008 - Disguises 101
To the Steadmount Residence
The party heads back to Tegan's house, backtracking through Two Courts. It's evening. Businesses are closing, and bars are getting more active.
They re-enter the city walls at the Dren gate, emerging into the Gardens district.
As before, Tegan presses the hidden stone, and Troila lets everyone in. She made dinner! It's roast beef, potatoes, carrots, squash, and some kind of tomato stew. Both Yannic and Kynthia are home. Wazo compliments Troila, "Troila, you really are the best."
Kynthia still looks frazzled and tired. Yannic is still endlessly fascinated by Wazo and her aarakockra mannerisms. Tegan updates his father, Yannic, with what they have learned from his mentor Faust, and probes if he can think of other sideways ways to get info on the Dawn's March. He says he'll think about it, but disclaims that he's not well skilled in things like this. Kynthia chimes in and discourages this approach because she is concerned about Tegan's safety. At this point, Troila delivers a hot peach pie to the table. The smell fills the room and the party gladly eats it.
Tegan suggests planning with Aaron and Wazo in the front garden and watching the sunset. There are a few stray clouds in the sky. The sun is just above the horizon painting the sky with brilliant oranges, reds, and yellows. Tegan expresses his worries about a direct approach since his mentor warned them that the Dawn's March are strong and not to be messed with head on. Aaron suggests surveillance on their headquarters first to see if they can get a glimpse at who the leaders are and what they look like.
Tegan suggests robes of some kind to make Wazo less conspicuous. Tegan then asks Aaron if he has nicer clothes. After a brief search through his bag, he finds some concealing robes. The group decides to visit Tegan's tailor tomorrow. As the party continues to talk in the front garden, the sun is setting, leaving behind purples and blues splashed throughout the sky with the glimpse of the first stars of the night and fire orange-red clouds floating above. Lunax and Lunaz, the two moons of Evermyre are waning gibbous.
Before bed, Wazo asks Aaron for the bracers found on Soliana in Feldmar, and she decides to inspect them for an hour before she sleeps. Aaron focuses on the stone he found in the same faerie cave before bed. Tegan also goes to sleep. Everyone sleeps through the night except Wazo has her usual dream of carnage and wreckage from her aarakockra home.
The morning dawns with the sounds of birdsong and the smells of a fresh-baked, Troila breakfast. Tegan remembers his cookbook and brings it down to breakfast. Set out on the table is eggs, porridge, fruit and oat bars. Wazo, over breakfast, explains that the magical bracers are "Bracers of Defense" and have a magical aura of defense for the user. Aaron says his stone is lucky and increases the owners chances of succeeding in tasks he or she tries. Wazo pets it.
As the adventurers eat, Yannic asks to get a better look at the bracers. Wazo says it's fine as long as she doesn't have to take them off. Yannic inspects the golden engraved bracers and says they are ancient dwarvish bracers. He has read about them in a book called "Magical Armors of the Past". He isn't in possession of the book currently as he read about it at the [Aganite Library]. Tegan asks him if Kynthia is home and Yannic says she left early in the morning. He is worried for her and for his son and wants them all to stay safe.
Hind's Designs and New Cloaks
The party heads out with the intention to go to Hind's Designs, a trusted tailor and garment establishment that Tegan uses. As they arrive, they see a quaint storefront with a wooden sign and a mannequin in the window wearing a stylish orange cloak. The store is open and inside the party sees a high elf with long blond hair, wearing a buttoned shirt all the way up to his chin with a popped collar. He is the owner, Hind, whom Tegan has dealt with before.
Tegan does introductions and Hind has an aura of arrogance and elitism. When he goes to shake Wazo's hand, she does a really strong handshake and he meets it but makes a show of being fussy, wiping his hand off after. They bristle at each other for a bit but Hind moves past it.
He asks what their fashion goals are. Tegan explains that they are standing out too much and need to look more well suited to the area. He knows the perfect cloak for Aaron and Wazo, muted colors. Aaron asks for a less form fitting cloak and Hind questions him that this isn't the style in Hillvon. Aaron kindly protests and Hind relents. He takes their measurements, despite Wazo's attempts to make it more difficult. He says it's 4 gold each and it'll be ready in a few hours. He has some pre-made cloaks that he can tailor.
The Dragon's Scale Forge
The group then decides to make their way to The Dragons Scale Forge on the border of the Old Hillvon and Windgate districts.
As they arrive, they see a two story building with a metal sign "Dragon's Scale Forge" created using metal in a stylized way that looks like dragon scales.
They go in and see a few dwarves are inside working. One is tending to some metal that just came out of the forge and another is hammering on an anvil. The party is greeted by a younger dwarf, "Hey."
Wazo replies formally in dwarvish, "We seek the dwarf Grimbraids."
"I am Soldar Grimbraids, how can I help you?"
I am looking for your father? Simdor Grimbraids.
