Back in the Calican camp, the party split apart briefly to explore their next goals. Vivian was thrilled to find a stowaway in Talia’s bag of holding: Shozen, the stag spirit of the forest! He bowed in reverence to the tiny vampire, declaring his allegiance to the one who fought valiantly against the darkness that had plagued and eventually killed his home. Since he no longer had a forest, he would prefer to stay with the pixie. Vivian clapped her hands in happiness….after all, the white stag was so very pretty!
Meanwhile, Taiass Atwari and Talia Lancaster (Black) presented the notebook of Gull Sunelle (RIP) to Belcoot and General Lang, who poured over the notes, learning the powerful stances and tactics. Their mission to the island had not been a complete failure after all; in fact, the military had gained quite a bit of knowledge!
Kao-Tsu Quan took the unconscious body of Gwendolyn Grimthorne (RIP) to Arthur Kayin Macbeth, hoping that he could somehow save the poor wilden. Sadly, Arthur told the monk that her spirit had long left her flesh. What was left behind was only a splintered piece of the woman that he had once called friend. To bring her back permanently would be impossible, but it would be possible to see her again for a moment. Kao-Tsu agreed to the proposed ritual, and within a minute, Gwendolyn opened her eyes for a brief goodbye. She assured Kao-Tsu not to be sad or blame himself for her death, that she had died with pride and now her spirit could be with her goddess. From her body she picked a single blooming flower, asking Kao-Tsu to always remember her. Kao-Tsu accepted the gift, tears in his eyes, vowing to one day plant the bud in Calica.
Nathan had the difficult mission of telling his father the truth about Nella Sunelle. He broke the news down to Richard reasonably but gently, explaining that even if his father did not accept the girl into their family, he had regardless made a promise to a man on his deathbed that he would help raise her and care for her. Nella was not going to just disappear. Nthan explained, that despite what anger and resentment Richard may feel when he sees the child of his wife’s indiscretion, the girl deserves better respect and honor, as she still has his mother’s blood within her veins. Richard took a long moment, looked at Nella, and embraced the girl gently, kissing her forehead, in a tender familial moment. The Bishop family would sustain.
Later on that evening, the party gathered back together to discuss the events that had transpired. Just as they were discussing where their next steps would lead them, Talia received a vision from Wee Jas, indicating another hero displaced from their time and dimension! In the prophecy, she saw walking lost amongst the streets of Mixed Bag, a human samurai dressed in red armor. She snapped awake and knew their next location was destined to be the capitol of Mixed Bag: Epinoch!
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Thankfully, General Lang agreed to fly the adventurers to Epinoch (a 3 weeks roc flight away). November 14th, they arrived in the capitol of Nevermore’s quirkiest country. The town was dark and foggy, and as they entered the gates Kao-Tsu noticed a relaxed attitude of the guard, quite uncommon and different from Calica. In a matter of moments they discovered why the guard was so lax. As they witnessed a man thief a passerby’s wallet and attempt to knife his target, suddenly a low and empty voice uttered the phrase “Violence detected”. A huge clay golem flew from the sky downward in a whirl, smashing his fist into the thief’s skull. A clap and cheer rose up around the adventurers. “Hooray for the Mud Boys!” a woman cackled. “They never let ’em go!” Kao-Tsu and Talia exchanged a glance. This was not a sight they were used to for sure. By talking (and by bribing) a nearby merchant for information, they were quick to discover that the Mud Boys were the protectors of the city. Any violence they were able to detect within 100 meters radius, and their form of punishment was permanent. Despite this harshness, the people of Epinoch were very happy with their zero level tolerance of criminals. It kept the streets safe and the citizens happy. The golems were invented by the founder of the city, an eladrin named Orin Rainblade (the great great grandfather of Kyleen Rainblade (RIP)), and thier magic had sustained for thousands of years. The Mud Boys were forrmed from a magic well of clay, and despite the magical enchantment beginning to fade (the golems over time had gotten smaller), they were still quite powerful magical beings. The merchant also filled them in on the different sections of Mixed Bag.
Just as the mercant finished talking, a courier rushed up to greet them. He carried on his back a weighty treasure chest. He explained in a breathless voice that he had been traveling for weeks trying to catch up with them. Belcoot wished to give them their long overdue military stipend, and he had been charged with delivery as soon as possible. He handed over the chest, and the adventurers were thrilled with what was inside: 30,000 gold pieces! Kao-Tsu hugged the messenger in gratitude. Finally, something to celebrate!Also the biggest news in Epinoch was that a meteor had landed near the shores of Lake Boke and supposedly it was made of immovable material. Upon investigation of the meteor, it was indeed impenetrable material and as Talia noticed, overwhelmingly magical in origin! Indeed, the meteor itself had been cracked open, and as Taiass looked closer, he formulated the idea that whatever was once inside this meteor had been taken out….or had escaped somehow. Unable to do anything about it, Vivian and Talia headed back to their hotel (a swanky establishment in the good part of town called “Hotel Rose Pierre” known for it’s 5 star restaurant and natural hot springs and indoor pool), while Kao-Tsu, Taiass, and Nathan scoped out the seedier parts of town…but with more of a reason to find a tavern there rumored to have the best ribs and ale in town. Dressed to the nines, Vivian and Talia settled down for a nice girl’s night in with fine wine and an elegant meal. While at the hotel, Vivian overheard the nobility speaking about a party being held the next day by a woman called Lady Crescent. Supposedly, after the shindig, a halfling noble named Vax Lamont would be holding an auction of magical items, at which the grand prize to be auctioned off was rumored to be whatever was salvaged from the meteor! Only those attending having an invite to Lady Crescent’s party would be able to attend the auction, and even those invited would only be able to attend the auction if they had a date with nobility or were nobility themselves! Digesting this crucial information, Talia was able to pilfer an invitation off of a soused noblewoman distracted by her fashionable “shoulder pixie” (aka Vivian). Step one was complete-now they would just have to work hard at the party to get dates! As Talia and Vivian walked back to their hotel room, Kao-Tsu and Taiass, both inebrieated, dragged in the unconscious form of Nathan. “Those six buckets of ribs were a little too much for him” chuckled Kao-Tus. “Plus he got into a drinking contest with a coal miner….he may not be in the best of shape tomorrow….I’ve had hangovers before, but never a RIB hangover!” Clearly a good time was had by all, but some may need more recovery than others.