Afsaana - Crossroads of the World

Episode #10
Episode #4
When in Doubt: Decapitate

13 Drakonis, 9:02 Dragon

The group continues on towards the Temple District. It’s still quite loud outside, they can hear sounds of metal striking metal and people in pain, but it gets quieter the more they go North West as people have collected at the fortress; the houses have barred their doors, some people have even barred their windows and some of them have light behind, but apart from that it’s really quiet and there’s not many people around. They go west and they come to the entrance of the Temple District.

This district has been feeling the effects of the riot as well, but not as much. There are a few people here and there, and screams can be heard in the distance. Right ahead, they see an elf trying to calm somebody down perhaps; he’s waving his arms, trying to get someone’s attention and near him are crowds of people in panic. As the group moves closer, there’s a massive, unknown creature ramming into them and ripping some of them apart.

People don’t seem to be sure whether they should run away; some of them are just standing confused.

Isobel tries to identify the creature and she hasn’t seen it before, but from what she’s heard, it appears to be a land shark. It has a tough hide known for its ferocity and bloodlust, she assumes it’s of regular size for its species and it seems really agitated. It burrows into ground and pops up at some place and that’s why they’re called land sharks.

Seeing them, the elf begs them not to kill it, but to subdue it—he’s purchased the beast in an attempt to train it for Fang and Claw, they train wild animals and he thought it would be a nice addition but seeing the mess it’s been causing, is at a state of panic. He begs them not to kill it, just that the magic has worn off and that’s why it’s been going berserk.

Aveline is the closest to the land shark; ignoring the crowd between them, she focuses her energy into her staff and ice shoots out of it to envelop the creature. It has a thick, leathery skin but the icicles bore into it and penetrate the skin in places, and it thrashes in pain, letting go off the human it’s been chewing to see who its next meal is going to be.

Isobel draws an arrow and gets the beast’s attention with an arrow; the first one lodges in its upper thigh and the creature squeals in pain. Not wanting to get close yet, Orsa takes the same action and sends an arrow in the same direction. Displeased, the land shark charges into its original destination, slamming Aveline with its entire body.

“Don’t kill it!” the elf, Sarien shouts, then to the landshark: “Don’t kill her!” He then takes a look at his surroundings and sighs, sending an arrow of his own into the shark as well.
The crowd begins to disperse as the group continues to take shots at the land shark, Orsa gets heavily injured thanks to the strong jaws of the creature but she pushes on, ditching her bow in favor of her bastard sword to slash at it. The beast is pushed away momentarily. Sarien keeps trying to get its attention but things don’t look good for the land shark. It lunges at Sarien and severely wounds him as well.

In the end, they manage to knock the beast unconscious and Sarien rushes over it, wanting to check on the creature. He’s still panicking, but he thanks the group for the help and for sparing the shark, and says he’ll figure out a way to transport the shark back to Fang and Claw.

After taking a short breather, the group proceeds towards the main plaza. As they get there, they notice that the temples that have doors have closed up, and some of them have been defaced. As they get closer to the Temple of the Sea God, they see that someone wrote ‘Temple of Bloody Jack’ on the front of the building.

Moving inside, they can hear several voices belonging to men and women, some people are also screaming. In the courtyard, they see a group of people –acolytes, priests, even Mother Lorilee– surrounded by a group of Cutthroats. There’s also a red bearded dwarf, who they know is Bloody Jack, leader of the gang.

Isobel nocks an arrow, and they fail to notice as she lets the arrow loose towards Bloody Jack. He’s in the middle of an argument when the arrow finds its way into his shoulder… he roars in anger, and commands his men to attack.

Despite their injuries, the group makes short work of the gang members. Orsa successfully grabs hold of the gang leader and throws him in the fountain, asking the others if they want him to drown – they decide that this life doesn’t suit them and leave. And while Mother Lorilee tends to her flock, Isobel beheads him.

Mother Lorilee isn’t happy that the man is dead despite all the evil he’s done, but is grateful nonetheless. She listens as Orsa explains her curse and asks for her help, and Aveline presents the broken sword to her, then begins to heal the wounded priests.

Mother Lorilee says that she can lift this curse, but not when the sword is broken—it needs to be in one piece for her to work on it. She doesn’t know if Orsa would get stuck at whatever age she’s on when the curse is being broken. She also suggests another way to destroy the curse, but wouldn’t recommend it—bringing the sword back to its original place or selling the sword might be able to solve the problem, but that would be a temporary solution at best, because the curse would travel to another.

After she’s done explaining, Aveline changes the subject and asks if she’s seen Isolde, describing her. A flash of recognition passes through Mother Lorilee’s face. She says that she hasn’t seen Isolde, but she’s heard others talk about her and she thinks the Cutthroats may have taken her. She promises to ask around quietly and find out more…

Episode #3
A City in Crisis

13 Drakonis, 9:02 Dragon

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As soon as the rival gang members begin fighting with fists and swords, the entire crowd erupts into violence. What might have been a peaceful—if disgruntled—gathering turns into an all-out riot. Fists fly, blood sprays, and the air is filled with a cacophony of terrified shrieks, clashing blades, and angry shouting. Caught up in the middle of the fracas is the startled newspaperwoman, C.Q. Calame, whose life is in danger when the riot breaks out. The terrified staff of The Shipping News bars the door, fearing the threat of the mob outside and abandoning their employer to her fate.

Aveline, Isobel and Orsa immediately jump into the fray.

Orsa is closest and doesn’t waste a lot of time.
“I’ll get to C.Q.! You handle them here!” She rushes south, right into one of the crowds. It is a mess, and it takes a while for Orsa to push through, but once she does, she starts swinging her sword and feels right at home.

The crowd, in all its messy glory, moves towards C.Q., as Orsa predicted. In the meantime, Isobel decides she needs to be on higher ground, and jumps onto a nearby crate to get a better angle over the mass of people. She sends an arrow into the crowd, hoping to hit someone close to C.Q.. She in the meantime rushes away from where she was and starts banging on the door of the Shipping News.

“Let me in! I’m your boss for fuck’s sake! Don’t leave me out here!”

