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    The Abduction of Thrommel - Part III - The Chase
    Posted on Mon, July 26, 2004 by Farcluun
    Kirt writes "
    The PC’s were standing next to Prince Thrommel when he was kidnapped and have been implicated in his disappearance. In Part III, they try to get him back. This post describes how, with a commune, limited wish, and Carnail’s mirror of mental prowess, they almost recovered the Prince, only to have him snatched away again. But was it really the Prince? (Read on...). They also meet with the Archmage Tenser to discuss the situation. Part IV will briefly detail Kris’ druid training, and then Part V continues with their summons by King Belvor, and his desperate plan to recover his son.

    Footnotes explain the non-canon parts of my campaign and detail background knowledge on PC’s and NPC’s.



    The Abduction of Thrommel - We were there! Part III - The Chase
    By: Kirt
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Summary of Characters

    Kris (Dame Lady Kristianna al Mandune)
    PC, 12th level ranger, female drow, Knight of the Hart (High Forest Branch)

    Carnail (Szeka Carnail Bethel)
    PC, 13th level fighter, female human Perrender

    Voyear (His Solidity Voyear)
    NPC, 11th level cleric, male mountain dwarf, Cupric High Priest of Ulaa

    Teela (Teela Silverleaf, Teela the Enchantress)
    NPC, 17th level magic-user, female high elf

    “The Guard”
    Thrommel had four men-at-arms with him at the circus. One suffered some mentally incapacitating spell during the Prince’s disappearance. See Part II.

    “Sister Selba”
    A priestess in charge of the healing tent at the circus. See Part II.

    “Max Mordo”
    A powerful mage and owner of the circus. See Part II.


    10 Wealson, CY 573
    At the Alliance Conference, in the morning, a general announcement is made asking for the delegates to remain calm. The King’s Herald says, “We know there are a lot of rumors circulating. We will make an official announcement about the situation after lunch.”

    Since Kris doubts anything will happen until the announcement, she recalls to Highfolk [1]. There, Voyear has just arrived and is examining the guard who was made insensate at the circus. He confirms Sister Selba’s diagnosis. Unlike her, he has access to a heal spell. After hearing the situation, he has agreed to cast the spell without charge to Kris or Carnail. Thrommel is a powerful ally of good, and Voyear does not wish to see him lost. Before the dwarven priest casts the spell, however, Carnail insists on some precautions. They place a cloth bag over the guard’s head. Carnail instructs everyone to pretend that they are inside a small chapel in Verbobonc, and she scans the mirror [2] until she finds such a place. If the guard is healed, she does not want him to know that he was ever in Highfolk or Teela’s Tower, or that Carnail has the mirror.

    Voyear performs the heal, and after a few moments of confusion the guard slowly recovers. At first he is very distressed, but Kris tells him to relax. She tells him that he was injured at the circus, and they have taken him to Verbobonc for clerical healing. She says that since his head was hurt, he cannot be exposed to light for a while longer. She asks him what he remembers of the circus. He relates following the trio of Kris, Carnail, and Thrommel at a distance, losing sight of them in the crowd, seeing Kris levitate and send him after Carnail, guarding the wagons, and then entering the clown wagon to guard the bound clowns. He watched the clowns for some time. Suddenly a man appeared in the wagon. The guard gives a very vague description of the man, but it could be Bubur [3]. The guard doesn’t remember anything after that. Carnail questions him briefly to make sure he doesn’t remember arriving at the “chapel”. Then she tells him to rest and Carnail, Kris, and Voyear move into the next room. Carnail whispers to Ziggy [4] in passing that if the guard tries to take the bag off his head, Ziggy should pretend that he is a cleric and tell him not to.

    In the adjoining room, the three agree that Kris will take the guard back to Verbobonc. But first, Kris and Carnail explain to Voyear that they would like him to cast a commune spell to try to locate the Prince. Voyear agrees, but says that he has to pray for it first. Also, he would also like to read up on divining over protected beings, because he is sure that the prince has protection at least equal to the mind blank helmets. He will ask Teela if she has anything on the subject, and attempt the commune in the morning of the next day.

    Kris returns to the mirror room and takes the guard by the hands, helping him off the bed. She pauses a second to make sure no one is in view in the mirror, then the two step through onto the streets of Verbobonc City. She tells him that he will need to wear the bag to protect him from the sun for perhaps ten minutes more, and they make their way carefully down the street. Later, when they are far from the chapel, she removes the bag and the two walk back to the Viscount’s palace. He is a bit unsteady at first but rapidly recovers. The two arrive shortly after lunch, as all the delegates are assembling in the main hall.

