Bad Blood

Things grow tense in the Shining Zultan's crypt.

Oathday, 22 Whitefall, 6934 EY: The group finally pieces together the cypher and returns to the room with the puzzle which commands them to speak aloud the name of the Lady of Light. Taegon says, "Tarathiel," and a doorway opens into a new room. This room is a puzzle room where the group must work together to construct a bridge of hardened light for Taegon to cross. After solving the puzzle, the group enters the final chamber: the resting place of Taerah ur-Stariiz, Taeron Stareyes, the Shining Zultan.

The Shining Zultan wastes no time in attacking the group, insulting their attempts to defend themselves as he wreaks havoc on their ranks. The group begins to question their ability to handle this threat, and their peril is cemented when Tomren is killed by the Shining Zultan, reduced to a pile of ash. The entire group might have lost their lives here, were it not for Taeron recognizing his blood inside of Taegon.

Taeron halted his assault and, using his incredible power, returned Tomren to the land of the living. He insisted on knowing what Taegon had come for. After a very tense back-and-forth, Taegon and company agreed to allow Taeron to walk the world free once more in exchange for the use of his armies in the upcoming battle against the zultanate. Taegon made a second deal—a portion of his lifeblood in exchange for the secrets Taeron found in the library of Sjet. This left Taegon crippled and weak, and when he read through the findings, he was frustrated and despaired to learn he had been deceived—nothing in Taeron's findings proved useful beyond the revelation of a single word—eladrin—a word that meant nothing to anyone in the group, and could mean anything.

The Shining Zultan departed his tomb, and the group did so as well shortly after. They returned to the road, where they camped for the night. Taegon had a dream of another life this night, and dreamed of the threat of an encroaching darkness. 

Arday, 24 Whitefall, 6934 EY: The group arrives back in Bratana around ten in the morning. They travel to the Falcon's Perch Inn where they clean up, eat, and then seek out the Butterfly. They encounter Zafar who tells Haseya and Misae that Kamaria, although willing to allow the group to continue experiencing Bratana in their own time, is privately growing restless and is ready to make the first move. Haseya agrees to meet with Kamaria that evening. Meanwhile, Tomren and Arnold make the attempt to cheer up a thoroughly demoralized Taegon by dragging him to see one of the wonders of Karna—The Spire of Pakonef, a crystalline structure given to Bratana by Espagor. Although Tomren and Arnold enjoy themselves, it does little to ease Taegon's troubles.

At the Butterfly hideout, Moras approaches Misae with a gift in the hopes of having a more comfortable, less intimidating dynamic in their friendship. The gift is a briefcase full of dozens of tiny hats for Misae to put on Ahiga. Misae admits that it's a good gift, but also warns Moras that she will continue to watch him because he has feelings for Haseya. Moras blusters for a bit before finally admitting the possibility that he does indeed have feelings for Misae's friend. He asks Misae for advice, and she tells him not to waste away his days sitting at the free bar drinking. Moras immediately leaves the hideout at this suggestion.

Tomren and Haseya then travel back to the Falcon's Perch Inn to find Taegon. Taegon and Haseya have a meaningful heart to heart conversation about what happened, and the guilt that Taegon carries with him now that he let an evil entity out into the world. Haseya gives him the words spoken to her by an old mentor—if you seek atonement for something, a time will come when your chance of redemption will make itself known. Taegon thanks Haseya for always being the guiding light of the group, which seems to touch Haseya. Tomren then attempts a physical examination of Taegon, but Taegon is too weak both physically and emotionally to tolerate much of an examination.

Later, at the Butterfly, it occurs to Haseya that she may be able to help Taegon's recovery. She uses a restoration spell which helps regrow Taegon's atrophied muscles. Although still weary and worn, Taegon feels he will be back to normal condition after a good sleep. The group then approaches Kamaria, Zafar and Mitra and let them know they are ready to discuss plans for the first attack.

Two hours later, a war council has been convened including Kamaria, Mitra, Zafar, Narida, Emanaya, Moras, Krystof, and the trumpet player for Beasts for Peace, a goblin named Blaster.

Kamaria explains that, to this point, Karna has heard whispers of the Butterfly but a disinformation campaign by the zultanate has successfully kept them as mere legend. Kamaria says the first step in their revolution needs to be sending a message to the slaves to let them know that the Butterfly is real and that it is on the move. To this end, she has devised a plan to destroy the Flesh Markets, the marketplace where slaves are auctioned off.

This plan is composed of four teams: black team, red team, violet team, and white team. Black team consists of Misae, Narida, and Blaster, and it is up to Misae and Narida to successfully stealth Blaster into location to place and arm four explosive devices that will level the markets. Once the last device has been set, Narida is to send a magical flare that will alert the other teams to get into position. White team—Moras, Kamaria, and Zafar—will then begin funneling innocents and slaves out of the area—Kamaria wants to ensure that the Butterfly is not seen as a terrorist organization, and wants to preserve as many innocent lives as possible. Once the explosions have detonated, the violet team—Arnold, Haseya, and Emanaya—is to begin Weaving a magical symbol that is primarily a butterfly but can be embelished in any way the casters see fit. The more hopeful and inspirational of a message they send, the more hearts they will impact. Kamaria hopes the combination of Haseya's natural druidcraft, Arnold's arcane prestidigitation, and Emanaya's eldritch thaumaturgy will create a lasting, enduring symbol and message for everyone in Bratana. Lastly, a wave of guards will likely be descending on the markets to apprehend and eliminate those who made the attack. It falls to red team—Taegon, Tomren, and Krystof—to hold off these guards for as long as they possibly can. It will be up to their discretion when to fall back, but Kamaria made it clear that the more time they can buy violet team, the better message that violet team can create.

Tomren expressed issue with taking lives. Kamaria flatly explained that this is a declaration of war, and in war, lives are lost. Tomren took issue with this, when Krystof, who was very drunk, began taunting Tomren. The taunts turned sour and eventually the entire table turned on Krystof, who ceased the taunting, turning inward, but not before saying to Tomren, "I will show you what it means to be a wizard, whether you truly are one or not."

Taegon had a dream about the Lady of Light and a foreign land. She told Taegon it was time to return home. Misae encountered an entity in her dreams dressed in the skin of her dead mother. She quickly identified it as Ruzazel, the demon who hounded Ubah, who now seeks the power of Jadeflame. Misae was quick to rebuff Ruzazel, and Ruzazel made it clear that the game of cat-and-mouse was still on, despite Ubah's bowing out.

Some things happened involving dragonflies and anal sex that I'm really not going to get further into here but thought I would mention. God damn it, Arnold.

The group left out bread and fish on their window sills in observance of the Bratanan holiday of fodrogan. When they awoke, Misae had attracted a crane, which represented the sun; Haseya attracted a dopey ostrich, which represented protection and healing; Arnold attracted an owl, which represents wisdom; Taegon attracted a falcon, which represents honor and valor; and Tomren attracted a vulture, which represents death.



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