Aveline, too distracted by an inner struggle, moves further away from the crowd, trying to stay safe. Orsa however is determined to keep C.Q. safe, moves close and smiles at the older woman. The newspaperwoman seems clearly afraid, but when Orsa turns her back and keeps her protectively behind her, she relaxes visibly.

Isobel decides to climb higher up, and makes her way onto an overhang on the first floor of the warehouse next to her. From this vantage point, she sends another arrow flying.

The party watches as C.Q. is pulled into the crowd by two gang members and is wounded severely in the scuffle. Aveline decides to get a little closer and cast heal on C.Q. to make sure she stays alive and isn’t accidentally killed by the morons in the crowd. Orsa of course isn’t far away and clears a path to protect C.Q., who is immediately grateful for the help she receives. With Orsa’s help, C.Q. stays uninjured as the crowd pushes closer and fists fly in her direction.

Another crowd of people moves closer and envelopes Aveline, who has no trouble whatsoever dodging their blows.

Isobel sends another arrow flying into the fray, making sure not to hit her companions or C.Q.. Some people in the crowd start to notice their opponents and comrades dropping, and actually try to get away and leave the fray. Paying really close attention to one crowd, Isobel notices a few people carrying torches, seemingly intent on setting the Shipping News on fire.

Worried of being hit again, C.Q. moves closer to Orsa, trying to hide behind the woman carrying a massive sword. At the same time, Aveline moves out of the crowd and envelopes several people with winter’s grasp.

“Swingy-swingy, stabby-stabby,” Orsa yells, as she deals heavy damage to the people surrounding her and C.Q.. Several fall over when she slashes at them horizontally, and not just a few actually cower away in fear. The crowd disperses and Orsa decides to do something “stupid”. She tries to pick C.Q. up, but the older woman shoots her a deadly look, and so Orsa settles for grabbing her hand. Pulling C.Q. with her, she rushes south into a small alley and tells the newspaperwoman to stay put.

Determined to get closer to C.Q., the reason for most of them even being here, one crowd moves further south, and Aveline is trapped inside of it. She doesn’t manage to escape unscathed, and suffers several smaller wounds.

Cries of “We can’t let this stand!” and “C.Q. betrayed the people of this city! She does not speak for us!” are still filling the air, but instead of being distracted by that, Isobel focuses on calming people down.

“Don’t you remember the Green Fire, you idiots?!” Isobel does her best to persuade people to stop, but despite her voice ringing over the entire Docks, not all people stop fighting. Several do, however, and the party watches as sailors drag away their friends, and gang members try to get away from here while they can.

When not enough people listen to her, she shrugs and sends an arrow into the guy trying to set the warehouse on fire. Her arrow strikes him right between the shoulder blades, and she can hear his cry of pain even from all the way across the crowd.

“Thank you so much. We need to get my people out. Or well, me in,” C.Q. says to Orsa. But Orsa is fairly busy watching the crowd. “You’re not very talkative, are you? Well. Please do something! I mean you have a mighty sword and seem capable enough!”

“Would you like me to go at this group the way I went at the last group? That’s about the best I can offer you,” Orsa replies.

“Well, I mean… it was pretty impressive.” Orsa’s eyes go Riiii-Ding, and it is clear that Orsa eats compliments pretty well.

While the two of them are busy discussing battle plans, Aveline notices their disappearance, and decides that they are probably safe. She sends an icy winter’s grasp into the other crowd, towards the guy carrying the torch. As it hits his arm, frost starts crawling up his arm, covering his skin and turning the torch in his hand blue before it is extinguished.

Orsa, ever the wannabe-berserker, charges into the crowd, slashing at people, stabbing them and hitting them with the hilt of her sword. People immediately back away from her, and Orsa regrets not bringing a beer.

Isobel sends another arrow on its way, and strikes the guy carrying a torch by penetrating his head, with the arrow exiting his eye. For a moment he stands there, before he collapses lifelessly to the ground.

“You got this! Get rid of these assholes!” Orsa now has her own personal cheerleader, as C.Q. steps around the corner and cheers her on. “I’m just doing what’s best for this town! Don’t you idiots get that?!”

Aveline decides to chime in: “If you don’t break up this fight, I will set each and every one of you on fire!” Several people turn around and see the angry mage, and a large part of the crowd disperses. Aveline glares at the ones who don’t leave, completely ready to kick more ass.

Just as she’s done talking, footsteps approach. It is the Sea Lord’s Guard, and they quickly get rid of the last few stragglers. The crowds disperse and the party stays behind with C.Q..

As the Guard makes sure to arrest certain members who pose a particularly big threat, C.Q. makes sure that the Guard stays away from her newfound friends.

“They protected me from this mob! It’s only thanks to them that I’m even alive! These lunatics were trying to kill me, slicing me open, sending my blood flying! So leave these three alone!” Surprisingly, many in the Guard heed what she says, and the girls are left alone with C.Q..

Orsa hears noise in the distance, various banging sounds, weapons clanging against each other, hammering, screaming, yelling. The noises are not coming from or moving in one direction. She also sees smoke from various directions and at various distances, suggesting scattered fires. Orsa tells the others of her observations.

Before going over to talk to C.Q., Isobel and Orsa loot the bodies of the people and bodies lying around. Both find some money, and Isobel finds a golden—yet dirty—signet ring on a person. She determines that its worth lies between 4 and 6 GP. Orsa, on the other hand, takes white leather gloves off a person that she is pretty sure is dead… or so.

In the following conversation, C.Q. promises Aveline, Isobel and Orsa to pay them back, and then asks them for their names. A longer discussion ensues, as neither Orsa nor Isobel are keen on giving her their names. Especially Isobel is really worried that something could happen to her uncle, what with people acting all crazy at the moment.

Finally, Orsa and Aveline give C.Q. their first names, and C.Q. agrees to not ask Isobel any more questions. Isobel is sneaky, however, and so she takes a peek at the notebook C.Q. is writing in. She spots portraits of her and her companions, as well as several names. The newspaperwoman even took the time to draw a quick sketch of her being trapped in the crowd.

