007 - Welcome to Hillvon
As the party rounds a bend in the road, they see the sprawling city of Hillvon built around the Batano lake and bisected by the Trinda river. They are approaching from the west through the various farms and orchards and Tegan recognizes that they are walking through the Star district.
The Star district is essentially the suburbs of the city. It is home to many farmers and traders. Along the road there are a variety of small businesses, many run out of the first floor of people's homes. Aaron notices a young boy selling vegetables from a rudimentary cart. "Get yah veggies hereyah"".
As they walk down the main street of this district, Wazo senses that the townspeople are giving her the side-eye, as Aarakockra are not common in many parts of Evermyre.
Tegan, feeling the hunger from his travels, decides to lead the group, with their permission, to an excellent sandwich shop in this area called the Wordpainter's Wellington. They decide to split a Wellington for 1sp.
As they eat, they notice across the street there is a rival sandwich shop called Skyhauler's Sandwiches and it has a much longer line. They regroup and discuss the Dawn's March over their shared sandwich. Wazo asks Tegan if this organization wears any specific uniform or markings on their armor but Tegan doesn't remember.
After finishing their delicious sandwich, Wazo crows out how good Wordpainter's Wellingtons are and that Skyhauler's are shiiittt.
A short walk later, they arrive within the city's walls via the Sol gate, which is located in the Windgate district.
The group decides to head to Tegan's childhood home. As they head into the Old Hillvon district, they pass a Temple to Helm. Engraved on the side is a plaque that says this temple was erected in 742, two years after a devastating fire due to a lightning strike. Across the street, the party sees a Temple to Talos, the god of storms. Tegan knows that this was built on the exact site which was struck by lightning to appease the god of storms in the year 740.
Shortly thereafter they cross over the Trinda river which is a slow flowing, crystal clear river. As they look down, they see schools of salmon and other fish and smooth river rocks.
In the Gardens district, they notice it's a lot more sophisticated. This is the upscale district of the city inside the walls, starting at the river and continuing uphill towards the large stone fortress. Houses here are mostly built from large blocks of white stone, and the streets are packed gravel. Many of the houses have rooftop terraces, with flowering vines providing shade and growing down the side of the building, and many houses with enough land have elaborate, well-cultivated gardens in the front or a walled garden in the back. The party notices a more remarkable change in the clothing of Hillvon's residents. Everyone is wearing fine robes and in less of a hurry. The party then continues straight to Tegan's house.
Tegan's house is three floors tall and made of all white stone. There is a well crafted wall that surrounds it draped with flowering vines. There is a sweet floral smell in the air. On the entryway, there is an elaborate carved archway with the family name of 'Steadmount' engraved over the keystone of the arch. His house is meticulously maintained.
Tegan, inspecting the gate, presses a secret stone which glows with a blue glyph. In a short moment, a small peephole opens on the wooden door and two brown eyes can be seen peeking through. A maid greets him enthusiastically, "Master Tegan! You're home!". The door swings open. Tegan excitedly exclaims, "Troila! It's good to be back!". Troila, a short halfling maid, expresses that she missed him. Tegan quickly does introductions and there's some hesitancy on Troila's part to shake Wazo's hand.
Troila quickly ushers them inside the gates, through the lush front garden, and into the Steadmount residence. Tegan asks if his mother, Kynthia Steadmount, is home but she is not so Troila shuffles them into the library where Tegan's father, Yannic Steadmount, is reading.
The study is equipped with floor to ceiling book shelves. They are lined with many leather bound books and the smell of old paper and leather mixed with pipe smoke fills the air. In the middle of the room is two long, leather couches that face each other with a large oak coffee table between them. There is also a bar cart with various libations on the far wall as well.
Meet the Parents
After warmly greeting his son, Yannic introduces himself to Wazo. He is excited to see an aarakocra for the first time. He meets Aaron who is a little circumspect. "Where are you from?", he asks politely. "Various cities, here and there"
They sit down on a leather couch across from Yannic and Troila brings in delicious smelling, oat cookies. Tegan describes his adventures up and to this point, and at the part about the Faerie's Harvest Festival, Yannic excitedly chimes in, he just read the news from Feldmar. Tegan reveals the new knowledge that Sophinia, his love, is dead. Yannic is at a loss of words and very sympathetic. He expresses his condolences.