    Once all are assembled, Duke Hubert [5] rises to address them. “I am sure all the honored lords here have heard by now the unfortunate situation with Jasper, the steward of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Thrommel. For those who have not, he was discovered yesterday to have been replaced with a doppelganger. We questioned the doppelganger during the night, but unfortunately he died before the morning.”

    There is an immediate reaction from the assembled lords. Those who follow Pholtus complain openly about the interrogation methods used by the Cuthbertines, and even neutral parties wonder aloud why the prisoner couldn’t have been kept alive until the team of Pholtosian Truthseekers had arrived.

    Hubert ignores these complaints and continues. “The doppelganger was under the protection of several spells, and we did not garner much information. However, we were able to determine that he was under orders from the Scarlet Brotherhood. For those of you who have not heard of this organization, it is a society of scholars and sages. They offer their services to many governments and individuals, particularly in the southern Flanaess. If what the doppelganger told us is true, there may be a more sinister side to this society. His Majesty the King has placed me in charge of this investigation. If any of you know of someone representing himself as a sage of the Scarlet Brotherhood, or know of any people who deal with such sages, or if you learn anything about them, you are commanded to come to me with this knowledge. His Majesty will issue a Royal Decree about this soon.
    You are all advised to be wary of such individuals, and to report them by the swiftest means possible.”

    At this announcement, a torrent of conversations threatens to start, but Hubert holds up his hand for silence and continues. “Because Jasper was closely placed to the Prince, we are obviously concerned for the safety of His Highness. The Prince will not be appearing in public until we have conducted a thorough investigation of the other members of his retinue. That means that he will no longer address this conference. However, as the Prince has expressed his plan to all, and as His Majesty has supported that plan, it should not be necessary for him to appear publicly in the near future.”

    Again the voices threaten to overcome the hall, and again Hubert calls for silence. “Let me remind you that, regardless of your personal feelings for His Highness, he is very popular with the common folk of all of our countries. He is His Majesty’s chosen heir, and is to be Regent for the Archcleric as well. Any threat to him would spread fear among our people and embolden our enemies. It is the position of His Majesty that the Prince has retired from the public for his own safety pending my investigation, and will return as soon as it is appropriate. Already we have uncovered certain guardsmen of the Prince who claim that he has disappeared. No doubt you have already heard rumors that he is missing or killed. His Majesty has declared that it will be considered an act of treason to spread such rumors in public, and I will begin enforcing this edict now.”

    The guardsman at Kris’ side looks at her fearfully, as if he has just been accused of lying to the King. Kris pats his arm reassuringly. As soon as Hubert is done speaking, she whisks him off to Hubert’s suite for his debriefing.

    In the afternoon session the delegates formally agree to follow Thrommel’s plan for the attack on Beachead this year. Rodrigo pushes again for a declaration that Thrommel’s plan for next year, the attack on the fortifications themselves, will not be followed [6]. He has support, but not enough to pass a resolution. Tomorrow the delegates will begin hammering out just who will supply what troops, and when the attack will take place.


    11 Wealson
    Kris attends the morning session of the conference just to see whether any new announcements are forthcoming. It is a boring affair - just a bunch of nobles and priests squabbling over whom will provide how many troops. Kris gets leave from the Grand Master [7], and then recalls to Teela’s Tower in Highfolk.

    She finds Carnail waiting for her in the mirror room, but not Voyear. Carnail says that the priest is with Teela, and takes Kris to a different part of the Tower. It is down several flights of stairs. There are no windows, but Kris intuits that they are below ground, in what was until recently a storeroom. The boxes have been moved out and it has become a makeshift chapel to Ulaa. Fresh earth is sprinkled on the floor and a large rock altar is in the center of the room. Voyear wears vestments that look like they are woven of silver thread; Teela wears a simple brown robe and has similar robes for Carnail and Kris to put on. Voyear gives the three of them iron mallets and hollow iron blocks. He instructs Carnail to start a rhythmic beat and for the others to follow her. They are allowed to talk quietly, and even to suggest questions to Voyear, but are not to stop their beating under any circumstances.

