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Shopping Montage

Page history last edited by adamlstout@... 1 year, 4 months ago

“Look, it was all a blur. We did a lot of stuff. I did a lot of stuff. I'm not even sure what order we did it all in. I'm not even sure who saw what or went where."

 

"No I'm not high. I mean I was at the time, but I'm not anymore. Anyway, so there I was at the temple of Chauntea..."

 

 

Julianna-

 

"Well, it is nice to meet you Michel.  I'm glad that they were able to find another source of the divine, and tickled it is someone who follows nature," Maerovyna says as you present yourself to the temple of Chauntea.  "Now, what did you need the Awaken spell for?" She thinks about it for a second and interrupts herself, "Agates can come in many colors and you could easily get a green one, which would probably work better for your needs anyway at either jeweler's place. But for now Yes, I have several scrolls of awaken I can sell to you.  Each is 2500 sp."

 

"I'm indifferent towards color as they will be consumed with the spell. But as for the recipient, I've grown fond of my horse Nibbler and spend much of my travels speaking with him through a spell that connects us. In addition to that I've grown an orange tree near the house and I'd like to grow a second to keep him company."

 

Her eyes grow wide, "That seems interesting.  Can myself and the acolytes watch this?" At this request a few of the acolytes perk up. Mostly a temple hand's duties are boring, cleaning and the like. Occasionally there are spells involved, but mostly simple rituals for good harvests or healing. This would be the first time most of them had seen a spell at this level. 

 

"I would appreciate your attendance. Nibbler is a good friend but I'll leave the decision to him of course. George is the orange tree and he's fantastically interesting. I'm trying to encourage him to be gracious with the local children. They seem to like his fruit and he's working on being less grumpy. I think perhaps another tree beside him would help both on keeping the house safe as well as tempering his mood." 

 

Michel looks over the scrolls of 'awaken', "I'll take two if you don't mind. I know the spell myself but am finding it surprisingly difficult to find the components needed. I'll stop by Nibbler on the way home and ask him about it. But I'll wait until tomorrow at noon if he agrees. If not I'll respect his decision and work instead on another orange bush."

 

"That is fine.  We'll see you at noon tomorrow, to watch." Maerovyna bows and a murmur of excitement can be heard from the acolytes. Michel smiles. 

 

When Michel is ready at noon the next day, they are there watching.  Several are talking to George already. "Good morning George, are you greeting our guests nicely?" Michel walks up to George and crooks a finger down and whispers to him, "Do you have what I asked for last time?" George shudders a bit, his leaves moving, and then a branch splits open from it's core and brings out a wand.  It's not very big, perhaps five inches long and an inch in diameter. Michel takes the wand gratefully, "Thank you George. That is fabulous!" Michael waves it around a bit, "This is perfectly sized for me!"Michel admires the wand for a moment. 

 

"Yes, he greeted us quite well.  Shy, isn't he?  Won't say much.  And a bit stingy with his fruit!  We all got one orange to share!"  Maerovyna laughs at that.  "However, it is his fruit to share or not, so I'm fine with that."

 

"Are you being shy? I've got an idea for that. May I?" Michel gestures towards an orange fruit. George brings it low for the druid and he picks it. "Thank you my friend."

 

Michel examines the fruit carefully. Using druidcraft he locates the seeds inside it and pulses out a little magical energy causing them to bind and fuse together and then sprout through the skin of the fruit. Michel continues to feed the new plant energy, causing the flesh of the fruit to decay into necessary nutrients for the fledgling plant. Michel bends over and picks a spot but then looks up at George and decides a bit more space was wise. He picks a spot about 20 feet apart and places the seedling on the ground. 

