The squad began to investigate the stolen Chalice of Grumbar. Dice rolling with a Play by Post game can be tricky. We tried out The Unseen Servant.
Later, after Mollie had slept some hours, waking to look at Edwina, she stood alone in the chilly predawn hospital ward. The clouds had grown heavy in the night, and the rain had increased from a drizzle to a steady fall. The window in the room where she had rested was still open as Mollie had left it.
Now that she has some time alone and had calmed down from her talk with Dinty, Mollie pulled out the key that she had found the other night. She examined it closely wondering why it would be in the hands of someone that appeared to be just a random towns person.
It still seemed a solid stick of iron, three inches long by a quarter of an inch thick. Completely smooth, one end held a purple crystal that seems to swirl with blue.
While she was no means a spell caster, she was fairly certain that the gem was magic. “What sort of door does it open,” she wondered aloud? As the rain picked up, Mollie walked over and closed the window. As she stared out from it, she thought upon what she was going to do in the morning. She wasn’t sure she’d be able to work with Dinty, but she had to help Edwina. Idly, she rolled the key between her hands. Flipping it around to look at the gem again, she tapped it with the point of her finger.
The gem glowed and then the purple glow spread through grooves in the black metal cylinder making a series of unknown writing. In her head, a new voice declared. Ready.
“Um, no she’s not,” Mollie declared and pushed the gem again.
Two metal prongs flipped out from the cylinder. The voice in her head said. Attuned door is out of range. Mollie heard a strange beeping. Operator has changed. Current operator is post-living. Low horror-taint consistent with post-living. Another beeping. Does the operator wish to upgrade?
This device has a subroutine to provide matrix bonding. The voice replied. This requires physical integration to access all upgrade potentials.
“Will the upgrade make her alive again?”
The voice said. Alteration of post-living state is not within the parameters of matrix upgrade. This device serves as key and interface.
“What is it a key to?”
This key allows interface with all home facilities and portals. It is currently attuned to local Iron Door.
1800 feet south. 1500 feet down. Unable to provide connection details. Upgrade will provide power sensory tracking.
“Wow, that is pretty close! She should upgrade then.”
The voice stopped and a humming began. The two prongs sunk into the cylinder and the light on the end flashed. The cylinder buzzed and then shot into the palm of her hand. The sensation was odd, but she felt no pain and the wound closed quickly. The cylinder moved up her arm, across her shoulder, and then to her neck. Suddenly, everything went black and she felt a pressure on the back of her neck.
Coming to she looked around the room. The buzzing had stopped and the pressure released. A small figure sat on the window ledge watching her.
Mollie focused on the figure. Was it Meepo? Maybe Dinty came by to yell at her some more?
The small figure said. “Meepo, very excited by what he sees.” Then turning his head the kobold added. “Are you ok?”
Mollie rose to her feet and replied, “She thinks so.” After a pause she added, “And what did he see?”
“Mollie has an talky wand and it went into her hand,” Meepo smiled. “Meepo saw his chief find one once.”
“Did the same thing happen?” Mollie eyes darted around the room. “What time is it?”
Meepo looked out the window. “Not yet dawn.” He turned back. “Chief, she tell talking wand, 'No way!'”
Mollie nodded. “His chief was probably smart.” Mollie rubbed the back of her neck. “He needs to keep what he saw to himself for now. There are other things they need to worry about besides the talky wand.”
Meepo frowns but nods. “We go back to Meepo’s tribe sometime to see other talky wand.”
Mollie nodded in agreement. “After we save Edwina and the other sick people and figure out the first wand.” Mollie peered at Meepo for a moment. “Is he going with us?”
The kobold smiled his toothy grin. “He is always ready to help.”
Mollie looked down at the kobold as the bells rang. “Well, it looks like he’ll get his chance.” Mollie held the door open for him then headed to the meeting site.
Approaching the terrace, Goreal glanced over the edge and noticed sky continued below him as well. Standing on the patio was a thin viney creature with a long pod for a head. It poured water from a ceramic pitcher into two baked clay mugs.
“I dreamt this temple’d blacked in green balefire, that death and smoke were everywhere, and when I looked our star faded,” the creatures vines trembles. “Atgur’s blessing, Goreal.”
“Who are you?” Goreal asks not sure what the vine man is talking about.
The lithe green-brown plant turned, It’s light green leaves followed the light of Atgur. “I was called Cerdis Tae in life and I was of the uzija. Now I am a memory vision from the one you call Atgur though that one goes by many names.”
“Where are we; what am I doing here?” Goreal asked.
“In ages past,” the plant began. “We served Atgur, and Atgur spoke with us. Now you follow but you do not hear.” The plant waved its tendrils. “You are fighting off the sickness, Goreal. It may not claim you yet.” Glancing out the window. “This was our temple or one of them” It turned. “What do you wish from Atgur?”
Goreal pondered. “Atgur has given us light to chase away the darkness, warmth to survive the cold, and grows food to feed the hungry, how could I ask for more?” Goreal suddenly remembers his mission to find the cure for the sickness afflicting the town, “I must help the sick in Lomah, how can I go back?”
The uzija waved its vines. “That was always up to you, Goreal. But your shmkia-nature prevents it.” It offered the bear a mug of water. “You could sleep all day. You could fall back asleep and not be roused.”
Goreal looks frustrated, “I can’t live by Atgur’s example, if I sleep when my help is needed.”
The plant swayed. “You could have asked for many things, but you wished to help others. Go with your wakefulness and also some of Atgur’s light to shine into the world.”