The group mentions Orsa’s curse to C.Q., curious whether she can point them towards someone who can help.

C.Q. seems immediately intrigued, and asks many a question about the source of the curse. Orsa of course is horribly embarrassed and tries to shut Isobel up. C.Q. notices this and walks up to her, very closely. She wraps her arm around Orsa’s shoulder, almost hugging her.

At this point, the other two are too far away for them to understand, and so the conversation between Orsa and C.Q. stays a secret. [X]

Orsa currently looks around twenty years old. She’s pretty sure she’s aging at a rate of five years every hour. "I need to go to the Temple District. Seriously," Orsa says. “I need to get this fucking curse lifted!”

“Nuh, I need to check on my uncle. I mean it’s basically on the way! Can we just do that real quick?” Isobel looks honestly concerned, and so Aveline and Orsa actually follow her along the Docks.

From the coastline they have a nice view over the city, and now all of them notice the thick billows of black smoke rising from rooftops around the city, and the sounds of violence echo down every street. Within minutes, groups of people that had peacefully gathered earlier when the party went through the docks have become a riotous mob, violently clashing with other crowds and looting and pillaging as they go.

The mobs are incredibly destructive, setting fire to shops and carts along their path, moving through the city like a vicious, many-headed serpent. Those citizens not involved in the riot have holed themselves up in their houses and shops, shuttering the windows and barring the doors.

Most streets stand empty, with only stray dogs and debris drifting between buildings. By contrast, the rioting mobs themselves are loud and brutal. Composed of both gang members and otherwise law-abiding citizens, these mobs tear a destructive swathe through Afsaana with every passing moment.

The group meets a group of Sea Lord Guards and questions them as to what is going on. The guards explain that the riots are all over town now, and that it would be safest if they went somewhere other than the streets to stay safe. The girls concur and continue on their way.

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When they get to Urian’s Forge, the door is oddly ajar. Isobel immediately freaks and rushes through the entire building, looking for her uncle. He does not reply to her calls, and she can’t find him anywhere. She has a minor freakout before she writes a note for him and leaves the store with the other two in tow.

Crossing the Seaside Market, the girls notice a lone woman sitting leaning against the side of a nearby building, eyes unfocused and seemingly unaware of her dangerous surroundings. Amid the violent brawls and cacophony of the riot, she stands out against the ugly backdrop of the unruly crowds, and it is likely that only her inaction has kept her from coming to the attention of the rioters. Though she is alone for now, she seems uncaring that at any moment she, too, might be caught in the middle of the angry populace.

Orsa decides to ignore her, but Aveline and Isobel step closer and recognize her as Lexi, the courtesan they met only yesterday. They try to get her attention, but she seems completely out of it, traumatized or simply scared. Orsa decides to just throw her over her shoulder and carry her to the House of Serenity, the place she calls home.

“She weighs nothing,” *Orsa grins. “Let’s go. I’d rather stay at this age than be a toddler again.”

They cross over into the Old City and travel up the main road. Everywhere the party goes shows signs of the passing of these mobs; overturned carts, burning buildings, dead bodies in the street, and wanton destruction are the order of the day.

They are almost at the Fortress of Justice when they stop dead in their tracks. In front of them the two rival gangs that helped spur the riots, the Buccaneers and the Cutthroats, have used the riots as an excuse to bring their conflict to a violent head.

The Buccaneers are commandeering the buildings on one side of the street, the Cutthroats took over the buildings on the other, and now a shooting war between the two gangs has broken out. Arrows, crossbow bolts, and stones fly back and forth between the two sets of buildings, creating a dangerous crossfire that passes between the ground floors of both sides.

Down the street, Janis Hawthorne, a half-elf street vendor, has gotten herself trapped in the crossfire and can’t seem to get out. Her fruit cart has been overturned, and she huddles underneath it for protection. Each time an arrow or crossbow bolt thunks into the wooden barrier provided by the overturned cart, Janis lets out a shriek of terror. The helpless woman cries out for assistance, begging anyone within hearing range to get her to safety.

The girls don’t think about it very long. They need to pass, and they do want to help the poor woman. Aveline immediately runs towards her, promising help. Isobel has other plans: Since she’s not very intimidating, neither in posture nor in voice, she tells Orsa to frighten the gang members.

“Guys, if you don’t stop and put your weapons down, you’re gonna get arrows through your eyeballs!”

The response is immediate. A few single arrows still fly, but then quiet sets in. Isobel rushes after Aveline, who is busy getting Janis to follow her. The frightened woman crawls out from under the cart and stays close to the Orlesian mage.
“Are you gonna get me out of here?” The woman grabs a fold in Aveline’s robe and stays as close as she can. The two of them rush north, trying to get out of the arrows’ reach.

Just then, Isobel decides to shoot an arrow at one of the Buccaneers, and all hell breaks loose again. Orsa looks relieved. Combat is something she knows how to deal with. She gently puts Lexi to the ground and makes sure the courtesan actually stays there. Then she throws herself into the fray, longbow in hand.

On the other end of the street, Aveline and Janis have reached safety. Aveline quickly heals the wounded woman, and Janis seems eternally grateful.
“My faith in humanity has been restored. Thank you so much, my dear!”

Orsa and Isobel make quick work of the gang members in the south, and Aveline is busy setting the ones in the north on fire. Two of them she burns from afar, but for the third one she gets up close, shoves her hands in his face and melts it to a pulp. Janis is watching from afar, and when Aveline returns to her, she starts chatting her up.
“Thank you again, I can’t believe you did all that for little old me!”

Trying to talk to Lexi again, Orsa waits for a moment before she picks the girl up again, throwing her over her shoulder. She gets no resistance, as the poor thing seems to simply give in to whatever fate awaits her.

The girls then talk to Janis, and soon realize that the poor woman seems to be in a mild shock. She’s awfully cheerful, considering what she’s just witnessed, and replies to everything with a flirt or joke.

She eventually settles down and agrees that she does owe the party something. She thanks each one of them and finally offers Aveline something special.
“You’re Aveline? My saviour!” She rummages through her dress for a long time, before she proffers a ring. It is a platinum ring with a diamond. An inscription is on the inside.