 

A halfling doesn't usually need much urging to touch the dirt so it's not surprising when Michel bends down and places his wand on the soil, but the response that surprises them all Michel included is that the dirt reaches up and touches him back. Michel pulls up the energy of the earth, his new ring pulsing in time with his wand and the prayer to Chauntea as he casts the familiar 'plant growth' spell. The visible growth of a single shoot maturing into a modest tree in seconds is awesome to watch. Seasons flowing through the plant as it feeds directly on the energy of the planet and goddess, years of growth every second. 

 

It never ceases to surprise and impress Michel when the magic he uses does something dramatic, but even by normal standards this is remarkable. Michel looks confused at the plant which by any measure would've been a pride in an orchard. He looks at his own hand still covered in decaying orange juice and up at a majestic pear tree. He tentatively touches the bark. Electric tingles of divine magic greet his fingers as the rough bark shudders under his touch. Two visibly different trees stand side by side in front of the house where a few days ago there were none. 

 

One of the acolytes finds his words first, "W-was th-that supposed t-to happen?"

 

"As she wills I guess." Michel pulls the scroll from his pouch, "Let's meet our new sister, shall we?" Mitchell turns to Maerovyna, nods significantly and mouths "watch this". She begins to cast the ritual to detect magic as Michel unpacks the scroll and begins reading the ritual, again drawing from the deep magic in the earth itself to awaken a mind within this new life. 

 

When you picture the spell 'awaken' you should see it as a monumental moment. The spell gives the ability to speak to a creature or plant that cannot otherwise do so. Creating organs of speech and a mind that can understand the process of it. This changes the physiology of the plant or animal and creates a rudimentary face with which to interact if there wasn't one before. In addition to that, should you have the ability to percieve such things, you can see the Goddess Chauntea personally interacting with the individual plant or animal, speaking to it and convincing it that the caster is it's friend and convincing it to trust them. Then depending on how they treat it it could remain their friend or become more hostile. Finally as the swirl of magic coalesces and settles we are greeted by a happy new life that has a face and wants to interact depending on whatever personality it has chosen.

 

Michel walks up to the pear tree and touches her bark again, ""Happy day to you little sister! Welcome to Daggerford. I am Michel and if you would permit me I would name you Juliana." A kindly face greets the assembled group. 

 

"Sometimes i forget my middle name." She smiles warmly at everybody, "Hi, my name is Juuuleeeannaaa." It comes out a bit awkward but she powers through it. "I'm not sure how I got here."

 

Michel smiles at her, "We'll cover that later." He turns back around, "It's gonna be a while at this, but that's pretty much everything. If I hadn't had a scroll this would've taken all day."

 

Maerovyna has tears in her eyes as she thanks Michel and Julianna and then ushers her acolytes back in the direction of the temple. Michel tries and fails to convince George to give over some oranges before they leave. He gives George a face but doesn't force the issue. Michel doesn't feel ownership over either George or his oranges and considers it George's choice.

 

Julianna on the other hand seems sweet and pleasant if somewhat scatterbrained. Michel also notes her injecting odd statements frequently into conversation and while he understands the words they don't seem to mean anything when she says them. 

 

• "I'm so sad, a sad little panda." (Smiling when she says this. Not 100% sure what a 'panda' is.)


• "Do you think 'the aristocats' is an accurate portrayal of the feline relationship?" (Michel silently gawks but honestly has no idea what half of those words mean. She asks no follow-up questions.)


• "Just because we're doing this interview doesn't mean I'm not mad at you. Because I know you've started smoking again." (Michel asks for clarification, but Julianna insists and Michel agrees to cut back on smoking. She seems happy at that.)


• "I think you look delicious." (This one was a bit disconcerting.)


• "I was gonna help, but you know I'm a water sign." 


• "Lord Tubbington's poop is crispy and delicious!" (Michel nearly choked on that one) 


Michel finds over time that he can go to George for reports and information, but then to Julianna for friendship and interaction. Michel does consciously decide to put effort into maintaining a relationship with George in an effort not to alienate him. 