Goreal woke with a start and heard the sound of talking and rain outside the barracks. A human sat on a bunk nearby. “Hey, you’re awake,” he stated as he finished dressing and grabbed his gear. “Might as well get some grub. No telling when they’ll be another decent meal.”
Goreal’s stomach grumbled, “That would be nice, but I have to find my squad; do you know where they are?” Goreal decided he didn't have the time to make it to the barracks, and would eat from his rations as he searched for his group.
“They’re going to the mess hall for eatin’. Come on. That’s where I’m going.” The human replied. “You certainly slept well.”
Crossing the rainy yard, the human and Goreal entered a modestly filled building where the camp was eating. At one table, sat Dinty, Arlin, Meepo, and Mollie.
Goreal headed over to the table, “Sorry Commander, I hope I havn't delayed our mission.” The human who had followed Goreal in, went to the line, and loaded up a plate of food.
Dinty pushed and egg into his mouth. "Not to worry, if you hadn't woke by the time we left then we would have gone without ya."
The human warden came over to the squad’s table holding two plates of cooked meats and pudding. The one, overfull, he sat down at an empty spot and said, “Here you go Goreal,” then he sat and began eating his own breakfast. Arlin looked at the human surprised, but then shrugged.
Goreal sat with a thump. “Oh, thank you. What is your name, I don't remember meeting you before.”
In between chewing a piece of ham, the human said. “I’m Tav. We met last night when I carried your halfling for you.” Eating another piece, he added. “After losing to you guys, I figured I’d better join up with the Wardens.”
Mollie peeked up from a plate of ham and sugary pudding. “Did his friends join up to?” she asked the new arrival.
He waved his knife. “We weren’t so much friends as hired thugs.” Thoughtfully, he replied. “Bilnar and Godan, the bear messed up. They got sent to a guard hospital and if they pull through they’ll go to the work gangs. Dildan fell face first after you took out his foot. That brain injury’ll leave him simple.” Tav shrugged.
“Once I saw how you warden's eat, I said to myself ‘Tav, you are in the wrong line of work.’” He continued eating and moved on to the pudding.
“Well, she is happy to have another person of morally ambiguous character on the team.” Mollie smiled and went back to eating as well.
Goreal frowned. “Morally ambiguous?” and shook his head, “That doesn't sound good.”
Arlin finished his meal. “Goreal, Otso, and Dinty’s the only ones ain't never been a bad seed. Me, I did house and head breakin’.”
Mollie gasped in feigned shock. “She is not a bad seed! She just worked in the carnival!”
“Meepo only stab to defend self,” the kobold yowled.
The goblin slammed his cup down. "Yes yes, you're all re-formed bad apples who have taken up with a good cause that is bigger than yourselves. Just keep in mind that we don't tolerate law breaking in the wardens. And you don't hurt someone unless it's in self defense or the defense of others! So Tav are you assigned to my squad? We could use a human to round out the minority quota, he said with a wink. Let's finish up, I have to go report to the cap’n. I'll meet you in the yard in 15. "
Tav shrugged. “In my experience, you end up killing who your leaders tell you.”
Dinty found Hal, newly bathed, dressed in undergarb and stretching in the barracksroom. “What’s your update, Dinty?”
Nodding, Dinty replied. "I'll make it a quick one cap'n. We had dinner and met a elf bard who enthralled the tavern with her song and is interested in accompanying the caravan to the next post. I suspect that the lift to the docks was sabotaged either to take out my squad or to send us into the ambush that we ran afoul of. Ed took sick right after the ambush and we rushed here. By all accounts the halfling we brought in last night orchestrated the entire thing. He was at the lift when we came down and led the ambush."
Hal frowned. “Why would they try to kill a squad of wardens?”
The goblin shook his head. "Dunno, we’ll have to ask the halfling when he wakes up. Maybe they thought we were doing something other than eating dinner. I'm surprised that human Tav is already walking free and eating our food. He did just try to kill us last night after all!"
“Apparently, he wandered into the messhall when you came back. Concerned with Edwina, the squad dropped off the wounded prisoners, but Tav just wandered into eat.” Hal wiped his face. “That's where our commander Gravelfury found him. Tav said he wanted to join, and Angus questioned him.” Hal began to dress. “It’s just about impossible to lie to the paladin or hide Horror-taint. Seems Tav’s a veteran soldier of Ralistav, one of the southern kingdoms, and let loose after their civil war. He’s hired on mercenary jobs since."
Hal turned “It also seems Angus finds the human painfully honest. They were hired to subdue you for the halfling. Could be he’s a spy or he could be what he says. Seems too convenient. Keep an eye on him for now.” He finished dressing. “Any other issues?”
Dinty shrugged, "I don't think so cap'n, other than we need to find this chalice and these priest. Anything you can help with on that front? What'd you find yesterday?"
Hal shook his head. “Still searching for the priests of Nurgal, but nothing. Also, the temple of Grumbar can send along someone to help. They have a witness but we still can't seem to find the thief. Take the squad over and talk to the priest. Maybe you find more out.” Hal saluted. “The Lady of Fate and the Lady of Dreams be with you.”
Still lost in thought, Dinty replied. "May all of your travels be safe cap'n."
Having finished eating, the squad made their way across the muddy yard to their barracks to grab their weapons and gear.
She nodded to Goreal and then set her eye on Mollie. “I’m not sure how you were able to walk in here, but obviously the Stone sees you as more than your undeath.” Shaking her head, “There was a time I would have been offended, but you are the one who saved the Carbona girl, I believe.” Mollie nodded and shifted a bit uncomfortably as if she was just waiting for the smite. She eyed them again. “So, you are here to find the Stone’s chalice?”
The story continues with Fragments of the Last War 2.6