Aveline can’t read it, but won’t show it to her two companions.
“I found this a few days ago. I know I shouldn’t have kept it, but it’s so pretty, I couldn’t help it. You should have it. I can’t do anything with it, really. I’d just be worried someone would rob me for it.” She claims the ring is pretty bright when it’s dark, or so Janis claims. Aveline puts on the ring, and finds it to be a rather tight fit.

“Would you be so kind and help me find my donkey now? I’m rather worried about him, he’s just gonna get into trouble!” Aveline agrees, but the other two decide to make their way to the House of Serenity.

While Aveline and Janis are looking for Jake, Isobel and Orsa are off to one of the most famous brothels in Afsaana.

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As they arrive there, they are greeted by Sylvia Rathow, who is more than happy to have her most important employee back. At least after she overcomes her suspicion. Can’t trust anyone these days. She offers the party water and ale, and makes sure they are comfortable. As a thanks for bringing Lexi back, she decides to give them one free night in her establishment. “Just not today,” she says. “When this chaos is over, you’re more than welcome.” The House of Serenity has a well-known restaurant, a small theater and of course many courtesans willing to serve as company for the night.

Sylvia gives each and every one of them a handkerchief with an “L” stitched into it. “These are Lexi’s. Technically she brought you in, so she gets the credit,” Sylvia chuckles.

Further south, Janis and Aveline are searching far and wide for Jake, checking every corner and every nook. No luck so far.

Orsa leads the way out of the House of Serenity, and the two of them go west, towards the Fortress of Justice.

The scene ahead is reminiscent of the earlier demonstration at the newspaper office, but many times worse. Huge crowds of people, mostly rough-looking thugs and obvious ruffians, struggle to breach the main gates of the Fortress of Justice. Though dozens of members of the Sea Lord’s Guard continue to hold back the crowds, the ground they hold is slowly shrinking as they are continually pushed back. Issuing commands in the center of the square is Xander Williams, the Commissioner of the Sea Lord’s Guard. He issues orders in a loud voice, rallying his men to beat back the pushing mob, desperation clear in his voice.

Isobel decides that despite the desperation of the situation, she would rather sneak through this scene than to get entangled in it. She makes her way past the crowd, and manages to hide in the shadows. Orsa tries to do the same, but fails miserably. Trapped in the crowd, she witnesses an escalation.

Without warning, one side of the guards’ defense breaks, and flowing over the fallen guards come dozens of angry rioters. They charge straight for the Commissioner as if on a mission, with a frenzy about them that seems almost feral. The mob rushes to engulf him, and though he vanishes for a moment beneath a sea of bodies, he is soon hoisted over the rioters’ heads, held aloft and jostled about. The Commissioner’s distress is short-lived, as several rioters drive their swords up through the Commissioner’s body, the bloody sword tips reaching to the sky as the man lets out a gurgling howl.

With the crowd distracted, Orsa manages to slip out and group up with Isobel again. The two of them jog down the street to the west.

In the meantime Aveline is still helping Janis find her little Jake. Finally the donkey shows up, and the two of them decide to say goodbye.
“But will I see you again? I’m eternally grateful to you, and I would hate for this to be our last meeting.” Janis walks away and waves before she disappears behind a corner.

Just then, Aveline’s companions show up, and the group is united once again…

Episode #2
Uprising in Afsaana

12-13 Drakonis, 9:02 Dragon

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The party is in the alley outside of Nightshade’s Residence. Isobel and Aveline are dead sure that the sword Orsa stole is cursed.

So while Orsa is already making plans to destroy it, the two of them examine it more closely. Isobel detects nothing, but Aveline detects mildly ominous magic—the sword is definitely cursed.

After letting the two of them have a go, Orsa props the sword up against the wall and jumps onto it to break it, and promptly succeeds. Her appearance does not change. At this point, Orsa is already completely frustrated.

Aveline picks up the two pieces of the sword and puts them in her pack.

Isobel suggests finishing their business with Olias before they start to figure out how to break the curse.

As they walk along the Field of Honor (2, Eastern District), fights are starting and people are placing bets. The girls are not concerned. This is a regular occurrence.

They find Olias in his shop, and Isobel promptly exchanges the potion for the 5GP Olias promised them.

Outside, after Olias has closed up shop, a group accosts them and demands the potion.

A large man clad in heavy leather armor and a lithe half-elf command four additional goons: two men and two women.

An argument ensues, in which Olias keeps asking the party to take care of this. He is clearly scared.

Isobel argues with the half-elven woman specifically, and the lady reveals that their group has been watching the PCs ever since they left Nightshade’s. The half-elf also claims to know that they have the potion.

Orsa in the meantime is engaged in a staring contest with the heavily armored man, while Aveline simply stands by and lets this whole thing play out.

When Isobel hopes to fool the rogue lady by giving her a lyrium potion, she fails horribly.

The half-elf slaps the potion out of her hand, causing it to break on the hard floor.

A fight breaks out.

Orsa and the warrior Melor are completely focused on each other. The only time Orsa takes her eyes off him is when she hears Olias being wounded behind her, and she charges towards him, killing the fighter who attacked him with one mighty blow.
Olias, witnessing the man being slashed into two pieces from behind, decides it would be safer somewhere else, and he rushes south, hoping to find some kind of safe spot.

Sequius the half-elf slashes at Isobel, and the two trade blows for a while, before Isobel decides to climb the nearest house and make use of her shortbow.

In the meantime, Aveline takes out one of the female goons with winter’s grasp. Frozen solid, the woman dies on the spot.

The man next to her lets out a wild cry: “You killed her! YOU KILLED MY GIRLFRIEND!” In a wild frenzy, he lunges himself at Aveline, determined to take out the mage.

Although Orsa’s blows seem to deal heavy damage and Melor has started bleeding from several deep wounds, he is taking the beating better than Orsa is. While Aveline tries to heal her, but fails to muster up the concentration she needs twice, Orsa is close to falling unconscious.