Ring-

 

"So, I've noticed that sometimes you guys get hit and it doesn't seem to phase you." Michel is talking with Tyrell over breakfast at some point. "You all have these rings you got from Gregoryvitch, I think?" Michel points to it. "You think I might be able to get one too?"

 

"There was a traveling merchant who had invented them. We showed them to Gregoryvitch and he was intrigued. He wanted to try them for himself so one was lent to him." Tyrell looks at his ring, "you know, Dorn got a bigger one. Maybe I could have them make me one as well."

 

Later that day, or maybe the next as days are fuzzy and run together, "I know you probably don't have them in stock or something, but can you make one for me?" Michel is looking up, as he does with nearly every person he meets, at a severe human lady in a deep dark dress. It might be blue or purple or even black. He looks around, "They really could use better lighting in here, perhaps a skylight or...Oooh! I bet there are magic lights that could really cheer up the place." Michel looks up at her hopefully. 

 

Her expression indicates he'd missed something important, again. Again showing that insight he's known for he holds his tongue and looks at her silently trying his hardest to listen. She looks at him, her lips pursing as she resolved herself not to repeat the query. They each look sternly at each other in uncomfortable silence until Tyrell chimes in, "I'll take one with 50 points." He intentionally bumps Michel with an knee.

 

"Oh, yeah. Same here, 50 pointers!" Michel hopes that was the right answer as she nods and takes an order from Jinn for one as well. 

 

She rattles off a price and then a bunch of other words about the price and payment and Michel loses interest again. Money had hardly existed for Michel before. Growing up on the farm Michel was taught math in bushels and litters. Now he had so much money he couldn't even count it all. So when she says a big number and everyone else is going for it he just nods. He slides the full amount over to her. It's enough to fund a reasonably sized farm for a year. And its for a ring of extra health. Michel marvels at the indulgence but given their enemy...

 

Several days later he returns and puts it on. It's a simple enough spell but, what power! It's as if he could run headfirst into a wall and laugh about it. In fact he's tempted to do just that. He restrains himself barely, but he feels much better about their chances against Thoss.

 

 

Manual of Quickness of Action-

 

Michel places the tome on the table, its 15 pound weight slamming down on the table raising dust and knocking over Dorn's wine. "Really? You've been lugging that thing around the house all tenday. Aren't you done reading it yet?"

 

"Not yet. Every page has questions at the end and excercises to try. After I read the first chapter and didn't do them I got real sick in my stomach and I stayed up all night rereading it and practicing the things." Michel sighs and opens it near the end. "So I'm a day behind."

 

Michel has taken several days to read a magical tome nearly half his weight and practicing the exercises inside it. He reads a page and then carefully reads a passage of instructions and sighs. Michel stands up, stretches a bit and then begins working on some sort of convoluted pose that ends with him doing a handstand for a second before toppling to the ground. 

 

He lays there for a second before getting up wearily, going over to check the passage again. He nods and tries again. This time the handstand involves a leg maneuver that helps him balance better and he stays upright, but it's not pretty. He balances for a bit and then intentionally tumbles down and gets up. He checks the page, rolls his eyes, groans loudly and then does it again. This time noticeably better and much more stable and when Michel finishes he looks at the page and chuckles. 

 

Dorn looks at him and then at the book, "is every page like this?"

 

Michel nods, takes a deep breath and turns the page. 

 

 

Sword-

 

"The dragonborn had a champion, the one that had cast the spell to stop Jinn's fireball. You remember?" Tyrell and Michel had looked over the pile of swords they had taken off the small army of dragonborn that had attacked the party after they'd defeated Gouge. There were 11 swords with a faint aura of magic that kept them sharp and slightly more accurate than the average scimitar. Two had a much greater aura of that same type that made them much more dangerous and accurate. But one was special. 

 

Michel struggled with adopting the magically enhanced sword. His own had been a dear gift from his parents. His father had trained him on how to use it as his mother had worked to train him in the druidic arts. Michel had never gotten good at using a shield with the sword, never got strong enough, but the sword was ok. 

