(told by Victor Taur’on)
Well, our time in Reneaux is gone-and-done. We started the day out with a nice little lecture from Aunt Blair; well, HAVEN got a nice lecture. Blair was an old runnin’-buddy of Phineaus Tanglestaff, and he felt it necessary to tell SOMEONE about Haven’s faux-pas in mentioning her godmark. He was kind to her and chose Blair; if he had told Haven’s mom, she mighta hunted Haven down and beat her senseless, and had she told our mom… well, Haven would have learned what being trapped in a tower felt like. Blair basically told Haven that was her one shot, and whenever something like this happens, she should ask Aldric (the anchorman) or, barring access to him, Felix (the info guy). As a penance, Haven now owes Blair some work-service; mission one was to find out if the two sisters of the King in Reneaux are lesbians! EMBARASS-O-RAMA INITIATED! And since Phineas did us a solid, he gets to see Fess’s desk. :)
Well, we meet up with Adelaide for lunch; Conner swoons, but charms. We schmooze until the desk-transfer party starts. We go in, pleasantries are exchanged, and we kick everyone not us out. Upon looking at the desk (which a masterwork of carpentry), we find a couple of secret compartments (one with cold-slate panels for storing wine and one just general storage). Other than that, I found some strange writing; when Conner used his magic decoder glasses, he got a brief glimpse before the letters started shifting; obvious magic at work. The words worked fine for Haven and Allison, tho, stating “You are not the eldest.” I verified that this was indeed Fess’s handwriting, meaning it was added after she got it from her future husband, and for unknown reasons. INTERESTING!
Well, we hit the desk party, Conner schmoozes with Adelaide (who only has eyes for him), Uncle Charlie fakes being drunk (GREAT practice, and needed to keep up his rep for now), and Haven and Aldric discern that the twin sisters of King Ivan are either straight or VERY good at acting. I wonder why two pretty, smart, and talented noblewomen haven’t married yet? INTERESTING…
The following day is Lover’s Day; in Reneaux that means a outdoor Masquerade festival! We get some masks, with Haven getting an EXQUISITE mask of blue ribbons in the mail that day from an unknown admirer (ROFLCOPTER!). We head out to chill at the party; Adelaide hangs on Conner’s arm dressed as a Mordovian soldier, complete with sword and armor. And, lo and behold, up walks a GALLANT gentleman (fashionably late, as usual), dress in matching blue to Haven, and in crocodile-skin boots. Sebastian, here in Fess, damn near half the Valley away from home. MY DAY IS AWESOME! The two dance a bit, and Haven is WAY less disturbed this time; she allows herself to just enjoy the company and attention, FINALLY!
SLAP! Out of nowhere, a lady walks up to Adelaide, slaps the crap out of her, and challenges her to a duel! Since Adelaide is carrying a sword (costume or no), she is required to duel for herself. The challenger chooses one of her guards as a proxy, and Sebastian gives her his armor and sword. The guy she faces off against apologizes to her under his breath, and they start fighting. He’s got MAD skills (around level 8), but a miracle roll by me (dropped a 20, the only roll that would do), notices something in Adelaide’s form; she’s VERY carefully masking footwork that seems like Swordmage forms!
Adelaide, thus hamstrung, loses the fight (to first blood). She’s ok with it, saying that now she should go sleep with the chick’s husband, since she was already punished for it. When Aldric heals her up, he gauges her at about 5th level. Sebastian mentions to the Lady challenger that she WILL be remembered; her political career is is about to be interesting and brief! We all go to the side, and I (incapable as I am at keeping it secret that I know for later blackmail) tell her that my relative expertise in this particular subject (being trained by a Master Swordmage for most of my life), has outed her skills.
She’s kinda bummed that someone could tell, but glad it was us; we’re not likely to use it against her. She’s been trying to train herself; all the people she could get to train her are either security risks or won’t train her because she Mordovan. Understandable, but lamentable; until she proves herself otherwise, she’s OK in my book for being a buddy to Allison while she was away from home. Besides, if Conner gets his way, he’s a-gonna MARRY dat girl! Of note, he KNOWS she’s probably gonna break his heart; but finds the risk acceptable. :)
Well, as we are leaving the next day, we break for the evening. I spend the night copying a 5th circle swordmage form from the writings of Salkana; it could help her, and seemed the right thing to do. I give it to Conner for him to give to her; wingman protocol, yo! She’s thrilled, and Mel offers to look into getting her an eladrin swordmage tutor. She’s super-relieved that we’re so amicable to helping, if not a bit weirded out that we, nobles from a reputed “goody-two-shoes” kingdom, seem perfectly willing to help her, the “Beautiful Pit Viper of Mordova” with no expectation of recompense, just because she needed the assist. Some folks just can’t understand heroes. Allison, Charlie, Gwen and Mel (who wants to meet my family at home, preferably on her own so they can meet her as she is, and without being talked-up by the rest of us) board the lightning rail with the desk and their 30 Taur’on guards. They roll out, we head to the stables and mount up. HORSEBACK, HO!
None of us are used to this, and it SUCKS! It rains for several straight days, and after we hit a town and figure out when/where we could catch up to King Luther, we hit the road again. After getting jumped by a couple of ankhegs (which I ain’t fought since 2nd ed!) and almost losing Haven and Conner, we meet with Luther and his big, heavy-cav retinue. As we travel along, we get near the town of Dear Foot… and Conner flips out; VISION TIME!
In his vision, he sees Deer Foot burning, and citizens running from the fire being arrowed-down by assembled ProudPony troops as they near the border. This simply is NOT ProudPony kinda stuff; so Felix figures that plague is the logical call; either that or total war against Reneaux. Conner decides to tell Luther about his prophetic visions; if we can’t trust him, we’re in deep crap anywho. Luther agrees with the plague call, going so far as to relate plague to Conner’s previous vision in/of Glanmor’s abandonment. When we mention the tarot cards, FOR NO DAMN REASON, a card flips out onto the table; The Tower. SHEESH, OMINOUS MUCH!
Well, we’re in Deer Foot now. We’ll see what we can do; the scale of these things waffles between intensely personal or trivial matters and OMG THE VALLEY IS DOOMED! No pressure!