Despite that, Aveline finally decides to heal herself, as one of the goons has hurt her terribly. She succeeds, and promises Orsa to help her next.

Up on the roof, Isobel looses arrow after arrow at Sequius, who is knocked down several times, while completely unable to hit the moving figure on the roof. Growing frustrated, the half-elf decides to go after an easier target.

She moves in on Olias, and sends an arrow right into his shoulder. He cries in pain, demanding for the party to help him, to protect him from these people. He is so desperate, he even promises money.

With Orsa still on death*s door, Isobel tosses her a healing potion, and Orsa catches it without losing a beat. Isobel urges her to take it immediately: “Or I’ll take it back!”, but of course the Antivan has nothing better to do than to attack Melor once again, regardless of her current state.

Finally sick of all the yelling, Orsa downs the potion in one fell swoop and feels immediately better. Just then, she decides that she wants to offer Melor a truce. She starts up a conversation, but doesn’t get far, before both the warrior and Aveline go back to fighting. Utterly annoyed at this outcome, Orsa gives Melor the bird while deflecting several of his blows.

Aveline casts heal on Orsa, keeping her in fighting condition while Melor keeps finding chinks in her armor.

Finally the two remaining goons decide to get away with their lives, and they flee. Clearly, avenging your girlfriend isn’t as important as actually staying alive.

Just after those two escape, Orsa deals the finishing blow, stabbing her sword into Melor’s chest.

All alone now, Sequius is approached by an angry Aveline.

“Surrender, or you shall burn.”

Sequius drops her shortbow, admitting defeat. Giving into her exhaustion, she kneels down, accepting any punishment the party might have for her.

Isobel takes the bow and arrows, trying to determine whether the bow is better than hers.

In the meantime, Aveline and Orsa start questioning the elf, trying to learn who sent her and why.

Sequius says she doesn’t know. She never knows, as she is always hired by intermediaries. And this specific task she took up from one of the hidden boxes in Afsaana’s underground. Sequius is pretty sure that the person who hired her is from the Old City. She also reveals that she and Melor were hired separately, and did not know each other.

When asked who she was supposed to give the potion to, she says she was simply meant to destroy it. Why, she didn’t know or care to ask.

Both Isobel and Orsa decide they could use someone with the elf’s skill and information, and so they offer her to stay in contact. Sequius agrees: “I’d rather work with you than face you again.”

She then says that she can often be found in the Old Whore (7) in Scurvytown. Considering it’s a strip club and tavern, she will most likely be there in the evening or at night.

As a thanks for letting her stay alive, Sequius hands over an amulet she’s wearing.
It is a Smith’s Targe, a dwarven item. This amulet is in the shape of a small shield, with a chaotic pattern burned into it from the molten drops.

Sequius then leaves, and Olias rushes into his store, only to come out and give 100GP to the party, as a thank you for saving his life from these horrible people.

Aveline takes the money and splits it evenly, giving 33GP to both the girls, while keeping 34GP for her troubles earlier in the day.

“I am beyond grateful, believe me. I trust that should I ever need help such as this again I may call upon you?”

The girls agree.

Now that the fighting is finally over, they notice that *Orsa has aged another 10 or so years. Still determined to deal with that in the morning, the group splits up.

Aveline wants some “proper” accommodation and decides to stay in a nearby inn, called Pete’s (9). The owner, aptly named Pete, charges her 20SP for the night.

Orsa and Isobel strike up a conversation, and Isobel offers her friend to stay with her. “I have a nice bedroll I can offer you.” Orsa is fine with that, and so the two of them stay at Urian’s Forge.

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In the middle of the night, Isobel wakes up to the noise of a crying baby. When she looks around, she sees an infant in Orsa’s bed, halfway hidden in her clothes. She tries to console it, and just an hour later what was previously an infant is a toddler.

Realizing that this is most likely because of the curse Orsa is under, she decides to get some sleep anyway.

In the morning, Orsa is a teenager, who is even grumpier than her adult version. Instead of doing anything, she decides to stay in the corner and sulk.

As it is weirdly quiet in the house and Isobel hears a commotion outside, she decides to investigate. Looking out the window, she hears the newspaper boy walk the streets.

“By the decree of the Captains’ Council, the Law of Succession is hereby revoked. No longer shall the Sea Lord be required to be of the blood of Drac. Let no man speak against this decision, for it is now law!”

Crowds of men argue on the street, and where once trade and commerce took the forefront, it seems as though everyone is more interested in the council’s decree. Shops that are usually open for business are curiously vacant, their windows still shuttered from the night before as their owners and operators discuss the situation.

The normal hum of noise that fills the city’s streets has been dulled, and in its place are uncomfortable, quiet conversations and worried looks passing silently between vendor and buyer. Even the normally bustling Docks are curiously calm, and sailors and deckhands lean against the rails of their ships, lost in their own thoughts.

In the meantime Aveline’s night went by uneventfully. As she leaves the inn, she is confronted with a large mob which is walking towards the Docks. She decides to follow them, and tries to make out what is going on by listening to disgruntled murmurs and loud complaints.

“CAPTAINS’ COUNCIL REVOKES LAW OF SUCCESSION IN POWER GRAB.” is what the headline of the Shipping News reads.

Many outcries of “C.Q. was paid to write what she did!” and “The Captains’ Council has gone too far!” or “This is just another way to hoard more power over the city!” can be heard from all around.

Aveline follows the crowd until it merges with a larger mob of people right in front of the Shipping News (6) in the Docks.

Meanwhile, Orsa and Isobel have arrived at the House of Seers (8) in the Old City.

It soon becomes clear to them that it is under guard. All around them people seem to be boarding up their homes and stores. The guard of the House of Seers refuses to allow them to pass due to the mobs. He is clearly worried about his own people.

Just then, a crowd walks towards them from the north, and the people marching south try to get the two of them to join. Orsa is quickly enveloped, and can’t escape. She tries to slither out, or push people aside, but neither approach works. Isobel however, has no such trouble, and swiftly stealths away.

Before following the crowd Orsa is in, Isobel inspects Sunken Treasures (15). It, too, is being boarded up, as she can hear hammering from inside the door.

