March 1-17, 2016
Visiting the Witchwardens
Thursday October 26
The Merchant District
|Fortis and Valinya plan to fly over to the Noble District|
“No need to fatigue ourselves, the flight will likely be less taxing than the wouldn’t you think? Besides, that will give us the opportunity to inspect the cemetery on our way.” Fortis does his best to convince Valinya that they should take the direct route and fly there.
After testing the breeze Valinya says, “I think your idea is good. I’ll … um, change somewhere inconspicuous and then we can go.”
“Fantastic… Race you!” shouts Fortis.
The flight across the harbor does not take much time, though the wind proves to be blowing quite a bit more robustly just a bit above the harbor, making flight by tiny wing or gaseous form a bit more challenging. Flying just below the tumultuous layer of wind puts Fortis in the path of numerous sea birds out looking for a bite to eat.
After their abrupt transit the Ellyl and the Elf reach their destination. “Told you I could move faster. Even if you can pass through buildings, it’s just easier to fly over them. Next time I think I’m going to practice a few aerobatics moves to make it more interesting.”
“If I wanted to fly faster I’d have changed into an eagle. Let’s wrap this up quickly. I hid my backpack well but don’t want to risk losing it. The trace spell would be a bother,” Valinya replies.
The late afternoon streets of Essanos are beginning to clear out a little as many merchants and consumers head home for the evening meal. The cloud-covered sky is beginning to darken considerably though the temperature is still pleasant, the sea is thick in the air. Fortis and Valinya head away from the Vanderboren Manor grounds and discuss the best route to the Witchwardens Tower, which is said to be located in the Noble District. It seems that to walk, one must head south into the Sunrise District and then east and north through the Azure District before finally reaching the Noble District. Another option is to take a boat across directly to the Noble District. Of course, there were always magical answers to problems such as these.
The Noble District
The Noble District is much nicer and more affluent than the Merchant District across the harbor. Many finely dressed folk meander through the wide, clean streets. Evenly spaced lamp poles are beginning to light up, magically, as the sun begins its descent in the west. Fragrant smells waft through the air and bright and colorful signs hang above many doors. It appears that many of the shops are closing up for the evening. One thing seemingly absent in this part of town is the presence of a City Watch. They had been nominally present on the streets of the Merchant District but none can be seen anywhere here.
Just off to the left stands a tall building that appears to be some sort of theatre or opera house and to the right sits a regal, walled estate, obviously the home of some wealthy merchant or city official. Several armed guards can be seen patrolling the wall of this estate.
Fortis approaches one of the guards atop the walls and hovers in front of him just out of weapons reach (and not crossing into the space he is guarding) and addresses him directly. “Good Eventide to you stout sentinel, I was wondering if you would be kind enough to point out the guildhall belonging to the Witchwardens?”
The guard, startled by the unexpected visitor starts to bring his loaded crossbow up but then stops, eyeing the diminutive Ellyl. “Eh, how’s that? What manner of being are you, friend? Looking for the Witchwardens, you say?” A strong gust of wind blows through, buffeting Fortis and nearly slamming him into the guard’s chest. Trying to get out of the wind, Fortis alights on a nearby flagpole jutting out from the top edge of the wall. The crimson flag below him whips and snaps in the wind, bearing a regal yet sinister crest. Fortis quickly notes that several of the symbols surrounding the red skull bear striking resemblance to magical symbols he has seen many times over.
“Ahh, yes, my good man, stay out of the wind a bit, it has been blowing off and on this afternoon. But here, if you can look over your left shoulder, just there, see that,” he crouches down so he is leaning out over the edge of the wall and pointing across Fortis’s left shoulder toward a gray stone tower not 300 yards away. “Are you a mage? Oh no, that’s a silly question. Of course you are a mage. How could a being such as yourself not possess the magical art. Are you seeking to apply for membership in the guild? The master of my house here, Worrin Lidu, is a mage and member of the Witchwardens, though he does not generally get involved in guild business, he is a close acquaintance of Mistress Seoni, the head of the order. Master Lidu has her over for supper on occasion.”
Meanwhile, Valinya rests in an out of the way alcove along the curving back side of the theatre building. She watches the few passers by mostly heading to the east.
“Thank you ever so much for the information kind sir. I very much appreciate your generosity. Have a quiet and uneventful watch.” With that resolved Fortis flits down out of the high wind and rejoins Valinya. “Our destination lies there. And the Mage we seek is named Mistress Seoni, head of their guild.”
Not seeing any reaction to his announcement Fortis continues.”I’m going over there to make my introductions and understand their rules for sharing information. Once I have established contact I will see what I can learn about things that might help us like spells to help cure diseases, injure or banish demons, divine their purpose or protect us from their powers.”
