Shadows of Absalom

Chapter 3

What Comes Around...

Chapter 3 of our tale began with the holy slayer of Damerrich , Svala Lorensdotter, injured and in hiding in a burned out building in The Puddles District, along with Zenari the Druid and an unconscious hotspur of House Licinius, Elo; Russ, an investigator and purveyor of intoxicating substances, went off to find help.  Skirting The Docks, and moving as stealthily as he could through The Puddles, Russ emerged into the Foreign Quarter, to seek help from a shrine to Pharasma that he knew was nearby.   After satisfying the questions of the Golden Company, a well-known and well-liked mercenary company who serve as town watch for both the Foreign Quarter and the Merchants Quarter, Russ soon found his way to the shrine for the Lady of Graves.

Sister Tigann, a priestess of the shrine, was able to offer healing, for a donation - if Russ's friends could come back to the shrine, as the clergy of the shrine were in the middle of an evening ritual and could not leave the sanctuary at that time.  When Sister Tigann's offer of a potion of healing prove too rich for Russ's liking, he declined and promised to return with his injured companions.  While returning though the darkened streets to his friends, Russ could not help but feel as though he was being watched.

Without many choices, Svala hoisted the unconscious Elo onto her broad shoulders, and with Zenari in front and Russ behind, carried him through the dark streets of The Puddles, without exacting much comment.  It was a different situation once they crossed into the livlier Foreign Quarter, however: they soon came into contact with a squad of Golden Company Watch who found their activities suspicious, and required the group to accompany them back to the District Station for interviews.  The group chose to be as honest in their interview answers as they could, without going into too much detail, and the Watch commander seemed satisfied enough with their answers – however, because  Elo had been found in an unconscious state with  grit smeared all over him, he was not free to leave.  The group pleaded to be allowed to speak with the hot blooded teen before leaving, and in the interests of quelling possible inter-House warfare the Watch commander agreed - as long as his subordinate, Sergeant Howie, came along to observe and take notes.  The group agreed, and went to Elo's cell to speak.

After some dialog, it became clear that  Elo did not know where the Daria was currently; during their drug-induced binge that included kidnapping the girl from her room, the conspirators panicked and dumped her off the quickest way they could while making some coin: they sold her to a Vudrani slaver in Misery Row named Pardu Pildapush.   He did not know what became of her after that.  Disgusted by what they hear, the group opted to leave  Elo in his cell and tell his family later where he is, and to return to the Temple of Calistria to heal up, while Zenari chose to return to Evergreen Park to check on Lupo

Russ and Svala reported to Luna Silverbeam, the priestess of Calistria, and updated her on the progress in Svala's assignment.  During the conversation,  Luna mentioned that Svala's prey, Yeddig Lyshev, not only enjoyed going to the Saucy Wench but also seemed to prefer the company of (and presumably also the victimization of) blonde women.  Svala decided that bit of information might be useful for disguise purposes, and then requested that Russ spend the night at the temple, which  Luna agreed, as long as it does not become a habit.   She also invited both of them to attend a bacchanal scheduled at midnight, as a celebration of a feast day of Calistria.  The two agreed and joined in; after a  time the festival turned from a formal ceremony, with chanting, prayer, and dance, into an all-out drunken orgy.  Russ nearly blacked out from over-indulgence of booze and sex, but otherwise a good time was had by all.

The following day, after Russ cured his massive hangover,  began with a visit to a lot of shopping in The Coins for potions and weapons, and included stops at Blood Beards Weapons Shop, Pepes Potion Shopette, Almarthas Apothacary, and Riddex I Make The Potions. Items were purchased, broken weapons left to be mended, and then the group was off for Misery Row and the business address of Pardu Pildapush.  After bribing their way in, they met the seedy, fat-bellied slave merchant, who admitted freely that he did buy the Julius girl from Elo Licinius, but that he had turned around and sold her to a gnoll slave trader named Gnarl Bonebender for a handsome sum, and that his ship (called the Last Chance) was docked at the Main Pier on The Docks.  Off the group went to check this information with Juron Vex the Assistant Harbor Master, who confirmed that the Last Chance was there, at a specific dock number, and might still be, but was required to make repairs before it could be cleared to return home, and those repairs would have to be made over at the shipyards in Escadar.

Meanwhile, a 'friendly' hafling began to 'help' Svala find the Last Chance, and once the group got together at a less-crowded area of the Main Pier they were set upon by members of The Puddle Jumpers, led by a rogue named Twister.   A bloody battle ensued, with the halfling gang beaten off or killed – Twister, once captured, confessed that none other than Pardu Pildapush was responsible for setting them up to be ambushed, and had also paid the Jumpers to follow and keep tabs on the group since they located Elo in The Puddles.  Determining that Daria must be still back with Pardu Pildapush, the group made for Pildapushs Chattel in The Coins, leaving quickly so that Russ was not identified as the person who set the Ticklefish Tavern on fire with his Potion of Surprise!

