“Once more, Master Reynolds!”
A roar went up from the tavern, followed by applause and whistling. The small bar of the Talisman was positively packed – and had been since midnight. The bard’s masterful performance had seemed to enchant the entire Garden District, and housewives and butlers were staying up well beyond their curfew to get a glimpse of Nathaniel. And, for better or for worse, his ballad of adventure had made mini-celebrities of his entire entourage.
“Oh, Fargrim, stop that!” giggled a buxom young scullery maid. The girl, along with one or two more just like her, were collapsed in a far corner, covering the drunken dwarf with adoration and boozy kisses. The dwarf released a huge belch and laughed “Ah ain’ stopp’n, I’m jus’ get’n started…” He took another long draught from his mug and raised it high. “Here’s t’the greatest singer man… in…the land!” and chuckled until he almost choked. The pretty young girls looked alarmed and started cooing and petting him until he was calm once more.
In a narrow hallway leading up to the bedrooms, Vulpin was having a heated argument with Lucan about their next course of action. “So, let me get this straight,” the thief said, trying to control his temper, “Now that we’ve got an in with the guild, Krill’s willing to throw some work our way, and we hit the mother-load with this urn, you are wanting to leave The Gate? Are you insane, or just block-headed? This connection is our ticket out of this rat-infested city.”
Lucan listened, but his eyes were far away. “I can’t explain it, Vulpin. I feel drawn toward this mystery, perhaps not purely of my own will. If my actions haven’t been my own all this time, then whose have they been? What did Treona mean that his – or her, or uh, Dreus I mean – that this THING has its mark on me? What if I were to suddenly turn on you or any of the others? I’ll never be able to truly rest until…” his thumb rolled Halevaster’s ring around his index finger. “…until I meet this Dreus for myself.”
Vulpin leaned back against the wall and dramatically rolled his eyes. “There you go again. You can’t say one single thing that I, er, you will gain out of this little detective hunt. For all you know, Dreus is some Mind Flayer or Observer, drawing you like a fish to a hook, just to make a tasty mince-meat pie of us all when we arrive. How’s that for ‘answers’ then, eh?”
The half-elf’s face grew stormy and he quietly murmured, “I’ve seen her. In my dreams. I feel her fear and her power. And I know that she must be stopped. Soon.”
At the bar, Seraphina could hear Vulpin retort again in a debate that had gone on for hours. She swirled the milk in her mug and looked around the room. Vulpin and Lucan going in circles again and again over how best to accomplish their own designs. Fargrim, face down, asleep on a plate of roast mutton. Nathaniel, cackling and swinging from a chandelier, singing “…and ate a ton of cheesecaaaake!” What a bunch of lost souls, she thought. Lost sheep, in need of a shepherd. Quietly, Seraphina smiled and signaled the bartender for one last round…
Around four in the morning, the elf girl from The Emporium had finally worked up the courage to approach Nathaniel. Haltingly, she shuffled toward the bard, the autographed fireball scroll held closely to her heart. The bard was barely able to see straight, a tankard of the house grog held loosely in his fingers as he lounged on top of a table.
“I, um, Mr. Reynolds?” she paused. Then, in a torrent she practically shouted “I-hope-you-don’t-think-this-is-weird-but-I’m-your-biggest-fan-and-I-think-you’re-so-hot-and-I-love-you-more-than-you-could-ever-know-and-I-purchased-us-a-room-so-will-you-come-up-with-me?” She paused and took a breath, her face red and flustered.
Nathaniel squinted and looked at her. “Who’re you?” He asked. A fat toothless man laughed, and then Nathaniel began to laugh too. He moved to get off the table, but slipped and fell to the floor thumping his head on the bench with a loud crack. He lay there, knocked out cold, the grog spilling out of the mug and down the drain in the floor. In a flash, a street urchin that had been tailing them all day, ran forward, snatched the bard’s coin purse, and darted out the back door.
The elf girl smiled, grabbed Nathaniel by the arm, and began dragging him up the stairs to the bedroom.
Meanwhile, the room continued to laugh, tell stories, and sing until the sun began to break through the windows of the Talisman.
YOU GAIN XP!!
MINOR QUEST: Deal With the Elven Importers: 500XP
MINOR QUEST: The Bardic Poetry Contest: 300XP
MINOR QUEST: Obtain Information about Dreus: 200XP
COMBAT ENCOUNTER: Elven Importers & Their Merchandise: 850 XP
TOTAL:1850; 370 per character
YOU GAIN REPUTATION!!
BALDUR’S GATE: “Rank 1: Minor Do-Gooder”
KRILL’S THIEVES GUILD: “Rank 1: Lackey”
YOU GAIN STUFF!!
Gauntlet Axes (infused with Tesillium)
Beguiling Whistle (Encounter: Free Action. Use this to add +2 to any ability that has voice or song in the description)
Armor and weapons from the elves
Scroll of Ice Bolt
YOU LOSE STUFF!!
20 GP Jacked from Nathaniel by a vindictive street urchin.
INDIVIDUAL RP AWARDS
Nathaniel Reynolds: Live performance of self-written song (250 XP)
Fargrim Brokentooth: Telling dwarven jokes to the shopkeeper (75 XP)