Just as Tegan is finished, telling his tales, Kynthia Steadmount marches in. She is wearing deep purple robes which is customary for the archmages of Hillvon. She has an aura of duty and honor, demanding respect in a non-confrontational way. She greets Aaron and Wazo politely and thanks them for taking care of her son while he is on his sabbatical.
Tegan begins to describe their many connections to the Dawn's March and Kynthia listens intently. She mentions how she has used them as a protection service on her long journeys specifically to the north. Their leader is Kraz Kimulty, who usually goes by his last name only, Kimulty. They are very adapt at what they do and they offer fair prices. They are composed of skilled fighters and even a few mages.
Tegan shows her both notes (Baldir's and Soliana's) and she appears to be super concerned and stands up quickly to leave in order to talk with the Duke. Wazo adds her note, the ancient dwarven text before she can leave. Kynthia mutters a incantation under her breath with a slight hand motion and tries to translate it with magic. She says it's in some kind of dwarven cipher and can't be translated. She knows of an elderly dwarf whose son runs the Dragon's Scale Forge in east Windgate on the border of Old Hillvon. After kindly excusing herself and bidding adieu, she leaves the room and the party hears a magical whooshing sound as she teleports away.
Yannic calls for Troila and has her set up three rooms, one for each of his guests. The rooms are lavishly equipped with a four-poster king sized beds, an ornate vanity with a mirror After settling in, Tegan checks on Wazo and finds out that she has shredded the mattress and made a big nest out of the silk sheets.
Afternoon in the Library
After dropping off their things, Tegan and Aaron decide to survey the library while Wazo naps. Tegan in particular wants to find a book on cults. He poorly investigates the shelves and only finds a book or two that talks about old, defunct cults but they aren't useful.
Aaron uses Detect Magic and notices a sheet of paper, a spell scroll, tucked into a green leather bound book: Disguise Self Scroll(one time use) The book is "How to make friends and win influence". Aaron decides that it is best to leave it where it is.
Tegan shows Aaron the shield guardian and explains that it is the guardian of the Steadmount house. It is a large golem-like statue with metal armor with dark eyes.
Suddenly, Troila rings the dinner bell and Wazo awakens from her nap and rushes downstairs to the dining room. Tegan and Aaron walk in, and then Yannic follows closely behind. There is a fifth table setting for Kynthia but it lies empty.
Everyone eats a delicious beef stew. Wazo is eating like an aarakocra, to Troila's horror and Yannic's fascination. Wazo being attracted to shiny things, pockets a soup bowl when Troila and Yannic aren't looking.
After the main meal, Troila brings out some plum pie. While they eat, Troila does the dishes and sings to a bird that is perched on the window above the sink. This melts Wazo's heart.
They finish eating dessert and are completely satisfied with their meals. The party hangs around a little bit after Yannic heads to bed but Kynthia doesn't come home, so the group heads to bed also.
As they sleep, Wazo has the same nightmare as the vision she had on the road. There are aarakocra bodies strewn on the ground along with feathers, blood, and bits of their nests.
Aaron also has a vivid dream. He hears a voice in his head as he sleeps, "Seek power. Get revenge. Devote yourself!" and the black snake is crawling up his leg again, constricting around it. He tries to blast it with an Eldritch Blast and nothing comes out. He tries to punch it, and he crits. It recoils back down his leg, and hisses at him. "Channel that anger!" and slithers away. He wakes up in a sweat. When he looks in the sheets, he doesn't see a black snake this time.
In the morning, the group awakens to the sun and some quiet city sounds. Outside the windows, the light filters through flowering vines. They smell fresh baked scones and other sweet breakfast smells. Tegan, having slept peacefully, saunters happily downstairs after knocking on Aaron and Wazo's doors. Aaron and Wazo are not far behind him. Troila has made a big breakfast for the guests.
Kynthia comes in looking utterly exhausted after a late night. She has noticeable bags under her eyes and looking distraught. "You look like you're wearing the world's weight on your shoulders." "The Duke and I are just worried about all this. He sent some aides to talk with the DM, but they haven't returned."