When the party reunites at the Shipping News, cries of “C.Q. needs to pay!” ring out. Isobel greets Aveline by poking her shoulder, and the mage is rather startled at first.

She was rather busy talking to people, trying to calm them down and preventing a disaster. Since several people nearby are carrying torches, she thought it prudent to let them know what a horrible idea this whole thing was.

More and more people are walking up and joining the mob surrounding the warehouse. Many of them are shouting for C.Q. to come out and explain herself.

Then, a middle-aged woman steps out in a head scarf and steps onto a wooden crate, presumably to hold a speech. Cigar in her hand, she addresses the crowd to try and calm people down.

“Good people of Afsaana, be calm and hear me! Today’s edition of The Shipping News is but a window into the inner workings of the Captains’ Council, and I, your humble public
servant, seek only to enlighten the masses as to the recent folly of the council’s members. I know that many of you are upset or frightened, and it is as you should be, for there are those on the council that seek only to fatten their own purses by crushing you under their bootheels. For those of you that disagree with the columns in today’s special edition, I thank
you for your patronage but urge you to remember that I am but the messenger.”

The party try to get what information they can from the papers strewn about, and it seems as if the reason that the Captains’ Council abolished the law is because that way one of their own can take the vacant Sea Lord’s place. Since there haven’t been any direct descendants of Drac in several years, this opens up the position to seemingly anyone.

Just when C.Q. is done with her speech, a few people near the party are making more and more of a ruckus. Isobel and Aveline realize that they are all gang members. Some Buccaneers, some Cutthroats.

Isobel swiftly tries to clear them out, and quite a few do move. But then a bottle flies in the gang’s general direction, and all hell breaks loose…

Episode #1

12 Drakonis, 9:02 Dragon

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Orsa and Aveline have been staying in the Doxies Lap (15, Docks) since their arrival in Afsaana. A decent accommodation for a fair price, this place also doubles as a restaurant with proper food. Between looking for work and trying to get information on their respective targets, they also spent a lot of time in the Lost Lass at the Docks (12).

A tavern nearby, which caters mostly to sailors, Orsa felt right at home and invited Aveline. Figuring it couldn’t hurt, Aveline tagged along. Of course, Orsa had ulterior motives, and so it comes as no surprise that it turns out she wanted to go there because she is “befriending” the owner’s daughter, Arlena.

Enter Isobel. She just received a “task” from her uncle, with whom she has been staying for half a year now. He is the owner of Urian’s Forge (17, Docks), which is just a stone’s throw away from the Lost Lass and the Doxies Lap, which is why Isobel frequents both establishments on the regular.

Now she needs companions to help her fulfill this task, so she can continue to live at her uncle’s place for free. How much her uncle’s “friend” can or will pay, she doesn’t know.
As she enters the Lost Lass, Isobel immediately notices Orsa, who is chatting up Arlena.

Isobel walks up to them and sits down next to Orsa. Arlena notices this and quietly disappears, giving the two of them some space. Aveline, in the meantime, is sitting at a table nearby, listening intently.

They smalltalk for a little bit, and Orsa admits that she’s looking for someone. Who, she doesn’t say. Isobel then shows Orsa the paper her uncle gave her: “Where lifeless bards meet. Catch my attention. Then meet me outside. 5pm.” She says she needs someone to accompany her, since her uncle told her best not to go alone. Orsa and her ponder over the meaning of this note for a bit, joking about dead bards, before Orsa says "Well, maybe it’s the Dead Poets in Drac’s End…"

Aveline gets up, introduces herself and asks whether Isobel has seen someone she knows. A girl, around her age, short, brown hair and pale skin. Her name is Isolde. Thinking for a bit, Isobel says she’s met plenty of girls who fit the description, but none that is called Isolde.

They decide to leave ahead of time and make sure they are on time. They decide to take a route that takes them through the Merchant District.

It is still pretty busy at this time of day, as they enter the Merchant District. The difference between the Docks and this place is painfully apparent. Wide streets made of cobblestones lead the way, lined with greenery and magical street lamps. Some are broken, but this does nothing to detract from the sheer amount of wealth that is portrayed here.

The girls don’t feel like they really fit in. The district is packed with well-dressed merchants and nobles, accompanied by servants and bodyguards.

This makes the two arguing figures just ahead of them stand out even more. While they are well-dressed, they don’t seem to fit in, either. As Aveline, Isobel and Orsa get closer on their way towards the Dead Poets, they start to make out what the two women are saying. The two seem to be arguing over who is the prettier one of the two.

While both have medium dark skin and bright red hair, there are differences in their appearance.
The one who quickly pulls the girls into the conversation soon introduces herself as Lexi. She has blue eyes, while her sister’s, introduced as Nolora, are green.
Lexi’s clothes seem more expensive than Nolora’s, and while Lexi is wearing a skirt and corset, Nolara is wearing tight pants, and a corset as well.

Isobel quickly determines that they are twins.

It is mostly Lexi who does the talking, as she adamantly insists on being the prettier one. Nolora stands back, shaking her head and rolling her eyes at her sister. It doesn’t take long for Orsa to proclaim that Nolora is in fact the prettier one.

Lexi scoffs, seems utterly disgusted with the idea, and says that the other two should think really hard about what they say.

In the end, Nolora is crowned the winner of the unofficial beauty pageant, and gives each of them a kiss on the cheek, still grinning.

Lexi however, stomps off, yelling at Isobel for saying that she is prettier than the twins. “Don’t you ever dare show your face in the House of Serenity! I’ll make sure you’re ruined, just you wait!”

“I don’t need to pay for companionship, thank youuu,” Isobel yells after her.

As a thanks for her immediate support, Nolora whispers a password into Orsa’s ear, and tells her that should she ever visit Alice’s House in the Eastern District, she need only name the password to be granted access.

Continuing on their way, the girls enter Drac’s End.

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Crossing over into Drac’s End is like walking into a completely different world. Where the Merchant District had broad avenues made of cobblestones, Drac’s End is an assortment of winding streets and alleys made from pressed earth. Here and there planks or stones interrupt the earthen ground.