 

This new blade was VERY nice. Not only was it strongly enchanted in both accuracy and damage, but it had a catch in the hilt near the pommel. There was space to place a gemstone into it. 

 

"But there's a catch. Usually when we use a gem it gets used up." Jinn explained. "You've seen me use gems in my spells and afterwards they're gone, right? It's the same thing here. You could use a gem and the blade would pull the magical essence out for an attack or maybe a few attacks, but in the end the gem would likely be used up. Unless you had a special gem."

 

"Where could I get a 'special gem'? What would that even look like?" Jinn pulls a gem the size of a goodberry out of...(Does his robe have pockets or was he holding that somewhere more interesting?) Michel's eyes go wide on either count. 

 

This gem the size of an egg is clear but inside it a swirling flame of orange and red and blue flames fight each other for dominance. It looks like if you dropped it that it could shatter and be really bad for whatever was unlucky enough to be nearby. "May I?" Michel reaches for it carefully. Jinn nods and hands it over nonchalantly. It is much heavier and more solid than expected and Michel has a second of cognitive dissonance as he looks at it. It feels terribly heavy and solid like a regular stone, but inside he can see the flames dance and writhe inside what is a clear and hollow shell. "Where did you get that? That is very neat."

 

Jinn takes it back with a forlorn look, "That's a long story." He looks at the stone before slipping it away into its hidden pocket again. "Maldar has a couple in his pack, this one is special to me. But I don't know enough about these stones to know if it would be drained by use or not. Sounds like we need to see if Gregoryvitch has returned from Waterdeep."

 

Maldar nods and pulls two out. "These are pieces of the elemental planes. Jinn's is "Fire". These two are "Air" and "Water"." He pulls one out from a similar hidden pocket as Jinn, "This one belonged to a late friend of mine, Uilken, it's from the plane of "Earth"." He looks at it closely and its got a similar swirling pattern of brown mud and rocks inside a clear shell. "I think I'll hold onto this one, but we could check out these other two to see if they're strong enough to resist being destroyed by use."

 

Later that day? Michel is noticing a pattern of time moving strangely. He must not be paying close enough attention, or maybe his speed growth of plants spell is affecting him strangely. Maybe meditation would help him. He'd have to review that section in the book. 

 

Later anyways Michel finds himself at the Sorcellor's Encapsulate taking to that severe human woman about his sword. She seems very impressed with its craftsmanship and looks into the pommel chamber, "oh yes, this is designed to hold onto a gem which would empower it magically." She looks expectantly at Michel. 

 

"Yes, we presumed that part and have a few jewels that might work. But the concern is that it would deplete the gems as they were used up. Do you think a stronger gem might be resistant to such damage?" Michel looks at Maldar who nods agreement. 

 

"What type of gem do you have in mind?" Michel can see the inner gears working in her mind. This human has been helping Gregoryvitch long enough to have seen incredible things, but there's always something new and interesting and the conversation has obviously drifted into that territory. 

 

Maldar hands over one of the elemental gems and Michel looks at it closely. This one is as captivating as the fire one for different reasons. Whereas the fire one contained a piece of the plane of fire, this one contained a distilled piece of the elemental plane of air. As he held it, the gem generated a thunderstorm inside it. Again, although the moderately sized gemstone weighs as much as a regular rock this size, it appears to be hollow. As Michel watches the thunderstorm grows into a great gale and then a hurricane inside the gem. He could sit and meditate on this gem all day. He reluctantly hands it over. 

 

As she takes the gemstone she is obviously disoriented by its disproportional weight as Michel had been. Her eyes grow wide as the cycle of thunderstorm grows again in her palm. Being the professional she is she regains her composure and mutters a magical phrase while performing a hand motion over the gem. She considers the gem carefully and clears her throat. "I do believe this would work effectively to power the sword." She again looks expectantly to the party.

