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Episode summary[]

Eager to make in-roads with the Warbond, The Party arrange a meeting with Coren Dahl, a local politician whose name they were given by the Halfling Sniper from Jimmy Patel's group. Interestingly, Dahl seems to oppose the Warbond in public, meaning that the meeting requires a certain amount of subterfuge.

They are instructed to visit a Halfling cuisine restaurant known as Underhill, where the waitress directs them to a booth. She repeatedly attempts to draw the curtain, but they insist on keeping it open so that they can maintain clear sight-lines into the restaurant. Coren Dahl seems to be a no-show and The Party spend about half an hour eating before finally giving in to the waitress's curtain-closing calls. Naturally, as soon as this occurs a panel in the wicker-work walls slides open and Coren Dahl begins speaking to them from a booth in the restaurant next door.

He explains the Warbond situation, claiming to have studied them as he would any enemy, but it's fairly clear that this is purely an attempt at maintaining plausible deniability. The Warbond has no central leadership, leading to a certain degree of factionalism. While some merely protest and occasionally indulge in small acts of vandalism, knowing that the worst possible result would be to draw the Deluvians' attention, other more radical groups are willing to perform raids into the Peacebond, killing Kua Toa and generally engaging in terrorist acts.

The Party float the idea of recapturing one of the Verandian coastal fortresses and manning it with Warbonders, maintaining plausible deniability for Laric's government, and as soon as Dahl is convinced that The Party aren't Larician agents, he gives them a list of contacts, noting which are too zealous to be worth dealing with, which are too small or pacifistic to be much help and which are "just weird", such as the Hengal faction to the south.

On their way back to the inn, The Party are ambushed by a silent invisible Elf wearing full plate, who stabs at Little One with a glowing rapier. While the rest of the group counter-attack, Angel stands back and makes a hand gesture, which the Elf finally notices (after Little One gets a hit in) and stops his attack. The gesture is a secret Organisation hand signal and, after a brief exchange of words, the Elf withdraws, taking his low-level invisible cleric henchman with him.

Before they leave for Corso's Chasm, Draven wants to visit one of the druids of Falcon Peak, a town only a few hours north of Bankton, to seek advice on the spirit seed. The next morning, they ride to the town and into the forest until they find a clearing which has clearly been moulded by nature magic (see infobox image). Here, they meet a adruid dressed in a tiger's hide, who informs them that he can smell an "arcane taint" upon them, which he believes is "the ancient curse of The Hubris", AKA Astral Plague, which he theorises came about as a result of bad karma the Ytarrans generated by treating nature like a tool. He informs them that it has not been seen in many lifetimes, even measured in the lifetimes of trees. He also tells them that the seed is a nascent spirit and after using Speak with Plants to talk to it decides that it has "a strongly good nature" and also theorises that it has been protecting them from the Plague by absorbing its harmful effects.

In order for the seed "to remain strong and grow into a good spirit", he suggests that they take it to the sites of great triumphs of good over evil so that it can absorb the spiritual energy of said victories. He also agrees to consult with some aged Elven druids in Telaras to find a way to remove the Plague. They also decide that the Plague is likely not contagious, given that only Ytarrans died the first time around and nobody's fallen ill in any of the towns they've passed through.

Burning house.png

The Party begin to travel back toward the Chasm, but in a small town en route they find a crowd of people terrified by an apparent Orc attack in a nearby house, which is on fire (see image, right). On approach, they see a half-Orc standing in the middle of the main room with a battle-axe over his shoulder. He invites them in and Little One obliges, reasoning that if the half-Orc's not concerned about the building collapsing, they shouldn't be either. However, upon entering, Little One is lashed by the flaming spiked chain of Mahran Doraj, Halfling assassin. He flees up the staircase, only to re-emerge a second later, hitting Black and Little One with a psionic Inflict Pain spell.

Angel attempts to use the Organisation hand signal as before, but Doraj dismisses it, pointing out that "if you're dead, no-one can prove that I saw that". However, as The Party close in and the half-Orc backs out of the fight (he was apparently only being paid to be a decoy), Mahran Doraj feels the need to come to the aid of ... Mahran Doraj? It turns out that "he" is in fact a pair of brothers, one a psion and the other a pyrokineticist. Eventually they knock out Pyro Doraj and while Psion Doraj manages to escape with a Dimension Door, he returns to trade his spiked chain and other magical equipment (magic armour and a heartseeker amulet) for his brother's life. Little One press-gangs the half-Orc into the group and they all head off back to Corso's Chasm to turn in the Spoons of Plenty to Don DiCorso.

Trivia[]

  • This episode is the first, and (so far) only appearance of a druid
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