We tracked the carriage to the border of Thrane. It wasn’t too difficult; they had left quite the trail. I crafted an experimental invisibility potion. It was a great success.
Of course, getting across the border wasn’t going to be easy. I was forced to take matters into my own hands in order to prevent the others from blundering around and alerting people to our presence. Tais knew a man called Captain Malik back in Flamehold: an important man, and well-respected. I assumed his shape (out of sight of my companions, of course), and had a discussion with the border guards. I informed them that I had a very important mission for them in the next town over. They fell for it. Effortless. Fools.
We followed the carriage’s trail to the town of Nathyrr, and soon found the carriage parked outside of an inn. We were directed to room 201, where Shel and Seeker were waiting for us. But they weren’t alone. Our good friend Shale was with them. Seeker was attempting to beat him off with a pipe, which was so far from effective as to merely be amusing. One entertainment point for Seeker. Shale didn’t even seem to notice.
He wished to speak business with us. He was after the diadem, of course. His “client,” an entity that he would not identify, but described as “wearing yellow.” Apparently we mortals don’t have a word for what he is. I asked him if he knew what his client wanted it for, but he said that it wasn’t his concern. He wasn’t lying, but he wasn’t telling us everything he knew, either. I wonder if Fahrezz’s surmise was correct…
When we offered to make a Bargain to leave the diadem in our hands rather than obtaining it for his client, he seemed tempted. After all, this world is a market for him, and I daresay he finds us interesting. I offered up trading rights in Thrane to sweeten the deal. But he did not want to anger his client or risk his reputation by breaking his initial Bargain. He said that if his client happened to die before he could complete the task, however…
He offered to transport us to Leng in order to take care of this matter, but Leng does not seem like a hospitable place, and the yellow man would be far more at home there than we are. We would also pay Shale to transport us, of course. We were all rather reluctant to face this creature on his home ground, so to speak. Shale said that you needed great strength of will to prevent the plane from changing you.
And would that be so bad? What might you change into? He did say that, at the height of her power, Jaela would likely be able to bring said individual here instead.
Accord. Shale will hold off on any action toward obtaining the diadem. For our part, once we overthrow Crozen and get Jaela back on the throne, we’ll yank the yellow man here and kill him. Then we’re free to destroy the diadem as we will.
Shale left Cedric a stone with which we can contact him, and left.
Having solved that, the discussion turned to strategy. Cedric said that Crozen had put a substitute Keeper in place, a daughter of the Queen. The Queen is not too happy about having her daughter spirited away to be Crozen’s hostage and pawn. Cedric believes that she could be a valuable ally. We headed to Silvercliff Castle to speak with her.
Cedric actually handled himself quite well with the castle guards; I’m proud of him. One usefulness point to Cedric. Even if he did give his real name, which I wish he wouldn’t have. We ARE wanted here, after all. I made sure to dress my best for the occasion.
The Queen was rather brusque; apparently Cedric is the only one of consequence in her eyes. I am no underling to be disregarded.
Anyway, she reported that Crozen has been running everything in the church, making her daughter a figurehead. We would have to take out Crozen in order to rescue her. Gareth’s mother is apparently in the cathedral as well. Grand.
The most important thing to gain in an assassination mission is intelligence. After much planning, it was decided that Pneu and I would enter the cathedral to gather information while the others kept a low profile. We needed to figure out Crozen’s routine and obtain an accurate map of the cathedral’s layout. Terra knows the value of a good plan. One usefulness point to Terra. Before I set out, I had to run an errand for Gareth. He had some pent-up aggression to work out, so I found him a man to fight. While on the lookout for one, I made sure that Tais was not wanted in connection with Lady Jaela. Nothing. Excellent.
I found Gareth’s burly man and brought him back, then commenced my mission.
It’s a shame to see how Crozen has corrupted the church. Most of the people there fear and detest him, yet they still allow him to do as he pleases. Have the priests of the Silver Flame grown so cowardly, so apathetic? We are supposed to be a force for good…though the spirit of tolerance has been rather lacking in the faith as of late. I am sure that once Lady Jaela is restored to her proper place, she will help the others see the light. Enough. Report.