 

Michel looks at her expectantly as well, "Yes, we also presumed that as well. But the question was would this gem be strong enough to do so without becoming consumed?"

 

She considers both the sword and the elemental gem carefully and then nods, "Yes, I believe this gem would empower the sword without being damaged for other purposes."

 

Michel sighs in relief. "What effect would this gem empower the sword with and how hard would it be to install a gem?"

 

She offers to do so for a small fee. But her face gives away her greedy motive. Michel smiles at her and waits silently. She smiles back and eventually gives way. She takes the gem and simply places it in the catch and pops it back out. Michel appreciates the ruse and gives her a little tip for being helpful. She smiles and informs Michel that it would empower lighting spells and such.

 

Now Michel has to find a place to display his father's sword as this one is going after a dragon. 

 

 

Clothes-

 

"I don't really see why we need to dress up." Michel is at a tailor getting measured and fitted for a couple of nice outfits to wear to the ceremony. 

 

Tyrell sighs, "Look, your new ring of elemental control takes your focus away from your armor and without that you just look like a regular dirty soldier. After this ceremony you'll be a Lord here in Daggerford." Tyrell nods and the tailor shrugs and keeps measuring and marking things down. Tyrell is starting to get grumpy. Nobody else seems to understand and he's at his wits end to explain it all. "You're going to be presented in front of the Duke. You're going to be granted titles and lands and if you ever have children these will be theirs someday. Is a BIG DEAL so stop complaining!"

 

Michel grumps, "I just like my armor. I could get these clothes from it for free and instantly. I just need to attune to it again." Tyrell rolls his eyes audibly. Michel acquiesces, "Fine, I'll do it. But I'm still going to reattune to my armor when this is done. I don't like being out of my armor. It's saved my life do many times I've lost count."

 

"Have you thought of your new title? They need  it before the ceremony. Commander Miller asked about it again this morning." Commander Miller had asked. Maldar had asked. Hells, even Dorn had asked. 

 

"I don't know what sounds good. It can be anything. That's a lot of options. What do you think?" Maybe he could get Tyrell to pick for him. He's so much better with words. Surely it'd come easy to him. 

 

"I haven't picked one for myself yet." Tyrell stares out the open window. "I'm thinking just 'the bard'. It has a nice simple ring to it." Tyrell sits up and thinks for a second, "What is something important to you? Maldar picked 'Master of Shadows'. What is important to Michel?"

 

Michel thinks about it for a moment, "I'm like a deer. I like the edges between things. Gives me options to run into the open or under cover."

 

Tyrell laughs, "A little deer maybe. But that's a thought. How about 'Lord of Vale and Wild'. That's kinda both of those things, right?"

 

"Hmmm, 'Lord of Vale and Wild'? That might work. I'll think about it."

 

 

Titles-

 

5 adventures stand in a line outside on a sunny day. 

 

They have been disarmed and their armor removed. 

 

They are still technically unrestrained and able to run if needed, but they are surrounded on all sides by both dozens of armed guards and beyond that a throng of people.

 

Ahead of them is a platform with the Duke, at his side is strapped a legendary blade. 

 

Beside him on one side are his wizard and the person they thought was their friend, Commander Miller. 

 

On the other, the Duke's sister and another supposed friend, Olin. 

 

Both Olin and Miller have serious and severe faces on today. Even the Duke is squinting at the party. 

 

They approach the stage begrudgingly. The Duke rises and the host quiets, a tension fills the air. 

 

"For exceptional service to the city of Daggerford..." blah blah blah. Michel looks around, his new outfit is itchy and hot. Not really as hot as his armor, but his armor could've been exactly this design if he'd wanted it. 

 

The Duke stands in front of Michel and a medallion is handed to him. "I present to you Michel Hardison, Lord of Vale and Wild!" The Duke places the medallion over Michel's head and purs his hands on Michel's shoulder. 

