We slammed open the door and hurried in to the inn to take refugee from the persistent rain, which would have soaked us if we weren’t already as wet as could be from swimming through the canals to get here. Water came off in rivulets to pool on the floor, some kind of marble maybe, to disappear down barely noticeable drains inset in the floor. A young genasi at the front counter hurried out the back and within seconds she returned with a weathered, imposingly large male genasi in tow.
“Welcome, travellers. We would be happy to accommodate you for the night in our humble inn. In fact, our penthouse suite is available and we would be happy to host you for the night, free of charge. We’ve heard of the good you have been doing for us.” The older male genasi’s voice was warm, welcoming, almost regretful.
We accepted his offer wholeheartedly, though we should have known something was up. Anyway, we dried ourselves off in the foyer and headed up. The room was on the top floor, the only room on the whole floor. It was very nicely furnished and we got comfortable, most of us changed in to drier clothes but Perrin thought he’d like to watch the sunset over a bottle of mead and Artorius refused to change out of his armour. Zavra made some cookies and I made some sad imitations while I learnt from her. Kaedri read in the corner. We hung out, bantered. When everyone began retiring to their rooms I sought out Perrin to let him know everyone was retiring. I found him up on the roof.
The rain had subsided to a light drizzle and he sat there with his legs dangling over the edge, swigging from a bottle. Three empty bottles lay at his feet. “Oh boy,” I muttered under my breath. He was pretty incoherent and uncooperative. I told him that it was time to drink in his room now. He was still being drunk and a pain so I picked him up and swung down and carried him down the side of the building. I’m lucky he didn’t throw up all over both of us. I got my window open easily enough, took him to an empty bed and deposited him before returning to my own room and changing in to some light sleeping clothes, a welcome change from needing to sleep in leathers just in case we’re attacked on the road. A dagger under the pillow and the crown of thorns set upon the bedside table, I settled in to sleep. Not ten minutes later I heard a thud, some shuffling, and then Perrin’s muffled voice whisper-shouting “sneaky sneaky sneaking…” I thought about going to mother him, but then decided I couldn’t be bothered. I drifted off to sleep…
My door slamming open jarred me awake and in an instant my dagger was in hand and I was setting my crown atop my face. My assailants were genasi, crowding in to my room. Past them I saw Zavra already blasting away, before darkness erupted from under her robe and filled the room. I swung in front of me to hold them off but they didn’t seem bothered by the danger and pressed forward. I kicked out and they tumbled backwards but more assailants stepped over their fallen comrades. A loud “wake up!” echoed throughout the halls in Kaedri’s voice. Backing up, I jumped on to the bed and fumbled with the window behind me. Once it was open I turned and swan dived out to the cold waters below, easily clearing the lower level roof.
Looking upwards a couple of genasi stuck their heads out of the window but none followed me. I circled the building and on the far side I saw Kaedri crouched in her magical flying hand, floating out of reach of some genasi reaching for her from her window. One reached too far and fell out. As the genasi tumbled down to hit the lower roof I noticed Perrin holding on for dear life to the shingles. I realised the genasi was falling towards me and I ducked underwater and swam quickly to the door. Bursting in to the foyer I found it empty so I charged up to our room.
Rushing in to our room I saw a mess of a fight underway. Thorny tendrils snaked through our walkway, ensnaring multiple genasi. On the far side Artorius fought what looked like ten genasi as he kicked and fought and… healed? Zavra stood on my side of the thorns, backed in to a corner about to be overwhelmed. I ran up and began subduing genasi with quick hits to the backs of their skulls, but I couldn’t make it to Zavra, I readied myself for one final desperate slashing swathe to reach Zavra, I screamed a warcry and began to charge but then Fred leapt in and saved Zavra, pushing her assailants back. Relieved, I cut my screaming short. The sound kept ringing in my head, though. I realised everyone was looking at me, they temporarily stopped fighting. I don’t know why.
The next few minutes were hazy, I remember just suddenly feeling very… Hungry. Like I needed to consume. I remember Artorius’ face in front of mine, and wanting to join him. No…. Have him join me. It must have been a curse from the genasi.
I came to when a bucket of water was thrown in my face. A great many genasi were leaving the room, carrying their friends. They were all doused with water. The innkeeper stood apologising to the party. Disoriented, I struggled to follow along. The genasi were cursed, something about Halaster, and cheese? They weren’t able to warn us because they were compelled to do a series of actions. I didn’t really understand. I was tired, though, so very tired.
Luckily we all seemed content to sleep the rest of the night away and I fell deeply asleep before I could hit the bed.
I dreamed I was a cloud, soaring through the blue blue skies.
We awoke to a lavish breakfast and an apology note. It was nice, I guess. Still, we moved on pretty quickly and set sail for Waterdeep.
Some drunkards hit our boat but they paid for the repairs. In Waterdeep we investigated this magical bangle and the priest told us that it’s powers ebb and flow, and that it was not cursed or dangerous for the wearer. Perrin got a cryptic and mildly concerning fortune told. The lords of Waterdeep would like us to help them reconnect the portals between major cities. We still haven’t agreed to a solution there yet.
At the Yawning Portal Inn we had two messages seeking to employ our services. I tried to talk to Durnan about the curse connected to Halaster but he grew pale at the mention of that name and he fled.
The first of these jobs included the very serious crime of stealing apples and we spent a few hours following this worthy pursuit and at the end we hired the child orphan thief as part of our future house staff. Lowering crime, improving employment rates one orphan at a time, we are paragons.
The second job was a bit more involved. It involved the recovery of an abomination, a living weapon. We debated the ethics of it but agreed nonetheless. We were given an amulet that supposedly controlled the being by Eldin Edenmire, our employer. Regardless of our ethics, eighty thousand gold is still eighty thousand gold so we set out for Trollbark Forest.
Perrin found us a suspicious tree in the area we were to look for the abomination and revealed a hole leading underground. Poor Fred had to wait outside. At the end of a tunnel was a large room with a chequered pattern and monoliths stood at the far side of the room. A large voice boomed out something in a language we didn’t understand. We experimented a bit and found that moving incorrectly hurt us a LOT. Kaedri used her magic to learn the language of the voice and we realised that it was a large game of chess and the monoliths would transform in to the relevant pieces to attack or be attacked. After a battle of wits and shenanigans (such as me traversing the battlefield’s walls) Zavra murdered the enemy queen and a door appeared, which she charged through. We all hurried after her in to the belly of the beast. I feel… Hungry.