Tegan offers to look into the Dawn's March himself. Kynthia says to talk with Carnelis Faust first, he lives in the Two Courts district, and might have suggestions for dealing with the Dawn's March.
Meeting Tegan's Mentor
The group exits through the Dren gate into Two Courts. It has a medium affluence. They pass by some bars and a bookstore. They head to Faust's residence. A short, brown-skinned human with one hazel and one brown eye, with a flowing beard who uses a gnarled walking stick, answers the door.
Tegan introduces Wazo and Aaron. Faust welcomes everyone in, and they talk.
Tegan: What do you know about the DM? Faust: The DM has been gaining power and clout lately. Someone or something very powerful is funding them, and people are getting worried Tegan: Are any other mercenary groups around? Someone who might be in competition with the Dawn's March? Faust: The Diving Bell has coexisted with them for some time, mostly sticking to the southern end of the city but the DM have been displacing them, pushing them towards Fishreach (district south of Two Courts).
Faust reiterates: "Everyone including the duke has been very tense. The DM are really powerful and confronting them directly isn't advisable. They are skilled in battle and would defeat you. I recommend infiltrating and seeing where their money and power is coming from. Also, Kynthia has been flustered too. I'm not sure if it's the DM or something else."
Faust says he is going to go to the Aganite Library and look up that passageway. He believes there is a private sewer system in this district and he believes that would be the best way in.
After the conversation, Tegan begins to show off some of what he has learned about magic since leaving. Faust walks around and uses his own incantation to get a sense of how Tegan's connection to the weave and how it has developed. He suddenly turns to Aaron and comments that he feels a force with him too. He senses that the weave is also strong with him. Aaron demonstrates his mage hand. Wazoo asks if they can sense any magic with her but Faust cannot sense anything.
Wazo asks Faust about her ancient dwarven tome. He says that Simdor Grimbraids who lives in the apartment behind The Dragon's Scale Forge should be able to help. He is the most scholarly and elderly dwarf of the city.
Faust herds everyone out of the house, and after closing it up, he heads off on his own towards the library. The group decides to look for a tavern where they can meet with the Diving Bell.
Fishreach and The Vagabond
As they enter into Fishreach, they see a temple to Gond, the god of craftsmen. There are also small, very local businesses here. It is less commercialized and less kept in this district.
As they head west towards Ghostdocks, they find a tavern called The Vagabond. The sign for the tavern hangs loosely on one chain with faded paint flapping haphazardly in the breeze. The door has fist- and knife-marks on it as if bar fights happen often. As they step up, the inhabitants all turn to uncomfortably stare at the adventurers. Tegan walks up to the bar and sets down a couple silver to open a tab.
Wazo looks around and sees a dwarven man at the bar with a scimitar by his side. Wazo greets the man by saying, "Ah, I see you're wearing a sword. They're very tough, and manly. Are you, perchance, one of the Diving Bell? I wanna join."
He pulls out his scimitar and does a fancy maneuver. He ends up behind Wazo, with his blade on her neck. Wazo swipes at him with her talons, and draws blood.
He jumps away in surprise and pain, saying, "You couldn't join anyway, we don't accept bird people."
Tegan hears the "WE" and breaks it up. He quietly explains that the group is investigating the Dawn's March, and think that it might be good to start by talking with their competition.
Aaron uses Suggestion, saying that it's in the dwarf's best interest to help the group. The harden dwarf introduces himself as Grazzon Windchip, a captain of The Diving Bell.
They explain their concerns about the Dawn's March and they think DM has been getting extra funding from somewhere new as they have grown stronger very quickly. The Diving Bell thinks the DM were behind their headquarters being burned a week or so ago.
In the Dark Alley
As they talk Wazo keeps ordering beers for him, trying to get him drunk. He quickly downs multiple ales and becomes inebriated. Wazo persuades him to leave with her help.
She walks him out, props him up in an dark alley nearby, and then swings at his head with the blunt side of her glaive.
As Grazzon wakes up and starts struggling to his feet, Wazo explains that he fell and hit his head. He rubs his head and Wazo helps him up and the group walks him to his flat. He lets himself in and after locking the door behind him, they hear him flop down inside.
The group decides to figure out what to do next over a meal.
We have to remember to identify our magic items!!
We are going to confer offline to come up with a plan before next session.