The Blood Of The Lion

Day 28 - Catching the uncatchable

The group decides to find Zaveir and see if he has any update to the tasks he needs doing. They find him in the village square with his guards. He continues to get updates from messengers as he orders guards to and from different locations across the city. The messenger near him mentions the mortuary being robbed of a body, thievery occurring in the market sectors, some unrest occurring within the low-end housing district that needs to be handled before it becomes a riot, and reports of strange characters across the city. Zaveir responds to each report, dismissing the first three as inconsequential and sending groups of guards for the suspicious persons reports.

He greets the group and asks them to patrol with his guards, as they are expecting action soon and he wants to clear away all current reports before dealing with them directly. They are sent to a guard captain named Matthew, who informs them that they should stay close but out of the way, and watch for anything strange, reporting anything they find unusual. Falx asks Matthew if he can call him “Matt”, to which Matthew agrees, only for Falx to never actually call him Matt.

After a few minutes with the guards, some yelling can be heard from the streets behind them. Matthew holds up a signal to silence his group and listens for orders coming from the street. After a few moments, he informs his crew and the group that they think they’ve spotted Whisper and that they all need to converge on the center of town. The group follows quickly behind, turning a corner to stay with the guards and spotting what appears to be Whisper down the street, being chased by a large number of soldiers.

Zaveir tells the group that he is ordering all of the guards to converge on the vault room to secure it. He then runs with the group toward the castle, chasing Whisper toward the castle gate. Falx hints to Lelouche that he should utilize his Telepathic Bond ritual scroll so that they can split up to cover more ground while retaining communication. Lelouche agrees to cast it on the group, and Falx pulls Rye back to stay in the city in case Whisper is just creating a distraction. Orik and Lelouche continue their chase down a number of streets which seem to be leading to the castle’s main gate. Whisper is blocked by a group of guards, and can be seen leaping over eight feet in the air, over their heads, continuing to run as he lands

Lelouche casts Foe To Frog on Whisper as he gets him in view, and turns him into a squid. The damp body of the animal plops to the ground and Lelouche rushes through the crowd of guards to grab the creature. He immediately places him within the bag of holding to contain him, closing him within it and locking him in time until the bag re-opens. Zaveir catches up and sees the situation. He orders his men to continue converging on the vault in case this was just a distraction and a plan is still in motion. He asks Lelouche and Orik to head to his office and not open the bag until he arrives, as he has to check the vault room for traps or other spells and ensure the vault door is unaffected. He leaves, saying “I need to check the vault. There’s no way it was this easy. Just don’t let him escape. I’ll meet you in my office.”

Lelouche and Orik head to Zaveir’s office and find it empty. Guards are moving about the castle, seemingly doing a sweep of the area, most likely on Zaveir’s orders. Orik guards the door as Lelouche begins looking around the room for information. He checks some papers on top of the desk, and finds reports, one of which is about the corpse stolen from the mortuary. It seems odd to Lelouche that Zaveir seems to have marked this as urgent, even through he dismissed it as unimportant earlier when they saw him in the street. It even cites that the mortician needs to be brought in immediately. Additionally, his notes about it needing to be looked into seem to cut off half-way through, and the report was never filed.

Lelouche looks through the desk drawers, finding writing utensils as well as what looks like a drawer for extra outfits, which seem to be for when Zaveir stays at work late. One of the outfits is missing from the collection, but it isn’t clear why. Finally, Lelouche decides to open the armoire in the corner, but finds it locked. He decides to jimmy it open, knowing that he can fix it up with Make Whole if need be. As it opens, a bag falls out which seems to contain something roughly the shape and size of a body. It lands on the floor and doesn’t move, making Lelouche think it must be a corpse, though no smell is emanating from it. Orik continues watching the hallway, noting that there seem to be a large amount of guards moving in formation somewhere down the hall, but he can’t see how many or what direction they are heading.

Lelouche unwraps the burlap bag to reveal Zaveir unconscious within it. At first, Lelouche thinks he might be dead, but he attempts to wake him and Zaveir comes to consciousness, asking what happened. Lelouche asks him what the last thing he remembers is, and Zaveir claims he was having a drink with a woman the night before and can’t recall anything since. Lelouche activates his Telepathic Bond and catches Falx and Rye up on the situation. He asks them to head toward the vault and inform the guards of the situation unfolding. Orik continues hearing the guards move past, and it seems like a very large number of them, but they can’t be seen down the hall and he doesn’t move to get a visual of the situation, so he isn’t sure what it implies. At some point he overhears two guards talking as they pass. One asks “Where are those soldiers heading?” and the other asks “Which soldiers?” to which the first replies “The ones heading out of the castle.”

Falx and Rye head through the castle courtyard, running into a large amount of guards exiting the castle. Falx yells for them to head back inside, but a guard captain clarifies that they are on orders from Zaveir to patrol the streets. Falx attempts to clarify the situation, and a guard captain orders his squad as well as one other to accept the command and follow Falx inside to investigate. The guard captain tells Falx he has to confirm what is occurring, so he sends three soldiers up to Zaveir’s office. Orik warns Lelouche and they both look up to find the soldiers entering and immediately questioning them about the scene. Zaveir vouches for them and tells them to unlock the vault door and check on it. One of the soldiers lifts Zaveir over his shoulder to carry him since he can’t walk, and everyone heads to the vault entrance.

