The 9Q’s: Questions 1-3
Q1.an enemy takes aggressive action against the heroes—magnet
Scene: dark before dawn, surrounded in the inn, amid a vast and bustling city
Before the two could mobilize, Tengrym heard voices outside. He peered through louvered and shuttered windows to see mailed city guards gathering outside The Golden Goose. They were forming a close thicket of pikes. In the distance, Tengrym still saw the smoke rising from the warehouse.
“Somehow, they’ve found us,” he said to Thedric. “No doubt magical tracking was involved, but I don’t know what their game is—I expected that Zuzala would have tracked us or one of the dark elf agents. Either way, I smell a trap. Let’s proceed with caution.”
Thedric blanched with fear.
“Keep your wits,” said Tengrym. “There may be a way out via the sewers. Let’s find the basement. Come!”
Together, they grabbed their few belongs and fled their rooms before the guards entered.
They heard the knocks at the door as they proceeded below. There, as Tengrym expected, they found an iron grate to the sewers, but it was locked.
“I think I can handle this,” said Thedric.
In moments, Thedric worked the lock. Together, they pried the thing up, but it was old and groaned loudly from misuse, betraying their location.
“Quickly!” urged Tengrym, and together they disappeared within the stench-filled darkness.
Tengrym led the way, and together, they managed to lose their pursuit, but no doubt a city-wide search would be under way. The innkeeper would probably provide the city watch with a description. The two needed disguises if they were to work their way out of the city. Perhaps that was Zuzala’s game…
Q2.an encounter featuring intrigue and combat—beetle
Scene: all sewer access points are watched, dark before the dawn, the sewers are a maze of tunnels, amid a vast and bustling city
The two snaked their way through the lightless tunnels. Thedric, who was fully of human blood, followed blindly.
They came to a grate near a square some distance away. From the dark, Tengrym made out several city watchmen armed with pikes milling about; no doubt checking all sewer grates. Nearer was a man seated atop a great horse, mailed in a plate cuirass who spoke with someone—a woman. He could almost make out their voices.
“Sir Trevor,” said the woman. “Make sure you capture the street urchin and his accomplice. But beware! That one is armed with magic as well as blade.”
“Fear not, my lady,” said the knight. “Even in the tunnels under Ravensbluff, he cannot get far. My men will flush him out.”
It was the priestess of Loviatar—Tengrym was reasonably sure. And now, the city watch was involved with her little game.
Just then, voices came along with the sound of boots in water from behind. Tengrym could make out the dim flicker of torchlight.
“We need to turn back,” whispered Tengrym.
“But the guards!” stammered Thedric.
“Leave them to me.”
Tengrym said a brief whisper of some arcane command word, and then, the sound of more voices came from further down the tunnels.
“Who was that?” called out one of the guards.
“That won’t delay them for long,” Tengrym whispered. “Come!”
The two skulked away down an adjacent tunnel, all the while ghostly voices sounded here or there. Suddenly, a lone guard appeared before them.
“You!” he cried. He was abruptly cut down before he could call out for help.
The two sped off. They got away from the area and to a junction room with partially demolished walls. It seemed some new construction above was being connected to the tunnels for drainage.
“They won’t know about this way perhaps,” mused Tengrym. “Let’s go!”
They climbed up a muddy way into a base level of a partially-finished building. As he expected, the place was unearthed. Luckily, some old blankets and lumber made for good beggars' disguises. The two donned the garments and hobbled their way to the squalor-stricken and crowded poor district, passing easily through the area of watch.
Q3.a twist in an encounter of betrayal and combat—flashlight
Scene: dark before the dawn, amid a vast and bustling city, guards are not far away
The two had not gotten far before they heard a commanding voice speak. Midway across a plaza, they turned to see the cruel priestess, Zuzala, in all her beauty and fury. Her eyes blazed with a strange light, no doubt giving her magical true sight to see through misdirection and disguises. With her was the great half-ogre abomination that Tengrym had killed in rescuing Thedric. He could see by the thing’s empty gaze that Zuzala had raised her servant from the dead as a zombie.
“Stop!” she called, her finger pointed at Thedric. “I command you by the Maiden of Pain to stand where you are!”
“Don’t look at her,” urged Tengrym. He recalled a cantrip to ward off the priestess’s power. To a degree, it worked, but Thedric staggered against the unholy will that strove to freeze him into place.
“Kill that one!” Zuzala commanded to her servant, pointing to Tengrym. The monster lurched forward, massive club in hand.
Tengrym called out words of power and with a wave of his hand, encased the monster in a massive block of ice that materialized around it, stopping it fast in its tracks. Zuzala screamed in fury, which let loose any further hold she had on Thedric.
“Run!” Tengrym called out.
Together, the two broke into a sprint to loose the tenacious priestess, managing to escape.