 

It dawns on Michel that the glamour would've been apparent on touch and the medallion might've even disappeared under the enchantment. Turns out Tyrell had been right. Michel makes another mental note to thank him for his advice. The ceremony ends and the party is escorted to a receiving line where they are introduced formally to the Duke and his sister. The Steel Eagles are here with a few new members, as is Nisha with what looks like a couple of acolytes from the red wizards. 

 

An interesting individual does introduce themselves to the group. Arriving noticeably late and with unusual fanfare and in conspicuous attire. Dressed in a provocatively bright outfit the individual introduces themselves as "Ser Kossuf" of Waterdeep. He seems particularly interested in speaking with Jinn, but Jinn seems most interested in heading back to the house to continue studying his books and excuses himself as soon as politely possible to do so. 

 

Michel enjoys the food immensely. A halfling always knows when harvestime is coming and the food improves as it does so. Michel eats to his heart's content and as he's finishing and debating going for fourths Jinn comes back to the party. His face is white as a sheet and he talks in hushed tones with Dorn and Tyrell. They both exchange worried glances and collect Maldar and Michel together. 

 

Jinn is in a state of panic, "Ser Kossuf is Thedane. THE Thedane! The one warned about in Arakus' journal. The one warned about by my wife!" Michel is slightly less concerned than Jinn, but with everyone's expressions it seems possible that this is much more severe than initially it would seem. 

 

 

Drinks-

 

Later that day, pretty sure it was after the ceremony anyways, the group agrees to go have drinks at the Lady Luck tavern. Michel has two large drinks and is enjoying himself when the party decides to discuss tattoos and dragons with Nisha at the Chateau. Michel looks forlornly at his drinks and grudgingly agrees to leave them behind. Tyrell promises better drinks at the Chateau and this perks up Michel considerably. 

 

Papa Whatsisname smiles and greets the Danger Magnets, gesturing towards the lounge area where Nisha is apparently expecting them. Michel sits with Nisha and her two "acolytes". They are introduced as such but it's VERY obvious from their bristling expression that clearly indicates their dislike at being subservient to her. Michel immediately forgets their names but not their resentment. He does make an effort to remember their faces in case that ire is ever directed at him. 

 

A waiter comes and asks if the party would like refreshments. Michel asks him for something 'interesting'. Everyone at the table looks at Michel strangely and the waiter gets a funny look in his eye, "very well" and he turns to collect the beverages. 

 

A few moments he brings a tray out with a few glasses of wine, a few mugs of ale and a 'thing'. He sets it down in front of Michel and it's as amazing as it is strange. A huge tower of a glass, cylindrical with a tiny storm cloud over top. The little people cloud drips rain and lightning into the colorful cocktail as it hangs nearly three fingers above the rim of the glass. The waiter stands and looks expectantly at Michel as he watches it rain into his cup. 

 

Michel, never one to shirk a challenge picks up the cup and sips it. It is delicious and sweet and there doesn't seem to be a strong flavor of alcohol. The waiter moves to interrupt and then thinks better. Michel considers for a second and then snarfs the beverage. The tiny cloud smearing purple rain and tingly sensations all over his face and fancy clothes. It is fairly strong, VERY sweet and not surprisingly messy but it is fun. 

 

Michel looks up at the waiter a smile on his messy face as he wipes 'rain' off his face. The waiter's face is aghast. Michel looks at him in wordless curiosity. 

 

The waiter stammers, "Y-you're supp-pposed to wait for it to finish." The table roars out in laughter at that and almost unanimously there are calls for another one, not least of which from Michel. 

 

A few moments later and Michel is sitting in front of another one. This time the raincloud is pouring in and Michel waits and watches. All conversation at the table stops to give attention to the beverage. Michel waits until the last drop drips and then looks at the waiter who nods almost imperceptibly. 

 

Michel takes a sip. It's spicy, sweet, tangy, tingly, alcoholic, and dark and then nothing. 

