016 - Dragon Eggs
The Infinity Library
The dust settles after the gnoll attack. It is about 2 or 3pm. Residents are going back to normal, apparently accustomed to the gnoll attacks by now. Merchants are straightening up their shops and carts.
The library is further west in to the gnollcrest district. The party turns a corner and sees it looming over a small square, built from alternating layers of granite and rubore blocks. On the front there is a sign: this library is run by the Order of the Infinite Curtain.
Outside the entrance stands a person wearing a long black cloak. Their face is concealed behind an expressionless white mask.
Tegan tries telling them jokes to see if he can get a laugh:
"What do you call a man with no legs and no arms outside a door?"
The guard tilts their head to the right, curious.
"What do you call a man with no legs and no arms in a lake?"
They tilt their head to the left.
"What do you call a man with no legs and no arms in a fire?"
They tilt their head to the right.
Aaron and Wazo are laughing, but if the guard is amused, it doesn't show.
Tegan and the others start to walk towards the entrance and the guard quickly moves to block their path. Tegan sputters an apology and explains that they want to do some research. The guard graciously gestures them inside.
Inside, they see that the library has tall shelves covered in books, many of them 20 feet up near the ceiling. There are ladders propped against a few. The middle of the room has tables with little clusters of people reading. Some of the tables are also piled with books.
A librarian monk asks them with gestures, "What do you want to find?"
Tegan says, "In Hillvon we are having trouble with an old cult. I want to do some research, try to find out more about them." The librarian guides the group upstairs to a table piled with books.
Wazo suggests trying the compass. She hands it to Tegan. "It's not a gift, but you can use it."
It points north, not indicating anything in the library.
She takes it back. For her it points west-northwest.
Aaron naps on a green velvet sofa nearby. His snores draw some unhappy glares for a moment. Wazo drapes the halfling cloak from the forest over him in a motherly fashion.
Tegan and Wazo start skimming through books, Tegan checking titles and skimming chapters and Wazo looking for maps or illustrations. They quickly find that pages mentioning the Emerald Enlightenment have been torn out or burned. They investigate what has been redacted, trying to find unexpected things missing. Tegan comes across a small scrap that says, "The Emerald Enlightenment was founded in Mor'deni."
Aaron wakes up and starts inspecting the cloak. He finds out that it is a cloak of protection, which has protective magic. It's still halfling sized, but he thinks it might be possible to get it resized or have the magic transferred into another garment.
Tegan takes some time looking for information on Ryloirth but finds nothing.
The group hears a mental message, "One hour until closing". They decide to spend the remaining time looking for information on Silverlight. They split up: Tegan goes to the relics section, and Aaron and Wazo go to weapons section.
Aaron and Wazo don't find anything of note, but Tegan gets lucky:
"The Silverlight, Promise of Evermyre was forged deep inside the Falchione Mountains by a society of dwarves called the Nahnos Clan. It is said that it was commissioned by King Bozmun Bluntgrog in order to defeat a horrific dragon that had driven the Nahnos clan underground. The oldest and wisest mages of their society along with the most skilled blacksmiths imbued the sword with the powers of the land itself. It is also said to have a silver glow when it is in the presence of a dragon and only one of strength and might can wield it. The whereabouts are unknown. Last written record of it had it located in the ancient ruins of the Nahnos dwarves in the mountains, long forgotten."
By this point, the librarians are watching everyone closely, clearly annoyed. There is a mental message, "The library closes in five minutes." They make their way out. It is around 7 or 8pm.
Tegan longs for fine food on the way to the Dandelion Inn, but the group is not dressed or bathed for the occasion. They walk back into the Cotton Sprawl district without trouble.
In the inn, Hyek takes dinner orders. Tegan gets his own room, not wanting to repeat the cramped conditions from the previous night.
The group goes upstairs to sleep.
As Wazo sleeps, she dreams. She feels searing pain, anger, and fear. The dead little girl from the afternoon looks up at her, helpless and in terror.
A cloaked figure with the sigil of the raven queen on her cloak takes her hand, and the memory fades.
"Use the powers I have given you wisely." All of a sudden, a purple energy courses through her veins, tracing her body. After, she blacks out and falls into a deep sleep.
Meanwhile, Tegan spends a few hours studying the magic dagger he took from the Dawn's March, puzzling over its magic until he can barely stay awake. In the creative confusion of half-sleep he has a sudden epiphany: his weapon training has been holding him back! The way to be quicker and more accurate is not through dexterity, but to invest his will in the blade itself, until he's not moving the blade at all, just moving himself. He scratches the word INVEST in the wall next to his bed, stabs the dagger in next to it, and falls asleep.
In the morning, the word is enough to remind him, and he pours his will into the dagger, with promising results. But what he feels as he tunes in to the weapon more deeply is surprising; the dagger seems to retain a connection to its maker, and their will is also invested in the dagger. He learns that its name is Goodbane.
