The 9Q’s: Questions 4-6
Morning broke and the city awoke to its normal bustling frenzy. Merchants set up shop in the open markets, hawkers sang of wares from across the realms, and farmers brought their vegetables in ox-drawn carts. Ravensbluff, even after the break of day, was truly a major player on the Sea of Fallen Stars.
“Where are we going?” asked Thedric as they turned a corner, taking refuge in the shadows of a merchant’s tent when a group of guards came into view.
“We need help,” replied Tengrym. “And you need healing after your ordeal. The priests of Selûne have always been supporters of the Drowsbanes. Perhaps they can help get us through this phase.”
Together, they found the Maiden of Moon, a large domed structure near Raven’s Square bedecked with moonstone mosaics. The doors, naturally, were closed, but Tengrym knocked persistently on the door.
At long last, an aging and wizened man opened the door. Age slowed his movements, wrinkled his skin, and snowed his wispy hair—but the immediate quick-to-anger twinkle of his eye showed he was far from feeble-minded. He wore a rough-spun habit of blue-gray.
“My apologies, high moonmaster,” said Tengrym with a bow. “We are in need of help…”
The two were admitted to the lofty temple. Tengrym introduced himself and their plight, begging for the aid of the healing arts to fully revive Thedric from his life-draining ordeal.
To their relief, the Drowsbane name carried the clout Tengrym had hoped. In moments, High Moonmaster Edenton had Thedric fully revived through a brief rite and the use of unguents.
“My thanks, your illuminance,” said Tengrym.
Scene: Sir Trevor has been led to the temple
Suddenly, a younger acolyte came to the door of Edenton’s study. “Master, there are knights surrounding the temple and are demanding entry. One is none other than Sir Trevor, the young knight who has gained favor among the folk through the games.”
Tengrym looked at Thedric. “No doubt Zuzala led them here.”
“Come!” said Edenton. “I know a secret way…”
Quickly, he scrawled something on a page and sealed the rolled up parchment. Next he gave them a key, and opened a secret opening behind a shelf of books. “Follow this passage straight. You will come to a door. Enter with this key—it will take you to Guldan Gildsheld’s manse, a wealthy merchant sympathetic to all Selûnutes. Give him this writ—he will get you out of the city with no questions asked. Now go!”
“Our thanks again,” said Tengrym grimly. “We hope to repay you one day…”
“You shall,” responded Edenton. “When you fulfill the prophecy and retake Sullaspryn. Go with the blessings of the Moon!”
Q5.an evolution of the threats featuring betrayal, and revelation—arrow
What Happens? They arrive and determine that Guldan Gildsheld is in the employ of the drow themselves!
Scene: in a palatial stronghold teeming with guards
The two traversed the tunnel. At its end, Tengrym felt for the keyhole. He fitted the key and turned, opening a doorway disguised in the stonework.
They were in a sub-level, and presently a surprised guard came out and shouted a challenge.
“I am Tengrym,” the half-elf said. Handing him the scroll tube, he said, “Get master Gildsheld. This is urgent.”
The guard did as he was told and summoned four more to watch the two intruders. It was considerable time before the guard returned. No doubt master Guldan was sound asleep after reveling throughout the night.
They were ordered to follow; and the guards led them above to a great room decorated with tapestries of hunting and trophies. However, Guldan didn’t look the part—he was fat and dozy-eyed. He wore silk and cloth-of-gold finery and a cap of crushed velvet.
“So, a Drowsbane, eh?” the man asked with a sneer.
Tengrym flinched. It was not a name he wished to be repeated too loudly. Had Moonmaster Edenton put that in the missive? If so, he was careless.
Nonetheless, Tengrym bowed. “At your service, your most esteemed excellency. And Moonmaster Edenton said you may offer your assistance.”
“Perhaps. As a businessman, I come across offers all the time. I always weigh them—to determine what will most benefit me—sooner or later. I always choose the most profitable option!”
“I doubt not your business saavy, lord Gildsheld. Are you able to help us then?”
The merchant sat for some time examining the two before answering. “I am afraid not…”
He tossed the rolled missive to Tengrym’s feet. He picked up the parchment and read the words. He was at a loss. In them, Edenton had explained the whole situation and the Drowsbane’s worth to the dark elves. It would be to your advantage to make a deal with the drow before the priestess of Loviatar does, were the last words.