    After a few other preparations, Voyear invokes the presence of Ulaa. They can feel an immediate change in the room. They feel like they are sinking, and then a pressure as if the walls are closing in. It feels like the room has fallen to the center of the Oerth and is slowly being crushed. Although the room is shrinking, the door out appears ever farther away. It is nearly overwhelming, but Carnail tells them to concentrate on maintaining the beat.

    Voyear states aloud: “We seek information on Sir Thrommel, Prince of Furyondy and Provost of Veluna.”

    A deep basso voice booms a reply that shakes the room:

    Nothing may be answered about this man - he is protected from query


    Voyear does not look surprised. He had planned on this. “We seek information on what a person would have seen at the Jingling Mordo Circus two days ago - about whether one of us would have been able to see someone we would recognize as this Prince Thrommel.”

    You may ask [8]


    Voyear: “If one of us was at the circus two days ago, and we could see everything at the circus, including invisible things, would we have seen someone leave whom we would recognize as the Prince, between that day and today?” (1/11)

    No


    “No?” whispers Kris. “He’s still there?”

    Voyear: “Would we see someone we would recognize as the Prince still remaining at the circus?” (2/11)

    No


    “He’s not there now, but he didn’t leave?” whispers Kris.

    “Disintegrated” replies Carnail bitterly. Her sister suffered that fate in the Vault of the Drow.

    “Extra-dimensional travel?” suggests Kris.

    Teela shakes her head. “Changed form.” It seems that she and Voyear have discussed this in preparation for the commune session.

    Voyear: “Would we have been able to see one we would recognize as the Prince change form or have his form changed into something we would not recognize as the Prince?”
    (3/11)

    Yes


    Voyear: “If we had been present to see the form change, and we saw the new form and could recognize it, would we have seen the new form leave the circus between then and now?” (4/11)

    Yes


    Voyear: “Would we have seen that new form leave Verbobonc between then and now?”
    (5/11)

    No


    Voyear: “Would we see that new form remaining in Verbobonc until now?” (6/11)

    No


    Voyear: “If we had been with the new form constantly, would we have been able to see it change form or have its form changed into something we would not recognize as either the the Prince or the new form?” (7/11)

    Yes


    Kris asks quietly, “A second change of form? What’s the point?”

    Carnail mutters, “To burn up commune questions...only a high level priest could follow this trail.”

    Voyear: “If we were there, would we have seen this new, new form leave Verbobonc?”
    (8/11)

    Yes


    Voyear: “Would we have seen this new, new form leave Verbobonc by land or air? (9/11)

    No


    Voyear: Would we have seen this new, new form leave Verbobonc by water? (10/11)

    Yes


    Voyear pauses, not wanting to waste the last question until he has heard suggestions.
    Teela is trying to think, but the feeling of being crushed and the monotonous, relentless rhythm of the hammering make it difficult. Teela speaks to Voyear, slowly and thickly: “The only way out of Verbobonc by water is the Velverdyva river...even going downstream, a normal boat can’t do 100 miles a day, which means they can’t have made Dyvers yet...and going upstream is much slower, they wouldn’t be in Veluna yet...either way, no real cities to unload at. It is possible they still are on the river.”

    Voyear has beads of sweat on his brow. He asks: “Would we be able to see this new, new form on or near the Velverdyva River right now?” (11/11)

    Yes

    As the powerful voice pronounces its last answer, Voyear collapses on the floor. The room feels like it is flying upward and outward and all three women fall as well. A few moments later the only sounds heard are the labored breathing of all of them.

    It is not clear how long they lie on the floor, but eventually they pull themselves up and return to the mirror room. Voyear labors to climb the stairs. Once in the mirror room, Teela makes a summary for the others to comment on. “First, none of this means that we were given information about the Prince. We received information about someone who we would recognize as the Prince. That could include a doppelganger, an illusionist, a disguised assassin, whatever. But assuming we actually were talking about the Prince, we know that somewhere in the circus his form was changed. The new form was used to leave the circus. Then his form changed again, to one that left Verbobonc by putting out on the Velverdyva River. And, most importantly, he is still on the Velverdyva.”

    “That’s great to know, but what good does it do us? The Velverdyva is like the longest river in the Flanaess, and we don’t know what Thrommel’s form even looks like. How could we find him?” says Kris.

    “Leave that to me,” replies Teela. “I think we learned enough for me to use a limited wish tomorrow. I should be able to locate him, or at least the boat he’s on.”

