D&D Update time! I have been under the weather as of late; apologies for the late update.
When we last left our adventurers, Elzeni and Constance returned to Tereod, Cyrus taking his leave as they went to the Temple of Torm. The two bathed and had their armors mended, settling in for the night. As they sleep, they are each visited once again by a vision.
Elzeni sees a shadowy obsidian altar with what looks like a demon speaking to a group of blurred people. The “church” looks to be underground, the walls carved into stone. She sees the symbol of Bane, recognizing it from her discussion with Constance. There is an image of her pendant, the chip and slight crack slowly healing before she wakes.
Constance sees the same vision from before: a half-demon at an altar, this time speaking to the group. She sees a trap door in a floor being covered by an older man in ragged clothing. She sees the man’s face, clear as day, burned into her memory so she can find him for Torm. The last image is of her pendant, now only cracked, before she, too, wakes.
Meanwhile, Gantar and Aymer, having spent three days in the forest ensuring light was indeed returning to it, traveled back to Tereod. They arrive in the Outer Town late at night, too late to enter the Lower City. They pass the night at The Rusty Bucket.
In the morning, the duo proceeds to the main gate to get their passes from Gerald, greeted with the same speech he gave Elzeni:
“You have both been given access to the city as helpers to the Lady Veltis. Here is your paperwork, keep it on you at all times. This paperwork gives you free roam of the Lower City, market, and merchant sector, including the Lady Veltis’ establishment The Bonded Bow. Should you be asked to visit the Lady’s home, you will need an escort to meet you at the Noble Gate, and while you are in the Upper City you will need to be accompanied by a noble or a member of a noble’s estate. Any questions?”
Having no questions, he gives them one last piece of information before they proceed through the gate:
“Constance and Elzeni came back last night. Constance can likely be found at the Temple of Torm. I know they offer lodging to travelers of light, but there are also three inns in town you can rent rooms at. I’d recommend the Halberd Inn unless you’ve the coin for something fancier.”
The duo heads into town, wandering the temple district until they spot Elzeni and Constance heading toward the Lower City. They catch up, recapping their adventures before continuing to the docks. There, the party splits, Constance with her drawing of the man from her dream, and Elzeni to find Kevros.
Elzeni finds Kevros near the end of the docks, clipboard in his hand as he rattles off numbers to a worker.
“Ay, Elzeni! Ye made it to Tereod after all! I was beginning t’ think you’d gone elsewhere. Listen, I haven’t forgot about our deal. I’ve started saving and one day I’ll be able to pay you back for saving me.”
“There’s no need, Kevros. If you could help me find someone in the city, that’s payment enough.”
“Find someone? Ay, I’ll do what I can. Who are ye looking for?”
Elzeni leads him back to the party. Constance, having made little headway with the dock workers, is grateful for his help.
“Have you seen this beggar?” she asks, showing Kevros the drawing.
“Ay, maybe. I don’t know his name, but I’ve seen someone of his likeness hanging around near the markets. I’d ask any of the beggars there. They’ve a tight community.”
They thank Kevros, sending him back to his job after promising to meet for drinks sometime soon. It’s late morning before they reach the market, looking down the back alleys for the beggar. Constance spots him sitting against the back of the blacksmith’s building. Aymer hangs back while the other three approach him.
Constance hauls him to his feet, yelling at him to reveal the location of the Church to Bane. The man seems confused, yelling back for her to let go and stop assaulting him. After a brief struggle, he manages to break free and run toward the main road, yelling for guards. They chase after him, Gantar casting web in the middle of the road, prompting the four guards running forth to pick up their pace.
The two groups collide, the guards immediately isolating the beggar from the group.
“Who cast that? I need to see all your papers.”
They hand over their paperwork, the guard writing down their information.
“Right, so you’re new to town and this’ll be a warning. There’s no magic to be cast on the streets. If you need a place to practice, I suggest you seek out a temple or the wizards’ guild. While we’re not proud of our beggar population, they are still citizens of Tereod and therefore afforded the same rights as everyone else, including the right to not be attacked randomly by four crazed adventurers.”
“That man is part of a cult to Bane! They’re performing sacrifices in the city!” Constance tells the guard.
“Those are serious accusations. What proof do you have?”
“I was given a vision from Torm showing me this man hiding the entrance to the cult.”
The guard sighs and shakes his head. “Look, that may be how you temple folk judge people, but out here in the real world you need evidence. If you’d like to come back to the station and make a statement, we can tell the chaps to be alert and on the lookout, but we can’t prosecute a beggar because you saw him in a dream.”
The group begrudgingly gives statements at the guardhouse before heading back towards the Lower City. Elzeni stops at the Temple of Bahamut to pray while the other three continue down to a bar on the seedier side of town hoping to buy information.
They reach The Cracked Hull tavern, a tiefling casually leaning against the door. The tiefling nods to them as they enter. Being noon, the tavern is fairly empty, a few groups drinking around shoddy tables. Scanning the room, they see a drow, a few half-elves, and a host of humans. The bartender is a human male, in his late 30s, absently wiping the bar as they walk up.