 

The next morning is interesting to say the least. Michel comes to with Dorn clomping around upstairs and Jinn reading his books so loudly it was surprising the pages didn't just come out of the binding. At least Tyrell had the courtesy to take his minstreling outside. Maldar was already prepping lunch by the time Michel woke and it smells terrible. Michel goes outside to check on George and Julianna, eating goodberries as he does so. 

 

George gives Michel an orange and Michel struggles with it for a while before just crushing it and drinking the juice. But it was really tasty...

 

 

Guests-

 

So they'd been out. Shopping or eating or something. Like idiots and not really paying attention. They'd killed a dragon. Not the big one but his second in command and child. Make that 2 sons, both dragons, both killed by this group. And they were just walking along. 

 

Minding their own business. 

 

And there was a guy. 

 

He was standing beside George. He sees the group and breaks off one of George's branches. 

 

Michel freaks out and rushes up to him. "Hey, stop that!" 

 

He does not, snapping another one off. 

 

Michel doesn't want a fight but this guy is clearly spoiling for one. "George, if he does that again, hit him."

 

"Yes, George, hit me. See how that turns out." This human has an evil streak so wide it turns Michel's stomach to rot. He looks at the party. "Now that I have your attention, I am Thoss. Stay out of my swamp and stop killing my children."

 

Michel looks around at his friends. All of their mouths are open. He looks at George, sap dropping out of several fresh wounds. He looks up at the dragon in human flesh. There was only one possible reply, "No."

 

Michel called upon the forces of nature and conjured two giant spiders beside him, one of which is able to spray him with webbing to restrain him. Words and spells fly until the dragon reveals himself with a rush of wind and arcane energy. In a split second the dragon, Jinn and Maldar are gone. At some point Tyrell had run inside, Michel looks at Dorn who seems unaffected by whatever spell took their friends. They both intentionally step out of the sphere of the spell and it vanishes. 

 

Michel rushes in just as Tyrell throws open the door to rush out. "They're gone! Stolen by Thoss!"

 

They grab provisions and armor and weapons. Dorn begins to put his plate mail on as Michel hunt's foir something special. Something that could help turn the tide against the beast. 

 

"Where is it? Nisha gave us a ring." Michel overturns various tables and such looking for it. Nisha had, in fact earlier that day, arrived to inform the Danger Magnets that they would be unable to go and help with Thoss because Thedane had ordered them away. Since he outranks them they had to give in. She delivered a single golden ring and had told Maldar that if he wanted help from Thedane that the ring would facilitate that. Michel doesn't know the danger of Thedane, but he knows it's a risk. To get his friends back he would take nearly any risk. 

 

Suddenly the door opens and Jinn and Maldar step through. Everyone freezes. Then everyone speaks all at once. 

"Preparing to leave." "We talked with Thoss." "Can't find the ring." "Our items came to us. ""What happened to you?" "I was gonna fly them over to you." "What's the plan?"

 

Eventually it all comes out. The dragon hadn't wanted to engage the team but to enlist and threaten them. Stop attacking the swamp. Kill the lizardfolk. Rescue Dragonspear castle. But mostly stay away. 

 

At this Chandi perks up, "Master?  If there is one thing I have learned, it's don't make a bargain with a dragon.  I doubt he will keep his word!  In fact, what's to say that this isn't a ploy to get the Danger Magnets out of the area?  Perhaps you are the only ones he's afraid of and he wants you gone?"  

 

Jinn stares at Chandi for a while, wide eyed.  "That's a good point, Chandi.  I had not considered that?"  

 

"I think this means we need to go and go now." The party decides to pack up and leave immediately. Michel uses some magic to repair George's torn branches and tells him and Julianna to guard the house. 

 

Maldar shadow jumps the group to the keep of the Steel Eagles and they arrive at a grove of trees nearby. A servant rushes out to meet the Danger Magnets and identifies them on sight. They seem surprised as the Steel Eagles had not yet returned from Daggerford. They welcomed the Danger Magnets cordially enough and the Steel Eagles arrived within the hour. 