Crozen spends most of his time in his tower, other than having daily meetings with the cardinals. These meetings always occur at a set time. He also visits the Keeper at least every other day, although the times which he does this vary. There were no magical traps on the door that I could discern. The only other entrance is a window about 200 feet up. None of the others knew much about the place, although Dorrin said that Crozen’s allergic to shellfish. Maybe we can poison him. Distilled essence of shrimp in his morning coffee? (Yes, because THAT wouldn’t be obvious at all.) Enough. The princess stays in Lady Jaela’s room and never leaves it, although it is unclear whether that is her choice or Crozen’s.
I spent a week thus. It was good to be back home. Except…
I had a discussion with THAT MAN. I wanted to obtain his measure. I know that there is some good in everyone, but he is most definitely testing that theory. He kept referring to me as ‘Taz,’ regardless of my protests that I was nothing like her, or any of the others, for that matter. He thinks we are all the same, or rather, different facets of the same personality. He does not understand. I have a life here. The others all have lives too, though what they do with them is sometimes…questionable. Tirynna is the only one who behaves even remotely well, in spite of her larceny. Still, I believe her heart is in the right place, which I CANNOT say for the others.
Fahrezz asked what would happen if one of us wanted a life permanently. I couldn’t say. I would miss life, but still…I would give up in favor of one of them, if I could be assured that they wouldn’t go on to commit evil deeds. Sadly, I cannot be sure that’s the case.
We are not the same person. We are not.
We don’t even know who Taz is, not really. I am well aware that I am a construction, a cipher. But…then what does that leave me? He called me out. No one’s done that. No masks. Only Taz. It was… He said that he liked this form. Because it was me, in a way that none of the others were. He remains interested. I believe he may always be so. He is attached. There is no going back now. He… He does not mean to use me as a pawn. It is strange.
We reconvened. Pneu had also obtained excellent information. One usefulness point to Pneu. She said that there’s a “large gentleman” in the tower with Crozen and Gareth’s mother. When pressed, she described him as big and bony, “like Papa Gareth.” Another golem. Grand.
We made plans. During the night, we will go up the tower on a rope, or climb up, and sneak in through the window. Given the rest of our companions, I do not think that we will remain unnoticed for long, but if Pneu and I can get in first while invisible, we should be able to surprise them. Jaela could convince the other guards not to aid them, which she is confident in her ability to do. She could even explain matters to good old Captain Malik.
Preparations. I found a contact in the marketplace and sold that armor and spear. Obtained: 2005 gold, 5 silver. I also purchased two potions of spider climb. I gave one to Cedric. He was so touched that he gave me a greatsword to sell off, saying he’d known I was trying to save money. One usefulness point to Cedric. Sold for 1025 gold.
Night fell. We headed up the tower, most of us climbing, while Gareth used a rope and carried Jaela on his back. Upon making it to the window, we discovered that Crozen and Gareth’s mother were in the bed together. Ew. There was also a bone golem, which was the more pressing threat. As soon as we opened the window, it smashed the sill, sending the rope sailing to the ground. Luckily, Terra had lent Gareth a ring of featherfall, so they were unhurt. Pneu caught the rope and attached it to the sill again. Excellent. One usefulness point to Pneu.
Time to go kick some ass. And test out my new extract.
Ranking of companions:
Seeker: Entertainment value- 1 point.
Pneu: Usefulness- 2 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 2 points.
Terra: Usefulness- 1 point.
Ranking totals to date:
Fahrezz: All of the points.
Seeker: Entertainment value- 1 point.
Jaela: Usefulness- 13 points. Entertainment value- 8 points.
Pneu: Usefulness- 30 points. Entertainment value- 30 points.
Gareth: Usefulness- 28 points. Entertainment value- 16 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 21 points. Entertainment value- 20 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 25 points. Entertainment value- 9 points.
Terra: Usefulness- 1 point.