    “Tommorrow, eh?” asks Voyear. “Good, that will give me time to recover and pray for combat spells.”

    “Combat spells?” questions Carnail.

    “Of course. You don’t think you dragged me down here for me to just watch you in the mirror? Besides, you two lost him the last time. I think you could use the help,” chuckles Voyear.


    Kris is frustrated to have to wait until the next day, but returns to the Alliance Conference for the closing speeches. During the day final accords were made, and all the troops necessary for Thrommel’s plan were pledged...except for the elven scouts [9]. Kris tells the Grand Master that she will be attempting to recover the Prince on the morrow, and he wishes her luck. He says that they will not be making plans to leave until she is ready. “We have not yet exhausted the Viscount’s supply of Celenese nectarwine,” he jokes. He also tells her that a full Truthseeker commission has been dispatched from Veluna City. The Viscount of Verbobonc is turning the investigation of Thrommel’s disappearance, the tribesmen, and the clowns over to the Archcleric of Veluna. Max Mordo has been told to conduct business as usual until the commission arrives and holds an Inquisition.

    Rather than sleep, Kris passes the night in a vigil, praying to Corellon for success the next day.


    12 Wealson
    As the sky lightens with the approach of day, Kris rises from her meditation position. The embers of last night’s rushes have long since died, and the first light of day has not yet penetrated the stone walls of the palace. The corridors are dark, but she needs no light as she navigates their lengths. Her drow eyes are sufficient for her to find her way to the kitchen, even if she cannot make out the details in the paintings and sculptures of the illustrious ancestors of the Viscount that she passes on the way there. The cooks and scullery maids sleep on piles of loose straw near the open back doors of the kitchen. It is summer, and no one sleeps by the hearth except the elderly.

    “In Romendor”, thinks Kris to herself, “the meanest scullery maid sleeps in a bed as fine as that of any other Liberator.” [10] But she does not want to bother herself with a social critique of feudalism - she just wants to find enough food so that she will be in fighting trim in a few hours. There is stale bread aplenty under linens. While that would have satisfied her human stomach, she has been increasingly unable to tolerate processed food since becoming an elf [11]. She uses her dagger to slice a long strand of meat from last night’s roast and chews on that while she hunts for raw vegetables. Finally satisfied, she goes outside to greet the sun and offer yet another prayer to Corellon. A few guards give her sleepy salutes as she exits the kitchen. Her prayers over, she finds a dark niche to enter before using the ring of recall lent her by Carnail.

    In Teela’s Tower, Carnail is also awake and just finishing her meal. Voyear slumps on a cot, his heavy frame and lolling head indicating sleep, but the lit incense burner next to him suggesting that he is “praying for spells”. Half an hour of Kris’ whispered conversation with Carnail later, he comes to with a series of snorts and groans. Without so much as a “good morning”, he hands his obsidian scale mail to Carnail to drape over him. “Careful with the wings, eh?” are his first words to either of them [12].

    A few moments later Teela enters, her slim elven figure as unchanged as ever in all the years they have known her. “I am ready,” she announces, and they nod as they prepare the mountain dwarf priest for battle.

    When Voyear is armed and armored, Teela stands in front of the magic mirror, her legs wide in a stable stance and her hands uplifted. She begins a magic incantation. Kris can follow it at first, but soon gets lost in the intricacies of such a powerful spell. At the end of her string of syllables, she says loudly...“In this mirror, I wish to see the image of the form worn by a man whose form was changed and changed again, but who we would have recognized three days ago as the Prince of Furyondy...” she pauses as the power builds, but there is no resolution and the mirror remains blank. “...and if I cannot see this form because it is protected, I wish to see the vessel in which it travels...” she continues, a hint of desperation in her voice.

    At this pronouncement there is a peal like thunder in the chamber, and Teela’s body is jerked rigid, then slumps. A momentary paleness of her face is the only trace of the year of life she has just lost. The mirror shimmers, and then displays a placid scene of the slow Velverdyva River. Beyond its far banks are open and wild fields. In the middle of the river a small boat fights against the current, propelled upstream by the sail on a step-down mast. The vessel is a flat-bottomed river barge, with a single small cabin. A human figure, too distant to see well, stands alongside the rudder pole and watches as the wind tosses about a pennant on the mast.