Guldan observed Tengrym’s face with growing amusement. “It helps to have several spies magically bound to my service throughout the city—it’s highly profitable!” he said to the two with a snort.
“You’ll make no deal with the dark elves,” promised Tengrym. “They’ll take what they want and leave you with nothing—perhaps not even you life!”
“We’ll see about that—guards!”
With that, more armed servants entered the room. Before Guldan could give the order to seize the two, Tengrym exploded into action.
With a word, the fireplace behind Guldan’s seat suddenly exploded with sparks and smoke, filling the room with a choking veil. Guldan coughed and cried out to seize the intruders. Tengrym and Thedric had not stood still. Although winded by the effort from concentrating the spell into a single word, Tengrym grabbed his half-brother by the wrist and led him toward the only unblocked doorway.
The two burst through to a pantry area with no servants. Tengrym barred the door behind him and the two sped through narrow ways. “This way!” he said, indicating a stairway leading up a flight, but from which light and fresh air flowed.
They took the stairs and came to an open bailey with a clear exit, but at a warning call, the gatekeeper began lowering the portcullis.
Tengrym paused to cast another spell. Reddish motes of light appeared around the gate, freezing the gates fast, but then the wall-mounted guards began firing from their crossbows.
“Run!” cried Tengrym as bolts clacked on the pavement around him.
The two ran at top speed, escaping through the open gateway, but not without Tengrym getting clipped in the shoulder by a bolt. Down he went just under the magically held portcullis. Thedric turned and helped him up again. They fled down a narrow alley, escaping the palatial keep.
Q6.a worsening of the threats beyond anything that had been conceived before in an encounter featuring pursuit and combat—parachute
What Happens? The two are caught between a rock and a hard place as Sir Trevor’s men descend upon them while Guldan’s men give chase.
Scene: just outside Guldan’s manse
The two stopped to catch their breath several blocks and twists away. Thedric looked with concern at the arrow in Tengrym’s arm and his haggard appearance.
Tengrym plucked out the arrow. “The spell to hold the gate cost more of me than the bolt,” he said. “It’s a shallow wound and shouldn’t bother me much.”
Before he said more, the whinny of a horse drew their attention. Suddenly, Sir Trevor, the knight Zuzala had employed, appeared before them with a full contingent of footmen coming from several ways at once, pinching them.
“Bane curse them!” Tengrym spat. “Come on!”
With effort, he righted himself and led Thedric the way they had come. Suddenly, Guldan’s men appeared blocking their only means of escape from the narrow, vine festooned alleyway.
Both forces eyed one another with surprise and there was a moment of indecision. Tengrym wasted no time before the moment was lost to action. He uttered an incantation aloud and reached to his pouch for a pinch of silvery dust. In a flash, a wall of ice materialized, penning the two against an alley wall but shielding them from the now charging assailants.
“Climb!” Tengrym yelled to his half-brother, grabbing a handful of climbing growth.
The two clambered up as the attackers struck against the frozen firm barrier. They hoped the foliage would hold their weight. “Grab for the thickest vines,” said Tengrym.
Quickly and surprisingly easily, they pulled their way up and found an open window into one of the attic flats of the building. “Across the rooftops!” said Tengrym as he crossed the room to an opposite-facing window that opened upon a roof of slate. They leapt and ran along narrow beams, making their way from block to block. There was no sign of pursuit.
They made their way down a drain pipe and entered a crowded market square. They had escaped… or so they thought until the clip-clop of a horse alerted them. They turned and saw a scowling Sir Trevor glowering under a shining helm. He rode into the square and stood atop his stirrups to get a better view. He hadn’t seen the two of them yet, but he had a good vantage point.
The two still had their beggars' disguises. They quickly donned their hoods and waddled, bent and hobbled, into the thickest part of the crowd to cross the market. They continued forward, Tengrym leading the way, ducking through the odd tent flap on occasion to loose any potential pursuit. When he was furthest on the other side of the market, he risked a glance behind him. There was no sign of pursuit, and the sound of horse receded into the distance.
“After me!” whispered Tengrym. “Let’s make our way to the docks. Stowing aboard a ship I think is our best bet out of here…”