 

Much of the interaction with Thoss was shared and some preparations are made. Jinn offers to set up a teleportation circle in the keep and some debate occurs over where to put it. Michel tunes out at that point. There's something he wants to try. The grove that they arrived in on their way to the Steel Eagle's Nest would do. He heads there and taps Maldar on the shoulder and points in that direction. Maldar nods but continues to focus on the teleportation ritual. 

 

Michel heads out into the night towards the grove. Selúne rises and shines over the trees as Michel approaches the edge. He takes a deep breath and pulls out the orange wand. With a pang of guilt over Thoss' treatment of George he taps the wand to his ring. The ring of earthen elemental control resonates silently with the rhythm of the grove and ground and deeper. Michel kneels and places his hand and ring onto the soil.

 

A slow voice, lethargic but not sleepy responds, "You call to me, little druid? I am aware of you and that ring of yours. Be careful, little one. I am not one to suffer fools."

 

"I respect your power, great one. I merely call to introduce myself and to ask a simple favor. I am Michel Hardison, Druid of Chauntea and of Sylvanus and of Selúne, Son of the Druidess Dareah Hardison. How may I address you?" Michel waits patiently for a response, partially holding his breath. 

 

"I am Zaladrane, environmental guardian of the grove and the land and the area. I do not serve the human gods but I respect them. What favor would you ask from me?"

 

Michel nods, aware that Zaladrane could not see him doing so. "I would ask for an audience. May we speak face to face?"

 

If a disembodied voice could be surprised or laugh, this one appears to do both. "I have no face with which to speak, but I will send my emissary to visit you."

 

A slow rumble is felt and after a few minutes stops. Heavy footfalls approach from just south of the grove. A small jumble of rocks appears to be heading towards Michel. A stone elemental not much larger than Michel shuffles over and stops about 20' away. It looks at Michel in a curiously expecting and appraising way. 

 

"Michel Hardison." The druid bows to the stone elemental. The words that Michel intends to say coming out like gravel in his throat. He coughs a little from the unfamiliarity of the language. 

 

"We speak for Zaladrane." It's hard to tell if the stones 'speak' in any understandable way, but the stones grinding together make sounds and they communicate in a language Michel understands somehow. "What task would you have of us?"

 

Michel gives the elemental a quizzical look. The language is foreign and alien but he understands it somehow. He attempts to speak again and it comes out in sounds similar to those used by the stone being. It hurts and it's difficult to understand, but Michel seems to be able to use it. "My friends and I have made enemies of a powerful Dragon near here. We are going to go face him. I have two simple requests from you." 

 

The stone elemental waits, it’s appearance dissolving. If Michel was unaware of its presence he would have bypassed it as an assortment of oddly shaped stones. Michel implies from this that it is waiting for Michel to speak or act. Michel holds up a finger, "watch this place, if we succeed or fail there may be retribution. Be aware of this place and whether our friends are attacked."

 

Michel holds up a second finger, "defend this place. If any attack, if our friends call your name, if you see a dragon here you shall come to the defense of our friends. If none attack, simply watch."

 

Michel puts his hands down, "I and mine are defending nature from the dragons. These humans farm the land. We fight for peace and stability. I ask you to watch and defend. That is all." Michel bows reverently. 

 

Zaladrane, or his avatar not sure which, bows and speaks that gravel language, "We agree to watch and defend." The pile of rocks collapses into a small pile of boulders in place. Michel marks the place in his mind and takes another mental note to inform the Steel Eagles of Zaladrane and the agreement to defend them in case of attack. 

 

Sleep, Michel is tired and plagued with concerns, but with Zaladrane and the Steel Eagles watching he feels prepared to begin hunting Thoss tomorrow.  

Comments (1)

Jon Goranson said

at 9:52 pm on Jul 16, 2019

Love it! Thanks!

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