    As Teela recovers, Carnail steps forward. “Mirror, take us closer,” she commands, but nothing happens. Teela shakes her head weakly and croaks “Protected”. Carnail nods, but continues to watch the scene, maintaining her concentration. Kris fetches a pair of leather bat wings for her and she dons them without ever losing sight of the mirror. Then Kris stands in front of Voyear, his arms under hers and grasping each other over her ample chest. His enormous wings begin to flap, sending gusts of wind and stray feathers about the small chamber. Carnail commands, “Mirror, open on this scene.” The room fills with the scent of outdoors and Carnail runs and jumps, diving through the open space that was the mirror. There is a second of free-fall as she opens her wings, and then she is in flight, gaining on the barge with each powerful stroke of her arms. Voyear stumbles heavily toward the open frame, dragging Kris with him, and tumbles through into the open air above the river.

    The priest plummets, his wings straining. Kris activates her levitation, hoping to aid him in any way she can, but they continue falling. Down and down until Kris feels sick, then finally leveling out and skimming just above the surface of the water. His dive has made the pair pick up tremendous speed, and they easily shoot ahead of Carnail and close on the barge. The priest chortles to himself, his thick beard draped over Kris’ head and blocking her vision. A few upward flaps and they are above the level of the barge’s gunwales and aiming for a landing on deck.

    Then there is a crack of thunder and a smell of sulfur. The air is filled with horrid screeches and myriad red wings. A glint in the sun and Voyear groans as a blade slices his calf. He spins wildly and still tries to make the deck.

    From farther back Carnail can see more. As Voyear approached the barge, the air was rent with the summons of nine infernal beings. They are larger than humans, scaly black, and winged. They have horns and barbed tails [13]. Each bears a long halberd that they wield easily although airborne. Voyear is flying through a cluster of them and looks wounded. A second group is closing ranks and moving to block Carnail. She is unable to fight effectively while her hands grab the restraints of the wings of flying, so she tries to avoid them and land on the barge.

    Both Carnail and Voyear have taken hits by the time they land. Once on the deck of the barge, they begin to fight back. That is not Kris’ plan, however. Their real goal is recovering the Prince, not fighting demons. She activates her boots of speed, and uses them to run around the creatures until she arrives at the cabin door. She flings it open and dives inside.

    The cabin is small and dark, its window shuttered, the only light provided by a brazier with a few smoldering coals. It is enough for Kris to make out the contents clearly. Standing next to the brazier, which hangs from the ceiling, is the infamous “man in black robes”, who now has his cowl down. His face is pale and cruel, and he sneers at Kris’s entry. He places a hand on the second occupant of the cabin, a man outstretched on a bunk and covered in blankets, despite the summer heat. As Kris charges the robed man, sword drawn, he says a single word and both of them disappear, the blankets falling on empty air.

    Kris gives a great cry of disbelief and frustration, and swings her arms wildly about to make sure the men aren’t just invisible. When she is sure they are gone she bolts outside to extract her ire on the flying demons. Voyear and Carnail are on the deck, but the black creatures are gone. Kris gives another howl and turns on the rudderman, who is cowering face down inside a large coil of rope on the deck. Kris stabs her sword upright into the deck, then uses her now free hand to pull back the man’s head with his hair as she places her dagger against his throat. “He’s just a normal man,” says Voyear over his shoulder as he goes to inspect the cabin.

    When Voyear comes out, the trio interrogates the man with the aid of Kris’ dagger and Voyear’s detect lie. He is a Rhenee sailor. The barge is his and the man in black robes hired him. The man paid him well for not asking questions. Three nights ago the black-robed man boarded in the docks of Verbobonc with the other man. At first the Rhenee thought the other man was drunk. Now he does not know if he was drugged, enspelled, or what. He did not move or wake in the three days they were on the river. The black-robed man never let the other man out of his sight. He told the Rhenee that their destination was Highfolk. The sailor does not know any more.

    Dejected, the three recall to Teela’s Tower. Once there, Voyear supplies the other two with more information. The black creatures were not some kind of Vrock, as Carnail and Kris had supposed. They were strongly Lawful Evil, as was the summoning magic that brought them. Voyear suspects that they were some kind of devil. He laments that he was unable to see the two men inside the cabin with his True Sight before they left. He does say that there was a strong residue of magic when he entered. If he is correct, is was some kind of transportation magic (like teleport or recall) and he believes that it was tinged with Chaotic Evil.