The buildings look rundown and quite a few are fire-damaged. An assortment of sailors, laborers and working families can be seen, all of them dressed in cheap and much-repaired clothing. Dirty children are running through the alleys, playing hide and seek. Aveline is already used to this sight, as the bookstore she so loves is nearby (Finnegan’s Books, 13, Drac’s End).

But Isobel hasn’t been in this district much, and Orsa has no idea where she currently is. The poverty in this district is palpable, and it is clear that the leaders of the city don’t place a high value on Drac’s End. Barrels of sea water for fire fighting can be seen outside of many homes and buildings.

Orsa and Isobel look around, trying to see where this “Dead Poets” place could be. But it is Aveline who says “I think I’ve been here before… there’s a diner to the left.”

They round the corner and find a sign hanging above the door of what they think is the Dead Poets. The sign is utterly muddy and scratched, however, and hangs too far up to wipe clean. So they simply enter.

Inside they find a—considering the circumstances—relatively clean diner, with two servers walking along tables. There are a few patrons; most of them young students who they believe are from the Institute, but there are a few older ones, as well. Some of them sit alone, but a lot of people just seem to have taken a free seat, regardless of who is sitting next to them.

A young woman is standing on an overturned box near the entrance to what the girls think is the kitchen, passionately talking about the lack of a Sea Lord and the political issues that brings with it. She mentions the Succession Law and how it is ruining the future of Afsaana, before she steps off the box, calling “Give us a new Sea Lord!”. The crowd in the diner seems to love it, as several people chime in and woot.

Isobel is quick to introduce herself, as at first she thinks this is the diner’s proprietor, which soon turns out to be false. “Are you up next?” The girl looks at Isobel and shakes the proffered hand. “I’m Ilanna. What are you going to talk about?”

Isobel may be surprised by Ilanna‘s suggestion, but despite that, she gets up and gives a passionate speech about the vacant spaces in the *Captain’s Council*, and how every single one of the districts should be represented in the council. The crowd doesn’t go wild, but most of the people in the diner seem to agree, and one drunken dwarf even gets up, wholeheartedly agrees, and falls over, unconscious.

After this, Isobel walks up to Ilanna at the bar, and offers to buy her a drink. They talk, and Isobel finds out that Ilanna is a student at the Institute and that she’s here on a scholarship. She’s originally from Dairsmuid, which surprises Isobel, who only reveals that she’s also from around there.

Just after 5pm, Isobel isn’t sure how to attract someone’s attention, so she takes a coin, tosses it high in the air and leaves the diner.

At first no one follows, but then a little boy comes out, asks her for money, and then looks pretty disappointed when she doesn’t give it to him. He walks away, bumps into two of them, and starts running when Aveline follows him.

Isobel follows as well, with Orsa being the last of the pack. Aveline is just about to catch up to the boy when he rounds a corner, and she follows suit.

Aveline finds 15SP on the ground and puts them in her purse. Orsa and Isobel realize they are missing 22SP and 23SP respectively, and demand the 15SP from Aveline. She, however, refuses, and so a game of grab and snatch ensues, which ends with Aveline being relieved of more than half her money.

They go back to the diner, and spot a human man to the right, and what looks like a human woman further down the alley on the left.

Isobel approaches the man, and he sarcastically compliments her ability to cause a scene, before he introduces himself as Olias Sandhillow. He is the owner of Olias’s Apparel in the Eastern District, and in need of what he calls a “favor.”

OIias explains that he commissioned the mage who goes by the name Nightshade to concoct a potion. “I should say medicine, actually… for a lady.” It should now be ready. Claiming other engagements in the Merchant District, Olias requests the girls to pick up the medicine for him. Would 8GP—3 now, 5 later—be sufficient?

They accept his offer, and he counts out 3GP from his purse and instructs the PCs to meet him at his place, in the Eastern District, in three hours. He also tells them where Nightshade’s business is located: “Across town, in one of the buildings south of the Field of Honor. You can’t miss it.”

On their way across town, the group realizes that someone is watching them and hides behind a corner. They wait a bit, watch several people pass, until a dwarf walks past and is clearly looking for someone. When he spots them, he backs away into the crowd and disappears.

The girls reach the Field of Honor, a roughly circular plaza three hundred feet in diameter, which is cobbled with rose-colored stone, and the plaza is mobbed with people on foot, in rickshaws, or in carriages.

They walk south, and find that “south of the Field of Honor” is a blind alley framed on three sides by two-story buildings. No doors or windows open onto the alley, and there is no sign of Nightshade’s place of business. There are taverns and regular living quarters, as well as what looks like an armorer.

They decide to start knocking on doors, and when a woman whom Isobel is questioning is about to close the door on them, Orsa pushes her foot into it and keeps the door open. Intimidating the lady, they only find out that she is seemingly scared of this “Nightshade”. “I don’t know nothin’ about no Nightshade." and “That’s a bad ‘un, stay away.” is what the woman reveals.

Once the group has turned their attention from the alley, a figure appears, standing at the mouth of the alley, watching them. The figure is tall and very slender, wearing a long black cloak with the cowl drawn up. Although the face is in shadow, it is obvious to the girls that it is watching them.

When the group notices the figure and moves toward it, it turns and walks slowly into the blind alley. Just before they reach the mouth of the alley, the figure literally vanishes…but a door is now visible in the right hand wall of the alley.

As soon as they notice the door, a previously invisible window above the door opens and a person in a purple robe leans out, calling down kindly, “Well, at last, at last. I’ve been expecting you. Come in, come in. Go straight down the stairs. And hurry.” With that, the person shuts the window. As soon as it closes, the window vanishes, leaving nothing but a blank wall. The door, however, remains.

The large shop on the right of the alley belongs to an armorer. According to all natural laws, the door in the wall should open right into that shop. The fact that it doesn’t says something either about natural laws or about Nightshade’s power. It is obviously impossible for the wizard’s residence to be on the other side of that door…

Room #1
The door from the street opens onto a large hall, well-lit but with no obvious light sources. The center of the floor is open, looking down into another hall 4m below. There is no balustrade to guard the drop. Across the hall from the door, a stairway leads down, again with no balustrade to guard the opening. Six doors and an open doorway lead from the hall. Standing facing the opening into room 8 is the tall, black-cloaked figure that disappeared in the alley.