Back in Misery Row, the group stealthed in and searched the place, getting zapped by a number of traps for their troubles, but not finding any girl.  They did kill Pildaush's hound-like guardian, and stole a number of lesser items from him, including a very nice dark poncho and some old books.  After a brief stop at House Junius to informs them of the matter, the group booked passage on the Crooked Kraken, which was setting sail that evening for Escadar.  The eight hour trip from Abdalom harbor to Escadar was uneventful; that morning they got off the Kraken and soon found the Last Chance, where workers were just finishing up repairs.  At a filthy, fly-blown tavern called the Pasty Penguin, the group met  Sven and Ollie Olson, a pair of Ulfen naerdowells who were looking for trouble and had eyes for Svala's hot Ulfen bod.  They confirmed the slave ship wa a few hours away from leaving, and that the 'flea-bitten' gnoll crew was still scattered about a number of dive taverns and cheap whore houses.  A desperate plan was hatched: in return for Sven and Ollie's assistance, Svala would pay the Olson brothers some coin and allow them to grope her groceries whenever they felt like paying a call to the Temple.  The Olsons heartily agreed: the group would bum-rush the ship while still anchored, and before the main body of the crew returned;  Sven and  Ollie would make a distraction, draw the guards away, and the group would rush in and save the girl – at least that was the plan's ideal.

And indeed, soon there was a cry of FIRE! from the other side of the docks, the crowd and guards rushed over to investigate, leaving the group plus Sven Olson to storm the ship, which lead to a desperate running battle with a number of gnoll guards, a gnoll foreman, and, eventually, Captain Gnarl Bone Bender.  The party was nearly slain, but eventually killed all the gnolls on board, including the  Captain.  Slaves were set free, most of whom ran away pell-mell, and Daria was rescued!  Items from the dead gnolls were collected, including a magic great axe, a valuable gold rope necklace, a magical hand axe, a black silk under-armor enhancement, and a number of useful and fortunate potions.  The group hid, and then passage was booked back to Absalom aboard the Pickled Pepper, ready to sail within the hour.

The next day, after docking, the group returned Daria to her family, and her grateful family paid out their promised bounty to the group.  Zenari returned to Evergreen Park to find his wolf friend, while Svala and Russ went back to the Saucy Wench, where Svala talked with Marva the waitress about a job interview, who then in turn had her meet the Wench's owner, Lady Kythes Finch.  After a positive interview, Svala was hired to return that evening to wait tables while in disguise.  Svala went to the Temple of Calistria for her dye job and make-over, while Russ went back to the shops in The Coins to buy and sell things with his new-found loot, including a tent called Murphys We Love Old History Books.

During Russ's shopping spree Twister emerged and, perhaps as a way to make for his gang's earlier treachery, told the investigator that Pardu Pildapush had complicated things by putting a contract out on the group for breaking into his business and stealing his stuff.  Russ thanked him, rather rudely, then got back to Svala to give her share of the loot to her.  Svala was all dolled up, thanks to  Luna's skills in make-up and disguise, and the two of them went off to the Saucy Wench to see if they could snare the wily and dangerous Lyshev

Svala, now disguised as Elsa the Dumb Ulfen Waitress, shadowed Marva for a while, then spent a number of hours serving food and drink at the Saucy Wench, hoping her prey would show up.  And indeed he did, with two drunken friends who could not keep their hands to themselves.  Svala/Elsa, playing both cool and dumb, managed to slip into her conversation when and where she would be going home after her shift – and once the trap was baited, Svala/Elsa and Russ put it into motion around midnight, when Svala/Elsa was scheduled to go home.

At a previously-agreed to point in Eastgate, Russ split off from walking home Svala/Elsa to go stealthfully shadow and hide, hoping to take Lyshev by surprise –  but it was Russ who was surprised when 3 assassins, sent by Pardu Pildapush, ambushed him in an ally!  Right about then, Yeddig Lyshev chose to attack Svala/Elsa!  Both separate battles were bloody; Russ was overcome, and captured by the assassins, who picked him up and tried to sneakily drag his body through the streets back to their employer; meanwhile, Svala/Elsa proved herself to be just slightly more than a match for her murderer foe, and she dropped him just as fiery gnome Evona Peesami showed up, ready for a fight!  After making sure that Lyshev was indeed dead, Svala/Elsa carried the angry gnome and chased after Russ's captors, eventually running them down in the streets of Eastgate, where she and Evona made short work of them.

The  Post Guard finally showed up, and after much confusion Russ was healed up enough after LEVELING for them both to get away.  They both made it back to the Temple of Calistria in time to receive the heartfelt thanks from Luna Silverbeam, and an invitation to next month's bacchanal.

Comments

It’s Elsa the Dumb Ulfen Waitress. I just can’t let that go.

Chapter 3
 

Blast, I thought it was Esther. Will fix

Chapter 3
 

Done!
;=8)

Chapter 3
PaulAPresenza

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