    Kris has not the heart to return to Verbobonc. She decides to spend the night in the Tower, brainstorming with the other two in the hopes that something might occur to them.


    13 Wealson
    Early the next morning Teela enters the mirror chamber where the three are staying. She announces to them that there is a human female outside the Tower, an old crone selling herbs and other potion ingredients. At least that is what she claims. But Teela says that her Tower defenses are showing that the crone is much more than she appears, and she asks the three to investigate.

    The three decide to have Kristiana meet the woman. Carnail will stand nearby, invisible, while Voyear watches in the mirror.

    “Good morning, old woman,” Kris calls as she exits the tower.

    “Good morrow, lady elf,” croaks the woman. “Would the mistress of the Tower be interested in some fresh herbs for her potions?”

    “Perhaps. What herbs do you have today?”

    “Just yesterday I spied some Cross of Perrenland, some Dwarf’s Foot, and some Dark Elf Berries. Now they are all here, together.”

    These are all real herbs, but the crone’s mention of them together is highly suspicious. “Indeed, and where did you find them growing?” asks Kris.

    “Down by the river.”

    “I see. Yes, I think the mistress of the tower might be interested. What would you accept as payment?”

    “Any old thing you have to trade...pots, pans, perhaps a fine bread knife.” [14]

    At this reference Kris laughs with relief and invites the crone inside the Tower. As the two, and the invisible Carnail, ascend the stairs, Kris calls...“Teela, Teela, I think you would like to meet this guest!” but there is no answer. There is still no sign of Teela when the three reach the mirror chamber. They all know that Teela’s protocol for their use of her Tower includes the rule that they are forbidden to enter any other part of the Tower without her permission, so they do not go look for her.

    After the door to the mirror chamber is closed, Tenser drops his magic disguise and stands before them in the form they know. “Greetings, adventurers,” he says.

    “Hail, Master Tenser,” says Kris. “Has it been just a small moon since we saw you last? We are glad to see you. Can you explain what is going on?”

    Tenser takes a seat and draws forth the parchment sheets and magical self-writing quill pen he uses to take notes. “I think it would be better if you first told me everything you know.”

    Kris and Carnail spend the better part of an hour relating their stories to Tenser. Voyear adds a few clarifying details about the attack on the barge at the end. Through it all Tenser nods thoughtfully but does not comment. When they have exhausted their story, Kris and Carnail pause, waiting expectantly for Tenser to resolve things.

    “Unfortunately friends, I have little definite to tell you. In truth, I do not know who took the Prince. I suspect the Old One, but only because he stands the most to gain. The evidence does not point clearly to anyone.”

    “I can tell you that Max Mordo is a very powerful mage. He does not have my resources and information network, but in terms of raw power he is my equal. I would not want to fight a duel with him. If he is involved, he was hired for a very hefty price. I would like to investigate the circus, but it would be extremely difficult to get someone passed his notice.”

    Kris is obviously frustrated and Carnail a bit disappointed. “At least help us with this,” she says, “...something that has been bothering me since yesterday. Whoever took Thrommel had the capability to transport him instantly. They used that spell...”

    “Word of Recall” confirms Tenser. “Otherwise there wouldn’t have been an alignment residue.”

    “Okay, whatever. If they could use that, why didn’t they do it right away? Why wait until Kris was at the door of the cabin?”

    “That I don’t know either. But let me offer three possibilities. First, Word of Recall is not as flexible as teleport. You can’t pick any destination you want - there is only one destination, keyed to a physical object.” Voyear nods his agreement. “For example, your rings of recall only bring you to the location of the amulet. It could be that wherever they wanted to take the Prince was not the location keyed by the recall. They used the recall to escape, but will still have to take the Prince somewhere else.”

    “Second, the use of a cleric spell, as high a level as recall, leaves a significant amount of magical alignment residue. Master Voyear was able to read that, and others could have, as well. It also creates a plume in the ether that can be followed, if one is fast enough. (Yes, Carnail, your rings do, too.) It could be that whoever took the Prince would rather not have shown you so much, would rather you not know that they have access to Chaotic Evil clerical spells. A river voyage is slower, but less visible.”