As they arrive in the vault corridor, they see that the vault door has been opened and two sages are within the corridor, facing back toward the entrance. They are asked where Zaveir is, explaining that it’s an impostor. They both claim that he went into the vault after having them open the gate and then turn to wait for his return. The group leads the guards in a rush toward the vault, and they see the impostor far ahead, performing a ritual within the vault. Falx attempts to get close enough to cast a spell to stop him, and perhaps find a way to close the portal that appears to be opening in the ritual circle.

As they approach, Lelouche hones in on the ritual and realizes it is a Linked Portal being opened, informing the others via his Telepathic Bond. The impostor spots the group approaching as they finish the part of the ritual that they need to remain within the circle for. Recognizing that they are going to attempt to stop the ritual, the figure steps out to face them. Falx, seeing the figure holding a glowing stone tablet, recognizes that it is a sentient legendary item, and decides it would be best to do whatever he can to prevent the figure from escaping. He also recognizes that the figure is using the ritual power Change Self to take on the image of Zaveir.

Falx fires Storm Spike, slamming the figure, who turns to Orik and Rye as they begin to run ahead of the rest of the group. Orik rushes forward, Rye right on his tail, and the two of them bull-rush toward the figure. The impostor leaps through the air to dodge, ending up on the other side of the two attackers as the portal. The figure quips with a voice they recognize as Whisper’s, “You’re quicker than I thought you’d be.”

Whisper faces Zaveir as the guards begin closing in, “What tipped you off?”

“Blind luck,” Zaveir responds, “… probably the only thing that works against you.”

Whisper displays the stone tablet for a second, ensuring Zaveir can see he has it, almost as if he was answering an unasked question. He throws the tablet into the air a few inches and re-catches it, as if to taunt Zaveir and the guards for trying to retrieve it. Lelouche Fey-Steps into the space behind Whisper and attempts to grapple with him, but can’t manage to overpower him. Whisper turns to Lelouche and there is a look of surprise in his eye. He turns to the portal and throws the tablet toward it as it opens. Orik throws up his hammer and manages to block it, knocking the tablet to the ground.

Whisper reaches out and casts Telekinesis on it, temporarily dropping the Change Self disguise around his hand, which Falx sees and recognizes, confirming even further that it is Whisper. A purple emanation comes from the hand, and the tablet begins to slide toward the portal. Falx manages to throw his foot down onto the stone and stop it, not knowing whether an item of that power is safe to touch. The portal closes as Whisper realizes he has lost. Falx asks Zaveir if he can touch the stone, and Zaveir recommends not touching it to bare skin, so Falx uses his cloak to wrap it and lift it off the ground.

Zaveir orders one of his men to retrieve “the box” and the man rushes further into the vault. Rye attempts to grapple Whisper, but misses as he steps out of the way. Lelouche attempts to punch Whisper in the throat, but fails to do any damage. Lelouche realizes his ring is indicating a spell going off nearby, and he turns to see Whisper transform from looking like Zaveir to looking like The Traveler. The group wonders about whether The Traveler is the actual image, but Falx confirms telepathically to the group that his hand being revealed while using Telekinesis seemed to indicate that this is not the true image of Whisper, as the hands don’t match now. The group wonders about Whisper’s identity, as they realize (save for Rye) that the face he currently dons is not the same as the face they partially saw when they were broken free of prison in Warren Tower.

Lelouche pulls out his sword and asks Whisper to surrender. Whisper responds, “I guess I don’t have much of a choice.” Lelouche re-sheathes his sword and is checked over by Zaveir’s men, who don’t find any items or ritual scrolls on his person. Orik destroys what remains of the ritual circle to ensure that it can’t be used in some unseen way. Falx attempts to indicate to Whisper that they can speak telepathically, but Whisper either doesn’t understand what he is indicating with his body language, or isn’t interested. Zaveir has his men put shackles on Whisper after complying with Orik, who insists Whisper should be stripped down to underwear or given new clothes. Falx tells Whisper that he’d like to know why he has done the things he did, and Whisper responds, saying that he would like to tell him someday.

Falx silently thinks about his eye patch, and recognizes that it is reacting in a new way since coming into proximity of the stone tablet. A guard returns with a black stone box and presents it to Falx and Zaveir. Falx carefully places the stone tablet inside using his cloak. Zaveir tells the guard to return it to the vault, indicating an inventory placement for it. The black box closes, and immediately Lelouche and Falx recognize an arcane power that they had been feeling, but suddenly stopped. They both surmise that the box locks arcane power within and prevents arcane searching for the item. Falx recognizes that the eye-patch stopped reacting to the table when the box was closed. He makes a mental note to look into it later.

The group walks with Zaveir and the guards as they escort the prisoner Whisper back toward the castle. Lelouche requests that the kingdom return to him a Telepathic Bond ritual scroll, as he expended one in order to capture Whisper. Zaveir agrees, ensuring they will have one requisitioned in addition to their permanent honorary citizenship. Zaveir gives orders for Whisper’s detention: Bound at both arms, both legs, and neck, and no torture. Zaveir also clarifies that he will be held until after the pyre, and then they will have a “discussion” about what he was doing with the stone.

The group discuss removing the “Foe-To-Frog”‘d Undead Servitor from the Bag of Holding, but Falx warns against it, as they are unaware of the plan that Whisper had for the creature and whether it will have ritual scrolls on it’s person in order to complete those plans. The group decides that before they make a decision, they should speak with Whisper and handle the security around the pyre.

300 EXP from role-playing + 200 EXP from fighting = 500 EXP total (22000 EXP total)

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Korberos

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