The Pakthryxl Proxy

First Steps on the Spire

More than meets the Eye: Halflings

After casting the foolishly confident Kaoth Saumeth into the sea, a momentary, lingering regret was felt; he was still wearing his full plate. Fifteen hundred gold pieces worth of shaped steel, it was a costly mistake. Lesson learned; before kicking future well-clad Scarnetti lackeys into the depths, strip them of their gear.

Waste not, want not.

That done, only Hebrind, a Mordant Spire Elf, remained. He yielded little information of use. The value of his continued life was argued for a time, eventually leaving him bound and below-decks on the VII. The next question was what to do with the elven schooner, the “Moon Dust”. There were many options, many avenues, but none seemed clear. The Scarnettis had a two-day lead on the VII, and had warned the elves of its approach and likely intentions. The elves would be expecting the VII on the east side of the Spire, but not the west. Taking the long route would add several days to the journey. Can they make use of this new ship or its lone survivor? After interminable debate, a plan was forged.

Tebrilith would take the “Moon Dust” to the Mordant Spire port with a stirring fiction of how the ship was attacked by pirates, and how they had just barely escaped with their lives. Lorenz, Myrrh, Hilig, and the three recently freed Halfling slaves, Werra, Faleth, and Kia would accompany her. Lorenz and Peril used their magics to disguise themselves as elves, and Peril’s more potent illusions cloaked nearly the ship entire. The halflings would remain as they were, and would have remained aboard the VII, if not for the fact that the Moon Dust could not be crewed without them. Myrrh would remain hidden until the time came.

So it came to pass, the battered elven ship came to harbor at the Mordant Spire,. The two “elves” giving such a performance as to leave no doubt in any heart. Leaving Peril and the halflings at the ship, Lorenz set out to charm a suitably secluded docking site out of a local, while Myrrh skulked through the shadows, searching for any clues to their imprisoned quarry. Lord Vestin ended his search with an elf named Suviel, willing to reveal a certain cove for a price. Though undoubtedly unscrupulous, this elf was also more cunning than Lorenz was used to.

Vestin, left alone by the ambitious elf, sent one of his recently purchased feather tokens out to the waiting VII, far out at sea, instructing it where to go to avoid detection by the ubiquitous elven fleet. The seaborne skill of Aven and the Hole Maker together were able to chart a course to the cove without incident or detection. Meanwhile, Goethe kept busy transcribing the spellbook contents of the obliterated wizard from the Moon Dust. Myrrh made his way up a large hill to the northwest.

His message sent, Lorenz had several hours until the VII’s arrival. Returning to the harbor to check on the Moon Dust, only to find it and its crew gone, Vestin sighed. After helping to free Yigorin Slate from the Spire, Peril was take the Moon Dust as payment for her trouble and trouble them no more herself. Leaving prematurely, without notice, with Hilig, the VII’s cook/assassin, and the three other halflings was not included in that deal.

An aggravated Lorenz later gathered that apparently the adult female halfling, “Werra”, had been the one in charge, barking orders before casting off. Also, the female elf and male halfling were white as fresh sails and nervous. Despite their acumen and experience, it appeared they had been had. Halflings… Yet, all was not lost. They still had one card to play. He made his way back to the cove.

Up the hill, Myrrh enjoyed kinship with shadows. He knew not where the path he followed led, but its significance was supported by the guard stationed there. Focusing his mind, his image folded into nothingness, and he was beyond sight. Not sound however, as he made his way past the guard and onto a rope bridge to unknowns beyond, an unlucky twig revealed his presence, if not his location to his perceptive pursuer. The whistle from the elf guard was unmistakable. He’d been discovered, if not found, and he’d be visible again soon. “Later”, he resigned to himself, and withdrew to the harbor to report on his findings.

Lorenz and Myrrh looked on as the VII made anchor. The news of the Moon Dust’s departure was disconcerting, however the sliver of hull Goethe sliced off earlier and the arcane spell “Track Ship” alleviated a few concerns, if not all. That score would be settled, eventually. It was getting late, but it was decided a midnight tour of the dock’s waterholes might provide some information.

One tavern remained open and busy. Lorenz, still the handsome elf, and Myrrh, again the handsome human, entered first, and were welcomed well enough. Staying behind a moment to distance his social stigma from his partners, Goethe entered later, leaving Blatz to stand watch invisibly on the tavern’s roof. Reskafar and Aven joined Goethe at his table. Their reception was as Goethe expected, although it seemed the Undine was only guilty by association.

Leaving the social dance to its practitioners, Goethe ordered a bottle of wine for himself, and started his evening. It had been a long week at sea. Myrrh slid skillfully into the graces and conversation of a human/elf pair of businessmen, gathering gossip. Lorenz earned the good will and thanks of a lone elven guard, standing watch outside the tavern, without drink to warm his belly until elf Vestin arrived with good tidings. Both managed rather well, especially the Auditor, as he may have snared a better lead on Slate’s whereabouts.

Goethe however, having perhaps one drink too many, lost his patience. In an attempt to slip the fate of would-be treasure-hunters out of an elf server, he ended up debating history with the haughty elf. The kobold encouraged the struggle, in hopes of further entertainment. As the pitch raised and the wizard nearly got the three kicked out, Myrrh stepped in to calm nerves and sooth egos. The left soon after, making their way back to the VII, and to sleep.

It was late, and after Goethe made clear the historical inaccuracies about which the elf waiter was mistaken, the others related the information gathered throughout the night, and began their plans for the morrow.

Comments

Log by Goethe. Tried fussing with the URL link to get it linked.

First Steps on the Spire
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