    “The third possibility is the opposite of the second. Someone wanted you to see the barge. What disturbs me is the appearance of this “Scarlet Brotherhood” element, about which we know almost nothing, and how whoever is involved seems to be trying to hide their hand. We have seen how much care was taken to implicate you two. Was this “Scarlet Brotherhood” doppelganger a ruse as well? Or these devil defenders? Or this transportation magic? Do they want us to think the perpetrators are evil, when perhaps they are not? We need to sort out what is real from what those who did this want us to see.”

    “Well, thanks, but that’s not much to go on,” chides Carnail. Tenser smiles ruefully.

    “What would you suggest we do now?” asks Kris.

    “Ah, that,” says Tenser, his face brightening. “His Majesty King Belvor is of course greatly distraught about the loss of his son, and wishes to take immediate action. He suspects the Old One as well, though as far as I can tell he has no better information than we do. He is assembling a strike force of heroes to enter Dorakaa itself and look for clues. He would like to know if you are available.”

    “And he asked you to ask us?” questions Carnail, not believing that even Belvor could use Tenser as a messenger.

    “Oh, no. Belvor’s Court Wizard is an elementalist named Karzalin. What Belvor does not know is that Karzalin also reports to me, as an agent of the Circle. Belvor, like most people, knows very little about the Circle or me. When Karzalin notified me of the heroes Belvor was planning on summoning, I told him that I would deliver your summons personally, since I wanted to talk to you about the Prince’s disappearance.”

    “If you accept, you will meet the others ten days from now in Belvor’s court in New Chendyl. What do you say?”

    “I will be there,” affirms Voyear.

    “I’m sorry, Master Priest, but the invitation was not for you,” offers Tenser.

    “What?!” the dwarf sputters.

    “No one doubts your ability, of course,” says Tenser soothingly. “It is just that a priest of Lawful Good walking around Dorakaa would be a beacon to every magic alarm and sneaking fiend in that cesspool of evil. Any spell you cast would draw power from the Upper Planes and instantly attract attention. This is a surgical strike, in and out before the Old One knows about it, not the Last Charge of the Heroes of Light. Belvor is only asking heroes with a substantial chaotic or non-good outlook. He wants those who can pass unnoticed in the city, not Pillars of Goodness that will be stopped at the first street corner.”

    Voyear harrumphs, somewhat mollified.

    “So the King wants shady characters,” intones Carnail sarcastically.

    “Well, shady characters he can trust,” responds Tenser.

    Kris takes a while to consider. She does have a non-aggression deal with Iuz, and this risks her agreement [15]. But it is a chance to find the Prince, and failing that, a chance to strike at Iuz’s pride, if not himself. “Ten days, huh? I might even be able to get trained before that...if Carnail lets me use the mirror,” she adds hopefully.

    “I will go,” announces Carnail. “Not that I think the Old One had anything to do with this. This is a fact-finding trip for me, just to see what turns up. If we find the Prince, excellent. If not, at least we have one less place to worry about.”

    “Great!” says Kris, visibly relieved that she will have Carnail as back up. “Say, do you remember Ashuko?”

    “Ashuko...Yeah, wasn’t he that guy with the big wolf tattoo on his face? Ouch!”

    “Yes, he was the head tribesman in Noreva. [16]”

    “Sure, what about him?”

    “Do you think you could bring him up in the mirror? I’d like to see if I could do my druid training with him before we are due in Chendyl.”

    As Kris and Carnail fall into discussing the practical details of getting ready for Dorakaa, Tenser takes his leave. He tells them that he will see them again after they return. He wishes them luck.

    Later, Carnail uses the mirror to send Kris to Verbobonc once again. There, Kris confides in the Grand Master that she will be preparing to go look for the Prince in Dorakaa. Disguised, of course. The Grand Master embraces Kris and kisses her once on each cheek. Half in jest, half serious, he says to her, “It was an honor and a pleasure serving with you, daughter.” Kris tries to laugh it off, but she wonders if she has signed up for more than she can handle. Kris explains that she will be trying to train before the trip, so she will not be returning to the Vesve with the Grand Master. She offers him the use of her flying carpet, if he can have it back to the Hartlands Keep [17] before the ten days are over.

    The Grand Master thanks her, but says he will not be going back to the Vesve any time soon. Kris’ conversation with Thrommel before he disappeared reinforced the need for elves at the assault this summer. Since they have not yet received any confirmed troops, the Grand Master is planning on making a personal appeal to the Queen of Celene. Since Verbobonc borders on the elven realm, he will take advantage of the opportunity. “Really, Her Fey Majesty is our last chance of not having to use our own forces,” he says. Kris nods her head in sober agreement.