He senses whoever is on the other side is a lot more skilled at this connection than Tegan is. Allowing them to lead him deeper, he gets a hazy mental image of a sprawling forge, the radiant glow of liquid metal, staggering heat, and in front of it, a vague silhouette of a person, hammering with power and purpose, working tirelessly. The connection becomes more ineffable as the other one shares glimpses of what feels like centuries of experiences, expertise, and knowledge. Before he can resolve it or retain any of it, there is a question.
[Will you trust me?]
He senses that this is binding. He thinks about his promise to Sophinia, and about the threats looming in the future. An ally offering this kind of power and expertise seems like just what he needs.
His mind floods with new understanding. It feels like he has lived a dozen lives; he is overwhelmed by their joy and pain and love and fear and the time of them all at once. He blacks out.
When he wakes up, it's still morning. He sees that he has gripped the dagger by the blade, and his right hand is badly cut. He has bled onto his clothes and the bed for a few minutes, from the look of things. He mends his hand with Healing Word, then uses Prestidigitation to clean up the blood.
There is a knock on Wazo and Aaron's door. Wazo answers. It is Joseph, a messenger soldier from the King of Penustad. He has a message for Wazo, Aaron, and Tegan, inviting them to the Penustad ball, at 6pm tonight at the castle. Formal attire required.
Wazo wakes up Aaron, and he reads out the invitation.
As they enter, they are greeted by a snow-leopard tabaxi wearing a monocle and a tight maroon turtleneck.
Tegan explains, "We need formalwear for an event tonight. Mostly we need something for Wazo."
The tabaxi is very friendly. He looks Wazo over and takes some measurements, then asks her, "Which do you prefer, light blue or light purple?"
"Whatever matches my scary eyes."
"Honey, you don't have scary eyes."
"You know, for a cat you're wonderful! Which one do you think?"
He compares the two fabrics and thinks the light purple would be best.
Wazo asks, "What's your name? What's it like being a non-humanoid around here?" "My name is Tiberius Quill. I set the trends around here, I do just fine."
Wazo is concerned about the dress Tiberius has in mind. Does it have weapon access?
"Honey. Yes, of course!" He shows her how his outfit has access to a belt, where there is tucked a dagger.
As far as cost, it is 10gp up front and 15 when it's done. Wazo pays.
For Tegan, Tiberius recommends accessories. He has cufflinks and belt buckles. Tegan gets some ruby cufflinks for 200gp and a sunset belt buckle for 30gp.
Aaron is happy with what he has.
"Come back by 4pm for the dress!"
With directions from Tiberius, they head to Ryoto's Forge, back in the Cotton District.
As they enter they see a human man, with bloodshot eyes, a shaved head, and a single gold earring in his left ear.
Wazo wants to sell:
- morningstar, 7gp
- javelins (3), 6sp
- glaive, 5gp
- greataxe, 15gp
Wants to buy:
- hand crossbow w/ 15 bolts, 75gp
- rapier, 25gp
Then they head next door to Ryoro's armory.
They see Ryoto's twin, a human man with bloodshot eyes, a shaved head, and a single gold earring in his right ear.
Tegan pays 8gp for a broken shield, which he plans to fix with Mending.
Aaron persuades Wazo not to sell the cloak.
The group decides to look for a fighting pit to pass the time until collecting the dress. Wazo tips Ryoro for info, and he suggests an old factory. The password is, "The first rule of the fight pit is, not to tell anyone about the fight pit."
Everyone gets shabby. Tegan knocks, and gives the password.
It's dark and hazy inside. Down a few stairs and further in they hear a fight going. They see a drunk, beggar-esque pair fighting. A human with a shortsword disarms a dagger-wielding elf, kicks him to the ground and stabs him. Clerics run in and lay on hands, pulling him out of the ring.
There is a dwarf taking bets. A sign is posted with the rules: 1. Don't tell anyone about the fight pit 2. no magic 3. even fights (no gang-ups) 4. no killing
Wazo wants to get in on things. The manager says they are booked today, but there are openings tomorrow.
Two new fighters are announced. The group watches fights for a while then heads back to the Quill.
At the pit Tegan remembers to twin mage armor on himself and Aaron.
Tiberius is excited to show Wazo the dress. He models it for Wazo. It looks good on him but she's flustered, worried that if it fits him there's no way it will fit her. It's a gag, he has hers in the back. She heads in back and changes behind a privacy screen.
They are thrilled with it. Tiberius is full of admiration for her new look, and Wazo soaks up his praise.
The group strolls around the city for a bit killing time until 6pm. Townsfolk are chatting about the ball. There is a cool breeze, with hints of fall.
The road leading into the castle is flanked by floating lanterns.
A stern female guard asks for the invitation. Aaron hands it over, and they are admitted inside.
The castle is made of the red rubore stones. The king's flag is waving atop the battlements. From inside the castle, they can hear an orchestra playing a lively tune. Warm light streams out of every window.
They see Elgin smiling in greeting. He is just beaming with happiness. Wazo is suspicious of this, but he seems sincere. He leans in conspiratorially, "You remember why we're here, right?"
There are nods all around.
The dance floor is under a large, lit chandelier. The orchestra is a group of enchanted instruments, playing unattended.