"Oh! Hold on a minute" and he heads into the back.
Soldar comes back a few moments later and says his elderly father is not doing well but doesn't mind taking visitors in their back apartment. Wazo accepts and Tegan and Aaron quickly follow her to the door.
Simdor and the Decoder
Soldar ushers them back to an apartment in back, and sitting at a wooden table is an elderly dwarf: frail, long gray hair and a beard, and he can barely stand. He wears glasses on his little nose. He's sitting there, hunched over.
Soldar: "Father, there is an aarakocra here to meet you"
He looks up, "Hello."
Wazo says again, formally in dwarvish: "Hello Master Grimbraids. I have come on the advice of strangers to see if you can translate something for me."
"I see that you speak dwarvish very well. Why would you need my help?"
W: "I can't read."
S: "Why not ask my son?"
W: "Because you are the master! And from one old bones to another, I need your help."
S:"What kind of text is it?"
W:"Ancient dwarvish, something about an ancient weapon. This one helped us figure that much."
Tegan explains that he could only get a loose idea. "Wazo, show him the paper."
Wazo gives it to him.
He looks at it for a moment and straightens up slightly. "I'm surprised this got into a non-dwarven hand."
W: "It was given to me by the master of the lesser hills to the east."
He replies, "You know I can't read this as it is. You need a cipher."
W:"I was... not aware of that."
S: "But you're in luck." He stands up with great effort, and hobbles to the bedroom and rummages around. He brings out a red, thin, translucent stone. "Here." and he hands it to Wazo.
W: "I still can't read dwarvish."
S:"Oh! Sorry." He takes it and scans the stone over the paper. The letters on the page magically rearrange and he reads it out:
The Silverlight, Promise of Evermyre
There is some lack of understanding on Wazo's part and Simdar explains that when the green dragon was destroyed, his clan planned to break the Silverlight in two and entrust it two trusted families in his clan, the Granitebrow and the Halfgray families. Unfortunately the Granitebrow family were in desperate need, so they gave the text describing their half's hiding place to... and he gestures to Wazo.
W: "Why would you break the weapon apart?? There's more dragons to kill!" Wazo explains that there's a green dragon in her valley to the east that has destroyed her home and the valley. Tegan has heard of a powerful ancient weapon, hailing from the east but it was not really covered in his education.
Simdor says to his son, Soldar, "I need to lay down. Can you help me to my room?". Soldar helps his father to bed and comes out of the room after.
Wazo asks, "Where is the Xarel Loto Glen?" Soldar says it's northwest of Hillvon but he isn't entirely sure where.
After being seen out of the apartment by Soldar, the party heads out of the forge. It is around lunchtime and this district is bustling with residence and activity. Tegan suddenly hears a voice of his mentor: "Tegan, I have that research from the Aganite Library. Swing by my house to learn what I found." - a sending from Faust. Tegan responds that they'll be by in a bit.
Wazo and Aaron see Tegan talking to himself and he explains to them what he said. They grab a quick lunch and stop by Hind's Designs to pick up their new inconspicuous traveling cloaks and walk to Faust's residence in the Two Courts district. Aaron and Wazo wear their new robes to remain innocuous.
Faust invites them in, excited to share his research. He is wearing his long green flowing cloak with silver trim on the cuffs, and using his walking stick to support himself as he walks.
He says, "I've been researching the Two Courts district. I found that the sewer system in this district leads right to the Dawn's March's base."
He hands Tegan a crumpled page which has blueprints of the sewer with detailed markings of everything.
Tegan mentions, "It seems like the Dawn's March are after a weapon. Do you knows anything about it." Faust has read about the Silverlight before and describes what he knows.
Faust also believes Kynthia is distracted because of gnolls attacking Penustad, a city north of Hillvon. He reminds Tegan that the bunker hideout of the Dawn's March is just east of the city edge. After this exchange of information, the party thanks Faust and says farewell. He encourages them to use extreme caution on their mission.
The Party Returns
The group decides to head back to the Steadmount compound to discuss their plans. The party arrives there just after dinner, but it is saved for them by Troila, a roasted turkey meal with sweet potatoes and rice.
As they begin to discuss their plans, Wazo is worried about being overheard. They decide to gather together in Tegan's room. Tegan's room is a mix of his old juvenile self and his more sophisticated adult self. There is a poster of a Hillvon band on the wall, memorabilia from his childhood including a rock collection, a bed with fine sheets embroidered with an intricate tree and root pattern and a nicely appointed desk with books about Hillvon history and magic.
Aaron casts Detects Magic, and doesn't think they're being spied on currently.
Tegan: "I'm out of my realm of expertise with disguises and sneaking around."
Aaron: "I have an idea how we can get information without being found out..." And he shapeshifts into a middle aged woman for a moment and then changes back.
Wazo, surprised: "Is that your true form?"
Aaron: "No, I grew up looking like how you normally see me."
