing a great fog to appear throughout the camp. This alerts the lookout guards and causes a stir throughout the tents; going as planned. The second Pod is thrown with the intention to make Sylvio fly into their view, but the Pod works out better than expected and Sylvio flies too high. He waits until the effects begin to wear off before fully assuming his role.
—His attempts are excecuted with… mediocrity. The Lord is surely frightened, but he believes that he can over come this “spirit” without giving the gift. But due to spontaneous fog and the Knight who flies through it, the lead of Kuzzo’s guard puts his own Lord to the sword and states that he refuses “to die out here on this godforsaken road for a greed pig lord.”
—The Lord handed the Gift over quite quickly.
—The Trio and Tom meet back up again after the Baron’s birthday party, where they examine the “Gift”. It’s an ornate box, but looks ordinary at the same time. None of the Trio, nor Tom can open it. The Court Wizard states clearly that whatever lies within the un openable “Duemmer Box” (as he calls it), must be great indeed; a perfect gift for The Maze.