He looks over his shoulder at her for a moment as he heads past the piers towards the grey tower, “Are you coming?”
The Witchwardens' Tower
Still in airy, Body of Air form, Valinya follows Fortis toward the nearby tower, if it can even be called a tower. It is only about 50 feet tall while its ground floor is nearly 100 feet across with a taller middle section stretching to its full height. Numerous alcoves and spaces that look like windows dot the outer surface of the pale gray structure, though none of them actually look like windows. A wide archway can be seen facing directly toward the approaching companions, revealing a wide, iron bound door within. Fortis flies up and pulls on the delicate silver pull chain to the left. A quiet chiming sound can be heard coming from within. After a short while, a purple cloaked and hooded form appears in front of the door. “Welcome to the Tower of the Witchwardens. What may I do to help you?” A prominent medallion can be seen hanging from the mages neck. It is made of some yellowish metal, not shiny, but well crafted.
Fortis peers intently at the person to whom he speaks “Good evening to you. I apologize for the lengthening hour but my companion and I are lately arrived in your city and are eager to engage with fellow practitioners of the true art. Would it be possible to speak with the mage charged with communicating with newcomers?”
“Good mages, I am speaking to you now, so it can be assumed that I am charged thusly,” the purple garbed mage says. “What business do foreign mages have at our door?”
Valinya remains silent to let Fortis have his fun while studying the mage and keeping an eye on the surroundings. She does grace him with an ethereal nod though and a ghostly smile.
Fortis continues, “We have several things we wish to discuss, but first among them is understanding how we may best pursue our (non-commercial) business in the city without disturbing your guild. Afterwards, there are a number of questions we would like to ask some of your members with particular specialties.”
The robed mage ponders for a moment, “This is all quite vague. What business are you in? We must know that before we can comment on that. Non-commercial, you say? Well there are no general restrictions on magic in Essanos besides those which directly impact other beings in a negative manner or do harm to the city or it’s structures. As for questions and specialties, again, more information is needed here in order to proceed.”
Fortis ponders his questions for a moment. “Well, we are in the troubleshooting business. As part of one our recent attempts to shield civilians from dangerous monsters we were attacked by a number of demons. We were looking for an expert demonologist who might be able to provide some insight into their abilities and motives. Further, one of our number was taken ill by a disease requiring magical ministration. We secured it, but would like to understand if there is someone within the guild able and willing to teach healing spells. Other interests of ours include local history and genealogy. If there is a local expert on such matters we would be most interested to treat them to dinner for the pleasure of their conversation. Finally, There is the traditional business of sharing news from abroad. Is there any interest among your compatriots in joining in that conversation?”
Valinya adds, “More to the point for myself, I don’t want to unknowingly or unintentionally violate a law, rule or tradition nor do I wish to engender any ill will …we’re visiting on business and would like a peaceful and fruitful stay.”
The mage nods, listening to all that Fortis and Valinya have to say. “If you can leave me with a list of spells you might be interested in, I can ask around with some of the mages to see if any have any scrolls to sell or could possibly write for you. Many mages of the guild do a good enough business selling powered scrolls to folk. As for healing spells, you would be best off visiting one of the local temples. I know they are willing to perform services or sell scrolls, though you, as a mage, would not be able to learn the spells from those scrolls. You could possibly learn the other spells we had to offer, if you chose to utilize them in that way. But I must make my departure. Return tomorrow and ask for me, Alzel. I should have more information for you by then. Thank you” He bows then vanishes from sight.
Thinking that they have found out all they will for the time being, Fortis and Valinya fly out over the harbor and back to the Merchant District. Valinya recovers her heavy backpack, luckily still hidden where she left it, and set off to find their friends. After a short time, they find the Fox and Hound and their companions.
This session was an online, Continuing Story, taking place between two live sessions on Roll20. At the end of the previous live session, the party decided to split up into 3 different groups to take care of random things around town. Normally, as a sane GM, I am against "splitting the party" but the format in which we play between sessions is perfect for this sort of thing. I set up 3 separate docs on Google Drive and shared each one only with the characters that were involved. They all played out their separate parts over the course of 2 weeks, then we brought the party back together and they "shared' their individual experiences with each other via me sharing the documents with everyone. It was quite fun, if not a bit hectic, for me dealing with the three different stories. The only thing I needed to do was to make sure that none of them went over (or fell very short) of the time I had chosen to bring them back together.
All three stories:
Cast of Characters:
+Ben Zittere plays Fortis, an Ellyl trickster and Mage
+Stephen Kolmetz plays Valinya, an Elven Wildsong Mage
and +Jason GURPS as the GM