After a lengthy discussion, the party decides to take shifts watching the Dawn's March headquarters, in order to gather information.
With the plan in place, everyone goes to sleep. Wazo decides to go to sleep with the aarakocra feather. Through the night while holding the feather, she has the same reoccurring nightmare that she has had previously. She then falls asleep.
It is a hazy, overcast morning. The party is awakened to the usual breakfast food smells from the dining room.
In the morning, Wazo notices the feather has embedded in her wing among her own feathers. She thinks it's odd but then shakes off the thought and heads down to have bacon. Wazo chats with Tegan for a bit and decides to have a morning ale with her breakfast. Troila obliges and Wazo downs it in her usual fashion.
Aaron, Wazo, and Tegan discuss how to disguise Tegan during their operation as he owns fine clothing that fits in with the elite of Hillvon. He runs up to his room and digs out some old hand-me-downs from Leofyr. Wazo asks to see what he found. Tegan digs out the carefully rolled outfit and hands it to Wazo. While Tegan finishes eating, Wazo and Aaron head out to the garden to make it look right.
They get back in, and Tegan is surprised by their work. He goes to fold up the clothes but Wazo wads them up and shoves them into Tegan's hands. He reluctantly pushes them in his bag in a messy ball. Wazo and the party decides she should take the night shift in order to disguise herself in a tree near the headquarters.
Aaron and Tegan head towards the Dren gate in order to get to the Two Court district. Aaron follows Tegan at a distance, changing his face from time to time while concealed by his cloak. Tegan finds a dark alley that seems good for changing and puts up a minor illusion wall to hide the clothing change. Both Aaron and Tegan ditch their cloaks and Aaron transforms into an underfed half-elf.
The DM's headquarters is a two story stone building with a tall wall surrounding it. On the wall are a few archers. Guarding the main entrance are two half-orc guards, blue skinned and wearing muted browns and blacks. They wear cloaks that are obviously covering metal chain mail. They are standing guard, vigilant with their hands in their hilts.
Aaron and Tegan decide on aliases before they scout. Aaron chooses the name Zelly and Tegan chooses Brent.
At midday, there's a guard change and two new guards relieve the morning shift. There is a half-orc and a human who are also both very attentive.
Around 1:00pm, as if this happens often, they are more alert, anticipating something.
Aaron and Tegan hear hooves and see a cart drawn by a black horse pulling a wooden covered stagecoach. It's driven by a gnome. The stagecoach pulls up in front of the gate and out comes a 5'6" humanoid, cloaked with a long hood.
Aaron and Tegan hear mumbling from the guards, "Good day, madam".
The gate opens, and after she enters the gate closes and locks. A guard, beginning to be suspicious of Aaron and Tegan, tells them to leave. Tegan wanders into an alley and lays down well back but where he can still see the front gate. Aaron goes into the bookstore, ducks into an alcove and then goes invisible.
An hour or so later the guards get alert again. A blue-skinned half-orc comes out. He has a deep scar across his left eye that runs from his forehead to his cheek. His left eye is gray and blank. He walks with confidence and authority and carries a greataxe. The guards salute him and show him respect as if he is the boss. Another horse and carriage pulls up promptly and right away they whisk him away.
Aaron then walks up to Tegan still invisible, "We should probably leave soon". Tegan heads further away from the gate and circles back.
Dinner, Debriefing, and Dehabilitation
They then make it back to Tegan's house and Troila is not loving Tegan's new look as she greets him at the gate. Tegan and Aaron can hear her mumble, "Kids these days and their fetishes"
Dinner is served shortly and Kynthia asks Tegan, "How was your day?". Tegan says that it was busy and interesting. "We learned some things that we're pretty concerned about. i I'll explain after dinner". Dinner then becomes awkward.
After dinner, Tegan is ready to share info with his mother but Wazo pulls him aside and wants to plan her night watch. Tegan draws her a sloppy map and Aaron saves the day by filling in the details.
Wazo decides to take to flight from the front garden. As she flaps her wings, she strangely can't fly. She tries again and only lifts a few feet off the ground. In a panic, she rushes back inside. She realizes that the feather she slept with the night previous has somehow cursed her to not be able to fly. She attempts to pull it out but it doesn't budge. She whips out her knife and tries to cut if off but the knife isn't able to slice through. Meanwhile, Tegan reassures his mother that he will stay out of danger.
Wazo rushes in to explain her new dilemma. The party then asks Kynthia what she thinks. Wazo points out the feather. Kynthia inquires as to where this feather has come from and how they came across it. Wazo answers and explains how it attached to her wing while she was asleep. Kynthia mutters an incantation and states that she thinks it's cursed.
She says to visit a mage in Old Hillvon, Tessa Prymar, who is more experienced with curses than she is. Wazo, still panicking tries again to pull it out and burn it with no success. Since Wazo can't fly they abandon their night plan. Everyone then goes to sleep and Wazo continues to have the same nightmares again.