The group quickly starts opening doors.

Room #2
The walls of this room are draped in blue cloth and hung with a profusion of mementos of what you assume are Nightshade’s travels: strangely wrought weapons, weird works of art, ornate robes, and the like. In the center of the room is a large stone with the hilt of a broad sword protruding from it.

Orsa extracts the bastard sword with ease. Isobel inspects it and tells her it’s better than her current sword. She quickly equips it.

Room #3
Here, the walls are draped in grey cloth. Just inside the door, facing the blank west wall, is a comfortable armchair.

Room #4
The walls are draped in black cloth. Against one wall is a finely carved oak table and a comfortable chair. On the table are two extinguished candles in gold candlesticks, a quill pen, an ink pot, and a bookrest.

The walls are draped in cloth that seems to be white. Against the south wall, a marble-topped table is covered with the tools of the alchemist’s trade: beakers, burners, flasks, and retorts. All are empty except for one flask half full of what you assume is Nightshade’s latest attempt—an oily grey-green liquid, which smells unbelievably appealing and sweet. The east and west walls are lined with shelves which contain various liquids, powders and other substances.

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Isobel decides to try whatever is in that flask, and finds out that the taste of the concoction is utterly unpleasant. For a moment she believes she is a dragon, no, a snake, no, a bird, but then she is simply herself. She spills potion onto floor.
After a lot of searching, Isobel finds 2 lesser healing potions on the shelves, as well as a fire crystal, a container of lyrium dust and a lyrium potion.

Aveline feels for magic in this room, but can’t detect any. She does feel like there is a magical presence nearby, however. Probably in one of the adjacent rooms. She opens the door nearby:

Room #6
The walls of this room are draped in red cloth, and the floor is inscribed with an oddly shaped pentagram within a magic circle. In the southeast corner of the room is a brazier in which a fire burns.

Aveline immediately feels uncomfortable, and so does her guest. She tries to determine what kind of symbol is on the floor, and realizes that it is most likely a summoning circle. She quickly steps out of the room and closes the door before the others can enter it.

Orsa, in the meantime, inspects another room.

Room #7
The walls of this room are draped in yellow cloth. Against the east wall of the room is a pedestal on which stands a small gold statue with a demonic face.

She walks in and when she gets close enough she realizes that it is in fact a pride demon statue. She calls to the others, whether they should take the statue, as it could be worth a pretty penny, but they both worry that taking a demonic statue might not be the smartest thing.

Since the figure is partially blocking the entrance to this room, Isobel nimbly slips past and finds herself here:

Room #8
The walls of this room are draped in shimmering silver cloth. In the center of the room, facing the portal, is a chair on which sits a black-cloaked figure identical to the figure in room #1.

Orsa joins her and watches how Isobel holds out her hand to the figure in the armchair. When it doesn’t move, she leaves the room, with Orsa quickly following.

They decide that they’ve seen enough of this floor, and Aveline and Isobel go down the stairs. Orsa however decides it’s completely fine for her to jump down through the opening in the middle of the room, and waits expectantly for the others once she lands.

  1. Downstairs*
    The lower hall is as well-lit as the upper, but again no light sources are visible. The room is bare. Doors lead to the east and west respectively.

The group decides to go through the eastern door.

Room #10
The double doors open onto a richly carpeted room with a 4m high ceiling. The walls are of even richer marble than the other rooms, here veined with gold. The room is lit, again with no obvious source. This time, though, the light is richer in reds, reminiscent of a sunset.

In the center of the room is a large table. Seated behind it is a person dressed in a purple robe—presumably Nightshade.

Nightshade is a handsome person with a shaven head, tattoos and piercing grey eyes. When they move, it is with the power and grace of a lion. Their age is impossible to discern—young enough to remain physically menacing, yet old enough to have witnessed much of their share in life. Their voice is usually quiet, but can take on the harshness of a whip.

Despite their earlier friendly greeting, it is with this voice that Nightshade greets the PCs when they enter. “What in the name of Hades are you doing in here? Out! Out, before I do something you’ll regret!”

Isobel tries to stay friendly and explain why they are here and what they want. However, it seems that this is going to be harder than they anticipated.

Nightshade switches from friendly to hostile and back, all in a matter of seconds. Aveline reaches out with her magic, and senses that Nightshade seems to be bi-polar for magical reasons.

Nightshade asks them to leave several times, and so the group does, returning to the hall.
Isobel is curious and opens the door to the west.

Room #11
The door to the west opens outward onto a forest scene. The view through the door seems real, but no sounds can be heard.
Aveline decides to step through the door, and finds herself in the forest glade. Isobel stays back, watching as her. Aveline is looking around, and realizes that she can’t find the door anymore. Isobel calls to her as she sees her look around, but it seems that sound does not pass through this door.

Aveline manages to detect the doorframe, however, and so Isobel grasps her hand, pulling her back into the hallway.

The girls discuss how to handle Nightshade, and Orsa suggests simply sneaking in and stealing the potion out of Nightshade’s cloak. Isobel decides to attempt this.

She sneaks back into the room, slipping behind Nightshade seemingly unnoticed. She fumbles around in Nightshade’s cloak, detects what she assumes is the potion, and cuts a hole into the pocket to retrieve it.

Nightshade in the meantime is peacefully snoring, has fallen asleep.

She inspects what is inside by putting a drop onto her dagger. It has no scent or color, and so she fears it might simply be water.

Isobel leaves the room, seemingly undetected.

She shows the others her find and they all decide to get out of the house, whether this is the correct potion or not.

They leave the Nightshade’s residence and when they enter the alley, the door behind them vanishes.

As they get outside, it is dark, but even so, Aveline and Isobel notice that Orsa looks quite a few years older than before, as she seems to be in her mid-thirties.
Aveline and Isobel appear to be their normal age still…


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