    Footnotes to Part III

    NOTE: If you are a player in my campaign, you are NOT ALLOWED to read these footnotes.

    [1] Carnail has a set of rings of recall, which act as a Word of Recall, transporting their wearer to the location of an amulet. She keeps the amulet in Teela’s Tower outside of Highfolk.

    [2] Carnail has the only Mirror of Mental Prowess known to exist in my campaign. She keeps it in Teela’s Tower in Highfolk. Only a few people know that she has it, or where she keeps it. She is well aware that many would try to take it from her if they knew.

    [3] One of the circus workers. See Part II.

    [4] “Ziggy” is Carnail’s nickname for Ziggareth-Ni-Balsomar, a Spectator. Carnail slew the evil sage in the module “When a Star Falls” (UK#?). Ziggy would not relinquish the sage’s treasure, but recognized that he was quite outmatched by Carnail, since her Helmet of Mind Blank made her immune to everything except his Cause Wounds. Thus, the two arrived at a compromise; Ziggy moved to Carnail’s mirror room in Teela’s Tower and continued to guard the sage’s treasure there. Carnail has promised to slay a beholder and give the eyes to Ziggy. When she does so, Ziggy has agreed to guard her mirror as well.

    [5] Duke Hubert and the Duchy of Morray are from my campaign, where I detailed Furyondy before the release of the Marklands. The closest canon analogy would likely be the Counties of Crystalreach or Kalinstren. Duke Huburt is a Paladin of Cuthbert and a staunch supporter of the King.

    [6] Rodrigo is Prince Thrommel’s political nemesis, and his half-brother. See Part I.

    [7] In my campaign, a Grand Master is the head of the Knights of the Hart of the High Forest. You can read more about him in my Canonfire articles on the History of the Knights of the Hart. He sponsored the induction of Kristianna into the Knights and serves as her mentor.


    [8] How do you handle divinations on a protected being (mind blank, amulet of protection against detection and location, etc.)? You can’t ask questions directly about the person (e.g., Was he there?), because they are protected. You can’t ask questions about a non-protected being’s awareness of the protected person (Did she see him there?), because the person is still protected. But I have decided that you can ask questions about perceptions, about how a person seems, if you avoid the question of “is” (Would she have seen someone who looked like him?” is allowed, “Would she have seen him?” is not). This has the additional advantage that it gave the PC’s some information about Thrommel, but not everything, and they could not be sure of their knowledge. Perhaps the questions were being answered about an imposter. I am still waiting for the commune question from PC’s to which I can respond, in my best Arkansas accent, “Well, that depends on what your definition of is, is.”

    [9] See Part I

    [10] Romendor is the name of Kris’ land in the Vesve, and the people of her House are the Liberators.

    [11] Kris was born a human Perrender, but was killed about three years ago. She was reincarnated as a drow elf, and is still getting used to her new body. See Part I.

    [12] Voyear has huge, Deva-like wings that just barely support his mountain dwarf bulk and obsidian scale armor. He obtained them early in his adventuring career, in module X2, Chateau d’ Amberville.

    [13] These were Black Abishai Devils, although the PC’s had never encountered any before and had no idea what they were.

    [14] Tenser has watched and guided the careers of Carnail and Kris since their beginnings, but without their knowledge. When they ventured into Castle Greyhawk for the first time, he appeared to them and became a sponsor and advisor. On their first expedition, they recovered the Mithril Breadknife of Greyhawk (WG7 p.35) and gave it to him for identification. When they learned that its special purpose was to cut bread, it became a joke among the three of them. Now, when Tenser wishes to speak with them, he appears in some sort of disguised form. The mention of a breadknife at some point in conversation is the password that assures them of each other’s identity.

    [15] See Part I

    [16] When Kris was human, she ruled a barony palatine in the Sepea Uplands. It was called Noreva Meretha. Most of the human inhabitants were the indigenous tribesmen of the area, culturally and racially a mix between the Wolf Nomads and the wild Flan allied with Perrenland.

    [17] In my campaign, the Elven Knights of the Hart maintain a large territory (The Hartlands) in the Southern Vesve as their sovereign state. The administrative center of this land, as well as of the Branch of the Order, is Hartlands Keep. Kris will travel there in an upcoming episode.



    The Abduction of Thrommel - We were there! Part I Prelude to Circus


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