“Can I help ye?”
“We’re looking for information about this man,” Constance tells him, holding up the image and placing a couple gold on the counter.
He looks at it for a moment. “I might know something.”
She places a platinum on the counter.
“Yeah, seen him around the market before. Old beggar. Got another job though…”
Constance sighs and places another platinum down.
“He’s a lookout for a cult in town. Got themselves a little temple. Where might that be…”
She places another platinum, glaring at him.
The barkeep grins, swiping the coin under the bar. “They run out of a warehouse in the dock district. Got a map?”
She places the map on the counter and he carefully marks out which warehouse.
“Now then. Ale?”
Gantar and Constance nod, settling in at the bar to wait for Elzeni. Aymer excuses himself, heading out to explore the Lower City. About an hour passes before he returns, having found a house of ladies. Back at the tavern, Cyrus pushes open the door.
“Afternoon, Thom. Ale?”
The barkeep nods as Cyrus saunters up to Constance. “Hello, Constance. Guess who I am? ‘Oh, Cyrus, come to the boring town of Colkirk with us. Come antagonize the locals and almost get yourself killed fighting peons of that nasty demon that owns your soul. It’ll be fun, Cyrus. We’re not going to pay you, but we’ll put in a good word with Sarya.’ Ringing any bells?”
“That’s a great impression of Elzeni,” Constance says, smirking into her ale.
He huffs. “I’ll have you know I’ve been lurking by The Bonded Bow all morning waiting for you loafs.”
“Well once we find Elzeni, we’ll head there straight away and make good on that promise.”
Just as he’s about to retort, the door swings open, revealing Elzeni. The party pays their tab and heads up to The Bonded Bow, Cyrus’s mood lightening as they get closer. They knock on the door, and Sarya answers it.
“Oh, hello! Looking for Veltis?”
She ushers them into the foyer. “I’m afraid Veltis hasn’t returned yet, at least that we know of. Sometimes the travel takes it out of her and she needs a couple days to recover. I can’t imagine hopping dimensions all the time. It sounds exhausting!”
“Sarya, have you met Cyrus?” Elzeni says, gesturing to Cyrus.
“I think we were about to when you had to leave a few days ago. Pleasure to meet you, Cyrus.”
“Oh, believe me, the pleasure is all mine,” Cyrus replies, taking her hand and shooing the adventurers away.
Heads shaking, they pass another hour in the tavern, drinking with Kymil. Cyrus is sitting with Sarya at a table, still chatting, as they leave. He gives them a wave, intent on his conversation with the elven maid.
Evening falling, the party readies for a fight, heading to the warehouse Thom pointed out. They sneak up, seeing the same beggar from before slumped outside the entrance. Sneaking around the side, they boost Aymer up through one of the windows. Gantar and Constance sneak around, pincering the beggar. He looks up as Gantar approaches.
“Hail, friend,” Gantar says, carefully watching Constance sneak up on the man.
The beggar stands and faces him. “Oy! What do you want? Back to antagonize me some more?”
“No, I came to apologize. My behavior was truly uncalled for.”
The beggar sniffs. “That’s right it was. I may just be a beggar, but I have rights too!”
Just as the beggar finishes, Constance claps a hand over his mouth and grapples him. Gantar quickly ties the old man up, Elzeni coming around the corner. Aymer opens the door for them and they pull the beggar inside, gagging him with a bit of cloth. Gantar keeps watch while the other three search the warehouse.
“Tell me what you know about this church,” Gantar says, pulling the gag out.
“You can’t stop Bane. He’ll crush you all!”
The old man seizes, his body wracked with pain as a symbol slowly spreads across his chest. After a long minute of choking, the man goes limp. Gantar checks for a pulse, finding none. He moves to join the rest of the party, now gathered around a trap door in the floor.
“Old man is dead. I couldn’t get anything out of him before this symbol burned into his chest and killed him.”
“Sounds like Bane’s work,” Constance says, climbing down the ladder.
They gather in the tunnel below, shutting the trap door behind them. There’s a pillar ahead as a cavern opens up. They see almost what looks like a church, three scattered townspeople sitting in pews. Behind the altar is the feral tiefling blackguard both Constance and Elzeni recognize from their visions. Constance steps into the room.
“Turn your backs to Bane and accept the light of Torm in your life!” she yells, drawing her sword.
The blackguard smirks as the villagers spring to action, pulling out swords. They rush into combat, the blackguard joining. It was a difficult fight, the blackguard fighting with both magic and sword, until at last Constance was able to smite her. It was a powerful blow, turning the demonic form to ash. In the ash, she finds a ring and the sword the blackguard wielded, giving the items to Gantar and Aymer respectively.
Tired, they destroy the church best they can and leave a warning for any worshippers that may come looking for Bane. It’s a long walk back to bed…