The first chilly morning after arriving in Brinn (with all the pomp and circumstance as a mob boss) the party mulls over the note from L.L. in the warm comfort of an Irish bakery.
“Guess we’d better find her.”
“Yeah. Where’d that crow come from?”
“Got it on prepaid.”
Meeting adjourned! Throughout the day they scour the town for L.L. from its slummy south-western districts to the 4-storey governmental chambers. They soon find out from the slave-drivers and the enigmatic “B” (ruler of Brinn) respectively that L.L. is in fact the “Lantern Lady”, A.K.A. Karmen.
Karmen appears to be a wandering paladin who gives a taste of the adventurer’s life to the common people through selling trinkets of her travels – a petrified roc’s claw here, a gnome’s pipe there. She has some kind of history with B who has taken a kind of shining to her, and almost all the town know and/or admire her.
Sweet! Now we just have to uhm, kill her? Bring her to justice? The party examined their motivations for tracking down L.L. and found that they too were caught in the Karmen charm and tried to honour their deal with her viz. selling Rose up to but not including the point of sale. So, the party arranged via a few dropped notes around town to meet her at a swanky seafood restaurant near B’s tower to discuss the deal.
Generous in spirit, she orders a saucer of milk for Paws when Syra and Makkam arrive. Syra likes this. An amicable chat later, the party learn from the (slightly boastful) Karmen that, after recently coming back from the Elvan capital Karelle and gleaning some juicy information on the whereabouts of the fabled Elemental Scrolls, she’s going on a high adventure down south after Brinn. However, in true adventurer fashion, she doesn’t want the party whaling in on her XP and lootz, and so advises them to find their own information in Karelle which is apparently on the brink of civil war with at least one faction willing to sell information on their human “allies”.
After explaining her need for a healer, she was a little disappointed when she was denied this. At the same time, Ertryd and Fredrik were holed up in their inn room in the centre of town. There is a clinky scratchy sound at the window facing the back alley, and Ertryd investigated, seeing as Fredrik was busy pouring over the income/expenditures tally for the party. One shattered pane of glass and a few cuts later the two of them dispatched a triplet of thieves who were after “the healer”.
Syra and Makkam return to the room, and see that a couple of corpses have been added to the decor. “Non-lethal damage, guys” Syra mutters. Now that they’ve used Rose as bait and didn’t seal the deal, Rose’s usefulness expires to the party and they send her on her way the next morning on the 3 day trek to Port Cullis. She’ll be juuuust fine.
Understandably wary since their inn room was attacked, the party camped outside the second night in Brinn. They forgot about Splugg the goblin hexer so he stayed in the comfy inn. In the early hours of the morning they smell cooking meat coming from a field south of their position. Too tired to check it out, they content themselves with smelling smokey drumsticks while the dawn comes.
By the time they get around to the big field where the smell was coming from, they find that they are too late and the quarry has moved on. Tracking 2 sets of draconic footprints and a humanoid on horseback, they come into another town and Makkam’s crow spots a familiar platemailed figure hawking her wares to eager commoners. The party avoid a public encounter and follow her out of town again, and find that they’ve been spotted by either Karmen or some kobolds or both.
Needless to say, the kobold ambushes in the woods outside town end unluckily for the kobolds, who seemed to be protecting a “Godling” and “his servant”. Man, whatever! The party sets out an ambush for the paladin when she stops for a meal in a clearing with her dragonborn buddies. A crashing noise behind them alerts them to the presence of yet more kobolds headed towards the clearing. Since the party is split, the ranger grabs the crow phone (crone?) and she and the rest of the party mutually decide that there’s no such thing as too much kobold blood.
As the kobolds are engaged in battle at the edge of the clearing, the paladin notices and starts advancing on horseback in a phalanx with her dragonborn and her pet drake who had been riding shotgun in the saddlebag up until this point. “I gave you a chance, but you just keep coming. What will it take?” she yells. The horse takes some damage as it charges into the party, but manages to trample most of them before it goes in front of the elf and the dwarf. After a graceful leap off her dying mount, Karmen sizes up the dwarf, who just took a hoof to the stomach and didn’t fall down, and the elf, who is pointing a frostbow at her face.
Final Fantasy soundeffects play as Karmen buffs her damage to the moon
After dropping the ranger thanks to a burrowing brown dragon wyrmling, things were looking up for the paladin of Tiamat. But then again, death is no obstacle to this party, and heals promptly brought the ranger back to life and way, way back from the battle as she takes a more strategic position to loose her arrows from.
With the party back up to full DPS, the dragon and the paladin soon went down, but the cries of celebration were momentarily drowned out by an ominous peal of thunder in the skies. Needing some time to kill off the dragonborn who had up until now not been focus fired, a few rounds pass and the atmosphere gets more and more heavy with electricity.
Just when hair was beginning to stand up and crackle, another party of a wizard, berserkers, and crossbowmen appeared in a thunderous clap. The wizard seemed surprised, then bewildered, then extremely vexed as her eyes fell on the prone form of the paladin.
All kinds of swearing and cursing later, the considerable electrical might of the wizard had won through and the party lay at her feet in the inky blackness of unconsciousness. The goliath had very some unsettling dreams.
When they finally came-to, they found themselves in gaol cells in Brinn, accused of multiple counts of engaging in slave-trade, murder, and attempted murder. Incensed at such false(?) accusations, the party immediately set about breaking free, and a few feats of strength and lock-picking later, they were tearing up the joint looking for their sweet items.
After being reunited with their preciouses, it was time to pose as a team in front of a lensflare background. Back in business, baby. Realising that they don’t stand a chance in melee, the remaining guards hole up outside on a parapet, shooting crossbow bolts through a tiny grating in an adamantine door at anything that moves. Thankfully for Makkam, they didn’t have the best aim and barely missed his familiar.
Such a stalemate attracted the attention of the Man responsible for law and order in this two-bit town. The party hear a bamf sound somewhere in the gaol.
A very miffed berlabang appears behind the party and demands to know what they have against his town that they keep turning everything upside down in it. He also makes it clear that he’s not having a good day, and he might kill them all if a) they don’t answer satisfactorily, and b) B ever sees their faces again near Brinn. Oooooooookayyyyyyy…
After answering satisfactorily and promising to never come back to Brinn, and also promising to let the barbarian get gutted with his the gaoler’s halberd if B lets him keep it, the party is alive. Phew! B ties their hands and tows them out of the gaol (where they see a gleefully gloating Splugg) and outside of town where B and his duplicate wish them the very worst and farewell.
With nothing to go on to find Karmen (who for some reason was the one who brought them back to Brinn) except the knowledge that she’s on a scroll trawl down south, they party tried to track her movement through towns and villages that way. Unfortunately, no one had seen her, so the party instead resolve to investigate the Elvan Realms where Karmen got the info on the scrolls in the first place.
Why didn’t Karmen kill the party when they were defeated? Who was that crazy electric wizard who is bound via some kind of powerful ritual(s) to Karmen? What’s this nonsense about an Elvan civil war? And what’s up with that crazy teleporting, self-duplicating berlabang anyway? WHERE ARE THE UNDEAD? Find out all this, maybe, after an extended break when we rejoin our heroes and heroines at level 3!