Two staircases draped in red carpet lead up to a balcony. There, on a throne is an elaborately dressed human. His crown has a single gem shining in it. We can't tell the color.
Elgin offers everyone some heart's fruit wine. We all make con saves. Tegan resists its influence. Wazo doesn't drink hers, but Aaron gets the full effect. His existing withdrawal and unease is magnified; he is clearly not in a party mood.
The lights dim, and the king goes to the edge of the balcony. He welcomes everyone to the ball. "Eat, drink, be merry! For Evermyre shines tonight!"
A generous spread of fine food is laid out on a table. Tegan gets into it, Wazo too. Aaron grabs a seat at the edge of the room and relaxes, listening.
He hears an elf girl talking with her friend about the little girl that died during the gnoll attack. "It wasn't the gnolls, it was someone else. That poor little girl."
He starts sending Flit around to eavesdrop on people.
Tegan and Wazo find Elgin. He introduces them to Lydra Gosse. Tegan chats, makes conversation telling about when Wazo helped save his life in the goblin cave. She isn't wearing an emerald ring, but there is what looks like a wedding band. Shortly, her husband approaches. Lydra introduces him, Spurgeon von Dyerson. Spurgeon confides that he heard that Elgin and the king might be an item, they were seen together in Hillvon and Elgin is now living in the castle. Wazo breaks away, deciding she would like to chat with the king.
She tries to go up to his balcony, but the guards stop her. She tries to distract the guards with Thaumaturgy, magnifying one of the flames in the corner of the room, but Elgin swats it away with his own magic.
Turning away, Wazo mutters insults as she gives up. The guard decides that's a line too far, and with some other guards he professionally and firmly escorts her out of the party.
Tegan's story is going a little too long and has lost its punch, so Lydra and Spurgeon spot someone they must catch up with and they break away. Tegan goes over to Aaron and tries to give him a pep talk. Aaron tries to clear his head but he can't shake the wine's effect.
Tegan goes to get some food for Aaron. On the way he spots his mom talking with a red male dragonborn wearing elaborate gold-edged body armor. They are standing close, talking quietly together. He keeps his distance.
Outside, Wazo gets her distance from the castle. She takes off her dress to blend in with the night, and flies way up, looking for an unguarded balcony where she can observe. She finds and lands on an unoccupied second floor balcony and puts the dress back on. She checks the next room and finds a small sitting library. It looks empty, so she goes in. She hears a thud on the left wall. Suddenly she hears heavy breathing, followed by sexual moaning. Apparently it was occupied after all! Feeling uncomfortable, she sneaks out the other end of the room without being spotted, and sees a staircase down. She heads down it past the sounds of the party and into a large unoccupied banquet room. She gives the room a good look but doesn't see anything noteworthy.
Tegan gets back with Aaron's food. He asks Aaron to use Flit to spy on Kynthia and the dragonborn.
Kynthia: "How are the eggs coming?"
Good. They're just about to hatch, my lady. The mithral residue in the mine seems to be speeding up the process. It should be a few more days, if that!
"Excellent. Our master will be very pleased."
"To the Enlightenment!"
Tegan stealthily mingles near the other couple talking apart.
One of them is an asian-looking human woman with long black hair, the other, a human man, has dark scruffy black hair. He wears a breastplate and his clothes are noble.
She says, "So you wanna buy the egg?"
He asks, "How much?"
"That's not the price we agreed on!"
"That's the price it is now."
He thinks. "Fine," and pulls out some coins.
She pulls out a red speckled egg. He tucks it in a bag of holding and they separate inconspicuously.
Wazo is poking around outside the ball, trying to look in without being too obvious. She knocks over some armor, and it makes a loud crashing noise. Nobody comes. They don't seem to have heard it over the party. She doesn't see the guards who kicked her out, either. Nobody bothers her when she mingles with the crowd, so she picks her way over to Aaron. He fills her in on what he overheard through Flit.
Tegan looks around for more little knots of hushed conversation. He sees a couple of dwarves he thinks are suspicious, so he heads back to Aaron so he has Flit eavesdrop. It's a couple having a tense argument about their relationship. She says, "You told me you'd leave her for me".
Wazo makes her way over to Elgin, who is breakdancing on the dance floor. She breaks out her own moves, holding her own and then some.
"So, I didn't get to meet the king."
Wazo angles for info on the king but Elgin doesn't give her anything. "He's a very private individual."
She sees that he's splitting his concentration, doing some kind of incantation. Wazo breaks away, heading over to Aaron. Aaron fills her in on what he has heard. Tegan joins them about the same time that Elgin finishes his dancing. Many who were watching him dance clap for him as he makes his way off the dance floor towards Aaron and Tegan.
"What did you find out? Let's head into the courtyard, we can talk there."
In the courtyard Aaron and Tegan share what they have heard. Elgin explains that the red dragonborn is Vassilios, the head of another land. He identifies the dragon egg seller as Que Xie Zee and the buyer as Aposto.
The group decides rather than try to pickpocket Aposto during the party, they will try to ambush or confront him afterwards with Elgin.